October 1st

Happy Halloween! well not really, but it is October 1st, so it basically is the same thing. If Christmas gets the entire month of December and half the month of November (Also i have already seen Christmas decorations and it was only September so Christmas sort of gets the last third of the year), So, Happy Halloween!

That literally isn’t even what this post is about. October 1st is World Vegetarian Day, it was also VeganMania in Chicago, but I had to babysit for the entire duration of the event so I unfortunately couldn’t attend. I also missed a goat walk, so that was probably the worst part.

Anyway, I have decided to go back on my journey through veganism over the past year and see what I’ve learned and how I’ve changed.

I remember vividly, my first night of college, my roommate and I went to Chipotle. I ordered chicken on my burrito bowl and my roommate looked disgusted at me and said “Chicken? You know they kill them right?” And I sat there, unfazed, as I continued to spew my order to the guy behind the counter. And here I am, a year later, yelling at the man in the chicken commercial who brags that their chickens are organic and cage free.

While I mentioned in one of my most recent posts that I had been a bad vegan, I have been. This journey has been long, grueling, however rewarding. I have no shame that for my first 18 years of my life, I lived on mac and cheese, grilled cheese, chocolate milk and bacon! Then my roommate has me watch forks over knives, cowspiracy, and other random videos about animal abuse.

Then, I went full vegan. Something not many people do all at once. Most people I know go vegetarian first for a few years, and then if they’re feeling outrageous, they go vegan. I however, cut animal products cold turkey. It has been a struggle, a rewarding one but a struggle nonetheless. I really feel that I should have transitioned slower, and maybe I wouldn’t have ‘cheated.’ I didn’t, and am learning how difficult this is.

I understand that this isn’t cheating, technically, because I am the one who is doing this. I am in this by myself for myself and for the animals.

I have been trying my best to remember why it is that I started the transition to veganism. I am doing it for the animals. I am doing so that 100 less animals are killed every year, and that despite all of the animals killed and tortured, it won’t be because of me.

Today, a year later, here I am, struggling but doing very well at it. I wouldn’t consider myself full vegan because I have slipped up a few times, but I am trying. Today, I am 30 pounds lighter, happier, crying whenever I see farm animals that were saved, and yelling at every chicken commercial I see. I really needed to write this post, for myself, to show how far I’ve come, and to shoe how far I need to go. I am doing well, but still have a long way to go.

So, happy world vegetarian day. Go vegetarian. Then vegan!

Alicia

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Vegan Chocolate Layer Cake

One of the items on my summer bucket list was to make a vegan cake, and I surprisingly did it. I’ve had this recipe on a word doc for a while so I don’t have the website where it originated. I also may have adjusted a family recipe to make it vegan, I really can’t remember. Anyway, the cake was delicious, and even my sister, who isn’t vegan, really enjoyed it. Note I didn’t make the frosting (we used store bought) but I have made the frosting for cupcakes I once made and the frosting is delicious as well.

As a kid, I always loved chocolate cake, and I’ve always been a sucker at parties for cake. However, since going vegan, cake has been something I haven’t been able to enjoy. For my birthday I didn’t get a cake (because my family doesn’t really know anything about vegan baking) and just ended up eating grapes after my grandma put candles in a few of them.

With this recipe, I was quite surprised it turned out as good as it did. With a few of my other vegan baking experiences, I’ve ended up with underdone banana bread, dry chocolate chip cookies, and the most disgusting oily frosting I’ve ever eaten (not this recipe’s). So naturally, I was a little bit nervous about making this recipe. Not only did I have to please myself, but my sister was also going to enjoy this cake as well, and I don’t think I would live it down if this recipe turned out less than perfect. However, it did, and after she added some flower sprinkles, the cake was to her liking.

How I made this delicious vegan cake:

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After preheating my oven to 350F, I gathered all of my ingredients (listed at the end of this post)

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Next, in a large bowl (as large as you have) put all of the dry ingredients in that bowl ,and whisk together.

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Now, in a medium sized bowl, add all of the wet ingredients and whisk those together as well.
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Using a mixer, gradually mix the wet ingredients with the dry, making sure not to over mix.
Next, grease two 8″ round pans and divide the batter into the two pans.
Note: When baking my cakes, there was some cake hat stuck to the pan, not too much and the cakes were not difficult to remove, however, to make the residue as minimal as possible and removing the cakes simple, you can place parchment in the pans before pouring the batter.
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Bake  until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. (40 minutes) Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.

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Once the cakes are cooled, run a knife around the edge of both cake pans, and flip the pans over to remove each cake.
Once the first cake is set on the plate, cover the entire top of that cake with frosting. Then place the second cake on top of that. Frost the entire top of that cake and around the sides of the entire cake. Decorate if needed desired. Serve.
Ingredients
Dry Ingredients:
  • 2½ Cups  Flour
  • 2½ Cups  Sugar
  • 1 Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2⅔ Cups Non-Dairy Milk of Choice (I used almond)
  • ⅔ Cups Vegetable Oil (Canola can be used as well)
  • 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1.  Preheat your oven to 350F (180C).
  2. Prepare two 8″ round baking pans by lightly greasing them.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together all of the dry ingredients, then put aside.
  4. In a medium bowl whisk together all of the wet ingredients.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Don’t over mix.
  6. Divide the batter into the prepared pans, then bake for about 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.
  7. To Assemble the Cake: Run a knife around the edges of the cake pans, and flip the pans over to remove the cakes.
  8. Set the first cake on your cake plate, and frost the top. Place the second cake on top of the frosted cake, and spread the remaining frosting on top of that cake.
I hope all of my vegans (and non-vegans) try this recipe and let me know how it goes. Also, if anyone has any other fool proof vegan recipes I should try, let me know.
Alicia

CUPCAKES

Alright, friends. Living in California and being vegan is one thing. There are vegan shops, cafes, restaurants, and Whole Foods on every other block. In Chicago, on the other hand, vegan food is a bit more hard to come by. Yes, I can get my fresh fruit, veg, and yes my ever so needed protein at Target, Trader Joe’s, and our sole Whole Foods. However, when it comes to sweets, and meals at restaurants that are vegan that’s another story.

For my birthday, I mentioned I was going to make a vegan cake. Yet, on the day of my birthday our gas went out and I was unable to use my stove. Wanting some sort of cake or cupcake because what kind of birthday is it without cake? My mom and I ventured to Whole Foods to see if we could find some vegan cake. They only had gluten-free cakes 😦 BUT they had vegan cupcakes. Naturally, I bought 3 to have one then and then save some for later. It was not only one of the best vegan desserts I have ever eaten but any dessert I have ever eaten. Also, it turns out that the cupcakes are made right here in Chicago.

This morning, my mom and I made the drive there, got there right as they opened and got 6 cupcakes. 3 vegan and gluten-free and 3 regulars (I’m the only vegan in the house).

 

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The outside of Swirlz. Very quaint but super adorable

 

Swirlz (the name of the cupcake place) has flavors of the day. They mainly are nonvegan and filled with gluten but they also make gluten-free ones, and vegan and gluten-free ones. Today’s selection in the vegan and gluten-free department were cookie dough and vanilla. I’m typically not too keen on cookie dough or vanilla. I’m more of a chocolate kind of gal. However, upon returning home, and opening the super cute box the cupcakes were housed in, I have fallen in love with cookie dough cupcakes and the Swirlz cupcake shop in general. The cupcake was sort of like a chocolate chip cupcake with a dollop of cookie dough in it and then topped with vanilla frosting and a cookie dough piece.

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The box
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The cupcakes: Mine are the bottom 3

The shop was super adorable and I am definitely feeling a second trip on a different day for another cupcake type. 😉

PS, I highly recommend this shop to any of my followers who are ever in my neck of the woods. Vegan or not, their cupcakes are to die for.

They are located at:  705 w. Belden, Chicago, IL 60614

Their website can be found here

If any of you have been there or are planning on making a trip, let me know.

Alicia

 

 

Here’s to New Adventures

Good evening everyone. Once again, sorry for not posting on Sunday, my planned post was to discuss my best friend coming to visit me here in San Diego for her spring break, but alas she didn’t leave until late Sunday night, and I spent all of yesterday (after class of course) sleeping. So, here we are now, about to embark in another late blog post about another tidbit of my life.

My friend who came to visit me, is from Arizona, coincidentally she also attends Arizona State University (no that’s not why I’m going there) and her spring break was last week. She visited me for her fall break (I would’ve discussed that on here too but I’m pretty sure I made this blog about a week after she left…) and she decided that San Diego and I were good enough hosts for her to return for another leap of adventure. She arrived in San Diego after my classes and (almost) daily venture to the gym and then after a few hours of watching Netflix and catching up, we went to bed.

Something I was blessed with this semester is not having classes on Thursday’s. Due to this, I do one of two things. 1. Don’t leave my bed until 3pm or 2. Get up bright and early and early and explore my city, always searching for new coffee shops to do homework and escape people.

So, Thursday we hopped on the trolley (sort of like a subway or the L for my Chicagoans) and then transferred to a bus. We ended up taking that bus all the way to its end and ended up at UCSD. Obviously we had no means or longing to be there, so we hopped back on that bus except headed the other way obviously and ended up at a mall where we got lunch. We had been on public transportation for almost 2 hours and had only been to lunch and a bus tour of UCSD. We had no idea what we wanted to do, so we opted to head to downtown La Jolla and just walk around, see the beach etc. so that’s what we did. After eating at a cute vegetarian/vegan place, we got on yet another bus and headed for La Jolla.

Upon arriving in La Jolla, I wanted to see some murals that I have seen on Facebook and heard about through the grapevine. We managed to find one (after walking in the opposite direction for a mile), which was bricks painted in all different colors, however there were cars parked in front of it, so I only got a few pictures. After that, I decided that we could walk to see a few of the other murals. After, once again walking in the wrong direction (thanks Siri) we found a sort of main street La Jolla and took that to find another mural. My friend, Marisa, wanted to see the sea lions of La Jolla, so we made the short walk over to the coast and saw a multitude of them, a few with babies even. We stayed for the Sunset, because what’s better than a sunset on the beach???? After the sunset, we found a few more murals and ended up back at the bus and took it back to Old Town, to get dinner. After dinner we took the trolley back to my dorm and passed out we were so tired.

 

We didn’t do anything on Friday, because I had class and a ton of homework. Marisa ended up visiting another one of her friends who also happened to be in San Diego for spring break, but yeah Friday was nothing special. I slept a lot and did a lot of homework. Grand day.

Saturday was a bit more eventful than Friday. I had wanted to visit a cute cafe that I had seen on a lot of my friends’ Instagrams at Pacific beach, and Marisa had wanted to play mini golf (which there is a course at Mission Beach) so we decided to spend the day at some beaches. There were wayyyyy too many Spring Breakers (not gnarly dude) at the beaches for my liking, however since it was on the colder side (60s) it was better than it could have been. We first went to Mission Beach, where we went to an arcade and I spend about $20 just to leave with a harmonica, duck fan, sticky octopus, eraser, and like some other thing that I literally have no way to describe. After that I creamed Marisa at mini golf. On that note, she was ready to leave Mission Beach to go to Pacific Beach. After taking the bus from Mission Beach to PB, we made it to Rum Jungle Cafe.  Marisa apparently is terrified of fruit and refused to eat the delicious ace bowl topped with mango, banana, pineapple, and coconut. So, I had to eat both of ours (not complaining though because fruit is the bomb). After that we walked around the pier, and around the beach also making it in time for the sunset. Finally about 830 we stopped at Denny’s for dinner. After Denny’s and about 7 trips to the bathroom after inhaling all of the iced tea I could, we boarded the bus again and headed back to campus.

On Sunday, the day Marisa left, we had no idea what we were going to do. Finally, after much debating, I looked at some coffee shops that I had not yet been to, and found some that were somewhat close and decided we would do to them. The first one we went to, called Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, was really good. I got a soy latte and the barista put a cute foam flower on top of the coffee. We didn’t stay too long before making our way to the bus station to get on the #2 bus to be dropped off right by the next shop. Much to our chagrin, the bus wasn’t on time, so we took a different bus and had to walk a mile uphill to get to the coffee shop. Needless to say I had 23 flights of stairs and was not in the mood for anymore hot coffee. We got tea and some cute vegan pasture and sat down, cooling off from our hike up that hill. Once we finally finished there, Marisa and I decided that we would take the bus back to Old town and get dinner before she left. After dinner, we got back to my dorm, I took my mail in ballot to the nearest drop box (#feeltheBern) and then Marisa left.

It was really nice to be able to see her and I can’t wait to be a mere 30 minutes away from each other in the fall.
Alicia

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