Category Archives: vegan

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Brownies

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Oh man, it’s a total shame I haven’t posted this recipe sooner. This is totally the equivalent to a “#latergram” on Instagram type status. I made this back toward the beginning of the year for a dinner party and was too busy to post the recipe. So here we are, and it’s in perfect time to add to this wonderful pumpkin season!

Can’t decide if you’re in the mood for something chocolatey or with pumpkin? Brownies? Pumpkin? Why not have both?! This is absolutely luscious. Think of a pumpkin pie with a brownie crust/base. It’s literally thee perfect combination. My friends definitely seemed to think so. (And no one knows it’s vegan! Shhh…)

I think this would be a great addition to a Thanksgiving feast!

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Brownies

Makes 8 brownies

Adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

For the brownie layer:

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the pumpkin layer:

  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinches of nutmeg and allspice

For decoration: a handful of chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9 in. springform pan (or use a 9 in. square pan lined with parchment paper).

To make the brownie layer:

  1. Melt the chocolate.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the pumpkin, sugar, oil and vanilla. Sift in flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine, then mix in the melted chocolate.

To make the pumpkin layer:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, stir until thoroughly combined.

To assemble:

  1. Use a spatula to spread the brownie layer mixture into prepared baking pan, taking care to bring the batter to the edges of the pan. Pour the pumpkin layer over it, leaving a little room at the edges if you can.
  2. Bake for 30 minutes, until pumpkin layer looks fairly firm (slight jiggling is ok), and has cracked at the edges a bit.
  3. Let the brownies cool for 20 minutes, then transfer the pan to the fridge to set for at least an hour and a half. Once set, decorate with chocolate chips, slice into wedges, and serve!

 

Vegan Basil Peach Pie

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I’ll be honest, I hardly ever make pies.

I once braved it and made this anise pear pie last year, that turned out phenomenally after 4+ hours of work, but I typically stick to the “no fuss” cookies, cupcakes, and cobblers. Flipping through cookbooks of pies, seeing the gorgeous photographs and seemingly simplistic recipe list, it looks so easy. They look so perfectly polished. They don’t look like someone has spend 4-6 hours on it. No biggie.

Out of devotion to this lovely vegan baker and recipe maker, I, of course, recently purchased Vegan Pie In The Sky book by Isa Moskowitz. I’ve utilized nearly every cupcake recipe out of VCTOTW, made several batches of cowboy cookies, so pie? No big deal. It can be done.

This particular recipe caught my eye at first glance. Basil? With peaches? Heck yes. With flats of gorgeously sun kissed peaches at Trader Joe’s for five bucks, I figured it was now or never (or, next summer I suppose but you know…).

I made only one alteration to the crust recipe by substituting one cup of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour. The end results were delicious, but proved for a more labor intensive crust preparation. I’m not sure if I would recommend it, but nothing’s stopping you. Seriously, I spent at least four hours on this thing. At least a half hour or so preparing the crust the day before, and around 3-4 the next day chilling the crust again several times after rolling it out and making the designs and decorations. If I were hard pressed to sell it, it’s at least a $50 pie. But I’m not complaining. The perfect marriage of basil and peaches is worth it in the end.

Side note. I have never “scored” peaches, boiled them, and transferred them to an ice bath to easily peel their skins, keeping all of the meat intact. This was a tip in the book that I will forever remember in the future. I’ve never seen a peach perfectly peeled like this before. They are absolutely gorgeous. It seems like a lot of work, but it’s more fun than it sounds and I promise you’ll feel as stoked as I did with the end results.

Here’s how you do it: You’ll need (1) a big pot of boiling water; (2); a huge bowl for an ice bath; and (3) a slotted spoon to transfer the peaches. To make the ice bath, fill a huge bowl with ice and cold water. Place it right next to the stove for fast transferring. Then, score the bottoms of the peaches making an “X” in them with a knife. Place the peaches in the boiling water for one minute, then transfer them to the ice bath with the slotted spoon. After they have cooled for a few minutes, peel the skins off using the “X” as a starting point. You can pretty much just use your fingers. Slice the peaches in half, remove the pit, and cut into 1/4 in slices. Sweet!

Vegan Basil Peach Pie

From Vegan Pie In The Sky 

Makes one 9-in pie

For the Double Buttery Crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 8 tablespoons cold nonhydrogenated margarine
  • 8 tablespoons cold nonhydrogenated shortening
  • 6 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  1. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Mix in the sugar. Add half the margarine and shortening by about half tablespoonfuls, cutting it into the flour with your fingers or a pastry cutter, until the flour appears pebbly. Add the remaining margarine and shortening, and cut into the flour.
  2. In a cup, mix together 4 tablespoons of ice water with the apple cider vinegar. Drizzle the water and vinegar mixture into the flour by the tablespoonful, gently mixing it after each addition. Knead the dough a few times, adding more water until it holds together. You may need only the 4 tablespoons, but add up to 2 more tablespoons if needed.
  3. Divide the dough in two, roll each half into a ball, then press them into disks and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate them until ready to use, or use as directed in the recipe.

For the Basil Peach Filling:

  • 1 recipe Buttery Double Crust rolled out and fit into a 9-inch pie plate
  • 6 cups sliced peaches (see note above)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 8 average-size fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Combine all the filling ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, then transfer them to the prepared pie shell.
  2. Top the pie with the crust. Pinch the edges together, then trim the excess dough to about an inch and crimp the edges together.
  3. Make five slits in the middle of the pie to let the steam escape (or use cut outs like I did).
  4. Bake for about 25 minutes. Lower the heat to 350 degrees F and slip on a pie crust shield to prevent it from overly browning. Bake for an additional 30 minutes. Filling should be bubbly and the crust should be golden. Place pie on a cooling rack and let cool or about a half hour before serving.

Vegan Chocolate Agave Trailmixers

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So I’ve had this Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar baking book for over a good year now and sadly, haven’t put it to the test much. Isa Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romano always know what they’re doing, as you can tell by the majority of 5 star review on Amazon. Veganomicon, Vegan Cupcakes, Vegan Brunch… they rule the vegan world. Ranging from your good ‘ol chocolate chip cookie (sans eggs, butter, or milk) to “Sell Your Soul” pumpkin cookies (not your typical fluffy and cakey kind, either), peanut apple pretzel drops, mexican chocolate snickerdoodles, whole wheat fig bars, spiced sweet potato blondies (why haven’t I made these yet?!), pumpkin pie brownies, irish creme kisses, lemon bars, lazy samoas (take that, girl scouts!), chocolate chip chai spice shortbread, and last but not least, cookie dough scoops (just to give you a sample out of the 100 recipes available). Insane. You’re bound to want to make every single goddamn one and curse them for being vegan cookie goddess geniuses.
These cookies will make you want to go out for a hike (hence the name), and just as a warning, you’ll probably need to bring a big tumbler of almond milk (or whatever milky liquid suits your fancy) along with you, as well. You really won’t even need to bring the trail mix. All you need is this cookie. You’ve got the pretzels, chocolate, peanuts, dried cranberries, malt balls, white (and dark) chocolate chips. What more could you want? (Yeah. The white chocolate probably doesn’t make it vegan anymore, but WHO CARES. I live 700 miles away from Food Fight grocery and am not a hard-core vegan anyway.)
I can guarantee you’ll love these and will never be able to tell they’re vegan.
See you out on the trail!
Chocolate Agave Trailmixers
Adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar
Makes about 20 cookies
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon apple sauce (or ground flax seeds)

2/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup agave nectar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
generous 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup of chopped mix of white & dark chocolate malt balls, pretzels, peanuts, etc found in bulk
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup whole roasted peanuts
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with non-stick baking spray.
In large bowl, whisk together milk, applesauce, oil, agave nectar, vanilla extract, and almond extract until combined. Sift in all-purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt and mix to form a soft dough. Fold in chocolate chips, nuts, and dried fruit and all of that good stuff.
For each cookie drop about 2 tablespoons of dough, 2 inches apart, onto baking sheets. If the dough is sticking, spray the spoon/dough scoop with nonstick spray. If desired, lightly flatten cookies with the back of a measuring cup sprayed with nonstick spray.
Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until firm. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. Store in tightly covered container.
(Variation: whisk in 1 tablespoon of instant espresso powder to liquid ingredients before adding dry stuff! Supposedly this subtly enhances the deepens the cocoa flavor.)

Vegan GF Pumpkin Crumb Cake with Pecan Streusel

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So I just finally got around to watching Cupcake Girls. I never watch TV. NEVER. The only two television series indulgences I will ever give into are Mad Men and Portlandia. Other than that, the room I spend the least time in is the one with a TV in it. Conveniently, my dad is the one that hogs it every night anyway. But we have that “on demand” digital cable thing and every now and then when I feel like I need to force myself to be a couch potato (especially since I continue to have these reoccurring achilles tendonitis flare-ups on my right foot and I am stubborn and have the worst time following R.I.C.E… I like to run, dammit!), I turn to the remote control. Mainly in the search for cooking shows, mind you. So tonight I was pleasantly surprised to find four 20-minute episodes of these two women in the cupcake business! And I have to say I am definitely reconsidering opening a cupcake bakery business after all of that. I admire what they do and they seem like awesome ladies, but holy moly. Talk about stress. But they also admitted they were never bakers and never made or baked their recipes before. I have to say I’m a bit disappointed. But hey, I guess it’s a business. Still very insightful, especially about hiring proper employees, having quality test-controlled products, all of the little idiosyncrasies that go along with owning a bakery business (weddings, holidays, etc). For now, I think I’ll be satisfied enough to live vicariously through them, thanks.
Anyhow, I haven’t had much of a sweet tooth lately. Which I guess is convenient, as I’m back at it, in school (finally cleaning teeth now!), and haven’t had any time to bake. But when this last rainy 4-day weekend rolled around, I found the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the few extra cans of pumpkin puree lying around that I sadly neglected around the holidays. So I turned to Veganomicon. And realized that it was time I got around to making this awesome pumpkin coffee cake that I’ve been meaning to make for years because, you know, pumpkin and I have a very special relationship.
This is seriously the most dense, moist, and deliciously spiced pumpkin cake my taste buds have ever witnessed. It’s perfect. Pretty much a coffee cake, but better. And what could be better than coffee cake?
Something with pumpkin in it. In a 9×13 inch cake pan.
Duh.
If I don’t open a cupcake bakery, I’ll at least open a store with all things pumpkin. This will be on the menu.
(Oh yeah, and I’ve been experimenting with gluten-free flours lately just for fun because experimenting is what I love and do best, so I modified this recipe to make it gluten-free as well. I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Flour.) Enjoy.
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Pumpkin Crumb Cake with Pecan Streusel
Makes 16 squares
Adapted from Veganomicon

Pecan Streusel:
1/4 cup gluten-free flour blend
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Cake:
1 (15-ounce) can pure pureed pumpkin
3/4 cups non-dairy milk
3/4 cups canola oil
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups gluten-free flour blend
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.
Prepare the streusel: In a small bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, and spices. Drizzle in the canola oil with your fingertips until crumbs form. Add the chopped pecans and mix.
Prepare the cake: In a large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin, soy milk, oil, granulated sugar, molasses, and vanilla. Mix well. Add roughly half the flour, the baking powder, xanthan gum, salt, and spices, and use a fork to fold everything together. Add the remaining flour and mix gently until combined. (Don’t use a hand blender.) Blending with a fork helps maintain the texture.
Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and spread it out with a spatula. Scatter the streusel on top as evenly as possible. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted through the center comes clean.
Remove from the oven, let cool, and cut into squares. Small squares, big squares, any which square you’d like.

Cranberry Coconut Pumpkin Bisque

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It’s rare that I repeat a recipe more than once. Unless it’s really, really good. Or a staple. I mean, there are so so many out there to try with so little time. You have to pick and choose. That being said, I’ve made this pumpkin soup TWICE within the past month, so that’s saying a lot. The inspiration for this recipe came from studying for finals in a coffee shop/cafe one day a few months back, as it was available on their board as “the soup of the day”. It sounded way too enticing to pass up (me and my pumpkin obsession), so of course I had to try it. I typically don’t really go for pureed soups very often. I like to have something to chew on in a soup. Not down for baby food. But I do love a nice bowl of curried butternut squash soup anytime it’s available, and pumpkin anything is usually never a disappointment. I have to say, it was eye-rollingly delicious. I was amazed. And it seemed so simple to make, too! Creamy coconut milk with pumpkin puree, studded with several dried cranberries and a few subtle spices. Within the next hour after lunch time, I overheard some disappointed hungry people being turned away because it had sold out due to its popularity.

A few weeks later I went on a Google quest to try and find a pureed pumpkin coconut concoction that sounded similar to the tastes of what I tried, and I pretty much got it spot on (plus or minus a few of my own adjustments). I tried to use as many coconut related ingredients as possible, like coconut oil and coconut butter. I used a lot of this the first time I made it, and it tasted best that time. Fairly simple and insanely good. It makes a fairly good amount and I just reheat it, add some unsweetened shredded coconut, dried cranberries, and a ton fresh cilantro, and have it for lunch and/or dinner over the course of the next few days. Oh, and it can vegan too very easily! Just use water or veggie broth in place for the chicken broth. It’s that simple. Let me know of any alterations you may make to it, I’d love some new ideas!


Cranberry Coconut Pumpkin Bisque
Makes about 6 servings
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1-2 chopped garlic cloves
3 cups canned solid pack pumpkin (the big 32 oz can does the trick)
2 cups chicken broth or water
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. ground cayenne
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 cups canned, unsweetened organic coconut milk
(additions I incorporate into individual servings)
1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
a few sprigs of fresh cilantro
Melt oil in a large, heavy stockpot over medium heat.
Add onion and garlic and saute until golden brown, about 8 minutes.
Add pumpkin, broth, sugar, allspice, cayenne, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth and return to pot.
Bring soup to a simmer, thinning with coconut milk until it is the desired thickness and taste.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Mix in and garnish with some unsweetened shredded coconut, a tablespoon of dried cranberries, and some fresh cilantro.
And with that, it will probably be a little more quiet around here in the next few weeks ahead. A whirlwind of a month (and year) is ahead. I head up to the Ayurveda program starting this Friday, my 21st birthday is this Sunday, and I’m going to Vegas next week for a few days. I’m sure I’ll be back with plenty to talk about!
Be well and Namaste.

PB&J Vegan Cookies, Dinners, January!

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Happy New Year!

I’m really happy it is January. Actually, it hasn’t really hit me yet. I can’t believe that my birthday is 31 days away. So many great things are happening this month, I can’t wait. Namely, the MMI Ayurveda program starts in exactly four weeks! That’s why I’ve been trying to hit the books and study up before I head in. Dr. Vasant Lad, the Ayurvedic Physician of Ayurvedic Physicians, is going to be there for the first intro weekend. He is like the Ayurvedic God. Being his student will be best birthday gift I could ever imagine. Waking up in a cabin in the hills overlooking the Monterey Bay, practicing yoga, learning more about this fascinating medicine, cooking and eating tons delicious Ayurvedic vegetarian food, drinking Yogi tea 24/7, going on little hikes in the forest, relaxing in the hot tub, shopping for herbs in the Ayurvedic store. I can’t actually believe it’s going to happen. That I actually willed, motivated, and inspired myself and am going to make it happen. It is going to be such an honor.
Other than that and the other things I’ve been looking forward to, I’ve been doing a lot of cooking and baking with friends lately. The other night my friend and I dined on an orange and rosemary roasted organic free-range chicken, red kabocha and homegrown butternut squash roasted with brown sugar and sage, wild rice with toasted walnuts and cranberries, and, my favorite, sauteed chanterelles (thank you, work!) in thyme and truffle oil. And I popped open a few bottles of my favorite owl beer. I brought back the Ginger Beer from Portland, and tried it for the first time the other night. It was excellent!




As far as baking goes, we cracked open my new copy of Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar and modified the recipe for the Linzertorte Thumbprint Cookies just a bit. Since we didn’t have any hazelnuts or hazelnut butter, we easily converted them into PB&J cookies with some peanut butter instead. And the jellies (strawberry, plum, and cherry) were homemade from last summers fruit, thanks to Bridgette. They turned out delicious! Rich peanut buttery goodness can never do you wrong. Strawberry won my vote out of all three. Some taste testers exclaimed that they were better than “normal” peanut butter cookies. That right there, my friends, is why I love vegan baking.



PB&J Thumbprint CookiesAdapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar “Linzertorte Thumbprint Cookies”Makes 20 cookies
1/3 cup canola oil 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 cup peanut butter 1/3 cup nondairy milk (we used coconut) 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons cornstarch 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 cup peanuts, finely chopped at least 1/3 cup of any kind of jam you please
1. In a large mixing bowl, use a fork to vigorously mix the oil, sugar, and peanut butter. Mix in the nondairy milk and vanilla. Sift in the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder and mix well until a stiff dough forms.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Have a small bowl of water handy. Spread the chopped nuts onto a dinner plate.
3. Roll the dough into a walnut-size ball. Dip very briefly in the water and firmly roll in the peanuts until coated. Place on a baking sheet and use your thumb to make a deep indent in the cookie. Use your free hand to hold the cookie in place and make sure it keeps its shape. You should be able to fit all twenty cookies onto one baking sheet; they don’t spread.
4. Spoon about a teaspoon of jam into each cookie. A baby spoon works great for this. Bake for about 18-20 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheets for at least 5 minutes. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in a tightly sealed container. Enjoy with some tea or milk!

Also, lately I can’t stop listening to these two songs. So much great music! Eighteen days worth, to be exact. It’s crazy. I love this time of year, reevaluating my music collection, sifting through and rediscovering some great stuff and making playlists. Lately it’s been a lot of Smog, Wilco, Neko, Cave Singers, Bonnie Prince, Mazzy Star, My Morning Jacket, Lucinda Williams, Department of Eagles… I could go on and on. Anyway, hope you’re doing the same and enjoying yourselves.

Vegan Lavender Berry Cream Pie

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Here I am on my lavender kick again. Seriously, it came to me in the middle of the night. God knows why, I was unconsciously trying to think of a dessert to bring to Christmas dinner, and it was one of those aha! moments that I have every now and then. I was thinking about lavender for some reason, probably because I had just ordered the local lavender products for the store that day which include lavender shortbread cookie and lavender brownie mixes. I thought the lavender cookie mix would be a great gift for someone, and what else you could use it for besides making cookies. The package suggests it as a topping for a fruit cobbler. And then I thought, why make my own lavender PIE CRUST?! And veganize it. GENIUS. I was so excited it took me a while to fall asleep after that. I began to think of possible filling combinations and a mixed berry one sounded best to start off with. Not very winter or fall-like, but I couldn’t think of any good fall fruits that would pair well with lavender. Since fresh berries are terribly expensive right now because it’s not the season, I figured Trader Joe’s would come to the rescue with their $3 bags of mixed frozen berries–blueberries, raspberries, cherries, strawberries, and blackberries. Perfect.

After finding the perfect basic flaky pie crust recipe in The Garden of Vegan and doing some online research on what else you put into a pie filling, I was ready. I never really make pies so this was an adventure. A little of this and a little of that, and here is what I came up with… it turned out INCREDIBLE. Five stars, in my opinion (and those that tried it). The lavender isn’t too overpowering, and is a nice compliment to the berries and vice-versa. And the lemon zest is perfect. It is really more of a summer pie, but who really cares. We need those antioxidants in the winter too! I’m so stoked on this. And that it’s mostly a recipe I made up. One more to add to that book! Yes!!!

Vegan Lavender Berry Cream Pie
Serves approximately 8 people

For the Basic Flaky Pie Crust (adapted from The Garden of Vegan):
2 1/2 cups flour (I used half white and half whole wheat pastry)
1/3 cup dried lavender buds
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup Earth Balance margarine
6 Tbsp ice cold water

For the Berry Cream filling:
6 oz. non-hydrogenated Tofutti cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla bean

two 16 oz. bags defrosted mixed frozen berries (ie. blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, etc)
1/2 cup lavender sugar (or just add a few tablespoons of dried lavender to regular white sugar)
1/4 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons grated lemon zest
3 Tablespoons lemon juice

-In a large bowl, stir together the flour, lavender, and salt.
-Cut the margarine into the flour mixture and when well mixed, add the water.
-Mix together until a dough forms. Knead for a minute or two.
-Divide the dough equally in half. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes or overnight. Roll one part of the dough out with a little flour to prevent sticking.
-Place into a glass pie dish.

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

-Soften the Tofutti cream cheese by placing it into the microwave for about 20 seconds, or let it sit out while you mix the berry filling. Mash the cream cheese with the vanilla bean and equally spread it over the bottom part of the pie crust.
-Rinse the defrosted mixed berries with a little water, draining out the extra juice.
-Combine the berries, sugar, flour, salt, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl.
-Add berry mixture to pie shell.
-Roll out the second part of dough for your top crust.
-Add the top crust. I chose to do a lattice top for the crust, which seems more complicated than it is. I learned how to make it here. So pretty! You can do practically anything though. Using a cookie cutter, you can also make cute designs in the crust.
-Bake on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes.
-Cover pie with foil and bake for an addition 25 minutes. The crust should be lightly browned and the juices should bubble.

Once cooled, serve with some vanilla bean soy ice cream for the best dessert EVER!
Oh, and for other news, as I mentioned above, I’m now ordering some of the baking supplies at the grocery store I work at! Mainly cake, scone, and brownie mixes, baking chips, frostings, sparkling and dusting sugars, and other local products. I’m in the very beginning stages of learning what to do, so it’s been a slow start, but I’m so excited for this opportunity. It needs a bit of a facelift, so I’ll see what I can do. I look forward to getting in some new products and mixes, especially after I will be attending the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco next month! Only a few weeks away. I’m thrilled! Barefoot Contessa has attended them in the past, showcasing her cupcake and baking mixes for Stonewall Kitchen! I would crap my pants if I saw her…