• food,  holidays,  recipes,  Valentine's Day,  vegan

    Vegan red velvet white chip cookies (February Recipe Writers)


    I admit I’m a day late with this delicious Valentine’s recipe, but when I got home from work yesterday and got out my mixing bowl I realized I didn’t have an essential ingredient: cream cheese (vegan, natch). And there was no way I was going back out to the store for one item.  So apologies for the delay, and I hope the deliciousness makes up for it!
    I first got to thinking about red velvet when it started popping up all over my Pinterest board for Valentine’s Day. Chiefly in mind was this recipe from the blog New Mama Diaries–it looked so simple to prepare (always a good thing). But of course, I had to veganize it before I could try it…so here are my results. I bet if you serve these to family and friends, they’ll never guess that they lack eggs and real cream cheese!
    What you’ll need:
    One package of red velvet cake mix
    1/2 cup coconut oil
    One 8-oz. package cream cheese
    Two cups (or one package) white chocolate chips
    Preheat your oven to 375 F. Use a hand mixer to cream together the coconut oil and cream cheese. Add in the red velvet cake mix and beat until ingredients are thoroughly blended; stir in the chocolate chips. Drop onto cookie sheets in rounded spoonfuls; bake at 375 for ten to twelve minutes. Allow to cool before serving (the cookies will be too gooey to pick up when they’re fresh out of the oven!).
    A note on ingredients: Many vegans find the Duncan Hines cake mixes to be acceptable, but if you’re looking for a brand that says “vegan” on the box, check the baking aisle of your local health food store (mine has tons of such items that I have not found through online sellers). Alternatively, you could whip up a from-scratch recipe–it will take a little longer than using a box mix, but it will still taste good. Just remember that a wet cake batter won’t need added coconut oil, and you’ll need to adjust the wet-to-dry ratio so the batter won’t be super-runny.
    Vegan cream cheese is pretty easy to find at health food stores and even some regular grocery stores. Vegan white chocolate chips can be harder to find, but if you don’t have any on hand, regular chips will work fine too–the taste will be slightly different, but the cookies will still be delicious!

  • holidays,  Valentine's Day

    Random Thursday: What I Love/Hate About Valentines Day

    I’m totally in the “I love Valentines Day” camp. I don’t think it has to be only about romantic love–it’s a great day to celebrate love in all forms, between family, for friends, for your furry friends, for life. Love is an excellent thing to celebrate!

    I love the excuse to eat rich food, especially chocolate. I mean, who doesn’t? I always see lots of rich desserts that I want to try for the holiday.

    I love seeing flowers everywhere. I love flowers.

    I love the excuse to get fancied up and go out. I spend way too much time sitting around at home in my sweats with no makeup on. Putting on some lipstick and high heels and going out to a nice restaurant is A-OK by me!

    Secretly, I love that it marks the halfway point of February. This is just one of those months I dislike, though it’s not Feburary’s fault; it’s just so gloomy and grey and cold, and I feel stuck between proper winter and the promise of spring. So hitting the halfway point is a big deal!

    The major thing I don’t like about this holiday is the same thing I dislike about all major holidays: the focus on consumerism. The pressure to buy gifts, to go on expensive dates, etc.–everyone feels pressured to spend enough and give enough, everyone ends up broke and unhappy. It’s dumb. Shouldn’t spending time with loved ones be enough?

    Another thing I dislike: how mean people can be toward the singles on V-Day. It seems that no matter how accomplished you are in life, if you’re single on Valentines, you’re a loser. That’s so wrong. Why should you be defined by your relationship status?!

    What do you love or hate about Valentines Day?

  • Christmas,  Fashion,  holidays,  jewelry,  Valentine's Day

    Product review: Anjolee (customized diamond jewelry!)

    (Disclosure: I received the product mentioned in this post in exchange for an honest review. However I was not compensated in any other way for writing a review and as always all thoughts and opinions are my own.)

    Today I’ve got a really cool product to show you: custom earrings from Anjolee! Anjolee is a custom jewelry design company based out of San Diego, California. Founded in 1977, they’ve been manufacturing high-end diamond jewelry for retail sale for nearly four decades, but it’s only been in the past several years that they moved online with a web model that lets you fully customize your own diamond jewelry pieces from start to finish. You can create diamond stud earrings, bracelets, pendants and even diamond wedding rings!

    Anjolee is a perfect way for you to create a one-of-a-kind custom item as a treat for yourself, or as a gift for someone else in your life. Ladies, it’s time to start dropping hints to that guy in your life; Valentines Day isn’t that far off! Don’t worry if he’s a procrastinator: manufacturing takes three business days and after that, he’ll get free two-day FedEx shipping (complete with insurance) on his parcel.

    Anjolee was kind enough to send me a pair of silver cz studs for review. I wore these out for a day of errands and really loved how perfectly sized they are–not too small, but not too large! Customizing jewelry items on the website is fast and easy–in addition to selecting your metal type and gemstone, you choose the carat weight so each item is perfectly sized and perfectly priced for your needs. As someone who often finds that the pieces in stores are just not quite the right weight and shape for my tastes, I really like the idea of customizing each piece. Full dimensions and 360-degree views let you see the piece as you create it so you can understand just how it will look in the end–no surprises! Not sure how to continue? Clicking “jeweler’s advice” will apply a design according to Anjolee’s recommendations, which you can then alter accordingly.

    Aren’t they beautiful? I’m so pleased with my new earrings! Thank you Anjolee for this beautiful style, I see myself wearing these daily for a long time to come!

    (Disclosure: I received the product mentioned in this post in exchange for an honest review. However I was not compensated in any other way for writing a review and as always all thoughts and opinions are my own.)
  • accessories,  Fashion,  Valentine's Day

    Accessory Friday: gorgeous clutch (my early Valentine’s Day present!)

    Happy Friday everyone! I know I’ve been horribly absent from blogging all week. I’m going to try to get back on track this weekend. :)

    A lot of the items I post on Accessory Fridays are just items on my wishlist, not items I actually get to bring home with me. Not this week! My sweet hubby sweetly endured a trip to H&M (albeit a quick one) and got me this gorgeous purse as an early Valentine’s Day present. It’s made of blush faux suede with a pearlescent blush faux snakeskin flap.

    The shoulder strap doesn’t detach, but it’s skinny enough to easily tuck inside the purse so you can carry it as a clutch. There’s an inner zip pocket for small items, too! This purse is about 7″x10″, so it’s a good-sized clutch. I like how sturdy it feels–I don’t like floppy bags! They’re not easy to carry!

    Aren’t I a lucky girl? <3>

    Clutch, $17.95, H&M stores