Blueberry Coffee Cake (without eggs or butter)

Image: Faith VanderMolen

I’m sharing  this recipe from the Conscientious Eater because my kids devoured it immediately, and my daughter requested it for her birthday cake.

I think what I liked about it was the balance of sweet and salty. I did not have coconut sugar, but subbed brown sugar in the batter, white sugar for the topping. When I make this again, which will be soon, I will try the reverse so the top doesn’t appear so white.

Super good, and I always have coconut oil on hand, and ground flax seed.

Here is the recipe, image from Conscientious Eater.

Made with fragrant coconut oil, juicy blueberries and covered with a sweet, crumbly streusel topping, this Vegan Blueberry Coffee Cake is the perfect recipe for a special breakfast or afternoon coffee break!
Author: Faith VanderMolen
Recipe type: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8 servings
  • 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons softened coconut oil
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8 inch cake pan (preferably springform) with cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl prepare your flax egg by whisking together 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water. Set aside to thicken.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  4. In a separate bowl, cream together the softened coconut oil and coconut sugar until combined. Add in the thickened flax egg and vanilla and cream again until a wet mixture forms.
  5. Alternately add in the flour mixture and the 1 cup of non-dairy milk to the oil/sugar mixture, being careful not to over mix.
  6. Once combined fold in the blueberries.
  7. Pour the batter into your prepared cake pan and set aside.
  8. In a bowl prepare the streusel topping by combining the 3 tablespoons of coconut oil, flour, coconut sugar, salt and cinnamon in a bowl and using a fork to cut the coconut oil into the dry ingredients until a crumby mixture forms.
  9. Evenly sprinkle the streusel mixture over the batter.
  10. Bake the cake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 10 more minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  11. Allow the cake to cool for a bit before serving.
Veganized from The Pioneer Woman.

Beyond Burger

We’ve been hearing about this plant-based burger for a long time, and were excited when it finally made it’s way to our local grocery store.


Although I like to makes meals based mostly around vegetables, our family also really likes vegan meats- we have tried pretty much all of them on the market.

Some people think it is odd for vegetarians to want to eat food that simulates meat but most people didn’t stop eating animals because they didn’t like the taste. Veggie meats offer a way to get protein without the cholesterol, less environmental impact and without killing animals. Also, they are a familiar-looking food which makes them easy to use as replacements or transition to a plant-based diet.

Some critics would say that they are processed food as they contain oils and other ingredients. While this has some truth, meat from animals contains antibiotics, preservatives, and often harmful bacteria. I feel that they are fine in moderation.

In our search for the perfect vegan meats, the kids fell in love with Tofurky slices and roast, Field Roast sausages, Morningstar crumbles (vegetarian not vegan), Morningstar Sausages, any Gardein product, Trader Joe’s Turkeyless Roast and Beyond Meat chicken strips. Boca burgers can be dressed up pretty well, but they don’t really resemble meat or taste like it.

The Beyond Burger is the closest product we have found so far. At this time it is only sold in Whole Foods, and is usually located in the meat department. It comes in a package of 2 quarter-pound patties for $5.99, although you can normally find a coupon for $1 off. This is actually pretty comparable with other premium meats in that section- like free range. Also, at $3/patty, it is still cheaper than going out to eat. I’m hoping the price will come down even more as it gains in popularity.


We fried up the burgers the same day. They looked very realistic as they change from red to brown and release oils/juices. They even smell like meat, which was off-putting to me personally. The texture was definitely like meat, and it even “bleeds” a little beet-colored juice.


The kids and my husband LOVED them. I was less excited about them. They tasted good, it was just that I have an aversion to meat, and they were just too realistic. I guess that would be a positive endorsement to most.

Sorry, not a food photographer!
Sorry, not a food photographer!

Their main ingredient is pea protein, with no soy, GMOs or gluten! 20 g of protein for each patty, zero cholesterol. Also, kids love them.


It’s exciting to see the market expand for these new products. Looking forward to trying more in the future, especially the seafood substitutes. Like this shrimp which is made of natural ingredients and can also appeal to those with allergies.

The future is plant-based!



My Minestrone (or clean the fridge) Soup

Yet another recipe post since I make this soup almost every single week. Basically, I start wanting something really healthy and need to use up extra vegetables.

I don’t really have a recipe for this, every time it is a little different, and that is the beauty of it.


Vegetables: Onion, garlic, leafy green like kale, potatoes, carrots, celery, mushrooms, broccoli, cabbage, zucchini, etc. (Just don’t add anything overpowering like beets or anything that doesn’t go together). I use roughly one onion, 3 cloves garlic, 3 carrots, 2 celery, 3 potatoes as a base. I don’t like any one ingredient to overpower the others.

Salt, pepper, spices

Macaroni noodles (about 1/3 lb).

Vegetable broth (4 cups)

Can of chopped tomatoes- either small or large, tomato paste if you have it

Can of garbanzo or other beans

Additional water


Put a small amount of olive oil in a large pot, maybe 1 T on medium heat. Cook your chopped onion, garlic and spices. You can stick with Italian seasonings (basil, oregano, whatever you like). I add a bay leaf.

You can add in 1-2 T of tomato paste now if you have it.

Pour in your vegetable broth. Add chopped carrots, potatoes, celery, etc. Turn up heat so it comes to a boil, then turn it back down to cook all the veg.

Once potatoes and carrots are cooked, add in beans and leafy greens near the end so they don’t get mushy. Add more water if it needs more liquid, I use the tomato can to add in the last bit of tomato.

Cook the noodles separately in salted water, drain and set aside until the end. I only make enough to be the right ratio that I like with amount of broth and veg. The reason to cook noodles separately and not add them in to soon, is they will absorb all your veg broth and soup liquid otherwise. They will still absorb some, so you can add them separately when you serve if that bothers you. Add more salt if needed. I sprinkle nutritional yeast in my individual serving bowl.


Try a Veg Challenge for 2017

I posted about how to move towards a change last year too! Plant-based, healthy diets are on the rise. If you haven’t tried it, there are many options for support and resources.

If you aren’t ready to devote 3 weeks right now. Start with Meatless Mondays. Take animals off your plate one day/week and you are making almost a 15% reduction. I have a lot of my favorite recipes in the food section, and created a simple little meal plan and shopping list to use.

Here is a simple recipe to add into your meals. This delicious, filling stew has been great for the winter. It’s easy, I usually have the ingredients on hand, and everyone seems to love it and requests the recipe. It may not be completely authentic, but I served it to a former Peace Corps volunteer from West Africa and she also asked for the recipe.

I don’t post any recipes unless I have tried them successfully at least 2 times, and only post recipes for about 20% of what I make. Will add pic next time I make it.

West African Peanut Stew


2 T coconut or peanut oil
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T chopped fresh ginger
1 T crushed red pepper to taste
Salt and black pepper to taste
5 cups vegetable broth
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo)
3 small sweet potatoes, cut into chunks (unpeeled)
1 16 oz can chopped tomatoes with liquid
1/4 pound chopped kale (or collard greens)
1 cup chunky peanut butter


Heat the oil in large pot on med-high heat, cook and stir in onion, garlic, ginger and spices. Cook until softened. Add in broth, chick peas, sweet potatoes and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, partially cover pot, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes, greens, and peanut butter. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally another 20 minutes. We like to serve it over rice.



Easy Veg Meal Plan


Let’s face it, we all can use help deciding what to make every day. The more you choose healthy whole foods, the more you cook from scratch. I created this guide that our family loosely follows based on the food we eat every week. I’ve included the basic items from which I can usually create a meal (usually within about 30 minutes max).

I’ll continue to refine this, and make some instructions for the dishes that I just make without a specific recipe. For example, just roasting vegetables, and using those in a wrap.

Please let me know your “go-to” recipes that don’t require a big trip to the store or more than 30 minutes or so. One of my favorite sources for these types of meals is Minimalist Baker.

Rice Dishes

Yumm Bowls

Red Thai Curry

Vegetable Korma

Tofu and Sandwiches

Tofu Scramble

Tempeh Bacon
(I regularly make this without smoke flavoring)

Tofu “Egg” Sandwich


Alfredo Fettucine

Cheesy Mac


Veg Pizza ideas



West African Peanut Soup



Shepherd’s Pie

Pumpkin Scones with Maple glaze

My daughter LOVES the Starbuck’s pumpkin scones. I decided to try to make my own veganized version. Starting with Cookie And Kate’s recipe as a starting point, I made this version which turned out amazing!

I tried it both ways, and liked it better made with coconut oil instead of vegan butter and adding the aquafaba. They were still quite good without. I’m sure the nuts would make it even better. I went a little heavy on the glaze in the photo below, they are also delicious with less glaze.


Clio’s Pumpkin scones with Maple glaze
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or combination of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup solid coconut oil or 5 tablespoons cold vegan butter
  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup almond or soy milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons aquafaba (optional, but adds fluffiness)
  • Note: You can make this with nuts and omit the oatmeal. Use 1 cup chopped raw pecans, toast them, add 3/4 into the batter, and save 1/4 to sprinkle on top of the glaze while wet. My kids don’t like nuts, and have a nut-free school.
Maple glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil or vegan butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup real maple syrup, more if needed
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
    *If you are using nuts, place them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toast until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Chop the nuts into fine pieces.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, spices, oatmeal and salt in a bowl and whisk together. (Add *¾ of the chopped nuts if using).
  3. Use a fork or pastry cutter to cut the coconut oil or butter into the dry ingredients.
  4. Stir in pumpkin puree, milk and vanilla extract. Mix until you have thoroughly incorporated the wet and dry ingredients. If you must, use your hands to knead the last of the flour into the dough. Try not to over knead
  5. Form dough on a floured surface into a circle that’s about an inch deep all around. Cut the circle into 8 even slices for large scones, or a rectangle with 12 triangles for small scones.
  6. Separate slices and place on the baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
  7. While scones are baking, whisk together the glaze ingredients in a small bowl until smooth and creamy. Drizzle the glaze generously over the scones, dipping the scones upside down into the glaze and letting it drip down sides. While the glaze is wet, sprinkle it with the remaining chopped nuts if using. Enjoy!cutscones



I’m back, with 100% more aquafaba


I took a break from this website for a while. I went to Europe, made new plans for my career, and got bogged down in election turmoil.

All those can be posts for another time. Let’s get back to eating (and living) for a better future, a cause for which I am even more committed than ever.

I’ll admit to often feeling like my posts weren’t doing anything, so it wasn’t inspiring me to keep writing and drawing. Despite that, I continued cooking and learning, and I will keep sharing what I learn. We can each create change in our own small ways, and I will do my part to contribute positive action and motivation.

My latest experiments have been with aquafaba (the liquid or brine from beans, usually chickpeas). I kept hearing about this new miracle ingredient used to replace egg, even for meringue, and saved it faithfully from each can of chickpeas used. Inevitably, I wouldn’t get around to making something with it, and the liquid would get tossed out.

This time, after a chickpea spree making chana masala, I had enough for at least 3 recipes. Only 3 T = 1 egg.

The first recipe, a new chocolate chip cookie recipe blew me away. I am used to my tried and true recipe using flax seed. It tastes very healthy, is a bit dry, and people like it but it is not as good as this one. The omni cookie batter tastes better before it is baked. This one tastes equally as good raw or baked.

My new favorite is based on this recipe. My only recipe changes were: I had to used Earth Balance buttery spread instead of vegan sticks. Later I read that they advise against it. I also added about 1/2 cup of oatmeal since they suggested adding more flour if the batter is a bit wet. It seemed like it needed a little more dry ingredients so I tried that.

These new cookies are the bomb. I don’t usually even use that phrase. You would never guess that they are vegan. So, so, so tasty.

Favorite animal-friendly chocolate chip cookies

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter at room temperature (earth balance buttery sticks or similar)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons aquafaba (from a can of chickpeas, or the liquid from any other can of white beans)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose unbleached flour (or whole wheat pastry flour, for GF use all purpose flour GF flour plus 1 teaspoon xanthan gum)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups vegan chocolate chips
  • Optional 1/2 cup oatmeal

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and the sugars with an electric beater. Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, vanilla and aquafaba. Beat to combine.

Add the flour and beat until well mixed. If the cookie dough seems too wet, add an additional tablespoon or two of flour or 1/2 cup oatmeal and mix till combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Spoon rounded tablespoons onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Let cool on baking sheet for 1-2 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack to cool for several minutes more. Store in an airtight container for up to five days. Makes about 24 cookies.




Everyday Cheesy Mac recipe

Photo Credit: Lindsay Rey
Photo Credit: Lindsay Rey

I am in love with this Cheesy Mac recipe. Not only is it creamy and delicious, it is healthy and easy! I’ve made it twice so far, and tested it on 4 unique picky kids (well 3 are really picky), and one very honest husband. It has received high marks from everyone.

Cheesy Mac


10 ounces dried macaroni or other pasta (or about 2⅔ cups)
3 small yellow potatoes (about 1 cup)
1 carrot, diced (about ½ cup)
½ onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
¾ cup water (preferably use liquid from pot of boiled veggies)
½ cup raw cashews
¼ cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon turmeric


Bring 3 cups of water to boil in a small pot. Cook the potatoes, carrots, and onion in the boiling water for about 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and soft.

While the vegetables are cooking, add all the other ingredients (except veg water) to a high speed blender. Add the veggies at the end when they are soft enough to blend, using a slotted spoon to remove them from cooking water.  Add ¾ cup of that cooking water to your blender and blend until smooth.

Cook macaroni in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package instructions (al dente). When finished, drain, and put back in the pot. Pour the cheesy blended sauce over your cooked macaroni noodles, stir, taste for salt, and serve immediately.

Optionally, place macaroni mixture in a baking dish, sprinkle with bread crumbs, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, or until crumbs are turning golden brown.

This recipe is adapted from Lindsay Rey’s Vegan Yumminess

Ripple Milk: making a splash


Ever since we read about Ripple Milk, we were intrigued! We sample a lot of non-dairy milk, but tend to stick to the 12 pack soy milks available from Costco just as that is easier, and we all like it. I personally find coconut milk a little slimy, and Jonathan objects to almond milk because of almond’s water intensive needs (although actually there is very little almond in store-bought milk).

Hemp is my second favorite, but is too expensive. I can’t stand rice milk- way too thin, and separates out in coffee (my main use). It is okay for cereal.

Ripple milk is made using pea protein, so it is great for those with allergies to soy, dairy and nuts. It has 20% fewer calories, less saturated fat and half the sugar of dairy. It has eight times the protein of almond milk. It also very healthy for you as it contains 32 mg of long-chain omega-3 fatty acid DHA (from microalgae), it has vitamins and minerals: 45% of the DV for calcium, 30% DV for vitamin D, and 13% for iron.


I found it at Whole Foods and liked the fun packaging. It cost a bit initially more than the standard non-dairy milks at $4.99. However, you can find a coupon for $1 off  which makes it more comparable. I personally liked the taste. The kids and Jonathan were not as enamored. I found that we have really stopped drinking milk on it’s own- using it only in cereal, recipes and coffee. This created a slight problem of us not really using it quickly. Because it was a little more expensive, I was saving it for drinking rather than just adding it into whatever we normally do.


I think for younger kids who like to drink plain milk and people looking for a healthy milk option, it would be worth trying. Especially as it comes down in price hopefully. I will check on the Target price and see if that makes it more affordable. Although they purposefully wanted to avoid doing tetra packs, and it emulates cow milk in some regards of look and taste, I like how we can store tetra packs of milk and have them on hand.

The milk could be followed by yogurts, creamers, cheeses and more- making it a big game-changer in the plant-based arena. Just don’t call it “pea milk” please…









Vegan Food & Beer Fest


Last weekend was really busy with the Vegan Beer & Food Festival, and the Old McDonald’s Open House on Saturday, then brunch with friends on Sunday. It was very fun and I love having a lot going on. However, the morning before the festival as I went to the bank for $ for the festival, two stores for items needed for the Open House, picked up 30 pounds (total) of cherries and apples from a “fruit and veggie” guy from Eastern WA, and our local CSA for leafy greens- all before 10:30am, it seemed a bit energetic.

Vegan Beer Fest started in LA, and this is their second time coming to Portland. They have music, vegan booths selling items, many food and drink booths (some from LA, some local).

Last year I had been very interested in going to the Vegan Beer Fest, but didn’t end up going for a few reasons:

1) I couldn’t find anyone interested in going with me. I think because of the word “Vegan”. Really? It’s BEER- vegan or not, these are local great beers.

2) Tickets were $45-65 to get in, and that includes drinks but not food.

3) I don’t really like beer.

4) I don’t really like hipsters- and that seemed to be the majority of the crowd based on photos.

So, you can see why spending $45 to go alone but be surrounded with hipsters and drink mostly kombucha didn’t really appeal to me.

This year, I scored a half-price ticket early on, but then was invited by a printer friend who I work with to go as a VIP. Going early was really nice, since there weren’t lines at any of the food and drink booths. Except one: Herbivorous Butcher, a brother/sister team from Minneapolis was there. It was the one food booth I was really set on trying, and we decided to go there first. They have been wildly successful, based on the press I have read making their homemade vegan meats and cheeses. They had two items they were selling: one was a couple of deep-fried chicken pieces in mashed potatoes with gravy, inside a waffle cone ($11). I also ordered their Korean beef jerky ($5). The owners were there, and they were actually very cute, nice hipsters.


My friend has been vegetarian for over 20 years, so she has actually forgotten what meat tastes like. I don’t think this seitan meat was exactly like meat, but it was delicious with the crispy, spicy breading and textures. We barely finished that, it was a lot of food. I saved the jerky for later.


After that, well, I won’t go into each beer, cider and kombucha we tasted for now- mostly because I lost my list. Oregonic Tonic stood out for me in the kombucha. I tasted a lot of delicious beers and ciders. There were many fruity options, which worked well for me. And the fact that the glass was only 3 oz, was really nice. We were given 20 beer coupons to get in (the kombucha and coffees are free), apparently I only had 9 beers and ciders, so my  illustration is actually off by three drinks.


As for food, we split everything which really helped us be able to try more things. You can see everything we tried in the illustration.

My only regret is not being physically able to eat more- especially missing dessert. We left after only 3 hours, if we stayed longer, we could have eaten a lot more. There is only so much one can eat and drink in a few hours!


It was definitely worth going this year, especially being invited as a business vendor. And shout out to CCL Label, who does very high-quality digital labels at their local Oregon press. Otherwise, I still think I might go, but only with half-price tickets because of my small drinking capacity, and definitely with some friends to share the food.