I have always enjoyed the taste of fresh ginger but lately my taste for it has grown into a passionate love.  When I make a recipe calling for minced or grated fresh ginger, I find myself adding a little more than instructed.  Fortunately, H loves ginger too!  He always comments on it when I make stir fry, a dish which, for me, is not complete without fresh ginger thrown in.

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Aside from the bright, sweet, slightly spicy flavor, I love ginger for its versatility.  It sparkles in foods both savory and sweet.  It also boasts a number of incredible health benefits.  Consider this description, excerpted from the World’s Healthiest Foods database:

“Historically, ginger has a long tradition of being very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. In herbal medicine, ginger is regarded as an excellent carminative (a substance which promotes the elimination of intestinal gas) and intestinal spasmolytic (a substance which relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract). Modern scientific research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects.”  Read more about ginger here.

For our holiday party this past year, I baked Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting, from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World (my go-to dessert book, obviously).

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Here they are, served alongside a little vegan nog (check out the reflection!).  Can you say decadence?

I loved these!!  While they were a little on the spicy side for the kids that stopped by the party, they were well-received by the adults.  And they looked beautiful, if I may say.

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Also, a week or two ago I had the most incredible Thai dish from Lanna Thai, a diner right down the road from my office.  First of all, yes, it’s a Thai diner. The place is adorable.  It’s got maybe 5-6 tables and some stools at a counter, metal siding, the works.  But it’s Thai!!

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Second, they have great lunch specials, with excellent portion sizes and a good number of veggie options.  Third, the food is outstanding.  I have tried their Tofu Prik Pow, a perfectly sweet and spicy veggie and pineapple concoction, as well as their Tofu Red Curry (the control dish by which I judge all Thai eateries!), which was sweet and creamy with perfectly cooked vegetables. My favorite yet, however, was the Tofu Pad King, the ginger dish.

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This was SO GOOD.  A world of flavor, perfect texture to everything…I can’t say enough good things about this and I kind of wish I were eating it right now.  I thought I had a bunch more menu items I was going to try from Lanna but I might just be stuck on Pad King from here on out…

P.S. – Look at what came in the mail today!!Om Nom Nom Sampler photo iphone004_zps647c77dc.jpg

It’s the six-cookie sampler pack made by Om Nom Nom Cookies that I recently bought from Vegan Cuts!!  Clockwise from top left: Spicy Mexican Snickerdoodle, Ultimate Peanut Butter, Gluten-free Chocolate Chip, Orange-Zested Chocolate Chip, Cranberry-Walnut Oatmeal, and Red Velvet.  Of course, there is no gingerbread flavor so I really have no excuse for including these in this post other than my sheer excitement.  I don’t even know where to start!

Thank God I’m training for a race right now.

Health is Wealth, And I Am Poor

I like junk food.  Alot.  Especially sweets. This is why I gained weight last semester.  That, and the fact that law school trains us outside of the classroom to be lawyers by shoving alcohol at us at every turn (in all seriousness).  I’m planning to be alot better this semester, and in general, I’m off to a good start!  However, this past week and weekend I was a little bad with the sweet-ing and dessert-ing…

First, the least of all evils, Zucchini Spelt Muffins, from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan by Dreena Burton.  I made these once before, but that time I used yellow squash instead of zucchini, and used the full 2 cups of banana that the recipe calls for, while this time I substituted about half with applesauce (because I ran out of bananas).  I made these just for fun, but mostly because I had a zucchini that needed eating.


These were sooooo delicious warm out of the oven, and were a little less sweet than that ones I made with yellow squash.  I brought some to school the next day and my one friend said she liked the flavor but thought the texture was a little weird.  I ate another one and they did seem a little grainy, so maybe I overbaked them?  Also, about 48 hours after I made them, the ones that I had covered in plastic wrap went bad!  I was really upset; I hate wasting food.  I think next time, storage in the fridge in a plastic container with a lid would extend their life.

Next up are Mucho Margarita Cupcakes out of my brand new copy of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero!!!  I actually debated quite a bit with myself over whether or not to purchase this book because it might very well lead me to bake (and eat) cupcakes every week, but I felt so sure of the many hours of fun I’d get out of it that I bit the bullet.

Before icing

After icing

I made these for my roommate’s birthday because we both love margaritas, and everyone who tried them really liked them!  My roommate’s boyfriend said “It’s like chewing a margarita,” which I thought sounded bad, but he assured me that it was a compliment.  Two small warnings about these: 1) licking the bowl might make you a little tipsy, and 2) the icing is pretty runny, and though I added more confectioner’s sugar to thicken it as the recipe suggested, I found that it was still too runny to be able to do the pretty sugared rim I had intended, so I ended up just sprinkling the sugar on top.

Lastly, going with the theme of unbridled unhealthiness, I wanted to share some pics I’ve had around for a long while of my favorite go-to recipe to knock the socks off of my non-vegan friends.  These are the Cookies ‘n’ Cream version of Basic Chocolate Cupcakes with Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, which I had found online several months ago.  I usually make this as a double-layered cake, but here are some pics of actual cupcakes made from this recipe:  

yes, I am the kind of girl who has star-shaped baking tins

It’s so sad how you can totally tell by the sheer beauty of those pictures that a) they were taken with my old, dearly departed camera, and b) they were taken in outdoor lighting during a season when there was actually daylight and you could bear to go outside for more than 5 seconds.

And actually, now that it’s nearly my half-birthday, here is my birthday cake that I made for myself back in August:

I made an Oreo cake for a friend of mine who has been known to say things like, “Vegans are stupid” and “I’m not saying that you can’t cook.  I’m sure you prepare the food well, but that doesn’t change the fact that nothing tasty is vegan.”  He ate the entire thing and then, yes, admitted that “vegan” and “tasty” are not mutually exclusive.

Though vegan cupcakes and losing weight just might be… :b