Low fuss desserts for strange times

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Hello from week three of shelter in place! It’s finally April? I think? As a friend said today on a virtual zoom coffee date, every day is Blursday and she is NOT wrong.

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I’m following a pretty typical daily routine at this point, which is weird even to think about but I guess I’m a routine type of person and that helps make it all feel more… normal? Short walk around the neighborhood and up some hills as soon as I get up, then french press coffee + frothy milk (oh yes) and work until the end of the day when I take another looooong walk for at least an hour. Probably TRX in there somewhere so my arms don’t fall off from lack of lifting (waaah).

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Hourly pacing around / shadowboxing and/or dance parties highly recommend to keep from becoming one with your chair! Ha.

Weekends are for baking something fun! I might make cookies or quickbread during the week, but I like to reserve weekends for something slightly more involved. Plus, I actually find the challenge of baking the pantry really fun, so there’s that.

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This pandowdy (‘dowdy’ pie crust, for those of you who don’t know – you cut it up partway through baking so the fruit can bubble up from underneath) was a happy occurence due to the gift of some vacuum sealed plums from a friend’s yard that had been in C’s freezer for a bit. I knew they’d be really juicy once thawed, so I cooked them down a little & drained some of the juice before turning them into pandowdy filling. I recommend you do the same, unless you’re using fresh plums and baking in season!

It’ll be dessert tonight with ice cream and breakfast tomorrow, I have no doubt. The gingery plums are punchy and tart – I added a bit of lemon zest and maple to round out their flavors. The cinnamon crust is SO easy and smells amazing. It’s easily subbed out for a gluten free or dairy free crust if you can’t do gluten or butter – I’m working through what I have on hand, so this is a whole wheat butter crust.

Added bonus of baking this: it will make your apartment / house / kitchen smell like a graham cracker in the BEST way!

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It’s rainy today and I love that. I’m giving myself permission to stay in – usually it’s GO GO GO to get in a long hike/run/walk at some point in the day, but my knees are feeling the pavement so I’m giving myself the day off to spend with my plants, minus some TRX work.

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Kuzco says hello from his new hanging perch! I’m pretty sure he loves it, and I absolutely do too.

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A shot of the urban jungle on a sunnier day. I’m trying on new names for the apartment – I called it the Eyrie when I moved in, since I’m on the fourth (top) floor and the wind tends to whistle around a lot up here. Now that the plant fam has grown so much though… do we like the Urban Jungleow? orrrr…. the Fogforest? hahaa.

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I hope you’re going easy on yourselves, too. This is a weird, weird time and everyone should cut themselves a little slack. I definitely suggest baking something awesome :) Happy Saturday!

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Plum and Ginger Pandowdy with a Cinnamon Crust

A Wait are Those Cookies original. Easily made with either fresh or frozen plums – I had been gifted a bounty of vacuum sealed, frozen plums from last summer from a friend’s garden, so I thawed those for use here. Yield: 1 9″ pandowdy, serves several. Refined sugar free! If you’re gluten free, sub in your favorite single-crust gluten free crust here and use that. I used whole wheat, since that’s what I have on hand and I’m doing my best to cook/bake my pantry :)

for the filling:

a whole lotta plums (I had a big thing of vacuum sealed, frozen ones from the summer; fresh would be fine too)
zest + juice of one lemon
1″ piece of fresh ginger, finely diced
2 tbsp tapioca starch
1/4 c chia seeds
3 tbsp maple
pinch of sea salt

Combine everything in a large stockpot / dutch oven / sauce pot / whatever you have that fits, and bring to a slow boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Drop the filling into a deep pie plate (mine is 9″) and set aside while you make the crust.

for the crust:

1/2 cup unsalted butter diced and chilled
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 c cornmeal
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-4 tablespoons ice water
1 tsp vanilla

Combine flour cornmeal, cinnamon, and salt in food processor and pulse briefly to mix. Add butter; process until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add ice water a tbsp at a time until the dough forms a ball – you’ll be able to tell when it’s ready! If it still looks dry, add water 1 tsp at a time. Turn the dough out a floured surface (ie marble slab, or countertop, etc) OR use two pieces of parchment paper like I do for less mess – no need to flour. Roll out the dough to be roughly circular (no need to be perfect here – pandowdies are pie’s unfussy cousin), and lift the dough onto the fruit. Tuck in the edges, leaving a rim of dough between the edge of the pie dish and the fruit – I crimped mine because I’m an overachiever and I also had extra dough, but no need to do that. Chill the assembled pandowdy for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400.
Make a few slits for steam to vent in the top of the crust, then brush the top with egg white and dust with coconut sugar. Pop the whole beautiful thing into the oven for 40 minutes; best if you line the rack beneath with foil or a large baking sheet – the juices runneth over!

Once you hit the 40 minute mark, take the pandowdy out, and use a sharp knife to break up the crust, thus ‘dowdy-ing’ its looks. Stick the pandowdy back in the oven, and bake for another 10 minutes. Let cool completely before serving; it will be gloriously juicy and delicious so might I suggest serving it in bowls? Ice cream is… optional, sort of. You do you!

Store any leftovers (who are you) covered in the fridge, but make sure to save some for breakfast. You’ll thank me later!

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apples + cheese

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Okay I admit it…

I was super skeptical of this whole apple-pie/cheddar combination for a loooong time, despite that fact that I LOVE both apple pie and cheese. Not to mention that I like apples and cheese together, ha. For some reason, putting cheddar in pie crust or something like that struck me as slightly not appealing. Despite all that, I’ve had that combination on the brainwaves for awhile now, and finally got around to trying it. Happy to report that I actually find it shockingly delicious, and will be happily making it again in the near future!

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When I ate the crust of this by itself, it almost reminded me of a cracker, but in the beeeest way possible. Add in the filling and a little ice cream on the side (or not!), and we find ourselves an awesome dessert situation.

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C was even skeptical of this one at first but is definitely a convert, so I consider it a win all around. I almost ALWAYS have sharp cheddar in the fridge (unless there has been some unforeseen terrible event that has arranged to leave me without cheese – travesty) and I also happened to have granny smiths on hand that had been hanging out for awhile – I was feeling like they needed to get used sooner rather than later.

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Happy circumstances all around, since this thang came together in snap and was so so delicious and easy. Definitely recommend, if any of you are on the apple-cheddar-dessert fence.

Life lately has been a loooot of work deadlines, so my only exciting photos of late are from my walks to/from work – I love walking, since it seems like every time I go out I see something new! Or just some beautiful clouds. Either way, I’m a big fan.

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Cable car underpinnings.

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Plants taking a vacation in another window for a change of scenery.

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Please excuse the slightly weird lighting in the galette photos… they look overly dramatic or something because of the time of day – I was off my normal photography routine but it was so good, I had to share.

Happy weekend, blog friends! I hope yours are restful and fun :)

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Apple Cheddar Galette

Grain and gluten free, and refined sugar free. Slightly savory, slightly sweet and all around delicious. Great for breakfast on its own, or with ice cream for dessert. A Wait are Those Cookies original. Yield: 1 galette, serves several.

For the galette dough:

1.5 c almond flour (not meal; you want the finer flour variety)
1/2 c tapioca flour
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
5 tbsp unsalted butter, chopped (or ghee)
1 egg*
1/2 c sharp cheddar, grated

*alternately you can use a flax egg with very similar results (3tbsp water + 1 tbsp ground flaxseed)

In a food processor or high-power blender (I used a food processor), pulse almond flour, tapioca starch, salt, butter and cheddar to combine until it looks like coarse meal. Add in egg and pulse just until combined. Shape into a disk and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or up to overnight.

For the filling:
4 granny smith apples, chopped into smallish pieces
zest and juice of two lemons
2 tbsp tapioca starch
pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tbsp vanilla
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon

In a large bowl, toss together apples, lemon zest and juice, tapioca, sea salt, almond and vanilla, maple and cinnamon.

Once the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 375. Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, keeping the circle to about 1/4″ thickness. Peel off the top piece of parchment, and slide the rolled out dough on its parchment onto a baking sheet. Top with apples. Begin folding up the sides, creasing them together as you go – if the dough rips, that’s okay (you can crimp the cracks back together; remember: galettes are forgiving and rustic!); you can use the bottom piece of parchment to help fold up the sides.

Dot the apples with butter and sprinkle dough with a little coconut sugar. Bake for 35-40 minutes until edges are golden brown — mine came out just fine at 35 minutes, so check accordingly.

Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then carefully slide the whole galette onto a cooling rack to let it cool completely. Serve with your fave ice cream or whatever of choice! Keeps well covered in foil on the counter or in the fridge.

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Figgin’ delicious

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Hi friends!

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I’ve had a wonderful week – my birthday was last Monday, so C planned a whole surprise trip to Monterey! So so so lovely and relaxing.

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I didn’t bake anything for my birthday this year but I did get to spend quality time with the fave human, enjoy myself at the spa and on the beach and play board games + read my book, so I consider this a winning situation. Ofc we also went to the aquarium! How could you not. Plushies were acquired, ha! He got a kraken and I now have Norma the Narwhal keeping me company.

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Vati’s birthday was yesterday! This is the week of all the birthdays. Ergo, there is dessert! He doesn’t know about this one yet as I’m writing this, sneaky sneaky. I’ll be bringing it over in a few hours and scheduling this post to drop after I arrive. Ha!

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This tart is inspired by horchata! I love horchata with a fierce passion, though I very rarely drink it because it’s usually so sweet. I took the cinnamon-vanilla idea and threw it in with some coconut milk, tucked inside a spicy chocolate shell. I have to say (based on the few taste tests I had while putting this together) that this is a winning combination. Vati looooves all things spicy so I think it’s definitely his jam.

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I love what happened with the surface of the panna cotta too – not sure actually what happened there but my guess is that once it was mostly set, I shut the fridge door slightly harder than I meant to and jostled it. Regardless, it’s a super cool effect so I might try to replicate at some point.

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Alsooooo it’s FIG SEASON. I have stopped by the market repeatedly to pick up figs the last several weeks – can’t stop, won’t stop. Fig season isn’t that long so I have to get after it while I can! I LOVE figs. Especially these – they’re called Panachée or tiger stripe figs, and they have gorgeous magenta insides. Eat out of hand or top a tart with them – can’t go wrong either way!

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Happy weekend!! I hope you’re out enjoying the beautiful weather.

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Cinnamon Coconut Panna Cotta on a Mexican Chocolate Crust

Inspired by horchata! Cinnamony, vanillay goodness with in a spicy chocolate crust. Grain & gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free. A Wait are those Cookies original. Yield: 1 9″ tart.

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For the crust:

1.75 c almond flour
1/3 c unsweetened cacao powder
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
4 tbsp coconut oil, melted

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, cacao powder, coconut, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, maple, and melted coconut oil and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a pie plate with coconut oil. Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge (or not, your call!). Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove and let cool.

Panna Cotta:
1 package unflavored powdered gelatin
1.75 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/4 c cold water
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup maple
Scant 1/4 tsp sea salt

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup cold water. Let stand without stirring until the gelatin is moistened, about 10 minutes.

Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan. Add vanilla, cinnamon, maple, and salt, stirring consistently. Remove from the heat. Add the gelatin mixture and stir until completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Cool until lukewarm, about 10 minutes. Pour the panna cotta mixture into the cooled tart shell. Place in the refrigerator until set, approximately 4 hours.

Store in the fridge – keeps well overnight for breakfast the next morning :)

Behind the scenes…

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Purple desserts & rain

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Hi friends!

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Slightly delayed post from the weekend, since I was busy busy and didn’t have time to get this out earlier.

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C and I almost completely annihilated this thing in two sittings, haha! It was GOOD. I love the cinnamon crust – it’s reminiscent of cinnamon graham crackers, which which I had a phase when I was a kid. I’ve always loved graham crackers, and anything that reminds me of them (and by association, my gram – who always fed them to me at her house) is totally welcome in my book.

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Such a great weekend surrounded by fave human & friends – I wish it hadn’t flown by so fast! We’ve been having some unseasonably rainy weather (accounting for the slightly funky lighting in these photos… the foliage + overcast wasn’t cooperating with me), which I’m LOVING, despite everyone else wanting sun, hahaa. I just love the rain!

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We ate this tart while board gaming on Saturday night, and then came back for a second round over a late brunch on Sunday. It’s a winner in both contexts – I love it with vanilla ice cream, but it’s also great on its own. It’s not nearly as tart as some of my other desserts, so if you’re baking for a crowd or with kids, I’d suggest this one. Besides, purple is broadly appealing :)

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Have a great week!

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Blackberry Panna Cotta on a Cinnamon Crust

Gluten free, dairy free & refined sugar free! A Wait are those Cookies original. Yield: 1 9″ tart; serves several. The cinnamon play so well against the berries – this works for a special breakfast or a delicious dessert with ice cream. Or both! :) Crust is easily grain free – just swap out the cornmeal for an equal amount of almond flour.

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For the crust:

1.5 c almond flour
1/3 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 c cornmeal
1 tsp cinnamon
heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
6 tbsp coconut oil, melted

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, shredded coconut, cornmeal, cinnamon, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, maple, and melted coconut oil, and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers.
Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a 9″ tart pan (w/ removable bottom) with coconut oil. Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge (or not, your call!). Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool for a few minutes.

For the panna cotta:

2 cups (approx. 1/3 lb.) blackberries — frozen is fine!
1/2 c wild blueberries (frozen is just fine)
2 tsp water
2 tbsp maple
2 cups coconut milk, full fat (one can)
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 packet of powdered gelatin
1/4 c cold water

Make the panna cotta filling:
In a small saucepan, combine the blackberries, blueberries, 2 teaspoons of water, and maple. Cover and simmer over low heat until the berries break down. Taste it – we love it tart, but bump up the maple a little if it’s too tart for your taste.

Add the coconut milk to the berries, and re-heat the berry-coconut mixture over low heat until it just reaches a simmer. Remove from the heat, and allow the mixture to steep for 30 minutes.

Toward the end of the 30 minute steep time, place the 1/4 c cold water in something large, like a mixing bowl or a large pyrex measuring cup (mine is 4c). Sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the cold water.

Return the berry-coconut mixture to the stove, and re-heat again until just barely simmering, and stir in the vanilla.

Place a fine mesh strainer over the pyrex or bowl with the softened gelatin, and strain the berry-cream mixture through the sieve, using a spatula to stir and press berry-y coconut milk to extract every last bit. Once all liquid has been extracted, thoroughly whisk the berry-coconut mixture into the softened gelatin.

Carefully pour the filling into the tart shell, then leave the tart in the refrigerator to at least four hours or overnight. Keeps well in the fridge; serve leftovers for breakfast ;)

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Let’s get crackin’

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Oh heavens, the holiday market shopping madness has already begun! I rather forgot this was the last weekend before Thanksgiving… Whole Foods is already at full-tilt insanity. It’s all good though, I don’t think I need to go back until after the holiday (ha. famous last words).

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It’s time for all things pumpkin, sweet potato, apple, and cranberry! I love the run of late autumn/holiday seasonal baking. I will say though, things can get a little one-note with all of the cinnamon-nutmeg-ginger combinations out there, which is why I especially love this pie. It’s light on the spice, but the cinnamon and ginger are present just enough to give it that seasonal vibe. Plus, it’s purple! Naturally! What’s not to love.

This thing obviously cracked like crazy (it cooled too fast in my apartment…might, *ahem* be a little cold in here?!) but I’m embracing its imperfections! It was delicious, and, like human beings, is unique and imperfect in its own way.

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Interestingly, it lightened up a lot in color after baking – see below photo! That was taken just over 24 hours after baking. The lighting is a bit different of course, but it was fun watching the color change.

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C and I both loved this one, a LOT. So much so that it might make another appearance this week for Thanksgiving! We’ll see. Regardless, we ate it for dessert and of course for breakfast, as we hibernated away from the bad air.

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I was traveling in SoCal for work last week and avoided some of it, but we’re still under a big blanket of smoke. The sunsets have been incredible, but that’s small comfort when outside is essentially verboten.

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My heart just breaks for those displaced by the terrible fires to the north of us and my beautiful state – we are on our 10th day of extremely unhealthy air quality and choking smoke in the Bay Area, and I can only imagine what it’s like closer to the fires. Sending all the good vibes to those who need them, though I know that isn’t nearly enough.

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Hold your loved ones, and bake them things – it is always the little kindnesses that are the most appreciated!

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Purple Sweet Potato Cheesecake Tart on a Chocolate Coconut Crust

Perfect for the holidays! Only lightly sweet – as always – and I love the purple sweet potatoes for their natural color. This comes together in a snap; you can always use regular sweet potato puree, or even pumpkin. This is kind of like a cheesecake, but uses yogurt instead of cream cheese for a lighter dessert. Yield: 1 9″ tart, serves 6-8 realistically or two really hungry people for dessert & breakfast the next morning :) Filling is adapted from the Roasted Root, here!

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For the crust:

1.75 c almond flour
1/3 c unsweetened cacao powder
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
4 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/4 c dark chocolate, melted

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, cacao powder, coconut, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, maple, and melted coconut oil and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a tart pan with coconut oil (you can also use a pie pan; I like the tart pans with removable rings). Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge (or not, your call!). Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 15 minutes.

For the filling:

1 cup pureed purple sweet potato*
1 cup whole milk, plain yogurt (I use Straus European style – it’s pretty runny)
3 eggs
1/4 c pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons tapioca flour*
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

* I boil them; you could also roast & mash them – either way is fine!

Add all of the ingredients for the filling to a food processor or blender and blend just until combined. Pour into the prepared crust and bake at 350 for 25-30 min until the center is set. Let cool completely, then refrigerate until serving.

Keeps well overnight in the fridge; probably best eaten within two days of baking, but I really doubt ours will even last that long :)

I only have (pies!) for you

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Could someone explain to me what happened to October? I blinked, and then… here we are. ALSO it’s already less than two weeks till Thanksgiving?! Um…. wat.

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But regardless… I have PIE!

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And it’s PURPLE pie!

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Because really, how could something like this not make you happy? That color just makes me smile every time. As does the fact that it’s grain & gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, vegan & paleo so errrybody can enjoy – because also, despite all the ‘free’ in its name, it is also delicious (NOT taste free. ha!)

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Maybe consider it if you’ve got friends or fam with some dietary stuff and they’re coming for Thanksgiving? I’m 100% sure they’d love you for it.

It’s been raining! I love love love the sound of rain – it so soothing, no matter what kind of day I’m having. Baking when it’s raining is one of my favorite things – I love that even though my apartment’s galley kitchen doesn’t have windows, I have a big window on the wall facing the entrance to the kitchen, which lets in light and rain sound. It’s perfect! Besides, my little one-butt kitchen is exactly the right size for my baking shenanigans.

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In other news, pretty coffee and some opera (shocking, I know…NOT).

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I’ve made this pie twice in three days – it’s that good! Full disclosure: the first time I made it, I took the first bite straight out of the pie dish: fork, meet pie. I NEVER do that, since I’m all about the presentation, but you know what? Sometimes it just has to happen.

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Happy Saturday! I’m loving the beautiful fall weather over here – the leaves are gorgeous, the air is crisp, and I had purple pie, eggs & kale for breakfast with the best company: life is wonderful! Happy baking!

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Purple Sweet Potato Pie on an Almond Coconut Crust

Gluten & grain free, refined sugar free, dairy free, vegan, paleo. Crust is a Wait are Those Cookies original, filling is adapted from The Endless Meal, here! Yield: one 9″ pie, serves 2 or several! ha.

For the crust:

  • 1.75 c almond flour
  • 1 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a pie plate with coconut oil.

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, shredded coconut, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, almond extract, maple, and melted coconut oil, and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers. Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge (or not, your call!). Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool for a few minutes, but keep the oven on if you’re making the whole thing at once.

For the filling:

  • 2 large purple sweet potatoes, peeled & sliced into 1″ pieces (about 3 cups worth)
  • 3/4 c full fat coconut milk
  • heaping 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1.5 tbsp tapioca starch*
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon (~1tbsp)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • heaping 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine salt

*full disclosure: I made this twice in three days & totally forgot the tapioca starch the second time. It’s actually not essential – the filling set up fine without it.

While the crust is baking, make the filling!

In a medium saucepan, boil the sweet potato slices until fork tender. Drain and let cool for a few minutes. Add them to a food processor (or high powered blender) and pulse a few times to puree. Add in coconut milk, maple, tapioca, lemon juice, vanilla, and almond extract, and pulse to combine. Add cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and sea salt, and pulse until combined. The filling should be thick! Pour/spoon/spatula it into the prepared crust, smooth the top (or not, you do you!), and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes – the crust should be golden brown and the pie should be set, but with just the slightest bit of jiggle in the middle. Remove and let cool completely before serving (preferably with ice cream or whipped cream of choice, either dairy or non dairy). I prefer to make this earlier in the day and refrigerate until serving, to give the filling ample time to set up.

Top with crystalized ginger & extra coconut if desired!

Keep leftovers covered in the fridge – it will last for a few days, provided all of it doesn’t get eaten first!

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One week…

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I did it!!!

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Well, almost. I walked this weekend, which means there is only one more advent calendar baked good between me and me officially having my masters. That and one presentation… as one of my cohort peeps so accurately said “It’s like going back to the Dursleys after spending a year at Hogwarts”. TRUER WORDS NEVER SPOKEN. Sheesh. Nothing like getting hooded and walking in your graduation to go right back to editing your slides for the looming presentation… but whatever. Almost there!

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One more week.

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And in the meantime, I have baked goods. Or rather, a no-bake treat since it’s bloody hot out and I’m not about to turn on the oven. But if I have to work on practicum stuff, you better believe I’m going to have something interesting to eat.

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Fast, easy, and delicious. These kind of remind me of a gourmet PB&J…. except better! And they’re cold. Which is bueno when it’s so hot outside, and you want a treat that feels more like real food (ie. me every day).

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So! Next time I blog I will be DONE DONE DONE DONE.

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Hayley Scott, Master of Public Health. Hmm… that has a nice ring to it :)

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Almond Butter Raspberry Chia Bars

Gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free. Healthy fats, antioxidants, and chocolate. YAY! All the good things. Yield: 1 loaf pan. Recipe lightly adapted from This Rawsome Vegan Life, here!

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  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1/4 c ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 c almond butter (mine was salted)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 c frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 4 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil
  • unsweetened shredded coconut, for garnish

In a smallish bowl, mash together thawed raspberries and chia seeds. Let sit while you make the rest of the bar crust.

Line a bread pan with parchment paper. In a vitamix or food processor, process the oats until they become flour. Toss into a bowl with the flaxseed, almond butter, maple, vanilla, and cinnamon. Stir (or use your hands, it’s more fun) everything together until it all comes together. Press all this goodness into the prepared pan. Set aside for a hot minute.

The raspberry-chia jam should have thickened by this point. Spread it on top of the almond butter-oat mixture in the prepared pan.

In another smallish bowl, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil until melty enough that you can stir it all together sans lumps. Spread this on top of the raspberry layer in the pan, then top with shredded coconut if that’s your thing. Toss it all into the fridge for about an hour before slicing and serving!

Store in the fridge.

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Really delicious half-eaten pumpkin loaf

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The first of the pumpkin loaves! I made one other pumpkin thing but this is more specifically FALL BAKING status. Because it’s suddenly freezing here and I’ve begun wondering how I survived in Oregon and also, where have all my warm clothes and layers gone?! I think I purged them from my wardrobe in a fit of frustration…. and now it’s become tank top, sweatshirt, scarf, fleece. Which is working tolerably well but… clearly I need help in the wardrobe department. Probably because whenever I try to buy sensible things I end up with boots and scarves and jewelry and don’t judge me, I know you have your weaknesses too, I see you over there on Etsy and Modcloth and Pinterest… oh wait, just me?!

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Also ps. Sorry for the slight awkwardness of the photos. I ate a bunch of the loaf before I realized it was good enough to share…. so you get half eaten loaf. I know that is sooooo appealing.

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On another semi unrelated note, I only have one more round of midterms and then it’s Thanksgiving! THANK GOODNESS. I have never been so grateful for the end of midterms in my life. Three rounds, so gross. I can’t really believe that I’m already only 3 weeks away from the end of the quarter. Can someone explain how that happened?! Mind blown. I have a feeling opera and jazzercise will get me through the last three weeks of medstats. And that will be my last three weeks of medstats EVER because obviously I am never doing that again.

I’ve been drawing again as a break from the madness:

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Jessie says hello, with drool:

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SO! Baking = coping mechanism. Let’s do this.

This bread is lightly sweet but so very fall-y and pumpkin-y and satisfying and delicious. I like the walnuts in there for texture but if that’s not your thing, chocolate would be just as good. It’s also stuffed full of beta carotene antioxidants, which is just generally fab.

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Quinoa Flour Pumpkin Carrot Bread

Vegan, refined sugar free, whole grain, can be gluten free! Friendly for IBS too since it has lots of great soluble fiber. Just in case you’re blessed with that sort of fun thing… it also might be fodmap friendly, depending on your fodmap tolerance; it was totes fine for me but it depends on you and your bod!

Yield: 1 loaf

  • 1 c quinoa flour, toasted*
  • 2/3 c whole spelt flour**
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • heaping 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 c pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 c pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 c coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water; let sit for 5 minutes
  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 1/4 c walnuts, chopped

*toasting gets rid of the natural bitterness — I do it in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes or until the flour smells toasty

** Replace with more quinoa flour for gluten free!

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a standard loaf pan with coconut oil or your greasing thingy of choice.

In a large bowl, whisk together toasted quinoa flour, spelt flour, baking soda and powder, sea salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In a smaller bowl, whisk or stir or whatever with your fave implement the pumpkin puree, maple, coconut oil, applesauce, vanilla, and gelled flax egg. Toss this whole bucket of delicious into your dry ingredients, and stir until combined. Add in carrots and walnuts about halfway and stir until the dry mix is incorporated. The batter will be pretty thick – spread it into your prepared loaf pan, and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. I had my timer set for 46 minutes, but my loaf came out perfectly at 42 — I started smelling it baking, and I don’t trust my super hot and uneven oven, so I tested it and it was actually perfect, so out it came. Let cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

Leftovers store best wrapped in foil in the fridge.

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Just for laughs, guess how many jars of nut butter I have…

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Guys. My songza playlist is SPOT ON tonight. Actually it’s so perfect it’s frightening. I got a bunch of funk up in here, perfect for a Thursday-almost-Friday-weekend-time.

Or let’s be real.

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Funk is perfect ALL the time. Fact.

Just like these.

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Welcome to end-of-summer-I-have-so-much-zucchini-someone-help. Or actually don’t. Really actually give me ALL YOUR SQUASH so I can make this bread over and over and over.

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Because the whole pan was gone in pretty much four hours and there were only three of us.

And I really don’t feel like I got a justifiably large amount. So obviously this has to happen again. I have a question to pose to you: Is baking a bread out of nut butter and then putting more nut butter on your bread redundant?? Because that’s basically the story of my existence. I don’t even want to know how much nut butter I consume on average (thank you, GRE studies, for immediately making me think of mean, median and mode. No, I will NOT be calculating the ‘real life word problem’ of my nut butter eating. Just… no.) Do you know how many jars of nut butter are in the fridge right now? I bet you can’t even guess.

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SEVEN.

And that’s not including the coconut butter in the cupboard (no need to refrigerate that sucker). I think I have a problem…

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So make that eight different types of nut butter. There are two types of peanut butter. And two types of almond butter. And a few medleys. And some sunflower butter… oh god.

Um okay so new subject.

Bees!!! Hooray for new jobs and local bees!! Welcome to my morning:

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If you want some, you know where to find me!

And you know what local honey would be amazing on??

THESE BARS.

They’re freaking fantastic. They’re even good by themselves!! Though obviously superior with a  smear of extra nut butter (obvi NOT the nut butter you used to make them, because how boring. Don’t you have six other choices to pick from?!). Super fast to whip up, which is basically as close to instant gratification as you can get with baking biz.

Side note: Playlist is reading my mind. “don’t stop till you get enough”… nut butter?! Right on, Michael, you are soooo right.

Anyway. Bars. Eat yo’ veggies! In something that is grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free, and full of healthy fats and fiber and all that good stuff! And they taste kind of like gingerbread?! Which is baffling considering there is no ginger to be found in them. Whatever. They’re delicious and I didn’t eat enough last time sooooo…. does someone have any extra zucchini lying around they want to chuck my way? Puhhleeez??

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Almond Butter Zucchini Bread

Recipe only a teeny bit adapted from Hummusapien, here! It was so perfect I didn’t want to futz too much, though next time I might try them with a flax egg just for funzies. Gluten free, grain free, flour free. Paleo, refined sugar free, healthy fats, good source of fiber and sneaky veggies! Makes about 9 good sized bars in an 8 by 8 pan.

  • 3/4 c almond butter [mine was roasted and very lightly salted]
  • 1 giant zucchini, grated [1 heaping c shredded zucchini]
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 c pure maple syrup
  • 1/8 c raw coconut nectar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt [adjust accordingly if your almond butter is salty]
  • 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350, and lightly grease an 8 by 8 baking pan with coconut oil or whatever your thing of choice is.

In a largeish/mediumish bowl thing, combine almond butter, egg, maple, coconut nectar, and vanilla. Whisk together until combined. Add in baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt and whisk all that goodness in too. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips until combined. Pour batter into the prepared pan, and bake for just about 30 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.

Let cool for a few, then flip out onto a cooling rack. I store it in the original baking pan after it’s fully cooled, with foil over the top  in the fridge (Not like I needed to since it all disappeared in about thirty seconds anyway, but you know…). Leftovers keep for… I have no idea. I didn’t have any.

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A case of RUDE tonsils

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So guess what.

This is what happens when your tonsils rebel and you end up with…

TONSILLITIS.

So. RUDE.

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Look what it made me do? I was feeling sorry for myself and this happened.

And I kind of thought it was pretty so I took lots of iPhone photos while I was becoming one with the couch. Which is so not my mo, I’m getting twitchy and this is only my first full day of antibiotics (which I hate but in some cases are obviously necessary).

Ughghghhghghg.

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Thankfully things look a little better with a bowl of trashed up banana bread in front of you. I took a perfectly good-for-me loaf of grain free, refined sugar free banana bread and dumped a load of homemade chocolate hazelnut butter and vanilla ice cream on it. Because, obviously. I do not ever need to justify my ice cream but in this case I have tonsillitis and clearly everyone knows that tonsillitis=ice cream. There’s got to be an official rule written down somewhere that says that… right? Whatever. Just humor me, I’m sickly and cranky. And my banana bread is gone now so I can’t trash up any more of it.

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Good thing I still have ice cream. I’ll have to just make do with that…

IMG_0372 Simple Grain Free Banana Bread

This is one of my favorites—it comes out with a great crumb, it’s moist but not soggy (ew, no one wants that), and it bakes up cleanly in less than an hour. Grain free+gluten free, refined sugar free (in fact, it doesn’t have any sweetener added at all, except banana), and paleo. Yay! I adapted the recipe from Peanut Butter Runner, here! Makes one loaf.

  • 3/4 c almond flour
  • 1/4 c coconut flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp unrefined coconut oil (measured when completely liquid)
  • 3 medium-large, extremely ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • shredded unsweetened coconut for topping, optional

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, and preheat the oven to 350.

Whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg, trying to get all the lumps (sift coconut flour if it’s super lump-tastic). In a smaller bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Pour wet into dry and stir until just combined—the batter is thick, and almost a little ‘dry’, but it spreads out easily into a loaf pan. Top with shredded coconut, if using, and bake for 45 minutes until a tester comes out clean.

Use the parchment to lift it out onto a cooling rack, and let cool completely before wrapping in foil. It does best stored in the fridge!

Trash it up with anything you feel like. Chocolate? Peanut Butter? Ice cream? (I mean, obvi)… This banana bread is your oyster.

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