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Chocolate Zucchini Loaf (Vegan)

24 May

Hello, today I bring a twist on one of my favourite things to bake: a chocolate zucchini loaf.

Chocolate zucchini loaf

This recipe I decided to swap out the oil and replace it with avocado and of exchange the eggs for Chia seeds. This way I made a new recipe which also happens to be vegan for anyone interested in that.

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) 1 1/2 cups (225g) of shredded or grated raw zucchini  (courgette)-I used my veggie spiralizer and it literally took me 5 minutes.

2) 1 cup (130g) flour.

3)1/2 cup (45g) unsweetened cocoa powder .

4) 3/4 tsp baking soda .

5) 1/4 tsp baking powder .

6) 2 Chia eggs– To replace one egg add 1 tbsp of ground Chia seeds (I blitzed mine in the Nutribullet) with 3 tbsp of water and let sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to allow it to form a gelatinous consistency. 

7) 1/2 cup of mashed avocado-To replace oil or butter with avocado,  for every 1 cup of oil needed, use 1 cup of avocado. 

8) 1/2 cup of white granulated sugar. 

9) 1/2 cup of brown sugar. 

10) 1 tsp of vanilla extract. 

The ingredients 

WHAT TO DO 

Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a loaf pan

1) Sift the flour, Cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda together.

Sifted dry ingredients 


2) Mix the Chia and avocado well (using hand or stand mixer) adding in the sugars.

3) Add the dry ingredients and mix well.

4) Fold in the zucchini into mixture until it forms a moist homogeneous mixture.

You can amp up the chocolate value at this point by adding vegan chocolate chips (yes they exist). OR if you aren’t vegan just add regular chocolate chips

Mixture 
5) Pour into loaf pan and bake at 350 F for 55 minutes or until the Centre is done.

I had to take it out and check a few times because it kept smelling done when it really wasn’t. 

Once it’s done let it cool, Slice and eat!

So swapping out two ingredients definitely changed this recipe. What was before a more firm loaf became a softer one with more of a chewy brownie texture (I’m NOT complaining). I presume using the Chia instead of egg made it less cohesive while the avocado added smoothness that only avocado can. You don’t taste the avocado, only appreciate the creaminess. The addition of vegan (or non-vegan) chocolate chips makes it more chocolate you and a bit gooey.

This is a great loaf especially for a chocolate lover. There is some actual nutrition by way of the zucchini and avocado and Chia seeds but you more than get your chocolate fix. This is a great dessert to keep around and offer unexpected guests or take to a potluck tea party.

Would you try chocolate zucchini loaf or do you prefer regular zucchini loaf? Whatever your answer,  have an awesome day!

Giant Cookie

5 Apr

Giant cookie




When I was a child  (maybe 5 or so) I had a conversation with my mother one evening after school. I told her “I want a giant cookie.” I remember this conversation distinctly. For some reason, I thought this cookie would be made in a frying pan, not baked, and I could envision it being fried as I spoke to her. She told me “Okay.”

 My unsuspecting self didn’t realize at the time she said okay more to get me to stop nagging her than anything else and not because she planned to make this cookie. By the time I was about 11 I had figured out the truth. Many years into my adulthood and still, no giant cookie. There was an attempt circa 2011 by my sister, a valiant effort I must admit. However, the giant cookie of my dreams contains chocolate. So here is my attempt to finally satisfy that long burning desire for a giant cookie.

To make this cookie you need a good recipe. My recipe is adapted from one on Joy of Baking (my baking queen) and it makes a soft cookie. I figured this would be easier for slicing as giant cookies are meant to be shared.


WHAT YOU NEED 

Cookie

1) 1/2 cup (113g) butter at room temperature 

2) 1/3 cup (75g) of granulated sugar

3) 1/3 cup (75g)  brown sugar– I used coconut sugar

4) 1 egg

5) 1 tsp vanilla extract 

6) 1 1/4 cup (150g) of flour 

7) 1/2 tbsp baking soda

8) Chocolate morsels -use as much or as little as you want

9) Nuts – use as much or little as you want

10) Baking dish -I used a shallow 9” glass dish

11) Cocoa powder – I used 1 heaping tbsp

Cookie ingredients 


Chocolate wafers and nuts

Icing

1) Cream cheese

2) Icing sugar

3) Chocolate sprinkles


Cream cheese and Icing sugar


Cocoa and sprinkles


Baking dish




WHAT TO DO 

Cookies

1) Heat oven to 375 F (190 C)

2) Grease or line dish – To allow for easy removal

3) Beat butter until creamy then add both white and brown sugar and beat until fluffy.

Creamed butter and sugars 

Butter and sugar mixture


4) Add egg and vanilla extract and mix

5) Separately,  mix flour and baking soda and add to mixture and mix well.

6) Separate the mixtures into two equal parts.

Separated cookie mixture 

7) Add cocoa powder and chocolate morsels to one half mixing well.

Mixed in Cocoa


Added chocolate 

8) To the other half of mixture,  add crushed nuts

Added nuts




9) Place mixture in refrigerator for about 30 minutes just to firm up slightly

10) Add mixture in alternating dollops into baking dish.

Mixture placed in dish




11) Bake for 15 minutes or until baked through 

Baked cookie




Icing

Mix some softened cream cheese with Icing sugar until desired texture and sweetness. I started with approximately 2 tbsp of cream cheese and 1/2 cup of Icing sugar.

Icing




Top cooled cookie with icing and add sprinkles

Cookie with icing




Slice and serve

Sliced cookie




Finally,  a chocolate giant cookie. Lol. This was awesome. I think this is a great alternative for a birthday cake (for that weird friend who doesn’t like cake) or a dessert with a difference if you’re entertaining.

The chocolate and nuts expectedly go beautifully together. The cookie is soft so it’s easy to slice and eat but not as fluffy as a cake. The cream cheese Icing gave a nice contrast to the decedent almost bitter dark chocolate and the saltiness of the nuts.

(Mummy, I’m still waiting…)

Give this one a try and have an awesome day.

Ten Fashion Trends in 2017

4 Jan

Greenery

Greenery was recently named the Pantone colour of 2017. For anyone who doesn’t know, this increasingly iconic and influential company has been selecting the colour of the year since 1999 and trends that follow often incorporate whatever tone they choose. This colour is described as a yellow-green although I personally find it to be more cool toned. It is a neutral green reminiscent of lush vegetation and I can see it working as an edgy eyeshadow colour, in a vibrant cushion fabric design or splashed onto an accent wall.

 
So we know what colour sets the tone for fashion and design this year but what else will be trending in 2017?

 
I have a list of ten fashion trends to look out for. This list is based on my review and perusing the 2017 runway shows. There are certainly more than ten trends but I chose the one I liked the best or that I saw most often, in other words it is not an exhaustive list. For a longer list you can check Fashionisers

 

1 ) SHEER FORCE

By this I mean sheer fabrics namely Tulle and Lace. While these fabrics always have their place every season, they are more prominent in 2017 with full tulle skirts and dresses made entirely of lace and beads.

Alexander McQueen                                                 Dior

 

2) TOPSY TURVY- Asymmetric Tops

Those cheeky cold shoulder, long sleeve tops that made a splash towards the end of 2016 were just the beginning. One shoulder tops, diagonal cut tops, will be really trending and I for one cannot wait. Who doesn’t love an asymmetrical top?

Moschino (top)                 Philosophy (bottom)


3) 1980’s

2016 definitely saw the return of mid 1990s fashion, with button front skirts and chokers a plenty and I was there for it. I still am. But let us step aside and give the 1980s some time to shine. Literally. We are talking lame, sequined leggings, neon colours and of course wide bold shoulders.

(Clockwise) Saint Laurent,  Moschino,  Balenciaga And Saint Laurent
 
4) THINK PINK

Hot pink, Fuchsia, Mauve. All the more grown up variations of the colour pink were seen on the runways. And what a beautiful time it is. Pink is an amazing colour because it literally matches all skin tones. Definitely get a splash of this in your wardrobe this year.

Oscar de la renta,  Botegga Veneta, Balenciaga 


5) KEEP IN LINE- Stripes

Horizontal, Vertical, Thick, Pinstripe. Bold. Every version of stripes will make an appearance. Stripes can be so versatile, it’s impossible not to find a style that suits you. White Pinstripes on your pantsuit for work or horizontal multicoloured stripes on a jersey dress for a sporty look.

Mulberry                                                                         Proenza Schouler


6 ) FLOWER POWER

Again, floral prints will almost always be present in some form or fashion year after year. This year however the prints are more 1960s and 1970s inspired with simplified lighter coloured prints as well as more intricate English garden style patterns.

Balenciaga                                                Zac Posen (top)  Dole &Gabanna (bottom)


7 ) OXFORD STREET-Shirt fashion

2017 welcomes the era of the deconstructed and reconstructed Oxford shirt. This is by far one of my favourites. I love the idea of dismantling a crisp Oxford with all its implications of stiffness and conformity (I also happen to love a regular Oxford btw) and making it into something edgy and with attitude. In 2017, it’s all about the attitude.

Monse                                                                       Off White


8 )BARE NECESSITIES

The bralet is no longer being hidden underneath an oversized tank top or relegated to a festival outfit. It is becoming way more widespread with many designers making the tops of their dresses into this style or creating pantsuits or skirt suits which incorporate bralets. This trend definitely takes some confidence as you will obviously be baring it all. But like I said, 2017 is all about having the right attitude so if you like it, wear it.

Victoria Beckham                                Alexander Wang  (top)   Altuzarra (bottom)


9) EXPLORER- Khaki

I call this: “The other neutral” (Black being the first one). I used to love khaki, in fact I used to have as much khaki as black in my wardrobe. Then I stopped wearing cargo pants, and suddenly…no more khaki. But seriously this time around khaki has come back savage being seen primarily in the form of trench coats and other beautifully designed jackets.

(Clockwise)Talbot Runhof, Less Copains, Dion Lee,Talbot Runhof, Miu Miu

10 ) BOTTOM LINE

Culottes with their midi length wideness are here to make a statement. This style of pant has had a few moments in the limelight since their initial debut in the 1970s but this time the trend is hard to ignore being more ubiquitous than ever. Joining the culottes in the 2017 trend list is wide bottom pants. This style of pant had been very slowly seeping into popular fashion over the past few years but remained relegated to fashion bloggers and stylists who were more willing to take a chance. Now we can all jump aboard on this wearable trend.

Gucci                                                                                                       Chloe

What trends do you like? What are you thinking of experimenting with? 
Have an awesome day! 

Happy 2017

1 Jan

Hello and welcome to 2017! Wishing everyone who reads this a year of achievement and contentment and success.

 I don’t make traditional New Year’s resolutions but I do often write out my goals (which is kind of the same thing I guess) . I have personal goals, career goals, reading goals and of course blogging goals. I will share a few blogging goals I have.

1) To continue to consistently post on my blog- though I started my blog in 2012, I only began consistent posting in mid 2016, and I love it. It gives me something to look forward to and hopefully does the same for those who read the blog.

2) To expand my posting range- I primarily do recipes and tips with some travel and beauty stuff splashed in between. This year I want to do DIYs ,more exciting recipes  and more travel and beauty related posts.

3) To improve my photography skills- While I quite like taking photos and I do think I have improved over time, I know there is so much more to learn and do to create beautiful shots. I intend to invest more energy in that.

4) To engage more with fellow bloggers- I learnt in the latter half of 2016 that there are A LOT of blogs out there. Some very similar to me, some completely different but exciting and some just totally out of the box. Before, I never really considered finding blogs on WordPress,  I only used it to actually write my posts. It opened up a whole new world for me and I’m excited to see more.

This are my main blogging goals that I hope to achieve this year. What are your blogging goals?

Have an awesome day!

Champagne Gummy Bears

28 Dec


Hello everyone.  Hoping you had a beautiful Christmas/Holiday season and are as eager as I am to leave 2016 behind. It hasn’t been all bad but it was definitely messy. 

This is a recipe I tried a couple months ago but I thought would be a perfect NYE treat… Champagne Gummy bears. Of course, you can also use regular wine.

I first heard of these about two or three years ago. At that point they were only being sold by a very high end gourmet candy company and though beautiful and delicious looking, not easily attainable for me.

Then the pictures and tutorials began showing up on Pinterest and I knew…I had to try.

The recipe I used is a mash up of two I found online.  One is from Cooking with Janica and Sprinkle Bakes. I used less gelatin than both recipes called for and it gave me a softer gummy which I prefer. I also used the recommendation from Sprinkle Bakes of adding an additional flavour because just using the wine makes it a bit bland. So let us continue. ..

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) 1 cup Wine– champagne, prosecco, red, white, blush. I used a white, a red and a sparkling rose.

2) Gummy bear molds– I bought these on Amazon, each can make 50 bears and it comes in pairs.

3) 3 packets of gelatin (or if you want a vegan option, use agar-agar)

4) Food colouring– Depends on the flavour, I used pink for the rose, red for the red wine and a little yellow for the white wine.

5) 1/2 cup of white sugar

6) 2-3 drops of wine food flavouring – yes this exists but I couldn’t get any when I wanted it so I used strawberry, I think any berry flavour can work.

7) Squeeze bottle– for easy delivery of the gel.

Ingredients 

WHAT TO DO 

1) Mix 3 packets of gelatin with water and let it dissolve.

2) Add sugar and mix in.

3) In a saucepan /frying pan Pour in wine and allow to come to a boil. 

4) Add sugar/gelatin mix to warm wine and stir in to dissolve.

5) Add food colouring and Flavouring and mix.

6) Pour gelatin/syrup into bottle and carefully fill molds.

7) Place in refrigerator and let firm up- I left them in overnight 

Sugar and gelatin 




Add water




Fill molds




Finished gummies 



They look like gummy bears, they kind of smell like gummy bears but they don’t quite taste like gummy bears. They taste like a sweet cocktail or wine cooler. This is a sophisticated treat that’s pretty straight forward to make and I think it’s a perfect party favour for a NYE shindig!

Try this out and eat gummies responsibly. Have an awesome day!

Cozy Christmas  Breakfast 

24 Dec

BLOG-Mas DAY 24!

I feel like breakfast at Christmas time should be a little special and these two recipes are bound to be. The first recipe is Cinnamon pancakes with Blackberry syrup and paired with a spicy hot cocoa. 

WHAT YOU NEED 

Pancakes 

1) 1 1/3 cups (135g)Pancake mix 

2) 1 tbsp cinnamon

3) 1 cup Blackberries  Any type of berries will do. I chose blackberries because they were the cheapest st the supermarket. 

4) 1/2 cup (48g)  White sugar 


Ingredients 


WHAT TO DO 

Pancakes 

1) Add cinnamon to pancake mix and stir in. 

Add cinnamon 

Mix in cinnamon 

2) Add water and mix well. 

Batter

3) Heat skillet and make pancakes to desired size. 

Cook pancakes 

Stack





Syrup

4) Place blackberries, sugar and teabag into a skillet or saucepan.

Ingredients in skillet 

5) Add  water and bring to a boil.

Boil





6) Adjust to a simmer until syrupy in consistency 

Syrup 

7) Pour over pancakes. 

Pancakes with syrup 




Spicy hot cocoa 

WHAT YOU NEED 

(Makes one 16 oz(475mL) cup )


1) 1/4 cup(56g) Chocolate morsels /chips

2) Cocoa powder  (unsweetened )

3) 1 tbsp of White sugar 

4) pinch of Salt

5)2 cups (16floz )of milk

6) 1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper 


Cocoa ingredients 


WHAT TO DO 

1) Place all the dry ingredients including the chocolate morsels into a saucepan and mix until chocolate has melted.

Ingredients in saucepan 


2) Add milk and let simmer 

Cocoa in pan

3) Pour into cup and top with marshmallows and pepper 

Finished cocoa 

Your breakfast is ready to serve! 

Finished breakfast 

This is a delicious cute breakfast.  The cinnamon adds a festive feel to the pancakes and the fruit based syrup gives it a more complex grown up flavour.

The hot cocoa is rich and decedent and the pepper adds a most unexpected  dimension. It gives a slow smokey burn that somehow goes beautifully with the chocolate  (because what doesn’t go beautifully with chocolate? )

Definitely try this one out and have an awesome day !

Festive Fashion-Lookbook

23 Dec

Hello and welcome to Blogmas Day 23!

Today I bring a mini look book showcasing a maxi dress great for a festive occasion.It is paired with a low rise belt and black booties.

Be the light of the party


Sparkle and shine




Relax with friends




Feel free to have fun





Kick your shoes off and dance



Outfit 

Maxi dress in dark blue with red floral print (Forever 21)

Wide belt in black with gold clasp(H&M)

Black velvet ankle booties

Small black chevron bag with gold chain interwoven strap(Forever 21)

Garnet coloured cocktail ring



Shot on Beach at Fortune Point, Bahamas 

Photos taken by M. Gibson




Have an awesome day! 



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