Vegan Orange Walnut Cake Squares

Vegan Orange Walnut Cake Squares

I have half a mind to change the name of these to “any fruit but orange squares.”

On Easter, my mother asked me what went into those “apple-flavored dessert bars”, while my coworkers decided that they tasted like lemon.

I half expect to receive a reader email within the week asking me if I didn’t really mean to type “Vegan Strawberry Walnut Cake Squares.” If said email truly does appear in my inbox, I cannot be held responsible for my actions.

They’re ORANGE. Chewy, cakey, gluten-free and vegan ORANGE cake squares with crunchy walnut pieces, ORANGE frosting and just a subtle dusting of cinnamon.

Orange Walnut Cake

Did I mention that they were flavored with orange? Because they are.

True story.

Don’t believe me? Whip up a batch for yourself! Just don’t tell me if you taste blueberry undertones.

frosted vegan dessert

Vegan Orange Walnut Cake Squares

Vegan, Gluten Free

Ingredients (for the cake squares):

  • 1 cup + 4 tablespoons oat flour
  • 4 ounces Smart Balance Light (approx 8 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar in the raw (turbinado sugar)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax meal + 2 tbsp water)
  • 1 tsp pure orange extract
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Ingredients (for the frosting)

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp almond milk
  • 1 tsp Smart Balance Light
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • Freshly ground cinnamon (for garnish – optional!)
  • Additional chopped walnuts (for garnish – optional!)

Directions:

  • Melt the smart balance and whip in both of your sugars, salt and extracts.
  • Stir in your flours and walnuts. Mix until batter is well-combined.
  • Pour into a greased 8 by 8 pan and bake at 350* for 15-20 minutes (until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean – you know the drill!)
  • While the cake squares cool, mix together all of your frosting ingredients. If it feels too runny, add small increments of powdered sugar until it is perfectly firm. Once the cake squares have sufficiently cooled (1 hour +), remove from baking dish and slice into SMALL squares (they are quite rich!)
  • Spread frosting over the top, grate cinnamon as a garnish and place a final walnut sliver in the center of each square.
  • Email Faith to inform her that yes, these truly do taste like orange and not any other random fruit that was not included in the recipe.

vegan frosting and cake squares

The smaller the squares, the better – these are insanely addictive, and I can promise you – eating four bite-sized pieces is more satisfying than one full-size piece!

walnut orange dessert

What’s your favorite baking extract? Have you ever had people completely misestimate the ingredients in a dish you’ve made?


Incoherence

My brain. is. fried.

Days of writing about the legal process for wrongful death and injury cases will make your mind mushier than a month-old banana. The fact that I’m due to begin the process all over again in just a few hours makes me wonder how I’ll pull it off.

Since my job security is directly tied to my ability to write quality work, I plan on saving the few functional brain cells rattling around in this head of mine for the workday ahead and breezing through the bloggable bits in the following display of rambling incoherence. Think you can keep up?

I woke up Wednesday morning as a blonde with a fashion sense:

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Tank: J.Crew, Skirt: J.Crew, Shoes: IXOS

Contrarily, I woke up on Thursday morning as a ginger whose primary fashion concern was “not pajamas.”

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Poor, poor abused hair. Perhaps the years of dying it each time I get bored are finally catching up with me.

Different ‘do, same old fallback breakfast:

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Plain, fat-free Chobani, organic walnuts, flax seed, strawberry preserves and organic almonds.

Craptastic lighting courtesy of craptastic weather:

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Weather like this instills a universal desire for comfort food. Mine came in the form of the most INCREDIBLE lentil dish I’ve ever made.

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If I told you it was on the sweeter side, would you be able to guess the secret ingredient?

Moments before crashing for the night, I treated myself to a wonderful serving of Diana’s Not So Sweet Brownie Bake.

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When it comes to brownies, “bake” seems like such a technicality…five minutes in the oven is more than sufficient before loading it up and packing it in ;)

And with that, folks, I think you made it through my rapid-fire rundown. Off to produce more content for our legal section…as long my brain holds up!


Chock Full of Goodness

From the moment I woke up yesterday, I had my fingers crossed that my Tuesday would be better than my Monday. Thankfully, it seemed to work – yesterday was simply stuffed full of amazingness!

A surprise delivery had me smiling before I had even made a dent in my to-do list: “Just Because” roses from The Coach.

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Such stunning colors to brighten up my desk – and my day!

Although it wasn’t as exciting as a floral delivery, my lunch was pretty poppin’ as well. In less than three minutes, I was getting a killer protein fix from a GoGo Organics Steamed Brown Rice bowl topped with edamame and soy sauce.

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The rice has a super nutty flavor to it, and it steams in the microwave in under two minutes. Technically it provides two servings…but who’s counting? ;)

After tossing back a few pistachios and dried cranberries, I turned my attention back to the work thang and powered through several hours of research and writing on pet health.

An after-work snack was necessary – who says a girl can’t have her dessert before her dinner?

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Optima Blueberry Cereal + Almond Milk + Chocolate Chips hit the spot without killing my appetite for the main course – a salad beast from Whole Foods:

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With the color combination in mind, I officially dub tonight’s dinner a Mardi Gras Salad. The entire box was filled with green, purple and yellow in the form of romaine, spring mix, purple cabbage, onions, peas, feta and a generous drizzle of honey mustard.

I powered through a 20 minute fat-burn workout on the elliptical, eeking out my goal of two miles in 20 minutes with just eight seconds to spare! Naturally, a sweet treat was on my mind the entire time: Chocolate Orange Chia Pudding.

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After a year of blogging, I finally gave in to the chia seed phenomenon and picked up a small portion from the Whole Foods bulk bin.

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With my penchant for fruit and chocolate combinations – especially that of orange and chocolate – I decided to give a citrusy spin on the popular chia pudding.

Chocolate Orange Chia Pudding

Vegan, serves one

Ingredients:

  • 1/8 cup chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp orange extract
  • 3/4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp turbinado sugar
  • orange slices (optional, for garnish)

Directions:

  • In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Stir well!
  • Dish into serving glass and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  • Garnish with fresh orange slices.

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I loved the refreshing combination of the flavors. The gellish texture of the pudding was absolutely unique, but for someone with a lot of texture hang-ups, I thought it was delicious! Then again, I think just about anything chocolatey is delicious…

Beat that, Wednesday!

Are you a texture person? What are your thoughts on chia seed – or more specifically, chia pudding? Love it/hate it/have yet to try it?


New Staples

Holla if you’re happy that it’s Friday!!!

To fuel up for the long day ahead, I made a super simple Egg Beaters + Feta + Mushroom omlette and wrapped it up between two low carb, high fiber whole wheat wraps from La Tortilla Factory.

Breakfast tortillas

One of my pet peeves with Publix is the lack of all-natural tortillas or wraps. The Publix in Lakeland offered no natural tortillas, and the Publix near my apartment in Orlando only had one natural option. I bit the pulled, plopped down my $4, and hoped for the best!

La Tortilla Factory Tortillas

At 50 calories, 2 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber each, the wraps were certainly a sensible choice, and while they were a bit denser than most other tortillas, the chewy factor was far more acceptable to me than a mile-long list of chemical additives. Looks like there’s a new staple in the Lovely as Charged kitchen!

Speaking of staples, I feel like last night’s dinner will be in semi-frequent rotation for quite some time as well!

red quinoa

I ended up mixing red quinoa, mushrooms and red pepper with a tablespoon of cream cheese, a tablespoon of spicy brown mustard and a liberal dash of sea salt. One part zesty, one part creamy…hit the spot 100 percent!

quinoa and zucchini

A zucchini lightly sautéed in olive oil rounded out the meal!

Some other LaC staples as of late:

Berry milkshakes for dessert (2 scoops Publix Brand All-Natural Vanilla Ice Cream, 1/2 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup frozen blackberries, 1/2 cup fresh strawberries (I suppose frozen would work just as well, but it’s strawberry season here in Florida and almost every store is selling locally grown strawberries for no more than $1.50/box!)

berry milkshake

Fruitabu Fruit Flats – I found this on clearance at a health food store (Who could pass up a half serving of fruit for 15 cents?)

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This is what happens when you cross Fruit Rollups with fruit leather, then give it an organic spin. Good stuff!

OPI Redipus Oedipus nail polish – Not only does the witty literary reference earn a bazillion brownie points, but the metallic red is super fun.

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Boo to chubby fingers, nail-biting habits and hangnails.

Time to put those weird-ass lookin’ hands to work! Catch ya when it’s the weekend!

What have some of your staples been lately?


A Very Carrie Kind of Day

Good morning! How are things with your fabulous selves?

Things are all clear on the health front, and I’m feeling fantastic!

The first cue that I was back to normal was my desire to actually wear a legitimate outfit yesterday instead of the jeans + hoodie combo I had donned the previous days.

IMG00116-20110323-0900(2) Tank – Rebecca Beeson; Skirt – Anthropologie (Maeve); Shoes – Ginger Goff

Something about the outfit felt particularly Carrie Bradshaw. Naturally, that put me in an extra flirtatious, vivacious mood!

The next sign that recovery was in reach was the raging desire for fruits and vegetables that hit me like a truck around 10 A.M. An apple and a banana from the cafe on the second floor of my building took care of the first craving, while an impromptu lunch from Subway addressed the latter.

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When I’m under the weather, all I want is comfort food. Veggies are few and far between. I took my craving for greens as a sign that all systems were go!

Despite my original intention to procure a massive mound of vegetables, somehow a cookie found its way into my bag.

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Not just any cookie, however. You have never truly had a cookie until you have had a raspberry cheesecake cookie from Subway. This bad boy was soft, doughy and absolutely loaded with bursts of fruity, sugary goodness.

When I found out that my car insurance bill had dropped by $40, the first thought that popped into my head was “Wow…I wonder how many of these cookies that could buy each month…” That’s just how good they are.

 

After arriving home, I awarded myself a clean bill of health and headed out to check out my apartment’s gym.

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The strength training equipment was a bit sparse, but I quickly met up with my lover the Lat Pull Down and cranked out several reps, interspersed with a short free weight routine that The Coach introduced me to.

After a bit of resistance training, I turned on the TV, tuned in to Sex and the City reruns and settled in for a nice sweaty high-incline program on an elliptical. I was the only one in the gym when I turned the episode on, but halfway through, one of my male neighbors joined me for the workout…and got quite caught up in the show himself! I had more fun watching him watch SATC (while pretending not to) than watching the TV itself!

A busy day awaits! I can’t believe it’s almost Friday!

When you are recovering from an illness (major or minor), how do you know your body is on its way back to normal?


Easy Fruit Salsa and Baked Cinnamon Sugar Chips

Hola, Chiquitas ;) Happy Fiesta Friday!

For my office, Cinco de Mayo is coming a little early this year. Cuatro de Marcho? Now that’s more like it!

I have no clue how I’ll focus on any work of any shape or form until noon, simply knowing that homemade guacamole, sweet potato enchiladas and taco fixin’s are waiting for me come lunchtime.

For my contribution to the potluck, I whipped up a feisty fruit salsa and baked cinnamon sugar tortilla chips. Although I’d be perfectly happy to eat this now – for breakfast – I suppose I’ll be considerate and save some for the lunch!

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Easy Fruit Salsa

Vegetarian, serves a whole office!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large, ripe mangoes
  • 2 large kiwis
  • 3/4 cup pineapple, chopped
  • 2 red plums
  • 1/8 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • cinnamon, to taste

Directions:

  • Peel and dice your mangoes and kiwis – toss into a large bowl with your diced pineapple.
  • Cut the plums into large chunks and drop into a blender or food processor with the honey, vanilla, and cinnamon. I used my blender, but I can assume this would work just perfectly in a food processor as well! Blend or process on high until no chunks of fruit are left. Pour “dressing” over the top of the other fruits.
  • Stir thoroughly, place into presentation bowl and chill overnight.

Baked Cinnamon Sugar Chips

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Vegan, serves a whole office!

Ingredients:

  • 10 whole wheat tortillas
  • Olive oil (as necessary)
  • Cinnamon sugar (as necessary)

Direction:

  • Preheat your oven to 350*.
  • Use a pizza cutter to slice your tortillas into wedges.
  • Cover liberally with olive oil and cinnamon sugar mixture; place on large baking sheet.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the sugar starts to melt and the tortillas are crisp.

Senoritas, this stuff is not messing around. The plum and honey drizzle keeps it from being just a fruit salad served on chips, and the baked tortilla chips are dense and crispy, even under the weight of the drippy, gooey sweet fruit salsa!

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Ole’ and Adios!

What’s the last thing you brought to a potluck?


Opa!

Hello and Happy Monday! Are you ready for the work week? Bring on the projects, baby! In addition to becoming a proud Crackberry owner, I grabbed a few new apartment things and met up with my momma for lunch at the Greek village a few miles from her house.

We started with bread and salad (a.k.a the perfect way to kick off any meal!)

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Followed by an appetizer of fried zucchini and eggplant with a garlic potato spread:

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We split a large Spanakopita and neither of us could finish our portions! There’s something about the spinach, feta, and phyllo combinaton that makes it irresistible!

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Costas has to be the best Greek restaurant in Tarpon Springs. I’m not kidding…huge portions and great authentic food – where can you go wrong? The Groupon was just the icing on the cake (baklava?)

And of course, in honor of Valentines Day, I’m starting the chocolate consumption early…

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Giant Andes are legit. That’s all I have to say on that matter ;)

See ya on the flip side of V-Day!


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