"On her tongue is the law of kindness..."

"On her tongue is the law of kindness..."

Friday, January 21, 2011

This morning, my friend Heidi surprised me with two delicious vegan cupcakes! Not only was I excited because I've been wanting to make some vegan cupcakes for a while, but I was even more excited because they were SO good! The recipe is from the book, "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World." I bought one on Amazon today...and polished off both cupcakes. They were delish and without any egg, milk, or butter! Enjoy.

Chocolate Cupcakes
1 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract, chocolate extract, or more vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder, Dutch-processed or regular
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, vanilla extract, and other extract, if using, to the soy milk mixture and beat until foamy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat until no large lumps remain (a few tiny lumps are OK).
Pour into liners, filling 3/4 of the way. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Cookies and Creme Icing
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated margarine, we use Earth Balance (if you would prefer, you can use a full stick of Earth Balance margarine in place of the 1/2 cup shortening)
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted if clumpy
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup plain soy milk or soy creamer
1/2 cup or 5 Vegan chocolate creme filled cookies, such as Newman O's

Beat the shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes.
Add the vanilla and soy milk, and beat for another 5 to 7 minutes until fluffy.
chop or break apart chocolate cookies and stir into frosting
After cupcakes have cooled, frost generously

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Life Lesson...

Sitting on my dvr was the "Master Class" episode on OWN featuring Maya Angelou. Maya's simplistic, encouraging, and compassionate view was captivating for me. She reminds me of a grandmother that everyone wishes to have, one that reminds me of my own, and one that has endless wisdom yet has gone through trials many of us could not imagine.
In the episode of Master Class, she states that all human beings are teachers, that "I am a teacher. I teach all the time. As you do, as you all do. Whether we know it or not, whether we take responsibility for it or not. I hold nothing back because I want to see that light go off. I like to hear someone say, "I've never thought of it like that before."
Regardless of who you are, where you live, who your parents are, what you do for a living, you are continually a teacher to those in your life, even those who you pass on your journey to visiting a friend or family member. You teach others with the words that you speak, your behavior and actions, and you are continually teaching. What does your life teach others? What are you able to learn from the lives of those around you?

You may not know, but I am a collector of quotes. I have journals and journals of my favorite quotes from movies, television shows, conversations, books, magazines, and other forms of literature. Here are some of my favorite "ah-ha" moments from the episode featuring Maya Angelou:

"You must be careful about the words you allow to be spoken around you and in your home."
Maya spoke about the power of words, including what jokes you speak and allow yo be spoken around you and your family,
what you speak in your home and around your loved ones, what you allow to be said about yourself in your presence, and
what you speak about yourself. She states that words have the ability to get inside of you and to fester and make a difference
and it is important to be aware of their power. I love this.

Some day we will be able to treasure the power of our words."

"You can only become great at what you're willing to sacrifice for."

"If I look at my life as a class, I've learned a few things. One being that I am a child of God... as are all others - and I am supposed to treat them accordingly.."

A Little Q & A...

Who is your favorite fashionista :: i like women who dress clean, modern, and simple, but who are able to transmit a part of their personality through their clothing: Katie Holmes, Ashley Olsen, Milla Jovovich, Ginnifer Goodwin, Zooey Deschanel, Eva Mendes, Sarah Jessica Parker.

If you could come back as model, who would you be :: I'm not so much into models.

Junk food :: oh goodness, anything that's a dessert. or bread.

What are you most vain about :: I work hard at everything I do and I want to be the best at everything I do.

What are you most shy about :: I can be very reserved in getting to know others. I'm more of an observer - I'll watch how you treat others, speak to others, how you act when you don't think anyone else sees you - and then I'll decide whether I feel you are trustworthy enough to really get to know me. This isn't based on the idea that I don't trust others, I am just very careful about those I allow to have a place of influence or council in my life.

Who are your fantasy dinner-party guests :: Ann Shoket, Oprah, Elizabeth Gilbert, Lisa Ling, Virginia Woolf. I would want to be surrounded by strong, intelligent women.

What can’t you travel without :: my phone. a camera. a journal. i would prefer a companion. hair defrizz serum from bumble and bumble.

Last book you read :: besides books required for school, the last book i read for myself was "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. I was amazed at her honesty and in her allowing readers to see a side of herself that most of us try to conceal.

At age seven, you wanted to be :: i wanted to be a hip-hop dancer and a singer. And yes, there are videos.

What will you never wear: I am short, 5'3 and there are certain things - capri pants, dresses or skirts that hit mid-calf - that just do not, and will never, look good on me.

What’s the thing you find easiest to forgive :: easiest to forgive is another's ignorance, miseducation, or an honest mistake.

What’s the thing you find impossible to forgive :: i don't think anything is impossible to forgive, it just may take a little longer.

What do you grab to wear when there is no time to think :: a t-shirt, jeans, and flip flops. it's my go-to.

Biggest self-indulgence :: Naturally, I have very thick, coarse, wavy hair, so it takes a lot of products and services to get my hair straight and shiny. besides that, my education takes a close second.

Whose diary would you most like to read :: that's tough. i am interested in the diary of virginia woolf. for her time, and in some cases even in the present, she wrote of such controversial issues and topics. i would love to read about the possible insecurities or fears she had in bringing forth such thought-provoking themes and why she chose to do so in a time when a writer was not an appropriate occupation for a woman.

What always goes into your suitcase when you travel :: i will be honest, my makeup/hair bag has so much more in it than my suitcase ever does. I have super high maintenance hair, so i take a lot of products, heating tools... it's ridiculous, really.

Least favorite food :: i most often dislike food on the basis of texture and not necessarily taste. onions and lettuce on anything other than a salad are pretty high up on my list.

Car :: my dream car would be a black range rover sport with black interior. or a black mercedes g-wagon.

When and where are you happiest :: when i'm surrounded by people or places i love. also, when i'm doing something i love.

What do you crave :: sugar. constantly. hook me up to an IV and let it pulse through my veins.

Most treasured possession :: my books, journals, and my collection of jewelry because every piece is sentimental in some way.

If you had another profession beside your own, what would it be :: my list seems endless and continually changes. my dream job is to be an editor or writer of a major magazine, as well as a number one author on the New York Times Bestseller list. Along with that, I have always wanted to be a painter, sculptor, musician, interior decorator.

What is your signature scent :: I have been wearing Diesel's "Fuel for Life" for a little over two years now and i'm in love with it. Before Diesel i wore Kenneth Cole's "Black."

Know what you believe and who you are.

Allow fear to dictate a decision in your life.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hopefully expectant...

I love this. I think because I view it as representative of potential, hope, and the achievement of a dream. I picture an individual who has worked their whole life to perfect their craft, whether a musician, a dancer, a performance artist, an actress or actor, and the empty seats represent the hopeful expectancy of the crowd; a moment for the perfected craftsman or craftswoman to showcase their talent, their effort, and their passion for what they love to do.

Here's your moment: shine.

On Oprah's OWN Network, Diane Sawyer was showcased on an episode of "Master Class" in which she attributed her success as a journalist to curiosity: having an interest in subjects to the extent of discovering the truth. She states: "I heard the story about the father of a physicist who, when his son was a child and would come home from school, did not ask, "what did you learn today?" but instead asked "did you ask any great questions?" The emphasis is placed on the child's curiosity and not on the child's ability to repeat an adult's opinion or response."

What I'm into right now...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Who is, and was, and is to come...

Our Guts Girls group (the ladies of Guts Church) are participating in a Beth Moore DVD Bible Study of the book of Revelation. The amazing revelations that Beth Moore presents throughout the book of Revelation are phenomenal and provided insight for my life. Revelation 1:8 is one of my favorite verses, and in the Amplified Bible it states, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, says the Lord God, He Who Is and Who Was and Who is to come, the Almighty." Beth Moore speaks on the awesomeness of this verse in describing the character, nature, and presence of God - "God cannot not be; He is presently being in our lives no matter the situation or circumstance. You cannot, in your life, have a moment without Him; He is always present. He is in your present, in your past, and in your future." This parallels nothing being able to separate you from God and His love, because He can never cease to be.
Beth also cites the importance of the tense used in the Word, which for an English major like myself made my heart giddy with excitement. She talked about how God loves us, which is a present, active participle (in the present, active tense; which, since being active means it continues with time; it is always present tense regardless of the time that passes). In reference to who God says He is (He Is, Was, and Is to come), God loves us, loved us, and will continue to love us - He cannot not love us.
God freed us, and another grammar lesson for the day is that "freed" is a past participle. Freed is referencing an action that took place in the past; it is not active and therefore is not a continuation (as in, I "am being" freed, or I "will be" freed) but has occurred in the past; it has been done. Since this has already occurred - you have already been freed - anything present in your life is what you're holding onto.
Your behavior, your actions, are a result of your core belief system: what you believe when you're alone, in the dark, with no one there to encourage you. What YOU truly believe.

Monday, January 10, 2011

So good to be home...

The huz and I have been married 6 months this month and I am amazed at how often we get asked questions like, "so, how's married life? are you annoyed with each other yet?" or "are you tired of being around each other all the time?" Now, feel free not correct me if you believe I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that when Kev proposed I thought about living the rest of my life with him, and, after dating for 5 1/2 years we were both aware of all the positive and "negative" traits that the other possessed. And, in spite of all we knew about each other, we were so excited to spend the rest of our lives together. Yes, it's only been 6 months, but technically we've been together for 6 years. And, I can count on one hand how often we didn't see each other every single day of the year.
But, I am quite often surprised by how many couples, after hearing them speak of their significant other, aren't that excited to be around them or don't have very flattering things to say. Please note, that the words that come out of your mouth, whether you are in front of your spouse or not, are powerful and should be considered carefully. One of the rules that Kev and I have always had in our relationship is that we (1) don't speak negatively about the other's immediate family, (2) don't speak negatively about one another, and (3) never, under any circumstance, call the other a negative name. Why? Because your words have power, and oftentimes, what you speak is a reflection of what you're choosing to focus on. Does Kev get annoyed with how often I like to organize, file, and clean things? probably. But, is he thankful for those things? yes, he tells me all the time. Ladies and gents, if you are married - tame that tongue! And, if you aren't - practice it!
Over the last two nights, Tulsa has experienced some snow - nothing life threatening, don't you worry - and on my way home the snow was lightly falling and all I could think about was how much I wanted to be at home with my husband. And, I hope you all are fortunate enough to feel the same. About your own husband or wife, that is.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Raw Banana Ice Cream with Peanut Butter and Honey

I like to experiment with vegan recipes, tasting and testing recipes to see how "vegan" i can go before I begin to crave cheese, sugar, and meat with every fiber of my being. This recipe proved pretty impressive, as I was expecting a horrible, non-sugary version of a smoothie, but I was quite surprised to find that this recipe is completely vegan, no added sugar, and was delicious. A big thank you goes out to "5 Ingredient Fix" for airing this recipe yesterday on the Food Network. Not only was I impressed, but when I told the huz I'd like to buy some more bananas to freeze for this week and make more he said, "yes, please!" Now, that's some good vegan "ice cream!"

2 ripe bananas per serving (if making ice cream for two, use 4 bananas; if making for three, use 6 bananas)
creamy peanut butter

Peel and cut the bananas into 1-inch pieces, place on a baking sheet and place in the freezer for 45 minutes - 1 hour (or until frozen). Place frozen bananas into food processor and puree, scraping sides periodically, until smooth. If bananas are too chunky and will not smooth, add a little soy milk, almond milk, or milk to the mixture. Add peanut butter (about 1 tbsp - 3 tbsp depending on preference) and honey (about 1-2 tbsp depending on preference). Serve Immediately or place in container to refreeze.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Steel-Cut Oatmeal

The days of microwaveable oatmeal are over! Let's rejoice. Since I'm a newlywed I am discovering new recipes and methods of cooking weekly and this is my new favorite. I purchased steel cut oats from our local grocery store and cooked according to package instructions. You can boil either milk or water, depending on your caloric preference, and once boiled, the oatmeal takes approximately 25-35 minutes to cook over the stove. Once finished, feel free to add brown sugar, raisins, dried cranberries, nuts, or any special addition to make your oatmeal your own. I prefer a little brown sugar and raisins or swap the raisins for cranberries if I want a little tartness. Either way, whatever you choose to add will be divine.