Spice up your life: Vegan Chai Spice Cake

It’s the most wonderful time of the year ya’ll. Not only is this month full of beauty and bounty it also brings on weeks and weeks of festivities. Over the weekend, many Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving and yesterday was the start of Navaratri, a nine night Hindu festival [stay tuned for more on this…].

No matter where you are, over the course of the next few months you will undoubtedly be surrounded by festivities. Regardless of the occasion, at this time of the year you can never go wrong with bringing some spice cake along to share. [Read: you can never go wrong with spice cake any time of the year]

vegan chai spice cake

I used Vaishali’s recipe for Pumpkin Chai Spice Cake from Holy Cow! and it was perfectly straightforward. The only change I made was to use acorn squash instead of pumpkin because that’s what I had roasted. It’s a vegan cake so no dairy or eggs needed. If you’ve never tried vegan baking, it’s really easy and the most delicious cakes don’t require any fancy ingredients. It’s great if you know anyone with dairy allergies or anyone who is a “strict” vegetarian [read: no eggs]. As a bonus, you can leave vegan cakes sitting out on the counter, and after a day or so they don’t become ‘crusty’ and crumbly like their egg-laden cousins.

vegan chai spice cake

But I digress…back to this cake: seriously- WOW! Vaishali is a genius. My home smelled incredible and when we took a wedge of cake in the car [because it’s essential one always has cake in the car] we had the smell of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and ginger teasing us the whole journey.

vegan spice cake and chai saladforbreakfast
Cake & chai for breakfast

I had a slice with an amazing cup of chai and was in chai heaven… Whichever way you slice it, try the recipe, enjoy and whenever possible- spice up your life with some of this cake.

Now, please excuse me as I go back to singing along with the Spice Girls (especially at 2.04)…

Oh My! Squash Brownies

vegan gluten free squash brownie salad for breakfast

Friends, for the very first time, I created my own brownie recipe from scratch. This was a real project for me. I spent a few days looking at various recipes for squash brownies, drooling over pictures. I then did some research on the ‘perfect brownie’, focusing on bloggers who wrote about the ideal ratio of wet to dry ingredients.

Baking, after all, is a science my friends, and requires the true attention of a nerd scholar.

Well after some good reading, and a stubborn stance to only use ingredients I had in house, I decided to test out my recipe.

The results? Gooey, decadent, chocolaty brownies- sans gluten, dairy & eggs.

vegan gluten free squash brownie salad for breakfast

They tasted even better the next day, and my brownie loving husband declared these to be a winner. Yay! Gold Star stickers all around ya’ll!


  • Brownies are especially good with dairy and eggs, and I can honestly say that it’s pretty tough to find/make a good vegan brownie. But these were just right.
  • My choice to use gluten free flour was purely based on the fact that I didn’t have any more whole wheat pastry flour (my go-to baking flour). If you go with pastry flour, you may not need the extra spoon of water.
  • As soon as these came out of the oven I dumped some vegan chocolate chips on top and covered with foil. After 5 minutes I uncovered and smoothed out the melted chocolate. Feel free to use any frosting of choice, or leave it out completely.
  • If using eggs, don’t use the flax seed mixture or extra water. (But I can’t guarantee results)
  • I had acorn squash already roasted and in the fridge, but any roasted squash will do.

vegan squash brownies salad for breakfast

Squash Brownies

What I’m Listening to



1/2 c roasted squash
1 t vanilla extract
3 T melted coconut oil
2 T flax meal mixed with 5 T water

3/4 c gluten-free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour)
1/2 c Dutch processed cocoa powder (not hot cocoa mixture!)
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
3/4 c sugar

1 T water (only if the mixture is dry)

What I Do:

Preheat your oven to 350, and line a 9 inch baking pan with parchment.

Mix the flax seed meal and 5 T of water in a small bowl and set aside for 4-5 mins, until mixture thickens and resembles egg white. This will be your ‘egg’. Add this mixture to pureed squash, coconut oil, and vanilla.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Fold your dry ingredients into your squash mixture until combined. The batter should be thick, glossy and smooth. If it looks crumbly and sandy, add the extra Tablespoon of water.

Transfer brownie mixture into baking pan and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. To test whether it’s done, stick a toothpick or sharp knife into the center. When you pull it out, it should be clean and not have any batter stuck to it.

Once out of the oven let the brownies sit for 20 minutes or overnight before serving. These are meant to be gooey brownies- not underdone, but not cake-y!

vegan squash brownies salad for breakfast
“Cuz every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top,” Meghan Trainor

Day 15: COOKIE for breakfast?!


Disclaimer: There are no vegetables in this cookie!

Remember my blog from yesterday talking about planning meals out and being prepared and eating breakfast at home… Well I did prepare my breakfast, but I was running late this morning so I packed it to go. However, it did not make it out the door with me. I left my awesome breakfast on the counter this morning, only to get to work very hungry and very without food.

My fabulous coworker Richelle offered me oreos, some cheese/stick combination or a beautifully decorated sugar cookie. I took the sugar cookie.

It was GO…ooooooooD! Sure sure, not exactly the most vegetable-centric item, but on a pinch it was a clear winner.

And there’s always tomorrow!


21 day

Carrot Halwa for Diwali


Over a billion people celebrated Deepavali or Diwali this past week. It is, for most Indians, and the millions of its diaspora who live around the globe, the biggest holiday of the year. It’s a time to get together with loved ones and eat some great food. Part of my being craves to celebrate Diwali in India just once; it would be fulfilling to be a part of the fervour and communal exhilaration of this festival in its place of origin.

For me, Diwali isn’t a ritual or a forced set of customs; it’s a welcomed opportunity to pause and reflect on my life. What do I give out to the world? Am I radiating light? How can I do better right now, today? I light diyas or lamps/candles all over the house to physically represent bringing light into my home and heart.

Diwali is always a great excuse to cook some good food and share it with loved ones.

This year, I decided to try something new: make a traditional sweet for the holiday. And of course, it had to involve vegetables. The obvious solution was Gajar (Carrot) Halwa.

Indian Halwa is often made out of semolina or seasonal vegetables, so it’s different from the nut-based version that is served in many parts of the world. Gajar or Carrot Halwa, is a silky dessert that melts with each bite. Carrot is grated finely, then boiled in milk & cardamom for a few hours, until the milk evaporates. After that, the mound is fried briefly in oil with sugar until it forms a rich distinctive colour.

I based my recipe off of the wonderful Vaishali’s, from Holy Cow! The modifications I made were: Vanilla Almond Milk, coconut sugar, no raisins, and a pinch of saffron at the end. I urge you to try her recipe.

  • Carrots
  • Vanilla Almond Milk
  • Cardomom Pods
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Cashews (optional)
  • Saffron (optional)
Finely grated carrot
Simmering away on the stove
Finished Product

5 must have ingredients, and you’re ready to roll!

Happy Diwali and New Year to you all! Wishing you a radiant year!