Orange-Nut Stuffed Dates

Orange-Nut Stuffed Dates

Looking to cut refined sugar out of your diet, but still enjoy dessert? Me, too. Let in introduce you to Orange-Nut Stuffed Dates.

I have to admit I have a huge sweet tooth so giving up refined sugar is hard. Something I struggle with it as I love my after dinner treat. And my mid-morning snack. And my afternoon break. You get the picture.

Until I started moving toward the plant-based diet, I would have never tried dates. Like ever. The only datey thing I’d eat would be a Fig Newton and that’s not even date. Let’s just say that eating plant-based has caused me to explore food I normally wouldn’t have tried. Dates are great. They are high in fiber, very nutritious, and antioxidants. And most importantly, there are super sweet. A natural candy.

This is a super easy and quick dessert using dates, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and oranges. That’s it. Just some chopping and in 15 minutes you have a chic dessert to balance a strongly spiced meal or as a quick bite to satisfy a sweet craving without the guilt. That said, this isn’t a low calorie dessert; however, the ingredients are whole foods and natural. Enjoy in moderation.

What is nice about this dessert is that it works year round. It has a “warmness” that works in the winter, but it is no cook working for the summer months. A winner in my book.

Once I tasted the mixture, I realized it tasted like baklava. So I’ll be working on a baklava recipe. I’ll try to make it plant-based. I accept the challenge. And should it be Greek or Turkish baklava? I’ll figure which will be easier to make plant-based.

If you are looking for more plant-based desserts, I’d recommend checking out The Happy Pear and Forks Over Knives. Also, checkout some of my vegan desserts.

 

Vegan Orange-Nut Stuffed Dates

 

Orange-Nut Stuffed Dates

15 minutes

15 minutes

8

1

Ingredients

  • 10-12 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 8 almonds, chopped
  • 8 walnuts, chopped
  • 16 shelled pistachios, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon orange rind, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest

Preparation

  • 1. Make a slit in each dates removing the pit and making sure it is long enough to stuff. Set aside 8 dates.
  • 2. Chop the remaining dates and other ingredients combining well in a bowl.
  • 3. Fill the eight dates with mixture.
  • 4. Serve or put in airtight container in the refrigerator.
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Vegan Baking Substitutes

Vegan Baking Substitutes

Moving to the plant-based diet poses some challenges around baking. You can still bake your favorite baked goods using vegan baking substitutes. When I started vegan baking, I wasn’t so sure our family favorites would taste like “the real thing.” It my surprise, it does and in some recipes, it enhances it.

How do you bake vegan? You can swap out eggs, dairy milk, and dairy butter with vegan substitutes. Those substitutes could be oat milk, applesauce, flaxseeds, and Aquafina. Sometimes it is going to some trial and error to find out which works best with a recipe that wasn’t designed vegan.

Here are some vegan substitutions for baking with what baked good it works best with:

Egg replacements:

  • Flax eggs (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water per egg) – Works well in cookies, muffins, breads
  • Applesauce or mashed banana (1/4 cup per egg) – Best for cakes, muffins, quick breads
  • Aquafaba (liquid from a can of chickpeas) – Use like egg whites for meringues or macarons
  • Commercial egg replacers like Bob’s Red Mill or Ener-G (follow package instructions)

Butter replacements:

  • Vegan butter sticks (Miyoko’s, Earth Balance, etc.)
  • Coconut oil – Use 3/4 cup oil for every 1 cup butter
  • Vegetable oil
  • Nut butters
  • Applesauce or mashed banana

Milk replacements:

  • Unsweetened soy milk – Best for baking as it has higher protein content
  • Oat milk, Almond milk,  coconut milk – Okay substitutes, may change texture slightly

Here are some recipes where I’ve used vegan baking substitutes:

Vegan Baked Chocolate Donuts

Vegan Banana Bread

Vegan Snickerdoodle Cookies

Vegan Snickerdoodle Cookies

Can vegan snickerdoodle cookies be good? Yes they can! I’ll be honest I’ve found that a lot of vegan baked goods taste weird. And I love my desserts so that’s been a big challenge as I move towards a more plant-based diet without dairy and eggs.

Growing up in we lived near Amish Country in Lancaster, PA. The Amish are known for the baked goods and a favorite place for cookies was The Bake Shop in Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse where I would get snickerdoodle cookies. They are butter cookies rolled in sugar and cinnamon.

As it is the Christmas holiday season, it has put me in the mood for cookies. Why not make vegan snickerdoodle cookies? Like I said I was skeptical, but decided to try it. And I liked it. The key is the ingredients, but that’s the case with every recipe. Quality is important.

All About The Butter

Vegan Snickerdoodle Cookies

For the vegan snickerdoodle as in the traditional cookie, the butter is essential. I use Miyoko’s Creamery European Style Cultured Vegan Butter Unsalted which was crafted for baking. I use it in my Potato Corn Chowder along with unsweetened oat milk. This recipe uses unsweetened apple sauce as the egg replacement, but you could use a flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flax and 3 tablespoons water mixed together and left to sit for 10mins). The recipe can use whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour. I use the whole wheat pastry flour. You can use a spoon or a stand mixer. I used my food processor, but it didn’t cream the butter and sugar as well as I would have liked. So next time, I’m using my stand mixer.

It still is a treat food

Now I have to be a Debbie Downer, but as a reminder that just because it is vegan doesn’t mean it is low calorie or healthy. This recipe as a cup of sugar. Just like any other baked good recipe. Like with the traditional cookie, they should be enjoyed in moderation and as a treat.

Let me know what you think about this recipe. Can you tell that it is not made with animal-based eggs and butter?

While they aren’t all plant-based, check out these desserts. I’ll be adding more vegan baked goods soon.

Vegan Snickerdoodle Cookies

10 minutes

25 minutes

35 minutes

24 Cookies

1

Ingredients

  • Cookies:
  • 350g sifted flour (white whole wheat or all-purpose flour) or 2 1/2 cups
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tarter
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Big pinch of salt
  • 225g vegan butter, at room temperature or 1 cup
  • 225g organic pure cane sugar or regular sugar or 1 cup
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla paste
  • Coating:
  • 3 tablespoons organic pure cane sugar or regular sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Preparation

  • 1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  • 2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease with oil.
  • 3. In a bowl, combine the flour, cream of tarter, baking soda and salt.
  • 4. In a bowl, cream the sugar and butter, about 2 minutes.
  • 5. Add the vanilla and applesauce, mix to combine.
  • 6. Add flour mixture until flour is incorporated. Dough should be firm and thick. If the dough is too soft, chill it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes until it stiffens a bit. This will help keep them from spreading out.
  • 7. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon for rolling. Roll dough into about 1 inch balls. To keep them uniform, use a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon.
  • 8. Place cinnamon sugar rolled balls on prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between balls.
  • 9. Bake in center of the oven for 8 – 9 minutes. For a little crispier cookie, bake for 10 minutes. I found on the convention setting the best time as 9 minutes.
  • 10. Let cool for a few minutes on the pan as they will be too soft just from the oven to move to a wire rack.
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Apple Pie

Apple Pie

It is officially Fall and that means apple pie for me. Not pumpkin spice anything. Don’t get me wrong I love a pumpkin donut from Dunkin’ or better yet my sister’s amazing pumpkin roll with cream cheese frosting. But I can’t get into the cult of pumpkin spice. I’m a fan of anything apple. I love apple cider donuts, tarts, apple sauce, and pie.

 

American as Apple Pie

 

Apple PieEvery country in the western world has their apple dessert. Apples are hardy and store well. They are portable and don’t require anything. Grab, go, and eat. The picture that stays with me from the Netherlands is girls on bikes eating apples as they cycle to school, work, or home. The Netherlands and Germany are known for their apple desserts in forms of cakes.

Apples as we know them today are not native to the Americas. The seeds were brought by colonists after they found the native crab apples not eatable. In the late 18th Century, Dutch immigrants brought apple preserving techniques and the Germans  shared their flaky buttery crust creating a new truly American dessert, the apple pie. Reference to apple pie in the US goes as far back as 1796 in the cook book, American Cookery.

During the First and Second World Wars, soldiers were heard saying the reason why they were fighting was for “Mom and Apple Pie.” The humble pie became associated with patriotism.

 

My Pie

I buy small organic Gala apples in bags at Aldi with very intention of eating them. Sometimes I do, but others times they just sit there like they are posing for a still life. I hate to waste food so when they get to the point of not very appealing to grab and eat, I make either apple sauce or pie with them.

Since I always have apples, frozen rolled pie crust, and the other ingredients on hand, it is a quick and simple dessert that I could make a lot more. That said, if I make it all the time it won’t be good for my waist line nor will it be a special treat. I use whatever apples I have on hand which are usually Galas or any of the apples picked at my favorite local orchard, Rocky Brook, during the picking season.

Tucking into a fresh baked pie with ice cream or whipped cream is such fall comfort food.

 

Apple Pie

Ingredients

  • 8 cups thinly sliced apples (about 8 medium)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Preparation

  • 1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  • 2. Roll out pre-made pie crust. Place one crust in a deep dish pie plate.
  • 2. Put sliced apples and lemon juice in a bowl and tossing.
  • 3. Combine sugar through salt.
  • 4. Sprinkle spices over the apples and toss until well combined.
  • 5. Dump the apples into the pie plate and place the top crust on crimping the edges and making slits in the top.
  • 6. Brush with milk or egg wash.
  • 7. Bake at 450F for 15 minutes then reduce temperature to 350F baking for 40 minutes.
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Rustic Fruit Tart

Rustic Fruit Tart

Making a rustic fruit tart is a simple way to bring the flavors of summer to your table. I usually make one when we have fruit that’s overripe to bite into. Frozen pie crust is always in my freezer so I can throw together a pie or tart when the fruit is ripe, or make samosas.

This recipe is so simple. I don’t really have a recipe It is something I just throw together without much thought. And sometimes, it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve used apples, peaches, and nectarines in my rustic fruit tarts. I’m not going to bother creating a recipe card because it is such free wheeling process.

All you need is some fruit, sugar, a little flour, maybe some lemon juice, and pie crust.

  • Slice or chuck the fruit. You can add blueberries or raspberries into the fruit like apples, peaches or nectarines as well depending on what you have on hand.
  • Dump in bowl.
  • Add sugar to taste, some lemon juice, and a touch of flour to thicken the mix while baking mixing well.
  • Arrange… ok dump… the mixture on the pie crust and fold up the crust.
  • If you want some browning then do an egg wash.
  • Bake in a pre-heated 375 oven for about 30-45 minutes. Checking on it when you get to the 30 minute mark.
  • Let cool a little then devour.

Be creative with your fruit tart. And enjoy!

Chocolate Nice Cream

Chocolate Nice Cream

Ice Cream! Ice Cream…

 

We all scream for ice cream! Especially in the summertime. The heat is on here in Newport so chocolate nice cream is welcome in our house. Recently I made mango sorbet and it turned out yummy so I decided to find out if I can make vegan chocolate ice cream. We love ice cream especially chocolate in our house. As we are eating more plant-based, it is important I can introduce “normal” foods familiar to my guys.

 

Chocolate Ice Cream is Easy

 

Yes, it is to my joy. Made with three ingredients: frozen bananas, plant milk, and cacao powder. That’s it. What I love about this recipe and the sorbet is it is ready to eat once done blending. You just need to remember to slice and freeze ripening bananas to have on hand, but other than that it is immediate gratification. Always appreciated when craving ice cream. Another thing I love about it is that it is healthy. You can have your ice cream and eat it too!!

A couple tips:
– Let the bananas thaw for a couple minutes
– Use quality cacao powder for a really luxe ice cream
– Put in freezer for that perfect consistency

My dairy forever son and my toughest food critic gave me two thumbs up. He couldn’t stop eating it.

 

Chocolate Nice Cream

Ingredients

  • - 5-6 medium-sized bananas or 2 cups, cut into slices and frozen
  • - 1-2 tablespoons plant milk
  • - 1-2 tablespoons cocoa, cacao, or carob powder

Preparation

  • 1. In a food processor or high speed blender, blend the slightly thawed bananas until they start to get smooth.
  • 2. Through the chute, add 1 tablespoon of plant milk and more if needed.
  • 3. Scrape down the sides and add in the cacao.
  • 4. Allow it to process again for another 3-4 minutes, or until fluffy and smooth. You may need to open and scrape down the sides periodically.
  • 5. Eat right there or put in air tight container in freezer.
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