Salted Coconut Chocolate Tart (Keto / Low Carb)
chocolate tart

Salted Coconut Chocolate Tart

 (Keto / Low Carb)

I've been attempting Keto for a couple of weeks now. I'm getting married in less than 6 months and I really want to lose that last 10lbs (the IMPOSSIBLE ones). I decided to try a Keto diet because I love food and hate being hungry, I'm addicted to sweets and carbs of any kind, and I really, really love food.

You get the idea. Anywho, we hosted a potluck for my fiancé's birthday party this past weekend and I wanted to make something to satisfy my sweet tooth. A friend had sent me a recipe she made that was essentially vegan chocolate silk pie.

I can get behind some chocolate silk pie. And the vegan part was essentially irrelevant to me, but I read the recipe to see how they did it. It looked so so so good. I was immediately drooling.

I decided to take that recipe and alter it to be Keto-friendly. The crust certainly wasn't and there was enough sugar in it to send me into diabetic shock (ok, let's be honest, not really — I can handle serious amounts of sugar).

I love coconut and chocolate together, and my favorite part about Keto is how many things call for coconut as a substitute. So, I took that recipe, found a pretty legit low-carb pie crust recipe, and made this crazy, delicious, absurdly good, holy hell, tart-shaped decadence. I wish I had taken a picture. I failed. I am totally using a stock photo until I can make this again. Like, tomorrow.

Even Dean, my fiancé, went to town on this thing — and he HATES coconut. I will say though, this tart requires whipped cream. It's so much dark-chocolately delight that the whipped cream really brings it balance.

Salted Coconut Chocolate Tart

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup almond flour (175 g / 6.2 oz)
  • 1/4 cup plain whey protein or egg white protein powder (25 g / 0.9 oz)
  • 1/4 cup flax seed meal
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup Erythritol or Swerve, powdered sugar-free sweetener (40 g / 1.8 oz)
  • 2 tbsp ghee (pie crust needs butter)
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 pinch of salt

Filling Ingredients

  • 16 ounces silken tofu
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup almond, peanut, or other nut butter
  • 1.5 bars of Bakers unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1/4 cup Swerve, powdered sugar-free sweetener (add more or less to your taste)
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • coarse sea salt and flaky, shaved coconut for garnish

Crust:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix all the dry ingredients (almond flour, flax seed meal, whey protein, and powdered sweetener).

Add the egg and ghee and use your hands to mix in well. The dough should be sticky enough to mold easily.

Roll out your dough between two large pieces of parchment paper until it is 1/4" thick. Place the dough into a non-stick tart pan with a removable bottom lined with parchment paper. Cut off the excess and press the dough into the sides of the tart pan to create an even layer.

Place parchment paper over the crust and use ceramic baking beans or actual dry beans to weight the dough down. This will prevent the dough from rising and creating air bubbles. Place in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes.

When done and slightly browned, remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Filling:
Blend the sliken tofu, whipping cream, and almond butter in a blender until smooth.

Melt the baking chocolate in the microwave (follow instructions on package or microwave for 1-2 min, stirring every 30 seconds). Add melted chocolate and powdered Swerve sweetener to the blender and blend until smooth. It should get pretty thick so use a spatula between blends and to get out of blender.

Evenly distribute filling into the crust, sprinkle with sea salt and coconut flakes, and chill for 12-24 hours. Cut and serve with whipped cream (sweetened with Swerve)!

Marketing is [this] not [this]

As a marketing professional, I can get pretty heated over "semantics"—words have their own identity in the minds of those hearing them.

"Uffda," for example, is a (loosely termed) word that is used mostly by folks in Michigan (I think) to represent a sound people make that is uttered during an unfortunate/surprising/uncomfortable moment in time. That 'word' means literally nothing to me, but to a Michiganian it has so much history, influence, and connotations only fellow Michiganians will recognize.

My old boss (not a marketer) and I were discussing my potential over coffee, and he told me that marketing wasn't something bigger—that he thought of marketing as the content alone. The design of the brand, the words on the page, and the ads on social media. That was marketing to him. He thought I was capable of and should be a part of the bigger picture, which was "so much more than sales enablement."

My feathers ruffled a bit. I argued that marketing is so much more than just the content. As a marketer, I see things in both minute detail and vast narrative arcs. Marketing is the strategy, the ideation, and the creation of a narrative that everything else flows from. Marketing informs content, but it isn't the execution of said content.

He said, "Semantics. We're basically saying the same thing."

But to limit your definition of marketing to [this] small bucket, and not identify the term with [this] larger scope, is not just a semantics issue. It shoots every marketer's job description, title, and professional motivation in the foot.

Marketing IS the bigger picture. It encompasses everything, from ideation through execution. If my old boss, who led the entire marketing team, views the term "marketing" as less-than, what does that mean for the team? How do we redefine marketing as [this] bigger, awesomer, more essential thing and not [this] little box of content and logos? Where do we start?

Nicole Guernsey
To manage or not to manage?

I was recently told that I would make a good manager.

Yeah, that actually came out of left field for me too. I had been operating under the assumption that because I am not great at X, Y, or Z when it comes to dealing with people, that makes me specifically not a good candidate to manage people. Now, managing process is a whole different story. I love problem solving and believe that proper processes, when implemented correctly, can make everyone's job easier.

This person, however, was reflecting on my ability to manage real, live people. Not only that, but this person is a successful marketing director, esteemed in his field, has incredible management experience, and leads several programs. I mean, he's never managed me, so his management style could be terrible, but the statement alone got me thinking. Let me explain...

I was having coffee with said marketing director and lamenting the fact that my current role has no paths to leadership that do not require managing people. He asked me, "Do you just not want to manage people?" I said, "Well, I've realized that I am not great at saying things in a diplomatic way... I'm just too blunt. I don't do overly emotional stuff very well, and I really don't understand negativity and self pity because I believe every person has the ability to change themselves and themselves alone. I cuss a lot. I'm sure there are a lot more reasons why I shouldn't manage people." He looks at me quizzically and says, "That sounds like you are self aware enough to be an awesome manager of people. You are very cognizant of your flaws, you seem to work actively to address them, and you explain your faults and needs with no ego."

This is where I shut my damn mouth, thanked him for the compliment, and stewed on that for a while. The thing is, I think he might be right. I don't know about all of you out there, but some of my biggest issues with management is that they have huge egos, can't admit when they're wrong, are selfish, etc.

Maybe, just maybe, I could be a good manager of people if I kept working on my skills, stayed grounded, and had the right opportunity. I could be shit at it, but at least I would've tried, right? I can be my own worst handicap, simply because I shut down paths that seem like "not a good fit" but that is entirely dependent on how you look at it. I might not be a good fit for a lot of people, but I might just right for some. Who knows? I guess it's time to start considering the option, at least.

Nicole Guernsey
10 Steps to Improving Public Transit's Twitter Image

My job is to provide the best marketing and social media support I can to TransLoc and to our customers. Sometimes, that means thinking outside the box. For example, how do I help transit agencies change the conversation around public transit?

This might be one of the biggest problems with public transportation today—people shed a negative light on using public transit, saying it’s dirty, inefficient, or somehow less important because riders can’t afford a car. None of that is true. At least, not always. Sure, sometimes I noticed the streetcar in Portland wasn’t super clean, but that isn’t a qualifying stereotype. And not having a car or choosing not to use one just means those people get to be a little more creative with their mobility. Plus, they’re going to outlive the rest of the traffic-causing commuters. Seriously, there are facts.

But how do we change that stereotype? Seems impossible, right? I’m here to tell you that it really isn’t. It does, however, mean that all you transit agencies out there need to get active—with social media.

One thing I’ve come across over and over again during my interactions with our transit agencies is that social media in general is not a priority, and even if it was, they’re not really sure how to participate effectively. This seems to be the most evident with Twitter.

“There isn’t enough time” or “I don’t know how to use Twitter” are no longer acceptable excuses in today’s media-centric society. People expect public and private agencies to be active on social media, and Twitter is no exception. There is good news, though. I’m about to give you 10 steps to reinvent your Twitter presence without overwhelming yourself or your budget.

*Note: you have to actually set up a Twitter account first. So if you don’t have one, go do that.

  1. Learn the basics of how to use Twitter and make sure you have notifications set up in your account so you know when you’re being mentioned.
  2. Establish a social media policy and guidelines for your marketing people. You should also set up some template responses for angry passengers or common complaints. You can get more info on how to create a social media policy here.
  3. Get organized. Set up Hootsuite (for free!) or Sprout Social (not free) and get started with managing your social accounts in one place.
  4. Schedule regular or recurring posts ahead of time to make your life easier
  5. Practice social listening. Put ~10 min a day per social channel on your calendar and stick with it. Need a good cheat? Set up searches (aka "listeners") for keywords like “public transit,” “city bus” or your agency’s name in Hootsuite or Sprout to keep track of the conversation. The key here is to skim the relevant content, not waste time slogging through millions of tweets.
  6. Share relevant content based on what you learned in your listening. Are people talking about your new bus line? Give them an update.
  7. Engage users, even when they’re not being nice. Let them know there is a human behind that Twitter handle and kill them with kindness. You’d be surprised what an effect simply responding will have on the tone of the conversation.
  8. Acknowledge frustrations. Letting people know you hear them is important to building trust in your relationships.
  9. When relevant, educate these users about the reality of their complaints. Admitting your system is flawed will not discourage users, but it will open up the conversation to focus on improvements and how you can do better. You might also get important feedback. Check out this example from SF BART.
  10. Finally, just be willing to join the conversation. To quote Obama, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek”

Now go forth, and tweet your hearts out. I have faith in you.

If you want more info on Twitter for Transit Agencies, check out my webinar presentation here.

Nicole Guernsey