Favorite Birthday Recipes At Our House

 In case you didn’t know, we don’t eat overly processed food, red meat,  dairy or refined sugar.  When people hear that, they usually ask, “What do you eat?”  Here are some reciped that are enjoyed by our family.

Spinach Things:

1 package frozen spinach (10 ozs)
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/4 Cup green onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Cups “Stedda Rocotta” (recipe follows)
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill, or 2 teaspoons dried

1 package phyllo dough (whole wheat preferred)

Olive oil flavor cooking spray (I used Trader Joe’s olive oil spray)

dash dried parsely (or to taste)
dash dried oregano (or to taste)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Thaw and drain spinach.

Spray a skillet with a non stick olive oil spray. Saute onion and garlic. Add spinach and blend well.

In a large bowl, combine “stedda” ricotta, nutmeg, parsley, oregano, and dill. Combine with spinach mixture.

Spray one sheet of phyllo dough with olive oil spray. Place oanother sheet on top. Spray and repeat with a third sheet. Make 4 sets of three sheets each and cut each stack lenght wise into six strips. Cover strips with damp cloth to prevent from drying. (I do one set of three phyllo sheets at a time.)

Spoon one Tablespoon of filling about an inch fromthe end of one strip. Fold the end of the dough over the filling at a 45-degree angle, continuing to fold to form a triangle theat encloses the filling (like folding a flag.) Repeat with all 24 strips.

Place triangle on prepared baking sheet and lightly spray with olive oil spray. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

“Stedda” Ricotta from The American Vegitarian Cookbook from the Fit For Life Kitchen by Marilyn Diamond.  Makes 2 cups.

1 pund firm tofu
1/3 Cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon groud nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt or ground rock salt (I use sea salt)

Place three-fourths of the tofu and the remaining ingredients in a blender. Blend until thick and smooth. Mash the remaing tofu into the blended mixture.


First, here is the crust I make:

Quick Pizza Dough
from 20 Minutes to Dinner by Bryanna Clark Grogan

Makes one 14″ pizza or 2 (8″) “pizzettes” (can be soy free)

You can have homemade pizza on the table in 25 minutes if you have a food processor.

-1 1/3 c. unbleached white flour
-2/3 c. wheat flour (or unbleached white)
-2 T. soymilk or other nondairy “milk” powder
-1 T. quick-rising baking yeast (I use regular yeast)
-1 tsp. salt
-1/2 tsp. sugar or Sucanat, or 1 tsp granulated alternative
-3/4 – 1 c. hot water

Preheat over to 500 degrees.

Combine the flours, “milk” powder, yeast, salt, and sugar in a food processor. With the motor running, add 3/4 c. hot water. The dough should form a ball on the top of hte blade. If it doesn’t, add the remaining water, 1 T. at a time, until it does. Process for 1 minutes. Remove the dough to a floured surface, knead briefly, cover, and let rest 10 minutes.

While the dough rests, prepare your toppings.

Roll out the dough to fit a lightly oiled or nonstick 14″ pizza pan, leaving a “rim.” Add your toppings nad backe 10 – 12 minutes (6-8 minutes for pizzettes).

For the sauce we like Classico brand Basil and Tomato flavor. 

For the cheese, we use Soya Kaas brand Soy cheese.   I melt some margarine (we use only Earth Balance brand since it does not contain hydrogenated oils.)  Then I mix the melted Earth Balance with olive oil, add some minced garlic, salt, and Italian seasoning.  Mix the grated soy cheese with the oil/margarine mixture and there is the “cheese” topping.  *****************

Birthday cake:

Checkerboard Birthday Cake recipe from Marilu Henner’s “Healthy Kids.”

Makes 1 cake

-3/4 cup soy margarine at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
-2 1/4 cups unbleached flour
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon soy milk
-1 1/2 cups unprocessed pure cane suagar (Rapidura or Sucanat)
-3 large cage-free eggs
-1/4 cup grain-sweetened chocolate chips, melted
-1/8 cup unsweetened chocolate, melted

Chocolate Frosting (recipe follows)

====My note:  I usually make either just the vanilla part of this cake or make it into a marble cake so I don’t have to do the checkerboard.====

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease three 8-inch round cake pans.  Line the bottoms with wax paper, grease the paper, and dust the pans with flour. 

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Put the 3/4 cup soy milk and vanilla in a small bowl.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the 3/4 cup soy margarine and the sugar for at least 5 minutes, until nice and creamy.  Lower the speed to medium-low and add the eggs, one at a time.  Reduce the speed to low.  Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk mixture.  Beat until smooth. 

Spoon half of the batter neatly into a Ziploc bag, trying to keep the batter to one side of the bag at the bottom, as if you were filling a pastry bag.   Add the melted chocolate and remaining 1 tablespoon of soy milk to the remaining batter.  Spoon into another Ziploc bag.  Cut off 1 inch from the corner of each bag to create an opening.  Pipe a 1 1/2-inch-wide band of chocolate batter around 2 cake pans.  Squeeze a 1 1/2-inch-wide band of vanilla next to each chocolate band.  Add enough chocolate to fill in the center of the two pans so that the whole cake pan is full.  In the third pan, repeat the rings, but start and end with vanilla.  When assembled, the cake will have a checkerboard look.

Stagger the cake pans in the oven on two racks.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Test the cakes with a toothpick.  It should come out almost clean.  Cool on wire racks for about 10 minutes.  With a thin knife, loosen the layers and invert them onto a wire rack.  Remove the wax paper and cool. 

Place one layer with the chocolate on the outside on a cake plate.  Spread with 1/2 cup of the frosting.  Place the layer with the vanilla on the outside on top and frost.  Top with the third layer and finish frosting the cake.

Chocolate Frosting:

-3/4 cup Sucanat
-1/4 cup unbleached white flour
-3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa-1 cup soy cream
-1 cup soy margarine at room temperature
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract
-1/2 cup grain-sweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

In a medium saucepan, stir together the Sucanat, flour, and cocoa until well blended.  Slowly stir in the soy cream and continue stirring until smooth.  Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the mixture thickens and boils.  Reduce the heat to low.  Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and cool completely.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the margarine at meduim speed until creamy.  Slowly add the cooled soy mixture.  Add the vanilla and melted chocolate and blend well.  You may have to refrigerate the frosting a little for a stiffer, more spreadable consistency.

====My note:  this frosting recipe is good, but my kids like vanilla.  This is not the one we use, but I posted it because it is part of the checkerboard cake recipe in this particular book.====

The Frosting that I use comes from www.veganchef.com

Tofu “Cream Cheese” Frosting

8 oz. tofu cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup Spectrum Naturals Spread or other non-hydrogenated vegan margarine
3 cups Veganized Powdered Sugar (see below)
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. almond extract

Using an electric mixer or in a large bowl with a hand held mixer, place the tofu cream cheese and Spectrum Spread, and cream them together. Add the sugar, vanilla, and almond extract, and continue to beat the mixture until light and fluffy.

====My note:  I don’t use the almond extract.  Also, I add real maple syrup.  I don’t know how much, but I put a little in, do a taste test and go from there.  This last

Yield: 2 1/2 cups or enough for two 9-inch layers or a 9×13-inch cake

Veganized Powdered Sugar this recipe came from veg web, but is no longer available.

-2 cups “Better Than Milk” vanilla rice milk powder
-2 cups corn starch
-1 cup Rapidura or Sucanat

Blend ingredients in a food processor until light and powdery.*********

These recipes are not as complicated as they sound.  They are hard to explain, but not too hard to actually do.  Enjoy!!!


2 Responses to “Favorite Birthday Recipes At Our House”

  1. Rebecca Says:

    It has been a few years since we were vegans but I remember those days fondly. The spinach/phyllo recipe sounds scrumptuous! Thanks!

  2. joanna "the Baker" smyth Says:

    Just want to thank you for keeping at this and say how much I appreciate your clear and comprehensive comments. I missed the Richmond connection in the original Nation article. Really do hope and expect that someday soon we’ll be reading your work, or something comperable, in the RTD. In the meantime, I’m glad we can read it here.

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