Friday, March 18, 2011

St Patrick's Day Chocolate Cake

Yesterday was St-Patrick's Day, and since I didn't seem to have any green clothing to wear, I ended up making a pretty bad-ass cake.
It was a Chocolate Avocado cake and here is how to make it.

-3 Cups Whole Wheat flour
-6-8 tbsp cocoa powder
-1 tbsp cinnamon
-1 tsp salt
-2 tsp baking powder
-1 Cup Chocolate chips
-2 cups of sugar (whatever type you like)
-1/4 cup vegetable oil
-1 avocados
-2 Cups water
-2 tbsp white vinegar

Combine all the dry ingredients (minus the sugar) and mix them up.
Then combine all the wet ingredients (plus the sugar!) and after mixing, combine them together.
Grease your baking pans, then pour the batter into two 9" round baking pyrex. Or, whatever you have. I did two, so that I could have a layer of green in between.

Bake at 350 for 30 mins. If you decide to make little green cupcakes, it would be about 15 mins.
I used this 30 minutes to do yoga in the yard. It was a beautiful sunny day, and I just brought the egg timer out with me.

The green icing is pretty awesome, super green, and very fun to make.
-2 Avocados
-2-4 tbsp lemon juice
-1/2 cup icing sugar (more if you want it sweeter)

Put it all in a food processor, and let 'er rip. After the cakes come out, and cool on a rack, put the icing between them, and then on top as well. Serves about 8 people.

Also, In case you didn't notice this is a vegan cake! OMG! VEGAN GOODNESS! also, it is full of mostly healthy (for a cake) ingredients, plus, it is very very tasty. I quote some people as saying "wow! this is the best green cake i've ever had " ... okay, not a huge barrier, but I also heard "This cake has the best texture i've ever tasted in any cake" ... That one was a bit more impressive.

Try it, and tell me what you think!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Some people are didgeri-talkers, others are didgeri-doers

For those who have known me for a long time, know that i've been toying with the idea of making a wooden didgeridoo for a while. Well, I finally had access to a wicked shop, the wood, and someone with the knowledge to guide me through it. I obviously documented the process...

First, I had to select the tree. I searched high and low. And finally settled on a Redwood that had fallen a while ago. This way, it was fully dried out, and ready to rock. These trees look a little on the big side!

After the tree selection, I took the appropriate length branch back to the shop, sanded all the bark off it, and ran it through the band saw.

After it was cut in two, I took the router to it, and hollowed out the inside. This is the hard part, and I definitely got a lot of help from a friend.

After she was all hollowed out, I glued it back together. Lots and lots of clamps were used! I did some final shaping, and then sanded it some more. Also, We took the blow torch to the inside of the didge, to seal it up a bit, and scorch any little wood "hairs"

I put several coats of oil, then made the mouthpiece out of beeswax.

I might put a darker stain on it, but for now it just plays so nicely, that I don't want to wait another 3-4 days of drying time.

My didgeridoo is beautiful, and plays great. I'm really happy with how it turned out.

I like to think of the didgeridoo as a sort of "hippy Spirotiger" Great breath training, and very spiritual. It is said that the if the earth had a voice, it would sound like a didgeridoo. Cool!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

When pancakes go wrong

I like to think that i'm a pretty good cook. Give me a request, and I can usually "free-style" quite a delicious and healthy recipe. I also take pride in being able to substitute ingredients so that my dishes are either gluten free, or paleo, or just healthier than the original.

"So, Ryan," you ask, "Whats with all this self-esteem boosting talk that you seem to be doing, with no apparent reason?" Well, I have failed twice, in making pancakes. Let me set the stage:

The first time was in third year university. I was experimenting with Paleo eating, and wanted to make paleo pancakes. The only problem was a severe lack on ingredients. No problem, right? well, I used almond meal, the last egg, and some baking soda. "So, how were they?" ummm, lets just say, I dubbed them "Vomit-Cakes" they were so disgusting. In my over-zealous attempt at making them rise, I clearly put in too much baking soda, and they were beyond gross.

The second time was thing morning. There were a bunch of great white northern beans (great name, eh?) in the fridge, and for breakfast, I had the "AHA!" moment of turning these into a super healthy pancake. I think the idea was good, but after mixing in a few black beans and corn (for colour) some plain yoghurt (think buttermilk pancakes) a bit of ground sesame, 2 eggs, and a few other things, crunch time came. Although they seemed like the right consistency, they didn't have the structural integrity to flip over. So, they became more of a mashed up mess, than a pancake. I still ate them, and they were quite good, but I was somewhat upset that they wouldn't flip properly without falling apart into a flailing mess of white goo. For my third "Mush-Cake", I added a few chocolate chips, to try to make myself feel better. Surprise, surprise, It did! Chocolate seems to be a very viable solution to self-loathing. Sweet!

Anyways, I will study, tinker, and come up with a way to materialize these bean based pancakes, because I still think that its a good idea. I will post up the recipe when it finally works out.

Oh, and please, please, please, don't try to make vomit cakes. Take my word for it, they are in-edible.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

11 all-star bars, propel me far

This is probably at least my 12th time making bars. I enjoy making the "no cook, Lara style" of bars the most. They are easy, delicious, raw, and its simple to make different flavours. These bars turned out to be Peanut Butter - Chocolate Chip - Banana flavoured. Very yummy.

Since I already went on a 4 hour bike ride, 30 minute run, and 1:30 yoga today, I decided that activities would be omitted from this recipe.

- 2 Cups dates
- 3/4 Cup crushed up banana chips
- 1/2 Cup chocolate chips
- 1 banana
- 1 Cup almond meal (ground almond)
- 3 tbsp peanut butter

Cut up the dates into small pieces. Do the same with the chocolate chips, and the bananas. I put the bananas in a plastic bag and punched them, which was kinda fun.
Put all the ingredients in a bowl. With a very hefty spoon, start mixing it all up. This can get a bit tiring after a while, but its good for you hands, and arms.
Keep mixing. haha. It takes a while. A food processor would be easier, but the blender-type don't seem to hold up to the dates very well.

Once everything is nicely mixed together, you need to start checking the humidity. They shouldn't be very sticky. Try to make one bar with your hands. If you can do it without getting a really sticky mess all over your hands, you are set. If not, add more almond meal.

After the humidity is good, start making bars. I ended up with 11 bars, approximately 60 grams each. These would equate to approximately 300 Calories each.

You can see in the picture, the process of folding the plastic wrap, and rolling them into bars. the bar on the top left is pre-flattening. the one on the right is after flattening. I use a cutting board, and just push down with my body weight.

Another good note, is to re-use the plastic wrap. I'm going on my 4th re-use of the current batch. This helps do my part in reducing the 10 million square mile Great Pacific Garbage patch. Anyways, enjoy the bars, and go on some good long ride. Also, play around with flavours! Once you can get the consistency right, the only thing limiting you is your imagination.