Whoops-a-FAIL and Bailey’s for breakfast

EPIC. FAIL.

Who forgets the SUGAR when making brownies?! I mean, really. SUGAR. Psshhh.

Well, that would be me, apparently.

Whoops.

Not entirely sure where my head was the evening I was making these: perhaps screwed on a wee bit backwards? I realized what had happened (or rather, NOT happened) when the so-called “brownies” were about halfway done in the oven. Out of slight curiosity (and irritation: wasting food, especially baking materials, is like a cardinal sin in my book), I decided to let them finish baking and then taste them. Fully prepared to hate them, I whipped up another batch so that brownies could be had for Mutti’s reunion… and then took the *ahem* REJECTS out of the oven to cool before I attempted to taste them.

mmm

But wait.

Time for the bombshell. You’d think completely sugar-less brownies would be nasty, right?! But… they’re NOT! They turned out like some kind of brownie-bread, or at least that’s what Vati and I thought. So rather than throw them out, we decided to hang on to them for breakfast and dessert purposes. Waste not, want not! Besides, then you can have GUILT-FREE BAILEY’S for breakfast!! If that isn’t awesome, I’m not sure what is. The brownies themselves (properly made) actually aren’t too bad for you—they originally come from a Cooking Light recipe. QED, brownies minus sugar = healthy breakfast. Ha. Winning.

Do yourself a favor: make them, sans sugar. Top them with mascarpone cheese and blueberry jam and cinnamon… and eat them for breakfast.

Epic fail? Absolutely not.

Remind you of anything? Mayan calendar, perhaps??

Bailey’s Brownies

For REAL brownies, use sugar. Obvs. Please don’t leave it out. They’re wonderful brownies: hydrated and fudgy interior, chewy exterior and a crackly top. Perfection. For “brownie bread” (excellent for breakfast and all-purpose snacking), omit sugar and pretend you did it on purpose.

Recipe gratefully borrowed (and slightly adapted) from Gimme Some Oven, here! Makes an 8 by 8 pan of brownies.

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • my-cup-runneth-over 1/3 c chocolate chippies
  • 1/4 c butter (1/2 a stick)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1/3 c (slightly overflowing, hehe) Bailey’s Irish cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
breakfast is served..

Preheat the oven to 350, and line an 8 by8 pan with foil (this makes for ridiculously easy removal).

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter and chocolate chips together, using bursts of about 30 seconds. Let cool. Once cooled, whisk in eggs vigorously for a few seconds. Once incorporated, whisk in sugar, Bailey’s, and vanilla. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing out the top a bit.

Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a tester comes out with a few moist crumbs (don’t overbake, unless you like brownie bricks! I don’t exactly recommend this). Let cool in the pan for a bit, then lift the foil onto a cooling rack to completely cool.

stack o’ rejects

Workout. Get pumped! Eat. Love. Repeat as necessary!

semi-leaning tower of quinoa bars!

Happy first day of spring to you too, Salem. Thanks for the nice weather SNOW. What?! Like, actual snow this time too. About three inches of fluff on my car this morning… what is this?! Thankfully today was Workout Wednesday (ie the only reason I go to campus is to work out), or else I might have skipped class, hehe. (As Kira pointed out, at least I have my priorities straight. Miss a workout with Christine? NEVER! ha. But hey! Justified, as pilates/fitness instructor is my career of choice) Besides, I had to go give Christine her quinoa-banana bars. Yes. I am the kind of person who bakes treats for her fitness instructor. We have the same workout addiction after all: Must…work… out! And buy new active wear! Healthy snacks in exchange for a Pilates-Core body butt kicking? I think it’s a fair trade ;)

So now I’m nicely sore and contemplating going back out into the wet for work. And wet indeed it is now… we’re getting semi-frozen rain-ish-slush-gross now, because, well, why not? I have holes in my uggs, that’s why not. My heels got suspiciously damp when I was wearing them this morning… seriously, I had all these grand plans to take my winter-wear home over spring break to leave it, so that  I had less to take home in May. Fat chance. Watch, I’ll leave it all here and it’s be sunny and glorious the rest of April. Hmm. Maybe this is logical… maybe I should take it home?! Oh weather gods, how you love to mess with us here in Salem. I like snow, don’t get me wrong, but only when I can ski on it, pleaseandthankyou.

there's a rogue one!

Anywayyyy. Today I have bars for you! Healthy snack-type bars, like a cross between banana bread and a granola bar. They’re packed with all kinds of goodness: whole grains, peanut butter (YAY!), quinoa, flaxseed, bananaaaaas, and cardamom. Mmm. Can’t go wrong with the banana-cardamom combo, it’s fab. These bars also happen to be vegan, just for funzies! They’re perfect with a little (more) nut butter swiped on top (uh-oh, I can see the bottom of my peanut butter jar, mayday mayday!) and extra bananas :)

oh hey, up close!

Peanut Butter-Banana Quinoa Bars

Recipe only slightly adapted from here! Makes… 8 ish? I made it in a pie dish, and cut rectangles out of the center. Wedges would have been good too.

  • 2/3 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 c chunky peanut butter
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/3 c cooked quinoa*
  • 1/4 c wheat germ
  • 1.5 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 3 tbsp turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 c milk bev (soymilk for me)
  • sprinkling of dark chocolate chippies!
barsssss

*I cooked 1/3 c dry quinoa in 2/3 c water, yielding enough for the bars + dinner leftovers :)

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a dish of choice. I made mine in a 9″ pie dish, since a square 9″ seemed too big.

In a smallish bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and baking powder. In a largeish bowl, mash up the banana with a fork, and then vigorously stir in peanut butter until combined. (Added bonus: bicep workout!) Add in quinoa, wheat germ, flaxseed, sugar, vinegar, and soymilk, and stir to combine. Toss flour mixture and chocolate chips into the wet ingredients, and mix together until combined. Spatula-ize the batter into your prepared pan (Yes, spatula is a verb now), and bake for just about 30 minutes. A tester should come out clean when done.

Workout, feel pumped, eat, love! Repeat as necessary.

this may or may not be how my peanut butter disappears so fast...

Definitely Leprechauns.

a scone-clover! hehe.

Sláinte! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day :)

So. I had taken a fab set of pictures for today’s post (with natural light, even! Thanks, Oregon, for cooperating) yesterday, and they were all nicely stored on my camera, ready to be uploaded. This morning, when I uploaded them, I swear I put them into my blog photos folder. I know I did. So…

Where are they?! Nowhere to be found, is the answer I’m looking for. Maybe in pot of gold at the end of a rainbow? I suspect leprechaun involvement in this (definitely not user error. DEFINITELY leprechauns). Probably because I didn’t make a leprechaun trap last night… those sneaky little buggers! I better rustle up some green to put on… currently I’m not wearing any (that’s visible, anyway! ha.). I’ve always loved St. Patrick’s day! And yes, I am for-reals Irish (not just 1/365th), which is probably why I’m being targeted by those feisty little green men.

Blurry, but I still like it...

Anyway, after much grumbling, I took another set of photos (sadly not as good as the last ones), so you can vicariously enjoy the soda bread scones Kira and I made to celebrate! They turned out beautifully—the shape almost reminds me of a four leafed clover. Scoring the top of soda bread lets the fairies out (and promotes even baking, but that’s less fun), so I kept to this tradition and scored my scones into triangles… we now have a sprite-free apartment! To me, these scones don’t taste like traditional soda bread, but they are definitely delicious. And not at all bad for you, since they’re made with soda and yogurt rather than eggs and butter. Mmm… and, I have to say, they’re excellent with lemon curd (what isn’t?!)!

yum yum yum

Irish Soda Bread Scones

Very slightly adapted from Eat Drink Love, here! Makes 8 scones.

  • 3 c whole wheat pastry flour (We used half pastry, half whole wheat bread flour)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional but sooo good)
  • 1.5 c low-fat plain yogurt (Kira and I usually keep this instead of buttermilk, but buttermilk works here too)
  • 1/3 c chocolate chippies
  • 1 tbsp turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 425, and line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Make a well in the center, and add yogurt and chocolate chips (or other add-ins of choice). Stir to combine: the dough will look shaggy when its close to incorporated. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead into a circle (ish). Place onto prepared baking sheet, and slice into 8 scones (a knife works fine for this). Brush the tops with buttermilk (if using), and sprinkle turbinado sugar onto them for crunch factor :) Bake for 20 minutes, until the tops are golden! Eat. Preferably warm, with lemon curd. Mmm. Maybe share with a leprechaun, if one happens by…

Star Destroyer, anyone??

Cleverly Averted Cornbread Fail

no, this is not *just* cornbread...

Cornbread is a hot commodity in this house. Like, better eat it while you can, before it gets sucked down into someone’s stomach (perhaps the resident vacuum cleaner, Vati?!). And by this house, I mean home home! As in, not Salem. Someoneeeee is home for the holidays, hoorayyy! Time for hopefully epic holiday eating, which translates to epic holiday blog fodder. Everyone wins :]

Anyway. Where I was going with this whole cornbread biz. Last night, to accompany tree-decorating, we decided on chili and cornbread (Because one without the other is clearly sacrilege). Cornbread is the first thing I remember learning to make, so I have rather a fondness for it…and besides. It’s delicious. So I got busily to work on the cornbready goodness…measuring here, whisking there… and into the oven it went. Simple pimple, right?

So not.

Twenty minutes later, I took it out. There appeared to be a number of things wrong with it. It was brown. This is a crime. Cornbread should not be brown on the bottom. Lightly golden, yes. Brown? NO. Borderline burnt? Absolutely NOT. Strike one. Second. It didn’t SMELL like cornbread. Which is not necessarily a deal breaker, but tipped me off there might be something funky with this particular batch. Strike two. Thirdly. I tasted it.

EW.

Blandest, most boring cornbread everrrr. Apparently I left something out?! Because I’ve made this same recipe with the SAME ingredients before, and it was mega tasty. Oops. Strike mega-three. After mutti and vati also tasted it and we all decided that it was not a fit partner for chili, I decided to make another batch (different recipe—I was too irritated at the last one). I really didn’t want to compost the last batch though—it felt wasteful, and I’m obviously not one to throw out food. So instead… I had a brilliant (if I do say so) idea to make it into a sort of cornbread-bread pudding, like for a breakfasty type dish! Huzzah, for frugality! AND. I winged it. But it was super tasty—Vati the Vacuum (hehhe) had two slices for breakfast. It’s lightly sweet but not overly so, and nice and corny—tasty with a drizzly of maple syrup.

Besides, I was quite proud of neatly averting a cornbread crisis… with the creation of some awkward cornbread pudding!

Natural light! Hooorayy, California!

Awkward Cornbread Pudding

Adapted from… the jungle of my brain. Makes one 8 by 8 pan.

For the cornbread: I used a failed version (obviously), but I’m sure normal cornbread would work too, you might just want to reduce the sugar. Mine was originally sweetened with a scant 1/4 c honey. Use your favorite, and adjust sweetness to taste. For a dessertier bread pudding-type, I would use cornbread that is already on the sweet side.

  • 1 8 by 8 pan of cornbread, cut into 1/2″ chunks. Use mostly the soft middle, and some of the crust for texture
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 c 1% milk, or non-dairy sub of choice
  • a good slug of cinnamon
  • a few grinds of fresh nutmeg
  • brown sugar to taste (I used somewhere around a heaping tablespoon, perhaps a bit more)
  • 1-2 tsp turbinado sugar
mmm, maple

Preheat the oven to 350.

Place chunks of cornbread into a lightly greased 8 by 8 pan. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour the liquid over the cornbread in the pan, making sure to even distribute it. Sprinkle your desired amount of brown sugar evenly over the surface of the cornbread, and then use a fork to turn it under, and completely saturate the cubes of bread in the milk mixture. Sprinkle turbinado over the top (creating a yummy crust-type thing). Bake for just about 25 minutes, until custard is set, and a tester comes out clean. You shouldn’t see too much really liquidy/mushy business in the pan, but it also shouldn’t be too dry (you don’t want dry custard, ewww). Keep in mind that it’ll set up a bit when it cools in the pan. Just about 25 minutes should do it.

Eat. Preferably for breakfast, with maple syrup. MMmmmm… And revel in your cleverly averted cornbread fail.

I apologize for the slight overexposure... I was way excited to have natural light in which to photograph. Thanks, Oregon. NOT.

Holiday Trolls and Mispronunciation

Look at that cornbread. yeah. You know you want some!

I’m in full holiday-mode now.

Well, kind of.

I’ve put myself on Christmas music lockdown. I have a really irrational urge to listen to it, but I’m resisting. December 1st is the acceptable time to start listening. Tell that to Pandora. Trying to sabotage my lockdown, yeeesh… But really, the Nutcracker is obviously not JUST Christmas music, teeheehee!

Anyway. Besides settling into holidayish time, I can feel myself going into hibernation mode. Not my fault, since Salem has decided that night will fall around 4:30 pm. Or maybe 4:10 today, as I look out the window… Winter weather makes me want to curl up and eat. All this cold weather and dark starts turning me into a bear. Wait. Do bears do yoga and pilates? Okay. Maybe not a bear.  A troll? Yeah. Probably. Do trolls hibernate? Maybe they style their really cool hair during the winter months?

This is getting ridiculous. Apparently my brain has gone on holiday without notifying  me. I’d be the last to know, I’m sure. I think all that theories studying has gone to my head… but at least the midterm is done and the paper is nearly there (assisted by copious amounts of the bread that this post features).  Besides turning into a bear/troll in the winter, I start wanting things like soup. And baked goods. Ha. As if. In what season do I NOT want baked goods?! NONE. How silly life would be without tasty baked treats. Booooring. Besides, the gremlins would get antsy!

SO!

Let’s get on with the purpose of this post. Sorry for the long hiatus between posts… The eating last week wasn’t cooperating on photogenic levels.

This soup is immensely satisfying on a hibernating troll level. Or on anyone’s level, really… It’s creamy and thick–rich without being terrifyingly bad for you. It also pairs well with cornbread (what doesn’t?!). I’m sure it would also be deeeelicious with a baguette, were you to have one lurking around. The soup is fairly basic, and uses things typically found in your (ok, my) pantry. It has a pretty short ingredient list, which is a plus when you desperately want soup!

I also decided it was time for the world to see my “It’s Willamette, Damn it!” bowl… You see, people have  penchant for mispronouncing the name of my school. In fact, it’s the most mispronounced in the contiguous United States. And it rhymes with damn it. So see? It’s an easy way to remember, for those of you who like to say “Will-uh-met”. NO. It’s Willamette, damn it!

See? I've even puffy-painted it, so that people can get it right!

Coconut Sweet Potato Soup (Bisque?)

Adapted from here! Serves… 3 girls. With leftovers.

Peruse your pantry, and acquire:

  • 2 monster sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cups of water, plus 1.5 tbsp
  • 1 can of unsweetened light coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • a hefty sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger
  • 1.5 tbsp cornstarch
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • red pepper flakes, also to taste (spicy soup=cleared sinuses, hoorayy!)

Bring the water in a soooop pot to a boil. Add your sliced sweet potatoes, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes, making sure the water doesn’t boil away. Mash the sweet potatoes in the pot (with that potato masher that you insisted that you didn’t need, but have subsequently used about 3 times. Thank you, mutti! And your mutti-skills, that decree that you are ALWAYS right), and add the can of coconut milk, brown sugar, and cinnamon/nutmeg/ginger. Simmer for about another 15 minutes, until it begins to thicken. In a small bowl, add cornstarch and remaining water, and stir into a thick paste. Add the cornstarch and red pepper flakes to the soup, and cook for another five-ish minutes. (I may have added a bit more cornstarch to get it to thicken faster… the soup was still delicious, and I was HUNGRY). Use a blender (or an immersion blender, if you’re one of THOSE lucky ducks), and puree the soup in batches. Return the soup to the pot, and season to taste with salt, pepper, or more spice or red pepper if desired. I’m sure it would be lovely with shredded coconut on top, but I wasn’t on the ball enough for that…

Eat with this!!

Sandy’s Cornbread!

Given to me by an awesome lady who I used to work with (and who is now fully enjoying retirement!), this is a very tasty yogurt-based cornbread. I adapted it a bit from the original recipe, mostly to include whole wheat flour (as we know… I don’t have all-purpose!). I made a half batch of this for Abby, Kira, and I, but I’ll include the full recipe here.

  • 8 oz lowfat plain yogurt (1 cup)
  • 1/4 c olive or canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 c cornmeal
  • scant 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 400. Lightly grease an 8″ or 9″ pan.

Whisk together yogurt, egg, and oil. Combine dry ingredients, add wet to dry, and  mix well. Pour into prepared pan, and bake for about 20 minutes.

If you halve the recipe, the batter fits into a 6.5″ pan, and is done a bit past 15 minutes. I occasionally have trouble with the center of cornbread being done all the way through in the small pans—check it to be sure.

I think the cornbread is about to take a dive off the handle...