Sunday, February 17, 2013

Finding joy in the little things

Fruit Smoothies

Green Sunshine

Audrey Hepburn 

Favorite Snacks

Hot Days - Friends

Sending Love


First Experiences

Gifts of Love

Best Friends


Shared Smiles

~ Peace and Love ~

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Vegan (Gluten-Free) Valentine's Day Chocolate Strawberry and Marshmallow-Filled Cupcake

"There is no life, without love." - Ghandi

Try this amazing chocolate and strawberry cupcake for your special Valentine's Day treat this year. 

Great for parties and to share with friends or that special someone! 

Cupcake Batter

Going into the oven

       Strawberry Marshmallow filled Strawberries

                                                                                            Baked Cupcake

 Cupcake with Icing

Inside View

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

12 cupcakes 
30 Vegan Strawberry Marshmallows

Materials Needed:
 Large Mixing Bowl - Small Mixing Bowl - Heavy Pan for boiling marshmallow ingredients - 8 x12 Pan - Mixer or large spoon - Cupcake Liners - Cupcake Tin - Measuring Spoons/cups - Candy Thermometer - Blender - Wire Strainer - Oven

Ingredients Needed:
Vegan Gelatin of choice, Water, Unbleached Sugar, Powdered Sugar, Light Corn Syrup (Non-Gmo), H. Sea Salt, Whole Strawberries, Vanilla, GF All-Purpose Flour, Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, 1 100% Dark Chocolate Bar, Nut Milk or choice, Vegetable Oil, Vegan Yogurt, Lemon Juice, Baking Soda, Arrowroot Powder

~Prepare First~

Vegan Strawberry Marshmallows (Filling): 

3 tbsp. vegan gelatin (I used Agar Powder)
1 cup water
2 cup unbleached sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. h. sea salt
2 tbsp. vanilla
4-5 organic strawberries

1. Place 4-5 large organic strawberries into blender, blend until pureed. 

2. In a bowl, place 1/2 c. of water and vegan gelatin - stir - let sit 5 minutes. Strain strawberry puree over gelatin in mixing bowl.

3. Begin to prepare a syrup. In a heavy pan on low, add the remaining 1/2 cup water, sugar, corn syrup, and h. sea salt. Blend until dissolved. Let simmer for 2 minutes. Turn heat to med. High.

4. When the mixture starts to boil, cover for 3 minutes to allow crystals that have formed to be washed away. 

5. Continue to boil uncovered and unstirred over high heat to the 'firm ball' stage (245 degrees F). Overcooking makes the marshmallows tough.

6. Remove the mixture from heat and slowly pour over gelatin and strawberry puree mixture in a large bowl, beating constantly with electric mixer.

7. Continue to beat around 15 minutes - while beating, when the mixture is thick but still smooth, add vanilla.

8. Once mixture is completely thickened and thoroughly mixed- this is what you will use to fill your hollowed out strawberries in the cupcakes.

9. With the remaining mix. Pour into an 8 x 12 pan that has been lightly dusted with arrowroot powder. Dust the top with arrowroot powder, and set aside.

10. Let it dry for 12 hours. Prepare a flat cookie sheet with dusted arrowroot powder. Turn marshmallow pan upside down over the cookie sheet to remove marshmallow mixture. 

11. Cut into desired shapes. 
Place into a baggie to coat with arrowroot powder. 

*Store fully dusted pieces in baggie or closed tin.

Cupcake Ingredients:

1 cup of Gluten-Free All-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup vegan sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup chocolate almond milk - or nut milk of choice with 1 tbs. cocoa powder
2 1/2 tbs. vegan yogurt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tbs. Lemon Juice
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. H. Sea Salt
1/2 tbs. arrowroot powder
1 100% Dark Chocolate Bar for garnish


Pre-heat oven to 350F

Line cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
In large mixing bowl sift together dry ingredients. In small mixing bowl, mix together wet ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mix until smooth. Do not over mix.

Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full, do not over fill or the cupcakes will spill over the sides. Bake 10-12 minutes, then add trimmed/cored/marshmallow filled strawberries into half baked cupcakes. 

Bake another 10 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool 20 minutes, then add icing and top with dark chocolate shavings and a slice of strawberry.

Strawberry Icing Recipe:

3 cups vegan powdered sugar
1 tbsp. coconut milk -add more if consistency isn't right, but start with 
1 tbsp. vanilla
1/2 cup pureed strawberries

 Dark Chocolate Shavings
6 Halved Strawberries

1. Sift Dry ingredients in large bowl.

2. Mix wet ingredients in small bowl, slowly stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients.

3. With and electric mixer, blend until smooth.

4. Top Cupcakes with icing mixture, dark chocolate shavings, half strawberry slice.


Happy Valentine's Week to you and yours!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Food Revolution: How to Start Your Own Organic Garden

Dig For Victory - courtesy of Ministry of Agriculture 1941

PBS Television Show "Growing A Greener World" features Shawna Coronado's sustainable front lawn Victory Garden. Host Joe Lamp'l speaks with Shawna about growing organic vegetables and making a difference in her community.

One Person Can Make A Difference: 

How she changed her community with her Organic front yard garden!

Check out her website here for more information:

It's easy - Just START! 
There is no reason you can't have your own food, grown the way you want, organically- Saving you money, saving your health, and even your community and the next generation! 

Join the Revolution - TODAY - no excuses.

I started my first backyard garden last year, in a small space - with little knowledge, a will to save money on fresh organics and feed myself and my daughter a wholesome plant based diet - and it's still flourishing today with little maintenance.

Here are some photos of when we started our 1st garden last year, and the fruits of our labor by mid-Summer/late Fall 2012.

These seeds are cheap! 
Cost should not be an excuse.

This is the garden in a small plot in the backyard in a 
Mobil Home Park with minimal cheap materials

Lack of space is NOT an excuse!

A Lemon Tree ($22)
A Mandarin Orange Tree (right)

Cherry Tomatoes fresh from the garden - 
how much do you think that amount of organic cherry tomatoes would cost at the store?

Fresh HUGE Beets - great for juicing and cooking!

Sweet Watermelon (personal sized)

More Cherry Tomatoes - Baby Carrots - Broccoli

*I couldn't believe how much Organic Broccoli florets cost at the store, 
so I made sure to try growing some in the 
garden to save money - and it was super easy! 

Just remember to water daily and grow in lots of sunshine (if possible) and let the happy bee's pollinate the buds!!
Nature does the rest :)

(Great for juicing and fresh salads or soups) 

These beauties are still growing strong today, 
and I haven't been watering as frequently, they still look very green and perky :)

What are you waiting for??
Gardening season is upon us 

Start your "Victory Garden" today!

Have any questions about how to get started? 

Ask me anything in the comment section below! 

You can do it!