Monthly Archives: May 2012

Wild Blueberry Lemon Muffins

You know what they say, you never forget how to ride a bike…

…err, I mean, bake. I’ve been making my usual staples time and time again (apple nutmeg muffins, I’m looking at you!), but this weekend I finally got back into the kitchen to experiment. I made vanilla donuts, two types of reduced-sugar and -fat frostings, gluten-free + vegan donuts, and wild blueberry muffins.

I just couldn’t help myself! Even though just the thought of turning the oven on the summer heat makes me sweat, the breeze that flowed through my kitchen made the rising temperaturse much more bearable. There’s just nothing like a warm summer breeze, sweet fresh blueberries, and good company. After all, part of the fun of baking is sharing with the ones you love.

Welcome back to you, summer! I see many more fresh salads, sweet berries, and tantalizing treats to come.

Wild Blueberry and Lemon Muffins

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  •  3/4 cup wild blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1-1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer + 2 TBS warm water, whisked together
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 TBS Earth Balance or coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp lemon extract (optional)
  • zest from 1 lemon + extra for garnish
  • oats (for garnish)
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F. 
  2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and wild blueberries. 
  3. In another bowl, combine prepared egg replacer, sugar, almond milk, earth balance/coconut oil, vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon zest. 
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. 
  5. Evenly distribute batter into 6 muffin cups. (If you have a 12-cup muffin tin, you can easily double the batter or fill half of the tin with water instead of batter to ensure even baking.) 
  6. Sprinkle oats and extra lemon zest on each muffin, if desired. 
  7. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into each muffin comes out clean. 
  8. Cool on a wire-rack. Enjoy with freshly squeezed lemonade. 
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In the Dark

Yesterday, the day I usually photograph my What I Ate Wednesday eats, my house lost power. It was a complete shock because the weather was not very hot (which is usually the cause of power outages thanks to the numerous air conditions running). Consequently, I was unable to document my eats as usual. No power meant no oven, no microwave, no lights. It was time to get creative.

I must have been wearing a pair of crabby pants because the minor inconvenience made me quite irritable and grouchy. I was a complete grump—I’ll own up to it. Fortunately, I used it as a learning experience. Instead of giving into myself and just going to sleep early, I stayed up late (as usual) and tried to find things to do. Sure, cooking was a challenge by candle light and flashlight, but reading was actually enjoyable. I very rarely read without any other stimulation (music, lights, tv, etc.), and by the end I found myself more relaxed than ever. Surprisingly, all my anxieties were gone.

Once I realized that I really had no immediate need for electricity and could get along just fine, I wondered what was really bothering me. It came down to this:

  1. Fear. I am very routien-oriented and fear any kind of deviation. Although I did not need power to survive, not having it made me feel off balance and fear the unknown. Ultimately, I was afraid that a bigger problem was at hand. I felt unsafe and powerless.
  2. Hunger. Truth be told, my blood sugar was low, and I needed food FAST. Usually I can keep my hunger-induced grouchiness under control (relatively), but not yesterday.
The first reason, fear, was difficult to remedy. By reading quietly, I finally relaxed. However, I know that the problem is much deeper. I’m a work in progress! Luckily, the second problem was much easier to solve. Here’s some of the eats that the camera caught before the power went out:

Vegan + Gluten-Free Strawberry Scones (made with avocado instead of butter/earth balance)

Roasted Asparagus and Tomato Salad with Chickpeas, Basil, and Tomato Sauce (Nooch sprinkles on top!)

Vegan Ceasar Salad (Made with Raw Avocado Dressing)

Blacked Tofu with Crispy Kale, Roasted Red Pepper and Asparagus, and Eggplant Fries

In the end, I’m almost glad the power went out. It gave me a chance to relax completely and served as a learning experience. In the end, I’m just thankful to have power in the first place. I now realize that I often take this precious gift for granted.

What do you like to cook when the power’s out? What’s one thing you’re thankful for today?

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

Free At Last

Well, hello there! How are you on this beautiful Monday? It’s been much too long since we last chatted!

Now that senior testing week and AP exams are over, I’m finally free. I still have one month of school left before I graduate, but it is going to be pretty chill. Instead of going to classes like usual, I am doing an internship at my school’s early childhood center. I look forward to waking up each morning, knowing that I get to play with 16 loveable, sweet, energetic 4-and-5-year-olds all day long.

This weekend was devoted to recovering lost sleep (I’m still greatly in debt!), college shopping with my mom, and just enjoying the smile beauty of summer. Because of that, I haven’t been concocting anything too blog worthy lately. However, I would still like to share a few things I have been enjoying amidst studying.

Now that summer is here to stay, my salad cravings have been out of control. I enjoyed both of these salads (one with roasted asparagus, the other with roasted broccoli and carrots) right before AP exams.

There were the perfect light, fresh foods to keep me fueled through 6 (yes, SIX!) grueling hours of testing.

I was also lucky enough to enjoy big, succulent long-stem strawberries from my great uncle. For Christmas, he gave my grandmother a subscription to Harry and David’s fruit of the month club. Her and I look forward to sharing the box every month. It is honestly some of the freshest, juiciest fruit I’ve ever tasted!

We’ve had quite an abundance of strawberries in my house lately, so I decided to make showcase them in homemade scones.

I made these scones super healthy by using whole grain (gluten-free) flour, stevia instead of sugar, and even avocado instead of butter! These scones were definitely not the butter-and-sugar-laden bricks my great-grandmother used to enjoy with tea, but I’m sure she would have enjoyed them just the same.

 

What foods are you enjoying with the increase in temperature? Have you ever tried to health-ify one of your family’s recipes? 

 

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

 

Food from the Day [What I Ate Wednesday]

It’s hard to believe, but this is my last “real” week of high school. Ever. It also happens to be testing week (aka test + paper in every class week), AP week #1, and final club meetings week. Oh, and I have multiple pineapples sitting on my counter just begging to be cut. Doh.

If you see me running around like my head’s cut off, now you know why. Thus this What I Ate Wednesday is going to be a little different.

Included are a few pictures of food from the day, but as you can imagine, my camera was pretty far from my mind the past few days. My AP review book (complete with kabocha stickers!), however, has been attached at my hip.

Fortunately, I did have some escape this weekend thanks to time spent in the kitchen. I not only baked some vegan macaroons (bananaroonies!) to reward myself for studying, but I also prepped a special batch of cookies for a bake sale at school.

Yesterday, the senior class organized a giant surprise birthday party for a sophomore who is currently battling with an auto-immune disease that will eventually take over her body. It was so amazing to know that we were able to give her true joy during such a challenging time. My s’mores cookies may not be able to cure her of her disease, but hopefully they helped raise some money to help fund research for others in need. Every little effort counts!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to the pick-nick lunch because I had to take a test. However, I did show my support and even dined on sweet potato fries and other roasted veggies from my packed lunch in honor of the burgers+fries outside my classroom window.

For dinner, I made my favorite sandwich (open face, of course) that I haven’t had in ages. Every time I want to make it, I either don’t have a ripe avocado or roasted kabocha squash. Seriously, why are ripe avocados so hard to find? I can never find them at their peak ripeness… except for yesterday. Perfection: achieved.

But let’s be honest; isn’t everything better with avocado? From a former self-proclaimed avocado-hater, that’s saying a lot. Heck, now I even like avocado with my chocolate!

Well, that’s about it for me. Tell me, what have you been eating this week? Do you like participating in bake sales? 

I’ll be back in a few days with the recipe for the s’mores cookies. Until then, I have some serious studying to do!

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

Falling In Love [Style Saturday]

Friends, I think I’ve fallen in love…

I’m head over heels, weak in the knees, and absolutely drooling over this gorgeous white dress that I saw on the Londoner. With graduation coming up in a month, I’m on a quest to find the perfect white dress, and I think I’ve found it. Unfortuantely, I have no clue where to buy one. The quest continues!

Come to think of it, I’ll just have one of everything in The Londoner‘s closet. Please and thank you.

What styles have you been drooling over lately? With summer rapidly approaching, I’m itching to get my hands on as many sundresses and sandals as possible!

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

Flamingos and Cake [What I Ate Wednesday]

Hi there! How’s your week going so far? I can’t believe it’s already May; time is flying by! In just two short weeks, I’ll be done with high school classes forever. Although I don’t graduate for another month, not sitting in class all day will be a very welcomed change.

Last Wednesday it was my birthday, so for this week’s What I Ate Wednesday I thought it would be fun to show you some of my birthday goodies.

First, my morning started off with a flock of pink flamingos sitting on my lawn. My mom and I had always joked about this quirky tradition, so it was fun to see it in action. The moment when I opened the front door to find my winged friends, a neighbor walked by my lawn and laughed. Needless to say we were the talk of the town that day!

My mom and I

Another wonderful morning surprise was an Edible Arrangement filled with fresh strawberries, pineapple, and grapes. I don’t know how they do it, but the fruit is always perfectly ripe, juicy, and sweet. Although I love flowers, you can’t really get much better than a basket filled with delicious, healthy fruit. As an added bonus, curly kale was at the bottom of the vase. I’m probably the only customer who gets just as excited about the kale as the fruit.

As far as tradition goes, I did have a cake for my birthday. It was a decadent vegan chocolate cake made by a little bakery near my house.

Since my mom and I know the owner quite well, she even decorated my special cake with hand-stenciled fondant in the shape of yoga poses.

I was amazed by how beautiful and delicious this cake was! I only had a few bites since my sweet tolerance is pretty low, but I can confidently say that this is the best “normal” (aka not health-i-fied) vegan cake I’ve ever had! Unfortunately, I underestimated the effect of the gluten on my GI system. I had to deal with an angry tummy for awhile, but at least I could still enjoy bits of the frosting. That was the best party anyway!

In true Kabochavore fashion, I had another “cake,” just like the one on my sixteenth birthday. I whole-heartedly enjoyed every piece of my perfectly caramelized, sweet kabocha squash. It’s always a treat! I even spread some of the roasted kabocha with sunflower seed butter for a frosting-like effect. I’m usually a coconut butter + kabocha girl, but this combination was delicious, too.

Although I don’t have photos of my birthday dinner at Chipotle, here are some veggie-filled dinner staples that I’ve been enjoying in the past week. You bet I’ve been sticking to the veg-pledge (as if I needed an excuse to eat more veggies haha)!

One of my all-time favorite combinations: roasted purple sweet potatoes (I’m almost out!), asparagus, red bell peppers, and crispy kale.

Another quick weeknight meal: crispy tofu, roasted asparagus and bell peppers, and sauteed kale.

What’s your favorite kind of birthday cake? Do you have any fun traditions for birthday celebrations?

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee