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Compassionate Cake Easter goodies

Jess of Compassionate Cake consistently amazes Milwaukee as she bakes up beautiful, delicious desserts for every holiday and every day in between. She definitely went all out for Easter and so sweetly brought little baskets of chocolate to our last dinner meetup with friends!

A white chocolate bunny:

Giant, decadent peanut butter egg:

Crispy jelly bean chocolate nest:

Thanks, Jess! ❤

For Easter day, I visited my grandma (and followed my holiday dinner rules for the most part!) and made a coconut curry Pad Thai-like noodle dish and a simple batch of cupcakes. I’d post a picture of the entree, but I didn’t photograph the complete, plated product. Showing you guys a photo of noodles in a wok would be like it just got out of the shower and is still hanging around the house in a towel. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s just not photogenic. So, here’s some Coconut White Russian Cupcakes, a coconut coffee Kahlua-infused cake batter with a Kahlua buttercream.

The weather was pretty nice in Illinois on Easter day, but it has cooled off dramatically since. It was 30°F out a couple mornings ago in Milwaukee! Today I saw these flower buds forming on the vines on my windows, so hopefully spring will be here soon (again)!

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The Kombucha/Vega Challenge [video]

My kombucha addiction is no secret. I love the stuff. Besides being an absolutely delightful drink, the chia seed variety has happy memories attached to it! I tried it for the first time en route to the very first Vida Vegan Con last year and soon found that others at the conference enjoyed it just as much.
Now, kombucha in general is a hit or miss for some people. They claim it tastes like vinegar, old apple cider, and fungus…but haters gonna hate. When chia seed kombucha became more popular, the outcry against the fermented love bubble tea was outrageous and rampant! People were personally offended and threatening to barf at the sight of the bottle because the chia seeds look like frog eggs. So then I became personally offended* and made sure that everyone knew how wonderful the chia wonder drink is. I got a few people to try it, and now they’re hooked on the stuff. Solidarity!

*I wasn’t really personally offended.

Now, if you need more convincing:
Even Erica Shaffer loves kombucha. She represents TV products such as the Food Saver System, Ninja blenders, and Shake Weight, so this highly-esteemed infomercial queen’s recommendation should not be taken lightly. Erica knows what’s what and kombucha is just that. The uncertainty of the gentleman in the photo suggests he is not down with the ‘buch, but he probably is not down with fun, happiness, or taste either. For goodness sake, his shirt matches his bedroom and he’s probably reading the dictionary. What a boring dude. Erica, leave your pretend boyfriend and find a guy who truly understands the scoby lifestyle.

So, getting back to the point, the following video may or may not have converted another member to the Kombucha Kult. You’ll just have to watch and see.

Last week I was in Omaha visiting Isa and John. From the very beginning of my affection for chia seed kombucha, John has been quite a vocal opponent. He said he’d puke on my face if he took a sip. He said he’d make me drink Vega if he were to try chia seed kombucha.
Well, I’m not one to pass up a hypothetical gross drink showdown, so when 3D real-life me arrived in Omaha, chia seed kombucha was acquired and challenge accepted. A taste of Vega? Psh, no big! Apparently I was willing to risk The Laziest Vegan in the World projectile vomiting a week’s worth of Amy’s burritos all over my face, because the Vega/Chia Kombucha Showdown became a reality:

SPOILERS BELOW!
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..

So, John said kombucha is good! Well, as time went by, I think he started to think it was more than good because he wanted more kombucha.

We went to Whole Foods the next day and loaded up.

Will John like the two new flavors (one without chia seeds!) as well? Here’s part two of the challenge:

SPOILERS BELOW!
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….

..

So, I think he’s converted. We got another round of kombucha the next day (Isa too, this time!).

I left Omaha three days ago, but what does John send me today? This photo that proudly displays his beverage selection: Grape Chia Seed Kombucha. Though several hundred miles away, I pulled out the lonely Cherry Chia sitting in my fridge and drank in solidarity. Go kombucha.

What a whirlwind! I think we need a lifetime supply of kombucha for this ode to the baby scoby nectar of deliciousness. Please, GT’s? We love you!

Thanks for following through the journey, everyone! Drink up, baby scobies!

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Gnocchi says…

I interrupt the thematic progression of Vegan Month of Food with a special message from Gnocchi:

DRINK UP, MOFOS!

I love this stuff. If Gnocchi could have kombucha, I bet he’d love it too. I first discovered it in Seattle with Lauren (which you can read about here and here!) and have been hooked ever since. It’s like magical fruity kombucha bubbles. It’s not available in Milwaukee (that I know of), but I hit the goldmine of chia seed kombucha in Chicago the other weekend and brought some back with me. Only two bottles though, because it’s hella expensive. I just finished half the bottle while writing this, which wasn’t supposed to happen because it’s all I have left! Need more! /End PSA

Note: Gnocchi did not receive compensation or free kombucha out of this. But I’d really like free chia seed kombucha! And for Whole Foods in Milwaukee to carry it!

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Chocopeño Cookies and Mad City Vegan Fest!

I was recently introduced to the idea of jalapeños in baked goods when I made the Chocolate Jalapeño Cake from ExtraVeganZa. Jazzed by this discovery, I was excited to come across Chocopeño cookies in a Twitter post, and even better, they turned out to be completely vegan. The Chocopeño cookie company, based in New Jersey, just released the product and graciously sent me samples upon request.

These crispy little spicy cookies come in individual snack packages, which would be great for on the go. I’m usually not a fan of mass produced packaged cookies because they often lack flavor and freshness, but these were unique, yummy, and had a spicy kick. I like how the jalapeño pieces scattered throughout the cookie were tiny, so I wasn’t biting into a chunk of pepper at any point. That was my biggest complaint with the cake I made. I’d love to see giant, soft-baked jalapeño cookies from this company in the future. Yum!

I will be absolutely swamped with work over the next few weeks as my semester comes to a close, but I hope to get a post up about the Chicago Vegan Bake Sale for Japan from a couple weekends ago! I took home quite a collection of goodies from the sale and have lots and lots of pictures to show!

Also, I’ll write more about this in detail later, but check the events page for Mad City Vegan Fest in Madison, WI coming up in June! I’ll be doing a baking demo at the event and the speakers/demos planned so far makes for an awesome lineup including Terry Hope Romero, Jasmin Singer, Kenny Torrella, Erinn Morris, and Donnie Smith! It looks like it’ll be a great event, so definitely plan to come if you’re in the area!

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Recap of Boswell signing, MKE’s Vegan Cookies segment, and Riverwest Co-op signing this weekend!

MoFo is over (just in time for my finals) so this blog will be getting a little more love (and updates!) like SBYM got throughout November.
Thanksgiving break was absolutely crazy! I think the whole weekend comprised of working and homework. It was fun, but I was ready to pass out after it all. I was on the Milwaukee news on Black Friday (video here), then spent the rest of the day in Chicago (nomnomz Diner).

Sunday was a book signing at Boswell Book Company, an awesome local bookstore with a great selection run by super nice people. Support your local bookstores!

For the event, I made hypnosis lollipops, cashew cappuccino nanaimo bars, and thin mints, all in the book of course.

Signing bookz

Over 20 books were sold during the hour-ish and a great mix of people came out to the signing.
Awesome! Thanks, Boswell!

For a new segment of Milwaukee’s Vegan Cookies, I have more East Side Ovens cookies I picked up at the bakery of Outpost Co-op over the weekend.

Chocolate Pecan Sandies
These may be my favorite ESO cookies that I’ve tried. They were decadent, flavorful, and nutty, and didn’t taste “healthy” at all, which is something I’ve noticed in some of their other cookies. They’re still awesome, but I’m partial to the most hedonistic desserts I can find.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
These were pretty good! Lightly flavored, and bursts of chocolate.

Speaking of co-ops, the Riverwest Co-op in Milwaukee has amazing food. And I’m going to be doing a book signing there this Sunday, December 12th from 11am-2pm! If you’re in the area, I’d love to meet you, so c’mon out, get some delicious brunch, cookie, samples, and a book!
I keep the “Events” page at the top of the blog updated with upcoming events, so check it out! I hope to see you guys in Chicago later this month! (And I’ll post about New York with Melisser once finals week is over and I’m not dead!)

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Buying cookbooks, MoFo, Bake Sales, and Giveaways!

Hey everyone!
You may have noticed the blog got a little makeover, with a shiny new logo that matches the pattern and colors of the book cover, and links to more pages on the blog, above! Contact info, a list of events (I’m hitting the road! Check if I’m coming near you!), links to all the sample recipes I’ve posted, and most importantly, a link to buy books!
Buying through the blog is purchasing your copy directly from me, so it can be signed and all that jazz. Order your very own copy!
Thanks for supporting vegan cookbook authors! ❤

I’m sure you all know about Vegan Month of Food, or Vegan MoFo, which just kicked off the beginning of this week!
I won’t be MoFo’ing from here, but I’m participating on my other blog, Seitan Beats Your Meat! Click the image below (designed by the talented Amanda Chronister of Will Draw for Cookies) to see the blog lineup and to sign up if you haven’t already!

If you’re in the Milwaukee area, we’re having a bake sale on November 13th from 10am-5pm! Here is the official Milwaukee Vegan Bake Sale website. See what other people are bringing, and sign up to donate baked goods. There is a Facebook group set up as well. Pass the message along to your friends, on Facebook, and Twitter!


Rooooot beer float cookies.

And I’m sure you guys want to see some new cookie pictures, so here are some Cranberry Almond Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookies, a variation on the Cranberry Almond Cookies on page 72.

Last but not least, giveaways! For MoFo, there are many blogs that will be doing cookbook (and other fun stuff!) giveaways. Check out this PPK thread for the official list.
A few bloggers will be giving out copies of the Vegan Cookie Connoisseur, including Miso For Breakfast who will also be giving out a whole bunch of other goodies, and Vegan Appetite!

**I will be doing a giveaway with a signed copy of The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur within the next couple weeks! Keep checking back for the official info on entering. I can tell you this much: it will involve writing haiku about cookies!**