My friend Ella writes and photographs the beautiful blog Pure Ella. Today, I am part of a group of bloggers helping Ella celebrate the upcoming birth of her second baby. Ella prefers to eat vegan and gluten free, so I made gluten-free and vegan vanilla cupcakes to bring to the virtual party :)

vegan cupcakes | healthy green kitchen

I adapted these treats from Minimalist Baker’s recipe for Strawberry Beet Cupcakes. They have a somewhat dense, moist texture and they are not too sweet; they are so yummy with the vegan buttercream. I was considering coloring the buttercream, and also piping it onto the cupcakes in a “fancier” way, but in the end I opted to honor Ella and keep things as natural as possible here. I love the look of the single candied violet on each cupcake and I hope Ella likes it too!

vegan cupcakes | healthy green kitchen

Though I’ve never baked with it before, I decided to try these with my homemade walnut milk as the liquid, and I think they came out great. The instructions for how to make the walnut milk are below, but know that you can substitute a different dairy-free milk, if you like. If you do, let me know how these work out…I’d love to know.

soaked walnuts | healthy green kitchen

If you have no issue with dairy, I think you can go ahead and just use milk, and also butter instead of the dairy-free butter. Along the same lines, you don’t have to make these gluten free. Use regular flour instead of the gluten-free flour if gluten is not a problem for you.

cupcakes in pan
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Violets pop up all over my yard every year at this time, and I’m always extremely excited when they do. Violets are edible, and though picking them can be a little painstaking, I really enjoy eating and making things with the delicate purple beauties. Yesterday, I made candied violets.

candied violets | healthy green kitchen

As I mentioned above, violets are delicate…fragile. If your lawn is similarly dotted, and you’d like to use them in a recipe, plan to do so right after you pick them (otherwise they will wilt). I decided to make just a small amount of sugared violets (I will tell you why tomorrow) so I didn’t pick that many flowers. If you want to make lots of candied flowers, or a syrup or jelly with your violets, you’ll need to pick quite a lot.

violets  on plate_

To make candied/sugared violets, all you need is the flowers, some sugar (I used organic sugar), and something to get the sugar to adhere to the flowers. Generally I would use beaten egg white, but since I wanted these candied violets to be vegan, I used a slurry of flax seeds and water*: approximately 1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 3 tablespoons water. The mixture was somewhat thick so I did add a little more water as I was working.

Superfine sugar is the best type of sugar to use for candied flowers: you can whir regular (or organic) sugar in a food processor to make it more fine, if you like.
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As I’ve mentioned in each of my #SAVEITSUNDAY posts, we Americans waste a lot of our food: this food waste has devastating consequences to our environment and our wallets. In past posts I have mainly focused on ways to store your food at home so you can waste less (Glad’s Protection Pointers have been very helpful to me), but today I want to do something a little different. I want to talk about 5 ways you can reduce food waste before you even bring your food home.

5 ways to reduce your food waste | healthy green kitchen

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I recently taught a class on making lacto-fermented vegetables. We talked about sauerkraut, pickles, and kimchi, and I demo’ed how to make kimchi. I used a recipe just a wee bit different from this one…I’ve been making it over and over and I love it. One of the ways I like to eat it is mixed into this Asian-inspired Udon noodle soup.

udon soup with kimchi | healthy green kitchen

This soup is ridiculously tasty; it’s also infinitely variable. Here’s how I make mine, along with some of my favorite ways to change it up (and you’ll find my “Friday Shares” at the bottom of this post):

udon soup with kimchi | healthy green kitchen
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A busy week got in the way of me posting here yesterday as planned…sorry! So in the interest of not delaying this post further, I won’t wax on and on about these Kitchen Sink Cookies. I’ll just tell you they are seriously awesome.

Kitchen Sink Cookies | healthy green kitchen

Below the cookie recipe are the links I’d planned to include in my “Friday Shares” post…there’s some great stuff this week, so happy reading!

pistachio chocolate chip cookie dough | healthy green kitchen

kitchen sink cookie recipe | healthy green kitchen
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