Vegan Meal Plan Monday & Cupcake Wednesday

I’m finding that I schedule too much food in my meal plans, so I’ve decided to make a little more room for left-overs.  This is a good thing, really, because I love left-overs! They mean that something is already delicious and tasty and waiting for me to eat it.

Monday : Left-over Eggplant Parmigiana, a test recipe for  Celine & Joni that I ended up finally making last night. So yummy. We’ll also be enjoying some roasted butternut squash.

Tuesday : Lemon Herb Coconut Tofu with Udon from 500 Vegan Recipes.

Wednesday : Left-overs.

Thursday : Baked Asparagus with Mushroom sauce (tester), served with a big green salad and veggie patties.

Friday : TBA. Saturday will be Guppy’s big birthday party she’ll be co-hosting with her friend. We’re expecting some 25 kids (because you can’t leave out little brothers and sisters) so I’ll be spending much of the afternoon preparing goodies for the fun. I’m not sure what’s going to happen dinner-wise yet, perhaps take-out?

Cupcake Wednesday mentioned last week was fun and here’s what I baked :

Buttery Vanilla cupcakes with speculoos icing.  The buttery flavour comes from the coconut milk I used, and the icing is just speculoos spread melted to liquid, and then the cupcakes are dipped a few times to get a nice, shiny coating. The speculoos spread is a relatively new find, but because it has a lot of oil in it it’s not something I buy very often. I would like to make my own, but I can’t find vegan speculoos cookies in my area.

Speculoos spread + baguette = yummy snack.

When Aparna mentioned she’d make some cupcakes on Twitter not so long ago, I found myself craving some, too. We decided to make cupcakes together on Cupcake Wednesday, just for fun.  It worked out just great as I had Guppy and her friends for lunch that day, and wanted to make them something fun for dessert.

So why speculoos icing? Simply put, buttercream frostings, or frostings in general don’t go over very big here in France.  Even most children find it too sweet/rich.  I would be happy to leave my cupcakes naked, but Guppy just loves sprinkles, and icing is the “glue”, right?  This was just perfect because it wasn’t too sweet, just a nice, think icing lending just the right amout of “hey, look at me, I’m frosting” without being too much. The kids just loved them!

Aparna also made some delicious looking cuppers and you should go take a look! I love that Twitter allowed us to “hang out” together making cupcakes, despite the thousands of kilometers that seperate us.

I’m feeling so special!

The 60-Day Project has gotten off to a delicious start!

maggiesamazingcuppas

Look at those phenomenally-gorgeous mini-cupcakes that the dear Maggie of Dog Hill Kitchen made for my mum, aka Mammafish! Not only did Maggie put love, time and genuine effort into this sweet birthday gift, but she delivered them personally to my mother! I know not everyone lives close enough to bring her something sweet – heaven knows I can’t - and when Maggie said she was up for a “special delivery” I was just giddy with excitement. She even made them vegan! She also threw in a jar of her homemade quince jam made with organic quince from her father-in-law’s garden! Talk about an extended-family affair! Maggie’s got the recipe for the Strawberry-Topped Vegan Lemon Mini-Cupcakes up on her blog if you want to make some for your mother (or for yourself!).

Thanks again, Maggie! You are a real friend, and you made my mother’s (and father’s) day!

Riding the high from knowing how well this first surprise went and hearing the joy in my mother’s voice over the telephone, I stumbled upon two other (much less important) surprises! My humble little blog got two very special mentions this weekend and I’m feeling so snazzy-pants about it!

Erik Marcus featured my Vegan Spinach Pasta from the March Daring Bakers Challenge on Vegan.com! I must admit, I was feeling a little sparkly!

vegan-spinach-pasta-dough21

And the Feeling Stitchy blog gave a special mention to my Little Bear which I literally just happened upon. I clicked on the blog and began scrolling down and was like, “hey, that bear looks like mine…it is mine!”. How flattering!

little-bear1

I obviously wish that I had come up with this cute little bear, but anyone can stitch themselves one! Just visit Hillary Lang’s Wee Wonderfuls blog, and you can score yourself a free pattern, too!

We’re about to begin an exciting week! April is just a few days away, Friday is my mother’s birthday and I’m feeling really excited about getting gifty-projects ready  for Easter and Guppy’s birthday. Have a great week!

Bookmaking & Birthday Gifts (and an ugly yet delicious cupcake)

I’ve been wanting to blog about my newest favourite creative obsession outlet, but thought it would be better to wait until I had a little more to show you. I wanted to explain the why’s and how’s, give you the soul behind the groove…

But I just can’t wait because it’s so fun!

embroidered-notebook

I am in love with making these notebooks! Don’t you love the unfinished, just raveld enough edges? I think they look so natural. Sometimes I wonder if it’s normal to enjoy sewing into paper so much, because it’s the bee’s knees. I promise a more in-depth post soon, but you know when you’re into something and you just have to share it? This little cupper is actually on its way to a very sweet Birthday Girl. It doesn’t have far to go, but I don’t think it’s going to make it in time. Sigh.

These notebooks have become my birthday gift idea par excellence, and I’m working on a few others right now. I’ve done a pretty good job honoring my Handmade Pledge, and this is a great way for me to send something from the heart and hands. I’ve been using Moleskine (over-priced) and faux-Moleskine (far more reasonable but difficult to find) notebooks, but I’m going to be making my own soon (that’ll be part of the part 2 of this post!).

Rather than typing this post, I should be embroidering this :

fish

It’s going to be for a notebook for my nephew’s birthday. These groovy little carp are from this book :

doodle-stitching

I bought it last summer when visiting the U.S. I think it’s a great book for embroidery beginners (like me!) because it gives a good explanation of some basic techniques and has some fun project ideas, and though not all of them are really my cup of tea, I’ve enjoyed flipping through the pages for inspiration. I’m excited to use a design from this book for the first time.

I’ll be posting a proper bookmaking W.I.P. soon, promis, juré!

Did you happen to see the whiteout cakes that were taking over the Internet last week? If not you can visit Honey B or Natalia to see how beeeutiful they looked. They got me dreaming of deep, dark chocolate and frosting and since Guppy & I are on vacation, we decided to make some cupcake love…

whiteout-cupcake

Clearly not as fancy as it could have been, but very fun to make with Guppy, and even more fun to eat! We just used the chocolate cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, but I doubled the cocoa (because I’m punk rock like that) and we made a variation on the fluffy buttercream recipe. Betcha want one, too!