Quick vegan oat cakes

Today’s run: 3.5+ miles

The girls and I shared a batch of my very basic, very easy, and very tasty oatmeal pancakes. These are what I call week-day pancakes: they’re quick enough to make on a busy work morning; they’re also a little too austere and not decadent enough for Saturday morning pancakes.

These can easily be made to be gluten-free if you buy gluten-free oats.

This recipe makes 2 adult servings, or enough for 1 adult and 2 little kids. It can easily be halved, of course.

1 cup oatmeal, plus an additional 1 or 2 tablespoons oatmeal if necessary

1 cup liquid – I used half almond milk, half water

a pinch of salt

a pinch of baking powder

a drop of vanilla (optional)

Grind 1 cup of oatmeal into oat flour (the Magic Bullet works well for this

Add the baking powder and salt, then add the almond milk/soy milk/water whatever liquid you are using. Add the vanilla, if using. Stir.

Let the batter sit for a few minutes while you heat up the griddle. The oats should absorb some of the liquid to make a  nice medium-thick, pancake-y batter, but if the batter seems thin, stir in an extra tablespoon or two of whole oats (not ground).

Pour about 1/4 of a cup for each pancake. When the pancakes start bubbling, flip and cook on the other side.

Serve plain, or with a little Earth Balance and fruit. We like these with a little vegan margarine and strawberries. Since these are a week-day breakfast, I don’t use maple syrup, but syrup would be yummy on them!

A lovely cool weather run

Today’s run: just under 7 miles (as in, 0.07 miles under). Had I plotted the course on gmap-pedometer prior to running, I would have made it an even 7 or, more likely, just over 7. I like rounding my runs to the nearest half-number, but almost always rounding down instead of up; I also like to run longer than I credit myself for. There’s no real reason for this; it’s just how I do it.

Anyways, today’s run was really quite delightful. I ran in the mid-morning instead of first thing before the kids got up; this was a real treat. I also ran a completely new route, listening to music that I hadn’t listened to in a long time (Elgar’s Enigma variations). It was below freezing when I woke up, but probably in the low 40s when I ran. I prefer cold temperatures for running. Here, 30s and 40s qualifies as ‘cold’. In my native New England, such would be warm, but alas, I’m trying to adjust.

Today’s food: breakfast was a bagel from yesterday’s batch. Lunch was leftover chili from yesterday (pictures soon!) and some pasta. Dinner was a really simple stirfry (lots of veggies, sesame-shitake salad dressing mixed with cornstarch as the sauce) and my husband’s version of paradise casserole from The Candle Cafe cookbook. The Candle Cafe is a fabulous, fabulous vegan restaurant in NYC. We first went with my uncle and his then-partner, now-husband (hooray!) in the late 1990s. We’ve only been a few times since then, but it remains a favorite restaurant for both of us. I highly recommend the cookbook. The recipes are fancy but easy enough to do at home, and the pictures are great. I also had some leftover cake from yesterday.

I am hoping to make this blog more about how to be a simple, non-trendy vegan in a largely non-vegan world, than about my daily runs and eats. However, I am going to try to track my runs here just out of convenience. I’ve done a few marathons and half-marathons, the last of which was the Atlanta half when I was pregnant with daughter #2. I’m working back up to a marathon (the Marine Corps/DC one, I hope) and having accountability on my daily runs will help towards that, I think.

I’m not a calorie-counter or super-strict about food, so I don’t really expect to treat this as a food log. I became a vegan back in 1995, after being a vegetarian for a year; my reasons for becoming a vegan were ethical and environmental, and those remain my reasons for veganism today. I’m sure I enjoy some health benefits from being vegan, but really those are incidental and secondary – I’m a vegan because I love animals and can’t stand the thought of them being mistreated.

That being said, I live in an area in which it is really hard to be vegan. It’s easy for me because I’ve done it for so  long and I like to cook (as opposed to eating out), but it would be really, really hard to find the support to start a vegan lifestyle here. I’m in the rural, rural south. No-one has even heard the word vegan here, and in the 6 years I’ve been here, I have not met a single other vegan. I’ve met a few (2, I think) vegetarians. I rarely go to restaurants, partially because of the expense but mainly because of the inconvenience of having to explain what I can and can’t eat, dealing with the bewildered stares of waitstaff, and then not really being certain that what I receive is actually vegan. I do think it’s important to eat out as a vegan in the rural south, because it is only through people asking for vegan options that vegan options will become readily available. It’s just hard to be the guinea pig 🙂

I’m a simple, but good, cook. I love to cook and create and read cookbooks for ideas; I rarely follow a recipe exactly. My cooking has always relied on ingredients that are easy to come by. Back when I became a vegan, even in the enlightened town of Ithaca, NY, where I then lived, grocery stores did not carry staples such as refrigerated soymilk – you could only get the kind on the shelf. Earth Balance did not yet exist, nor did the majority of the meat analogs that are on the market today. Ithaca did carry a wonderful, locally-made seasoned tofu called tofukan…..it was delicious, and the closest to a meat analog that was available. Of course, where I am now has very limited options in terms of prepared vegan food. So, I learned to cook vegan food using basic, simple, whole, unprocessed ingredients, and I continue to cook that way today.

Veganism is becoming somewhat trendy, which is great for the animals and enviroment, but also means that many of the vegan blogs and cookbooks rely on vegan versions of non-vegan items. Sure, I enjoy the occasional tub of Tofutti sour cream, but I do not rely at all on vegan analogs of any kind, except for soy milk and soy margarine. This is primarily due to availability and price – those items are just so expensive, and in my area, very hard to come by.

So the recipes I’ll be posting to this blog are easy to make, tasty, and use easy to find ingredients. I am a mostly-healthy cook, but I enjoy my fair share of desserts, so some recipes will be vegan but definitely not ‘healthy’.

I’m looking forward to finally having a place to write down all the recipes I create. All too often my husband will say ‘why don’t you make X again’ and I can’t remember how I made it. I hope this blog helps remedy this problem, and gives others guidance in how to live a simple, old-school vegan lifestyle.

Vegan oatmeal pancakes, vegan strawberry-white chocolate cake

I did a fair amount of baking and cooking today, and most of it turned out well. Saturdays tend to be pancake day in our house, and I’m always trying to perfect the vegan pancake, yet keep it fairly healthy.  I thought the ones I made today turned out very well! The girls and husband loved them, and I enjoyed a few cold (my favorite!) after taking a leisurely 3-mile run with Shadow.

Here’s the approximate recipe:

3/4 oatmeal, ground into flour (I used my new Magic Bullet to do this)

1/2 cup white flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon ground flax seed (again, the Magin Bullet works well here)

2 cups liquid – I used 1 cup almond milk and 1 cup water

1 tablespoon oil

a dash of vanilla

1 tablespoon baking powder


Mix dry ingredients, except for the baking powder. Stir in the wet ingredients and mix very lightly, then add the baking powder and mix again very lightly. The batter will seem very runny, but don’t worry- the oatmeal absorbs liquid as it sits.

Let the batter sit for 5-10 minutes. In the meantime, heat up a skillet – I LOVE using a cast-iron skillet for pancakes.

Pour about 1/4 cup batter per pancake; flip when bubbly, and make sure you flip only once! Enjoy with some Earth Balance and maple syrup, or however you like.

Later in the day I made some chili, which also a hit with the girls. It was super easy and super healthy; I’ll write that recipe down soon. I also made a batch of bagels. One of my goals for the new year was to perfect the art of bagel-making. I grew up in the urban northeast, and now live in the rural south (long story, best saved for another time), and I am generally displeased with the bagels we can get here. The ones in the grocery store are just dreadful. There’s one great bagel bakery but it is an hour away from us. When we go, we buy dozens and freeze them. However, I decided it was time to return to bagel-making, both because I like a challenge and as a method for saving money and freezer space. I’ve made about 5 batches so far this year, each better than the one before it, but none perfect so far. I’ll post the perfect recipe when I discover it 🙂

However, my oldest daugher (3) had a birthday party today, at which there were strawberry cupcakes – not vegan, of course. So I came home and make a strawberry-vanilla-white chocolate cake. Seriously, is there ANYTHING better than cake with plenty of vanilla and white chocolate and strawberries, and a hint of almond??? I’ll try to post pictures tomorrow but here’s the recipe.


3 cups flour – I used 1 whole wheat, 2 white

1 1/2 cup sugar, or slightly less

1 teaspoon salt

1 stick vegan margarine, melted

2 cups liquid – I used a combination of almond milk and water

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 and grease 2 round cake pans.

Mix dry ingredients, except for baking powder. Stir in wet ingredients and stir until well mixed. Add baking powder and mix lightly. Pour into prepared pans; bake at 350 until light brown, about 20-25 minutes.

White chocolate filling: (you could skip this or just use more frosting, below)

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1/2 cup vegan white chocolate chips

2 tablespoons sugar syrup (agave, maple, brown rice, corn – whatever you have)

Melt oil; add in chips and melt, stirring constantly. Add in syrup when chips are melted and stir until all ingredients are incorporated.


1 cup fresh strawberries (or frozen) (or more if you like)

1 teaspoon sugar

Slice strawberries; sprinke with sugar; let them sit a few minutes to release the juices.


2 tablespoons vegan margarine

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

a tablespoon or so almond milk (or soy milk)

Melt margarine; stir in all other ingredients, mix well.


Using a trifle bowl, put one of the cake layers in the bottom. Cover with half the strawberries, and drizzle the berries with half of the white chocolate mixture. Slice the other cake layer in half, and put half on top of the first layer. Cover with the rest of the strawberries, drizzle with the rest of the white chocolate mixture, and cover with the last half layer of cake. Top with the frosting. YUM!

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