Enlightened cats and third-eye bliss

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HOMG I love arugula.

And yoga.

Thankfully I’ve had lots of both in my morning today, otherwise we might have a problem.

Maybe I just really like things that end in a?

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Banana. Kombucha.

Wait okay those are all I can currently think of… and almond butter and bread don’t end in ‘a’ so clearly we’ve run into a problem here.

Also, a few random notes.
I made quite possibly the weirdest sandwich, ever. Lentils, sautéed apples and carrots, and cardamom all smashed together and sandwiched between almond butter and the subsequently grilled. Yeah. Weird but shockingly delicious..?! I might actually be making it again here sometime soon. But it was ugly so I don’t have a very flattering picture of it…

Oh. And I know you’re all curious about my oatmeal that contains pretty much five servings of fruits and veg? Mostly veg? Yep. Here it is:

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Apparently that morning I went a little nuts with the nut butter, but hey. It was probably really early and I was just barely coming into proper human functionality. There is a half a zucchini, 2 c of spinach, 2 carrots, 1/4 c wild blueberries, and 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce in there. Wheeee!

But anyway. Remember when I made that  banana bread a little while ago? Well yes. It was delicious on its own. BUT THEN I trashed it up and it entered a realm that might have been close to transcendental. This is third-eye banana bread. Mmm. I highly recommend trashing up some of your own banana bread, for you own good.

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Nosh is a very wise, very blissed out cat. He knows what’s up, and what’s good for him… which is why he’s trying to swipe some of my banana bread. Hey now buddy, you’re already enlightened. My banana bread-third-eye-bliss!

Trashed Up Banana Bread

Recipe from my own semi-enlightened (ha) food brain. Because banana bread is always a winner. Serves… however many slices you have! So maybe just one (shhh, I won’t tell). This is so not even a recipe, but a suggestion of something mind-blowingly delicious. The ingredients below can be used up to the amount you want! Yaaayy!!

  • leftover banana bread, sliced thick
  • salted butter
  • almond butter (mine happened to be salted)
  • shredded unsweetened coconut
  • cinnamon
  • honey? If you want.

Telling you how to do this seems slightly patronizing….but whatever. You might need direction? Maybe? Here’s what I did:

Heat a small pan over medium heat. Butter both sides of the banana bread slices, and grill those babies in the pan!! I like mine a bit on the brown side, but that’s just me. Spread almond butter thickly all over the place, and then top with shredded coconut and cinnamon. And honey, if that’s your thing.

Eat (and fend off your cat. Who knew cats liked banana bread?!). With a fork, because this is a fork-type operation. Feel your third eye open a little wider on account of banana bread bliss.

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Happy Monday! You know you want cookies…

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Random thought of the day: I’m currently watching a very acrobatic squirrel do some amazing things on the eaves outside of my house. Go squirrel!! Show Monday whatcha got.

I showed Monday, that’s right: I’m post-Jazzercize! I maybe love it. A LOT. I really can’t think of a better way to start a Monday. Besides, my skin is sooooo dry, and getting my sweat on/fogging up the windows in the studio seemed like a fab idea. I feel better now, thank you…

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And these!! I made them to fill a post-yoga void in my stomach (funny how those always occur when I do mid-morning yoga). I loooove tea… as anyone who hangs out with me regularly knows… who else carries two bags of assorted and miscellaneous tea bags in their purse?! Right. I do. Just in case. You never know when you’re going to want tea.

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But then!!! You can put tea in COOKIES! Who knew?! That’s like two of my favorite things all smooshed up into one big ball of awesome. Or a little ball, as the case may be, but whatever. Beside the point. Smoosh that [variegated size] ball of awesome into a flatish thing, dollop a bit of naturally-sweetened jam in the middle, and you got yourself a winner! Tea. Tea in my cookies. Tea cookies with my tea. Yummm. Can’t go wrong (Unless you’re a coffee fan, in which case I apologize and will get back to you with some coffee type cookies if you ask me nicely).

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Happy Monday! Get your sweat on and then go eat some cookies, I promise it will make Monday better.

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Earl Grey Thumbprints with Wildberry Jam

I made a little teeny batch that was actually supposed to be bigger: I got six adorable cookies out of mine, which were adorable but I wanted more. I’ll post the bigger batch here, which would yield 12. The recipe is lightly adapted from 5’oclock A Tea Bag, here! Could probably be easily gluten free, though mine weren’t. They are free of refined sugar, however.

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  • 6 tbsp butter (I used salted)
  • 8 tsp coconut sugar
  • 3/4 c + 4 tsp whole wheat pastry flour
  • 6.5 tbsp almond flour
  • 4 tsp Earl Grey tea leaves (mine was decaffeinated; this would be about 4 tea bags)
  • large pinch of salt
  • enough jam to dollop each cookie (I used apple juice sweetened wild berry)

Cream together butter and coconut sugar until fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, almond flour, tea leaves, and salt. Combine wet and dry ingredients, stirring until just combined. Refrigerate dough for about a half an hour.

Preheat oven to 350. Roll the dough into smallish balls, flatten each one, and with a thumb make an indentation in the top. Dollop your jam into the imprint, then place on a cookie sheet. Repeat until all cookies are done… then pop into the oven and bake for about 12 minutes! They should be lightly golden brown.
Enjoy them with tea! Obviously…

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Upgrading the childhood favorites, one cookie at a time

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As you can see, I’m having quite a bit of fun riffing on things that I used to eat as a kid, except making them… edible. Because I don’t know about you, but if I try to eat conventional graham crackers now, they taste like cardboard. STALE cardboard… which is about as bad as it can get, in my book.

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So this is fun! Real food ingredients that you can pronounce and have fun eating. Because these taste almost like the “real” thing, but BETTER! Wheee!

Graham crackers. What an ubiquitous little kid snack (um. And adult?! Hellooooo).

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My grandma used to keep them in the cupboard above her fridge, probably because it was high enough up to be out of the reach of small Hayley (though why the baking drawers with chocolate chips and butterscotch chips were at child level I’ll never know—I got really good at swiping handfuls of ‘baking morsels’ every time I went into the kitchen… although sometimes it was with my grandma’s consent, ha). Anyway. She ALWAYS had graham crackers. And I loved them. Crunchy-soft, subtly sweet. Besides that, I have called my grandma Gram for as long as I can remember, and gram=graham! Get it?? Like Gram Crackers? The crackers that Gram always has? Do you see? Perfect.

My dad and I used to eat them for lunch sometimes with milk. We’d get out a really nice plate, put a glass of milk in the center, and then break up about two sleeves worth of crackers nicely and place them around the edge of the plate. And then sit outside, preferably, in the sun, companionably dipping graham crackers.

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Middle school meant that I was obsessed with the cinnamon graham sticks, except my mom would never buy them (actually… thanks mom! In retrospect that was an excellent choice you made), so I would always eat them over at my friend’s house… with applesauce. For some reason that was our thing and we would literally go through a box in one sitting. Whoops. I do have to say, they were startlingly good dipped in applesauce. Weird.

Later in life (ie college) I started buying organic ones and eating them with nut butter and dark chocolate for dessert. Sort of like a deconstructed s’more, except better as I don’t care for marshmallows… so this just leaves you with the good parts… carbs and chocolate! Yessss.

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SO anyway. Lots of good memories associated with these little guys, besides the fact that I like the way they taste. BUT. I don’t really like that they come in a package, even if they are organic. SO. I’ve started making my own! It’s WAY more fun, AND I know exactly what’s going in them. Solving for nostalgia and taste, all in one fell swoop.

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Milk in a shot glass. So classy.

Homemade Graham Crackers

Recipe from Salt&Smoke, here! I adapted it only very slightly. I made two batches, one with coconut oil and maple syrup, and one with butter and honey. The butter ones browned a slight bit more, due to the honey, but they’re both delicious. I think the coconut oil one is actually my favorite—you can’t taste the coconut, but something about the almond flour/coconut oil/maple/vanilla combo really tastes like graham crackers to me. I think my next project will be adding cinnamon to the batter, to make cinnamon crackers!!

I got a yield of 20 from the coconut oil batch, and 23 from the butter batch. They’re about 2″ by 2.5″ (ish).

  • 1 c almond flour
  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2-1 tsp sea salt (I used fine grain with 1 tsp, if you’re using coarse, use 1/2!)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 5 tbsp refined coconut oil or butter (I used unsalted)
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup or raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • a small splash of almond extract*

*I only used the almond extract in the butter/honey version, and to me it is barely noticeable

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl, and stir until combined. In a small bowl, combine coconut oil or butter, and maple or honey, and microwave (I’m lazy—you can also use a saucepan) until melted and combined. Stir in extract(s). Pour wet into dry, and stir until mixed.

Roll dough out between two pieces of parchment paper, approximately the size of your cookie sheet. I rolled mine out to about 1/8″ thick—-go thinner if you want really crunchy cookies. Score into rectangles using a butter knife, then get fancy and poke little holes in the tops with a fork (because graham crackers aren’t complete without fork marks, duh). I trimmed the excess dough off the edges and re-rolled it into more squares and a few circles.

Bake for 13-15 minutes, until lightly golden. I took both batches out around 13, let them cool on the sheet for a few minutes, then moved the parchment paper to the cooling rack.

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Cookies are not structurally-sound building materials (sadly)…

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Wait… are those…?!

COOKIESSSS!!!

I dare you to NOT drool over these.

Even after the glut of holiday treats, why not have oneeee teensy cookie more? (Meeester Creeasote?! hehehee) It’s still New Year’s Day, after all, and as the Rose Parade isn’t until tomorrow, that kind of makes tomorrow New Year’s too. Ish. Enough that I can say it is, and eat holiday cookies. And really, chocolate chip cookies are my ideal way to ring in the new year. They go with champagne, right?! And if I eat them for New Year’s, along with my black-eyed peas and cabbage, doesn’t that mean I’ll have lots of chippies in the coming year? I hope so.

Besides, if I can drool over these, so can you. We know I’m the ludicrously picky chippy cookie-snob, the one who will only eat chocolate chip cookies that conform to my exacting specifications. Which is why I usually end up at my favorite bakery, rather than making my own (instant gratification has nothing to do with it, oh no, of course not). But THESE.

coooookies

These actually are deeeelicious. Not exactly to my bakery specifications, but delicious enough that I inhaled two fresh off the cooling rack (cooling? psh. Cookies don’t need to cool. Cooling racks are more like the cookie-waiting-to-be-eaten holding area). I would definitely make these again, which is saying quite a bit coming from me. They are perfectly crispy on the edges, with a chewy, vanilla-y middle. They do have a really pronounced vanilla flavor, which I (and Vacuum Vati) love. The only way they could be more perfect is if they were a bit fatter… they flattened out just a bit as they cooled. Not that this stopped me from eating them, clearly. Don’t let it deter you…

these are about to get up close and personal with my tummy gremlins

Crispy-Chewy Chocolate Chippies

Adapted from Full Circle Foodie, here!

I probably got about 30 cookies, most a few inches across, and several that were *ahem* larger (I may have eaten those myself. Shhh, don’t tell. Another picky specification: cookies are supposed to be BIG).

Rummage in your pantry for the following:

  • 2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp  baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 c brown sugar, packed*
  • 1/2 c white sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 c chocolate chippies!**

*I left the sugar content as is in these, since brown sugar is what makes them chewy. However… for a second batch, I think I would play with reducing sugar, like in  my other recipes. Though I like deadly sweet (occasionally), I’ve come to prefer less sweet versions. Likely the sugar could be cut by about 1/4 without effect. Oops, oh well, I guess I have an excuse to make another batch…

**I also prefer a higher cookie to chocolate ratio in my cookies, so I cut the chocolate by half. Up to you, whatever floats your cookie boat!

This is like the Isengard of cookies (only not evil)

Preheat the oven to 325, and line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Sift flour, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. In a mediumish bowl, whisk together melted butter and sugars until fluffy (no stand mixers allowed for this recipe! Use it as a bicep workout). Add in whole egg, yolk, and vanilla, and whisk until your arm falls off. Fold into dry ingredients, as well as choc chippies. Drop by one-inch ish scoop for smallish cookies, or fatty scoops like mine for bigger ones. Or a combo. Like I said, whatever makes your cookie float! (in milk, ha)

Bake for about 14 to 16 minutes. Mine were about 14 for the smaller ones, 16 for the larger ones. Let cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheets, and then transfer to the cookie holding area (as in, those waiting to be discreetly scarfed on the way through the kitchen).

Eat, and relish the fact that not only will you have good luck in the New Year (thanks to my Southern roots: black-eyed peas and cabbage), but that my future will be rife with cookies. Can’t ask for a better 2012 than that. Wait… are those…?! :]

playing with my food?! nahhhh...
heheh whoops... Isengard was apparently not seismically sound...