Fall euphoria: Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Rainy, fall Sunday mornings are just the best time to bake, right? It has been raining all day here.

These muffins are coziness, happiness, and enchantment all in a treat.
And they're vegan.

Yep, that's right: no butter, no eggs, and no milk are used in this recipe.
I promise, you would NEVER tell the difference. Or wait, yes you would. These are BETTER
than any muffins I've ever made.

These muffins were perfect for sitting around reading, blogging, and doing my homework... I've eaten three by now!

They are super moist and just perfectly spiced with autumn's best flavors: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger...
And, of course, pumpkin.
I can't decide what made the consistency of these muffins so perfect. The pumpkin, or the coconut oil?
Or is it the combination of ALL the wonderful ingredients in this recipe?
You tell me once you've made them (you should, because they are SO. FREAKISHLY.GOOD).

I got the recipe from AverieCooks.com. She used small chocolate chips, but I didn't have any, so I hammered a chocolate bar into chunks. I think it made the muffins more chocolatey than intended... What a shame. Not. ;)

This is what her recipe looks like. I added a few comments.

Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins



-1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-1 teaspoon cinnamon
-1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (this consists of ginger, cinnamon,  nutmeg, and ground cloves. I used a fourth of a tsp each because I didn't have pumpkin pie spice already made)
-1/2 teaspoon allspice
-1/2  teaspoon nutmeg
-1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
-pinch salt, optional and to taste
-3/4 cup granulated sugar
-1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed (if you don't have any, regular brown sugar is fine)
-3/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
-1/3 cup coconut oil, melted (vegetable or canola oil may be substituted)
-1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (other milks may be substituted: I used soy)
-2 tablespoons molasses
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract
-1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (regular-sized chips may be substituted, use about 1 1/4 cups; or use 6 to 8 ounces chopped dark chocolate)



  1. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Grease and flour a muffin pan; set aside. (Averie says she prefers using muffin pans than liners, because the paper might stick to the muffins)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, and optional salt; set aside.
  3. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the sugars, pumpkin, oil, milk, molasses, and vanilla until combined.
  4. Pour the wet pumpkin mixture over the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined; don't overmix. Batter is quite thick and if yours is seemingly too thick, add a tiny additional splash milk to thin it.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips (I like mini chips in muffins because of the size ratio, but use what you have)
  6. Divide batter equally among the cavities of the prepared pan. Each cavity will be just under 3/4 full (don't exceed 3/4 full or they could overflow). Spraying a one-quarter cup measure with cooking spray so the batter slides right off is handy here.
  7. Bake for about 15 to 19 minutes (mine only needed 15) , or until tops are domed, puffed, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs dangling but no batter. Allow muffins to cool in pans for about 10 to 15 minutes before removing and placing on a rack to cool completely. Muffins will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Conversations with my bro

Lorenzo, Lorenzo.

I've tried to explain this to you many times, but you don't seem to understand, which is why I'm writing this post for you to read a little later.
My dear little brother, you need to learn how to make conversation. Not everybody is submerged in your boyish world. Because this is how our conversations, recently, have been sounding like:
"Lorenzo, you know how I felt sick yesterday? Well I meant to tell you, I reached for a glass of-"
"OH and in Call of Duty Black Ops guess who's the best: black ops! He has the strongest rifle and..."
Sorry to break it to you, but I don't want to know about Call of Duty.
In fact, it's the last thing I want to listen to you speaking about for the next ten minutes.
But it is quite funny to realize, as I zone off, that you haven't been listening to me either, and that what I have to say does not hold your interest at all.

Does anybody else out there understand how I feel?

It could have been me- Thoughts on shootings in Kenya

Most of you probably don't know that I was born in Nairobi, Kenya.
My middle name is "Makena" which, in Kikuyu (a Kenyan tribe), means joy.

Me at seven months

I lived in Nairobi until I was one month old, and then we moved to Uganda, but we went back to Kenya many times.

The truth is, I don't remember anything from the first two years of my life spent in Africa, but my mom took tons of pictures of me as a baby, so I know that it was real. I really did live there.
I know it was fourteen years ago that we lived in Nairobi, but as my mom, heart-stricken by the horrible news of this shooting, types anxious messages to her friends currently residing in Kenya, I can't help but Wonder:
Why am I so lucky?

It could have been me, enjoying a frozen yogurt with my friends at the Westgate Mall.
It could have been me, at the movies with my brother for a weekend treat.
But it wasn't.
What if our life as a family had gone differently and my dad had continued working full time as a doctor in Africa? We might still have been living in Nairobi, Kenya.
One of us might have been in that mall yesterday when the Islamist terrorists started shooting their AK-47 guns.
I do know our life in Kenya is waaaaaay in the past, but I still feel like I missed this attack by very, very close.
I feel so powerless when I look at the pictures of those poor victims lying dead on the floor. Why are humans SO cruel? Why can't we all just leave each other alone?

My thoughts today are directed to all the Kenyans and residents of Kenya who are most likely terrified.
Lets give a prayer to all those people, regardless of which religion we follow, or how we pray, if we pray at all. Lets just hope with all our hearts for those people to be safe and recover.

Autumn things

Fall is here!
I'm not sure I can even explain how I feel about fall... it's so magical. Something about the crisp air, the red and orange leaves floating to the ground and all those big scarves and sweaters brings that same tingly feeling every single year.
Today I wanted to share with you a few things I've been enjoying for the start of fall. I find that we don't always take the time to appreciate the small, ordinary things that bring us joy. Especially when we're feeling down, we forget all about the good in our lives (this is something I need to remind myself of when I start getting into that depressy state... the start of school has been hard at times). So here are a few of the small things that make me smile these days:

...These shoes:

This is another DIY project I found on Pinterest. I bought some white canvas shoes, "raw sienna" acrylic paint, and I put aside a few hours, and ta-da! Here's the result. I've gotten lots of compliments and I can proudly say that I haven't seen anybody else walking around with these sneakers. B)

...Frothy milk in my tea.

A friend of ours that stayed with my brother and me for a week during the summer while my parents were away gave us this milk frother as a present. It's such a fun little touch to my morning (and afternoon) cups of tea.  And I like the foamy moustache it leaves around my mouth.

These first weeks of school have just been exhausting and I feel like I'm never getting enough sleep. I have to get up early,  and everytime I try to go to bed early something comes up and my bed time is delayed. So when I finally get to turn off the lights, it's a luxury.

Oh! And I almost forgot! I made my Facebook Page!
It would honestly make my day if you liked it right now. I'm not kidding.
Of course, leave me a link to YOUR Facebook page and I'll like it back!

How do you feel about fall?



My lovely readers!
I am so GLAD to be here writing for you after such a stressful week. You can't even imagine.
It's Friday! Thank goodness! I SURVIVED A WEEK OF SCHOOL!
Last Thursday I wrote a post explaining my dissatisfying class situation. I'd tried changing classes because I wasn't content with mine... In fact, I was in crisis. I had no friends, and several teachers that I'm not fond of.
The school did not accept my request to change classes.

And I'm grateful for that. Because a week later, everything seems less scary. That is the truth. I've met really nice people. I've made friends. Come to think of it, it's almost insulting to them how badly I wanted to change classes that first day.

To summarize my week, it was mostly fine, if not good. I've come to understand how BUSY this year is going to be for me.
My teachers have crammed so much information into each hour of class about the projects for the year and what they will mean for my future.
For example, in December, like all 9th graders in France, I will be attending a "stage", which is a week in the enterprise of my choice to observe how business works.
It could be anywhere from a bakery to a police station.
By the end of November I need to know where my stage will take place: this means deciding where I want to go, sending my CV and a request letter, and being confirmed.
I'm still not completely sure, but because I want to be a journalist I'm thinking a stage in the press.

Anyway, on a total other note, I wanted to announce a few changes to my blog. With my recent blogoversary, I decided I need to promote my blog a little and make it a more elaborate.
The first change you will notice is my new "Moi" picture:

The second change you will notice is the "About Moi" page. What do you think?

Also, (I still haven't done this but plan to this weekend) I am going to make a facebook page for The Veggie Polyglotographer.
For some reason, I was opposed to it the whole time I've been blogging. But I know it's a great tool for blog traffic and connecting with others. So I'm pretty excited about this!
Let me know in the comments if you have a fb page for your blog, and I'll definitely follow. :)

I hope you all have a relaxing friday night, and a weekend filled with fun!

My 1st blogoversary!

Today my blog is one year old.
I'm looking back at my first posts right now, some of them are REALLY funny... I've definitely improved my content and writing technique! :)
I can't believe how much has happened in a year.
I must admit I'm pretty proud of myself.
This blogging thing has been difficult at times- the networking, photo-sorting, designing and strategizing- but I always knew better than to give up. And I'm so HAPPY with the results of all this effort!
Through blogging I feel I am exposing a part of myself to the world which doesn't always show otherwise.
Knowing I have readers out there is a tremendous source of joy. I thank all of you who've supported me with your comments, subscriptions, tweets and e-mails...
Building my bloggers community has helped me realize how many people out there share the same thoughts as me, and how many people out there care about the same things I do.

Which means it's time to celebrate! For this special occasion I decided to make...
White Chocolate Blondies! YUM!

I got the recipe from EatsWellWithOthers.com For some reason it had more of a cakey texture than a brownie texture... Maybe I used too much baking soda?
I was in the mood for the chewy-gooey-ness of a brownie but these were so damn good it didn't matter!
After all, what's better than a cake to celebrate a birthday?
I would honestly give a brownie to each and every one of you out there who's helped me in some way, bloggy friend or not! You mean so much to me.

Have to be brave

Today was my first day back to school. I'm not going to lie and pretend that it was wonderful, because it wasn't.
I was put in a class where I have no friends. Nobody with whom I can gossip with about the teachers, nobody whom I can rush to when we are assigned group projects.
My friends are all in classes - together.
Without me.
So frankly, it sucks.
BUT, after madly trying to petition to change classes, I decided to be open-minded about the whole situation. Because it may not work out the way I want it to. And I can't just run away from people because they already know each other, but they don't know me.
And after all, the magic mostly happens when you're put out of your comfort zone.
I'm going to be strong, because I've realized that this is not a big deal and it's just what a billion other teens are going through right now: change.
And I know that so many good things are coming. I can feel it.

It's almost time to say bye-bye to summer... so here's a recap of my blogging:

July:             Summer
                     The Absolute Best Carrot Cake Ever
                     "Fill your house with stacks of BOOKS, in all the crannies and all the nooks!"
                     Paris, me voici!
                     In which I explain my roots
                     Paris, oh beautiful Paris

August:        Da Vinci da veggie :)
                     2 ingredient ice cream: Bananas and Peanut Butter.
                     My first camp experience
                     Climb every mountain, follow every stream...
                     A hiking week in pictures

September:   DIY Necklace Holder

Hope you enjoyed all my posts!

DIY Necklace Holder

I think I'm addicted to Pinterest. All the mouth-watering recipes, home decor ideas and DIY projects give me a lot to think about. I go into this zone where I imagine how much more practical and fun my life will be with all these projects. I call it my "pinteresty dream time."
We can all agree on how fun it is to pin all these recipes, DIY's and smart tips on everyday tasks, but how many of these pins do we actually use?
A minority.
In my case, other than a few recipes, none.
So I decided that from now on I'm going to make time to pursue some of the creative projects I've pinned to my boards.
I enlisted the help of my meticulous handy-man of a dad to help me make this...
Necklace holder made from old wood and furniture knobs!

Isn't it pretty?

I decided to make this because ever since December when we moved I have felt that our apartment isn't homey and decorated enough. Little by little we've been trying to improve it though.
I bought the furniture knobs at Zara Home and I found the long piece of wood lying in the grass of a park nearby.

To start off we cut the wood because our piece was way too long. The action of sawing created a lovely woodsy smell, which was quite pleasant, the only down side being the wood shavings to be vacuumed afterwards ;)

After that we calculated where the holes for the furniture knobs would go so we could drill holes. I decided to go with a slight zig-zag to make it even more unique.

The only complication after drilling the holes in the wood was that the screws of the furniture knobs were longer than the width of the wood... so in order for the tips of the screws not to stick out of the wood we had to saw parts of them off, which was a little time consuming.

Then the funnest part came: inserting the furniture knobs into the wood!

Once they were screwed in we were done. Then it was time to choose where it would go! My dad installed little hooks on the wall where we decided it would be hung, that way it can be removed easily if needed.

I am very pleased with the result. It gives a nice whimsical touch to my bathroom which was otherwise a bit boring.

Feel free to share with me any projects you've done recently in the comments below, I'd love to hear about what you've been up to creatively!