Saturday, December 13, 2014

Virtual Vegan Potluck: One Minute Pumpkin Rocky Road Mug Cake

Welcome to another round of Virtual Vegan Potluck!
Hello all! By now you have reached the very sweet end! To get back to Veggie Don't Bite's Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Pretzel Frosting click here and to reach the very beginning of the Potluck to appetizers and all click here!

Mug of goodness.
Finally, I have obtained vegan marshmallows that do not contain corn syrup. It's a rare thing nowadays. Chicago Vegan Foods has succeeded by changing their recipe using tapioca syrup instead. Squishy and fluffy like white spherical cubes of the past, sweet flavor and spring form texture perfectly mimics old favorite. Treasured childhood desserts like Rice Krispy Treats, S'mores, and Rocky Road can now be made thanks to new salvation.
Air Puffed Classic Vanilla Flavored Dandies.
First on the list is tackling Rocky Road. A yummy concoction of ooey gooey marshmallows combined with chocolate and nuts. I found this quick, easy delicious recipe on Chocolate Covered Katie's wonderful vegan treats blog. The twist, however, involves a bit of pumpkin puree which provides moisture and autumn flare. It is barely noticeable until some fantastic pumpkin pie spice is added. Once it escapes the microwave expect marshmallow and chocolate to ooze out from mug confines, tantalizing mouth watering sight as delightful as how warm treat melts on the tongue.

One Minute Pumpkin Rocky Road Mug Cake Ingredients and Preparation

coconut oil spray
5 Chicago Vegan Foods Dandies marshmallows
2 tablespoon cocoa powder
3 tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup pumpkin purée
2 tablespoon agave nectar or maple syrup
3 tablespoon almond milk
handful of nuts (I used pecans and walnuts)
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
pinch of cinnamon
So Delicious Coco Whip or homemade coconut cream

Spray mug with generous amount of coconut oil spray.
Piece marshmallows and set them inside.
Combine cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt together.
Add pumpkin puree, agave nectar, almond milk, nuts, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon to mixture.
Microwave for one minute.
Top with generous bit of Coco Whip. 

Coco Whip just melts into the decadent marshmallow chocolateness.
Nothing is going to spill on Carrie Mae Weems! Spoon just adored the corners to bits.
Digging in.
Best cake in a minute ever!


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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

What Happened In Toronto Just Cannot Stay In Toronto

Well, instead of a deejay, I have been saved by splendid joys happening in a single day, in one spectacular city. In the photo above, I captured magic mist. 
"Time is the most valuable thing a man (woman, etc.) can spend."-Theophrastus

Sunday was a comic's dream. So many cracked jokes. So much addictive fun. Time, however, was most wonderful gift bestowed. That people sacrifice a brisk weekend for charity giving, spending hours with fans, and simply hanging out around a fascinating town touched sensitive bohemian spirit. I don't think one hundred repetitive "thank yous" expresses length of gratitude flooding through my veins.
I found myself dazzled and overjoyed about coming to Kate Linder's Young and the Restless Tea Event-- funds raised to support March of Dimes, a 63-year-old organization committed to offering people with disabilities advantages, showing them deserved human decency, gracious patience, and amiable respect. Kate (Esther) would be co-hosting and actors-- Sean Carrigan (Stitch), Bryton James (Devon), and Toronto native Mishael Morgan (Hilary) of fictional Genoa City came along to freely support her as well as engage with dedicated fans. If you must know, I am a new found fan of the Hevon pairing-- portmanteau of Hilary and Devon characters flawlessly played by Mishael and Bryton. I came because of them, in hopes of them. Kate and Sean were just cake frosting. And cake frosting is addicting.
First of all, I took the roaring, exploring 11:30 PM Megabus up to Canada, on top deck seats. I had forgotten red lipstick and my copy of Morris Micklewhite, a little bummed. Yet wheels rolled round and round and we escaped Philadelphia's rain showers. Sky happenings started unveiling beautiful imagery. One must take ample advantage of the clear rooftop windows-- never know what might dazzle eyes. Rather enjoyable lying on back, watching steadfast moonlight follow in hot pursuit, shining on mystical white clouds swirling about. Either Big Dipper or Little Dipper revealed itself. Brightest story element sat on constellation edge, sparkling prettier than most expensive diamond. I wanted to make a wish on it, but the trip was already at a corny phase. Didn't want to push it further.
By morning, everyone had to go to U.S. Customs. Lo and behold they ask for passports and reasons for leaving the country.
"I'm attending a soap opera convention." Yes, I tried sounding normal-- keeping excitement to hushed minimum. Because a compulsive fangirl going to afternoon tea trying best not to act like crazy Mad Hatter was going to be laughable. Agent had the straight, non expression face like a London guard, but his blue eyes sparkled mischievously. It wasn't a secret that he probably found daunting "excuse" quite funny and would laugh about it later once out of earshot.
"Have a good time,"  he said.
Once hitting pass Canadian border, my phone went into Roger Wireless Status, meaning "you're on your own! I help you no further!" It was like Frodo leaving Sam at the end of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Frodo left Sam the Shire and bounced off on trotting horse, never looking back. My phone left me a shell devoid of its functions. Darn it AT&T it's Canada. Not across the glittery Atlantic. So rude.
I was happy to discover a Starbucks near the exit stop. Hot Gingerbread Soy Milk Latte calmed frustrated nerves and warmed chilled spirits. I passed time drawing pictures and listening to various dialects and languages. From time to time, I commiserated over fabulous downtown architecture, reveling in the Momotofu dragon out front.

Most elaborate dragon sculpture! Kind of reminds me of Brancusi's style.
Alas, it was nearing two-- time of the tea hour. I left rather late, feeling sugared rushing anticipation slowly dying on the cold walk towards 1 Harbour Square. Confidence coffee didn't perform well. I should not have gotten decaf. When I finally reached destination, after entering wrong building and taking short skywalk, I stood in the lobby twiddling anxious thumbs, too freaking nervous to burst through closed doors. Kind, gentle custodian lady, with sweetest thick accent, lured me into reality and convinced me that there was nothing to be scared of. Yes, sometimes with abyssal self doubt it is far too easy to stay deeply latched inside complicated butterfly knots. Its both oceanic uncertainty and nonsensical turmoil brewing erratic beans together.

R.I.P. to one of the bravest, most courageous men in South African history. Nelson Mandela touched the whole wide world.
No turns.
Thought it would be more castle shaped. Seriously. I looked out for ivory towers and narrow draw bridges over lengthy clear water moats.  
Interior was richly captivating. Found perfect place to dance. Right where railing is polished gold and twinkling disco balls reflect on soft velvet carpet.
"Finally you got here!" exclaimed a blond haired stranger.  I don't even think she knew whom I was, but I cracked a smile at hearing excited declaration.
I received ticket and crept into the vast enchanting ballroom, settling into lavishly set table 24. Sterling silver tea pots, water filled wine glasses, white cloth napkins-- all beautifully displayed. Plus a pink tote bag sat in my designated seat. Four cast members were just in the midst of introducing themselves. 
"Is this your bag?" I quietly asked red dress lady beside me.
"No. That's yours," she replied, gesturing at hers under the table.
I sat rapt and attentive, listening to everyone answer questions. FYI: The ladies are attached, Bryton is single, and Sean is splitting up. Not sure if this information means anything to anyone reading today….
So someone asked a Gwen question. Y&R Backstory: Gwen is a character married Hilary has thrust into Devon's world in order to make it seem like the special woman in his life is really not Hilary herself. I caught edge of Bryton's response. Put a smile on my face. Find the link here: "Hilary Is the Love of Devon's Life."

video

Another divine "Hevon" moment y'all. 
Sean starts the auction off with a Diesel plaid shirt worn by his character Stitch. He was like, "what? They're selling this shirt? It's mine!" Hahahaha!!!! It sold for $325 and the winner kissed his cheek. Sweet.
Bryton stripping and trying on the sized "small" J Crew sweater cardigan. I think some women wanted everything off, but wouldn't that have been weird wearing a cardigan jacket and nothing else? Plus there were kids present. Well, not really.... Although I did feel like an enchanted child at a candy store throughout everything.
The million dollar mega watt smile lit up dimly crowded room. And that was probably partly why the sweater cardigan sold for $350. Seriously. If I could I would have thrown in my wallet into the ring. And looked wildly insane doing so.
Mishael auctioned off the really cute, chic low cut Banana Republic olive green dress from the memorable Thanksgiving episode. 
The dress sold for $350!
Yes!!!!! Thank you FYeahHevon!!! 
Sean was a real hoot! I don't know him or his character very much, but witnessing him in action during the event was a mind blowing full course meal of nonstop laughter. Incredibly funny man! Must see his stand up comedy sometime. He was my first bear hug of the evening. I made everyone little cards and purchased four different dark chocolate flavors of ChocoloveXOXO bars for them. He asked if there was a million dollars in it. At hearing "no" he was greatly disappointed and wanted to return the chocolate. "I don't want it!" He shouted, sounding like a spoiled rotten adult child. I laughed and shook my head, amazed. All in all, he said he must sign something for me. Took my pink gift tote and signed real name and "Stitch" at the bottom. That was such a pleasure. Except guilty confession: I wrote in his card about the Stitch/Ashley shower scene..... Ahem. I also must add that earlier he said that all Y&R stars appreciate Twitter immensely. That when they favorite your tweets that's their  way of saying "thank you" and that they see it. Kind of makes me laugh remembering Thanksgiving. In the middle of having family dinner, my phone beeped to alert me that Bryton just favorite'd a tweet. I almost choked on a roll, but that's another story....
Everyone please applaud for Kate Linder. She is the champion here, the one who made this rapturous surreal experience a reality. And to think as a little girl I enjoyed Esther the fun, overprotective maid and her adventures at Mrs. C.'s mansion. I still cannot believe she wasn't supposed to be a long term character. Would have never thought we would meet or that she would be the reason this event is at all possible. I am so indebted to her right now. Her passionate steadfast role to March of Dimes, working that enthused crowd to raise money was such an energetic sight.
The hug! It actually happened. I think one of the most poignant moments here was knowing that in midst of family crisis, he still came out to see fans, to find joy in these strangers whom love sitting in front of their TV sets cherishing oldest form of "love in the afternoon" medium. Earlier we had just discussed Kristoff St. John's devastating tragedy and the loss of Jeanne Cooper. To hear Bryton was in the middle of his own private matter, but came to event on the red eye made my eyes water. Very sweet and meaningful, truly heart touching. I hoped he found comfort in us all and carried with him on the flight back home that we devoted fans love and appreciate his talent, work ethic, charisma, and warmth. He and his family are in my prayers as well as others. When I reached him, after discussing with Mishael the joys of chocolate, I forced Bryton to open up the little envelope (after customary fangirl scream and "hello!"). There it was the lion/portrait hybrid of a false Soap Opera Digest cover. We talked about art, Philadelphia, fan events. He asked how long I had watched Y&R (since age 5!) and if I had ever visited California (no). Sounds like I may have to visit the West Coast at least once. My travels have been solely stuck to East Coast happenings. Now I feel even more envious towards the three auction winners who get to visit the closed Genoa City set (yet they raised a combined whopping total for $15,000 for March of Dimes!). I would have loved to hang out at the Genoa City Athletic Club and dare Lily to push me off the rooftop deck pool.... Any who, still,  it was cordial of Bryton to make short conversation despite time constraint and monstrous line. He could have said, "keep it moving! Keep it moving!" But I watched individualized attentiveness, giving each supportive fan opportunity to really meet him. And yes, I shook his hand. He has a great handshake. Thank heaven!
The card being opened. With watercolor and colored pencil,intention behind false Soap Opera Digest covers for them was because I'm outraged that despite Hevon having supercouple potential, they have yet to grace frontal magazine cover. Maybe due to the story written onscreen right now, but still... Only once has CBS Soaps In Depth covered them-- in August! Bryton said it was one of the best things anyone has ever made for him. Ladies and gentleman: he read the entire little paragraph! Of course, I wrote something along the lines of all of his fans adore him. I promised Twitter peeps that I would let share the gospel of love and support. Art is the way. Art is always the way for me.
Mishael is soooo funny! Seriously. "Oh so I'm not good enough to have a one on one photo?" She asked, smiling kindly anyway, adding, "you just want Hevon huh?" Yes. Yes I did. Still, I do wish we had that photo op. Next time. I loved seeing other pics swarming Twitter. They took great shots with everyone. So fun! Well, I think Mishael, Bryton, and I took a great pic with my new vegan green bag making a huge cameo. What charming, humble talents they are! Cannot wait to see them more on the soapy silver screen! Worth the trip! :)
Starstruck Part 1 over, I quickly raced to the swanky hotel lobby with ferocious lightning speed and found my next joyous occasion. My dearest Tutti sat waiting, all comfortably dressed in a cozy sweater. We hugged and headed outside, hailing a cab. I lied to the driver and told him it was my birthday. Yes. Exactly two months ago. It was my 2 month birthday anniversary-- easily the best 2 month birthday anniversary ever...
I was treated to a grand tour of downtown Toronto, pleased by the arts and culture. It's a fantastic city ripened with fresh possibilities. Saw classical inspired drawings created by talented students, architecture weaving modernism and postmodern design, and corner cafes and restaurants teasingly tantalizing vegan curiosity. Definitely not the last time I'll be venturing around Canada.
Christine met us at the fancy Art Square. Her children's book I mentioned earlier-- Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress is a must read pleasantly illustrated tale battling gender roles, feast to visually stimulating eyes and words to stir ravenous mind. Bless her heart. She gave us second printing copies. Not only was there an autograph, but one of the most thoughtfully generous paragraphs ever written to me. I was watery eyed for the millionth time. People can give so much. It's an overwhelming surprise when feeling grossly undeserving of such infectious merriment.

Art Gallery of Ontario. Impressive design inside and out. 
I must see Basquiat. I must! I must!! He is one of my favorite artists in the whole wide world.   We made plans.
"It is rare for art to matter to us more than cake." So true.
This is OCAD-- an art school near Toronto's answer to the Seattle Space Needle. Whereas PAFA has a Claes Oldenburg paintbrush, this art school has pencils. Maybe I should have applied here.  See I'm more drawing than painting these days. However, that might change. I'm taking painting with Scott Noel next semester!
Pencil permanently lodged inside roof. 
This is the bottom. It's astonishing pencils without leaded points hold this building together. Quite brilliant. 
Hot spicy hot chocolate made with soy milk.  The little wooden spoon was charming. 
The most amazing lentil soup with lentils spiced and cooked to "meaty" perfection. I lapped it up with heath wheat bread, satisfied by a seemingly modest yet fulfilling meal. Yes, eventually I did realize I hadn't eaten the whole entire day (except some fruit at the tea) and this was more than satisfying.
At Art Square amongst crepes, smoothies, and hot chocolates, us gals talked and talked like we had met ages ago, like we had been lifelong bosom buddies forever. It felt genuinely natural this cyber sphere camaraderie built on shared soap opera love amongst other syncing traits. Time was the doom and gloom, spelling out disaster like Cinderella and the stroke of midnight. I had until 7:30 PM. Although getting trapped in Toronto stuck in a charming royal blue white birds dress and splattered paint boots didn't sound so bad, flunking seminar did.

My autographed second edition Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress.
Sea Salt Chocolat, 100% cacao bar for the best hot chocolate ever (cannot wait to try this!!), and Organic Cocoa Chai-- funniest coincidence-- I gave the ladies both packets of Tazo Organic Chocolate Chai Tea. Great minds….
My two dear friends walked me to the station where an alluring man loaded suitcases. It was then again that I regretted not bringing sketchbook. I would have loved capturing delightful, fantastic gestures of this whole entire day, especially in watercolors! Just so vivid, so fluid how paced joyous Sunday became.
More hugs occurred and devout promises of returning. Probably a record hug day for a recluse. Never embraced so many strangers in one day before. Except in a way they're not strangers. Maybe strangers in a physical way. But emotionally and mentally speaking, they're another kind of family. The soaps. The fans of the soaps. The building companionship with both.

Window life.
Fast paced flashy lights as transport zooms past.
Last abstract shot of Toronto's bright nightlife.
U.S. Customs Part 2: I was again asked why and if importing weapons.
"I was there for a soap opera event."
"Really? Where?"
"At a swanky hotel at the Westin Castle on 1 Harbour Square."
"Where is that?"
"In Toronto."
"That was all I needed to know."
"Oh."
"Are you on television?"
"Huh?"
"Are you an actress?"
"NO!" 
Not only was I told to take off hat and eyeglasses, I had to stop laughing. Ladies and gentleman the latter was hard.
Sniffing golden retriever rudely put his head into my gifted tote bag and demanded a poppyseed bagel. Of course, I did not oblige him.
I made it to Monday morning seminar class on time. Performed in group collaboration project reciting Paul Celan poetry. Lastly, sank into a chair, cheesing hard like I had some secret buried inside that no one knew about. Until now. 
The end.



Sunday, November 30, 2014

Daiya's Fire Roasted Vegetable Pizza

Talk about a delicious surprise.
Happy last day of November! The month seemed to sweep by fast. It just came and drove off with lightning speed.
Alas our little wonderful Dayton vacation is over. Saw my family and my sweet friends. Such a special slew of unforgettable memories acquired in a course of seven days.
I tried Daiya frozen pizza for the first time. I'm sure every vegan has eaten or wanted to eat them.  I'm here to egg on curiosity. They were on sale at Kroger for $7.19. So of course I had to pick one. Between Cheese Lovers, Mushroom & Roasted Garlic, and Fire-Roasted Vegetable I went with the latter. Monstrously pleased with amazingly cooked end results. Thin crust was flavorful, chewy consistency, minor delicate crunch. Not bland or overly salty. That I enjoyed. Sweet, savory tomato sauce base blended marvelously with delicious melted Daiya signature mozzarella and generous amount of peppers and onions. It wasn't even as greasy as the delivery pizzas of old. Just a terrific balance of layered ingredients and a hearty crust strongly holding satisfaction together. Cannot wait to try other flavors.
The only problem was that I couldn't find two other people to share with.
Ate the whole thing in one sitting. And feel no shame. 
Bravo Daiya! Excellent addition to an already impressive arsenal of vegan products.

Used the bake on cardboard method and it came out splendid!
Slice one.
Perfect.Anxious to try the other ones!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Chocolate Almond Butter Cranberry Smoothie

Have no plans for leftover cranberry sauce? Well have no fear.
Yesterday was a fantastic breeze.
Participated in Blackout Black Friday. 
No shopping. No spending hard earned dollars on retail garbage. No point in all that when there's no justice in this country. Plus reading books, writing, cooking, painting, and family time were far more valuable to consume. We went to see the annual children's parade. Saw our modest city engage in igniting holiday spirit to young and old.
RTA's "Happy Holidays" green trolley bus. It's the first time its been down Third & Main for a grip. Ahem....
DP&L reminding us that heat bills will rise. Cool blue trees though.
Sesame Street characters dancing jigs.
Candy canes and "candied" trees.
Tinsel and glitter and colored lights galore-- only during the holidays does downtown Dayton look so alive and vibrant. Beautiful sight despite chilly cold.
Crowd anticipating the next surprise.
Baby Princeton upset over Auntie J leaving for school tomorrow. Just kidding. He was hungry and not used to being out at dinner time. Still. So cute. I miss him already.
So what is a vegan to do with her extra cranberry sauce? She is fresh out of Gardein Turk'y Cutlets (terrific by the way!) and there's no stuffing. Might as well make a sweetie sweetheart smoothie right? Yes, sweetie sweetheart. Cranberries are vividly red like a heart and made into a sauce-- the tartness becomes so sweet. Corny, I know, but they're cold honest facts. I figured using Wild Friends Almond Butter would be a perfect accompaniment. Never had cranberries in a smoothie-- let alone with a nut butter, especially a chocolate sunflower seed nut butter. This treat isn't for those who despise little chunky pieces of real fruit. Despite wide variety of fruit, cranberries and nut butter seeds stand out. Just the way I wanted it.

Chocolate Almond Butter Cranberry Smoothie Ingredients and Preparation

1 1/2 cup cranberry sauce
1/2 cup frozen fruit (used mix of cherries, strawberries, and blueberries)
1 banana, ripened
2 tablespoon water
1 packet Wild Friends All Natural Chocolate Sunflower Seed Almond Butter
pinch of cocoa powder

There is only one step. Blend all the ingredients together. Bam. Sweet and terrific blend of nuttiness and tart. No tofurkey required.
Amazing! Contents that didn't make blender made my greedy fingers instead. Wickedly sinful delicious discovery. Not too sweet. Specks of crunchy bliss missing from traditional smooth vegan chocolate peanut butters out there. Been dying for texture and Wild Friends delivers!
Get ready for cranberry smoothie 'staches just in time to end Movember.