Friday, June 29, 2012

LINKY PARTY via Foodie Friends Friday!

My pals at Foodie Friends Friday and I are having a party! Won't you join us? In honor of this day and of the day my little brother gets himself wedded in September, I made you a cupcake.

It's a chocolatey, rich and yummy cupcake with coffee in the batter and a swirl of cocoa frosting on top. What does this have to do with September weddings and Foodie Friends, you say? Well, this little cupcake just happens to be vegan! Just like the bride and groom, who are anxious to share the deliciousness of a plant-based way of life. So this Friday, I'm spreading the animal-free love.

If you're curious about baking without butter and eggs and all the usual suspects, give this recipe a try. Then give a cupcake to someone, let them ooh and aah over its gorgeous texture and flavor, then watch when you tell them it's vegan. "No way!" they'll say.

Read on for the recipe, which is courtesy of Chef Chloe, the vegan baker whose Ginger Nutmeg Spice recipe won Cupcake Wars.

Chocolate Cupcakes:

1-1/2 C all purpose flour
1 C sugar
1/3 C cocoa powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

1 C cold coffee or water
1/2 C canola oil
2 T white or cider vinegar
2 t vanilla extract

In large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients. Pour wet mixture into dry and whisk until just combined. Chloe admonishes not to overmix!

Fill cupcake liners two-thirds full and bake 16 to 18 minutes at 350. Cool completely and frost.

I used this Simple Vegan Icing from and added 1/3 cup of cocoa.

1/2 C vegetable shortening
4 C confectioner's sugar
1/3 C cocoa
5 T soy milk
1/4 t vanilla

Beat shortening, sugar and cocoa until incorporated and clumpy. Add soy milk and vanilla, beat until smooth.

Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes, share, and voila, someone is likely to fall madly in love with you!

Now for more kitchen inspiration, please pay a visit to the following Foodie Friends and see what they're cooking up this happy Friday!

Robyn's View
A Lil' Country Sugar
Saucy Girls Kitchen
Passione Per Cucina
Everything In The Kitchen Sink
What's Cooking In The Burbs
Busy Vegetarian Mom
From Calculus To Cupcakes
This And That
Cookies, Cakes And Bakes
Cupcakes And Kale Chips
Wife Of The Colonel
Chef Picky Kid
Family Food Finds
Bringing Pleasure To The Kitchen
Cindy's Recipes And Writings
DJ's Sugar Shack

Friday, June 22, 2012

You had me at lemon and lavender!

Meet Michelle:  Teacher, baker and creator of the blog, "From Calculus to Cupcakes." I was introduced to her over at Foodie Friends Friday, a wonderful recipe collective web page. These are her lemon lavender shortbread cookies:

One of my favorite treats is this herbilicious shortbread and Michelle has taken hers to the next level by adding a cream cheese filling. How delightful!

If you haven't eaten or tried cooking with lavender, I really hope you will. It intrigued me for sometime before I had a chance to use some locally-grown buds here in the Blue Ridge, and when I did, it was everything you can imagine. Floral, yes, but not overly perfume-y, and the addition of citrus is brilliant.

I recently purchased a half-pound of dried lavender buds for 11.49 via and they are lovely, delicately scenting the whole house when I opened my package. I make a delicious, rustic ciabatta-type bread using lavender and walnuts, but beyond culinary uses, you can also sprinkle the buds in bathwater for a relaxing soak.

I don't know how Michelle finds time to be a teacher, bake yummy shortbread AND write about it, but I'm glad she does. Check out her blog for more recipes of delicious treats like Teacup Muffins, homemade ice cream and lots more.

Happy Foodie Friends Friday, everybody!

Friday, June 15, 2012

This and That

Welcome to week 2 of my Foodie Friends Friday featured blogs! I was fascinated by Marlys' introduction of herself on "This and That" - "A little African, a little American and a whole lot Canadian." Being wholly inexperienced in 2 of those cuisines, I was drawn to her recipe for African sauce first. In the Capozzi-Speaks households, red sauce is something usually readily available or easily whipped up on short notice because we eat it often. As a result, we're always on the lookout for variations that we haven't tried.

Interestingly, Marlys' African sauce recipe starts the same my grandmother's marinara did - cooking the tomato paste in the olive oil. The addition of meat is also a (traditionally, when affordable) similarity. What I found intriguing was her inclusion of anise and ginger - exotic and alluring spices I probably would not think to serve on pasta but her suggestion of rice and beans went instantly on my to-make list (it's long and constantly shuffling but only the good stuff qualifies!).

If you're like me and want to know more about African cuisine and especially the region of Togo, check out Marlys' blog and follow her journey - lots of pictures included!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Foodie Friends Friday

Meet my newest blogging friends - web and Facebook pages put together by Tracy, aka Busy Vegetarian Mom - where foodie writers visit and talk about each others' blogs and recipes:

This week I was invited to check into Fit from the Inside Out, written by Anna, a 20-something college student. My first thought was that I didn't have much in common with Anna, aside from blogging about what I like to eat. She's much younger and has a much, much healthier approach to life. In fact, Anna does all those things I should be doing: eating lean meals, getting plenty of exercise and drinking lots of water every day. And she keeps a pretty good record of her efforts - maybe that's the key, something I should incorporate.

One thing I already do that Anna recommends (and tells you exactly how) is drinking "green" smoothies. Just throw a handful of spinach, kale or whatever you have on hand, into your usual fruit mix. I find that greens do not change the flavor of a smoothie and I have the comfort of knowing I've had a serving of nature's healthiest food before I even start the day.

So check out Anna's healthy blog and visit Foodie Friends Friday when you get a chance. And don't forget to drink your greens!