307. Christmas Emergency Cookies

Christmas Emergency Cookies | flourless, NSA | Ann Ning Learning How

I love candy cane Hershey’s Kisses. If you have not had these before they are little white chocolate kisses with red stripes in them and crunchy little red things. Chocolate and mint – a winning combination, especially this time of year. For the past couple of days Mommy has been saying, “I smell peppermint” whenever I’m around bc I keep on adding peppermint extract to everything and my motor skills invariably lead to spillage. Peppermint hot chocolate, peppermint mochas, peppermint herbal coffee, and now, Christmas Emergency Cookies!

I made mine with 2 Tb of desiccated coconut and 1 Tb of arrowroot – that’s why they look puffier in the picture than my other Chocolate Emergency Cookies. I didn’t prefer the texture of the added arrowroot. I like it in my non-chocolate EC’s but these already have 2 Tb of cocoa powder in them so the arrowroot was superfluous. They were still delicious, though, and I will be eating all of them soon. (Note: these cookies would be GF except for the Kisses. I did a cursory web check re. the gluten-status of CCHKisses and I don’t think they are. If you are allergic, though, you probably know better than I do. One site said the plain milk chocolate Kisses are GF to 20 ppm so you could sub those! The cookie itself is minty so you would still get the effect. )

Christmas Emergency Cookies

Flourless and Gluten Free, No Sugar Added (except for the Kisses)

Preheat toaster oven to 350

  • 2/3 c almond butter
  • 1/3 c unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 Tb unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 Tb desiccated coconut or rolled oats
  • 1 Tb ground flax
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • splash of vanilla
  • splash of peppermint extract

Mix everything together. Drop via ice cream scoop onto a parchment lined baking tray (I always use the toaster oven.) Bake for 12 minutes at 350.

  • 6 Candy Cane Hershey’s Kisses, for topping

Take out of the oven. While still hot, press a Candy Cane Kiss into the center of each cookie (I got 6.) Be careful! Mommy did this part for me. Thanks, Mom xoxo.

Chunky Monkey Emergency Cookies |Flourless, GF, Vegan | Ann Ning Learning How

10336292533_7aff7747b0Flourless Emergency Cookies | GF, Vegan, NSA| Ann Ning Learning HowChocolat Emergency Cookies | Flourless, Eggless, NSA | Ann Ning Learning How

302. Vacation Rice

Vacation Rice| Oil Free | Ann Ning Learning How

We were blessed to stay in an apartment-style place with a full kitchen in Aruba.  Happily, a large supermarket opened recently down the street, so my sisters and Mommy were in charge of buying groceries for the week.  Since we did not stay at an all-inclusive resort we had to go find food.  We had nice meals at local places, and nice meals “on-campus.”  The whole thing was a mobility-challenge for me, though, especially if we were eating after the sun had set.  Plus I’m still into vegetarianism even though the Vegan Experiment is technically over so I never knew what would be “okay” for me to order.  Everyone was really accommodating, though, and would bring me a vegetarian entrée even if it wasn’t on the menu.  Sometimes it was a huge plate of steamed veggies, sometimes it was a more complex offering.  I’m fine with simple, though, which is why I was equally happy to stay home and cook a  batch of “Vacation Rice” for the next couple of days.  The measurements here are all very sketchy.  I didn’t measure anything – I just worked with whatever I had.  Let me recommend buying pre-made fresh salsa for vacation cooking.  You know, like pico de gaillo, or whatever is in the store.  There were onions and garlic, red peppers, hot peppers, tomatoes, and herbs in my salsa so I didn’t have to buy or chop anything else – a major bonus for me.

Vacation Rice

  • 1.5 c leftover cooked brown rice
  • 1 pack of frozen vegetables
  • 1 small box mushrooms
  • 1 small package of fresh salsa
  • veggie or chicken broth
  • 2 eggs
  • soy sauce to taste

11161797225_0cf62d17abFirst you’ll need to go on vacation.  Before you go, do a Google search to see if there’s a grocery store nearby.  Plan ahead if you have dietary requirements.  Not everyone is going to want to cook on vacay, but I wanted to do so since it ensured a food supply to my liking. All the food labels were in Dutch, but mushrooms look like mushrooms wherever you are, so it all worked out.

Pour a bit of broth into the bottom of a large pan and bring it to a state of rowdiness.  Add in the salsa and cleaned mushrooms.  I didn’t even bother trying to slice them or asking Mommy to slice them for me ❤ since  I wanted a bigger “chew.”  So put them all in the pan, stir to combine, cover and cook over medium-ish heat for 15 minutes.

Add in a bit more broth then the frozen veggies.  Cook over medium heat again for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.


While the veggies are cooking, scramble the eggs.  To do this without oil, keep the heat super-low and keep stirring.  I learned this method from JPAS, the king of pancakes.  I braced myself against the counter and took this exciting left-handed cooking action shot!


Put the eggs aside.  Add a little broth to the egg-y pan.  When rowdy, add in your rice, the eggs, and a few scoops of veggies.  Stir-fry and add soy sauce to taste. You will have leftover veggies to enjoy for further meals.  If you don’t want leftovers try using only half a pack.  Otherwise, this amount of rice was 2 servings for me.  Enjoy!



Target Launch Tues Dec 10| Ann Ning Learning How


300. Veggie Bisque [Vegan]

Veggie Bisque | The Vegan Experiment | Ann Ning Learning How

The Vegan Experiment is over for now.  The Verdict:  I will continue to avoid meat.  I’ll likely incorporate some fish back in my diet once or twice a week, and won’t be as concerned about putting ½ and ½ in my herbal coffee (!!) or eating something baked with an animal product, but I think that the most important thing is that I not consume chunks of beef or poultry as is my wont.   I feel like my insides are working less hard to process my food.  This could be mental, but it doesn’t matter at this point – the bottom line is that I feel better, so I’m going to go with that.  My tongue looks better.  There is still some whiteness, but it has receded.  Whatevs.  I’ll take what I can get.

This is another no-oil added recipe.  It’s completely vegan and VERY creamy, like my

272.  Dairy Free Clam or Chicken Chowder

272. Dairy Free Clam or Chicken Chowder

.  The brown tint came from the balsamic vinegar.  I like mine served on a bed of quinoa and wilted greens.

Veggie Bisque [Vegan]

Makes a HUGE pot


For the Base:

  • Half a large head of cauliflower (in florets), or 1 small head
  • 8 oz tofu (1/2 a box, I think)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • ¼ onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1.5 tsp Mrs. Dash no salt
  • Worcestershire sauce



  • 1 lb mushrooms, sliced (I like a lot of mushrooms, you could use less)
  • 3 celery ribs, sliced
  • 2 long Chinese eggplants, sliced
  • balsamic vinegar


In a HUGE pot, bring a splash of veggie broth to a state of rowdiness.  Add all the base ingredients in except for the veggie broth, Mrs. Dash and Worcestershire sauce.  Cover and let cook for 2 minutes.  Add everything into your blender, cover with the veggie broth, add the seasonings.  Puree.

In that same huge pot, broth-sauté the mushrooms.  Add a splash of balsamic, stir, add the celery.  Stir more.  Cover everything with the base, stir well, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Target Launch Tues Dec 10| Ann Ning Learning How

Please pray that all goes well logistically and we will get the incorporation and banking issues squared away for the target launch date of Dec 10, or sooner.

299. Fennel Apple Quinoa Stuffing [GF, Vegan]

Fennel Apple Quinoa Stuffing | GF, Vegan | Ann Ning Learning How

Quinoa is a great alternative for the Gluten Free among us.  Before I talk about quinoa (keen-wah) some more, let me just give a shout out to the Honey Baked Ham guy who helped me out in November 2010.  He read the fear in my eyes and told me, “It’s going to be okay.”

Yeah, it was fine because my friend, L, was there to do the actual cutting of my pre-cooked turkey.  I also Skyped earlier in the day with my family.  I held up a huge bag of Yukon Golds and was like, “Mommy, what do I do with these?”

But back to quinoa – it’s a seed, not a grain.  However, I’ve heard of it referred to sometimes as a “pseudograin,” and it has a mixed reception in the Grain-Free community.  Since I am not eating meat presently I’ve embraced quinoa since I love the hearty texture, and the fact that it’s a complete protein.   SCORE!  I wouldn’t consider it a low-calorie food, though, so I’m still mindful of serving size, but in the grand scheme of things I’m glad quinoa is on my list of “okay to eat” things right now.

Pure quinoa is gluten free – but if you’re purchasing a mix just be careful to verify that it’s certified GF if you need it to be.  This stuffing is a great alternative to the usual bread stuffing or its processed GF counterpart.  Mommy never actually stuffed the bird when we were growing up – actually, I heard that this practice is frowned upon now as unhygienic.  Anyhoo, Mommy always made a glutinous sticky rice we called “stuffing” with Chinese sausage, shitakes, and chestnuts for Thanksgiving.  Yum!  I wanted to do a quinoa/vegan version this year and this is what I came up with.

I’ve never cooked with fennel before, but I like the licorice-taste it imparts and I just sliced it up (only the bulb, not those pokey things) and went for it.  I broth-sauteed this so there is no added oil, but feel free to cook it how you choose.  I would definitely recommend, though, that you use red quinoa (it’s prettier) that has been cooked in leftover soup/broth.  I’m pretty sure this gives it a tasty boost.  I used some roasted carrot soup and some veggie bisque (recipe coming tomorrow) as well as veggie broth.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Fennel Apple Quinoa Stuffing (GF, Vegan)

Serves around 5

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (I used red quinoa cooked in soup/broth – the flavor boost is strongly recommended)
  • 1 bulb of fennel, sliced
  • 1 green apple, e.g. granny smith
  • ½ lb. mushrooms, e.g. baby bella, sliced
  • 5 chestnuts (or more/less – your preference)
  • Veggie broth, for cooking
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Mrs. Dash no salt
  • Salt and pepper

In a big pan or wok, bring a splash of veggie broth to state of rowdiness over high heat.  Toss in the mushrooms.  Add a splash of balsamic, a pinch of Mrs. Dash no salt, and stir.  Lower the heat and cover for 2 minutes.  Add in the fennel and apple.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper, stir and cover again for 1-2 minutes.  Add the quinoa in and stir.  Season to taste.  Drop the chestnuts in and heat everything through.

Other Allergy-Friendly Thanksgiving Food:  click here

114. PBCC Quinoa Oatmeal

114. PBCC Quinoa Oatmeal



Target Launch Tues Dec 10| Ann Ning Learning How

Please pray that all goes well logistically and we will get the incorporation and banking issues squared away for the target launch date of Dec 10, or sooner.


297. Flourless Chunky Monkey Emergency Cookies [Gluten Free, Vegan, No Sugar Added]

Chunky Monkey Emergency Cookies |Flourless, GF, Vegan | Ann Ning Learning How

You could have guessed that this was going to happen. I love ice cream, and I love cookies…It doesn’t take a brain surgeon…(pun intended). I haven’t had Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream in years. But when Mom brought it home one day when I was still a teenager I was like, Umm…this is SO good. At that point I didn’t even really like bananas, so maybe it was the name that caught my fancy.

In any case, I didn’t feel like using only half a banana so I threw a whole (small) very ripe banana in and increased the ground flax seed. I got 8 cookies out of this batch – still small, but gauge the size of your toaster oven and plan accordingly. I tried this with both sun butter and regular peanut butter. Both are delicious, but you should be aware (and I apologize for not telling you this during Sun Butter Week) that sun butter often bakes up green due to the chlorophyll in the sunflower seeds. I Googled it, and as you know, the internet does not lie. The green colored baked goods are safe to eat but I thought they might be rather off-putting in the pictures, so I tried a peanut butter version. Success!! If, however, you want to use sun butter you could try squeezing some lemon juice in there.

The fuzzy monkey you see in the background in the picture above was a gift to me in the hospital from my dear friends (college roomates) who drove up from California to visit me. See (look over Karine’s right shoulder)?


Sadly, I was still asleep, otherwise we would have had a grand old time. 2 seconds after I took the title photo, this happened:


Chunky Monkey Emergency Cookies (GF, Vegan, NSA)

Makes around 8 cookies
Preheat oven to 350

  • 2/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1 small ripe banana (or half of a large banana)
  • 2 Tb ground flax
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • splash of vanilla
  • handful DF chocolate chips
  • handful walnuts

Mix the peanut butter and banana first – I used a fork to mash the banana into the PB. Mix everything else in. Drop by the large spoonful or ice cream scoop onto your greased or lined cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. Store in the freezer. If you don’t devour them immediately, enjoy them straight from freezer, barely defrosted, or reheated in the toaster oven.

for other Emergency Cookie variations: click here.

Target Launch Tues Dec 10| Ann Ning Learning How

Please pray that all goes well logistically and we will get the incorporation and banking issues squared away for the target launch date of Dec 10, or sooner.

295. My Best Beans

My Best Beans |Vegan, No Refined Sugar | Ann Ning Learning How

Not only are these my best beans, these will likely be my only beans.  I don’t think I’m digesting their protein well.  If I were not in a bit of a digestive pickle due to the AVM rupture + massive stroke I would be eating these all the time – so that’s why I feel good about recommending them to people looking for a tasty plant-based protein source.  My statement re. not digesting the beans’ protein well  is based solely on CMD’s evaluation of my tongue – these (like all the other food I’m eating) caused me zero digestive distress.  I  actually told Mommy after I made these that I was so happy that my soaking method appeared to make these easy for my belly to take(The popular bean soaking method I found online:  Soak dry beans for 2-3 days, changing the water every morning and night.  Add bay leaves, ginger, or kombu to the soaking water.  I used 2-3 bay leaves.)  I normally avoid beans in chili or in other dishes at restaurants, but these were fantastic for my purpose.  I cooked them in a vegan baked-bean style, with no added oil (I don’t count greasing the baking dish) or salt, a la Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live method.  I love baked beans, but they don’t love me back.  These, however, contain no refined sugar and I included a bit of cinnamon so it smelled lovely – like the chicken Moroccan stew I used to cook all the time in Oregon.

I had my first personal training session yesterday.  I got to lie on the mat pretty much the whole time, but fascinatingly, I am still sore.  D evaluated my muscles and could tell right away that there are differences between the right and left sides.  Happily, he has plans for how to address them.  It came to light that D married a respected dietitian in our area, or a nutritionist, or something, and knows about this stuff himself. Great.  Another person to debate with over how I eat.

Just kidding.  The nutritional advice he gave me was very kindly given, based in clinical research, and was just that – advice, not a decree.  So I’m going to ponder the future of my Vegan Experiment, but I have to say that I am enjoying it so far and my tongue looks better.  It’s still not pink like yours, but the whiteness has receded a bit and isn’t as thick.  So I’m going to keep on going for now.

My Best Beans [Vegan]

These are baked beans sweetened with dates instead of oodles of brown sugar.  You’ll bake them at 350, but you pre-cook them on the stove so you could probably preheat the oven near the end of the stovetop cooking step.

1. Prepare the Beans:

1 16 oz bag of dry cannellini beans (you could try navy, pinto, or whatever you like)

  • Soak (instructions in paragraph 1 above) and rinse them
  • Cook them in a pan of water for 45 minutes.  Although the end result was fabulous, this might be a little overkill since you’re going to simmer them and then bake them, but I’ve never cooked beans before, so I cooked them just in case.  Use your own judgment on if/how long to precook the beans.

2.  Prepare the Base:

  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • ½ small onion
  • 1.5 tsp Mrs. Dash No Salt
  • Splash of balsamic vinegar
  • 10 dates (pitted and pre-soaked in hot water for 15 minutes)
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (I would’ve used fresh, but we were out)
  • splash of natural maple flavoring
  • dash of cinnamon
  • Throw everything in your blender or food processor and puree.


3.  Cook the mushrooms and beans on the stove

  • 1/2 lb of sliced mushrooms, e.g. baby bella
  • veggie broth
  • balsamic vinegar
  • Broth-sauté the mushrooms:  Bring a splash of vegetable broth to a boil (as much as you can since it’s only a splash).  Add the mushrooms in, stir and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.  Stir again and cover on low-medium heat for 2 minutes.  The mushrooms will release more water.
  • Pour the base (#2) over the mushrooms, stir, cover, and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the beans and stir, cover and let cook, stirring occasionally for 45-60 minutes.

4.  Bake

  • Pour into a greased casserole, cover and bake for 60 minutes at 350.






293. A Very Vegan Thanksgiving (Slow-Cooker Meal)

A Very Vegan Thanksgiving | All-in-one Slow-Cooker Meal | Ann Ning Learning How

This is an all-in-one slow-cooker meal, meaning you cook the whole dinner in one crockpot.  One of the tips people gave me for disabled cooking was that the crockpot is your friend.  But Mommy’s crockpot is big, and I’m often just cooking for me.  So I got an adorable mini slow-cooker on sale at Target last week – $9.99 for a 2-qt cooker.  YEAH.  Plus, I chose the red one, and red makes me happy.

This recipe is based on one by Kathy Hester in Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just For You!  She has a section on “Vegan Squares” –  complete meals you cook in one slow-cooker by wrapping up the different dishes in foil or parchment paper and layering them in the pot.  The idea of cooking food in packets (e.g. on the grill, or in the oven) is not new to me, but cooking in a crock pot is.  Good thing I consulted Hester’s book before diving in.  I did, however, make some significant changes to use what I had on hand and to adjust for my preferences.

If you have a bigger slow-cooker I would not hesitate to just double the recipe.  This quantity, however, works for me.  It would also be great for Lt. Cmmdr R – my lovely friend who is also trying a Vegan Experiment of her own.  Her husband, C(Kh), does eat meat presently, so I’d go for some rotisserie chicken or something on the side.  Oh yeah – this is the first time I tried tempeh.  It’s a fermented soy product that hails from Indonesia.  You can find it near the tofu (I got mine from Whole Foods, not sure what other stores carry it).  I like it – it’s meatier than tofu and you can taste the fermentation action.  I will likely try some other variations as I ramp up this vegan learning curve.  But this is a great start – you just open the package, cut the tempeh up, and put it in the crock pot.

Slow-Cooker Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner

Serves 2ish
Based on K. Hester’s recipe in Vegan Slow-Cooking for Two or Just for You

Layer 1: Tempeh and Gravy

  • 8 oz (1 package) tempeh, cut into 6 pieces.
  • 1 c water
  • 2 Tb nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp of Mrs. Dash no-salt
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 Tb arrowroot (sub cornstarch)- reserve for use just before serving.

    Put everything (except arrowroot or cornstarch) in the bottom of your slow-cooker and stir to combine.


Layer 2:  Quinoa Stuffing

  • 1.5 c cooked quinoa (cooked in broth/soup for flavor.  I used leftover red quinoa that had been cooked in a mix of ½ veggie broth and ½ carrot soup – delicious!)
  • 2 ribs of celery, sliced
  • 2 mushrooms, e.g. baby bella, sliced
  • splash of veggie broth
  • handful of craisins
  • handful of walnuts
  • pinch of Mrs. Dash no-salt
  • salt & pepper

Put everything in a bowl and stir to combine.  Tear a piece of foil or parchment paper big enough for your packet.  Put the paper/foil over a bowl to help you form your packet.  Pour the quinoa mixture over the paper/foil/bowl.  Fold the ends up so you have a nice packet.  Place over the tempeh in the slow-cooker.


Layer 3:  Maple Sweet Potatoes

  • · 1 medium sweet potato, scrubbed and sliced (I kept the skin on bc my motor skill did not feel up to peeling, and I figured that my potato was organic so… But it’s up to you – this is preference.)
  • · splash of maple syrup
  • · splash of vanilla extract
  • · dash of cinnamon
  • · tiny pinch of salt


Put everything in a bowl and stir to combine.  Make it into a packet like you did with the quinoa.  Put the potatoes on the top and close the slow cooker lid.  (I had to press mine down a little).  Cook on low for 7 hours or high for 3 hours.


When it’s time to serve dinner, take the lid off of your slow cooker and remove the 2 packets into bowls.  Be careful – it’s hot.  I used tongs.  Remove the tempeh to a bowl.  Add a little hot water to your arrowroot and stir until smooth.  Then stir it into your tempeh gravy.  Cover and let it thicken while you plate up the other food.  Mine thickened a lot – I was surprised.  It was a good gravy.   By the time you get everything out of the packets and onto plates your gravy will be ready.  Pour it over your tempeh and enjoy!

Other Thanksgiving Food ideas:  click here.





291. Chocolate Emergency Cookies

Chocolat Emergency Cookies | Flourless, Eggless, NSA | Ann Ning Learning How

In case you didn’t guess this already, these are my new favorite cookies. To review:  I call them “Emergency” Cookies bc they bake up so fast – seriously, it just takes the laziest of stirring with a dinner spoon or fork, and your’e done.   J and I are sharing a Winter CSA (Yay!) and she came over last week to drop off some produce so I took the opportunity to bake up an Emergency Cookie variation.  Chocolate, my friends!  Chocolate is one of the areas that I give myself (lots of) leeway when it comes to veganism.  These would be vegan except that I couldn’t resist putting in a handful of the white chocolate chips that live on an upper shelf in the pantry. (Side note:  Let’s assume my white cc’s are gluten free.  I’ll go check in a minute.)  But they are still flourless, eggless, made with no added sugar, and yummy for my tummy.  Don’t let the list of dietary attributes deter you from making these – these are delightful.  And I don’t joke about cookies.  If you require true vegan/dairy-free cookies, though, just use the chips you know are sanctioned.

Chocolate Emergency Cookies

Makes 6-7 cookies; these mix up in a flash and bake up in the toaster oven.  Time elapsed from when you start mixing to when you taste one warm from the oven:  15-20 minutes

Preheat toaster oven to 350, grease a small baking sheet or line it with parchment paper or a silpat.

▪   Approx. 2/3 c almond butter

▪   1/3 c unsweetened applesauce

▪   1 Tbsp ground flax

▪   ¼ tsp baking soda

▪   splash of vanilla

▪   2 Tb unsweetened cocoa powder

▪   2 Tb unsweetened shredded coconut (or sub rolled oats)

▪   handful of white chocolate chips

Mix the almond butter and applesauce.  When combined, add everything else in.  Drop by the spoonful or use an ice cream scoop to make cookie dough lumps on a greased or silpat/parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.  Let cool a little before digging in.  Store in the freezer (if you don’t eat them all).  If not warm from the oven, I like mine straight from the freezer or barely defrosted.

Emergency Cookie Variations:

Flourless Emergency Cookies | GF, Vegan, NSA| Ann Ning Learning How


289. Easy Custard and Trifle

Easy Custard and Trifle | Allergy-Friendly Thanksgiving | GF, No Refined Sugar | Ann Ning Learning How

I made this a couple of months ago for a dear friend’s baby shower.  This baby shower had been the work of many months because I was so excited!.  Not “active” work, mind you – just Pinterest-board brainstorming work (on my part – my friends did the real heavy-lifting).    I joined forces with the Aunty and then hit up KAR to host the shin-dig.  Thanks for opening your beautiful home to us, KAR xoxo!!  I then got distracted by the possibility of having to have surgery. But thankfully, I got a reprieve on surgery and was able to party on with my friends.  Happily, the baby (a sweet little girl) has arrived safely, to the great joy of us all.  And now I’m going to post this custard (so easy!  It’s made in the Vitamix) and how to make grain-free trifle.

Actually, I lost the grain-free cake recipe I used, so this will just be instructions on a method, not an actual recipe.  (I just tried to Google the original again, but I can’t find it – sorry.) I’ll just tell you my criteria first.  PS.  This would make a lovely non pumpkin-pie dessert alternative for Thanksgiving.

Trifle Criteria:

  1. High quality ingredients – e.g. pasture-raised eggs, organic grass-fed milk, organic fruit.  I was probably more concerned about this than my friend – but in feeding an expectant Mommy with a history of food sensitivity I wasn’t going to take chances.  I probably benefited from the quality of ingredients, too.  Oh yeah – I verified that my ingredients were “okay” before proceeding.
  2. Grain Free – Grain free is actually an Ann/Ning thing.  My friend can tolerate a little gluten, but I wanted to go grain free for this one anyway.
  3. Easy to make custard – my adopted Grandma E. used Bird’s custard in her trifle (a favorite)!  I didn’t want to use a mix, though, and so I Googled easy custard recipes.  There are many simple ones in terms of ingredients, but there is whisking and pouring involved that is beyond my kitchen mobility skills presently, so I wanted to make a custard of my own.

Easy Vitamix Custard

Inspired by Vitamix’s recipe

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 c whole milk
  • 3 Tb arrowroot powder
  • 5 dates or ¼ cup of raw honey – I’ve done both; if you don’t like the taste of honey, go for the dates, or the syrupy sweetener of your choice
  • splash of vanilla
  • small splash of almond extract

Combine everything in your Vitamix and run on the highest setting for 6 minutes.  I put a small paper towel under the plastic knob in the rubbery top to aid with catching the foam.  It does foam up, so watch it.  I don’t know if it was user error, or what, but sometimes I had a tough time keeping the custard from bubbling up over the lid.  The first time I made this there was no problem.  Then I kept on making it bc it was so good, and I couldn’t keep it in the blender!  I generally set the timer for 6 minutes and tried to go for a total time of 6 minutes.  Once I failed to close the lid properly (I blame the vision deficit) and had to jump ship.  I poured the rest of the custard into a large pyrex and microwaved it.  The egg got a little solid, but it was blended nicely still.  To make it smooth again I finished it off with the immersion/stick blender and it was fabulous.

Because I am me, I was concerned about the Vitamix’s capacity to heat the custard to an appropriate temperature that would be safe for eating eggs.  So I Googled it.  The safe temperature we’re looking for is 160 degrees.  I used the thermometer and when running the Vitamix for 6 minutes, the custard reached 170+ – I breathed a sigh of relief and poured it to cool into a large measuring cup.  Cover the surface with plastic wrap when cool and refrigerate until ready to assemble.

Trifle Method:

You should have trifle-making in your arsenal of life-skills.  I happen to live with the Trifle Ninja, Baker Smurf Mommy, so I was quite confident going in to this.  This is what you need to do:

  • Timeline:  assemble your trifle on the morning of, or just before your event.  You don’t want it to get soggy.
  • Fruit flavors:  I’m assuming you’re using fruit (as opposed to chocolate or pumpkin).  Choose your fruits – they can be frozen.  I used bags of organic frozen peaches and strawberries (2 small bags each).  Defrost and drain by setting in a strainer/colander for a while before assembly.
  • Garnish for the top: Don’t use frozen here.  Pick some fruit that looks pretty – I chose some plump rasberries.
  • Cake:  I opted to make a grain-free cake with a large splash of vanilla and a little splash of almond extract.  Trifle is a great place to experiment bc the cake gets broken up – prettiness is not a requirement.  I just looked up a plain grain free cake, replaced some of the eggs with flax eggs, changed the flavoring, decreased the sugar and used a natural sweetener instead, and doubled it bc I was making a HUGE trifle.  You could do the same or just use a mix, or buy some pound cake or sponge cake from the store – you choose!
  • Whipped cream – I used a pint of grass-fed heavy cream.  Mommy beat it up for me in her KitchenAid.  I think she might have added a little vanilla/almond and a touch of honey.  This gets mixed with the custard, though, so it takes on the custard’s flavor.
  • Assembly:  Just layer from the bottom up:  fruit, custard cream (a 1/2 and 1/2 mixture), cake, repeat.  Top with custard cream and your fresh fruit.


287. TVeganE: Persimmon Porridge

Persimmon Porridge | The Vegan Experiment | Ann Ning Learning How

Aren’t you astounded that this recipe does not include a banana?  Don’t get me wrong – I love bananas, especially in porridge.  But there was only one lonely banana in the kitchen and I wanted to save it for a smoothie later (unless Tanpo finds it first – I’d be totally fine with that).  But we have several persimmons – YAY!  And persimmons lend themselves nicely to my new self-imposed fruit-cooking criterion.  In fact, they made such a nice bowl of porridge that I made this two days in a row.  This morning will likely be 3.

Persimmon Porridge (Vegan)

Serves 1

Bring to a slight boil

  • ½ c nondairy milk – I used unsweetened almond
  • splash of vanilla
  • dash of cinnamon


  • 1 persimmon, sliced thinly
  • ¼ c rolled oats or cooked quinoa

Simmer on low, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.  Turn off the heat, cover, and let cool for a few minutes while you do something else.

Optional, if using quinoa:  after it cools a bit, mix a heaping teaspoon of arrowroot with a little of the heated milk.  Add back into the porridge.  Simmer, stir and cool again.  This part is optional of course – I just wanted mine to be a bit thicker.  You could try cornstarch or omit it altogether.  The oatmeal does fine on its own.

This is what it looks like with quinoa:

Persimmon Porridge w Quinoa | Vegan | Ann Ning Learning How