Friday, October 31, 2014

National Caramel Apple Day: Green Apple Cupcakes with Caramel Cream Frosting

Although today is officially Halloween, it is also a day to honor both candy and caramel apples. I decided that today, for "National Caramel Apple Day" I would share my Green Apple Cupcakes with Caramel Cream Frosting recipe. It is very important that you have the following ingredients…
4 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or Whole-Wheat Pastry Flour (you can use Almond Flour)
2 cups Granulated Sugar (you can use Stevia)
3 teaspoons Baking Soda
2 teaspoons Salt
2 cups Silk’s Very Vanilla Soy Milk (if you are allergic, just use Silk’s Vanilla Almond Milk)
1 cup Coconut Oil
2-3 tablespoons Green Food Coloring

3 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
For the frosting, you want to make sure you have the following ingredients…

cups non-dairy, non-hydrogenated butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 cup Silk’s Vanilla Coconut Milk
3 cups Confectioners’ Sugar
1 cup Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Let’s Bake!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your batter by combining flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. As you continue you want to  fold in the remaining ingredients. So you want to add oil, milk, food coloring, vinegar, vanilla, and mix until thoroughly combined. 
Once you continue, it is important to get a cupcake pan ready. Whether you want to make mini cupcakes or large cupcakes. Bake for about 15-17 minutes. 
Once you have accomplished this, let the cake cook for an additional 5 minutes. 
As you can continue, let the cupcakes set for 5 to 10 minutes before transporting it onto a plate and then, onto a cooling rack, rounded-sides up. Set it aside.
Let’s Frost!
I used my KitchenAid mixer to make the frosting.  It is important to combine all of the ingredients, except the confectioners’ sugar (or powdered sugar), vanilla, and soy milk into the mixer and mix until it is smooth and begins to fluff. With the mixer on low speed, add confectioners’ sugar and fluff for another few minutes. Add vanilla followed by the milk. 
Once all ingredients are well-combined, beat on high until frosting is light and fluffy for about 5 minutes. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons more milk to achieve the consistency are you hoping to achieve. 
Take your cupcakes and start to apply the vegan frosting. You an pipe this because of the consistency of it. Decorate the cupcakes however you choose. Keep them simple or add various toppers and/or fondants. 
Guess what?! You’re done! Congratulations! You have just made the Green Apple Cupcakes with Caramel Cream Frosting.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Hot In Music: Girls of SKAM share their Beauty Secrets

SKAM Artist Havana Brown.
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with SKAM Artists Havana Brown, Samantha Ronson, Caroline d'Amore, and Sky Nellor about makeup, skin care, fragrance, and hair. 

Check out my latest  interview with the girls here where they share their beauty secrets with me and tell me their favorite products.

Back in Time by Pitbull

From Pitbull's album "Global Warming" this song is amazingly dope, so to speak. Even though this song came out in 2012, I can listen to it now in 2014 and it just never gets old, as I never get tired of hearing it.

If you cannot see the video, just click here right now. To download it, just go here

Music Talk: Exclusive Interview with Big Syphe

Big Syphe and Pitbull.
If you heard the song "Back In Time" by Pitbull, then you have heard the excellent work of Big Syphe. As one of the most underrated musical geniuses of our generation, Big Syphe is a force to be reckoned with in the industry. He is one of the most motivated yet ambitious people I know. Recently, I caught up with Big Syphe about music, SKAM, and Pitbull. Here is what he had to say...

(Q) Hello. How are you? It's great to talk to you. Tell me a little more about Big Syphe...

I am from Los Angeles. Born and raised here. I have been DJing since I've been a young teenager. I worked in radio. I have been a part of SKAM since the beginning. I've been friends with Sujit since I was 18 years old. I have toured and produced music for Pitbull. Actually I have a new song coming out soon with him. Not sure if it will be his next single, but it's definitely a song that he's gonna have on his new album. 

(Q) Wow, that is amazing.

I did a record with him a couple of years ago. It was called "Back In Time" and it was also featured on the Men In Black soundtrack. It was like the official song.

(Q) OMG! I love that song! That is one of my favorites.

It had a classic rock sample from a group called Mickey & Sylvia called Love Is Strange. So yeah, I sampled that on there. 

(Q) You are so incredibly talented. I knew there was a reason I was a huge fan of you already. That song is something special. In fact, when I first heard it, I was addicted to it.

Wow, thank you. I actually made that song on the airplane. 

(Q) That is fantastic. 

Thank you. But yeah, I worked in radio for a long time here in LA called Power 106. It's like the second biggest radio stations in the country. Especially when it comes to rhythmic, pop, hip hop, and urban. I was on the radio with my good friend Eric DLux, who is also a part of SKAM too. He is also a very talented and successful DJ. Even DJ Vice, who is another big DJ and a part of SKAM, he came from the radio station, as well. We have all been friends for over 10 years. 

(Q) Now I have to ask you, what inspired you to get into music? Tell me a little more about the inspiration behind it all...

Music has always been around me. Me being Hispanic and growing up in inner city Los Angeles, we always had little small parties. Especially on the weekends. Barbecues and our neighbors would throw parties. So, I have always been around music and that party environment where the music was always playing. When I started becoming a teenager, I would go to house parties. In the early 90s, we use to have party crews. Instead of being part of a gang, you would be a part of a party crew. Some of the friends from the neighborhood would throw parties. It was something special. I kind of came up as a DJ, as well because I was so into the music I would hear and known in that circuit from my part of town. I started DJing in my bedroom and then making mixed tapes. Then, getting feedback from friends and being able to DJ at these house parties and warehouse parties. I guess you could say that I started from A to Z. Then, going to the clubs and from there, everything took off. 

(Q) Now I have to ask Syphe, if you could work with anyone in the industry, who would you work with and why?

That is a good question. I never really thought about this to be honest. I focus a lot when it comes to writing and producing music on someone like Pitbull because he a good friend of mine. He's also probably one of the biggest pop stars. And him being a good friend of mine, it's just really easy for me to send him stuff. Send the music, the material, etc. It's easy to get ahold of him. Besides him, hmmmmm. I really do admire Daft Punk. They are dope musicians and producers. I love how they linked with Niles Rodgers and collaborating with him. So, for me personally, I would like to work with someone like George Clinton. I really love funk music. Funk music was a really big inspiration for me in music. Even though I love music. When I work with musicians, I get inspired by a lot of old funk and disco. Where music is today, I feel like the progression has those old school grooves and elements.

(Q) George Clinton is really awesome. In fact, he epitomizes funk music. I actually have one of his CDs and was listening to it a few nights ago. I enjoy him very much. I wanted to ask, what about Prince?

I would love to work with Prince. But even someone like Prince looked up to George Clinton, Issac Hayes, he looked up to Rick James, etc. He was very influenced by them. They were all able to produce, write, play all of those instruments, etc. Definitely! Prince is definitely someone I would love to work with. I look up to all of these artists because they were not only writing and singing their songs, but they produced them. They were musicians. They were behind the engineering. I remember once when I was in the studio with I saw him working. Even though I was cool with him, I always seen him around. I actually had the opportunity to sit with him as he was working. Just seeing him kind of being hands on was great. There are a lot of amazing DJs that do produce music. A lot of them aren't really hands on, as they usually have a team. When you see someone that is hands on, on that level you are looking at them creating. That is amazing.

(Q) What if the Trans Siberian Orchestra contacted you and said "we would love to work with you" what would you say?

I would say lets work! I would be very interested. They are very talented. I am someone who loves to work with and collaborate with anyone. Even with them, I would love to hear what their influences are. I feel like music is all about being creative. I really love live instruments, so working with someone like them would be amazing. I would love to get live violins and strings, as well as, a strong percussion. Right now I am into making dance music, but with live instruments. It's all about making incredible big sounding music.  

(Q) There are so many artists around the world. In fact, I know of a ton in Europe that would love to work with you. Your work is incredible. Back In Time is just proof. Pitbull never fails, as everything he puts out there is epic. The song that you did is just so catchy and unique. 

Thank you. It was different. Pitbull has always been known for his big hooks. When we worked on this, we tried something new. Instead of him doing the hook, we used a sample from another song. It was really cool and I'm glad it came out sounding good. Pitbull's new album will bring more of that unique quality. I can't say too much about it, but will say that you will love it. 

(Q) Just so you know, I downloaded Back In Time the first moment I heard it. 

Wow, nice. Thank you.

(Q) For all of those music enthusiasts reading this interview, what would you like them to know? What is next for Big Syphe?

Now days it's not just about you being a DJ, but you, playing your own tracks, and bringing out your own tracks. When I first started, I felt like I was holding back. But now, I am right where I want to be in life where I don't need to do that. I feel very confident in how my stuff sounds. It's always been my goal to make music because I love music. I would say something next for me would be that I definitely want to put out my own projects. That is the dream. 

For more information about Big Syphe, please visit today!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

TuneCore and Hip Hop, keeps it's Independent Spirit

TuneCore is an independent music distribution business that believes all artists should have affordable yet equal access to every channel of music distribution. They allow you to keep all major royalities without giving up your ownership, making them one of the most successful music distribution establishments in the world right now.

So, how do you get started? Simply sign up. After you sell your music you have so many chances of getting a publishing deal and after that, basically all of the rest follows. Artist services include: Facebook Audio Recognition, TuneCore Track Smarts, Radio Airplay, Professional Mastering, CD Duplication, TuneCore Merch Link, TwitMusic, Band Zoogle, and at Venu.

Digital stores include iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Amazon Music, xbox music, Neurotic Media, Spinlet, Rhapsody, iHeartRadio, KKBox, Anghami, MixRadio, Target Music, rdio, Deezer, emusic, Shazam, Music Unlimited, Guvera, Slacker, beats music, Akazoo, and more.

TuneCore allows you to get a great deal that is fair, allowing you to keep all of your sales revenue. And the best part is, the distribution is easy yet effective and efficient. As you share your music, your fan base will grow. And guess what? Almost 50% of artists performing at the 2014 A3C Hip Hop Festival have distributed their music through TuneCore. Some of these artists include: Chella H, Mike Fresh, Sonny Bonoho, Rich Kidz, Translee, Shome, G4 Boyz, Stranger Day, GoldYard, J. Dash, Signif, Canon, and more.

Whether you are a rock, heavy metal, hip hop, rap, pop, or even country artist, TuneCore needs you. For more information, check out TuneCore right now.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Quest Nutrition Embraces Low Carbohydrates

Quest Nutrition Protein Bars are low in carbohydrates.
They also come in a variety of
different flavors too, making them healthy and delicious.
I know quite a few of my readers have asked me to blog about low carb food. Well, in case you are unaware, I want to introduce you to a brand that embraces the low carb concept in more ways than one, Quest Nutrition.
With everything from protein chips (with only 5 grams of carbohydrates per bag) and pasta to an assortment of protein bars and indulgence, this is a brand you are going to want to introduce to your life.
I have tried almost everything and I can honestly say that if I were to choose a favorite, I really couldn't. However, right now I am loving the 'White Chocolate Raspberry Protein Bar' followed by the 'Cookies & Cream Protein Bar' and the 'Apple Pie Protein Bar'. I love cinnamon, so I guess you could say that I love the 'Cinnamon Roll Protein Bar' too. When I get my period, I cannot live without any of the chocolate. So delicious and guess what? Only 3 gram net carbs in each bar.
 Read my interview with Matt Cadiz, the creative director of Quest Nutrition about the brand here.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

National Vodka Day: How To Make An Amazing Appletini

If you are a fan of Vodka and Apples, you are destined to not only appreciate the "Appletini", but love it, as a result. This amazing, yet fruity and flavorful, apple martini was innovated by Mark Roesler. Although the drink possesses a rarity of ingredients, it remains to be one of the most popular martinis in the world to date.

The Appletini (or Apple Martini) ingredients include: Vodka, Apple Liqueur (or any Apple cordial, such as Apple Pucker or Apple Schnapps), and Apple Juice. Sometimes the famous cordial liqueur Cointreau is added to give this martini it's acquired, yet original flavor. I have developed an amazing, yet delicious spin on the drink.

The Amazing Appletini
3 oz. Vodka (You can use an apple-based vodka such as Absolut's Orient Apple or Smirnoff's Green Apple)1 oz. Apple Schnapps (preferably DeKuyper's Sour Apple Pucker)
1 oz. Apple Juice (Apple Cider is optional)
1 splash of Grenadine
1 splash of Sprite

Combine the Vodka, Apple Schnapps, Apple Juice, Grenadine, and Sprite and serve in an martini cocktail glass.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Happy 11th Birthday Murphy

Today is my amazing cat's 11th birthday. I remember when I first got her 11 years ago. She was about a month old. She was already meowing the moment she walked through the front door, unleashed and ready to take over. My dogs wouldn't allow anyone near her, due to their protective yet maternal instincts. It was the cutest thing.

It's hard to believe she is 11 years old. Where has time gone? I hope she lives until I have my first child. One thing is certain, I am honored and blessed to have a wonderful cat like her. She was amazing then and she's amazing now.
Happy Birthday Cleopatra Dutchess Thomasina Murphy Marilyn Laura LaShonda Afshar Valo!

Check out the video of her singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star".

If you can't see the video, simply click here.

World Vegetarian Day 2014

Today is World Vegetarian Day 2014. As a vegetarian (Lacto Ovo, occasional vegan) for many years of my life, this is a day that promotes compassion and joy while celebrating the ethical, environmental, health, humanitarian, and practical benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle.

I absolutely love being a vegetarian and would recommend it to anyone. I think anyone can do it. If you don't believe me, just ask my amazing man, Joe Valo III, as he has been a Lacto Ovo vegetarian for over a year now.

So, what is a vegetarian? It's simply a lifestyle where one does NOT eat meat, poultry, or fish. In fact, as a vegetarian, does NOT consume any animal flesh at all.

Types of Vegetarians:

Lacto Ovo (or Ovo Lacto) = Does NOT eat meat, poultry, or fish. Does NOT consume any animal flesh. Does eat dairy, eggs, and honey.
Lacto = Does NOT eat meat, poultry, or fish. Does NOT consume animal flesh. Does eat dairy and honey, but does not eat eggs.
Ovo = Does NOT eat meat, poultry, or fish. Does NOT consume animal flesh. Does eat eggs and honey, but does not consume dairy.
Vegan = Does NOT eat meat, poultry, or fish. Does NOT consume animal flesh. Does NOT eat eggs, dairy, or honey.

Fruitarian = Does NOT eat meat, poultry, or fish. Does NOT consume animal flesh. Does NOT eat dairy, eggs, or honey. Only eats fruits, seeds, nuts, etc. that can be garnered without harming the plant.
Raw Vegan = Does NOT eat meat, poultry, or fish. Does NOT consume animal flesh. Does NOT eat dairy, eggs, or honey. Everything is fresh and uncooked.
Sattvic = Does NOT eat meat, poultry, or fish. Does NOT consume animal flesh. May consume dairy, but also excludes eggs and honey. Does NOT eat any vegetables from the allium family such as onions or garlic. Also does not consume bleu cheese, mushrooms, chocolate, nutmeg, or coffee.
Buddhist Vegan = Does NOT eat meat, poultry, or fish. Does NOT consume animal flesh. Does NOT eat eggs, dairy, or honey. Does NOT consume any vegetables from allium family. This includes: onions, garlic, leeks, chives, scallions, etc.
Jain = Does NOT eat meat, poultry, or fish. Does NOT consume animal flesh. Also does not consume eggs or honey, but can consume dairy. Also does not consume root vegetables.
Macrobiotic = Does NOT eat meat, poultry, or fish. Does NOT consume animal flesh. Does NOT eat eggs, dairy, or honey. Only consumes whole grains and beans.

If you are just starting, try the Pesce-vegetarian lifestyle (Pescetarianism), which excludes meat and poultry, but does include fish and seafood. It also includes dairy, eggs, and honey. You can also follow the Pollar-vegetarian lifestyle (Pollartarianism), which excludes meat, but still includes poultry and fish, as well as, seafood. Start as a semi-vegetarian and gradually build into the lifestyle.

Vegetarian Articles:
Vegetarian/Vegan Substitutes (I am currently updating this list, but keep in bookmarked for more additions, as well as, changes.)
Happy Burger Day: Veggie Burgers
Food Talk: Exclusive Interview with Gardein
It's Official, I'm Done Drinking Dairy Milk
Food Talk: 10 Luscious Late Night Bites for Vegetarians

Vegetarian Recipes:
Vegan Lamb (Vamb) 
Khoresht Bodemjoon
Ghormeh Sabzi
Violet Velvet Cake
Sarah's Ultimate Hickory Smoked Deli Sandwich
Sarah's Veganog

Vegetarian Reviews:
Smart Dogs, Veggie Protein Links by Lightlife
Gardein's Home Style Beefless Tips, a great twist to healthy eating

Monday, September 29, 2014

One of the reasons I love Joe so much

Joe is a man of many talents, which is one of the reasons I am not only in love with him, but never fell out of love with him. As you can see, he has serious moves. And guess what? He taught himself.

National Coffee Day 2014

Today is not only Monday, September 28th, it is also National Coffee Day. Coffee is one of my favorite ingredients. Not only do I find coffee amazing to drink, but I love to use it in my cooking. I also love to use it on my skin. I remember when I was 7 years old when my grandmother had me make a pot of coffee. Ever since, I have been quite an enthusiast.  

JIVA Coffee Cubes are amazing and one of my favorite coffee
drinks to enjoy. They are great with water or with almond, coconut,
or even soy milk.
Cinnamon Dolce Frappe, one of my favorite coffee drinks
in the world today.

When it comes to coffee and CLICK, the two just go together.
In fact, much like coffee and mornings. One of the best proteins
you will ever use.
Caramel Frappuccino, one of my favorite
coffee drinks from Starbucks.

Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino is one of my favorite
coffee drinks, especially when that time of the month
Amore di Mona makes incredible chocolate and one of my favorite "pieces"
is definitely the Caramela with the crunchy coffee beans or the Chocolate
with the crunchy coffee beans.
So, for National Coffee Day, I decided to share some of my favorite "coffee" related drinks. Happy Coffee Day! Enjoy!