Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I have a new Instagram!

One of my blogging goals this year is to streamline my blog, social media and all those tedious, colourful, wonderful things that go along with the internet. My first "order of business" is that I've made an instagram account specifically dedicated to Love of Sweeties!

If you have been following me on my personal instagram, come follow me @loveofsweeties!! I'll continue to use both my personal account, and my "blog" account, but @loveofsweeties will be more frequently updated, curated, and just generally exciting!

I don't have many posts yet as it's still a very new account. It's actually pretty invigorating, and a little bit intimidating - having a black canvas to work with, but I'm pretty excited! 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Raw Chocolate Coconut Date Bars

Seeing as it's January, the season of getting back into good habits and all, I've been loosely following along with Bon Appetit's Food Lovers Cleanse. These bars, although not from the food lover's cleanse, are from January's issue of Bon Appetit, and they are amazing.  They are also, dare I say, wicked-fast to make.

I made these as an alternative to having sweet treats or packaged granola bars around the house. They've been the perfect snack as a before or after gym pick-me-up or lunch snack at work.
I have to say, having them each individually wrapped really helps me to not each 6 at once standing over the kitchen sink like I tend to do with baking. I'll have to try that with other things, like cookies. And slices of pie...

The bars are sweetened with soft and chewy Medjool dates and a touch of maple syrup. Because they are made with pure cocoa powder, they are intensely chocolatly and rich and coconut adds a bit more texture than flavour, you just gotta try them! These bars are so easily customized too, imagine them with pistachios stirred in! or topped with almonds... 

adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine
Makes 12 bars
  • 2 cups pitted Medjool dates
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut - divided
  • 1/4 chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons of water
Coat the bottom and sides of a 8x8 inch pan (or 4x8 for thicker bars) with non-stick cooking spray, then line pan with parchment paper.
Process the dates, cocoa powder, 3/4 cup of coconut, pecans, maple syrup, sea salt and water in a high-power food processor until it forms a smooth, thick consistency. You may need to scrape the sides occasionally or add a touch more water.
press this mixture firmly into your baking pan and top with additional coconut, pressing this in as well.
cut into bars and individually saran-wrap so they will keep for up to 2 weeks.

* If you do not have soft, squishy dates (like Medjool dates) to start out with, soak your dates in warm water for an hour then drain them before using them in this recipe. Trust me, neglecting this step in recipes past, partnered with my own stubborn impatience, is how I destroyed my last food processor.

What kind of healthier treats have you been making lately?

Monday, January 12, 2015

White Winter Holidays

Part of my Christmas Vacation was spent with Mitch and his family in Vernon. We were lucky to catch a fresh snowfall, Vernon is so beautiful in the snow! Every photo is like a Christmas card. I just had to share.
We don't get a lot of snow here in Victoria, so weather like this was really special.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Mini Woven Wall Hangings

Way back in July, I read Rachel Denbow's Weaving Tutorials on A Beautiful Mess. I thought weaving was the most beautiful thing. The textures, colour combinations and softness, the weavings are so cute! I didn't buy my own loom until November.  But now that I have one I'm completely addicted.
I've found weaving to be such a calming, gratifying hobby. I love throwing on Netflix or some music, picking out my colours and just going at it.
After my first few learning wall hangings I figured I was good enough to gift some! These are 4 little woven babies I did for my best girlfriends for Christmas gifts. I'm awfully proud.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Blogging Goals for 2015

2014 was exciting! And I'm gonna go out and say that annoying phrase that everyone and their neighbour says - where has the year gone!?
Lots happened blogging-world-wise for me but it's tough to put a finger on what I really accomplished as I never set out with any particular goals in mind. I've learned from that. I have a whole year of blogging and post-experimenting behind me now and I have a better grasp on what I want to achieve (kind of), what my blog is about and where I want it to go. 

I've constructed a list of goals I'd like to achieve in 2015. Most of these are pretty attainable and only require me reaching out of my comfort zone just a little bit. I'm excited about all the challenging bitties going forward!
  1. Start some OOTDs. Outfit posts are some of my favourite posts to read online and they inspire me to play with personal style more often.  I'm too nervous about creating them myself though. I did one at the very end of this year and I had a lot of fun! I'd like to do 1 outfit post a month in 2015.
  2. Create a Facebook page for Love of Sweeties. This is pretty self explanatory. Facebook is not something I use personally but I can see the benefits and convenience for readers of being present on Facebook. I need to figure out how it works and get going!
  3. Open a Love of Sweeties Etsy shop. I've had an Etsy shop in the past, even made a few sales - but I was much too young and never understood how to get my products or name out there. My Ultimate career goal is to open a business of my own, and I've always known Etsy would be a great learning opportunity for me in that respect. And if I don't start soon my Weavings will take over my apartment!
  4. Become better acquainted with my Camera and with Lightroom. I don't know if I've ever mentioned this before but I take all blog photos with my cellphone! I have a system and it works well for me. But I also own a very nice high quality point and shoot Canon that I've been too afraid to learn to use properly. In 2015 I'd love to become confident with a real camera and teach myself to use Adobe Lightroom efficiently. I can use Lightroom right now... a little bit. But I know I still have way more to learn!
  5. Set up a lighting situation for taking photos. Clearly because I only use my phone to take blog photos, you can imagine imagine don't have much of a set up. It makes recipe posts especially difficult. From a timing perspective, I need to be on my day off, and it needs to be between 11 and 4, especially this time of year. Dinner posts are pretty much off the table. (Figuratively speaking - we do eat on a table.) I also can't photograph from the dark drearyness that is my kitchen. I think a bit more of a lighting sitch would reinvigorate my excitement for recipe posts!
  6. Find a theme for Love of Sweeties. I intended for Love of Sweeties to be a food blog in the beginning. But I'm just too darn interested in too many things! Over the last year and a bit, I've written about baking, cooking, gluten-free, vegan food, makeup, crafts, decorating, books... everything. I'd like to either stream line what I post about or find a way to allow all my passions to come together in a way that isn't too overwhelming.
Share some of your 2015 goals! blogging or personal - don't forget, sharing your goals makes you more accountable and likely to stick to your guns.

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