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Ch-Ch-Changes (A New Beginning!)

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With Cory the mini-horse at Safe Haven!

Whew, has it been quite a while!

I hope you didn’t miss me too much, world. Since my previous post, my life snowballed into a frenzy of busyness: weddings to attend, my final semester of school, a journalism capstone project, trips galore, and returning to my job, yet again!

But the biggest change in my life occurred in April. Working on my journalism thesis, I interviewed a professor at  CUNY who, along with his wife, runs the Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary, in Poughquag, New York. I met many of the sanctuary’s beautiful residents, including Duncan the goat, Emma the turkey, who I felt a real connection with, and Cory, the mini-horse. I have always been a supporter of animal sanctuaries, having given many donations to Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary in New York, but had never visited one. This opportunity led to a moment of clarity in my life, and reminded me of a lot of things that are, to me, personal ideals: caring for life, no matter how significant, with the level of respect you’d show your own family or loved ones. I saw a  lot of love at the Safe Haven farm that day.

After that visit, and a talk with a long time vegan, I found myself at a crossroads. I had been vegetarian for four years, and always said it was for ethical reasons. But here I was, baking with butter and eggs and milk. I decided I would stop using any animal products altogether, and since April, I have been slowly adjusting to being full of vegan. You can even read about my experience on Jersey City Vegan’s Vegan Like Me feature! (Emily’s blog is really fantastic, and I hope to be helping with some post in the distant future!)

So what does this mean for this tiny blog of mine?

I’m thinking of changing things up a bit here at Baboo Bakery (cue the Bowie song) – I want to document not only fun vegan recipes, but recipes that perhaps would help guide a new vegan like me (or vegetarian transitioning into vegan), events I’d intend, places I’d like to visit. This will most likely range in the New Jersey-New York area, but I’d also like to back-up to previous trips (such as my recent California coast trip in July). Finally, I’d like to try and go back and veganize my previous recipes, just as a challenge!

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A recent vegan creation: Raspberry Zinger Cake!

I hope you will stick around to read as I share really wonderful things that mean a lot to me, but also wonderful things that will make you feel really good about yourself and the world as well!

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So You Wanna Be a CakeSpy? Contest Entry

So one of my all time favorite blogs, CakeSpy, is having an amazing contest that I couldn’t pass up. Sweetness and cuteness combined? I’m IN! I took one of my all time favorite treats, cake balls, and enhanced them with some inspiration from CakeSpy’s book. My friends (my real life, non inanimate friends) and boyfriend tasted them and loved them!

So here is my entry. Introducing Agent Oink! (Click to see larger version)

Agent Oink is part of the CakeSpy detective agency, disguised as an oven timer inside the kitchen of Allyson Dwyer. His mission is to help make delicious and adorable desserts to report back to the CakeSpy Agency. To test his discoveries, he shares them at parties among his kitchen friends who help him to come up with new baking ideas. This week he is investigating how to make these vanilla-frosting-filled, white-chocolate-drenched, Funfetti cake balls bigger, more festive, and ultra delicious by stuffing them with fresh chocolate chip cookie dough, peanut butter cups, and chocolate caramels. What will his verdict be?!

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Sky Blue Sky

Promise this will be my photo-laden post, but I also went a little crazy selecting photos for this trip.  I mean, come on, I was there for a month – of course the photos piled up. I took so many photos that my host father Patrizio would laugh every time I took out a camera.

But can you blame me? Just look for yourself:

I was there during my birthday. And I’m glad I was!

You know what that is. Best ever – aside from the ones I made with my host mom.

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Summerteeth

Here’s a quick post of some desserts I had while on the cruise. While there was, of course, a massive buffet, I had more fun going to the dine-in restaurants. This is mostly because it’s just so much fun to order 3-4 desserts off a menu and not have to worry about pricing!

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Outtamind (Outtasite)

WHEW! I have not updated in a long, long time! Please forgive me, I was actually very, very busy. Where did the summer go?

First! I had many finals, including a 20 page paper on Ulysses. Following this intense period, I went on a cruise with my boyfriend’s family! It was Norwegian Jewel – we sailed out of New York and traveled down to the Bahamas. It was my first time on a cruise & I enjoyed it a lot – very relaxing, and beautiful. Of course, there was also a butt-ton of food to be had. Like, sickeningly so.

I also got my old job back – and, of course, that took away more baking time from me!

Then, from June 30th to July 28th, I was in Italy, studying abroad. I stayed in the city of Verona with a host family. I had an incredible, gorgeous, relaxing and interesting time. I made a great friendship with my host parents – one that I know will last a long time, if not forever. I miss them a lot! But I am hoping to see them again someday. Overall, my time there was very moving and I took a lot back with me.

Anyway I plan to make a post today (maybe two) with photos of some things I ate and saw during my trips. But for now, here is a quick cake I put together for Steve’s parents, for their birthday:

It was a chocolate & banana cake, with peanut butter frosting.

Sadly I didn’t get such a nice photo of it. This was its final moments before consumption. RIP.

Recipe:

-Box of your favorite chocolate cake, or your favorite recipe

-3 overripe bananas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease two round cake pans. After you’ve prepared your batter, mash the three bananas, and then mix them in to the batter. Divide evenly, and bake for around 30-35 minutes.

Peanut butter frosting:

One cup unsalted butter

One cup of all natural peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup milk

4 cups of confectioners sugar

Mix together peanut butter with butter, then add 2 cups of confectioners sugar. Mix in milk & vanilla extract, and then add the final 2 cups of confectioners sugar (I liked to alternate between the wet and the sugar).

I then decorated with a chocolate glaze and peanut butter cups. Hope this holds you over until I get some real recipes up in here!

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