Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes WHOA!

I am so proud of myself! I happen to know that my Valentine loves all things chocolate & peppermint so for Valentines Day I wanted to go all out. I have never had much success with cupcakes (I blame high altitude) or frosting (I blame a short attention span and…a love for eating frosting) though so I was delighted that these not only looked pretty they tasted good too! Oh the things you do for love! And to take it one step farther, these are gluten free. Talk about living on the edge!

Adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes (vegan and gluten free)

1 cup almond milk*
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
¾ cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons gluten free flour mix (I used King Arthur’s mix)
1/3 cup cocoa powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
If you are using a sweetened, vanilla almond milk you will need to decrease how much sugar you use and probably omit the vanilla flavor all together

Preheat oven to 370 and line a muffin pan with paper liners.

Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. In a separate bowl sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the sugar, oil, vanilla and peppermint extract to the milk mixture and beat until foamy. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until no large lumps remain.

Lightly spray the liners with cooking spray and pour batter into liners, filling ¾ of the way. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

Please note, I live at a high-ish altitude. If you live at a low altitude cook at 350 degrees and remove the extra 2 tablespoons of flour.

Peppermint Frosting

¼ cup earth balance butter, room temperature
3-4 cups powdered sugar
¼ cup almond or soy milk
1 ½ teaspoons peppermint extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream the butter by just mixing it with a fork or spatula to get it all smooth. Add the butter, some of the powdered sugar and some of the milk to your mixer and start whipping it. Add the rest of the milk and extracts and then keep adding sugar until you get your desired frosting consistency. I used close to 4 cups of sugar.

Pipe the frosting on with your favorite tip.

Chocolate Drizzle

¼ cup almond milk
1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips

Heat the milk in a small saucepan over low heat then add the chocolate chips. Stir constantly until you get a smooth sauce. Now put the sauce in the fridge or freezer for about 10 minutes to get it nice and cool but don’t let it freeze! When the sauce is cooled but still drizzly it’s time to make some magic! Use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate over the frosting.

That’s it! You did it!

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Curried Udon Noodle Stir Fry

This is not the easiest dish to make but it is SO wonderfully delicious you will be happy you gave it a try. And although it looks like a lot of work it only takes about 40 minutes to make and it will give you lunch for the entire week!

Adapted from Veganomicon

1 pound udon noodles
2 packages tofu, cubed and cooked (more on this in a minute)
4 tablespoons tamari

Curry sauce:

¼ cup peanut oil
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon sugar

Udon Stir-fry:

2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 yellow onions, diced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
1 pound zucchini, peeled and diced
½ cup vegetable broth
6 tablespoons tamari

First, get the tofu going. This is my favorite way to prepare tofu. Preheat a large skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Add a little olive oil to the pan. How much oil will depend on what kind of pan you are using. You just need enough so the tofu won’t stick to the pan.

Start with 2 packages of extra firm tofu, the kind in the refrigerated section, not the vacuum packed stuff on the shelf. Cut it into about ¼ – ½ inch dice. Add the tofu to the pan and gently spread it around. Be careful to not smash your tofu. Let it sizzle in the pan for about 10 minutes. By now it should be starting to turn a golden color. Sprinkle some tamari or soy sauce on the tofu and gently stir it coating all the pieces with sauce. Let it cook 5-10 more minutes until your desired level of crispiness is achieved. From here your tofu can go anywhere!

While your tofu is cooking, prepare the udon noodles according to the directions on the package. When they are done cooking, drain and rinse them in cold water and set them aside. Check back on them every now and then to make sure they aren’t sticking together.

Now, the curry sauce. Combine the flour and peanut oil in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture browns, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in curry powder and garam masala and cook for another minute, stirring constantly. Switch to using a whisk, then pour in the vegetable broth in a steady stream. Whisk in the sugar and cook the sauce, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens (about 2 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.

Now the stir fry. Heat the peanut oil in a large skillet or wok (I have this huge Rachael Ray pan I absolutely love for dishes like this). Cook the sliced onion for 7 or so minutes, stirring occasionally until the onion is softened and translucent. Add the ginger, red bell pepper and zucchini and stir fry another 5 minutes.

Add the tofu and udon noodles to the stir-fry. Sprinkle the soy sauce over the noodles and gently combine everything.

Now, add that last ½ cup of vegetable broth to the curry sauce to thin it out a little. Pour the sauce over the noodle/stir-fry mixture. Combine everything and heat through. Enjoy!

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos (vegan)

We say sweet potato but we really mean yam. I think sweet potato has a better ring to it than YAM. So even though I call these sweet potato burritos, you really need to get yams. Jewel yams to be exact. Now you know!

This burrito mixture is so yummy, so easy to make and so CHEAP to make! It makes a lot of filling but I like to cook all my food for the week at once and this gives me lunch for a week plus extra. So if you don’t want this much or if you don’t have a huge skillet 1/2 this recipe. I like to eat it plain but you can put it in a tortilla or jazz it up with some guacamole. Go crazy!

Adapted from ohsheglows.com
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds of yams, peeled sand diced into 1/2 inch chunks
3 cups cooked brown rice
2 sweet onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 red peppers, chopped
2 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 15-oz cans of black beans
Preheat a very large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and yams to the skillet and stir them around. Let the yams cook for about 5 minutes while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.
Add the onion and garlic to the yams, cook for about 5 more minutes stirring occasionally. Add the seasonings and cook for 1 more minute.
Add the chopped red pepper, black beans and rice and sauté for another 10 minutes on low or until the yams are easily pierced with a fork.