It’s official. I am a teacher.
Crazy! I have finished my teaching practicum, and can now apply to work in a school district. It seems like yesterday I was just beginning the program back in September, and now I have successfully passed. I can now exhale. It has been a crazy busy past few weeks, plus I got pretty sick for two days last week that kept me home in bed.
This has been a life-long dream of mine to become a teacher. I vividly remember arguing over ‘playing the teacher’ with the pointing stick in grade 1. Everyone wanted to use the pointing stick. Well, I guess I don’t have to fight anyone anymore.
P.S. teachers don’t use pointing sticks anymore. Or metre sticks. There isn’t a whole lot of ‘pointing to the board’ going on. Which is good.
The whole experience has really opened up my eyes as to what education is and what it means to be a teacher. I am really excited for what the future brings and what I can accomplish as an educator.
One thing I’m going to miss is the daily snack and story time with my grade two’s. I love reading (hence my major in English), and this was my favourite time of day. A new story everyday was like christmas. Maybe I’ll have to read myself a story book each night instead.
To celebrate I’ve made a little dessert. Don’t be fooled by the name, it’s delicious. You would never guess there is avocado in there, believe me. I gave it to Adam to taste and didn’t tell him what was in it, and he couldn’t guess.
Pulse cocoa, honey, and avocado
Rich Chocolatey Goodness
- 1-2 ripe avocados
- 1/4 cup cocoa
- 1-2 tsp. honey
In a food processor add the avocado, cocoa and honey. Pulse until quite smooth.
You can eat it this way, it will be more liquid like a pudding. However, to have a thicker mousse I suggest refrigerating it for an hour before eating.
- chopped nuts: pecans, walnuts, cashews, pistachios
- shaved chocolate
- chocolate chips
This past weekend was glorious. Not only was it a long weekend (though, I did have two weeks off for spring break), it was also the warmest Easter I can remember in a long time. There were record-breaking temperatures all over the lower mainland.
Adam and I went to Osoyoos to celebrate Easter with my family. Osoyoos is ‘Canada’s only desert’ – so it’s
already usually hotter than elsewhere – and this weekend it was especially hot. I couldn’t believe that it was March and we were walking into town in shorts and dresses, I even got burnt. Definitely a nice welcome to Spring.
It’s amazing and scary that my practicum for teaching is over next week. Four months has absolutely flown by and I am going to be very sad to leave my little grade two’s. Although, it was a breath of fresh air having two weeks off to regroup – with plenty of time spent in the kitchen cooking and baking. My ultimate stress relief and relaxing pastime.
In other news – Lainey finally got a hair cut. She is also the perfect size for our small throw pillow.
I always make a road-trip snack, it’s about a 4 hour drive up, and apparently I like to make something hearty that consists of banana and oats. Last May long-weekend I made these Blackberry, Oat & Banana Muffins for Adam and I to eat on the road.
Ever since we went to Seattle the weekend before, I had been craving and dreaming of the cookies we ate at Chaco Canyon Cafe. My two favourite fruits are Apples and Bananas – both are even better smothered in a nut butter, or perhaps my new love of sunflower seed butter (school approved. allergy safe). However, in baked goods I prefer bananas to apples. I think I’d take a slice of banana bread over a slice of apple pie (sorry Adam; apple pie is his favourite).
Both cookies at Chaco Canyon had a hint of banana in them, and I loved it. Adam liked the other cookie better, but I devoured the Vegan Cowboy Cookie – again, I like hearty baked goods, which is probably why I prefer a dense piece of banana bread with nuts than a piece of flakey apple pie.
This cookie is hearty.
It’s packed with nuts, toasted coconut, banana, oats and chocolate. It’s almost Vegan – they contain no egg, though I did not have vegan butter but if you have it on hand feel free to use it. I used two medium sized ripe bananas in place of half of the butter. Note they were not overly ripe bananas as in they were not brown or spotted like the type used for banana bread; just ripe with no green showing and still semi-firm. I love the combination of banana and chocolate, and I wanted to re-create the cookie from Chaco. I used leftover toasted coconut from my Bird’s Nest Cupcakes last week and Trader Joe’s Wheat Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free rolled oats. I subbed 2/3 of the flour for Coconut Flour that I received from iHerb and Trader Joe’s Almond Meal.
Almost-Vegan Cowboy Cookies
adapted from: Hell Yeah It’s Vegan!
- 2 cups unsweetened medium coconut, toasted
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 medium ripe bananas
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup coconut flour
- 1 cup almond meal
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups dark chocolate chips
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 2 cups chopped nuts pecans/walnuts
** If you don’t have coconut flour or almond meal you can use whole wheat flour, or all purpose for all amounts. And if you have vegan butter sub for regular butter **
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Toast coconut over medium heat in pan for 5 minutes until fragrant and browned, stirring frequently.
- In mixer with paddle attachment, whip the butter until creamy. Add in Banana and beat until incorporated on medium speed.
- Add in the sugar and splash of vanilla and mix again.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flours. Add in the almond meal along with cinnamon and use a whisk to stir together.
- Add dry ingredients 1/4 at a time to the banana mixture incorporating together.
- Remove from stand and mix in oats, chocolate chips, coconut and nuts by hand using wooden spoon.
- Create 1” balls of dough using scoop or by hand, and roll into ball. Flatten slightly with palm of your hand, then using the tines of the fork flatten the centre.
- Bake on very lightly greased cookie sheet or baking mat for 10-12 minutes until golden on the edges. Remove from oven and transfer to cookie sheet. The cookies will set once cool, so be careful not to over-bake, the centre may look a little soft.
These cookies are crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle. They’re great for a snack on the go.
You can freeze the dough easily, once formed into balls freeze flat in Ziploc bag, or in tupperware placing wax paper between layers.
To bake from frozen, place on cookie sheet and allow to come to room temperature. Flatten slightly with palm, and place in oven. After 5 minutes, use a fork to flatten again. The dough will be too cold and crumble if you try to flatten it with a fork before placing in the oven – I’ve tried. I also recommend snacking on frozen cookie dough while waiting, there’s no eggs so it’s all good. And it is - so, so good.
I made these this week and they would be great for an Easter dinner. They’re sort of like a bird’s nest cookie, except inside out. I filled them with homemade lemon curd, topped with a cream cheese buttercream and sprinkled with toasted coconut.
We’re away with some of my family at Osoyoos lake for the weekend – it was 18 degrees today. Definitely felt like summer. We walked into town for a couple hours and had lunch at a cafe, and walked back. We were out in the sun long enough to get a little bit red.
I’m really loving this warm and sunny Easter.
Hope everyone has a lovely Easter weekend with family and friends. I’ll definitely be enjoying it before school begins again on Tuesday. I am also lucky enough to be going to the Rihanna concert Monday night – should be interesting.
You will need:
24 of your favourite Vanilla Cupcakes – baked and cooled.
To toast coconut place pan on medium heat, add ½ cup medium unsweetened coconut to the pan and allow to heat. Once fragrant, sift around coconut continually for 5 minutes until lightly browned and toasted.
Remove from heat and place in dish to cool.
- 3 large eggs
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Grated zest of 1 (one) lemon
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons butter cut into small pieces (3/4 stick)
- Whisk together eggs, sugar and lemon zest in medium saucepan until light in colour.
- Add lemon juice and butter
- Cook, whisking over medium heat until the butter is melted. Then whisk constantly until the mixture is thickened and simmers gently for a few seconds.
- Place a medium mesh-sieve over a bowl and scrape the filling using a spatula into it. Strain the filling into the bowl.
- Let cool, cover with plastic wrap and push against the curd, so you do not have a film, and refrigerate to thicken.
To assemble cupcakes:
Using a small knife, cut a circle at a diagonal into the top center of the cooled cupcake. Make sure not to cut too far down, you still want a bottom to your cupcake. Take out the ‘core’ and cut off the excess and reserve the ‘cork’ to replace on to the cupcake.
Using a small spoon, fill the center of the cupcake and replace top ‘cork’ to cover.
- 3 sticks of unsalted butter (1 ½ cups), room temperature
- ¼ cup cream cheese, softened
- 4 cups sifted icing sugar
1. Cream butter in stand mixer with whisk attachment for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down sides.
2. Add sifted icing sugar ½ cup at a time and whip well. Scrape down sides as needed between adding more.
3. Once all icing sugar is incorporated, add in the ¼ up of cream cheese. Whip again until well incorporated.
4. Pipe onto cupcakes and then sprinkle with toasted coconut.