Crafty Kitchen Christmas

17 12 2013

Like many people, I really don’t buy into the whole commercialization of Christmas. In fact, I don’t even identify as Christian, so I’m not sure why I celebrate the holiday. Oh that’s right, it’s actually a pagan holiday to begin with so you know what, let’s all celebrate. Not that we are all pagan, but if Christians can reclaim Christmas for themselves I say let’s all have a part in the fun. And, that’s what I think this holiday is: fun. So, I don’t intend to get stressed out about getting a gift for every single person in my life. That’s right, even if you are my best friend in the entire world, you may not get a Christmas gift from me. Still, there is something so fun about creating kitchen magic during the holidays, and giving it away to friends and family makes it even more magical. Inspired by some amazing bloggers, I decided to steal some of their ideas and spend a whole day of fun in the kitchen with my family. The results were as magical as those amazing bloggers claimed, plus took very little time actually cooking (leaving more time for hanging out with my family and watching Christmas movies – have you seen the 1947 version of Miracle on 34th St? It’s perfect!). So without further ado, here are the results of my Crafty Kitchen Christmas:

Infused Maple Syrup from My New Roots.


Mocha Chocolate Bark (my favorite) from Speak With Your Food.


And finally, White Chocolate Bark from Fork and Beans.


Happy Holidays everyone!



Birthday Cake

4 02 2013

Hi All! This will be a happy belated birthday post to me (-: My birthday being two Sundays ago, but this being the first time I have a moment to stop and write.

Because I am gluten-free and vegan, people always wonder how they should make me a birthday cake. This year, we decided to make Sticky Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Cake from the Anniversary Issue of VegNews (August 2010). This is my favorite cake at the moment, so I was happy to have the excuse to eat more of it. The picture here really doesn’t begin to do justice to this very incredibly fabulous cake.

Since I cannot find a link to the original version online, I will type it up below. I made a few changes (made it gluten-free for one), and used the ingredients I had on hand instead of the exact ones called for. Non gluten-free people loved it! They said it was a bit dense, but still devoured it with pleasure. I did not notice a density issue – then again I’m pretty used to eating gluten-free foods so that might account for the difference of opinion. Best of all, this spicy cake taste amazing the next day with a fresh cup of chai (or coffee). I especially love this cake because it is so spicy that the sweetness is a bit masked and you can eat it for dessert, but it also makes a nice sweet but not too sweet breakfast.


For my birthday, Ilana suprised me with some tasty oatmeal lentil cookies (I will try and convince her to guest blog them). Anne also made me the sweetest birthday present: a painting of our dog Maymoona! You can check it out here. And, stayed tuned for my next post on birthday chickens ūüėÄ


makes one 9 inch cake


1/2 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato (we used white sweet potatoes)

1/2 cup cooked, mashed pumpkin (we used the local squash)

1/2 cup canola oil (we used sunflower)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup alternate milk

1.5 tsp vanilla

1 tsp orange zest

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1.5 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour

3/4 tsp xanthum gum

1.5 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/3 cup golden raisins (we left these out Рwho wants raisins in cake?)


1/2 brown sugar

1/2 cup water

1/2 orange juice

1 3-inch cinnamon stick

1 whole star anise or 1/2 tsp anise seeds

2 tablespoons brandy or rum (I used orange flavored rum)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-inch cake pan. The original directions say you should also line it with¬†parchment¬†paper, I was able to flip it out later without doing this step. Also if you use silicone cake pans you shouldn’t have trouble flipping it out. But, if you are worried, also line the pan with¬†parchment¬†paper.

Mix sweet potato, squash, oil, brown and white sugar, milk, vanilla, orange zest, and lime juice together until well blended. Separately  mix the rest of the cake ingredients (except the raisins). Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir until combined, do not over-mix  Add in raisins (if you like that kind of thing) and pour into the cake pan.

Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

In the meantime, combine all of the syrup ingredients and bring to a boil stirring frequently. After boiling for 2 minutes, reduce heat and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes until the syrup is reduced by one-third. Remove from heat and cool. Strain the mixture and set it aside.

Cool the cake for about 20 minutes. Then run a knife around the sides and carefully flip the cake out of the pan. Carefully flip the cake again, this time onto a serving dish. Poke some small holes in the top of the cake at one inch intervals. Then spoon warm syrup over the cake spreading it evenly over the cake. Be generous with the syrup and add more as it begins to soak in. Let the cake sit for an hour before serving and then serve with extra syrup.


Yoga Cookies

4 10 2012

Anne Novak, my younger sister’s yoga instructor makes yoga cookies¬†(scroll down until you find the link and download) for her students as an after-class pick me up.

As we headed to Cape Cod on a birthday vacation, my mom convinced me and my sister to make some ¬†for the trip. ¬†Glad we did, since they turned out to be the perfect road snack. ¬†To make them gluten free, use all-purpose gluten-free flour instead of wheat flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill brand). ¬†Also check to see you are using gluten-free oats.

Make sure you mix these really well; it takes a while but otherwise the cookies will come out a bit weird. ¬†I also found when putting the cookies on the sheet it is easiest to use a spoon. ¬†The first time my sister made them she use her hands and (in addition to being sticky) there is the temptation to try and squeeze them together to make them stick which actually has the opposite effect. ¬†So, take a spoon, glop some of the very chunky cookie dough onto the oiled cookie sheet or parchment paper and don’t worry as it cooks it will form into a real cookie, how cool!

When we made this we used brown sugar, cranberries, almonds, coconut, enjoy life’s dark chocolate chunks, and so delicious coconut milk. ¬†Feel free to experiment and use what you have on hand.

Oatmeal (Raison) Cookies

14 06 2009

I found this recipe from The Gluten-Free Goddess because I needed to make cookies for a picnic.  Little did I know they would turn out to be a family favorite.  My Aunt says these cookies are very close to the real thing, try it and let me know! Photo credit here goes to Tessa Bevans.


Quinoa Peanut Butter Cookies

25 03 2009

I was so excited to stumble upon this recipe from the Book of Yum; these cookies are really good!  The original recipe teaches you how to make monster cookies, but I just made normal size ones which worked just as well. The photo credit here goes to Tessa Bevans.


Almond Apple Pie

23 12 2008
apple pie

I love this recipe. Although a bit time consuming, it has a great flavor and texture. Although the original recipe calls for butter and eggs, I used vegan butter and the egg was just for brushing to make it look shiny so I left it out.


Candied Nuts

28 11 2008

This recipe came to me from Victoria Frost and it makes a great appetizer to a fancy diner party, a tasty dessert, or just a sweet snack throughout the day.  This recipe would probably work with other nuts as well.


2 ¬Ĺ cups walnuts
2 ¬Ĺ¬† cups pecans
vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
¬Ĺ cup water
1tsp cinamon
¬Ĺ tsp salt
1 ¬Ĺ tsp vanilla extract

Heat nuts in moderate oven (375 deg.) for 5 minutes, stirring once.  oil sides of heavy 2-qt. saucepan.

In saucepan, combine sugar, water, cinnamon, and salt.  Heat and stir till sugar dissolves and mixture boils.  Cook without stirring to soft-ball stage (236 deg.).  Remove from heat.  Beat by hand 1 minute or until mixture just begins to get creamy.  Add vanilla extract and the warm nuts.

Stir gently until nuts are well coated and mixture becomes creamy.  Turn out on buttered platter or cookie sheet.  Separate at once using two spoons or forks.  Makes about 2 pounds of crunchy sugared nuts.

Chocolate Cupcakes

14 08 2008

I almost didn’t make these because they sound pretty weird, but trust me these are excellent. They are moist and dense and even my non gluten-free and non vegan friends loved them!

1 1/2 cups all-purpose gf flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (check for soy + dairy free)
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 avocado, pitted and peeled
1 cup pure maple syrup
3/4 cup rice/almond milk
1/3 cup coconut oil
2 tsp gf vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Oil muffin tins (aka cupcake makers) with coconut oil. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl. Purée avocado in a food processor until smooth. Add maple syrup, ricemilk, oil, and vanilla, and blend until creamy. Whisk avocado mixture into flour mixture.

Spoon batter into prepared tins. Bake 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out with some crumbs attached. Cool. Frost with Cashew Creme Frosting.

recipe adapted from: Vegetarian Times September 2008

Mixed Berry and Mint Granita

24 06 2008

This recipe is directly quoted from Delicious Living June 2008, but since I can’t find the articl online I am re-producing it here:

Serves 12

This refreshing dessert can also be served as a slushy. Spoon into goblets and garnish with fresh lemon peel or mint sprigs for a partylike feel.

1 cup water
3/4 cup natural cane sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 cups blackberries, raspberries, or strawberries, in any combination, fresh or frozen and party thawed.

In a small saucepan, heat water and sugar to a simmer. Continue cooking until sugar dissolves and liquid is clear, about 5 minutes. (This mixture is called a simple syrup). Remove from heat. Refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour.

Remove simple syrup from refrigerator. Stir in mint and lemon juice.

In a food processor, crush berries. Add simple-syrup mixture and combine thoroghly. Pour into a 9×13 inch glass dish. Cover and freeze 8 hours, until firm.

Remove from freezer; let stand 15 minutes. Scrape through entire mixture with a fork until fluffy. Serve.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

26 05 2008

I made a few adaptions to the chocolate chip cookies in Veganomicon (if you don’t already own this book you should, it is my absolute favorite cookbook). I loved their original recipe, but found that with reducing the oil and changing the type of sugar I could have a thicker, less lacy cookie.

I find these to be very tasty. Out of the oven they are soft and thick, but sadly they become hard as crackers after about half an hour. Some of my readers did not have this problem so I need to experiment a bit more to figure out what is going on.


1 3/4 c gluten free oat flour
1/2 tsp b. soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c turbinado sugar
1/4 c. canola oil
1 tblsp ground flaxseeds
1/4 c. rice milk
1 tsp vanilla
shredded coconut
pinch of nutmeg
cinnamon to taste
3/4 c. chocolate chips (make sure soy-free)

Preheat oven to 375. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk flaxseeds & milk. Add¬†the sugar¬†and stir. Then add oil and vanilla and “whisk vigorously until all ingredients are emulsified.” Mix wet & dry ingredients together, then fold in chocolate chips, coconut, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Drop by tablespoon onto a baking sheet. Bake 5-10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to rack.

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