Feb 28

stylish bloggers + is it nap time yet?

Do you ever have those days when you’re just SO tired? You got enough sleep and you’ve had your coffee and still your eyelids feel heavy, your thoughts are all jumbled and just moving your fingers to type a few sentences is exhausting?

Today is one of those days for me. Come to think of it, yesterday was like that too but it wasn’t as bad because I didn’t have to go to work and I just sat around all day.

I’m not sure what is going on, but I’m hoping that dinner tonight with one of my favorite ladies will put the skip back in my step (or that I’ll at least find the strength to not fall asleep at the table).

You know what else is keeping me awake today? The excitement of receiving another Stylish Blogger award!

Mateja over at Indulging Life gave me this nifty award and I’m so very grateful!

To recap the rules, I must:
Share 7 things about myself
Award other fellow bloggers.
Contact these bloggers and tell them they’ve won.

7 Things…

1. I’m scared of the ocean and the creatures living in it.

2. However, I love to SUP on lakes

3. My husband and I canceled our vacation last year to instead follow the Flyers on their quest to win the Cup (and the Flyers aren’t even my team, although I have a soft spot in my heart for them now)

4. My feet are super screwed up from dancing and I now wear lovely orthotics
5. Before I became vegan, I used to eat half of a penne vodka pizza at least one time a week

6. I don’t enjoy weddings
7. I never cared about football until my husband took me to a game at his alma mater, Penn State. Now I consider it third on my list of favorites, after hockey and college basketball, respectively.

And now time for the awards! The Stylish Blogger Awards go to…

Ashley at Live and Let Craft

Hester at The Chef Doc

Eftychia at Dream of Cakes

Liz at Blog is the New Black

Congratulations, ladies!

Feb 25

thanks for putting me in the top 9!

Well kids, guess what. Those sweet little cupcakes made the Foodbuzz Top 9 today and I am so excited!

Thanks so much to all of you for “buzzing” my little creation. It means a lot to me.

If you’re not already a part of the Foodbuzz community, I highly recommend that you head on over there. You’ll find new friends, new recipes and tons of inspiration.

I hope you all have a very happy Friday! I’ll see you again soon for some more fun with cake!

Feb 22

hazelnut chocolate cupcakes

I made these cupcakes over a week ago for some special people in my life, but every time I tried to write about them something got in the way.

Those things, in chronological order, were:

1. Sick husband – Meds? Check. Pedialyte? Check. Snuggles? Um, no. I’d rather not get sick myself. But have some more Imodium, please. And stay over there.

2. My bed – Please stop calling my name, bed. We’ve talked about this. I can only see you for 8 hours each night. Maybe 10 if it’s the weekend. Sometimes 12. Why do I always want to curl up in you lately?

3. A fever – What is up with you, fever? Why you gotta come around here when you know I don’t want to see you? Is this why I’ve been craving my bed so strongly? It’s over between us, fever. Go find someone new. But NOT my husband. I can’t deal with that again.

4. Kitty tooth extraction – Poor, poor kitty. I know it hurts. I know those stitches are annoying. But please stop scratching your face. And please come out from behind the bed and swallow this pretty little pain pill. Please. I love you.

If Court Kitty were allowed to have cupcakes, I’d give him a dozen right now just to make him happy.

Poor thing. At least that bad tooth is gone now and in a week he will have forgotten all about his nemesis, Mr. Cat Carrier, who swallowed him up and transported him to the vet.

Perhaps I should make some more of these cupcakes for myself to help me get over this past week.

They taste like hazelnuts and chocolate, aka Nutella. But they don’t have Nutella in them. That wouldn’t be very vegan-friendly.

What they do have inside and mixed in the frosting on top is a heap of this vegan hazelnut spread that I found at Whole Foods.

You don’t have to go on a search for vegan faux Nutella, though. You can make your own using this recipe.

Then you can take some of that hazelnut/chocolate goodness and make cupcakes.

These are my new favorite cupcakes. Hands down. Or hands up, as in “put your hands up and raise the roof cause these cupcakes are the bomb!” I’m sorry. I never say things like that. I’m just tired. Let’s pretend that never happened.

Hazelnut Chocolate Cupcakes
Printable Recipe

Makes 12 cupcakes

I took Smitten Kitchen’s yellow cake recipe, turned it vegan and threw some hazelnut spread into the mix. For the frosting, I took my chocolate frosting recipe and substituted hazelnut spread for the cocoa.

Cake adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 oz Earth Balance, room temperature
  • 1 cup vegan refined sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (I used vanilla soy milk)
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup hazelnut/chocolate spread

Frosting adapted from my Chocolate Frosting recipe

  • 1/2 cup earth balance, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup hazelnut spread
  • 3 cups vegan powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup vanilla soymilk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

These ingredients make a lot of frosting because I like a good amount on my cupcakes. Make less if you want to use less frosting, or just eat any remaining frosting with a spoon. There’s nothing wrong with that.

To make the cupcakes, preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and grease or line a 12 cup cupcake tin.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the sugar and Earth Balance on low-medium speed until fluffy.

Fluffy fluff fluff

Beat in the vanilla, soy milk and vinegar. Slowly pour in the dry ingredients and beat on low-medium until combined.

Spoon the batter into the cupcake tin, filling each cup about 2/3 of the way full.

Spoon two teaspoons of your hazelnut/chocolate spread into a batter-filled cupcake liner and swirl. Repeat with every cupcake.

The spread that I bought was a little thick, so I microwaved it for 30 seconds before spooning into the batter.


Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick can be inserted and removed cleanly.

Once your cupcakes cool, whip up the frosting by combining all ingredients into a large bowl and mixing on low-medium speed for 1 minute.

Frost and eat.

Feb 15

blueberry muffins

I made these muffins late one Friday night, just for fun.

And I was all like, “Oh no, of course I won’t be tempted to eat all of these muffins in one night! I’ll just take photos of them and then save them for breakfasts, snacks and my coworkers on Monday.”

Sure, Nikki. Sure.

I ate two whole, ate the tops off of five more, gave my husband four and then threw the rest in the trash.

Desperate times call for trashed muffins, people. And no, I did not dive into the trash at 2 am to pull out and eat the bits that hadn’t touched other trash. Not this time, anyway.

But I know that you won’t throw any of these muffins in the trash. You’ll probably bake a couple dozen of them and then let them sit around the kitchen for a few days, nibbling here and there, like a normal person with self control. I envy you, I do. You’re so cool.

Blueberry Muffins
Recipe adapted from Paula Deen
Printable recipe

Makes 12 muffins

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegan refined sugar
  • 4 ounces Earth Balance, melted
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk (I used hemp milk)
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup vegan brown sugar
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease or line a 12 cup muffin tin.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and refined sugar. In a separate bowl, combine the Earth Balance, vinegar, apple sauce and non-dairy milk.

    I used hemp milk this time around and it turned out great

    Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir.

    I used fresh berries for these muffins, but I think frozen blueberries would be equally delicious.

    Fold the blueberries into your batter

    and fill each muffin cup with batter until they are 2/3 of the way full

    Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle brown sugar on the tops of the muffins

    Place them back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes, until a toothpick can be inserted and removed cleanly.

    Let your muffins cool in the tin for about 10 minutes. It’s hard, I know, but burnt tongues are no fun.

    Remove from tin and eat!

    I love the sugary tops

    I bit into this one approximately two seconds after this photo was taken.

    Update: Go check out these muffins and other lovely goodies at Sweets for a Saturday!

    Feb 15

    stylish bloggers

    Many many thanks to the beautiful and talented Tiffany from Como Water for awarding me with the Stylish Blogger Award.

    Such an honor!

    In order to fulfill my Stylish Blogger duties, I must:
    Share 7 things about myself.
    Award other fellow bloggers.
    Contact these bloggers and tell them they’ve won

    Seven things about me…

    1. The longest I have gone in my life without having a pet was 2 1/2 months, when I first moved to NYC.

    2. My husband and I planned an entire destination wedding, down to the smallest detail before scrapping it and moving the wedding to my home state with only 5 months left to start over and throw it together.

    photo credit iNFOCUSDESIGNS

    Best decision ever (the wedding and the whole getting married thing!)

    3. When I was little I wanted to grow up to be an elf.
    4. I volunteer at an animal rights organization
    5. Rarely a day goes by when I don’t eat peanut or almond butter in some form (smoothie, sandwich, in pasta, covering a banana, etc)
    6. I’m an only child.
    7. I can still do a mean toss illusion. Google it.

    Hopefully I didn’t bore you too much with that and you’re still awake because it’s time to award a few bloggers extraordinaire!

    The Stylish Blogger Award goes to…drumroll, please…

    Jen @ The Baked Life

    JD @ Veggie Terrain

    Susan @ Kittens Gone Lentil

    Kat @ Kat’s Health Corner

    Katie @ Sweet Tater 

    Head on over to each of these lovely ladies’ blogs and see just why I think they’re so super awesome!

    Feb 09

    berry cherry float

    This is my perfect equation for Valentine’s Day. Actually, it’s the perfect equation for any day.



    Share a blanket, share a straw and share this float.
    Or if you live in a tropical climate, sip this float while you stroll along the beach wearing a straw hat and singing to the parrot that sits on your shoulder. Isn’t that what people in tropical climates do all day long?


    Feb 02

    berry chocolate chip granola

    The vegan world is all aflutter over Oprah’s 7 Day Vegan Challenge episode that aired yesterday.

    My favorite part of the show was when Kathy Freston referred to her husband as “vegan-ish” and said, “It’s not my business to tell anyone how to eat. He lets me be me and I let him be him.”

    I feel the same way when it comes to my own relationships. When I met my husband, he was a meat eater. Over time he chose to be vegetarian on his own, with zero pressure from me. I promise. You can ask him. He reached the decision and announced it to me all on his own almost a year ago.

    I’ve never pressured him to be vegan and I try to approach this blog the same way. I appreciate Oprah pointing out to her millions of viewers that you should only be as vegan as you want to be. You can “lean into it.” You can do Meatless Mondays. You can go dairy free but not meat free. Or you can eat meat every single day but also make a conscious effort to also eat more vegetables and whole grains and less processed foods. All of these are great things.

    Want to see another great thing?


    One thing I know for sure is that vegans and non-vegans alike will love this granola. It has berries. And sunflower seeds. And chocolate chips!

    Eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Pour almond milk over top of it, sprinkle it over soy yogurt or shove a handful in a sandwich bag and stick it in your pocket for later.

    It doesn’t disappoint.

    Berry Chocolate Chip Granola
    Recipe adapted from Alton Brown
    Printable recipe

    • 2 cups rolled oats
    • 3/4 cup slivered almonds
    • 3/4 cup roasted cashews
    • 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
    • 1/2 cup milled flax seed
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup dried cherries
    • 1/2 cup dried blueberries
    • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

    Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.

    In a large bowl, stir together your oats, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and brown sugar.

    In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup, vegetable oil and salt.

    Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mix well and pour into two baking pans.

    I used a 9×13 and 8×8 pan because it’s what I happened to have on hand. You can use any combination of pans that you want, just make sure that your layer of granola is about a 1/2″ to 3/4″ high.

    Place your pans in the oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring your granola every 15 minutes.

    Don’t forget to stir or your granola might cook unevenly or burn.

    Remove the pan(s) from the oven and allow the granola to cool completely. Once cool, stir in the cherries, berries and chocolate chips.

    and enjoy!