Vegan Cinnamon-Sugar Pretzels

Sometimes, being vegan means missing out admittedly-unhealthy-but-delicious-nonetheless foods. It seems like every time I go to the mall, the smell of soft, cinnamon-sugar pretzels waft through the air, just tempting me to give in and buy one. I never have, and now that I’ve put together this remarkable treat, I never will have to! I present to you: vegan cinnamon-sugar pretzels! I’ll admit, these things aren’t the same as eating a plate of greens, but they don’t hurt for a treat every once in a while. Better yet, they require very little ingredients and, though they can’t be put together within minutes, the steps are very simple.

First, prepare the ingredients for the pretzel dough. This will require combining active dry yeast with warm water, salt, cinnamon, and maple syrup. Once the yeast has been activated, the mixture will be bubbly. Begin adding 1 cup of flour at a time to the bowl, mixing each time. Begin kneading it the dough. Once the dough is elastic and smooth, knead for about 5 more minutes.


Next, place the ball of dough in a bowl that has been greased with a small amount of olive oil. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and place in a warm spot for about 1 hour, until the dough has expanded to about twice its original size. Using a knife, cut the dough into 8 separate sections–1 for each pretzel–and begin rolling and twisting the pretzels into their desirable shape.


Now, for the signature “pretzel taste,” bring a pot of water and baking soda to a boil. Place each pretzel in the baking soda bath for about 30 seconds, and then remove from the water. This process is, in my opinion, crucial for making pretzels that brown and harden on the outside, leaving a chewy bread on the inside.


Finally, add a mixture of equal parts sugar and cinnamon atop each pretzel. Sprinkle generously and then move onto a greased baking sheet (parchment paper will not work for these pretzels–the bottom of each pretzel would stick to the paper while baking).


Place baking pan in the oven at 450°F for about 12 minutes, until perfectly browned on the outside.


These pretzels are amazing right out of the oven. They’re sticky, sweet, and reminiscent of a perfect cinnamon roll on a Sunday morning. Enjoy these without the guilt of mall-bought pretzels. They can be customized any way you want to fit your preferences! Or, try cutting the dough into small bite-sized pieces, for tiny pretzel appetizers for a party, event, or night at home. Enjoy!

Vegan Cinnamon-Sugar Pretzels

Yield: 8 pretzels


  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 10 cups water (for baking soda bath)
  • 2/3 cups baking soda (for baking soda bath)
  • 3 tablespoons Cinnamon (for topping)
  • 3 tablespoons (for topping)


  1. Combine yeast, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, and warm water in a bowl for about 5 minutes, until yeast has activated (the mixture will be bubbly)
  2. Add 1 cup of flour at a time to the mixture at a time, mixing until the dough has combined
  3. Place the dough on a cutting board that has been sprinkled with flour. Knead the dough until it is elastic and smooth, then continue for an additional 5 minutes
  4. Place the dough in a bowl, greased lightly with olive oil, and cover with a damp towel. Place in a warm area for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size
  5. Cut the dough out into 8 separate pieces on a cutting board. Carefully roll each piece of dough, about the width of a cutting board, and then twist into desired pretzel shape
  6. Bring a pot of water and baking soda to a boil. Place each pretzel in the water for 30 seconds
  7. Create a cinnamon-sugar mixture and sprinkle atop each pretzel, then transfer pretzels onto a greased baking sheet
  8. Let pretzels bake in the oven for about 12 minutes in an oven, preheated at 450°F. Watch carefully: the pretzels will be done baking when they are golden-brown on the outside
  9. Let cool for about 5-10 minutes before serving




Fudgy Vegan Avocado Brownies

Senior year of high school is just around the corner… College apps, late nights studying, and significant decisions about my future are all becoming a reality, and I can’t help but feel a mix of emotions as my last week of summer passes. I can’t lie, last year, as a junior, I hardly slept–there were multiple nights where I pulled all-nighters studying for tests and finishing projects and I was under a lot of stress. This summer, cooking with Mark has been an amazing way for me to regain a creative outlet, and it has been especially comforting because it involves plant-based foods, a diet (though so much more than that to me) that I am extremely passionate about embracing and sharing. (We recently got home for a vacation in the mountains with Mark’s family and had a great time–there was lots of time spent in the water, enjoying good food, and playing cards!)


I have been doing a lot of thinking, particularly about how I want to better my lifestyle in the coming year. First of all, getting more sleep is necessary. I don’t plan on being up past 12, at latest, this year, though we will see how long that lasts. Most importantly, however, I want to continue bettering my eating habits. I do a lot of reading about vegan eating and nutrition and what is best for my health. For a long time, I have been very confused about how much fat I should be consuming, because there is a lot of mixed beliefs held by veggie doctors, nutritionists, and bloggers. I have come to realize that as I get older, I can worry about fat more, but as a teenage girl, eating some extra fat is not the worst thing I can do for my health. Though some studies suggest there are heart benefits with extremely low fat diets, it would be silly for me to think that I wouldn’t be missing out on some amazing benefits for my heart, brain, and body by eliminating healthy fats from nuts, seeds, and my favorite… AVOCADO.


This past week, I have been trying out all sorts of back-to-school recipes: crackers, chickpea chicken nuggets, and these delectable, fudgy brownies.

The steps are so simple for these brownies that they will only take about 10 minutes to prepare. Simply use a food processor to blend avocado, 2 “flax eggs” and coco powder.


Then, combine this with some additional ingredients to add taste and texture and spoon out into a brownie pan. (Look at this awesome pan, it allows all of the brownies to have crusted edges!)


Place the brownies in the oven for about 20 minutes, and when they’re cooled off, they’re ready to eat! These guys are best a few minutes out of the oven, where you’ll find that they have maximum fudgy-ness. Seriously, look at that inside!


These brownies are totally guilt-free and delicious. I can’t wait to make another batch of these for my first week of senior year. Nothing says “You will get through this school year” like a homemade vegan treat!


Fudgy Vegan Avocado Brownies


  • 1 avocado
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal + 6 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup coco powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare brownie pan with baking spray
  2. Blend avocado, coco powder, and “flax eggs” in a food processor or blender, until creamy. Add more water if necessary
  3. In a bowl, add baking powder, all purpose flour, sugar, and salt
  4. Add avocado and chocolate puree to the dry ingredients. Then, add water and vanilla extract into the bowl and stir all the ingredients together until smooth
  5. Add brownie batter into brownie pan and place into the oven for 20-25 minutes or until cooked all the way through. After baking, remove from oven and let chill for about 5-10 minutes before serving

Vegan Blueberry Crisp

Confession time. Jenna has never been a blueberry fan. To her, they’re just not as  as vibrant, sweet, or full of flavor the way raspberries and blackberries are. Sure, blueberries are full of antioxidants and nutrients, but they have never been her “go to” fruit. All of this may have changed, however, because of this blueberry crisp.


Deep, colorful, crispy and sweet, this blueberry crisp is a comforting treat that can be made extremely quickly and with ease. It is not filled with any questionable ingredients and it’s perfectly satisfying. What could be better?


This blueberry crisp only requires FOUR ingredients and they’re so basic that it’s likely that you’ll have all of them in the kitchen at all times. The crisp first begins by warming up, softening, and plumping 2 cups of blueberries in a pan of water.


Once this process is finished, the blueberries are tossed in some maple syrup and then placed inside a dish. Next, it is time to make the crisp’s “flaky” crust.


With some oats, maple syrup, and applesauce, the topping is mixed together until the oats are thoroughly coated and are sticking together. After adding the mixture to the top of the crisp, the entire dish is ready to go into the oven.The dish is set within the oven, preheated at 350°F for 20 minutes, until the crust has hardened and the blueberries underneath have begun to bubble.


After this crisp was taken out of the oven and given some time to cool down, we ate the entire thing. The blueberries were sweet but tart and the topping was perfectly crunchy. Overall, it was a definite hit. This crisp would make the perfect breakfast, afternoon snack, or dessert with a side of vegan ice cream!

Vegan Blueberry Crisp


  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (1 tablespoon for berries + 1 tablespoon for oat crust)
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup applesauce


  • Add 1 cup of water with 1 cup of fresh blueberries into a pan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once the blueberries have turned a deep purple and have began to enlarge, remove from water and set aside. Repeat with second cup of blueberries
  • In a bowl, toss warmed blueberries carefully with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, then add to dish
  • Add maple syrup, oats, and applesauce together in a separate bowl and mix together until crust forms, adding more applesauce or oats as necessary until a thick mixture has been created
  • Place the crust over the blueberries in an even layer
  • Cook the dish in an oven preheated to 350°F for about 20 minutes, or until crust has hardened and blueberries beneath have begun to bubble
  • Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes, until warm, before serving

Vegan French Toast Bruschetta

Hello there, Jenna here! As rising seniors in high school, Mark and I are both approaching the scary-but-anticipated college application process. One step of this, of course, is the good-old college road trip. In preparation for my time away from the kitchen, I spent my weekend trying out all sorts of recipes and taking pictures. This, my friends, was honestly the best treat I could have made after hours of cooking.


Say hello to vegan French toast bruschetta.


This little creation is so beautiful and tasty that between my parents, Mark, and I, we polished off 12 pieces within an hour or so. Gooey, sweet, reminiscent of my childhood, and beautiful. (All credit goes to my dad for thinking of this when Mark and I were brainstorming creative food ideas!)


I had never made French toast before, but the recipe that I whipped up was simple and made the process extremely easy, as it is only requires some plain white bread, cut into thin slices as if to make traditional bruschetta, and a batter of almond milk, flaxmeal, maple syrup, tumeric, and cinnamon.


After frying up the French toast on a skillet with a dab of olive oil, I made a delicious fruit topping to replicate the tomatoes found on traditional bruschetta. A chopped up apple tossed in cinnamon and softened over the stove and a handful of fresh blueberries did the trick. After being coated in some maple syrup, this fruit was added right to the top of the French toast.


After sitting in the oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes, these little beauties were all done. They were just as amazing as I imagined when my dad first suggested their creation. Allowing the flavors to marinate in the oven was the best decision of all, because the maple syrup soaked right into the bread, making these bite sized treats all delectable. Because they turned out much smaller than typical French toast, these treats serve as a great appetizer, or, as I like it, allow you to eat a large amount without feeling too guilty… hehehe 🙂

Vegan French Toast Bruschetta


  • 1 baguette of choice
  • 1/2 cup almond milk 
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (1 tablespoon for French toast batter, 1 tablespoon for fruit topping)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon flaxmeal + 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 apple, fresh
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh


French Toast

  1. Cut baguette into thin slices, about 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick each
  2. Create mixture to dip bread into by adding almond milk, maple syrup, turmeric and cinnamon. Set aside flaxmeal and water in a separate bowl for 3-5 minutes and then add into the main mixture when ready. Whisk all ingredients together until smooth
  3. Dip both sides bread into the mixture, allowing the excess liquid to fall back into the bowl before placing on a skillet over medium heat (Unless using a non-stick pan, add a small amount of olive oil onto the pan before cooking)
  4. Allow bread to cook until light-brown on each side, which may take anywhere from 30 seconds to about 1 minute

Fruit Topping and Assembly

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Wash, peel, and slice one apple into about 1/4 inch pieces and coat with a few shakes of cinnamon
  3. In a pan, add apples and about 1/4 cup of water, bringing the water to a boil and constantly stirring the apples until the water evaporates. Continue adding water (for about 10-15 minutes) until apples have softened as desired and no water remains in the pan
  4. Add 1 cup of blueberries and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup to cooked apples and carefully mix everything together
  5. Place topping on each slice of French toast and then set in the oven for about 10 minutes to allow the topping to warm up and soak into the bread, while crisping up the edges for maximum deliciousness!

Sweet Date Caramel Popcorn

Oh, dates, our love for you has no bounds. We have discovered something that may just be the best use of dates known to man: date caramel. 


This mixture is full of healthy ingredients and contains no processed sugar. It’s sweet, sticky, and absolutely perfect for making caramel corn. No need for butter or corn syrup — this sauce is decadent and delicious and it still retains an impressive nutritional value, which makes it even tastier!


This snack is so easy to prepare, we made it and ate it all in well under an hour. When it was all finished, it was chewy, sweet, and a little bit salty. All together, it made a great snack that we will definitely make again on a movie night with friends or during a long day of studying.

The best part of all, of course, is that this snack is much, much healthier than “real” caramel corn. First of all, we used plain old popcorn kernels in a hot air popper. No oil, no salt, no weird fake-butter. It turns out that popcorn in this state is actually quite healthy — it is a whole grain, contains polyphenols (hello, antioxidants!), and is made of a hearty amount of fiber for its small size.


The dates that are the base of the caramel are also quite impressive. A chalk full of potassium and magnesium, these sweet little fruits are the perfect ingredient to make a caramel base. The maple syrup that is added to the sauce to gives it a rich, caramel flavor also has its benefits — made up of minerals such as calcium, manganese, and zinc, it aids in immune system efficiency and provides for energy production, among other surprising functions.


Even Jenna’s little corgi, Daisy, was begging for popcorn as we made it! We may or may not have caved and gave her a few pieces… and she may have absolutely adored it!


If you’re interested in changing up your popcorn routine but would like to avoid oil, vegan butter, or other processed ingredients, look no further! This recipe will be sure to satisfy your sweet tooth in the most nutritious way possible!



Sweet Date Caramel Corn (Serves 1-2)

(Vegan, Soy Free, Oil Free)


  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1 cup of medjool dates, pitted
  • 5 teaspoons almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup


  1. Preheat oven to 200°F
  2. Pop popcorn kernels with a hot air popper or on the stove
  3. In a blender, combine dates, pure maple syrup, and 3 out of 5 teaspoons of almond milk; as the mixture combines, add the remaining 2 teaspoons of almond milk until the mixture is quite gooey and thick
  4. Spread the caramel evenly across the bottom of an oven-safe pan. Then, slowly add popcorn, applying pressure intermittently to allow the caramel to combine with the popcorn. Once all of the popcorn has been added, carefully toss it until it is all thinly coated in caramel sauce
  5. Place pan in the oven for no more than 20 minutes
  6. Remove from oven, add a small pinch of salt (this will bring out the rich caramel flavor), and let cool for about 5 minutes


  • Don’t worry if the caramel is not particularly smooth or creamy, for this recipe you want to aim for a sauce that is thicker
  • Don’t attempt to saturate the popcorn in the caramel sauce — a little goes a long way in this recipe, and you only want a little bit of date sauce on each piece of popcorn, otherwise they will become extremely small and will lose their crunch

Rich and Tasty Avocado Hummus with Baked Tortilla Chips

We may have a slight problem. Mark loves hummus — on veggies, with crackers, on sandwiches, he can’t get enough. Jenna, on the other hand, just discovered her love for avocado, a food that she had been too scared to try up until a few weeks ago, when she fell in love with it. Our love for these plant-based foods sparked a mission to create a spread that was sharp and smooth like hummus but also creamy and decadent like avocado. Thus, we set out to make avocado hummus.


Not only is this hummus extremely easy to make (it won’t take longer than 10 minutes!), it is packed with amazing nutrients — the fat in avocados is largely monosaturated and is touted for its ability to lower LDL. Avocados are also filled with phytochemicals, which are believed to be cancer-fighting in the body. Best of all, they are creamy and light and make for a perfect flavor and consistency in a hummus spread!

Traditional homemade hummus calls for tahini (a sesame seed paste) and olive oil, making the mixture somewhat fatty. Because we already included avocados, however, we felt that excluding these oils would be okay — we were right! It still tasted amazing and was perfectly creamy and satisfying.


To go with our hummus, we also cut up some corn tortillas and baked them in the oven. As a small experiment we added olive oil on some of the triangles and left some without the oil. Though those with oil ended up browning nicely, we thought they tasted virtually the same, so if you are trying to cut back on oil, rest assured, these chips do not need them!


If you are ever craving a yummy little snack, don’t resist trying it out! We have recently gotten back into running about 3 miles a day and coming home to a treat like this is simply amazing! It’s so simple and quick to make that it will be well worth the effort!

Rich and Tasty Avocado Hummus with Baked Tortilla Chips (Serves 2-3)

(Vegan, Soy Free, Oil Free, Nut Free)



  • 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut into 2 parts
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons of water or vegetable broth

Tortilla Chips:

  • 5 corn tortillas



  1. Add the chickpeas, avocado, garlic, and liquid into a blender. Blend together until smooth. Add liquid as needed until consistency is as desired

Tortilla Chips

  1. Set oven to 475°F
  2. Cut corn tortillas into triangles or desired shape and lay out pieces over a pan that has been covered in aluminum foil
  3. Place in oven for about 6 minutes or until cooked as desired


  • If you would like to bring out more of a “hummus-y” flavor, a small drop of sesame oil would also work nicely to bring out a familiar fragrance
  • For a less prominent “guacamole” taste, try adding another half or full can of chickpeas into the mixture
  • We made this hummus in a Magic Bullet blender and the blender was filled to the top, so it was quite difficult to blend some of the chickpeas. For this particular recipe, a Vitamix may work better if available
  • Try this dip with veggies or crackers! Yummmm!
  • This recipe was adapted from the Engine 2 hummus recipe, check out their base and try out all of the different variations that they recommend, or make your own! They will all turn out lovely, guaranteed

Creamy Yam Ravioli

pic2 There is something so tasty about homemade pasta. We (Mark and Jenna, partners in crime of 4 years) had never even fathomed making my own pasta until our combined interest in omitting processed foods began when Jenna’s family adopted a vegan diet three years ago (though, truthfully, she did not get over her cheese obsession until about a year and a half ago). Jenna’s love for the Food Network and her tendency to watch cooking videos on YouTube for hours have worked together in such a way that she now believes that she can make anything from scratch — mind you, we are both 17 years old and the babies of our families. Having to make our own meals has never been a requirement and thus, our cooking skills are downright underdeveloped. Regardless, we managed to create beautiful yam ravioli that were just fantastic. DSC_0084We did happen to buy a little ravioli cutter from Williams-Sonoma which made the process very quick and will allow us to replicate the style and technique of this dish again. For the record, We cut out individual pieces of pasta, added dollops of the yummy filling, and then placed another layer of pasta on top of each ravioli, which were sealed with water on the sheets’ edges… We later learned that most people simply make sheets of pasta, add multiple dollops, place another sheet of pasta on top and then cut and seal the ravioli all at once with the cutter. Even though our technique was likely more time consuming, it still worked perfectly well and was quite simple!


Our favorite part about these ravioli is the fact that they are completely guilt free. This recipe is virtually fat free with no added oil and is packed with vegetables and flavor. We have been searching around for pasta recipes ever since we realized that Jenna’s family owns a pasta machine. So many of the posts we found included eggs in their pasta, but we have found that a combination of only water, semolina (pasta) flour and whole wheat pastry flour makes a perfect, strong pasta that can hold up to thick sauces and creamy fillings like in this dish. Even the small splash of olive oil that we have added in the past is completely unnecessary.  This fat-free method is just delicious! By all means, we know that fats are essential to the diet, but as we strive to eliminate oil and eat more fats from whole food sources (like avocados… mmmm!) we are constantly on the lookout for areas of our diet where oil is added in without much purpose. Olive oil in a pasta recipe, for example, is not needed one bit in this version — the pasta still sticks together, has a nice consistency, and cooks perfectly. By simply adding more water, it retains a rich, hearty texture that is absolutely delicious. DSC_0099 The sauce that we added to the top is Jenna’s family’s go-to cream when we are craving mac-and-“cheese” or linguine alfredo, only it’s made with cauliflower and white beans. A general rule to go by is to a judge a natural food’s nutrient value by its color — a fruit or vegetable that is vibrant with color is very likely filled with components that are extremely kind to the body. Yams are no exception. With antioxidants, vitamin-C, and an ability to lower LDL (“lethal” or bad cholesterol), we have absolutely no qualms allowing these to be the center of our meal! Providing our tummies with satisfying and healthy foods is one of the best feelings in the world. DSC_0044 If you are beginning to fear that these ravioli may just be a little too “out there” for your, or your friends’/family’s, taste, have no fear! Jenna has been deemed the pickiest eater known by all who meet me. However, this recipe is 100%-Jenna-Approved. If she can scarf these ravioli down within 5 minutes, we guarantee that you and others will feel the same. So, spend a night with your friends or family making some pasta and enjoy, because we’re telling you, homemade pasta is a treat that always has a special bite to it, which is unequal to any dry pasta you could possibly buy at a store! Plus, you have the power to control what goes into all of the ingredients, so that there are no questionable preservatives or chemicals stripping away the wholesome goodness of the ingredients in your meal. We see this meal as a win-win for all!

Creamy Yam Ravioli (Serves 4 — or 2 hungries who enjoy seconds!)

(Vegan, Soy Free, Oil Free, Nut Free)



  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 cups semolina flour
  • 1 cup water (and an additional cup or two of water to be added as needed while kneading)

Yam Filling:

  • 2 yams
  • Salt and pepper (to be added according to taste)

Creamy Sauce:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 can of white beans (low sodium)
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • Salt and pepper (to be added according to taste)

Directions Pasta:

  1. Using a medium sized bowl, mix together the whole wheat pastry flour and the semolina flour.
  2. Add the water to the bowl and begin to knead the mixture together.
  3. It will become necessary to add more water to the mixture — the dough will be ready when it forms as a ball in the middle of the bowl and is free of any clumps of flour. The amount of water that must be added will vary but once it is all truly sticking together, it is ready.
  4. Using any preferred method, flatten the dough into sheets of pasta that are medium-thin (We used a pasta machine — we separated the dough into about 8 sections of dough and individually sent them through the machine until they were a little more than 1/8 inches thick)

Yam Filling:

  1. After scrubbing and peeling the yams, chop them into cubes (Our yams each yielded about 6-8 cubes)
  2. Place the yams in a pot and add enough water so that the cubes are fully covered
  3. Once the water has began to boil, bring it to a simmer and cover the pot for about 10 minutes. They will be ready when you can easily stick a fork into one of the cubes
  4. Once they have been drained, place the cubes in a bowl and mash completely with a fork
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste

Creamy Sauce:

  1. Place one head of cauliflower florets into a pot and add enough water (or low sodium vegetable broth) to cover the cauliflower completely
  2. Bring cauliflower to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is very soft
  3. Once the cauliflower is soft, transfer it and the water (or vegetable broth) that it was cooked in into a blender (We used a Vitamix). Add the nutritional yeast, spices, and drained white beans and blend until creamy.
  4. If needed, add more liquid after initially blending


  1. Using any preferred method, add small dollops of the mashed yams to a sheet of pasta
  2. Once the ravioli have been created, place about 3-5 raviolis into a pot of boiling water at a time. They will initially fall to the bottom of the pot but once they are complete (which can be as quick as 5-10 seconds!) they will begin to rise to the top, at which point you should fish them out so that they aren’t overcooked
  3. Finally, plate the ravioli, add as much creamy sauce on top as desired and enjoy!