Tarting (torte-ing?!) it up

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Holy moly.

Gooey chocolate deliciousness.

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

Okay.

Did you think?

Did you guess vegetables?!

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

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

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

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Chocolate Zucchini Torte

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Transitory Friday obsessions and other musings.

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Friday things!!

1. I made these cookies. Again. For the second time in a week.

2. I’m finally not sore. It took me like four days to recover from my last set of workouts Monday-Wednesday, but hey. It was worth it! (Even though that involved being in ridiculous pain trying to hand people things across the cash desk or reach my arms over my head, but whatever. Reaching and handing are clearly unnecessary activities… riiiight?).

3. It is unbelievable how many times people come into the store asking: “sooo… my friend’s aunt’s cousin had these pants…. annnd they were, umm… black… do you have them?” … Really?!

4. My car’s back shocks are currently making the noise of the van’s horn from the movie Little Miss Sunshine. You know, like MmmmEMEMMEMMRMMBmmmbbBMBMMBMMM (that is exactly what horns sound like, by the way) everyyyyy time I go over a bump. I think it’s time to get this looked at…

5. I find this hilarious. Courtesy of Memphis Minnie’s bbq… om nama porkaya hahahah!

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6. Errrmeerrgeerrrddd my peanut butter jar is half empty. Someone rescue me.

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7. Kombucha. With chia. I’m obsessed.

8. I also made grilled pineapple and black bean quesadillas, with avocado and mango chutney. They were a winner, so you get a picture. I’m too lazy to post what barely counts for a recipe, so just chuck some pineapple on a grill pan and call it a day.

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Anyway. Without further ado, you should make these cookies! They’re stupidly easy and full of nutrients, without requiring an extensive list of ingredients or weird kitchen appliances. One bowl, one spoon, and maybe your food processor. Easy money. Gluten free+ lower in sugar+ higher in protein+ whole grain+ antioxidants from the chia+ mental well being from overall deliciousness= happy human.

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Absurdly Simple Peanut Butter-Chia Cookies

Yet another pb cookie recipe, I know I know, but hey. You can NEVER have too many peanut butter cookie recipes in my book. PB+chia is totally a power couple! Especially easy ones you can whip up when you desperately need a cookie. The recipe is ever so slightly modified from Cooking Uncorked, here! I got 15 cookies out of mine–you could easily have more if you made them smaller (though why you would ever do a thing like that is beyond me).

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Lezzzz do eeet:

  • 1 c oat flour (I pulverize a cup of oats in my food processor until fine)*
  • 1/3 c rolled oats*
  • scant 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1.25 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 c organic chunky peanut butter
  • 6 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c chocolate chips

*gluten free if needed for a gf cookie

Preheat the oven to 350 and rustle up a cookie sheet.

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Process oats into flour, if needed. Combine dry ingredients… in a bowl. Chuck in everything else. Lick spoon and pb-measuring cup. Ensure that there is no smidge of peanut butter left uneaten (heaven forbid). Clean spoon. Use your well defined and nicely muscled biceps to stir everything together. Drop by heapingish tablespoons onto the cookie sheet. Lick spoon, lick bowl. Bake cookies for 7-8 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is! Let cool for a minute or two on the cookie sheet, then move to a cooling rack (or your mouth).

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Milkshakes happen.

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Sooo…

I made cookies.

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And then I made a milkshake. With cookies. And Bailey’s.

Yes.

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(This was the other night. And then this morning I went to my favorite bodyrock class and now typing is difficult because my arms are shaky and already sore. Bahahah ooooh I love that class so much! See? It’s all about balance. Milkshakes one day, total and complete ass-kicking the next: this is how I roll)

Be jealous… be very, very jealous.

Luckily I had Vaccuum Vati around to test run the milkshake, just in case it was terrible. Except excuse me?! How could molasses-ginger cookies+ice cream+Bailey’s ever be terrible?! That’s right. It couldn’t.

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The cookies are fabulous on their own of course, and actually rather guiltless (Not that I think anyone should EVER associate guilt with food—I’m just using this as a handy turn of phrase. Food is love! Just indulge responsibly…). They are soft and chewy, with an amazing gingerbready-molasses kind of flavor, and actually really remind me of cookies my grandma used to buy when I was a kid: I liked taking three evenly spaced bites around the perimeter of the cookie to make it look like a dress. Yeah. Weird child, don’t even get me started. But whatever, they have a similar taste profile, at least as far as I remember. Apparently all my memory cells regarding that particular memory are taken up with the three evenly spaced bites (I don’t even remember what brand they were…).

Anywayyy, moving on. Make these! Your body will thank you for the nutrients, and your brain will thank you for tricking it into thinking you’re totally indulging. When you’re really not. Unless you choose the milkshake option, which you totally should. Obviously.

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Molasses Ginger Cookies

The recipe comes from Running to the Kitchen, here! I made only a few slight changes (mostly just flour), but mine did this weird spreading thing. Can’t say I particularly minded, since I obviously have a thing for enormous cookies the size of my face. I got 11 palm-sized, really flat cookies.

  • 3/4 c almond flour (I ground almonds in my food processor until fine)
  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 c chopped dark chocolate

These cookies need to chill for at least 2 hours, so keep that in mind before you mindlessly preheat the oven like me.

In a mediumish bowl, combine almond flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt, and stir to combine. In a smaller bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil, molasses, honey, vanilla, and egg. Add wet into dry, toss in chocolate shards, and stir until just combined. Cover the bowl and stick it into the fridge for at least an hour and a half, preferably more like 2.

Now you can preheat the oven to 350 (you impatient little minx), and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. When the dough is thoroughly chilled, drop the cookies onto the prepared cookie sheet, using your fingers to smooth them into nicer-looking shapes. My dough was very sticky, so I advise using spoons rather than attempting with your fingers. Leave enough space between your cookies to allow them to spread, as mine did—or rather, as mine morphed into a giant cookie amoeba. Ridiculously tasty, but they ended up with some flat edges, hhehe. Bake for 8-10 minutes (mine went for 10), then let cool on the sheet for about 5 before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Store in a plastic container between wax paper to retain their chew!

you see what I did there??
you see what I did there??

If you care to try the milkshake (which you most definitely should…), blenderize a cookie, a few blobs of vanilla ice cream (good quality, please), and a healthy glug of Bailey’s. Serves… one. Don’t plan on sharing: trust me, you won’t want to.

oops, caught in the act
oops, caught in the act

Don’t be judgy, it was delicious!

Merry Christmas, BEDFORD FALLSSSS!!!

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I just fed this to the ones I love, who are now comatose. I think I might need a nap.

Merry Christmas! Feed the ones you love.

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Pumpkin Sweet Roulade with Hazelnut Filling and Hazelnut Caramel Drizzle

This cake is freaking fantastic. Pumpkin cake rolled around a hazelnut licqueur-spiked whipped cream filling with shaved dark chocolate chunks, topped with a hazelnut spiked caramel. Um, hello, what isn’t there to love?! Pumpkin, cream, hazelnut, and chocolate: go celebrate Christmas and eat this with your loved ones!

The cake is gratefully borrowed from (and caramel inspired by!) Cate’s World Kitchen, here, but the rest is my brainchild! Serves… enough. Probably seven 1″ slices? Ish? Depending on how large of a dessert coma you’d like to go into.

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For the cake:

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • scant 1/4 c brown sugar, loose (not packed)
  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • scant 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar

For the filling:

  • 1 c (ish) heavy cream
  • 1 tsp of powdered sugar
  • good glug of vanilla
  • a healthy glug of hazelnut liqueur (I used Fra Angelico)
  • several squares of dark chocolate, finely chopped (I used 72% Belgian dark)

*I never measure for the filling, so just taste as you go until you have the right balance of flavors for you and your audience. My particular audience loves hazelnut, so I was veryyyy generous, hehe.

For the caramel:

  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/4 + 1/8 c heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • another healthy glug of hazelnut liqueur (I used Fra Angelico)

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For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease the pan to stick the paper down, then lightly grease the paper as well. I always use unrefined coconut oil for this.

In a medium-sized bowl, whip egg yolks until they’re light and frothy, a few minutes. Add in brown sugar, and beat another minute more. Into a small bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. Beat into the egg/sugar mix in three additions, until incorporated. Beat in pumpkin puree on low. In a separate, non reactive bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form (I like to use the bowl of my kitchenaide with my handheld mixer). Slowly drizzle in sugar, and beat until the eggs hold stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the pumpkin mix, until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared jelly roll pan, and smooth it out so that it looks nice… Pop into the oven for 15ish minutes, until the cake springs back when poked.

Let cool on a wire rack in the pan for a few minutes, then remove from pan (by lifting up the parchment) and set back on the wire rack temporarily.

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Whip the cream in yet another bowl, until it just barely starts to hold shape. Pour in your several glugs of hazelnut goodness, as well as vanilla and powdered sugar. Beat until the cream holds it’s shape (but isn’t butter… believe me, I’ve gone too far a few times). Fold in chopped dark chocolate.

Spread the filling on the top of the pumpkin roll, reserving a bit of cream for topping dollops. Start rolling (carefully!!) from the short end, removing the parchment as you go, until the roll is complete. Carefully transfer it to a plate. Cover and store in the fridge until served.

For the caramel, melt sugar over medium heat in a heavy bottomed saucepan until just barely melted (don’t stir it, just swirl the pan around frequently). Stir in butter until combined. Turn heat to low, and add cream a spoonful at a time until the caramel is the desired consistency. Remove from heat and add Fra Angelico. Pour (drizzling is for sissies) generously over cake slices, and garnish with extra whipped cream (it’s Christmas, after all). Eat the leftover caramel with spoon, obviously… I mean, why WOULDN’T you do that?!

Eat with loved ones. Be merry, be grateful, and spread love!

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One furry dork and ridiculous cookies: I’m obsessed.

Wow. My cat just stuck his paw up and gently touched my face. As in a… “You are NOT paying enough attention to me, I’m sitting here looking cute, HELLO I’m furry and adorable and I employ tactics just like Simon’s cats so pat me NOW” type of paw to the face way.

We’re talking about the butternut squash pancake-eating cat.

This one.

What a goober. Maybe he wants to do some yoga?

is this like upward facing kitty? kittyasana?

Have I told you about how he LOVES freshly dead spiders? He must be a pacifist, or else he doesn’t like the tickly feeling of eating legs (I can’t say I blame him really)… he waits for Vati to kill one for him, and then he starts purring as soon as he hears the slap of the birkenstock. And then he eats it off the bottom of the shoe. Weird much?! That and crunchy things. Oh. And he snores.

Welcome to the life of Nosh. Sleep a lot, get fed some freshly dead spiders and crunchy things, paw your human in the face until she pays attention to you, purr until you drool, sleep more, purr more, discover your human doing yoga and join in, and then round out your day with more sleeping. Life’s rough, isn’t it?

(Side note. If you haven’t seen Simon’s cats on Youtube, click away from this page and look it up immediately. You’ll thank me later!).

No, I’m not just a crazy cat lady. I promise this post isn’t completely about little furry beings…

Anyway. Before I so rudely distracted myself going off about the ridiculous paw-to-the-face tactics employed by my resident furball (one of two), I was going to tell you about these:

And how you should tote your laptop into the kitchen and make them. NOW. Immediately. Because seriously, these cookies are amazing. Chewy, oaty, and coconutty. Not a word but hmm, don’t care because these are so amazing. I’m contemplating another batch in the insanely near future they’re that good. And besides, we know how ludicrously picky I am about chocolate chip cookies… so obviously these must be good. Nosh hasn’t rendered his opinion as of yet, unless the face-paw was any indication… maybe he was telling me to go grab the leftovers. Wait, what leftovers? Apparently I’ve eaten them all. Do yourself a favor. Make cookies: your house will smell like love!

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

I slightly adapted the recipe from the Cooking Actress, here! I got 9 cookies, rather tragically… when (not if) I make this again, I’ll be doubling the recipe. The cookies are chewy and oaty, with a slight taste of coconut and chocolate.

  • 2/3 c + 1/2c oat flour (equal amounts of rolled oats processed in a food processor)
  • 2 tbsp rolled oats
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2.5 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp unrefined coconut oil (the kind that smells like coconut when you open the jar—refined doesn’t have a coconut taste)
  • 3-4 tbsp light coconut milk (from the can)
  • 3 tbsp chocolate chippies

Preheat the oven to 380, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Combine oat flour, rolled oats, both sugars, salt, and baking soda in a bowl. In a smaller bowl, melt coconut oil, vanilla, and 3 tbsp coconut milk together. Add wet into dry, adding slightly more coconut milk if the batter seems too dry. Fold in chocolate chippies, and drop by the spoonful onto your prepared baking sheet. Pop into the fridge for a few minutes, until cold. Bake for 7 minutes (best if they seem slightly undercooked when you take them out), and let cool for a least a few minutes on the cookie sheet. I store mine in a plastic tupperware—as much as I dislike plastic, glass containers will make your formerly chewy cookies go soft.

Eat, preferably with a kitty on your lap and with some loved ones around. Cookies are better when they’re shared! <3

Paleo hockey pucks (no just kidding, they’re actually tasty cookies)

I was too lazy to put two recipes into one post, so here are those paleo cookies I was nerding out about in my last post.

Short and sweet, just some photos and a recipe!

Apple Cinnamon Cookies (Paleo-friendly)

Recipe from What Runs Lori, here! My yield was about 10ish cookies, ish. I’m a little behind, I’m not entirely sure since this batch is long gone. Ehhh, you get delicious cookies anyway, what do you care?! Moist HYDRATED, apple-y, and full of cinnamon. Yum yum yum. AND grain-free, vegan, refined sugar free, and full of healthy fats.

  • 1 buhhnahhhnuhh
  • 1/3 c grated apple, skin on
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1-2 tbsp milk bev (use almond or coconut to keep things vegan/paleo), if needed
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/3 c coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

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

In a bowl, mash yo’ buhhhnahhnuhhh. Toss in everything else: grated apple, almond butter, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, ginger, coconut flour, baking soda, and vinegar. Stir together, and add in 1-2 tbsp milk bev if the batter looks too dry (I used 2 tbsp). Drop cookies by the heaping glob onto the prepared cookie sheet, and bake for 8-10 minutes (mine went for 8)—an appropriately short baking time (hellooo, instant gratification). Let cool on a rack… or maybe in your stomach.

Fickle tastebuds and a bit of gastronomical distraction

Woah. I just ate the best pear. Ever.

mmmm, PEAR!

Like, so freaking good I got distracted from what I actually sat down to write about, and took pictures of its deliciousness. Occupational hazard, you know. Textbook example of the fickle nature of my tastebuds.

But seriously. Pear = gastronomical delight. Go eat one. Do it now, do it now, do it now….

fork full o’pear

Or maybe do it after you make these cookies— you know, the whole reason I was going to write this post, NOT the pear. That way, while the cookies are baking, you can eat your pear. Because pears and pumpkin are basically fall in a bite. Annnnd, they go really well together. Like pumpkin butter on an almond butter-pear sammie. Delicious. Especially when you use your Star Wars sandwich cutters. What? No, of course I don’t own those… um. Moving ON!

As we know, I am the Queen of Orange! Soooo, that means when pumpkin season rolls around, I start hoarding. Because you never know when some crazy might buy ALL of the pumpkin in the store, and heaven forbid THAT might happen, I would be devastated. To prevent this (imagined) eventuality, I buy about two cans of pumpkin per shopping trip. Just in case, you know. Besides, considering I used two cans in the last two days, my stockpile lasts a laughably short time. Ridiculous, I know… but I LOVE pumpkin cookies almost as much as I love pears, aaannnddd pumpkin curry happened last night. I also recently discovered that pumpkin in quesadillas is BOMB. Feel free to be jealous…

Pumpkin cookies are amazing. I’ve lost track of how many different recipes I’ve tried, but I have at least one reigning favorite vegan one at the moment, and then the one I’ll share below. The one below is fabulous chilled—in fact, I prefer them that way, as they get nice and solid, with a bit of chewy from the oats, and they taste almost like pumpkin pie. AND they’re healthy: totally breakfast appropriate. They’re fat free and  (very nearly) cholesterol free, if you’re into that kind of thing, relatively low in sugar, and full of whole grains. Besides all that, on a very kindergartenish level, when I come home, they mean I can have milk and cookies. Which to me, is  a perfect afternoon pick me up.

So. Go make these. And then eat a perfect pear while the cookies are baking. And then eat a cookie. And then smile inside and out :)

Chewy Oaty-Pumpkin Cookies

The recipe is slightly modified from Pardon the Dog Hair, here! I ended up with 18 tablespoon-ish sized cookies (which I naturally squashed all onto one cookie sheet, as I’m lazy).

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 c rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • scant 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • pinch of cloves
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • scant 1/2 c maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 6 tbsp pumpkin puree (perfect for using up those awkward amounts)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c chocolate chippies

I’m pretty sure you’re familiar with cookie making methods… buttttt, just in case:

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or lightly grease.

In a bowl (no, really?), whisk together all the dry ingredients: flour, oats, baking soda and powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and cloves. Set aside. In a slightly smaller bowl, vigorously (use those biceps!) whisk applesauce and maple syrup. Add in egg and whisk a few seconds more. Add in pumpkin and vanilla, and whisk to combine. Pour wet into dry and add chocolate chippies, and stir until incorporated. Drop by fatty tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet, and bake for about 11-12 minutes. Easy money! Let cool on a rack before storage—I like to store mine in a tupperware in the fridge. Enjoy the fall deliciousness :)