Keep Your Diet on Track with This Healthy, Vegan King Cake

Not long after the decadence of Christmas, Carnival season gets underway, treating us to a calorie-laden stretch of parades and celebrations (it’s not called Fat Tuesday for nothing). Although you won’t see us restricting ourselves completely, we plan to at least put in the effort of baking our own vegan king cake this year.

This version from Dairy Free Cooking relies on rich – yet vegan – ingredients like maple syrup, coconut milk, and pecans to create king cake luxuriousness without the extra fat and calories of dairy products. It yields 10-12 servings, and you can make the icing and filling in advance if you’re short on time. Check out some other healthy, vegetarian recipes here!

vegan king cake

Vegan king cake. (Photo courtesy House Vegan)

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1 package dry active yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoon organic white granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons soy margarine, cut into pieces
  • 3 tablespoons Egg Replacer Powder mixed with ¼ tablespoon hot water
  • ¼ cup coconut milk (not “lite” variety), plus more for brushing

For the filling:

  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup dairy-free soy margarine, softened
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

For the sprinkles:

  • Unrefined cane sugar (about 1 ½ cups)
  • Yellow, green, and purple Food Coloring

For the icing:

  • 1 ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons warm water

Recipe

  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the yeast, warm water and maple syrup, mixing gently until the yeast dissolves and bubbles begin to appear on the surface. Set aside until frothy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine flour, salt, nutmeg and sugar into a food processor. Add the soy margarine and process until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add this mixture to the yeast, along with the Egg Replacer and coconut milk. Knead, adding flour as necessary, until a soft dough forms. Place in an oiled bowl, covered, for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in bulk.
  3. Meanwhile, make the filling. In a small mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, soy margarine, chopped pecans and cinnamon until combined.
  4. Make the Sprinkles. In three small bowls, mix about ½ cup of sugar in each with just a few drops of desired food coloring. Mix well until desired color is achieved. Set aside.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly oil a large baking sheet or round pizza pan.
  6. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a large rectangle about 1/8” thick. Using a floured sharp knife, cut the dough in half lengthwise. Cut each of the strips into triangles, each about 3 inches at their base. (Think of a zipper or zigzag pattern when you cut, alternating the tops of triangles with the bases.) With the tips of the triangles pointed inward, place the triangles in a circle on the prepared sheet, overlapping one over the other and pressing the edges to seal. Place an even amount of the filling on the centers of the triangles, and place the baby or dried bean somewhere on the filling. Fold the outsides of the triangles over the filling, so that the reach just over the filling. Fold the tips over, pressing slightly to adhere the tips to the outside of the ring. Cover the ring lightly with a paper towel or clean dish towel, and let rise for 20 minutes more.
  7. Brush the cake lightly with coconut milk or soy milk. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow cake to cool completely on a wire cooling rack, and then transfer the cake to a serving platter large enough to catch excess icing.
  8. Prepare the icing. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and salt. Add the warm water and, stirring vigorously, stir until the mixture is a very thick glaze. Ladle the mixture over the cake in several additions, letting the icing run down the sides. While the icing is still slightly warm, sprinkle the prepared sprinkles over the cake, alternating sections of purple, green, and yellow. Allow the icing to harden completely before serving.

 

 

 

Places to Volunteer in New Orleans During the Holidays

The old adage tells us that “it’s better to give than to receive.” We think this applies not only to gifts, but also your time. The greater New Orleans area is a vibrant community, but it also has a lot of people and organizations in need, especially during this time of the year. That’s why we’ve put together a list of places where you can volunteer during the holidays – perhaps you can make it a new tradition with your friends and family!

Animal Rescue New Orleans Shelter

This no-kill shelter in Elmwood is always looking for volunteers to help with laundry, animal care, dog walking, and more. Volunteering at this shelter counts toward school service hours. You also can donate directly to ARNO as part of our December pet drive.

The Roots of Music

roots of music

The Roots of Music is one of several organizations in New Orleans that depends on the work of volunteers. (Photo courtesy: The Roots of Music on Facebook)

This organization ties music directly to empowerment for at-risk youth in the New Orleans community. Providing music education, academic support, and mentorship are just a few tenants of The Roots of Music, all while preserving the musical and cultural heritage of New Orleans. Volunteers can help participating students with homework, projects, and test review – no experience is necessary, and you’ll directly aid a child in becoming their most positive, productive self.

Grow Dat Youth Farm

Creating job opportunities and professional development for high school students and youth interested in urban agriculture, Grow Dat Youth Farm is a fully functioning farm in City Park that produces organic fruits and vegetables through sustainable farming techniques. The farm also relies on volunteers to help keep its grounds in tip-top shape – get out into the sunshine and put your hands to work with tasks like weeding, crop maintenance, and more.

There are many other worthy organizations in the area where you can volunteer. HandsOn New Orleans provides a detailed database of causes that might interest you based on distance, keywords, dates, and whether you’re volunteering as an individual or on behalf of a corporation. No matter what your passion, there is a volunteer opportunity available!

Local Favorite: Bella Ridge Loves Kyoto 2

We’re so excited for our new Bella Ridge luxury apartment community! From incredibly modern interiors to an on-site dog park, this beautiful apartment complex offers luxury living with square footage, dedicated covered parking, and amenities that you just won’t find in downtown New Orleans.

The property is close to an amazing shopping center with stores like TJ Maxx, DSW, Ulta, and World Market, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find a local presence. In fact, one of Uptown New Orleans’ most popular sushi restaurants, Kyoto, has a second location just about a mile away from Bella Ridge near Elmwood Shopping Village. We’ve taken a closer look at Kyoto 2 to bring you the best of authentic Japanese flavors and the charm of a local favorite.

kyoto-sushi

Enjoy fresh, authentic sushi at Kyoto 2, located near our new Bella Ridge property. (Photo courtesy Alexandre Chang on Flickr)

One of the best-reviewed items on the menu is the Poke Salad Roll. This dish takes elements of the classic Hawaiian raw salad and translates it into a sushi roll. Creamy avocado and a spicy chili dressing play with taste and texture while tuna, crabstick, and squid provide a trio of flavorful seafood. Veggie fans will love the Slow-Ya-Roll, not only for the clever name, but also for the combination of cucumber, avocado, asparagus, and sprouts. Creative rolls like the Funky Margarita and the Taco Salad combine quality seafood with surprising toppings (think spicy avocado sauce or a tangy vinaigrette).

A complete menu with appetizers, noodle soups, salads, and mains provides ample options for even the choosiest eaters. For dessert, the ginger ice cream and black sesame ice cream satisfy a sweet tooth with a welcome alternative to flavors like vanilla or chocolate.

One of the best parts about Kyoto 2 is that you can pick up takeout and enjoy Japanese-style favorites at home in Bella Ridge. Contact us now to find out more about the property and secure a lease. We’re already filling up!

Apartment Living is Desired Option for New Orleans Newcomers

Forbes Magazine recently named New Orleans as their “biggest brain magnet,” and with that distinction, a number of young professionals have chosen to move here.

new-orleans-skyline

Many young professionals are flocking to the New Orleans area for amazing job and living opportunities. (Photo courtesy ruimc77 on Flickr)

According to a recent article in New Orleans City Business, census figures show that members of Generation X and Y (ages mid-30s to mid-40s) make up almost one-third of the population in New Orleans, compared with a national average of just 26 percent. As a result, demographers were quick to name New Orleans as one of America’s fastest-growing cities.

In terms of where to find a home, apartment living is quickly becoming the most viable option for residency during this period of fast growth.

Finding an apartment in New Orleans can be challenging for incoming transplants. At 1st Lake Properties, we are empathetic to the emotional and physical energy it takes to choose a new place to call home. Living outside the city presents an enticing option for newcomers. Apartments are much more plentiful in areas like Metairie and Harahan. This up-and-coming area features suburbs like River Ridge and Elmwood, in addition to our upcoming luxury property, Bella Ridge.

Additionally, these areas offer perks like easy parking and quick access to downtown, both of which are harder to come by when you actually live within the city; congestion and street parking are two constant realities of the New Orleans lifestyle.

“People moving to New Orleans who aren’t sure how long they’re going to stay or who don’t want to buy a home are driving growth in Elmwood,” says our senior vice president, Stacey Shane Schott, in the City Business article.

The suburb offers not only unbeatable proximity to New Orleans, but also plenty of amenities. Elmwood Shopping Center features major stores like World Market, TJ Maxx, Ashley Home Furniture, Ulta, Zoe’s Kitchen, Five Guys Burgers, and much more.

Bella Ridge itself creates a luxurious atmosphere for residents with thoughtful details like an on-site dog park, office space within each unit, and clean, modern interiors.

“We’re expecting folks to stay with us for one or two years until they establish job security,” says Schott, noting that residents may choose to buy a house down the road. “Until then, they’ll be our residents.”

Take a look at all of our Greater New Orleans properties, and please don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions.

 

Enjoy Iconic New Orleans Food and Music at Treme Creole Gumbo Fest

The Jazz and Heritage Foundation draws global recognition for Jazz Fest, but did you know the foundation puts on several other events in the city? From last month’s Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival to annual competitions like Class Got Brass?, the foundation spotlights the importance of music in New Orleans throughout the year. If you’re looking to enjoy some of the foundation’s (and the city’s) finest fruits, head to the Treme Creole Gumbo Festival, starting Nov. 8 in Armstrong Park.

creole-gumbo

This gumbo from Miss Linda’s was featured at last year’s festival. (Photo courtesy Paul Broussard on Flickr)

As the name suggests, this festival pairs brass band music – including the Treme Brass Band – with plenty of gumbo offerings. Seafood and meat gumbos will be in attendance, but guests can also look forward to a vegan gumbo competition. Each restaurant participating in the festival is eligible to enter a vegan gumbo, free of any meat or animal products like butter, milk, or eggs. Competitors can also choose to create a gluten-free vegan gumbo, if desired. Culinary experts will judge each vegan creation, and visitors can purchase a sample to vote for their own favorite.

The second annual vegan gumbo contest aims to encourage healthy eating habits and also features a partnership with PETA.

A new addition to the festival is the organizers’ decision to merge the arts market with the children’s area. The decision adds to the allure of this family friendly event: local artists will lead interactive workshops for kids, providing a creative atmosphere for all to enjoy.

As always, music is at the forefront of this Jazz and Heritage Foundation event. Expect a near-constant stream of brass music throughout the festival, which runs from 11:00 a.m. until 7:15 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. In addition to local high school bands, the festival will also feature standouts like the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra Brass Band and the Soul Rebels, who close out the festival on Sunday.

So many of our Greater New Orleans properties are just a short drive from the event, and parking is plentiful. Take advantage of the city’s top-notch music and food at this fall festival.

Apartment Search

Find Your

Apartment

View Available Apartments »

Map Search »