I tried to make vegan fudge

I was scrolling mindlessly through the internet, as one does, and somehow stumbled across a recipe for vegan fudge.

And then I decided to try to make it, because the idea of making a ‘healthier’ fudge was intriguing.

I know I’m now supposed to give you my life story before I share this recipe and tell you all about how my life has been changed forever by this vegan fudge, but I can’t stand recipe posts like that, so I will spare you all the scrolling you’ll have to do and just get straight to the recipe.

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Fudge

1/2 cup of real maple syrup (none of that table syrup nonsense)

3/4 cup natural peanut butter

1 1/4 cup oat flour (cuz it’s safe to eat raw)

1 cup of mini semisweet chocolate chips

  • Heat the maple syrup in a small pot on the stove until it bubbles.
  • Take it off the heat and stir in the peanut butter
  • Mix in the oat flour. The dough will be a play dough consistency. I kneaded it to help cool the mixture and to also mix everything really well.
  • Mix half of the chocolate chips into the cooled dough.
  • Press the dough into a parchment-lined pan or cookie sheet.
  • Sprinkle remaining chips across the top of the dough and gently press them into it so they stick.
  • Put the fudge in the fridge for about 20 minutes to firm up.
  • Cut the fudge into 1-inch pieces and store in the freezer.

I adapted this recipe because I never follow a recipe exactly.

Look at how amaaaaaaazing this photographs. This fudge definitely has a ‘good recipe made to be healthier’ flavour to it, if you know what I mean, but it is not the worst! I probably wrecked the vegan part of this by adding chocolate chips, but I feel they really helped finish this fudge. There are vegan chocolate chips out there if you’d like to stick to a vegan recipe.

My partner didn’t hate this and I took half of the fudge to my super healthy, runner brother. He’s always making ‘healthier’ versions of desserts like cookies and muffins with protein powder and bananas in the place of eggs and fats, so I really wanted to get his opinion on this recipe. He gave it a huge thumbs up, so…. success?

For the month of November, I am participating in #NaBloPoMo2019 (National Blog Posting Month). My goal for this year’s challenge is to post 10x in the month of November. This is post 5/10.

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday is a blog series and social media hashtag that includes photographs with no words to describe them. I’m getting back on the Nablopomo horse with this November edition of Wordless Wednesday.

For the month of November, I am participating in #NaBloPoMo2019 (National Blog Posting Month). My goal for this year’s challenge is to post 10x in the month of November. This is post 4/10.

It’s not too late to join in the Nablopomo fun! Set your own goal for the month, post away and share using the hashtag #Nablopomo2019 so other people can find your posts.

Currently: Autumn Edition

For the month of November, I am participating in #NaBloPoMo2019 (National Blog Posting Month). My goal for this year’s challenge is to post 10x in the month of November. This is post 3/10.

It’s not too late to join in the Nablopomo fun! Set your own goal for the month, post away and share using the hashtag #Nablopomo2019 so other people can find your posts.

The Currently Project is a super old blogging series in which bloggers would share what media they’re consuming, what projects they may be working on and what they’re into at the moment. As this year’s unofficial Nablopomo theme seems to be the resurrection of blogging, I thought I would bring back this series. Here’s

Watching:

I’ve turned into one of those millennials that doesn’t really watch live TV anymore. #Sorrynotsorry

I’m obsessed with Critical Role, a web series where a bunch of nerdy ass voice actors playing Dungeons and Dragons. I have been watching campaign 2 and I’m all caught up, so I watch their streams every week. We’ve also been watching the other content on their YouTube and Twitch channel: Travis Willingham’s Game Ranch, Pub Draw and the mini series Undeadwood. Undeadwood is so, so good.

Outside of that, we watch a lot of Taliesin & Evitel’s Twitch streams. And of course, it’s basketball season so I’ve been watching my WORLD CHAMPIONS play.

Reading:

I just finished Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane. It was a pretty good read, but it was a lot darker than I was anticipating.

I’m now reading These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling, a YA novel set in modern day Salem about Hannah, a teenage witch who is trying to keep her magic hidden from ‘regs’ and hide from her ex-girlfriend. When an apparent Blood Witch pops up in town, Hannah finds her summer is turning out to be a lot more complicated and dangerous than she was anticipating. So far, this has been a really fun read and it is the 37th book I’ve read so far this year.

You can find me on Goodreads, if you’re into that sort of thing!

Listening:

I mentioned that I have been watching a lot of Taliesin & Evitel’s Twitch stream and their stream is what introduced me to my newest favourite artist, Sigrid. Her music is all over their stream playlist, so I’ve had a bunch of her songs on my list.

Making:

I’ve been working on some new sticker designs and digitizing old pen and paper designs using my iPad and Procreate. The hardest part is remembering to charge my iPad and Apple pencil…

Planning:

I’ve been planning post ideas so I can actually finish Nablopomo this year! Not having prompts is often the hardest part of these challenges, but I am determined to finish this.

Loving:

Starbuck’s Honey Citrus Mint Teas, the Procreate App, drawing on my iPad Pro, Inkbox, time with my nieces, Autumn colours, sweater weather.

What have you been watching/reading/listening to/making/planning and loving this autumn?

5 Things You May Not Know About Me

For the month of November, I am participating in #NaBloPoMo2019 (National Blog Posting Month). My goal for this year’s challenge is to post 10x in the month of November. This is post 2/10.

Today as an introduction to new readers or a refresher for long time readers about why I am the way that I am, I’m going to share 5 things that are not commonly known about me. I’m borrowing this very good idea from fellow Nablopomo’er and friend San. You can read her post here.

On to the things!

  1. My name is Annie, I’m 36 and I live in Canada with my dog and partner. I work in the public sector as my 9-5, but I freelance on the side.
  2. I’ve been living back in Canada for 12 years now, moving here just after I finished university in Perth, Australia.
  3. I have 3 brothers. They’re all younger than me; one is 33 and the other two are 31.
  4. I doodle and design paper stickers, which is a hobby I took up after getting a hardcore addition to my daily planner. I still use a paper planner and started to doodle silly little drawings to jazz up the pages and it took off from there. The biggest excitement that has come out of my doodling was when Canadian actor (and my new bff, obvs) Ennis Esmer used my doodle of him as his Twitter profile pic for a while.
  5. I once called in to a radio show to argue with the Education Minister about how the government’s cuts to public education were hurting kids. I was 10 at the time and was home from school for the day because I was sick. My mother was certainly surprised to hear my voice on the radio as she was driving to work.

What are some things that people may not know about you?

November means Nablopomo!

Well, it’s November and I’m here writing a blog post! I’ve written many posts in the last few months that have never seen the light of day. I’ve had lots of ideas, but once I get stuck into them, I decide I hate them, or that they’re stupid or that I don’t care anymore, so no one else is going to be interested in what I’m writing.

So I definitely wasn’t about to try Nablopomo this year. I’ve tried in the past without much success and then last year the Nablopomo community seemed to have died out all together.

But! But! Then I was scrolling through Twitter and saw that my friend San had retweeted this post by blogger Asha Dornfest talking about not only giving Nablopomo a go, but also trying to rebuild a community around it. Asha talked about how we could set our own goals for Nablopomo, so here is mine:

I’m going to try to post 10x in the month of November.

And I’m inviting you all to join us! Check out Asha’s post for how to participate and let me know if you’re going to be blogging in November so I can read your posts!

Goodreads 2018 Challenge: Did I do the thing?

Let’s ignore the fact that my first post of the year is almost a month late and instead talk about books!

For the past few years, I’ve been using the Goodreads reading challenge to encourage myself to read more. I shared what I’d read so far in 2018 back in July and now it’s time to catch up with what I read for the rest of the year… And see if I met my challenge for 2018:

25. Before the Storm by Christie Golden

This book by Golden takes place after the Shadows of Argus in the World of Warcraft universe. It’s definitely a book for those familiar with the Warcraft franchise. It would be confusing as a stand alone book. That being said, I quite enjoyed this book. I’ve read other Warcraft titles by other authors before, but this one was the best I’ve read by far. I gave it a rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars.

26. Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

The third and final book of the Illuminae Files series finds our surviving heroes with no other choice but to return to Kerenza seven months after the invasion, not quite sure what they’re going to find. While at the same time, Kady’s cousin, Asha has survived the original invasion and has joined the resistance, working to uncover proof of the atrocities committed by BeiTech in order to bring the corporation to justice. I loved this book, it was the perfect ending to this trilogy. I rated this book 5 stars.

27. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

The night before his ex’s wedding weekend kicks off, Drew gets stuck in an elevator with Alexa. In their time spent trapped together, Drew manages to convince Alexa to join him at the wedding posing as his girlfriend. Because you can’t show up at your ex’s wedding without a date, amirite? Anyway, the pair have a great time together and then go their separate ways. Soon, they find they can’t stop thinking about each other and you can probably guess the rest of the story. I was really concerned about the clichéd setup for this novel, but it wasn’t at all what I expected. It was a fun read. I gave it a 4 star rating.

28. First Comes Love by Emily Giffin

The latest novel by Emily Giffin tells the story of two sisters and how their relationship is impacted by a family tragedy. Meredith looks like she has the picture perfect life. The husband, the fancy, important job, the perfect kid and perfect house. But she’s miserable and kind of awful. Josie is single, sick of dating, but desperate to be a mother. She’s just about decided she’s going to have a baby on her own with a sperm donor, when she goes on a date with someone who turns out to be not your average guy. I’ve always picked Giffin’s novels because they’ve been my guilty pleasure reading, but these characters were incredibly unlikeable. Plus, at one point in the book, a little girl is told the little boy harassing her is doing so because he liiiiiikes her. And I’m not here for that bullshit, even in a book. This is a 2 star book.

29. Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

This novel follows the story of Suzette, returning home for the summer after spending a year at boarding school. She doesn’t think she’ll be returning to her boarding school after the summer’s over. She wants to be home with her family and to be there for her brother who was recently was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Plus, she doesn’t think she can face the girl she left behind at school and she has a solid friends group at home in LA. I enjoyed a lot of this book. It featured very diverse characters and it was so awesome to see the different representations. I think it did a decent job of handling mental health issues in a realistic way that didn’t feel exploitative or icky. I rated this book 4 stars.

30. Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favourite Guilty Pleasure by Amy Kaufman

A behind the scenes look at America’s favourite reality show. This book is exactly what you’d expect from an in-depth look into what was once a guilty-pleasure, fun thing to watch that has basically devolved into trash. I rated it 2.5 stars.

31. Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win by Jo Piazza

Charlotte Walsh is someone used to the high-pressure of being a big boss in Silicon Valley, has moved her family back to her hometown in Pennsylvania to run for Senate. She’s a strong, successful woman who wants it all and man, did this feel way too real after the last US Presidential election. Juggling her husband, her three young kids, the campaign and an opponent who is down to fight dirty, Charlotte isn’t sure all this upheaval will be worth it. This really felt too really given our political climate, but it was a good read. I rated it 4 stars.

32. Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship by Kayleen Schaefer

This book claims to be an insightful look at the female friendship and its evolution into what female friendships look like today. This book really irritated the crap out of me. The author shared a lot of personal experience about how she’d never been interested in friendships with other women because ew, girls are so shallow and mean and are all about pink and shopping and gossiping about boys, and she’d always been a man’s girl. Then she one day meets a woman who is into ‘man stuff’ like she is and she realizes that there are women out there that are worthy of being friends with her after all. It’s so patronizing and gross and I can’t think about this book without getting angry. I rated this book 1 star, because GoodReads won’t let me give a negative star rating.

33. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

This book claims to be the self-help tome of the generation, where superstar blogger (who I’ve never heard of until now) shares the secret to being happier by just choosing to stop giving a fuck. Man, this was NOT MY YEAR for reading self-help books. I found his condescending tone a little hard to take and his philosophy broke down to simply ‘life is shitty, walk it off and stop caring so much’ felt like a really bad take in a world where empathy seems to be a dying trait? I’m also not impressed by the shock value of using swears. And I really could have done without his anecdote about how rape victims’ trauma-induced false memories impact poor, innocent men. 2018 was not the year to read this book. I rated it 1 star.

34. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Lara Jean has always kept her crushes to herself. She writes them a love letter, addresses and then hiding them away in a box, never intending for her crushes to actually read any of them. Then her letters are mysteriously sent out, and Lara Jean has to face some of those crushes, past and present. I read this book after I watched the Netflix movie adaptation, which may have impacted my enjoyment of the book. It was cute and had great family relationships between Lara Jean and her sisters, but I had conflicted feelings about other plot points in the book. I rated this 3 stars.

35. This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1) by Victoria Schwab

This story is sort of a dystopian futuristic Romeo and Juliet. Kate Harker wants prove herself to be just as ruthless as her monster-killing father. August Flynn is a monster who desperately wants to be human. Kate and August stand on opposite ends of collapsing truce, in a city where monsters are born of crime and act of violence. The two meet and things may never be the same again. I read this book after seeing a few friends suggest it. I really enjoyed it. I rated it 4.5 stars.

36. Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

Queens of Geek is about three very different friends attending their first fan conference. This is a fun read featuring really amazing and diverse characters. My one issue with the book is that the conference they’re attending is called SupaCon and I see where the Australian author was going with that, but it seemed weird for an American conference to be named ‘Supa’ when that’s not how the American accent works. Gah! But you may be a normal human being and this may not bother you at all. I gave this book 4.5 stars out of 5.

37. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

When Rachel Chu is invited to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend Nick, she is expecting a summer of meeting the family and spending time seeing where her boyfriend spent his childhood. She is not expecting to spend the summer traveling by private planes, staying at palatial estates and attending all the high society parties and events. She also isn’t expecting to be under a microscope, scrutinized by family, friends and strangers alike because Nick has failed to mention his family’s wealth and that he’s considered to be one of the most eligible bachelors in Asia. I read this book because of the hype surrounding it being turned into a major motion picture. It was a good read and really funny at points. I wish there had been a bit more character development. I feel like I never got the opportunity to really get to know the main characters and the pacing was a bit off for me at times. I gave this 3.5 stars out of 5.

38. Campaign Widows by Aimee Agresti

This book is about an ensemble of characters who form relationships because their spouses and partners are running for election or working on election campaigns. I have no idea how this got on my TBR list, or how I ended up putting it on hold, and for the longest time I thought this book was called Campaign Windows? I don’t know, you guys. 2018 was a rough year. Anyway. This was a fun enough read. At points I just skimmed because I wasn’t really invested in any of the characters. I found it took a long time to get into this book. It was fine. I rated it 3 stars out of 5.

39. Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin: A Memoir by Nicole Hardy

This memoir explores the balancing act of the expectations of love, relationships, sex and marriage she had developed due to her religious upbringing within the Mormon church and the realities of being a young, single. modern woman navigating dating, sex and life. I picked this up because a few friends had read it, but I struggled to relate to the author and that made it hard to care about some of these really dated-sound stories. Does that make me a horrible person? Probably. I rated this book 1.5 stars out of five.

40. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

I wanted to finish the year on a good note (and also couldn’t handle having read an odd number of books, because that’s who I am), so I picked up this favourite for a re-read. This book follows Natasha, Daniel and the Universe as it brings the two of them together for a timely and relevant story about being a person of colour in today’s world, immigration, deportation and how life can take you in unexpected directions. I’m really not doing this book justice. I absolutely loved it again on re-read and my rating for this book remains a perfect rating of 5 stars.

My goal for 2018 was to read 12 books, so with 40, I did the thing! I decided to make a higher reading goal for 2019, since this year went so well, so my goal for 2019 is to read 24 books.

Do you set reading goals for the year? Do you use Goodreads? (If you do, let’s be friends over there.) Tell me all about your reading plans for the new year!

Festive AF

I’ve always been known to be a bit of a Grinch. There have been years where I’ve even refused to have a tree in my house. I haven’t wanted to bake. I’ve banned Christmas music from my house, car and office. I’ve had no interest in participating in the holiday at all.

But something weird happened this fall. The second November hit, I started to feel this strange itch to decorate for the holidays. To put up my tree, bust out the twinkle lights, start baking and watching those horrible Hallmark holiday movies.

I wanted snow on the ground. Okay, I wanted snow on the lawns and rooftops, but not on streets, sidewalks or driveways, but you get the idea.

It’s been a little unsettling to feel the urge to be festive at all, let alone this early, but there I was. Setting my Christmas tree up the day after Remembrance Day. Tuning my radios to the all Christmas music stations. Pinning cookie recipes. I’ve even hung twinkle lights in my damn windows.

Why have I been feeling like this? Because this past year has been a giant dumpster fire. It’s time for some festivity and joy, damnit. I’m done with the bullshit cesspool that is 2018.

If I have to shed my Grinchy ways to get a break from all this terrible, horrible, very bad year, then that’s what I’m going to do. Bring on the twinkle lights, cheesy movies and overplayed Christmas carols. I’m going to squeeze every last bit of joy out of this time of year. Who’s with me?