Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Lou's Super-Subbed Double Chocolate Brownies

I have a little bit of an obsession with baking substitutes. I love to bake, but over the passed year or so have become increasingly conscious about the amount of calories that goes in to every single loaf, pastry and cupcake. So I started doing a little research into how to "health-itise" my baking, and I discovered a whole new world...

It started with greek yoghurt for eggs, and then for butter... But then I wanted to try and sub the eggs and butter, and discovered the wonders of banana subbing for sweet bakes. I used to hate banana; I still find it difficult to eat a banana on its own, but when used in baking I could eat about ten!

I also started to discover the harms of "white products", as I call them; white bread, white pasta, white flour, white sugar - and researched about the goodness and nutrition I was missing out of by buying the concentrated "white" stuff. I started filling my cupboards with brown and soon discovered how much more not only my taste buds love it, but my body too! I found I could indulge in a treat without the after-guilt and bloat!

Throughout this passed week I was trying to think up some other substitutes for butter or fat in baking; the only things I'd ever used a lot before was yoghurt, which was really just subbing one fat for a slightly healthier one, or pumpkin, which is very season-biased. As much as I loved them, I wanted more. I came across a recipe for "Green Brownies" which uses courgette and white beans as the main substance of the recipe, but still quite a hefty amount of butter, so I continued my pondering. And then, on Saturday evening, whilst pondering what to make for Sunday lunch with the odd array of fruit and veg I had slowly deteriorating in my fridge drawer, it came to me.

The healthy fat. I'd used it before, but only in savoury recipes; alfredo, green enchiladas, dipping sauce... The list of it's uses was endless, as now so is my love for the wondrous, multi-talented and multi-purpose super veg. The AVACADO!!!

I must admit, I was a little hesitant. But what genius never tried and failed? And If I failed, who had to know?! My hands were shaking pretty badly as I took the fork to the mash, but I sucked it up and went for it...

... And the result couldn't have been better.

Lou's Super-Subbed Double Chocolate Brownies

  • 1 whole avacado, pitted and mashed
  • 1 very ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of raw brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of milk (I used homemade almond milk)
  • 100g melted dark chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon coco powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups of wholemeal flour
  • 100g dark chocolate chips
  • 50g milk chocolate chips
  1. Mash the avacado and banana until smooth (you can do this in a food processor if you have one... I don't...)
  2. Add the honey and brown sugar and mix
  3. And the milk and stir until combined - the mixture should be very runny at this point. If for some reason it isn't, add a little more milk.
  4. Melt your first 100g of dark chocolate, and add to your runny mixture. (As it's all raw, unprocessed ingredients, there's no need to worry about curdling - yay, a baker's dream!)
  5. Mix together your coco powder, baking powder and wholemeal flour in a separate bowl. 
  6. Add your chocolate chips to your dry ingredients and chuck it around a bit in the bowl - this is a fancy trick I learned - if you coat your choc chips in your flour, it helps to prevent them from sinking to the bottom during the bake!
  7. Add your dry to your wet, and mix until just incorporated. 
  8. Pour into a lined baking tin, and bake at 180 degrees for about 25 minutes. (I think the only way to have brownies is super-fudgy and under-done, so I baked mine for about 20. You can go for longer, even longer, or even shorter - it's up to you and your brownie-loving t-buds!)
Another great thing about an egg-less recipe is that it's totally fine for anyone to lick the bowl, spoon, and any other utensils you dathered with during the prep, as there's no risk or worry about consuming un-cooked eggs! Yay! 

I hope you loved my Super-Subbed Double Chocolate Brownies as much as I did, and that you too start to discover the wonderful joys of sub-baking!! It's the best!

I was totally naughty and served mine with some delicious and dairy-packed bourbon vanilla ice cream - but at least the brownies were doing me good!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Legacy, Memory, Ritual | Capture Your Grief

Day 4 - Legacy

I was troubled over this one for a whole day, which let me fall a day behind with capturing my grief. But I realised it was simple.

Seth left his legacy in my heart. 

His legacy is that he's waiting for us. He has gone before. He was too precious for this earth. He was too special. His legacy is his example to us; he is often the thing that keeps me trying.

Day 5 - Memory

On December 15th 2011, I saw my own little baby for the very first time. We saw baby do a kung-fu kick and jump, and saw the tiny little miracle that we had created, and was now growing inside of me.

The next day, we started travelling, and after a total of 26 hours arrived in Manila, Philippines on December 17th.

We spent just over two weeks in this stunning part of the world, meeting with relatives, exploring beauty, and eating new foods.

I was horrifically sick almost every single day, but it was still one of the best times I have ever had - and my baby was with me.

We were so happy, so excited. One of my all-time favourite memories, was right here.

Day 6 - Ritual 

It's only when I came to think of something for day 6, that I realised I really do have a ritual.

Every single day I pray for my Seth. In almost every prayer, I ask Heavenly Father to please let him know how much I love him. I pray that he is happy. I pray he is not alone. And for many other things that I've decided are too personal to share. It's my ritual. Praying for him, mentioning his name, talking to him, singing for him too when I'm singing for Lily - it keeps me at peace with my loss.

We have also decided that every year we will release a Chinese Lantern for Seth. It will be his little birthday ritual. We did it for the first time this year on his first Birthday, and it was beautiful. It was overwhelming, and emotional, yet comforting and assuring. Letting go of that lantern in some strange way felt like letting o of him all over again. But in other ways was like letting go of the stress of a whole year of grief. It was wonderful.

Are you watching General Conference this weekend? No? Well you should!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Myths | Capture Your Grief, Day Three

"It will take time, but you'll get over it."

You never get over it.

You just get used to it.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Identity | Capture Your Grief, Day Two

Seth Peter Magpantay

Until just a couple of weeks before Seth came and went, he had a different name. We would try out the name every now and again, but it just didn't feel right, and both Peter and I knew it.

Then one day, the name just came to us. We said it a few times over. We rolled it around our mouths and through our heads - it felt right; we knew it was the name.

"Seth was a perfect man, and his likeness was the express likeness of his father, insomuch that he seemed to be like unto is father in all things, and could be distinguished from him only by his age." D&C 107:43

We also knew that we would give him his second name after his Dad; Peter, meaning the rock.

I once heard a quote that went something like this: "Don't marry a man unless you would be proud to have a son just like him."

The name seemed to fit perfectly from every angle.

Although we decided we wouldn't officially name him until he was born, just in case.

His head fitted perfectly right in the nook of my arm, and he barely reached my wrist. His skin was fragile and thin, and dark. Being so little, his eyes were still closed; peacefully sleeping. He had the smallest nose I have ever seen. When we held him he wasn't as skinny or as red as I'd expected he looked like a perfect miniature baby.

He wore a blue and white striped hat that the nurses had given him - it fitted his little head so well, it was like someone had made it especially for him. I'd never seen a woolly hat so small. He was wrapped in hand-knitted white blankets. I held my boy close and cried. But my favourite part was when his Dad held him. There was so much love in that scene, and I could feel it both ways.

Seth is a precious son. He is also a big brother to Lily. He's the oldest child in our family. He's a grandson, and a nephew. Also a great-grandson, and a great-nephew. He's a cousin to four and three on the way. I'm sure he would have also been a friend.

When I put it like this, I realise how many more people than just me, lost Seth.

When I think of the things that I believe create my identity - wife, mother, writer, pianist, singer, at-home-chef -  I think of the earthly things that might have made up Seth's. Footballer? Basketball-player? Singer? Guitarist? Baker? Analyst? Entrepreneur? I think there are a few things I might have hoped for there. The truth is nobody knows what his identity would have been on earth. All I do know, is his spiritual identity.

Rather than a baby, I often view my son as a missionary; a young man, gone far away to serve our Father in Heaven, immersed in the Gospel of Christ, standing upright, walking with God.

My boy's mission is just a little longer than most.

When trying to think of what picture I could take or use for this post, only one came to mind.

[Photo taken by the wonderful Emily Beale]
Seth's hospital identity bracelet. Boy of Lucy Magpantay. It was on the smallest loop and still slipped off of his tiny wrist.

Want to join in Capture Your Grief? Check out CarlyMarie over at Project Heal.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Capture Your Grief - Sunrise

A lovely friend of mine posted a link to this page on Facebook last week, and I decided that the opportunity to take part could not be passed up.

I feel as though since Lily was born I've not been able to have such frequent grieving moments, which might be a good thing. But I feel as though I need to focus on Seth a little more right now. I miss him.

Sadly, I wasn't able to capture my own sunrise this time, and even if I was, it wouldn't be quite the sunrise I'd want; a Munich sunrise, I am sure is beautiful, but it's not Seth's.

I felt as though I should begin where it all started, in Windermere. So I have cheekily borrowed this picture from the internet (source here). I thought it was especially fitting as it was taken in the month of March, which is when Seth's birthday is.

I hope that where my precious boy is, he's able to experience the earth's beauty, and even more than that.


Arise from your hidden place, 
Give light
To all you touch. 
Start the day with warm embrace
From night's
Cold, dark clutch. 

Bounce the colours back
And forth
For all you see, 
Rescue from the black
Of ev'ning's 
Nothingness plea.

Frosty taste of dawn's dew
Hits tongue
And mouth and cheek, 
Warming sun in lieu
Of night
Turns words from harsh to meek.

Blind the lookers on who
Seek you
In the morning bright,
Waiting and desperate just to
See one
Morning change from night.

There is no sound like morning,
Humble, noiseless tone
That gives no apparent warning
To when
Its glory to you will show.

How do you describe that feeling
Of peace
That the sunrise brings?
The thrill, excitement, heeding
Of one of God’s great things.

It is like coming through the hurt
Of loss;
A darkness seemed like the end.
But hope beams bright through murk;
In the sunrise, of life again.

Want to join in Capture Your Grief? Check out CarlyMarie over at Project Heal.