Coping With Life…and Waffles!

I can’t believe that I’ve not posted since February, the last 5 months have gone by super fast and the only excuse I have is that I’ve been busy and overwhelmed with life stuff.

Since my last post I’ve had so many things going on. Transition wise I’ve had a lot of appointments with my NHS Gender Clinic and a private appointment with GenderCare to get a referral for top surgery. This led to a consultation with my surgeon of choice, an amazing response to my GoFundMe page that helped me get enough money together to pay for my surgery and now I’m only 23 days away from having the first operation of my life and officially starting to freak out that it’s actually frigging happening.

I ended a 5 year relationship in January, which I never told you all about at the time because it was too soon and too hard to open up about but things are looking up. I’m still living with my ex but it’s going a lot smoother now and I’m in a new relationship that is the best ever and making me feel all kinds of love and happy.

On top of that I’ve been going to therapy to work through various things. It’s been helpful but also difficult, so a lot of time has been spent under my duvet to process it all. Overall I’m in a better place but I’m still cautious of slipping back to where I was before Christmas. I’m trying to practice this self care stuff, which definitely doesn’t involve yoga, exercise, ‘clean eating’ or just smiling more, but lots of sleep, cuddles and a hell of a lot of mac n cheese.

I’ve been wanting to post an update over the last month or so but I always feel I have to accompany these sorts of posts with a recipe and whilst I’ve been eating A LOT of food out and about, I haven’t been too exciting with my own cooking at home. But, I finally made something pretty spectacular yesterday that I wanted to share with you.

My boyfriend has just had surgery and is recovering at my place, so while he’s all weak and vulnerable, I’ve been feeding him ALL the tasty foods. Yesterday I decided to make him some surprise breakfast waffles, just some simple chocolate waffles I thought…until I came across some bourbon biscuits, Biscoff Spread, White Chocolate and Soya Cream…which led to the most spectacular breakfast I’ve ever made

Chocolate, Hazelnut Cookie Waffles

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Ingredients:

For the waffles:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 10 bourbon biscuits, crushed
  • 1 1/4 cups non dairy milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp hazelnut butter

For the Sauce:

  • 1 bar of iChoc White Chocolate
  • 3 tsp Biscoff Spread
  • 2 tsp coconut oil

Extra Toppings:

  • Whipped non dairy cream
  • Chocolate Syrup
  • Extra Bourbons
  • Lots of Biscoff Spread
  1. First off, mix together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder and salt
  2. Then whisk together the milk, oil and hazelnut butter
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until combined. Fold in the crushed bourbon biscuits
  4. Heat and oil up the waffle iron and cook 1/3 of a cup of batter each time.
  5. While the waffles are cooking, melt the chocolate, coconut oil and biscoff together.
  6. Assemble by layering waffles with plenty of Biscoff Spread inbetween, lashings of sauce, top with whipped cream, chocolate syrup and an extra bourbon.

I think these are the best waffles I’ve ever made, and that’s saying a lot considering I did a whole month of waffles a few Mofo’s ago. The look on Logan’s face when I brought these through to him was amazing.

We both felt pretty sick after breakfast and then slept most of the day, only waking up to eat huge amounts of vegan pizza from a new takeout that has opened down the road (I’m blogging about that soon, I promise!)

But yeah, that’s pretty much all that’s been going on over the last 5 months or so. I’ll have plenty of time to myself after surgery so hope to post more around then and I have lots of new places to review too, so I will be back in the very near future!

Until then folks!

Feeling all the Feels. Baking all the Cakes

I’m back with an update and some cake, go me!

I’ve finished my second week of work now and as of today I’m back on full hours. I won’t lie, it’s been a super overwhelming experience. Getting back to normality has been hard and I’m still struggling to deal with a lot of strange and unexpected emotions that have been surfacing.

My first working weekend has been and gone, bringing up all kinds of extra feels. In my absence I’d forgotten what it’s like to be repeatedly misgendered all day, so that was painful. I’d finish a 2 hour till stint wishing for the wrath of Dark Willow to free me from the clutches of my skin cage. Warren, you are one lucky bastard.

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But, I persevered. I dealt with crowds, questions and small talk. I pushed through brain fog. I didn’t have a single panic attack, despite feeling on the edge of one for most of Sunday. These are all good positive things that I am trying to remind myself of because when I got home on Sunday, all of the feels in the world hit me…pretty much like this:

It really was enough ‘fun’ for one day. More than enough. I ended up crawling into bed and crying it out for a few hours because apparently I am a child again and that is how I must deal with all the emotions!

I woke up yesterday morning TIRED and not up for doing anything at all. I spent most of the day getting into a new murdery podcast All Killa No Filla and having a bubble bath. I didn’t want to sink back into my old routine of hiding all day, so I pushed myself to get up and do something.

I decided to make cake, because…what else is worth doing in life?

You got it.

Nothing.

I had some free bananas and a free lemon from work, so I decided to use them up. I added lots of coconut because why the hell not?

Banana Coconut Lemon Cake

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Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup dessicated coconut (plus a little more for decorating)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cup icing sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a loaf tin with parchment paper
  2. Mash the banana and mix in the oil, milk and vanilla extract
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, coconut and baking powder
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just mixed
  5. Pour into the loaf tin and bake for 45-55 minutes
  6. Once the cake has cooled, mix the lemon juice with the icing. Smother the cake in it and top with lemon zest and dessicated coconut

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This was super quick and easy and I like quick and easy rewards. I managed to end the day feeling like I’d done something worthwhile.

I’m always an anxious human, but I have a lot of extra fears now that my safety blanket of a phased return is up. I know I’m not better yet and I’m already feeling the pressure to be “well” again, whatever that means.

For now at least, I have cake to take with me to work this morning, so I’ll get through today. I’ll deal with tomorrow when it comes.

 

Maple, Ginger & Sweet Potato Cake

I disappeared in a predictable fashion again, sorry! I was super busy over the summer with some fundraising stuff and then Pride. I was planning on writing a few posts and then my mental health nose dived.

I’m finding transition unbearable at the moment. I’ve been waiting 16 months now for a first appointment with the gender clinic and there’s still no sign of it coming along any time soon. I’m responding well to hormones which in some ways is exciting but the more I physically change the more terrified I am that top surgery is so far away. I’m overwhelmed with the whole situation but it’s too painful and draining to go into details. It all came to a head and I ended up at a  crisis centre a few weeks ago. Since then I’ve spent most of my time hiding in my duvet cave trying to recover.

I’m still pretty fragile but I managed to clean up the flat today and did some baking too, so thought I’d share a recipe with you. I offered to experiment with some Fava Bean flour for work recipes and I did a pretty good job. It sounds weird and totally wrong in a cake recipe, but trust me. I don’t encourage eating crap cakes.

Maple, Ginger and Sweet Potato Cake

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Ingredients:

  • 150g Fava Bean Flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 150g soya marg
  • 150ml maple syrup
  • 125ml soya yogurt
  • 150g raw sweet potato, grated
  • 50g creamed coconut
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a loaf tin with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and ginger.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, cream the soya marg. Add the maple syrup and yogurt and stir until combined.
  4. Add the flour mixture and mix together. Fold in the sweet potato and pour the mixture into the loaf tin. Bake for 45-50 minutes before removing from the oven and leaving to cool.
  5. While the cake is cooling, melt the creamed coconut and maple syrup together. Remove from the heat and stir through the lemon juice and zest. Let cool.
  6. Once the cake is completely cool, top with the coconut lemon icing.

This cake was pretty damn good. Not as sweet as my usual bakes but I was amazed at how good the taste and texture were using the fava bean flour. Usually when I make gluten free bakes I use a mixture of gluten free flours, but this worked on its own. It was nice and moist and held together really well. It was also simple to make, I still have a load of the flour left so I will probably make this again…though cake always benefits from added chocolate chips so I may try that next time and skip the lemon in the icing.

I was hoping to get involved with Vegan Mofo next month, I had my theme chosen and some recipe ideas planned. I’d like to say it will go ahead but I’m still not in a good place. I also have a lot of voluntary work on, which is a good thing because the work I’m doing and the people I’m working with are amazing, it pushes me to keep plodding on. But this may mean I need to give this years Mofo a miss. It’s early days though and if I can do some prep before November, maybe I can pull it off.

Ups, Downs and Cookie Dough Pie

I’ve been away from here for ages and I’m sorry! A lot of stuff has been going on.

The saddest news is that we lost lovely Aidah on the 26th of May. I kept meaning to write a tribute post to her, but I’m still devastated that she’s not around and haven’t been able to bring myself to do it. She deteriorated really quickly after a good 2-3 months without having any seizures. On her last day Aidah was having one seizure after another, looking more miserable each time. The spark left her eyes and I knew it was time to say goodbye.

Aidah

The flat has been so quiet without her around, I miss the way she used to run and meow to her bowl in the morning for breakfast, or her following me around chirping for treats and cuddles. Or her jumping in surprise and excitement when I came home because being deaf, she couldn’t hear me coming in. Life is definitely not the same.

Not long after losing Aidah, a kitten popped up in a local Facebook group who desperately needed a home or would end up in a shelter. His owner was having to move into sheltered housing and couldn’t keep him. No one was saying they’d take him in and as I still had a litter tray and food left, I offered a foster home….which almost immediately turned into a forever home. How predictable.

Meet Kobi.

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He’s a little terror but absolutely adorable and really gentle. It was hard having another cat around so quickly after Aidah, but he’s settled and I don’t regret the decision to take him in at all. Not used to having a young cat around as I’m used to snoozing old lady cats, but he keeps us on our toes and gives amazing cuddles.

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Overall I’ve been pretty up and down. Testosterone has been great in lots of ways, hair is sprouting and I’m turning into a bear. My voice is also starting to break and my face shape has changed. There have been some really unpleasant side effects though, some I was expecting, some less so but whether expecting them or not, they are still hard to deal with. I also made the mistake of stopping my antidepressants when I started T, which, in the words of my GP was ‘a bit of a silly idea’ and will probably explain the lower moods.

As well as all these emotions, I’ve been pretty busy. I baked a shitload of cakes to help my local support group, Morf at Sparkle festival. Morf run an awesome binder scheme that distributes binders to trans folk for free. The weather was shit but we managed to raise a fair amount of money, though if you like the sound of the scheme and want to donate, we’re always needing more binders and are grateful for the help.

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I’ve also had an excellent weekend away in London with old friends, which involved eating lots of good food that must be blogged about. And, I went on a retreat last weekend and had one of the most amazing experiences ever. It’s too much to go into in this post, but stay tuned because I’ll be writing about it soon.

I thought I’d end the post with a filthy dessert creation I made with some leftover cookie dough I had from the bake sale…

Cookie Dough Pie

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Ingredients

  • Around 1-2 cups leftover cookie dough
  • 1/2 cup leftover frosting (I had chocolate)
  • 1 carton soy whipping cream

Method:

  1. First off, preheat the oven to 180C. Mould a load of cookie dough into a greased cake tin and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  2. While you’re waiting for the base to cool, bake a few cookies out of the dough. While they’re baking, roll a few cookie dough balls ready.
  3. Whip up the soy cream before assembling.
  4. Cover the base in a thin layer of cookie tough, then a layer of the frosting and top with the whipping cream.
  5. Decorate the top with raw cookie dough balls and broken baked cookies before devouring.

Fucking hell. This was one of the most outrageous desserts I’ve ever made. I’m not lying when I say that after one bite, I could feel the chin spots immediately grow under my skin. I was spotty for a week after eating a slice of this. Ah puberty!

Totally worth it though. A great way to use up leftover cookie dough

That’s about all from me now, but I promise I’ll be blogging again really soon!

Cheeseburger Pie & Stuff I Ate

Despite having a rotten cold and sore throat that has lasted for 2 weeks now, I’ve done a fair bit of good eating over the last week.

I finally got round to making a recipe I’ve been wanting to make for an embarrassingly long time. It’s a cheesecake from one of my favourite blogs Seitan is My Motor. I love this blog, I love German food..especially desserts and everything always looks so beautiful…which is partly why I’ve avoided trying this recipe…I wanted to do it proud…and right! Whilst it wasn’t as stunning as the original, I made it look awesome by decorating it with T Rex cookies.

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But seriously folks…try this recipe! It uses soya yoghurt instead of tofu/cashews and it works really well. It’s also super simple, I think I had the whole thing mixed and in the oven within 15 minutes.

On the same day I also made this delicious dish

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Chesnut Cannelinni Balls with Dijon Mustard Sauce, Rice and Garlicky Fried Cabbage. The balls were similar to my ‘Everything in the Cupboard Meatball’ recipe. So good, it was a great dinner.

I also went back to Ice Shack to try the Dog Bowl Sundae. I had plans to eat it romantically with my partner Jake…but he decided last minute that he didn’t want to share and ordered 3 scoops. Fine. I could do it without him…WHATEVER

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So what was in my Dog Bowl Sundae? 5…yes 5 scoops of ice cream. I went for 2 chocolate, 1 vanilla, 1 raspberry and 1 raspberry mango. 3 toppings..I had chocolate sauce, chocolate chips and an oreo. Then, something that caught me by surprise…Because the waffles that are included in the vegetarian option aren’t vegan, I was allowed to pick a slice of cake to go in there. I asked for one of the chocolate topped jam doughnuts…I got given 2!

Oh. My. God. I love this place. And I loved this sundae..it was awesome! I can also tell you that eating out of a dog bowl makes everything taste sweeter.

And for the finale I made this beauty of a dish…Cheeseburger Pie

Cheeseburger Pie

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Ingredients:

  • 8 meat free ‘beef’ style burgers (I used vegetarian choice)
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 block vegan cheese (I used Violife Smoky), grated
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 packet of batter mix, prepared with water

Method:

  • Heat some oil in a pan and start off by frying the onions. While they’re frying, chop the burgers into bite size pieces.
  • When the onions have turned golden, add the burger pieces and fry for a further 10 minutes until crispy and caramelised.
  • Pour into a pie dish. Top with half the grated cheese and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast.
  • Pour the prepared batter mix over the top, top with the rest of the cheese and pop into the oven at 200C for 30 minutes

How can something so good be so easy?

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This was awesome. I was really bad and just had this with a gherkin relish…I recommend adding some kind of real vegetable to your plate.

Next time I’m going to top it off with those cheap crappy crispy onions and then smother it in burger sauce.

Try this if you know what’s good for you!

Extreme Hunger and Overnight Oats

I’ve not really felt many effects from T yet, I’ve had a few hot flushes over the last few days and my uterus has started protesting the change by angrily shedding, but there’s no magical beard sprouting and my voice is as high pitched as ever.

When you mention Testosterone to people, they automatically think of this:

hulk

Thankfully, this is a myth. I will not be turning green or angry, at least not more so than I currently am. When I told folk I was starting T, I assured them all that I would not turn into a monster. I would still be me. But apparently the treatment has sparked off an inner beast within me.

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Hunger

I am so goddamn hungry all the time. At first I thought it was my brain playing tricks on me. Nice one Emil, use testosterone as an excuse to eat all the tasty sweets and salty carbs. You’re so clever.

But this hunger was persistent and painful. I couldn’t stop eating. I was scared to start because I didn’t know how to stop.

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Nothing made it go away. I was eating at every possible moment. Nothing could satisfy me, and that made me sad.

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I managed to spend £8 on my lunch at work. That’s nearly the entire weekly budget for my food shop! Something had to be done. I decided to start eating breakfast.

Yes, I know. I never eat breakfast and it’s bad because most important meal of the blah, blah, blah. You don’t need to tell me, I already know.

I decided to give overnight oats a try because

  1. It’s all people are ever banging on about these days
  2. I hear oats are filling
  3. I’m a lazy bastard

I did not expect oats to be the solution to the hunger. I also didn’t expect my breakfasts to become so varied and exciting! You can do loads of different flavours and they always taste great. I even made some oats that tasted like a chocolate bar.

I’ve made quite a few varieties already but so far my favourite combinations are Chocolate Hazelnut, Black Forest and Peanut Butter. So, here’s my formula for Overnight Oats, feel free to try my suggestions or play around with your favourite flavours.

Overnight Oats

You will need:

  • 1 mason jar
  • 1/2 cup non dairy milk (I’ve been using vanilla oatly or chocolate rebel kitchen)
  • 1/2 cup porridge oats
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (these are optional and I hate myself for being a person who now uses these, but hey, gotta stop the hunger. If doing without add a little more oats or less liquid)
  • 2 tbsp liquid sweetener (my favourites are maple syrup or date syrup for chocolate based oats)
  • your flavour combinations of choice
  1. Mix together the milk, seeds and sweetener in a mason jar. Add your extra flavours at this point too.
  2. Add the oats and use a spoon to push them into the mixture. Seal and pop into the fridge overnight.
  3. Before serving add your favourite toppings

So here’s what my favourites looked like

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Peanut Butter – Just add 3-4 tsp of peanut butter to the mix. Give it a quick swirl so you get nice big chunks of pb in your oats. I topped mine with granola and chocolate covered coconut

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Chocolate Hazelnut – Use chocolate milk, add 3-4 tsp of hazelnut butter and 1 tsp cocoa powder. Mix up. Before serving top with roasted hazelnuts and chocolate chips. Basically tastes like a Vego Bar

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Black Forest – Use chocolate milk, add frozen sour cherries, chocolate chips and 1 tbsp cocoa. Mix up. Before serving top with a little oat cream, more cherries and more chocolate chips.

So there you have it. Tesosterone has turned me into an oat loving, chia seed eating, mason jar keeping beast. Better than the Hulk I guess..

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Are you an overnight oat convert? What are your favourite combos?

Celebratory Choc Chip Quinoa Cookies

The last few weeks have been pretty wonderful.

I had a great birthday for the first time in a few years. I spent the day alone at our local cinema, Home. I love watching films by myself and Jake was busy at work, so it was the best way to spend my day. I watched two films back to back, Our Little Sister and The Brand New Testament. Both were fantastic films and I definitely recommend seeing them.

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Our Little Sister

I’m rubbish at organising big celebrations for myself, so I booked an evening meal at Teatime Collective. You only need a minimum of 8 people, so it was a nice small gathering. We had a delicious three course meal that obviously I forgot to take photos of and then I received the best birthday cake I’ve ever had.

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If you’re wondering what cake this is, it’s a Chocolate Oreo, Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cake. One layer of chocolate cake, a layer of salted caramel ice cream, followed by another layer of peanut butter ice cream, topped with cream, chocolate fudge frosting and oreos. It was incredible. Teatime did an amazing job and so did Jake (who forgot to even get me a cake the year before). I was so happy with it, it made me feel pretty darn special.

I got some lovely gifts including Snape’s Wand, The Gilmore Girls complete Boxset, homemade tiffin and a cool Seitan related tee! It was one hell of a day.

Some more good news, Aidah is doing really well. She’s been diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism, so she’s now taking medication daily. We managed to get it in a paste form that is absorbed through her skin so that we don’t have to go through daily drama with pills. She’s already gaining weight and seems totally back to normal. This still doesn’t explain the seizure, so we’re keeping a close eye on her and I expect that it may happen again. Otherwise, she’s doing really well.

..and speaking of treatment. Look what I managed to get my hands on..

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I am officially on Testosterone! Don’t worry, I didn’t rob a pharmacy. My amazing, supportive GP agreed to a bridging prescription while I wait for my first appointment at a GIC. I can’t believe this happened, I’m so happy that my transition is finally moving to where I want it to be! I might do a post about how I managed to get T before going to a GIC, but for now I’m just gonna be happy about it

To celebrate all of the good news, I decided to do a bit of baking. I had a sample of Quinoa Flour hanging around for work, so I thought I’d experiment with it a bit. And what better way to celebrate than with chocolate chip cookies?

Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies

  • Servings: Makes 12 cookies
  • Print

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of quinoa flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp no egg replacer mixed with 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 180C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. If you want a really nutty flavour to your cookies, toast the flour in a pan over a low heat for 5 minutes or so. If not, skip this step.
  3. Beat together the sugar and coconut oil in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Add the egg replacer and the vanilla and beat for a few more minutes
  4. In a small bowl mix together the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda.
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well. When fully mixed add the chocolate chips.
  6. Divide the mixture into 12 small balls, lay on a baking sheet with enough space between each cookie. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
  7. Once baked, leave to cool for 5 minutes before moving the cookies from the baking sheet, they’re pretty delicate when they first leave the oven.

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These came out really well, I don’t do gluten free bakes often so I was really surprised that I managed to just swap out wheat flour for quinoa and it worked. The flour gives these a really delicious nutty taste, you can definitely tell that there is quinoa in it, but I think this works really well with the sweetness of the cookie. If you’re less keen on the nutty flavour, don’t toast the flour and maybe have a go at mixing it with another flour.

I went for that heat treated coconut oil because I didn’t want a coconut flavour in the cookie, but if you like it, go for a raw coconut oil instead

These were super tasty…the only negative is that I’m going to have to take these to work and share them so I can get some feedback. Boo! I’ll definitely be making them again though.

So that’s it. Hurray for good news! I hope all of you are doing well.