More brilliant convo with a human

Angel Boy 2.0 had a cold so he stayed home from preschool.

“I’m a little snotty today, Grandma!”
He was feeling much better after a long morning nap. We were in the living room looking at the windy day while he enjoyed a protein smoothie popsicle (see recipe below).

For the past couple of days, we had noticed a big truck parked in front of his house, taking up more than its fair share of the street. No one knew who it belonged to but we speculated that it possibly was a contractor’s vehicle working at a neighbor’s house.

Recently, Theo has been noticing different cars and trucks and asking for them to be identified. “I said, that’s a Dodge Ram truck. He is so rude to park there every day. He needs to park somewhere else.”

Theo repeated, “Yeah, he needs to park somewhere else. He’s so RUDE.”

All day long we would check to see if the truck was still there and it was, so it became an ongoing joke about how RUDE it was to park in front of Theo’s house so there wasn’t enough room for HIS car.

At dinnertime, we were sharing interesting stories about our day and in a moment of silence, Theo said, “Mommy and Daddy, that Dodge Ram truck is so RUDE!”

There was such a shocked expression on Mom and Dad’s faces, I really wish I had a photo to capture it because this is what it SOUNDED like Theo said…

That goddamn fuck is so RUDE!”

Dodge Ram truck = goddam fuck —a very expressive three-year-old with a mouth stuffed full of lasagna and a stuffy nose.

For a brief moment, I had a feeling they thought I had taught him how to swear like a merchant mariner. However, when I hastened to translate, we couldn’t stop laughing.

Until the mysterious man drove away, Theo kept saying, “He’s so RUDE with his Dodge Ram truck!”

Just another brilliant slice of conversation with this always enchanting human.

____________________________________________________________________

Fruit and Protein Smoothie Popsicles

Cherries (any frozen or fresh fruit)
Banana – one
100% fruit juice — 8oz
Kale and/or spinach — handful
Vegan Protein Powder–one scoop
Cinnamon to taste

Combine kale and juice. Blend until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend to desired thickness. Pour into popsicle freezer containers, the ones with the little sticks. Freeze until firm.They are so healthy and delicious!

You heard right…I did say Vegan Lentil Kale Cookies

BF607BA9-C66F-4599-B127-A6B2A94341DFAnd they are DELICIOUS, much to even my surprise, haha.

I was playing around in the kitchen this morning and thought I’d challenge myself to experiment baking with only the ingredients I have in my pantry.

There’s not much food here, but that’s a sad story for another day. (I can pinpoint the exact date and time that my love for cooking and baking was destroyed like an atom bomb.)

Anyway…

I thought these cookies were going to be making the short journey from oven to compost BUT they surprised me, so I thought I should share the recipe before I forget. If you try them, let me know what you think.

Vegan Lentil Kale Cookies

Lentils (cooked)-one cup
Kale-1/2 cup raw (freshly picked from the garden.)
Banana-one, mashed
Oil-1/3 cup
1/3 cup agave plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Chia seeds-2 tablespoons
Raisins-1/2 cup
Oats-1//2 cup (oat flour, I make my own, so easy. 1/2 cup oats in the blender or Bullet or food processor, takes just a few seconds.)
Whole wheat flour-1 cup
Baking powder-1/2 teaspoon
Pinch salt
Cinnamon-1 teaspoon
Vanilla-1 teaspoon

If you don’t already have some leftover cooked lentils like I did, cook 1 cup of lentils with 2 cups of water until soft, about 20-30 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.)
Let cool.

Place one cup cooked lentils in bowl.
Combine the kale and the oil in a blender/Bullet/food processor. Blend until a smooth slurry.
Add to lentils.
Add agave/maple syrup, vanilla, raisins, chia, and all other ingredients.
Mix until flours are well incorporated.
Let chill in refrigerator a few minutes until the oven is heated to 375 degrees.

Using a teaspoon, place about two inches apart on baking sheet. Flatten with a fork coated in flour so it won’t stick.

Bake for about 17 minutes until bottom is golden brown and the top is firm.
Let cool on wire rack.
YUM!

***Options: Of course if your pantry is more well stocked than mine, you can def add grated apples, coconut, and other dried fruit and nuts.

 

 

 

 

Super Moist #Vegan Chocolate Cake With Amaretto Coffee Frosting

Since I now focus most of my baking to please Angel Boy 2.0 (the new and improved version), this was the winner of all the chocolate cakes I ever created, so I thought I’d share it again for those of you who do still currently turn on the oven and combine ingredients to conjure up lovely confections (not confessions).

At 15 months, AB 2.0 can’t have chocolate; for now he’ll have to be happy with sugarless teething biscuits and kale smoothies. 


No eggs and no dairy, yet this cake is super moist, fluffy, and fudge-tastic — with a hint of French roast coffee and almond-y Amaretto.

vegancakeTEXT

I was inspired by a recipe I found in my mom’s old cookbook — as always, I transformed it into my own version.

I know I use Amaretto a lot, but I ran out of vanilla and it’s a great flavor enhancer with chocolate and coffee.

Moist #Vegan Chocolate Cake With Amaretto Coffee Frosting

  • 1/2 tsp.  salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa (unsweetened)
  • 1 1/4 cups flour (all-purpose)
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (or Amaretto or Grand Marnier)
  • 5 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cold coffee or water (coffee is better with chocolate) or you could always use soy/almond/cashew/coconut milk.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1. Mix the first five dry ingredients in a bowl.
2. Make three shallow depressions in the dry ingredients.
3. Pour vinegar in one, vanilla/amaretto in the other, and vegetable oil in the third.
4. Pour coffee/water over all.
5. Mix well until smooth.

Grease a nine-inch pan. Bake on middle rack of oven for approximately twenty-five to thirty-five minutes.  Check with toothpick to make sure it comes out clean. Don’t over bake or it’ll dry out. Cool and frost.vegancake4

Amaretto Coffee Frosting
Three tablespoons softened vegan butter substitute (I use Earth Balance)
Three or four tablespoons cocoa
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Amaretto or Grand Marnier or vanilla
Cold coffee

In a medium bowl, sift sugar and cocoa. Blend with vegan butter. Add 2 teaspoons Amaretto or other flavoring, and 3 tablespoons cold coffee, Blend until desired consistency. If too dry, add more coffee or Amaretto. If too wet, add more powdered sugar.
Frost cake and dust with sifted cocoa.

vegancake3

A Practical Guide to Weaning Fast

Let me first say that the one and only time I weaned my one and only child was in 1982, so what am I doing writing about weaning, you might ask?

My thirty-six year old son weaned himself on his first birthday with no warning, and my poor body suffered while he loved the autonomy of his burgeoning independent nature.

This is a guest post written by my DIL, who is now the mother of my one and only amazing and brilliant grandson.
___________________________________________________________________

My son turned one at the beginning of March.

I had been toying with the idea of weaning him for a couple of months.

Initially, I had tried the “only when he asks” approach, but babies are creatures of habit, so he continued to ask and I continued to feed on demand.

As soon as my son had his twelve-month wellness check and his pediatrician said he was physically and emotionally ready, I was eager to start the process of weaning.

The thought of dragging this out for six-plus weeks was too much for me, but the risks of going cold turkey are very real (infection, blocked duct, emotional trauma) so I proceeded with caution. If you do need to wean quickly for whatever reason, or your baby just suddenly rejects the breast, here are some tips to get through it more quickly.

As a disclaimer, my son was already eating three meals a day plus snacks, so it wasn’t like I was still producing a massive amount of milk. He was clearly obtaining his nutrition from other sources.

Where to start…
Start with the easiest feeds. For me, those were the ones when he woke up. I first eliminated those after naps, then morning, then before day naps, before bed, and then the dreaded night feeds…

Tips for baby…
I have been a RIE (Resources for Infant Educarersmom since day one, otherwise known as respectful parenting. The philosophy centers around honest and authentic communication as soon as baby is hours old. Even though I was tempted to put band aids on my nipples and say “mommy is sick”, or apply garlic so it would taste gross, my son and I faced the challenge together.

 

Make it positive — I bought my little guy a special cup for homemade smoothies to replace the nursing experience from his wake up feeds. My son loves rabbits, so I got him the biggest rabbit cup I could find; since he has no problem with a straw, that’s what we use, but a sippy cup would be equally successful.

Do not place yourself in familiar nursing situations — I love to read books in bed with my son in the morning, but during weaning I would get up, shower and dress, so that as soon as he woke up I took him out of the bedroom for banana and almond milk smoothie in “Rab Rab”.

(Smoothie recipes below.)

Sport the high-necks — I wore three layers to minimize the odor of milk, as well as high neck shirts that he could not pull down.

Stay busy — As we eliminated the day feeds, I made those days extra busy. We were barely ever at home so as not to place ourselves in situations where he would even think to ask.

Mr. Mousie — I bought a special blanket that I sprayed with Chanel Mademoiselle (my familiar scent), which I use to cuddle him with during Rab Rab smoothie time. (Smoothie recipes below.) This was a blanket that I could also use to place in the crib for naptime. Extra cuddles and love during weaning will help to bridge the emotional loss of breast feeding.

Change of scenery — I chose to do it while visiting Grandma. There were so many exciting things for little one to do and experience, and I got the support I needed as my body and emotions went through the change and the challenge.

Watch out for hunger — As I worked on eliminating the night feeds, I needed to make sure that he was not waking up because he was hungry. Toddlers burn through so much energy! When they have been asleep from 6.30pm, it is reasonable that at 4:00 am it might be that they need a little something in their tummy. I was focused on eliminating the breast so my milk would fully dry up, and I decided to replace those feeds with a bottle of warm milk. Try what works for you; regular organic milk, almond milk, or coconut milk.

Boundless love — I got lots of advice to let Dad go in at night so he cannot ask for milk. As part of the RIE I mentioned earlier, I faced this head on. I went in and there were moments that were heart-breakingly sad. But in my heart I knew it was time, and so I told him — I know this is hard for you. I love you so much. And found lots of ways to be close, tight cuddles, cheek to cheek.

Success! After two weeks, my little guy is completely weaned, sleeping through the night, and started walking. What a great first year!

(If your little one is also teething, try the teething biscuit recipe below. My son LOVES them!)

Tips for mom…

Sage — 
I drank fresh sage tea and infused sage water pretty much constantly. I also included fresh mint and lemon balm, but sage was my primary fluid. I was advised that you should drink it every six hours, but I had a cuppa going all day.

Cabbage Leaves — These have been used for centuries and I can see why!! I was a little skeptical at first, but they work amazingly well. For the first few days, I used them continuously during waking hours. I kept them in the fridge so they were nice and cold, which feels wonderful if you start to feel engorged. Place the stems out, and change every 30–90 mins depending upon flow.

Antihistamine — This is also meant to dry up milk. I took a non-drowsy type every 24 hours.

Warm showers — The first day I took three warm showers. I would massage my breasts and hand express just enough to make sure the ducts still had an outlet, but not too much to stimulate production.

Heating pad — I read varying accounts of this, but I did use a heating pad at times when the engorgement made my breasts feel hard and lumpy.

Ice-pack — I used this in-between the heating pad to cool down swelling. I was also using cold cabbage leaves, so the icepack was used when I was taking a break from the cabbage leaves.

Topless Sunbathing — Luckily I was weaning at Grandma’s house in Southern California, so while my little one was napping, I could enjoy some au naturale topless sage tea!

Rocky Road ice-cream — It’s important to remember that if you’re eaning fast, you’ll go through a pretty big hormone crash. Be prepared and have supplies. Pamper yourself with whatever you need to do for self care to get through PMS — ice-cream, movies, cuddles. I kept laser focused on the end-game — no more night feeds, no more gross nursing bras, and no more sanitary pads in your BRA!!! (and all over the bathroom floor).

Sleep — sleep when you can because you may need extra energy at night. If you’ve been used to nursing, dousing, and then crashing out, remember that getting a baby to sleep without popping them on the breast takes more energy and perseverance.

WAB WAB Smoothie I

Waking up in the morning and after nap

1/2 cup milk or almond milk

1 TBS organic almond butter

1/4 small banana

Sprinkle cinammon

Wab Wab Smoothie II

1/4 cup 100% organic fruit juice

½ cup purified water

Leftover kale, spinach, chard, or other leafy veg, well blended!

1/4 cup Organic whole milk Greek yogurt

Chopped/grated apple or pear or organic blueberries/strawberries

Blend all.

Teething Biscuits

1 cup almond milk or coconut water or a combination

Blend 1/2 cup dates and 1/2 cup raisins with the liquid until well chopped.

Pour into bowl

2 TBS organic agave

2–3 TBS vegetable or coconut oil

Add 1/2 cup flax meal

1 cup organic whole wheat flour (or any flour)

Oat flour is easy to make in a blender

½ tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

Mix all. Add a little more flour and knead briefly to make dough pliable.

Roll into 12×14

Cut into 1inch x 6 inch slices

Roll into finger sized shapes, easy for little hands to grasp.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes and then 300 degrees for another 15 minutes turn off oven and let them cool in oven.

GoMacro Thrive Bars: A Giveaway!!!

When I was went on my solo hike last week and was ALMOST LOST FOREVER, I was smart enough to have the foresight to pack not only a bottle of water, but a couple of delicious and nutritious THRIVE bars.

How lucky am I that GoMacro sent me a box of assorted Thrive bars to sample!

Almond Apricot, Blueberry Lavender, Caramel Coconut, Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip, Chocolate, Nuts & Sea Salt, and Ginger Lemon.

I’m so happy to be able to share some of these yummy treats with my wonderful and loyal readers! 
GoMacro is a family owned vegan company that was started by a mother-daughter team on their organic farm in Southwest Wisconsin.
While you may be familiar with their original MacroBars, they have launched a delicious new line of plant-based bars called Thrive.
Thrive are made up of a superfood ancient grain blend, are all less than 200 calories, and provide plant-based protein, essential fatty acids, and prebiotic fiber to fuel your body and mind.
Like all GoMacro products, Thrive are USDA-Certified Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, Kosher, Gluten-Free certified, 100% Vegan, and soy-free. Thrive is currently available to purchase online and will become available to Whole Foods in October 2016.
All you have to do to win a box of GoMacro Thrive is to LIKE  them on social media (and of course LIKE this post so I know whom to choose! (US residents only, please.)
Twitter:@gomacro
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gomacro/
Instagram:@gomacro
(I was provided product for sample and review. Opinions are my own.I have not received any compensation for writing this post.)

SEEDS: Lots of Nutrition in a Tiny Package

Puritan's Pride SeedsI LOVE pepitas (and it’s fun to say.)

Mostly we eat raw nuts and seeds around here, but once in a while, roasted pepitas are SO good.

When my son and DIL recently visited, I arranged a healthy snack platter that included a little bowl of pepitas.

It was emptied in SECONDS, and I had to refill the bowl at least three times. My son couldn’t stop eating them — and that always makes me happy.

What ARE pepitas?

Pepitas are the green kernels from pumpkin seeds. The seeds are removed from the pumpkin and then dried.

They’re a good source of zinc and protein and they also provide iron, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, some B-complex vitamins, and dietary fiber.

Pepitas can be eaten as they are, sprinkled on top of cereal, added to salads, savory dishes, and roasted vegetables.

Seeds are often the forgotten sisters of nuts, but seeds have many amazing health benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked, according to Kristin Schierenbeck, Director of Nutrition at Puritan’s Pride.

The good people at Puritan’s Pride sent me an amazing and delicious array of samples from their collection of wholesome foods.

See that one picture? I had to be quick as a bunny to snap it because my son packed EVERY SINGLE item to take home with him. That’s how much he loved them.

So much for me cooking and baking, but it’s even better knowing that he’ll have great sources of good nutrition.

Seeds contain protein, essential fatty acids, fiber, vitamins and trace minerals.   Some other favorites:

Hemp Seeds:

  • Hemp seeds are one of the few vegetarian sources of a complete protein.
  • Hemp is one of the earliest known cultivated plants with a history dating back thousands of years.

 Chia Seeds:

  • Chia seeds are a good source of fiber.
  • Fiber helps to lower the glycemic index of meals and helps maintain blood sugar levels already within normal range.
  • Fiber also helps maintain healthy functioning of the GI tract and can support colon health.
  • Fiber promotes heart health and helps maintain cholesterol levels already within normal range.
  • Chia seeds provide Omega-3 in the form of Alpha Linoleic Acid (ALA) and Omega-6 as Linoleic Acid (LA) – vegetarian sources of these essential nutrients.
  • Essential fatty acids provide support for heart and skin health.

Sunflower Seeds:

  • Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of Vitamin E. One of tugboat man’s FAVORITE ways to eat sunflower seeds is sprinkled on salad. I’ll have to remember that before he returns, which better be soon!

Flax Seeds:

  • Flax seeds provide Omega-3 and Omega-6 – 2 essential fatty acids that can’t be produced in the body and must be obtained from diet.
  • The Omega-3 fatty acids contribute to heart health and provide an energy source for the body.
  • Flax seeds provide Oleic Acid, which contributes to nerve health.

My son throws the chia, flax, and hemp seeds in his daily protein smoothies and combines the pepitas and sunflower seeds with nuts and dried fruits for his surf trips to Santa Cruz.

I’ll be heading up to visit him in a couple of weeks and will finally be able to bake cookies and protein bars using all the seeds as ingredients.

I was provided product and no monetary compensation; the reviews are my own.

Thinking About Going VEGAN?

vegancookingOr if you already are, you still need to read this book.

Mastering the Art of Vegan Cooking by Annie and Dan Shannon contains more than TWO HUNDRED delicious recipes, tips to save you $$$, and how to stock your pantry.

It’s one of those books you’ll turn to on a daily basis. I thought I knew it ALL, but I learned much more valuable info.

From the Shannons:

“In our new book, we strive to show readers how to cook creatively and thriftily with recipes, sidebars, and tips on stocking a pantry and using ingredients creatively. Most recipes result in leftover ingredients and servings that can be reused in multiple ways, reducing waste in your kitchen while keeping your meals fresh and flavorful. Inspired by the recipes and cost-saving techniques used during the Depression and World War II and paying a vegan homage to Julia Child, we’ve worked to create a system that’ll help vegans and not-yet-vegans alike get the most out of what kitchen goods you’ve already invested in so that you can spend less and get more.”

The photos are AMAZING, the recipes are easy to follow, and the tips are great!

Some of the recipes I can’t wait to try: Tofu Spring Rolls with Agave Chili Sauce, Pumpkin Pie Muffins, Slow-Cooker Tempeh Jumbalaya, and Sesame Miso Kale Chips.

Don’t they sound DELICIOUS?

Annie and Dan have appeared on the Today Show, Oprah.com, the Kitchn, in BUST magazine and numerous other media outlets, publications, and food festivals promoting compassionate living. Their first book, Betty Goes Vegan, won VegNews magazine’s Cookbook of the Year award in 2013.

P.S. If you live in the Portland, Oregon area, you can meet the authors at a book signing.

PORTLAND
Saturday, July 18
Herbivore Clothing Company Store
1211 Southeast Stark Street

Website: http://www.meettheshannons.com/

Easy Peasy Refrigerator Pickles #MeatlessMonday

picklestextI spent the day harvesting cucumbers and trying to figure out a way to preserve them until hub FINALLY comes home.

Freezing definitely doesn’t work for cucumbers, but hub loves my homemade pickles, so that’s what I’ll do.

There’s a real sense of satisfaction in seeing the jars lined up on the shelf — a connection to the simpler times of harvest and preservation — no stores needed, just garden bounty and the proper ingredients.

pickles3

I pickled the cucumbers, dug up some carrots, and thought I’d get super creative and TRY pickling kale because there’s just so much of it.

Use the same brine for the carrots and kale; the only change is the addition of a lot more garlic to the kale.pickles4

Easy Peasy Refrigerator Pickles 
5 medium cucumbers
1 tablespoon pickling salt, sea salt, or kosher salt (but not iodized table salt)
1 cup cider vinegar or white vinegar
1 cup water
1 head dill or small bunch dill leaves
2 cloves garlic (optional)
3 black peppercorns (optional)
or one tablespoon pickling spices

Prepare the jar(s) by running through the dishwasher or washing it in very hot soapy water and letting it air dry. Any glass jar with a lid will do; the wider the opening, the easier.

For the crunchiest pickles, select firm, dark-green pickling cucumbers that have not started to ripen to white or yellow. Cut them into spears, slices, or chunks (left whole, they will take a long time to pickle in the fridge).

I read somewhere (can’t remember where) that the ends need to be cut off or it’ll create a mushy pickle.

Place the dill in the bottom of your jar, peel and crush the garlic cloves (if using), and drop that in along with the peppercorns (if using), then put in the cut cucumber.

Mix the salt, vinegar, and water in a separate container, stirring until the salt is dissolved, then pour it over the cucumbers, filling the jar right to the top.

If you’re in a hurry to enjoy your delicious pickles, heat the vinegar, water, and salt to a boil before pouring it over the cucumbers. Pop on the lid and put the jar in the fridge.

For kale, make sure it’s super clean with no dirt or sand lurking anywhere, ‘cos no one wants to eat gritty greens!

Shred as you would cabbage for slaw.

I actually mixed collard greens with the kale.

Place a few garlic cloves in the bottom of the jar(s) along with the pickling spices and dill.

Pack tightly into the jar(s) and pour vinegar mixture all the way to the top.pickles1Pickled Kale

pickles2I’ll let you know how the kale tastes after a few days of relaxing in the brine spa.

Do you pickle or can? How do you preserve your garden’s harvest?

The Good Karma Diet: Book Review

41NE50FNxPL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_“Eat gently, Feel amazing, age in slow motion.”

It seems to me that 4th of July — Independence Day — is the perfect time to review The Good Karma Diet since so many of us (well, not ME exactly, more like some of YOU) will be grilling and barbecuing thousands of pounds of dead flesh, an orgy of pig and cow and chicken and who knows what else.

Don’t get me wrong —  we love to barbecue too, but nothing that used to live and breathe — and it’s still an altogether happy and pleasant and fulfilling experience for tugboat man to get his grill on — with corn on the cob (non GMO of course), potatoes, veggie burgers, tempeh, tofu, garden veggies — and we are causing no harm and eating ethically.

Think of how beautiful our world could be if Independence Day meant Independence for ALL creatures from factory farm hell to enslaved circus animals to SlaveWorld to the horrors of puppy mills.

Freedom for ALL.

Many popular diets call for avoiding some foods or eating others exclusively. But as The Good Karma Diet reveals, the secret to looking and feeling great is actually quite simple: Treat our planet and all its inhabitants well. In this revolutionary book, bestselling author Victoria Moran reveals that by doing what’s best for all creatures and the planet, you align your eating with your ethics—a powerful health and wellness tool if there ever was one!

The Good Karma Diet shows readers how favoring foods that are karmically good for you will help you:

– Sustain energy
– Extend youthfulness
– Take off those stubborn extra pounds
– Reflect an enlightened outlook

This book also includes the inspiring stories of men and women across the country who have made this simple mealtime shift and reaped “good karma” in every aspect of their lives. Follow this wise diet and lifestyle program and you will find yourself waking up in a good mood more often and having a luminous look that bespeaks health and clean living.

Hopefully, you’ll read this wonderfully sweet book and shift your eating habits and quite possibly your KARMA.

The Good Karma Diet shows you why it’s in your self-interest to care about animals and the future of this planet. You feel better and avoid the ills plaguing American society, like heart disease and obesity. We all win a better world. And, good karma is delicious.”
—Jane Velez-Mitchell, creator of JaneUnchained.com, journalist, and author of Addict Nation 

I was provided this book to read and review.

Happy 4th of July!

Scrumptious Vegan Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Dark Chocolate Vegan Cake www.enchantedseashells.comWe have a  bounty of zucchini here at the Casa de Enchanted Seashell garden, and the dilemma becomes what the heck does one do with all of this summer squash?

I made a few loaves of zucchini bread because they freeze well and tugboat man can enjoy them when he returns.

Did I forget to mention that he’s gone again?

Yup, he left a couple days ago, but I’m happy that he got some good surf so he wasn’t all moody and depressed, and we were able to go camping and commune with nature.

But what about all the zucchini?

I’ll pickle a few jars like I’ve done with cucumbers and then I got the brilliant idea to add shredded zucchini to my favorite chocolate cake to boost the nutritional value and keep it super moist, not that it lasts more than a day or two, ‘cos it’s the best chocolate cake EVER, vegan or not.

Best of all, the zucchini magically disappears during baking, so if you have children who are recalcitrant and don’t like veggies (how is that even possible?) this is a great way to TRICK them, although I don’t really approve of deceit as a parenting technique.

Son and DIL are coming down for a brief visit so that’s the perfect excuse reason to experiment PLUS they’re bringing a friend that Angel Boy was in graduate school with at Yale (bad sentence structure, I know), so it’s just like the “old days” when the house was filled with kids for me to stuff with food.

I old-school shredded the zucchini…

zucchinicake

All dry ingredients go into the mixing bowl.

zucchinicake1 Add the liquids…

zucchinicake2 And the zucchini. So simple, now beat for a couple of minutes to incorporate all the goodness.

zucchinicake3 When it’s out of the oven and still hot, place about 1/2 cup of vegan chocolate chips on top. When they melt…zucchinicake4 Take an offset spatula and spread to make a delicious and easy topping.zucchinicake6

See how shiny?zucchinicake7

It’s always nice to garnish with garden blooms. I plucked a nasturtium, mint, and lemon verbena.

It’s as yummy as it is GORGEOUS!

zucchinicake8

Dark Chocolate and Zucchini Vegan Cake

  • 1/2 tsp.  salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa (unsweetened)
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini (squeeze out any excess liquid)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (all-purpose, I use King Arthur, not because they pay me, but because it’s U.S. grown and an employee-owned company)
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (or Amaretto or Grand Marnier)
  • 5 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cold coffee or water (coffee is better with chocolate) or you could always use soy/almond/cashew/coconut milk.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1. Mix the first five dry ingredients in a bowl.
2. Make three shallow depressions in the dry ingredients.
3. Pour vinegar in one, vanilla/amaretto in the other, vegetable oil and zucchini in the third.
4. Pour coffee/water over all.
5. Mix well until smooth.

Grease a nine-inch pan. Bake on middle rack of oven for approximately twenty-five to thirty-five minutes.  Check with toothpick to make sure it comes out clean. Don’t over bake or it’ll dry out. Cool and frost.