Monthly Archives: November 2008

Iron Cupcake Earth: Cranberry

014Here ya go, kids! My entry for this month’s Iron Cupcake is a sweet treat I like to  call Vegan Cosmo Cupcakes. These are named for the cosmopolitan martini cocktail made of lemon-flavored vodka, orange liquer, cranberry juice, and the tiniest squeeze of lime. This delicious cranberry-orange muffin is soaked with a vodka-lime simple syrup, then frosted with orange cream cheeze icing, then rimmed with lemony scented sugar and topped with a lemon curl for garnish, just like the drink.

Here’s what I get if I win, which I’m sure I won’t. I’m not being pessimistic or anything but I’ve seen the previous entries for challenges cheese, basil, and chili pepper and I’m telling you, we have one of the most creative and talented group of bakers out there. I don’t have a chance. And the prizes are…

A pair of cupcake earrings from LOTS OF SPRINKLES,

A one-of-a-kind pin doll from the LOLLIPOP WORKSHOP,

An illustrated book by COOKIE SUNSHINE,

A deliciously sweet apron complements of SWEET CUPPIN CAKES BAKERY AND CUPCAKERY SUPPLY,

And an awesomely cute as heck piece of artwork by my personal favorite CAKESPY.

It’s up to each of us as to whether or not we want to post our recipe. I’m just going to give you the recipe for my orange cream cheeze icing, because it is PHENOMINAL. It’s my take on Julie Hasson’s recipe for orange cream cheese icing, only vegan, just like my cupcake.

4 oz (half the tub) vegan cream cheese, such as follow your heart

1/2 cup vegan margarine, such as earth balance

pinch salt

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2 tsp orange zest

2 tsp orange flavored liquer, or for my straight edge friends, orange juice works fine, too

Cream margarine and cream cheeze with salt. Add in powdered sugar until well-blended, then add in the zest and the booze. Mix well. Ice your treats!

This frosting works great with pretty much any chocolate cupcake as long as you’re okay with the sugar coma it’s going to put you in. Here are some shots for you to check out…

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Last and certainly not least, don’t forget our corporate prize providers: HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS, http://www.fiestaproducts.com, HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, http://blog.hellocupcakebook.com, JESSIE STEELE APRONS http://www.jessiesteele.com; the CUPCAKE COURIER http://www.cupcakecourier.com; TASTE OF HOME books, http://www.tasteofhome.com. Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers, http://www.1800flowers.com .

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Just in Time For No-Turkey Day…

…I give you my honest review of Tofurky.

007I originally saw it about ten years ago when I went vegan the first time and had to buy all my goodies at the local overpriced health food store. I had never heard of Trader Joe’s back then so I was stuck with this place and as much as I loved the cute little red-haired owner, she didn’t pay my bills. One of the reasons I stopped being a vegan back then was how expensive it was. I mean really, if you want to be a healthy vegan, you have to take a few supplements, eat a ton of veggies daily and find a passable protein source that doesn’t make you want to toss your…well whatever meal you ate last. Have I mentioned how much I really do NOT like tofu? I don’t. There it is.

When I first saw the Tofurky I was afraid of it. How could this be good? Unless they mix the protein source with turkey-flavored juice and some stuff to firm it up like bird flesh, I just could never see this being a viable option for a roast-type meal. Fast forward ten years.

010My beloved Trader Joe’s now carries Tofurky and for a third cheaper as my local health food store. Score! I was still a little worried about flavoring and texture but I wanted to give it a dry run before springing it on my kids in two weeks. By the way, you have no idea the amount of crap I’m going to get for making this but I’m willing to do it so that people can have some understanding of what being a vegetarian is. It’s not only about cutting out meat but it’s about supporting companies and products that are dedicated to being vegan/veggie. I’m all over this.

011After reading the box thoroughly, I removed it’s contents. The ‘roast’ looked positively scary all shrink-wrapped in plastic and held together at either end by two rivet-type pieces of metal. I removed this outer layer, turned my oven on to 350 and placed the loaf in a casserole dish. I peeled and chopped five carrots into large chunks and placed them around the roast. I opened a package of cipollini onions (Trader Joe’s has two packages per one bag for $3.29) and dropped those around it also. Next came the bag of fingerling potatoes (Trader Joe’s $2.79) and five whole peeled garlic cloves placed around the roast as well. On the box are two different recipes for glazes and I picked the one that is olive oil, sage, and soy sauce. I drizzled half the glaze around the veggies and on top of the roast, then covered the dish with foil and baked it for an hour and a half.

013When it was done, I uncovered the roast, drizzled the rest of the glaze over everything and popped it back in for ten more minutes. At this time, I made the recipe for the mushroom gravy that was included on the box (minus the onions- what’s in the roast is plenty for me, thanks).

Oh deliciousness! Hardcore meat eaters would never, ever be fooled, but for those of us who every once in a while just want to put a roast-like item into a baking dish with some veggies…nirvana. The Tofurkey was meaty and not too weird and jiggley. The stuffing inside was awesome, no lie. Their recipe for mushroom gravy was pretty fantastic, also. Two enthusiastic thumbs up. My only recommendation is salt. Add salt. I’m not a salt user at all and I needed it badly here but the cool part is, it only made it better so…use salt. Also, did you know that cipollini onions are sweet and sort of creamy? Me neither! I officially love them!

I can’t wait to serve this to my kids, I think they will be pleasantly surprised, as I was. Now here’s a picture of me in my new turtle slippers. Enjoy.

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A Shout Out


excellent-award

First, I wanted to say a HUGE thanks to City, my friend in New Zealand for giving me the “E For Excellent” award. I was very flattered as I thought the only people who read my blog were my children and their stupid little friends. So, thanks to you lady!

What I am supposed to do now is nominate my five picks for best blog. I would first like to point out that she nominated two of my personal faves, Bake and Destroy! and Cakespy, plus she herself received the award, so…you know…just sayin’. Ready? Here we go….

Dear Klint.  He writes a relationship advice blog. Oh, he’s straight edge, vegan, has some sort of degree,  and is in a fairly well-known hardcore band, also. This guy is so freaking funny that it bums me out when he’s on tour and can’t update. Oh well, I guess he’s gotta bring home the smart bacon somehow, right? I’m sure by now he thinks I’m a stalker but I’m a relatively harmless stalker. Just a wierdo, really. You know, the creepy person at the party who’s been eyeballing you the whole time who then comes up to you and says “Are you gonna be walking to your car by yourself later? Cuz I’m just gonna be in the corner watching you all night.” It’s okay Klint, I’m happily married.

Bittersweet and My Sweet Vegan- These are in a tie as they are done by the same lovely young woman, Hannah Kaminsky. (Ha, I almost typed Laminlsy, since we are missing the K from our keyboard. What happened to it? Olivia happened to it. Anyways.) She is a cookbook author and fellow blogger and she writes beautifully in my opinion. There are days when I feel like a lot of sass and that’s when I go to the aforementioned Bake and Destroy! blog. Then there are days when I feel like reading a lot of foo foo words all used to describe fancy-ass treats and that’s when I go to Hannah’s blogs. I have her dessert book and it is nothing short of amazing. Viva le whoopie pies! Oh, and chai cheesecake!

Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan- I am a huge fan of people putting recipes with pictures on their blogs and Dreena Burton does it the best. Every time she posts a new recipe with a picture, I want to run out immediately and buy whatever to make what she made. Take for instance this week’s post: It’s of a cesar pomegranite salad. I hate pomegranites yet I bought one. (I quickly decided this was the most pointeless fruit on the planet and I will never EVER purchase one again.) I have one of her books as well and while some of the ingredients are a little hard to find in my area, I have made almost all of her pastas and they are delicious, especially the vegan mac and cheese with nuts as a cheese sauce. Yeah, I know!

PPK Blog- This one just seems like a no-brainer for vegans. First of all, Isa Chandra is a very clever writer. She is funny and silly and as my grandmother used to say, a wisenheimer. I like when people make me smile knowingly to myself, as though I’m the only one who got that joke. I’m giving a thumbs down to their forum, however, because I have been ‘yelled’ at too many times. (You know, all caps, USE THE SEARCH OPTION BEFORE OPENING A THREAD kind of thing. I have used that search option many times but what I want is a discussion…you know…in a….forum. Hello??? Am I an idiot? Isn’t that why it’s a called a discussion group? Ugh. I swear, you give some people moderator status and it’s like they’ve been given a gun and a badge.)

Everyday Dish TV- This is Julie Hasson’s blog. She is also a pretty famous cookbook author, and I use her best ever chocolate cupcake and white cupcake recipes as my standards now. I love how you can go to her site and she has not only recipes, but companion videos to help teach you! Plus, it’s super fun getting to see other bloggers actually talking when I’ve only previously read their words. People’s accents are so weird sometimes.

Well, I hope you enjoy my picks for good blogs. These are the ones I read pretty much every day, or at least every time they update. When they don’t update, I’m stuck looking through the archives of Cake Wrecks, but that’s not really so bad, is it?

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Ginger Pear Muffins

002 Mmmm…ginger. I love the smell of it baking in my oven so when I get a chance to bake muffins like these, I take it.

I’ve never been a fan of ginger snaps but my brother loved them so my mom kept them around. They smelled so good but whenever I put one in my mouth…disappointment. Every single time.

These are a lot like gingerbread or ginger snaps only in  muffin form and really, if you could find a way to put onions in muffin form, I might eat those also.

I just happened to have pears lying about because I was going to make a cashew pear tart until I realized I don’t have a tart pan or even a reasonable facsimile. So here you go, ginger pear muffins.

1 /12 cups ap flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2/3 cup molasses

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

Egg raplacer for 1 egg (I used 1 flax egg)

1/2 cup boiling water

twelve slices of pear (make sure you core them, duh)

Optional:  raw sugar

Optional: 3 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate broken into small pieces

Oven at 350. Spray muffin tin with no-stick then flour them also. Mix wet ingredients(minus the water), mix dry, mix them together, NOW add the water. Scoop into prepared cupcake pan. Place one slice of pear on the top of each muffin. Press down lightly. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Sprinkle with raw sugar. Place small piece of chocolate on each muffin. Let cool in the pan for ten minutes. Use butter knife to spread around chocolate.

I didn’t put the chocolate on mine because I didn’t have any. Plus, these are being donated to the VFW for tomorrow night’s fish fry. They love me there. Plus, I work there so they HAVE to love me, you know?

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I made these fabulous mashed potatoes for dinner tonight. It was a very simple recipe but when I just throw things together, I tend to not use measurements so I’m what you call freeballing here.

4 baking potatoes, peeled, diced, boiled until soft, about 15 minutes

1 1/2 cups frozen peas

6 cloves minced garlic (you can cut this amount in half if you actually WANT to kiss your husband later)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 to 3/4 cup veggie broth

1/4 cup margarine

salt, pepper to taste

Once the water has been drained from your potatoes, grab your hand mixer and get going with it. Add the veggie broth a little at a time. You don’t want them to be soupy but you still want them creamy so pay attention. Set aside. Heat olive oil in pan, toss in garlic. After 2 to 3 minutes, toss in peas, salt and pepper. After about 7 minutes, toss in your margarine until melted. Immediately add to the potatoes and mix around. Yes, the peas get mushy. So what? They’re peas! And now they’re garlicky…mmm… Here’s what mine looked like-

001Next time-  Iron Cupcake!! Until then, email me with question if you have valid questions, I mean.

Your teachers were wrong- there IS such a thing as a stupid question.

****Edited note: After tasting one of these muffins, I decided that they needed…something. I could REALLY taste the molasses. Perhaps a little too much, so i perused my cabinets and found- tada!- tropical source chocolate chips! I melted half a cup with a tablespoon of my Trader Joe’s soy creamer, stirred it like mad then plopped a spoonful on top of each one, like the original recipe called for. Waaaaay better. Here are the new pics:

00110021Mmm…they even LOOK better, don’t they? I don’t think there’s anything in life that you can’t add chocolate to that it doesn’t immediately taste better. Except onions.

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