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2020: The Year that Was

Honestly, I thought I might skip the “year in review” post this year. I mean, I certainly wasn’t ready to write it while it was still 2020.

Normally these “year in review” posts go something like: here’s how many posts I wrote this year, this is what I learned, here are my most popular posts of the year.

I will still do some of that. But when it comes to learning lessons from 2020, what can you even say? It was the craziest, most unpredictable year of my life, and I know I’m not alone when I say that. It was for most of us, I’m sure.

The last time I set foot in my workplace was March 12. Since then, I have been teaching all of my classes on online. Let me just say first of all, that I am super grateful to have a job, and a job that was not affected by the pandemic. Affected yes, but not in the way that would have made it go away. My job is, thankfully, one I’m able to still do from my living room.

Easy transition, though? Nope. Not at all. In fact, it’s been hard. I put in many many many unpaid hours trying to figure out how to deliver my course content in a way that was going to be impactful and engaging. It’s been stressful. And I genuinely enjoy teaching face-to-face classes, so transitioning to teaching online hasn’t been my favourite thing.

Having said all that, I never had to go on CERB, and in fact, finished the year with extra money in the bank, probably because I had nowhere to spend it.

2020 also, much to my excitement, brought a new cookbook contract. This, however, did end up being another victim of coronavirus. From the time I signed the contract (which was very early in the pandemic) to the end of the year (which was when the book was meant to be published) things changed so dramatically that the publisher decided to cut their losses and not publish the book, despite the fact that I delivered the full manuscript on time, and they liked it.

So yeah, for me, this was 2020’s greatest personal loss (even though I did get paid to write the book). I was really looking forward to having another cookbook out there with my name on it, and I was very excited by and passionate about the subject.

Other things I’m super grateful for during this very challenging year include the health of my family and friends (I didn’t lose anyone close to me during the pandemic), and just my friends in general, who really helped to keep me sane. Having Michael at home during the pandemic was both good and challenging, but I am super proud of how hard he worked and how well he’s adapted.

I also bought an Apple Watch for my birthday in August, and that’s been a great incentive (as well as my mental health) to get out and walk almost every day.

Okay, enough about me. Let’s talk about food.

One thing that I think was really positive about the pandemic is how people started to cook again. And bake. I mean, here we all were stuck at home all the time, anyway, right? Might as well make something. To be fair, this is my world all the time, but having more people in it was awesome. To see the world embracing sourdough made me really, really happy.

I really noticed a sense of community this year, too. Like my neighbours especially have been really great with exchanging food and baking and offering to pick stuff up if they are making a trip to the store. That can only be a good thing.

2020 Statistics:

  • Blog posts written: 50
  • Total number of words written: 28,238
  • Average words per post: 565

And here are a few of my favourite posts I wrote this year: 

Sugar-Free Aquafaba Meringue: Three years since the publication of my cookbook and I’m still talking about and learning new things about aquafaba!

Wacky Cake: In 2019 I came into possession of my mom’s recipe box, and this year I really got into it, making many of the recipes I grew up with, all written in my mother’s handwriting (and a few in 12-year-old Becky’s). This accidentally vegan chocolate cake is one of my absolute favorites.

Sourdough Bread for the Apocalypse: I couldn’t resist doing a post on the pandemic and sourdough.

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars: one of my very favourite recipes of 2020. So good!

Okay, that’s it! And here’s to a much, much better 2021. Fingers crossed, knock wood, rub your lucky rabbit’s foot….

Adaptation. Resilience. These are the words we need to take with us into 2021.

Happy New Year, friends. I wish you all the best, and may your sourdough crumb be perfect.

Vegan Drinking Chocolate

There’s a place here in Vancouver called Mink. It’s not far from where I live, and it is all about the chocolate.

They sell chocolates of all different kinds and flavors, and you can do a fondue there, or have your own s’mores party.

They also sell drinking chocolate.

vegan-drinking-chocolate

Now, you might be wondering, what’s the difference between hot chocolate and drinking chocolate? Hot chocolate is mostly made with cocoa powder, while drinking chocolate is much thicker, and is made with actual melted chocolate. It’s much more intense, much richer, and all kinds of amazing.

Mink is surprisingly vegan friendly–you’ll find lots of different kinds of dark chocolate there that is vegan.

But this is a proper vegan drinking chocolate–and the base is cashews. It’s sweetened with maple syrup, and it’s thick and delicious and amazing. You could also use a shot of this in your morning coffee to take it up a notch.

Vegan Drinking Chocolate

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • water
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Method

  1. Place the cashews in a large mason jar and cover them over with water, plus some extra. Screw on the top and allow to soak overnight.
  2. In the morning, drain the water off the cashews and then add them to your blender with the cocoa, the maple syrup, and 1 ½ cups of water.
  3. Blend for 1-2 minutes on high.
  4. Strain to remove any small bits of debris.
  5. Place the mixture in a small saucepan on the stove and heat until the mixture is almost boiling, is thickened and smooth.
  6. Serve immediately in mugs.

 

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