Saturday, October 31, 2009

That pumpkin is sweet

Okay, so maybe it's not a pumpkin ... but it is sweet. It is actually a persimmon; It just resembles a cute little pumpkin, which is why I'm sharing it with you today.

After all those heavy treats, I'm actually ready to celebrate the holiday on a lighter note. This last vegan food is both raw and vegan naturally. If you haven't tried one (I'm still referring to the persimmon pictured above), I highly recommend it. Just make sure you let it ripen enough to fully appreciate its yummy flavor and texture.

Anyway, I'll be spending the rest of the day/evening with these two characters (Hayden is a flower, while Jacob finally settled on being a Jedi again; I guess it is more appropriate than his original Captain Underpants idea). Happy Halloween and end of Vegan Mofo!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Tricks and Treats

Since it is nearly Halloween, I thought the title was appropriate, although a little deceiving. Rather than being about ghoulish Halloween pranks and snacks, it is really about tips for making your sweet treats (in this case, cupcakes, but you probably already guessed that).

So let's get to it.

Tip #1: To achieve a more "cake"-like consistency, make sure to combine your ingredients with a whisk or electric mixer. This will keep the "grains" (usually nuts or seeds, with the exception of the reduced fat recipe, which contains oats) from becoming too stuck together. Also, be careful not to make the cupcake shapes too compact. Use a light touch when forming them.

Tip #2: The "cake" will also have a lighter texture if you use a mixture of both finely ground nuts and leftover pulp from making nutmilk (don't let this stuff go to waste). The pulp is less dense, while the freshly ground nuts just taste more flavorful and, as you would expect, ... "fresher."

Tip #3: To make life easier, plan in advance. Make sure to whip up enough date paste and icing to have on hand for your next couple days of cupcake projects. The icing should be made a day ahead to give it an opportunity to thicken, while extra icing keeps well in the freezer for future use.

Tip #4: Make small batches to keep from getting overwhelmed. It gives you more opportunities to experiment in the kitchen, especially when the cost of these ingredients can be deterring.

Tip #5: Have fun. There's no limit to what you can make raw, if you just put your mind to it. Don't be afraid to use your imagination and create your own combinations. Select your base "cake," and decorate it with your favorite frosting, whether it be a basic raw whipped icing (you can dye it with berry/beet juice, liquid chlorophyll, turmeric, cocoa powder, etc.), creamy chocolate pudding, agave and cocoa mixture, mock peanut butter spread, caramel/coconut icing, sweet and simple drizzle, or a raw fondant (I like to knead coconut butter, very finely ground coconut flakes and agave into a play dough-like texture similar to the fondant used in cake decorating; I formed these raw candy corn, pictured in this post, out of it). Then, sprinkle or garnish with the toppings you desire.

As we are almost to the end of another Vegan Mofo, I just wanted to remind everyone that there is a vegan substitute for just about anything you crave, and even if it is cupcakes, you can also satisfy your raw taste buds, too. If you didn't catch it in the post the first time, those candy corn are, in fact, raw vegan.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Now that's sexy

To finish off this cupcake craze (at least this grouping of Vegan Mofo ones), I decided to tone it down a bit and reduce some of the fat.

Now, why would I want to do that?

Well, after eating so many other raw cupcakes, I thought it only natural to cut back a little, even if it is just to satisfy my own conscience. Besides, this is a rawified Sexy Low-fat Vanilla Cupcake from "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World." It will have you looking and feeling sexy in no time (no guarantees, but they work for me).

Now, my cupcake isn't exactly low-fat, like the ones from the book, but it is a reduced fat version of my basic raw cupcakes. I just cut the fat by replacing half of the nut "flour" with oats. And, for those of you who can't have nuts at all, feel free to replace the rest of the nuts with golden flax or hemp.

I also lowered the fat content by topping them with berries and just a simple sweet coconut drizzle. It's like making your traditional milk and confectioner's sugar icing by reversing the flavorings (the sweetener is now the liquid, while the coconut becomes the thickener). It's so easy; you've got to try it.

Rawified & Sexy Lower-Fat Cupcake
*I apologize for the lack of modesty, as my cupcake is naked in this pic. I just didn't want to hide what was beneath those juicy berries and simple sweet drizzle.
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. date paste
  • touch of vanilla
  • drizzle of agave
  • raspberry "jam" (mashed raspberries mixed with a little date paste to thicken)
  • fresh raspberries to garnish the top
  • simple sweet drizzle (equal parts agave and very finely ground coconut flakes)
In a high-powered blender, grind the oats and cashews into a "flour" (grinding them together actually helps separate the cashew pieces, preventing them from turning into a nut butter). Add to a small bowl with the sea salt.

Next, add the date paste, agave (I added about 1/2 Tbsp.) and a touch of vanilla. Whisk or mix with an electric mixer to combine. The batter should be moist, but not so damp that it requires "baking" in a dehydrator (although you could if you desire).

Form the batter into a cupcake shape, and spread on a layer of raspberry "jam." Then, garnish the top with some fresh raspberries and the simple sweet drizzle.

Just a Little Date Paste
One more thing that may deter someone from making just one cupcake is the date paste, which usually needs to be made in a large enough quantity to help it along in the food processor. I, unfortunately, was out of date paste when I made this cupcake, so I used this technique in a pinch.

Wanna know what I did?

Well, I used the same technique for making garlic paste on a cutting board with a sharp knife. You just finely chop the soaked dates in a rocking motion, and then, use the side of the blade to crush and scrape the dates into a paste. Alternate between the two motions until you reach your desired consistency. It takes a little work, but it's worth it.


thursday, october 29, 2009, continued ...

Look what came in the mail:

I just wanted to say thank you to Lori and Michelle (I still get a kick out of their names, since I have a sister named, "Lori Michelle"), a.k.a. Pure 2 Raw Twins for sending me these convenient Vega samples. They just came in the mail yesterday. Thanks :-)

And for those of you unfamiliar with their blog, you should check them out. They have the perfect combination of both raw and baked, as they have made a business out of their cupcakes (you know how I love cupcakes). Wish them luck as they are also training for a marathon. You go girls!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A hidden gem

Now you may recall me rawifying the Fauxtess Cupcakes from "Vegan With A Vengeance" last year, so this time, I thought I'd move on to the Lemon Gems photographed next to them in the book. Instead of keeping them simple like Isa, I glammed them up a bit, Rawtess-style.

Okay; so maybe the real reason I made them this way was to finish off the leftover icing (it's used as both the frosting and the filling in these), but the results were better than expected. Just look at how cute they are.

The best part is what's hidden within these gems, although it is no surprise. I just love biting into one to see (and taste) what's inside.

And, since it's Vegan Mofo, you can do this, too. I've posted the recipe below just for you :-)

Lemon Rawtess Cupcake
*Makes one cupcake for those times you just want what everyone else is having. Feel free to make a larger batch if needed.
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup coconut flakes
  • zest from half a lemon
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. date paste
  • touch of vanilla
  • raw whipped icing (use this whipped cream recipe)
In a food processor, combine the cashews, coconut flakes, lemon zest and sea salt. Process these ingredients into a flour-like consistency, and transfer the "flour" to a bowl.

Next, add the date paste and a touch of vanilla (I love the combination of lemon and vanilla in "unbaked" goods). Whisk or use an electric mixer to combine. The batter should be moist, but not so damp that it requires "baking" in a dehydrator (although you could if you desire).

Form the batter into a cupcake shape, leaving a melon ball size valley in the center and a small amount to the side to top it off. Fill the cupcake with raw whipped icing and top it with the excess dough. Carefully blend in the seams.

Ice the cupcake with a more of the raw whipped icing (I added a little lemon juice to mine for flavor, as well as some turmeric to create the yellow color). Then, pipe a swirl across the top with more of the whipped icing (you can use a squeeze bottle or cut a hole in a Ziploc bag, if you don't own piping bags and tips). Enjoy every last bite :-)


wednesday, october 28, 2009, continued ...

Another hidden gem

Yesterday, I finally got around to visiting most of the other mofo-ers, and look what I found. This little gem on the Intellectual Blackout blog has dark chocolate pb hidden inside. I'm going to have to make some raw ones out of raw cocoa butter, sweetened with agave, and filled with a combination of almond butter, cocoa powder and more agave. Don't forget the naturally colored coconut sprinkles. Yum!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Almost too cute to eat

Notice I typed "almost," as I did end up eating this tasty morsel. I wouldn't normally consume an animal, but this one was entirely raw vegan, so I guess it was okay.

I don't know why I buy kid's cookbooks for my son, when he rarely has any interest in the recipes inside. I could just as easily entertain him in the kitchen, making things he already enjoys, but in a more exciting way.

Amazingly, this particular cookbook actually ended up inspiring both of us. While he decorated his baked version of the cupcakes, I dolled up a raw one, similar to the book's "puppy cake." I just replaced the cooked toppings for raw ingredients I had in my kitchen.

Let's see; instead of using store-bought cookies for the droopy ears, I perked the little puppy up a bit with these apple wedge versions. I also stuck with the fruit theme by using a banana slice as one of the rings around his eye, as opposed to the suggested piece of candy.

I did use a cookie for the other eye circle, but this was a raw one I had stocked up in my freezer (I like to put the extras from my "unbaking" in there for when a craving strikes). This particular one was a raw gingerbread circle, similar to a ginger snap (they are more likely to "snap" right after you remove them from the freezer). I make them in a variety of shapes and sizes for snacking, decorating raw cupcakes like these or constructing raw ginger bread houses, such as this one.

The pink icing was also leftover in my freezer from icing this cupcake, while the chocolate nose was piped from the frosting swirled on yesterday's model. But, I whipped up a quick combination of cocoa powder and agave nectar to draw on the mouth and the inside of the eyes.

Underneath all that decoration is just a basic spiced cupcake, but just in case you need the recipe, here it is again in celebration of Vegan Mofo.

Basic Spiced Cupcake
*Makes one cupcake for those times you just want what everyone else is having. Feel free to make a larger batch if needed.
  • 1/4 cup cashews, ground into flour
  • 1/4 cup almonds, ground into flour
  • pie spice
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. date paste
  • raw whipped icing (I used this whipped cream)
  • whatever you have on hand for decorating
In a small bowl, combine the cashew and almond flours, pie spice (it contains cinnamon, ginger, lemon peel, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom) and sea salt. Stir with a whisk or use an electric mixer.

Next, add the date paste and a touch of vanilla. Whisk/mix to combine. The batter should be moist, but not so damp that it requires "baking" in a dehydrator (although you could if you desire). Form it into a cupcake shape.

Frost the top of the cupcake with the raw whipped icing and decorate as desired. Have fun :-)


If you still want to make the baked version (try one of the cupcakes from "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World"), here's a list of cookie and candy options, courtesy of The Innocent Primate Vegan Blog. They may not be healthy selections (this is just for fun, so be nice with the comments; nobody's perfect all the time), but at least they're vegan.
  • Airheads Taffy
  • Big League Chew Gum
  • Blow Pops
  • Brach’s Cinnamon Hard Candy
  • Brach’s Cinnamon Hard Candy
  • Brach’s Orange Slices
  • Brach’s Root Beer Barrels
  • Brach’s Star Brites
  • Bubble Tape Gum
  • Charms lollipops
  • Chew-ets Peanut Chews (Original)
  • Chick-o-Sticks
  • Chocolove Dark Chocolate bar
  • Chocolove Orange Peel (Dark Chocolate Bar)
  • Cracker Jacks
  • Cry Babies
  • Dem Bones
  • Dole Madarin Orange Fruit Gels
  • Dots
  • Dum Dums (these are my candy of choice to hand out at Halloween…and eat myself!)
  • Entenmann’s Fudge Delights Fudge & Mint Cookies
  • Everest Gum
  • Famous Amos Sandwich Cookies (Chocolate)
  • Famous Amos Sandwich Cookies (Oatmeal Macaroon)
  • Famous Amos Sandwich Cookies (Peanut Butter)
  • Famous Amos Sandwich Cookies (Vanilla)
  • Ferrara Wafer Swirls With Chocolate
  • Fireballs
  • Food Lion Animal Cookies
  • Food Lion Ginger Snaps
  • Food Lion Oatmeal Cookies
  • Food Lion Sandwich Cookies (Assorted)
  • Food Lion Sandwich Cookies (Chocolate Creme)
  • Food Lion Sandwich Cookies (Chocolate Fudge)
  • Food Lion Sandwich Cookies (Double Creme-O’s)
  • Food Lion Sandwich Cookies (Duplex)
  • Food Lion Sandwich Cookies (Mini Chocolate & Vanilla Cremes)
  • Food Lion Sandwich Cookies (Peanut Butter)
  • Food Lion Sandwich Cookies (Vanilla)
  • Food Lion Snack Crackers
  • Food Lion Sugar Cookies
  • Fruit By the Foot
  • Ghirardelli Twilight Delight Intense Dark
  • Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews (Original)
  • Grandma’s Peanut Butter Sandwich Cremes
  • Hubba Bubba Bubblegum
  • Hubba Bubba Gum
  • Jolly Ranchers (lollipops and hard candy)
  • Jujubees
  • Jujyfruits
  • Keebler Animal Crackers
  • Kool-Aid Gels
  • Kozy Shack Jammin’ Gels
  • Krispy Kreme Fruit Pies
  • Lance Choc-O Cookies
  • Lance Sugar Wafers (Strawberry Creme)
  • Lance Sugar Wafers (Vanilla Creme)
  • Lance Toasty Crackers With Peanut Butter
  • Lance Van-O Lunch Cookies
  • Mambas
  • Mary Janes (regular and peanut butter kisses)
  • Munchos
  • Murray Butter Cookies
  • Murray Cinnamon Grahams
  • Murray Coconut Bars
  • Murray Southern Kitchen Iced Oatmeal Cookies
  • Murray Sugar-Free Vanilla Wafers
  • Nabisco Double Delight Mint’n Creme Oreos
  • Nabisco Ginger Snaps
  • Nabisco Halloween Oreos
  • Nabisco Iced Oatmeal Cookies
  • Nabisco Oatmeal Cookies
  • Nabisco Oreo Chocolate Ice Cream Cones
  • Nabisco Oreo Cookies
  • Nabisco Oreo Thin Crisps
  • Nabisco Original Graham Crackers
  • Nabisco Teddy Grahams (Chocolate and Cinnamon)
  • Nabisco Uh-oh Oreos, Spring Oreos, Chocolate Creme Oreos
  • Nature’s Path Deep Chocolate Cookies
  • Nature’s Path Ginger Spice Cookies
  • Nature’s Path Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
  • Nestle Double Chocolate Thin Mints
  • Now and Later
  • Orbitz Gum
  • Pure De-Lite Coconut Bars
  • Ring Pop lollipops
  • Smarties (U.S. version only)
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Super Bubble
  • Tropical Source mini chocolate bags
  • Utz Puffed Caramel Corn
  • VeganSweets marshmallows
  • Velamints Mints
  • Zotz
Personally, if I fall off the raw wagon for a sweet candy treat, I like Endangered Species Chocolate. It's organic, fair trade, vegan yumminess :-)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ugh ... I need a new camera

I may have not mentioned it lately, but my camera is officially dead. In its place, I've been using my son's camera, which is really meant for taking video instead of pictures. My only option is to point, click and hope for the best, as it does not have the best focus or resolution.

Amazingly, I have taken some decent shots lately, but only when the food is the right color, the lighting is perfect, there's no glare, and I'm at the correct distance. Unfortunately, this was not one of those times, as none of these conditions were correct.

This is actually a scrumptious looking raw cupcake in person, but due to it's lack of color separation and some bad lighting (it was stormy that day), it appears not as appetizing (you can barely tell that there is a raspberry, as opposed to a cherry, on top). However, I opted to post about it anyway, so you can try to make one (or more, as this recipe makes 3 to 4 cupcakes, depending on the size) and appreciate it in person.

If you have made my cupcakes before, you'll probably notice that the base is the same as for my Rawtess and rawified Cookies 'N Cream Cupcakes. I just wanted to present them in another way, while keeping the recipe accessible, especially for first time visitors to my blog.

Double Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 2 cups nut flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4-1/2 cup date paste
  • 2-4 Tbsp. coconut milk
  • generous drizzles of agave nectar, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • dash of sea salt
  • a batch of raw whipped icing, combined with as little or as much cocoa powder to suit your tastes
  • raw chocolate shavings (I used these chocolate rocks) for garnish
  • fresh raspberries to top them all off
In a large bowl, combine the nut flour (a mixture of finely ground nuts of your choice combined with leftover nut pulp from making your favorite nut milk; I like using finely ground almonds, mixed with a little hazelnut and Brazil nut pulp), cocoa powder (use the raw cocoa powder if you can get it, which is not the same thing as just grinding up some cacao nibs) and sea salt. Stir with a whisk or use an electric mixer.

Next, add about 1/4 cup of the date paste, 2 Tbsp. of the coconut milk (although any thickened nut milk will do; I bet Brazil nut milk would be lovely in this) and the vanilla. Whisk/mix, paying close attention to the consistency of the batter. Add agave to taste, and more of the date paste and coconut milk as needed. Whisk/mix to combine. The batter should be moist, but not so damp that it requires "baking" in a dehydrator (although you could if you desire).

Divide the batter into sections and form them into cupcake shapes. Decorate each cupcake with a generous piping of raw icing mixed with cocoa powder, and top with raw chocolate shavings and a fresh raspberry. Delish!

This recipe was brought to you as part of Vegan Mofo.

On another note, Hayden and I went to my friend Becky's baby shower this weekend, and since she loves chocolate (I think this cupcake caught her eye out of the photo preview), Jacob and I made sure to decorate some onesies for her with the decadent stuff as the theme. Check them out:

This one was inspired by the raw cupcake one I made for Hayden. As you know, I craved cupcakes with her. Becky, on the other hand, has been making her own ice cream, so this one says, "Dreaming of ice cream with sprinkles. Boys can like chocolate, too!"

Jacob wanted to get in on the ice cream and chocolate action, too. He painted an ice cream cone in the center with chocolate ice cream scoops on the sleeves. Then, he asked me to do the writing on it, which says, "I scream for ice cream." Did you notice the baby's arm trying to get a scoop with his spoon on the front?

Last, but not least, is this little number that's a play on the Godiva name (I know it's not vegan, but I liked the idea). It says, "A gift from GODIVA." Get it?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cupcake break

No, not a break where you eat cupcakes, but actually a break from cupcakes (posts that is. But don't worry; I'll be blogging about the rest of the recipes soon). That's why you don't see one in this post (although the recipe is served in a cup, or in this case, a bowl-sized mug).

Contrary to popular belief, I actually eat more than raw sweets. The raw "unbaked" goods are just more fun to post.

In an effort to change things up a bit, here's what I had for dinner the other night now that it's getting colder. It is a rawified version of Rachael Ray's Spaghetti and Meatball Stoup, minus the meat, of course. I used to make the cooked version with mock meatballs and rice spaghetti noodles, so I took it a step further by making it raw with nutmeat and zucchetti (my term for zucchini spiralized into "spaghetti" - hey Averie, I finally picked up some zucchini again).

It is so simple. Just make the nutmeat-balls below (or your own go-to version) and add them to a big mug of raw tomato soup (pureed sun-dried and fresh tomatoes, soaked cashews, olive oil, agave, sea salt and Italian seasonings) and zucchetti (it looks more authentic if you peel it first). As Rachael would say, "Yum-O!"

*These are meant to be enjoyed in a raw sauce of some sort to truly mimic a classic meatball.
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, soaked
  • 1/4 cup almonds, soaked
  • 1/4 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 Tbsp. flaxmeal
  • 1 tsp. EVOO
  • 1 tsp. Bragg's Liquid Aminos (miso tastes better in these, but I was out at the time)
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • celery salt
  • poultry seasoning
  • oregano
  • basil
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor (I rarely measure seasonings, so add the amount you like), and process them into a ground "meat" consistency. Give the mixture a taste test, and adjust the seasonings as you wish.

Mold the mixture into nutmeat-ball shapes (it should make 8-10 balls), and "bake" in your dehydrator until firm to the touch, yet still moist inside. Use finished nutmeat-balls in your favorite raw spaghetti dish, such as Zucchetti and Nutmeat-ball Stoup.

This recipe was brought to you in celebration of Vegan Mofo III.

saturday, october 24, 2009, continued ...

Check out this raw stoup mug

Speaking of mugs, I just love this little number over at Vessels and Wares (I'm also fond of these cupcakes and cake stands on the site). Jeanette has been nice enough to give it away to some lucky vegan as part of Vegan Mofo. Now that's the perfect vessel for serving up some Zucchetti and Nutmeat-ball Stoup.