Living the Farm Sanctuary Life Review

Every vegan has a story of “why” they decided to be vegan.  In my own life I went vegan for health reasons.  As I detailed previously I was hoping being vegan would help cure some health issues I have.  Veganism did make me feel better, but it did not grant me perfect health.  It did, however, open my mind to being more compassionate towards animals.  I am a life long animal lover, but once I stopped eating animals I looked at cows and pigs with a different lens.   You can’t look into a cow’s face and not see the similarities with your dog.

Living the Farm Sanctuary Life(photo credit: Farm Sanctuary)

After being vegan for a few months I decided to sponsor an animal at Farm Sanctuary.  I have been so impressed with their approach to veganism.  Their focus is on being gentle and kind to animals, the planet and yourself.  That gentle spirit fills Gene Baur’s new book: Living the Farm Sanctuary Life.  Gene Baur co-founded Farm Sanctuary in 1986.  What started as a small rescue in Wilmington Deleware is now an organization caring for hundreds of rescued farm animals at 3 shelters across the United States. Gene’s book gives more insight into Farm Sanctuary and why people should consider living more consciously….

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Vegan Coffee Cake full of nostalgia

Have you ever lost a favorite family recipe?  One of my favorite recipes as a kid was my family’s coffee cake.  My mom or my great aunts would make it for holiday mornings or get togethers.  This coffee cake had a light texture and a rich, nutty topping.  When the cake baked the whole house smelled like cinnamon.  For years I thought the recipe was lost.  I tried making various other coffee cake recipes (both before I went vegan and after), but none measured up.  The cake was never as tender, the topping not as flavorful.  Just never quite right.  About a year and a half ago my sister found a digital copy of family recipes my cousin put together for my aunt.  Lo and behold the coffee cake recipe was there!  I immediately veganized the recipe, threw it in the oven and crossed my fingers.  I was ecstatic when I bit into this vegan coffee cake.  Just like I remembered.  Now I make it for my family as often as I can.

Vegan Coffee Cake Slice

I will warn you that there is nothing healthy about this recipe.  It calls for a hefty amount of sugar and oil.  I have used applesauce for 1/4 cup of the oil in the past and it worked out well.  I want the coffee cake as close to the original version as possible, just without any animal ingredients, so I make it with all of the oil and sugar listed.

Vegan Coffee Cake Topping

The recipe uses a unique technique for making the topping and cake.  As you will see in the recipe below you mix the flour, sugars, spices and oil all together and form a crumble.  You take out 1 cup of this crumble and that becomes the topping.  The rest of the “crumble” is mixed with the remaining ingredients to make the cake.

Vegan Coffee Cake Pre Bake

For the topping you can add nuts if you like.  I normally add finely chopped walnuts or pecans.  In the version I baked last week I left off the nuts so Trey could take small pieces of the cake to school as a treat.  He loves this cake as much as I do.

Vegan Coffee CakeI assure you no one will ever know this is a vegan coffee cake.  It is fantastic to take to a holiday brunch, potluck or breakfast meeting.  Any mom in your life will appreciate waking up to the smell of this baking in the oven on Mother’s Day.

4.4 from 14 reviews
Vegan Coffee Cake
 
A tender vegan coffee cake with a crunchy cinnamon topping. No one will ever suspect this cake is missing animal ingredients. They will be too busy devouring each bite.
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Ingredients
  • 2½ Cups Flour
  • ¾ Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon, plus more for topping
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • ¾ Cup Canola Oil
  • 1 Cup Almond Milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)
  • ¼ Cup Plain Coconut or Soy Yogurt
  • 1 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ½ Cup Finely Chopped Nuts (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x11 or 8x8 inch baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Sift flour, sugars, nutmeg, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and salt into a large bowl. Add oil and mix well until all oil is absorbed. Mixture will be crumbly. Take out 1 cup of mixture and set aside in a smaller bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl or measuring cup stir together almond milk, yogurt, vinegar, vanilla extract, baking soda and baking powder. Stir until combined. Add this liquid mixture to the large bowl of the flour mixture. Mix well and then pour the batter into the greased pan.
  4. If using chopped nuts add them to the 1 cup of set aside crumble mixture. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the batter in the pan. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes for a 9x11 inch cake. If using a 8x8 inch pan cooking time will be 35-40 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

 

Vegan Quesadillas to save your meal plan

The vegan quesadilla has been saving my meal planning lately. I grew up with my mom planning out a week’s worth of meals and she made those meals each night as planned.  No food wasted, no questions asked.  I plan out my meals just the way she did, but inevitably something comes up 1-2 nights a week that throws the whole thing off.  I need at least one meal that is fast, easy and the whole family will eat.  The vegan quesadilla has become my savior.  I keep all of the ingredients on hand.  I add 1 “free” night to my meal plan where I don’t plan anything.  I know that I can make these if needed.  It is easy to customize to everyone’s preferences and is ready in less than 20 minutes.  I can also make them ahead if Trey has a game or a late practice.  He can inhale them in the car either before or after.

Vegan Quesadilla Group

Last night was definitely a vegan quesadilla night.  I was exhausted and everyone was starving.  The first thing I did was cook a package of Beyond Meat Feisty Crumble.  It adds a lot of flavor to the quesadillas and makes them hearty enough for Harrison.  While that was cooking I made black beans using the method for my Black Bean Tostadas. Last week I used the Pacific Foods Refried Black Beans I bought at Target for the quesadillas.  That is definitely the way to go since the whole idea is to make this meal easy and streamlined.  I’ll be stocking up on those for my pantry!

Vegan Quesadilla

Once the “beef” (or “meatish” as Trey calls Beyond Meat) was cooked and the beans were ready I started to assemble and cook.  I take flour tortillas from Trader Joe’s and spread each one with Earth Balance while I heat up my cast iron skillet.  Each of us likes different fillings.  Harrison’s started with a layer of black beans, then Papalote Salsa (available at Whole Foods), then Daiya cheddar shreds, the Beyond Meat and finally sliced avocado.  I cooked the quesadilla on the first side for 4-5 minutes and then flipped it over and cooked it for another 3 minutes until crisp.  Harrison likes his quesadillas topped with Tofutti sour cream and pickled jalapeños.

Vegan Quesadilla 2

I cooked Trey’s, decidedly more plain, quesadilla at the same time Harrison’s was cooking.  All Trey wanted in his quesadilla was black beans, salsa and cheese.  He did top his with sour cream and pickled jalapeños after we sat down.  The kid loves his spice!  He also loves to take these quesadillas to school for lunch.  I am a big fan of cooking lunch and dinner at the same time.

Vegan Quesadilla 3

I made my quesadilla on the panini press to save time.  That let all 3 of our quesadillas cook at the same time.  This panini move was a mistake though.  It makes the quesadillas too flat and gives them a weird texture.  I filled mine with beans, salsa, cheese and  sliced sweet potato that I had left over from earlier in the week.  Aside from my panini error the flavors were good.  Next time I’ll be adding the Beyond Meat to mine as well.

These quesadillas would be awesome for Cinco de Mayo next week…with margaritas of course!