Cupcakes Always Win


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Vegan Lamingtons

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During my most recent time abroad I created journal entries and lists of food memories I experienced in all of the countries we visited. As expected, every country had unique flavours, and dishes. Being invited into homes of the locals for dinner, and dessert was a surreal culture and culinary adventure!

The story of Lamingtons for me began in New Zealand where we stopped at a grocery store to get materials for packing a lunch to eat on an island we planned to do hiking on. At the store there were colossal lamingtons. Lamingtons covered in chocolate or raspberry coating. Since we knew we’d be hiking we figured we needed the extra calories.

I decided at this moment in my life I needed to make these petit four-esque treats vegan friendly.

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You can replace the coconut milk with cold water. I usually do that in order to save money, the cake turns out just as delicious!

I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it as much as I did!
Anna xoxox

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Refreshing Cucumber Salad

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Most veggies taste amazing on their own, but sometimes adding a little salt, pepper, and fresh lemon juice takes them to the next level. This is a common salad I found throughout India. When I was to going to order some sort of fresh food, it was usually the cucumber salad.

It’s simplicity made it easy to re-create while on the road in New Zealand, especially with lemon trees on every block.

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There are so many types of lemons available in New Zealand. I don’t know the variety that was most common but it was a lot sweeter than lemons I buy in Canada. For this salad, I decided to add sliced lemons along with the fresh lemon juice because of the awesome flavour profile of the lemons. But if that is a little too tart for your liking, then don’t bother with the lemon slices!

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If you want a quick snack for a hike chop large pieces of cucumbers and spritz with lemon juice before putting them in a container. You’ll be super thankful for this hydrating veggie once you are mid-hike!

I also included a few snaps I captured while in New Zealand! Hope you enjoy! xox

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Vegan Shortbread

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Yes, 100% totally vegan shortbread is happening! I am currently eating the last few pieces as I type this. Shortbread is delicious without butter, it might even be better without butter. It might be difficult to compute that last sentence but I swear it’s true.

How to replace the butter? Grind cashews to form a butter and combine with coconut oil! Easy!

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As you are aware, this edge of the internet is filled with mostly sweet things, that are usually vegan, and a place I share glances into my kitchen. Each glance is so different! Sometimes I am inspired by a close friend or family member, while other times it takes flipping through a beautiful recipe book. This post was inspired by my mom, a shortbread connoisseur. I wanted to make her the best shortbread and provide her with the recipe to make her own. Initially it wasn’t vegan but I took the challenge and the results were delicious.

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I didn’t pierce or dock the shortbread. I tried in one of my earlier attempts and it didn’t look as pretty. Before baking this shortbread it’s more delicate and a crumbly mess was created when I did dock it.

To switch it up, you could dip in vegan friendly chocolate or add a little lemon zest. I love a simple shortbread because it is easy and if you want to add a flavour or to you can totally twist it up in a snap!

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Hope you enjoyed this recipe! Thanks for poppin’ by and look forward to sharing more kitchen snippets.
Much love,
Anna xoxox

P.S> If you really love butter you can replace the coconut oil and cashew butter with 1 cup butter. But seriously, it’s worth trying it vegan at least once!

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Vegan Cranberry Orange Bran Muffins

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Fresh produce is hard to come by once the temperatures drop below zero, snow falls, and ice begins to build up creating more excuses to eat comfort foods and stay indoors. For me, this winter has been a hard one to crack, the weather isn’t consistent. As soon as I adjust to -10 it has already changed to freezing rain and -2.

How to cope?

Well I turn on the oven and whip up something tasty like these muffins. Made with fresh local cranberries and full of fiber, which are the perfect compromise, and can be eaten for breakfast with no guilt!

I may detest the indecisive weather patterns but it does provide much inspiration when it comes to taking photos._MG_6138
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Speaking of photography, I have been reflecting (as one sometimes does) and thinking about how happy I am to have someone like my dad in my life who is probably the best photographer I know. He may be good at taking selfies, but along with that, he has taught me about the passion behind the lens. Ever since I started taking pictures with a film point-and-shoot camera he always told me that “The quality of the camera doesn’t matter, all you need is a good eye.” I always liked this piece of advice because I never wanted to spend money (I didn’t have) on a camera.
It pushed me to develop my creative look on things instead of developing a mass of photography gear. Several years later and I’m considered to be an adult, I am still borrowing my dad’s tripod, have acquired a used DSLR camera, baked truck loads of cupcakes, and my photography continues to grow.
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It felt for a few days as though I was living in a dreamy winter land of ice and snow, perfect timing for the holiday celebrations.
_MG_6093_MG_6104_MG_6142_MG_6146_MG_6174When I grew tired of snapping shots, it was time to hibernate back into the warmth of the house and these muffins were next on the menu. I absolutely love the citrus kick from the orange juice + zest, and the tangy bite from the fresh cranberries. Oranges and cranberries were obviously meant to be together!_MG_6188
Thanks for stopping in the many times you have! It has been a wonderful year and I absolutely can’t wait for many more awesome food times in the new year!

Much Love,
Anna xoxo
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Vegan Walnut Brownie Cookies + The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

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I have always loved cookie swaps. It is an excuse to make an extra big batch of cookies only to trade half of them (or more) for an assortment of other delicious cookies. These swaps always inspire me right before my big holiday bake-off! I have hosted a cookie swap in the past with friends which was awesome! But this year I went to the virtual world with the end result being three boxes of different types of fresh baked cookies delivered to my doorstep. Obviously, this is awesome.

I discovered The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap last year but missed the sign-up deadline. I didn’t want to miss it this year so I marked it in my calendar and here we are now, blogging about my experience!

I decided to work on creating a recipe that was vegan, and came up with these sandwich cookies. These cookies are a little on the cakey + delicate side, but really delicious. I used walnuts and ground them into a walnut butter, but feel free to use any nut you like. I chose walnuts because they make me think of Christmas’s spent at my grandpa’s farm where it wasn’t the holiday’s unless there was a bowl of large assorted nuts near a nutcracker.

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I tested these cookies a couple times in order to get the recipe I wanted which has a brownie texture that is just sturdy enough to handle. It is also super important to let the dough rest in the freezer over night for 1 or even 2 days. This helps to allow time for the dry and wet ingredients to settle into each other.

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One thing I forgot to add in the recipe is that I added some extra chopped walnuts to give the cookies a little extra texture.

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The best part of this cookie swap is discovering other amazing food blogs in Canada! I sent a dozen of these cookies to The Tasty Gardner, Cheap Ethnic Eats, and Forever Faith and Food. I received delicious Kris Kringle cookies from Hot Pink Apron, chocolate and vanilla biscotti from Kate’s Plate, and Cardamom Quince Layer Cookies from The Yum Yum Factor. It was a really fun time baking and discovering new blogs! I will definitely be checking out these recipe hubs from now on.

Now it is back to the kitchen to bake, bake, bake, especially now since I am inspired from all these awesome cookie ideas! Good luck with your holiday baking and hope to see you soon!

Much Love,
Anna xoxox

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Vegan Walnut Date Cake

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Just got back from the sweetest date! It involved three hours of baking up sweet surprises. The best thing was the date was free! Ok, so maybe I was in my kitchen dancing and baking with dates, but that counts as a date too!

I love baking with dates, and usually get the cheapest ones out there, and even that is a treat. For this recipe thanks to Natural Delights I used the plump fresher ones. They were so delicious and I don’t know if I will be able to go back to the vacuumed dried variety.

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This cake is pretty filling with the sugars from dates, and the added sugar but the crunch of the walnuts is perfect. It is a simple cake with no added flavours but I am thinking the next time I whip up this recipe I will add a bit of cinnamon. I also contemplated adding some carob chips but am glad that I didn’t. It might have been too sweet if that is a thing with that addition.

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With the chilly nights that are on there way, this cake will definitely be enjoyed with a warm glass of tea and a good book. It is best to have a cuddle buddy nearby too if available.

Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon! oxoxox
Much Love,
Anna

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Coconut Jelly with Fresh Raspberries

_MG_9978Coconut Jelly is a great refreshing treat to enjoy over the summer months with your favourite seasonal fruits. It is a  nice addition to any fruit salad, super easy and vegan friendly!
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I have never used agar agar before but I have seen my roommate use it to make a similar recipe. (Which was equally delicious!) I also remember eating a savoury jelly as a side dish in South Korea which used something similar to agar agar to make it a jelly like consistency while keeping it vegan friendly.
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It is always exciting when making jelly to see it transform from a liquid to a solid!

As a kid I remember one of my grandpa’s favourite treat’s was jello mixed with fresh fruit. We would always visit him on his farm and he would have fresh made jello around for us to eat. It was always quite special! I am unsure what his take would have been on vegetarians and vegans, but if given the chance I would love to have shared some recipes with him that were vegan/vegetarian friendly.
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It is also a great recipe to try when it is hot outside! Super refreshing and simple to make ­čÖé

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer, I am loving the sunshine and smiling faces! Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you again soon!

Much Love,

Anna xoxoxo
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