Monday, 20 March 2017

VEGAN MATCHA CACAO CAKE


Organic Vegan Matcha and Cacao Cake
Dabbling in the Dark Arts:  vegan baking! ;)

I'm detoxifying from my 8 days of over-indulgence in Cancun, Mexico at one of the best all-inclusive resorts I've visited.  The Club Med we stayed at had so many activities that there was something for everybody: archery, trapeze, sailing, SUP, tennis...

We did it all...and of course I spent the first 2 days sleeping on the beach just to catch up on missed relaxation time! The food was very good too!  I tried my best to eat healthy, gf & all that.  By the 4th day, I was pretty much sick of the buffet lines and was mostly eating from the salad area.  But hey, what's a vacation if you don't eat dessert right?  I had my fair share of flan and tiny portioned dainty cakes & desserts too.  Skip to the recipe on the bottom if you don't want to hear about my back woes! lol.
Organic Ceremonial Grade Matcha is sifted over the cake after removal from the springform pan
I think I was pretty good with my workouts though!  I worked out every day except for the day we went to visit Tulum.  On the last day, I worked our for 2 1/2 hours in the morning and I was pretty much practicing IF.  I was doing fasted workouts:  weights, kettlebells and some cardio on the elliptical or treadmill to finish up. Then I would join my fam for lunch at the buffet for my first meal of the day.  I was down to 2 meals because frankly, I wasn't that hungry considering each meal was a buffet bonanza.  Unfortunately,  on the last day, I tweaked my back reaching for the two 25 lb dumbbells.  I felt a sort of a pop (ugh).  It was not great on the plane ride home and upon waking up in Vancouver on the first day back home, I could barely walk.  Yesterday I did some self-adjustments (lying on the ground, knees up, pushing/pulling on my knees alternately using my own musculature, mobility and strength to try to realign my spine & pelvis).  Today I visited my friend who is a chiropractor and I'm feeling a lot better but I've got to keep up those stretches.

Since my garden's frozen, I used dried rosebuds to decorate. The petals are crispy & add a floral scent
My GP's advice is to try low carbing it to lose more weight (it's dang difficult with Hashimoto's disease) despite my working out several hours every week consistently. Also, I have a feeling he's going to be putting me on iron supplements again.  I try to eat more protein because of this (I'm not vegan...sorry, it would compromise my health which is pretty wonky as it is).  My blood work I had done recently showed I was iron deficient :(   I told him I was losing lots of hair for the past year and bit and ya know, I used to have tons of hair before all my thyroid issues.   It sux.  Everything about Hashi's sux. Especially trying to figure out on my own what works and doesn't work with feeling optimally healthy.  I know for sure I've built up lots of muscle this past year.  The other day, I had to scratch my tricep area. Dang if I didn't feel surprised as I hit hard muscle! ya! No batwings for this English teacher.  One thing I'd like to avoid is having the waggling triceps I've witnessed in my youth as teachers wrote on the blackboard. *horrors!* lol
A hot sharp knife creates a clean cut with this frozen raw vegan cake
This raw vegan nice-cream cake is a good start to me re-igniting that low-carb lifestyle I used to lead. It's been so hard with trying to be gluten free that I didn't think I could take away even more from my diet.  My fave cruciferous veggies which was my primary diet prior to Hashi's have been put on the "moderation" list now because of all the goitrogens.  This cake has nuts, which my kid is allergic to...but I'll be working on another (better! new improved!) recipe to try to get rid of the nuts so that we can enjoy eating a cake together.  If it's not one thing it's another, eh?   So the holy grail of my life is a cake that is: low carb/ketogenic, nut free & gluten free.  It would be nice if it could be vegan too. But I am thinking it'll be difficult without the nuts.   Stay tuned for more experiments!  I have a ton of flavour variations planned and I'm going to get rid of the bananas and make this creamier like a cheesecake but without nuts! ya! no kidding! and pie! yes...for my pie-loving friends! gf, vegan, dairy free pie coming up next :)
A slice of zen. This little cake makes you feel all self-righteous and healthy. The tiny slice I had with my espresso is low  carb, paleo, ketogenic, gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free and dairy-free.  
VEGAN MATCHA CACAO CAKE
Crust:
1/3 cup organic raw almonds
1 tablespoon organic coconut oil
2 medjool dates, pitted
a pinch of Pink Himalayan sea salt

Nice Cream Layers:
4 frozen bananas
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
optional: a bit of almond mylk, soy, coconut or regular milk, cream or water to get it going in the processor, if needed
Matcha Layer:
1 tsp organic ceremonial grade matcha; plus more for dusting the tops for serving
Cacao Layer:
1 tsp organic cacao powder

Special equipment:  
2 4-inch springform pans, lined with parchment circles

Crust:
  1. Pulse the almonds, coconut oil and dates with a pinch of sea salt in a food processor [I used my Bullet] until the almonds are evenly ground and combined with the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Divide the mixture between the two parchment-lined springform pans. Press the crust mixture into the bottoms of the two prepared springform pans. 
  3. Place the pans into the freezer for 30 minutes, or until the crust is set.
Nice Cream Layers:
  1. In a high-powered blender [I used my Vitamix] combine the frozen bananas, maple syrup and vanilla and pulse to combine.  If you find it difficult to get it going, add some liquid (any milk or water a teaspoon at a time) to get it going.  Increase speed and blend until smooth.
  2. Divide the nice cream into 2 bowls
  3. Matcha Layer: in a small bowl, mix a tiny bit of hot water with your matcha powder to make a runny paste and mix the paste into one of the nice cream bowls.  Thoroughly combine. Cover and reserve in refrigerator
  4. Cacao Layer:  Mix the cacao powder with a tiny bit of hot water to make a runny paste and continue mixing until it's smooth.  Add this to the other bowl and combine thoroughly.
  5. Pour the Cacao Layer onto the two prepared frozen almond/date crusts.  Place them back in freezer for at least 30 minutes, or until set.  I lightly touch the surface to ensure it has a solid surface before proceeding with the next step.
  6. Take out the matcha layer bowl from the fridge and divide the contents equally amongst the two pans.  Place in the freezer for 4+ hours; freezing until firm
  7. To serve:  Remove your springform rings from the bottoms and plate. Dust with the extra matcha powder (you can also dust with cacao powder).  Decorate with fresh berries or other fruit or flowers.  Allow the cakes to warm up for about 15 min at room temperature before serving.  If you want to cut the cakes, heat a sharp knife under hot water before slicing.  Keep uneaten cakes in freezer, covered until ready to serve.



Sunday, 5 March 2017

BRAIDED LATTICE APPLE PIE

Braided Lattice Apple Pie!
Humble Pie

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

TOTORO BUTTER COOKIES WITH MATCHA LEAVES



SO, this is me lesson prepping for tomorrow's Creative Writing 11 Book Chat tomorrow.  I had my students select a Canadian Novel for an independent project which culminates in a Tea 'n Cookies Book Chat with their peers.


Silly me...I asked what they'd like me to bake and they said "Totoro Cookies!"  
I don't know why I was hoping they'd all say "CAKE!" --but they didn't.  
Ah well.  They're not for me to eat anyway!

I used matcha powder to create tiny leaf cookies to rest on Totoro's head.  With the leftover matcha dough I made some larger leaf cookies 'cause I didn't want to make any more of those time-consuming tiny leaves anymore 🤣


I added black sesame paste to a blob of cookie dough in order to make the tiny black sesame sprites. They were so cute but something about grey cookies is so unappealing to many people.  I guess they don't look appetizing being the colour of soot!


Raw cookie dough is so tasty-looking to me.  I prefer how it looks to the baked product because you can see the crisp lines and Totoro's cute expression very clearly.

In case you want to make these with a totoro cutter, be aware that they cost $$$.  All you have to do is google it and you'll find plenty of styles of Totoro cutters to buy.  Before I bought a cutter, I used a cardboard template that I cut out.  I traced the cookies with a knife and they were tedious but they turned out well.  Alternatively, if you're crafty you can cut up an Arizona Tea can and create your own personalized cookie cutter.  I have a pusheen one that I made like that because I'm too cheapie to pay money for more cutters.  

Totoro Vanilla Butter Cookies 
  • 2 Cups unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Large egg 
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 5 Cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp teaspoon coarse salt
  • OPTIONAL: 1 teaspoon matcha powder (for the matcha leaves)
  • OPTIONAL: 1 teaspoon black sesame paste (or ground black sesame seeds) (for the soot sprites)

  1. Preheat oven to 350degrees F.
  2. Put butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in whole egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour and salt and mix until combined.
  3. Halve dough; shape each half into a disk. Place one disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate. You can use the other half for the optional coloured decorations or soot sprite cookies.  Continue making cookies with the remaining refrigerated dough.
  4. Roll out dough and cut with a template or cutter.  Transfer cookies to parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  5. OPTIONAL LEAVES & SOOT SPRITES:  take a handful of dough and add 1 teaspoon of matcha powder to it, kneading until thoroughly combined. Roll out and cut into tiny leaves to decorate Totoro's head.  Take a handful of dough and knead in 1 teaspoon black sesame paste and knead thoroughly until combined.  Roll out and cut into soot sprites.
  6. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until lightly browned (Totoro's ears will get brown first, so watch them)  The soot sprites will take only 10-12 minutes and the tiny leaves take 7 min.
  7. Let cool on wire racks. Store in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.


Tuesday, 21 February 2017

MINI MOCHI CUPCAKES: MATCHA & CHOCOLATE

Basho's gone, but you can make these Mini Mochi Cupcakes yourself!

Do you miss this tiny Japanese cafe on E. Hastings street?  Well, cry no more because you can easily make these mini gluten-free Japanese sweets.  Just pull out your knitting needles, knit a cozy for your potted succulent plant and whip up some matcha tea to go along with your sweets.

This mochi recipe is highly adaptable; you can add your own unique flavours.  Stay tuned for more flavour possibilities!

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Happy Lunar New Year!


Celebrate with cake!
Happy Chinese New Year! 
Gung Hay Fat Choy!   Sun Neen Fai Lok!

It's the year of the rooster...and today married Chinese people everywhere are handing out red envelopes to kids.  So the kids are raking in the money$$$

My kid's birthday party is today and she wanted a DQ ice cream cake, which means pretty much nothing for me to blog about.  So I made my go-to cake for all-around snackin' while the kids indulged in their oreo blizzard ice cream cake.  

This Coconut Chiffon Cake is made from coconut oil instead of veg oil or butter, which gives it a nice light coconut scent and flavour.  Because I'm gluten intolerant (hello Hashimoto's disease...you suck) I used my current fave gf flour mix that I picked up from Costco in the States.  Costco Canada doesn't carry it here in Vancouver which is a shame. 

I wish you Health, Wealth & Happiness this Lunar year and may your celebrations be filled with a good amount of cake too!
Gluten Free Coconut Chiffon Cake with berries

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Drip Cake: Chocolate Quinoa Layer Cake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream (gluten free)


Made my own Birthday Cake. Yes I did😆
6 inch GF Chocolate Quinoa Cake layers and Vanilla Bean Buttercream
This is my favourite part of making a cake


Decorated with my fave goodies: matcha macaron, Lindt chocolate balls, dragées, a mini KitKat and mini Coffee Crisp and crushed macaron shells
The chocolate ganache was perfect. I threw dragées on the side of the cake too and they stuck🙌
It's late November and the only thing blooming in my garden are these little purple Daikon flowers.  I just let the daikon go to seed and never did harvest the daikon (so bitter!)  The flowers sure are pretty...and edible
Scroll down past the recipes to watch a video of me assembling the layers

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Gluten Free Oatmeal-Banana Bread


My 9 yr old's Gluten Free Oatmeal-Banana Bread...all made in the Vitamix!

I'm the only person in the household that avoids gluten because of my autoimmune disease...Hashimoto's.  One of the things I miss a lot is a really good Banana Bread...full of gluten. There's something about the texture of gluten-full banana bread that I miss!  But lucky for you I hit upon a lovely oat flour banana bread that is not only super easy to make (in one container!) but has an amazing texture and flavour.


She made mini doughnuts too! They were absolutely delicious with my espresso...and my 15 hours of marking

Friday, 27 May 2016

CONDENSED MILK POUND CAKE WITH ORGANIC GROUND VANILLA


Condensed Milk Pound Cake with Organic Ground Vanilla

That Organic Raw Ground Vanilla was very expensive.  Like $54. I had plopped it into the basket when my husband wasn't looking.  

Friday, 1 January 2016

Itty Bitty Lemon Meringue Tartlets!


Mini Lemon Meringue Tartlets
Pucker up! Mini Lemon Meringue Tartlets for the New Year!

Wishing you all a healthy, happy, delicious 2016 full of laughter and good times!

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

A Very Merry Totoro Christmas to You!



I regret that for the majority of my life I had not watched the movie My Neighbor Totoro (となりのトトロ) the 1988 Japanese animation written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, and produced by Studio Ghibli.  Just last year my kids and I watched it at home and thereafter I was smitten.


Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Birthday Pie! Flaky All-Butter Crust Apple Pie

Birthday Pie

Organic cold unsalted butter sliced in 1/4 inch pieces in my food processor, along with only 2/3 of the flour mixture...ready for pulsing.

Several years ago, my friend confided to me that he doesn't like birthday cake (gasp!)
I remembered that.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Garlic Scapes Potstickers

Garlic Scapes! My fave ingredient for amazing home-made potstickers

These are Garlic Scapes.  They are not hollow like scallions or chives but have a solid core.  They are very mild in flavour and a wonderful addition to homemade potstickers.  I threw in a few stalks of green onion also (can you spot them?) because they just happened to be in the fridge too.

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