Apple Nachos Supreme! + Earth Balance Bake-Off 2015

Happy November, and Happy World Vegan Month! <3

The holiday season will soon be here. Holy hannah the baking begins, aprons on!


This year, I’m honored to be one of the judges for Earth Balance’s 5th Annual Holiday Bake-Off!  I have the privilege of judging the competition this year alongside Chloe Coscarelli and Emily von Euw.

If you’re unfamiliar with the bake-off, it gives vegan bakers everywhere the opportunity to compete virtually for a chance to win incredible prizes. This year there are 4 categories: pies, savory baked goods, cakes/cupcakes, and cookies and bars.

I’ll be judging the pies category, and I’m also participating in an an Instagram “takoever” this week! So, if you’re on IG, follow me for more!


Some of you may be wondering… “Dreena, your recipes don’t use Earth Balance butter or coconut spread… what gives?” True. My current recipes utilize whole foods ingredients. However, I have used some of these products in my earlier cooking days. Plus, Earth Balance has a line of peanut butter products that I do use. Plus-plus… have you tried their popcorn? 😉

Seriously, my philosophy about eating vegan is that as a family we eat about 90% whole foods. I talk about this in Plant-Powered Families and Let Them Eat Vegan. So, while I cook and bake with whole foods ingredients, we also enjoy some convenience foods as a family. For instance, we use some store-bought vegan cheeses for school lunches and parties (as nut cheeses aren’t possible with nut allergies), and our girls love taking the Earth Balance popcorn to movies with friends! As a mom, I love that they can have these treats with their friends rather than feel they miss out at parties and events. In short, I’m delighted to be a part of this event. I always encourage a vegan choice, as diet is a journey.

Speaking of the popcorn, I’ll now share a timely (and fun!) recipe from Plant-Powered Families. These APPLE NACHOSE SUPREME will be a hit at holiday parties!


x Dreena

Apple Nachos Supreme! #vegan #glutenfree #soyfree #wfpb #plantbased #oilfree #dairyfree #healthy #snacks


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Your kids will LOVE this treat. It feels so festive and special, yet is pretty easy to pull
together and is quite healthy! You can customize with toppings you like best. (Don’t be intimated by the length of the recipe, it’s just to give details, and I offer short-cuts!)

Spiced Caramel (see note for quick-fix option):
1/2 cup pitted dates
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 scant teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon allspice (optional)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean powder (or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
1/3 cup plus 2–3 teaspoons water

Apple Base:
3 apples, cored and sliced into thin rounds
2 teaspoons lemon juice

3–4 tablespoons nut butter of choice or peanut butter (see note)
1 1/2–2 cups popped popcorn (can pop yourself or use storebought)
3–4 tablespoons nondairy chocolate chips
2–3 tablespoons chopped nuts (optional)
2 tablespoons cranberries or raisins (optional)
2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
1 recipe prepared Spiced Caramel (or brown rice syrup, as in note)

To make the spiced caramel: Puree the dates, cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, allspice, vanilla bean powder, and 1/3 cup of the water in a blender or small food processor (I use the Blendtec twister jar, which is the perfect size for this small batch—you can also use a mini food processor but it may not get as smooth). If it’s difficult to get the mixture moving, add another teaspoon of water, and more if needed. (Try not to add too much at once, or the mixture could become too thin.) Puree until completely smooth. Once smooth, transfer to a small zip-top bag (to later pipe onto the nachos). To make the apple base: Toss the apples in the lemon juice. Arrange on a large plate. To assemble with toppings: Add the nut butter to a small zip-top bag. Seal the bag, and push/twist all the nut butter to one end. Snip the smallest piece off a corner and you can then pipe the nut butter over the apples. Alternatively, you can gently warm the nut butter and drizzle with a spoon. Distribute the popcorn, chocolate chips, nuts, cranberries, and shredded coconut on top of the apples, as desired. Finally, take the prepared caramel in the zip-top bag, seal the bag, and twist/snip off a small corner. Drizzle over the apple nachos. Serves 3-4.

Caramel Note: For a quick fix, substitute brown rice syrup for the caramel. Use 1/4–1/3 cup, and you can choose to stir in some of the spices, or leave as is.

Serving Suggestion: I like to drizzle one layer of nut butter on top of the apples, to help the toppings stick, and then a drizzle of the caramel last—it looks so lovely! You can switch it up, using the caramel first and then the nut butter last if you like. Also,
another option is to make a nut caramel, blending the nut butter straight into the date caramel. You may need to add a touch more water to get it moving in the blender (depending on your blender).

Kitchen Tip: These are best served soon after making. The lemon juice will help preserve the color of the apples, but not for long. You can prepare the date caramel in advance, and get the ingredients prepped in advance, then simply assemble before serving.

Apple Nachos Supreme! #vegan #dairyfree #healthy #snacks #dessert #wfpb #glutenfree #oilfree

So… do you have an original recipe that you think is a contender for the bake-off? I encourage you to submit it

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Pumpkin Spice Bars with Maple Frosting Drizzle (vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, oil-free)

Well, as much as I tried to resist it – fall is here. Every year I feel I drag myself into fall, holding on to summer produce and the carefree summer clothes. This year, I noticed as I was clinging to the raw foods of summer, I wasn’t feeling great. Not sick, but my digestion wasn’t feeling the same. So, I started eating more cooked foods and warming soups. I noticed a difference within a day or two. Now, I’m finally enjoying wearing some cozy layers and digging into fall foods!

I’ve been playing with lots of new apple recipes, and also winter squash. These PUMPKIN SPICE BARS are a little deceiving. They taste every bit like other pumpkin treats, yet they are made with pumpkin seeds, not pumpkin flesh! They dried apricots help enhance the pumpkin flavor, along with the spices.

I’ve had this recipe in my pocket for quite a while now. It was actually one I had planned to include in PPF, but as I’ve mentioned a couple of times, I had to cut down the recipe content. Dang it! I hate that! But, I do love sharing the recipe with you now. Pumpkin-Spice Bars with Maple Drizzle Frosting #vegan #nutfree #wfpb #dairyfree #glutenfree

The frosting is… well… a must. Just don’t skip it, okay? The bars will be okay without it. But why bother making them without it?  If you’re going to take the time to make these (and they are ridiculously easy), then take the extra 5-10 minutes to whip up the simple frosting! Don’t let me hear any of you making these without the frosting, k? That’s all I have to say about that. :)

Since these bars are nut-free, they can be packed in lunch. I’d classify them as more of a sweet snack than a full-fledged dessert. But, up to you!

Enjoy, guys. Do let me know how you like them! You are very quiet out there. I hear from many of you on social media, but not here on the blog. Please share your thoughts and feedback.

Pumpkin-Spice Bars with Maple Frosting #vegan #nutfree #glutenfree #dairyfree

Pumpkin Spice Bars with Maple Frosting Drizzle nut-free, oil-free, gluten-free

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These bars are darn easy to make, but with the ‘icing’, they appear much more elaborate! When I gave one to our daughter for the first time to try she said “yum, mom, you have to make these on Christmas Eve”… good plan, kiddo!

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp hemp seeds
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp (rounded) cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (or more to taste)
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 cup dried apricots (unsulphured)
1 cup pitted dates
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup brown rice crispy cereal (I like Erewhon brand, can also substitute organic, unsweetened corn flakes)

1/3 cup coconut butter (not oil)
1 1/2 tbsp nondairy milk
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
couple pinches sea salt

In a food processor, first process the oats with the pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and salt and spices. Puree until crumbly and fine. Then, add the apricots, dates, and vanilla and process until the mixture becomes uniform and sticky. Depending on how moist your dates (and especially apricots) are, this may take a few minutes. Just as it is getting very sticky, add the brown rice crisp cereal process through. The mixture should still be sticky, and forming some balls or clumps in the processor bowl. Transfer mixture to an 8” x 8” pan lined with parchment paper (not much larger, but could use a smaller, deeper dish). Press mixture into pan evenly. In a small saucepan over very low heat, combine the ingredients for the drizzle, whisking through through until it melts down and becomes a liquid enough to pour. Avoid heating the mixture over too high a heat as it can scorch. Once thinned out, pour over the bars in a drizzle pattern. Refrigerate until completely cool, then cut into squares. Makes about 16-20 bars.

Chocolate option: Add 3-4 tbsp cocoa powder with the oats and seeds, etc. You can also add a couple of tablespoons of chocolate chips at the end when adding the crisp rice cereal.

x Dreena

photo credit: Nicole Axworthy,

Loving PPF? Please share your good review on amazon!

Giveaway: VEGA Gift Pack + Plant-Powered Families (over $200!)

Giveaway of VEGA bundle and Plant-Powered Families cookbook Many of you know I love my green smoothies. I’ve been making them daily for about 10 years, and so far haven’t tired of them! I pretty much make the same combination most days. No recipe needed, just a general sense of ingredients and proportions, and modifying as I go.

Initially when I started making green smoothies, I didn’t add any protein powders. Later, I started experimenting with Vega products. Over time, I found a few favorites I really enjoyed – and over time, I noticed that the flavor profiles of Vega really improved. Now, Vega has quite a wide range of products from nutritional shakes to sport drinks to incredibly delicious snack bars.

Why do I use Vega? I just love it! It’s not that I feel we “need” the protein. I do appreciate its nutritional profile, especially when days are busy for us and the kids. But I also just love the flavors. Is that peculiar? When I make my green smoothies and add the vanilla, coconut almond, or tropical powders, the flavor is elevated… tastier! Plus, because of its nutritional profile, adding vega to our smoothies does make them more satisfying when “on-the-go”.

After experimenting with my favorite vanilla and tropical flavors, I turned to chocolate. (What took me so long?) 😉 I tried the chocolate powder and created this Chunky Monkey Smoothie recipe, now in Plant-Powered Families.

Chunky Monkey Smoothie

…and then used it in these Protein-Power Balls (also in PPF)…

Protein Power Balls

I use the vanilla and tropical Vega powders in a couple of other PPF recipes as well. Given my love for Vega, and use in PPF, it seemed a natural fit to bundle a giveaway of my Plant-Powered Families cookbook with some of my favorite Vega products.

The cool cool folks at Vega agreed, and we have put together a fine prize pack for you!

The winner of this giveaway will receive:

1 Large Tub of Vega One Vanilla
1 Tub of Protein & Greens Tropical (my fave!)
1 Tub Vega Sport Mocha Protein
1 Box Dark Chocolate Mixed Nuts & Sea Salt Snack Bars – (these are dangerously good!)
2 BPA-free Shaker Cups (we have these and love ’em)
1 copy of Plant-Powered Families

Giveaway of VEGA bundle and Plant-Powered Families cookbook

This Vega bundle is valued at over $200! 

Lucky for us, the folks at Vega are super cool and offering not just this giveaway, but also giving us plant-powered families 20% off plus FREE shipping on any orders until August 2nd in their online store (you won’t get a better discount than this).

To get the 20% off and free shipping, enter this code at checkout: PPFamilies 

Here’s the link again to their online store: Vega e-store. I’m stoked, I’ll be ordering myself – and have my eye on this tee. :)

Take advantage of this sweet deal. and then enter to win this enter prize pack below. Tell us which Vega product you love the most – or which you’re most keen to try!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I have not received monetary compensation to post this discount and giveaway with Vega. I simply love Vega products, and Vega is supporting my work with this offer and gift bundle. Thank you, Vega!

Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus

I know I’m really bending the definition of hummus. Technically, this probably should be called a bean dip. But pretty much any chickpea or bean combination pureed into dippy goodness – is hummus in my book. I just can’t help myself… #hummusisafoodgroup :)

Even if we can’t agree on whether it should be called a dip or hummus – I have a feeling we can agree that this combination tastes delicious!

Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen

This was another recipe intended for my Plant-Powered Families cookbook. I got a little excited with recipe development! When needing to round out the recipes by chapter in PPF, I decided to scale back with a hummus recipe – and share it here. Once again, I thank Nicole Axworthy for bringing her exceptional talent to these food photos.

This hummus is a little unique, combining a mix of kidney beans with chickpeas, along with cooked sweet potato. Yes, sweet spuds! I love sweet potato in bean dips hummus. They lighten up the bean texture, while adding a touch of creaminess and also some sweetness – which is incredibly tasty in contrast to the spices and lime juice. So, whenever I bake sweet spuds, I’ll cook a few extra to have on hand for recipes like this (see recipe note below). I talk about this type of batch-cooking and repurposing ingredients in PPF as well. Just prepping a few extra portions of staples can really come in handy for other meals during the week.

Lime most hummus, this dip is wonderful with veg and snack chips. But, also try ‘repurposing’ this dip. Use it as a spread to hold other fillings in green wraps, or for baked burritos. Or, try a lunch or dinner bowl, gently warming the hummus and topping over cooked quinoa along with some veggies and chopped avocado, with a drizzle of dressing. Think outside the hummus bowl. Do you have any suggestions for turning hummus into a meal? If so, please share!

Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen

Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus link for Recipage to print/share

Cooked sweet potato lends a little creaminess and sweetness to this hummus-like dip. The lime juice lends a fresh tang, and there’s just enough chili powder and cinnamon to give it flavor without too much kiddo-offending spice!

1 can kidney beans, rinsed (about 1 3/4 cups)
1 can chickpeas, rinsed (about 1 3/4 cups)
1 cup precooked (and peeled) orange sweet potato (see note)
2 tbsp tahini
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 – 1 tsp chili powder (adjust to taste; see note)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 medium or large clove garlic, sliced or quartered
4–4½ tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1–3 tbsp water (as needed to thin)
fresh cilantro or parsley (optional)

In a food processor, combine the kidney beans, chickpeas, sweet potato, tahini, sea salt, ½ tsp of the chili powder, cinnamon, garlic, lime juice, and 1 tablespoon of water. Purée until smooth, gradually adding remaining water as desired to thin dip, and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add fresh cilantro or parsley if desired, and purée briefly to incorporate. Season with additional salt and spices to taste, if desired. Serves 4-5.

Sweet Potato Note: Prebake your spuds! Keep whole and unpeeled, just give a quick wash. Then, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 425/450 for 40-60 minutes (baking time varies based on size of spuds). Bake more than you need at a time, keep extras refrigerated for 4-5 days to use in other dishes – like salads, soups, pasta sauces, and more.

Spice Note: Use a good quality chili powder that isn’t too hot. If you aren’t sure of the heat intensity, start with a lesser amount, and then add more if desired. Our kids like this with 1/2 tsp of chili powder, but you may want to add more. You can also substitute a chipotle powder or chipotle hot sauce, to taste.

Enjoy the hummus, guys! And, quick reminder… if you already ordered Plant-Powered Families, be sure to email us to get that bonus 15 recipe ebook. Those 15 recipes are not included in the printed book, and I know you’ll find some favorites in there! I’m already hearing back from many of you on some of the recipes. So be sure to get your copy. :) For details, see this post

NEW! Plant-Powered Families cookbook by Dreena Burton

x Dreena


Review & Giveaway: Gourmet Creations spreads (vegan and gluten-free)

Usually when I post about a new dip or spread, it’s a variation on hummus. And, when grocery shopping I rarely find vegan spreads that aren’t hummus. You guys know I love my hummus, but sometimes we want a dip or spread that uses vegetables, or with different flavor combinations not typically found in hummus.

Gourmet Creations Spreads and Dips #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree

Enter Gourmet Creations! This is a local company (based in Langley, BC), that produces a line of plant-based, gluten free spreads and dips. When they reached out to ask if I’d review their line, I was most interested.

Gourmet Creations has six varieties of vegetable- and bean-based spreads that are all plant-based, gluten-free, and nut-free. The flavors are:

  1. Carrot-Ginger
  2. Black Bean Salsa
  3. Red Pepper
  4. Butternut Curry
  5. Mexican Chili
  6. Sundried Tomato

Review Summary

Taste: Overall, the collection of dips are flavorful without being too salty. Most have a tangy flavor, and several have spicy notes.

Ingredients:  Their flavor and ingredient combinations are quite unique. While red pepper and black bean dips are not uncommon, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a “Carrot-Ginger” or “Butternut Curry” spread in a store. Also, Gourmet Creations includes some unexpected ingredients within each flavor. The Red Pepper spread has quinoa as one of its ingredients. The Carrot-Ginger spread includes sunflower seeds – so unique! I also liked how the Mexican Chili has chickpeas that had been crushed or chopped to add body to the spread, a nice textural touch.

Favorites: My favorite spreads were the Butternut Curry, Sundried Tomato, and the Mexican Chili. The sundried tomato spread works particularly well spread on sandwiches and wraps for lunches. I gently heated the Butternut Curry spread, as it reminded me a little of a butternut squash soup, but obviously thicker and with more tang. The Mexican Chili was good straight up with tortilla chips.

Family-Friend Factor: As a mom, I’d say that these dips are best suited to more mature palates, as most have some spicy tones. However, diet is learned. I remember being so surprised to witness my friend’s toddler scooping salsa straight from a jar! So, I guess it depends on how much spice you generally eat in meals. The spiciest dips (to me) were the Carrot-Ginger and Butternut Curry. I think the Red Pepper dip had the mildest flavor. (I used the red pepper dip in a quinoa bowl with avocado and served it to our 13-year old – she really enjoyed it.)

Gourmet Creations dips and spreads #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree

Serving Suggestions: Often when we buy dips and spreads, we simply think to pair them with tortilla chips, rice crackers, or pita breads. There are so many other ways to enjoy these dips. Here are some of my ideas…

  • Red Pepper Dip – As mentioned, I used it in a quinoa bowl, but you could also work it into hot pasta or use as a base for pizza.
  • Sundried Tomato – This was my favorite spread for sandwiches, but I also tried it in these cucumber bites, hollowing out about 3/4 of the centre (not all the way through) and filling with the spread. Do something similar with mini-peppers, makes a great snack or party appetizer.

Gourmet Creations Sundried Tomato Spread #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree

  • Butternut Curry – Put an autumnal, ethnic spin on pizza, spreading as a base and topping with roasted vegetables and cashew cheese. Or, thin it out with coconut milk and mix it through steamed veggies like cauliflower, parsnip, and winter squash.
  • Mexican Chili – I liked this one straight up with tortilla chips, but it would be terrific mixed with quinoa and stuffed in taco shells,
  • Black Bean Salsa – Try this in stuffed baked potatoes. I’d use a combination of sweet potatoes and white potatoes, add a little of the salsa, some green onions, chopped red pepper, top with vegan cheese if you like and bake.
  • Carrot Ginger – This spread was lovely on this toasted gluten-free bread (below), and even better with a layer of cashew cheese. Gourmet Creations Carrot Ginger Dip #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree

I’m sure you could come up with other serving ideas. And… you have the chance, since Gourmet Creations is offering 2 boxes (12 dips) as a giveaway! To enter, leave a comment telling us which dip you’d like to try, or one of your serving ideas.

Since these dips need to be refrigerated, contest is open to resident of BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. For more details about Gourmet Creations spreads and their tasting events in your area, visit their site.

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Disclosure: Gourmet Creation send samples of their spreads for me to try, and I was compensated for my time to review and host this giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

Green Chickpea Hummus

A couple of months ago, Paul returned from Costco with a big bag of frozen green chickpeas. I had heard about them, but never tried them, so I was pretty excited about his food find.

Green chickpeas are the raw, fresh form of chickpeas we know and love. They aren’t a fresh legume you find often in markets, but it is becoming easier to find them frozen. The taste, to me, is somewhat a cross between edamame and green peas. So, I think they would substitute well in many dishes where you might use either green peas or edamame. I first tried them in a cooked dish (briefly cooking through), and really enjoyed them. Then, I turned my thoughts to…

Green Chickpea Hummus by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree

Hummus. Glorious hummus! I’ve only ever made hummus with cooked legumes, so I wasn’t sure the fam would dig this more ‘raw’ version. Plus it was green. That’s usually tricky with kids. Well, to my surprise and delight, it was a hit! With Paul and the older girls, anyhow. Our 5-year old is in the stage where everything green (other than green smoothies) is “ewwww”, so her vote doesn’t count right now. 😉

Personally, I would choose this over classic hummus… at least most days! The combination of flavors is a little addictive, and it is just so fresh and vibrant. We noshed on it straight up, but you could also use it in sandwiches and wraps, or for topping sweet spuds (that combination would be tasty)!

If you can get your hands on some frozen green chickpeas, they are worth experimenting with. If you can’t find them, try substituting frozen edamame here, or a half-and-half combo of frozen edamame and frozen green peas.

Green Chickpea Hummus by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree

Green Chickpea Hummus

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3 cups (frozen) green chickpeas, blanched and drained (see note)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 medium clove garlic (can use larger if you love garlic)
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (don’t omit!)
1/3 cup fresh parsley leaves
2 1/2 – 3 tbsp tahini
3/4 – 1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2-3 tbsp water (or more if desired to thin)
1 tsp lemon zest (optional)

In a food processor (see note), combine all ingredients, starting with 3/4 tsp of salt and 2 tbsp of water. Puree until smoothed out, scraping down the processor bowl as needed. Taste, and add additional salt to taste, and extra water to thin out as desired. Serve!

Chickpeas Note: Add chickpeas to a pot of boiling water, and let cook about 3 minutes. Remove, and run under cold water. I cook them very briefly just to bring out their vibrant green color. Be sure to run them through cold water to stop the cooking process. If you cannot find green chickpeas, use a combination of green peas and edamame (half of each preferably), or the full amount of edamame.

Food processor Note: If you have a high-speed blender, you can puree it in the blender for a smoother consistency. I quite liked the more textured consistency with the food processor.

Green Chickpea Hummus by Dreena Burton #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree

Please share your ideas for using green chickpeas, and of course your feedback on this recipe! 




“Cinnabon” Muffins!

Before I get to the food today, I want to start with a note of gratitude. Thank you for all of your heartfelt comments here, and on FB, about Sarabi. It helped to read your beautiful experiences and kind comments. My sincere thanks.

"Cinnabon" Muffins by Dreena Burton #vegan #nutfree #wholefoods

Now… not too long ago, I hinted about these Cinnabon Muffins. Ok, more like teasing. Here and on instagram. Today, they are yours!

This recipe came almost effortlessly. Apart from the retesting, the idea just manifested! Literally standing in the kitchen with an itch to bake (please tell me I’m not the only one that is drawn to baking for no particular reason), and wanting an intense hit of cinnamony goodness. Next thing, these mini-muffins are baking up and diffusing the most irresistible aroma through the house!


"Cinnabon" Muffins by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #nutfree #wholefoods #plantbased

They remind me of Cinnabon… which is rather peculiar because I’ve never had Cinnabon. But they are what I imagine Cinnabon to taste like, made vegan and more wholesome! Given I’ve never tasted Cinnabon, I’ll count on your votes whether this recipe is close.

My family LOVES these muffins. They disappear fast, but when I can squirrel a few away, I tuck them into packed lunches. They make a special treat for lunch, and great for school as they are nut-free.

I like to make the mini-muffin version best, but I’ve offered both size options for you in the recipe. Bake up, and let me know what you think!




"Cinnabon Muffins" by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #wholefoods

Cinnabon Muffins

link to print/share recipe

1 1/2 cups whole-grain spelt flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 scant tsp sea salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup plain or vanilla non-dairy yogurt
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup plain or vanilla non-dairy milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 TB raisins or chopped dates

1/3 cup chopped dates
2 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a mini-muffin pan. Using a paper towel, wipe a smidgen of oil around the inside of each muffin cup. (Alternatively, you can prepare a regular size pan (see size note) with non-stick liners.)

To make the batter: In a large bowl, combine the flours, cinnamon, salt, then sift in the baking powder and soda.  Mix well.  In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, milk, maple syrup, vanilla and raisins or dates. Add wet mixture to dry, stirring through until just well combined (without overmixing).

To make the cinnabon topping: In a bowl, mix together all topping ingredients. Use your fingers to work the mixture together until sticky/crumbly.

Transfer batter into muffin cups. I like to use a mini-muffin pan (see size note), filling 22-24. Dollop about a teaspoon or two of the topping on each. When finished, sprinkle any remaining topping/cinnamon over the muffins. Bake for about 13 minutes, until set to the touch. Remove from oven, transfer to a cooling rack for a few minutes, then remove muffins and let cool fully on cooling rack.

Size Note: If you’d like to make regular size muffins, you can fill 11-12 cups. Baking time will be longer, about 20 minutes.

"Cinnabon" Muffins by Dreena Burton #vegan #nutfree #wholefoods

POWER Cookies for Back-To-School

My wee girl starts full day kindergarten this year. It’s her first time in full-day school. And my first time with ALL my girls in full-day school! For the last 13+ years I’ve been with kiddos. So, it’s a big change for her, an even bigger change for me.

Once school starts, that is… our teachers are on strike here. But, eventually school will start again. Maybe I’m feeling the stress of the change, because I’ve been baking a lot. Ok, I bake a lot most days! But, it seems I’m baking more than usual – Berry Scuffins, Raisinet Cookies (from LTEV, I’ll try and post soon), and these new delicious Power Cookies.

Power Cookies by Dreena Burton - #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree


These are the kind of cookie that satisfies a sweet tooth but also offers some nutritional punch. For a cookie, it’s pretty darn healthy, made with whole-grain oat flour, coconut, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and tahini. I use tahini so the cookies can be nut-free for school lunches. Most schools are nut-free zones, and that can be tricky planning school snacks. Many commercially-prepared snacks that happen to be nut-free tend to have dairy, eggs, or made with overly processed ingredients. So, it’s always useful to have a few nut-free goodies in your repertoire!

If you don’t have to make them nut-free, you can substitute another nut butter. I don’t always enjoy tahini in plant-based cookies, but here it works! I do prefer a very mellow, good-quality tahini (suggestions in recipe). If you can find a good brand, it’s worth it. But, you will forever be tahini-spoiled! Once you taste the good stuff, you don’t want to go back. (Just a heads up!) 😉

If you follow my Instagram posts, you may have seen this pic of Go Raw watermelon seeds. When I did my final test of these cookies, I was out of sunflower seeds. I thought “why not try the watermelon seeds“? They worked fabulously! They certainly aren’t essential, however. If you don’t have them, sunflower and pumpkin seeds work just fine. (As a side note, the watermelon seeds taste lovely on their own. They have a mellow seeds flavor, somewhat like sunflower but milder-tasting – and the sea salt used is minimal.)

Think you need a cookie close up. Zoom in on the chips!

Power Cookies, by Dreena Burton, plant-powered kitchen #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree

Got it?

Nope, that’s a raisin on the left, There… to the right!

Power Cookies, by Dreena Burton, plant-powered kitchen #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree

Yeahhhhh, that’s it.

Now bake… :) Enjoy, enjoy my friends!


Power Cookies, by Dreena Burton, plant-powered kitchen #vegan #glutenfree #nutfree #oilfree

Power Cookies

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My wee girl is a bundle of high energy! I created these vegan cookies to give her bite-sized nutrition to fuel her non-stop pace!

2 cups oat flour (use certified gf for gluten-free; see note)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 – 1/3 cup non-dairy chocolate chips (I like mini-chips; can substitute raisins or currants)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds or sprouted watermelon seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt (lightly rounded)
2 1/2 tbsp tahini (or raw almond butter if not needing nut-free, see note)
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp pure maple syrup (see note)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, coconut, chocolate chips, seeds, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the tahini (or almond butter) with the maple syrup, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir through until well combined. Place scoops (about 1 – 1 1/2 tbsp in size) on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 10-11 minutes, until just set to the touch, then remove from oven and let cool for a minute on sheet, and then transfer to a cooling rack. Makes about 15-18 cookies.

Oat Flour note: Don’t substitute an equal amount of another flour (like spelt)_ here – it has a different volume and requires more liquid to come together. If you want to sub another flour, use less to start, about 1 2/3 cups, and add in any extra as needed after bringing together the wet and dry ingredients. If it’s too wet/sticky, add a touch more flour.

Tahini note: Tahini brands vary in taste and textures. If possible, use a mellow-flavored tahini (ex: Baron’s, Achva, Alwadi)

Maple syrup note: The mixture should come together nicely, but if it’s quite thick and not combining, add another 1/2 – 1 tbsp of maple syrup mixed with another 1 tsp of nut butter or tahini.

Berry “Scuffins”

With the kids going back-to-school, I bake healthy snacks at least a few times a week. Usually a variety of nut-free muffins, or my pumpkin seed oat bars, or snackles. Whatever the choice, most days it’s got to be fuss-free. I want to get those ingredients into a bowl, mixed and into the oven. I try to find ways to be inventive with new flavors and textures without adding extra steps.

Berry "Scuffins" by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #oilfree

Enter Scuffins. I love the idea of scones, but they are a little more fussy to make. I have a recipe in ed&bv for Raspberry Chocolate Chip Scones. They’re delicious – not difficult to make – but they take just a little more time than I have right now. (It seems I’m always talking about how busy it is… maybe when our girls are all in full-time school this year that will change. I feel a post brewing on that one!)

I wanted to make something like those scones and started experimenting. I was pretty chuffed with the results. These Berry Scuffins aren’t exactly like a scone – they aren’t quite as hefty and rich – bubluet they are darn close. Plus, they are incredibly quick and simple to make – and darn tasty!

Berry "Scuffins" by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #oilfree

I first made them with frozen blueberries. I prefer the small wild blueberries as they produce more even baking than the larger berries, but use what you have (you can always bake another minute). Fresh blueberries can also be used.

Without blueberries one day, I use fresh (chopped) strawberries. Delightful! The smell while baking is intoxicating, and the scuffins are so tender and fresh-tasting. Our girls devour them. Well, two of our girls. 😉 (I sometimes bake a couple without berries, I’ve accepted it.)

Berry "Scuffins" by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #oilfree

I think these Scuffins are best fresh out of the oven or enjoyed the same day, so I’ve created the recipe yielding a modest batch. Enjoy on their own, with a slather of nut butter or berry jam, paired with a hot tea or cool glass of almond milk! Although, since these are nut-free, they make another terrific snack to pack for back-to-school (you may want to make extra if you have a couple of kiddos because they disappear fast)!


Wishing you a sweet close to August, and sure hope you love the scuffins. Please share your feedback, let me know which berry version you prefer and how YOU best enjoy them!



Berry "Scuffins" by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #oilfree

Berry ‘Scuffins’

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What do you get when you cross a scone with a muffin… a scuffin, of course! These are easy to make, and just delightful during berry season – but you can make them with frozen berries through the winter.

1 1/2 cups oat flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp lemon zest (use organic)
1/2 cup plain non-dairy yogurt (see note)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
3-5 tbsp non-dairy milk (see note)
1/2 cup blueberries, strawberries (cut in pieces), or raspberries (see note)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients (including zest). In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, maple syrup, and milk until well combined. Add wet mixture to the dry, folding through until just nicely combined. Add blueberries, and gently/quickly fold in so they don’t bleed too much color. Using a scoop, place mounds of the batter (about 3-4 tbsp each) on your baking sheet. You should have about 9-10 ‘scuffins’. Bake for 15-16 minutes, or until set (gently touch one in the centre, it shouldn’t sink to the touch). Remove, let cool for a minute or two on the pan, and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Makes 9-10.

Milk note: How much milk you use will depend on the consistency of your brand of non-dairy yogurt. Some brands are quite dense and thick, so I find I may need another 1-2 tbsp of milk. Other vegan yogurts are much looser, and you may need just 3 tbsp of milk. Start with 3 when whisking the wet ingredients, and then with folding through, if the mixture is very stiff, add the 1-2 tbsp of extra milk.

Berry Note: If using frozen berries, baking time may be a little longer. Test, and give another minute or two if needed to set. With raspberries, the color will bleed a little more, but flavor is delicious!

Yogurt Note: If you only have vanilla yogurt, you can use it, but reduce the maple syrup so the scuffins aren’t too sweet. Use 1/3 maple syrup, and use the extra couple tablespoons of milk.

Vanilla Cashew Yogurt – vegan, soy-free, gluten-free

Hi kids!

It feels like forever since I last posted. If you could see a glimpse of my life, well, I’m not going to pretend I’m keeping it all together in fine fashion. With the girls having summer break, puppy training, doing the photo shoot for the cover of “Plant-Powered Families” (and twice!), a couple of family health incidents (everything’s ok now), and editing my book… it’s been crazytown!

And the editing, oh the editing. So. Sloooooow.

Vanilla Cashew Yogurt - from Dreena Burton, plant-powered kitchen - #vegan #soyfree #glutenfree #dairyfree

But I won’t drone on about all that. Wait. I have. 😉 Well then! I’ll now stop and get too the yummy goods. Because I’ve had these pretty photos and recipe ready to share for far too long.

We’ve been in a breakfast rut lately interchanging whole-grain waffles with oatmeal, always paired with green smoothies. I haven’t been testing a lot of breakfast recipes, and we are in this summer haze of changing schedules and seemingly endless disorganization. But, when I do break out of the waffle/oatmeal breakfast rut, the girls are especially giddy.

Vanilla Cashew Yogurt - from Dreena Burton, plant-powered kitchen - #vegan #dairyfree #soyfree #glutenfree

These Vanilla Cashew Yogurt parfaits are an especially easy and fast breakfast treat. They look so elegant but really quite simple to make. You can prepare the yogurt the day before, and then layer your favorite fruits into parfaits the next morning. Put them in special cups or parfait glasses and the kiddos think it’s very fancy. (My wee girl said “this is the best day ever“!) :)

The parfaits start with Vanilla Cashew Yogurt. When I wrote LTEV I used storebought vegan yogurts in several of the recipes – the Creamed Cheese Brownies, the Gluten-Free Chocolate Yogurt Cake, and the Banana Butter Pie (I have GOT to get that recipe and photos up for you)! I went a little overboard offering allergy-friendly and storebought substitutions with LTEV, so I decided to include a homemade yogurt recipe.

This Vanilla Yogurt is not exactly like storebought brands. It’s not cultured with probiotics. What it does offer is the characteristic tang and texture of a plain or vanilla non-dairy yogurt. While it doesn’t include the priobiotics, you can easily add your own probiotics when eating. (I add probiotics to storebought vegan yogurts all the time!). Just open a capsule of whatever probiotic you are using, and stir it into the yogurt.

Enjoy this yogurt straight up or as a topping for granola, baked goods, or to layer in breakfast parfaits. Here, they are layered with fresh kiwi, nectarines, and blueberries. Many other fruits could be used, and in the fall an apple/pear/orange combination would be tremendous! You could also layer in homemade granola for an even heartier breakfast (or snack).

The recipe follows. If you’ve already tried it, please share you how you’ve enjoy it.

Vanilla Cashew Yogurt - from Dreena Burton, plant-poweredkitchen -#vegan #dairyfree #glutenfree #soyfree

Vanilla Cashew Yogurt from Let Them Eat Vegan

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This cashew-based yogurt is an excellent substitute for commercially prepared soy, coconut, and other non-dairy yogurts in recipes.  Plus, it’s tasty straight off a spoon!

1 cup presoaked raw cashews

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (preferably organic)

1 1/2 – 2 tbsp lemon juice (see note)

1 tbsp pure maple syrup

1/3 cup non-dairy milk (or more to thin if desired; but keep to 1/3 cup for use in recipes)

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract OR 1/4 – 1 /2 tsp vanilla bean powder

pinch salt

In a high-powered blender, puree all ingredients until very smooth.  If using a standard blender, this may take a few minutes, and scraping down the sides a few times throughout.  Serve, or store in an airtight container.  Makes about 1 1/4 cups.

Kid-Friendly Notes:

  • I created this yogurt primarily as a substitute for premade yogurts in my recipes (ex: BF Blueberry Muffins,  Fresh Orange Cake). As such, it isn’t overly sweet. Feel free to make it a little more fun for your little ones, by stirring in extra maple syrup, or try a few spoonfuls of a berry, peach, or other fruit jam.
  • Also note that this yogurt is nutritious for little ones that might not otherwise eat nuts or nut butters because of textural issues – nuts being too hard, and nut butters too sticky. This recipe brings cashews into a pudding-like form that can you can customize with extra flavor and sweetness!

If This Apron Could Talk:

  • Use 1 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice for use in recipes, and if you’d like it tangier for eating straight, add the extra lemon juice to taste.
  • Probiotics Note: Feel free to add probiotics (by breaking open acapsule), and stir into this yogurt.

Shout-out again to Emma Potts for these exceptionally delicious photographs! I’ll be back soon (fingers crossed) with a Summer Chickpea Salad!