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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Caked Out

There’s been a lot of cake going down these last few days.


In less than 24 hours this dude will be five years old. Mind blown. The only solution for that overwhelming sense of “my baby is a big boy”, is cake.

And oh, have we done cake?



Friend Birthday Party with ice cream cone cupcakes.


I’ve decided that when choosing how many guests for a child’s party, go with the number identical to their age. We had five participants. Perfect. All could jump in the bouncy house at the same time. Because if you’re the kid on the outside of the bouncy house, you’re not enjoying yourself. And if you’re the parent with the stopwatch, you’re not enjoying yourself.


Preschool Classroom Treats with awful Walmart cupcakes. I dug my heels in for awhile on this one (Walmart? Blue frosting? Seahawks???) but the boy finally won out.


I avoided all eye contact with parents, ashamed at the despicable “treats” I was offering their youngsters. Birthday boy was thrilled. No one else matters:)


And finally, the one cake that I actually ate! The cake recipe is Nita’s Crazy Cake from epicurious. The frosting is heaven, aka Meet The Shannons caramel frosting. And then I sprinkled sea salt on top because it’s what I do.

Really, it’s what I do.

Not lying. It’s what I do.

I mentioned that the dude is five in 24 hours. Yes. He hasn’t even had his Family Birthday Party yet.

I’m caked out.

Birthday flan, anyone?


Toasted Marshmallow Hot Chocolate

My children’s bedtime prayers are very indicative of their personalities.

J Man: “Dear Jesus, thank you for a nice day. Thank you that I made good choices today. Amen.”

Miss Rae: “Dear Jesus, thank you for my Mac n cheese, thank you for my ice cream, thank you for my doughnuts, thank you for my hot chocolate. I LOVE YOU! (shouted). Amen.”

In most cases, she hasn’t had any of the above mentioned things on that day. But by golly, she’s thankful.


I’m pretty thankful too.

Just a quick clarification: this is not hot cocoa. Hot cocoa is powdered cocoa and sugar warmed up with milk. Good. But not great. Certainly not thanksgiving prayer worthy.


But, it’s not drinking chocolate either. Matty B and I had a date last week that ended up here:


In addition to delicious truffles…



…they had a killer drinking chocolate.

Today’s recipe is a happy medium.


Dark chocolate is chopped and melted. I’m partial to Trader Joes, but even Lindt has vegan dark chocolate. Almond milk and vanilla extract are steamed to perfection.



Do you know what the most important part of hot chocolate is?


You thought I was going to say marshmallows, huh?


Marshmallows are important. Toasting them is even better. We used these vegan marshmallows:


But the most important part of hot chocolate is salt. Yes, salt.

You probably can’t tell from the pictures, but after I toasted the marshmallows (with a kitchen torch), I sprinkled each cup with a few grains of sea salt.

So good. So. Good.

Made me want to say a prayer.

Did I mention that January 31 is National Hot Chocolate Day? The heavens are telling you to try this recipe. Miss Rae has a direct line.

Toasted Marshmallow Hot Chocolate


3 oz high quality dark chocolate
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Marshmallows and sea salt to taste


Chop chocolate into rough pieces. Melt in a double boiler until smooth. Steam vanilla and almond milk. I used an espresso attachment. Certainly a burner or a microwave would suffice.

Whisk milk into melted chocolate. Divide among 4 mini mugs or 2 large ones. Top with marshmallows. Toast with kitchen torch. Sprinkle with sea salt.

WIAW: in a mug

It’s WIAW!

I realized today that I had an unintentional theme for my food:

In a mug. Presented by me.



Spelt hot cereal mixed with cocoa powder, raspberries and pomegranate arils…

…in a mug.



At work, with a little soy milk…

…in a mug. P.S. I love Portland.



Vegetable soup, with a large dollop of pesto (thus the oil on top)…

…in a mug.


Carrots and hummus…

…in my mouth. Didn’t take a picture. Also, didn’t use a mug.

And that’s where everything fell apart.


Whole wheat pasta, marinara, green salad. No picture. No mug. My theme has failed.



The best hot chocolate ever. With vegan marshmallows. Recipe to come.

In a mug. Win.


With a vegan cinnadoodle. Still a win.

Warm Sweet Potato Salad

Last week I was in a meeting where my chair was facing toward a wall that featured a large mirror. Every once in awhile I would catch my reflection and at least three times, I was somewhat dismayed at what I saw.

Why? I have a very scowly looking “neutral face.” You know the face you have in everyday situations when you aren’t laughing or crying or even talking, but you’re just being? Your neutral face?

Yeah, I look like a brat (nicer “b” word than you might be thinking) in my “neutral face.”

I’ve gotta change this. I’m a nice person! I try to be friendly! 90% of my job is dealing with people!

No more scowly “neutral face.”

I need something to sweeten me up. But no more sugar. Too many cinnamon chai scones or cardamom cookies have passed my lips.

Sweet potatoes? That’s the ticket.


Matty B bought me a julienne peeler last year. It’s magical. It’s also sharp. I cut myself. No picture necessary.


I love these colors. I love these flavors. I love this salad.



The sweetness of the pomegranate is key here. With the acidity of the apple cider vinegar, the flavors play off of each other wonderfully!


Honestly, the shredded apple on top was an afterthought, but was the perfect touch. The textures in this salad are awesome. Crunchy walnuts, soft sweet potatoes and the bite of the pomegranate arils. I was sold.


Next time I make this, I might try cooking the sweet potato shreds even longer for a crispier texture. Almost like French fries. Yes! French fry salad!

That’s enough to make anyone’s scowly neutral face turn into a smile!

Warm Sweet Potato Salad

1 sweet potato, julienned
1 1/2 TBS olive oil, divided
1 TBS apple cider vinegar
1 TBS maple syrup
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup pomegranate arils
1/4 apple, julienned
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté sweet potato in 1/2 TBS olive oil, approximately 15 minutes, or until desired softness.

In a small, well sealed jar, shake 1 TBS olive oil, maple syrup and vinegar until combined and frothy.

When sweet potato is done, add parsley, walnuts, pomegranate and dressing. Season to taste.

Top with apple.

Better With Veggies

Cinnamon Chai Scones

I recently had this amazing experience involving 90 minutes, 1 large chai tea latte and a walnut scone.

I was by myself. There were no children demanding “soft bread” (translation: toast, very lightly toasted) or requesting assistance wiping their nose.

Granted, I was reading a book about how to most effectively use social media (yes, I’m old. I’m reading books about social media.) but I was relaxed and peaceful and now my brain connects “relaxed and peaceful” with scones and chai.

The obvious step is to make chai scones, right?


When Matty B and I first started dating, he had never tried chai tea before. I was certain he would love it. I was wrong about him loving my tomato soup. I was wrong about him loving my mom’s noodles and cream casserole. But I was right on the chai.

Thank goodness. It could’ve been a deal breaker.


You have to plan ahead for these scones. It starts by steeping some loose leaf chai in almond milk overnight. Not a major time commitment, but something that requires a little forethought. You know what else requires forethought? Paying attention to the toast in the toaster so that it doesn’t become too crunchy and by toddler definition, “in-edible.” If you can’t tell, there have been some hard feelings in this house, mostly because last week J Man interrogated me over who made his breakfast. Apparently “daddy breakfasts” are superior to “mommy breakfasts.”



Can daddy make flaky scones?


Can daddy make flaky scones using no animal products?


Can daddy make flaky scones using no animal products meant to induce “relaxed and peaceful” feelings?


No. No is the answer to all of the questions above. Daddy will, however, keep from burning the veggie sausages, which we all appreciate.

So much for “relaxed and peaceful”.

Cinnamon Chai Scones

1 cup almond milk
1 TBS loose chai tea
1 TBS ground flax
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup ww flour
1 heaping TBS baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegan butter
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup cinnamon chips (optional – I couldn’t find any vegan chips)

The night before-
Steep tea leaves in almond milk. Refrigerate overnight.

The next day-
Add flax and apple cider vinegar to almond milk mixture. Set aside.

In a food processor, pulse both flours, baking powder, salt, sugar and spices until combined.

Add butter, pulsing until sandy in texture.

Add almond milk mixture, maple syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon chips (optional).

Pulse until dough comes together. Press into a circle on a floured surface, cutting into 8 wedges. Bake on a silpat or parchment for 15-18 minutes at 400.

She & Him, 4/52



A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014

She: Before Sabbath School, rocking a baby, face down, naturally:)

Him: Snow monster, ready for a ride down the sledding hill.

Banana Maple Muffin for 1

I made you a banana muffin. Just one.


Why just one?

Because no one else in the family likes banana flavored things. Matty B and Miss Rae will eat bananas, but no banana themed foods. Except, remember those Runts candies? The ones flavored/shaped like bananas? Yeah, I bet they’d eat those.


Why just one?

J Man won’t touch banana anything. I offered him a bite, he smelled the muffin and said, “it makes me shiver!” I don’t think it was a good shiver.


Why just one?

Because J Man doesn’t need 72 matchbox cars and I don’t need 72 muffins.


Why just one? Because it’s a Costco sized muffin and no one should feel deprived with a Costco sized muffin. P.S. I miss Costco.


Why just one?

Because sometimes, you can’t be trusted around two. Picture Matty B and two large shortbread cookies from Panera. I should’ve told him they were banana flavored. Instant self control!

Banana Maple Muffin for 1

1 tsp ground flax
2 tsp water
1/2 ripe banana
Pinch of salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 TBS maple syrup
1/2 TBS olive oil
1/4 tsp maple extract
1/4 cup ww pastry flour
1 TBS powdered sugar
2 tsp almond milk
Drop maple extract
Optional: walnuts to top


Preheat oven to 375. Combine flax and water. Set aside. Mash banana together with maple syrup, olive oil, salt, baking soda and maple extract. Add flax mixture and flour. Bake in a greased ramekin for 25-28 minutes.

Whisk glaze ingredients, drizzling on top of warm muffin. Top with walnuts, if desired.

Healthy Vegan Fridays is open for business! Check out other healthy vegan recipes!