Sunday, April 06, 2014

My first attempt at Nanaimo Bars

For the past couple weeks, I've had a severe craving for Nanaimo Bars and/or Lemon Bars (or lime, mmmmmm liiiiime). 

I found a bunch of varying recipes for each online but none of them really seemed to be what i wanted. I finally decided to mix both cravings together in my own zany way and created these evil yummies: Zesty Lime Nanaimo Bars

They're not just good, they're decadently scrumptious! (and by far the least healthy recipe you'll find here)

Bottom Layer
½ cup coconut oil (which worked surprisingly well instead of unsalted butter)
¼ cup sugar
⅓ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, lightly beaten
1¼ cups graham crumbs
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup oat flakes
½ cup chopped nuts (I used cashews, probably should have chopped them more finely)

Mix last 4 ingredients and set aside. Melt first 4 ingredients in top of double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in graham mix 'til well combined. Press firmly into a parchment paper lined 8" x 8" pan (be sure to let the parchment paper overflow on two sides in order to pull out the block once finished). Chill in refrigerator while you prepare the next layer.

Second Layer

½ cup unsalted butter (i didn't dare replace it on my first run, but will next time)
2 tbsp custard powder (I used Bird's)
2 cups icing sugar
1 tbsp freshly grated lime zest (the smaller, the better)

2 tbsp fresh lime juice (next time, i'm getting key limes)

Cream butter, custard powder, icing sugar and lime zest together. Add lime juice and beat until light. Spread over bottom layer and chill in refrigerator.

Third Layer
½ cup dark chocolate 
1 tbsp coconut oil

Melt chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler. Cool slightly then pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator again.

Before cutting, remove from refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to avoid cracking the top layer. Gently pull out of pan using the parchment paper flaps. Cut into small squares (I cut mine 6x6 so each square is approx 2-3cm wide, ie just big enough without over doing it). Store in the refrigerator in airtight containers. 

VoilĂ ! Enjoy!

ps. I'm not responsible for pounds/kilos gained or teeth lost   :P

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"Stop Bullying" you say?

 We all know someone who was bullied at one time or another. My son was bullied in school for years. He was ostracized for no other reason than being an easy target. We had to change school, visit a psychiatrist for a while and now he's doing fine. Who was to blame? The kids who ostracized him? The school for not reacting? The parents of the lead bully? All of the above? Either way, the damage is done and my son will carry it with him 'til the end of his days.

Kids will get bullied for ANYTHING. You stand out in any possible way (too fat, too skinny, another color, nerdy, poor, etc), it's almost inevitable that you'll be bullied at some point or other. But we expect this type of behavior from kids, not full grown adults, right? Wrong. Something happened this week that simply blew me away... and brought the bar way down on my hopes for humanity.

My mother recently purchased a small house in a gated "retirement" community, far away from winter and the effects it has on her every year. My mom's special: a tad eccentric, a little wild, a bit over-the-top at times, but mostly she's young at heart. She's 63, barely looks/acts like 50-something. She works hard, eats right and exercises regularly in order to stay that way. She has ups and downs but hers are a little more intense than yours or mine, kinda comes with being bipolar. Anyway, escaping winter has become a necessary thing and she finally found a quaint little nest to call home when the thermometer drops.

The community she migrates to houses several friends from the past, fun like-minded people to enjoy life with. It also houses a bunch of other people, who seemed fun at first glance but maybe they were just being polite. Turns out, as a slim single independent woman in such a community, she was instantly labeled "Barbie" and shun/ostracized for being healthy (ie not fat) and having fun/being happy/enjoying life to the fullest. WTF?!?! These same people/hypocrites "like" and share those "Stop Bullying!" images on social media. Really?... REALLY!?!?

"Stop Bullying" you say? Pfff. To the people living in that warm gated community, and to all the others just like them out there (I sincerely hope you'll recognize yourselves): grow-up or grow a brain but for fuckssake, WAKE-UP.

Bullying will stop when everyone recognizes that we are all potential bullies.

Stop the cycle.
Think before you act.
Breathe before you react.

//end of rant.