Chocolate Raspberry Brioche Buns: Recipe #240

These are bites of pure heaven. Chocolate raspberry brioche buns are clouds of fluffy bread stuffed with a single raspberry and a square of chocolate that melt together as they bake. You bite into one and a burst of flavor comes through the soft pillowy brioche. Magical.

We decided to bake instead of fry these, and to put chocolate + raspberry together instead of separating them.

Which brings up a great insight about how to make decisions. If you’re stuck on something, take a moment to sit quietly, be with your breath, and feel your body. Allow yourself to be present with whatever emotions or sensations come up.

Trust that you already know what to do, and trust the decision to reveal itself. It doesn’t have to be the “right” decision. Just pick something, go with it, and learn.

Thanks to Paul for this recipe’s inspiration and to all of you for being part of our delicious, mindful, planet-saving family!

Ingredients ($6.50 for 18 filled buns)

1 tbsp active dry yeast – $0.50
1 tsp brown sugar – $0.01
1/3 cup hot soy milk (heat for 30 seconds in the microwave to reach 140F) – $0.12
1 1/2 cup white flour – $0.24
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour – $0.09
2 tbsp brown sugar – $0.06
3/4 tsp salt – $0.03
2 eggs – $0.58
Knead 10 minutes
1/2 cup Miyoko’s vegan butter, softened – $1.24
Knead 5 minutes
Fridge O/N
16 raspberries – $2.50
16 small-ish chunks of dark chocolate – $1.00
Rise 15 minutes warm place
Soy wash
Bake 350 20 mins

Directions for Chocolate Raspberry Brioche Buns

1. In a small, non-metal bowl, mix the yeast, 1 tsp brown sugar, and warmed soy milk. Stir gently to combine and let it sit for 5 minutes to form a thick foam on top of the liquid.

In a large metal bowl, mix together the flours, 2 tbsp brown sugar, and salt. Mix the eggs into the yeast mixture, then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until it comes together into a ball, then knead by hand for 10 minutes until it’s nice and smooth.

Next, add the vegan butter, squish it in with your hands and enjoy the magnificent sound, then knead for 5 more minutes. It will be lovely and soft, and it’s ok if it’s a bit sticky.

Put the dough into a plastic bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

2. The next morning, put the dough on a lightly floured board and knead it a few times to get the air out. Use a sharp knife to cut it into 18 equal-sized pieces and shape each one into a ball.

Wash and dry your raspberries, and prepare your chocolate chunks. Flatten each ball into a disc, put a chocolate-stuffed raspberry in the middle, and fold the dough up around the raspberry. Pinch the dough together and gently roll it back into a ball, with the surprise nicely tucked inside. Repeat for each of the 18 balls.

Put the stuffed balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with cling wrap or a damp tea towel, and let them rise in a warm place for 15 minutes.

3. When the buns have doubled in size, brush them with some extra soy milk, then bake at 350F for 16-20 minutes until they’re nice and golden brown.

Cool for a few minutes, then serve your chocolate raspberry brioche buns warm, with plant-based whipped cream and dusted with icing sugar if you like. Celebrate your decision to make these delicious treats! ❤️

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 1 = >3 hours
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If any of you lovely readers tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Lemon Strawberry Cupcakes: Recipe #239

Citrus + berries is a vibrant combination with many delightful variations: orange blueberry, lime blackberry, grapefruit raspberry, and of course today’s feature of lemon strawberry cupcakes.

As we savor this recipe, let’s also take a second to remember that every piece of food we put in our mouths is a gift from the whole universe. We give thanks for all the soil, and plants, and sunshine, and rain, and farmers, and grocery store workers who came together to produce each little bite that nourishes us.

Thanks also to Isa for this recipe’s inspiration and to all of you for being part of our delicious, mindful, planet-saving family!

Ingredients ($18 for 12 cupcakes)

Cupcakes:
3/4 cup brown sugar – $0.39
1 cup soy milk – $0.37
1/4 cup coconut oil – $2.20
1 tsp vanilla – $0.20
2 lemons, juiced and zested – $0.40
1 1/2 cups flour – $0.74
1 tsp baking powder – $0.02
1/4 tsp baking soda – $0.01
1/2 tsp salt – $0.03

Icing:
1 cup strawberries – $2.50
3/4 cup coconut oil – $6.60 (or use margarine if you want to save money!)
4 1/2 cups icing sugar – $3.96
1 tsp vanilla – $0.20

Directions for Lemon Strawberry Cupcakes

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, soy milk, and coconut oil very well, then add in the vanilla, lemon juice and zest. Next, mix in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir together just until it’s combined, without overmixing.

Scoop the batter evenly into 12 paper-lined muffin tin cups. Bake at 350F for 16-18 minutes until they spring back to the touch and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a cooling rack.

2. Make the icing: blend the strawberries up in a blender, then transfer them to a large bowl, add the coconut oil or margarine, and beat with an electric mixer. Add the icing sugar in small amounts as you beat the mixture, then add the vanilla in. Refrigerate to set the icing if it’s too runny.

Once the cupcakes are cooled and the icing is set, spread the icing on top of the cupcakes. Then enjoy your lemon strawberry cupcake on behalf of all the wonderful beings who helped you make it! 🧁❤️

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 1 = eat rarely
  • TOTAL: 16/18

If any of you lovely readers tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes (Vegan): Recipe #236

How can a cupcake help me become enlightened, you might ask? Or maybe you didn’t ask, but now you’re curious. Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh talks about how we can all become “part-time Buddhas” whenever we take a moment to enjoy a mindful breath, a smile, a mindful step, or… a thoroughly savored bite of cupcake! These dark chocolate peanut butter cupcakes, made without any animal ingredients, are our gift to you on your path of awakening. 🙂

Thanks to Isa for inspiration, and thanks to you all for being part of our delicious, mindful, planet-saving family!

Ingredients ($14 for 24 cupcakes)

Cupcakes:
2 cups soy milk – $0.74
2 tsp apple cider vinegar – $0.20
1 1/2 cups brown sugar – $0.79
2/3 cup coconut oil, warmed to liquid – $5.50
3 tsp vanilla – $0.60
1 cup flour – $0.16
1 cup white whole wheat flour – $0.18
2/3 cup cocoa powder – $0.73
1 1/2 tsp baking soda – $0.03
1 tsp baking powder – $0.02
1/2 tsp salt – $0.03

Icing:
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, room temperature – $1.16
1 tsp vanilla – $0.20
2 1/2 cups icing sugar – $2.20
1/4 cup soy milk – $0.08
2 tbsp coconut oil – $1.10

Directions

1. Make the cupcakes. In a large bowl, mix the soy milk and vinegar and let it sit for 5 minutes to curdle and get thick. Then mix in the brown sugar, coconut oil and vanilla. Whisk until it gets foamy.

Next, in a separate bowl, mix the flours, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Then pour the dry ingredients into the wet ones and mix just until they’re combined. It will be a little bit lumpy and that’s ok.

Scoop the batter into 24 paper-lined muffin tins and bake at 350F for 18 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the muffin tins and cool on a rack.

2. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the icing. Mix the peanut butter, vanilla, icing sugar, and soy milk in a large bowl. Use a fork or an electric beater (if you have one) to combine it all together. Then add the coconut oil and keep mixing until it’s very smooth. Finally, cover the bowl and refrigerate for half an hour to firm up a bit.

3. Once the cupcakes are cool and the icing is chilled, spread the icing on the cupcakes either with a knife or using a piping bag and fancy tip. Enjoy your moment of enlightenment, savoring the darkness of the chocolate against the sweet, creamy icing. 😍

Any leftover dark chocolate peanut butter cupcakes freeze well for future mindful moments too!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 1 = eat rarely
  • TOTAL: 16/18

If any of you lovely readers tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Strawberry Coconut Bread Pudding: Recipe #225

I had never tasted bread pudding before this, and now it’s one of my new favorite treats. This strawberry coconut bread pudding is a plant-based version that uses coconut milk for extra creaminess. It was inspired by a recipe in Isa Does It, a loaf of homemade challah bread, and some extra strawberries we had in the fridge.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($7.50 for 9 servings in a 8×8″ pan)

6 cups cubed challah bread – $3
1 cup soy milk – $0.37
1 cup coconut milk – $1.49
3 tbsp cornstarch – $0.30
1/2 cup brown sugar – $0.26
2 tbsp lemon juice – $0.20
1 tsp vanilla – $0.20
2 cups sliced strawberries – $2.49

Glaze:
1 cup icing sugar – $0.88
1 tbsp soy milk – $0.02
1-2 tsp vanilla – $0.20
1 tbsp coconut oil – $0.55

Directions for Strawberry Coconut Bread Pudding

1. Cut up the bread and put it in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together the soy milk, coconut milk, cornstarch, brown sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla, then pour this over the bread and mix to coat. Let it sit for 15 minutes to soak in and get all soft and moist. Then mix in the strawberries.

2. Press the mixture into an 8×8″ pan greased with a bit of margarine, then bake at 350F for 30 minutes. The top will be a nice golden brown.

3. In a small bowl, mix the icing sugar, soy milk, vanilla, and coconut oil, then drizzle over the pudding when it has cooled for a few minutes. Serve your strawberry coconut bread pudding warm, and savor each marvelous mouthful! 🙂

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 1 = eat rarely
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If any of you lovely readers tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Maple Apple Butter: Recipe #223

This is a sweet apple topping for your favorite ice cream that comes from the Canadian Museum of Nature in honor of Canada Day, and summer, and apples. Maple apple butter is also great to eat on its own, like a thick applesauce. Next time you have some extra apples lying around, give it a try!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($3.50 for 4 good servings)

4 apples, chopped up – $1.20
3 tbsp margarine – $0.47
1/2 cup water – free
1/2 cup maple syrup – $1.90
1/4 tsp cinnamon – $0.07

Non-dairy vanilla ice cream to serve (optional)

Directions for Maple Apple Butter

1. Put the chopped apples, margarine, and water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then cook for 5 minutes on medium high after it starts to boil, stirring occasionally. Then drop the heat to medium low and add the maple syrup and cinnamon. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes until the apples are very tender. Give it a good stir every couple of minutes.

2. When the apples are very nice and soft, pour everything from the pot into a glass blender and puree it until it’s really nice and smooth. Serve warm or cold over your favorite ice cream, or eat it as is for a lovely thick applesauce treat.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 2 = 4-6 servings
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 16/18

If any of you lovely readers tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Apricot Plum Cobbler (Plant-Based): Recipe #222

Would you believe I’ve made it through 43 years on this planet without ever making a cobbler? And I don’t remember ever eating one either. What is a cobbler, you say? It’s baked fruit with fresh biscuit dough on top, which sounds spectacular! We had some soft summer fruit to use up, so we adapted a peach raspberry recipe from the fantastic book Isa Does It to make our apricot plum cobbler. Yum!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($10 for one 8×8″ pan = 9 servings)

Fruit filling:
2 cups apricots, quartered – $3.00
2 cups plums, quartered – $3.00
1 nectarine, sliced – $0.99
1 lemon, juiced – $0.20
1/2 cup brown sugar – $0.26
2 tbsp cornstarch – $0.20
2 tbsp flour – $0.02
1/4 tsp salt – $0.01

Biscuit dough:
6 tbsp soy milk – $0.14
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar – $0.27
1-1/2 cups white whole wheat flour – $0.26
1-1/2 tsp baking powder – $0.05
1/2 tsp salt – $0.03
3 tbsp brown sugar – $0.09
2 tbsp coconut oil – $1.10
2 tbsp margarine – $0.31
1 tsp vanilla – $0.20

Directions for Apricot Plum Cobbler

1. Bake the fruit: Mix all the fruit filling ingredients together and spread out in a greased 8×8″ pan. Cover with foil and bake at 425F for 20 minutes.

While that’s baking, make the biscuit dough: In a small bowl, mix the soy milk and vinegar. Let it sit for a minute or two to curdle. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar together. Add the coconut oil and margarine into the dry ingredients and rub it together with your fingers until it turns into crumbs. Mix the vanilla into the curdled soy milk, then add all the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix into a ball of dough. Separate the dough into 9 even balls.

2. Take the baked fruit out of the oven, remove the foil, and drop the biscuit dough balls on top of the fruit. Bake again, uncovered this time, for another 20 minutes. The biscuits will get golden brown when it’s done, and the fruit mixture will bubble up. Remove the cobbler from the oven.

Use a large spoon to scoop out a whole biscuit and all the fruit underneath it into a bowl. Serve your apricot plum cobbler warm as is or with non-dairy yogurt/ice cream. Enjoy!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 17/18

If any of you lovely readers tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Raw Plant-Based Brownies (with Decadent Frosting!) : Recipe #217

If you’re looking for a brownie that’s incredibly satisfying and chocolatey, has no wheat or dairy, and doesn’t require baking, look no further! These fudgy morsels can be thrown together in 15 minutes and will be devoured in about the same amount of time if you don’t hide some of them for later! Thanks to Dana and John for inspiring these raw plant-based brownies.

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($12 for one 8×8″ pan)

Brownie base:
8 oz package dates, soaked then mashed – $4.99
1 cup raw walnuts, ground up in blender – $2.00
1 cup raw almonds, ground up in blender – $2.00
3/4 cup cocoa – $0.83
1/4 tsp salt – $0.01
1/4 cup maple syrup – $0.95

Frosting:
1/4 cup soy milk – $0.09
1 cup chocolate chips – $1.00

Directions for Raw Plant-Based Brownies

1. In a small bowl, soak the dates in the hottest tap water you can muster. After about 10 minutes, they should be nice and soft and you can drain them and mash them up with a fork.

In a larger bowl, mix together the ground up walnuts and almonds, cocoa, and salt. Then add the mashed up dates and maple syrup. Get in there with your hands and squish it all up together until it comes together into a ball of deliciousness. It’s very messy and fun. Press it evenly into a parchment-lined 8×8″ baking dish. Brownie base done!

2. To make the frosting, pour the soy milk into a microwaveable bowl and put it in the microwave on high for about 45 seconds. Add in the chocolate chips, let them sit in the warm milk for 2 minutes to soften, then stir them in until it’s a rich, smooth, glossy, thick frosting.

3. Pour the frosting over the brownies and spread it out evenly. That’s it!

Cut into your raw plant-based brownies: try some of them warm and gooey, then cover the rest and put them in the fridge. They will firm up nicely in about an hour, and are just as good the next day too.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy=ish
  • TOTAL: 17/18

If any of you amazing home chefs tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Black Forest Cupcakes (Very Fudgy!): Recipe #212

The normal chocolate-cherry combination typical of German black forest cake isn’t my favorite flavor medley, but with apricots and the extreme fudginess of this recipe, I could eat these black forest cupcakes all day long! It’s a modification of our chocolate zucchini cake recipe, only fudgier. Hope you enjoy this decadent and healthy plant-based treat. 🙂

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($8 for 12 cupcakes and 24 mini cupcakes)

Cupcake batter:
1 cups white flour – $0.16
2 cup whole wheat flour – $0.32
3/4 cup cocoa – $0.83
2 tsp baking powder – $0.03
1/2 tsp baking soda – $0.01
1/2 tsp salt – $0.03
3/4 cup brown sugar – $0.39
1 1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks – $1.25
1 cup soy milk – $0.28
3/4 cup canola oil – $0.56
3 eggs – $0.87
1 tbsp vanilla – $1.00
2 cups grated zucchini – $1.40

Icing:
2 tbsp apricot jam – $0.16
1 tbsp soy milk – $0.02
1/2 cup icing sugar – $0.44

Directions for Black Forest Cupcakes

1. Make the batter base: In a large bowl, mix the flours, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, brown sugar, and chocolate chips. Stir to combine. Add in the soy milk, canola oil, eggs, and vanilla and mix well.

Grate and add the zucchini to the chocolate batter, and fold it in with a spatula until the zucchini is evenly distributed throughout the batter.

2. Pour the batter into cupcake tins lined with cupcake wrappers – we filled 3 tins to make 12 large cupcakes and 24 mini cupcakes. Bake at 350F for 20 mins (large cupcakes) and then 9 mins (mini cupcakes).

Make the icing by mixing together all the ingredients for that, adding more icing sugar if you want it thicker.

3. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy your black forest cupcakes just as they are, drizzled with icing, or topped with non-dairy ice cream!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 17/18

If any of you amazing home chefs tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Oven S’mores in 5 Minutes: Recipe #208

Graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate, all melted together over a campfire. It’s a classic Girl Scout recipe, but you don’t need to be camping to enjoy the gooey and crunchy sweetness. Here’s how to make oven s’mores under a low broil in your own kitchen. Yay!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($2 for 3 large s’mores)

6 graham crackers – $0.83
6 large marshmallows – $0.37
1 cup chocolate chips – $1.00

Directions for Oven S’mores

1. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread out 6 graham crackers. Split each marshmallow in half and arrange 4 halves on each of 3 crackers. Split the chocolate chips evenly over the other 3 crackers.

2. Put the baking sheet in the oven set to a low broil. Turn on the oven light and keep a close eye on the marshmallows – pull them out of the oven when the marshmallows get puffy and a tiny bit golden. It should only take 2-3 minutes. The chocolate chips will be glisten-y and soft too.

Carefully pick up the marshmallow cracker and flip it over on top of the chocolate cracker to make a gooey sandwich. Enjoy your oven s’mores hot and fresh, with plenty of napkins!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 1 = 1-3 servings
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 1 = eat rarely
  • TOTAL: 14/18

If any of you amazing home chefs tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Moist Banana Zucchini Cake: Recipe #204

What happens when you play with mixing banana bread and zucchini cake recipes? A very moist, flavor-balanced breakfast cake studded with both raisins and chocolate chips. This banana zucchini cake disappeared in 24 hours, feeding 5 of us for 2 breakfasts. Hope you enjoy it!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($4 total for one loaf)

2 eggs – $0.58
3/4 cup brown sugar – $0.39
2/3 cup canola oil – $0.50
2 tsp vanilla – $0.40
2 tsp cocoa – $0.07
1 ripe banana, mashed – $0.19
1 large zucchini, grated – $0.78
1/2 cup raisins – $0.50
1/2 cup chocolate chips – $0.50
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour (or 1 1/2 cups flour + 2 tsp baking powder + 1/2 tsp salt) – $0.25

Directions for Banana Zucchini Cake

1. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and brown sugar together until they’re light and fluffy. Add in the oil, vanilla, and cocoa and mix well, then add in the mashed banana and zucchini.

Stir in the raisins and chocolate chips, then slowly add in the flour mixture. Make sure it’s fully incorporated and the batter has no flour lumps in it.

Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan.

2. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes. It will be deep golden and springy on top when you lightly touch it with your finger, and a knife inserted into the cake will come out clean. Cool for a few minutes then cut into it and enjoy.

Cover your banana zucchini cake tightly with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for a few days – if it doesn’t get all eaten up.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 16/18

If any of you amazing home chefs tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!