recipe: vegan chocolate zucchini cake

Enjoy diving into this decadent dessert that is not all that bad for your health! Hello New Year and new healthy body!

Ingredients:

(For the cake)
½ cup canola oil
¾ cup almond (or any dairy-free) milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup white sugar
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup zucchini, shredded
dairy-free butter, to grease

(For the icing)
1 ¼ cup icing sugar
2 tbsp dairy-free butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp almond milk (or more depending on desired consistency)
½ cup dairy-free chocolate chips

Steps:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8”x8” (or thereabouts) baking dish and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the oil, milk, vanilla extract, and sugar. Mix well.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Fold in the wet ingredients, adding the zucchini last. Stir until just combined.

4. Pour batter into the prepared baking dish and put in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

5. Meanwhile, prepare the icing. Add all ingredients to a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until melted. Stir often and do not burn.

6. Once the cake has cooled thoroughly, top with the dairy-free icing. Yum!

Emory

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geoffrey’s 34th birthday

To my husband, on your birthday.

I have spent 11 years to the month loving you. When you walked into the room of our Art History class I had to do a double take. Without your beard, you looked exactly like Brandon Flowers from The Killers- a band that I had recently started listening to. It was puppy love at first sight. Then when you sat one seat away from me I thought I was going to pass out. Only, you left that spot open for your girlfriend at the time. Still, I knew that we would become friends and I didn’t mind waiting for you.

Fast-forward to six months later, and by then we were best friends. Then suddenly you were single! We waited another month before dating. Five months later we almost broke up but became engaged instead (what?!), and less than four months later we eloped!

We were young, penniless, naive university students who were only living in our first condo together because we used our parent’s money towards a down payment instead of a wedding. We relied a lot on family at the beginning of our marriage, and it would’ve been much more difficult without their generosity. We didn’t know much except that we loved one another madly.

We were so passionate about everything. We fought often, lived in two different provinces while you went to school and I worked to support us, travelled, moved often, turned down scholarships and additional schooling, rescued pets, and so much more. Still through it all we always remained each other’s best friend.

We had exactly five childless years before I became pregnant with Remy. It was then that our marriage changed completely. After she was born we seemed to grow up overnight. We tried desperately to navigate through the tricky waters of being first-time parents. Without the help from our family and with very little friends, you finished yet another program and went on to work at a low-paying job while I worked from home. We moved into our rental, then sold it and moved again. I started a master’s program, my job ended, and for the first time in our marriage I realized that I no longer wanted to work and only wanted to stay home with our child (and future children).

You never questioned me. Instead you worked a full-time and part-time job to support our family, often sleeping in your truck. Then you found a career where you would be able to pay our bills and have us live comfortably. You moved to another province for two months to start and complete training, then came back for two months. I became pregnant for the second time, and once again you had to move away for work.

You were gone for three months. In that time we lost that child, but became pregnant with Wilder on one of your visits home! You missed Christmas and your birthday. However, you continued to work so hard, and haven’t stopped yet.

Two and a half years ago I asked you to be the sole provider for our family. I told you that it would be my dream come true. You went and accomplished that almost immediately. We had so many trials during that time, but in the end you became the man I always knew you would be.

You are so kind, patient, and loving. You’re a hard worker, hardly ever complain, are quiet, strong, optimistic, and so much more. You’ve continued to be my best friend after all of these years, and I still love you more than anyone else (except our children ;-))).

Happy birthday, Geo my love! I hope that we have another sixty-four plus years together.

Em

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recipe: vegetarian stuffed peppers

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 bell peppers, hollowed out
1 tbsp vegetable (or any) oil
½ cup yellow onion, chopped
1 cup white rice, cooked
½ can black beans
½ tomato, chopped
½ tsp garlic salt
¼ tsp salt
1 cup (any) cheese, shredded

Steps:

1. Begin cooking the rice in a separate saucepan or rice cooker.

2. Remove the tops of the bell peppers. Then in a large pot of boiling water, cook the peppers until softened (approximately 4 minutes). Drain and set aside.

3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat oil in skillet. Cook the onions and tomatoes over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring only occasionally. Remove from heat. Add the rice, garlic salt, and salt and mix well.

4. Fill the peppers halfway with the rice mixture. Add shredded cheese. Fill the rest with rice and top off with cheese. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until cheese has melted. Remove, cool slightly, and eat!

Emory

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