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Persimmon Cranberry Pie

This is one of those recipes I’ve had for a while (like since early fall), but just never got to posting. No better day for posting a delayed pie posting than Pi Day (3.14).

The fruit called for in this recipe is a fall combination. However, this recipe has been tested and approved with other great combinations that span more seasonings. The best are apple cranberry and apple blackberry. Really, you can use your imagine to get your seasonally available mix.

All of this fresh snow is making me crave things flavored with mulling spices. This is a perfect solution – some late season blackberries I flash froze from last fall, Gala apples, and ginger molasses cookie topping.

I enjoy making all the components of the recipe from scratch (apple cider, pie crust, and cookies). Included in the recipe below are links to my favorite recipes for each of these items. The cider is particularly enjoyable to make from scratch as it simmer for 3 hours and makes the home smell amazing. These are all things that can be bought for a quick baking solution.

Happy Pi Day. I hope you have a chance to make pie real soon. Please tag us on social media to share photos of your pie results. We would love to see what you are making.

Enjoy!

 

Persimmon Cranberry Pie

Apple cider infused persimmon and cranberries on an all butter crust - soft beneath and crispy, flaked on the edges. Top off the coziness with a ginger molasses cookie crumb.

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Ingredients

    Filling
  • 1 9 inch unbaked pie crust (I used this recipe from Completely Delicious http://www.completelydelicious.com/how-to-make-perfectly-flaky-pie-crust/
  • )
  • 4 cups peeled and chopped persimmons, about ¼ inch sections
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 ¾ cups apple cider juice, divided (I made homemade from http://www.amomstake.com/cranberry-apple-cider-drink-recipe/)
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • Topping
  • 1 ½ cups ginger molasses cookies crushed (I used this recipe from Eating Well http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/249788/yummy-molasses-crackles you could also use store bought or your own favorite recipe)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the persimmons, cranberries, 1 ½ cups apple cider, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat until the cranberries pop/split.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch into the remaining ¼ cup of cider. Add the starch/cider combination to the pan of ingredients. Stir everything until it has thickened.
  4. Remove the pan from heat and set aside to cool while preparing the topping and crust.
  5. While filling is cooling, place ingredients for the crumb topping in a medium bowl. Mix until it forms a crumb like texture. Set aside.
  6. Roll out the pie crust and place in pie dish. Once fruit mixture has mostly cooled, pour it into the pan lined with the pie crust. Trim and prepare the edges of the crust as desired. I just crimped the edges on mine.
  7. Distribute the crumb topping evenly over the filling.
  8. Bake the pie for 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees F. Place a baking sheet on the rack below the pie to catch any pie drippings. When done, the filling should be bubbly. Cover the edges of the crust with foil if they start to brown before the pie filling is baked through.

Notes

Dairy free option - use your preferred vegan pie crust or substitute vegan butter sticks for the butter in the pie crust and topping

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http://mamasparrow.com/2017/03/14/persimmon-cranberry-pie/

 

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Galets – Fry Bread

I was in Missouri for the first time. It was by accident. We were returning from Iowa, driving back into Chicago. There must have been a patch of highway without network connection and the phone maps dropped. My husband and I were in deep conversation and did not notice until he saw the “Welcome to Missouri” road sign. We easily added two hours to that trip.

As we drove back the correct direction, I noticed a scenic area with a river running and rustic homes. I recall a sign for Lost River. I am hoping to look up more information about the place because it was beautiful.

This got me thinking more about perspective. Sometime our destination becomes so important to us that we ignore the meaning in the journey. Tomorrow night is my final presentation for my master’s degree. It is a fantastic destination, reaching this milestone. I would miss out on a lot if I did not recognize the journey that has gotten me here – especially the time spent staying at home with the boys while completing my studies. Time with the little boys is wild, lively, and demands a constant state of remaining in the present. Respecting all of this experience, I cannot find a way to separate the journey of studying, being present with my boys, and completing this degree. My time with the boys has been my lost river – my expected journey.

Back to the reason we were on the road to begin with, we had just visited my in-laws. My other mom is the one who gifted me the adorable bee themed honey pot from the pictures in this post.

The recipe I am sharing with you today is for fry bread. This is a treat that my great-grandmother would make for us, and later my mother. It is a quick bread recipe that finds it’s origins and broad use in Native American cooking. The dough is fried and then covered in sweet or savory toppings. As a child, I usually enjoyed these covered in melted butter and granulated sugar. Recently, I have made them for my family to cover with chili, tacos, or jam and honey. In these pictures, the bread is covered with vegan orange curd and drizzled with honey.

Below is the recipe. The base recipe for these is vegan and can be topped with a variety of vegan sweet and savory options, as well.

Serves 1 piece of bread

Galets – Fry Bread

Fry bread with a slight crisp to the outside and tender inside. This quick bread is fantastically versatile. Top with your choice of sweet or savory - taco, chili, honey, jam, curd...it's up to you.

10 minPrep Time

10 minCook Time

20 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar (for savory use) or 3 tsp sugar (for sweet use)
  • 1 ⅓ cup warm water
  • Oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Fill a skillet with enough oil for the bread to not touch the bottom of the pan. Turn oven to medium high heat.
  2. Mix dry ingredient. Make a well in the center and slowly add the water. You many not use all the water, just add enough to get a shaggy dough. Mix until well combined with a wooden spoon. Let the dough rest for 2 minutes.
  3. Separate the dough into 8 pieces onto a floured surface. Sprinkle flour over the dough and form to a thick circle. Don’t overwork the dough.
  4. Place the dough, one at a time into the pan setting them away from yourself so as to splash the oil. Cook 2 minutes on each side. If you have space, you could cook 2-3 at a time.
  5. Place cooked bread onto a rack to allow excess oil to drain.
  6. Add toppings while the dough is warm.

Notes

Topping Ideas

Sweet:

Butter and granulated sugar

Honey and jam (honey fig jam is awesome)

Maple syrup

Savory:

Taco

Chilli

Vegetable heavy hot dish

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http://mamasparrow.com/2017/02/28/galets-fry-bread/

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Vegan Orange Curd

One of the fantastic things about living in the city is accessibility to rich cultural experiences. Yesterday, we had a family trip to the Chicago Cultural Center to attend the Chinese New Year Celebration. It was a beautiful display of dance, martial arts, and music.

No surprise, the boys were very taken with the dragon dance and martial arts dancing. There was much reenactment throughout the rest of the afternoon. I can now claim the skill of reading textbooks while chanting a drum rhythm.

Today, as we enjoyed a snack of vegan blood orange curd spread on fresh baked biscuits, we recounted our favorite parts of the performances yesterday. The tales were movement filled. The snack was well accented with the subtly sweet orange curd. This curd spread was silkier in mouth feel than the creaminess of an egg and butter version. It a delightful, lighter alternative to traditional curd.

This last round I used blood oranges and the color of the cream is so lovely. The process is rather simple. Slice and juice your citrus. Reduce the juice to heighten the flavor. Zest in an orange peel to get a hint of sweet, floral aspect. Then sweeten with your choice of sweetener. In a measuring cup, dissolve cornstarch in cold milk before adding to the juice. Warning: be vigilant while stirring because the cream will thicken very quickly. Once it does, it ready to remove from heat, cool, and store or use immediately.

Curd is a multi functional spread that is delicious on biscuits, cookies, crepes, cakes, and more. Even by the spoonful, no judging here.

Hope you have a chance to try this recipe soon. I’d love to see the results. Be sure to tag MamaSparrow on social media.

Enjoy!

Vegan Orange Curd

Yields 1 generous cup

Silky vegan orange curd. Flecked with the subtle floral sweetness of orange zest. Curd is a multi functional spread that is delicious on biscuits, cookies, crepes, cakes, and more.

10 minPrep Time

10 minCook Time

20 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (3-4 oranges; blood oranges produce a lovely color)
  • ¾ cup non-dairy milk
  • 3 Tbs. cornstarch
  • ½ cup sugar or ¼ cup honey for non-vegans
  • Zest of one orange

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, over medium-low heat, reduce the orange juice to about half the volume.
  2. While the juice is reducing, measure the milk in a liquid measuring cup. Whisk the cornstarch in the milk till it dissolves. Set aside.
  3. Once the juice is reduced, add in the sugar and zest. Stir just until the sugar dissolves. Add the milk mixture to the saucepan and use a spatula to mix. Keep on medium-low heat and mix constantly until the texture thickens quickly. If the mixture starts to bubble before thickening, reduce the heat slightly. Once it does thicken, it will be very sudden so stay with you pan. Once the mixture is thickened remove from heat and allow to cool enough to store in a jar or use immediately.
  4. Curd will store in the refrigerator for 1 week or freezer for 3 months. Some settling will occur, give the curd a stir to re-incorporate separating liquids.
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http://mamasparrow.com/2017/01/31/vegan-orange-curd/

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Vegan Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies

Happy Winter Solstice! We are feeling the excitement in our home as Christmas is just a few days away. My preschooler checks the tree every morning to see if Santa has visited. The boys have been busy creating holiday gifts and being kitchen helpers. The youngest loves to taste everything from a mixing bowl; even the french bread dough is tasted with enthusiasm. He then declares, “Mmm, good Mama!” If only that same zest was for the finished meals on the table.

I enjoy making the cookies I had as a child every Christmas. Breaking from tradition, it was my goal to bring you all something that was vegan and more allergen friendly for your holiday cookie plates. This recipe is just that. Peanut butter blossom cookies were the inspiration for this recipe. Tender, crumbly shortbread cookies are the perfect vehicle for combining peanut butter and chocolate. Flecks of sea salt flakes add a little bit of sparkle and bring out the chocolate taste. They are easily nut free if you use sunflower seed butter and refined sugar free.

Here’s to hoping you have a chance to add this to your baking plans this season. Snap a picture of your recipe result and tag Mama Sparrow on social media so we can see it too.

Vegan Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies

Yields 12-15 Cookies

Tender, crumbly shortbread cookies filled with peanut butter and drizzled with chocolate. These tasty treats are vegan, easily nut free and refined sugar free.

10 minPrep Time

10 minCook Time

20 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

    Cookies
  • 1 ¼ cup flour
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3 Tbs. maple syrup
  • 1 ½ tsp. applesauce, unsweetened
  • Caramel Sauce
  • 3 Tbs. peanut butter
  • 2 Tbs. maple syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbs. non dairy milk
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla
  • Topping
  • 1 oz. chocolate chips or chocolate
  • Coarse sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Mix all cookie ingredients together in a medium bowl until dough forms. Form form into ¾ in. - 1 inch balls - approximately 12-15 cookies. (Chill the dough briefly in plastic wrap if it is too sticky to work with.) Place on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Flatten the dough balls into slight discs and press thumb in the center to create a little crater. Bake cookies for 10 minutes until lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and repress the centers with a spoon. Then allow the cookies to cool.
  2. In a small saucepan, mix the peanut butter, maple syrup, and salt. Slowly add the milk, stirring all the while. The mix should get a nice smooth caramel consistency that has a bit of drizzle to it. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Set aside
  3. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave. Place the melted chocolate into a piping bag or simply use a ziploc with the corner snipped off. Set aside
  4. To assemble to cookies, spoon about 1 teaspoon of the peanut butter confection into each cookie’s thumbprint. Drizzle chocolate over the filled cookies and lightly sprinkle with coarse salt.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days for up to 3 months in the freezer.

Notes

Nut free option: Use Sun Butter. Really you could use any preferred nut or seed butter. I did try pumpkin seed butter and it was not quite as tasty.

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http://mamasparrow.com/2016/12/21/vegan-peanut-butter-thumbprint-cookies/

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Cauliflower “Bolognese”

We had our first snowfall of the season earlier this week. A brief glance out the back window of the apartment and I caught an old longing. It was that penchant for winter night photographs. The soft light from surrounding houses and general urban aura accentuate the starring features of winter photography – contrast and texture. It is moments like these, passions remembered and fascinations reacquainted, that illuminate with reasoned existence.

This recipe harkens memories of my mother’s famous meat spaghetti. She never made less than a crowd’s worth when cooking her spaghetti. The sauce simmered and noodles boiled. Meanwhile, loaves of crusty, french bread were buttered, seasoned and broiled open-face, till toasty and fragrant. The real secret to this vegetarian version is the spices and the texture achieved from the pan cooked cauliflower.

This pasta dish is about as cozy as they come and a sure crowd pleaser. We fully recommend an accompaniment of crusty bread. We hope you try this recipe soon. Be sure to take a picture and tag Mama Sparrow on social media so we can see the results.

 

Cauliflower "Bolognese"

Yields 3-4 servings

A traditionally meaty sauce converted to a vegetarian delight. Grab a loaf of crusty bread. This is your next cozy pasta meal.

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Ingredients

  • 2 Tb olive oil; separated
  • 1 small head of cauliflower
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp fennel seed, ground
  • 1 tsp sage, ground
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp marjarom, ground
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • 12 oz of tomato pasta sauce
  • 10-12 oz spaghetti noodles

Instructions

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together spices and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the cauliflower and toss till the cauliflower is covered in the oil and spice mix. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the seasoned cauliflower and reduce heat to low. Cook the cauliflower until tender on the outside with a slight crunch on the inside. May take 10-15 minutes. Splash in water to speed up the cooking and keep the cauliflower from drying.
  3. Once the cauliflower is cooked, add in the pasta sauce until warmed through. Serve over spaghetti noodles.
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http://mamasparrow.com/2016/12/09/cauliflower-bolognese/

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Vegan Pumpkin Cake

A few weeks ago, I began the recipe testing and planning for Thanksgiving. My preschooler came home from class singing a song about pumpkins on a gate. A witch flies by and says. “I’m going to make you a pumpkin pie.” My son requested a pumpkin pie making session inspired by this song.

Agreeably, the pie making was a blast, but he did not enjoy the taste of it. I’ve been adjusting the recipe and he’s been liking it better, but asked for this pumpkin cake for Thanksgiving dessert.

This cake is a great replacement for anyone not into pie or who had been “pied out.” Use of your leftover pumpkin gourds or puree for a tasty bite of sweet and spice. Enjoy this cake with your choice of cold weather beverage. The ingredients are vegan and icing is naturally colored from carrot juice.

If you want the complete pumpkin cake look, bake a single cupcake with part of the batter. Use spinach cooked and pureed to achieve a green colored icing. Spinach is the mildest tasting leafy green for creating a natural food hue that does not interfere with taste.

Hope your Thanksgiving and harvest celebrations have been filled with joy. Please be sure to share your results from this recipe and tag Mama Sparrow so we can see it.

Enjoy!

Vegan Pumpkin Cake Vegan Pumpkin CakeVegan Pumpkin Cake

Vegan Pumpkin Cake

Tender, moist vegan pumpkin cake. Pleasantly spiced with a little extra kick of black pepper. This makes it really stand out from the usual pumpkin spiced products of the season.

10 minPrep Time

50 minCook Time

1 hrTotal Time

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Ingredients

    Cake
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ⅔ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 14oz. can pumpkin puree (plain puree, not pie filling)
  • ½ cup non-dairy milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp ground all-spice
  • ⅛ tsp ground clove
  • Icing
  • 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 ½ Tb. carrot juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a standard size bundt pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir to combine and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix the sugar and oil together. Add the pumpkin puree, non-dairy, vinegar, and vanilla extract. Fully combine.
  4. Sift the dry flour mix into the wet ingredients in 2 stages. Stir in between each addition. Careful not to overmix.
  5. Pour the cake batter into the prepared bundt pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes.
  6. Allow cake to cool slightly, remove from pan and finish cooling before icing. Mix ingredients together for icing. Adjust the wet to dry ratio based on preference. Drizzle over cake and allow to set a few minutes before cutting and serving.
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http://mamasparrow.com/2016/11/26/vegan-pumpkin-cake/

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Maple Plum Crisp

Do you know why we perceived October to have a distinct smell? There are three reasons for this phenomenon. According to Pamela Dalton, an olfactory scientist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. the first reason is that odor molecules move more slowly in colder temperatures. This is why the smell of dumpsters and garbage trucks are more offensive in the summer. The second reason is physiological. Dalton explains that our olfactory receptors “bury” themselves further in our nose when it’s cooler. While the olfactory receptors bury themselves in cold air, the trigeminal nerve is stimulated, says Alan Hirsch, a neurologist and psychiatrist in Chicago. A smell is perceived as more intense when it triggers both these nerves. Further, psychological expectations affect the smells we perceive. As we anticipate the smells of spices, wood burning, and dying leaves, those are the things we experience.

A week ago, we took a family trip to a local nature center. Living in a city, it is nice to have a nature area with trails and wildlife near by. The boys enjoyed running around the trails to explore. Changing autumn leaves made for a lovely scene. We got the chance to have a close encounter with the deer in the park again. This time I was prepared with at least a phone camera. She watched us from a few yards off the pathway.

North Park Village Nature Center North Park Village Nature Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The autumn has a distinct smell that I had forgotten until we were out on the trails. In the city, leaves are quickly cleaned up and discarded. Out in the woods, they are free to travel through their life cycle. The smell is crisp, rich and earthy. I now appreciate this sensory experience.

Spices are more prevalent in traditional colder weather baking. Today’s recipe combines late season plums with spices, maple and toasted oatmeal crumble topping. This recipe has a clean option as coconut oil can be subbed for the butter and there is no refined sugar or refined flour. The warmth of maple, spices and subtle floral sweetness of plums is a welcome treat on a crisp fall day.

This crisp would be perfect for a quick harvest party dessert or a weeknight treat. I’d love to see your pictures when you make this recipe. Share them on social media with MamaSparrow tagged. Happy baking!

Maple Plum Crisp Maple Plum Crisp

Maple Plum Crisp

Maple Plum Crisp

Maple Plum Crisp

Maple Plum Crisp

Serves 3/4 cup

Maple Plum Crisp – Clean

The warmth of maple, spices and subtle floral sweetness of plums is a welcome treat on a crisp fall day.

10 minPrep Time

35 minCook Time

45 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 4 ripe, but still crisp medium/large plums (approx. 4 cups)
  • 1 1/2 Tb maple syrup
  • 1 Tb wheat flour
  • 1/8 tsp ginger, ground
  • 1/2 cup wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats, old fashioned
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes (or coconut oil)*
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Peel, core and thinly slice the plums.
  2. Place the prepared plums in a 2 quart baking dish or 9x9 inch metal pan.
  3. Add the 1 1/2 Tb of maple syrup and 1 Tb of flour, stir till fruit is evenly coated. Sprinkle the fruit with the ginger.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the 1/2 cup flour, rolled oats and salt. Cut the cold butter into the oat mix. Stir in the 1/4 cup maple syrup.
  5. With hands, crumble the oat mix evenly over the pan of fruit.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes.
  7. Let cool for 5 minutes. May serve warm or cold.
  8. If your crisp survives past dessert, it makes a great breakfast the next day.

Notes

*Clean or Vegan option: substitute coconut oil for the butter.

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http://mamasparrow.com/2016/10/26/maple-plum-crisp/

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Vegan Lemon Earl Grey Cake

This week we took the boys for the annual pumpkin farm trip. We arrive filled with excitement and took away some great pictures, a few pumpkins and endless family fall memories. C named his freshly carved jack-o-lantern Rooster. I’m not sure how this pet name came to be. He’s been telling us that one day when he gets a dog he wants to name it Rooster. Until then, a jack-o-lantern with the name will do.

Other than the lovely autumn festivities, fall usually means a brief mourning period for me. I know some folks enjoy this season. I love warm summer weather and don’t much care for the cold months of the year. This season only serves as a reminder of the impending winter. We have had some cold autumn rain that has sapped my energy. If you are like me this cake recipe is dedicated to you.

Cold rainy autumn weather makes me need a little bit of citrus-y sunshine treat. This lemon earl grey cake is the most tender, moist vegan cake thanks to the shredded coconut. Infusing the coconut oil with earl grey lets the richness of the bergamot shine through to compliment the lemon.

I hope you have the chance to enjoy the intoxicating aroma of this cake coming fresh from the oven. Please be sure to tag MamaSparrow on your social media pictures of this cake. I would love to see how your’s turns out.

Enjoy!

Vegan Lemon Earl Grey Cake Vegan Lemon Earl Grey Cake

Vegan Lemon Earl Grey Cake

Vegan Lemon Earl Grey Cake

The aroma of this cake coming out of the oven is intoxicating - bergamot, lemon and coconut. Hard to believe this treat is vegan. Tender, moist cake infused with earl grey.

20 minPrep Time

50 minCook Time

1 hr, 10 Total Time

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Ingredients

    Cake
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ⅔ cup earl grey tea infused coconut oil, solid *
  • 3 lemons, zested and juiced, separated
  • 1 14oz. can full-fat coconut milk
  • ¼ cup non-dairy “buttermilk” (1 tsp vinegar and non-dairy milk)**
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • Icing
  • 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 ½ Tb. lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a standard size bundt pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir to combine and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the sugar and tea infused oil together. Stir in the lemon zest and ¼ cup lemon juice. Set the rest of the lemon juice aside for the glaze. Add the coconut milk, non-dairy “buttermilk”, and vanilla extract. Fully combine.
  4. Sift the dry flour mix into the wet ingredients in 2 stages. Stir in between each addition. Careful not to overmix. Once the mix is fully incorporated, fold in the shredded coconut.
  5. Pour the cake batter into the prepared bundt pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes.
  6. Allow cake to cool slightly, remove from pan and finish cooling before icing. Mix ingredients together for icing. Adjust the wet to dry ratio based on preference. Drizzle over cake and allow to set a few minutes before cutting and serving.
  7. Cake may be store at room temperature for a few days or in the freezer for 6 months.

Notes

*Directions for tea infused coconut oil

14 Tbs. or ½ cup + 2 Tb. coconut oil

21 tsp loose leaf earl grey tea

In a saucepan, melt coconut oil just until it becomes liquid. Mix in the tea leaves. Keep on low heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve squeezing the tea leaves to release as much butter as possible. Set coconut oil aside till it comes to room temperature. If your kitchen is warm it may be helpful to put it in the refrigerator, briefly, till it is solid.

**I’ve been using Good Karma flax milk. It is a great allergen conscious milk - nut and soy free. Use your favorite nondairy that suits your needs. Make as buttermilk with vinegar to help cake fluff up.

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http://mamasparrow.com/2016/10/14/vegan-lemon-earl-grey-cake/

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Tomato Basil Sauce

Today is the first day of preschool for my oldest. I just dropped him off. The flood of emotion hit me strongest as I walked away from the school pushing my littlest bub in a stroller. I’m excited for him to enjoy this milestone. I’m also anxious for him to be comfortable and confident in his new environment. Fear is another part of this complex of emotion. Having a child with a food allergy makes trusting him in someone else’s care unnerving. The last feeling has only been heightened by the rawness of an serious reaction he had at a family potluck a couple of weeks ago.

While sending him off to school, several questions are bouncing around my mind. Will he inadvertently be offered food he shouldn’t have? Will classroom staff recognize a serious allergic reaction? Will he always be with someone who knows how to use his EpiPen? I have worried of being perceived as neurotic and rude. Naturally, it feels like a hassle to insist on reading the label oneself, inquire about the ingredients, ask if someone has washed their hands, used a different knife, if toys have been cleaned etc.

I can only speak from the experience I have had and understand that my experience may not be the same as yours. Perhaps this all does sound crazy to you or perhaps you may be able to relate. I am fine with either reaction. Today I am sympathetic of all parents sending their children off to school. Extra hugs go out to parents of children with allergies.

All this talk of emotion needs a little comfort food, I think. I am sharing a tomato basil sauce that is versatile and capitalizes on the peak season of tomatoes. The sauce is nice and light if made by the recipe. For a “meatier” version, toss in a bit of fennel seed. This sauce can been made in bulk and stored in the freezer for later use in the coming months.

If you have the chance to this sauce, please photos and tag mama_sparrow on social media. I would love to see how you use the sauce in your home. Enjoy!

Tomato Basil Sauce Tomato Basil Sauce

Tomato Basil Sauce

Serves 1/4 cup

Tomato Basil Sauce

Fresh stove top roasted tomato sauce with fragrant basil, oregano and marjoram. Enjoy on your favorite noodles, vegetables or pizza. Preserve in the summer to freeze and enjoy through the winter.

5 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

25 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 1 Tb olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced small
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper, ground
  • ¼ tsp fennel seed, optional for richer, darker sauce - best for “meat” or spaghetti use
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 5 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 Tb fresh oregano, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Warm the olive oil in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add onion, garlic, marjoram, salt, pepper and optional fennel seed if using. Saute for 3 minutes.
  2. Add the tomato paste and stir to incorporate. Stir in the tomato, turn heat to high until it simmers. Reduce the temperature to medium and simmer uncovered for 10 - 15 minutes.
  3. Remove pan of sauce from heat. Pour into food processor and blend till desired consistency. Add in the herbs and pulse a couple of times until they are incorporated.
  4. Serve sauce immediate or store. May be kept in refrigerator for 4 days, 3 months in a standard freezer or 6 months in a deep freezer.
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http://mamasparrow.com/2016/09/06/tomato-basil-sauce/

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Peach Raspberry Honey Tart

Recently, my little ones and I had an opportunity to travel and see family. Time with loved ones is cherished and seems to pass too quickly. While visiting, I made an observation. There are several trees in my folk’s yard that we planted as children. My favorites are the willow trees. This visit, they displayed noticeable growth indicative of trees, no longer saplings.

Since I have not stayed long enough in one place the last 10 years to observe nature’s progression, this observation of the trees was an impactful experience. I was struck with an awe of nature’s cadence. Well into adulthood, the marching of seasons has taken on the perspective of occurring at a rapid pace. The ripple of years has become a more visible breathing of nature. The rough intricacies of nature’s pattern provide a certain comfort and joy – perpetual and dependable.

While on the journey of eating fewer processed foods, I’ve been more attentive to what the earth provides in seasons. Eating the bounty of each season draws us into the cadence of Mother Earth. There is something deeply beautiful about this concept.Conscious eating is an extension of conscious living.

Peaches are rich with flavor, right now. This tart was inspired by my hope of making berry jam from the fleeting summer supply. The smashed raspberry layer is reminiscent of jam. No refined sugar here, the fruit layers are sweetened with honey. Topping with sliced peaches allows the star of the dessert to shine. These peaches were bursting with flavor.

I will leave you with the encouragement to live present, playful and peaceful days. Hopefully your present or near future will include enjoying late summer harvests that bring you true bliss. If you get the chance to make this tart, be sure to drop me a line and share your results on social media with MamaSparrow tagged.

Peach Raspberry Honey Tart

Peach Raspberry Tart Peach Raspberry Honey Tart

Peach Raspberry Honey Tart

Wheat shortcrust with fresh smashed raspberries and honey drizzled prime season peaches. Enjoying the late season berry bounty, this tart is summer on a plate.

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Ingredients

    Crust
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ⅓ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup powdered sugar*
  • 10 Tbs butter**
  • Berry Layer
  • 1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen (add a little more cornstarch if using frozen berries)
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • 1 Tb flour
  • 1 Tb cornstarch
  • 1 Tb lemon zest (zest from one lemon)
  • Stone Fruit Topping
  • 3 medium/large peaches, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
  • More honey to drizzle over top

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Mix together the flours and powdered sugar. Slowly add in the butter while mixing. Use a pastry blender or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Blend until the dough forms together.
  3. Press the dough out by hand in a 9 inch round pie pan lined with parchment paper or tart pan. Sometime I like to make rustic free-hand formed tarts. Use fork to prick several holes in the bottom of the crust that will be covered with filling later. Place pressed out crust into the refrigerator for 5 minutes to help the butter in the crust keep shape. Bake the crust alone for 15 minutes or until crust is firm on the outside and slightly puffed.
  4. Place ingredients for berry layer in a small bowl, mixing them together. Set the bowl aside while slicing the peaches.
  5. Turn oven down to 350 degrees F. Spread the berry layer evenly over the prebaked crust. Arrange the peach slices over the berry layer. Bake the tart for 25 minutes or until the peaches are fork tender. Drizzle honey over the tart while still warm. Enjoy either warm or room temperature. Store at room temperature for a day or a couple of weeks in the freezer.

Notes

*to make refined sugar free, use coconut sugar ground to powder in a food processor **to make dairy free & soy free, use Earth Balance soy free buttery sticks or your other favorite alternative

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