Master Status.

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oh hey! I DID IT! I’m actually DONE!

A masters degree in 10 months? Not too shabby.

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Somehow, that isn’t computing in my brain… I still feel like I need to be doing something. I’m sure you know the feeling? But… I don’t! I’m taking a mini break from adulting, so the biggest decisions I have to currently make are a) am I going to go work out (answer: pretty much always yes) and b) what will I eat afterward?

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My presentation went well, and it felt really good to end on a high note! I’m officially a master? Or something. Ha.

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But! I now have more time and mental energy to blog and make interesting things, which is just lovely. I got a notification today that my bloglet is 5 years old today! I can’t believe it. It’s growing up so fast!! *sniff* … or maybe that means I’m just getting old; that’s probably more likely.

SO! For mutti’s (rather belated) birthday dessert, I got fancy. Coconut milk panna cotta (dairy free, paleo, vegan, refined sugar free) with date caramel and walnut cookie crumble. So good! And actually fairly simple, when it comes down to it — there are just a lot of parts, but they come together with a minimum of fuss.

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Coconut Panna Cotta with Date Caramel and Walnut Cookie Crumble

Dairy free, paleo, vegan, refined sugar free, gluten free — everything EXCEPT taste free. Because these are delicious! And they really don’t heat up the house much if you’re making them on a day that it’s stupid hot outside (not like I did that or anything). Yield: 3 panna cotta servings (I chilled mine in small coffee cups; about the size of normal ramekins only deeper) + extra caramel and crumble left over after serving. Recipe lightly adapted from Kiss my Bowl, here!

For the panna cotta:

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk, well shaken
  • 1/3 c pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp agar flakes*

*agar powder is no doubt better, but all my Whole Foods carried was the flakes, and they worked fine

For the date caramel:

  • 1 c pitted medjool dates, soaked
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 heaping spoonful of almond butter**

**mine is salted; I like the salty-sweet combo so you may want to add a pinch of salt if yours isn’t

For the walnut cookie crumble:

  • 1/2 c raw walnuts
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder / cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • splash of maple syrup
  • pinch of salt

In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the coconut milk until it steams. Whisk in the maple syrup and bring just barely to a boil. Whisk in the agar flakes and let cook for just about 5 minutes, still barely boiling/high simmering. Remove from heat and let stand in the pan, whisking occasionally, for another 5 minutes. Once cooled slightly, pour into molds of choice (I used small coffee mugs that are deeper and slightly less wide than a standard ramekin; ramekins are just fine if you have them!). Let cool on the counter until your fridge can handle it, then let them set up in the fridge for at least an hour.

While the panna cottas are chilling, use a food processor or a vitamix to make the date caramel. Pour the dates and a few tablespoons of their soaking water into the implement of choice, add vanilla and almond butter, and blend till smooth (or chunky. you do you!). Store in a jar in the fridge until needed.

I made the cookie crumble in the same vitamix as the date caramel without cleaning it overmuch, which worked totally fine. Add walnuts, cocoa powder, vanilla, maple, and salt and whiz away until it’s crumbly. Store in a jar in the fridge until needed!

The panna cottas should be firm to the touch on top and have lost most of their jiggle by the time they’re ready. Run a knife around the edge of the ramekin or coffee cup, and they should flip right out onto a plate. Top with excessive amounts of date caramel and cookie crumble for maximum effect, and indulge accordingly!

Any leftover date caramel (who are you?!) and cookie crumble keeps well in the fridge for at least a week (but I dare you to make it last that long).

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“Adult” decisions and more cookies.

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You know what’s fun about being an “adult” [I use this term loosely..] and spending all day at the beach and it being summer+hot?

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Ice cream becomes a perfectly acceptable dinner.

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Trust me. Try it. Go to the beach first though, that makes all the difference.

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Barring that, once your kitchen isn’t a thousand degrees, make cookies! I mean really though… why on earth would I ever want to turn my oven on when it’s already stupid hot at 9 am. Good thing I put on dirtyish clothes to go to Jazzercise this morning because um HELLO SWEATING. So baking is clearly not an option today because I did enough sweating this morning and I really don’t feel the need to subject myself to inferno blasts from the open oven. No thanks. I mean, I suppose I could make some dashboard cookies but I don’t really relish the idea of walking outside and dealing with my oven hot car.

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Also ps. Being an adult is totally relative. I might look like one on the outside… but ha. Don’t be fooled. Sprinkles are the bomb. I will never ever in eleventh billion lifetimes grow out of rainbow sprinks. Or jumping for silly photos. I like to have competitions with myself to see how airborne I can get.

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I also apparently eat everything out of jars.

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But anyway. Enough whining about how hot it is and how I’m really a five year old inside my adultish skin suit. Let’s talk cookies, mmk?

These little guys come together ridiculously fast, which is how cookies should be in my book. They’re super fudgy and chocolatey, with just a little hint of banana flavor. I actually made them awhile ago, but I want them again. NOW. It is really unfortunate that there are no bananas to be had around here… how did THAT happen??

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Grain Free Chocolate Banana Cookies

These are straight up delicious. Fudgy and only a little banana-y, and lightish on account of the coconut flour. Don’t skimp on good dark chocolate for the chippies, that makes all the difference. Paleo, gluten free, grain free, and refined sugar free! Recipe only slightly adapted from Home to Heather, here! Yield: 10 good sized cookies.

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  • 1/3 c coconut flour (sifted if it’s super lumpy)
  • 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/8 c raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 c dark chocolate chips

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

In a medium bowl, whisk together coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and sea salt. In a smaller bowl, mash banana, then toss in eggs, honey, and vanilla. Whisk vigorously to combine. Pour wet into dry, add in chocolate chips, and stir until just combined. Drop batter by roundish balls onto the prepared cookie sheet, flattening them slightly. Bake for 12-14 minutes (mine were perfect at 13). Let  cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. Store any leftovers (ha) in the fridge.

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Tonsillitis=antibiotics=spottiness. Excuse me WHAT?!

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Cookies.

For when you start with tonsillitis and then end up with an allergic reaction to amoxicillin, AFTER the entire course is done.

I mean, COME ON.

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Dear body: Okay. I get it. You are no longer tolerant of things ending in ‘cillin’, and given that I’m not crazy about antibiotics anyway (unless its a dire situation, ie. can’t see tonsils on account of too much gunk), I promise promise not to take any more of the ‘cillin’ family. Next time please can we just use our words and you can TELL me that you don’t like something, rather than SHOWING me how much you hate it with a massive out break of red spots? Okay thanks. Love, soul residing in currently very spotty environs.

Because I really really really hate being spotty. Cookies might not even assuage how much crap this is.

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Now I’ve had several bendadryl and am somewhat struggling to complete my sentences. Because… I really wanted to spend my weekend looking like a red and white spotted cheetah. NOT.

Le sigh.

Since my friends all know me so well, they naturally suggested cookies. So I made myself cookies because that’s apparently what you do when your bipedally locomoting meat vehicle decides to throw a massive fit and make you unfit for viewing by other humans.

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But true to form, of course I made weird cookies. I mean, I’m stuck at home being spotty so why not get weird?! Benadryl makes me weird anyway so let’s just get weirder, right?! Except weird is my normal because a) you already know I put lentils in everything and b) I’ve already subjected you to green flecks in my cookies so this is really just riffing on an old theme…. of my habit of putting green stuff where it probably doesn’t belong. Too bad. I’m spotty and I like it and therefore … obviously it belongs there. I think my life is complete now: I have successfully put lentils and power greens into a cookie and made them taste good. WHAT.

On the plus side, my tonsils look normal now!

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Powerhouse Cookies

Fudgy, chocolatey, and… full of greens?! Gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free. High in protein, low in sugar. Not too sweet. So freaking easy since all you really get dirty is your food processor and a spoon. Yield: I got 19 cookies, on the smaller side (but not too small). Recipe adapted from Homemade Hearts, here!

  • 1.5 c black lentils, cooked
  • 1 c mixed power greens (mine was kale, chard, and spinach)
  • 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 1/4 c unsalted almond butter
  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chips + 1/8 c raw cocoa nibs

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If needed, precook your lentils (1/2 c dry + 1 c water until soft).

Line a baking sheet (or two) with parchment paper (I used one. lazy.). Preheat the oven to 350.

In a food processor, whizz lentils and greens until uniformly blended (though there should still be a bit of texture to it). Toss in oats, almond butter, maple, vanilla, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt, and blend to combine, scraping down the sides of the food processor as needed. Remove blade, and stir in chocolate chips and cocoa nibs. Drop by the rounded tablespoon onto the prepared cookie sheets, and bake for 13 minutes, until the top is just slightly firm. Remove and let cool on a rack. Store in an airtight container in the fridge!

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