Hello? So it's been, um, a bit since my last post... Will life ever slow down??? I think we all know the answer to that: no, no it won't. And it will only get busier, of that I'm sure. But better to be busy than bored, am I right?
So just a quick update: I'm officially a college sophomore majoring in chemistry and studio art and am super
excited about it. My first year of college was pretty great - lots of new friends, learned a TON, and had more new experiences than I could have ever hoped for (welding anyone?). I even took up running which is something I never thought would happen. I'm definitely no marathon runner, but that is a-okay with me. After three miles, I look like a huffing and puffing tomato, but a smiling huffing and puffing tomato. I choose to focus on that smiling part because really that's why I do it - I thoroughly enjoy it, and it clears my mind. I even have a running buddy! Running is the perfect study break, as is riding my horse. Yep, my horse came with me to get educated too! He particularly enjoyed his grass identification class. And you know what he learned? If it's green, it's edible. Heck, even if it isn't green, it is still edible to him. Anyway, he's been great to have with me (and no, he of course didn't actually take classes, but he did love the pasture he was turned out in everyday).
Okay, so all of that is great and all, but really, it has nothing to do with the point of this post. This post is all about the cookies, the best cookies EVER. I have been cooking and baking a lot since I got back home for the summer as my dorm did not have a kitchen so I was practically banned from cooking for the past eight months (if I drop out of college, that will be the reason why). Of course, I've been cooking up lots of healthy meals per usual, but then I saw these
cookies. One look at them and, um, I needed to make them. Like ASAP. Sure, I have a great go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe, but I just couldn't turn down the chance to try these. Life is all about balance, right? Besides, I pretty much go weak in the knees when chocolate is involved. And after trying these, boy am I glad.
So am I back? I don't know. What I do know is that these cookies are hands down the best cookies I have ever put into my mouth, and you would be doing yourself a big favor if you made them. No matter how good you think your chocolate chip cookies are, these are better. At least, that was my experience. And I mean really, just look at that gooey, chewy, doughy awesomeness. I may or may not have baked them for even less than the recipe suggested... shhh, don't tell!
Well for now, I am off. Again, I don't know if I will be back, I just could not resist sharing this recipe with you. That would just be too cruel - no true friend would keep this recipe from you. Happy baking!
Well, hello there. Long time, no see (er, read?). Yep, it's happened again. Here's summer, I think I'll have so much more time... and no, not at all. But isn't that life? Jobs, college packing, my horse, family, and friends are the names of the games these days. Life may be busy, but it's been awesome at the same time. I feel like I'm spending my last summer before I head off to college the right way!
Oh, and the food has been awesome too. Here's a few products that I've been lovely lately and definitely recommend snatching up if you're fortunate enough to come across them.
Peanut flour at long last! This stuff is. awesome. My favorite way to eat is mixed with water and then spooned over a baked sweet potato with plenty of cinnamon!
Even more addicting that potato chips, these are the perfect snack or desert! Or you could be a normal person and eat them for breakfast, but I can't personally vouch for that because, um, normal is boring ;)
While I love kale, I admit that I was a little skeptical to jump on the kale chip bandwagon. However, these little gems that my dad brought home for me (thanks, dad!) changed all of that. I am now a confessed kale chip addict.
I've heard mixed reviews about Arctic Zero, but I must say that I am a fan! This is my favorite flavor, and I highly recommend setting it out on the counter about 15 or so minutes before you eat it. It gets all melty and the texture turns from icy to just plain awesome.
Now, about that banana bread. In my opinion, it is the best banana bread I have ever had. The rest of my family loved it too, thought they admitted that it wasn't super sweet. That's what I loved about it - you can enjoy it at breakfast, lunch, or dinner and not feel like you're eating dessert. Of course you can definitely have it for dessert or even all four. And yes having it for all four in one day is totally acceptable (at least it better be or I'm in trouble! ;) Before I share the recipe, let me apologize for the beyond awful picture. Night + phone camera = one bad picture. Just sayin'.
Best Banana Bread
Adapted from this recipe.Makes 4 mini loaves or 1 regular loafIngredients:
1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
3 egg whites
1/4 cup agave + 20 drops stevia*
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 tablespoons almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup spelt flour**
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch sea salt*To make it sweeter, increase stevia, increase agave and decrease almond milk, or add dry sugar (if you do this you may need to increase the almond milk).**I'm sure that you could sub whole wheat pastry flour for both flours, or even use all spelt flour or another flour of choice.Directions:
And with that, I bid you farewell. Will I be back? Who knows. College is going to be busy, and while I would certainly enjoy to keep up with my blog, I may not have the time. I will try to pop in every now and then though as I plunge into the next step of my life.
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and grease either four mini loaf pans or one large one.
- Combine the pumpkin, melted coconut oil, egg whites, agave, stevia, bananas, almond milk, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl.
- Either in a separate bowl or on top of the wet ingredients, combine, the cinnamon, flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Mix the dry ingredients into the wet. Stir well, but do not over mix.
- Poor the batter into the greased pan(s) and bake for about 43 minutes (this is for the mini loaf pans - it may take longer for one large loaf).
- Allow the bread to cool in the pan(s) for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
It's been a while since I've done a WIAW
! Time to re-join the party!! (And I do have a recipe, but it will have to wait until I get a picture... I don't know about you, but a picture is what the seals the deal for me!)
The day began with a scrumptious breakfast consisting of this
lovely bake and an apple. I loved the bake even more this time around! Seriously, make it. Of course, I really don't have any control over if you make it or not, so perhaps I should ask in Spanish?? Hágalo, por favor. Or we could just pretend that I do have control over you - I'll ask in English, and you will make it. Your choice. But personally, I suggest the latter.
My breakfast was eaten pretty late since I actually slept in (!!!), so by the time lunch rolled around, I wasn't very hungry. However, this little lunch plate filled me up perfectly! (Sorry for the awful picture!)
A hearty slice of whole foods bread (don't remember which kind) topped with gruyere cheese (<3) and a hard goat milk cheese (<3 <3), steamed veggies, and chia pudding (made with a little over a tablespoon of chia seeds, 1/4 cup almond milk, one teaspoon cocoa powder, and about four drops of stevia) were the stars of the lunch. Along with.....
Love in a bottle.
My family and I went out to dinner to celebrate the end of my high school career! I picked the place - a little Ethiopian joint. We'd been there before, but not for many years.
Traditional seating! They had regular tables too, but how boring would that have been??
This bread was brought out while we were waiting for our food and was so interesting! It smelled like garlic bread, but had such a different texture. It was wonderful!
Okay, my only complaint was that the proportions were tiny! The picture below is what we ordered for all of us. It may look like a lot, but it wasn't! It was delicious though! Mine is the red glob in the front (butternut squash), the green glob behind it and slightly to the right (collard greens), and half of the yellow glob to the right (yellow split peas). And of course I had some of the carrots and greed beans in the center. Like I said delicious!! And the cool thing is that no silverware is allowed to this party! Everything is scooped up in injera, a spongy bread made from teff flour.
Although we didn't leave with full bellies, that was okay because there was a cake waiting patiently at home. (Remember? Food has feelings in my world.)
For the actual cake part, I used the "basic chocolate cupcake" recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I doubled it, used whole grain pastry flour, and subbed melted coconut oil for the canola oil. I've made these substitutions before, and it has always turned out super moist (sorry) and incredibly tasty. This time was no exception! In between layers, I spread raspberry fruit spread, and then I topped the whole thing with cream cheese frosting also from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, but I subbed real butter and cream cheese.
Cake close up: (and a demonstration of my awful plating skills)
Best cake ever? Um yes, yes it was.
What is your favorite cake flavor?
Any body out there??
Well, it has been a little while. Okay, okay... it has been a long
while. I blame the final semester of high school and three AP tests. But that's all over now. Yippee for seniors!!
So I do have a recipe for you today (Remember my 50+ recipe goal? Yeah, not happening this year...), but first a few life updates because I can. Without further ado, here they are in chronological-ish order. (By the way, "ish" is
a real suffix* and can be added to the end of any word. You're welcome for just doubling your vocabulary.)
*Welcome to my world.
- I participated in my first 5k. Ran part, walked part, and confirmed once again what I already knew - I am not a runner. But that's okay! I just went at my own pace and really enjoyed it!
- Went to prom and had a blast!
- Celebrated my 17th birthday with these gems from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. They made my life complete.
- Made these pancakes for my Mom for Mother's Day.
- Went to convocation and won an "Outstanding Senior in Science" award!!
Okay, enough of that. Time for some food!
One of my favorite things about cooking is that with a little creativity, you can throw together anything just sitting around in your fridge and have a dinner worth remembering. Take, for example, last weekend. I had in my fridge the following items waiting patiently to be used (yes, in my world food has feelings too): grilled corn on the cob, black beans, tomato sauce, some [not so patient] cilantro, and a red bell pepper. In addition, there were some whole wheat bread crumbs just sitting in the blender that my mom hadn't used. I don't know about you, but those ingredients scream, "Southwestern stuffed bell pepper!!" to me. You can't hear it? I guess you haven't been in my world long enough.
Southwestern Stuffed Bell PepperThis recipe uses ingredients that you probably have in your pantry and refrigerator. But if not, it's worth going out to buy them.
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 2 tablespoons chopped onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup black beans
- 1/2 cup corn (I used left over grilled corn)
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce (I used no-sodium)
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, torn
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- Shredded cheese, if desired (I didn't use any this time, but I think it would a wonderful addition - I mean really, when is cheese not a wonderful addition??)
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Removes the stem and seeds from the bell pepper by cutting out the top, and steam the pepper for about nine minutes or until soft and flexible.
- Melt the butter in a small pan. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is clear.
- Stir in the bread crumbs, toasting slightly (should take 2 to 3 minutes).
- Remove from heat and stir in the remaining ingredients (you could stir in the cheese, if using, or save for the top).
- Stuff mixture into the bell pepper and bake for 20 minutes.
- Top with cheese, if using, set oven to broil, and broil for 3 to 4 minutes. The pepper browns quickly so keep an eye on it. Personally, I like it pretty black!!
Hope everyone's doing well and getting ready for suuuuuummer!!!
You know when you dream up a recipe that makes your mouth water by just thinking about it? And then you make it, but it never lives up to your expectation? That's exactly what happened to me last weekend. (Please tell me I'm not the only one!) You see, I wasn't slacking on posting - at least it wasn't my fault for slacking. Just talk to my failed Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes if you don't believe me.
Fortunately, my last recipe testing was nothing less than a huge success. It sounded good (not literally, obviously - to my knowledge, food doesn't talk), smelled good, looked good, and by golly tasted good! I was slightly surprised at first (thanks to my last testing), but then my thoughts trailed off to something else. That something was this:
Sunny Surprise Oat Bake
I'm sure you can substitute a different nut butter for the sunflower seed butter, but personally, I can't imagine this any better.
- 1/2 banana, mashed
- 1 tablespoon sunflower seed butter
- Heaping 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 7 tablespoons almond milk
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the banana, sunflower seed butter, cinnamon, vanilla, and baking powder.
- Stir in the oats and almond milk.
- Spread evenly into a greased (I used coconut oil) ramekin.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes.
This bake will put the silver lining on each and every cloud. My future beholds many silver linings. Yes, I can tell the future.
Had the morning I ate these pancakes been my last breakfast, I would have died a very happy person. Obviously my last breakfast isn't for many years to come, but when it does arrive some day, these pancakes will likely be on the menu. But on to brighter topics - like the recipe.
Blueberry Lemon Cornmeal Pancakes
I like to use meyer lemons for these - their flavor shows more of the sweet lemon side and less of the acidity side that is most often associated with lemons. But if you can't find them, I'm sure a regular lemon would do.
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal
- 3 tablespoons brown rice flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (the zest of one small-ish lemon)
- 1/4 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen, but preferably fresh
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons almond milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 heaping tablespoon Greek yogurt (I'm sure applesauce would make a fine substitution)
- 4 drop stevia or other sweetener of choice
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, zest, and blueberries.
- Add the lemon juice, almond milk, vanilla extract, yogurt, and sweetener. Mix well, but don't over mix.
- Heat a non-stick skillet over medium low heat. Cook pancakes for about 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
- Serve with Greek yogurt, maple syrup, or, if you're feeling extra special, a drizzle of lemon icing (powdered sugar mixed with lemon juice). Enjoy!
Spring breaks is here! Yaaaay! This means spending extra time with my horse and making new earring designs for my fundraising-based earring business (among other things)!
Enjoy the week everyone - even if you're not on spring break. You can still try something new, go someplace different... just make the most of this week and every day after! Don't get too caught up in school or work that you forget what a wonderful gift life is and that you're meant to enjoy it and live it to its fullest, as well as help others enjoy it - it's something that everyone deserves. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to follow my own advice. See you all next time!
Hello, hello! Sorry I didn't get a recipe up last weekend - I was off doing a college visit! But I'm making up to you all today by posting two recipes. And yes, they both include corn (hence the title - sorry, I couldn't resist!), corn in the form of a round, flat disk. I don't know about you, but I've always loved corn tortillas. I loved them even more when I had them homemade for the first time. Really, there is nothing better than a warm, soft corn tortilla fresh of the griddle. Please excuse me while I drift off into corn tortilla heaven...
Okay, back to reality. Thankfully, coming back to reality gives me the opputunity to have these:
Sorry about the quality - my camera battery died and I had to resort to my cellphone.
Sometimes reality is better than dreams.Sun-dried Tomato and Pepper Jack Cheese EnchiladasIf you don't want to make your own tortillas, feel free to use store-boughten. But I recommend you take on the challenge. I made mine garlic, but you can omit the garlic powder if you want them plain.Serves 1Ingredients:
- 1/3 cup masa harina
- 3/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- Up to 1/3 cup warm water
- 1 ounce pepper jack cheese, sliced thin
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- 1/4 cup + green chile sauce (I used Roberto's vegetarian green chile)
- Combine the masa harina and garlic powder in a small bowl. Add the water and mix until a soft dough forms. It should not be wet, sticky, or dry. Form two balls and put them back in the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it sit for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Preheat a non-stick skillet on low heat. Meanwhile, either press the tortillas between plastic wrap in a tortilla press or put the corn balls (one at a time) between plastic wrap and use a rolling pin to roll them to about an eighth of an inch thick. Cook them on the preheated skillet for a minute to a minute and a half.
- Spread one to two tablespoons of the green chile on the bottom of a small, sprayed baking dish (I actually used a small pie pan).
- Fill each tortilla with half the cheese, about a tablespoon of chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and half a tablespoon of green chile. Roll them up and put them seam down in the pan.
- Cover each tortilla with at least a tablespoon of green chile. Make sure they are completely covered so that they don't dry out when baking.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling.
The next recipe is similar to my breakfast tacos
. But it was so good, that I decided that it deserved its own glory.
Again, I had to use my phone.
Breakfast Tacos - Take 2I used homemade corn tortillas (but without garlic powder) for these. Once again, you can use store-boughten, but you should try homemade.
- 2 corn tortillas (homemade or store-boughten)
- 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
- 1/4 cup cooked black beans
- About 2 tablespoon salsa
- A handful of cilantro leaves
- Two to three tablespoons Greek yogurt (or you could use sour cream)
- But the rice and beans down the center of the tortillas and microwave for about a minute or until warm.
- Top with the remaining ingredients and enjoy!
Well there you have it! I have another really yummy recipe for next week. And guess what it includes??? Did you say corn
? What could possibly make you think that? ;) Luckily, it will be in a slightly different form next week. Any guesses??
I don't recall the last time I had a real donut, but I can think of a few memorable donuts that I've had in my time. One was found in a tiny shack called "American Donuts" in Texas (if I remember right). My family and I have a soft spot for stores in shacks so we filed out of our car and through the door. And then, before our eyes, they pumped freshly made donuts with cream and jelly and handed us the best filled donuts we had ever had (and probably ever will have). Ah, good times, good times.
The other? Well, there isn't a specific other donut that lingers in my memory. Instead, I'm referring to the couple of times when my brother and I made our own glazed donuts. Seriously, there is nothing better than a warm, homemade, glazed donut.
I'm sure that the donut recipe I'm sharing today isn't nearly as good those gems, but it's still delicious. Especially the icing. If you don't want to make the donut, at least make the icing and put it on oatmeal or a muffin or something. Or a spoon. That would work great too.
Peanut Butter Icing DonutThe donut itself is simple in flavor, but I still love it. Especially when drenched with peanut butter Icing. Mmmm. If you want to add more flavor to the donut, you could try increasing the amount of almond extract.
Makes 1 donutIngredients (for the donut):
Ingredients (for the icing):
- 1/4 cup brown rice flour (or other flour of choice)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 egg white
- 3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
- 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
- sweetener such as stevia, agave, maple syrup, or brown sugar.
- 2 teaspoons peanut butter (I use salted)
- 2 teaspoons coconut butter
- 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and dry sweetener (if using).
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg white, yogurt, almond extract, and liquid sweetener (if using).
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir until well combined, but don't over-mix.
- Spoon the mixture into a greased greased donut pan (I use coconut oil) and bake in the preheated oven for 12-13 minutes. Check with a toothpick!
- While the donut is baking microwave the peanut butter with the coconut butter for 20-30 seconds or until the coconut butter is melted. Stir in the maple syrup.
- Drizzle the icing over the warm donut and enjoy!
What's your favorite kind of donut?
Grammar lesson: My title is one of those statements that has a misplaced modifier. I mean, can gnocchi actually be lazy? Theoretically not. Un-theoretically, it can be whatever it wants, but we won't get into that. I think you get the point. The "lazy" in this case describes the cook who makes the gnocchi (a-hem, me). With almost everything in my life, I'm not at all lazy, but I must say almost because I entirely admit that I do express laziness when it comes to cooking - so long as it doesn't subtract from taste. *End of lesson.* You can't tell me that that wasn't a legitimate grammar lesson. ;)
So last Friday, my laziness was in full force. I had finally settled on gnocchi, but we had no white potatoes, so I decided to go for a sweet potato version. I had a sweet potato just lounging on the countertop, but if I used him (come on, sweet potatoes aren't "its"), then that would require scrubbing him, baking him for at least half an hour, peeling him, and mashing him. It may not sound like that much work, but remember, the lazy part of my brain was turned on. Then, I remembered something.... (this is where the suspense comes in). I had a can of pureed sweet potato in the pantry! I think you can guess where the story goes from here.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Garlic ButterThe gnocchi dough comes out so soft that it's almost like play dough (who else misses playing with that stuff?)! And that's where the fun comes in. I made mine into cute little balls this time, but I'm already dreaming about what I could do next time... I'm thinking cookie cutters!The parmesan is optional, as it's just sprinkled on top, but I don't recommend you leave it off unless absolutely necessary.Serves 2-3 (depending on what it's accompanied with)Ingredients:
- 1 cup brown rice flour (or other flour of choice)
- Sea salt, to taste
- 1/2 cup mashed sweet potato (feel free to use canned! ;)
- 1 egg white
- 1-2 tablespoons butter
- 1 very large clove of garlic (or several smaller ones), pressed
- pinch of dried thyme
- shredded or grated parmesan cheese (for topping)
- Set a pot of water to a boil.
- Meanwhile, combine the flour and salt in a medium sized mixing bowl. Stir in the sweet potato and egg white. Continue mixing until thoroughly combined and a soft dough forms.
- Shape the dough into small balls or other fun (fun is key) shapes.
- Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water and boil for about three minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat.
- Once melted, stir in the pressed garlic, and cook for another couple of minutes. Be careful not to let the garlic burn..
- Remove from heat and stir in the dried thyme.
- Drizzle the garlic butter the gnocchi and mix it around a bit. Serve with parmesan cheese.
You see, even laziness can yield good results.
Confession time: I am the world's worst waffle maker. But let me explain a little bit before you run as you know that a waffle recipe is to follow. When I say worst, I mean in the looks department. The taste department is just dandy, but I often feel like I'm eating a pile of twigs instead of waffles even though my taste buds tell me otherwise. I always blamed it on the waffle iron, but seeing as my mom could always make perfect waffles with it, I think that my assertion was only wishful thinking. Luckily, my mom recognized my dilemma and tried her best to help when she bought me this for Christmas:
Did it help? No twigs in sight! So, I would answer that question with a "yes."
Hopefully you're not scared of this recipe anymore. ;)Almond Oat WafflesThese waffles get their almond flavor from almond extract, but if you want to add chopped or slivered almonds, I think that would be a nice addition (though I haven't actually tried it)! This recipe is based on Mollie Katzen's Oatmeal Waffles from Sunlight Cafe.
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup brown rice flour (or other flour of choice)
- 2 tablespoons oat bran
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of baking soda
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
- 1 egg white
- Preheat a waffle iron. (If it has an adjustable temperature, set it to 400.)
- Mix together the oats, rice flour, oat bran, baking powder, and baking soda.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond milk, extracts, Greek yogurt, and egg white.
- Mix the wet ingredients into the dry. Mix well, but don't over mix.
- Grease the waffle iron with coconut oil or butter.
- Pour the the batter into the iron and cook for about 3 minutes.
- Most important step: Top with desired toppings (maple syrup, Greek yogurt, peanut butter, fresh berries, etc.) and devour!
I ended up slathering mine in peanut butter. Perfect looking, perfect tasting. I think my title adequately describes these waffles. Yum! :D
Do you like waffles? What's your favorite flavor?
These were wonderful, though I do love chocolate waffles. I'll have to experiment with a recipe!