Hey guys.

Hey guys.
Guess what. 

It's my birthday. 

That's right, I have finally said good riddance to those teenage years and jumped into my twenties!

I try not to hype my own birthdays up too much in general, because, well, nothing can ever beat my pirate birthday party when I was 5, so might as well not raise the expectations. My friends and I will celebrate tonight, but for now I'll take this birthday morning to reflect.

I won't pretend to be a life expert. Twenty years is nothing in the grand scheme of things. But you can learn a lot in twenty years, so I thought I would share these little gems of wisdom and advice with you. You can take it or leave it :)

Twenty Things for Twenty Years

1. You can try to ignore it, but no matter what, family will always be the most important influence in your life.
2. Friendships, like any relationships, take a lot of work. If you’re not willing to work for it, it’s probably not worth having.

3. Never underestimate the power of heels and a little lipstick.

4. Boys are not as complicated as girls make them.

5. Not sleeping enough = getting sick. It may be un-cool to actually sleep in college, but sleep is good. Get some.

6. You should never feel like you to have to be anyone other than yourself around your best friends.

7. Things are only awkward if you make them awkward. Usually a smile solves it.

8. If you want something from someone, ask for it. No one can read minds. Except Voldemort.
9. You never know what will happen if you put yourself out there, but it’s worth the risk. Starting this blog was definitely putting myself out there and it has paid off so far!
10. If you have a really great idea, don’t just keep it in your head. Tell someone or write it down somewhere- then at least it’s out there, waiting to become something real.
11. Never shop for anything on an empty stomach.
12. If you have a stressful day ahead of you, wear a cute outfit. It helps, I promise.
13. It’s nice to have friends outside of your age range. Younger people bring you optimism and older people bring you wisdom.
14. No one can make the big decisions for you. In the end babe, it all comes down to your gut feeling.
15. Most people like meeting new people. So go ahead and chat up that guy that serves you coffee every day, you might make a friend.
16. If you’re not happy, change something. No exceptions or excuses.
17. Never be embarrassed about the music you listen to. Why yes, I do listen to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack while I do my homework sometimes.
18. Always always always make lists.
19. People will always question why you want to be an artist. As long as you  know the answer, nothing else matters.
20. You should never feel guilty about indulging yourself once in a while. So go make these cupcakes- now.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes with Cookie Dough Frosting (adapted from Recipe Girl)

makes 1 dozen cupcakes

Cookie Dough:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegan margarine, softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp soy milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips


1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 tsp egg replacer mixed with 2 tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Cookie Dough Frosting:

1/3 cup margarine

1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour 
1 tbsp soy milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

extra chocolate chips to decorate

1. Prepare the Cookie Dough Filling: Cream together the margarine and sugar. Whisk in the soy milk and vanilla, then mix in the dry ingredients until smooth and creamy. Fold in the chocolate chips. Scoop rounded tablespoons of cookie dough onto a cookie sheet and stick in the freezer for about 30 minutes, or until completely hardened.

2. While the dough freezes, prepare the cupcakes. Preheat your oven to 375º and line a cupcake tin. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add in the wet and stir until combined. Pour the batter evenly between 12 cupcake cups. Take out the frozen cookie dough and press a ball of dough into each cupcake.
3. Bake the cupcakes for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (from the cupcake part, not the cookie dough).
4. Prepare the frosting: In a medium bowl, cream together the sugars and margarine. Add in the soy milk, vanilla and flour and stir until smooth and fluffy.
5. Let the cupcakes cool for at least 30 minutes, then frost them generously. Decorate with chocolate chips.

Oh my.

Okay I'll admit, these cupcakes weren't actually made for my birthday. I baked them last weekend for my friend's 21st and I think they might be the best cupcakes I have ever made. Three people asked me to marry them after taking a bite. These are sinfully delicious.

Time to go celebrate my day!


Strawberry Muffins

Some girls daydream about being on the beach.

Some girls daydream about their weddings.

Some girls daydream about their future careers...

and I daydream about food. Not even eating it, just making it.

Lately these daydreams have been filled with lemon and citrus, avocados, always chocolate, vegan caramel, and strawberries. I decided to make the last fantasy a reality. A delicious, delicious reality. That's right, these are double-delicious.

Strawberry Muffins

makes a dozen muffins

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp soy milk
1/2 cup soy yogurt (could also substitute applesauce)
2 tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup agave
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup chopped strawberries

1. Preheat your oven to 375º and line a muffin tin.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the soy milk, yogurt, oil, agave and vanilla. Stir in the flour and baking powder until just combined. Fold in the strawberries.
3. Divide the batter evenly into 12 muffins. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for about 10 minutes and enjoy!

Side note: If you haven't seen yet, I have updated my list of favorite blogs to the ones I've been following more recently. There are some beauties on there, check it out!

What do you tend to daydream about?


Grapefruit & Yogurt Scones

Here is what I have discovered: spring makes me restless. 

I guess they don't have the saying "spring fever" for nothing, but I've never noticed it so clearly before! I'm just so sick of my old routine- it's time to do new things, go new places, create, get inspired... 

But I still have four weeks of school.

Not that I can't do any of those things in college- that's what college is for, isn't it? It is just a tiny bit harder when you have exams and paper deadlines and such. I guess I have to cure my spring fever in little ways. When my feet get restless: go get a studio and dance. When my mind gets restless: focus on a good book (I just started this one!). 

When my hands get restless: bake scones and make them delicious.

Done and Done.

Grapefruit & Yogurt Scones (loosely adapted from Joy the Baker)

makes 6 scones

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp margarine
1 grapefruit, zested and cut in half
1/2 cup soy yogurt (plain or vanilla)

1. Preheat your oven to 425º and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, grapefruit zest and salt in a large bowl. Add in the margarine and using your fingers, crumble it into the flour mixture until combined. 
3. Mix in the maple syrup and yogurt. Cut out each segment of the halved grapefruit, as if you were eating it out of a bowl, and fold them into the batter. 
4. Place the dough onto the cookie sheet and form it into a circle with an 8 inch diameter. Sprinkle the top with sugar, if you like, and cut the circle into 6 pieces. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tops and edges begin to brown. Serve warm with a cup of tea!

These use such simple ingredients and are the perfect mix of sweet and tart. They are a little moister than most scones because of the grapefruit juices, but still have that wonderful flakey and crumble-y texture.

Do you get spring fever?


Tofu and Brussels Salad

My dance concert is finally over and it was a huge success! I'm super happy with how my choreography turned out and all of the other pieces looked amazing too. I go to a school filled with so much talent- it's really inspiring. 

However, now that the show is over, time to get back to school work and travel plansIt's amazing how many little details you run into when planning these things that you would never even think about otherwise. For example, what kind of shoes to bring. I spent an entire day researching good backpacking shoes that won't make me look like a tacky American tourist and are comfortable and supportive... and I still have yet to solve the problem. Any expert travelers have suggestions or other little tidbits of information that are often overlooked in the planning stages?

Despite obsessing over these organizing issues, my excitement about my year off continues to escalate. I've been reading some great travel blogs and looking at some gorgeous photos of places all over the world that I would love to visit. I can't wait!

I made this recipe last weekend to save as a quick dinner for the busy week-nights. It's pretty easy to whip up, is really good for you, and tastes delicious, hot or cold! If you don't like brussels sprouts, you could substitute broccoli or kale, but I happen to love brussels sprouts. They have the perfect crispy and crunchy texture to go with the soft, delicate tofu in this dish! 

Tofu and Brussels Salad (inspired by this recipe from Sew Indie)

makes about 4 cups

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb brussels, chopped 
1/2 package extra firm cubed tofu
1/3 cup crushed cashews
3/4 cup couscous 
1 cup water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
juice of 1 lime

1. Combine the couscous and water in a pot over medium heat. Stir occasionally and cook until all the water is soaked up (about 7-10 minutes).
2. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick pan. Add the tofu and garlic and saute until the tofu starts to turn golden-brown. 
Stir in the brussels sprouts and cook for about 5 more minutes.
3. Once the brussels are tender, stir in the couscous, cashews, maple syrup and spices. Toss well to coat everything completely. Serve with cilantro and lime juice squeezed on top.


The Best Vegan Fudge Brownies

Just keep dancing, just keep dancing...

It's all I can do to stay sane. Homework? Psh. Social life? Yeah right. Just keep dancing...

That, my friends, is my week.

In the meantime, I've been meaning to do a link love post for a while and what could go better with the best vegan brownies except the best links I've found recently? So here are some things that I have been loving lately:

-This is one of the most unique TED talks I have ever seen, and hey! It's dance-related :)
-Jen Altman's food photography- love the vibrant colors and how she encorporates people.
-I have a pair of these and I get so many complements. They are addicting- I want more!
-Whenever spring and summer start to creep around the corner I start to crave one of my favorite classic desserts: strawberry shortcake. This slight twist on the traditional version looks divine. Time to put my veganizing powers to good use.
-I can't wait for this duo album to be released.

And now, onto the brownies...

The Best Vegan Fudge Brownies (adapted from 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes by Kris Holechek)

makes about 9 brownies

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp earth balance
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup good quality cocoa powder
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/3 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
optional: 1/2 cup chocolate chips to add in

1. Preheat your oven to 350º and lightly oil a an 8x8 baking pan.
2. In a measuring cup, combine the flaxseed and water. Whisk for a minute ad set aside. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.
3. Combine the earth balance chocolate chips and cocoa powder in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until melted together and smooth.
4. In a large bowl, beat together the "flax egg" and chocolate mixture. Mix in the sugar and vanilla, then add the dry ingredients. Fold in the remaining chocolate chips.
5. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes. They will still be slightly gooey, but they solidify as they cool.

I think these are the best because I am a huge fan of melt-in-your mouth fudge-y brownies. These have that perfect texture along with a really deep, dark, chocolate flavor. It's impossible to just eat one!


Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

I recently happened upon this post by A Cup Of Jo and it got me thinking. I love the idea of honoring those random little things that people are good at! Not big things- like writing or doing math or dancing- but tiny things that seem insignificant yet make us a little bit proud of ourselves. Why not share those with the world more often?

For example, I am good at remembering names and being on time. I am also good at saving the most perfect bite of food for last, so that all of the flavors can explode at once and leave me happy and satisfied, kind of like a fireworks finale in my mouth.

It was hard to do that for this meal, however, because every single bite was so delicious I never wanted it to end! I had never prepared homemade enchiladas before, but now that I've tried it I'm not sure if I can ever go back to the frozen microwavable kind.

I got this wonderful recipe here from Oh She Glows, but made a few adjustments. I didn't have any bell pepper, so I used two chopped zucchini instead. I used chard in place of spinach and topped the thing off with daiya cheddar cheese. I also made the cilantro avocado cream sauce, but unfortunately wasn't able to photograph it before people ate it all up!

I made these for the same meal where these were the dessert. Holy moly what a delicious dinner. I think enchiladas are officially my go-to crowd pleaser when you have to cook for guests. Vegans and non-vegans alike will love them!

I'm about to be launched into tech week for my spring dance show, which will be insane! When things get really busy, though, and you feel like you just can't do anything right, it's nice to go back and remember that you are good at things, even the little ones!

So, what are you good at?


Lime & Blackberries & A Whole Lotta Blog Love

Is your mouth is watering yet? Mine sure is just remembering the taste of these incredible cupcakes. But you're just going to have to hold your horses for a bit because before I share my recipe, I would like to thank Jesica from The Pencil Kitchen for honoring me with a Kreativ Blogger Award! She is one of my oldest and most loyal followers, so I really appreciate the gesture :)

Here's how this award works, I share 7 interesting facts about myself and then pass the award along to 7 other bloggers who I admire.

Here are several interesting things about me that may have not come out yet on this little blog...

1. I have this weird habit where instead of actually laughing out loud when something funny happens, sometimes I'll just wiggle my shoulders up and down and smile. No idea why.
2. I wear cowboy boots about every other day. They're my power boots: super worn-in and comfortable, but look pretty badass (in my head, at least...)
3. Peter Pan is my absolute favorite story in the world. Period. Not many stories or movies make me cry, but Peter Pan does every single time.
4. When I'm in a bad mood or stressed out, I tend to blast loud & dirty rap music while I bake something with chocolate. It' a nice contrast :)
5. I have synesthesia, which means that I associate people, letters and numbers with different colors. It sounds kind of hokey, but when I meet people and get to know them it's almost as if they radiate a certain color!
6. My brother ran away with the circus. Okay, he didn't run away, but he goes to circus school after his normal high school classes 6 days a week. I am simultaneously proud and jealous of his life.
7. I love to read. I tend to bring books or a newspaper or something with me wherever I go on campus, just in case I have a couple minutes of downtime. I even had a shirt in 5th grade that said "Serious Reader." Obviously, I was the coolest kid in school.

Aaaaand the fun part, here is who I get to pass on the award to (in no particular order):

1. Peaceful Plate: Noelle always has such gorgeous photos and delicious recipes! I have tried a few of them and they have never failed. I love her down-to-earth voice, too.
2. The Tomato Tart: I can't believe Sabrina has only had this blog going for less than a year! It is so beautifully put together and has some of the most mouth-watering photos. For example, I have been drooling over this pumpkin and chocolate cake forever- I've got to get around to making it soon.
3. Cookies for Alligator: I'm a sucker for any vintage-looking photo taken with a 35mm, and this girl has got some beauties. Her pictures and recipes are so original, as is her open and honest blogger voice. 
4. Hungry Gnomes: These ladies are some of the funniest bloggers I've ever seen. I love the stories they share to go along with each recipe (which always look delicious, by the way). A few of their posts have actually made me laugh out loud!
5. Oh, Ladycakes: I have always loved the clean, fresh look of her blog. Her recipes are usually fairly simple and so beautifully presented! The name Ladycakes is downright adorable, too.
6. Scissors and Spice: I love how this blog combines crafts and food. She is so endlessly creative- I don't know how she does it along with keeping up her own etsy store!
7. Papillon: I love the artful simplicity of this blog. It really lets the pictures stand out, which is great because they never cease to be absolutely stunning.

Okay. Now back to the food. My mom showed me a non-vegan version of these cupcakes on Pintrest and I fell in love. I decided I had to make them that very night, so I did, and they were amazing. Seriously. I know I say a lot of things are my favorite, but the flavor combo of fluffy and moist lime cupcakes with tart and creamy blackberries really just can't be beat.

Key Lime Cupcakes with Blackberry Filling and Blackberry Buttercream Frosting (inspired by Baked Perfection)

makes 1 dozen cupcakes


1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup earth balance
3/4 cup sugar (these are very sweet, so feel free to adjust this slightly to your taste)
3 tsp egg replacer mixed with 1/4 cup water
juice from 1 lime
zest from 1 lime
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup plain soy yogurt


3 cups frozen blackberries
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp cornstarch
pinch of salt


1/2 cup earth balance
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup blackberry filling
3 cups powdered sugar

1. Dump the frozen blackberries in a bowl and sprinkle with sugar. Let them thaw while you prep your cupcakes. 
2. Preheat the oven to 350º and line a cupcake tin. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and soda and salt. In a separate larger bowl, cream together the earth balance and sugar until fluffy. Whisk in the egg replacer, then add the lime juice, zest, and vanilla. 
3. Slowly add the flour mixture to the larger bowl, alternating with stirring in the soy yogurt. Mix until combined. Pour the batter into the cupcake tin, filling the cups about 3/4 of the way full.  Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (ovens may vary, so check after 20 minutes if yours tends to bake things faster).

4. While the cupcakes are baking, prepare your filling and frosting. Once the blackberries have thawed completely, drain them to get rid of the excess liquid, but save this liquid in a measuring cup. Add water to the blackberry liquid until it reaches 1 cup. Place the drained berries in a mesh sieve and mash them thoroughly, leaving the seeds behind and set this aside. In a saucepan, mix together the blackberry liquid, lemon juice, cornstarch and salt. Stir until it begins to boil and thicken. Remove from heat and pour in the rest of the mashed blackberries (excluding the seeds) and let cool.
5. To make the frosting, cream together the earth balance, vanilla, and blackberry filling. Whisk in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until thick and creamy.

6. When the cupcakes are done baking, let them cool for about 20-30 minutes, then time to fill 'em up! Grab a Ziploc bag and fill it with about 1/4 cup of the blackberry filling. Cut off one of the corners of the bag to make a tiny hole where you can squeeze the filling out. Poke a hole in the top of each cupcake and use a knife or your finger to dig a little well in the center. Squeeze in the filling until it starts to bubble out of the top. Repeat for each cupcake- you may need to refill the bag a couple times. Top with a thick layer of buttercream frosting and a fresh blackberry!

If you have leftover filling (I had about a cupful!) it is super delicious swirled into your morning oatmeal or yogurt with some extra berries on top.

We served these to my cousin and her husband when they came over for dinner... and all twelve were gone in about an hour. Needless to say, they were a huge hit.