suze’s vegan oat bars

These nutritious breakfast or snack bars are simple to make.  Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients, press into a pan, and bake. That’s IT.  This is an adaptation of a recipe my Wisconsonite friend Suze, who is ‘near-vegan’ for health and environmental reasons.  As she says, this is a ‘very forgiving’ recipe — you can make swaps and it still works.  Her notes:  I only use 1/2 cup of dried fruit.  While I feel the 1 ripe banana is a must, using 1/2 cup applesauce or apple jelly plus 1/2 cup water also works well .  1 cup of cranberry juice is great too!  Oh!  And lining the pan with parchment makes cleanup a breeze!  

Ha, leave it to me to use three times the fruit called for…and a heaping half cup of nuts!



Prep Time:  10 minutes

Bake Time:  30 minutes

2 c old-fashioned oats
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c whole wht flour
1/4 c ground flaxseed
2 T hemp seed (optional)
1/2 c brown sugar
2 t ground cinnamon
1 t freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 t ground clove
1/3 c each dried blueberries, cranberries, raisins (or any combination of dried fruits)
1/2 c toasted pecans or walnuts (optional)

1 ripe banana
1 c apple juice
1 t vanilla


Step One: Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a 9 X 13 baking pan with coconut oil.

Step Two: Mix dry ingredients well. Toss in fruit and toasted nuts; mix.

Step Three: Mash the banana. Mix it with apple juice and vanilla.

Step Four: Pour wet ingredients into dry. Stir well with wooden spoon; use hands if needed.

Step Five: Press into greased pan. Bake for 30 minutes at 375. Cool slightly before cutting. Makes 16 -24 bars or squares, depending how you cut them.



vegan blueberry banana bread

Lemon zest completes the mix of delightful flavors in this fat-free vegan breakfast bread. Thanks to Susan at fatfree vegan kitchen blog for her excellent recipe.  After two months of nonblogging/winter hibernation, repeated success with this bread inspired me to go ahead and blog my tweaked version.  Confession: I don’t measure the nutmeg. I just grate enough to dust the mashed bananas well. 20140311_150036


3 slightly overripe bananas
1/3 c almond milk (original unsweetened)
4 T brown rice syrup
2 T lemon juice + zest of half a lemon
1 c all-purpose flour
1 c whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 t baking powder
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
3/4 t cinnamon20140311_134427
1/2 t or so freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 c walnuts
1 heaping cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray or grease loaf pan (9 x 5) with coconut oil.
Step One: Chop walnuts coarsely, then toast for about seven minutes over medium heat. Stir them every once in a while as they become fragrant and begin to turn golden brown.
Step Two: Mix together in larger of two bowls the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and walnuts.
Step Three: Mash bananas well with a fork. Grate nutmeg over them. Zest half a lemon and toss it over the bananas. Juice lemon(s) till you have two tablespoons of juice.
Step Four: Combine wet ingredients into smaller of two bowls: mashed banana mixture, almond milk, brown rice syrup, and lemon juice.
Step Five: Pour wet mixture into dry mixture. Stir gently till it becomes a nice dough — don’t overdo it. Fold in blueberries.
Step Six: Bake at 350 till golden brown, 55 minutes to an hour.

The banana bread slips right out, pretty much right away. Cool on a rack and serve still warmish, or toasted piece by piece (my favorite way to eat this) with Olivio spread.!

vegan black bean chili

This hearty, medium-spicy chili pairs beautifully with my vegan skillet cornbread.  Put some fresh greens alongside, and you’ve got a complete easy make-ahead dinner that tastes even better the second day.  How nice to eat chili and feel satisfied but not stuffed afterwards!  Bulgur wheat idea is from Scott Jurek’s Eat and Run recipe, and I found basic bean-to-onion and such ratios at eat, live,run, a nonvegetarian blog.  Guess a lot of runners want the protein and calories of vegan chili!  I ground whole cumin seed just a bit, more like, ‘cracked’, with a mortar and pestle.  If you have a spice grinder, use whole cumin seed and grind briefly for freshest cumin flavor punch. Cacao is optional; it adds a sweet dark undertone, and pushes up the antioxidant level.


Prep Time: 20 minutes (+ bean-soaking & cooking time if using dry beans)
Cook Time: 30 minutes
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion
2 jalapenos
2 t cumin, freshly ground if possible
1 tsp cayenne
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 can tomato paste (the 6 oz can)
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, julienned
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup bulgur wheat
2 1/2 Tbsp cacao powder
4 cups black beans, cooked    blackbnchili

Step One: Chop onion and peppers. Thaw corn in microwave.  In a large pot, cook onions and peppers in olive oil till onions are soft.

Step Two: Add cumin and cayenne, stir. Add diced tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, and tomato paste. Stir, then cook for five minutes, till fragrant.

Step Three: Add all other ingredients and cook on medium heat for twenty minutes. Adjust seasoning/heat and simmer on low for another ten minutes. Serve hot with cornbread.


vegan skillet cornbread

This moist, lightly sweetened confetti cornbread smells intensely good while baking! Adapted from a recipe at The Vegan Road blog.  Jalapeno, a small red pepper, and corn boost flavor, color and texture.  Serve alongside chili or soups, or warmed up with orange marmalade or mango chutney for a sweet-hot snack.

Prep Time: 10 minutescornbrdskillet
Bake Time: 30 minutes
1 cup cornmeal — yellow or white
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
2 Tbsp flax seed
4 Tbsp maple syrup
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 jalapeno
1 small sweet red pepper


Preheat oven, with 8″ iron skillet in it, to 425.

Step One: Combine cornmeal, flour,baking powder, and salt in larger of two bowls.

Step Two: Heat almond milk in microwave for one minute and twenty seconds. Grind flaxseed in spice grinder. Add ground flaxseed to hot almond milk to form ‘eggy’ mixture. Let sit while you move on to step three.

Step Three: Dice peppers. Mix peppers and thawed corn into dry ingredients.

Step Four: Whisk olive oil and maple syrup into almond milk/flax mixture.

Step Five: Add wet ingredients to dry; do not overmix.

Step Six: Lightly grease heated iron skillet with olive oil. Pour cornbread batter into skillet and bake at 425 for twenty-five to thirty minutes, or till toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean and top is golden. Serve hot!


easy vegan chai

This first snowy day of the season called for the stimulating cardamom, clove & cinnamon scents and flavors of chai.  I use loose organic Rishi Masala Chai but any high-quality blend will do.  Filling the mug then adding half a mug of almond milk gives the right portion, as some water steams off while infusing the spices.  For an extra kick, toss a small slice of fresh ginger root in the simmering tea.

Time: 12 minutes
water to fill your mug
2 T (approx.) loose whole leaf chai blend
almond milk, unsweetened vanilla
sugar to taste, 1 -2 spoonfuls


Step One: Fill your mug with water; pour into small saucepan. Add 2 T loose chai if you have a large mug like the one pictured; more or less depending on size. Cover and bring to boil.

Step Two:  Lower heat and simmer near boiling, partially lidded so steam can escape, for ten minutes.

Step Three:  Fill your mug halfway with almond milk; pour into simmering tea.  Let it heat up for one minute.

Step Four:  Pour ‘milky’ tea through a strainer and enjoy.


vegan super granola

This is a super-nutritious, crunchy, oat-and-walnutty granola that clumps up well.  Dried goji berries, cranberries, and peaches complete the mix, but you could use raisins and/or nearly any dried fruit.  This recipe fills two quart-sized mason jars — if you don’t nibble too much of it right out of the oven!   Largely based on a recipe from oh she glows, with cayenne idea borrowed from yummy life blog. granolabamboo

2 1/2 c old-fashioned oats
1/2 c raw walnuts, chopped medium
1/2 c unsalted raw nut mix such as cashews, peanuts, sunflower seed
2 T pepitas (pumpkin seed, toasted)
1/2 c shelled hemp seed
2 T ground flaxseed
2 T coconut flakes or shreds
1 t cinnamon
generous pinch nutmegwetndryingredgr
1/2 t salt
1/8 t cayenne
5 T brown rice syrup
1 T coconut oil
2 T pear butter or apple butter
2 T peanut butter
1/4 c brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 c dried goji berries
1/2 c dried unsweetened cranberries
3 dried peach halves, diced (about 1/2 c diced)

Step One: Preheat oven to 300. Combine all dry ingredients (except dried fruit) in a large bowl. Mix well.
Step Two: Combine wet ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat till the mixture boils. Lower heat and simmer, stirring intermittently, about ten minutes or till nicely fragrant and smooth.

Step Three: Pour wet mixture, while warm, over dry, and stir well with wooden spoon. Most of it will clump up nicely. Break up any too-large clumps and stir a bit more till it’s pretty even.


Step Four:  Spread mixture in a 15 x 10 or similar baking pan or sheet with sides. Bake in a 300-degree oven forty-five minutes, stirring gently about every 10 – 15 minutes for even browning. (The granola will seem damp while it’s baking. It crisps up as it cools!)

Step Five: Let cool to crispen, while gathering and/or dicing about 1 1/2 cups of dried fruits of your choice. After about ten minutes of cooling, give the granola a stir and cool ten more minutes. After twenty minutes’ cooling, add fruit and mix it all up.

Step Six: Store in jars with lids, or ziploc bags. Hide some away before it’s all gone!


roasted winter squash seeds

These are ridiculously easy to make, any time you’re roasting winter squash.  Save the seeds, rinse well (takes some detangling ‘squash strings’ effort), pat dry, and pop into the oven once it’s cooled down to 250.  These are seasoned with cumin, onion powder, and cayenne.  I look forward to hearing what other seasonings you choose to complement the seeds.  Here’s nutrition data  — good fiber and, said to be a good source of protein, vitamin K, iron and copper, and a very good source of magnesium, phosphorus and manganese.  I wouldn’t blog any food that isn’t a good source of something to keep you healthy!

Time:  45 min. baking, + 10 min. to scoop and wash seeds
3 winter squash, any type
1 1/2 t olive oil
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t cayenne
1/2 t onion powder


Step One:  Cut open the squash with a big sharp knife.  Scoop out seeds, along with the inner stringy pulp, using a regular spoon.


Step Two:  Place the seeds and pulp in a colander and rinse well, while pulling pulp off the seeds.  It takes some patience, two hands, and a good heavy water spray.



Step Three:  Place seeds onto a dry dishcloth and pat them dry with it.  It’s helpful to leave them out to dry while you go ahead and roast the squash for another recipe, such as spicy roasted squash spread.  Then while the oven cools down…


Step Four:  Place seeds on olive-oiled cookie sheet and move them around a little to coat lightly.  Sprinkle spices over the seeds.  Pop into a 250 F oven for 35 – 40 minutes; give them a little more or less time depending how crunchy and dark you prefer them.  The ones pictured, I baked for nearly an hour for a smoky well-done flavor.

Enjoy!  They taste great warm, and perk up a salad, wrap, or bowl of soup.  I confess I like to nibble on them with raisins from a little bowl …but then, I like nearly anything with raisins from a little bowl.