I developed a hobby for cooking and baking at a very young age. I have early memories of watching my mom bake cakes and muffins where she allowed me to participate, which helped me develop my own confidence and skills in the kitchen. When I first started to bake on my own, the first thing I learned how to bake were oatmeal cookies. I still feel nostalgic almost 20 years later making this recipe.
To make these cookies healthier, I love adding raisins and whatever nuts you have on hand to make these feel appropriate for both breakfast and as a dessert. I also prefer my cookies to be mini and bite sized and used a mini cookie scooper to shape these, but feel free to make them larger if that’s what you desire.
Hope you guys enjoy this recipe.
Now set forth and be savvy!
~makes 48 cookies
2 flax egg (2 tbsp ground flax seed, 6 tbsp hot water) OR 6 tbsp of aquafaba
1 cup vegan butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 ½ cup white flour
3 cups rolled oats
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
½ cup raisins
½ cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
If using a flax egg, make your flax egg by mixing the ground flax seed and water in a bowl, set aside.
Cream the butter and sugars together in a stand mixer (or with an electric mixer or by hand).
Add the flax egg and mix until well incorporated.
Add the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, vanilla extract and salt and mix until well combined
Using a wooden spoon or spatula, mix in the raisins, chocolate chips and walnuts (or whatever nuts you have on hand)
Using a cookie scooper, scoop out about 1 tbsp of the batter and place on a cookie sheet and flatten with the back of your spoon
Toddlers are naturally curious and always want to lend a helping hand. Whenever we are doing chores around the house, we see this as an opportunity to engage our toddler by allowing him to “help us”. Not only are we able to continue on with our weekly chores, but it allows us to bond as well as burn some much-needed energy, especially during the winter months when it’s hard to get outdoors!
See below for 3 toddler friendly activities you can include your toddler in!
I don’t know about your toddler, but my toddler is absolutely obsessed with water. In the summer time, we have a water table that he likes to play with in the backyard, however during the winter months, it’s hard to get some water play. Since I water my plants once a week, I decided to include him in this activity! With a spray bottle or a small measuring cup, I allow him (with supervision) to help water the plants. It also allows me to teach him the importance of taking care of plants!
I reserve my intensive meal preps for the weekend when my husband is home and can watch the little ones. But sometimes during the week, especially when my toddler has a lot of energy, I like to bake with him. This is a great way for me to share my passion of cooking with him while also teaching him life long skills. I like to set out all of my ingredients on the counter and we will measure the ingredients together. His job is dumping and taste tester!
The third activity is usually one he helps out with my husband, since my husband does the majority of the cleaning around the house. We will allow him to help wipe down any spills and press the on button for the vacuum. It’s also great because it teaches him the importance of cleaning up after yourself. We’re lucky because our toddler loves to clean up his own toys after he is finished playing.
I hope these activities help inspire you to look for opportunities to include your toddler in your daily routine. Not only will it serve as great bonding time but it will also help teach your little one life long skills!
Comment below on what activities you like to share with your toddler!
It’s the new year and if you are looking to incorporate more plants into your diet, I’ve got an easy vegan teriyaki “fish” burger that you can add to your repertoire to use all year long. This burger is so flavourful, easy to make and is a crowd pleaser. Pair it with a bun for a burger or use this tofu as a topping on a salad, curry and even rice!
If you make this recipe, don’t forget to share it and tag me @thesavvypantry!
Now set forth and be savvy!
Ingredients – Teriyaki Marinade
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp Bull’s eye BBQ Sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 clove of garlic, minced
1-inch nub of ginger, grated
Ingredients – Spicy Slaw
½ cup vegan yogurt
2 tbsp sriracha (or Asian hot sauce of your choice)
1 tbsp pickle brine (or can use lemon juice)
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp granulated onion
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 cup red cabbage, sliced
1 cup green cabbage, sliced
1 green onion, sliced
Ingredients – Burger
4 burger buns of your choice
1 Block of Extra Firm Tofu, divided into 4 blocks
3 tbsp flour
2 tsp ground flax seed
6 tsp hot water
3 tbsp panko bread crumbs
1 tbsp Furikake (or 1 tbsp toasted black and white sesame seed)
1 tbsp oil
Ingredients – Mushroom Topping
1 package oyster mushroom (150 g)
Directions for the Marinade
Cut the block of extra firm tofu into equal squares
Place the tofu into a heat safe container
Add all of the ingredients for the marinade to a small pot
Heat the marinade mixture over medium heat until it just comes to a roaring bubble, about 5 minutes
Take the mixture off the heat as soon as the marinade bubbles
Pour the marinade over the tofu blocks and set aside to marinate while you continue preparing the rest of the ingredients – ideally let this marinade for minimum 1 hour in the fridge – if you can, overnight is ever better.
Directions for the Spicy Slaw
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the vegan yogurt, sriracha, pickle brine, granulated garlic, granulated onion, salt and pepper until well combined
Add the cabbage and green onion to the sauce and toss until well combined
Set aside until it’s ready to assemble your burger
Directions for the Tofu
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Set up a dredging station with 3 bowls:
Placing the flour into 1 bowl
Combine the flax seed and hot water in a 2nd bowl
Mix the panko breadcrumbs and Furikake in the 3rd bowl
Dip each piece of tofu into the flour mixture until well coated, then into the flax mixture to create a binder and then finally into the panko mixture until the tofu is completely crusted
Set each piece of tofu onto a wire rack over a baking sheet
Reserve the rest of the marinade for the mushroom topping
Using a pastry brush, brush oil onto the top and bottom pieces of the tofu, reserving the remaining oil to cook the mushrooms
Bake the tofu for 20 minutes, flipping them over halfway through
Directions for the Mushroom Topping
Wash 1 package of oyster mushrooms, peeling the large mushrooms into smaller pieces from the head down to the stem of the mushroom
In a medium sauce pan, heat the remaining oil from the tofu over medium-high heat until the pan gets hot, about 1 minute
Add the mushrooms to the pan and sautee until they start to get some nice color on them, around 5-7 minutes. A tip to help them develop their caramelization is to not move the mushrooms too much, tossing them only occasionally so they get a chance to brown on each side
Let the mushrooms cook down until they are half their original size
Add in the rest of that tofu marinade and cook down until the majority of the marinade down until it has reduced and you’re left with a glaze on the mushrooms, about 3-5 minutes
Take the pan off the heat and set aside until assembly
Directions to assemble the burger
Starting with your buns (toasted if you like), place a mount of slaw on top of the bottom of the bun
Next, place a piece of your baked tofu on top of the slaw
Top the tofu with some of the mushroom mixture
Serve with your favourite sides!
You can also use the tofu in a salad or bun-less for a low-carb option!
With the holidays right around the corner, I wanted to share an easy recipe you can include with any holiday breakfast or brunch! I’ve partnered with Little Northern Bakehouse who is sponsoring this post to bring you a super easy, gluten free vegan French toast recipe.
Little Northern Bakehouse products are certified gluten-free, allergy-friendly (peanut and nut-free), non-GMO, and plant-based, making it suitable for any lifestyle. They can easily be found in your freezer section of the grocery store and in most natural food retailers. They are also certified as Glyphosate Residue Free and display the Bio-Checked Non-Glyphosate Certified seal, ensuring that consumers can feel confident that Little Northern Bakehouse products use third-party testing to confirm the absence of this chemical which The World Health Organization classiﬁes as a “probable carcinogen,” or cancer-causing substance.
This pregnancy has been so different when compared to my first – I have more aches and pains, less energy, felt more nausea in the first trimester, to name a few symptoms. I am also craving more sweets than before, which is very new because I usually prefer savoury snacks.
Because I strive to have healthy treats in the house, I decided to make this Cookie Dough Energy Ball recipe to have readily available in the fridge and freezer for all of those mid-afternoon sweet cravings. These are especially delicious alongside a matcha or raspberry leaf tea (to help prepare for birth). Ezra even loves these, calling them “cookies”, so the name is well suited!
Usually energy balls require nut butters, but I wanted to make something more accessible with things I had already in my pantry, such as whole roasted cashews, oats and mini chocolate chips.
Try out this recipe and be sure to have a stash in the freezer for when you’re also craving something sweet, but healthy!
Now set forth and be savvy!
Makes about 20 energy balls
1 cup unsalted cashews (roasted or unroasted, use whatever you have on hand)
3 tbsp maple syrup
½ cup almond flour
¼ cup rolled oats
¼ cup mini chocolate chips
Start by creating the base, which is essentially a cashew butter. In a food processor, add the cashews and maple syrup and process until a smooth butter forms, about 1 minute
Add in the rest of the ingredients except for the mini chocolate chips and process until a dough forms
Once a dough forms, you can either mix in the chocolate chips by hand or pulse them into the dough just until incorporated
Using a mini cookie dough scoop, make the energy balls by rolling them out in your hand
Store in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for even longer (we usually ate them up in a month!)
I am finally getting around to putting together a blog post about the details around our kitchen renovation that we completed back in September 2021.
I am so happy that we finally did it after living in our small 1100 sq foot townhouse for over 5 years. Originally, since Milton, Ontario was seeing huge increases in sale prices of homes, especially in townhomes , we were looking to upgrade our home during the pandemic. However there were so many bidding wars and even if we were able to sell our house, it was very hard to find a home that we wanted to upgrade to.
The pandemic allowed us to save loads of money we would have otherwise used for travel and decided to invest it in our kitchen and our home when we decided to stay, at least for a little bit longer. Even though Ezra was only a year old when we started construction, as well as us working from home full time. he actually adapted really well and it worked out for us in the end. We had set up a little station where we were able to to live on the top floor and utilize our bedrooms as different play stations for him. I was especially proud because out of the 6 weeks that it took to complete our kitchen renovation, I was able to make the majority of our meals at home – I think we only ended up ordering once or twice during the entire process!
See below for the details of our before and after!
Our Old Kitchen:
The original layout of our kitchen wasn’t very optimal – there was a wall that created a hallway from our front door to the dining room / living room area. The kitchen itself had dark cherry wood cabinets and had a kitchenette that faced the front of the house. The space wasn’t optimal as we hardly ever used the kitchenette and there was a lack of sufficient pantry space so we had a large 5 x 5 Ikea Kallax unit that I got of Kijiji to hold all of our kitchen necessities. The floors were also very dated and overall the kitchen wasn’t really my style. Honestly, when we had originally bought the house, I had certain things on my wish list and literally nothing on it was met, so this kitchen was really getting on my last nerve especially spending so much time in it during the pandemic.
Originally I was going to DIY and paint the cabinets white and change the counter tops ourselves, however the space itself was still not an optimal layout and we decided that we would just invest in a rennovation as it would increase the value of the hosue, whether we were going to sell or rent it – either way, it was a plus!
The Interviewing Process:
I knew I wanted a farmhouse inspired kitchen with gold elements as well as a large farmhouse sink. Luckily for me, this is the style of most modern kitchens so when we were researching contractors, it was very easy to show them inspo photos for a quote.
We started the research for a contractor in May 2021 and had received quotes from 4 companies with the description of our dream kitchen in mind. We received a range from $30K to $80K for what we wanted to accomplish.
This included a full demolition, knocking down walls as well as changing our floors. The best advice I received when we interviewed different companies was that you didn’t want to necessarily go with the cheapest or the most expensive, and to choose the company where you could build a good relationship with.
In the end we decided to choose Eureka Kitchen & Bath for those reasons. They ended up being mid range and we decided to choose them because we got along really well with our designer, Annie. Annie really brought our vision to life and we worked together to incorporate things that were both functional and decorative as well as practical for our growing family.
Our New Kitchen:
The majority of the materials were included in our quote and I liked how the cabinets were also made locally in their facility in Oakville. The only materials that were not included was the flooring and light fixtures – however the flooring company, Milton Factory Tile Depot did give us a great discount.
We had implemented some upgrades, such as removing our popcorn ceiling, installing pot lights as well as lights under the cabinets, which was well worth it because it really helps to elevate the kitchen.
Originally we wanted a subway file for the backsplash, but decided to go with a herringbone pattern which I think elevates the look of the kitchen even further. We also upgraded our hood range (no more microwave for us! That’s right, we do not have a microwave in our home) and installed a drink station which is perfect for our family.
Our budget in the end was $50K and the kitchen cost us under $45K. We are very happy with the end results and even almost after a year later, the kitchen still feels very new and fresh! Can’t wait for our next potential renovation!
Having healthy snacks around the house for me is key to ensuring we don’t buy junk food impulsively. I created this recipe after seeing so many people rave about the Costco coconut clusters and knew I wanted to try making it for myself. I’ve never tried the Costco version, but I’m sure mine stands up to it well!
This recipe uses aquafaba (a.k.a bean water) as a binder along with chia seeds. I always have an abundance of aquafaba in the freezer from when I cook dried chickpeas, so I make a conscious effort to try to use it up.
These clusters are a perfect road trip snack and stays crunchy for days (if they last that long)!
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!
Now set forth and be savvy!
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup aquafaba
1 ½ cups flaked coconut, unsweetened
½ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup chia seeds
¼ cup hemp seeds
In a large bowl, combine the maple syrup and aquafaba and whisk until well combined.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.
Let the mixture sit while you pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
Using a spoon, scoop out about a tablespoon (or 2) of mixture onto the parchment paper, about an inch apart.
Bake at for 10-12 minutes
Let cool completely before eating and placing them into a container for storage.
I am no stranger to hanging up gallery walls around my home. I love the look of they look on our wall as it serves both home décor as well as memory keep sakes. Since we renovated our kitchen, we had to take down our Wedding memory wall that was in our living room and had waited for months before finding the perfect place to relocate our memories. We decided to hang it on our staircase, and since we have a process down, I wanted to share that with you!
I remember the first gallery wall I put up was not exactly the best, it was a bit crooked and not spaced out as I had envisioned. After hanging up many gallery walls around our home, we have a process that can get it up in under 30 minutes, even with a toddler running around!
Equipment that you will need:
Power Drill or Screw Driver (though I highly recommend investing in a power drill, even helpful for putting together Ikea furniture!)
Nails and Nail Anchors (if you will be hanging in drywall and not a stud)
Scrap Paper/News paper to serve as “templates” for your frames
Frames for your memory wall
Here are the easy steps to hang your gallery wall up in under 30 minutes:
Step 1: Arrange your frames on the ground in a way that you would want them displayed on the wall. This step is honestly the longest step because you can play around with so many variations of how you want your gallery wall to look.
Step 2: Turn the frames around so that you can see the back of frames and where the hooks are.
Step 3: Using scrap paper or newspaper, create templates for each of your frames by measuring out/cutting out/taping together pieces of paper that will match the same size of each frame. Place the templates onto each frame.
Step 4: For each “template”, using a pen, mark off where the nail looks are – this will be your guide for when you drill your nail into the wall
Step 5: Now that you have your frames laid out along with their associated template on top, transfer the templates onto your wall and secure using tape. This is where the time saving comes because you can rearrange the templates on the wall or adjust the spacing based on the amount of wall your have.
Step 6: Once all of your templates are on the wall, you can start drilling holes and installing nails into where you have indicated in your template. Note that you should use nail anchors if you are drilling the holes into only drywall and not a stud. Use a stud finder to locate the studs.
Step 7: Hang your frames
Step 8: Step back and admire that you had just completed this in under 30 minutes!
I have been obsessed with scones ever since I tried the famous scones from Cobs many years ago. I’ve missed the buttery yet subtle sweetness from these scones and knew I wanted to make my own vegan version. These blueberry scones take literally minutes to put together and is very easy to freeze. I always have a few in the freezer to satisfy any cravings.
You can easily change the fruit in these and make your own custom scones by using my recipe as a base. I have a few other flavours I am testing out and can’t wait to share them when they’re done!
Hope you enjoy my easy Vegan Blueberry Scone recipe with a lemon glaze.
Now set forth and be savvy!
Ingredients for Scones
½ cup soy milk + 1 tsp acv
1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax seed and 3 tbsp hot water)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted vegan butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Zest of 1 lemon
Ingredients for Lemon Glaze
¼ cup powdered sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
Make your flax egg by mixing the water and ground flax seed in a small bowl, set aside.
Make your vegan buttermilk by mixing your non-dairy milk and ACV in a bowl, set aside.
Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl until well blended.
Using a fork or a pastry blender, cut the vegan butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles large pea sized crumbles.
In another bowl, mix the flax egg, vegan buttermilk and vanilla extract together.
Add the wet ingredients, blueberries and lemon zest to the flour and butter mixture. Mix until it comes together.
Shape the dough into a large circle about 1 inch thick – I also like to shape them using a round takeout container that’s been coated in flour.
Place the dough into the fridge while you pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
You can also pre-make this dough and store it in the fridge overnight so you can bake them first thing in the morning.
To bake, cut the round dough into 8 wedges and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 30 – 35 minutes.
While the scones are baking, make the glaze by mixing the powdered sugar and lemon juice together.
When the scones come out of the oven, let them cool slightly before drizzling he glaze over top.
The holidays are quickly approaching and it’s time for baking season to commence! I don’t really have much of a sweet tooth, but I do like things that are both sweet and savoury. My vegan raisin and pistachio shortbread cookies are perfect for me because they are not too sweet but savoury because of the pistachios and vegan butter.
These cookies are so easy to make and you can easily make the dough and store it in the freezer until ready to bake! I hope you make them and enjoy them with your family.
Now set forth and be savvy!
1 cup vegan butter, softened
¾ cup icing sugar
Zest from 1 orange
2 cups all purpose flour
¾ cup raisins
¾ cup chopped unsalted pistachios
Pinch of salt
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, icing sugar and zest from 1 orange until smooth
Scrape down the mixture from the sides of the bowl, add flour and mix until just incorporated
Add in the rest of the ingredients and continue to mix until well incorporated
Grab 2 pieces of parchment paper approximately 12×16 inches
Separate the dough in half, and place on top of each piece of parchment paper
Starting with the first sheet, being to roll the parchment paper over the dough to form a log that is about 2.5-3 inches thick
Fold the ends of the parchment paper around the ends of the log and continue to roll the dough over itself to form a seal (you want the parchment paper to completely encase around the dough)
Repeat with the 2nd piece and dough
Let chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes
Once chilled, it will be easy to slice – using a serrated knife, you should be able to get about 15 cookies per log
Arrange cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (you can use the parchment paper you used to wrap the logs in the fridge) – the cookies will not really expand so they do not need to be space too far apart, but make sure they are not touching as they will stick as they bake.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown
Let cool before serving or packaging for the holidays!