Tag Archives: chocolate

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

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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

Snow in April [What I Ate Wednesday]

Oh, hello there! How’s your week shaping up?

Have you ever had one of those days where absolutely nothing sounds good? While packing my lunch Monday night, I was pretty excited about my usual salad duo (breakfast + lunch). Come Tuesday at school, even my delicious packed food didn’t sound all that appealing. Regardless, I still got in some veggies in celebration of Jenn’s What I Ate Wednesday. The show must go on!

For breakfast, I had a slight variation on last week’s breakfast salad with chcolate dressing (recipe here).

Even though my appetite wasn’t feeling it, my taste buds most certainly were. I’m pretty sure I could eat breakfast salads for the rest of my life; they’re just so refreshing!

However, I wasn’t so lucky at lunch time. We had a long assembly at school yesterday, so my lunch was delayed until almost 2PM. By that time I was so hungary I had lost all my appetite. Does that ever happen to anyone else?

In addition, the cold weather whipped my salad cravings right away. It was actually snowing as I walked to lunch! Um, Mother Nature, don’t you know it’s April? Please send some warmer weather our way… or at least some april showers instead of snow. Please and thank you.

I didn’t have much time to eat lunch, nor was I very enthousiastic about eating my beautiful, cold salad (seriously, who am I?), so I just ate what I could and supplemented with the snacks I had in my backpack. I always travel prepared!

Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to have a warm dinner. I roasted some veggies in the oven and made crispy tofu on the stove top. If the warmth of the satisfying, hot meal didn’t warm me up inside, the heat from the oven sure did. I devoured my meal before I even had a chance to snap more than one picture. Looks like my appetite returned, after all.

After dinner, I worked on a new dessert, vegan banana donuts. I had originally planned to make the donuts, lightly glaze them in coconut milk + powdered sugar, then dip them in toasted coconut.

However before I had the chance, my family devoured half the batch! I guess that’s the test of a good donut: loving them even without icing.

Does your appetite change depending on the weather? How do you transition swiftly from one season to the next?

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

Breakfast Salad with Fruit and Chocolate Protein Dressing

Hiya! How was your holiday? Whether you celebrated Passover, Easter, or just a lovely weekend, I hope your days were filled with good food, loving family and friends, and lots of laugher.

 

I had originally planned to (finally) post my recipe for vegan butternut squash mac and cheese, but I thought a detoxifying recipe was more appropriate after what might have been an indulgent weekend. So what better to get back on the healthy train than a salad first thing in the morning?

I prefer sweet breakfasts over savory ones, but lately my usual breakfast options have been feeling a little too sweet. Rather than craving oat bakes or green monster fruit smoothies, I’ve found myself wanting  salads…but ones with crisp fruit and crunchy romaine. So what’s a girl to do? Essentially, make a refreshing, protein-rich, deconstructed green smoothie in salad form, that’s what!

 

Cheers to healthy balance, including indulgent holiday desserts and nutrient-packed breakfast salads to get back on track deliciously.

Breakfast Salad with Fruit and Chocolate Protein Dressing 

  • 3 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 apple, chopped
  • 1/4 banana, chopped
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, chopped
  • 1/2 cup blueberries, chopped
  • chopped almonds (optional)

For the salad: place romaine on the bottom of a pretty bowl or to-go container. Carefully arrange apple, banana, strawberries, and blueberries on top. Add almonds, if desired.

  • 2 TBS hemp protein powder (or 1 serving of your favorite powder)
  • 1 TBS cocoa powder
  • 2 TBS pumpkin or applesauce
  • dash cinnamon
  • stevia, to taste
  • almond milk, to thin

For the dressing: using a fork, combine all ingredients until well mixed, adding enough almond milk to thin the dressing to desired consistency.  Drizzle liberally over salad or pack up in a little container to-go.

 

Do you prefer sweet or savory breakfasts? Would you be open to eating a salad for breakfast? 

 

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

Caramelized Banana-Stuffed Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

My world has been completely flipped upside down in the past 48 hours. All I can say is that I’m more excited than ever to start my college life! I am still working out the details, but I can’t wait to share the good news with you all soon.

In celebration, I would like to share a recipe for Caramelized Banana-Stuffed Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting with you.

As usual, this recipe grew out of necessity. I scored a large bunch of slightly spotty bananas on sale for 19 cents, but didn’t know what to do with them. After making banana soft serve, roasting/sauteeing bananas is my favorite way to eat the sweet fruit, so I developed the idea into a full-fledged dessert.

Stuffing the bananas in the center of the cupcake definitely amps up the traditional vanilla cupcake and is a delicious suprise to bite into. Naturally peanut butter frosting completes the flavor profile. Peanut butter and bananas were just meant for each other! (Add a chocolate drizzle to the mix, and I guarantee your taste buds will thank you.)

Even though this recipe has a few steps (cupcakes, filling, frosting), it’s actually quite easy to make! I suppose if you were crunched on time, you could also make a boxed mix for the cupcakes and just use the filling + frosting to dress them up. However, with a cupcake recipe as easy as this, you’ll never need another boxed mix again!

So whether you’re celebrating a big announcement like me or just another beautiful day in the life of you, I hope these cupcakes will make your life just a little bit sweeter.

Caramelized Banana-Stuffed Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting 

(makes 6 cupcakes)

  • 1 recipe vanilla cupcakes (see below)
  • 1 recipe caramelized banana filling (see below)
  • 1 recipe peanut butter frosting (see below)
  • melted chocolate, for drizzling (optional)
  • chopped bananas, for garnish (optional)
  1. Prepare all recipes.
  2. Cut a circle out of each cooled cupcake. This should make a little cone-shaped well big enough for you to stuff Banana filling into.
  3. Place a dollop of banana filling into each well. It can come a little over the top of the well, but it should not be too much.
  4. Once banana filling has set a bit inside the cupcake, frost cupcakes with peanut butter frosting.
  5. Using a fork, drizzle each cupcake with melted chocolate, if desired. Garnish with chopped bananas.

 

Easy Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

(makes 6 cupcakes)

  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond)
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup + 2 TBS flour
  • 1 TBS arrowroot (or cornstarch)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • dash cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 TBS oil
  • 1/4 cup + 2TBS NuNaturals Stevia Baking Blend or organic sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Line a small muffin tin with cupcake holders.
  2. In a liquid measuring cup, combine non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar. Let sit for a few minutes to curdle. (This creates vegan buttermilk.)
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, arrowroot/cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. (*For best results, sift them together.)
  4. In another bowl, use a fork to combine oil, stevia baking blend/sugar, and vanilla extract. Add in almond milk mixture from step 2. Mix until no clumps remain.
  5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix until well-combined.
  6. Evenly distribute batter between 6 muffin cups, filling them up about 2/3 way full. (I use an ice cream scooper or measuring cup for this.)
  7. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  8. Cool on a cooling rack.

**

Caramelized Banana Filling 

  • 1TBS earth balance or coconut oil
  • 2 ripe bananas, chopped
  • 1 TBS maple syrup, or more to taste
  • pinch of cinnamon and salt (optional)
  1. Heat a non-stick pan over medium-low heat.
  2. Add earth balance. Once hot, add bananas.
  3. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring often to prevent burning. The bananas should start to reduce and become saucy.
  4. Add in maple syrup. Cook for ~2 more minutes, caramelizing the bananas further with the sugar from the syrup.
  5. Remove from heat to cool + thicken a little bit.
**
Simple Vegan Peanut Butter Frosting 
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 3 TBS Earth Balance or coconut oil, at room temperature
  •  1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • ~1-2 TBS non-dairy milk, to thin (if needed)
  1. In a large bowl or stand-mixer, beat peanut butter and earth balance until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  2. Slowly beat in confectioners’ sugar until frosting becomes thick. Add in a little non-dairy milk at a time, if needed, to thin the frosting to desired consistency.
Note: this recipe is naturally vegan, but it can also be gluten-free, fat-free, sugar-free, and relatively healthy depending on what ingredients you use. Email me at kabochavore [at] me [dot] com if you need ideas on how to do this. Cupcakes for all!

What are you celebrating today? Are you a pb + banana fan?

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

The Waiting Game [What I Ate Wednesday]

~~~Have you entered my giveaway? It ends Thursday night. Click here to enter!~~~

I woke up this morning with a gasp. It’s Tuesday, I thought (though it’s really What I Ate Wednesday now). Suddenly I felt a wave of excitement and nervousness pass over me. My head felt like it had been spun around a million times as my heart was about to beat right out of my chest.

Only two days, I whispered. Two more days until this rocky road of waiting will be over. Two more days until I find out if I have been admitted to my dream school…If my 15 years of hard work at school has paid off…

With my stomach in knots, I focused on what doing what I knew I could rather than what I couldn’t (aka change the decision). For breakfast, I grabbed a few apple nutmeg muffins and some fresh fruit to munch on.

I then proceeded to park myself in front of my new book, The Help, while I snuggled under a heap of warm blankets. I was so engrossed by the dynamic story that my worry faded away. My stomach, however, brought me back to reality when it growled. Luckily, lunch was already waiting for me in the fridge: a chilled chickpea, broccoli, and fig salad.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned by eating plant-based, it’s that greens make me feel absolutely amazing. So in my never-ending quest to sneak greens in my diet whenever possible, I served the salad over a large bed of crisp romaine lettuce.

I also added some more salad toppers to my serving-bowl-for-one salad. I like my salads large and in charge!

Since I’m still home for spring break, I spent the rest of the afternoon in the kitchen. Baking is my go-to relaxation because it brings out my creativity. I was definitely thankful for some time away from thinking about college!

…and my family was more than thankful for the caramelized banana-stuffed peanut butter cupcakes I made. I’m glad my baking works both ways!

Once the cupcakes were finished, I jetted off to hot vinyasa yoga, as is my daily routine. Even though I was hot from class, the chill in the wind outside cooled me off pretty quickly. (Seriously, what’s up with this weather?) Naturally I was craving something conforting for dinner.

Enter vegan butternut squash mac and cheese made with brown rice spirals. I almost debated eating the sauce straight up as soup. It was so good, I wanted to swim in it. Maybe next time.

For now, though, I was happy to bring back the pasta of my childhood, served up with crispy kale & marinara sauce and roasted asparagus. It was delish to say the least.

And since I just can’t get enough of The Help, after dinner I settled down on the couch to read more. While I was reading, I also enjoyed a crunchy apple (with cinnamon!) and sipped on hot ginger snap tea.

A new-to-me dark chocolate (THE BEST!) was also involved. Fearless Chocolates, I’m speechless (and officially hooked!).

How do you deal with nerves/excitement? What’s your favorite book? 

Reminder: my giveaway is open until Thursday night. Please click here to enter. 

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee