Jennie’s Cupcakes

I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes, a cupcake is just a cupcake.

That sometimes, it’s okay to just use the store-bought stuff.

to buy something you would never usually buy, just because its cute (these are mini cones by the way)

Sometimes, its perfectly okay to take shortcuts, just because its fun. And that more sprinkles are more fun too.

Sometimes, its okay to use something with an ingredients list you can’t pronounce.

Sometimes, you don’t need to make everything healthy. Just cute.

Sometimes, its okay to use your grandma’s no-fail recipe when you run out of frosting, even if its the complete opposite of the standards you hold you’ve held yourself to. And its okay to lick the bowl (and say ‘take that ED!” with every taste)

We can learn a lot from a cupcake.

The rode can be bumpy

Things happen that are not in our control.

The best thing you can do is pick yourself back up

Maybe falling down can be a good thing. It lets people get to the sweet stuff easier.

Don’t worry if someone else seems to have it all going for them, if it seems that you may pale in comparison…

because they go through their own struggles too. Nobody’s perfect

And really, no one cares how a cupcake looks on the outside, or whether it was made from whole foods, from scratch, or from a box. Its whats on the inside that counts. That the cupcake is still a cupcake, through and through.

At the end of the day though, its really not about the cupcakes at all. Life is about so much more.

Happy Birthday Jennie! I wish for you the best life can offer, the ability to learn and grow from mistakes, the knowledge to let go when things are not in your control, and all of the sprinkles in the world. I love you so much!

Love,

Big Sister Lacey ❤

Frozen Raspberry Limeade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I guess you could call this a virgin margarita. But when I came back from walking my dogs in 100 degree weather, all I wanted was something cold and fruity. I’ve been on a limeade kick lately (lime juice, water, stevia, bam) but I wanted something more than just liquid. something I could stick a little umbrella on and pretend I was on a beach, not sitting down to summer homework in my living room.

 

I was thinking about frozen lemonade, actually. But I think limes taste better. And raspberries. heck, why not add in some ginger? and cucumber too! I’m a little crazy when it comes to the blender:)

Frozen Raspberry Limeade

  • 1/2 c. coconut water
  • 1 1/2 limes
  • 1/3 c. frozen raspberries
  • 1/4 of a large cucumber
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp ginger juice, or a small knob of fresh ginger (depends on how much ginger you like. I like alot of ginger)
  • stevia, to taste
  • 6-10 ice cubes, depending on how thick you want it
  • water if needed

Throw it all in the blender and blend it up!! pour into a tall glass with a mini umbrella and try to at least pretend you are sitting on a beach, or by the pool.

Sorry about the short post, I’m still trying to motivate myself for that homework. The two week count down till school has begun and I am sooo not ready.  I’ve done something to procrastinate everyday!! Tonight I’m planning on making cupcakes for my little sister’s 4th birthday actually sitting down and getting some real work done! Lets see if it works…

 

WIAW #5: The disappearing summer

Wow, another week, another WIAW. It went by so fast! My summer is disappearing noooo!!!

I actually sat down and made myself a schedule to finish hw and drivers ed

See how it started on Sunday? And you know how its Wednesday? Guess what, for how much work I’ve actually done it should still be Sunday. Early Sunday. oh well…

This is more fun!! Lets get to WIAW!!

Actually, I didn’t quite get a whole days worth of eats, but I got the first part of one day and the last part of another day, minus a couple snacks but plus some eats from throughout the week *pants* (picture that said in one breath). Got that? okay good. Shall we begin?

Breakfast was a delicious overnight oats parfait with blueberries, peaches, and granola

(insert jicima and watermelon 🙂

what I like to call a veggie burger salad:

lettuce, carrot, celery, onion and a veggie burger (homemade and the best one Ive ever made, recipe coming soon!), that I soon made an ugly salad by crumbling said burger and topping with dijon, ketchup, and relish. It was weird, yet delicious and I will definitely be repeating this. Like, alot.

plus some roasted kabocha squash (my absolute favorite.) I didn’t get a pic of mine, but of my dog’s (they love it as much as we do)

isn’t she cuuuttteee:)

A bowl full of my homemade ice cream (half chocolate, half coffee. it made a mocha:)


Slice of Jenn’s amazing Flax, Fruit, and Veggie Bread (sans walnuts) on the way to a turbo Kickbox class (fitness)

and then I stopped photographing that day, but imagine a taco salad followed by banana soft serve with homemade chocolate sauce 😉 (who says theres no ice cream 2x in one day?? Its totes healthy!)

The next day, I had blueberry peach ginger oats for breakfast, then jicima and a green smoothie

(recycled pic, but this one had apple, lemon, lime, coconut water, spinach, celery, parsley, a bunch of ginger, and carrot)

then mom and I met up with Jill Nussinow at a little vegan restaurant for lunch

Followed by a kombucha that was not very good smelling (i almost didn’t drink it, but it tasted good haha)

and dinner was a series of ‘samples’ from Jill’s pressure cooking class at whole foods that we helped her out with

 French Green Lentil salad with herbs and walnuts

Spiced Quinoa and Summer Sunset Squash

Middle Eastern Chickpea Soup with Spinach

Sweet and Sour Tofu with Vegetables

All made in pressure cookers. Mmmm…

with more banana soft serve mixed with the last of my chocolate ice cream, topped with PB2 sauce for dessert, and a grahm cracker with tea:)

Other eats this week:

assorted veggie pizza (half with extra daiya for stepdad, half with extra veggies for mom and I)

carrot and beet salad on the side

A bowl of watermelon and cucumber with a side of history notes (is it bad that I was inspired by my cucumber melon soap?)

These roasted peas we found at Bel Air have been making many appearances on salads and stir frys. I like the garlic ones, they are delicious!!

Plus when I opened my new bag of granola (Kind brand, vanilla blueberry flavor, yumm), there were two GIGANTIC clumps sitting right on top. Awesome.

And, last but not least, I took a blurry pic of what was a very, very good thing. My mom hosted a vegan ice cream social and movie (Vegucated), featuring four flavors of my Sweet Dream Ice Cream

Coffee, Chocolate, Cookie Dough, and Peanut Butter (recipes for the last two coming soon!)

With a plethora of toppings like fruit, nuts, cocoa crisps, chocolate chips, chocolate sauce, and brownies 🙂

It was a huge success!!

Thats it for this weeks WIAW!!

Do you have any weird but strangely delicious food combinations? I loved that veggie burger salad, and I make the weirdest oatmeal creations (I put leftover carrot/beet salad in oatmeal with peaches, and this morning I had my favorite: Curry Oatmeal!)

Whats your favorite flavor of ice cream? I love all of my homemade flavors, especially the peanut butter. But now that I have a basic recipe for vanilla and chocolate, I’m wanting to come up with some delicious mix-ins for new flavors (so looking at Ben and Jerry’s website for inspiration!!)

Put on your Fancy Pants

Coffee always seemed so grown-up to me.

I loved the smell of it, but for a while I was legitimately afraid to even taste it. Like it would be as taboo to taste coffee at age 8 as it would be to drink alcohol (which I never touched, even at communion, for the same reasons. I will continue to dip my wafer in the grape juice until Im 21 thankyouverymuch). If I had a little Starbucks cup of a vanilla steamer (sweetened steamed milk. I wasn’t a huge fan of hot cocoa), I would announce to anyone who passed by and looked “ITS NOT COFFEE!!!”

When I was 11, my sister got a white mocha. I tasted it, and I felt so…fancy. Not grown up, just fancy.

No I didn’t start a little coffee addiction, but when I went to Starbucks from then on I liked to get that ‘fancy drink’.

Now, I love coffee. Well, flavored coffee and coffee flavored things. I don’t drink it everyday, but I sometimes I just want to feel grown up. Fancy:)

I usually look less than fancy. Just like Im trying (failing) to be a cool little hipster.

Maybe this mug would help…

It says ‘for maximum sophistication’. So its legit, right?

You know whats not fancy? When its really hot outside so you are sweating all over your cup of fancy.

So I made this. Coffee ice cream thats simple and sophisticated in flavor (Why is it so hard to find coffee ice cream? Its always mocha almond, or coffee-chocolate, or foofy starbucks flavored. I like just plain coffee ice cream), and is even healthy enough to enjoy on those mornings when hot coffee is not an option.

Put on your fancy pants cause its about to get real sophisticated up in here!

Coffee Sweet Dream Ice Cream

vegan, gluten free, sugar free, low fat, fancy

  • 2 C. cooked, peeled japanese sweet potato (about 1 med), still hot
  • 1/4 C. almond butter
  • 3/4 C. date paste
  • 1 tsp uncut stevia, or to taste (or more date paste)
  • 2 C. vanilla non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 T. vanilla extract
  • 2 T. Coffee extract
  • 2-3 T. ground coffee
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp cocoa powder (optional, but adds a little dimension to the coffee flavor)

Cook your sweet potato (I recommend roasting because it will caramelize and become very sweet, but streaming works if you are in a rush/don’t want to heat up the house), and peel of the skin. Right away, while still hot, put potato in a high powered blender (Vitamix) with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until creamy. If needed, add up to an additional 1/2 cup of milk until you reach a soupy consistency (think paint), and adjust your flavors and sweetness to taste. Refrigerate mixture until completely cooled, and then pour into an ice cream maker, following manufacturer’s instructions. Eat right away, or freeze for later.

You know what else is fancy? Little spoons and baby martini glasses. I just can’t even handle how fancy this is.

 

Notes:

  • I used japanese sweet potato (purple skin, white flesh), due to its thick, creamy texture and sweet, almost banana-like flavor. Yukon Gold or other yellow skinned potatoes would also work, but would be more buttery and less sweet. I would not use regular sweet potato, as they are much softer, or russet/red potatoes, as they are blander and starchy.
  • For date paste, simply soak 8-10 dates in water overnight,then puree them with some of the soaking liquid until a nice consistency is reached. Makes about a cup.
  • Other nut butters may be used as well, but it may change the flavor. Cashew butter or another neutral tasting butter would be good, whereas peanut butter would give a peanut flavor.

All You Need is Chocolate

Generally, I am not one to go for chocolate. (almost had you with that title didn’t I?)

I prefer things with chocolate as an accent, as a supporting role, not the main character.

I love chocolate chip cookies. Chocolate chocolate chip cookies? Not so much.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love chocolate, but for me  little goes a long way. 9 times out of 10, I prefer vanilla. see?

 

I know I know. Im so vanilla… is that really all that bad?

(on another, separate note: LOOK LOOK I FOUND THE VANILLA JUSTINS AB OMG!!!!!! GAHHH!!!)

I have no idea where I got this vanilla bean loving gene from though. My mom is a hardcore chocolate addict lover 🙂

So I decided, you know what, vanilla is amazing, but there does come a time when a girl just needs her chocolate. You know, like those days that just make you want to sit down on your bed with a whole pint of Ben and Jerry’s and a spoon and cry about everything thats going wrong in the world, like some cliche chick flick scene. Thats because chocolate understands.

Unfortunately, Ben and Jerrys is not vegan.

Thats a problem I needed to fix.

Sure, this may not be triple fat pants fudge ice cream complete with caramel, marshmallows, fish shaped chocolate chips and a larger belt conveniently located within a 5 mile radius of everywhere you go…

But its delicious and creamy and indulgent and comes with its own therapist* (no larger belt required).

*Licensed Therapist not actually included. But there is chocolate, which is much cheaper and won’t ask you how you feel about that.

Plus it makes double the amount that comes in the grocery store. For none of the guilt. Win and win.

Extra win for keeping a pint hidden in the freezer for emergencies.

Chocolate Sweet Dream Ice Cream

vegan, gluten free, sugar free, low fat. Makes 1 quart

  • 2 C. cooked, peeled japanese sweet potato (about 1 med), still hot
  • 1/4 C. almond butter (chocolate nut butter makes this just a little lots bit better:)
  • 1/2 C. date paste
  • 1/3 C. unsweetened cocoa powder (Hershey Special Dark is my favorite), more or less to taste
  • 3/4 tsp uncut stevia, or to taste (or more date paste)
  • 2 C. vanilla non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 T. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1 Tbs shredded coconut (optional, but gives buttery flavor)

Cook your sweet potato (I recommend roasting because it will caramelize and become very sweet, but streaming works if you are in a rush/don’t want to heat up the house), and peel of the skin. Right away, while still hot, put potato in a high powered blender (Vitamix) with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until creamy. If needed, add up to an additional 1/2 cup of milk until you reach a soupy consistency (think paint), and adjust cocoa powder and sweetness to taste. Refrigerate mixture until completely cooled, and then pour into an ice cream maker, following manufacturer’s instructions. Eat right away, or freeze for later. Actually make a double batch for those nights when you need someone to just listen:)

Because, more often than not…

Notes:

  • I used japanese sweet potato (purple skin, white flesh), due to its thick, creamy texture and sweet, almost banana-like flavor. Yukon Gold or other yellow skinned potatoes would also work, but would be more buttery and less sweet. I would not use regular sweet potato, as they are much softer, or russet/red potatoes, as they are blander and starchy.
  • For date paste, simply soak 8-10 dates in water overnight,then puree them with some of the soaking liquid until a nice consistency is reached. Makes about a cup.
  • Other nut butters may be used as well, but it may change the flavor. Cashew butter or another neutral tasting butter would be good, whereas peanut butter would give a peanut flavor. But chocolate nut butter makes for a more chocolatey flavor, just be aware of what brand you use, and be on the look out for sneaky processed ickies.

 

 

WIAW #4

Aaaannndddd I can’t think of any catchy titles…sad face.

I did actually manage to get pictures of *almost* everything I ate in one day! Bonus points for getting extra meals throughout the week! Woot!!

Make sure you check out the fabulous Jenn, the girl behind WIAW, (and who has a fabulous flax, fruit, and veggie bread I’ve got my eye on…)!

For breakfast I had a surprisingly delicious (I know its really ugly, but I promise it tasted amazing!!) OIAJ combo (okay I cheat, I save empty jars, wash them, and reuse them for OIAJ. I think that was my 5th morning in a row…for my sixth this morning I had apple-cinnamon with PB in a recycled almond butter jar haha). Oats, zucchini, carrot, peach, ginger, coconut, peach balsamic, and cinnamon in an almond butter jar:)

Plus a decaf latte that I drank outside enjoying the cool, overcast morning (really our power randomly went out and I couldn’t use the interwebs haha)

A slice of banana bread on the road (to WF and farmers market we go!)

Lunch (pt 1) WF hot bar- zucchini lentils, roasted veggies, and quinoa salad

[insert large amounts of ‘samples’ at the farmers market, haha why try peaches at only one stand??]

Lunch pt 2- kale, lettuce, spinach salad with celery, carrot, and grapes and a peach/honey mustard/ginger dressing

Peachy Palate’s Banana Brownies , x2 (I cut them smallish, but then had two haha)

FITNESS TIME!! took my dogs for a walk, and then went to a Core, Cardio, and More class…For such a cool day (only 78 say whaaa??) it was really hot in there!!

For dinner we had grilled veggies and corn, plus some vegan chili we grabbed at TJs (and added rice, bbq sauce, and apricot chipotle sauce to, had to stretch it out to 3 people;)

For dessert (unpictured), I magically turned plain soy yogurt into cinnamon-ginger-peach soy yogurt, topped with a fresh-sun-ripened-picked-that-morning- farmers-market peach (flavor coma brb), mesa sunrise cereal, more cinnamon, and extra cinnamon 😉

Other eats this week:

Spinach salad with celery, apple, and tempeh bacon

Vanilla soy yogurt with cherries and granola

green smoothie (s)

green smoothie in my hair…(note to self: do not look into the little hole in the lid of blender to see if its “done yet”)

Sweet (Potato) Vanilla Ice Cream  topped with almond joy cookie bar (more than once this week…)

(this was really, really good. I was so excited I even took a blurry, gym hair, its-10:30-at-night-and-my-house-has-horrible-lighting pic from my laptop to show you!)

Malaysian Mango Tofu over black rice (look at that presentation!!! like a boss)

Plus collard greens sauteed in the rest of the malaysian sauce. Yum:)

(wait…did i just use collard greens and yum in the same line? What kind of a teenager am I?!?!?!)

and more banana brownies, but topped with chocolate Better than PB (I love this stuff. Its like a vegan (not hazelnut flavored) nutella. I think it tastes like mochas:)

Happy WIAW!!!

24K Chocolat Cafe

hehehe. that rhymes 🙂

Focus Lacey!!! Focus! Fo- awwww look how cute sophie is playing with her toy!! …I mean… FOCUS!!!

Anyway…

On Sunday, after church, my mom and I were on our way to the natural foods co-op for lunch and some groceries. On our way, we passed a little holistic health and wellness center called Ancient Future. Its been there for a little while, but we had heard that recently a little cafe had opened inside. Split second change of plans and we were on our way inside…

From the outside, I wasn’t really expecting much, maybe a little veggie sandwich and tea, maybe something healthy and hippie-like, you know.

But wow! It turned out to be one of the nicest vegan meals I have had! A quaint yet very artisan cafe, with delicious food and absolutely gorgeous presentation! Plus it is all organic, fresh, local food with produce straight from farmers markets and their own garden (picked day of!)

It didn’t seem like there were many vegan options on the menu, but with the specials and a little bit of maybe you could add this *bats eyelashes* we had quite a little feast!

After ordering, we were given little shots of Mayan sipping chocolate, that had been made with almond milk. It was quite tasty, but very rich, like drinking spiced chocolate syrup.

Tofu and spinach curry atop a potato cake, served with crostini, sautéed veggies, and a side salad.

 

Ratatouille taste served with sautéed veggies and a side salad.

Beautiful fruit bowl with a side of vegan dipping chocolate (for dessert).

I ended up actually dipping my fruit (and crostini haha:) in my sipping chocolate instead because it was a little lighter in flavor, but with hints of cinnamon and cayenne that were lovely compliments to the fresh fruit.

Overall it was a delicious brunch, one that I will definitely be going back to! They also have an all chocolate breakfast on Thursdays and Fridays (with all menu items versatile to be made vegan!!), so I might just have to try that too (sigh…oh darn 😉