Tag Archives: dessert

Sorry for the Delay Readers. Have a Cupcake, I Insist.

Oh readers, I am TERRIBLE. I mean that. I never intended to leave you hanging for as long as I did.

That being said, life got a little rough for a little while, and a break was necessary. I hope you understand. It is my intention to keep this as regularly updated as possible, and I’m going to do my best. I can’t promise I won’t go off the grid again, but I can promise you that we have at least another two months before my next scheduled freak out. 🙂

Still, I missed you, and I know a few of you missed me. I’m sorry. As penance, I give to you a recipe. No, no, it’s none of that health food nonsense. They’re cupcakes. Sweet, yummy, delicious…

…fruity?
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Cupcakes.

I call them “Kellycakes” since they were created for my coworker, Kelly (duh), who left for bigger, greater, and significantly more Korean things. I wish her well, but miss her terribly. As a goodbye, I prepared to bake up a fresh batch of those delicious raspberry cupcakes I made for Olive’s birthday. Then I noticed that Mike had eaten all the raspberries. Naturally, I punched him. Hard. Sadly, he is not some magical, fruit filled pinata, and I couldn’t get so much as a single raspberry out of him.

Strawberries are probably just as good, right?

As those were cooking I prepared the rest of the ingredients. I reached into the fridge for the applesauce. Hmmm…I don’t seem to have any applesauce. These cupcakes were almost a disaster!

I did, however, have one super ripe banana. Guess that has to do?

See, whenever I tell you to use applesauce instead of an egg, you can actually substitute the words, “pureed fruit” for the applesauce. The only reason I insist upon applesauce is because everything else will alter the flavor of the final product. Don’t get me wrong, I like bananas, but they have a time and a place, and a German Chocolate cake is neither the time, nor the place for banana flavoring.

So Kelly got Strawberry Banana cupcakes, and I got a new recipe.

Kellycakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
2 c white whole wheat flour
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c + 2 tbs sugar
1/2 c canola oil
1 ripe banana, mushed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c unsweetened almond milk
1/2 lb fresh strawberries, rinsed and quartered
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs vegan margarine
2-3 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F

Before you do anything else, place the quartered strawberries in a pan over a medium heat. If the berries are tart, throw a pinch of sugar in with the berries. Otherwise, you can just let them cook down until they go from this:

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to this:

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You should be able to get that consistency just by mushing the berries with a fork as they cook. However if you are an impatient spaz (guilty), you can throw them in the blender after they’ve already broken down significantly, just to even out the texture.

The next part’s simple. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, blend the oil with the mashed banana.

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Does this remind you of your old high chair? It should.

Add 1/3 cup of your strawberry “reduction” (we’re using that term loosely because I’m lazy and totally blended the bajeezus out of the strawberries) to the banana and oil and mix well. Stir in the vanilla and almond milk.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir only to combine. Scoop the batter into muffin tins and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a fork comes out clean.

While those are cooling, feel free to make/taste/start dipping pretzel sticks into the strawberry icing.

In a bowl using a hand mixer on a medium speed, combine the margarine, remaining strawberry reduction, and lemon juice. Slowly add the powdered sugar until the consistency is firm enough to pipe with (or at least be able to slather it on carelessly without leaving too many puddles).

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Yum!

After your cupcakes are cool, simply ice them and share them with your favorite Kelly. Or some chick you know whose name is Kelly. Or just someone who looks like they could use a treat. It all works out in the end.

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The camera doesn’t do this justice at all. First off, the icing is an adorable pink color. In fact, I first decided to use berries because my daughter wanted a Pinkalicious themed birthday and I don’t much care for food dyes. Second, since I was impatient and iced these warm, you can’t tell how well the icing actually piped. Pity, since before the heat overtook the frosting it had been quite pretty. Finally, you can’t lick this picture and expect it to taste quite like the real thing. Sadly, you’re going to have to make these yourself.

Admittedly, strawberry Banana is a pretty offbeat flavor for a cupcake. It’s ok though, because Kelly is kind of an offbeat chick. Are they a little weird? Sure, but it didn’t stop me from eating three of them.

So readers, I have returned, and I came bearing cupcakes. Thanks for your patience. I hope you can have a few of these as consolation for my bad blogging practices.

Enjoy!

***NOTE: I have received feedback from multiple sources about my zucchini muffins not setting in the center. My best answer is because the zucchini needs to be drained first, however, I need to test the recipe a few more times to see what is going wrong. I am so sorry for anyone who had a less than stellar muffin on account of me, and I’m working to fix the recipe immediately! Thanks!***

Money Saving Monday–Welcome Back Courtney!

I’m back readers. Did you miss me during my vacation?

What’s that? You didn’t know I was taking a vacation? Shame! You’d have heard about it if you liked me on Facebook. Tsk tsk.

In reality, it wasn’t much of a vacation, since it was only a break from blogging. We were so busy, it was stupid. We had a lot going on. Here’s a recap for those of you not in the know:

We went to the zoo.

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I reunited with old friends, and saw some new ones.

We played hide and seek…kind of.

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I started a new job.

We celebrated Father’s Day with giant batches of brownies and our own…unique kinds of presents.

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We wore chef hats and fancy aprons.

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(Thank you Momma Kamper)

Olive made friends with some super heroes.

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I went to Comfest (giant festival we have in Columbus every year) for music, tie dye, and art.

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Someone turned five.

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And everyone ate pink cupcakes. Pink cupcakes that were AMAZING, I might add. Yes, you can have the recipe, but no, not today. I didn’t get to take any pictures of the process OR the cupcakes, due to the frightening speed in which they disappeared. I was enthusiastically told that they were the greatest thing I had ever baked. Later guys, you can have it later.

Besides, a whole week of comfort food and sweets and I’m done. When we grilled our dinner, we kept it simple–vegetables, corn, and baked beans. Easy, healthy, nourishing, delicious. Except there was just one problem. I didn’t have any dessert, energy, or cupcakes (those of you who ate more than one, I’m looking at YOU, jerks! Didn’t you know I was going to have cupcake breakfast?).

So we had apples. Because no matter how tired, broke, or sweet deprived I am, I always have apples, and they’ve never let me down.

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Grilled Apples
Serves Four
2 Apples
Cinnamon, to taste
Ginger, to taste
Blueberries, to garnish
Sugar (optional)

Cut the apples in half. Remove the core with a paring knife OR, if you’re my mother and managed to deeply cut yourself on tongs last week, a dull spoon, some elbow grease, and a lot of determination. A melon baller would probably also work fine.

Sprinkle the apples with cinnamon, ginger, and sugar, if using (you don’t need to, I think they’re amazing as is. But for a tart baking apple, a bit might help). Place the apples, cut side up, on the grill until they start to look soft. Turn them over for about a minute to cook the cut side. Remove from grill, fill cavities with blueberries while still hot, and then serve them to your family who ate waaaaaaaaaaaaay too many cupcakes last weekend, ate waaaaaaaaaaaaay too many chocolate donuts, and had waaaaaaaaay too many juiceboxes. Remind your significant other that apples are a dessert and no we do not need to go to the grocery store to pick up Swedish fish and no, you are not making him another batch of chocolate coconut fudge, and no, the fudge would not be healthier if you put peanut butter in it.

Seriously though, these are yummy, are nothing but fruit and spices, and are full of vitamins and nutrients that round out a meal perfectly. I’m not saying there isn’t a time for pink cupcakes or peanut butter fudge. But that time isn’t today.

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Because if she expects to be this fabulous all the time, she’s going to need the energy. She’s going to need apples.

Oh hell, who am I kidding. I need the apples.

Is it the Weekend Yet?

Readers, you’re going to have to forgive my lack of posts recently. It’s been a long few weeks, and I am exhausted.

List of Crap that Happened Over the Course of Two Weeks
1. Heavy duty vegetable gardening
2. Unfortunate overgrowth of weeds
4. Four birthdays
5. Two Births…so six birthdays
6. Olive’s preschool graduation
7. Olive’s preschool picnic
8. Obscene heat
9. Three papers due
10. One test
11. A severe addiction to Angry Birds (how have I never played this before???)

List of Crap that Didn’t Happen Over the Course of Two Weeks
1. Immaculate eating habits. We’ve had a looooot of cake lately, and pot lucks at preschool mean we’re downing some dairy out of necessity.
2. Consistent exercise
3. Basic hygiene. Here is what I look like. I have not showered (…in three days…), I have not had coffee yet, and I have to go to my first workout since Monday. If you have a weak stomach, you may want to avert your eyes.
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I’m pretty lucky that this is Memorial Day Weekend. I know right now that I should tell you all about how important it is to remember those who died for our country (it is VERY important) and the sacrifices that some people make. In reality, though, I’m so pooped that the idea of lounging poolside all day tomorrow, seeing a parade on Monday, and eating delicious grilled veggies sounds marvelous.

Maybe I’ll eat them with a few of these guys?

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Fudge Pops!
Makes Six-Eight Pops
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp salt

Whisk together the cocoa and maple syrup until a thick paste forms. All the cocoa should be fully dissolved (which is why we’re using liquid sweetener). Add the milk and salt and stir until combined. Pour them into Popsicle molds and freeze until set (probably about three hours).

In order to get them out, depending on your molds, you’re probably going to need to use the old water and squeeze method of pulling them out. Nothing is more depressing than an empty Popsicle stick. Luckily, nothing is more yummy than a Fudge Pop!

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It’s drippy!

Make these for your next cookout and they will be a hit, or just make them for you and horde them. I usually don’t brag about calorie count to you guys, but they are right around fifty calories a pop. They also have calcium and whatever vitamins your milk is fortified with. If nothing else, you can feel good knowing that you can pronounce all the names of the ingredients.

So kick back, relax, and eat like twenty of these. You deserve them.

Happy Birthday Kristie! Now Eat the Damn Cake!

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This is my best friend in the whole world. It’s not really a picture of her, but the likeness is absolutely uncanny, I promise. Yesterday was her birthday, and as part of my present to her, I had to promise not to take a picture of her and put it on my blog. I grudgingly agreed, and instead grabbed this picture of her chillin with Jiggly Puff. At any rate, she is now officially old as hell. How exciting!

Kristie and I don’t have some sort of average, run of the mill, friendship. It took us years and years to train each other to be the other’s best friend, and have been working on it for about sixteen years now. I’m proud to say that finally, after sixteen years of friendship, I have learned that “Don’t put my picture on the internet” actually means, “Don’t put my picture on the internet.” My mom’s been trying to teach me lessons far simpler than that for twenty six years. Good job, Kristie!

I know a few more things about Kristie that facilitated our birthday celebration (which was a simple dinner at my house); sixteen years will give you that kind of experience, I think. For example: Kristie loves green beans, doesn’t eat meat, thinks Eggplant Parmesan is the epitome of Italian food (but we can’t eat the actual Parmesan, damn rennet), doesn’t like chocolate cake, but could eat frosting out of a bowl pretty happily.

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Oh, and she digs sprinkles.

Lightly Spiced Cake or Kristie’s Super Birthday Cake of Happy Joy!
Makes one 9″ round cake (double the recipe to make a layer cake)
2 c white whole wheat flour
1/2 c sugar
1 tbs cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tbs baking powder, divided
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c canola oil
1 c almond milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 recipe Vegan Frosting of Joy OR
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting (see below)
Sprinkles (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, 2 tsp of the baking powder, and salt, mixing well.

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I’m going to teach you a new technique I just learned which helps the applesauce egg bind better. I’ll be updating past recipes (such as other cookies and muffins) to reflect this new trick, which you should take with you into other baking adventures!

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Combine the applesauce with the remaining tsp of baking powder. I don’t know why this works better, but it really makes the applesauce a much more effective binder.

After you combine those, you know the drill. Whisk together the oil and applesauce until emulsified and stir in the vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together with as few strokes as possible.

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Pour into a 9″ round pan, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean.

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While your cake cools, whip up some frosting. With my chocolate cupcakes, I whipped up a vegan version of buttercream that was pretty good, but for this one I highly recommend this fake cream cheese frosting that will fool people into thinking they’re eating the real thing.

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
Frosts two 9″ cakes, but feel free to make a little extra for decorating (I wish I had!)
1 container non hydrogenated Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese (or 8 oz of another vegan cream cheese)
2 tbs vegan margarine
3 cups powdered sugar

Using an electric hand beater (or some serious muscles) beat together the cream cheese and margarine. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until what you have looks suspiciously like frosting. Taste it, adjust sugar if necessary, and then ice the heck out of the cake.

Let the four year old in your house apply the sprinkles and tada!

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Your best friend won’t care that you aren’t the best at frosting things, or that it’s literally covered with sprinkles.

Hell, her favorite cake until recently was titled “funfetti” anyway.

She won’t care that you put her birthday on display on your blog…or that you called her old as hell.

Instead, she will be so happy that you baked her a cake, from scratch and with love, that she will invite you to sit at the table with her, after all the dishes are cleared, to eat cake straight from the serving plate. Perhaps you’ll even have a little fork cheers? Then before you know it, that half a cake you were planning on sending her home with is less than a piece, and you feel full, comatose, but strangely accomplished.

That’s what it’s like to have a best friend.

Happy Birthday, Kristie!

My Cupcakes, and Why You Should Be Glad I Like to Share.

Readers, you would have read this last night, but sadly I hate to write a midterm. It was about American literature between 1890 and 1920, involved a lot of race and gender inequities, and left me feeling dirty afterwards. Had we any muffins left (Olive…) I’d have reached for one as solace. Sadly, we had nothing left but cupcakes.

Well, I guess I’ll eat one, if I have to.

Double Chocolate Cupcakes
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup vegan semisweet chips (Ghirardelli’s are vegan, and very yummy!)
1 Recipe “Vegan Frosting of Joy”

Preheat oven to 350F.

As per usual, you’re going to want to mix the dry ingredients together. This still includes the sugar. In fact, you’ll find this recipe is a lot like the muffin recipe. Higher ratios of the good stuff (fat, sugar) is what differentiates quick bread from cakes. That’s boring. Let’s mix some applesauce with oil!

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Whisk the applesauce and oil together till emulsified. This will be trickier than with muffins, because there is much more oil. Do the best you can. After that, stir in the milk. Gently add the wet to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do this in as few strokes as possible.

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You can leave this next part out, but I wouldn’t.

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Gently fold in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick (who am I kidding, fork) comes out clean. You can make mini muffins, too, just bake them for ten minutes instead. They are an amazing bite sized treat! If you want to make this as an actual cake, that’s fine, too. This will fill one standard, round cake pan–double the recipe if you want a layer cake. Bake it for 30-40 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean, then bring me a piece. Please.

Let cool completely before frosting.

Oh, did you WANT frosting?

Vegan Frosting of Joy
1/4 cup vegan margarine (like Earth Balance) or coconut oil (if you can afford that stuff)
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1-3 tbs unsweetened almond milk

This is actually really simple. First, with an electric hand mixer, or really, really great biceps, beat the margarine till soft.

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From this…
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…to this.

Then, add vanilla, powdered sugar, and 1 tablespoon of the milk. Beat until the consistency is fluffy and dreamy, adding additional milk as necessary. It will look like this:

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Whatever you do, do not skip this next step!

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Mike wanted one, but I growled at him when he reached for it.

This is actually firm enough a frosting that if you wanted to pipe it onto your cupcakes or make semi-fancy designs, you could. Unfortunately, I didn’t let my cupcakes cool enough, so that lovely piping melted. Still tasted good, though.

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These cupcakes are NOT health food, but they are better for you than anything you’ll buy at your grocery store bakery, and definitely better than anything you’d get out of the box. You’re getting whole grains and considerably less fat and sugar than any commercially made product. At that, you can pronounce the names of the ingredients, which is a definite plus. They’re extremely easy, as well. Plus, the ingredients are fairly inexpensive. Also, did I mention that these are some of the richest cupcakes I’ve ever eaten? They’re absolutely to die for, and Mike, his coworkers, Olive, and my bandmates ate these like it was their last meal.

Make these. They’re amazing.

Ashley Week Part Four–You Deserve a Damn Cookie

Ashley is a trooper, guys. I’m not even kidding. During this week one of the worst things that possibly could have happened, happened, and she is taking it so much better than I would. I had a couple ideas in the old noggin for what her grand finale would be, but since she’s had two dinners and breakfast already, it’s time we tackle snack time, and not just any snack time, stressful snack time.

See, the problem with stress eating is that it’s the only time where you aren’t completely satisfied eating a piece of fresh fruit. You want something rich and comforting. Back in the day, I would de-stress with food like macaroni and cheese, or an entire batch of chocolate chip cookies. I’ve since found a nutritious alternative to the mac n’ cheese dilemma (not my recipe, sadly) but cookies, well, I’ve always just sort of let them be cookies.

But what if I told you that I found a way to turn a cookie into the nutritional equivalent of a high quality energy bar (think larabar) instead of a sugar laden sweet fest?

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“Withcraft!” screamed my readers.

Seriously though, if you guys make any of my recipes, make these. They’re delicious, amazing, and so good for you it’s downright stupid, and all of the ingredients are recognizable. This is also probably the simplest recipe in the history of cookies. Enjoy!

Energy Cookies
Makes 24 cookies
1 1/4 cup raw almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tbs maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

First things first, we’re going to make us some almond flour. I want to tell you guys that I just magically know how to do this, but that would be a total lie. I learned about a week ago from this lady’s cookie recipe. Essentially, you just pop the almonds into a blender or food processor and pulse it until you have a fine meal. With luck, it should look like this:

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Add the rest of the dry ingredients and stir to mix. In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients. Add the wet to the dry and stir to combine. Fold in the chocolate chips and raisins.

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Drop by the spoonful onto an ungreased baking sheet.

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Bake for ten minutes, or until somewhat firm.

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Eaaaaaat!

Guys, these are AMAZING. They melt in your mouth and taste so decadent. My theory is the fat in the almonds replace the need for oils for flavor. Either way, they taste buttery, though they have no butter, and sweet, though they have almost no sweetener. You can feel free to omit either the chocolate chips (to have a more “oatmeal raisin” type cookie) or the raisins (to eat chocolate chip cookies!) but I really, really love the fruit and nut taste these cookies have.

My family LOVES them, and I’m glad because they taste like a cookie, but are essentially a handful of nuts and raisins mashed together. I win!

Prep and Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Points Plus Value: 2 (per cookie)

Ashley, come over and I will bake you a double batch of these for the week. You can eat a few in place of breakfast bars in the morning, or just have one or two as an afternoon snack. They are oh so good they will halt your sweet tooth and bring instant comfort.

Eat a damn cookie, guys. You deserve it.