It’s Friday, Say Grace and forget the napkins.

What if your purpose is to take impeccable care of yourself so that you have the energy and joy to serve others?  What if filling your refrigerator with wonderful, guilt free, nutritionally packed, eye appealing, homemade honest to goodness food is really what’s it’s all about?  What if your “calling” is to prepare and offer up, in a joyful spirit, wholesome and delicious homemade food?  Food that will feed the stomach and soul.  Food that will Grace your table and you will be proud and happy to serve to your family and friends.  Food that after you have eaten it, makes you say, good golly Miss Molly, I am so glad I ate that!   I am so glad I served that to Mr. Right.  That is a pretty big question………..what if I am supposed to eat and fill my vessel with the highest quality food I can afford so that my brain and my muscles are nourished and then I will be strong enough in mind, body and spirit to help others?  Oh my goodness, what if it IS your calling and you haven’t been listening?  What if you listened to the television commercial instead…….what if you really do think “eatin good in the hood” is an exceptional way to feed yourself and family? carrots 4

Never fear, I am here to bug you and gently remind you and nudge you in a more kind and loving and joyous direction!  Well, me and help from folks like Lindsay……..yep, she is real and she rocks I might add!  She is the Happy Herbivore and she is the one who shared this recipe.  Because of her I had to buy a SECOND package of gold sticker stars to use on all the pages of her cookbook for recipes I have tried and we have fell madly in love with.

Cooking is not a chore, not difficult, nor is it boring or a drudgery.  Cooking and baking can and should be joy filled and uplifting and change not only your empty refrigerator and empty platters, but it has the mighty power to change the attitudes and health of everyone around you.

Picture this, page 213 of my copy of The Happy Herbivore cook book looks like this:  2 gold stars, 1 green star, 1 red star, 1 blue star, 1 silver star……5 arrows, 2 thumbs up, 16 hand doodled hearts, the words “woohoo, woohoo” and “Gold Star Good”, and one sentence was written all swirly……….These cupcakes were so good, I mean, Birthday worthy good! carrot cake cupcakes

Let’s do this! Buckle up and hang on, put on a sassy apron, some great toe tappin’ tunes let’s get this party started…………….get out a bowl a big bowl……..let’s make something mouth-watering, wonderful to feed you and your family this weekend.  It is a joyful recipe.  You will be so happy to create something for yourself and have enough to share with other hungry humans in your life.

Okay, I am going to shout above your loud kitchen music… pre-heat oven to 350*  Get out a muffin pan and fill with liners (man oh man have you noticed all the cool designs lately? Come on, pirates and polka dots and flowers and shocking orange……….pick one)

In a medium bowl, whisk 1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill), 1 cup raw sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (I use Penzy), 1/2 teaspoon real salt together.  In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (make your own folks, um pretty simple, cook apple…smash), 1 generous teaspoon vanilla (buy the good stuff) and one large, glorious, organic, peeled and shredded, beautiful carrot.  Add dry mixture to wet mixture in 3-4 batches, stirring until just combined.  Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 22 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Remove cupcakes from oven and transfer to a wire cooling rack.  Once completely cool, add icing and garnish with toasted (10 minutes in an oven) walnuts put around the edge.   *frosting:  3/4 cup vegan cream cheese, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, almond milk, a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste and pinch of real salt………….adjust according to your likeness.

Okay, you are still standing near the counter.  The cupcakes are all displayed on a plate……………Quick, SAY GRACE and grab one.  Peel back that paper, take that first bite……………for the love of licking one’s fingers, yes, it is that good………… not grab a napkin!  Eat and smile and lick and laugh and enjoy every single morsel.  Oh be still my heart…………look at us baking and eating and sharing food of value.  We are in this together.  This is the way it should be.  Bake on, my friend, bake on!!

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