Some of you may know that I eat a plant-based diet, and since gradually going in that direction over the last few years, I've had to learn to cook and bake. It's not something I'm great at or particularly enjoyed in the past...in fact, my nickname was 'microwave queen'! However, I've discovered a little secret to enjoying being in the kitchen: make it organized and pretty!
Step 1: Put your baking supplies into canisters that are the same size and shape and label them, so that you can store them all together and find what you need easily. I like clear jars as it helps you see when you are getting close to having to re-stock, and they look pretty on my open shelves. Lined up together with a vintage flour sifter they make baking kind of enticing!
Step 2: Stack together all the pretty bowls, chopping boards and utensils you'll need for mixing so they are also easy to grab. Again, mine are out in the open, which encourages me to keep them neat and tidy.
Step 3: Fill a basket or crate with measuring cups and spoons, muffin cups, and any other odds and ends you may need. Label or tag it so you can pull it down off the shelf or out of the cupboard and have everything at your fingertips. If you'd rather have these things in drawer, create dividers using old cardboard boxes so everything has its place.
Step 4: Gather spices together in small jars, all the same size. I prefer the small half-size mason jars with the lids covered in chalk-board paint so that I can write the names on the top. They're are also handy as I can then buys spices cheaper in bulk and bring them home to refill the jars. I've gathered all of mine together in a wooden cupboard with a glass door.
Step 5: Make clean-up a breeze by having hand soap out in a pretty pump container that's easy to press on when you have dirty hands that need washing. I keep a cute vegetable/fruit scrub brush hanging on the window ledge at my sink for easy access as well.
I won't mention baking sheets, cake pans, etc. because you've probably already got them all together in an easy location, right? If not, check out this post on how to simplify your whole kitchen.
So now that you're organized and ready, you'll want to try out a couple of recipes. May I suggest my favourite muffin: the vegan blueberry muffins from Oh She Glows.
Another goodie is this banana bread adapted to be vegan and with low sugar from my Mom's favourite tried and true recipe.
Vegan Banana Nut Raisin Bread
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup brown or coconut sugar
- 1 egg substitute (ground flax seed and water)
- 3 large bananas
- 1 tsp baking soda
- pinch salt
- 1.5 cups spelt flour
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- Cream the oil and sugar. Combine 1 tsp flax seed with 3 tsp water and add to mixture as an egg substitute. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas, add soda and salt, then add to creamed mixture. Finally, add flour, raisins and walnuts.
- Grease loaf pan, pour mixture and bake at 350F for approximately 45 minutes, checking closely in the last 10 minutes.
And one more muffin - a delicious date muffin again from my Mom but made vegan and refined-sugar-free.
Vegan Coffee Date Muffins
- 1 cup dates
- 2/3 cup strong hot coffee
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2/3 cup coconut oil
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 egg substitutes (ground flax seed)
- 1.5 cups spelt flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Combine dates, cinnamon, vanilla and hot coffee; let stand for 20 minutes. Meanwhile cream oil and sugar, add flax seed (2 tsp mixed with 5 tsp water). Add date mixture and the rest of the dry ingredients and beat.
- Bake at 350F for 20 minutes.
Enjoy your simple and inspiring kitchen!