Svara the Baker

food, kids, Recipe, Svara

Lately Svara has been enjoying baking more.  But it can’t just be any baking – it has to be baking as much as possible BY HERSELF.


At seven years old I certainly can’t let her have free range of the kitchen, so I help her get out the ingredients and materials needed.  She reads the recipe to find out everything she needs, and then she does all of the mixing, measuring, etc.   I help with the oven.  Maybe in another year or two I’ll take another step back and let her get out the ingredients, clean up, and even place things into the oven herself.


For now it is enough ‘herself’ for her to proudly exclaim that she has made these goodies ALL BY HERSELF.  She couldn’t be more proud.  Neither could I.


Svara’s favorite cookbook is Live Learn Love Eat (you can find it for sale here by the author).  This book is written by a vegan mother of three.  The recipes are very child friendly and family friendly.  It is both the fact that the book has children in it AND the fact that she can easily read and understand it herself that appeals to Svara.  I love this cookbook as well!


The recipes Svara made on this particular day were the chocolate cupcakes with raspberry frosting.  Mmmm!  The recipe for both are here on her blog.  The only thing we did differently was that I put the raspberry puree into a sieve to get the seeds out.  I wanted a smooth frosting.


Svara had a blast making these cupcakes, and of course eating them as well!

I’m sure it’ll be a matter of days before she’s in the kitchen again paging through the cookbook for another recipe to make 🙂

Giant Vegan Peanut Butter Cups

food, Recipe

I have a bunch of photos I wanted to share on mini blogposts, but I never seem to find the time!  I also wanted to share the giant peanut butter cups we made a few weeks ago for family movie night.  so first I’ll share our peanut butter cups and then do a catchup post.

I have been making peanut butter cups and/or balls for years.  Reeses peanut butter cups were always one of my favorite candies.  Not very healthy, though!  And definitely not dairy free.  I needed to learn how to make my own vegan peanut butter cups! One of the things I wanted to re-create is the sort of “mealy” texture of reeses peanut butter cups.  The filling isn’t super smooth, it kind of crumbles and then melts in your mouth.  Most recipes call for powdered sugar in the filling, but I didn’t want to add much (if any) sugar, but I wanted a kind of stiff filling.  I had a brilliant idea of adding ground flaxseeds and it worked perfectly!  So that is what I have been doing for several years.  I don’t have an exact recipe, but my method and ingredients are these:

Scoop some peanut butter in a bowl (less if you just want a few little balls/cups, more if you want… MORE!)

If the peanut butter is quite stiff, put it in the microwave for just a few seconds so it’s softer.

Add a pinch or two (or more, depending on how salty your peanut butter is and how salty you like your filling)

Add a little sweetener if you wish (I usually don’t and I use peanut butter that also has no sweetener in it)

Add enough ground flaxseeds to make a workable filling.  If you are making cups, it doesn’t need to be too stiff, but if you are making balls you’ll want it more stiff.  It can take a good amount of flax, an awesome and delicious way to get more ground flaxseeds into your diet for those omega 3s!

Melt some chocolate (I use non dairy dark chocolate chips or bars).   Either roll your filling into balls and dip into the chocolate, or make peanut butter cups.  For cups, I like to use the silicone cupcake liners (I have the mini and full size ones).  you can use paper ones, but it is MUCH harder to spread the chocolate in them.  The silicone ones make it a breeze and they pop off easily later.

For these giant ones I used the full size cupcake liners.  I spread a layer of chocolate on the bottom and up the sides, then let it chill in the freezer for about 5 minutes.  Fill it up with the peanut butter filling, and then top with more chocolate and smooth out.  Freeze for at least an hour.  The only sugar in these was in the dark chocolate.  I consider that to be a healthy indulgence!

peanut butter cup 1 peanut butter cup 2

Naren prefers the smaller cups or the peanut butter balls, but Svara was utterly delighted at having a HUGE peanut butter cup (she ate half of it for the movie and saved half for the next day).

peanut butter cup 3

Roselle Juice

food, Recipe

I’ve posted before about some roselle jam that I made.  Yesterday we got some roselle in our weekly organic delivery box.  I still have some roselle plants growing, but they need to be trimmed and re-planted.  The roselle that we got this week is a different variety.  I’m going to try to plant the seeds to see if they’ll grow, as I much prefer it!  They are bigger, and aren’t covered with the prickly hairs like the ones we have are!  It was SO much easier to peel the roselle when I didn’t have to worry about my fingers!

One of my sisters said that she’s growing some roselle at her home (also called hibiscus), so I wanted to show how I make my juice!  I don’t have an actual recipe because I never know how much I’m going to get.  What I do is rinse the roselle a few times, and then peel off the outside layer, which is what you use.  Inside there is a seed pod, which you do not eat.  I put all the roselle bits into a pan and cover with water. I put quite a bit of water.  I think here I had approximately 4 cups of roselle pieces and I used about 7-8 cups of water.  Bring to a boil and let it simmer for 5-20 minutes, it really doesn’t matter how long.  The water should turn a deep red and the roselle pieces should be wilted and soft.  Strain into another container, and add sugar to taste.  I made this as a concentrate, so after sugaring it to taste (just to balance out the sweet and tart as roselle is quite tart!) you can mix it with water/ice  50/50.


I took about 2 cups of the concentrate and added a bunch of ice to cool it down and we took it out on a spontaneous evening picnic, yum!



Vegan Calzones


I have been dairy free for the past five months.  I have been dairy free on and off for many years, but there is something about cheese that keeps calling me back, especially while I was pregnant!  But since Talisa reacts to my eating dairy, I am totally dairy free for now.  I know it’s healthier anyway, and there are many vegan alternatives, so I don’t mind too much.  I am always looking for new homemade cheese recipes (you can see my collection on pinterest here!)

The other day I came across a new pizza mozzarella (called Moxarella by the maker, cute!).  It’s a thick gooey cheese sauce that you glop onto your pizza before baking it.  The cashews give it richness, the tapioca starch gives it a cheesy gooeyness, and the garlic and lemon give lovely flavor!

The other day at Svara’s birthday party we ordered pizzas since we needed something EASY!  Boy was it hard seeing all that gooey pizza!  Svara and I shared a pizza with no cheese, but it just wasn’t very tasty.  Most of it was leftover, so I immediately thought of this recipe.  I made it tonight and added it to the leftover pizza, baking it until it was nice and hot.  yum!!!

I also made some homemade crust to make some calzones.  I filled the calzones with a little sauce, this cheese, some seitan “sausage”, mushrooms, and olives.  Boy was it tasty!!

This “Moxarella” really has the gooeyness of cheese, I totally love it!!  Here are a couple photos of my calzone cut in half:

IMG_1876 IMG_1877



I made the cheese recipe just like the original, so head on over to Vedgedout to get the recipe!   I added the olive oil as per the recipe since I wanted it to be nice and rich.  I also added the recommended amount of salt.  It was super tasty, but I had to drink a lot of water afterwards, so next time I will cut the salt a bit (if it was just a cheese pizza it’d be perfect, but I added salty olives and seitan “sausage” which is why mine was extra salty).

Homemade Roselle Jam

food, Recipe

One of the plants that I am growing here at our house is roselle.  I thought I had a post about some roselle juice that I made, but I guess not.  All I have is this photo of when our roselle plants first started growing, that was almost a year ago!  Since then we’ve had roselle juice a few times, and I have planted more roselle plants from the seeds of the first plant.

Usually I get 5-10 roselles, so just enough to make a few cups of juice.  But this time I had a bumper harvest, I had this medium saucepan full!



I could have just made a bunch of juice (Naren would have preferred that), but I wanted to take the chance to make something different.  Who knows when I’d have so many roselle again!  So I used about 2/3 of the roselle to make some jam, and used the rest for juice.

When making things with roselle, you have to peel off the outer part.  The inside is the seed pod, which you do not want to use!  The toughest part of this job is that the roselle are covered in little tiny hairs.  They are not soft hairs, they can actually prick into your skin, it’s owy!!  I don’t know of all roselle varieties are like this.  I assume not because I haven’t seen comments about pokey roselle hairs anywhere else.  But mine have them, so I have to be careful!  I cut them off the plant with scissors. Then I hold one in my left and with with a small paring knife in my right hand I peel off the  outer part.  Here is what they look like when they are all prepped:



There was a recipe in the book Joy of Cooking for roselle sauce, so I altered that (it had a TON of sugar in it) to make this.  I thought it would be more of a sauce but it was actually more jam-like in consistency.  Here is what I did:

Roselle Jam

2 1/2 cups prepped roselle

1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1T cornstarch, tapioca starch, or other starch (optional, makes it more like  a jam than a sauce)


Add the roselle, water, and sugar to a medium saucepan.  Simmer for about 5 minutes, until the roselle pieces are all softened.  If you want to use it as is, you can, just let it cool down.  A great substitute for cranberry sauce!   If you want more of a jam consistency, add the 1T of starch mixed in with a little water to dissolve, and simmer for 2 more minutes or until thickened.  let cool and refrigerate.  Ours was in the fridge for about a week and a half before we used it up, we used it as jam.  I think it would taste great mixed with applesauce as well!



Roselle jam is So pretty!  It is a rich reddish-pink.  It is so strong colored that you’d be tempted to think there is food coloring in it.  But nope, it’s all natural!  I’m hoping to have another bumper crop of roselle sometime so I can make more jam.  I think it’d be great in some homemade danishes!