Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Day 3: Who's Day Tuesday? Michelle!!

Today is Who's Day Tuesday, which means that a friend of mine will be sharing a recipe. Today that friend is Michelle. 

Michelle has been one of my best friends since we worked in a molecular genetics lab together five years ago. (Five years ago?!?!) It wasn't long after Michelle started working in the lab that I realized that not only did we work together, but we also lived about three apartments away from eachother. This led to me first meeting her (now) husband, Walter, as I was carrying a handle of gin across the parking lot to my apartment, which is a really embarrassing way to meet someone. 

We had too much fun most of the time. We hosted a joint Halloween party where Michelle was a mad scientist and I was a pink flamingo--which turned out to be self-fulfilling prophecies! Or almost. Michelle is now working towards her doctorate in environmental health at the University of Alberta, and I went on to become a crazy bird lady. She is studying schistosomiasis, or swimmer's itch, so if you are in Canada and have swimmer's itch, you should report it at her website on swimmer's itch

Disclaimer: This picture is about five years old!
I didn't know any better about the feathers at that time in my life!
 We were each other's bridesmaids when we got married, but not only that, Michelle is also one of the best drinking buddies I have. Some of our best times includes multiple Modest Mouse concerts, Isotopes baseball games, beer festivals, and karaoke night at the Thirsty Ear, an MIT on-campus bar (most entertaining karaoke EVER). Sadly, it's now been over a year since we have been able to see each other in person, since we live far apart on student budgets and have not been back to Albuquerque at the same time. (Extra sad face here).

Anyways. Michelle is also extraordinarily crafty. She knits amazing scarves, she made her own paper flowers for her wedding, and she also bakes beautiful cakes (she even made her own vegan wedding cake, which is the recipe she is sharing today!). Walter is also amazingly crafty. He made his own 3-D printer and CNC machine. He was our wedding photographer and did a phenomenal job! And today is also Walter's birthday! So Happy Birthday Walter! 

We miss you guys! 


It’s the beginning of September, Fall is in the air, and all I have to say is NOOOOOOOO!!!!  I’m not ready yet, why can’t there be more months of summer? I’m originally from New Mexico, where we do get all the seasons, but they’re quite mild compared to my current location, Edmonton (that’s in Alberta, Canada ya’ll). Here in the great, white North, I’ve learned to really value the summer because it doesn’t last long, and it’s when all the amazing food is available. Granted, there are year-round farmer’s markets here, but the options become very limited, especially for things such as fresh-picked berries; so I’m stocking up!

In honour of the last days of summer, and my husband’s birthday, I’m going to share with you an amazingly awesome recipe (slightly modified) that  I found a couple years ago on another Vegan blog called Hungryface (http://hungryface.blogspot.ca/2009/06/blueberry-sundays.html) for Blueberry Lime Cake. I’m going to include a little trick I learned for preserving farm-fresh berries as well as a recipe for a delicious Lemon Lavender frosting, which happens to go amazingly with this cake.

While I’m new to Vegan baking, I can say that this recipe is fast, simple, and doesn’t include very many ingredients. It’s incredibly diverse in delivery as well, because you can use it for muffins, cupcakes, regular cake, or even a wedding cake! All of which I have tried and have loved every time I made it, as well as my husband… and the rest of my family too.

Tip for saving fresh berries...
So you go to the market and buy a ton of fresh berries because, one, they are delicious, and two, you know you’ll use them for something if not just snacking, but what do you do if you can’t use them right away, especially if they’re really ripe? Well, you can freeze them, and it’s really easy. Just rinse the berries and then lay them out evenly on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Place them in the freezer until frozen, maybe 15 minutes or so? Once frozen, place them in freezer bags, and store in the freezer until you need them. I wouldn’t go beyond a couple months as they will probably get freezer burn and start to taste bad. See super easy!

Blueberry Lime Cupcakes – makes 15 cupcakes/muffins
1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups vanilla almond or soy milk
Zest of one lime
1 cup fresh blueberries (can use frozen as well)

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Zest the lime into the dry ingredients, making sure not to get any of the pith.

Add the oil and almond milk (soy milk may be used as well) and gently fold into dry ingredients to combine.

Add the blueberries (fresh or frozen, fresh is better) and barely combine.

Pour or scoop into cupcake pan - remember to line the pan with paper cups (can also use one 8 inch round or one 9 X 9 pan).

Bake in center of the oven for about 30 minutes (for cupcakes; need about 50-60 minutes for cake) or until lightly golden brown and springs to the touch.

Now, you can choose to stop here, it would be the healthier option, and call them “muffins” or you can continue on and make them even more delicious!

Lemon Lavender Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
1/2 cup Crisco
3 Tbsp Vanilla Almond Milk
1 lb (500g) powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon extract
1 Tbsp lemon zest or one lemon’s worth
2 Tbsp ground Lavender

In a mixer, combine Earth Balance and Crisco with lemon extract and lemon zest until creamy. While you are creaming them together, grind the lavender with a mortar and pestle (you can try whole lavender too).

Then add half of the powdered sugar and the almond milk and combine till creamy. Start to add the lavender by sifting it through a fine mesh sieve to get out the sticks and extra stuff. Don’t add it all at once, but add to taste. Remember that the lavender flavour sometimes gets stronger over time as it sits in the frosting. I usually add a lot because I really like the flavour.

Then start adding the remaining powdered sugar to consistency. Beat on high for about 5 minutes. Texture should be light and fluffy, with stiff peaks. If your frosting is too wet, add more sugar, if too hard or dry, add a little more almond milk.

For those of you who are calorie conscious, I used a recipe calorie calculator to try and figure out how much would be in each frosted cupcake, so this would be with a lot of frosting on each cupcake, as my recipe made more than I needed.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 frosted cupcake
Amount Per Serving

Calories 374
Calories from Fat 163

% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18.1g (28%)
Saturated Fat 6.2g (31%)
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 4mg (1%)
Sodium 154mg (6%)
Total Carbohydrates 51.8g (17%)
Dietary Fiber 0.7g (3%)
Sugars 40.4g
Protein 2.0g
Vitamin A 0%                     Vitamin C 2%
Calcium 5%                        Iron 5%
Nutrition Grade F
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Cheers and thanks Michelle!!


  1. Love the costumes :)

    These cupcakes look and sound amazing! One thing I look forward to when I finish travelling is having an oven again...I miss baking sweet treats.

    1. Thank you! I know what you mean, since my oven has been broken most of the summer. Where are you traveling?