Living Your Best Life North of Forty and Fifty Plus

As winter wanes, just one more comfort meal for the road

Daylight Savings Time is here once again. We have more daylight, although so far I’ve seen more clouds than sun. I’m sure that will change soon. As we begin to think about lighter meals, I decided to make a meatloaf for what’s likely the last time until we break the grill out.

Meatloaf is a favorite meal for many people, especially when the cook knows just how to bring the flavors together. I discovered a recipe for meatloaf on the Kitchn site and I like it a lot. I did adapt it with a few tweaks for vegans. I hope you’ll give this recipe a whirl.

Meatloaf recipe by The Kitchn and adapted by Chamein Canton


1 cup torn-up bread pieces, or 1/2 cup bread crumbs (gluten-free bread or breadcrumbs)

(¼ cup to ½ cup panko crumbs For Vegan meatloaf only)

1/2 cup whole or 2% milk (rice or soy milk)

1 small onion, diced small

1 small carrot, peeled and diced small

1 stalk celery, diced small

2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 pounds ground meat, such as beef, pork, veal, lamb, or a mix (1 ½ pounds ground turkey and ½ pound ground turkey breast mix) (2-packages vegan groundless beef, Impossible burger ground, Beyond beef ground, Gardein groundless beef)

2 large eggs, beaten ( ½ cup Aquafaba, ½ cup silken tofu pureed with ¼ teaspoon baking soda, 2 flaxseed or chia seed eggs, or egg replacer)

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (vegan Worcestershire sauce)

1 teaspoon salt

Pepper to taste

1/2 cup ketchup, BBQ sauce, or other sauce to coat (optional)


Heat the oven to 350°F. Arrange a rack in the bottom third of the oven, and heat to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet or other baking dish with aluminum foil.

Soak the bread pieces in the milk. Combine the bread pieces and the milk in a small bowl. Let stand until the bread has broken down into a thick porridge, occasionally stirring and mushing the bread against the sides of the bowl. You can leave the crusts on the bread or trim them off before soaking; if you leave them on, remove any large pieces that haven’t broken down after soaking.

Cook the veggies. Heat a few teaspoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the diced onions, carrots, and celery. Cook until the onions are translucent and the carrots have softened, 6 to 8 minutes. If the vegetables begin to brown, turn down the heat. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the thyme and tomato paste, and stir until coated. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Make the meatloaf mix. Place the ground meat, beaten eggs, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, soaked bread and milk, and cooked vegetables in a large bowl. Working quickly, use your hands to work the ingredients together until just combined.

Shape the loaf. Transfer the meatloaf mixture to the foil-lined baking sheet or baking dish. Shape it into a rough 9×5-inch loaf. (If using a loaf pan, just pat the meatloaf mixture into the pan.)

Coat the loaf with ketchup or bacon (optional). Spread 1/4 cup of the ketchup mixture over the meatloaf (reserve the other 1/4 cup for later). Alternatively, drape the loaf with bacon slices.

Bake for 45 minutes. Bake the meatloaf for 45 minutes.

Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes. Spread the remaining 1/4 cup ketchup over the loaf. Bake until the middle of the loaf registers at least 155°F on an instant-read thermometer, 10 to 15 minutes more (about 1 hour total).

Cool 15 minutes before serving. Let the loaf cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. If you baked the meatloaf in a loaf pan, carefully drain off the liquid fat before transferring the meatloaf to a clean cutting board. Cut into thick slices and serve.

Notes If using the groundless beef for a vegan loaf, watch if the mixture is too wet. You can adjust by adding more panko bread crumbs to give it more structure. Most vegan ground meat manages to keep it’s toothiness, but the mirepoix might add a little more moisture to the mix. The bread crumbs will help. You’ll be able to judge when it’s right to you.

Adaptable Recipes

Tuesday morning Bakery Style Blueberry Muffins

Once again tis the season. The holidays look different for all of us this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t begin the month on a sweet note, and set the tone to be merry.

This recipe is based on the Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe. I’ve adapted it for:

  • Vegans- including dairy allergies
  • Gluten sensitivities
  • Low-sugar and sugar free diets
  • Vegetarians

Bakery-Style blueberry muffins by the Brown Eyed Baker adapted by me


 2 cups all-purpose flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 to 1 gluten-free baking blend, sorghum, brown rice, almond, or sweet rice flour)

 1 tablespoon baking powder

 ½ Teaspoon salt

 1  egg (3 tablespoons Aquafaba, ¼ cup silken-tofu plus 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, 1 flaxseed or chia seed egg, or egg replacer)

 1 Cup granulated sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, coconut, raw cane, or turbinado sugar, pulsed)

 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (vegan butter, margarine)

 1¼ Cups sour cream (dairy: light sour cream, plain Greek yogurt) (non-dairy: almond, soy, rice, or light coconut milk)

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ teaspoon lemon or orange extract (optional)

 1½ Cups frozen or fresh blueberries


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin (or line with paper liners) and set aside.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl until combined.

Whisk the egg in a separate medium bowl until well-combined and light-colored, about 20 seconds. Add the sugar and whisk vigorously until thick, about 30 seconds. Add the melted butter in 2 additions, whisking gently to combine after each addition. Add the vanilla, then the sour cream in 2 additions, whisking just to combine.

Add the blueberries to the dry ingredients and gently toss just to combine. Add the sour cream mixture and fold with a rubber spatula until the batter comes together and the blueberries are evenly distributed, 25 to 30 seconds. Small spots of flour may remain and the batter will be very thick. Do not overmix.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups Bake until the muffins are light golden brown and a toothpick or thin knife inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Immediately remove muffins to a wire rack and cool for at least 5 minutes. Serve immediately or at room temperature. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


Sour cream: You can substitute buttermilk or plain yogurt for the sour cream.

Blueberries: Frozen blueberries can be used; no need to thaw them or alter the recipe.

Living Your Best Life North of Forty and Fifty Plus

Southern Bake Shop Muffins Recipe From Cooking With My Nanas, Discovering Family, Traditions, and Love In The Kitchen

My great-grandmother Nandy was an amazing baker. People from all around their small South Carolina town would come over for tea, and others would buy cakes from her. She made cakes with ingredients sourced from the farm and around the area. One of the ingredients she used was sorghum. The origins of sorghum can be traced to Africa. It grew wild and was also cultivated. It’s actually a part of the grass family, but it closer to corn than wheat. In Africa it is used for flour, beer, and a syrup. Sorghum syrup was once equated with molasses, however it’s closer to raw cane syrup.

When Nandy was born in 1889, both her mother and grandmother were former slaves. Access to the soft white flour and to sugar would have been harder for them to procure. At the time, sorghum was used as a part of animal feed. Therefore, it was easier to grow it themselves and they were able to procure it fairly easily through the back of the town store.  They made everything from pecan and black walnut pies, to a spice cookie. Their ingenuity was astonishing and beyond delicious. Moreover, it turns out to be a healthy choice. Sorghum has been shown to have a lower glycemic index, which is perfect for everyone, especially if you are watching your A1C levels. So, if you or someone you love has Celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, sorghum flour is a great choice, since it’s heavier, it also has more protein.

Another aspect of baking we take for granted is flavorings like vanilla. Today, vanilla and other extracts and flavorings can be found in supermarkets and grocery stores everywhere. It’s even easier to get vanilla beans. Pound cake is one of the oldest types of cakes, and in many of the old recipes, you won’t find any added flavorings we recognize as extracts. To me, the quality and taste of the butter must have been heavenly. There was no such thing as giving livestock antibiotics and steroids to increase production. The butter was rich and creamy in a way we can only imagine. That said, they did have access to liquor. You will find so many recipes that use rum, bourbon, rye whiskey and the like. Liquor imparted flavor to a cake while getting the baker a little sauced. Once again it’s old-fashioned ingenuity and genius at work. Now, for Nandy it’s more likely than not, that she used moonshine too, but for this bourbon or rye did the job with a citrus chaser, a pre-cursor of an Old-Fashioned. Whatever she did, cheers to a great woman and muffin recipe.

Nandy’s Blueberry Bake Shop Muffins

Makes 12 regular and 6 jumbo muffins

3 cups all-purpose flour (gluten-free all purpose flour, sorghum, oat”, or brown rice flour)

1 1/4 cups sugar (Swerve sweetener, Splenda granulated, coconut, turbinado, or raw cane sugar)

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup milk (dairy: whole, 2%, or fat-free) (non-dairy milks: almond, rice, soy. light coconut, and oat milk)

2/3 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs ( 1/4 cup Aquafaba, 1/2 cup silken tofu plus 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 2 flaxseed or chia seed eggs, or egg replacer)

2 cups fresh blueberries (frozen is fine)

4 teaspoons sugar (turbinado, raw cane, or coconut sugar)

2 teaspoons Bourbon or Rye whiskey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

2 teaspoons lemon or orange zest finely grated, divided


Step 1

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon or orange zest and salt in a bowl. Set aside. In another bowl stir the milk, eggs, oil, eggs, bourbon, balance of the zest, and vanilla (if using) together. Make a well in the center of the flour and add in the liquid ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, stir together gently, making sure not to get any flour pockets in the bottom without overworking the batter. Fold the blueberries in. It’s a thick batter but don’t be alarmed. Spoon batter into 12 greased or lined muffin cups. Sprinkle batter evenly with 4 teaspoons sugar.

Step 2

Bake at 400° for regular size muffins bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until tops are golden and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. For jumbo muffins bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Rotate the muffins at the halfway mark. When done, remove from pan immediately, and cool on a wire rack 5 to 10 minutes.

  • For gluten sensitivities, when looking for oat flour, make sure it is certified gluten-free. Some oat flours are processed in the same machines as wheat flours, and therefore may have hidden gluten.
  • You can make the batter ahead. Fill tins as directed in the recipe, cover lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Take the muffins out of the fridge and let it sit for at least thirty minutes before baking.