Pancakes and Cupcakes

Hey everyone! Hope you all had a lovely weekend. Mine was nice :) Got to hang out with Delilah who gets funnier every day. It’s crazy how smart and funny this kid is. Didn’t get pics though, sorry! Funny thing that did happen was I walked into my brother’s house and wandered into the living room looking for everyone and there was a big bunny house thing in the corner! The cutest bunny was in there and I was so confused and excited because I love bunnies but never heard anything about them getting one. They are pet sitting the bunny for the week. He is so freaking cute!

Before I get into what I did today, I totally forgot to tell you guys last week that my trainer no longer works for my gym :( I’m super sad about this because we had a really good rapport and I am not really interested in training with anyone else there. I’m kind of trying to figure out what to do. I’m thinking I may join a different gym that has classes so I can get different workouts without having to pay for a trainer. I have a gym in mind and the funny thing is that one of my former trainers heads up the personal training there and he is an AMAZING trainer so when I’m ready to get back into the personal training I’d be so happy to have him training me again!

So today I would normally go grocery shopping but I still have plenty of stuff from last week so I spent the day in and did a little cooking. Here’s what I made!

This first yummy summer treat even looks pretty waiting to be blended.

I finally got to try the Strawberry Watermelon Slushie I mentioned in a Fun Friday post a while back. It was just as delicious as I imagined it would be :) Very refreshing!

I also finally got to make the buckwheat pancakes I’ve been meaning to make. I used this recipe but instead of poppy seeds I added blueberries because that’s all I had. They taste pretty good but next time I’ll probably use a cup of oat flour and a half cup of buckwheat flour. I’m still getting used to the taste of buckwheat so this was a little overpowering but they are still pretty tasty. The batter was very thick too and I didn’t know if that is normal since I rarely ever make pancakes.

Finally, on the heels of my gift themed Fun Friday post, I have some pretty new cupcakes to show you! Another year has passed and the same friend that received the pretty pink cupcakes in my header is the birthday girl again. I decided to try and make a two color swirled look and for the three you see here in front it worked out pretty well. I need to perfect my frosting transfer to piping bag since the first three cupcakes came out pretty much all pink. Oh well. I added some of the glitter flakes to these as well for a little extra sparkle :) I’ll be dropping off these cupcakes this evening with a bottle of wine for her to enjoy!

Finally, for all of my fellow seasonal allergy sufferers, did you know that what you eat can exacerbate symptoms? Apparently there are certain foods that can cross react because of allergenic proteins and cause you to have oral allergy symptoms? Read about it here, here, here, and here. Interesting huh? I’m still having a hard time with allergies even though I’ve been taking my antihistamine. It’s getting annoying lol.

That’s all I’ve got for today. I hope that your Monday has treated you well! I’m hoping to pop in again sometimes before Friday :) Have a great week if I don’t!

Orlando Vacation 2k13: What I Ate

Hey everyone!! I’m back from Orlando :) I had an AMAZING time and I’m excited that I have tons of pictures to show you! So many, in fact, that I’m going to have to split this into two posts. So today I figured I’d share with you the yummy food that I ate and tomorrow I’ll show you some of the cool and pretty things I saw during the trip. For those of you on Instagram I know you’ve seen most of these pics :)

So here are the yummy things that I ate! Be forewarned that this stuff isn’t particularly healthy… I made a deal with myself before that I’d enjoy vacation and get back on the CSD train when I got back :) So here’s (some of) what I ate on my vacation!

I’ve come to realize that as I get older I’m becoming more and more of a germophobe. Walking through the airport I realized that planes are gross, and people are gross so I picked up some Airborne, mixed it with a bottle of water and sucked it down.

We stayed in for the most part on Thursday and ate there so our first meal out was for lunch on Friday. We decided to go to Loving Hut because it’s so damn good :) I really wanted to try something different but I decided to stick with my usual which is “Combo 1.” It has a fresh summer roll, golden rice, tofu and veggies. It is so good and definitely not too heavy (which is what I was afraid of with some of the other dishes). I could eat buckets of that rice, it’s SO GOOD.

After Loving Hut we decided to go to Raphsodic Bakery, which we first tried the last time I was there. I LOVE that they put the word “Love” on all of their bags and boxes. Anyway, we chose four different treats to share because we couldn’t decide. There is a slice of pumpkin loaf, a chocolate chip sandwich cookie, a chocolate almond biscotti, and chocolate marzipan brownie. Everything was amazing but believe it or not the biscotti was my favorite! And Shen, now I know how you can eat just half of your yummy desserts :)

My friend happens to live near a Mellow Mushroom which I had read offers vegan pizza. This is not something I come across every day so we decided to bring pizza in. I don’t remember what day but it was early on so I want to say maybe Friday night? Anyway, I got a small (10 inch) Kosmic Karma pizza which (when veganized) had roma tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, and daiya. It was great and it literally lasted me all weekend.

For brunch on Saturday we went to our usual brunch spot, Ethos Vegan Kitchen. I really love this restaurant. The food is always good and their new location is larger and has a great atmosphere. However, this is the one meal of my trip that I kind of regretted a little. Not because it wasn’t good because damn it was actually REALLY good. I decided to go for something on the menu that I knew I’d never be able to recreate because sometimes that’s the fun of going out. I decided on the biscuits and gravy. Like I said, the food was delicious but holy shit was it heavy. I got about 2/3 of the way in before I had to throw in the towel. And I didn’t eat again until that night because I couldn’t shake that heavy feeling for a long time. I want to re-iterate though that the food wasn’t bad by any means and in fact was really delicious! I just should have known better than to order a really heavy dish, especially for my first meal of the day. Ethos is definitely still one of my fav spots in Orlando!

Every time I visit I like to bake something for my friend and his friends. This time I decided to take something I found on Pinterest and veganize it. I saw the recipe for Funfetti Cheesecake Cookie Cups and thought they were so cute! I decided to veganize it and make my life a little easier so I made them into bars! Look how cute they came out. Basically I used the cheesecake recipe from Vegan Heartland’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars (doubled with sprinkles added at the end) and the chocolate chip cookie recipe was Super Vegan’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever recipe. I followed the directions on the pinned recipe (I had to cook it a little longer though) and it came out really well! Above is the only piece that I ate but it was damn good.

My laziness got the best of me for Cinco de Mayo so I went the easy route and made some vegan nachos. They were REALLY good. All I did was heat/melt some spicy fat free refried beans and Daiya Cheddar on some tortilla chips. Simple but tasty.

I talked a big game about how I was going to partake in some alcoholic beverages but the reality was that I only drank this single glass of wine. Partially because I am a cheap date and it doesn’t take much for me to start feeling warm and partially because I just wasn’t feeling it. This glass of wine was really delicious though. This is by far my favorite wine and I can’t find it here in NY! Wah!

So these are the meals and beverages that I thought were photo worthy. As you can see we ate a lot of meals in and made some meals and snacks last pretty much the whole weekend. Everything was delicious but I’m definitely craving some fresh produce and am looking forward to getting back on track with a Crazy Sexy Diet inspired lifestyle.

I hope you enjoyed part 1 of my Orlando trip wrap up! I know it was a long post so thanks for bearing with me! The next one is probably going to be even longer since I have so many pics so sorry in advance!

Hope you all enjoyed your weekend! Back to the grind, boo!

Grocery Haul and Prep Day

Hey everyone! Look at that, it only took 3 days for me to post again. Getting better, right? ;) I’ve got lots of pictures for you today since I spent all morning grocery shopping then immediately cooking some of the haul to try and pull myself out of the lazy trend I’ve been following. I think it should work out well.

First, check out the haul:

Broccoli, bananas, spring mix, carrots, eggplant, cauliflower, cucumber and zucchini.

Some dolmas, trail mix (recommended by Maud!) and two individual packets of Sacha Inchi seeds. I’ve seen the large bags before but I love buying single serving stuff because it is a great grab and go snack. I was so excited to see the individual servings, I’d never seen them before!

Immediately after unpacking I started prepping some food to make easy meals during the week. My oven got a workout today ;)

First up I made a batch of my Gluten Free Carrot Spice Muffins. I used a larger muffin tin to make a nice sized muffin like you’d get at a bakery so it only made 5. Which is fine because these are a once in a while treat… most are in the freezer right now.

I plugged it in to a calorie counting app and it says that with 5 servings, each muffin has 330 calories. I feel like that’s a great number in comparison to the calories you’d normally find in a bakery muffin. They have no sugar, are sweetened with maple syrup and banana and have plenty of healthy fruit, veggies and nuts to fill you up. And they taste amazing.

Up next was a big batch or roasted veggies: zucchini, eggplant and mushrooms.

I plan on adding these veggies to salads, MAYBE pasta (as I’ve mentioned before I’m not a huge pasta eater but once in a while it’s good), as a side with dolmas and raw veggies, etc.

Finally, I made a big batch of roasted cauliflower. Can’t go wrong with a big batch of this in the fridge :)

Also, as a mini update, I hit pads with my trainer last Friday for the first time in probably 4-6 months. He had come up with these advanced combo drills and decided to use me as a guinea pig to see if they were doable/teachable. I was so excited because it was like I never stopped. I picked it up really quickly and he seemed really happy about it. It was really nice to know that what I feared was not my reality and that I didn’t forget everything that I had learned in 4 and a half years of boxing/kickboxing training. I’m so excited to get back in there again!

That’s about it for today. I’m going to do my best to post more often and get back to posting meals. Hopefully this prep will help me keep up with my healthy, clean meals this week which will hopefully help me feel better. Have a great day everyone!

Gluten Free Almond Coconut Oatmeal Cookies!!

Hey everyone!! Happy Valentine’s Day :) I’m not big on Valentine’s day so that’s the only mention you’ll get out of me but I figured I’d wish you all a good one. I figured today would be a great day to share my recipe for my Almond Coconut Oatmeal Cookies!! I loved these cookies so much and I really hope you’ll try them. Soooooooo good!

I used this as my start point and made a bunch of changes to create this new cookie. Yum!

Gluten Free Almond Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

3/4 cup gf oat flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup brown sugar*

1/4 cup white sugar

2 tbsp maple syrup

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce, drained on a paper towel

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract

1 1/2 cups gf rolled oats

3/4 cups sliced almonds

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

*Instead of regular brown sugar I use Alter Eco’s Mascobado sugar that was sent to me to review. This was my secret for this recipe. It added a beautiful hint of caramel that was so perfect. I really love this sugar, you should definitely try it in place of brown sugar if you can get it in your local stores.

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

3. Mix the sugars, syrup, applesauce, coconut oil and extracts in a medium bowl. Add the dry ingredients and mix well.

4. Add oats, almonds and coconut. Stir until combined then let sit for 10 minutes.

5. Drop cookies on baking sheet (I used a small ice cream scoop to portion my cookies… probably about the size of a rounded tsp). Bake cookies 10-11 minutes until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes on tray then transfer to cooling rack. Enjoy!!

These cookies are seriously amazing. I really love the almond extract in it too. I may add a little almond flour next time too :)

That’s all for me my friends! Hope you all have a great night, whatever your plans may be!! I’ll be spending a quiet night at home. It’s Thursday after all… which means a new episode of Impractical Jokers :) Have a good night!

Kitchen Adventures and Rainy Day Dramz

Hey everyone. Hope you’ve all been well over the past few days. I’m writing this from my bed, barely able to move. I’m so exhausted! And SO SORE! A little from shoveling and a little from wandering around aimlessly for hours. See what happened was I left super early this morning to run errands so I could bake this afternoon and get to the gym. Well. No. Didn’t happen. When I got out of the store and started up my car… my windshield wiper wouldn’t work. The very one I replaced two days ago. Wouldn’t move at all and it was POURING. I was a little panicked because I literally couldn’t see anything while driving but I managed to drive about a half mile or mile down the road to a gas station, where I proceeded to wait for hours for a new part. The gas station was right next to the mall so I climbed over snow mountains in pouring rain then wandered like a teenager cutting school. It was very surreal and by the end of the ordeal I was exhausted.

I don’t know about you guys, but I like to get in the kitchen after having a bad day. Even though I was exhausted, I still managed to make all three recipes I had wanted to make :) Check em out!

 The first recipe I made was Alicia Silverstone’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. I’ve made these before and they always come out great!

It is my friend’s birthday this week and these are his absolutely favorite treat. I first made them for him a few years ago and it has become a tradition. The recipe made 12 large cups and they fit perfectly in two layers in this cute little box.

There are a few other birthdays I’m celebrating in April and decided to gift these friends with some homemade cookies. I’ve been holding on to a recipe I wanted to try for a while and figured this would be the perfect time to test it out. I am so happy with the way these came out and I can’t wait to share the recipe later on this week!

Check out these beauties! They are my Gluten Free Almond Coconut Oatmeal cookies. They are light, crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. I pulled out a secret weapon for this batch as well. Stay tuned to see what I used!!

The last recipe I tried was Laura’s Raw Snickers!!!! I knew the minute I saw these I HAD to try them before I embark on the Anti Candida Diet. These cuties are the naked candies, pre-chocolate dipped. My caramel was a little chunky since I don’t have an awesome high speed blender but I’m ok with some date chunks in my caramel ;)

The finished product. My bars aren’t as pretty as Laura’s but oh well. Not too bad I guess!

I cut one of the bars in half… you know, so you guys could see the inside ;) I tried a small half and it was so delicious!! They are decadent and definitely worth all of the effort. This treat will be a perfect send off into ACD land.

This will probably be the last sweet I have for a few months as I did a great job using up most of my sweeteners today (maple syrup, agave, dates, etc.). I just have a little bit of fruit to use up then I’m ready to start!! I’m excited about starting and hoping to see some improvement in how I’m feeling. I’m hoping to keep it up through the next couple of months, maybe until the spring? The plan in to be strict for at least three months then start reintroducing fruit slowly in the spring. Hopefully I’ll be able to tolerate fruit by the summer so I can enjoy my watermelon, cherries and berries (in moderation of course;)).

That’s all for today. I’m planning on just crashing the rest of the night and relaxing big time. Hope you all have a great night!

Productive Monday!

Hey guys! Well, as I said yesterday, my goal today was to be as productive as possible and try and do some cooking for the week. I’m really happy that I accomplished everything I wanted to and I have some fun stuff to show you :)

I energized myself by making a really delicious green juice. Today’s juice had lots of romaine, a large cucumber, 2 stalks of celery, granny smith apple and the juice of 1/2 of a very juicy lemon. It was the best one yet!

First up I made the Hummus for Bagels from Veganomicon. I used to make this all the time before I was gluten free and it is amazing. Isa basically tweaked her hummus recipe to create a thicker spread, perfect for bagels or english muffins (my former preferred hummus carrier). It was a few hours after my juice and I was getting hungry so I figured it would be a perfect late morning snack.

This was my favorite way to eat this hummus. A healthy schmear (yeah I said it) topped with some fresh basil and sun dried tomatoes. I used to eat it mostly on Ezekiel English Muffins or I’d make a sandwich on a scooped out, toasted everything bagel. Nowadays I use gluten free toast and it is just as good :) Definitely give this a try!

After the hummus I finally made this Cinnamon Quinoa Oat Bread, which is basically a lightly sweetened gluten free flatbread. I saw it on Laura’s blog and thought it sounded amazing so I finally made my own. I didn’t have quinoa flour so I just used all oat flour and made my own almond meal since I didn’t have that either (those were the two ingredients I forgot from Whole Foods, oops!). This worked out perfectly though. The flatbread is chewy and dense and lightly sweet with a perfect hint of cinnamon. This is one of my favorite things I’ve tried in a long time. I only tried a little sliver but it was damn good (especially because it was still warm!). Can’t wait to try it with toppings!

After the flatbread I blended up some raw caesar dressing to enjoy with some kale. Didn’t feel the need to take a pic though… I’d rather show you tons of pics of this:

My boss’ birthday is today so we are going to have a little celebration at work tomorrow and as the baker of the bunch I made the birthday treat.

I used the basic chocolate cupcake recipe in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World along with the vanilla buttercream recipe burned into my memory. There is something special about these cupcakes though ;)

Here is one cupcake garnished with a hint of a sweet surprise hidden inside ;)

Check out the beautiful fresh strawberry filling. I just chopped up some fresh strawberries, mixed it with some of the buttercream and piped it in the middle. My co-worker suggested some sort of fresh fruit incorporated into the dessert when I asked for suggestions and this is what I came up with. Hopefully he’ll like it :)

That’s all for today. I’m completely exhausted so I’m going to take some time to rest up :) It has been a cold, grey, yucky day… perfect for curling up with some tea and a crappy movie :)

Hope you all had a great Monday and enjoy your evening!

2012 Holiday Baking Extravaganza Part 3

Hello friends! Quick post today because I’m completely exhausted. Did some running around after work and I’m spent. So I’ll keep the chit chat short and just show you some pretty treats that came out of my kitchen.

The last baked treat to come out of my oven is also from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. These are the Caramel Pecan Bars to which I added a little chocolate to the top ;) Everything is better with chocolate, right?

They came out great! These are super sweet so a little goes a long way. Another great recipe!

In total contrast to that gooey, sweet, decadent dessert, here is the raw treat I made from Practically Raw. I couldn’t wait to try the kale chips and the Sour Cream and Onion flavor jumped out at me right off the bat!

Here they are all packed up in my paper bag :) They stayed pretty well! A little soggy but not too bad! The flavor is phenomenal! A little tangy, a little punch from the shallot. Definitely a winning recipe! Very excited about this one!

That’s all for tonight! Off to rest! Hope you all have a great night!

2012 Holiday Baking Extravaganza Part 2

Good evening friends :) How are you all doing today? I’m exhausted but doing well since I had some more successes in the kitchen. After my fails a little while ago it feels good to have everything come out ok. Especially since it is crunch time and I have to get these packages out soon!

Here’s what came out of the oven today:

Up first is another winning recipe from Vegan Cookies Take Over Your Cookie Jar! Oh man, aren’t they gorgeous?

These beauties are the Blueberry Spice Crumb Bars :) I wanted to add something fruity to the mix since I’ve been making a lot of chocolate and what a great choice! These would be great during the summer for a beautiful dessert featuring fresh berries (ooooh or cherries!!). I highly recommend this recipe!

Check out these Chocolate Chip Surprise Cookies!! What’s the surprise? Well, I subbed out half of the chocolate chips for crushed Candy Cane Joe Joe’s! Oh man, it’s very subtle but definitely adds a nice holiday flavor.

Aren’t they pretty? I used this chocolate chip cookie recipe and used 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and a 1/2 cup of crushed Candy Cane Joe Joe’s. It’s as easy as that!

There are actually two more treats that I made today that I have yet to photograph. Stay tuned for part 3 coming up tomorrow or Wednesday… whenever I can get back on here. There’s one more sweet recipe as well as the second recipe I’m trying from Practically Raw. It’s still in the dehydrator right now but I can’t wait!

Oh, as for the Dr. more of the same nothing. We are re-re-re-testing the results I’ve gotten in the past for inflammation and Vitamin D and whatever else was elevated (or deficient in the case of Vitamin D) to see where I stand. She also wants me to get a CT scan of my sinuses… a very isolated small part of a large problem but whatever, I guess I’ll see what happens after the blood results. When they call with the results I’m going to ask about the possibility of Celiac disease again. I’ve read you can still have it even with negative blood work so I’m going to see if that is still something we should explore considering nothing else is really panning out.

That’s all for today! I hope that you are all well. I’ll be back soon with the last installment of my kitchen adventures from the past two days. For now, I’m completely exhausted and I’m just going to relax :) Have a great night!

2012 Holiday Baking Extravaganza Part 1

Hey guys! Hope you are all enjoying your Sunday. I woke up today and stayed in bed for a while and that felt GREAT. It was nice to be able to relax this morning, especially because I knew I’d be doing a lot of baking today. I can’t believe how quickly Christmas has crept up this year. I’m hoping to do all of my baking between today and tomorrow, so far I’m doing pretty well!

Let’s check out what came out of my kitchen today :)

Gingerbread Biscotti from Vegan Cookies Take Over Your Cookie Jar!! Aren’t the pretty?!!

They came out absolutely amazing! I left out the crystalized ginger because I don’t like super overwhelming ginger flavor but these were subtle but still spicy. Such a great recipe!

Peppermint Cookie’s n Cream Bark! I packed up this box for my friend who LOVES this stuff. It’s always a hit so it’s a great choice and it comes together really quick. All you do is melt some vegan chocolate at mix in some crushed Candy Cane Joe Joe’s, spread on a cookie sheet and place in the fridge to harden. So quick and easy!

Finally, I made these Chocolate Pumpkin Loaves from the PPK! I’ve been wanting to make this recipe for a long time and I’m so glad I did!

I mixed up one recipe’s worth of batter and split it between a few mini loaf pans. It made 3 regular sized ones and one runt ;)

Obviously I couldn’t give these away without trying them first! ;) I cut off a small piece of the runt loaf and tried it and it was delicious! Oh and I forgot to say I made them gluten free by using oat flour instead of all-purpose flour and the taste and texture were still great! Definitely a great recipe!

So that’s what I made today :) I have another day of baking planned for tomorrow after my appointment with the Dr. I also will be making another recipe from Amber’s book! Lots of great stuff happening so hopefully I’ll be able to post a little more than I have been. For now, I’m going to relax in bed and listen to some podcasts and drink some tea.

Hope you all have a great Sunday! It’s definitely lazy day weather around here so I’m going to take advantage of that while I can :)

Holiday Treats Giveaway!

Hey everyone!! Hope you are all ok! Sorry my posts have been more sporadic lately. Between a low appetite and being busier than usual it’s been tough to get posts together but I promise this will be a good one!! As always, I’m planning on making A LOT of baked treats for the holidays this year to give to friends and family and have decided that it’s GIVEAWAY TIME!!

I’m going to make up a yummy package of delicious vegan treats for one of my awesome readers :) Before I get to the details, I figured I’d provide some inspiration from the past few years.

Peppermint Cookies ‘n’ Cream Bark

S’mores Bark

Almond Joy Cookies

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies

Candy Cane Joe Joe Truffles

Ginger Snap Truffles

I love holiday baking in case you couldn’t tell ;) I finally decided on what I’m going to make this year and with the exception of one item, everything will be new this year! Can’t wait to see how everything comes out!

So here’s where you come in. All you have to do is comment on this post with your favorite holiday treat by midnight on Sunday, December 9. Earn an extra entry by tweeting about this giveaway (please tag me @xvavaveganx). Please write a second comment for the tweet and include your twitter name :) If you don’t have twitter you can earn an extra entry by posting about this giveaway in your blog! Please link back to this post and provide the link to your post in a separate comment!

That’s all you have to do! I’ll choose one winner on Monday and let you know that evening! I’ll be baking starting next week and I can’t wait to show you what I’m making!

I hope you all have a great night!