Anyone can cook

Hi everyone and Happy Saturday! I hope you all are enjoying the start of your 3-day weekend (if you’re in the States that is). Something I love about being home (and will enjoy this fall in my apartment) is a kitchen! I’ve been cooking so much since I’ve been home and trying SO many new recipes and I wanted to share them, with you guys (especially my vegan followers because I know I love learning about new vegan recipes) since I’ve been loving some of these things so much! Here are a few of my current favorite things to make!


Stuffed Mushrooms

I’ve been really loving mushrooms lately but I wanted to learn to cook them myself. I had stuffed mushrooms once in Peru and they were one of the best things I’d ever eaten so, I took to the minimalist baker’s website to find a simple and quick recipe for them. These were sooo good and my non-vegan family members thought they were great too!

Protein Pancakes

I am a pancake fan like no other and since I’ve been trying to track my macros, I’m trying to eat more protein. These pancakes are SO simple and SO tasty (my sister doesn’t think so) and I could literally eat them for breakfast Every. Single. Day.

Mac & Cheese

If you couldn’t tell by now I LOVE THE MINIMALIST BAKER! She has recipes on the foods I really want to make with ingredients I already have in my house. This vegan mac & cheese recipe has made my life! I haven’t had it in so long and this recipe made my heart (and stomach) so happy.

Tofu

Tofu is awesome to cook because it is SO versatile! Whatever flavor combinations you are feeling, you can season it with tofu or add tofu your recipe and the tofu will compliment the dish perfectly!

2 types of ways I like to cook tofu is asian style- with sesame and soy sauces with sesame seeds, stir-fryed with broccoli and placed over rice. I also like to eat it (stir fried again) with garlic, salt, pepper, and various veggies. YUM


What recipes do you all like?

❤ Alicia ❤

Advertisements

Wait.. that’s vegan!?

Hi everyone. After my post the other day about things I noticed since going vegan, my sister told me I should make a post about foods that are vegan but you wouldn’t assume are. I am still discovering these foods and I love finding foods that are ‘accidentally vegan.’


  1. Oreos: While I have no idea what chemicals make up the creamy center of the Oreo cookie, I do know it’s vegan. I also know that unless you can hide them like there’s no tomorrow, these cookies don’t last more than 2 days in my house. 😉 03202CF
  2. Twizzlers: Twizzlers recently got rid of the gelatin in their products which make them the perfect vegan-friendly movie companiontwizzlers4
  3. Reese’s Puffs: Despite most other Hershey products being filled with milk and whey and animal products galore, cocoa powder is used. Bonus, they are also gluten free!87adee93-165e-4e20-834a-c9efc4c0a39c.jpg.web
  4. Cocoa Pebbles: Once again, cocoa powder is used to flavor the cocoa pebbles. These are gluten free as well!0002_Cocoa-Pebbles
  5. Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup: Perfect on top of some vegan pancakes or some dairy free ice cream!91z14MSci2L._SY679_
  6. Chick-Fila Waffle Fries: Once again they’re potatoes, but these are fried in vegetable oil instead of the alternative… Animal fat.slide_362648_4081737_free
  7. Swedish Fish: No gelatin in these either.450
  8. Poptarts: Not every flavor of Pop tarts are vegan.. Mainly the chocolate ones. However, the unfrosted kinds and most of the fruit flavored ones are vegan but always double check!Strawberry_Pop_Tarts
  9. Junior Mints: My absolute favorite candy is vegan! Other than Reese’s peanut Butter Cups but Justin’s brands get the job done just as good!Junior-Mints-Box-Small
  10. Thin Mints: Just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean you can’t eat girl scout cookies. Thin mints are vegan!!thin_mints_new_web

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:

img_4528

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

img_4533

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

img_4538

Now, in a medium sized bowl, add all of the wet ingredients and whisk those together as well.
img_4544
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.
img_4545
Bake  until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. (40 minutes) Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.

img_4548img_4550img_4551

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).

 

IMG_1149
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.

IMG_1157
The box
IMG_1159
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

 

 

The Top 100 Inspirational Weight Loss Bloggers

Hi, everyone. Look at me double posting. My life update post will be up in the next few days, however, I was checking my stats page this morning and saw that I had a lot of viewers that were referred to my blog by DietToGo.

Curious as to how that was, I clicked the link in my stats and was brought here

I immediately noticed that the post was entitled “The Top 100 Inspirational Weight Loss Bloggers You’ve Probably Never Heard Of (Until Now)” and got super stoked because people have noticed I exist and they think I’m decently cool.

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 1.26.44 AM.png

Your girl (me) was lucky enough to score spot #13 on that list (happens to be my favorite number too) and I’m just so happy/stoked/honored to be put on this list with so many other amazing bloggers.

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 12.53.42 AM.png

So, I recommend everyone check out DietToGo’s post and check out all of the other amazing bloggers who are also featured on the list. I know I did!

Anyway, I want to say again how excited I am that I was featured and want to thank Caitlin (author of the post) for taking the time to hand select my blog and to read some of my posts. It means so much

Talk to you all soon,

Alicia

tumblr_inline_mfk27lZSpI1qc9lhz.gif

 

Family Visits

Hi everyone, last weekend, my aunt and uncle made the venture out from Phoenix Arizona to come to visit me here in San Diego. I am so thankful that they are close enough where they can visit me for fun and get to me if something were ever to happen. Also, the fact that she’s super cool and I get to live with her in the fall is a plus. The two of them  Her came out last Friday night, picked me up Saturday morning and dropped my back off at my dorm mid morning on Sunday.

We spent the day traveling to different breweries in San Diego (a hobby of my uncle’s) among walking along the beach, checking out some stores on the coast, and finding come cool places to eat which also served vegan food. We also went on a little walk at Torrey Pines, the golf course. While my uncle and I were in awe of all of the people who get to play there and how amazing playing there would be (however if you aren’t local the $350 to play a round makes me question so much), my aunt just wanted to take a few pictures.

After visiting countless breweries (literally… I lost count after 5) and eating super yummy food, we returned to the hotel my aunt and uncle were staying in. My uncle passed out in bed in a mere 10 minutes and my aunt and I went to see Deadpool. 10/10 would recommend, however there is an R rating for a reason, so keep that in mind. But I absolutely loved it and would 100% go and see it again.

They were ‘kidnapping’ me, my aunt said and making me stay in their hotel with them.  However, the fact that I got a queen size bed, a private shower, and no need to wear shower shoes, I sure as hell will take that. Honestly, as much as I love going far away for college, the one thing I hate are the showers. I would go home for just a weekend to simply take a shower in a private bathroom, with no fear of someone going in and stinking up the entire room, and to see my dog of course.

Alas, they had to get back to Phoenix Sunday morning… you know work and school taking over out lives once again. So after my well rested night in a huge bed, and a nice shower with no shower shoes, we got breakfast and they dropped me off back at the dorm to attend to laundry and all of the homework I seemed to have forgotten existed after my day full of fun the day before..

So, I will be seeing them again soon, well not super soon but Mid May, after finals. My dad is flying to Phoenix, driving my aunt’s car out to San Diego to move me out and then drive back to put all of my stuff in my NEW ROOM IN MY AUNT’S HOUSE. That’s so crazy. Update on all of that, my cousin who lives with my aunt has a room sort of separate from the rest of the house. He is moving out of the house in a month and that will become my room. So, if I ever get home after they go to bed, I won’t have to worry about them being woken up and I can have my privacy and keep my business to myself while still living with them and being able to have puppies, free food, and family close by. So, it’s nice and I am excited for the fall.

Well, talk to you all soon. Hopefully Thursday.
Alicia.

JqqiGAN.gif

Tourist in my own city

Hi guys,

With just a little over a week left in Chicago before my 2nd semester at San Diego State, I have realized how fortunate I am to live in 2 of the top 10  largest cities in the United States. I have taken so many photos of my time in San Diego and all the explorations I have done there, yet never realized how amazing Chicago is. So, I’m going to make a nice lil compilation post about my explorations of Chicago since I’ve been home.

There you all have it.. me being a tourist everywhere I go

Talk to you all soon

Alicia

funny-gifs-what-a-friendly-bear