Monday, July 25, 2011

Birthday Cupcakes

We had the big party for our little sprouts this weekend. I made cupcake cakes in the shape of a 1 and a 4. Both cakes were made from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. For the #4 cake I used Your Basic Chocolate Cupcake recipe, which is the one I always use. I double it and make big cakes too and it always works. For the #1 cake I used the Golden Vanilla Cupcakes recipe, which I'd never made before, but I think I love them even more than the chocolate.

                                                                  Chocolate Cupcakes

                                                          1 cup soy milk (but I always use coconut or almond milk)
                                                          1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
                                                          3/4 cup sugar
                                                          1/3 cup canola oil
                                                          1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                                                          1/2 teaspoon almond, chocolate, or more vanilla extract
                                                          1 cup all-purpose flour
                                                          1/3 cup cocoa powder
                                                          3/4 teaspoon baking soda
                                                          1/2 teaspoon baking powder
                                                          1/4 teaspoon salt
            1. Preheat oven to 350 and line muffin cups with paper or foil liners.
            2. Whisk together the milk and vinegar in a large bowl and set aside to curdle. Add the
            sugar, oil, and extracts to the milk mixture and beat till foamy. In a separate bowl, sift
            together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in two
            batches to wet ingredients and beat till no large lumps remain.
            3.Pour into liners, filling three quarters of the way. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until a
             toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack and let cool

                                                               Golden Vanilla Cupcakes
                                                               1 cup soy milk (or coconut or almond)
                                                               1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
                                                               1/3cup canola oil
                                                               2 teaspoons vanilla extract
                                                               1/4 teaspoon almond, caramel or more vanilla extract
                                                               3/4 cup sugar
                                                               1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
                                                               2 tablespoons cornstarch
                                                               3/4 teaspoon baking powder
                                                               1/2 teaspoon baking soda
                                                               1/2 teaspoon salt
            1. Preheat oven to 350 and line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
            2. Whisk milk and vinegar, set aside to curdle.
            3. Beat milk mixture, oil, sugar, and extracts together in a large bowl. Sift in  flour
            cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until no large lumps
            4. Fill cupcake liners two-thirds of the way and bake for 20 -22 minutes.
            Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting.

                                                               Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting
                                                               1/2 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
                                                               1/2 cup nonhydrogenated margarine
                                                               3 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
                                                               1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
                                                               1/4 cup plain soy milk or soy creamer
            1. Beat the shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy.
            Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes. Add the vanilla and soy milk,
            beat for another 5-7 minutes until fluffy.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Quinoa Tabouleh

Because it is July and so hot out, I am really into making salads lately. The less I have to use the stove or oven, the better. This salad is so good, and quinoa cooks very quickly. I usually cook it at night, before I go to bed, and throw it all together. It tastes better the next day anyhow.

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups of water
a pinch of salt
a bunch or two of scallions, sliced
about 1/2 cup of red, orange, or yellow pepper, chopped
a large tomato, chopped
a cup of chopped parsley
a couple cloves of garlic, minced
a cucumber, chopped
about 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons lemon juice
ground pepper to taste

Quinoa has a bitter tasting coating on it, called saponin. You need to rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer first to get rid of it. Then bring quinoa and water to a boil, reduce heat to a low simmer to finish cooking. It doesn't take long, about 15 minutes or less. Keep a cover on the pan while it simmers. When all water is absorbed it's done. Let cool.

Then add everything else. It is best to let it chill in the fridge for a few hours before serving. It is cool and refreshing and really healthy.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Simple, Easy Lemonade

Roll lemons first to help get the juice from them easily.

Cut the lemons in half.

Juice about six of them.

You need about one cup of juice.

Pour juice into a pitcher.

Add a cup of sugar.

And six cups of water. Stir it well.

Don't forget the ice.
Enjoy a nice cold glass!

Instant happiness!
Making lemonade is a really fun and easy thing to do with children. You only need about 6 lemons, some sugar and water. We juice enough lemons to make a cup of juice, usually about 6, add 6 cups of water (I usually add an extra cup because I like mine a little more watered down), a cup of sugar and some ice and that's all!

Even a very little person can have the job of rolling the lemons on a hard surface to make juicing them easier, and there is measuring and pouring and careful stirring for someone a little bigger. You can do this with limes or oranges too, or a mixture of different citrus fruits. It's the perfect thing to bring to a summer cookout or picnic or the occasional, spontaneous afternoon tea party.. Sometimes we dress it up with pretty lemon slices in the pitcher or garnish the glasses with a sprig of mint from the garden, but it is perfect just as is too.