Reasons to Stop Eating Dairy

For 2013, why not do the one single thing that can have a huge impact on your health – DITCH dairy!

When I got dairy out of my diet, it made the biggest difference in how I felt.  At twenty my joints hurt, and my knees in particular were so stiff some days that it hurt to sit and stand.  My digestion was sluggish, and my body felt ‘slow’.  In my twenties.  That’s pretty darn young to feel slow and uncomfortable.  When I got dairy out of my diet, I felt profoundly better.  It didn’t happen overnight for me, because some things were hard to ‘ditch’ (like cheese).  As you will soon see, I later learned that was because of the highly addictive quality of cheese.  But, once the dairy products were gone for good – my body felt renewed.

I talk about dairy far more than any other animal ‘food’.  I think we consume so much of it without even realizing, and unlike meat products which we know we should reduce or eliminate… most of us truly believe that dairy is good for us.  I want to change that.  Last year I created a list of 12 reasons to dump the dairy, many very important issues summarized in one post.  I’ve updated it this year, and of course, added another VERY good reason, so here you have it folks…

13 Reasons to Ditch Dairy in 2013

13.  There have never been more – or better – dairy alternatives.  I became vegan almost 20 years ago.  Our alternatives for non-dairy milks were: bad-tasting soy milk and bad-tasting rice milk.  That was it.  Vegan cheeses?  Forget it!  Vegan ice creams?  Uh, if you want to call a rice-based icy concoction with a weird oily aftertaste ‘ice cream’, I guess it counts – I just never ate it.  And, that was a big deal for this ice-cream loving vegan!  Now?  You are spoiled, people! 😉  Have a look at just some of the dairy-free options available:

Milks: Coconut milks, Almond Milks, Rice Milks, Soy milks (always organic, please), Hemp, Flax, Oat, and blends like Almond-Coconut. Really – there isn’t ONE option in all of these that is at least as good as – or better than – cow milk?

photo credit:

Cheeses: Daiya shreds and Daiya wedges probably earn top spot here for commercial cheeses.  But, there are many more recipes available too.  Try my two vegan parmesan alternatives, my ‘Truffled Cashew Cheese’ (pictured below, from LTEV, and recipe coming soon).  And, have you seen Miyoko Schinner’s new Artisan Vegan Cheese cookbook? WOW!

Truffled Cashew Cheese

Yogurts: Coconut yogurts and greek yogurts, Organic Soy, Almond.

Ice Creams:  Oh, you guys are lucky!  Coconut ice creams from Coconut Bliss (my FAVE!) and So Delicious, Rice ice creams by Good Karma, soy ice creams, and then many nut and seed based ice creams like almond creams, hemp, and cashew.  Or, make your own with my “Dreena Dazs” recipes!

Seriously, I haven’t even exhausted all the brands and options here – we are lucky to have so many delicious options – no excuses.

12.  Cancer Prevention.  Prostate, breast, and ovarian cancers have been linked to dairy consumption.  And, if you’ve read The China Study, you’re aware of the link between casein (the main protein in milk) and cancer.  If not, READ it!  Dr. T. Colin Campbell, professor emeritus of nutritional biochemistry at Cornell University and author of The China Study, says casein is one of the most significant cancer promoters ever discovered.  Think about how often children are pushed to eat milk, yogurt, and cheese. Childhood diets rich in dairy products are associated with cancer in adulthood.  For more, watch this video from Dr. Colin Campbell.

11.  Cheese is addictive.  That’s why it’s so darn hard to stop eating the stuff.  But, as you’ll learn in Julieanna’s brief video (and through this list), it’s best to kick the cheese (and dairy) habit.

reasons to stop eating dairy #vegan

10.  Osteoporosis.  Seems counterintuitive.  We’re supposed to drink milk to protect against osteoporosis, right?  So why do the countries that guzzle the most dairy have the highest osteoporosis rates?  We now know that it’s not just calcium intake, but absorption and loss.  When we eat diets high in animal protein (milk included), our bodies become acidic and calcium is drawn from our bones to neutralize that acidic environment – cheese is particularly acidic.  Ditch the dairy (and the meat) to help maintain a more alkaline state in your body.

9. Plant-Based Calcium.  Last year, the “Healthy Eating Plate” food guide pushed dairy off the plate, based on Harvard’s assessment that high intake can increase the risk of prostate cancer and possibly ovarian cancer, and also suggesting that foods like collards, bok choy, and baked beans are safer choices than dairy for obtaining calcium.  Speaking of calcium sources and absorption, did you know that kale contains more calcium per calorie than milk (90 grams per serving) and is also better absorbed by the body than dairy?  And that’s just ONE plant food you can eat.  Other plant-foods boosting calcium include: beans, nuts like almonds and seeds like sesame, broccoli, collards, whole-grains, and tofu.  (And if you think eating leafy greens is hard, I have a leafy-greens post coming up, stay tuned!)

reasons not to eat dairy #vegan


8. Heart Disease.  All that cheese and milk (and other dairy products) pack a wallop of cholesterol and saturated fat to one’s diet.  A low-fat plant-based diet has been shown not only to prevent heart disease, but also reverse it.  And, before you think low-fat dairy is okay, it has been linked not only to increases in allergies, but also type 1 (childhood-onset) diabetes.

7. Constipation.  Milk and cheese have no fiber.  (Neither does meat.)  Dairy is constipating for children.  Our children have never been constipated, yet I have heard parents talk about poo problems over and over.  And, grownups, if the kiddos get constipated from dairy, you will too (maybe you are right now).  There’s no need for laxatives.  Eat a plant-based diet (rich in whole foods), and you’ll poop easy.  There, I said it.

6. It stinks.  Okay, there is nothing scientifically or even ethically sound about this argument.  But, have you ever just smelled milk?  Put aside the fact that you’ve been drinking it since your wee years.  Take a glass and smell it.  It has a stink.  I guarantee that if you grew up drinking almond or coconut milk and you tasted COW milk, you would immediately say “peeU”!  It is what we are conditioned to drink, and cow milk is – well – stinky…  and, that’s even before it goes sour.

5. Antibiotics and hormones.  The mass production of milk requires cows being stressed to unnatural levels.  This stress results in mastitis in the cows, which requires antibiotics, which make their way into the milk in our markets.  As well, synthetic hormones such as recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) are commonly used in dairy cows to increase the production of milk.  Do you want to drink growth hormones and antibiotics?  Do you want your children to?  You may bypass this one point by choosing organic milk products – but that doesn’t change the composition of milk…

4. Saturated Fats, Cholesterol, and Hormones.  Skim milk is marketed for lower fat content, yet a 2011 Harvard study of 12,829 children showed that the milk sugar in skim milk may make you fatter than whole milk. And, all milk products (as with ALL animal products) contain cholesterol.  And, we have been sold the line that “organic” milk is the solution.  But as explained in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutritionjust because you pay more for the ‘organic’ label doesn’t mean you’re getting a safe, toin-free product. Milk products are inundated with steroids and hormones (both naturally occurring and production-induced… and microbiological contaminants (think bacteria, viruses, parasites and mycotoxins) can also find their way into your dairy products.

3. Animal cruelty.  Dairy production might be the most offensive and heinous of all animal farming.  Baby calves are pulled from their mothers at birth. Mother cows will bellow and search after being separated from their young. While female calves are slaughtered or kept alive to produce milk, male calves are taken, chained in tiny stalls and raised for veal. And, since is unprofitable to keep dairy cows alive once their milk production declines, they are usually killed at 5 to 6 years of age (though their normal life span exceeds 20).

2. Lactose Intolerance.  I would guess that if any of us were tested, we would be deemed ‘lactose intolerant’.  It is estimated that about 75 percent of the world’s population are ‘lactose intolerant’, and those that aren’t (primarily Caucasians) tolerate milk sugar because of an inherited genetic mutation.  That’s because the milk is meant for cows, not people…

1. It’s COW milk.  Again: milk. from. a. cow!  Why are we all drinking milk from a cow when we wouldn’t drink the milk from our lactating dog or cat… or milk from a horse, pig, or racoon?!

We are the ONLY species that drinks the milk of another species, consuming it long after weaning.  Would you go out into a field and suckle from a cow?!  I don’t think so.  Think about that connection.  Just think about it.

Have you already given up dairy?  If so, what have you noticed?  (Please share your experiences for other readers.)

If not, what is YOUR reason to dump dairy in 2013?

Natural Gingerbread Folks and Vegan Christmas Cookies (oil-free and gluten-free options)

Have you rolled up your sleeves and started your holiday baking?  I sure have, but everything I’ve baked this past week starts with ‘gra’ and ends with ‘nola’!  Gingerbread Granola, Cocoa-Goji Granola… I’ve probably baked 15 batches for gifting by now!  This is the first year I’ve given granola as gifts, and it’s a nice change.  I bought one big case of Mason jars, and that pretty much covered off all the gift-giving for school and preschool teachers, piano teacher, friends, and hockey coaches.

And, now that I am granola’d out, I’m turning to cookies!  Last week I finally made my “Gingerbread Folks” from LTEV.  I decided to share the recipe with you today, because everyone must have a good gingerbread cookie in their recipe box for the holidays!  Plus, I have gathered a list of vegan cookie links for quick reference when you are needing some festive cookies or squares for parties or gifts.  Also, a reminder that if you need recipes for Christmas Day, be sure to check out this post.

Now, on to the Gingerbread Folks!

Gingerbread Folks RECIpage link to print/share

A variation on the holiday classic, these cookies have a slight chewiness and crunch, with a delicious, lightly spiced flavor.

1 ½ cups + 1 tbsp sifted spelt flour

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

1⁄4 + 1/8 tsp sea salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground cloves

¾ tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp allspice

1/3 cup organic extra-virgin coconut oil (at room temperature so softened), or can use organic canola oil (see note)

1⁄2 cup unrefined sugar

2 tbsp molasses (blackstrap or regular cooking molasses)

2 tbsp non-dairy milk (see note)

2 tbsp pure maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and allspice.  Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the coconut oil, sugar, molasses, milk, and maple syrup, beating on medium speed for several minutes until creamy, and stopping to scrape the bowl as needed. Mixing at low speed, add the dry mixture about 1⁄2 cup at a time, over about a minute or so. Continue blending until the dough comes together in one or two balls on the paddle, separating cleanly from the inside of the mixing bowl. Transfer to a clean, dry countertop. Roll out the dough to about 1⁄4 inch thick. (If you are having trouble rolling the dough—if it is sticking—sandwich the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll your pin on top of the parchment, instead of directly on the dough.) If the dough has become too pliable (this may happen if your room is slightly warm), transfer to the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes to firm slightly. Once rolled fairly evenly to 1⁄4 inch thick, use cookie cutters to cut the dough into shapes. A spatula (offset or regular) will help lift the cookies off your counter and to the prepared baking sheet. Space the cookies at least an inch or so apart. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for at least a couple of minutes. The cookies will firm more as they cool, and even more after they are chilled. Refrigerate the cookies in an airtight container. Decorate as desired, such as with the simple gingerbread icing.

Simple Gingerbread Icing

1 cup powdered sugar (see note)

1½ – 2 tbsp vanilla non-dairy milk (‘non-dairy nog’ is very nice here!)

To prepare the icing: In a bowl, mix the sugar with 11⁄2 tablespoons of the milk, until very smooth. Add the extra 1⁄2 tablespoon or so of milk, if needed, to thin mixture to a soft enough consistency that can be squeezed through a piping or resealable plastic bag (snip one corner if using a plastic bag).  After decorating the gingerbread, allow the icing to dry on the cookies before stacking.

Note: I use Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Powdered Sugar, which is powdered sugar made from unrefined cane sugar (rather than icing sugar that is made from white refined sugar). If you cannot find organic powdered sugar, you can easily make your own. To do so, use a blender and combine about 1¼ – 1½ cups of unrefined sugar with 1 tbsp of arrowroot powder or cornstarch. Blend on a high speed until powdery, scraping down the jug once or twice. If using a high-powered blender, no arrowroot/cornstarch is needed – just WHIZ!  Update: This year I decided to making icing sugar with coconut sugar – it worked just fine!  The color is caramel, but I suggested to the girls that they use it as ‘glue’ for the toppings, rather than to try and color with natural food dye.  Toppings can include miniature dairy-free chocolate chips, pieces of dried cranberries/raisins/goji berries, coconut, vegan marshmallows, sunflower/pumpkin/hemp seeds, etc!  Just look at some of the things our girls came up with!…


If This Apron Could Talk: I like the size this batch of dough makes—enough for fifteen or more cookie cutouts. If, however, you prefer to bake in larger quantities, simply double this recipe and bake the cookies in batches. Finish cutting all of your cookies, and then refrigerate the shapes until ready to bake the next batch . . . or refrigerate the dough first and cut out only one batch’s worth at a time as they bake. Note: If you are refrigerating the dough for more than 30 to 40 minutes, it will need to soften briefly at room temperature to roll out, as the coconut oil hardens when cooled.

Ingredients 411: Any nondairy milk can be used, though I like the hint of flavor a non-dairy nog gives to the batter!

Other Top Picks for Holiday Cookies (scroll down for oil-free options)

Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies  (gluten-free version)


Creamed Cheese Brownies with Salted Dark Chocolate Topping (these are pictured with my “Gingery Cookies” from LTEV, which have been a huge hit!)

Hello Vegan Bars

Chocolate Mint Melties (recipe NOW posted!) :)


OIL-FREE Cookie Options

Frosted Brawnies (use nut butter option in frosting; gluten-free) (also in pic are my “Banana Nut Squares with Cream Cheese Frosting” from LTEV – make them!)

Lemon-Kissed Blondie Bites  (gf-option)

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

Cocoa Cookie Dough Balls (gf-option)

Nicer Krispie Squares (gluten-free)

Have you made baked goodies for gifts this year?  And what are your favorite cookies to make and give during the holidays?  And, do you have other ideas for more natural decorating for gingerbread?  Please share!

Merry Christmas everyone!  :)

Vegan Holiday Prizes!: Reader Appreciation Giveaway on Facebook

UPDATE:  I’ve added NEW prizes to launch our new year:

TODAY (Dec 30th): A spot in Christy Morgan’s new Wellness Reboot program, valued at $350!  Enter here: (Mobile users:

Also sign up for to the Wellness Reboot Mailing list, here:

Plus, there are still some of the 10 digital subscriptions to a Zinio magazine of your choice (including Vegetarian Times) available! Get on over to my FB page!


Time for some holiday fun!  I’m sure most of you are as busy (or more!) as I am preparing for the holidays.  So, how about a little break from the stress?… how about some prizes?!  😀

To show my appreciation for YOU, my loyal, cheery, and kind readers, I have TEN days of giveaways set up in this cool prize app on my facebook page.  It is really easy to enter – you simply go to my page, and click the daily GIFT BOX to instantly see if you are the lucky winner!  Prizes include:

Copies of ALL of my books

a copy of Julieanna Hever‘s The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition!


Sample pack of The Vegg:

A fabulous sample pack of Stash Tea’s new line of Guayusa Teas!


A fantastic prize pack from Coconut Bliss!


and… MORE!  Check in EVERY day to see the prizes and for your chance to win!  You will know if you are a winner instantly!

Plus, one special day EVERYONE will win the recipe to this new Gingergbread Granola, perfect for holiday brunches or gift-giving!:


So, get cozy on my facebook page, I will update daily with more details on each prize!  Good luck everyone – and you will LOVE the granola!  Happy Holidays!

Fragrant Kidney Bean and Lentil Dal (vegan and gluten-free)

I posted this photo of my Fragrant Kidney Bean and Lentil Dal from LTEV on facebook recently.  There was such interest and rave reviews about the dish that I decided to deliver a super-quick post today with the recipe.

Please excuse the lack of ‘chatting’ today… I am so busy with Christmas preparations and some exciting work developments that I am going to post and run!  Here it is… and oh, read to the end of the post for some giveaway news!

Fragrant Kidney Bean Lentil Dal RECIpage link to print/share

This dish is a dal of sorts, and is especially fragrant and fla- vorful, rich with spices, and yet not spicy in a hot sense. I enjoy how this dish is not hot-spicy, however, you can always add a few splashes of hot sauce if you like.

1 1/2 – 2 tbsp water or organic extra-virgin coconut oil

1 cup onion, diced

1 ¼ tsp sea salt

freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp mustard seeds

½ tsp fennel seeds (see note)

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp allspice

pinch or two crushed red pepper flakes (or more/less to taste, see note)

1 cinnamon stick (or 1/2 tsp cinnamon)

2 ½ – 3 cups water (see note)

1/2 cup freshly squeezed or good quality orange juice (see note)

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1½ tbsp freshly grated ginger

1 cup red lentils (rinse before adding to pot)

1 can (14oz) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained (or black beans)

2 dried or fresh bay leaves

Hot sauce to taste (optional, see note)

Freshly chopped cilantro (for garnish, optional)

Heat the water or oil in a large pot over high or medium-high heat. Add the onion, salt, pepper, spices, and cinnamon stick. Stir, cover, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 21⁄2 cups of the water, and the orange juice, garlic, ginger, lentils, kidney beans, and bay leaves. Stir, bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to medium or medium-low, cover, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes.  Remove the cinnamon stick (leaving the stick in will impart a stronger cinnamon flavor, but this can be overpowering), and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the lentils are fully dissolved and the mixture has thickened. For a thinner consistency, add the extra water, anywhere from 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup, or more, if desired. Remove the bay leaves before serving. Season with additional salt, if desired. Add hot sauce to taste and sprinkle with fresh cilantro (if using).

If This Apron Could Talk: The consistency of this dish can be kept thicker, for scooping with roti bread or even whole-grain tortillas, or made thinner to serve over rice, or to eat more like a stew. Start with the 21⁄2 cups of water and then thin out later to your desired consistency.

Ingredients 411: I am a fennel lover. The flavor of fennel, anise, licorice— all resonate very favorably for me. If you also love fennel, go ahead and use a full 1 teaspoon (I usually do). But if you are a little more tentative about the fennel flavor, use just 1⁄2 teaspoon. Just don’t leave it out alto- gether; it really combines beautifully with the spice profile in the dish.

Kid-Friendly: If serving this to children, you might want to omit the crushed red pepper flakes and reserve the hot sauce for the adult individ- ual portions. If you like things spicy, feel free to add hot sauce to the dal to taste, or add more crushed red pepper flakes earlier in the cooking process with the other spices.

Savvy Subs and Adds: The orange juice brings a lovely flavor to this dish, but if you don’t have any oranges or juice on hand, feel free to replace with water.

Serving Suggestions: Serve with Indian-Inspired Rice, roti bread, and chut- ney (if you like).

Please try this dish and let me know what you think!  Also, be sure to connect with me on my facebook page.  You Plant-Powered Santa is delivering some prizes via facebook next week…  ‘like‘ to get the news! 

Vegan Pumpkin Cake and Fluffy Dairy-Free Macadamia Mallow Frosting

Today I’m introducing you to my Pumpkin Cake from LTEV – and my Fluffy Macadamia Mallow Frosting.  I think it’s time you two get better acquainted.  I figure since so many readers are emailing and tagging me on facebook about this cake… and since I am feeling like giving away a few things (hint, hint, stay tuned!)… I am sharing this MOST delicious cake and frosting recipe for your holiday parties!

Before getting to the recipe, I must mention that this cake has become my own personal go-to cake in the past couple of years.  I will always choose it when (1) it’s seasonal and (2) the guests (or recipient) loves pumpkin.  As with ALL my recipes in LTEV, this cake is made without ANY white flour.  It uses whole-grain spelt flour, and also a minimal amount of oil.  The frosting isn’t sugary/sickly, but rather creamy delicious… the stuff frosting dreams are made of!

If you have LTEV, you will recognize this photo below of the same cake recipe.  This was taken by Hannah Kaminsky, and that particular shot we chose the “Cooked Vanilla Frosting” for the cake.

Pumpkin Cake by Dreena Burton #vegan


In the photos I’ve taken, we have the Fluffy Macadamia Mallow Frosting. See???  It really is fluffy and fabulous! :)

Enjoy the cake, and stay tuned for more goodies – including a sneak peek of a few of the photos of the “Plant-Powered 13” holiday bonus recipes!  What’s that?  Check out the details here.  Thanks to those of you that jumped in on the offer already, you will soon be able to enjoy: Pumpkin Seed and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Breakfast Bars, Almond Zen Granola, Green Goddess Dressing, Creamy House Dressing, Black Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes, ‘Sweet’ Balls (don’t be fooled, these are savory not sweet!), Presto Pistachio Pasta, Macnificent, Sticky Almond Blondies, Coconutty Cookies… and a few more!  All these new recipes are made without ANY processed vegan substitutes, without ANY white stuff, and are also oil-free (but don’t worry, flavor is NOT sacrificed)!


Pumpkin Cake soy-free, wheat-free RECIpage link to print/share

This cake is a new family favorite. Moist and just lightly spiced with traditional pumpkin pie spices, it is absolutely ideal for an autumnal party or birthday, or as part of a Thanksgiving menu. But it is so delicious, you may want to make it other times of the year!

2 ¼ cups sifted (or light) spelt flour (see note)

1/2 cup + 2-4 tbsp unrefined sugar (see note)

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp sea salt

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/8 tsp allspice

Few pinches ground cloves (about 1/16 tsp)

¾ cup pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix; see note for oil-free)

1 cup plain or vanilla non-dairy milk (see note for oil-free)

¼ cup pure maple syrup

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

¼ cup neutral-flavored oil (or another 3 tbsp of pumpkin puree mixed with 2-3 tbsp milk, see note)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil two 8-inch round cake pans, and line the bottom of each with parchment paper, if desired.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves, sifting in the baking powder and baking soda. Mix well.  In a separate bowl, whisk the pumpkin puree with the milk, maple syrup, vanilla, and lemon juice. Add the wet mixture to the dry, along with the oil, and mix until just incorporated.  Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake for 24 to 27 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and let cool in pans on a cooling rack.

If This Apron Could Talk: To adapt this cake to cupcakes, line about 20 compartments of a muffin tin and fill about halfway with the batter. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 16 to 18 minutes (test with a toothpick). Also, because this batter is quite healthful, the cupcakes can double as muffins. You can add chopped walnuts or pecans to the batter to make the muffins a little heartier, and fill the liners a little fuller, if you like, than you would for cupcakes (in this case, bake a minute or two longer).

Savvy Subs and Adds: If you’d like to use wheat flour in this recipe, you can substitute 2 cups (with a light hand measuring that second cup) of whole wheat pastry flour.  I like this batter with the 1⁄2 cup + 2 tablespoons of sugar. But if you want it just a touch sweeter, add the extra 2 tablespoons of sugar. If frosting this cake with the Fluffy Macadamia Mallow Frosting, try topping with a sprinkling of chopped, toasted macadamia nuts. As this cake is slightly reminiscent of a carrot cake, you might opt to use another frosting (such as the No-Butter Cream Frosting, and add a few tablespoons of raisins and/or chopped toasted walnuts to the batter.

Oil-Free Note: If you’d like to make this oil-free, use another 3 tbsp of pumpkin puree mixed with another 3 tbsp of milk.


Fluffy Macadamia Mallow Frosting gluten-free, soy-free  RECIpage link to print/share

This frosting has become one of my all-time favorites. It be- comes thick and mallowy, and just slightly sweet. Really, I can eat it with a spoon. Truth be told, I usually stow enough away in the fridge so I can do just that! This recipe makes enough to frost one single-layer cake, so be sure to double the recipe for a double-layer cake or for twenty-four cupcakes.

1/2 cup + 2-5 tbsp cream from can of regular coconut milk (cream only, refrigerate overnight before using)

1/8 tsp sea salt

1/2 – ¾ cup powdered sugar (use an unrefined sugar and blend into a powder, see note)

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out (see PPP Tips, p.<>)

2 ½ – 3 tbsp macadamia nut butter (see note)

¼ – 1/2 tsp xanthan gum

Open the chilled can of coconut milk, without shaking or otherwise tipping much. You want to keep the cream solids as separate from the watery liquid as possible. Use a spoon to scoop out the thick cream into the bowl of a stand mixer (see note). You will get about 1⁄2 cup plus 2 to 4 tablespoons (see note). Get as much thick cream as you can without diluting it with the watery liquid sitting underneath. With the wire whip attachment, whip the cream at high speed for a minute or two, until it thickens and becomes fluffy. Then add the salt, sugar, vanilla seeds, and macadamia butter, and slowly bring the mixer to a high speed again to incorporate.  Stop the mixer, add the xanthan gum, and mix slowly to incorporate. Then whisk again at high speed for 30 seconds or so, until thickened (this will thicken more with chilling).  Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use. This frosting keeps for several days without deflating.  Makes 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups.

If This Apron Could Talk: You really need a mixer for this recipe. Don’t try whisking by hand; the speed of the mixer is essential for whipping the thick, separated coconut milk.

Ingredients 411: Depending on how much thick cream you extracted from the can of coconut milk (without using any of the liquid), you may need more or less xanthan to help keep it firm for frosting. Usually about 1⁄4 teaspoon will do, but feel free to use a little more, up to 1⁄2 teaspoon. The frosting will also firm more after refrigerating.  I like this frosting with 1⁄2 cup of sugar, or sometimes up to 3⁄4 cup. If you like a sweeter frosting, add another few tablespoons of powdered sugar to taste, but not too much. The beauty of this frosting is its creamy-mallowy texture that is not overly sweet.

Savvy Subs and Adds: This frosting can be made without powdered sugar (substituting raw agave nectar, brown rice syrup, or pure maple syrup), but with some changes. Using maple syrup or agave, use 1⁄4 to 1⁄3 cup; and for brown rice syrup, 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 cup. Then, if you want it sweeter, consider using a pinch of stevia to heighten the sweetness, as using much more liquid sweetener will thin out the frosting. You will need more xanthan gum to keep the frosting stable. Use close to 3⁄4 teaspoon (don’t go overboard, the frosting will firm more with chilling).  Vanilla seeds are really pretty in this frosting! But if you don’t have a vanilla bean, feel free to substitute 1⁄2 to 1 tea- spoon of pure vanilla extract.

Powdered Sugar Note:  You can easily make your own organic powdered sugar. To do so, use a blender and combine 11⁄4 to 11⁄2 cups of unrefined sugar with 1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder or cornstarch. Blend on high speed until powdery, scraping down the jug once or twice. The arrow- root or cornstarch may not be needed with a very high-powered blender such as a Vitamix.

Have you ever made a frosting with coconut milk?  What is your favorite vegan cake and frosting recipe?