Category Archives: Dessert

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins Redux

If pumpkin just totally disgusts you, then you may want to avoid this blog for…say, three months?

Turns out they had Libby’s canned pumpkin at the Walmart grocery store, so I stocked up, big time.

After a couple bowls of pumpkin oat bran, I decided that it was time to get baking with the stuff. After all, I did buy 10 cans of it. Yes, 10.

It’s my precioussssss….

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while have probably seen a few different takes on Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins.

The original recipe was not vegan, as it contained eggs, but I have been tweaking it over the past year to make these muffins friendly to my diet and still very delicious!

The last time I made them, they came out a little dry and stuck to the paper. I hate that!

I decided to give them another go this week for Girl’s Night Potluck on Wednesday. When I busted out the paper, I checked the date on it for fun.

I have apparently been using this recipe since 2008!

I made a few substitutions, quite a few actually, so I will share the recipe with you since it varies so much from the original (see picture and link above).

Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups Whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Agave nectar
  • 2 Flax “eggs” (2 tbsp milled flax seed mixed with 1/4 cup water)
  • 3/4 cup Libby’s canned pumpkin (accept NO substitutes)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (because I love it that much)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • A few shakes of salt
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use the Kroger brand which has no dairy)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375* (reduced heat due to use of agave nectar. See tips on that here)
  • Line muffin pan with foil or paper liners.
  • Mix the flax “eggs” and let sit for a few minutes.
  • Mix the agave, flax “eggs” and oil in a medium-sized bowl.
  • Add in pumpkin (I omitted water due to use of agave nectar).
  • In a separate, larger bowl, mix together flour, baking powder & soda, spices and salt.
  • Add wet ingredients to dry and mix together well.
  • Fold in chocolate chips.
  • Fill cups evenly and cook for 18-20 minutes (reduced cooking time for agave nectar as well).

The biggest change I made this time was with these two things:

I think the last time (when they stuck to the paper) I also used the Ener-G egg replacer, which is a good product but for baked goods, flax “eggs” work so much better. That’s just my opinion!

This is actually quite an easy recipe to follow and it made my kitchen smell really good!

So…how were they?

Pretty much perfect. They were sweet, moist, and delicious. No paper sticking this time too! My friends were ooh-ing and aww-ing all night so I’m guessing that they liked them too. 🙂

I am definitely sticking with this version of the recipe for a while. May have to print out this blog post and replace that old paper from 2008!

What is your favorite pumpkin recipe?

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Cherrybrook Kitchen

I mean it when I say that vegan desserts are really easy to make. Especially cakes and cupcakes.

Image Source

I mean, all you have to do is replace the egg with one of several alternatives, change the milk to non-dairy milk, and whatever other modifications you choose.

But, sometimes even the simple things need to be simplified. That’s where a products like the cake mixes from Cherrybrook Kitchen come in!

009As you can see, I found this on clearance at Target, which is probably why I bought it since products that are gluten free, dairy free, nut free and egg free can be expensive.

I liked the simplicity of this mix: just add oil! No egg substitutes to make. No other ingredients to swap. And just look at it!

010  Oh. My. Gosh.

I’ve said it before but one of my favorite things about vegan baking is being able to lick the spoon without worrying about salmonella.

011 Oy, if I weren’t trying to get a point across, I doubt I’d shown you that picture of me, ha ha. Perhaps this one is better?

003 Okay, not really. But this shows that I tried the yellow cake mix too 🙂

001 I made cupcakes out of both of these but for some reason did not take any pictures. Bad food blogger!

They aren’t the cheapest things in the world, but if you are in a hurry and want a simple vegan mix to make that birthday cake or cupcakes for a gathering, I highly recommend this line.

I definitely preferred the chocolate to the yellow, but both were tasty, moist and completely animal-free 🙂

Cherrybrook Kitchen also makes mixes for brownies, cookies, pancakes and other yummy goodies. They also make a line of frosting but I have not tried that yet.

I am able to find them at Target, Kroger, Meijer and Whole Foods (so far). Check ‘em out!

I paid for these products myself and was not paid to say how great they are. But trust me, they are.

More frozen goodies

Even though I just did a big post on how much I am loving hot tea these days, it is still summertime and thus my consumption of frozen treats has increased slightly as well.

Luckily, thanks to the smaller size of these containers (and only buying one at a time), I’m pretty much able to keep myself under control!

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I was really interested in this one because it is “fruit sweetened” and contains only 11g sugar per serving, which is only 2g less than the “regular” chocolate peanut butter, but I guess every little bit counts?

As you can imagine, I found this treat to be very creamy and delicious! Chocolate and peanut butter is a match made in heaven.

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I’ve also been on kind of a sorbet kick lately. I picked up this Ciao Bella sorbet at Whole Foods last week:

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I love blood oranges (and blood orange flavored stuff) so I was excited about this one. It’s also fat free and contains just 60 calories per half cup.

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This tasted great! I did have one complaint that it was a little tricky to get out of the container as it was really frozen but once I let it melt a little bit…so gooood!

I hope you guys aren’t bored with both of my overly positive reviews! I just know what I like and so far I’ve been lucky with my choices.

What are your favorite frozen treats?

My first vegan cupcakes

My friend Renee got me this sweet cookbook for my birthday a couple of weeks ago:

I flipped through it really quick when I first got it, but I knew that there were some awesome recipes in here that I couldn’t wait to try. Some friends of ours from church just had a baby, so I decided I would make some vegan cupcakes to take to them!

I chose the Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Vegan Cream Cheese Icing to make for them, because these are also Josh’s favorite and I thought it would be a good opportunity for him to try them out too (I omitted the raisins on his behalf).

The recipe was really simple and easy to follow. The worst part was grating the carrots but only because I have a cheapo grater and it wasn’t working too well. I only had to buy a couple of ingredients that I didn’t already have (soy yogurt and vegan cream cheese).

I followed the recipe exactly (except for the raisins) but for some reason, I only managed to fill up 11 cups! If a baker’s dozen is 13, what is 11?

While they were baking in the oven, my apartment smelled so good!

Making the icing was fun and I even tried a little bit of it beforehand…whoa is it sweet! A little bit goes a long way with this stuff which is why I had a lot left over even after icing 11 cupcakes.

I decided to go ahead and try one for myself, so I would know whether anyone else would eat them. I had some organic strawberries on the side. I even used my fancy dessert plates from Pampered Chef that have just been sitting around forever!


I thought the cupcake was absolutely delicious! It was soft, moist and tasty. To me, it tasted just as good as a “regular” cupcake. I loved the icing which added just the right amount of sweetness and creaminess to the cupcake. I couldn’t wait for Josh to try one.


Josh tried one later in the night and remarked: “It’s not that they aren’t good. They just have no flavor.” WHAT?! He also said he didn’t like the walnuts in there, when walnuts are one of the few things he does eat. Ugh.

So I replied: “Well, then, you have no tastebuds!” Ha ha. Oh well, someday I will get him, someday.

I haven’t yet heard if the couple I took them to liked them or not, but they were big fans of the vegan meatloaf I made (recipe). So I’m hopeful! 😉

Yummy product alert: Green tea ice cream

Dear Readers: I have two confessions to make.

First, the following product is one of the other reasons I decided to back out of the 30 Day Challenge. Also, as soon as I got a Whole Foods gift card for my birthday, I had this in mind as a must have. I couldn’t wait any longer!

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I have wanted to try this ever since I saw it in the freezer at both my Whole Foods and Kroger stores. I have had green tea frozen yogurt in the past and loved it, so I couldn’t wait to try my new found vegan version!

This must be really new because I can’t even find it on the website.

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Wow, it really tastes like green tea. Not as sweet as I would have thought (based upon previous experiences with green tea fro yo, which contained dairy) but so incredibly creamy.

It is made with organic coconut and contains just 12 grams of sugar per serving, which is a lot better than most ice creams I’ve had, both dairy and non-dairy. It also contains 6 grams of fiber, wow!

Ingredients: Organic coconut milk, organic agave syrup, green tea powder, chicory root extract, natural flavor carob bean gum and guar gum.

This is a frozen treat I can feel good about. It’s also really good topped with some organic strawberries! 🙂

Happy date at Simply Thai

On Saturday evening, my husband decided he would rather go out to eat instead of cooking at home, which I wasn’t too happy about at first.

But I decided it would be a nice date night for us, just one problem…we have the hardest time finding new places to go eat that suit both of our dietary preferences! I’m vegan; he likes meat and not many vegetables. Go!

Luckily, after much research, eye-rolling and heavy sighs, we found Simply Thai, a small local Thai restaurant (Voted Best of Louisville!) with plenty of dishes for both of us to choose from. Josh pointed out that almost everything is vegan, unless you add meat to it 😉

I got the Pineapple Curry with Tofu, level 3 spiciness (on a scale of 1-5).

tofu
The taste was perfect. Sweet, spicy, creamy and delicious. I need to make this at home 🙂
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Each dish came with white rice, which isn’t my first choice, but I happily stirred some into my dish as I ate it.

As you can see, it was just awful…ha ha.

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For dessert, we had a BOGO coupon for Bruster’s Real Ice Cream, which luckily had some delicious Strawberry sorbet for this vegan wife to enjoy (he had cake batter ice cream). 🙂

Bruester's

I haven’t had sorbet since I had a tooth pulled back in December (and could only eat mushy foods) so it was a nice treat.

While I think it would be awesome if my husband ate the same way I did, since that is not happening anytime soon, it was nice to have a night out that satisfied both of us.

Does your partner eat the same way as you? Or is it a challenge to find places to go together?

Simply Thai on Urbanspoon

Feeling squashy

I started off Wednesday with some more oatmeal. I have had the same thing for breakfast almost every day this week!

Hey, if it ain’t broke

I’ve been alternating between sprinkling a tablespoon of milled flaxseed and raw wheat germ on my oatmeal. Both have great nutritional benefits (see links)!

Along with green juice, I have also been enjoying homemade iced coffee with unsweetened coconut milk 🙂

I snacked on some natural almonds.

For lunch, I had another Sunshine garden herb patty inside of a pita pocket with a tomato slice and salsa verde.


The tomato I used was purchased from Huber’s Farm, which is located about 45 minutes away from me over in Indiana. I felt good about making a semi-local purchase, but I was still sure to wash and scrub the tomato as I’m not sure what might’ve been on there.


I also had some cauliflower to round out my meal!


For “dessert” I had a new to me fruit: a champagne mango!

Since I didn’t bring a knife to cut it with, I just bit right into it.

The skin had a little bit of a funky taste, so I ended up peeling it back and eating the fruit inside. It was so good! It had a slightly different taste than a regular mango and I found this one to be much juicier and sweet than most mangoes I’ve had.

For my afternoon snack, I had a Larabar. One of my favorite flavors!


Then I went home and took Suzie for a walk instead of going to the gym. It was a good choice!

I was hungry when we got back so I had some raisins, which is what I was craving 🙂

Then for dinner, we headed over to Beth’s house for our weekly girl’s night potluck. On the menu this week: Squash!

Beth made a delicious dish of summer squash baked in garlic herb tomato sauce. It looked very simple but was bursting with flavor.

Between this dish and my beloved spaghetti squash, I can declare: I LOVE SQUASH! I love how it is technically a vegetable (?) but you can make it the main component of your meal. It is quite versatile since there are so many varieties of squash and ways to cook them.

I also had a side salad with diced tomatoes and onion with Annie’s natural goddess dressing and some warm, soft and chewy Meijer bakery bread, which I have absolutely no willpower to turn down 😉

For dessert, Margie brought a lovely rice milk treat.

I have had this brand before and their ingredients aren’t too bad and the sugar content is moderate, which I think being made from rice milk helps that. I thought it was pretty good too!

I enjoyed this while we watched New Moon. I never read the books but it’s fun to watch the movies and find out what everyone is obsessing about, ha ha. From an “outsider” perspective, I thought the second movie was better (but a little long), since the first one just made me laugh.

Do you like squash?

Day 6: Happy Birthday to me!

Hey guys! Sorry I am so behind on my updates, this week has been crazy and today is no better! Luckily things are about to slow down 😉

Thursday was my birthday and it was a happy one indeed!

For breakfast, I had oats with banana and peanut butter. I forgot to photograph it, so here is a “recycled” photo.

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Mid-morning, I snacked on more grapes. I’m loving these!

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Lunch was leftover spaghetti squash with the veggie chickpea sauce I made on Tuesday night 🙂

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And an orange!

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Then later in the afternoon, I finished off this bag of edamame before heading to the gym to lift weights, using the same routine I did on Tuesday.

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For dinner, we went to Ramsi’s Cafe on the World, which is one of my favorite vegan-friendly places here in Louisville.

Mom treated me to a glass of Chardonnay which was great, I hadn’t had any in a while!

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Then we ordered the hummus appetizer, which I was so pleased that many of my relatives tried…and liked! 🙂

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For my dinner, I had the Roasted Vegetable Masala. I divided this huge portion in half and took the rest home to have for lunch the next day!

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It was delicious! I loved the sweet potato, carrots and all the other veggies inside, plus it was just a little spicy. Almost as good as going to an Indian restaurant.

Everyone else really enjoyed their food too and we had excellent service. I’m so glad everything worked out so well 🙂

We skipped dessert at the restaurant, but later on at home I wanted something else, so I made myself a little birthday treat!

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How cute is that? 🙂

I had a great birthday and I know that 28 is going to be the best age yet!

Day 5: Let the celebrations commence!

Even though Wednesday was the day before my birthday, I still got to start celebrating early 🙂

Reason number 5,682 why I love my sweet, sweet husband:

He had heard me complaining about how terrible my blender has been lately and here I thought he never listened? Ha ha. He showed me! Check out the beautiful new green smoothie maker:


And good riddance old friend. You’ve worked well the last 4.5 out of 5 years but it’s time to retire now.


Anyone know what to do with old appliances? Can they be recycled?

Of course I celebrated my first birthday gift with a delicious green smoothie. Just look at it go!

I even spoiled myself and used the dispenser!


Result: A yummy, creamy, delicious green smoothie (1 cup almond milk, 1 frozen banana, 1 tbsp natural peanut butter, three handfuls of spinach).

I made sure to send my husband a message about how awesome this smoothie was and how much easier it is to make in a shiny new blender. I’m so spoiled!

Mid-morning, I had some tea and grapes.

Then for lunch, I sort of threw together a new combination. One thing I realized about this challenge is that even though there are a ton of recipes out there that I could use, I love being forced to come up with my own based on what’s in the pantry. It makes me so creative!

Chickpeas on top of a sweet potato, drizzled with salsa verde! Definitely interesting, but totally delicious and filling too. I also had an organic apple on the side 🙂

I snacked on some almonds before heading to the gym for an awesome treadmill run. Wow, those are three words I rarely put together, ha ha.

Then I went home, showered and got ready for girl’s night. I am so lucky to have such good friends who make me feel special!

For dinner, Margie made what is probably my favorite food ever…FALAFEL!

A pita pocket filled with lettuce, diced tomatoes, hummus, and falafel balls topped with tahini. Yesssssss!

Note: this meal is technically not challenged approved, but still very healthy, delicious and special because it was my birthday. I thoroughly enjoyed it, which goes back to that comment about enjoying stuff more when you don’t eat it every day.

I had this plate times two!

For my birthday dessert, per tradition, we had some pink bubbly!

And some yummy vegan cupcakes that Courtney made herself!

She was not happy with them, but I thought they were delicious. Sometimes things can look funny but actually taste great. Plus when a friend makes something special for you, it tastes even better, am I right?

She used this recipe, including a special strawberry glaze that was full of sugar but oh so tasty!


I enjoyed my birthday dessert, very very much 🙂

Thank you girls for giving me such a special night! I love you all 🙂

Day 2: Headache & lots o’ bananas

I woke up this morning with a really bad headache that is just now starting to go away as I write this (8 o’clock at night). I think I got overheated in my sleep or I’m really sensitive to weather changes (it’s been hot, humid and rainy today). Or perhaps a combination of the two.

But I ate a good breakfast before lying on the couch and going back to sleep for four more hours! Yikes, I must’ve needed it.

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Pumpkin Raisin Oats

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup plain almond milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp raw wheat germ
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • 1-2 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • Heat almond milk and water on high until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and stir in oats. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring often, until desired consistency is reached.
  • Add in pumpkin and stir for an additional minute or so, allowing pumpkin to heat up. Remove from stove, stir in wheat germ and top with raisins and peanut butter.

When I woke up from my really long nap, I was ready for lunch. But first, I had to walk Suzie who got REALLY wet from the monsoon going on outside.

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Poor wet dog!

For lunch, I had my last Gardein “chicken” breast. It’s technically processed but it expired before the end of the challenge, so I decided to go ahead and use it up.

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I had it on top of whole wheat couscous with some Brussels sprouts on the side. It was hard not to sprinkle salt or add Smart Balance Light to the veggies, but they tasted just fine without!

Before I went grocery shopping, I snacked on a banana.

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I also picked up a black coffee while I was out. I didn’t want to send myself into caffeine withdrawal while I already had a headache! But it made grocery shopping quite relaxing! I may have to do that more often ;-) 

For dinner, I decided to work with these two ingredients.

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I drained and rinsed the beans well before adding them to the pot with the tomatoes. I heated them over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes.

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While the beans + tomatoes cooked, I heated up some mixed veggies in the microwave.

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I poured a portion of the bean mixture over some whole grain brown rice that I made in the steamer/rice cooker.

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It was a weird looking plate of food but it sure tasted good!

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In this challenge, it is suggested that alcohol be enjoyed in moderation, so I went ahead and finished off the half glass that was left in a bottle I got last week.

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I’m not going to buy anymore wine for home until the challenge is over, but I do plan on enjoying a drink on my birthday 🙂

For dessert, I made banana soft serve with a twist!

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I made the regular banana soft serve recipe and when it was just about done, I added a handful of blackberries and blended it for a few more seconds.

It wasn’t as thick and creamy as the bananas alone, but it still tasted great!

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Day 2, in spite of a possible migraine, went pretty darn good too. Hope all my fellow challengers are feeling strong 🙂