Last day of Vegan Mofo 2014, I’m sad! Here are some too-good baked goods-Chamomile Lavender Cupcakes

Ugh, I’m so sad Vegan MoFo is over. This was a great month for me and my blog. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to pull it off, as I started a new college program at the same time. I did it though! And my blog got featured on the Vegan MoFo Roundup, mid way through. I had met all the success markers I had set for myself in participating in this, including over 500 views. I actually doubled that amount! This was my most successful month of blogging to date, which is not surprising as MoFo provides a lot of the ability to be successful by participating in it. The trick is to a stress-free MoFo while being quite busy, I found, is to plan it out early. I made a calendar of recipes in advance, tested them, photographed them and did not stray too much from that!

I met and interacted with a lot of great bloggers that I haven’t been able to before, which was really nice. I have a bunch of new vegan blogs to follow now full of awesome people!

I have a lot of exciting things planned in the coming month as well, so don’t stop checking out my blog! Tonight I am going to be testing out a recipe for spinach raviolis with butternut squash and sage filling which I hope to post soon. I may even be doing a cooking demo for them in RI. October is my Birthday month, and I have a birthday cake waffle recipe I’ll be sharing soon! There will be other posts too that relate to my vegan education project for new vegans or people interested in becoming vegan, in which I’ll be addressing common concerns and how to deal with them. If you have any suggestions for things you’d like to see me cover, be sure to comment here or in the future.

Now, without further ado, let’s get the final Vegan MoFo recipe for Chamomile Lavender Cupcakes out!

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Makes a dozen regular sized cupcakes.

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 3/4 cup vegan sugar
  • 1 tea bag worth of chamomile tea opened up, contents removed
  • 1 tbsp dried culinary lavender
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted not solid
  • 1 cup unflavored (plain) almond milk
  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the icing:

  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp and a few drops coconut creamer
  • a couple drops of lavender extract (optional)
  • vegan red and blue food coloring to make a lavender hue (optional)

Decoration (optional):

  • Dried Chamomile flowers

Directions for the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake tin with twelve cupcake liners.
  2. In a food processor, blend the sugar, chamomile tea and lavender until ground well and very fragrant. Be careful upon opening the food processor, as there will be powder coming out…don’t inhale!
  3. Melt the coconut oil.
  4. Whisk the sugar and herb mix, almond milk, and coconut oil in a medium large size mixing bowl.
  5. Mix in the baking soda and powder.
  6. Incorporate the flour in.
  7. Add vanilla extract and stir until everything is mostly smooth. The batter will be a bit clumpy with the coconut oil and that’s okay.
  8. Place about 2 tbsp of the batter in each muffin tin.
  9. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the cupcake.
  10. Wait 5 minutes and then place on cooling racks. Allow to cool completely before decorating with the icing.

Directions for the icing:

  1. With a small whisk, mix up the coconut oil and powdered sugar in a small bowl until large crumbs form.
  2. Add the coconut creamer and whisk until smooth.
  3. Add the optional extract and food coloring and mix until satisfied.

For assembly:

  1. Use a frosting spatula and place a thin layer of the icing on each cupcake.
  2. Decorate with dried chamomile flowers.

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Bye, Vegan Month of Food 2014! See you next year in 2015! I already cannot wait!

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Vegan Mofo Day 29: Meaty Meatless Mondays: Seitan overview and recipe links

Seitan–what is it even? Simply put, it is a meat-like vegan substance typically made from vital wheat gluten. It can be used in place of almost any meat depending on how you flavor it.

Unfortunately, as you might have guessed, it is not gluten free which makes it difficult for vegans who are also gluten free to enjoy. However, upon making some mochi the other day, I think I may be able to figure out how to make some gluten free seitan eventually, so keep an eye out for when I do!

I think seitan dishes may be the theme of next year’s vegan mofo, but don’t quote me on that yet. I started a zine about it, but I am not sure if I plan on finishing it any time soon. We shall see; I’ll keep you posted.

Here are some of my recipes from the past that have used seitan in them:

French Toast, Seitan Ham and Homemade Cheese Sandwich

Ham Seitan itself

Quinoa Jambalaya with Shrimp Seitan

“Shrimp” Bao

Additionally, this past week I made some bacun seitan from this recipe and made BLTs with it as evidenced here:

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If you’re looking for a good cookbook that features a lot of good sandwich friendly seitan recipes, I suggest you check out Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day! It has recipes for chick’n patties that several of the recipes do different, beef style seitan, deli meat style, etc that all have tons of uses for in their many delicious sandwich recipes. It is one of my favorite cookbooks. I love sandwiches.

Vegan MoFo Day 28: Sunday Brunch: Pretzel Bread Chia Pudding and Date Caramel Casserole

So I already posted this, but I’ll post it again in case you missed it because it’s relevant. I’ve been making food to share with my classmates at my college program as a part of my project I’m working on. Recently, they wrote about me in their “student snapshots” and actually took pictures of me unveiling this dish I’m about to post the recipe to now. It was a big hit. Take a look.

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This is the type of brunch dish that is so good it amazes people. It’s also the type of dish where when you eat it you are gasping a bit. I literally said “Omm nom” when I first tried it, I think. It was so good that no one who wasn’t vegan even cared that it was vegan. I’m sorry for bragging, but honestly I was actually a bit shocked at first at how good this thing I invented came out.

It has a lot going on, but trust me, it’s so good.

It’s a bit of a pain if you need to make the pretzels just to make this dish, but if you want pretzels too, then it’s a great decision. Just reserve at least 2 days before you plan on having this.

My family has a tradition for certain holidays to make the most luxurious, elaborate, and fancy brunch recipes for certain holidays like Christmas morning and such, and this is definitely already on the menu for that!

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Ingredients:

  • 4 homemade pretzels from my recipe here
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup evaporated cane juice
  • 2 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 batch caramel date sauce (recipe from the pretzel recipe here)
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance, melted

Directions:

  1. Break up pretzels into small chunks and place in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Pour almond milk over this mixture and coat well. Let sit in the fridge overnight.
  3. The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. In a medium sized bowl, mix the chia seeds, arrowroot, water, sugars, vanilla, and spices together.
  5. Place the pretzel mixture into a casserole dish, and fold in the mixture you just prepared in the medium bowl.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes.
  7. Take out of the oven and drizzle both the date caramel and melted margarine over the bread pudding.
  8. Dig in!

Vegan Mofo Day 27: Soup, Sandwich, and Salad Saturday: Salad tips

So far this Saturday theme has been all about soups and sandwiches, like my recipe for Jackfruit Chicken Noodle Soup, California Club Sandwich with Nori Bac’non, and Easy Creamy Tomato Soup with Basil Grilled Cheese. Today, I’m going to finally address some salads.

I have been trying to eat a salad almost daily for a meal for over a year now. At first, I figured I’d just put as many vegetables as I could possibly chop and cram into a large bowl with not much else, but there was so much chewing involved that I ended up eating it for over an hour. That wasn’t too fun.

Eventually I started getting the hang of it. To make a good meal salad, you typically need more than veggies. Although protein isn’t as big a deal as people make it out to be, we still need a minimum amount each day at least. That can be hard if you eat one meal a day without any substantial source of it.

For a long time I was obsessed with Boca Chick’n patties on my salads. I’d cook them in the oven, cut them up and toss them in. Nowadays, not so much. They’re a bit expensive and I’m not really a fan of them for other reasons as well. Sometimes I will get them as a treat, though or if they’re on sale.

Here’s a few salads I have made in the past:

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This is I believe the Thanksgiving salad I had blogged about awhile back.

IMG_1348Here is the Burrito Explosion salad, also made awhile back.

Anyways, I think I’ve developed a bit of a formula for the perfect meal salad. It requires a delicate balance of textures and ingredients.

I’ve composed a little menu of different types of ingredients and things you can choose from to create the perfect salad. Each heading has the explanation of how many you should include…

The Base (2-3 cups)-Greens of some type:

  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Mixed spring greens
  • Kale
  • Cabbage

(You get the idea, you can mix say, 1 cup of spinach with 2 cups of romaine, or any other combination you desire here)

The Protein- Usually soft (1-2 servings):

  • Some type of your favorite veggie burger, chopped up
  • Beans of any type
  • Edamame
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Seitan
  • Marinated and grilled tofu (or even plain tofu)
  • Tempeh
  • Tofurky slices
  • Gardein Products
  • Any other meat substitutes, like Beyond Meat

The crunchy element (1-3 things):

  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Carrot rounds
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Croutons
  • Crunchy Tortillas
  • Potato chips (yes, I’ve done this!)
  • Crispy fried vegetables like onions (or I like these crispy fried red pepper strips that I get in the salad supplies in the grocery store)
  • Wontons or crispy lo mein noodles
  • Water chestnuts
  • Pickles

Other optional additions:

  • Baby corn
  • Regular corn
  • Tomatoes
  • Roasted butternut squash
  • Pumpkin
  • Dried Cranberries, raisins, or other dried fruit, like goji berries or whatever
  • Red onion
  • Olives
  • Beets
  • Fresh Salsa
  • Vegan Cottage Cheese (my recipe can be found here)
  • Basically anything you desire and think up!

The Smooth (dressing):

I try to base the dressing I select on the rest of the ingredients I have used. If it has a certain area of the world associated with the flavors, I will try to honor that. For example, maybe a salad with spinach and napa cabbage, tofu, sesame seeds, water chestnuts, wontons, and baby corn with have an Asian Ginger Sesame dressing. Or a salad with romaine, black beans, tortillas, carrots, red onion, and salsa will have a spicy South American style dressing, maybe by combining salsa with vegan sour cream and some hot sauce, even.

Avocados are also a great thing to add if you don’t want to add dressing, or if you want to make a dressing with them!

Here’s a good big list of no oil dressings you can make yourself that are easy and I’ve tried many of them. I really liked E2 Basics recipe for a long time…

I also wanted to share two of my favorite salads I have made through other vegan blogs that seem to fit my expectations:

Donut Salad from Bake And Destroy

Aloha Salad from Healthy Happy Life

There ya go! What are some of your favorite salad ingredients? Tell me in the comments.

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Vegan Mofo 2014: Pizza day! (Day 26) Walnut Meat Cheeseburger Pizza!

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I think this is one of the prettiest pizzas I’ve ever made. So many colors and it was amazingly tangy, cheesy, crunchy and meaty all in one bite! The crust is the same pretzel crust that I made on this pizza too, because I realized it’s my favorite pizza crust now whether it’s pretzel dough or not.

Oh man, I made this awhile ago and now I want it again. My mouth is watering thinking of it, but I am also feeling a bit lazy today, so that’s not going to happen.

😦

Ingredients:

One batch pretzel pizza crust dough (recipe here)

1 batch of the walnut meat (recipe here)

Sauce:

1/2 cup canned tomato sauce

  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp ume plum vinegar (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp yellow mustard

Other fixings:

  • 1 dill pickle, sliced into thin circles
  • 3/4 cup daiya cheddar cheese shreds
  • 1/2 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 1/2 cup shredded red cabbage

Directions:

  1. After making the batch of walnut meat, turn the oven up to 450 degrees F.
  2. Roll out the dough into a large circle and place on a pizza pan.
  3. Combine the sauce ingredients and spread across the crust.
  4. Sprinkle the walnut meat all over.
  5. Place pickle circles around the pizza.
  6. Sprinkle 1/2 cup daiya cheddar on top, then sprinkle the lettuce and cabbage, and top with another 1/4 cup of daiya.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes.

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Vegan MoFo Day 25: Easy Green Tea Smoothie and Latte Recipes for a Busy Day

Today I’m headed into Boston for a research study. I woke up earlier than I’d like to admit, fit in a run that ended up being pretty crappy, and now I’m trying to rush to get other stuff done before I have to leave for the train. However, I get to also go to Veggie Galaxy with a friend tonight!

Back in my pre-vegan days, there was this Asian Market I loved exploring when I lived in Boston. I once bought a huge green tea latte milk tea mix that tasted slightly like melon, it was amazing.

To try and recreate that taste, I have made this green tea smoothie (I wish it looked more green!).

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It’s pretty simple actually.

1 1/2 cups almond coconut milk

1 cup watermelon (I froze a bunch of it in cup-sized portions this Summer to use later in the year)

1 banana

Vanilla Protein Powder

1 tbsp green tea powder (matcha)

You just blend these ingredients together to make the smoothie.

I also have really been enjoying an even simpler recipe for a hot green tea latte.

You simmer 1 cup almond coconut milk and 1 tbsp green tea (matcha powder) until boiling, and then I like to add some liquid stevia extract in to that. Mmm. And great because I refuse to drink coffee but haven’t given up caffeine entirely.

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Vegan Mofo day 24: Worldly Wednesday: Walnut Meat, tofu ricotta, and pesto lasagna

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Hello everyone! I’m very excited today because I just got put up on my college program’s website about the work I’m doing. They interviewed me and I talked about my blog and my future plans of incorporating a vegan project into my education plan.

You can view that article here!

Anyways, on to the food!

This lasagna is quite rich with the walnut meat, and has tons of protein due to the tofu ricotta, and a healthy dose of greens due to the pesto (with basil and parsley!).

This walnut meat here is very similar to my earlier recipe but changed slightly to change the flavor from a hamburger style to a more italian style. The tofu ricotta is also quite similar to the one for the pizza recipe I posted earlier on Sept. 12, but I changed it again because there is a separate basil factor with the pesto, so extra basil in the ricotta was not necessary.

Here is the recipe:

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Ingredients:

For the walnut meat:

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 portobello cap
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes in juice, no salt added, canned
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the pesto:

  • 2 cups basil, packed
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley, not packed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the ricotta:

  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 1 tsp salt free italian seasoning blend
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 3 tbsp water

Other necessary ingredients:

  • 1 & 2/3 cup Tomato sauce, either homemade (your favorite recipe) or store bought (I love Victoria brand marinara)
  • no-boil vegan lasagna noodles
  • 1/3 cup Daiya brand vegan mozzarella style cheese, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare the walnut meat. Place walnuts, onion, garlic and portobello into a food processor and blend until everything melds together but remains chunky.
  3. Place this mushy walnut meat into a bowl, and fold in the remaining ingredients.
  4. On a parchment lined baking sheet, pat down the “meat” into a thin layer with a spatula.
  5. Bake 15 minutes. Take out of the oven and with a spatula, scrape up the “meat” and flip it.
  6. Bake for 15 more minutes and set aside.
  7. Prepare the pesto. First place the basil, parsley, and garlic and chop in the food processor until finely ground.
  8. Add the pine nuts and olive oil into the mix, and blend. You will need to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula to ensure that everything gets properly mixed together and to get a good consistency. Set aside, in a bowl, but leave some of the remnants of the pesto in the food processor for the next step.
  9. Make the ricotta by adding all the ingredients into the food processor and blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides with the rubber spatular once or twice to get everything together.
  10. Grease a 9 x 13” pan with cooking spray.
  11. Lay out three dry lasagna noodles (or more if you could not find the no-boil type after boiling them, of course) on the bottom of the pan.
  12. Spread 2/3 cup of the sauce on top.
  13. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta and pesto on top.
  14. Crumble and sprinkle 1/2 the batch of the walnut meat on top with your hands.
  15. Place another layer of dry lasagna noodles on top and repeat steps 12-14.
  16. Place the final layer of noodles on top, and add just 1/3 cup of the sauce and the remainder of the pesto and ricotta (with the ricotta on the top layer!)
  17. Sprinkle 1/3 cup daiya mozzarella on top.
  18. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes.
  19. Let sit 10 minutes after taking out of the oven, and enjoy.

photo 1 (4)The pesto

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The ricotta

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The first layer of the lasagna

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Buon Appetito!

Vegan MoFo Day 23: Too Good Baked Goods Tuesdays: Soft Baked Pretzel with Date Caramel Dipping Sauce

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I love these pretzels so much. The date caramel sauce makes them even tastier. The best part is though, that once you make a batch of these, if you set aside four of them, you will be able to make the most amazing bread pudding casserole when I post the recipe for the next Sunday Brunch post. I can hardly contain myself.

If this recipe makes too many for you (it can make 14-20 pretzels) you can halve it or make the whole thing, bake them, and then freeze some of them to eat later.

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I’m starting to get sad that Vegan MoFo 2014 is almost over! I’ve met so many awesome people from different blogs and my blog has been doing really well. Boo 😦 But I’ll save my sorrows for now, since there is still a full week left! Gotta give thanks where it is due!

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Pretzel Ingredients:

  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (2 packages)
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons baking soda
  • 4 -6 tablespoons Earth Balance(melted)
  • to taste coarse salt (optional)

Caramel sauce ingredients:

  • 8 medjool dates, with pits removed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup original flavor coconut creamer
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp coconut palm sugar

Directions for pretzels:

  1. Mix yeast with lukewarm water in large mixing bowl until the yeast is dissolved.
  2. Add to the yeast mixture the sugar and salt and stir until dissolved; add flours and stir with a spoon until combined or mix in a standing mixer with the dough hook attached.
  3. Knead dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. 
  4. Let rise in the bowl with a towel covering it for 30 minutes.
  5. Around the time the dough is about to be ready, prepare a baking soda water bath with 4 cups warm water and 4 tbsp baking soda in another bowl. Stir this mixture often until ready to use (once you form the dough into pretzel shapes they will be dipped into this and baked).
  6. When the dough has risen, break dough into 14 even sized small balls, and then roll each ball into a snake/coil shape. There is an art to this that I have discovered. First, you knead the ball of dough and roll it around in your hand to soften it. Then you start to roll into a coil between the palm of your hands, focusing on the ends. Then you stretch it out by pulling it to elongate it, and roll it out more with the palm of one hand on a flat surface.
  7. Shape into pretzels…it’s pretty easy to figure it out, but you lay the coil down horizontally and curl the two ends in the middle so that they overlap.
  8. Dip the pretzels into the baking soda solution and place on a greased baking sheet (you will need at least two).
  9. Cover the baking sheets with a towel and allow pretzels to rise again 30 minutes. This is a good time to preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  10. Bake for about 10 minutes.
  11. Upon taking out of the oven, immediately brush with melted earth balance.
  12. Sprinkle with salt if desired, immediately after applying the earth balance. Allow to cool completely before eating.

For the date caramel sauce:

  1. Place dates in a small bowl and cover with the water. Let sit at least one hour.
  2. Blend all ingredients in a blender until it is as smooth as you can get it.
  3. You can heat this up on a stovetop before serving if you want, but it isn’t actually all that necessary.

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This post was brought to you by Vegan MoFo 2014, and the letter ‘P’

Vegan MoFo 2014: Meaty Meatless Monday: Walnut Burger Meat Crumbles

This recipe is fairly basic and can be seasoned according to your needs. I will use it later on this Wednesday in a lasagna recipe, and on Friday in an amazing pizza recipe.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 portobello cap, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes in juice, canned, no salt added
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place walnuts, onions, portobello, and garlic in a food processor.
  3. Pulse until ground and soft but not totally smooth—keeping it still gritty.
  4. Place into a large bowl, add the rest of the ingredients, and combine well.
  5. Place on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper in a single layer.
  6. Bake for a total of 30 minutes. After 15 minutes, take a spatula to flip as best as you can. It’ll be crumbly, just try to get the parts that were touching the pan to face up as much as possible. Continue to bake for the remaining 15 minutes.
  7. When done, use in place of recipes that call for hamburger meat, or mix with a marinara sauce and serve over pasta,

Enjoy!! I really like this recipe, it’s so versatile and delicious!

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Vegan MoFo 2014: Sunday Brunch: Bagel Casserole

During Girls Rock Camp this Summer, we had an influx of day old bagels being donated to us daily.It was awesome and fed a lot of hungry campers and volunteers. However, I ended up with most of the leftover, slightly stale bagels that we had cut in half for ease of serving. What was I to do with all these? Well, considering I was already thinking about recipes for Vegan MoFo (in the very early stages, however) I thought: VEGAN BAGEL BREAKFAST CASSEROLE!

And so, this beauty was born.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 large somewhat stale everything bagels, cut in half and then into chunks
  • Oil cooking spray
  • Vegan chive and garlic (or onion) cream cheese (I used Go Veggie vegan brand by Galaxy Foods, Daiya makes one too)-the whole container
  • 3 daiya cheddar slices, broken into bits
  • 1 block firm tofu
  • 1 cup unsweetened hemp milk
  • 1/4 tsp (or less) Indian Black Salt (the kind that smells like eggs)—this is somewhat optional to your preferences and availability of this ingredient
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Heaping 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt, to taste (I used none)

Directions:

  1. Spray a 13”x9” casserole dish with cooking oil spray
  2. Place bagel chunks into the dish, and spray the oil again over the bagels
  3. Take a butter knife and place chunks of the chive cream cheese around the bagel chunks
  4. Do the same with the pieces of Daiya cheddar slice bits (refer to picture)
  5. Drain and break up the tofu into a food processor, and add the hemp milk, blending until smooth
  6. Add the remaining ingredients into the processor and blend until combined
  7. Pour this mixture over the casserole you have assembled so far (picture)
  8. Cover with foil and place in the refrigerator over night.
  9. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, place in the oven for 45 minutes, uncover, and heat for another 5 minutes.
  10. Voila! Dig in!

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Reference picture for step #4

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Reference step 7

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A photo of the finished product!

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