Chocolate Blueberry Mousse Cake

bluebThis cake was the perfect end to our memorial day celebration today.  It was rich and creamy and cool and refreshing, not to mention pretty to look at.  Making it did take some time, although it was easy and well worth the effort.  Next time I will try strawberries and raspberries and blackberries too!  Any combination would be wonderful!  I must say that the chocolate cake is a recipe I found online when I first started cooking vegan.  I copied it down and have made it many times since, but unfortunately I can’t find it online anymore and so am unable to give credit to whomever created it.  Sorry!  Also, the chocolate cake recipe makes 3 layers and only one is needed here.  You can try to cut the cake recipe into thirds, or you can freeze the other two layers for later.  The best option is what I did, which is break the other two layers into pieces and use the extra whipped cream from this recipe and some fresh or frozen berries and make a quick and delicious trifle.  I have used Agar Agar on a few other recipes and every time I use it I proclaim that it is awesome!  It is a tasteless, vegetable gelatin derived from sea vegetation.  For those of you who are unaware – gelatin is absolutely horrid.  It is made of animal bones (along with animal skin, hooves, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage) all boiled together into a goo that’s added to all kinds of candy and baked goods.  Agar Agar has none of that nastiness!  It works perfectly in this recipe to hold the blueberry mousse together.  You can find it at health food stores or specialty markets like Whole Foods, as well as on online.

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Chocolate Cake

  •  2 1/2 c flour
  • 3/4 c cocoa powder
  • 2 c sugar
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3/4 c canola or safflower oil
  • 2 1/4 c water
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/8 c white vinegar

Preheat oven to 350.

Lightly grease 3 8” pans, with one pan being a springform pan.

In a large bowl, combine oil, water, vanilla and vinegar.

Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Pour into 3 pans.  Bake 25 minutes.

Use the two regular pans as you wish, and place the springform layer into the fridge while you prepare the rest of the cake.

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Chocolate Mousse

  • 1 12.3 oz package firm silken tofu
  • 1 1/2 c vegan chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 T powdered sugar

In a food processor or blender, combine tofu, syrup, and vanilla.  Pour into a large bowl and stir in chocolate.  Then stir in sugar.  Pour on top of chocolate cake in springform pan and place in fridge for at least an hour.

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Blueberry Layer

  •  2 c frozen blueberries
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 2 1/2 T agar agar flakes
  • 1 1/3 c whipped cream *see below – place coconut milk in fridge the day before

Heat blueberries and syrup in a medium pan over medium heat.  Raise heat to high and add agar agar flakes.  Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring, to dissolve agar.  Let cool for a few minutes.  Pour into a blender and process.  Pour into a large bowl and stir in whipped cream.  Pour on top of chocolate mousse layer and place in fridge for at least 3 hours.

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Whipped Cream

  • 2 cans full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1 T powdered sugar

Place coconut milk cans in fridge the day before so they solidify.  Open cans gently and with a spoon scoop out the thickened cream from the top, leaving the liquid in the can.  Place thickened coconut milk from both cans in a large bowl and beat with a hand mixer on high until stiff peaks form.  Add vanilla and sugar and beat to combine.  You will need 1 1/3 cup.

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Spaghetti and Neatballs

DSC_0368What an easy, healthy and satisfying meal!  While there are a lot of varieties of frozen vegan meatballs out there, and some are pretty good, I much prefer to make my own.  I think they taste better and I love knowing that they are not processed, but instead are homemade with only whole-food ingredients.  They are a cinch to make too – just throw all the ingredients in a food processor and then roll and bake.  I love to serve this meal to our meat-eater friends when they come over because it really shows how easy and delicious it is to be vegan.  People who love those gruesome meatballs made from animals will see that they can have them cruelty-free and also do their health a huge favor at the same time!  Spaghetti and neatballs, caesar salad and garlic crostinis – a meal everyone will love!  And although the recipe makes quite a bit, it’s great because the neatballs are even better cold the next day in a sandwich!

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  • 1 lb spaghetti, cooked according to package and drained
  • 1 25 oz. jar marinara sauce
  • 1/2 c walnuts
  • 1/2 c cooked brown rice
  • 15 oz. black beans, drained
  • 1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 T ground flax seed mixed with 5 T water
  • 1 t vegan worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 t liquid smoke
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 c italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • vegan parmesan optional

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Preheat oven to 350.

Grind walnuts in food processor.  Add all remaining ingredients, except bread crumbs.  Process well.  Spoon into a bowl and stir in crumbs.

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Roll into about 25 “meatballs” and place on a lightly greased baking sheet.

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Bake 25 minutes.

Combine the cooked spaghetti and the marinara sauce in a large pot over medium heat.  Gently add the neatballs and heat through.

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Serves 6-8

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S’mores Cake Bomb

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I feel a bit irresponsible posting this recipe.  I have been trying to eat healthier lately – just because I’m vegan doesn’t mean I should eat anything I want.  However, this cake is incredible.  It is decadent and amazing and I want to share it to show that vegans are most definitely not missing out on anything!  The sky’s the limit when it comes to vegan baking.  Having said that, this cake should probably be reserved for those special occasions when nothing else will do but a huge calorie overload.  I plan to focus on healthier desserts in the future, but since I already made this, and it was a huge hit, I might as well share it.  Just promise me you won’t make it too often.  While your taste buds may be happy, your arteries most definitely will not be!

For the Chocolate Cake

I have to say this is not my own recipe.  My daughters got it online a few years ago and wrote it down and we have no idea where it came from.  So – to whomever created this recipe – thank you – I am sorry I cannot give you the proper credit!

  • 2 1/2 c flour (I used 1 1/4 c whole wheat pastry flour and 1 1/4 c white flour)
  • 2 c sugar
  • 2/3 c cocoa powder
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 c warm water
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 2/3 c safflower oil
  • 2 t distilled white vinegar

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease 2 9” round baking pans.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Spoon batter into prepared pans.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Let cool.

For the Cookie Layer

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  • 3/4 c vegan butter
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 T ground flax seed mixed with 3 T warm water
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 c vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 c flour

Preheat oven to 350.

Place parchment paper on bottom and over edges of 2 9” baking pans and lightly grease.  Make sure there is enough paper to be able to lift the cakes out of the pan.

Beat the butter and sugars until creamy.  Add the flax with water and vanilla.  Beat to combine.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Spoon into the prepared pans.  Bake for 6-8 minutes.  It will be gooey, but will firm up a bit more as it cools.

For the Marshmallow Layer

1 10 oz. jar ricemellow creme (you can use Dandies vegan marshmallows and melt them if you cannot find the rice mellow creme).

For the Graham Cracker Layer

4 vegan graham crackers, broken into pieces

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For the Ganache Layer

  • 4 c melted vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 c non dairy milk
  • 4 T coconut oil

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and melt over medium heat.

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To Assemble the Bomb

Turn out one of the chocolate cake layers on a plate.

Spread half of the ricemellow creme on top.

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Lift out a cookie layer and slide it off the paper onto the top of the creme.

Gently spread a very thin layer of ganache on top of the cookie cake.

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Place the graham cracker pieces on top of the ganache and then carefully cover them with another thin layer of ganache.

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Slide the other cookie layer on top of the ganache.

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Spread the rest of the ricemellow creme on top of the cookie layer.

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Turn out the remaining chocolate cake onto a plate and then carefully turn it over on top of the creme.

Frost top and sides with ganache.  Don’t worry if it all drips down the sides.  You will be able to cover it later when frosting with the ganache.  Messy is fine here!! 🙂

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Place in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight.

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Millet, Lentil and Potato Mash

DSC_0365I have been having fun learning about and cooking with the many wonderful ancient whole grains that are thankfully becoming more common, such as amaranth and quinoa.  For this recipe, however, I am focusing on millet.  I have had millet flour in my pantry for some time and often substitute it for flour in my baking, but I had never cooked hulled millet until now – and I am so glad I did.  This dish is the perfect comfort food.  It is creamy and delicious and way more interesting than plain old mashed potatoes.  Before I give you the recipe – here’s some information about the very under-appreciated millet:

First, millet is gluten-free.  Second, millet is rich in B vitamins (especially niacin, B6 and folic acid), calcium, iron, potassium and zinc.  Third, millet should be included on your list of heart-healthy choices because of its status as a good source of magnesium.  Magnesium has been shown to reduce the severity of asthma, reduce the frequency of migraines, lower high blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart attack.  Fourth, we all know that a diet rich in fiber from whole grains offers significant protection against many cancers.  Whole grains such as millet also contain many powerful phytonutrients whose activity has gone unrecognized because research methods have overlooked them.  There are many more reasons to eat millet.  Just google it and you will see.  Despite all our knowledge and advances, the ancients definitely consumed way better grains than we do today.  I love millet and can’t wait to create more recipes with it!  I hope you find this one as comforting and yummy as my family and I do.  While there are many steps to this recipe, it shouldn’t take that much time to make – as long as you can use three burners at once.

  • 1 head garlic
  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 c millet, rinsed
  • 4 1/2 c vegetable stock, divided
  • 1 c lentils
  • 1 c raw cashews (if you do not have a high speed blender, soak the cashews in water overnight and drain).
  • 1/2 c marsala wine
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t fresh thyme
  • 1/4 t dried marjoram
  • 1/2 t dijon mustard

Cut off the tip of the garlic to expose the top of the cloves and then rub with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt, wrap in aluminum foil, and roast at 400 for 35 minutes.  Let cool.

Emptied roasted garlic head is pretty as a flower!

Emptied roasted garlic head is pretty as a flower!

Boil the potatoes in water for about 15 minutes, until soft.  Drain and set aside.

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Place the millet and 2 1/2 c stock in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer 20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.  Let stand, covered, 10 minutes off the heat.

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In another saucepan, bring 1 1/2 c stock to a boil.  Then add the lentils and simmer, partially covered, 35 – 40 minutes.

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While the potatoes, millet and lentils are cooking, begin making the sauce.

Blend the cashews with 3/4 c water until creamy.  Add in the roasted garlic and blend again.  Spoon into a medium sized bowl.

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In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 c stock and marsala wine to a boil.    Boil for 5 minutes to burn out the alcohol.  While it is cooking, add the salt, thyme and marjoram.  Add 1/4 c + 2 T of this liquid to the cashew cream mixture.  Mix well.  Add mustard and the rest of the liquid and mix again.

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In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, millet and lentils.  Add as much of the cream sauce as desired and stir to combine.  I usually have some extra cream sauce that is wonderful on just about anything, from pasta, to fresh vegetables.

serves 6-8 as an entree and 10-12 as a side dish

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Puff Pastry Tempeh with Raspberry Balsamic Reduction

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I found the most beautiful raspberries at the farmers’ market and could not wait to use them.  Of course I love to pop them in my mouth just as they are, but I wanted to create a savory recipe with them as well.  I think the freshness of the raspberries really elevates the taste of this dish, but you could certainly use frozen raspberries instead.   The tempeh is the perfect texture for the puff pastry.  It has just the right amount of substance and the marinade flavors it so nicely.
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This dish is perfect for company as it looks quite elegant, yet it is also easy enough to make for dinner just any old night of the week.  Actually, sometimes I forget about the puff pastry and just marinate the tempeh and heat it in a frying pan with a teaspoon of oil, and it is an easy and very tasty meal.
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If using the puff pastry, just make sure to check that it is vegan (most frozen packaged puff pastry brands are).  As for the raspberry balsamic reduction, it is really delicious and the perfect complement to this dish.  The yield of this recipe is somewhat large – 12 squares, so you can cut the recipe in half or you can freeze the leftovers.  I like to make the whole recipe and freeze half for another time.  Two meals for the time investment of one – that’s something I always love!
You will need:
  • 1 17 oz package vegan puff pastry sheets
  • 2 8 oz packages tempeh
  • 3 T dijon mustard
  • 3 T soy sauce
  • 3 T maple syrup
  • 3 T vegetable broth
  • 3/4 t garlic powder
  • 3/4 t onion powder
  • 3/8 t dried thyme

Remove the pastry sheets from the packaging and defrost for 40 minutes.

Cut each tempeh block into 3 squares and then cut each square in half width-wise to make them thinner.  You will have 12 thin squares.

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Whisk all ingredients except pastry sheets and tempeh in a shallow bowl.  Add the tempeh squares and let marinate for 30 minutes, flipping after 15.

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Preheat oven to 400.  Lightly grease a baking sheet.

Roll out the pastry sheets a few times to enlarge a bit.  Cut into 12 squares (6 squares per sheet).  Place a tempeh square in the center of each pastry square and top with a teaspoon or so of marinade.

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Fold the corners over, then place on baking sheet, seam side down.

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Bake 20 minutes, or until golden.

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serves 12

Raspberry Balsamic Reduction

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  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 2 t maple syrup
  • 1/2 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 c vegetable stock
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 T+ 1 t fresh thyme, chopped, or 1 t dried

Place raspberries and maple syrup in food processor and process.  Pour into a small saucepan and cook over medium high heat for 2 minutes.  Add stock, balsamic vinegar, salt and thyme.  Bring to a low boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly as it thickens.  You can strain it if you prefer not to have the seeds.