Thursday, December 13, 2012

50 Carrot Cake - Vegan and Gluten-free

Last week I baked five different cake experiments, in hopes of finding the perfect carrot cake recipe for my parent's 50th wedding anniversary.  Mom requested carrot cake, so carrot cake it will be.  But you know, I'm not the greatest cake baker.  Even back when I ate wheat and and all things dairy, I didn't really do cake much.  I'd rather eat pie, or something smooth and creamy.   But Mom and Dad have been married 50 years.  That's notable.  They deserve a delicious, beautiful cake in honor of all their committed years together.

My first experiment was one recipe divided in half.  One used eggs. (I know, not vegan, but I had to know if they were necessary).  One containted egg replacer.  The egg cake was fluffier, but it fell apart as I was taking it out of the pan.  The egg replacer cake held together, and it wasn't too dense, at least for a carrot cake.  The cake tasted good, but was too moist, turning kind of wet by the next day.  Cake three was just "ok".  But nothing else.  Cake four turned nice, (thank you for sharing the recipe LaTeaDa) if you are looking for a cake with a full dose of sugar, oil and spice.  Mom and I thought it might make make a nice breakfast cake. But we were looking for something a little more mild, and it had to contain pineapple  So experiment 5 took place.  I used some ideas from cake two, and some of cake 4 along with some of my own ideas, and came out with what I considered to be a "perfect" vegan, gluten-free carrot cake.  I took some of the last two sample cakes to a potluck, and all of the mature ladies thought cake five was the best. 

Would you the recipe?  I'll add photos after the party.

50 Carrot Cake - Vegan and Gluten-free

Step 1:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray two 8" cake pans, and then dust with flour, then set aside.

Step 2:  Chunky ingredients.
Get the following ingredients ready.  Place together in one bowl, ready to ready to mix in at the end.

1 cup crushed pineapple, drained, (reserve 1/4 cup of the juice for step 4)
3/4 cup dried cranberries (or raisins)
2 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Step 3:  Dry ingredients.

Mix the following dry ingredients together into a large mixing bowl.  Mix together with a spoon until smooth and blended.

1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup white rice flour
1 t xanthan gum
1 t baking soda
2 1/2 t baking powder
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t cloves
1/4 t nutmeg
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 t sea salt

Step 4:  Wet ingredients.

Pour these wet ingredients into the large mixing bowl of dry ingredients in step 3.  Use a hand beater or stand mixer to mix these for a minute or so.

9 TBSP of Aquafaba OR Ener-G Egg Replacer for 3 eggs *
3/4 cup oil
1/4 cup pineapple juice (reserved in step 2)

Step 5: Final mix.

Add the chunky ingredients from step two into the large mixing bowl and mix them with the beater, until all mixed together.

Divide into the cake pans.  Set into the oven.  Bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes comes out clean.  Cool for at least 20 minutes in the pans, then remove.  Cool completely before eating.

*Note:  Aquafaba is the liquid in a can of cooked garbonzo beans.  You can use it straight from a can, or you can use the liquid for homecooked garbonzo beans.  3 TBSP Aquafaba = 1 egg.  

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pumpkin Muffin Recipe - Gluten-free, Vegan and Updated

 For quite a while now I have needed photos of my very successful and popular Pumpkin Muffin Recipe - gluten-free, vegan and delicious.  This morning I made another batch, which turned out splendidly, I might add, and I grabbed my camera as soon as they were out of the oven.  They need to cool just a little bit you know before you take a bit out one.  I don't want anyone to burn their mouth. 

So hurry over to my Pumpkin Muffin recipe, gather the ingredients and make yourself a nice batch of yummy, moist muffins.  For those of you who have been there before, go ahead and take a look too, because I have tweaked the recipe, sharing a few improvements I've made. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner 2012

Thanksgiving dinner was fabulous.  We enjoyed the vegan, gluten-free dinner with my parents, and two other families, all of which brought food to contribute.  I had enough plates by alternating two sets of china.  There were just enough pieces of stem ware for everyone to enjoy some sweet apple cider brought by one of the guests.  She also brought a yummy apple crisp, topped with pecans, and a bowl of peas.  I'll have to see if she can share the recipe for the crisp.

Another family brought mashed potatoes, gluten-free vegan gravy with mushrooms, and homemade cranberry sauce.  To make the cranberry sauce she simply boiled one cup of fresh cranberries with 1 cup of pineapple juice with 1/4 cup of brown sugar for 15 minutes until the cranberries popped and became soft and thick.

I made some home made gluten-free, vegan stuffing with a loaf of frozen millet bread.  I sautéed some onions, garlic and celery and mushrooms.  I added sliced olives and some chopped walnuts.  I made up some chicken like broth with LaChicky seasoning and dried Italian herbs, (but I think I might like Bill's Best brand better).  Pour the broth over the cubbed millet bread, and stir, taste to make sure you like the flavors.  Place mixture in a casserole dish and let it set for a while to soak it all in, and then bake at 350 degrees until there is a nice crust on top.

I made some bake tofu slices as my kids requested.  I got some very, very firm tofu and sliced it into triangles the night before.  House Foods, organic 2 pound bricks is a brand I really like for this.  Softer tofu can work, but it is more likely to crumble.  I made a marinade sauce out of Bragg's liquid aminos, and lemon juice.  I spread the tofu triangles out in a pan, and poured the marinade over it and let it set overnight in the refrigerator.  First thing in the morning I turned all the pieces over so they could sit a while on the other side.  Later I made a breading meal out mostly nutritional yeast, with some rice flour and tapioca flour, onion powder, garlic powder and salt.  Then I dipped each triangle into the breading meal and put them on a sprayed cookie sheet.  The oven was pre-heating to 425 degrees.  I baked them about 25 minutes on each side.  They turned out great, a nice little cutlet for a turkey free table, and not fried either.

The entree was the Chickpea, Veggie Walnut Loaf, I posted earlier in the week.  I think I would make it again, but I think I might tweak the seasonings a little bit.  I definitely think it needed more dried cranberries, or a good dollop of cranberry sauce on top, but then I love cranberries.

The pies were the greatest success in my mind.  I loved how the pumpkin pies turned out, especially the crust.  But I am feeling a little guilty, because the crust was not low fat, but rather full fat.  But at least they weren't bricks or crumbles this year.  Gluten free crusts are so hard to manage, unless you add a good measure of fat.  So I can decide if I should tell you what the crust recipe was or not.  I don't want to lead anyone astray, but is going to be the recipe I made next time.  I love pies.  They have been one of my favorite desserts since I was a little girl, but I haven't made them very often for the last 5 years or so, because of the crust and fat problem.  If any of you wise gluten-free, vegan eaters can help me out, I would be very grateful. 

We are now taking a break before the next festive meals are upon us.

Friday, November 23, 2012

My New Favorite Vegan Pumpkin Pie Filling

Pumpkin Pie and Raisin Pie, ready for Thanksgiving dinner.
Thanksgiving dinner turned out to be a great success.  The table was surrounded by gluten-free, vegans, my soy, flax, and lentil -free friend, my peanut and almond -free daughter.  It was a challenge to make food everyone could eat, but we were successful.  But with that combination of people I couldn't make my regular pumpkin pie recipe, because it contains soy and flax.  I searched and thought until I came up with what I thought to be the perfect recipe.  And it is now my new favorite.  I hope you enjoy it too.

My New Favorite Vegan Pumpkin Pie Filling
  • 2 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup natural cane sugar, such as Florida Crystals
  • 1/4 cup full-fat coconut cream
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves
Mix together all the ingredients until smooth.  Pour into a pre-baked pie crust.  Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Note:  The dark colored pie in the photo is a raisin pie, made with a recipe from My Cozy Kitchen blog.  It was delicious, and we will make it again too.  I found it very easy to make, once you have a pie crust.  Gluten-free pie crust is another story, that I'll write about in another post sometime.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Chickpea Veggie Walnut Loaf - Gluten-free, Vegan

Chickpea Veggie Walnut Loaf

Gluten-free, Soy-free, Corn-free, Vegan

Saute, (then move to a large mixing bowl):
1 cup diced celery (about 2 stalks)
1 large onion diced
5 medium-large garlic cloves, pressed

Process in a food processor, (then move to a large mixing bowl):
3 cups of chickpeas, drained  (reserve an additional 3/4 cup chickpeas for later)
2 T lemon juice
1 T La Chicky seasoning, or other gluten-free, vegan chicken style seasoning, or tamari or Bragg's Liquid amionos
1 1/2 tsp italian herbs
2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 tsp dried basil
When finished with this group, rinse and dry the food processor bowl for the next step

Toast, (then move to a large mixing bowl)
1 cup of walnuts in a dry frying pan on medium-low heat, then place into the cleaned out food processor bowl and pulse to make crumbs with
3/4 cup of gluten free rolled oats (reserve an additional 1/2 cup of gluten-free rolled oats for later)

Add and Mix the remaining ingredients into the large mixing bowl with all the above.
3 cups shredded potatoes
1 cup shredded carrots
1 - 10oz. package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cooked garbonzo beans (the ones you reserved up above)
1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats (not processed)
1/4 cup tapioca starch

You may adjust the salt as needed according to if you used canned garbonzo beans or if you used the saltier canned beans.  I used home cooked garbonzos, and thus needed more salt.  Also, the potatoes will absorb salt during the cooking time.

Place in a 9 by 13 casserole dish, or divide between two loaf pans.   Lightly spray or oil the dishes.  Spoon in the mixture and smooth. 

Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour.

Serve with cranberry sauce.

Cashew Gravy

Cashew Gravy

1 cup of raw cashews
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1.5 tsp onion powder
0.5 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp LaChicky seasoning or other chicken like seasoning (optional)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
4 cups of water

Blend until very smooth.  Pour into a sauce pan, and heat until it thickens.  You may need to add more water at the end.  As it gets closer to a boil stir continually so it won't stick and burn.  (It is a very real danger.)

Roasted Root Vegetables


Peel and dice any of the following root vegetables:
sweet potatoes/yams
red skin or Yukon Gold potatoes
beets, golden (red’s bleed)
butternut squash
whole crushed garlic

Toss them all into a large pan and drizzle with olive oil, kosher salt and freshly
ground pepper. Add some sprigs of rosemary too, if you like. Roast, stirring once
or twice, at 375 for at least 45 minutes. (If you’re using rutebega, start roasting that
first, as it needs extra time to soften.) Very little olive oil is necessary. 1 T at the
most for a 9 x 13 pan.

Thanksgiving Menu

I thought I'd share with you what I'm making for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.  I'll add photos when I have them.  For now, I'll just put the list up, in hope that it might help you make a decision.  I am trying some new recipes, so I'm not sure how everything will turn out, so I'll come back with a report on that too.


Chickpeas and Veggie Walnut Loaf
Baked tofu
Mashed potatoes and Cashew Gravy
Roasted Root Vegetables
Homemade Stuffing with Millet Bread
Cranberry Sauce
Veggie Platter
Apple Cider
Pumpkin Pie
Apple Crisp

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Chilli Lemon Tofu, Collard Greens and Brown Rice

 1.  Get the brown rice cooking.

2.  Make the marinade.  Get it mixed up and soaking on the tofu.  Soak for 20 minutes or so.

3.  Cut up the collards, by cutting off the rib.  Then stacking the leaf part of 2 - 3 collards at a time, rolling them up like a sleeping bag, and then start slicing thin rounds off the end.  Cut up the onions too.

4.  Place the tofu and marinade in a skillet, and start cooking on medium temperature.  Stir very gently, but often enough to keep no part of the pan drying out before another part of the pan.  Cook until there is no moisture left and it is just starting to stick.  Turn off the heat and remove the pan from the burner.  Set aside.

5.  While the tofu is cooking, get the collards into a large kettle.  They will cook down quite a bit.  You need 4 - 5 times as much volume of fresh greens as you will need cooked greens in the end.  Add the onion, lime juice and salt.  Cover with a lid, and cook until the greens are cooked down in size and the onions are transparent.

6.  Spoon out a layer of cooked brown rice onto a platter.  Spread the collard greens around on top of the rice.  Lay out the tofu as the top layer.


My recipe: Lemon Chili Marinade 
1/3 cup Bragg's liquid aminos or Tamari
Juice of one lemon
2 tsp SiRacha sauce
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
black pepper, optional

Kettle full of collard greens, ribs removed, rolled and cut thinly
One onion diced
Juice of one lime
1/2 tsp salt
water to cover the bottom of you kettle 1/2 centemeter deep

Monday, September 24, 2012

Prune Conserve

Hi Friends,

I don't know if I have any regular readers or not.  If I do, I would love to know you are there.  I know a lot of people pop in for recipes, and I wonder if you ever come back again.  If you are there, please do leave comments as you get a chance.

I thought I'd let you know what I made today.  Last year our favorite homemade jam was made out of prunes.  All the other jams we made were ok, but the Prune Conserve stood out above all the rest in many ways.  By the way, prunes are really a fresh fruit.  They are not just dried plums.  One common variety is Italian Prunes. They are purple/blue in color, and split easily in half, like an apricot.  Their flavor is sweet with a touch of lemon juice complexity, with no bitter.  There happened to be one of these trees on the property when we moved into this house, which made me really happy, because there were Italian prunes where I grew up also.  I think you could also make this recipe with some sweet plums too.

The original recipe had 6 cups of sugar!  So of course, I had to start tweaking.  Last year we figured out this recipe really does not need much sugar, and its thickness is not based on sugar or pectin either.  I also decreased the amount of orange peel in the recipe, because frankly, it is not one of my favorite flavors.

Another tip for the recipe is that if you have a food processor, use it.  If you don't, it will take you a bit more time for chopping ingredients, but that doesn't matter, if you aren't making mega batches.  Another tip is that it is ok to make multiple batches, as long as they will fit into your largest kettle.

Prune Conserve

2 1/2 quarts chopped, pitted prunes or plums (about 4 pounds)*
2 cups raisins
1 3/4 cups chopped orange pulp*
1/3 cup thinly sliced orange peel*
1 1/2 cups sugar (you might try xylital or stevia)
2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans or other nuts*

* Use the S-blade of your food processor on these, if you have one.  Pulse them until they are as small as you wish.  The nuts and orange peel can be pulsed fine.

Combine the prunes, raisins, orange pulp, orange peel and sugar in a large pot.  Bring slowly to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Cook rapidly almost to jellying point, about 15 - 20 minutes.  As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking.  Add nuts the last 5 minutes of cooking.  Pour hot mixture into jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.  Adjust caps.  Process 15 minutes in boiling water bath.  Yield:  about 5 pints.

Thanks to William at Heavenly Light Photography for the photos.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Chili Salsa (As Mild as you Wish)

Here is the recipe for salsa that I made last year, and I am going to make again this year.

Chili Salsa
Yield 7 - 9 pints

10 cups peeled, cored, chopped tomatoes
4 cups chopped onions
1 cup lemon juice
6 cups seeded chopped chiles (use a variety of hot to mild peppers and some in between to desired heat level.)
3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Combine ingredients in a large saucepan.  Heat to boil and simmer 10 minutes.  Ladle salsa into hot pint jars.  Leave 1/4 to 1/2 inch head space.  Wipe rims.   Adjust lids and process in a boiling water canner.  15 minutes 0 - 1,000 feet altitude, 20 minutes 1000 - 6000 feet altitude, 25 minutes above 6000 feet.

Low Sugar Homemade Ketchup from Garden Tomatoes

Here is my long awaited ketchup recipe. It is for those who don't want to overdue sugar in their food, and yet want a nice tasting sauce for potatoes. If you like it sweeter, feel free to add more of the sweetener of your choice, at your own risk. In my opinion, and the opinion of a few other people, it tastes a lot like a store brand in the refrigerator that doesn't have high fructose corn syrup, it is just a whole lot less sweet, though still tasty.

So grab some tomatoes and boil them down into sauce. (By the way, I blend whole tomatoes, skin and all for the base for my sauce. I put it in casserole dishes in the oven, at 350 degrees, and it seems to thicken faster there then on the stove top. But when I run out of oven space, I put blended tomatoes in a big pot on the stove, and boil it down. Once it is thick, I put it back into the blender until ketchup smooth.
Barbara's Ketchup

For every 4 cups of very thick, smooth, boiled down tomato sauce, add:

1 1/3 cups of lemon juice
1/2 cup honey or other sweetener of choice
1 Tablespoon oregano, dried
1 Tablespoon basil
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon celery salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Pour in jars and can like tomato sauce.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Garlic Collards and Carrots, Vegan and Gluten-free

I've been out of blogging mode for quite a few months.  I think I've been out of cooking mode too.  But the school year is over, and it is time to think about something else, like good food.  I made something like this yesterday, and it was so good, I had to make it again today, and even got out my camera to celebrate.  So all my faithful followers, you get a blog post to read.  Thanks for sticking around even when I haven't been so faithful.

So, I discovered that the collards are growing like crazy in my garden, so I went searching around on the web some collard recipe inspiration.  I made an awesome recipe with collards and spicy tofu on top, but I didn't get any photos of it.  I will have to try that one again soon.  It got good ratings here from my husband.

And I made this delicious Garlic Collards and Carrots Recipe.  The amounts are flexible, but I put the general idea down in recipe form for those of you who need a concrete starting place, or you can't cook.

Garlic Collards and Carrots

1 large bunch (or two) of Collards
1 large onion, chopped
4 - 6 garlic cloves, mashed with a big knife and sliced, or pressed
2 stalks of celery, sliced
3 - 4 carrots, grated
1 - 2 Tablespoons (or to taste) Braggs Liquid Aminos or salt to taste

Wash your collards, and cut out the ribs and discard.  Stack the leaves in piles.  Roll up the leaves from 2 - 3 collards like a burrito, and then make 1/4 inch slices.  Roll and slice until you have cut up the whole pile.  Unroll the green strips.

Sauté the onions and garlic on medium heat.  You likely won't need any oil, or even water if you pay attention and stir them often.  When the onions are half done, add the celery and carrots and collards.  Sprinkle in the Bragg's Liquid Aminos to your taste and stir around.  If your pan dries out too much or starts sticking, put in a couple tablespoons of water, just enough to keep things free and movable in the pan.  Put a lid on and cook until the greens are wilted.  Stir, and cook a bit more until the vegetables are at your favorite level of tenderness.

Serve on a bed of cooked quinoa (my favorite) or brown rice.

I also served a quick raw veggie salad made of red pepper, green pepper, cucumber, sweet onion, and tomato.  I squeezed on some fresh lemon juice and sprinkled on salt.

My son, the boy who said he was starving, said he didn't want any greens tonight, they didn't look good, and he wasn't very hungery.   Hmm.... I said he needed at least have a "complementary sample," a 1 - 2 tablespoon serving.  He reluctantly tried it, then finished it.  He was about to leave the table when he said, "Actually mom, that wasn't too bad.  I think I could eat some more."  And he did.  It is actually possible to train kids to eat their greens.  Be patient, and make that the only food available to eat.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Carrot Cashew Loaf - GF, Vegan

We shared a meal tonight with some friends.  Everyone enjoyed this recipe.  It turned out wonderful.  I adapted it from several recipes, and made it gluten free. 

Carrot Cashew Loaf - GF, Vegan, 

3 cups of carrots, washed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups raw cashews
1 cup  raw sunflower seeds
2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup brown rice flour
2 Tablespoons tahini
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp basil flakes
1/3  - 1/2 cup stock from the cooked carrots or water

1.  Place chopped carrots into a pan with water, or in a steamer basket.  Bring to a boil, and cook until very tender.  Drain the carrots and reserve the cooking water. 

2.  While carrots are cooking, sauté onions and garlic in a little water until  softened.

3.  While carrots and onions are cooking, place cashews and sunflower seeds in a food processor and grind them until they are in small pieces.  Move them to a mixing bowl.

4.  Place the brown rice in the food processor and grind until it is in smaller pieces.  Move the rice to the mixing bowl.  Add the rice flour, tahini, lemon juice, salt, basil flakes. 

5.  When the carrots are soft, put them into the food processor until they are smooth.  Move to the mixing bowl, along with the onions and garlic.

6.  Mix in some of the cooking water from the carrots, or some warm water and mix well to make a thick paste.

7. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a loaf pan.  Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf pan.  Bake for 1 hour.  Let the loaf stand in the pan for at least 10 minutes before removing.  Slice and serve.

Recipe from