My sandwich is exploding kale

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Drool drool drool.

I had no idea these bars were going to be so spectacular!!! But they were. And thankfully for me and my sweets consumption they went on the plane to Oregon with m&v, those lucky ducks. I have serious problems when I go to Portland… I just want ALL THE FOOD. And I run into that reoccurring problem of most mortals in that only so much goodness will fit in my stomach. With whom do I register a complaint for this ridiculous design flaw?!

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But anyway. They needed plane snacks and any excuse to bake is fine by me so these happened.

And I am soooo glad they did.

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Sorry in advance for the next bajillion posts being sweets, don’t say I didn’t warn you… Jill (of the blog Halfway There and the tamales and flan madness) and I are having our bimonthlyish baking extravaganza later today sooooo there will be cake and ice cream and cookies. And quinoa pizza…just to, you know, round things out. Because why make just one thing?! How boring. But more on that later.

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Also tacos. And feet. And there was a pool behind me and what more could you want on a weekend? Sadly that was last weekend (of the light side/dark side bars) and there is currently no pool in sight for me. Harumph.

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Also KALE!!! Could there be any more kale in this sandwich?! I think not. KALE EXPLOSION! Love love love. I know it’s random but KALE!!! is AMAZING!! And it’s my blog. So I’m sharing.

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But for now. BARZ. M&V needed something that traveled well and wouldn’t be too crumbly so obviously dates. And nuts for sustenance whilst traveling (much better than that garbage you typically find in airports). And only five ingredients, all whole foods, all things that come from nature and are eaten while still resembling their natural state. Wheeee!

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Pecan Date Bars

Beyond simple to put together! Chewy, naturally sweet and delicious. Gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free, dairy free!  Might be paleo? Easily veganized. Healthy fats [pecans], a good source of vits/mins [dates], antioxidants [extra dk chocolate] + protein. Perfect travel (or anytime) snacks. Recipe adapted from Ellaphant Eats, here! Makes 9 giantish bars, or more if you cut them smaller… but… why?!

  • 1 c pitted medjool dates [soaked in hot water for about 10 minutes if they’re like rocks]
  • 2 c raw pecans
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 eggs*
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate, chopped or chips (mine was chips for hurried baking)

*or two flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flaxseed+6tbsp water) veganizes this nicely 

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Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease an 8 by 8 pan with your thing of choice (I like coconut oil).

In a food processor (what on earth would I do without these?!), process softened dates and pecans until a sticky, clumpy dough forms. The pecan pieces should be relatively small (just don’t over do it and end up with nut butter…). Pulse in vanilla and sea salt, followed by the eggs. Remove the blade and stir in 1/4 c chocolate chips. Scoop the batter out into the prepared pan, and flatten it out with a spatula or your fingers or whatever. Press the remaining chocolate chips into the top of the bars. Bake for just about 19-20 minutes, until the edges are browned. The center will still feel slightly soft, but a tester should come out clean. Let cool in the pan, then cut and store in a sealed container in the fridge.

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Baking. Because… camp is imminent!

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Welcome to my ritual.

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I ALWAYS bake before I leave for camp. I’m not sure when this started but… it did (shocking, I know… me? Baking?! Weird) and I have no reason to be breaking this delicious trend.

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And I leave tomorrow! This totally snuck up on me but I am so ready for ten days of mountain fun with my camp fambam. Dirt. Hair that could scrub out a pot (yes, I was told I should do that last summer and immediately decided I would shower; as much as I love having steel wool for hair) (my hair does really interesting things when it isn’t washed for a zillion days) (yes I’m too lazy to shower because I just get dusty again and I’m camping and I’m in the lake soooo who cares?!). Enough with the parenthetical rambles. Moving on.

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Campfires where I go to bed smelling like woodsmoke… brownies to die for even though they’re made with a mix, I’m obsessed… eating outdoors, every meal… stars so bright you think your eyes are malfunctioning… singing the most ridiculous songs because you can… yoga on the dock… a complete technology detox… beautiful scenery…friends. My indescribable camp family. So much Two Sentinels love!

But anyway, haven’t left yet, and in between last minute packing, I made these!

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Whole wheat buttermilk biscuit peach shortcakes with vegan caramel sauce and ice cream.

Because fruit.

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Peeeeeaaacheeesssss. My favorite part of summer. Actually that would be a tough call since I love berries equally as much… all the fruit. I want ALL of it!! But besides that, we happened to have an excess of peaches this week so instead of eating them all leaning over the sink with juice going everywhere, I made dessert. Of course.

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And happily fulfilled my pre-camp baking ritual! Happy days. See you on the flip side, let’s hope I get all the dirt off this time (unlike last year.. you know it’s good when there’s still dirt on your face *after* your post-camp shower…)!

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Whole Wheat Peach Shortcakes with Vegan Caramel (And ice cream. Obvs)

I like barely sweet shortcakes, since they highlight the super-sweetness of perfectly in-season summer fruit. Mmmm. These are whole wheat, made with buttermilk for a bit of a tang. Perfectly balanced against the sweet peaches and maple caramel.. and ice cream. Because summer dessert = ice cream. Or whipped cream, also fine, I just went with what I had. Shortcake recipe lightly adapted from Food52, here, and caramel borrowed from Blissful Basil, here! Yield: 6 shortcake/biscuits; I made a half batch of caramel for 4 peeps, so those measurements are listed below. Makes about a cup.

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For the shortcakes (whole wheat is good for youuuu! So is a little butter now and then):

  • 1.75 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 4 tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cut into smallish pieces
  • 3/4 c buttermilk (mine was low fat)

For the filling:

  • An excessive amount of peaches, diced (I leave the skin on mine), tossed in a bit of coconut sugar if yours are less than perfectly ripe
  • ridiculously delicious ice cream of choice

For the caramel (full of healthy fats and good nutrients!! Winning):

  • 1/6 c coconut oil
  • 1/4 c unsalted, creamy almond butter
  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 runneth-over tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 450, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a largeish bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and sugar. Cut in the butter using your fingertips (my preferred method) or a pastry cutter, until things start looking like coarse cornmeal and the butter is distributed evenlyish. Make a well in the center (look! You get to play with your food!), pour in the buttermilk, then use a spoon or spatula to stir it all together, until just combined (do try not to over mix). Divide the dough into six cute little balls, then flatten slightly and place on the baking sheet. Bake for just about 15 minutes, until the tops are firm and lightly browned. Let cool slightly on a rack before serving.

While the shortcakes are baking, make caramel!

In a small saucepan over medium, heat coconut oil, almond butter, maple, and sea salt over medium until all are melted and incorporated. This shouldn’t take more than a minute or two, which is excellent for instant gratification. Turn off the heat and stir in vanilla. Serve warm or cold, and store leftovers in the fridge!

I could tell you how to assemble your shortcakes but that might insult your intelligence… but I would suggest cutting them in half to get maximum cake square footage to soak up excessive amounts of ice cream and caramel and peach juice…

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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…

Happy Tummy Conga Lines

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YOU. GUYS.

I know I have like umpteen zillion banana bread recipes on the blog, but seriously. Ignore the other ones (well, not really–they have their merits too.. just for today!)

THIS is my favorite. Hands down, I’ve-already-eaten-two-slices-and-am-heading-for-another-one-someone-stop-me kind of bread. Like, half the loaf is gone (I’ve had help, let’s be real here).

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And besides that, it is FAB with blackberry jam. Especially when that jam is handmade and acquired from a lovely local source. I’ve never put jam on banana bread before now but I’m probably not going back. Ever.

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Luckily for me, not only is this one a fast and easy one to whip up, but it’s full of healthy for me things like coconut oil and buunahhnuhhsss and whole grains and honey.  Good thing too that we had literally two bunches of dead bananas spread out between the fridge and the freezer and they were looking so sad and dead and brown… clearly they needed to go into something delicious like this. They’re much happier now, they wanted me to tell you.

Go make your dead bananas happy. Bake them into something that then makes your tummy do a happy dance! Mine is, we could have a tummy conga line. Umm yeah okay this is getting out of hand with talking bananas and gastrointestinal conga lines, but seriously. Make, eat, love!

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Why is it gone?!

Coconut Oil and Honey Banana Bread

If you’re not a coconut fan, don’t worry! There’s no coconut flavor noticeable in the bread—I used refined coconut oil for baking, as it can take high heat. This bread is SUPER hydrated (remember, we don’t use the m word), but not squishy. It’s the perfect balance between hydrated and dense, with a nice crumb. It only has a 1/4 c of honey added, so make sure your bananas are deady-dead-dead. The deader the bananas, the sweeter the bread! Mine were literally black. So gross…until they aren’t! This makes one loaf, and the recipe is (ever so slightly modified) from Relishing It, here! SO happy I found it.

  • 1/3 c refined coconut oil
  • 1/4 c honey (mine was local, yay!)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1.5 c mashed, dead bananas (I used about 5)
  • 1.75 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • a few sprinkles of chia seeds (can be left out)

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Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a loaf pan (I use more coconut oil).

In a mediumish bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sea salt, and chia seeds. In a smaller bowl, have fun mashing up all of your dead bananas and trying not to be too disgusted by how brown they are. Ahem, moving on…

Stir together coconut oil and honey until they’re creamy and mixed. Slightly beat eggs and then stir them in as well, followed by vanilla. Mix lightly until combined, then stir in dead banana mashup. Adding the dry ingredients a bit at a time, stir them in until the dry is just incorporated–don’t over mix! No one wants tough buhhnahhnuhh breadz.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and pop it into the oven for just about 45 minutes—mine came out at 45 but probably could have gone for a few more. Let cool in the pan for a bit, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. I’m sure it stores well, but as mine is rapidly disappearing I’m sure we’ll have no issues on that front…

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Throwback Thursday and the Lentil Life

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AND THEN. I made lentil bars! Because… well, why not?! And then I sort of became the lentil bar fairy and handed out several at work, one of which went to this particular friend who *claims* that she doesn’t like lentils. Uh-huh. Just wait.

Said friend ate lentil bar.

One day later…

Friend commissions an entire batch of lentil bars for eating purposes!!

VICTORY OF THE LENTILS! Muahhahah.

And guess what? I have a new nickname!

I’ll give you one guess…

Lentil!!!

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Naturally. The now lentil-converted friend decided I was henceforth to be dubbed Lentil (always said with some sort of accent, of course), mostly because we have a running joke that she brings meat and I bring rabbit food for lunch…and then when I bring beef it’s like.. WOAH. So yeah. A very apropos nickname, I would say ;)

And one more for your viewing pleasure… Throwback Thursday! I was six. Things haven’t changed much…

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Lentil Bars

Recipe slightly adapted from She Bakes Here! I’ve made this twice—once as a single recipe, once doubled. I used green lentils once and red lentils once, and I think I prefer red, though you can use either. If using green, make sure you cook them just a little bit longer so they’re easily mushable (technical term). I reduced the sweetener a little so these aren’t overly sweet, but perfect for a mid morning or on the go snack. They were a big hit with the work peeps!

As posted, the recipe makes a single batch in an 8 by 8 pan (I used a circular pie dish).

Vegan, refined sugar free.

  • 1/2 c red lentils
  • 1 c water
  • 1.5 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 c ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • heaping 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/3-1/2 c maple syrup
  • 1/4 c dark chocolate chips

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add lentils, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes until very soft. Drain, if needed. Mash lentils a bit with a fork (though they should be pretty much like puree already), and set aside in a large bowl.

Preheat oven to 300, and line your baking pan of choice with parchment paper.

Using the same bowl the lentils are hangin’ out in, add oats, whole wheat flour, flaxseed, cinnamon, salt, almond butter, and maple syrup. Toss in chocolate chips and stir to combine (seriously, could this be any easier?). Once incorporated, spread the dough into your prepared pan—I found it easiest to use my fingers to spread it out, as it’s really thick. Get it mostly even and then pop it into the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the oats on top are slightly crispy.

Let it sit in the pan for a few, then pull the whole thing out by grabbing the parchment. Let cool completely on a rack before slicing! These keep well in tupperware at room temp for a few days.

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A whoopsa-too-much-milk almost-fail that wasn’t

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YOU. GUYS.

These cookies are… maybe the best thing I’ve eaten all week. And I really have been eating them all week (whatever, I know it’s Tuesday, my weeks are never normal so be nice to me and just assume I mean last week+the beginning of this week, okay good, now we’re straightened out… continuing on!), since I’ve made two batches. TWO. You know something is pretty freakin’ amazing if I make it twice. Not only twice, but IN. A. ROW.

Whaaaat.

Weird.

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Obviously you should trot off to your kitchen and make these immediately. Not only are these crazy delicious, but they also happen to be ridiculously good for you (okay. It’s still a cookie but if you are a fiend for cookies like me, you can be awesome and healthify when you can) and beyond simple to make. Toss some stuff in a food processor, push on. Push off. Toss in some more stuff. Blend. Stop blending. Add the last bit. On. Off. Throw on cookies sheet. Toss sheet in oven. Bip. Done! …Pause for baking. Attempt to let them “cool”. Do a bunch of push ups (okayyy, I suppose that bit is optional) Stuff face. Repeat.

It’s nice if you share. Or you can share with a caveat, like me, and make some slightly-more-massive ones for yourself and clearly separate them on the cooling rack. With a fork. See? Those two over there are on the “do not eat under penalty of mega cookie deprived wrath” side of the fork. The others are obviously fair game, but I never said I wouldn’t eat those too. Oh no.

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And yes… I know this is about my billionth cookie post in pretty much two weeks, *sighhhh*. Sooner rather than later I’ll get around to blogging about something else, but suffice it to say I a) about eat my weight in veggies everyday, b) I eat lots of cookies and c) my dinners have been quick, nutritious, and visually uninspiring these days. Sooo. Savory things. Eventually.

But right now… go make these cookies!! Seriously. I love you, invisible internet friends, would I steer you wrong?! … Correct answer: no. Cue subliminal messaging: coooooookiiiieeeesssss!!!

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Ridiculously Delicious Date Cookies

Recipe from Power Hungry, here! I got around 17-18 cookies each time.

The first time I totally goofed and doubled the milk. I do have to say, they are delicious that way and I think I might actually prefer them. I’ve made them twice, as I said, once with the goof and once as the recipe originally intended. While I love both, I think my vote is with the softer, flatter (for once!) doubled-milk variety. The original amount of milk yields a taller, slightly craggier cookie, with slightly chewier edges. Both are delicious. These cookies contain minimally processed ingredients and no refined sugar! They’re full of healthy fats (almond butter) and whole grains (oats), fiber (oats+flaxseed), omega-3’s (Flax), and antioxidants (dark chocolate!). Winner, winner, I just ate cookies for dinner. Juuuuust kidding… but seriously. It was a close call.

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Just for comparison, the cookies above are made with 1/2 c milk… and the ones in the eggplant bowl and at the end of the post are 1 c. Just in case you needed a visual like I always do.

Firstly, grab this:

  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 c semi-packed, pitted dates, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c organic almond butter
  • 1/2-1 c milk bev (I used 1% milk)*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c dark chocolate chips

*depending on whether you want taller, chewier cookies (1/2 c), or flatter, softer cookies (1 c)

Secondly, do this:

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a cookie sheet (or two) with parchment paper.

Haul out your massively heavy food processor, and process oats until they are finely ground and flourlike. Add in flaxseed meal and pulse to combine. Add the dates, and pulse until they are finely chopped and incorporated. Toss in almond butter, milk and vanilla, and pulse to blend. Pour/spoon dough into a bowl and stir in chocolate chips. If you double the milk, the mixture will be more like batter than dough (It’ll spoon into little puddles). If you use 1/2 c milk, the dough will be much thicker– flatten the cookies out with a fork before baking. Bake for 10-11 minutes, let cool a few minutes on the cookie sheet (a bit more for the doubled-milk cookies, as they’re a little more delicate), then transfer to a cooling rack. I keep mine in the fridge for freshness. I’m sure they keep for a while, but honestly mine have lasted all of about three days… so good luck with that!

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I really do actually eat vegetables. Promise!

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And now for something completely different in the cookie realm!

Because obviously I haven’t given you nearly enough cookie recipes lately (um. lies?!) And because I’m pretty sure said no one ever there’s such a thing as too many cookies. And if they did, whatever, we obviously can’t be friends. Schaaaawwrryyy! Cookies are the number one principle of my personal philosophy. Life is sometimes tricky, it’s better if you eat a [healthyishkindasortamaybe] cookie!

I think cookies might actually be one of my favorite things to make. Oh really, you say? As if the blog title alone doesn’t prove that!

Cookies on cookies on cookies. One would think this is all I eat…

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Um. I promise I eat vegetables! Like, I actually eat a ridiculous  amount of vegetables. And fruit. And eggs. Ask my mother, she claims it’s difficult to keep me in vegetables… I just… LOVE… SPINACH! Hoooomg. Among other things. I’ve gotten really good at putting spinach where it doesn’t necessarily belong but is undeniably delicious. Like maybe in the banana scramble I made today. So bizarrely wonderful and so perfect for St. Patrick’s day. Hmm. Shield your eyes if you abhor green things, that just might be the next post.

SO anyway. Cookies. Best eaten any time of day, with or without a milk-type beverage.. Eat three, and call me in the morning. Seriously, if medical practitioners gave out this kind of advice, I think the world might be a slightly more magical place.

So now instead of cruncy-hippie-granola raw cookies, you get [somewhat less crunchy but still kind of, whatever I’m still kind of granola] vegan salted caramel chocolate chip cookies! Cue yummy sound. Did I just make the yummy sound? … No. That was definitely you. Oh no? Well.. if it wasn’t *YOU*, and it wasn’t *YOU*… and it wasn’t *ME*…

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Vegan Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe unintentionally adapted from Keepin’ it Kind. I made biggish cookies and ended up with about 15 or 16, but depending on size you could conceivably make up to 24ish… if you use a smaller scooping technique. Don’t judge, I’m rather a fan of large cookies! These are fab cookies, and the dough is just as good (number one perk for vegan baking: dough eating adventures).

I didn’t have coconut sugar, though next time I’ll be using that as my caramel wasn’t quite what was intended visually. It got the point across though, and tasted amazing! That being said… you *can* make these with regular sugar, as I did, but coconut is preferred (and keeps them slightly less refined).

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Let’s make tasty things:

  • 3/4 c sugar (see above note)
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 c full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (mine is the unrefined variety that smells like coconut)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed+3 tbsp water)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 c dark chocolate chippies

To do so, we…

Make caramel!
Pour sugar and water into a smallish saucepan. Whisking frequently, bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to low/simmering, and let it reduce until the water is reduced by half. If you use coconut sugar, the water should be dark brown; if using regular sugar, it’ll be lighter in color. Keep whisking, as it has a tendency to bubble up. Slowly whisk in coconut milk and continue whisking for 10-15 minutes or until (if using coconut sugar) the mixture thickens and is a dark brown. If you’re like me and you attempted regular sugar, it’ll look grey. Not the most gorgeous color, but delicious. Promise. The mixture will thicken as it cooks, more so with coconut sugar than regular. Stir in the salt, and remove from heat. Let it cool while you do the rest of the cookies, or you can store the caramel in a jar in the fridge (it keeps for several weeks, tightly sealed).

Onward! Cookie time:

Mix up your flax egg and let it sit for a bit to thicken.
Mash up the banana, toss in slightly meltedish coconut oil, and use a mixer to beat until fluffy. Whisk in vanilla extract and 2/3 c caramel sauce (save the rest for later). Once the flax egg sets up, whisk that in.

In a larger bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt. Add dry ingredients to wet, stirring until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips, and slightly flatten the dough into the bottom of your bowl. Pop it into the fridge and let it chill for about a half and hour.

Preheat the oven to 350, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove the dough from the fridge and make several cuts through it with a knife. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the dough, without mixing it in. Drop blobs of dough onto the prepared cookie sheets (whatever size you deem necessary for that particular day…), leaving the streaks of caramel running throughout. The dough will be a bit wet with all that, but just roll with it. Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes (I know that’s a huge range, but I did mine on convection so they ended up going a bit longer. Check at 8, and go from there!) Because of the caramel, the cookies can look a bit underdone, but they should be solid to the touch when done—check the bottoms if you’re not sure. Let cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, and then transfer to wire rack.

Do yourself a favor and eat one warm out of the oven!

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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!

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

Wait… has it been a YEAR…of cookies?!

Happy Birthdayyyyy to my BLOG! Thanks, Vati, for donating your fingers… 

Okay. Confession time.

Ready?

I missed my blog’s first birthday!! Sheeesh. I feel like a bad parent. BUT. I baked it a cake! And an adorable one (okay, two), at that. I had to celebrate somehow, and besides everyone wins when there’s cake around. But really, I thought wordpress might give me a heads up like, “oh hey, you’ve had a blog for a year, yeahhhh!” or something. Anything. BUT NO. So all of a sudden I realized it was July… and I had, in fact, started  blogging last June. Fail. Oh well! Absolved. By cake.

Candles smell like birthdays….

Besides… I’m quite proud of having stuck with this! A year(ish) ago, I set a goal to start a food blog. I didn’t really have any parameters regarding said goal, just that since I was moving into my own apartment for my senior year at Willamette, I wanted a way to keep my diet interesting and a push to try new things. Besides, I’d kind of wanted to start one ever since I had started reading blogs to begin with! Sooo… Wait are those…Cookies was born! In the summer, natch, so I could iron out any kinks before the crazy of school started. (And figure out creative things to do with mega boatloads of zucchini… heads up, zucchini season is almost upon us in the garden out back… consider yourself  appropriately warned).

AND it’s neon pink. For those who know me… this is an obvious no brainer.

Since I started posting mid June last year, I’ve posted 85 times (pretty good, considering the 92 page thesis beast that I cranked out spring semester), and had an even 4500 hits from across the world (who knew I was internationally interesting?! I certainly didn’t. Maybe it’s the irreverence)! Pretty good, for a blog that got started on a whim (and considering that I don’t really follow a regular schedule for this biz… I only post when the muses move me. Ha.). Anyway… throughout all this ridiculousness, I’ve learned lots of interesting tidbits… How to make lemon curd. And go through a jar of pb a week (oh wait. That is probably innate… never mind). And that you can bake cookies on your dashboard (personal fave). AND that goat cheese, while undeniably delicious, when paired with creme fraiche and tucked into a tart shell, is probably enough to put you and your roomie into an extended food coma for about a week. Whatever. Worth it.

even the aliens off to the right enjoy my cake! Ha. Beaming in?

So. I went from being an incoming undergraduate senior mildly concerned about thesis writing to a fully matriculated real person with a  BA in art history and the best job ever. Yoga benefits + active wear alll the time = too perfect for words. Thanks, not-so-baby food blog (you’re ONE year old!!), for feeding me through my misadventures in the kitchen and in life. Enjoy your cake :)

in profile.

Lemon Chiffon Cake with Lemon Curd and Whipped Cream Frosting

I made a half recipe in a 9 by 9 pan, and then cut rounds out for two baby, two layer cakes. The full recipe makes two 8″ or 9″ round cake layers. These can be sliced in half for a total of 4, if you like. I’ll include the full recipe here—halve if you want smaller cakes like mine. Don’t try to stack them too high though—I found the lemon curd to be mega slippery and one of my cakes was less than structurally sound. oops. I frosted mine with whipped cream, because it’s delicious. And pretty. Cake and lemon curd slightly adapted from Whole Living, here!

This cake is also decently not horrible for you: the cake (minus cream) is cholesterol free with skim milk, and has heart-healthy canola oil + lemons (ridiculously high in Vit. C and antioxidants). YAYY! A wonderfully summery cake, when you don’t want something heavy. It’s just sweet enough to satisfy without putting you in a coma…

lemon currrrrd

Putz around in your kitchen until you’ve acquired the following:

For the cake!

  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour, sifted*
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 c milk (whatever you have is fine, I used 1%. Non dairy I’m sure is okay too)
  • 1/3 c canola oil
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 4 egg whites

*use the spoon and level method to measure: spoon flour into measuring cup, then scrape off the excess with the flat of a knife. Since this is a sponge cake, you want maximum lightness/airiness. Too much flour= heavy cake!

Frosting: 1 pint of whipped cream (or 2 pints for a full-sized cake), plus powdered sugar and vanilla (to taste)

For the curd*:

I’ll include the recipe for the curd I used for this cake, but I really prefer the curd I made before, even though it’s slightly less good for you. If you’re avoiding butter, use the one below, if not, I highly recommend this one!! If you don’t have Meyer lemons, that’s fine: just use regular.

  • 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 and 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 1/2 c fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons, depending on size) + 1.5 c water
  • 1/3 c cornstarch (organic, if you please!)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
I recommend making the curd earlier in the day before the cakes, so that it has time to chill. (Or you can be like me and do it the morning a water main explodes at the top of your street, meaning no water for you! That was interesting…). Lightly beat egg yolks in a heatproof bowl, and set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, lemon zest, cornstarch, and salt, and whisk to combine. Add in lemon juice and water, whisk until sugar and cornstarch have dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Cook two minutes. Reduce heat to low, gradually whisk a ladle-full of the lemon mixture into the egg yolks, then pour this mixture back into the pan (still constantly whisking!). Cook over medium heat for about 2.5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Let cool in a bowl with plastic wrap on the surface to prevent a skin; when cool enough, put it in the fridge to chill (at least an hour).
//

For the cake: preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease your desired pan. Cut parchment paper to line the bottom, and then grease that.

In a large bowl, whisk together 1/4 c sugar, milk, oil, vanilla, lemon zest, and lemon juice. In a smaller bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Put egg whites into a non reactive bowl (I like to use the bowl of my Kitchenaide, plus a handheld electric mixer), and beat on medium speed until foamy. Raise speed to medium-high and gradually add remaining 1/4 c sugar + 2 tbsp, continuously beating until stiff peaks form.

Add half the flour mixture to the milk mix; whisk until smooth. Fold in remaining flour in three batches, alternating with the beaten egg whites (Try not to over-fold the batter; since the idea here is a light cake! But neither do we want pockets of flour… fold with purpose!). Pour the batter into the prepared pans, and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Mine came out perfectly at 18 (my gas oven runs *very* efficiently). Let cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack. Remove parchment paper, and invert again (so the cake is right-side up). Let cool completely.

While cake is cooling, whip yo’ cream! In that same non reactive bowl (hopefully cleaned of egg white reside, thanks), beat cream until it starts to hold shape… then add a few spoonfuls of powdered sugar and a glug of vanilla. Beat until it holds stiff peaks (not too far, no one wants butter!). It can chill for a bit in the fridge before frosting, but not necessary.

Stack with layers with lemon curd in between (beware slippage!), and frost with whipped cream. Can be stored in the fridge for a few hours, but try to eat as promptly as possible (whipped cream frosting looks prettiest when eaten sooner rather than later).

Eat. Love. BLOG!

heh heh