June 22, 2011

Peanut Butter "Cup"cakes


Well, it's that time of the year. Trying to figure out what to get everyone for their birthdays. Mine, my sister's, My mom's, my brother's, my little cousin's, my uncle's, and now my little niece's birthdays are all in June. Add Father's day to that mix and you've got a busy month of gift giving. I've been trying to save as much money as I can lately, so this year my family got yummy treats made by me instead of presents from a store. Luckily they loved them just the same!

I made these cupcakes for my Mom and my Sister's birthdays on the 20th and 21st. They haven't tried these yet, but I have. And let me tell you...these are one of my new favorites! So, as you can see June is a really busy month for me every year. I'm sure that has added to my stress a little, but letting me vent to all of you and reading your sweet comments made my day. You guys are the greatest! Thank you so much!

Ingredients:
  • 1 batch of my Super Moist Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (I used Earth Balance's Creamy Peanut Butter)
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup So Delicious Unsweetend Coconut Milk

First make your cupcakes and allow them to cool. While they're cooling, you can whip up the frosting!

Mix together the peanut butter and shortening until well combined. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar and mix thoroughly. Then add the non-dairy milk and mix until the frosting comes together. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

If you don't have shortening, you could probably use Earth Balance (or another margarine) since this frosting is already a little salty from the peanut butter. If you're using unsalted peanut butter, I would add 1/4 tsp of salt to the frosting when you add your vanilla!

 Keeva watching me taking pictures/waiting for a treat. No chocolate for her!

June 21, 2011

So much to do, So Little time!


Hey everyone! I just wanted to take the time to let each and everyone one of you know how grateful I am to all of you for taking the time out of your day to read my blog. You don't know how much it means to me. I still can't believe this little idea I had last year has become a reality. You're all amazing and I just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you!

That being said, I wanted to let everyone in on a little bit of news. When I created my Facebook Fan page, I told myself that once I reached 1,000 fans I would start writing my first cookbook. I'm sure it will be a long process, but that process starts today! There are so many things that I want to accomplish in this life and so many dreams I want to experience. This blog has been one of them, my future cookbook is one, but they are one of many.

Music is my life. It's like breathing to me. I have never gone one day without singing. And when I say that, I mean singing. It just makes me feel alive every time. So, you can imagine that I would love to make a career out of music. How to even begin, I have no clue, but I know I have to start today. I've always seen myself up on stage singing in front of thousands of people. I hope that some day I can make that dream a reality.

Animals and Animal rights are also a huge part of my life. Being Vegan has been one of the single most rewarding things I have ever done with my life. Knowing that I save hundreds of lives every year just by changing my diet makes me feel like I'm changing the world for the better every day. Another dream of mine (a more recent dream) is to open a Farm Animal Sanctuary in my hometown here in Minnesota. Once I came to that realization, it just felt right. It felt like I had found a missing puzzle piece. Along with music and acting, I have always known that being of service and championing animal rights is my life's purpose.

I just need to find the time and energy to start. It's my 24th birthday on Friday and I'm going to make this 24th year count. No more thinking and procrastinating. Only doing.

I still think about Oprah's final show and the words she left us with. "You always had the power" has been in my head since that day. "I've always had the power"....I just need to use that power for good and change in my life. I want to leave this place better than when I found it. I want to make this life easier and better for my family, for these two little girls.


What do you all think? How do you find the time and energy to fit everything in to your day?

June 19, 2011

"Screw Up" Cake


I ran out of daylight by the time I got home from my grandparents - so sorry for the bad lighting! Anyway, happy Father's Day to all the dad's reading my blog! I made this cake for my dad this year and he loved it. It's always been one of my dad's favorite cakes that my grandma made for him. The reason it's called "Screw Up" cake is because when my grandma was making it, she found out she didn't have a few of the ingredients that the recipe called for - so she substituted some things. And this was the final result! The original recipe was actually supposed to be a chocolate cake! Actually, now that I think about it, this frosting would probably be amazing with chocolate cake. I gotta try that! Anyway, this cake is amazing and, like my dad, it was always one of my favorites growing up. It has a sort of maple-y taste to it that I absolutely love and know you will too! I'm just glad my dad took this one home with him. I have no self control when it comes to dessert.

Frosting Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup Vegan shortening (I used Spectrum Shortening)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • A big bowl of water to cool the frosting in
Melt the shortening over low heat. Once it's fully melted, add the brown sugar. Cook and stir for two minutes then add the milk. Raise the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a full boil. Once it's reached a full boil, take off the heat and place the pan in the cold water. Try not to get any water in your pan! Once the liquid has cooled fully add the 2 cups of sugar and mix with a hand mixer.

Cake Ingredients:
  • 2/3 cup Vegan Shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat the oven to 375F. Mix together the shortening, sugar, applesauce, vinegar, and baking powder. Then add the flour and milk in three steps - alternating between the two (1/3 of the flour, then a 1/3 of the milk and repeat). Then add in the baking soda and vanilla and mix together thoroughly.

Bake in a greased 9x13 baking pan for 20-23 minutes until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center!

Enjoy and Happy Eating!

June 14, 2011

VH BASICS: How To Make Your Own Coconut Butter


This is my new obsession. This one goes out to all the coconut lovers out there. Are you sick of paying $15.00 for a jar of coconut butter? Why do that when you can get a pound of coconut in bulk for about $2.00 and whip some up yourself? It's so simple to make and the result is so creamy and sweet.

As you all may know, I've started doing P90X again, and I've been looking for ways to add more calories into my diet. P90X is such an intense workout program and I'm not looking to lose any weight. I'm actually underweight (I know. Woe is me.) So this is one of the ways I'm doing it. 1 tablespoon of coconut butter usually contains about 93 calories. So if I spread 2 tablespoons of it on my toast in the morning or after my workout, that's adding about 200 calories that I probably burned off exercising! If your not looking to add a high calorie food to your diet regularly, it's still a really easy thing to make for a decadent snack!

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups shredded or flaked coconut

Blend the coconut in your food processor for about 10 minutes until the coconut becomes creamy. Make sure you scrape down the sides a few times as the 10 minutes go along. 2 cups of shredded coconut makes around 1 cup of coconut butter. It's so worth it!

June 9, 2011

Raw Strawberry Ice Cream


I know recipes like this one have been floating around the Vegan blogosphere for a while now, but the first time I heard of "healthy ice cream" was when Dr. Oz dedicated half of his show to the move "Forks Over Knives". I thought it was a really great idea and a really nice alternative to ice creams that are loaded with refined sugars. I was actually afraid to even call this a recipe since it really takes little effort to make and you really could use any fruit you'd like. I just happened to have frozen strawberries on hand. I can't wait to try this with other flavors! If you're looking for a sweet and healthy dessert, this is definitely it!

Ingredients:
  • 2 bananas - sliced and frozen overnight
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • Experiment with 1/4 cup of your favorite frozen fruits! I used 1/4 cup strawberries!
Add all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until well combined and creamy! Must be eaten right away or the bananas become mushy and more "banana texture" like.

Enjoy and Happy Eating!

June 8, 2011

Chocolate Chip Rhubarb Bread


Let's be honest here. This is cake masquerading as bread. What self respecting loaf of bread has this much sugar in it? In the spirit of tradition I will call this recipe "bread" instead of Chocolate Chip Rhubarb "cake".

Anyway, I got some really great rhubarb at the Farmer's Market this past weekend (along with some great garlic chives I'm planning on using in a yummy recipe!). I've actually never had rhubarb before. Technically it's a vegetable and when I was younger I stayed away from all things green (unless it was a green grape...or canned peas).

Being the adventurous Vegan that I am, I knew I had to try rhubarb once it was in season here in Minnesota. It was seriously not what I was expecting. I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting. Maybe I was expecting it to be more "swiss chard-y" tasting, but that's definitely not what I got! It was sweet and sour at the same time, and a perfect pair to the chocolate! You guys definitely need to try this!

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk + 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar - packed
  • 2/3 cup applesauce
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp margarine or coconut oil

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Mix together 1 cup of non dairy milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Set aside.

Mix together the brown sugar, applesauce, vinegar, vanilla and baking powder. Then add the milk/lemon juice mixture and mix thoroughly. Sift in the flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix well, then add the chocolate chips (or nuts) and the rhubarb.

Grease a 1.5 qt loaf pan and pour in your batter. Mix together 1/2 cup sugar with 1 tablespoon of margarine and sprinkle on top of the batter. Bake in a 325F oven for 1 hour or until baked through.

Enjoy and Happy Eating!

June 6, 2011

Quinoa Tabouleh


Well, I think it's safe to say that Summer is officially here in Minnesota! Today it was 93 degrees with no wind. It's going to be a long summer...and I love it. For me, the perfect Summer meal involves a really good, cold salad. I've been eating this Quinoa Tabouleh for years and it's become one of my go-to summer salads! The ingredients are simple and it's so simple to throw together!

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1/2 bunch of parsley
  • 1 small red onion (or 1/2 medium or 1/4 large onion)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
Cook the 2 cups of quinoa in the 4 cups of water. If you're unsure how to cook quinoa, follow the directions here!

After the quinoa is done cooking allow to cool. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and minced garlic. Then dice your fruits and vegetables into bite sized pieces and mix together with the cooked quinoa. Then roughly chop your parsley and mix together. Season with salt and pepper to taste! Refrigerate until cold, then serve.

In case your looking for some other great summer salads here are some great recipes:





Bring on the heat! Enjoy and Happy Eating!

June 5, 2011

And the package goes to....


Congratulations bettingonalice08! To claim your prize, email your name and address to veganheartland@live.com. You have 2 weeks to claim the prize. If the package is not claimed after two weeks, I'll choose another winner using random.org

Thanks for making this another great giveaway guys! You're the best!

June 4, 2011

Cinnamon Raisin Bread


I've been wanting to make cinnamon raisin bread for a while now. I finally got around to doing it a few days ago and am I glad that I did! There really is nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread. Add the smell of cinnamon to that and I was in heaven! I always thought making homemade bread was so daunting, but now that I have a bread maker (thanks Grandma!) it's so simple! You just throw together the ingredients and viola! Homemade bread...plus you get the bonus of the yummy smell! I really don't use my bread maker for the actual baking process anymore. I didn't like the way the bread turned out. The texture and shape were off. The shape was basically a long, rectangular, box shape. Ugly. So now I just use it for mixing the dough and the initial rising. Also, I read that cinnamon messes with the rising of the bread for some reason (weird right?) So that has to be added after the first rising. By the way, I can't wait to make french toast out of this!

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp water
  • 4 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp dry soy milk
  • 2 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp yeast
If you don't have access to dry soy milk powder, use 1 1/2 tbsp liquid non-dairy milk and remove 1 1/2 tbsp of water from the recipe.

If you're using a bread maker, add the ingredients to the bread pan in the order as listed. Use your sweet bread setting and add 1 tsp cinnamon and 3/4 cup raisins when your machine beeps to let you know it's okay to add them.


If you're not using a bread machine, follow these steps:

Preheat the oven to 350F. Dissolve the yeast in the water. Set aside until it becomes frothy. Once it becomes frothy, add the oil, lemon juice, dry soy milk, raisins, and brown sugar. Gradually add the flour to form a dough. Knead the dough on a lightly flour surface for 3-4 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and cover with a towel. Allow to rise until doubled.

Dump the dough out on to a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and work into the dough. Place in a greased 1.5 qt bread pan and allow to rise again for 1 hour. Bake for 45 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Allow to cool before slicing.


Enjoy and Happy Eating!

June 2, 2011

Deep Dish Pizza with Italian Veggie Sausage and Spinach


I've been reading all the Vegan Confessions from my last post! I'm glad I'm not the only one who has felt guilty about killing an insect! Keep 'em coming!

I can't tell you how excited I was to make this pizza! It's been forever since I've had deep dish and it's always been my favorite type of pizza crust. I used to eat Pizza Hut and Domino's deep dish crusts, but since they're not vegan, I don't eat them anymore! Papa Murphy's deep dish crust was Vegan, but for some reason they stopped making it! Not good people. 

The company Lightlife was kind enough to send me some samples of their products to test out and incorporate into some of my recipes. I've had there stuff before and was so excited to try more of their yummy products! They're the ones responsible for making Tofu Dogs and Smart Pups...my favorite Vegan hot dog brand! One of the things they sent me was a container of Vegan "sausage". Honestly, that was probably the one I was least excited about. Until I got the idea to make Italian Sausage for my pizza! Sausage used to be my favorite pizza topping when I was little! It turned out so great you guys! And because everything else on the pizza was a guilty pleasure, I had to add some spinach to make myself feel a little bit better about eating half the pizza. Enjoy!

Find the printer friendly version of this recipe here!

Crust Ingedients:
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp dry soy milk powder (You can substitute liquid milk here. Just remove 1 tbsp of water from the 3/4 cup)
  • 2 1/4 cup flour (I used a combination of whole wheat and all purpose white)
  • 1 tsp yeast
Preheat the oven to 400F.

I made my dough in my bread maker. It's so much easier than mixing it by hand and waiting for it to rise! I would highly recommend one. If you're also using a breadmaker, put the ingredients in your pan as listed above and use the dough setting.

If you're not using a bread maker, pour the water in a small bowl. Add the yeast and allow to stand for 10-15 minutes. In separate, larger bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Then add the wet ingredients, plus the water and yeast mixture. Mix together well until a ball of dough has formed. If it's too wet, add a little bit more flour. If it's too dry add a little bit more water or milk.

Keep the dough in the bowl and cover with towel and set in a warm place. Allow to rise for 30-45 minutes until it's doubled in size. Meanwhile, let's make the sausage!

Sausage ingredients:
  • 1 package of Lightlife Gimme Lean® Sausage or your favorite sausage substitute
  • 1 tbsp light oil
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp crushed anise seed
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
 Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the sausage and spices and cook until browned. Remove from heat when it's done browning.

Once the pizza dough is done rising, roll out onto a floured surface. Liberally grease a 9x13 baking dish with light oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Place the dough in the dish and work up on the side of the dish to form a deep dish crust. Fill with your favorite pizza sauce, layer about 1 cup spinach, then about 1 cup of the sausage, and sprinkle with your favorite non-dairy cheeses (I used Daiya!)

Bake in the 400F oven for 20-25 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

 The finished product!