Daffodil Day Fundraiser + Vegan/GF cupcake recipe

Although I have changed roles at work and am no longer ‘in charge’ of social events like the Pink Ribbon Fundraiser we held in July, I still love to be involved! I helped my successor (the lady who now has my previous role) organise a fundraiser for Daffidol Day. The Cancer Society of New Zealand’s Daffodil Day symbolises hope for 1 in 3 New Zealanders affected by cancer and the donations raised from fundraisers like this go towards vital scientific research into the causes and treatment of all types of cancer, as well as providing a wide range of support services, education and awareness campaigns/programmes for people affected by cancer in our area. If you’d like to learn more about this – click here.

My contribution to the morning tea was some delicious cupcakes. Someone at work is vegan, so I thought I would give some vegan/gluten-free cupcakes a try so we could both enjoy a treat (and a few others who are also GF at my work). I know what it’s like to turn up to an event and the only thing you’re able to eat is what you brought to the table!

I found this recipe from a vegan website and adapted it to suit my requirements.

Vegan/Gluten-free Lemon Cupcakes

Prep Time: 20 mins | Cook Time: 25 mins | Yield: 12

INGREDIENTS

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (220g) gluten-free flour
  • 1 cup (200g) low GI sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup (240ml) Soy Milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tsp lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest

For the icing:

  • 3 cups (360g) icing sugar
  • 1/3 cup (75g) Olivani
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice (freshly squeezed)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add the sugar, baking soda and salt. Lightly mix together
  3. Then add the soy milk, oil, vinegar, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest. Whisk briefly with a hand whisk to combine properly and remove any lumps. Do not over mix
  4. Line a cupcake tray with cupcake liners and divide the batter between them.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
  6. When baked transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before icing
  7. Prepare your icing by adding the icing sugar, Olivani and lemon juice into a bowl and mix. If it’s too thick, add a little more lemon juice (a couple of drops at a time) until you reach the right consistency
  8. Pipe the icing onto the cupcakes – I added yellow food colouring to the icing and also added a slice of kiwifruit on top to add some extra moisture an make it look kind of like a flower
  9. Enjoy!

Pink Ribbon Brunch

For those of you who follow my blog, you’ll know that I’ve already done a Pink Ribbon Afternoon Tea at my workplace. Seeing as I was already doing one Pink Ribbon event, I thought I might as well do another!

What are Pink Ribbon events? They are events that help raise funds for the Breast Cancer Foundation. They typically involve food – usually, breakfast, but this time around I did a brunch instead.

In 2017 over 3,600 kiwis hosted a pink ribbon breakfast and collectively raised over 1.8 million dollars for breast cancer research and support. – Pink Ribbon website

I got up early Saturday morning and moved all of my pink decorations into my lounge. I spent a little while putting things on the tables away and replacing them with pink items. I then began making a grazing table. I thoroughly enjoy setting up (and eating) grazing tables, and this was the most epic one I’ve ever made! To check out a video of it, click here.

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My sister and her husband turned up to help with the finishing touches and then my guests started to arrive. I had asked everyone to bring food, expecting that most people wouldn’t, but I was wrong! There was soo much food and I ended up having lots of leftovers to take to church and work. I also asked people to dress up, but there wasn’t a lot of effort put into that… mostly because people didn’t own anything pink. However, my sister won some chocolate for being ‘Best Dressed’ (see below). I also provided a few bits and bobs that everyone could put on to brighten the room up.

While we were waiting for people to roll on in, we nibbled away at all the delicious food and caught up with each other. A few friends were able to catch up with old friends, some of whom hadn’t seen each other in years! Once everyone had arrived, I asked people to get into groups so we could do some NZBCF quizzes. On the Pink Ribbon website, they provide us with some quiz questions and I thought it would be fun to participate. Some of the questions were quite hard, but it was all a good laugh… and we all learnt a thing or two! If you’d like to check them out, click here. The winners got some chocolate – delish! We then continued catching up and nibbling away. I had turned an old Pic’s jar into a coin jar for cash donations and then reminded everyone that they could donate via the online link I had provided them. As a bonus, the donations put people into the draw to win a raffle I had organised.

Everyone got a thank you bag when they left, and most people took a cake-pop  (as seen in the feature image) that my sister made, too! The NZBCF sends you a mixture of pens, keychains and badges to give to those who donated, so I put one of these and an information pamphlet into a bag, along with a homemade cookie as a thank you. The cookies were super easy to make (find the recipe here) and I then got them sealed and placed an ingredients sticker on the outside.

After the great success of two Pink Ribbon events and getting a few extra donations for the leftover food, we raised $545.50 and with that, I am rather proud. People asked me why I hosted the events and the answer is simple… why not! I don’t have time to volunteer for awesome charities like @bcfnz on a regular basis, so I try and help out with one off events when I can. Doing street appeals are a great one-off option (but not in my current health state). Have a think about how you could potentially help out when you’ve got some free time!

Pink Ribbon Afternoon Tea

As mentioned in my previous blog, this year I am hosting two Pink Ribbon events.

What are Pink Ribbon events? They are events that help raise funds for the Breast Cancer Foundation. They typically involve food – usually, breakfast, but this time around I did an afternoon tea instead.

In 2017 over 3,600 kiwis hosted a pink ribbon breakfast and collectively raised over 1.8 million dollars for breast cancer research and support. – Pink Ribbon website

The first one was hosted at my workplace. I asked a few ladies, who I knew were into this sort of thing, to bring along some treats to eat. There were vegan nipple cakes, pink meringues with raspberries, beetroot dip with cheese and crackers, gluten-free triple chocolate brownies and lots more! I honestly couldn’t have asked for a more delicious selection of foods to eat.

I decorated the table with an assortment of pink things and when the time came, called everyone over. We had a lovely work colleague who spoke to us for 5 minutes about her experience with breast cancer and how it affected her family. Her advice to us was that if we know anyone going through cancer, or those who have family members going through cancer, remember to reach out; to ask how they are going, because it could mean a lot to them.

Then, we dug right in! I was stoked to have a pleasant buzz of chatter going on during the event, as this was not only a fundraiser but also a chance for work colleagues to connect.

Overall, we made $257 for the foundation, and I am rather proud of it! It was so simple to host – I asked a few people to bring some food (and I provided some myself), I set up a pink-themed table, I organised a speaker and let people know where to donate! I definitely recommend doing a Pink ribbon event next year, if you are able to.


There were two things that I enjoyed making for this event. First, were the ‘thank you’ bags. The NZBCF sends you a mixture of pens, keychains and badges to give to those who donated. I put one of these and an information pamphlet into a bag, along with a homemade cookie as a thank you. The cookies were super easy to make (find the recipe here). And the icing? Well, let’s just say I need a bit of practice! After a few mishaps, they eventually did turn out well.  I then got them sealed and placed an ingredients sticker on the outside.

The other thing I enjoyed making for the event were some gluten-free chocolate covered pretzels (you can check out a picture of them above). I got the pretzels from the supermarket and all I did was dip half of the pretzel into melted white chocolate that was mixed with some Misty Day Pitaya powder.

Gluten-free Shortbread

I am hosting two Pink Ribbon events within the next month (one at work and one with friends), so thought I would give some Pink Ribbon Shortbread a try. It was the first time I’ve ever used royal icing, and I think they turned out pretty well!

The shortbread recipe is from here and the icing recipe is from here, thanks to good ol’ Chelsea.

Gluten-Free Shortbread

Ingredients:

250g butter, softened
3/4 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup cornflour
1 1/2 cups standard flour

Please double check that all of your ingredients are gluten-free.

Icing (Makes 1 1/2 cups)

2 egg whites
2 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon strained lemon juice (no pips or fibre)
2 ½ cups icing sugar

Please double check that all of your ingredients are gluten-free.

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 150°C bake (140°C fan forced).  Grease oven tray or line with baking paper.
  2. Beat butter and icing sugar until pale and fluffy.
  3. Mix in cornflour and flour until the mixture comes together and forms a dough.
  4. On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1 cm thick and cut into shapes using biscuit cutters.  Alternatively, roll dough into a log and slice into rounds, using a floured knife to prevent sticking.
  5. Place on prepared tray and bake 25 – 30 minutes, until shortbread is pale but crisp.
  6. Cool on a wire rack.
  7. Place all icing ingredients into a large bowl and beat with an electric beater until fluffy, thick and shiny.
  8. Spoon icing into a piping bag (or you can use a small ziplock plastic bag with a small hole cut out of the corner).
  9. Pipe onto biscuits for decoration.
  10. Store in an airtight container.

I added some Misty Day Potions Pitaya powder to my icing in order to make the pink tone for the Breast Cancer awareness ribbon.

Note: Contains raw egg whites – not suitable for pregnant women to eat and those on restricted diets.

 

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake Recipe

I recently had an event where I needed to take a plate for a shared meal and I decided to make a cake! I found this recipe online and altered it to my desire (but in reality just used what I had in the fridge already).

You’ll see that the icing doesn’t have any quantities written alongside the ingredients – this is because it depends on how much icing you want and how thick you like it to be. My suggestion is to start small and slowly build it up, so you have lots of room to play with. Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake

Ingredients:

Cake

1 cup Chelsea low GI cane sugar
125g butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups Edmonds gluten-free flour
1 3/4 teaspoons Edmonds baking powder
1/2 cup Lewis Road Milk (I used pure organic ‘Light’)

Icing

Butter
Cream cheese
Icing sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
  2. Grease/flour a 23cm x 23cm cake pan (or line a muffin pan with paper liners if you want to use the batter for muffins).
  3. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter.
  4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla essence.
  5. Combine the flour and baking powder and then add to the creamed mixture and mix well.
  6. Finally, stir in the milk until mixture is smooth. Pour or spoon into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes. For cupcakes, bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back to the touch.
  8. While you let it cool, make the icing. Quantities are as desired.
  9. Melt a small portion of butter and mix in the cream cheese until you have a smooth consistency. You can add more butter later if you need to thicken the icing.
  10. Add in icing sugar as necessary to make the desired thickness and amount of icing.
  11. Once cooled, ice the cake and decorate as desired before serving.

I topped mine with fresh blueberries and passionfruit – delicious!!

Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe

I’m a big fan of baked goods. I am also a big fan of chocolate. These gluten-free banana chocolate chip muffins are a perfect combination of them both.

As part of my self-care journey and wanting to become healthier, I’ve been trying to make small alterations in my diet. This has become increasingly important as I strive to rid my body of Reactive Arthritis (read more about that here).

When searching for a baked good I could take along to work, I stumbled upon this Chelsea Sugar recipe for these banana and chocolate chip muffins and decided to mix it up a little. In the recipe below, you’ll see the ingredients I chose to use, making it slightly healthier for me. I am trying to be conscious of the food that I put into my body – especially in meals or baked goods that I make from scratch.

Gluten-Free Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups (220g) Edmonds gluten-free flour
1/2 cup (110g) Chelsea low GI cane sugar
1 tablespoon Edmonds baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Mrs Rogers Himalayan pink salt
1/2 cup Whittakers fair trade 72% dark chocolate, cut into chips
1 Bioland organic egg
1/4 cup (65ml) Lupi Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup (65ml) Anchor lactose-free milk 
1 cup mashed fair trade bananas (purchased from Pak’nSave)

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Place muffin cases into the muffin tin, or grease as necessary.
  3. Measure flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips into a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
  4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients bowl.
  5. Beat the egg in a small bowl, until frothy. Mix the oil, milk and bananas in the same bowl.
  6. Pour the wet mixture into the well of the dry mixture.
  7. Stir the dry and wet mixture together, only to moisten. Be aware that the batter will be lumpy.
  8. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.
  9. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
  10. Let cool and serve (you may wish to sprinkle some icing sugar on top before serving).

I hope you enjoy your muffins – let me know how they turn out!

Summer Smoothies

During the summer months here in New Zealand, making smoothies becomes a common occurrence in our household. The ingredients usually consist of whatever I have available at the time. I do, however, like to keep my freezer stocked with frozen berries! My current favourite is the Smoothie range from Oob Organics.

Knowing that I was getting take-out for dinner tonight, I decided to have a smoothie for lunch. Today’s concoction involved: @oob.organic berries, @biofarmorganic organic low-fat natural yoghurt and a @huckleberrynz fair trade banana 🍌

As part of my self-care journey, I am also trying to investigate and explore ways that I can care for others and the environment. One way that I have found to care for the environment, is to purchase some CaliWoods reusable smoothie straws! The @caliwoods_eco straws “.. are made from food-grade, type 304 stainless steel so are easy to clean, completely dishwasher/steriliser safe and can be used over and over.”

I’ve always been a fan of using straws but felt bad about the plastic that I was using. Now, I don’t have to worry!