Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cookbook Review: Babycakes

BabyCakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York's Most Talked-About Bakery

Babycakes is a well-known NYC bakery which offers gluten-free, soy-free, vegan baked goods. I have never been there myself, but people just rave about it. I recently spent a week with my cousin who made a different babycakes recipe each day, and upon my return home, I ran out to get the cookbook.

Warning! Not all of the recipes are gluten-free. Several call for Spelt Flour which is easier to digest than wheat flour, and therefore may be o.k. for some people, but shouldn't be eaten if you are on a strict diet. Some recipes also call for soy due to product availability, but substitutions can be made.

I love this cookbook! It does have its faults, but when a recipe comes out, it is amazing. If regular baking is Chemistry, then Babycakes is AP Chemistry, so be sure to avoid substitutions as much as possible, measure with painstaking accuracy, and follow the directions exactly as they are written. Some factors can't be helped, like the difference in oven temperatures, or the quality of different brands of ingredients.

Several of my recipes didn't come out well on my first attempt, but I was able to identify the problem pretty easily, and my second batch came out great. The only thing is, it's an expensive lesson to learn. The ingredients are pricey!

My favorite recipe is the Brownies, my cousin's is the Blondies. I also really enjoyed the chocolate chip cookies. I haven't perfected the frosting yet, which is frustrating, but is apparently the most difficult recipe in the book. If I can achieve frosting, I can do anything!

The author has compiled a FAQ on her website, and will answer questions via the cookbook's Twitter if you are in need of help:


Have you tried Babycakes? What was your experience?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Star Wars Bento


A few weeks ago I splurged on a Star Wars cupcake decorating kit from William Sonoma. I'm a huge Star Wars geek, and would love to buy everything they have, like the awesome cookie cutters, and the apron, but they are really expensive IMO.

Today's bento is pretty simple. A nice salad and a star-shaped, triple layered, peanut butter and nutella sandwich on gluten free bread (in a Star Wars cupcake liner).

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bento Product Review: Justin's Nut Butter

Look at these fantastic little nut butter packets! Aren't they perfect for bento lunches, or snacks on-the-go? I particularly liked the selection. As you can see in the photo, there are several nut butters and several flavors.

Because I couldn't wait to try them, I didn't pack a fancy bento lunch. As I type I'm eating some Justin's Chocolate Peanut Butter on Udi's Gluten Free bread. One packet, at 170 calories, is perfect for two slices of bread. The ingredient list is impressive, being mostly organic and sweetened with evaporated cane juice. There is a perfect combination of chocolate and peanut butter, with neither flavor overwhelming the other. Yum.

So, big thumbs up for Justin's nut butter products. I still have traditional and honey peanut butter to try, so I will update you if my opinion changes (but I doubt it will). I regret not buying more (I don't live near the store I found them in), but it's o.k., because I found them on Amazon:

Justin's on Amazon



You can check out the company profile on their website: http://justinsnutbutter.com/

and visit them on Facebook

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pikachu Bento Lunch



Today's lunch is a Pikachu bento. I don't know a lot about Pokemon, but since I have the food picks, and the characters are cute, I like to make Pokemon themed bento boxes. Pikachu is made from yellow soy cheese. The black accents are Nori, the white accents are white soy cheese, and his rosy cheeks are tomato. He is perched on an egg salad sandwich. Brussels sprouts, cucumber, and tomatoes on the side. This bento is a bit too green, but I didn't have any more colorful veggies to go with my sandwich.

Since I went Gluten Free, I have found many awesome alternatives for desserts and snacks, but I really missed sandwiches. Every brand of Gluten-free bread I tried was terrible. But I'm happy to say that I found a great brand. Udi's Gluten free products are great. So far I like their whole grain bread and their plain bagels, although the bagels taste more like bread rolls than actual bagels. My big complaint with other brands is the thick gooey-ness of the bread. It doesn't toast because it doesn't dry out. So weird. I love the bread mixes that I make in my bread machine, but they are difficult to slice thin enough for sandwiches. Udi's isn't gooey and it toasts up nicely. It tastes great too. Udi's is a bit expensive at about $6 a loaf, but so are every other gluten-free brand, so I can't complain about that.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Flickr Kyaraben Highlights

Since I have been horribly lackadaisical about my bento making/blogging lately, I thought I would highlight some of the awesomely creative and inspiring bento lunches our friends have been posting over at the Kyaraben Flickr Photo Group.


Boy Twins Bento

Bentolicious147

Hellowitch Kitty bento

bento 151 - mr frankenstein and friends

Big Eyes Owl

oink, oink two funny Piggies in a Bento

2010-09-16

Pororo and friends bento

Happy Whale Bento


Are these amazing or what?!?! This is just a random sampling from the group. You can click on any photo to visit the original Flickr page. Many of these Bento artists have blogs so make sure you check them out. 
I'm regretting the fact that I didn't make a Halloween Bento. It is a really fun and creative holiday and I wish I had taken advantage of the excuse to make a creepy or scary bento. Maybe I will just make one now and call it a "gothic" bento! 


Monday, October 4, 2010

Winnie The Pooh Bento Lunch






Well, once again my bento posts have become infrequent. It's just what happens when fall rolls around and I find myself back in school. I have been eating a lot of soup, which isn't very bento-pretty, or just being lazy about my lunches because I'm busy. I promise I am still making bentos, just a little less often than in the summer.

Today's lunch is salad, an egg salad sandwich on gluten free bread, a gluten free piece of cake, and some tortilla chips. This gluten free bread is yucky (I can't remember the brand right now). I have yet to find one I really like. Pooh is made from rice cheese and nori. Pooh is an easy face for cute bento making. It is all packed in my laptop lunchbox, which is an excellent bento system, but it is always too much food for me. I have to learn to pack less.