vegansaurus!

08/03/2012

Vegan Divas: New vegan bakery in NYC!  »

If you recall, a few months ago I went to Vegan Divas dessert tasting and had a lovely time. Well guess what? They opened a bakery! Yes, the Upper East Side just got a vegan bakery. Yay richies! Get your vegan on.

They invited me to the opening, promising free desserts and champagne—do they understand me or what? Hint: they understand me. My absolute favorite thing was the baby chocolate cupcakes pictured above. Aren’t they darling (that’s Upper East Side talk!)? And very good. I actually would say their chocolate stuff is their best stuff. It’s always a nice, rich, semi-sweet chocolate that’s not too sugary. Love it. I also like the funny “sand cookies” that are pictured behind the cupcakes. They are funny and I’m not sure everyone would like them. I love them—they are a bit salty, that’s my favorite: salty+sweet. 

These donuts are good as well. But all their donuts are baked, not fried, so we’re not talking Ronald’s. Good though. Of course I recommend the chocolate! It’s not surprising their donuts are the baked kind, the whole place is very health-conscious. For those calorie counters, you’ll be excited to find that all the items on the menu include the calorie count next to them—and everything is pretty low. All the ingredients are natural and everything is kosher too. So everybody can eat this stuff! And the prices aren’t bad in my opinion, especially considering the quality of the ingredients. 

They don’t just have dessert, they will also be having quiche. I haven’t sampled it yet but I love quiche so I’m excited! And they have juices—see? Healthy stuff! I didn’t try the juice because I didn’t want it to interfere with my champagne intake, but I’m sure it’s good. If you like juice! And it came in cute little glasses. Baby glasses! 

Oh the other thing I tried were the peanut butter chocolate chip cookies! They were party favors so I had them at home. I actually had two for breakfast this morning! Yeah, I’m all about health too. The cookies are nice and soft; I don’t like crunchy chocolate chip cookies so that’s perfect for me. They also had oatmeal raisin cookies but I’m allergic to cookies with raisins in them. Ok I’m not exactly allergic but still, raisins better stay away from my cookies.

All in all, a great bakery, especially for the health-conscious set. I’m glad we have another bakery in the city! For you non-NYCers, you can order lots of their products on their site. Bon Appétit! That’s more Upper East Side talk. I’m basically bilingual. Trilingual if you include Philadelphian.

08/02/2012

Product Review: Wholesome Chow gluten-free lavender cake mix!  »

Wholesome Chow sent me a box of their gluten-free, organic, vegan cake mixes to bake and review. Being a professional vegan baker myself, I was so excited to play with their product! Gluten-free baking is not an easy venture.

Jeffery and Veronica sent me their seven-mix variety pack, which includes lavender, chocolate, vanilla, and chai spice cake mixes, an all-purpose baking mix, and a vanilla frosting mix. Being surrounded by baked goods all day at work, I don’t bake too much at home, so I decided to review each one for you as I make them.

I started with the lavender cake mix, because that is the one I was most iffy about. I usually don’t like lavender baked goods; they tend to taste like soap. However, Wholesome Chow has figured out the perfect vanilla-to-lavender taste ratio! The lavender gave the cake a fruitier flavor, as opposed to soap. Of course I had two of my trusty, non-vegan taste-testers with me, Britney and Dan. Neither of them were turned off by the lavender taste either!

Even though I bake for a living, I get really nervous to bake at home sometimes. What if my oven temperature is off? What if I overfill the cupcake tins? WHAT IF I BURN IT, THUS RENDERING MY REVIEW USELESS?! Happily, I can say that Wholesome Chow is Jenny-proof and Jenny-approved. All you have to do is add a non-dairy milk, vinegar, and oil. Then you mix, let sit for a few minutes, and bake!


I was extremely happy with the cupcakes I made. They baked beautifully and tasted amazing! I’m not a gluten-free connoisseur, and I felt as though these passed the non-Celiac sufferer test. I would eat and bake these again, not because they are gluten-free, but because they were easy to make and tasted delicious! I cannot wait to bake with their other products (chocolate cake, you are next).

Now for a little about my process. I turned on the oven, and while it was heating, I mixed my batter. If you don’t have an oven thermometer, I cannot stress the importance of buying one. Home ovens tend to be waaaaay off, and how will you know? Luckily ours is on point, which I would not have know if not for our trusty thermometer! As for the “milk” in my cupcakes, I used straight-up coconut milk. I think it adds a moistness that many vegan baked goods lack. Not the light stuff, either: the full-fat, canned coconut milk. I also used apple cider vinegar.

As for the frosting, I made mine from scratch. Earlier in the day, my social media friend Jen suggested I make blueberry frosting. I had made a blueberry pie the previous day and had filling leftover. PERFECT. Half of the lavender cupcakes got with blueberry frosting, and half got vanilla.

Buttercream frosting
Ingredients

1 cups organic vegetable shortening
1/2 Earth Balance buttery spread
3 - 4 very full cups organic powdered sugar (start with 3, mix, taste, add more)
1 very generous splash of vanilla extract (the higher the quality, the better your frosting will taste)
1 pinch of salt

Instructions
I mixed mine  with a hand mixer no more than 10 minutes, until obtaining desired fluffiness. If you have a stand mixer (I envy you very much), let it go for 20 to 30 minutes (with the paddle attachment) and you will have the lightest, fluffiest frosting than you ever thought possible. Add flavorings as desired. I added some blueberry filling, mixed, tasted, and added more until I got the flavor I wanted.

Wholesome Chow is available at a variety of retailers, and online. Check here to see if it’s at a location near you!

07/23/2012

JB’s summer vacation: Chicago, cupcakes, beauty, and bags!   »

Hey everyone! I’ve been on a hiatus, on summer vacay if you will. I went to Chicago, Michigan, and my parent’s house out in the East Bay. All kinds of exciting things happened—I drank rum in the back of a pick-up truck at a wedding in Michigan (a wedding where vegan food was served! The bride loves me), I ate at The Handlebar AND Native Foods (OMG, I so get what the big deal about Native Foods is now!), and back in California, I made cupcakes for my sister’s baby shower! That was a really big deal, as it’s a huge step for my family to have the dessert be completely vegan!

Now that I’m back, I have all sorts of exciting things to share! First, for all you vegan beauty and fashion fiends out there, check out the blog Logical Harmony! I absolutely love this blog, and actually found it because Tashina is a huge fan of Source (where I spend most of my waking hours). She’s always taking the most fantastic pictures (via Instagram, like all the cool kids nerds) of our food there, as well as all things beauty related. Follow her on Twitter, and be sure to check out her lovely and informative blog!
 

A couple months ago, I bought a bag from Alex Eaves' company, Stay Vocal, and let me tell you, it’s a wonderful, sturdy travel companion! His company is awesome (and he’s vegan!) because all of his apparel and bags are reused. For instance, my bag is an old MXPX tote, turned inside out with a Stay Vocal logo on it! At first I was like, “it’s going to be inside out? I don’t know about this…” but I love it! I highly recommend his stuff—the hippie in me digs his mission, plus it’s great quality. My bag reads “Reuse because you can’t recycle the planet,” and fellow “re-usetarians” are always beaming at me when they read it.

I also finally took the Vegansaurus new food challenge! It happened in July, but that’s me—always late to the party. I worked with jackfruit, making a dish similar to this one. I was inspired by the jackfruit sandwich that Rachel had in Colorado. I can’t wait to play with it some more, so I can post a recipe I’m super proud of. I’m stoked that jackfruit is a meat substitute of sorts (for carnitas or pulled pork) that is actually not processed flour, soy, or some other crazy combination of ingredients that tend to be hard to digest.

That’s it for now—I got a lot of posts to catch up on before the coffee wears off. 

04/05/2012

These are the cutest! Vegan Easter basket cupcakes! And they’re gluten-free too, gf friends. These are from Made Just Right. I want you to make them for me! Jeez, I’m getting into the Easter spirit! I don’t even do anything on Easter. What do people our age without kids do on Easter? Like, if you don’t see your fam?

These are the cutest! Vegan Easter basket cupcakes! And they’re gluten-free too, gf friends. These are from Made Just Right. I want you to make them for me! Jeez, I’m getting into the Easter spirit! I don’t even do anything on Easter. What do people our age without kids do on Easter? Like, if you don’t see your fam?

03/23/2012

Vegan cupcake ATM, what the what?
Kathy (Lunchbox Bunch, Finding Vegan, your entire internet) at Babble did the research and, yes, the red velvet cupcake at the Sprinkles 24-hour cupcake ATM in Beverly Hills is 100 percent vegan and 100 percent delicious. Leading us to ask for the billionth time, Why does L.A. get all the good stuff? Come ON, Bay Area, spoil us! You know we’ll actually digest those cupcakes, no “eating with all the senses except taste” or “chewing and spitting” nonsense, we’re not actors, no one needs to think we’re pretty. GIVE US CUPCAKES AT 2 IN THE MORNING.
[image by Kathy Freston for Babble]

Vegan cupcake ATM, what the what?

Kathy (Lunchbox Bunch, Finding Vegan, your entire internet) at Babble did the research and, yes, the red velvet cupcake at the Sprinkles 24-hour cupcake ATM in Beverly Hills is 100 percent vegan and 100 percent delicious. Leading us to ask for the billionth time, Why does L.A. get all the good stuff? Come ON, Bay Area, spoil us! You know we’ll actually digest those cupcakes, no “eating with all the senses except taste” or “chewing and spitting” nonsense, we’re not actors, no one needs to think we’re pretty. GIVE US CUPCAKES AT 2 IN THE MORNING.

[image by Kathy Freston for Babble]

03/12/2012

Celebrate spring break with margarita cupcakes from The Sweetest Vegan! Look at that apron, too cute. 

I totally forgot about spring break. Man, those were the days! Actually, I never got too crazy. Maybe I should have. It’s not too late! OMG what if we plan a Vegansaurus class trip to Cancun and get vegan buck wild! We’ll charter a bus! And serve margarita cupcakes! AND LOTS AND LOTS OF BOOZE. It’s a plan. Get on the bus!

03/08/2012

Fuck a Girl Scout cookie, I’m all about these Samoa cupcakes by Fork & Beans. GiiiiiiiirlFRIEND.

Fuck a Girl Scout cookie, I’m all about these Samoa cupcakes by Fork & Beans. GiiiiiiiirlFRIEND.

03/01/2012

All-vegan Cupcake Wars episode this Sunday!  »

This Sunday, March 4, there’s an ALL VEGAN episode of Cupcake Wars!

They say, “In the first ever Cupcake Wars all-vegan showdown, four vegan bakers fight to have their cupcakes at the opening day celebration for the inaugural Los Angeles Green Festival.” 

Woo! So exciting! Now give vegans a regular cooking show! Preferably starring Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Chloe Coscarelli living in a tree house together with a bear and a squirrel. Also, they’re always having a tea party and I’m in the background eating all the food and waving at my mom. PLENTY MORE IDEAS WHERE THAT CAME FROM. Call me!

[Perhaps someone will make Sarah’s Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes and take home the gold? People with cable will find out this Sunday!]

12/27/2011

Vegan Gingerbread Cupcakes from C&C Cakery in Vancouver! Plus, recipe! Yes! Ugh, I wish I had five right now that I could stuff down my maw and be the happier and fatter for it. GOD BLESS HOLIDAY BINGING AND TO ALL A GOOD BINGE!

Vegan Gingerbread Cupcakes from C&C Cakery in Vancouver! Plus, recipe! Yes! Ugh, I wish I had five right now that I could stuff down my maw and be the happier and fatter for it. GOD BLESS HOLIDAY BINGING AND TO ALL A GOOD BINGE!

11/25/2011

Veganville baked goods on the cheap for Vegansaurus readers! Whoopie pies shipped to your face!  »

So, what’s the deal with Black Friday? Do we still boycott buying things? Or do we only boycott buying from big business? I’m so out of the loop! I do know I’ll be buying a Caltrain ticket back to to the city so I can work Friday morning (lucky me!) and then a $2 bottle of wine from Whole Foods to drown my sorrows because I’m broke, single and no one loves me. Just kidding! My cat will be so stoked to see me home after a night spent at Grandma’s house!

If you aren’t broke as a motherfucking joke and can buy many glorious items for sale today, please—let me lead the way.

Gigi is a vegan baker, located in the East Bay, who’s items you can find pretty much everywhere, including:

Philz Coffee in Berkeley
Tay Tah Cafe Albany
Catahoula Cafe Richmond
Thornhill Coffee House in Montclair
Detour Cafe in Berkeley
And soon, Never Felt Better in Sacramento!

Her products sell under the name Veganville and are also available on Etsy! She is offering a 35 percent discount on everything in her etsy store, starting Thanksgiving midnight through Cyber Monday at midnight. Type in the code BigV35. Anything at her store (except for gift certificates, but let’s be serious here)! We are going in for the cupcakes (or whoopie pies! Or brownies! Whatever you fancy, there is so much to choose from!)

[Vegan HoHo cupcakes. Yes please and thank you.]

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