Vegan “Sausage”

When I was eight years old, I was obsessed with the Animal Ark books- a series about the daughter of a veterinarian and all her animal friends. I yearned to be like her, surrounded by horses, kittens, goats, pigs, and puppies. Eventually I began to find it odd that I loved animals so much, yet still ate them.

My parents supported my decision to become vegetarian, and for about two months I stood my ground against bacon, burgers, and corn dogs. (I realize that doesn’t sound like I had great eating habits, but I promise my parents fed me veggies too!) Eventually, however, my resolve wore down, and little eight year old Katherine finally gave in to a turkey sausage one morning at breakfast.

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In recent years, I have returned to a mostly plant-based lifestyle, and sausages are actually still one of the only meat dishes that I miss. I’ve read articles and heard stories about how much junk is actually put into sausage, but that doesn’t change the fact that eggs and turkey sausage tastes amazing.

Inspired by the warm, salty-sweet, comforting flavors of fall, I set out to create a vegan “sausage” that would satisfy all my breakfast cravings.

I wasn’t sure how the recipe would turn out, but these are so good I’ve started craving them for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner. Winner winner sausage dinner!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (or sub favorite breadcrumbs)
  • Flax egg (optional, helps with binding)*
  • Marinade
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
    • 1 tsp maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Whisk together marinade ingredients.
  2. Place mushrooms in tupperware container and pour marinade over them. Shake gently, then place in the fridge. Marinate for at least an hour, but the longer you let the mushrooms sit, the more flavor they will absorb.
  3. Pour mushrooms and remaining marinade into sauté pan over high heat. Add onion and cook until onion pieces are soft and browned.
  4. Remove from heat and place in food processor with panko crumbs.
  5. Pulse until a smooth, sticky mixture forms. There will still be some chunks, but mixture should be moldable.
  6. Remove from food processor, and mix in flax egg using your hands.
  7. Mold mixture into “sausage” patties, each about 1 inch in diameter.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes at 350ºF.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to set for 15 minutes.

*Flax egg: 1 tsp flaxseed meal, 2 tsp water

Pecan Pie Oatmeal

Is an adoration for pecan pie genetic? I am pretty sure I get my obsession with the sweet treat from my mom, a pecan pie fanatic. My dad actually proposed to her by giving her a pecan pie box from the Little Pie Company in New York with a engagement ring inside. My mom was thrilled and accepted, with the caveat that he better have the pie for her too. He, of course, knew her well enough not to deny her pie, and they have been happily married ever since.

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One of my favorite holiday memories is sitting on the couch the day after Christmas watching the Harry Potter marathon and eating pecan pie in fuzzy socks and sweatpants.

Full out, decadent pecan pie is reserved for holidays in my family, but I love it so much I wanted an easier, healthier version I could eat every day of the year.

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This oatmeal has all the sweet, crunchy, buttery taste of pecan pie, but with far more wholesome ingredients. The combination of dates, oats, and pecans,  will keep you warm, cozy, and satisfied all winter long.

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Pecan Pie Oatmeal

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 4 dates
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup water
  • Maple syrup and salt to finish

Directions:

  1. Chop dates and add to saucepan with almond milk. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Toast oats and pecans while milk simmers.
  3. Add toasted oats and water to saucepan. Turn heat to high and cook until oatmeal reaches desired consistency, whisking continually.
  4. Pour oatmeal into bowls, top with pecans, drizzle with maple syrup, and sprinkle with salt.

 

 

Baked Apple Donuts

These Baked Apple Donuts are:

A: Pillowy soft

B: Cozily spicy-sweet

C: Completely drool-worthy

D: Vegan

E: All of the above

E is undoubtedly the answer here. I can imagine whipping up a batch of these Baked Apple Donuts for a holiday brunch with family or friends, relaxing and chatting as the aroma of apples and cinnamon wafting through the air. Though they are so simple and easy to make, a light dusting of powdered sugar is all that’s needed to make these donuts stand out on any table.

I think they would also be perfect as an original, delicious gift for the hosts of a holiday party. Imagine, instead of that frantic, last minute rush as you try to find a nice bottle of wine or a classy bouquet of flowers, being secure in the fact that you are about to wow your friends with a treat like no other.

Finally, I know the idea of vegan baked goods may be off-putting to some, so rest assured that no one will be able to tell these are even a little bit healthy. My (health food hating) little sister devoured two before I informed her they were vegan and naturally sweetened. She stared at me in surprise for a moment, then asked for another.

If she likes them, I’m confident these treats will be able to impress the pickiest of eaters, and I can’t wait for you all to try it out. Now, from my kitchen to yours, happy baking!

Baked Apple Donuts
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 apple (preferably a sweet, crisp variety such as Fuji or Honeycrisp)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 flax egg (1 tsp flaxseed meal + 2 tsp water)
  • ½ tsp instant yeast
  • ½ tsp whole cloves (optional)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp sugar
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, bring almond milk to a simmer.
  2. Remove ¼ cup of milk from pan, then mix with sugar and yeast in a small bowl. If bubbles form, yeast is active. If no bubbles have formed after 5 minutes, discard and try again.
  3. Stir maple syrup and cloves into remaining milk, then simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. While milk simmers, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and ¼ tsp cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Pour milk mixture through strainer into dry ingredients.
  6. Add coconut oil, flax egg, and yeast, then whisk to combine.
  7. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean cloth, and set in a warm place to rise for an hour.
  8. Go watch an episode of your favorite TV show (I'm loving New Girl and Jane the Virgin), then come back after about 30 minutes and begin the apple filling.
  9. Dice apple then place in saucepan with 1 tbsp water and ¼ tsp cinnamon. Cook until apple chunks are soft and water has evaporated.
  10. When apples are done cooking, mash  lightly with a fork until mixture is somewhere between apple pieces and applesauce.
  11. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease donut pan with olive oil or nonstick spray, then fill with dough. If dough is too sticky, add additional flour 1 tbsp at a time.
  12. Top donuts with apple mixture, then bake for 40 minutes. When they are done, donuts will be pale but puffy and firm to the touch.

 

Honey Walnut Granola Bars

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Recently, my family has been so busy we haven’t had time for much grocery shopping. Everyone has just been pulling together meals out of all the odds and ends in our fridge. Unfortunately, this business and lack of food have made it difficult for me to create new recipes. However, as necessity is the mother of invention, I’ve been trying to use the ingredients around the house to make foods I normally get at the grocery store.

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Normally, my pantry is stocked full of granola bars (Larabars, Kind bars, and RX bars are some of my favorites), but recently our supply has been in the low to nonexistent range. Yesterday I got home from school with one mission in mind: fix the granola bar stash. So with oats, nuts, and a little ingenuity, I set out to make a Larabar-esque creation of my own.

This bar satisfied my cravings (and my infamous sweet tooth) perfectly, even with only 2 grams of sugar per bar! Im so obsessed, I might not even buy granola bars on my next grocery store trip (which will hopefully be soon).

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Honey Walnut Granola Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 tbsp honey (use agave to make vegan)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3-4 tbsp water

Directions:

  1. Combine oats, 1/2 cup walnuts, coconut flakes, honey, and coconut oil in food processor.
  2. Pulse until a fine crumb is formed.
  3. Scrape down sides of food processor, then pulse again, adding 1 tbsp of water at a time until the dough becomes sticky.
  4. Once the dough is thick and sticky, place it in a 8×8 baking pan lined with parchment paper. The dough only filled up 2/3 of my pan, but you could fill the whole pan if you want thinner bars.
  5. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.