A Cake To Remember

Forgive me lovelies, for I have slacked.

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I haven’t posted, I haven’t replied to your comments, I haven’t read your blogs -shoot I haven’t even turned my computer on since Sunday!

I even made this a whole week ago, and didn’t even tell you about it (unless you follow me on instagram)

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But I had a legitimate reason. Senior year started in full throttle. Up at 5:40, school at 7:45, home at 3:00, and homework until 11.  I haven’t even had time for a run, movies, or even baking! And you know, baking is incredibly therapeutic for me.

So I decided to come back with a recipe, for a mind-blowingly delicious cake. I hope you’ll forgive me?

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Making this cake, last week, was absolute bliss. The measuring and mixing, the baking and blending.

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The scent of warm chocolate swirling through the air as the cake cooled.

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Then the assembly.

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When I can just lose myself in the repeated swirls of frosting, taking photos between each step

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looking for new, artistic angles to capture my edible medium.

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Of course, I felt incredibly hipster too, creating an incredible vegan cake while wearing my cute, thrifted high-waisted shorts, waiting to go shopping at the consignment store and planning my activist club.

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But the big plans were at the back of my mind, as I decorated this beautiful cake, my creation, in the soft summer sunlight. It was peaceful.

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And then came time to cut the cake. My best friend came over, and we sliced beautiful slices, laughing about how this cake was the ultimate ‘cravings cake’ (In case you missed it, last week all I wanted was cookie dough. And chocolate)

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We sat down with our cake, watched a girly movie, and laughed our last summer weekend away.

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This cake, THIS CAKE.

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Thin yet fluffy, light and moist, perfectly chocolate cake layers

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Filled with a sweet, buttery, incredible cookie dough filling.

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And finished off with a silky chocolate frosting.

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Double Chocolate Cookie Dough Cake (or, ultimate cravings cake. Or, therapist cake)

serves 10

For the Cake:

  • 1 1/2 C. Whole Spelt Flour
  • 1/2 C. Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 C. maple syrup
  • 1/2 C. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 T. white or rice vinegar
  • 2-3 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 T. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 C. water
  • 3 T. almond milk (or use iced almond milk coffee 😉 )

Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 9-inch circular cake pans. In a medium bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, mix together remaining (liquid) ingredients well. Add flour mixture to liquid mixture in 2-3 batches, mixing well each time, until your cake batter is smooth. Pour evenly into the two pans (they will be thin in 2 pans, this is on purpose) and bake 18-24 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Wait 15 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack. Make sure cake is completely cooled before frosting

For the Cookie Dough Filling:

  • 2 cans of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 1/2 C. dates
  • 1/3 C. almond milk
  • 3-4 T. nut butter of choice
  • 1.5 T. vanilla extract
  • 1 T. baking soda
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • dash salt
  • 2 T. coconut flour (Optional)
  • Stevia to taste (start with 1 tsp and increase as needed)
  • 3-4 T. ground flax
  • 1/3 C. oats
  • 1/4-1/3 C. chocolate chips (chopped smaller if you wish)

Soften your dates by pitting them and putting them in a mug, then cover them with the almond milk and microwave them for about 40 seconds. In a food processor, add beans through stevia and blend well until smooth. Add flax, process, and adjust your sweetness and saltiness until the flavors suit you (I put a lot of vanilla, baking soda/powder, and sweetness in because those are the main flavors of cookie dough and I like them to be prominent). Once you find your balance, pulse in the oats, then the chocolate chips. Keep in fridge until you are ready to ‘frost’. Don’t worry-this makes extra on purpose 😉

For the Frosting/Pudding

  • 3/4 of a large ripe avocado (or 1 whole small)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/4 C. pitted dates
  • 1 C. canned pumpkin (or cooked sweet potatoes/squash)
  • 1 T. vanilla
  • 1 C. almond milk
  • 1/4 C. peanut flour or PB2
  • 2/3 C. dark cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 tsp stevia (additional to taste)
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 T. xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp arrowroot powder/cornstarch

Put all ingredients in a high speed blender until very smooth, adjust to taste, and keep in freezer or fridge to set. Make sure this is completely cool before frosting cake (sometimes the blender heats it up while blending).  I know this seems like a lot of ingredients, but trust me its delicious and really easy!

To assemble cake: Place one cake layer on a flat surface, spread a thick layer of cookie dough filling on top, and top with the second cake. Press it down flat and use a knife/spreader along the edge to make sure the sides and cookie dough are smooth and even. Spread the frosting on top. If you want to make the truffles on top, add a few more oats/ tbls of flour to leftover cookie dough filling and roll into small balls for decorating 🙂

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Decadent enough to be my next birthday cake, yet wholesome enough for breakfast.

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Or lunch, which I actually did.

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One of the biggest things I am going to miss about summer is the endless free time to do whatever I wish, just because. And for the last weekend of summer, I was able to spend a few hours of bliss.

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Pure, sweet bliss.

This cake recipe has been submitted to

the veggie nook

 

because its a cake, but its actually good for you 😉

Friday Faves 8/9

In yet another desperate attempt to procrastinate on finishing my summer assignment essay, I have decided to do a Friday Faves post- mainly because it sounded fun and I got to spend the last 20 minutes taking pictures of random things in my house. Always a plus 😉

This Mini Table

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I got this adorable little table at a yard sale for 10 cents!! Its the perfect size for taking pictures on -I can move it to wherever the best lighting is – and also the perfect size/height for my laptop when I want to sit on the couch for computer time 🙂 yay!!

365 Vegan Smoothies

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This is a no brainer when you think about my latest smoothie obsession. I want to make all of these!!!

Red Lipstick

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Funny, because usually I don’t wear a lot of make up – just a little concealer, eye liner and mascara. But I’ve been loving bright red lips lately! So much fun and it makes you feel cute and fancy when you otherwise are feeling lazy. I swear, today was a ‘meh I don’t feel like doing anything’ day, so I put on a little lipstick out of sheer boredom and BAM I feel motivated! Haha no idea why.

Sophie

 

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This little girl, I swear. She sleeps in the funniest positions, and loves ‘helping’ us do things. Like helping me type (top left). Or do sit ups (aka lets try to eat Lacey’s pony tail while she is on the yoga mat!)

Cookie Dough Dip

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I had THE BIGGEST craving for chocolate chip cookies the other day (i.e. you want something, and then just so happen to be on Pinterest and it seems EVERYONE AND THEIR MOTHER is pinning chocolate chip something or other). Except it was dinner time. Since it was a girls night, my mom and I decided it was perfectly acceptable to make a large batch of cookie dough dip (of the chickpea variety) and eat it for dinner. We had other stuff too, but just to make sure we got all of our food groups in before we ate big bowls of cookie dough. With vanilla soy yogurt. Divine. I had it the next day too, and for lunch today. Some women crave chocolate, apparently I crave cookie dough.

Being a Typical Vegan

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On a more vegetable centric note, I’ve also been loving on sprouts lately. I’ve been putting them on everything. This is the third container this week!

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Also Figs. So gosh darn pretty!

Piggies!!

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aaaaawwwwwww!!!! I want a pet piggie!!!!!!!!!

SENIOR YEAR!!!

 

 

 

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Got my shirt made, my schedule assigned…Its beginning to look a lot like senior year baby!!!!

Whoop Whoop!!!

Aaalllright time to finish my essay now. No more excuses!!!

What have you been loving lately?

Are you a “chocolate craver” or is there something else that tends to strike your fancy? of course, after I ate my cookie dough, someone on TV had a piece of german chocolate cake and I was like ‘THAT. THAT is what I want”. haha!

WIAW beginning of the end

Its the last few days of summer….But its also WEDNESDAY!!!!!

On a slightly unrelated note, am I the only one who, when writing Wednesday out, says weD-NES-day in my head?Un-Tangent. On with the eats!!!photo-222Since my breakfasts have still been mostly smoothie bowls, I didn’t take pictures of them. BUT I did take a picture when I DIDNT have a smoothie for breakie!!! Here we have oatmeal topped with grapes, apple and strawberries, all smothered in peanut butter sauce. Basically PB&J but with the whole fruits!! Grapes on oatmeal? Actually pretty good!!photo-224And once I got reeeeaaallllyyy fancy and made pancakes!!! Using Living Intentions sprouted super flour (review coming soon!) I made sweet cinnamon almond pancakes with peanut butter banana fluff and peaches -so good!! Why don’t I make creative (read not oatmeal or smoothies) breakfasts more often??photo-215Monster salads have always been making lunch appearances. Lettuce, all the veggies, a multitude of condiments, beans and world peas, and nutritional yeast 🙂 photo-217I decided to give Kevita another chance…nope still like Kombucha better.photo-227My latest smoothie obsession has been using frozen cantaloupe -so I got two just to freeze….insert inappropriate jokes about melons and balls here. Yes, I am in fact still a teenager. 😉photo-219A delicious vegan meal at Baagan that I shared with my momma the other day -massaged kale salad, mushroom quesadillas and a morrocan millet salad (MUST RECREATE)photo-225Oh wait, no, i can’t go one single WIAW without a smoothie bowl. But I actually didn’t have this for breakfast! This was a really super late dinner that I didn’t feel like cooking for, and it was like dessert and dinner at the same time (don’t let the color fool you, it was sweet and fruity and also our kitchen is yellow so the lighting is icky haha!)photo-220I blended up soy yogurt, bananas, and frozen berries then stuck it in the ice cream machine and BAM instant froyo!! So good, it tasted like Jamba Juice!photo-218Fruit has been absolutely gorgeous lately -I think its my favorite subject to photograph!photo-226Of course, cookies are always pretty too 😉 Oatmeal raisin cookies I baked for my mom’s class!!photo-223Cinnamon espresso ice cream that I made and yet have no recipe for because I was just creating! Sorry!!! But it was good!photo-221And lastly, my favorite food picture of the week.  Cherries. Gosh I love summer!!!photo-214And in other news!! I dropped my little sister off for her first day of kindergarten this morning!!! Ahhh she is getting so big!!! I don’t start school till monday, but I wanted a kindergarten/senior year photo so I wore my senior shirt (yes, I made it). I can’t believe that this day has come-time flies so quickly!!! Today is the last day to enter my Journey Bar giveaway!! I will pick a winner tonight so check back soon!!

MIM(last summer)M

Le sigh….today marks the beginning of my last week of summer vacation…made even worse by the fact that this is my last summer vacation as a child in the public school system. Yep. 7 more days until I am a senior -where did the time go?!? Oh well, at least this weekend was a really good one!! (Also go visit Katie to see the marvelousness of blogworld!!)

I’ve been making the most of my last few lazy mornings, lounging in jammies with a large mug of hot drink and blog reading…photo-204Granted its still at 8 in the morning (early for the average teenager, but I am not the average teenager. I wake up at 7:15 onmyown)On the morning that this was taken, I discovered a new favorite blog…The Oatmeal Artist   .I swear, even though I’ve been on a smoothie bowl kick lately due to the lovely heat of Sacramento summers, the second it cools down I am making every single one of her recipes!photo-205Unfortunately I also have been forced to actually write the first essay I’ve written since, oh, May. Ha I’m meeting up with a friend today to finish our summer homework together.photo-207But back to the marvelous! I am finally getting my driving hours in! On Friday my daddy picked me up and I drove 2 hours north for lunch, then another hour up to a pretty dam, then back home -longest drive of my life!! But I didn’t kill anybody! Whoo!!!! This picture is just because I find it extremely humorous how small I am. The seat has to go all the way forward and up and upright for me to drive, and I often forget to put it back afterwards. AKA nobody can sit (slash get in the car) there after me 🙂photo-206Marvelous is finally finding heart shaped sunglasses!!! I’ve been on the search for them for months, and I finally found them -as the last, super discounted pair at Delia’s for $3!photo-208Also marvelous? Coming home to big packages addressed to me!! Something is in store for you guys soon!!!photo-213Chocolate cake, just because!! Well, my older sister and her boyfriend are doing the 21-day vegan kickstart, and 2 weeks in they miss dessert. So we had them over for lunch and a baking day (Since I am the head baker in the family, I gladly took Brie under my wing 😉 ) Its funny, after being vegan for so long the little tricks I take for granted, such as a flax egg or avocado mousse, that are simply magic to a new vegan! Afterwards we watched Vegucated with them, and then discussed human rights and equality etc. Its funny because we grew up in a very conservative family, yet all 3 of us kids are becoming more liberal and activist-y. Its fun! hahaphoto-211Speaking of activism, I forced persuaded my mom to buy reusable straws and they came!! We got some normal, and some with little spoons on the end! I love them!! I also went clothes shopping at a consignment store and today we are going to Target and I’m planning on getting another trash bin for compost 🙂 I’ve been in save-the-earth mode since YEA Camp haha! On a slightly related note, yard sales rule. I got a table, pretty bowl, and ice cream dish for $1.25!photo-210This stuff. Have you tried this? Its bomb.com !! Haha but really, it tastes awesome, plus its not chock full of sugar and twenty thousand ingredients like most iced coffees, its literally espresso, almond milk (almonds, water), and sugar, and the stats are not bad -like 10 grams of sugar which is no more than you would find in most sweetened plant milks! I made ice cream with it.photo-212Yesterday was raw-some (Bahaha I’m punny…) We went to a Sac vegan chef challenge planning meeting at Maria‘s house and she made some raw wraps and raw brownies (and I also ate too much watermelon…again) while we mapped this year’s challenge out (its gonna be good this year!!), then we all went to a raw restaurant called The Green Boheme for dinner for Jed’s (team veg captain) birthday – my mom and I shared the tortilla soup and raw enchiladas -delishphoto-209The birthday boy and his raw ice cream sandwich (with a not raw candle 😉 ) Happy Birthday Jed!!So that was my weekend, and now I’m off to make the most of my last week of summer vacation as a child…I know I’m being dramatic but I am a dramatic person haha!!
And don’t forget to enter the Journey Bar Giveaway!!!!!!!! You have 2 more days!!!!!!

WIAW like, all the time.

 

So I’ve lately kinda gotten into the habit of doing WIAW posts every-other-Wednesday (or less often), but then I have so many pictures that these things run kind of long. And I’ve been eating variations of similar things a lot, so its just kind of a lot of repeat pictures. I mean, lately its been smoothies, salads, and anything I can eat with my hands. And dessert. Like, all the time.

 

So what do I mean by that? Well lets start at breakfast…

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Smoothie Bowl

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Smoothie Bowl

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Acai Bowl (from a restaurant in Santa Cruz, but you know…still.)

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Aaannndddd once in a while, oatmeal. But still topped, as though it is a smoothie bowl. Yes, this is carrot-ginger topped with green apple. I’m weird.

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but on the days I didn’t have a smoothie for breakfast, I will usually have one in the afternoon. Lately I’ve been obsessed with a matcha-melon-mint combo with frozen cantaloupe, coconut water, a bit of banana, fresh mint, lemon, ginger, matcha powder, and spinach. mmmm…. so good! Plus it helps soothe my tummy whenever I OD on…

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Kabocha. Which happens like, all the time. 😉

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Kombucha (melon, on tap) helps too. Plus I like this glass. tangent alert.

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What? I just like fruit and veggies okay??

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The giant chard made for a chipotle burrito worthy wrap ohmygosh.

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The same concept goes for fajita night (also: if you cook lentils and flavor them like refried beans, they serve as refried beans.)

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I’ve also made a lot of veggie burgers. Jen’s triple bean chili burgers are ah-mazing btw

 

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Oh oh! And I made more veggie burgers for my little sister’s B-day BBQ – my big sister and her boyfriend are doing the 21-day vegan kickstart so I decided to make sure there was food for us

I can’t believe another year has passed. Just yesterday I was writing this post for her, and now she is 5 years old and starting Kindergarten in a week!!! (she starts kindergarten the same year I start senior year -how cute is that!)

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Nothing says Happy Birthday like a decapitated unicorn hanging over a swarm of children fighting over it’s candy insides…Pinatas are violent….hahaha

 

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I also made lemon cupcakes with a raspberry ‘frosting’

Oh yeah….about dessert

 

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Sometimes I eat it in the afternoon -peach soft serve-you know, when I’m not eating a smoothie. Our Vitamix has been feeling the love

 

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or straight out of the freezer – homemade chocolate covered bananas topped with PB2

 

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Sometimes I experiment and prove that you can make chocolate pudding out of just about anything. Like this clean-out-the-fridge version with avocado, leftover squash, leftover black beans, leftover shredded veggies, almond milk, cocoa powder, banana, and something sweet. and you know, vanilla, salt, xanthan gum etc etc. I must be magic or something because this was delicious haha!

 

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Sometimes I get fancy -banana bread baked in a cake pan, topped with a PB2 ‘frosting’ and crushed chocolate chips

 

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We have had a lot of bananas on hand lately, after all….6 lbs, but SHOOT IT WAS 99 CENTS!!! (hahaha….) The rest all got frozen

 

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And sometimes, I’m just thankful that cookies are kind of hard to mess up. Like when you heat the oven almost 100 degrees hotter than the recipe called for. Sweet potatoes may be cooked at 425, but cookies should be at 350…Thank goodness they were fine haha!!

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And don’t forget to enter my JOURNEY BAR GIVEAWAY!!!!! I’ll announce a winner next week, so keep those entries coming like, all the time!!!!!!!!

Do you tend to just repeat the same things over and over (and over?)

Without Context

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Sometimes

A word, A phrase, An idea (a recipe)

will pitch a tent in my mind

and refuse to leave

A guest which outstays its welcome

perhaps.

I think to myself

this would make a good poem

this fragment of a line

and it will not leave me be

until it is permanent

on paper

in what context?

there is none.

just pieces

and bits

of my thoughts

floating on a page

until at last they find a home.

shoes pounding the pavement in sync with the heartbeat of the earth

as I float round the river in my blue froot loop

we wash the live, rich creations of the world off in a sterile, plastic tub

isn’t poetry grand!

when no rhymes are required?

or even if they are?

just thoughts

floating on a page

without context

until I build them a home

with nothing but a pen.

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Cinnamon Sugar Plantains

Because some recipes are so simple, they would rather live with no context.

  • 2 over ripe plantains
  • coconut sugar
  • cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Peel and slice your plantains into coin sized pieces 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle with a little bit of coconut sugar and cinnamon and roast for 15 minutes. Take out of oven, flip, and sprinkle the other side with a little more cinnamon and sugar. Roast 5 more minutes, broiling at the end if you wish. Let cool before serving

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Sauce

  • 2 T. Peanut butter, flour or PB2
  • splash of almond milk
  • 3-4 drops chocolate stevia or 1 tsp cocoa powder plus sweetener of choice to taste

Mix it aaallll together, flavor to taste, and get dipping!!

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Hey Hey YEA Camp!!!!

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Hey everyone!! No I didn’t drop off the face of the earth -I was at camp! Youth Empowered Action Camp to be exact! You may recall my mentioning of it here a little while ago -well I made it and I have seriously been changed forever. This past week was filled with laughter, tears, learning, change making, and bonds that will last for the rest of my life. The gratitude I have for this past week is beyond words, and if I were to relay everything that has happened this would go down in history as the longest post ever -so I will just try to capture as much of it as I can for you all.

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This journal is filled with 50 pages of information, reflections, skills, quotes, things I want to do and books I want to read. And it doesn’t even begin to cover this week.

Let me explain YEA Camp. It is a camp designed for young people who want to change the world! Every single person there is passionate about making a difference -whether it be environmental activism, animal rights, LGBTQ equality, racism, bullying, human trafficking and so much more. We learn the skills we need to take our passions (Issues of Importance – IOI) and put them into action! It is an activist camp-but don’t think I’m about to go get myself arrested. We learned what activism truly means :finding a cause to be passionate about and actively working to make a difference.

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Just a few of the things we did at camp…;)

It took place in the Santa Cruz mountains and it was absolutely beautiful

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Each day was absolutely packed with activities – workshops, hikes, games, journaling

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I wrote a poem, inspired by the beautiful environment I was surrounded by:

Joy in my heart

beating

flowing through my veins

radiates!

inside out

to my feet

pointing and dancing

floating and leaping

the earth between my toes

connected.

to my hands

grasping, clapping

feeling

water cascades between fingertips

peaceful.

and, at last

at first

at once

to my mouth

shouts!

sings!

praises of life and love

proclaiming to all to see

to hear

then silence

a quiet joy

at one

with nature

my neighboors

myself.

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(this was the least busy day…)

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I can’t even describe to you how much I have learned and grown from this camp. I went expecting to learn about how to make a difference but I would never have imagined that my life would be changed. The love and commitment from everyone (all 28 campers and 13 staff) was so immense. We shared our goals, our accomplishments, our pains and secrets and laughs and friendships. I have become closer to these wonderful people -whom I did not know two weeks ago- than some people I have known my entire life!  Everyone did nothing but build each other up – supporting and hugging and helping each other to grow!

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I came to camp passionate about animal rights/ veganism and the environment -but I have grown to be passionate about so much more. Every single issue that people had – I want to help them make a difference. There were no age or gender barriers, no discrimination for what people thought or believed or who they were. This camp was so open and accepting and loving that I can’t wait to make this world a better place -Everyone is inherently good -this camp taught me that.

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We all wrote messages to each other on posters, much like a yearbook. Mine is now hanging in my room so I can see it every day.

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Every issue -every person and every story – is connected.

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We wrote a song! (you can listen here!! )

We made a video that I will post once its on Youtube!
And we had a lot of random dance parties 😉

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Even in the kitchen during dinner….

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We created a mandala of our perfect world -the one that we will create- full of acceptance and peace

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This week meant so much to me. Not only do I feel empowered to make a difference and appreciate so many new issues (and suddenly become more aware of our consumption -it took 5 minutes before I could let my mom put plastic straws and paper plates in our cart the other day-never again!) but I have gained so much confidence! I opened up to forty people about my struggles. I allowed myself foods (still vegan) I haven’t eaten in years. I felt truly and honestly beautiful and now I can finally allow that light that I have been hiding shine out into the world. Not only am I going to be so much more active in the issues that I care about but I have been inspired to take all that this week gave to me and I am going to share it with my community. I decided to start the first ever YEA club at my school -empowering even more students to make a difference.

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What the other campers are planning to do is incredible! They are raising funds to start a school in a third world country, petitioning to have their schools do meatless mondays, compostable lunch trays, and anti bullying programs. They are leafletting and tabling and teaching and advocating and creating their own environmental policies. One girl is planning on starting her own non profit Cow Sanctuary, and is now raising funds to save her first cow so she can learn how to take care of the beautiful creatures (You can like her FB page and learn about it here!!). Another girl has been selling cookies to raise money for donating to stop human trafficking (FB Page) and has only $300 to go before she reaches her goal of $2,000! And that is just a small portion of everything that these amazing kids are doing!

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My desire to advocate has turned from an idea to a tangible reality. I don’t want to make a difference. I WILL make a difference. I wish I could express to you everything that we did, the empowerment I received, the way I have changed, but my heart is too full to put it into words. All I can say (and keep saying) is that this week was a turning point for me. Life changing. I can do anything.

I really hope that everyone gets the chance that I did to make a difference! This was the 5th year of the camp, and there is one in California, Oregon, and Massachusetts. Go check out their  website and Facebook page to learn more, and click here for more pictures from this week!!!