TGIF!

by Alexandra

Whenever Friday comes, I let out a big sigh of relief — as if my life is so hard! (it’s not) It feels so good to take a break from school and society, etc. Of course Saturday Morning I, once again, have to get up to join the human race, but the fact that it’s the weekend just makes everything more enjoyable. Whoever says Americans are lazy is wrong! I feel like we’re the busiest people around!

Friday’s are great — especially when there’s no school!

Weekends are great because I can savor my breakfast, as opposed to shoving it down in less than 10 minutes! Of course I could wake up earlier on weekdays to give myself more time and all, but I’m quite fond of sleep. 🙂 Did you know that you should have a lot of protein with breakfast? It helps sustain you for the rest of the day, and boosts alertness and energy! (Likewise, you should have lots of carbs at the end of the day for optimal seratonin-functioning! aka: good mood!)

Weekends are great because I can bake up a storm! (One of my favorite things to do…ever!)

Or maybe, my “favorite thing to do…ever” is eat these! I like to call them Vegan Vitality Muffins, but I think the ‘Average Joe’ would call them Vegan Pumpkin-Spice Cupcakes with Early Grey Tea-infused Dark Chocolate (vegan) Ganache. Packed with whole grains, protein and Omega-3’s, these just can’t be beat!

Weekends are great because I have time to think of other people, and not only myself! (week days make me very self-absorbed!) My poor sister has been horrifically ill (she is super stressed and doesn’t get enough sleep so I think that is suppressing her immune system!) Anyhow — she’s my favorite person in the whole world, so after my visit to the library, I stopped to get her some goods for a care package. I baked the aforesaid cupcakes for her, and picked up two latte/fruit bowls, a big yellow mug, Powerade, Burt’s Bee’s Lip Balm, 3 different soups (Italian Wedding, Chicken Dumpling, Chicken Noodle) Double-cheese EZ-Mac, Halls Naturals Throat Lozenges, Halls Citrus cough drops, Jasmine Green Tea, Perfect Peach Tea and some minty-minty gum! (Mint gum soothes the throat!) I threw in a hand made card and a classical CD.  Hillary: Get Well Soon!

Weekends are great because I am able to eat something hot for lunch — which is oh-so-important in these frigid Winter months; and if it has Bacon, that’s a double bonus! (Calico Beans, family recipe! I♥Bacon)

What do you love about weekends?

Vegan Pumpkin-Spice Cakes with Earl-Grey infused Chocolate Icing

Cupcakes (or Cake):

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1-1/2 cups whole spelt flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

¾ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon allspice

¼ teaspoon clove

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons almond butter (or other nut butter)

2 tablespoons walnut oil (or other oil)

¼ cup applesauce

½ cup brown sugar

¼ cup maple syrup

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon maple extract

1 mashed ripe banana, microwaved for 30 seconds

1 cup pumpkin puree

¾ cup soy milk

In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking soda, nutmeg, allspice, clove, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the walnut butter, walnut oil, applesauce, brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla and maple extracts, banana, and baking powder. Mix well! Slowly add the flour mixture, mixing well after each addition. Fold in the pumpkin and soymilk and mix only until combined.

Spoon into 18 paper-lined muffin cups and bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes; Alternately, pour into a greased and lightly floured 20-inch spring form pan and bake at the same temperature for 50-55 minutes. Remove cupcakes/cake from oven when the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

To make the icing:

¼ cup dark chocolate chips

1 tablespoon boiling water

2 tablespoons soymilk

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1 Earl Grey tea bag

Steep the tea bag in the boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Remove and squeeze tea bag, add soymilk and microwave until the mixture boils. Whisk in the chocolate chips until melted and the mixture thickens slightly. Whisk in the powdered sugar and mix very well! Drizzle or spoon about 2 teaspoons of icing over each cupcake. If making a cake, add an extra 1/3 cup of powdered sugar and frost cake accordingly.

♥Alexandra

have a great weekend!

 

 

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