Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes and a birthday dedication

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I’m a planner. If I could pencil in where I’m going to be this afternoon, tomorrow, the day after that, 5 years from now, I would probably do it. I live my life by setting goals and accomplishing them, sometimes at the expense of neglecting to see opportunities that are staring me right in the face, or realizing that the path I’ve set out on isn’t even what I want. Over time I’ve gotten better at adapting to the unknowns that life throws at you, but “going with the flow” is still something I will always have to work on. It’s an ongoing process but I’ve figured out how to balance my “J” qualities with a little bit of “P”, such that I can survive when things don’t work out quite as planned.

After all, sometimes the best things in life are the ones that happen to be the most unexpected. Like reconnecting with someone you haven’t seen in a long time who also happens to reside a world away. Someone who was the most important person in my life for the better part of a year and then gone. Having disappeared as quickly as it fell into my lap, I spent awhile trying to reconcile the fact that maybe fate put him there for a reason, in that place, at that time, but that was all it was ever going to be. It was a reality I tried to accept, and for the most part, succeeded in doing so. But every now and then I would have a random dream, thought, intuition that there was more. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that if your gut is telling you something, it’s probably right. And thankfully, it was.

I’m still as much of a planner as ever, but when life hands you beautiful brown eyes and a smile belonging to someone who is smart, witty, caring, and a continuation of adjectives that will never do the real person justice, you embrace the welcome detour that takes you from Point A, to B, to C, rather than the original journey from Point A to C, and never look back. And when cette individual’s favourite cake is carrot cake, and it just so happens to be his birthday, you dedicate your carrot cake recipe to him. Because what else would you do?

J, whatever serendipitous stroke of luck, fate, or kismet brought you back into the centre of my universe, I thank it every day. You challenge me and make me want to be a better person day in and day out, for you, for me, and for us. You’re right, there’s no earthly way of knowing which direction we are going, but there are 360 degrees of possibility from whatever angle I look at it. I couldn’t have planned it better even if I tried. Happy birthday.

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes
 
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tbsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ¾ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 bar Green & Black's Organic Ginger Chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups grated carrots
Instructions
  1. Line 12 muffin cups with muffin liners and heat your oven to 325F.
  2. Mix together the dry ingredients, from the flour to the chocolate.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, whisking or stirring to blend.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated.
  5. Portion the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake at 325F for 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  6. Cool and top with the frosting of your choice (or just eat as-is).

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Banana Nutella Cheesecake

Banana Nutella Cheesecake
Do you ever wonder what life would be like if {fill in the blank}? For instance, what if I had gone to culinary school at SAIT here in Calgary rather than the CIC in PEI? Would I still be cooking? What if I had gone into psychology first? Would I have switched to culinary instead?
Those are some pretty deep life questions and totally hypothetical. I don’t regret any of my decisions, it’s just interesting to consider the alternatives, had I gone down a different path.
Here is another life-altering “what if”; what if I had never discovered Nutella? What would my life look like then?  I probably wouldn’t have an addiction to the chocolate hazelnut spread, for one thing. Can you believe that my first time trying it was at the breakfast buffet of an all-inclusive resort in Mexico? Weird right? I came back home and the first thing on the grocery list was Nutella. I’ve tried to cut back a bit. I figure it’s not the healthiest thing to have on my toast for breakfast every morning but every now and then you’ve got to splurge. The best days are when the jar is almost empty and I get to sit there with a spoon, scraping out every last morsel. More accurately, I think I stand there with a knife, chocolate smeared across my face – there’s no finesse when it comes to cleaning out the Nutella jar.
Nutella in dessert? Make that, a cheesecake with banana oat crust? Mmhmm, we are doing it; banana Nutella cheesecake. Made with light cream cheese, no added sugar in the crust and only 1/4 cup of brown sugar in the filling (along with the Nutella), my Nutella slathered toast is probably worse in terms of nutritional value. But let’s face it, when eating Nutella do we really care about nutrition? Probably not.
I don’t know what my life would have been like without Nutella (pretty sad and pathetic really) but I sure don’t want to imagine living without it now! Maybe that’s a bit extreme, I probably would have survived. I would not have had this banana Nutella cheesecake, but I would have survived. You don’t know what you don’t know so if I had never been exposed to it, I wouldn’t have a clue what I was missing. Perhaps it would have been better that way…
Banana Nutella Cheesecake
Banana Nutella Cheesecake
Banana Nutella Cheesecake

Banana Nutella Cheesecake
Serves 4

Ingredients

Crust
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/2 cup rolled oats

Filling
1 package (1/2 lb.) light cream cheese
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2-3 tbsp. Nutella (or as much as you need/want)

Instructions

1. Heat your oven to 325F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and set it aside.
2. To make the crust, mix together the mashed banana and oats. Press this into your prepared loaf pan.
3. Make the filling by beating the cream cheese until smooth (either an electric hand or stand mixer works best). Once there are no lumps, add the brown sugar and beat again until smooth.
4. Add the egg, beating on low speed until it is fully incorporated.
5. Scrape this mixture into your loaf pan, right on top of the crust.
6. Distribute about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. dollops of Nutella equally around the cheesecake batter. Then use a knife to swirl it in.
7. Bake at 325F for about 25 minutes. The cheesecake should be fully set around the edges but still remain slightly jiggly in the centre.
8. Cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Let it chill for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving the banana Nutella cheesecake.

Banana Nutella Cheesecake
Banana Nutella Cheesecake
Banana Nutella Cheesecake