Photos: Plant-Powered Families Book Signing

Last weekend was my first book signing for Plant-Powered Families – at MeeT restaurant. MeeT has only been open since last August, and is already a wildly popular vegan and gluten-free restaurant in Vancouver. If you are local, you must get in for some delicious plant-powered food!

Today I thought I’d share some photos from the event…

We had a gorgeous sunny Saturday morning, stacking up the books:

Plant-Powered Families Book Signing - MeeT Restaurant www.plantpoweredkitchen.com

Putting out the food samples, we had Crazy Brownies, Red Lentil Hummus, Southwest Quinoa Salad, and Almond Zen Granola (all from PPF, of course).

Plant-Powered Families Book Signing - MeeT Restaurant www.plantpoweredkitchen.com

Our eldest daughter (Charlotte) helping set out the food. Those of you that have Vive le Vegan from 2004 – yep, that’s her!

Plant-Powered Families book signing www.plantpoweredkitchen.com

Crazy Brownies moment. Make them, k? They are quickly becoming one of the ‘hot’ recipes in PPF.

Crazy Brownies from Plant-Powered Families book signing www.plantpoweredkitchen.com

Squeezing in some of my other titles….

Plant-Powered Families book signing www.plantpoweredfamilies.com

SURPRISE! Elsa made an appearance. Yes, Frozen still alive and well in our household.

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Where is that recipe?…

Plant-Powered Families Book signing www.plantpoweredkitchen.com

Catching up with Laura Simonson, and meeting Anna Pelzer

Plant-Powered Families book signing www.plantpoweredkitchen.com

Signing books…

Plant-Powered Famlies Book Signing www.plantpoweredkitchen.com

Meeting beautiful local mamas Tara and Denise (from our Plant-Powered Families FB group)…

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um, I think Denise and I are sisters separated at birth…

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Funny side-story: I come from a family of 6 girls, all with “D” names. Denise has 4 daughters, all “D” names. Whaaaaat? Right?!!

and Tara wins the FABULOUS Hippie Foods door prize!

Hippie Foods Prize awarded! At Plant-Powered Families book signing www.plantpoweredkitchen.com

After the event, I settle in with the fam for a delicious lunch at MeeT. Elsa joined us. 😉

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And, MeeT surprised us with lunch ‘on the house’! Awesome. We love this place.

Yup.

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Thanks to MeeT for hosting my signing. Thanks to my family for supporting me, as always. And, thanks to those of you that joined us for the fun.

Have you been to MeeT restaurant? What’s your favorite menu item?

photo thanks to Jackie Picard :)

“Raisinet” Cookies (vegan)

Halloween was quite a success here. Success meaning my kids had a blast collecting candy… success really meaning they didn’t eat 99% of the candy!

One of my strategies for candy-holidays (Halloween, birthday parties, etc) is to offer the girls some better vegan treats, either storebought (ex: ice cream sandwiches) or a homemade goodie. I often make my pumpkin chia pudding or candy apples for Halloween, but this year, I baked cookies.

"Raisinet" Cookies by Dreena Burton #vegan

I’ve been baking these Raisinet Cookies from LTEV lately, and posting pics on instagram. I promised to share the recipe, and just realized this is the sweetest time to do so! Bake up a batch, and see how easy it is to swap out that junk your kiddos might be hoarding in their rooms.

Note: The original recipe in LTEV does not have an oil-free option, but I’ve included one here. Do not simply substitute applesauce. It is not the answer to replacing oil in all recipes, and particularly not in cookies. With most cookies, you want to retain a slightly chewy, crisp texture – and applesauce will make them moist. So, include some whole-foods fat, here I’ve used some nut butter, with a few other simple modifications (all noted below). :)

"Raisinet" Cookies by Dreena Burton #vegan

“Raisinet” Cookies

link to print/share recipe

If you were once a fan of Raisinets (or Glosette Raisins), you’ll love these cookies! Of course—chocolate-covered raisins! They capture the flavor and texture of that chocolate and raisins combination, in a satisfying vegan cookie.

1 cup sifted spelt flour

1⁄3 to 1⁄2 rolled oats (see note)

1⁄4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon baking powder

1⁄4 teaspoon (rounded) baking soda

1⁄4 cup raisins

1⁄4 cup vegan chocolate chips (smaller-size chips are good, such as the Enjoy Life brand)

3 tablespoons coconut sugar (or other unrefined sugar; use just 2 tbsp oil-free version, see note)

1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt

1⁄3 cup pure maple syrup (+ another 1 tbsp for oil-free, see note)

1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses

1 1⁄2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1⁄4 cup neutral-flavored oil OR 3 – 3 1/2 tbsp nut butter (ex: almond butter, see note for oil-free)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, combine the flour, oats, and cocoa, sifting in the baking powder and baking soda. Add the raisins, chips, sugar, and salt, and stir well. In a separate bowl, first combine the maple syrup with the molasses and vanilla, then stir in the nut butter/oil until well mixed. Add the wet mixture to the dry, and stir until just incorporated. Place spoonfuls of the batter (about 1 tablespoon each) on the prepared baking sheet and flatten a little. Bake for 11 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool on the pan for just a minute (not much longer, to prevent drying), then transfer to a cooling rack.

Oats Note: Using 1⁄3 cup of oats will give a slightly softer cookie that spreads a little more when baking. Using 1⁄2 cup will give a firmer cookie treat.

Oil-Free Note: For the oil-free adaptation, you will need to reduce the dry sweetener slightly and increase the liquid sweetener. So, use just 2 tbsp coconut sugar, and add another 1 tbsp of maple syrup. Start with 3 tbsp nut butter, and add the extra 1/2 tbsp if needed to bring the batter together.

(p.s. Before Halloween I did an interview with the fabulous Brian Patton, aka The Sexy Vegan about Halloween. Have a listen if you want to hear our chat. And if you don’t want to listen to candy talk, you will want to hear the first half of his podcast. He gives the BEST overview of vegan cheeses – reviewing vegan cheeses of the past, present, and exciting vegan cheese days ahead! It’s a bit like a ‘Cheesy’  Christmas Carol!)

Ok, that’s all for today. Hope you love the cookies! There are always more waiting. :)

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.

14 Recipe Ideas for New Year’s Eve!

As we clue up 2013, I thank you for being part of this community. I value your engagement through comments and feedback, and also your support and generous compliments. Let’s enjoy much more plant-powered goodness in this coming new year!

14 party ideas to ring in a healthy, compassionate 2014!

Whether you are having a quiet night at home, or celebrating with a new year’s eve party, I have a vegan recipe round-up to make your evening delicious!

Here are 14 party food ideas to help you ring in a healthy, compassionate 2014!

The countdown (in no particular order other than ending with a dessert!)…

14. Wonder Spread. I just posted this one, so you probably don’t need reminding. Actually, maybe you do! Make it! It’s scrumptious slathered on some great artisan breads – or for baked potatoes. You could also thin it out and toss into quinoa or drizzle over broiled asparagus or steamed broccolini.

Wonder Spread - by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen

13. Rawesome Nut Dip. Serve it a bowl with crackers (raw or otherwise), or tucked into mini bell peppers, endive leaves, or cherry tomatoes. Or, use it as a filling for rolls for finger food (ex: baked mini phyllo rolls).


12. Creamy Artichoke Dip.  I know I’ve talked about this one a lot, but that’s only because it is freaking amazing, and readers are LOVING it!

creamyartichokespinachdipLZ
photo credit: 86lemons.com

11. Falafels with Smoky Tahini Sauce.  I served these for a holiday get-together one year, along with the Quinoa Nicoise (in LTEV), and the Lemon-Rosemary Potatoes and Creamy Hummus (both from Vive le Vegan!) – HUGE hit!


10.  Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Croquettes with Pumpkin Seed Chipotle Cream These are so incredibly tasty, your guests will deem you some sort of flavor wizard that has revitalized their tired holiday tastebuds! Definitely a dish to impress (but not that difficult to make)!

Black Bean, Sweet Potato, Quinoa Croquettes with Pumpkin Seed Chipotle Cream

9. Mini-Burgers. Take a favorite burger recipe, and make mini-patties, for sliders, or for dipping. Try Mediterranean Bean Burgers from LTEVNutty Veggie BurgersMushroom Pecan Burgers, or the now very popular Umami Almond Burgers!

mushroompecanburgers

8. Chickpea Salad Rolls. These are fresh and fast, and the salad mixture is a little like a mock tuna salad, but far lighter without vegan mayo.  Roll in leafy greens like chard, romaine leaves, or steamed collards, in rice paper rolls, or make into more elegant finger sandwiches.


7. Moroccan Bean Stew. If you are having a cozy, homey New Year’s Eve and want a soup, this is one of my favorites. It is special and elegant enough to serve to guests, and is also delicious paired with breads with the  from LTEV.

Moroccan Bean Stew

6. Vegveeta Dip. I need to say little other than – YUMMY! 😀  Mix in a few spoonfuls of salsa, and serve up with tortilla chips. Easy as that.


5. Cannellini Bean Sweet Potato Hummus. There is a hummus for every occasion! For New Year’s Eve, skip the traditional puree and try this sweet and smoky version. This recipe is a bit of a hidden gem, give it a try! Roasted Red Pepper Almond Hummus is another goody.

4. Kale Slaw.  Even less adventurous foodie guests will enjoy this salad because the dressing coats the ingredients so scrumptiously!  The 3-Bean salad pictured would also be a great potluck salad – so simple you could throw it together last minute!

Kale-Slaw and 3-Bean Salad, Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen

3. Jerk Chickpeas or Chickpea Ratatouille. Have either dish potluck style with tortillas, rice, and avocado – you’re set!

Chickpea Ratatouille, by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen

2. Creamy Cashew Dip. Most folks are little tired of sugar-laden cookies at this point in the holidays. This dip is lightly sweetened, and pairs well with fruit. Also, those Softly Spiced Nuts peeking out in the bottom right hand corner make a fine nibbly New Year’s Eve party snack!

creamycashewdipedbv

1. Easy, Healthy Dessert Bars. If you’d like to make a cookie treat, but want something healthier, opt for Frosted BrawniesRaw Chai Bars with Creamed Cheese Frosting, or the new Vanilla Bean Almond Fudge. All will satisfy your sweet tooth, all very easy to make!

Raw Chai Bars with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting - photo by Lisa Pitman
Photo credit: Lisa Pitman, veganculinarycrusade.com

These are all very omni-friendly recipes too. Nothing too unusual for those new to plant-based dishes. Just some really good food… made with really good ingredients!

Wishing you a blessed and healthy New Year! What plant-powered dishes are you making to ring in 2014?  xx

Raw Strawberry Pie (vegan, raw, gluten-free, oil-free)

We are fortunate to enjoy the celebrations for BOTH Canada Day and the 4th of July! We live close to the U.S. border, so we have our own local festivities and fireworks for July 1st, and then take in the fireworks for Independence Day the following weekend.

Raw Strawberry Pie #vegan #glutenfree #raw www.plantpoweredkitchen.com

When a reader shared her recent love and photo of my Raw Strawberry Pie on my facebook page recently, I knew I wanted to post there recipe for you soon. I’ve been in such a flurry with end-of-year recitals, rehearsals, parties, and school activities that it just occurred to me that our holiday weekends are almost here! This pie from Let Them Eat Vegan is absolutely perfect. Not only is it seasonal, beautiful, fragrant and delicious – there is no cooking required! While that isn’t a problem for me (we’ve had weeks of cool temps and rain), I figure many of you aren’t interested in actually baking a pie!

But how about just making a pie? No heat required for this gorgeous, crowd-pleasing, bursting-with-summer-fresh-flavor pie! The recipe follows, along with a few other ideas for your Canada Day and Fourth of July parties.

Raw Strawberry Pie  by Dreena Burton #vegan #raw #glutenfree www.plantpoweredkitchen.com

Raw Strawberry Pie (photo credit: Nicole Axworthy) gluten-free, raw, soy-free, sugar-free

Click through to print/share this recipe

One summer after picking buckets full of local ripe strawberries, I wanted to make a pie deserving of their glorious, fresh flavor. I created this pie, and it did the strawberries proud!

Crust:

1 cup raw pecans

3/4 cup raw walnuts

1 cup (packed) pitted dates

¼ tsp (scant) sea salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Filling:

3 cups fresh strawberries (measured whole if small, or cut in half if large; these are for filling, you will need extra for garnishing if desired)

3/4 cup raw cashews, unsoaked (see note)

3-4 tbsp raw agave nectar (can substitute pure maple syrup if preferred; start with 3, adjust to taste)

1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Couple pinches sea salt

1 tsp lemon zest (stir in after pureeing)

Extra strawberries for garnishing, optional

Lightly oil a pie plate with coconut or another oil. Prepare the crust: Place all the crust ingredients in a food processor and pulse briefly until crumbly and the mixture will hold together when pressed with your fingers. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pie plate, pressing it evenly into the pan. Prepare the filling: Place all the filling ingredients, except the lemon zest (and starting with 3 tablespoons of the agave nectar/maple syrup), in a high-powered blender (I use Blendtec). Puree for a minute or so at medium-high speed until completely smooth and no texture of the cashews remains. Taste, and add the remaining tablespoon of agave, if needed, to sweeten, and puree again. Once smooth, stir in the lemon zest. Pour the filling into the crust, then cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and place the pie in the freezer for at least 5 to 6 hours to set. After this time, the pie will be partially set, but can be sliced. You can freeze it longer, and remove the pie about 20 minutes before serving, to slice easily. Serves 6-8.

Ingredients 411: It is preferable to use unsoaked cashews because they have less moisture, and then can absorb some of the moisture from the strawberries as the pie sets. If using local seasonal berries, they tend to be softer and juicier than imported. Opt for another 2 tablespoons of cashews to help absorb the extra juices.

Did I mention some other party food ideas? Yes!…

Sweet:

Raspberry Pudding Parfaits!: Layer my Raw Raspberry Almond Pudding as parfaits with non-dairy yogurt OR Lemon-Scented Whipped Cream (LTEV) along with fresh raspberries and/or blueberries!

Strawberry-Goji Smoothies: Easy-peasy, brighten up with a few fresh berries on each, voila!

Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches: Have you forgotten about my Snifferdoodles? Ok, keep it classic with chocolate chip cookies if you must. 😉

Apple-Of-My-Eye Pie: Nothing more American than apple pie, right? Us Canucks love it too.

Savory:

Chickpea Ratatouille: It’s certainly bright and colorful and boasting red. Maybe add a bowl of blue corn chips on the side for a 4th of July potluck?

Thai Chick-Un Pizza: Ok, this has no particular Canadian or American theme, but hey, it’s great party food. And ridiculously delicious. There!

Veggie Burgers: Hearty recipes for burgers that HOLD together, and are full of flavor!

Dips: From a Creamy Artichoke Spinach, to Hummuses (Hummu? Hummi? we need a plural, people!), and Olive Tapenade, this dippy gal has got you covered!

Too hot to Cook?: Try one of these cool, hearty salads – OR – quickly transform your greens, leftover grains, and spuds with these no-cook pasta sauces.

What are you doing for your holiday weekend? Do you have any other easy, festive food ideas to share? Have fun! :)

(p.s. Don’t miss any plant-powered updates, subscribe here!)

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?

Sugar-Free Vegan Caramel Apples

Did you love caramel and candy apples as a kid?

Sugar-free caramel apples by Dreena Burton, Plant-Powered Kitchen #vegan #glutenfree

I sure did, though as a juvenile junk-food-junkie, I opted to eat the caramel or candy – but leave the apple behind (so sad)!  Don’t believe this ‘Queen Bean’ had such a penchant for junk? … Proof that my sweet tooth started pretty darn early… frosting was my gateway to mars bars, fun dip, Mackintosh’s toffee, and pixy sticks.

2 year old sugar boost!

These days I prefer a treat without the processed sugars, chemicals and colors… and a caramel apple that won’t pull out a filling! (The candy of my youth has provided comfortable living for quite a few dentists!)

In my prevegan days, I once made more traditional caramel apples. They were messy, sticky, and SO much clean-up. I can assure you these caramel apples are far easier – yes, some prep and cleaning, but much simpler.

These apples are made with a date caramel, which is pretty effortless compared to stovetop caramel – it just requires a couple of steps (soaking the dates, then draining and processing with a few other ingredients).  Once the caramel is made, you smooth a layer around your apples of choice, and add a coating (if you like).  Here is the caramel, up close!

Let’s talk about the apples for a moment…

I think one of the reasons I never cared much for the actual apple part in those candy and caramel apples of my youth is because it was typically a McIntosh apple.  I’m not a fan of McIntosh apples to begin with – a little sour and mealy for my liking, I prefer a crisp, crunchy, sweet apple like Gala, Fuji, Spartan, or Sweet Orin.  So, as a kid, to bite through a sweet, sticky caramel coating into a sour apple… not my idea of food fun.  Might be appreciated by older kids and adults, but for me – did NOT work.

You can choose any apple you like for these treats, but I opt for one of the sweeter, crisper varieties mentioned above.  Then… for coatings.  In these photos you’ll see I”ve used coconut (unsweetened), and also grated chocolate (use a vegetable peeler to get some shavings from a chocolate bar).  Obviously if using the dark chocolate these apples aren’t entirely sugar-free – but with a good quality, higher cocoa content dark chocolate, the sugar content is much lower than a milk chocolate.  Then, do you see the other coating?  That is almond meal!  I think it is fabulous with the caramel. You could also combine the almond meal with dark chocolate, that would be incredible. At first, I wasn’t sure if the almond meal would fly, but it DOES.  And, because it is much finer than chopped nuts, it holds to the caramel very well!

I think I’ve talked enough, it’s time to snack! Enjoy…

Healthy, Sugar-Free Vegan Caramel Apples gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free

RECIpage link to print/share

1 1/2 cups pitted dates, lightly packed

1/2 cup plain non-dairy milk (to soak dates)

3 1/2 – 4 tbsp raw cashew butter (see note and can substitute)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract (or the seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean)

1/8 tsp (rounded) sea salt

couple pinches freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

4-6 organic apples (or more, depending on size)

popsicle sticks or spoons

Coatings: unsweetened shredded coconut, grated chocolate, mini chocolate chips, chopped dried cranberries, almond meal!, chopped pecans, etc.

First, combine the dates with the non-dairy milk in a bowl.  Let soak for about an hour.  Then, drain the dates, gently pushing the excess milk through a sieve.  In a food processor, combine the dates with the cashew butter, vanilla, and sea salt (and nutmeg, if using).  Process until very smooth, scraping down the processor bowl as needed, and puree again.  This will take several minutes.  Transfer to a container and refrigerate.  When ready to coat your apples, insert a popsicle stick into the stem end of each apple (if you don’t have any sticks handy, try inverting a spoon so you insert the handle into the apple and you hold the rounded ‘spoon’ end).  Then, simply lift the apple and use a butter knife or spatula to coat your apples with the caramel (not too thick as the caramel is very sweet, but thick enough for it to be substantial and for the toppings to adhere).  Place in a container or on a tray or baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and serve, or refrigerate for up to a day before serving.

Nut butter Notes:  I really like raw cashew butter in this caramel for a couple of reasons.  First, it is a very thick/dense nut butter, so it helps make the caramel a little thicker.  Second, it has a mellow, soft taste that works well in this caramel.  But, you could substitute regular cashew butter, or raw/regular almond butter, or macadamia butter.  So, for best flavor I’d choose either cashew, almond, or macadamia nut butter.  If you have a nut allergy, you can either opt for sunflower butter (and maybe add some cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice – it IS pumpkinfest! – to the mixture to bump up the flavor), or omit altogether and just have a date paste.  This also works if you want to reduce the fat content in the caramel – you can either reduce the nut butter or omit it altogether.

Kitchen Tip:  This makes a softer caramel, easy for spreading.  If you’d like a firmer caramel, simply omit the soaking step, and combine the dates with the cashew buttter (or other nut butter), using the full 4 tbsp (1/4 cup).  The mixture will form into a ball in the food processor.  You can use it to roll for little chewable caramels for children that can be left as is, or coated in grated chocoate (or ground chocolate chips).

Leftovers?: If you have leftover date caramel, it can be kept in a container, refrigerated, for a week or longer.  Use it as a spread for toast, sliced apple or pear, muffins, crisp breads, etc.

Have you ever made caramel apples?  What is your apple of choice?

This recipe has been submitted for the FoodiePages CHEF’S BOX Challenge – wish me luck!

Pumpkin Chia Pudding and Raw Chocolate Pudding Parfait Cups

Halloween is fast-approaching, and I thought I’d bring you a sweet treat to please kids and adults alike.  Double-duty: This would also make a beautiful holiday dessert for those of you now looking forward to Thanksgiving.  With how much our family loves my Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding (and how well received it was by all of you), I decided to create a Pumpkin Chia Pudding.

This parfait is a combination of the Pumpkin Chia Pudding and a Raw Chocolate Dream Mousse from Let Them Eat Vegan. This mousse is actually the pie filling for a full chocolate raw pie (page 245, LTEV)  Have any of you made this pie, as a side note?

These puddings are spectacular all on their own – our whole family loves them. Put them together… outstanding! Layer one pudding on top of the other, and finish with some chocolate shavings – so simple.

Raw Chocolate Dream Mousse (recipe from LTEV)

 LINK for RECIpage to print/share

Creamy, chocolaty, luscious. Yet no sugar, no flour, no oil. Yes, chocolate dreams do come true. This mousse is adaptable and can be accented with other flavors, such as orange zest (or orange oil), almond extract, or mint (leaves or extract).

1 cup avocado flesh (cut in chunks or slices, roughly 1 large or 1 – 1/2 medium avocados; be sure they are soft and ripe, not hard)

1/2 cup soaked raw cashews

1/2 cup nut milk (or other non-dairy milk if non-raw)

1/2 cup pitted dates

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1/3 cup raw cocoa powder

1/2 -1 tsp pure vanilla extract (see note)

1/8 tsp sea salt

Place all the filling ingredients in a high-powered blender and puree for a minute or so on at medium-high speed, until completely smooth and no texture of the cashews re- mains. Stop to scrape down the blender and redistribute the ingredients. Puree again until very, very smooth – like a velvety pudding. This will take a few starts and stops for scraping down, even with a high-powered blender. Once the mixture is readily churning and smooth, it’s ready.

Savvy Subs and Adds: If you’d prefer not to use vanilla extract, use the seeds from one vanilla bean.

Note: For a nut-free pudding, I’d suggest using the “Raw Orange Chocolate Pudding” recipe from LTEV, page. 237.

Pumpkin Chia Pudding

 LINK to RECIpage to print/share

Easy to make, healthy, and scrumptious… you just might find yourself making this pumpkin pudding year-round!

3/4 cup pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix, see note)

3/4 cup plain or vanilla unsweetenednon-dairy milk (see note)

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1-2 tbsp coconut sugar (or pinch stevia, see note)

3 tbsp white chia seeds (black will discolor pudding some)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/8 tsp allspice

pinch ground ginger (optional, I omit it when making for the kiddos)

1/8 tsp sea salt (slightly rounded)

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (or vanilla seeds from one bean)

Optional toppings: shaving of dark chocolate, vegan cookie crumbles (see note), and the Coconut Whipped Cream from LTEV would be a phenomenal topping!

In a blender, add all ingredients. Blend for a minute or more (depending on blender, my Blendtec pulverizes the seeds quickly), until the seeds are fully pulverized and the pudding begins to thicken (it will thicken more as it refrigerates). Taste, and if you’d like it sweeter, add a teaspoon or two more of coconut sugar or maple syrup (not too much maple syrup or it will become loose). Transfer mixture to a large bowl/dish, and refrigerate until chilled, about 1/2 hour or more (it will thicken more with chilling, but really can be eaten straight away.). Serve, sprinnkling with optional toppings if desired.

Milk Note:  I typically use unsweetened almond milk (either plain or vanilla) when I make this pudding.  If you are using a sweetened vanilla milk, reduce the sweetener to taste.

Pumpkin note: Canned pumpkin can really vary in consistency.  Some are thinner, others a little more loose.  I use Farmers Market brand which is very thick and dense, and bonus – organic.

Sweetener Note: I love coconut sugar, and I think it adds a buttery-sweet note to recipes.  You may not need/want it in this pudding, the maple syrup may add enough sweetness for your taste (and the type of milk used will also affect sweetness).  If you’d rather use stevia, add just a pinch or two and test along the way, as too must stevia can ruin the flavor.  You can also add a little extra maple syrup, but no more than about a tablespoon or two, as the pudding can become a little loose.

Idea: Serve paired with crumbled ‘Gingery Cookies’ from LTEV, or ‘Snifferdoodles’, or a vegan graham-type cookie.  It will taste like pumpkin pie in a bowl!

 

You should know that I used some pretty large cups for these parfaits – one of these cups would be enough for two people.  I’d say that the two of these puddings together would serve 4-5 for dessert.  

And, here’s what typically happens before, during, or after a food photo in my house… curious fingers…

and now check this out…

Poking at the chia seeds is one thing, but hands off mama’s chocolate! 😀

 

Will you be making healthy Halloween treats?  Do tell!

Nutty Banana Pops: 5 minutes, 5 easy steps!

I mocked up these Nutty Banana Pops for the girls one day.  They are the easiest treat to make that I want to share them with you.  There’s not even a recipe, just a how-to.  I think some of you will appreciate that, because sometimes we just want ideas instead of specific ingredients and recipe ‘rules’!

These can be made in about five minutes, and are easy as 1, 2, 3 (okay… and 4, 5)

  1. Get a couple of bananas, peel and cut in half, and place on a plate or sheet of parchment.  I used fairly ripe nanners, and I learned they were a little too soft.  So, either just perfectly ripe, or even a touch more yellow-green.
  2. Shmear on (yes, that is shmancy culinary talk) some peanut butter, nut butter, or seed butter (sunflower, hemp).  I did one batch with pb, another with almond butter. The nut butter part gets a bit messy, but is easier if the bananas aren’t too soft.
  3. On a plate or another sheet of parchment, mix a few toppings.  I chose brown rice crisp cereal, unsweetened shredded coconut, and mini vegan chocolate chips for one batch, the other more brown rice crisp cereal and Mum’s coconut cocoa nibs.  Other ideas?… chopped cranberries (colorful), hemp seeds, crushed nuts, cocoa powder, coconut sugar… to name a few!
  4. Take a stick (I used wooden kebab sticks and trimmed the pointy end so no dangerous sharp edges) and insert (precut end, not the end you cut) into wide end of banana halves.
  5. Roll in the toppings.  Voila!  Banana Pops!

I froze the pops, because I wanted them cool during the summer heat, and also wanted to save a few for later.  (If freezing, you can slide a small baking tray right under the parchment and transfer to the freezer.)  But, if you are having a play date or something with a group of children, you could simply serve up as is – plus the kids can get involved in the process!

(Photo story:  My photo shoot for these pops amused the family.  Our eldest daughter has been working out all summer to make a girls’ rep hockey team in September.  So, she is in the family room doing squats and lunges and the like, and sees her mom running through the garden with banana pops and then no banana pops and instead some flowers.  She said “Dad, what is mom doing, is she okay out there?, she’s running awful fast“… They soon laugh at me when I explain that I had positioned the banana pops outside for a pic, but had to move fast before the flies and wasps got into the scene – so I’m running back and forth, thinking some flowers might look nice in the pic, and all the while trying to protect my pops!)  I have mentioned before that I’m a food geek.  A little nutters you could say.  Nutty Banana Pops very fitting.

Think you’ll try these?  What will you choose for nut butter/topping combos?  Enjoy! :)

Short and Sweet: Creamed Cheese Brownies with Salted Dark Chocolate Topping

 

Who am I kidding?  There’s nothing short about that recipe name!  But it IS sweet!  And this post will be short. Together: short and sweet!

Short post today because I’ve been up to my plant-powered eyeballs all week: prepping food samples for my book launch at Chapters tomorrow, preparing for in-laws visiting, and planning for when I take off to Summerfest.  Add that to daily life as a mom-of-three and the word “busy” just scratches the surface.

So, enough jibba-jabba.  Today you’re getting the recipe for my Creamed Cheese Brownies with Salted Dark Chocolate Topping (from LTEV).  Despite the name, there is NO vegan cream cheese in them (remember, I don’t use these vegan subs in LTEV).  These brownies are being tweeted left, right and centre lately, so here they are!

Creamed Cheese Brownies with Salted Dark Chocolate Topping wheat-free, soy-free RECIpage link here.

No processed vegan cream cheese to be found in these deep, rich, fudgy brownies. Cashews stand in for a cream cheese–like layer, which takes these brownies to, “OMG these are freaking good!” ’Nuff said—go make them.

Creamed Cheese Layer:

1 cup soaked cashews

2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tbsp water

1 tbsp  pure maple syrup

2 tbsp vanilla non-dairy yogurt (if using coconut yogurt instead of soy, add another 1 tsp lemon juice)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/8 tsp (rounded) sea salt

Brownie Layer:

1 cup + 2 tbsp sifted (or light) spelt flour

¾ cup unrefined sugar

½ tsp sea salt

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 ½ tsp baking powder

1 tbsp arrowroot powder

3 tbsp pure maple syrup

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

¼ cup + 1 tbsp plain or vanilla non-dairy milk

3½ tbsp neutral-flavored oil

Topping:

1/3 – ½ cup chocolate chunks (use a good quality dark chocolate bar, and break/ cut into small chunks)

Few pinches coarse sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square cake pan with parchment paper. Prepare cream cheese layer: Puree all those ingredients with an immersion or high-speed blender until very, very smooth (a mini food processor can also be used, but it usually doesn’t produce as smooth a texture as does an immersion blender). Process for several minutes, if necessary, until very smoothed out. Prepare the brownie layer: In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt, and sift in the cocoa and baking powder. In a small bowl, first combine the arrowroot with the maple syrup, stirring until smooth, then add the vanilla, milk, and oil. Add the wet mixture to the dry. Stir until evenly mixed and thick. Transfer about two-thirds of the mixture to the prepared pan. Use a square of parchment to help the press mixture into the pan evenly and spread it out. Spread the cream cheese layer over the top. Then, as best as you can, spread the remaining brownie batter over the cheese layer. You can take pieces and lightly spread first with your fingers and place in patches over the cream cheese layer—and it doesn’t have to fully cover; there can be spaces—most will fill in and come together while baking.  Add the topping: Place the chocolate chunks on top, and then sprinkle with the salt. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan, running a spatula around the outer edge to loosen. (The brownies will appear not fully cooked, but do not cook longer—I repeat, do not cook longer! Instead, let cool and they will become fudgy!) Once cooled, score the brownies with a sharp knife to ease cutting the chocolate before it completely hardens. Then refrigerate brownies to cool more, cut into squares and dig in!  Makes 16-20 brownies.

If This Apron Could Talk: Trust the baking process! The amount of batter used for the base—and then topping— looks like it cannot possibly fill out to form a beautiful brownie. Lucky for us, the oven creates some magic in about half an hour!

Enjoy your weekend, and enjoy the brownies.  Tweet ’em, stumble ’em, pin ’em… just be sure to BAKE ’em!  :)(and for those of you asking, here is how you can subscribe to my posts!)