Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Peanut Butter & Maple Cookies

This is one of those recipes I've had for over 20 years.  Found in a small cookbook like you'd see by the check-out counter in the grocery store - I believe it was a Pillsbury Bake-Off cookbook.  When I was downsizing it was long ago re-typed from the original book and is hiding away in a protector sleeve in a binder.

I was never really a fan of peanut butter cookies until I found this recipe.  This one is so light and chewy, to this day, it is the only one I'll make.  And now I have made it vegan.  



1/2 cup Brown Sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup Vegan Margarine such as Earth Balance
1/2 cup natural unsalted smooth Peanut Butter
1/2 cup real Maple Syrup
1-1/2 tsps Ener-G Egg Replacer + 1 Tbsp warm water
1-1/2 cups all purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
    White sugar for criss-crossing tops of cookies


1.  Preheat oven to 350˚F (176˚C).

2.  In a large electric mixing bowl beat brown sugar, margarine and peanut butter until light and fluffy.

3.  While this is mixing combine the Ener-G egg replacer and warm water.  Set aside.

4.  Add the maple syrup and egg replacer to mixer and beat well.

5.  In separate bowl combine dry ingredients.

6.  Mix dry ingredients into wet and mix well.  Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes to make handling easier.

(Mixed up dough ready for the refrigerator)
7.  Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place at least 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet.

8.  With fork dipped in the granulated white sugar press a criss cross pattern into the tops of the dough.

9.  Bake at 350˚F for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

10.  Let rest on cookie sheet for a few minutes before removing and cooling on a wire rack.

*  Makes approximately 3 dozen

- Bon Appetit

" No man in the world has more courage than the man who can stop eating after one peanut." - Channing Pollock

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Vegan "Cheesy" Potato Casserole

Since Winter hasn't released it's chilly grip on the weather I've turned to comforting casseroles for dinner some nights.

I believe I originally found this recipe on approximately six years ago. I've gone back to see if I can find it to link it here and it isn't there anymore.  A Google search just reveals the typical hash brown and cream of mushroom soup variety of potato casserole.  I prefer this one.

I modified the original recipe by adding this and that and omitting other things.  What follows is my modified recipe that is a favorite of ours and I make it once every few weeks during cooler weather.  

I prefer to make the recipe using Gimme Lean Italian Sausage but have also used a soy chorizo when wanting a Mexicana or nacho flair.  It is good plain, but the version with the Gimme Lean is my favorite and that is what I'll post today.



4-5 large red or white Potatoes thinly sliced
1 medium Onion, thinly sliced or shredded
1/2 Cup (1 stick) Vegan Margarine
1/2 Cup Flour ( I use a slightly heaping cup)
3 - 1/2 Cups boiling Water
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 - 1/2 Tsp granulated Garlic
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 Cup Nutritional Yeast Flakes
1 - 14 oz can diced Green chilies
1/2 Cup more or less Panko Bread Crumbs
** Optional - 1 pkg Gimme Lean Italian Sausage flavor


1.  Preheat oven to 450˚F (232˚C).  Oil a large casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2.  If using the Gimme Lean, cube in small pieces and cook in a frying pan until brown.  Set aside.

(Gimme Lean browning in the pan)
3.  Place shredded potatoes and onions in the casserole dish, mix together then set aside. The easiest way to slice the potatoes and onions is to use a mandolin or a food processor.  I use a mandolin.

(Potatoes and onions mixed together)
4.  In a medium pan bring 3.5 cups of water to a boil.  In a separate large saucepan melt the margarine over medium low heat and then add flour and whisk together.  Slowly add the boiling water while whisking together.  Then add soy sauce, granulated garlic, and turmeric and keep whisking until sauce is thick and bubbling.  About 2-3 minutes depending on your stove.  

5.  Add nutritional yeast and green chillies and mix thoroughly. If using Gimme Lean add it to the sauce now. 

(Sauce prior to adding Gimme Lean)
6.  Pour the sauce over the potatoes and stir. I prefer to pour half the sauce, stir, then pour the remaining sauce and stir once again.  Your mixture should look like the following picture.

(Ready for the Panko)
7.  Top with Panko crumbs and cover with aluminum foil.

(Topped with Panko and ready for the oven)
8.  Place in 450˚F oven for 30 minutes covered.  Uncover and bake for an additional 30 minutes for a total of 60 minutes baking time.

(Fresh from the oven - steam obscured a sharp focus)
9.  Remove from oven and let rest 5-8 minutes until the sauce stops bubbling.

Serve and enjoy.  You can serve this with crusty bread if carbs are not an issue.  It is also good with a side of steamed broccoli or a side salad.  We usually just have it on its own topped with a little jalapeno hot sauce for a kick.

("Cheesy" goodness - definitely not a health food)
- Bon Appetit

"  Most of the food allergies die under garlic and onion." - Martin H. Fischer

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Simple Sticky Buns

This recipe is one given to Troubadour approximately six years ago by a former co worker.  I have modified it slightly in that I've cut the amount of margarine in half and upped the cinnamon content.

It is a great recipe for cold winter mornings or when you are having overnight company and don't want to spend a lot of time cooking in the morning.

I only make this recipe about once a year since it isn't healthy, but it sure is good.

**This recipe is prepared the night before, so please plan ahead**



1 Pkg Cook Butterscotch Pudding (Not instant)
1/4 Cup Vegan Margarine (I used Earth Balance)
1/2 Cup packed Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
12-15 Rhodes frozen White Dinner Rolls
1/2 Cup chopped Pecans or Walnuts


1.  Grease a bundt pan and set aside.

2.  In a small bowl mix margarine, brown sugar, and cinnamon until well combined and set aside. If you need to soften the margarine in the microwave for a few seconds it still works fine.

3.  Evenly distribute the frozen rolls in the bottom of the bundt pan in one layer.

(One layer of frozen rolls)
4.  Drop teaspoons of the brown sugar mixture on top of rolls.

(Brown sugar mixture on top of rolls)
5.  Sprinkle with dry Butterscotch pudding.

(Dry pudding sprinkled on top)
6.  Sprinkle pecans or walnuts on top if using.

(Walnuts sprinkled on top)
7.  Place in cold oven overnight without turning it on.  Do not turn oven light on as this will cause the buns to raise too much.

(All set for the night)
8.  When you wake up in the morning the buns will have risen overnight.  Note - prepare these right before bed so they don't rise too much. 

(Ready to bake)
9.  Without taking pan out of oven.  Turn the oven on to 350˚F (176˚C) and set your timer for 25-30 minutes.  Mine were done to a golden brown in only 25 minutes.  It just depends on your oven.

10.  Take pan out of oven and let rest a few minutes.

(Fresh from the oven)
11.  Turn over onto platter and serve warm.

(Sticky cinnamony goodness)
These are delicious warmed in the microwave the next morning too.

** Note - most Jello cook puddings use cornstarch and not gelatin - they are 'accidentally vegan'.  Be sure to check the label of your pudding to make sure it is vegan.

- Au Revoir

" I like cinnamon rolls, but I don't always have time to make a pan.  That is why I wish they'd sell cinnamon roll incense.  After all, I'd rather light a stick and have my roommate wake up with false hopes." - Mitch Hedberg

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Tasty Tempeh Meatloaf

When I hear the word meatloaf, it always brings thoughts of my Grandpa to the forefront.  Whenever we'd visit as kids he'd be busy in the kitchen making a meatloaf.  It was never the same twice.  He had a habit of throwing any leftovers from the fridge into it.  Once there were even green beans in the meatloaf.  We came to call it "mixed loaf" as he just mixed up whatever he could find to add to the ground beef.

I've read that a good way to make vegan meatloaf is to use grated tempeh.  If you search the internet there are a lot of different recipes, some making large batches and some small.  Some use spicy sriracha sauce and others a lot of ketchup.

I decided to try and make my own hybrid variety loosely based on some of the others.  I wanted a small batch since it is just the two of us.  It turned out pretty darn good for a first attempt. SpartanBabe, I think this would be good using the sausage seasoning mix you were going to buy.

My husband enjoyed the meal as well, and said it was a 'do over'.  In man-speak this means 'please make it again'.  The next time I make it I am going to press it into my Texas size muffin pan so that we have individual portions rather than trying to slice it.  I used to do that with traditional meatloaf and it works quite well.  This batch made 2 good sized dinner portions with a small portion for lunch leftover.



1 - 8oz pkg of Tempeh (I used soy tempeh)
1 cup Quick Oats
1 small Onion, minced
2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1 Tbsp Herbs de Provence
1 Tsp Fennel Seeds
1 Tsp Granulated Garlic
2 Tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce or Tamari
2 Tbsp Spicy Dijon Mustard
4 Tbsp spicy BBQ Sauce


1.  Heat over to 350˚F (177˚C) and spray a loaf pan or large muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. I like to use the Trader Joe's Olive Oil Spray.

2.  In medium size mixing bowl add the oats and grate the tempeh using a cheese grater.  Mix those two together, then add onion, nutritional yeast, Herbs de Provence, fennel seeds and granulated garlic.  Mix again.

(Oats, grated tempeh, onion and dry spices)
3.  Add soy sauce, dijon mustard and BBQ sauce.  Stir together then let rest at least 5 minutes to let flavors incorporate and tempeh soften.

(All ingredients mixed together)
4.  Spoon into loaf or muffin pan and press very hard packing into the corners.

(Ready for the oven)
5.  Bake 30 minutes until golden brown on top.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes to firm up.

(Fresh from the oven)
6.  Run a knife around the edge and turn over onto a serving plate.

(Ready for serving)
7.  Slice and serve with mashed potatoes and gravy.

(Get in my belly)

** After eating dinner I was thinking of the leftovers for lunch the next day and maybe putting triple ginger sauce on it since there wasn't any leftover gravy.  This really got me thinking that I could do several versions of this recipe.  One with grated ginger and sesame seeds and maybe water chestnuts served with steamed whole edamame pods on the side as an Asian version.  Or one with curry powder and turmeric served with dal on the side for a taste of India.  Just a few thoughts going through my mind at how versatile this recipe could potentially be.

- Au Revoir

"If we aren't willing to settle for junk living, we certainly shouldn't settle for junk food." - Sally Edwards

Monday, March 4, 2013

Homemade Vanilla Coffee Syrup

Several months ago I went searching for a recipe to make my own vanilla syrup.  I have a CBTL Americano machine here at home (the best cup/pod brewer I've found if you like espresso) and every day I take an iced vanilla soy latte to work.  Troubadour had the brilliant idea of using leftover brewed coffee and freezing it in ice cube trays, so that when the ice melts my coffee doesn't get weak.

Buying Torani syrup was getting expensive and I wasn't sure about the quality of the 'sugar water'.

I found dozens of recipes online, but most contained white sugar as to keep the syrup almost clear. Since I use it for lattes I didn't think color mattered and changed it up to develop my own rich vanilla syrup.  I think the molasses left in the brown sugars adds something to the flavor of the syrup and coffee. It just might be tasty drizzled on apple crisp too.  Ask me how I know.

I saved the Torani bottle from my last purchase and the recipe that follows fills it perfectly.



2 cups Raw or Turbinado Sugar (*I used bulk raw sugar)
3/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar  (*I used C&H Dark Brown Sugar)
2-1/2 cups Water
4-6 Tbsp real Vanilla Extract (*I used Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla)


1.  Measure sugars into medium-large saucepan.

(Raw and brown sugar in the pan)
2.  Add water to sugar and stir to dissolve while heating on medium high heat.  I use the cold filtered water from the fridge dispenser so I heat it in the microwave before adding to the saucepan helping it boil quicker, but you don't have to.  

(Stirring to dissolve)
3.  Bring water/sugar mixture to a boil.  Turn down to simmer so that it continues to boil.  Boil for 20 minutes.  Stir every 5 if you remember.

(Syrup boiling - 20 minutes)
4.  Remove from heat and cool completely.  I like to put the pan on a raised wire rack so that it cools quicker.  Once cool add the vanilla extract and stir.  Add more or less to suit your taste.

(Syrup thickens a little and becomes a rich dark brown)
5.  Pour into a bottle of your choosing.  It makes 750 ml total so, depending on the size of your bottles it will fill one or more.

** I imagine if you wanted a different flavor you could find a hazelnut flavoring or extract or even a caramel and it would work the same.  You just might need to adjust the ratio of extract depending on potency.

- Au Revoir

"The centuries last passed have also given the taste important extension; the discovery of sugar, and its different preparations, of alcoholic liquors, of wine, ices, vanilla, tea and coffee, have given us flavors hitherto unknown." - Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin