getting ready for the MoFo!

hey everyone! I hope you are as excited as I am about the VeganMoFo. Join Vibrant Wellness Journal and hundreds of others starting October 1 2012. We are going to be celebrating a whole month of vegan food love!

these little guys are SO good!

I might have eaten this whole plate.

Today I am excited about these gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free cookies from Nicole at A Dash of Compassion. An adapted version of these little treats can be found here on Vibrant Wellness Journal.

for the happy couple: chocolate cherry wedding cake

Imagine how honored I felt when my good friends asked me to bake their wedding cake! She is a dear friend and also my acupuncturist; he is a prominent local musician (check out their tunes here, please!). The Spicy Cherry Chocolate flavor they chose for their cake was decidedly unconventional, but it fit wonderfully with their unique wedding that involved outrigger canoes, the finest musicians on the island, fire dancing, African dancing, surprise songs, pole-dancing, and heaps of homemade, shared foods. Overall it was very sweet ceremony– and the reception was dangerously fun! And- thank goodness- everyone loved the cake! Click here for the recipe!

the finished cake!

the finished cake!

the liquid and the dry!

the liquid and the dry!

this is how to make cake for 100 people!

this is how to make cake for 100 people!

me working hard in the kitchen

me working hard in the kitchen

the bride with her cake

the bride with her cake

fresh raspberries for the bride

fresh raspberries for the bride

granola muffins

These little vegan muffins were part of a cooking class featuring my favorite homemade granola. This class featured one of the best flavor variations- maple, pecan, and cinnamon. I learned the original granola recipe from Heidi at 101 Cookbooks, but I’ve adapted it many times over. These muffins feature your own homemade granola, should you be so ambitious, but they work perfectly well with store-bought granola if that is what you have. These treats are another way to add some healthy, clean snacks to your day. These are very simple muffins; add nuts, raisins, cacao nibs, or other yummy mix-ins as you see fit!

granola muffins

Homemade Granola Muffins

1½ cups homemade granola, divided
2 Tablespoons Earth Balance
¼ cup vanilla soy yogurt
2 Tablespoons ground flaxseeds
¾ cup vanilla flavored non-dairy milk
¼ cup coconut oil
½ cup agave nectar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup whole spelt flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Lightly grease a muffin pan with coconut oil, or use muffins liners.
  2. In a small bowl, mix ¾ cup granola with the Earth Balance. Gently press together using a fork, until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk yogurt and flax together. Let stand one minute, then stir in milk, oil, agave, vanilla, and almond extract. Whisk until smooth.
  4. In another bowl sift together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  5. Add dry ingredients to wet, and stir gently until well combined. Gently stir in remaining ¾ cup granola.
  6. Fill muffin cups evenly, and top with a sprinkle of granola/Earth Balance mixture. Bake for 22-25 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.

Yield: 12 muffins

love & scones

There is so much love in the air: not only did my little brother get engaged last week, today the ladies are celebrating the nuptials of our good friend at her bridal shower! I am feeling the romance while making my favorite vegan spelt scones and biscuits to share at the tea party. It’s been a long time since these goodies have made an appearance in my kitchen- so long in fact that I forgot some of my key ingredients (oat bran and ground nuts- sorry ladies!). But I’ve resolved to not forget about these goodies again.

But be warned: these scones just might be the key to someone’s heart. Bake them with love using one of the many flavor variations listed below, or invent your own for your special someone! xo raspberr scones

Raspberry Spelt Scones 

 

2 cups whole spelt flour
½ cup fine oat bran
½ cup ground toasted macadamia nuts
1 tbsp baking powder
pinch sea salt
1/3 cup liquid coconut oil
1/3 cup agave + ¼ cup for drizzle
¼ cup brewed tea
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup raspberries

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line your cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl mix the spelt flour, oat bran, nuts, baking powder and sea salt.
  3. Measure the oil, 1/3 cup agave, tea, and vanilla into a small bowl and mix to combine. Add the liquids into the dry ingredients, and stir gently. Add the berries and stir to just combine; a few dry spots are okay.
  4. Scoop out ¼ cup batter into your hands, gently press flat, and then lay on the cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches between the dough. Bake for 15 minutes.
  5. As soon as you remove the scones from the oven, drizzle with the remaining ¼ cup agave. Let stand on the cookie sheet for about 10 minutes, and then move to cooling racks.
  6. These stay good for a few days at room temperature, and they freeze very well.

cookies of christmas past

It is no secret that I am not terribly festive, but I can get excited about the holiday thing when it comes to food. I am totally enchanted with the Christmas deliciousness of my favorite chocolate peppermint cookies. This recipe, among two other holiday-themed cookies, were on the menu for last nights vegan cookie cooking class. During our second class I made a happy mistake while making the chocolate cookie recipe, using just half the amount of sugar called for; then my lovely coworker decided to make ball cookies instead of drop cookies (like the recipe actually says to do- following recipes is not really my thing, either!)- and they rocked! Less sugar and just as much holiday spirit as the originals!

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

The following recipe is the adapted version. It’s not healthy by any means, but for those times (of the month, of the year) that you really need to indulge your darkest chocolate cookie fantasies, these are the ones. Originally adapted from the PPK’s chewy chocolate cookies. Makes about 30 cookies.

5 tsp ground flaxseeds
1/2 cup soymilk (or other non-dairy)
3/4 cup organic canola oil
1 cup fine turbinado sugar
2 tsp peppermint extract (alternatively, 10-20 drops peppermint essential oil)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (or more all-purpose)
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine seasalt
3/4 cup chocolate chips

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the soymilk and flaxseeds in a small bowl and whisk well; set aside.
  3. Warm up the coconut oil to a liquid before measuring, and then mix in a large bowl with the sugar. Whisk until well combined, add the vanilla and peppermint. Add to flax mixture and whisk to combine.
  4. In another bowl sift together the flours, cocoa, soda, salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in batches, and mix until mostly combined, then add in the chocolate chips (I often have to mix with my hands because the dough gets very stiff).
  5. Roll into 1-inch balls, and flatten on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 10-11 minutes, and let cool on the sheet for another five minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool.   These will firm up significantly after a few hours.