On the Second Day of Christmas…Vegan Baked Pumpkin Spiced Oatmeal

I wanted to re-publish this recipe today, so that you could procure any of the few ingredients you don’t have on hand, as this tantalizing breakfast treat–like bread pudding for breakfast–with the healthful base of oatmeal needs to sit overnight.

It goes together in a snap, bakes up beautifully every time, and is a proven hit with men and non-vegans.  Everyone in your house will wake up to the aroma of Christmas personified and your oven will do all the work while you enjoy your family around the tree.

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“Righteous” Vegan Peanut Butter and Fresh Apple Pancakes with Peanut Butter Maple Syrup

“Your peanut butter-apple pancakes were righteous!”

So proclaimed Gary Loewenthal of Compassion for Animals and Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale in an email last week.

He then explained that he had been invited to give a vegan cooking demo and talk at a health food store near him and asked if he could prepare my recipe and print it for the attendees, with a credit and link to The Blooming Platter.

That required no thought at all, only a resounding “Of course!” especially when he said, “One thing I loved about the pancakes is that the PB was not overpowering. I love PB but it blended beautifully.”

I haven’t made my Vegan Peanut Butter and Fresh Apple Pancakes with Peanut Butter Maple Syrup in a while, but he reminded me how good they are; and, with local apples cropping up this autumn in farmers markets everywhere, I thought I should post a link.

What a great way to celebrate the first weekend of fall.  Thanks, Gary!


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Vegan Fresh Fig Upside Down Pancakes

Fig Upside Down PancakesYield: 8 servings (16 small pancakes)

The other morning, for some reason, I was thinking about pineapple upside down cake and how nicely that translates into pancakes.  Suddenly, I had to have pancakes, though I am not much of a breakfast eater, unless I have breakfast for lunch.  I didn’t have pineapple, but I did have fresh figs and Vegan Fresh Fig Upside Down Pancakes were born!

The ground sumac– a beautiful earthy red powder derived from a berry of the sumac bush–is used in Middle Eastern and Greek cooking.  Since I think of figs in relation to Middle Eastern cuisine, and since I thought that the earthy lemony flavor of the sumac would complement the sweetness of the figs, I chose to add a little to the batter.   It‘s not absolutely essential, but it is delicate, delicious, and adds such a special quality.  Find sumac in Middle Eastern grocery stores and online.

Sage, too, is used widely in Middle Eastern and Greek cooking and I happen to have quite an abundant crop of it this year.  So I decided to garnish the pancakes with some of their most small and tender leaves to add a subtle sage-y flavor.  Eaten together, the trio is transcendent!

2 cups white whole wheat flour (this is what I keep on hand, but unbleached all purpose is fine, as is a mixture of all purpose and whole wheat)

1/4 cup natural sugar

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Optional, but delicious: 1/2 teaspoon sumac

2  cups plain soymilk (I used lite, as that’s what I had)

Nonstick spray or canola oil

8 fresh figs, stemmed, halved and sprayed with nonstick spray or brushed with oil

Accompaniments: agave nectar and a sprig of small tender fresh sage leaves (yes, sage!–sounds a little odd, but is delicious with the figs!)

In a medium bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients, make a well in the center, add soymilk, and whisk ingredients together until smooth.  Heat a large well-oiled skillet over medium high and make pancakes, 3 or 4 at a time, using 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter (they should be about 3 inches in diameter).  Cook for about a minute, lay a fig half, flesh side up, in the center of each pancake, pressing very gently.  You don’t want to submerge or for the batter to hide the fig when you flip it.  Cook for another minute or two or until golden brown on the other side, carefully flip, and cook until set, another couple of minutes or so.  Repeat with remaining batter, keeping pancakes warm while you cook the entire batch.  Serve pancakes, fig side up, with a drizzle of agave nectar and a sprig of fresh sage.  Note:  if a very thin layer of the batter has eased over the edge of the fig, just pinch it off to reveal the perfect shape of the fig.


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Single Serving Vegan Granola Pancakes with Sour Cream, Maple Syrup and Fresh Fruit (Recipe Easily Multiplies)

Granola Pancakes

Yield: 1 serving (2 small pancakes) [recipe easily multiplies]

These golden disks of textured bliss would be perfect for any Father’s Special Day.  Go Dairy Free kindly published my recipe for all to enjoy.  Just click HERE.  And if you’re interested in the back story, read on!

When I first met my dear friend, Yvette Hetrick, a foodie and entertainer extraordinaire, many years ago, she rhapsodized about granola pancakes that she and her husband, Randy, would devour for weekend brunches in, I think it was, San Diego. when they were dating.

She has a memorable way of describing food and I was sold from her first mention.  I have even tried to reproduce them before with no luck.

But, for some reason, I was craving them recently, my husband–who has cleaned up his eating act somewhat–had some Bare Naked Granola in the pantry, and I had some local Pungo strawberries fresh from the farmer’s market in the fridge.

My husband, a creature of habit and routine, is on an oatmeal kick as part of his new approach to eating.  So I knew he wouldn’t want any pancakes, no matter how irresisistable to the rest of us.  There was only one thing to do:  create a recipe for a single serving that could be easily multiplied to serve a family or a crowd.  And I’m so glad I did!

My fairly thick batter is the perfect consistency to support the granola.  Be sure to serve them granola-side up so folks will know these are no ordinary pancakes even before the first bite!

Happy Father’s Day!

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Mouthwatering Mother’s Day Breakfast/Brunch: Vegan German Chocolate Pancakes with Coconut Pecan Maple Syrup

German Chocolate PancakesYield: 4 servings

Recently, I returned from a Spring Break trip to visit my family where I made my Papa his favorite vegan brownies.  But he and my Mama both have birthdays coming up, and I was reminded that his very favorite cake is German Chocolate.  So, back home in Virginia and with German Chocolate Cake on my mind, I decided I had to make Papa’s favorite cake as pancakes.

My Vegan German Chocolate Pancakes with Coconut Pecan Maple Syrup are somewhat rich and filling, so I like to eat a stack of three because that looks so nice, but keep them on the smaller side, so as not to weigh myself down for the day.  Other than the flour, soymilk, and pecans–and the coconut to some extent– there is not a lot of nutrition here, so be sure to serve this divine indulgence with a side of fruit and maybe a little vegan yogurt.

Also, in the “rich and filling” department, I have recently started making quesadillas using non-stick spray instead of my beloved canola oil-vegan butter mixture to grease the skillet.  So, for the sake of calorie reduction, I decided to try it with these pancakes and was VERY happy with the results.  But feel free to go for the higher calorie option if you want a bit more rich flavor.  I generally use a couple of tablespoons of each for a 4-serving batch of pancakes.

Thanks to Alisa Free, the “Go Dairy Free” Queen, for publishing the recipe on her popular, one-of-a-kind site.  Click HERE or on the link above to go straight to the recipe.

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Vegan Smokey Pumpkin Grits with Maple-Roasted Pepitas

Yield: 4 servings

This golden and delicious dish personifies fall.  Whether you serve it for breakfast or brunch, as tapas, or as a side dish, it is sure to satisfy as a warm and comforting ode to autumn.

When I was growing up, my family probably ate cheese grits for breakfast on more Sundays than not.  When I became vegan, I learned that cheesy grits need not be a faint and distant childhood memory, thanks to nutritional yeast.

For this recipe, I make the grits even more creamy and golden, with just a hint of smoke and savory sweetness, by incorporating coconut creamer, smoked paprika, vegan butter, and pureed pumpkin.  The creaminess of the grits is perfectly set off by crunchy pepitas lightly toasted with more nutritional yeast, salt, and just a hint of maple syrup.

For some recipes, the garnish is nice, though not necessary.  But for this one–though I would still make the dish even if I didn’t have fresh sage growing in the garden–I feel that tiny, tender and very young sage leaves add the perfect finishing touch to balance and accent all of the other flavor notes.

Find the simple and simply addicting recipe HERE at One Green Planet!


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Vegan Peanut Butter and Fresh Apple Pancakes with Peanut Butter Maple Syrup

Yield: 8 pancakes (4 servings)

After a little gardening, yoga, and errands, I didn’t get around to “lunch” until about 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

I was craving one of the fresh Virginia grown apples I had just purchased at the farmer’s market with a little peanut butter.  But I was afraid I would be hungry an hour later.

So, I decided on filling–but not heavy– fall pancakes made from the same wholesome ingredients.  What a good decision!  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. (Okay, and Minnie too.  I made one for our “little” Great Dane, my constant kitchen company aka chow hound.)

Just go to One Green Planet, where I am this week’s featured “Green Monster,” for the simple recipe.  Now you can enjoy everyone’s favorite after school snack for brunch!


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Papa’s Vegan Blueberry and Spinach Smoothie (Bonus: Meets Full Liquid Diet Requirements)

(Photography Note: TODAY is the day I am going to buy a new camera!  As I mentioned previously, the one that had served me well for so long went on the fritz in June and my phone really doesn’t take very good photos as you can see here. So I apologize for the quality …definitely not up to Blooming Platter standards!)

On Saturday, July 7, I flew to MS to drive with my folks the next day to Ochsner’s Hospital (The Mayo Clinic of the South) in New Orleans where my robust 84 year old father had some surgery the next day.  (My papa, Byron Gough, still works part-time as an engineer for Howard Industries, the largest transformer manufacturer in the world!)

He came through it like a rock star thanks to the expert medical team at Ochsner’s and his overall excellent health and attitude.  We were relieved to learn that the orders for a week on a Clear Liquid Diet were incorrect and that he needed to be on the much less restrictive “Full Liquid Diet” followed by a week on the “Nissen Soft Diet.”

The Full Liquid Diet is a bit of a misnomer as it allows strained purees.  So, after I drove them home on Wednesday and before I came back to Virginia yesterday, I set about trying to figure out how to get enough tasty and appetizing calories and nutrition in him.  I plan to post a couple of the soups I created, one with fresh homegrown tomatoes, as they certainly didn’t look or taste like “recuperation food”!

In the meantime, though, I wanted to share this smoothie recipe.  Lots of folk,s it seem,s are “juicing” and I have nothing against fresh juices.  I find them very refreshing, in fact.  (Hampton Roads residents: if you haven’t yet tried the new Fruitive at Hilltop, I highly recommend!)  However, I love all of the fiber that comes from using whole fruits and vegetables as well as the protein that comes from soymilk in a smoothie.  But the juice movement did encourage me to start incorporating dark leafy greens into mine.
This vitamin- and protein-packed version is a beautiful color, ultra smooth and creamy, and a perfect balance of tastes.

Yield: 4+ cups

2 cups unsweetened soymilk (app. 160 calories)
1 cup lightly packed baby spinach (app 10 calories)
1 cup frozen blueberries (app 85 calories) [blueberries must be frozen; if not, try adding a handful of ice, but make sure your blender can crush ice] 4 tablespoons orange juice concentrate OR 4 tablespoons of soy yogurt OR 2 tablespoons of each (app 100-110 calories)
Stevia or your favorite no calorie sweetener to taste (0 calories)

Optional Garnish: fresh mint sprigs.

Place all ingredients in a blender container. Stir them gently to combine with a long-handled spoon. Process on the highest speed until smooth, stopping two or three times to stir and press down any unincorporated ingredients if necessary.  Pour into glasses, garnish if desired and serve, preferably with a straw.

Total Calories for Entire Recipe (all amounts were rounded up, so it is a little less than this): 365 calories


Where can you find more delicious vegan recipes that make the most of the season?  Check out The Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes!
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Bloomin’ Best Vegan Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Butter Muffins

Yield:12 regular size (not super size!) muffins

I received such rave reviews on my recently created Bloomin’ Best Vegan Peanut Butter and Apple Muffins that I decided to try my luck with a sweet potato version. 

I know, I know…for a seasonal cook to be using sweet potatoes in May seems anethma.  But, our farmer’s market leaves their spuds in a cold cellar over the winter so that once the market opens again in the spring, its customers are treated to beautiful golden sweet potatoes.

I planned to make the sweet potato version of the muffins exactly like the peanut butter and apple inspiration, but I needed a substitute for the creamy moisture of the peanut butter.  Fortunately I remembered a gift of some unopened pumpkin butter (which contains no dairy despite the name) from my sister-in-law.  Its moisture content is even higher than peanut butter, though both are thick and creamy, so these muffins are  more delectably moist than their forebears.  Both are delicious.

Enjoy whenever sweet potatoes are in season–or brought out of the cold cellar–in your neck of the woods!

1/2 cup pumpkin butter

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup unsweetened soymilk (you can use plain, but you might want to slightly decrease the sugar)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup natural sugar

2 cups white whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch ground allspice

Pinch ground cinnamon

Pinch ground cloves

3 cups finely grated sweet potatoes, skin on (fine like food processor-fine)

Line muffin cups with papers or oil well with nonstick spray.  In a large mixing bowl, stir together pumpkin butter, canola oil, soy milk and vanilla until well combined.  Stir in sugar, flour, baking powder and baking soda just until a smooth batter forms.  Then stir in grated sweet potatoes only until incorporated.  Divide evenly among prepared muffin cups and bake for 20 minute or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean.  Allow to cool about 10 minutes in the pan and then remove to cool completely or to enjoy while warm.

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