Saturday, August 31, 2013

Easy eggless double chocolate cake + mascarpone ice cream recipe


I wanted to make a quick vegan chocolate cake and this one was in the oven in less than 15 minutes! It came out super moist, rich, and not too sweet (I can't stand sickeningly sweet desserts!) The cake also paired wonderfully with my favorite homemade ice cream recipe. The ice cream is not vegan obviously because it uses mascarpone cheese, but it is eggless. Without further ado, here are the recipes:

Easy Eggless Double Chocolate Cake (modified from this recipe)

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/3 cup cacao powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 cup water
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cacao powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Make three little wells in the dry mixture spaced evenly apart. Pour the vanilla into one well, the vinegar in another, and the oil into the third. Pour water over everything and mix well. Add in the chocolate chips and pour into a greased 8x8" pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. 

Homemade Mascarpone Ice Cream

8 oz. container of mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 cups So Delicious coconut milk (I've also used vanilla hemp milk with good results)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup (or more if you prefer sweeter ice cream)
pinch of salt

Add mascarpone to a mixing bowl (I use a 32 oz. measuring cup because it pours easier). Slowly wisk in the coconut milk a little at a time. Add in remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Pour into your ice cream maker (I have this model and LOVE it) and churn according to your machine's directions. Yum!

This is my absolute favorite homemade ice cream recipe, I've made it at least half a dozen times this summer alone. It can also be modified with your favorite add ins, so far I've tried adding raw cacao powder, lemon juice, and cinnamon (not at the same time haha, but on separate occasions). 

Hope you enjoy!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Berry beet smoothie

I picked up some small organic beets from the co-op for smoothies this week. Beets are quite earthy tasting but when combined with the right fruits, they aren't so strong, and the color is gorgeous! 

1 small beet, peeled and chopped
1. 5 cups mixed berries- I used strawberries, blueberries and a few raspberries
1 black plum, pitted and chopped
1/3 cup frozen mango
1.5 cups So Delicious coconut milk
honey or agave to taste

Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Down by the river

This evening we took a walk to the river as a little switch up from our usual beach walk. It was a nice, breezy, sunny afternoon...and little A got to see a turtle, she was quite intrigued! Here are a few photos I snapped:

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Vegan Banana Bread

My mom is in town visiting right now and she loves banana bread, so I thought it was a good time to make one. I looked at several recipes but none had the amount of sugar, use of oil instead of butter, etc. like I wanted so I decided to experiment and put together one myself. It turned out to be the best banana bread I think I've ever made! It's super moist, not too sweet, and uses coconut oil instead of butter, which means healthier fats. We could not even tell it was vegan.

1 3/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. turbinado sugar
2 tbsp. maple syrup
3 medium very ripe bananas
1/2 c. coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used So Delicious Coconut milk)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a loaf pan with coconut oil or Earth Balance. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a large bowl, mash bananas, mix in milk, vanilla, maple syrup, sugar and oil. Gradually add dry ingredients into the banana mixture. Fold in chopped pecans. Pour into prepared pan and bake 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted to center comes out clean. Cool inside pan for 10 minutes. Finish cooling on wire rack.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Artist Love

I am quite enamored with these beautiful living photographs called "cinemagraphs" created by the very talented duo Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg. These are not your average gifs. The subtle animation of just one or two elements of the still photograph produces such stunning results. Here are a few of my favorites:

Aren't they dreamy? Find more of Jamie's inspiring work here.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dreaming of Autumn

I don't know about you, but I am getting a little tired of the heat and am sooo ready for fall. I can't wait for the crisp air outside, hot chocolate, lots of baking, and breaking out sweaters and scarves. Here are some sweet autumn items I'm loving...


Are you looking forward to the end of summer? What do you love about fall?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Vegan black lentil, veggie & fusilli soup

One of the things I discovered while at Whole Foods this past weekend was black lentils. They don't carry them in the stores near my house, and I don't think I've ever seen them in person. I grabbed them on a whim because I cook with green, brown and red lentils quite often and these looked like a fun change. Since I am trying to eat as many vegan meals as possible, I like to make sure there is enough protein in my diet, and lentils are one of the best sources for plant-based protein. I looked around on Pinterest for some black lentil recipes but I wanted the dish to incorporate a grain as a complementary protein source to pair with the lentils and I wasn't finding any recipes that were exactly what I wanted, so I made this one up. It turned out to be quite delicious and I will definitely be adding it into my regular rotation, especially with fall and winter coming up (although I may switch out the zucchini for a winter vegetable). The black lentils were amazing, they didn't taste quite as earthy as the brown variety which was nice to switch it up; they also did not fall apart as easily as the brown. The overall taste of this soup reminds me a little of pasta e fagioli, only this was easier to prepare because you don't have to soak lentils. It's very filling and even my 19-month-old liked it :)

Vegan black lentil, veggie & fusilli soup
serves 10-12

4 cups vegetable stock
4 cups water
2 cups dry black lentils, rinsed
2 cups fusilli pasta 
5 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
5 carrots, chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1 tbsp. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp. salt, or to taste

In a large stock pot, heat oil and add onions, sauteing for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute 2 minutes more. Add in carrots, lentils, vegetable stock, water, thyme, salt and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and simmer, partially covered, for about 30 minutes or until lentils are tender.Meanwhile, boil pasta according to package directions. Add in tomatoes and zucchini to soup pot and simmer 6-7 minutes more. Add in fresh parsley and turn off the heat. Now you can either stir in the pasta, or keep it separate and mix into individual bowls if you're worried about it becoming too soft. Serve with fresh ground black pepper. 


Sorry about the bad quality photo, it was getting dark outside so it turned out grainy, meh.

Hope you enjoy this soup as much as we did!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Snippets from our weekend/What I wore

We started off the weekend by going to our new favorite local cafe & bakery. I tried the stuffed crepes (nutella and banana were my fillings) and house potatoes and they were awesome!

Then we spent a few hours at a park by the river and little A got to run around and explore, I think she was happy to be out of the house for the first time all week since everyone was sick, I know I was glad to get out! Cabin fever had been setting in big time...

 My outfit:
Dress- Mink Pink from Urban Outfitters
Headband and sandals- Urban Outfitters
Sunglasses- Free People

We also got to stop by Whole Foods which is a special treat for me because it's almost an hour away and we only get to go once a month or so. Although I love our local co-op that is only 5 minutes away, Whole Foods has better prices and much more selection. I stocked up on a ton of grains, legumes, snack foods and picked out some new chocolates to try. Yum!

Now it's Monday, (ugh) and as usual after a busy couple of days, my house is in need of a good cleaning!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Shop Update

My girl took a 4.5 hour nap this afternoon (wow!) so I was able to get a lot of new items photographed and listed in the shop :) Here's a peek:

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Buffalo tempeh and quinoa bowl

Tonight's meal was inspired by my favorite dish at my favorite vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Orlando. The restaurant is 45 minutes (and some tolls) away from us so I wanted to recreate the yumminess at home, and I think it turned out great! My version is not vegan like theirs, but is vegetarian because I couldn't really find a quick, easy way to make homemade blue cheese dressing, and that was an important element to me. If I  wasn't sick with a cold and taking care of a sick toddler as well, I might have tried a little harder to make it fully vegan but oh well! It was delish :)

Part 1: Buffalo Tempeh
(modified version of this lovely recipe)
1 block organic tempeh
1 cup Frank's wing sauce
3 cloves fresh garlic
1-2 tbsp. Bragg's liquid aminos
4 tbsp. butter or earth balance

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut tempeh block into 1/2" thick strips. Bring a medium saucepan filled half way with water and the Bragg's liquid aminos to a boil. Boil tempeh pieces for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt 2 tbsp. butter and spread 1/2 cup of the wing sauce into a 8x8" baking dish, mix in the melted butter and use a garlic press (or you could just mince it with a knife) to smash the garlic cloves and blend them into the sauce and butter mixture. Remove tempeh pieces from water and arrange in the sauce, turning to coat. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping them over after 15 minutes. Mix up the remaining 1/2 cup of wing sauce and melt remaining butter and pour over top of wings (I also poured it all over my quinoa)

Part 2: Quinoa and Celery
2 cups water
1 cup dry quinoa
5 stalks celery, chopped (you could also add some chopped carrots, they do in the restaurant version but I forgot to get them at the store)

Rinse quinoa; bring water and quinoa to a boil. Turn heat down, simmer for 10 minutes, then add chopped celery and simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Part 3: Blue Cheese Dressing
4 oz. container organic blue cheese crumbles
4 tbsp. veganaise (or mayo if you prefer, I use veganaise because I'm allergic to the eggs in mayo and I like to use as many vegan ingredients as possible)
1/3 cup kefir or buttermilk
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
fresh ground black pepper and salt to taste

Blend all ingredients in a blender on low speed for 20-30 seconds. If too thick, add water or milk until you reach desired consistency.

This made more than enough dressing for the recipe, but now I have some salad dressing for the rest of the week, fine by me!

Layer quinoa and celery in a bowl  with buffalo strips on top and pour on additional mixed wing sauce and blue cheese dressing. (Makes 4 servings) So good! 

Mango-nectarine-plum-berry smoothie

I am pretty much addicted to making smoothies now, and I feel like something is missing in my day unless I have one lol... I make up a different combination of ingredients every day depending on what we have on hand and what we're in the mood for...thought I'd share today's recipe since it was super yummy!

This made a whole blender pitcher full and fed the whole family, but it could be scaled down too if you want.

1 nectarine (I left the peel on)
2 black plums (I left the peels on)
1 mango, peeled
1 cup blackberries
1 cup strawberries
1/3 cup hemp seed
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
honey to taste

Rinse, chop, blend and enjoy!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Fab Etsy Finds

Here are some of my favorite recent finds on Etsy:

Adorable wooden camera and film earrings from bRainbow

beautiful art print from calamaristudio

personalized stacking rings from MissNovemberStudio

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Quick vegan coconut peanut butter fudge

If you're in need of a super fast, no mess, healthy sweet fix, (like I often am) this is the recipe for you! It's vegan, contains heart-healthy fats, and is free of processed sugar.

Ingredients: (for a single serving size)
3 tablespoons coconut butter
3 tablespoons peanut butter (or nut butter of your choice, I've tried almond butter too and that was yummy)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients until smooth and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (you could also speed things up by using the freezer for 15 minutes or so instead). That's it!

I actually eat it straight out of the little bowl I mix it up in so it doesn't even make a mess in the kitchen, yay!

You could, of course, double or triple (or more) the recipe to make a larger amount and spread it in a pan and cut into squares. Or you could heat the ingredients slightly and pour into candy molds, etc.

This is the coconut butter I use. The brand is "Artisana" and it is simply amazing. It's not like coconut oil, it's less greasy and more creamy because it's made from the whole flesh of the coconut. This stuff is magical in many a raw vegan dessert and is also divine just spread on cookies or toast with jam, etc. I highly recommend it!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Book Love

Here are a few of my current favorites for story time: