A Short Visit Home Part One: Butter Cafe Goodies & Mom Love

Whenever in Dayton, a vegan’s best bet is always a morning trek to Butter Café for delicious plant based dishes. I tried out the tofu scramble tacos (which was a special of the day) on a bed of mixed greens with a side of breakfast potatoes.

After breakfast, I visited my mom who is in fine spirits. I thank everyone for their well wishes. She is doing great. I brought her my first watercolor still life that I completed in a continuing education class. Mom liked the piece so much, it’s pinned to her corkboard alongside with a craft bunny she made on Easter.

It was difficult to pick a cupcake. I love having many vegan options to pick from. Unfortunately, there were no lemon treasures and I hadn’t had the time to find the raw vegan lady specializing in raw lemon blueberry cheesecakes. Yet Butter Café is no mere loser. In fact, I think we scored big with these pretty delights. I decided with the vegan trio– strawberry kiwi, snickerdoodle, and banana.

As we watched Maleficent, we ate our delightful, yummylicious cupcakes, the beautiful yellow rose banana being a sweet surprise. Ma had the strawberry kiwi (which flavor wise was the best! with a fruity, citrus cake and light frosting).

All in all, I enjoyed spending precious moments with my mom. I only see her once a year. Perhaps, I must change this habit. Time is a short, fickle thing that one cannot take lightly. The second I saw her smiling wide, sitting in her wheelchair waving from the window was a highlight of this trip back to Ohio.  I learned a lot: from talking a bunch about past and future, watching her undergo leg therapy, beating her old walking distance on the walker, retaining a happy spirit….
There are just some experiences a child (even at adult age) shouldn’t miss out on when it comes to their parents. They are getting older, but also fragile too.

Snickerdoodle Milkshake

Vegan Mofo Minifoo for May asks for our favorites.
Well, one of my favorite treats is homemade snickerdoodles. There’s something irresistible about an entire kitchen smelling of a baking magician sprinkling a vast cinnamon spell that takes over the whole entire home. Plus my hands enjoy the task of forming sugar dough balls and rolling them in cinnamon-sugar mix. It’s the best fun!
For today, the guilty pleasure cookie turns into a scrumptious milkshake with the aide of So Delicious’s amazing Snickerdoodle Cashew Milk Ice Cream and an extra dose of cinnamon fixation.

Snickerdoodle Milkshake Ingredients and Preparation

1 cup So Delicious Snickerdoodle Cashew Milk Ice Cream
1 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk, chilled
2 tablespoon date syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 little Snickerdoodle Cookies (like Enjoy Life Foods Soft Baked or homemade)

Blend all ingredients together until thick and smooth.

Highlights of Vegan Philly Popup at Tattooed Mom’s: Gone Pie & Newman’s Boulangerie

A few weeks ago, straight after work, I raced down to South Street just in the nick of time for Philly May Mini Vegan Pop Up Flea. There were vendors galore selling vegan wares, some of which were packing up and leaving for the day. Others were still thriving and relaxing, chatting with last minute stragglers. I finally got to meet the owner/creator of one of my favorite fair trade chocolate brands, Barb of Gone Pie, who kindly set aside my requested IG treats.

In continuing my favorite vegan things for Vegan Minifoo, I wanted to express my joy of chocolate, especially fair trade chocolate and Gone Pie’s addictive creativity. At Gone Pie, which offers a unique subscription service as well as being sold at various NYC locations, they specialize in brownies, pies, candies, chocolate covered pretzels, and more. Now this chocolate, Food Empowerment Project approved, is decadent, sweet, and pleasant– all the adjectives chocolate should be and more– but with the added benefit of where the chocolate is sourced.

Newman’s Boulangerie made out of this world croissants with the irresistible combination of soft and flaky and a not too salty flavor. I look forward to consuming more and more of these in my near future. Maybe someday they’ll collaborate with Gone Pie for a special edition chocolate stuffed croissant (best of both worlds!).

Chocolate Raspberry Sauce

How about making chocolate raspberry sauce, pouring thick luxury in a glass jar, and placing a bow tie around the lid? It’s plausible. Chocoholic friends will swoon. Raspberry lovers will be thrilled.
Holiday desserts are the best. Creative bakers seem to be at their most artisan peak, standing over hot ovens (and freezers if raw makers), excited for homemade pies, cakes, and tarts. Sweetened chocolate meets tangy ripened raspberries in a tantalizing sauce meant to trickle over the most decadent creations.
Chocolate raspberry Sauce can be perfect hot fudge sauce substitute, a maple syrup replacement, cake icing and more. The possibilities are endless. And sweet.

Chocolate Raspberry Sauce Ingredients and Preparation

1/3 cup almond milk
1/4 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon Bee Free Honee (agave nectar or maple syrup too)
1/3 cup raspberries (or raspberry jam)
3 tablespoon Trader Joe’s coconut cream
1 teaspoon raspberry extract

In a medium saucepan, combine almond milk, chocolate chips, and sweetener.
Once the chocolate is completely melted, add in raspberries (or jam), coconut cream, and raspberry extract.
Turn off heat and carefully fill a jar.
Keep refrigerated. Can be served warm or chilled.

Raspberry & Strawberry Yogurt Smoothie

Nothing like a fruit smoothie to combat the blues.
Consuming milky products isn’t usually advised– at least I think so. Since we’re all vegan around these parts– dairy free to be exact– no harm done. Plus, I have been a good patient, consuming soup galore, drinking fluids, and sleeping more than routine.
I neglected the Soy Chocolate Chip Cherry ice cream in the freezer, making chocolate avocado puddings, and racing down to grab the latest Dottie’s Donuts (okay lying here–I did grab some, but they’re in the fridge!). Instead a fruity smoothie was a more beneficial step in the healing direction. Sort of.
Recently, Daiya has released their new Greek Style Yogurts. I couldn’t be happier when spying them on Whole Foods Market shelves last week! They’re currently on sale 2/$3. I shall have my review up shortly. For now, it’s time to celebrate a simple blended smoothie that’s not too sweet and blissfully wonderful.

Raspberry & Strawberry Yogurt Smoothie Ingredients and Preparation

Daiya Greek Style Strawberry Yogurt
8 raspberries + 3 for garnish
1/2 cup almond milk (or any other dairy free alternative)
cinnamon stick (optional)

Add ingredients into blender and pulse together.
Garnish with extra raspberries and a cinnamon stick.

A Taste of Yummylicious ‘Dao Palate’ In Brooklyn

According to Google, Dao Palate was the closest vegan restaurant near Brooklyn Museum. Famished “math” genius and all, I figured equation was worth trying out. There were a bunch of vegan-friendly stickers on the door appeasing and tantalizing my hunger. Yay! Sleek elegant pan-Asian flair atmosphere featured muted lights, wooden tables, and black seating. Modest attendance. Plus I must commend the waiter. Nothing better than a kind, super attentive waiter. My water glass stayed full. That always makes me happy. Always.

Raspberry white cheesecake was a sure fire winner. Sure it looks like a tiny slice of affection,. No. It was in fact a thick slab of mouth watering sweet allure. I made sure to eat slowly in order to savor gracious balance between thin layered tangy raspberry puree over towering white chocolate satisfaction. Creamy, firm, and slightly chilled with a dollop of whipped topping to tease the eye and whet the chocoholic spirit. Perfect end to a grand sumptuous meal.

Happy October! Theo Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups VS. Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Happy October! Now the best month (birthday month!) in the entire universe begins. Cannot believe nine months has passed by and we’re almost finished with 2014.
Today I had two lovely critiques- one by Eileen and another unassigned visit with one of Post Baccalaureate faculty- Neysa. I cannot pick a favorite when it comes to those four faculty members (Neysa, Mark, Jan, and Michael). Just know that they became an elemental reason why I returned for the MFA program. Current critics: Eileen, Keith, and Dan are pretty awesome too. With Eileen and Neysa, I enjoyed both studio visits immensely and received valuable insight onto where to push this new work. Hoping to someday share some upcoming progress with you all, especially my big fairy tale inspired installation, Nappylocs and the Three Combs.
In other news, I experienced the incredible performance artist Eiko Otako. We had the most invigorating workshop. Not only did students draw her body in motion, we also got to move and create our own five minute choreography in the University Arts dance studio. Wow! What an experience. Can’t dance to save my life so of course I was surprised that someone asked me if I danced. I held back a lot of laughter. I was just mimicking Eiko– she moved with such timely grace and eloquence. I wanted to simply embody sensually methodical instruction.
Anyways, let’s get onto a unique competition involving the vegan’s answer to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I adored those dented rounded edged peanut butter centering thin chocolate layer throughout childhood. During Halloween, I had an extreme penchant for buying clearance Reese Cup miniatures and stuffing my face with more than nine (nine was the serving size).
Let me introduce the challengers: Theo Chocolate’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups and Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.
They are judged by price, packaging, originality, and taste.

When it comes to price, Justin’s wins. Victory is a minor yet easy one. In this day in age every little bit counts. Save thirty cents. $1.99 is pretty reasonable. In general, dark chocolate is a sweet that must be savored slow and lifted up to nose like fine wine. There’s something about aromatic properties in chocolate that heightens joyous occasion. So yes, that Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup is a steal.
Theo Chocolate is the winner in packaging. Although mostly white composition like Justin’s, Theo’s catchy lower case script font, pops of orange and yellow, captivating well bitten melted chocolate over peanut butter photograph, and the red-orange smiley face gets attention right away. It says that these dark chocolate cups hold the key to all suitable vegan chocoholic needs. Theo also scores major originality points for its unique heart shape, thick width, and presenting sans paper. This romantic treat doesn’t say have me for Valentine’s or Sweetest Day. This is the chocolate that loves right and holds nothing back.
When it comes to taste, Justin’s wins by superior landslide. As mentioned earlier, smell has a lot to do with whether a product tastes wonderful or not. It appeared that thinly layered dark chocolate over thicker peanut butter middle would be so simple, so unable to provoke overly giddy satisfaction. When I bite into a Justin’s, however, flavor is strong, powerful, and sweetly chocolaty. Forbidden romance happens on tongue and begins lightning bolt aphrodisiac that only ignites during really good chocolate. That rarely happened during the Reese Cup days. I just indulged and indulged on heavy milk and sugar dilution. Justin’s makes one linger into that first nibble, close eyes and drift off into a Wonderland Alice would be too shy to enter. This happens too with Theo, but Justin’s is a far sweeter dark chocolate. Theo is just a tad bit more bitter. Just a tad.
Still, they both make chocolate and peanut butter dance together in an organic animal free way. That’s the real champion here.

Virtual Vegan Potluck: One Minute Pumpkin Rocky Road Mug Cake

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!

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.

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.

Whole Wheat Nooch & Walnut Pancakes

Happy Winter Solstice everyone! The cold weather has already started popping before this day as always.
It’s another brisk Sunday evening in Dayton. Perfect excuse to stay in with comfort food and something overly warm to drink. I must commend Tazo on this delightful chocolate chai. Amazingly delicious blend of hot cocoa flavor and spicy robust tea. Bravo!
Companion to the wonderful tea is pancakes. Savory scrumptious pancakes that is.
Nutritional yeast and walnuts are key ingredients in these soft middle crisp edged usual weekend breakfast favorites. Nutty texture add surprising crunch and nooch provides the “cheesy” flavor. Not just for mornings as we all know. Brunch, lunch, dinner or beyond, enjoyable delights bring a smile to any empty plate.

Whole Wheat Nooch & Walnut Pancakes Ingredients and Preparation

olive oil for skillet
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast (nooch)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Heat skillet and lightly coat pan in oil.
Mix flour, baking powder, nooch, lemon juice, salt, cumin and black pepper.
Add olive oil and water. Blend well.
Stir in apple cider vinegar. Lastly walnuts.
Pour about 1/4 cup batter into hot skillet. Cover for 3-4 minutes. Edges should be crisp signalling turn.

Oh Sweet Charlie’s: Rolled Up Ice Cream Kings

Autumn, my favorite season, is here.
Though summer is over. Chill has come. Rainy days have arrived.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t miss ways of beating the heat.
A few weeks ago, I shared Sweet Charlie’s Ice Cream Roll Live in action via the AfroVeganChick channel (subscribe to a digital world of vegan food, art, fashion, hair, and more). This creative concept is interesting– rolling up ice cream and putting toppings on these rounded tubes.
Almost everyone filmed the sideshow spectacle of their creations being made. As the male workers, chopped, scraped, and rolled ice cream to cheesy pop tunes, I waited for mine to be clean. Since there’s no separate turntable (it is a small place), for a vegan, it is recommended that they wash away traces of dairy base.
They use scrumptious Nada Moo— a popular Texas family-owned vegan ice cream brand.
I picked vanilla flavor with blueberries mixed in and strawberries and crushed almonds on top.
And it tasted as special as it looked– a pale lavender shade, strawberry slices like bright red flower petals.