Category Archives: breakfast

Blueberry Flaugnarde aka Blueberry Custard Cake

Blueberry panstard? Cakestard? No. Stardcake…erm. How about blueberry cuscake? I’m tryin’ to Brangelina this lovely blueberry dessert. Because it is a suprising, yet magical combination between custard and pancake. And shouldn’t all magical combinations of things have their names blended together? 


I saw this on The Misfit Baker’s (now retired) blog awhile ago. And since Neal recently bought a ginormous bag of frozen blueberries (which I also used here), I decided to give it a go. The recipe is super simple and doesn’t have a lot of steps which is something I love about all of Starr’s recipes. This particular recipe is as simple as blend, pour, sprinkle and bake.


It tastes like a delicate blueberry custard with a bit of pancake-feel going on around the edges and bottom. Which is pretty much how Starr described it on her blog, as a mix between custard and pancake.  In fact, that very description is what led me to pin the recipe.

The only mods I made:

  • I was feeling extra non-measure-y, so I just drained and dumped in a whole 12.3 oz box of firm silken tofu in the food processor. This, instead of measuring out 1 1/2 cups of pureed tofu. Seemed about right.
  • Didn’t have a 10-inch spring form pan, so I used an 8-inch baker’s pan. This resulted in a thicker custard cake and I had to bake it an extra 15 minutes as a result.


Even with my janky mods, it came out delicious! I ate it warm. I ate it cold (before I even realized that’s like a thing that French people actually do). In all variations, it was tasty. But my favorite way to eat it was warm with a glass of almond milk.

This blueberry flaugnarde was lovely to eat for breakfast and for dessert! It could even be a great afternoon snack. But of course if I ate it in the afternoon I’d have to follow it with a nice long nap. So if someone asked me what I did that day I could say — oh, I had some blueberry cuscake and an afsnap (afternoon snack and nap).


What custard-y foods do you enjoy eating?

Cinnamon Apple Strudel with a Flaky Phyllo Crust

Cinnamon Apple Strudel with a Flaky Phyllo Crust - Luminous Vegans

It wasn’t long ago that I used to curse at myself any time I used phyllo dough. I would swear off working with it after each and every time.  For every single break or tear (and there were many, still are), I would plead to the phyllo gods— why?! why is this so difficult??

But then suddenly, something shifted. I let go of my normal perfectionism and let the phyllo dough do what it was meant to do. I let it crack. I let it break. And when I placed them on top of one another, I let them have folds and wrinkles. When my lightly buttered pastry brush swept over the folds and caused another tear in the sheet, I didn’t freak. Corners not lining up? I’ve got better things to worry about.

Cinnamon Apple Strudel with a Flaky Phyllo Crust - Luminous Vegans

That’s because phyllo dough, I’ve decided, is magical. It seems that no matter how many rips, tears or lumpy folds I’ve let slip through, it comes out of the oven with a perfectly golden crust. A crust so delightfully crisp that it breaks into tiny buttery flakes under the slightest pressure from my fork.  Phyllo dough has taught me that sometimes letting go yields the best results.

Cinnamon Apple Strudel with a Flaky Phyllo Crust - Luminous Vegans

I’ve used phyllo dough to wrap mushrooms and eggplant and as a crust for vegan chicken pot pie. This time around, I decided to use it with something sweet and autumn-y.

This warm, cinnamon apple strudel comes from Holly at Beyond Kimchee. It’s a simple recipe that has three main components. The sweet cinnamon apple filling, a layer of sugary chopped nuts and bread crumbs and the outer crust. My adaptations were very slight. I’m including them below rather than retyping the original recipe:

Cinnamon Apple Strudel with a Flaky Phyllo Crust - Luminous Vegans

  • I left the skins on my 2 gala apples. Because skin.
  • For each strudel roll, I used 5 sheets of phyllo dough stacked on each other instead of puff pastry sheets for a lighter, flakier crust. I brushed each phyllo layer lightly with melted vegan butter before placing one on top of another.
  • The outside of each strudel was brushed with melted vegan butter instead of egg wash.
  • Before putting the strudels in the oven, I sprinkled a mix of sugar, breadcrumbs and cinnamon on top.

Cinnamon Apple Strudel with a Flaky Phyllo Crust - Luminous Vegans

The individual slices are like portable apple pies with a lighter, flakier crust. It’s probably best to let this cool a bit before digging in. But it’s hard not to want to dive into that delicate crust immediately. Especially when the aroma of sweet cinnamon apples fills the kitchen and I can see the baked apple juices bubbling out of the seams and running down the sides.

Cinnamon Apple Strudel with a Flaky Phyllo Crust - Luminous Vegans

It’s another phyllo dough win for me. And I’m all for any dish that I can eat for breakfast and dessert. I’m beginning to think everything would taste good wrapped in phyllo dough.  This surely won’t be the last time I use it.

Do you use phyllo dough? What are your favorite uses for it?

Simple Skillet Blueberry Apple Crisp

Can I just take a minute to tell you how wonderful Neal is. The other day he saw me struggling with food sticking to our main frying pan (see this post for deets). So he surprised me with a new cast iron skillet the other day! I had a cast iron skillet back in the day. Like back in the only eating ramen, microwave-meal days. Needless to say, it got neglected, misused and ended up in the cast iron skillet grave.Simple Skillet Blueberry Apple Crisp - Luminous Vegans

I’m thrilled that I’ve been given a second chance with this deceptively simple-looking pan. I’ve been using it non-stop since I got it. I refried the vegan egg in it. Success! I baked brussels sprouts in it and made polenta in it. And after each gentle cleaning and light oiling of my preciousss, I’m dreaming about what to make next in it.

Sunday morning I hopped out of bed and decided to bake a sweet breakfast in it. I don’t hop out of bed. I don’t bake stuff unless desperate. What’s happening to me? What have you done to me cast iron skillet?

Simple Skillet Blueberry Apple Crisp - Luminous Vegans

This simple and tasty blueberry apple crisp (adapted from this recipe at The Grit) involves tossing fruit with some flour, sugar and spices in one bowl. Mushing rolled oats, flour, sugar, vegan margarine and spices in another. Pouring them in the skillet and baking. This was one of those free-form-throw-it-together deals, so I only sorta measured the ingredients. The recipe listings are estimates only, but I think it’s hard to mess up fruit and oats. You can use whatever fruit you like, I just used what we happened to have in the kitchen and freezer.

Simple Skillet Blueberry Apple Crisp - Luminous Vegans

Skillet Blueberry Apple Crisp


For the fruit bottom:

  • 2 gala apples cored and cut into chunks
  • 3 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 2 1/2 tbs flour
  • 2 1/2 tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

For the crispy oat top:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegan margarine
  • pinch of cinnamon and salt
  • 12 inch cast iron pan


Preheat the oven to 375 F degrees. Throw all the ingredients for the “fruit bottom” in a bowl and mix well so all the fruit is thoroughly coated. Pour it in the skillet and let that sit so everything will meld together while making the crispy oat top. Throw all the ingredients for the “crispy oat top” in a bowl. I then used my hands to incorporate everything together so all oats were coated and the margarine was melted. The oats were semi-clumpy and sticky. Crumble oat crisp on top of fruit. Bake for about an hour until the top turns golden and crispy and the fruit filling is all bubbly.

Simple Skillet Blueberry Apple Crisp - Luminous Vegans

If you don’t have a 12 inch cast iron skillet, this can still work in a 10 inch or even 8 inch baker’s pan. Of course, you might have to either adjust the amount of fruit used or let it bake longer because it will be thicker.Simple Skillet Blueberry Apple Crisp -Luminous Vegans

I love how simple, mistake-proof and tasty this was. One of the things I don’t enjoy about baking is having to measure every single thing out precisely. I was able to eyeball a lot of stuff. This is just one of those dishes where a little less/more flour or a little less/more sugar or margarine just doesn’t seem like it’s going to hurt it. I am so excited to try this out with other fruit. While I really enjoy blueberries, I might go for something that doesn’t give me “blueberry smile” next time!

Simple Skillet Blueberry Apple Crisp - Luminous Vegans

Have you used a cast iron skillet before? What are your favorite ways to use it?

The Vegg: Vegan Egg Yolk so Realistic I Was All Whoa

I never thought I would get a chance to try this incredibly realistic and tasty vegan egg yolk called the Vegg. But Rocky, the creator of the Vegg, graciously sent it (and a free Vegg cookbook) out to any vegan bloggers who asked during Vegan MoFo.

The Vegg is a completely vegan egg yolk made of fortified nutritional yeast, sodium alginate, black salt and beta carotene. For a complete list of ingredients, visit their website.

Fried Vegan Egg with Roasted Veggies - Luminous Vegans

Upon opening the package, it just looks like straight-up nutritional yeast. But when blended with water, this stuff magically turns into a vegan egg yolk that smells and looks so realistic that after blending it I was like —whoa — Joey Lawrence style. Then I ran to show Neal. Then I dipped a spoon into the “yolk” and licked it. Repeatedly. (Note: I went vegan for the animals, not because I didn’t like the taste of eggs, meat or cheese. I’m all for replicating these tastes in my mouth as long as it’s done compassionately.)

I wanted to make the fried egg from the cookbook but it required some odd ingredients (calcium chloride) and a spherification cooking technique. Huh? So I made a lazy version of fried vegan eggs with what we had on hand. For the white part of the egg, I thinly sliced firm silken tofu and fried it with oil, black salt and pepper on a pan with a terrible non-stick coating. Do you see where this is going? Holy fried egg mess, batman!Fried Vegan Egg with Roasted Veggies - Luminous Vegans

They came out kinda broken and stuck to the pan and I had to scrape a bunch of crispy bits off. BUT. After I drizzled the Vegg yolk on it, it totally reminded me of fried egg after the yolk is pierced and the egg yolk is running all over. And with the black salt and Vegg going on, it really tasted like a delicious fried egg to me. We had it atop roasted potatoes, tomatoes and green beans.

Lazy Girl Fried Vegan Egg with Roasted Veggies

Roasted Veggies

  • 3 red potatoes, roughly chopped
  • half a yellow onion sliced
  • 3/4 pound green beans, stems removed
  • 4 large slices of tomato, halved
  • oil (I used olive)
  • salt and pepper

Fried Vegan Egg

  • one box of silken tofu (Learn from me. Use extra-firm, maybe not silken tofu and a GOOD non-stick pan)
  • oil (I used canola)
  • black salt (Kala Namak)
  • pepper
  • 2-3 Vegg yolks (2 tsp Vegg powder blended with 1/2 cup of water. It has to be blended with a machine to get this stuff to “eggify”. I used my magic bullet since it was such a small amount).


Coat the potatoes and onions with oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast them in the oven at 425F. Let them roast for about an hour but ~30 minutes in, stir in the beans adding more salt/pepper/oil as needed. 50 minutes in, place the tomato slices on top. After ~60 minutes, the tomatoes had broken down. I stirred it so everything was slightly coated in a roasty tomatoe-y flavor.

While that was roasting I fried thin (sometimes broken) slices of tofu in oil on medium heat. I fried them about 3-5 minutes on each side. Each side of tofu also got a generous dose of black salt and pepper.

Then I just piled the tofu on the roasted veggies and poured the Vegg yolk (warmed in the microwave) all over!

Fried Vegan Egg with Roasted Veggies -Luminous Vegans

I really like the Vegg so far. We used it here in french toast and I still have several uses in my little packet. The Vegg website shows where you can buy this both at brick and mortar stores and online. I’m considering buying a full jar because it seems like a decent deal at about $12 for a container that makes over 99 egg yolks. I could see it lasting me a long time since I wouldn’t be cooking with it all the time.

Have you tried the Vegg? What do you think of it? How have you used it?

Lazy Sunday Tofu Scramble on a Crusty Baguette

I love Sunday mornings. Any other day of the week I hit the snooze button way more times than I actually want to admit. But Sundays I pop out of bed alarm-free and ready to blast through my day laze around in my PJs.

I love the quiet of the morning when it feels like the world is still asleep.  Neal and the pups linger in bed (my dogs totally sleep in…is that strange or what?). I catch up on blogs, have my coffee and maybe do some work.tofuscrambaguette-8861-1

And when the rest of the brood wakes up, we usually have a late breakfast and read the paper. My favorite sections of the paper in order:  Book Review, Travel, Sunday Review, Arts and Leisure and then the little NY Times magazine pull out thingie. The dogs go straight for whatever section they can lay on and Neal usually reads the front page first.

I like Sunday breakfasts that are easy to make and easy to eat with my hands so I can graze on it while I read the paper. Tofu scramble is a quintessential vegan meal and I like it because I can usually throw random odds and ends in it from the week.

For this scramble, I crumbled and sautéed two packs of Mori-Nu extra firm silken tofu (I didn’t press or drain because lazy Sunday) with some minced garlic, black beans, shredded Daiya Havarti, basil leaves, grape tomatoes, green onions, black salt (kala namak) and black pepper.


To turn this into finger food I piled it on sliced pieces of a crusty baguette and added a few more sprinkles of green onions. Perfect! One hand for shoveling scramble baguettes into my mouth, one hand for flipping through the paper and one hand for scritching puppy ears…wait…what?

Need more tofu scramble? Check out this fun how-to video from JL goes Vegan (check out her awesome shirt). Or try this hearty breakfast burrito with potatoes and “bacon” from Cadry’s Kitchen. And Megan from The Vegan Cookbook Aficionado will always have your back when it comes to vegan brunches.

These count as breakfast, right?

I’ve been on a real chocolate kick since like, um, I don’t know…forever! Thank goodness there are clever recipes out there that include chocolate disguised in a breakfast-y like package. Here are two that I made recently.

Marbled Banana Bread from Post Punk Kitchen. This looks real fancy but was so simple to make!
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Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins. These were the perfect portable breakfast sweets.IMG_5009 _SnapseedThere’s a part of my brain that knows these sweet dessert-y foods should not be the meal I start my day off with. But then there’s another LOUDER part of my brain that is saying “Get in mah belly!”

Veganized Zucchini Pie from Oprah

So, Oprah didn’t write this recipe, but it is up on her website. Needless to say, it ain’t vegan. Usually I am scared to veganize dishes, but this one only had two non-vegan ingredients so I gave it a go.

I followed the recipe exactly EXCEPT I used Ener-G egg replacer for the eggs and I used Daiya chedder cheese. And instead of using store-bought Bisquick, I followed this guide on how to make homemade Bisquick (it’s basically flour, salt, baking powder and oil).
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The veganized dish was a success! The Daiya cheese kind of released more oil than I would have liked while it cooked or maybe I just greased my pan too much out of my  fear of “food sticking to pans”. Is there a name for that kind of phobia? Whatever the reason, I baked it for about 10 minutes longer than the recipe called for in order to get rid of some of that extra oil. Didn’t really work, but the dish was still delicious!

IMG_4399 _SnapseedWe ate this for two meals (dinner the night I made it and lunch the next day). It reminded me of quiche and was so tasty that when we finished off the pie, I wanted more. But best of all (ahem, Oprah) no cows or chickens were harmed for my taste buds.

Verdict: I’ll make this again but will probably experiment with the amount of Daiya and vegetables.

It’s Natto Bad

Despite Because of the countless YouTube videos I watched of people retching and dry heaving when they ate natto for the first time, I wanted to try it. Perhaps I wanted to tap into some weird Anthony Bourdain-esque side of myself. The first time I tried it, I lightly touched my tongue on one bean before I finally worked up the courage to stick the whole thing in my mouth. Now, I can’t imagine natto having natto in my life!

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I’ve only been able to find it at my local asian market for just shy of $2 a pack. It comes frozen and I stick it in the fridge overnight to thaw.

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Each little packet comes with 2 sauces: hot mustard and another sauce that is not vegan because it has bonito (aka fish) extract. I discard the non-vegan sauce.

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Peeling back the plastic wrap immediately reveals the stringy, fermented soybeans.

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I squeeze the whole mustard packet on them.

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Then I pour some thin soy sauce on them, or as my mom calls it “tin sauce”. I pick on her accent because it’s cute and I love her. Thin soy sauce is exactly as it sounds, thinner than regular soy sauce and slightly saltier. We use it in place of fish sauce in recipes.


Next, I stir it all up with a pair of chopsticks to “activate” all the natto slime. Every bean is then covered with a slimy, boogery goo..appetizing, eh?

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I stir in some chopped green onions,


pour it on some jasmine rice and sprinkle it with more green onions. This day I also ate it with some grape tomatoes.

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This is my favorite way to eat natto but I’ll also eat it without the rice. I eat it for breakfast and for a light snack. In my opinion natto tastes nutty, savory and slightly salty. It never stank to me from the get-go and I didn’t have to “grow into” liking the taste. This leads me to wonder if I got a variety that has been deodorized. I don’t think I did though because N says it smells like stinky feet and/or his B.O. Perhaps my sense of smell is off or maybe I like stinky smells now *shrugs*.

IMG_3502 _SnapseedIt seems like people either hate natto or love it and I am definitely the latter which makes me happy because it supposedly has a lot of health benefits. Now if I only had the courage to try durian…

Are there any stinky vegan foods you like to eat?

Oh my omelette!

I was inspired by my friend Rachel at Former Fish Taco Fanatic to make vegan omelets. And when I say I was inspired to make them, what I really mean is I was inspired to make N make them. Hee.

Actually, I did make the batter. The recipe is based on this one from Mouthwatering Vegan Recipes. We used a bit more tofu, so we ended up adding a bit more of the other ingredients and about 2 tablespoons of extra flour.

N made the filling using Trader Joe Chorizo, bell pepper, mushrooms, and green onions.

He then ladled the batter, let it set for a minute, and then piled on the fillings

along with some Daiya cheddar.

Then he did this flippy-do thing when it was ready and I ate it so hard after that because it was delicious.

Smell that? It’s October.

I am in love with all October-y stuff. Um, hello pumpkins, Halloween, fall leaves, sweaters, cinnamon…need I go on? I was feeling prematurely October yesterday so I decided to make “The Best Pumpkin Muffins” from Isa (from Post Punk Kitchen, duh). I followed the recipe except I subbed maple syrup for the molasses and I used a smidge less oil.

I whipped up an icing to put on it because I just bought some Madagascar vanilla beans and wanted to use it. I used a fork to mash together 1tbs of margarine (Earth Balance), and 1 cup of powdered sugar. Then I slowly added almond milk until it was the consistency I wanted, scraped some of the vanilla bean into it and stirred until smooth.

These were so easy to make and are just as the title says, “The Best Pumpkin Muffins”. I’m going to nom on these dessert-for-breakfast muffins all week.

PS: I’m really upset that I missed the deadline for Vegan MoFo. 😦 BUT, I’m still going to use it as a motivator to start blogging regularly. Sleep is over rated anyways.