Posts Tagged ‘Dessert’

First Annual Friendsgiving & Tips to Host Your Own

friends giving friends ivingfriendsgiving1 friendsgiving2There’s a revolution happening among friends. 

It’s called Friendsgiving.

While most holidays are centred around family or loved ones (Christmas, Valentine’s Day etc.), there is one holiday where you can be thankful for the people in your life you have chosen to be a part of your life – your friends. 

I am truly thankful to have the wonderful friends I have. Friends since kindergarten, high school, and friends I’ve met at university and beyond – they mean a lot to me and I am so thankful to have them all in my life. 

The concept of Friendsgiving is simple: the host makes the turkey while the guests each bring a potluck of side dishes to accompany the feast. 

We began planning back in October and soon enough Friendsgiving had arrived. Having it in November is a great mid-holiday between Thanksgiving/Halloween and Christmas.

If you’re wanting to partake in the American Thanksgiving happening next weekend I suggest hosting your own Friendsgiving.

Unlike Thanksgiving, you are the ones doing all the work and planning for it. It was only the second time I have cooked a turkey on my own – and I am thrilled to say it turned out so delicious.

Here are a few tips for hosting your first Friendsgiving:

Plan in Advance: Make sure everyone has RSVP’d to know how many mouths you have to feed. 

Make Sure You Have Enough Room: While it would be lovely to invite all my friends over, we just don’t have the space. So we had a lovely number of 12 guests. 

Turkey: The host makes the turkey. It only makes sense that the person who is hosting makes the turkey because of the prep work and cooking time needed. Be sure to have a large enough turkey for the amount of people coming (about a lb. per person) and maybe leftovers. Be sure to thaw it well in advance, about 3 days in the fridge. Also, the host should do the gravy and possibly stuffing – though you can definitely make stuffing without the turkey.

Coordinate the Food: Plan the event online or somewhere where you can share who is bringing what. You can have a variety of dishes – that way you don’t end up with 5 sweet potato casseroles. Although sweet potato casserole is delicious.

Speaking of Potatoes: There should always be mashed potatoes. A must.

Accommodate: If you have a guest coming with a food allergy or special diet make sure there are dishes for them to eat too. Otherwise they will be hangry.

Skip the Hors D’oeuvres: Turkey dinner means bringing out the stretchy pants. There is no need to stuff your face with mini quiches before a massive turkey feast. Plus it just means more work for everyone.

Vegetables: There should be an assortment of healthy vegetable dishes that aren’t smothered in cream sauces or cheese. Leave that for the stuffing and potatoes. Green beans, brussels sprouts, carrots and broccoli are all great sides – even just boiled.  

Salad: Never underestimate a good salad with turkey dinner. 

Cranberry Sauce: Homemade is best – and easy! – but canned stuff will do the trick. Have 2-3 small dishes of it on the table. 

Dessert: Oh yes – there should be pie. While there can also be a variety of desserts, no turkey dinner is complete without a slice of pie. Preferably pumpkin. 

Table etiquette  The host should set a visually appealing table with gourds and other orange hued pretties. Name tags are also great for making sure everyone has a spot. 

BYOB: Each person should bring their own drink for the evening, though the host should have some non-alcholic options. 

Post-Dinner Games: The best way to digest after a feast is to play games. Some great games to play with friends are charades, catch phrase, apples to apples. All can be played at the dinner table while finishing off dessert. 

Most of all – enjoy the food and company of your friends. 

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Raw Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Raw Vegan Chocolate Mousse from www.bakeaholic.ca

Raw Vegan Chocolate Mousse from www.bakeaholic.ca

 TGIF.

I’ve been working for three weeks now as a teacher on call – It’s been really fun and interesting so far. I’ve taught every grade in elementary school from K-7 including a French prep. All I can say is thank you to my high school French teacher for getting me through a day of teaching French. It’s surprising how much you can remember, and how much I have forgot. Luckily for grade 5 and 7s they don’t know how to pronounce the words properly either ;) 

Now that I’m working again after being a student for so long, and not having a ‘regular job’ I appreciate weekends more. Hence the excitement that it is Friday today. I’m also super excited that I get to work three days at my old school where I did my student teaching and see / teach some of my students again. Adam and I are going to the IDS West (Interior Design Show) this weekend. We went last year and the home decor/furnishings and exhibits are awesome. So many amazing items to lust over. Last year there were amazing natural wood tables and headboards to die for. If only I had the $$, and the room. For now it’s fun to walk through each exhibit and dream about them. I love a good design show, especially home design. 

I also appreciate more sleep. Not that I wasn’t sleeping enough before, but as a student I could stay up til 11:30 at night and wake up at 8 am, whereas now when I know I have a call out the next day / anticipate a 7 or 8 am on call I head to bed around 10:00. 

However, on weekends I find myself waking up before 8 am. 

Another thing I’m looking forward to this weekend is dinner with our neighbours. I found this recipe online after I began a search for dairy-free chocolate mousse. Adam and I had watched an episode of Master Chef where the contestants had to make three difficult dessert dishes. A chocolate molten lava cake, a chocolate soufflé and of course a chocolate mousse. I’m usually not a fan of chocolate mousse cakes, but that’s because they’re those super gelatine-y chocolate mousse cakes.

Raw Vegan Chocolate Mousse from www.bakeaholic.ca

When I saw Master Chef, the chocolate mousse was thick, but light and airy. When Chef Ramsey took a bite he dug the spoon into the mousse, gave it a swirl and popped it out with a spoonful of delicious whipped mousse that left a perfect whole in the dessert. I knew I wanted to try and make something similar, but due to my dairy allergy I didn’t want to endure the stomach pain afterwards – or eat all that heavy dairy really. 

Raw Vegan Chocolate Mousse from www.bakeaholic.ca

Raw Vegan Chocolate Mousse from www.bakeaholic.ca

This Raw Vegan Chocolate Mousse is light, airy, and incredibly delicious. It would be a great weekend dessert. If you’re planning on making it I suggest placing the cashews in water the night before, and then allowing the mousse to sit a few hours before serving as well. I would definitely make this again – it is so simple and really hits the spot if you’re craving a light chocolate dessert. 

This dessert will satisfy not only your Vegan friends, but your dairy-loving chocolate friends as well. I found the recipe here, and made some adaptions. This serves maybe 2 people with generous portions, but it is quite rich. I would say double it for a party of 4, making smaller portions and serve with fresh berries. 

I made a similar chocolate mousse before with avocado here – it was more of a smooth and creamy mousse, whereas this one is more airy like the real thing. 

 

Raw Vegan Chocolate Mousse from www.bakeaholic.ca

 

Raw Vegan Chocolate Mousse
Serves 2
Deliciously light and airy chocolate mousse
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup Raw Cashews, Soaked 6 Hours or overnight
  2. 1 Tablespoon Agave Syrup
  3. 4 teaspoons Coconut Oil
  4. 1/2 tsp vanilla
  5. 1/4 cup Water
  6. 3 Tablespoons Raw Cacao Powder
Instructions
  1. Drain Cashews.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and puree for 5-6 minutes, periodically scraping the bowl, until the mixture is creamy and fluffy.
  3. Chill 1 hour or overnight. (if chilling overnight take out of fridge 20 minutes prior to serving)
  4. Garnish with shaved chocolate or fruit.
b a k e a h o l i c http://www.bakeaholic.ca/

Vegan Carrot Cake

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Last night I came home from baseball to find this!

bike

I walked in and saw a shiny new bike with a big bow on it – an early birthday present from Adam =) My birthday is two weeks away. We had been wanting to buy bikes since we moved to our new house, since there is so much around us that we can bike to! The beach, the stores/mall, parks, gym etc. We had been looking around and trying to decide what type we wanted, and settled on wanting a hybrid bike because we aren’t exactly going to be off-roaing and in the mountains so there was no need for a mountain bike. A hybrid was perfect because it’s lightweight, with skinny tires that make for a great road bike with easy transitions.

I was reminded of when I was probably 10 or 11, and my parents bought me a new bike for my birthday. I was out in our front yard, and my dad brought the pink bike – with a basket and tassels around from the side of the house to surprise me. I remember being so excited to have a new bike – and then trying to ride it around on the driveway.

This year is a milestone birthday (in our family at least) – apparently the age 25 does not warrant a number birthday card, it goes from 21 to 30 with greeting cards. 25 isn’t important enough to have its own card. My mom said 25 was the last ‘big’ birthday celebration she would throw for us – because once we were 30 it would be up to our spouse to plan and throw us a party {although with Adam I’m still not sure that would happen ;) } — Although she also said she would forgo the birthday party and send me to Vegas this summer if I wanted (which, yes, I do want.) I plan on having a birthday party at our house with my friends as well, and then probably cake with the family (which I’ll make for myself of course.)

I feel as though 25 is a big birthday – a 1/4 of your life has passed, you now enter your ‘mid to late’ 20s. Eeek! Thankfully Adam is 4 years older than me, so I can always feel much younger ;) hehe. I think a shiny new bike for my 25th is a great present! And I’m so excited to use it all summer long.

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I actually made this cake for our mother’s day brunch a couple weekends ago because one of my mom’s favourite desserts is carrot cake. However, I came across this amazing vegan carrot cake recipe from one of my favourite sites Healthy Happy Life. I made the Kale salad from her site last week as well.

It’s amazing – dense and refreshing due to carrots and orange juice, as well as satisfyingly sweet with little sugar added. I’m a huge carrot cake fan too – and this is 100 times better than the sugar loaded, flour filled versions I used to make. Everyone loved it and I would definitely make this again.

 

I used coconut milk and added coconut to the mix, because my traditional carrot cake usually has it, and it gives it a subtle coconut flavour. This would be a great cake to bring to a picnic or pot luck this summer – because you don’t need a fork and knife to eat it. Cut into squares and serve!

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Vegan Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Wheat/Gluten Free
Recipe adapted from here

Carrot Cake:
Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups homemade oat flour (made from GF/WheatFree rolled oats)
  • 3-4 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened coconut milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Zest of one orange
  • 3 Tbsp fresh orange juice (from orange you zested)
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup raw walnuts, chopped
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped shredded carrots (5-6 carrots)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees – prepare 9×13 pan with cooking spray.

2. Place oats into food processor and process until fine oat flour – about 1 minute. Shred carrots – I used my food processor grater attachment, then switched to my blade attachment to create smaller shredded carrots.

3. In stand mixer with paddle attachment, add oat flour, flax seed, cinnamon, and baking powder and mix slightly.

4. On low, add speed add the coconut milk, vanilla, orange juice, and orange zest. Mix until combined.

5. Melt coconut oil and add in the sugar, mix slightly. Add to mixer / wet ingredients.

6. Fold in the carrots, nuts, coconut, and raisins on low speed.

The batter at this point will be thick and textured, think ‘chunky’ – not smooth like  a regular cake batter. This is fine.

7. Pour the batter into cake pan and smooth down with a spatula. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes – or until the edges brown and start to pull away from the pan.

Once baked, allow to cool completely and come to room temperature on counter.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 ounces vegan cream cheese
  • 4 ounces Earth Balance, vegan butter
  • 1 1/4 cups pitted dates


While the cake is baking, you can add all your frosting ingredients to a food processor. Process until smooth. Using a spatula, scoop the frosting into a small bowl and place in the fridge to chill.

* I didn’t have vegan cream cheese, so I just used my regular cream cheese frosting *

Allow cake to fully cool before spreading frosting. Frost with cream cheese – sprinkle top with walnuts.

I placed this in the fridge overnight before we ate it, tightly sealed with aluminum foil. Serve Chilled.

This cake will stay good for up to one week, covered. 

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