Raspberry and Blueberry Vegan Muffins

Yummmmm… One of my favorite comfort foods is the muffin. I could eat them all day… especially now that I am pregnant. Unfortunately, Europe and the UK haven’t really figured out how to make a good muffins so I have taken on the task of making a really good vegan muffin. I think I have succeeded. Corey thinks so too–as well as our weekend guest, Elise. We devoured the first batch in minutes (yes, that is 12 muffins between 3 people). So basically you have to try them. The key to making a good muffin is to barely mix together the wet and dry ingredients. I pour the wet into the dry and do a few quick hand turns. That is it. This makes them fluffy and less dense. Perfect consistency for a muffin. images Raspberry and Blueberry Vegan Muffins Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour (I use one cup spelt and 1 1/2 cup regular)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground dry ginger
  • 1 cup raspberries (I use frozen since they are so much cheaper)
  • 1 cup blueberries (again… frozen)

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup coconut yogurt (or any kind of yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup melted butter (I use vegan butter)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons apple butter or apple sauce
  1. Turn the oven on to 375 degrees F or about 180 degrees C.
  2. Mix together all of the dry ingredients in one bowl.
  3. Mix together all of the wet ingredients in another bowl.
  4. Butter the muffin tin or place cupcake wrappers in them.
  5. Pour the wet batter into the dry batter and combine in 3-4 swift hand strokes (the batter may not be fully mixed and this is fine).
  6. Scoop the batter into the muffin tin with a 1/3 cup scoop (or thereabouts).
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on top and baked through. (I take the muffins out of the tin and bake for another five minutes flipped over to give the bottoms a bit of a crust.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool before eating.

NOTE: Try other fruits or ingredients in the muffins such as chopped bananas and chocolate, or raisins/currants and cashews.

Homemade Flapjacks

A friend recently told me that I had really arrived in London now that I was making homemade flapjacks. I have to admit that when I first arrived here I wasn’t sure what a flapjack was–but if you are like me and love oatmeal cookies, cinnamon, dried fruits, and tasty treats, this will soon become a new favorite of yours. It also provides a great snack that doesn’t have any refined sugar. It is definitely a pregnancy must for me. So mix up, eat up and enjoy!

flapjack

The basis for this recipe I found in Deliciously Ella (a great new cookbook that I highly recommend). I have doctored it up and come up with the following:

  • 3 cups of oats
  • 1/2 cup finely hopped nuts (I like a mixture of cashews, almonds and macadamia)
  • 8 medjool dates, chopped in small pieces
  • 6 dried figs or 1/4 cup dried apples, chopped in small pieces
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup crushed corn flakes
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 6 tbs maple syrup
  • 6 tbs nut butter (my favorites are raw almond butter or hazelnut/raisin butter)
  • 4 tbs coconut oil (and more for greasing the pan)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C or 356 F
  2. Grease a 9 x 9 baking pan with coconut butter
  3. Place oats in a mixing bowl with crushed corn flakes, nuts, chopped fruit and cinnamon. Mix together.
  4. In a large frying pan heat the mashed ripe bananas, maple syrup, nut butter and coconut oil over low heat until it forms a thick liquid like substance.
  5. Mix the heated mixture into the oat mixture. Mix until there is an even-ish consistency.
  6. Place mixture into the greased pan and smooth into the pan with a spatula to create an even, pressed layer of flapjack.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is just starting to brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and cool before slicing up the flapjack squares. If the flapjacks look overdone pour a little bit of juice or water on top to moisten the mixture.
  9. Eat up!

Note: You can use any dried fruits you have on hand if you don’t have (or want to by the recommended fruits). For example, you could also try raisins, cranberries and/or apricots.

Lentil Leftover Burrito

Corey and I were recently invited over to a friends where we were served a super tasty vegan Shepard’s Pie-filled with lentils and covered in yummy mashed potatoes. I decided I need to branch out and find new ways of serve grains and pulses. Here is my first attempt. A burrito filled with many of the same ingredients as usual but made in a slightly different way. Burritos are a great way to finish up what is left in your fridge from the night before–adding a new flair to whatever it is you are trying to eat up.

Lentil-Burrito

Lentil Leftover Burrito

(serves 2-3)

Lentils:

  • 2 cups of brown lentils, soaked for a few hours
  • 1 veggie broth cube
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • dash of cayenne
  • dash of salt

Burrito:

  • chopped tomato or canned salsa
  • 3 cups spinach
  • roasted veggies (whatever you have on hand – I used cauliflower, broccoli, chopped cabbage, cashew nuts, onion and carrots )
  • 1/2 cup tahini (prepared with 1 finely chopped garlic clove, 1/2 tsp za’atar spice, 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup lemon juice)
  • 4-6 tortilla shells (plain, whole wheat, or brown rice if you can’t have gluten)
  1. Presoak lentils for about 2 hours to make them easier to digest. (Usually I just set some out after breakfast and leave them for the day so they are ready for dinner preparation).
  2. Preheat oven at 180C or 350F for veggies.
  3. Drain lentils and place in a saucepan covered with about two inches of water. Add a mashed up broth cube. Bring to a boil and let simmer (half covered) for about 45 minutes or until the water has boiled away and the lentils are cooked through.
  4. Add soy sauce, cumin, coriander, a dash of cayenne and salt to the saucepan. Mix together and add extra of any of the ingredients to taste. Set aside.
  5. Wash and chop veggies and nuts (if using) into bite sized pieces. Cover with olive oil, a pinch of salt and a few grids of pepper. Place on roasting pan and cook for half and hour to 45 minutes until slightly brown.
  6. Chop tomato or open can of salsa.
  7. Place the spinach into a frying pan on medium heat with a few tbs of water. Let the spinach wilt for a few minutes and remove.
  8. Prepare tahini with fresh lemon juice, 1 chopped garlic clove, za’atar and water. Whisk together ingredients in a bowl. Add more of ingredients to desired taste and texture.
  9. Place a frying pan on low/medium heat. Add a tortilla shell and warm for a minute or two. Flipping to get both sides.
  10. Remove the shell from the pan and fill the middle of the tortilla with ingredients (including tahini). Roll into a burrito (folding in the bottom and sides-sticking a toothpick in the tortilla, if needed, to hold together)
  11. Place the burrito back on the frying pan and let the it fry for a few more minutes (flipping, if possible) until slightly browned (or just lightly warm depending on what you like).
  12. Repeat for each burrito and serve with extra tahini.

Note: You can really add whatever you like with the lentils and burrito shell. Perhaps one of the cashew sauces found earlier in the blog in place of the tahini–like this cashew lime sour cream.

Warm Winter Pasta and Pesto

Hello again. I am sorry for my long absence. It has been a crazy few months. I am now four and a half months pregnant! Wow. And as thrilling being pregnant is… I have to admit that the first three months of pregnancy were not so wonderful. I was horribly sick and even the thought of food made me gag -I basically survived on bagels and cream cheese- hence the abrupt end to my blogging. But now things are starting to get interesting again; although my taste buds are still drawn to fairly bland comfort foods. I will do my best to post every now and again if I can find something other than Annie’s Shells and Cheddar and Haggen Daz mint ice cream to excite my palate. As I said to a good friend, “The all whole foods earth mother approach quickly goes out the window when the smell of rice and quinoa make you sick. All we can do is our best.” Great lessons to learn even before the baby arrives.

Needless to say, here is a tasty and quick recipe that is great for the winter months (or use it in the summer and serve chilled). Filling and healthy and super simple, this recipe is hard to beat. My husband was convinced there was parmesan hidden in the pesto but I told him it was vegan to the core. He was impressed by it’s creamy texture. I hope you will be too. Enjoy.

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Warm Winter Pasta and Pesto

Serves 3-4

Pesto-

  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • handful of fresh basil (around 15-20 large washed leaves)
  • 2 cloves of peeled garlic
  • 1/2-2/3 cup olive oil (it is key to have really good first cold pressed olive oil)
  • 4 tbs lemon juice or one whole lemon squeezed
  • a few grinds of fresh pepper and a pinch of salt

Pasta-

  • half a bag of pasta or more depending on number of people (whatever kind you prefer)
  • four cups of fresh spinach
  • head of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  1. Place the ingredients for the pesto into a food processor or blender and blend until desired consistency. I prefer something that still has some body to it as opposed to a pesto that is totally smooth. Add more olive oil to get your desired consistency. Set aside. (I tend to make this in the morning so the flavors have time to set but you can also do it while you are preparing the rest of the ingredients).
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boiling temperature and cook pasta as indicated on it’s package.
  3. Bring another pot of water to boil and place spinach and broccoli in a colander above the boiling water. Cover and let sit for 2-3 minutes so that the spinach wilts slightly and the broccoli tenderizes but is still crisp.
  4. Wash and shred the carrot.
  5. Place cooked pasta in a bowl. Add the veggies and pesto and mix.
  6. Eat up!

Note: you can add whatever veggies you have in your fridge to complete the dish. You don’t have to use spinach and broccoli.

Maple Ginger Pumpkin Seeds

These are great for a snack, mixed in with granola, a soup or salad topping, or anything to which you want to add a salty/sweet crunch. The flavors are quite subtle but once you start eating them you won’t be able to stop. I used them as a soup topping but found Corey and I kept adding soup to our bowls just to continue munching on the pumpkin seeds. I even think they would make a great kid snack or popcorn replacement. Best thing is they are super quick easy to make!

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Maple Ginger Pumpkin Seeds

  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs dried ginger (or 1 tbs ginger and 1 tbs cinnamon or 2 tbs cinnamon)
  • hearty pinch of salt
  1. Turn the oven to 150 C
  2. Pour the pumpkin seeds into a bowl and add all the other ingredients
  3. Mix until thoroughly covered
  4. Place on a pan covered in parchment paper
  5. Bake, stirring occasionally, for 12-18 minutes or until the ingredients set
  6. Take out of the oven and let sit to cool
  7. Add to your favorite salad, soup or meal or eat alone

NOTE: 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds contains more than half the daily recommended does of magnesium. So folks with high blood pressure or heart issues… eat up!

Tangy Cashew Miso Dressing

My husband and I recently decided that the key to vegan eating is a good sauce. A tasty sauce makes my craving for cheese disappear (although I still do indulge here and there). I have to say I was a bit skeptical of combining miso with cashew butter but it does wonders. I think (and Corey thinks) this sauce is one of the best I have made thus far. Thank you to Amy Chaplin for this one (although I doctored it a bit). It gets even better as it sits–but it won’t last for long as it compliments most meals. It may become a once a week staple in our house. Add it to lentils, cooked veggies, grains… just about anything and it will add a tasty kick.

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(image from Amy Chaplin’s website)

Tangy Cashew Miso Dressing

(makes about 3/4 of a cup — I double the recipe to have extra on hand for the rest of the week)

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons white miso
  • 2 tablespoons raw cashew butter
  • 3 tablespoons filtered water, plus more to thin out if needed
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • ½ clove garlic
  • 1-inch piece scallion, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch of freshly ground pepper
  1. Add everything EXCEPT THE OIL to a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust as necessary.
  2. Pour in the oil and blend until thick and creamy.

Note: Keep this in an airtight container in the fridge and it will last about 5 days.

One Pot Mujadara and Pickled Indian Eggplant

Hello again! I am finally back in London after quite a hiatus. It is such a gift to be cooking in my own kitchen again–surrounded by my pots and pans and jars of dried goods. My husband seems thrilled too–as he should be.

This dish is chickpea free–per request of my Uncle Jeff. It is an easy single pot meal that will warm your belly as the fall chill sets in (although it certainly hasn’t set itself in London yet!). It goes extremely well with Pickled Indian Eggplant (or a store bought pickled something) and/or Tangy Cashew Miso Sauce (left over from another meal–I will post promptly). The Pickled Eggplant is easier to make than you would think… as is the Mujadara. So dive in and eat up.

mujadara3

(image and recipe from the Holy Cow Vegan Recipe Blog)

One Pot Mujadara

Serves 3-4 (4 if there is another dish on the menu)

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 leeks, chopped (or one large onion)
  • 1 cup brown lentils (soaked for a few hours or overnight)
  • 3/4 cup basmati rice
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp allspice powder
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt and more to sprinkle
  • 4 cups leafy greens (I used Kale – stems removed and finely slice)
  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add leek (or onion) and sauté until brown and crispy (8 to 10 minutes). Make sure to stir the leek as it is browning to keep from burning.
  2. Remove half the leeks to a bowl, sprinkle with salt and set aside.
  3. Add the minced garlic and bay leaves to the pot with the remaining leek and stir for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the cumin, allspice and cayenne to the mixture and stir to coat the mixture.
  5. Add the rice to the pot and stir for another minute or until the rice slightly changes color (or becomes more opaque if using white).
  6. Add the drained lentils, cinnamon and salt. Mix everything together then add 4 cups of water.
  7. Bring the mixture to a boil and then cover the pot and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
  8. Uncover and add an even layer of greens to the top. Simmer covered for another 5 minutes.
  9. Take the lid off and let the extra water evaporate through steam (about 5 minutes). Turn off the heat and replace the cover to let the mujadara sit for about 10 minutes.
  10. Add the rest of the browned leeks, sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper and serve on its own or with coconut yogurt, miso sauce, or Pickled Indian Eggplant.

Pickled_eggplant

(image and recipe from Green Kitchen Stories)

Pickled Indian Eggplant

Makes about two small jars

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tbsp fenugreek seeds
  • ½ tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp (and a pinch) dried red chili flakes
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 6 – 10 curry leaves (or lime leaves)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 medium sized eggplant, cut into small cubes
  • 2 inches ginger, minced
  • 1½ tbsp tumeric
  1. Heat the olive oil in a thick pot, add fenugreek seeds and cumin seeds.
  2. Let it boil for a short while and then add garlic and stir until it has turned light brown
  3. When it has turned light brown add a pinch of red chili flakes, the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Fry while stirring over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the apple cider vinegar, water and salt and stir briefly.
  5. Add eggplant, ginger, tumeric and 1/4 tsp of red chili flakes. Let it boil for least 25-30 minutes–or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  6. Cool off and pour into glass jars. Store them in the fridge.

Note: If you store the eggplant in an airtight jar, the mixture will last for a few weeks. Once you have opened the jar it needs to be eaten in 3-4 days.

Note: Supposedly this is a good side dish to help kick a cold.