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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Rustic chunktastic cookies strike again

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Food girl strikes again.

And so does Cookie Thursday. Or okay fiiiiine…. cookie Wednesday. Picky picky.

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I haven’t posted a good, rustic chunktastic cookie in awhile but these are pretty fantastic. And sort of sorry (except not really) that the last eleventy posts have all featured cookies. My savory life these days is a little lacking, sadly, due to ridiculous scheduling (sort of my fault, sort of not) soooo… yeah. At least I have cookies! Life is really lame if you don’t have cookies, trust me on that one.

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And well, cookies.

Because, Thursday.

And look! I just can’t help it. Once a mermaid, always a mermaid. Beachy weekend day off= happy happy happy!

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I’m feeling slightly less than coherent at the moment—I just came from jazzercise and then pounded down some toast (hello, enthusiastic and energetic dancing requires immediate carb replenishment, obviously) and now it’s only 10:45 and I already want lunch. Um. Hello, stomach? You’re not being very cost effective right now. Kind of like when you make me so starving at work that I eat ALL of my food on my first break and then that apparently doesn’t make a dent so then I have to go scrounge up some other victuals. As I said.. Not cost effective. But also, I like eating… so really, maybe we can come to some middle ground here…

Like lunch. At 11. Ha.

Oaty Coconut Almond Cookies

Recipe lightly adapted from Curly Girl Kitchen, here! Thick, chewy cookies filled with oats and coconut. They have a fab almond taste from the almond butter and extract, so if almond is your jam these are for you. Whole grain, refined sugar free, and gluten free. I made a half batch for a yield of 12 [measurements for the half batch posted here].

  • 1/4 c smooth, unsalted almond butter
  • 1/6 c maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 + 1/8 c almond flour
  • 1/4 c unsweetened coconut
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • heaping 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 c dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together almond butter, maple, coconut oil, vanilla extract, almond extract, and egg. In a smaller bowl, combine oats, almond flour, coconut, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt. Stir wet into dry until combined, and fold in chocolate chips.

Drop by the large spoonful onto the prepared cookie sheet. These won’t spread too much, so feel free to cram them all on there. Bake for 8 minutes, then let cool on the cookie sheet for a minute or two. Remove them to a cooling rack until they cool completely. Store them in an airtight container, if they last that long…

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This has absolutely nothing to do with cookies but just illustrates how I’m really like five years old. Ice cream is not complete without rainbow sprinkles, everyone knows that…

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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Merry Christmas, I made you BUNS!!

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Merry Christmas to all my blogglet’s invisible internet friends!!! Joy, peace and laughter to all, and much love in cookie form from this quarter. And of course (obligatory): Merrrrrry Christmas, BEDFORD FALLSSSSS!!!

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Or perhaps I’m sending you love not in cookie form but…

in BUN form!

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Check out these buns.

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And this frosting. Hahahhahha. My drizzle skills (or lack there of) are atrocious soooo… I go for the strategic pouring method. As in… I completely obliterate whatever I’m eating under a waterfall of ‘frosting’. The more the merrier!

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Helloooo, breakfast. And also snack. And also… oh wait. They’re gone. How did that happen?!

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This was like the recipe of being a spaz. I kept having hand spazzes all over the place and accidentally adding much more than I needed to. Like, REPEATEDLY. This isn’t something that happens normally, mind you… I mean, I dance and cook at the same time like a BOSS but somehow I usually manage to avoid unmitigated disasters of unmeasured/spastic ingredient additions. Not so much today, but shockingly these actually turned out fine! Looook at that. Merry Christmas to me! Besides, I only had exactly the right amount of dates so I couldn’t eff things up too much.

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Besides being delicious, these are good for you too!! Naturally. I don’t do things by halves, you know that (reference frosting pictures in case you had any lingering doubts). Sprouted quinoa flour and whole wheat… sweet potato… naturally date sweetened… and coconut butter frosting! Good carbs and healthy fats: give your tummy some ecstatic eats and send it the tidings of the season, from me!

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Sprouted Quinoa Vegan Cinnamon Date Rolls

I got 9 rolls out of mine because I cut them to be nicely breakfast sized (obvi). The recipe is adapted (with big thanks, they’re delicioussss) from Katy’s Kitchen, here!
Vegan, refined sugar free/naturally sweetened, can be gluten free!

Rustle up the following for the filling:

  • 1.5 c pitted and chopped medjool dates
  • 3/4-1 c water, divided
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp salted almond butter
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Make this first: in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine dates and 1/2 c water. Stir frequently as the dates cook, breaking up the chunks as you go. Add more water as needed in 1/4 c increments—I started with 1/2 c, and added close to a cup by the time I was finished. Once the dates have formed a mostly-smooth paste (small chunks are acceptable and delicious), remove from the heat and stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, almond butter, and sea salt. Set aside to cool.

For the dough:

  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 c sprouted quinoa flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • scant 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp refined coconut oil, slightly softened
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c sweet potato puree (about 1/2 a large sweet potato)
  • 1/3 c unsweetened applesauce

Preheat the oven to 375, and lightly grease your pan of choice (I used a 9″ cake pan, and stuffed some parchment paper in the empty spot to keep them from expanding).

In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, baking powder, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Work in the coconut oil with your fingers or a pastry cutter until the mixture turns a little crumbly, like sand. Add in vanilla, sweet potato puree and applesauce, and knead with your hands until a dough forms. Roll it out on a floured surface (and perhaps be smart and use wax paper, which I sadly didn’t do) into an approximate rectangle (mine was much longer than it was wide). Spread the date filling out evenly onto the dough, leaving a little margin around the edges. Start rolling from the long side, roll it up completely, and use a sharp knife to cut it into rolls. Place them into the prepared pan with edges touching, and bake for about 30-35 minutes. I checked mine at 25, and then in five minute increments after that. They should be gloriously golden brown.

For the drizzle (if you’re a drizzly type):

  • 3 tbsp coconut butter
  • 4 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1.5 tbsp maple syrup

Soften the coconut butter in the microwave, and whisk together all ingredients. Drizzle (or pour with reckless abandon) over your buns of choice. Mmmm.

The buns are delicious straight out of the oven warm, but they also get a little crisper when they sit out for a bit and are equally delicious that way. I have no frame of reference as to whether or not they make good leftovers, as mine were made this morning and are now… gone.

Merry Christmas!

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A simple sammy to combat holiday madness

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Okay so not a recipe, but this is one of my favorite combinations… and I felt greedy hogging it all to myself…

Sharing is caring, right??

Right.

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Especially this time of year when I feel like a hermit. Seriously. I go to work. I work (retail, for those of you not in the know). I fight the masses to drive home. And then I get home, and I DON’T LEAVE. Ugh. It takes twice a long to go anywhere, and people are abnormally aggressive, it seems. Heaven forbid you don’t locate the EXACT item in the EXACT shade that you were looking for. Just because you haven’t does so not entitle you to run me over, verbally or with your large vehicle… Most wonderful time of the year? Um… sure. Just don’t make me venture anywhere near to a shopping metropolis and I’m happy [this includes groceries, by the way… helloooo creative cooking with the remnants of the pantry].

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Thankfully, this is one of the simplest things ever. It makes a spectacular breakfast… or lunch. Or really I suppose you could eat it for dinner too… I’m sure I have, somewhere along the line. And also thankfully, you can rustle it up easily with things you probably already have on hand. Although, if I run out of almond butter, I generally make an exception to go brave the masses. I must ALWAYS have almond butter on hand. Non negotiable…. nut butter is its own food group around here.

So do yourself a favor and whip up one of these. Naturally sweet, salty, crunchy, creamy. Everything you might want, all in one tidy package. Or not so tidy… this is definitely a needs-a-fork sammy, in the best possible way.

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Grilled Almond Butter and Banana Sandwich

I used to eat just plain almond butter-banana sammies, but eventually I decided to try grilling it… and I have never (and probably never will, unless in dire circumstances) go back. These are just too good. Makes one sandwich, obviously doubled/tripled easily depending on how hungry you are.

  • 2 slices of whole wheat bread (I use organic sprouted honey wheat)
  • 2 tbsp (ish, let’s be real, I don’t measure) almond butter*
  • 1/2 large banana, sliced
  • 1.5 tsp unsweetened coconut
  • cinnamon to taste
  • salted butter*
  • raw, unfiltered honey and/or date paste for serving

*I like salted, since it gives the sandwich a bit more depth against the sweetness of the banana

Really… I feel slightly like I’m insulting your intelligence by writing down directions… buuuuut just in case I’m going to do it anyway.

Lightly butter the outsides of your bread. On the inside of one piece, spread yo’ almond butter. Top it with coconut sliced banana, and then with cinnamon (I like a lot!). Almond butter the other piece of bread, and slap it on top of the nice pile of goodness you already have going. Heat your preferred pan over medium heat, and grill the sandwich until it’s golden brown (or I like mine a little charred) on both sides. Top with honey or date paste for serving, for a particularly decadent treat.

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Math is only fun when there are cookies on one side of the equal sign

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Whoops… I baked.

Um really though? Like that’s any surprise at all, you all know me far too well.

And whatever, it’s the holidays and I can’t help it!! It’s like… wired into my synapses that as soon as it gets cold I have to make things. Not just any things but preferably cookies. COOOOOKIEEEEESSS!!! Holidays = cookies. Just like butter = heaven. Everyone knows that.

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Besides, there are lots of excuses to feed people around the holidays and we know I really like doing that too.

As Brianna the Bestie (BtB?!) pointed out: “Because I know that’s something you hate to do… cook for people…”

Oi. I am so predictable sometimes.

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But not always… I like to spice things up and keep it interesting. You’d get bored if I wasn’t kind of nuts and supremely hilarious all at the same time, wouldn’t you?!

Speaking of spice…

It’s in these cookies.

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Because it’s the holidays! And even though I’m not a math person I’ll give you one more equation (because equal signs really mean balance and obviously your life needs cookies to have the proper balance): cookies = holidays = cold weather = spices. Like ginger and cinnamon. Luckily for you, these have both! So you don’t have to choose or anything… The hardest choice regarding these is probably whether or not to dip them in chocolate. And that’s not really a hard choice because seriously? Why WOULDN’T you?!

And maybe make a sandwich with them and some salted almond date caramel. Because I don’t know about you but that just took my cookie to a whole new gastronomical level. My cookie is in the stratosphere now. Is yours?

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Chocolate Dipped Ginger Cookies

Recipe gratefully adapted from Whole Pure Recipes, here! I made a half batch for a yield of 14 small cookies—I’ll post the measurements for the small batch here. Obviously I made the entire recipe of date caramel because hellllooooo, of course I want extra of that lounging around. Obvi.

Vegan and refined sugar free!

For the cookies:

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp cornstarch (organic, please)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 5 tbsp water
  • 1/4 c unrefined coconut oil, slightly softened
  • 1/4 c coconut sugar
  • 1/8 c molasses
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • a bit of extra coconut sugar for rolling

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a smallish bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, ginger, cinnamon, and salt. In a really smallish bowl, combine flaxseed and water and set aside to gel. Now in a slightly largish bowl, combine coconut oil and coconut sugar. Using a whisk (I wanted a bicep workout, feel free to use an electric mixer or whatever), vigorously whisk together sugar and oil until the mixture lightens in color a bit. Whisk in molasses, vanilla, and the flax egg, until smooth. Add dry ingredients into wet in two batches, stirring to combine but avoiding over mixing. Roll the dough into small teaspoon size balls, roll it in the extra coconut sugar, and then flatten them slightly on the cookie sheet (they won’t really spread). Bake for just about 9 minutes, until the tops are firm. Remove and let cool for a few minutes, then move to a cooling rack.

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For the salted almond date caramel:

  • 1.5 c medjool dates, pitted
  • 1.5 tbsp unsalted almond butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt

Pour a few cups of near-boiling water over the pitted dates, and let them sit for about 10 minutes (while you do the cookie dishes and the cookies finish baking… multitasking, you know?), reserving the soaking water. Once softened, toss dates, almond butter, vanilla and sea salt into the bowl of your food processor, and send that baby for a whirl until everything is combined. Add the reserved soaking water one tbsp at a time, until the caramel is smooth (I usually leave some date chunks in there because I like chunks…). Store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks, assuming it lasts more than a day…

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For the chocolate dip:

  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp refined coconut oil

Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl (or a double boiler if you’re feeling less lazy than me) until melted.

Dip cookies in chocolate and thriftily eat the rest (it’s too good to waste!). I let mine sit on parchment paper on the counter for a bit before transferring them to a plate in the fridge for the shell to fully harden.

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