Cinnamon Carrot Cupcakes with Maple Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Well, hello there. It’s been awhile, eh? My deepest apologies. Life got crazy…was booked for a week solid with a catering gig; had some friends visit; and had some interviews. All great things. Only downfall is that things like my blog take the backseat.

To make up for lost time, I am sharing a terrific cupcake recipe. It comes all the way from the heart of South Africa and I seriously had a blast in the kitchen making this. The spice level is perfect, and would also go well with hints of ginger and nutmeg, if you wish to get adventurous. I had some challenges with the cooking temp/time as the cupcakes are slightly overdone which was necessary in getting my toothpick to come out dry. I started at 350 F, but suggest you aim for 325 F.

Despite my inartistic abilities, I found the frosting to be the highlight of the recipe. I went with a maple cream cheese frosting dusted with flakes of unsweetened coconut. It was a great choice. To take it up a ‘wow’ factor, toast the coconut for a few minutes to get a nice golden color.

Enough writing, time to get baking!!

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Ingredients
– 1 c brown sugar
– 1/2 c sunflower oil
– 1/2 c canola oil
– 3 eggs, beaten (feel free to use flax eggs: 3 Tbls flax + 9 Tbls water)
– 1 1/2 c finely shredded carrot
– 1 1/2 c flour
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 1/2 tsp baking powder
– 2 tsp cinnamon
– 1 c chopped walnuts
—–
– 1 c cream cheese
– 1/4 c powdered sugar
– 1 tsp maple syrup extract
– 1 tsp maple syrup
– flaked coconut for topping (about 2 Tbls)

1. In a large bowl, add the brown sugar, oils and egg. Mix well
2. Next, add the remaining ingredients. Stir until everything is just combined (don’t over mix)
3. Line muffin/cupcake tins, add enough batter so it sits just below the liner (I made 15)
4. Cook at 325 F for 30-35 minutes
5. Let cool fully. Create the frosting by whipping the cream cheese, powdered sugar, extract and syrup together. Spread generously on cupcakes. Top with flaked coconut

Mason Jar Brownies

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One thing I am not: craftsy. I avoid pinterest because I see a lot of cool things that I would like to do, but when it comes to the follow through, I quickly become frustrated at my inability to be creative (yes, I realize things other than craft projects exist on pinterest…) Regardless, there is one project that I’ve wanted to try for awhile and that’s making brownies in a jar. I’ve had a hankering to take this on over the holidays, but then when the time comes, I get consumed with a million other menial tasks. Thankfully, I have a bridal shower coming up and I am strapped for cash. Perfect time to test out a mason jar brownie recipe.

After some searching, I came across Alicia Silverstone’s post and it seemed like a perfect fit. Once I had the jar prepared, it occurred to me that I should actually test the recipe out…I am so glad that I did…Sigh. It’s way more cake than brownie and the whole wheat flour gives it a grainier/healthier feel, which is okay, if that’s what you’re going for. While this recipe is acceptable, I will definitely be on the prowl for a different one that offers a chewier and gooeyer consistency 🙂

Ingredients

– 3/4 c white flour
– 3/4 c whole wheat flour (or just do 1 1/2 c white…)
– 1/2 c cocoa powder
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 1 1/2 c sugar
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 c chocolate chips (in her recipe, she uses these for the frosting…I use these for more chocolaty goodness inside the brownie; that and I loathe frosting)

Steps…
1) Combine above ingredients in a large mason jar (at least 32oz, I struggled squeezing my chips in)
2) On a card, write the instructions below, and additional ingredients

1). Add mason jar ingredients to a large bowl
2). In a medium bowl, whisk together the following wet ingredients:

– 3/4 c non-dairy milk
– 3/4 c brewed coffee
– 1/2 c canola oil

3). Add wet to dry, mix until everything is combined
4). Bake at 325F for 25-30 minutes. Let cool before cutting

Palak Tofu

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Ok…So, I have voiced my frustrations with being unable to create an awesome Indian dish. Well, I think I am finally on the right track! I absolutely love this recipe from Vegan Richa.

The only thing that was somewhat amiss with the recipe was the serving size. After making the meal, I’d say it serves 1-2…but if you can squeeze two more servings out of this, more power to you. Perhaps I was just so smitten with it, I was eager to eat it all!!!

Ingredients
For the tofu:
– oil
– 1/2 of Trader Joe’s super firm tofu (I used 8 oz of the 16 oz package) cut into little cubes
– 1/2 tsp cumin powder
– 1/2 tsp garam masala
– 1/2 tsp garlic powder
– 1/2 tsp cayenne

For the curry sauce:
– 2 c spinach
– 1/4 c water
– 1/4 c almond milk
– 2 Tbls raw cashews, soaked for 30 min
– 2 cloves garlic
– 1 tsp ginger powder (or fresh ginger)
– 1 medium tomato
– 1/4 teaspoon garam masala

1. Mix the spices for the tofu, set aside. Add oil to a skillet, turn heat to medium and once hot, add the tofu
2. Cook the tofu until it begins to brown. Then, add the spices. Cook for about 5 minutes
3. Mix all sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor. Add to the spiced tofu and simmer until the sauce thickens. Use cayenne/salt/pepper to taste

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Vegan Peanut Butter Protein Bars

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Most people have at least one type of food vice. I happen to have a few. One of these vices is protein bars. I LOVE a good protein bar. I never seem to schedule enough time in the morning. By the time I’m done exercising and getting ready for work, I have about 5 minutes to either make a protein shake or grab a protein bar. Why so much protein? After seeing a nutritionist a few years back, I realized I was lacking sufficient protein intake. I feel the easiest remedy for this is a strong protein based meal in the morning to set the tone for the day. I’ve also noticed that this A.M. protein boost helps me feel full throughout the day while I’m at work. WOO!

Ok, so let’s get to the recipe. I found a great base to work with thanks to Oh She Glows. I omitted the chocolate because I really don’t like sweet bars, especially in the morning. I also reduced the sweetener and added some almond milk. Feel free to play around with what I came up with!

Ingredients
– 3 c oat flour (GF)
– 1 c puffed brown rice
– 1 c vanilla raw protein powder
– 1 c raw peanut buttter
– 3/4 c maple syrup
– 2 tsp vanilla
– 2-4 Tbls almond milk

1. Combine oat flour, puffed brown rice and protein powder in a large bowl
2. In a smaller bowl, combine peanut buttter, maple syrup and vanilla. Stir until everything is mixed together
3. Add the peanut butter mixture to the dry
4. With your hands (I used cooking gloves), mix everything together. You will likely find the mix to be dry, begin to moisten with 1 Tbls of almond milk at a time
5. Line a 13×9 pan with parchment paper. Spread the bar mixture in the pan with your hands. Once the mixture is smooth and even, place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the pan and cut into desired shapes!