[Recipe] Vegan Apple Chai Protein Pancakes

Like every other red-blooded human I know, I crave pancakes. Every day, if I’m going to be honest. But ESPECIALLY on the weekends. I blame YOU, Mom!

Well, well, well. I’m finally back from my latest adventure in geekdom (visiting family, Disney World, and of course, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, FL). If you want to peruse my nerdiness, just check out ladyapplesauce on Instagram (that’s me!) It was the exact nerdcation I was craving and provided tons of bonding time with my Mom, which I was in desperate need of.

I know that I promised a green smoothie post waaaaaaaay before I started traveling. And I have EVERY intention of sitting down and actually writing one today. But, heck, I’m a Pisces and I’m easily distracted — plus, it’s Monday and I’m severely missing the weekend already. And so, in honor of Sunday mornings and lazy afternoons and cat-cuddling and too much coffee, I feel like posting about PANCAKES.

Pancakes rule. Mostly when someone else cooks them for me. Because I’m not that good at pancakes. I blame my griddle (but it’s a really awesome cast-iron griddle). I blame my spatula (but it’s a really awesome thin, metal, Cutco spatula that costs way more than spatulas really should). And I blame my ingredients (but they’re really awesome, organic, vegan, and who are we kidding?! I know the problem with pancakes is ME). It might be a patience thing — maybe I don’t let the griddle heat properly. Or maybe the first two pancakes are always embarrassing in everyone’s batches and it’s just that no one really talks about it. But I always end up scarfing down those first two disasters before anyone can see them. It just makes me feel like a bad, bad, fat, fat cook.

Regardless, I still love pancakes. I love making them. I love making them for people I love. I love making them for just me. I love eating them. I love eating A LOT of them. I love smothering them in maple syrup or agave nectar and Earth Balance and fruit and cinnamon and… damn, now I really want pancakes. So I was getting at a point. Right. Since I started seriously training at the gym, several months before the wedding, I have deprived myself of pancakes. Yeah, sure, I could make them and attempt to eat only one and feel really good about myself — but when I start, I can’t really stop, and I easily consume 2000+ calories of pure pancake awesomeness.  Which is fine if I didn’t really feel like eating ANYTHING ELSE for the rest of the day. And thus, I needed a solution that could combine the miracle of pancakes with my strict, self-imposed fitness goals. I scoured the interwebz and found these little gems. I modified them to what I had available in my pantry (because after all the adventuretimes, I am one broke little vegan…) Here is the result:

Aaaaand, here are the mostly usual (some not-so-usual) suspects.

Aaaaand, here are the mostly usual (some not-so-usual) suspects.

Vegan Apple Chai Protein Pancakes
(Makes about 3 – 4, depending on how big you dig ’em!)

  • 1 scoop Vega One Nutritional Shake powder (I used the Vanilla Chai flavor!)
  • 3 tbsp. organic spelt flour (of course, you could use any flour you like; to make this gluten-free, try Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose GF Baking Flour, or a combo of rice and coconut flours would be good, too.)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 Stevia packets
  • A big pinch of pumpkin pie spice: it’s a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, clove, and lemon peel
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of fruit (for this batch, I chopped up apples, but you could use blueberries, strawberries, what have you!)
  • About 1 cup of water, give or take
  • Oil or vegan butter for the griddle (I’m really into coconut oil spray, at the mo…)
  • Toppings! More fruit, maple syrup, agave nectar, more vegan butter, coconut oil, it’s up to you. DUH.

To prepare:

  • Heat your griddle to medium-low and grab your ingredients, two bowls, a whisk, a wooden spoon, a thin, metal spatula, and a soup ladle.
  • Combine dry ingredients in one bowl; I use a whisk for this.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together applesauce and vanilla.
  • Add the applesauce/vanilla mixture into the dry ingredients; it won’t be super moist.
  • Slowly add the water into the batter; just a little at a time until you reach your own desired consistency (depending on whether you like super thick or thin pancakes — more water = thinner batter.)
  • Use a wooden spoon to fold your fruit into the batter.
  • Add a light coating of oil to your griddle; like I mentioned before, I am seriously pancake-challenged, but I would assume you do the drop-of-water test on the griddle (when it sizzles, it’s hot enough). Medium-low is the way to go!
  • Using the soup ladle (I love this trick!) scoop your batter onto the griddle; using the back of the ladle, you can kind of smooth out the circle of batter to make your pancakes a bit more even.
  • Just like non-protein pancakes, keep your eye on them; when the little bubbles start to pop on the outer rim of the pancake, it usually means it’s time to flip.
  • Repeat until your batter is no more! And don’t forget to top with your favorite fixins. I didn’t really need to add anything to these except for a touch of Earth Balance, though my husband loved them with lots of maple syrup. Now that I’m thinking about it, to further boost the protein packed power punch, you could add organic peanut butter or raw almond butter — I bet that would be DELICIOUS.

NOM NOM NOM ❤

Thirty-First Birthdays, Life Is Sweet Bake Shop, N*Sync, and More Vegan Wedding Shenanigans

Mini Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Who… us? Oh, we’re just adorable mini vegan chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting. NBD.

Birthdays for women in their thirties are funny. Turning thirty-one this year I *think* is something I’m supposed to be depressed about. But I’m not. Guys, there are plenty of other things in this world to be sad about. My birthday is not at all one of them. It’s just another reason to see family and friends that I love, eat good food, and stuff my face with delicious vegan sweets! About three hours ago, the lovely Robin Cole of Life Is Sweet Bake Shop dropped off these goodies for me. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO SAVE THESE FOR PARTY GUESTS TOMORROW?! Dkndfgkdvnkdvvnfdbdfv!!!

Holy gluten-free vegan moly! These mini raspberry cheesecakes are singing their siren song.

My husband’s favorite of Robin’s creations: the elusive mini vegan banana cupcake with coconut frosting. If all two dozen are still in our kitchen in the morning, I will be AMAZED.

So here’s the story. About six months before the wedding, I randomly found Life Is Sweet Bake Shop on Instagram. I started obsessing over every baked good posted. Double tap. Double tap. Double tap. Double tap. Double tap. (That’s me “LIKE”ing photos, in case you didn’t pick up on that). And then I finally reached out via email. And then Robin and I fired up a chat chain, which grew into a novel, which lasted several more months. And then we finally thought we should meet in person. She picked Whole Foods, I said “yes”, we briefly described our respective appearances so we’d be able to spot each other, and I didn’t think much more of it. AND THEN we met face-to-face. And our jaws dropped. And it took several durrrrrrrrrr-filled moments until we realized we knew each other from, oh, nearly twenty years ago. The childhood BFF of a cousin of mine, the last time I had seen this girl (sorry, Robin!) she was definitely wearing an N*Sync shirt, and I’m pretty sure 98° were involved, too (oh, Nick Lachey, why are you are the only name I remember? I blame the terrifyingly-always-pregnant Jessica Simpson). 1990s boy bands aside, it was kismet. Robin, like me, grew up! And is vegan! And LOVES to bake! Only, she does it much better than I, has made a career of it, and is so effing good you need to give her all your monies to bake for you right now. RIGHT. NOW. Go on. I’ll wait… Did you lose her web site already? Jeez, guys, I just told you it’s Life Is Sweet Bake Shop, like, right up there in the beginning.

Long story short, of course she baked for our wedding. Of course it was amazing. For our bridal cake, she kept it simple with a 6” round chocolate cake, fresh strawberries, and vanilla frosting. Our gals at The Poppy Studio provided fresh flowers for the top. For our guests, we wanted a wide assortment of options. Robin masterfully concocted mini red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, banana cupcakes with coconut frosting, chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting, and churro (YES!) cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. She made mini, gluten-free raspberry cheesecakes, mini lemon tarts, and mini brownies. And if that wasn’t delicious enough, she also baked mini chocolate chip cookies and gluten-free peanut butter cookies. Now, if only we had been able to eat any of it. Seriously. Yes, we cut our bridal cake and shared a slice (divine, BTW). And we also ate several more slices of that over the next couple of days before freezing the remaining, per tradition. But as for the mini sweets? Nope, we didn’t get a single one. They were so popular that we were simply terrified they would run out! In fact, SOME PEOPLE WHO WILL REMAIN NAMELESS were already devouring the goods before dinner was served. AHEM! Needless to say, I ain’t complaining. A party of 120+ non-vegans chowing down on and begging for more vegan deliciousness? That was exactly what my little heart desired.

Sigh. Sweets we were never meant to eat. [Photo by Tyler Branch]

Can I please just keep reliving our wedding day over and over and over again? [Photo by Tyler Branch]

After all was said and done, I decided I deserved a little gift to myself: a mini sweets do-over for my birthday. Darling Robin obliged. And now there are two dozen mini cheesecakes and four dozen mini cupcakes mocking me in the fridge. Oh, you’ll meet your maker, teeny tiny desserts. You’re safe tonight, but I’ll be eating the hell outta you tomorrow [insert maniacal laugh here].

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