Low-Calorie Vegan Lemon Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies

I can’t believe it’s already June, time flies when you’re having fun am-I-right? Summer in San Francisco can be pretty chilly/windy and all around deceiving as a season, so I always find myself looking for creative ways to trick myself into falling into that summer-y spirit. Along with eating lots of frozen yogurt and frequent weekend getaways to nearby warm locales, one of my favorite trickster tactics to employ is to bake fruity delights in keeping with the season. These Low-Calorie Vegan Lemon Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies that I baked for Father’s Day is one such example.

These cookies were inspired by a freaking amazing cake I tried a few months back when I was visiting my best friend in Los Angeles to celebrate her birthday. The Lemon Early Grey cake was from this stellar local bake shop Valerie Confections which I highly recommend you try if you’re ever in the area. Although these are shortbread cookies, they only clock in at 80 calories per cookie making these vegan treats are light as well as delicious. Happy baking!

Low-Calorie Vegan Lemon Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies
Makes 30 Cookies | 80 Calories Per Cookies

Ingredients:
*2 cups whole-wheat flour
*1/2 teaspoon baking soda
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1/2 cup sugar
*1/3 cup vegetable oil
*egg replacer equal to one egg
*2 tablespoons agave nectar
*3 teaspoons lemon juice
*tea leaves from 2 packets of Tazo Earl Grey Tea

Directions:
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*In a large mixing bowl combine all dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Once mixed add all wet ingredients and mix until you have a thick batter which can be kneaded into cookie sized balls.
*Using your hands create 30 golf ball sized cookie dough balls and space them out evenly on a pre-greased cookie sheet.
*Bake for 5 minutes, remove from oven and use a fork to push down your cookies so they will be more flat.
*Return them to the oven for 5-7 more minutes or until slightly browned on top.
*Remove from oven and let cool for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
*Optional: You can glaze these with a light vanilla glaze recipe like this one and substitute almond or soy milk and earth balance for butter if you so desire. I ended up using this recipe to glaze half my batch and it complemented the flavors very well.

Let Me Tell You ‘Bout The Bears And The Bee-z…

Most Beautiful Wedding Ever Jen Prather Caleb Ontiveros 2012
Weddings are always the most beautiful events. Ethereal atmosphere’s, lacy dresses, bouquets of flowers and immaculately displayed food, sounds pretty good huh? Not to mention the overlaying Romantic premise…

The tough part is finding that one special someone who you just have to spend the rest of your life with. About 6 years ago, my best friend Jen Prather was fortunate enough to meet her husband to be Caleb Ontiveros, while working at a summer camp in Santa Barbara California. This last month they decided to tie the knot in Santa Maria California.

If most weddings are inspiring to attend, the Prather-Ontiveros wedding was nothing short of Magical. Jen Prather is one of the most amazing artist’s I know, and she employed her creativity when planning her wedding, enabling it to be a truly semi-charmed event. I was lucky enough to be asked to be a bridesmaid in the wedding, and I got to be part of it all first hand. I would like to share some wonderful moments from their special day with you…

Most Beautiful Wedding Ever Jen Prather Caleb Ontiveros 2012

Jen and Caleb tied the knot at a family Ranch in Santa Maria California. A family member erected this amazing raw wood altar for them to stand under while they said their vows.

Most Beautiful Wedding Ever Jen Prather Caleb Ontiveros 2012

Jen thought of all the details, and every last inch of the property was adorned with lace, succulents, and whimsical remnants from the lives of the Bride and Groom.

Most Beautiful Wedding Ever Jen Prather Caleb Ontiveros 2012

Inspired by a display Jen saw in a store window in the Mission District of San Francisco, she made a slew of Gods Eye’s to adorn the Trees of the Ranch.

Most Beautiful Wedding Ever Jen Prather Caleb Ontiveros 2012

The happy couple are avid bikers, and chose to employ bike themed elements in their wedding. The Mother of the bride was inspired, and gave the bride and groom this sexy two seater bicycle as one of their wedding gifts.

Most Beautiful Wedding Ever Jen Prather Caleb Ontiveros 2012

We created a photo booth, where guests could take their photo by stepping on a pedal. Many sweet moments from the night were captured this way…

Most Beautiful Wedding Ever Jen Prather Caleb Ontiveros 2012

And of course there was dancing. Jen reached out to me and asked me to create vinyl decals to adorn the dance floor of her wedding. I based the designs off the imagery in their invitations, the color scheme,  the floral arrangements and my first hand knowledge of the happy couple.

Most Beautiful Wedding Ever Jen Prather Caleb Ontiveros 2012

The food was spectacular Santa Maria BBQ, these hand-made signs were created by drawing in chalk boards with chalk markers!

Most Beautiful Wedding Ever Jen Prather Caleb Ontiveros 2012

And last but certainly not least, there was my favorite part, the wedding cake and dessert…

I hope you found taking a peek at Jen’s wedding as Magical as I found it to attend. Check out the Gallery below to see more snapshots, and keep your eyes peeled for a post about making vinyl decals (for weddings and otherwise) coming soon!

Some of these lovely wedding photos were taken by the Talented Ken Kienow: http://www.kenkienow.com/

Stopping the presses at SFAI’s Graduate Open Studios

I have 1/4 of a Post Graduate Education, true story. A few years back I attended a MFA Printmaking program at California College of the Arts in San Francisco for 6 months. It turned out, that while I was a huge fan of Art and Print and making things, I was not a huge fan of Art School based MFA programs. After leaving my program, I decided instead to continue to make Art outside of academic institutions, and try to do things my own way.

Art, San Francisco, Graduate School

While an MFA Program was not the right path for me, there is definitely some pretty stellar work that comes out of such programs. It was my adoration of such Studio Art practices that brought me to the San Francisco Art Institute’s Graduate Open Studios Event a few weekends ago. It’s inspiring to attend events where I can gauge the pulse of the art world, and get excited about what folks are making and what is hot (as well as what is not!).

Art, San Francisco, Graduate School

As I mentioned earlier, I was a printmaking major during my time in Graduate School, and I have a very soft spot in my heart for creative, original, printmakers. At SFAI I was introduced to the work of Seul Hwa Eum. This lovely lady makes amazing etchings, artist books, and manipulates her prints in unique exciting ways. I was absolutely smitten by her prints that presented framed in wooden boxes shaped like houses. The scale and detail of some of her etchings was also very impressive. Her attention to detail betrayed how much time she spends creating her work, and how much she must love what she is doing. Taking square shaped prints presenting them in alternative ways that encourage viewer engagement seems very important to Seul, and she executes it well. These works were some of the most sincere innovative creations I’ve seen in awhile, I recommend you look up more of her work or visit her website!

Art, San Francisco, Graduate School

Using Typography is a tricky situation for most artists. It’s difficult to use type and not have it dictate the viewers interpretation of the piece in which it is situated. Like reading a book it discourages the viewer from looking deeper than the surface level of what the words communicate. Aware of the difficulty of such a practice, I was surprised by the work of Jon Gourly, an artist whose work primarily consisted of simply layed out Sans Serif text. His diptychs were simple yet clever, and his prints were laced with references to internet culture. Referencing memes and chat slang, he seems well aware of these influences. I find the intersections of traditional art practice and technology very intriguing, and I hope he can find a way to talk about these things that gives them new meaning.

Art, San Francisco, Graduate School

Kevin Tijerina’s work used a lot of found objects and unique materials, like glass bottles, and feathers. I enjoyed his collections and the meticulous way in which he arranged them. His practice was steeped in an old-timey aura, I would like to hear him explain his work, or read his artist statement to understand his deeper meaning. I felt as though I didn’t quite grasp what he was going for, but I liked what I was seeing.

Art, San Francisco, Graduate School

And last, but certainly not least there was the work of my dear friend Sarah Tell, yet another SFAI Printmaker. Sarah like Seun explored a large variety of presentation styles in her work, and I look forward to seeing what other ways she will find to present her prints. There seemed to be a theme of found objects and an obsession with old time memoribelia that was echoed between many of the artists at this event.

It goes without saying that there was also quite a bit of not quite up to part art school creations and creators floating around as well, but I was thrilled to find a few gems in this mess! Having experienced graduate school I always wonder how these artists will manifest in the real world post-grad school, hopefully a few of these folks will end up lifelong artists!

You can visit Seul’s website here:http://www.seulmin.com/
You can visit Jon Gourly’s website here: http://loungerjoy.com/home.html

Get in touch with Stephanie!