Saturday, November 24, 2012

Easy Pumpkin Muffins

One day while perusing different websites I read a thread on a forum that come up on a search engine. It was for all different short cut recipes that used a cake mix.  One of the responses was for pumpkin muffins.  I jotted it down to save for a rain day.  

I don't remember exactly where it came from, but I've made them several times and they are tasty.  No added fat and no eggs.  They are vegan and I don't think you can find an easier muffin to make.  They turn out a little heavier than a cupcake, but lighter than a traditional muffin.

Duncan Hines and a few Betty Crocker cake mixes are 'accidentally vegan', as are some of the others. Just make sure to check the allergy disclosure to make sure there aren't any milk or eggs listed.  Also there are several ready made frostings that are vegan as well.  Duncan Hines and in this case Pillsbury too.



1 Box Spice Cake Mix
1 - 15oz Can Pumpkin Puree
1/4 Cup water


1.  Preheat oven according to directions on box of cake mix.

2.  In large bowl, combine cake mix, whole can of pumpkin puree and 1/4 cup water.  Mix well.

(Thick yummy batter - I am tempted to eat it like pudding)
3.  Spoon batter into lined muffin tins.  If you trust your muffin tins not to stick you can do without the liners.  

(Scoop batter into muffin or cupcake tins)

(I used large tins to make 7 muffins.  Filled almost to the top)

4.  If you are making cupcake size muffins bake according to package directions.  Usually 15 minutes. For these extra large muffins I baked them for 23-25 minutes until firm and a toothpick inserted came out clean.

(Fresh from the oven)
5. Let cook on wire rack and frost if desired.

(Easiest pumpkin muffins you will ever make)

** I do find that if you cover the muffins overnight the frosting stays soft and sticky to the touch.  If you leave them uncovered the frosting will be dry to the touch and not as messy to eat.

** Also, if you try to eat a muffin while it is still warm it has a tendency to stick to the paper wrapper.  I think this is due to the lack of fat/oil in the recipe.

- Au Revoir

"Vegetables are a must on a diet.  I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread and pumpkin pie." - Jim Davis

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Italian "Meatball" Hoagie Braids

Ever see a recipe on the back of a box and just have to try it?  That is how I found this recipe.

While at Costco last Monday I was purchasing a box of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and Troubadour noticed a recipe on the back that looked intriguing and we figured we could veganize it.  I have made a few changes to the recipe besides using vegan ingredients; I omitted the egg wash and dusting of cheese on top which cuts a few calories. Here is a link to their original recipe I managed to find online. ---->  LINK.



2 Cans  (8 oz each) Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
16 frozen, fully cooked vegan meatballs
1 Cup Marinara Sauce
1 Cup Shredded Daiya (I used Cheddar Shreds)


Preheat oven to 375˚F (190˚C) and spray 2 baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray.

1.  Heat meatballs in microwave to thaw.  Cut each meatball in half.

2.  Unroll dough; separate into 8 rectangles.  Place rectangles on the baking sheets. Firmly press perforations to seal. 

3.  Place 4 meatball halves lengthwise down the center of each rectangle.  Top each with 2 Tbsp of marinara sauce and 2 Tbsp of cheese shreds.

('Meatball' halves on the dough)

(Then topped with marinara and cheese shreds)

4.  With scissors or a sharp knife, make cuts 1 inch apart on each long side of the filling.  Alternately cross strips over filling.  It may not look pretty but will puff up a bit in the oven.

(Not quite appetizing yet, but ready for the oven)

5.  Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve with leftover heated marinara for dipping if desired.

Notes upon reflection.......

*  I found that the tomato sauce I used was a little on the thin side and I think the hoagie would have been easier to wrap if the sauce was thicker.  

*  I also think some spicy hot sauce in the hoagie would have been a good addition or some fresh ground pepper sprinkled on top before baking.

*  We each ate two for dinner and had the remaining for lunch the next day.  They would also be good with a side salad.

*  I have calculated the calorie content for this recipe using the exact ingredients and measurements above. Each hoagie contains 314 calories.  Of that 314, the crescents accounted for 200 calories.

- Au Revoir

"There is one thing more exasperating than a wife that can cook and won't, and that is a wife who can't cook and will." - Robert Frost

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mama's Banana Bread

Making this recipe always brings back memories of my mom baking banana bread or banana muffins when we were kids.  She always used the same recipe and I think it is the only banana bread recipe I've ever made.  It has been in the family for at least 40 years and I have no idea where it originated.

One of the things I like about this recipe is that unlike most quick breads, you beat this one with a mixer rather than just mixing until the ingredients are incorporated.

I have taken the recipe and made it vegan.  It took a little trial and error, but seems to work well with the following ingredients.


(Most of the ingredients)


1/3 Cup Vegan Shortening
1/2 Cup Sugar
1-3/4 Cup Flour (I used half whole wheat half white)
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
4 Bananas, peeled and mashed
Optional Add Ins:
1/2 Cup Walnuts, chopped
3/4 Cup Vegan Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

(Ready for the baking pan)

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

1.  In electric mixer bowl cream shortening and sugar.  Add mashed bananas and mix well.

2.  Mix dry ingredients (not add ins) in separate bowl.  Add dry ingredients to wet and beat well.  Mixture will be fairly thick.

3.  Add walnuts and/or chocolate chips.  I used both for this batch.

4.  Pour/scoop into greased 9 inch loaf pan.  Spread into corners. Bake at 350˚F for 55 minutes or until done.  You may want to check it at 50 minutes with a toothpick to see if it is baked in the center.

Remove from oven, let rest a few minutes then remove from pan and enjoy.  Let cool before slicing or it will be slightly crumbly - like in my first photo.  I was a little impatient.

**  I have been known to add a sprinkle of cinnamon into the dry ingredients as well as one teaspoon of vanilla into the wet for extra flavor depending on my mood.  Both work well in this recipe.

***To make muffins bake for 20-25 minutes depending on size of muffin tins.  If you are using mini muffin tins 12-15 minutes might be better.

Enjoy.  This recipe will make the whole house smell yummy.

- Au Revoir

"  Time flies like an arrow.  Fruit flies like a banana." - Groucho Marx

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Creamy Broccoli Soup

Soup season continues here in the Pacific Northwest. Even though Sunday's temperature was warm enough to break records it is chilly enough out there for soup.

Last night I made one of my favorite soup recipes:  Broccoli Soup.  I found this recipe several years ago on and have converted it to vegan.  I've also changed it up a bit as I am not a fan of pureed soups.  I like my soup to resemble the food it is made from.



1 Onion, chopped
1 Cup Celery, chopped
3 Cups warm Water
3 tsp 'No Chicken' Bouillon
8 Cups Broccoli Florets
3 Tbsp Vegan Margarine
1/4 C Flour (I used whole wheat)
2 Cups Unsweetened Soy Milk, warmed
** ground black pepper and shredded vegan cheddar to taste


1.  In large soup pot combine the warm water and No Chicken Bouillon; stir until dissolved.  On medium-high heat bring mixture to boil.  As it is heating add the celery, onion and broccoli florets.  There will not be enough water to cover the broccoli.  The broccoli will steam and cook down.

(Broccoli steaming as water/bouillon boils)

2.  Cook approximately 10-15 minutes until the veggies are tender.  Mash into smaller pieces using a potato masher until broccoli is desired size.

(Veggies cooked and mashed)
3.  When the broccoli gets to the al dente stage melt vegan margarine in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in flour until smooth.  Whisk in warmed soy milk until all combined.  Stir until thick and bubbly.

(Melted margarine and flour combined)

(Soy milk added and cooked until thickened)

4.  Add flour mixture to broccoli mixture and stir to combine.  

(Milk mixture combined with broccoli mixture)

Sprinkle with black pepper. At this stage you can remove it from the heat and add 1 cup of vegan cheddar cheese such as Daiya - stir until melted.  I prefer to just sprinkle some on top in each bowl.

(Yummy goodness)
This batch makes 4-6 large bowls of soup.  For the ingredients I've used, the entire batch totals 1010 calories (without Daiya).  Divided into 4-6 servings that is a fairly low calorie and filling dinner or lunch. The leftovers are great heated in the microwave as well.  If you are not worried about carbs a crusty dinner roll or baguette would be good for dipping.

I haven't tried this with other vegetables such as cauliflower or even mushrooms, but I think it would work for other creamy soups too.

- Au Revoir

" I live on good soup, not on fine words."  Moliere

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Apple Dumplings

I made these yummy treats for dessert last week and ended up posting the recipe on my regular motorcycle blog due to a food challenge thrown down by fellow moto-blogger Pam from Helmet or Heels.  When making the dumplings, I originally took the photos to post the recipe on this blog.

I have been making this simple dessert for about 8 years after finding it hidden among the pages of a Rachel Ray magazine.  Of course, now I have converted the recipe to vegan.



1- 8 oz tube Crescent Rolls (only 'Original' are vegan)
1 large Apple, cored and cut into 8 wedges
1/4 Cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/3 Cup Ginger Ale soda (NOT DIET)


1.  Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Spray an 8x8 inch square glass pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2.  Open tube of crescent rolls (FYI - Pillsbury original are in fact vegan) and separate the 8 dough triangles.  Place one wedge of apple on each triangle of dough, roll into crescent shape and place in dish point down.

(I left the peel on the Gala apple)

(Roll into a crescent)

3.  Repeat until all 8 rolls are done and in the pan.  Your pan should look something like this.

(waiting for the sauce)
4.  In small saucepan melt the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon until well combined and the sugar is fairly dissolved.  Remove from heat, add Ginger Ale and stir well.  It will foam a little bit.  Pour mixture over the dumplings.

(ready to cover with foil)
5.  Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.  Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes until golden brown.

(Mmmm cinnamon - wish I had smell-o-vision)
6.  Let rest for a few minutes and serve warm drizzling the sauce left in the dish over the dumplings. We use two crescents per serving for a total of 4 servings.  So good you'll want to toss etiquette aside and lick the bowl.

(Troubadour prefers his with Trader Joe's Vanilla Soy Ice Cream)

I have experimented with making a double batch and have found that it is better to adjust the ratios rather than simply doubling the recipe.  To make a double batch (good for family gatherings) use a 9x13 glass pan and the following ingredient ratios:  2 tubes Crescent Rolls, 2 apples, 1/2 Cup vegan Butter, 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar, 3/4 Cup Ginger Ale, 1.5 tsp Cinnamon

- Au Revoir

"Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness" - Jane Austin