Friday, March 2, 2018

Blueberry-Lemon Muffins



I’m visiting my father for a few days. He loves blueberry muffins and likes to purchase gigantic ones from our local grocery store.  They are made with eggs and plenty of sugar and a lot of questionable oils, so they aren’t appropriate for me.  They aren’t appropriate for him or anyone else either, but that’s a subject for a whole other post!



I altered the recipe for my Cranberry-Orange Muffins to make these beauties — here’s the link should you wish to make them: https://downrightvegan.blogspot.ca/2018/02/cranberry-orange-muffins.html



These are not gigantic muffins.  The prep time is ten minutes and the cooking time is approximately twenty minutes so you could have a beautiful muffin in your hand a scant thirty minutes after deciding that you wanted to make them!!!



They are nice and light and are perfect with a cup of tea or coffee.



Ingredients
  • 2 Cups of All-purpose flour
  • 3/4 Cup of sugar - use fair trade!
  • 1.5 rounded teaspoons of baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup of vegan margarine, well-chilled (I used Earth Balance)
  • Zest of one or two lemons, as you prefer - choose lemons with bright, tight peels - I find they grate better
  • Egg replacer to the equivalent of one egg - I used Ener-G Egg Replacer but feel free to use your favourite egg replacer
  • 3/4 cup of lemonade
  • 1 cup of whole fresh blueberries, or frozen, or if using dried just use 1/2 cup
  • 1 cup of chopped walnuts - optional

Directions

First things first - for muffins, pre-heat the oven to 375 F.  If you are making a loaf, pre-heat to 350 F
  1. Add flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and lemon zest to a large mixing bowl or to the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk or stir until all of these ingredients are well-blended
  2. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, blend the vegan margarine into the flour until it is evenly distributed
  3. Add lemonade juice and egg replacer and stir until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated into the wet ingredients.  Try to make sure there are no dry bits left at the bottom of the bowl. If necessary, you can add another tablespoon or two of lemonade to help you incorporate all of the dry ingredients.
  4. Stir in the blueberries and the walnuts.
  5. Prepare a muffin pan in your preferred way - I use muffin papers.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the twelve muffin cups in the pan.  I find that a large size cookie scoop is perfect for this purpose - it gives me uniformly-sized muffins and saves me from getting batter all over the pan.
  7. Put your muffins in the oven and set your timer for 17 - 22 minutes.  I find that if I am using fresh blueberries, the muffins take longer to cook.  I set the timer for 20 minutes and tested and I needed more time. I put them back for another three minutes and they tested as ready.  Of course ovens vary.  If you are making a loaf cook your loaf in a prepared pan for 60 to 75 minutes, but test first at 60 minute, and then every five minutes afterwards.



Saturday, February 24, 2018

Cranberry Orange Muffins

There is not a much better way to spend an afternoon than playing bridge with good friends, as I did this past Wednesday.  I made these beautiful Cranberry Orange Muffins to take along with me to share with my bridge ladies (and one man).




These are not gigantic muffins: on the contrary they are quite small, just the size of a muffin tin and not much larger, and that’s ok.



It’s ok because those huge commercial muffins are loaded with fat and sugar.  These muffins on the other hand have approximately a third of the sugar of a McDonald’s muffin and about one eighth of the fat.



I’m a fine one to talk - I love foods that are high in fat and sugar, but we pay the price for those foods in poor health, and if scientists are to be believed, diminished life expectancy.  So I will take a smaller muffin any day.



These little gems are easy and quick to bake - just 20 minutes in a 375 F oven.  If you prefer to have a Cranberry-Orange Loaf, you just turn down the oven to 350 F and cook them for 60 to 75 minutes.




Ingredients

  • 2 Cups of All-purpose flour
  • 3/4 Cup of sugar - use fair trade!
  • 1.5 rounded teaspoons of baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup of vegan margarine, well-chilled (I used Earth Balance)
  • Zest of two oranges - choose oranges with bright, tight peels - I find they grate better

  • Egg replacer to the equivalent of one egg - I used Ener-G Egg Replacer but feel free to use your favourite egg replacer
  • 3/4 cup of orange juice
  • 1 cup of chopped dried cranberries, or chopped fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup of chopped walnuts
Directions

First things first - for muffins, pre-heat the oven to 375 F.  If you are making a loaf, pre-heat to 350 F

  1. Add flour, sugar, sal, baking powder, and orange zest to a large mixing bowl or to the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk or stir until all of these ingredients are well-blended
  2. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, blend the vegan margarine into the flour until it is evenly distributed
  3. Add orange juice and egg replacer and stir until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated into the wet ingredients.  Try to make sure there are no dry bits left at the bottom of the bowl.
  4. Stir in the cranberries and the walnuts.
  5. Prepare a muffin pan in your preferred way - I use muffin papers.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the twelve muffin cups in the pan.  I find that a large size cookie scoop is perfect for this purpose - it gives me uniformly-sized muffins and saves me from getting batter all over the pan.
  7. Put your muffins in the oven and set your timer for 17 - 22 minutes.  My muffins were perfect at 20 minutes.  I tested at 17 and they were not fully cooked.  Of course ovens vary.  If you are making a loaf cook your loaf in a prepared pan for 60 to 75 minutes, but test first at 60 minute, and then every five minutes afterwards.
  8. Variations on a theme: try blueberries in place of cranberries.







Saturday, January 20, 2018

Is Veganism a Religion?




Veganism is not like a religion, but it is an ethos and way of life, and those of us who are ethical vegans are sincere and steadfast in our adherence to veganism’s tenets.  And in Ontario, where I live, it is now, perhaps accidentally, recognized by the Ontario Human Rights Commission as a creed by that body.  While it was not perhaps the intention of the OHRC to specifically include veganism under its umbrella protection, it is clear that, using the OHRC’s definition of a creed, veganism fits the bill.  To determine whether or not a belief is a creed, you must consider the following questions, as posed by the OHRC:

Is the belief:
-sincerely, freely and deeply held
-integrally linked to a person’s identity, self-definition and fulfilment
-a particular and comprehensive, overarching system of belief that governs one’s conduct and practices
-addresses ultimate questions of human existence, including ideas about life, purpose, death and the existence or non-existence of a creator and/or a higher or different order of existence 
-has some connection to an organization or a community that professes a shared system of belief

It is very clear to me, that using these criteria, veganism is a creed. And should some court in Ontario eventually decide that veganism is not in fact a creed to be protected in this province, I can state with certainty that it is definitely a creed and ethos for me. This is not a position I take lightly, or adjust from time to time or from place to place to appease certain people and not hurt their feelings - this is a deeply held belief. My only regret is that I did not wake up and become a vegan earlier in my life. 














Thursday, November 23, 2017

It’s Happened Again


Whenever I read articles like this I feel consumed by rage.  All of that rage is focussed on people who  won’t wake up and face the reality of what their food choices mean for animals.

Please don’t tell me you love animals, and then eat them.

https://cdllife.com/2017/truck-crash-spills-cattle-off-of-overpass-onto-i-15-below/

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Ginger-Peach Scones

I might start calling myself the Scone Queen if this keeps up - I made ginger-peach scones today.



These are beautiful, light-tasting scones that are perfect with a cup of tea.  I used my basic scone recipe which you can find here:   http://downrightvegan.blogspot.ca/2017/05/cranberry-orange-
scones.html But just make a few substitutions.  Leave out the orange zest and cranberries, and add
about a cup of chopped peaches and a teaspoon of ground ginger or a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger.  Instead of using 3/4 of a cup of almond or soy milk, I used a half a cup of almond milk and added 1/4 cup of the light syrup from the peaches to it.  (I used canned peaches, but when peach season starts here in southern Ontario, I will use fresh peaches.).

Cook the scones at 400F for 20 to 25 minutes.





Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Cherry-Walnut Scones


It's a beautiful day here in Toronto - just the right day for a scone!




These are Cherry-Walnut Scones.  To make them, follow the recipe at http://downrightvegan.blogspot.ca/2017/05/cranberry-orange-scones.html, but substitute dried cherries for cranberries and omit the orange zest, although to be truthful, these would be fantastic 
with the addition of a little orange zest!!! Sprinkle the top with about 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts and a bit of sugar and bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes.

Enjoy them with tea or coffee! 









Thursday, June 1, 2017

Lemon Blueberry Scones

The great thing about scones is that it's always the right time for a scone!




This recipe is simple and the results are fantastic.

First: Pre-heat your oven to 400F

Ingredients 


2 cups + 1/8 cup of all purpose flour (1/8 cup is two tablespoons)


1/2 cup of sugar plus more for sprinkling

3/4 Cup of plain almond milk

1/2 to 3/4 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries - the advantage of frozen blueberries is that they tend to mix a little easier without bursting

Zest of 2 lemons - if you want the scones to be a little less lemony, only zest one lemon

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup of margarine - I used earth balance brand - and it has to be really cold.  Measure it out and put it in the freezer for twenty minutes so that it gets good and hard

For an optional glaze
Mix one cup of vegan-friendly icing sugar and two or three table spoons of lemon juice.  



Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk together.  Add solid margarine and a pastry cutter, and cut in the marg until the mixture looks like fine crumbs.
  3. Add the almond milk and stir until all the dry ingredients are mixed in and a soft, slightly sticky dough is formed.  Then add the lemon zest and blueberries and stir them into the dough.
  4. Dump the dough out onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet.  If you like wedge-shaped scones, shape the dough into a circle about 8 inches in diameter and cut into eight wedges with a bench knife.  The dough will be too sticky to separate the wedges, but that's ok because you will have to cut them again later.  If you find that your dough is firm enough to separate the wedges, you can do that before you put the pan in the oven.  If you prefer smaller scones you can shape the dough into a rectangle about 12 inches x 4 inches and cut it into squares.
  5. Before you place the scones in the oven, sprinkle sugar over the top.  It will make them look   slightly sparkly when they are all done.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the scones are golden and the edges begin to brown.
  7. If you were not able to separate the individual scones when you put them in the oven you will notice that they have baked into one large round scone.  You should still be able to see the marks from where you cut the dough into wedges - use your bench knife to cut along these lines and separate the wedges to allow the scone to cool faster.
  8. If you want to drizzle glaze on the scones, wait until they are cool before you glaze them


Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Between the seemingly-endless rain storms in Toronto this spring, there have been some gloriously sunny days.  Those sunny days saw me working in the garden trying to clear out all the weeds that grew to huge size due to all the rain.  But the rain also helped my rhubarb patch grow and ripen early, and inspired by their beautiful red stalks, I decided to make a rhubarb strawberry crisp.



Ingredients

1 cup of all-purpose flour

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup of vegan-friendly granulated sugar and 1/3 cup of vegan-friendly granulated sugar

1/2 cup of vegan margerine - I used Earth Balance

3/4 cup of rolled oats

Pinch of salt

1 tsp of cinnamon

Rhubarb and strawberries - enough to fill an 8"x8" baking dish about halfway


Directions

Pre-heat your oven to 350F

1. Wash your rhubarb taking care to be certain that no garden soil remains on the stalks.  Cut the stalks into pieces about one inch in length and put them in the baking dish.

2. Wash the strawberries under running water.  Hull and slice them and put them into the baking dish along with the rhubarb and toss them together.

3. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of granulated sugar over the strawberries and rhubarb, and set your baking dish aside.

4. Into a large mixing bowl, add the flour, the brown sugar, 1/2 cup of sugar, the cinnamon and the pinch of salt.  Whisk the ingredients together.

5. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the margerine until the mixture resembles very small peas.

6. Using a wooden spoon, blend in the oatmeal.  Do not use your hands for this because the heat from your fingers will melt the margerine and you don't want that to happen.  The mixture will get a little clumpy, but that is ok.

7. Spoon the mixture evenly over the rhubarb and strawberries in the baking dish.

Note: if you have been generous with the amount of rhubarb and strawberries that you put in your baking dish, you run the real possibility that the fruit will boil over in the oven.  Do yourself a favour, and put the baking dish on a parchment covered cookie sheet.

8. Put the baking dish into the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.  In my oven, the crisp was done in 55 minutes.  Remove the crisp from the oven when the top is golden brown.










Friday, May 26, 2017

Orange-Cranberry-Blueberry-Walnut Scones

Now that's a mouthful!



These are fantastic scones, just perfect for a rainy May afternoon.

Use the Cranberry-Orange Scones recipe that you will find here http://downrightvegan.blogspot.ca/2017/05/cranberry-orange-scones.html as your base recipe.

Prepare the recipe and add  add 1/2 cup of Walnuts and  1/2 cup to 1 cup (depending on your prefernce for blueberries, to the batter.

Continue as in the base recipe.

Cook at 400F for 20 to 25 minutes.

Monday, May 15, 2017

"Honey" and Oatmeal Scones

I recently found a brand of vegan honey that is not made by bees at all, rather it is made from concentrated apple juice.  It's called Bee-Free Honee and it although it does not taste exactly like honey, it is a close approximation, and what's more, it behaves like honey in recipes.

My last two blog entries were about scones, and today's will be about yet another type of scone, a vegan Honey Oatmeal Scone.  

This scone is a little heartier than regular scones, and I think would be a good accompaniement to a good thick fall soup if it was made with a little less sugar and no walnuts.  In the form that I made them today, they are a nice side addition to a hot cup of tea.


 






Pre-heat your oven to 400F


Ingredients

1/3 cup of quick cooking oatmeal

1 2/3 Cups of all purpose flour

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup of sugar

1 rounded tablespoon of baking powder



1/2 cup of margarine - I used earth balance brand - and it has to be really cold.  Measure it out and put it in the freezer for twenty minutes so that it gets good and hard


1/2 cup Almond milk or soy milk (or your cruelty-free milk of choice)

1/4 cup of bee free honey or agave syrup

Instructions


Place the oats, flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a large mixing bowl and whisk the ingredients until they are blended.


Using a pastry cutter, cut in the marg until the mixture resembles coarse sand, but you should still be able to see little bits of marg in with the flour.


Combine the honey or agave syrup with the non-dairy milk and stir into the dry ingredients until the the dry ingredients are incorporated into the liquid.  


At this point if you want to add nuts or dried fruit, you can.


Turn your batter out onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and shape into a circle or rectangle, as you prefer.  Using a bench knife, cut your shaped batter into wedges or rectangles, as you prefer.  


Sprinkle a bit of sugar on the top of the scones and place them into the oven. 

Set your time for 20 to 25 minutes.  I find, with my oven, that the scones are perfect at 22 minutes.  


Blueberry-Lemon Muffins

I’m visiting my father for a few days. He loves blueberry muffins and likes to purchase gigantic ones from our local grocery store.  The...