apple spiced cupcakes with maple “buttercream”

I was SO impressed how wonderfully moist and flavorful these came out. My cousin’s husband said this was “the best cupcake he ever had,” let a lone VEGAN cupcake. The cake itself has a wonderful warm appley fall flavor and the frosting is a very light maple flavor that is the perfect complement to the cake. I topped them off with little slices of apple and chopped walnuts.

This was the first time I made a frosting using earthbalance and I was very satisfied with the result. However, I think I am at that point where I forget what real butter tastes like as well…

Recipe for Apple Spiced Cupcakes (adapted from foodnetwork):

Makes about 12-14 cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon all-spice ( I didn’t have any so I used a little bit of cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shredded apple (with the skin! it’s a good source of fiber :))
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil ( you may have to melt it a little if it’s not soft enough)
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsulphured blackstrap molasses (still don’t really know what this is)
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • nuts optional, I just sprinkled some of mine with chopped walnuts!

Frosting:

  • 3 cups confectionary sugar
  • 8 tablespoons earth balance
  • 6 tablespoons maple syrup, or more

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line your cupcake trays.
  2. Whisk together milk and vinegar, set aside for a few minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl combine all dry ingredients. Set aside.
  4. In a third bowl, beat together coconut oil and brown sugar until fluffy. The beat in milk and vinegar mixture, molasses, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  5. Add mixture to dry ingredients, as well as the shredded apple. The amazing part is that you can actually eat the batter without having fear of getting sick.
  6. Pour batter into cupcake liners and bake about 15-20 minutes. Use a tooth pick or fork to check the middle to ensure that they are baked to perfection.
  7. Remove cupcakes and set aside to cool. To speed up the cooling process I like to put mine in the freezer for 10-15 minutes, about 10 minutes after removing them from the oven.
  8. Beat together frosting ingredients and decorate your cakes!!

 

 

 

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korean bbq veggie and tofu bowl

As you can see I’m all about “the bowls.” I love having multi-component meals so I can please all different parts of my palette. In this case we have the bitterness of the kale, the nuttiness of the quinoa, and the slight sweetness of bbq tofu and veggies.

This recipe is super easy and versatile, and especially great for lunch the next day. I also love to drizzle sriracha all over it.

Another quick aside about tofu

For me at least, I didn’t know the differences between the types of tofu (what the heck is different between extra-firm and firm tofu????)

After doing my research, these are my conclusions (you can read more on the link). The main difference is the water content in all the tofus (silken having the most, extra-firm having the least!)

Silken tofu: Good for egg substitutes, stews, creamy foods like desserts and sauces.

Firm: Good for crumbles, stir-frys, pan-frys.

Extra-firm: Also good for stir-frys, pan-frys, grilling, baking, and crumbling. Holds texture and form the best.

Make sure to press or freeze your tofu before using it to get out excess water!!!

 

Recipe for Korean BBQ Veggie and Tofu Bowl (adapted from Oh My Veggies):

Ingredients:

Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup ketchup (I didn’t have any so I used tomato sauce which worked out relatively well)
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar (honey or maple syrup also work)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons yellow miso (optional, I didn’t have any on me either)
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha (or more if you like it more spicy!!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

Veggies and tofu:

  • 2-4 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 crown broccoli, broken into florets
  • 1 tablespoon water (I used a little more, about 3-4)
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced into half moons
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1 red pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 package of extra-firm tofu, pressed for 30 minutes and then cut into cubes
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • Sesame seeds, scallions, cabbage/kale/spinach optional!

Directions:

  1. Whisk together all sauce ingredients, except sesame oil, in a small saucepan. Simmer for 15 minutes until slightly thickened and stir in sesame oil. Set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in a pan and quickly stir fry the broccoli for a few minutes until slightly crispy. Add water and cover pan to steam broccoli for additional 2 minutes until bright green.
  3. Add a little bit more sesame oil to stir fry remaining veggies for 3-5 minutes. Remove veggies from pan and set aside.
  4. Wipe out pan before adding more oil and frying the tofu until crisp, about 8-10 minutes.
  5. Add 1/2 a cup of sauce to tofu and cook for a few more minutes until tofu is well-coated and sauce is slightly thicker.
  6. Create your bowls with veggies, tofu and quinoa and drizzle remaining sauce over the bowl!

quick powerhouse veggie bowl

This beautiful little bowl of veggies is inspired by Deliciously Ella and is super quick to make! Perfect for lunch or an after workout “snack.” The bowl can be made with virtually any veggies. In this case I used:

  • Black beans (for folate, fiber, vitamin B1, protein, manganese, and fatty acids!)
    • If using canned beans, make sure you are purchasing beans low in sodium or sodium-free, as well as draining the canned liquid and rinsing the beans a few times. If using dried beans (which can actually be more cost-effective [~6 cups in 1 bag vs 2.5 cups in a can]) make sure to sift them (to get out and extra dirt or rocks collected in the bag), rinse them, and let them soak for at least an hour in water. Upon soaking them, you can cook them in a pot for about 30 minutes in a few inches of water until soft and tender. For the bowl, you can leave the beans as is, or you can cook them with a little bit of oil, salt, pepper, and cumin. If you want the re-fried bean texture, just mash them while they are cooking and cook them a little bit longer.
  • Cucumbers (for vitamin K)
    • All I did was dice about half of a cucumber and tossed them into the bowl, adding a nice vibrant green color!
  • Spinach (for vitamin K, Vitamin A, Manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin B2, and calcium)
    • I loooove spinach, but you can also use kale, collard greens, mustard greens, any type of green you would like. The spinach is sautéed with a little olive oil. You can also steam it.
  • Carrots (for vitamin A, biotin, vitamin K)
    • Carrots can be replaced with potatoes and sweet potatoes, and can be roasted or sautéed. I chopped up the carrots into little rectangles and sautéed them with cinnamon, adding a sweet contrast to the mildly spicy black beans. You can also use purple or white carrots if you want to switch up the color. The brighter carrots signify a greater presence of antioxidants. Cinnamon is high in manganese and is beneficial for anti-clotting and anti-microbial activity. I love to add cinnamon to my curries for another depth of flavor.
  • White bean dip! (for fiber, iron, protein)
    • White beans are so creamy and great in dips in soups. White bean dip is probably my third favorite dip (running against hummus and guacamole, of course) and is so easy to make! All you do is blend white beans, olive oil, a few cloves of garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. It’s great in salads, perfect with chips and a great spread on sandwiches and toast as well.
  • Sesame seeds (let’s not forget about those! High in copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron).
    • My new favorite thing has been topping everything with sesame seeds, mainly for aesthetic purpose but they also add a nice little crunch (after all, I only eat sesame bagels).
  • I also threw on some red pepper flakes for an extra kick, but hot sauce will suffice as well if you like!

 

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GORDITAAAS

So before I made this recipe I had no idea what a gordita was (besides meaning lil fatty…). However, the ingredients looked so good together and they are the perfect little street food appetizer (or if you eat a bunch they can definitely serve as a meal as they are quite filling). For those of you who don’t know what a gordita is, it is essentially a cornmeal pancake stuffed with wonderful Mexican goodness. Generally, it is filled with meat, cheese and some sort of salsa, but in this case it is filled with salsa, beans and an extra large chunk of avocado. Gorditas can also be served as a dessert, filled with cream, sugar and cinnamon. You can make the tortillas as big or small as you would like, in this case we made them on the smaller size, perfect for munching. Now that I live in New York, I have started to notice Mexican street vendors selling gorditas, not vegan though sadly.

 

Gorditas Recipe (adapted from Cilantro and Citronella):

Makes about 10-12 palm sized gorditas

Ingredients:

For the Pico De Gallo (so tasty):

  • 3-4 medium tomatoes, diced
  • Half of a white onion (red is fine too!)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 a lime, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cornmeal Pancakes:

  • 2 cups yellow cornmeal (I ended up adding 1 more cup)
  • 1 cup flour (if needed)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Oil for frying

Filling:

  • 3 cups cooked beans (I used pinto)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage or lettuce
  • Avocados, the more the merrier

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients for pico de gallo and put in fridge until needed.
  2. Combine pancake ingredients. In my case I ended up using more flour, as my batter was too liquidy and would not hold in a ball. Add more cornmeal and flour if that is the case for you too (slowly) until the dough sort of like cookie dough but little less firm ( so that you can flatten it and make it into pancakes)!
  3. Place dough balls ( 4 inch diameter, 1 inch thick) in between a large piece of plastic wrap (folded over) so that they are easier to flatten and won’t stick to your hands.
  4. Heat pan to medium heat with oil. Fry pancakes for a few minutes on each side until golden brown.
  5. Allow pancakes to cool and drain of oil by placing them on paper towels on top of plate. Once cooled you can make a slit in the pancakes, creating a pocket (like a pita) to fill with goodies!!!! 🙂

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General Tsao’s Crunchy Cauliflower

THIS RECIPE IS AMAZING!!!! Flavor and texture are on point; it really “feels” like you’re eating chicken, not that I would want to but you get what I’m saying. The sesame seeds and scallions add for nice little zing of flavor (I love sesame seeds on everything, a long with hot sauce).

Now that I live in NYC, I have discovered so many different colored versions of vegetables (including purple cauliflower and purple potatoes!!!) Although I did not use purple cauliflower in this recipe, I have learned that the purple coloring is due to the presence of an antioxidant (this is generally the case for brightly colored vegetables) called anthocyanin, which is also found in red wine and red cabbage.

Along with purple cauliflower there is orange cauliflower (which I have yet to see), which is orange due the presence of beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A!

Recipe adapted from Connoisseurus Veg):

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (all-purpose is fine too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 large cauliflower, broken into bite-sized florets
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp chili garlic sauce or sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2 scallions, chopped (for topping)
  • toasted sesame seeds (for topping)
  • cooked rice (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  2. Stir milk, flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl. Toss the cauliflower into the mixture until well coated and place on an oiled baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes until crisp. (Make sure to check in regularly and flip over if needed).
  3. Combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl until well dissolved and set aside.
  4. For the sauce, combine the remaining in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer, simmering the mixture for 10 minutes. Add cornstarch mixture and mix well.
  5. Pour sauce over cauliflower and bake for another 3-4 minutes until the sauce is sticky.
  6. Remove from oven and add any toppings and rice! 🙂

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