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We celebrated my son’s second birthday this weekend.  I think in the past two days he learned about 50 new words and how to emphatically tell you how old he is – “two!” Sometimes he says “five!”, but we know he is just joking.  It’s such an amazing gift to watch children grow.  In the early years, the growth is exponential every year and by age two you can see how your baby has become a little person.  I am so thankful to have such a wonderful family.  This weekend was special in many ways.  Thank you.

One of the ways I try to make my children’s birthdays special is by making them a homemade treat such as a frosted layer cake or cupcakes.  This is the frosted layer cake I made for my son for his first birthday.

Now that I’ve had another year to get to know my son a little better, I have learned that if he had the choice between a frosted layer cake or a bowl of strawberries, he’d choose a bowl of strawberries.  So, this year I decided to make him this strawberry pie for his birthday.

He certainly loved it, leaving red streaks of strawberry across his face, clothes and the spot at the table where he sat underneath his enormous Thomas the Tank Engine mylar balloon.

I found the recipe for No-Bake Strawberry Pie while paging through Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s book The Joy of Vegan Baking.  It’s a “raw, vegan” pie that was both easy to make and refreshing.  I love that it uses dates to sweeten it.  While dates are very sweet, I don’t feel any kind of sugar rush or crash after eating them.  I especially loved the crust, which I can see making into snack bars in the near future.

If the pie wasn’t enough, I decided to end the weekend by using up the four extremely ripe bananas sitting on my countertop.  I have been dreaming of making vegan banana coconut muffins for several weeks now.  Since I had a good experience with the strawberry pie, I went back to The Joy of Vegan Baking to find a Banana Chocolate Chip muffin recipe.  I have been tinkering with recipes lately and thought this would be a good place for me to modify the recipe and satisfy that craving of banana coconut muffins.

Fortunately for everyone, my tinkering paid off.  The muffins were spectacular and here are a few pictures.

Here is the recipe as I changed it, adapted from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins from The Joy of Vegan Baking.

Vegan Banana Coconut Chocolate Chip Muffins

Makes 12

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup date sugar
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed – the riper the better!
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegan semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil your muffin tin or use muffin liners (I used “If you Care” unbleached liners).

In a bowl, mix the flour, coconut, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix the sugar and the oil. Add the mashed banana to the sugar mixture, then add chocolate chips, water and vanilla. Finally, add the flour, and mix everything well.

Evenly pour the batter into the muffin tin. Place in the oven for about 25-30 minutes.

Here are the changes I made:

1.  Used date sugar instead of white sugar and cut to 1/2 cup

2.  Used coconut oil instead of canola oil

3.  Used whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose flour

4.  Cut the flour down to 1 1/2 cup and added 1/2 cup of finely shredded unsweetened coconut

5.  Cut the chocolate chips down to 1/2 cup

If you make either of these treats, come back to tell me how you like them! What did you do this weekend?