LÄRABAR Winners!

Hi everyone! I am back from New York City and am very tired. I did not realize that I would not have time to post the winners for the LÄRABAR giveaway. Forgive me for my poor planning!

Anyway, Random.org has done its job and picked 5 winners to receive a box of Jocalat bars and a t-shirt. Thank you all for entering this wonderful giveaway. I have enjoyed 3 bars so far and am looking forward wearing the shirt soon!

To all the winners: Please email me your t-shirt size and your mailing address so that the lovely people at LÄRABAR can send you the goodies! Thanks a bunch!

Kelly @la vida vegga said...
Awesome giveaway; Larabars are the best! My favorite is probably the Cinnamon Roll variety... mmm.

Howell said...
My favorite flavor is Key Lime Pie.
hlee99 at gmail dot com

avoir_la_volonte said...
And I linked to your contest on Facebook! I am @Tabitha Shearer

Lauren said...oatsandspice said...

I love the Peanut Butter Cookie Larabars!

I now follow you on twitter!

Stay tuned for all the adventures we had in New York!


Shitake Mushroom and Potato Chowder with Sweet Cornbread


I forgot to tell you all! We're heading to New York this weekend! Ryan conducts the Holland Chorale out in Holland, MI and back in 2009 we were asked if we'd like to perform with several choirs at Carnegie Hall. Our choir will have a solo concert and then we will join up with several choirs and perform Haydn's "Paukenmesse." Here is a flyer from one of our most recent concerts.

This is what our choir will look like on stage:

If you find yourself in New York this weekend, please take some time to purchase some tickets to come out and hear us! You can find information on the concert program at MidAmerica's website and you can get ticket information HERE. We will be performing on Monday, March 28th at 8pm. Hope you can make it!

On a different note, I decided to leave you with a nice soup recipe. I have been wanting chowder for a long time but I had not quite decided the exact recipe.

I have not been cooking alot because I either lose my appetite or I get extremely nauseous. I took a chance this past Sunday and decided to make a pot of chowder with shitake mushrooms, leeks, and potatoes. It was very savory and the mushrooms almost reminded me of clams.

This soup is really quick and little hassle. I accompanied it with a sweet cornbread that was perfect! Ryan kept going back for second helpings on both! If it has been rainy, cold, and dreary like it has been here, this soup is perfect for an evening meal. It is thick and hearty and very filling.

I want to add a little note here: I have been using Crisco's pure virgin olive oil especially for this soup. It added such a deep flavor when cooked with the leeks and potatoes. I had a chance, as part of the Tastemaker program, through Foodbuzz to try 3 of Crisco's olive oils. Their oils do not disappoint!


Shitake Mushroom and Potato Chowder

serves 4 to 6

3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups fresh shitake mushrooms, chopped
2 leeks, dark green tops removed (thinly slice leeks)
2 cups yellow potatoes, diced ¼-inch cubes
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
1 vegan bouillon cube (Rapunzel bouillon cube with sea salt and seasonings)
2 cups water
4 cups soy milk
2 Tablespoons arrowroot powder

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.

Chop leeks, mushrooms, and potatoes. Add leeks, mushrooms and garlic into olive oil and fry for 5-7 minutes. Add the potatoes and continue to cook for another 7 minutes. Add the bouillon cube.

Add the water and soy milk to the pot, reserving 5 Tablespoons of it to mix with the arrowroot powder. Add the Old Bay seasoning and bring the soup to a hard boil for 5 to 7 minutes, the reduce to medium heat.

Dissolve the 2 Tablespoons of arrowroot powder with 5 Tablespoons of soy milk. Add the mixture into the soup and continue cooking the soup for 20 minutes.

Serve with cornbread.

Grandmother’s Buttermilk Cornbread

adapted from All Recipes

1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine
2/3 cup vegan white sugar
Egg replacer worth 2 eggs (2 Tbsp flax meal + 6 Tbsp water)
1 cup buttermilk (1 cup So Delicious unsweetened milk + 1 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8-inch square pan.

Melt margarine in large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add flax “eggs” and beat until well blended. Combine “buttermilk” with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Don't forget! You have until tomorrow to enter in the LARABAR giveaway. You have a chance to win 1 of 5 boxes (with 16 bars) of their retired bar. Check it out now!


Orange Chia Pudding Parfait


Thank you everybody for your lovely comments and recommendations on my last post. I know many have been where I have been and can feel what it can be like. I can't wait to start cooking in my cast-iron cookware we received as a wedding gift almost 3 years ago from a dear friend, so it now comes time to use it with purpose!

This weekend marks the first weekend where I sang to my baby. On Friday I had a performance in Holland singing an aria from Verdi's opera La Forza del Destino, called "Pace, pace mio Dio!" I wore a new dress and was among 25 other singers from our chorale. It was a great night! Not only that, but it was the first night that I sang to my baby. I really want to know how this will enrich their life. How exciting!

Saturday was a great restful day. I took advantage of the sunshine and ran errands, mostly trying to walk outside to catch some rays! It was also an excuse to shop.  Saturday also proved to be a painful one.

Now that my hurling moments have disappeared, I have started with a horrible pain in my tail bone. It had started some time during the week but I kept on stretching in bed or going to the gym and doing some exercises there. Saturday was the most uncomfortable day. It felt like my bed was making my back hurt worse every night. From what I could remember, I knew I had not been straining myself or making any weird movements, so I sent a general concern over Facebook, and come to find out that this seems to be a normal preganacy symptom.


I just made my 1st appointment to see a chiropractor, so I am going to get this fixed, hopefully, so I can travel with more ease this weekend as we head off to Carnegie Hall in New York!

I think I set myself up though. As soon as I was happy to say I had stopped hurling after eating, it happened on Sunday. I decided to make a new recipe I had had in mind for a while (which I willl feature tomorrow). I accompanied it with delicious cornbread. It was such a dreary day that I decided that soup was going to be perfect, since Ryan agreed as well.

After an hour of eating lunch, my tummy decided to revolt. I promptly rushed to the bathroom and I no longer had lunch in my tummy. I turned to Ryan and asked if he was sick at all. Whenever I cook it has made me paranoid that I have food poisoning or something, but alas, it is not so. It is just my stinking hormones acting up and letting me know they did not want my food. Oh well.

The furstrating thing was that this happened before I was performing that very evening! I was going without any eating for 4 hours before performance but only because I do not like eating before I sing. I sang 5 songs from Canteloube's Chants D'Auvergne. I was really happy to be a part of my friend's DMA Recital because it exposed me to these beautiful songs. I hope my baby enjoyed them!

That evening I was really hungry, so I ate a bit at the reception and then when I got home my tummy was yet again uneasy so I ate a granola bar with ginger tea. Thus was the end of my tummy troubles for the evening!

Anyway, that was a long intro for my weekend. I want to leave you with a yummy parfait I created this past week. I have been enjoying more fruit than ever lately. I woke up one morning REALLY craving chia seeds. Chia seeds are a complete protein so I knew I needed it for sure! They are also high in calcium and in omega 3's and 6's.

My grandmother likes making an orange tapioca pudding so I decided to make an orange chia pudding and then I combined it with some lovely fruits. Not only was it VERY filling and very tasty but it was SUPER quick to make. I cannot wait to have it again. Enjoy!


Orange Chia Pudding Parfait

serves 2

1/4 cup chia seeds
2 cups fresh orange or tangerine juice
2 Tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup
1 1/2 bananas, sliced
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced

I bought a huge bag of tangerines, so I peeled them and blended them in my Vitamix, but you are welcome to squeeze your own.

In a medium bowl add the chia seeds and the 2 cups of orange juice. Stir the seeds into the juice until combined. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes, periodically stirring so that all the seeds absorb the juice.

Slice your fruit and take out to 2 parfait glasses. Add 1/4 cup of the orange chia pudding to the bottom of each glass, then add some bananas and strawberries. Repeat with more pudding and repeat the process again until finishing with some pudding. Decorate with fruit and eat!

Don't forget to enter the LÄRABAR Giveaway! The contest ends on Thursday, March 24th!


We're expecting!!!!

Ryan and Noelle
Noelle and Ryan as Kiddies

Remember I shared with you a few days back that there were reasons why I had not been posting recipes or that I had taken a bit of a break? This girl has been sick as a dog the last couple of weeks, more like 3 to 4 weeks.

Ryan and I are expecting! We are going to have a little musician in the family!!! I am 9 weeks pregnant and I finally get to share it with you!! I know that there have many that have share their wonderful news over the internet, but I almost felt jealous. We wanted to wait for blood tests and doctor's visits started before telling.

I have been enjoying reading Emily's posts over at Daily Garnish because she is also 9 weeks pregnant. Pretty much everything she has shared over the past few weeks I have also be going through.

I have had really no desire to cook, most of all vegan foods have made be nauseous, lots of smells make me nauseous and I am nauseous 24 hours a day!! I read that it is helpful to keep crackers by the side of my bed, but who wants crumbs in bed??

I have been doing everything by the book and more when it comes to making my nausea better. I have been downing natural ginger ale, seltzer with fresh ginger, ginger teas, Vitamin B6, peppermint tea, and more! My poor Ryan has not been able to know what exactly to do for me except bring me a glass of water when I get sick. Thank God though that in the last few days the bathroom has not been my friend.

It is very strange to know what my body wants. My hormones are pretty wacky and I feel so much more emotional. Sometimes I feel like eating and when I do, I get sick. Sometimes I do not feel like eating but I force myself and feel better.

All my blood work looks pretty normal except for the iron. It is barely low but it was something that was mentioned to me. I was told to eat more greens and beans. Yes, folks, apparently I have not been eating enough spinach. Sheesh! Truth be told I have not felt like any vegetables or beans in the last 3 weeks.

Confession: I have had NO desire for any of the foods I have been eating. It has been so depressing, but it is something that as my hormones normalize, I was told the eating would be better.

Either way, we are super happy God is amazing and we thank him for this gift of pregnancy! I will be having an ultrasound in the next few weeks so I am even more excited about that! It looks now that I will be due sometime around October 22nd. I get to be pregnant during the summer and wear sundresses! Woohoo!

Any tips for this new mommy?? :D

As of now, I leave you with this...

The baby is the size of a grape now! Smiles......


A sad goodbye to my favorite LÄRABAR + Giveaway!

I know you probably have noticed but my blog does not really consist of sharing with everyone my daily eats like other bloggers do. I just do not have that much time in a day to journal, or at least the energy to do it. I lead a pretty healthy lifestyle ever since I decided to focus on changing it.

It is pretty amazing how those choices affect those you live with. I believe I prepared an old favorite recipe of my husband's to be nice and at his request that consisted of sour cream,yoghurt, white tortillas, and cheese and he had a horrific upset stomach and terrible indigestion. He realized he had been eating so well that those creamy and non-vegan foods were no longer really responding the same way as they used to.

I realize that once you start on a healthy path of eating right, it really makes it hard and the body feels awful when you try feeding it the wrong things again.

One of the snacks we like to keep in the house are LÄRABARs. It would be easier to make them but I usually keep them in hand for trips or to send some in my husband's lunches when he has an extra long day.

Krogers usually runs wonderful specials where they are a $1 each so I buy a whole bunch. I like the Cashew Cookie bar. I also like the Cherry pie bar.

I recently heard that the company is retiring a flavor. They have a whole line of bars called JOCALAT that use organic chocolate products. One of my super favorites was the JOCALAT Chocolate Cherry Bar.

I think that these were a delicious combination of ingredients but what can one do? Could I call the company and ask them to halt the retirement of said bar? Could I weep? Of course not! Life happens and maybe, MAYBE I would feel so inclined to make it at home.

I do have some news for you though..........

The folks at LÄRABAR are so generous that they offered to give FIVE people a chance to each win 1 box (16 bars) plus a t-shirt. Five people will each receive a 16-count box of these Chocolate Cherry bars and a LÄRABAR T-shirt.

Mandatory entry (leave a comment)

1. What is your favorite LÄRABAR? If you have never tried it, which one would you taste first?

Extra entries (leave a comment for each)

2. Tweet the following message: Enter for a chance to win 1 of 5 @larabar boxes (16-count) plus a T-shirt. #win #giveaway http://bit.ly/eZbdMX

3. Follow me on twitter @singerinkitchen and/or Facebook page.

4. Post on your blog or on facebook. Leave me a link to that post.

Giveaway is open to US folks and will run until March 24, 2011 midnight, EST. I will announce the winner on Friday, March 25th.


Braided Nutella and Raspberry Bread


Did I not tell you I had a great recipe for you? I have been wanting to bake bread for a while now but I have not had the energy even to make dinner lately. Somehow I felt inspired now that my husband is back home.

Did I tell you that my husband came home with food poisoning? It was quite sad but ironic because I know that these conferences he goes on can be quite wearing on ones body, so I told him to make sure not to come back with a cold. What happens? On the last night of his trip he eats a pretty good meal only to be sick within hours. Sick as a dog! When my husband comes through the door, I realize he does not look the same. I felt so bad for him. It has taken him 3 more days just to recup!

On one night, I decided to make him a light soup since he was a bit hungry. I, on the other hand, was not hungry, but I felt inspired to make bread. Go figure right?

I kept a recipe filed away that I saw on seitan is my motor for an Apricot and Almond Yeasty Bread. It looks so delicious and it called to me since it had the apricot, but what did I do? I had leftover homemade nutella and raspberry preserves that won over my choice for apricot. What was I to do?

I have mentioned to some that I am terribly intimidated with making bread. I always fear it will never come out or that I will use some old yeast and ruin the recipe. I have the same feeling when I make pizza dough too! When I decided to make this braid I definitely felt excited. I think I had waited so long to make it because I was being a chicken.


As I started making the dough and adding the fillings, I began my preparations for braiding the bread. I started it and then realized I had forgotten how to braid!!! I don't often braid my hair least of all braiding food! I took a deep breath and started over, making sure I did not squeeze out the filling. (I know right?)

Once I was finished, I was super happy! I mostly prepared this bread during the evening so I did not have great shots, but if you look at the original recipe, there are shot by shot photos that are fab.

This bread smells delicious as it is baking and even better once it is out of the oven. I let it cool and I sliced off a piece to have with some tea. Add a little butter and more raspberry preserves and it is the perfect for tea time! This bread was easier than I thought, so go and make it this week!


Braided Nutella and Raspberry Bread

print recipe

For the dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk, or other non-dairy milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the filling:
6 to 8 Tablespoons homemade nutella*, or regular nutella (for non-vegans)
3/4 cup raspberry preserves

For brushing:
1/2 Tablespoon Earth Balance margarine, melted
1 Tablespoon So Delicious coconut milk

*I used my recipe for homemade nutella using cashews that is in my e-book that I am currently selling. There are numerous recipes online for homemade nutella or if you are not vegan, use regular nutella. Here is an option: Vegan Monster's Almond Nutella or Gone Raw's recipe. You could also order some from a company called Rawtella.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the dough. Use a flat paddle on mixer to combine ingredients, then switch to the attachment that kneads bread. You can also knead by hand for 10 minutes on a floured surface. Add more liquid or flour, if necessary.

Cover bowl and let the dough rise for about 90 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Divide the dough into three equal pieces and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll each piece into an 18 x 2 inch rectangle. Brush each rectangle with 2 Tablespoons of Nutella and a 1/4 cup of raspberry jam leaving a 1/2-inch margin.

Starting lengthwise, fold each side into the middle, closing the ends of each rectangle, sealing the ends. Repeat with the 2 other rectangles.

Once they are all folded, place the three dough strands on the baking sheet, placing all three strands parallel to each other. Bring the three ends of each dough strand together and start braiding the bread.

Brush the finished braid with the margarine and milk mixture. Place in the oven and cook for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature before serving.

This bread is perfect for breakfast, tea time, or anytime! It tastes delicious served with margarine, more nutella and raspberry jam, or just toasted accompanied by some coffee, tea, or warm non-dairy milk.



Leprechaun Shake {Not your regular Shamrock Shake}


I know! It has been a while. I took some time off to gather my thoughts and to spend more time on things I have been ignoring for a while.....like.....making jewelry, reading, and spending time with friends. Not only that, but somehow after my husband went out of town for more than 5 days, I really wanted to focus on everyday than be online all the time. It was refreshing!

What does this mean? Well it means I will be coming back with recipes but they will not be as frequent as before. more on that later this week.

As I was driving home yesterday I was trying to think up a recipe for St. Patty's Day that was green. I did not want to just make a green monster and get by with that but I had been thinking about making a drink. Now, you know I have mentioned that I seriously decreased my sweet intake in the last couple of weeks, just because I totally do not have a taste for it, but somehow a shake sounded lovely.

How to create a shake without using artificial flavors or coloring? SPINACH! Please don't be turned off by this, but like a Green Monster, spinach is a great base for bringing greens (iron, vitamins and minerals) into your diet. If you do not make frequent salads or dishes using greens, blending them into drinks is perfect!

Spinach was used to make this shake green but not as much was used as would be in a Green Monster. I used my favorite products, So Delicious and went from there. I used the vanilla coconut milk, the green tea coconut ice cream, and the vanilla bean coconut ice cream. This was so frothy and delicious!

Believe me.....not a hint of spinach was tasted in this shake. You only get the vitamins and the coloring while enjoying a yummy dessert.

You can make this alcoholic if you want, but I just added peppermint extract. A little whiskey (2 ounces for 2 glasses) will do just perfectly if you want to use this as a dessert. completing your St. Patty's meal.

Stay tuned for a delicious yeasty recipe tomorrow! I can't wait to share it with you!


Leprechaun Shake

serves 2

1/2 to 3/4 cup So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk
1 cup packed spinach leaves
1 cup Purely Decadent vanilla bean coconut ice cream
1 cup Purely Decadent green tea coconut ice cream
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons agave nectar
2 ounces whiskey (optional: leave out the peppermint extract)

In a high-power blender, blend the spinach leaves and 1/2 cup coconut milk first. Blend until spinach is completely blended in the coconut milk. Add the rest of the ingredients.

You can add the 1/4 cup more of coconut milk depending if you want a thinner shake. If you want a thicker shake, only use 1/2 cup of coconut milk when blending spinach.

Divide between 2 glasses and enjoy!


Creative Cuisine E-book Launched!


The day has finally arrived my friends! I have done it despite some difficulties along the way, it is finished.

I have finally created an electronic cookbook of recipes I have been creating the last few months. What was the challenge? Creating recipes on the side whilst creating dishes for the e-book separately. Another challenge was my day to day schedule. I AM HAPPY it is completed because this means I get to share it with you!

I have shared all very unique dishes that can be made at any time. All these recipes are vegan and most of them are gluten-free or can be adapted. If you are looking for new recipes using day-to-day ingredients and even NEW ingredients, this e-book is for you!

First of all thank you to all of you who pre-ordered the e-book. I hope you have enjoyed the one recipe that was included in the order, which is now included in the completed e-book.

This Creative Cuisine E-Book contains 25 NEW recipes in different categories. Want a peek?

Table of Contents

I. Smoothies
  • a. Chai-Spiced Pear Smoothie
  • b. Fight the Cold Smoothie
  • c. Hot Pink Smoothie
  • d. Two G’s Smoothie
 II. Breakfast
  • a. Trail Mix Quinoa Cereal
  • b. Berry Nutty Baked Oatmeal
  • c. Breakfast Scramble Tacos
  • d. Sweet and Savory Potato Hash with Caramelized Onions
III. Soups
  • a. Burnin’ Love Chili
  • b. Savory Cuban Beans with White Rice
  • c. Miso Udon Soup with Sea Greens
  • d. Butter Bean-Leek Soup with Fennel Relish

 IV. Lunch
  • a. Portabella Sushi Salad
  • b. Fennel- Dill and Hummus Bruschetta
  • c. Tempeh Taco Meat and Nachos
  • d. Sloppy Joe-less over Greens
  • e. Carrot-Zucchini Salad
V. Dinner
  • a. Potato-Sausage Enchiladas with Green Tomatillo Sauce
  • b. Mongolian “Beef” and Red Jasmine Rice
  • c. Carrot Marinara Fettuccine with Kielbasa Sausage
  • d. Chopped Falafel Salad
VI. Sweets
  • a. Almond-Lime Tea Cookies
  • b. Chocolate Banana Muffins
  • c. Tropical Berry Compote with Coconut Pudding
  • d. Nutella-Swirled Cherry Bars

 The e-book also comes with pictures for each dish!  Here are a few samples:

Potato-Sausage Enchiladas with Green Tomatillo Sauce

Butter Bean-Leek Soup with Fennel Relish
Trail Mix Quinoa Cereal

Sweet and Savory Potato Hash with Caramelized Onions

Creative Cuisine E-Book

You purchase this at any time with the super easy Pay Pal feature. It will be available on the top left hand corner to purchase at any time. It will send me your email address so that I can send you a copy of this e-book directly to your inbox. How easy is that? Thank you to everyone for your support and for reading Opera Singer in the Kitchen!


Vegan Hummingbird Birthday Cake and Nicobella Winner


My birthday came and went! After I turned 25, birthdays seem so different now. I think since I got over the fact that I was turning 1/4 century old that anything else did not seem as important. HA! No, I thank God for being a year older. Do I feel wiser? No, I just feel older than my husband. ha ha ha. Anyway. I did celebrate with friends and with laughter.

On Friday, Ryan and I met some friends at a nice Mediterranean restaurant where I enjoyed a vegetarian delight plate. It had a little of everything! Baba ganoush, hummus, bulghur, lentils, cabbage roll, grape leaves,salad, and more. It was a great price for one dish too! My friend told me she felt like she should have ordered my dish. Oh well, next time! After dinner, we went over to their home and played a competitive game of Settlers of Catan. It had been a huge while since we played so we had fun. I tried not to be all mopey about that fact that I chose bad spots to play, but I was the first to lay down some choices. Next time!


During the game we enjoyed slices of the birthday cake I prepared. I have not made my own birthday cake in a long while but I felt inspired to try a new type of cake. It was quite simple to veganize and it was fun to frost too!

One of the things I did not expect was a super sweet frosting. Seeing that this was a one time deal, since it was my birthday, I decided to try the recipe as is. Come to find out that the frosting just turned out a little too sweet for MY taste, but that is only because I had not been eating sweets in the last 2 weeks. Lots of people do not believe that once you start cutting out processed or even natural sugars that the cravings are not very common.


Anyway, who wants to hear about that? The inside of the cake was marvelous. Who knew that bananas and crushed pineapple could make for such a great combination? The cake was like a banana bread but with crushed pineapple and toasted nuts. YUM!

Good thing we had friends to share this birthday cake because there was no way I could keep 3/4 of a cake at home. This weekend proved lovely since I could share the cake with friends!

Ryan gave some nice gifts including a chance to take some gourmet cooking classes about 20 minutes from where we live. I cannot wait to take a class on a type of cuisine I am not most familiar with.


Vegan Hummingbird Cake

adapted from Joy of Baking

print recipe

serves 10-12

1 cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups palm sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 flax "eggs"
  • 3 Tablespoons flaxseed meal + 9 Tablespoons warm water
3/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 - 8 ounce can crushed pineapple, do not drain
2 cups mashed ripe bananas (3-4 medium sized bananas)

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/4 cup Earth Balance margarine, room temperature
16 ounces Tofutti cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound box (about 3 2/3 cups) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (for decoration)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place the rack in the center of the oven. Spray two - 9 x 2 inch round cake pans.
Place the walnuts on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool and then chop finely.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon.

In a small bowl, mix the flaxseed meal and water and set aside for 3-5 minutes.

In another large bowl, mix together the flax "eggs", oil, vanilla extract, pineapple, mashed bananas, and finely chopped walnuts. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir until combined. Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. After about 10 minutes invert the cakes onto the wire rack, remove the pans and parchment paper, and then cool completely before frosting.

Frosting: In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the margarine and cream cheese, on low speed, until very smooth with no lumps. Gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat, on low speed, until fully incorporated and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract.
To assemble: Place one cake, top side down, onto your serving platter. Spread with about a third of the frosting. Gently place the other cake layer, top of cake facing up, onto the frosting, and spread the rest of the frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle with the 1/2 cup of walnuts in the center of the cake. Refrigerate cake for a hour for frosting to set.

You thought I forgot to announce the Nicobella winner, eh?  Congrats to winner #43,

Becca said...

The blueberry almond intrigues me the most!   (please email me your address Becca!)

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway!


America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches Veganized – Pibil Torta Sandwich


What a great way to end this week! I am not saying that only because it is my birthday today, but because it is Spring Break for lots of my friends and there was a fun post hosted by a great blogger friend, Marly at Namely Marly.

Before I share this post I wanted to let you know that I will be posting my veganized birthday cake soon that was suggested by @Veganlandshark through Twitter. I was debating whether to make my own cake or not, and @Veganlandshark encouraged me to make a Hummingbird Cake. I had never heard about this type of cake but when I looked up the ingredients I decided I totally needed to make this! Crushed pineapple and bananas in a cake frosted with a cream cheese frosting? Yes yes! So stay tuned for the recipe!

On another note, I have a sandwich that is featured at Namely Marly's site. After she read an article on Huffington Post claiming America's Top 10 New Sandwiches, Marly contacted several vegan bloggers and asked if we would like to take the challenge veganizing these so-called delicious sandwiches.


What did I choose to veganize? Well, when I saw the Latin-inspired sandwich I knew I had to take a chance to find a substitute for suckling pig. Ugh! I had so much fun making and bringing this creation to completion. Ryan enjoyed being my taste tester and complimented me on the wonderful flavors this sandwich evoked.

Thanks Marly for letting me be a part fo this challenge. Check out the Pibil Torta Sandwich.....Veganized.


Nicobella Chocolate Review and Giveaway


WINNER ANNOUNCED: CONTEST CLOSEDDid I say chocolate? Yes, I did. If you look at my index you will notice many recipes using chocolate because I like it. I like a specific type of chocolate though. It has to be dark and pure even if it means it is 90% dark. Give it to me bitter!

Ryan gives me a hard time when I do not keep semi-sweet chocolate or chocolate chips because he prefers that kind but I find that I crave sweets or even chocolate less when I have it in its purer forms. In fact, I received some samples for dark chocolate back last month, tried half of them and did not taste the rest for a whole month! I just have not been craving or desiring sweets. Thank God! Hee hee hee.


What are those samples I am talking about? I am talking about a wonderful company called Nicobella. I first read about them online about their organic chocolate. I read the owner's story and immediately knew that I would love her product. If you get some time, please read Nichole Dandrea's story. The success of a company seems to be based on a passion and she certainly found it and went with it.

Her company specializes making organic dark chocolate vegan truffles and munch, which I plan on ordering soon! The truffles are void of cream and sugar and are subsituted using natural ingredients like brown rice syrup, agave nectar and fair trade products. I received a box of truffles with Nicobella's signature 6 truffles.


The ganache center is was naturally flavored which each specific and designated name. Here are my thoughts:
  • Blueberry Almond- There was a defined blueberry flavor that was pleasant and it blended well with the almond, especially with the crunch added as decoration.
  • Ginger Green Tea- It was hard to taste the ginger because the green tea overpowered it but since I like match green tea it was a great combination with the dark chocolate.
  • Pumpkin Chai- YUM! This was like a Chai drink and a chocolate pumpkin pie made into one candy. It was very delicious. I even saved that half for a later occasion. *wink*
  • Pure Bliss Cocoa-The pure cocoa enhanced the dark chocolate flavor and made for a creamy chocolate moment. If you are a plain dark chocolate purist, this is for you.
  • Walnut Flaxseed Crunch-There was definitely crunch but it was minimal, perfect in a truffle. I do not know what got in the way, whether it was the flax or the walnut but it might have been the flaxseed flavor.
  • Sunflower Banana Butter-This was the most interesting flavor and probably not my favorite. It was a creamy buttery flavor because of the sunflower but it did not grab my senses to much. The flavor distracted me to much.
All in all I have to say that the Pumpkin Chai was my favorite. I look forward trying the munch soon. Nichole was generous to offer a box of truffles to one of my readers. If you are interested in trying these decadent treats please enter. Only open to US residents.

Mandatory entry:
  1. Which truffle intrigues you the most?
Extra entries (Leave a comment for each)

     2. Follow Nicobella on Facebook
     3. Follow Nicobella on Twitter
     4. Follow Opera Singer on Facebook
     5. Subscribe to Opera Singer's blog by email
     6. Follow Opera Singer on Twitter
     7. Tweet the following: Win a box of @vegantruffles from @singerinkitchen. Enjoy dark chocolate at its finest! http://bit.ly/eBl9b6

Giveaway will end on Sunday, March 6th, at midnight EST. A winner will be announced on March 7th. Good luck!
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