Category Archives: Out & About

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

As long as I can remember, I have enjoyed creating food. Before I was old enough to be in the kitchen alone, I was outside letting my mud cookies “bake” on a wooden board out in the sun. When I realized that I could tie my passion for animals and baking together, my heart almost exploded.  I truly love it when someone is wowed by something i made, or surprised that vegan food “can actually be good”! (Geez, its mind-blowing and sad to me how disconnected some of us are from eating real homemade foods with no preservatives!) I love showing people that you don’t need to use dairy/eggs in baking. I love teaching others what I like to call “compassionate cooking”!

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Okay, I know… I really need better pictures of these – You’ll have to forgive me. I was in a rush – to eat them. I will take better pictures next time, which will be soon! Hey, I never claimed to be a photographer, I’m just your vegan neighbor who likes to make yummy food!

This recipe is more or less straight from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s book “Vegan Brunch”, which may be my favorite of her’s.  I actually own all her books except the pie one, which will be on my Xmas wish list! Chef Isa might slap me if she knew I used lemon juice from a jar instead of fresh lemon juice, but sometimes when you get a craving, you Tim Gunn it… and by that, i mean, you “MAKE IT WORK”. So, Isa’s original recipe contains fresh lemon juice and also 2 Tbsp lemon zest. Next time I’ll make Isa proud, but this time, it was still good enough to where my daughter said “Can i have another cupcake?” when it was gone! Now that’s a good muffin!

I actually had the pleasure (or should I say honor) of meeting Isa Chandra Moskowitz today! She came and had a reading from her new book ‘Isa Does It’ at our local bookstore Avid Books in Athens GA. (BTW, the book is filled with really simple amazing recipes I cant wait to try! Very pantry-friendly recipes & full color pictures! I highly recommend you go buy it!) This past weekend was VegFest in Atlanta, which unfortunately I was unable to attend, though I was happy to be able to be a part of Isa’s visit to Athens. She was very down to earth – and totally funny! Ahhh… just another reason to love her!! I also got to meet & briefly chat with another one of my favorite bloggers, “Vegan Dad”, who was in town for VegFest and was there for Isa’s appearance as well! 🙂

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Me & Isa – Too bad the guy in line behind me was a terrible photographer! It’s a little fuzzy and the light is terrible, but I’m just glad I got a picture! I didn’t want to take up anymore of her time asking for a re-do!

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 5 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a muffin tin or line with paper cups.

2) In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, poppy seeds and salt.

3) Mix liquids in a small bowl separately. Make a well in the center and add the liquids. Mix gently until dry ingredients are moistened and no pockets of flour remain. It will look a little lumpy.

4) Fill muffin tins evenly and bake 23-27 minutes, until tops are lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean. When cool enough to handle, move out of the tin onto a cooling rack. Devour!

*Please note: I am working on taking better pictures of my food. I think day light is key to a good picture with my particular camera & I made these at night and I just couldn’t get a good shot. I know how important the pictures are to all you “foodies” out there, so just bear with me! 🙂

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Carrot Cake Pancakes

Yes.  You heard me.  Carrot Cake Pancakes.  Those three words shouldn’t be allowed to be on a breakfast menu, right? WRONG! Here is another great creation from Chef Isa Chandra Moskowitz!  If you are unfamiliar with her , you are vegan & you like to cook, I would strongly recommend  familiarizing yourself with her.  She is hands down my favorite vegan chef, with a load of awesome cookbooks under her belt (among those are Vegan with a Vengeance… Veganomicon… Vegan Cupcakes (or Cookies or Pies) Take Over the World… Vegan Brunch…).

These pancakes just blew my mind.  My kids loved them too. In fact, they were so excited about eating pancakes with the word “cake” in the title, they almost didn’t even realize that mommy was grating carrot to put in there!  (My tip for making that carrot grated fine enough is to grate it with a regular grater, then chop it up smaller bits with a big kitchen knife.)  We also put chopped walnuts on top of ours. YUM!!

Breakfast? Dinner? Dessert? How about…  ALL OF THE ABOVE!

Here is the link right to the carrot cake pancakes. I absolutely LOVE her post punk kitchen website (www.theppk.com) and I’m sure you will too – but don’t-don’t-don’t-don’t… don’t you… forget about me… 🙂

P.S.  The Gender Reveal Party was really a lot of fun! That was my first time going to one of those.  My sister & her son opened a box together to reveal pink and purple balloons! YAY! It’s gonna be a girl!

Team BOY (aka the losers!  But hey… we got to keep these cool mustache pins!)

Team GIRL (aka the winners!)

P.P.S. Our trip to the Renaissance Festival was also great!  There was a lot of vegetarian friendly foods… among those were some fried things… I definetly remember seeing fried mushrooms, roasted corn, portobello mushroom sandwiches, pickles… I wish I had asked if they shared the fryers with meat or had a separate veggie fryer.  Oh well, I was glad we brought in our own sandwiches, but it looked like there was a few snacks that we possibly couldve eaten… there was definetely vegetarian friendly food, though there was a lot of meat… steak on a stake…  that kind of stuff! Here are some of the things we saw!

They had quite a number of these funny things!

My daughter got a lovely butterfly painted on her face

Oh! Gargoyles! Hello!

Arlo was NOT afraid of giving the gargoyles “knuckles”!

If you let this guy insult you (for a fee), you got to throw tomatoes at his face!

Another funny picture…

Man-powered rides are the best!

Relaxing in the shade!

A Visit to Atlanta

What a day!  Today we visited the Atlanta Zoo & our favorite vegan friendly restaurant in downtown Atlanta, R.Thomas Deluxe Grill off Peachtree Street. Whenever we are in the city, we try to sneak in a visit to R. Thomas.  R Thomas is the ultimate eclectic diner.  They are open 24 hours.  They have a great selection for meat eaters AND vegans, which is hard to find!  They have smoothies, fresh juices, & lots of organic produce & wines. They also use wild caught fish & natural range meat, which (even though we don’t eat meat) is always a plus to support. (check them out @ www.rthomasdeluxegrill.com)

Today I ate the Lucky Green Tea (which is quinoa, veggies & tofu that have been simmered a green tea miso reduction).  My husband had the Southern Vegetarian (collard greens, millet corn casserole, smashed potatoes & shiitake mushroom gravy with dots of butternut squash). My kids ate the R’s Veggie Burger, which is delicious and exactly what kids always want!  We also had The Thai Express (quinoa with sautéed veggies & tempeh in a spicy peanut sauce).  As you can tell, we can’t ever quite decide on what to order!

To top it all off, there is always an incredible vegan dessert! (Tonight’s was a slice of hummingbird cake, which was incredible with hints of pineapple & coconut… Last time we were there we had a slice of raw apple pie that was FANTASTIC!) Oh yeah, they have some raw dishes too! I could go on and on… I seriously recommend checking them out!

We have been to the Atlanta Zoo a few times already this year.  I know there are many vegans that don’t believe in going to the zoo, since the animals are there locked inside without a choice.  I do see their point.  But I also grew up going to the zoo and I sincerely believe that it nurtured my love for animals.  Seeing these animals face to face definitely encouraged my curiosity and love for other living beings. Where else would a child see these amazing creatures, like an elephant, giraffe or gorilla… without going to another country or in a book?

I think seeing these animals and looking into their eyes, studying their movements, seeing how they are like us, or how they are different, is key to developing love and respect for animals.  In a way, the animals in a zoo are martyrs.  They very unfortunately give up their lives and personal freedom, but by doing so, they foster love for animals in children of all ages, even adults.

If these animals being captive can help us understand and learn to appreciate other animals in the wild, I believe it is worth it.  I will always feel sorry for them, yes, but what they are giving to the world is priceless.  For every child that falls in love with one animal they see at the zoo, a positive future for all animals in the wild rises.  Maybe they can even teach US how to live in peace and love each other a little bit more.