This post will be somewhat personal...I don't think that having a blog would be complete without some personal and slightly emotional content (related to food, of course!). There are many, many reasons why I am vegan today. My dear friend Emily introduced me to the lifestyle in highschool. She was a vegetarian when I met her. She introduced me to wonderful staple foods like hummus and falafel that were quite foreign to me at the time. These are now part of my normal diet and I absolutely could not thank her enough for leading me to them!
As I was becoming vegetarian, Em was trying to become vegan. I thought I was having a tough time! I remember she would stash hummus in her purse to smear on bagels. She also switched some clothing and accessories for cruelty-free materials. The hardest part about the transition for her was giving up ice cream. It probably didn't help at all that we both worked at an ice cream shop....
Needless to say, she phased in and out of veganism for a while before quitting. I believe she may have picked it back up after highschool, though. I know it's been a long, long journey for me. I didn't even entertain the idea of veganism until I graduated college and began to read inspirational literature like The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life and Food, Inc.. Over all, I look to this lifestyle as a way of minimizing suffering and maximizing positive vibes (the health benefits and feelings of closeness to the earth are added bonuses!). Emily was still my first exposure to veganism, though. I was always inspired by her interests in activism, animal rights, and conscious living. Another big reason for my adherence to this diet and lifestyle is the preservation of her memory.
For reasons still unclear, Emily's life was taken while she was away at college in Gettysburg, PA. This came as a shock to everyone who knew her and to her school community. This tragedy shook us all to the core. We have all tried desperately to keep Em's spirit and memory alive in any way we can. Her family created a memorial fund in her honor; memorial trees, plaques and peace poles were erected in places her life greatly affected. Em's ashes were also scattered around the globe in amazing places that she would have loved to travel to.
As one of my dearest friends and greatest role models, Emily will always have a place in the forefront of my mind and heart. I try to do right by her every day in all the ways that I can. As you can see, this effort has manifested into the creation of vegan food. The recipe I'm sharing with you today is based on flavors that Em loved (she had great taste) and her favorite flower. I made these to celebrate her birthday which was yesterday. Every year, I try to either make and/or eat a delicious vegan cupcake for the occasion. I don't think she'd have it any other way. :)
So, without further a-do, I present (Emily's) Loaded Sunbutter Cupcakes! These babies are basically a twist on a Take 5 candy bar, which Em was rather fond of. Instead of peanut butter, I used sunflower seed butter to pay homage to one of the most beautiful and dramatic flowers on Earth. Each cupcake is: sunflower seed butter cupcake filled with a dark chocolate mousse and topped with a sunflower seed buttercream frosting. I sprinkled sunflower seeds and gluten-free pretzel crumbs on most of them for garnish. For one, I piped a sunflower and finished the center with chocolate chips. This can be done with plain buttercream and colored yellow, but I wanted the flavor of the sunbutter on mine. Get creative with yours! These are supposed to be fun! :D
Emily's Loaded Sunbutter Cupcakes
Yield: 15 cupcakes (I used 2 mini ice-cream scoops for each)
Adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
(She's the vegan cupcake GENIUS! If it weren't for this book, I may not be a vegan...maybe....) ;)
For the cake
Preheat oven to 350 F.
For the mousse filling
For the Sunbuttercream
**To make this frosting completely natural/clean, sub the processed fats for refined coconut oil/palm fruit oil; Just make sure the frosting stays cool...otherwise, it may be a bit runny.**
I hope you enjoy making these cupcakes as much as I did! They're also fun to eat, too...
For more information on my girl Emily, you can visit her memorial fund website. She was truly an amazing soul. I hope I've inspired you like she's inspired me time and time again.
Peace, Love, Cupcakes <3
My dad and I are very alike in the fact that we love to snack. I could (and usually do) forgo meals altogether and just pick at different things all day long. I love variety in my diet. If I eat the same things at the same time during the day, I get so bored that I'd rather not eat at all. There's no fun!
These cookies are absolutely perfect. They can be eaten at any time of day (yes, even breakfast!). They're approximately 1,000 times more nutritious than their predecessors. I updated a recipe that I've had my eye on for quite some time. The original is full of butter, sugar, refined flour, and shame. I made these rangers full of fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and feel-good vibes. B) Any ranger would do well in the line of duty with these cookies in his/her lunch box/stomach!
Make a batch and share some with your dad or someone who you appreciate for supporting you. Nothing says "thank you, I love you and your mustache" like chewy delicious cookies!
Chocolate Cherry Ranger Cookies
Yield: approx 48 cookies
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
Oh-and P.S.-Tomorrow is also special because it's the Game of Thrones season finale! Get pumped!!
Cornbread is something that I never ate too much of while growing up. We almost never had home made or even home baked Jiffy cornbread! When we got some, it was usually store bought. I can't even imagine what ingredients made up that stuff. It's a shame; homemade cornbread is so easy to make! Once I began to bake, I decided that cornbread was going to be something that I wanted to master. I love to put things in it, like berries, seeds, jam, vegan cheese...you name it! I have yet to try a spicy cornbread recipe, but that is next on my list...
A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to come across blue cornmeal! I had read about this rarity in Vegetarian Times a couple years ago and was instantly intrigued. I haven't been able to find it since. Luckily, Arrowhead Mills sells an organic variety of blue cornmeal that I happened upon. I knew this was a sign. I had to make blue cornbread. But, not just any blue cornbread...DOUBLE blue cornbread! I took inspiration from double chocolate muffins. If it can be done with chocolate chips any cocoa powder, why not with blue corn and blueberries?
I love blueberries in cornbread. I first tried this combination a few summers back at my local Whole Foods. The bakery there makes vegan blueberry cornbread from scratch and it's mighty delicious. I've always liked the taste of cornbread because it's savory and sweet at the same time. The best thing you can do for homemade cornbread is mix in something slightly sweet into the batter to give it some depth of flavor, like fresh sweet corn off the cob...that's a dream right there! I hope this recipe inspires you to fantasize about cornbread as much as I do!
Double Blueberry Cornbread
Yield: 1 8x8 square pan/1 loaf/1 muffin tin's worth
Oven 350 F.
This is my very first food blog! I post revised conventional recipes of foods that I hold near and dear to my heart. My cooking here is all gluten-free and cruelty-free, but full of flavor and comfort.