Tag Archives: Vegetables

Zucchini Cupcakes with Avocado Buttercream Frosting (Vegan)

11 Mar

First of all, happy Sunday!

I hope daylight savings isn’t kicking your butt as much as I know it’s going to kick mine once my better senses kick in and realize I’ve lost a sweet, sweet, precious hour of sleep! Hoping this gorgeous, sunny, blue sky weather we’ve been having lasts and helps me through this…with a teeny bit of help from the most giant mug of coffee of all time! =)

Anyway, if this post doesn’t do it, I’d like to make it clear that I’ve taken it upon myself to use March as an excuse for baking with more green foods!  It’s a Leprechaun’s world and I’m just living in it, St. Patty’s Day style.

When you hear “green foods,” there’s a good chance your mind immediately snaps to thoughts and images of leafy greens, herbs, green peppers, and zucchini – rarely ingredients that you’d see featured in dessert foods – but stay with me here.  My biggest concern here was keeping things yummy, somewhat healthy, green-colored, and yet FREE from ARTIFICIAL COLORING!  So the wheels started turning…

At the risk of blog readership plummeting big time, I ruled out spinach brownies (though I’ve heard those are good!), avoided celery ice cream, and didn’t even let my mind wander to a place where I’m 100% sure I’d be spending my entire post trying to convince you to try green onion pie.  You’re welcome.  Also, there’s no possible way I could even convince myself of that, so I’ve also spared myself the guilt of lying my way through an entire post.  I’m welcome?  Nevermind.

Anyway, I did, however, wrap my head around the prospects of zucchini and avocado, and found the idea to be promising!  Afterall, I’ve featured zucchini prominently in several recipe posts like this  and this, waxing rather poetic about the versatility and ease with which it blends into sweet treats.  Avocados hold a special place in my heart, too, and though featured here  as a savory Super Bowl snack, it’s still a fruit, dangit!

Zucchini bread and coffee cake inspired zucchini cupcakes seemed like the perfect choice!  Avocado could have been more challenging, but thankfully its creamy smooth texture practically begs to be made into frosting.  Ideal.  I wouldn’t recommend the frosting if you don’t like avocados, but then again if that’s the case I’d recommend you start liking avocados because they’re super delish and healthy!

 

And so, zucchini spice cupcakes with avocado buttercream frosting were born – TA DA!

Somewhat healthy?  Let’s be real, these are still cupcakes, but made with nutrient-packed plant-based ingredients.

Since we’re talking avocados, I think it’s important to note just a few of the awesome health benefits these powerful little green guys boast.  Not only are they high in vitamins and minerals such as folate (for heart health and prevention of birth defects), B-6, and potassium (helps to regulate blood pressure), they are also host to nutrients that combat oxidative damage, cholesterol levels, inflammation, and even cancer.

So again, healthy?  Ya, check!

Green color without any artificial coloring?  Yessir – Check.

Yummy?  Duh.  I mean, check.

I’ll be the first to admit these aren’t the sexiest little cupcakes – they’re sorta more like the homey looking little sweethearts that have a great personality, ha!  No, really.  Love them!

Zucchini Cupcakes with Avocado Buttercream (Vegan)

(Makes 6)

 Lightly spiced, zucchini-laced cupcakes with a super tender crumb – you’d never guess they were vegan if I didn’t blatantly tell you – really!  Perfectly accompanied by an unexpectedly smooth, delicious buttercream frosting packed with healthy omega-3’s and vitamins.  Double the recipe if you want to make a dozen.

 Cupcakes-

 Ingredients:

*7/8 cup all-purpose flour

*½ tsp baking powder

*½ tsp baking soda

*½ tsp ground cinnamon

*½ tsp ground nutmeg

*¼ tsp salt

*¼ cup granulated sugar

*¼ cup brown sugar

*½ cup non-dairy milk of your choice

*¼ cup canola oil

*1 Tbsp vanilla extract

*½ Tbsp white vinegar

*½ cup grated zucchini

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350*F.  Line a cupcake pan with 6 cupcake liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, stir together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and canola oil.

In another bowl or cup, stir together the non-dairy milk, vinegar, and vanilla.

Pour the milk, vinegar, and vanilla mixture into the sugar and oil mixture.  Add grated zucchini and mix.  Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, until just combined.  You don’t want to over mix.

Fill lined cupcake wells to just about full.  Bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating the pan half way through, until tops slightly spring back when pressed on.  Remove pan from oven and allow to cool about 10 minutes before removing cupcakes and placing on a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.  Allow to cool COMPLETELY before frosting.

Frosting-

This frosting is thinner than a typical buttercream frosting because of the softer texture of avocados compared to margarine or butter, but has just the lightest, yummiest hint of avocado vanilla flavor!

Ingredients:

*2 small avocados

*½ stick non-dairy margarine

*3-4 cups confectioner’s sugar

*1 tsp vanilla

*Dash of salt, to taste

Directions:

Peel avocados and remove pits.  Cream together the avocado and non-dairy margarine in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add vanilla extract.  Slowly add confectioner’s sugar, ½ cup at a time until consistency is as desired.  Add salt to taste.   Frost your little heart out!  Go to it =)

Happy Spring!

Happy March!  Happy St. Patty’s month!

 

 

Super Bowl XLVI (aka Tom Brady Bowl) Guacamole & Baked Sweet Potato Fries

5 Feb


NOoooooOoooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

I think by now you can tell I’m a bit of a New England Patriots/Tom Brady fan, and by a “bit” of a fan, I mean I could care less about the team and feel like my heart is breaking right along with Tom’s.

I was so hopeful that history wouldn’t repeat itself and I wouldn’t end up once again typing on my computer as it short-circuits from the tears streaming from my eyes as I try to muster a congratulatory smirk in the general direction of all the Giants fans out there.  Hey, I never said I was a GOOD sport, per say…;p

Anyway, the one good thing that came out of the Super Bowl, and I mean aside from getting to stare at Tom Brady for several hours in tight, butt-hugging spandex, was the food!  I had some pretty awesome snacks lined up, and although they did nothing for the Patriots, at least I got to drown my anxiety in yummy treats like guacamole dip and baked sweet potato fries.  I know what you’re thinking, but game day snacks can be both delicious AND healthy, and you’ll never convince me that they have to be one or the other!  I know what you’re thinking again, and you’re about to throw this post in my face and say game day is over and you can’t use any of these recipes during the Super Bowl…but I assure you, you can eat this dip and these fries any dang time you want!  And also, there will be other games, duh!

Fresh Guacamole

Bursting with flavor and healthy ingredients, this guac is as perfect with veggies or crackers as it is with traditional tortilla chips!  I’m pretty heavy-handed with the garlic and lime juice because I love the bold flavors, but feel free to amp it up even more or tone it down if you prefer.

Ingredients:

* 3 avocados
* 1/4 cup salsa, or fresh-chopped tomato and jalapeno
* 1/8 finely chopped onion
* 2 cloves finely minced garlic
* 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro (optional)
* Juice from 1/4 of a lime
* Salt & pepper to taste
* Pinch of cumin

Directions:

Scoop out the “meat” of the avocado and mash into a bowl with a fork. Add in the salsa or fresh tomato and jalapeno, and onion. Stir in the garlic, cilantro, lime juice, salt, pepper, and cumin.

That’s it – simple! Enjoy with chips, crackers, veggies, whatever your little heart desires!

And now, on to the spuds!

 Martha Stewart’s Baked Sweet Potato Fries

These are slightly adapted from the baked fries on the Martha Stewart website here!  They’re more like a thick-cut steak fry than a thin, flimsy fry, in that they’re hunkier and  don’t get crispy all the way through.  Trust me, I don’t usually like fries, and won’t touch a regular potato “Jo-Jo”…and I think these are super delish!

Ingredients:

* 3 large sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2″ sections
* 3 egg whites
* salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, & basil to taste (I used Italian seasoning)

Directions:

Line a baking tray with parchment paper or a Silpat. Lay out cut sweet potatoes on a microwave safe plate, and microwave for 2 minutes. Flip and microwave another 2 minutes. Allow to cool while preparing the egg whites.

Separate 3 egg whites into a bowl and whisk until frothy. Once cool to the touch, dip each fry into the egg whites and allow to drain before arranging on lined pan in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and basil. Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and flip the fries. Bake another 10-15 minutes. Test for fork-tenderness, and crispiness, and bake an additional 5-10 minutes until brown and slightly crispy. Allow to cool before enjoying!

True, they’re not the most photogenic little fries around, but they sure are DELICIOUS!  They get the job done and are super healthy!

 

I snapped a few pics of the most important part of this whole Super Bowl thing.  Look at the concentration, the determination, the anxiety?! :

And of course for dessert, I suggest Tom Brady Martha Stewart’s coconut cupcakes & my awesome coconut buttercream frosting!!

Congratulations or whatever, I guess, New York Giants!…I still love you, Tom Brady!