Lemon Blueberry Drizzle Cake: Recipe #245

When I was lucky enough to still have my British grandmother alive, I would go over to visit her every Friday afternoon for tea time and puzzles and a chat. She always had some home-baked treats waiting for me. This recipe is a plant-based spin on her lemon blueberry drizzle cake: a classic English tea time treat.

And now for today’s mindfulness insight: it’s a good reminder that whenever people are being unkind or less than wonderful to us, it is only because they are in some kind of pain themselves. If I can generate compassion inside myself for their suffering, I am more likely to appreciate their struggle instead of reacting and getting angry with them.

We all want to be wonderful to each other. Sometimes we’re just too caught up in our own pain to be able to do that. My grandma was remarkably tolerant about other people’s emotions, and I keep trying to learn from her.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, which is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and yours.

Ingredients ($5 for one loaf)

Cake:
1 cup white whole wheat flour – $0.18
1/2 cup almond flour – $0.63
1 tsp baking powder – $0.02
1/2 tsp salt – $0.03
1/2 cup canola oil – $0.37
3/4 cup brown sugar – $0.39
1 flax “egg” (mix 1 tbsp ground flax + 2 1/2 tbsp water in the fridge for 5 minutes) – $0.15
2/3 cup soy milk – $0.25
2 whole lemons (1 1/2 tbsp squeezed juice + 2 tsp grated zest) – $0.40
1 cup frozen blueberries – $1.25

Icing:
1 cup icing sugar – $0.88
1/2 cup orange or lemon juice – $0.38

Directions for Lemon Blueberry Drizzle Cake

1. In a small bowl, mix the flours, baking powder, and salt. In a separate larger bowl, mix the canola oil, brown sugar, flax “egg”, soy milk, lemon juice and zest. Beat the wet ingredients with a whisk until they’re foamy.

Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until there are no lumps. Then gently fold in the frozen blueberries.

Pour into a parchment-lined loaf pan, add a few extra blueberries on top if you like, then bake at 350F for 55-60 minutes until the top is golden and a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

2. While the cake is baking, mix the icing ingredients together until they’re nice and smooth. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, use a chopstick to poke holes into the cake and then drizzle the icing all over the top and sides of the cake.

Enjoy a lovely slice of your lemon blueberry drizzle cake with a good cup of English tea or a cold glass of soy milk. Have a wonderful day! 🤗

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!

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!

Lemon Chicken with Homemade Pita and Tzatziki Salad: Recipe #198

June means summer is almost here, and the weather is good enough to fire up the barbecue. How about a tangy lemon chicken marinade and a bright cucumber mint salad to go with your freshly baked pita bread? Sounds good to me! You’re all invited for dinner. 🙂

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

Ingredients ($23 total)

Chicken and marinade:
2 pounds organic chicken breast – $11.98
6 tbsp olive oil – $0.60
3 tbsp soy ginger sauce or teriyaki sauce – $0.46
1 tsp garlic powder – $0.28
2 tbsp cumin – $1.40
2 lemons, juiced – $0.40

Salad:
2 cucumbers, diced – $2.58
2 tomatoes, diced – $1.98
1/4 cup yogurt (unsweetened almond milk yogurt works great) – $0.31
5-7 leaves mint, chopped up – $0.96
1 lemon, juiced – $0.20
1/2 tsp garlic powder – $0.14
Salt and pepper to taste

Pita:
1 tbsp active dry yeast – $0.50
1 tsp brown sugar – $0.01
1 cup hottest tap water – free
1/4 cup whole wheat flour – $0.04
2 1/2 cups flour – $0.40
1 tsp salt – $0.05
2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20

Directions for Lemon Chicken with Pita and Tzatziki

1. Arrange the chicken breasts in a glass dish and pour all the marinade ingredients over top. Turn the chicken breasts over a few times to coat evenly, then cover and let the chicken rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Put all the salad ingredients in a bowl and mix well to combine. Cover and let rest in the fridge until ready to serve.

2. Make the dough: in a small non-metal bowl, gently mix the yeast, brown sugar, and water. Let it sit for 5 minutes to form a thick foam on top – this is how you know the yeast is active and ready to go.

Then mix in the whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup of the white flour, and stir well. Let it sit uncovered in a warm place for about 15 minutes. It will get nice and frothy.

Add the rest of the flour, salt, and olive oil, and stir with a wooden spoon to bring it together into a ball of dough. Knead well for 5 minutes until the dough gets nice and smooth. Only add more flour if it gets so sticky that it won’t come off your fingers.

Put the dough in a large metal bowl, cover with cling wrap, and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour until it has doubled.

After it has risen, punch down the dough and divide it into 8 balls. Roll each ball out on a lightly floured surface, and cook it like a pancake on an un-greased frying pan over medium heat. When the first side has nice bubbles on it (2-3 minutes), flip the pita over with a spatula and cook the other side for 2-3 more minutes until it has nice brown spots all over it. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough.

3. Store your pitas on a plate wrapped in a clean dish towel to keep them warm and fresh. Meanwhile, BBQ the chicken breasts at 350F, turning occasionally, until you can slice through them and there is no more pink inside.

Serve the pita with 1/2 of your lemon chicken breast and a refreshing bowl of salad on the side. Feel free to dip the pita in the salad juices for an extra treat. Hope you enjoy this delicious, Greek-inspired dinner!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 1 = >3 hours
  • Servings: 2 = 4-6 servings
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness:  3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact (chicken)
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • 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!

Lemon Poppyseed Cookies (Colossal!): Recipe #193

You’ve heard of lemon poppyseed cake and muffins, but why not lemon poppyseed cookies? Megan found this recipe from Sommer that combines the soft, moist goodness of the cake into a giant cookie. We adapted them here to be dairy-free. They’re also very nice broken up into vanilla ice cream.

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

Ingredients ($5 total for 10 colossal cookies)

2 1/3 cups flour – $0.37
1 tsp baking powder – $0.02
1/2 tsp baking soda – $0.01
1/2 tsp salt – $0.03
1 cup margarine, softened – $2.48
1 cup brown sugar – $0.52
1 egg – $0.29
Zest plus juice of 2 lemons – $0.40
2 tsp vanilla – $0.40
1 tbsp poppy seeds – $0.08

Directions for Lemon Poppyseed Cookies

1. Make the batter: in a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together the margarine and brown sugar until they form a thick paste, then add in the egg, lemon zest and juice, vanilla, and poppy seeds. Mix well to combine.

Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture gradually, stirring to incorporate as you go. The batter should be nice and smooth with no lumps in it.

2. Drop by heaping tablespoonful onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake at 350F for 10 minutes. The edges will be slightly golden. Cool your lemon poppyseed cookies on a wire rack and enjoy!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings: 3 = lots of 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: 16/18

If any of you amazing cooks 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!

Grandma’s Lemon Pound Cake: Recipe #156

This lemon pound cake is from my British Grandma’s recipe box. In her own rating system, she had written “VG” on the corner of this one, which means “very good” – her highest rating. It is indeed a lovely lemony cake for tea time or dessert. We added a poppyseed drizzle icing for fun. Thanks Grandma!

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

Ingredients ($6 total)

Cake:
2/3 cup margarine – $1.66
1 1/3 cups sugar – $1.16
3 eggs – $0.87
2 1/3 cups flour – $0.37
1 tsp baking powder – $0.01
1/2 tsp salt – $0.03
3/4 cup milk or soymilk – $0.28
1 tsp grated lemon rind from 1 lemon, plus 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice – $0.20

Drizzle:
1 cup icing sugar – $0.88
1 tsp milk or soymilk – $0.01
1 tsp poppy seeds – $0.28

Directions for Grandma’s Lemon Pound Cake

1. In a large bowl, use an electric beater to mix the margarine, sugar and eggs together at high speed for 3 minutes, until the mixture gets light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt together.

Take turns adding some of the flour and some of the milk/soymilk to the main egg mixture, beating at low speed the whole time, until everything is incorporated. The batter will be very smooth and glossy. Stir in the lemon rind and juice.

2. Pour the batter into a greased 9x5x3″ loaf pan OR a greased bundt pan. Bake at 350F for 1 hour (loaf) or 40 minutes (bundt), until the top springs back when lightly touched with a fingertip or a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then loosen the edges and carefully turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

You can dust with icing sugar to serve or make a drizzle: put all the drizzle ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Add extra icing sugar or soymilk if needed to reach your desired thickness.

3. When the cake is cooled, use a spoon to drip the drizzle all over the cake so it rains down the inside and outside of the cake. Cut some slices and enjoy with a nice cup of tea!

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 you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Plant-based Macro Bowl with Tahini Dressing: #114 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

When I first moved to California, I was a regular at the Peninsula Macrobiotic Monday Gourmet Vegan Dinners, which I believe have stopped happening after more than 20 years. A frequent culinary enjoyment there was the macro bowl or plate, with some kind of grain, some kind of bean, a variety of veggies, and a yummy dressing. The possibilities are infinite! Here’s one option.

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

Ingredients ($7 total)

3 large beets – $1.99
3 cups cooked pinto beans – $0.24
1/2 head cabbage – $1.25
3 cups cooked rice – $0.36

FOR THE DRESSING:
1/4 cup tahini – $1.15
1/4 cup olive oil – $0.40
3 lemons, squeezed – $0.60
2 tbsp honey – $0.28
1 tbsp garlic powder – $0.70
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Boil the dry beans in a big pot of water for 2-3 hours until tender. Boil the beets in a smaller pot of water for 30-60 minutes until tender (depends on the size of the beets).

Also cook the rice during this time.

Drain and rinse the beans. Run the beets under cold water and the skin will peel right off. Chop up the beets and set aside.

2. Chop up the cabbage into thin strips, and cook over medium heat in a large pan. Stir frequently for 5-10 minutes. It will wilt and get a little bit browned. Turn off heat and set aside.

3. Put all the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. Set out the beets, beans, cabbage, rice, and sauce, and let people make their own plates or bowls. Nutritious and delicious, and good as leftovers the next day too!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 1 = 3+ hours
  • Servings:  2 = 4-6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 2 = decent meal (3 for me but not everyone)
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 14/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Baked Lemon Sole: #66 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Dover sole is a flaky, delicate flat fish that takes very little time and preparation to cook. This recipe uses lemon, olive oil, and dill and a simple oven bake to create a healthy dinner. We had it as a side dish with leftover minestrone.

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

Ingredients ($7.50 total)

3/4 lb dover sole fillets – $6.22
2 lemons, juiced – $0.40
2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20
1 tsp garlic powder – $0.28
1 tsp dill – $0.28
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Place the sole fillets in a glass baking dish that has been greased with a bit of olive oil. Mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and pour over the fish.

2. Bake at 375F for 10-15 minutes until fish is not raw and flakes when touched with a fork. Remove from the oven and garnish with dill. Serve with rice, veggies, or any other side dishes you like.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 3 = <1 hour
  • Servings:  1 = <4 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 2 = decent meal
  • Environmental impact: 1 = wowzers (flown in from overseas)
  • Nutritional value: 3 = optimal nutrition
  • TOTAL: 13/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Lemon Meringue Pie: #49 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

I usually prefer anything chocolate for dessert, but lemon meringue pie is one exception. The creamy, tangy sweetness is refreshing and satisfying. This version has a shortbread cookie-like crust for an extra comforting treat.

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

Ingredients ($9.50 total)

1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) butter – $1.86
1 3/4 cup flour – $0.28
1/2 cup icing sugar – $0.44
1 whole egg – $0.29
1 tbsp + 1 3/4 cup water – free
6 lemons – $1.20
1/2 cup + 2 tsp cornstarch – $1.70
6 egg yolks + 6 egg whites – $1.75
1 cup + 1 cup sugar – $1.74

Directions

1. Make the pastry: Mix the butter and flour together until they become crumbly and there are no big chunks of butter. Feel free to use your hands! Add the icing sugar, 1 egg, and 1 tbsp water, and mix until it comes together into a ball of dough. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface first, or press it straight into 2 pie tins. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for half an hour to firm up. Then bake the crust at 350F for 15 minutes. If you have baking beans, use them, if not I just put some empty jam jars into the pie crust to weigh it down during blind baking.

2. Meanwhile, make the lemon filling: squeeze the juice out of the 6 lemons and grate the zest. In a small pot, mix the lemon juice and zest with 1/2 cup cornstarch. Add 1 3/4 cup boiling water and whisk to thicken the mixture over medium heat. Remove from heat and whisk in 1 cup of sugar and 6 egg yolks. Return the pan to medium heat and whisk until thick enough to be a pie filling.

3. Pour the lemon filling into the pastry crust, then make the meringue: whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer until you get soft peaks when you pull the beaters out of the bowl. Add 1 cup sugar gradually as you continue to mix, then add the 2 tsp cornstarch and whisk a bit longer. It should be nice and glossy and pretty stiff. Drop spoonfuls of the meringue on top of the lemon filling, and use the back of the spoon to make sure the meringue covers right to the edge of the pie. Feel free to make any design or pattern you like on top. 

Bake at 340F (dropped oven temperature from before) for about 15 minutes, until the meringue is nicely golden. I like to let it cool for 15 minutes and then chill it in the fridge before serving. 

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings:  3 = >6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 2 = decent meal
  • Environmental impact: 2 = moderate impact
  • Nutritional value: 1 = eat rarely
  • TOTAL: 13/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

Lemon Orange Squares: #33 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

Bright, citrus-y lemon squares remind me of holiday baking in Canada when I was a kid. Gooey on top and crumbly on the bottom, it’s hard to eat just one! I like making this with a little bit of clementine juice added to the lemons. 

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

Ingredients ($7.50 total)

2 cups + 1/4 cup flour – $0.36
1/2 cup powdered sugar – $0.44
1 cup melted butter – $2.48
2 cups sugar – $1.74
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon/clementine juice – $1.20 (about 4 lemons/2 clementines)
1/2 tsp baking powder – $0.01
4 eggs – $1.16

Directions

1. Melt the butter, then mix it with 2 cups of flour and the powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Mix together until it turns into a thick crumbly paste. Press it evenly into a buttered 9×13″ glass pan, and bake at 350F for 25 minutes.

2. While the crust is baking, squeeze the lemons and oranges, then mix in the eggs, sugar, baking powder, and 1/4 cup flour. Pour this over the baked crust, and bake at 350F for 25 more minutes until it is slightly brown on top and just set.

3. Cool the lemon orange squares on the counter and dust with icing sugar before serving. Cut out any size square you like. If they’re fairly small you can get 36 squares out of this recipe. Enjoy!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings:  3 = >6 servings
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 1 = eat rarely
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!