Book Club, Buddy Reads, and Vegan Chocolate Mousse– OH, MY!

archimedes-book-gif

This weekend has been a blast. We had some good friends over to the house for the first time, which was very exciting. I hosted this month’s book club get-together, and my boyfriend and Cupcakes and Machetes‘ husband went out to one of the nearby breweries so we ladies could have the whole place to ourselves. Which basically involved a lot of snacking, inappropriate conversation, a tour of the house (the reading nook and giant bean bag were both a hit!) and more snacking. Most of the girls in our book club are strictly vegan, so I made a variety of vegan dishes for everyone to nom on and everything turned out great. The chocolate mousse was definitely a success, so I’ll share the recipe at the bottom of this post in case any of you are interested. 😉

anna-chocolate-disney-elsa-Favim.com-1693606.gif

C&M and her hubby brought us an amazing bundle of goodies, which was so sweet and thoughtful. Aaaaand she and I decided to do a buddy read for Kevin Hearne’s A Plague of Giants in August, so there’s that to look forward to as well.

3 Ingredient Vegan Chocolate Mousse Recipe:

This recipe is SO EASY. You just need 3 ingredients:

  • 2 small boxes of Jello brand instant chocolate pudding mix
  • Chocolate almond milk
  • “So Delicious Dairy Free” coconut whipped topping

In a large mixing bowl, whisk your pudding mix and chocolate almond milk together, adding enough almond milk so that it gets to a cake batter consistency. Then, using a rubber spatula, fold in the coconut whipped topping so that it is fully blended but not over-whipped. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

I served ours with graham crackers for dipping and it was seriously addicting. I think it would be great for dipping strawberries or sliced banana into, too, though. The great thing about this mousse, is how versatile the recipe can be. If you want to use vanilla or plain almond milk instead of chocolate, the pistachio, banana cream, vanilla, and lemon flavors of Jello instant pudding are also vegan-friendly, so you could make a mousse in any of those flavors just as easily. The mousse is also great for filling or topping cupcakes, or even just eating plain or parfait-style, so you can really do a lot of different things with it.

And, if you are not interested in making it vegan, just use regular milk and a tub of regular whipped topping instead, and you can use whatever flavor of instant pudding mix you want, so the possibilities are unlimited. Go crazy, this stuff is so easy and delicious.

anigif_enhanced-13384-1435046664-2

Advertisements

Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake

IMG_2038 (2)

Deciding to try out a new recipe is always kind of exciting. Will it turn out like you’re hoping? . . . Or will it turn into a radioactive pile of mush even your pets turn their noses up at? Being as sick of winter as I currently am, I decided to go for one of the more tropical kinds of recipes I found online. So here we are, with this delicious pineapple coconut rum cake. I tweaked the recipe I linked above just a smidge since I didn’t have any actual rum extract or pound cake mix. I was also lacking crushed pineapple, but it turned out pretty well even with the “chunks” style. (Which, by the way, who in the hell in marketing decided “chunks” sounded appetizing to begin with??)

Here’s the ingredients I used:

  • 1 box vanilla cake mix.
  • 1 20 oz. can of pineapple (chunks) in 100% pineapple juice.
  • 1/2 Cup shredded sweetened coconut.
  • 1 tsp. Malibu coconut rum.

Following the recipes directions, I mixed it all up, poured it into a lightly sprayed pan, and popped it in the oven for 35 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It certainly doesn’t rise quite as much as your typical cake might, but it was a good, light cake with a pleasant flavor. Especially when there is whipped cream added on top, as pictured above! 😉 And for those of you who despise coconut, one of my testers who also loathes coconut said that it wasn’t even really noticeable, and also enjoyed the cake. So, all in all, I chalk this one up as a pretty decent success. 🙂 The flavor was good, but I don’t think it will really win many points for overall presentation any time soon. But if you’re just looking for an easy tropical dessert to enjoy at home, it does the trick quite nicely!

IMG_2033 (2).JPG

Christmas Kronut: Holiday Dessert Review

I don’t usually do dessert reviews, but when you find a new sweet that “takes the cake” as your favorite dessert ever, well, that warrants a post . . . and a bad pun. Allow me to introduce you to the Christmas Kronut!

xmas_kronut_large
Picture from Home Bakery’s website. (I didn’t think to photograph my actual kronut before devouring it in pure bliss.)

I found this delectable treat in downtown Rochester in my home state of Michigan. This was my second year attending the Kringle Market there, a big event with Christmas lights, as well as tons of vendors and entertainment to kick off the month of December. It was a lot of fun and there were plenty of neat vendors, but this Christmas Kronut was the #1 thing I was excited about purchasing.

The vendor selling these bad boys actually has a gorgeous bakery located right downtown called Home Bakery. They describe the dessert as “deep-fried croissant dough, filled with vanilla bean pastry cream, tossed in cinnamon-sugar, dipped in a vanilla bean glaze, and finished with white nonpareils, and red and green holiday-themed sprinkles.”

logo

It was utterly amazing. Every single part of it brought something special to the dessert, from the cinnamon-sugar kronut itself to the oh-so-delicious vanilla bean cream that it was stuffed to the brim with. The different elements of this holiday themed sweet manage to shine on their own but also blend together perfectly as you eat it. It’s also adorably festive-looking, so it makes for a wonderful seasonal treat.

I’d easily give it 5 out of 5 stars, though I think it deserves some extra credit for being what I personally deem to be the best dessert I’ve ever had. 🙂

What’s you’re favorite holiday treat to enjoy this time of year? Or just your favorite dessert in general?

Calvatia Gigantea: The Giant Puffball!

IMG_1519
Behold! The giant puffball (and my shoes).

I’ve stumbled across a few giant puffball mushrooms before, but had never bothered picking one since you often hear the warnings about those poisonous look-alikes and I’ve grown slightly fond of breathing over the years. 😉

Well, after reading some helpful info on properly identifying edible giant puffball mushrooms, we decided to chance it by plucking up this bad boy we found on my mom and dad’s property. Here’s my mom plucking it up. Say “Hi” Mama Moth! 😛

IMG_1522 (2)

After my mom picked it out of the ground we brought it inside and prepared to cut it open. The guides we read said you wanted a pure white center in the mushroom, and no gills and whatnot, so we were pretty pleased to cut it up and see that snowy center. 🙂

IMG_1544

We’ve still gotta cook it up, but we’re excited to try it. If I suddenly stop posting after this, well, I guess our mushroom identifying skills were not quite as up to snuff as we’d hoped. Wish us luck!

Do you ever hunt/cook mushrooms? Any experience with puffballs? Lemme know! I’d love to hear about it. 🙂

Sunflowers, Sweet Potatoes, Lemon Trees & Cream Puffs Galore!

IMG_1466

Hey, guys! I hope everyone had a great weekend. Mine was a lot of fun. My boyfriend and I went to see the new It movie, so expect a review of that to come soon. 😀 Since my previous post was about scary clowns, I thought I’d mix it up with something a little sweeter before delving back into that. 😛

Speaking of sweet, check out this growing sweet potato bush from the green house. I feel like with Fall quickly approaching I’m running outta time to share these gardening photos so pardon this random post.

IMG_1468

We’re also growing two different types of lemon trees in the green house. They’ve been doing really well so far this Summer, but we’re going to have to move them inside pretty soon so they survive the coming winter.

IMG_1469

So, plant business aside, I’ve been meaning to share the photos of those cream puffs I mentioned making before for my dad’s birthday. 🙂 Here’s some of the Work In Progress pics, and then the final product, topped with powdered sugar and filled with a light and fluffy cream filling.

IMG_1505
Here they are as little dough balls, ready to go into the oven
IMG_1510
Fresh from the oven and ready to cool on the cooling rack.
IMG_1511
Stuffed to the max and topped with powdered sugar.

Festive Chocolate Truffles

xmas1

I’ve never tried making truffles before but after stumbling across a recipe for Christmas Sugar Cookie Truffles I just couldn’t resist giving it a shot.

I was pretty happy with how these turned out. Bonus: they were incredibly easy to make. I tweaked the second batch I made by using only one and a half tablespoons cream cheese and then adding one and a half tablespoons peanut butter. Then instead of dipping the peanut butter ones in white chocolate I dipped them in milk chocolate. Variety is the spice of life, and who doesn’t like to shake it up once in a while?

Purple Pop Cake!

Tried a new pop cake experiment the other night!

I found a bubble gum flavored soda at the store and ended up mixing 12 ounces of it with a box of strawberry cake mix. The resulting cake was a pretty snazzy purple-magenta color. The lighting in the pic doesn’t really do the color enough justice, but here was the result:

purplecake

The pink-canned bubble gum soda was surprisingly bright blue when poured out of the can, so when mixed with pink cake mix, it created quite the lovely color. The fizzy batter literally looked like cotton candy when I was stirring it.

The flavor was pleasant, not-too-sugary-sweet, and is pretty good when topped with whipped cream (like most things, I suppose). 😉

Though, I gotta say, it really didn’t taste all that much like bubble gum.