Recipe: Raw Vegan Blueberry Muffin Bites

I bet you never in a million years expected to see the words “raw vegan” on this site. Bake and Destroy – a celebration of refined sugars and white flour. Have I gone health vegan on you? Are overflowing mason jar smoothies just around the corner?

Nah, don’t worry about me, I’m still dedicated fully to being gross – and part of that dedication means eating raw batter and dough every chance I get. Now you could go through the trouble of making actual blueberry muffin batter just to lick the mixing spoon, or you could just make these bites, which take about 5 minutes to come together.

While I did receive the Bob’s Red Mill dried blueberries and I Heart Keenwah Toasted Quinoa Hot Cereal in this recipe for free, I was not compensated for this post.

Raw Vegan Blueberry Muffin Bites

By BakeandDestroy Published: March 12, 2017

  • Yield: 2 dozen

For this recipe, I used dried blueberries, rehydrated in water for 15 mins because they're less messy than fresh or frozen, and toasted quinoa flakes, which have a more mellow, nutty flavor than other quinoa flakes.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. I recommend using a food processor as opposed to a blender to make these as the dough is quite sticky.
  2. In a food processor, pulse together the cashews, quinoa flakes, sea salt, cinnamon and nutmeg until it forms a fine meal texture. Be careful not to pulse it into cashew butter.
  3. Add the lemon zest, maple syrup and vanilla and pulse until smooth. It will form a ball. Scrape down the sides and pulse until everything is blended.
  4. Scrape the dough into a bowl, and stir in the blueberries. You might need to get in there with your hands.
  5. Scoop out 1 tsp sized balls of dough, and roll smooth between your palms. I place mine directly into a resealable container so I can store them in the fridge. You can eat them right away, or refrigerate them until they're a little more firm. Store them in a covered container.

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    Smith & Daughters Cookbook: Sopa Seca Peruvian Pasta Bake Recipe

    I received an advanced copy of the highly anticipated Smith & Daughters: A Cookbook (That Happens To Be Vegan) and, as a combo chubby vegan and bibliophile, have been drooling over the gorgeous photos and black-edges pages of this hardcover cookbook ever since.

    I’ve yet to make it to Smith & Daughters’ restaurant, partially because it’s in Australia and I’m in Chicago. But, with this collection of 80+ vegan recipes with a Spanish twist, I can experience at least the food, tattoos and inverted cross parts of the eatery in my home.

    I’m sharing this recipe for Sopa Speca because I would honestly rather die than give up carbs. Enjoy.

    Some links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase after clicking them I could earn the tiniest amount of money imaginable. 

    Sopa Seca - Peruvian Pasta Bake

    By BakeandDestroy Published: March 5, 2017

    • Yield: 4-6 Servings

    Recipe excerpted with permission from Smith & Daughters: A Cookbook (that happens to be vegan) by Shannon Martinez and Mo Wyse, published by Hardie Grant Books March 2017, RRP $35.00 hardcover.

    Ingredients

    Instructions

    1. Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
    2. Add the pasta and fry for 2–3 minutes until golden brown. Drain on paper towel.
    3. Place the onion, garlic, chipotles, tomatoes, ground coriander and oregano in a blender and process until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a pan with the bay leaves and cook over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes, or until thickened.
    4. Stir in the stock, fried pasta and beans, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
    5. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, breaking up the pasta with a spoon, for about 5 minutes.
    6. Remove the bay leaves, then transfer the mixture to the prepared ovenproof dish and cover loosely with foil. Bake for about 20 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
    7. Serve, drizzled with cashew cream and coriander leaves scattered over the top.

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      Recipe: Nacho Chee-zee Toasted Quinoa Casserole

      In the Midwest we call ’em casseroles, other parts of the country know them as “hot dish.” No matter what you call it, the concept of a handful of nutritious ingredients, smothered in some kind of sauce, and baked until bubbling hot is universally comforting. My husband and I have fully committed to Lame Old People status, making a casserole on Sunday nights and excitedly bringing leftovers to work for the next two days.

      Chicken and rice is probably the most classic casserole combo – it has just enough broccoli to pretend like it’s healthy, but the 3 cups of cheese inside says otherwise. Here I’ve cleaned it up, swapping the dairy for a vegan nacho cheese made with cashews and Bob’s Red Mill nutritional yeast, (recipe here) and using Toasted Quinoa instead of rice – thereby upping the protein and lowering the overall glycemic index without sacrificing a bit of flavor.

      While I did receive the Bob’s Red Mill nutritional yeast and I Heart Keenwah Toasted Quinoa in this recipe for free, I was not compensated for this post.

      Nacho Chee-zee Toasted Quinoa Casserole

      By BakeandDestroy Published: February 27, 2017

        If you're not into spice, just omit the chipotle pepper in the Nacho Chee-Zee Sauce recipe, or swap in your favorite vegan cheese sauce.

        Ingredients

        Instructions

        1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and grease an 8" square baking dish.
        2. In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, quinoa, chee-zee sauce and chicken substitute until everything is coated in sauce.
        3. Steam broccoli for 3-5 minutes - until tender. Then chop.
        4. Transfer mixture into baking pan, and bake 20-30 minutes until hot, and the top has formed a crust. Salt and pepper to taste, then serve.

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          Q & A With Pie, Pie My Darling – Chicago’s First Vegan Bakery

          16113424_1431076886926308_458800203724323077_oEarlier this week I had the honor of breaking the story about Chicago’s first 100% vegan bakery opening this summer – Pie, Pie My Darling will be taking over Kitchen 17′s space in Lakeview possibly by August 2017. I got the scoop because I happen to be friends with owner and head baker Heather Bodine-Lederman – our adventures together range from wild nights sexually harassing and Elvis impersonator at the tiki bar to more recently attending a Dita Von Teese show. So yeah, we’re basically sisters.

          All kidding aside, I am absolutely Heather’s biggest fan. I’ve loved her pies and cakes since I first got my hands on them at the now-defunct #VeganVortex market, and once I got to know what a sweet, humble, secretly-snarky girl she is I loved her even more. I’m super stoked for her bakery opening and have already promised to fight anyone who leaves her a bad Yelp review.

          15995084_1427514173949246_2470745809548629499_oSo here it is, a little Q&A with the owner of Chicago’s first 100% vegan bakeshop, coming to Lakeview this summer!

          What’s your earliest memory of baking?

          My mom was a health food nut so I remember baking carob fudge and sugar free apple crisp and things like that. I think that’s where my obsession with nostalgic childhood sweets came from. I felt like I’d missed out (sorry mom!) and wanted to re-create those devilish desserts I’d always craved.

          What is your first cake (or pie)-related memory?

          Hostess cupcakes! I wasn’t allowed to eat them in our household so every time I went over to my friends house I’d raid the cabinets and eat all the cupcakes. I grew up on store-bought pies so I always thought pie was crappy until I started baking them from scratch. Then I got obsessed.

          Did you always love baking before you were vegan?

          15230781_1372976276069703_5326565153154585862_nBaking has always been very therapeutic for me. I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety forever and it always seemed to calm me down. I think becoming vegan really pushed my love of baking to new levels, though. I craved lots of things and at the time 8 years ago there were very limited options, so I took matters into my own hands. Gotta have my sweets!

          What made you decide to go vegan?

          I was in an airport and grabbed a book called Slaughterhouse (ad link) by Gail Eisnitz to read on my trip. It was kind of a behind the scenes look at what goes on behind closed doors at slaughterhouses, not just the mistreatment of the animals but to the employees as well. When we landed I was in tears. It’s sounds cheesy but for real–that day I went vegan and never looked back.

          A lot of people don’t pick up on the punk rock reference in your business name – can you explain where Pie, Pie My Darling came from?

          I’m always so excited when someone notices! I was baking pies one day and listening to the Misfits’ song “Die, Die, My Darling” and it was just like a no brainer. Like how have I not thought of this before?

          13882248_1260362687331063_6672908927664926859_nSpeaking of The Misfits, I heard Doyle is a Pie, Pie fan. Can you talk about how that came about?

          My lovely friend Melisser bumped into him backstage at the Chicago misfits reunion and gave me a shoutout! Him & his lady will be ordering pies as soon as I am figure out how the hell to ship a pie…

          Have you baked for any other celebrities or people who made you fangirl out?

          I’ve baked for Dan Smith a couple of times but honestly was more excited when he took one of my cookies home to his wife Skully. I crush soooooo hard on that girl and I pretty much died. I also died when Henry Rollins talked about my Black Flag pie on his podcast, but I haven’t fed him yet.

          Do you have any help in the kitchen, or are you a one-woman show?

          I’m a lone wolf. I desperately need to hire someone, but I’m such an insane introvert – it’s been hard. I just like to be alone. I enjoy other people in small doses, which is why I love Instagram because I can be affectionate and reach out to people without actual contact. But obviously if I want to own a bakery it needs to happen. Cute, smart baker girls, come at me!

          What is your vision for your soon-to-open bakery? Do you have a vibe you’re going for?

          I want it to be cute, but not barf-cute. Punky, but not tacky – and really cozy. I have no idea how I’m going to go about making that happen but that’s the plan.

          16463769_1448364368530893_4339633459486766330_oFor all the aspiring bakeshop owners out there – can you talk about how you got from Point A to Point B? Where did you make your first sales? Was there something in particular that really launched you?

          I started at this cute little market in Logan Square called Vegan Vortex! [Editor’s note: Heather is being coy. I co-founded this market. See what I mean about how cute she is?] I had no idea what I was doing. I had no business plan, no goal or agenda. I just showed up and sold some little mini pies. The response was nuts! I sold out and received a whole bunch of emails and orders and I thought huh, this could really be something. I was approached by Don, the owner of Kitchen 17, and he asked if I’d ever want to do a popup in his restaurant. We started doing “Pie Sunday” popups every few months and things really blew up from there. I’m eternally grateful to him for that.

          What is your best-selling or most-requested offering?

          Funfetti Cake, hands down. I’m so glad because it proves to me that other people are just as nostalgic and into sprinkles as I am.

          I fucking suck at making brownies no matter what I do. Is there a dessert that still eludes you?

          Hahaha oh I feel you. I suck at fancy desserts. Like anything plated with some kind of drizzle shit on it. It’s way over my head. I’m into stuff your grandma would have baked you.

          14729318_1327569117277086_8009842504348137606_nWhat are some of your favorite vegan eats in Chicago?

          Vegan Deep Dish at Kitchen 17 of course! The Chicago Diner was probably the first vegan restaurant I ever went to and I get the reuben every time. Soooo good. Oh and the country-fried portabella at Handlebar. And the po boy at Ground Control. We have so many thiiiiinnnggs!!!

          A couple of final notes:

          • You can read more about the bakery opening on VegNews, DNA Info and Chicago Eater
          • Check out Heather’s recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie on I Heart Keenwah
          • I pointed out to Heather that the last person I interviewed before her was the Iron Sheik, and that’s fucking cool
          • All photos in this post belong to Pie, Pie My Darling

          Unloveable: A 2017 Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Morrissey Fans

          unlovable

          Created with a vector image by warungkopi

          “The dark nights are drawing in
          And your humor is as black as them
          I look at yours, you laugh at mine
          And ‘love’ is just a miserable lie”

          The Unloveable Morrissey Gift Guide is back just in time for another miserable Valentine’s Day. Yes, I am aware that I have left you with very little time to receive your items by Valentine’s Day, to which I say: If you were a real Morrissey fan, you would be alone and shopping for yourself anyway. Squander your cash, be rash.

          If you missed my guide last year definitely check it out, I made a special effort not to duplicate any products this year. A few of last year’s picks are sadly no longer available, but there are still plenty of ways to be a charming man (or woman, or whatever you want to be – just be a charming one).

          tumblr_oh2pkypIyN1ukrzvgo1_1280Daisy and Aster not only has tons of cute ready-to-ship mugs, pins and other things in their shop (I am particularly a fan of their UFO “hop in dork” design,) but they also take custom orders which means for a mean $30 you can get your favorite Morrissey or Smiths lyrics (or anything else) hand-painted onto a coffee mug. They’ve done tons of Moz-inspired designs – follow them on Instagram to see more!

          Last year my friend Melisser’s shop Sabretooth Dream made the top of the list with their Nobody’s Nothing pin and this year they’re back, not only with an amazing chenille patch of the same design, but also a collection of Moz-themed pins and patches. If you’re in Chicago make sure to stop by Melisser’s new shop, Flair (2354 N St. Louis Avenue).

          If at least part of your Morrissey fandom is based on his herbivorous nature, this It Takes Strength to Be Gentle and Kind goat necklace is the one for you, fatty. I also feel the need to make a “Moz is the GOAT joke here. There, I did it and now we’re both embarrassed. You can also get this quote on a t-shirt from me!

          Screen_Shot_2016-10-17_at_2.38.52_PM_largeLast year I featured another Chicago company, LastCraft – I have two of their Morrissey prayer candles on my personal shrine. You can grab those, along with several other Moz-themed pins and patches. I use my Big Mouth Strikes Again tote bag almost every single day, and don’t even get me started about the Higher the Hair the Closer to Moz patch. (P.S. Even though they’ve spent the past few decades slinging wonderfully British insults like “whingebag” at each other, I also have lots of love for Robert Smith, and LastCraft has lots of odes to him, too!)

          One of my favorite previous finds were elaborately decorated Smiths cookies on Etsy – vegan, of course. That baker doesn’t seem to be around anymore, so I figure the next best thing is to make my own damn cookies (and other food) using the Defensive Eating with Morrissey: Vegan Recipes from the One You Left Behind Vegan Cookbook. This book features a ton of weirdly wonderful fever dream illustrations of Moz mashed up with pop culture icons like Garfield and even Freddy Krueger.

          615vyh+LDrLThis year a good friend got me this Morrissey tea towel (along with a Robert Smith one…shhhhhh) for my birthday and my gift to you is telling you about it. This same shop also has a pretty stellar set of Oasis towels as well. Hm, do I need to make an Oasis fan gift guide? What’s a good holiday for two people who hate each other but make beautiful music together? Oh, I guess this one.

          There are some bad people on the rise, and there are some bad Morrissey shirts on the Internet. But these are my picks for the good ones:

          14553188_1786034691616398_3852830447583100928_nAnd finally, because you can never have too many… here are some of my favorite Morrissey/Smiths pins and patches:

          Did I miss any of your favorites? Tell me in the comments!

          The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook for Your Instant Pot: Smoky Pecan Brussels Sprouts Recipe

          I do not understand how Kathy Hester does it, but it seems like every couple of months she’s announcing a new beautiful cookbook focused around a favorite vegan ingredient or household appliance. She’s covered beans, oats, crockpots, and now she’s tackling what had to have been one of the top vegan holiday gifts of 2016 – the Instant Pot.

          Kathy’s latest, The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook for Your Instant Pot: 80 Easy and Delicious Plant-Based Recipes That You Can Make in Half the Time, takes full advantage of the versatility of the Instant Pot – featuring recipes for soups, sides, main dishes and even desserts.

          I chose this recipe to share because I’m a Brussels sprout devotee, and when I share my photos online I’m always met with, “I want to like them, but I don’t know how to cook them.” So now, I can just be like, “read my blog, dummy!”

          This blog post contains affiliate links, which means if you click them and buy stuff, I might make the tiniest amount of money ever – whee! 

          Smoky Pecan Brussels Sprouts

          By BakeandDestroy Published: January 7, 2017

          • Yield: 4 Servings

          I do not understand how Kathy Hester does it, but it seems like every couple of months she's announcing a new beautiful cookbook …

          Ingredients

          Instructions

          1. For the pressure cooker, add the Brussels sprouts, water and liquid smoke to your Instant Pot and mix well. Put the lid on and close the pressure valve. Cook on high pressure for 2 minutes. (Note: If you have very large Brussels sprouts, you may need to double the cooking time.)
          2. Once the cooking time is up, carefully move the pressure release valve to release the pressure manually.
          3. For the sauté, switch to the sauté function and add in the pecans and maple syrup and reduce the liquid as you finish cooking the sprouts. Remove from the heat once tender and add salt to taste.

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            Blissful Basil: Herbed Cashew Cheese Plate with Spicy Tomato Jam + Roasted Garlic

            Today is my birthday. Happy birthday to me. It’s also Bake and Destroy’s 10th anniversary. If there’s one thing 37 rotations around the sun and 10 years of food blogging has taught me, it’s to find happiness wherever I can – and most of the time, it’s hiding in food.

            There’s joy in cooking for others, and for yourself. For a lot of us, cooking or baking is therapy. The kitchen is a place where you can make something from nothing, and for me, that’s an amazing feeling.

            So I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate my birthday, and the 10th anniversary of this site, by giving away a copy of Blissful Basil: Over 100 Plant-Powered Recipes to Unearth Vibrancy, Health, and Happiness. I’m also sharing a delicious recipe here.

            To enter, you can hop over to my Instagram and follow the directions in my post, or you can enter at the end of this post. (Giveaway starts 12/12/16 and ends 12/15/16.) Update: The giveaway is over! I’ve contacted the winner via Instagram.

            Spicy Tomato Jam

            Ingredients:

            • 4 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
            • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
            • 2 cloves garlic, minced
            • 1 & 1/2 tsp ground cumin (or to taste)
            • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
            • 1 tsp minced fresh red chile (optional)
            • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
            • 1/4 tsp sea salt

            Instructions: 

            1. In a medium saucepan, combine the halved tomatoes and maple syrup over medium-low heat. Cook for five minutes, or until the tomatoes begin to release their juices, stirring constantly.
            2. Add the garlic, cumin, ginger, red chile (if using), crushed red pepper flakes, and sea salt. Give the pan a good stir and bring to a rapid simmer. Decrease the heat to low, cover, and simmer 30-35 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes.
            3. Remove the lid and continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes to cook off some of the excess liquid. Remove from the heat and let cool. Transfer to an airtight jar and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

            a Rafflecopter giveaway

            Reprinted from Blissful Basil by arrangement with BenBella Books. Copyright © 2016, Ashley Melillo.

            This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click and make a purchase I may receive compensation.

            Herbed Cashew Cheese

            By BakeandDestroy Published: December 11, 2016

              Today is my birthday. Happy birthday to me. It's also Bake and Destroy's 10th anniversary. If there's one thing 37 rotations around …

              Ingredients

              Instructions

              1. Add the soaked cashews to a food processor along with the nutritional yeast, lemon juice, filtered water, vinegar, garlic, sea salt and black pepper. Process for four minutes, or until very smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape the sides as needed. The texture should resemble runny cream cheese. Add the chopped herbs and pulse a few times to incorporate.
              2. For a thinner, softer, spreadable cheese, enjoy as is.
              3. For a thicker, denser, spreadable cheese, line a small colander with tightly woven cheesecloth, scoop the cashew cheese into the cheesecloth, fold the ends over the top to cover, and place the colander over a medium bowl so it's suspended. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
              4. Serve with roasted garlic and tomato jam with pieces of toasted bread or crackers.

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                Ten Favorite Vegan Skincare Products

                Last year I posted about my battle with hormonal acne (spoiler alert: switching to natural skincare and beauty products helped – a lot.) Since then, I’ve found a few new favorite products that really work well for me and my sensitive skin, so I figured I’d share them, along with a few discount codes, in time for a little self care this Black Friday. Brands or products with an * are offering discount codes so keep your eyes peeled!

                Cleansing

                I got 99 problems, but my skin ain't one... most of the time.

                I got 99 problems, but my skin ain’t one… most of the time.

                In my previous post I confessed to using CeraVe hydrating cleanser because my dermatologist recommended it – I scanned the label to to my untrained eye it seemed OK, and I’d read on some vegan beauty blogs that it was OK. But later I saw some chatter online about there being animal-derived ingredients lurking inside, so I thought it would be best to look elsewhere.

                I’ve tried a new vegan, natural cleansers since then and never thought enough of any of them to really claim one as my favorite until I tried OSEA’s Ocean Cleanser. At about $7 per ounce, it’s not the cheapest cleanser on the block – but cheap is’t a great attribute in something you’re planning on rubbing all over your body’s largest organ 1-2 times a day.

                If you read the product description there is lots of talk of algae and re-mineralizing and whatnot, but all you need to know is it will remove your makeup, and clean your face without stripping it of it’s natural moisture. So your skin will feel soft and will be stronger and healthier.

                I’m borderline Amy Winehouse with my black eyeliner, so I go through eye make up remover like it’s nothing. I also was blessed with my mother’s oily eyelids, which means I have blocked eyelash follicles and inflamed eyelids all the time (sorry boys, I’m taken!) I tried We Love Eyes’ Tea Tree Make Up Remover* and saw the light – literally.

                Use code bakeanddestroy for 10% off

                Use code bakeanddestroy for 10% off

                Why is this eye make up remover worth $18? Well, it’s made with just three ingredients – jojoba oil grape seed oil and tea tree oil, so it’s super gentle and natural. Could you mix those up yourself at home? Um, maybe, but I’m pretty anti-DIY when it comes to my eyeballs, and this stuff was formulated by an optometrist, so I trust her. It removes every trace of my gothy eye makeup, plus, I’ve noticed that my eyelids are less puffy, and I’ve had fewer blocked follicles since I’ve started using it.

                *Save 10% until 2017 when you enter bakeanddestroy 

                American Botanics* makes a few products I really love, but in the cleansing arena their SuperC+ Skin Perfecting Tonic with Brightening Complex is a stand-out. The scrubby little pads are soaked in fruit extract glycolic acid with aloe vera juice, bilberry, lemon peel and sugar cane, a mixture that polishes, brightens, fades sun spots and age spots, and fights fine lines and wrinkles.

                I wash my face at night to remove my makeup, but in the morning I just rinse it with water to remove residue from my night cream, so I like to use these after my shower to refresh before I go pile on more makeup. The company recommends using them 1-2 times per week, or daily depending on your needs and preferences.

                *Save 20% until 2017 when you enter HOLIDAY20

                Serum and Moisturizer

                I admit I’ve always been a little confused by serums. So, you clean your face, then you put oil on your face, then you put moisturizer on top of that? …why tho? I’ve tried tons, and I could never tell if they were “working,” and never wanted to spend anywhere from $40 to $100 on something that didn’t thrill me. Do you understand how many ColourPop lip sticks I could buy with $100? (The answer is 20.)

                Then, I tried The Hero Oil by Poetic Blends*. This oil is billed as a multi-purpose oil – you can use it on your face, your hair, your nails, you can shave with it – but for $50 an ounce I was not about to do any of those things. I was going to put it on my beautiful, precious face. And I did. And I loved it.

                I really like this oil for two reasons. One, it’s a “dry oil,” meaning it absorbs very quickly, so you don’t feel like an oil slick and your bangs won’t stick to your forehead all night. I also really like the inclusion of calendula oil in the ingredients, because it’s antibacterial, so it fights inflammation and kills germs. It’s nice to know when you’re on the verge of a major chin zit that your moisturizing serum is actively fighting zit-causing bacteria.

                *Keep your eyes peeled for Poetic Blends’ Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales!

                screen-shot-2016-11-19-at-6-31-15-pm

                Enter HOLIDAY20 to save 20%

                Another American Botanics* product that’s become a regular part of my routine is their SuperA+ Sleep Tight Radiance Cream. Prickly pear and Retinol combine with other natural, calming, regenerative ingredients to make a lightweight, but deeply penetrating night cream for firmer, younger-looking skin in the morning. Bonus: it smells delicious. Not bonus: that makes my dog lick my face. Bonus again: my dog is really cute.

                *Save 20% until 2017 when you enter HOLIDAY20

                In the morning, pre-makeup, I use Pacifica’s Dreamy Youth Day & Night Face Cream. I use a ton of Pacifica products because they’re all vegan and cruelty, and they’re priced really reasonably. This cream is super lightweight, so it’s perfect under makeup – and it’s in a pump dispenser so you can keep your grubby hands out of the product.

                Masks and Treatments

                In my previous skincare post I sang the praises of Thesis Beauty’s* Smoothing Hydrating Brightening Strawberry Dessert Mask and that one is still in regular rotation. It’s about $23 for a jar, but don’t let that freak you out because you only need a teaspoon to whip up a mask so it will last you FOREVER. This mask will give you visible results – for real. Your skin will be brighter, and if you’re sensitive like me, you’ll notice a calming effect on angry spots. Plus it’s pink, and it gets dry and crackly when it’s time to wash it off, so it’s fun.

                *Save 10% until 2017 when you enter BAKE10

                Enter Dreamy15 for 15% off

                Enter Dreamy15 for 15% off

                I did not love Pacifica’s Future Youth Enzymatic Resurfacing Mask when I first opened the jar. It’s a clear gel, and it smells like kale (because it’s made with kale) and it’s pretty much the opposite of the pink, sweetly-scented, crackly fun of the Thesis mask I love. This mask, however, taught me not to judge a book by its cover.

                After spreading a thin layer on, you’ll feel this mask tingling away – you might even notice a flush in your cheeks if you’re particularly sensitive. After 5-20 minutes, wipe it away to reveal decongested pores, and a fresh complexion due to it’s peel-like properties. It’s perfect for those of you who get dull, dry patches, and like all of Pacifica’s products, it’s a great price.

                Anti-Aging

                A lot of the products I’ve already covered do double duty as anti-aging products – anything that hydrates, plumps and brightens pretty much fits that bill. But, I’ve tried a few that helped with some particularly annoying signs of aging.

                Juice Beauty’s Stem Cellular Anti-wrinkle Booster Serum is a quick-absorbing, lightweight gel. There’s a whole crazy list of ingredients and what they do, but the reason I really like it is that it instantly plumps your skin – so fine lines go bye-bye. It also doubles as a makeup primer, which helps the $75 price tag feel slightly less painful.

                screen-shot-2016-11-19-at-6-45-31-pmIf you’d like to try this serum at a lower price, plus get your hands on a few other really nice anti-aging products from Juice Beauty, I recommend the Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Solutions Kit for $49. This will allow you to try three products from this collection (a $100 value), including another favorite of mine, the Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Eye Treatment. This is the ONLY product I’ve ever tried that actually reduced the appearance of my chronic dark eye circles, plus helped diminish some fine lines.

                Finally, this isn’t so much a product recommendation as a discovery tool recommendation, but I was able to try most of these products in my Petit Vour subscription box. I really like Petit Vour, because it’s always heavy on the skincare products, and the brands tend to be high-end. So for $15 a month (US price, Canadian and global options are also available) you can try an $80 night cream, a $65 serum, and a $32 cleanser and see for yourself if they’re worth it or not. Plus, you can earn loyalty points on your purchases through Petit Vour, so you can earn money off the things you really love.

                What are your favorite vegan skincare products? What other vegan non-edibles are you interested in? Hair care? Pet care? You tell me and I’ll work on a post!

                Honesty alert: This is not a sponsored post, and I paid for these products, so these are my honest opinions. Some of the links are affiliate links, which means I could receive compensation if you make a purchase after clicking them.

                Vegan Tamales Unwrapped: Red Chile Jackfruit Tamales

                Vegan tamales are a hug your mouth gives your belly. Anyone who’s ever attempted to make them at home knows this isn’t a dish to be taken lightly – and if you make tamales, you do it from a place of love.

                So I was super stoked to have the opportunity to check out Dora Stone’s new book,Vegan Tamales Unwrapped: A Step-by-Step Guide to Savory and Sweet Tamales, and share this recipe with you.

                If you’re lucky enough to live near an international market, you should be able to find young jackfruit in brine, Masa Harina and corn husks pretty easily (jackfruit is often with the Asian food, corn husks with Mexican ingredients, and masa harina could be with Mexican food, or you might find it in the baking aisle with other Bob’s Red Mill products).

                If these items are tricky for you to find locally, though, welcome to the Internet! You can find them here:

                It probably shouldn’t come a surprise to you that this post contains affiliate links, which means if you click them and make a purchase I might receive compensation. Thought I’d mention it anyway though. 

                Before we get into this I should mention that tamales aren’t a small undertaking – my friends whose families make them usually do so for special occasions. A lot of times they’ll get together with aunts and cousins and make a huge batch and divvy it up. Everyone works together in an assembly line. So maybe grab a few friends and have a tamale party.

                Red Chile Jackfruit Tamales Recipe:

                red-chile-jackfruit-tamales

                Red chile jackfruit tamales

                Yield: 18-24 tamales
                Time: 2-3 hours

                Ingredients: 

                Guajillo Chile Sauce

                • 20 ea.(4 oz.) Chile guajillo, dry, seeded
                • 3 – 4 Arbol chiles, seeded
                • 6 Garlic, cloves
                • 1/2 Onion, white chopped
                • 2 cups Chile soaking liquid

                Filling:

                • 4 Garlic, cloves, minced
                • 2 cans (20 oz./ea) Green jackfruit
                • 1 ½ cups Guajillo chile sauce

                Dough:

                • 1 cup (8 oz.) Coconut oil, room temperature
                • 4 cups (1 lb. 2 oz.) Masa Harina
                • 1 ½ tsp. Baking powder
                • 1 ½ tbsp. Salt, kosher
                • 1 ½ tbsp. Cumin, ground
                • 3 ½ cups Vegetable broth or stock
                • 1 ½ cups Guajillo chile sauce

                30 Corn Husks, dried

                Preparation:

                Also in this book: potato adobo tamales

                Also in this book: potato adobo tamales

                1. To prepare the corn husks: Soak the corn husks in hot water, in a large pot or in your

                kitchen sink. Place a plate over them to weigh them down so they are completely

                submerged. Let them soak for at least an hour.

                2. To make the sauce, place the chiles in a small sauce pot and cover with water. Bring to a

                simmer over medium-high heat and let cook for about 10 minutes. Drain the chiles and

                reserve 2 cups of the soaking liquid. Place the chiles, garlic, onion, and soaking liquid in

                the blender and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and strain. You should

                end up with about 3 cups of sauce.

                3. To make the filling: Drain the jackfruit. Rinse, and pat with paper towels. Cut out the

                core of the jackfruit (tip of the triangle pieces), and cut pieces in half. Heat 1 tbsp. of oil

                in a large sauté pan set to medium heat. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring

                often. Add the jackfruit and cook for 3 -4 minutes or until it begins to brown. Pour 1 ½

                cups of the guajillo chile sauce and reduce heat to low-medium. Simmer for 20 minutes

                or until jackfruit begins to break down and the sauce has thickened slightly. Use a fork to

                shred the jackfruit as it cooks down. Season with salt and pepper and let cool.

                4. To make the dough, beat the coconut oil, on medium-high speed, with an electric mixer

                for 1 minute. Add the baking powder, cumin, salt, and beat for 1 minute to incorporate

                into the coconut oil.

                5. Add half of the masa harina to the bowl, pour in half of the vegetable stock, and beat to

                incorporate. After it is completely incorporated, add the other half of masa harina,

                vegetable stock, and 1 ½ cups of the guajillo chile puree. Beat at low speed, until

                thoroughly mixed. It should have the consistency of a thick cake batter. If necessary, add

                more vegetable stock until you reach that consistency. Taste the dough, and add more salt

                if necessary. It should be a little bit salty.

                What about chocolate tamales for dessert?

                What about chocolate tamales for dessert?

                6. For lighter and fluffier tamales, let the dough rest for an hour in the refrigerator. Remove

                the dough from the fridge and rebeat it, adding enough liquid to get it to the consistency it

                had before.

                7. Remove the corn husks from the water and set on paper towels. Reserve the largest husks

                to wrap the tamales and the small ones to line the steamer.

                8. To set up your steamer, fill the bottom with water making sure the water is not touching

                the steamer rack. Line the rack and sides of the steamer pot with corn husks. Set aside.

                9. To wrap the tamales, pull 24 pencil thin strips off of the corn husks and set aside. Take a

                husk and dry off the excess water with a paper towel. Place the husk in your hand with

                the tapered side away from you and the smooth side up. Using a spoon, spread 2-3 tbsp.

                of the dough (¼ inch thick) onto the corn husk, forming a 3 – 4 inch square. Leave a

                border of at least 3/4 inch on each side of the square.

                10. Place 1 ½ tbsp. of the filling in the center of the dough. Bring the two long sides of the

                corn husk together, this will cause the masa to surround the filling, and roll them in the

                same direction around the tamal. (If the husk is too small, fold one of the long sides

                towards the center, and then fold the other long side on top.) Fold down the empty

                tapered section of the corn husk, forming a closed bottom. This will leave the top of the

                tamal open. Tie with a corn husk strip to secure the bottom of the tamal.

                11. Place the tamal in the steamer vertically leaning against the side of the pot, with the open

                end on top. Repeat this process until you run out of dough and all the tamales are in the

                steamer. Cover them with a layer of corn husks. If the steamer is not full, fill the empty

                spaces with more corn husks. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Turn heat down

                to medium and cook for 40 minutes. Check the tamales, when they separate easily from

                the corn husk it means they are done. If they are not done, steam for 10 more minutes and

                check again.

                12. Remove steamer from the heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes. Uncover and let cool

                for at least an hour. Don’t be alarmed if the tamales seem really soft. As they cool, they

                will firm up.

                Chef’s Notes:

                If you would like to make these with fresh masa, replace the masa harina with 2 lbs. of

                fresh masa and use only 3/4 cup of vegetable stock. To substitute the coconut oil, you can

                use 8 oz. of vegetable oil or vegetable shortening. For tamales without fat, use 8 oz of

                cooked, unsweetened pumpkin.

                Veganized: Christina Tosi’s Corn Cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar

                This is me. I am also Midwestern AF.

                This is me. I am also Midwestern AF.

                Yes, corn cookies. If you ever ate honey on your cornbread or put sugar in your grits than you’re already half way there. (PS I am staunchly in the Salt in Grits Club, but I will still eff up some corn cookies.) They’re just a touch sweet, but not sugary, buttery, and saltier than your average “salted caramel whatever.” The center is chewy, the outer edge is crunchy. As you eat them you think things like, “This would be amazing with vegan cream cheese icing” and ” I could make a baller ass ice cream out of these” but instead you just eat them all while hovering over the sink at 11pm on a Tuesday night. And, they’re made with two kinds of corn products, which is Midwestern AF.

                My friend Heather of Pie, Pie My Darling will make her own version of these for you by special order if you’re in Chicago. But if you aren’t, you can make them at home pretty easily. All I did was veganize the famous recipe from NYC’s Momofuku Milk Bar.

                Make sure you use a margarine that actually tastes good (Smart Balance is good and you can find it in most stores) because that flavor is really important in these cookies. If you can find Miyoko’s Creamery Cultured VeganButter in a store near you it’s well-worth the splurge (and bonus: no palm oil so you get extra vegan points). You can even make your own awesome vegan butter with Miyoko’s own recipe.

                I used EnerG egg replacer to replace the egg in the original recipe – I didn’t want to use flax or banana because they alter the flavor, and I thought tofu would mess with the texture. But do whatever you want, I’m not your mom. My only other ingredient note is about freeze-dried corn because I had a really hard time finding it. I ended up getting it on Amazon (ad link), but if you’re lucky you’ll find it at your local Whole Foods – I’ve heard you can also find it in some sporting goods store thanks to survivalist weirdos.

                Vegan Corn Cookies

                By BakeandDestroy Published: September 12, 2016

                • Yield: 13- 15 cookies

                This is me. I am also Midwestern AF. Yes, corn cookies. If …

                Ingredients

                Instructions

                1. Combine the margarine and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg replacer, and beat for 7-8 minutes.
                2. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, corn flour, corn powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
                3. Using a 2 3/4-ounce ice cream scoop (or a 1/3-cup measure), portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Do NOT skip this step.
                4. Heat the oven to 350°F
                5. Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pans. Bake for 18 minutes. The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. After 18 minutes, they should be faintly browned on the edges yet still bright yellow in the center; give them an extra minute if not.
                6. Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or to an airtight container for storage.

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