Monthly Archives: April 2011

Birthdays and Strawberry Cheesecake Raw Vegan Cake Pops

Today is my birthday, so Happy Birthday to me! To celebrate, I wanted to try making raw cake pops for the Raw Cake Pop Challenge hosted by Vegan Culinary Crusade.

Update: These babies actually won second place in the raw cake pop challenge! How exciting is that?

Initially, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I thought about how much I loved the “cheesecake” part of my raw carrot cake, so wouldn’t it be great to eat that on a stick? Fabulous. I didn’t know how I would create a non-chocolate based coating until I came across this raw frosting that uses coconut oil. In case you didn’t know, coconut oil hardens at slightly below room temperature, so it would be fairly easy to make it liquid-y enough to dip into and remain hard enough to stay on. Perfect!

I’m quite pleased with how well these turned out – much better than my first try at cake pops. They also have considerably less sugar and are slightly healthier than those ones, too! I say slightly healthier as man, oh, man are these babies rich. It’s a good thing that they only come in small balls!

Raw Strawberry Cheesecake Cake Pops

1 1/2 c. raw cashews, soaked overnight
3/4 c. chopped strawberries
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon + 1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 c. dried coconut
1/3 c. agave nectar
6 tbsp. coconut oil
Strawberry coating (recipe below)
Dried Coconut

  1. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews. Place in a food processor or blender with all the ingredients.
  2. Process until smooth (or as smooth as you can get it), stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides and taste to see if you need to add anything.
  3. Scrape mixture into a bowl and stick in the freezer for 1 hour or the fridge for 3, stirring occasionally until the mixture is solid enough to form into balls. Place balls in a wax paper lined pan and store in the fridge.
  4. 30 minutes before you plan to “ice” the cake pops, dip the end of lollipop sticks in agave nectar and insert into cake pops 1/2 – 3/4″ (depends on the size of your pops. If it pokes through, that’s okay. Just re-roll the balls and insert the stick perpendicular to the original hole. One they all have sticks, place them in the freezer for at least 20 – 30 minutes or until the outside is frozen.
  5.  Make strawberry coating (recipe below.) Store bowl in a sink 1/3 full of warm water to make sure the icing stays liquid.
  6. Pour some dried coconut into a cereal bowl.
  7. Remove pops from freezer. One at a time, swirl the pops in the strawberry coating (it should be liquid enough to cover easily and then since the pops are frozen, it will immediately start to solidify.)
  8. Dip the non-quite solidified pop into the dried coconut, doing your best to evenly coat it.
  9. Place pops upright in a piece of styrofoam. Store in the fridge or else they might get too soft and want to fall off their sticks.
  10. Enjoy!

Strawberry Coating

105 g Coconut oil (according to these people, this is 1/2 c.)
2 tbsp. agave nectar
4 – 5 tbsp. strawberry purée (I pureed 6 – 7 small strawberries in my magic bullet until smooth.)

  1. Place coconut oil in the mixing bowl. Place the bowl in a sink of warm water until the coconut oil is half melted.
  2. Beat on high until coconut oil is fluffy.
  3. Add agave nectar and beat until well combined.
  4. Add strawberry purée and beat until well combined. This coating should be fairly liquid-y.
  5. Keep bowl in warm water to ensure proper consistency, stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture from separating. Remove as necessary.

Have you tried making cake pops before?

This recipe has been submitted to: Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.


Filed under Food, Life

Shopping in my Closet

I’m the first to admit that I know very little about fashion and style. So when Emily over at Scribbles From Emily began her “Fashion 101” series, I jumped at the opportunity to play along with the weekly challenges and hopefully learn a thing or two.

Last week I got to figure out what “style personality” I am (apparently I’m a “Classic-Natural”) and then make a polyvore collage of our personalities. I used to think that people who made fifty billion polyvore collages were crazy, but now I understand how completely addicting it can be. I had fun trying to find clothing that emulates what I actually wear. (That’s even my purse! Except mine is grey.)

This week’s homework is to shop in your own closet. So basically, you try to make new outfits out of existing clothes in a short amount of time, take photos, choose your favourite and accessorize it. I usually end up wearing the same outfits over and over, so I knew it was going to be a bit challenging for me to try new and different pairings.

Through this exercise, I realized that I am a fairly conservative dresser – not much crazy stuff over here. I also discovered that many of my clothes no longer fit as I’ve lost weight – I know I shouldn’t complain about that – so that added an extra degree of difficulty in creating outfits. I also didn’t make any casual outfits as I’ve pretty much worn almost every combination of t-shirt/sweater/jeans or yoga pants I own. Besides, it was fun to try to be creative with the part of my wardrobe I haven’t worn in a while given I’m not working an office job.

Here are the twenty outfits I managed to put together in my 30 minutes. Note to self that taking photos on my red duvet cover was probably not the best idea. Oh well!

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I decided to try (try being the operative term 😉 ) to accessorize the light teal patterned skirt with teal sweater. I couldn’t decide whether I liked it better with collared shirt or t-shirt – what do you think? I added a necklace and earrings and chosen to wear my beige kitten heels. (I’m not a huge accessories person – can you tell?)

It may not be immediately noticeable, but I did pin back the sweater to make it appear more flattering for the photos. Obviously, I can’t do this in real life without it being rather weird, so do any of you have any ideas how I could wear this sweater so it isn’t super baggy?

So, are you a style maven and have no difficulty creating cute and stylish outfits or are you like me and don’t really have a clue?


Filed under Life

Vegan Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake (GAHIGF)

Mr. Bean and I celebrated Easter Dinner at his parent’s house and my mother-in-law asked me to bring a dessert as it’s really difficult and not fair for other people to make desserts that I can eat that are not just fruit. I hummed and hawed over what I should make, but I knew what I wanted after seeing all these strawberry shortcake recipes popping up everywhere:

Cook It Allergy Free’s “The Most Unbelievable Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Strawberry Shortcake
Pumpkin Pantry’s Strawberry Shortcake with Vegan Frozen Yogurt
Sweet Caroline’s Strawberry Shortcake with Fluffy Whipped Cream

Don’t those make you want to make strawberry shortcake immediately? Yeah, me too!

I learned from my Joy of Cooking that strawberry shortcake can be made in two ways: using biscuits/scones or sponge cake. Since I’m not eating eggs, the decision to make the former was incredibly easy. The shortcake recipe is based on a variation of the “fluffy rolled biscuits” from the Joy of Cooking. Of course, I just made them vegan, gluten and refined sugar-free. 🙂

This dessert is fantastic if you’re trying avoid sugar – there is less than a tablespoon of sweetener in the entire thing. You can add more if you like, but using ripe strawberries and coconut cream, which is quite sweet on its own, made it plenty sweet enough by my standards. These are perfect to share with a group of people as each can assemble their shortcake to their taste. They are also not very heavy, so they would be perfect to serve at a brunch or even as an afternoon snack with tea.

Vegan, Gluten and Refined Sugar Free Strawberry Shortcakes

8 shortcakes (recipe below)
1 pint of strawberries, sliced (plus smaller whole ones for the top if desired)
2 cans coconut milk, left in the refrigerator overnight
Sweetener (if desired) – I added 1 tsp. agave nectar

  1. Carefully open cans of coconut milk and skim off the white coconut cream. Set the coconut milk aside to use in the biscuits and for whatever else.
  2. In a mixer equipped with a whisk, whip the coconut cream and sweetener until it holds peaks and is fluffy. Place in fridge until ready to use.
  3. After the shortcakes are cooled, cut in half.
  4. On the bottom half, spread a dollop of coconut cream on the lower half. Pile on some strawberries and another dollop on coconut cream. Place the top half on the cream to create a sandwich. Add another dollop of cream and a whole strawberry to garnish if desired.
  5. To make them easier to eat, make two open-faced shortcakes piled with coconut cream and strawberries.
  6. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Vegan, Gluten and Refined Sugar Free Shortcakes

1 c. Brown Rice Flour
1/2 c. Tapioca Starch
1/4 c. Potato Starch
1 tsp. xathan gum
1 tbsp + 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
4 – 5 tbsp. coconut oil
3/4 c. + 2 tbsp. coconut milk with coconut cream removed
1 tsp. agave nectar
1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients. Make sure that you spoon the flours into the measuring cups or else it might be too dense. If you don’t feel like doing that, just add more coconut milk when you add the wet ingredients.
  3. Using fingers, work coconut oil through the dry ingredients until there are no chunks of coconut oil left.
  4. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and stir until mixed using a fork.
  5. Roll (or pat) out the dough on a floured board until about 1″ thick.
  6. Cut out into ~3″ circles – I just used a glass. It should make 8 shortcakes.
  7. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for about 12 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack.

This is my submission for April’s Brunch themed Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free Challenge, hosted by Maggie at She Let Them Eat Cake.

What is your favourite Brunch Item?

This recipe has been submitted to: Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Hearth and Soul Hop Volume 45 and Gluten Free Wednesdays!


Filed under Baking

Shoot and Edit: Easter

I hope you’re all having a good Holy Week. Just in case you forgot, here’s what my SOOC shots looked like for this week’s Easter themed Shoot and Edit:

And here are my edits:

I’m going to try to spend as much time as possible away from the computer tomorrow, so I’ll see you on the “other side:” Easter! 🙂


Filed under Photography

Shoot and Edit: Easter

Holy Week: possibly the most important week in the Christian Calendar as it follows through the sacrifice Jesus made for us so that we all can have new life through him. As one of my friends on facebook said:

Jesus is the only God that stepped down from his throne to kneel and wash our feet, before standing silent before us as all that is wrong in us held him on a cross. He lived the life we can not live, he died the death we should have died and he rose to life to bring us life.

As a kid, Holy Week always made me very sad and I always asked why the heck did they have to be so mean to such a great and nice guy? As I get older, I’ve started to really understand and realize what it was all for and I’m really grateful for Jesus’ sacrifice for me.

What does Holy Week mean to you?


Filed under Photography