Vegan Banana Muffins

There is an incredible little store called “Health Nuts” down the street on the corner of 99th and Broadway. They have a variety of gluten-free mixes, cookies, flowers etc., about 20 different flavors of Stevia extract (didn’t even know it came in any more than one) and, of course, many vegan ingredients. This may sound odd, but on the way home from school, I sometimes walk into the store and just look around for ideas of what to make next. The other day I simply decided that I was going to make a through-and-through moist and savory batch of banana muffins. I found a recipe on my favorite cooking site (http://minimalistbaker.com) and was surprised to see the simplicity of cooking vegan. My goal of making these was to finally use flax-eggs (I had just bought a bag of ground flax at health nuts), and ultimately make a vegan recipe that even non-vegans would love.

I handed out a bunch to my vegan friends at school and everyone devoured them. One of my friends was so excited to to finally eat a muffins that actually tasted good, that she ate three for lunch. She also tricked her non-vegan friend into thinking that they were regular banana cupcakes and he ate the entire thing. Only after did she mention that it was vegan.

I hope you enjoy as much as my friends and I did!

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INGREDIANTS

Muffins:

2 flax eggs

4 medium ripe bananas (don’t worry about measurements – it’s forgiving)

heaping 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup vegan butter (such as Earth Balance) or coconut oil, melted

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or unbleached all purpose)

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Crumble Top:

1/4 cup raw sugar

5 Tbsp unbleached all purpose flour

2 Tbsp vegan butter (such as Earth Balance)

DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly grease a standard size muffin tin (will make 10-11 muffins)
  2. Prepare flax egg in a large mixing bowl. Let set for 5 minutes.
  3. Add banana and mash, leaving just a bit of texture.
  4. Add brown sugar, baking soda, salt and whisk for one minute.
  5. Stir in vanilla, melted butter and mix.
  6. Add flour and oats and stir with a spoon or spatula until just combined. Lastly, fold in walnuts (optional).
  7. Divide batter evenly among 10-11 muffin tins, filling a generous 3/4 full (I fill mine practically full for aesthetic effect).
  8. Quickly wipe your mixing bowl and add crumble ingredients. Prepare crumble top by mashing ingredients together with a fork until crumbly like wet sand. Generously top muffins with streusel. You should have leftovers.
  9. Bake for 17-22 minutes or until tops are golden brown and a toothpick or knife comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes, remove from muffin tin and serve warm. Once completely cooled, store in a covered container at room temp for several days. Freeze for longer term storage.

Thanks to Minimalist Baker for the incredible recipes!!

Vegan Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

When I was 9, in one weekend, I went to the adorable petting zoo and got a small talk from my vegetarian next door neighbor about animal cruelty. So I ultimately decided to be a vegetarian. Like most children trying to be vegetarian, this attempt lasted no longer than two weeks and my parents ‘cure’ was to simply cook spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. Although my vegetarianism was a short extravaganza, I have always admired the idea and reasons behind being vegetarian and vegan. In English we were assigned a creative project on a societal flaw and one of my peers chose to present on animal cruelty and the motives she has behind being a vegan. Her presentation was both fascinating and heartbreaking and I immediately became interested in vegan lifestyle. This let me to research some vegan recipes and after trying a few out, I immediately took to them. Knowing that I will probably never be vegan doesn’t stop me from trying to bake vegan treats.

While eating at vegan restaurants can be enjoyable, I struggle to find homemade vegan cookies, cupcakes brownies etc. that I am proud to give out to my vegan friends. This recipe is definitely an exception. The simple vegan vanilla cupcakes tasted no different than any other cupcake, and the chocolate frosting, even without dairy butter and milk, tasted delicious. My success with this recipe has definitely inspired me to continue to make vegan recipes in the future. Can’t wait to try some vegan brownies next! ENJOY!

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INGREDIANTS:

Cupcakes:

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups almond milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup white sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup coconut oil, warmed until liquid

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Vegan Buttercream Chocolate Frosting:

1 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened (sifted)

1 1/4 sticks of vegan butter (softened)

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup non-dairy milk (almond)

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F . Grease two 12 cup muffin pans or line with 18 paper baking cups.
  2. Measure the apple cider vinegar into a 2 cup measuring cup. Fill with almond milk to make 1 1/2 cups. Let stand until curdled, about 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond milk mixture, coconut oil and vanilla.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 15 to 20 minutes. When done, cool in the pan over a wire rack.
  7. While the cupcakes are baking, make the vegan frosting:
    1. Add the butter, milk, vanilla extract and cocoa powder to a large mixing bowl and using an electric hand or standing beater, start mixing them together until the liquids thicken with the fluffy cocoa. Turn beater on low and beat until smooth.
    2. Add in the powdered sugar one cup at a time and beat until frosting is fluffy. Avoid overbeating.
  8. Frost the chocolate frosting onto the cupcakes when they are completely cooled. If the cakes are warm, the heat will easily melt the vegan butter.

Love,

Ally!

Squash and Black Bean Chile

I found this recipe after receiving the January/February edition of the food network magazine and spontaneously ran to Gristedes to make the recipe. Cut to five hours later when my feet are throbbing from standing on them all day and my family’s table is set with our best (and only) china, this chile, cornbread, Sautéed Kale and beets with Goat Cheese. While I love cooking, the highlight of this day was definitely the after effect. My parents raved about the chile and, while this recipe serves 6-7, we ate it all.

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Ingredients:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 bell peppers (1 red, 1 yellow), chopped
Kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chile powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 28 -ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
2 15 -ounce cans black beans (do not drain)
2 bay leaves
1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 1/2 cups)
1 small rutabaga (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch squares (about 3 1/2 cups)– if rutabaga is unavailable, add another 2 cups of butternut squash
Sliced scallions and shredded cheddar cheese, for topping
Cornbread, for serving

Directions:
1. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat.

2. Add the onion and bell peppers, season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the chile powders, cumin, coriander, oregano and tomato paste.

4. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are coated in the spice mixture, about 2 minutes, adding a splash of water if the mixture is dry.

5. Add 2 cups of water, the tomatoes, beans, bay leaves and 1 teaspoon salt to the pot.

6. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and stir in the squash and rutabaga.

7. Partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the chili is slightly thickened, 30 to 40 minutes. (Add up to 1/2 cup water if the chili gets too thick.

8. Remove the bay leaves and season with salt. Serve with assorted toppings and cornbread. I am posting a Gluten Free cornbread recipe next week.

Love,

Ally

Carrot Apple Gluten-Free, Vegan Muffins

This recipe was big for me in so many different ways. I struggle to successfully bake gluten-free goods and the results are always disappointing (and VERY dry). These very healthy muffins were extremely moist, flavorful and delicious. This is going to be my new go to, healthy muffin recipe.

Last month, I went on my yearly visit to my allergist. I have had an extremely severe allergy to peanuts and tree nuts since I was a baby. At my last visit, my doctor said that, since my allergy to almonds and hazelnuts is very minor, I could slowly start working almonds into my diet to create a tolerance. Last Thursday, I tried my first bites of Nutella, and it, of course, was absolutely delicious. Eating these muffins was the first time that I ever consumed any trace of almonds, and it felt really weird. The muffins were so delicious that I could barely taste the almond flavor.  ENJOYY!

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Makes exactly 12 muffins.
Ingredients
  • 1.5 flax or chia  eggs (or 1.5 eggs if not vegan) see below for instructions
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup mashed very ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar or maple syrup (or honey if not vegan)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce or 1 sweet apple, finely grated
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup plain almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1 heaping cup (packed) grated carrot
  • 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp gluten free flour blend

 

Instructions
  1. Prepare flax or chia eggs in a large mixing bowl and preheat oven to 375
    1. For each egg, combine 1 tablespoon of ground flax or chia seed with 3 tablespoons of water.
    2. Stir well, and place in the fridge to set for 15 minutes.
    3. After 15 minutes, the result should be a sticky egg-like substitute.
  2. Prepare a muffin tin with liners or lightly grease them.
  3. Whisk flax eggs mashed banana, agave or maple syrup, and olive oil.
  4. Next add applesauce, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and whisk to combine.
  5. Add almond milk and stir.
  6. Add grated carrot and stir.
  7. Add oats, almond meal, gluten free flour blend and stir.
  8. Divide evenly among 12 muffin tins, filling them all the way up to the top.
  9. Bake for 32-36 minutes, or until deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. When you press on the top it shouldn’t feel too spongey. Don’t be afraid of over baking the muffins.
  10. Remove from oven and let set in the pan for 10 minutes. Then flip on their sides still in the pan to let cool completely.
  11. Wait 30 minutes to remove from wrappers, the muffins have a tendency to stick to them.

Love,

Ally

 

Source: minimalist baker http://minimalistbaker.com/one-bowl-carrot-apple-muffins-vegan-gf/

Classic Bruschetta 

I made Bruschetta last night with my uncle and it was so amazing. It’s been one of my favorite appetizers for a really long time and I thought that it would be good to have on my site. I used a bunch of cherry tomatoes instead of large tomatoes because we didn’t have any, and it still tasted great!

 


INGREDIENTS

8 plum tomatoes, diced

1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 loaf French bread, toasted

DIRECTIONS:

In a bowl, toss the tomatoes, basil and garlic together. Mix in the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, kosher salt and pepper. Serve on toasted bread slices.