Vegan holiday cooking with Kaileigh

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Chocolate cupcakes

This one is a classic. You know the struggle — there are always cakes or cupcakes at a holiday party that you can’t eat. Here is how you make 15 cupcakes this Christmas.

You’ll need:
1 ½ cup of all-purpose flour
1 cup of sugar
¼ cup of cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of baking powder
½ teaspoon of baking soda
¼ tablespoon of salt
1 pinch of ground cinnamon
1 cup of plain (unsweetened) almond milk
6 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

For Frosting:

⅓ cup of virgin coconut oil
¼ cup of packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
½ cup of cocoa powder, sifted
2 cups of icing sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons of almond milk
First, preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. After that, add the almond milk, oil, balsamic vinegar and vanilla and mix well, until smooth. Spoon the batter into paper cupcake cups and bake the cupcakes for about 20 minutes, until a tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting, frost, and then indulge! Delicious!

Roasted Cauliflower

Yes, I want you to roast the entire cauliflower. Packed with nutrients and flavour, this is a dish I make all year round.

You’ll need:

1 Cauliflower

1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1 teaspoon of chilli powder

¼ teaspoon of ground cumin

1 teaspoon of smoked paprika

1-2 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice

Parsley (for after)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the leaves from the cauliflower and cut the bottom off so you can sit it on a flat surface. In a bowl, mix all of the above ingredients, and then spread that mixture on the cauliflower. This works best with a kitchen brush. Cover with tinfoil and then place in the oven for about one hour. If you don’t have much time you can increase the temperature and keep the cauliflower in for a shorter amount of time, but be wary. I usually top the cauliflower with parsley or cilantro after cooking, and serve it with quinoa or a lentil dish. You can have so much fun with cauliflower — feel free to modify the spices in this recipe.

Eggnog

Eggnog is a hit or miss among everyone, but I’m one of those few who actually enjoys this creamy beverage over the holidays. So, of course, I was upset I would never again get to experience this rich deliciousness after picking up a plant-based diet. Still, stores do sell rice based nog, and I experiment enough with rice on my meager vegan-student budget for that to sound appealing. I found this recipe online; I’ve yet to make it but I will certainly be indulging in this year.

You’ll need:

2 cups of water plus additional water for soaking dates and cashews (soak the dates and cashews

and dates for at least four hours but try for overnight if you can plan)

14 oz of full fat coconut milk

1 cup of raw cashews

8 dates pitted (to taste)

1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup to taste

¾ teaspoon of ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon of fine sea salt (heaping)

⅛ teaspoon of turmeric

4 shots cinnamon whiskey (optional)

This one seems fairly discretional. If you don’t have some of the ingredients kicking around I’m sure it will still taste okay — cashews, dates, coconut milk, cinnamon and possibly nutmeg seem to be the staple ingredients.

Once you have soaked your cashews and dates all you need to do is drain the excess water and then throw them into a blender with all of the other ingredients. Blend until you are satisfied with the texture and finally  refrigerate before you serve. Yum!

Mushroom gravy

How many of us go to the family dinner and are not able to eat the gravy? I know I can’t! As an alternative to meat-based gravy, my partner and I make this mushroom gravy all year-round. I must give the credit to him on this one. There are many vegan gravy recipes online that might be less involved, or even packs of vegan gravy at the grocery store, but I promise, if you are a mushroom fan, this will please your taste buds more than either.

You’ll need:

Diced onions

Garlic

Chopped mushrooms

Flour

Vegetable stock or water.

Begin by sautéing the the diced onion and garlic olive oil. When the onions are a little brown (but not burnt), add the chopped mushrooms and cook until they are reduced in size. Add two tablespoons of flour, cook for a few minutes. Then add vegetable stock or water, whisk and simmer until thickened. So easy –—  so plant-based! If you bring this one to your family dinner everyone will be impressed.

Plant-based baking and cooking has a reputation of being bland, uninspiring and time consuming. Living a vegan lifestyle is a personal choice. If it is something you can pull off that is wonderful. If not: there are many delicious, perhaps less time consuming, non-plant-based recipes online. We are lucky to live in an age where the internet adheres to, almost, everyone’s specific needs. Happy holidays to all!

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