Asian, Bread, Recipes

Fluffy Strawberry Muffins

I would like to extend my utmost gratitude to the lovely Brandi from The Vegan 8 blog for nominating me to be part of the “My Writing Process Blog” tour. Thank you for your kindest words.

My Writing Process Blog Tour

I’m honored to be a part of the Writing Process Blog tour. Every once in a while it’s nice to skew away from writing recipes and travel posts and share a bit about what goes on behind the scenes at Vegan Miam. This type of tour is a way for bloggers to get to know one another and share some background on their writing process and motivations. After being nominated by a blogger that loves your blog, you’ll answer the four questions below. Then, in turn, nominate three bloggers – bloggers you’re curious to know more about, bloggers you already know and love and want to have their story shared with the rest of the blogosphere, or just anyone that’s piqued your interest lately – to answer the same four questions next week.

I have nothing but lovely things to say about the amazing woman that nominated me. Even just her blog name sends good vibes. In Chinese culture the number 8 is associated with prosperity and wealth. This wasn’t intentional on her part, but it’s just another good sign for the remarkably lovely and talented Brandi at The Vegan 8. Her decadent tofu-free Cinnamon Coconut New York Style ‘Cheesecake’ is still on my list of desserts to make, and boy does it look utterly mouthwatering! Her focus is on simple and wholesome vegan recipes using 8 ingredients or less, and her recipes are often gluten free and oil free. Brandi’s also a kind-hearted, genuine and down-to-earth spirit who comes across as someone who would be a pleasure to meet. As a side note, she is also currently working on her first E-Book, so keep an eye on her blog and be sure to follow her on Instagram & Facebook. Thank you dearest Brandi for including me in this blog tour!

What am I working on?

I work as a creative designer and developer by day and night. I work in different time zones depending on where we are. In my spare time, I devote my time to the kitchen where I create and photograph inspirational dishes inspired by our travels with my partner Doni.

I have loads of upcoming recipes and travel posts to share, specifically Buenos Aires, Paris, Hong Kong and Taiwan. I’m a little bit behind right now. Travel posts are pretty difficult to do because I have so much to cover. I have to look back through my notes for details on the food and addresses of the places we’ve been(usually in different languages), along with sharing an overall perspective and summary of the places we’ve been.

In addition to the backlog of travel posts, I also have a project of passion that I’m working on. I’m working on developing a vegan Asian cookbook with a focus on Taiwanese cuisine. This is an area of great personal interest to me and a project a lot of people have been pushing me to pursue. I’m taking my time with this project though because it is so dear to me and I feel a great responsibility to do it exceptionally well.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

While I enjoy writing a recipe and sharing a dish we’ve brought back from our travels, we also love to talk about our travels as vegans and that includes airlines, hotels, and everything in between our vegan meals while abroad. This aspect makes me feel like we can offer something a bit different for vegans, not just in the kitchen but also out there in the world as travelers.

I’ve been a vegan for almost eight years now, but I really got interested in cooking in the last two or so years. Prior to that, I never really liked cooking and I loathed baking. When Doni and I started living together, he did most of the cooking. But as time has passed our roles have shifted, and now I cook almost every day. In fact, it was the travel that propelled me to cook more. A few years ago I initially started a travel blog to share our experiences as vegan travelers, but quickly found that our experiences abroad motivated us to craft dishes inspired by our travels. That was when Vegan Miam is born, actually our 2nd blogiversary is coming up soon!

Why do I write what I do?

As stated in my other interview with VeggieFocus, there is nothing more rewarding than bringing food back, both figuratively and literally, from our travels. While traveling, Doni and I love to craft local dishes using locally sourced ingredients but we also enjoy bringing flavors, concepts and dishes back from our travels to recreate or veganize at home. I want my readers and everyone to get to know the variety of flavors that the world has to offer, along with how they can bring those flavors into their own kitchens.

How does your writing process work?

I like having order in my writing process. When it comes to a recipe post, I take and edit photographs of the dish while finalizing the details from my recipe journal. Once I have a recipe established, I’ll write an intro about the dish in Evernote (my go to note-taking application). Writing posts in WordPress can be distracting and risky since I’ve had issues with WP not always saving properly in the past, so I finalize my content on Evernote before constructing a post on WordPress. Recipes are pretty fun to write; From working in an organic chemistry lab, I have a huge obsession with descriptive lab reports.

But writing content isn’t always so easy, unless I’m writing about dishes that were inspired by my travels. Sometimes my writing process gets sidelined by photo processing, I can be a perfectionist when it comes to processing photos and the smallest detail in a picture can end up being the most time consuming.

When it comes to travel posts, I always carry a pocket reporter’s notebook with me and do my best to take pictures of menus and locations, even if it’s just on my phone for my own reference later. Afterwards I try and collate them on Evernote into different categories to make things easier to find later. Travel posts can take me hours to write and edit photographs for, longer than recipe posts. We take a lot of photos when we travel since we never know if we will get a chance to return. All the information, and the glut of photos, makes these travel posts a longer process that evokes memories of all the aromas, flavors and emotions of somewhere far away. Getting lost in these photos and sensory memories is just another reason why I have a bit of a backlog of travel posts.

Who’s up next on the June 30th’s Writing Process Blog Tour?

Angela | Canned Time

Angela from Canned Time is a sweet and kind-hearted lady. She is the VIP blogger and Pinterest ambassador behind the Virtual Vegan Potluck, a popular biannual event that brings together food bloggers to share a feast of vegan recipes. She discovered Vegan Miam by way of Kristy’s Keepin’ It Kind blog and proceeded to try my vegan dulce de leche sauce and we’ve been following one another ever since. Her warm and compassionate personality is evident in the enthusiasm she shows toward animals, food and her readers. Losing 75 pounds few years ago, she is now dedicated to educating others on animal suffering and how to eat satisfyingly well. Her blog serves as a motivational platform for those who want to learn about veganism or develop a delicious relationship with vegan food. Her recipe archive is loaded with tasty plant-based meals, canned jams & sauces, soups and even more.

Holly | Veganadian

Originally from Montreal, Holly is the Atlanta based vegan food, lifestyle and travel blogger behind Veganadian. Along with her passion for all things vegan she is also a Wookie loving Star Wars fanatic, Chinese food junkie and loves to speak French. When she’s not devoting her free time to animal sanctuaries, Holly is traveling and taking mouthwatering (iPhone) photos of the food she loves to eat (oh yes, fries, pizza, burgers, apple pies and smoothies, to name a few). Holly is also the founder of #PlantBasedATL, a monthly meet-up for vegans in Atlanta to get together and share their vegan eats. So if you are on your way to Atlanta or based in Atlanta, give her a holler.

Katrin | Land of Candy Canes

An ethical German vegan and passionate traveler, Katrin’s blog is different than other blogs I have found. Her engaging and inspiring posts touch upon a variety of topics including novels, animal rights, fashion, travel and food. Her beloved family includes a pair of cats and a pair of bunnies, and they all mean the world to her. She and I have loads in common – Including our love of Scandinavian crime novels, salt & vinegar chips, anything Stella McCartney and shoes shoes and more shoes, what more can I say? She’s undeniably genuine and a sweetheart who has a total respect for animals.

Strawberry Muffins

Along with taking a moment to share a bit about myself, I am also revealing a summery muffin recipe with local strawberries from our Farmers’ Market. When it comes to muffins, I don’t want something dense and heavy and I also don’t want anything glazed or overly sweet. My muffins are light, airy, mildly-sweet and a perfect dessert/breakfast/snack to go! I recently featured my vegan Fluffy Strawberry Muffins on my Instagram and received recipe requests…so here it is!

Fluffy Strawberry Muffins

Yield: 12 medium-size muffins


2 cups all-purpose flour (250g)
1 tablespoon + ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 large over-ripe banana, mashed
¾ cup dairy-free milk, at room temperature (175mL)
⅔ cup virgin coconut oil, melted (160mL)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped (150g)


Line muffin cups with paper muffin cases. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda and whisk to combine together. Add ½ cup and 2 tablespoons sugar. Reserve remaining coconut sugar for topping. Working quickly, add mashed banana, milk, coconut oil, and vanilla extract, and then fold in the strawberries. Using a big spoon, gently stir well for about few seconds, but be careful not to mix the batter too much. Make sure there isn’t any flour left in the bottom of the bowl.

Using a spoon, fill each muffin cup about &frac;34 full since they will expand. Sprinkle the tops with remaining sugar. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from oven and allow muffins to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving, or for at least 20 minutes before storing in an air-tight container.


For sugar, you can use coconut sugar instead of organic turbinado raw cane sugar. However, the muffins will look darker and browner due to the coconut sugar. You might have to add a little bit more since the sweetness level is slightly different.

These keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for about 2-3 days or for an additional week in the refrigerator. Make sure you line the bottom of the container with paper towel , line your muffins and then top with another layer of paper towel before sealing the lid.

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  • Reply Vicky Rockcliffe 2014-06-23 at 1:54 pm

    Lovely to read a little more about your life Rika and it’s always nice to discover new blogs to visit, thank you for the recommendations!..I will have to try your recipe with gluten free flour and see if it works, I’m sure it will!

    • Reply vegan miam 2014-06-23 at 2:08 pm

      Which gluten-free flour did you recommend? I would love to try it out, or do you have a recipe for gluten-free flour mix (the ‘cake’ batter version)?

      • Reply Vicky Rockcliffe 2014-06-23 at 2:18 pm

        I currently rely on a UK blend by Doves Farm but I think this would work nicely with an oat floor, rice flour and arrowroot blend

        • Reply vegan miam 2014-06-26 at 5:33 pm

          I’m curious… for 1 cup all-purpose, how much do you use oat flour, rice flour, arrowroot? I would love to jot that down! Thanks Vicky x

      • Reply The vegan 8 2014-06-23 at 9:50 pm

        Hey Rika, I’m going to try it out with my blend of almond flour, oat flour and tapioca. That is basically the standard blend I use for almost all of my baking and what I use for my blueberry muffins and they have been very popular, even with non-vegans haha, so the blend works wonderfully. I will try it and let you know how they turn out. I don’t really use oil either (hubby can’t have it), but when using almond flour, it gives TONS of moisture, so oil isn’t even needed. I will try it and then add some applesauce for part of the liquid and part coconut milk for extra fat, as well. :)

        • Reply vegan miam 2014-06-26 at 5:33 pm

          Sorry for the delay, Brandi! I’m going away for a little awhile this week somewhere in the wilderness.

          I’m curious about your gluten-free flour mix, how much almond flour, oat flour and tapioca flour did you use for 1 cup all-purpose?

          Thanks for the awesome tips! I used to hate oil when I was young (my mom won’t cook anything with oil, crazy right?) but I love olive and coconut oil, both are so good!

          • The vegan 8 2014-06-28 at 9:40 am

            Hi Rika! I just made them! They turned out delicious. I made both your version and a gluten-free, oil-free version. I made some strawberry and some chocolate chip, BC I’m obsessed with chocolate chips, haha! They were all fabulous. I will come back and note my subs and differences. Thanks so much Rika! I shared my photo on instagram and twitter and facebook :)

          • The vegan 8 2014-06-28 at 9:32 pm

            Ok! Here is what I did for the gluten-free and oil-free version. I basically used equal parts blanched almond flour and oat flour, then I added 1/2 cup tapioca starch, because almond flour gives tons of moisture, so it can’t just be an even swap out of the all purpose flour. Because almond flour gives so much moisture and natural oil/fat, it also eliminated the need for oil completely. It absorbs everything, so too much liquid will make the batter too wet. I also used 2 cups canned lowfat coconut milk for the liquid (to make up for no oil), since it has some good fat in it and helps with richness since there was no oil. Here is basically the recipe I did. I will say this, I baked a chocolate chip version and a strawberry version using the gluten-free blend and the chocolate chips were amazing, but the strawberry ones took longer to bake and were more wet inside. The strawberries made them so wet, maybe I added too many and chopped them too small and there was too many throughout the batter?? Because the batter itself worked perfectly with the chocolate chips. I would use less strawberries next time, because them combined with the almond flour was a “wet combo”, lol. They were still gobbled up, but were not as fluffy or cooked through. I bake my blueberry muffins with my gluten free flours and they turn out perfect and every person has loved them, so the mix works great! Ok, enough rambling, just wanted to explain what I did, haha.
            This is what I used:
            *2 1/4 cups blanched almond flour (I use b/c it gives the lightest results)
            * 2 1/4 cups oat flour
            * 1/2 cup tapioca starch
            *1 teaspoon salt
            *1 teaspoon baking soda
            * 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons baking powder
            * 1 1/2 cups coconut sugar
            * 1 banana
            * 2 cups canned lowfat coconut milk (shaken first)
            *no oil
            *2 teaspoons vanilla
            *I used too many strawberries I think, or chopped them too fine, lol!
            I also blended the coconut milk with the banana in a blender to get it really smooth first since my banana was a bunch of pieces. The chocolate chip ones took exactly 30 minutes and the strawberry ones should probably be closer to 35 minutes so the insides were more cooked, or just less strawberries.
            So, with all that said, they were still delicious! I just would change the strawberry amount on my end next time. If you try my blend, try some with the chocolate chips OR make my blueberry muffins! They have been hugely popular, even with non-vegans. Sorry to leave such a long note, I just like to explain everything and hope to help! :)

          • vegan miam 2014-06-29 at 10:32 am

            Thank you Brandi for the GF version! I’m away for awhile (in Sun River) and will return on Wed and get back to you on all your messages/comments! So sorry I’m not at my comp or phone all the time to answer them :( Hope you’re having a lovely Sunday! :)

  • Reply The vegan 8 2014-06-23 at 2:16 pm

    Oh Rika, you are just the sweetest!! Thank you so much for your lovely writeup about me and my blog. I was so touched by it. I also truly loved reading about how and why you write what you do. I’m a bit fascinated with it, because it’s so different from me and I feel like I can learn from you, which is why I love your blog. I love how you are a perfectionist with your photos, that we have in common, as it takes me foreverrrrrr to edit in most cases, haha!
    Thank you for introducing me to these other blogs too, I love discovering new blogs. I definitely already follow and LOVE Angela, so I agree with you there, she is amazing lady with a beautiful heart.
    Ok, these muffins look fabulous and so light and beautiful with the pops of red (my favorite color :). I definitely need to add these to make. I typically only do gluten-free, but on occasion will make an exception. Well, here’s an exception haha! I’d rather do that then change it all up with my gluten-free flours. We shall see! Thanks again Rika, you are the best!

    • Reply vegan miam 2014-06-26 at 5:35 pm

      No, thank you, Brandi for thinking of me. You’re the best and I’m so happy we have lots in common! <3 Angela, too! xx

  • Reply Justin and Lauren 2014-06-23 at 10:10 pm

    Loved reading more about you and your story, inspirations… and those strawberry muffins look delish! I also use Evernote – though I use it mostly for saving travel blog posts for future travels there, and I save recipes to it as well from around the web. I’m actually hoping to eventually catalog all of my recipe books on there so I can have everything digitally in one place…that’s gonna take a looonnnng time though!

    • Reply vegan miam 2014-06-26 at 5:36 pm

      Thank you Justin & Lauren, you both are the sweetest! Isn’t Evernote handy?! I wish there is more than one shared notebook for a free account. Me too, I collect recipes on Evernote, it’s such a fun hobby! x

      • Reply Lauren | Justin Plus Lauren 2014-06-29 at 2:21 pm

        I have a free premium account for a year from when I got my smartphone (Samsung Note 3). It expires in October! I’m not sure how much it will cost to renew….I really like using Evernote though so maybe I’ll bite the bullet and pay for it!

  • Reply Millie l Add A Little 2014-06-23 at 11:27 pm

    These look so tasty! Love the coconut oil in it! :)

    • Reply vegan miam 2014-06-26 at 5:36 pm

      Why thank you, Millie! I started to fall in love with coconut oil and use it for anything. It’s great for dry hands, too! x

  • Reply Johanna @ Green Gourmet Giraff 2014-06-24 at 2:43 am

    great write up about your blogging – not surprising to hear how particular you about photos – they always are so stunning. And those muffins sound lovely
    Johanna @

    • Reply vegan miam 2014-06-26 at 5:37 pm

      Thank you, lovely Johanna! I’m heading to Melbourne this year 😉 Would you kindly recommend some vegan eats? x

  • Reply Angela @ 2014-06-24 at 3:46 am

    Rika, Rika, Rika. You are the sweet one. I’ve never grown so attached, so quickly to a blogger before than I did you after seeing those glorious purple cookies on Kristy’s blog last year. You are genuinly kind and concerned you are for others but your feelings for animal welfare is what has really drawn me to grow closer and closer to you this year. Well, your awesome recipes and travel logs don’t hurt either 😉
    Thanks again for including me in the tour. We’re all looking forward to traveling with you, where ever it is you may go next ♥x♥

    • Reply vegan miam 2014-06-26 at 5:38 pm

      Thank you sweetie! I’m so happy that we found each other! I look forward to your upcoming post! Hugs xx

  • Reply Katrin 2014-06-24 at 6:52 am

    Aww, Rika, you are the sweetest.Your words really touched my heart! Thank you sooo soo much! Again for nominating me and also for your wonderful words! :) It means a lot! And now I need to make some strawberry muffins. :)

  • Reply Dixya Bhattarai RD 2014-06-25 at 10:31 am

    even though im not vegan, i enjoy reading your posts esp travel stories and you are a great reference to my vegan clients :)

  • Reply Hannah B. 2014-06-25 at 11:52 am

    Aw I loved this behind the scenes look into your process! Thank you so much for sharing. Your blog is an inspiration and knowing more about your background makes it even more impressive :)

    • Reply vegan miam 2014-06-26 at 5:37 pm

      Thank you sweet Hannah! You’re the best xx

  • Reply Andrea@WellnessNotes 2014-06-25 at 8:18 pm

    I enjoyed learning a bit more about you! The muffins sound great!

  • Reply Sharon 2014-06-27 at 8:16 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post about your life ‘behind the scenes’. It’s so fascinating to hear how different bloggers approach their writing and recipe creation. And thank you for the intro to The Vegan 8 and some of your other favourite blogs. They sound fantastic! Really looking forward to checking them out :o) xx

  • Reply Daniela @ FoodRecipesHQ 2014-06-27 at 9:23 am

    Thanks for introducing us to Brandy, I like her blog and the culinary philosophy behind it. I also like the way you shared with us the “behind the scenes” of your blog. It is impressive how far you guys went in just two years of blogging!

  • Reply Fennel Frond Gluten Free Breadsticks and “A Writing Process Blog Tour” | Canned Time 2014-06-29 at 2:01 am

    […] asked me to join the bandwagon and write-up a post for the ‘A Writing Process Blog Tour’ that’s going around these days.  Thank you Rika.  You’re a very special lady […]

  • Reply Koko ( 2014-06-30 at 12:21 am

    I loved hearing about your writing process- your posts are always so beautifully, and carefully composed, along with the most stunning pictures. It’s no wonder they can take so long– it’s a ton of work!! I haven’t heard of Evernote before, but I don’t like creating my posts in WordPress, either. I’ll have to look into it.

    And Rika! I am SO excited to hear that you are making a cookbook….it’s going to be amazing! I will be first in line to buy!

  • Reply Kelly @ Life made Sweeter 2014-07-06 at 11:21 pm

    Loved reading about your writing process, I always love reading your posts and seeing your stunning pictures. Love seeing your behind the scenes and would love to see your asian vegan cookbook :) Love these strawberry muffins, they look delicious!

  • Reply Mini Mocha Black Forest Cheesecakes | Vegan Miam 2014-08-10 at 8:00 pm

    […] might remember Brandi from The Vegan 8 because earlier this year she nominated me for The Writing Process Blog Tour where we got the opportunity to share a few tidbits about our blog writing process. Brandi is a […]

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