Blueberry Muffins

Spring is in full swing, and we are loving all the fresh produce around town. We were inspired to make our favorite “fresh” dessert: blueberry muffins! As usual, today we’re sharing two different recipes, one vegan and one that is omnivore friendly. Both recipes are sure to be loved by everyone! Nikki shares a blueberry and lemon crumb muffin topped with a lemon glaze and Jess will show you how to make blueberry muffins with a brown sugar topping- yum!

  

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Click the link below to see both recipes and step-by-step instructions!

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Heart of Gold

Happy Valentine’s Day! Valentine’s Day is definitely one of our favorite holidays; there are so many cute crafts to be done, and treats to bake! Pinterest gets a little crazy around the 14th, there are so many cute ideas floating around out there! Today we’re sharing a favorite that allows you to be super creative; sugar cookies! You can decorate them any way you’d like, whether that is dunking them in icing and sprinkles or piping details on to each cookie.

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You can find the vegan dough recipe with buttercream frosting (perfect for piping details or spreading) here, we make these around Christmas every year. The cookie & frosting are vegan, you can find two additional vegan icing recipes below.

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As a treat for Jess & her one year nurse anniversary, Nikki decided to try something new, & quite intimidating at first-vegan royal icing using aquafaba. Aquafaba is the liquid you drain from a can of chickpeas. The liquid has similar properties as egg whites, and so can be used to substitute egg whites in baking recipes. This is something we’ve been wanting to try & now that we see how easy it is we can’t wait to use it again! You can find the recipe for the icing here. Nikki piped the icing into EKG heart rhythms.

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IMG_2424It’s best to pipe even your base frosting onto the cookie to get the most precise edges and details.
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Jess made conversation heart cookies, using 2 types of frosting. The base is this corn syrup icing, then topped with piped buttercream frosting for the words and designs. Again the recipe for the buttercream frosting and cookie are here.

Shiny Corn Syrup Icing

(VEGAN)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons almond milk/soy milk
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • food coloring

Stir together powdered sugar and almond milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and vanilla extract until the icing is smooth and glossy. Add more corn syrup if the icing is too thick. You should be able to easily spread the icing on with a spoon or even dip the cookie to cover with icing. Divide the icing and add food coloring as needed.
Use a spoon to cover the cookie with icing, or dip, and allow the icing to set before piping on the buttercream.

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To create the marble effect above, cover a cookie in white shiny icing and make one very small bowl of red shiny icing. Dip a toothpick in the red icing and make sloppy lines back and forth in the cookie, spreading around until the cookie looks like this!

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Super Snacks: Jalapeño Poppers

Today we’re continuing our Super Bowl theme with two versions of Jalapeño Poppers! Both are so easy to make and are one of our favorite party foods. If you like spice, these are a must! You can even make them the day before and quickly pop them in the oven before kickoff- more time to mingle with your guests! Nikki will show you how to make 20-minute chorizo and goat cheese jalapeño sliders while Jess shows you classic cheesy vegan jalapeño poppers.

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Click the link below to see both recipes and step-by-step instructions!

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Smooth Moves

Hi guys! Jess here, sharing one of my favorite healthy snacks/meals: smoothies. I love to have a smoothie for breakfast or as a midmorning snack. It’s a refreshing start to my day and the flavor combinations are endless! My go to smoothie is banana, spinach or kale, frozen mangoes and peaches, flax seeds and hemp protein powder. I’ve been on a mission lately to mix it up a little more; here are my favorite smoothies lately. For all recipes just add ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

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Green Protein Smoothie

These ingredients might sound random but they actually work great together! It mostly has a strong peanut butter flavor and gets some sweetness from the dates.

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1 cup coconut milk or almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 heaping handful of spinach
  • 2-3 dates, pitted
  • 1 cup ice cubes

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Watermelon Refresher

So light and refreshing; tastes like a strawberry milkshake!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh watermelon
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup coconut water

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Green Tea Smoothie

Matcha is a Japanese green tea powder that will you give you a big kick of caffeine. It has a super interesting flavor I love, which is sweetened here with agave.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tablespoon matcha powder
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon agave
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • small handful of ice

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Sugar Cookie Wonderland

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We can’t believe Christmas is less than a week away! The time always goes so fast. We’re trying to really savor all of our favorite Christmas time traditions. Baking has always been huge for us around the holidays, as we have mentioned before. Our biggest baking tradition is making and decorating sugar cookies; we look forward to it all year! We like to give these cookies as gifts; Jess brought a big box to work at the hospital this year. We grew up making sugar cookies with eggs and milk, but when Jess went vegan we spent some time perfecting this vegan version. Everyone is always shocked when we tell them they are vegan!

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These cookies can also be cut into different shapes for any holiday (hearts for Valentine’s day, flags for 4th of July, menorahs and dreidels for Hanukkah). If you don’t have any cookie cutters on hand use a drinking glass to cut circles and decorate them as snowmen faces or ornaments. Or, use a shot glass to form smaller circles and meld them together before baking for a whole snowman, as shown below.

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Ingredients:

Dough

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup softened Earth Balance
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Icing

  • 2 tbsp softened Earth Balance
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk
  • food coloring, sprinkles

In a large bowl, beat together 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1 cup softened Earth Balance, 1/4 cup almond milk, and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract. This is best done with an electric mixer or hand mixer. Stir in 2 1/2 cups flour, 2 tablespoons corn starch, 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon cream or tartar. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (this dough will keep for weeks in the fridge).

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Preheat oven to 375. Remove half the dough from the fridge (the dough needs to be cold while rolling or it becomes too soft to handle) and place on a well floured surface. Roll the dough with a rolling pin (fairly thin) and cut into desired shapes. Place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.

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The cookies hardly spread so they can be placed close together. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden brown.

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Repeat with remaining dough. Allow cookies to cool on a cooling rack before icing.

To make the icing, combine all ingredients and mix with an electric mixer or hand mixer. Divide into bowls to make separate colors with food coloring.

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Now comes the fun part-decorating! You can spread the icing on the cookies or pipe it on. If you don’t have a piping set fill ziploc bags with icing and cut a small corner off. Have fun!

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IMG_5057Jess’s hospital cookies, complete with a sweet doctor! Find a cute cake stand to display your cookies here!

Check out our other holiday treats: Snickerdoodles, Rocky Road Fudge, Candy Cane Cookie Sandwiches

Rocky Road Fudge

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Our favorite time of year is well underway-baking season! Christmas time growing up was all about baking as many cookies and treats as possible. Most were made to give away as gifts but we definitely kept and snuck our fair share! So far this year we’ve made yummy chocolate peppermint cookies, Snickerdoodles, one of our favorite Christmas classics Candy Cane Cookie Sandwiches, and we’re planning a big sugar cookie bake this weekend (recipe to follow)! Today I made a new favorite I came up with last year-Rocky Road Fudge. We made fudge a lot growing up but I hadn’t made it since going vegan. I went with a coconut cream base and added in marshmallows and walnuts. Yum! This recipe was such a hit I ended up making it several times last year. It was a great treat to serve at our New Year’s Eve celebration. This recipe is vegan, omnivore tested, approved and loved! Best of all it is so easy! Just leave enough time to let the fudge set in the fridge.

 

Rocky Road Fudge
(VEGAN)

For those of you new to the vegan game, there are two major brands of vegan marshmallows: Sweet & Sara, and my personal favorite, Dandies. You can find these online from various sellers or sometimes Whole Foods and other specialty stores.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup full fat canned coconut milk or coconut cream
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (not melted)
  • 12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips (make sure you check the ingredients, sometimes they sneak milk in there)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup vegan marshmallows, mini or chopped regular (2/3 for the inside, 1/3 for the topping)
  • 1 cup walnut halves (2/3 for the inside, 1/3 for the topping)

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Line a small baking dish with parchment paper, or greased foil. If you  are using regular sized marshmallows, cut them into fourths or sixths and set aside.

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In a medium pot, heat the coconut milk and bring to a simmer, stirring often. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons coconut oil and stir until it melts.

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Add the chocolate chips and stir quickly with a whisk until all of the chips are melted and you have a pot of gooey yummy chocolate.

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Remove from heat or pour into a mixing bowl if you don’t have a lot of stir room. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2/3 cup marshmallows and 2/3 cup walnuts and stir well. Make sure the marshmallows aren’t in a huge clump when you put them in.

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Pour the mixture into your lined baking dish. Sprinkle walnuts and marshmallows over the top, about 1/3 cup of each.

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Place in the fridge overnight, or at least in the freezer for 30 minutes. Cut into bite sized pieces. Store in the refrigerator.

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Apple Pie Muffins

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December is here! We are so excited to begin our favorite holiday tradition- nonstop baking! Today, we kick off baking season with these scrumptious, delectable apple pie muffins. As usual, we’ve included two recipes, one vegan and one non vegan recipe. These were a HUGE hit with everyone who tried them- definitely give them a try, they are irrestiable! Wrap them up in cute holiday packaging and give them away as an easy and affordable gift. Check back later this week for more baking recipes! Enjoy.

Click the link below to see how to make these delicious muffins, step-by-step.

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Thanksgiving Series: Pumpkin Pecan Lava Cake

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Thanksgiving is almost here, and with it comes the end of pumpkin season. I don’t know about you but I definitely feel like I need one last amazing pumpkin hurrah, and pumpkin pie alone just won’t cut it (of course I’ll have some pie too!). Enter Pumpkin Pecan Lava Cake. It’s gooey pumpkin caramel-like lava, crunchy sugar and pecan topping, cinnamon-y sweet and a perfect Thanksgiving dessert. Best of all it is so easy and fast (1 hour) and I already had most ingredients in my kitchen. This cake puts up a fight for making pumpkin season last a little longer!

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Pumpkin Pecan Lava Cake

(VEGAN)

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 1 heaping cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup almond or soy milk
  • 1/4 cup melted Earth Balance
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups super hot water

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Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease/butter a loaf pan.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and spices and set aside.

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In a small mixing bowl, mix together pumpkin, almond milk, melted butter, and vanilla until combined. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix well until batter is thick. Lightly mix in ¼ cup chopped pecans.

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Pour mixture into the loaf pan and spread the batter evenly.

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In a small bowl, mix together the topping ingredients (that’s 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup chopped pecans, sprinkle of cinnamon). Pour sugar mixture on top of the cake evenly.

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Next, warm 1 1/2 cups water. The water from my kitchen faucet gets hot enough it steams so I used that. You don’t want it to be boiling but it should be hot enough that you can’t touch it comfortably. Pour the water over the top of the cake evenly and do not stir!

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Yes, you read that right. If you’re anything like me you’re going to feel very uncomfortable right now. There was some serious kitchen pacing and fidgeting after I did this, thinking “OMG I screwed this whole thing up! It’s a water park in there! My cake is a tiny water park.” But don’t worry! The oven will turn this disaster into hot pumpkin lava. So pour the water over, put it in the oven for 40-50 minutes and forget about it. The cake is done when the middle is set. I also recommend baking this on top of a cookie sheet in case it boils over.

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Serve warm, topped with vanilla ice cream! I like Coconut Bliss Vanilla.

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Look at that lava!

Thanksgiving Series: Pumpkin Spice Pecan Cookies

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The Thanksgiving countdown has begun! We are just 4 days away from the big day! For the past week, we have been sharing our Thanksgiving Series with you, showing you how to create the perfect meal from drinks to dessert. Today we are sharing our first dessert recipe with you, Pumpkin Spice Pecan Cookies. These are a perfect addition to any Thanksgiving spread and really switch things up from the same old pumpkin pie.

These cookies are moist and chewy with lots of pecan pieces and a hint of cinnamon. The pumpkin spice adds a rich pumpkin flavor that is irresistible! They can easily be made vegan by substituting a few things, which are listed in the ingredients below. Also, these cookies turn out best when the dough is chilled so it is best to make these the day (or at least a few hours) before you plan on serving them to allow time for the dough to cool. Enjoy!

Click the link below to follow along as I show you, step-by-step, how to make these delicious, cookies!

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Thanksgiving Series: Cranberry Sauce with Fresh Orange and Cinnamon

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Hi readers! Today we continue our Thanksgiving Series. As we work our way through the meal, having already shared our Pomegranate Mule and Twice Baked Potato Casserole, it is almost time for the star of the show- the turkey! While we won’t be sharing a turkey recipe with you this year (who has time for that?!?), we are sharing our favorite homemade cranberry sauce that is sure to be a most-loved accompaniment to your main dish- turkey or tofurkey! Personally, I love this sauce so much that I even use it as a spread for biscuits, why not? So ditch that sketchy can of cranberry “relish” and whip up this super easy sauce that uses fresh oranges and a touch of cinnamon. I cannot tell you enough how easy this is, and best of all, it can be made several days ahead of time- yay! That leaves more time for enjoying the company of your guests on Thanksgiving rather than slaving over the stove the whole day!

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CRANBERRY SAUCE WITH FRESH ORANGE AND CINNAMON

(VEGAN)

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag (12 oz) of fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 6-7 medium oranges)
  • zest of one orange

Directions:

First, juice the oranges until you have 1 cup of juice. Pour the orange juice and 1 cup of sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Then, reduce the heat  and let simmer for 5 minutes.

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Next, stir in the cranberries. How gorgeous are those!?!

Simmer the cranberries over medium-low heat until the cranberries start to pop. They will first look like this…

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Continue to stir the cranberries to avoid burning. They will keep popping and the sauce will thicken.

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Once the sauce looks like this (above), add the zest of one orange and the cinnamon.

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Once most of the cranberries are popped and it has a sauce-like consistency, remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. I like to leave a few whole cranberries for texture so don’t worry if all of them have not popped and reduced. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and refrigerate until you are ready to eat. The sauce will thicken as it cools.

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Garnish with fresh orange zest (optional). Enjoy!

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