Monday, July 25, 2011

vegan lemon cupcakes!

vegan lemon cupcakes 

1½ cups (6.6 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour*
1 cup (7 oz.) sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 lemon
½ cup orange juice
cold water
6 TB canola oil
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon extract

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees. place paper cupcake liners in 12-cup muffin pan. set aside.

2. mix dry ingredients in mixing bowl. make sure they are thoroughly combined.

3. zest and juice lemon. set aside 1 TB juice and 1 tsp. zest for icing. place remaining lemon juice and zest in a measuring cup. add water to equal ½ cup liquid.

4. make 2 small holes and 1 large hole in the dry ingredients. pour 1 tsp vinegar in one of the small holes, pour the vanilla and lemon extracts in the second small hole, pour the oil in the large hole. don’t worry if it overflows. pour the orange juice and water/lemon mixture over everything. using a mixer, mix until batter is smooth.

5. portion out the batter in the prepared pan. bake cupcakes for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. cool completely before icing with lemony cream cheese-ish icing.

*do not substitute bleached all-purpose. you can substitute ½ cup bread flour, 1 cup bleached all-purpose flour.

lemony cream cheese-ish icing

3 oz. tofutti cream cheese substitute
3 oz. vegan margarine
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1 TB fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest (for garnish)

place tofutti and margarine in bowl. whip with mixer until smooth. stop mixer. add lemon juice and 3 cups powdered sugar. mix until combined, then whip on high until icing is fluffy and spreadable. (you may need to add more powdered sugar if the icing seems too soft.) frost cupcakes and garnish with reserved zest. 

**my friend amber, of sweet girls bakery, came up with this recipe for us vegans of the world who miss a good lemon bar.  these cupcakes were just as refreshing and light as i remember the lemon bars to be in my pre-vegan days.  if you live in the raleigh area and are interested in purchasing some yummy baked goods, contact amber at

Saturday, July 23, 2011

the 5th birthday

just a handful of photos from my daughter's fifth birthday party last weekend.  she chose the theme of yellow submarine based on the old animated beatles' film which seems to be on constant rotation at our house these days.

happy weekend!

Monday, July 18, 2011

happy birthday tula mirth.

tula + mama, minutes after birth. 7.17.2006

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)

                                    i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant 
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart) 

my wee girl is five and i want to stop time.  it feels like everything is moving so fast and i am not savoring it enough...suddenly we are here at five when my girl's lanky legs hang down to my knees and i grunt when she sits on my lap.  i remember easily when she was so light that she fit into the crook of one arm.

happy birthday tula mirth.  you are my heart.

Friday, July 15, 2011

my kid is funny...

so funny that a couple of my friends started a twitter account for her and demanded that i start tweeting the things she says.  at first i thought it was a little crazy but it has proven to be a nice way to collect all of her quotes in one place, instead of the scraps of paper i usually record them on.  so, check out my funny kid at tula_says.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

north carolina modernism

cassilhaus designed by ellen cassilly of ellen cassilly architect

when i moved to an area in north carolina known as "the triangle" from chicago i thought i would be a little bored with the architecture.  at first glance the sprawl of homes and the fledgling skylines in the triangle cities of raleigh, durham and chapel hill were not impressive but I soon began to learn about the pockets of loveliness that are hidden all around as well as the fact that we have the largest number of modernist homes aside from l.a. and chicago.  here is just a handful of the beautiful modern homes in the area which are all designed by local architects.

shamlin residence designed by randy lanou of studio b

lanning residence designed by tonic design

the phil szostak house designed by phil szostak of szostak design

thomas and kay crowder residence designed by thomas crowder of ARCHITEKTUR

strickland-ferris residence designed by frank harmon of frank harmon architect

do you know of any hidden pockets of modernist architecture?

images: james west for cassilhaus, lanning residence, thomas and kay crowder residence and strickland-ferris residence; studio b for the shamlin residence and casey laborde for the phil szostak house.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

just splendid

jeni's splendid ice creams, a lovely cookbook filled with artisanal ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet recipes, crossed my desk a couple weeks ago and i had to bring it home.  the funny thing, of course, is that i am a vegan and will never eat many of these recipes myself but i can admire a good cookbook when i see one.  plus, there are a handful of vegan sorbets (such as the black plum and black currant lambic sorbet) that are very tempting.  the book is authored by jeni of jeni's ice creams based in columbus, oh, and she breaks the book into seasons with the winter season including a clever influenza rx sorbet which  promises to "clear nasal passages and soothe the body" with ingredients such as citrus juices, ginger, honey and bourbon.  too funny.

when i visited jeni's site i was really impressed with the presentation and was instantly drawn in by the wonderful food film about jeni's shop by george lange.  mmmm...see below.

Good Time from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams on Vimeo.

Friday, July 8, 2011

dear anonymous.

swimmer vivian lundman, 1926. chicago daily news.  courtesy of the library of congress.

thank you for the vintage bathing cap left on my desk.  it was quite a funny surprise this morning and something i have wanted for a while, actually.  i have questioned everyone i work with mercilessly and just can't seem to figure out who you might be.  so thank you.  

Thursday, July 7, 2011

so many vegetables...

roasted vegetables on french bread, by juli

so i scored a csa produce box from a vacationing friend which is both awesome and intimidating because i suddenly have a handful of vegetables that need my immediate attention.  as much as i would love to venture into some new recipes, i just did not have the time or the extra necessary ingredients tonight so i opted for my favorite: roasting with olive oil, salt and pepper.  yum!  so simple, yet so good.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

scenes from a life...

fourth of july block party, by juli
when my daughter looks back on her childhood i hope my photos help her to remember just how beautiful and dear these years are to both of us...her experience and my witness to it.  we live in the moment and so often let them pass, i hope to capture whatever i can to help us both remember.  today this one is my favorite.
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