I’m hippie-granola…and apples are pretty freaking awesome.

I told you I was hippie-granola.

I wear leg warmers… and birkenstocks. Sometimes together… possibly more often than I care to admit.

My traveling attire when I went to Oregon was truly something spectacular… the usual leg warmers… and my yoga mat! Wow. People in the airport were REAL jealous, let me tell you.

Not my fault I was raised on tofu and bananas and other sorts of natural-type foods like peanut butter that separates (that no stir stuff has always creeped me out). Born in Berkeley, what can I say. Admit it, it’s part of my charm.

And look… I made granolaaaa!!! Like, real granola. Not like my type of hippie crunchy granola. I figured it would be easy and more cost effective to make my own, not to mention healthier, as I know exactly what goes in it. Not that we eat really sketchy granola, as a rule: Nature’s Path is pretty non sketch and delicious. But still. I wanted to try my hand at making some anyway… and I’m pretty sure it was a success.

Besides, this granola is full o’ the good stuff… like healthy fats from the pepitas and the flaxseed (can you say omegaaaasss!), whole grains (oats), and blood sugar stabilization from cinnamon. Apples are pretty freaking awesome too, since they provide soluble fiber (mostly in the form of pectin) for happy digestion and lower cholesterol levels, AND antioxidants…not to mention vitamin C! I love me some anti-free radial activity. Soooo, basically apples are awesome. You know what they say, about apples and doctors? Yeah. Pretty much true. Or maybe you should just eat some granola instead, nudge nudge wink wink…!

Apple-Cinnamon Granola

The recipe is slightly modified from Sally’s Baking Addiction, here! It made three jars worth of granola (as some of you are aware, I ADORE jars and store nearly everything in them)… which probably amounts to about 3 cups, ish? The recipe comes together quickly, bakes in half an hour, and is great snacking/breakfast/yogurt topping option. Gotta love granola and it’s ridiculous versatility!

  • 2.5 c rolled oats (not quick oats)
  • 3/4 c ground flaxseed
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • heaping 1/4 c raw pepitas
  • 1 c dried apples*, diced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 c maple syrup

*preferably use dried apples that are just that: apples that have been dried! None of those icky sulphites or sugars. Ew. None of that.

Preheat the oven to 300, and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a largish bowl, mix together oats, flaxseed, cinnamon, pepitas, and diced apples. In a smaller bowl, whisk together salt, applesauce, and maple. Pour the wet over the dry and stir to combine, making sure that the wet ingredients are evenly distributed. Spread the mix onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring slightly at the 15 minute mark. Let cool for at least a half an hour on the stove top (you wouldn’t want soggy granola, would you?!). Store in jars!!

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 :)

Get those balls rolling…

BALLS!

Okay… so I finally did it.

Apparently I’ve jumped onto the balls bandwagon.

Not THAT kind (pshhh—get your mind out of the gutter); THIS kind!

and then there was one.

Except to me they’re really like healthful no-bake cookies. But in ball form. Because I don’t really use these for energy, let’s be real… but they’re perfect snackies for when you want something kinda sorta sweet but good for you all at the same time. But not dessert. A ball.

Besides, saying BALLSSSSS is fun! Try it: just make sure there’s no one around, they might look at you a little funny.

And they’re fun to stack, and roll around…

all by its lonesome

Let’s face it, I have yoga brain after my class this morning. Yes, I know the class was finished at 11 and I had a chai afterwards and should be fully functional by now (at 4:15 pm), buuttt my brain says… NO. Apparently we’re having a small tantrum today: it’s fuzzy Thursday. Acceptable, I suppose, for my day off. Good thing I don’t have to do anything more strenuous than go grocery shopping (oh wait. That required efficient decision making.whoops, FAIL) and photograph balls. Tee hee.

yum yum yum

Anywayyy. I digress. These balls are delicious and easy and come together in a snap. They’re a little on the crumbly side and excellent to grab on the way out the door (just don’t get crumbs all in your car; oh wait… I already did that).

I suppose you could call them blobs… but balls is more fun!

Balls balls balls:

aerial shot!

No-Bake Energy Balls

Ever so slightly adapted from Running to the Kitchen, here! I doubled the recipe and got 18, since I’ve made a single recipe before and we fight over them…

  • 1 c raw cashews
  • 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 4 tbsp nut butter (I’ve used all peanut, half peanut/half almond, both are good!)
  • 3 tbsp dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Couldn’t be simpler: chuck nuts into your food processor. Pulverize until they’re a fine powder. Add in oats and pulse again. Add everything else (nut butter, chocolate chips, chia, maple, and vanilla), and pulse until it all comes together. Form/roll into balls and store in the fridge. Easy money.

it looks like…a rock?!

Mo’ Muffins! And some kitchen shenanigans.

this pottery is ADORBS

Mo’ muffins!

I know, I know, they’re just so fun to photograph. Besides… I also made this.

you see that fab green color? Nutrients, that’s what that is. (Read: KALE!)

And this.

I’m just visually taunting you, no big deal

But this needs improvement, so you don’t get a recipe. Yet. Let me make it awesome first, then I’ll share.

And I also did this. Yeah yeah, there’s a wee bit of Scottish in me (have you checked out my last name lately?!) and I like to be repppin’ at the Pleasanton Highland Games. Don’t be judgy.

A Bellendaine!! [The Scotts are out! War cry of Clan Scott, ahhhhh yeahhh] And yes, that IS the ancient-green Scott tartan.
Anyyyway. These muffins. I made quinoa muffins once before back in Salem for Kira and I, and MAN were they delicious. So I figured, why not again? Except this time, I had a plethora of dead bananas getting deader by the minute in the fridge, and they really needed to go to a nice home in muffins. And cake. Which is why the above happened (imperfectly… it was kind of an experiment). And really, I stopped to listen to my internal thought process when I was baking… and it’s ridiculous. Really ridiculous. Apparently I am a tad ADD when baking: “ooooh dead bananas, they should go in something but what? Tired of muffins. No bread it takes too long I want instant gratification OH! CAKE! A half recipe would bake faster Hmmm okay so it has eggs but I don’t want to use eggs today what about flax? nahhh OOOH vinegar goes with bananas and brings out their flavor, what about vinegar and baking soda? ooh but wait I want quinoa… okay so quinoa muffins and banana cake and kale pesto… that’s a weird combo but whatever” etc etc etc and on and on and on. Be thankful you aren’t inside my head.

mo’ muffins!

Peanut Butter Banana Quinoa Muffins

Makes 11 muffins. Very slightly adapted from Pardon the Dog Hair, here! The quinoa gives these muffins a slightly crunchy texture (in an extremely good way), and are full of all kinds of delicious things. Whole grains, protein, lower in sugar, and perfect for breakfast. Or snack. Or appeasing your gremlins at any time.

timberrrr

Acquire:

  • 1 c quick oats (uncooked) (Mine was more like 3/4 c quick oats, 1/4 c rolled)
  • 3/4 c whole wheat flour
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 c milk bev (mine was 1% milk)
  • 1/3 c lowfat plain yogurt
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp-runneth-over (aka heaping) peanut buttahhh
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c cooked quinoa (about 1/3 c dry)
  • 1 buhhnahhnuhhh, mashed
  • a sprinkling of chocolate chippies
it seems like there should be a rainbow leading to the pot o’muffin..?

Preheat the oven to 375, and lightly grease muffin tins.

You know the drill, muffins are easyyyy: In a bowl, whisk together oats, flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda, and cinnamon. In a larger bowl, whisk applesauce, vanilla, honey, milk bev, yogurt, and brown sugar until sugar dissolves. Add in egg, quinoa, and banana and whisk until incorporated. Add dry into wet, sprinkle in chippies, and (avoiding overmixing) stir to combine. Fill tins about 2/3 full depending on muffin size preference… and bake for 15-16 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

up close and muffin-personal

Caped cookie crusaders for breakfast?

jars are always superior storage

The breakfast cookie strikes again!

Sneaky breakfast nutrition packaged into one deceptively small package, complete with whole grains/fiber, potassium, and healthy fats. All it needs is a cape to achieve complete superhero status. Can’t you just imagine this little caped cookie crusader swooping in, shoving your boring (and non-nutritive)  breakfast off your plate, and (standing with fists on hips, cape blowing in the wind… wait. do cookies have hips? Whatever, indulge me) trumpeting: “I am the breakfast cookie, here to save your butt from a boring breakfast! Eaaaat meeeee, you know you want to! I’m tasty and portable, and a COOKIE. Hellooooo, who DOESN’T want to say they’ve had a cookie for breakfast?!”.

demonstrating amazing feats of super-cookieness

And then you eat it, and feel so ridiculously awesome, like you could go off and save the world. Or wear a cape and look bomb. You know, just some minor benefits of eating a proper breakfast (or a legit breakfast cookie, since as I’ve demonstrated, that clearly equates to the same thing). Besides, these cookies are one of the easiest to make: just toss all the ingredients together, stir and chuck onto the cookie sheet in roughly cookie-shaped balls. Bake. Let cool (yeah right). Eat. Done! Go don your cape.

dense cookie complexity up close and personal-like

Banana-Granola Breakfast Cookies

I adapted these ever so slightly from Fannetastic Foods, here! I’ve made them before, but I really wanted granola in this batch somewhere. They’re lightly sweet and nicely hearty, perfect for a capped crusader breakfast. Mine were 2-3″ across fully baked, and I ended up with 14 total.

  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 2/3 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp whole chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 ridiculously ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 c plain lowfat yogurt (or whatever you have on hand)
  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c granola of choice*

*I used 1/4 c Nature’s Path pumpkin flax granola, and 1/4 c Nature’s Path Ancient Grains + Almond granola (a winning combo, I must say)

mmm, coookies

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a cookie sheet (or two, whatever floats your boat). In a large bowl, whisk together oats, flour, coconut, flaxseed, chia, baking soda, and cinnamon. In a smaller bowl, mash up the bananas, and then add yogurt, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add wet into dry, and fold in granola as you stir them together. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the baking sheet. Bake for 13-14 minutes—mine were done at 13. I pulled them off the cookie sheet right away, as I didn’t want them to dry out. Let cool on  a cooling rack. I store cookies with banana in the fridge—I think it improves the consistency and I like them cold, but that’s up to you :)

Eat. Enjoy wearing your cape to work.

//

Your daily dose of (nice) inbox snark

I know it’s slightly blurred, but I love this one!

I do apologize for the large gaps between posts (I know, I know, it’s my wittiness that you miss)…

I’ve been busy busy of late and have been eating lots of tasty, albeit fast and non-photogenic, food of late. Like tempeh, for instance. I recently discovered that I do, in fact, enjoy this fermented “textured protein”, in spite of a childhood derision for said food object. Like, refusing to ever eat it EVER again. I suppose I’m eating my words on this one… (but that being said, I seriously WILL NEVER EAT tofurky sausage. Like, EVER. Ranks up there with one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever brought near my face… so unless they radically change the formula, there will be no more  of that). So. Tempeh. Tasty, especially in peanut sauce… but definitely NOT conducive to appealing looking photos… at all. You can thank me later for sparing you the pictures.

cooookies!

SO.

Instead, you get COOKIES! Surprised? Yeah, I thought not. But whatever, these are good and a nice change up from my pb-chia-oat-coconut routine. Except that these do have pb and oats, but there is this crazy addition of this thing called COCOA POWDER! Woah. Really going out on a limb here, aren’t we? Besides, I really obviously have a thing for pb cookies… and I had a jar of that amazing coconut-pb spread begging to go into cookies… and it was less hot… and chocolate and pb are a match made in heaven… so there you go. Chocolate cookies. With pb. And oats. Good(ish) for your health, wonderful for your soul. Be happy. Indulge.

bowl ‘o cookies

These cookies are on the soft side (although they are supposed to be chewy… huh. I’m thinking the reduction in sugar is causing the lack of chewiness, so if you prefer a sweeter cookie, go with the amount in the original recipe), so if you like crunchy cookies (Miss Kira, I’m looking at you), leave these in quite a bit longer so they can harden into rusk-like hockey pucks (just kidding!!). They’re lightly sweet but nicely chocolatey. I used a chunky peanut butter which is kind of funny considering I HATE nuts in my baked goods… I kind of didn’t put two and two together that chunky nut butter = nuts in cookies… but for some reason these are acceptable and pass my nut test. Go figure…?

//

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies

I made a full recipe and got 19 cookies… the original says you can get 36, but I question what kind of weirdo wants cookie that small… pshhh. Ever so slightly adapted from Eating Well. I didn’t have pb chips—if so, I would have used them.

Lezzzz DO IT! Scrounge and procure:

  • 1 c chunky peanut butter (or coconut peanut butter if you’re cool like me)
  • 1/4 c canola oil (I may try half applesauce at some point for kicks)
  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp plain yogurt (mine was nonfat)
  • 3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 c rolled oats (or quick oats)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4ish cup of chocolate chippies
failed attempts at cookie henge…

Heat the oven to 350, and line two-ish baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, oats, baking soda, and salt. In a larger bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together peanut butter, oil, and sugars until blended. Beat in eggs, vanilla, and yogurt until just combined. Stir in dry ingredients (the dough is on the sticky side) and chocolate chips. Drop by respectable spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets, flattening slightly with your hand or the bottom of a glass (turbinado sugar on the flattened tops is nice, but I was out). Bake for 8-10 minutes, being careful not to over bake. Mine went for about 10, but I was testing the convection settings on my oven, and mine probably could have gone a bit less. Let cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

for some reason I really like this one… It makes the bowl look luminous!

Back in the realm of relative normalcy (ish)

ooh goodness YUM

oooohhhKAY! I’m BACK! You know, you might have missed me if I’d been gone too long… and we can’t have that, can we?! Oh no.

Now that I’m back in the realm of relative normalcy (I say relative because really… am I ever really normal? Correct answer: NO), it’s time for seasonal baking and cooking! Which means that I’ve been effectively eating my weight in fresh fruit and veggies errryyday (hooray, summer!!), particularly strawberries and zucchini. I kind of forgot how in California it’s farmer’s market time basically year-round… I’m a naturalized Oregonian now! What is this weird sunny weather that persists allll the time?! Why do I have to go running at 6:30 am in order to avoid completely dying of heatstroke?! Pshh. Good thing I’m 99% sure I’m moving back up the Pacific Northwest… heaven forbid I get too tan! Hehe. But for reals, I LOVE the NW… it’s lovely! Weather included :)

ANYWAY. After that longish tangent, let me get to the point I was originally making before I interrupted myself: I love in season eating! So expect to see a lot of that around here these days.

Except today.

see? something green. To bad it’s not the subject of today’s post…

You see, here’s what happened: I made delicious zucchini cakes (AGAIN, mind you this is the second time), but they were FUGLY. And I was HUNGRY. Soooo… you get dessert, instead! I know, I know… you’re sooo disappointed. But really, don’t be. It’s FAB! And I’ll send some savories your way sometime soon, promise!

cheese. From the zucchini cakes. Because this way you can feel like I feed you something besides dessert.

Besides, this dessert is sneakily nutritious, which happens to be my favorite kind. Because who doesn’t love getting sneaky nutrients in a dessert?! These little muffin-tin cookies are vegan (with vegan chocolate chips, which I didn’t have), gluten free, and sugar free! Can’t go wrong with that… especially when you eat them with ice cream! Ha. I suppose if you wanted to be completely virtuous, you could rustle up some healthier non-dairy frozen sub… but I was too lazy. If chickpeas in cookies freak you out, tough beans! Ha. Juuust kidding. Don’t worry, you wouldn’t know they were in there unless I told you :)

Because ice cream makes everything better!

Sneakily Healthy Muffin-tin Cookies (Aka Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies)

I adapted my version from Chocolate Covered Katie. She prefers a link rather than a write-out, so you’re going to have to go visiting for the full recipe… clicky click click! It’s delicious, promise! Click the link for the original post; my notes are below.

gooey deliciousness

Yield: 5 muffin/cookie/things

  • I made a 1/2 recipe, as per usual, and baked them in muffin tins (I got 5).
  • Bake at 350 for somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes, depending on size and desired gooeyness (they’re vegan, so no worries on freakydeaky uncooked eggs)
  • All the ingredients halve easily, so no problems there. Use whatever smaller pan floats your boat—when I unearth my six-inch baby cake pans, I’ll probably make it again in those.
  • I used 1.5 tbsp olive oil.
  • If dates aren’t your thing, go ahead and sub in brown sugar (I’d say somewhere around 1/2 c for the same level of sweetness), but I prefer dates. It keeps things all natural and a bit more virtuous :). I used 4 medjool dates, pitted and chopped into smaller pieces.
  • I used chickpeas, but I’d like to try this again with cannellini beans for something different!
ice cream-less… but what’s the fun in that?!