I have always loved scones. They compliment a hot cup or tea or coffee so perfectly. But for some reason, I never had the courage to try and bake some myself. They seemed too fancy and advanced for my level of baking. I also could never find a good recipe. Most of the vegan scone recipes I could find online called for margarine or Earth Balance. Since I don’t cook with margarine and there are no vegan butters available here in Malaysia, I couldn’t even try any of these recipes if I wanted to.
Thankfully, I have found a solution to my scone problem: coconut milk! Cold coconut milk is the perfect replacement for butter and adds a great taste to the scones. I’m not even sure how I stumbled upon this little dandy of a recipe, but I am so glad I did. I’ve made this recipe at least 5 times already and they always turn out great.
I have used both dry and fresh cranberries and both are delicious. You could also use blueberries and substitute lemon zest for the orange zest.
These are great on their own or with a bit of jam or jelly. My husband prefers his with a simple glaze that I whip up with orange juice and powdered sugar. You can also make a tasty glaze out of leftover coconut milk and powdered sugar
Orange & Cranberry Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest from 1 orange (at least 1 teaspoon)
1 1/4 cups cold canned coconut milk
1 cup dried or fresh cranberries
orange juice, coconut milk or other non-dairy milk
makes 8-12 scones
Preheat oven to 425 F. Lightly grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pour in coconut milk. Gently mix just until everything’s combined, don’t over mix. Dough will be thick. Gently add in cranberries.
Transfer dough onto a floured surface and shape into a disc about 10 inches in diameter and about 3/4 inches in thickness. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut into 8 or 12 wedges. Place onto prepared baking sheet 2 inches apart. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately or store them in an airtight container after they have completely cooled. Enjoy!
(adapted from Art of Dessert)
As much as I hate to admit it, not all of my adventures in the kitchen are successful. I have had quite a few epic failures. While living overseas, I have struggled making Spanish rice…or maybe Mexican rice? I’m not even sure what the difference is! Anyways, there are tons of easy stovetop recipes for Spanish rice out and I have given some a try. But alas, all my tries resulted in either a pot of undercooked rice or mushy overcooked rice.
A few weeks ago I was making a batch of our favorite enchiladas when I wished we could enjoy some rice with them. I remember thinking that I wish I could just cook up some rice in my rice cooker like I usually do. That’s when it hit me! Why don’t I just try making Spanish rice in my rice cooker?! And bingo, that’s how this recipe was born!
I have been playing around with this recipe for a couple of weeks and am really excited to share it with you. This rice is so easy! You literally throw everything into your rice cooker and that’s it! I make a big batch and eat it as a side, in burritos, or as enchilada filling and we enjoy it throughout the week.
I know back in home there are a lot of packaged box mixes for Spanish style rice, but those are filled with weird preservatives and artificial ingredients. This recipe is not only easy, but it’s fresh, natural, and good for your family. Also, I like to make this using brown rice!
2 cups rice
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes (I like the kind with the bell peppers & onions)
1/2 cup of your favorite chunky salsa
3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups water*
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
*Use 4 1/2 cups water if using brown rice
Put the rice at the bottom of your rice cooker. Add in the can of tomatoes with the juices, salsa, water, onion, garlic, and spices. Stir everything a couple of times to ensure that the cumin and salt gets dissolved in the water. Turn your rice cooker on and let it cook away!
Check the rice once it’s almost done cooking, add a bit more water if needed. Once the rice is done cooking, taste for salt. Let the rice cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
I know as a vegan, this may sound horribly cliché, but I love salads. I really do. I feel like I’m Elaine from Seinfeld…I’m always craving a big salad! The really nice thing about salads is that they can be prepped ahead of time. I like to go grocery shopping for the week ahead on Sundays. And I usually spend Sunday afternoon or evening prepping all my fresh produce for my lunches for the week. Remember folks, they key to a successful and delicious salad is prepping ahead of time! It also helps to have a healthy option in the fridge and ready when you’re hungry or having a craving for something not as healthy!
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about what dressings I use on my salads now that I’ve given up oil. Well, thanks to the wonders of the internet and Pinterest, I have found many delicious oil-free and low-fat dressing recipes. There are so many vegan salad dressings available on the internet, but unfortunately most are not oil-free. So I have rounded a few of my favorite recipes to share with you all today! It’s good to have a plethora of dressing recipes on hand so you never tire of eating salads! And with summer fast approaching, these will be great to share with your guests at get togethers and BBQs!
(Recipes for photos listed from left to right)
As many of you know, I am an elementary school teacher and this week was my spring break. I love having time off to spend around the house, relax, and hang out with my husband and our crazy cat Maeby. We also have been munching on all sorts of yummy food this week! One of our favorite things that we have enjoyed this week has been this delicious and refreshing Thai cucumber salad.
Cucumbers are incredibly popular here in Malaysia and, thankfully, very affordable! I don’t know why I never ate more cucumbers back in the States, but out here I can’t get enough. Did you know that they are super good for you too? The nice thing about cucumbers is that they are so refreshing! Especially in warm weather!
Here is a quick salad that can be thrown together in 15 minutes. It’s full of refreshing Thai flavors that will please everyone’s pallet. This salad makes for a perfect side dish or starter to your favorite Asian meal. It also packs up perfectly for lunches!
For the spice in this salad, I like to use the traditional Malaysian chili padi. Chili padis are also called Thai chilis or bird’s eye chilis and you should be able to find them in your local Asian grocery store. If you can’t find Thai chilis or would prefer something with less heat in your salad, you can use red bell peppers instead.
3 cups diced or chopped cucumbers, about 2 cucumbers (wash and peel if using non-organic cucumbers)
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions
4 diced chili padis (more or less to taste, depending on the variety and harvest, they can get spicy!)
1 tablespoon finely minced cilantro
1 1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon raw sugar
In a mixing bowl, combine cucumbers, red onions, chilis, and cilantro. Mix well.
In a small bowl, mix the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar together until the raw sugar has been dissolved.
Pour the liquid mixture onto the cucumbers and mix until combined. Serve at room temperature of chilled, enjoy!
Easter is just around the corner! I can’t believe how March has flown by so quickly! Thankfully, the weather is warming up, spring is here, and it’s the perfect time to gather with friends and family and eat some yummy food!
For my family, Easter centered around egg hunts and a huge meal. The weather in Southern California was always so nice and allowed us to relax and eat outside. We would have a BBQ and every family member would bring their favorite dish to share. What are some of your traditions for Easter and this time of year?
No matter what your family traditions are this time of year, you are going to need to be armed with some delicious vegan recipes! Especially if it’s your turn to host the party! Don’t worry though, I’ve got you covered! Here are 10 amazing vegan recipes ranging from dips, salads, to sweets. Everything you need for a happy, healthy, and cruelty-free vegan Easter!
Check out these delicious recipes from the links below and send these bloggers some Easter love. Enjoy!
(Recipes and links listed from left to right)
Happy Easter Everyone!
I hope you all have liked having my husband around here on the blog! He really been enjoying the Vegan 101 series and will have a lot more to share with you soon. In the meantime, I have a great little recipe from one of my favorite vegan chefs The Happy Herbivore.
I had mentioned in a previous post that my husband and I are trying to eat less fat in our diet. Fat in a vegan diet? Yes, it’s true. As vegans we do not consume meat which full of saturated fat and cholesterol, but there can still be plenty of fat in a vegan diet. The largest sources of fat in a vegan diet are oils. You can also include margarine in this conversation (yes, even Earth Balance!). Oil is a high-calorie and high-fat food that provide little to no nutrition. Oil is basically empty calories. What about olive oil, you ask? You can read more about that here and here from Dr. McDougall. As full-grown adults, our bodies need very little fat to function properly. The key is to consume foods rich in unprocessed fats (nuts, seeds, coconuts, avocados) sparingly, no need to over do it! Make those foods a treat and not an everyday staple in your diet.The Happy Herbivore is a wonderful resource of vegan recipes that are made without oil and added fats. Lindsay Nixon now has three cookbooks, you should check them out! If you are looking for even more yummy low-fat vegan recipes, I highly suggest the Forks Over Knives cookbook as well as Dr. McDougall’s cookbook!
These chocolate zucchini muffins really hit the spot! Plus, they’re healthy and vegan, almost completely fat-free, and full of good things for you. You may be thinking that zucchini and chocolate make an odd pair, but after baking you can hardly notice the zucchini at all! These are perfect for any picker eaters you may have around the house! These are a great way to sneak in some vegetables into your kid’s diet. And they are great for lunch boxes!
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup dutch-processed cocoa or unsweetened cocoa
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 whole ripe banana, mashed
1/2 to 1 cup raw sugar*
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce**
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/4 vegan chocolate chips (optional)
*Use 1/2 cup of sugar for a less sweet muffin and 1 cup of sugar for a more dessert-like muffin!
**It’s nearly impossible to find applesauce here in Penang. If you are out of applesauce or can’t buy any like me, simply chop up an apple and add a teaspoon or two of water to a blender and blend until it’s like the consistency of applesauce. Presto, instant applesauce!
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a muffin pan and set aside. If using paper liners, lightly spray inside of liners with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together in a medium size bowl. In a large mixing bowl, cream mashed banana with applesauce and sugar. Add in non-dairy milk, vanilla, zucchini and chocolate chips, if using. Stir until evenly combined. Add flour mix to wet mix in 3-4 batches and stir until just combined. Spoon batter into greased muffin pan and bake 18-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Once cooled, enjoy! These keep well in both the fridge and freezer.
Probably one of the most pressing issues that isn’t being talked about in the US is the rapid decline of our global environment. So what is the impact of a vegan diet on the environment? Choosing to live a vegan lifestyle is not only healthier for your body, but it’s healthier for the planet. Here are just a few topics that are good to know about.
Water is essential to life and many of our reserves are beginning to run out. Some of this is due to climate change and some of it due to consumption. Some have conspiracy theories that address how people are dealing with an impending water shortage. As a vegan, I have a simple answer: Plants!
The amount of water used to produce food products can be measured by liters of water per kilogram of food product (l/kg). Here are how some foods stack up in a 2012 paper by Arjen Y. Hoekstra:
Beef – 15,415 l/kg
Pork – 5,988 l/kg
Chicken – 4,325 l/kg
Cereals – 1,644 l/kg
Fruits – 962 l/kg
Tubers – 387 l/kg
Vegetables – 322 l/kg
1kg of beef requires 48 times more water to produce than vegetables! Breaking it down by liters per calorie, beef fares slightly better requiring only 22 times more water to produce than vegetables.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) published “[Considering] the entire commodity chain…livestock are responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, a bigger share than that of transport”. When we talk about climate change, we often think about the types of cars we drive. It turns out, what we drive on the way to a restaurant has far less to do with climate change than what we eat when we get there. If you were to convert your eating for a year into mileage in an average car, you’d see what I mean.
Eating a standard meat-based diet for a year produces CO2 emissions equivalent to driving 2,956 miles. A vegetarian diet produces the same emission levels as driving 1,508 miles, nearly half a meat-based diet! However, a vegan diet produces the equivalent of only 391 miles, only 26% the emissions of a vegetarian diet. And if you were to eat organic vegan, you would just barely hit 175 miles of emissions. These numbers were put out by Foodwatch, an independent consumer protection group. In case you’re wondering, someone would have to drive 20 miles to produce the same amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) as a 16oz steak.
We’ll be touching on the ethical issues with factory farms at another time, but the environmental impacts of factory farming cannot be understated. In 1995, a study was done that compared the toxicity of livestock and municipal waste. Raw livestock waste was found to be 160 times more toxic to our water supplies than raw human waste from our cities.
Every second, 86,884 pounds of animal waste is produced on factory farms in the United States, 130 times as much as the people of the US (that’s 1.37 billion tons per year!). The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) illustrates that a dairy farm with only 700 cows puts out as much waste as the city of Lake Tahoe, CA with 24,000 residents. A median-size beef operation with 3,423 cattle would put out as much as Galveston, TX (pop. 57,000). A large hog farm with 800,000 pigs produces 150% the waste that Philadelphia, PA (pop. 1.5 million) produces! Finally, A large beef operation with 140,000 cattle produces as much waste as the city of Houston, TX (pop. 2.2 million). Manure can be used as fertilizer for crops and is used in some places. However, factory farms are usually concentrated and isolated such that it isn’t feasible to use all or even some as fertilizer.
The GAO also reported that “no federal agency collects accurate and consistent data on the number, size, and location of concentrated animal feeding operations (factory farms)”. This means the best we have on oversight and regulation on these toxic farms are based on estimations.
In order to meet the demands of a growing world population and as more societies urbanize and adopt a meat-centric diet, the FAO estimates that by the year 2050, we’ll need to be producing at least 75% more animal products and 50% more cereals. As bad as factory farming is for our environment now, it’ll be at least 75% worse by 2050. If you want to do something to stop the rapid decline of our planet’s health, don’t buy a hybrid, go vegan (organic if you have the choice!).
If you were to look at me today, you may not see me as a poster boy for vegan health. However, thanks to lots of online resources, I’m learning the health benefits of a whole-foods plant-based diet. Armed with this knowledge, I’m more motivated than ever to live a vegan lifestyle. I’m now on the right trajectory with regards to my body health. In the past 12 months, I’ve lost 28 pounds, 3 inches off my waist, and can now be more active throughout the week. I just want to touch on two of the bigger topics that I find come up. We’ll cover more along the way, but these two should give you enough information to get started.
Here’s an easy one to start with. Vegan diets are 100% cholesterol free. Considering high cholesterol is a significant factor in the leading cause of death in the US, heart disease, vegans seem to have the edge. Heart disease is caused by atherosclerosis of the blood vessels of the heart. Current US guidelines call for a total cholesterol under 200mg/dL, but plenty of people seem to be dying under “normal” cholesterol conditions. It seems that plaque buildup in the blood vessels can only be reduced with a total cholesterol of <150. On average, since 1980, vegans have been found to have cholesterol levels of 146.4, while vegetarians have levels of 177.3 and non-veg people have levels of 194.2. There are other plant or animal-based factors that contribute to cholesterol levels, but we’ll save those for another time.
This is a pretty classic question: “Where do you get your protein?”. Proteins were first discovered in 1838. It’s nutritional value was soon discovered, though not fully understood. Now we understand it scientifically, but as a society, we are pretty ignorant. The World Health Organisation has studied it a few times in the previous decades and their recommendations are as follows: Men and women need 5% of their caloric intake from protein, pregnant women 6%. Here are a few foods that we wouldn’t think of as “protein” foods, but fully exceed our biological need for protein: Brown rice (9%), oatmeal (15%), potato (8%), mushrooms (12%), broccoli (42%), and spinach (51%). You’ve also got your “classic” veggie protein in beans, which usually ring up around 20-30%. Dr McDougall has a nice article you can check out here which I found helpful. Also, Jonathan Mann’s song “Vegan Myths Debunked” has a really catchy hook about protein. When people ask you where you get your protein you can say “plants!!”.
I wanted to apologize for starting a weekly series then taking two weeks off. I had a last-minute video trip come up to the middle of nowhere and upon returning home my computer died. I’m back online and the computer is doing well. We’ll pick back up this coming Sunday as normal with a post on environmental issues.
For the past couple of months my husband and I have been trying to eat healthier and exercise more. One of our biggest weaknesses in our diet has been oil. It is easy to over-use oils in cooking! We’ve been trying to limit and even eliminate oil altogether. This makes eating out almost impossible here in Penang. Almost everything is cooked with or fried in oil! You name the dish and I guarantee there’s oil involved: fried rice, fried noodles, curries, and laksa.
Needless to say, we’ve been eating at home a lot more these days. One of my go-to weekday meals was fresh pesto pasta salad. But my usual pesto recipe calls for olive oil! So what’s a girl to do?! Thankfully, one of my favorite bloggers Oh She Glows had just what I needed. She has a wonderful and easy recipe for High Protein & Oil-Free Pesto that’s out of this world! All you need to make a rich and creamy oil-free pesto is a can of navy or cannellini beans. Who would have thought? It’s that easy.
I decided to mix three of my favorite grains together, quinoa, millet, and buckwheat, with the pesto and create a filling and flavorful salad. This salad is not only super tasty, but it’s super high in protein! You can serve this as a side dish or enjoy it as a meal. It also packs up perfectly for lunch! And if you brought this dish to a party or potluck, you’ll have people begging you for more!
1/3 cup quinoa
1/3 cup millet
1/3 cup buckwheat
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves
2-3 garlic cloves
1 15-oz can navy or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2-3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)
2 cups cherry grape tomatoes
1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
salt to taste
In a medium saucepan, pour the vegetable broth in with the quinoa, millet, and buckwheat and bring to a boil. Once the grains have boiled, turn down heat to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally until all of the broth has been absorbed.
While the grains are cooking, prepare the pesto. Add the garlic cloves to a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add in the basil, navy beans, water, nutritional yeast, and fresh lemon juice and process until smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the grains, pesto, tomatoes, and chickpeas and mix well until everything is evenly incorporated. Taste for salt. Serve either warm or chilled. Enjoy!
I have had this recipe in my recipe box for sometime and I am happy to finally be able to share it with you all today! This weekend marks the end of Chinese New Year and I thought I would celebrate the year of the snake with a special salad. It may not surprise you that I love salads. I love that they’re quick, easy, and incredibly versatile. Plus, salads can serve as a great side or a filling entré!This salad is a healthy vegan take on the classic Chinese salad that you can whip up in no time! You can pair this with your favorite Asian meal or pack it up and take it to lunch with you. In this recipe, I use Chinese cabbage (also known as Napa cabbage) wich is popular here in Malaysia. You can find Chinese cabbage at most well-stocked grocery stores as well as your local Asian grocer. This salad is also infused with one of my all time favorite ingredients: cilantro! The soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and fresh ginger make for a delicious and savory dressing that’s to die for. And the crunchy peanuts put this salad over the edge!
6 cups thinly sliced Chinese cabbage
2 cups thinly sliced purple cabbage
4 green onions cut into 1-inch slices (both green and white parts)
1 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro leaves
1 medium carrot, grated
1 cup roughly chopped peanuts*
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon (or more) dried red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons vegan white sugar
*Try to use salt-free dry roasted peanuts. I like to roast my own at home!
Prepare the dressing in a small bowl by whisking together the sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Then add the ginger and red pepper flakes.
In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage, cilantro, green onions, carrot, and peanuts. Add the dressing and toss until evenly distributed. Serve immediately and enjoy!