Spiritual Musings, Creative Inspiration, and Simple Vegan Recipes


What I Did with My Extra Hour: Homemade Persimmon Butter of Course

Daylight Saving Adventures….

Woke up SUPER early this morning (like usual) except today my 4:40 am wake up was, oops, 3:40 am. Not one to turn back over and fall asleep I spent the morning tackling some recipes that take a little more time and effort than something I would create on a typical weekend. With that I bring you:

Slow Cooker Spiced Persimmon Butter AND Gluten free, Yeast Free Sourdough Bread

My mother in law has a persimmon tree, among other wonderful fruit trees in her back yard, and has been giving my husband and I pounds and pounds of persimmons. I eat them like apples when they’re ripe…but we have about 60 persimmons to do something with. I have recently re-ignited my relationship with my slow cooker, and found a simple way to make a spread from our abundance of ripe persimmons. And it makes the whole house smell delicious!

Makes 4 half-pint jars, depending on size of persimmons


30 ripe Fuyu persimmons, coarsely chopped

1 lemon, juiced

2 tsp. Cinnamon

½ tsp fresh ground cloves

4 half pint canning jars with lids and rings


  1. Place persimmons into a slow cooker; amount should fill a 6-quart cooker nearly to the top. Drizzle the lemon juice over the persimmons, cover the cooker, and cook on High for about 2 hours. Mash the persimmons in the cooker with a potato masher. Stir in the cinnamon, cloves, and agave syrup, set the cooker to Low, and cook uncovered 6 hours or overnight. Stir several times if possible, to prevent burning during the long cooking period.
  2. After they have cooked down, transfer the persimmon mixture to a blender, filling the pitcher no more than halfway full. Hold down the lid of the blender with a folded kitchen towel, and carefully start the blender, using a few quick pulses to get the persimmon butter moving before leaving it on to puree. Puree in batches until smooth. If you have an immersion blender, you can puree the persimmon butter right in the cooker if desired.
  3. Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Pack the persimmon butter into the hot, sterilized jars, filling the jars to within 1/4 inch of the top. Run a knife or a thin spatula around the insides of the jars after they have been filled to remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue. Top with lids, and screw on rings. Allow the jars to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate the jars.

I am hoping to have enough to use persimmon butter for Christmas presents this year.

And recipe #2….


Gluten free, Yeast Free Sourdough Bread


I tried making this recipe once before, using the original recipe from “Affairs of Living” – a great gluten free yeast free blog: http://christensenka.squarespace.com/imported-20100106014405/2009/1/30/quinoa-millet-sorghum-sourdough-bread-gluten-free-vegan-yeas.html

The first two times I tried to make it, the bread was very dry and I wasn’t super pleased with the result. This time I added chia gel, as one of the comments suggested, and decreased the amount of flour. Also, I tried the “no-knead” style to preserve the natural sponginess. I find this bread works best cooked on a “pizza stone” rather than in a bread pan. I still haven’t reached perfection with my sourdough bread, but fermented foods are both an art AND a science, and there are many more loaves to bake. Happy Daylight Saving!Image



Black Bean Burgers, Cool Cabbage Slaw and Southern Style Cornbread

Burgers, Slaw and Cornbread have all gone vegan in this week’s recipe post. Not to mention gluten free, sugar free, and of course delicious.

Recipe # 1: Black Bean Burgers

I ran across this basic recipe for homemade black bean burgers at Whole Foods last week, and I am hooked—the recipe reminds of the Vegan Magic Loaf, where you can substitute different beans and grains to make a different vegan burger each time. The recipe that follows is from the Engine-2 Challenge (Plant Based Diet).

Here’s the basic recipe, slightly adapted:


2 cups cooked beans (black, white, kidney, chickpea, lentil, etc.)

1 cup starch (uncooked oats, cooked quinoa, cooked brown rice)

1 cup diced vegetables (carrot, onion, mushroom, tomato paste)

½ tsp spices (garlic, basil, oregano, thyme, cumin)

¼-1/2 cup liquid (veggie broth, liquid from beans, water, or non dairy milk)

2 tbs ground flax combined with 3 tbs of warm water


  1. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Put cooked beans in a big mixing bowl, mash with a fork—or if you have one—try an immersion blender.
  3. Add the starch and mix really well.
  4. Add vegetables, cooked or raw. (I prefer cooked, but this is more time consuming)
  5. Add spices, liquid, flax and mix well.
  6. Form patties, and place them onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.  You can make 4-5 large burgers, or 8- 10 smaller burgers.
  7. Bake for 20-30 minutes, flipping halfway through.  Aim for the lower end of the time range if you made the smaller version, the longer end if you made the bigger burger.


We served ours with Cool Cabbage Slaw (Remix), you can serve like a regular burger, or for a twist—make them in a muffin tin and you can have bean muffins!

Recipe #2: Cool Cabbage Slaw (Remix)

We were lucky enough to get an enormous local cabbage in our Produce Box last week, and I immediately thought of one of my favorite recipes from growing up, a Cool Cabbage Slaw, which is a tangier and sweeter twist on coleslaw. My Mom’s original version calls for white sugar and white vinegar—both of which are very acidic, and not so good for the body. My version amps up the veggies, and subs refined sugar for lemon zest, and instead of canola oil and vinegar, uses apple cider and rice vinegars blended with sesame oil. Yum!


1 small green cabbage (about 6 cups) shredded

3 medium carrots, chopped

3 ribs celery, chopped

1 large green pepper, chopped

1 large red pepper, chopped

3 small cucumbers, chopped

1 large bunch radishes, chopped

1 large onion, chopped


½ cup rice vinegar

½ cup apple cider vinegar

½ cup lemon juice

½ cup sesame oil

½ tsp. pepper


  1. Wash all vegetables, and either use a food processor or a large amount of patience to chop all vegetables and combine in a large bowl.
  2. Combine dressing ingredients in a mason jar with a lid and shake.
  3. Pour dressing over the vegetables, mix well and chill several hours before serving.


If you chop the vegetables in a food processor, you will get a finer product that makes a great topping for black bean burgers, if you chop by hand, it will be more of a salad. Either way is tasty!


Recipe #3: Southern Style Cornbread

 I have been really into cornbread lately. I have been experimenting with a number of different recipes, trying to find that perfect gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan concoction that is slightly crumbly,–still a bit cake-like—and reminiscent of the cornbread I grew up with. Thanks To Chocolate Covered Katie and Healthy, Happy Life for some great inspiration— about ½ a dozen pans of cornbread later, I have found a winner!

2 cups whole grain fine or medium corn meal
4 Tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 tsp cayenne
1 cup Okra: pan-toasted okra


1 can corn, drained



  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In large mixing bowl, add flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne.
  3. Stir in remaining liquid ingredients until batter is smooth and creamy.
  4. Fold in okra or corn.
  5. Pour into 8 inch circle baking pan.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until the edges crisp up.



What I really love about this cornbread is the combination of spicy and sweet, plus the added veggies help keep it moist. The only rule for eating this cornbread is that you have to butter (or earth balance!) it while it’s hot!

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Welcome to Abundant Life Vegan!


In response to an outpouring of abundance in my own life– and being asked on more than one occasion by my friends, co-workers and fellow yogis to share the recipes I develop in my kitchen– I have finally delved into the ever-growing world of blogging. So here goes!

The recipes you will find here are all vegan and gluten free, a way of eating and living about which I am very passionate. My endeavor is to share with my readers the simple abundance of a plant-based lifestyle, through simple whole foods. I also hope to share recipes that are easy to adapt and take as little toll as possible on the environment.

With it being back to school time let’s start with the recipe I created today, a homemade vegan granola bar. My husband Ray is a middle school history teacher, and he is a big fan of packing fruits and granola bars to get him through the school day. Bananas are his favorite, and he likes to call them “mother nature’s fast food.” He is also a big granola bar fan, especially the peanut butter and oat variety from Trader Joe’s.

Recently we were discussing all of the waste created when we rely heavily on per-packaged foods– and came to the realization that even his favorite bars require a lot of packaging. Unlike many foods we choose, we cannot compost or recycle granola bar wrappers, and since Ray averages 2 boxes of Trader Joe’s granola bars per week, the waste really adds up!

Plus, most of TJ’s bars are not gluten-free, which means I can’t enjoy them with him. While I have found many granola bar recipes on the internet, few are vegan (lots of honey or eggs to bind them) and have lots of sugar and/ or gluten. So the recipe that follows is vegan, gluten-free and uses only natural sweeteners. It is a bit crumbly, but stay tuned as I develop this recipe and make some better products! Enjoy and let me know what you think.

Oatmeal Raisin Vegan Granola Bars


• 2 cups rolled oats gluten-free
• 1 tsp. cinnamon
• ½ cup all-purpose flour + ½ cup sorghum flour
• ¾ cup raisins
• ¾ tsp. salt
• ½ cup maple syrup
• 2 tbsp. Flax seeds + 6 tbsp. Water
• ¼ cup oil
• 2 tsp. vanilla extract
• ½ cup applesauce


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. In a large bowl, ms all dry ingredients. Make a hole in the center, and pour in maple syrup, oil, vanilla and applesauce. In a small separate bowl, whisk flax seeds and water. (This is your “Eggs”). Let the flax and water mixture sit for a minute before combining with dry and wet ingredients. Gently mix with a wooden spoon, or your hands if you don’t mind getting a bit messy! Bake for 30 minutes, or until browned at the edges. Cool for a few minutes before cutting. If you don’t let them cool they will crumble! (I speak from experience….)

They will keep in an airtight container for about a week, and are easy to pack in reusable containers. Happy Snacking!

Fresh from the oven!