23 May 2015

strawberry banana coconut muffins


Procrastibaking [proh-kras-tuh-beyk-ing] verb: the art of baking something in order to put off something else you need to do. 


This word could not be more appropriate at the moment. I have a Chemistry midterm on Wednesday that I have only been lightly studying for. I really should get going on those practice questions... 

Lately I've been flipping through a few cook books that we have out of boredom recently and came upon this recipe in one called 500 Gluten Free Dishes. I know the title sounds exactly like a terrible Buzzfeed article which is why I hadn't taken interest in it until this past week. It's surprisingly useful; they include a good base pastry flour blend recipe as well as suggest variations for all of their dishes. Of course I didn't stick to the original recipe, mainly due to lack of ingredients, but the changes I made were oh so appropriate. 


First I substituted the canola oil for scented coconut oil; I omitted the almond and corn flour and added more coconut flour; used whole milk instead of buttermilk; left out the eggs; and added 1 tsp psyllium husk. 

The amount of coconut in this recipe makes me happy. The flour, coconut oil, and shredded coconut all add to the subtle but present flavour while the banana and strawberries add sweetness. The texture on these muffins is perfect. Absolutely perfect. They spring back and don't crumble to a million pieces like gluten free muffins can do. You can easily make these vegan by using almond milk or even coconut milk if you want a dynamic coconut quality. I used as many organic options as I could but that's just personal preference, feel free to use the variety which best suits you.  

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 3/4 cup organic coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp xantham gum
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp psyllium husk
  • 1/2 cup organic palm sugar 
  • 1/3 cup organic unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 5 tbsp organic scented coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup ripe strawberries cut into 1cm pieces (I used frozen)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F and line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper muffin cups. 
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, anthem gum, salt, and psyllium husk. Stir in shredded coconut and sugar. 
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, vanilla extract, and coconut oil. Don't worry if the coconut oil pills together. Cut the banana into small pieces, add to bowl, and slightly mash with the whisk. Add strawberries. 
  4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and quickly pour in the wet ingredients. Stir quickly and lightly until just combined. Do not worry about a few dry bits or lumps and be careful not to over mix
  5. Spoon into muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden, film to the touch, and well risen. Serve warm or cooled with a good cup of tea. 

17 May 2015

breakfast | 03.05.2015

Oh Sundays, you're always so relaxing. This photo is from over a week ago but I distinctly remember this Sunday because the weather was beautiful, almost 20 degrees out) I spent almost all of it reading and lying in the sun. This book is long finished, along with Of Mice and Men, and I'm currently loving A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby. I am on a serious Hornby kick this year... 

Anyway, Jo Nesbo is a great Norwegian crime writer. I don't know if I would consider him "the next Steigh Larsson" but his books are pretty gripping. The Devil's Star is the fourth in the Harry Hole series. I started with The Redbreast, the third, which is definitely in my favourite crime/mystery novels ever. This particular book starts with a young woman found murdered in her flat with one of her fingers missing and a red diamond in the shape of a star underneath her eyelid. Set in Oslo, Harry and the police department are hesitant to use the words "serial killer" but by the third murder, everything falls into place and apart. It's well paced, extremely well researched, and has a neat little twist at the end. I finished this in about a week and I always recommend his books to someone looking for a summer read! 

For breakfast on that wonderful Sun(ny)day (get it??) I had a bowl of plain Greek yogurt, a small handful of plain Cheerios and granola, some sliced mango, and raisins thrown on top. Unfortunately the granola was a weird sweet boxed kind I found in my house because I haven't made any as of late. I keep promising myself I will and I promise you I will take pics and write about it! These are my favourite kind of breakfasts though, I can put whatever my heart desires on the yogurt and it's always satisfying. 

What kind of breakfast do you make yourself on a relaxed Sunday? Have any book recommendations? Let me know! Oh, and if you want to follow me on Bloglovin' you can do so here!

16 May 2015

current favourites

The weather in Vancouver has been gorgeous for the past couple of months, I believe we have been hovering around 15 degrees since last March. This really mild weather from slow global warming is pretty terrifying, to be honest. I think the scariest thing is that many flowers and fruits are flowering ahead of time which does not align with the life cycles of bees. Ah I digress, I could talk about all the ways we can slow climate change for hours on end. Right now I want to talk about things that are making me happy or have made me happy recently!

I'm a total sucker for lists (as you might have read in the About Us page...) so what other format should this have taken? Not an essay that's for sure.

To quote Slam by Nick Hornby, "things are ticking along quite nicely,"  and they honestly have been. I finished my first year in my degree and declared my major, so now I actually have direction in my studies. I've been reading so much more, been watching some good tv shows, listening to good music, and making some wonderful recipes. Additionally, the relationships in my life right now are so, well, fun. For example my brother is at an age where we can talk about almost anything together and, no joke, we are borderline bff's. We even go to the gym together! When things are going well one tends to enjoy the minute details of life.

And without further rambling, here is what I have been enjoying recently:
  • Slam by Nick Hornby. A heartwarming story about family, relationships, and what moments define "growing up." Hornby writes from the perspective of a 15 year-old boy and his voice is absolutely wonderful, you can't help falling in love with this kid. 
  • Carrots. This may seem totally out of the blue but damn I have become a carrot fiend! Bring me a sweet, organic carrot bouquet (preferably of the rainbow variety) and I'm yours. 
  • I had a bellini this week at drinks with a friend of mine and even though they're insanely sweet, I'm already looking for the best in Vancouver. 
  • Another drink is iced coffee! I had an iced americano from Our Town cafe on Kingsway street and it was amazing. Strong with a hint of cocoa and when topped with lots of cream absolutely delightful. 
  • So many good tv shows where do I start... The Mindy Project is amazing. Silicon Valley. Game of Thrones season 5. Girls season 4. Archer season 6. Just to name a few.
  • Style the Natives run by Charly Cox. This girl is wise beyond her years and writes with such poetic elegance, it's always a pleasure when she posts something new. 
  • Finally, music. I jumped on the Spotify bandwagon and made a playlist! These are some of my indie/folk/alternative tunes that I've been digging. I've been listening to a lot of rap recently and could do a whole separate playlist on that, but maybe next time. 

12 May 2015

12.05.2015

Today is my wonderful mother's birthday, and two days ago it was Mother's Day. Needless to say I have been spending a lot of time with her. My mum is beautiful. She's such a calm, smart person who having been through a lot of difficult times in her youth has managed to learn from each experience. I am so happy to be her daughter, and even more grateful that we have a solid, loving relationship. Just knowing that she is always there for me and I can always turn to her for help makes me so happy.  When sitting down and thinking about it, she's such an inspiration to me as she never falters in her beliefs whether it be about raising children, gardening, or feminism. Anyway, enough sappy rambling! She's a badass and I love her. Oh, and she makes the best spanakopita in the world.

I had planned for the past few days that I would make her a gluten-free cake as she is slightly gluten intolerant. I decided on a chocolate earl grey bundt cake with lavender icing. I'll stick the recipe below, but be warned! Chickpea flour is not recommended for sweet items and made the batter kind of bitter... Next time I would use 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour and 1/2 cup almond flour for a better flavour.


The cake recipe is adapted from Shutterbean's Chocolate Earl Grey Cake. The icing is from a Martha Stewart recipe. 

I'm really happy with this cake! It might just be the prettiest cake I've ever made! Besides the slight bitter taste of the chickpea flour, it's a satisfying cake. Nice and light and chocolate-y. Let me know if you try it out.

Cake Ingredients:
  • 6 Earl Grey tea bags or 2 tablespoons loose Earl Grey
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups organic palm sugar
  • 1/2 brown sugar
  • 4 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted & cooled
  • 2 cups organic brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon xanthum gum
  • 1 teaspoon potato starch
  • 1 teaspoon tapioca starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray the bundt pan with cooking spray (I used coconut oil).
  2. Brew the tea for 3-5 minutes and set aside. Melt the chocolate in a bowl or pot over water and set aside to cool.
  3. In a blender, combine eggs, sugar, and butter and cream until smooth. Blend in the melted chocolate. Then add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, the starches, xanthum gum, salt, and yogurt. When fully combined, pour into the bundt pan. 
  4. Bake for 50 minutes. Test by inserting a skewer until it comes out clean. Let the cake cool and then try hitting it out of the bundt pan.
Icing Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried lavender
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • red and blue food colouring
  1. Bring the milk and lavender to a boil for 3-5 minutes. Let cool and steep for 10 minutes. 
  2. Strain into a bowl and mix in the confectioners sugar and food colouring (1 drop red, 1 drop blue). 

Bringing It All Back (Home)

I've been slipping from my usual creative roots recently. It might be because my studies at the moment are very science-based or because I haven't felt extremely inspired by anything in particular. After I transferred from a visual art program across the spectrum to applied biology I promised myself (and others) that I would continue doing art, whichever format it may take. And now I'm here, at 2:20am on a Monday night after starting a summer course, finally writing another blog post.



I need creative outlets in my life, I honestly just can't function normally without them! I may delete this post if none of this works out but this should be in writing: I want to create this blog. I want to share my opinions, findings, and experiences with whoever is willing to listen and in turn want to participate with other bloggers in the same way. I have spent so much time perusing various blogs over the past few years. My timeline started with beauty, turned into fashion, then found its way cooking and even gardening. Reading all these wonderful stories and being a part of others' lives that I had no idea existed is a wonderful way of feeling connected in an internet culture that is weirdly disconnected. Plus, I feel so inspired when I see what some bloggers have created (specifically the food mmmm).

So let's start again, shall we? Hello, my name is Sophia and I study applied animal biology. I have a love for cats, photography, and soccer. I am also strongly passionate about good food and community and believe they intertwine perfectly. I may not be the best writer or photographer but I will always try my best. Hopefully, this little space will start to feel like my own as it begins to fill with little snippets of things I want to share and, hopefully, we can find common ground.