Back in the day, I used to do everything in my power not to cook.
Bagged iceburg lettuce with dried out carrot shreds? I can learn to love it.
Microwave dinners with rubber chicken? A bit time consuming (4-5 mins!), but doable.
Skillet Sensations? Gourmet, romantic meal for two (Eric would make these for me in university! swoon)
Grilled cheese? Eric’s fav. ‘meal’ that I made. I’m not sure what this means.
There was a lot of love in those meals, but not much…quality. I feared the unknown with cooking, so I never really ventured out of my comfort zone.
Plus, I had crap to do. Always crap to do. Books to read. Classes to skip. MSN to chat on. Bars to hop. Heels to break in. Thanks to my sweet tooth I always enjoyed baking, but cooking never called out to me like the Betty Crocker Cake Mix in the pantry.
I was the girl who used to mix cake mix with milk and eat the raw batter straight up out of a mug. I wouldn’t make this stuff up. It was awesome.
It’s funny though, when I’m really challenged, a fire is lit inside me! Eating a vegan diet forced me to learn how to cook, enjoy the process (not just end result), and use my creativity whenever possible. When I first stopped eating animal products I lived off fake meat like veggie dogs, but that got old quickly and left me yearning for unprocessed meals made from scratch. Vegan cuisine opened my eyes to many different types of foods and ingredients and ignited a passion for cooking, dare I say, as much as baking.
If I can go from eating Lean Cuisines and bagged salad to cooking meals made from scratch, I think there is hope for every fearful cook out there! The more I cook, the less intimidated I feel; especially when it comes to cooking for others.
Which brings me to our family gathering on Sunday celebrating Eric’s birthday!
Mary (left) and Brendon are visiting us from Ireland. Brendon is my mother-in-law Margaret’s brother (one of her 10 brothers!)
Every time Brendon curses he says, “Pardon my Irish”
Love this crazy man. heheh.
Let’s see, I made…Vegan Cheeze Burgers.
I made a spin-off of Our Perfect Veggie Burger using Daiya cheese.
Changes I made to the original recipe:
- I used one entire 15-oz can black beans instead of 1 cup of beans
- I used 1.5 cups Daiya cheese instead of 1 cup grated carrot
- I used 1/4 cup chopped almonds instead of 1/3 cup
The Vegan Cheeze Burgers turned out just how I was hoping! Cheezy and delish.
I pre-baked the burgers for about 20 minutes in the oven and when Eric BBQ’d the meat, he added the veggie burgers on for the last 5-10 minutes of grilling.
I also sautéed some Crimini mushrooms to go with the burgers…my all-time fav burger topping! With a sprinkle of Herbamare of course.
Next, I made an old favourite- Pumpkin Spiced Doughnuts! Oh yes, I broke out a can of pumpkin. I can’t be tamed.
Do any of you remember when I went through a vegan doughnut baking phase back in 2009? I was obsessed with making these things!
I fell off the wagon for a couple years, but it was fun to make them again and use those doughnut pans that have been collecting dust. The mini and regular pans are from Golda’s Kitchen.
A pumpkin doughnut isn’t a pumpkin doughnut until you cover it in melted Earth Balance and cinnamon sugar! True fact.
I tested them again with icing sugar glaze, but the Earth Balance and cinnamon sugar mixture was by far the best! The Earth Balance added a bit of a savoury, buttery quality which was a nice contrast with the sugar.
Drooling inevitable. Eating inevitable. Breakfast? Obviously.
Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Spiced Doughnuts
Adapted from Maple Glazed Pumpkin Spiced Glonuts and Cuisine at Home via Pastry Brush.
Yield: 24 mini or 12 regular-sized doughnuts
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar (white vinegar may work)
- 6 tbsp non-dairy milk
- 1/2 cup fresh or canned pureed pumpkin
- 1/4 cup organic cane sugar (or white)
- 3 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
- 2 tbsp lightly packed brown sugar
- 2 tbsp Earth Balance (or other non-dairy butter substitute), melted
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon + 1/2 tsp ginger, + 1/4 tsp nutmeg (or 1.75 tsp pumpkin pie spice)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/4 cup Earth Balance (or other butter sub), melted (approx estimate only)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two mini doughnut pans or two regular sized doughnut pans with Earth Balance (or other butter substitute).
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, milk, pumpkin, sugar, applesauce, brown sugar (sift if clumpy), and melted Earth Balance (or other butter sub).
3. Sift in in the dry ingredients (baking powder, baking soda, spices, salt, and flours). Mix until just combined. I didn’t sift as I was lazy.
4. Using a ‘zip-lock’ baggie or pastry bag, spoon the batter into the bag and then secure it with the zip lock or rubber band. Twist the bag slightly and then cut off a hole at the corner to ‘pipe’ out the batter. Pipe the dough around the circle and gently flatten down with slightly wet fingers to smooth. Repeat.
5. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350F or until they gently spring back when touched. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before carefully using a butter knife to remove. Place on cooling rack for another 10-15 minutes.
6. Cinnamon Sugar: Melt Earth Balance in a small bowl and dip the cooled doughnuts into butter one at a time. Transfer the dipped doughnut into a bag with the cinnamon sugar and shake until coated thoroughly. Doughnuts keep for 2-3 days.
These doughnuts were a hit at the party! Everyone seemed to love them.
Of course, you can leave the cinnamon sugar off, but I highly recommend it. ;)
This is the post that never ends…
Next up, my all-time favourite vegan chocolate cupcake recipe made another appearance! Everyone always requests these when we have a family get together. I added a little POM juice and almond extract instead of almond milk and vanilla to give the frosting a bit of fruity flavour. It was decent, but I definitely prefer my Spiced Buttercream over this one.
Then I made my go-to Pico de Gallo and Guacamole. Went fast!
Appetizers (with a cheese plate from Ewa and Dave)
Finally, I made baked potato CHIPS!
Rosemary, Olive oil, and sea salt flavour. I was going to make my favourite Salt and Vinegar chips, but I wasn’t sure if everyone else enjoyed S&V, so I opted for the safe flavour. If I was making them for just myself, I would have made the salt & vinegar by a landslide! They really do taste like salt & vinegar chips.
The rosemary-olive oil-sea salt chips were the biggest hit of the night and there was not a chip to be found after we made our round.
Rosemary Olive Oil Sea Salt Chips
- 10 medium potatoes (estimate only)
- 4-5 tbsp minced rosemary
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Sea salt (I used Herbamare) and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Slice potatoes into thin 1/8-1/4 inch rounds (I did not peel first).
3. In a large bowl, coat sliced potatoes in 2 tbsp olive oil, 4-5 tbsp minced fresh rosemary, and salt & pepper.
4. Bake for 30 minutes at 400F. After 30 minutes, flip, and bake for another 10-20 minutes (watch closely) until crispy and golden. Season to taste (they were better with even more Herbamare, don’t be shy!).
For my Salt and Vinegar chips, see this post.
My mother-in-law made her famous chicken pasta (with a vegan one for me), Dave & Ewa brought appetizers, and Mary and Gerry brought a salad. We had so much great food.
My plate: Vegan Cheeze burger with tomato, cuke, avocado, rosemary chips, sautéed mushrooms, salad, and I went back for some vegan pasta after I cleared my plate.
For dessert, I had a doughnut, half a cupcake, and lots of fresh cherries.
Our niece Gabriela helped with Eric’s birthday candles. :)
After gifts, we Skyped with some family in Ireland!
And then Brendon broke out the shots! and more shots. and more shots. ;) I could not partake as the Baby Guinness shots weren’t vegan. I was a bit bummed about that because I love doing shots (I’m weird)…so I drank my wine like a champ instead.
Eric and I currently have an invitation to go to Ireland and stay with Mary and Brendon for as long as we want. They even said they’d give us a key to their house!
(I doubled checked this statement Monday morning after the alcohol wore off and it still stands.) Whew.
Ireland, here we come?
omg these look amazing! Joe and I were just talking about handing out apple cider donuts as favors for our wedding in October, but now I may need to suggest pumpkin donuts!
I just ordered a doughnut pan and can’t wait to try out the recipe! And the black bean burgers. And the cupcakes.
I think I’ll have to have a dinner party so I have an excuse to make all this food.
Definitely go to Ireland! Such a beautiful country, so much to see, especially outside of Dublin, and the people I met were incredibly kind. If you can, go to the Dingle Peninsula – it was definitely my favourite spot on my trip.
Those doughnuts (among everything else) look AMAZING! I can’t wait to make them… although I do have to say they’ll have to wait a little while because I’m not quite ready to give up on summer and start with the “fall” foods yet!
Oh my goodness, those look dangerous. Pumpkin and donuts are my two favorite things. I’m going to have to make these ASAP!! Genius.
yum! please send these over soon! i agree about the cooking thing. vegan or just healhty cooking takes some work but it can be quite joyful :)
What a spread!!! I haven’t stopped thinking about these doughnuts since I saw the picture on facebook! I will be stealing my mini donghut pan back from my mom this week :)
Erik is the luckiest guy to have you. Seriously. OMG with those donuts and the greasy bag. Love it!
hahah you know when you see a greasy bag it’s gotta be good?
Everything looks so delicious! I just ordered a doughnut pan so I can make those yummy doughnuts! :-)
Wow, these look incredible. Pumpkin is one of my favorite ingredients. I think I could eat it year round. It makes everything moist and delicious.
Great post. Where did you get your donut pan from? Love it.
I got them from Golda’s Kitchen: http://www.goldaskitchen.com/
These look positively scrumptious. My mouth watered just looking. If this isn’t a reason to go out and buy a doughnut pan then I don’t know what is.
happy belated birthday to eric! (we should have sung a second verse of happy bday on saturday eve!).
wow, you’ve come a long way in your cooking and baking journey, angela! i really like this: “There was a lot of love in those meals, but not much…quality.” now you’ve got both!
The pumpkin donuts sound perfect for fall! I’ll be making lots of these when the weather gets a touch cooler. Thanks for sharing!
Also, I’d like to follow up by saying that you do such a wonderful job showing people that they can eat great without eating animal products. All it takes is a touch of effort and some creativity and you can eat like a queen- your recipes are truly inspirational!
Thanks Jen, what a lovely thing to say!
I love making mini doughnuts! I’m adding this recipe to my collection!
Ooooh, those donuts are PERFECT for fall!! These actually make me a little less sad to see summer go :-)
ahh.. I’ve been waiting for that chip recipe! can’t wait to go to the Farmer’s market on Thursday for some potates!!
I’m buying a donut pan today so I can make those donuts! Yum! Everything else looks good too! And I’ve been dying to go to Ireland for a long time. Hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later.
These are so cute Ange!!! They remind me of the mini donuts that we have at the St Jacob’s Farmer’s Market here – but vegan and SO much more healthy! I’d be completely dredging mine in cinnamon sugar. I’m sure your family loved these! And I’m on the same page as you with the sauteed mushrooms – the best topping ever!!
I love the “Pardon my Irish” comment….. My parents always say “Pardon my Fremch”! Haha…..so funny! If those donuts would ship well, I’d beg you to mail me some :D Yum!
So.much.good.looking.food. I’m drooling in my sports bra. That seems so wrong…but so right. I’d rather make donuts than go to the gym any day of the week.
Oh my gosh, we went to Ireland in May and tried baby guinness shots for the first time. So good and sooo cute :)
Wow, that all looks sooo good!
You must go to Ireland!!! I cannot wait til the day that we can go back! What a feast you made. Your family has got to LOVE coming to your house for parties + dinners. Mushrooms are probably my favorite burger topping as well. :) The doughnuts look so thick and puffy…yumm
WOW!! Made your veggie burgers this weekend…throwing all other recipes away. They are fantastic and trust me I feel I’ve made every recipe out there. YOU ARE GENIUS:)
Glad you like them Sharon!
Haha I am ALWAYS covered in flour post-baking ;)
So many deliscious things in this post!
Where can I got one of those donut pans?! Ive never seen them?!
those donuts look SO delicious. And I love that they are fallesque!
Been waiting for this recipe since the weekend! :)
This makes me so ready for fall. These look amazing!
And I used to hate cooking so much. I still don’t come up with fantastic recipes all too often and keep things ridiculously simple, but its fun trying new thigns that before I never would have.
This looks like a fabulous birthday feast! I’m so not ready for fall yet, though, so put away the pumpkin! ;-)
I will most definitely be making those doughnuts. I love that they are baked!
Oh my gosh – just when I thought it wasn’t possible to crave Fall anymore you went ahead and made these :)
They look INCREDIBLE!
Guinness isn’t vegan!? Who knew…
This all looks delicious. They are lucky to have you looking after them. And yes, come to Ireland! And do a reader meet up?
What an impressive meal Angela!! Sauteed mushrooms are a MUST on my burgers as well…
Baby Guinness!!! We discovered those in Ireland last year (much to my demise)! you have to take them up on the offer – it was one of the best trips I’ve taken so far.
I want to plan a trip to Canada for doughnuts now! :)
those donuts literally have me foaming at the mouth…yummm
I MUST make those doughnuts! Especially with all the canned pumpkin I’ve got lying around…
Yay come to Ireland! I’ll show you around :)
Anything with cinnamon gets my vote!
The donuts look fabulous…Do you think the donut recipe would work in a muffin tin?
LOVE this post! I feel the same way about cooking…wanting to eat healthy foods and make them delicious has made me an everlasting chef! What a feast you had…I’m definitely breaking out the doughnut pan and my stash of pumpkin to make those…perfect introduction to fall!
I need a muffin tin, stat!
Looks like a great party and don’t you love the Irish? My fiance goes to Dublin for work a lot and just loves it there! I’m planning on heading with him one of these days.
Make that a donut pan, not muffin tin :)
Whoa. Burgers and chips….I’m going to have this on the brain until the weekend! Anytime carrots are substituted with cheese, you know it’s going to be fabulous :)
It looks like you all had a blast! Is it just me or are the foreign family members usually the most fun? My mom’s side is all from Puerto Rico and when they get together the pina coladas and rum shots just flow and flow. I’m way excited to try those dougnuts, I really am drooling over here :D
Mmmmm…these put Krispy Kreme to shame! They look absolutely fabulous, Ang! :-)
Those look great, and I think I have everything there.
Now, if I don’t have a donut pan, could I squirt it straight on the sheet? Drop it into ball-shapes? Hmmm.
you probably can, but they will likely turn out like this one on the left: http://ohsheglows.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/img-1720.jpg ;)
Ha ha!! Somehow, that mis-shapen one is adorable!
It was my fav :)
What a great dinner! I can’t wait to try those donuts!! I’ve never donuts before and I think that a mini donut pan is definitely on my wish list now!!!
As a reader of your blog in Ireland, I would recommend bringing a raincoat:-) But you will love it here. If you could get Irish people more into pumpkin it would be great, suprisingly hard to get here and those doughnuts look amazing!!!!
I used to never cook as well. But similar to you, now that I am vegan I find cooking to be more of an exploration and less of a chore. I love trying new grains and veggies and preparing things in new ways!
I want to eat every. single. thing. you mentioned above!! I might have to go on a baking/cooking spree very very soon!
Oh my. I almost drooled all over my keyboard. It looks so delicious! Specially the doughnuts… yum!
Wow, that looks like so much fun! Can’t wait to try your vegan burgers…and I’m now so tempted to get a donut pan and try those donuts! Hehe…
Also, glad I’m not the only girl out there who likes doing shots… ;)