S’mores Cupcakes on a Sweet Sunday

June 20, 2011 § 4 Comments

I’ve been meaning to post this since last week but my back went out again and I’ve been resting the past several days. Last Sunday morning, I woke up and jumped out of bed to make cupcakes for a friend at my yoga studio. This friend is a generous one, regularly making wonderful cookies and bringing them in for the other students to share. It only made sense that someone else bake for him on his birthday. I made a batch of matcha cupcakes along with the s’mores cupcakes (shown above) from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

The cupcakes went over really well and I was really happy to get to share some of my baked goods with the other students.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream

May 15, 2011 § 27 Comments

Like most others, I look forward to Friday evenings, but one thing that makes it that much more sweet for me is my Friday night after-work yoga practice. I call it my end of the week work detox and I love spending the time on my mat, letting the weight of the week just melt away and disappear. It’s a time for me to collect myself and catch up on the breaths I lost while holed up at my desk. Often times in class we are given the choice to set an intention for class and on Friday evenings I try to focus on things  that will help me peacefully say goodbye to the work week and gracefully wave hello to the weekend.

On Friday I drove to class and as I exited the freeway I looked forward to class, ready to go in for a strong class and let go of everything from the previous 40 work hours. But as we got into the flow, something was off. When we stood up from our first standing forward fold I felt the world go black and the room began to spin. I struggled to stay upright and swayed as I fought to keep from passing out. When everything finally cleared, after what felt like hours, I looked around and everyone was still standing – our teacher had given us a few moments to stand and ground ourselves with our eyes closed and I was grateful that no one had noticed. I took it easy the rest of the class.

Work this past week was busy and stressful without much time for me to come up for air, and I think that this extra stress manifested itself in my body. While class was a struggle, as always I still left happy about going and felt I got what I needed while I was there. I came home ready for the weekend, and thought that I would celebrate with a treat. Naturally, that includes a glass of wine but this time I decided that I would turn my treat into an extra sweet treat.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream:
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 1/4 cups soy milk
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 cup First Street creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup First Street strawberry preserves

In a bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, soy milk, sugar, and peanut butter. Let chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

In your ice cream storage containers, spoon a couple spoonfuls of preserves in. Then layer in some ice cream, and some more preserves on top of that. Continue layering until all the ingredients are used up and freeze for at least a few hours, or overnight.

Source: Lick It!

*Note that I am being compensated to write this post, but all opinions are entirely mine.

>Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

April 20, 2011 § 18 Comments

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I have a friend who is so near to my heart that even though I don’t see her that often anymore, it’s like no time has even passed when I do. I met her during my first week in college, remaining friends through the dorm years and living together our junior and senior years… and knowing that I’m likely not even through a third of my life I can easily say that those were two of the hardest years. Through it all she stood by my side and carried me through it. When I think back to it, I’m so grateful that she was there for me and lucky to still have her in my life.

We recently connected again and as it so happens, her birthday was coming up and her boyfriend was planning his proposal. He gathered her closest friends to meet at the bar they had their second date to surprise her with some celebratory drinks. Naturally, I had to make some cupcakes for the special occasion. I thumbed through Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, my current go-to source for cupcakes, and picked out mint chocolate. They were amazing! A few people even went back for seconds. I can’t wait for the next special occasion so I can use another recipe from this book.
The happy couple right after she said yes!
Here’s a photo taken right after the proposal. He took her on stage at the Hollywood Bowl and serenaded her. Pretty amazing, isn’t it? I can’t wait for the wedding.

>Matcha Cupcakes with Coco-Almond Frosting

April 10, 2011 § 18 Comments

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Happy birthday, Tak!

Every time I see you fools I realize how awesome my friends are.My friend sent me this text last night and I wholeheartedly with him. My friends are pretty awesome but as a group we don’t get together as often as we should – the last time was for Christmas almost four months ago! Yesterday though, we celebrated our friend’s birthday. It started off with linner (late lunch, early dinner) and somehow it went straight through the evening and night with spontaneous stops at a couple more watering holes. I didn’t get home until well past my bedtime at midnight. Good times were had and it was a celebration indeed… Friends, food, laughter – what a great start to the week.

Naked Cupcakes!

For my friend’s birthday I wanted to make him some cupcakes. I poked around a bit and found out that he loves green tea so naturally I had to make cupcakes with my favorite ingredient, matcha. I looked up a few matcha cupcake recipes but something just didn’t feel right about them so I adapted a recipe for white cake to suit this flavor. It turned out perfect – the green tea flavor really shined through without being bitter and the sugar was the right amount without being overly sweet. I paired it with a coco-almond frosting that I found to complement the matcha flavor really well. And for once I didn’t over-frost the cupcakes. Personally I love a huge mountain of frosting but I’ve noticed that people will eat around the frosting when I pile it on so I’ve learned to scale it back.



Matcha Cupcakes (Makes 12 cupcakes):
(Adapted from Allrecipes)
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp matcha powder
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup almond milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl sift together the flour, matcha powder, and baking powder. In a mixing bowl or stand mixer, cream together the caster sugar and butter. Add the eggs one at a time, and then the vanilla extract. Slowly add the flour/matcha/baking powder mixture and continue to mix. Lastly, add in the milk and continue to mix until the batter is smooth. Pour into a muffin tin lined with cupcake liners, filling each one 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cake springs back to the touch.

Coco-Almond Buttercream Frosting (Makes a large amount. Half the recipe unless you want to use the leftovers for something else):
(Adapted from Vegan Cucpakes Take Over the World)
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup almond milk

Beat the margarine and shortening together until combined. In another bowl, sift together the cocoa powder and powdered sugar. Slowly add to the margarine and sugar, and beat for three minutes. Add the almond extract and almond milk and continue to beat for another five minutes until light and fluffy. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

>Cookies and Cream Ice Cream

April 6, 2011 § 18 Comments

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At practice yesterday, there was a guy who cried out and fell to the floor in the middle of class. He lay there gasping for air as he was overexerting himself. My teacher checked on him, and told him to just rest – but soon after he was back on his feet struggling through the sequence with a grimace of pain on his face. A couple things became clear to me at that moment. The first thing is that while challenging ourselves is good, it is really unhealthy to be stubborn in pushing ourselves past our abilities or things past what they are. I know I can be pretty stubborn at times – it’s time for me to put more of an effort into letting things go and letting them be.

While this was all happening, my teacher was able to stay calm and continue leading the class while still tending to this struggling person. She never missed a beat and everyone still got the attention they needed and deserved. I know I get flustered pretty easily at times… hopefully someday I’ll learn how to remain calm in situations that currently throw me into a tailspin.

I made this ice cream yesterday before class and let it set in the freezer while I went to practice. I was so excited to try it when I got home. I don’t know why it took me so long to make cookies and cream ice cream – aside from chocolate it’s my husband’s favorite flavor. This batch of ice cream surely won’t make it through the weekend.

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream:
1 14-oz can full fat coconut milk
1 1/4 cup soy milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup of crushed chocolate sandwich cookies

In a large bowl, combine the coconut milk, soy milk, sugar, and vanilla extract. Refrigerate for at least two hours. Freeze according to your ice cream manufacturer’s instructions, adding in the sandwich cookies during the last minute of churning.

Source: Lick It!

>Peanut Butter-Fudge Marble Ice Cream

March 17, 2011 § 23 Comments

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It’s amazing how much ice cream Eric and I go through. We never have just one bowl, and often times I’ll grab the container from the freezer along with a spoon with the intention of just one bite, only to stand at the counter shoveling it into my mouth. Friends think I eat super healthy because of the foods I post here, but the truth is that it’s a good thing my meals are healthy because of the indulgences I readily allow myself in between them.

I’ve really been on a peanut butter binge lately, constantly reaching for peanut butter & chocolate candies, and sometimes eating it directly from the jar. It made sense to make a peanut butter ice cream also. This one is amazingly good, and super rich. I love the ribbon of fudge that found its way to every corner of the ice cream!

Peanut Butter-Fudge Marble Ice Cream:
1 14-oz can full fat coconut milk
1 cup soy milk
1/2 cup sugar
6 tbsp peanut butter (I didn’t measure and probably used a lot more!)
Fudge (recipe below)

In a bowl, combine the coconut milk, soy milk, sugar, and peanut butter. Stir until evenly combined and let chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s manufacture directions. When almost completely frozen, drizzle some fudge at the bottom of your ice cream storage container. Layer some ice cream, and then drizzle some more fudge. Repeat until everything is used up and store in the freezer.

Fudge:
1/4 cup soymilk
1/2 semi-sweet non dairy chocolate chips

In a small glass bowl, combine the soymilk with the chocolate chips. Microwave for about 45 minutes and stir until the chocolate is melted and combined with the milk. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Take it out and let sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before use in the ice cream.

Source: Lick it!

>Cinnamon Apple Cake

March 3, 2011 § 30 Comments

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I’m starting physical therapy soon. I have been in pain for some time now and finally saw a doctor about it earlier this week. Truth be told, I’ve been a little down in the dumps over it the past few days. I know, wallowing and self-pity are not very becoming of me… But sometimes you just can’t help how you feel. I can say though, that I have been making a conscious effort to try focusing my energy on things that bring positivity and joy into my life.

Last night, it was as if my teacher had read my mind and knew that I was in need. Her husband is a musical artist and every so often he will play live music during class – he played the electric violin and strummed away on his guitar. I snapped this photo before class started (it doesn’t show up well but you can see the setup in the left side of the picture). The class last night was just what I needed – it was one of those special practices where time simply melted away and disappeared. It still calms me to think back to it.

I don’t bake as much as I used to but this week I have been throwing myself back into baking. Time in the kitchen is meditative and comforting in general for me, but there is something about baking that is especially so. One of the things I made this week is the cinnamon apple cake shown above. It is delicious, filled to the brim with apples, and yes – vegan. I’ve tagged it with both breakfast and dessert because well, for a few days straight I ate it for both breakfast and dessert… And even in between as a snack. As I type this I don’t have the recipe in front of me but will edit my post later with it.

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