February 9, 2016

Dreena's Best Banana Muffins

Almost four full years ago, I posted what I still consider to be the best vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe any of us will ever try. That recipe was the invention of Dreena Burton, and it's so wonderfully simple and chewy/crispy and perfect, I continue to make it at least once a month. My whole family loves it!

Dreena's gone and done it again in her new cookbook, Plant-Powered Families: Over 100 Kid-Tested, Whole-Foods Vegan Recipes. A couple of weeks ago, she posted a photo of the banana bread muffins from this new cookbook on her Instagram account, and it looked so good, I asked where I could find the recipe. She graciously responded that it's in her new cookbook and even gave me the page number. Lucky for me, I'd just bought the cookbook a few days prior to this encounter, and since all of the ingredients are things I already had on hand, I was ready to give this recipe a try. And I'm so glad I did! The muffins are chewy and lightly sweet, with the littlest hint of guilty-pleasure to them. Only you don't have to feel guilty! Seriously, they're just great. Give these a try, and when you're done go buy everything Dreena's ever published. Her recipes never fail.

P.S. Dreena did not put me up to this. I bought this cookbook with my own money and I'm raving about Dreena Burton of my own free will. You will too after eating these muffins!

P.P.S. In the cookbook, this recipe makes either a loaf of banana bread or twelve muffins. I'm only providing the info for the muffins, and I'm partially paraphrasing her recipe in my own words. So, the baking instructions you find below aren't exactly what's in the cookbook. Just lettin' ya know!

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup oat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup pureed overripe banana
1/2 cup plain nondairy milk
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3-4 tablespoons nondairy chocolate chips (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease a 12-cup muffin pan, or line with paper baking cups.
  • In a large bowl, mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and sea salt. In a separate bowl, combine the pureed banana, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Add the wet mixture to the dry, then add the chocolate chips, and stir through until just well combined. Do not overmix.
  • Pour mixture into muffin cups (I used a large cookie scoop to measure out the batter). 
  • Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a center muffin comes out clean.
  • Let cool before eating.
  • Enjoy!
Before I go, let me tell you about the exciting new thing I'm doing! I've been thinking about the kind of career I want to start to build for myself at this stage of my life. When I was graduating from college with a Communications/Theatre BA, I couldn't possibly have known that in ten years I would be vegan and have an earnest interest in becoming a vegan chef, teacher, coach, and professional baker. So, at the ripe li'l age of 43 (my birthday was last Thursday!) I am taking my first steps in pursuing my dream. Step One, for me, is enrolling in a vegan cooking school to learn all the chef basics, tricks and tips. I just signed up this very morning, and I am so excited! I will keep you all posted on my progress as I proceed through the program.

February 3, 2016

Asian-Inspired Apples & Tofu

This recipe is adapted from one I found in Isa Chandra Moskowitz's cookbook, Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes. It was one of those situations where I had a bunch of apples, a bunch of tofu and some noodles on hand, so I flipped through the indexes of all my cookbooks to see if there was a recipe that might miraculously meld these random ingredients. And, sure enough, there was! Aren't cookbooks just so magical? I took a few liberties with the original recipe since I didn't have all of Isa's ingredients on hand, so this is my version of the recipe. I hope you will enjoy it. We sure did!

1/4 cup water
5 tablespoons white miso
1/4 cup mirin
1 tablespoon ground ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons liquid aminos
1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained and sliced into equal triangles
1 pound sweet red or pink apples; peeled, cored and sliced thin
1 10-ounce pack of Chinese rice noodles, cooked according to package
Handful of arugula, cut in chiffonade fashion
Toasted sesame seeds (for garnish)
Sriracha (for garnish)
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Stir water, miso, mirin, ginger, garlic and liquid aminos together in a small bowl until well-mixed.
  • Place your tofu triangles side by side, but not touching, in a 9 x 13" baking pan. 
  • Pour the marinade of the top of the tofu. If you like, you can flip the tofu and jiggle the pan to make sure every side is coated, but you don't have to.
  • Layer the apple slices over the top of the tofu.
  • Cover with tin foil and back for 30-45 minutes.
  • Garnish with arugala, sriracha and sesame seeds.
  • Enjoy!

February 1, 2016

Review of Chick-Fil-A's 'Superfood Side'

Before I get started, let me say thanks to those of you who kindly went over and followed The Thinking Spoon at my behest. I really appreciate that! But, after loading a couple of old Bankrupt Vegan posts to the new site, and realizing that I had like 200 more to go, I decided, "Naw. This is crazy." So, I'm going to stick to the Bankrupt Vegan blog. Yay for your bookmarked recipes! You won't have to change them. You'll only have to wait a few days while I fix up all the old recipes with my new watermark and re-post them. I'll try to get at least five per day re-posted, so it shouldn't be too long before all of your favorites are back up. And don't worry if you followed The Thinking Spoon on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I kept all of those accounts and just changed the name back to Bankrupt Vegan. So, there's nothing you need to do except keep on reading along and cooking with me. And again, sincerely, I apologize for this craziness and confusion. Having my photos stolen really did a number on me. So, I'm going to take great care to keep that from happening again.

Now, here's the review...

I was out running errands today and I was starving! The only thing nearby was a Chick-Fil-A, so I thought I could at least get an iced tea and some french fries to keep me from passing out. But, as I was standing in line I noticed a sign for a new "superfood side" featuring kale, broccolini, nuts, and dried cherries. And listed on the menu overhead was a "fruit cup." So, Yay! Food for me!

Image courtesy of Chick-Fil-A.com

  • Thank you, Chick-Fil-A, for offering something green on the menu that doesn't contain meat or dairy! McDonald's has, literally, not one single meat-free salad on the menu. Their fruit tray comes with yogurt in it, and their oatmeal has so much sugar in it, I might as well eat a candy bar. So, it's nice to know that when I really need it, I can turn to you, Chick-Fil-A, for some friggin' kale. (Of, course, I can get an entire bunch of organic kale for 99 cents, so... it's there, but only when I really need it.)
  • The taste is nice! I enjoyed it. The slightly sweet dressing puts the whole salad on the sweet side, so it can co-mingle nicely with fruit. In fact, the serving was so small (see 'cons' list) that I dumped my fruit cup into it to bulk it up. And it was great!
  • I was disappointed with how teeny it was. For almost $3, I found this four-bites-at-best serving a little underwhelming. 
  • There were also a lot of thick broccolini stems in it. Again, for almost $3.00, I don't want to find a bunch of stems in my salad. I just want the really delicious, tender stuff. 
  • The nuts are glazed with some kind of sugary goo. Unnecessary added sugar. Ugh... Nuts taste great all by themselves! According to the Chick-Fil-A nutrition information, this tiny serving contains 11 grams of sugar. How is that even possible??
In conclusion, I can honestly say that I enjoyed it, and would eat it again. It's not something I'm going to make a special trip for, but if I'm out running errands and I get hungry, I know there's something readily available for me that's not total garbage.

Please note that I was not offered a free sample of this item in return for a review. I was genuinely hungry, bought this with my own money, and thought I would tell everyone about it since it's vegan and all. If you've tried it too, let me know what you think in the comments!