Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

Gluten Free and Vegan Baked Blueberry Doughnuts – Oh Yeah!

Recently I’ve been on multiple vacations and I have *lots* to share with you about those.  I’ve got restaurant reviews from Connecticut, Ocean City MD, and Virginia.  I’ve had so much good food it’s been amazing.  But what I feel most compelled to share immediately are these doughnuts.  Man.

I want to start with a question, though?  Do you own a copy of “Babycakes covers the classics” by Erin McKenna?  If you are at all interested in vegan and gluten free baking you owe it to yourself to get a copy.  Seriously.  Buy it.

Now, the inspiration for these doughnuts came from that amazing cookbook.  I’ve changed up the flours and the sugar, and added some of my own ingredients, so I feel comfortable posting these.  But I’ve got to say that so much inspiration comes from this book that it is really worth having.

Oh, and a note about doughnut pans.  I bought just one thinking I’d try it out.  I enjoyed the doughnuts, but the process was a chore because it took so long.  So I broke down and bought another regular sized pan (which makes 6 doughnuts) and a mini pan (which makes 12 minis).  It has made all the difference!  I wouldn’t necessarily buy 2 pans to start but if you like the result and see yourself doing this more than once every few months, it’s worth it to invest in at least a second doughnut pan.

Gluten Free & Vegan Baked Blueberry Doughnuts

1/2 cup organic brown sugar

1/2 cup coconut sugar

2/3 cup rice flour

1/3 cup sorghum flour

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup tapioca starch

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/3 cup melted coconut oil

6 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup hot water

1 cup fresh blueberries, preferably organic

Preheat the oven to 325.  Grease the doughnut pans with coconut oil or your preferred method.

In a bowl mix together the sugars through the baking soda.  Mix well.  Now add the wet ingredients (everything but the fruit), mixing just until combined.  Add the berries and carefully fold them into the batter.  Take a spoon and put some batter into each doughnut space, moving the batter around so that the entire hole is full but the center is not covered.  Bake for 8 minutes, then switch racks and bake for between 7 and 8 more minutes, watching for brown.  When done take out of the oven to cool but leave them in the pan.

Let them cool about 15 minutes.  While they are cooling make this basic glaze.  This glaze makes a lot, but I store it in a mason jar in the fridge for other uses.

1 cup vegan powdered sugar

1/3 cup hot water

1 tsp vanilla

Pour the powdered sugar in a bowl.  Add the water and vanilla and mix well until a glaze is formed.

When your doughnuts are done cooling remove them from the pans.  Be careful, some make break here but we just use those as testers!  Drizzle the glaze over top and either eat warm or let cool.

A few notes:  1)   I think frozen blueberries would work but I haven’t tried them.  Please let me know if you do.  2)  I think all coconut sugar would work but again, haven’t tried it.  3)  These don’t necessarily need the glaze, but they taste more muffin-like without it.  Still tasty, though.  4)  We can’t use potato starch at my house due to an intolerance but that’s what I’d use instead of the cornstarch if you want to sub it out.

I’d love to know if you try these!  My family gobbled them down!


Papaya Smoothie-ness

Given the chance, I’m going to sleep in.  Let’s just put that out there as what it is, fact.  So during the summer and on the weekends I often sleep in.  A lot of those weekend days, by the time I’ve gotten up, Mark has already been to the store and the kitchen is clean.  I know, am I a lucky woman or what?

For me it’s sort of like opening a gift, seeing what fruits and veggies he has bought.  This weekend he brought home a papaya.  Man how I love how they look!

Usually I juice them, and they have made some of my favorite juice ever.  But can I admit something?  (Is this the ‘Jen admits her faults post??’)?  The juicer was dirty and I didn’t feel like cleaning it.  Yep.  This incredibly yummy recipe came along because I was lazy.  Oh well, grab the goodness where you can get it!

So I decided to make a papaya smoothie.  I figured ‘the worse that can happen is that it’s yucky.’  But it was good.  Really good!  And while the orange color is a little different, I thought it was beautiful!

Papaya Smoothie makes 2-3 servings

1/2 papaya

2 kiwi fruit, peeled

2 frozen bananas

1/8-1/4 cup coconut milk

I have found that when your papaya is ripe that the easiest way to get the flesh out when you don’t care how it looks is to use an ice cream scoop!

Scoop the papaya into the blender.  Add the peeled kiwis, the bananas broken into chunks, and the coconut milk.  The amount you use is determined by how thick you’d like it to be.  Blend until nice and smooth.

It looks thin right away but thickens very well as it sits.

Drinking this makes me think of sitting on a far-away island near the ocean.  Even if I’m sitting in my house contemplating the next load of laundry I need to do.  Yes.  It was that good!

My…Almond and Banana Milkshake/Smoothie/Ice Cream/Yumminess

Something happened on my way to my breakfast smoothie this morning…..

I actually got kind of side tracked.  I mean, I usually do a good healthy smoothie made of lots of fruits and some healthy veggies.  But today I went to the dark side.  Ok.  Not really.  But I avoided green veggies all together and went for something kind of decadent.

I have no idea what to call this, really.  It’s sort of ice cream…  It’s sort a milkshake…. It’s deliciousness in a glass?  Sounds a little hoity-toity.

Regardless, this was my almond and banana breakfast and it was good!  The rice was added, frankly, because I had it to use up.  And I think it added some nice creaminess.

Almond and Banana Milkshake/Smoothie/Ice Cream/Yumminess

1/2 cup cooked white rice

1/2 cup roasted almonds

3 small frozen bananas (if mine were big I would have used 2)

1/2 to 3/4 cup vanilla almond milk

cacao nibs for garnish

Put the rice in the blender and add the nuts.  Break the frozen bananas into chunks and add.  Then add the almond milk.  Blend until smooth.  Garnish with cacao nibs and almonds if desired.

All of this was done rather quickly since I started at 7:55 and I have to be out of the house by 8:15 which meant these photos were rushed.  But it was worth it.  This is not super sweet so I figured I’d have it all to myself but someone begged for some.

As we were sitting there finishing these up before we left for school I casually mentioned “I think next time I’d let it blend longer.”  E replied “I don’t know, mom.  I kind of like the rougher texture that the almonds give it.”  LOL.  That’s my girl!

Vegan Food for Non-Vegans: The Basics for Breakfast

I am the only vegan in my family. Wait, that’s not quite correct. I have 2 cousins who are vegan. But I am the only vegan who lives in my house. And, for the most part, I am the only vegan in my circle of friends. Which means that I am generally the only one advocating for plant based food at any meal. As I’m sure I’m not the only person in this situation I thought I’d start a series on foods that I have successfully fed to the non-vegans in my life. This will take more than one post and, for some people, seem very simplistic. But the truth is that sometimes we need to start with basics.

So if you are brand new to eating a plant based diet or trying to feed some people who are very uncomfortable with your choice, here are some ideas to start. Some of these are going to seem like no-brainers, but I think that sometimes it is easy to forget that starting at the beginning with something is ok.  Remember when I say basic I really mean BASIC.  I read somewhere a quote that some people think there is some secret list of “vegan foods.”  Really, it is much simpler than that.  So if you are feeling overwhelmed here are some things to start with.

This series is going to take a little while because I plan on breaking it down into meal ideas.  Of course you could have breakfast for dinner or lunch for dinner or lunch for breakfast or breakfast for lunch or or or… lol.  But this gives me a good way to break things into categories for future referencing.  I hope this series helps someone to feel a little more confident in their choices and eating!  Oh, and I hope that you will add some comments at the end.  Comments are a very important part of this blog as I am just one person and I love all the different perspectives that others can add!

Basic Breakfast ideas

  • Healthy Cereal with Soy Milk or Rice Milk or Almond Milk (Wait a minute!  As much cereal as I eat I don’t have a picture of this.  Really??  Oh well…)

Look for something where sugar is NOT the first ingredient and that does not include honey, eggs, milk, or butter in the ingredients.  Some people will tell you this is not the healthiest breakfast and, well, they would be correct.  But if you’re just starting a transition to veganism sometimes you need somethings that are very similar to what you ate before.  A similar option would be to make your own granola.  It’s not hard at all (there are tons of recipes on the web) and it still seems like cereal.

  • Oatmeal  

I like mine with peanut butter and maple syrup, to be honest.  But there are many different combinations that work and don’t contain animal products.  This would be a good place to introduce earth balance and soy milk or almond milk.  Almond butter and almond milk would be a nice duo.

  • Waffles  

While this picture shows some frozen vegan waffles topped with a vegan chocolate frosting and blueberries, there are many good vegan waffle recipes out there.  My kids can’t tell the difference.  Some goods ones are my sick girl waffles with chocolate chips and this whole wheat vegan waffles recipe I like to use.

  • Pancakes  

Very similar to waffles; in fact you can use the same recipes and just ladle them onto a griddle.  My kids can’t tell the difference.  Yes, we sometimes like ours to be a little decadent!

  • Fruit smoothies

I don’t really follow a recipe for my smoothies.  Basically I fill my blender between half and 3/4 full of fruits, add a little liquid (often rice milk or soy milk), and then blend.  Once it’s very well blended I often add in between 1 and 2 cups of greens, usually spinach but sometimes kale and then drink.  I do need to let you in on a dirty little secret, though.  No one else in my house likes it with greens in it.  I truly believe it doesn’t change the taste, but something about the color is off-putting to them.  I’ve fought that battle over and over again but have finally decided to give in a bit.  I make the fruit portion and give some to my daughter, then add the spinach to my part.  At least she’s getting some fruit and I figure that, eventually, she’ll get used to it and have it with greens.  In my opinion having a big glass of fruit in the morning beats a doughnut at least.

  • Toast with nut butter 

Seriously, does it get any easier than this?  But I think we often forget that this is a vegan breakfast.  Add a banana and some soy milk and you’ve got a fine easy breakfast that most people, vegan or not, are ok with.

  • Fruit 

Sometimes, particularly in the summer, I have just fruit for breakfast.  A big bowl of fresh fruit.  Maybe I’ll add a muffin (yep, that one is next on the list) or some toast with nut butter.  But the fruit is the main thing.  Why not get all that yummy goodness on a spoon?

  • Muffins 

This is something you can make ahead and freeze for a quick breakfast.  There are lots of good recipes out there but two I like are Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Muffins and Banana Chocolate Chip muffins, both of which are also gluten free.  These blueberry muffins from Happy Go Lucky Vegan were a recent hit around here.  With a bowl of fruit, or a smear of nut butter, or just a banana these can make an easy breakfast that even non vegans won’t mind.

Let me make something clear:  This was, by no means, an exhaustive list.  I could go on and on about other breakfast ideas I enjoy like casseroles, tofu scrambles, things that involve tempeh bacon, etc.  But those things are not easy to present to a non-vegan.  They tend to take some getting used to.  This was a list I came up of very basic vegan breakfasts.  Now I’d like you to add to the list.  What are some breakfast foods you would be happy to feed to non-vegans?  What are some very simple things to start your day?

Hot Cocoa Mix!

I have always gotten cold in the winter but now, with the RA, I get colder and need more layers, fires, and hot beverages than ever before.  Hot cocoa has always been one of my favorite winter drinks am I will admit to normally just using a mix.  Finding a mix I could actually drink has been a challenge though. And while I was standing in front of my pantry thinking about what I could use up I happened to see the dry soy milk so I finally decided to make my own and you know what?  It was GOOD!  And super simple.  So here is my vegan and gluten free hot cocoa mix:

2 cups powdered soy milk

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup sugar

Mix everything together with a whisk.

Store in an airtight container.

Use a heaping 1/4 cup mix with 1 cup water to make hot cocoa.

There are a lot of variations here.  I just used baking cocoa but, obviously, a really good cocoa would be better here.  Vanilla sugar would be stellar, and I’ve seen lots of recipes that call for salt though I didn’t add any and thought it was fine.  I’m also thinking of adding a tbsp of instant coffee to my cocoa for a sort of mocha taste sometimes.  I’ve heard of rice milk powder and think that would work for people who can’t do soy but have never seen it.  I’d love to hear how it turns out if you do try it that way!

I used 2 containers because of the size of what I had available.  I’m thinking of adding a little piece of holiday fabric to the top of the smaller container and giving it to someone at Christmas.  These would be easy fast gifts for your favorite vegan chocolate lover!

More Chocolate – This Time Cake!

I’ve been posting a lot of desserts lately.  Mostly this is because a lot of my dinners are pretty basic. For example: a Sunshine burger on a bun with tomato slices and pickles, some homemade coleslaw, and corn.  There’s often not much terribly exciting to my main meals but the desserts are often more interesting.

Because, to be honest, I prefer to bake over cooking.  I’ve never been one who decorated cakes attractively or did anything fancy, but I’ve always liked to bake.  And when I only have a limited amount of energy (or spoons if you know that analogy!) I’d rather spend what I have on baking instead of cooking.

I was making the transition to vegan baking ok when T’s wheat allergy became apparent and I had to start figuring out both vegan and gluten free baking.  I’ve had quite a few failures and am finally starting to get the hang of this.  It’s as if my recent baking successes have allowed me to feel better about it and have fueled even more successes.  Call it what you will, I’m just glad it’s working!

So on a rainy day spent reading and hanging out on the net I happened upon this really cool blog called vegangela and spent some time perusing.  There are many things I want to try but the one that I jumped up and made was a variation on her Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Banana Muffins with Chickpea Flour.  I had all the ingredients but decided I didn’t want muffins again so I made it into cake.

I used soy sour cream (because I had it) and used a garbanzo/fava bean mix.  I baked it in my torte pan (which I love and rarely use) and when it came out of the oven (after baking 40 minutes) I topped it with dairy free chocolate chips.  When they had melted I spread them all over the top.

It made a really beautiful presentation in the pan and out.

We found it a little dry but it was nothing a nice glass of soy milk couldn’t cure!  While a little dry the texture was otherwise perfect so I want to play with a little more liquid/slightly different liquids to see if I can get it to exactly where I want it using just ONE flour!

E spread peanut butter on top of her cake and loved it like that, even for breakfast.  Yum.

Happy National Oatmeal Day!

So, I’m excited to share that today is National Oatmeal Day!  Ok.  I didn’t really know this until I happened to see it somewhere else on the net recently.  But oatmeal is something I love so I felt like I should definitely celebrate!

We have wheat intolerance here but oats are a-ok so I’ve used them in a lot of things.

From the very basic oatmeal type presentation:

Peanut Butter Oatmeal

To baked goods:

like Granola Bars

Or Chewy Chocolate Oat Cookies

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies With Nuts

To Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Muffins

I do quite a bit with oatmeal as do lots of other people.  The Iron Chef Challenge #4 for Vegan MoFO includes oats in the combo.

But in honor of National Oatmeal day and the fact that I finally got home hands on some Dandies Marshmallows, I decided I needed to create something special.


S’mores Baked Oatmeal!

Now, this is not everyday breakfast fare.  But on one of those days when you think “I really want a couple of doughnuts and a soy latte” this is a good alternative.  To make sure this is gluten free use oats & baking powder that are guaranteed gluten free.

S’mores Baked Oatmeal

1 cup steel cut oats

2 cups instant oats

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/3 cup chocolate soy milk

1/4 cup melted vegan margarine

3 tbsp ground flax meal

1/4 cup warm water

1/3 cup dairy free chocolate chips

1/2 cup dandies vegan marshmallows

1 tbsp vegan chocolate syrup for garnish (optional)

3-6 dandies vegan marshmallows for garnish (optional)


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray or grease an 8 inch square baking pan and set aside.

In a large bowl mix the oatmeals, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Meanwhile mix the ground flax meal (finely ground is best here) and the 1/4 cup warm water in a small bowl and let it get goopy.

Mix the soy milk and melted margarine together and pour into the dry mixture.  Mix.  Then add the goopy flax meal.  Mix well.  You don’t want any flax lumps.

Slowly fold in the chocolate chips and the marshmallows.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes.  Let it sit in the pan for about 5 minutes to firm up.  Serve warm.