So… remember that just-like-grandma-made blueberry muffin recipe I shared last week?⁣ Turns out they also make the best-ever Bakery-Style Chocolate Chip Muffins.⁣ Soft and fluffy on the inside with perfectly baked crunchy sugar tops.⁣

I always find myself making a double batch of these because they disappear so quickly. Its that crunchy-sugar topping that makes them so irresistible.

Bakery-Style Chocolate Chip Muffins

yields: 12 muffins

Prep time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 25 minutes

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cups granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup unsweetened almond milk, or more as needed
1 ½  cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon turbinado or raw sugar for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 400F and line a standard muffin tray with liners.

2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Make a well in the center and add oil, applesauce, and almond milk. Stir just until a batter forms (it will be thick and sticky.) Gently fold in 1 cup of chocolate chips.

3. Scoop out batter into the prepared tray, filling each well about 2/3 full. Top with remaining half cup of chocolate chips, pressing each one gently into the muffin batter. Bake for 22 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean and the muffins are lightly golden.

Meet your new poolside, beachside, backyard-side snacking companion: Spicy Vegan Jerky.⁠⁣⁣⁠
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Made with Butler soy curls and a blend of seasonings, this jerky is our go-to sweet, spicy & savory snack. It’s perfect on a charcuterie board with vegan cheese and all the accessories, or just on its own. ⁣⁣⁠
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And when major league sports starts up again, you’ve got game-time snacking DONE!⁠⁣⁣⁠ You can get the recipe for a BBQ version of this Soy Jerky in my new cookbook, The Budget-Friendly Vegan Cookbook, but if you can’t wait, I’m sharing the original Smoky Spicy Version here.

You can find Butler Soy Curls online at Amazon and in most specialty/natural food stores.

Smoky Vegan Soy Curl Jerky

prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 70 minutes

1/4 cup tamari⁠⁣⁣⁠
1/4 cup molasses⁠⁣⁣⁠
2-3 drops of liquid smoke (optional but it adds a nice smokiness to it)⁠⁣⁣⁠
2 teaspoons kosher salt⁠⁣⁣⁠
2 teaspoons onion powder⁠⁣⁣⁠
2 teaspoons garlic powder⁠⁣⁣⁠
1/2 – 1 teaspoon cayenne powder⁠⁣⁣⁠
1/2 cup neutral oil like canola or grapeseed⁠⁣⁣⁠
2 cups boiling water⁠⁣⁣⁠
1 x 8oz bag Butler Soy Curls⁠⁣⁣⁠
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1. Preheat your oven to 275F and line a standard baking sheet with parchment paper.⁠⁣⁣⁠
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2. In a large bowl, whisk to combine the tamari, molasses, liquid smoke, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, and oil. Add the water and whisk again until blended.⁠⁣⁣⁠
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3. Add the soy curls and let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed (you will still have some leftover, that’s okay) and the soy curls are plump and tender. Transfer the curls only to the prepared baking sheet, discarding the leftover marinade. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, turning every 15 minutes. Cool completely.⁠⁣⁣⁠
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This is the Ultimate Vegan Tuna Sandwich.

I make a tub of this “tuna” mix every weekend and pretty much live on it throughout the week, the same way my twenty-something self lived on real tuna. And every time I take a bite, I’m still amazed at how much it tastes like tuna.

The natural brine flavor from chickpeas and canned hearts of palm, plus the addition of kelp flakes gives this mock tuna the fishiness of the real deal, without harming any sea life.

Kelp flakes are a type of ground seaweed and are readily available in the fish section of most grocery and health/natural food stores these days, as well as online.
I like using a mix of chickpeas and hearts of palm for this salad to capture both the texture and color of chunk tuna from the mashed chickpeas and the flakiness of tender hearts of palm that mimic tuna so well.
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The Ultimate Vegan Tuna Salad⁣⁠
Prep time: 20 minutes⁣⁠
Makes 6 sandwiches⁣⁠
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1 x 14oz can chickpeas, drained⁣⁠
1 x 14oz can hearts of palm, drained and roughly chopped⁣⁠
1 celery stalk, diced⁣⁠
2 green onions, diced ⁣⁠
½ kosher dill pickle, diced⁣⁠
1 teaspoon green relish⁣⁠
1 teaspoon ballpark mustard⁣⁠
¼ – ½ teaspoon sriracha⁣⁠
½ teaspoon tamari⁣⁠
1 heaping tablespoon vegan mayonnaise⁣⁠
½ teaspoon kelp flakes⁣⁠
½ teaspoon ground black pepper⁣⁠
¼ teaspoon kosher salt⁣⁠
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1. In a medium-size bowl, combine the chickpeas and hearts of palm and mash using a fork or potato masher until semi-chunky, but spreadable.⁣⁠
2. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix until well combined. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, and sriracha as needed.⁣⁠

Welcome to the easiest, fluffiest, just-like-grandma-made-them blueberry muffins ever!⁣⁠
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These one-bowl muffins have the greatest slightly-chewy and crispy top, and a fluffy crumb interior that is just bursting with blueberry flavor. ⁣⁠
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And they literally take less than 30 minutes to make.⁣⁠

Grandma’s Blueberry Muffins

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cups granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup unsweetened almond milk, or more as needed
1 ½  cups fresh or frozen blueberries, plus extra for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 400F and line a standard muffin tray with liners.

2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Make a well in the center and add oil, applesauce, and almond milk. Stir just until a batter forms (it will be thick and sticky.) Gently fold in 1 cup of blueberries.

3. Scoop out batter into the prepared tray, filling each well about 2/3 full. Top with remaining half cup of blueberries, pressing each one gently into the muffin batter. Bake for 22 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean and the muffins are lightly golden.

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with M&M cookies. We had a local bakery that used to make them, and getting one was a huge treat. Theirs were huge, like really huge – and I’m not just saying that because I was a kid and everything seemed big. They were legitimately BIG cookies, with a crispy exterior, chewy interior and tons of M&M candies throughout. It was the perfect cookie.

I discovered recently that my kids have no idea what M&Ms are. It makes sense…my oldest is allergic to dairy and would never have been given any, and my youngest is just discovering the world of candy and doesn’t know many by name. Being that both my kids are also vegan, it’s not like M&Ms are ever on their radar. But one of them asked me recently what my favorite cookie was as a child and of course, I said the “M&M cookie from Bregmans” – which led to a slew of questions about what exactly and M&M cookie was, are they vegan, and can we make some?

I never really need to be asked twice to bake cookies. They are just about my favorite thing in the world to make, and I’ve been obsessed lately with creating the ultimate vegan cookie base. Soft and chewy on the inside, crisp and buttery on the outside, and strong enough to hold a boatload of chocolate chips. After years of trying, I’ve found the perfect recipe. So I decided to test them out with something other than chocolate chips.

During a stroll through a sort-of-local kosher grocery store, I stumbled upon these little chocolate gems. If you’re not familiar, kosher grocery stores (or the kosher section of a regular grocery store) can be a great place to find many accidentally vegan items, since kosher rules do not allow for the mixing of dairy and meat products in their ingredients, or during a meal. Therefore, many kosher baked goods, candies, chocolate and other foods are dairy-free so that they can be served with either meat or dairy dishes. (That being said, “eggs” are something that can pass for either dairy or meat in a kosher scenario, so if you’re vegan and looking at kosher products, always read labels first!)

Anyway, back to these cookies. It’s the second day of a new school year here and also a year of big transitions: my youngest started her first year of french immersion in a new school (her big sister’s school), and my oldest is entering her final year of elementary school and preparing to move to french immersion middle school next year. To celebrate all these big changes, I decided to test out my vegan MM cookie recipe and surprise them after school.

The best part about this recipe is that you DON’T NEED TO CHILL THE DOUGH! You know all those awesome chocolate chip cookie recipes out there that require you to chill the dough for hours (or even – GASP! overnight?) Yeah,no…because when I want a fresh baked chocolate chip cookie, the last thing I want to do is have to wait for the dough to “set up”.

This dough recipe comes together in minutes and can go straight from the mixing bowl to the oven, meaning you get delicious, crispy and chewy cookies in very little time. Awesome, right?

The dough is a great base recipe and can be used for M&Ms, or chocolate chips (or any mix-ins really), so definitely keep it handy, even if you don’t have any vegan M&Ms on hand.

Bakers notes:

I used a 1.5 inch ice cream scoop to make these standard size cookies, and baked them for exactly 12 minutes. If you want to make larger cookies, adjust your bake time accordingly.

Cookies will look slightly puffy and underdone on top. This is totally okay.  As the cookies cool, they will flatten out naturally and get that crinkly, bakery-style look


Vegan Bakery Style M&M Cookies

(yield 36 cookies)

Ingredients:

2 ½ cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

⅔ cup vegan butter, softened

⅔ cup granulated sugar

⅔ cup light brown sugar

½ cup unsweetened plant-based milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 ¼ cup mini vegan chocolate gems plus extra for garnish

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat.

2. In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

3. In large bowl, cream butter and both sugars until light and fluffy – about 5 minutes.  Add milk and vanilla and stir to combine.

4. Add dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture and stir until just combined. Add 1 ¼ cups mini vegan chocolate gems and mix until combined. Using a 1 ½ inch ice cream scoop, drop scoopfuls of dough onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 2” spaces between each ball of dough.  You should be able to fit 12 on a sheet. Press additional candy gems into dough for a bakery-style cookie look.

5. Bake for 11-12 minutes or until bottoms are slightly golden.  Remove from oven and let sit on cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. 

**note: Cookies will look slightly puffy and underdone on top. This is totally okay.  As the cookies cool, they will flatten out naturally and get that crinkly, bakery-style look

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Clear the decks and put on a pot of good, strong coffee, because you’re going to want to make these biscotti ASAP. I’m not kidding. They are the perfect combination of chewy and crunchy; and are full of almond and orange flavours that are rich enough to balance out a bold coffee, but not overly sweet.

I worked my way through college as a barista in a local coffee chain here that had a version of these biscotti in their cafes, and I ate way more of them than I probably should have, but hey…7 or 8 hours on your feet slingin’ coffee affords you the luxury of a baked treat whose calories can be burned off by your next shift.

I rarely frequent that coffee chain anymore (Starbucks first opened in Toronto a couple of years after I graduated and became my coffee purveyor of choice for the past 20ish years), but I often think of those biscotti. I’ve never been able to find a close replica of them anywhere. And that old coffee chain stopped selling them years ago (before I went vegan and would have to give them up anyway.)

In my newly-launched cookbook, I have a vegan chocolate biscotti recipe, and I’ve been teaching biscotti-making techniques in my recent cooking classes, so I decided it was time to try recreating these elusive orange almond ones from my past. What makes these biscotti stand out from most others is the addition of ground oats. Most traditional versions just use flour, which gives the cookie a smooth, easy bite (especially when dunked in coffee). My version uses coarse ground oats and brown sugar instead of white, which adds a lot of texture and, after the initial outer crust, a chewy, dense center layered with a nutty, citrusy flavour. It’s a deeply satisfying cookie, and I’m super-excited to have them back in my life.

Because I was elbow-deep in dough as I was formulating this recipe, I tasked my nine-year-old daughter with being the official recipe-keeper for this experiment. In my beat up, food-splattered kitchen recipe journal that holds the trials and tribulations of every recipe I’ve ever tested, she dotingly wrote down every ingredient and measurement that I called out, recording not only the pertinent details of this experiment, but also adding her mark to a legacy that will one day be hers. And for that reason, these will always be my favorite biscotti.

Orange Almond Biscotti

Ingredients:

1 ¾ cups all purpose flour

½ cup coarsely ground oats

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

½ cup sliced almonds

½ tsp ground cinnamon

2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 4 tbsp hot water)

⅓ cup vegan butter, softened

¾ cup brown sugar

¼ cup + 2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk 

1 tsp almond extract

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp orange zest

2 tbsp orange juice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.

In a large bowl, combine flour, ground oats, baking powder, salt, sliced almonds and ground cinnamon. Set aside.

In a second bowl, add flax eggs, vegan butter, brown sugar, ¼ cup almond milk, almond and vanilla extracts, orange zest and orange juice.  Whisk to combine.

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined and a dough forms.  It should be a bit sticky. If dough is too dry, add remaining 2 tbsp almond milk. Form dough into a ball and divide in half.

Place one half of the dough onto prepared baking sheet and form into an even log about 1 ½ inches thick. Repeat with remaining dough.

Bake for 30 minutes, then remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.  Transfer to cutting board and cut on the bias into 1 inch thick slices.  Lay each cookie slice on its side on the baking sheet and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes or until edges are golden.

Remove from oven and cool completely.  Cookies will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

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Writing and publishing my cookbook has been an incredible journey. It was years in the making; required a lot of patience, determination and drive; and taught me so many things about the process, and about myself.

Now that the book is published, and my efforts are focused on promoting it, I can take a step back and really absorb the magnitude of what I did. I wrote a freakin’ cookbook, y’all! A legit 100+ recipe cookbook. With pretty pictures too! Anyone who knows me well can attest to the fact that I’m not one to put myself in the spotlight. An introvert from birth, I’ve always been content to hang back in the shadows, work behind the scenes, do anything to AVOID being noticed. So putting myself out there like this – and then promoting it? That’s HUGE!

My reasons for writing this book were deeply personal. I’m not famous, I don’t expect to get a cooking show or food writing job out of this (although that last option might be fun), and while I’m thrilled that the book has been selling so well, and been supported by so many, even if it didn’t sell a single copy, I’d still be immensely proud of it. Not only did I create a tangible, usable keepsake to pass down to my daughters, I let them see that they can do ANYTHING they want to in this world as long as they believe in themselves. No dream is too big, too far, too unattainable as long as you work hard towards it.

I’ve often been asked why I chose to self-publish this book (see above comment about not being famous…haha!) I think there’s a big misconception in general about self-publishing, and I wanted to share my experience to help debunk some of the myths about self-published books (but are they real books? How do you sell them? Will they look professional? Isn’t it so expensive?) and encourage others who are considering the process to give it a try.

So last week I sat down with Maggie Green of The Green Apron Company. Maggie is a trained chef, licensed and registered dietitian, culinary nutrition expert, food and nutrition writer, recipe developer, and cookbook industry consultant. If it relates to a cookbook or cooking, Maggie’s done it, and she has this great podcast dedicated to all things cookbooks, called Cookbook Love. After hearing about my self-publishing story through Instagram, she invited me to chat with her about my journey and offer some advice to others who are interested in self-publishing and specifically crowdfunding (I successfully ran a Kickstarter campaign to fund the publishing of my book.)

So, if you’re inclined, here are links to my podcast interview. I hope it inspires the inner cookbook writer in you. (I’ll be back in the corner avoiding the spotlight now!)

Cookbook Love Podcast Interview with Ally Lazare

iTunes: https://apple.co/2L2zmnJ
Stitcher: http://bit.ly/2P9T8mC
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2TWmW4N
Google Play: http://bit.ly/33UgMa4

I grew up in Canada, but I’ve spent a lot of time in the United States. For a number of years I worked with U.S. based companies and spent a lot of time traveling back and forth to cities like New York, Dallas and Atlanta. And of course, I’ve vacationed across America for almost my entire life.

What I always loved about traveling stateside was the exposure to restaurant chains we didn’t have up here (but always saw advertised on TV thanks to US cable feeds). It was a huge treat to go to places like IHOP, TGI Fridays, or Applebees, or my absolute favorite: P.F. Chang’s. A client based in Dallas introduced me to PF Chang’s many years ago and it became a tradition that whenever I came to town, we went there for dinner.

I don’t travel stateside as often as I’d like anymore, and I haven’t been inside a P.F. Chang’s in well over a decade, but I still have fond memories of many of their dishes. Particularly the ones I enjoyed in my pre-vegan days. So I’m embarking on a mission to recreate vegan versions of some of their classic dishes. I’ve started with a staple: Mongolian Beef.

Truthfully, this dish (like many on the menu), are all about the sauce. So I focused on nailing a sweet, sticky, soy glaze with just a trace of heat to tickle the taste buds, and then set about focusing on a protein. I wanted something that was easily available and familiar, and that didn’t require hours of prep. Truthfully, to imitate beef, seitan often works best, but I find that pan-fried seitan can have a soft, chewy texture, and I was going for something a little more dense. And seitan takes time to make. Tempeh and jackfruit didn’t make much sense either, based on their consistencies or their ability to stir fry well, so I chose old reliable: tofu.

I like cooking with extra firm tofu, as it has the least amount of water content in it, and it can stand up to almost any type of heat. What I didn’t want though, was the uniform look of tofu cubes. For this dish, I drained and pressed as much water as I could out of a block of tofu, then gently pulled it apart in random pieces and shapes. The ripped surface edges give the tofu a more realistic look, and crisp up better in a pan. Plus they allow for much more sauce to get in – which is key.

Once the tofu was torn, I pressed it again to get any additional water out, since I was going to dredge them in cornstarch before cooking to get that crispy exterior.

The traditional PF Chang’s version is simply flank steak and garlic green onions, but knowing how my kids feel about anything green, I added red peppers to my version, and used the green onion as a garnish.

The tricks to this dish are high heat and short cooking time. I don’t have a wok, so I used a deep non-stick skillet, which worked just as well. I served this dish with steamed rice, but truthfully it would be amazing with a vegan fried rice or even coconut rice too.

Copycat Vegan Mongolian Beef

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons + 2 tablespoons olive oil 

1/2 teaspoon minced ginger 

4 cloves minced garlic

1/2 cup tamari or gluten free soy sauce

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

¼ – ½ tsp sriracha

½ large white onion, diced

1 red or green pepper, chopped

1 350g block of extra firm tofu, ripped into small chunks

1/3 cup cornstarch

2 green onions chopped

Directions:

  1. Heat 2 tsp oil in a small pan over medium low. Add ginger and garlic and stir just until warm and fragrant, 1 – 2 min. Add soy sauce, water and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Let boil 3-5 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
  2. Add torn tofu pieces to a large Ziploc or resealable bag and add cornstarch. Shake to coat.  Remove tofu from bag and set aside.
  3. Place 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan or wok and heat over medium high heat. Add white and green onions, and red or green pepper and cook until peppers are slightly soft and onion is translucent.
  4. Add remaining oil and tofu pieces. Do not overcrowd the pan – work in 2 batches if your pan isn’t very wide.
  5. Cook tofu, tossing frequently until all sides are browned. Add sauce to pan and cook on medium high heat until hot and bubbly – about 5 minutes.

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These are a total trip-down-memory-lane kind of treat. Who didn’t love getting a box of animal crackers as a kid and biting the heads off of lions and tigers and bears? Guaranteed fun…until the box was empty of course.

I love recreating childhood favorites and introducing them to my kids. Having kids with dairy allergies means that many of the sugary, kid-pleasing, nostalgia-invoking treats of my youth are off-limits, so whenever I nail a vegan/allergy-friendly copycat version I get really excited. These cookies are no exception. Cinnamon sugar cookies coated in brightly coloured eggless royal icing and covered in sprinkles – what’s not to love?

Not only are these cookies adorable and delicious, but they are a great way to have some fun in the kitchen with your own kids. Little hands are perfect for cutting out and dipping these miniature treats.

What really makes these cookies stand out (aside from all the sprinkles) is the cookie base. It’s an amazing cinnamon sugar cookie that works well for any type of decorated cookie. I use this cookie base all the time – the boost of cinnamon really gives it a lovely flavor and texture and is just so much more interesting than a plain sugar cookie (not that there’s anything wrong with a good old-fashioned sugar cookie!)

If cookie decorating is your jam, I highly recommend saving the this recipe and using it the next time you’re getting creative in the kitchen. Just double up the bake time for larger cookies.

These cookies are best when the dough has had time to chill and set, at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight, so plan ahead on this one. The dough itself takes five minutes to prep, and uses ingredients I guarantee you’ve already got in your pantry and fridge, so get that hand (or stand) mixer ready! We are heading into a long weekend here so I’m stocking my fridge with a double batch of dough so that we can bake our little hearts out.

I found this eggless royal icing mix by Virgin Ice at my local Bulk Barn, but if you can’t find it, I’ve included a great vegan glaze recipe below that works just as well.

I used these mini cookie cutters from Amazon to make animal shapes, and Wilton Gel Food Coloring as it’s best for bright, streak-free colors and is vegan.

Frosted Animal Crackers

Ingredients – cookies:

2 ¼ cups all purpose flour

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

3/4 cup vegan butter, softened

¾ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup unsweetened soy milk

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Ingredients – glaze icing:

1 ½ cup icing sugar

3-4 tbsp non-dairy milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Wilton gel food color

sprinkles

Directions – cookies:

In a medium size bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer), cream butter and sugar together until fluffy and smooth – approx 2 minutes.  Add vanilla extract and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides as needed to ensure all ingredients are mixed well.

Set mixer on low speed and add half the flour mixture and mix to combine.  Then add soy milk, and mix for 1 minute, then add remaining flour mix. If dough is crumbly, add more soy milk, 1 tbsp at a time, until dough comes together.  

Turn dough out onto counter. Divide in half and shape into 2 discs.  Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours (overnight is even better).

Preheat oven to 350F.

Once dough is chilled, remove one disc from fridge and place between two floured sheets of parchment paper.  Roll out until ½ inch thick. Cut out shapes and place on parchment lined baking sheets, about 1-2 inches apart.  Gather up remaining dough, re-roll and cut out more cookies. Repeat until all dough is used.  (The dough keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days and freezes well, so you can make half a batch – which still yields about 2 1/2 dozen cookies, and save the other batch for another day.)

Bake for 9 minutes or until bottoms are ever-so-lightly golden.  Let cool completely.

Directions – icing:

If you are using a prepackaged vegan royal icing, mix contents of package with cool water until a shiny, thick-but-pourable glaze forms.  (The package in my picture used ¾ cup water to achieve this consistency.)  

If you don’t have a vegan royal icing mix, you can try this recipe from A Beautiful Mess, or use my glaze icing recipe:

Whisk together icing sugar, unsweetened non-dairy milk and vanilla extract until glaze forms and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. It should be thick but slightly pourable.

Separate icing into smaller bowls, one for each color, and add 1-2 drops of Wilton Gel Food Coloring into each bowl and stir to achieve desired color.

One at a time, dip the top of each cookie into the icing, let the excess drip off, then place back on a baking sheet and top with a few sprinkles.  You will want to sprinkle each cookie as you dip it so that the icing is still wet enough to make the sprinkles stick.  

Repeat until all cookies are iced.  Allow icing to harden by placing baking trays in the fridge or letting them sit on the counter at room temperature for a couple of hours.
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I’m really not sure whether to call this a salad, or a dip, or just the most amazing flavour explosion ever to hit your mouth. It’s kind of all three.

Last weekend my cousin Lisa brought this salad to a family BBQ and it was a huge hit. Like we all couldn’t stop scooping it up. At a first glance, it seems like the standard fare; you know, we’re having a bbq/picnic/party and there’s gotta be a bean salad there,…but when you taste it, you realize this isn’t any ordinary bean salad. It is the *perfect* filling for any sort of scoopable chip or cracker. (Or if you’re like me, the perfect spoonful straight up every single time I walk past the refrigerator!)

Of course, it’s a bean salad, so its healthy (yay protein and fibre), but it’s also so darn delicious and versatile. It’s great as a side dish/dip at a party; or as a grab-and-go lunch, or a salad topper or even a bean and veggie wrap. It’s a great make-ahead dish (it gets better the longer it sits) and its really easy to assemble. My cousin gracefully shared her recipe with me, and I’ve spent the week playing around with it before sharing it with y’all. Basically, I’ve kicked up the heat a bit and swapped out one herb for another (hers used cilantro; I opted for flat leaf parsley because I’m so not team cilantro – but it’s okay if you are. We can still be friends.)

So, grab a bowl of this bean salad and I’ll meet you at the Tostitos, k?

Summer Bean Salad

Ingredients:

1 19oz can lentils, drained and rinsed

1 19oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 19oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

½ red onion, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 jalapeno pepper, diced (pith and seeds removed)

1 green onion, chopped

¼ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

¾ cup catalina dressing

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.  Refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours (preferably overnight) before serving.

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