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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Strawberry Oat Squares for One

You can get strawberries pretty much all-year-around, and this tasty treat can make just as good a breakfast as it can a dessert. What are you waiting for?
For the Jam:
¼ cup finely chopped strawberries
½ TBLSP granulated sugar
Slosh of vanilla extract
For the Crust:
1 slightly heaping teaspoon chia seeds
½ TBLSP warm water
3 TBLSP oats
2 TBLSP all-purpose flour
Pinch baking soda
Pinch salt
1 TBLSP brown sugar
1 ¼ teaspoons vegan butter, melted
1 TBLSP maple syrup

Make the Jam:
  1. In a small pot, combine the strawberries and sugar. Heat over medium heat until the strawberries begin to lose their water.
  2. When it has relaxed a bit, bring the little lovelies to a simmer, turn the heat down to low, and let it bubble away for 10-15 minutes.
  3. When it’s thick, toss in the vanilla and set it aside to cool for 15 minutes or so. You can use the fridge to speed things up. Once it’s cool, use an immersion blender or food processor to make it nearly smooth. You’ll want an occasional lump, I promise. So maybe, if you chopped the strawberries small enough, you don’t even need the blender.

Make the Crust:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a mini-loaf pan with parchment paper and oil the sides and bottom. You could also make a much thicker crust in a ramekin and just make one big bar. Yummy!
  1. In a small bowl, combine the chia and warm water. Set aside to form a gooey viscous glop.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the oats, flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In another small bowl, mix the brown sugar, melted butter, maple syrup, and the chia glop you made earlier.
  4. Add the butter mixture to the oat mixture and combine thoroughly.

Assemble the Bars:
  1. Using half of the oats, press the lovely mess into the bottom of the lined pan with your fingers, the back of a spoon, or a rubber spatula. Make sure it’s fairly smooth or the strawberries will try to escape.
  2. Glop on the strawberry jam and smooth it across the oat crust.
  3. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the top of the strawberry glop. I make little patties and placed them. It’s a very organized sprinkle.  
  4. Bake for 20 minutes until the topping is little browner than golden.
  5. Allow to fully cool before removing from the pan. Slice it into two bars, and then store it in the refrigerator until tea time.

  • This would be nice with any berry. Peaches, apricots, or plums would also be super good.
  • Why limit yourself to fruit? These could be done with nut butters, chocolate nut butters, or even pumpkin butters! 
  • Top with a coupled of pinches of sesame seeds or shredded coconut, or maybe even some crushed nuts.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Hot Apple and Cabbage Slaw for One

If you’re feeling Bohemian, this is a simple and fast meal to help maintain the mood.
1 TBLSP olive oil
½ an apple (any kind is fine, sweet or tart), cored and chopped
¼ yellow onion, chopped
1 or 2 mushrooms, sliced thinly
2/3 cup chopped cabbage (green or red)
2 TBLSP grated carrot
1 TBLSP caraway seeds
2 TBLSP (or more) of Dijon-style mustard
Slosh of rice vinegar (or other mild vinegar, like cider)
Salt and pepper to taste 
  1. In a frying pan, heat the oil. Add in the apple and onion, and cook for 3 or 4 minutes, until it’s pretty fragrant, but nothing is really starting to break down yet.
  2. Add in the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms have released and reabsorbed most of their liquids, about another 5 minutes.
  3. Add in the cabbage and carrot and continue to cook until it softens a bit, about another 3 or 4 minutes.
  4. Toss in the caraway seeds and blop the mustard in after them, stirring until the mustard is spread throughout. If it seems too dry, add some water, white wine, or beer. Yummm. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve hot. I like mine with a little Yves Beer Brat or Bratwurst, and served on a bit of greenery.

  • Try it with quartered Brussel sprouts instead of the cabbage. They will need a little more time to cook than the cabbage so maybe put them in with the mushrooms.
  • Add walnut pieces.
  • Replace the caraway seeds with cumin seeds and some garlic.
  • Toss in some capers for a salty surprise.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Coffee Cake for One

Sometimes, even if breakfast isn’t late, you want brunch. This quick little cake will make you so happy, you’ll sing through the rest of your day—don’t worry about whether it’s annoying to someone else! They didn’t have homemade coffee cake for breakfast.

6 ½ TBLSP all-purpose flour
2 TBLSP granulated sugar
2 ½ TBLSP brown sugar
Sprinkle ground nutmeg
Sprinkle ground cinnamon
Sprinkle salt
2 TBLSP canola oil
2 ½ TBLSP non-dairy milk (I like almond milk)
2 teaspoons non-dairy yogurt (like soy) or non-dairy sour cream
Splash apple cider vinegar
Splash vanilla extract
Pinch baking soda
Pinch baking powder
1 heaping TBLSP finely chopped nuts (I like walnuts, but anything is nice)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a mini-loaf pan or two ramekins, or one 4-inch across baking dish. The cake will rise a bit, so make sure it’s a little taller than you think you need.
  1. In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugars, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Add the oil and mix until it’s all absorbed, a crumbly pile. Set aside 2 TBLSP of the mixture to become the topping.
  2. In another small bowl, combine the milk, yogurt or sour cream, vinegar, vanilla, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir until well combined.
  3. Add the milk mixture to the larger collection of crumbs. Mix well and the pour the batter into the prepared pan(s).
  4. Add the nuts to the topping mixture and mix well. Toss the topping onto the top of the batter in the pan and sprinkle with a little more cinnamon.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Let it rest in splendor on a rack for 5 minutes before removing it from the baking vessel and devouring it like a herd of adolescent wombats.  

Monday, March 21, 2016

Baked Onion Rings for One

It was the middle of the night and I wanted a snack. The fridge was nearly bare, but I had some staples (avocados are staples in my house—aren’t they in yours?) so I managed to make this yummy treat. I’ll be doing it again soon!
2-3 slices of sweet onion, each about ¾-inch thick
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup water or veggie broth
2 teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot
2 ½ TBLSP cornmeal
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
4 teaspoons nutritional yeast
Big pinch of salt
Big sprinkle of garlic powder
Small pinch of dried basil
Small pinch of dried oregano

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking oil.
  1. Separate the slices of onion into rings.
  2. In a shallow dish, whisk together the flour, water, and cornstarch. This is the batter.
  3. In another shallow dish, whisk together the cornmeal, breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder, basil, and oregano. This is the coating.
  4. Using a fork, dip the onion rings in the batter one-by-one. Make sure that each is coated well before transferring it into the coating bowl. Use a clean and dry hand to scoop the coating thoroughly all over the rings and place the coated rings on the baking sheet in a single layer. Keep one hand clean for this bowl, and it will go a little easier. Especially if the phone rings.
  5. Bake for 18 minutes, flipping them over at about 10 minutes. If they’re not brown enough for you, broil them for a moment or two.
  6. Serve immediately with your favorite dip, such as mustard, salad dressing (like ranch), guacamole, or ketchup.

Vegan Ranch Dressing for One

2 TBLSP vegan mayonnaise
1 teaspoon vegan sour cream
Splash of tamari or soy sauce
Splash of apple cider vinegar
1 shake of onion powder
1 pinch of dried parsley
1 pinch of dried dill weed
1 pinch of dried oregano
1 pinch of dried tarragon
Salt and black pepper to taste
  1.  Combine all ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk.
  2.  Let it rest in the fridge for 20 minutes, if you can stand to wait for it.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Irish Soda Bread for One

I have fond memories of my mother grinding the flour for this bread herself (in a food processor) and the whole day imagining which of several inventive toppings I’d glop onto my chunk of bread. It doesn’t have to be St. Patrick’s Day to make this delicious bread. Go ahead! Find out what all the fuss is about!
6 TBLSP unsweetened non-dairy milk (I like almond, but whatever you choose will be fine)
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 TBLSP granulated sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
Sprinkle of salt
1 TBLSP vegan butter
¼ cup currants or raisins
Pinch of caraway seeds (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a baking sheet or cover it with parchment paper.
  1. In a small bowl, combine milk and lemon juice. You’re making buttermilk, so set it aside to think about getting all lumpy.
  2. In another small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, soda, and salt. Then, using a pastry blender or a fork, cut the butter into the flour. It should resemble coarse sand.
  3. Create a well in the middle and pour in the faux buttermilk and the currants or raisins. Toss in the caraway seeds too, if you’re using them.
  4. On a lightly floured surface (I use a sheet of waxed paper for easy clean-up), knead the dough until it just comes together, 10 or 12 times. Don’t keep going, though, or the bread will get tough.
  5. Shape it into a disk about 1 ½-inches in height. Mine came out about 4-inches across. Cut an X all the way across the top with a serrated knife. It doesn’t have to be deep. Just clear.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Serve with faux cream cheese, vegan butter, lemon curd, jam or marmalade. Spend the day speaking with a brogue.


  • It’s really yummy with orange zest and orange-treated dried cranberries. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Pear Pie with Streusel and Caramel Sauce for One

My neighbor gave me some pears. Now, pears are very good on their own, and they’re pretty good if you poach them in wine with a couple of cloves and some cinnamon. But if you really want to indulge in the truly sensuous nature of a pear, you need to make this pie. Right now. Just stop what you’re doing and make it!
For the Crust:
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
2 TBLSP shortening or vegan butter
1 ½ TBLSP ice water (or half vodka)
For the Pears:
1 ½ TBLSP all-purpose flour, divided
1 TBLSP granulated sugar
Sprinkle of ground cinnamon
Sprinkle of ground ginger
Sprinkle of salt
¾ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 to 1 1/2  medium-firm pears, peeled, cored, and cut lengthwise into ½-inch wedges (or just chop it up. It’s up to you.) (about 1 cup of chopped fruit)

¾ TBLSP brown sugar
¾ teaspoon chilled butter, cut into pieces
For the Sauce:
¾ teaspoon brown sugar
1 TBLSP non-dairy creamer (use regular milk if you don’t have the thick stuff, and add a sprinkle of cornstarch or arrowroot to thicken it a bit)
1 teaspoon vegan butter, softened
Tiny splash of water

Make the Crust:
  1. In a small bowl, combine flour and salt.
  2. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Then add the water/vodka and mix until it holds together in a very soft dough. (Vodka is a pie-maker’s trick. If you use it the crust will be a little lighter. In such small quantities, though, you may not notice the difference. The alcohol burns off, so you don’t taste it, but, like the water, it evaporates and leaves little fluffy openings in the dough.)
  3. Form the dough into a ball. Be careful not to overwork the dough. Just squish it together until it holds.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 7- or 8-inch circle or square.
  5. Put the dough, still flat, in the refrigerator for an hour or two (overnight is fine). I use the same waxed paper that I roll it on (speeds clean-up), slide it onto a plate, and cover with another sheet of waxed paper. You might prefer plastic wrap if you have a lot of stinky things in your fridge.

Macerate the Pears:
  1. Combine ¾ TBLSP flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and salt in a small bowl. Add the lemon juice and pears and toss gently, to coat.

Make the Streusel:
  1. Combine the remaining 1 ½ TBLSP of flour and the brown sugar in a small bowl. Add the chilled butter and cut with a pastry blender or a fork until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Assemble the Pie:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Use cooking spray or vegan butter to grease a 5-inch diameter pie pan.
  1. Place the rested dough in your pie pan, roll the edges under (which may require trimming to make it tidy), and flute the edges.
  2. Arrange the pear mixture in an even layer on top of the crust.
  3. Sprinkle the streusel over the pears.
  4. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, or until lightly browned and the filling is bubbly.
  5. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Prepare the Sauce:
  1. Combine the brown sugar, cream (or milk and arrowroot), and the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring it to a boil, and let it boil for 1 minute, until thickened.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the splash of water.
  3. Drizzle the sauce over individual slices of pie, or just douse the whole thing in it. Yummmmmmm.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Portobello Mushroom Sauce for One

This rich and tasty sauce can go on pizza, noodles, rice--almost anything! If you like mushrooms, this will be your new favorite.

1 TBLSP olive oil
2 2-inch across baby Portobello mushrooms, sliced (you can use other kinds for a milder flavor)
2 green onions, diced
½ teaspoon vegan butter
1 clove garlic
1 TBLSP all-purpose flour (you can use a gluten free option too)
1 TBLSP white wine
½ teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce (I make my own)
3 TBLSP water or vegetable broth
½ TBLSP nutritional yeast
Pinch of dried thyme
Pinch of dried tarragon leaves
½ teaspoon dried chives
Pinch salt
Pinch black pepper
1/3 cup non-dairy milk (I like almond milk, but they’re all good)
  1. In a skillet, add the olive oil and mushrooms. Cook for about 4 minutes over medium low heat, until they begin to soften and brown.
  2. Add in the green onions and cook for another 2 minutes. Take it off the heat and set it aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat the vegan butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 3 or 4 minutes. Whisk in the flour and combine well. It should make a paste. Turn the heat down if it’s starting to stick or brown.
  4. Add in the white wine, Worcestershire sauce, and the water or broth. Let it thicken a bit.
  5. Stir in the nutritional yeast, thyme, tarragon, chives, salt, and pepper. Add in the milk and whisk it in too. Let it thicken a bit.
  6. Add this sauce to the mushrooms and toss in the black olives. Stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  7. Serve over pasta, zucchini noodles, your favorite faux meats, rice, breakfast biscuits—anything you can think of!

  • This would be lovely with 4-6 sliced black olives in there, or a crown of chopped and toasted walnuts.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Phở for One (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)

If eating with both hands is wrong, I don’t want to be right! This simple and delicious soup is great all year ‘round—just use whatever is in season for the toppings and crunchies, and you’ll be a two-fisted eater in no time.
For the Broth:
1 whole clove
Sprinkles of cinnamon (or a half stick)
1 star anise (or ¼ teaspoon anise seeds)
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
½ an onion, chopped roughly
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped roughly
2 cups water
1 TBLSP tamari or soy sauce
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
For the Noodles:
¼ pound dry flat rice noodles, fettucine noodles, or buckwheat ramen
For the Toppings (choose some or all):
Baked tofu
Bean curd skin
Bok choy
Cabbage (Napa would be nice, but any of it is good)
For the Crunchies (choose some or all):
¼ of a large onion, sliced thinly
1 green onion, diced
½ lime, wedged
¼ cup mung bean sprouts
2 TBLSP fresh cilantro, leaves only
1 TBLSP fresh mint, leaves only
Soy sauce or tamari to taste

Make the Broth:
  1. In a pot large enough to hold 4 cups, dry roast the clove, cinnamon, anise, and coriander over medium heat, stirring constantly. When it starts to smell fabulous (after about 30 seconds), add the onion and ginger and a slosh of the water, just enough to keep things from burning and sticking.
  2. When the onion is starting to soften (about 4 minutes), add the rest of the water, the soy sauce, and the carrots.
  3. Bring the broth to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
  4. Strain it into your favorite bowl, or, if your pan is treacherous, into a 2-cup measuring cup that you can pour out of.

Make the Noodles:
  1. While the broth is simmering, make the noodles according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This may involve soaking them in hot water for 20-30 minutes, so plan accordingly. If they need to be boiled, microwaved, or stir fried, well, take care of that!

Make the Toppings:
  1. Use the time while the broth is simmering and the noodles steeping to slice and cook/bake tofu or seitan, steam or blanch veggies that need it, and cut up mushrooms and cabbage. You won’t need to season (salt/pepper/garlic/whatever) these because the broth has plenty of flavor.

Make the Crunchies:
  1. Now that the veggies are cooking away or resting quietly, prepare the crunchies.

Assemble the Phở:
  1. The broth and noodles share the bottom of the serving bowl, so snug one into the other.
  2. Arrange the toppings over the noodles.
  3. Garnish with the Crunchies. You’ll like the brightness of squeezing the lime wedges over the whole shebang, so I hope that’s one of your options.

A great idea is to double or triple the amount of broth you make. Then you can just microwave it the next day for use with freshly supplied toppings and crunchies without soggy veggies!!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Spring Rolls with Ginger-Peanut Sauce for One

I love these little rolls of sunshine. It’s not as hard to make them as it is to decide what to put into them—go crazy! Let your veggies rule the day! 

For the Dipping Sauce:
2 generous TBLSP peanut butter (or almond butter, in a pinch)
2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce
1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar or maple syrup
1 teaspoon lime or lemon juice (rice vinegar, in a pinch)
Shake or two of garlic powder (or a small fresh clove, diced super small)
Pinch ginger powder (or a small amount of fresh, grated very finely)
Hot water to thin
For the Rolls:
4-6 spring roll wrappers (available in the Asian section of the grocery store)
Crunchy things, including but not limited to:
Mung bean sprouts
1 mushroom, sliced thinly
1 small carrot, julienned thinly
1 inch of cucumber, julienned thinly
Baked tofu, cut into slender slabs
Cilantro leaves, plucked from about 8 stems
Mint leaves, plucked from about 6 stems
2 lettuce leaves, chopped a little
2 green onions, diced
1/2 Avocado, sliced
Vegan cream cheese
Alfalfa sprouts
Asparagus, cooked and cut into 2-inch lengths
Green beans, cooked and cut into 2-inch lengths
Pickled red onion
1 mushroom, sliced and sautéed in olive oil or vegan butter

Make the Dipping Sauce:
  1. In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter with the soy sauce and sweetener of your choice. Thin with the lime juice. (I used rice vinegar when I didn’t have any citrus and it was fine.)
  2. Add in the garlic and ginger to taste. Thin with water, if necessary. It should be fairly gloppy, but you want to be able to dip a soft spring roll in there.

Make the Rolls:
Set up a work station like this:
1 dinner plate with cold water in it (nearly to the rim)
1 dinner plate for assembly
1 plate or cutting board with your prepared veggies lined up—everything should be horizontal, to make it easier
1 serving plate
  1. Place one wrapper in the plate full of water. Dunk it well, and flip it over. You’ll want to run your fingers all over this one (it feels slippery in the nicest way). The next wrapper will soak while you’re assembling this first one, so you won’t have to stand there impatiently next time. When the wrapper is transparent and very very soft, pick it up by the edges and lay it as flat as you can on the assembly plate. Dunk another wrapper into the water and turn it over to soak while you’re assembling Spring Roll Number One.
  2. Lay a pretty veggie (it will show through) on the prepared wrapper. Put it on the wrapper just south of the center. If the wrapper is 6-inches wide, you’ll want to keep your veggies limited to a 2-inch-wide stack in the middle. If your wrapper is larger, you can take up more space proportionately.
  3. Layer ensuing veggies on top of the pretty one, being careful to keep everything very horizontal. The stack, when complete, should be 2-inches horizontal, 1-inch vertical, and about 1-inch high. Helpful hint: Mung bean sprouts are wily creatures and you may want to shuffle them like cards before lining them up on the stack.
  4. Fold in the SIDES of the wrapper first, snuggling them tightly against the stack of veggies. Over-long or sharp veggies (like julienned carrots) may poke through, so monitor them closely.
  5. Now fold the edge closest to you up over the stack of veggies. You can pull on it a bit to get it to completely cover the veggies and most of the far side of the stack.
  6. Carefully roll the little darling up, pushing the bottom of the stack over the remaining bit of wrapper. You can tug on the wrapper a bit without tearing it, and the tighter you get the roll, the easier it is to eat.
  7. Set the beautiful little roll on the serving plate. Congratulate your self, because it wasn’t as hard as you thought it would be.
  8. Repeat steps 1-7 with the remaining wrappers and veggies.

These will keep overnight if you wrap them in plastic wrap, but I don’t know why you wouldn’t just fall on them like a condemned prisoner and devour them at once.