Apr 29

strawberry milk cupcakes


Thank you so much for all the get well wishes, my lovelies! I’m 100% better now and I’m back to eating and talking non-stop, much to the delight/horror of those around me. I got better just in time to enjoy these new cupcakes. Last night I licked the batter, devoured heaping spoonfuls of the frosting and chucked a couple of the finished products in my mouth before the sugar crash hit me and I went down for the count in record time. This morning I woke up with pink frosting smeared across my cheek even though I washed my face before bed. How does that happen?

I never really considered myself a cupcake person, but lately I’ve been a cupcake-baking machine. You know who isn’t complaining? My husband. Yesterday evening we were jogging around Red Hook and he said, “So…cupcakes for dinner?” Yeah. Pretty much.

I wanted to make these cupcakes for Mother’s Day.

I had this brilliant idea to bake the cupcakes and then ship them in little mason jars to my mom and mom-in-law just in time for the holiday, but then I realized that I am an idiot because there is no way these babies would make it there without melting. My mom lives in Kentucky where it is currently 1 billion degrees outside with 700% humidity and I’m too lazy/cheap to figure out any sort of cold container shipping option. So I promised them that I would make them something when I see them both this summer and I made the cupcakes anyway because, well, how could I not? They’re strawberry!

Strawberry Milk Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes
Printable recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups strawberries, chopped (plus more for garnish if you want)
  • 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (I used soy)
  • 2 1/2 cups vegan granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2/3 cups grapeseed oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese
  • 6 cups of vegan confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup of Earth Balance

Have you ever made strawberry milk before? It’s so super easy and I found a great recipe on Babble. All you do is combine 1 cup of chopped strawberries, 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and 1 cup of water in a pot and boil it all for 10 minutes.

Scoop out the berries and use them for another recipe (pancakes, anyone?)

Pour the remaining liquid in a glass filled with 1 1/2 cups of milk. Now stir.

Resist the urge to drink all of it because you’re going to need it for the cake.

Court Kitty had no problem staying away from this milk.

He was pretty much horrified by the whole thing.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. To make cake, combine the all-purpose flour, 2 cups of granulated sugar, baking soda and sea salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the strawberry milk, grape seed oil, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix on low-medium speed for 1 minute, or until combined. Spoon the batter into a cupcake tin and bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick can be inserted and removed cleanly.

Let the cupcakes cool before whipping up the frosting.

To make the frosting, puree 1 cup of chopped strawberries in a food processor.

If there are still small chunks in there don’t worry, that makes it even better. Combine the puree, confectioners’ sugar, Earth Balance, Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract in a bowl and mix on low-medium speed until fully combined.

Frost your cupcakes and top with more strawberries if it tickles your fancy.

Share them for Mother’s Day, celebrate the arrival of spring with these pink darlings or just pop several in your mouth and settle in with Harrison to watch Round 2 of the playoffs. He’s so excited.

Apr 25

apricot lemon cupcakes


I have a sore mouth. I’ve been on a 95% liquid diet for a couple of days and I’m kind of cranky about that. I tried to have mashed potatoes for dinner last night but it hurt too much to eat the entire bowl. Plus I only had vanilla almond milk in the fridge so the potatoes tasted like salt-and-peppered-vanilla-mush. Not that great. This morning I threw a ton of peanut butter, frozen berries, almond milk and flax seed in the blender and mushed it up real good. It’s my lunch now.

So yeah, today is not all that fun. But Saturday was a different story. My sis-in-law and niece came up from Charlotte to say hi and it was so good to see them. They’re both so adorable and hilarious. Even though I wasn’t feeling my best, it was great just looking at them. I hadn’t seen them in months. They’re so sweet. I wanted them to just sit on our couch forever. I’m pretty sure the cats felt the same way. On Saturday my mouth hurt, but just a little and I was able to take a few bites of some cupcakes I made before straws replaced forks during my mealtimes.

I was really pleased with the way these cupcakes turned out. The frosting is super lemony and it really compliments the sweet, apricot cake. You can easily adjust the sour level of the frosting from barely noticeable to funny-face-inducing. I like funny faces. I like to peel a lemon, pour salt on it and eat it like an apple. Bring on the sour.

Apricot Lemon Cupcakes
Cake recipe adapted from Mermaid Sweets
Frosting recipe adapted from Betty Crocker
Makes 12 cupcakes
Printable Recipe

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegan granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance, softened
  • 4 ounces unsweetened apple sauce
  • 4 ounces dairy-free lemon yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 cup dried apricots, chopped

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 6 cups vegan confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance, softened
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

To make the cupcakes, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, Earth Balance, apple sauce, yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice and lemon extract.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on low-medium speed until just combined.

Add in the apricots and stir by hand until they are evenly distributed in the batter. Pour the batter into a cupcake tin

and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick can be inserted and removed cleanly.

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before topping them with frosting. This cake is so moist. Just look at those apricot bits.

To make the frosting, combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix on low-medium speed for 1 minute. Try a bite and if you want the frosting to be even more sour, add in more lemon juice, one tablespoon at a time.

Top your cupcakes and eat!

If you want to snack on these cupcakes for a good cause, please stop by the Brooklyn Law School this Wednesday, April 27 for the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale! These Apricot Lemon Cupcakes will be there, along with dozens of other vegan treats. Proceeds benefit Our Hen House and Vegucated: The Movie.

Update – You can find these cupcakes and many more delicious vegan and non-vegan recipes using apricots at Carole’s Chatter!

Apr 22

worldwide vegan bake sale! 4/23 – 5/1

The Third Annual Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale is upon us!

From Saturday, April 23 – Sunday, May 1, vegan bake sales will be held all over the globe to support a variety of causes. This year’s goal is to raise $50,000 and I think we can do it!

Vegan bake sales are popping up everywhere!

Bristol, UK

 

Minneapolis, Minnesota

 

London, Ontario

 

Tacoma, Washington

 

Dallas, Texas

 

Chicago, Illinois

 

For the full list of bake sales and to see where you can snag some awesome vegan treats in your area, click here!

I’ll be donating some apricot lemon cupcakes (recipe to come next week) to the bake sale at Brooklyn Law School on April 27. This event is hosted by the Brooklyn Law School Student Animal Legal Defense Fund and it benefits Our Hen House and Vegucated the Movie.

Click here to read a fantastic interview with Isa Chandra Moskowitz of The Post Punk Kitchen and Gary Loewenthal, the mastermind behind the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale.

And to see highlights of past bake sales, check out this video

Get out there, buy some goodies and support some great causes! Or better yet, start your own bake sale!  All you need are some vegan treats and a good cause to raise $$$ for

Apr 21

this is a public service announcement

Are your allergies so bad that your face is like a running faucet turned on full blast and no amount of natural or pharmaceutical remedies can help you?

Does snot fall out of your nose and onto the floor when you look down to say hi to your cats? Right on the floor. Plop. Snot puddle.

Is water gushing from your red, swollen eyes and down your puffy face so uncontrollably that a stranger on the subway ride home from work whispered, “do you need help?” to you, just like that time the lady doing your nails asked if you needed “a safe place to go” because she mistook the scratches and bruises left on your arms to be the result of a horrific domestic dispute instead of what they really were – the result of adopting a brand new kitten whose #1 hobby was people climbing?

Well, I the answer for you!

Okay, no. No I don’t. But I can show you what’s getting me through it right now in this very moment.

Trader Joe’s Coconut Milk Ice Cream.

I am not joking. I would never joke about ice cream. Let’s get that clear.

This won’t alleviate your allergy symptoms but man oh man, it will make you forget all about them for a few splendid moments.

My husband picked up chocolate and strawberry for me.

The label says all the things you love to hear: Vegan, soy-free, no added flavors, colors or preservatives. But let’s cut to the chase. It tastes like heaven. I was a little unsure at first because I thought that the strawberry flavor tasted like the best ice cream ever but you know, my senses are under attack by the allergen fiends so I didn’t know if it was my real taste buds or my benadryl-coated taste buds talking. So I asked my husband if he liked it and with the ice cream still in his mouth he nodded vigorously and said, “Oow mah gaw yef.” Two thumbs up, my friends.

Look at that. It’s so CREAMY.

Strawberry is definitely my #1. Chocolate is also good but the strawberry owns a piece of my heart now. It also owns a piece of my expanding thighs, but we’ll deal with that when we feel better, won’t we?

Ice cream first. Multiple warrior poses later. Pass the Kleenex, please. I’m running low.


Apr 18

apple sunflower sandwich roll

I love road trips. It doesn’t matter if I’m the driver or a passenger. It doesn’t matter if I’m traveling 100 miles or 1,000. Let’s just go. Grab your sunglasses, mix some CDs and let’s do this. Need a break? Great, let’s stop dozens of times. I don’t care. What’s the rush?

My dad has spent most of his life driving a truck cross country. Back and forth, here to there, over the river and through the woods and repeat again and again. He loves to just go. Just move. I’m the same way. My mom also loves to travel. She’ll go anywhere. And my super cool grandparents seem to be gone more than they are at home. They’re always hopping in their van and hitting the road. Every time I plan a visit back home to Kentucky I have to first find out if they’re even going to be in town. I hope I’m always traveling when I’m their age. I hope I’m half as awesome as they are in 40 years. I guess the urge to go go go is in my blood.

My husband and I drove to Philadelphia this past weekend to watch the Flyers play. It’s a trip that we’ve made several times since we met. A couple hours in the car each way, same old scenery and traffic each time, and still I get excited for it like I’m traveling to a new, far-off land. Just being in the car is so relaxing for me.

I only have one real problem when it comes to road trips. The food. It’s no secret that it’s hard to find vegan choices while on the road. I used to get so frustrated over it until I decided to treat every trip as an opportunity to hone my food-making skills instead of the voyage of misery that it had become.

Last weekend I had a craving for something in particular. I wanted it to be super filling and also sweet. It needed to be portable and delicious when kept at room temperature. I wanted it to feel like a treat. And boy, did it ever.

Apple Sunflower Sandwich Roll
Makes 2 regular servings or 1 very large sandwich
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 Granny Smith apple
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • sprinkle of nutmeg
  • 1 piece of lavash bread
  • 4 tablespoons sunflower butter
  • 3 tablespoons apple butter

Step 1 – Fry that apple! Slice your apple into 1/4″ slices

Melt Earth Balance in a skillet over medium heat. Add in the apple slices, brown sugar, apple juice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir until apples are coated in the mixture.

Cook until the apples are soft, 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the apples are done, remove from heat, transfer to a plate and allow to cool to room temperature.

Stir together the sunflower butter and apple butter in a bowl.

Spread the butters on the bread, stopping 1/2″ from the edges.

Place the fried apple slices on top of the butter

and roll the sandwich

Ta-da!

Pack it up and hop in the car! Or go to the park. Or jump on a plane. Or take a few steps, plop yourself down on the couch and eat immediately while you watch back-to-back episodes of Cats 101. Sebastian loves that show.

Apr 14

baked avocado donuts

Yeah, you read that right. Avocado. In a donut. Baked.

When I saw this recipe on Scarletta Bakes I knew that I had to make it vegan and shove it in my mouth as soon as humanly possible.

These donuts are delicious on their own, but then you add that extra drizzle of sugar + milk on top and you’re taken to a place where nothing sad ever happens, where kittens ride around on unicorns and hugs are exchanged as currency.

“Baked” means “zero calories” by the way. Not sure if you knew that or not.

Baked Avocado Donuts
Recipe adapted from Scarletta Bakes

Makes 18-24 donuts, depending on the size of your pan
Printable Recipe 

Ingredients:

  • 3 avocados (should yield 1 1/4 cups mashed avocado)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 8 ounces Earth Balance, softened
  • 1 cup vegan granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used hemp)
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 cups vegan confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and grease a donut pan with oil or cooking spray (I used grapeseed oil).

Peel your avocados, remove the pits and cut the flesh of the avocados into small chunks.

In a bowl, mash the avocado chunks with a fork and stir in the lemon juice.

In a separate bowl, cream the Earth Balance and granualated sugar. Add in the avocado mash, apple sauce, non-dairy milk and grapeseed oil and mix on low speed until just combined.

Combine the flour, baking powder and sea salt in another bowl, then mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients on low-medium speed until combined.

Spoon the batter into the donut pan, filling each cavity about 3/4 of the way to the top. I used my fingers to smooth the batter, but more sophisticated folks might want to use a small spatula or a piping bag to evenly distribute the batter.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges begin to brown, and allow to cool to room temperature.

Make the frosting by mixing the confectioners’ sugar and almond milk on low-medium speed until smooth.

Drizzle, eat and repeat.

Apr 10

homemade ding dongs

Well kids, regular season hockey has come to an end. For me, this is it. It’s over. I’ll see my boys in the fall.

For others, like my friend Jen, the fun has just begun. Jen is a Vancouver Canucks fan…oh no…ugh…I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. Sorry. Anyway…

To me, it’s always sad when the playoffs roll around because it starts the official countdown to the end of hockey and the beginning of the painfully hot and sticky New York summer. Sadness starts to creep in. What will I watch in a couple of months? Baseball? Tennis? Ugh.

But I am glad that it’s not over yet. And to celebrate I’ve made some puck-shaped treats.

We can eat them while we watch the playoffs together. We can chuck them at the screen when the Sedins come into focus.

Homemade Ding Dongs
Cake recipe adapted from Epicurious, filling adapted from Grace at AllRecipes and ganache adapted from Savory Sweet Life

Makes 8 ding dongs.

Printable Recipe

Cake ingredients:

  • 4 ounces vegan dark chocolate, chopped
  • 8 ounces Earth Balance
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups vegan granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ganache ingredients:

  • 6 ounces vegan dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup soy creamer

Filling ingredients:

  • 1/8 cup Earth Balance, softened
  • 1/8 cup vegan non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 1 cup vegan confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla almond milk
  • sprinkle of sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

To make the cake, start by melting the chocolate, Earth Balance and water together. You can use a double boiler, or you can be like me and just stick it all in the microwave.

While it cools, combine the flour, baking soda and sea salt in a separate bowl. Add the granulated sugar to the melted chocolate mixture and beat on low with a mixer until the ingredients are combined.

Add the almond milk, vinegar, applesauce and vanilla to the sugar and chocolate. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing on low-medium speed until combined. Pour into two round 8 x 8″ cake pans

and bake until a toothpick can be inserted and removed cleanly, approximately 30 minutes.

Allow the cakes to cool completely before moving on to the next step. Once cool, combine all of your shortening ingredients into a bowl and mix on low-medium speed until combined.

For the shortening, I used Spectrum Naturals Organic Shortening.

Remove the cakes from the pans and use a 3″ round cookie cutter to make your ding dongs. If you are like me and you don’t have a cookie cutter, just place something round on top of the cake and cut around it.

Like a hockey puck. Don’t freak out, I cleaned it before I used it and I put a parchment paper circle underneath it. I promise. And yes, the Kentucky Thoroughblades were a real team. My boyfriend played for them, although I didn’t know it at the time.

You’re going to have some cake pieces left over. They’d be great to roll into cake balls or to just shove directly into your mouth and the mouths of those you love.

Now that you have your cake circles cut out, use a sharp knife to cut a cone shape out of the center of each piece. Don’t throw the bits away, though. You’ll put them back in a second.

Spoon the filling into each of the cakes

and put the pieces that you cut out back where they came from.

Pretty.

Now it’s time for the ganache. Break up your chocolate pieces and throw them into a bowl. In a small pan, bring the soy creamer to a boil.

As soon as it begins to bubble, pour directly on top of the chocolate and stir.

Allow the ganache to cool for 5 minutes. The longer it cools, the thicker it becomes, so don’t forget about it.

Use a brush to paint each cake with the ganache.

Looking good! Wait 30 minutes so the ganache can set, and then eat!

Go Flyers!

Apr 05

chocolate butter

It’s been a busy few weeks for the TTV crew.

We spent time kissing this face.

Can’t. Get. Enough.

We hopped a train and spent a weekend away

I stood in a long line to see something cool

And we helped Court Kitty deal with his depression over the sudden loss of his warmest, sleekest friend, Mr. Mac.

I was worried that he wouldn’t accept Mr. Mac’s replacement, but luckily it was love at first sight.

Although we’ve had some great times recently, what I’ve really been looking forward to is a weekend of sitting on my rump, watching some games on TV and eating piece after piece of bread covered in chocolate butter.

Chocolate butter is a weird thing. It looks like frosting but the texture and taste are definitely more buttery than sugary.

It’s a treat, that’s for sure. Let’s treat ourselves, shall we?

Chocolate Butter
Recipe adapted from Giver’s Log

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance (or your favorite vegan buttery spread)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons vegan confectioners’ sugar

Put all three ingredients in a food processor

And blend.

You’re finished!

No, really. You’re finished. That’s all you have to do.

Want to come over and watch the last week of regular season hockey with me? I’ll save you a seat on the couch.

Apr 05

cherry chocolate oatmeal cookies


That’s not a typo. The Bake Sale for Japan really did raise $8,269!

Thank you so much to everyone that bid on the lovely array of treats that were up for auction. Here is a message sent to Sabrina from Second Harvest Japan:

“Thank you so much for your efforts to raise fund for our disaster relief operation in Japan! We are SO grateful for you all. I’m so touched that all the bloggers got together and concentrated their energy on this. I think this inspires other people to participate in support for people in the affected areas.”

Here is the recipe for those of you who would like to make some of the Cherry Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies that I put up for auction. These cookies are a great breakfast cookie, if you’re into that sort of thing. Cookies for breakfast? Um, yes.

Cherry Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light
Makes 12 cookies

Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons Earth Balance, melted
  • 3/4 cup vegan light brown sugar
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

Combine flours, rolled oats, baking soda and salt into a large bowl and whisk together. In a separate bowl, stir together the melted Earth Balance and brown sugar. Combine the flour mixture, brown sugar mixture, cherries, vanilla and apple sauce into one bowl and either stir by hand or mix on low speed until ingredients are combined. Fold in the dark chocolate and drop spoonfuls of the batter on a baking sheet, approximately 2 inches apart.

Bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow the cookies to cool for a few minutes before biting into them. If you’re eating them for breakfast the following day, I recommend microwaving them for 15 seconds. Ooohhh yum.