Friday, 24 May 2013

Vegan Cheesecake

I've made this dessert for my mom's birthday for the past two years. She loves cheesecake and loves this vegan version too. Unlike regular cheesecakes that can weigh you down, this version in light and protein rich. You can feel good about yourself after eating it, so go ahead and have an extra piece. Really, this cake is a complete source of protein, using pecans as a crust with a tofu/tofutti cream cheese filling. You don't need to worry about missing out on your meat substitute food group if you're having this baby for dessert!
I've made this recipe a total of three times, and every time I make it, I play with the toppings. I've used apples in the fall, raspberries and strawberries and my latest was blackberries and strawberries.

How delicious does this look? Untouched and ready to be eaten.


2 Cups strawberries (1/2 quart) to 1 Cup blackberries (1/2 pint)
I only cooked the berries for a few minutes (the strawberries for
 ~5 minutes and the blackberries for ~3 additional minutes on
medium low heat) to keep them fresh 

3 cups pecans (2.5 if chopped)
4 tbsp white sugar
3 tbsp whole wheat flour
6 tbsp melted margarine

1 package firm (or extra firm) tofu, rinsed
2 tubs tofutti cream cheese
2 tbsp soy milk (or other varieties)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
5 tbsp whole wheat flour

2 tbsp margarine
3 cups fruit, such as mixed berries (see photos for more information)
2 Cups raspberries (1 pint) to 1 Cup strawberries
I made this this cheese cake last year and travelled on the bus
with it from Toronto to North Bay to surprise my mom for her
birthday. It was refrigerated for at least 24 hours, which is why
the topping is clearly firmer than the previous, which only had
time to chill for about 4 hours.
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup corn starch dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water


Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a blender or food processor, pulse pecans, sugar and flour until crumbly (this can be challenging if using a blender, and may take some patience and frequent stirring).
Stir in melted margarine with a fork until well mixed.
Poor mixture into a 9" spring form pan and press down firmly with a fork or spatula, distributing the mixture evenly to about 1/4 inch thick. 
If you are using a smaller spring form pan, you may want to consider continuing the crust up the sides of the pan.
Bake crust at 400°F for 13 minutes.
Let crust cool at room temperature for 5-15 minutes.
Reduce oven heat to 325°F.

McIntosh apples (3 sliced)! I didn't
have a spring form pan at the time, 

so I used a large pie plate instead.

In a medium mixing bowl, crumble tofu, and add all other ingredients.
Mix together roughly, then transfer to the food processor or blender, or use an immersion blender, and blend until smooth.
Spread the filling evenly onto the crust.
Bake at 325°F for 70 minutes.
After 70 minutes, turn the oven off, leaving the cheesecake in the oven for an additional hour.
Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature on a wire rack before cooling in the fridge.
Let chill for at least an hour before making the topping.

Wash fruit and slice to desired thickness or leave smaller berries whole.
On medium low heat, melt margarine and toss with firmer fruit. Sauté for a few minutes, until tender, before adding any additional softer fruit. 
When the fruit are at the desired tenderness, and they have produced a good amount of liquid, stir in the brown sugar and cook on medium low until bubbly, stirring lightly when needed.
Add the corn starch-water mixture and stir constantly until thickened.
Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Top cheesecake with topping and let chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. The longer it chills, the firmer it will become.

And if ever short on time, you can always switch between the fridge and the freezer when chilling this delicious cheese cake...I've never been a very patient person when it comes to cake.


Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Tasty Tropical Fruit Muffins

One of Ryan’s favourite muffin recipes from his mom. Muffins are perfect for the morning; they are fast, easy and nutritious.

Vegetarians and vegans need to be especially cautious of B12 deficiencies, which is why I like to add the optional nutritional yeast to this recipe. The nutritional yeast doesn't affect the texture or flavour of the muffin at all, but it’s a great way to incorporate some additional B vitamins into your diet. Nutritional yeast is an excellent source of vitamin B12 and also thiamine. If you decide to add the ½ cup of nutritional yeast, each muffin would have about 50% of your daily Vitamin B12 plus a bit extra depending on the fortification of your soymilk.

Bake at: 400°F
Bake Time: 25 minutes
Makes: 12 muffins


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
½ packed brown sugar
(Optional: 1/2 cup nutritional flakes)

1/8 cup water
1 cup soymilk, or other variety of milk
1 cup mashed banana (2-3 bananas)
¼ cup melted margarine
2 tsp vanilla
1 can crushed pineapple, juice removed


Preheat oven to 400°F.
Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients.
Pour wet ingredients into the dry bowl and stir until moistened.
Spoon muffin batter into a greased pan or a silicone muffin tray.
Sprinkle about a handful’s worth of extra coconut on top of the muffins.
Bake for about 25 minutes, until golden brown and the cake tester comes out clean.
Enjoy for breakfast or for a snack!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Mom's Rhubarb Crisp

At my parent's place, in the back yard, behind our shed, is a rather large rhubarb plant. When we first moved there it was tiny, but it has since expanded its territory. Once the rhubarb is large enough, it's harvested for one of our favourite rhubarb dishes─the crisp.
Perfect for a warm spring evening with family and friends

This is my mom's recipe, originally scribbled at the back of one of her dessert cook books. Since her rhubarb wasn't up yet last weekend when I visited, we decided to use up last year's batch of frozen rhubarb. If you're using frozen rhubarb like we did, try and defrost it first, because it tends to produce a lot of water that needs to be drained off before baking. 
I've doubled the recipe from my mom's original because there is just no use in making a single batch. In all my years of eating this dessert, I don't believe I've ever seen my mom make a single batch.

Serves: 6
Bake at: 350°F


6 cups rhubarb
2 tbsp flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp water (omit if using frozen)
optional: 1 1/2 cup diced strawberries

3/4 cup margarine
3/4 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup oats


Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Mix first 6 (or 7) ingredients in a large bowl.
In another bowl cream margarine with sugar, then mix in flour and oats.
Lightly grease a 9"x13" glass pyrex dish.
Evenly distribute the rhubarb mixture in the glass dish.
Distribute crumble on top of the rhubarb equally. You can either pat it down a bit or leave the mixture loose.
Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes or until top is golden brown and the rhubarb is tender.
Let cool.
Serve at room temperature with vanilla ice cream, and enjoy!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Crêpes (a vegan recipe and my dad's not-so-vegan recipe)

Growing up we never had pancakes, only crêpes in my house. I remember the first time my dad attempted making pancakes, he kept squishing them with the spatula because they kept rising. He's quite the silly Frenchman. 
I'm going back to my French roots with this recipe, a sweet crêpe with all the fixings. 
Crêpes are typically made with eggs, which act as a great binder, but as you know, we are egg free, so here is our favourite vegan crêpe recipe.

We were a bit naughty and topped our crêpes with some of our leftover ice cream from the night before
Serves: 2


1/2 cup soymilk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup melted margarine
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 cup white flour
1/4 tsp salt

Assorted fruit, margarine, maple syrup, brown sugar, ice cream, and whatever else you fancy for serving


Whisk all ingredients in a bowl until smooth.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 hours. 
Heat a non-stick pan on medium heat, melt some margarine in it, then ladle in the crêpe batter. Cook on one side until golden, flip and cook on the other side.
Place prepared crêpes on a plate in the oven on its lowest temperature to keep them warm while you prepare the rest of them, alternatively you can keep the prepared crêpes covered with aluminum foil or another plate.
When all the crêpes are prepared, serve with all your favourite fixings, and enjoy!

Just in case you're not vegan, and want my dad's excellent crêpe recipe, here it is:

Dad's (non-vegan) Crêpes

Serves: 5-6
3 cups flour
4 cups milk
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp sugar

Whisk it all together and follow the above directions for frying (no need to refrigerate).

Monday, 6 May 2013

Vegan Ice Cream (Without an Ice Cream Machine)

Vegan ice cream has always been a bit too expensive for use, and as students living in a small one bedroom apartment, an ice cream machine is not feasible nor is it worth the cupboard space. So, low and behold, I found a way to make vegan ice cream à la cheap and without a machine. 

Freeze time: ~3 hours
One messy bite away


1 can coconut milk, high fat
1 can's worth of soy milk,
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 scraped vanilla bean
pinch of salt


Refrigerate coconut milk overnight before using it.
Add all Ingredients into a medium-large plastic,freezer safe container and mix thoroughly either with a whisk or with an immersion blender. 
Place uncovered container of ice cream liquid in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Scrape the frozen ice cream from around the edges of the container and mix again thoroughly.

Continue freezing for 30 minutes, scraping and mixing, then repeating until frozen.

Best consumed while fresh, which is much softer. Alternatively, if left for several hours in the freezer, let thaw for at least 10 minutes before serving..

We made some delicious ice cream sandwiches with my chocolate chip recipe, modified with the addition of 1/3 cup of cocoa, while spreading the cookie batter out a bit thinner and removing them from the oven a minute early

Wednesday, 1 May 2013


Finally done all my exams! So it's about time I get to publishing the tasty recipes I've made, and kept to myself over the last few weeks.
I've been wanting to experiment and make vegan meatloaf for some time now. Ryan has never had meatloaf, and my parents rarely ever made it when I was a kid. So it's about time I vegan-ize this meat heavy dish. 
There are two things that all great meatloaves need: soy sauce and ketchup. If you are out of either of these ingredients, go out and pick up some supplies. I'm sure you could make the dish without them, but my loaf needs them.
I knew that I wanted to use TVP, but I also wanted to incorporate lentils. Both are very common in vegetarian meatloaves, and together they give texture and complexity to the base. As for the rest of the goodies, creative freedom is always welcomed. I used some of my favourite seeds, herbs, and of course mushrooms.

Serves about 6
Preheat oven to 375°F.


1 2/3 TVP (textured vegetable protein, granules)
1/2 cup dry red lentils, triple rinsed
1 cup boiling water
1 cup hot vegetable broth
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup panko or bread crumbs
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup sunflower seeds or chopped walnuts (optional)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 medium onion, minced
4-6 medium crimini mushrooms, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp  basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp chopped chives

BBQ sauce: use your favoutite or combine 1/3 cup ketchup, 1 tbsp soy sauce and several dashes of chipotle smoky hot sauce and make your own BBQ sauce


Preheat the oven to 375°F. 
Grease a 9x5 loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, combine the TVP and the lentils with the water, broth, soy sauce and ketchup. Mix to combine and let sit for 10-20 minutes.
Once all the liquid is absorbed, add remaining ingredients and mix well.
Pack the meatloaf mixture into a loaf pan and press down firmly on mix.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and lather on the BBQ sauce.
Bake for an additional 10 minutes.
Let cool a minimum of 10 minutes before cutting into the loaf.