Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Gluten Free Wednesday: Pumpkin Bundt Cake

Happy Gluten Free Wednesday!

After working in bakeries for so long and really really getting into the holiday baking, I cannot seem to stomach pumpkin so much anymore.  I remember the days when I would think about Thanksgiving and Christmas fondly, imagining eating the pumpkin pies, pumpkin cakes, pumpkin cookies.  Now when I think about pumpkin, I think about baking hundreds of pies, mixing the pie filling in empty 5 gallon buckets with a gigantic immersion blender, but which really resembles a jack-hammer more closely.  Mixing buckets upon buckets of the filling and making so many pumpkin cookies and cakes that your head is spinning, and every sheet tray you have is covered with pumpkin of some kind.  And of course, not to forget the pumpkin cake batter splattered hideously all over my apron and shirt. 

But of course, that's just me.  Most people are extremely excited when it comes to pumpkin.  And, a while ago, while I was coming up with the recipe ideas I would prepare for the gluten free classes I teach at the Natural Gourmet Institute, I had to face the fact that it was fall and what is fall without pumpkin?  So, I sucked it up, tested the recipe for the pumpkin cake base, which I made into a bundt cake, and sampled it ....  And .... it was actually delicious!  I ate two pieces of it if truth be known.  And it was damn good.  Maybe I just can only eat it once or so a year and I will be happy.  So, until next year .......

Gluten Free Soy Free Pumpkin Bundt Cake:

So moist and delicious, especially with that yummy topping!

Yields 1 Large Bundt Cake ~12 Slices

1 ½ cups sorghum flour
1 ½ cups tapioca starch
1 ½ cups sucanat
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon sea salt
¾ teaspoon xanthan gum
2 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
¾ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ heaping teaspoon cloves
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/3 cup + 3 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup flax eggs (2 tablespoons ground flax mixed with 5 tablespoons water)
1 ½ cups pumpkin puree
¾ cup almond milk
1 ½ tablespoons vanilla extract
1 ½ tablespoons maple extract

2 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2-6 tablespoons almond milk

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Oil a standard sized bundt pan and set aside until ready to use.
2.  Place the sorghum flour, tapioca starch, sucanat, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt, xanthan gum, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in a medium baking bowl. Whisk well to combine all ingredients.
3.  Add the maple syrup, canola oil, flax eggs, pumpkin puree, almond milk and vanilla and maple extracts to the dry ingredients. Using a whisk, vigorously whisk mixture until batter is thick and all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.
4.  Pour batter into prepared bundt pan, using an oiled rubber spatula to smooth out the top. Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes, or until baked all the way through and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
5. While bundt cake is baking, prepare the glaze: in a mixing bowl, place the powdered sugar, nutmeg and enough almond milk to create a medium-thick glaze. 
6. Once cake has finished baking, allow to cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and place cake directly on cooling rack to continue cooling. Once completely cooled, pour the drizzle over top of the cake, allowing it to slide down the sides of the bundt on its own.  Eat.  Yum!

Another view of the delicious pumpkin bundt!



Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pot Pie with Homemade Buttery Crust, Artichoke & Roasted Pepper Salad, Sauteed Kale

This was definitely a labor of love.  I usually make pot pit into a Shepherd's pie because it is easier and you just slap some mashed potatoes on top.   It looks pretty and tastes amazing.  And I usually use a ready-made spelt pie crust, but when I decided to make this tonight (to use up the tons of leftover gravy I somehow had), I didn't have any crust.  So I decided to make the crust.  Now don't get me wrong, I have made pie crust tons of times and it really is not difficult to make at all, it's just a little time consuming and can be a little frustrating if you do not flour your work surface enough, causing the dough to stick and tear.  I usually just cop out and buy the ready-made spelt crust (which comes in its own pie pan) or the stuff that comes in a tube in the refrigerated section.  Just because it's easier. 

But, I actually had an abundance of earth balance today, which never happens - I am always running out!  And I also had a little bit of extra time, so I made the crust from scratch.  And it came out amazingly!  Seriously delicious - I think the best I have ever made.  Could have been the gravy helping out on that one though!  When I served it to the Hubby, he was very excited, saying that it looked so beautiful!  Then he took a bite and actually moaned.  Moaned!  I have never heard him do that before.  And when I asked him how it was, he said "amazing!"  He usually doesn't get that excited about things, so it made me really happy.  He had three giant pieces.  I was only able to eat one, because it is pretty filling, plus we had the artichoke salad and the sauteed kale.  But he definitely had 3!  And he had several more the following day - the thing was literally gone in 2 days!  The entire pie!  It was that good!

Pot Pie with Artichoke & Roasted Pepper Salad, Sauteed Kale:

Buttery Crusted Pot Pie, Artichoke Pepper Pasta, Sauteed Kale

 Yields: 8 Slices

3 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup chilled Earth Balance
6 tablespoons ice water

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium green pepper, small diced, about 1 cup
1/2 medium orange pepper, small diced, about 1/3 cup
1 medium onion, small diced, about 1 cup
2/3 cup frozen mixed vegetables
1 large potato, peeled and small diced, about 1 cup
1 cup frozen chopped spinach
1 homemade sausage, fried on all sides, chopped, or other meat replacer
3 cups prepared gravy (I used a leftover nutritional yeast gravy)
Sea salt, black pepper, cayenne to taste

1.  Make the crust first.  Place the flour and sea salt in a medium mixing bowl.  Whisk together.  Place the earth balance in the middle of the flour.  Using your hands or a pastry cutter, cut the flour in until it is evenly distributed throughout the flour.  Add just enough cold water until a dough forms - you do not want it to be wet at all.  Roll into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. 
2.  Begin making the filling: place a wok over medium heat, add the oil and allow it to become hot.  Once the oil it hot, add the green and orange peppers and the onion.  Cook until vegetables are just tender.
3.  In the meantime, bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil.  Add the chopped potato and the frozen mixed vegetables.  Cook until potato is just tender and veggies are cooked.  Drain. 
5.  You can take the dough from the refrigerator now.  Allow it to warm up just a bit.
4.  To the sauteing vegetables, add the frozen spinach and cook just until it becomes hot.  Add in the drained cooked potato and mixed vegetables, the cooked and chopped sausage and the gravy.  Stir to coat.  Allow mixture to simmer and season with sea salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper, if desired. 
5.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Divide the dough in two pieces.  Roll out the first ball of dough and place into an oiled pie plate.  Prick all over with a fork.  Place on a sheet tray in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through. 
6.  Roll out the second piece of dough.  Now you can pour the filling ingredients into the cooked bottom pie crust.  Top with the second pie crust, crimping the edges to seal everything in there.  If there are any tears, just add an additional section of dough.  (See below.)
7.  Place the filled pie back onto the baking tray and place in the oven.  Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the top layer is baked through and the filling is bubbling.
8.  Allow it to cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

The Whole Pot Pie.  It was gone in 2 days.  Seriously!

Close-Up of the Delicious Pie!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pasta with a White Sauce, Balsamic Marinated Tomatoes

White Sauce is seriously one of the most delicious things in the world.  And the simplest.  It is something my Mum  taught me to make so many years ago, I can't even remember not being able to make it.  I remember my Mum telling me stories about how she would eat that as a child, because her family was poor growing up (she is one of 8 kids if you can imagine it!), and it was something they could make large quantities of inexpensively.  She was telling me how they would make meals stretch out and the interesting kinds of foods they would make.  She made them for us growing up, and I have really come to appreciate and like them.  I even make them at home myself sometimes.  It makes me think fondly on my Grandmother, and of all the hard work she has done, and is still doing to support her family throughout the years!  What a lady, seriously! 

The great thing about where my Grandmother lives, and where my Mother grew up, is that it is such a small town, where people own loads of land, and can therefore have gigantic gardens.  My aunts and uncles all ate everything that came from the garden, and didn't have a chance to be fussy or picky!  Eat it or don't eat at all!  But, white sauce really figured highly into meals my grandmother would make.  She would make potatoes and peas swimming in a white sauce.  My Mum used to make that all the time, and I still make it at home every couple of months, except nowadays I drown it in Sriracha!  Yum!  My grandma used to also make homemade bread, toasted, and serve it with gravy, which was made from the drippings of whatever kind of meat she was preparing.  My grandma was and definitely still is damn resourceful!  Even now, at 81, she still grinds her own grains to make her own flour, still tends her own garden, and pickles and cans her own foods.  What a goddess!  So here's to you grandma!

Pasta with a White Sauce with Balsamic Marinated Tomatoes:

Was too excited to eat - couldn't wait to take a good pic!

Serves 4

8 oz. desired pasta, cooked until al dente

White Sauce:
4 tablespoons Earth Balance
3 tablespoons unbleached flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups unsweetened nondairy milk of choice
4 tablespoons vegan Parmesan

Balsamic Marinated Tomatoes:
1 roma tomato, small diced, about 2/3 cup
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2 pinches black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1.  Prepare the white sauce: in a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the earth balance.  Once it is nice and bubbly, add the flour.  Whisk immediately, allowing it to cook, and whisking every couple of minutes until it is a nice tan flour.  Add 1 cup of the milk and whisk right away.  It will thicken considerably and bubble strongly.  Add the remaining milk, sea salt, black pepper and vegan parm.  Whisk to combine.  Continue whisking periodically, being sure to get into the very bottom and corners.  It will thicken gradually.
2.  Make the tomatoes.  Dice the tomatoes and place them in a small mixing bowl.  Add the sea salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Stir well to coat.  You can taste it right away, but I recommend letting it sit for at least 5-10 minutes before tasting it - it will have much more flavor!
3.  Once the white sauce has thickened, season to taste and serve.  Place a serving of pasta in a bowl.  Pour a ladleful of white sauce over the pasta and top with the marinated tomatoes.  You can top with additional vegan parm if you would like.  Eat!  And be appreciative of your Grandma!



Saturday, November 19, 2011

Vegetable Fried Rice, Grilled Veggies, Seitan & Steamed Broccoli

I feel like lately, a lot of my meals are about using up the ingredients I have in my refrigerator.  But then again, isn't that kind of the purpose of having food in the fridge - to use it?  Anyway, hubby and I were very hungry tonight  (when are we not???) and wanted dinner very quickly.  I had some leftover cooked rice, some seitan I prepared from Viva Vegan (we were not fans!  Too garbanzo-y!) and a mushroom sauce I had prepared a couple days ago.  Fried Rice came to mind very quickly, as well as the mushroom sauce over the seitan, and I really wanted something grilled - so I slapped a few veggies on my panini machine, which gives amazing grill marks, great flavor, and a very nice texture.  I also put the seitan on the machine for a few minutes for good measure, to heat it back up and try to make it look a little nicer - it was pretty ugly.  Surprisingly, dinner came together very quickly, in about 30 minutes and hubby and my bellies were both very satisfied (although we still didn't like the seitan, even smothered in the mushroom sauce!).  Any thoughts on what to do with the seitan, which was steamed, not boiled?

Vegetable Fried Rice:

(I must have been starving when I was taking these pictures -
they are all so blurry!  This was the best one!)
Grilled Seitan with Sauteed Mushrooms, Vegetable Fried Rice,
Grilled Veggies & Steamed Broccoli

Serve 2-3

3 tablespoons olive oil, separated
3 cups cooked, cooled rice (leftover rice works beautifully here)
1 cup snap peas, tough ends removed
1 medium onion, small diced, about 1 cup
1 medium orange pepper, small diced, about 3/4 cup
1/2 cup shredded purple cabbage
1/2 stalk broccoli, chopped finely
2 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon mirin (rice cooking wine)
3/4 teaspoon vegetable boullion powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Red Pepper flakes and additional tamari, for serving

1.  Place a wok over medium -high heat.  Add the oil and allow it to heat up.  Once it is hot, add the peas, onion, pepper, cabbage and broccoli.  Saute, stirring frequently, until tender-crisp. 
2.  Break apart the cold rice with your hands into the hot wok and continue stirring.  You may have to add an additional 1-2 tablespoons of oil to keep everything from sticking.  Continue to fry for a few minutes, until the rice is hot and has colored slightly. 
3.  Add the tamari and mirin at the same time, being sure to drizzle it around the contents in the wok.  (If it is deposited at the same spot, it will cause the rice to absorb too much of the salty flavor and the seasonings will not evenly distribute throughout the rice.)  Quickly stir the rice mixture to coat.  Add the boullion powder and black  pepper and stir again.  Continue to cook for a few more minutes to allow the rice to dry out again.  Season to taste
4.  To serve, sprinkle the rice with additional tamari and as many red pepper flakes as you would like.  So quick and so delicious!



Sunday, November 13, 2011

Moro y Habichuelas Pintas (Rice & Pinto Beans)

I have been so busy lately that I have barely seen the Hubby.  By the time I come home, he is already in bed.  The couple days I got off early he had already made plans a couple weeks ago, so I had the time to myself.  But instead of spending it alone, I invited my good friend Kumiko over for a Dominican dinner.  I have been telling her forever that she needs to come over for dinner, but it hasn't happened until now.  She lives in Jersey so it's a little difficult to get together.  We had such a great time cooking together.  It was so funny too: imagine a Japanese and American girl cooking Dominican food!  We had a great time and I actually think this is the best I have ever cooked this kind of food.  Poor Hubby for missing out on it! 

Kumiko nicely brought me a bottle of ice wine and a bottle of vanilla rum.  She is somewhat a connoisseur of wine and alcohol and is always bringing me new and exciting alcoholic beverages, which I admittedly do not drink very often, but enjoy nonetheless.  So I now have 2/3 of a bottle of ice wine sitting in my fridge staring at me every time  I open it.  I'll have to have a half a glass every night until it's gone, which isn't such a terrible thing!  Here is the awesome meal we had:

Moro y Habichuelas Pintas:

Moro on the top, Seasoned Pinto Beans, Okra and a Salad

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup long grain white rice
1/2 cup green pepper, small diced
1/2 cup red or orange bell pepper., small diced
1 cup onion, small diced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 carrot, small diced, about 1/2 cup
3 mini vegetable boillion cubes (Maggi is a good brand)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder
3/4 cup full fat coconut milk
3/4 cup filtered water

Habichuelas Pintas:
1 1/2 cups dried pinto beans, soaked, then cooked till soft, bean cooking water reserved
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, small diced
1/2 cup green pepper, small diced
8 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons sofrito
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 mini vegetable boullion cubes
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1.  Start the moro first.  Put a medium sized saucepan over medium heat and add the oil.  Once hot, add all the vegetables and cook till softened.  Rinse the rice under water.  Add the wet rice to the pot and cook, stirring, until the rice is no longer wet.  Once the rice has dried, add the coconut milk and the water.  Add all the spices and stir well to combine.  It should taste too salty and too spicy - it will mellow once it cooks.
2.  Lower the heat to low and cover with lid.  Stir the contents every few minutes until the rice is completely cooked through - this will take at least half an hour.  Once the rice is just cooked, allow it to continue cooking in the pan for about 10 minutes without stirring it.  This will give it the customary crunchy bottom layer that Spanish people love so much. 
3.  While the rice is cooking, prepare the beans.  In a medium saucepan, place all the ingredients except the beans and bean cooking water and stir to combine.  Turn the heat on medium-high and cook until very fragrant, the mixture turns a dark color and the veggies are partially cooked. 
4.  Pour this cooked mixture into the pot with the beans and water.  Stir to combine.  Turn the pot on medium heat and allow to come to a simmer.  Lower heat slightly and continue cooking for about 15 minutes, or until the beans are fragrant and the sauce has thickened. 
5.  I served the beans in a ramekin because they were really juicy and I didn't want the rice and beans flavors to mix.  If you just make plain white or brown rice, you can certainly just spoon the beans over top so the flavors meld.  I served it with a salad, homemade lime vinaigrette and a simple steamed okra with extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt.



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Deer Run Bed & Breakfast, Part 1

Hello Everyone!  SO sorry for not posting in a long time, but I have been unbelievably busy lately!  After next week that will change drastically because I am leaving Vegan Divas!  I put in my notice and next Friday will be my last day as Executive Pastry Chef.  I will then be working as a private chef in the mornings, which will leave me a lot more time to focus on classes and my blog!  And cooking and baking and being excited about it!  This is such a positive change and I cannot wait for it to take effect! 

So let me explain about this post.  I went to the Florida Keys in the end of September to teach a woman named Jen about vegan baking.  She owns a vegan bed and breakfast in Big Pine Key called Deer Run Bed and Breakfast.  It is truly an amazing, beautiful place and Jen and her partner are such amazing people!!  I feel so blessed to have ever met them and what an experience to go to a place and eat amazing organic vegan food all the time without worry in such an environmentally conscious place.  Sigh.  Wish I could go back!  So, below is basically a diary of the first few days and all the fun things we did and of course ate!!

(9/23) Day 1:
Travel travel travel!  Woke up at 6 am in Brooklyn, off to the airport by 6:15 am, and at Newark airport in Jersey by 7 am.  Ft. Lauderdale by noon and Big Pine Key (finally!) B&B by about 4 pm.  This place is crazy beautiful and tropical feeling.  Coconut trees everywhere and it is hot hot hot!!!  And humid, although Jen (one of the owners) says it is significantly less humid than it has been.   The neatest thing of all about this place are the Key Deer.  They're absolutely tiny!  And they come right up to you, which I have to admit is a bit freaky, but it's neat that they are not afraid of you like regular deer are. 

But enough about me droning on about how amazing everything is.  Let's talk about food.  When I first arrived, Jen and her fiance welcomed me with a personalized sign, which I absolutely loved.  Then, they greeted me with hummus and a fresh baked vegan muffin in case I was starving, which of course I was.  Airport food is horrible!  We came across the restaurant they wanted to take mt to about an hour and a half into the drive.  It was a beautiful Spanish place owned by one of their friends.  There weren't many vegetarian options on the menu, and nothing vegan, so I was a little surprised, since they are both vegan, but being that their friend owned the  restaurant, we were able to modify some vegetable melt sandwiches to be made dairy free.  Honestly, when they first arrived I was a little disappointed because it just looked like vegetables inside of a white baguette and mesclen greens.  But once I bit into it, I realized there was greatness in its simplicity and the salad was tossed in a homemade balsamic vinaigrette and topped with, get this, ripe tomatoes!  I'm not sure I have ever had a salad with juicy, delicious, ripe tomatoes!  There was a delicious sauce on the sandwich and the bread was super freshly baked.  It was very tasty, but unfortunately, I was so hungry I forgot all about taking a picture of it until I was more than halfway through it.  SO disappointed.  But it was delicious, the owner was very nice, genuine and hung out with us for a while talking expensive wines, pickles and other fun, random food topics.

Welcome to Deer Run Bed & Breakfast!

Now on to dinner.  Jen told me there were not many options in the hood, and the best for the time constraints we were under was this place called, seriously "No Name Pub".  It had terrible service, as indicated on the paper the server left in front of us.  She gave us Styrofoam plates, plastic utensils, a roll of paper towels for a napkin, and beverages were served in disposable plastic cups.  Very classy.  And get this - the place was completely covered in $1  bills - an estimated $75,000 worth, all scribbled on and written all over.  Crazy.  Believe me, see below.

Thousands of $1 bills!

And even more!  Thank god the place was smoke free!

This is the bill I decorated!  For the Hubbs & I & our home!

Then came the menu.  A couple vegetarian options (iceberg lettuce salad anyone?) and nothing vegan.  We both chose an individual pizza, cheese-less. It took about half an hour.  Jen told me that sometimes during the season, the place can have a 3+ hour waiting limit, and people actually wait.  It was a giant piece, with nothing to recommend it.  Came back later, hung out and Jen gave me an amazing cookie which I promptly forgot the name of (bad me!).  It was crazy delicious!  Not too sweet, nice and crunchy, but not too crunchy, simply delicious!  I was trying to analyze everything it had in it - so tasty!  It had pecans, coconut, chocolate chips, shredded carrots, etc.  Yum - I definitely want another one.

The cookie wrapped so cutely.  I believe the ribbon is
compostable and am not sure if the bag is as well,
but a keeper!

The super tasty cookie.

(9/24) Day 2:
Is this work or vacation, seriously??? 

Can you imagine waking up to this everyday!?

Seriously gorgeous!

 This place is completely amazing and the owners are the nicest people ever - I feel like either they or I am from outer space, because where I live, no one is ever that nice - EVER!  We started our baking sessions today and had a great time, blabbing and blabbing about everything.  The time went by crazy fast!  Jen told me she would let me sleep till I woke up.  I set the alarm for 9 am and promptly woke up at 7:30 am.  Got ready, went upstairs and was greeted with fresh coffee and a pre-breakfast of a vegan banana walnut muffin and fresh fruit. 

Yummy Organic Fruit & a Muffin made with Bananas from the garden!

I offered to help, but was told to sit down and relax.  I read the local paper and talked to Jen's partner until she brought out breakfast, which was a veggie tofu scramble and deliciously seasoned roasted potatoes and the most beautiful piece of pineapple ever.  

Can you imagine going to a B&B & being served this?  Yum!!

Once we digested, we went into the kitchen and started baking.  We first made something I call tofu water, which sounds disgusting, but is just pureed silken tofu mixed with filtered water, that acts as an egg replacer and makes the most amazing cakes.  Then we made chocolate frosting, cream cheese frosting, double chocolate brownies, vanilla bean cheesecake, coconut almond macaroons, peanut butter and jelly scones and savory herbed sundried tomato scones.  Everything turned out beautifully and I cannot wait till tomorrow to make the cakes and practice the cake decorating.  It's going to be a blast!  Jen also made us lunch, which was an amazingly delicious,  thick, hearty black bean corn chili, which she served with a dollop of sour cream, crushed black bean tortilla chips, crusty bread and fresh fruit.  So delicious and I've never had chili so thick before!  I asked her how she got it so thick, and was thinking of countless amounts of time spent over the burner, stirring constantly, allowing it to thicken itself.  Her secret: oat flour!  Seriously it was the best thing ever and I have to try it! 

So good & nicely spicy!

 Once we finished, she gave me some privacy and loaned me several vegan baking books to look over and some time to chill out. 

Starfruit growing in Jen's Organic Garden!

Bananas growing in the Organic Garden

Cuban Oregano - I have some in NY with me that is
growing and growing.  So fragrant!

We're going to reconvene later with a sunset boat cruise with homemade hummus where we will hopefully see dolphins jumping in the water.

View from the boat.  Gorgeous.

What an amazing place, seriously! 

Salad for diner: artichoke hearts, sunflower sprouts, mixed
greens, carrots & balsamic vinaigrette.

Dinner:  Pasta with Chickpea Cutlets from Veganomicon,
Sauce, Daiya.  Crazy good but too much food!

And so cannot wait to taste all of those baked goods! Yum!

Samples of all the baked goods we made today!  Only
missing the cheesecake - it had to set up overnight.

(9/25) Day 3:
Today was another great day filled with lots of baking, lots of amazing delicious organic food.  The day started the same way with me waking up naturally around 7:30 am, getting ready and going upstairs, having a cup of coffee and a prequel to breakfast.  Today it was a blueberry muffin sprinkled with homemade organic powdered sugar and garnished with a slice of star fruit from her back yard organic garden and a piece of strawberry. 

So yummy.  Love how the sugar on top is nice & crispy!

Breakfast was gorgeous (I can't imagine how much time she spent in the beginning messing around with how to plate everything - but it has definitely paid off!) - Banana pancakes from baby bananas again from their backyard garden, garnished with tons of strawberries and organic maple syrup, with half of a grapefruit on the side.  It was so deliciously filling! 

Coated in Berries!

Then digesting for a little bit, and on to the baking.  Today we concentrated on the cakes.  We made so many that it was ridiculous!  We made a cake of each flavor, then the remaining batter was portioned into cupcakes.  SO we made coconut cake and cupcakes, vanilla bean cake and cupcakes, chocolate cake and cupcakes and carrot cake and cupcakes.  It was a little out of control, especially once everything was baked - there was no room anywhere!  So, while everything was cooling, several hours later, we had lunch.  It was very good again.  We started with a salad that consisted of spinach, sliced carrots, garbanzo beans, sunflower seed sprouts and a balsamic vinaigrette from their friend that owns the restaurant we visited on the way over.  It was delicious!  Then the main was an African Peanut Soup topped with sriracha and served with blue corn tortilla chips on the side.  It was delicious and surprisingly filling.  Jen gave me the recipe, so I'll have to make it sometime (when I have time!).  It wasn't exactly what I was expecting, because it was too thick for a soup, but didn't have the texture or consistency of a stew, so I don't know how to label it, but it was damn good - the more sriracha the better! 

Simple delicious salad.  Loved the idea of putting garbanzos
in a salad - why have I never tried that before??

See the sriracha on top?  I ended up putting like 6x that amount on!

Once we digested lunch, it was back to the kitchen.  Time to decorate our confections!  We decorated some of the chocolate cupcakes, iced 2 whole cakes, and I went through the basics on cake decorating.  I wish I had taken a picture of all of the designs I did for Jen, but it went into the compost before I even thought it through!  Next time!  We decorated so much, but there was still so much left to decorate!  Jen and I boxed everything up, intending to take it to her local health food store for samples.  The rest of the stuff she insisted she would decorate (it was a lot!). 

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting, garnished
with little stars made from Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting.

Vegan Carrot Cake with the practice carrots.  We used beet juice
& spirulina  powder for the color - keeping it natural!

 Then we went our separate ways, I chilled and we returned for dinner.  Jen made what she calls an Earth Burger.  I am always very into trying veggie burgers - it's just one of those things.  Whenever I go to a restaurant, I will always get the seitan, veggie burger or cheesecake.  I'm always very curious.  The burger was very good.  Very hearty and extremely filling.  I couldn't eat all of it.  The only thing I missed was raw onion.  Not sure if people in Florida (or just the Keys) are against raw onions, or if I am just too obsessed with them, but I asked Jen if she would mind slicing some for me.  A veggie burger is not a veggie burger without raw onions.  To me anyway!  It was very tasty and I also have the recipe for that one!  Have to try that too!  It was pretty rainy, so we just enjoyed a leisurely dinner, blabbing and blabbing.

This is sadly the best picture I have of the Earth Burger. 
Sorry Jen!  It was damn tasty though!

Look for Part 2 of my Deer Run B&B Trip coming soon!