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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes with Cherry Frosting

Who loves cupcakes?? I sure do, and I'm a big fan of the cupcakes made by Sweets From The Earth. I've tried many times to amalgamate a recipe that tastes good, isn't too dry or crumbly, and doesn't have a lot of soy after taste. I think I've finally found a keeper. These are flavourful, have the right texture, no soy aftertaste and they're not as heavy as other vegan cupcakes. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Cupcake Ingredients: 

1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/5/tsp salt
2 teaspoons egg replacer
7 tablespoons vegetable shortening (a bit under 1/2 cup approx.)
1/2 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Yield: approximately 45 mini cupcakes (maybe 12+ large cupcakes?)


1. In a small bowl, mix almond milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside for 5 minutes to curdle.

2. Cream the vegetable shortening using a stand up mixer, starting from low speed to high speed.  After it starts becoming fluffly, slowly incorporate sugar and add vanilla extract.

3. Prepare the egg replacer according to package: usually per 1 dry teaspoon of egg replacer, use 2 teaspoons of warm water to turn it into a paste.

4.. In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients. Add egg replacer to creamed shortening, then slowly alternate between adding dry mixture and wet mixture. Use mixer on low speed until everything is incorporated, then use high for a minute or 2 to mix up batter perfectly.

5. Line baking tray with muffin cups and use a brush to lightly oil the insider of the cups. Pour batter and bake at 350 Fahrenheit for approximately 20 minutes until golden brown.

Frosting Ingredients:

14 tablespoons of vegetable shortening (I used Earth Balance)
2-3 cups of icing sugar
1/2 cup fresh or frozen cherries

1. Whip shortening in a stand up mixer on high speed for a few minutes. Slowly add icing sugar, sifted with no clumps.

2. If using frozen cherries, let defrost in a bowl and pour the red juice in the bowl. If using fresh cherries, squeeze cherries into bowl until all juice comes out. This will colour the frosting naturally pink and give it a cherry aroma.

3. Decorate cupcakes after they completely cooled from the oven. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Epic Photo Essay..

 I decided I want to do a sneak peak tease with some photos of dishes I've made in the past, and will slowly upload about 2 photos to this post every other day. If there's a particular recipe you're interested, leave a comment bellow and I will recreate the magic of cooking up the dish again and type up the recipe for anyone! 

Vegan French Onion Soup with Daiya Mozzarella 

 Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Homemade Garlic Croutons

 Vanilla Coconut Cream Cake adapted from Marly's Recipe

 Chocolate Hazelnut Crepes (think Ferrero Rocher)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Vegan Marinara Sauce with Vegetables

Pasta. and Italian tomato sauce. I've been told by real Italians that the tomato sauce that Canadians are used to (the real thick and smoothie like one) is good, but well,...err not exactly traditional in true Italian cuisine. According to them (and most Italians I know), the "real" traditional tomato pasta sauce is a lot lighter, more watery, and a bit more clumpy than smooth. If you are Italian and disagree with what I just said, please comment below and let me know your opinion of true Italian sauce.

Thus being said, I like both varieties and the version below is closer to the Canadian style, aka more thick, only because I pureed the tomatoes in a Magic Bullet..if the tomatoes are hand diced, and there are some other minor alternations, I'm sure you can get closer to the traditional Italian sauce. The only way you could get closer is by befriending a nonna, and be blessed if she allows you in her kitchen while she's cooking. (By the way, nonna=grandmother in Italian, or so I've been told)

Moving on to varieties of sauce: Neapolitan, marinara, Bolognese (side LOL, I almost spelled Bolognese as Blogonese...haha), Puttanesca, Arrabbiata. I'm sure there are more styles, but I just wanted to briefly look at these. If you have any additional information on these sauces, please comment below and let me know, I can only trust internet research so much.

Neapolitan: basic tomato sauce without the onion (no onion???? seriously?)
Marianara: basic tomato sauce with white wine and parsley. In Italy marinara sauce is associated with serving it with seafood.
Bologonese: ground meat tomato sauce
Puttanesca: traditionally made with olives, capers, and anchovies
Arrabbiata: Rome based tomato sauce, very spicy because of red chillies, but traditionally made with no basil? (is this really true, no basil? can anyone confirm this?)

Please add white wine and parsley to your shopping list, unfortunately I didn't have either of these ingredients on hand, so if you want a more authentic marinara sauce please add white wine and parsely...or go to Italy, have some marinara, come back and tell me what they put in it.


1/2 medium white onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves
1 handful of spinach
1  or 1/2 portobello mushroom
2 medium tomatoes
2 teaspoons of tomato paste
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar

a few shakes of freshly cracked black pepper
a pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
4 fresh leaves of basil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 of whole grain pasta (dry measurement)

Yield: 2 servings


1. Finely dice onion and garlic and sautee over medium low heat, and add the onions first. In the mean time, dice portobello mushrooms in bite size pieces and dice your tomatoes. For a more authentic Italian style, leave tomatoes diced, or if you want a thick goopy sauce, puree them in a blender. I pureed mine for this recipe but I like both methods.

2. After a few minutes of sauteeing, add the fresh spinach leaves and they wilt in a few minutes. Also add the diced portobello and add freshly cracked black pepper (a few shakes). After a minute, add the tomatoes, diced or pureed as well as the white wine vinegar (or white wine if you have it on hand it is preferred) and the tomato paste. Boil water in a separate pot, and add pasta when water is at boiling point.

3. Let the sauce simmer on low heat for 10 minutes or so, until it cooks and thickens up. Add spices last minute and do not over cook sauce, as spices can lose their potency and oregano can become bitter.

4. Serve over warm whole grain pasta and then devour.

 What is your favourite kind of pasta sauce? Do you have any great recipes or secrets you would like to share?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Thai Chili Peanut Butter Stirfry

I love Thai food and peanut butter. I'm currently testing a low carb diet, so I figured this recipe would be filling and tasty even if I omitted rice or rice noodles. Peanut butter is not low in fat and there is also about 3, 3.5 g of carbs per 1 tbsp of peanut butter, so just keep that in mind if you are counting your carb intake. I am not claiming this recipe is low-carb, but it's certainly better off than pasta, pizza, potatoes, noodles or rice stirfrys.

This recipe is SPICY for the average spicy food eater. If you don't handle spice well, please reduce the quantity of chili used.

1/2 broccoli head
1 red pepper
3-4 mushrooms
1/4 white onion
1/2 pack of firm tofu
1 teaspoon oil (vegetable, coconut)

4 tablespoons peanutbutter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 tablespoon Thai chilli sauce
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder

Yield: 2-3 servings


1. Cube tofu in 1/2 inch square cubes. Slice vegetables into stirfry size and heat up oil in a wok or a large pan.

2. In a separate bowl, mix all wet ingredients for the sauce first, and pour the hot water last. Then add the rest of the spices.

3. Saute tofu cubes first until golden brown, then add vegetables and stirfry on medium heat for 5 minutes or so until tender but not over cooked.

4. Add chilli peanut sauce over vegetables and cook on low heat for another few minutes so the flavour gets absorbed. Serve warm.

Feel free to change up vegetables in the recipe with whatever you like or you think goes well with peanut butter. Do you have any favourite chilli peanut recipes or peanut satay?

Savoury Mozarella Pancake Puffs

Pancake puff pans are quite an amazing thing. Aside from making sweet treats which originated as the Dutch dessert Aebleskiver, there is a savoury Japanese version of this dish called Takoyaki.

What does this have to do with the Savoury Mozarella Pancake Puffs? Nothing really, except I found that tidbit of history slightly amusing. The photo in this recipe post is actually a Frankenstein puff in which I poured some batter first, spooned some marinara sauce and Daiya mozza and then more batter to fill up the well.

Get ready for some delicious snacking!

1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup Daiya Mozzarella cheese
1 cup water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Yield: approx 12 pancake puffs


1. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl with the Daiya Mozarella cheese. Mix the water and oil in another bowl and whisk well. Slowly mix in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until you reach batter consistency.

2. Heat up your pancake puff pan to a LOW-MED temperature. This allows the pancake puffs to be cooked without burning. Scoop or pour enough batter in one well to almost fill up the well to the brim. (It is easier to flip pancake puffs if they are larger.)

3. After a couple of minutes when they are cooked on one side (pale yellow-gold colour), flip them holding one stick on one side of the puff, and the other stick on the opposite side of the puff.

4. Wait another few minutes for the other side to cook, then remove puffs using the 2 sticks like chopsticks. They will be pale in colour, but do not fret, they will be cooked inside. If you would like a more golden colour, keep flipping them on each side until they reach desired colour.

5.  Serve with warm marinara sauce.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Vegan FUNnel Cake Recipe

  If fairs, carnivals or amusement parks were part of your childhood (or adulthood), then maybe you remember the sweet waft of funnel cakes coming from the stands or the shops. A long line-up later and intoxicated with vanilla, you got a plateful of funnel cake topped with smooth ice cream, crisp strawberries, a glimmer of icing sugar, and ooey gooey strawberry sauce.
     For some reason, it had never crossed my mind until now that a vegan funnel cake is even possible. Here's the recipe folks!


1 1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon egg replacer (I like Ener-G or Bob's Red Mill)
1 teaspoon vanilla (or to taste) 
1 cup vegetable oil or as needed


1. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and prepare the egg replacer (usually 1 tablespoon warm/hot water per 1 tablespoon egg replacer powder).

2. Slowly add in the egg replacer mixture, the milk and vanilla until you have a thick batter. It should be thick, but dripable but not extremely drippy like a crepe batter.

3. Use a middle sized pan and fill it with at least 2 fingers height of oil. Let it heat on medium-high and wait until the oil is hot but not smoking. Take a ladle and pour some of the batter in a large funnel and keep the hole covered with your finger. Start in the middle of the pan and take off your finger, slowly guiding the funnel in a spiral shape keep the spiral continious and close together. Continue until you reach the edge of the pan and let the funnel cake cook, turn when golden brown.

It takes a couple of tries to get the motion going right and the temperature right so don't worry if the first ones come out burned or not perfect! Just snack on them for quality assurance ;)

This should make about 4-5 funnel cakes if you use a medium pan but it all depends. I served it with Coconut Bliss vanilla ice cream, powdered sugar, fresh strawberries, homemade strawberry sauce, and Healthy Top whip cream.

Vegan Whipped Cream Product Review

Do they serve Healthy Top in heaven?

Last week, I discovered a whipping cream product called Healthy Top. It comes in a carton, it is made of thick cream from almonds, cashews and coconut oil and it is the most delectable sweet I had in years. You keep it in the fridge for minimum half an hour, stick a bowl and the beaters in the freezer and then whip it on high for 1-2 minutes.

The last time I tried finding vegan whipped cream I came across Soyatoo, in a can which stopped spraying after one use. Utter garbage, I thought I would never eat whipped cream again.

Cherry Chocolate Heaven
Healthy Top officially made me feel alive again. It's creamy, silky, smooth, rich and stiffs up better than dairy whip cream (not as wishy washy). You can dip strawberries in it, put it on crepes or on top of coffee or just damn eat it out of the bowl (guilty as charged).

If you haven't tried it yet, close your eyes, and prepare for your tongue to be delighted.

By the way, I didn't get paid for writing this, I just genuinely absolutely love this whip cream! It's to die for!

How To Make Vegan Butterscotch Pudding


3/4 cup brown sugar
3 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon of fine salt
2 cups non-dairy milk (I used almond)
2 tablespoons margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla


1. Mix the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan, slowly add about 1 cup of the milk and put it on medium-high on your stove top.
2. Whisk once in a while for the next few minutes, and pour the rest of the milk slowly.

3. Once the pudding is almost thickened up to your desired consistency, stir in the margarine and vanilla.

4. If you like your pudding warm, let it cool in the pot for 10 minutes or if you like it cold, chill for an hour or 2.

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups!

Since I moved my blog, I'm starting to switch over the old posts, so let me present to you the vegan chocolate peanut butter cup recipe!

Ingredients (approx)

1 cup peanut butter (pref. use organic one that does not have added oils, salt or sugar)
1/2 cup icing sugar (I like Wholesome Sweetners)
1 cup of chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
12 paper muffin cups


1. Cut the muffin cups in half horizontally so that the paper cup left resembles a peanutbutter cup shape.
2. Melt chocolate chips in microwave for 20-60 seconds. (stop and check every 10 seconds to make sure it's melted and not burned)
3. Use small basting brush (silicone preferred)to spread chocolate on the cups. Coat thickly so that you cannot see the paper (otherwise cup will break when it's ready) Make sure to leave some chocolate to coat the tops.
4. Place coated cups on a plate and place it in the freezer.
5. Mix the peanut butter with the salt and sugar. Add more of either item to taste, find your balance of sweet and salty. Remember the chocolate is sweet.
6. When cups are hardened (10 mins or so) scoop the peanutbutter into the cups with a teaspoon and flatten them in the cup gently.
7. Pour remaining chocolate on top of the peanutbutter and use the brush to spread it to the edges.
8. Freeze for another 10 mins. Gently peel the muffin paper off the cups.
9. Serve frozen or refrigerated otherwise you may find a sneaky surprise! (cups melted out of their shape when you grab them)

Welcome Readers!

Dear reader,

I hope you will enjoy the posts of this blog of vegan recipes, vegan alternative products, reviews and more! If there's anything you're particularly interested in knowing more about, please leave a comment and let me know what you would like to read more about!

Let's take the culinary expedition to a whole new level and get crazy, fun and delicious with cooking!

Sincerely hope you enjoy my blog...

Yours truly,

Scrumptious Vegan