Happy Easter!!

I would have to say that we are having a nice, relaxing Easter weekend.  The weather was great Friday and Saturday which meant the girls played outside all day and Brian and I worked together in the yard.  Today, Easter Sunday,  has been a rainy,  inside  kind of day.  Though I guess Easter  really isn’t  the same without our extended family…growing up in a Catholic household meant going to mass frequently over the Easter weekend and sharing many meals with family.  I miss that indeed.  High price to pay for living away from family, across the country at that.

Even though Brian and I are raising the kids in a  quasi-Christian/Buddhist fashion, I still like to have some Easter traditions for the kids to enjoy. I started the morning off right by baking some really delicious vegan donuts with maple icing…I won’t write the recipe out here but I found it on a blog called Vegan Yum Yum…the blog’s owner, Lauren Ulm, has written a lovely looking cookbook so I”m sure I’ll be referring to her blog again!  For the egg replacer, I used chia (1 teaspoon chia to 3 tablespoons water) ~ I am loving this substitute because everything comes out so moist and light!!

The kids begged me to do an Easter egg hunt which we did in the backyard…luckily before the rain started!!  This is something I have no recollection of doing as a child.  And then ofcourse we dyed our Easter eggs. I am a bit disappointed with this operation as my intention was to dye the eggs naturally with beet juice and blueberries and while out looking for tumeric for a yellow effect…I found the tye die PAAS egg decorating kit.  The girls were all over it and really it seemed easier for me!! 

Well that’s about it for now.  I’m hoping to pack the family in the car and go to the beach to collect some larger beach rocks for my garden…an inexpensive and beautiful natural border!!  Happy Easter!!

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

Ah here we go wtih the birthday party invitations again.  It seems like between Big C and Little C  we’re always going to one birthday party or another.  Usually Big C brings her own cupcake to these celebrations because of her significant food allergies – it simply makes life that much easier.  The only problem is she is getting sick and tired of the Crazy Chocolate Cake kind – she requested Vanilla this time.  So the girls and I embarked upon some kitchen adventures this morning.  I found a great recipe online for Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes from www.Epicurious.com  – the recipe required indgrediants that were readily available in my cupboards and I have to say they came out tasting pretty yummy!!  One of my favourite online vegan websites for recipes and handy information is www.postpunkkitchen.com .

Big C was the leader of making the cupcakes today and she was responisble for measuring out all of the ingrediants.  It was a great way to teach her about the principles of measurement and the whole fraction thing – she seemed to get it!  There’s nothing like bringing math to real life experience.

Important baking lessons

Good teamwork between sisters

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes:

  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 3/4 cup unbleached flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare muffin tin with with either oil or cupcake papers.  Mix the soy milk and vinegar together and set aside for a few minutes.  Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and soda in one bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, vanilla and oil.  Add the dry ingrediants and soy milk to the sugar mix.  Blend until smooth and then transfer to muffin tins, 2/3 full.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden on top.  Makes approximately 10 medium sized cupcakes.

I make my own vanilla icing which is rather yummy and old-fashioned tasting.  I measure 1 cup of icing sugar and add 1 tablespoon of vegan margarine, 1 tablespoon or so of vanilla soy milk and mix until smooth and desirable thickness.  Delicious!

Yummy Vanilla Vegan Cupcakes!

Flour face!

A Visit With Santa and the Girls’ Afternoon Apart

 After our second night of 12 hours of sleep, my girls were very excited about visiting Santa on this Sunday morning.  Quite the opposite to how they were feeling the other day.  Here’s a look at how things went…

Santa photo - ho ho ho

Then I decided to take some photos of the girls on the beach just because it was a relatively clear day and I’ve been wanting to do this for some time.  I didn’t  want to get the traditional Christmas photos this year.  Unfortunatley this wasn’t the beach I had hoped to take their photos but we had fun nonetheless…

West Coast girls

Well the day got rather interesting after what might appear like a functional family going about their Christmas activities.  Once we returned home, the girls wouldn’t stop fighting which seems to happen at a regular rate these days  and I kept snapping and I couldn’t focus on a damn thing.  So I went out for a much needed run in the cold.  And what a wonderful run it was – I experienced that so-called “mindfulness” people talk about.  Just me and my thoughts.  What a treat.  I’ve officially started training for the Comox Valley 1/2 marathon slated for March 22nd 2010!  Anyway when I returned from my run, Big C was chomping at the bit to go play with her friend up the road.  I think she and Little C have spent far too much time together so the timing was great.  Ofcourse when I asked Little C what she would like to do, her response was “make banana bread”.  So I’m going to include our usual Vegan recipe that comes out well time and time again and makes a smaller batch perfect for a family of four…

I have no idea where this recipe came from – perhaps the internet or my mother in law.  There are few ingrediants and they are simple.  I’m just not sure about the canola oil thing anymore.  So I would substitute for safflower or vegan magarine next time.  I’ve jsut read that canola oil is one of the worst oils to use!  Anyway here’s Little C doing what she loves the most…baking!

Little C making Vegan banana bread

We also added a sprinkling of brown sugar and cinnamon on top to make it taste extra yummy…

Banana bread heading into the oven

Whilst the banana bread was baking in the oven, Little C and I decided to make some applesauce with the bag of bruised organic apples that I bought.  We simply peeled and cut the apples into small chunks, added maybe 1/4 cup of water, a titch of brown sugar and cinnamon and mashed everything together over medium heat on the stovetop.   The combo of the banana bread and warm applesauce made for nice dessert tonight

Delicious organic applesauce

Crazy Chocolate Cake

For Chloe’s birthday this year, we baked our tried and true Vegan chocolate cake recipe.  My mom found this recipe for me one year and I believe it was from the Hamilton Spectator (local newspaper). 

Here is the recipe.  It’s very simple and basically comes out the same everytime:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4  cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoon canola oil (or oil of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon plain distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cold water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix the flours, cocoa, baking soda, sugar and salt together in a large bowl to make a large mound.  With the back of a tablespoon, make 3 hollows in the mound.  Pour the oil into one, vinegar into another and vanilla into the third.  Pour the cold water over all.  Mix well with a spoon until the flour cannot be seen and the mix is almost smooth (do not overbeat).  Pour the mixture into a 9×9 greased square pan (or muffin tins).  The cake is done when a toothpic k inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool the cake on a rack for about 10 minutes.

Caitlin and I had a great time baking Chloe’s birthday while she was at school.  Here’s a peak…

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Caitlin mixing the flours

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Caitlin making wells for the liquids to go in

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Caitlin went on the counter to make mixing easier

We ended up making two batches of the batter as I decided to make a double layer cake.  I had to enusre that the cakes were nice and cool before I removed them from the pans otherwise they really stick.  Funny enough, I fogot to take a photo of the end product.  Well we put white vanilla icing on it and garnished it with gummy bears!  It was yummy