Hot Cross Buns (vegan)

I don’t celebrate Easter much, but I do enjoy a little something to welcome in Spring. A weekend morning with some hot cross buns is a great way to do that, in my opinion. These are quite simple to make and don’t take nearly as much time as one would expect from an enriched, yeasted dough.

The dried fruit can be whatever you like (I use half raisins and half chopped apricots, but currants are more traditional).

Hot Cross Buns (makes a dozen servings)

Prep Time: 1 1/2-2 hours

Bake Time: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients:

2 1/2 teaspoons yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup lukewarm water

3/4 cup vanilla almond milk (lukewarm or room temperature)

1/3 cup canola oil (plus a splash extra to coat the bowl)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons orange zest (about the zest of one large orange)

1/4 cup sugar

3 3/4 cups AP Flour

3/4 cup dried fruit of choice

Wash:

2 tablespoons almond milk

1 teaspoon maple syrup

Icing:

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons almond milk

Directions:

In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, stir together yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, and lukewarm water. Let sit for a few minutes until bubbling.

While the yeast is activating, in a separate bowl stir together the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange zest, sugar, and dried fruit.

Once the yeast is quite bubbly and active, add the flour/spice mixture, almond milk, and canola oil. Stir until just combined with a spatula. Begin to “knead” the dough by using the dough hook of the stand mixer on low or medium-low speed.

After about 4-5 minutes, it should be thoroughly combined and somewhat elastic. Use a splash of canola oil to coat the sides of the mixing bowl. Turn the coat to allow the dough to become coated.

Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size.

Once risen, punch down the dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and divide evenly into 12 pieces. Shape each piece into a round bun, then place into parchment- lined baking dish (10″ x 14″ or 11″ x 13″ both work well).

Cover again with dish towel and let rise for around 30 minutes (dough should mostly spring back when touched). While dough is rising, preheat oven to 375º F.

Make dough wash by mixing together almond milk and maple syrup. Brush onto rolls.

Bake buns for 25-30 minutes, or until golden-brown. This could vary considerably depending on the oven used, so I would recommend checking earlier to ensure they are baking well. The buns will touch while rising and baking, but that is completely normal.

Once the buns are golden-brown and cooked through, remove from oven. Let cool in pan for about 5 minutes, then remove from pan and place on cooling rack, counter, or large cutting board to continue cooling.

Whisk together almond milk, powdered sugar, and vanilla to make icing.

Once the buns are cooled, top with icing using a piping bag or drizzling with a spoon.

Enjoy! These store well in a covered container for 1-2 days, though they will begin to dry out after that. They are best served the same day or the next day.

Udon Noodles with Miso

This is such an easy and quick dinner. I often make this when my husband is working late and I’m eating solo because it is a really easy dinner to make for one. It is also really simple for more people as well, but this recipe is for just one serving!

Because udon noodles cook in just a few minutes, it is ready really quickly.

Udon Noodles with Miso

Prep & Cook Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

85 grams Inaniwa-style Udon noodles (other types are good, but I like the texture and quick cooking time of Inaniwa Udon)

Large handful red cabbage, shredded

1 carrot, peeled into long strips (I just use my peeler on the entire carrot to get lots of thin strips)

1/3 cup shelled edamame (I use frozen and heat it in the microwave or on stovetop)

1 Tablespoon Miso paste

1-2 Tablespoons water

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

Dash sesame oil

Sprinkle of red chili flakes

Green onion, finely chopped

Directions:

Fill medium or large, lidded saucepan with water and bring to a boil.

While the water is heating, prepare the veggies by shredding the carrots and cabbage. Heat/steam the edamame and set aside.

Mix together the miso paste, rice wine vinegar, maple syrup, sesame oil, chili flakes, and 1 Tablespoon of the water. If it is still too thick, add another Tablespoon of water.

Place the sauce in a small saucepan on medium-high heat until it begins to boil, then reduce to a simmer.

By now the water should be boiling and you can cook your noodles. With Inaniwa Udon this should only take around 3 minutes, but check your package instructions to be sure. Toss the cabbage and carrots in with the noodles for the last 1-2 minutes of cooking to soften them.

Once the noodles are cooked, drain, then toss with sauce.

Serve topped with green onions.

Hopefully this recipe makes sense. It’s hard to describe the cooking of the veggies, so feel free to ask if any questions arise!

Braised Red Cabbage

Hi! Today I thought I’d share how to make braised red cabbage. I have German heritage and am quite fond of certain German foods (specifically red cabbage and pretzels).

I like to serve this with beyond sausages, mustard, and pretzels.

Braised cabbage is much easier to make than it seems and it really only requires a few ingredients! The big component is having time to let it braise.

Braised Red Cabbage

Ingredients:

Teaspoon canola or olive oil

1/2 head red cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (about 2-3 cups cabbage)

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1 apple, roughly peeled and sliced

1/8 cup balsamic vinegar (you can increase if you want a richer flavor)

Pinch cloves

Pinch cinnamon

Pinch salt

Pepper to taste

Directions:

Prepare the cabbage and rinse with cold water.

Heat oil in large lidded pan on medium heat. Add onion and cook a few minutes, until beginning to soften. Add a splash of the balsamic and the apple slices. Stir and cook for 4-5 minutes.

Add cabbage to the pan, mix well to coat cabbage. Add cloves, cinnamon, salt, and remaining balsamic. Stir well and reduce to low heat.

Cook, covered, on low heat for about an hour. Stir occasionally, about every 10-15 minutes. Add pepper and salt to taste before serving.

This keeps well in the fridge for several days, as long as it is covered properly. I prefer storing this in glass containers.

Hopefully you enjoy! It is really surprisingly easy and to serve more it can be easily doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled.

Greek Gyros

My husband and I are both big fans of Greek flavors and I made these sort of gyro wraps for dinner the other night. They were a big hit and I’ve since made them again!

The thing that is tricky is that traditional tzaziki isn’t vegan, so I make my own using non-dairy yogurt (it’s really simple).

Then all you need are your preferred fixings and some flatbread, like pitas or naan. We prefer naan because it is really filling and a bit more fluffy than pita, but both work great!

For the meat, I use meatless ground (Gardein has a good one that is frozen).

This recipe is good for dinner for two, but just multiply it to serve more people.

Vegan Gyros

Ingredients:

About 1/4 onion, thinly sliced

1/2 bell pepper, thinly sliced

2 cups lettuce, shredded or chopped

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

7-8 black olives, sliced in half

1 1/2 cup meatless ground

Lamb seasoning to taste (I use the lamb seasoning from Penzey’s, but other Greek seasoning will work)

Olive oil

Naan (make sure it is vegan because a lot of naan contains buttermilk)

Directions:

Toss the lettuce with balsamic vinegar.

Heat pan on medium heat with some olive oil. Add meatless ground and desired lamb/Greek seasoning. Cook until it gets color and is heated through, probably about 6-7 minutes.

Warm naan using the stovetop, oven, or microwave.

Add meatless ground to the naan or pita, then stuff with lettuce, bell pepper, onions, and olives. Top with tzaziki and enjoy!

Tzaziki:

I cup dairy-free yogurt (I use coyo coconut yogurt)

1/2 cucumber, diced

1/4 cup red onion, diced

Squeeze lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

Small bunch dill, chopped

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and enjoy!

Hopefully you enjoy this as much as we did! It’s becoming a pretty common dinner in my house because it is really filling and delicious.

3.14

Happy Pi Day! We always celebrate this day in my house with, of course, a pie. It is the perfect occasion for a pie and is made even better by the March timing because some new fruits are starting to come in season (of course the citrus is good this time of year, but in California the berry season is just in its infancy).

I always think that I can’t wait to celebrate pi day with my children one day because we can show them how to find the circumference AND how to make a pie.

This year I went for a strawberry pie and decided to make a sort of pb&j pie by adding peanut butter to the pie crust. It turned out really well and I will definitely be making again!

It gave the serious pb&j vibes I was hoping for, so that is amazing.

The recipe is also quite easy and feel free to add more or less peanut butter to the crust depending on your preference. As a warning, peanut butter does tend to dry out doughs, so you may require more water to have a workable consistency.

PB&J Pie

Crust:

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

5 Tablespoons peanut butter

6 Tablespoons vegan butter

1/4 cup ice water (this may vary depending on how dry the air is, so just add until dough holds shape)

Directions: In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, and salt and pulse a few times. Add peanut butter and butter, then pulse until the texture of breadcrumbs. Add ice water until dough holds together.

Roll out into thin flat disk, then place in pie dish. Chill.

Once crust has chilled for 30 minutes, dock the dough and blind bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes. This could take more or less time depending on oven and how chilled the dough is, but bake until the edges of the crust are lightly browned.

Filling:

2 pints fresh strawberries (frozen should be fine too)

Juice of one lemon

1 cup sugar

4 Tablespoons corn starch

3/4 cup water

Directions: Remove the leaves from the strawberries and roughly slice and chop. The pieces can remain rather large because they will cook down.

Whisk together the corn starch and water to form a slurry.

Put strawberries into a large pot on high heat with the lemon juice, slurry, and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once boiling, reduce heat and let simmer for around 15 minutes, or until thickened. Once the mixture has thickened up a bit, remove from heat and let cool.

Place in container and let the mixture cool/thicken more in the fridge for at least an hour.

Once the pie crust is baked and cooled, add the filling, then place back in the fridge to continue setting for at least a half hour.

Slice and serve! I served this with coconut whipped cream and it turned out really well.

Beartown

I’ve been reading a new book! I went to a really cool local bookstore and found the book Beartown by the author Frederik Backman. I was immediately excited because I read A Man Called Ove by the same author, which I really liked (and highly recommend, though it is a tearjerker).

Beartown has not disappointed! The novel takes place in a small Swedish town that is centered around the local hockey team. The story follows the general manager of the hockey team, his family, the players, and the local residents. Beartown has seen more people and jobs leave, forgotten by the rest of the country.

The book begins with a semblance of hope, but it is cast with a dark shadow. As Beartown pins their dreams to the local hockey team, the lives of those involved are picked apart, good and bad.

I have found the thing I like most about Backman’s writing is that he manages to delve into the emotions of his characters in an almost matter-of-fact way. I don’t know why i enjoy this quality so much, but it seems to strike an emotional chord in me.

I won’t spoil the plot line for you, but I enthusiastically recommend this book and think it is at least as remarkable and expressive as A Man Called Ove, perhaps even more.

Lemon Cookies

These lemon cookies are my husband’s favorite. They use vegan butter to make a shortbread-style cookie and are good, especially for someone who loves lemon desserts.

A friend came to work the other day with these giant, fresh lemons from her family’s lemon tree, so I thought a batch of these cookies sounded like a good idea. Then of course I had to take a picture and share the recipe.

Lemon Cookies

Makes about 20-24 cookies.

Prep. Time: 45 minutes

Bake Time: 15-20 minutes (pay close attention because every oven is different and these can easily overtake and dry out)

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups AP flour

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

2 sticks vegan butter, room temperature

Zest of 2-3 large lemons

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

For the Glaze:

Juice of about 1 lemon

1-2 cup confectioner’s sugar (this depends on how much lemon juice you have and your desired consistency)

Directions:

1. In a medium or large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.

2. Once sugar and butter are smooth, add the zest and vanilla extract and mix until incorporated, then add flour and salt.

3. After all the flour is mixed in, form dough into a flat disk, wrap, and chill for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, roll out the chilled dough until about 1/3 inch thick, then cut using a biscuit cutter or other cookie cutter (I use my circle cutter, which is 1 1/2 inches).

5. Place cookies onto parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until golden on the bottom (the color will show less on the tops of the cookies, so you can always gently lift one and check the bottom).

6. Let cookies cool and top with lemon glaze.

That’s it! These are easy cookies to make and sort of give the vibes of those lemon Girl Scout cookies.