My crazy Family Living in Japan

Military Family Living Abroad

Thin Mints. .. . Vegan style! February 27, 2011

Filed under: recipes,Vegan Recipes — Annastasia @ 12:39
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For valentines day, my husband bought me a new cook book. I know some girls might get offended by this, but me. . . I love to cook. I couldn’t believe he had found a vegan cookie book on Okinawa. I have the most amazing husband ever!

Of course, since he bought me this book. . . . of course I would have to cook out of it . . . A LOT!! Last night, I had a craving for some Girl Scout Thin Mints. Of course, those are not vegan, so I can’t have them. That was until. . . . “The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur” cookbook by Kelly Peloza.

I am not going to lie, these cookies did take a little bit of time because of the cooking/cooling/coating process. But they were SO worth it in the end.

Here is what you need:

1/2 Cup Margarine 

3/4 Cup Sugar

1 3/4 tsp peppermint extract

1/2 tsp Vanilla extract

2 Tblsp Soy milk (I used almond)

3 Tblsp Chocolate chips, melted

1 1/4 Cup Flour

2/3 Cup cocoa powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 Cup chocolate chips

1 Tblsp shortening

Cream together the margarine, sugar, and extracts. Add the soy milk and Melted chocolate. Continue to mix until smooth.

Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda, gradually adding extra splashes of soy milk if necessary to hold the dough together.

Roll the dough into  a log about 1 1/2 in wide and wrap in either plastic or parchment paper.  

Freeze for at least 30 Minutes.


Pre-Heat oven to 350 F


This knife is amazing. It cuts so smoothly, no sawing motion needed. Slice rounds of dough 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick and flatten with your palm onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake cookies for abotu 12 minutes, until firm. They will harden up a bit once they cool, but not a lot, so make sure they aren’t too soft when you remove them from the oven.  Let cool on a wire rack.


In the meantime, melt your chocolate and shortening in a glass bowl in a pan of boiling water on the stove. (Or use a double boiler)

Dip cookies into the chocolate, remove with a fork, and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. (I used stackable cooling racks with parchment)

Let sit at room Temperature until the chocolate is hardened, then eat! These are really good cold from the refrigerator, but they don’t need to be refrigerated unless it’s a really hot day.

(I put mine in the fridge to harden up quickly so I could eat them, then I put them into a container to keep in the fridge ~ Who doesn’t love COLD thin mints?)




Strawberries and French toast yumminess!! September 27, 2010

Filed under: recipes,Vegan Recipes — Annastasia @ 14:54
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Every Sunday in our house is officially – French toast day! My kids love the stuff, and have demanded that I make it each and every Sunday!! I have had to come up with some different ways to make the french toast to keep it yummy and exciting. We hardly ever use maple syrup (The pure stuff is best). Sometimes we use just powdered sugar, and other times I make a homemade “syrup”. Here is my recipe for French toast, and my infamous Strawberry Syrup (Infamous according to my family)

French toast (2 versions as my kids eat eggs)

Spelt bread, so yummy for French Toast

Vegan Version

1 cup vanilla soy milk
2-3 tablespoons flour
1.5 teaspoons sugar
dash cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
bread slices (Spelt is best)

Mix all ingredients well. Dip bread in then fry on lightly buttered (Earth balance organic) griddle.

Vegetarian Version

6 eggs
¼ -1/2 cup Orange juice (not from concentrate)
½-1 tsp vanilla
dash cinnamon
Bread slices (Spelt is best)

Dip bread then Fry on lightly buttered (Earth balance organic) griddle.


Cascade Farms Organic all the way!!


1 Package frozen (mostly thawed) Organic Strawberries (Fresh would work as well)
3 Tblsp Orange juice (not from concentrate)
½-1 cup sugar (I only use ½ cup, but this is a matter of preference)


Slice strawberries or put into blender.

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan.

Bring to boil stirring frequently.

Syrup Cooking away

Reduce heat to low, simmer stirring frequently 15-18 minutes.

Remove from heat, and cool almost completely before serving. Can be kept in the refrigerator 1-2 weeks

The Combination of strawberries and French toast is amazing!!  My kids love it so much, they literally lick their plates clean!!

Try making this syrup next time you make French Toast, your family will surely love it!

Super Yummy!!

I wasn't joking!


Gone Bananas!! July 23, 2010

I know I know, I am already completely bananas! But. . .Cupcakes are so intriguing. They are small, fun, portable morsels of yumminess. Who doesn’t love a cupcake?? I personally, could eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!! They are not only fun to make, but they are fun to eat. I have been on an extreme cupcake kick lately, and am making them ALL the time! I can usually come up with SOME reason as to why “I HAVE” to make cupcakes. Today’s was completely legit .. . . I had some SUPER ripe bananas on their way into the garbage if they weren’t used like today! I hate wasting food, so  .. .  It was time for some cupcakes!!

A while back my daughter Kiwi bought her Mom (that’s me) a cookbook ALL on her own (yes, she picked it out and all). This book was AWESOME! It is called “Crazy about cupcakes” by Krystina Castella. She has a website as well  here. This book is AWESOME! of course, I had to veganize the recipes . . . but there are 2 cake and 2 frosting recipes in the book that are in fact vegan already.  While thumbing through this cookbook, I cam across banana cupcakes.  ..  PERFECT! That is what I was going to make! Then  . .I needed a frosting, what sounds better with Banana cupcakes then peanut butter frosting with chocolate chunks on top?? NOTHING!! These were AMAZING!!  I have posted the original recipes here, and then added my vegan adaptations of them at the end. You really should go get this book if you like cupcakes!

Banana Cupcakes w/Peanut Butter Icing


When you look at Yummy cupcakes, don’t they make you just want to smile?

Go forth and make yummy cupcakes,

putting a smile one the world one cupcake stuffed face at a time!



(This recipe is from the book “Crazy about cupcakes” by Krystina Castella)

Banana Cupcakes

You will need:

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter,
at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 3/4 all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line cupcake pans with liners.

2. With an electric mixer on medium speed cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs to creamed mixture, and beat well. Add the bananas creamed mixture and mix well.

3. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

4. Add all the dry ingredients to creamed mixture at once. Mix until the dry ingredients are completely integrated.

5. Add the milk and vanilla. Mix batter for 1 minute on medium speed.

6. Fill cupcake liners one-half to three-quarters full with batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan.


My vegan adaptations were as follows:

1/2 pound (2 Sticks) unsalted butter = 1 cup earth balance organic

2 Large eggs = 2 egg equivalent of EnerG egg replacer

5 Tablespoons milk = 5 Tablespoons Rice milk


Peanut Butter Frosting (This recipe is from the book “Crazy about cupcakes” by Krystina Castella)

You will need:

12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

4 Tablespoons water

1 1/3 Cups smooth or crunchy peanut butter

2 Tablespoons vanilla extract

1. In a saucepan over high heat bring the butter, brown sugar, and water to a boil and continue to boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

2. Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla and beat until smooth.  Put hot frosting on the cupcakes while the cupcakes are still hot.  Frosting will thicken as it cools.


My vegan adaptations were as follows:

12 Tablespoons unsalted butter = 12 Tablespoons Earth balance organic

A note about this “frosting” – It may have been my vegan adaptations, but it turned out more like an icing or glaze than a frosting. I actually “dipped” my cupcakes into the frosting, and this was JUST the right amount for them!