A Slice of Joy

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Make this: Essential Birthday Cake

Simple cakes are beautiful.

For my sister’s birthday earlier this week, I wanted to make an elegant dessert without any frills or too much frosting. I had my mind set on an indulgent slice of cake with a dollop of whipped cream and freshly sliced fruit–a lovely treat with just the essentials.

Make this: A Slice of Joy

I think it’s beautiful in a relaxed way, perfect for a loved one’s birthday!

Essential Birthday Cake
(makes 4 servings)

Active prep time: 1 hour
Wait time: Overnight

What you’ll need:

  • Some cake // I halved this recipe from Hampton Creek. Just Mayo makes a beautifully moist and rich chocolate cake!
  • Something creamy // Oh She Glows has a SPLENDID tutorial for an amazing coconut whipped cream.
  • Caramel, for drizzling // Make your own or buy some from Whole Foods! I used Hey Boo’s coconut caramel to save time. This part is optional–I just wanted to have something extra special for my sister’s birthday!
  • Fresh fruit // I used strawberries!

Method:

  1. On the night before // Bake the cake, and let it cool overnight, covered with moist paper towels. Chill a can of full-fat coconut milk in the fridge.
  2. The next day // Make the coconut whipped cream. Serve cake slices with a spoonful of coconut whipped cream, fresh fruit, and a drizzle of coconut caramel.

Simple Birthday Breakfast
Enjoy!! My sister loved it with her birthday brunch! :) I also made strawberry pasta this week…recipe coming soon!

Refreshing Ginger Tisane (Tea)

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Refreshing Ginger Tea | The Broccoli Bulletin

Hello there! I am sincerely sorry for the lack of posts on this blog! I have missed blogging so much.

What’s new? I am happy to say that I have a job working as a relationship specialist for Hampton Creek Foods!

Hampton Creek is all about connecting people with healthier choices that are far kinder to the planet and the animals. This is something I care about deeply! It’s part of who I am. I have decided I am putting grad school on hold, because I love being on Hampton Creek’s team so much. :) If you haven’t tried their AMAZING cholesterol-free mayo yet, here’s how you can find it! We beat Hellmann’s in a blind taste test–just try it! ;)

Just MayoSustainable + Affordable + Delicious. Just the best!

This company is changing the world. I see the changes every day while on the job, and I’m incredibly grateful that I can be a part of it. Working for Hampton Creek is an opportunity for me to use my passion for something bigger than myself. My heart sings when I work for them. That’s beautiful to me. I truly love going to work!

For personal reasons, I haven’t been feeling like myself for a few months. When I wasn’t working, I was feeling uncharacteristically uninspired and unmotivated in pursing my hobbies, like my beloved blog. I had been struggling to find smiling myself again, but I’ve been doing so much better and taking care of myself. When I focus on helping others, I feel like I am doing something right.

Feeling down is normal, and in life there is no pause button. But sometimes you need a little break for yourself. And sometimes you may need a little pick-me-up. Refresh yourself!

Refreshing Ginger Tea | The Broccoli Bulletin

I hope you are all doing well. Whether you’re feeling down or need something to refresh yourself after a long day, this ginger tea will serve as a burst of bright, sweet and spicy sunshine that will warm and soothe your insides.

 Refreshing Ginger Tisane (Tea)
(makes one steamy cup of comfort)

Total time: 10 minutes or lessRefreshing Ginger Tea | The Broccoli Bulletin
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of freshly grated ginger (try to get organic if you can)
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup (or to your taste)
  • a dash of fresh lemon juice (to your taste)

Method:

  1. Pour about 1 cup of boiling water into a glass mug, or if you’re like my mom, use a small rice bowl. ^.^
  2. Add the grated ginger to the hot water and let it steep for 2-5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the maple syrup and squeeze some lemon juice into the tea.
  4. Enjoy while it’s still warm.

The ginger in this tea makes it a natural remedy for indigestion.
Both invigorating and comforting, it can also help clear your head when you have a headache.

Hope you enjoy, and please let me know how it goes if you try it!
I will post some recipes soon in a week or so, but now I’m off to a work trip in Colorado! So exciting! I’ll try to post all my adventures on Instagram.

En route to Colorado!My first flight by myself! ^.^

Warm wishes–I hope you are taking care of yourself in the best way possible. Do some meditation, go for a run, or make yourself a cup of tea. You deserve it!

Peace Love & Cakes: Review (+ Discount Code)

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Reviews
Coffee Scrub and Almond Bliss Body Batter

Coffee Scrub and Almond Bliss Body BatterWhat you put on your body is as important as what you put in it.

This is the philosophy behind Peace Love & Cakes, a line of natural, organic vegan skincare created by Regina Wieland, a passionate vegan chef from Hurst, Texas. Her products are made with all natural ingredients, nothing artificial, and no preservatives. They are also all plant-based and cruelty-free! Since Regina loves baking, her line is all bakery-inspired and everything smells delicious.

After sampling a few of the products, here are my thoughts:

Almond Bliss Body Batter (right): This silky body moisturizer is one of those lotions that smells so good you almost want to eat it. It smells like some kind of coconut almond cookie, a little sweet for my taste, actually. But I just used a small amount, and it moisturized my skin nicely without a greasy feel–perfect for applying after a shower.

Mint Chocolate Cookie Lip Balm (not pictured): This lip balm went on smoothly and smelled amazing, but what really had me sold was the refreshing minty feeling that came afterwards. It was excellent.

Minty Coffee Sugar Scrub (left): This scrub was my absolute favorite of all the samples. First of all, it smells like a coffee shop. Heaven! It was a great exfoliant and because of the organic peppermint oil, it left a tingly feeling on my skin. I smelled delicious and felt totally refreshed after using it.

It’s so great to be able to choose natural, cruelty-free products that are made with care! I enjoyed the products so much that I wanted to share them with my blog readers, and Regina has kindly created a special discount code for you guys. If you make a purchase from her Etsy shop, be sure to enter the code “BROCCOLI” for a 12% discount (it’s case sensitive). Let me know in the comments if you get one of her products–I want to know how you like them!

Regina is also working on a natural dry shampoo, which I am eager to try. Watch for another review soon!

One-Apple Galette

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Easy Vegan Apple Galette
Easy Vegan Apple Galette
I am all about gorgeous desserts that are simple to make. This past weekend, I embarked on my first galette-making adventure.
Galettes look so beautiful, I was afraid it would be a difficult process, but it was easier than pie, honestly. I only used one apple!
For less effort than a pie, I got a flaky, light and tasty fruit pastry that looks amazing. I think I will always choose this over a pie.
There was some waiting time and apple peeling involved, so you’ll need a pinch of patience, but really, I’d much rather peel one apple for a galette, than five or six for a pie.
While the dough is chilling, you can chill too…read a book or take a nap! I prepared my dough around midnight, so I just went to sleep and let it chill overnight.
Easy One-Apple Galette
(makes 6 servings)

Easy Vegan Apple Galette

I had some coconut caramel sauce on hand, so I used that to sweeten the galette before baking it. It made the galette pretty decadent. Traditionally, sugar is sprinkled on top, but I also think maple syrup or agave could also be used. I also want to try making this with whole wheat pastry flour, and maybe coconut oil, in the future.
Total time: ~1.5 hours
Ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 t organic sugar
  • 1/2 cup chilled non-dairy butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 3 T ice water
  • ground cinnamon
  • sweetener of your choice (organic sugar, maple syrup, sucanat, or coconut caramel)
  • 1 apple, cored, peeled, and thinly sliced
  • Lemon juice, about 1 teaspoon

Method:

  1. Mix the all purpose flour, sea salt, and sugar in a food processor.
  2. Cut the non-dairy butter into the flour mixture using a fork.
  3. Process in the food processor until you get a coarse, crumbly mixture. Clumps are fine here.
  4. Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl and add the ice water. Use your hands to mix the flour mixture and water together. Roughly roll the dough into a ball and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.
  5. Place the dough in the fridge and let it chill for at least 30 minutes. I let mine sit overnight. This dough can also be made two days ahead.
  6. Take the dough out of the fridge, let it soften a little so it’s easier to work with—this took about 5-10 minutes for me.
  7. On a floured surface, gently roll out the dough in a circle, about 1/8” thick. Place it on a baking tray or pan (I used a glass pie pan).
  8. Sprinkle cinnamon on the dough and arrange the apple slices to your liking in the middle of the rolled out dough—leave about 1 1/2 inches at the edges of the dough. Squeeze some lemon juice on the apple slices.
  9. Fold all the edges of the dough towards the center—for tips, check out this post from Food 52.
  10. Place the galette in the fridge and let it chill for at least 15 minutes. During this time, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  11. Take the gallete out of the fridge and drizzle your sweetener of choice over the apple slices–to your taste. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top and put a few dots of nondairy on top, if you want.
  12. Brush the crust with some nondairy milk or melted nondairy butter.
  13. Lower the oven’s heat to 350 degrees F and bake the galette for 30-45 minutes, or until the crust is golden.

Bon appétit! This crust can also be used with different fillings, like berries or sliced pears. I hope you enjoy it! If you make this please let me know how it turned out by leaving me a comment below!

Apple Galette | Vegan
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Lavender Hot Chocolate + Coconut Whip

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Delicious Lavender Hot Chocolate

Lavender Hot Chocolate I am a fan of all things lavender, especially lavender lemonade. I’ve been dying to try lavender hot chocolate. I saw a recipe for it on à la mode’s blog a while back, and it was simply gorgeous. Truly inspiring. I had to veganize it. While my photos may not be as amazing as his, I think the hot chocolate tasted divine, especially with this genius coconut whipped cream from Oh She Glows.
Decadent Coconut Whipped Cream

My friend just pointed out to me that this looks like the moon and stars! Not my intention, but I like it!

This drink is cozy and elegant—my kind of Valentine’s Day treat! I live for the joys of relaxation and authentic simplicity, no superfluous roses or overpriced dinners here, thank you.

My friend told me a rose hot chocolate might be more suited to tomorrow’s holiday, but I’m just so obsessed with lavender. It’s done.

Delicious Lavender Hot ChocolateThis recipe makes enough to serve two, so you can share it with your sweetheart for a charming end to your evening. If you’re single and have a 20 oz mug, then it serves one. More hot chocolate for me! ^.^

Food-saving note: You really only need a couple dollops of coconut whipped cream, so you’ll have coconut milk leftover–I’m going to use my leftover coconut milk to make this easy caramel sauce from Oh, Ladycakes!

Vegan Lavender Hot Chocolate
inspired by à la mode
(makes 2 normal servings, or 1 generous serving)

Total time: 15 minutes
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups nondairy milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1/2 t dried lavender buds (available at Whole Foods or any natural grocery store)
  • 3 oz dark chocolate, chopped uniformly (use at least 70% cacao—I used Theo’s brand, available at Kroger or Whole Foods)
  • 1/6 cup pure maple syrup (or to your taste)
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • coconut whipped cream, for serving (optional, but it gives the BEST creamy texture–be sure to chill several hours beforehand. You can get the canned coconut milk from Kroger or the Asian market.)

Method:

  1. In a saucepan, heat the nondairy milk and lavender buds over medium heat. Whisk occasionally and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and let the lavender steep for about 5 minutes.
  3. Strain the lavender and return the milk to the saucepan, on low to medium heat. Add the chocolate, maple syrup, vanilla and sea salt. Whisk until the chocolate is melted, and everything is incorporated and frothy. Remove from heat.
  4. Pour into mugs and serve with dollops of coconut whipped cream. Mix it up to incorporate the creaminess throughout the whole drink.

Gorgeous Lavender Hot Chocolate

Mmm…it looks like a galaxy and tastes like a combination of two of my favorite things—Earl Grey lattes and chocolate. It’s perfect!

Next time, I’m going to try making this with Dream Nondairy’s creamy sweet chocolate bar. I hope you all have a lovely Valentine’s Day, whether you are celebrating with someone special or your awesome self!

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day? Have any other lavender-related ideas? If you try the recipe, please let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Anderson Cooper’s Favorite Veggie Burger

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Anderson Cooper's Favorite Vegan Burger // Recipe

According to People Magazine, Anderson Cooper is very much a MacDonald’s fan, but he also frequents NYC’s Bareburger to satisfy his favorite veggie burger craving–a black bean vegan burger served with cilantro lime dressing. Yum! Scroll down for the recipe!

Last night, I was so excited when my friend (and former co-worker) Carla gave me her extra tickets to see Anderson speak at UTA’s Maverick Speaker Series. Check out Carla’s Twitter to see the developments of last night’s talk, including a direct tweet from the silver fox himself.

It was an inspiring event, especially for the aspiring student journalists in the audience. When asked about the best piece of advice he could give, this was his tip for all students:

Out-hustle and out-work everyone around you.

Wonderful advice! While I am not an aspiring journalist, I am passionate about making a positive difference in this world, whether it be through helping others, writing, vegan activism or sustainable landscape architecture (my dream is to be able to do a lot…and finish grad school). I’ve been seeking opportunities to take this advice to heart. Last week, I applied to a few positions that are in line with my passions, and I’m excited about the future!

Before attending last night’s event, my cousin and I made the aforementioned vegan burger in honor of the occasion. It seemed fitting to us. We used Bareburger’s recipe on People Magazine’s blog, and made a few adjustments of our own.

Anderson Cooper's Favorite Vegan Burger // Recipe

Anderson Cooper’s Favorite Vegan Burger
from Bareburger
(original recipe said 6 patties, but we made 10)

Ingredients (my adjustments and add-ins are italicized):

  • 16 oz dried black beans
  • 8 oz. vegan cheddar cheese, cut into 1″ cubes (we used Daiya)
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, diced finely
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced finely
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced finely
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, diced
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t chili powder
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 T sea salt (scant)
  • 2 t mushroom powder (or no-salt seasoning)
  • 3/4 t ground paprika
  • grape seed oil

For the rest of the steps, check out the original recipe here. I found that the water mentioned near the end of their ingredient list was unnecessary, so I left it out. Also, instead of roughly chopping the black beans, I put them in the food processor, which made everything stick together better for me. Good luck!

Anderson Cooper's Favorite Vegan Burger // RecipeServing suggestions:

Dress up your burger with baby spinach leaves, sliced tomatoes, thinly sliced red onions, avocado slices, and some vegan cashew cheese sauce!

For the cheese sauce, I used this recipe from Lindsay Loves Veggies. I highly suggest soaking the cashews overnight or boiling them for 15 minutes beforehand.

These burgers really hit the spot! I would suggest making them on a Sunday night and freezing the patties to use throughout the week.

Come back Thursday for a Valentine’s Day recipe!

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Easy Overnight Hot Chocolate Oats

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Overnight Hot Chocolate Oats

Waking up early to make a healthy breakfast is such a chore. Thankfully, Pinterest has led me to the discovery of an easy breakfast solution for people on the go: overnight oats!

This breakfast be prepared in just a few minutes the night before, with no cooking required. It’s perfect for students and busy folks. Overnight oats are usually eaten cold, but these days, I like a warm breakfast, so I will be heating mine up in the morning.

This is like hot chocolate in oatmeal form–something I know I can wake up to!

Overnight Hot Chocolate Oats

Overnight Hot Chocolate Oats
(serves 1)

Prep time: 5 minutes
Wait time: 3 hours +

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup nondairy milk (I used almond milk!)
  • up to 1.5 T cocoa powder (you can adjust according to your preference)
  • 1 t chia seeds (optional)
  • 2 t maple syrup (or to your taste; you can taste and add more in the morning if you want)
  • a few semisweet chocolate chips (optional)
  • a dash of cinnamon

Method:

  1. Mix everything together in a bowl or a mug, cover and let it sit in the fridge overnight while you sleep, or at least three hours (lookin’ at you, night owls!).
  2. In the morning, stumble to the fridge, take out your oats, and warm them up before devouring. I added some pecans to mine and it was awesome.

I like my oatmeal a little thick, but if you find it’s too thick, feel free to add another splash or two of almond milk. This recipe is super adaptable, so if something is not to your taste, just adjust!

If chocolate isn’t your first choice for breakfast, then
A. I doubt your sanity, and
B. Check out these recipes on Buzzfeed for more flavor variations!

What are your favorite easy breakfast solutions? Please share with me in the comments below!

Tết + Healing Ginger Shiitake Mushroom Soup

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Spicy Healing Ginger Soup

Mai Flowers

Chúc Mừng Năm Mới!
Happy Lunar New Year!

For today, I would have liked to post a recipe for a traditional Tết dish. I love Tết! However, I’ve been feeling under the weather, so last night, I made a super spicy ginger soup instead (recipe below).

My mom came to visit me and has brought plenty of traditional Vietnamese Tết food, which I will be sharing on Instagram throughout the weekend. ^.^

I wish you all a wonderful new year and hope it’s filled with blessings, positivity and happiness.
Chúc bạn sức khỏe dồi dào–I wish you a wealth of health! If you’ve been feeling sniffly like me, the following soup will do wonders for you.

Spicy Healing Ginger Soup

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‘Speciesism: The Movie’ | Review + More

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My Thoughts
Speciesism: The Movie

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
Mark Twain

Speciesism: The Movie

Last week, on January 23rd, ‘Speciesism: The Movie’ made its Texas premiere at The Magnolia theater in Dallas. The documentary was written, directed and produced by Mark Devries, who was present at the screening.

Walking into the film, I expected an exposé about the way humans treat nonhuman animals, along with a philosophical discussion. I wasn’t wrong, but I also wasn’t expecting much humor. While I had heard that the movie had some humorous moments, I was surprised to find myself (and other attendees) truly laughing out loud several times. Devries himself narrates the documentary, managing to articulate and raise important questions about complex and heavy issues without boring the audience. He made us laugh, without belittling the issues. For those wondering, animal abuse footage was kept to a minimum.

Speciesism: The Movie

Devries, who was not vegan when he made the documentary, begins by asking questions. These questions beget more questions, fueling a journey of discovery that includes investigations, expert insights, and conversations with everyday citizens. The film ends up challenging an extremely under-recognized form of oppression ingrained in our society (and the implications, as such)–that is, the conventional, anthropocentric notion that animals hold no value beyond human use.

I appreciated Devries’ rational approach and inquisitive nature, which encouraged viewers to think for themselves. Also, I really would have liked to see more appearances from women and vegans of color and their perspectives on speciesism and other forms of oppression. However, as a conversation starter, ‘Speciesism: The Movie’ definitely has my recommendation. I would love to see a sequel exploring the intersectionality of the issues more in depth.

A philosophical discourse in itself, this is an approachable and stimulating film that serves as a compelling start to a worthwhile conversation we ought to be having about how we treat nonhuman animals, and what that says about us. I gave the movie a standing ovation, as did the other attendees who filled up the whole theater. Regardless of whether or not you are vegan, this is a must-see for anyone interested in animals, philosophy, the environment, human health, systems of oppression, posthumanist theory, or bio-politics.

For those who have seen the film…
If you’re interested in the film’s topics, the movie’s site has some post-viewing recommendations. Also, here are some of my personal recommendations about related topics (for watching and reading):

Please let me know your thoughts if you have read or watched any of the above, and if you have recommendations.
Also, please see the related articles below for more material relevant to these issues! There’s so much to discuss and read about, so I simply had to include more related articles. :)

Ego vs. Eco

PSA (for UT Arlington students):
The film’s philosophical points were reminiscent of class discussions from the animal studies literature course I took in 2012, with Dr. Stacy Alaimo at UTA (possibly my favorite literature course ever–take it if you can). Through examining and discussing the works of philosophers and thinkers like Nussbaum, Bentham, Montaigne, and Derrida, the class held regular discourses about the representation of animals in human culture and the ethical implications of our widespread mistreatment of other species. ‘Speciesism: The Movie’ would have fit the curriculum very well. Those of you who have taken Dr. Alaimo’s class, I highly recommend this documentary.

Related articles (check these out!):

Did you see Speciesism: The Movie? What did you think of it? Please share your comments below!