Friday, 24 October 2014

Carrot themed post: carrot cupcakes + carrot soup

Happy Friday y'all!

It has been another busy week. I was off work on Monday and Tuesday (which means I work this weekend, unfortunately), and was able to spend time doing what relaxes me most: cooking and baking. I have been fighting a cold for a while now, while The Husband has been in full-on man-cold mode. This, combined with the ever-present emotional roller-coaster of the whole infertility/adoption thing, and you have the winning formula for a drained and blubbery wife.
Thankfully, there is always cake to bring me back to sanity.

The flavour of the week: carrot cupcakes with "cream cheese" icing. I am using quotes here, because I actually made my own cream cheese out of cashews using this recipe, but you can just use plain old cream cheese, of course. To get an idea of how delicious these cupcakes were, know that I was planning on taking them to work after The Husband and I sampled a couple. Well, I regret to inform you, dear coworkers, that The Husband and I ended up eating all 10 cupcakes in 3 days. Enough said.

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing: 

For the cupcakes:

- 1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup canned coconut milk, mixed well before measuring
- 1/4 canola oil
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1.5 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup finely grated carrots
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup pineapple tidbits, drained

Preheat oven to 350F and line a cupcake pan with 10 liners.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon.
In another, medium bowl, whisk together coconut milk, oil, applesauce, apple cider vinegar and vanilla.
Pour wet ingredients over dry and mix until just combined. Fold in the carrots, raisins, walnuts and pineapple.
Fill liners and bake for 18-20 mins. Wait until the cupcakes are completely cooled before icing.

For the icing:

- 3/4 cup cream cheese
- 1.5 cups icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat all the ingredients together and spread a thin layer on each cupcake.
Reward yourself with one.


The carrot recipe that I will share now is quick, easy, and probably healthier than the cupcakes if you are looking for a main course.

Carrot Coconut Curry Soup:

- 1 medium sweet onion, roughly chopped
- 1.5 lbs unpeeled and roughly chopped carrots
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1.5 tbsp red curry paste
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 can coconut milk
- 4 cups veggie broth
- salt + pepper, to taste

In a large pot, sauté the onions in olive oil until they are starting to soften, then add carrots and sauté for a few more minutes. Add cumin, curry and ginger and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add coconut milk and veggie broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes or until the carrots are just soft. Blend the soup in batches, return to pot, season with salt and pepper, and enjoy!


One more baking effort worth mentioning is that I made bagels. I don't often buy bagels because of the crappy ingredients that most brands contain, which means that we don't often eat bagels....that has now changed, thanks to this recipe.

And for those who are curious to see how my cashew "cream cheese" turned out, here ya go!

Not too shabby!


Have a great weekend my friends!

Friday, 17 October 2014

Red curry lentil soup + Slow cooker baked beans

I'm back!

What an amazing experience this Victoria marathon was. We got to catch up with good friends, tour around a beautiful city, eat some delicious food - and I achieved my goal of running the race in under 4 hours. As usual, I started feeling very sick after 25K or so, and the last hour was a struggle. A constant battle in my head that goes something like this:
"Ugh, I'm so sick; let's just walk for a bit" "No, you can't walk, you said you were going to finish this thing in under 4 hours" "How about not finishing at all? We could just stop all together, call The Husband and get tucked into bed!" "Are you kidding me? We didn't come all this way to give up 6 miles back from the finish line!"..... etc, etc, etc.
Positive Me won over Negative Me. And this victory over my self-doubts makes me feel like I can do ANYTHING.

I'm already feeling back to normal, and starting to think about the next marathon. I'm weird like that.


Back in Whitehorse, fall is definitely here, along with cravings for warm comfort food.

This red curry lentil soup is sure to warm you up! It's not very spicy - just very flavourful. Feel free to add a few veggies in there - I didn't have much on hand when I made this!

Red Curry Lentil Soup:

- 1 small sweet onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp red curry paste
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 2 tsp ketchup
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 1/2 cups dried split red lentils
- 1 28oz can diced tomatoes, with their liquid
- 3 cups veggie broth
- 1 can corn
- juice of 1 lime
- salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pot, sauté the onion in olive oil for a few minutes, until soft. Add garlic, curry paste, cumin, nutmeg and ginger and cook for another few minutes.
Add all other ingredients except for lime juice, salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer for about 40 minutes.
Add lime juice and season with salt and pepper before serving. Delicious with brown rice, cornbread or homemade biscuits!


This morning, I had some spare time before work and decided to experiment with baked beans in the slow cooker. They did not disappoint! I will be making them again and again.

Slow Cooker Baked Beans:

- 1 small sweet onion, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp Ketchup
- 5 or 6 dashes hot sauce, such as Tabasco (optional)
- 2 cans red kidney beans
- 3/4 cup veggie broth
- salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a slow cooker and walk away! Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Loved them with couscous and a side of greens.

Have a wonderful and healthy weekend!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

My Perfect Pancakes

Happy Friday!

Oh wait. It's Wednesday. It's my Friday though! I am vibrating with excitement, all packed and ready to jump on a plane tomorrow, heading south to run the Victoria marathon!
I feel ready to tackle 26.2 miles. It has taken a lot of running, doubting myself, persevering and finding my confidence again to get to this point.

Another thing that this training has required: FOOD, and lots of it. After stuffing myself every morning with pancakes much hard work, I have finally perfected my pancake recipe. It is the right blend of healthy and decadent - a good fit for a lazy Sunday as well as a busy Monday (you can freeze them and pop them in the toaster and yes, you can have weekday pancakes!).

My Perfect Pancakes: (serves 2)

- 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (you can use all-purpose instead, but it does decrease the health factor)
- 1/4 quick oats
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 medium banana

In a large bowl, whisk flour, oats, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
In a small bowl, combine milk, water and maple syrup.
Pour wet ingredients over dry and mix until just combined. Slice the banana right into the batter and fold in. If the batter is too thick, add water, 1 tbsp at a time.

Let the batter stand while your pan heats up. You know what to do after this.
Serve with chopped walnuts and warm maple syrup. Drool.

Enjoy - I'm going to bed for some much needed rest!