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My dear friend M is visiting from New York this week, and in honor of her visit, I’ve made her vegan chocolate cupcakes with (her favorite) lavender icing.

Now, I’ve had cupcakes with lavender icing, but I’ve never actually set out to make my very own before. I searched the web and found a couple of recipes, but nothing truly inspirational. It seemed to be more about the color than the flavor, and I prefer to skip the food coloring.

I decided to experiment.

Dried lavender in hand, I removed the buds and added them to a saucepan with 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar. I brought this mixture to a boil, and allowed it to simmer for about 20 minutes. Ta-da! Lavender simple syrup!

On to the cake.

I’ve tested some pretty excellent vegan cake recipes in my day, my favorite thus far being one which uses both coconut milk and coconut oil.

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the wet ingredients. Mix the dry. Mix the wet into the dry. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a fork comes out clean!

Now that my lavender simple syrup has sufficiently cooled, I’m ready to make the frosting. Since I’m not really vegan, and neither is M, I’m going to use real butter and make a version of my mom’s amazing buttercream. If you are vegan, you can easily substitute margarine.

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 box powdered sugar
  • lavender simple syrup

At a low speed, mix butter and powdered sugar. Slowly add lavender simple syrup until your frosting reaches the desired consistency. The lavender came across stronger than I had anticipated, so I added a squeeze of lemon to brighten the flavors. Frost cupcakes with love, and enjoy!

The boniato tacos at Agua Verde in Seattle are amazing. Topped with cojita and a green creamy salsa, they are divine.

I picked up an enormous yam on my way home from work for $2.21. Talk about budget shopping! That is a screaming deal for a taco filler. I already had corn tortillas that were desperately waiting to be used, onions,

cilantro, cabbage and an awesome avocado.

Picture 16

Trying to recreate the deliciousness that boniato… I first sauteed generous pieces of sweet onion in butter. While the onions were cooking, I peeled and diced the monstrous yam and added it to the pan. There are very few things I make without using cumin, and I added a generous teaspoon to the yams and onions, and about a half a teaspoon of cayenne. Wishing for a little more texture on the cubes of delicious yams, after they had softened a bit (about 10 minutes) I moved them onto a baking sheet and roasted them at 500 F for another 10 minutes to caramelize them a bit.

Too assemble: warm corn tortillas in skillet, layer shredded cabbage, roasted yams, a generous slice of avocado, chopped cilantro and salsa if you have it.

The result? Totally tasty. Now if only I can figure out what their creamy green salsa is made from…

People. 

Uninspired cubicle worker? Check! Aspiring food blogger? Check! Okay, maybe I’m not quite as inspired to be such a dedicated blogger, but I am really excited to see this movie. It looks adorable. My sister and I saw the preview at 500 Days of Summer and she was like “Omg, E! Its about you!”