Muddy Paws: Vegetarian Cheesecake for a Cause

MuddyPaws Cheesecake |

So many good flavors and presentations.

Recently, I noticed a retweet from a Twin Cities vegan Twitter account that mentioned @MPCheesecake. I love cheesecake (it’s my cake of choice) and love anything sweet that can be made vegan. And the logo/mascot/name were a great combo, so I contacted Tami, the brains/face/leader of Muddy Paws Cheesecake.

I was very intrigued when I saw it was a shop that could do vegan and gluten-free cheesecakes, has 222 flavors and has been open about two decades. How did it take me nine months of living in the Twin Cities before I heard about such a place, and in the west suburbs near where I live, no less!?!? Tami invited me to Muddy Paws, and I quickly accepted.

Muddy Paws Menu |

Look at this menu!

I arrived at the St. Louis Park, Minnesota, store and Tami gave me a tour. Right away she mentioned how there was just a tasting for a wedding, saying that events and serving local restaurants is where a lot of her business comes from. With all the unique flavors and presentation and love and attention put behind each cheesecake, I can see why. When looking at the kitchen, she mentioned there is a separate mixer for the vegan and gluten-free cakes, which have been around since 2003, and beyond a mixer and oven, everything else is made from scratch without preservatives and with local ingredients when possible. She said it takes 40 hours for one cake from start to finish.

Tami says Muddy Paws is one of five cheesecake bakeries in the nation that crafts cheesecake from scratch, artisan style, just like you’d make at home. She describes the process and results as “kind of like being an artist or musician, making a product you feel passionate about.”

And it’s great she has that passion, as she makes on average 50 cakes a day, with the most popular being raspberry swirl and turtle. The 36 “traditional cheesecake” flavors are always available by the slice or cake to take home. I tried a few different cakes, and I can vouch they all taste exactly like the flavor, without fillers or artificial ingredients. The turtle was good, but they key lime was exactly as key lime should be, and took me straight back to South Florida.

MuddyPawsSign | KaleAndAle.comThe unique name comes from Tami’s four years of veterinary school and love of animals through rescues. Muddy Paws is very active in volunteering, as Tami donates all proceeds to charities. And this Tuesday, Dec. 2, with a donation of a toy or pet food, you can sample some cheesecake while you are helping local charities. Muddy Paws will host the 22nd annual event, which will include live music, a photo booth, local crafts for sale and of course cheesecake!

Links I Love: November 2014

I haven’t done a roundup of links in a looong time! (What have I done recently on this blog?? Ba-ziiing.) But I found a few good links and was thinking of posting one or two on the Kale and Ale Facebook page. You are a fan, right? If not, “like” Kale and Ale on Facebook here.

Anyway, below are a few fun links I want to pass along. And please share what you have been reading and loving in the comments below!

You’ll Want to Travel for These 10 Craft Beers: Well hello my neighbor No. 1. Yes, yes I would.

The United States of Thanksgiving: What. The. Heck. This feature told a classic Thanksgiving dish representative of each state. Some were so, so right. Mojo turkey for Florida, pecan pie for Georgia. But “thanksgiving cookies” for Iowa. What are those, honestly? And I have no clue what Minnesota’s was supposed to be. Neither did this person on the NPR rebuttal story, that is more worth the read than the original story.

And this is perfect if you know me and how I try and make anything pumpkin savory flavored or go to great lengths to find pumpkin beer in the fall: “Nobody wants anything pumpkin flavored from December through August.”

Autumn 2014 update

Hellloooo! And a huge thank you for reading, and sticking with me. First, I’m sorry I have been MIA for many months, but summer (and now fall) has flown by. I looked back on how little I’ve blogged these past few months, and I’m disappointed. But this post will tell you a little about what I’ve been up to and why I’ve been missing. And, I really hope to post at least a few times a month in the near future. And I think that might be possible, so please stay tuned and continue reading.

When I looked back at my posts and realized the last time I blogged with regularity, it was week two of my CSA. And my 18-week CSA ended this Wednesday. Sad, because I haven’t blogged for four months, and because my produce is gone. But there was a lot of produce, in beautiful fall colors, this week.

Last #csa of the season. Look at all that fall color!

A photo posted by Valerie (@kaleandale) on


Not knowing how long summer or fall would last, I have taken advantage of outdoor activities, such as Valleyfair amusement park, the Minneapolis Sculpture garden, and Oktoberfest.

Spoonbridge and the city.

A photo posted by Valerie (@kaleandale) on


I also went to “The Book of Mormon” and the club made famous by Prince, First Avenue, to see La Roux.

ValFirstAve |

My first time at First Ave!


As if all this wasn’t enough, I have had friends in town, and I’ve gone to visit my family in Iowa and road tripped to Milwaukee for my cousin’s wedding, with a stop in Madison for a vegetarian lunch at the Green Owl.

Green Owl Madison |

Vegan schnitzel at the Green Owl in Madison, Wisconsin.

Uber Bar Milwaukee |

It was a wise choice to hit up Uber Taproom and Cheese Bar while in Milwaukee.


When in Rome …. #MrAndMrsTwiggy #Milwaukee #Brewers


A photo posted by Valerie (@kaleandale) on


Although I haven’t been sitting still, the real reason I haven’t blogged is because I haven’t been cooking as much as I like, and I just haven’t had any more hours in the week to blog. That is because a month ago I closed on my first house. So, now I’m a homeowner! I spent Friday cooking my last CSA veggies in my new kitchen, and it was wonderful. And after I finish this blog post, I’m going to make some energy bites. And I’ve been busy raking, painting, moving, getting situated and taking a lot of trips to home stores. And it’s been crazy and exciting. So, as I have time to cook, I hope to get back to blogging more. And as the house comes together, I hope to share some pictures and stories of it with you. Thanks for sticking around and reading this post, even though it’s been long overdue. And cheers to the blog and a healthy life!

Popping bottle at my new house. #homeowner

A photo posted by Valerie (@kaleandale) on

Chipotle fauxfritas

Homemade Chipotle sofritas burrito bowl. |

Homemade Chipotle sofritas burrito bowl.

I’ve already shared my love for Fauxpotle, my name for homemade Chipotle burrito bowls. So when I had the new vegan protein, sofritas, I wanted to make it at home asap. And asap turned out to be about 10 days after I had it.

Chipotle sofritas are, according to the Chipotle website, “organic tofu from Hodo Soy that we shred and then braise with chipotle chilis, roasted poblanos and a blend of aromatic spices. The result is a delicious, spicy tofu that will give vegans and carnivores something they both will love.”

I was in Denver, the home base of Chipotle, so I made a point to stop at the restaurant and try the meal. I actually hopped with excitement when I saw it on the menu. It hasn’t made it to Minnesota or Iowa, although I have heard it will eventually be nationwide and a rumor has it it might make it to the Twin Cities in October (please don’t tease).

Homemade tofu sofritas filling. |

Homemade tofu sofritas filling.

Sofritas were so good, filling and—perhaps most importantly—spicy! My eyeballs were feeling the heat when I had a sofritas burrito bowl with hot sauce, and that is hard to achieve based on my high tolerance for heat. I wasn’t even out of Colorado when I searched online for a make-at-home version of Chipotle Sofritas. I found what I was looking for in this Copycat Chipotle Sofritas Recipes, and I was easy to make and worth the effort. I actually might make double next time and freeze some. This was so good and a great addition to my current Chipotle Fauxfrita bowl.

Are Chipotle Sofritas available where you live? What are your thoughts on the protein?

Healthy blended fruit drink

If today isn’t the perfect day in Minnesota for a relaxing, healthy frozen cocktail, I don’t know what kind of day is. Summer is here, and it’s perfect. Just the right amount of breeze, warm, sun beating down. This is the one day of the year I’m waiting for.

And if this day is perfect in Minnesota, this frozen blended drink is needed all points south, asap! I love how simple this is to make, how it’s so basic in a whole foods kind of way, and how refreshing and satisfying it is.

Healthy blended fruit drink |

Healthy blended fruit drink

For the base, I used a frozen fruit blend of mango. pineapple and strawberries, but you can use whatever you like or have around. And the coconut water keeps it refreshing and beachy without weighing it down with calories or density. Just these two ingredients, plus rum, equal a light, healthy blended fruit drink. The recipe below makes one drink.

Healthy blended fruit drink


  • 1.5 cups frozen fruit
  • 3 ounces rum
  • 8 ounces coconut water


Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.