I’m alternative… or awesome? Let’s go with awesome.

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I eat greens in three meals a day.

No joke.

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I even put spinach in my oats. (I can hear you ewwwing, you know, through my computer). NOT cooked, mind you—it only goes in my overnight oats. With a buhhnahhhnuhhh. And then I eat them in lunch. And dinner. And probably a snack, if I could finagle it. You know how in previous posts I’ve mentioned putting spinach where it totally doesn’t belong? Yeah. I suppose oats would be one of those places… as would a banana scramble…? Whatever. I’m kind of ¬†alternative. Or awesome… let’s go with awesome.

Ahem..

Movingggg… on!

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This time, spinach went in a smoothie! That’s at least a little more normal… but why I chose to make and eat this on day when it was cold and raining outside is beyond me. It was delicious but then I was promptly freezing. Whoops. Whatever, worth it!

And then you can do almond butter art on top of your smoothie, if you eat in in a bowl. Which is obviously reason enough to eat in a bowl, right?? Who doesn’t like an excuse to play with their food? Come on, channel your inner Jackson Pollock, you know you want to!

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Almond Coconut Green Smoothie

Gratefully inspired by The Edible Perspective, here! Makes one largeish smoothie bowl. Note that you need to freeze the coconut milk first, so make time for that if you want this later in the day!

  • 1 c light coconut milk
  • 1/2 c milk bev of choice (I used 1% milk)*
  • 2 c fresh spinach
  • 2 tbsp almond butter+more for drizzle
  • 1.5 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut+garnish
  • 1 medjool date, pitted
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

*I would have liked mine thicker, more like a milkshake consistency—next time I won’t add as much extra milk. Up to you! ¬†If you want it drinkable (as opposed to spoon-able), use 1/2-1 c extra milk bev.

Freeze 1 c of coconut milk in ice cube trays. Once it’s frozen, pop them out into your food processor (or blender, if you happen to have a decent one). Add in spinach, almond butter, coconut, date, banana, and vanilla, and blend until combined. Pour into a bowl (because that’s more fun!), and top with almond butter and coconut, and maybe some chia seeds. Preferably eat when it’s not freezing outside…

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Instant Date-ification

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I used to looove fig newtons. Love them. I don’t really think they’re a universally loved-by-kids snack, but whatever. As a kid, I loved them. I used to nibble around the sides and eat off all of the cakey bits (come to think of it, I ate around madelines from Starbucks the same way…) and then eat the figgy bits in the middle.

In college I graduated to organic ones. Oooooh. Organic obviously makes processed things okay… ?! Um no… not really.

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But… I’ve graduated college and am now a real person (um.. no) (immaturity keeps me forever young) (part of being an adult is being a kid at heart, right? Right) now I’ve graduated to making my own! And even better than figgy type newtons… these are DATE newtons! Pshh. Who WOULDN’T love something stuffed with dates?!

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I’m pretty sure I’ve already mentioned this, but juuuust in case you haven’t noticed… I also LOVE dates! As in, I love dates beyond all reason. They are delicious and good for you and I could easily eat them all day long all day every day for the rest of my life. End of story. Stranded on a desert island, can only pick one food? Dates. Well, okay. Dates and almond butter, because clearly I couldn’t survive on dates alone (and okay… maybe some toast to put the dates and almond butter on. Picky, aren’t I?). I would obviously try though.

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So I made these! And they were maybe one of the best things I’ve put in my face all week. Aaaamazing. And raw. Which means no dealing with ovens and all that silliness, just instant date-ification. Yum yum yum. Oh. And they’re fabulous for you, so it’s just a win win win all around. Healthy fats [almonds and flaxseed], omega 3’s [flaxseed], whole grains [oats], protein, fiber, tons of vitamins and minerals and excellent energy [dates, dates dates!].

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Raw Date Newtons

Recipe gratefully borrowed from the Pancake Princess, here!

Makes 16 little guys. Gluten free, could be vegan [non dairy milk bev+maple].

First we rummage for this kind of biz:

  • 1/2 c raw almonds (mine were already partially ground)
  • 1/4 c flaxseed meal
  • 1/4 c rolled oats
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1.5 tbsp milk bev (I used 1% dairy)
  • 1 c dates, pitted and soaked for a few minutes
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla

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Then we:

Lug out the trusty, zillion pound food processor. Open lid, put in blade, yadayada. Toss in almonds, flaxseed, oats, and salt, and pulse until blended. If your almonds are whole and not partially ground like mine, you might want to grind them alone for a bit so that they’re more broken up, but that’s up to you (and the strength of your food processor). Add in honey and pulse until the mixture starts to come together and be clumpier. Add milk, 1/2 tbsp at a time, until it sticks together like a dough (and if you pinch it between your fingers it stays together). Remove the dough from your food processor, and roll it out really thinly between two pieces of wax/parchment paper. Aim for a mostly rectangular shape, just to make your bites even sized. I cut mine in half so that I would have two even-ish rectangles, about 1/8-1/4″ thick.

Without even bothering to wash out your food processor (quite possibly my least favorite part of baking), drain dates, and add them with the vanilla to the bowl. Process until a paste forms—it should be spreadable. Spoon that goodness directly onto each half of your rolled out dough, and then fold it up and around the filling to make a cute little date newton bite! Repeat with the other piece of dough and filling. Slice each log into about 8 bites, for a total yield of 16.

Store them in an airtight container in the fridge… if they last that long…

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you can never have too many dates…

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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One awkwardly dead banana and what to do with it

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Banana bread bites.

Somewhere between a cookie, banana bread, and… a scone? Muffin? A skookie? Or a brone? Or a mookie?

Clearly my brain has gone on holiday, can you tell?

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Either way, these are delicious! Vegan, refined sugar free (and low sugar), whole grain, high in fiber, and full of potassium and antioxidants. I can’t even really call it a cookie because it’s so healthy… but then you can have a cookie for a snack and feel good about it, so errrybody wins. And I win, because I’ve been buying an excess of bananas so that I can let some go all mushy and disgusting. This is all on account of Vacuum Vati, you see. I thought I ate a lot of bananas?! Apparently it’s genetic. Sheeeesh. If I didn’t buy extras and explicitly forbid him from eating them, there would never be any banana bread/bites/cake/cookies around here. And that would just be sad. So obviously I just circumvent this by buying an extra bunch and doodling on their skins to designate them off limits. MY DEAD BANANAS! MINE!

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I am, of course, very nice. How, you say? Welll… I share the PRODUCT of the hoarded bananas! I may be territorial regarding my dead bananas, but there are always several lucky recipients of the buuhhnahhhnuhhh creation. I think these went over well…. there are currently two left. *Pause for effect*… I made them yesterday. Obviously time to make something else, wouldn’t you think?

Except now I have one awkwardly dead banana and I’m not sure what to do with it. It needs friends. Does anyone care to donate their dead bananas? Anyone? Anyone? …Bueller?

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Vegan Banana Bread Cookie Pucks

Recipe adapted ever so slightly from Minimalist Baker (fabby blog!), here! The recipe makes about 18 little puck thingies… about 2-3″ across. Freaking delicious. Good for you. There is absolutely nooo reason why you shouldn’t trot off to your kitchen and make these… (unless, that is, you haven’t properly hoarded and defended your dead bananas).

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  • 2 ripe (read: dead) bananas
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp pure almond extract
  • 2 tbsp smooth almond butter (I used Maranatha unsalted)
  • 1.5 tbsp grade B organic maple syrup
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 c rolled oats
  • 1/4 c dark chocolate chips

In a bowl, mash the two dead bananas so they can become delicious. Toss in baking powder, soda, salt, flaxseed, extracts, almond butter, maple, and olive oil, and stir to combine. Add in flour, oats, and chocolate chips, and once more stir to combine everything. The dough should be thick and a bit sticky. Cover the bowl with whatever’s handy, and refrigerate while the oven is preheating.

Preheat the oven to 375, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Once the oven is done, grab your chilling dough, and drop heaping tablespoons onto the sheet, with a bit of room between (though I was able to get all 18 on one sheet). Slightly flatten the tops. Bake for 9-10 minutes, until the tops are set. Don’t let them brown, as you want them hydrated and soft! Let cool on a rack for a bit, then store in a tupperware for about five seconds before they all get eaten.

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Cast iron and being a gore-tex wussie.

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B Bread.

In. A. Skillet!

What is it about baking in cast iron that makes me feel so old school? Not even old school, more like a pioneer…like one of those badasses who trekked across America in wool. Ew. Itchy. I can’t imagine doing something crazy like that with no goretex. Clearly I’m not baller enough for that kind of trek. Besides, a covered wagon sounds all kinds of awful. But really… cast iron! It’s pretty freaking amazing.

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I’d never really considered baking in it before though, as weird as that is… previously to the revelation a skillet was specifically to be used for dutch baby pancakes and browning beef. Maybe naan. Annnddd…. that’s pretty much it. Except for maybe whacking some intruder if I ever had to deal with that kind of thing.

But now! Nowwww I can make banana bread in a skillet, which results in a ridiculously tasty crust and a fun circular shape. This makes me want to procure a baby skillet and make tiny cookies (skillet cookies are BOMB, they’re really more like a pie than a cookie).

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Anyway. This time I made a vegan banana bready thing… kind of like a hybrid between cake and bread, except not bad for you. You could use any recipe you want, just adjust the cook time accordingly as the banana bread will likely be flatter and will cook faster. I made a half recipe to fit my little skillet.

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Banana Skillet Bread

Recipe adapted slightly from A Splash of Something, here! These measurements are for the half recipe that fit in my baby skillet (about 6″). The bread isn’t overly sweet, and is excellent with nut butter (obvs I would say that…)

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/8 c organic grade B maple syrup
  • 1/8 c water
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce

Preheat the oven, and also the skillet, to 350.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a larger bowl, mash bananas, then add in maple, water, vanilla, oil and applesauce. Stir in flour, until just barely incorporated.

Take the skillet out of the oven (carefully, it’s hot…), and melt a bit of Earth Balance or coconut oil in it, to coat the bottom and sides. Pour in the batter and flatten it out a bit, then bake for about 30 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

Once mine was slightly cooler, I brushed the top with a bit more maple syrup. Let cool in the skillet, and store tightly wrapped (I use foil).

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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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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?!