The Forty-Year-Old Vegan

Turning FortyNope not me. Thank goodness. I still have a few more years before I hit the little eff. The Husband, however, gets the honor of hitting this milestone first. He took it all in stride and even had a whiskey flight to lessen the blow.

Whiskey FlightSo for the big day, I asked him what he wanted to do: restaurant or eat at home. Petrified of singing waiters, he happily opted for dinner at home. He couldn’t decide what he wanted, so he chose two favorites that really don’t go together, but hey, it’s his day.

Tacos and Mac n' CheeseYep. Tacos and Mac n’ Cheese. Two of his favorites. He thought he had died and gone to some vegan buffet. For dessert, I wanted to try making carrot cake and I found this excellent recipe from Love and Lemons.

Vegan Carrot Cake Slice

The cake is delicious! I would certainly make this again, however, I’d probably go with a vegan cream cheese frosting rather than the macadamia nut frosting. It was still good, but I think we all preferred the traditional cream cheese kind.

So my present to myself (for his birthday) is I got a new site! (I sure hope you noticed). Isn’t it be-u-tee-ful?! I’m still playing around with some stuff, but I’m loving the new look. My friend Carolyn, who is starting her own design business created this much more user-friendly, easier-on-the-eye site. Email me via the fancy new contact page, if you’d like to get Carolyn’s info—she does great work!

I will be posting a new recipe in a day or two and thanks to the new layout, you’ll have the ability to print the recipe! (Yes, I know, I’m a so behind the times). See you soon!

 

White Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chips

White Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chips -- Epicurean VeganYep, that’s right. White chocolate-peanut butter cookies. I have to thank A Wonderful Vegan Life for turning me onto this peanut butter:

White Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chips -- Epicurean VeganYeah, thanks a lot, because now I’m hooked! ;-)

Well, this takes peanut butter cookies to a whole new level . . . and the chocolate chips?! Forgetaboutit  . . .

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 C Earth Balance margarine
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C White Chocolate Wonderful Peanut Butter
Egg replacer for 2 eggs (I used Ener-G Egg Replacer)
1 Tbs oil
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 to 3/4 C chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350. Using a mixer, combine the Earth Balance, peanut butter, and sugar. Once blended, add the egg-replacer, oil and extracts; mix well. In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda. While the mixer is running, add the dry ingredients a little at time. Incorporate all of the ingredients thoroughly, Next, stir in the chocolate chips using a spoon or spatula.

White Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chips -- Epicurean VeganTake small handfuls of dough and roll into a ball—as best you can; it’s not easy with the chocolate chips, then squish them down a little on the baking sheet.

White Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chips -- Epicurean VeganBake for 10-12 minutes and enjoy!

Sugar-Glazed Zucchini Bread

Sugar-Glazed Zucchini Bread -- Epicurean Vegan

Ah . . . Fall, the changing of the leaves, and the smell of baking zucchini bread. Not bad for a Friday afternoon. Then of course, eating the sugar-crusted bread! This is a very easy bread to throw together and great for sharing!

INGREDIENTS:
6 Tbs flax meal
1/2 C warm water
4 C zucchini, grated and squeezed of all liquid (2 to 2-1/2 medium zucchinis)
2 C brown sugar
1/2 C applesauce
1/4 C oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 C almond milk
3 C regular flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbs baking powder
1 Tbs cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
Glaze:
1 Tbs Earth Balance margarine, melted
1/4 C brown sugar
3 Tbs almond milk

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350.  In a small bowl whisk together the flax meal and warm water; set aside. Using a mixer, combine the brown sugar, applesauce, oil, vanilla, and almond milk. Add the zucchini and flax meal; mix well. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and combine well. Pour the mixture evenly into two lightly greased loaf pans. Bake for 35-45 minutes. Every oven runs differently, so check often. Once they are a bit browned on top and an inserted toothpick or knife comes out clean from the center . . .

Sugar-Glazed Zucchini Bread -- Epicurean Vegan

Just before this, of course, whip up the glaze.  Whisk together the ingredients and brush the tops of the bread with it. Bake it again for another 7-10 minutes.

Sugar-Glazed Zucchini Bread -- Epicurean VeganLet them cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from the pans. Slice and enjoy!

Sugar-Glazed Zucchini Bread -- Epicurean Vegan

Lemon Monkey Bread

Lemon Monkey Bread -- Epicurean Vegan

I was going to post this recipe tomorrow, but after taking a bite, I think you might want to run out and buy the ingredients for tomorrow’s breakfast. So worthy of veganizing! You may have seen the original recipe on Pinterest . . . it’s definitely making the rounds and now I know why! The original recipe was a bit hard to follow because of the way it’s laid out—lots of really closeup pictures with some directions, then at the bottom of the post is the ingredient list and directions. It also wasn’t clear how long it was going to take to let these puppies rise, but luckily, it was only about 45 minutes. These are little pieces of glaze n’ sugar heaven; like a mini glazed doughnut! And the crunchy sugar topping?! Forgetaboutit! Frickin’ amazing and perfect for a brunch get together (that is, if you want to share)!

INGREDIENTS:

12 Rhodes dinner rolls, thawed, but still cold (I took them out of the freezer and stuck them in the fridge the night before)
Zest from one lemon
1/2 C sugar
3 Tbs Earth Balance, melted + some for greasing the pan
1/2 C powdered sugar
1 Tbs lemon juice

Rhodes Rolls

DIRECTIONS:

Grease (very well) the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking dish. Cut each roll in half . . .

Lemon Monkey Bread -- Epicurean Vegan

. . . and place flat-side down into the pan.

Lemon Monkey Bread -- Epicurean Vegan

Drizzle with the melted butter . . .

Lemon Monkey Bread -- Epicurean Vegan

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Sprinkle half of the sugar mixture on the top of the rolls.

Lemon Monkey Bread -- Epicurean Vegan

Cover and let rise for 45 minutes, or until they have doubled in size. (I turned my oven onto the lowest temp: 190. Placed the covered rolls inside and just cracked the oven door. Works beautifully)!

Lemon Monkey Bread -- Epicurean Vegan

Preheat oven to 350. Sprinkle the rest of the sugar on top.

Lemon Monkey Bread -- Epicurean Vegan

The original recipe says to bake them for 20-25 minutes, but mine were ready in about 16-17 minutes. Check often as all ovens run differently. And let me tell you, these smelled SO incredible as they baked!

Lemon Monkey Bread -- Epicurean Vegan

Remove from the pan onto a plate. In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice. Drizzle on top. Thoroughly enjoy!!

Lemon Monkey Bread -- Epicurean Vegan

UPDATE:

I recently made these with cinnamon and sugar . . . YUM!

Cinnamon-Sugar Monkey Bread -- Epicurean Vegan

Prepare them the same as above, but use 1/3 C sugar (I reduced the amount from 1/2 C), 1 Tbs cinnamon, and zest from one orange. This is a quick and easy alternative to cinnamon rolls, especially if you’re short on time. Enjoy!

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Vegan Pumpkin Pie -- Epicurean Vegan

My mom’s always been in charge of making the pies for holidays and there’s a good reason why. She’s damn good at it. Since I’ve gone vegan, she’s tried to make them vegan whenever she can (thanks, Mom!) She made a vegan pumpkin pie from Vegetarian Times a couple of years ago, but this year, there was an even easier one to try. This one is from Vegan Holiday Kitchen cookbook. Instead of using the recipe’s suggestion of a pastry or graham cracker crust, she made her own pie crust using vegetable shortening. The recipe also makes two pies, so she halved it to make just one.

INGREDIENTS:

2 C pureed pumpkin
1/2 pkg firm silken tofu
1/2 C + 2 Tbs granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat to 350. Combine pumpkin in a food processor with next 4 ingredients; process until smooth. Pour into crusts. Bake 40-45 mins, or until set and crust is golden.

Peach N’ Cherry Cobbler with Almond Cream

Peach N' Cherry Cobbler with Almond Cream -- Epicurean VeganWhat do you do with 20-lbs of Palisade, CO peaches?! After sharing them with friends and family, of course . . . I’m convinced that the best peaches come from Palisade. Every year, Coloradoans anxiously await these incredible peaches from the western slope of the state. Well, you can’t have that many peaches and not make a cobbler. I didn’t have any ice cream, but I did have some almond yogurt, so I made a sweet cream to top the amazing cobbler. A great way to end the Labor Day weekend!

INGREDIENTS:

6 large peaches, pitted and sliced
5-oz bag dried cherries
1/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C granulated sugar
2 Tbs flour
1/4 C Earth Balance butter, cut into  small chunks
1 C oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 C almond milk

Almond Cream:

1-1/2 C almond yogurt
1/4 C granulated sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp arrowroot

Peach N' Cherry Cobbler with Almond Cream -- Epicurean Vegan

 

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375. Combine the peaches and cherries in an 8×8 baking dish.

Peach N' Cherry Cobbler with Almond Cream -- Epicurean VeganIn a medium bowl, combine the sugars, flour, oats, cinnamon, butter, and almond milk. Use a fork or pastry blender to mix the butter in. You’ll want little pea-sized pieces of butter.

Peach N' Cherry Cobbler with Almond Cream -- Epicurean VeganTop the fruit with the oat mixture.

Peach N' Cherry Cobbler with Almond Cream -- Epicurean Vegan

Cover and bake 35-40 minutes.

Peach N' Cherry Cobbler with Almond Cream -- Epicurean Vegan

To make the cream, whisk together all of the cream ingredients. Pour the cream over individual servings and enjoy!

Gluten-Free & Vegan Cupcakes (Vanilla and Chocolate-Almond)!

Gluten-Free & Vegan Cupcakes  -- Epicurean Vegan

Last weekend, for the second year in a row, I catered Wine and Words, a fundraising event for the Northern Colorado Writers. (Hence, the Scrabble-like tile cookies on top). I wanted to be able to provide not only vegan food, but lots of gluten-free options as well. I think these cupcakes came out pretty damn good. Granted, they’ve got plenty of sugar, but vegan and gluten-free is certainly on the right track (especially since they have flax in them)! The original recipe is from Living Without magazine, but I altered several ingredients and steps. The baking mix is a great base for GF muffins, cupcakes, and cakes. One batch makes 24 cupcakes. I made two batches: one vanilla, one chocolate.

INGREDIENTS:

Flour mixture: (makes 7.5 cups)

3-3/4 C chickpea a.k.a garbanzo flour
2-1/4 C potato starch
1-1/2 C tapioca flour

The cupcakes:

6 Tbs water
2 Tbs flax meal
1 C almond milk
1 tsp cider vinegar
3-1/2 C of the baking mix (use 3 cups for the chocolate ones)
1 Tbs + 1 tap baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum
1-1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 C vegetable shortening
2 tsp vanilla (use almond extract for the chocolate ones)
Also, add 1/2 C baking cocoa to the 3 cups of baking mix if making chocolate ones)

Sugar cookie tile:

7/8 C rice flour
1 tsp xantan gum
1/2 C Earth Balance
1/2 C sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
zest from one lemon

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, whisk together the three flours for the baking mix. Store in an airtight container. Preheat the oven to 350 and line two 12-cup muffin tins. In a small bowl, combine the almond milk and cider vinegar and set aside. In another small bowl, whisk together the water and flax meal; set aside.

In large bowl, combine 3-1/2 cups of the baking mix (again, use 3 cups of flour mix + 1/2 C cocoa for chocolate ones) with the baking powder, baking soda, and xanthan gum.  Using a mixer, beat the shortening and sugar together until well combined and fluffy.

Gluten-Free & Vegan Cupcakes  -- Epicurean Vegan

Add the flax mixture and vanilla (again, use almond extract for chocolate cupcakes). Next, alternate adding the dry ingredients with the milk/cider mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.

Gluten-Free & Vegan Cupcakes  -- Epicurean Vegan

Gluten-Free & Vegan Cupcakes  -- Epicurean Vegan

You will have a very thick, but moist batter. When I fill muffin cups, I tend to hold them in my hand to fill them up—it makes for a cleaner process with less chance of dropping globs of batter everywhere. This batter is pretty thick though, so you’ll have more control with these. Fill the 24 muffin cups evenly; about a 1/4 C in each.

Gluten-Free & Vegan Cupcakes  -- Epicurean Vegan 

Gluten-Free & Vegan Cupcakes  -- Epicurean Vegan

Bake for 18-20 minutes.

Gluten-Free & Vegan Cupcakes  -- Epicurean Vegan

Gluten-Free & Vegan Cupcakes  -- Epicurean Vegan

To make the sugar cookies, combine the sugar and Earth Balance. Add the vanilla and combine well. In a separate bowl, combine the rice flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, and lemon zest. Shape into a ball and chill for at least 2 hours. Using a light rolling pin (not a marble one if you can help it), roll out about half of the dough.

Gluten-Free & Vegan Cupcakes  -- Epicurean Vegan

I used a pizza cutter for the “tiles.”

Gluten-Free & Vegan Cupcakes  -- Epicurean Vegan

Gluten-Free & Vegan Cupcakes  -- Epicurean Vegan

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Gluten-Free & Vegan Cupcakes  -- Epicurean Vegan

I used a gel frosting for the lettering . . .

Gluten-Free & Vegan Cupcakes  -- Epicurean Vegan

Gluten-Free & Vegan Cupcakes  -- Epicurean Vegan

I didn’t have the patience to put the number in the corner like an actual Scrabble tile, but you get the idea…

I made some butter frosting for the cupcakes and topped with the letter or some sliced strawberries.

Gluten-Free & Vegan Cupcakes  -- Epicurean Vegan

Enjoy!

Avocado Cupcakes

Avocado Cupcakes -- Epicurean VeganYes, that’s right. Avocado Cupcakes. I love incorporating avocado into recipes when I can, especially when I can use it to replace the oil in baked goods. The Glazed Chocolate-Avocado Cupcakes proved that avocados belong in cupcakes, so I decided to try making them without the cocoa and made some other minor adjustments. They came out perfect! Soft, moist and green! It’s good to be green.

INGREDIENTS:
Cupcakes:
1-1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 avocado, pitted and peeled
1/2 C Florida Crystals sugar
3/4 C almond milk
1/3 C vanilla soy yogurt
2 tsp vanilla

Frosting:
1/2 C Earth Balance margarine
2-3 C confectioner’s sugar
Almond milk

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350 and line a 12-cup muffin with liners. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In the food processor, puree the avocado. Add the almond milk, yogurt, sugar, and vanilla; blend until smooth and creamy.

Avocado Cupcakes -- Epicurean Vegan

Combine the avocado mixture with the flour mixture by using a whisk.

Avocado Cupcakes -- Epicurean Vegan

Evenly fill the 12 muffin cups.

Avocado Cupcakes -- Epicurean Vegan

Bake for 25 minutes.

Avocado Cupcakes -- Epicurean Vegan

Let them cool completely before frosting them. To make the frosting, cream the Earth Balance and add some almond milk, then some sugar. I didn’t measure these out, I just added a little at a time to reach a thick consistency. Using a pastry bag, I frosted the tops. You can also spread it on with a knife. I got fancy; as fancy as I can get in the time I had. :-)

Avocado Cupcakes -- Epicurean Vegan

Vegan Chocolate Layer Cake

Vegan Chocolate Layer Cake -- Epicurean VeganI officially have a teenager. The Seventh Grader turned thirteen yesterday! How did that happen so fast?! Born 6 weeks early, my little guy quickly became a big guy:

10 months

Hard to believe that chubby babe is now five feet tall and 13!!

He wanted a chocolate layer cake for the big day, so I ventured out on Google to find one. Savvy Vegetarian had one that looked pretty good and I liked that it didn’t have any oil. When it comes to cakes, I often find that with the frosting, they are way too sweet, so I messed with the sugar content of this cake a bit. Because frosting is typically pretty sweet, I reduced the amount of sugar in the cake. It came out perfect! It was slightly dense and very moist. Everyone agreed it was fabulous!

INGREDIENTS:
Cake:
2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 C unsweetened baking cocoa
2 Tbs arrowroot
1 C Earth Balance margarine
1 C (I reduced it from 1- 2/3 C) granulated sugar (I used Florida Crystals)
1-1/3 C water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C almond milk
2 Tbs lemon juice

Frosting:
2 C (1 bag) Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 C Earth Balance margarine
2 Tbs almond milk

Florida Crystals

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly butter two 9″ cake pans, then dust with flour; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cocoa, and arrowroot. In a small bowl, combine the almond milk and lemon juice. Using a mixer, cream together the Earth Balance and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the milk mixture, water, and vanilla. Slowly, add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients, combine well. Pour evenly into the two cake pans.

Vegan Chocolate Layer Cake -- Epicurean Vegan
Bake for 25-30 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center of each cake—if it comes out clean, they’re done. Let them cool completely.

Vegan Chocolate Layer Cake -- Epicurean Vegan

Using a sharp knife, go around the edges of the cooled cake. Place a rack or plate over the top of the cake and turn upside down. If they don’t fall out right away, lightly tap the bottom of the pan. It’s always so suspenseful hoping the cake comes out without sticking to the bottom of the pan . . . luckily, it worked out beautifully for me.

To make the frosting, melt the chocolate chips over low heat in a saucepan. Remove from heat and let cool until slightly warm. In the meantime, beat the Earth Balance with a mixer. (What I like about this frosting, is that there is no added sugar in it!) Add the chocolate to the butter mixture and combine well. You’ll need to add up to two tablespoons of almond milk to thin it out a little. It will resemble mud.

Vegan Chocolate Layer Cake -- Epicurean Vegan

Transfer one of the cake layers to a large plate and frost the entire thing.

Vegan Chocolate Layer Cake -- Epicurean Vegan

Place the other layer on top. Came out a bit lopsided . . .

Vegan Chocolate Layer Cake -- Epicurean Vegan

Frost the top layer. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Enjoy!

Vegan Chocolate Layer Cake -- Epicurean Vegan

Plum and Pear Cobbler

Plum n' Pear Cobbler -- Epicurean VeganAdmittedly, I’m not  great about eating fruit. Very rarely, I’ll bite into an apple, but give me a luscious bunch of kale and I’m all over it. So I always feel bad when I have to toss squishy apples and pears away because no one has eaten them. But baked fruit, I can do. I’ll take apple pie or a fruit tart over chocolate cake any day, and add some nondairy ice cream and I’m a happy camper. I wasn’t about to let these pears and plums whither away on my counter, so the Seventh Grader and I made this wonderful cobbler!

Plum n' Pear Cobbler -- Epicurean Vegan

INGREDIENTS:
4 pears, sliced (leave the skins on)
4-5 plums, slice (with skins)
1/2 C brown sugar
2 Tbs flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 C Earth Balance margarine, cut into chunks
1 C oats
1/4 C almond milk (or other nondairy milk)
Nondairy ice cream (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 375. Combine the fruit in a baking dish–an 8×8 would be fine.

Plum n' Pear Cobbler -- Epicurean Vegan

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, butter, oats, and milk. Use a fork or pastry blender to combine everything; making sure the butter turns to small pea-sized pieces. It will be a wet mixture. Top the fruit with the oat mixture.

Plum n' Pear Cobbler -- Epicurean Vegan

Bake covered for 20-25 minutes. (It will smell sooooo good baking . . . :) ) Top with some nondairy ice cream and thoroughly enjoy!

Plum n' Pear Cobbler -- Epicurean Vegan