my first recipe blog post!

i don’t think i have ever done a blog post exclusively about food. which is surprising to me because my biggest passion besides my family and reading really is food. i have a solid, healthy relationship with food, something that i am proud about (can you tell i’m in love?) because it’s been one heck of a journey. more on that journey some other time because i’m really excited to get baking with you.

wait. one more disclaimer: i’m not a food blogger with a fancy camera, kitchen, or surface replicas as props for my dishes. i don’t know much about food photography. in fact, there’s only one photo in this post of the muffins and it’s not even a great one. but if my photos can’t entice you i hope my word can.

i don’t have a wall rack stacked with various sets of plates, bowls, or drinking ware to style my food in. i only have my regular, everyday tools but a heart for cooking exceptionally tasty and healthy meals to share with my family and friends. even though i follow a lot of famous chefs and read all their work, i don’t know what i’m doing as far as blogging about food goes. i don’t even know if this will become anything big, or a regular part of this blog, but that’s okay. i’m not doing this for recognition or partnerships. the only thing motivating me is a pure desire to connect with others through something as personal as food.

okay, let’s do this…

during my fifteenth year mom and i lived in three different states. we moved from northern maine to virginia in the spring and right at the start of fall, after i turned sixteen, we moved to southeastern oklahoma. it was actually our second time living in oklahoma and i wasn’t too thrilled about being back. all my closest friends at the time were east coasters. as a homeschooler, life outside of my books and the kitchen, or international travel, wasn’t very exciting. i spent more time reading and baking than what any normal teenager probably should. i’m only a little weird now.

since mom didn’t have a full-time job, she would pick up side jobs cleaning at businesses and homes of the super rich and fancy. yes, they exist in oklahoma of all places. i would go with her to work and she would pay me out of what she made. there was one house in particular that i really loved going to. it was a big three-story home that sat on at least 10 acres of land. there were more rooms than what two older people really needed but at least everyone had their own space when the kids and grandkids came over for the holidays.

in one of the three living rooms there was a built-in bookshelf full of cookbooks. mostly recipe compilations from Southern Living magazine. after i finished cleaning my half of the house i would pull a few cookbooks off the shelf (does that count as snooping?) and sit with the notebook and pen i always carried with me. over the course of a few months i had read every recipe in that cookbook collection. there must have been over a hundred cookbooks. i hand copied into several notebooks all the recipes i wanted to test and remake. none of the recipes i copied were vegan and we ate vegan at home, so my challenge was to take all those recipes and make vegan versions of them.

fast forward fourteen years and i am back in oklahoma, living in mom’s old house, with my two biological boys, and vegan again as of ten months ago. i have carried my old recipe books with me during all my moving. last sunday while writing a new menu for the week i decided to open one of my notebooks. i looked over some recipes and selected a few that i would try to make vegan versions of. one of those recipes was a mexican-style cornbread muffin. i thought it would make a nice addition to the chili we were having this week.

when i create new recipes or remake a non-vegan recipe i never expect it to turn out right the first time. but sometimes i get really lucky and something comes out so good that i don’t feel the need to change anything about it. i’ve had such luck with these cornbread muffins.

to replace the eggs i originally thought to use Follow Your Heart Vegan Egg. i have tested it in other baking recipes and even french toast and i have liked the results. i have made cornbread without any egg replacer in the past but since this one would have some veggie goodies mixed in, i knew i would need a binder like egg. while i was doing my grocery shopping on sunday i stopped by whole foods to get my specialty items. i got way too excited when i saw the golden bottle: Just Egg egg replacer. it’s the newest egg replacer star in the vegan world and i have been trying for months to get my hands on a bottle. they had a whole bunch of them at WF, so i splurged and bought two.

i’ll probably do a full review on Just Egg in another post, but for this cornbread muffin it worked great. the muffins came out with that perfect crumbly cornbread texture without being too cake-like. rough enough to handle a hearty dish like chili but that won’t stick to your throat either. but if you can’t find Just Egg in a store near you, i would suggest using the Follow Your Heart brand.

if you don’t like spice you can leave out the jalapenos. although i found they weren’t overwhelming in this recipe. but, i hate waste, so if you’re going to pick them out you might as well not even put them in.

i imagine you could get creative and add other things like shredded vegan cheese or chopped scallions. these muffins are wonderful warm and slathered in a layer of vegan butter. they’re equally good at room temperature for an on-the-go snack. i ate like five yesterday.

mexican-style cornbread muffins
makes 11

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup diced jalapeno peppers
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup cream style corn
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Just Egg liquid egg replacer

preheat over to 425 degrees fahrenheit. combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. make a hole in the middle and add corn, oil and egg replacer and mix well. line muffin tin with parchment baking cups. spoon into muffin cups. bake for twenty minutes or until golden.


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