choices, changes and coffee cake.

Hey. There's a whole lot of scary stuff going on in the world today, specifically in Boston. I've been glued to the TV for hours. This morning, before news broke in Boston, I promised a few readers I'd to share a recipe in time for the weekend. So, to be respectful, I've chosen not to promote this post via Twitter, Facebook, etc. If you're here, it's because of an update in your reader or because you came looking for this recipe. I hope this is respectful of everyone dealing with bigger things in life. Please do just say a little prayer, if you will, for those trapped in the big, scary things. Thanks.
I fear judgment for revealing this but...we're trying to eat mostly vegan.
Wait! Please don't run away. Or give me those eyes. I'm not going to hand you a book on veganism, ask you to save the animals or end my emails with Namaste. Cross my heart, I'm not judging while you eat a juicy steak. Do what you do...I respect your dietary choices and will even visit Texas Roadhouse with you.
Why am I explaining all this now? This morning I posted a photo of a nearly-vegan blueberry coffee cake on my Instagram, and per some requests...I promised to share the recipe! The recipe is below...and further below, for those that are curious, is why I've chosen to go as vegan as possible. If you're not curious or think it's weird, that's cool! High-five, and we can still be friends...please eat some cheese in my honor.
We have no vegan sugar options here in Kuwait, which is why I can't quite call my coffee cake vegan. But, you can prepare it with your fave vegan granulated + powdered sugar.  If you couldn't give a hoot about veganism, you can make this coffee cake with regular milk + eggs. It's a bit of an indulgent breakfast, yes...but this coffee cake is ultra easy and super moist over a day later!
Serve it with a side of raspberries for a yummy sweet + sour pairing that can't be beat. :)
egg + dairy free blueberry coffee cake*
recipe adapted from betty crocker
crumb topping
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup softened soy butter (or regular butter)

coffee cake
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup soy butter (or shortening/regular butter)
3/4 cup soy milk (or almond/rice/regular milk)
1/4 cup applesauce (or 1 egg)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1-2 cups fresh blueberries (i'm sure you could use frozen)
almond glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond essence
2 teaspoons warm water     
one: in a small bowl, mix together sugar, flour, cinnamon and cut in butter to make crumb topping.

two: in a large bowl, mix together coffee cake ingredients...reserving blueberries until all other ingredients are fully incorporated. then fold in blueberries. if batter is very thick, add a little extra milk.

three: grease and lightly flour a springform pan. (i used an 8" pan.) spread coffee cake batter evenly in pan, then top with crumb topping.

four: bake at 375 degrees F (190C) for 50 minutes, or until it passes the toothpick test.

five: mix together almond glaze ingredients, adding more water or powdered sugar as needed. remove cake from pan and drizzle glaze on top of coffee cake...enjoy!

why the heck would you say goodbye to cheese?!
I know. It's crazy, because cheese is just THAT good. Meat wasn't hard for me to give up...I did that years ago. At age 4 or 5, I rejected meat. I didn't know why...meat just made me feel sad. Since then, I've eaten mostly vegetarian aside from the occasional social situation where I had no option, or to scratch a hot dog or bacon itch. Basically, on the rare occasion that I do eat meat...I prefer it to be highly processed and refuse think about what I'm eating. Ha.
Last April, Gabe crazily suggested we go vegan for health purposes. We stuck to it for a month, loved it and felt great. But when we moved to Kuwait, staying vegan was the least of our concerns. 
A few weeks ago, I took a really long, honest look at animal treatment in the food industry. Needless to say, I researched and cried a lot...then recommitted to eating vegan. It sounds crazy, but until I live in a community where I can access eggs, milk and cheese from a source that promises fair treatment of animals...I have a hard time purchasing dairy and eggs with a clean conscience.
But, we're a bit compromised in Kuwait. Vegan-friendly options aside from tofu and soy milk are nearly non-existent. There's no egg-replacer, no soy sour cream, no faux-cheese, no coconut ice cream to fill that dairy-shaped hole in my heart. We've fallen off the wagon a few times in the past month, often due to lack of choices. And I went on a cheese bender for a few days. Whoops. Sometimes our store-bought bread has eggs or milk, and we use regular sugar because we can't find vegan sugar here. When we want to go out to eat or indulge in a sweet treat, it's meat-free but probably not vegan. (Ahem. Buttery Sprinkles cupcakes.)
I'd say 4 out of 5 meals are vegan. But in a way, compromised is good. It allows versatility...one foot planted in regular-people land, and one food planted in vegan craziness. ;)
Does anyone else eat vegetarian or vegan? Do you have a hard time explaining your choice, or receive negative reactions? How do you deal?
Sidenote: I did go to Prague. And I owe you all photos. There are 957 of them. Don't worry,  you will not have to see them all. I've been editing, pairing them down and working on a post! :)


  1. Good for you! I've been contemplating becoming a vegetarian because of how I feel physically after eating meat. I don't know if I can make the push to be completely all vegan. There are so many negative things but if you feel it's a right choice for you and your husband embrace it and love it! =)

    Ergo - Blog

    1. I give you kudos for even considering going vegetarian! It's so hard to change eating habits, especially once you're an adult and they're so deeply ingrained. I know what you mean about how you feel after eating meat. The post-meat haze is what made my husband switch to vegetarian a year ago! He still craves it on occasion, and sometimes indulges...but most days says he doesn't miss it.

      Thanks for the support! I don't think I'll ever be able to be a staunch card-carrying vegan, because I hate being a pest. I hate being fussy at restaurants, and never, ever reveal that I'm vegetarian or vegan when I'm visiting family or friends for fear they'll stress out. But, I'm trying to make the effort to sidestep eggs or dairy whenever possible. :)

  2. Thanks Bethany! Can't wait to try the recipe and happy to hear about your journey with conscious eating..,we could all benefit from pausing and thinking about what we put in our bodies from time to time.

  3. I always admire those who are committed to being vegan - it must be tricky especially while living abroad.

    I am neither vegetarian nor vegan although I do often enjoy vegetarian dishes. When I was young, I thought I might eventually stop eating meat as I really just didn't enjoy it. As I aged, I started to like it more and more and now it's a staple. That being said, I completely support and encourage everyone to ask questions about where our food comes from, the treatment of animals, the chemicals used on our produce and to push the food industry to make more ethical & healthy choices.

  4. I was a vegetarian for years but now I don't exclude anything from my diet. I don't eat a ton of meat and 80% of what I do eat is as humanely raised as I can find. I think going vegan is awesome. I also think eating meat is awesome....we just need to be more careful of the meat we buy. And in general, the western world needs to cut down on its animal consumption. As a whole, we all eat way too many animal products so there is a demand for more and more and more, which causes horrible treatment of animals. This recipe looks amazing. I just might have to whip up some sort of sweet berry breakfast tomorrow :).

  5. I've been wanting to try vegetarianism (if not veganism) for a while now, and I have to admit I haven't for selfish reasons - I'd miss certain meats, like the Chinese food I eat.
    I'm glad you are trying so hard to stick with it though, even when you have so few choices - it makes me more determined!
    <3 Kiersten

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  7. I've been veggie since I was 4 and have defended myself my whole life. But it basically comes down to this: stay true to what feels right to you. Don't question it. Don't let other people's judgements affect your decisions. And don't feel guilty if you slip now and then. You doing your part and leading by example. :) xo

  8. I grew up on a farm in Alabama so I got a first hand look at how chickens and pigs are slaughtered. It has always really bothered me. Thankfully our animals were treated well, but the end result isn't pleasant. We rarely ate beef since we didn't "grow" it and were fairly poor and couldn't really afford a lot of it. Our grandparents raised us and we always had a garden every year. Strangely enough they were very aware of the negatives of chemicals and such to the veggies. Common sense to them I guess. Neither of them liked meat very much so we had many suppers that were just veggies we grew in the garden and biscuits. Knowing first hand what a chicken egg is makes it too heart breaking for me to eat (even though I know it's not fertilized.) My husband is pure carnivore and says he just can't even bring himself to be vegetarian much less vegan. My aunt also owned a new age bookstore with a vegan cafe in the back in Atlanta, where I worked the summer I was 15. I guess you could say I have a pretty open mind to those thing even coming from rural Alabama. I do think that naturally humans do require meat protein since we are supposed to omnivores so it should be chosen carefully. :) The cake sounds very yummy!

  9. I think it's good for our bodies and minds to do what we can and not worry over the rest. I've been eating a vegetarian diet for almost half a year and I really don't enjoy explaining it to people.... especially people who only last summer I was eating hot dogs and steaks with. A lady at my church said "oh... so it's just a phase" when she pushed me to explained why I didn't want the main course at a church meal. I don't feel like it's a phase... I feel like it's me finally making the choice I felt for years.

    I've thought about trying to eat vegan so many times, but it's just a hard thing to do alone. I can't even imagine how hard it must be without good sources for replacements. Kudos to you + Gabe for doing it anyways!

  10. I think it's a great idea to try. My sister has her occasional bouts of veganism. She really likes it but usually is a meat eater.

    Noah and I have been vegetarian for quite a while and it's the easiest thing in the world! We don't have problems explaining to people but we're in a circle of people that have known us for a while or don't nose into our business.

    I feel better about the decision.

    I think going vegan would be nearly impossible for me. Maybe little spurts of meals here and there though. Let us know how it goes! Can't wait to try the coffee cake.

  11. Ooh, dairy free! All I need to do is change the flour to gluten free and this is perfect for me! Pinning! :D

    On a side note, I had no idea that sugar wasn't vegan? Say to the what?! Looks like I have some interesting reading to do.

    x Jasmine

  12. Good for you! I would love to try cutting out the dairy from my diet, and the meat too. I appreciate your mindset about it. I totally agree that sometimes it is more realistic to eat mostly vegetarian or mostly vegan, but giving yourself room to cheat sometimes without feeling bad about it.

    The challenge is that my fiance doesn't eat fruits or vegetables - almost any of them! I don't think he'd survive off of carrots, lettuce, corn, and apples alone. I have found that is one of the biggest challenges for us - finding changes that we can both make together. And I would rather that we are able to eat the same meals, than eating separately. It is good to hear that you and Gabe can tackle this change together. That makes a big difference. Good luck!

  13. This is such perfect timing for us. We are trying to cut meat out little by little - mostly because of the environmental impact of animal products, but also the ethical reasons. It doesn't hurt the pocketbook either - meat is expensive. So far, it hasn't been nearly as hard as I expected. We are trying to only have meat with dinners twice a week (down substantially from 7 times a week) and then taking leftovers to work. And I've grown rather fond of quinoa, who would hvae thought?

  14. No judgement. I was vegetarian and still mostly make vegetarian choices. I never thought going Vegan was something I could do. Just curious, why is sugar not vegan?

  15. mmmm that looks good.

    i think it's great you're trying vegan - and smart that you are making it work for your unique circumstances - not going nuts if it just doesn't work out, but trying your best. we've watched a lot of documentaries on this kind of thing, and you really can't dispute the health benefits (not to mention, the atrocities of the animal industries). we don't really eat a ton of meat, but i definitely love my cheese. i think i could go veg but not vegan...(we tried soy cheese and i just couldn't...but almond milk all the way!!) but i certainly respect those who do!

  16. also i just googled the vegan sugar thing and wow! i had no idea about the refineries using animal bones! who would have thought??

  17. Saw this and thought of you...


  18. Well done! I can't imagine how hard it would be to go vegan in Kuwait. It was hard enough being vegetarian in Europe and Japan shockingly enough!
    I became vegetarian when I was 12 and was off and on until 15. Then a few years ago I went vegan and felt great. But to be honest it only lasted 8 months, because I no longer felt great...
    I'm now a full on meat eater. But I do love my vegetarian/vegan meals here and there!

  19. I went Vegan last August and it's been a lot easier for me since my daughter already was living that lifestyle. She lives at home and does all the meal preparation. Without that, I probably would not be able to. She even made the Thanksgiving and Christmas meals which we shared with our non vegan family. :) They actually loved everything after taste testing it. I have cheated 3 times...lol once at Halloween with a snickers, once with a cheese platter at a Christmas party and I had ranch dressing when eating out. I actually felt guilty and confessed to my daughter.Hahaha.. What I miss MORE than meat are the eggs and cheese. I lost 25 pounds in the first 5 months but I need to exercise to lose the last 25. I hope you can stick to it together! I really feel much better and sleep better. Good luck to you!

  20. ps: one of the best cookbooks we have found -Veganomicon

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  22. Hey bethany! I am not veggie or vegan but i love to switch it up all the time and i LOVE to bake vegan. Have you ever used flax as your "egg"? I prefer that to egg replacer since it is more natural. :) plus it gives my treats a little extra goodness. 1tbs flax: 3 tbs water and let it sit to make it "egg" like consistency.


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