Monday, February 28, 2011

orange nasturtiums

two weeks ago i spied the first nasturtium blossom in the yard. spring is here!

by now we have a few more bright orange blossoms gracing the yard. the artichoke leaves are getting long and lush. the barbie pink guava fruit is ripening. my alpine strawberries have sweet little white flowers peeking out from behind the green leaves. purple blossoms fill the rosemary bushes.

this will be our third spring in this house. we're still doing major yard and house wrangling, but i'm excited to see what's in store and what shape the garden will take as the days get longer.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

chocolate raspberry cupcakes

In the midst of a few really full days (preaching, ministerial installation, officiating a wedding, flying to phoenix for meetings) Valentine's Day rolled around. Even though Adrian is almost 17 (!!!) I wanted to do something a little special for us to enjoy together.

Kim over at C'est La Vegan totally inspired me with her absolutely beautiful photographs of her chocolate raspberry cake.

My cupcakes are a simpler version of her cake. The recipe for the cupcake is from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World (possibly most adorable little cookbook in the world), the chocolate agave flavor. For the raspberry buttercream frosting, I took the buttercream frosting from the same cookbook, added fresh raspberries and didn't add the soymilk. The frosting piped out really easily and held its form. Raspberry sugar sprinkles top the "fairy cakes," as I'm told cupcakes are called in Ireland.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

favorite banana nut chocolate chip muffins

last week it was cold (for us in LA), and one afternoon we decided we needed a tasty warm-up. banana nut chocolate chip muffins were exactly what we needed!

these muffins were one of the first things i learned to bake when i became vegan. i love these because they are easy, and there is no added refined sugar (except for whatever is in the vegan chocolate chips).

3-4 bananas, mashed
5 dates, chopped
.5 cup canola oil (or other neutral tasting oil - or be crazy and use applesauce)
1.5 cups all purpose unbleached flour
.5 cup wheat germ
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
.5 cup vegan chocolate chips
.5 cup pecans

pre-heat oven to 350. 
mix oil, dates, bananas. mix dry ingredients. stir everything together, adding the chocolate chips and nuts. 
scoop into a muffin tin, and bake until they are golden brown on top, 20-25 minutes.