Apple “Persinnamon” Holiday Sangria

Apple “Persinnamon” Holiday Sangria…my favorite thing to bring to holiday parties, and takes 10 minutes to make.

  • 2 bottles of dry red wine (I like a good quality French pinot noir)
  • 1 bottle of sparkling apple cider
  • 1 cup of club soda or sparkling water
  • 1 apple sliced
  • 1 persimmon sliced
  • 1 orange sliced
  • 1/4 cup of whole cranberries
  • 1 cup of whole cherries (stems and pits removed)
  • 3 cinnamon sticks

Pour the wine, cider and club soda into a large pitcher. Crush the cranberries and cherries with your hands and add to the pitcher. Then add the cinnamon sticks and sliced fruit (you want to keep the rind on the fruit – don’t peel).

Best when made the night before serving, so the wine can soak up all the juices!

Serve cold.

 

Photo as always by http://www.kyleespeletaphotography.com

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Glitter Champagne Bottles

For the ladies (or men) who love glitter!!! Shimmer up your favorite drinks to make them shine 🙂

I did these champagne bottles for a bachelorette weekend for a girlfriend who loves champagne and glitter. You can also use the same process to glitter candles or vases.

Tip: I would not recommend doing this with drinking glasses that will be used. The glitter stays on the glass pretty well, but there is a bit of residual glitter left on your hands when holding.

Here’s what you need:

  • Glass bottle or candle of your choice (I did empty mason jars to hold flowers, and full champagne bottles with matching foil – no need to remove any labels, just use as they are)!
  • Spray adhesive glue that dries CLEAR (I used the nontoxic kind from E6000)
  • Loose glitter of your choice
  • Ribbon (optional)
  • Box or newspaper to cover the floor

*This has to be done outside (preferably on a non-windy day), it can be a little messy but you also need to make sure you have lots of ventilation when you’re using the glue.

Cover the ground or table with newspaper or get a large box to place under the bottles while glittering them.

Spray the bottle with the glue one area a time. Roll the bottle in the glitter, or you can also pour the glitter over the bottle (pour it back in the bottle to reuse!). Make sure to tap the bottle to get rid of any loose glitter. Continue this spray and glitter process until the bottle is covered. Repeat in any sparse areas.

When done – spray the bottle again with the glue to help keep the glitter from being brushed off the bottle.

Finish with a ribbon of your choice! (I use a glue gun to secure the ribbon – just a dab in the front and back is all you need)

Tip: when transferring these from your house to the party, use a paper bag and fold over at the top so the glitter doesn’t get everywhere on the way. You want to place these at the party and not move them around too much to avoid them glittering your party guests 🙂

Bachelorette weekend vanilla cupcakes with tinsel toppers!

Bachelorette tinsel cakes. Very easy way to impress your friends. 🙂 These are always a big hit at any party, baby or bridal shower.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING RECIPE:

Make the frosting first, to allow it to firm up while your cupcakes are baking.

  • 8 oz of cream cheese – room temperature (I only use the Philadelphia full fat original cream cheese that comes in a box)
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter (I only use Kerrygold)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

Blend the cream cheese, butter and vanilla on high until smooth and creamy – about 5 minutes (preferably in a stand up mixer). Add in the powder sugar while continuing to mix. If using a stand up mixer, I like to leave this mixing on high for 5 minutes (this helps make it super creamy!).

Insert a large round tip into a piping bag. Fold the tip so the frosting doesn’t come out of the bag (tip should be facing up), place the bag into a mug, and fill with frosting. Twist the top of the bag and store in the fridge to chill while you’re making the cupcakes. Keeping the bag in the mug will help the frosting easily firm up so it’s ready to go when the cupcakes are done!

VANILLA CUPCAKE RECIPE:

I used my favorite vanilla cake recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction found here: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/04/20/very-vanilla-cupcakes/

  • 1 and 2/3 cup (210g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup vanilla greek yogurt (or plain; or regular yogurt; or even sour cream)
  • 3/4 cup vanilla almond milk (I like Califia’s unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • seeds scraped from 1/2 split vanilla bean
  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Whisk in sugar – mixture will be gritty. Whisk in egg whites, yogurt, milk, and vanilla extract until combined. Split 1 vanilla bean down the middle lengthwise. Scrape seeds from half of the vanilla bean into batter. Reserve other half for next time.
  3. Slowly mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until no lumps remain. Batter will be thick.
  4. Divide batter among 12 cupcake liners (or 24 mini) and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Bake for 8-9 minutes if making mini cupcakes. Allow to cool.
  5. Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days and in the refrigerator up to 7 days.

Note: I did use gluten free Bob’s Redmill all purpose flour for these, but they didn’t come out as fluffy and caking as I’d hoped. They are still delicious, but with more of a muffin texture. Next time I’ll try adding a little xanthan gum for more airiness. So if your diet allows, I would recommend sticking to the gluteny variety unfortunately 😦

After piping the frosting onto your cakes, I top with a strawberry, blueberry, or any piece of sliced fruit that matches your color scheme!!

TINSEL CUPCAKE TOPPERS:
The decor for these are super simple! Here’s what you need:
  • 1 strand of tinsel (or steel some from your Christmas tree supply 🙂 )
  • Toothpicks
  • Sticker paper or cutout of your choice

For these, I created a logo and date (I did this with Word – no special programs needed!). I printed them out onto a full sheet of sticker paper (easily found at any office supply store). Cut them out of the paper using a paper punch, or just a pair of scissors. Place a toothpick between two cut out stickers (pointy side of the toothpick down). Cut a small piece of tinsel and secure onto the back of each with a glue gun.

Walnut pesto quinoa bowl

This is my favorite recipe in a long time, super filling, super healthy and so flavorful!!

VEGAN PESTO:

In the food processor:

  • 1 1/4 cup of fresh basil (kale also works great if you don’t have basil in the house!)
  • 1/4 cup of kale (I use the organic baby kale from Trader Joe’s which is great)
  • 1/3 cup of walnuts
  • 2 large sundried tomatoes (I prefer the jarred ones in olive oil)
  • 5-6 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast (great vegan substitute for parmesan)
  • garlic – I use the whole head
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt (I use pink Himalayan salt)
  • juice of 1/4 a lemon

Blend until fully mixed. You want the mixture to be pretty liquidy, add more olive oil if needed.

QUINOA (recipe from The Iron You – link below):

* 1 cup quinoa
* Zest of one lemon
* Juice of ½ lemon
* 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
* 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
* 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)

Place quinoa into a fine-mesh strainer. Rinse thoroughly with cool water for about 2 minutes. Rub and swish the quinoa with your hand while rinsing. Drain.

Heat a splash of olive oil in the saucepan over medium-high heat, and add the drained quinoa. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute, letting the water evaporate.

Add 2 cups of water and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Bring to a rolling boil, lower to a simmer (turn heat down to the lowest setting), cover, and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 more minutes, covered.

Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa gently with a fork (you should see tiny spirals separating from and curling around the quinoa seeds.)

Combine cooked quinoa with kale pesto, and mix to coat the quinoa thoroughly.

Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

Divide quinoa among separate bowls.

Top off quinoa with lemon zest, chopped walnuts and red pepper flakes.

Make poached eggs and serve them over quinoa bowls.

From the Iron You: http://www.theironyou.com/2015/02/quinoa-kale-pesto-bowls-with-poached-egg.html

Peanut butter caramel stuffed baked apples!

Start with 6-8 mini crabapples. Wash and slice the tops off. Scoop the inside of the apples and all the seeds out carefully, just enough for room for a good amount of peanut butter. Save the insides of the apples for the stuffing!! 🙂

Peanut butter caramel:

  • 1/2 cup peanut or almond butter (I prefer crunchy)
  • 1/4 cup of almond flour (I prefer Bob’s Red Mill blanched)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • Apple stuffing from above (no seeds)
  • walnuts for topping

Mix all ingredients and stuff each apple with a heaping spoonful. The peanut butter caramel should fill the apples just over the tops.

Place the apples on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Top each apple with a walnut and drizzle with honey!

These apples taste best when fresh!

 

Photo as always, by http://www.kyleespeletaphotography.com

Vanilla Raspberry Cupcakes (mini version)

I used a silicone mini muffin pan for these. No cupcake papers needed, just spray the pan quickly with coconut oil spray and they’ll pop right out!

CUPCAKE:

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 2/3 cup blanched almond flour (blend in the food processor to make it extra fine!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (I always use pink Himilayan salt)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup syrup
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup butter (I use vegan Earth Balance)
  • 1/4 cup raspberries (fully emulsified in food processor)
  • 3/4 cup vanilla almond milk (I use unsweetened vanilla by Califia)
  • 2.5 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix the wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls. Make sure the almond flour is as fine as possible (sifting helps a ton!) and that the raspberries are fully emulsified. Combine and mix until incorporated.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until cupcakes are FULLY cooked. It’s very easy to under cook or over cook these. They should be slightly crispy on the outside. Even if a knife or toothpick comes out clean, they could still be under cooked. They should be a little crispy on the outside. Take a bite of one and put back in the oven if needed. 🙂

CHOCOLATE FROSTING:

  • 1 cup of vegan cacao chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk (must be canned, full fat only)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • Fresh raspberries to top the cupcakes with

Bring a saucepan with about 2 inches of water to a boil. Place a large flat glass bowl over the saucepan (the bowl should sit on TOP of the saucepan, not touching the boiling water). Add the chocolate chips and stir until they start to melt. Add in the milk and vanilla and continue mixing until it becomes a melty chocolatey bowl of awesome.

I put the bowl of chocolate into the fridge to slightly cool. Once it’s firmed up a bit, spread onto the cupcakes and top with a raspberry!

Keep the cupcakes in the fridge and don’t leave them outside (the chocolate melts easily!!).

Vegan Pizza Pesto Sauce!

In the food processor:

  • 1 1/4 cup of fresh basil (kale also works great if you don’t have basil in the house!)
  • 1/3 cup of walnuts
  • 2 large sundried tomatoes (I prefer the jarred ones in olive oil)
  • 5-6 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast (great vegan substitute for parmesan)
  • garlic – I use the whole head
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt (I use pink Himilayan salt)
  • juice of 1/4 a lemon

Blend until fully mixed. You want the mixture to be pretty liquidy, add more olive oil if needed.

Add to your favorite pizza crust with the toppings of your choice. In the photo, I used Udis gluten free crust, Daiya soy free vegan cheeze, cherry tomatoes and arugula. This pizza is even delicious when cold!

 

 

Photo as always, by http://www.kyleespeletaphotography.com

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bundt Cake!

For these bundt cakes, I used a silicone bundt pan and sprayed it first with coconut oil spray. This recipe makes 4 medium sized cakes. It’s refined sugar free, dairy free, paleo and gluten free!! So delish!!

PUMPKIN CAKE:

– 1 cup canned pumpkin (look for bpa free cans!)

– 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup

– 1/4 cup of honey

– 2 eggs

– 1/2 cup coconut milk (must be canned, full fat only)

– 2 tablespoons cinnamon

– 1 teaspoon baking soda

– 1 teaspoon baking powder

– 1/4 cup vegan cacao chocolate chips (optional)

Mix all ingredients by hand in a bowl only until incorporated. Don’t overmix – a little swirl of the pumpkin is magic! Add in the chocolate chips if preferred.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 35 minutes, or until a knife in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE:

– 1 cup of vegan cacao chocolate chips

– 1/2 cup of coconut milk (must be canned, full fat only)

– 1 teaspoon of vanilla

Bring a saucepan with about 2 inches of water to a boil. Place a large flat glass bowl over the saucepan (the bowl should sit on TOP of the saucepan, not touching the boiling water). Add the chocolate chips and stir until they start to melt. Add in the milk and vanilla and continue mixing until it becomes a melty chocolatey bowl of awesome.

I put the bowl of chocolate into the fridge to slightly cool. Once it’s firmed up a bit, spoon the chocolate into a ziplock bag and then cut the tip of the bag off. Gently squeeze and drizzle over the cake!!

Keep the cake in the fridge (the chocolate melts easily!!).

 

 

 

Photo as always, by http://www.kyleespeletaphotography.com