yo momma.

You know last year when I went on and on about how my mom was the most awesome?

Yeah… well she still is. And it’s Mother’s day again! So big shout-oot to my Momma in Canada. LOVE YOU!

I also miss you. Like a-lot.

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I was looking for an excuse to bake something pretty over the weekend and so I dedicate these muffins to my Maj and my Grandma. Even though my Grandma does not like chocolate in cake form. I know this. So she can have some of rice pudding I would make. 🙂 Even though I’m pretty sure I could convince her that these are AWESOME!

I call them muffins because they are mostly healthy and I cut down on the sugar. These are the prefect Mother’s Day morning muffin. Cheeky, but not too cheeky. Chocolatey, but not too chocolatey. Healthy, but not TOO healthy.

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You get the picture. These are delicious. My dad makes mean chocolate zucchini cake, so here is a vegan and super delicious version of that, in muffin form. I wonder what he’s gunna bake for mother’s day? Maybe the cheesecake? 🙂

Make these for yo momma. She’s gunna loveeeeeeeeee them.

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Chocolate – Zucchini Muffins
recipe adapted from here

1 1/4 c. flour (3/4 c. all purpose – 1/2 c. spelt is what I used)
1/4 c. high quality cocoa (it makes a difference. yummm)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 banana, mushed
1/4 c. raw sugar
1/2 c. homemade applesauce
1/2 c. oat milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. shredded zucchini (as with most zucchini baking endevours, I strain some of the liquid out of the zucchini before I add it in.)

With an oven pre-heated to 350* line or grease a muffin tin. I actually lightly greased the muffin liners since this recipe doesn’t have any oil or butter in it.

Now mix the flour, cinnamon, cocoa, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside and mix the banana, apple sauce, sugar and oat milk together. Add the vanilla and zucchini and mix until combined. Now add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and combine together but do not over mix.

Spoon the batter into the muffin liners/tray to about 3/4 of the way full and bake for 20-25 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean when ready. Allow them to cool and then enjoy! They are seriously so yummy. I was really impressed with the chocolatey-ness.

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xxx

ps. HEY MOM. let’s hang out soon, m’k? 😉

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Muffins

noosa

Another weekend vacation! I can’t get enough of these. If I could take a long weekend once a month and travel to a beautiful place by the sea where turkeys run a muck like squirrels, well I would live a very happy life. So far, I’m doing ok!

So, here is a photo bomb for you… of my adventures to Noosa with my jazzy lady friend – Sam. We were able to get awesome flight deals and scored a Romantic Escape deal for our hotel. We had cocktails, dinners with a piano man, we napped on the beach, we walked for ages to nowhere (actually a mistake), we watched the sunset, we took a bad ass bus to Fraser Island, we saw a dingo, it ate my baybay, we had more cocktails, we looked at the stars, we drank coffee and then we ate an amazing breakfast. Best breakfast of my life! Please see evidence of all happenings below.

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xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Travel

two-year cheesecake

Two years!

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It is the anniversary of two things! April 30th marks two years since my first post on …but can she bake. Granted, there were a couple half hearted posts before it. However they were few and far between. I started posting regularly two years ago because that is when I moved to Australia to live with my most incredible boy(man)friend. And so, this is also the anniversary of my move to Sydney!

I began writing to document my days/weeks/life in Australia and so that my biggest fans (my mom, dad and grandparents) could track my every move. I love baking and I love taking pictures, so this little ditty was born.

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Now, here I am, 730 days later posting a recipe that I have been eyeing for at least… well longer than that. I have been coveting these cheesecake recipes since I became a vegan. Why I never made one, I am not sure. Skeptical? Yes. I was. That and I didn’t own a proper blender (vitamix) and even though I still don’t… I thought I’d give it a whirl. For the sake of two years. Ya know what I mean?

Man ALIVE! I am glad I did. This vegan cheesecake is delicious! It’s cashew filled, but you wouldn’t really guess it. I would even go so far as to say that if I had a higher tech blender, this version would be just as silky and smooth as a regular cheesecake. So basically, Dad: if you are still thinking about buying a vita mix, please do and we can make this when I come home. 🙂 (Along with about a billion other vegan recipes that require a vitamix.)

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The lemon is what makes it sour like a cream cheese based cake and the vanilla, honey and raspberries make it delightfully sweet.

Try this bad boy on for size. It’s a keeper. Even my man-friend thinks so.

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The process isn’t even that labour intensive, you just need to soak some cashews the night before. It’s even no-bake! In fact, it’s RAW TOO! Amazing.

You can tell from my pictures that my mixture wasn’t really even close to silky smooth, but I swear it was still so delicious. Just try it out.
Vegan Cheesecake
adapted from here and here

crust
1/2 c. Medjool dates
1/2 c. walnuts
pinch of  salt

filling
2 c. cashews (soaked overnight)
juice of 2 medium lemons
1 vanilla bean
1 c. raspberries/strawberries/blueberries or whatever berry you are feeling
1/3 c. maple syrup (use honey to make it raw)
1/3 c. coconut oil

Soak the cashews overnight. (at least 5 hours)

Throw all the crust ingredients in the food processor and blend/chop until the bind together on their own. You can test this until you are satisfied. Press the mixture into the bottom of a springform pan. Use one 6 inch pan or two 3 inch pans. (mini cheesecakes are awesome!)

Next warm up the coconut oil however you choose (microwave, stove) and mix with the maple syrup. Put the cashews, lemon juice and vanilla into the food processor with the honey/oil mixture and blend until as smooth as possible. This may take many minutes of blending. I used about half of this mixture to pour into the two pans and then saved the other half to add the raspberries to. After evening out the mixture in the pan(s) I put them in the freezer to lightly set for about 30 minutes. You can omit this step, but I thought it would help separate the layers.

Next add the raspberries to the cashew mixture and blend until fully combined. Pour this mixture on the top of the plain cashew mixture and even it out. Place the cake(s) back in the freezer until solid.
Remove about 10-15 minutes before you want to slice it, orrrrr just hack into it with a knife and fork… like me.
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xxx

pssst! check out what I posted one-year ago.

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Cake, Pies

Anzac Biscuits

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So. Tomorrow is Anzac Day; a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand. We honour and remember all the Australian & New Zealand Army Corps. A.N.Z.A.C.

There is a dawn service and I will be attending. At dawn. AKA: Really early in the morning on a Public Holiday.

I’m not complaining… I’m just sayin’ these cookies might help with the early morning wake up. And they will be a welcome addition to the morning coffee. You see, on ANZAC day in stead of putting milk in your coffee… you put rum. Or maybe both. I’m not sure what that’s all about but it’s what they do here, and who am I to question tradition? They also play a game called Two Up at 2pm that is (and get this…) ONLY legal on Anzac Day. The game consists of heavy betting over the results of two coins being tossed at one time.

What a country.

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As an honourary Australian, I have taken it upon myself to bake the cookie that has taken the ANZAC name. Apparently these Anzac Biscuits were often sent to soldiers abroad by their wives. The cookies keep very well and didn’t spoil during transportation overseas.

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I made a couple batches of these. I’m not sure if I’ve got them exactly right yet either. Some people like the really crunchy, some like them chewy. It is a national debate of sorts. These are more on the soft and chewy side. But with a bit longer baking time, they had a crisp exterior.

You should bake them! And Remember some ANZACS. 🙂

Traditional (Vegan) Anzac Biscuits

1 1/4 c. flour1 c. oats
1/2 c. raw caster sugar
3/4 c. cup shredded or desicated coconut
2 tbsp golden syrup
150g nutlex (or other butter substitute – earth balance etc)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tbsp. boiling water

Preheat your oven to 170*C. Mix all the dry ingredients first, flour, oats, coconut & sugar.

Heat up the golden syrup and butter on medium in a small saucepan until fully melted and combined. Now mix the baking soda and 1 1/2 tbsp of boiling water in a separate small bowl. Combine the two mixtures (be careful as it will foam up quite a bit). Make sure you have removed the butter mixture from the heat when you do this.

No add the wet to the dry and combine well. Place tablespoons of the mixture on a lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

 

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x

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Cookies

and now for MINE.

When my brother and I weren’t playing the flap jack game… or pushing each other down the stairs in cardboard boxes… we were often found sitting around the big wooden kitchen table trying to conceal our cookies.

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It was a thing. A game of deception, if you will. After a meal my mom and dad would give us each two cookies for dessert. We would both proceed to eat our first cookie cautiously, while eyeing the other sibling and their cookie eating ways. At some point, someone would likely become distracted (usually me) and the other (usually my brother) would take this opportunity to hide his second cookie, then continue eating as if nothing happened. Usually hiding the cookie meant sitting on it. or stuffing it down your shirt. Either would suffice.

I usually became so tied up in enjoying my cookies that I would accidentally eat not only one but BOTH cookies (!!!) forgetting the game of deception altogether until it was too late. Or worse still, I would get to my second cookie and notice my brother was cookie-less. I would then gleefully rub it in his face that I was still enjoying my dessert like a KING. (Rookie mistake)

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This is where things took a turn for the worse. When my brother was satisfied that I had finished both my cookies, he would WHIP out his remaining cookie and sing-song those HORRIBLE words that would ring in my ears for hours after…

‘annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd NOW for MINE!…’

At this point he would proceed to savour said cookie to the best of his ability. Making delicious and over-exaggerated noises of enjoyment as he munched away.

That cookie hiding bastard.

I knew this game all toooo well, but for some reason, I seldom remember winning.

It really makes no sense since we both got the same amount of cookies, but my six year old brain seemed to think that if he was still eating cookies, than I should be too. Good GOD I hated that game.

This recipe is cookie revenge. Because I baked them. And therefore I will eat them all. AND NOW FOR MINE.

what.

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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Adapted from here

1  1/2 c. walnuts
2 c. regular oats
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. Rapadura Sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c. pure maple syrup
2 tbsp oat milk
3.5 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toast the walnuts in the oven for about 10 minutes. After they have cooled, quickly process the walnuts until they make a fine meal.

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, sugar and only 1 cup of the oats. Now add the ingredients to the food processor and process until just mixed.

In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients (soften the coconut oil if you need to first) and pour this mixture into the food processor. Process until the entire mixture is thoroughly combined.

In the medium size bowl, mix this entire mixtures with the remaining 1 cup of oats. Fold in the raisins.

For the cookies, take about 2 tbsp of dough, make a ball, and then flatten onto the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 350F. Watch them because they will go dark very quick! Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes before placing onto a cooling rack.

So yummy! Maybe next time I’ll try them with chocolate.

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xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Cookies, Desserts

kale chips

I think I am way behind the eight ball here… in fact, I know I am. Kale Chips took the internet by storm about six months ago. Every clean eating blog from every side of the world was singing their praises… so why did it take me until now to make them?

these pictures are not the most charming...

these pictures are not the most charming…

I kinda thought it took like nine hours to bake them. I was under the impression you needed a dehydrator and that if you found yourself with out a dehydrator, you would have to put the oven on very low and let them bake away for ages. I don’t know whyyy I thought that really. But it’s not the case.

They take about 15 minutes from start to finish. 5 minutes of mixing and about ten minutes of baking. no sweat. Unless its really hot in your apartment, like mine, and then you probably are sweating…

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Anyway, I think I also thought they would taste like seaweed. Or…kale, (imagine that…) but they don’t! They taste like whatever you put on them! In this case: salt, pepper, and cheesy nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast comes in flake form. It is a deactivated yeast that is commonly used as a condiment type thing by many vegans and vegetarians. It tastes distinctly… cheesy, but I’m not sure why. You should try it! It’s a complete protein! (whaaaa?) and is high in b-complex vitamins.

If you are so far behind the curve, like me, then you are probably actually ahead of the curve. and so you should make these kale chips.

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Kale Chips

1 bunch of dinosaur kale (or curly kale but dinosaur makes a less brittle chip)

2 tbsp olive oil

1/4 c.. nutritional yeast

sprinkle of salt

sprinkle of pepper

Remove the kale from the stems and break into bite size pieces. Toss all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until the kale is evenly coated.Bake in a preheated oven at 350*F for 5-10 minutes, turning once.
The chips should be crunchy, but not charred. Its a fine line, so watch closely!

Eat and enjoy!

xxx

 

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Byron Bay

I’m not going to bother explaining much of this… Weekend Vaycay in Byron!

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ahhh byron. let’s go back… like, now.

xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Travel

razzleberry muffins

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So, its official. Summer is over. March 1st was the first day of Autumn. Traditionally my favourite season! It’s just… I wasn’t done with summer yet.

I didn’t get to the beach enough… I didn’t see ONE jelly fish… I didn’t even make boozy popsicles.

Well… it’s a good thing I live in Australia and I can still do those things for a while longer without feeling foolish. Anyway, I did drink a lot of coconuts… and I did go camping… and I did wear a dress to a wedding in such heat that I thought I was going to have bum shaped sweat marks. Gross? no. just a reality.

I’ll get on with it though, I’ll celebrate fall even though I feel its a tad too early. I will make soup and bake sweet potatoes. And I will make delicious muffins.

Gluten-free isn’t something I really think about that often. I really enjoy my gluten… but every now and then I wonder about this gluten-free baking that is so popular these days and I try my hand at it. It does NOT always work out… let me tell you. But these muffins were quite a nice surprise.

Now… buckwheat flour isn’t for everyone, it has a very distinct taste… but after I asked Sean-no less than 5 times-what he thought of these muffins (Really? I mean really though…? But did they taste weird? But really? You liked them?) He assured me they were really good. SO without further ado!DSC_0063

Raspberry Gluten-Free Muffins
Adapted from Edible Perspective

1 c. buckwheat flour
3/4 c. gluten-free oat flour
1/2 c. almond meal
3 tbsp rapadura sugar
2 1/2 tbsps ground flax meal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 chia eggs (2 tbsp + 6 tsbp water)
1/2 c. + 1 tbsp mashed banana
6 tbsp oat milk
1/3 c. maple syrup
1 vanilla bean
1/4 c. unrefined coconut oil, melted
1 1/4  c. frozen raspberries

First preheat your oven to 350* F and line a muffin tin with pretty liners. Mix up your chia eggs and set aside. Mix all your dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk the banana, milk, maple syrup, chia eggs, coconut oil and vanilla until fully combined. Add the wet to the dry and mix until only just combined, but do not overmix! fold in the raspberries very gently and then spoon the mixture into the muffins liners. Fill each liner about 2/3 full. If you like, you can top with a cinnamin crumble. (1/4 c. rolled oats, 1/4 c. rapadura sugar, 3 tbsp oat flour, 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, salt) Mix together and then sprinkle on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Try to resist until the muffins are cool as they do not stay together that well when warm!

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Enjoy!

xxx

 

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charlie

Just a little welcome to the newest member of the Hicks family.

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This tiny puppy has some mighty big shoes to fill with those itty bitty feet.

My little dog still holds a very large and irreplaceable spot in my heart, but sometimes a family just needs an adorable little weiner dog wandering around the house to make them feel whole again.

And although I am on the other side of the world and have never properly met this little man, he has stolen a spot beside Lucy, Strider and Casey in my life and I am instantly in love with him.

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Welcome Charlie! You have no idea how lucky you are.

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eeeee! I cannot wait to meeeeet you!

xxx
(pictures courtesy of mama & papa hicks)

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sunday morning bread

I’m obsessed with reading food blogs. I spend all hours pursuing the internet. Healthy living? Decadent desserts? Useful information? I want it all. I stumble on so many gems and yet I don’t have enough free time in the kitchen to replicate them all.

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This one was brought to my attention by a friend of mine. She made it last weekend and gave me a taste. I went home that night and immediately baked it up. It lasted only a couple days, so here I am again, in my kitchen baking this for second time this week. So delicious and wholesome!

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The thing is, this is easy as can be! Mix, set, bake. It’s really not rocket science and you can easily do it all in one bowl! Minimal clean up and a delightful Sunday morning breakfast.

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The recipe is from My New Roots. A fellow Canadian lady, blogging from across the world. At least I think she is Canadian… She went to school in Toronto anyway. I admire her immensely. She makes me want to take more pictures and learn everything there is too learn about Holistic Nutrition.

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She nailed it with this loaf. It totally is life changing and oh.my.god. soooo delicious.

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Go check out her blog if you haven’t already and make this loaf. It’s totally a good thing. (I’m channeling martha stewart here.)

xxx

 

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Filed under Breads, Breakfast