Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins – Vegan

Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins

I had a request from a friend, for more vegan baking recipes. I came up with these muffins and thought I would share it.

The muffins came out moist and light. Baking powder and baking soda gave them plenty of “lift”. They rose beautifully.

I also have a lot of applesauce that I canned, so I am  interested in recipes using applesauce. I was happy to use some of it in these muffins.

I added both raisins and walnuts for more texture and flavor. You could omit them, or add different dried fruit or nuts. You can also sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar on top of the muffins before baking, if you like.

I used olive oil in this recipe. I like the way olive oil tastes in baked goods. It almost tastes like I used butter. The secret is to use a mild flavored olive oil. A strong olive oil will over power the muffins.

I actually kept these fairly simple. Here is the recipe. Enjoy!!


Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins

2 c. applesauce- I used homemade with cinnamon in it

1/2 c. oil

1 c. sugar

1 t. vanilla

2 c. flour  Note: You can use all purpose, I used whole wheat pastry flour.

1 c. rolled oats

2 t. baking soda

2 t. cinnamon

1/2 t. baking powder

1 c. dried cranberries or raisins

1 c. chopped nuts


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners or grease lightly. Set aside. Combine applesauce with the oil and stir in sugar and vanilla. Add flour, oats, soda, cinnamon and baking powder. Stir to mix well. Stir in fruit and nuts. Spoon batter in to muffin cups, filling just over half-full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Makes 24.

Rich Crescent Rolls

Rich Crescent Rolls

These soft rolls are a perfect addition to any dinner. They are rich, buttery and very tender. I made them last night for a dinner with friends, later today.

Homemade rolls and bread just always taste better than store bought. They are totally worth the time it takes to make them.

Another perk is the way your house smells when they are baking.

These should not be confused with croissants. Croissants are made over a period of time with the dough and butter being folded, rolled and chilled a number of times to create flaky layers.

These are a soft, slightly sweet yeast dough, shaped into crescent shapes. Of course, you can make them in different shapes, if you like. I just like the way the little crescents look.

They are brushed with melted butter before being rolled up into the crescents. I also like to brush them with melted butter when they come out of the oven.

These are great served warm, with butter. I admit to loving to dip them in gravy, too.

So here is the recipe.


Rich Crescent Rolls

¾ c. milk

½ c. each butter and sugar

1 t. salt

2 packages active dry yeast

½ c. warm water

4-5 c. flour

2 eggs

Extra melted butter for brushing on the rolls

Heat together milk and butter until warm. Stir in sugar and salt. Dissolve yeast in warm water and add to milk mixture with 2 cups of flour. Beat 3 minutes. Beat in eggs. Stir in flour until soft dough forms. Knead on floured surface until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in oiled bowl and cover. Let rise until doubled.  Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead a few strokes. Divide into fourths and roll each into a circle. Divide circle into 8 pieces (in wedges like a pie) and brush with melted butter. Starting at wide end roll up loosely and place on greased baking sheet with point tucked under. Allow 2-3 inches between rolls and curve slightly into an arc, if desired.  Cover with a towel and allow to rise in a warm place for an hour, or until nearly doubled. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 12-15 minutes. Brush with melted butter, if you like. Serve warm. Makes 32.

Pressed Duck

Pressed Duck

Pressed duck is a bit of work, but a very fun dish to serve. It is a really nice dish for special occasions. To prepare pressed duck, cooked duck in de-boned, pressed into a pan and steamed. Then the duck is cut into squares and fried. The result is a real treat- crispy on the outside with tender duck meat in the middle.

The process does take two days. The duck is cooked, shredded and steamed on the first day. Then it is refrigerated overnight, before frying. That’s not really a bad thing. All the messy stuff is out of the way the day before. When you want to prep the duck, just slice and fry. I pan fried the duck squares, but you could deep fry it, if you prefer.

I had a couple of friends over for dinner and decided to  make pressed duck. I hadn’t made it in ages. The dish came out quite well, but there is one thing I might change for the next time I make it. I used an 8×8 inch square pan. It was tricky to fit the pan in my stock pot for the steaming. Next time, I would a 9×5-inch loaf pan or two, which would make the steaming easier. My pan ended up a little tilted during the steaming process. Or, I could have used a bigger stock pot.

Except for the steaming issues, it was not a difficult dish to prepare. It was kind of fun.  Another bonus is that I had a pot of duck stock, from cooking the duck. I strained it, cooled it down and removed the fat on top. The next day, I used to stock to cook my rice in. The rice was so flavorful.

So here is the recipe. I kept in the directions using square pans, but feel free to use a loaf pans instead.


Pressed Duck

1 (4-5 lb.) duck

Water to cover

2 green onions

1 ( 1-inch) piece ginger root

2 T. fennel seeds- or two star anise

2 T. dark soy sauce

1 t. hoisen sauce

1 t. salt

2-3 T. cornstarch

Oil for frying

Sweet and sour sauce- recipe follows


The day before you want to serve pressed duck, in soup pot, combine duck with just enough water to cover. Add green onions, fennel seeds, soy sauces and salt. Cover and simmer until duck in very tender, at least a couple of hours. Remove duck and allow to cool down. Remove skin and meat from the bones. Discard the bones. Shred the meat. You can add a little of the skin, if you like. I actually removed most of the skin from the duck before I cooked it. Then I rendered down the skin to have duck fat for cooking. In baking pan, sprinkle half the cornstarch to cover the bottom of the pans. Be generous with the cornstarch. If you use an 8×8-inch pan, you will need a little less cornstarch than if you use a 9×9-inch pan. Press the shredded duck meat firmly into the pan. Sprinkle with the rest of the cornstarch. Set up a pot to steam the duck mixture. I used a large stockpot with a steamer rack in it. Place the pan in the steamer, cover and steam for 30 minutes. Remove duck from steamer, cool and refrigerate overnight. The next day remove the duck from pan and cut into squares. Pat off extra moisture to reduce splattering. Heat oil to 350 degrees and fry duck pieces for about 5 minutes, or until crispy and golden on the outside. Drain and serve with sweet and sour sauce- or a dipping sauce you like.  Serves 4.


Sweet and Sour Sauce


1/2 c. vinegar- I like apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. pineapple juice

3 T. catsup

2 T. soy sauce

2 T. cornstarch

1 t. dried minced garlic

1-t. fresh grated ginger

Hot pepper flakes to taste

In saucepan combine all ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring as mixture gets hot, until sauce begins to bubble. It will also get much clearer. Boil gently 1 minute, stirring constantly before removing from heat. Makes 1 1/2 c. Keeps in the fridge for a couple of weeks.



Creole Jambalaya

There are so many variations for Jambalaya. I don’t think I ever had a Jambalaya I didn’t like.

This Creole dish varies a little with each person who makes it. The assortment of ingredients adds so many layers of flavor.

Traditionally, Jambalaya would include smoked sausage or ham, chicken, shellfish, rice, tomatoes and assorted veggies and seasonings.You can see why there are so many variations. For me, it just isn’t Jambalaya without mussels. Lots and lots of mussels.

It is definitely a great dish for a party. It is impossible to make a small batch of Jambalaya!!!

This recipe is a tweaked version I got from a boss of mine a long time ago. I must say, every time I make this for friends or family it gets rave reviews.

The heat level in this dish is really about personal preference and for the people who are going to be eating it. I like it a bit spicier, so I add more cayenne. If I am making it for friends who like their food less spicy, I use less. Of course, you can always serve it with hot sauce on the side, so people can spice it up a little more.


                             Creole Jambalaya

1 lb. smoked sausage, sliced into 1 inch pieces

1 c. chopped onions

1 c. chopped celery

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/4 c. oil

2 c. cubed uncooked chicken

3 c. chicken stock

1 1/2 c. uncooked rice

1 16 oz. can tomatoes

2-3 t. paprika

Cayenne pepper to taste

Black pepper to taste

1/4 t. ground turmeric

1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, uncooked

1 1/2 c. frozen peas

1/2 c. chopped red pepper

1-2 lb. mussels, scrubbed

In Dutch oven cook sausage, onion, celery and garlic in oil until onion is tender. Add remaining ingredients, except shrimp, peas, sweet red peppers and mussels. Bring to a boil, turn down to simmer and cook 20 minutes. Stir in shrimp, and peppers, cover and cook 10 minutes. Stir in peas and stick in mussels. Cover and cook 5 more minutes. Discard any mussels which have not opened in 5 minutes. Serves 8.

Coffee Cinnamon Scones

Coffee Cinnamon Scones

Scones should be tender, a little crumbly, and still moist in the middle. These scones are delicate, full of coffee flavor, and not too sweet. Simple to make, as with any scone, the secret is not to over work the dough. You can eat these plain or with a bit of butter. I’m having mine with a cup of coffee. They really make a wonderful start to the day.


When someone tells me they don’t like scones I am sure it is because they haven’t had good scones. The other night in cooking class, one of the ladies said she only had scones once, and they were heavy and dry. I encouraged her to seek out better scones.



 Coffee Cinnamon Scones

2/3 c. half and half

2 T. instant coffee powder or espresso powder

1 t. vanilla

1 egg

2 1/4 c. flour

1/2 c. sugar

1 T. baking powder

1 t. cinnamon

1 t. salt

1/2 c. cold butter

1 T. half and half, for brushing the scones

2 T. cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling on the scones

Coffee Cinnamon Glaze- recipe follows

In microwave safe container combine half and half with the coffee powder and heat 30 seconds or so. Stir to dissolve coffee and cool down before using. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Add vanilla and egg to cooled coffee mixture and beat until smooth. Set aside. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Some small pieces of butter can still be visible. Stir in coffee mixture and mix gently until a soft dough forms. At this point you are supposed to press the dough into an 8-inch circle on a baking sheet. To get a really neat circle use an 8-inch cake pan. Sprinkle the pan with a little flour and put the dough in the pan. Press the dough into the pan. Turn the cake pan over onto an ungreased baking sheet. Do this part fast. Slam it down and then remove the cake pan. You will have a perfect 8-inch circle of dough. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough in half. If the dough is too sticky sprinkle the top with a little more flour. Cut in half again and then 2 more times. You will have eight wedges of dough forming 8 scones. Pull dough apart slightly using a spatula. They grow a lot when baking and this will give them more room to expand. Brush with the extra half and half and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Bake for 20 minutes or until they spring back when touched lightly. Make glaze and drizzle over the warm scones. Makes 8.

Coffee Cinnamon Glaze

2 T. half and half

2 t. instant coffee powder or espresso powder

1 t. cinnamon

1 c. powdered sugar

Heat half and half and coffee powder together in microwave safe container for 10 seconds. Stir until smooth. Stir in cinnamon and powdered sugar until smooth and drizzle over the scones.

Oatmeal Bread

Oatmeal Bread

This oatmeal bread is one of my favorites. With the addition of molasses, the bread has an earthy sweetness that works well with the oatmeal.  It makes a great sandwich bread and I love it for French toast.

This is a very versatile recipe.  You can make 2 round loaves, or bake it in 2 loaf pans (9×5) or even make dinner rolls out of it. I sometimes make hamburger buns out of it.

When making dinner rolls, instead of loaves, reduce baking time to about 15 minutes- but check on rolls at 12 minutes. Baking temperature remains the same.

There is something about the smell of baking bread that always makes me remember my childhood and going to the movies. I know that sounds odd, but there is an explanation. When I was a kid there was a neighborhood movie theater. It was close by, and we would walk there to see movies. On the walk home we walked past a local bakery. Late at night they would be baking bread and other goodies for the next day. The air would be filled with the aroma of baking bread.


 Oatmeal Bread

5-5 ½ c. flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 ½ t. salt
1 1/3 c. water
¼ c. milk
¼ c. molasses
¼ c. butter
1 egg
1 c. old fashioned oatmeal

In large bowl mix 1 cup of the flour with yeast and salt. In small pan heat together next 4 ingredients until warm. Pour into bowl with flour mixture and beat 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup additional flour and egg and beat 2 minutes longer. Stir in oatmeal and 1 cup more flour and stir, adding enough flour to form soft dough. Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead, adding flour as needed until dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough on a greased bowl, turning to grease top and cover, allowing to rise in warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Grease a large baking sheet and set aside. Punch dough down and divide in half. Shape each half into a ball and place on prepared sheet. Cover with towel and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes or until done. Loaves are done when they sound hollow when tapped lightly. Makes 2 loaves.

This versatile dough can also be shaped into loaves and places in 8×4-inch greased loaf pans. Baking time will remain the same. Dough can also be divided into 24 equal pieces and shaped into dinner rolls. Bake rolls at 375 for 15 minutes.

Assorted Oatmeal Bread Rolls

Maple-Glazed Apple Bacon Fritters

Maple-Glazed Apple and Bacon Fritters

I did a class on cooking with maple syrup yesterday. One of the dishes I made was maple glazed fritters. The batter contains diced, fresh apples and crispy bacon. Everyone loved them.

Fritters aren’t difficult to make. They really don’t take that long to make, either. I think people were surprised at how easy they were to make.

I prefer to make fritters close to when I am serving them- so my guests can enjoy them warm.

They make a wonderful dessert, or a fun addition to a breakfast or brunch menu. I dipped them in the maple glaze, which also went well with the apples and bacon.


I must warn you, they are addictive.




Apple and Bacon Fritters

2 c. flour

2 T. sugar

2 T. baking powder

1/2 t. salt

1 c. milk

2 eggs, beaten

2 T. melted butter

1 c. diced apples

1 c. cooked, crumbled bacon

oil for frying- I used coconut oil

Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Mix together milk with the eggs and butter. Stir in dry ingredients until just moistened and add the apples and bacon. Heat oil to 375. If using gluten free flour, heat oil to 350. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls into the hot oil and fry until golden brown. Don’t do more than 4-5 at a time. It will take about  4 minutes in total but you need to turn them to brown evenly so 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Dip in maple glaze (recipe follows) while warm. Makes about 32.

Maple Glaze

1 c. Powdered sugar

1/2 c. maple syrup

a little water if mixture gets too thick

Combine all ingredients and set aside until ready to use.

Maple Ginger Carrots

Maple Ginger Carrots

Later today, I am teaching a class on cooking with maple syrup. One of the dishes I am making are these carrots, glazed with maple syrup. Maple syrup adds natural sweetness and a unique flavor to foods. “Maple flavored” syrup just isn’t the same. You need the real thing.

Sometimes simple just works.  These carrots are super simple – and the flavors work together well. I combined them with maple syrup, butter, ginger and some salt and pepper. I have made them for family and friends before and everyone loved them. It had become one of my “go to” recipes.



  Maple Ginger Carrots

1 lb. carrots, peeled and sliced

1/4 c. water

4 T. butter

1/2 c. maple syrup

1 t. grated ginger

salt and pepper to taste

Place carrots in a pan with the water. Cover and cook over medium heat until carrots are almost tender. Add the butter and cook a few minutes more. Add remaining ingredients and cook, covered, until carrots are tender. Remove lid and cook until most of the liquid evaporates. Adjust seasonings and serve. Serves 4-6.

Creamy Carrot Soup

Creamy Carrot Soup

This soup is so easy to make and tastes great, too. The recipes only makes a couple of servings, which can also be a bonus.

I did a class this morning on cooking for one or two. If you have a smaller household, making a huge pot of soup can be a problem. I love homemade soup, but after a few days even the best soup can get boring. This recipe makes about 3 cups of soup, just enough for a couple of servings.

There are only a few ingredients: carrots, onion, stock, milk, nutmeg and green onions. Plus salt and pepper, to taste. I like to add a little hot sauce, too. You could add some fresh herbs, if you like. I sometimes add curry powder.

Start to finish the soup takes about 20 minutes to make, so nice when you are pressed for time.

Creamy Carrot Soup

1½ c. peeled, sliced carrots

1 medium onion, chopped

1 c. chicken broth- you could also use vegetable broth

1 c. milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Dash of nutmeg

Green onion or chopped chives for garnish, optional


In saucepan combine carrots with onion and broth and simmer, covered until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Puree mixture and return to pan. Add remaining ingredients and heat through. Serve with chives or green onions sprinkled on top, if desired. Serves 2.

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan

I have been making this dish for a long time and it is always a family favorite. It is a cheesy and  satisfying meatless meal, even for the die-hard meat lovers among us.

The recipe has changed over time. I used to just dredge the eggplant slices in flour before baking. It was still very good that way. My mom used to bread eggplant slices for my father, using bread crumbs. She would serve the eggplant with a little tomato sauce on top and sprinkled with mozzarella cheese. He loved them.

That is what first inspired me to bread the eggplant slices, rather than just using the flour dredge.  I think the breaded eggplant slices stand up well to the other ingredients. They stay a little crunchier than the flour only version.

I also used to just use mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan. A friend said she added ricotta, like you would for a lasagna. I tried it and liked the addition of the ricotta. Now I make it that way all the time.

The biggest change might have been how I cook the eggplant before adding them to the rest of the ingredients. I used to pan fry the eggplant. Let me just say that eggplant soak up oil like a sponge. I remember making eggplant Parmesan for a group of 250 once and went through an enormous amount of oil. Now, I just place the breaded eggplant slices on a baking sheet and drizzle oil all over them, before baking them in the oven. I use a lot less oil that way. It is also a lot simpler than pan frying.

So here is my often revised recipe. I hope you like it.



Eggplant Parmesan

2 large eggplants



1 egg

½ c. half and half or milk


1 T. Tuscan seasoning- recipe follows

About 2 c. of bread crumbs


1 (15 oz.) container ricotta cheese

3 c. tomato sauce or marinara sauce

12 oz. mozzarella cheese

Parmesan cheese – you could also use Asiago or Romano cheese, if you prefer


Peel and slice eggplant about ¾ -inch thick. Place in a bowl and salt lightly. Allow eggplant to stand 30 minutes, then rinse and drain. Combine egg, half and half, pepper to taste, and half of the Tuscan seasoning in bowl. Whisk to combine. Set aside. Place bread crumbs in a shallow dish, set aside.  Dredge eggplant slices in flour, dip each slice in egg wash, then dip in bread crumbs, turning to coat evenly.  Place eggplant slices on a baking sheet lightly coated with oil. Once all the slices are in the pan, drizzle with a little more oil. Bake in a 400-degree oven, turning once until browned and tender, about 20 minutes. Drain. Place a small amount of sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish. Add a layer of eggplant slices. Combine ricotta with remaining Tuscan seasoning and spread over the eggplant. Top cheese with a little more sauce and another layer of eggplant. Top with mozzarella, remaining eggplant and remaining sauce. Sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese and bake, uncovered in a 350-degree oven for about 40 minutes, or until bubbly and browned around the edges. Serves 6-8.



Tuscan Seasoning


½ c. dried basil

½ c. dried oregano

½ c. dried marjoram

3 T. dried minced onion

2 T. dried minced garlic

2 T. dried rosemary

2 T. dried parsley

1 t. crushed red pepper


Combine all. Store in a cool, dry place. Use for any number of recipes, from marinara sauce, to salad dressings.


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