24 March 2010

I Love Cake!

Whenever I am asked to bake a cake for some celebration or another, I become a mixed bag of emotions. The first is nervousness, the fear of the cake not being perfect, because honestly, I want to make the most wonderful cake for someone just to highlight how special they are. Then I have the great feeling of elation when I have decided what to make and have an idea of how to make it. Coming up with winning flavor combinations and building layers of tastiness and art make me feel great. There is the zen of baking and the chaos of construction that can make everyone of my muscles ache as if I have just performed in a marathon, but it is all worth it. In the end when I deliver a cake and I see that person's eyes light up and their tummy give an audible nod of appreciation, I am renewed. I feel accomplished.

19 March 2010

Fudgy Agave Brownies

Today was a good day. I got up early and ate a bagel with peanut butter and jelly, I did laundry, mowed the yard, worked out, helped my sister in a crisis, started a new book, "The Year of the Flood" by Margaret Atwood and baked the best brownies I have ever tasted. I wanted to do something for National Meat Out Day (tomorrow) and for my dear friends Alyssa and Owen with whom Timmy and I will be sharing our Meat Out day with. I wasn't really thinking of creating a new recipe, I just wanted a basic brownie that everyone would enjoy. Well upon close inspection of my fridge I noticed I was out of earth balance, I did not have any almond milk, nor did I have as much bittersweet chocolate as most of the recipes called for. This is when I got crafty and started tossing in what I thought would resemble a brownie mix and crossed my fingers hoping for a decent result. What I got was more than decent, it was glorious!

And now my friends, I share the recipe with you!

2 T. flax meal
1 cup filtered water
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 plus 2T. agave nectar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp. pure bourbon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup morello cherries

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

In a blender mix flax meal and water until semi gooey. Combine flour and cocoa powder and set aside. In mixing bowl combine agave, canola oil and vanilla. Then add in flax mixture. Mix wet ingredients thoroughly then add dry and beat until it becomes a thick fudgy batter.

Pour into well greased 8x8 inch baking pan and top with chocolate chips and morello cherries. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

I get my morello cherries jarred at Trader Joe's and they are fantastic!

topped with Ricemellow

16 March 2010

Cinnamon Buns

Tee hee, I wrote buns! Okay, enough of my 3rd grade humor, the other day I was creating cinnamon buns something awful. I was at work and my tum tum was a grumblin' and the only thing that could fill my tummy with enough food love was a bigger than life cinnamon bun and a hearty glass o' almond milk. I can home opened up my "Joy of Vegan Baking" cook book and went to town. Now, I have never made cinnamon buns before so I did follow the recipe word for word and I will say that though these guys were a bite of heaven, there are a few things I am going to do differently the next time I make these bad boys. I will definitely use more whole wheat flour and add flax meal, toss out the white sugar and replace it with agave, and make a maple frosting for the tops. I am also thinking of blueberry cinnamon rolls, oh yum!

13 March 2010

Plantain Chips

I am not sure where I got this recipe, as my memory is often fuzzy and alludes me. I tried sifting through my many cookbooks and a recipe was never revealed. I am thinking it may be from the Thrive vegan book by Brendan Brazier, but alas, who knows? The point though is that these plantain chips are amazing. I dare you to eat just one, really, I dare you.

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees
Slice two large plantains and place on a well oiled baking sheet, I used coconut oil. Then sprinkle on cinnamon and bake for 45 minutes to one hour.

They make a perfect work snack and are wonderful for taking to the movies as a healthy alternative to all that silly stuff peddled in theatres as food.

07 March 2010

Birthday Timmy

As sneaky as Tim was tyring to be with not letting on that he had a birthday coming up, he wasn't aware of the sleuthiness (I made that word up) of his friends and super awesome fiance (me, silly). I had been planning for Timmy's birthday surprise since December and had commissioned my friend, Mike Maas, a super talented artist to create a painting of our dog Ellie for Tim's special day. I thought of the painting when Tim and I had been watching Tim Burton's "Ed Wood" when the scene with Ed (Johnny Depp) and Bella Lugosi (Martin Landau) were in Bella's house and his chihuahuas start howling and Mr. Lugosi says, "Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make." a quote from the 1931 Dracula. This scene gave Tim the giggles. This is all it took for my brain to come up with the perfect birthday gift.

"Ellie Lugosi"

He went berserk! He shouted out a few swear words and have me one monstrous hug. In other words, he loved it.

I was not the only one who had a creative and super rad present for Tim. His dear friends Lucy and Kyle in Portland shipped him vegan donuts from Voodoo Donuts and we both did a little donut dance of joy and ate them like ravenous vegans eat donuts. They were gone in two days!

ugh I am drooling just looking at these photos

Then as a b-day celebration we went out to dinner at Thai Elephant in Tempe with Celine, Dani, Bill, Marcus and Tim Moustache. Celine and Dani gave Tim a fantastic bottle of wine and Bill gave him "squat". We all came back to our house and enjoyed the chocolate, chocolate and chocolate cake I baked for the occasion.

"Dine, dine my darling"

"Turning 30 was awesome!" said Tim. Ha! Thirty, yeah right! (:

05 March 2010

Baby Shower

Today I got up very early and started to prepare for a baby shower taking place this evening. The mother to be is an adorable girl (and when I say girl, I mean full grown woman) named Jen who is just overjoyed to be having her child. The theme of her shower is all things she has been craving during her pregnancy. I imagine there will be a wide array of bizarre goodies at her house this evening. She recently attended an event that I had baked for and fell head over heels for my mini cupcakes and now she will have six dozen to enjoy all to herself, or with her guests if she so chooses to. The flavors she wanted were chocolate with chocolate frosting and a yummy little cherry in the center, vanilla with oreo cookie frosting, and lemon with lemon frosting and fresh fruit. Good choices Jen! I hope you enjoy them.


chocolate chocolate cherry

oreo goodness

03 March 2010


Arizona is such a crazy place. We live in the city surrounded by mountains on all sides. When in the middle of the city all you see are the typical city scenes fast cars, freeways, convenience stores, the occasional cute kid on a bike and smog, lots of smog. But, if you try hard (and really not that hard) you can find the most wonderful and beautiful spots in this state. Timmy and I went south last weekend to Bisbee Arizona. Bisbee is an old mining town south of Tucson and it is full of charm, friendly people and a blossoming art scene.

We left Tempe after I got off from work and arrived in Bisbee as the sun was setting. The weather was a bit cooler, the air fresher and the atmosphere was calm. We checked in at the Shady Dell RV park which has been featured on the Travel Channel and is one of the hottest destination points in Arizona.

The Shady Dell has classic 50's and 60's Air Stream trailers that have been refurbished and are fully functional.

Timmy was like a kid in a candy store! He opened all of the cupboards, rummaged through the Frank Sinatra records and even poked his head in the old 1950's oven. "This place is great!" he proclaimed.

We cozied up on the couch for a bit, then headed out downtown.

even comes with an apron, this place has everything!

bathroom tile

Downtown Bisbee is a small area located a skip away from the big copper mine that is no longer in use, though if interested the mine does offers tours. We went into a few different antique stores, passed by a row of protesters (Woman in Black Protesting the War) stopped in for a great cup of coffee then went to Cafe Roka for dinner. I had made reservations and notified the staff that we were yikes...vegans! Not one person flinched at the "v" word and to our surprise the chef made us a wonderful 4 course vegan meal, it would have been 5 but vegan desserts are a hard one to master.

Our main course was tempeh on a risotto rice patty with green beans, peppers, onions and three different sauces to drizzle on top. The meal was fantastic!
Back in our trailer we had some dark chocolate and Italian red wine and enjoyed the classic radio tuned in to an oldies station that featured adverts from the past and a great collection of music from the 40's, 50's and early 60's.
The next day was freezing and wet. We ate breakfast at Dot's Diner which had scrambled tofu and bought some great items at the Bisbee Co-Op, then headed to Tucson. Timmy and I took his mom out to lunch at the vegan restaurant Lovin' Spoonfuls then drove home in the pouring rain listening to our Bisbee compilation CD. We even saw a rainbow on our way home. Best day ever!