All kinds of random

IMG_2136This feels like it’s going to be one of those posts that is essentially a snapshotlet [ie a smallish snapshot] of my eatings and goings on for the last several weeks, which have been insanely busy.

I started a new 8-5 office job that will go until I leave for camp/grad school so I am readjusting to having a very consistent schedule. Which is GREAT except totally foreign because all of my jobs ever involved totally random and non-consistent schedules. And also standing. Lots and lots of standing. Which wasn’t my favorite until I began sitting all day, at which point I discovered that standing is pretty great. ANYWAY. Expect to see possibly slightly less on the blog until I can get settled into my schedule. But I shan’t be disappearing entirely… this girl’s gotta eat.

SO, let’s see. What randomness can I share today..

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I love it when people I love have birthdays, since it means I get to cake it up for them. Here’s the latest: chocolate cake with mocha buttercream.

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Thisthisthisthisthis!!!!!

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Jill and I got crazy and made red lentil, coconut milk and walnut ice cream and it was possibly the earthiest, maple-y, walnut-y, weirdest ice cream ever. But also very delicious. And weird. Did I mention lentils?! Because hahahahhahha I am one of the only few who would love lentils in ice cream. Trust me, it works! Recipe here.

SKIING!!!

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I finally got to spend quality slope time with my K2 babies. It was absolutely wonderful and gorgeous and hilarious and exhausting and amazing. And then I had a malt and all was right with the world.

BEACHING!!

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Because, February??! Uhh yeah. It doesn’t make sense to me either but it was sunny and warm and then cloudy and raining but there was delicious bread and scones and cheese and butter and a picnic and Elliott… a perfect day. Capped off by dinner at a kombucha bar/macrobiotic kitchen and then a sundae [whiskey bread pudding ice cream+ caramel+ a fudgy brownie and a metric ton of sprinkles] the size of my face. Because… I’m actually five.

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My dessert is massive. Teehee. The pie is E’s. I’m not THAT piggy, sheeeesh.

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I know, I know… horrible food photography for this next one but just go with it. FUDGYYYYYYY!

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IMG_2153Happy, gorgeous Saturday and delicious eats. Doesn’t get much better than that!

Birthday Excess

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Happy Birthday to meeeeee!!!

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I made my own dessert. Is that weird?! I have no idea. I’m weird, so it’s probably fitting, right??

Besides, not much has changed:

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Yep. As my mom says, “To our sweet girl (who still attacks dessert with dedication and gusto–and looks just as cute doing it!!) Happy 24th Birthday!
Much much Love, Mom and Dad”. That’s fairly accurate, don’t you think?! And I know for a fact I still make that face…

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I’ve always wanted to make choux pastry. So I did!! Forget cake. I love it and whatnot, but it’s my birthday so I’m playing by my own rules. Besides, all you really need to do is makes something delicious that you can put a candle on. Because birthdays are definitely NOT birthdays without smelling candle smoke. Nothing reminds me more of a birthday than smoking candles!

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My birthday rules are thus (and I just made them up soooo they’re going to apply from now on):

1. Excess is required.
2. Jazzercise is an excellent way to start the day and possibly offset the excesses of dessert that will happen.
3. SPRINKLES.
4. Desserts must be excessive. Because… see rule number 1.

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I think these are spot on. And I DID go to jazzercise yesterday morning which was fab and sweaty as usual and then I went and ate at least a cookie if not two (whoops, not quite sure how that happened) and then I ran around more and then I made these. And then I ate them! Muahahha.

24 is going to be excellent.

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Chouquettes with Vegan Banana Cookie Dough Ice Cream + Salted Date Caramel

Wow really?? Could that title be any longer?? But it’s my birthday sooooo I can do whatever I want, up to and including making excessive desserts that are actually refined sugar free! Because that’s how I roll. Healthy indulgences in celebration of turning 24. Wheeee!! There is gluten, butter, and sprinkles in this. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Chouquettes are lightly adapted from David Lebovitz (amazing!!), here. The date caramel is my own brainchild and the vegan banana ice cream is just embarrassingly easy… I made a half batch of chouquettes, which yielded 10. Recipe as listed yields 25 ish. And obvs made extra caramel and ice cream, obvs. These are also excellent stuffed with real ice cream… or pretty much anything.

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For the chouquettes (which makes me feel really sophisticated to say, even if I mangle the pronunciation):

  • 1 c water
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp coconut sugar
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 4 eggs, at room temp
  • optional: chocolate chippies! I did them in half the batter

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 425.

In a medium saucepan, heat water, salt, sugar, and butter, stirring often, until the butter is melted and the water starts to boil. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the entire amount of flour, stirring until the dough is incorporated and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan (it should clump up into a big blob). Let cool for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally to release heat. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until dough is silky and smooth. If adding chocolate chips, let the dough cool completely before adding them. If not, begin dropping dough onto the prepared cookie sheet (I found that a single large spoon worked well), about 2 tbsp’s worth per blob. They’ll spread just a little so don’t put them too close together. Bake for 35 minutes, until puffed and golden. Remove to a cooling rack and serve warm or at room temp. Freeze any leftovers (or really, just eat them immediately).

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For the vegan banana cookie dough “ice cream”:

  • several frozen bananas (however many you need depends on the amount of peeps you’re serving)
  • a good splash of plain almond milk
  • 1+ tsp vanilla
  • a dash of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp (ish) peanut butter

Blenderize all that good stuff in a food processor until creamy. The bananas magically turn into this great ice cream-like consistency!! Like magic. So wonderful and happily guilt free. You can flavor this however you like, I usually use about 1 banana per person, and freeze them in chunks for easy blending. Eat immediately! It’s best fresh.

Then throw all this in the food processor [dry ingredients first, then the wet until it all comes together] :

  • 1 c raw cashews
  • 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/6 c dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp unsalted almond butter
  • excessive amounts of sprinkles. ha.

Et voila! Vegan, refined sugar free funfetti cookie dough. Muahahha. Mix it into your banana soft serve and be really happy about life.

THEN.

Make salted date caramel:

Soak 1 c of pitted dates in boiling water for at least 5 minutes.

Chuck them all into the food processor, followed by a judicious about of vanilla + unsweetened almond milk + a pinch of sea salt + giant heaping blog of almond butter and blendy blend blend until it’s all smooth.

AND THEN.

Stuff the cookie dough banana deliciousness into a chouquette, top with a ridiculous amount of date caramel, and more sprinkles. Because… it’s your birthday. Or at least it’s mine. So you have an excuse to indulge anyway ;)

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There is drool on my keyboard

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Before I get into all the sweets nonsense… this was this morning’s harvest. I love love love having growing things in my backyard!! The baby strawberries went into buckwheat cereal alongside their pallies blueberries and kale and zucchini and carrots and coconut and sun butter and chia+hemp seeds and all the other ridiculous things I put in my breakfast cereals… But anyway.

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I warned you about the sweets excess, no?!

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Jill and I managed to whip out a batch of coconut milk ice cream with salted almond date caramel and pecans (droooool), a double batch of peanut butter coconut carob chip cookies, and a grain free raspberry polenta cake. In 4 hours. Boom. And we ate lunch in there somewhere, and Jill made this epic quinoa pizza crust just before I came over so that was also lunch.

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But guys.

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THIS ICE CREAM.

I just….

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Drool.

Want.

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Actually, I think this is the first time I have actually made ice cream!! I mean, I did it once at girly scout day camp, but I hardly think that counts (though I do remember it being delicious). I’ve also made it in that silly way of putting rock salt and ice in a plastic baggie and shaking cream around until it sort of resembles ice cream but HELLO that is so NOT as good as this business. This is… I have no words. Just drool.

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AND. Not only that, but this ice cream is dairy free!! And gluten free!!! And quite possibly paleo?! And refined sugar free!! And vegan!!! Extra exclamation points!!! I think food allergies are super lame so here is a tummy-friendly ice cream for [nearly] everyone! YAY!

I got really excited in that last paragraph, sorry… but seriously. This ice cream.. mmmm.

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ALSO ALSO ALSO!!!! I just made these amazing vegan lentil enchiladas with my friend Britt so they’re going up next. Because they’re really freakin’ amazing. Holy moly. Could it be?? Something savory?! No. Surely not. I must have hallucinated from too much ice cream…

Coconut Ice Cream with Salted Almond Date Caramel and Pecans

Recipe gratefully borrowed from Sweet Miscellany, here! I adapted the date caramel and pecans slightly to my taste. Makes about 5-6 servings, but is best the day it’s made (it starts to get a bit hard after a day or two), so go ahead and indulge with some friends. Either way, let it sit out for a few minutes (like 5) before serving–it will scoop a bit better. Gluten free, refined sugar free, paloe, vegan, and dairy free!

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For the ice cream base:

  • 2 cans full-fat, organic coconut milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c pure maple syrup (I use grade B, I like the flavor better in baked goods or sweets)
  • 1 tbsp plain vodka

For the caramel:

  • roughly 20 good sized medjool dates, pitted (soaked if necessary)
  • 2 heaping tbsp salted almond butter
  • a good pinch of sea salt
  • 1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2-4 tbsp unsweetened almond milk, to thin it out a bit

For the pecans:

  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • heaping cup of pecans, chopped

Get ready to drool: In a large bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the base. Cover and chill in the fridge either overnight or for fourish hours.

While the base is chilling, make pecans and caramel! For the pecans, heat coconut oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Toss in pecans and toast, shaking the pan occasionally. You’ll be able to smell the delicious toastiness once they get close to being done—should only be around 5 minutes after the oil is heated.

For the caramel, truck out your trusty food processor. Soak your dates in hot water to soften them if necessary. Once they’re soft, toss them into the food processor and pulse until they form a rough paste. Add in almond butter, vanilla, and sea salt, and pulse to combine. Add almond milk as necessary to thin it out a bit—you don’t want it too thin, but thick enough that it’s spreadable. Set aside when it’s to your liking.

Once the base is done chilling, bust out your ice cream maker! Jill has a really cool one.. mine is OLD school. Like, hand crank. So… we used Jill’s! Chill the insert in the freezer if needed. Toss it all in and churn according to the ice cream maker’s instructions (or if you can’t find them, like Jill and I, just use your best judgement ;). Once the ice cream gets to a ‘soft serve’ consistency—meaning that if you stick a finger in there (or a spoon, pst whatever civilized), you should be able to scoop some up without it being too runny. Stir in about 3/4 of the pecans. Once the pecans are incorporated, spread a layer of ice cream into whatever you’re storing it in (I used a tall, round container; Jill’s was flat and square–either is fine), followed by generous dollops of caramel and a sprinkle of pecans. Repeat, swirling the ice cream together with the caramel dollops, until all the ice cream and caramel (and pecans) are combined. Cover and freeze until firm—for easier scooping, freeze until *just* firm. Let sit out a bit before scooping!

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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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And Stuff.

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Weekend Stuff!!

Because… it’s summer and I leave for camp in a week (Yay! Only minor packing stresses left to be stressy about now) and I have had NO time to do anything besides stuff my face with the enormous piles of fruit in my house. Seriously. There is an ABSURD amount of fruit around here for three people (sometimes four. E nicely helps out).

Which is fine. Because it’s summer and that means I want ALL THE FRUIT. ALL THE TIME.

Cherries.Blueberries.Blackberries.Peaches.Apricots.Plums.Pluots.Strawberries.

Pretty sure all of those are represented in the house at this moment. There is fully not enough time in my day to eat all the fruit. Does someone have an extra stomach I can borrow?? I need two.

But anyway. Weekend things! Besides eating fruit, this was dinner yesterday because I ate it at 4:30 and then I went into an ice cream coma. For reals.

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That was in fact a brownie ice cream sundae with butterscotch and banana pudding ice cream+whipped cream+caramel (duh)+toasted pecans.

Demolished.

Ps. Go to the Ice Cream Bar on Cole in SF if you want stupid good retro ice cream. Just do it. Or if you’re one of my invisible internet friends NOT from the aybaybay then come visit and I’ll take you because odds are I want to face plant into something like this and will use you as a convenient excuse. Mmk?!

Also. Hhahahaha mustard. But banana slug!!! But actually… mustard.

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And this too!! I told you E helped with the fruit, see?? Peach crispy crumbly thing per deux. It got eaten with frozen bananas-turned-ice cream because we decided to be good for a night. The recipe was essentially this (it’s sooooo complicated. NOT):

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Cut up two delicious, organical peaches. Toss them into a cute little cast iron skillet. In a smallish bowl, combine 3/4 c almond meal+1 tbsp runny, raw honey +1/2 tsp cinnamon+ 1 tsp coconut oil+ 1/4 c rolled oats+ 2 tbsp unsalted almond butter+ a pinch of sea salt+ 1 tsp vanilla and stir until the crumbly thing comes together. Drop over the top of the cut peaches and bake for close to 15 minutes, until the crumble is a little browned. Serve with some frozen bananas+vanilla+a splash of almond milk processed or blenderized into ice cream. Simple. Delicious. FRUIT!! Obvi. Gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, whatnot.

No comments please on my baking methods. There is possibly not a single square inch of available counter space in said photo and that is obviously not an issue. I can always go vertical and start stacking things if necessary…

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And also!! These were almond butter cookies that I made FOREVER ago but I forgot to share them until now but LOOK at how perfect they are!!! Clearly these might have had a cookie modeling career if they hadn’t ended up in my stomach so fast.

Ew. It’s one of those days where it’s already hot at 6:30 am and I just came back from jazzercise and… ew. Lucky for you you’re my invisible internet friends, not my sitting-right-next-to-my-sweaty-self friends. And on that lovely note..

Bye. I need fruit.

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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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Ice cream the size of my face and other musings…

Today, I ate an ice cream the size of my FACE. No. Really. It was. Don’t believe me?

you’re welcome.

Yep, now you do.

In all fairness, I did share with Vaccuum Vati. Thank heavens. It was enormous.

And then I took a nap. Seriously. I have never in all my life gone into that serious of a food coma… but I actually napped when I got home! With my kitty, love love love! And then… I did kitty yoga and went to the gym. A lovely day all around, I must say.

You see, I’ve been going to Fenton’s ever since I was a child, with my gram. So it brings back all kinds of nice memories, besides giving me the ability to stuff  my face with deliciousness. As a kid, I used to search the menu for the least painful, smallest lunch option possible, so I could go speedily onto dessert… and I realized today that I apparently still do that. Ice cream is infinitely superior to lunch. Duh. Everyone knows that.

phew. Healthy eye-relief.

Anyway. Getting back to the point of this blog, which is, after all, recipezzz… I made chickpea cakes! I’ve made them before and they’re fab… but was too lazy at the time to blog about them. Sooo you get them now! Do a happy dance, they’re amazing. They sort of taste like hummus in cake form. Winner winner, hummus dinner…

mmm, chickpeas!

Chickpea Cakes with Yogurt Drizzle

The recipe is ever so slightly adapted from Naturally Ella, here. These are delicious. Hummusyyy and with a nice texture. The yogurt drizzle gives them just the right amount of sauciness… and they’re particularly good with cucumber. I doubled the recipe to serve 3.

yum.

Chickpea Cakes

  • 2 c cooked chickpeas (I used canned)
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • sprinkle of garlic powder (I was out of for reals garlic, if you have it, use about one clove)
  • 2 tbsp Braggs Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce, whatever you prefer)
  • 1/2 c parmesan
  • 4 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 eggs
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • glug of olive oil

Yogurt Sauce

  • a few spoonfuls of plain yogurt of choice (mine was lowfat, not greek)
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • salt, pepper to taste
perfect antidote to ridiculous amounts of ice cream.

Muscle your food processor out of it’s hiding place/lair in the cupboard. Set up the whole shebang. Toss in chickpeas, tahini, Braggs, garlic powder (or normal garlic), and parmesan, and pulse until the mixture comes together and is a bit crumbly. Add in flour and eggs, and salt and pepper, and pulse to combine. Add a teeny bit more flour if it seems a little too thin—it should be like sticky batter consistency.

Heat olive oil in a nonstickish pan over medium heat. Once pan is hot, drop large spoonfuls of the batter into the pan. Let cook until you can easily flip them and the bottoms are done, then flip and cook until both sides are nicely browned, about 5ish minutes.

To make yogurt sauce, vigorously stir all ingredients together in a small bowl. Seriously. It’s that easy.

Stack prettily… drizzle… eat… repeat.

drizzle!!