7 Spice Shiitake Mushroom Soup

With a new year that already doesn’t feel too celebratory (besides the incredible senate seat wins in Georgia!), I truly hope you are taking care of yourself, friends! My gift to you today is this spicy, warming soup–I hope it can help you find a moment of zen during this brutal, cold beginning of 2021.

I don’t know about you, but the beginning of 2021 has already been wearing heavy on me! The political climate (of oppression, double standards, and the normalization of fascism) in the United States continues to be infuriating and depressing, to say the very least. As I reflect on the state of the country, I am continuing to focus on what I can do from where I am–recipe testing for the next Bakers Against Racism event, and taking care of my mental and physical well-being, to make such efforts possible and sustainable. Prioritizing self care this year so far has included a renewal of a daily yoga practice, and lots of homemade food!

Veganuary Recipe Roundup

A few blogger friends and I have teamed up to share a roundup of fun recipes for #Veganuary! For those unfamiliar, it’s a month-long challenge where people try veganism at the beginning of the year. It is a great way to dip your feet into veganism, whether you are considering long term veganism or not! While I think positive lifestyle changes can (and should) be celebrated any time of the year, there is something invigorating about starting a challenge at the beginning of a new calendar year. Whether you are interested in veganism for the animals, your health, or the environment, I wholeheartedly support you and your journey! Remember that you can’t care for others if you aren’t also taking care of YOU. Check out the other recipes below.

Vegan BLT’s with Tempeh Bacon by The Baking Fairy

Breakfast Cookies by Cook with 5 Kids

Cranberry Coffee Cake by This Wife Cooks

Creamy Vegan Spiced Carrot Soup by Chickpea & Herb

Easy Vegan Mac & Cheese with Broccoli by Simple And Savory

Favorite Pumpkin Quinoa Waffles with Pecans by Melissa Traub

Hara Bara Kebab by FoodTrails25

Instant Pot Dal Soup by Palatable Pastime

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal Muffins by Return to the Kitchen

Roasted Banana Almond Butter Breakfast Cookies by Shockingly Delicious

Sweet Potato Patties by Flavours Treat

Tofu Benedict with Hemp Hollandaise by Upbeet Kitchen

Vegan Chickpea Shawarma in the Air Fryer by Kate’s Recipe Box

Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches by My Kitchen Stories

Vegan Cinnamon Rolls (Tangzhong Method) by The Urben Life

Vegan Lemon Poppyseed Muffins by Messy Vegan Baker

White Bean Dip with Homemade Pita Chips by Blogghetti

Seven Spice Shiitake Mushroom Soup
makes 4-5 servings

You can purchase Chinese five spice at any Asian supermarket, or you can DIY.
Active time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

  • 8 cups water
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium daikon, chopped
  • 1 inch knob of ginger, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small apple, sliced (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons mushroom powder (available at Asian markets)
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into ribbons (turns out to be 2.5 cups of carrot ribbons, loosely packed)
  • 3″ knob of ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks (about 1/4 cup of matchsticks)
  • 10-12 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 teaspoons Chinese 5 spice
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce (or liquid aminos)
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne powder (or to taste)
  • 10 Chinese dates (AKA jujube–also available at Asian markets. These are optional!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder (omit if not using the Chinese dates)
  • white pepper and sliced scallions, for serving


  1. In a medium to large soup pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Add the chopped carrots, diakon, 1″ ginger knob, celery, onion, and apple. Let the broth simmer for 45 minutes on medium low.
  2. Meanwhile, prep the other veggies–cut the 2 medium carrots into ribbons, peel and cut the 3″ knob of ginger into matchsticks, and slice the shiitake mushrooms.
  3. In a saucepan, heat up a couple teaspoons of neutral oil (I used grapeseed) on high heat. Add the ginger matchsticks and the shiitake mushrooms, along with 1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice and 2 teaspoons of soy sauce (or liquid aminos). Toss to incorporate and sauté until the mushrooms are lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes. Take them off the heat and set aside.
  4. After the broth has finished simmering for 45 minutes, strain it and put the liquid back into the pot. Add 5 cups of water and the 10 Chinese dates (if using).
  5. Bring the broth to a boil, and let boil for 5 minutes for the Chinese dates to soften. During the last couple minutes or so, add the carrot ribbons and seasonings (mushroom powder, Chinese 5 spice, cayenne powder, cocoa powder).
  6. Once the carrots are tender, turn off the heat, and add the sauteed shiitake mushrooms to the pot. Serve hot, with a generous dash of white pepper and some sliced scallions. Feel free to add noodles and protein for a full meal, or serve as is for an appetizer. I had this for breakfast recently with noodles, and it was divine, especially on a snowy Sunday morning!

In closing, I want to note that you will not see me taking a “neutral” stance on any of the events in the U.S. right now, or ever. To be neutral is to empower the oppressor.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

— Bishop Desmond Tutu

We must recognize and call out the recent events at the Capitol for what they are: white supremacy and fascism running unchecked. I want to make it very clear that there is no room for hate of any kind on this platform, or in the vegan movement.

Here are a few posts that I have learned from lately–I encourage you to check them out and take them to heart:

Spicy Chinese 5 Spice Gingerbread Stars

These cookies will punch you in the throat–in the best way. Think warm gingerbread spices, with an Asian twist–these cookies pack a fiery kick and will leave a zingy, lingering burn in your throat. These go well with a creamy glass of nondairy milk or a hot cup of peppermint tea!

Y’all know I have a well documented obsession with Chinese five spice, also known as ngũ vị hương in Vietnamese. I put it in everything, including banh mi bites, to bao, “beef” dishes, and even cookies! Today’s recipe is actually just a spicy remix of my Chinese 5 Spice Gingerbread Cookies.

I came up with this combination as I was finishing up my latest Bakers Against Racism sale–this time, it was a collaborative effort with Kowon Bakery and Mollycule428! We had such an amazing (and overwhelming) response from our ATX sale, and so much interest from DFW, that we extended the sale to DFW. This has been the most successful BAR event I’ve participated in this year, and I could not have done it without Angeline and Molly! Our group effort really made it all possible.

The support from both Austin and DFW has been incredible, and we are learning so much and getting energized for our next collaborative effort. We raised $1,400 to donate to efforts to flip the senate blue in Georgia! We decided the majority of our funds should go to grassroots efforts, so early last week, we sent $1,000 to Fair Fight, with the remaining $400 to be split between the two Democratic candidates. We are feeling so grateful and inspired by everyone’s energy–so if you supported or shared the sales, thank you so so much!!

Chinese Five Spice Gingerbread Cookies
makes 2 dozen, give or take, depending on cookie cutter size
I used small cookie cutters so this batch made about 40 little cookies

You can purchase Chinese five spice at any Asian supermarket, or you can DIY.
Active time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1.5 hours

  • 3 cups white flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese five spice
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon – 1 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil, softened (not totally melted)
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3/4 cups coconut sugar
  • 1 flax egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons almond milk


  1. Sift and whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In a large bowl (I used my stand mixer), beat together the coconut oil and coconut sugar until fluffy. Beat in the maple syrup, flax egg, molasses, spices, and vanilla extract.
  3. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, until smoothly incorporated. During this process, add 2-3 tablespoons of almond milk, as needed.
  4. Divide the dough in half.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, form each half of the dough into a disc, about 1 1/2 inches in height. Wrap the discs in plastic and refrigerate for an hour.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take one of the discs out of the fridge. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness, or 1/8 inch thick if you want a crunchier cookie. Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Place the cookies 1” apart on a baking tray (wiped with coconut oil).
  7. Place the baking tray into the fridge for 5-10 minutes, for the dough to firm up again (optional: this helps keep the cookie shapes intact).
  8. Repeat the process for the second disc of dough.
  9. Bake the cookies for 7-9 minutes. I baked mine for 7 because I like softer cookies, but 8-9 minutes will yield crunchy cookies! I’ve done it both ways with good results.
  10. Remove cookies from the oven and transfer to wire cooling racks.
  11. Enjoy as is, or decorate them with some vegan royal icing! I also topped each cookie with a sliver of candied ginger, but that’s optional!

I hope you all have a happy holiday and stay safe and warm!! Stay tuned for more recipes and an announcement about our upcoming Valentine’s themed bake sale! 😉

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte Rice Krispie Treats (+ Giveaway!)

Hi friends! I don’t know about y’all, but I am feeling BURNT OUT. Between work stress, Zoom fatigue, the pandemic, and this election cycle, I’ve been feeling so much pressure and anxiety from all angles. Naturally, I have turned to baking as an outlet, and have been occupied with various #BakersAgainstRacism efforts. Always, but especially in these isolating and uncertain times, I find it is so meaningful & important to put our energy towards causes bigger than ourselves (in whatever capacity we can).

Aren’t these gorgeous?! They are the latest treat I baked for my most recent #BakersAgainstRacism sale, along with my Butterbeer Macaroons! It was a smaller response this time, I’m guessing because everyone is super drained and stretched thin. We raised $225 for The Okra Project—a collective seeking to address the crisis of violence by providing meals + resources (including therapy) to Black Trans people worldwide. I talked a bit more about the meaning of this particular sale on my Instagram here.

I remember at the start of election week, I kept reminding myself regardless of the results, that I would continue to invest myself in creating a better world through efforts like this. So if you ordered or shared about the bake sale, thank you so much for being a part of this supportive and empowering community.


Speaking of community, this recipe is part of an Allergy Friendly Fall Treats Round Up, in collaboration with several other blogger friends. Most of the recipes are vegan, GF, and many are also nut free! Check out their creations below, and don’t forget to enter our fun giveaway on Instagram!

Apple Cider Donuts by The Urben Life

Vegan Pumpkin Coffee Cake by The Baking Fairy

Vegan Chocolate Ginger Cookies by The Zestfull

Top 8 Allergen Free Carrot Cake Loaf by The Frugalista Mom

Vegan Pecan Bars by Messy Vegan Baker

Flourless Chocolate Cookies by One Sweet Appetite

Vegan Pumpkin Granola by Jess Baumgardner

Vegan & Gluten Free Pumpkin Blondies by Spabettie

Paleo Almond Butter Cups by I Chews U

Vegan & Gluten Free Apple Pie Pancakes by Kvetching In The Kitch

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Waffles by Color Me Courtney

Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Cupcakes by Mrs Neil’s Vegan Meals


Vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte Rice Krispie Treats
makes 1 dozen (depends on pan size—I used a 11 x 16 pan)

Active prep time: 10 minutes
Wait time: 15 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes

For the treats:

  • 6 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 4 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 2 bags of 10 oz vegan marshmallows (I’ve had good results with Funky Mello and Dandie’s)
  • 3 teaspoons instant coffee
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice mix
  • 8 cups rice cereal (Rice Krispies or any off-brand! I used HEB’s brand)

For the coffee pumpkin glaze, whisk together the following (adjust liquid/sugar as needed for desired consistency):

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin puree

For the cinnamon glaze, whisk together the following:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon nondairy milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot water (slowly add more if needed)
  • 1/2 tablespoon melted coconut oil


  1. In a large non-stick pan, melt the vegan butter and pumpkin puree on high heat, whisking to incorporate.
  2. Add the marshmallows to the pan and lower the heat to high-medium. Stir until melted and fluffy (this takes about 5 minutes).
  3. Stir in the instant coffee and pumpkin spice and mix well.
  4. Take the mixture off the heat and add the rice cereal.
  5. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 11 x 16 inch pan (coated in vegan butter or coconut oil). You can make these as thick/thin as you want. My pan was 1/2″ deep, and I wanted the bars to be thick, so I ended up only covering 2/3 of my pan.
  6. The mixture will be very sticky, so it’s best to use a large sheet of parchment paper or foil to press it down in the pan (I also applied pressure to the exposed side of the mixture). Allow it to set for at least 10 minutes. I also like to place a book and some weights on top of mine to make sure there are no air bubbles. Letting it set in the fridge yields the best results–I’ve found the cold really helps solidify the treats!
  7. Carefully remove the mixture from the pan and cut into bars. Drizzle with coffee and cinnamon glazes (above) if desired. Enjoy!
  8. These can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days, or up to 5 days in the fridge (I found they will get a little stale if left too long). But they are so good you probably won’t have to think about storing any!

Thanks so much for checking out my recipe. Hopefully it brings you some comfort during these crazy times! I hope you are taking time to process your emotions lately. Feel them! Let them out. Wipe your tears of relief, of exhaustion (this has been me a lot lately). Remember it is okay to celebrate and find some peace while recognizing what is still at stake & knowing that there is still much progress to be made in this country.

As an empath, I have been all over the place as of late. Trump losing has been such a breath of relief for all marginalized communities. May we continue to listen and advocate for each other and hold those in power accountable. Thank you to the BIPOC who made these strides possible—especially Black women. And let’s recognize that their vote was not to save us, not just to defend democracy, but for their survival. I will continue listening to and supporting community leaders and organizations who have been doing the work, like the Austin Justice Coalition, and I urge you to do the same in your community.

I know the direction I am moving. Let’s keep moving and acting in the direction of love and compassion, to quote a dear friend of mine. I’m in the middle of organizing a collaborative #BakersAgainstRacism sale in Austin for the holidays to raise funds to help flip the senate in Georgia! LET’S GOOO! Keep your eyes on my Instagram for the announcement. And if you don’t live in ATX, check out a sale near you because this is a collective effort taking place in multiple cities around the world!

Five Spice Peanut Sauce


Guys, I’m participating in VeganMoFo again! VeganMoFo is a month-long challenge to post as much vegan food as possible, kind of like NaNoWriMo. It’s been a few years since I took part, but I decided (to be crazy) and challenge myself this month. It’s the most insane time for me to do this, because I’m in the middle of my design thesis for graduate school (more on that as the month progresses). However, I owe you guys so many blog posts and recipes that I’ve been testing over and over (I need to get over perfectionism)…and I guess I’m all about the crazy! Check out my IG post below to learn more about me and my focus. Continue reading

Vegan Bulgogi Fusion Tacos

Happy Taco Tuesday!

For my first post of 2018, what could be better than sharing a recipe for these gorgeous fusion tacos? As always, I must apologize for my absence–life’s kept me on my toes lately. For instance, I wrote this entire post at the print shop yesterday, while waiting for my portfolio to print! And I had to squeeze in the photo shoot a few weeks ago as the sun was setting! I can’t believe my to-do list sometimes. You ever feel like your week’s been crazy, and you look at the calendar to see that it’s only…Monday? Haha.

One of my intentions this year is to let go of my perfectionism and share as many recipes and inspiration as possible, even when I’m inclined not to share them because of my intermittent bouts of Imposter Syndrome (not to mention, my unpredictable grad school schedule). I’m making an effort to share more of my meals on Instagram. In grad school, you eat a lot of random meals, and they’re not always photogenic.

Speaking of photogenic…I’m so happy about how colorful these tacos are! For Christmas, my good friend Lesley got me a marble backdrop for food photos, and it’s pretty much the best thing ever. I am IN LOVE (thank you so much, Lesley). Lesley’s one of my favorite people ever from my hometown. I don’t get to see her often but I love that we always encourage each other’s creativity! One of these days we’re going to make some vegan Disney-themed food for her Youtube channel. 🙂

Vegan Bulgogi Fusion Tacos  | plantcrush.co

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Shredded Mushroom + Tofu Bánh Mì

I threw some things together to make bánh mì for my dad and myself last weekend, not thinking too much about it. The sandwiches turned out so beautifully that I had to photograph them and share a recipe with you!

Shredded Mushroom + Tofu Bánh Mì

When it comes to bánh mì, the fixings really make the sandwich, and silly things like measurements are not necessary. The quantity of fillings just depends on how hungry you are.

Fixings I used:

  • paprika mayo (I just whisked together some Just Mayo, smoked paprika & garlic powder)
  • cucumber sticks
  • fresh cilantro
  • fresh basil
  • jalapeño slices
  • Đồ chua (Vietnamese pickled carrots & daikon–available at Asian markets, or you can DIY!)
  • Sriracha

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Bite-Sized Coconut Macaroon Nests

Say hello to the cutest dessert I’ve ever made, inspired by spring and nature!
Mini Coconut Macaroon Nests | plantcrush.coCrunchy on the outside, tender and chewy on the inside, these little coconut macaroon bites are best enjoyed soon after they’re taken out of the oven. They are decadent and delicate at the same time. To compliment the macaroons’ rich coconut flavor, I topped them with fresh juicy blueberries for some tart sweetness.

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