Friday 27 December 2013

Walnut and Oat Energy Balls

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Happy Holidays internet! I hope your holiday season has been as filled with warmth, joy and good food as mine has! Other Half and I are in back in Canada for the holidays and it has been a whirlwind! Add to that the ice storm that gripped Southern Ontario, a quick three days in chilly, wet London to visit my sister, and a brutal cold/flu bug that set me back a couple days and I think we have successfully fit in all the winter we can handle! 

One of the hardest parts about long distance traveling is eating. Making sure you eat enough good stuff to counteract the airplane food can be tricky, sometimes impossible. This time, because I was flying on a never-before-heard-of airline halfway round the world, I wanted to ensure I would be able to eat, let alone worry about the health side of things. And while my concerns ended up being mostly unfounded, I was thankful for these when I was faced with the decision of chocolate bar or chips as sustenance.

Like many things that I churn out of my kitchen, these little morsels of goodness are highly adaptable. The first version I made for the plane was a basic mix of walnuts, oats and honey. More recently I included dates, maple syrup and coconut. I'd also like to try it with pepitas, hemp hearts and almond butter.  The options are endless, and all delectable.

I know it will be hard to travel without these from now on.  Hopefully I wont have to.

Walnut and Oat Energy Balls

1/2 cup oats
1 1/2 cups walnut pieces
3 Tbsp of honey or maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Optional add ins: chopped dates, hemp hearts, pepitas or other seeds, almond butter or peanut butter, chocolate chunks
Optional coatings: coconut, cocoa powder, sugar

  1. In a blender, blend the oats until you have created a course flour, remove from blender and put in a bowl
  2. Next grind the walnuts until finely chopped and add to the oats
  3. Stir in the honey or maple syrup and cinnomon and combine to create a think doughy paste
  4. Form into balls by rolling in the palms of your hands and roll in your coating of choice.  I used a mixture of coconut and cocoa powder - yum!
  5. Enjoy!

Sunday 15 December 2013

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Icing

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The beginning of December marks two thing in my calendar. 1. It's the time when I feel it is officially okay to snow, and 2. Other Half is ringing in another year of life. Snow is not a thing in southern China, but birthdays are and what's a birthday without cake? Not much, if you ask me. Which is why every December I roll up my sleeves, head into the kitchen and do my best to outdo myself from the year before.  And judging by the reviews from Other Half and the party goers that helped us celebrate, this one was a win.

I've spoken about this before, but Other Half is a peanut butter and chocolate fiend. The only combination that makes him happier is chocolate chip cookies and milk (there's definitely a theme to his food choices). And so each year I attempt a new twist on what I've done in the past.  One year it was a ice cream brownie cake concoction.  Last year it was this chocolate peanut butter "pie".  This year, it's a chocolate cake (with chocolate chips) and peanut butter icing. Neither element was too sweet and both were mouth watering-ly good on their own, the combo of the two put it over the edge. Yum!

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Icing
cake recipe from: 5 second rule 

For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted about halfway
6 tablespoons sour cream
1 cup milk
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

For the icing:
1 cup icing sugar (or more to taste)
1 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup greek yogurt

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan. Line with parchment.
  2. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. 
  3. Add the butter, sour cream, milk, egg, and mini chips. Stir until well combined and scrape into the prepared cake pan. 
  4. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the cake is firm to the touch, a skewer withdraws clean, and the cake is just beginning to pull away from the sides. (NOTE: these are the bake time instructions from the original recipe - if you're like me and you're baking in a tiny oven that seems to be overly hot... check it after 10, it's probably done.)
  5. Once out of the oven, allow to cool for approximately 5 minutes and then remove from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. While the cake is baking, whip up the icing by combing all ingredients into a bowl and mixing until well combined.  Taste tests are recommended but caution is necessary - this stuff is addictive!
  7. Once the cake is completely cool, place one layer on a plate and ice with approximately 1/3 of the icing. Carefully place the second layer on top and cover with the remaining icing.
  8. Over with sprinkles, stick in some candles and enjoy!

Tuesday 3 December 2013

Link Love-In: Just because

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Photo by: Stephen Wilkes
Hello there, you poor abandoned blog you. It's time again for some link love, not because I don't want to share my travels to Palawan, or my recipe for Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Icing that I just made Other Half for his birthday.  No, this is because I'm slow at writing, and I've been having too many weekend adventures that my writing time has disappeared quickly (and... I admit, I've been spending lots of my free time thinking about a certain wedding next summer)!

However, I can assure you that I am instead leaving you with a great list of required (in my opinion) reading that will fill any blog void I may be causing. Enjoy!

  1. I love me some infographics and this one doesn't disappoint (via. livescience)
  2. What's that? you want to see another infographic? With fun facts about Canada? Okay. (via. wpmedia)
  3. I'm a punctual person.  If you tell me to meet you at 5:00, I will do anything humanly possible to meet you at 5:00.  I'll probably even be 5 minutes early just to make sure I'm not late. The concept of "fashionably late" baffles me, but I will practice it if you say a party starts at 7:00, not expecting anyone to show up until at least 9:00, so that you don't feel put out when I actually show up at 7:00. This article was written for me. (via. Huffington Post)
  4. It's hard not to love the movie Love, Actually. I know people who say they don't, but they're still the ones watching it every Christmas.  If you're curious about what happened to all of your favourite lovey-doves, this will help. (via. The Hairpin)
  5. If I ever choose to have kids, I want to be this kind of parent. (via. the greatest people on earth) 
  6. I'm a big fan of this technique and Stephen Wilkes does it really well. (via. twisted sifter)
  7. Do you have a doppleganger? I do, I've never met her, but I saw a picture of her once.  It was hanging behind the counter of the local Pita Pit. I thought it was a picture of me, except that I've never worked at Pita Pit and this girl was wearing a Pita Pit uniform. It was totally surreal. I can only imagine what it would be like for these people to actually meet. (via. twisted sifter)


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