Vegan Lavender Lime Bundt Cake

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Addictions come in many forms. Like that time I was addicted to Pleasantville. And when my 8th grade self couldn’t stop listening to Blink 182’s “Take Off Your Pants and Jacket.” I also got addicted to plucking my eyebrows. Until they were two inches apart and I looked like I had grown an extra forehead in the middle of my face.

It took a long time for them to grow back.

So this summer, I got addicted to a pond. A new pond. A pond not many people know about.

And I can’t stop going there. I wake up early just to be the first one on that splintery dock. I make sure to get all my chores done the night before so I can efficiently bike, swim, cannonball, dive, flip, and nap—all before 3pm.

I’m really nervous about the fall. Because I don’t know what my weekends will be like without that pond. Where will I swim? Where will I see great blue herons swooping over lily pads? What happens when I don’t get sun sleepies?

Maybe with less sun will come more time for cooking and baking. Even though a huge chunk of me doesn’t want that to happen, I guess having a lavender lime bundt cake after dinner wouldn’t be too bad.

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This flavor combo is so unreal. The first time I did something with it was ages ago when I baked lavender lime poppy seed cookies. Those were stupidly amazing.

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Lime gets zested. Don’t rub your eyes. But definitely enjoy your house smelling citrusy for at least the afternoon.

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Lime gets juiced.

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You’re probably all, “Ew, does it taste like potpourri?” To which I answer, “Shut up and eat it.”

It doesn’t taste like potpourri. It tastes like yum.

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Just a whee bit toasty.

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And a whole lot of omg-so-good-I-might-eat-it-all.

Vegan (say what?!) lavendar lime bundt cake.

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons culinary lavender
3 limes, zested and juiced
2/3 cup canola oil
1 14oz can coconut milk
1 1/2 cups vegan sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Thoroughly grease a bundt pan of your choice, being sure to get in all the cracks.

Sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder salt), in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, mix wet ingredients (sugar, coconut milk, canola oil, vanilla, lime juice, zest) until sugar and oil are fully incorporated.

Slowly add the dries into the wets in about 3 batches, mixing completely before adding the next cup.

Once the batter is just incorporated (don’t overdo it, or else your cake won’t be fluffy), fold in the culinary lavender.

Pour into the bundt cake pan and bake for about 60 minutes, until the top is just browning at the edges.

Fully cool before even attempting to take the cake out of the pan. It will break if the center is still warm.

Seriously it tastes phenomenal.

Enough to feed the people who don’t scorn vegan baked goods.

Shredded Zucchini Calzone

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I’m heavily invested in the idea that I will one day hit the sweet spot. I’ll find the middle ground between walking to the grocery store barefoot and rocking stiletto heels. Something in between picking up furniture off the streets and buying a full-price couch. Just the right amount of this and that.

I’m  Goldilocks.

And this heat wave is just too darn hot.

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But with the middle of the summer comes a cornucopia of squash! So much squash!

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Squash that I want to shred and put into a calzone!

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Kale and zucchini are the sweet spot of this calzone.

That and I have a lot of flippin’ kale to deal with, too.

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I don’t think I can go a week without making dough. I go into withdrawals.

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You think it’s a burrito.

But it’s not a burrito.

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It’s a motherfucking calzone.

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Respect.

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In the flesh.

Shredded Zucchini Calzone.

1 medium zucchini, grated (about 2 cups)
3-4 dinosaur kale stalks, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup grated Reggiano cheese
1 large tomato
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cornmeal

For the dough, follow my recipe for Honey Whole Wheat. In the middle of rising, cut the dough in half and shape into rounds. Let them rise for another half hour.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. (I know it’s crazy to think about when it’s so hot out, but it’s worth it. Sort of.)

In a large skillet heat the olive oil. Add the chopped onions and sautee until translucent. Remove from the pan and set aside on a large plate.  With the remaining oil, sautee the kale, garlic and zucchini. Add to the plate of onions and mix in Reggiano cheese.

Chop the tomato in half and squeeze to release the water and all of the seeds. Chop coarsely. In a medium bowl, season the tomato generously with salt and pepper. Add to the other vegetables.

Using a bread roller, roll out the dough into small circles. Evenly divvy up the vegetables on each round, keeping all of the ingredients in the center.

Wrap in any shape you want. I used a fork to close the seams because I was nervous they would explode and ooze in the oven.

Brush the top with olive oil for a nice crispy crust.

Cover a large pizza stone or baking sheet with cornmeal to prevent sticking. Place the calzones on the sheet/stone and bake for about 15-20 minutes, until the top is nice and golden.

Makes two fat calzones for two hungry gals.

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

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I have a small obsession with growing up. My wishes range from having a car and a puppy to dreaming of the day when I’ll stop thinking that fart jokes are really the funniest of them all. Sometimes I get pangs of adulty withdrawals and scrounge through Craigslist for things my parents have. Like kitchen islands and lamp shades. Curtains.

It’s not just the things. I yearn for conversations outside of the next meal and how’s-work-going. That’s what makes you an adult, right? Black coffee and philosophizing?

Mmmnope.

I don’t think I’ll ever be an adult. And I don’t really want to be. I’d much rather hang out with my high school friends and rewatch Harry Potter until I know the script by heart.

There’ll be plenty of time to put down a mortgage, get matching towels and talk about what Ira Glass said on the last episode of This American Life. Too much time, really.

But at least I can still play in the dirt and bring home rhubarb every once in a while. And if that’s what it means to grow up, then I’ll stick with it.

_MG_1619No, really, I dug my toes into the soil and snipped stalks of rhubarb. I’ve got a garden. Finally. #Adulthood.

_MG_1634My brother told me to make this cake probably 3 months ago. Now I know why.

_MG_1631Because who doesn’t love caramelizing rhubarb?

_MG_1640And then, like, turning it into a sort of biscuit-like thing that makes your apartment smell like a pastry shop?

_MG_1643The only way to flip this without it falling apart is to say “omgomgomgomgomgomg.”

_MG_1650It worked.

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake.

3/4lbs rhubarb, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 6 tablespoons cut into small cubes and chilled
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup milk
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a 9-inch cast-iron skillet, cook the rhubarb, 1 cup sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, 4 tablespoons butter and 1/4 teaspoon salt on medium heat until the rhubarb is soft and slightly caramelized. Make sure the sugar doesn’t burn. Because that’d be lame. And you’ll probably have to start over. This should take about 8-10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, remaining sugar and baking powder. Add the chilled 6 tablespoons of butter and shortening and using your hands, gently break apart the pieces until the flour mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the milk and eggs and mix until a sticky dough forms.

Gently spoon the dough on top of the caramelized rhubarb and smooth over lightly with a spatula.

Place the skillet into the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

Once you take it out of the oven, let it cool for about 5-10 minutes before flipping it onto a large, flat serving platter. If you don’t have one (because you’re lacking in the kitchen department of adulthood), a cutting board should work. Or a pizza peel. Whatever.

When you flip it, swear as much as you need to ensure it’ll come out in one piece. You might have to coax it with some kind words after being so mean.

Serve with ice cream or whipped cream. Or just with a fork.

Vegan Banana Carrot Muffins

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Let me tell you why throwing something out is a trillion times worse than ripping a bandaid.

I’m a reuser. I’m a recycler. My roommates have mentioned on more than one occasion that they’re sick of drinking from jars. We…might be drinking from glasses formerly known as candle holders.

And it’s not just that.

Having three pennies in my wallet for those times when the total is $7.48 gives me probably the greatest joy in the world. The red sneakers I got seven years ago will have their comeback.

Call me weird. Call me a pack rat (Except I’m not really a pack rat because I really have very few things and I give stuff away all the time and I don’t want you to think my room is full of what you’d find on an episode of Hoarders.).

But being this way has its advantages, guys. Especially in the kitchen.

Did you know that you can save your  vegetable butts (onion skins, carrot greens, celery ends) and make some amazingly delicious broth? And brown bananas are the perfect excuse to bake something. Duh.

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Or like those times you get 67 bananas instead of just four because you want potassium something awful?

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And then you’re all “I’m gonna smash you and turn you into muffins, bananas.”

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I’m not much of a carrot eater. But when a bundle of organic ones are on sale, I have to get them, right?

While the rest of the girls are compulsive lip gloss buyers, I’m busy getting far too many vegetables.

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So, some oats are going in these. You’re lucky this round didn’t get flax seeds.

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Can I also just say that repurposing string to hold up jewelry is the best?

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So stop throwing things away. Make some broth. Something about lemonade.

Vegan Banana Carrot Muffins.

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 medium bananas, mashed
1/2 carrots, grated
1/2 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas until only a few chunks remain. Add the vanilla and almond milk and mix with a fork. Whisk in the brown sugar until no clumps remain.

In a medium bowl, sift the dry ingredients. Fold into the banana mixture about half a cup at a time.

Add the oats and grated carrots, lightly folding until fully incorporated.

Put batter into muffin tins or ramekins, filling only about 3/4 of the way.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean.

Makes enough muffins for you to resist leftover Easter chocolate. For…maybe 5 more minutes.

Vegan Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles

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It’s thawing time. Are you ready to thaw? I’m totally ready to thaw.

Everyone’s emerging from their wintry cocoons. Runners are wearing neon. People are yelling hellos across the street. Smiles just happen. Ducks and swans are chilling on the pond that’s lost its icy sheet.

You know winter is over when windows open. When we start to let the cross breezes clear layers of dust. Turning down the thermostat and wearing ankle-high pants never felt so good.

What’s up, March. I’m springing forward. I’m doing a long jump into this month. I’m mid-air and far from ready to land.

There are a couple of things I want to hold on to, though. Like the flavors of January and February. And, fine, I’ll admit that my love of apple cider should be contained to November. Eggnog should probably be drunk only once.

But hot chocolate? That’s good throughout the year. You won’t want it when it’s 90 degrees out, but when it’s a cookie?

Oh man.

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And when there’s cayenne pepper? Holy zing. Just punch me in the face.

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You guys are so adorable.

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Seriously, quit your cuteness. Those crackly imperfections are too much.

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Oh. These are so vegan. Vegan to the max. And that’s almond milk.

And I might not be doing the vegan thing anymore (Listen. I work at a donut shop. When someone asks me how the hibiscus cherry donut tastes, I’d better have a real answer.), but I’m still cutting out as much dairy and eggs as possible. Plus, when a vegan cookie tastes this unreal, I’ll gladly cut out the butter.

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Peas in a pod.

Vegan Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles.

1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (I used grade B)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons almond or soy milk

For the sugar dusting:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, sift flour, cocoa, cayenne, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. In a separate medium bowl, whisk canola oil, maple syrup, vanilla, milk, and sugar until fully incorporated.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wets, mixing continuously. The batter will be stiff.

Using the palm of your hands, roll about 3 tablespoons worth of batter into a small ball. Shape into pancake-like disks and cover one side with the sugar-cinnamon dusting.

On a sheet of parchment paper, place each disk about 1 inch apart, sugar side up.

Bake for about 12 minutes.

Makes 15-20 cookies, depending how big you want them.

Make them smaller if you want to share with your coworkers in the morning.