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

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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

Sun Dried Tomato Basil Lentil Burgers

Happy Monday! How was your weekend?

Mine was (not surprisingly) busy, but this time it was filled with outings rather than mounds of homework… and that’s just how I like it. However, being out so much didn’t leave much time for food preparation for the week. When this happens, I usually try to make the simplest recipe that I know will keep me adequately fueled.

It’s times like these that I revert to old favorites that I can practically make in my sleep. Don’t let the time simplicity fool you; these sun-dried tomato basil lentil burgers are full of flavor! I love eating them on a big romaine lettuce salad filled to the brim with fresh veggies and topped with a drizzle of dijon mustard. Yum!

Sun Dried Tomato Basil Lentil Burgers 

Makes 4 burgers 

  • 8 oz precooked lentils (i.e. from Trader Joe’s; you can make your own if you have more time, but the flavor will be different)
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tsp vegan worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp Braggs Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce/tamari)
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  1. In a food processor, pulse all ingredients until just combined. Be careful not to process too much or the mixture will become paste-like. Leave a little texture instead!
  2. Divide mixture into 4 equal pieces. Shape into patties/burgers using your hands.
  3. Cook on a medium high heat in a non-stick skilled for ~3 minutes on each side, or until a gold-brown crust is achieved.
  4. Enjoy on a bun, salad, or as is! They’re even lovely cold.
Do you make your own homemade veggie burgers? What’s your favorite flavor combination? 
Have a lovely day!
Mandiee

Vegan Apple Streusel Muffins with Oatmeal Crumb Topping

These muffins speak for themselves.

Fluffy muffins filled with sweet cinnamon-coated apples and topped with a beautiful brown-sugar oatmeal streusel.

 

Why? Because let’s be honest: it’s really all about that beautiful crumb. It’s perfect for delicately picking apart piece by piece with your fingers, savoring every bite or just grabbing for an afternoon on the go. With bakery-style muffins, this time vegan and just a little bit healthier, it’s good that muffins can be enjoyed all day long… not that that ever stopped anyone before.

Vegan Apple Streusel Muffins with Oatmeal Crumb Topping

Makes 12 muffins 

Streusel Topping: 

  • 1/4 cup flour (can use AP Gluten-free)
  • 1/3 cup oats (use certified-GF if you have a sensitivity)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 TBS Earth Balance

Batter: 

  • 1-1/4 cup flour (can use AP Gluten-free)
  • 1 cup rolled oats (use certified-GF if you have a sensitivity)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3 TBS oil
  • 1.5 tsp egg replacer + 2 TBS warm water (prepared) OR 1 TBS flax meal + 3 TBS warm water (prepared)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large apple, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease or line a muffin tin.
  2. To make streusel topping: Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cut Earth Balance into mixture using two knifes. The texture should be crumbly.
  3. To make batter: In a large bowl, stir together flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix almond milk, oil, prepared egg replacer mixture, and vanilla extract. Pour wet mixture into dry and mix to combine. Stir in chopped apples.
  4. Evenly distribute muffin batter into 12 muffin cups. Top with a generous tablespoon or two of streusel topping.
  5. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove muffins from oven and let cool in muffin tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling wrack.
  6. Enjoy warm or cold.

What’s your favorite kind of muffin? Do you like sweet, bakery-style muffins or more hearty ones? 

 

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

18 Things for 18 [What I Ate Wednesday]

Hey there, beautiful people! (Side note: does anyone else love when someone calls them that? My yoga teacher called me beautiful yesterday, and it made me smile. Anyway.) How’s your Wednesday shaking up?

Today is a particularly special day over here. Not only is it What I Ate Wednesday  (veggie edition—Jenn, you’re after my own heart!), but it’s also my 18th birthday. It’s hard to believe, but now I’m finally an adult…technically, at least. So what kind of things can I do now that I’m 18? Here’s 18 examples to commemorate the day:

  1. Sue someone/be sued
  2. Work more hours (no more child labor laws for me!)
  3. Buy spray paint
  4. Rent a hotel room
  5. Skydive
  6. Become an undercover cop
  7. Buy a monkey (with a license)
  8. Drive an ice cream truck
  9. Enter a contest/sweepstakes (i.e., “You must be 18 or older” –> That’s me!)
  10. Become a flight attendant
  11. Vote
  12. Get married/divorced
  13. Rent an apartment
  14. Change your name
  15. Pay a utility bill (boo!)
  16. Work with out needing to take breaks (I’m going to miss those!)
  17. Start your own business
  18. Have the freedom and independence you didn’t have before

While some of these are a little rediculous (can you really see me skydiving?), I am pretty excited about the normal rights, such as voting and renting an aprartment.

What was most exciting about your 18th birthday? How did you celebrate? 

***

And now, without further ado, What I Ate Wednesday: Birthday Edition!

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Breakfast

My breakfast wasn’t actually all that interesting. (It was a breakfast salad, if you were wondering—Yum!) However, I’m currently working on a recipe that would start anyone’s day off right: vegan apple crumble muffins with streusel topping. I can’t wait to share the recipe!

**

Lunch: salad with sundried tomato lentil burgers, roasted asparagus, and roasted broccoli

I made a batch of sundried tomato lentil burgers this weekend so lunch prep would be a breeze. I used Trader Joe’s precooked lentils so even making the burgers was easy. Healthy eating is all about knowing how to make it work for you. It’s hard to make excuses when everything is so simple!

**

Dinner: leftover lentils with roasted purple sweet potatoes, asparagus, red bell peppers, and kale (with lots of nooch!)

I definitely fulfilled my veg-pledge this week by centering my dinner around my favorite veggies. Sometimes I just crave a huge plate of roasted veggies. In truth, I would eat roasted vegetables all day, every day if I could.

For a little balance, though, I was happy to add some lentils to the meal. Not only are these Trader Joe’s lentils fast and easy, but they’re also delicious! I love to eat them cold, straight out of the refrigerator. Yum!

I can’t wait for today’s special birthday eats today. My mom is taking me to Chipolte after yoga, so I see lots of yummy black beans and guacamole in my future. I see a kabocha squash “cake” coming up, too. I may be 2 years older and wiser (I hope!), but I guess not much has changed since I was sixteen.

What are you eating today? What kind of cake do you like on your birthday? 

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

Fudge-y Banana Brownies

I love Saturdays. But really, who doesn’t?

It’s hard not to love them when they start with an extra-long hot yoga practice and end with watching Saturday Night Live while enjoying the beautiful silence of night. And when the middle includes grocery shopping (anyone else enjoy this?), baking, and babysitting, all is right with the world.

 

Babysitting on Saturday nights has become a relatively new occurrence, but I’m absolutely loving it. The girl I babysit (let’s call her “J”) is so sweet, and we always have lots of fun. Now that I know she loves baking, I can’t help but dream up creative things for us to make. Last week we made s’mores cupcakes filled with mini marshmallows. I covered them in vegan buttercream frosting, sprinkled them with crushed graham crackers, and drizzled them with melted chocolate. Needless to say it was a hit.

I’ve really enjoyed teaching her and her parents about veganism, too. I always make the distinction that veganism is a personal choice but that it’s fun to play with the chemistry of food no matter what your dietary preferences are. I love seeing her sweet smile when she tells her parents with delight, “Look what we made. Can you believe these are vegan!”

Last weekend was especially fun because I also turned J’s favorite dessert, rich, chocolate-y brownies, into a vegan treat. When I brought them over to her house, they were still warm out of the oven. Yumm…

The verdict?

My grandmother said they were fudgey, perfectly sweet, and delicious.

My uncle winked while telling me I could make them for him anytime.

And J… she just said “yum!” and smiled. She then proceeded to ask for another.

Vegan Fudge-y Banana Brownies 

  • 2-1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • dash cinnamon
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana
  • 4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Line a 9 x 13″ pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. 
  3. In another bowl, vigorously mix brown sugar, water, oil, mashed banana, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract with a fork until well-combined. 
  4. Add wet mixture to the dry mixture. Stir until just combined. 
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Pour mixture into baking pan. Spread evenly (it will be thick!). 
  7. Bake until the brownies firm up, or at least 20 minutes. Remove from oven when your desired texture is reached. For fudge-ier brownies, remove closer to 20 minutes; for firmer brownies, wait until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (I baked mine for ~45-50 minutes). 
Do you have a favorite brownie recipe? What are your favorite things to bake with kids?
Have a lovely day!
Mandiee

 

 

 

Time Flies [What I Ate Wednesday]

One thing I’ve learned over the past few days is that time flies. Maybe I should revise that; time flies when I  have a million things to do, but it seems to drag when I count down until the weekend. Does anyone else feel like that?

Somehow it’s already Wednesday. How does that happen? Regardless of all the things I have to do, there’s comfort knowing that What I Ate Wednesday will come every week and be a fun time to share meals, even if only through the computer. Let’s do this!

Breakfast: breakfast salad with chocolate protein dressing 

No surprises here! The thing about healthy eating is that it’s sometimes hard to adapt a new routine. But once you’re on the healthy eating train, it’s actually easier to keep going. Case in point: it was easier for me to prepare a breakfast salad than to think of a potentially less healthy alternative. Since time was of the essence, I went with it. I couldn’t be happier that I did. Seriously, breakfast salads are my new favorite thing.

Lunch: salad with ABC roasted vegetables (asparagus, beets, broccoli, cauliflower) and chickpeas 

Here’s another example of food prepping ease. Since I was already chopping romaine lettuce for my breakfast, I decided to throw in some extra and use it for lunch, too. The night before I had roasted some veggies while using the oven for dinner, so prepping the rest of my lunch was a breeze.

Dinner: blackened tofu with sauteed kale and roasted asparagus and red bell pepers

I’ve been crazy about tofu lately. Usually I just eat it plain (after crisping it on the stove top), but this time I decided to do something a little different. It was a complete success!

The tofu was firm, chewy, and even a little spicy. I love enjoying the natural flavor of food, but sometimes it’s fun to ramp it up a little bit (or a lot a bit, as was the case!). I can’t wait to share the recipe with you all later this week.

Naturally I also worked on a dessert recipe, too. I’m on a quest to find the best vegan brownie recipe, so this was just another trial. This brownie’s claim to fame was it’s slight banana sweetness and ooey-gooey fudgey texture. These got rave reviews, but I still want to try more recipes. Regardless, I’ll be sure to post the recipe because they were just too good not to share.

What are you enjoying today? Do you have a healthy eating prep method or ways to keep yourself on track? 

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee