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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Vegan Mini Caramel Apples! | Recipe

When I desperately crave a certain food/treat I used to like pre-vegan diet, I scour the internet night in and out for a vegan alternative. This week, my craving happened to be caramel apples. I came across a few recipes that were either paleo or somewhat accidentally vegan, so I combined those different recipes to come up with a vegan caramel recipe to top off these mini caramel apples! Why mini, you may ask?! Simple, everything is better in mini form. Everything.

Before getting to the recipe, I just wanted to let you all know that the caramel didn't stick to the apples nearly as well as I thought they would, but I still wound up with a really sweet treat that is perfect for autumn. Vegan recipes are all about trial and error. I thought this recipe was still solid enough to share, so I hope you take some inspiration from this!

Vegan Caramel
What You'll Need:
3/4 cups regular almond milk (soy milk will work fine, too)
1 cup vegan cane sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water
2 tbsp vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of kosher salt

What You'll Need To Do:
In a medium sized saucepan, combine the almond milk, sugar, and maple syrup.
Cook for 5 minutes, whisking often.
In a separate bowl, mix together the cornstarch and water.
Add the cornstarch and water mixture to the saucepan.
Cook for 5 more minutes (the mixture will bubble and foam, which is normal)
Remove from heat and add the butter, vanilla, and salt.
Pour the caramel into a separate bowl/container and cover slightly

Vegan Mini Caramel Apples
What You'll Need:
2 Apples (apple breed based upon personal preference)
Melon Baller
Cake Pop sticks or skewers (I cut mine in half)
Tiny cupcake liners (optional)
Vegan Caramel
Peanuts/other toppings

What You'll Need To Do:
Wash your apples then start scooping out balls of apple with your melon baller.

Dab your apple balls with a paper towel to dry off some of the moisture.
You should get about 25 balls from 2 apples (20 if you're like me and scrap a few sad looking balls)
Place your apple balls in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking oil to prevent your caramel balls from sticking.
Remove your apples from the fridge and insert your Cake Pop sticks or skewers about half way through into your apple balls.
Dip your apple balls in your vegan caramel mixture by holding the stick/skewer.
Add your peanuts/other topping of your choice (this is completely optional)

Place your caramel balls on your lined baking sheet and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

After removing from the fridge, place your mini caramel apples in the mini cupcake liners (again, optional)

Refrigerate before serving and that's it! Bite size vegan caramel apples! Perfect for a night-in with a cup of hot chocolate, or a great snack for a night out at a Halloween party.

xo, Sarah Holt

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Turning 21

This post is a very long rambling of what has been going on in my mind for the past month.  I'm currently typing this up at 2:47 am which means I have absolutely no filter and this can essentially go on forever. Night blogging is a sickness. Anyway, back to the post.
Back in the beginning of October, I turned 21. A huge milestone of a birthday if you're American. So you may ask, "why didn't you make a huge deal about it all throughout October by writing about it on here or posting tipsy pictures on Instagram?". I would normally answer with "laziness and procrastination", but that would only be half of the truth. In all honesty, I didn't really see any growth in myself this past year and I didn't feel like expressing how I am now 21, without a job, without a college degree, and still at home dreaming about one day living the life I want to live, while instead I'm crippled by anxiety and fear.
The best part about turning 21 is that I've decided a while ago I didn't want to drink alcohol! There goes my fantasy of being a cool and hip person who drinks red wine while decompressing with a cool and hip book every night. Maybe I can fill a wine glass with cranberry juice and still pull of the effortlessly cool and hip facade? Maybe, but that is definitely not the point of this post.
Throughout the past few weeks, I realized a few things that 20 year old me experienced and lived through that I wouldn't take back at all. Though it feels like I haven't made the most of the past year in some cases, I have grown and learned more about myself than I think I have in my entire life.
Here comes the ever apparent trend on my blog; a nice long list!

1. I don't have to live my life the way anyone else expects me to or tells me to. I am my own person and I am living my life for myself (motivation for this one courtesy of Zoe Sugg from her new book "Girl Online: On Tour")
2. Anxiety is a horrible, big, scary monster that haunts my thoughts on a daily basis, but I can't keep using this monster as an excuse. He will (yes, I've decided my personified anxiety is male) only grow bigger and stronger.
3.It's okay to figure things out on my own pace. Again, this is my life and I can choose the pace in which I want to live it.
4. I like this blog. Though I'm scared to share my little space on the internet that holds lots of personal thoughts with my real-life world (friends/family), I'm happy with the posts I've shared and with the people I've gotten to know from this blog, and I hope to virtually meet more amazing people.
5. At this point in my life, I'm okay with admitting I'm not fit for college. Some people can deal with the hair-pulling-out-stress that comes with college exams, but I know I can't, and I'm okay with that. That just means I have to find something else to do with my life that doesn't involve taking the traditional route (I write while I cringe and wince and feel a slight wave of anxiety creep over me. I'm fine though :-) )
6. Though I joke about "feeling fine" all the time. I really am, for the most part, fine.

That's about all I can manage to reflect on. Maybe 21 will bring better days leading me to a life of anxiety-free adventures filled with friends and laughs and good times. That's the aim at least.

xo, Sarah Holt

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Monday, October 19, 2015

Autumn Essentials

Autumn is most definitely my favorite time of the year. The air gets crisper and the weather gets much, much colder. I absolutely love it. There are a few things I like to do in order to make the most of the autumn season and I listed them all below just for you, how handy?!

Dark Lips
Autumn screams dark lips and I absolutely love the Matte Lip Color from Elf in the shade Tea Rose. It's not your typical fall berry or a deep red, but it works and I like it. Pacifica also has a really nice Color Quench in Berry Guava. It smells amazing and it's a great everyday lip balm.

Moisturizer/Body Lotion
The fall/winter months can easily dry out your skin. Moisturizer and body lotion is a must. Also, lip balm is a life saver this time of the year. My favorite lip balm at the moment is from Meow Meow Tweet in the scent/flavor (I guess?) Tangerine Lime.

If you want to have a cozy movie night, Netflix is essential. I've been binge watching Goosebumps lately and I'm obsessed.

Hot Chocolate
Hot drinks are definitely a staple in autumn, hot chocolate in particular. Lots of (vegan) whipped cream on top is also a must.

Instant Camera
I recently got an Instax Wide camera for my 21st birthday and I absolutely love it. I've always been obsessed with really old polaroid pictures from when I was younger/before I was born, so you can only imagine how long I've been asking for an instant camera of my own and how excited I was when I actually got one.

Carving pumpkins is another autumn staple. Is it even really October if you don't carve a pumpkin? I don't think so. Did you even really carve a pumpkin if you didn't Instagram it? Again, I really don't think so.

Speaking of Instagram, I feel that autumn is prime Instagram season. I love taking pictures in the fall and I love sharing them on Instagram. You can follow me on Instagram if you'd like, you don't have to but you could. @xosarahholt 

Nature Walks
If you live in a place that has lots of fall foliage, you HAVE to make the most of it and go on lots of nature walks. You just have to. And again, for Instagram.

And those are all my Autumn Essentials. Let me know in the comments if you have any other essential for autumn that I didn't mention.

xo, Sarah Holt

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If you made it this deep in the post, thank you! I added a little "behind the scenes" from this post because I thought my setup was hilarious. I didn't have a festive blanket to use, but I did have this very fall-like scarf so I tried to make it look like a cozy blanket. I think I did a pretty good job, if I do say so myself!