How to impress your family on Easter.

April 4, 2010 at 6:53 pm 14 comments

D and I are not very religious, however we spend time with our families on traditional holidays that they celebrate and that we were brought up celebrating. To me, a family gathering is an excuse to share my baking and cooking.  And so I have labored for days on recipes that I thought would wow my family into “I can’t believe there’s no egg/dairy/butter” praise.

I first tackled my favorite dish: cupcakes.  I poured over cupcake recipes for hours on end before coming up with the type of cupcake I wanted to create: a vanilla cupcake with banana cream filing and a light fluffy whipped frosting. I won’t get into the many attempts and failures at finding the ingredients for multiple frosting and filling recipes before coming up with the delicious combination I’m sharing.  While the filling and frosting are going to stay secret for the time being , the cake recipe came from here and was very moist, but alone it wasn’t quite sweet enough.  With my filling and frosting combination, these cupcakes were tremendously successful and even my toughest critics – my sister and D – sang their praises. No one could believed such a moist and decadent cupcake not only left them feeling light, but were vegan.  So for that, I grinned widely and share with you their photo shoot.

Vegan Lasagna How-to:

For my dinner entree, I took many of your advice and went with a traditional lasagana. Again, I poured for a few days over the perfect vegan lasagna before I came up with this recipe. The most difficult part was finding a tried and true vegan ricotta.  I’ve heard so many positive reviews about Nonna’s Italian Kitchen, so I specifically searched for a recipe from there and found it here (scroll down to RICOTTA DI SOYA TOFU RICOTTA). I followed the recipe exactly, and added the following to the blend before chilling for 2 hours:

  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp basil


Next, I sauteed a chopped onion in 3-tablespoons oil for 3-minutes in a large soup pot over medium heat, and then added 4 chopped garlic cloves for another 2-minutes.  I then added an entire bag of Boca Crumbles and let them really soak up the flavors for  8-minutes.  I poured a 40-oz jar of Victoria Marinara (best. ever. Italian family approved) into the pot along with 2 tablespoons of Galaxy Vegan Parmesan, 3 tablespoons vegan cane sugar, and 3/4 cup of red wine.  I stirred all the ingredients together and then brought the heat to low and covered with a pot until it slightly reduced (about 15 minutes).

Finally, heat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread some of the tomato sauce along the bottom of the lasagna pan and cover with uncooked lasagna noodles.  Spread cashew ricotta to cover noodles and sprinkle with some vegan mozzarella shreds (I used Follow Your Heart), cover with more tomato sauce to cover.  Continue with another layer of noodles, cashew ricotta, vegan cheese, and tomato sauce until reach top of pan. Top layer should be sauce.  Cover with tin foil and cook for 30 minutes, then uncover and cook for another 20 minutes.  Add more vegan shreds and cook for last 10-minutes.  Let sit 10-15 minutes to absorb and settle.  Enjoy!

My family had nothing but compliments, and in fact were slightly confused when they noticed “meat” inside.  My uncle, who is from Italy, even went back for seconds (this is quite a feat – he is the pickiest Italian eater ever). He, and D, and my mother, and cousins, all noted that you really couldn’t tell that this was a dairy free dish at all and it tasted “like the real thing” – duh, because it is! This came out really delicious, the ricotta was sooo creamy, and the sauce was savory.  I wouldn’t change a thing and really encourage you to try this and impress your family as well!

Operation Easter = success!

In other news, I haven’t really updated this weekend because I am emotionally spent.  I have been sick and found out my cat (who lives with my parents) is very sick and we’ll probably have to put him down tomorrow or early this week.  He’s been at the hospital all weekend and I haven’t seen him at all since he took a turn, which is making the whole matter entirely worse.  So updates in general at another point.

If you celebrate a holiday, I hope you had a relaxing and enjoyable day.  Did you impress your family with food? Did you cook or bake?

Entry filed under: baking, cupcakes, dinner, recipes, tofu, vegan. Tags: , , , , , , .

Sniffles that only corn chowder can cure. Banana uplifting pancakes.

14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. youngwifey  |  April 4, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    It all looks delicious!

  • 2. rachel  |  April 4, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Look how beautiful your lasagna is! We do have great minds… and they do think alike! (guess we both have some pretty happy bellies at home, too). Also that cupcake icing looks delish.
    Happy Easter, dear!

  • 3. rachel  |  April 4, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    oh, ps – i really like the new banner and pink background 🙂

    • 4. Amanda  |  April 6, 2010 at 9:44 am

      Thank you! I did finally get cupcake frosting right, has taken some time though! 🙂

  • 5. Katie  |  April 4, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Those cupcakes look fabulous! Too bad you won’t share the recipe! Darn =P

  • 6. Tanya  |  April 4, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Wow, that lasagna looks and sounds great. Thanks for sharing the recipe 🙂

  • 7. Shenandoah Vegan  |  April 5, 2010 at 7:28 am

    So sorry to hear about your cat. I’ve lost a few beloved pets recently and it’s so painful.

    • 8. Amanda  |  April 6, 2010 at 9:43 am

      Thank you, animals are family and it’s just as hard.

  • 9. Michal  |  April 5, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Yum, those cupcake look fantastic! This year I too charge of the desserts and make english toffee blondies and strawberry shortcake cupcakes. 🙂

    • 10. Amanda  |  April 6, 2010 at 9:43 am

      Oh my goodness toffee blondies sound out of this world!

  • 11. Keri - IEatTrees  |  April 5, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    I did cook a bit, but not as much as I do for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Your lasagna and cupcakes look delicious! Oh, and I love the new pink on your blog! 🙂

    • 12. Amanda  |  April 6, 2010 at 9:42 am


  • 13. Megan  |  April 16, 2010 at 10:02 am

    This looks amazing! I think this will be on the menu for this weekend….

  • […] (review to come down the line as well).  I had my Italian family gushing about the recipe for tofu ricotta I used in lasagna on Easter, and tonight I followed the recipe for “Lemon-Rosemary Breast of […]


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I enjoy cooking, baking, cats and yoga. This is my platform to sound off and share what I like.

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