Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies (gluten free, vegan)

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Hellooooo there.

Peanut butter and chocolate go so well together, in case you didn’t know. They’re such a cute couple. Look at them. I ship it.

In case you can’t already tell from the copious amounts of fullstops I have unwittingly used above and have only realised now that they sound really weird, I’m kind of brain fried. During school weeks, I live for pancake fridays and spent my time at home trying to do work, listening to emo songs, and writing angsty teenage prose. And during weekends, I just spend the whole day on the couch with my work piled on my lap, in the end only completing about 1/2 of it if I’m lucky in between generous amounts of, uh, procrastination. Yeah–not the most emotionally or psychologically healthy way to cope with stress, but I’m still learning, and I’m struggling through with the help of lots of lovely people. Friends, online or in real life, have helped a lot. Changing my mindset has also helped. Little things during school help, like finding the amount of work I have so unfunny that it’s really funny, which makes class tolerable. Do I sound like I’m whining? Oh dear, I hope I don’t. Because I’m not, really! I’m not! Okay, maybe I am, a bit.

But honestly–despite the 1000000 essays I’ve had to write, and I may only be slightly exaggerating, I’ve learnt how to grit my teeth and y’know, roll with the punches. I’m so grateful for all the friends and the little straws God has tossed to me to hang on to through this long and painful squeeze to the holidays. And now, even with lots of revision looming for the impending death doom I’m going to DIE help  end of year exams, I’m grateful for brownies. These brownies. Babies. So good, and come together in ONE food processor. How many food processor?? ONE! Only one to clean!

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I took so many pictures, that’s how photogenic and cooperative these brownies were. Photography isn’t easy, okay! I have so much to learn about Lighting and Frames and Cropping and Positioning and many other things I’m sure there is a legit name for but I am too much of a Photography Peasant to know in entirety. Have light streaming in? Too bad, the photo may just turn out with this horrid blue tint and your food looks disgusting! Arranged everything nicely and take nice shots? Too bad, the cropping means you have to sacrifice some really, really gorgeous creases in the bedspread/the end of your spoon/the full perimeter of your teacup! Do I sound deranged twattering on about this? Honestly though, appreciate the photo. So much work goes behind it, although it looks like I casually took a shot and ooh, magic! Pretty! Nah, I wish it was so. And to make things a little more complicated, not that they need it, my windows are purple tinted. So, unless I open them wide and full–which can be a problem when it rains–the photo looks like it’s in the shadow of Barney’s butt. But these brownies? Beautiful dark chocolaty goodness, with that vibrant golden rich swirl of peanut butter. Even the Barney Butt Tint can’t compete with that.

I think I might have just weirded everyone out. I hope you’re still here. Hi, I’m sorry for whining again about my windows. Please hang on for the recipe, and the visuals.

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These taste WHOLESOME–but in a good way. Not like “I am made of more or less wholewheat flour and water and I am dry as cardboard”/”I am thick and gummy and stick like glue in your throat because I have too much bananas to compensate for the lack of oil!” wholesome, but like you can taste that it is good for you, BUT it is still delicious. So delicious. Imagine rich, dark chocolate in a fudgy slab of dense, velvety crumb with the mellow sweetness and sugar of banana and the slight caramel golden ribbon of dates, along with the robust grit and nuttiness the oats lend, the lovely creamy salt of rich peanut butter, and a subtle floral hint of vanilla. And like that wasn’t enough, more peanut butter on top. It’s an amazing combination, and I love this best chilled. Overnight, the banana caramelly sweetness and chocolate flavor and the peanut butter deepen in depth and richen–the salt gives a new dimension to the sweetness, which develops a new, smoother lightness, and the chocolate becomes even richer and fudgier. It’s amazing. And this can be made gluten free as well, with gluten free oats–perfect for those of you out there who can’t take the gluten.

Unf. Brownies. So good.

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Make them, and devour them. Everything’s better with chocolate.

 

chocolate, banana and peanut butter swirl brownies (gluten free, vegan)

You will need:

-2 cups oats (gluten free if you wish)

-1/4 cup cocoa

-1/2 tsp cinnamon

-1/2 tsp baking powder

-1/2 tsp baking soda

-3 tbs coconut sugar/raw cane sugar/normal sugar

-pinch salt

-3 super ripe bananas

-4 medjool dates

-1/2 cup crunchy/smooth natural peanut butter

-3 tbs coconut cream/soy yogurt

-1 tsp vanilla extract

-1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks (if you wish)

-2 tbs peanut butter

-1 tbs coconut oil

Line an 8 inch brownie tin with parchment. Blitz the oats, cocoa, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon and coconut sugar together in a food processor till it has become a flour. Add the banana, dates, peanut butter, coconut cream/soy yogurt and vanilla and pulse till you get a thick batter. If you wish, you can add the chocolate chunks here and pulse briefly to incorporate. Scoop this into the brownie pan and even out with an offset spatula. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and gently melt the peanut butter and coconut oil over a low heat, till thick and melted. Drizzle this in blobs over the brownie batter and swirl in with a knife. Bake for about 30 minutes, checking at the 25 minute mark–a toothpick should emerge with moist crumbs clinging, but not with raw batter. Let it cool completely outside before refridgerating, preferably overnight. Cut into 9 squares and enjoy.

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Banana Caramel French Toast + Organic Burst Maca

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WHO THAT, WHO THAT? T O A S T

(I’m sorry. Please continue reading. I just had to.)

French toast for lunch? Eggcellent. Eggcept this is eggless, because 100% sweet French toast is more fun–I’ve always considered eggs to be savoury! If it’s mixed into a batter like cake or muffin that is fine, but things like custard and traditional french toast are dubious because it is so eggy. So, giving in to the whims and wills of the atrociously sweet tooth I have like I always do, I decided to go with the banana French toast that has been gaining traction in the foodie world lately. A custard made of banana, plant based milk, cinnamon, vanilla and–just because y’know, sweet–some Maca powder from the guys at Organic Burst for that caramel flavor.

Maca powder is also known as Peruvian Ginseng and has been used in Peru for endurance, energy and hormonal balance for over 2000 years. Apparently it was taken by Inca warriors before going into battle to increase their strength and stamina, like a magical superpower snack–is that not the coolest thing ever??  Like y’know, just casually adding some WARRIOR SUPERPOWER FOOD into my meal.  No biggie.

Organic Burst Maca powder blends four maca plant varieties, combining the benefits of each and making it particularly nutritious. It’s apparently known as an adaptogen–it helps maintain stamina and endurance (woah, SCIENCE) and it’s been scientifically shown to be a caffeine-free energiser, which is great because after adding a sprinkle of caramelly, sweet Maca to pancakes/oatmeal/this french toast I am literally bouncing with energy. Okay, perhaps not literally, because that would be rather freaky. But it kicks my famous couch potato lethargy to the curb in no time and I actually…get things…done! Wow!

The powder is certified organic too, which means no nasties–no harmful chemicals, pesticides or processing aids were used at any stage of farming or production, which is always great when it comes to things that will get down into your belly. And unff–the taste is simply amazing, which is so important. It has a golden, lightly malty sweetness with a certain rich maple flavor that gives it this roundness on your palate, and the slightest hint of cane sugar caramel. I use about 1 tsp when I have it for a breakfast/meal for myself, and more when it comes to bakes. Organic Burst is a simply lovely company that genuinely cares about it’s customers. They sent me this nice pack of beautiful powders and superfoods to play with–do check them out here, and keep your eyes peeled for more Maca creations and more creations of their products–plus a complete roundup post of everything they sent is coming up soon. In the meanwhile, you can lurk around on my instagram to see the different things I churn out of my kitchen using their incredibly versatile and super delicious Maca, Acai, Wheatgrass and Baobab. Plus it helps that the capsules they come in are SO PRETTY too. Aesthetic appeal. Just sayin’.

Okay! Back to the French toast.

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PLOT TWIST: I know some french!  Ooh, fancy. I actually used to be pretty good at it–I learnt it for 2 years through a Third Language program our Ministry of Education has founded, but after that math (grrr) became too much of an issue and I had to drop it. At least I have learnt enough to find a washroom if I ever find myself stranded in France, and order a baguette or a croissant. Not too bad #survivaltactics.

Is French toast actually french, though? This is one of the hallowed food questions I’ve always been wondering about since the dawn of time. The french way of making french toast (rich custard with cream, brioche)  is known as pain perdu, which means lost bread…which is slightly confusing unless they’re referring to the way people will instantly get lost in the pillowy depths of buttery custard-soaked brioche. But I did RESEARCH (when I should actually be doing research for SCHOOL things but let us not digress, heh heh) and the ‘lost’ in pain perdu could also mean ‘wasted’–which refers to the common use of stale bread for French toast, as it sops up the custard better than fresh. So it’s kind of an oxymoron, because it is not wasting bread that would have been wasted. Are you confused yet? Okay, I’ll wrap it up–French toast isn’t actually ~french~ in origin, though–the earliest known reference to French toast is in the Apicius, a collection of Latin recipes dating to the 4th or 5th century. The mentions soaking in milk, but not egg, and gives it no special name, just aliter dulcia–“another sweet dish”. Ouch, what a snub–just another face lost in the crowd of choux pastry and laminated croissant dough. But yes, that is it for today’s history lesson. I hope you feel enriched now with French toast trivia.

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So this recipe would be considered, I guess, one of the branches webbing from the original Apicius recipe of bread soaked in milk–this adds banana instead of egg. And oh, it is simply fantastic–the banana, although without the sort of quivering custardy bite that eggs give, lends a mellow creaminess and sweetness to the French toast, with the spice of cinnamon, subtle musky floral vanilla fragrance, and the malty caramel Maca. Together you get soft fluffy bread, dense with a creamy rich banana custard, speckled with a beautiful cinnamon brown. I topped it with chocolate tahini drizzle, crushed nuts, peanut butter and chocolate. And that fig is the first of a long, long wait–NOW I HAVE FIGS and by proxy the world. So sublime. I have missed biting into such lush, jammy and sweet figs.

Okay, that is enough blabber. Here is the recipe–hope you guys are doing well, wherever you are x

 

banana caramel french toast

You will need:

-2 slices/1 serving of bread, preferably stale

-1 large banana

-1/4 to 1/2 tsp cinnamon

-1/4 tsp vanilla

-1 tsp maca powder

-1/4 cup plant based milk

 

Mash the banana in a wide dish till as smooth as possible. Add the cinnamon, vanilla, maca and milk and whisk. Dip the slices of bread into the custard and preheat your pan on low heat till a drop of water hisses immediately and evaporates upon contact, flipping the bread halfway through. Grease the pan with coconut oil/neutral oil and fry for about 3-5 minutes on each side or till golden brown and speckled. Serve warm.

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A picnic

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Yeah, I wore that in public. Rainbow socks and watermelon shoes. I hope none of you are from the Fashion police ranks.

So this post, mostly visuals, is just about the picnic I went to on the weekend with ma girlies Sasha (@thesashadiaries on instagram, blog here) and Ruiyi (@bunnysquats on instagram). The sun was shining (this is an understatement. We got sunburnt/tanned within 1.5 hours. It shone like someone dumped a bunch of teeth whitening liquid/paste on the sun, strung it with megawatt headlights, and set a million fires with the fury of a million people who bit into a million grapes that said they were seedless, but had a blatantly humongous seed in the middle like I just did do you feel my pain) and zero creepy crawlies came to visit us on our little mat. A guy toddled somewhere near us, took off his shirt and sunbathed (a death wish) but other than that we were quite alone and peaceful.

We snacked on amazing paprika hummus and salsa with carrot and cucumber sticks and cherry tomatoes, broc-cauli tabbouleh, delicious spring rolls stuffed with brazil nuts and toasted seeds and soft sweet mango strips and curls of zucchini, peanutty golden brown tofu patties, raw cookie dough bites, and wholewheat double chocolate fudgy cookies, washing it all down with fruit-and-mint infused coconut water. We were proud of ourselves for being proper domestic goddesses and for having a thoroughly environmentally-friendly picnic–the only things we threw were the scraps on our plate and napkins, we bought our own cutlery and plates along! We had a good talk, a lot of laughs, and watched the people on the opposite side of the pond feed birds that grew as more of them saw the breadcrumbs thrown out. We bemoaned the Singapore humidity and found out that mandarin slices left under the scorching Singapore sun turned CRiSPY–dried out, crisp skin with juicy mandarin beneath. I had a great time with absolutely smashing girls, and would gladly do it all again.

 

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Oreo Ice Cream Cake (Vegan)

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Confession: the flag is not a flag. It is a post it cut to look like a flag wrapped around a skewer. The flag is a lie. #illuminati

Apparently someone shouldn’t stay up too late because it kills brain cells…oops. It’s 11pm now, but I promised cake, and judging from the clamoring on my Instagram post I better post it soon before an angry Oreo mob comes to batter my door down, and not the nice type of batter that are pancakes in fetus form. Anyway, on to the cake!

I’m having more and more fun making mini cakes like this. For one, it can be for one (for one-ception! do you see it?)(I should really get to sleep). For another, it somehow adds this cuteness–this sense of a small, cute little layered cake beaming at you from beneath the shy dribbles of chocolate. And also you can make super elaborate cakes but MINI and it somehow gains this beautiful novelty. I can’t wait to keep doing this–maybe it’ll be a weekly thing.

Alright, cookies and cream. Fess up. Have any of you actually actually really legitly ate Oreos the twist-lick-dunk way?? It is so troublesome, goodness gravy. And also I never really liked the cream inside–it reminded me of a sort of paste instead of a cream, the way you could almost peel it off. It was the chocolate cookie all the way–dark, buttery, addictively crunchy. And therefore I decided to make Oreo crunch crumbs for this cake and scatter it in the cookies and cream icecream filling and on top of the cake, so you get beautiful crunchy delight everywhere. You’re welcome. Move over, Tinker Bell–this is the real deal pixie dust right here. Crumbs of brittle, crunchy chocolate cookies with that addictive crisp and dark chocolate flavor? So much yes.

Obviously you can’t have a cake that’s all crunch, unless that’s what you’re looking for, so I settled for a chocolate cake base. And it is amazing–a beautifully even and tender crumb, rich and moist and yet wonderfully sturdy enough to bear the weight of the icecream on its soft crumb cushion. It’s not overwhelmingly dark, and I think I got the cake-icecream ratio just right.

So what do you get? The layer of tender, spongy soft and moist chocolate cake; then an icy rich wave of creamy, silky ice cream studded throughout with crunchy Oreo crunch. And then outside a layer of chocolate ganache that melts over it all. And then more crumbs, brittle and crackly. And then a raweo–an Oreo but raw and superbly fudgy, quick to make, chocolaty and stuffed with velvety cashew cream. Unf. The recipe is from the lovely Taline Gabriel on Instagram, and you can find it here. I made a special Mega Raweo and put it on top of the cake, because it deserves the podium position. Ayy macarena.

I should really get some sleep.

 

oreo ice cream cake

(makes 1 4-inch mini springform tin)

You will need:

For the chocolate cake

-5.5 tbs spelt flour (whole wheat/all purpose/buckwheat/oat should work)

-2.5 tbs cocoa

-1/2 tsp baking soda

-1/4 tsp baking powder

-2 tbs raw cane sugar

-2 tbs coconut cream, whisked with 2 tbs plant based milk of choice

-1.5 tbs coconut oil/other neutral oil

-1/2 tsp vanilla

-1/2 a flax egg (1/2 tbs flax meal mixed with 1.5 tbs water)

-2 tbs maple syrup/other liquid sweetener

-3.5 tbs hot coffee

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line the base of the springform tin with parchment paper and grease the sides well, flouring too if possible. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. In another, whisk the flax egg, maple syrup, oil, vanilla, and the coconut cream+milk mixture. Add the dry ingredients and whisk till just combined, and then add the hot coffee. The batter should be quite liquid. Pour this into the springform tin and bake for anywhere between 35-45 minutes, depending on your oven. The cake is done when it comes out dry/with only a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the tin and letting it cool on a wire rack. If you wish, you can level off the domed top of the cake so you get even layers.

For the Oreo cookie crunch

-1 tbs flour

-1 tbs cocoa

-1/2 tsp cornstarch

-1/2 tbs maple syrup

-1/2 tbs coconut oil

Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and add the wet. Crumble with your fingers till you get a clumpy, crumbly mixture. Tip this out onto a parchment lined baking tray and bake with the cake at 180 degrees Celsius for just about 5-10 minutes–watch closely, because it burns easily! Once firm and slightly crisp, remove from the oven and let cool.

For the cookies n cream icecream

-1/4 cup cashews, soaked

-1/2 a ripe banana

-1 tsp vanilla

-2 tbs coconut cream

-2 tbs plant based milk of choice, or a bit more

-1 tbs coconut oil

-1.5 tbs maple syrup/liquid sweetener of choice

Blend these till thick and creamy, adding a little milk more if it’s necessary. Stir in a few handfuls of the cooled Oreo cookie crunch, or as much as you wish–it’s your cake! Strap the chocolate cake back into the cleaned springform tin ring, and spread out the cookies n cream icecream on top in an even layer. Freeze for about an hour or till solid.

For the chocolate ganache

-You can either melt chocolate or just use one of the raw ganache recipes mentioned here.

Once the cake is fully solid, let it defrost for a bit and remove the ring of the springform. Carefully drizzle the ganache over the top so you get nice dribbles down the sides. Bring back to the freezer to set.

Once everything is set, decorate with the remaining Oreo crunch and a raweo for good measure. Serve, and devour!

 

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link love fridays: 3

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taken last year on holiday in New Zealand

Helloooo guys! After a very long while, link love fridays is back this week. Ah, it’s been a tough time on this side of the ship–lots of ship sinking, lots of bad days. Lots of times where I say things I don’t mean, lots of times where I feel my life spiralling out of control and blowing raspberries at me as it slips, slimy as yolk, between my fingers. Lots of times where just melting onto the floor sounded like a very very good idea. Lots of times where my mind fails to hold strong and I let the most INANE things ever just get to me. Lots of times where I snapped, sniped, grouched, sulked, and generally became an awful awful person to be around. I think you get the idea. But hey, I’m still here. Weary from the washing-machine tumbling I’ve took and tired and achy and alright–perhaps still a little grouchy–but still here. And I thank my lucky stars for that, every day.

What I’ve learnt this week is that happiness doesn’t revolve around me. Family is a blessing. Food is a blessing. Life is a blessing. Not that I didn’t know that already, but sometimes it’s all too easy to just forget how incredibly, incredibly fortunate we are. There are little things that make life great and that you can cling on to, to skate over the rough patches. Things like chocolate for breakfast. A nice cup of earl grey, with wonderful bergamot notes. BBC on the way to school. Mum’s cooking. A particularly soft line from a poem. Making someone laugh.  BUT it doesn’t have to be your own happiness that makes you happy, it could be someone else’s too (was that confusing?). I mean like making something nice for your friend and seeing her smile, or talking to someone amidst the throat throttling speed of school days and having a nice bit of conversation, however brief. I’ve learnt this week that sometimes by making others happy, you give yourself joy too. Caring for others, doing something a little nice, taking that little extra effort to give. You don’t reap the immediate benefits, but it’s incredibly rewarding. You don’t need anything in return–kindness is it’s own reward. And that has helped me draw myself out of the woe-is-me!-my-life-sucks little pity spiral that all the bad things have been sucking me into. A little wake up call, to stop the self pity.

So that’s my two cents to add at the end of this week! Here are some awesome links I’ve found over the week:

 

music–

this brother and sister group from New Zealand. Man, I miss New Zealand. Beautiful song from an incredibly young and talented youtube star. And I can’t get over this Coldplay track, and probably won’t anytime soon.

 

lifestyle–

These beautiful vacation rental places. When I go on vacation, a very key point in our pre-research is accomodation; it’s like your temporary new home for a while and that somehow makes it all the more magical. We tend to book self serviced apartments instead of hotels as it’s easier and more economical–all of these look simply AMAZING and I want to travel right now. Male maternity photos? Reddit user DruishPrincess69) posted these photos with the simple explanation: “My wife didn’t want to take maternity pictures, so I hired a photographer and took her place…” Oh, and these guys make chocolate–but have never tasted it, until now. Their reactions are simply amazing.

 

food–

My friend Juliet (@julietisamommy on Instagram) has made a beautiful youtube channel and her first video (OATMEAL PANCAKES) is already so incredibly professional and amazing–do give it a look! Also: Sundae, in a CAN. Goodness. By the one and only Dominique Ansel. Peaches packaged in undies provoke quite an uproar. Ooh, lace. And my pal Izy hits 3 years on her blog–and celebrates with a beautiful chocolate cherry meringue stack!

 

Have a great weekend, everyone!

 

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Guest Post: Casey of Casey’s Wholesome Kitchen!

photoHey guys! While I slave away at school and consume massive amounts of chocolate to stay sane, I’ve gotten the lovely Casey of @wholeandhealthy fame on Instagram, from her blog Casey’s Wholesome Kitchen to say hello and sprinkle my blog with some special sparkle Casey dust so it doesn’t shrivel up into some withered…dried…prune. Figgy. Thing. Obviously my brain is the shrivelled withered dried prune figgy thing now because I’ve spent the last few days studying till I could almost feel the words and facts minnowing at the walls of my brain. Which is probably why I should let Casey take over now because if not I will probably ramble into the next few years. OKay, soon.

But seriously, Casey! Do you see the banner above? Her peanut butter pancakes always make me drool because FLUFF and chocolate and peanut butter I mean what more can you ask for? And then her breakfast pizza with those scoops of berry banana ice cream–heaven. She’s also famous for her tofu mousses like this, this and this–along with her gorgeous nana icecream and smoothie bowls. Plus she is not a lazy/stingy old scrooge like me and updates her recipes on the quick, so everyone can set to trying out her works of art. And that’s just one thing about Casey–she is, also, a fabulous friend who is kind, compassionate, my pancake soul sister (we feel the stacks in our soul), and total Harry Potterhead as well! She never fails to drop a caring little note at the bottom of my pictures and her support for everything so far has been amazing, plus she is a constant source of inspiration food and otherwise–I cannot tell you how grateful I am for this fabulous lady. And she’s super talented. And she’s super cute too. And she’s going to share with us not one but TWO recipes today for one of her favourite breakfasts!

Alright, I’ve waffled enough. Here comes Cas, guys!

 


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What do you get when you combine peanut butter, chocolate and a tenacious love affair with breakfast? You get me – and also the fabulous author of this blog, my fellow breakfast buddy, peanut butter aficionado, chocolate connoisseur, and Harry Potter enthusiast – Lin and I understand each other completely.

So here’s a little more about me – I’m a poor, obscure, plain and little 21-year-old American (if you get that reference – 4 for you, Glen Coco) who happens to have a love of cooking and eating, reading, photography, and going for long walks on the beach with myself.

But seriously, I’m just a simple girl with a passion for living a healthy, balanced lifestyle by creating delicious, nutritious meals to fuel my second love (after breakfast) – exercise! I’m a weight lifting junkie who just loves to get my body moving, whether it is a simple walk with my pup in the sunshine, or an awesome fitness class at my gym.

So, you may be wondering who I am exactly, and why Lin has featured me as a guest on her beautiful blog. I am the author of Casey’s Wholesome Kitchen and owner of the Instagram account @wholeandhealthy – It’s Casey Rose!  I was so honored and excited when Lin asked me to write a guest post, it’s like my dreams came true! Lin is a constant source of inspiration to me, not only with insanely delicious recipes, but also her attitude toward a positive relationship with food and health and life in general!

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My path to health started when I was 12 years old and diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Throughout my entire childhood, I dealt with many stomach-related problems and never had a clear answer. Beginning a gluten free diet made immediate positive changes on my health. However, after struggling with some complications related to my Celiac Disease as an adult, I finally took the steps to clean up my diet, and now try to eat an abundance of wholesome foods that nourish my body naturally. I can finally say I have never felt happier, healthier or more alive!

This transition also made me realize my love for cooking. I started experimenting with new breakfasts, and after many failed attempts in the kitchen, I created one of my signature (and favorite) breakfasts, Popped Amaranth Porridge! Amaranth is a tiny, naturally gluten free grain that is incredibly high in plant-based protein, fiber healthy carbs and fats. Cooking unpopped amaranth as porridge takes a significantly longer amount of time compared regular oats, so I never made it for breakfast. However, I regularly popped amaranth on my stovetop and added it to fresh salads for a little more bulk, and I loved the nutty flavor and crunch it added. One night as I was contemplating the following morning’s breakfast (the life of a breakfast fanatic), the idea to pop the amaranth first and THEN cook it like a normal porridge just popped into my brain – no pun intended. I barely slept with my excitement, and in the morning, the porridge worked out EXACTLY the way I hoped it would! Creamy, rich, warm perfection – I knew I had a winner. Below is the recipe for my Basic Vanilla Popped Amaranth Porridge! I will also include the recipe for my favorite flavor, Spiced Gingerbread! You can find many other delicious flavor ideas on my blog!

 

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spiced gingerbread popped amaranth porridge

gluten free, vegetarian, dairy free

You will need:

  • 3-4 tbsp dry, unpopped Amaranth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 banana
  • 1/3 cup egg whites
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1-2 tsp maca powder(optional but highly recommended)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

To pop your amaranth, heat a large sauce pan that has a lid over high heat so the bottom becomes extremely hot. You’ll know the pan is hot enough when a few drops of water dance around the bottom.

Using one tablespoon at a time, pour your amaranth into the pan and immediately cover with the lid. Shake the amaranth around the pan, and it will begin to pop. It’s important that you pour the amaranth into a bowl as soon as it finishes popping, because it will start to burn if you leave it in the pan. Repeat with 3 more tablespoons of the amaranth.

Cut your banana in half and mash one half completely into a puree. Place the water in a small sauce pan and turn on the heat to medium high. Once the water is warm but not boiling, pour in the popped amaranth. Stir with a fork until all the grains soak up water. Next, add your chia seeds, molasses, ginger, maca powder and vanilla extract, and stir to combine. Add your mashed banana and stir again. Add your egg whites and turn down the heat to medium low. Stir the porridge continuously to incorporate the egg whites, which helps make it super creamy and fluffy.

Pour into a bowl and top with whatever you like! I highly suggest dried figs or white mulberries, as well as peanut butter! Cacao nibs would be a great addition as well.

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basic vanilla popped amaranth porridge

gluten free, vegetarian, dairy free

You will need:

  • 4 tbsp (or 1/4 cup) dry, unpopped Amaranth
  • 1 – 1.25 cups water
  • 1 banana
  • 1/3 cup egg whites
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

To pop your amaranth, heat a large sauce pan that has a lid over high heat so the bottom becomes extremely hot. You’ll know the pan is hot enough when a few drops of water dance around the bottom.

Using one tablespoon at a time, pour your amaranth into the pan and immediately cover with the lid. Shake the amaranth around the pan, and it will begin to pop. It’s important that you pour the amaranth into a bowl as soon as it finishes popping, because it will start to burn if you leave it in the pan. Repeat with 3 more tablespoons of the amaranth.

Cut your banana in half and mash one half completely into a puree. Place the water in a small sauce pan and turn on the heat to medium high. Once the water is warm but not boiling, pour in the popped amaranth. Stir with a fork until all the grains soak up water.

Next, add your chia seeds. They will soak up some of the water while it cooks. Add your mashed banana and stir again. Add your egg whites and turn down the heat to medium, or medium low. Stir the porridge continuously to incorporate the egg whites, which helps make it super creamy and fluffy. In the last couple minutes of cooking, add the vanilla extract. This helps maintain the vanilla flavor.

Continue to stir until the egg whites cook and the porridge has thickened. Pour into a bowl and top with whatever you like!

 

Once again, a huge thanks to Lin for being such an amazing human being, an amazing friend and a constant source of inspiration! Hope you all enjoyed learning a bit more about me and my favorite recipes! :)

 

 

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Cookie Dough, Caramel and Peanut Butter Cake (Raw, Vegan)

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So, yeah. Hi. (tries to smoothly blow off the dust on this blog) How have you been? (casually yanks down the canopy of cobwebs) It’s been a while, huh? (offhandedly kicks the scuttering colony of spiders into a corner) What’ve you been up to?

Ok, ok. I am overtly dramatic. I might be exaggerating a weeny teeny minuscule little itty bit. After all, I haven’t been gone that long…right?

In my defense, I’ve had school. Ah, school. Have you ever been forced onto a grassy knoll or field for PE and made to participate in some form of ball game and all of a sudden you see this round hurtling object with aim and purpose practically cleaving the air in its determination to sock you right in the forehead? Yeah, that’s school for me. Several things–many things, including one VERY VERY important class–are currently treacherously and precariously hung in jeopardy. I’m not doing the greatest, and it’s been tiring. The sort of tiring that goes beyond what chocolate can fix (see, when even chocolate can’t do much for ME you know it’s gotta be bad). Sure, chocolate brings a temporary, sweet and blissful amnesia–but the truth, like above metaphoric PE demon ball, will hit you in the face sooner or later. So I’m taking a step back from things. I’ve decided not to HARANGUE MYSELF TO POST WEEKLY FRIDAY LINK LOVE when I have a major test the next week and a massive project looming, or to comment on everyone’s photo with something nice/something to thank them on the #tbcbreakfastbonanza tag. It’s quite painful–I want to thank everyone who’s participated in my little hashtag project in one way or another personally, but priorities are priorities. School is first. Oh, school. O! school (in Lia fashion–if you do not get what I mean, see this post written by my extremely talented and mystical friend. O! let’s make this the latest fashion).

But at any rate. I will continue trying to keep my head above water. Paddle, paddle. That’s what I can do. And even if I get a few breaths of salty brine seawater smack into my mouth sometimes, it will be gross but it will be okay. All that matters is that I paddle.

Alright, enough of my overly metaphoric and mostly talking-to-self-style waffling. Are you still here? Good. Let’s talk cookie dough, and caramel, and peanut butter, and chocolate. Ooooh. Now I remember how I started blabbering about school! It was the result of a very battering school day, like above metaphoric PE demon ball, but on steroids. I came home. I wanted to melt into the sofa. But no–I had to study for a math test. A math test I had to take because I failed an earlier math test. Do you see what I mean now? Anyway, because I obviously am capable of utilising my time to the fullest of my ability to study, I slouched into the kitchen feeling utterly steamrolled over and defeated. I think my spine was a total C shape of :C (turn your head to the left if you can’t see the face). Comfort foods–chocolate. Also math requires peanut butter, because peanut butter. Caramel, because I had some leftover from an experiment to use up and who’s gonna refuse a little more sweetness, right? I’m not too sure what type of information my brain was processing.

But anyway. I sloped around. Blitzed up some nuts and oats, dumped in peanut butter and some maple syrup, kneaded my mathy frustration out till the crumbly chunks of roasty fragrant nuttiness became a dough. Dumped in cacao nibs for good measure. Flattened that out into the base of a springform tin, dolloped on a generous amount of date caramel. Into the freezer for some time-out–and so did I. Well, math might as well be a freezer, the way it numbs my brain. So both the dessert and I chilled out. I actually got some math done!

Then once the dessert and I were solid as rock (ow…my brain…is being allergic to math a thing?), I went back into the kitchen. Stood by the oven, which gives me warmth even though it’s not turned on (have I ever told you how I name my kitchen appliances? No? Well that story’s for another day. Anyway, I love them very much). Sent soaked cashews, some ripe banana, peanut butter, some Bareblends sacha inchi cacao and maca and a splash of soy milk for a whirl. Licked the extra peanut butter off the spoon. Cut up the remaining banana into beautiful little creamy moons and layered them in the mini springform tin on top of the caramel. Scooped out peanut buttery loveliness on top and made sure everything was level, and then popped that back to chill while me and my just-defrosted brain had to go back to the grind. Ah, sigh.

Now, do you see the sheen on top of the chocolate layer? I tell you, I’m stupefied. That was the result of pure laziness–I originally wanted a layer of raw chocolate, made from coconut oil+maple syrup+cocoa powder but because of sheer slovenliness, I decided to just melt Lindt and slather it on top and call it a day. And then because I am a klutz, I accidentally knocked in some hot water from the bain marie the chocolate was melting in on top of the melted Lindt. You know what happens when water meets chocolate? It’s not pretty–it seizes. The chocolate dulls, the mixture thickens to wet cement, you get gloppy kind of curdled chocolate. But then was I going to waste my Lindt? No! So being an absolute chocolate stingy Scrooge, I added more water…and it gradually relaxed, loosened its stiff muscles, and became a grudgingly smooth and thick ganache. Being worried it wouldn’t set, I then added about a tablespoon of coconut oil and–BAM! Instant shine. Beautiful, glorious shine, and a creamy velvet seductive consistency like you wouldn’t believe. And that, my friends, is the story of the Exceptionally Shiny Ganache. It wasn’t some artful chefly dance of cream and chocolate to get the beautiful lustre. It was the result of laziness, sloppiness, and uh, hasty chocolate stinginess.

So, if you’ve suffered through my long rambling…I basically created this baby out of mistakes, trips, oops, brain-numbing and math procrastination. Not a bad mix of genes, if you ask me.

We all have those days. Or weeks.

 

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I’m still cackling at that ganache layer. Such a trickster. Did it fool you, too?

This was delicious. First you get the impersonater ganache, which certainly tasted like the real deal–smooth, silky and mousselike, a velvety fudgy melt with the intense hoarse hit of Lindt. Then it’s set in with the peanut butter cream–a bit salty, a wonderful punch of roasty creaminess that just lights you up from the inside with the toasty peanut flavor and the full, rounded richness on your tongue. And you get mellow coins of gentle banana too, that simply dissolves in a smooth gradient across your palate. After the caramelly golden sweetness, on top of a layer of simply amazing cookie dough. I swear, the base bound everything together–a solid, smooth, soft fudgy nutty brown layer studded with the crunch of cacao nibs and infused with wonderful peanut butter flavor.

Unf. Serving size is one slice. I won’t tell if you don’t decide to cut the cake at all…there’s one slice for you ;-) And if you don’t have a mini springform tin, you could always double the recipe. Or triple. Or quadruple.

 

 

cookie dough, caramel and peanut butter cake

(makes 1 4-inch mini springform tin)

Ingredients:

For the peanut butter cacao nib cookie dough:

-3 tbs almonds

-3 tbs oats

-1 tbs peanut butter

-1/2 tbs honey/maple syrup/whichever liquid sweetener

-water

-a drop of vanilla extract

-cacao nibs/chocolate chips/chocolate chunks

Line your mini springform tin’s base with a circle of parchment. Pulse the almonds and oats in a nut grinder/mini food processor compartment till you get a meal like, floury consistency. Add the peanut butter, sweetener and vanilla and pulse till everything starts clumping together. Dump the dough out into a bowl and add water, 1 tsp at a time, till it comes together in a slightly sticky but smooth dough. Knead in a generous amount of chocolate. Plop the dough on top of the parchment lined base and press it out till it covers the base in an even layer.

For the date caramel:

-(I did not measure my recipe because it was a trial! I blended about 8 medjool dates, 1 cup of water, a dribble of maple syrup and 2 tbsp of peanut butter till everything was combined and used some caramel from that. This may not be a reliable estimate, so this date caramel recipe works just fine–just replace the coconut oil with peanut butter for a peanut buttery-er version, or add some in addition to the coconut oil)

Dollop about 3 heaped tbsp of your date caramel on top of the cookie dough, or enough to form a generous layer. Smooth it out till it’s all even, and place the tin into the freezer to chill for about an hour at least or till it firms up.

For the peanut butter cream:

-1/4 cup cashews, soaked for at least 3 hours

-2 heaped tbsp peanut butter

-1/2 banana (save the other half!)

-sprinkle cinnamon

-1.5 tbsp milk of choice

-1/2 tbsp coconut oil

-Optional but very good: 1/2 tbs Bareblends sacha inchi (mountain peanut), cacao and maca

Blend everything together until smooth. Use the remaining half banana and layer it on top of the chilled date caramel and spoon over the peanut butter cream. Smooth to even out the layer, and then return it to the freezer for about 1 hour again or more, till firm.

For the accidental chocolate ganache:

* I am aware using my method no longer makes it raw, so if you want a 100% raw cake then use a raw chocolate ganache recipe.

-4 squares Lindt dark chocolate

-a certain amount of warm bain marie water

-1 tbsp coconut oil

Melt the chocolate over the bain marie. Accidentally tip a little in–about half a tbsp. Stir this in until it starts looking like a disaster, and then add more water half a tbsp at a time until you get a loose, thick chocolate ganache consistency. Stir in the coconut oil and pour over the solidified peanut butter cream layer. Freeze till firm, up to 1 hour again.

When ready to serve: let defrost slightly, remove the outer ring, slide the bottom off the parchment and serve! Store any leftovers in the freezer.

 

 

 

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