Reader Survey + Giveaway with Rodelle!

Ginger Maple Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hi there! I’m back into town after a long weekend in Denver and I’m hitting the ground running. I had a wonderful weekend of spending time with dear friends, meeting new ones, and overall just eating ALL the good things Denver has to offer. I’m hoping to go back again this summer after my friend has her baby, so I will write up a guide of what I’ve done over the years after that trip! Now, onto the good stuff.

There’s no new recipe today, but I am going to ask you for a quick favor that will take under a minute (promise!) and will help me out tremendously. I really want to make sure the content I’m pushing out here is the best and most helpful possible, so if you could take just a minute to complete a quick reader survey, I would so appreciate it! I mainly want to know what you are looking for from this space and how I can combine my passion with that to create some really great content. In addition to the survey, Rodelle is graciously going to giveaway a baking prize pack to one lucky winner!

At the end of the survey, pop your email into the last box and you will be entered to win. The giveaway ends on January 31st at 9am CST and I promise I’m not going to take your email and do anything with it, I just need it in case you win! Rodelle has been an amazing partner over the last couple years and I’ve primarily been baking with their vanilla and cocoa powder lately. A big thank you everyone who comes here and to read my anecdotes and stories every few days, I’m so grateful to each and every one of you.

New Site + Rodelle Giveaway! {Closed}

New Site + Rodelle Giveaway! {Closed}

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It’s here, it’s here, it’s finally here! The site switchover to the new name finally happened and I couldn’t be happier! It’s been a long road, with a lot of deciding what should stay/go/ and everything else in between. I’m so thankful to the guys over at Envy Creative for making this a smooth and easy process.  When I first went to them with not only a site design project, but also a huge redirect process with the whole domain change, Nick was totally on board and quick to jump in and ease my fears about links being broken or redirects not happening. (BTW, if you find any links that aren’t going anywhere or are broken, please let me know!). He also took the jumble of blogs that I showed him for inspiration and turned it into a beautiful new site.  I’m so excited for the new design, so let’s take a look around! (more…)

Best Recipes of 2014

Best Recipes of 2014

Homemade Twinkies with Whipped Coconut Cream Filling / The Frosted Vegan

This year has brought so many surprises, opportunities, and quite frankly, has gone by in the blink of an eye. It seems like summer was just here (it never got that warm!) and we are still waiting on winter to arrive (cold, but no snow) officially. While I am not one for resolutions or changing habits as of January 1st (um, that goes out the window 2 weeks later, right?), I know I do want to continue to grow and expand this little corner of the internet. I’m not sure what next year will bring just yet, but I do know that I want to continue to work harder and better at bringing you the best vegan/plant based dessert recipes I can. I’ve had flops and successes, things that worked perfectly and things I had to make 3 times over, but really, in the end, I just plan loving sharing the ones that do work out with you here in this space. If I hadn’t started blogging, I’m not sure what I would be doing with me free time, but I know now that I’m into this blogging game, I wouldn’t want it any other way. So, without further adieu, here are some of the favorite recipes of the past year!

Homemade Twinkies with Coconut Whipped Cream Filling– These were actually a last minute decision on my part. I made them on a Sunday, just thinking I would experiment with how they turned out. Lo and behold, they ended up being perfect and they were the most popular recipe of the year! Props to my fiance for gifting me the pan to make these last Christmas.

Chocolate Espresso Pots de Creme

Chocolate Espresso Pots de Creme–  These have been longstanding on my ‘to make’ list. One of the things I aim to do here is re-create fancy-ish desserts in a vegan way. I know it’s easy to make a batch of vegan brownies, but I’m a lady who likes nice desserts too! Luckily, these don’t take a whole lot of extra time and effort to go from simple to fancy.

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Chocolate Espresso Torte– I can’t really take credit for this genius and delicious recipe, because it came from Angela’s cookbook, which was released this year. My friends still talk about how amazing this torte was and were baffled that the creamy filling came from cashews, rather than heavy cream.

Toasted Coconut and Banana Smoothie

Toasted Coconut and Banana Smoothie– If I had to pick a ‘Most Popular On Pinterest’ recipe, this one would be it. Again, this was a recipe that I just threw together, thinking nothing of it, but it became one of my most popular recipes throughout the year. Even now in the winter, I make this smoothie every few weeks as an afternoon snack.

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Vegan Baking Basics: Baking with Dates– I hope to add to and continue this series into next year! This was the first in my Vegan Baking Basics series and there will be more to come. Even though not everyone who visits my blog is vegan, navigating vegan baking for either yourself or a friend can be a challenge. I hope to provide resources about general rules of thumb while baking vegan and make life just a bit easier for you!

That’s it! Those are the top five recipes from this year and I hope to bring you even more recipes next year. If there are recipes or series you would like to see here, let me know! I love to hear what you would like to see more of in the coming months. Happy New Year! xoxo

My Favorite Cookbooks for Everyday + Inspiration

boun Favorite Cookbooks for Everyday and Inspiration Favorite Cookbooks for Everyday and Inspiration Favorite Cookbooks for Everyday and Inspiration Favorite Cookbooks for Everyday and Inspiration Favorite Cookbooks for Everyday and Inspiration

Whenever I go into someone’s house to visit or for dinner, my favorite thing to be nosy about is their cookbook collection. Just like food, oftentimes cookbooks connect us with others through another level, bringing together an exclamation of ‘I made that recipe too!’ or ‘I’ve never cooked from that book yet, have you?’. I feel like sharing recipes and favorite entries in cookbooks is a way of saying ‘Hey I like you, I like this recipe, let’s be friends!’, it’s a way of sharing our favorite dishes with someone else, spreading the joy a dish has brought into our own lives. Especially now, as a blogger, I tend to not make recipes multiple times, searching for another recipe to test or trying to exhaust my list of ‘to make’ recipes from other blogs. These cookbooks are the ones I find myself cooking from time and time again, making multiple recipes multiple times until they become staples in my kitchen. If you notice, most of them are on the savory/dinner side, which, I have to admit, is because I’m better at developing recipes for baked goods, rather than meal staples!

1.) Bountiful: Recipes Inspired by Our Garden
– Todd and Diane are two of the most inspiring food stylists and photographers out there. I would love to spend a day with them to see how they work and how lovely they photograph food. This book is not only gorgeous, but the recipes are foolproof and simple as well. Even if a recipe looks like it may be too simple to be delicious, I always come back to this book for more. A recent favorite has been the Crispy Rosemary Roasted Potato Pizza and the Roasted Strawberry Scones. Although not all recipes are vegan, some are or can be modified to become vegan. This is at the top of my ‘must have’ list!

2.) Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts by Fran Costigan– Every recipe I’ve made from Fran up to this point has been flawless, satisfying every craving chocolate craving I’ve had and ensuring that I can make some of the more decadent desserts I’ve been missing. Up to a point, I hadn’t come across a ton of vegan dessert recipes I was really satisfied with, but Fran’s recipes changed all of that. From Espresso Truffles to a vegan Buche De Noel, Fran knows how to make high end desserts into a vegan treat. I also love that Fran takes the time at the beginning of the book to explain in more detail the reasoning behind vegan baking substitutes and the science of how most of the recipes work. If I could recommend one book for vegan chocolate recipes, this would be it!

3.) Super Natural Everyday by Heidi Swanson– I only just recently purchased this cookbook (as in a week ago), but I am already in love with the simple, yet lovely recipes and Heidi’s ability to make you feel like you are sitting down to a healthy and delicious meal with her. From breakfast to dinner and snacks, Heidi covers it all in this book, without feeling like any of the recipes are intimidating or too hard. I’ve found with Heidi’s recipes, I sometimes wonder ‘Will this really go together?’ and it inevitably does, in the most delicious of ways. So far I’ve made a Dijon Popcorn recipe and the Paprika Roasted Chickpeas, but I have earmarked several others to be made in the near future.

4.) Baked Doughnuts for Everyone by Ashley McLaughlin- As if you didn’t know already, I love a good doughnut. Ashley’s cookbook came out last year and I have to tell you, my copy of her book has already entered the ‘well loved’ stage. There are smears of melted chocolate and sprinklings of flour in the cracks of the book, which only indicates that I’ve made a few doughnuts since I’ve gotten her book, and they have been DANG good. I don’t follow a gluten free diet, but Ashley makes baking doughnuts for everyone in your life just about as simple as can be. I remember sending a text to my friend when I received this book, attaching a picture of the Baklava Doughnuts and exclaiming ‘Do you see this?!! Baklava. Doughnuts.’. From sweet to savory, vegan to gluten free (and even a doughnut cake!), this book covers any and everything you need to know about doughnuts for all occasions.

5.) The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Lidden – If you’ve been around the vegan blogging world for a while, you’ve probably heard of Angela’s blog, Oh She Glows. This is all with good reason, because Angela’s recipes always seem to fulfill two big requirements of recipes for me; the ingredients are probably ones you already have on hand (or are readily accessible) and always turn out perfectly, each and every time. Angela is a master at putting together recipes that seem to transform a few normal ingredients into a perfectly delectable meal that will satisfy both meat and non-meat eaters alike. I have cooked my way through this book, for the most part, and can’t say I have a favorite, because I’ve loved each and every recipe.

6.) Essentials of Baking by Williams Sonoma As referenced a few blog posts ago, I received this book as a gift from my parents several years ago, when I first started delving into the world of baking and pastry. This book inspired me to look past cookies and pies and experiment with the ever fickle souffle or the world of bread making. Again, this book satisfies a key requirement in books for me, reliable recipes that tend to be foolproof each and every time. This book isn’t vegan, but has inspired many of my vegan baking recipes or can be changed with a few modifications. From a simple Whole Wheat Bread to Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, this baking book covers it all!

Here and There, Pt. 2

It’s been a bit since I’ve shared  random pictures and recent happenings, plus you want to see that final bridal shower cake, right?! That’s what I thought.

Here and There, Pt. 2

Hooray! Here it is! Remember back in this post when I talked about making a cake for my BFFs shower? I did it! I mean, I’ve made cakes before, but it was usually for someone’s birthday or something, not a momentous occasion like a wedding shower. I was nervous that I would end up a stressed out mess 4 hours before, trying to piece together a cake with wilty frosting that was completely crooked, but it went better than expected! Probably one of the best things that I did to make sure I wasn’t stressed was baking the layers and making the filling the day before (actually I made the frosting the day before too).  This reduced down on the steps that I had to complete the day of and gave me a better cushion for if something were to go wrong. Everyone loved and it and ended up having enough to bring home, so I get to keep savoring it for a few more days! Also, I kind of love doing cakes now.  I find that frosting the cake and putting everything together is sort of therapy, so if you need a cake and I need frosting therapy, let’s be friends.

Here and There, Pt. 2 Here and There, Pt. 2 Here and There, Pt. 2 sail

Moving on to my recent trip back to Door County (Northern Wisconsin)!  If you remember, I went with  a group of food bloggers back in April, but the weather was still pretty chilly and just starting to warm up.  This time around, the weather was perfect and we couldn’t have asked for more quintessential Wisconsin summer weather (think 70s all week!).  While we didn’t get to do our usual kayaking activity, we did eat a lot of awesome food and see our usual Door County haunts.  The upper left picture is the Cave Point, a scenic area I visited with the ladies in April, then returned to with my parents when we went a few weeks ago. It was crazy to think that the last time I was there there were HUGE chunks of ice and the water was much colder.

My other favorite new place we visited was Jorns’ Sugar Bush. We had seen the signs advertising the maple syrup being sold there for years, but never made the stop to actually try them out. When you first drive up to the place it’s kind of a ‘Are we in he right place?’ moment. It’s essentially just a very small store selling all sizes of maple syrup, but the best part is that they bottle all the syrup right there in the building! The actual retail space was only big enough for about 4-5 people to comfortably move around, but the lady working the shop made for a much more interesting visit, providing snippets about how long they had been making syrup and how the business came to be. P.S. Did you know you can freeze syrup until you need to use it? Me either!

Among other things I made this vegan ricotta pasta and this super cool cucumber/watermelon dinner and they are both things you should just go ahead and make ASAP. I’m trying to implement meal planning and it resulted in better lunches/dinners, so let’s hope I keep sticking to it!

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That’s all for now, I’ll be back with a recipe later in the week! xoxo

 

Sizzling Summer Blog Hop Giveaway {CLOSED}

Hi there! So since it’s finally decent weather and we are all in ‘eat all the popsicles’ mode, it’s time for a fun giveaway! My girl Phi put together a great group of bloggers with a lot of awesome prizes to give away.  We went with a summer theme, so there are lots of popsicle molds, farmer’s market themed prizes, and cute bowls (the essentials in life, right?).

Here’s the deal, the picture below is interactive, so you can enter each giveaway by clicking on the picture of the prizes and following the instructions to enter for the specific blog’s giveaway.

For mine, I am giving away my favorite popsicle mold (to make these and these), a tumbler I’ve recently fallen in love with, and pretty gold striped straws, for sipping on all those cocktails you will be making.

To enter, leave a comment below telling me your favorite summer treat! Giveaway ends July 12th at 12am CST.

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Good luck!