Spring is finally here even though it still may not feel like it on the east coast! The flowers are beginning to bloom, including the cherry blossoms here in D.C.. I’m just hoping the wintery chill we’ve been experiencing doesn’t wreak havoc on them like last year.
Speaking of blossoms, while on my way home from Whole Foods the other day, I saw some pretty pink blossoms on the tree that looked similar to the famous Yoshino Cherry Blossoms, which should peak in a couple weeks. I thought they would look perfect on top of the spring-themed cupcakes I was planning to make, and they did! And yes, they are edible.
I included some tips below on how to recreate the same Easter/Spring vibe design I created here. It’s actually pretty simple, so read on!
This super moist, crumbly, flavorful vanilla cupcake recipe will not disappoint. It can be decorated to fit any occasion.
1/2 cup – vegan butter at room temp. (I recommend 1 stick of Earth Balance. Dot not use the buttery spread for this)
1 ¼ tsp – vanilla extract
1 tsp – apple cider vinegar
1 cup – vegan milk (I used coconut. Almond, soy, and cashew work as well or better due to their thicker consistency)
1 ¼ – cup all-purpose white flour
1 cup – granulated sugar
¼ tsp – salt
3 tsp – baking powder (or 2 tsp baking soda)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In your mixing bowl, combine apple cider vinegar and milk and whisk together while adding in the vanilla extract and salt. The mixture will chemically react and slightly froth, helping the batter to rise while baking.
Add the stick of butter into mixture and use use mixer to blend into a cream.
Add in sugar and flour and blend all ingredients on medium to high speed until all clumps are out.
Stir in vegan sprinkles
Pour into 14-15 cupcake holders, each approx. ¾ of the way full.
Place pans in the preheated oven and bake 25-30 minutes until the top begins to turn golden. Test cupcakes at 25 mins with a toothpick and remove the cupcakes from the oven if the toothpick is clean of batter.
Let them completely cool before frosting. At least 30 minutes for best frosting results.
**vegan food coloring and sprinkles also available at Whole Foods and other health food stores
If homemade, use mixer to thoroughly blend all ingredients together in bowl.
Divide frosting into 4 separate cereal-size bowls. Add the following drops of color for each color and use mixer to thoroughly blend. If using store-bought, this steps also help whip and fluff the frosting for piping.
Start icing the cupcake beginning and the very outer edge and slowly move toward the center un a swirl motion, covering entire cupcake. After each individual cupcake, immediately complete steps 5, 6 and 7.
Like scrambled eggs, tofu scramble is seriously like the easiest meal to whip up. Unlike eggs, however, tofu scramble is free from cholesterol and is cruelty-free! Add veggies in and you have a healthy, balanced meal. You can get really creative with it, adding in things like red/green peppers, diced onions, beans, kale, and the list goes on.
In honor of St. Patty’s Day, I chose do an Irish color theme by using loads of spinach, zima tomatoes and adding green food coloring to my tofu. Green “eggs” and “ham,” anyone? The tofu turned out to be a vibrant, neon green once I mixed in the Tumeric, which, I thought looked pretty cool. If you have kids, this is one way to make their veggie-packed breakfast fun!
For the “ham,” I used Tofutti tempeh bacon which is thick cut and has a very similar texture to ham, but with a smokey bacon flavor. Tofutti definitely has best tempeh on the market. Lightly grease a pan with oil, throw some slices in as you would any bacon, and voila. No piggies harmed here.
1 package extra firm tofu (I prefer Nasoya brand)
1 tsp. Tumeric
1 tsp. Cumin
3/4 tsp. onion powder
Half bag of fresh spinach (approx 2 ounces or two big handfuls)
3/4 cup baby tomatoes (whole or sliced in half)
salt & pepper to taste
sriracha or hot sauce
Drain all water from tofu
Heat frying pan on a medium heat
Add 2 tbsp olive oil to heated pan and add in tofu, using a spatula to break it up into pieces.
Optional Step: Add 4 drops of green food coloring and stir in until the tofu gets a green hue.
Add in tomatoes (I sliced mine into halves)
Stir in all spices
For approximately 8 minutes, continue breaking up and tossing the tofu mixture, letting some pieces turn a golden brown, but not letting it burn. Heat might need to be turned up a bit during this step.
Stir in spinach and cook for another 5 minutes, until the spinach wilts.
Add extra salt & pepper to taste; drizzle sriracha or hot sauce on top and serve hot.
So, I did a little Instagram survey yesterday and the results showed that most of you thought that mixing avocados with chocolate sounded a bit weird. I was a little shocked at these results, since I have heard a lot about avocado puddings, mousses, brownies, and ice creams over the last few years, even though I, myself, never tried it until this past weekend.
I had decided to make a decadent pudding because it just seemed like a cute recipe to make to V-Day, especially when garnished with a bit of red fruit, like raspberries. I actually intended on making a mousse, but by the time I kept adding in chocolate, it became denser like a pudding.
What I liked most about this recipe is that it’s so simple and quick to make. Most of the ingredients can be found in your pantry and if you have some avocados laying around that need to be eaten up, this is the perfect recipe for you. Just throw everything in, blend, and voila – you have a pudding.
Check the recipe out and if you have any feedback or suggestions, comment below! I’m curious as to what you all think after trying the avocado-chocolate combo!
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli, Trader Joes or Enjoy Life)
3 ripe avocados
1/2 heaping cup coconut sugar (or sweetener of choice with varied results)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 heaping teaspoon fine salt
Splash of coconut, soy or cashew milk
Fresh raspberries for garnish.
Peel and pit avocados.
Simmer chocolate chips on stove or in microwave (30 seconds increments) and stir.
Blend avocados, vanilla extract, sugar and salt into a processor or into a bowl if using a hand mixer.
Add in melted chocolate and continue to blend until all the avocado lumps smooth out.
Add the splash of milk as mixture thickens so it doesn’t turn into a thick frosting.
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner (giving me yet another excuse to indulge in sweet treats), I figured I would share my fave sugar cookie recipe with you all. The recipe uses pumpkin puree as an egg substitute and it surprisingly works great! The recipe states that you can use apple sauce instead with varied results, but from my past experiences, I would suggest sticking with the pumpkin in this case. Apple sauce works best for moist bakes goods, like muffins and cupcakes; whereas, pumpkin puree makes cookies tender and chewy. Just be sure not to over-bake them, which is I’ve noticed is easy to do for most people. My mom has always told me to slightly under-bake all cookies… pulling them out of the oven as soon as they begin to get a golden hue. Works every time!
If you have the time to spare, the recipe includes instructions for how to make homemade frosting. However; if you’re short on time like I tend to be, you can honestly just use most Pillsbury or Duncan Hines frostings (the vanilla flavors are usually vegan), but make sure to double check the ingredient lists. I prefer to use natural ingredients when it’s not too complicated, so I like the idea of making my own frostings and food colorings (beets for red color). If you’re the same way, the recipe link below contains a sub-link to homemade natural food-coloring. Sometimes I cheat and get my frosting from the local Whole Foods. The brands Wholesome, Simple Mills, and Miss Jones are all vegan organic and can be found at pretty much any natural foods market.
Below is the before and after of the heart-shaped sugars cookies I made last year. I free-handed these hearts with a knife, but feel free to shape them how you please, depending on the occasion. The recipe is linked below, so check it out!
I have returned from my little blogging hiatus. I ended up moving this month (I will save the details for another post), so life has been a little extra hectic lately. I did make the time to check out a couple new food places recently (posts to come soon) and came across a few cold weather must-haves, which I have been looking forward to sharing with you all.
The photos you see here were taken in Washington D.C.’s City Center on a VERY cold and windy Sunday. We’ve been starting to see some spring-like weather here, but looking at this week’s forecast, winter will be sticking around a while. Luckily, I’ve stocked up on enough cozy sweaters to last me for the season. Take a look at the cardigans I have posted below and make sure to check back later this week for a blog featuring a couple of my other favorite sweaters.
As some of you may know already, I am home in Michigan for the holidays. It appears that we’ll have a white Christmas this year which is great! Fortunately, I completed my gift purchasing and wrapping and I am snowing myself in for the rest of the night with another festive drink.
As many people don’t know yet, Bailey’s released a vegan almond-based liquor a couple years ago. I have been waiting patiently for it to hit local stores and I am finally giving it a try and posting a review! I mixed it withSo Delicious coconut milk eggless nogand topped it with coconut whipped cream and cinnamon. I also stirred cinnamon and nutmeg into the drink mixture itself to add flavor.
It has a pretty strong almond flavor, which some may like and some may not, but it meshes very well with the eggless nog, making it taste more like an Original Bailey’s and nog drink.
Unlike the Original Bailey’s, the almande liquor leaves a sweet aftertaste in your mouth, so again, I recommend adding extra spice to tame the sugary aftertaste.
Its consistency is on the thin side. It’s not as creamy as the Original Bailey’s, but again, if mixing it with eggless nog, that will help thicken it up.
Overall, I think it’s a great holiday drink mixer. I wish that Bailey’s would have instead used coconut milk as a base because it’s naturally creamier and has a lighter taste. Hopefully, this is only the first of many plant-based liquors to be released by Bailey’s.
Today is a pretty low-key day. While my brother and sister go and spend the day honoring Christmas with their other side of the family, my mom and I are catching up on last-minute gift wrapping and are beginning to prep food for our family gathering tomorrow. This morning, I figured I would kick off the day with a super festive peppermint mocha, which is one of my go-to latte flavors, regardless of whether or not it’s the season for it. This time, however, I topped it off with more peppermint – VEGAN PEPPERMINT MARSHMALLOWS!
Now some of you may be wondering why marshmallows aren’t normally plant-based. Well, typically marshmallows are manufactured to contain gelatin…eww. If you don’t know why gelatin is gross, I highly suggest you read up on it.
Thankfully, gelatin is easily substituted in any foods that usually contain it. Dandies, which is sold at all of the Whole Foods and many other natural food stores, will meet all of your marshmallowy needs without the gross animal bi-products.
I am going to get back to enjoying my peppermint mocha, so I hope you all have a lovely Christmas Eve. And if you are stopping by Whole Foods for last min holiday shopping, don’t forget your Dandies!
This past fall I visited Chicago, one of my favorite US cities, and my friend that lives there suggested we try out yoga at the zoo. I was like “what is that???” I really had no idea what to expect and I had only taken a few vinyasa flow classes in the past. What it turned out to be was vinyasa yoga outside of the Lincoln Park Zoo, under a somewhat enclosed beehive-looking art structure, called none other than “The Honeycomb.”
There were no captive zoo animals surrounding us as one might expect — they were housed in a separate area of the park. Other than a few spiders dangling above us from the wooden combs, it was a pretty cool and relaxing experience being outdoors surrounded by the Chicago River and natural flora and fauna. Not to mention, it has one of the most picturesque views of the Chicago Skyline. Whether or not you are a yogi (I am certainly not), it’s definitely worth checking out.
The Zoo/NatureWalk isn’t the only place to experience outdoor yoga in Chicago; check out the link below for a full list, including yoga on the lawn of Millennium Park.
I am late to post this one. I took these photos last month (end of fall) and the featured green jacket is now sold out! I’m am bummed because this faux leather jacket was so perfect for chilly weather and I would have loved to have it in every color, especially the cranberry which is also sold out. Here’s to hoping they get more in stock! In the meantime, there are similar jackets from BB Dakota linked below.