Heart your Body, Heart your Country! A July 4th Retrospective.

Now that the fireworks, barbeques, and boozin are over–its time to look back on Independence Day–the actual day, not the movie–though if you were “fortunate” enough to catch a replay for the 5000 time in your life–we’re in the same boat! Though through this latest viewing, I did realize one thing new about aliens: even they are respectful enough to acknowledge, American holidays…& i’m still left asking the question why Bill Pullman never ran for president…

When I wasn’t watching Independence Day, I spent my day in the kitchen making boozy (non)milkshakes and vegan/gluten free flag cake or blowing sh*t up!

 

So, while I scarf down the rest of the flag cake for lunch, I figured I’d  follow the old kindergarten adage of sharing is caring & share the recipe for the Boozy (non)Milkshake:

  • 3/4 a cup Vanilla unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 pint So-Delicious Cherry Amaretto Coconut Milk Ice Cream
  • 4 tablespoons (1 shot & a quarter) of Patron XO

Blend, baby, Blend!

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Ba-na-na Bread.

I’ve craved a lot of things in my life. Bread was never one of them. But, when you are no longer able to eat anything that contains gluten, it becomes something you “can’t have” & we all can attest to the power that something holds when you “can’t have” it…you just want it more & more & more. It becomes an obsession. My obsession came to a low point.  A point which hit rock bottom when I was found “just hanging out” in the bread section at our local Whole Foods–it was bad. (& yes, I know there are gluten free breads I can buy at Whole Foods, but that’s like offering me a bottle of Martini & Rossi Prosecco when there’s a Veuve Clicquot available.) So, instead, I took to the kitchen. Lesson 18786 learned of being gluten free: when you start craving bread like you would sex–its time to get your booty in the kitchen.

Now, this bread was something I would always make before I went g-free (luckily, the recipe came with g-free & vegan suggestions!)

Strawberry Banana Bread: (with gluten-free & vegan suggestions)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup pure cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 bananas (mash one, slice the other into thin slices)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (vegetable oil)
  • 1 egg white beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup strawberries (diced)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F and prepare a 9×5 inch loaf pan by lining it with foil and coating with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugars, baking soda, cinnamon & stir to combine. Mash 1 banana with a fork and slice the other banana into thin discs. Add the mashed banana to the dry ingredients and stir. Add the oil, beaten egg white, vanilla and stir until just combined.  Fold in 3/4 cup of strawberries into the batter & pour the batter into the prepared pan. Top the batter with the rest of the strawberries and the other banana slices by pressing them into the surface of the batter. Bake for 4 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the bread to cool before removing it from the pan. Slice and serve as is or add butter, cream cheese, jelly, or whatever you want!

To keep gluten free, use gluten free flour. (Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour is a good alternative)
To keep vegan, replace the egg white with a chia/flax, egg replacer, or add extra banana or applesauce.

 

 

 

THE sparkling champagne cupcakes

As per my earlier post, Champagne & Sprinkles, here’s the recipe & photos for the Sparkling Champagne Cupcakes: lots of sparkle, lots of champagne!

My cupcakes became tittie-cakes in honor of my mother who was diagnosed with breast cancer a month earlier–it helps to take a laugh at life–or a bite out of it (in this case)!

Recipe for sparkling champagne cupcakes via Sprinkle Bakes: 

Cake: 

1/2 cup butter softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup champagne, prosecco or your choice of sparkling wine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside.  in a medium sized bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup champagne and 1/2 cup sour cream (mixture will fizz and bubble a little).  Add flour and champagne mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour.  Batter will be thick.

Fill cupcake papers with 1/4 cup level measures of batter.  Bake for 17-22 minutes.  Set aside.

Champagne Pastry Creme Filling:

1/2 cup heavy cream, divided
1/2 cup champagne or prosecco
2 tbsp cornstarch
5 tbsp granulated sugar
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla

In a medium bowl, whisk cornstarch in 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Combine the remaining heavy cream, sugar and 1/2 cup champagne in a saucepan; bring to a boil then remove from heat.

Beat the whole egg and egg yolks into the cornstarch/heavy cream mixture.  Pour 1/3 of boiling champagne mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly so the eggs do not cook.  Return the remaining champagne/heavy cream mixture to a boil.  Pour in the hot egg mixture in a stream, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and beat in the butter and vanilla.

Cut a divot into the top of each cupcake and fill with pastry cream.  Trim the cut-out cake pieces flat to make a “lid” and place on top of the filled divot.

Champagne Frosting:

1 cup plus 1 tbsp. champagne or prosecco
2 sticks of butter softened
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Place 1 cup of champagne in a small saucepan.  Simmer over medium-high heat until reduced to 2 tablespoons.  Transfer to a small bowl or condiment cup and allow to cool.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream softened butter and powdered sugar together.  Once the frosting is thick and fluffy, pour in the reduced 2 tbsp. champagne plus  1 tbsp. champagne from the bottle and mix well.

Frost the cream-filled cupcakes and decorate.

May all your joys be pure joys & all your pain, champagne!

Champagne & Sprinkles.

The receipt that started it all…

New Years Day: I was on a mission.

I feel the need to clarify here, that it was a non-hangover related mission. That’s right, I WAS on a non-alcohol (sort of) related mission the morning after New Years Eve–IT IS POSSIBLE. My mission: I was going to make Sparkling Champagne Cupcakes. What made my mission possible, impossible was that I was missing the bubbly & the sprinkles. Both, keystone ingredients in what would be the “sparkle” & the “champagne” components of the cupcake recipe. So, I threw on some yoga pants, a wifebeater, & both a hat & dark sunglasses to deflect all attention: me & my hangover (yes, I had one) were going INCOGNITO. 5 stores later: I FINALLY found a store that had both the champagne & the sprinkles that I needed. In retrospect, I should have gone to a supermarket right off the bat, but alcohol impairs judgment–even more so, after the fact.

Later, while enjoying the cupcakes & retelling the story of my ridiculous adventure. My friend, whose male (I feel like a woman may have been more understanding), asked me: “What type of person does that?” THAT got me thinking. My train of thought eventually ended at the famous question immortalized by one of my favorite Mad Men episodes: Are you a Jackie or a Marilyn? Would you have seen Jackie or Marilyn combing the aisles for champagne & sprinkles New Years Day? My conclusion: Marilyn would have done it & done it in STYLE.

At that moment, my fate was sealed. When asked if I was more of a Marilyn or a Jackie personality, the answer forever more would  be a MARILYN.

To be a Marilyn requires a certain balance of ridiculousness & class. You have to own your eccentricities/absurdities &  present them with dignity and humor. Being outrageous isn’t a bad thing, rather, it’s a quality that people find endearing & lovable about you. You are confident, brave, impulsive, willing to take chances, & adventurous to a fault. And, you are known for your strength of heart & willingness to fall in love–over & over again, sometimes just because of the experience, other times because its truly love. And, when you do fall in love, you are addicted.

This blog is dedicated to my addictions as a Marilyn: I’m a food, fitness, photography, adventure, sports, love, cooking, humanity, travel, fashion, soul JUNKIE (just to name a few). I’m also a gluten-free, dairy-free, non-red meat eatin’, non-vegan (whatever that means) trying to navigate how to be fashionably social & eco. If that’s got you interested, let’s celebrate our addictions–together!