Sunday, March 18, 2012

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

This is a pretty generic cupcake recipe, except for the fact that it's VEGAN!  Which means it's cruelty-free.  And I love cruelty-free!  Now, just because these cupcakes are vegan does not mean they are healthy.  Yes, vegans have junkfood too!  They average approx. 280 calories each without frosting.  Add in a good dollop of frosting and these babies are pushing 400+ calories.  Now, there are ways you can cut out the calories, but for today's venture into vegan baking, I stayed fairly true to the original recipe. 

  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cup Silk light vanilla soy milk *
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar, organic preferred
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, warmed until liquid **
  • 1 1/4 tsps vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line with paper baking cups. ( Original recipe says it makes 18 but I found it only made approx 13 cupcakes ).
  2. Measure the apple cider vinegar into a 2 cup measuring cup.  Fill with soy milk to make 1 1/2 cups.  Let stand until curdled, about 5 minutes.  In a large bowl,  whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond milk mixture, coconut oil, and vanilla.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until blended.  Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly.
  3. Bake in preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 15-20 minutes.  Cool in the pan set over a wire rack.  When cool, arrange cupcakes on a serving platter and frost with desired frosting.
* The original recipe called for almond milk, but the delicately sweet taste of Silk's light vanilla soy milk seemed perfect for these little cakes!  And soy milk has more protein than almond milk, in case that is a concern of yours.

** If you don't want the fat and calories that comes with oil, substitute with apple sauce instead.  Same thing with the sugar, you can use an artificial sweetner like Stevia or Truvia to cut out calories.

For the frosting, I used a store-bought brand that contained no animal products.  In fact, most of the frostings at the grocery had no milk or eggs, they all seemed to be made with soy and oils (all the general cake mixes at the grocery store contained milk).  Of course, you can probably make your own frosting with half the fat, calories, and chemicals.  I chose the easy route today.  As you can see, I mixed in food coloring to create a delicate lavender colored frosting. 

These were super moist, sweet, and delicious!  Some of the best cupcakes I've ever had, and not because I made them.  They are truly yummy!

Happy vegan baking!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Earthlings - Why You Should Be Obligated To See This Movie

Earthlings is a documentary directed by Shaun Monson and narrated by actor (and life-long vegan) Joaquin Phoenix.  I heard about this documentary while doing a Google search for famous vegans.  I came across a video of Ellen DeGeneres talking about what made her become vegan and she mentioned the documentary Earthlings changed her life. 

The movie covers the five ways we humans use animals and how they are terribly mistreated and abused by our society: companions, food, clothing, entertainment, and scientific research.  I didn't really know what to expect.  The documentary is primarily undercover footage of fur farms, factory farms, puppy mills, laboratories, etc.  I've seen animal cruelty videos and they always make me cry.  I can't stand the pure evil that is the meat and dairy industry.  But I was not prepared for what I was about to see. 

I haven't had the courage to watch the whole video.  I've watched about 30-40 minutes of it.  The first part of the movie focuses on animals as our companions and it shows undercover footage of puppy mills, animals being euthanized and gassed at animal shelters, and the abuse animals face when they are left on the street.  The most heart-wrenching scene took place in Turkey.  A dog was being dragged and prodded by men on the street.  They lured the dog to a garbage truck, poured disgusting garbage waste on him, and then tossed him in the back of the garbage crusher.  The innocence and confusion in this poor animal's eyes... that vision will never leave my mind.  And my soul aches for the sweet, abandoned dog who was carelessly and viciously tossed away in a garbage crusher as if he were trash.  I'm left feeling helpless.  At this point, I had to stop the movie, I was crying so hard I couldn't breathe (I later started the movie back up, but had to stop it again shortly after).  You would not believe half the stuff that is in this movie if I told you.  You need to see it with your own eyes.

If there is any movie I could make someone watch, this would be it.  People don't want to believe me when I talk about the horrors of factory farms and the animal agriculture industry.  People want to believe these are just isolated incidents.  And people wonder why vegans and vegetarians may seem "crazy"... it's because these acts of cruelty are inexcusable.  We are not cavemen anymore.  It's time to stop acting like one.

This will certainly be probably the most heart-breaking, painful 96 minutes of your life.  You will hate the humans in this movie and you will be ashamed to be called "humans" along with them.

I am not a perfect vegan.  But I will try my hardest to always think consciously and ethically.  This isn't even about labels.  This is doing what is right for the animals and our society. 

Many people think, "Well, they are already dead... if I don't eat them, they'll go to waste!"  I think people forget that the biggest statement you make is with your wallet.  Choosing to go to Starbucks over Dunkin Donuts, organic tomatoes over regular tomatoes, broccoli over beef, tofu over chicken.  Where you spend your money and what you spend it on is the biggest thing you can do to stop animal cruelty and help change the world.  Period. 

You can watch Earthlings for free on YouTube: