When life hands you lemons, make a vegan cupcake.

I didn't think you could have a quarter-life crisis twice. Now, after a very interesting day, I'm a firm believer that you should be allowed to have as many as you need in order to figure stuff out.  Today was a huge "what should I do with my life?" day - so much so that I had a proper freak out to celebrate the occasion.

To bring you up to speed - I've been pursuing acting since I was a wee one. I remember standing on top of a man-made hill in the backyard of my South Jersey home happily belting out songs from the musical "Annie" at awkwardly early hours in the morning. I even took my love of acting to New York to study it like mad and ultimately receive my Drama degree from the Tisch School at NYU. I've spent three and a half years out of school trucking along as an actor in the city, and while my career has not played out quite the way I expected, I've been just fine. Or so it seems.

The curve ball? This little thing called veganism. Ever since I went vegetarian, and ultimately vegan, I have become increasingly sensitive to the connection between myself and the world. My community gradually became a whole lot bigger as I realized that the actions I was taking in my life directly affected the other people and animals who inhabit this world with me. And it dawned on me - I had a choice. I could choose to bring a whole new element into my life if I wanted to. And I did, so I began this blog, I started researching other vegan blogs, I subscribed to VegNews, and I looked for ways to help animals online. And a year later, I have discovered that my love for animal advocacy and veganism has grown equal to my love for acting. Which has been a tough pill for me to swallow, considering acting is all I have ever known and all I have ever pursued. So this morning, I spent an hour hashing out my predicament with my awesome mom, who said some wise words to me - "Lindsay, why can't you do both?". To which I desperately replied, "But what if this vegan thing becomes more important to me than the acting thing? What do I do mom?" My mom then proceeded to patiently explain to me that I didn't need to spend my life only doing one thing, and that if I began to love the vegan cause more, then why don't I pursue it more? And she's right, of course. Moms frequently are.

This whole ordeal reminds me of a passage I found while Steve and I were looking at different quotes for our wedding ceremony. It comes from the Dalai Lama's Instructions for Life, and it says:
"Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck."

I add this because I've begun to realize this past year that if the acting thing did go as I planned it would, I probably would've never found this whole other love of mine - the work I do for animals and to promote veganism. And I think that in life, you need to do what brings you the most joy, peace, and balance. For me right now, it's this. So I think it can only help to explore how I can make a greater impact for the animals I care about so much.

Oh, and by the way - I baked some awesome cupcakes last night, and I made a point to give them to my fiance to bring to his work friends today, some of whom are skeptics about the positive aspects of veganism. Every single person loved them, and I hope the experience of tasting something yummy and vegan will allow them to have a more open heart when it comes to veganism. A small step in the right direction for me? We shall see.

(Hey - maybe a cupcake really can change the world.)

Just so you know, my cupcake and icing recipes were adapted from the Golden Vanilla Cupcake recipe and the Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. If you don't own this cookbook yet, buy it now. It might change your world.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Autumn Spiced Frosting

1 c. coconut milk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups pastry flour
(or unbleached, all purpose flour)
1 1/2 tsp. EnerG Egg Replacer,
mixed with 2 tbsp. warm water
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. canola oil
(preferably Organic and Expeller-Pressed)
3/4 vegan sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 serving Autumn Spiced Frosting (recipe to follow)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line your cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
2. Mix the coconut milk with the vinegar in a small bowl and set it aside for a few minutes.
3. Mix the oil, coconut milk mixture, sugar, vanilla, egg replacer mixture, and spices in a large bowl.
4. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in another large bowl.
5.  Add the dry mix to the wet mix slowly, and remember to scrape the sides of the bowl as you mix. Mix until there are no large lumps left.
6. Fill the cupcake liners two-thirds of the way and bake for 18-22 minutes (depending on your oven). To check to see if the cupcakes are done, stick a toothpick in the middle of the cupcake - if the toothpick comes out clean, you're good. Transfer the cupcakes to a cooling rack, and allow them to cool completely before you frost them.

Autumn Spiced Frosting

1 stick Earth Balance Margarine (or 1/2 c.)
1/2 a stick of Earth Balance Shortening (or 1/4 c.)
3 1/2 c. confectioner's sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1/8 cup coconut milk,
with more on hand if needed
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and beat with an electric hand-held mixer (at the highest speed) until fluffy. Add more coconut milk to mixture if it's too stiff. Enjoy!


"Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon."
(from The Dalai Lama's Instructions for Life)


Myra Wolf said…
A "home of love" can be a one room cottage deep in the woods, a fifteen room mansion or a house boat floating in water.

Animals find "homes of love" wherever they rest their little heads. They find their little places of shelter and balance...wherever they find it. They just let it happen.

Just let it happen and wherever it is, or in how many "rooms" you find it...you too will find your balance. I promise. Because you are love and know how to find it anywhere and everywhere.. xoxo

Fall and Pumpkins. Snow and Winter. Flowers and Spring. Warm Sun and Summer. It is found in all the seasons, not just one.

Seeeeee? I love you forever and I want one of those cupcakes!:)
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