Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Salted Coconut Oil Frosting

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Salted Coconut Oil Frosting | veggieandthebeastfeast.com

Despite the recent surge of fall-ish recipes on my blog, I’m still in denial about this changing season thing. Although I usually love fall, I’m having to kind of force myself into embracing it. I could use another month or so of summer before the beginning of the end of the outside time.
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Whole Grain Raspberry Coconut Muffins

Raspberry Coconut Muffins | Veggie and the Beast #vegan #wholegrain

I’ve always been someone who sits down to meals, because I like focusing when I stuff my face. Eating is one of my favorite things, so why not cherish it, right?

Lately, however, I seem to be all about quick, portable foods. I’ll reheat a pizza slice in the microwave and take bites while wiping down the kitchen counters with my free hand. Or I’ll devour a muffin in a sleepy haze on my way back to bed after turning on the coffee maker in the morning.

Note to self: Work on mindful eating.

Raspberry Coconut Muffins | Veggie and the Beast #vegan #wholegrain

I made a batch of these cute, berry-filled muffins on Sunday night, after Ryan and I returned from his cousin’s wedding in Wisconsin. It would have been better had I baked them before our weekend, as there were several times when Ryan joked that he should carry granola bars in his pocket to feed me in emergency situations, and my hunger level (aka “hangry” level) became a running joke with some of his family members.

Portable baked goods belong with long weekends away from home. They just do.

Raspberry Coconut Muffins | Veggie and the Beast #vegan #wholegrain

Because I want to help you guys avoid “hangry” episodes, I’m sharing these muffins, which are perfect for your long summery weekends. These muffins come with options. These muffins just want to be loved. These muffins want to be whatever you want them to be.

For example…

  • I’ve made these muffins vegan, and I’ve also made them with an egg.
  • I’ve made these muffins healthy, and I’ve made them with extra sugar and oil.
  • I’ve made these muffins with whole spelt flour, and I’ve made them with whole wheat flour. You can make them with straight-up white flour if you want.
  • Maybe you even want to make them gluten free? I haven’t done that, but you go, Glen Coco!

Raspberry Coconut Muffins | Veggie and the Beast #vegan #wholegrain

I personally like my muffins 100% whole grain (spelt or whole wheat), with less sugar and oil, so I can eat them for breakfast with some peanut or almond butter drizzled on top (…or dipped in the jar on my sleepy, pre-coffee walk back to bed). Mmmmmm yes.

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Coconut Macaroon Waffle with Chocolate Coffee Syrup, for One

Coconut Macaroon Quinoa Waffles with Chocolate Coffee Syrup | Veggie and the Beast

At the beginning of our relationship, I asked Ryan what he usually ate for breakfast (a very important, soul-exploring question, mind you). He answered that he didn’t eat breakfast. I almost ended it right there.

It’s the most important meal of the day! Do you not care about how your day goes? Who are you? What does this all mean?

Obviously I got over it. Some crazy, unfortunate people just aren’t hungry in the morning. I am NOT one of those people. Give me all the sweetened carbs and all the crispy fried hashbrowns. Or just oatmeal if we’re being scrappy, but at least put some melty peanut butter in there.

Coconut Macaroon Quinoa Waffles with Chocolate Coffee Syrup | Veggie and the Beast

Sometimes I can convince him to make French toast with me on cozy weekend mornings. Sometimes I make waffles and he’ll eat part of one. Sometimes I make pancakes and I am the only one who eats them because he doesn’t like pancakes. Who doesn’t like pancakes?

Saturday night Ryan went out with his dude friends for beers and games until 3:30 in the morning, and then he crashed at a friend’s house. Pity, because he probably would have actually enjoyed (and eaten!) the waffles I made on Sunday morning.

Coconut Macaroon Quinoa Waffles with Chocolate Coffee Syrup | Veggie and the Beast

Instead of making a whole batch of waffles, eating one serving, and leaving the rest to be forgotten in our overcrowded freezer, I made just one waffle. One big, golden brown, deep-pocket waffle that tastes like a coconut macaroon. I also whisked together a chocolate coffee syrup, because I’m completely addicted to coffee lately, and I’ve always been addicted to chocolate.

I usually use whole wheat pastry flour for waffles, but this time I pulverized quinoa seeds in a coffee grinder to make flour. I always have quinoa on hand, but I never want to pay the premium for quinoa flour, so I just make my own. Bam.

Coconut Macaroon Quinoa Waffles with Chocolate Coffee Syrup | Veggie and the Beast

The resulting waffle is crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and full of texture from the shredded coconut. The syrup is mostly chocolatey, with just a hint of coffee to balance out the sweetness. This waffle is also vegan and gluten free, but rivals (or maybe even defeats) any dairy, egg, and gluten-filled counterpart.

Coconut Macaroon Quinoa Waffles with Chocolate Coffee Syrup | Veggie and the Beast

To add a bit of decadence, I topped mine with a little whipped coconut cream, mini chocolate chips, and toasted coconut flakes. You can leave out those extras, but why not indulge? It is the most important meal of the day, and I’m fairly certain that pretty, decorated food sets the stage for one badass day.
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Easy Lime Cake with Whipped Coconut Cream

Easy Vegan Lime Cake with Whipped Coconut Cream | Veggie and the Beast

At some point over the past couple weeks, this winter went from beautiful/sparkly/easy to joke about the frigid cold to good god I gotta get out of here. Like furreal. Like now.

It’s around this time every year that I (and probably most other Minnesotans) begin to lose it. Sure, we’re nice, and we joke about the weather, and tend to avoid complaining out loud, but that’s quite enough now, you know?

Easy Vegan Lime Cake with Whipped Coconut Cream | Veggie and the Beast

Lately I’ve been staring at our 2 patio chairs, angled on our outdoor table like 2 friends huddled around a fire. Except instead of a fire it’s a mix of thick ice and fresh, heavy snow. During the spring/summer/fall we eat dinner, play card games, drink chilled wine, and start our mornings sitting in pajamas and sipping oversized coffee mugs at that patio table. I’m ready for those patio moments again.

Beyond the wretched weather, this winter has been a somewhat turbulent one. I won’t bore you with the details, but I’m ready for that feeling that comes with spring – the one that brings a shift in the day-to-day monotony of grey winter. The one that makes you feel refreshed and ready to make the most of every day. I suppose the ability to walk outside without feeling like you’re getting kicked in the face would be okay, too.

Easy Vegan Lime Cake with Whipped Coconut Cream | Veggie and the Beast

Unfortunately, in Minnesota you just don’t know when spring will spring. Or when it will spring, and then hit you with a blizzard in May. It’s a roll of the dice, really.

While waiting, I’ll pass the time by eating tropical cake. A lazy gal’s tropical cake that’s as no-fuss as possible (cause who wants to do ANYTHING in this weather, amiright?). You’re just a few steps to cake happiness: mix, throw in a 9-inch cake pan, beat coconut cream, then use a spoon to blop it on top of the cake. blop? sure.

Easy Vegan Lime Cake with Whipped Coconut Cream | Veggie and the Beast

The resulting cake is soft, moist, and perfectly sweet with a light lime flavor. It also happens to be vegan, because it’s based off of my birthday cake, and that cake rocked my world.

This was my first experience with coconut whipped cream, and I just might be a changed woman. Smooth, rich, just lightly coconutty, and the perfect complement to the lime cake.

Give yourself a tropical food hug, y’all. You deserve it.
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Piña Colada Muffins with Coconut Glaze

Pina Colada Muffins |Veggie and the Beast

Tropical muffins in the dead of winter? We’re doing it, guys. I’m making it a thing.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed the onslaught of beach pictures a couple weeks ago. That, my friends, was evidence of one of the most wonderful trips I’ve ever been on. My sister and I gifted my mom a ladies’ trip for her Christmas and early-birthday present. It just so happened that the dates we picked landed right after the start of the “Polar Vortex,” so we were more than ready to get outta dodge. We flew from Minneapolis to Miami for 5 days filled with sun, beach, and awesome people watching (HOLY speedos and plastic surgery, batman!).

Oh hi, Sun.

Oh hi, Sun.

Mom :)

Mom :)

Miami also supplied several laughably expensive drinks. We paid $5 for each cup of coffee every day, $11 for one glass of wine, and $18 for a piña colada. Seriously – $18 for ONE pina colada, and no, it wasn’t a pina coladas the size of my face…it was this pina colada:

$18 pina colada

Not to say it wasn’t worth it, because sometimes you just need a boozy drink in the middle of the day when you’re in the sun, and sometimes that means paying $18 for 12 ounces. I get it. Kind of.

When I returned to the tundra I continued craving piña coladas in a big way. Even in Minnesota’s sub-zero winter temps, an icy, creamy, fruity drink just sounded necessary. I had planned on sharing a recipe for homemade piña coladas this week, but then I realized you people are smart, and you probably already know how to blend coconut milk and pineapple juice together. What you might not know, however, is that those same ingredients make one insane muffin.

Pina Colada Muffins |Veggie and the Beast

I’m not even sure how to convey my love for these muffins. They’re suuuuuuuuuper moist, flavorful, and sweet…but not overpoweringly sweet. That golden brown exterior tastes really buttery, even though there isn’t a drop of butter in the recipe. The trifecta of coconut flavor (milk, oil, extract) gives a rich base to the muffin, and the teeny tiny bites of crushed pineapple make each bite juicy and fruity. The rich and creamy coconut glaze on top hardens at room temperature, so they’re not as messy as they look in these photos.

I didn’t know it was possible for me to love a chocolate-free sweet as much as I love these muffins. Really truly.

Pina Colada Muffins |Veggie and the Beast

To summarize: Miami is great but expensive, my mom and sister are simply the best, and piña coladas can (and should!) be consumed in muffin form. Life lessons.
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