Pineapple Strawberry Orange Juice + 1 Unsuspecting Ingredient

Starting out this beautiful morning with a new juice concoction whipped up in the Blendtec:

I’m heading to spin class and wanted a clean and healthy jolt of energy to get me going and hit my system quickly – and didn’t feel like making the usual protein smoothie (frozen berries with a vegan pea protein powder) – so I threw in about 1 cup each of sliced fresh pineapple and strawberries, 1 peeled orange and two large handfuls of spinach. I pressed the “Whole Juice” setting on the Blendtec, but you could just pulverize this in any blender on a high speed setting, or throw it in a juicer (but I didn’t want to eliminate the fibers). After I poured it into the glass, I threw in a few ice cubes to increase the chill. A refreshing way to start the day.

I hope your day is off to a great start as well!

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Better-for-You Vanilla Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Ganache Frosting – All Vegan!

Sweet, vegan, very easy to make, and not horribly unhealthy… can’t argue with any of that! I can only take personal credit for the frosting part of this recipe – and I think it’s the best chocolate ganache I’ve concocted so far (though a previous and also delicious recipe I’ve made and remade can be found here). The dark chocolate and comparatively low-ish ratio of sugar makes for an intensely chocolate and not overly sweet, decadent and smooth frosting. There’s even a very slight bitter taste sensation, which is akin to dark chocolate – so if you’re a dark chocolate lover, you’ll love this frosting.

The cupcake portion is a recipe I slightly adapted from one by vegan baking blogger  Chocolate Covered Katie (click here for her “Skinny Vanilla Cupcakes” recipe). I made a few adjustments, but also keep in mind that I tweaked some components to better accommodate baking at a high altitude (5K feet). I found the cupcakes to be particularly tasty the day I made them – and wow will they make your kitchen/home smell great! They retained good flavor – very vanilla-y, which I love – and moisture the day after as well, though I found the texture to get ever so slightly slightly rubbery. It’s only a minor and mild criticism though, and probably the price to pay for making a not ridiculously bad-for-you cupcake, and overall the texture was very pleasant – I’m just comparing this to the soft crumble of other well-loved cupcakes. I used a total of 2 tbsp of oil this time, but next time may try adding another half to full tbsp and see if that makes a difference.

So, here’s my vegan dark chocolate ganache frosting recipe – and don’t forget to click through for my slightly adapted recipe of CCK’s vegan vanilla cupcakes!

Recipe: Dark Chocolate Ganache Frosting (Vegan)

What You Need

  • 1/2  c coconut milk (from a carton)
  • 1/8 c coconut milk (from a can)
  • 6-7 oz dark chocolate (make sure it’s doesn’t contain milk products if you want to keep it vegan)
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp instant coffee grounds
  • 3 tbsp turbinado sugar
  • 2 tbsp Earth Balance (from the EB sticks)

What You Do

  • Combine all ingredients (minus the 1/8 c canned coconut milk) in a small saucepan and melt over med-low heat until melted, whisking frequently.
  • Once melted and smooth, remove the pan from the heat and add in the canned coconut milk, whisking to combine.
  • Whisk briskly for 2-3 minutes.
  • Chill the mixture until it cools and begins to thicken – about 15-20 min. – and whisk again.
  • Spoon the chocolate over your cupcakes and devour!
  • Notes: You don’t need to refrigerate the frosted cupcakes; the frosting on top will solidify at room temp and keep for a few days (it’s a good idea to cover them with tin foil or store in an air-tight container). I had a good amount of excess frosting though, which I put in an air-tight container in the fridge; it thickens to a soft, fudgy consistency after chilling for a longer period of time. I bet you could whisk it again even more and pipe the frosting on at that stage, though I haven’t tried it myself yet… guess I’ll have to soon!

Click through or keep reading for the cupcake recipe!

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Letting the Good In (and getting an upper body workout) on a Beautiful Day

The food we choose to eat is one literal way to let the good into our bodies (and the one I certainly focus on the most in this blog!), but we can also let the good in our lives and selves by taking time to do things that bring us enjoyment, and also by being active and by spending time outside – either separately or simultaneously!

This morning, Peter and I kayaked on Watson Lake  which is a quick five minute or so drive from home, thanks to generous friends for letting us borrow their kayak (thanks K & C!). There literally wasn’t a cloud in the sky!

We paddled our way around the perimeter of the lake – a little more than 2 miles – scooting into little coves to cover as much ground (er, water) as possible and also to see more of the beautiful surrounding rocks.

Aside from this being an experience of pure enjoyment, it was also a great upper body workout.

Kayak Workout Tip: If you make a point to not slouch when kayaking and engage your core, you not only work your shoulders, arms and back with paddling, your abs get a workout too!

What are some of your favorite warm weather outdoor activities?

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Health Matters: A Baffling Stance by the Meat Industry

The meat industry in the U.S. is opposing a ban that would prohibit the sale of meat contaminated with a certain strain of E. Coli. According to

“The meat industry argues that they should be allowed to sell unsafe meat because it only poses a risk if it’s not properly cooked or handled. Ironically, they’re also opposed to safe handling labeling.”

Wrong and wrong again. There really are no reasons or excuses to allow the mass production, distribution and sale of contaminated meat products. Read the full article here. All the more reason to stay away from meat completely, or allow only minimal consumption that’s limited to local, organic, clean farm sources.

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