Have a Carrot…Carrot Cake that is!

Spring is here which means to me, carrot cake. Not sure why, but it does. And who doesn’t like a moist, yummy slice of carrot cake with sweet, creamy icing? It’s vegan too, which makes it even better!

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Cake Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (plus extra for dusting pans)

2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

pinch of ground cloves

pinch of ginger

1 pound carrots, peeled

1 cup granulated sugar (vegan)

1 cup light brown sugar, packed (vegan)

4 flax eggs (*1/4 cup ground flax meal and 3/4 cup water, see below)

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Icing ingredients

8 cups powdered sugar

1 1/2 cups vegan butter or margarine

3 Tbs unsweetened almond milk

1 Tbs apple cider vinegar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp lemon juice

pinch of salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use cooking spay or vegan butter to thoroughly grease baking pans and dust with flour until grease is completely covered and shake out excess.

You can use:

1 13 x 19 inch baking pan, or

2 9 inch round cake pans, or

3 8 inch round cake pans

In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, cloves and ginger until combined.

In a food processor fitted with the large shredding disk, shred carrots. Then transfer them to the mixing bowl with the flour. Wipe the food processor bowl clean, and fit with metal blade. Add sugar, brown sugar and flax eggs, process until frothy and thoroughly combined, about 20 seconds. With the processor running add oil in a steady stream. Process the egg mixture until it is light in color and well emulsified, about 20 more seconds.

Transfer the egg mixture to the bowl with the flour and carrots. Using a rubber spatula, stir the mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in nuts if using them.

Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

9 x 13″ pan about 30-35 minutes

2 – 9″ pans about 25-30 minutes

3 – 8″ pans about 18-23 minutes

Let cake cool in pans until still slightly warm on a wire rack. Run knife around the edge of the cake to loosen, remove cake, transfer to platter and frost.

Combine all icing ingredients in a bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, mix until smooth and combined. If you want it thicker add more powdered sugar, if you want it thinner you can add more almond milk.

*Thank you Gimme Some Oven for this delicious recipe.

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Springtime Vegetable Pasta

 

Spring is here but there is still a chill in the air, at least here in the Northeast. It’s this time of year when I am tired of soups and stews but it’s still a bit too early for slaws and cucumber salads. At least for me…and I think for other people too. So here is a simple, delicious recipe for a veggie pasta dish that is perfect for this time of year.

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Ingredients:

2 Tbs olive oil

2 Tbs vegan butter (I use Country Crock)

1/2 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 or 5 Compari tomatoes, chopped

1/2 container of baby spinach

1 can artichoke hearts, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp parsley (use fresh if you have it, roughly chopped 1 Tbs)

1/2 cup vegetable broth

1/3 cup white wine

1 lb box pasta, prepared per the directions

Directions:

Melt vegan butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat, add olive oil. When butter is fully melted add onion, sauté until tender. Add artichoke hearts and tomatoes, cook until tomatoes begin to get a bit mushy, 7 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, sauté for about a minute until the garlic is fragrant. Add thyme, oregano and parsley. Turn heat to high and add white wine, cook down for about 5 minutes, then turn down to medium high heat and add vegetable broth, bring to a boil and then turn heat down till it simmers. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add spinach and cook until wilted.

Add the cooked pasta to the sauté pan and stir to combine well. Serve with vegan parmesan cheese, crusty Italian bread, a salad and nice glass of red wine…Mangia!

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This is my recipe that I created, it basically the things I love to eat in one dish. I actually ended up adding some left over roasted asparagus and I would have added mushrooms too if I had them. I think that is one of the greatest things about cooking, there really are no rules, as long as it tastes good…go for it!

A Barnyard Birthday with Vegan Cake!

We like to celebrate birthdays at the Barnyard, they are a big deal, especially for the animals that have come to us from very bad situations. This coming Friday, March 24 is Dominic’s 17th birthday, the mini-dinkey that my husband and I sponsor. So of course I had to make him a birthday cake!

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Dominic actually came from a loving home, he had been a companion animal for a horse for his first 15 years until the horse passed. He happen to come to the Barnyard because he had been attacked by bear, his head had lots of scratches and his back right thigh had to get 16 stitches. He was found in a neighbors empty swimming pool. Well, the bear kept coming back so his owners felt it best that he live out his days safely at the Barnyard with lots of friends. This is where I came in. He came on a Friday, I saw him that Saturday and fell in love….

Now back to cake, this is a great recipe; easy and delicious! And I guarantee you, vegan or not everyone will love it! Thank you Minimalist Baker for the recipe.

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Ingredients for the Cake:

1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk

2 tsp white or apple cider vinegar

1 1/4 cups unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup strongly brewed coffee, cooled (or more almond milk)

2/3 cup melted coconut oil

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 cups + 2Tbs unbleached all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/3 cups organic cane sugar

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

Ingredients for the Icing:

3 3/4 cups powdered sugar

3 Tbs vegan butter

4 Tbs almond milk or soy milk

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 8-inch round cake pans or one large rectangular pan with vegan butter. Dust with cocoa powder, shake out excess and set aside.
  2. Mix the almond milk and vinegar in a large mixing bowl, set aside for a few minutes to activate. Add coconut oil, coffee, vanilla extract and applesauce and beat until foamy.
  3. Put flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a sifter and sift into wet ingredients. Mix the ingredients and then add sugar continuing to mix well until not large lumps remain. It should be creamy and pourable.
  4. Divide batter evenly between the 2 cake pans or pour into one rectangular pan.
  5. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
  6. To make the icing add powdered sugar, vegan butter, almond milk and vanilla extract to a mixing bowl, stir until moistened. (I like to stir the ingredients a bit first so that the powdered sugar doesn’t fly out everywhere)
  7. Using an electric mixer, start at low speed and gradually increase speed until icing becomes smooth.
  8. It should be thick but spreadable. You may need to add more almond milk if too thick or more powdered sugar if too thin.
  9. Ice the cake as usual, add candles, sing, cut and ENJOY!

*Icing recipe courtesy of Loving it Vegan

What language do you Eat?…

 

Yes, I know you don’t “eat” language but lately my and my husbands dietary choices have become the topic of conversation, especially during the holidays. I consider myself a vegetarian who eats seafood.  Immediately people will say, that makes you a pescatarian, I guess it does, but I just don’t like that word, it sounds weird to me. My husband loves to tell people he is on a feathers and fins diet, no fur; in other words he will eat chicken, turkey and seafood but no beef, pork or lamb. I applaud him. He was the guy who ordered his steak “black and blue”and after one day of volunteering at The Barnyard he stopped eating “fur”.

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Vegetarian :a person who does not eat meat, and sometimes other animal products, especially for moral, religious, or health reasons.

Why is it so important that we need to have labels for our diets? I love the way Tracey Stewart put it in her blog post for the Daily Squeal “If you’re someone that is curious about moving towards more vegan choices but you don’t because you’re afraid you won’t be able to live up to all the rules… you need to remember that you decide your track and your rules. Don’t get bogged down by what you will call yourself. Call yourself a “human trying to eat better.” ”

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Vegan :a person who does not eat or use animal products.

I am working towards becoming a “vegan”, I no longer eat any goat cheese as we have 2 baby goat cull boys. I don’t use milk. My weakness is cheese…I love cheese. I eat less of it and hope that one day I can cut it out completely. I also eat eggs but only eggs from truly caring farms, local. We hope to have our own chickens  one day soon.

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Pescatarian :a person who does not eat meat but does eat fish.

Why? Why don’t I eat meat? Mainly for humanitarian reasons, animals in general at factory farms and even small farms are treated terribly. I also do it for the environment. The negative impact that factory farming has on our planet is enormous. I don’t ever place my values about my eating choices on others but I do hope that it will influence some to perhaps think about changing what they eat…one can only hope.

Cold Days call for Hot Stew!

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Here is a satisfying, hearty and delicious meal for vegans and non-vegans alike; a portobello mushroom stew. Stew is one of my favorite things to eat when it’s cold out and this one really hits the spot, it has lots of flavor and is super easy to make.

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 lb portobello or cremini mushrooms, stemmed and roughly chopped (I like to use both kinds of mushrooms, even added a few button mushrooms)

1 large onion, chopped

3 celery stalks, chopped

2 carrots, sliced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup dry red wine

1/4 cup of all-purpose flour

4 cups vegetable broth

2 Tbsp tomato paste

2 lb red potatoes, chopped into 1-2 inch chunks

3 tsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dry)

2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dry)

1 Tbsp Braggs amino acid

salt and pepper to taste

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Directions:

Coat the bottom of a large pot or dutch oven with olive oil and place over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and celery; cook for about 5 to 8 minutes stirring occassionally and then add mushrooms. Cook for another 5 minutes and add garlic, vegetables should begin to be tender at this point. Add red wine and bring to a simmer until wine is reduced by about half, about 5 minutes or so. Stir in flour a bit at a time until it’s fully incorporated.

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Add broth, stirring well. Add tomato paste, potatoes, Bragg’s amino acid, thyme and rosemary; stir well. Raise heat and bring to a boil then lower to a simmer, uncovered. Cook about 45 minutes until potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally. If stew becomes too thick you can add more broth or water.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with a nice crusty bread and enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from Connoisseurusveg.com

Pumpkin Muffins-Vegan Style

Who doesn’t love a muffin and at this time of year pumpkin is everything. So here is a tasty recipe for pumpkin muffins with chocolate chips. You can always omit the chocolate chips but I think they are quite yummy. These are super easy and everyone loves them!

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Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour

1 Tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp allspice

1 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin

1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I use unsweetened almond milk)

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 Tsp molasses

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place cupcake liners in muffin tin. (you could grease them but I find using the cupcake liners is much easier, I use the earth friendly, recycled ones).

In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt and spices.

In a separate bowl whisk together pumpkin, non-dairy milk, oil and molasses.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine well.

Spoon the batter into the muffin pan, filling each cup about 3/4 full.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool. Enjoy!

Feel free to add your favorite chopped nuts or dried fruit in place of the chocolate chips or nothing at all, not matter what they are moist and delicious!

*Recipe courtesy of PETA

Gabby the Gobbler Needs a Sponsor

Our animal of the month is Gabriella a two and half-year old Royal Palm turkey. We call her Gabby for short, she is a sweetheart who loves attention. Gabby was saved from being the main dish at a Thanksgiving dinner when we bought her from an auction in 2014. Gabby has lived all over the Barnyard property but finally settled on the large pen around the barn where she hangs out with Larry the goat, Maggie the pot belly pig and Scooter the rooster. She gets all the attention she loves and deserves!

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Gabby is in need of a Barnyard Guardian, the cost to be her sponsor is $30.00 a month that goes towards her food, care and housing. If you are interested please go to our website and click on the Barnyard Guardians tab. We know Gabby would be thrilled and so would we!

The Barnyard Sanctuary is 501(c)3, all donations are tax-deductible.