This or That … Chocolate(vegan) Cupcakes

This is a face I am certain about. This Mira, I know, it’s an easy decision. I don’t waver. It’s never, “Should I love this dog or not?” It probably has something to do with those ridiculous eyes.

With most everything else in life I am a very indecisive person. I sit on the fence a lot. Doesn’t that sound painful? Who even came up with that phrase? I want to be more decisive just so I don’t have a fence up my butt.

Anyway.

I like to have things both ways, because most of the time I can’t decide which way is best, tastiest, most advantageous. For instance, would I want to make my home in the city or the country?

Right now my home is in the city. I’m 10-15 minutes from great restaurants, a grocery, the cleaners, parks and museums, the highway … When I say I’m going to run to the store, I mean I will be there and back within twenty minutes if I know exactly what I want (which, let’s be honest, rarely happens). I can ride my bike to the farmers market.

IMG_1594

I love living in a neighborhood. It’s got character. I smile at people as I walk the dog along the tree-lined sidewalk. We gossip about the yard work the couple up the street is doing, and we curse the damn lady who walks her dog without a leash.

At the same time, I crave long and quiet roads, houses with huge yards, big inky black night skies filled with endless stars. I think this side of me stems from camp in the mountains tucked away in a stoplight-less town of Tuxedo. I want to sit in my house with the windows open and not hear cars drive by. I want to not have to close my curtains at night to block out the street lights.

Biking north of the city with friends.

This or that?

I’d like to be a vegetarian, to make that commitment, that decision. I don’t love meat (besides bacon, oh dear God), and I am sure OK with eating lots of vegetarian foods, such as tofu, beans, lentils, and vegetables. I just can’t make the decision. Because what if it’s wrong? What if one day I want a burger? What if one day I want to run to the grocery five minutes away to get a pound of chicken salad? (I may or may not have done that this weekend.) So I go back and forth. I rarely cook meat in the house. Chicken or fish, the occasional beef. I only buy meat when I know how and where it’s been raised. Then I feel better about eating it. Always in moderation. Does that make me a semi-vegetarian?

This or that?

If making decisions was as easy as eating these chocolate(vegan) cupcakes, then I’d have bought a house somewhere totes rad and would be a super vegetarian.

Yeah, they’re vegan. That means no eggs, no butter, no  milk. That means in my mind kinda healthier. That means in my mind that I am being a vegan for the two minutes it takes me to eat one of these. So I feel good. Like I’ve made a good decision.

Now, don’t expect these cupcakes to taste like regular chocolate cupcakes. They don’t quite. The texture is all around different, and that’s not a bad thing. They’ll stay tasty and edible for a week before they start to dry out/get weird. And they have a secret ingredient in them—avocado! I’ve made them a couple of times for audiences of mixed varieties, and everyone has enjoyed them.

My advice? Make the decision to make these for the vegan in your life who can commit to a lifestyle, the on-the-fencer who wishes she could commit to a meatless life, and the lover of all things non-alternative who you think should branch out. They’ll all love these cupcakes.

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Julia, Adam, and Ian Go Golfing

Before I met Adam I never thought about golf unless I was making fun of it. I didn’t get it and thought it was incredibly boring. Since I’ve met Adam, I still think golf is pretty boring and I try not to think about it too much, but that’s difficult. Adam is a very big golfer and he’s pretty good too. He’s been playing his whole life. I dread warm weather because it means I lose him to golf on the weekends. But he enjoys playing, so I’m OK with it in the end. I’ve even learned what a birdie, bogey, and eagle are and I kind of understand how scoring works. I sometimes catch myself watching golf at the gym.

v. sexy

So anyway, in the almost three years we’ve been together, I’ve never seen Adam play. Last night was finally the night. Last night was also the night I saw my brother play golf for the first time.

frustrated brother

This was also the first time he’d played a real round of golf during which he was not wasted. He tried hard, listened to Adam, and I think did OK.

Adam coaches brother

And I even got to putt once! But I mostly took off my shoes, wiggled my feet in the nice grass, and worried about the salted chocolate and caramel ganache cupcake from The Flying Cupcake that may or may not have been melting in our cooler.

no shoes and cupcakes

In case you were wondering, the cupcake made it home safely and tasted damn good after two hours on the golf course. Ooooh I sound like a golfer. If golfers ate cupcakes….

Pie…uhm Food…Catch Up

I’ve decided on a new name for my bakery: Piebelly.

I’ve been baking like a crazy woman lately. It relieves stress, and there’s been plenty of stress in my work life lately. Chocolate chip and pecan-cranberry brown sugar cookies, strawberry rhubarb crisp, rum-soaked banana bread, hummingbird cupcakes, sugar cream pie, triple berry pie…

The triple berry pie I’m calling my best pie yet and so I’m sharing it after the jump. It’s the perfect summer berry pie: Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, though I’m sure you could easily substitute raspberries in there. I usually use flour to juice up my filling, but my aunt mentioned tapioca, so I thought I’d give it a try. Must’ve worked well, since the pie was so damn good. I also made some vanilla whipped cream, just softly whipped, to plerp on top. Delicious dessert for a few days.

In a way, this pie was also a 717 pie (the 717 being the magical yellow house that we lived in, with a fourth roommate whom we no longer speak of, in Bloomington for two years). The pie bird, a little guy with a hole in his beak that you settle in the center of your filling and then place your top crust over, was a gift from Samantha. The cheerfully purple-dotted pie dish was a gift from Marnie. Maybe that’s why it was so good!

My weekend will be filled with rhubarb thanks to Smitten Kitchen. Moist and sweet rhubarb coffee cake and little rhubarb tarts. This has most definitely been the spring of rhubarb.

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Umbrellas

Yesterday was the rainiest of rainy Sundays. Big rain drops for most of the day, thunder, and lightening. The driveway turned into a giant pond. I’m sure some fish have taken up residence there. The weather was not conducive to dog walking, so poor Mira got two pees all day and got drenched in the process (so did I…). I kept hoping that we would get a window of no rain when I could take her out for a brief walk. No luck so around 9pm I broke down and got ready to take her out in the rain. As I put on her leash, Adam and I had this exchange.
Me: We’re going to get so wet.
A: Well take an umbrella (said UMbrella) and then at least
you’ll be dry.
Me: I don’t own an umbrella.
A: What?! But you have like 40 scarves!
Me: When did scarves and umbrellas become synonymous?
Still no apartment pictures, but it’s really awesome, trust me!
I do have pictures of this glorious giant strawberries n cream cupcake we made for Sam’s
birthday. I baked, Adam decorated.