Sprout New Roots


Bonnie: A Veggie Tale

We would like to introduce you to our cousin, Bonnie. She is one of the many veggies in our family.


(Bonnie, Jenn, Kelli)

When Bonnie was 12, she decided to give up eating animals.  Then, years later, she decided it was also the right decision for herself to give up dairy and eggs.  We each have a unique story to tell when it comes to our journey as vegetarians and now, as vegans. So we wanted to include Bonnie’s story on our blog because she has been living this lifestyle for many years now (she is now 27)-and, not to mention, she makes some damn good food that we both appreciate!

Every Thanksgiving, Bonnie shows up with this incredible dark chocolate cranberry cake that she makes. It is decadent, rich and beautiful and we look forward to it every year! We asked her to share the recipe with us for this blog post. We also thought it would be fun to ask her some questions, so you guys can get to know her better! So, here she is with her recipe and answers!



To be honest, this cake recipe changes every year! A few requirements: CHOCOLATE, layered, icing, filling, and topped with homemade candied cranberries. Also, I somehow always incorporate liquor into it.

This year I based my cake off of a recipe from “Babycakes Covers the Classics” by Erin McKenna.

The actual cake I brought to Thanksgiving was born from the following recipe, “Six-Layer Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Preserves”

  • 1 ½ cups melted refined coconut oil or canola oil, plus more for brushing (I used coconut oil)
  • 2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1 ½ cups sorghum flour
  • 2 cups vegan sugar (I used coconut sugar)
  • 2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup potato starch
  • ½ cup arrowroot (I used cornstarch)
  • 2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 ½ cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup agave nectar
  • ½ cup vanilla extract
  • 1 to 1½ cups hot water

Directions (sort of what I did) preheat over to about 300 degrees. line 3 large round pans with wax paper and brush with coconut oil. Mix the wet ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients (I use a sifter I found at goodwill). Mad the wet to the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly with an electric mixer. Divide the batter between the three pans. Put the pans in the oven. Cook for a while till you start to smell it. Take a look in the oven and see if its working. Increase the heat to 310. Let some time pass. Smells really good in the house! Put a sheet of aluminum foil on top of the cake pans and increase heat to 325. It’s gonna be about 20 more minutes from here. Use a
toothpick and if it comes out clean then you’re good to go. Let pans cool completely before removing. Place plate on top of pan. Invert and cake should come out. Trim the hump off of the top of the cakes so that you can layer them flat. Make a filling and icing. Layer the cranberry filling and icing between the layers. This year I used toothpicks to keep the layers from sliding off of each other. Top with rest of chocolate icing and pile the cranberries in the center and spread out to almost the edges. This cake is heavy!

Thank you Bonnie! Now we’d like to ask you some questions so that our readers can get to know you a little better!

Summarize your journey to eating and a plant-based diet and lifestyle. When did you begin, what sparked your interest, etc.

My first memory of rejecting meat was probably around age 10; I use the word rejecting because this was not premeditated. I was on a family vacation in Gatlinburg, Tn. My parents had rented a chalet in the mountains equipped with a kitchen. As usually, when my mom cooked us dinner it was the “well-rounded” meal with a starch (potatoes with cheese), vegetable (spinach or broccoli with cream sauce) and a protein (chicken with ketchup). This particular night I remember gobbling up my side items and jumping up from the table saying I was done! I was anxious to “swim” in the giant jacuzzi tub that I had to wait to fill up until AFTER dinner. My mom quickly urged me to finish my chicken, and within 30 seconds it was gone! Like I had seen my brother’s hamster do, I quickly stuffed my chicken into my cheeks, quietly walked to the garbage can, and disposed of my dinner meat. Tada! Mission accomplished- time to swim. Before the chicken incident in Gatlinburg, my mom would always have to “trick” me into eating my meat. For example, she would cut up a hamburger patty, melt atop a piece of American cheese, and plot a dollop of ketchup next to it. She had figured this was the best way to get me fed with the least amount of difficulty knowing that had I walked to the dinner table and saw a constructed two bun, patty with cheese hamburger, the odds were against her. About two years later, age 12, I had a burst of self awareness. I didn’t like meat! And, no one can make me eat it! January 15, 1999 was my last bite of fried chicken fingers at the late Joe’s crab shack at the New Orleans Lakefront. It was my friends 13th birthday and all of the girls were sitting around the table eating chicken fingers, french fries, and coke. In my mind I had a moment of clarity; no second thoughts. This was it. I told my mom I was a vegetarian the next day. This worried her because a childhood friend who had become a vegetarian soon after developed anorexia; in her mind the two words were linked together. Although at first she didn’t quite understand, she respected my decision and began modifying her recipes so that meat was served “on the side”, and vegetable dishes did not contain meat flavorings like so many southern vegetable recipes do. Weeks later Lent began, and I saw this as an opportunity to be more open with family and friends… “I gave up meat for lent” I would say with a soft smile. “I can’t eat that because I gave it up!” Awesome, I thought. This is working. Lent ended and I continued my story, “well, I gave it up for Lent and decided I don’t want it anymore.” I was “out”, and publicly being a vegetarian had its difficulties- people really had a problem with it. Every time I had dinner at a friend’s house or went to dinner with a group of people, IT came up. I always aspired to give up dairy and egg, but knew in my mind that this was something I had to be ready for. Cheese had became a meat replacement, and egg seemed to hiding in EVERYTHING. Around Mardi Gras 2007, it was time! I made my first vegan sliced tofurkey and cheeze sandwhich to pack in the cooler for the Endymion parade– not delicious. It’s time to learn how to cook. From there, my interest in eating veg took off. Recipe books, blogs, reading labels; I was on my own trying to navigate this new world and way of eating. Restaurants were a challenge. I learned my go-to places to eat where I knew I could order something “safe”. I quickly learned that my best chance of not having to send my food back was explicitly explaining to the server/manager that I had an ALLERGY. This only has about a 70% success rate.

What is your favorite vegan indulgence?

Ahhh, I love a piece of oreo cake from whole foods’ bakery. My mom usually buys a whole cake for my birthday. It’s fabulous. Right now my husband and I are loving Vegan Crab Cakes by Sophie’s Kitchen (freezer section of whole foods). We even eat these for breakfast!

What changes have you noticed since giving up meat, poultry, and dairy?

Other than not having traditional digestive problems from eating… I have such an appreciation for flavors! When food isn’t masked by butter or cream you can actually taste things in a way you never noticed before

What is your favorite vegan holiday dish?
My cranberry cake 😀

Do you have a favorite vegan cookbook and/or blog?

The first vegan blog that I started reading on the reg was Fat Free Vegan (here) . I also like Vegan Yum Yum (here). And, of course Sprout New Roots!

What is/was the biggest challenge for you in this lifestyle?

Not spending a fortune at Whole Foods.

What motivates you to continue to cook and eat plant-based foods?

My health, my love of quality food, and being true to myself. “I was born this way!” -Lady Gaga

What advice do you have for someone interested in trying veganism?

Vegan food just tastes better! Veg eating is a journey. Do what feels right for you. Take recipes you love and see how you can
use veg substitutions to eliminate animal products. Call ahead at a restaurant and ask questions about menu items. Cook from
scratch. Add veggies to everything! Make your own almond milk. Eat fruit. Small changes in your food choices can lead you in the
veg direction!

Thank you again, Bonnie!



Hot Cocoa Time!

Hey Guys and Gals!

I hope y’all are having a wonderful Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Winter Solstice/Holiday season! Did I cover them all? Nah? Oh well-I hope you guys are enjoying the chilly weather! I wanted to tell you guys about the hot cocoa that I’ve been making routinely for the past few weeks! I love hot cocoa. It reminds me of going to City Park to walk through “Christmas in the Oaks” with a hot cup in my hand! And listening to the different choirs and school groups perform in the background as I stroll through the trees decorated by local schools always made me so happy and cheerful! I haven’t been in a few years though and I’m thinking we won’t make again it there this year. The season just sweeps you up and time flies on by! Anywho, back to my hot chocolate!! I was craving it one night a few weeks ago and was determined to make it at home with whatever I had because I didn’t feel like going out in the cold. So I experimented! I put a small sauce pan on the stove, filled it with just the amount of almond/soy milk that I felt like drinking and started to heat it up! I grabbed some unsweetened powdered cocoa and put a teaspoon or 2 in there. I had to really stir this in because it stubbornly sat on top of the liquid until I used a little whipping action. Then I added a little sugar and cinnamon and stirred that in! And Viola! I have hot cocoa!! I’ve made it a few times over the last few weeks and each time I’ve winged/wung (?) it with those ingredients. Sometimes I felt like I wanted more cinnamon than other times, more cocoa/sugar at other times, etc. So you have to find your right mix with this. But every time it came out delicious and hit the spot! And a vegan marshmellow on top would make it complete! Let me know if any of you have good hot cocoa recipe ideas!

Y’all stay warm and cozy!


Kelli 🙂

Leave a comment

The Less You Own…

Hello all!

We thought we’d post this Sweet Leaf Tea “Grannyism” that one of us got a while back. The Christmas Season is here and everyone is shopping like mad and rushing around trying to find gifts-which is great! Giving is wonderful and receiving gifts is so fun! We, like most everyone, tend to get caught up in the rush.  So, sometimes it’s just nice to step back and ground yourself, reminding yourself that these are “things”, and the meaning of this season isn’t about things-it’s about the people in our lives that matter most. In fact, that’s what life seems to be about. So many people in this world have minimal belongings, yet are so rich. It’s just something to think about that could help you the next time you find yourself stressing about possessions and having the feeling that you “need to have” something. Most of us struggle with this-so thank you, Grannyism, for giving us a little perspective. 🙂

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

-Kelli & Jenn


Nothing Says “Christmas” Like Homemade Ginger Cookies!

Hello all!

I hope the Holiday season finds you all full of joy and happiness! This is my absolute favorite time of the year! Seriously, I wait all year long for this and it always seems to fly by. I happen to be one of those crazy girls who starts listening to Christmas music way too early…in case you were wondering. And no, I will not tell you when I start-it’s embarrassing! 😉 OO! Something fun I want to share with you is my new hair cut! Our mom, Tami, is an amazing hair stylist and she gets creative with Jenn and I whenever we’re in the mood for a fun change! Well, there I was-ready for a change! I’ve had long hair for the last 15 or so years of my life and this felt like the right time to chop it and get all funky for the Holiday season! So, here it is! Let me know what you think!

Anywho, on to the yummys! One of my favorite cookies in the world is ginger snaps! I recently bought a bag from the grocery and they didn’t last very long. I forgot the brand I bought but, for being a processed cookie item it didn’t contain too many ingredients and was surprisingly-vegan! After devouring the entire thing within a few days I thought that they must be fairly easy to make at home. So I went recipe hunting and I found one that sounded yummy! I follow Happy Healthy Life’s blog often and they have a great recipe! http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/2010/11/molasses-ginger-cookies-vegan-recipe.html

So here’s how we do it!

This makes approx 20 cookies. I doubled the recipe and it came out to around 35…but it all depends on the size of your cookies!

BTW I have copied their instructions as I did exactly what they told me to do! Well, pretty much 🙂

You will need:
2 cups flour (I used all-purpose whole wheat)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp ginger powder
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
1/4+ cup water (see notes)
1/4 – 1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup melted vegan buttery spread
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Soften the vegan butter spread in the microwave. Set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, ginger powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda/powder. Mix well.

4. In a separate bowl, combine the softened buttery spread, molasses, vanilla extract, grated ginger and water.

5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir by hand well until all the ingredients are blended into a moist ball of dough. The dough will seem dry at first, but keep stirring and folding and it will come together. If needed add in extra water one spoonful at a time until the dough consistency is reached.

6. If you want perfectly shaped ginger cookies, you can freeze the dough for 1/2 hour then roll out the dough to cookie cutter circle shapes for baking. Or you can simply roll the dough into moist balls, dip in a coating of sugar and bake. I tried both versions and was pleased with both. (If you want crunchier, thinner Gingersnaps – roll the dough out thin, cut into thin circle shapes and bake.)

7. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. Fluffy, but not hard. Cookies will firm up when they cool. Note: do not over-bake – or you will get gingerSNAPS instead of cookie chews.

8. Allow the cookies to cool at least 15 minutes before serving. They will harden as they cool as well as overnight.

*In step #6 they mention that you can freeze the dough-just letting everyone know that I didn’t do this in case any is wondering.

And TA-DA!

I hope you guys try these! They were deeelicious! The only complaint that I got was that you could taste the salt in them. This may be something you like or dislike. I personally enjoyed the little salty kick. I also used sea salt that was coarse so that could have a lot to do with it. And pair the cookies with some yummy soy nog! The kind pictured above is by Earth Balance. So good!

Happy Holidays, Everyone!