Lindsay Wildlife Museum

Last month shane and I vistited the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek.

The non-profit organization serves as a wildlife rehabilitation hospital and education center. Animals that are unable to be released back into the wild remain at the center (or are adopted into other permanent homes) and teach the community about the creatures who lived here before we moved our fat asses in and introduced them to things like automobiles and house cats. They treat over 6,000 patients a year, 98% of which are the result of "adverse contact with human activity."

This fellow greets you from an outdoor aviary.

The main hall.

Raptors hang out in the exhibition area during the day. We were told they are kept high up so they feel more comfortable since they are used to chilling in trees and such.

Below live other animals, like this cute fox who just wanted to sleep.

And this opossum, who had neurological problems and was stumbling around.

I'm not sure what happened to him, but I'm going to guess head trauma thanks to a car, but he seemed content digging around his egg carton looking for apple bits.

Some raptors.

Giant ass owl.

And lil' owl.

A crow.

And her lunch.

Injured vulture.

A mountain lion that some idiot was keeping as a pet.

She had a play area down below but mainly seemed interested in sleeping. She spends half of the year at another sanctuary, running around outdoors. And probably sleeping a lot.

Creepy ass taxidermy.

Cute taxidermy.

Edible local plants for, you know, after the revolution.

These make shane scream.


This post isn't about a whole lot other than how cute my family's dog Oskar is.

Oskar has big ears.

And a big tongue.

He loves his rope.

Leave me alone already!

My parents were cute and labeled some meals they prepared for me:

White bean, eggplant, saffron casserole.

Bun rieu.

Soy creamy 'wiches!

Tamale night

Shaudi invited some folks over for tamales the other night. We used the Everyday Chipotle-Vegetable Tamale recipe from Veganomicon. The tamales are stuffed with corn, beans, bell pepper, carrots, and deliciously smoky chipotle peppers and adobo sauce. We also roasted some poblanos to add in a few tamales with Follow Your Heart Monterrey Jack.

Charlie, Shaudi, and Nako hard at work.

The process is surprisingly easy and definitely worth the time.

Steaming away.

Shaudi made some mango salsa and guacamole, along with what started as Mexican chocolate cupcakes but became tasty coconut-almond-cinnamon-stuff I'm probably forgetting-chocolate cupcakes. I brought over the red hots, so shane wouldn't eat them all. It was an awesome meal, and the tamales reheated nicely for lunch the next day.

Not pictured was Charlie's spicy xocolatl, dilligently stirred 11 times counterclockwise, clockwise, then repeat!


shane and I celebrated an anniversary recently and I surprised him with an Aphrodisiac dinner package at Millennium Restaurant and the Hotel California.

The room was small, but super cute. They seem to pride themselves on their leather upholstery, which seems odd, even for non-vegans, but there was only one small chair and ottoman in our room.

shane is a star!

There's no Photoshopping here. His eyes really do look that weird.

shane looking thoughtful in the hallway.

They sprinkled rose petals across the table.

The menu.

I'm usually a little wary of prix fixe menus, because I can be a little picky, but this dinner was amazing! The best part was the salad: grilled avocado over watercress with a wonderfully light vinaigrette.

Dessert was a fancy ding dong!

Our server seemed a little off put when we told her that it reminded us of a ding dong, but we definitely didn't mean it as a dis. The filling was the same white chocolate cream that tops the chocolate almond midnight torte and is possible the best thing I've ever put in my mouth. I don't even want to know how much cocoa butter goes into that.

Here I am annoying shane while he tries to nap.

The next morning, on our way home, we stopped by Nabolom Bakery, in the Elmwood district of Berkeley for a snickerdoodle and a sticky bun. The cookie didn't survive the trip home for a picture.

Red hot cupcakes & killer shirts

I can't skate, but I can make a mean cupcake.

Many thanks to Natalie of Bake & Destroy for making this awesome shirt. You can find them at her Etsy shop, along with a bunch of other cute stuff.

Now on to cupcakes...

shane kept saying that he wanted cinnamon cupcakes and I got the idea to make spicy cupcakes reminiscent of those red hot candies, which would have been perfectly cute for Valentine's Day, but I'm a slacker. The recipe just makes a few simple modifications to VCTOTW's basic golden cupcakes, with cinnamon oil for kick, cocoa for depth, and of course red food coloring! You can find cinnamon oil at baking/candy making supply stores or online.

Red hot cupcakes
1 c. soy milk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 tbs. cornstarch
1 tbs. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 c. canola oil
3/4 c. unrefined cane sugar
2 tsp. red food coloring
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon oil

Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare your cupcake pan with liners. (This batch made 36 mini-cups and should make 12 regulars.)

Stir together the soy milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle. Meanwhile, sift together the flour through salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk the oil, sugar, extract, and cinnamon oil, then whisk in the milk mixture until slightly frothy.

Carefully stir in the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Fill your cupcake liners and bake for 12-15 (mini) or 18-20 (regular) minutes, or until they pass the toothpick test.

I frosting these with a basic vanilla cooked buttercream and sprinkled them with homemade red sugar.

I despise that almost all cake decorations contain confectioner's glaze, so thanks to Pamela for inspiring me to make my own decorating sugar. She had told me that she had success making her own with pre-made piping gels and sugar. I wondered if it would work with just regular food coloring and granulated sugar and it did! I used about 3 drops of color to a tablespoon of sugar and just worked it in with my fingers. Make sure to use a glove to save yourself from stains. The color might not be as rich, but it's much cheaper than the one fancy brand of sugar that I know of that doesn't use shellac in their sugar (plus they use bleached sugar, which I try to avoid). I've been told confectioner's glaze is so popular because it prevents bleeding, but so far my cupcakes are bleed-free.