blueberry banana muffins

I had a bunch of overripe bananas and didn’t want to throw them away, so I went hunting for a vegan banana bread recipe. And then I went googling for a simple vegan banana bread because I didn’t have lemon juice or apple cider vinegar or anything like that. And viola. Simple Vegan Banana Bread.

This recipe is interesting because it doesn’t use any oil or butter, just flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and bananas. I substituted soymilk for the water, added about a cup and a half of frozen blueberries to the batter, and baked it in a silicon muffin pan for 35 minutes.

The consistency came out very moist and chewy and not at all bread-like. To be honest, I don’t think I would have liked it at all without the blueberries. With them it was good for a healthy-ish breakfast food, especially eaten hot with some vegan butter on top.

Whenever I decide to make a recipe, I copy it into Word, add a link to the original, save it, and print it out. That way I  so that I can write down my changes directly on the recipe, then pop it through the 3-hole punch, and file away in my recipe binder for the future.

Sunday brunch

One of the things I always look forward to is cooking a Sunday brunch for the family. Our typical meal looks a lot like this:

It’s usually French Toast (my favorite kind is made out of fresh-baked cranberry pistachio bread from the grocery), skillet potatoes, and some kind of melon, plus or minus meatless breakfast sausages, but it’s been fun experimenting with some other breakfast recipes too.

We’ve already tried a tofu scramble and this week we made some vegan blueberry pancakes.

The fruit winner is usually a cantaloupe because everyone likes it a lot (and Tuscan-style cantaloupe tastes just like a regular cantaloupe).

Skillet potatoes are really easy, and I think they are all the boys' favorite brunch item. You don't even need a recipe, simply:

  1. Heat olive oil in large lidded skillet.
  2. Slice on onion into really big slices and add to skillet.
  3. Wash and then cut potatoes (unpeeled) into one inch or so cubes and add to skillet.
  4. Cook covered, stirring often, until soft.
  5. Add salt and pepper, stir, and place uncovered in 350 degree oven to finish.
I just leave them in the oven until everything else is ready, it's hard to mess them up. I make mine really simple, but you can also add bell peppers, or bacon, or whatever else you like and whatever kind of spices and herbs you want. I prefer to use small red potatoes, but all kinds will work.

This blueberry pancake recipe tasted really good, except the recipe was way too thick (and I happen to like thick pancakes). I added about 6 tablespoons of extra milk and the pancakes were still too thick to cook all the way in the middle without burning the edges a tiny bit. Next time, I think I will make the recipe as is, then thin it out with as much water as it takes until the consistency turns out right. (I doubled the recipe and it made 12 medium pancakes, and it was way too much for the four of us.)

The tofu scramble wasn’t bad at all, but it wasn't that great either. Everyone ate all of it, but no one asked for seconds. I would think if you were a big scrambled egg person (I am not) then you might enjoy it more. I probably wouldn’t make it again, but might try some kind of tofu quiche one day. It really looked like scrambled eggs though:

For the scramble, take well-drained extra-firm tofu and a bit of tumeric, and saute it in olive oil with a bit of diced onion and bell pepper. Their are a ton of recipes on the internet, and this seemed to be the ingredients common to all of them.

Draining the tofu is easy. Take it out of the package, empty the water, and put it on a plate topped with another plate and something heavy (I used a pot of soup). Leave it in the fridge overnight and in the morning it will look like this:

Oh, and grits. I have no idea why, but I haven’t ever made grits as an adult. My mom used to make them almost every day. I think it will go onto the must-have brunch food list. The boys’ even asked for it again for lunch.

I read somewhere a long time ago that children only remember things that are repetitive and/or shocking, so hopefully making this a tradition will make it into something we remember fondly in the future.

rice pudding

My husband got me to love rice pudding, but the kind we used to buy from the grocery store has eggs and other junk in it. I went on the hunt for a vegan recipe, and found this simple delicious one. Seriously, it's so easy and so good. It's the perfect creamy dessert and keeps in the fridge for several days.

Rice Pudding

¾ c. jasmine rice
1 ½ c. water
¼ tsp. salt
4 c. almond milk*
½ c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
dash cinnamon***

Bring salted water and rice to boil over high heat.**
Reduce to medium low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until all water absorbs.
Add milk and sugar, increase heat to medium.
Cook uncovered stirring often, for 30 minutes.
Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and cinnamon.
Serve warm, or refrigerate until cold and serve.

*I've not actually made this with almond milk, just with my regular original soymilk. I thought it was really good, I've also made it with whole cow's milk, which is hub's preference. Either way, it definitely doesn't miss the eggs that most traditional recipes call for.

**Watch it closely, as mine always boils over.

***I can't wait to try it with pumpkin pie spice for the fall!

These were the only ramekins that I could find that came with lids. Twenty bucks for ten isn't bad at all, and they are great for small leftovers. This recipe fills seven 6.8 oz. ramekins.