I’m The MacGyver Of Baking

Posted on May 16, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Yesterday, my parents went to see our relatives while I stayed home studying. My aunt, ever-thoughtful, sent back some cupcakes for me. It was really thoughtful; but there was something that worried us. If you asked her what they were, she’d say “organic, gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, nut-free…” the list goes on. She did the same when I made my cousin these cupcakes. And they didn’t seem gluten-free. In fact, after a little investigating, it seemed likely they weren’t and she just got confused. Well I was OK with that and letting my family have them. Except then I wanted cake. I really wanted cake.

Simple Chocolate Cake

Simple Chocolate Cake

I broke out the Sweet Utopia cookbook sent to me by Book Publishing Co. and flipped open to the first recipe in the book: a simple chocolate cake. Perfect. I made a few alterations to the recipe(switching to gluten-free flours, almond milk for soy milk, and olive oil for canola oil), and 28 minutes later I brought life into this world.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Cake

Vegan, Gluten-Free Cake

Isn’t she a cutie? But I wanted cake fast so I cut a slice and stuck it in the fridge to cool quickly. While that was cooling, I made a 2-minute buttercream frosting by mixing earth balance, powdered sugar, and vanilla powder in a small dish with a fork. It was almost too easy.

Cake With Frosting

Cake With Frosting

I went from thinking I’d have a chocolate bar for dessert(but not really happy with that) to 1 hour later having a vegan, gluten-free chocolate cake with vegan buttercream frosting all with whatever ingredients I had on hand. I think that qualifies me to be the MacGyver of baking.

Organic Smooth Dark Chocolate

Organic Smooth Dark Chocolate

Vanilla Oikos With Vanilla Peanut Butter

Vanilla Oikos With Vanilla Peanut Butter

Organic Baby Carrots

Organic Baby Carrots

Oatmeal With Butter Toffee Peanut Butter

Oatmeal With Butter Toffee Peanut Butter

After that excitement, I just couldn’t sleep; this happens almost every Saturday night and it’s so annoying. I figure this last time just might be because of my last final. But I definitely needed more fuel than usual for the 2+ hours I was awake. I’m not even sure when I got to bed, but this morning I stumbled out of bed late and just hungry.

Pineapple Chobani, Oatmeal With Crunchy PB, Maple Syrup, And Maple Butter

Pineapple Chobani, Oatmeal With Crunchy PB, Maple Syrup, And Maple Butter

Oatmeal With Crunchy PB, Maple Syrup, And Maple Butter

Oatmeal With Crunchy PB, Maple Syrup, And Maple Butter

I’m still trying to find out the secret to making a really amazing maple peanut butter. It’s harder than you’d think! And the secret ingredient is not coconut oil as it turns out. Oh well. This bowl was still really good with crunchy maple butter. And now I’m eating a Chobani as if it were a parfait–not stirring the jam up first. It’s pretty good this way.

What do you hate most about restless nights? In the time I’m awake, all I can think about is the stuff I could have done with that time rather than lie in a dark room and toss and turn. And here’s a fun chocolate giveaway to enter.

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Recipe Test: Midnight Chocolate Cupcakes

Posted on April 25, 2010. Filed under: Book Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

As I’ve mentioned several times, Book Pub Co. sent me the vegan dessert cookbook Sweet Utopia to read and review. I talked about my first impression here, but this weekend I got to test my first recipe. What a fun task that was! I immediately eyed the midnight chocolate cupcakes for my cousin’s 3rd birthday party today. I confess to making the following substitutions to the recipe:

  • All-purpose gluten-free flour and xanthan gum for the flour
  • Teeccino in place of the the coffee
  • Almond milk for the soy milk
Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Ice Cream And Crumbled Cupcake

Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Ice Cream And Crumbled Cupcake

Two cupcakes suffered an, err, unfortunate oven accident, but their crumbs were still good for eating, so I made a cake and ice cream sundae with So Delicious vanilla bean ice cream. I am such a cake and ice cream person at heart. I can’t wait for the Summer since the grocery store near my home sells these ice creams for a dollar less than the Whole Foods near my school 🙂

The cupcake was impressively moist and “cakey”; I wouldn’t have thought that would be easy to recreate without eggs. The moisture must come from the fat ingredients, which seemed to work well. Overall, I think this recipe relies on a lot of sugar to be good(there are at least 4 sources of it), when in fact this makes an impressive cake all its own and doesn’t need to distract with sweetness. I would definitely give this one a thumbs up.

Red Delicious Apple

Red Delicious Apple

I snacked on a red delicious watching Sherlock Holmes. In truth, I was paying more attention to my work and didn’t see most of the movie. I just like having British accents playing in the background. Can I get a white noise CD like that?

Oatmeal With Turbinado Peanut Butter

Oatmeal With Turbinado Peanut Butter

And I fashionably finished off the night with oatmeal and peanut butter. This one almost tasted like Garden Grille‘s, except the chunks of sugar didn’t dissolve and made this really crunchy. I’ll discover you yet!

Chocolate Frosting

Chocolate Frosting

I think the best thing is when you get to wake up and first thing make frosting. Run? Coffee? Breakfast? That can all wait. Chocolate first.

Midnight Chocolate Cupcake With Frosting

Midnight Chocolate Cupcake With Frosting

Perhaps surprisingly, I wasn’t a fan of this frosting recipe. It came out so thick, it was like fudge! It just wasn’t very spreadable or much more than melted chocolate. It would make for a good ganache filling, but it certainly didn’t come out like a “frosting”. I have to say, it was super simple to make, though. Believe it or not, I didn’t eat a cupcake for breakfast.

Oatmeal With Plain PB, Siggi's Orange Ginger Yogurt With Chocolate Chips

Oatmeal With Plain PB, Siggi's Orange Ginger Yogurt With Chocolate Chips

That’s more nutritious. I topped oatmeal with some 365 brand peanut butter(see, I practice what I preach). I also tried my very first Siggi! I chose the orange ginger flavor, since it sounded so exotic, and topped it with the vegan chocolate chips(you would too if you’d been handling them for 2 days). It was good, but it was a tad undersweetened for me; maybe I just have a sweet tooth to rival Averie’s. But what a fun flavor. And it’s so thick! Love it.

Are you a cake, brownie, or cookie person? I’m all about the cake, which is why cupcakes seemed perfect for this birthday party. I just love the light and airiness to the dessert! If I want something dense and chewy, I’d rather just eat a chocolate bar.

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Things To Do And Avoid On Those Hot Summer Days

Posted on April 24, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Do wake up at 7 before the weather turns hot to enjoy a nice run around your home streets.

Don’t go out with the mindset “I’m going to find some horses!” not knowing where the nearest horses are and getting lost 7 miles away from your house.

Do call your sleeping parents in a frenzy saying “I’m lost, can you pick me up?” and then wave them off when they find you saying “Naw, I can make the last 3 miles”

14 Miles In 1:57:24

14 Miles In 1:57:24

Don’t run 14 miles unless you really want to. Personally, that’s a bit too much out on the roads.

Oatmeal With Chocolate Peanut Butter And Coconut Milk, Birthday Cake Chobani

Oatmeal With Chocolate Peanut Butter And Coconut Milk, Birthday Cake Chobani

Do pour coconut milk on your oatmeal and sweeten your yogurt with gluten-free birthday cake mix instead of plain sugar for some really crazy food pairings that work beautifully.

Red Delicious Apple

Red Delicious Apple

Don’t eat store-bought apples when you have freshly picked Summer berries lining your countertops. Unfortunately, I don’t have that yet, so I did eat this organic red delicious apple.

Dill And Lemon Chickpea Salad With Raw Parsley Cheddar

Dill And Lemon Chickpea Salad With Raw Parsley Cheddar

Dill And Lemon Chickpea Salad With Raw Parsley Cheddar

Dill And Lemon Chickpea Salad With Raw Parsley Cheddar

Do make simple summer chickpea salads with this invariable formula:

Do go to Target when you’re double fisting gift cards and hit up the sales. I got 2 chocolate bars for $5 and a 4GB memory card for $13 bucks.

Raspberry Chocolove Bar

Raspberry Chocolove Bar

Don’t expect chocolate not to melt when you eat it. I think it says something about me that my addiction to chocolate and my hatred towards melted bars almost makes me completely hate the Summer season. I love chocolate.

We've got your Green Tea Coconut Milk dairy-free ice cream ri... on Twitpic

Do eat about as much ice cream as you can get your hands on, including fun and funky new flavors like green tea coconut milk ala So Delicious. It tasted very coconutty, but I didn’t mind because it made me think of this as some fun Asian boba tea or something. The green tea was actually subtle flavor to the whole thing. Wouldn’t this have been perfect for St. Patrick’s Day?

Don’t take pictures of said ice cream on your new camera which photos you can’t upload onto your computer yet. Whoops! I enjoyed about 2 servings.

Baby Carrots

Baby Carrots

Do snack on carrots for something healthy, low-sugar, and filling when you need that added crunch to hold you over.

Don’t waste your afternoon in front of Tivo watching Food Network and Little People Big World. Err, whoops? Well, to be fair, I’m only home for the weekend and need to soak up the goodness while I can 😛

Vegan, Gluten-Free Midnight Chocolate Cupcakes

Vegan, Gluten-Free Midnight Chocolate Cupcakes

Do make amazing and delicious desserts like vegan chocolate cupcakes from Sweet Utopia to test out new recipes while cooking for your cousins birthday.

Don’t crush 2 cupcakes by fussing around with the oven lay-out 😦 I still got 18 good ones! And 2 piles of crumbs that will be tasty on just about anything 🙂

Stir-Fried Maple Tofu And Sweet Potatoes With Mighty Maple

Stir-Fried Maple Tofu And Sweet Potatoes With Mighty Maple

Do try new meals, especially when things don’t go as planned. I’m very particular about my sweet potatoes, and these were too soft :-/ I tried cooking the tofu and sweet potato together in a pan with walnut oil to crisp them about. It wasn’t amazing, but certainly improved.

Don’t even think about not enjoying those nice Summer nights. If there’s nothing on The Food Network, I spy a Sherlock Holmes DVD to keep me from getting anywhere on my Latin homework.

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Homemade Nut Butters And Ten Tips To Tweet

Posted on April 16, 2010. Filed under: Book Review, Daily Update | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Thanks for all the great veggie burger suggestions; keep them coming! I’ve got a whole slew of brands to look for next time I go to Whole Foods and can’t wait to find some fun flavors. I’m also loving the recipe suggestions. I didn’t even think of making my own! For the remaining time at school, I don’t see that happening. But over the Summer it sounds like a fun project.

Sweet Utopia

Sweet Utopia

Last night, my entertainment was Survivor, old SNL skits, and reading some of Sweet Utopia which I mentioned I was sent from Books Publishing Co. to review. I like how it didn’t jump in to recipes but laid out what a vegan kitchen should have and everything that’s going to be called for in this book. What I wasn’t a fan of was the overemphasis on everything vegan; I think I’d rather be wowed by a recipe and look back in hindsight thinking “that was vegan?!” than be convinced going in these recipes will be “different”. I only got 2 recipes in after all of that, but one definitely struck my eye as the most decadent chocolate cake I could think of and I can’t wait to make it some time soon.

Green & Black's Cherry Dark Chocolate Bar

Green & Black's Cherry Dark Chocolate Bar

There’s so few joys in life lesser than opening up a new bar of chocolate and seeing the shiny tin foil.

Green & Black's Cherry Dark Chocolate Bar

Green & Black's Cherry Dark Chocolate Bar

I snacked on 20 squares Green & Black’s cherry dark chocolate while watching Survivor. I’ve had this a lot on Greek yogurt but not so much on its own. Eating it like this made me realize how intense the cherries were in flavor. Wow! I bet that also means they’re packed with antioxidants, just like the dark chocolate? Yeah, we’ll call this one healthy.

Organic Cripps Pink Apple

Organic Cripps Pink Apple

We picked up a few organic apples on sale at Whole Foods before I moved back in to the dorm. I didn’t care so much that they were organic that they were fresh; eating this definitely made me feel better than eating one sitting in the cafeteria for who knows how long.

Chocolate Pecan Butter Ingredients

Chocolate Pecan Butter Ingredients

I got a fun idea in my head watching SNL reruns: chocolate pecan butter. Don’t you love it? I just took a scoop of my homemade pecan butter, some cocoa powder, and vanilla agave and a touch of sea salt.

Oatmeal With Chocolate Pecan Butter And Coconut Milk

Oatmeal With Chocolate Pecan Butter And Coconut Milk

Yum! I think this could be called German’s Chocolate Cake oatmeal; it was that good. The sea salt was definitely the touch that made the chocolate flavor more pronounced, as with the coconut milk. I can’t believe how long this batch is lasting! I tell ya: if you move it to a plastic, seal-tight container in the fridge, it stays fresh a lot longer.

10 Miles In 89:29

10 Miles In 89:29

I knew I’d be running inside since rain was in the forecast, so I wanted to get up early and run at the gym. Still, I knew I needed to rest, and resisted setting the alarm. After enough sleep(sleep bores me), I hit the gym for 10 miles a bit later than usual. Apparently, the later crowd does not have the same TV preferences as the earlier people. I’m referencing the girl who changed The Today Show to 16 And Pregnant. Really? Really?

Oatmeal With White Chocolate Almond Butter And Coconut Milk, Strawberry Vanilla Yogurt, Vitabears

Oatmeal With White Chocolate Almond Butter And Coconut Milk, Strawberry Vanilla Yogurt, Vitabears

Breakfast was filled with flavors of Spring and Summer: vanilla, strawberry, coconut, almond. This was actually all inspired by my favorite white chocolate bar, and was a good substitute short of eating that for breakfast. The yogurt was plain Greek sweetened with Madhava’s vanilla agave and Crofter’s organic strawberry conserves

Raw Almond Butter With Fair Trade White Chocolate With Strawberries

Raw Almond Butter With Fair Trade White Chocolate With Strawberries

This is an almond butter I made over Winter break. It has raw, organic almonds and pieces of my favorite white chocolate bar, which is fair trade and has bits of strawberries in it. I think the vitamin bears wanted a taste 😉

Do you ever feel like for every Twitter follower you gain, you lose 2 more? Well, the good news is some of those are just people who follow you hoping to be followed back who then go back and unfollow. I wouldn’t worry about them. But you might also be doing things to genuinely annoy people. I know I have, and am in no way touting perfection righting this list. If anything, it’s a bit of self realization on places to improve. If nothing else, it was educational and comical. Enjoy!

  1. Don’t tweet every little thought that comes to your mind. “I wish my portable laptop had a portable toilet” may sound  cute, but someone on the other end is probably saying to themselves “What were they thinking?!”
  2. If you’re conversing with someone in particular, put @theirtwitID first. This way, only people who follow both of you will see the relevant conversation. If it’s really personal, direct message.
  3. Care about who follows you. Don’t just follow to be followed.
  4. Retweet! People follow you because they have the same interests as you. If you find something to your liking, share it.
  5. NOT EVERYTHING NEEDS TO BE SHOUTED!!!!!
  6. Cap your tweets. No one wants their Home to be filled with one face.
  7. There are other ways to communicate with people close to you. If you know someone well, use the phone to tell them what to add to the grocery list. Not Twitter.
  8. A Twitpic says a thousand words, which is useful when Twitter only lets you type 140
  9. Use #hashes and trending topics to get your voice in a stream of people with the same thing on their mind.
  10. Shortened words and syncopated grammar for space reasons is understandable. Misspelling and wrong grammar just looks poor.
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Teas, Tweets, Chocolate, And Sweets

Posted on April 1, 2010. Filed under: Book Review, Daily Update, Giveaway | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Despite the order of this rhythmic post title, I’ll start with chocolate and save the tea for last 😀

Newman's Own Organic Orange Dark Chocolate

Newman's Own Organic Orange Dark Chocolate

Last night I was feeling like a chocolate snob and debating between which brand of orange dark chocolate to have; yes, I do that. In the end, I went with Newman’s Own Organic Orange Dark Chocolate not just because it’s organic but because it has a sweeter flavor from a higher sugar content. OK, enough chocolate talk. That prompted the tweet,

EvanFMFF: I want to go on an all-organic chocolate diet so that when I get fat from it I can say “yeah, but it’s organic fat”.

It was a joke (sort of :-D) but I loved the responses so much I had to share. Some bloggers wanted to join in; could I be more popular than the cookie diet? Other bloggers were their witty selves:

RunEatRepeat: @EvanFMFF and when you die all that organic fat will be like feeding the soil in a good way 🙂

which reminded me of something I want to share from the Today Show: sewage waste is not only permitted, but used in non-organic produce fertilizing. Uhh, ew! I don’t always or even often eat organic produce but these are the kinds of things I’d rather not know because it makes me want to. And, lastly, some bloggers made a knowledgeable and poignant tweet:

CandidRD: @EvanFMFF Sadly people really do think organic and “natural” foods are ALL healthy. HA!

That’s a good reminder that just because you shop at Whole Foods doesn’t mean you can’t go wrong, or at least be picking up things that are still “sometimes” treats rather than good-for-you diet staples.

Jokerz Candy Bar

Jokerz Candy Bar

For instance, Go Max Go Foods Jokerz candy bars. Not USDA organic,  and not a diet staple by any means. But one a week won’t kill you 😉 Just maybe your wallet.

Teeccino Mocha Herbal Coffee

Teeccino Mocha Herbal Coffee

This morning I slept in in hopes of a sunny outdoors run later on this morning; let’s see what the sun has to say about that. Instead of coffee, I thought I’d opt for mocha herbal teeccino instead so as to not dehydrate myself. It doesn’t really taste like coffee, but it’s nice beverage to have around if you need to feel April Fooled into drinking the real java. It’s better because it’s non-acidic. If it were the only type of coffee I kept around, I probably wouldn’t notice missing the “real” thing.

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Honey Maple PB, Cacao Coconut Yogurt With Coconut PB

Pumpkin Oatmeal With Honey Maple PB, Cacao Coconut Yogurt With Coconut PB

Cacao Maca Coconut Yogurt With Coconut Peanut Butter

Cacao Maca Coconut Yogurt With Coconut Peanut Butter

Ahh, pumpkin oats, my voluminous friend, where have you been these past few days? 🙂 There was some pumpkin oatmeal with honey maple protein peanut butter, but the real story was in the yogurt. I mixed a plain So Delicious coconut milk yogurt with 2 tablespoons Navitas Naturals‘ twister powder(cacao, maca, and hemp) and topped that with some Tropical Traditions coconut peanut butter. Coconutty? I think so. The peanut butter was a little stiff on the yogurt and might have been overkill, but at least it was tasty overkill.

Sweet Utopia

Sweet Utopia

Rick from Book Publishing Co. offered to send me a book for review and share my opinions on. Sweet Utopia by Sharon Valencik is a book devoted to vegan desserts; how perfect does that sound? Desserts are something I’ve always had trouble “veganizing” myself so I can’t wait to see what she has to teach me and how much I can take away. For the month of April and possibly May, I’ll be flipping through the book, picking up tips, and trying out recipes. In the end, I’ll give a comprehensive review and hopefully if I end up loving it I can suggest it to you all! Sound fun?

Last but not least, the winner of the Celestial Tea Wellness giveaway as chosen by random lot is Angela! Congrats to her and happy sipping 🙂

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