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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Marmalade Hazelnut Coffee Cake

This is now my go-to coffee cake recipe; it's the "East Coast Coffee Cake" in Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I've made it a few times now, and only altered it slightly to make it just a bit healthier.

I've used strawberry jam and raspberry jam in the past, but today I tried marmalade. I generally like marmalade, but this one (that Bonne Maman in the picture there) is SOUR. Very tart. Difficult to eat. I decided that I needed to find something to cook with it, since eating it straight up on toast was out of the question. I also discovered some hazelnuts, so I put it all together.

Marmalade Hazelnut Coffee Cake:

3/4 c. flour
4-6 Tbsp. oil
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/3 c. ground hazelnuts

3/4 c. soy milk+ 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. applesauce
1 Tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 1/4 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. ground hazelnuts

First, prepare the hazelnuts. Toast them in an oven (or toaster oven) for 10 minutes at 350*. Then, after they cool, rub them in a paper towel to remove as much of the skins as you can. Pulse in a coffee/spice grinder until they are mostly ground up. In a measuring cup, mix together the soy milk and the vinegar, and set aside until the cake step.

Topping first! In a bowl, mix together the topping ingredients with your fingers. Add the oil by the tablespoon, until you have lots of crumbs.

Now cake! Mix together the cake ingredients in a large bowl; dry first, then wet. Add the hazelnuts last. Pour into a square pan.

Finally, jam! Since this jam was so tart, I mixed in about 2 Tbsp. brown sugar with my 3-4 Tbsp. of jam. Then I glopped it on top, mixed it around, and called it good.
Add the topping and press it down. Bake in a 375* oven for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Lovely crumby goodness!
Serve with your choice of coffee or tea. 16 servings= approx. 150 calories/serving

Snow Update

A few weeks ago, we had 10 dead trees taken out of our front yard.It was quite an endeavor, but I'm so glad we had it done.

Because then it snowed. Birds had to fend for food, sometimes in groups of 10.
Front yard
My poor little fig tree, hanging on.
Crazy back porch of snow
It's started to melt, but there's still quite a bit left!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I'm going to Portland this weekend, and I feel like I should have a huge pile of vegan places to eat... but I don't. We're going to Voodoo Donuts, and a cupcake place (so the cakespy portion of our trip is covered) and The Fabric Depot (no trip to P-town is complete without that!) and probably Powell's. Any suggestions??

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Star Garland

A while ago, I came across a post on a crafty blog that was ridiculously cute, and I knew I had to make one. Luckily, I had a pile of FIMO clay stashed in my craft room. I rolled some out, and cut out some stars with a teeny tiny clay cutting star. Then I baked them. After they cooled, I got to work. (This whole thing was done over many days, an hour or two at a time.) I made a color pattern with the stars, and started gluing them to a think off-white ribbon, about 1.5 inches apart, with a piece of round sparkly confetti in the middle.Then I realized that a piece of confetti on the back would help secure the star to the ribbon, so I added that.

Lots of time and glue later, it was done!! (all the way down my stairs... but it was hard to get a photo of the whole thing without knocking out a wall.)

You could probably make them with all other kinds of shapes (hearts, flowers, frogs? what have you) for other seasons too. But, with how long this took... it's up until February for sure!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fancy Soaps

Being a teacher, I get my share of soaps and beauty products given to me as gifts. Some are completely addictive, and some are maybe not so great. Here are some of the ones currently in my collection. Origins Ginger Hand Soap: This stuff is AMAZING. It smells like ginger tea and is so lovely that I wish they had a perfume of it. OMG THEY DO! Sounds like that's going on my Birthday List!

I buy some Estrella soaps every year at the Urban Craft Uprising craft fair. It's all vegan and handmade... and there are star shapes pressed into every bar.

This one was a gift from my sister-in-law. It's really smooth and smells very nice; will have to try it soon!

I discovered the Filthy Farmgirl line at a Farmer's market in Hilo, Hawaii. I ended up talking to one of the owners for quite a while, as John was talking to someone in another booth forever (and he had all the money). They have lots of soaps that sound kind of naughty (Filthy Beaver, Filthy Balls, etc..) but the designs are always ultra cute. And the smell? I kept out Filthy Unicorn for over a month, just to walk by and sniff it. (Maybe I'm kind of weird.) They also ship for free to the U.S., and give you some free soap if you buy piles of it. (i.e. over $12 worth.. so a small pile really.)

And... years of working at a French school got me hooked on L'Occitane products. Especially the hand lotion. And the bubble bath. And the piles of free stuff I get whenever I buy the hand lotion and bubble bath together (because it's freaking expensive). But yeah, their hand lotion can't be beaten, period.

This concludes my soap drawer show-and-tell. Hope you liked it!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Kale, White Bean, and Yam Soup

This is only somewhat adapted from Joy the Baker, but man, I love this soup! I made it at my Holiday Cookie Party this year, as the healthy side of the eating-cookies-til-we-burst event.... and everyone loved it. (just like she does, even served over brown rice) I was kind of riced-out yesterday, so here is what I did last night:

Kale, White Bean, and Yam Soup of Amazingness:

1 Tbsp olive oil
1.5 large yams (I had a half left over... you can totally do two though) peeled and diced
1 medium sized onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp. fresh ginger, diced very finely
3/4 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. red chili flakes
1 can white beans, drained
1/2 c. quinoa
6 c. veggie broth
1 can coconut milk (I used light, but any will work)
1/2 a bunch of kale (or more to your liking), chopped finely

In a large pot, heat the oil, onions, and garlic over medium heat. Add the spices and ginger, and then pour in the broth. Add the quinoa and the beans, cook for 20-25 minutes. If a large amount of the broth is absorbed, add another cup or two. Then add the coconut milk and the kale. Cook until the kale is pliable and the stalk part is soft.

Serve with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bamboo Garden

Last night, for my sister's goodbye dinner (before she flew back to NYC) we went to the Bamboo Garden. It's a bit of a tradition for us, mostly because a.) the food is awesome b.) they are really good about accomodating a large group of loud people.... And c.) They have balls.

On the menu, it's called Mandarin Chicken, or General Tso's Chicken... but we call it "balls". We make ball jokes all night, along the lines of "I want those balls in my mouth" and "No response? No balls!"

We find it hilarious.

Anyway, they are a pretty amazing vegan Chinese place that if you've never been there before, you should totally go to. They're on Roy Street, down by the Seattle Center.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Tuscan Lentil Stoup

It's part soup, part stew, kind of almost risotto-ish. It's Tuscan Lentil Stoup, and it's here to kick off my 30 Days of Vegan Dinners Extravaganza!
After a month of eating waay too much bread, sugar, butter, cookies, and treats, I think it's time to get back to eating normal foods. And normal around here means veggies. And rice. And beans. And tofu. And things not made by Nabisco.
Here we go!
Tuscan Lentil Stoup:
1 c. brown lentils
1 c. brown rice
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, diced (I used about 7 mini peppers; sometimes those things are cheaper than buying a few big ones!)
3 large leaves of dino kale, chopped finely
1/2 bottle white wine (about 1.75 cups)
4-5 c. vegetable broth

In a large pot, heat the oil to medium and add the onions and garlic. Stir it around for a couple of minutes, until the onion is cooked through. Add the peppers and stir a bit more. Add the lentils and the rice, and the wine. Breathe in the deliciousness. Then add the broth, and let it cook for 20-25 minutes. (until most of the water is absorbed) Add the kale and cook for 5 more minutes, then eat!

Serve with salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy (actual) New Year!

I have a lot of plans for this new year, (and new month)! I've made up a 30-days' worth of vegan dinner plans, (using mostly whole foods and lots of healthiness), but am also going to throw in a tiny bit of decadence, probably involving crazy breakfasts. There will be sewing and crafts, and chickens, and dogs for sure!

There may also be some pensive moments:
And sarcastic ones:

And maybe some New Year's blower fights, just for fun:

All in all, there is a lot in store here at the Crafty Cakewagon. See you tomorrow with a hearty Tuscan Lentil Stoup. (yes, may have slightly stolen that word from Rachael Ray.)