Monday, February 8, 2010

For Me? You Shouldn't Have!

Not sure what to get that special friend (boyfriend, girlfriend, crush, make out buddy, etc.) of yours for Valentine’s Day? Here are several gifts that are super simple, thoughtful and will have your friend sending tons of XOXOs your way. What’s more, they’re all made with items you most likely already have lying around the house!

Remind your sweetie how much you adore them with these simple reminder note pads:

- 6 Pieces of used computer paper
- Some ribbon – check your gift wrapping cabinet for any ribbons you saved from the Holidays
- Hole puncher
- Pencil
- Ruler
- A pair of scissors or a paper cutter

Cut your computer paper in half. Make one stack of the 12 pieces of paper. Using your pencil draw two dots about ¼” down from the top of the page and 1” apart in the center of the first page. Using your hole puncher, punch a hole at each point that you marked. Cut a piece of ribbon about 5-6” long. Pull both ribbon ends through the holes in the paper and tie a bow.

Roses are red. Violets are blue…

- 1 Empty wine bottle
- Several freshly picked flowers or flowers from a local florist (you can choose to use as many or few flowers as you like)

Fill wine bottle about ¼ of the way full with water. Cut flower stems to desired height. Place flowers in wine bottle.

A Sweet Treat!

Show your Valentine (friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc.) how sweet you really are by baking them a batch of sugar cookies and/or cupcakes using the recipes you see below!

(Recipe by Chez Bettay of Chez Bettay the Vegan Gourmet)

- 5 cups organic unbleached flour
- 4 teaspoons Bob's Red Mill Baking Powder
- 2 cups sugar organic white sugar
- 1/2 cup almond milk, soy milk, or soy milk creamer
- 1 tablespoon organic vanilla, almond, coconut or lemon extract
- 1 13-ounce carton of Whipped Organic Earth Balance Buttery Spread

- Measuring cups & spoons
- Something to mix batter with (electric mixer, etc.)
- Cookie sheets
- Parchment paper
- Insulated cookie sheets
- Sharp knife
- Cookie cutters
- Rolling pin

1. Using your mixer, cream the Earth Balance and sugar together until light and fluffy.
2. Add baking powder to mixture and beat till incorporated.
3. Add 1/2 cup of almond milk, soy milk, or soy milk creamer.
4. Add vanilla or your favorite organic flavored extract.
5. Slowly add flour until blended... do not over process.
6. The Basic Vegan Sugar Cookie Dough needs to be refrigerated: Roll the dough in the bowl into a large log shape and wrap with parchment paper. Add a layer of plastic wrap and carefully seal it and lay on a shelf in your refrigerator. *This log can also be frozen for use at another time.
7. Preheat oven 350 degrees.
8. Spray cookie sheets with non-stick oil spray or line with parchment paper.
9. Remove the dough log from the refrigerator and remove the coverings.
10. Slice 5/8 inch circles and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
11. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until edges are just starting to turn a pale brown.
12. After the cookies have cooled on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes, use a spatula and lift them onto a cake rack to cool completely.
13. If you want to use a cookie cutter, let the dough sit for 10 minutes before rolling. Cut the log in half and roll out the dough to 1/4" height and cut the shapes desired.

*Please note: in order for these cupcakes to be organic, you must use organic ingredients

Batter Ingredients
- 3 cups flour
- 2 cups sugar (evaporated cane juice or raw cane sugar works)
- 1/2 cup cocoa
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2/3 cup coconut oil, melted (or other vegetable oil)
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Frosting Ingredients
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Sift all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
3. Add oil, water, vinegar and vanilla.
4. Fill well greased mini muffin tins 2/3 full with mixture. Or use cupcake papers for easier removal, and nicer presentation.
5. Bake 10-15 minutes. Until toothpick comes out clean.
6. Cool completely.
7. Meanwhile, beat whipping cream and powdered sugar in small bowl at high speed, until stiff peaks form. Gently stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla.
8. Top cooled cupcakes with icing and serve, or refrigerate until needed.

(Makes 55 mini muffins)

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