Light side? Or…. dark side?!

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So, are you on the light side?

Or…

The dark side?

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Both are equally appealing…

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B(lond)rownies are kind of like the Force. They have a light side, and a dark side… and they undeniably hold the universe together. My universe, anyway, I can’t speak for yours…

But really, when brownies are holding your universe together, that universe is pretty freakin fab!

I was a little more inclined to the dark side today with these. Dense, fudgy and rich, with small chunks of chocolate chips.. mmm. Doesn’t get much better than that. Except when there’s peanut butter added to your chocolate, in which case the ridiculous deliciousness of these skyrockets into the stratosphere.

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But then there’s these.

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And if you’re feeling like maybe your inclinations push you to the light side (blue, green and purple are pretty awesome lightsaber colors), there’s these. Dense, chewy-crumbly, with an almost graham cracker-like taste. And chocolate chips. Of course.

Actually, much like the dichotomy in the Force (and the real universe..) these two complement each other startlingly well. The deep dark fudgy of one plays nicely against the lighter molassesy flavor of the other.

So go ahead. Indulge your dark side and your light side, and make a batch of both. You never know when the mood might strike, or when your universe might become ruled by baked goods in the best possible way….

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Deep Dark Peanut Butter Brownies

This recipe is from Minimalist Baker, here! It’s freaking fabulous so I didn’t change a thing (other than omitting the powdered sugar and subbing in maple). Makes about 12 good sized brownies, in an 8 by 8 pan. Vegan, gluten free, and refined sugar free!

  • 1 can (15 oz) of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp flaxseed meal+5 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 c coconut sugar
  • 1/2 c creamy salted peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

Lightly grease an 8 by 8 pan, and preheat the oven to 350.

In a food processor, combine flax meal and water and let sit for a few minutes. Add in beans, coconut oil, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and soda, vanilla, maple syrup, and coconut sugar. Pulse to combine, and let it run for a minute or two—you want this to be very smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips, and pour batter into the prepared pan. In a smaller bowl, stir together peanut butter and maple. Drop dollops of the peanut butter onto the tops of the brownies, and swirl it in with a knife. Top with extra chocolate chips (because, why not?!), and bake for just about 30 minutes. The center should have no jiggle and the edges will pull slightly away from the pan. Let cool almost completely before slicing, as they’re a little fragile when warm. Store in the fridge in an airtight container!

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Light Side Blondies

These are adapted only slightly from Worth Cooking, here! The recipe makes about 12-14 wedges if you make it in a 9″ round cake pan, as I did. E and I decided these reminded us slightly of graham crackers in the way they tasted, and they’re dense, chewy and vanilla-y. They’re gluten free with oat flour, as originally written, but I was out. Vegan and refined sugar free!

  • 1/4 c flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 c tapioca starch
  • 3/4 c coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 7 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp vanilla (Yes, you read that right!)
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

Lightly grease a 9″ round cake pan (or square, or whatever). Preheat the oven to 350.

In a smallish bowl, whisk together flaxseed, water, and molasses and let sit. In a larger bowl, whisk together whole wheat pastry flour, tapioca starch, coconut sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add in flax mix, followed by coconut oil and vanilla. Stir to combine, tossing in the chocolate chips as you go. Spread the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for just about 30 minutes. The top should be firm, and the blondies will pull away from the sides of the pan slightly. Let cool a bit before slicing. I have no leftovers… but if I had, I would have stored them in the fridge ;)

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Cookies n’stuff.

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Excuses? No, not really.

I don’t have much to say for myself.

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Except that it’s FRIDAY which means…

I missed cookie Thursday, so obviously we need to have cookie Friday. Duh.

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Besides that, I am officially UN spotty AND I have tonsillitis no longer. What what! Clearly cookies are a necessary celebration. Besides that, I riffed on the lentil cookies again and these were too unusual and good not to share. I got the idea since I wanted to figure out another gluten free cookie based on lentils that could be chocolate free for my choco-free friends (Jill, these are for you!).

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I promise to do something savory or NOT a cookie some point soon. I mean, ideally my next post but my food life is unpredictable so no guarantees.

In other random food news (such is my life: a string of food-events. Breakfast! Snack! Lunch! Snack! Dinner! Snack!), Mutti had a birthday last week, which meant deliciousness at Boulevard and high tea. Which also meant a food coma ensued. Sooo worth it. Apparenlty there are also going to be a thousand pictures in this post, sorry I’m not sorry I reeeeealllyyy like photography (or whatever it is that I do)!!

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Truth:

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Additionally, did you know that eggs+sautéed mushrooms and spinach+chopped walnuts+chopped dates+a small sprinkle of parmesan is unaccountably delicious? Because it is. Promise. Hey!! This is savory. Mostly… Do I get any points for that??

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But anyway. Cookies. The reason we’re here in the first place. Happy allergen free cookie Friday! Proof that everyone can (and should) enjoy a cookie (or five) :)

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Peanut Butter Lentil Cookies

Lightly sweet, as I prefer my ‘snacking’ cookies (as opposed to full on indulgent dessert). Full of protein and fiber, as well as a host of other minerals and nutrients and such (phosphorus, manganese, Vit B6), they’re also gluten free, vegan, and refined sugar free. I’ll snap to that. Recipe modified from the chocolate-chocolate chip lentil version from last week, here. Yield: 15 cookies (maybe would have been 16 if I could have stopped eating the dough, oops).

  • 1.5 c green lentils, cooked
  • 1/3 c organic salted peanut butter (mine was chunky)
  • 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 c dark chocolate chips**
  • 1/8 c raw cocoa nibs**

**replace with carob for chocolate-free cookie fabulousness!

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If needed, precook your lentils (1/2 c dry=1.5 c cooked).

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

These are beyond easy (thank goodness for that because excuse me but who wants to make complicated cookies when they want cookies NOW?! Yes, that’s what I thought): Toss cooked lentils into the food processor, and process until mostly smooth. Add in peanut butter, oats, maple, vanilla, coconut, and baking powder, and pulse until it’s all combined into a big, deliciously thick mess. Stir in chocolate chips and cocoa nibs (I just take out the blade and use the bowl of the food processor). Drop by the tablespoon-sized ball onto the prepared cookie sheet, and bake 12  minutes until the tops are just firm. Let cool for a few, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely. Or just devour them immediately; why bother taking up fridge space for storage?!

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Transitory Friday obsessions and other musings.

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Friday things!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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7. Kombucha. With chia. I’m obsessed.

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

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

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Absurdly Simple Peanut Butter-Chia Cookies

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

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Lezzzz do eeet:

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

*gluten free if needed for a gf cookie

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

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

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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

“Is this a special occasion?” And other no-bake madness.

crust is pretty!

Apparently once as a toddler, I said to my mother (regarding an ordinary dinner): “Always eat your veggies first, except for special occasions”… pause… “Is this a special occasion?”. See? Apparently my brain is hardwired this way (it must have been all the tofu I was fed as a kinder). Veggies are delicious. But I also love dessert… so what better when dessert and good-for-me ingredients tango together and create fabulous babies?? Or rather, when I can sneak healthy-type things into otherwise deceptively delicious desserts. Precocious child that I was (ha) I apparently developed my philosophies waaaay early in life: always attempt to get away with eating dessert first! Life is short.

pieeeee!

Although I also was quoted saying (in response to my mother saying that veggies made you strong), “No mommy, sleep does that!”. Hehe. Right on both counts, I should think?

Anyway. Pie. The next in the series of it’s-too-hot-to-bake-much-less-live-ew ‘baking’, here’s pie! Thankfully it’s cooled off slightly around these parts in the last few days, so I’m thinking cookies or somesuch later today. Because (after getting up at 5) I washed my car, which desperately needed it, and now I’m tired and need sustenance. Preferably snacky cookies. Uh oh, look out. But back to pie. Who doesn’t love pie? Delicious. Snappy. Frosty. Melty.

Just goes to show, bananas are awesome in pretty much any form. Besides, I love that they give this pie body and make it acceptable for breakfast. Potassium win. Plus antioxidants from cocoa and healthy fats from cashews and peanuts. AND dark chocolate. Definitely breakfast material in my book. Or at least elevenses, that awkward hungry time between breakfast and lunch (otherwise known as second breakfast, if it involves a muffin in Ricardo’s class).

that crust could have used a minute less in the oven…

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Banana Pie

I gratefully borrowed the recipe from Back to Her Roots, here! I made a few small adaptations so that I didn’t need to make a run to the store, but if I made it again, I’d like to try peanuts in the crust (I used cashews, as it was what I had). I also made this in a deep-dish pie dish, so I made 1.5 times the filling so that it would be a little taller. In a normal dish, the amount below should be fine. Maybe next time some coconut needs to go somewhere in this? Food for thought…

//

Putz and acquire for the crust:

  • 1.25 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews*
  • 1/3 cup milk bev (I used 1% cow’s milk)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (canola is fine too)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling-tastic (second set of numbers is the amount for a deep dish pie):

  • 3 large, ripeish bananas (or 4.5)
  • 1/4 cup honey (optional, only add if bananas aren’t very sweet)**
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (1/4 + 1/8 c)
  • 1 cup light coconut milk (canned, please) (1.5 c)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (1.5 tsp)
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter (1/4 + 1/8 c)

Chopped salted peanuts and dark chocolate for the topping, plus ice cream if you’re feeling frisky.

*The original recipe called for equal amounts of unsalted peanuts, but I still had raw cashews left over. The crust was still really good (I love the addition of nuts), but I’d be curious to try it with peanuts.

**I used just about 1/4 c of honey in my total amount of filling (1.5 times the recipe above), since I wanted this to be a bit sweeter than I usually prefer (sharing is caring). I may leave it out next time, depending on banana sweetness.

hello, dark chocolate, I love you.

Preheat the oven to 375.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and cashews. Pulse until combined and nuts are finely ground. In a liquid measure, combine milk bev, egg yolk, vinegar, oil, and vanilla. With the food processor running, drizzle the liquids into the dry ingredients and run until the dough forms into a ball.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out until slightly larger than the diameter than your pie pan of choice. Transfer the crust to the ungreased pie pan and flute the edges. Use a forkish thing to poke steam vents in the bottom (no one wants soggy, puffy crust). Bake for 16-18 minutes, until lightly browned (mine would have been good at 16ish, my edges got a bit brown). Let cool completely before filling.

While the crust is cooling, make the filling! If you’re not like me and have a decent blender, use that. If you’re like me and your blender is utter crap (yes. it is. it struggles even with a basic milkshake, much less anything more solid. Blender fail), use your food processor again. Chuck in all the filling ingredients (bananas through peanut butter, above) and blend until smooth, scraping the sides if necessary. Once the crust is cool, pour in the filling and smooth it out. Top with chopped peanuts and chocolate. Carefully transfer to the freezer, and freeze for 2ish hours. Mine sat for longer, so I let it thaw on the counter for about 25 minutes before we served it, which worked perfectly.

fin.

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…?

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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!

Workout. Get pumped! Eat. Love. Repeat as necessary!

semi-leaning tower of quinoa bars!

Happy first day of spring to you too, Salem. Thanks for the nice weather SNOW. What?! Like, actual snow this time too. About three inches of fluff on my car this morning… what is this?! Thankfully today was Workout Wednesday (ie the only reason I go to campus is to work out), or else I might have skipped class, hehe. (As Kira pointed out, at least I have my priorities straight. Miss a workout with Christine? NEVER! ha. But hey! Justified, as pilates/fitness instructor is my career of choice) Besides, I had to go give Christine her quinoa-banana bars. Yes. I am the kind of person who bakes treats for her fitness instructor. We have the same workout addiction after all: Must…work… out! And buy new active wear! Healthy snacks in exchange for a Pilates-Core body butt kicking? I think it’s a fair trade ;)

So now I’m nicely sore and contemplating going back out into the wet for work. And wet indeed it is now… we’re getting semi-frozen rain-ish-slush-gross now, because, well, why not? I have holes in my uggs, that’s why not. My heels got suspiciously damp when I was wearing them this morning… seriously, I had all these grand plans to take my winter-wear home over spring break to leave it, so that  I had less to take home in May. Fat chance. Watch, I’ll leave it all here and it’s be sunny and glorious the rest of April. Hmm. Maybe this is logical… maybe I should take it home?! Oh weather gods, how you love to mess with us here in Salem. I like snow, don’t get me wrong, but only when I can ski on it, pleaseandthankyou.

there's a rogue one!

Anywayyyy. Today I have bars for you! Healthy snack-type bars, like a cross between banana bread and a granola bar. They’re packed with all kinds of goodness: whole grains, peanut butter (YAY!), quinoa, flaxseed, bananaaaaas, and cardamom. Mmm. Can’t go wrong with the banana-cardamom combo, it’s fab. These bars also happen to be vegan, just for funzies! They’re perfect with a little (more) nut butter swiped on top (uh-oh, I can see the bottom of my peanut butter jar, mayday mayday!) and extra bananas :)

oh hey, up close!

Peanut Butter-Banana Quinoa Bars

Recipe only slightly adapted from here! Makes… 8 ish? I made it in a pie dish, and cut rectangles out of the center. Wedges would have been good too.

  • 2/3 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 c chunky peanut butter
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/3 c cooked quinoa*
  • 1/4 c wheat germ
  • 1.5 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 3 tbsp turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 c milk bev (soymilk for me)
  • sprinkling of dark chocolate chippies!
barsssss

*I cooked 1/3 c dry quinoa in 2/3 c water, yielding enough for the bars + dinner leftovers :)

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a dish of choice. I made mine in a 9″ pie dish, since a square 9″ seemed too big.

In a smallish bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and baking powder. In a largeish bowl, mash up the banana with a fork, and then vigorously stir in peanut butter until combined. (Added bonus: bicep workout!) Add in quinoa, wheat germ, flaxseed, sugar, vinegar, and soymilk, and stir to combine. Toss flour mixture and chocolate chips into the wet ingredients, and mix together until combined. Spatula-ize the batter into your prepared pan (Yes, spatula is a verb now), and bake for just about 30 minutes. A tester should come out clean when done.

Workout, feel pumped, eat, love! Repeat as necessary.

this may or may not be how my peanut butter disappears so fast...

Channeling my inner Aztec Warrior

Wait... are those...?

Rainy weather needs cookies.

Besides, there was an appalling lack of dessert around here, and I was in need of something to satisfy my sweet tooth (healthfully, if you please). So. I decided to make healthy(ish) cookies! Who doesn’t love cookies? And besides, these are good for you. You want to know why these are good for you? Suuuure you do! Alrighty, here’s the dealio: These cookies have not only oats (a whole grain), and peanut butter (healthy fats), but they also have CHIA SEEDS!

Pause for effect.

chia! I didn't take this photo, though :) credit: http://www.buybigorganic.co.uk

You know, like those little things that you grow chia pets with?  Apparently they’re useful for something beyond growing funny green “hair” on a statue (who knew?!).

I have been putting these on oatmeal since freshman year of college (and, in fact, asked for them instead of candy one year for Christmas), but I’ve never really baked with them until this year! It’s fun, you should try it :)

These tiny little seeds date back to the time when the Aztecs were using them for sustained energy, as the main ration for their warriors (eating them makes me feel fierce). A higher source of omega-3 fatty acids than flax seed, these little babies are a superfood! They’re incredibly high in antioxidants, provide fiber, and are also a good source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc. Woah. That’s a mouthful for a tiny little seed! And they are seriously tiny. But they can be added to all kinds of things, with no taste addition (at least, not that I notice). Apparently there’s also been research that suggests chia seeds slow the breakdown of carbohydrates, which in turn slows their conversion into sugar. They also have anti-inflammatory properties, and provide quality protein. All pluses, in my book. But enough with the nutrition lesson! I just needed to give you even more of a reason to make and eat these cookies.

I’ve just been validated by my lovely roomie as well: as I sit here writing this, I can hear Kira “mmm yumm-ing” from the other room over their deliciousness! These cookies were a big hit with both of us, hooray!

COOKIES!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Cookies

Adapted from Yummy Mummy, here! I got 13 decently sized cookies.

  • 1.5 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tbsp chia seeds!
  • 1/4 c (half a stick) butter, room temp or softened in the microwave if you’re lazy like me
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 3/4 c natural peanut butter (just peanuts and salt, please! Mine was chunky, which is extra delicious)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • a good handful of chocolate chips (extra points for heart healthy dark chocolate)…mine was about 1/3 c
playing with my food again?! nahhh...

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: oats, flour, baking powder, and chia seeds. Using an electric mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add in peanut butter, eggs, and vanilla, and beat to combine. Stir in dry ingredients, as well as chocolate chips. This dough is flaky, so I just got messy and used my hands to shape little cookie balls. They don’t spread, so feel free to cram them all on one cookie sheet (instant gratification, yesss). I flattened the tops a bit, and stuck on the chocolate chips that insisted on falling out. (Why do chocolate chips never want to stick to dough with peanut butter in it?!)

Bake them for 10 minutes, until lightly golden! Devour. Channel your inner Aztec warrior.

oops. it fell down!

Never enough peanut butter

Double whammy on the blog posts… I’ve been making interesting things lately, I promise! They’ve just been… ugly. I really didn’t want to show you the amoeba-like beet and goat cheese ravioli… Tasty, but… ugly. Luckily, recipes lately have been delicious AND aesthetic, which appeases the art history major bit of me.

Anyway, recipe bonanza for you! Yay.

And no. This one isn’t even orange!

*gasp*

I told you, we’re striving towards variety! Besides, we have enough orange leftovers to last us a bit… I really don’t think we’re lacking in the beta-carotene department over here. Really. I definitely don’t want to venture into oompa loompa territory. Let’s not.

No, this isn’t exactly a recipe, either.

It’s a loose adaptation of a noodles and sauce recipe that Gillian and I discovered last year when we were sorta kinda studying for nutrition (but really having much more fun discussing vegan chocolate cake and baking techniques). However. Even though it’s not a recipe, it’s one of my favorites! Infinitely adaptable to whatever you have on hand (or whatever is lurking in the depths of the vegetable crisper), and ridiculously quick and simple to whip up.

Besides. Peanut butter is A-MAZING. Well. Actually all nut butters are amazing. I’m surprised I don’t resemble a jar of almond butter (perhaps with an orangeish tinge? Ew.)… I may or may not eat about a jar a week. (And I’ve gotten my roomie addicted, muahhahah). Although now I’ve fallen back in love with peanut butter, so I alternate. But still. There is a ridiculously embarrassing amount of nut butter consumed in this apartment weekly. Going with this vein, I really like finding new ways of conveying nut butter into my face, besides the obvious option of some form of bread/pancake/muffin/scone/carrotish thing. Pasta seemed like an excellent choice…. and then you can decorate with veggies! This way all those antioxidants can have a party in your digestive tract, and in the process, annihilate all of the free radicals floating about and trying to cause problems. And all that whole wheat from the pasta can party with the veggies, increasing your fiberous intake and lowering your cholesterol and blood lipids. Everybody wins! (Except those nasty free radicals, but we don’t like them).

Enter: Peanut Noodles with Veggies! Thai inspired, probably… but eventually simplified to be pantry and budget friendly. YAY!

Peanut Noodlies with Veggies!

Semi-created by Hayley and Gillian.

Simple, really. Boil water! Choose your fave pasta (I like whole wheat soba for this, but whole wheat spaghetti works too), and cook it until al dente (eewww, please no soggy pasta). Drain and rinse.

Slice up a block of tofu into smallish cubes, and set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine:

  • A decent amount of peanut butter (say, 2 heaping tablespoons)
  • juice of one lime
  • grated fresh ginger
  • a drizzle of honey or agave
  • a squirt (say, 2 tsp) of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or other soy sauce type thing)
  • Sriacha, if you like it spicy!
  • water to thin it out

Keep in mind all these measurements are approximate—I usually taste and fiddle as I go along, and I never measure for this one. Mix everything together until the consistency is as you like it, then let your cubed tofu marinate for a bit.

While the noodlies are cooking, steam or saute veggies of your choice. I like bell peppers, broccoli, snow peas, or carrots—crunchy veggies are always good in this. We topped ours this time with diced cucumber, which was quite tasty. Toss the marinated tofu and sauce with the veggies and noodles, and serve. Eat. Love!