Carrot Cupcakes for Dad

Today would have been my dad’s 64th birthday. Ten years ago, his 54th birthday was his last as he passed away in April of 2005. I have a rough day every time at this year and I find it helps to celebrate it. So instead of crawling in bed and being a sad ball all day, I did some fun things that remind me of him.

We went out for burgers – one of his favourite foods:

The man loved golf. He would often get off a night shift from work at 6am and head out for 18 holes before coming home for a quick sleep before heading back for another 12-hour shift at 6pm!

 I tried, but I never really got much out of golf. So we played mini-golf today!

We did this all while wearing hawaiian shirts – something he wore frequently.

And we made cupcakes!

Ok… well, I made cupcakes while Terry watched ;p

I was a little worried about making them as I’m not much of a baker, so I decided to make these raw. The cupcakes themselves are completely raw – the frosting isn’t, however it is free of refined sugars like most frostings. I’m not sure my dad would have actually liked these weirdo, healthy cupcakes, but he would have been happy enough to try one and appreciate me making them.

Carrot Cupcakes (makes 6)

2 cups of shredded carrots (I just threw them into my food processor and used the grater attachment)

1 cup of dates

1/2 cup of walnuts

1/2 cup of pecans

1 tbsp of minced ginger

1/4 tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg and sea salt

First, grate or shred your carrots in your food processor. Take the shredded carrot out of the work bowl and press it between some paper towels to remove as much excess water as possible. Then, throw your dates and nuts into the food processor with the S blade and process until it crumbles and sticks together. Add the shredded carrot and remaining ingredients and process until well combined. Spoon this mixture into cupcake liners and place in the fridge until it sets (at least 30 minutes – the longer you wait, the more firm they will be).

Coconut Milk and Cream Cheeze Whipped Frosting

1 can of full fat coconut milk

1 tsp of agave

2 generous tbsp of vegan cream cheeze (totally optional, but you won’t get that cream cheeze flavour otherwise)

The night before you make this frosting, put the can of coconut milk at the back of your fridge. I actually just keep a can of coconut milk in my fridge at all times in case I spontaneously feel like making frosting. Carefully take out the chilled can and remove the lid. Scoop out the coconut cream on top of the can, careful not to scoop out the liquid at the bottom (keep the coconut water for smoothies!). Add your cream to a bowl with the agave and cream cheeze and beat using an electric mixer until light & fluffy. Scoop onto the prepared cupcakes.

I topped them with crushed up walnuts.

Happy Birthday Dad =)

Healthy Vegan Friday #36

Good morning, Sunshine! I hope you are gearing up for a fantastic Friday. Let’s gear up for the weekend by getting our recipe sharing on!

New to HVF? All the info is right here.

Last week, we had some super awesome submissions! Let’s check them out.

Almond Banana  Berry Protein Superfood Green Smoothie from Urban Naturale:

Deborah seriously makes the best smoothies. Ever. I love a good smoothie recipe! It’s my go-to breaky. It’s the perfect pre or post-workout snack. It’s great for an afternoon snack. Or dessert. And this smoothie has *everything* in it. It’s got protein, delicious citrus flavour, antioxidants… You can bet this will be on my menu next week!

Balsamic Roasted Red Pepper Basil Hummus from Strength & Sunshine:

I don’t even like roasted red pepper and I want to try this! It sounds awesome. I love the fresh basil as it sounds like a perfect flavour combo with the roasted red pepper. And I also love how she gives us the actual meaning of the word hummus, which is Arabic for chickpea and not dip as most of use it incorrectly. And props for getting this gorgeous dip on Food Gawker! Maybe you can share a post on food photo tips =)

Corn Bread from Sandi’s Allergy Free Recipes

I keep forgetting that Sandi’s blog is “Allergy Free” and head on over to check out a recipe expecting to be disappointed that it will have something in that I can’t have. I fully expected this to have gluten in it. It doesn’t! It’s gluten free and sounds awesome. It sounds easy to make and I actually have all of the ingredients. Double points!

This week, I’m sharing my Revamped Potato Salad. It would be great for a potluck, or as a side for supper, or a great lunch.

So I want to see you sharing your awesome recipes. And don’t forget to link back so your friends will see you partying it up over here and want to come party with us =)

Have a great weekend!!!

Haven’t had enough fun? Check out our Facebook & Pinterest pages.

Revamped Potato Salad

I recently bought a bunch of fresh dill and was excited to try my hand at potato salad. My normal experience is to just throw some boiled potatoes with veganaise and dried dill together. It’s tasty, but a little boring. I wanted to change it up and add some more veggies to this salad and maybe even some grains!

Isn’t it beautiful? I took my favourite parts of traditional potato salad and added some fun, new twists. Sadly… I totally forgot to add the quinoa I had set aside for it for some added protein. I would highly suggest adding some freshly cooked quinoa to this – I think it would be delicious! I served this up with some grilled tempeh for a perfect meal =)

Revamped Potato Salad (serves 4)

6 small red potatoes, rinsed & chopped into bite-sized pieces

3/4 cup of peas

1 red pepper, diced

1/4 cup of fresh dill, chopped (or 2 tbsp dried)

3 stalks of celery, diced

several handfulls of greens

1/4 cup of vegan mayonnaise (I have made my own in the past, but was low on time this night)

Toss all ingredients together. This works great as a main or a side.

How Sprouts is Becoming a Game Changer

When I first moved to the Bay Area of Northern California from Kitchener, Ontario, I left behind all of my beloved cute, independent health food stores. I didn’t even realise how spoiled I was having them around – they carried everything I needed from organic fruits & veggies to supplements to great vegan foods. Whole Foods was an hour away and we only went a few times a year as it was a trek and soooo expensive. Whole Paycheque???? Haha.

When a friend mentioned I check out Sprouts, I was excited. It sounded like the cute store I was looking for. Sadly, I was incredibly disappointed. I found the store lackluster, not having any personality and it didn’t have anything I was looking for. For the first two year we lived here, I got all of my staples at Whole Foods. I find Trader Joes ok, but it doesn’t really float my boat.

This past summer we moved closer to a Sprouts Market and I was told to give it another try. And damn if it didn’t have a whole bunch more stuff!

I noticed little things, like my favourite brand of gluten-free noodles (Tinkyada) and Daiya cheese when I first started shopping in the fall. I still get all of my fresh produce from my local Farmer’s Market, but need my grains and such from an actual store. I got what I could from Sprouts, which is a short bike ride and then drove my car on over to the closest Whole Foods. A month after I started shopping there, I noticed they started selling my beloved So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Yogurt before Whole Foods!

I still had some pet peeves with them. They were lacking in bulk things and nut butters and if I went during “peak” times, the lineups were ridiculous. But a few months later as I sit and write this post, they have become my go-to store.

They have the best organic apples around! Just two weeks ago, I asked if they would consider carrying my fav almond milk (Calafia) and it showed up in the cold section last week! Every time I go in, I see more and more things. Their bulk section has improved, and the vegan & gluten-free options are growing tremendously. I have this favourite jar of pasta I like and a too large jar of it at Whole Foods was way too expensive unless it was on sale. I was actually annoyed that the jar was so big, I prefer smaller jars as I want to just eat it over the course of a meal or two, not four. And wouldn’t you know, Sprouts offers a smaller jar at a fraction of the price.

It’s really helped my budgeting. And I honestly would prefer to get all of my groceries by walking or biking (like most things!). Oh and if you happen to feel indulgent – they carry Steve’s ice cream. The Dark Chocolate Salty Caramel is my fav (just make sure you get the non-dairy version as they have two kinds!). They aren’t an independent store, they are a chain, but they are at least cute. And recently I’ve noticed they are really trying to carry more variety in their stores and they have more staff on hand to help out with questions and purchases. They have great customer service and believe in sustainable sourcing & ethical purchasing. And I love that they compost in an effort to reduce waste.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love Whole Foods and always will. They totally rock. But they aren’t getting my whole paycheque anymore ;p

What stores do you go to score your favourite things?

Healthy Vegan Fridays #35

Good morning! And a very happy Friday to you =) It’s the time of week again to share all of your awesome-sauce healthy & vegan recipes.

New to HVF? Check out the 411 here.

Let’s check out some of your fav recipes from last week.

Sexy back cupcakes from yours truly:

I know what was your mind last week… CHOCOLATE ;p

Chocolate Avocado Lime Mousse from Green Gourmet Giraffe:

Mmmm chocolate. Love the sound of this silky, chocolately pudding. And it’s a healthier option for a sweet treat.

Creamy Tomato Soup from Sandi’s Allergy Free Recipes: 

I’m totally digging this soup – it sounds so good! I always make gazpacho when I’m inclined to make a soup out of tomatoes, I love the addition of the coconut milk to thicken it and take away some of the acidity of the tomatoes.

This week I’m sharing a soup as well! My Dill Lemon Butternut Squash Soup:

Here’s to hoping our friends on the East Coast stay warm with some of these warm soups!

Link up with your healthy, vegan recipes =) Don’t forget to link back!

Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook and Pinterest!

Dill Lemon Butternut Squash Soup

I actually have a bit of a hard time eating soup now that I live in Northern California. We use to happily sip it all winter long in Ontario… but it doesn’t really reach very cold temperatures here. I enjoy it on the off days I do feel cold and especially if one of us is feeling under the weather like Terry was when I made this.

I had recently bought a bunch of dill and after exhausting my salad and stirfry options, it was time to try it out in something different. Soup!

Dill Lemon Butternut Squash Soup (serves 4)

5 cups of roasted butternut squash**

1/4 cup of fresh dill

3/4 cup of coconut milk

1/2 cup of water

the juice of half a lemon

1 tsp of salt

1 tsp of pepper

2 tbsp of coconut aminos

I had my butternut squash pre-roasted from leftovers. It’s easier ahead of time (see instructions below if you don’t have pre-roasted squash). Throw your squash, dill & water in your high-powered blender and blend until smooth & creamy. Pour your soup into a pot and add the remaining ingredients and allow it to simmer for 30 minutes.

**If you don’t have leftovers squash, preheat your oven to 400. Peel your medium-sized butternut squash, remove the seeds and chop it into bite-sized pieces. Put the chopped squash in a glass baking dish with a couple of tbsp of olive oil, salt & pepper and roast for 45 minutes or until it is tender when pierced with a fork.

Monday Funday

Did you have a good weekend? Ready to start this week? Are you lucky like my hubby and have the day off for a nice, 3-day weekend? I hope so.

We didn’t get around to doing a whole lot this weekend. We had high hopes that were mildly dashed by my follow up with my foot specialist after the incident. Silly me thinking that after 3 long weeks in an air cast, I’d be FREE!! No such luck. I went from boot to shoe and can only gradually start to get back into the swing of things. I’m allowed short walks, low impact exercise (upper body, core & swimming – no lower body… no running, boo!) and have to continue to take it easy. So long glorious, long weekend hike. Ah well, we managed a fun weekend anyway.

My hubby and I unknowingly made each other homemade V-day cards. Aren’t we so cute you want to punch us??? As I was making my card for him (I made the one on the left, he made the one on the right), I realised it was our 16th Valentine’s Day. That’s a lot of love days.

Terry also got me and the pup some flowers from the local market:

And I made us a really nice dinner which is unpictured as although it was really good, it came out very unpretty ;p Terry played me some romantic tunes on the piano afterwards. And we rented Gone Girl haha. Not very romantic, but a great movie!

And much in the style of our Valentine’s Day tradition, we went out for lunch Sunday to on of our favourite restaurants. We don’t got out on the actual day as it’s always so busy and most restaurants have a special menu which costs a bajillion dollars.

Oh! And Sunny got a special treat too =)

“I can has cookie?”

Hope you had a great weekend!

Healthy Vegan Fridays #34

Happy 1-day before Valentine’s Day!

And happy Friday!!!

I hope you are having a lovely week and are gearing up for a fabulous weekend =) Start your weekend off right by sharing a fun, Valentine’s Day themed recipe. Or, any healthy, plant-based recipe =)

New to HVF? Check out the info here.

Before you link up, let’s check out some great submissions from last week.

Easy Truffles from Sandi’s Allergy Free Kitchen:

These little gems would make an excellent sweet treat to celebrate Valentine’s Day. These sound delicious and are allergy-friendly (vegan, gluten-free & nut free). They are simple to make and leave out the unwanted sugars and fillers like their store-bought cousins.

Wild Strawberry Protein Pancakes from Strength & Sunshine:

I actually made these earlier this week and they are SO GOOD! Mine did not turn out very pretty, but they were incredibly tasty, perfect Valentine’s Day breakfast (or breakfast any time!). They are gluten-free and packed with protein. And if you check out the comments in my post, you’ll see some great tips on how to make the perfect pancake =)

Sweet & Sour Tofu Veggie Bowl from The Taste Space: 

This would make a really great Valentine’s Day dinner. It’s got all of my favs combined into one bowl. I love the addition of miso paste!

I’m contributing my Sexy Back Cupcakes this week. These aren’t quite as healthy as the recipes I normally post, but a nice treat for the weekend =)

Do you guys have any plans for tomorrow? We don’t like to make a big fuss over the day, however I like making a good meal and fun dessert at least. Our dinner tomorrow will be Loaded Caesar Salad, Stuffed Mushrooms, Devilled Potatoes and Bruschetta Sammiches. I’m going to make small portions of everything so we have room for Kathy’s Double Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes. I made these a few weeks ago and wow. Just wow. It tastes like a macaroon with frosting on it in form of a cupcake. Can’t go wrong with that can ‘ya?

Do you have a special meal planned? Or heading out for dinner to a restaurant?

Not really into Valentine’s Day? Do you love dogs? I came across this article and found it pretty awesome =)

Link on up! Don’t forget to link back.

Check us out on Facebook & Pinterest.

Have a great weekend!

Epic Kitchen Fails and Delicious Pancakes

Sunny and I were having one of these mornings…

“Not another smoothie for breakfast…”

I love a good morning smoothie, but sometimes it gets repetitive… Sunny also loves morning smoothies as she inevitably gets a piece of the banana I throw in and bananas are her absolute favourite food on the planet. Yup – she’s adorable.

So I thought I would make pancakes. Delicious, fluffy pancakes. The only problem is that I have never successfully made pancakes in my life. Ever. And every time I try again, I think to myself that this will be the day I make perfect pancakes. I even found a super awesome recipe for  from this past Healthy Vegan Fridays shared my one of my fav contributors, Rebecca. Strawberry pancakes!

So I set out by following the instructions exactly. Except I was out of buckwheat flour and had to substitute (as I was putting away my flours, I noticed an almost full bag of buckwheat flour *facepalm*). And I didn’t have strawberry protein powder, which I think would have been cool to use. However, my favourite part of the pancakes was the strawberry purée. All I did was throw a handful of strawberries in my food processor and whirred them up. Done!

Except my pancakes look nothing like hers. This picture is super embarrassing! They stuck to my pan and didn’t quite cook properly and came out looking very misshapen.

So I thought I’d take the opportunity to share my not as great cooking efforts. I can’t make pancakes. They *always* turn out like this. Sometimes they are completely inedible… and not even cooked. Ha. But despite these pancakes lacking some prettiness, they were SO GOOD!
Go check out the Wild Strawberry Protein Pancake recipe. Maybe you can make yours look prettier. Well, at least follow the instructions ;p

What are your pancake tips for someone tying to get it right?

Sexy Back Valentine’s Day Cupcakes

“I’m bringing sexy back
Them other cakes don’t know how to act
I think you’re special, what’s behind your back?
So turn around and I’ll pick up the slack.”

Oh, these cupcakes. They are sexy! They are seductive. And oh so fluffy and delicious. Drum roll, please… and gluten-free! That’s right, I’m treating you to a delectably decadent, super sexy Valentine’s Day treat. And you can thank Ms. Robin for this. These are her babies, she created this recipe and is allowing me to share it with you. Well, the written version… I’m not sure how many of the physical version I’d be willing to part with ;) But first, I think I shall make you jealous over the drool-worthy photos I took of an event we had this past weekend. In honour of Valentine’s Day, we had a cupcake baking party and it was so fun! Robin and I hosted it and provided the main ingredients for the base cupcake and then asked everyone to bring a fun topping or ingredient to make a bunch of different varieties. This was one of the funnest girls day out I’ve had in awhile.

Making our game plan

Batter ready to go in… almost!

Chocolate Chips!!

Freshly baked

Frosting time

I made my homemade caramel sauce

Caramel Cupcakes

Plain, chocolate cupcake with plain vanilla frosting sprinkled

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcake

Adding finishing touches


Robin serving cupcakes

Sexy Back Valentine’s Day Cupcakes

1 ⅔ cup of coconut milk
1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
½ cup of coconut oil
1 ¼ cup of agave or maple syrup
1 tbsp of vanilla extract (or if you have a vanilla bean, crack that baby open!)
¼ tsp of almond extract
½ cup of tapioca flour
3 tbsp ground flax seeds
½ cup of almond flour
½ cup of rice flour
¼ cup quinoa flour
¼ cup of buckwheat flour
⅓ cup fava-chickpea flour
½ cup of cocoa powder
½ tbsp of baking powder
1 tsp of baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350°. Mix all of the wet ingredients together (including sugar).
Sift the dry ingredients together, then add the dry ingredients to the wet and mixing well.
Fill the cupcake papers 80% full. This should make around 15 cupcakes (12 to take to the party and 3 to keep for yourself–oink oink).
Bake the cupcake for 21-24 minutes or until you insert a toothpick into the center and it comes out clean.

Now here’s where you can get creative! We left some of the cupcakes plain to just ice and put fun toppings on. But for some, we mashed up some newman o’s and mixed a bit in with the batter to make cookies n’ cream cupcakes. We took some of the homemade caramel sauce and placed it in the centre of some cupcakes. We infused some cupcakes with some raspberry purée. We added some toasted coconut to some and lemon zest to others.

Basic Chocolate Frosting

½ cup of earth balance
½ cup of spectrum palm shortening
⅛ cup of non-dairy milk (you may not need it all, but have it ready, just in case)
1 tbsp of vanilla extract
3 cups of organic powdered sugar

Whisk all the ingredients, except the powdered sugar, together using an electric mixer. Sift in powdered sugar one cup at a time. Add more non-dairy milk as needed. This made extra.

Again – here is the time to get creative. We divided the frosting into separate bowls (6 I think). In one bowl, we added more chopped up newman o’s to add to the cookie centre cupcakes. We added caramel sauce to some frosting, lemon juice & zest in another. We used some of the leftover raspberry purée to make a nice pink frosting and topped the cupcake with a raspberry. You get the idea – have fun with it =)

Thanks to Robin for allowing me to share this awesome sauce recipe! ♥

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