I have had a few guests, all have given great recipes - you can check them out HERE.
Today's guest chef, is my friend Stephanie. We have known each other for a little over a year. We met at our gym and became friends while talking ground turkey from Costco as we sweated our butts off while spinning. In January, we decided to start our running adventure together and created 'Friday Night Run Club'. Or 'FNRC'. Or 'Eff'n Run Club'. Depending on the day, the weather, our moods - really depended on what we called the club. We started out with 2 members - her and myself. We picked up a few other members from time to time. Then we added our dogs - her Stella and my Magnum. Stella is a natural runner with long legs - sure could be a marathoner. Magnum, his short little legs didn't stop him from trying to keep up.
Stella. I love this dog.
We started out slow and steady - and before too long - we pretty much switched to Tuesday nights, picked up a permanent member, Natasha, and before we knew it we were ready for the TC10K. And since then, Steph has upped her running career and has done quite a few more.
When I started this 'new life' of mine - I knew that there would be struggles, wins, losses, bad days, good days and a bunch of other stuff in between. What I didn't really even think about when I started would be the friendships that I would make along the way. That didn't even cross my mind. I feel fortunate to have met Steph and a few other lovely ladies (they know who they are) who have helped make this experience way more than I ever thought it would be.
I appreciate her friendship - and the fact that she has had to listen to me bitch and moan about my weak bladder on so many different occasions. That she had me out running when I would have rather have been in front of the TV with potato chips. And she makes me laugh when I definitely need it.
Now, not only is she a great friend and workout mate - she is an incredible baker and cook.
The pictures that I am about to share - are incredible. Please don't try and eat your computer screen.
Chocolate Pavlova - with fresh fruit, whipped cream and chocolate. Oh my.
What is your favourite meal of all time (to eat?)
My favorite meal would have to be perogies. As a child my mom use to hand make them each year for my birthday only. And too this day she still makes the best (even tho she hasn't made them in years) :)
What is your favourite meal of all time to cook? In the winter time my fav thing too cook is soup! I dont have a specific thing I like too cook, I love to experiment in the kitchen.
What is your favourite dessert to bake?
I actually never bake dessert unless we have company over but in the summer I like making pavlova with fresh fruit and cream.
Where did you learn to be such an amazing cake decorator?
When I was 16 I got a job at a high end catering company as a dishwasher. I later became a cook. We had an inhouse baker (2 over the years) that both took me under their wings and showed me the basics of baking, filling, icing and decorating cakes. After that I learned by myself through trial and error and by having great family and friends that would order cakes and let me develop their vision into a cake. Ive never done the same cake twice, therefore I have been learning new skills with each cake.
What is your most memorable meal?
Best meal EVER was from Zambri's. A bunch of foodie friends and I went there in.our late teens. I had Steak with a blue cheese demi glace sauce. Polenta with truffle oil and brown butter sage roasted squash. Drool! Ive recreated the same meal at home a few times, but its never AS good as Zambris.
If you could have dinner with anyone - who would it be? What would you eat? And where?
I have to say Gordon Ramsey. I love how passionate he is. Id eat anything he would cook but better yet Id love to just cook with him.
Now for her recipe. These were so incredible. So pretty. And I was being ladylike that day and only had one - but if I had to do it all over again - I would have told everyone to look out the window and then grabbed 4 or 5 or how many I could fit in my mouth/pockets and ran.
Black bean brownies
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (15½ oz)
3 tbsp coconut oil
½ cup honey or agava
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
⅛ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
zest of one orange
In a food processor puree beans, once smooth-ish add the remaining ingredients except the eggs. Blend. Put in a bowl and beat in eggs (being carful not to over mix the batter at this point)
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake at 350 or until almost puffed in the middle- approx 15 minutes.
Let cool Completly
Chocolate avocado icing
1/3 cocoa powder
Honey/agave- to taste
1 tsp vanilla
In a food processor blend avacado and cocoa powder. Add more cocoa powder if you like. Add honey too taste and vanilla. Let icing set in the fridge, the cocoa will naturally thicken the icing. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.
These freeze great iced. And because their is no butter in the icing you can take a frozen iced cupcake, put it in the microwave for 30 seconds, until its warm and soft in the center and have a guilt free treat.
Seriously they are as deelish as they look - maybe even better! You would never have knows that they were made from black beans or that there was avocado in the icing.
Steph also did our little Miss Avery's 'cow theme' first birthday cake.