Vegan MoFo 2017 Day 14: Behind the Scenes: Cake Test

Fluffy here-

For this week, the theme is behind the scenes. Today, we give you a behind the scenes look at Laura’s test run of her birthday cake, as she has a birthday coming up at the end of October. However, since we’re now starting to get overwhelmed by so much cake and desserts we’ve been prepping in advance for MoFo, I think Laura has sadly decided to not make her own birthday cake on her actual birthday. She also felt a little disappointed in the way the outside of cake looked, and I’m trying to work my magic to help her feel better.

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Cake decorating is not, as the saying goes “a piece of cake.” It’s actually pretty challenging! Laura’s goal was to make a cake that could show it’s easier than it looks, but now she’s not so sure since she struggled so much with it. These are important lessons for her to go through though, as it makes her stronger and helps her solve problems.

She had a great idea to make the unicorn’s hair out of cotton candy. The cotton candy is moldable and an edible version of fuzzy, fluffy hair!

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She did use something that made making the five rainbow layers much easier. You can find them being sold lots of places now. They come as a set of 5 smaller cake pans for layer cakes. You only need one batch of cake (or a cake mix) to fill them all up.

She also made the decision to make an exception for using unnatural food colors this time. We wish natural colors were as vibrant and easy as these ones were. Sometimes you may want to give in and take the easier route,  and as long as it’s still vegan, you’ll be okay.

unicorn cake 3 of 5The inside of the cake sure is a beauty! Tommorrow we’ll be sharing some of our best tips for making rainbow frosting effects.

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Vegan MoFo 2017 Day 13: Sell Yourself (your book)

Hi, it’s Laura.

I did not post here yesterday, as I posted a video on my Instagram account instead. If you missed it, check me out there at @bananacurlvegangirl

Today I’m sticking with the daily prompt. Sell yourself. And since everything I’ve done so far is about the book I’m writing featuring Fluffy the Vegan Unicorn for my thesis project for my master’s degree in Humane Education, I figured I’d write a bit of a pitch of the idea and where I hope to go with it beyond publishing it in my school’s thesis database or whatever.

I am actually planning on sending it to vegan-friendly publishing companies after I have a manuscript so that everyone can access it. I have no idea how that would go, but if I am rejected by everyone, then I may look into self-publishing, although that seems really hard and expensive for me right now. I’d rather turn it into a zine if formal publishing does not work out. Please send positive vibes for me that someone will want to take it on to publish!

This book is designed to bring humane education to the masses in a wholly positive, compassionate, and loving way. It will make learning about hidden cruelties that affect humans, animals, and the earth in food and craft supplies less overwhelming because alternatives and resourced to avoid products free of the suffering will be recommended at every point and Fluffy’s voice will be comforting and pleasant. Fluffy also brings their sense of pizzaz and humor to each recipe, so that it makes reading them a bit more magical.

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It is designed to appeal “grownups and not-so-grownups who never stopped believing in magic.” Really, it’s for everyone, with special attention to kids and their parents. The cookbook portion will go beyond recipes for rainbow tinted cakes and desserts. There will be savory dishes, unicorn-inspired lunch box bento ideas, and more! However, the concept of the book is more than just cooking fun food once in awhile. There is an emphasis on planning a party. So, there is also a chapter on craft projects that are fun to make for presents, decorations, party activities, goodie bags, and beyond. Then everything is tied together to culminate in the epic unicorn party! There are suggestions on unicorn themed books, movies, products, etc. too that I love as well.

While I am trying to maintain a good balance between secrecy and sharing so I don’t spoil all the surprises awaiting you in the book, I do want to share a few of the recipes I’ve created so far that I am most proud of:

An amazing white cake that can be colored any color of the rainbow

All natural food coloring dye

Unicorn Poop Sugar Cookies

Rainbow Cloud Cupcakes

Energy Bars

Dessert pizza

Parfaits

& more (plus others in progress)

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing a behind the scenes look at the test run of my birthday cake (for the end of October).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan MoFo 2017 Day 11: Talkin’ ’bout sprinkles!

Did you know unicorns get clean by bathing in bathtubs full of vegan sprinkles? Must be nice, huh?

Sprinkles are an important element in making unicorn-worthy desserts. They make everything so pretty, crunchy, and colorful. What makes most sprinkles not vegan? Confectioner’s glaze, which is made of insects. Usually, if you’re looking for non-specified vegan sprinkles (as in their not labeled as such),

What makes most sprinkles not vegan? Confectioner’s glaze, which is made of insects. Usually, if you’re looking for non-specified vegan sprinkles (as in they’re not labeled as such), you will find carnauba wax instead.

However, those mindful of environmental, health, and animal testing issues should note that most vegan sprinkles are still problematic in different ways. For example, carnauba wax is made of palm and artificial colors are tested on animals and harmful to our health (especially for children). If you want to fully avoid these concerns (I tend to lapse my ethics when it comes to sprinkles because they’re usually used in small amounts and I don’t have kids which I’d be more concerned if they were eating them too). However, I plan to try to look for more vegan sprinkles once I use up my current stash that uses natural coloring instead.

For example, Let’s Do…Organic makes non-pareil “sprinkelz” but their color retention is really poor. A promising company that makes vegan dye-free sprinkles is the seller NakedSprinkles on Etsy. I have yet to try them, but I am going to try them very soon.

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So, now that I’ve shared the dye free sprinkle options, here are some options if you aren’t as concerned about that. As I said earlier in the post, you can read the ingredients in any sprinkle bottle you may encounter out in the world, and if it’s free of confectioner’s glaze or other non-vegan ingredients, they’re vegan! I’ve had good luck at places like Home Goods, Marshall’s, and TJ Maxx finding vegan colored sugars and such.

My favorite source for awesome vegan sprinkles, however, is Sweetapolita. They make regular and vegan kinds of sprinkles, so make sure to verify before you put them in your cart that they really are the vegan kind. They sell a pretty sweet vegan sampler which is a variety of their most popular vegan sprinkles.

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Here is most of my collection of Sweetapolita sprinkles. My favorites are the ones with the stars.

Now I can take a bath in my sprinkles while you sprinkle them over all your baked goods! ❤

Remember to follow us on Instagram @bananacurlvegangirl and @unicornseatvegan.

 

Vegan MoFo 2017 Day 10: Cookie Cutters

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Cookie cutters are an important tool for making food worthy of unicorns.

Today I will share three cookie cutters I have collected so far and the pros and cons of each.

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This one is my favorite unicorn cookie cutter because it is the most user-friendly unicorn cookie cutter I have found.  The unicorn’s horn isn’t too thin and/or long so that it will be difficult to keep intact when making cookies and the like, and it has a cute cartoony style. I bought this on Etsy, but I have seen it being sold on other sites, like Sweetapolita.com.

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This one is nice because it looks a little more detailed. However, it has thinner limbs and horn, which may make it more difficult to use when making cookies. I love the purple color. I bought this one at Michael’s craft store.

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This one is my least favorite for several reasons. One, it is plastic which I try to avoid whenever possible. However, I impulsively bought it because it also came with a rainbow cloud cookie cutter, and I liked that it was a profile of a unicorn’s head rather than the whole body. I wish though that the horn was a little more pronounced from the ears. I’ve used it and the horn isn’t prominent enough for it to be clear that it’s a unicorn and not a horse with three ears or something.

Remember my critiques of these cookie cutters when searching for your own cookie cutters. Some of the principles, such as not having super thin limbs or appendages on the design of the cutter apply to all cookie cutters of any shape or character. Also, I have found that with other types of cookie cutters, you want to make sure there are not too many pieces being cut out or leaving thin areas around the cut-out, as this often compromises the integrity of cookies. For example, I once was working with a bicycle cookie cutter that had handlebars with tiny little spaces to be cut out near the wheels. It was so frustrating to use. Maybe some objects and designs just don’t lend themselves that well to make cookies out of, but really I would hope you could make a cookie version of anything your heart desires if only you can find the right cookie cutter! ❤

Vegan MoFo 2017 Week 2, Day 9: Behind the Scenes: Unicorn Must-Haves

Hello, Fluffy the Vegan Unicorn is here!

This week’s MoFo theme is “Behind the Scenes.” This means you’ll be getting tips, tricks, tools, and must-haves, as well as some sneak peeks at the idea for the book Laura is writing with me.

Today we are looking at some of the must-haves for a magical unicorn-inspired kitchen. Some of these things we will be going into more detail later in the week. Those items will be starred.

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Here’s a photo of my “unicorn poop” sugar cookies…

Natural vegan food coloring. Whether it is the from the powders and recipes I talk about here, or storebought colors such as India Tree, Color Kitchen, or TruColor.

Cocoa Butter. This is used to make various vegan white chocolate recipes, some of which will be shared at a later date through this MoFo. I will only buy cocoa butter by brands recommended by Food Empowerment Project, or are fair trade and sourced outside Africa, since F.E.P. seems to be more about ready-to-eat chocolate rather than raw ingredients like Cocoa Butter. I do need to research this topic a bit more to be more clear on the matter.

Marshmallows. Let’s all take a moment of silence for Sweet and Sara Vegan Marshmallows getting ready to close…………..Okay. So, unfortunately, we won’t have dried rainbow-colored cereal marshmallows for much longer 😦 but we will have Dandies and Trader Joe’s vegan marshmallows. Dandies make special edition flavors sometimes which are really good and has good mini marshmallows that you can use for lots of Unicorn-friendly recipes. If you can only find the large pillowy vegan mallows near you, you can always cut them smaller for certain recipes that need mini mallows.

Vegan Sprinkles.* More on this in its own post, due Wednesday, October 11. All different kinds. And colored sanding sugar.

Unicorn shaped cookie cutters.* How else will you make unicorn shapes? More on these tomorrow.

Lots of sugar. This is self-explanatory. Make sure it’s always organic/vegan.

There’s probably a lot more I should mention, but this is a good start of the basics for now.

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan MoFo 2017 Day 8: Salad!

Hey, Fluffy here.

Though I am all for eating desserts myself, today I’m sharing a Fluffy approved salad. Actually, any salad can be Fluffy approved, with a bit of creativity.

Today Laura took a unicorn cookie cutter, two pieces of Follow Your Heart vegan cheese (the smoked Gouda is our fave), placed them side by side, and made a unicorn silhouette out of cheese!

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The salad is pretty simple. It contains all my favorite vegetables (lettuce, carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions). For the final touches, we put some leftover crispy chickpeas and Gardein chickun tenders, topped with the unicorn shaped cheese!

The dressing (not pictured) was a sweet maple mustard made with maple syrup, Just Mayo, and yellow mustard. Laura has always believed in the magic of a creamy sweet mustardy dressing.

Whew, I’m glad this week is over. All this writing has gotten me tired and a bit overwhelmed. I’m sure Laura will still be stressed with all the cooking and baking she’s about to do for the coming weeks, but hopefully, her belly will be happy with it. I know mine will be!

Stay tuned for next week’s theme, behind the scenes! We will be sharing some hot unicorn tips, must-haves, tricks, tools, kitchen magic, etc.

Vegan MoFo 2017 Day 7: Dessert!

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As the first week begins to come to a close, I, Fluffy the Vegan Unicorn want to remind you that there’s no need to shame yourself or others for indulging in vegan desserts.

In fact, I had Laura whip up this drawing so you could see a sampling of my favorite desserts and my favorite types of vegan sugar you can use in them.

And here are some more of my favorite desserts not listed on the pyramid:

Marshmallows

Chocolate

Marzipan

Cotton candy

Bubblegum

Gelatin-free gummy candy

Fudge

Frosting

Macarons

Pie

Pastry

Aquafaba meringues

Tell me, what is your favorite vegan, unicorn worthy dessert?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan MoFo 2017 Day 6: Vegan Cheese is Real (rainbowy) Cheese

Hi, it’s Fluffy the Vegan Unicorn here,

I hope you’ve enjoyed our posts up to now. I hope you realized how important some of the topics are for discussion and to be aware of as we continue towards making a better world for ourselves and animals. I know some of it can be hard to learn about and hear/read, but I feel it is very necessary to address before we can have a magic rainbow unicorn party across the land and seas.

The remainder of this week’s theme posts will be more lighthearted and less serious. Tomorrow I will go back a bit to the initial few days’ sentiments, freeing ourselves of guilt and shame over food and our bodies, and share my vegan dessert food pyramid. On Sunday I will be sharing a unicorn worthy salad, in case that’s more your speed. Unicorns like to make everyone’s different tastes happy.

Today is keeping with MoFo’s Daily theme, Vegan Cheese is Real Cheese. Just because the cheese is dairy free doesn’t make it any less real. Who is to say what cheese really is, anyways? The FDA? USDA? Some kind of patent office? I don’t know, but they fail us all the time.

Last night I inspired Laura with my magic energy to create for me a creamy vegan mac and cheese sauce made of rainbows. While the recipe will still be tweaked a bit further after this post is shared, it is at least, edible and quite a beauty.

The recipe starts by making cashew cream and boiling cauliflower and onions and blending in some other seasonings and nondairy milk. Then you separate the sauces into 5 portions and add color!

This recipe uses all natural powders such as beet for red, turmeric for yellow and orange, and butterfly pea tea powder for blue. Most of these are easy to find, except the butterfly pea tea powder. It also uses fresh spinach blended into the sauce for the green. Laura considered using spirulina but she and I don’t like the taste of it, so she opted for doing the spinach instead.

What even is butterfly pea tea powder? Butterfly pea tea powder comes from Thailand where a type of gorgeous blue flower grows. They make it into tea powder. It is caffeine free and does not have much of a taste. Laura bought it on Amazon because the other websites she found it on were out of the US and charged a lot of taxes and such. Make sure you get the powder and not the dried leaves, although I suppose if you have a good food processor or spice grinder you could make it yourself. A little ends up going a long way, so don’t worry if you see the package and think it is small.

Anyways, without further ado, may I present you my magical rainbow vegan mac and cheese:

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Ingredients:

  • 1 small head of cauliflower, chopped into pieces, stem and leaves removed
  • 1 small onion, chopped roughly
  • 1 cup raw cashews soaked in water overnight
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp potato starch
  • 1 tablespoon white miso or chickpea miso
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups unsweetened plain nondairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the red sauce:

  • 1/2 tablespoon beet powder

For the yellow/orange sauce:

  • 1/2 tablespoon turmeric powder

For the green sauce:

  • A handful of baby spinach

For the blue sauce:

  • A little less than 1/2 tablespoon butterfly pea tea powder

For the purple sauce:

  • 1 teaspoon beet powder and 1 tsp butterfly pea tea powder

 

  • 1 lb elbow pasta, gluten-free if necessary

Directions:

  1. Boil cauliflower and onion in water for 10 minutes or until soft.
  2. Blend cashews and water in a blender until smooth.
  3. When the cauliflower and onions are as soft as my unicorn mane, drain them, rinse under cold water, and add to the blender along with the cashew cream.
  4. Add all ingredients up to the nondairy milk. You may need to slowly add the milk instead of putting it all at once to prevent an ugly overflow mess in your blender. Blend until creamy and smooth.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. Now for the magic part. Separate the sauce into 5 equal portions as best as you can, leaving one portion in the blender.
  7. Blend the spinach into the sauce that’s in the blender until it becomes a light, natural shade of green.
  8. Stir in the powders to each individual portion one by one until they become vibrant and brightly beautiful.
  9. When the pasta is cooked, grease a casserole or lasagna dish and pour the pasta inside.
  10. Spread out each color of the rainbow in stripes in order of the handy acronym ROY G BIV (except we are not doing the orange and indigo). To make it easier, you may want to start by placing a stripe of the red to the far left first, and then doing the purple to the far right so you know how much space you have for the other colors in between. It would make us all sad if your rainbow was missing colors.
  11. Cook the pasta in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
  12. When serving, try to get a taste of all the colors. Just don’t swirl them too much or they become a muddy, poopy, un-unicorn ugly, gross color.
  13. Enjoy this savory rainbow of vegan cheezy goodness!

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Vegan MoFo 2017 Day 3: Body Positivity for Vegans

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Laura here: Yesterday Fluffy talked about food shaming and guilt and why it does not need to happen and how to be better at avoiding it.

This week’s MoFo topic is “Changing vegan perceptions.” Today I want to talk about another big bummer that plays into the topic of guilt and shame that I see happen within the vegan community a lot. Shaming people (or yourself) for their whole body or an aspect of it, beyond their daily food choices.

When I say the term “body shaming” let me be clear. I mean that these are negative comments directed at someone else’s (or your own) size (small or large or in between), disability, health status (such as a chronic illness, having a cold/flu or colds more frequently than others, or any other diseases, as well as general ideas about a person’s overall health, etc.), appearance, gender presentation (for instance, whether they look feminine or masculine or are non-binary), choice of aesthetics, and can go on to include even more. I think you probably know the type of comments associated with these areas, so I’ll spare you the added negativity.

But here is a personal example of body shaming from my own life and my experience in the vegan community. Several years back, I read this statement from a prominent vegan activist or media source that said, essentially, we cannot be good vegan advocates if we look unhealthy (as in fat).

I considered their rationale and took it to heart. I lost around 70 pounds. But I was obsessed with being thin to the point I was kinda miserable (I didn’t realize it right away because I was getting so much praise and attention for the way my body looked.) I was training for and ran a half marathon that I wasn’t quite ready for because I thought that was what good, successful, and most influential vegan advocates did.

Before the half marathon, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid. Shortly after I thought I had recovered from my half marathon, I tried to start Crossfit in addition to running again, and I badly injured my back. I couldn’t even stand with my spine up straight, and I was barely able to walk and in excruciating pain.

 

After almost a year in physical therapy and chronic pain that continues long after I was discharged from physical therapy, and having gained a lot of the weight back due to my thyroid condition, my injury, reduced ability to exercise and no longer depriving myself of foods I love, I appear to be back to the body they said couldn’t be a good advocate for veganism.

Except they were wrong. My body is not wrong. I can assure you that despite my larger size and illnesses/disabilities, the fact that I do get colds once in a while, that I don’t conform to certain standards of beauty, etc. that I am just as good an advocate for veganism as I was when I was running half marathons and thin. In fact, I’d say I am now a better one because:

  • I am not grumpy and miserable all the time from depriving myself of foods I enjoy. Veganism should bring joy.
  • I have time to focus on my graduate studies in humane education instead of spending most of my time training for runs and doing a half-assed job at school
  • I can help vegans who get sick realize it is beyond their control and that they are not a bad vegan because of their illness
  • I can show vegans that you can still be a healthy vegan if you are a larger person, as my blood work levels are the same as when I was thinner
  • I have found a form of mind-body exercise that leaves me feeling restored and in less pain overall, that I devote a manageable amount of time to practicing and is ultimately a form of self-care so I don’t experience as much burn out when I’m wearing my vegan advocate hat. 
  • I have been going to talk therapy and working on loving my body for what it does for me and how strong and powerful it can be rather than attaching it to others’ ideals and ideas of perfection or what kind of a body is suitable to be a vegan advocate, which is what I am and will always be

Says Fluffy: All bodies are magical bodies. Never assume you know someone’s health story by looking at their body. Humans are complex and their uniqueness and differences make them beautiful. Vegans can come in all shapes and sizes, it’s not a one size fits all movement. Now it’s time to eat some cupcakes and do my Prancercise. (In case you were wondering, that is the official exercise of choice for unicorns).

Vegan MoFo 2017 Day 2: Eating Treats Without Guilt

Hi, it’s Fluffy here!

I want to talk to you today about something two concepts that never need to go together: food & guilt. Sadly, people often DO put them together.

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To avoid my salty unicorn tears from flowing, here is my take on the matter:

Vegan food, after all, is about eating with compassion and making a conscious effort to reduce suffering through our food choices. So, as long as you are doing the best you can to achieve this goal, there really is no need for guilt! (If you’re not vegan and are experiencing feelings of guilt because you’re becoming aware of the suffering that occurs from your food choices, there are plenty of supportive vegans who would love to help you make the transition! For example, my pal Laura, the owner of this blog, is a Vegan Outreach Mentor and also has her own site, veg-edu-ables.com that you might want to check out.)

I see a lot of people associate guilt and shame with supposed “bad” vegan foods as opposed to “healthy” vegan foods. There is no such thing as “good” and/or “bad” food. Vegan food is vegan food. Want to eat a delicious sugary vegan donut? Go ahead! Enjoy it. Savor each melt-in-your-mouth morsel. Think to yourself, well, that was magical! I deserved that experience! I am happy I ate that. Want to eat a salad? As long as you don’t feel with every bite that you live a joyless, hopeless, sad and tasteless existence, that’s okay too!

When we shame or guilt trip ourselves or others for eating certain foods it creates unhealthy problems with food, or our bodies, minds, and spirits. As long as you are eating a balanced diet that does not consist of around the clock cookies and nothing but cookies and turning into a cookie monster, you’ll be okay. In fact, you’ll enjoy life a little bit more when you allow yourself to have fun, enjoy, and savor all the delicious vegan treats that are exploding onto the shelves of grocery stores, in vegan bakeries, restaurants, cookbooks, blogs, Instagrams, and beyond. I know I do!

Tomorrow we’ll be talking about shame and guilt as it relates to people’s bodies, which goes together with this topic.

**If you feel like you have a real problem with guilt and food, or feel like you may have some seriously disordered eating habits, I encourage you to find a vegan-friendly registered dietician and/or a psychologist who specializes in disordered eating. It won’t be easy but you can recover. Fluffy loves you and wants to see you healthy, happy, and successful.