The last 5 months of writing this book have been quite a journey. And I still have 1 month to go.
I've learned so many things about myself. I've learned that I can tolerate leaving clean laundry unfolded, in the baskets for up to 4 days after it's been washed. I need to keep a pen in my purse to check things off my grocery list as I go because otherwise, I will forget things that are on the list and will likely have to go back to the store later the same day. David Bowie and Lou Reed help me focus. If I want to get anything done, I need to write them down in a list ("soak cashews, cook quinoa, research new gym bags, take shower, reschedule Dr. appt., post picture on instagram..."). My jeans are forever fluctuating in size and somedays they will be tighter and some days looser and I just need to accept that this is the nature of jeans. To be most productive, even though I work from home, I need to get fully dressed (and sometimes in a dress).
I've had melt-downs and moments of feeling inadequate and questioned myself constantly. Do I even know how to write a recipe? Have I any business writing a cookbook? Do I even know what the hell I'm doing? (Answers: Pretty much, This Cookbook- Yes, and Sometimes). I actually started writing this post because I couldn't think of anything interesting to write about curry. Curry!
I've had moments of big accomplishments, followed by great pride. When I created the table of contents for this book, way back in October (way back?), I threw in some recipes that I'd never attempted or had even considered in the past. They sounded good but I had no idea how I would make them happen. "I've never made a pot pie before! Who am I to write a recipe for them?" But when I test the recipe I've created and they're better than I could've possibly imagined, I feel like crying and dancing around my kitchen at the same time. One such recipe was for a type of dumpling. I've never made dumplings before but they were one of my grandmother's specialties. I remember my dad always trying to make them "as good as grandma's." I took a stab in the dark on how to make these and they were glorious. GLORIOUS! I cried because I was so proud but also because I felt so close to my grandmother at that moment and wished I could've called and told her about them.
I've also had many failures. The cake didn't rise. The cheese tasted off. The sauce was way to cilantro-ey. The crust burnt. The filling was too greasy. The fudge was too soft. The fudge was to clumpy. The fudge was too hard. The fudge was too thin. Ugh- that f*@#ing fudge! I've had many failed fudge attempts (and this was not one of the recipes I thought I'd have a hard time with!) but luckily even bad fudge is usually edible (except for that stupid clumpy one...) so I've been sampling from an assortment of failed fudges in my fridge (Vegans have it sooo hard). The one that ended up too thin was more of a thick bark (quantities were too small and obviously wrong if it ended up hard as bark) and probably because it was close to lunchtime and earlier I had noticed that my bag of Phoney Baloney's coconut bacon actually had an expiration date (who knew?), I dumped a bunch of the bacon into the wet chocolate. When it hardened, I had bacon bark and that fudge failure disappeared faster than you can even say "Fudge Failure" five times fast. I was the only one eating it because Chris was weirded out by the concept, but I'm pretty sure that has nothing to do with my jeans being on the tight side lately...
This recipe is actually based on that failure (Just melting some chocolate is way easier than the odd way I went about it). Of course you could use homemade coconut bacon (I like this recipe), but if you're like me and don't like to be without a bag of Phoney Baloney's on hand, it's totally perfect here. This recipe is not for everyone. People who don't like to mix "meats" with sweets, like my husband, will scrunch up their face something awful after taking a bite. People who like to put meatless sausage in their french toast or put coconut bacon in their peanut butter or just like weird stuff in their chocolate will love this. The mixture of salty, smoky, sweet, and chocolate in this treat is absolutely divine in my opinion.
Perhaps one of the biggest things I've learned in the last 5 months is that you learn the most about yourself or whatever you're attempting to do when you fail. Failure is the biggest learning tool. I'm learning (trying) to not take failure personally but to accept it as part of the journey. I think the batch of perfect fudge sitting in my fridge right now is proof enough.
- 12-ounces of dark chocolate
- 1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups coconut bacon (I used [Phoney Baloney's|http://www.phoneybaloneys.com/)
- sea salt
- Line a 9 x 13-inch baking sheet or baking dish with aluminum foil. Set aside.
- In a double broiler, or a glass bowl sitting over a pot of boiling water, melt the chocolate. Add the maple syrup and coconut oil and stir until melted and fully combined. Remove from the heat.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared baking sheet/dish and use a rubber spatula to spread out evenly. Sprinkle the coconut bacon over the chocolate. Lightly sprinkle sea salt over the top and place the sheet/dish in the refrigerator or freezer until completely hard.
- Once hard, you can use your hands to break the chocolate up into chunks and pieces. Then serve or store in an airtight container. Enjoy!
Congratulations to Bianca Tang, the winner of the Explore Asian pasta giveaway! Thank you so much to all who entered. Speaking of contests, have you entered to win a copy of the new Oh She Glows Cookbook?
Have there been times in your life where you learned from failure? What did you learn?
Photography by Chris Miller
You’re almost at the finish line! On those days where you are so frustrated you want to stomp, pout, and throw a tantrum like a 2 year old, take a step back and revisit that table of contents. Look over your successful shots in the dark. Invite your Dad over (only if that’d help) for some of your “taste like Grandma’s” dumplings (that alone is worth huge kudos! *Nobody* cooks like ‘Grandma’!) to hear someone other than Chris tell you you’re amazing and you can do it. (Not that his opinion doesn’t count!). Because you are amazing, and you *can* do it. You are following your dream, your passion, and whatever roadblocks occur just make the journey more rich and satisfying. Take a look at the big picture, and you’ll see all that you’ve accomplished, and how amazing it all is. Case in point: Mastering Fudge. Fudge is a notoriously fickle skill to master, and you have perfect fudge.
You can do this. Have faith in yourself. When you come out the other side, you will be astounded at what you accomplished. You are amazing just for taking that leap and going for it!
Awww. Thank you, Katie! Your pep talks always put a smile on my face. 🙂
You're very sweet! Have faith in yourself, and all will turn out. Maybe not what you envision right now, but better. (To this end, I've stopped planning my life past 2 years out. I seize what opportunities I make and am presented, and learn from them all.)
I don't believe in failure. Failure is just an opportunity to learn. Failure is so *negative*, and sometimes you just can't get past the negative black hole. I prefer "challenge" - slight difference in semantics, but huge effect on my attitude. Challenges you can conquer and overcome, and come out the other side amazed at your capabilities. With delicious treats in hand.
Fudge stir in idea: Peanut butter. Peanut butter and smoky bacon and chocolate? Oh yes!
Keep faith in yourself. You can do this!
This post is a true testament to the necessity of self-doubt and failure! I think it's something inherent and yes, absolutely normal in all creatives and entrepreneurs. Though it becomes a test of strength and willpower, self-doubt and frustration will always be along for the ride. And oftentimes lead to our best, most exciting results! Even better, we have joy, hope and laughter along for the ride, too. It's so great to acknowledge the presence of both, and succeed because of it. 🙂 Great job as always, Kristy!
Thank you, Keara! 🙂
Alex Caspero MA,RD (@delishknowledge)
I like everything in my chocolate so I imagine this with fake bacon is incredible! You are so close to being done and if the rest of your recipes are anything like the ones I've been testing so far, this is going to be a huge success for both you & animals! I am so inspired lately by seeing all of these fabulous cookbooks/blogs getting more and more popular and promoting veganism at the same time.
While I am not writing a book, I still have to write down everything. I write notes to myself all the time, I just pretend that it's a really cute quirk 🙂
Thank you so much, Alex. I am so appreciative of your kind words and all that you do (especially being one of my testers!). 🙂
you are so amazing! thank you for sharing your struggles with us. i have no doubt your cookbook will be amazing. i can't wait 😉
YOU are amazing, Miss Caitlin! 🙂
char eats greens
Looks amazing!! And, I totally agree; failures are such a huge part of the success!!
Thank you, Char! 🙂
Abby @ The Frosted Vegan
If this stemmed from a flop, I can't wait to see your cookbook!
I can't wait to see it too! 🙂 Thanks, Abby!
Gabby @ the veggie nook
Soon you will see that all the slip-ups are totally worth it! And they are only failures if you didn't learn from them and make the most of them. Which clearly you are doing! I mean look at these beauties! We would not have had the pleasure of getting to make these without that little oops!
I cannot WAIT for your cookbook- all the recipes I have tested (but no sweet ones! sad day because i know how good your desserts are) have been delicious! I am preordering FOR SURE
It's always the recipes I think are going to be so simple that end up causing me the most trouble! Case in point: I posted a chamomile latte the other week. Who knew it could be so difficult to get tea to steep in milk?! I think it took me three tries to make a freaking latte.
Anyway, I so admire your ability to juggle creating a cookbook, keeping up your blog, and I'm sure the other million things you have going on. You're doing AWESOME! And I wholeheartedly believe it's the failures that lead to the greatest successes. Most of my best moments have stemmed from my worst. So, deep breaths, you've got this. xoxo
Great post, Kristy! Great recipe, writing, photos...all. I love hearing about the cookbook, especially the "realness" of the experience. And it's so great that you are going to have a dumpling recipe that your grandma would be proud of published in this book. What a special way to keep her legacy going.
You are killing me with this chocolate Kristy!
What a beautiful post. You're going to look back on this self-doubt and laugh that you never thought what you've achieved was possible. Can't wait to see the finished book, I know it's going to be fabulous 😀
Katie @ Produce on Parade
Savory and sweet are the best together! Isn't delightful (and sometimes shocking) to discover more about yourself and the people who help you get there. I recently learned that I am uniquely odd in that I have to have everything straightened (and put away properly) before getting a patient. But not my coworker!
good luck with getting there with your book - sounds like you have done lots of the hard yards needed - and thank you for this amazing recipe - I live in admiration of all the meat eating bacon recipes and wish for great veg facon recipes - this is definitely one
As someone who has now tried some of the recipes that will be in your cookbook, for once I know what I am talking about when I say YES you absolutely do have a place writing a cookbook, and THANK YOU for persevering through your "failures" (which are, in the end, nothing but experiments with outcomes which do not fit the hypotheses).
Anyway. I have yet to get around to making (or trying) coconut bacon, but I can totally imagine I would be up for this. I bet this would taste great with some toasted pecans/walnuts/hazelnuts thrown in too...
made this amazing chocolate this week - thanks for the inspiration as it is just the sort of thing I have been dreaming of (chocolate and facon) but until I saw your recipe I didn't know how I would do it - also added some sesame seeds which I also really liked
Great post Kristy! Yes your are amazing and totally capable of creating an amazing cookbook 🙂 way to turn a whoops/ failure into a success !!!
Delicious recipe. I haven't seen fake bacon used in this way. Really creative 🙂