Vegan Chocolate Pudding

This was the first vegan pudding I made after we gave up dairy.  It is very easy, although it does take some time waiting for everything to thicken while you stir it.  It’s worth it, though!  As long as you whisk it constantly and don’t use too high of a heat, it is smooth and creamy.  If you are impatient and don’t do those two things…well, plan on some lumps in your pudding.

I tried to make this easier by bringing the cocoa/milk mixture almost to a boil without having to stir it and then adding the cornstarch combo, but I got such awful lumps!  I also forgot to use a whisk.  It was not pretty.  Nobody but J wanted to eat it (which tells you just how easy he is to please with food.)

This recipe easily doubles, triples, or quadruples…but be prepared to take “forever” if you make too big of a batch.  I quadrupled it ~ hey, 6 of us happen to love pudding ~ and I spent a very long time at the stove whisking.  It goes faster with a smaller batch, certainly, but be prepared for 1/2 c. servings.  🙂

Chocolate Pudding

  • 1/2 c. honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 c. cocoa powder
  • 3 c. non-dairy milk, reserving at least 3/4 c. to mix with cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 c. cornstarch

Carefully stir together the honey and cocoa powder in a saucepan.  It will be poofy at first, but keep gently stirring.  It will begin to get thready and then suddenly fall into creaminess.  Slowly stir some of the milk into the cocoa mixture.  Keep adding a little at a time until the cocoa mixture is well thinned and not stuck to the bottom of the pan where it will scorch.  Add the cornstarch to the reserved milk and stir until smooth.  Add all remaining milk, the vanilla and the cornstarch mixture to the cocoa mixture, whisking until smooth.

Heat over medium-high heat until almost boiling, whisking constantly until thickened.  (Reminder:  the longer you heat this, the thicker it will become…and when it cools it will thicken more.)

Pour into a serving bowl, or individual bowls and cover with plasticwrap (Saran contains no BPA), allowing the wrap to touch the pudding to avoid a skin forming on the top.  Chill thoroughly.

If you want to put this in a no-bake pie crust, allow pudding to become very thick as you cook it.  (Mine was just barely thick enough to cut after cooling when I let it come to a boil with a few large bubbles bursting – watch your hands – while I whisked constantly.)  If you want it super thick, add an extra tablespoon or two of cornstarch to the reserved milk.

Makes about 3 1/2 – 4 cups – or enough to fill a small store-bought graham cracker crust.

Vegan Chocolate Cake

There is nothing like the end of May and the first half of June in our family for needing to bake birthday cakes!  (Not sure how we ended up so many of them in a row, but it does nothing for my weight.  Well, at least nothing good.)  This year poor hubby got an awful version of a gluten-free cake that I tried for his birthday in May.  We won’t be trying that one again.

For R’s birthday celebration last night, I took my tried-and-true chocolate cake recipe and tried it with 100% whole spelt flour.  It worked amazingly well!  (It is not gluten-free, but if you are avoiding wheat it works.)  If anything, it was lighter than my usual wheat version.  I like that!  (And there are leftovers for tonight ~ his actual birthday.)

I just frosted it using my Betty Crocker recipe with vegan ingredients (Earth Balance “butter” and non-dairy milk.)  Oh, and sprinkles are a must for R’s cakes.  😀

Vegan Chocolate Cake

  • 3 c. flour (I have always used King Arthur’s or Trader Joe’s white whole wheat, but now I know that 100% whole spelt flour also works well.)
  • 2 tsp. baking soda (sieved to remove lumps)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 T. cocoa powder, sifted if possible
  • 1 1/3 c. honey
  • 1/2 c. applesauce
  • 1/4 c. extra light olive oil (flavorless)
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 c. water
  • 2 tsp. coffee substitute powder (Roma, Cafix, Pero, etc.) ~ optional

Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray 9″ x 13″ pan with oil, or if you don’t want to cut and serve the cake directly from the pan in my lazy way, cut parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan and spray the paper and the sides of the pan.

Whisk in large bowl all of the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, whisk all of the wet ingredients.  Scrape the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry and whisk until there are little bubbles forming in the batter.  Scrape into prepared pan.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick poked in the middle of the cake comes out clean.  Cool on cake rack for 10-15 minutes before attempting to remove from pan.

Optional pans:  I have made this with round 8-9″ pans in the past.  I decreased the time and watched it closely near the end, checking it with a toothpick.

If you wish to make just an 8″ x 8″ square smaller cake, cut the ingredients in half.

 

Green and Not-So-Green Smoothies

I’m sure by now that you’ve at least heard of green smoothies if you read very many healthy-eating blogs.  They are the easiest way to increase your leafy green consumption without spending all day chewing your “cud.”  🙂  They are a great way to get kids to eat their veggies, too…….or maybe not.  If your child is color blind, perhaps you can sneak it passed them.  I happen to have a child old enough to know better who flatly refused a green smoothie, even when his relatively-food-fussy father said they tasted good!  (Perhaps even you have dug in your heels against the thought of drinking “grass.”)  So, what is a mom, or a wife, in some instances, to do?

Camouflage, of course!

Remember that fussy child of mine?  He has one favorite smoothie – only one.  It contains a frozen banana, frozen strawberries, stevia, cocoa powder, and vanilla Silk soymilk.  He prefers it to be drinkable, rather than soft-serve-like.  After his staunch breakfast refusal of a green smoothie, he asked for his usual for lunch.  He left the kitchen as I got things out to make it.  I peeked to see if he was busy.  Ah, the coast was clear.  I whipped out the organic baby spinach, rinsed a few leaves, and threw it in.  Just to be on the safe side, I was liberal with the cocoa powder.  Ah…a safe deep brown color showed up as the blender whirred.  I ran it a little extra to make sure no tiny leaf particles remained – and snagged the only one I saw as I poured it into his cup.  When he was done I asked him how it had come out.  “Best ever mom – super creamy this time!”  LOL  Success!

The next time he asked for a smoothie, I put in a whole extra-large handful of the same spinach.  He still couldn’t tell.  The 3rd time I did the same.  I was wondering when to tell him.  That day his brother-in-law was over and pretended to take the smoothie from me for himself.  This man has an allergy to leafy greens!  I had to stop him from swigging some.  The jig was up.  R didn’t bat an eye when I told him what I had done.  He said as long as he couldn’t see it or taste it, he didn’t care what I put in the smoothie!

R’s older brother allows me to fix him daily “green” smoothies…but they must contain some kind of berry to mask the color.  The only trouble is that unless you put enough berry in there, the color leans toward brown or avocado green!  Much less appealing.  This morning I put raspberries in and when J sat down to eat, he was expecting mild chocolate flavor by the color and was startled to find coconut-raspberry.

Honestly, I’m the one in the family who can drink an intensely green smoothie without batting an eye.  As long as it has enough fruit and/or coconut flavor to balance it, I love it.  I feel so much more energy – and so fewer cravings – since I started making these!  (I’ve been known to have one for every meal.)  The only time I ever had trouble was when I put some golden beets in on suggestion of another great blog.  I don’t recommend using very much beet at a time if you choose to use that detoxifying veggie.

Here are my favorite things to use (not necessarily all at once, mind you!) in green smoothies (choose organic as much as possible) ~ baby spinach (the mildest taste effect), red curly kale (the organic version smells like flowers!), cucumber (make sure it’s not a bitter one), a celery stick, frozen blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, mango, and/or pineapple, cocoa powder, Silk coconut milk, and bananas.  I’m sure there are other things that work well, but this is what I have used to experiment thus far.  I also tend to throw some ground flax or chia seeds into mine.

It is fun to experiment with taste preferences.  Try blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, apples, pears, etc.  Let me know what your favorite is!  Or if you just aren’t brave enough to try.

Chocolate Green Smoothie

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 6 oz. of frozen strawberries (I just toss in 1/2 of a 12 oz. bag)
  • 1-2 heaping spoonfuls of cocoa powder
  • a sprinkle of pure stevia powder (optional)
  • a handful of washed baby spinach
  • enough non-dairy milk to make the blender turn (this will depend on the texture you like your smoothies to be – soft-serve or drinkable, and on your blender power)

Whiz all in blender until smooth.  Serve in glass or bowl.

Truly Green Smoothie

  • 2 red curly kale leaves, stem end broken off
  • 1-2 handfuls of washed baby spinach
  • a 3-4″ cucumber spear
  • a 3-4″ celery stick
  • 1 c. (or more) frozen mango chunks
  • 1/2 c. (or more) fresh or frozen pineapple chunks
  • a sprinkle of pure stevia powder (optional)
  • 1-2 T. ground flax or chia seed (optional)
  • enough Silk coconut milk to make the blender turn (this will depend on your blender power – I like a thick green smoothie somewhere between solely drinkable and spoonable)

Whiz all in blender until smooth.  Serve in glass or bowl.

Once you are accustomed to the green smoothie look and taste, increase your greens and decrease the fruit for more of a veggie-packed whollop.  You can add a banana to the mix for extra creaminess and sweetness.