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On 4th of July Sara and I went with my husband and a couple of friends to a small hill near where I live to have a wine picnic and watch the fireworks. There’s a pretty awesome view there, of not just the local fireworks, but of the fireworks from different towns all over the valley.

9877My friends and I like Cabernet Sauvignon. Brian picked out one we hadn’t tried before and it was very tasty, with a buttery like flavor. It was almost too easy to drink.

For our picnic we had French bread with fruit and Homemade Hummus, Mozzarella cheese, and chips and salsa. For dessert we had Dairy Free Red Velvet Cupcakes.

Sara made the Hummus and the Dairy Free Cupcakes. Here are her recipes and instructions:


1/4 olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
2 cans chickpeas
3 heaping spoonfuls of tahini
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or more for extra heat)
salt + pepper to taste
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
essential tool: food processor

Pulse the tahini and lemon juice in a food processor until the mixture has thickened. Then add the garlic, olive oil and seasonings. Once blended, add the chickpeas and toasted pine nuts. Pulse until smooth. If it’s too thick, add a little more olive oil or lemon juice until you’ve found the consistency you like. Taste. Sometimes I find it necessary to add a little more salt or cumin.

For the toasted pine nuts: I buy pine nuts from the bulk bins because I find them to be slightly less expensive and I generally only need a handful or so for any dish I use them in. To toast, just place them in a dry sauté pan over medium heat. Stir them constantly to make sure they are evenly toasted. After a few minutes over heat they will brown rather quickly. Once they are lightly toasted, pour them onto a plate to cool.


Dairy Free Red Velvet Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

4 tablespoons vegan Earth Balance buttery spread (or something similar)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup “buttermilk” – 1/2 cup soy milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 F and line your cupcake pan with liners. With a hand mixer, cream the “butter” and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and beat until well incorporated. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, vanilla extract and food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter and mix until combined. Stop and scrape the bowl if necessary to make sure all the batter gets color. Slowly add half of the “buttermilk” and mix on low. Then add half of the flour and mix. Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour. Beat until smooth. Add the salt, baking soda and vinegar. Turn the mixer to high and beat for a couple minutes until smooth and completely combined. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 cupcake liner and bake for about 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the cupcake pan and then place them on a cooling rack to cool completely. Frost with the frosting found below and devour.

For the frosting:

3/4 vegan Earth Balance buttery spread
3 cups powdered sugar (more or less)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a few splashes of soy milk
1/4 teaspoon salt

With a hand mixer (or whisk) slowly mix the powdered sugar with the “butter” until creamy and all lumps are gone. Then add the vanilla, soy milk, and salt. Mix until all combined.

Now it’s time to frost some cupcakes and enjoy!

9885altrsDairy free, gluten free, and vegan desserts can be just as tasty or even more so than traditional desserts. That goes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner too! We are both interested in trying recipes that use alternatives to dairy, eggs, and gluten. As well as alternatives to wheat flour for breads and crusts. I have looked into different alternatives for eggs like bananas and flax seeds and I’d like to try different types of flour/dough like quinoa and sweet potato. Keep a look out for recipes using alternative ingredients in future Wednesday Eats posts!

Hope everyone had a most lovely 4th of July Weekend. It was a three day weekend this year so hopefully you were able to utilize that and go on a grand adventure. Or at least get to veg out and bask in the hot hot sun.

9912rsHappy Eating!

MaryAnne & Sara