Instant Date-ification

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I used to looove fig newtons. Love them. I don’t really think they’re a universally loved-by-kids snack, but whatever. As a kid, I loved them. I used to nibble around the sides and eat off all of the cakey bits (come to think of it, I ate around madelines from Starbucks the same way…) and then eat the figgy bits in the middle.

In college I graduated to organic ones. Oooooh. Organic obviously makes processed things okay… ?! Um no… not really.

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But… I’ve graduated college and am now a real person (um.. no) (immaturity keeps me forever young) (part of being an adult is being a kid at heart, right? Right) now I’ve graduated to making my own! And even better than figgy type newtons… these are DATE newtons! Pshh. Who WOULDN’T love something stuffed with dates?!

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I’m pretty sure I’ve already mentioned this, but juuuust in case you haven’t noticed… I also LOVE dates! As in, I love dates beyond all reason. They are delicious and good for you and I could easily eat them all day long all day every day for the rest of my life. End of story. Stranded on a desert island, can only pick one food? Dates. Well, okay. Dates and almond butter, because clearly I couldn’t survive on dates alone (and okay… maybe some toast to put the dates and almond butter on. Picky, aren’t I?). I would obviously try though.

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So I made these! And they were maybe one of the best things I’ve put in my face all week. Aaaamazing. And raw. Which means no dealing with ovens and all that silliness, just instant date-ification. Yum yum yum. Oh. And they’re fabulous for you, so it’s just a win win win all around. Healthy fats [almonds and flaxseed], omega 3’s [flaxseed], whole grains [oats], protein, fiber, tons of vitamins and minerals and excellent energy [dates, dates dates!].

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Raw Date Newtons

Recipe gratefully borrowed from the Pancake Princess, here!

Makes 16 little guys. Gluten free, could be vegan [non dairy milk bev+maple].

First we rummage for this kind of biz:

  • 1/2 c raw almonds (mine were already partially ground)
  • 1/4 c flaxseed meal
  • 1/4 c rolled oats
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1.5 tbsp milk bev (I used 1% dairy)
  • 1 c dates, pitted and soaked for a few minutes
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla

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Then we:

Lug out the trusty, zillion pound food processor. Open lid, put in blade, yadayada. Toss in almonds, flaxseed, oats, and salt, and pulse until blended. If your almonds are whole and not partially ground like mine, you might want to grind them alone for a bit so that they’re more broken up, but that’s up to you (and the strength of your food processor). Add in honey and pulse until the mixture starts to come together and be clumpier. Add milk, 1/2 tbsp at a time, until it sticks together like a dough (and if you pinch it between your fingers it stays together). Remove the dough from your food processor, and roll it out really thinly between two pieces of wax/parchment paper. Aim for a mostly rectangular shape, just to make your bites even sized. I cut mine in half so that I would have two even-ish rectangles, about 1/8-1/4″ thick.

Without even bothering to wash out your food processor (quite possibly my least favorite part of baking), drain dates, and add them with the vanilla to the bowl. Process until a paste forms—it should be spreadable. Spoon that goodness directly onto each half of your rolled out dough, and then fold it up and around the filling to make a cute little date newton bite! Repeat with the other piece of dough and filling. Slice each log into about 8 bites, for a total yield of 16.

Store them in an airtight container in the fridge… if they last that long…

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you can never have too many dates…

Goodbye, moderation, hellooooo ice cream

Thursday things.

1. Apparently I make an excellent napping place:

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2. You know that Oscar Wilde quote I always toss around, “Everything in moderation, including moderation”…? Yeahhhhh. About that moderation thing. Out the window it went on Tuesday when I went to Fenton’s and ate this food coma-inducing wonder. Luckily I split it with Vacuum Vati or else I might be dead by now, ha. This was moderation in moderation in action:

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and then.

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muahahhaha.

3. And then last week I ate this: bourbon cornflake ice cream with bourbon caramel and tahitian vanilla ice cream with slivered, sweetened almonds. Thank you, Humphrey Slocombe, for sending me to gastronomical heaven.

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4. AVO!!! I made paleo cookies to use up the last of my coconut flour. They were… ehh. As much as I love coconut, I just can’t get past the sucks-all-the-moisture-out-of-your-mouth grittiness of coconut flour. It’s okay… but ehhhhh is really how I feel about it.

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5. I really like architecture. Juuuuust saying. Neo gothic seems to find me everywhere after my thesis, but I can’t say I’m sorry: it’s like finding an old friend wherever I go!

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6. OHMYGOSH. I made the ehhh paleo cookies. AND THEN. I made… these. They’re amazing and amazing for you. Make them. (Just as long as you’re not allergic to nuts please). I want them for second breakfast since it’s nine and I’ve had eggs and spinach already. Time for cookies, obviously…

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7. One last thing. Um… Downton Abbey?! Helloooo, what a horrible way to end the season. Couldn’t we have just had a nice ending to the SERIES, with everyone all happy and whatnot? Jeez. At least my favorite Machiavellian meddler is still alive and sarcastically kicking—I’d seriously have to quit watching the show if Maggie Smith left. I think I now have sympathetic post-partum depression. Ugh. At least Mad Men is starting up again in April (!!!)… I’ll attempt to fill the gaps between wildly addicting tv shows somehow… more baking perhaps?!

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Chocolate-Date Almond Butter Cookies (No Bake)

The recipe is from Vegetarian Ventures, here! Sooo glad I came across it, these are freaking amazing. Especially with date caramel on top! You can never have too many dates. These cookies are raw, no bake, and vegan (and gluten free!). They’re full of healthy fats, good protein, and antioxidants… annnndddd all they have is natural sugars! No added or refined anything, which means they’re a snack/breakfast/dessert you can eat and love! I got 11 2″ish cookies.

Whatcha need:

  • 1/2 c raw pecans
  • 1/2 c raw almonds (mine were already partly ground)
  • 1 c dates, pitted and soaked in water for about 15 minutes
  • 1/2 c unsalted organic almond butter (I used Maranatha)
  • 1 oz of dark chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt for a garnish

This is beyond easy, no excuses:

After dates are finished soaking, chuck everything into a food processor, and blend until smooth. Mine went for probably about 3-4 minutes, or until the “dough” forms a bit of a ball. If needed, add a little bit of water (I didn’t and mine stay together fine). Here’s where you get to play with your food! Roll dough into little balls and smoosh them out into a cookie-like shape… make a crisscross pattern with a fork if you’re feeling fancy, and sprinkle with sea salt. Or leave them as balls, up to you! Store in the fridge, in a sealed container with wax paper between the layers. I let mine chill for a bit before eating—they solidify into sort of a fudgy-consistency. Soooo. Freaking. Good!

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Tarting (torte-ing?!) it up

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Holy moly.

Gooey chocolate deliciousness.

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But. If I didn’t tell you… could you guess what this decadent wedge holds? Well… if you know me, I’m sure you have a decent idea… just take  a minute to think it over and then get back to me.

Okay.

Did you think?

Did you guess vegetables?!

Because if you did… you’re right! And maybe the green peeking out of that first picture was kind of a giveaway… whatever. Get a little more specific: perhaps two servings of vegetables, and about two servings of fruit?! And it’s dessert. Cholesterol free, vegan, and delicious dessert. Make this for your friends when they’re skeptical that vegan = delicious.

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Besides, when I do things like this, I get to eat things like this as a reward:

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See? Life is all about balance (and trx handstands, natch). As Oscar Wilde so wisely said: “everything in moderation, including moderation!”. I do have to say though, this torte requires less moderation than usual since it’s so freaking good for you. Chocolate= antioxidants. Zucchini= veggie (veggie = by definition, healthy, obvs). Banana= potassium. Whole wheat flour = whole grain fiber. Almonds = healthy fats! Wheeeee!

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Chocolate Zucchini Torte

Recipe gratefully adapted slightly from Kohler Created, here! Next time I would perhaps leave out or reduce the oil, as the cake is definitely hydrated (you see I avoid that ‘oist’ word) enough with all the produce crammed inside.

  • 2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 c canola oil
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground coffee
  • 1.5 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1/4 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 c zucchini, finely grated
  • 1/2 c dark chocolate chips

For topping: 3 tbsp brown sugar + 1/2 c chopped almonds

Preheat the oven to 360. Grease and flour a 9″ cake pan.

In a largeish bowl, sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and powder, and salt. In another bowl, combine oil, applesauce, sugars, vanilla, and coffee. Beat vigorously (use those biceps!) for a few minutes… or use a mixer. In a smallish bowl, mash bananas, then add water. Add bananas, beat to combine, then add milk.

Combine 1/2 c of the flour mix to the grated zucchini and chocolate chips. Slowly beat in the remaining flour into the banana bowl, until incorporated. Stir in zucchini and mix thoroughly. The batter should be thick (and delicious). Pour into the prepared pan, top with brown sugar+almonds, and bake for about 45 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Cool in the pan before attempting to slice! This cake is even better the next day (promise!), if you can make it last that long…

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Chiseling mortar off of a 35 foot chimney…

This is what happens when you do labor on Labor day weekend! You make things to eat afterwards, duh!

Thanks to my lovely course schedule and a little national holiday, I had a four day weekend (hoooorayyy!). I decided to take advantage of the lack of work and lack of homework (what thesis??) to take a trip up to Govy to see Carl and Suz! YAY! Little did I know going in that I would, over the course of the weekend: wash 3 cars, watch the Ducks lose to LSU (We’re just going to pretend this didn’t happen, ok? ok… moving ON!), pick a quart of huckleberries, and chisel mortar off of a 35 foot chimney, after climbing said 35 feet of scaffolding to get up there. Can you say BALLER? Yes. I thought so. Anyway, it was a super fun and relaxing (yes, you read right) weekend… ideally I’ll be repeating it in the near future. (Although if there’s snow, the chimney might be a tad out of the question. ha.) Carl and Suz are probs the best people to stay with… and Whomp kitty is suuuuper cute.

Lookin' fierce with my chisel and Carl! Working hard? Or hardly working?

 

Working hard, obvi!

So.

Let me get back to the food, which is undoubtedly the reason you put up with my blather in the first place (and the whole reason for this blog’s existence… right. anyway.)

After all the exertions of the day, I wanted dessert! And food. But I have to prioritize, right?? Suz had a bunch of Hood River peaches (aww yeeee, locovore!) waiting to be sliced and eaten, so we turned them into a rustic peach galette. It was excellent on its own, but even better with a blob of ice cream! Duh. Like when would I EVER recommend that you eat anything WITHOUT ice cream?! I’m an a la mode girl, obvi. And apparently that’s an inherited trait, since my paternal grandfather is perpetually asking for a la mode. See? It’s in the genes, I’d like to see YOU try to alter your genetics! Ha. So there!

I’m not entirely sure where Suz got the recipe, and I’m adapting it loosely here. It’s insanely flexible—use whatever fruit you have on hand that’s seasonal, or I’m sure frozen would be fine too.

Rustic style

Rustic Peach Galette

For the dough:

2.5 c whole wheat flour (in this case NOT ww pastry flour, but it makes little difference which one you use here)

1 c butter (salted)

3 tbsp brown sugar

2/3 c ice water

scant 1/2 tsp salt

Filling:

A lot of peaches. Essentially however many will fit into your tart.

Sliced almonds are nice.

Vanilla extract.

Brown sugar. Flour.

Combine flour, sugar, and butter. Cut the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse sand (I find that your fingers are most effective for this). Add egg and ice water, and mold into a ball. Cover and let sit in the fridge while you go pick huckleberries (or something… not to rub it in, heheh).

Slice lots of peaches. Or other fruit. Or whatever is going in the middle of your tart. Galette. Whatever.

All sprinkled

After dough has chilled a bit, roll/flatten/rustically stretch your dough out so that it’s big enough to contain your filling. I crimped the edges on mine to hold it all in, but you can make a more traditional galette and pull the edges up and over the filling if you like.

Pile your peaches in a tasty-looking heap in the center of the dough, and sprinkle with almonds, brown sugar, vanilla, and a bit of flour. Toss your filling just a bit and then sprinkle the top with more sugar and a few more almonds/vanilla. I’m not giving measurements for these because a) this tart is supposed to be RUSTIC, and b) I actually didn’t measure when Suz and I made these, and c) if I told you how to do everything it would be boring! Anyway. Sprinkle away, to your heart’s content. When you’re done sprinkling…

Place galette (s) on a lightly greased/oiled cookie sheet, and bake until juices are bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Ours were probably somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes (Sorry for the inexactness, I was off doing other fun things and not really paying all that much attention). Still. They’re delicious! Not too sweet, and perfect for breakfast or a late afternoon snack. The flavor of the peaches really comes out, so make sure whatever fruit you use is super fresh and ripe!

Enjoy your rustic galette, in all of its lovely rusticness. It’s so rustic, the recipe is unspecific. Rather nice, don’t you think? Definitely a forgiving recipe—it would be easy to play around with it.

Happy 4 day work week, YAYY!