Friday, February 29, 2008

Cupcakes, cupcakes

This post is a long time in coming, I know... I've been working long hours over the past couple of weeks. But I did promise pictures of my birthday cupcakes, so here they are!

I made two batches of cupcakes to take to work. The first ones I have made before: The Chai Tea Latte Cupcakes, topped with a dusting of powdered sugar and cocoa powder with spices. These may be my all-time favorite cupcakes... They turned out so moist and delicious.

The second batch was right up my alley, if you know that I love all things pumpkin. These are the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting. They were very tasty; the frosting is what really kicked them up.

The people at my office are believers in vegan cupcakes now! They were really quite a hit.

A couple of my friends decided to throw me a little birthday party one night last week, and I lent them VCTOTW for their convenience. When I arrived, I was much delighted to find out that the party was Batman-themed! It was really quite marvelous. Here are the cupcakes:

Aren't they great? Here's a closer look:

The Batman looks so good! What a creative idea. These were the Chocolate Mint Cupcakes--another very delicious creation that I would recommend to anyone who, like me, thinks the mint-chocolate combination is just dynamite. I was so proud of my friend Gigi for attempting vegan cupcakes for the first time, and very, very excited by her success!

I've got more food pics to share... sometime soon. I'll be around later this weekend. Cheers!

Sunday, February 17, 2008


That's how old I am today. I don't have huge birthday festivities planned; I went to Athens and spent yesterday with my best friend from college, we ate at The Grit where I managed to polish off a huge slab of their rich, delicious Vegan Chocolate Death Cake. We tried to go hiking but the trail we attempted was filthy and depressing--so we cut our hike short but on the way back down, we stopped at this stretch along the trail where the ground was absolutely covered with shards of broken glass. We filled up two Nalgene bottles with glass pieces, and if we had been able we could have filled up two more. It was so sad and so infuriating--who thinks that kind of thing is okay?

I might make cupcakes this evening to take to work tomorrow... so just you wait. In the meantime, here are a few of the things I have been cooking up over the past couple of weeks.

I got home from work one night in the mood to bake cookies--specifically, cookies with cranberries and walnuts in them. I flipped open my copy of Eat, Drink and Be Vegan and I turned directly to the Walnut-Cranberry-Carob Clusters--perfect! As I was whipping them up, the recipe on the adjacent page caught my eye--"You Got Peanut Butter in My Chocolate" Cookies! Mmmm.... What can be better than dark, moist chocolate cookies with chunks of natural peanut butter swirled in? So after I finished the first batch, I whipped up a batch of these as well.

The first batch tasted delicious and wholesome, and it really satisfied my strange craving for cranberry-walnut cookies. I loved their texture, too--they were soft and crumbly, almost like little biscuits.

But the second batch--those were the best cookies I have tasted in a long time. Everything about them was perfect--just the right amount of peanut butter to complement the chocolate, just the right amount of moistness and sweetness. I took them to work in an attempt not to consume the entire batch myself. A lot of them got eaten at work--I heard no comments on them and I brought them anonymously--but I still had to bring a few of them home. I shared them with a friend the next day, and she agreed with me--the best cookies either of us had had in a long time. This recipe is definitelya winner!

Speaking of peanut butter, I made these peanut butter-banana quesadillas for breakfast one morning. I grilled them on my George Foreman grill and the banana slices became soft and caramelized while the peanut butter became warm and gooey. I enjoyed a green smoothie alongside this meal for a nutritional boost.

Last weekend I made a large batch of Savory French Lentils from ED&BV. Unable to find mushroom broth that did not contain dairy ingredients (why??), I instead used vegetable broth and I added some dried mushroom pieces. I loved these lentils served over roasted acorn squash rings as the recipe suggested; I also enjoyed it several times for lunch at work with steamed kale. This recipe was very easy and the great thing about lentils is that you don't have to plan ahead and soak them before you can cook them--which, for my schedule these days when I just don't know when I'll have time to cook, is a huge help.

Speaking of my busy schedule, I recently received a copy of this book:

Quick-Fix Vegetarian by Robin Robertson. All the recipes are vegan, and all require minimal preparation time. I have not cooked from it yet but I have perused it from cover to cover, and I am hoping to be able to dive into it some this week. (By the way, check out Robin's Website. I am quite excited about her new cookbook, Vegan Fire & Spice. I am hoping to be able to check it out soon!)

Last night, my friend from Athens and I made these veggie-portobella fajitas for dinner. All it took was a red pepper, a green pepper, a red onion, and a couple of portobella caps, a little bit of spice mix consisting of chili powder, cayenne pepper, adobo, and garlic powder, some flour tortillas, and fresh lime juice to finish. While I made the fajitas, Mary Ann whipped up some fresh guacamole and some homemade tortilla chips. Such a simple meal but so fresh and flavorful...

On top of tax season, I have also joined a spring tennis league--so it looks like I will be hitting the tennis courts every chance I get over the next couple of months. I'll still be cooking, and after this weekend I'm really going to focus very hard on fresh, healthy, balanced meals so that I look and feel extra-healthy by mid-April. You see, I have planned a vacation to San Francisco!!! I've never been out to the west coast and I'm so excited. My friend Kelly and I will be leaving two days after the tax deadline, and I am planning to have the best time in the world. We will be there nine days, and I am open to any suggestions anyone has as to the best places to eat and visit while we're there.

I'll be around again soon--hopefully it won't be two weeks before I blog again. Take care!!