Tag Archives: Vegan

Date and Nut Balls

There haven’t been too many sweet treats coming from Katie’s Kitchen so far in 2010. A couple of batches of snickerdoodles and peanut butter choc chip cookies, as requested, but not much else in the treat department. There have been lots of home cooked meals in an effort to eat out less but my creative energy has been going into my sewing and crochet projects. But more on that another time.

This week I did make something sweet, although it wasn’t baked and there was no chocolate to be seen. These date and nut balls were inspired by a raw power ball I had a few weeks ago at The Healthy Chef in Avalon and in part by a cinnamon Larabar I had earlier this week. The raw power ball from The Healthy Chef was almost the size of a golf ball and tasted quite rich – I couldn’t eat it all at once (although maybe that was because I’d just had a veggie burger from the same place). I figured the ball was made of dates, with coconut and some type of seeds. There was an orange flavour to it also.

I googled and found a few recipes, consulted my vegan/raw food expert friend Melissa and then got out the Magimix. Hubby and I both liked the result and there is no added sugar in them. I made the recipe up as I went and didn’t measure anything. I’d better measure next time and write it down so I don’t mess them up!

Date and Nut Balls
Recipe by me with some help

Ingredients (all estimates)

About 12 Medjool dates, chopped in half and pits removed
About 1 cup mixed nuts (cashews and almonds)
Zest of an orange
Few tablespoons mixed seeds
About 1/4 cup desiccated coconut, with extra to roll balls in
Few tablespoons orange juice


Process nuts until finely and evenly chopped. Remove from processor.
Process dates until they are nice and mushy. Add processed nuts, seeds, some of the coconut, zest and a little juice.
Process until the mixture is well mixed and forms a big blob. Add a little more juice if mixture is too dry.
Roll mixture into balls and then roll balls into coconut.


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Semi-Vegan Gluten-Free Coconut Cupcakes

For this year’s Girls Night In, we had vegan coconut cupcakes with buttercream frosting and I also made a gluten-free version. The gf version was a wee bit dry, but I’m sure some tweaking of the recipe will sort that right out. I had a great night with some of my wonderfully funny and clever female relatives AND we raised $325 to fight women’s cancers. Woo!


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Lentil and Broccoli Salad

We need more legumes in our lives. Eat legumes with grains to create a complete protein.* Complete proteins occur naturally in meat and eggs, etc., but most beans, veggies, grains and the like contain incomplete proteins. Some cultures have been combining legumes and grains for centuries: like beans and corn in Mexico, dahl and rice in India and tofu and rice in Japan.

Lentil and Broccoli Salad
You could alter this recipe in so many ways, according to your tastes and what is in season.

Rinse and drain a can of lentils. Pop the lentils in a bowl with one tablespoon olive oil and two tablespoons balsamic vinegar. Mix it all up so the lentils are coated.

Cut up about 500g broccoli and cook in boiling water for a few minutes, until tender but still pretty firm. Drain.

In a little olive oil, saute a chopped onion, crushed clove of garlic and a chopped red chilli in a big pan or wok for 2 minutes. Add some chopped spinach, saute until wilted. Put the broccoli into the pan for a minute or two to make sure it’s still warm.

Remove pan from heat and combine the broccoli mixture with the lentils. Mix it all up, season if you wish, and serve.

*I’m not a doctor, dietitian or nutritionist – I’m just interested in food and nutrition. And in eating cupcakes.

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Vegan Pumpkin Pie Brownie

This one is a big fat fail in my opinion. The pumpkin part didn’t ever set nicely and I didn’t like the flavour of the brownie base. Two taste testers – hubby and co-worker Eve – did like the brownie portion though. I like the idea of pumpkin or sweet potato pie with brownie so I may experiment some with this idea in the future. If you’d like to try out the recipe yourself just google the title and it will pop right up.

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Green Velvet Soup

Not to be confused with this green velvet. This funny-looking soup is actually tasty and a great way to add vegies to your diet. The soup is basically pure veg!

Green Velvet Soup
Makes about 2 1/2 quarts
From pcrm.org (recommended by my doctor!)

This beautiful soup provides an abundance of nourishing green vegetables.

1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, sliced
2 potatoes, scrubbed and diced
3/4 cup split peas, rinsed
2 bay leaves
6 cups water or vegetable broth
1 medium zucchini, diced
2 medium stalks broccoli, chopped
1 6-ounce bag prewashed spinach
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2-1 teaspoon salt

Place onion, celery, potatoes, split peas, and bay leaves in a large pot. Add water or broth and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until peas are tender, about 45 minutes.

Remove bay leaves. Add zucchini, broccoli, spinach, basil, and black pepper. Simmer until broccoli is just tender, about 10 minutes.

Transfer to a blender in several small batches and blend until completely smooth, holding the lid on tightly. Return to pot and heat until steamy. Add salt to taste.

Per 1-cup serving: 107 calories; 6 g protein; 21 g carbohydrate; 0.5 g fat; 4 g fiber; 124-248 mg sodium; calories from protein: 22%; calories from carbohydrates: 74%; calories from fats: 4%.

Recipe from Healthy Eating for Life for Cancer by Vesanto Melina, M.S., R.D.


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Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is one of the best choc chip cookie recipes I’ve made. Perhaps the best? Sweet but no sickly sweet. Soft but not too crumbly. How many choc chips you add is up to you. I used vegan ingredients, except for the choc chips. I used light soy milk instead of water. About 8 minutes cooking time was good for me, anything less and the sugar is still too gritty. I ate a few to test this theory of course. Take your cookies out of the oven while they are still a little soft as they will firm up as they cool.

Here is an interesting article about sugar in relation to a vegan diet.

Edit: Here’s info relating to sugar in Australia.

From www.vnv.org.au

A word about sugar…
– Refined sugar is avoided by some vegetarians/vegans because a filter bed composed of animal bone char may be used in the refining process. The bone char is prepared by incinerating animal bones at an extremely high temperature. This results in a physical change in the bones’ composition, leaving particles of pure carbon scattered throughout the porous calcium orthophosphate structure. The carbon particles remove colourant molecules from the sugar (by a physical process called “adsorption”) and thereby whiten it. No bone char remains within the
finished sugar product and it is therefore kosher suitable.
– While bone char filters are still used by some major sugar companies around the world, it is our understanding that they are no longer used in Australia. There are currently three sugar refineries in Australia and they have stated:
Sugar Australia Pty Ltd (details correct as at March 2007)
“Sugar Australia refines sugar in Melbourne and Mackay and markets the CSR brand of sugar. Both its refineries DO NOT USE bone char. Instead, the decolourising process uses granular activated carbon (made from coal). The use of bone charcoal in Sugar Australia (formerly CSR) refineries ceased in Australia about 1990. There are refineries in America that still use it, but not in Australia. The Sugar Australia refineries do not use any materials of animal origin in the refining process, so its products are suitable for a vegan diet.”
Bundaberg Sugar Ltd (details correct as at March 2007)
“Bundaberg Sugar has not used bone char in the refining process for many years now.”
Manildra Harwood Sugars
(Manildra Harwood Sugars have not responded to our enquiries.)

 The recipe is from VegWeb.com

 Recipe submitted by Denise (unedited)

Happy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients (use vegan versions):

2 cups unbleached flour

2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp.salt
cinnamon to taste (optional)
vegan chocolate or carob chips – put in as many as you like
1 cup raw sugar (turbinado #1, sucanat works too but sucks up a lot of the moisture)
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup water


VERY IMPORTANT-make sure all ingredients are at room temperature. It will work if they’re not at room temp but it works MUCH better if they are. Also while your oven is pre-heating put the cookie sheets you are going to use on top of the oven so they get preheated as well.  Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl mix flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon (if you choose). Add chips. Make a well in the center and set aside.

In a medium size bowl mix vegan sugar and oil. Mix it well.  Add the vanilla and then add the water. Mix it well.  Add the wet to the well in the dry. Mix it well but be careful not to overwork it.  Add more chips if you need to.  Spoon onto ungreased cookie sheets.  Put them in the oven.  Bake for 5 minutes and then flip and rotate the sheets.(top to bottom,and 180 degree rotation) Bake another 4 minutes and check them.

The cookies are done when they seem a little bit softer then you want them to be. They will harden up some as they cool. I usually go in two minute increments from here untill they get to where I like them.

Take them out when they are done and move them to wire cooling racks. If they split or come apart when you try to remove them let them sit on the pan for 2 minutes before transferring them to the racks.

These cookies have come a long way, lots of time and tasting spent on getting them to where they are now. Vegans and non vegans LOVE them. In the words of my 6 year old son-Mom, you’re the greatest because you know how to make the best cookies. Enjoy and let me know if you have questions. Sweet travels.

Serves: almost two dozen

Preparation time: 15 mins?-10 to 12 cooking time

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Flourless, Dairy-free, Almost-No-Added-Sugar Ookies

Hubby says these aren’t real cookies, so I’m calling them ookies. He eats them anyway!

The banana is the overriding taste in these ookies, almost a banana bread flavour. They aren’t real crispy on the outside, more soft and moist all over. Find the recipe here on a great blog called 101 Cookbooks. Thanks to my co-worker Eve for showing me the recipe.

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Vegan Carrot Soup

No, I’m not “turning vegan”. Just exploring new ways of eating, cooking and maintaining a balanced diabetes-friendly diet. This soup recipe comes from a book my (vegan) friend Melissa lent (meat-eater) me. It’s simply and tasty. The “creamy” part is the soy milk. The jury is out for me on whether soy milk is good for you, bad for you or ok in moderation. There’s plenty of pros and cons to be found online. Just goggle “soy milk health”. For now I’ll stick to baking with soy milk sometimes and eating it with my oats occasionally.

The jist of the recipe is:

Chop 6-8 organic, unpeeled carrots and 1 onion.
Saute them in 2 tablespoons oil in large saucepan until onion is translucent.
Add 4 cups vegetables stock. Simmer 15 minutes.
Remove half the vegetable and some of the liquid, place in blender with 1 cup soy milk, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 tablespoon chopped dill. Blend until smooth. Return mixture to saucepan.
Stir and serve.



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Vegan Coconut Cupcakes

I love coconut. I love these cupcakes. I want another! I found the recipe posted on a fashion message board, of all places. The recipe is by Bethenny Frankel. My version is almost 100% vegan. I used margarine (instead of vegan shortening) which does contain a small amount of dairy (listed as milk solids).

The recipe calls for vegan shortening. In Australia, a common type of vegetable shortening is Copha. That’s right, the stuff most of  us only ever use to make the childhood favourite chocolate crackles. Does anyone use Copha for anything else? I’d love to know! Copha is basically hydrogenated coconut oil.

*I used Meadow Lea margarine, which is made from vegetable oils — including canola oil.
*I used plain wheat flour instead of oat flour.
*I couldn’t get coconut extract easily, so I settled for coconut essence. I wasn’t disappointed, the cake has a nice coconut flavour.
*I got about 11 cupcakes from the batter. Next time I may squeeze it out to 12.
*I halved the ingredients for the icing and still had enough to cover all of my cupcakes.

These cupcakes were very easy to make and took about 20 minutes to bake. Don’t expect the baked product to have the same consistency as cupcakes containing egg. I ate my cupcake while it was still a little warm.


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