Vegan MoFo 2017 Day 15: Behind the Scenes: Rainbow frosting tips

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This is the final day of the second week of Vegan MoFo, where the theme is “behind the scenes.” So far this week, we’ve talked about picking the best unicorn cookie cutters, vegan sprinkles, given you a behind the scenes aquafaba video on Instagram, shared a pitch for the cookbook I am writing, and a look at a rainbow layered unicorn cake.

Today is all about frosting, unicorns practically subsist on the stuff!

Our favorite frostings tend to be like buttercream but veganized to exclude real butter or even palm-laden margarine and vegetable shortening by using solid coconut oil instead. I’ve sort of perfected the recipe, but want to wait a bit to share it.

Today I’ll talk about how to get a real rainbowy look out of whatever vegan frosting you most prefer.

You can use any type of colorant you want, but I’m partial to beet powder for red (or using a fruity powder too, such as freeze-dried strawberry or raspberry powder), turmeric for yellow, matcha for green (tastes way better than spirulina in a frosting, trust me!), butterfly pea tea powder for blue, and either acai or a mix of a red and blue powder for purple.

I have found it easiest to get results like what was pictured above with only 3 colors of the rainbow rather than them all. The reason for this is actually, that if you mix all of the colors of the rainbow together, you get a muddy, ugly, poopy brown. And not the beautiful colored poop of a unicorn, either.

The easiest way to swirl the three colors together is to use a pastry bag with a frosting tip attached (these things always confuse me, so read the directions if you don’t know how to properly set this up). Mix in the colors into frosting placed in three separate bowls or however you want to do it, just keep it separated somehow. Then take a rubber spatula, and spread a big glob of frosting down one side of the bag. Then take the other color, and place a globby stripe of frosting down the next side. Repeat until the bag is filled up with all the colors. They should touch each other and extend down towards the frosting tip.

Then, squeeze out the frosting to the desired amount you like on your cupcakes, using the picture I posted as a guide, or not. They may not all look the same depending on how you layered the frosting colors in the bag. I think it’s more magical when each one looks unique.

They also sell a kit at craft stores from Wilton which is designed to help you make rainbow-swirled frosting more “easily” but I found it more of a pain to use than this option.

Enjoy and have fun!

 

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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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Savory Veganloaf Cupcakes

Okay, so I remember meatloaf cupcakes being a trend a few years ago or so, but I did not have a vegan food blog back then. Now that I do, this has been on my mental to-do recipe list for awhile, and I finally did it.

These are definitely to be filed under the kid-friendly category. It kind of made me feel like a kid again! For another vegan kid friendly recipe, see here.

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The cupcakes feature lots of healthy ingredients like carrots and onions, pinto beans, raisins, quinoa, and pinto beans, among other things. To top it off, there is a mashed potato “frosting” with nutritional yeast and garlic powder. I added some ketchup on top instead of a cherry, and vegan bac’uns as sprinkles.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

For the cupcake loaves:

  • Gimme lean ground beef style or other vegan ground faux meat of choice, 14 oz
  • 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp plain almond milk
  • 2 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (Annie’s Organics makes a good vegan version, check your labels because this often contains non vegan ingredients…or you can use a vegan steak sauce if that is easier to find)
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp flaxmeal, 6 tbsp water whisked together and let to sit for about 5 minutes)
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 1 cup grated carrots

For the mashed potato “frosting”:

  • 6 medium white potatoes
  • 4 tbsp (1/4 cup) Earth Balance
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk or other vegan milk of choice
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

For the cupcake loaves:

  1. Cook quinoa before preparing the cupcake loaves. When it’s cooked, let sit to cool while you prepare the rest.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. In a food processor, put the gimme lean faux beef, pinto beans, raisins, chopped onions, almond milk, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, mustard, oregano, and salt in pepper and pulse until as combined as possible. If your food processor is like mine, you’ll need a rubber spatula to push it around to get it mixed together well and scraped down the sides.
  4. Add the flax eggs to the mix and pulse until combined.
  5. Transfer this mixture into a large bowl.
  6. Add quinoa and carrots, fold in with a spoon or rubber spatula until dispersed throughout.
  7. Spray cupcake tray with oil and place about 1/2 cup of this loaf mixture into each cup.
  8. Heat in oven for about 15 minutes until lightly browned. While cooking, prepare the mashed potato “frosting.”

For the mashed potato “frosting”:

  1. Peel and chop the potatoes.
  2. I steamed the potatoes in a steamer pot, but you could also boil them. I just put water in the bottom pot and the potatoes in the basket, kept on high heat at first and eventually turned down to medium. It took about 20 minutes for them to be ready to be mashed. You know when a fork can easily go through them and they are soft.
  3. Pour the water out of the bottom of the steamer pot, and place the potatoes into it.
  4. Add Earth Balance, Almond milk, nutritional yeast, salt, and garlic powder, and mash.

To assemble:

I wanted to pipe the mashed potatoes onto the cupcakes but I was too impatient to wait for the mashed potatoes to cool enough so I could stick it in a large ziploc bag, snip the corner, and make it look pretty with piping it like real cupcakes. So, I just scooped some on with a spoon, and put some ketchup on top, with a little bit of vegan bac’un sprinkled on top–those are definitely recommended if you can find them because they added a really great crunch factor to the dish. These are quite healthy, eat more than one! Probably best to eat with a fork, unfortunately, though…

My own version of raw vegan pad thai!

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My friend Kian invited me over last night, and we made a really yummy recipe up together! Whenever I have tried to cook pre-created recipes with friends or other people, I have had a challenge doing so for some reason. But this time not following a specific recipe worked really well, and Kian and I made a really good team! Lucky for you all (my blog readers!) I did write what we did down so you can make it too!

Thank you Kian (if you are reading this!) for helping me figure out this delicious dish, and for making the (un)cooking extra fun with awesome conversation!

First of all, to make this recipe work well, you will either need a spiralizer, or some kind of a spiral cutter. I recently got this device from amazon, and that is what we used. It took a few tries to figure out exactly since it does not come with directions. Basically, you just push it into the middle and spin it around. It’s kind of like a veggie pencil sharpener!

Okay, so here is the recipe:

Laura and Kian’s Raw Vegan Pad Thai!

Serves 8-10, would be the perfect size for a picnic, potluck, or party too if you eat smaller portions

 Ingredients: 

  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • about 5 large zucchinis (we actually used ten mini ones) spiralized into a thick spaghetti type shape, but it’s okay if some pieces aren’t very long. We even used the parts that we could not get to spiral and just chopped them up into rounds to add some different textures in
  • 3 medium sized carrots
  • Mung bean sprouts (we used a large bag, probably about 4 cups, adjust to your liking/desired level of crunchy-ness!)
  • 1 bunch chopped scallions
  • 14 tbsp raw cashew butter (I made my own…I would say you could process 2 cups raw cashews  into a powder, then add 2 tbsp oil and some water as needed until it becomes pasty…or use store bought)
  • 8 tbsp coconut milk
  • Juice of one lime
  • 4 to 5 (or to your liking) tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ginger (grated into a pulp)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic (or less to your liking, it gets very strong when it’s raw)
  • about 1/3-1/2 cup chopped raw cashews (to place on top as garnish)1 bunch (or less)
  • Chopped cilantro (optional-I just put a tbsp of it on top after I served myself)

Directions:

  1. Chop the red peppers, spiralize the zucchini into noodle shapes, spiralize or peel the carrots in strips with a peeler, chop the scallions. Place in a large serving bowl, add the mung bean sprouts, and toss together.
  2. Now to make the sauce. In a medium bowl, place the cashew butter into it. Add the coconut milk, lime juice, and water. Whisk or stir with a spoon until combined. Add more water, a tbsp at a time, if necessary to reach your desired consistency (it’s really good thick, though! plus the veggies have water in them!)
  3. Mix in the garlic, ginger, and curry powder into the sauce.
  4. Mix the sauce into the veggies, making sure every part of it is coated.
  5. Add the cilantro if desired.
  6. Place the chopped cashews on top!
  7. Eat!

My own vegan brownie recipe!

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i have been very picky with vegan brownie recipes. Honestly, I haven’t found a good enough recipe and I’ve tried a lot. So, I decided to take the plunge and create my own. I really had no idea how it would turn out and got so nervous…I decided to try making plain brownies before I try to make them fancier for a secret recipe I’m currently working on for an Earth Balance baking contest. I decided once I made these that they’ll do the trick for that purpose, and wanted to share the recipe now for just the brownies, because I think they did come out pretty good for vegan brownies. My mom has a family recipe she uses that aren’t vegan, and I looked at that to get some ideas, but her recipe has way too many eggs to be able to veganize, as well as way too much margarine for my liking.

So here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup vegan white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp flaxmeal
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp, or 1/2 cup equivalent) earth balance margarine, melted
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup non-dairy milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix dry ingredients (except flaxmeal) in a bowl together.
  3. Make 2 flaxmeal “eggs” by whisking the 2 tbsp flaxmeal and 6 tbsp water together. Let sit until thick.
  4. Mix flaxmeal “eggs” and the rest of the wet ingredients into the dry. It should have a runny yet thick consistency.
  5. Place in a baking dish sprayed with oil.
  6. Bake brownies for 20-30 minutes. I recommend after 20 minutes starting to check with a toothpick inserted into the middle until it comes out clear every five minutes and adjusting the time if it seems it will be done in less than 5. I find that ovens can vary drastically from oven to oven, so I want to make sure it works for you and say this! 🙂
  7. Take out of the oven when done. Let sit until cooled most of the way or fully, and slice, and enjoy!