Vegan Banana Muffins

I was looking for a Vegan Banana Muffin recipe for breakfast this morning.  Most of the sites described this as a Vegan Dessert.  Muffins are not  dessert.  They are breakfast.  I might need to rethink my future, if this in Vegan World muffins are dessert.  We won’t play nicely together.

Shhh…these aren’t vegan chocolate chips.  

Vegan Banana Muffins


1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup unsweetened soymilk or almond milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sucanat or organic evaporated cane sugar
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas
1/4 cup canola or safflower oil
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla
1/2 cup vegan semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 12 regular size (2 1/2-inch) muffin cups with paper baking cups. (Or, coat muffin cups with cooking spray.)

In large bowl mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

Stir together soymilk and vinegar; let stand 2 minutes until thickened. In medium bowl mix soymilk mixture, sucanat, banana, oil and vanilla until well blended. Add to flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Divide batter among muffin cups.

Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until browned and toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 12 muffins



Baked Ricotta Cheese Balls

Sometimes, all you can say is, yum!

Baked Ricotta Cheese Balls

found and tweaked from

1 small container (about 10 oz) ricotta cheese, drained

A large handful of Romano Cheese

1 palmful of minced fresh parsley

1 pinch of nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

1 egg yolk, reserve white

2 egg whites

1 C seasoned bread crumbs

Preheat an oven to 425.  

In a small bowl, combine ricotta, romano, parsley, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and egg yolk.  Stir to combine.  Roll into small balls, about the size of a bouncy ball.  Leave to sit on cookie sheet to dry out.  

In separate bowls, place the egg whites and bread crumbs.  Dip cheese balls into egg whites then coat with bread crumbs.  Place on cookie sheet.  Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes, or until bread crumbs brown.  Serve with marinara sauce.


“Little Ear” Pasta with Broccoli

I watched Moneyball last night.  It was great and I don’t even like baseball!  I’m a disappointment to my dad, I’m sure.  

There are some actors that I will see any movie they make, just because they are in it, among these are Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Brad Pitt.  What if they made a movie together?  Oh my gosh!  When I was a teenager, Brad Pitt was filming the movie Twelve Monkeys in Philadelphia. I lived about 45 minutes away.  I remember being crazy with the fact that he “was so close to me”.  It was a pathetic crush.  His pictures were all over my walls.  I used to watch that scene in Legends of the Fall when he tipped his hat and the water dripped off, over and over and over and over.  So sad.  

Fortunately, he was a good actor, and has remained around for me to obsess over.  Unfortunately, he is with Angelina Jolie (who irritates me to no end) and not me.  

Maybe if I made this pasta for him, he’d change his mind.  Probably not, but just maybe…

Little Ear Pasta with Broccoli

from the Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Nancy Harmon Jenkins


2 bunches of broccoli

sea salt

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 Tb extra virgin olive oil

6 oil-packed anchovies, or to taste

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 lb orecchiette or other pasta


black pepper


Clean and coarsely chop the broccoli.  Bring about 1 inch of salted water to boil in a heavy sauvepan.  Add the broccoli and cook until it is tender, about 5-10 minutes.  Set the pan of broccoli aside, and keep warm.

In a separate skillet or saute pan, gently saute the garlic in the olive oil until it is soft, then melt in the anchovies by crushing them in the garlicky oil with a fork.  Add the red pepper and stir to mix well.  Turn the garlic-pepper oil into the broccoli and mix.

Cook the pasta in lightly salted boiling water until done.  Drain the pasta immediately combine with the broccoli.  Turn into a warm serving bowl, add pepper, and serve in a large bowl.

Kung Pao Shrimp

I love Chinese food.  

Like super crave it, when I’m trying to be healthy.  I used to think that as Americans we made Chinese food into the caloric monstrosity that it is, but then I went to China.  I don’t think its much better.  Unless, of course, what we were given was “for the Americans”, which is quite possible.  

My mom makes me laugh.  Every time she is down in the dumps, she gets Chinese food.  I’ve inherited this gene.  I always know what kind of week she’s having when she tells me she’s getting Chinese food.  Maybe she makes up some of her rough day stories, just so she can get Chinese food.  This is a great idea.  I’m going to have to start doing that!!

Kung Pao Shrimp….to veggi-ize it, use Extra Firm Tofu.

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Serves 4


1 pound extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 count), peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon dry sherry or rice wine
2 teaspoons soy sauce
3 medium cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press or minced (about 1 tablespoon)
½ inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced (about 2 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons canola oil
½ cup roasted unsalted peanuts
6 small whole dried red chiles (each about 1¾ to 2 inches long), 3 chiles roughly crumbled, or 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
¾ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
2 teaspoons black rice vinegar or plain rice vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon fish/oyster sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1½ teaspoons cornstarch
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch dice
3 medium scallions, sliced thin

We also added 1 bag of stir fry vegetables.  

1. Toss shrimp with sherry and soy sauce in medium bowl; marinate until shrimp have absorbed flavors, about 10 minutes. Mix garlic, ginger, and 1 tablespoon oil in small bowl; set aside. Combine peanuts and chiles in small bowl; set aside. Mix chicken broth, vinegar, sesame oil, oyster-flavored sauce, hoisin sauce, and cornstarch in small bowl or measuring cup; set aside.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until just beginning to smoke. Add shrimp and cook, stirring about once every 10 seconds, until barely opaque, 30 to 40 seconds; add peanuts and chiles, stir into shrimp, and continue cooking until shrimp are almost completely opaque and peanuts have darkened slightly, 30 to 40 seconds longer. Transfer shrimp, peanuts, and chiles to bowl; set aside. Return skillet to burner and reheat briefly, 15 to 30 seconds. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, swirl to coat pan, and add red bell pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 45 seconds. Clear center of pan, add garlic-ginger mixture, mash into pan with spoon or spatula, and cook until fragrant, 10 to 15 seconds; stir into peppers until combined. Stir broth mixture to recombine, then add to skillet along with reserved shrimp, peanuts, and chiles; cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits on bottom of pan, until sauce has thickened to syrupy consistency, about 45 seconds. Stir in scallions (and stir fry vegetables if using); transfer to serving plate and serve immediately.

Sweet Potato and Spinach Soup

It’s amazing what you can make when you keep a pretty well stocked kitchen.  This soup is an example of this.  My pictures are inspired by FrugalFeeding.  You should check out her blog!  She has a picture of a Flourless Chocolate Cake that looks to die for!  Don’t you wish that there was a magic button on your computer that you could push and you’d get to taste all the delicious things you’re at which you are looking?  If there was such a button, I would push it for this cake.  

Anyway, back to this soup.  Its good on a cold day because it has a bit of a kick that will clear up your cold, but not too much of a kick that my two year old wouldn’t eat it.  “Its too spicy!!”  That’s what I hear under such circumstances, particularly when it comes time for toothbrushing.  This soup comes from Quick Fix Vegan by Robin Robertson.  I’ve used a couple of her recipes before from Vegan Planet, and they’re almost always good.    Except the other day I made a Shortcut Risotto which I’d consider a total fail.  However, I’m obsessed with Risotto, so its not really a fair judgment.

So, here’s the recipe.  Go give it a whirl.  If you have any ideas for good Vegan/Vegatarian ideas, please, please, PLEASE send them my way!!

Vegan Sweet Potato and Spinach Soup


2 tsp. neutral vegetable oil (I omitted this, as per Robin’s suggestion, and just brought in some of the broth earlier to saute with)
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large sweet potato, diced
1 TB. grated fresh ginger
2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1 (14-oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 TB. soy sauce
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
4 cups vegetable broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups unsweetened nondairy milk
4 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup chopped peanuts

From Robin Robertson**I also added a can of black beans.  It was a good addition, in my opinion 🙂

Heat the oil (or broth) in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sweet potato. Cover and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger, coriander, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne or to taste. Add the tomatoes and soy sauce.

In a small bowl, combine, the peanut butter with 1 cup of the broth, stirring until smooth. Stir the peanut butter mixture into the soup, then add the remaining broth and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes,

Stir in the nondairy milk and spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes. Serve hot, sprinkled with the chopped peanuts.

Vegan Pancakes

We are on a documentary kick.  We’ve watched everything from Cosmic Collisions to National Geographic’s North Korea.  In the midst of those was the documentary, Forks Over Knives.  If you haven’t seen it yet, you should!  We’ve been vegan-ish for a week.  I say vegan-ish because we’re not giving up dairy completely.  There are two things I love more than anything, cheese and chocolate, and no amount of vegan cover up is going to make them taste the same.  So, the next few posts are of our Vegan-ish adventure.  I’m sure we’ll fall off the wagon soon or find a documentary promoting Big Mac’s and Cupcakes.  If you know of one, please send it my way!

Vegan Pancakes

1/2 C All-purpose flour

1/2 C White Whole Wheat Flour

1/4 C Rolled Oats

3 tsp baking soda

1/2-1 tsp salt

1 Tb canola oil

2 Tb Honey, less if you’re milk is sweetened

1 1/4 C soy milk


A Fiber Rich Lunch…or using up leftovers?

I was staring at my fridge and thought…hmm…what’s for lunch?  I threw my leftover chicken on top of some spinach, added my leftover sweet potatoes, black beans, and brown rice, sprinkled on some goat cheese, and here’s what I got.  It was pretty good, but I thought it made a pretty picture.

Here is the link to the Black Bean and Rice recipe.

Chicken Rosemary Pocket Pies

You know when you have pot pie and you bite into that crust…mmm.  But then, after 3 more bites, your delicious crust is gone, and all that’s left is vegetables.  Don’t cry, its ok.  Next time, you’ll make a pocket pie and you’ll be the hero of all things pot pie.

Chicken Pocket Pies

Rosemary Crust:

1 1/4 C all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 Tb fresh rosemary, chopped fine

1 stick of butter, chilled and diced

1/4 C ice water

In a large bowl, combine flour, rosemary and salt.  Cut in butter until you have coarse crumbs.  Stir in water, a tb at a time, until dough forms a ball.  Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate until firm.  Set aside.

Pot Pie Filling

from Martha Stewart chicken (3 or 4 pounds)


  • 4 cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut in half
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 rib celery, cut into thirds
  • 9 ounces red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 12 pearl onions, peeled and cut lengthwise if large
  • 1 medium leek, white and light-green parts only, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds and washed
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 6 ounces button mushrooms, quartered if large
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 egg yolk


  1. Combine chicken, chicken stock, yellow onion, bay leaves, peppercorns, 3 thyme sprigs, and celery in a stockpot, and add enough water just to cover the chicken. Bring stock to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour.
  2. Drain chicken, and reserve the stock. Remove the skin from the chicken, and remove all the chicken from the carcass. Shred the chicken into bite-size strips, and set aside. Strain the stock, and set aside 2 cups. Reserve the remaining stock for another use.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt the remaining 5 tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add red potatoes and pearl onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes begin to turn golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Add leeks, carrots, and mushrooms, and cook 4 to 5 minutes more. Add the remaining 5 tablespoons flour, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in reserved chicken stock and milk, and bring to a simmer. Cook until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes. Add reserved chicken pieces, parsley, remaining 2 tablespoons thyme, lemon zest, remaining 2 teaspoons salt, and the ground pepper; transfer to a large casserole dish. Set aside.

Putting it all together:

Roll out your dough until it is a 1/4 inch thick.  Using a salad plate, cut out your rounds.  Makes about 6.  Working quickly, put 1/4-1/2 C of filling on half of a round.  Fold over the top half of dough, and pinch edges.  Put on a parchment lined baking sheet. Combine heavy cream and egg yolk to make an egg wash.  Brush each pocket with egg wash.  Sprinkle with coarse salt.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until pockets are golden brown.  Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ok, I’m really behind in posting.  I made these for Christmas Day, which was what, two weeks ago?  Sorry.  They are still worth making, even if Thanksgiving, Fall, and now Christmas are well in the past.  Maybe make them for Groundhog’s Day?  It’s coming soon, you know.  Right now, it’s 60 degrees outside, so I’m guessing Spring isn’t too far from that.  With this Indian Summer turned Fall weather, I think I might throw some burgers on and pop open a few beers.  It will snow tomorrow, now, I’m sure of it.

These came from various sources, and I’ve provided the links below.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls from King Arthur Flour

Cinnamon Filling from Alton Brown

Cream Cheese Frosting from

Cranberry Orange Scones

Ina, Ina, Ina…how I love you so.  Anything with 4 eggs, a cup of heavy cream, and 3/4 lb of butter, has to be good, right?  Since the holidays are here, and no one is watching their calorie intake, why not try these scones?  And if you’re going to make scones, you should make this jam, too.  While you’re at it, you should try Milk Brewed coffee, from Yes, I want cake.  


After doing all three, slip in to a food coma, and sleep in heavenly peace.

Merry Christmas!! 

Cranberry Orange Scones

from Ina Garten


  • 4 cups plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 4 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix 4 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, salt and orange zest. Add the cold butter and mix at the lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and, with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour into the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough will look lumpy! Combine the dried cranberries and 1/4 cup of flour, add to the dough, and mix on low speed until blended.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it into a ball. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. You should see small bits of butter in the dough. Keep moving the dough on the floured board so it doesn’t stick. Flour a 3-inch round plain or fluted cutter and cut circles of dough. Place the scones on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Collect the scraps neatly, roll them out, and cut more circles.

Brush the tops of the scones with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes (Start watching at 15.  Mine were done before 20), until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. The scones will be firm to the touch. Allow the scones to cool for 15 minutes and then whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and orange juice, and drizzle over the scones.