Tag Archives: Canada

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

From an apple pie to one Big Apple

DSC_9279Confession time up in here. I lied. I lieeeeeeeeeeed to the world. I posted a blog about apple pie. I said that I was missing vegetable shortening and insinuated that I may not be back to Toronto for a while. That was the lie. Because as I pressed that little post button and unleashed my apple pie on the world, I was actually sitting in my humble little (rented) Manhattan apartment. And about 24 hours after THAT, I was back in the T dot.

ho hO HO!

Merry Christmas Grandma & Grandpa! You guys are suckers for a good surprise. bahahaha.

Anyway, I’m back in Toronto for the Christmas season. Let’s eat clementines! Let’s watch claym-ation Christmas movies! Let’s cut down a Christmas tree and drink mulled cider! Amazing! I’m all over it.

Prior to flying into Toronto, Sean and I stopped by New York City via Vancouver. He had never been to NYC, and I was itching to get back. On the way, we spent 6 hours in Vancouver and took a little field trip to Granville Island. Here are a couple shots from Vancouver & the Big Apple. We jumped around, we ate some amazing food, drank some verrry strong cocktails and met some Guatemalan men.

Are chu kidding me?

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When stuck in cities for only 6 hours, you should get coffee, find interesting walls and jump around. Obvi.

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The Rockefeller Christmas Tree! I think that’s Jack Donaghy to the right!

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Little Italy…

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Best Mexican food!

DSC_9283Union Square market…

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Until next time old friend…

xo

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putting the *mint* back in entertainmint

It was my last day in Melbourne. I had a lunch break of over an hour, which was just enough time for me to take a last stroll through the city. As I approached Elizabeth street, I thought to myself… ‘one last attempt at finding the spandex-clad man that I know and love.’ So I ventured a bit further up Elizabeth, having heard that he often breaks it down in the Bourke street mall.

Well, low and behold, as I approached the corner of Bourke and Elizabeth, I didn’t even need to see anything to know it was him, I could hear his boom box from half a block away… and as the tram pulled away, there he was. In all his tight and bright glory, the only other Canadian I knew of in the city… Spandy Andy.

spandy!

An absolute vision in neon spandex.

tight, bright and everything in between

What a legend, just strutting his stuff around the world, spreading nothing but smiles.

adorable

It took me a couple minutes to calm myself. I had literally been willing myself to bump into this man for two weeks… It was pure fate that I ended up catching his little street show on my very last day. I was pumped. And I had to approach him and say hello. I gave a wee shout out to Bikram Yoga Toronto and also my mom. He was very sweet… and awfully sweaty.

some canuck love right there.

I leave you with one of my fondest memories from the streets of Melbourne.

xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia

Canad-ia Day!


Being a Canadian in another country always makes you feel like you need to be extra patriotic.

All.the.time.

You constantly cheer at inappropriate times when you see things related to your home country. You jump into every conversation that is even remotely about the great white north. You pretend you are actually educated on and are concerned about the Stanley Cup, and who wins… and most of all, you keep that Canadian flag sewed to your backpack, no matter how many people make fun of you for it.

With that being said, when July 1st rolls around you have no choice but to dig out your red and white clothing and wish everyone that you encounter a Happy Canada Day. And in my case, you make mini-cupcakes with cinnamon-vanilla icing and maple candied pecans. obviously.

I had little time this week, what with haircuts and office parties, but Canada day woke me at 6am to finish off these babies. I took them into work and displayed them proudly in the communal kitchen. I was only kind of pissed when the first cupcake eater stole the C in Canada… honestly? Cause now it says Happy Anada Day. No one knows it’s Canada day to begin with, let alone ANADA day. However, I allowed my inner Canuck shine through, I took some deep breaths and I bit my tongue. I put up a sign beside the cupcakes to educate everyone on the date and occasion.

delightful

After work, my lovely boyfriend and I decided to hit the one bar that was throwing Sydney’s Canada Day Bash. The Art House Hotel. Their website advertised real live Huskie dogs and a show called ‘The Full Mounty.’ It promised a good night.

We decked ourselves out in our finest Canadian threads and headed out. Immediately after arriving, we found the Huskies. Adorable. I don’t know why they were wearing leis… but we fed them treats before heading to the bar for Canadian beverages. And just then… we spotted the other lone Canadian rocking the very same Black bear hat that I was. Amazing.

A couple friends joined us and we danced the night away,

the crew... haha minus the guy whos head I cut off. oops.

as mounties stripped down to nothing on stage in the much anticipated ‘Full Mounty’ and BNL, Avril Lavigne and Sum 41 serenaded us with some sweet tunes.

Black Bear Lovin'

Sean got a bit carried away and began making out with the black bear. That’s not actually what we do in Canada… but I let him be.

After we’d had enough drinking and enough dancing we left the bar and wandered back to the train station. After a brief drunken stop at Woolworth’s and some croissants and soy-yogurt, we headed back to North Sydney for a snack and early sleep.

July 1st ended for me, but it was just beginning in Toronto… so naturally I celebrated on Saturday as well.

xxx

Chocolate cupcakes with Cinnamon-Vanilla frosting and Maple Candied Pecans

Cupcake recipe adapted from Vegan cupcakes take over the World

1 c. soy milk

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

3/4 c. sugar

1/3 c. canola oil

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 c. flour

1/3 cocoa

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees F and line a mini-muffin tin.

Whisk the soy milk & apple cider vinegar and set aside to allow it to curdle. Add the oil, sugar & vanilla. Beat the mixture until foamy.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder & salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two batches. Beat out all the large lumps.

Pour about a tablespoon or the mixture into each liner. Bake for about 14 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Now make some bad ass frosting.

Vanilla-cinnamon Frosting

1 3/4 c. icing sugar

1 tsp. Vanilla

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 c. margarine

Beat the margarine until fluffy and add half the icing sugar. Add the other half and beat until smooth with the vanilla. Add in the cinnamon… delish.

Maple Candied Pecans

1/4 c. maple syrup

1/3 c. sugar

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

1 c. pecans

Toast the pecans lightly in the oven. Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and heat on medium high until it comes to a boil. Stir often, careful not to burn. Reduce to simmer for ten minutes.

Toss pecans in mixtures and set.

Frost each cupcake and top with a maple pecan!

cuppy-cakes...

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Filed under Adventures in Australia, Cupcakes

Yayyy ME!

It was a tearful goodbye, not quite as tearful as I expected… but tearful.

We all managed to keep our shit together until I was actually entering security, which I think was a good thing. But then of course my parents had to wait and watch and wave until I finally disappeared down an escalator. All the time witnessing, and most likely worrying, as I was stopped and searched at security.

Finally past security and searching the terminal for my usual haunts I remembered the small gift bag that my dad had handed me before I left. I went in search of some comfort food and a place to sit.

Vegans in airports don’t often find a full meal and this day in this airport was no exception. I had already shared my snack size pack of Mike n Ike’s with my parentals, bad move. I had no food.

Now people who know me will know that this next turn of events was not a likely Caitlin move. However, I had tears dried on my cheeks and a small book titled ‘Yay You’ to read. Things were going to get worse before they got better. I could tell.

I knooowww. An unlikely pairing. But it eased the shame of sobbing in public. Also, let’s be serious, I only finished another couple of gulps. The man who I gave the bottle back to was highly disgusted. I think that if I hadn’t have been there watching him pour out the dregs, he would have drank them himself. Just sayin’.

After wandering further, I finally found a granola bar that was midly satisfying and then it was time to board.

The flight was long, my brain shut off and I watched four shameful movies. Except that I enjoyed two of them thoroughly.

aaahahaha. I’m a sucker for romantic comedys about long distance relationships… go figure. But honestly… New York to San Fransisco? Give me a break.

xxx

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Filed under Adventures in Australia

when life deprives you of lemons, make rice pudding

Note that I wrote this almost two year ago. But oh isn’t it fun to take a trip down memory lane… to a time when I used milk in my baking… haha

On to my day…

Today I woke up to an empty house and nothing to do. These are my favourite days by far. Only good things can come of an empty house. When no one else is home it means that a) I can have unlimited dance parties, b) I don’t have to wear pants, and c) I can combine the two and have a bloody amazing morning.

The only think I like more then my mornings alone is d) baking… sans pants whilst dancing. It fills me the joy. I would love to live on my own for that reason alone.

Anyhoo, point of the story is I woke up this morning and searched for a new recipe. My mother’s very favourite dessert is rice pudding and since it is her birthday I felt it was necessary to make something to her liking. I had my heart set on Lemon cake originally, but I had not a lemon in the house and no intentions of putting on pants to go buy some. So rice pudding would have to suffice.

The recipe was pretty simple and I just happened to have the correct kind of rice. Things were falling into place quite nicely. Then of course it all went wrong. Naturally.
However, the end result was quite to my liking, and my mother’s. And I have now altered the recipe I was using in order to accommodate for my failures. I have put the original words into parenthesis as to compare them to my alterations. Please leave your judgments at the door.

Arborio Rice Pudding

Serves 4

1/2 cup Arborio rice
4 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

In a large saucepan, place all the ingredients except the vanilla extract. (Bring it to a gentle boil) Watch the saucepan like a hawk for about 3 minutes and 30 seconds until you become distracted by the Australian man in your computer screen. Then sufficiently forget that you have milk boiling on the stove and allow it to boil over the sides of the saucepan and onto your stove and element. Allow it to burn and harden. Notice only when your kitchen beings to smell of burnt milk, at which point you scream, curse, and remove the saucepan from the heat, switching it over to a less soiled element. (Turn it down to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom, for about 30 to 40 minutes.) Turn the element to what you think is a low enough heat to allow it to simmer, all the while still chatting with the Aussie. Keep a close eye on the stove for the next 5 minutes and then notice that once again, the milk is boiling over. Realize that you must lower the heat even more and do so. Say goodnight to the Aussie and return to the religious watching of the simmering milk. Allow mixture to thicken for 30-40 minutes. (Taste the rice to check for doneness. The rice should be very soft and plump.) This part I did to perfection.

Take the pudding off the heat and stir in the extract. Pour into dessert bowls. You can serve it immediately or let it chill in the fridge.

I did so. Adding cinnamon and raisins before serving. Oh sweet success, you taste of milk and sugar.

All in all, not a bad first try.

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Filed under Puddings