Archive for the ‘Cookbooks’ 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!


Vegan Minestrone

The cold front I talked about yesterday has come through.  As I drove home from work I was hit by how different it felt.  The coloring was different.  The air felt different.  And it was definitely much colder.

When I got home the smell of a wood fire greeted me as I opened the door.  The second smell I noticed was this wonderful soup simmering on the stove.  Aren’t I incredibly lucky to have a husband who not only is supportive of me in all I do but who also cooks??  Yes.  Yes I am.

Anyway, this is a mild variation on the minestrone soup recipe from “Vegan on $4 a Day” by Ellen Jaffe Jones.  I just got my copy and this is the first thing we’ve made from it, but there are many things I’ve been eyeing.


1/2 cup dried kidney beans

1/2 cup dried cannellini beans

6 cups water

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes

1 onion

3 carrots

1.5 cups cabbage

1 14oz can cut green beans or fresh or frozen

2 vegetable bouillon cubes

2 garlic cloves

4 oz gluten free whole grain spiral pasta

2 tbsp. fresh parsely

Soak the beans for at least 2 hours.  Then drain and put them in a large pot.  Add the water and bring to a boil.  Turn it down to medium-low, cover it, and let it cook for about an hour.  While it is cooking shred your cabbage and chop your other veggies.  (You can certainly use fresh or frozen green beans – We just didn’t have any.)  Then add the tomatoes (not drained), the chopped onion, the chopped carrots, the shredded cabbage, the can of green beans (drained), the 2 bouillon cubes (broken up if you can), and the chopped garlic.  Put the lid back on and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until things are starting to soften.  Add the pasta and cook until tender (about 10-15 minutes for gluten free pasta).  Stir in the parsely and serve hot.

We really enjoyed this soup.  I had mine with some toasted bread topped with vegan pate (an exciting though expensive treat I found on my trip into DC last weekend).  It was great for a cold night!

Entering this recipe into Wellness Weekend!

What’s your favorite winter soup?

Gluten Free Pumpkin Mini Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting

Last week I made Sweet Potato Cake With Cream Cheese Icing like the one I had at The Land of Kush.  Since T is allergic to Sweet Potatoes along with wheat I figured that I’d just forego the gluten free baking and make that one with wheat.  While the end result was good T was not happy with me.  Now, I should have thought about the fact that he’s been begging for me to make him a gluten free cake for weeks.  But I didn’t think about that.  So, to appease him, I promised that I would make him some pumpkin cake that used the same cream cheese frosting.

These started as a recipe for Maple Cake from Flying Apron’s “Gluten Free & Vegan Baking Book” but they went through quite a transformation and don’t look much like the original.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cupcakes

2 cups sweet sorghum flour

1 cup garbanzo bean flour

1 tbsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

3/4 cup canola oil

1 1/2 cups water

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

1 cup maple syrup

1 cup pumpkin puree

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the flours and the baking soda together with a whisk.  Add the salt and the spices and mix well.

In another bowl mix the oil, water, maple syrup, vanilla, and pumpkin.  Stir until there are minimal lumps left.  Pour the liquid into the flour mixture and stir well.

Using liners (because these tend to be a little crumbly) pour the batter into your muffin tins.  We got about 40 mini muffins.  Bake for 15 minutes or until about firm.  Let them cool in the pan.  When mostly cool transfer to a rack to cool completely.

The icing is the same one I made for the sweet potato cake.


1/2 cup earth balance

1 8oz package tofutti cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar

Mix the earth balance and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer (or use an electric hand mixer).  Blend until very mixed, close to 3 minutes.  Add the vanilla and mix.  Then add the powered sugar and mix until well combined.

Frost the cupcakes when they are completely cool.

They are a tad dry and, without the frosting, they are not very sweet.  But this combination works very well.


So I was just browsing at the library….

We spend a lot of time at the library in the summer.  So much time that the children’s librarians know my children by name and book genre preferences.  I also use the inter-library loan feature that links our library system with the ones in the neighboring counties and allows me to get books that my local branch doesn’t carry.  I think, in fact, that I have checked out every vegan and gluten free book in the system; sometimes twice.  But I’m still constantly finding interesting books that give me insight into this journey.

Last week I happened upon “A Complete Guide to Cooking with Arthritis” by Melinda Winner.  The author is a chef who has multiple types of arthritis, among them RA.  She gives some good tips on how to set up your space and effectively cook while having problems with your joints.

This week’s find is a cookbook called “The Cleaner Plate Club” by Beth Bader & Ali Benjamin.  The subtitle of “More than 100 Recipes for Real Food Your Kids Will Love” is what intrigued me.  While not a vegan cookbook it has some very good ideas about how to introduce your children to healthier eating.  Even if your kids aren’t super young (mine are 9 & 11) I found nuggets of information I could use.  Many recipes are easy to veganize and in fact I tried one this weekend that was wonderful.  I have changed the name a little bit since my cousin, who was visiting, loved it.  I served it cold, as a salad.  The original recipe says it can be served warm or room temperature as well.

Emily’s Edamame Salad

2 cups frozen edamame

1 cup frozen corn

1/4 cup water

1 cube veggie bouillon

1.5 tsp earth balance

1 red pepper, seeded and chopped

1/2 large sweet onion, chopped

Sea Salt

Freshly Ground Pepper

2 tsbp fresh basil

Bring a pan of water to a boil.  Add the frozen edamame and cook for about 4 minutes.  Then add the corn and cook 2-3 minutes more.  Drain and set these aside to cool a little.

Into the pan put the 1/4 cup water, the bouillon, and the earth balance.  Mix it all up so that the bouillon cube disintegrates into the water.  Then add the pepper and onion and let them cook until the onion is see-through, between 3 and 5 minutes.  Add the edamame and corn back in and mix it up well.  Stir in the chopped fresh basil and then let it cool.  Store in the fridge for a good and easy salad.

It was a really wonderful addition to our dinner and I’m excited about trying out more recipes in the book.  I’m also gleaning some good information about cooking healthy food for kids from people who “get it.”  The line on page 156 really speaks to me

“We’ll go ahead and say it: Feeding kids is a never-ending task…”  So while there are sections on meat in the book, I am glad to be reading the thoughts about healthy food and children.

The other book I recently picked up from the library (Ok, I’ll admit it. I get 20-30 books a month.  So this is not the only other one I have, but is the other one I thought you might want to hear about!) is called “The Dirty Life: A memoir of Farming, Food, and Love” by Kristin Kimball.  This is by no means a specifically vegan book.  They raise and eat meat and do discuss the butchering.  However, the story of how they are trying to create a farm that specifically feeds an entire community everything they need is really amazing.  The author was a NYC based writer who met a farmer and fell in love with him and then gave up everything she knew to begin this life and this farm.  I’m not done, but so far I’m impressed with the writing and the philosophy behind the farm.  I truly believe that you don’t have to agree 100% with people to get something out of what they have to say, and I’m glad to have picked up this book on the suggestion of my sister in law.

So that’s what I’ve been reading when I haven’t been cooking or swimming or going to the beach!  Have you read anything interesting lately that has to do with your healthy food journey?  I’d love to hear from you!

Summer Day with Pizza

So Saturday was the first day of summer vacation because it was the day after school ended.  But today, today was really the first day since theoretically I would have been at work.  I slept until 7:30 which was bliss, and then plotted how I wanted to spend my day.

There are two kids, the children of dear friends, who spend a lot of time with us in the summer.  The plan was, much to the chagrin of the oldest one, that I would pick them up at 10.  (She wanted to sleep until 10!)  I started texting with her around 8:30 saying things like “I think we’re going to go hiking.  So wear tennis shoes.”  Right before I left the house to get them I came across this article about how being in the woods can improve mental and physical health so I was feeling pretty good about the hiking thing!

T was concerned because he supposedly remembers a time years and years ago (like two) when we may have, possibly, gotten lost in Pemberton Park while hiking.  Now, I contend that we didn’t *really* get lost since we’re here now, aren’t we??  He doesn’t buy that and was convinced we were going to be meandering through the park for hours, lost and without cell reception.  I actually think this was just his way of trying to get out of hiking but, being the strong mom that I am, it did not work!  We walked for about an hour on the Bell Island Trail and saw a turtle and lots of dragonflies.

We came home from hiking and did normal summer stuff like swimming in the pool, going to the library, and running to the grocery store since we were out of brown rice flour.  (Isn’t that normal??)  It was a lovely summer day.

After the girls went home I made some chocolate chocolate chip muffins for Allyson’s recipe testing.  I think I need remedial food photography lessons, but these were wonderful!  In fact T said, immediately upon tasting one, “I love this woman!”  I have said it before but I’ll say it again, this cookbook is going to be amazing.

Since the oven was already on, dinner was pizza.  We have to be out and about tomorrow and I want to take lunch along.  I figured leftover pizza was one of the best options.  Plus I’d been craving hummus pizza since I saw Dairy Free Betty’s Pizza Party Post.  Once again, my pictures are not as pretty as hers, but this pizza was fabulous.

This was made using my traditional wheat pizza crust.  I topped it with purchased hummus, sun dried tomatoes, yellow squash (leftovers from yesterday), red pepper, and marinated artichoke hearts.  I meant to put onion on top but, to be honest, I started talking to a friend on the phone and forgot.    I really enjoyed it, and can’t wait to eat it cold tomorrow!


Summer Goals Update:

I haven’t had any soda since the summer began.  Good, but only 3 days so tough to be thrilled about it.  I have blogged twice and therefore been cooking more, and I worked on my mosaic mirror project today.  So far so good.  I intend to try and love every minute of my summer!

Ooh. I’m a recipe tester!

Let me start by saying that I freely admit that I am a dork.  If you know me in real life then you know I speak the truth.  If you are getting to know me through this blog then, believe me, you’ll figure this out on your own rather quickly.  Because I really am a dork.  Some of the goofiest things excite me, and I’m not afraid to admit it!

So when Allyson at Manifest Vegan put out the word that she was looking for recipe testers I got *very* excited.  I tested recipes years ago for a cookbook called “Healthy Foods” by Leanne Ely and enjoyed the experience.  But here was the chance to test for a Vegan AND Gluten Free Cookbook.  Cool!  And I already cook a lot of Allyson’s recipes.  Most of the cakes I’ve made that have turned out the best have come from her. So I sent Allyson a letter but did not figure I’d get selected since I know there were lots of people interested.

I was actually lying in bed when my phone alerted me that I had a new email.  I think Mark was a little shocked that I started yelling “REALLY????” at the top of my lungs when I got Allyson’s email saying I was selected.  A week or so has passed since then, and I’m still excited.  So excited that when I got the link to look through recipes to test today, I started looking immediately.  And since I had water boiling for pasta and was going to make my own sauce anyway, I tried one of her recipes.

Isn’t it pretty?  (Ok, so my pictures aren’t great.  I’m still working on that!)  It was really good.  It was very different from my typical recipe but even T, my picky one, said “This is really good, mom.”

And I made cookies too.

I love it when I open a cookbook and, as I’m looking through I think “I have all those ingredients.  I could make that.”  Well, that does seem to be the case with Allyson’s recipes since I looked at them this evening and had 2 recipes made within an hour.

Every week I feel like I’m getting a little better at handling the whole vegan and Gluten Free thing and I’m excited to try out these recipes.  And as an example for how we enjoyed these?  I couldn’t wait to take a bite!  

Appetizer Dinner!

Yesterday afternoon teams from all around delmarva participated in a sort of scavenger hunt to raise money for the Village of Hope.  After the adventure one of the teams came over to my house for dinner.  My friend C and I decided to do it easily and have an appetizer dinner.  We both raided our freezers and fridges for things we could serve.  It was a mixed group so there were some meat options, some gluten free options, and some vegan options.

From my pantry I pulled some fritos, and I made some homemade corn chips.  (Basically, I cut up corn tortillas and bake them in the oven with a little salt.)  I had some guacamole, two kinds of salsa, and some frozen naan (Indian bread) that I heated up and and then cut into chunks.  I put out sliced cucumbers and little yellow baby tomatoes, and cooked three recipes.  C brought a vegan pasta salad and some hummus as her vegan options.  All in all it was an appetizer dinner a hungry vegan could enjoy!

My sauteed mushrooms were the easiest thing I prepared.  I just sliced all the little portabellos I had and then sauteed them in some olive oil.  I added some Italian seasoning and a splash of balsamic vinegar at the end.  These were especially good on the naan I thought.

This mushroom dip was my favorite of the two dips, but the one that no one else liked!  It was based on a recipe originally called “Mock Chopped Liver” in the cookbook “How it all Vegan” but I just called it mushroom dip since everyone turned their noses up at even the thought of chopped liver (and they are all omnivores!).

Mushroom Dip


1.25 cups portabello mushroom caps, chopped

1 large sweet onion, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup walnuts

Salt and Pepper to Taste (I use pink Himalayan sea salt because I prefer it)


Add the oil to a pan and heat to medium high.  Sautee the onions and mushrooms until the onions are clear.

While the onions and mushrooms are cooking, put the walnuts into a food processor and pulse until chopped.  When cooked, add the onion and mushroom mix.  Blend for about 30 seconds, adding some salt and pepper.  Chill.

This red pepper dip was a favorite of others who were here (including a girl with dairy and soy allergies which was a win!) though I only thought it was ok.  This makes A LOT so be prepared to have it for awhile.  Also adapted from a recipe in “How it All Vegan”

Red Pepper Dip


1 red pepper, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1.5 cups roasted cashews

1/2 cup filtered water

2/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tbsp. Braggs


Heat the oil in a small pan to medium high.  Add the pepper and sautee until soft.  When soft, put them into a food processor.  Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse at first to mix, scraping down the sides as necessary.  Then turn on for about 30 seconds or until nice and creamy.  Put in a closed container and refrigerate.