Yes to Yummy

Healthier Smores Cupcakes

December 2, 2015 Leave your thoughts Print this page


Aren’t these cupcakes absolutely gorgeous?! I think they were worth waving over a candle for an hour. Yup, I did that. My blowtorch broke, so I used a candle to brown the top. Hey, when you have determination, you can do anything.


Sigh. I could totally go for a glass of determination right now. I’m kinda stuck in this very transitional time and it kinda totally blows. I try to be optimistic, to smile and see beauty in everything and sing Kumbaya, but most days I’m just so tired that I put my head down and keep plowing through. Sometimes I’m slightly convinced I’m going crazy, like when I drew myself as a prickly pink sea cucumber or when I was entertained by a cardboard box for a good fifteen minutes.

Is it too late to reclaim my identity as a cat?


I have a dream, and it’s so close that I can almost reach my hand out and grab it. And that’s super exciting. But at the same time, I feel like I’m going to vomit because that dream might not be mine to grab, and I’m going to have to pick up the pieces and find a new one instead. And right now…I know…nothing. That’s terrifying.

Ah, the trials and tribulations of being a teenager! At least I’ll always have cooking and baking to keep me preoccupied.


I’ve been up since 4:30 A.M. so I’ll spare you my mindless prattle and cut to the chase: THESE CUPCAKES. YOU MUST MAKE THEM. I didn’t have one–I gave all of them away to friends and family–but the reports from the taste testers were astoundingly positive. (Apparently one of my English teachers refused to share his cupcake when asked by a colleague because it was so good.) Several people said this was the best cupcake they’ve ever eaten, so you’ve gotta believe it, folks!


So go forth. Make cupcakes. Send good energy and prayers or whatever you do and dance little positivity dances for me. Thank you. Love you. <3

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Smores Cupcakes

Making cupcakes is fun, but you know what’s even more fun? Burning cupcakes, on purpose, for ART! No, I’m not a pyromaniac, just a girl who likes making cupcakes extra pretty.


Prep Time 1 hr
Cooking Time 20 min
Total Time 1 hr 30 min
Yield 10-12 cupcakes


1 large egg, at room temperature

2/3 cup unrefined cane sugar or coconut sugar

1/4 cup of molasses

1 cup unsweetened almond milk + 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup of vegetable oil or melted coconut oil

2 tablespoons of coconut cream (the thick stuff at the top of the can)

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

1 3/4 cup of whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of salt


4 ounces of dark chocolate, chips or chopped finely

1/4 cup of full-fat coconut milk


3 egg whites

3/4 cup of unrefined cane sugar

3/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with parchment liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar, molasses, almond milk/vinegar mixture, oil, coconut cream, and vanilla extract until well-combined. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together with a fork and fold into the wet ingredients, 1 cup at a time, until no clumps of flour remain. DO NOT over-mix.

Using an ice cream scoop or two large spoons, scoop the batter into the parchment liners until each is 3/4 the way full. Bake in the oven until a toothpick comes out clean in the center, about 20 minutes.

Let cool in the muffin tin for 15 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to come to room temperature.


Melt the chocolate in the microwave or a double boiler. Once completely melted, add in the coconut milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, and stir with a spatula. Let cool at room temperature or in the fridge until thickened but still very pliable.

Using an inverted spatula, spread a generous scoop of the ganache all over the top of each cupcake. Let the ganache harden a bit at room temperature while you make the marshmallow.


In a small saucepan, warm the egg whites and sugar over medium-low heat until the sugar is mostly dissolved, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add the cream of tartar and salt, and beat on medium-high until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and continue beating until stiff peaks form, about 2-3 minutes longer.

Immediately fill pastry bags fitted with a fat French tip with the prepared marshmallow meringue. Decoratively pipe it all over the top of each prepared cupcake, making whatever patterns you desire.


Using a culinary blowtorch (or a candle, if you’re old-school), gently brulee the top of each cupcake until the meringue begins to brown. Try not to stay in one place too long: once you’ve achieved browning, move onto the next section.

Store in an airtight container for up to 24 hours. Best if consumed right away.



Happy December, everybody! 🙂

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Pumpkin Roulade Cake (oil-free + dairy-free)

October 31, 2015 Leave your thoughts Print this page


Hello, gorgeous. Goodness, look at those curves on you! You’re really on a roll with beauty like that.

I’m sorry. My humor has been flushed down a dark toilet and has been clogged there for weeks. I haven’t even been writing for two minutes and I’ve already offended you with cake flirtations and bathroom references. I think this is what they call senior slump.


I am so glad October is over: it was a stressful month with taking the SAT, juggling classes with lots of reading, and submitting my early decision application to college (!!!). And when I get anxious or nervous, I resort to stress baking, so tasty treats have been spewing out of my kitchen lately.


Even though it was crazy, October still yielded lots of fun adventures and surprises. I made a flower crown and wore a toga to school. I went apple picking with one of my best friends ever (we collectively got 38 pounds of apples). I visited my top-choice school on a beautiful autumn day and felt perfectly at home there. I finally did full lotus. I dressed up as a tomato for Halloween.





…say what?! TOMATO?! Proof is in the pudding (or is it the sauce…tomato pudding would be disgusting…).

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Now you know why hot boys are knocking at my doorstep!!! 😉

So, yeah. Crazy months yield crazy baked goods.


This one was a huge hit with my taste-testing squad. Everyone said it was light, perfectly-spiced, and wonderfully spongy…and no one noticed that there was a) no oil in the cake, and b) tofu in the filling.

Once again, say WHAT?! I said tofu. T-O-F-U. In a dessert. And everyone agreed that it was delicious.


While this roulade cake sounds fancy (and hard to assemble), it’s really quite easy! If you can dump things into a bowl and have a kitchen towel you’d be okay with getting messy, you should be good to go.



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Pumpkin Roulade Cake

Want a healthy (yet beautiful) dessert that doesn’t have added oils and still tastes delicious? Look no further than this pumpkin roulade cake! Shh…don’t tell anyone…there’s tofu in the filling…

Adapted from this recipe.


Prep Time 3 hr
Cooking Time 15 min
Total Time 3 hr
Yield 1 cake (about 12 servings)


3 eggs, at room temperature

1/3 cup of unrefined cane sugar

1/3 brown sugar

1 cup of pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

3/4 cup of whole wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of ground ginger

Pinch each of nutmeg, clove, and allspice

1/2 teaspoon of salt


12 ounces of silken tofu

1/2-3/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder or cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Pinch of salt



Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 10 x 15 inch jelly roll pan with wax paper and nonstick cooking spray then set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. Whisk together and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Fold in the sugars, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract with a spatula until well-incorporated, then gradually fold in the flour mixture (1/2 cup at a time) until everything is combined.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake until the cake springs back when touched, about 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, dust a tea towel with confectioner’s sugar and set aside.

Once the cake is fully cooked, let it cool in the pan for five minutes, then invert onto the prepared tea towel. Peel off the wax paper and roll up the cake like a log, rolling from the short side to the long side. Put the cake wrapped in the tea towel on a cooling rack and set aside.


In a high-speed blender, process together all of the ingredients for the filling. Taste and add more confectioner’s sugar, if necessary.

Transfer to a small saucepan and heat over medium until bubbling. Next, reduce the heat to low and cook until thickened, about 5-10 minutes, whisking frequently to prevent clumps from forming. Once very thick, transfer the mixture to a bowl and put in the fridge to cool completely.


When both the cake and frosting are cool, unroll the cake onto a cutting board. Using an inverted spatula, spread the filling all over the cake, leaving about an inch around the border to make sure the filling doesn’t come gushing out.

Applying gentle pressure, roll up the cake with the filling inside the same way as you did before. Give it a squeeze to seal the seam and place the cake, seam side down, on a plate or the same cutting board you just used. Put it in the fridge for at least three hours and preferably overnight.

Let sit out for 5-10 minutes to come to room temperature before eating. Dust with confectioner’s sugar or unrefined cane sugar before serving, if desired.


What did YOU do this October?! Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know! 🙂

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Roasted Tomato, Pepper + Garlic Soup

October 13, 2015 Leave your thoughts Print this page


Hi everyone! So it’s t-minus three weeks until my early decision application is submitted (!!!) and boy, am I ready to be done with high school. Keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be receiving a big green “ACCEPTED!” when December rolls around! To those of you out there reading this, please send good energy my way…

…and I in turn will send good soup your way. Good trade, right??? 🙂


Now that the weather is growing cooler, we’re starting to move into soup season. That’s a good move, in my opinion: I love me a good bowl of warm, comforting soup.

Since we’re in the early days of fall, late summer produce like tomatoes and peppers are still available at the farmer’s market. They won’t be here for very much longer, so I thought I should make a soup to honor the last of this season’s nightshades.


This soup is stupidly simple to put together…but there’s so much flavor it’s unbelievable! It’s all in the ingredients, folks: you really can’t go wrong if you prepare fresh vegetables and fruits in just the right way so their individual flavors sing.


This really is so easy a kitchen novice could do it. All you do is slice up the tomatoes and peppers…


…roast them in the oven with some garlic, put them in the blender, and cook on the stove to thicken.



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Roasted Tomato, Pepper, and Garlic Soup


Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 min
Yield 8-10 servings

2 pounds of mixed tomatoes, halved or quartered if on the larger side

4 large bell peppers, sliced into big pieces

1 head of garlic, outer skin removed

1 teaspoon of sea salt

4 tablespoons of olive oil

1-2 teaspoons of unrefined cane sugar (optional)

Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease two large baking sheets with olive oil and set aside.

Divide the halved and quartered tomatoes and peppers evenly between the two baking sheets. Drizzle each with 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Toss to coat and put in the oven.

Put the head of garlic on a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle it with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Wrap it up into a little bundle and put it in the oven, too.

Roast the tomatoes and peppers in the oven until soft and beginning to brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Once soft, remove the garlic from the oven, too.

When the vegetables have cooled off a bit, transfer the tomatoes and peppers to a large blender. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of its skin and put it in there too. Pour in the salt and add a dash of cayenne, then puree until completely smooth.

Dump the contents of the blender into a large pot or dutch oven. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to low and cook for 30 minutes. Taste and add a bit of sugar, if necessary. If the soup seems incredibly thick, pour in up to 1 cup of vegetable broth or water.

Serve hot.


For now, peace out, Girl Scouts. I’ll just be here, thinking of my future college days and hoping this dream becomes a reality very, very soon…

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Honey, Almond + Coffee Brownies (gluten-free + paleo)

September 22, 2015 Leave your thoughts Print this page


These were honestly one of my favorite treats that I came up with this summer. Yes, the ice cream I made was wonderful, but there was something special about these brownies. Perhaps it was because I made these for my friends at Amber Waves Farm on my last day there for the summer, perhaps it was because these have an INSANE amount of chocolate in them…but whatever the case, this is a lovely dessert.


Summer is draining away out of the earth and autumn begins in just a few days. I honestly have no idea where the past few months went or where this September is going. It feels like in just a blink, I went from turning seventeen to bicycling through town with blueberries in my backpack to having my transcript and counselor recommendation sent to my early decision school.

Excuse me, how did this all happen so quickly?!

It’s a weird place to be, being a senior in high school. Part of me wants to savor each moment, for I will never be in this place with my friends I’ve known since childhood  again…but part of me is scrolling through the Common App, longing to get out already and go off to college so I can finally be an adult. Being at a university so soon just sounds delicious.

Senior year is a conundrum. But it is a conundrum I must get through. And brownies are helping me along.


(Hint: this is a clue for where I’d LOVE to go to school!)

Sprinkles and frosting are of course optional but recommended. You can be healthy or you can be less-healthy and decadent. Choose your own adventure.


Good cocoa + almond butter + honey + coffee = happiness. That is undeniable.

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Honey, Almond + Coffee Brownies


Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 30 min
Total Time 45 min
Yield 16-20 big brownies


1 jar of creamy roasted almond butter

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

3/4 cup of honey

1 cup of cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1/4 cup of ground coffee

1 cup of chocolate chips


2 ripe avocados

1/2 cup of cocoa powder

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

1/2-2/3 cup of maple syrup or honey

6 ounces of dark chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature

Pinch of salt

Sprinkles, optional


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 glass baking dish with parchment paper and lightly grease with coconut oil. Set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the almond butter and the beaten eggs until well-incorporated, then fold in the honey and vanilla with a spatula. Pour in the cocoa powder, sea salt, and baking soda, and keep folding until no clumps of dry ingredients remain. Add the coffee grounds and chocolate chips and fold a few times just to incorporate.

Scoop the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake until a toothpick comes out clean in the center, about 30-35 minutes. Let cool completely (or better yet, refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours) in the pan.

To make the frosting, combine the avocados, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, maple syrup or honey, melted dark chocolate, and pinch of salt in the food processor. Blend until completely creamy and no blobs of avocado remain. Taste and add more cocoa powder, sweetener, or salt as necessary.

Once the brownies are cool, frost them with the prepared frosting. Slice into bars and top with sprinkles, if you’d like. (If you want a healthier option than the store-bought ones, try my homemade sprinkles!) Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


What is your favorite pairing with chocolate brownies? Frosting? Some kind of milk? More chocolate??? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!

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Roasted Pork and Pineapple Red Curry

September 5, 2015 Leave your thoughts Print this page


So I’m a senior in high school. A SENIOR?! HUH?! It feels like just yesterday I was a pipsqueak freshman posting on (my prehistoric blog), getting excited about not being the youngest in the school anymore. And now I’m the oldest and I drive myself to school and I’m applying to college and what how did this all happen again?!

Back in eighth and ninth grade, I used to think that I wouldn’t change in high school. And while my favorite color is still the same (purple) and I still want to study the same thing (health in the context of food and nutrition), I’ve realized lately that I’ve actually changed…a lot.

I see the world in a different way: more calmly, more graciously, more like a centered adult as opposed to an anxious teenager. My best friends now aren’t the exact same crew I rolled with at age fourteen. I have new passions, like yoga, and I’m starting to think I might want to double major in English because I love to write. I spent a month in a foreign country with someone I’ve never met before, worked on a farm for a summer, survived and loved AP Chemistry, got a stuffed jackalope (actually two), recited my first slam poem, went on my first road trip alone…

Gosh, I know I’m still Abby in there, but I do feel different. And that’s only natural.

Everyone keeps telling me that life keeps on going faster and faster from here. That’s a little terrifying but also exciting I suppose. Honestly, I’m trying to hold onto the present moment before it all slips between my fingers and I’m walking across a field with a diploma in my hand.

Curry anyone?


I think curry is the perfect savor-the-moment food. Yes, it takes a while to prepare, but when you sit down to eat it, you truly enjoy the complexity of all of those flavors you so carefully put together.

I was inspired to make this by a Thai restaurant near my house where my good friend Chloe and I frequent when we get the chance. They have this AMAZING curry with crispy duck and pineapple, and it’s super spicy and finger-licking delicious.

To put my own spin on our usual favorite, I decided to use pork shoulder, which has a nice balance between meat and fat to keep it flavorful without biting into pure grease. I also boiled the meat to make it as tender as possible, then roasted it for a bonus crunch. The pork alone is insanely good, but in the curry it’s the BOMB.


I’m warning you now: there are a LOT of ingredients in the curry, but really, it’s not too difficult to make. Basically all you’re doing is throwing a bunch of stuff in a pot. I think you can do that.


I also fell in love with cilantro for some reason this summer so I put a boatload of the green stuff in my personal curry. If you aren’t a fan, feel free to scale it back or remove it altogether. I won’t judge you. Promise.


Get ready to have your tastebuds blown out of the water.


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Roasted Pork and Pineapple Red Curry


Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 2 hr 15 min
Total Time 2 hr 30 min
Yield 6-8 servings

3 lb of boneless pork shoulder, cut into approx 1 1/2-inch cubes

4 cloves of garlic (whole) + 2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon of salt + more to taste

1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil

2 red onions, chopped roughly

8 ounces of mushrooms, sliced

2 bell peppers, seeded and chopped roughly

1 large tomato, chopped roughly

1 cup of pineapple chunks (or more if you’d like)

2 teaspoons of ginger, minced

3-4 tablespoons of red curry paste

1 tablespoon of honey

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

1 14-ounce can of full-fat coconut milk

1 cup of water or broth

1/2-1 cup of cilantro, roughly chopped (I love cilantro so I put a bunch in)


Put the pork cubes in a huge pot and add the whole garlic cloves, tablespoon of salt, and a whole bunch of water. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, and let the pork cook until fork-tender, abut an hour and a half.

Once the pork is tender, remove it from the pot and pat it dry with paper towels. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and lightly grease a baking sheet. Place the pork cubes on the baking sheet, sprinkle them with salt, and roast until crispy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside.

Heat up the coconut oil in a large, deep pot over medium heat. Add the red onions and saute until beginning to become translucent, about 5 minutes, then add the mushrooms and peppers and saute for 3 minutes longer. Add the chopped tomato and pineapple and cook for another minute.

Scoop in the crushed garlic, minced ginger, red curry paste, honey, and tomato paste and stir well to completely cover the vegetables and pineapple. Sprinkle with salt and add the coconut milk and water and bring to a boil.

Once bubbling, reduce the heat to low, add the roasted pork chunks, and cover the pot with a lid. Cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 15 to 20 minutes, then taste and add more salt/honey/curry paste as necessary. Right before eating, stir in the cilantro and garnish the top with some extra leaves. Serve hot over rice.


What is your favorite spicy food? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know! 🙂

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