Lemme See Yr Muffin Top

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Oh you didn’t want me to put on my really tight pants?  Because I can do that too … oh.  Ok.

I made these Blueberry Oat Muffins last week for breakfast and LOST IT because they’re the best I’ve ever had.  I really wanted some muffin tops, which is a feat rarely achieved in vegan baking … why I do not know.  It seems like the baking powder and baking soda should aid in the leavening, but vegan muffins are (usually) reluctant to rise.  The magic secret (omg) is to overfill the cups.  Did I just blow your mind?  Whoa.

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Check out the Recipe:

(Makes 12 normal sized muffins and 8 jumbo muffins with tops)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Cup AP Flour
  • 1/2 C Oats
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Flax Eggs (2 T ground Flax seed + 6 T water)
  • 1 Cup Soy Yogurt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 C Blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 C Chopped Walnuts

Directions

  • Preheat your oven for 400 degrees and grease your muffin tin with vegetable oil or vegan margarine.
  • In a small bowl, create your flax eggs by whisking together the ground flax seed and water.  Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.
  • In a separate bowl, combine all the wet ingredients, including your flax eggs.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and top with the blueberries and walnuts.  Stir only until everything is just incorporated – be sure not to over-mix!
  • Scoop your batter evenly into the muffin tins, filling them all the way to the top.  Don’t be afraid!  These muffins don’t rise very much!
  • Place the muffin tin on a middle rack in your oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges just start to look caramel brown.
  • Cool on a rack and enjoy!

All this talk of muffin tops and racks, I can only imagine what the search engines turn out this week.

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Next Day Brownies

Ah, the eternal quest for good vegan brownies continues.  JUST KIDDING IT’S OVER THEY’RE RIGHT HERE.

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I can’t understand why I didn’t make these before.  They’re Isa’s recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen, and clearly they are ace.  The perfect balance between fudgy and cakey brownies and a deep chocolate flavor make these epic.  The best part about them is that they get better the longer you let them sit!  Thus, I dub them “Next Day Brownies.”

(recipe courtesy of Isa)

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup cold water
  • 12 oz extra firm silken tofu (the vacuum packed kind, like Mori-Nu)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocloate chips (I use Ghiradelli)
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup good quality unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Droste)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder

Directions

  • In a blender puree the tofu, flour and water until smooth. Pour it into a sauce pan, and wisk constantly over low heat until it thickens (it should not boil, if it starts to turn the heat down). This takes about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips, salt, vanilla and sugar. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted. Set the mixture aside to cool completely.
  • Preheat your oven to 350.
  • When mixture is cool enough mix in the oil. (It can take about 20-30 minutes to cool, give it a stir once in awhileand stick it in the fridge to make it cool faster).
  • Sift the 1 1/2 cups of flour, the cocoa and the baking powder together. Fold in the tofu mixture until well combined and smooth.
  • Spread evenly in a greased baking pan for 35-40 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.


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I had a party and people kind of picked at them as they cooled, but it was the breakfast brownie the next morning that made my eyes roll back in my head.  What’s the deal!?  Something about sitting in the fridge overnight allowed the chocolate chips I added to the batter to harden and the flavors to mingle together in bliss.   I added 1/4 C chocolate chips and 1/4 C walnuts to the recipe for my own preference.  I’m now imagining all the add-ins that could make these even more incredible!   These brownies are bomb.  That’s all I can say.

Bake Me Up LA!

Check it out!

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Forget June Gloom!  It doesn’t stand a chance against freshly made vegan baked goods.  Heed the call and get yourself to Locali on Sunday the 21st or the 28th (TWO DAYS!  WHY WOULD YOU MISS THIS!?) and eat some delicious vegan goods!  It’s part of the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale and all the proceeds go to Animal Acres, Earthlings the documentary, and Little Big Dog Rescue.  Helping out some great causes AND swimming up to your neck in cookies/brownies/cake/bars … there can be nothing better!  All the info you need is on this poster – tell your ol’ cronies!!!

I Lost My Heart to Heart Thrive

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A big delicious thanks to the folks over at The Healthy Baking Company for sending me a big box of Heart Thrives!!!  I get siked about getting anything (other than bills) in the mail – but a box full of this stuff made me jump up and down and clap my hands way longer than necessary!  I don’t normally go for “energy bars’ because they’re usually full of ingredients I can’t pronounce and sugar I don’t want to eat.  This isn’t the case with Heart Thrive – they’re made with whole grains, dried fruit, and sweetened with brown rice syrup.  You can learn more about their nutrition stats here. They come in seven flavors: Apple, Apricot, Date, Cranberry, Poppy, Raisin, and Chocolate Chip.  My favorites are the Apricot and Cranberry – the chunks of dried fruit are excellent.  I love the Chocolate Chip warmed up in the microwave with some vanilla ice cream for a really good (relatively healthy) dessert.

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So I ran my first 10K yesterday morning, and my breakfast beforehand was two Cranberry Heart Thrives.  I’m proud to say I finished 9th in my age group, so it should be known that these are great pre-race fuel!  I usually get these at a local health food store – so you can probably find them somewhere near you or you can order ’em online.

Flore Cafe Brunch Buffet

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$10.  All you can eat.  That’s really all the convincing you need.  Sunday from 10-3 you can get a plate full of the best ALL VEGAN buffet with unlimited coffee and orange juice.  Purple sweatshirt there is feelin’ it.

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Flore Cafe is run by the same people as the Flore down the street and it’s in the old Vegan Spot space … which I believe was also the same people?  It’s all very mysterious.  All that stuff doesn’t really matter when you’re stuffing your face with the best (THE BEST) Vegan French Toast in town.

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The *French Toast is the hilight of everything going on at Flore Cafe.  I also love their vegan sausage, bacon, fresh fruit, tofu scramble, waffles, and home fries.  I freak out on Sunday morning.  There’s nothing better than riding your bike down there and then trying to pedal home later with your body 10 pounds heavier.  Worth it.   Make sure you get there earlier in the day – last week we showed up at 2 and they were out of everything.  Apparently they didn’t have anyone working in the kitchen that day, so maybe it was just a one time thing.

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*The only complaint I have about Flore Cafe is the janky Maple Syrup they use … tastes like it came out of  Mrs. Butterworth.  I don’t want any part of that lady or her cohorts.  Get the REAL STUFF GUYS.

Kentucky Fried Potluck

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It was a warm Sunday evening, and I had a big mess o’ buddies coming over to celebrate nothing at all.  I wanted to test out some recipes for a” super top secret” project I’m working on, and spend some quality time with good smilin’ people.  I’ll start out with what I made, and move on down the line.  The only thing missing from this potluck was some Ale-8-One!

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A lovely mixed assortment of olives for the first people arriving.  Watch me wrastle with a deep fryer and delight in some salty hors d’oeuvres!

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Speaking of deep frying, feast your eyes on my Kentucky Fried Seitan.  I’ve been messing around with recipes for a couple weeks, and I found my winner.  I made a batch with from-scratch seitan, but I have to say that the kind I made from powdered wheat gluten was MUCH better.  I’ll put up a tutorial on Homemade Seitan 101: What Not To Do. I made this with tofu a few days ago too – it’ good!  Do it!  Fry it!

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Ah, coleslaw.  The friendly heart attack disguised in salad form.  But wait!  Veganaise to the rescue!  Have no fear of clogged arteries – vegan coleslaw keeps you safe and happy with its crunchy superpowers.

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The lovely Audrey made this awesome raw kale salad that went faster than anything else on the table!  The sweet cranberries and crunchy pine nuts went really well with kale, and the dressing was tangy and citrusy.  Perfect for an outdoor/indoor potluck extraveganza!

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Brie brought some garlicky roasted carrots!  This might be my new favorite way to do carrots.  There were whole roasted cloves of garlic snuggling around in there.  Enough said.

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Gabe brought green beans and turnips she found at the Farmer’s Market.  Mmmm.

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Let’s not even pretend this is a Red Velvet cake.  It’s supposed to be.  Looks more like a Carrot Cake, right?  This wasn’t an epic fail, but it was close to one.  I didn’t coat the pans before baking, probably didn’t use enough leavening agent, and needed more beet juice.  All things considered, it still tasted pretty good but it wasn’t my proudest moment!

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We ended the night with a rousing game of Smart Ass (you should own this) which my dad slayed.  Congrats JW.  There were also Mint Juleps floating around, collards from Lindsey, and cornbread from my friend Ayla (which you can see in the first picture on the red plate).  We listened to Bluegrass music and discussed the many and varied attributes of Dolly Parton.  It was a great little funfriendjollyjoy night.

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Blurry photo of how it went down.

Snack Attack vs. Zack Attack

My favorite snacks and my favorite Zacks.

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Roasted Tamari Chickpeas

This recipe is really easy and quick – and you can store these guys for later when you’re watching a Saved By The Bell marathon.

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 T toasted sesame oil
  • 2 T Tamari soy sauce

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  • In a bowl, coat chickpeas with sesame oil and soy sauce
  • Spread chickpeas onto a baking sheet (preferable something with a lip on the edge to prevent liquid draining off)
  • Bake for 20 minutes
  • Take baking sheet out of the oven, toss chickpeas
  • Bake for another 15 minutes
  • Let cool and enjoy!

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Baked Sweet Potato Fries

I’ll admit this was lunch yesterday with some BBQ sauce.  Not so much a snack, but not really ‘lunch’ either.

Ingredients

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 T olive oil
  • salt

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
  • Slice sweet potato into 1/2 wedges – or whatever magical shape suits your fancy.  Unicorn shapes?  Lightning bolts?  Mustaches?
  • Arrange slices on a baking sheet, coat with oil, and sprinkle on a desired amount of salt (or any seasonings you feel like – I use curry a lot)
  • Place baking sheet in oven and bake for 20 minutes
  • Remove baking sheet, flip slices over, and bake for another 15 minutes

I should let you know that my oven doesn’t seem to heat up all the way, so you might want to reduce these times or the temperature.  Don’t want no burnt Zacks snacks.