Monday, December 29, 2014

Momma's Baking Powder Biscuits Veganized

As a kid I can always remember my Mother making soup; all kinds of soup.  For her it was filling and cheap, but for me and my brother it was delicious.  

When she wasn't making homemade bread to go with the soup she was making a batch of baking powder biscuits.  Any leftover biscuits would then be topped with peanut butter and homemade jam and eaten as a snack the next day.

When I left graduated high school and left home back in the late 80's I copied her recipe down on a small 3x5 index card.  While the card is now stained and dog eared, I still take it out and make biscuits every once in a while when the soup I am making just calls for it.

This is her recipe that I have adapted to vegan. 


2 cups Unbleached White Flour
3 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 cup vegan Shortening or Margarine
3/4 to 1 cup Non-Dairy Milk  ( I used unsweetened soy)


1.  Preheat oven to 450˚F (232˚C)

2.  In large bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Stir well to combine.

3.  Cut in shortening or margarine with a pastry blender until pieces of margarine are small - the size of peas.

4.  Stir in 3/4 to 1 cup of non-dairy milk,  just until it will hold together.  Turn onto floured surface and knead 10 times.

5.  Let rest 10 minutes with the mixing bowl covering it.

6.  Pat dough until it is 3/4 to 1 inch thick.  Cut into rounds with a circular cutter.  I usually just use a drinking glass.  Fold any scraps and re-pat out.  Continue until the dough is used.

7.  Place rounds of dough on greased baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes until risen and golden brown.  Place on wire rack to cool or serve immediately.  Makes 6 or so biscuits depending on thickness and width.

They are fluffy and break apart well for buttering and dipping in soup and stew. If you want to be adventurous you can add a little shredded vegan cheese and herbs to the flour mixture before stirring in the non-dairy milk.

(Biscuits pictures with my Lentil and Portobello Stew)
- Bon Appetit

" Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days." - Doug Larson

Monday, December 22, 2014

Spicy Winter Soup

I like to make this soup when it is rainy or cold outside.  The spices have a tendency to warm you from the inside out.

While I use one chipotle pepper in adobo for the recipe, feel free to use more or less.  I can tell you that 2 makes for a really spicy soup, almost too spicy.  It just depends on your tastes.  When buying cans of fire roasted tomatoes I always choose the no salt added ones.  If you can't find the no salt added cans, you may want to cut down on the bouillon so the soup is not too salty.

It makes quite a large pot.  Enough for a large family dinner or a few dinners and lunches.  It is good served with tortilla chips or cornmeal muffins.


2 Carrots, sliced
1 cup chopped Celery
1 Onion, peeled and diced
1 Green Pepper, cored and diced
4 cloves Garlic, peeled and minced
4 cups Water with 3 tsp 'No Chicken' Bouillon  
   or Vegetable Bouillon
1 - 25 oz can Black Beans, drained and rinsed 
   (or two 15 oz cans)
2 - 15 oz cans Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1-1/2 cups frozen Corn Kernels
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
2 Bay Leaves


1.  In large soup pot add a 1/4 cup of water and saute the chopped carrots, celery, onion, green pepper, and garlic a few minutes until soft.

2.  In large measuring cup, mix the 4 cups water with the vegetable or no chicken bouillon until the bouillon is dissolved.

3.  To the sauteed vegetables add the no chicken or veggie stock, black beans, canned tomatoes, frozen corn, cumin, chili powder, chili in adobo, Italian seasoning, and bay leaves.

4.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 30-45 minutes until the soup thickens, the flavors have mingled and the veggies are completely cooked.  Stir occasionally to monitor thickness.  

5.  Serve with tortilla chips, cornmeal muffins, or biscuits.  If you've made it a little too spicy you can top the bowls with a little vegan sour cream to cut the heat or add in extra tomatoes.

Bon Appetit

"  Chipotles, which are dried jalapeno peppers, give out a terrific smoky flavor - they're warm, earthy and usually not too spicy." - Yotam Ottolenghi

Monday, December 8, 2014

My Favorite Gingersnap Cookies - Vegan

I found the regular version of this recipe way back in the late 80's when I purchased a Company's Coming Cookie cookbook in British Columbia.  This is only gingersnap recipe I've ever made since I first tried it all those years ago.

Of course being vegan for over three years I have done a few modifications.  If you are not vegan then go ahead and use regular butter or margarine and 1 regular egg in place of the vegan flax egg and margarine.

The smell when they are baking is divine, and the raw cookie dough isn't bad either.  While I use organic unsulphured blackstrap molasses, I am sure you could use another kind of molasses but the cookies wouldn't be as rich.  This cookie is not a health food, but I'd like to think the health benefits of molasses at least make up for it a bit.

My batch of cookies made 59 individual cookies so the calories of each one can't be too bad, can they?

One thing to watch out for is over baking.  Cook just until the outsides are set and the centers will be chewy when cool.  Sometimes one more minute makes the difference between a crispy 'dunk in your tea' cookie and a chewy centered one.  Experiment with the first baking sheet as your oven may be different from mine.


3/4 cup vegan Margarine (I used Earth Balance Soy Free sticks)
1 cup Evaporated Cane Juice (sugar, not too coarse)
1 Flax Egg (1 Tbsp ground flax seed + 3 Tbsp warm water)
1/2 cup unsulphured Blackstrap Molasses
2-1/2 cups unbleached organic Flour
2 tsp Baking soda
2 tsp powdered/ground Ginger
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Salt
  * 1/4 cup Sugar placed in a small bowl or Ziploc bag for coating cookies


1.  Preheat oven to 350˚F (176˚C).  Spray your baking sheets with non-stick spray.

2.  In a large mixing bowl (a stand mixer such as KitchenAid is preferred) cream margarine and sugar together.  Add flax egg and beat again.  Add molasses and beat once more.

3.  In separate bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and salt.

4.  By the spoonful add the flour mixture to the molasses mixture.  Stop the mixer to scrape sides a few times.

(Dough ready for shaping)
5.  Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll in the extra sugar to coat.  Use a little flour on your hands if you find the dough sticking to them when shaping into balls.  

(Coating the dough with sugar)
6.  Place cookies on the greased baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes. I baked mine for 11 minutes and they were a tad too crispy. I recommend one baking sheet in the oven at a time.

(Ready for baking)
7.  Remove from oven and let cool for a minute or two on the baking sheets before removing to a wire rack. Using a metal spatula to remove the cookies is recommended as a silicone or plastic one can be too thick.

(Get in my belly)

Bon Appetit

" I think cookies are sort of the unsung sweet, you know?  They're incredibly popular. But everybody thinks of cakes and pies and fancier desserts before they think cookies.  A plate of cookies is a great way to end dinner and really nice to share at the holidays." - Chef Bobby Flay

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Mediterranean Couscous Salad - Vegan

This salad is perfect for a potluck, picnic, or just for every day eating.

It is adapted from a recipe I found about 10 years ago on  You can also make it using quinoa instead of couscous, but I prefer the light and fluffy aspect of the couscous.

If you are non-vegan it is also good with feta crumbled in.  You can also serve it with grilled tofu, tempeh, or another protein for a heartier meal.


2 Cups uncooked Couscous
2 Cups Water
3 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp minced Garlic
6 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 14oz can Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1/2 Long-English Cucumber, chopped (or 1 regular peeled and chopped)
1 Red or Green Pepper, chopped
1/2 Red Onion, minced
1/2 Cup fresh Basil, coarse chopped
1 Cup Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, halved
1/2 Cup Black Olives, sliced
1/4 Cup Green Olives, sliced
1/2 Cup Artichoke Hearts, drained and chopped (marinated or regular in water)


1.  Combine water, vinegar, and garlic in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

2.  As the water is boiling place couscous in a large mixing bowl.

3.  Pour the boiling water mixture over the couscous.  Stir to combine and then cover with a large dinner plate and let rest for 15 minutes. (The plate helps retain the heat and steam)

4.  While the couscous is cooking chop all of your veggies.

5.  After 15 minutes, drizzle couscous with 3 Tbsp lemon juice and fluff with fork. Drizzle with remaining 3 Tbsp lemon juice and fluff again.

6.  When the couscous has cooled a bit add the rest of your veggies and basil.  Stir to combine and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

This is good leftover the next day, but I do find it can get a little dry.  I have a habit of sprinkling it with extra balsamic or red wine vinegar before serving the next day.

Bon Appetit

" Couscous - the food so nice they named it twice" - Dale in Pineapple Express