Thursday, September 25, 2014

Vegan Rainbow Cupcakes

Vegan Rainbow Cupcakes
I love to change up the style of cupcakes and play around, you don't want to get bored do you? Okay I don't think you can get bored with any kind of cupcake but its nice to change it up right?. Recently while checking my addiction...better named Pinterest...I came along the allusive rainbow cupcake. They take some time or labor of love but the outcome is really fun! So I took it upon myself to make a version we can all enjoy. This recipe will show you how to make these popular treats without worrying if they are vegan. With that yummy familiar flavor of a vanilla cupcake paired with that creamy and dreamy frosting...but with a corvul twist. This cupcake is different in all the right ways! I will guarantee you will not be disappointed. These cupcakes are great as a special party treat or on those occasion when you want to show someone you care. Pair the cupcakes with a big glass of vegan milk and wait for the big smiles that await as your loved ones see the surprise inside these cupcakes. Enjoy!

Vegan Rainbow Cupcakes

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon vinegar
2 cup vegan milk
2 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 
(you can flavor these with anyone of your choice, I went traditional.)

Vegan Buttercream (Recipe Below)

Directions

Heat the oven to 350 Degrees.

Grease the top of your cupcake tin (so the cupcakes don't stick) and then line with your cupcake liners and set aside.


*The metallic lined cupcake wrappers are the best here because the color on the inside doesn't brown and dull.*


Place the vinegar in the bottom of a 2 cup measuring cup and fill the cup with the vegan milk. Stir well and set aside (the mixture will curdle).





In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 




Once you are ready to make the batter, place your mixing bowl in your stand mixer. In the mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the vegan milk mixture, oil, and vanilla. Add in the dry ingredients to the wet and beat until smooth using a hand-held mixer, stopping once to scrape down the sides of the bowl.




Once the cupcake batter is done, let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes. This mixture will become airy and light. Once you have your batter ready to use, this will be when you divide it up equally to make colors. 



Assembly 

Divide the vegan batter up evening within 7 disposable cups. Now you can add more or less colors, I went with traditional rainbow colors. Let your creativity shine here and make it your own. 


Next, you will need to add your colors one by one. You will want to make sure each color is dark enough to withstand baking, the color will stay vibrant in the end. Once your colors are added, you can start assembling the cupcakes. 

Rainbow Assortment
Starting out with your purple, adding 3 to 4 teaspoons of each color to the cupcake liners. Spread each color evening over each layer, being careful not to mix the colors together. This is time consuming but you will have a perfectly layered rainbow cupcake in the end...a labor of love.













When you have your cupcakes ready, place them in a preheated oven.

Ready to Bake
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for 3 to 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes from the pan and place on a wire cooling rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting. Once they are frosted and decorated, these cupcakes are ready to share. These cupcakes are great as a special party treat or on those occasion when you want to show someone you care. Pair the cupcakes with a big glass of vegan milk and a big smile. Enjoy!


Ready to Frost

Vegan Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients 

1 cup vegan butter or shortening
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup vegan milk or cold water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Food coloring, color of your choice (optional)

Directions

In the stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the vegan butter or shortening and the exacts on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Once the vegan shortening mixture is creamed you can move on to the next step.



Add in your powdered sugar and switch the mixer to low, slowly adding in the lemon juice. Beat the frosting until incorporated, and then beat on medium high until the frosting is airy and thoroughly mixed, about 1 to 2 minute, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl.


                          Ready to use Frosting
                              (Color Optional)

When the cupcakes are ready to handle and are cooled, using a piping bag (or with a spatula) frost the top of the cupcakes with the homemade vegan buttercream frosting. Decorate each cupcake with edible vegan sprinkles (optional). Serve and Enjoy!

-Amy













Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Homemade Sparkle Candy Apples

Homemade Sparkle Candy Apples

It's about that time again...no not just back to school time...CANDY APPLE TIME...Okay, okay I know, I'll calm down. But we all look forward to certain things. Me, I love the fall! The crisp air and the even crispier apples. The joy of picking and that first juicy bite, you are sure to have it remind you of your childhood. It's those nostalgic treats that bring us back to those treasured times in our lives.

Whether it's fall or the summertime, we enjoy certain treats. These treats could be homemade or bought, we still are nostalgic in it's enjoyment. Candied apples are the most nostalgic for me. I can remember any carnival or amusement park always choosing a big candy apple. To this very day I still choose these big candy apples as my treat and still feel the same way I did back when I was little. The excitement of the purchase, the smell as you unwrap, and the first sticky and difficult bite trying to break threw the candy shell. Before you know it, the apple is gone and you are pining for another one already. These apples are usually purchased premade from carnivals, fall events, or store bought. They come in many flavors, colors, and quality varies. I have got the occasional bad apple and I'm always disappointed when that happens.

This recipe shows you how to not only make but enjoy the process that is Candy Apple making. These candy apples are turning up the glitzy factor but including an extra beautiful candy shell. Candy apples can be fun and enjoyable while making them but also can be different than the rest. It's extra nice because it's an art, you can make them with your favorite apples and any of your favorite flavors and/or colors. These apples are different but so easy to master. A great treat for adults and kids alike because it's one of those treats we grew up enjoying over and over again. This recipe shows you how to make a perfect candy apple every time. Serve these at parties and event or just a special dessert on the weekend. Theme them with holidays or parties and enjoy year round.

Homemade Sparkle Candy Apples

Yields: 12 to 15 Candy Apples

Ingredients
Candy Apple Base

12 to 15 regular sized organic green (granny smith) apples (crisp & holds up to the heat)
3 cups organic raw sugar
1/2 cup organic light corn syrup
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vegan food coloring (any color you like)

(Sparkle Spray Below)


Equipment Needed

Candy thermometer

24 Popsicle sticks or thick pointed candy apple sticks

Directions

Wash and thoroughly dry the organic apples.

*You want to use organic apples, because not only are wax on apples not vegan but the wax on the apples prevents the candy coating from adhering to the outside. Organic or fresh picked apples work best in the situation. 

For this recipe I use granny smith (green apples), you want to use a crispy thick skinned apple. The candy coating can blister other apples and make for a mushy outcome. Once washed and dried, insert the lollipop sticks or Popsicle sticks so that they are firmly positioned in the apples. Set the apples aside. Prepare your cookie sheet, by lining them with wax paper and liberally greasing them. You do not want the apples to stick to the sheet after coated.

Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Bring it to a boil and cook the mixture until a candy thermometer reaches 300 Degrees F (the hard crack stage).

*If you want to test your candy when it gets to this point, drop a couple a drops of the candy into a glass of cold water, you will instantly see the candy form into hard candy strings and it will be ready for dunking.
When the candy reaches 300 degrees (this will take time), remove the candy mixture from the heat and carefully stir in the food coloring and extract (it may splash, so stand back). You may have to add more than the designated 1/2 teaspoon, depending on the quality and strength of your food coloring. I used a vegan gel food color.

One by one, carefully and quickly dip the apples into the candy mixture, swirling to coat them thoroughly and allowing any excess to drip back into the pan. Transfer the coated apples to the prepared cookie sheet and allow them to cool until the candy has fully hardened.

Sparkle Spray

Ingredients

1 to 2 containers luster dust or pixie dust, .25 ounce (found at most craft stores and cake decorating sections, in many colors)

I/2 cup vodka

1 Food-grade paint air brush or spray bottle

Directions

Whisk 1/2 cup vodka into the luster or pixie dust. If the mixtures seems too thin or pale, add 1/4 teaspoons of pixie or luster dust. Keep adding the glitter dust in 1/4 teaspoon increments and whisking until the mixture has the consistency of ink or watery paint. Add this mixture into a spray bottle or air brush and use on candy apples. Spray each hardened apple liberally and allow to dry.

Once the candy apples are hardened and the sparkle "paint" is dry (at least 30 minutes but up to 24 hours), remove from tray, wrap, and decorate as desired. Not only will these be delish but they will almost be too beautiful to eat...almost! Enjoy!

-Amy

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Ultimate PB & J Protein Bars (Vegan/GF/High Protein)


Ultimate PB & J Protein Bars
(Vegan/GF/High Protein)


We are well aware of the protein bar aisle. The never ending choices and the pretty wrappers. But do we really know what's in them?? I begin to read them and wonder if I should be eating them...or wondering if they are a weird science experiment. There are so many unpronounceable words and I really wonder if this will actually be any good for me. So I decided to take it upon myself to make my own...how hard can it be? Well I'd have to say, easy-peasy. This recipe wil show you that with just a bunch of very wholesome ingredients (readable to boot) and a little time you will be more than happy to walk past that supplement bar aisle and decide to make your own instead. You don't need those shiny packages! You can change up the flavors, add your own ingredients to your own taste, and enjoy them over and over again. Pair them with vegan milk for breakfast or enjoy as a snack. However you make it, you won't be dissapointed with the outcome. Enjoy!

Ultimate PB & J Protein Bars
(Vegan/GF/High Protein)

Ingredients

2 cups old fashioned oats (use gluten free if desired)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 very ripe organic bananas, mashed
1/4 cup low sugar jam or preserves (favorite flavor)
1/2 cup vegan milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons Protein Powder (Favorite flavor), I used unflavored
1/3 cup organic almond butter
1/4 cup powdered peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup ground wheat germ
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Grease an 8 x 8 pan.

After prepping your pan, prepare your stand mixer or hand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment.

Start by mixing the dry ingredients together: oats, brown sugar, baking powder, flax, germ, salt, and cinnamon.



Next, start with prepping your wet ingredients. In your stand mixer, add your bananas to break them down into mush. Continue to add the rest of the wet ingredients to combine.











Once the both your mixtures are ready, you are going to mix them both together.





Lastly, once mixed, fold in the chopped peanuts.





Place the mixture in your prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown and cooked threw.





Remove from the oven and allow to cool before cutting. Once you have cut into portions, enjoy along side a glass of vegan milk for breakfast or a snack. Enjoy'

-Amy

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Vegan Lentil Baked "Beans"

Vegan Lentil Baked "Beans"
Baked Beans and summertime go hand and hand, making a perfect pair. But when I see baked beans, I don't usually think of lentils. This great side dish is a new way to think of a summer time side dish. With the replacement of lentils, you get an even better recipe to enjoy. These ingredients are simple but when combined, turn into a DELISH dish! This recipe shows you how to make a traditionally yummy and  perfect baked bean...but NEW and improved, plus they are vegan....BONUS! These "beans" continue to stew away during the day and fill your house with a mouth watering aroma that any family member will love. Great for any picnic, BBQ, party, or family night, you can't go wrong. You will have your family and friends asking for seconds and thirds, as well as the recipe. Perfect paired with your favorite main dishes as well as a great late night snack...yeah we all do it too. Serve hot or enjoy cold with your favorite main dish. And we won't tell if you sneak tastes out of the pot here and there, but make sure you leave enough for the family too! Enjoy!

Vegan Lentil Baked "Beans"

Ingredients

1/4 cup vegan bacon (any kind you like, I used the salad topping kind)
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups lentils, thoroughly rinsed
6 to 7 cups water 
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup yellow mustard
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
3 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 Tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons brown sugar sugar
2 Tablespoons mustard powder
1 large bay leaf
1 teaspoon liquid smoke 
2 Tablespoons molasses 
Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Ingredients

Heat the oven to 350 degrees

In a large dutch oven (the kind that can go on the stove-top and in the oven). Add the lentils, water, and the remaining ingredients.

*TIP: You can  boil your lentils beforehand to lesson the cooking time OR you can also make these in a Crockpot for even more of a set and forget recipe.*








Stir well to incorporate everything.



Cover, place in oven, and bake for 1 to 2 hours, or until lentils are tender. Adjust water content if needed while they bake. They can dry out while cooking, if so, just add a little water and continue to cook. Once the lentils are cooked threw and tender, serve immediately or enjoy later at room temperature. Serve along side your other summer time favorites and enjoy!

Ready to Serve Lentils

 -Amy

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Gluten-Free/Vegan Lemon & Blueberry Pancakes


Comfort doesn't stop just because its Gluten-Free! We all want to have those familiar meals that make us feel warm and fuzzy inside. When those cravings come around, we should all have those options. When it comes to breakfast, we all think of those familiar pancakes. I can't think of a better comfort food that we LOVE to indulge in, on a nice Sunday morning...or even the occasional dinner (Yes we all LOVE breakfast for dinner). This recipe shows you how to make not only a craveable pancake, but also a vegan & GF pancake. These pancakes are a fool proof recipe that will make you remember why we love and crave that mapley carb in the morning. But the difference is, everyone can enjoy them and no one will know they are any different from the original. You can switch up the flavors and toppings to any given day and they freeze great for future meals. Pair them with your other breakfast favorites and a big glass of vegan milk. You will wish every meal is breakfast, Enjoy! 

Gluten-Free/Vegan Lemon & Blueberry Pancakes


Ingredients

-1 1/2 cups GF Flour 
-1 heaping cup organic blueberries
-3 Tablespoon Sugar
-2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
-1/4 teaspoon Salt
-1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
-1 1/2 cup vegan milk
-1 whole organic lemon, zested & then juiced (juice will vary, that's ok)
-2 Tablespoons oil or melted vegan butter  (your choice)
-1 1/2 teaspoons pure Vanilla extract

Directions

Combine the flour, sugar, xanthgum, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and mix well. 

Mix in the vegan milk, juice, zest, extract,  and oil.




Whisk all of these ingredients together until the batter is blended together and smooth but don't over whip too long. 


Once it is mixed, fold in your blueberries.  Some lumps from the batter are okay. 



Let this pancake batter rest for 5 to 10 minutes until you see the mixture looking bubbley and frothy. 


Heat a griddle or frying man over medium high heat with enough vegan butter or oil to cover the surface. (1 to 2 tablespoons) 


Drop 1/4 cup of batter one at a time onto the hot oiled griddle. 


When bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake, approximately 3-4 minute, flip and cook the other side for another 3 to 4 minutes or until both sides are golden brown and firm to touch.


Reapply butter/oil to griddle if it gets dry. Serve with your favorite vegan butter, syrups, vegan whipped cream, or even jam. Enjoy!



INFO & Tip
*Makes around 10 pancakes, less if you do bigger. You will want leftovers...so make extra batches for the freezer! Microwave for 30-60 seconds and you have fresh homemade pancakes in the AM.*

-Amy