Roasted Potatoes and Spinach Curry

Roasted Potato and Spinach Curry

Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore, vegan food deserves to be celebrated and appreciated. I learned to cook, and to love food when I first began eating a plant-based diet. Vegan food taught me different flavors that I hadn’t yet tasted. Pretty soon there-after, I fell in love with curry. Curry can be very complicated, or very easy to make. If you are using store-bought curry paste (like I did here), you will have a quick and satisfying dinner. If you have the time, experiment and try making your own curry paste. For this dish, I used a canned Thai green curry paste made from green chilies, with lemongrass, coriander, ginger and garlic.

Roasted Potato and Spinach Curry

Roasted Potatoes and Spinach Curry
An easy, very very spicy, but comforting dish

3 pounds red potatoes
extra virgin olive oil

2 shallots, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 – 15 ounce can lite coconut milk
1 cup vegetable broth
I – 4 ounce can green curry paste (I used Maesri brand)

Wash the potatoes, and parboil them for 12 minutes. Drain, and when cool enough to handle, cut them in fourths or sixths. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place potatoes on a parchment lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden and edges are a bit crispy.

In a large saucepan on medium heat, sauté the shallots in the olive oil until caramelized nicely. Add the spinach, and cook for about a minute before adding the coconut milk, veg broth and curry paste. Stir until well combined and bring to a boil for about 10 minutes. Add the roasted potatoes and turn off heat.

Serve as is, the potatoes make the dish very hearty. If you wish, serve over rice or with naan.

A whole lot of love goes into the food I make; from the most elaborate dish, to the quick-in-a-hurry-meals (the latter in which I now make more often). Always, always thank the person who makes you a meal, or serves you your take-out – especially if that person’s name is “Mom!” A nice thank you really goes a long way. And a sincere thanks never gets old.

Roasted Potatoes and Spinach Curry



Butternut Squash Soup – VeganMOFO

butternut squash soup

Butternut squash soup (bisque, or what-have-you) is like, the new chili. There are a million different recipes out there, or so it seems. Here’s mine; it’s fast, simple, creamy, comforting and delicious. A perfect opening dish for an autumn dinner; it’s also hearty enough to serve on it’s own.

butternut squash soup - vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, low-fat, dairy-free

Naturally vegan, gluten and soy-free, but suitable for every dietary choice. Much thanks to my mama, and her bountiful garden, for these beautiful squashes! This recipe is low-fat, and much (much) healthier than my last recipe post using this wondrous vegetable.

Butternut Squash Soup - vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, low-fat

Butternut Squash Soup
makes many, many servings

1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1 tablespoon garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil
3 cups peeled, seeded and diced butternut squash
2 cups peeled and diced red potatoes
1 cup chopped carrots
4 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
sprinkle of paprika
dash of black pepper

In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil on medium heat for a few seconds before tossing in the chopped onion. Caramelize the onion on medium-low heat until it is a lovely caramel-brown color. Add the chopped and diced veggies (in no particular order): butternut squash, potatoes, carrots. Give it a good stir. Add the salt, thyme, sage, garlic, paprika and black pepper and stir again. Pour in the vegetable broth, stir. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low-boil, cover and cook for 40 minutes, stirring every once-in-a-while. Remove from heat, and let sit for 15 minutes before pureeing in a food processor. Serve warm!

Butternut Squash Soup - vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, low-fat


Perfect Banana Bread – Vegan, Gluten-free


Who doesn’t love banana bread? To me, it’s comforting and reminiscent of childhood. I can remember baking banana bread as a kid when the bananas on the counter had gotten too ripe. Nearly every cook I know has a banana bread recipe. This is mine, and I proudly share it with you. As are all my recipes, it is completely gluten-free, vegan (egg and dairy-free) and soy-free. It is also low in sugar and fat. If you are unfamiliar with the ingredients in this recipe, don’t be turned off from making it. This is a great first-time recipe for getting into gluten-free and healthier baking. Once you buy these special ingredients, you’ll be glad you did because you will want to make this recipe more than once!

Best Ever Gluten-Free -and Vegan Banana Bread!

I have made this bread several times now, because it has been requested to often! I first came up with it for my mom and step-dad who were both recovering from surgery. It is a fantastic thing to bake as a gift to welcome neighbors, or as a get-well-soon treat. It really is warm and comforting. Another great thing about this recipe is it is low in sugar. The first few times I made it, I used only raw agave as the sweetener. It was subtly sweet and very delicious this way. If you prefer a sweeter tasting banana bread, add the optional sugar that I list in the recipe (coconut sugar would also work fabulously here). I also use coconut oil in this recipe, which is easy to digest, is said to increase metabolism, and helps to absorb nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Purchase organic, virgin coconut oil. For more information on the health benefits of coconut oil, see these  links.

Best Ever Gluten-Free -and Vegan Banana Bread!

Perfect Banana Bread
vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, peanut-free
yield: One 10 x 5 x 2.75 inch loaf -or- Six 5 by 3.5 by 2 inch mini loafs

1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup millet flour
3 tablespoons arrowroot starch (can substitute with tapioca starch or corn starch)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 3 large very ripe bananas)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (or almond milk)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon flax seed meal
1/3 cup organic virgin coconut oil, (liquefy by melting in a saucepan on low heat)
1/2 cup organic raw agave nectar
3 tablespoons organic natural cane sugar (optional, but will make the bread a bit sweeter)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 10 x 5 x 2.75 inch loaf pan (or six 5 by 3.5 by 2 inch mini loaf pans) with a little bit of coconut oil.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients: sorghum and millet flours, arrowroot (or corn starch), baking powder, baking soda, salt, xanthan gum, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, combine the very-well mashed bananas, coconut milk, apple cider vinegar and ground flax seed and mix well. Let sit for a few minutes before adding the coconut oil, agave nectar and cane sugar (if using), Mix until smooth and well combined.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients by using a rubber spatula to push the flour mixture up unto the sides of the bowl. Begin to carefully pour the wet mixture into the dry about one cup at a time. Using the rubber spatula, gently fold the dry in with the wet until just mixed and you have a smooth batter (some lumps are okay). Immediately pour the batter into the pan(s). If making mini-loafs, about one cup of batter will fit in each loaf pan. If making the large loaf, fill with batter about three-fourths way full.

If making the large loaf, bake on the top center rack of the oven for 30 minutes. Rotate pan, then bake another 10-15 minutes. Use a wooden skewer or toothpick to check doneness. If toothpick comes out clean, the bread is done! Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before slicing.

If making the mini loafs, place all 6 loaf pans on the top center rack in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, until tops are golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before slicing.


Is there anything special you like to bake for someone you love who is under-the-weather? For me, it is definitely this banana bread. This is the best banana bread I’ve ever made or eaten. No one will ever guess it’s vegan or gluten-free. And it’s cholesterol free, contains good fats, and is 100% healthier than the sugary, buttery banana bread you may have been used to as a kid.

Hazelnuts: A How To…

Roasting Hazelnuts

Roasting hazelnuts is fast and simple, and is the starting off point to make my Chocolate Hazelnut Tart with Hazelnut Butter Caramel Sauce.

To roast hazelnuts, start out with a 16 ounce bag of raw hazelnuts. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Spread out the hazelnuts on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Next, you want to remove the skins. I find the easiest way to do this is with clean hands (no towels necessary). Rub the hazelnuts between your fingers and the skins will fall right off. Some nuts will be stubborn and hang on to their skins, that’s okay too. Place the blanched hazelnuts in a container to cool completely.

Roasted, blanches Hazelnuts

To make hazelnut meal (hazelnut flour): Place roasted and blanched hazelnuts in a blender or food processor and process until crumbly and resembles flour. To make my hazelnut butter, remove 1 1/2 cups of hazelnut flour from the blender or food processor.

Hazelnut Meal (Hazelnut Flour)

To make hazelnut butter: In a blender or food processor, process 2 1/2 cups hazelnut meal, 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, 1/4 cup almond milk and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Blend until very very smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Roasted Hazelnut Butter

Vegan Chocolate Frozen Custard

Vegan Chocolate Frozen Custard

Yesterday was one of the first days where it felt like summer was on its way. It’s been a chilly start to spring in Chicagoland, that’s for sure. But yesterday was pushing 70, the sun felt warm, and it was good to be outside (here’s hoping today is just as nice). If you follow my blog, you know I love to bake and make sweet treats. When it’s too hot outside to bake, that’s when it’s time to plug-in the old ice cream maker and get churning.

Vegan Soy-free Frozen Chocolate Custard

This is my go-to ice cream recipe. It’s easy enough,with only a few ingredients, and you don’t need to cook the base before adding it to your ice cream maker. I call it frozen custard because it’s very rich, thick and creamy (like it’s dairy-based namesake).


Chocolate Frozen Custard
makes about 1 1/2 pints

1 2/3 cup chilled coconut cream*
1/4 cup natural/Dutched cocoa blend (such as SACO)
1/4 cup organic raw agave nectar
2 tablespoons almond butter (I used Justin’s vanilla almond butter)
1 teaspoon alcohol-free pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

* To get coconut cream, chill 2 cans of regular, full-fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight. When ready to make the frozen custard, open the cans (be careful not to disturb the contents) and gently scoop off the hardened coconut cream on top. The water from the coconut milk will have settled to the bottom. You can use the leftover coconut milk water for another recipe (or smoothie) within the next few days after opening.

In a stand-mixer, or with an electric beater, mix on medium speed the coconut cream and cocoa until fluffy. Add the agave, almond butter, vanilla and salt and mix until well combined. Pour the mixture into the basin of your ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturers instructions.

Vegan Chocolate Frozen Custard

I use a Cuisinart ice cream maker, and it took about 20 minutes to have thick and rich ice cream. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can still enjoy this dessert as a mousse or chilled pudding. Just follow the directions up until the ice cream maker step. Keep the mousse in the fridge until ready to serve. As always, I hope you enjoy (and if you do, let me know)!

Soft-baked Almond-Butter Orange Snickerdoodles

Soft-baked Almond-Butter Orange Snickerdoodles

May I present, a soft-baked, orange-kissed, almond butter cookie with a touch of sweet cinnamon. I’m calling these Almond-Butter Orange Snickerdoodles, and they are just perfect (I swear). Soft, chewy, with a hint of orange in their almond-buttery goodness, topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon and coconut sugar. These cookies are very versatile, great for toddler hands to hold and nibble, or to pack into lunches, or to serve with tea or coffee.

Soft-baked Almond-Butter Orange Snickerdoodles

On my quest to make delicious, allergy-free goodies for my son, this recipe was born. We had bought (and loved) the Enjoy Life brand of cookies and I wanted to make a homemade version with a similar texture. The store-bought cookies do not contain tree nuts, so if you do have an allergy to tree nuts, try substituting the almond butter with sunflower seed butter, or tahini – and the almond flour with cornmeal. These cookies are for everyone. I promise, no one will be able to tell they are gluten-free and vegan, and making them homemade will save you a nickel or two.

Soft-Baked Almond-Butter Orange Snickerdoodles

Soft-baked Almond-Butter Orange Snickerdoodles
Yield: 24 cookies

1/2 cup organic raw agave nectar
1/3 cup organic canola oil
1/3 cup unsalted almond butter
1/4 cup almond milk
3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 tablespoon fresh orange zest (about 1/2 of a large organic orange)
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons coconut sugar, or sucanat (larger crystal sugar)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Farenheit. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the agave nectar, oil and almond butter until smooth and creamy. To this, add the almond milk, ground flaxseed, vanilla and almond extracts, and orange zest. In a separate bowl, sift together the almond, sorghum and rice flours with the xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet about 1/3 cup at a time and mix very gently until the dough comes together. Chill the dough for 15 minutes. In a small dish, stir together the cinnamon and sugar, set aside. Remove dough from fridge. Using a cookie scoop (or lightly oiled tablespoon), drop the dough on the prepared cookie sheets, leaving about two inches in between cookies. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with the cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 12-14 minutes, until tops of cookies are slightly cracked and sides are very light brown. Leave on the cookie sheets for about 5 minutes after baking, then transfer cookies to a baking rack to cool completely.  Store any leftover cookies in a sealed container or plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Soft-baked Almond-Butter Orange Snickerdoodles

My lil’ hawk loved these cookies! They are refined-sugar-free, and full of protein and fiber, so I don’t feel so bad about letting him have one for a snack.  Let me know in the comments if you make this recipe. I’d love to hear from you!

Soft-baked Almond-Butter Orange Snickerdoodles

©mama et de bébé hawk ©Ashley Kizer 2013

Whole Wheat Pancakes w/ Low-Sugar Apple-Berry Compote


Happy New Year! This year I am going to really  try to consume much less sugar! I don’t traditionally make new years resolutions, but after this past holiday season, cutting back on the sugar is really necessary. Also, I want to make more baked goods using whole wheat or gluten-free flours. We shall see. This recipe is a result of a near-empty pantry and a hunger for a good breakfast.

Usually we have oatmeal with fruit for breakfast, but the last 2 days we had to have these pancakes (oh dear). I wanted to make them healthy, hearty and satisfying. As a bonus, they are really fluffy, which is surprising for a wheat flour pancake. My secret to a fluffy wheat flour pancake: sparkling  (or soda) water. If you don’t have soda water, use regular water, or even more soymilk. But next time you’re out and about, pick up some sparkling water and make these pancakes! They are so good.


The fruit topping is very easy to make, and contains only a tablespoon of maple syrup in the entire recipe! The natural sugars from the fruit and the teeny bit from the maple syrup make it a perfect topping and substitute for syrups loaded with sugars. These are definitely pancakes you can feel good about eating. The topping is also good as a topping for vanilla soy ice cream, or chilled and eaten as is.


Whole Wheat Pancakes
makes 12-15 pancakes

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/4 cup soymilk (or any non-dairy milk)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sparkling mineral water (such as San Pellegrino), or soda water
1 tablespoon melted vegan butter (such as Earth Balance)
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

a few teaspoons of vegan butter (or cooking spray).

Preheat a cast iron skillet to medium heat. In a medium bowl, sift together the whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the soymilk with the apple cider vinegar and leave alone for one minute. Then, add the sparkling water, melted vegan butter, maple syrup and vanilla – and whisk together. Gently fold in the flour until just combined.

Add a teaspoon of vegan butter to the skillet and using a high-heat spatula, spread it around to coat the skillet. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop and pour pancake batter on the skillet. Cook until you see several tiny bubbles appear on the top of the pancake (about 1-3 minutes) and flip over; cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Repeat until batter is gone.


I made this fancy compote while I was cooking the pancakes. It’s very fast, easy, and delicious.

Apple-Berry Compote
1 large gala apple, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups frozen mixed berries (consisting of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries).
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vegan butter (such as Earth Balance)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a small sauce pan on medium-low heat, add the diced apple, frozen berries, maple syrup, vegan butter and cinnamon. Mix and cook for about 5-10 minutes.


This is a great recipe to add to your vegan breakfast or brunch menu. I hope you enjoy them, and hey if you do, let me know!

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