Wednesday, December 6, 2017


Best Blog Tips

I make alot of hummus for snacks, but one day I wanted a change of pace-- a spread that is easy and fast to make, with what I had in the house.  I came up with this cheese-y spread and my husband went nuts over it and some omnivore guests did, too.  It is very yummy!

Ordinarily, I would have made this with extra-firm silken tofu, but I didn't have any in the house, so I used medium-firm ordinary tofu, which I pressed in my tofu press.  When there was about 3/4-inch of liquid on top the the tofu, I weighed it and it weighed 12.3 ounces, exactly as much as a box of silken tofu.  It worked just fine in the recipe and costs quite a bit less than silken tofu.

There are a few tofu presses on the market-- I have a Tofu Xpress, which takes a 1 lb. block of tofu:

For pressing more tofu at once, I have a small (1.6 L) inexpensive Japanese pickle press, similar to this one, which can press 700g/1.5 lbs of tofu at a time.  

This is the model I have:

I know it looks flimsy, and, when I posted once about this on Facebook, people had a hard time believing that it could handle pressing tofu-- but it does just fine! I've seen a picture (which I cannot locate now) of a pile of tofu squares being pressed in a large round Japanese pickle press.

NOTE: If you don't have a tofu press, here's a link with three other methods to extract some of the liquid from tofu.  Oh, and don't pay attention to any advice that says you can only press firm tofu.  I press medium-firm tofu all the time.

This is what medium-firm tofu looks like:

"Medium-firm tofu has a rougher texture than soft—curds are visible—but will still crack with handling. It can have a droopy appearance due to its moderate moisture content, and it's a good choice for dishes that don't require much manipulation, like braising or boiling. Because there is more whey in medium-firm tofu, it may break up during vigorous stir-frying, and pan-frying can lead to sad, deflated tofu planks."  Photo and quote from

Printable Recipe

Servings: 6
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
 This is a rich tasting, nutritious and inexpensive spread, enjoyed by vegans and visiting omnivores alike. It's even better after refrigerating for a day or two, so you may want to double or triple the recipe. We love it with flat breads, celery sticks, rye crisp crackers, or pita crisps.

1 lb. of medium-firm tofu, pressed down to 12- 12.5 oz. and drained
OR 1 box (12.3 oz.)    extra-firm SILKEN tofu
1/2 cup raw shelled sunflower seeds, soaked in boiling water for 5 minutes and well-drained
2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds, soaked with the sunflower seeds (see line above)
OR 1 heaping tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon    light brown miso  (or a little more to your liking)
1 tablespoon    lemon juice  (or a little more to your liking)
1/2 tablespoon    nutritional yeast flakes  
1 large clove    garlic, crushed  
1/2- 3/4 teaspoon    salt  
 OPTIONALS (1 or both):
2-3 large sun-dried tomatoes in oil, rinsed, drained and chopped  
2 tablespoons    minced chives or green onions (just the green part)  

Place everything except the Optionals in a food processor and process for several minutes, or until the mixture is VERY smooth. You may have to stop the machine and loosen the mixture from the outside walls of the processor bowl towards the middle with a spatula once or twice. If using, pulse in the sun-dried tomatoes and chives briefly, just to distribute. Scrape into a covered container and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition (per 1/4 cup serving): 154 calories, 93 calories from fat, 11.3g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 305.3mg sodium, 214.7mg potassium, 6g carbohydrates, 2.2g fiber, less than 1g sugar, 10.2g protein, 4.6 points.


Monday, November 20, 2017


Best Blog Tips

My dinner tonight:
Steamed green beans, the sourdough bread I baked this morning (with a bit of my homemade vegan Butter-y Spread) and a vegan Italian omelette, or frittata, with mushrooms, red peppers and onions, made with Earth Island (or Follow Your Heart in the USA) "Vegan Egg" and their Vegan Parmesan Grated, plus a few of my own additions-- I'll recount what I did with my experiment after I brag about my crusty bread. DH Brian is visiting family in Montreal and Quebec City, so I'm on my own for a few days. Yesterday, I decided to refresh my two jars of yogurt-based vegan sourdough starter (my starter recipe and instructions here) languishing in my refrigerator. I discovered that one can ferment 2 one-quart jars of starter in the Instant Pot on the Yogurt function. It takes only 4-6 hours-- faster than my usual method of placing it in the oven with the oven light on. I ended up making four jars of fresh starter with some of the old starter fresh warm soymilk and flour (two jars went home with my friend Holly), and using the remaining old starter in a flatbread dough and dough for a crusty sourdough loaf. Somehow, I couldn't bring myself to throw any of it out.

                               Bubbly fresh sourdough starter.

The flatbread came out pretty well, but not very nice looking, so no photos. But I my crusty no-knead 1/2 whole wheat sourdough bread was a success!

I made a few changes--I used a whole cup of sourdough starter (I figured that it would be a bit weak, since it was old, so perhaps more would be better) and I added 1/4 tsp. instant yeast to the water, just in case. Otherwise I followed the recipe as given.

I baked it in a preheated stoneware "cloche" made from a Pampered Chef 11" deep dish pizza baker covered with an upside-down 12" Pampered Chef baking bowl (got the two of them for about $13 at a thrift store-- see picture of a similar set-up above). There are other ideas for pans in the blog sourdough bread blog post linked to above. The crust was really improved in this stoneware-- dark and crackly.


Okay, now about that omelette, or fritatta...

I and two of my vegan friends were excited to finally aquire some of those cute little egg boxes with the "Vegan Egg" powder in them (it took a while for this product to be available in Canada, under the brand Earth Island:

Our first impression of a "Vegan Egg" omelette, following the directions given by the company, was positive, though it seemed a bit too firm.  It set up so fast-- pretty amazing!  So, for a couple of weeks I have been meaning to play around with this to have a more tender and slightly more tasty version.

What I did, to make one large omelette for two (I'll have the leftovers for beakfast) and my plan was to blend the Vegan Egg with the ice-cold water called for, and some medium firm tofu to tenderize it.  I also added some egg-y smelling black salt (Kala namak-- it's actually pink, BTW) and a little nutritional yeast.

The results were very good-- tender, but easy to remove from the pan.  As you will see in the recipe below, I baked it as a frittata rather than cooking it on the stovetop, but I plan to try the stovetop method for a regular omelette next time.

Here's what I did:

Serves 2

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

While the oven heats up, place a  lightly oiled 10" cast iron skillet or pie pan in the oven.

Slice and saute the vegetables you want to use-- I used a small onion, a medium-sized red bell pepper, and 3 medium sized cremini mushrooms, all thinly-sliced and lightly salted. I actually cooked them on a cookie sheet under the broiler of my oven until they wilted and browned bit.

While they were cooking, I blended the omelette ingredients, using:
3/4 cup ice-cold water
1/2 cup medium-firm tofu, crumbled
2 level T. "Vegan Egg" powder
1 T. nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 T. dry sherry (optional)
1/4 tsp. black salt

I spread the broiled veggies in the hot skillet and quickly poured and spread the eggy mixture from the blender  over the vegetables and out to the edges of the pan. 

I topped the mixture with about 1/4 cup of vegan parmesan.

I baked the omelette for 20 minutes, removed it from the oven and cut it into four quarters, and sprinkled a bit of salt and freshly-ground black pepper on top.  

Delicious and tender!


Monday, October 30, 2017


Best Blog Tips

This creamer is suitable for those with nut allergies.
After almost 11 years of blogging, I found myself writing fewer and fewer blog posts every month, and then... nothing new, for about two months.
But, recently, my interest has been sparked again.  
My current interest is in cutting way down on the amount of oil and expensive (never mind potentially ethically and environmentally suspect) tree nuts that we  use in creamy vegan mixtures, such as sauces, cheeses, mayo, ice creams, spreads, etc.. My reason for this concern is only peripherally related to the fact that we are trying to lose some weight, as well as paring down the food budget.
I know that nuts are good for us and I will certainly use walnuts, pecans, etc., in baking for special occasions or for our weekly treat, but it has bothered me for some time now that so many cashews and coconuts are used in vegan cooking these days. (Oh, and don't forget about almonds!)

Do I have your attention??

I have been writing a new blog post with my explorations on the above subjects, so stay tuned in the next few days, if you are interested.

In the meantime, here is one of the successful recipes that has come out of my exploration of these concerns... a rich-tasting, creamy vegan coffee creamer.  I was very fond of So Delicious Coconut Original coffee creamer-- good mouthfeel, not too sweet-- but it is no longer available in Canada.  We drink Silk soy milk, but I didn't care for Silk creamer-- too sweet.  So, here is what I came up with for occasions when a creamer is needed-- not only in hot drinks, but to drizzle on fruit crumbles and crisps, or hot cereal.

This homemade creamer is so easy to make and very inexpensive because it utilizes cheap, nutritious, plentiful and surprisingly versatile raw shelled sunflower seeds instead of nuts. You can control the sweetness, it's smooth and creamy and doesn't separate. (And, according to , 85% of the North American sunflower seed is still produced in North and South Dakota and Minnesota.)

Printable Copy

Yield: 1 3/4 cups
Servings: 14
2 tablespoons per serving

VARIATION: For a"Cooking Cream", omit sugar and vanilla. 

1 1/2 cups "Original" soy milk, or other creamy plant-based milk (NOT canned coconut milk)
1/4 cup raw shelled sunflower seeds, soaked for 15 minutes in boiling hot water
3 to 4 tsp unbleached granulated sugar OR 2 to 3 tsp agave nectar or maple syrup (or to your taste)
1/4-1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
pinch salt

Drain soaked sunflower seeds well.  Add all the ingredients, including the soaked seeds, to a high-speed blender.  Cover and start on Low speed, gradually turning it up to the highest speed.  Blend for several minutes, or until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

NOTE: I recommend that you strain the creamer through a nut bag before going to the next step.

Pour into a 2-cup bottle or jar with a secure lid (best to scald with boiling water first).  Refrigerate. Shake well before use. The creamer should be used within about 5 days.

Nutrition Facts (calculated using 4 tsp. sugar)
Nutrition (per 2 T. serving): 33 calories, 15 calories from fat, 1.8g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 34.7mg sodium, 50.5mg potassium, 3g carbohydrates, less than 1g fiber, 1.4g sugar, 1.8g protein, 1 point.

Enjoy! (and stay tuned)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


Best Blog Tips

A good friend of ours was coming over for coffee this morning, so I wanted to bake something simple but yummy.  I've had a hankering for cornbread lately, but I haven't been baking at all lately, mostly because of the heat.  However,  it was a bit cooler this morning, so I thought I would make some muffins-- a-little-bit-sweet cornmeal muffins to go with the coffee and satisfy my craving at the same time. They turned out well-- just sweet enough, nice and moist, not high in fat, and with a bit of coconut crunch.

The whole wheat pastry flour, which is lower in gluten than regular whole wheat flour, and the wetter batter, results in a very tender and moist muffin, despite the smaller than usual amount of oil.

Printable Copy


18 large muffins
This is a variation on my favorite Yankee-style cornbread. It’s moist and corny, high-fiber and low in fat.


2 cup fine cornmeal
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 cup soy, chickpea or pea flour
1/2 cup granulated unbleached organic sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups + 6 tablespoons nondairy milk  
1/2 cup aquafaba (chickpea cooking broth) OR unsweetened smooth applesauce 
1/4 cup oil 
1/2-2/3 cup fine shredded coconut
1/2-2/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries, or other chopped dried fruit  
If you like, use 2/3-1 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans instead of coconut; and/or use 1-2 c. fresh cranberries or blueberries instead of the dried fruit.
Turn oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease 18 muffin cups (preferably) with my Homemade Cake Release or oil.

Whisk the Dry Mix ingredients together well in a large bowl. Whisk or blend the Wet Mix ingredients together and add to the Dry Mix, along with the coconut and raisins or dried cranberries, etc.. Mix briefly. The batter will be wetter than most muffin batters, but don't worry! 

Ladle the batter into the greased muffin cups. The batter will be right up to the tops of the muffin cups. Bake 20 minutes. Test for doneness with a clean toothpick.

Place the muffin pans on racks and let sit for about 5 minutes, then release the muffins and serve warm.

Nutrition Facts (Made with aquafaba and  1/2 cup each coconut and raisins.)
Nutrition (per serving): 183 calories, 49 calories from fat, 5.6g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 253.7mg sodium, 256.9mg potassium, 30.9g carbohydrates, 3.3g fiber, 9.9g sugar, 4.4g protein, 5.3 points.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Best Blog Tips

 Even though I am part Italian, I only discovered rapini a decade or so ago. Being partial to "bitter greens" (which include arugula, radicchio, mustard and turnip greens, sorrel, young dandelion greens and curly endive), I was attracted by this "new" vegetable when I first saw it in a grocery store. Rapini, which is also called 'broccoli raab" or simply "rabe”, only slightly resembles broccoli. It has tiny bunches of broccoli-like blossoms on long stems in the midst of large spiky leaves.

Unlike common broccoli, which is from the cabbage family, rapini is related to turnip, but it grows in the same way as broccoli, except that it's ready to harvest earlier and can be grown all year round in temperate climates. The flavor is pungent, with a slightly spicy bite, which makes it a great foil for bland ingredients, such as white kidney beans, pasta, rice, polenta (Italian cornmeal) and potatoes. It can take seasonings that have big flavors, such as garlic, spicy vegan sausages and hot peppers. Try using it in lasagne, stuffed savory crepes, ravioli filling, stuffed pasta shells, quiches and soups. I love it so much that I actually crave it sometimes!

Italian cookbooks as far back as the 14th century included rapini recipes. The classic Italian preparation is to braise it in olive oil and flavor it with garlic, anchovies (I use miso instead!) and bread crumbs; or simply sautéed in olive oil with garlic, salt and pepper. The blossoms, leaves and stalks are equally edible and flavorful. Rapini is one of the easiest vegetables to prepare. The stalks tend to grow to an equal thickness, making even cooking a snap.

In supermarkets, rapini comes in bunches of 1 to 1 1/4 pounds. Look for slender, crisp stalks, bright color, fresh-looking leaves and relatively few opened buds. Plan on 3 to 4 servings from each bunch or 2 servings per bunch if you plan to use it as part of a main dish-- with pasta, for example. Store it in zipper-lock bags in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for up to a week. Because it is usually eaten cooked, you can also blanch it for 2 minutes in boiling water, "shock" it in ice cold water, drain it and freeze it in this semi-cooked state for future use in recipes.

Before cooking, rinse the greens well in plenty of cold water. Trim only the end of the stems and discard them (there is very little waste with rapini!). Cut the rest of the stems, leaves and tops crosswise into 1 to 2-inch lengths. Some cooks like to blanch the rapini before cooking (see paragraph above), to reduce its bitterness, but I don't bother with that unless I want to use the plain, cooked rapini in a recipe. I like that slightly bitter edge!

Rapini is a also nutrition powerhouse, by the way. It is low in calories (only 25 in a cup!) and sodium and has no fat or cholesterol. What it does have is plenty of vitamin A (110% of the Recommended Daily Value), vitamin C (130% of the RDV) and vitamin K, as well as potassium and folic acid. Potassium, along with folic acid, fiber and the bioflavonoids found in the cruciferous vegetables may help prevent the risk of stroke. Rapini also provides iron and calcium and like other cruciferous vegetables, contains nutrients, compounds and antioxidants that appear to have cancer-fighting benefits.

Fortunately, there are many delicious ways to enjoy rapini, and there are several other recipes on this blog:

Mediterranean-Style Bean Stew with Rapini & 
Vegan Sausage

Italian-Style Cannellini (White Kidney Beans) with Rapini (Broccoli Rabe)

Farfalle (bowtie) Pasta & Rapini with Italian Walnut Sauce

Tagliatelle with Rapini, Onion, Chickpeas & Creamy White Bean Flour-Based Vegan Bechamel

Tortino di Patate (Layered Potato Casserole with rapini, onions, vegan Italian sausage,and vegan cheese.)

The following recipe (from my book "World Vegan Feast") is one of those simple Italian-style stick-to your-ribs stews-- delicious with a green salad and crusty bread to soak up the juices.  

Printable Recipe

(From my book “World Vegan Feast”, Vegan Heritage Press)

Serves 6

1/2 pound (1 cup + 2 tablespoons) dried brown lentils, picked over, rinsed and drained
2 cups canned tomatoes and juice, chopped
2 cups tasty vegan broth 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 spicy vegan sausages, such as Tofurkey Italian "Sausages" or Field Roast Chipotle "Sausages", sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 to 1 1/4 pounds (1 bunch) rapini (broccoli raab-- see above), tough stems removed, washed, trimmed and sliced into 1-inch lengths 
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or marjoram (or 1 1/2 teaspoons, dried) 
1/2 cup vegan parmesan substitute (such as Go Veggie! or Follow Your Heart [EarthIsland in Canada])

Mix the drained lentils, tomatoes (with juice) and broth in a medium pot. (If you are using dried herbs, add them now). Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes.

While the lentils are simmering, heat the olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté them until translucent but not browned. Add the garlic and onions to the lentils.

Brown the sliced sausage slices in the same skillet sprayed with oil from a pump sprayer. Add the sausage to the lentils. Add the sliced rapini and the fresh herbs (if you have not added the dried ones already) to the lentils and cook an additional 5to 7 minutes or until the rapini has wilted.

Serve the stew hot in shallow soup bowls, topped with the vegan parmesan. 

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition (per serving): 342 calories, 66 calories from fat, 7.5g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 568.6mg sodium, 748.1mg potassium, 40.3g carbohydrates, 17.8g fiber, 7.4g sugar, 26.9g protein, 9.3 points.


Sunday, July 9, 2017


Best Blog Tips

I promise you, this is the LAST and FINAL version!

First there was my "Buttah", back in 2012 (was it really that long ago?!), which was a solid product, spread well, but would stay in a block like dairy butter. Then, earlier this year, I developed two different versions for two different posts of an easier "Butter-y Spread", made with less cocoa butter (or coconut oil as a possible alternative) than what was used in "Buttah", a sort of "tub butter", if you will. I used the method for vegan soy mayonnaise (developed by Seventh Day Adventists many years ago)-- dripping liquid oil into soymilk, which contains lecithin, an emulsifier-- but the minus the vinegar. The last version that I blogged about-- an amalgamation of the two earlier posts (which I have since removed)-- was in May of this year. It was good, but I still wanted a slightly firmer version and an easier method. Back in June of this year, it occured to me that maybe the new "mayonnaise" method might work with my old Buttah recipe, and would definitely be an easier, less fuss method for a firmer product. I figured that it might also coagulate better so that there would be no danger of separating and having to stir it while it firms up in the freezer, which happened about half the time. I also checked the cocoa butter percentage of the three products (the original "Buttah", the "tub version'"of Buttah, and the new Butter-y Spread), in order to see which recipe contained the least amount of cocoa butter while still producing a fairly firm product. My reason for this concern is that cocoa butter is very expensive in Canada now, partially due to the low Canadian dollar, and partly higher postal fees to the USA. I prefer to use cocoa butter instead of the easier-to-obtain coconut oil because it is a great deal lower in saturated fat than coconut oil, and it produces a more solid product, being a very hard product. It turns out that the original firm version of Buttah contained 3.02g cocoa butter per tablespoon, the tub version of Buttah contained 2.3g per tablespoon., and, surprise, surprise, the new Butter-y Spread contained 3.6g per tablespoon! I realized that, since the new Butter-y spread contains less liquid oil, the cocoa butter content is actually higher per tablespoon. So, I tried using the ingredients for "tub version" of Buttah, rounding the weight of the cocoa butter in the recipe out from 81.6g to 82g, and using the new "mayonnaise" blender method from the new Butter-y spread recipe. (The amount of monunsaturated fat-- the most important kind-- in this recipe, made with cocoa butter, is more than twice the amount as the combined saturated and polyunsaturated fats.) I also further streamlined the Butter-y Spread by adding all of the ingredients except the oils into the blender with the soymilk right at the beginning, so that I didn't have to add them later-- it works just fine and saves a step! So, this worked beautifully and the result was actually more firm that the original "Tub Buttah". It also worked better in baking, since it has a higher overall fat content than the softer Butter-y Spread.
My friend Brenda Wiley again experimented with my new recipe and reported back. She gave me some good advice about describing the method, and the salt content. (She used Whole Foods brand Original Soy Milk.) Many thanks to Brenda!!
I hope you will give this new, easier method a try!

PS: WHY PALM OIL-FREE? It's important-- trust me! For information on the palm oil problem, ingredients and equipment, and about the different types of fats, see this page. And here's a recipe for palm oil-free and trans-fat-free shortening, as well.)

© Bryanna Clark Grogan 2017. All rights reserved. (Revised July 9, 2017)
Yield: 2 1/4 cups/36 tablespoons
This is an inexpensive, delicious and easy-to-make butter-y spread that is low in saturated fat.  It’s firm enough to use in place of butter or solid margarine in baking, though it may work best for some baking if it’s frozen first and used quickly. This spread has a consistency like a firm tub margarine.
NOTE: Silk and So Delicious brands use cruelty-free coconut products.
See WHY CRUELTY-FREE COCONUT OIL? At end of recipe document.

Ingredient List:
1/2 cup soy milk (I use Silk Organic Original) OR other plant based milk for drinking or coffee that is creamy and not thin (rice milk is too thin)
OR Silk or So Delicious brands of Coconut Creamer (Original)
2 tsp liquid soy or sunflower lecithin (Use 1 Tbs if you use a non-soy plant-based milk)
(See lecithin shopping notes below.)
1/2 tsp lemon juice (Unlike vinegar, lemon juice produces a lovely, mellow, delicate flavor.)
3/4 to 1 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp guar gum or xanthan gum (Use 3/4 tsp if you use a non-soy plant-based milk)
1 1/4 cup neutral tasting oil
2.9 oz.(82g) cocoa butter (preferably steam-deodorized), melted
        NOTE: Instead of cocoa butter, you can use 1/2 cup cruelty-free coconut oil, melted (see brands here).  But, remember, the result won’t be as firm as it is with cocoa butter and it will add saturated fat.
Only the weight of the cocoa butter is given in the ingredient list, for the simple reason that, after much  experimenting, it was discovered that it is the weight of the cocoa butter that is the essential measurement, so the best practice is to weigh it accurately before melting. Measuring the melted, liquid cocoa butter in cup measures does not ensure a predictable result in the final product.

PS: This scale has a function to erase the weight of the container, so that you get the weight of the product only.

NOTE: Try to use organic, fair trade cocoa butter, if you can.  If you live in the USA, this is a reliable vendor with decent prices--Chocolate Alchemy.
Affordable prices are harder to find in Canada, so you might want to try using an organic natural, UN-deodorized cocoa butter, which is cheaper, from a health food store [wafers or chunks].  It's such a small amount that the chocolate odor may not make a difference, depending on your sensitivities. Online, this one is a good price and this one, too, if the shipping is by Canada Post. Food grade cocoa butter, including organic and sometimes fair trade, is often available online from organic soap-making and cosmetic suppliers, so,when Canadian dollar is low, I purchase it from this Canadian company.


Important Note: After weighing, I melt the cocoa butter (or coconut oil) in a gravy pitcher (one that holds 2 cups) or something similar, with a spout or lip, in the microwave for a couple of minutes at medium heat. If you prefer, place the pitcher in a saucepan with hot water and heat over medium heat until it melts. Either way, remove carefully using a potholder. Add the neutral oil to this and use the pitcher to pour the mixed oils into the blended mixture slowly, but NOT drop-by-drop, as you would when making soy mayonnaise. A pitcher will give you more control for pouring, and less chance of spilling.  


Chop the cocoa butter into small bits. (Tip: If you slice down into very thin slices with a sharp knife, it will shred, which helps it to melt faster).
To melt the cocoa butter- #1, my preferred method: place it in your 1-quart Pyrex measuring cup and melt it in a microwave oven. I timed the melting of the cocoa butter and it took about 2-3 minutes at 50% power in a 1200 watt oven. (Don’t use 100% power-- it will get too hot.) If it isn't completely melted, stir it a bit until it melts, or give it a few seconds more. Add the liquid oil.

OR #2 method: place the cocoa butter in the top of a double boiler and melt it over simmering water until liquid. Pour into the 1-quart Pyrex measuring cup, along with the liquid oil.

Pour the milk (or creamer) into a high-speed blender container, add the lecithin lemon juice, salt and xanthan or guar gum, and place the cover on it, with the central cap off.  Mix the liquid oil with the melted cocoa butter OR coconut oil, if you must) together in a 2-cup pitcher-- see Important Note above. Turn the blender on to Low speed and pour in the mixture of the two oils slowly into the milk until all of it is used up. (When I say “slowly”, that’s what I mean-- a slow steady stream, but NOT drop by drop, and NOT in just a miniscule stream. If you do it too slowly, the mixture may thicken too soon, and then separate. If it “globs” up too soon, turn the speed of the blender up and quickly add the rest of the oil mixture. Now, increase the speed of the blender to a little bit. Blend for a short time, just until it thickens to the consistency of a very thick mayonnaise. (Blenders differ in power and speed, so you may have to experiment.) 

Use a slim silicone spatula to scoop the mixture into two shallow refrigerator containers with lids, or any kind of butter dish with a lid. Scrape as much of the blended mixture out of the blender container as you can.

If it separates around the edges in the blender and doesn't "glob up", don't panic! It can be whisked back to normal during the cooling step, if necessary, but this has only happened to me once or twice. Do as follows:

If your mixture is not as thick as pictured above and has separated a bit around the edges, scoop it into 2 shallow containers (each able to hold slightly more than 1 cup) and place in your freezer on a level surface. After 10 minutes, using a small wire whisk, stir the mixture around the walls of the container and then into the middle. This is to mix the colder portion of the mixture around the sides in with the warmer mixture in the middle. Freeze another 10 minutes and repeat the mixing. Check after another 10 minutes and repeat if necessary. You shouldn't have to do it again. Let it freeze solid and then you can place one container in your refrigerator if you wish, or keep both in the freezer.
(For advice about cleaning the greasy blender container, see the end of this page.)

Using the spatula, smooth the tops of the Butter-y Spread in the containers.  Cover and refrigerate for several hours before using. You can also freeze it (you can scrape the Butter-y Spread off the frozen mixture very easily), or freeze it until the mixture is firm and then refrigerate.

Makes 2 1/4 cups or 36 tablespoons

Nutrition Facts for spread made with cocoa butter (Serving size: 1/36 of a recipe/0.5 ounces/1 tablespoon)

Nutrition (per 1 tablespoon): 90 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10.1g total fat, 1.94g saturated fat, 5.21g monounsaturated fat, 2.44g polyunsaturated fat, 0g Trans Fatty Acids, 0mg cholesterol, 40.6mg sodium, 4.7mg potassium, less than 1g carbohydrates, less than 1g fiber, less than 1g sugar, less than 1g protein, 2.6 points.


For a Soy-Free Buttah-- Organic Sunflower Liquid Lecithin:  
Upaya Naturals (This is a Canadian site, but they sell to Americans, too.) (USA) (raw liquid lecithin)

Organic Liquid Soy Lecithin:
Mountain Rose Herbs (This is a US site, but they ship internationally.) (US site)

See this article for a list of cruelty-free brands of coconut products and other products that contain coconut oil.
See photographs at this article:
"Life in chains: Heartrending pictures of caged Indonesian monkeys being sold to coconut farmers"
Published earlier this year, the most comprehensive article I read, Pay Coconuts, Get Monkeys, gives us an idea  of what life is like for these monkeys, how valuable they are economically, and how legal loopholes enable trainers and “zoos” to essentially get away with animal abuse and neglect.
Early on in the piece a man called Noi Petchpradab, who has been training macaques to harvest coconuts for thirty years, was interviewed and discusses daily life for these working monkeys: "When they are not working, the animals are chained to tree stumps, which Mr. Noi said is due to their aggressiveness. They are given three daily meals, consisting of rice mixed with Lactasoy milk."

The article also goes on to say:
"Due to their ability to work for long hours, the macaques are capable of collecting 600-1,000 coconuts per day, compared to only 100-200 for humans. On a few occasions, he admitted, the monkeys are so tired they faint.
This practice will surely continue as long as there is both a market for coconut oil and consumers who are ignorant to the fact that this is even happening. Also, there will always be an economic incentive for people in these areas to use monkeys as performers as long as tourists are willing to spend money to visit them."

My friend Brenda Wiley said that she had a heck of a time cleaning the greasy blender container after making this.  She was using Dr. Bronner's Liquid Castile Soap, which I also use as an all-purpose cleaning product, but not for dishes.  She said she had to wash the container about 3 times. I have not had this problem, and, no, I do not use Dawn!  I use Nature Clean Dishwashing Liquid (I like the Lavender & Tea Tree Oil one  -- there's an ingredient list at the link) and very hot tap water and have never had a problem.  (Nature Clean is a sulphate-free Canadian product and you can buy it online or in most supermarkets and drug stores in Canada.) Before I add the soapy water to the greasy container, I rinse out as much of the greasy residue as possible with hot tap water, using a bottle brush in the corners.  I dump that out and add more hot water and a generous squirt of the dishwashing liquid.  I scrub the inside with the bottle brush and rinse with more hot tap water. I looked online for some US products that looked similar.  This looked like a good one, and the price seemed reasonable: Natural HomeLogic Eco Friendly Liquid Dish Soap, Powerful, Pure Non-Toxic Cleaning; Plant & Mineral Derived.  It's available on amazon and their website gives you other locations.  Brenda bought some and said it works like a charm! If you have any other ideas, please leave them in the comment section-- thanks!