Cinnamon Rolls

I’m still enjoying a nice little break for the holidays to rest, reset, and reflect on the way I want to run my business. It’s been an incredibly stressful year for me, and just about everyone else. In the new year you can look forward to new menu items from my bakery, and shipping throughout the United States. I’ll also be working on creating a lifestyle section of the blog where you can read about some of Nick and I’s favorite ethical, vegan restaurants and products like skin care, makeup, clothing, and more. Creating new recipes for the blog is a great deal of fun, but it’s also a lot of extra work for me throughout the week when I have a lot to do with the bakery. This way I can continue to provide quality content to help readers learn more about veganism, sustainability, and leading an ethical lifestyle without the added stress of having to cook and bake every minute of my waking life. That being said, I’m having a lovely holiday vacation and excited for New Years, even though I’m a bit bummed out that Christmas is already over. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I enjoy finding the perfect gifts for friends and family, and spending time with people I don’t normally see often. This year was a bit different with the pandemic, but it was still fun nonetheless. Nick and I woke up on Christmas morning and enjoyed one of my all time favorite Christmas traditions, next to opening the presents, which is homemade cinnamon rolls.

For this recipe I’ve adapted my Grandma Billie’s recipe for Sticky Buns, and made it into the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had. We also crafted a delicious cream cheese frosting to put on top of the rolls right when they come out of the oven. These cinnamon rolls are warm, ooey-gooey, and reminiscent of every delightful childhood Christmas. They’re also incredibly easy to make, and only require a few ingredients. I put them together the day before Christmas, and leave them in the fridge until Christmas morning. I have no interest in making a dough for cinnamon rolls, and waiting for it to proof on Christmas morning, no matter how easy the recipe is.


Cinnamon

  • Servings: 12-16
  • Difficulty: easy
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Cinnamon Roll Dough

  • 1 cup oat milk
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp vegan white sugar
  • 2 tbsp Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp instant yeast
  • 6 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup vegan butter, we used earth balance
  • 2/3 cups vegan brown sugar

Cinnamon Roll Frosting

  • 1 cup vegan powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup vegan cream cheese, we used tofutti
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Cinnamon Roll Dough Directions

  1. Heat a sauce pan on medium heat for about a minute. You can tell if it’s ready by flicking water at it. If it sizzles and quickly evaporates you’re good to go. Add the oat milk in. It should make a hiss as it goes into the pan. Keep it on medium heat and stir until it begins to simmer whisking occasionally. Don’t stir the liquid continuously as you want it to scald a little bit for this recipe.
  2. Very carefully add in the oil. The oat milk has probably reached a pretty high temperature here, so it may jump and splash back a little.
  3. Whisk in the sugar and salt and allow to simmer for another minute.
  4. Turn off burner and remove the liquid from heat. Allow to cool until it is about room temperature.
  5. While the milk mixture cools combine the egg replacer with 1/4 cup of water in a separate bowl. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
  6. In a large mixing bowl combine yeast with one cup hot water. The water should be hot, but not so hot you can’t touch it.
  7. Add the egg replacer, the milk mixture, and three cups of flower and beat by hand or with a hand mixer.
  8. Add in the rest of the flour. If you chose to use a hand mixer you’ll want to ditch it at this point, because the dough is about to get too heavy for it. Mix the flour in with your hands or a spoon until a soft, somewhat sticky dough has formed.
  9. Knead for a few minutes on a floured surface. Grease mixing bowl, and return the dough ball to the bowl. Cover with a towel and set aside for an hour or until dough has doubled in size.
  10. Once the dough has doubled break it into two portions so it is easier to work with. Roll out each portion separately into a roughly 14″x8″ rectangle.
  11. In a bowl soften one cup of margarine to room temperature, and cream in the vegan brown sugar.
  12. Cream together the room temperature vegan butter, and brown sugar. Spread thoroughly on top of each rectangle.
  13. Dust each dough rectangle with cinnamon atop the butter layer.
  14. Grease two Pyrex baking dishes (sized approximately 15″x8″) with excess butter and brown sugar mixture. Make sure the mixture reaches all the way up the sides, as well as completely coating the bottom.
  15. Roll each rectangle up longways like a pumpkin roll or jelly roll, and cut into 16 pieces
  16. Place your pieces in the buttered pans leaving about 1/2″ of space in between each one.
  17. Allow to proof for an additional half hour at room temperature. At this point you can bake them immediately or refrigerate them for up to 24 hours.
  18. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  19. Bake for 25 minutes, and then ice all the cinnamon rolls while they are still hot. Enjoy warm, or allow them to cool.

Cinnamon Roll Frosting Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl beat room temperature vegan butter on a low setting with a hand mixer, or stand mixer. Whip it for about two minutes until it develops nice peaks, and becomes a smooth and creamy texture.
  2. Add in the cream cheese, and mix for just long enough to integrate with the butter.
  3. Slowly sift in the powdered sugar, mixing thoroughly.
  4. Add in salt, and vanilla extract. Mix.
  5. Frosting should be a relatively thick consistency, but not thick enough to easily pipe to decorate a cake. If it seems a bit too runny, add more powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency.
  6. Store frosting in an air tight container in the fridge until ready for use.

Vegan Black Bean Brownies

Refined Sugar Free

I’ve had a sweet tooth my entire life. My palate has certainly advanced past some of the overly sweet things I used to love as a kid, and now I prefer things with rich dark chocolate and a small amount of sugar. I’ve always been a fan of sweet over savory. If I could get adequate nutrition for dessert I’m not sure I’d have it for every meal, but I’d certainly have it a lot. Unfortunately the world doesn’t work that way, and sweets should be an occasional treat and not a meal replacement. I’ve been trying to lose some weight recently, and reach a healthier BMI. This has involved limiting my dessert intake to once or twice a week, and trying to make smarter choices about what sweets I do consume.

While I’ve been trying to be healthier I do still consume refined sugar, and I forget that for some people that’s a big no-no. Disclaimer: I’m not trying to say that these are healthy. They’re just a bit healthier than eating a lot of refined cane sugar, because the coconut brown sugar is lower on the glycemic index. A lot of the dessert recipes I post on the blog can be made without refined sugar, and with coconut brown sugar or other natural sweeteners. If you want to use a liquid sweetener like maple syrup, or agave you may need to experiment a little bit and adjust the amount of moisture you add with other ingredients as well as cook time. I have no beef with bleached white sugar as long as it’s vegan, but I realize why some people do and wanted to provide a decadent sweet option for those who are more health conscious. This brownie recipe is decadent, deliciously sweet, fudgy, and by default refined sugar free. You really won’t miss the bleached white sugar, I promise.


Vegan Brownies

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Caramel Sauce Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Wholesome coconut brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Brownie Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup Wholesome coconut brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 16 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl combine all dry brownie ingredients. Sift each ingredient as you add it to the bowl to prevent clumping.
  2. In a food processor combine drained and rinsed black beans with coconut milk and vanilla extract, and puree until smooth. You may still see some flecks of skin. This is fine. You won’t notice it in the consistency of the brownies.
  3. Grease an 8″x8″, or similar volume baking dish. You can line it with parchment if you wish. I usually don’t, because I make my brownies in a glass Pyrex dish, and they come out very easily as long as the pan is greased.
  4. If you want to add an add in like chocolate chips, lightly coat them in flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom, and gently fold them into your batter. This step is optional, and the brownies are very rich and flavorful with or without.
  5. If you’d like to make caramel sauce to marble into your brownies like we did do so at this time. Melt vegan butter down in a small sauce pan on low heat, and then stir in the coconut brown sugar.
  6. Once coconut brown sugar has melted combine the full fat coconut milk. Simmer until mixture starts to bubble all the way throughout, and turn a slightly darker color. If you dip a spoon in the mixture it should still be fairly runny, but will ultimately coat the spoon. Remove from heat immediately after it reaches this consistency.
  7. Allow your caramel to set for a few minutes.
  8. Spoon some of the caramel sauce on top of the brownies in ribbons. Using a toothpick make whatever design you like. Save some of the caramel to pretty them up more after baking.
  9. Preheat your oven to 350 and cook brownies for 25-35 minutes. Check with a tooth pick to see if they’re done.
  10. Allow brownies to cool before cutting and serving. If you’d like to you can add some more caramel to the top. The caramel may bake down a bit and leave some gaps in the top of your brownies, so it’s a good idea to conserve some caramel to touch these up.
  11. Top with sea salt, sprinkles, nuts, and more if you’d like. Enjoy.

Best Vegan Buttercream

I love baking cakes for any occasion I can find, but I’ve always thought store bought icing was terrible. Even if you’re a fan it’s often difficult to find vegan icing at the supermarket. It’s fortunate that making buttercream frosting is super easy, and only requires four ingredients. You can even make it in advance and freeze it for a couple of weeks. Fresh is always better, but if you like being prepared that’s a great option.

This recipe works great for any of your cake, cupcake, or cookie needs. It’s stable enough to perfectly pipe anything and everything. All you need to make our Best Vegan Buttercream is vegan powdered sugar, vegan butter, vanilla extract, sea salt, a mixing bowl, a sieve, and a hand (or stand) mixer. Funny, you probably already own most if not all of those things.

Best Vegan Buttercream

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups vegan powdered sugar
  • 1 cup vegan butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Set your butter out for a few minutes before you get started, so that it can soften.
  2. In a large mixing bowl sift the powdered sugar to remove any clumps.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl beat butter on a low-medium setting on the mixer for about five minutes until it becomes almost white in color. It should still hold it’s shape relatively well.
  4. Slowly add in the powdered sugar a little at a time. Start mixing it with the mixer on the lowest setting.
  5. Once all of the sugar is incorporated add in your salt, and vanilla extract. Mix for another thirty seconds or so until it is well integrated.
  6. Add in any food coloring if you wish at this point.
  7. Use immediately, or store in an air tight container in the fridge or freezer.

Vegan Lo Mein

undefinedMy unrefined palate as a child didn’t appreciate how delicious Chinese food truly is. I would only ever order Veggie Lo Mein, and Sweet and Sour Chicken which we all know is basically just popcorn chicken with a dipping sauce. I’m a little ashamed to admit how picky I was as a kid. I missed out on so many years of good food. As I started to age into a teenager I started to be a bit of a more adventurous eater. This was the point that I fell in love with the local Chinese restaurant, and all of their offerings. This love has only grown as I’ve gotten to experience more restaurants with a greater variety of more authentic food.

No matter how many new Chinese dishes I try one of my favorites will always be Veggie Lo Mein. I don’t know if it’s because it offers the greasy umami perfection of a comfort food, or if it’s a safe and nostalgic memory of my childhood, but my love for Lo Mein is still going strong. Sadly, due to the fact that Lo Mein noodles contain egg, and most Lo Mein uses oyster sauce for flavoring I haven’t been able to get Lo Mein at any restaurant near me since I went vegetarian.

For the past four or five years I’ve been perfecting my own recipe for Veggie Lo Mein, because I refuse to let a few unnecessary animal products stand in the way of me and my comfort food cravings. It’s taken a long time, but I think I’ve gotten my recipe pretty close to the delicious, restaurant style greasy noodles that I loved so much as a kid. We sub Udon noodles in for Lo Mein noodles in this recipe. I guess that means it’s not technically Lo Mein, but you came here for noodles and not semantics, didn’t you?

We replaced not only the egg based noodles, but added in a splash of Lord Sandy’s vegan worcestershire sauce to replace the umami flavor of the oyster sauce. Be sure the brown sugar you use is vegan to make it a truly cruelty free dish. Some brown sugars are just granulated white sugar that uses animal bone char in the bleaching process, and then have molasses added to them. If you can’t find vegan brown sugar I recommend maple syrup. I use maple syrup as a sweetener in a lot of things, and it has a very similar level of sweetness as the coconut brown sugar we used in this recipe. Just make sure you buy real maple syrup, and not imitation. The imitation syrup is way too sweet for this recipe, or for any recipe really.

undefinedWith the exception of the canned baby corns we used all fresh veggies for this recipe. We chose to use broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, and some green onion. Our choices relied heavily on what we had in the fridge this week. You can add more veggies or tofu if you’d like. Bok Choy, snow peas, and bean sprouts are all great additions to this dish.


Vegan Lo Mein

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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If you’re like us and don’t own a wok we recommend cooking this dish in two portions. It can be tricky to heat everything evenly if you overcrowd the pan. This makes two servings, so just separate the veggies and sauce into separate individual portioned bowls when you’re prepping. If you do this be sure to only add half the amount of cornstarch to each. If you add a full tablespoon to an individual portion the sauce may become too gelatinous.

Ingredients

  • splash of lime juice
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp fresh or frozen ginger
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp chopped green onion
  • 1 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 tbsp coconut brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup tamari
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 4oz baby corn (1/2 of a standard sized can)
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 large julienned carrot
  • 4 oz thinly sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 5 oz Udon noodles

Directions

  1. Prep all of the vegetables starting with washing and drying. Slice down the mushrooms, julienne the carrot, cut the broccoli into bite sized florets, slice down the green onions, and mince the garlic and ginger. If you are using frozen ginger you don’t need to do anything to it.
  2. Set the mushrooms, carrot, and broccoli aside in a bowl. Add the desired amount of baby corn you’ll be using in your dish to the bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl make the sauce. Combine warm water, soy sauce, coconut brown sugar, worcestershire, splash of lime juice, red chili flake, garlic, ginger, and green onion. Whisk together.
  4. Prepare the Udon noodles according to the package directions, but with a few minutes to spare. You’ll want the noodles to be a little bit less done than al dente as you’ll be cooking them more in the sauce. If you bought precooked stir fry Udon noodles you can obviously skip this step.
  5. Turn the burner to low, and add the sauce to a large skillet or wok. If you do not have a wok we suggest cooking the food in two portions, so that everything cooks evenly and no noodles stick. Don’t worry about your food getting cold. Each portion only takes about five minutes to cook, and they’ll be piping hot for long after.
  6. Allow sauce to heat for one minute or until visible bubbles begin to form. While you are waiting combine the cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water in a small bowl.
  7. Whisk cornstarch into the sauce.
  8. Add the mushrooms and julienned carrot. Stir periodically.
  9. It should take the mushrooms about a minute or two to start to cook down. At this point you will add the other vegetables. Allow them to simmer for a minute or two to soak up some sauce.
  10. Add the Udon noodles to the sauce and veggies. Stir them around well, so they can absorb the sauce.
  11. Allow the noodles to cook until the sauce is no longer runny, and has nicely coated all components of the dish. Remove from heat immediately, so the noodles do not stick and burn.
  12. Serve and enjoy.

Easy Trail mix

When I was growing up I regularly played sports, and was an active member of the Girl Scouts of the USA. I was on the go a lot, and frequently away from home for long periods of time. I learned that quick, filling, and nutritious snacks are a necessity when you’re active. Troop and activity leaders frequently provided trail mix to meet this need, and it’s continued to be a long time favorite of mine.

Trail mix offers a lot of versatility. You can add dried fruit, veggies, sesame sticks, nuts, pretzels, and even chocolate! This makes it ideal for even the pickiest of eaters. Trail mix makes it easy to pack a lot of nutrients into a small container to take with you wherever you go.

The recipe that I’ll share today has been our go to trail mix for the past year or so. It’s easy to make, and affordable. You can make the exact recipe, or use it as an outline for a basic trail mix and add whatever you want. Our trail mix contains almonds, dried fruit, and sometimes chocolate. I advise buying dried fruit that doesn’t contain any added sugar, or dehydrating your own fruit if you happen to own a dehydrator.

Easy Trail Mix

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup almonds or other nuts (you can use a variety if you wish)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened dried coconut strips
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened dried bananas
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened dried strawberries
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened dried blueberries
  • 1 tbsp vegan chocolate chips (optional)

Directions

  1. Measure out all ingredients into a container with a lid. We used a ball jar.
  2. Shake well to integrate.
  3. Store trail mix in original container, or portion out into smaller to go containers/bags. Enjoy.

If you do choose to add vegan chocolate chips we recommend that you refrigerate your trail mix until serving if it’s hot outside.

Vegan Loaded Baked Potato Salad

When I was a teenager I worked at a regional grocery store chain for several years. They had this loaded baked potato salad in their prepared foods case that I was addicted to while I worked there. Like most potato salads it was mayo based, but clearly had hints of sour cream in it as well. It was also filled with bacon, shredded cheese, and chives. I’m not a huge fan of potato salad, but this was the bomb.

undefinedI’ve had a few cravings for that potato salad over the last few years, but alas it contains a boat load of animal products, so I haven’t had it since around the time I stopped working there. Nick and I have been grilling a lot, and both had a craving for potato salad as a side, so we decided to recreate this using vegan ingredients.

We’ve been posting healthy recipes on and off, but this one’s all about the comfort. If you’re looking to skip a green side salad at your next meal and replace it with a more indulgent variety of “salad” this mayonnaise based monstrosity has got your back.

It goes great with your grilling favorites like this beyond meat sausage, and grilled corn!

Vegan Loaded Baked Potato Salad

  • Servings: 6-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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You can peel the potato skin after boiling them if you prefer, but we recommend leaving it on for the added texture.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb yukon gold potatoes
  • 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup vegan sour cream
  • 1/4 cup vegan cheese shreds
  • 6 slices of light life bacon
  • 1 tbsp green onion
  • 1 tbsp chives
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Scrub potatoes well, and rinse them off.
  2. Fill an 8 qt or larger stock pot a little less than 3/4 of the way with water. Set burner to high and cover the stock pot to bring water to a boil.
  3. Chop potatoes into large chunks. Each chunk should be about 1/4 to 1/6 of the potato depending on the size of the potato. Think about two bites for each chunk. Try to keep the sizes consistent so they cook evenly.
  4. Once the water has come to a boil uncover the pot and add the potatoes. Boil for 20 minutes or until fork tender. Remove from heat and drain with a colander.
  5. While the potatoes are boiling add one tbsp of coconut oil, or other vegetable oil to a pan and lay down your strips of bacon.
  6. Cook bacon until it is crisp on both sides, turning halfway through. Remove from heat, and lay the bacon out on a towel to absorb some of the excess grease.
  7. Break bacon down into small pieces, and set aside.
  8. In a small bowl mix together vegan mayo and vegan sour cream.
  9. Place boiled potatoes into a large mixing bowl, and spread mayo-sour cream mixture over them. Mix together until all of the potatoes are evenly coated.
  10. Sprinkle vegan bacon, vegan cheese shreds, chives, green onion, salt, and pepper over top of the potato mixture and stir until everything is well integrated.
  11. Cover and refrigerate for one hour to chill.
  12. Serve chilled.

For our ingredients we used Hellmann’s vegan mayo, Tofutti Sour Supreme, Lightlife Smart Bacon, and Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds.