Rich Decadent Blondies (Vegan and Gluten Free)

vegan gluten free blondies

If you are craving rich, decadent blondies that are vegan AND gluten free, these are them!!! I baked a batch of these “beauties” to see if they’d make a good hostess gift for a weekend visit to our dear friends in L.A. Not everyone drinks wine and I’ve given too many floral bouquets. But WHO can resist a box of home-baked treats? (I even went to Micheal’s craft store to buy a special box for them – presentation counts!!).

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Winter Solstice Cookies aka: Choc choc chip Cookies (vegan, wheat-free)

winter-solstice-cookies

The Winter Solstice is my favorite day during the crazy holiday blur (I mean) season. It’s the shortest (and darkest) day of the year which makes it the best day for introspection. I like to share this day with others so I baked Winter Solstice Cookies aka chocolate chocolate chip cookies to celebrate the richness of the dark.

I wanted cookies that were wheat-free, gluten free, vegan, easy to make and seductively delicious and found this fantastic recipe by Demeter of The Beaming Baker.

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Whipped Cinnamon Chai Froth

cinnamon-chai-froth

If you love the texture and taste of milkshakes than you will love this healthy, vegan Cinnamon Chai Froth. It’s my latest addiction. This light foamy beverage combines sweet coconut water, vanilla almond milk and frozen banana with a ton of cinnamon and other warming spices like cardamom and cayenne. Plus, I snuck in a few hemp seeds for protein and Brewer’s yeast for Vitamin B. It’s the perfect Fall drink when you’re tired of Pumpkin lattes.

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End of Summer Vegan Fruit Crisp

delicious vegan fruit crisp

I LOVE fruit crisps!! Especially, peach. They are lighter than pies and have that irresistible granola crumble on top. I don’t often cater to my sweet tooth, so it’s rare that I will make one. But, as the end of summer approached, I wanted to celebrate the peaches, plums, nectarines and raspberries that would soon be out of season. With company coming that Friday, I decided it would be perfect.

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Vegan Black Bean Brownies and my Approach to Sweets

Black Bean Brownies

I was trying to decide what to do with the extra black beans I had on hand when I remembered a mouthwatering recipe for vegan black bean brownies by Chocolatecoveredkatie. I’d been wanting to make these treats for awhile and this felt like the perfect opportunity. I love baking with healthier ingredients and you’d never suspect there were black beans in these brownies. Getting a protein boost from the black beans removes the guilt but not the pleasure.

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Valentine’s Day Cupcakes and the Practice of Love

When I was growing up, Valentine’s Day was depressing. I always compared myself to my friends who received more cards, more gifts, and more attention. I convinced myself that they were prettier, more admired, and more lovable.  By the end of the day I felt short changed and invisible. To protect myself, I stopped celebrating it.

As I’ve gotten older and more connected to the deeper aspects of myself, I use this day not to compare the number of cards or flowers I get, but to celebrate my own practice of LOVE and my goal of being a more loving person. 

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“Big Magic” and a Carob Dessert Shake

carob smoothie (4)

I’ve been engrossed in Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic. In this enlightening book, she illustrates not only the importance of creativity but the idea that there is a touch of divinity or “magic” involved. Thus, it is critical for us to be receptive so when an idea or spark of genius comes flying towards us, we have an alluring vacancy sign attracting it.

Elizabeth is a beautiful writer whose sentences flow together like Tango dancers but she also understands and empathizes with the struggle of being creative. She recognizes the crushing perfectionism and self-doubt that hold us back. She’s been there herself and articulates it with heartfelt validation.

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Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies

ginger-molasses-cookies-11

With Angela Liddon’s help, I have found my inner domestic side. I was NOT a baker. I didn’t trust myself to bake well and lacked the basic equipment and fancy mixers needed. I heard women talk about how they “LAHVED” to bake and were impressed by the gorgeous indulgences they produced, but the joy of baking was lost on me.

Part of it was my attitude. I grew up with a single mom in the heart of New York City. Her liberal, career woman lifestyle didn’t include baking. The mere idea of baking implied a domesticity she couldn’t relate to. The message I received was that “independent” women don’t bake.

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Pumpkin Pie Spiced Sweet Potato Muffins

Spiced sweet potato muffins

The summer has ended and Fall is in the air. The cooler mornings have me shutting the windows and putting on my heavier robe. I love this time of year. The light is softer and the summer chaos is gone. The beaches clear out and the sun rises a little later. It’s the perfect time for making end of the summer vegetable soups and baking. These Vegan Spiced Muffins tick all the boxes. They are easy to make, taste amazing and no fancy equipment is needed. And the best part is that your house will smell heavenly.

I’ve made these as muffins and bread and each have their merits. The muffins are adorable and self contained in their own little jackets. And really, what’s cuter than a muffin? The bread is slightly more sophisticated and great to slice up anytime of day.  Make whichever you are feeling at the moment. I loved serving either with a hot mug of tea and homemade raspberry chia jam.

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