Archive for the 'Blueberry' Category

Raw Banana Pie, Take 2

It’s been a year since I made this delectable dessert; I know because last year I made it for Passover and this year I’ve done it again! This frozen treat is surprisingly sweet and you won’t feel like you need anything with processed sugar or even “real” ice cream to compete! The healthy sweetness and creamy texture of the frozen blended banana will satisfy any sweet tooth, I promise. And, if you need a chocolate fix, you can always melt down some dark or semi-sweet chocolate and drizzle it on top – I bet no one would mind.

You can find my recipe from last year here; the only changes I made this year were to add blueberries on top and leave out the lemon decoration. The strawberries and blueberries taste great with the banana, almonds, and dates, and they add a different, juicy texture to the top of the pie.

Here’s what the almond-date crust looks like before adding any filling into the pie shell. I like the uneven texture, however, you can grind your nuts into a finer and more consistent texture if you want to.

SweetHeart-Healthy Banana Blueberry Spelt Muffins

Happy Valentine’s Day!


I know it’s a Hallmark Holiday, but I always love to celebrate it with lots of pink and hearts. All the love floating around just makes me smile 🙂

Right now, I’m student teaching in a third grade class, and the students were so thrilled about the holiday – their excitement was contageous! My Cooperating Teacher has really set up a lovely community in the classroom, where the students feel comfortable with each other and with her; the Principal even commented on Friday that the class is just like a family, where there is trust and love and safety – and where the students are so close that they want to celebrate holidays exorbitantly together! These eight and nine year olds didn’t just bring in store-bought cards for their friends for Valentine’s Day, in fact, many of them brought goody bags filled with candy and chocolate and sweet notes for every single student in the whole class! One of our tables was literally covered, piled high with pink boxes of chocolate and red-wrapped chocolate roses, and one student even gave me a foot-long Valentine’s pen! It’s pretty incredible and I plan on treasuring it for a long time. It was hard to get any academic work done on such a celebratory day!

My students inspired me and I stayed up way too late on Thursday night making them all collaged cards and I had so much fun that I ended up making cards for all my friends…And then on Friday evening I had a crafts night with my girlfriends and made more V-day cards…And Saturday I spent the evening baking these delicious Banana Blueberry Muffins with my friend Talia and of course I had to put them in the festive paper liners that my mom bought me as a surprise! Aren’t they cute? Thanks, Mom!

Talia and I are not eating sugar, and she’s currently not eating wheat, so we did a lot of experimenting and adapting, and came up with this muffin recipe using spelt flour and date sugar. We were really into how delicious the batter was, and then how tasty the muffins were after they were baked, but we were a little concerned that they might not pass the test for “normal people” who eat white flour and white sugar all the time. We asked some friends to taste them, and they said they were good! So, this recipe is a great “heart healthy” (for Valentine’s Day as well as your real beating human heart) breakfast muffin, and with all the healthy additions it is certainly a great snack and was approved by all! However, if you don’t have those specialized ingredients on hand, and don’t have the same dietary concerns, then you can easily use white sugar instead of date sugar, and use white (or whole wheat) flour instead of the spelt. You could even make this recipe into a quick-bread, which would be delicious, and you can add in nuts or chocolate chips if you want!

Banana Blueberry Spelt Muffin Ingredients:
Makes 12 regular sized muffins, or 24 mini-muffins

2 cups whole spelt flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup date sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 Tblsp. ground flax seed
3/4 cup water
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or any non-dairy milk)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly grease your muffin tins, or line with paper liners.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.
In a large bowl, beat the date sugar and oil together, then add the mashed bananas. Stir in the flax. Add the water, non-dairy milk, and vanilla, and mix thoroughly.
Add the flour mixture and stir until all ingredients are just combined.
Gently fold in your blueberries last.
Fill each muffin tin 3/4 full with batter. Bake regular sized muffins for 20-25 minutes, and mini-muffins only about 15 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when they begin to brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Blueberry Almond Scones

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Still on Sara’s farm, we planned a day at the river. We bought lots of sandwich-making ingredients, snack foods, filled our coolers, planned to pack our swimsuits, towels, and lots of sunscreen, and prepared for the drive and hike down to utopia the next day. But we were missing one thing! Something sweet to snack on. We had lots of blueberries from our picking adventure, and what is better than fresh berry scones? Clearly, we needed these for our river trip. So we got to baking, and made these scrumptious treats. Of course, we couldn’t resist the tempting smells wafting out of the oven while the scones baked, and we ate many of them that night while they were warm, and the next morning for breakfast before going to the river, but we still had some left over to enjoy while lounging on the beach after our boulder-climb through the cool blue waters of the Van Buren River (or the Mad River? I can’t remember. But whatever it was called, it was beautiful).

The scones were moist, soft, and crumbly, and intensely rich. The original recipe calls for pure butter, whole milk, and buttermilk, and when I’ve had them in the past, while they were undeniably delicious, it was difficult to eat a whole scone in one sitting because they are so heavy. The vegan version doesn’t lose any of it’s “perfect scone texture”, but it becomes lighter, flaky, and even a little fluffy, but steers clear of any sort of muffin-like consistency.

Continue reading ‘Blueberry Almond Scones’

Basic Blueberry Peach Crisp

IMG_2088Last week I visited my dear friend Sara in Humboldt County, where she recently started a lovely farm! She has a huge garden that I got to dig my fingers into, and plant all sorts of squashes and salad greens. I had a great time sweating it out in her hoop-house green house where I planted the squashes (we even planted a type of decorative winter squash called a “Red Warty Thing“, which is unusual and exciting), and I got to feed her 11 chickens. I may include some pictures of them in my next post, so watch out!

Anyway, back to my baking adventures…It seems that everywhere I go, it is blueberry picking season! Humboldt was ripe with these juicy berries, and together we picked a bucket full. It was the beginning of the blueberry season here in California (unlike when I was in New York, where the berries were busting out all over the place), so the berries we got this time were on the tart side. Perfect for baking with!

This is a pretty basic recipe that I made up on the spot; it was really nice with the fresh-picked blueberries, since their tartness balanced out the sweetness of the topping. It’s an easy and quick fall-back recipe, and is one that you can play around with quite a bit. You can add to the fruit filling with whatever fruits you have around the house, like apples, any sort of berries, or even banana is good in a crisp. You can also add to the topping however you want by mixing in chopped nuts or granola – this would give an added crunch and texture, and throwing in a pinch or two of nutmeg or cloves would give it an extra spicy punch.

Filling Ingredients:
7-8 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh sliced peaches
2 tsp. fresh squeezed orange juice

Topping Ingredients:
1 cup Earth Balance, room temperature
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups rolled oats

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together your blueberries and peaches and add the orange juice. Combine only till fruit is coated; you don’t want to over-mix and crush your berries. Pour into a 9×13 inch pan. Set aside while you mix your topping ingredients.
In a medium bowl, cream together your Earth Balance and sugars. When they are nice and fluffy, add in your flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. Mix till just combined. Add your oats last. You may have to mix these in with your hands, depending on how thick your dough is at this point. Sprinkle on top of your berries and stick the whole thing in the oven for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden brown and crispy. If you let it sit to cool for a bit, the filling will firm up and be easier to cut or scoop. It’s nice to eat warm, but can also be heated up later.

Wheat-Free Blueberry Muffins

To finish my epic blue baking week, I give you blueberry muffins!IMG_9946

My friend Freya doesn’t like blueberries. But we had picked so many of them! I had to convince her they would be good, somehow. She said she would only like them if they were in muffins, so that’s what we had for last Sunday’s breakfast. Fresh out of the oven, they were wonderful! They didn’t last longer than that, but I’m sure they would have been great once cooled as well. Freya enjoyed them, as did the rest of the group, which was proved by how quickly the muffins were polished off. And, Freya even enjoyed my blueberry pie, so maybe we’ve got a blueberry convert on our hands 🙂

I adapted this recipe from How It All Vegan, and the original recipe said it would make only 6 muffins, but didn’t say what size. I think they must have been using the Texas-sized muffin pans because I was able to make 12 muffins from this recipe. They were somewhat short, but not abnormally. You can choose how high to fill your tins, the muffins don’t rise too much. Also, you can substitute any type of berry you want in these versatile muffins! Blueberries were very good, but I think raspberry would be quite nice too, or even a mix of berries. Continue reading ‘Wheat-Free Blueberry Muffins’

Pick-Your-Own Blueberry Pie

IMG_9911The next item in my unintentional blue-baking series was a delicious blueberry pie. It all started when my friends wanted to get out of New York City, and drive up to the countryside to see trees! I am generally very excited about trees, so I was definitely not opposed to this idea, and hopped in the car. We drove up near where our college was, did the required walking around, seeing buildings that had been important to us, eating a baby-sized burrito from the local burrito stand, and feeling weirded out by being on campus…Then we ventured out into the farmlands and picked bucketfuls of blueberries to take home and share with all the other city kids so they could have a taste of “wilderness”. Picking the blueberries was fun and we got very muddy (more country to take home to the city!), and certainly ate a lot of blueberries before they ended up in our buckets. Yum. Here is a photo of some of our bounty:IMG_9895What to do with all these tart juicy blueberries? Bake them into a pie of course! I usually use my dear friend and pie-guru Wilbur’s never-fail crust recipe, but I didn’t have it on hand this time…I braved a cookbook, and found a crust that looked good in Vegan Planet which they use in their Brandy Apple Pie recipe. I made it using white spelt flour, and it came out just right: Buttery, flaky, moist, and delicious. I pricked the bottom crust with a fork half a dozen times, and moved onto the filling. I forgot to measure the amount of blueberries that I used, but basically I just filled up the pie crust till it was nearly overflowing with berries! This was approximately 4 cups of berries. I sprinkled these blueberries with 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/2 cup sugar, 3/4 tsp. cinnamon, and about 1/4 cup of spelt flour to help it hold together. I piled this mixture inside the crust, making a huge dome, and put a full top crust on top. After pressing the edges together and pricking the top with a fork (in a pretty pattern…We made an “X” but you can choose your own!), it was time to put this baby in the oven. With the oven preheated to 450 degrees, I stuck the pie in, but immediately turned the temperature down to 350 so the pie gets a blast of heat but the insides get more slowly cooked. Make sure to put your pie on an upper rack of the oven, and a large pan on the rack underneath your pie as a catchment system for any drips. My pie dripped a lot, so we ended up with sweet blueberry syrup that could be poured over ice cream or pancakes. Bake your pie for 50-60 minutes, and take it out when the crust is nicely golden.

We let the pie cool for about an hour, and then sliced and ate it with big scoops of vanilla soy ice cream. It was a little goopy when we first ate it, but the next morning the filling had set better. It was delicious for breakfast!

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