vegan apple banana bread

A revision of my blueberry banana bread , this recipe calls for two and a half bananas and one apple, as that’s what was in the house.  You could make ‘normal’ banana bread and leave out the apple, using three bananas; apples are a nice fall or winter touch.  Toasted walnuts and tart dried cherries put the flavor over the top!  Feel free to switch that to pecans and raisins.  Pictured with homemade vegan butter and orange marmalade.



2 1/2 slightly overripe bananas
1 apple
1/3 c almond milk (original unsweetened)
4 T brown rice syrup
2 T lemon juice
1 c all-purpose flour
1 c whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 c raw wheat germ
3/4 t baking powder
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 c walnuts
1 cup dried tart cherries
coconut oil spray

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 till fragrant and golden brown.
Step Two: Mix together in larger of two bowls the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Step Three: Mash bananas well with a fork. Peel apple and cut into small pieces.
Step Four: Combine wet ingredients into smaller of two bowls: mashed banana mixture,apples, 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 walnuts and tart cherries.
Step Six: Bake at 350 till golden brown, 50 -55 minutes.                     20150302_082934

Slip the loaf out and cool on a rack. Serve warm, or toasted piece by piece (my favorite way to eat this)!

vegan pfeffernusse cookies

Cardamom, clove, anise, and cinnamon make these lightly powdered traditional German/Dutch Christmas cookies (‘peppernuts’) a delightful respite from the season’s overly sweet sugar cookies.  Since I have quadrupled the spices, they are somewhat intense.  Feel free to lighten up on them if you want a gentler flavor.  I keep freshly ground Ceylon cinnamon and clove around, but freshly ground the anise seed, cardamom seed, and a peppercorn tricolor blend the first time I made them.  Second time around, I used already ground white pepper.  Both batches were fantastic; play with the spices as your cupboard sees fit.   Adapted from Down to Earth’s holiday cookie section.   They require chill time (an hour or overnight) to make it easy to form little balls that won’t flatten while baking.

pfeff bow

The lovely texture of these cookies improves with time — a light crunch as you bite in, then a soft pillow of spice in the middle.  Air them out for a while after completely cooled, then store in a tin.  Make more than you ‘need’ (like anyone needs cookies) and when you open that second tin the flavor and texture will be even better.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons anise
3 1/2 teaspoons Ceylon cinnamon
4 teaspoons each cardamom and clove
3 1/4 teaspoons white pepper
1/2 cup vegan butter
1/2 cup cane sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
confectioner’s sugar for coatingpfeff bowls

1.  In smaller of two bowls, combine all dry ingredients except the sugar.
2.  In larger bowl, use hand mixer to fluff together vegan butter and sugar.
3. Add almond milk, molasses, canola oil and vanilla. The mixture will not be perfectly smooth as vegan butter behaves slightly differently than dairy butter.
4. In three batches, mix in dry ingredients, switching to a wooden spoon on last batch.
5. Form dough into a log, wrap in plastic and chill for an hour or more.
6. Preheat oven to 350 F. Make little balls about an inch each (about 40).
7. Bake on cookie sheets sprayed with coconut oil, 11-12 minutes or till lightly browned.
8. Handle carefully at first as they are tender right out of the oven; After a minute or so, remove with spatula and set out on a rack.
9. Dip pfeffernusse while still warm into a bowl of confectioner’s sugar, turning gently to coat. Do this a second time, after all of them are coated, if you like.

pfeff powdering



pfeff inside

miyoko’s artisan vegan ‘butter’

butter closeThis creamy ‘butter’ spreads beautifully, melts well, and works fine in baked goods.  You can smoosh fresh pressed garlic into it for garlic bread.   It’s ridiculously fast and easy.  Even better, it tastes so sweet and fresh you won’t miss butter, let alone Earth Balance’s (or various others’) tub of unpronounceable ingredients.  All you do is measure out six ingredients, whir them up in a blender, and chill.

The recipe is completely Miyoko Schinner‘s; the vegan cheese genius Miyoko gave me permission to blog it.  Found it on the lovely blog Luminous Vegans.  Adjust salt to your liking, from 1/4 tsp for extra sweet, to 1/2, to a whole teaspoon for lightly salted.  You can find plant-based lecithin in the health food section of most groceries or order it from Amazon. 


(makes 2 cups) ingred butter

1 cup refined organic coconut oil (liquefied by warming)

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/4 cup canola or other mild oil

2 teaspoons liquid lecithin

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt



1.  Whir it all up in the Vitamix or blender.  It will turn light yellow and smooth very quickly.

2.  Pour into a glass container, cover, and chill for about an hour.  It stays fresh in the fridge for about two weeks.


*Miyoko’s book, Artisan Vegan Cheese, is a real winner!  If you like this vegan butter, you may let someone know you want to experiment with vegan cheeses and end up receiving it for your birthday!

cinnamon apple pecan muffins

These coffee cake-like apple pecan muffins are delicious warm, spread with vegan butter or with cashew ‘cream cheese’.  Toast pecans lightly so those on top don’t overtoast during baking.  I use freshly ground Ceylon cinnamon.  Read the difference between cassia and Ceylon cinnamon here.  Yes, health benefits and flavor go together!


I often use 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour so they’re not overly cupcake-like; don’t think you have to run out and get whole wheat pastry flour though.  The batter may seem a little dry at first but moistens up as the apples bake.   Recipe adapted from CoffeeVanilla blog.

Prep Time:  10 – 12 minutes

Cook Time:  25 -30 minutes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour  (1/2 c of it whole wheat pastry flour if you like)

1/2 cup sugar (a largish half cup — heap it a bit).

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon20141111_143326

1 heaping teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1 large organic red apple

1 tablespoon flax seed + 2 tablespoons warm water

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/4 cup canola or other mild oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup whole pecans

Cinnamon Topping Ingredients:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup vegan butter

1/4 cup light brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

(plus 1/2 c of above pecans, once toasted)20141111_145525



1.  Preheat oven to 350 F; spray muffin tin with coconut oil.

2.  Lightly chop then toast pecans on stovetop in small dry skillet till fragrant and lightly browned (about 7 minutes).

3.  Mix together dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices) in large bowl.

3.  Make topping by combining flour, vegan butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and, once cooled, 1/2 cup pecans.  Set aside. (Works        best if ‘butter’ is cold; set aside in fridge once made if it’s a hot day).

4.  Grind flax seed, whisk into warm water, then combine with almond milk, oil, and vanilla.

5.  Peel and chop the apple medium-fine.

6.  Stir liquid ingredients into dry ingredients; fold in pecans and chopped apple.

7.  Fill 12-muffin tin with mixture.  Place cinnamon streusel over top and press slightly.

8.  Bake at 350 F for about 25 minutes or till lightly golden browned.  Cool for just a couple minutes before removing from tin.  Place on a cooling rack.  Enjoy!





vegan coconut milk yogurt

After months of experimention I have come up with a consistently successful recipe for vegan yogurt with light coconut flavor.  It’s creamy, tart, and (ta-da) nearly as thick as Greek yogurt!   My favorite way to serve this yogurt is with fresh fruit in season and vegan super granola.  The pictured yogurt has a swirl of over-the-top raspberry sauce.  Will blog that soon!


Stirring agar agar powder (made from seaweed) into thick oat milk is the trick to a nice thick yogurt.  Until I developed that trick, most batches were delicious but quite runny.  Too much oat milk, though thickening, tasted too ‘oaty’; tapioca flour made it lumpy; guar gum, gritty. While soaking oats, make sure your kitchen counters are clean and take a few minutes to boil some water in your medium pot, then run it over your utensils and into the yogurt-culturing container.  This discourages unwanted bacteria from ruining your batch.  The sugar is not meant to sweeten the yogurt, but to ensure that good bacteria have something to gobble up.  Incubation time can be anwhere from four to eight hours, depending on your tartness preference.

This process is simpler and easier than it looks!

Days before you start, order this online: Vegan Yogurt Starter from Cultures for Health.  You will also need these:  Yogurt Thermometer and a Yogurt Maker.  A Nut Milk Bag comes in handy too.ingred

1/2 c steel-cut oats
2 cans full-fat coconut milk
1 T sugar
1 3/4 t agar agar powder
1 packet vegan yogurt starter

1.  Soak steel-cut oats in water for thirty minutes. Drain and rinse well several times. Place oats in Vitamix or blender with enough water to measure one cup on blender container. Whir for twenty seconds. Place a bowl in the sink, catch the oat milk in bowl by squeezing it through a nut milk bag (it should make one half cup of very thick milk). Set aside.

2.  Pour coconut milk in medium pot and heat at medium high for about five minutes till it reaches 140 F.  (Do not overheat or yogurt will turn out runny no matter what else you do).  Take pot off burner.  Add sugar and stir.

3.  Add agar agar to oat milk; stir well.  Add that thick mixture to hot coconut milk.

4.  Let mixture cool to 110 F, stirring occasionally to keep it from forming lumps.  (This fine 68 F fall day, it took about thirty minutes to cool.  In summer, it takes longer.)

5.  Sprinkle contents of one packet vegan yogurt starter powder into mixure; stir.  Small air bubbles are not unusual here, as you can see in the photo of mixture ready to put into yogurt maker below.

6.  Pour mixture into container of yogurt maker.  Set timer for six hours.  If you have the model I have, you can leave the house now as it will begin chilling the yogurt after your chosen incubation time.  airbubyog

Chill and enjoy!


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!


vegan spicy roasted squash spread

This recipe evolved from an urge to fill wraps with something other than hummus.  I adapted a fabulous recipe for cashew ‘cheese’ from the blog Positively Vegan.  It works well with butternut squash or yellow winter squash.  The spread received enthusiastic thumbs-ups at home, so I’m sharing!


Time:  1 hour soak/roast + 15 minutes prep.
Yields 4 cups spread
1 cup raw cashews (soaking them will take an hour)
2 acorn squash
4  cloves garlic
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 t smoked paprika
1 t cayenne
1 t red pepper flakes
1 heaping T white or red miso
tamari to taste
1 T tahini
1 T apple cider vinegar


Step One:
Cover cashews with water and set aside to soak (allow an hour or more). Preheat oven to 425.

Step Two:
Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds (delicious washed and roasted, later). Cut squash into fourths or a bit smaller. Place open side down in baking dish with a little water in it. Toss in the garlic cloves, smashed slightly to get the peel off easily. Cover with aluminum foil and bake forty-five minutes to an hour, or till soft.


Step Three:

Scoop squash away from its peel and place in food processor. Drain cashews and add them, and all other ingredients, to food processor. Whir it all together, about a minute, scraping down sides a couple times and adding a little more (or less) spice as you like. That’s it!


rosemary & cracked pepper onion rolls

Cold weather has brought on my breadmaking urge.  Found a scrumptious-looking recipe at SImply Scratch and decided to veganize it!  Olive oil replaces butter; brown rice syrup replaces honey.  Flax seed adds nutrition and an earthiness to these great-with-a-hot-bowl-of-soup rolls.  I grind up peppercorns with a mortar and pestle to get the flavor-burst of pepper I like.  If you have a spice grinder, you can get similar nice big pieces by grinding coarsely.  20131023_173342

Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus 1 1/2 hours rising time
Bake Time: 18 – 20 minutes

1 c whole wheat flour
2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t salt
2 t cracked pepper (I used a tricolor blend)
2 T flaxseed
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 1/2 c warm water
1 T brown rice syrup
4 T olive oil
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Step One:  Mix flours, salt, and cracked pepper in a large bowl.



Step Two:
Chop the onion and sautee in 1 T olive oil till golden; meanwhile, mince and add in garlic. Continue sauteeing till onion is caramelized. Set aside to cool.

Step Three: Stir brown rice syrup into warm water. Sprinkle yeast into water and brown rice syrup, and stir gently with a nonmetal spoon till disolved. In about ten minutes the mixture will be bubbly; in the meantime move on to step four.

Step Four: Grind flaxseed, chop rosemary (removed from stem) and add both to flour mixture.

Step Five:  Add yeast mixture, onions and garlic to flour mixture.  Stir with wooden spoon, then knead on a floured surface for about five minutes or till dough is springy.

Step Six:  Place dough in large bowl coated with olive oil, rolling dough slightly to cover with oil so it won’t dry out.  Let rise, covered with dishcloth, in a warm place for one to one and a half hours.


Step Seven:   Separate dough into twelve rustic round pieces, placing them onto lightly oiled baking sheet.  Let rise about fifteen minutes.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees as the rolls are rising.

Step EIght:  Bake for 20 minutes or a bit less, till golden brown; brush with olive oil halfway through baking.  Your kitchen will smell fantastic!  Serve warm.

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