Who else gets excited when they can sneak veggies into their desserts? I like to make healthy choices most of the time, but I’m also not opposed to treats, like this nana-politan ice cream parfait I whipped up with my friend Brooklynne (@beetsbybrooke)!We got together to create a Galentine’s Day menu featuring beets! We made a divine heart beet pizza and salad for the main meal, and for dessert, we decided to go crazy and put beets in our banana ice cream too! Beets have a lovely sweetness that is truly marvelous. #beetcrush Continue reading
Lychee is one of my favorite southeast Asian fruits, second only to mangosteen. Its pink-white flesh is glossy, delicate and aromatic…the vibrant taste is absolutely unique. Think of a grape, but juicier, with smooth floral, rosy notes and pear undertones. Even comparing it to a grape is slightly insulting, because its freshness and flavor is on an entirely different level.
Clearly, lychee is my valentine this year. Lychee is also considered a lucky fruit in Chinese culture, symbolizing family abundance and harmony, so this dessert would be a fun fusion dish for Lunar New Year gatherings this weekend. Red and golden hues make a lucky color palette. Continue reading
I’m finally getting around to editing all my food photos from my travels this summer!
In early June, my sister Anna and I went to Portland with our friend Kathy Vo (pictured above on the top left), on a mission to taste all the mouth-watering vegan food and see the gorgeous sights. Here are the tasty highlights of our adventures (basically almost everything we tried). My absolute favorites are in bold.
After being up since 4 am C.S.T. to catch our flight and experiencing flight delays, my sister and I arrived in Portland way past lunchtime. We were feeling delirious with hunger. After checking in at our Airbnb with Kathy V., we headed straight to the food trucks at Mississippi Marketplace. We were joined by my friend Elaina from high school (pictured above on the bottom left)!
Monday blues? Chase them away with some nice cream!
Chocolate bark is one of my favorite things to make for the holidays! In the past, I have often sprinkled crushed candy canes on top of my chocolate bark, but I’ve been wanting to use healthier toppings. I’ve also been inspired by this healthy chocolate base without refined sugars!
I immediately thought of pomegranates and pistachios for toppings–the colors are perfect for Christmas and they go well with chocolate!
Pomegranates are loaded with Vitamin C, can help your body fight cancer, and improve your metabolism! Pistachios are packed with nutrients, fiber and healthy fats, plus they’re rich in cancer-fighting vitamin E.
Not only are these ingredients gorgeous, they are rich in immune-boosting antioxidants, minerals and vitamins! Why would I not want to sprinkle my chocolate with them? Superfoods > crushed candy. 🙂
The resulting bark was beautiful in both appearance and taste–silky-smooth, rich chocolate, accompanied by refreshing bursts of juicy, tart pomegranate arils, and finally, a nice crunch from the pistachios! I was amazed at the contrast and harmony of it all. Love! Continue reading
Simple cakes are beautiful.
For my sister’s birthday earlier this week, I wanted to make an elegant dessert without any frills or too much frosting. I had my mind set on an indulgent slice of cake with a dollop of whipped cream and freshly sliced fruit–a lovely treat with just the essentials.
I think it’s beautiful in a relaxed way, perfect for a loved one’s birthday!
Essential Birthday Cake
(makes 4 servings)
Active prep time: 1 hour
Wait time: Overnight
What you’ll need:
- Some cake // I halved this recipe from Hampton Creek. Just Mayo makes a beautifully moist and rich chocolate cake!
- Something creamy // Oh She Glows has a SPLENDID tutorial for an amazing coconut whipped cream.
- Caramel, for drizzling // Make your own or buy some from Whole Foods! I used Hey Boo’s coconut caramel to save time. This part is optional–I just wanted to have something extra special for my sister’s birthday!
- Fresh fruit // I used strawberries!
- On the night before // Bake the cake, and let it cool overnight, covered with moist paper towels. Chill a can of full-fat coconut milk in the fridge.
- The next day // Make the coconut whipped cream. Serve cake slices with a spoonful of coconut whipped cream, fresh fruit, and a drizzle of coconut caramel.
Enjoy!! My sister loved it with her birthday brunch! 🙂 I also made strawberry pasta this week…recipe coming soon!
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 t organic sugar
- 1/2 cup chilled non-dairy butter (I used Earth Balance)
- 3 T ice water
- ground cinnamon
- sweetener of your choice (organic sugar, maple syrup, sucanat, or coconut caramel)
- 1 apple, cored, peeled, and thinly sliced
- Lemon juice, about 1 teaspoon
- Mix the all purpose flour, sea salt, and sugar in a food processor.
- Cut the non-dairy butter into the flour mixture using a fork.
- Process in the food processor until you get a coarse, crumbly mixture. Clumps are fine here.
- Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl and add the ice water. Use your hands to mix the flour mixture and water together. Roughly roll the dough into a ball and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.
- Place the dough in the fridge and let it chill for at least 30 minutes. I let mine sit overnight. This dough can also be made two days ahead.
- Take the dough out of the fridge, let it soften a little so it’s easier to work with—this took about 5-10 minutes for me.
- On a floured surface, gently roll out the dough in a circle, about 1/8” thick. Place it on a baking tray or pan (I used a glass pie pan).
- Sprinkle cinnamon on the dough and arrange the apple slices to your liking in the middle of the rolled out dough—leave about 1 1/2 inches at the edges of the dough. Squeeze some lemon juice on the apple slices.
- Fold all the edges of the dough towards the center—for tips, check out this post from Food 52.
- Place the galette in the fridge and let it chill for at least 15 minutes. During this time, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Take the galette out of the fridge and drizzle your sweetener of choice over the apple slices–to your taste. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top and put a few dots of nondairy on top, if you want.
- Brush the crust with some nondairy milk or melted nondairy butter.
- Lower the oven’s heat to 350 degrees F and bake the galette for 30-45 minutes, or until the crust is golden.
Bon appétit! This crust can also be used with different fillings, like berries or sliced pears. I hope you enjoy it! If you make this please let me know how it turned out by leaving me a comment below!
I am a fan of all things lavender, especially lavender lemonade. I’ve been dying to try lavender hot chocolate. I saw a recipe for it on à la mode’s blog a while back, and it was simply gorgeous. Truly inspiring. I had to veganize it. While my photos may not be as amazing as his, I think the hot chocolate tasted divine, especially with this genius coconut whipped cream from Oh She Glows.
My friend just pointed out to me that this looks like the moon and stars! Not my intention, but I like it!
This drink is cozy and elegant—my kind of Valentine’s Day treat! I live for the joys of relaxation and authentic simplicity, no superfluous roses or overpriced dinners here, thank you.
My friend told me a rose hot chocolate might be more suited to tomorrow’s holiday, but I’m just so obsessed with lavender. It’s done.
This recipe makes enough to serve two, so you can share it with your sweetheart for a charming end to your evening. If you’re single and have a 20 oz mug, then it serves one. More hot chocolate for me! ^.^
Food-saving note: You really only need a couple dollops of coconut whipped cream, so you’ll have coconut milk leftover–I’m going to use my leftover coconut milk to make this easy caramel sauce from Oh, Ladycakes!
Vegan Lavender Hot Chocolate
inspired by à la mode
(makes 2 normal servings, or 1 generous serving)
Total time: 15 minutes
- 2 cups nondairy milk (I used almond milk)
- 1/2 t dried lavender buds (available at Whole Foods or any natural grocery store)
- 3 oz dark chocolate, chopped uniformly (use at least 70% cacao—I used Theo’s brand, available at Kroger or Whole Foods)
- 1/6 cup pure maple syrup (or to your taste)
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1 pinch sea salt
- coconut whipped cream, for serving (optional, but it gives the BEST creamy texture–be sure to chill several hours beforehand. You can get the canned coconut milk from Kroger or the Asian market.)
- In a saucepan, heat the nondairy milk and lavender buds over medium heat. Whisk occasionally and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
- Remove from heat and let the lavender steep for about 5 minutes.
- Strain the lavender and return the milk to the saucepan, on low to medium heat. Add the chocolate, maple syrup, vanilla and sea salt. Whisk until the chocolate is melted, and everything is incorporated and frothy. Remove from heat.
- Pour into mugs and serve with dollops of coconut whipped cream. Mix it up to incorporate the creaminess throughout the whole drink.
Mmm…it looks like a galaxy and tastes like a combination of two of my favorite things—Earl Grey lattes and chocolate. It’s perfect!
Next time, I’m going to try making this with Dream Nondairy’s creamy sweet chocolate bar. I hope you all have a lovely Valentine’s Day, whether you are celebrating with someone special or your awesome self!
What are you doing for Valentine’s Day? Have any other lavender-related ideas? If you try the recipe, please let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
- My Decadent Hot Chocolate Recipe
- My Vegan Valentine’s Day Tips
- 5 Minute Vegan Hot Cocoa (minimalistbaker.com)
- 25 Valentine’s Day Breakfast and Dessert Recipes (veganricha.com)
- 25 Romantic Breakfast in Bed Ideas for Valentine’s Day (onegreenplanet.org)
- 8 Delicious Vegan Aphrodisiacs (vegnews.com)
Last week, my friend tipped me off about these vegan brownies on campus, so I decided to have lunch at UTA’s Connection Cafe.
I was excited to find Thai coconut curry noodles in the international line, with a clear “vegan” label. Also, I have since learned that any desserts placed at the vegetarian line will be vegan from now on. Yay!
While there is always room for improvement, I have been previously impressed with the increased availability of vegan options at UTA, thanks to the Vegan Club‘s work with Student Congress and the cooking staff’s cooperation and hospitality. A vegan line has been in place for about a year, but this semester it changed to a vegetarian line. Some vegetarian dishes are veganizeable if students ask for no cheese. Vegan desserts, plus a completely vegan entree in a non-vegan line, were not going to on my list of expectations for a while, but I was pleasantly surprised during this visit.
It’s exciting to have an increase in vegan options all around, even if it doesn’t seem like a lot, it means a great deal to students who rely on the meal plans.
While UTA is surely improving, UNT’s vegan dining hall is a truly dream come true–UTA’s Vegan Club and I paid them a visit recently, to meet up with UNT’s vegan group. It was a worthwhile trek for good company and good food. We were met with more than enough vegan options to choose from, including fresh focaccia bread sandwiches, tostadas, soft serve ice cream and adorable tapioca pudding shots.
It was heavenly, and my first time having tapioca pudding! Special thanks to Ken Botts, the special projects manager for UNT’s Dining Services, for welcoming us so warmly, and for giving us advice on how to improve vegan options at UTA!
For those who may not know, the vegan cafeteria at UNT inspired UTA students to push for more vegan options on our own campus. We probably won’t have an all vegan cafeteria at UTA, but we appreciate the progress and we are grateful for the cooking staff’s efforts here.
What vegan things have you tried at UTA’s Connection Cafe? Have you been to UNT’s vegan cafeteria? If so, what elements would you like UTA to incorporate from UNT’s practices? Please share your experiences with me below, and feel free to contact UTA’s Dining Services to let them know what you think.
- Students need more vegetarian/vegan food options at UT-Arlington (theshorthorn.com)
- Student Congress sees firsthand the need for more vegan transparency (theshorthorn.com)
- UTA Student Congress votes unanimously in favor of ‘vegan’ resolution (theshorthorn.com)
- Vegan Dining Resolution at UTA: hurdles and results (plantcrush.co)
- UT Arlington’s Connection Cafe makes strides with vegan line (plantcrush.co)