March 25, 2011

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes with Blueberry Frosting


I've been working on this vanilla cupcake recipe for what seems like forever now and I think I've finally got it! Soft and moist, but not so much that they fall apart, and incredibly delicious! Just what you want in a cupcake! I was trying to come up with a really great vanilla cupcake recipe for my friend's baby shower that's coming up in the beginning of April (that I'm throwing with one of my other friends). I'll probably just keep the frosting vanilla flavor for the party and just omit the blueberry juice, but of course add blue food coloring (she's having a boy!) I also wanted to create this recipe because my Best Friend asked me a couple of weeks ago if I knew of a good Vegan vanilla cake recipe. That got me to thinking, I don't think I've ever made a Vegan vanilla cake. What? Why? I don't know, I guess my love for chocolate cake kept me from making one! I'm on a little bit of a sugar overload right now (if you couldn't tell by all the tangents and exclamation points I've been using)...I should probably take a break from the desserts for a while!

Cupcake Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup vegan shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened smooth applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk

 Preheat the oven to 350F.

Cream the shortening until fluffy. Add the sugar and continue to cream. Add the vanilla and applesauce and mix in well.

Sift together the flour and baking powder and then mix into the batter in thirds, alternating with the milk.

Scoop the batter into the oiled cupcake liners, filling them 3/4 of the way full. I love using my ice cream scoop for this. It comes out with equal proportions every time. Just make sure you're filling the scoop 3/4 of the way.

Bake 18-21 minutes. Check at 15 minutes to maker sure the tops aren't getting too brown! Allow to cool before decorating.

Blueberry Frosting:
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanillla
  • 1 tbsp non-dairy milk
  • 2 tbsp blueberry juice

Beat the shortening until creamy. Gradually add 1 cup of powdered sugar.

Add the vanilla, milk, and juice and beat together. Then add the rest of the powdered sugar. Mix until well combined. If the frosting is a little thin, just add more powdered sugar. If it's a little thick, just add a TINY bit more blueberry juice or milk.

Then I sprinkled mine with coconut and gobbled them up! For the blueberry juice, I had frozen blueberries up in my freezer that I just microwaved for about 20 seconds until the juices came out. No need to go and buy a whole thing of blueberry juice!

March 15, 2011

Classic Blueberry Muffins


I don't know if it's because I've been eating muffins with protein powder in them or what, but when I bit into these, it was pure heaven. These are the best vegan blueberry muffins I have ever had. So light and fluffy. So sweet and delicious! This recipe comes from a 2005 issue of Vegetarian Times. It's another recipe that I've had sitting in my recipe box forever that I've never tried, until now that is. I think the addition of applesauce is what made it so moist and airy! I can't wait to experiment with applesauce in the future!

Speaking of protein muffins, I don't want to get back into my P90x regime until this cold or whatever I have is 100% gone! It's hard enough as it is doing P90x and I don't want to make it any worse! Does that happen to anyone else? When they finally start working out and start getting into better eating habits, something comes up like getting sick or maybe an injury or something? It sucks! I'm taking my multi-vitamins and eating super healthy (minus a blueberry muffin every once and a while!), but this cold is just lingering! I can't wait for winter to be over!

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1-2 cups frozen blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line the muffin pan with muffin tins and spray with oil.

First start by mixing the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in the middle. Mix together until well combined. Don't over-mix!

Divide the batter evenly among the cups. The easiest way I've found is to use an ice cream scoop to scoop the batter into the cups! It works great every time and I always get yummy crispy muffin tops!

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Sprinkle with a pinch of sugar on top! Cool on a wire rack.

March 13, 2011

Mexican Lasagna


Once again, thank you Rachael Ray. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter then you saw that I hinted at my next recipe! This is one of the recipes I've had in my recipe box for a while and have never tried! That's one of my favorite things about this blog. I've collected so many recipes over the years that I still haven't tried, so it's giving me a reason to give them a go!

I don't know how many of you are fans of Rachael or watch any of her shows, but I absolutely love her! I remember the first time I every watched 30 minute meals actually. I was probably 14 or 15 and I had my cousin sleeping over. It was really late one night and we were just flipping through the channels and stumbled upon this show called 30 Minute Meals. I remember it was her Thanksgiving episode and she was making stuffing with apples in it (She said her favorite apples were Jonagold. I can't believe I remember that). I thought it sounded disgusting, so I was intrigued. We ended up watching the whole episode and I quickly set up 30 Minute Meals as a Season Pass on my TiVo!

Rachael has provided me with a number of excellent recipes over the years, a couple of which I've already shared with you guys on my blog (like this one and this one)! She gladly did not disappoint on this recipe either. I'm just sad it took me this long to make it since this episode aired at least 5 years ago!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp light oil
  • 2 cups of Veggie Crumbles (Boca is my favorite!)
  • 1/2 medium sized red onion - diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic - minced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (a few dashes)
  • 1 25 oz can of Black Beans
  • 1 14.5 oz can of Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  • 1 cup Frozen Corn
  • 4 or 5 tortillas (you could use corn or flour tortillas)
  • 1 cup of taco or enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups of Galaxy Mexican Style Shreds or Daiya Pepperjack Shreds
  • 2 Scallions - finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tbsp light oil. Add the ground crumbles and season with the chili powder, cumin, pepper, and hot sauce. Add in the onion and garlic - cook for 5 minutes. Then add the canned fire roasted tomatoes. Stir and add the beans and corn. Heat the mixture through for 2-3 minutes.

Coat a shallow baking dish with the taco/enchilada sauce. Cut tortillas in to strips with a pizza cutter to make them easy to layer. Layer the crumbles/bean mixture, tortillas, more sauce, and cheese. Repeat until the baking dish is full. Make sure the top layer is cheese. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cheese melts. You may need to set the oven to broil in order to melt the cheese. Top with scallions and serve!

March 9, 2011

Auntie's Cherry Cheesecake


Ugh, I can't get over this cold! I feel like it's on the tail end of it at least, but it's been a few weeks now! I guess it doesn't help that I've been eating like crap, but when I'm sick I sometimes get really lazy. And in this case, I felt really sick and tired, which means no cooking for me! It's not a good trade off I know. While I can rest instead of cook, I tend to eat less healthy foods. Starting tomorrow though, I'm going to eat as healthy as I possibly can until this thing goes away! Oatmeal breakfast, Brown Rice and Kale Lunch! And Dinner has yet to be planned. Now that you've been updated on my misery, let's get on with the more pressing topic - the deliciousness that is cheesecake.

I know. I know. Another cheesecake so soon? I feel you. This one is completely different though. It's lighter, thanks to the whipped cream. I guess I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing considering I felt like I could eat more of it. This is my Great Aunt Mary Jo's recipe. It's super simple! I made my own coconut whipped cream, but you can use pre-made Vegan whipped cream if you'd like. Soya-too and MimicCreme make a couple of great options (use the ones in the aseptic package - not in the aerosol can).

Ingredients:
  • 1 prepared graham cracker crust
  • 1 8oz package of Vegan Cream Cheese
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 cups of Coconut Whipped Cream (or pre-packaged Vegan Whipped Cream)
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups of Cherry Pie Filling

Beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar together until well combined and smooth. Add in the corn starch and almond extract. Fold in the whipped cream until well combined. Pour into prepared graham cracker rust and chill for 1 hour. Top with the Cherry Pie Filling and refrigerate until ready to serve. I found that refrigerating it overnight works best. It was set really well after 12 hours of refrigeration.

March 5, 2011

Black Olive and Tomato Bruschetta


This is such a great appetizer or side to any meal! I wish I could have gotten a better picture for you guys. Lighting is terrible at night! I'll try to get a better one the next time I make it.

I was inspired to make this by a restaurant here in Minneapolis called the French Meadow Bakery (who make awesome bread and tortillas in case you want to know). I was eating there with my best friend and for our appetizer we had bruschetta with tomatoes and capers on top! They were so delicious! My friend had never actually had bruschetta before, she had never even heard of it! So here's a simple appetizer for you guys to try! You're friends will be so impressed!

Ingredients:
  • 1 french baguette loaf
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1/3 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup black olives, sliced
  • Vegan Parmesan or Mozzarella Cheese (optional)

March 1, 2011

Super Easy Guacamolé


My favorite color is green and every time I make guacamole (or pesto for that matter), I get so happy! I came across this recipe when I worked at a local natural foods store, but it's been tailored to fit my taste buds! The original had way too much cilantro and onion for me. I like the avocados to stand out in my guacamole.

This recipe is definitely one of my favorites. Not only is it easy, it's super delicious! It doesn't make very much, maybe about 3 cups. If you're planning on preparing this for a party, I would double or even triple the recipe to meet your needs.

Ingredients:
  • 3 large avocados
  • The juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 medium sized bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, juice and seeds removed, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 - 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste