Archive for September, 2008

This was a big hit at an office pot luck last week. I used half red quinoa and half white, which was quite delicious. It tastes good at any temperature, and is very easy to throw together.


1 yellow onion

1 Tbs oil

2 C quinoa (red or white) – very thoroughly rinsed (since quinoa is small enough to slip through most strainers, I line my strainer with a thin kitchen towel)

1 large tomato

2 limes

1 C black beans, drained

1 bunch cilantro

1 hot pepper (optional)

1-2 tsp salt


Saute the onion in oil over medium heat until slightly browned. Then set aside the onion in a large bowl.

Bring 3 C water to a boil. Add quinoa and reduce heat to low. Simmer 20 minutes, covered.

While the quinoa is cooking, chop the tomato, cilantro and pepper (if you’re using it). Add all of this to the bowl of onions, along with the black beans. When the quinoa is done, add that too. Then squeeze the limes over the mixture.

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Hey everyone!! Iron Cupcake Voting is now Open (through Thursday Oct 2)…so go and vote for me and my Orange-Basil Mojito cupcake!!! The voting column is on the right hand side of the webpage, so go and vote!!! Preferably, for me 😉

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Now that I’m an adult with gainful employment, I think it’s time to start eating a proper breakfast (as opposed to the crust of bread and tea I used to eat). So I’ve designed an oat muffin with a jam center surprise! The great part is that the muffin base is very simple to throw together, and the jam flavor can be changed on a whim, making a different muffin each time!

I like mini loaves, because they’re super cute, but muffins work too.

Ingredients – Base:

1.5 C spelt flour

1.5 C oat flour (or oats put through the food processor)

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 C agave nectar

1.25 C hemp milk

1/3 C oil

1 Tbs flax meal soaked in 2 Tbs warm water

Ingredients – Flavor:

12 tsp jam

1/2 C nut or other chunky nibblet – coconut, chocolate chips, etc.

Have fun with your flavor combos; I like cherry jam with coconut flakes, or blueberry jam with pecans.


Preheat oven to 350 F. Oil or line muffin pan. Start the flax meal soaking in the warm water.

Mix dry base ingredients in a large bowl, then add liquids. Now you have muffin batter! Stir in the nuts of you choice. Fill muffin cups half way, and drop 1 tps of jam into the middle of each. Cover with remaining batter.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes (for mini loaves) or 25 minutes for muffins, or until golden brown. Let sit on cooling rack for 15 minutes, before removing muffins.

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I love ordering veggie fajitas we when go out – not only because they are very few other vegan-friendly items on a Mexican menu, but because there are yummy! However, I never think to make them at home. Well all that has changed! After a little inspiration from Jo, I created this spicy lime marinade and made roasted veggie fajitas! They were so easy, and so good!! And were the perfect facilitator of consuming homemade flour tortillas 😉 I have a feeling this could go into the regular repertoire! I had the pleasure of finding purple bell peppers at the Farmers Market – always fun to find different colored foods. So along with a bell pepper, hot pepper, and onions, I included zucchini – as per another find at the FM..a giant zucchini (but I only used what would equate to a small zucchini in this recipe). I had to get the giant zucchini because it was only $1!!! I couldn’t believe it..I figured if I get sick of zuc’s in my veggies, then there’s always zuc cake or bread. These go super well with homemade tortillas (flour or corn) and black or pinto beans, not to mention papas refritas! This recipe makes enough for about 2 people, so double if you want leftovers or have to feed more peeps!


juice of 1 lime
1-3 tsp minced garlic
1 jalapeño, minced *remove seeds for a D-level, keep seeds for S&J-level
1 tsp black peppercorns, lightly crushed (or use regular black pepper)
1 tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed (or use ground coriander)
1 tsp chili powder
2 purple bell peppers, julienne
1 red bell pepper, julienne
1 small zucchini, julienne
1 small yellow onion, julienne

sprinkle with salt to taste
canola oil for drizzling


1. Whisk together marinade ingredients in a bowl, set aside.
2. Cut all the veg and place in a shallow baking dish. Pour on the marinade, and toss to coat all the veg. Sprinkle the top with a little salt and drizzle with a little canola oil (1-2 TBSP worth), cover and place in fridge for at least 1 hour, to overnight. I let mine go overnight to experience the full flavor.

3. Preheat oven to 450°F. Roast veg uncovered for 10 minutes, stir veg and roast for an additional 10-15 minutes. Transfer to hot non-stick (non-teflon) skillet and sauté the veg for about 5 minutes. *You can add a touch more canola oil in the skillet if needed, but you probably won’t need it.
4. Serve with warm flour or corn tortillas (or both), along with fresh black beans and papas refritas. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro..and enjoy!

*Additions: I think next time I’ll add some more spices to the marinade, like cumin (seeds or ground) and a pinch of cayenne for an extra kick. Even a shot of tequila into the marinade might be delicious..if that’s how you roll. This would also be good served with grilled corn on the cob or mexican millet. As always, finish with dessert: a spicy chocolate ice cream, or even a lime or watermelon sorbet perhaps?!

Happy Cooking!


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While this is a relatively quick and super easy endeavor, and tortillas are pretty much a staple in my kitchen (with mine and Jo’s deep love of spicy tex-mex), I hesitate to call this SOP since I realize there are times when tortillas from scratch are just a step past above and beyond – such as when making a huge feast. Why create extra work for yourself when you’re making other, more time consuming food items? So even though I feel homemade tortillas are 1000-fold better than store-bought…I also realize not everyone can make (or have) the time to do so. But here is a recipe that can become standard in the repertoire when wanting to give yourself the treat of scratch tortillas! I can’t remember the website I found the recipe, but I did make the note that it was adapted from The Border Cookbook by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison (disclaimer: I make no endorsement of this cookbook, as I’ve never seen it or perused the recipes in it..so it could very well be a non-vegan friendly book). To make things even more complex, I’ve adapted the recipe from the website from which I found it (making the recipe here a double adaptation of the original) – I altered the flours by using 1/2 C oat and reducing the all-purpose to 1.5 C instead of using all 2 C all-purpose; and the natural vegan alteration of using hemp milk in place of regular milk. This recipe makes approximately 8 tortillas.


1.5 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C oat flour
1.5 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of salt
2 tsp of canola oil
3/4 C of warm hemp milk


1. In a small saucepan, warm the hemp milk on low. Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and oil in a bowl. Slowly add the warm milk.
2. Stir until a loose, sticky ball is formed.
3. Knead for two minutes on a floured surface. Dough should be firm and soft (not tough or sticky).
Place dough in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap for 20 minutes.
4. After the dough has rested, break off eight sections, roll them into balls in your hands, place on a plate (make sure they aren’t touching) and then cover balls with damp cloth or plastic wrap for 10 minutes. (letting the dough rest will reduce the elasticity of the dough allowing for easier rolling and shaping).

5. After dough has rested, one at a time place a dough ball on a floured surface, pat it out into a four-inch circle, and then roll with a rolling pin from the center until it’s thin and about eight inches in diameter – just like a pie crust. Don’t over work the dough, or it’ll be stiff. Keep rolled-out tortillas covered until ready to cook.

6. In a dry iron skillet or comal heated on high, cook the tortilla about thirty seconds on each side – so don’t walk away! It should start to puff and bubble (as seen below) a bit when it’s done and ready to flip – you want the skillet hot hot hot!

7. Keep cooked tortillas covered wrapped in a napkin or foil in a warm oven until ready to eat. Can be reheated in a dry iron skillet, over your gas-burner flame or in the oven wrapped in foil.

Note: While you probably won’t have any leftovers, you can store in the fridge tightly wrapped in foil or plastic for a day or so.

Happy Baking!

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The Macaroonies are coconut with lemon essence cookies. I ate one the other night before dinner and it was certainly tasty! Then I had the second after dinner – I thought it rounded out things nicely bookending the meal like that. 🙂 This cookie is definitely for those who love coconut. The lemon flavor isn’t all that strong, or even noticeable, in my opinion. It’s like a coconut sugar cookie..super good, but perhaps my palate isn’t sensitive enough to detect the lemon. Still has the LL signature of slightly underdone appeal, mmm… I vote yes for the Macaroonies! Coconut added to a sugar-type cookie is scrumptious and lets me hold on to summer just a little bit longer – they would be great accompanied with some pineapple sorbet or even a piña colada! I still think my favorite is the Snickerdudes, followed by the Chocolate Moose Dragons – but I could be biased based on an addiction to cinnamon and sugar 😉

I ordered my Liz Lovely cookies from Cosmo’s – man, I love Cosmo’s! You can also get them at the Liz Lovely site – as well as other sites that I’m unaware of…Vegan Essentials has LL, but they don’t have the Macaroonies flavor. It also looks like LL has come out with some gluten-free vegan cookies…I have no doubt they are just as scrumptious as the gluten-containing ones!

Happy Shopping!

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Ok, so the ingredient this month is Basil. Now I’m a huge basil-lover (whereas Jo is not such a fan), but using basil in a cupcake put me off at first (Jo’s reaction when I told her it was basil, “eww gross”). I did some investigating and discussing with my taste-testers what they might want to eat in combination with basil in a cupcake. After realizing that I like to turn alcoholic beverages into tasty edibles..the consensus became Orange Basil Mojito cupcakes! They turned out better than expected, but not something that I think I would make on a regular basis…like margarita cupcakes or something. I think next time I make these, I’ll stick to the traditional mint mojito. But I digress… Again, this month I’ll be competing in the Iron Cupcake:Earth Challenge for the following prizes:

*Jesse Steele aprons
*Cupcake Courier
*Taste of Home cookbook
*Head Chef’s by Fiesta Products
*Hello Cupcake!

So help me win by voting for me and the Innocent Primate’s Orange Basil Mojito cupcake!! So without further ado, here’s the recipe!


Orange-Rum-nectar glaze: I adapted the Simple Agave Nectar Icing also from VCTOTW. I substituted orange juice for the liquid, added in some rum, and used powdered sugar in place of the soy powder.
1/3 C orange juice
1 TBSP arrowroot
pinch of salt
1/3 C canola oil
1/3 C agave nectar
1.5 tsp orange extract
1/2 C confectioner’s sugar
1 TBSP rum (light flavor like a coconut, or a neutral flavor)*optional

Orange-Basil Cupcake: I adapted the Basic Vanilla Cupcake in VCTOTW (per usual), and used orange juice in place of half the milk. I also switched out the vanilla extract for orange extract. And to give it a triple shot of orangey citrus goodness, I add the zest of 2 clementines.
1/2 C orange juice
1/2 C hemp milk
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 TBSP cornstarch
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C Earth Balance vegan butter, softened
3/4 C turbinado sugar
2 tsp orange extract
zest from 2 clementines, or 1 orange
fresh chopped basil


1. Make the icing: In a small saucepan, until dissolved. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk until the mixturewhisk together the orange juice with the arrowroot and salt thickens into a puddinglike consistency, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and add agave nectar, whisk to combine.
2. Add the canola oil, orange extracts, and rum (if using), whisk to combine. Sift in the confectioner’s sugar and whisk until combined, creamy and smooth. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (while the cupcakes bake and cool), to overnight.
3. Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F and line mini muffin pan with mini cupcake liners.Whisk the hemp milk and vinegar in a measuring cup; set aside. Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and mix.
4. In a separate large bowl, use a hand mixer to cream the vegan butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes – don’t over mix. Add in orange extract, and mix. Add orange juice to the milk/vinegar and alternate adding the wet and dry ingredients to the creamed vegan butter/sugar mixture.

5. Fill the cupcake liners two-thirds full, sprinkle with chopped basil, and bake for 15 minutes (for mini’s; 20-22 for regular size). Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Top with chilled agave nectar icing and enjoy!!

Happy Baking! And remember, drink and bake responsibly 😉 !!! Don’t forget to vote for Innocent Primate Orange Basil Mojito cupcakes between Sunday, September 28 (12noon central) and Wednesday Oct 1 (12noon central)!

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