Rouxbe Essential Vegan Desserts – Graduation

I can’t believe it’s been two months since I graduated from the Rouxbe’s Essential Vegan Dessert Course. I just want to send a BIG thank you to all my culinary mentors at Rouxbe for this wonderful experience!

During this course, I learned to make delectable vanilla coconut cakes,  addicting drop biscuits, luxurious chocolate cakes,  graham crackers, rustic fruit desserts and a plethora of “Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts” to quote our fantastic teacher, Fran Costigan  aka Queen of the Vegan Desserts.

In order to graduate, we were asked to prepared five one-bite desserts.  This was my final dessert showcase:

{German}  Black Forest Parfait – Multiple layers of chocolate cake, coconut whipped cream and cherry syrup, topped with a wild Italian Amarena Cherry  preserved in syrup and a drizzle of Kirschwasser. 

{Nicaraguan} Mini Tres Leches Triffle –  Luscious Lemony Cream with vanilla coconut cake, coconut shreds, evaporated coconut milk, condensed coconut milk and aquafaba meringue, topped with a banana chip

{USA} Peanut Butter Mousse in Chocolate Candy Cups – prepared with firm tofu, maple syrup, peanut butter, Dutch-processed cocoa, vanilla and almond extract.

{Thai Inspired} Dragon Fruit and Raspberry Mini Cheesecakes – prepared with pecans, dates, cashews, coconut cream, coconut oil, brown rice syrup, vanilla extract and dragon fruit.

{ Spain – Inspired} Chocolate Cake with Orange Cream – a simple chocolate cake with a soft orange tofu cream topped with a small mandarin and mint

{Spanish Inspired} Mini Chocolate Cake with Orange Cream and Mandarins

Hope you enjoyed it! 
For more information about Rouxbe’s Essential Vegan Dessert Course, check out my previous post here. If you are thinking about joining this course ( who wouldn’t? *:x lovestruck ), drop me a line.  Join me on Facebook and Instagram at @sunshineandkale.






Rouxbe Essential Vegan Desserts

What is my next culinary adventure?  Rouxbe Essential Vegan Desserts.

It’s a 90-day online intensive course led by world-famous vegan pastry chef Fran Costigan. It’s based on her popular  Vegan Baking Boot Camp Intensive taught at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City. 


The course includes 50 videos and  100 hours of coursework focusing on essential techniques and recipes so students can create vegan desserts with confidence. We’ll practice over 85 recipes to prepare decadents desserts ranging from pies, cakes, tarts and cookies to aquafaba, mousses, gels, trifles and sauces. Is your mouth watering yet? 

vegan-dessertsFollow me on this SWEET journey by subscribing to my blog.

I’ll be posting pictures on Facebook and Instagram as well @sunshineandkale.

For more information about this course, check Rouxbe Vegan Desserts 

Graduated from Rouxbe Cooking School

Congratulate me, please! On November 13th, I received my Professional Plant-Based Certification from Rouxbe Cooking School! My final grade: 100%.

Rouxbe Graduation

In order to graduate, I had to pass a written exam ( 200 questions in 2 1/2 hours) and a practical. This consisted in holding a shindig party with a minimal of 5 small plant-based plates. This was Rouxbe’s criteria:

“You’ll need to take 5 photos. These photos need to demonstrate each small bite that you decided to prepare (e.g. shooter, canapé, skewer or small handheld recipe that you wanted to share at your party). Each photo must creatively capture Rouxbe’s website or logo in the background. Creativity, presentation and level of effort put into this activity does count here so have fun with it”

My shindig  party theme was Latin Fusion. This is what I ended up serving for a total of 21 guests ( including 15 adults, 5 kids and 1 baby).  

(Raw) Spanish Cucumber & Watermelon Gazpacho  


(Raw) Mexican “Tacos” with Cilantro Aioli


Cuban Papas Rellenas ( Stuffed Potatoes) With Meatless “Picadillo”

Papas Rellenas
Tostones Rellenos (Stuffed Green Plantains) With Jackfruit Carnitas

Tostones Rellenos
(Raw) Mojito Cheesecake With Chocolate Ganache Torte


This was my last assignment for Rouxbe Cooking school! I want to thank my mom,  the best cook I’ve ever known. I miss spending entire weekends with her in the kitchen! I want to thank my husband, Jason DG, for holding the fort at home throughout the course and for  all of the quality control testing ;-p

 I also want to send a BIG thanks to everyone that has inspired me on this wonderful plant-based cooking journey including Chad Sarno, Ken Rubin, Dawn Thomas and all of my Rouxbe classmates!! I am feeling grateful!

I promise to share recipes for all these dishes and more in 2015!

Arts + Artisans – Painting on plates and canvasses

Last Thursday, I was invited to my first Yelp Elite Event. Thanks to my friend, artist and devoted “yelper” Carmen Vega. The Art + Artisan event took place in the Distinction Gallery in Escondido. It was hosted by the ArtHatch Teen Program.  What is ArtHatch? It’s a local non-profit organization that provides a forum for at risk youth to become familiar with and appreciate other cultures.

Yelp sign

My friend Carmen Vega

This is the information that Yelp sent out prior to the engagement:

“This will be an Alice & Wonderland-like explanatory event: There will be something amazing behind every door in the gallery venue! Artist, local libations and more, you’ll be surprised at every turn. Artist in residence will be in house creating pieces before your very eyes”

Distinction Gallery

Distinction Gallery

The list of participating businesses included: Dolce Italia, Johnny Appleseed Cider, Vintana Wine + Dine and many more. They all offered samples to the “yelpers” visitors.  Vegan options? Not too many! But I had the most delicious 100% plant-based salad prepared by Chef Lance Roll also known as The Flavor Chef.  His salad included rainbow chards, strawberries and peaches drizzled with a delicate balsamic vinaigrette. He probably added a little bit of his business motto to the salad too: “Love is the ultimate spice”.

The Flavor Chef

The Flavor Chef

The featured artists included: Bryan Steward, Cathrine Edlinger-Kunze, Elena Karavodin, Jamie Kanes, Jennifer Anichowski, and many more.  I had the chance to talk to most of them about their inspirations and techniques.


Dali 2

I am scared

Gallery Main Floor


The evening went by really fast and Yelp’s promise of a “night of artistic adventure and delicious local businesses” was nicely delivered. I headed back home completely inspired and full of ideas.

As you know, I love spending quality time in my kitchen, developing new healthy recipes and experimenting with seasonal produce, color and textures. I enjoy the creative process as much as a painter does. At the end of the day, it’s all the same: My plate is my canvas. I truly believe there is art everywhere!

Over the next few months, I am going to be learning how to add color to my dishes by drying vegetables ( maybe some beets, cabbage, carrots) and grinding them into powders.  This is one of my most-anticipated lessons at Rouxbe Cooking School.


Photo Credit: Rouxbe Cooking School

While I am looking forward to using these beautiful colors in my dishes, I am equally excited about applying these powders to real canvasses. A couple of artist at the gallery gave me some nice suggestions including mixing the powders with walnut oil and linseed oil. I am hoping to create highly concentrated pigmented powders that will stick nicely to the canvas. We’ll see how this all plays out. I haven’t painted in decades but I already know what I am going to call this one. It has something to do with Mise En Place!

This will probably be my fall season project. Stay tuned!

Raw Coconut Hazelnut Truffles

As you probably know, three days ago (May 15th), I started culinary school at Rouxbe Cooking School. The first two days, I set up my profile, wrote down my cooking goals for the next 6 months and watched the orientation videos. Overall, it looks like a pretty solid program that is going to keep me crazy-busy in the kitchen. On the other hand, the great news is that I am going to be eating most of my assignments. I love this perk!

Today,  I worked on my first homework assignment: Make Your Go-To Dish. We were asked to prepare a plant-based recipe that is part of our regular culinary repertoire. “It can be a simple dish, such as a starter, a soup, a favorite salad, or even a more involved entree”.   As part of the assignment, we needed to upload 3 pictures of our  favorite go-to dish: Grading criteria:

  • 1 “mice en place shot” – max 6 points
  • 1 recipe in process shot – max 6 points
  • 1 finished dish shot – max 8 points

After much deliberation, I decided to prepare my latest favorite concoction. This is what I submitted to the school:

Raw Coconut Hazelnut Truffles

This is my go-to energy-boosting snack. These raw coconut hazelnut truffles are the perfect snack and post workout treat. The recipe is simple but packed with flavor.

Photo 1 – Set up


Photo 2 – Recipe in process


Photo 3 – Finished dish



1 ½ cup of (wet) hazelnut pulp (from homemade hazelnut milk)
12-14 Medjool dates
½ cup of coconut flour
2 tablespoons of organic virgin coconut oil
1 ½ teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup of organic coconut flakes (for rolling)
Dipping sauce (optional)
1 cup of frozen raspberries
1 Banana


Place dates in the food processor and puree until a thick paste is formed. Transfer the date paste to a mixing bowl and combine with the rest of the ingredients. Using your hands, roll the mixture into bite-size truffles. Roll each truffle into the coconut flakes. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

For the dipping sauce, place the raspberries and banana in the food processor and puree.

This recipe makes approximately 15 truffles.

Enjoy it!  

My new culinary adventure

Starting May 15th, I’ll be attending culinary schools. I am getting a Plant-Based Professional Certification from Rouxbe Cooking School. This program is lead by world-renowned chef Chad Sarno. He is also the co-author of  the book  “Crazy Sexy Kitchen”. Actor Woody Harrelson calls him the “Michael Jordan of vegan foods”.


Photo Credit: Rouxbe Cooking School

These are some of the delicious, colorful, plant-based meals I will be preparing over the course of the next six months.

Photo Credit: Rouxbe Cooking School

Photo Credit: Rouxbe Cooking School

Please join me as I embark on this new exciting culinary adventure. Of course, my kitchen will be open to all my family, friends and virtual followers.