Happy Herbivore Blog

Fat-Free Whole-Wheat Vegan Raisin Biscuits (Hardees Copycat)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Recipe

Does anyone remember those California Raisins commercials? The California Raisins were at their heyday when I was a child, so naturally, I was completely obsessed with them. I had all sorts of California Raisins swag--from a beloved sleeping bag to some 30 different figurines... (bless my mom's heart, she still has all of them in a box in her attic). 

But perhaps what I loved most about the California Raisins is that every weekend I was able to drag my parents to Hardees for their Raisin Biscuits (You see, kids got a California Raisins figurine back then, if their parents bought biscuits).

Really, I couldn't have been happier. I loved those biscuits. and I got a free toy!

Anyway, I'd forgotten all about those biscuits until a recent visit with my parents. My mom was kindly reminding me that she had all this stuff from my childhood in her attic (I'm telling you, Lindsay, you should sell that stuff on ebay!) when my Dad butted in to ask me if I remembered the California Raisins... and because parents always like to go that extra step to make sure you do remember, he starts singing "I heard it through the grapevine" (my Dad is really cute). Then, mid-chorus he stops himself and says "Do you remember those raisin biscuits at Hardees? Gosh, I really loved those. They're probably not healthy... Hey! You should try to make those vegan!"

I love my Dad.

So the task was upon me to make these biscuits---and I have to say, I'm overwhelmed with pure joy at how well they came out. 

They're whole wheat but still so light and fluffy... I mean, just look at them:

And even though they're "drop biscuits" (forgive me, I'm too lazy to roll out dough) they still manage to bake into a nice, circular, biscuit shape.

The icing, however, has created quite a stir in our household! I like to add a little lemon or orange juice to the icing (that's how I remember the biscuits tasting--with a hint of citrus) but Scott swears almond extract is where it's at. I tried it both ways (and also with vanilla extract, and just plain soymilk) and really, you can't go wrong. It's all really delicious.

I also found (& tried--I'm obsessed, clearly!) with Susan FFVK's pumpkin-raisin muffins. I got the idea from her to use white whole wheat flour instead of pastry here -- and I think that's the trick. Her biscuits are more traditional and need kneading and cutting, but I really love the idea of pumpkin being added in.

Recipe:Raisin Biscuits


A copycat of Hardee's famous biscuits only vegan, fat-free and whole-wheat...though you would never be able to tell! 



Preheat oven to 425F. Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon (feel free to use more or less) and sugar, and whisk to combine. Add raisins, stirring a few times to ensure even distribution. Add applesauce (10 tbsp) and stir until the batter is lumpy with chunks of dough. A light flour dusting is okay but make sure there are no pockets of flour on the bottom or sides of the mixing bowl. Also be careful not to over stir--those lumps are important. Next add 1/2 cup nondairy milk, stirring until a wet, thick doughy-batter forms. It should be somewhat dry, so add remaining nondairy milk (some flours are not as thirsty as others, so if yours is plenty moist, do not add extra nondairy). Drop spoonfuls on your cookie sheet, leaving a few centimeters room between each so they can spread. For round biscuits, use clean fingers to shape and smooth out each drop into a circular fashion. (Yield 13-15 biscuits). Bake 9-12 minutes until firm to the touch, and golden around the edges.

For the icing, mix powdered sugar with 1 tsp liquid such as nondairy milk, vanilla extract, almond extract (the best!), fresh lemon juice or fresh orange juice. For a thinner icing, add more liquid. For a thicker icing, add more sugar.

Fat-Free Mango Oatmeal (Vegan)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Recipe

In Monday's post where I talked about my vegan diet, I mentioned how my breakfast always involves a fruit and a grain. That grain is usually uncooked rolled oats. I like the "crunch" and overall texture the oats provide my tofu yogurt and I also like how they make smoothies more filling. (Plus they're easy and convient, who am I kidding?).

Still, despite this love for uncooked rolled oats, I've been slow to jump on the oatmeal bandwagon. Now, don't get me wrong: I do like oatmeal on occasion (especially steel cut oatmeal with soaked raisins, cinnamon and maple syrup!) but I'm just not in love with regular ol' oatmeal and I never been able to eat any kind of oatmeal every day---that is, until this recipe!

You see, Scott & I were catching up on Dexter (Anyone else watch that show? Anyone else find it weird that you're slightly attracted to a serial killer?) Anyway-- Dexter (the lead) says to his sister that his son misses her mango oatmeal in the morning and I immediately thought: "Mango Oatmeal? Why didn't I think of that?!" 

(Yes, I'm sure it says a lot about me that I'm thinking about food while watching a TV show about a serial killer!)

Thankfully, I had two mangos ripening on my counter during this...discovery, so the next morning I took a stab (heh, I said stab!) at Mango Oatmeal--and my god, it's fabulous. It's simple and fabulous. It's healthy and fabulous! It's fabulous and fabulous!

And for all my friends that don't live on a tropical island, no worries! It works with frozen mango chunks too!

It's really so simple I feel embarrassed posting it--but when something tastes this good, how can I not share my new discovery with my friends! (and also, if you're feeling a little decadent, you can totally use a bit of nondairy milk (or if you're feeling really decadent, some coconut milk) in place of the water).

And just to make sure you really get the feel for this Tropical-Caribbean-Miami-inspired hot breakfast:

Yep, that'd be my view from my front patio. (Sorry friends in snow, this sunshine is for you!)

Anyway, so how you make it: cook your oatmeal as you like it (for me this is about 1 cup oats to 1 1/2 cups water) and after a minute or so, mix in cubed mango (the fruit of an entire fresh mango, or anywhere from 1-2 cups if you're using frozen, depending on chunk size) and let the oatmeal finish cooking. Give it a good mix around a few times and then place it into your bowl. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and eat! Really! That's all! The mango is so sweet that you don't need any extra sweetener! 

p.s. If you're feeling feisty, you can also add a little bit of cayenne or other hot spice. When I lived in Los Angeles, a co-worker from Mexico got me hooked on mango with hot spices on it... sounds gross, but it's delish! 

Any oatmeal fans out there? How do YOU eat YOUR oatmeal?

10 reasons why I love being vegan

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Advice

To echo yesterday's post about my vegan diet, for this week's Top 10 Tuesday, I'm sharing my Top 10 Reasons Why I Love Eating a Plant-Based Diet. 

I'm not embarrassed to admit that my initial reason for adopting a vegan diet was rooted in vanity: I wanted to be thin and have clear skin. Of course, I was also motivated by the plight of animals, and it was my health that primarily motivated my initial steps at a vegetarian diet the year before, but the leap from "vegetarian" to "vegan" was intimately tied with my own selfish desires.

However, once I was vegan, my world shifted into focus. I hadn't been a vegan for very long when I read Skinny Bitch, The China Study and Eat to Live--three books that solidified my veganism for life (and changed how I ate--without these books, Happy Herbivore would not exist!). 

And yet, as the years have gone by, I still find more and more compelling reasons that make me glad I am a vegan. So, today, nearly four years later, I find that my reasons for why I continue to be a vegan are long and vast--  and although only a tiny fraction of those reasons are in my Top 10, know that I believe, that adopting this diet, is by far the best, and most profound, decision I will ever make.

(1) I am healthier than I previously thought possible. If you had told me five years ago that I would have ran a marathon, taken up snowboarding and otherwise lived an "athletic" life--I would have laughed you out of the room. Things that once seemed impossible, are not only possible--but a part of my life now. 

(2) I have no temptation. In the years prior to my veganism, I struggled with saying "no." I was tempted by everything: that snickers in the checkout line, that cupcake in the bakery window, that bag of cookies in the snack machine--but not anymore. Those foods aren't vegan, and while I might be willing to compromise my nutrition goals, I'm not willing to compromise my veganism so if it's not vegan, I walk by without any problem-- something I was not able to do before.

(3) My weight is under control. I lost the weight I needed to, and as long as I continue to make good choices, I don't put the weight back on, even during periods of inactivity. I am no-longer tied to the stair master--I have found a way to be "naturally thin" despite my temperamental genetics.

(4) I find great joy and satisfaction in knowing that my choices extend beyond me. By eating a plant-based diet I know that I'm helping myself, helping the planet, helping animals--and helping humanity. Talk about giving yourself a warm fuzzy!

(5) I feel rested. Prior to being vegan I was always tired, fatigued--even after 10 cups of coffee! (No, really, I did drink that much at one point!) No matter how much sleep I got, how much Red Bull I pounded, I never felt like I was "caught up" or totally "alive" before... However, within days of being vegan--I slept more soundly, which allowed me to wake feeling rested--and as the weeks progressed, I noticed I had more energy during the day--even without the help of stimulants! 

(6) Friends. So many of my closest friends are those I met through Happy Herbivore or the online vegan community. I have never known so much love, so much compassion, so much friendship for the sake of friendship. 

(7) I am conscious. Right after I went vegan a friend observed, "so you really think about what you eat. Gosh! If I thought this hamburger used to be a cow I couldn't eat it!" That really stuck with me--I'm so thankful that I no-longer blindly shove food inside of me, without taking a moment to think about what it is, what I might do once it's in there, and what it went through to get there in the first place. Although some people might find scanning labels (checking to see if its vegan) to be annoying--I find this a great gift of consideration; I never eat something that I don't know precisely what it is.

(8) I like food! I was a horribly "picky eater" as an omnivore. I rarely enjoyed food. I would sit at a table in a restaurant, frustrated, because nothing appealed to me. I have such a voracious appetite now it's ridiculous, but most importantly I really enjoy food. I love cooking (obviously!) and I love eating. I have open myself up to and tried so many cuisines and foods I would have never tried as an omni. Even though people might thing a vegan diet is "limited" I actually enjoy a wider variety of foods now than I did as an omnivore or even a vegetarian.

(9) I am no-longer susceptible to mainstream noise. I used to buy into every magazine article, news feed, latest "fad" I was always stressed about my nutrition and confused by it. I finally see how simple it all really is: eat real food.

(10) I broke all my nasty addictions. No more 10 cups of coffee (per day!), no more severe cravings, sugar crashes and the like. This is due, in part, because I no-longer eat junk food--but I lost the desire to eat junk foods when I went vegan.