For the Birds

You’ve stumbled across a foodless post today. Instead? Photos of some of my favorite birds! If you can guess which bird isn’t “real”, I’ll post a TASTY Peanut Butter Cookie recipe later in the week! Maybe…

This is Afro-Duck.

This is Mr. Hawk (who incidentally looks like corn on the cob, but don’t laugh, he’s sensitive!)

This is Crazy Green Bird.

This is Lil’ Robin.

Okay? Now, at least 10 people have to choose correctly, or there is no Peanut Butter Cookie post…I’m serious.

Brekkie for Dinny?

Oooooohhhh yeeeeeaaaaaah…I love pancakes. Fluffy, yummy, and stacked up on my plate. Tuesday is always grocery shopping day for me, so sometimes dinner on Monday night is a scraping together of random ingredients (if I stray from my meal list), or…it’s breakfast! This particular pancake recipe is adapted from one that was written into a children’s book I read, but the name of the book escapes me. I am not allowed to make these however, because according to my boyfriend, I am unable to achieve “golden perfection”. That’s cool. I’d rather sit back and watch the master at work anyways!

Tasty Pancakes

*Makes about 6 pancakes if using 1/2 cup batter per pancake. This seems to be enough for two people. *

1 cup all-purpose flour (unbleached)
1/4 cup unrefined sugar (or dry sweetener of your choice)
1 generous teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup non-dairy milk (plain)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg replaced (I use Ener’G Egg Replacer)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Maple syrup, fruit, or other toppings of your choice

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl. Stir together, careful not to over mix. Ladle about a 1/4 cup (or more for bigger pancakes) of batter into a hot skillet over medium-high heat (or whatever temperature suits your stove, my stove is very unreliable). Cook, flip, and eat up. Or, make someone else do the hard part while you demand your pancakes.

Seeking Out Sprinkles

One of the very first things I learned about when I became vegan was refined sugar. It simply disgusted me that a lot of sugar brands are refined through animal bone-char. That is NASTY. Unrefined sugar is easy to find, tastes so much better, and doesn’t require animal by-products in the production process (plus, it is so much prettier in its natural color). I only use sugar when baking and sometimes in cooking, but I have been making a lot of cupcakes lately, and I was seeking out some colored sugar crystal sprinkles to adorn my cupcakes. After looking both online and in several grocery stores, I discovered that a vegan sugar crystal sprinkle does not exist. Some people have recommended the India Tree brand, but I was skeptical of the “sugar” on the ingredient label. So, I e-mailed the company asking if the sugar they use in their sprinkles is refined, and if so, is it refined by the bone-char process. The response? I was told that India Tree does in fact use bone-char processing for their sprinkles, but that no remnants remain in the final product.

Well, even though there are no “remnants” (eeeewwwwwww!!!!!) in the sugar, the process is definitely NOT vegan. I will be attempting ways to make my own colored sugar crystals…if I succeed, I will post my methods! I am aware of these vegan sprinkles made in Germany, but I really want a “crystal” sprinkle!  If anybody knows of a brand I’ve overlooked, please let me know! I am aware that the “sugar issue” is a personal choice for people. For me, knowing that animals suffered in order to refine sugar is enough for me to purchase and use only unrefined. Compassion for animals!

Agave Love

Before I went vegan, I was not a huge fan of honey. Occasionally I would have some spread on toast or stirred into a cup of tea, but those times were rare. When I discovered agave nectar as a vegan, I wasn’t super eager to try it, but curious enough…and guess what? I liked it! So, when I noticed I had all but a few tablespoons of sugar in my cupboard and a craving for cupcakes, I turned to my lil’ squeeze bottle of agave nectar and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. It also helped that I had recently received as a gift a lovely product from Love Street Living Foods: raw chocolate spread.

This organic raw chocolate spread is sweetened with agave nectar and is delightfully rich and dark. Sooooooo gooooood. I thought to myself…”Hmmmm, this would be nice in the center of an unsuspecting cupcake.” And luckily, there is a recipe in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World that suited my sugarless needs: Simple Vanilla and Agave Nectar Cupcakes. These were indeed super simple and super tasty. When filling the cupcake liners, I added a small dollop of the chocolate agave spread between layers of batter (with the hopes that it would produce a surprise chocolate center-it did!). After baking, I frosted them with the Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (also from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World) and garnished them with sprinkles. Easy.