Oatmeal Chip Cookies



Oatmeal cookies have been part of my life since I can first remember.  Each year my mom, my Aunt Lynette, and I (and whoever else happened to be in town) would get together to make Christmas cookies.  One of the cookies we always made were oatmeal.  Sometimes they had chocolate chips, sometimes raisins, sometimes walnuts, sometimes, peanutbutter chips, and sometimes butterscotch chips.  If Aunt Lynette chose, she always chose butterscotch!  Tonight, I did a vegan spin on these Better Homes and Gardens classic.  I pulled out that plaid covered cookbook that takes me back to my mom’s kitchen, and I made vegan oatmeal carob chip cookies.  Here’s what I did:

Happy Goodness . . .


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.


  • 3/4 cup of Earth Balance (or vegan butter of choice)
  • 1 cup of brown sugar (packed down)
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves (optional)
  • 2 eggs worth of Ener-G Egg Replacer (OR a 1/2 cup of applesauce)
  • 1 tsp of vanilla (we make our own)
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • most of a bag of the 10 oz. bag of vegan carob chips

In large self mixing bowl let Earth Balance beat for about 30 seconds.  Add in brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves.  Beat till combined, scraping down the sides as needed.  Add in already whisked up  2 eggs worth of Ener-G Egg Replacer OR Applesauce.  Also add the vanilla.  Beat till combined.  Add in flour little by little till all incorporated.  Then with a wooden spoon stir/fold in the oats and the carob chips.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoons approximately 2 inches apart on an un-greased cookie sheet.  Bake for about 10 minutes per batch.  Cool cookies on a wire rack.  After initial cooling, transfer to paper towels to finish cooling.  Makes about 4 dozen.


Spaghetti Squash with Chunky Homemade Al Fresco Tomato Sauce


Today, I decided to give cooking spaghetti squash a try, and it turned out marvelous!  I also had on hand some beautiful fresh tomatoes out of my friend Vivica’s garden.  (Thanks Vivica and Sasha!)

Preheat Oven to 375 F.  Get big @$& knife (or hatchet or whatever means necessary).  Cut (or hack)spaghetti squash in half length wise.  This process takes serious muscles, perseverance, and a good knife.  Scoop out seeds and stringy stuff and discard.  (Think similar to a pumpkin.)  Put halves on sheet pan, cut side up.  Dollop tablespoon of Earth Balance in each half.  Salt and Pepper each half.  Bake for about an hour.

While spaghetti squash is baking get out large skillet.  Use a garlic press to press about 4 cloves of garlic (peeling cloves first, of course).  Cut up a lot of fresh tomatoes (I think I used about 8 to 10 medium sized ones).  In heated large skillet add canola oil, pressed garlic, fresh tomatoes, garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, dried oregano, salt, and pepper.  I did not measure.  I just added seasoning until it tasted right.  Simmer chunky tomato concoction until tomatoes break down.  I cooked mine on low to 2 or 3 simmering until the spaghetti squash was done, which gave it plenty of time for the water to cook out and the flavors to fuse.  (This sauce would be wonderful to add some fresh basil to toward the end of the cooking process.)

Once the spaghetti squash is done baking use oven gloves to remove pan, and so you can hold onto the squash halves.  Use fork to gently string the spaghetti squash from the peel, incorporating the Earth Balance, salt and pepper.  Divide spaghetti squash into  2 bowls.  Spoon on sauce.  Voila!  Serve.  This is great with a glass of red wine.

For kids (and picky husbands), I would recommend boiling up some whole grain pasta in salted water.  Give them a mix of half pasta and half spaghetti squash with the above sauce.  Chris and I both ate this sans pasta and it was lovely and flavorful.

15 Bean Soup with Savory with Savory Corn Bread


Just under a week ago, friends of mine Jacki and Mike welcomed to their family a newborn baby boy, Eli.  I am taking them dinner, tonight.  Menu:  15 Bean Soup, Rice, and Cornbread, and for dessert Oatmeal Cookies.

15 Bean Soup


  • Bag of Hurst’s HamBeens 15 Bean Soup
  • 1 can of 14.5 oz organic diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • Fake Ham Seasoning that comes in the Bag
  • A dash or two of Liquid Smoke
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 small onion (diced)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Celery
  • Vegetable Better than Boullion
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Place Dry Beans in a large pot.  Cover with 2 quarts of water.  Allow beans to soak overnight, or at least 8 hours.  In other words, put the beans in the pot.  FIll with water cover with a lid.  Leave it on the counter while you sleep.
When you wake up:
In a blender put onion, garlic, celery, and 4 tsps of better than bouillon dissolved in 4 cups of water.  Puree.  Drain water from beans that you soaked over night.  Dump beans into crock pot, which is set on high.  Add pureed mixture.  Add can of tomatoes, cayenne pepper, fake ham seasoning, juice of lemon, liquid smoke, salt and pepper.  Stir.  Cook on High in Crock Pot for 4 to 5 hours (or until beans are tender).  Turn crock pot to warm until ready to eat.  You could also do them on low for 8 or 9 hours.  Stir occasionally and check to make sure you have enough salt and pepper.
Serve over rice with a side of savory cornbread.

White Rice:

  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 1/2 tbsps. of Earth Balance (Vegan Butter)
  • Salt

Put all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl.  (Make sure your bowl leaves enough room for rice to expand.) Leave uncovered.  Microwave on high for 5 minutes.  Then microwave for 17 minutes on 1/2 power.  Fluff with fork.  Then serve.  Serves 2.  This recipe might serve more in your family, but in our family this serves 2 ;o)

Savory Corn Bread
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 egg worth of Ener-G egg replacer
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1/3 cup of vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray a 9 inch round pan OR a muffin pan that can hold 6 large muffins) In large bowl combine flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder.  Stir in wet ingredients (egg replacer, almond milk, and vegetable oil).  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake in a preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.  You will know when it is done when you stick a toothpick (or knife) in, and when you pull it out it comes out clean.

Vegan Oatmeal Cookies


Tonight I am taking a meal to friends of mine who just had a baby boy less than a week ago.  I wanted to include dessert.  I had some oatmeal on hand and decided to make cookies so I googled vegan oatmeal cookies and came across this site:  http://parispastry.blogspot.com/2010/08/vegan-oatmeal-cookies.html

I adapted them to ingredients I had on hand and they are incredible.

Vegan Oatmeal Cookies Recipe: adapted from Alicia Silverstone – The Kind Diet

– 1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
– 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
– ⅓ cup maple sugar (white sugar or brown sugar can be substituted)
– 2 tsp. baking powder
– 1 tsp. baking soda
– ¼ tsp. fine sea salt
– ⅓ cup organic maple syrup
– ½ cup safflower oil (or canola oil)
– 1 tsp. vanilla extract (I used our own homemade vanilla extract)
– 1 tsp. cinnamon
– ¼ cup chopped dried fruit, like raisins or plums

– Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
– In large mixer add the oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Then add the syrup, oil and vanilla extract. Incorporate ingredients using a low setting on the mixer.  Then gently mix/fold in the dried fruit.
– Using your hands, roll tablespoon-size scoops of dough into balls. Place the balls onto the prepared baking sheet and press down slightly on the balls to flatten the tops. Bake for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a baking rack to cool completely.
– For variety, replace the all-purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour, barley flour, spelt flour, or a gluten-free baking mix (choose one that does not include baking soda and baking powder). You can also substitute vegan chocolate chips for the dried fruit and add nuts to this.  Walnuts would be incredible in this recipe.

Banana Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing


This Monday is my husband’s birthday and we are the kind of family who really likes to celebrate birthdays for a few weeks.  Today, sitting on my counter were two black bananas.  And when I say black, they were really black.  So I thought to myself what am I going to do with these bananas.  I could do the standby of banana nut muffins/bread or even freeze ’em for smoothies.  But then I thought, what’s a birthday without cake, cupcakes that is.  So I went online and found some vegan cupcake recipes that used bananas to bind in lieu of eggs.  Here is the fusion of those recipes.  (And boy did these banana cupcakes turn out awesome and incredibly moist!)

Banana Cupcakes:


  • 2 really ripe bananas (really ripe, as in turned black)
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract (I used some of our homemade extract)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray pan with nonstick spray.  Line with muffin cup/cupcake liners.

In large free standing mixer toss all the dry ingredients.  In large measuring cup add the 1/3 cup of canola oil and then add the almond milk to the cup mark.  Then add the vanilla.  Wisk together in the large measuring cup.  Pour wet ingredients over the dry ingredients in late free standing mixer.  Add smashed bananas.  Turn on mixer and mix ingredients until just incorporated.  Do not over mix, or you will get tough cupcakes.  Small lumps are fine.  Fill liners just below full.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool then ice with favorite icing.

Favorite Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Icing:

  • 1/2 c nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 c nonhydorgenated vegan margarine
  • 2 c powdered sugar (sift if lumpy)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c unsweetened almond milk

Beat margarine and shortening together until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat 3 more mins. Add the vanilla and almond milk, beat for another 5-7 mins til fluffy. This makes A LOT of frosting. You could easily half this recipe and still have enough for the above recipe.  Please note, though, this frosting freezes beautifully, so I usually make the who shebang and then freeze what I don’t use for another time.  That way when I pick up a vegan chocolate chocolate chip muffin from Whole Foods I can ice it with the already made icing; the addition of this icing to those muffins is incredible and truly decadent, by the way!  To quickly thaw enough icing for a cupcake (or aforementioned muffin), I scoop out what I am going to use and just work it back and forth (with a spoon) across a plate until it is smooth and thawed.  Only takes a couple of minutes.

A tip on icing cupcakes:  I take a ziplock bag and lay it in a bowl (for a gallon size) or large cup (quart size) and then fill it with the icing.  Then seal the bag.  Cut a corner off and voilà you have your own piping bag.

Plain Vanilla Vegan Cupcakes (adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)

  • 1 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 c all purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt (increase salt to 1/2 tsp if using oil instead of margarine)
  • 1/2 c nonhydrogenated margarine (I use Earth Balance sticks), softened, OR 1/3 c canola oil
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsps vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 and line muffin pan with cupcake liners

Whisk the almond milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside a few mins so it curdles

If using margarine sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl and mix

In a seperate large bowl, use a handheld mixer at medium speed to cream the margarine and sugar for about 2 mins until light and fluffy. Don’t beat past 2 mins. Beat in the vanilla, then alternate beating in the almond milk mixture and dry ingredients, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

If using oil, beat together the almond milk mixture, oil, sugar, vanilla, and other extract in a large bowl. Sift in the dry ingredients and mix until no large lumps remain. Fill 12 liners 2/3 full and bake for 20-22 mins until done. Allow to cool on rack before frosting.  Please note that these cupcakes are a grainier texture than the banana cupcakes.  I made these cupcakes for my Dad’s birthday back in September with my favorite vegan buttercream icing (see above recipe).

Me holding the iced vanilla cupcakes (with my favorite buttercream icing) that I made

for my Dad’s birthday in September 2011


Alternative Icing:

Today, I did not have any shortening on hand so I made this simple alternative.  Tasted awesome, however it separates if it sits up, too long.  So I will add it to the cupcakes as we eat them and not ahead of time.

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup nonhydrogenated vegan margarine
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

Beat together sugar and margarine until incorporated.  Ass almond milk and beat till smooth.

Ranch Dip (or Dressing)


Last Monday, my Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Ray gave me some beautiful large scallions out of their garden.  I am not typically a green onion fan, but this week I found a wonderful use for them.  A while back my husband and I were watching Claire Robinson on Five Ingredient Fix, a cooking show, when she made a ranch dressing with just 5 ingredients.  Well this recipe is inspired from that one.  Simple yet refreshingly lovely.  I serve it with fresh raw veggies like:  broccoli, carrots, celery, cauliflower, tomatoes, yellow summer squash, zucchini, etc.


  • 8 ounces of Vegan Sour Cream* (for dressing use Vegan mayonnaise instead)
  • Fresh Scallions (I used 3 or 4 really big ones) coarsely chopped
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic (peeled)
  • Dill Weed
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Lemon Juice

In a food processor pulse together the garlic cloves and green onions.  Then fold into the sour cream.  Add other ingredients to taste.  Serve immediately.

*You can either buy Vegan Sour Cream or you can make your own:

Homemade Vegan Sour Cream:

  •   1 package of silken tofu
  •     1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
  •     4 to 5 teaspoons lemon juice
  •     2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  •     1 teaspoon stevia
  •     1/2 teaspoon salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender.  Blend for several minutes, until very creamy and smooth.  Then refrigerate.  In addition to being a great base for the above ranch dip (or dressing), it is also great in mexican dishes and as a topper for baked potatoes.  It stays fresh for approximately 5 days.  (The homemade vegan sour cream recipe is adapted from Matt Eberhart.)

Simple Smoothie


When I was recently sick, my husband started making me smoothies.  After many incarnations and me recreating it later, this is the one that emerged best, so far.  This smoothie is a great way to start the day or wonderful as post workout snack.  It is a wonderful source of protein and fiber.

Smoothie for 1:

  • Frozen cranberries (1/3 of a bag)
  • enough orange juice to cover the cranberries in the bottom of the blender
  • 1 banana (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 of a small carton (1/3 of a larger carton) of silken tofu
  • 1 tsp of stevia

Put cranberries and orange juice in blender.  Begin blending.  Meanwhile, peel banana and get out silken tofu.  Stop blender (scrape down sides if necessary) and add banana, silken tofu and stevia.  Blend till smooth.  Voila!  Easy and awesome smoothie.  The frozen cranberries make it cold enough for me.  If you want it colder, you can always add ice.