Nov 20, 2013

Whipped Coconut Cream and Chocolate Chia Pudding - Vegan Recipe

It took a few attempts with different recipes but I finally found a whipped coconut cream recipe (whipping cream made with coconut milk) that actually has the consistency of whipped cream. If you've tried making whipped coconut cream you know that you could stand there whipping it for an hour and you still wouldn't get it to peak.

I've made carob chia pudding with almond milk before and had been meaning to try it with coconut milk but never got around to it. Well thanks to Finding Vegan and the Foodily app I was reminded.

So, here are two recipes that go perfectly together.

Chocolate Chia Pudding with Coconut Milk

What you need:

  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder - to make it vegan use cacao
  • 8 tbsp ground black chia seeds (I use the ground ones as they're not so crunchy)
  • sweetener of your choice (I used four tbsp sugar - ech it was way too much)
  • hand mixer
  • medium bowl

What you do:
  • Pour coconut milk into a medium size mixing bowl
  • Add the rest of the ingredients
  • Beat with a hand mixer until everything is blended
  • Cover and refrigerate for a few hours (I usually leave mine over night)
  • Serve cold topped with whipped coconut (cream recipe below)
Serves four

I adapted this recipe for the pudding.

Whipped Coconut Cream

What you need:

  • 1 can coconut milk refrigerated for 24 hrs.
  • optional sweetener or vanilla (I used one tbsp sugar)
  • hand mixer
  • medium bowl

What you do:

  • Put your bowl and beaters into the freezer an hour before you're ready to start whipping
  • Take the can of coconut milk out of the fridge and turn it over. The heavy cream will have lifted to the top of the can so when you flip it over the coconut water is on top and you can pour it out easily. Be careful not to lose any of the heavy cream.
  • Use a spatula to scrape the heavy cream from the can into the bowl you just took out of the freezer.
  • Put the frozen beaters onto the hand mixer and whip the cream at high speed for three minutes if you're adding sweetener add it after three minutes and beat for one or two more minutes. Total whipping time four/five minutes. The coconut cream should form peaks when you lift the beaters up.
Serves two - four

For the whipped coconut cream I followed this recipe. My recipe definitely didn't yield two cups of whipped coconut cream. Maybe a cup at the most. I left my can of coconut milk in the fridge for a week though because I didn't have time to make it the next day (or the next day, or the day after that).

**The next time I make this I'll add less sugar, or even skip it all together as my blood sugar levels after eating it made me feel like I was having a panic attack.

Nov 19, 2013

Quote of the Week - Bleak House | Charles Dickens

I only ask to be free. The butterflies are free.
Katherine Hepburn is cooler than me.

Nov 16, 2013

BC Binning Residence SOLD

BC Binning Residence, West Vancouver, BC image Stacy Reynaud

A Canadian National Historic site is headed to the Supreme Court on November 18.

I first wrote about the BC Binning home, located in demolition permit happy West Vancouver, in 2010 - the post is below. 

Ironically, I spent Friday at the Association of Fundraising Professionals' National Philanthropy Day luncheon. Awards were presented to x for raising x amount, y for raising y amount, etc. 

The Land Conservancy, the nonprofit that owns the Binning home, is $7.6 million in debt (as I noted back in 2010, they were headed for trouble). 

Listening to the keynote speaker, Dan Pallata (the guy whose TED Talk has over 2.5 million views), break down salaries for top earners in the US blew my mind. 

The developer offered the TLC $1.6 million for the home - rumour is that he bought the house next to the Binning residence. 

Checked out Crack Shack or Mansion lately - there's a Part Deux

You'll see what $1.6 million buys you in Vancouver.

BC Binning is almost always a favourite. He's a local hero. Kate Barron Gallery Manager Art Emporium.

It's too bad the TLC didn't hand the Binning Home over to the District of West Vancouver as they did with the Arthur Erickson designed Baldwin Home in Burnaby in May 2013

West Van is a corporation and could hold it as an asset - not to mention it'd be a perfect public relations and marketing tactic for them. 

Suppose West Van is opening a Centre for Art, Architecture and Design. In that case, you'd think a home listed on the Canadian Historic Sites registry would be a top priority for acquisition. 

Come on West Van - offer the TLC $7.6 million for the Binning Home and write it off as an advertising and marketing expense.

For a story in the Vancouver Sun from 2007 see here.

Nov 15, 2013

My Caramel Apple Failure

I'm sure you saw this recipe floating around online over the past few months - the one for inside out caramel apple slices. Well, I thought that since it had melting involved I'd probably by able to make it - wrong.

Things were working out okay until it came time to take them out of the fridge.

I don't think the apples were dry enough before we put the caramel in. The caramel was one big ball of slime.


My next attempt was to make sure the little buggers dried enough so the caramel would stick. I put them in our food dehydrator. It worked out ok but the apples were sliced too thin and the caramel was really hard and majorly stuck to my teeth, serious stickage - not like your typical soft caramel that comes off with your tongue sticky. I felt like I needed a dental scaler.
The horror.

Nov 10, 2013

The Most Unique Inexpensive Gift Yet

 stacy reynaud
Don't throw it away! Gift giving time is coming and what better way to show your love than a perfectly unique, inexpensive, and earth friendly accoutrement to stick bills (or photos) to the fridge with. Recycled jewelry magnets.

What you need:
  • A piece of broken jewelry - I used this gorgeous vintage Bird of Paradise brooch that had the pin missing off the back.
  • Sticky magnets - available at craft stores. As you can see, my magnets were too big. They come in different sizes so make sure you get the appropriate ones.
What you do:
  • Stick the magnet onto the back of the piece. You could also super glue it.
For an industrial feel, head down to the local metal scrap yard (in Vancouver there's one right by the Port) and scrounge some cheesy trophy toppers, brass bits or just plain old metal scraps.

Nov 8, 2013

9 Ways to Deal With Your Drunk Guests

Originally published February 14, 2010

It's your party and your guests are your responsibility. Be attentive and don't get drunk yourself.

9 things you can do to try and curtail the guest that over drinks:

  1. You should mix your guests' drinks.
  2. If a guest proceeds to the bar to make his/her own drink go with them and ask them to grab the ice, mix or whatever while you pour the drink.
  3. Avoid having more than one bottle of liquor visible.
  4. Make it obvious you use a jigger to pour drinks and hand it to your guest before he/she pours their own.
  5. When it is obvious a guest has had too much to drink don't offer him/her any more. 50% of the time they'll get mad. There will always be someone there to assist you in dealing with them. They usually get embarrassed then sit down and be quiet.
  6. If your guest has drank so much that he/she is going to pass out have two or three other guests assist you in taking them to a bed to sleep it off overnight. If they have a spouse or guest with them offer them accommodation as well or offer them a safe ride home.
  7. Always have coffee, tea, soft drinks, water or juice available.
  8. You are responsible and liable for your guests. You are responsible for seeing that a drunk guest is taken home. Ask a good friend, take him/her yourself if they live nearby, or call a cab, give directions and pay for it. I've been to some parties where it's mandatory for you to drop your keys in a bowl before you're allowed to enter.
  9. Simply put, don't invite people over who are unable to control their liquor.
At our last party I had Operation Red Nose on speed dial and had our guests enter the number in their phone prior to tying one on. The service was great and our friends that used it were thoroughly impressed. It's free over the holidays as well and they're currently looking for volunteers.

Nov 6, 2013

Quote of the Week - Edgar Allan Poe

In our endeavors to recall to memory something long forgotten, we often find ourselves upon the very verge of remembrance, without being able, in the end, to remember. - from Ligeia

Nov 5, 2013

Yes - Another West Vancouver Home Demolition - and Chestnut Tree History

There's a cute 1930s home at the end of our block. I always wondered how long it would be before it fell victim to a McMansion. Well, it's yellow-fenced now, so it won't be long. As I was taking photos of the outside, the demolition contractor came by, and we chatted. I asked why the home wasn't being offered up as a demolition sale before it was torn down (I could see furniture, doors and fixtures through the smashed-out windows - much reminisce to this home that I contacted the then West Vancouver Mayor about, but she wouldn't reply. I brought up the issue of sustainable demolition practices with her when we were at the same cocktail event two summers ago - tongue-tied and red-faced, she excused herself. However, it could've been the wine talking). I digress.

The contractor was nice enough. He said the owner felt it wasn't worth it (money-wise) to have a demolition sale. I said it shouldn't be about the money. I also asked him why it was okay for the neighbourhood to be disrespected by having garbage thrown all over the property and not in bins - he said the asbestos removers did it (I don't think they were actually there because the home was just fenced up last Wednesday and you need a work permit and none were posted). Why don't we offer rebates or something to contractors who adhere to sustainable demolition practices? I have no idea. The Corporation of the District of West Vancouver is into making money - albeit at the loss of heritage/culture. I remember the old mayor bragging about issuing a couple hundred demolition permits in one summer alone. After all, there's no financial gain in heritage preservation, correct? I hear the same thing repeatedly - 'It's not worth it [architectural/heritage preservation].'

That big chestnut tree is one of many planted up either side of the entire street. I was told by a neighbour that the trees actually have some protection (although this one isn't cordoned off as it should be). Even BC Hydro couldn't cut them down. Each chestnut tree is groomed straight down the middle of its canopy - the hydro wires pass between the canopy - you can see them in the photo above.

Here's a little history on the infamous trees I pulled from a website here:

The Horse Chestnut trees, lining 17th Street, were planted by the Boy Scouts on May 24, 1935 to raise funds for their organization. The trees were donated by the Provincial government, and local home owners were encouraged to sponsor a tree for 25 cents. Many people associate the planting with a visit by Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts. However, although the Baden-Powells toured Vancouver in 1935, they did not visit West Vancouver in an official capacity. The double rows of these ornamental shade trees frame shaded avenues up 17th Street past the Gertrude Lawson House and Municipal Hall, and up 14th Street past Hollyburn School. The species is native to Greece and Albania, and can grow as large as 30 meters tall. Over the years, the trees have succumbed to a number of diseases, compounded by heavy pruning resulting from their initial planting directly under electrical wires. As early as 1980, there were problems with falling branches and debris, and obstructions for bus routes. On April 19, 2004, Mayor Ron Wood, former Boy Scouts Jack Leyland and John Gibson, resident Katerine Dickinson and the 2nd West Vancouver Boy Scout Troop planted a new tree and unveiled a rock bearing two commemorative plaques to mark the beginning of a program to replace trees that had been lost over time.

all images by Stacy Reynaud

The contractor took me on a little tour of the house so I could take some quick photos with my phone.

Original 1930s dining room chandelier - headed to the dump.

Bedroom chandeliers. I mentioned he should take these for his sixteen year old daughter's bedroom.

Bathroom. The toilet and sink were dumped on the lawn.

I didn't want to go down there.

Original immaculate hand laid oak hardwood floors

Original hardwood flooring - headed for the dump.

The kitchen. Not sure why there's a big hole in the middle of the floor.

Front room. Original 1930s French doors with glass, iron and the original glass door knobs (with brass). Also, headed for the dump.

One of those ceramic fake log fireplaces. Look at the mantle piece. All original and headed for the dump. See how gorgeous the flooring is!

Another door headed for the dump.

Look at those oak floors. I want to cry. The contractor said it's too much work to pull them up so they'll be demolished with the house.

Original flooring. It must've been restored at some time because it was in immaculate condition.

There was probably carpet over this one. Pine perhaps? Headed for the dump.

Gorgeous corner lot with mature trees - okay it needs a little TLC but big deal. The contractor said the new house wasn't going to be 'too big'. I'll keep you posted on that!

There's a full bamboo hedge - that will be headed to the dump.

Nov 2, 2013

The Craft Beer Advent Calendar

Remember last year's Whiskey Advent Calendar? Well, this year you get beer. There are two beer advent calendar options in Canada.

Canada's Craft Beer Importers have released their 2nd Annual Craft Beer Advent Calendar. The very large box contains 24 beers (isn't there a song about this) which consist of ten beers from Canada, thirteen from the US and one from Mexico. There are only 8700 calendars available and you can find them at private liquor stores in Western Canada. For a list of stores go to their Facebook page here.

BC's own Phillips Brewing Company brings us the Snowcase Calendar. They've pulled 24 different craft beers from their repertoire and bundled them up in a cute box. The Phillips offering is also limited edition so pick it up now. I know that the Village Taphouse and Libations in West Van have them.

From a marketer's perspective, I think both companies could've done a better job with their packaging.

Nov 1, 2013

Super Easy Apple Chutney Recipe

I don't know guys, I'm getting a little Martha Stewarty with all my mixology-ing, melting, freezing, and smashing. Must be middle age. Send me a poncho, I already have the clogs.

This recipe is so easy - well, chopping the apples is a little tedious for someone with ADHD - but other than that, all you do is throw it in a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer. I like to serve this chutney up in the autumn with pan fried halibut and mashed ginger yams.

1 1/2 lbs tart apples (I use green ones)
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves or allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup cider vinegar
medium size saucepan

Coarsely chop the apples (peeling is optional)
Place apples in a medium sized saucepan
Add the remaining ingredients
Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer
Simmer, uncovered, for about 45 minutes or until everything is soft

As a side dish, with the halibut and ginger yams, it serves four people.

Have a ginger snap cocktail, or five, while it's simmering.

The Satanic Majesty's Request