rainbow cupcakes with avocado buttercream frosting

February 24, 2010 at 6:56 pm (desserts, recipe, vegan)


my friend Christine’s 21st birthday is today, and if you knew her, you would know immediately why these cupcakes epitomize her to a T. I used a couple different recipes and made a few alterations, so I’ll just re-post everything here.

Rainbow Cupcakes
ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup + 1 – 2 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 3 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • food coloring of choice

directions:

  • preheat oven to 375 degrees and line your cupcake pan with liners or grease with non-stick spray.
  • combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  • in a separate (small) bowl, combine water, canola oil, and vanilla.
  • add the ingredients in the small bowl to the dry ingredients in the big bowl gradually, whisking everything together while doing so.
  • once combined, add lemon juice and stir together well.
  • separate batter into different bowls, one for each color you plan on using. I had five colors, and the batter makes about five cups so I put a cup in each bowl.
  • squeeze about 1 – 2 teaspoons of food coloring into each bowl and whisk together until combined.
  • pour the batter into the cupcake pan, one color at a time. I used a tablespoon to measure it out.
  • bake for about 20 minutes, then let cool on a wire rack.
  • makes 12 generously-sized cupcakes.

Avocado Buttercream Frosting
from Alton Brown (aka my hero)

ingredients:

  • 2 pitted and peeled avocados
  • 1 pound powdered confectioner’s sugar (yeah.. I know. it pains me to write this, and pained me even more to make it. but it tastes damn good.)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp lemon OR vanilla extract

directions:

  • chop and mash avocados in a large bowl so they’re easier to mix. I used a potato masher.
  • add lemon juice and whisk together until smooth and light green.
  • gradually add sugar, about 1/2 a cup at a time and mix until you reach a light and smooth consistency.
  • add extract and combine until mixed together.
  • the frosting is going to be a lot more like an icing, it was kind of difficult for me to frost the cupcakes without it melting all over the place. so I would suggest putting it in the refrigerator until it’s a little more solid to make it easier to decorate.

now, I’m not even going to bother with the nutritional information for these because it’s not pretty. these are so not even close to being good for you, but they’re delicious and perfectly acceptable for a special occasion like someone’s birthday. all you have to know is that there’s over 600 calories per cupcake. yup. these WILL give you a sugar high like no other. I ate two and went out dancing later and they fueled my whole night. good times!

patiently awaiting the birthday girl's arrival.

also, in unrelated news this morning I was surprised with a couple fantastic packages on my doorstep!!

Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen and Vegan Express were bought from a member on the Post Punk Kitchen forums and Supermarket Vegan and Veganomicon were bought from Amazon. these are my first completely vegan cookbooks and I am stoooooked to use them. :>

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the vegan hundred

February 23, 2010 at 11:16 pm (me, vegan)

I’m a big fan of lists. and I like a challenge. and I’m newly vegan. so the vegan hundred is perfect for me! and I’ve already got a head start because I eat weird food all the time.

1. Molasses
2. Cactus/Nopales
3. Scrambled Tofu
4. Grilled Portobella Caps
5. Fresh Ground Horseradish
6. Sweet Potato Biscuits
7. Arepa
8. Vegan Cole Slaw
9. Ginger Carrot Soup
10. Fiddlehead Ferns
11. Roasted Elephant Garlic
12. Umeboshi
13. Almond Butter Toast
14. Aloe Vera
15. H and H Bagel NYC
16. Slow Roasted Butternut Squash
17. White truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Freshly ground wasabi
20. Coconut Milk Ice Cream (not store bought)
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Orchard-fresh pressed apple cider
23. Organic California Mango (in season Sept-Oct only)
24. Quinoa
25. Papaya Smoothie
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet (habanero) pepper
27. Goji Berry Tea
28. Fennel
29. Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie
30. Radishes and Vegan Buttery Spread
31. Starfruit
32. Oven fresh Sourdough bread
33. Sangria made with premium fruit and juices
34. Sauerkraut
35. Acai Smoothie
36. Blue Foot Mushrooms
37. Vegan Cupcake from Babycakes NYC
38. Sweet Potatoes and Tempeh combo
39. Falafel
40. Spelt Crust Pizza
41. Salt and Pepper Oyster Mushrooms
42. Jicama Slaw
43. Pumpkin Edamame Ginger Dumplings
44. Hemp Milk
45. Rose Champagne
46. Fuyu
47. Raw Avocado-Coconut Soup
48. Tofu Pesto Sandwich
49. Apple-Lemon-Ginger-Cayenne fresh-pressed juice
50. Grilled Seitan
51. Prickly pear
52. Fresh Pressed Almond Milk
53. Concord Grapes off the vine
54. Ramps
55. Coconut Water fresh from a young coconut
56. Organic Arugula
57. Vidalia Onion
58. Sampler of organic produce from Diamond Organics
59. Honeycrisp Apple
60. Poi
61. Vegan Campfire-toasted Smores
62. Grape seed Oil
63. Farm fresh-picked Peach
64. Freshly-made pita bread with freshly-made hummus
65. Chestnut Snack Packs
66. Fresh Guava
67. Mint Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
68. Raw Mallomar from One Lucky Duck, NYC
69. Fried plantains
70. Mache
71. Golden Beets
72. Barrel-Fresh Pickles
73. Liquid Smoke
74. Meyer Lemon
75. Veggie Paella
76. Vegan Lasagna
77. Kombucha
78. Homemade Soy Milk
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Lychee Bellini
81. Tempeh Bacon
82. Sprouted Grain Bread
83. Lemon Pepper Tempeh (my favorite kind!)
84. Vanilla Bean
85. Watercress
86. Carrot you pulled out of the ground yourself
87. Vegan In-Season Fruit Pie
88. Flowers
89. Corn Chowder
90. High Quality Vegan Raw Chocolate
91. Yellow fuzz-free Kiwi
92. White Flesh Grapefruit
93. Harissa
94. Coconut Oil
95. Jackfruit
96. Homemade Risotto
97. Spirulina
98. Seedless ‘Pixie’ Tangerine
99. Gourmet Sorbet, not store bought
100. Fresh Plucked English Peas

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first ever vegan cupcakes

February 22, 2010 at 5:10 am (desserts, russian, vegan)

it seems like baking cupcakes is a rite of passage for vegans. and I wasn’t going to pass that up. all I ever do is cook things that are healthy and low-fat and I felt like I needed to give myself a break, so I went all out and decided to make these. oh man, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. 4.5 cups of sugar in JUST the frosting, aaahhhhh! but it was so worth it. they were DELICIOUS. better than any non-vegan cupcake I’ve had, that’s for sure. and honestly, after putting them through a recipe calculator, they were not as ridiculously bad as I expected:

per serving with frosting (makes about 20 cupcakes):

  • calories: 364
  • fat: 15g
  • cholesterol: 15mg
  • sodium: 233mg
  • potassium: 141mg
  • carbs: 57g
  • sugar: 16g
  • protein: 4g

three definitely gave me a pretty good sugar rush. and I’m sure I’ll be regretting eating so many tomorrow when I wake up all gross and bloated. but in my defense, the rest of my day was spent eating fairly well. I had dinner with my grandparents and much to my surprise they catered to my new vegan ways and gave me tons of delicious Russian food to choose from! they made baked potatoes, a cucumber and tomato salad, peppers in a really interested vinaigrette, a pickle and squash medley, and pumpernickel bread. not pictured were potato dumplings and a spicy eggplant spread. I’ll be asking for recipes for everything so I’ll be posting more about all that later. I was pretty surprised how easy it is to veganize Russian food!

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venturing into veganism

February 21, 2010 at 5:21 am (eating out, vegan)


first and foremost I apologize for the cellphone-quality photos, but my camera is out of commission for the moment since my memory card has mysteriously disappeared and I have yet to retrieve or replace it. :<

anywho! about a week ago I decided to go vegan. I could go on for days about why, but here's a comment I made to a friend that summarized it in a somewhat short and sweet rant:

it’s not about animal ethics at all. I’ve been looking more into the meat industry in America and it’s disgusting. knowing how poorly taken care of factory farms are, how much messed-up practices go on with hiring illegal immigrants, how the FDA has practically no power and grounds on regulating safety and health, how many genetically modified chemicals are put into everything with no limitations, and the kind of politicians that are in charge of all of that really just makes me sick to the point that I don’t feel comfortable putting animal products in my body and supporting such corrupt business anymore.

I had a ton of non-vegan food at home and I didn’t want to just throw it out or let it go to waste, so I told myself I was going to finish eating it and start going vegan as soon as it was all gone.

steamed vegetables, bbq tofu, tempeh, barley/couscous salad, and some kind of Indian chickpea curry type of deal.

well, I ate my last piece of a poppyseed roulette on Friday, so Saturday was the big start for me. luckily I’m visiting my family this weekend, so I had the extreme privilege of getting an all-expenses paid Whole Foods shopping spree courtesy of my mom, who reluctantly accepted my new lifestyle (after initially getting furious and flipping out). and I also had my first meal as a vegan there, which was pretty good, but not good enough for the price ($15!). if anything, it gave me ideas of things I could start making myself at home.. for much much cheaper. however, their vegan chocolate chip cookies were the best I’ve ever had, so at least they have that going for them.

my initial goal for the weekend was to spend it cooking and baking my ass off trying to show my parents that a vegan diet is not only healthy and reasonable, but also totally delicious. so far, I made these banana nut muffins. they turned out slightly less sweet than expected, but for something that’s ‘healthy’ and has no sugar whatsoever, I think the recipe does a pretty decent job of making it as sweet as reasonably possible. I still liked them a lot, and my mom did too, which means they were a success! next time I might add some agave syrup, though.

tomorrow I will be exploring the wild world of chocolate chip cookies, tofu pot pies, and if I’m feeling really adventurous, vanilla cupcakes. wish me luck!

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week of raw!

February 15, 2010 at 5:45 pm (raw)


I made it… almost! Friday and Saturday I had coffee, because work was brutal and there’s no way I could’ve gone through a 13-hour shift without caffeine. but as far as food goes, I was good and raw for seven whole days. :>

alrighty, so here are the things countless raw sites promise you on the ‘diet’:
* more energy!
* clear skin!
* better digestion!
* weight loss!
* less risk of heart/cardiovascular disease!

the first day I was a complete zombie, but the next day I definitely felt a huge spike in energy as soon as I woke up. it fluctuated throughout the week, but I was able to function without coffee which is pretty good for me.

I have noticed slight improvements in my skin and my friends have mentioned that it’s looking clearer too. I haven’t worn foundation all week because I felt I didn’t need it.

I pooped a bunch! I now know why it’s called a cleanse; it really does get everything out of you lololololol.

I lost about three pounds during the week! although I have a feeling I’ll gain at least some of them back now that I’m not raw anymore.

I’ll let you know when I’m 50 about the heart stuff. ;D

so pretty much all I ate was salads. but for me, it was the easiest and most efficient way to get everything I needed. they got me full fast and gave me tons of energy throughout the day, so no complaints there. I added lemon juice to all my green salads and ate my fruit salads on their own. speaking of which, I realized I LOVE fruit salads. they’re probably my new favorite thing now, and I’m going to start incorporating them into my daily diet.

I didn’t eat as many nuts and seeds as I should’ve, but honestly, buying all that fresh produce didn’t come cheap and I just couldn’t afford to spend more. that’s the major negative factor in going raw for me is it cost me A LOT more than usual.

the other problem I had was mostly bad timing. it’s been frigid here for the past few weeks, with lows of 30s almost every night. as a Floridian that’s been here for almost 15 years, this kind of weather is completely foreign to me and I don’t really have the proper wardrobe to handle it correctly. so when all the food I ate was cold on top of that, it kind of made me miserable and all week I was craving nothing but warm baked goods. so I think what I’m going to do is attempt this all over again in the summer, and then try to go for a month. I’m sure it’ll be tons easier then since ALL I’ll be wanting is cold foods (apparently it’s an El Nino year so this summer is going to be hotter than usual, oh boy oh boy).

all in all, I think this was a great and extremely rewarding experience. I’m now going to proactively strive to eat 100% raw at least a couple times a week, and hopefully work up to a 50% raw diet with time. it really does make me feel a lot better and cleaner. it feels awesome knowing I can eat almost as much as I want and I’ll never get that gross, bloated, overeaten feeling or the guilt that comes with knowing how many calories I’ve consumed. and the lack of mystery products in my food is also a huge weight off my shoulders. I know the food industry in America is disgusting and when I prepare my own foods that come from completely fresh produce, nothing frozen, nothing boxed, nothing compressed, nothing packaged, it’s just gives me a really nice, calming feeling.

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raw lunch tiemz

February 12, 2010 at 5:47 pm (raw)

I’ll be making a big post about my raw week once it ends, but for now have a picture of what I’m bringing to work for lunch today:

I’m shocked and appalled at how long it took me to realize asparagus is awesome.

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critical mass

February 5, 2010 at 11:03 pm (biking)


I rode in Orlando’s Critical Mass this past Friday. to those in the unawares, Critical Mass is a worldwide bike ride usually held on the last Friday of every month, intended to raise awareness of cyclists and bicycles as a viable, alternate means of transportation. this is Wikipedia’s description of it:

While the ride was originally founded in 1992 in San Francisco with the idea of drawing attention to how unfriendly the city was to cyclists, the leaderless structure of Critical Mass makes it impossible to assign it any one specific goal. In fact, the purpose of Critical Mass is not formalized beyond the direct action of meeting at a set location and time and traveling as a group through city or town streets on bikes.

it was my first one in about a year and I had tons of fun. the Orlando one gathers at Loch Haven Park on Robinson at around 5PM and goes all the way through downtown, mostly down Orange avenue. there’s usually about 100 – 200 of us and we (try to) take up (only) one lane of traffic. we get a fairly positive reaction from people on the road, surprisingly, since this does happen during rush hour in a fairly busy part of town. however, this past time there was a not-so-friendly cop following and heckling us via megaphone for a couple miles. eventually he gave up when he probably realized that there was no way he could arrest several hundred of us for ‘running red lights’.

here are some neat Critical Mass statistics and infos according to the good ol’ neternets:

Cyclists in Budapest, Hungary hold only two rides each year on April 22 (Earth Day) and September 22 (International Car Free Day). The April 20, 2008 Budapest ride participation was estimated at 80,000 riders. (Wikipedia)

It is estimated that there are Critical Mass-type rides in more than 325 cities to date. (Wikipedia)

The name “Critical Mass” comes from Ted White’s bike-umentary Return of the Scorcher. This video shows intersection crossing etiquette in China’s big cities. Cross bike-traffic waits until it has enough riders, i.e., a critical mass, to push it’s way through the intersection. (ChicagoCriticalMass.org)

The strength of the Mass is in it’s close-knit unity as an organic body. It is sometimes necessary to ride through lights in order to maintain this unity. It is actually safer. Otherwise, car traffic is tempted to weave in and out among small groups of riders. (ChicagoCriticalMass.org)

there’s even a Wiki dedicated entirely to Critical Mass! so if you’ve never experienced one of these rides, go look one up in your city or one closest near you and definitely check it out. my first Mass was the November 2008 one. I brought my old, too small pink Magna mountain bike with me and it was way too obvious that I didn’t know anything about anything. but I still had a great time, met a bunch of super nice people, and obviously enjoyed it enough to keep with the bike culture for two years after that. :>

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ready to rawmble!

February 1, 2010 at 5:20 am (raw)

(the puns just keep getting worse. I’m sorry. can’t promise I’ll stop, though.)

lately I’ve fallen off the wagon, so to speak. I’ve been eating poorly and far too often and I’m really starting to feel the consequences. today at work I had three Red Bulls on top of two cups of coffee. that’s a little overboard. a lot overboard actually. so I’m going to put myself through a raw detox for about a week starting this upcoming Sunday. this is what I’ll mostly be consuming:

-salads salads salads saladssss
-vegetables (avocados, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, cabbage, spinach, spaghetti squash)
-fruits (apples, bananas, clementines, grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melons, kiwis)
-sprouts
-nuts and seeds
-flavor enhancers (ginger, garlic, lemon/lime juice)

I’ve seen some raw blogs and recipes talk about using salt and various oils but I’m going to try to avoid them. however, I’ll still drink caffeine-free herbal tea because I don’t really see why it would be detrimental.

I went grocery shopping in preparation today and here’s what my kitchen looks like now:

apples, bananas, and clementines!

strawberries (from the Plaza Theate farmers' market), spaghetti squash, alfalfa sprouts, and bean sprouts!

carrots, cantaloupe, tomatoes, cucumbers, salad greens, spinach, broccoli, and a big ol' hunk of celery.

and then I decided to get adventurous and try Super Cookies.

the verdict: definitely would not define them as cookies, but they’re great for snacks. if anything, they’re more like chips. but I’m not about to denounce a food based on semantics, so Super Cookies get a thumbs up for me. although I’d much prefer if they were cheaper. (I’m looking at you, Whole Foods.)

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