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Food Matters

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7/31/2015

These mini-cupcakes are on the larger side and perfect for an impressive dessert. But because they are so versatile, they can also be served for breakfast or brunch, in which case you’ll probably want to forgo the frosting and garnish.

carrot cupcakes

Luscious Little Carrot Cakes

Makes 24 mini-cupcakes

Ingredients

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:
• 12 ounces vegan cream cheese, at room temperature
• 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more as needed
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Carrot Garnish:
• 1/3 cup peeled and grated carrot
• 1 teaspoon brown sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cupcakes:
• 2-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
• 1 cup peeled and grated carrots
• 3/4 cup raisins
• 1 cup plain or vanilla nondairy milk
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 1/2 cup maple syrup
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two 12-cup mini-muffin tins with paper liners.

2. To make the frosting, put the vegan cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl and stir vigorously until smooth and well blended. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 24 hours.

3. To make the garnish, put the carrot, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Toss and stir with a fork until the carrot is evenly coated with the sugar and cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate.

4. To make the cupcakes, put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl and stir with a dry whisk to combine. Add the brown sugar and stir with the whisk to combine. Add the walnuts, carrots and raisins and stir until coated with the flour. Stir in the nondairy milk, oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract and mix until incorporated.

5. Divide the mixture among the prepared muffin cups. The muffin cups will be very full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

6. Put the pans on wire racks and loosen the sides of each cupcake with a knife. Let cool for about 15 minutes. Carefully remove the cupcakes from the pans (you may need to cut the tops apart before removing them from the pans if they have overflowed and fused together). Let cool for about 40 minutes longer.

7. Spoon a generous amount of frosting over the top of each cupcake. Top with a bit of carrot garnish, placed artfully in the center of the frosting. Covered tightly and stored in the refrigerator, leftover mini-cupcakes will keep for about two days.

Note: Use the frosting from this recipe to top a wide variety of cakes and other baked treats.


Laura Theodore is a 2014 TASTE award-winning television personality, radio host, vegan chef, cookbook author and recording artist. She is author of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites and Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious. Laura is the on-camera host, writer and co-producer of the popular cooking show, Jazzy Vegetarian and hosts the weekly podcast radio show, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio.



7/24/2015

This tasty breakfast treat is my husband’s favorite! Based on my Mom’s recipe that uses eggs, this vegan version is totally satisfying.

rocky mountain toast

Rocky Mountain Toast Recipe

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

4 slices whole grain bread
1 tablespoon vegan margarine
1 block (15 to 19 ounces) firm tofu, drained
1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon tamari
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh pepper (optional)

Instructions

1. Place a bread slice on a cutting board. Cut a hole in the center of the bread, about 2 or 3 inches in diameter, using a bread knife or cookie cutter. Continue with all four slices of bread. (Save the bread holes for bread crumbs for use in another recipe.)

2. Spread a bit of vegan margarine on each side of the bread slices. Set two of the bread slices into a large, non-stick fry pan. Turn the heat on medium-low and let the slices begin to brown on one side.

3. Meanwhile, put the tofu in a medium bowl and mash with a potato masher or large fork until crumbly. Add the vegan cheese, turmeric, tamari, sea salt, and pepper. Mash until the tofu resembles the color and texture of cooked, scrambled eggs.

4. Scoop up one quarter of the tofu mixture and place in the center of each bread slice in the pan. Pat down firmly, until the filling is compact inside the “hole.” Cook for 2 minutes and then flip. Cook on the other side for 5 to 7 minutes or until the underside is golden and crispy and the tofu mixture is cooked through. Repeat with other two bread slices.

5. Serve immediately with fresh fruit slices on the side.


Laura Theodore is a 2014 TASTE award-winning television personality, radio host, vegan chef, cookbook author and recording artist. She is author of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites and Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious. Laura is the on-camera host, writer and co-producer of the popular cooking show, Jazzy Vegetarian and hosts the weekly podcast radio show, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio.



7/17/2015

This delightful dessert makes an easy any-day treat or a quick birthday cake. I served this cake a few years ago as my husbands’ birthday cake and he was overjoyed! Bonus: This beauty is ready for the oven in about 15 minutes flat.

lemon cake 

Lovely Lemon Cake Recipe

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

• 2 cups whole wheat flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 cup vegan margarine, melted
• 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 2 teaspoons (packed) lemon zest
• 1-1/2 cup sweetened non-dairy milk
• Vegan confectioner’s sugar for dusting, optional

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Oil an 8x8 round or square cake pan.

2. Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt in a large mixing bowl and stir with a dry whisk to combine. Add the sugar and stir to combine.

3. Add the margarine, lemon juice, lemon zest and non-dairy milk. Stir until incorporated.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (Tent the top with foil for the last 10 to 15 minutes, if the cake is browning too much).

5. Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes. Turn upside down onto a pretty serving plate and dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.


Laura Theodore is a 2014 TASTE award-winning television personality, radio host, vegan chef, cookbook author and recording artist. She is author of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites and Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious. Laura is the on-camera host, writer and co-producer of the popular cooking show, Jazzy Vegetarian and hosts the weekly podcast radio show, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio.



7/10/2015

Asparagus is one of the first crops of spring. Paired with rich-tasting vegan hollandaise sauce, it makes the perfect vegetable side dish for any special meal! My grandmother grew asparagus in her backyard, and she often served it with a rich hollandaise sauce that I loved, as a child! So, I came up with this easy-to-prepare vegan version that tastes delicious and is low in fat, too!

asparagus

Asparagus with Vegan Hollandaise Sauce

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

• 1 large bunch asparagus, trimmed
• 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 8 ounces soft regular tofu, drained
• 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
• 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

1. Fit a steamer basket into a medium sauce pan with a tight-fitting lid. Add 2 inches of cold water, then add asparagus. Cover, and bring to a boil. Steam the asparagus for 4 to 6 minutes or just until crisp-tender.

2. Meanwhile, put the lemon juice, tofu, turmeric, and salt in a blender and process until smooth. Transfer to a small sauce pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until heated through.

3. Arrange the hot asparagus on a serving platter and pour the sauce over top. Serve immediately.


Laura Theodore is a 2014 TASTE award-winning television personality, radio host, vegan chef, cookbook author and recording artist. She is author of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites and Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious. Laura is the on-camera host, writer and co-producer of the popular cooking show, Jazzy Vegetarian and hosts the weekly podcast radio show, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio.



7/3/2015

Cool Cucumber Soup is a refreshing and creamy chilled soup—ideal for a July 4th outdoor meal. The refreshing taste of the cucumber is carried by tofu, which adds substance and stands in for the heavy cream so often called for in similar soups. Whenever I serve this, diners inevitably ask, “Are you sure there isn’t any cream in this soup?”

For an easy portable sandwich, try Avocado Roll Ups. These versatile roll-ups travel well, making them ideal for a summer picnic. Just wrap them in parchment paper and go! Keep both of these dishes well chilled in a cooler until serving!

cucumber soup

Cool Cucumber Soup Recipe

Ingredients

• 2 cucumbers
• 12 ounces soft regular or silken tofu, drained and cubed
• 1⁄2 sweet onion, chopped
• 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1 to 2 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 teaspoon brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon dried dill weed, or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
• Sea salt Freshly ground pepper

Instructions

1. Cut 4 thin slices of cucumber and set aside for the garnish. Peel, seed, and chop the remaining cucumbers.

2. Put the chopped cucumbers, tofu, onion, lemon juice, garlic, brown sugar and 1⁄4 teaspoon of the dill weed in a blender and process until creamy. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the remaining dill weed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.

3. About 30 minutes before serving, chill four soup bowls. To serve, ladle the soup into the chilled bowls. Garnish each bowl with a cucumber slice topped with a sprinkling of dill weed. Serve immediately.

roll ups

Avocado Rolls Recipe with Olives

Ingredients

• 2 whole-grain flour tortillas or wraps
• 2 tablespoons store-bought hummus
• 1 tablespoon vegan mayonnaise
• 4 ounces (5 cups, lightly packed) mixed baby greens
• 1 avocado, sliced
• 8 small kalamata or green olives, pitted and chopped
• 2 teaspoons raw or unsalted roasted sunflower seeds

Instructions

1. Lay the tortillas on a large cutting board. Spread half of the hummus evenly over half of each tortilla. Spread half of the vegan mayonnaise evenly over the other half of each tortilla. Evenly arrange half of the greens, avocado, olives, and sunflower seeds over the lower two-thirds of each wrap.

2. Starting at the bottom edge, roll the tortilla tightly and evenly around the filling. Gently but firmly press the edge to seal the roll. Set the roll seam-side down and cut it diagonally into 5 or 6 pieces. Wrap in parchment paper and go!


Laura Theodore is a 2014 TASTE award-winning television personality, radio host, vegan chef, cookbook author and recording artist. She is author of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites and Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious. Laura is the on-camera host, writer and co-producer of the popular cooking show, Jazzy Vegetarian and hosts the weekly podcast radio show, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio.



7/1/2015

I recently learned about switchel while visiting a farm here in rural Virginia. I also had the chance to learn about—and help process—organic free-range chickens. After we finished, we had a nice lunch that included pizza, fresh watermelon, molasses cookies and a fresh batch of ice cold switchel.

The owner of the farm mentioned that switchel dated back a long time ago and was recently becoming popular again as a drink of local farmers. It originally served as a thirst quencher for farmers during their hay harvests and has, until recently, slowly been replaced by lemonade and sports drinks.

Switchel, also known as switzel or haymaker’s punch, seems to be experiencing somewhat of a revival. I was really excited when I heard about it and started experimenting with my own version. Here is my recipe.

Haymakers Switchel Recipe
Photo by Kristy Severin

Haymaker’s Switchel

Ingredients

• 3 cups of water
• 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
• 1 squeezed lemon (about 1/4 cup lemon juice)
• 3 tablespoons honey
• 1 tablespoon molasses
• 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Instructions

You can play around with the recipe, leaving out the molasses, exchanging fresh ginger for the ground ginger, or adding more or less of any ingredient to your liking. Enjoy!


Kristy Severin 2Kristy Severin is a mother of two, a certified art instructor, photographer, painter, writer and cook. She earned her BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uganda, East Africa. Inspired daily by her children and love of the earth, you can find her fine art and writings at The Art of Green Living.



6/26/2015

It’s frittata time! This hearty dish can be served for any meal of the day. This authentic-tasting frittata is baked in the oven, making it especially easy to prepare. With a delish potato and onion base and a fluffy, herb-infused filling, this entrée is a true winner.

frittata

Easy Vegan Frittata

Makes 3 to 4 servings

Potato Layer:
• 1/4 cup filtered or spring water, plus more as needed
• 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium tamari
• 2 large red or white potatoes (with peel on) very thinly sliced
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
• 1/2 cup minced fresh onion

"Egg" Layer:
• 2 tablespoons rolled oats
• 1 block (about 15 ounces), extra firm or firm regular tofu
• 3 tablespoons nondairy milk
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
• 1/2 teaspoon reduced-sodium tamari
• 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

Additional Ingredients:
• 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
• 4 cups (light packed) baby spinach
• 1/8 sweet or smoked paprika

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Liberally coat a 9- or 10-inch round quiche pan with vegan margarine.

2. Place all the potato layer ingredients in a large skillet in the order listed above. Cover and cook on medium-low heat for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the potatoes are almost fork tender, flipping them over halfway through cooking. Check often and add more water, 2 tablespoons at a time, as needed to prevent sticking.

3. Meanwhile, put the rolled oats in a blender and process to a coarse flour. Add the tofu, nondairy milk, Italian seasoning, tamari and turmeric and process until smooth.

4. Arrange all of the potato mixture in an even layer in the prepared quiche pan. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon sea salt over the top. Spread 1/3 of the tofu mixture evenly over the potatoes. Top with all the spinach, pressing it down firmly. Carefully pour the remaining tofu mixture over the spinach and gently spread it in an even layer over the spinach using a rubber spatula.

5. Sprinkle the paprika over the top of the frittata. Tent with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

6. Remove the foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more, or until the frittata is set. Put the pan on a wire rack and loosen the sides of the frittata with a knife. Let cool for 12 to 15 minutes and slice in to wedges. Serve warm.


Laura Theodore is a 2014 TASTE award-winning television personality, radio host, vegan chef, cookbook author and recording artist. She is author of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites and Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious. Laura is the on-camera host, writer and co-producer of the popular cooking show, Jazzy Vegetarian and hosts the weekly podcast radio show, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio.





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