it’s on.

A few weeks ago I issued a throw-down.

(At least, I’ve been told it was a throw-down. I’m not sure that would have been my word choice, as I’m generally too mild-mannered to do much throwing down of anything.)

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Back to the point:

It seems Wael saw my blog post, and – like me, despite the mild manners – is a sucker for a challenge.

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This doesn’t surprise me, since he has an insane work ethic and does CrossFit and is a ridiculously clean eater and does his own home renovations.

I know a lot about this person for having only met him once.

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So, while I wait for his rebuttal (it better not be salad. Nobody wins anything with salad.), this is part two of my entry.

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(Also, there doesn’t yet appear to be any clarity on how this competition is going to be settled. In the meantime, my best friend is the go-between for our trash talk, and I suppose she will be the one to try our creations. So, at the end of the day, she’s probably going to be the real winner. Well played, L.)

Peanut Butter Balls (vegan, gluten free)

Ingredients

one cup peanut butter (I used a mix of natural and the sketchy kind, because that’s what I had at home. If you use natural, you may need to add more dry ingredients to make it stick)
half cup coconut flour
half cup cornmeal
half cup icing sugar
one teaspoon vanilla
about two thirds cup dark chocolate, melted
one teaspoon coconut oil

Directions

Using a stand mixer (or by hand, it’ll just take longer) mix everything except the chocolate and oil together until completely combined. Throw it in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Once cold, remove from the fridge and roll spoonfuls into dough into balls – I aimed for ping pong ball size and got about 20. If you want to stick lollipop sticks into them, do this now. (Warning: about a quarter of my lollipop sticks kept falling out; they stick better the colder the dough is.)
Freeze for at least half an hour. Just before you’re about to take them out, melt the chocolate and coconut oil and stir until smooth.
Dip each ball in chocolate and set on parchment paper (I used a baking tray; a plate would also work) until the chocolate hardens (this should happen pretty quickly as the balls are already cold).
Store in the fridge or freezer.

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already?

It totally freaks me out that stores are already decked out for Christmas. And are playing Christmas music. And the Christmas Market has already been open for a week.

When did that happen?

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In my head it’s still June.

June 1997.

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I’m not ready for Christmas. I haven’t planned out my Christmas baking, or bought any Christmas presents, or lost the weight I want to lose before I wear my Christmas party dress.

Instead I’m making peanut butter banana muffins, watching way too many episodes of bad TV on Netflix, and lying on the living room floor pretending to do Pilates.

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Incidentally, if you ever find time passing too quickly, just go hold a two-and-a-half-minute plank.

(Real wisdom, right there.)

(You’re welcome. That’s what I’m here for.)

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Peanut Butter Banana Muffins (vegan)

Ingredients

one and a half cups overripe bananas, mashed (about 3 large bananas)
one third cup peanut butter (use a natural kind if possible. Smooth or crunchy is your call)
half cup unsweetened almond milk
half tablespoon ground flax
half cup canola oil
one teaspoon vanilla
two cups all-purpose flour
one teaspoon baking powder
one teaspoon baking soda
one teaspoon cinnamon
half cup dark chocolate chips (optional. And I totally snuck in a whole cup)
half cup pecan bits (optional)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a muffin pan with paper liners (or grease really well) and set aside.
Mash and mix bananas, PB, almond milk, flax, oil, and vanilla until as combined as you can get them. The oil will probably refuse to incorporate. That’s cool.
Sift in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Stir until there are only a few visible bits of flour left, and then fold in chocolate chips and pecans (if using). You shouldn’t be able to see any dry ingredients anymore, but don’t over mix.
Spoon into the prepared muffin cups – I like mine almost full because you get nice round muffin tops. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

the pizza party is over

Well hello there.

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Let’s recap November-thus-far, shall we? The Whole Life Challenge ended, I had my photoshoot, and then, with nothing in the near future to look good for, I dove face first into deep dish after deep dish of cheese pizza and regret.

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Unfortunately, with Christmas rapidly approaching – and therefore plans of wearing a rather slinky floor-length black silk dress, not to mention a bikini when the manfriend I finally escape the never-ending rain (we’re headed to Southeast Asia for Christmas) – it’s probably time to crawl out of that deep dish.

Unfortunately, because, melted cheese.

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But, partly because salads suck (seriously), and mostly because I’m not ready to give up on baking and gluten and sugar yet, pumpkin loaf.

Pumpkin is generally considered a vegetable, right?

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Vegan Pumpkin Loaf

Ingredients

one cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
half cup unsweetened almond milk
half cup canola oil
two tablespoons molasses
half cup sugar
half cup brown sugar
one cup all purpose flour
three quarters cup pastry flour
one tablespoon baking powder
quarter teaspoon salt
half tablespoon ground cinnamon
half teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
half teaspoon ground ginger
quarter teaspoon ground cloves
two thirds cup pecan bits

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a loaf pan (or a brownie pan, or line a muffin tin – whatever you want) and set aside.
Stir together canned pumpkin, almond milk, oil and molasses until reasonably well combined (the oil won’t really want to mix; no worries). Stir in sugars and mix some more.
Sift in dry ingredients, and stir gently until just combined. Fold in pecan bits. Please don’t over mix!
Pour into the loaf pan (or whatever you’re using) and bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean – I start checking around 40 minutes. Muffins usually take around 20 minutes.

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glitter and bruises

In case you’ve ever wondered what I do with all my spare time that isn’t spent in the kitchen:

(But mostly because I’m proud and excited and want to share.)

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Adam12

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photo (1)

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And, now that that’s over, I’m on the hunt for about four boxes of mint Girl Guide cookies. That may or may not be eaten all in one sitting.

Photos by Upsidedown Photography at Vancouver Circus School.

lonely nerd

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I’m a pretty big fan of Goodreads. Since I discovered it a year or so ago, I’ve been using it fairly obsessively to find and track books I’ve read and want to read. It’s a pretty brilliant tool.

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I was looking for my saved favourite quotes this morning, and clicked on the “more” icon. A drop-down menu followed:

Kimberly  [sign out]

0 friends. 219 books.

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Umm… well. That hurts, Goodreads… Just a little bit.

At least I have blueberry hand pies.

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Blueberry Hand Pies (vegan)

Ingredients

Pastry

two and a quarter cups pastry flour
two tablespoons sugar
half teaspoon salt
half teaspoon baking soda
half cup Earth Balance (or other margarine)
half cup coconut yogurt
quarter cup unsweetened almond milk

Filling

three and a half cups blueberries (I used frozen)
one third cup sugar
one tablespoon cornstarch
one tablespoon tapioca powder
lemon juice from half a lemon (1-2 tablespoons)
half tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
one teaspoon vanilla

Directions

Make the filling: this one’s easy. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and stir them around.

Make the pastry: sift flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. Add Earth Balance and use a pastry cutter to combine until the biggest margarine bits are pea-sized. Then get your hands in there and give it a good squeeze – the flour and margarine should start to stick together when pressed.
In a small bowl or glass, whisk together the yogurt and milk. Add into the flour/margarine mixture and stir a bit, then get your hands in there. You want everything to come together into one big ball, but don’t over-mix.
Cut your ball in half (this gave me two ~11oz pieces). Wrap one and put it in the fridge.

Flour a counter and rolling pin. Roll out half of the dough into a large rectangle around 1/8 of an inch (1/3 of a cm) thick and slice into rectangles (mine were about 15cm by 6cm, which gave me 11 pies per recipe). Brush half the rectangles with almond milk. Scoop some filling into the centre of the brushed pieces (leave about half an inch around the edges), and fold a non-brushed rectangle on top.
Use a fork to press down and seal around the edges of the pastry. The pierce the top layer a few times to let steam escape while baking, and brush the tops with more almond milk.
Place pies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and put in the fridge to rest while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until the top is a nice golden colour. Let cool on the baking sheet for at least 5-10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
While the first set is baking, roll out the second half of the pastry and repeat the same process.

Optional: drizzle with icing when the pies are cool. I mixed together lemon juice and icing sugar until I got the right consistency.

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the home stretch

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I’m spending a lot of time counting down the days (sometimes hours… often minutes…) of the Whole Life Challenge. The amount of time left before I can stay in on a Saturday night eat an entire pizza by myself.

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Until then, one more compliant meal at a time.

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Tonight it’s shepherd’s pie.

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Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients

one small sweet onion
one clove garlic
one cup frozen peas
one cup frozen carrots
one cup frozen corn
one and a half cups ground beef (or ground bison)
two tablespoons tomato paste
four small sweet potatoes
about a tablespoon of canola oil
about two tablespoons olive oil
a pinch of salt
spices – I used a small shake each of rosemary and thyme

Directions

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the vegetables. In another, cook the sweet potatoes (these will cook faster if you chop them up first. Peel or don’t peel; no big deal).
While that’s happening, dice the onion and mince the garlic. Heat the canola oil in a frying pan. Sauté the onion and garlic until the onion starts to go translucent, and add the beef and tomato paste. Fry and stir and mix it around until it’s fully cooked. Add the spices and set aside.
At some point, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a casserole dish.
When your sweet potatoes are cooked (this feels like it takes forever), drain them and mash them with olive oil and salt.
Pour all the vegetables into the casserole dish. Top with the beef, and then spread the mashed sweet potatoes. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the top of the sweet potato starts to brown. Serve hot!
Alternatively, once it’s all in the casserole dish, cover and freeze the whole thing and bake it for about an hour before you’re ready to serve.

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let’s take this outside

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So there’s this guy.

(No, this isn’t going where you think it’s going.)

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He’s really good friends with one of my really good friends, and recently started seeing my best friend. I’ve met him once.

The other day, my best friend was telling him about my blog and how all of the food looked delicious. Later that night, he sent her a photo of his dinner, saying “Kimmie’s got nothing on me.”

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I’m pretty sure those are fighting words, Wael.

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Get your gloves on and your baking pans out. You’ve got brownies to beat.

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Gluten-Free Brownies

Lightly adapted from David Lebovitz

Ingredients

six tablespoons butter
four ounces bittersweet baking chocolate
five ounces semisweet chocolate
three quarters cup sugar
two eggs, at room temperature
one and a half tablespoons cocoa powder
three tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of salt
one cup pecan bits

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 8″ square pan (mine’s silicone, but if you’re using a metal one it might be helpful to line it with parchment or foil.)
Over low heat, melt butter and chocolate. Stir constantly – be careful not to burn the chocolate!
Once it’s all melted, remove from heat and stir in sugar and eggs.
Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer, and sift in cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt. Use the whisk attachment to beat on medium-high for at least two minutes. I kindof let mine do its own thing while I cleaned up the kitchen – with no gluten, there’s no over-mixing to worry about. Fold in pecans.
Pour into square pan, and bake for about 30 minutes (you want the centre to be just set). Cool completely before removing from pan and cutting into squares.

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