I only have (pies!) for you

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Could someone explain to me what happened to October? I blinked, and then… here we are. ALSO it’s already less than two weeks till Thanksgiving?! Um…. wat.

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But regardless… I have PIE!

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And it’s PURPLE pie!

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Because really, how could something like this not make you happy? That color just makes me smile every time. As does the fact that it’s grain & gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, vegan & paleo so errrybody can enjoy – because also, despite all the ‘free’ in its name, it is also delicious (NOT taste free. ha!)

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Maybe consider it if you’ve got friends or fam with some dietary stuff and they’re coming for Thanksgiving? I’m 100% sure they’d love you for it.

It’s been raining! I love love love the sound of rain – it so soothing, no matter what kind of day I’m having. Baking when it’s raining is one of my favorite things – I love that even though my apartment’s galley kitchen doesn’t have windows, I have a big window on the wall facing the entrance to the kitchen, which lets in light and rain sound. It’s perfect! Besides, my little one-butt kitchen is exactly the right size for my baking shenanigans.

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In other news, pretty coffee and some opera (shocking, I know…NOT).

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I’ve made this pie twice in three days – it’s that good! Full disclosure: the first time I made it, I took the first bite straight out of the pie dish: fork, meet pie. I NEVER do that, since I’m all about the presentation, but you know what? Sometimes it just has to happen.

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Happy Saturday! I’m loving the beautiful fall weather over here – the leaves are gorgeous, the air is crisp, and I had purple pie, eggs & kale for breakfast with the best company: life is wonderful! Happy baking!

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Purple Sweet Potato Pie on an Almond Coconut Crust

Gluten & grain free, refined sugar free, dairy free, vegan, paleo. Crust is a Wait are Those Cookies original, filling is adapted from The Endless Meal, here! Yield: one 9″ pie, serves 2 or several! ha.

For the crust:

  • 1.75 c almond flour
  • 1 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a pie plate with coconut oil.

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, shredded coconut, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, almond extract, maple, and melted coconut oil, and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers. Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge (or not, your call!). Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool for a few minutes, but keep the oven on if you’re making the whole thing at once.

For the filling:

  • 2 large purple sweet potatoes, peeled & sliced into 1″ pieces (about 3 cups worth)
  • 3/4 c full fat coconut milk
  • heaping 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1.5 tbsp tapioca starch*
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon (~1tbsp)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • heaping 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine salt

*full disclosure: I made this twice in three days & totally forgot the tapioca starch the second time. It’s actually not essential – the filling set up fine without it.

While the crust is baking, make the filling!

In a medium saucepan, boil the sweet potato slices until fork tender. Drain and let cool for a few minutes. Add them to a food processor (or high powered blender) and pulse a few times to puree. Add in coconut milk, maple, tapioca, lemon juice, vanilla, and almond extract, and pulse to combine. Add cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and sea salt, and pulse until combined. The filling should be thick! Pour/spoon/spatula it into the prepared crust, smooth the top (or not, you do you!), and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes – the crust should be golden brown and the pie should be set, but with just the slightest bit of jiggle in the middle. Remove and let cool completely before serving (preferably with ice cream or whipped cream of choice, either dairy or non dairy). I prefer to make this earlier in the day and refrigerate until serving, to give the filling ample time to set up.

Top with crystalized ginger & extra coconut if desired!

Keep leftovers covered in the fridge – it will last for a few days, provided all of it doesn’t get eaten first!

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Cake for a birthday!

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Birthdays call for cake and candles!! Besides, I haven’t made a layer cake in forever.

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I’ve also discovered that you can make frosting out of sweet potatoes and dark chocolate – day MADE! It’s literally incredible. You’d never know there were sweet potatoes in there unless I told you – it has the same texture and satisfaction factor as its sugar-laden cousins! Win win win.

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As any of you know who interact with me regularly, sweet potatoes and dark chocolate make up their own food groups in my personal food pyramid, so this is a dream come true. Besides that, I’ve fallen out of love with buttercream – it’s just SO sweet. No can do.

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But birthdays mean cake, and I happened to be baking this one for a nearest and dearest who (like me) thinks sugar is pretty much the devil… sooooo…. a healthified cake! Whole grains, healthier fats, greek yogurt (another food group), extra dark chocolate, and sweet potatoes.

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It’s basically a health food. Oh, and there’s coffee. So it’s not just a health food, but a balanced breakfast ;)

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In fact, we may or may not have eaten it as part of a balanced breakfast… eggs + kale + corn + chocolate cake with coffee: pretty much the most perfect breakfast I’ve ever eaten.

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Aaannndddd if you serve it with ice cream, you’ve got a calcium serving… hahah I kid, this isn’t health food, but it IS delicious cake that isn’t full of garbage!

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Let’s see, what else is new. OH! It’s not 100+ anymore so I was able to enjoy the baking of this at a normal hour (6 am is a normal hour for baking, right?! … Don’t look at me like that) – and not feel like I’ve been slapped in the face by the heat every time I go out. This is much better!

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More progress on the SF series:

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And more cake. Because birthdays and loved ones need cake!

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Dark Chocolate Layer Cake with Mocha Frosting, Toffee, Raspberries and Coconut Coffee Drizzle

Birthday cake! For those in your life who love the chocolate – coffee – toffee – caramel situation. Chocolate-y, coffee-y but not too sweet – a healthier indulgence! The cake itself is refined sugar free and whole grain, and the frosting is dairy free, vegan, refined sugar free, and made of sweet potatoes! But you’d never know ;) Yield: one 6″ cake, 2 layers (double the entire recipe to fit two 9″ cake pans); sorry for some of the awkward measurements. Cake adapted from Epicurious, here; the frosting was inspired by the many versions of sweet potato frosting floating around the interwebs.

For the cake:

  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 c whole grain spelt flour
  • 1/4 c + 1/8 c cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • heaping 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • heaping 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 c dark maple syrup (grade B is good)
  • 1/2 c full fat greek yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 c avocado oil (or other neutral oil)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate

Lightly grease two 6″ cake pans, and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350.

In a large bowl, sift together whole wheat and spelt flour, cacao powder, baking soda and powder and sea salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together maple, greek yogurt, egg, avo oil, and vanilla until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients into dry, and use a whisk to beat until the batter is fully combined, smooth and thick, about 1 minute (your dominant bicep will thank you). Distribute batter evenly into both cake pans, and bake for 23-25 minutes (30-35 for 9″) – the tops should spring back when lightly touched and a tester should come out clean. Let cool in the pans for about 7-10 minutes, then turn out onto cooling racks (remove parchment paper) and cool completely before frosting.

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For the frosting:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 10 oz extra dark chocolate (I like 70% and above but you do you; chips are fine)
  • 1.5-2 tsp finely ground coffee
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt

Bake the sweet potato (either in the oven for 45 – 1 hour @425 or in the microwave for about 4-5 minutes), slice open and let cool for about ten minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel off the skin (save for a snack later!!), drop the beautiful orange insides into the food processor, and pulse until smooth. Add in chopped dark chocolate and pulse until combined and smooth – the heat from the sweet potato should melt the chocolate (if it doesn’t, you can take the whole big mess out of the food processor, put it in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 15 seconds; then stick it back in the processor). Process until smooth, then add ground coffee, vanilla, and sea salt and pulse a few times to combine.

Store at room temp for an hour or so if you’re not using immediately, but refrigerate after that – microwave it for 10-20 seconds to get it back to spreadable consistency, as it’ll solidify in the fridge.

For the drizzle:

  • ~1/3 c full fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 2 tsp finely ground coffee
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool completely and store in an airtight jar in the fridge until ready to use.

To assemble:

  • toffee shards
  • raspberries
  • unsweetened shredded coconut

I opted for a naked cake look this time – there is frosting between the layers, on top and just a bit on the sides, but you do you! The frosting recipe should make enough to cover a full 6″ cake. Decorate with toffee and raspberries to you heart’s content! The coconut coffee drizzle is separate – pour over each slice after serving.

Keeps well covered on the counter overnight; excellent for breakfast the next morning. It’s really whole wheat and sweet potatoes and coffee so that’s all part of a balanced breakfast…

If storing longer than overnight, I’d probably stick it in the fridge, but I like cold cake. The counter is probably fine too, provided it gets eaten within a couple of days!

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Merry Christmas, I made you BUNS!!

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Merry Christmas to all my blogglet’s invisible internet friends!!! Joy, peace and laughter to all, and much love in cookie form from this quarter. And of course (obligatory): Merrrrrry Christmas, BEDFORD FALLSSSSS!!!

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Or perhaps I’m sending you love not in cookie form but…

in BUN form!

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Check out these buns.

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And this frosting. Hahahhahha. My drizzle skills (or lack there of) are atrocious soooo… I go for the strategic pouring method. As in… I completely obliterate whatever I’m eating under a waterfall of ‘frosting’. The more the merrier!

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Helloooo, breakfast. And also snack. And also… oh wait. They’re gone. How did that happen?!

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This was like the recipe of being a spaz. I kept having hand spazzes all over the place and accidentally adding much more than I needed to. Like, REPEATEDLY. This isn’t something that happens normally, mind you… I mean, I dance and cook at the same time like a BOSS but somehow I usually manage to avoid unmitigated disasters of unmeasured/spastic ingredient additions. Not so much today, but shockingly these actually turned out fine! Looook at that. Merry Christmas to me! Besides, I only had exactly the right amount of dates so I couldn’t eff things up too much.

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Besides being delicious, these are good for you too!! Naturally. I don’t do things by halves, you know that (reference frosting pictures in case you had any lingering doubts). Sprouted quinoa flour and whole wheat… sweet potato… naturally date sweetened… and coconut butter frosting! Good carbs and healthy fats: give your tummy some ecstatic eats and send it the tidings of the season, from me!

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Sprouted Quinoa Vegan Cinnamon Date Rolls

I got 9 rolls out of mine because I cut them to be nicely breakfast sized (obvi). The recipe is adapted (with big thanks, they’re delicioussss) from Katy’s Kitchen, here!
Vegan, refined sugar free/naturally sweetened, can be gluten free!

Rustle up the following for the filling:

  • 1.5 c pitted and chopped medjool dates
  • 3/4-1 c water, divided
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp salted almond butter
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Make this first: in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine dates and 1/2 c water. Stir frequently as the dates cook, breaking up the chunks as you go. Add more water as needed in 1/4 c increments—I started with 1/2 c, and added close to a cup by the time I was finished. Once the dates have formed a mostly-smooth paste (small chunks are acceptable and delicious), remove from the heat and stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, almond butter, and sea salt. Set aside to cool.

For the dough:

  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 c sprouted quinoa flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • scant 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp refined coconut oil, slightly softened
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c sweet potato puree (about 1/2 a large sweet potato)
  • 1/3 c unsweetened applesauce

Preheat the oven to 375, and lightly grease your pan of choice (I used a 9″ cake pan, and stuffed some parchment paper in the empty spot to keep them from expanding).

In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, baking powder, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Work in the coconut oil with your fingers or a pastry cutter until the mixture turns a little crumbly, like sand. Add in vanilla, sweet potato puree and applesauce, and knead with your hands until a dough forms. Roll it out on a floured surface (and perhaps be smart and use wax paper, which I sadly didn’t do) into an approximate rectangle (mine was much longer than it was wide). Spread the date filling out evenly onto the dough, leaving a little margin around the edges. Start rolling from the long side, roll it up completely, and use a sharp knife to cut it into rolls. Place them into the prepared pan with edges touching, and bake for about 30-35 minutes. I checked mine at 25, and then in five minute increments after that. They should be gloriously golden brown.

For the drizzle (if you’re a drizzly type):

  • 3 tbsp coconut butter
  • 4 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1.5 tbsp maple syrup

Soften the coconut butter in the microwave, and whisk together all ingredients. Drizzle (or pour with reckless abandon) over your buns of choice. Mmmm.

The buns are delicious straight out of the oven warm, but they also get a little crisper when they sit out for a bit and are equally delicious that way. I have no frame of reference as to whether or not they make good leftovers, as mine were made this morning and are now… gone.

Merry Christmas!

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Mondays are better with brownies, obviously

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Hiya!

Happy Monday! Because I knoooow these are going to make your Monday that. much. better.

They’re BROWNIES.

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Of COURSE they’ll make your otherwise slightly blah Monday better. Especially when I tell you that they are a) full of health bennies just for you and b) defs allergy friendly. And… as I said…

They’re BROWNIES!

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When have brownies in your inbox *not* made your Monday better? Right. I rest my case.

Have I ever shared my weird brownie proclivities on here? I’m not sure that I have so just in case you were dying to know…

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I’m weird. I like (no. Maybe love) brownies, but… I NEVER eat them. Nor do I ever make them. For some reason, I am never satisfied with the brownies that my kitchen produces. Why? Not crackly enough on the crust. Not chewy enough on the edges or fudgy chewy in the center. Whatever the reason, I am never quite sold on my own brownies, so they kind of get relegated to the bottom of the recipe pile. Which means that I only really eat brownies once a year… at camp.

Guys. These brownies are like CRACK. They are so ridiculously amazing, I can’t stop at one which means that I usually eat them all week long, multiple times a day (it’s a good thing the camp is at 8000 feet elevation…). I have a problem. But also. Those are, strangely enough, made from a mix!! I’m mildly ashamed to admit it (given that EVERYTHING on this blog is from scratch, and I never use mixes when I cook), but there it is. Favorite brownies come from a mix and are made in gigantic sheet pans in the temperamental Two Sentinels ovens that don’t heat evenly. But they’re fantastic. And they’re full of love, which is probably why I adore them so much.

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However. I broke my once-a-year brownie trend for these, mostly because they looked so tasty in the photos and they’re good for me. Ish. Obvs still a treat but whateverrrrrr, happy belated to me and vaccuum vati!

I’m not paleo. I like beans. But I also like a good cooking challenge and I have quite a few paleo friends, so here you go. Paleo brownies in yo’ inbox.

Happy Monday! Sorry I’m not sorry y’all want brownies now, heeheehee!

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Jackson Pollock-style brownies are WAY more fun…

Sweet Potato Brownies

Not quite cakey, not quite fudgy (which is good since a brownie somewhere between is my favorite), totally good for you and easy to whip together. High in Vitamin A/Beta Carotene, good fats, antioxidants, fiber, gluten free and refined sugar free. Recipe adapted from Eat Drink Paleo, here! Makes 9 large or 12 small squares.

  • 1 sweet potato (I used orange), grated in the larger holes on a box grater
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c pure avocado oil*
  • 1/2 c maple syrup**
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1.5-2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 2-3 biggish squares of dark chocolate, melted (I used 75%), for topping
  • dairy or nondairy ice cream thing to make sundaes (you know you want to)

*I use avocado oil or coconut for anything above 300 or 325—-they have a higher smoke point. Mine is organic.
**I always use 100% pure organic grade B maple syrup.

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Preheat the oven to 365, and line a 9 by 9″ pan with parchment paper for easy removal.

Get a bicep workout by grating the sweet potato. Toss grated bits into a medium sized bowl, then add in eggs, vanilla, avo oil, and maple. Stir in baking powder and soda, then cocoa powder (try to smash out any major lumps, but it doesn’t have to be perfect). Lastly… stir in coconut flour (avoid using too much, it will make the brownies dry and gritty)—start with 1 tbsp and work from there. I ended up using the full 2 tbsp, but I think I could have reduced it to 1.5. The batter should be thickish. Spread it into the prepared pan, and bake for 25-30 minutes. I took mine out at 25—a tester came out clean and the top was still a bit soft when pressed.

Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then lift the parchment out onto a cooling rack to let them cool completely.

Once cool, “frost” with melted dark chocolate and shredded coconut. It’s a really excellent idea to make these into sundaes… juuust sayin’!

Store them in the fridge in the foil covered pan if you have any left over!

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Out of coconut?! What? No. This is a travesty.

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So yeah. You remember that day that I made the roti flatbread? Right.

I made cookies that day too! [I had a very productive day]

And guess how long it took us to eat all of that delicious carby goodness?

Yep. Like six hours.

Let me see… I made roti around 11… and they were gone by 12:30. And then I made the cookies around 11:30 and they were gone by 8 pm. Okay okay so more like 8 hours but do you see my point?! Delicious. Granted, there were four of us and I made half batches due to lack of coconut, but even so. Impressive, wouldn’t you say?

Besides, these are good for me so obviously this is an excuse to make them again…

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Sweet Potato Coconut-Almond Cookies

Recipe lightly adapted from the legit blog Mangia!, here! I made a half batch and got 11 cookies, but I’ll post the full recipe here. These are deeelicious. Healthy fats, beta carotene, and whole grains. Winner, winner.

  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp+6 tbsp water)
  • 1 sweet potato, mashed (I microwaved mine, laaaazy)
  • 1/2 c unsalted almond butter
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup (I use grade B)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • 1.5 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 c unsweetened, shredded coconut\

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

Make your flax eggs and set them aside to gel. In a smallish bowl, combine mashed sweet potato, almond butter, coconut oil, maple, and vanilla: stir until just combined. In a larger bowl, whisk together almond flour, oats, flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon, and coconut. Pour wet into dry, and stir until the batter is incorporated (I added a tablespoon or two of water to help it all come together). Drop dough by the spoonful onto the prepared baking sheet, and flatten slightly. Bake for 11-12 minutes (Mine were done perfectly at 11, with slightly golden tops). Let cool on the sheet for a few minutes before moving to a cooling rack!

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Free radicals are NOT invited to any of my parties

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Mmmm, sweet pohhhtayyytooeeeessssss! (You like that phonetic spelling there? Yeah, I thought so too). Hello, beta-carotene, I love you!

And then combine that deliciousness with powerful greens for a free-radical fighting snacklunchdinner (or maybe breakfast, who knows, maybe some of you are even weirder than me?!). I love love love making stuffed sweet potatoes for lunch! I started doing it sometime during my senior year of college when I discovered that sweet potato+egg+spinach makes a really cheap and wonderful combination… even more wonderful if there’s some avo lurking around as well (Who doesn’t love lurking avo?!).

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More recently I’ve been sticking with the greens+beans variety of sweet potato, probably because I like that it rhymes and who knows why I end up with random food combination obsessions; I’d be the last to know why I’m obsessed with something. Like… millet. It’s for the birds! Or is it?! Apparently it’s for me, too, and you can add that to your “Things that make Hayley even more of an-“alternative-awesome-hippie-who-eats-bird-food” list…I know you have one, don’t try to deny it…

Besides all of the inherent hippiness you get whenever you visually dine with me, this combination also happens to be an antioxidant powerhouse. Like, it deserves a cape it’s so good at saving the world (ie, your body) from the evil menace of those nasty free radicals. No one wants them invited to the party… thankfully, with this kind of dish, those free radicals get kicked to the curb by  antioxidants AND excellent dietary sources of vitamins A, C, and K, to name a few. Free radicals are NOT invited to my birthday parties…

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Side note, I made coconut quinoa porridge-pudding today! What is with this new strange pudding obsession? Is it because it’s hot? I mean, I’ve always loved rice pudding but seriously, this is getting out of hand. Three puddings in basically four days? Yep, that happened. At least I’m changing it up, this time it’s quinoa+coconut milk+cardamom+cinnamon+almond, yum yum yum. Breakfast? With almond butter? I think yes.

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Stuffed Sweet Potato with Beans and Greens

Recipe by… me! Serves 1, double or triple as needed. Simple, delicious, and comes together quickly. Perfect for a light dinner when it’s hot out, or pretty much whenever… I love it for lunch!

Scrounge and find:

  • 1 (decent sized) sweet potato
  • 1/2-1 tbsp tahini
  • olive oil
  • a good double handful of power greens (kale+chard+spinach!)
  • 1/3 c white beans, drained and rinsed
  • a squirt of Bragg’s liquid aminos, or soy sauce (whatever your preference)
  • 1/4-1/2 avocado, cubed

Wash and dry the sweet potato, and poke some holes in it so it doesn’t explode in the microwave (no one wants that…). Toss it in on the baked potato setting, until done. Once finished, slice it lengthwise down the center, and smash a bit of tahini on the inside while it’s still hot.

While the sweet potato is doin’ its thang, heat a bit of olive oil in a skillet. Add rinsed greens and white beans, and sauté until greens are wilted.

Aesthetically layer your greens and beans into the prepared sweet potato, and top with a bit of Bragg’s. Garnish (or cover liberally, your choice… we know which one I chose) with avo!

Eat hot, and revel in your simple meal that is so delicious and so good for you! Free radicals, you have no choice but to capitulate! Muahahaha.

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Sweet potato pie and separation anxiety

mmm, PIE!

Ohhh my goodness. It is amazing how fast the end of the year is going… how is it already April 17th?! Thesis presentation a week from today? Oh yeeesh. BUT. My advisor approved my final draft, hooray! Which means… I’M FINISHED WITH THE THESIS BEAST! Well, at least finished with the text… minor formatting and image addition notwithstanding. 62 pages of text? Goodness. Up till now, I’d never written that much in my life! And graduation in less than a month?! Almost time to be a real person! Imagine that. Cue ridiculous upheaval, ready… go! At least I’m ready to be finished with school bizz, but definitely not ready to give up the Nerdaerie (Kira and I have been having separation anxiety!). I am excited to move onto something different though :) Onward! Second star to the right, and straight on ’till morning (Since I occasionally resemble Peter Pan, I thought this was appropriate)! I’ll just keep on truckin’ with those diamonds on the soles of my shoes.

BUT. Besides all of that business, time to focus on the present! I’m determined to enjoy my last thesis-free weeks. Staff appreciation dinner at my sorority meant an excuse to bake… so pie happened! I’m a little bored with cakes and cookies, so this was a welcome change. AND it’s healthy. Mostly. Sweet potatoes for Vitamin A and beta carotene, plus coconut for healthy fats. Not to mention cinnamon for stable blood sugar, and nutmeg and ginger for digestive support!

I can tell when I get busy, as blog posts become few and far between. My dinners of late have been economical and rather uninspiring. BUT, lucky for you, I’ve got major baking-itch. So expect to see some new and interesting things coming your way soon. I’m also aware that pantries soon should be emptied, which means I’ll be trying to use up random baking supplies. Oh drat, extra baked goods? What a bummer!

yum.

Sweet Potato-Coconut Pie with Gingersnap Crust

Make one 9″ pie. Only slightly adapted from Whole Foods, here. This pie is delicious and simple, made with stuff I seem to always have around. Besides, it’s an excellent source of Vitamin A and beta carotene from the sweet potatoes, as well as good-fat medium chain fatty acids from the coconut.

crust!

For the crust:

  • 1.25 c crushed gingersnap cookies (I used Anna’s Swedish Ginger thins, as they were easier than fatty gingersnaps to pulverize in the food processor)
  • 1/3 c shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter (mine happened to be salted), melted
gingers! hehe.

For the pie!

  • 2 mega sweet potatoes
  • 3/4 c light coconut milk
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
//

Preheat the oven to 350.

Pulverize the gingersnaps by the method of your choice. I used my food processor, but I’m sure a rolling pin and a plastic bag would be just as satisfying, if you’re feeling the need to vent. Combine melted butter, gingersnap crumbs, and coconut, and stir until combined. Press this into your pie dish, evenly across the bottom and up the sides. Bake the shell for 15 minutes.

While the shell is baking, deal with the rest. Now, for the sweet potatoes: on account of laziness time constraints, I microwaved the sweet potatoes instead of roasting them. If you microwave them, poke them a few times with a fork, and stick them in for about 7-8 minutes. They should be soft to the touch when they’re done. If roasting (which I’m sure is also delicious), poke them with a fork and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 50 minutes. Let both methods cool before peeling the skin off and scooping out the nice orange interior.

Using a food processor (or a blender, as I did, since my food processor is teeny), puree the sweet potato flesh until smooth. Add in coconut milk, brown sugar, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, and blitz until incorporated.

Pour the filling into the prebaked shell, and bake for 50 minutes, or until set in the center (no jiggly!). Mine was perfectly done at 50 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack, and serve or chill. (Btw, side note: this pie cuts very easily, even when slightly warm, extra bonus!).

Yum yum yum. Enjoy your antioxidants!

a convoy of Star Destroyers?

I could easily have an affair with goat cheese.

goat cheese=food of the gods.

So yesterday, after doing MEGA brain pushups (thanks, thesis), I. Was. STARVING. Because researching and finding sources takes a lot of brain power, despite being assisted by the wonderful goddess of research, our research librarian Doreen (LOVE  HER!). But. All this came to fruition, and I now have a much beefier works cited. Hooray! Moving right along…

Besides, it had been a long day, due to a computer virus (who invents these, anyway?!) that derailed my initial thesis plans… and it was Wednesday… and this week needs to be OVER! But thankfully it almost is because tomorrow is FRIDAY, wheee! Anyway. Suffice it say that I was so in need of some delicious dinner with my roomie.

Which is why this happened.

YUM.

And I am SO GLAD it did.

I mean, really. How can you go wrong with goat cheese?! Answer: you can’t. Like I’ve said before, if I could marry a food, goat cheese would totally be it. But I can’t say I would be entirely faithful in that relationship… I do have an ongoing (and very committed fling) with peanut butter. And chia seeds. See? Picking one would be waaay too hard. There would have to be significant bribery involved, if I was to stay with just one food.

But this. This is a match made in gastronomical heaven: goat cheese and sweet potato! Just trust me: it’s aaaa-mazing. And on pizza?! Send me! Besides, I was even able to sneak some chia seeds into my pizza crust, which meant that three of my favorite foods were all being pally together. Gastrowin! Besides, like I said, I was bloody starving, which meant that something along the lines of a sock would have tasted good, had I cared to try it (I didn’t. For the record).  But this pizza… mmmm. So good. So good that Kira and I had no trouble polishing off the entire thing in one sitting. Because we’re awesome like that. Like bosses!

mmm, beta carotene, antioxidants, and goat cheeseee

Sweet Potato, Goat Cheese and Kale Pizza (With or without sausage)

Makes 1 pizza! Served 2 massively hungry girlies in their 20s. Adapted from here.

The dough Kira and I used is the same as the last time I posted pizza on here. I had kind of a failed rise, since our apartment was probably a bit chilly for the yeasties… next time, I’ll let it rise in a warm oven. But I liked the way this one turned out, very much like a flat bread pizza.

For the dough:

The same recipe as before, here! Except this time, I added about a tablespoon and a half of chia seeds. Excellent choice, I will definitely be doing this again.

For the pizza!

  • 1 monster-sized sweet potato
  • 3 tbsp soymilk (or regular)
  • 1 tbsp dried sage (fresh if you have it! I didn’t)
  • 1 c chopped kale
  • 1/2 a large onion
  • 1 chicken sausage, browned and cut up*
  • one small log of goat cheese (5 oz), to your cheese-y preference.
  • olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
  • one pizza crust (no… really?!)

*Vegetarian without the sausage! It would be good either way.

waiting to be eaten

Preheat the oven to 400. While the oven is heating, roll out the pizza dough super thin, and place it on the cornmeal dusted baking sheet (or whatever you’re using). Brush a light bit of olive oil over the crust.

Cook the sweet potato. I like to do mine for 4-5 minutes, depending on size, in the microwave. Roasting is fine too. When cool, scoop the lovely orange insides into a small bowl. Mash! Add in soymilk and sage, and a bit of salt. Keep mashing, until smoothyish and combined. Spread this evenly all over the pizza crust, and then lick the bowl clean. You know you want to…I might have…

In a saute pan over medium, heat olive oil. When oil is hot, toss in onions, and saute until they begin to caramelize. Mine was about 15 minutes. When the onions are mostly done, dump in kale, and saute until soft and wilted.Brown a sausage, or two, in a small skillet. Chop. Add to kale/onion pan.

Spread onions/kale/sausage, and goat cheese over the sweet potato goodness. We used probably about 4 ounces of cheese, somewhere close to 3/4 of the log. Up to you, depending on your cheese preferences! We like cheese, and this was perfect. Insert pizza into oven, and bake for about 12 minutes, until kale is looking crisp and the crust is nicely browned on the edges. Devour, preferably while hot. Which means you should just eat the whole thing, clearly… what good is such a small piece for leftovers?!

Boatloads of rain? Make mountains of curry!

mountains of curry in exchange for boatloads of rain!

The best way to combat boatloads of rain?

Make boatloads of curry!

Since Salem and the Willamette Valley are in the process of attempting to become the new Atlantis and submerge completely under water, we’ve had (by some estimates) about 6 inches of rain in the last 57 hours. Apparently the weather gods have gone completely nuts… there are creeks flooding all over the place, and according to the Statesman Journal, this is a once every hundred year occurrence, where the Willamette River rises about 30 feet. Excellent. At least I live on the second floor… Perhaps I should start constructing an ark? I’ve rather resigned myself to being damp for the foreseeable future. Forget about wet feet, I’ve been damp all over for about 4 days! Yeeesh.

Anyway, because I didn’t work today (the kiddies at Bush Elementary, where I work, got sent home due to extreme weather) I ended up with a strange amount of free time. And a headache. Which meant that I wanted nothing to do with my thesis. Consequently… baking/cooking explosion! Why would I spend the afternoon doing anything else when it’s beyond nasty outside? Right. That’s what I thought too.

Which means that mega dinner happened. Because boatloads of rain calls for boatloads of curry! And because curry is spicy, sweet, and warming all at the same time: a good thing to consume when it’s semi-monsooning outside. And then flatbreads. And cookies. I wasn’t just going to make curry, with no accoutrements, now was I?! How boring. I am now feeling quite productive and refreshed. And full. (I would perhaps like to digest just a wee bit faster… I want cookies!)

So. Without further babble, here is tonight’s din din! Deeeelicious. Go make yourself some. I would invite you over to eat some of mine (since Kira and I will now be eating curry for the next million years, hahah oops. I made a lot!), except you might have to locate a boat to come see me… maybe paddle upriver like a salmon?

curry isn't curry without a HUGE BLOB of chutney

Mega-ton of Chicken Coconut Curry, with Oregano-Yogurt Flatbread

Curry adapted from the blog Including Cake, here! Flatbread recipe adapted from here! This makes… a lot of curry. Which is a good thing! Helloooo, leftovers! And look how good it is for you! Lots of beta carotene from the sweet potatoes and orange pepper, and garbanzo beans are high in fiber, antioxidants, and minerals like molybdenum and manganese. Plus coconut is good for you on all levels :)

For the curry:

  • 1 large, 1 small (or 2 medium) sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 a large onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp Madras curry powder (only the best!)
  • 1 orange bell pepper, sliced (or whatever color you have)
  • 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 can of light coconut milk
  • cornstarch mixed with water, if needed to thicken
  • cooked chicken (if you want. I added a broiled chicken breast to mine for extra protein)
  • I would have added spinach, if I’d had any! Next time :)

Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Add onion, cooking for a few minutes until soft. Add curry powder, stirring to combine. Cook for a minute more. Toss in sweet potato chunks, bell pepper, chickpeas, and coconut milk! Simmer for about 15 minutes. At this point, add cornstarch if not thick enough for your taste. I tossed in my chicken pieces and let it simmer for about 5 more minutes. Serve hot, over flat bread, naan, or rice. And be sure to top it generously with shredded coconut (if you like that sort of thing), and mango chutney. I like me some spicyyyy curry!

Oregano Yogurt Flatbreads

I made half the recipe, which yielded 4 cute little breads. I would definitely make the whole recipe if not cooking this for just two people, so I’ll include the full measures here. I also used oregano tonight, but any spice is fine! It appealed to my olfactory sensibilities tonight :) AND it went well with the curry, bonus!

  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2.5 tsp herbs of choice (I used oregano)
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 c yogurt (I used nonfat plain, not greek, as it was what I had on hand)
  • a bit of canola oil, for cooking

Whisk together flour, herb of choice, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add in yogurt, and stir to combine. The dough will be shaggy-ish, so add a little yogurt if it looks to dry. Mine seemed fine with the amount given, but I might make it again, and see what happens with a bit more. I found my breads to have a nice consistency as is.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it holds together and is not sticky. Divide it into the number of breads you want, and roll it into balls. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick.

Swirl a bit of canola oil in the bottom of a nonstick skillet. When the oil is hot, plop the flattened dough into the pan, and cook until golden brown on each side. Serve hot, preferably with a mountain of curry!

Best dinner for a rainy day/week!

Holiday Trolls and Mispronunciation

Look at that cornbread. yeah. You know you want some!

I’m in full holiday-mode now.

Well, kind of.

I’ve put myself on Christmas music lockdown. I have a really irrational urge to listen to it, but I’m resisting. December 1st is the acceptable time to start listening. Tell that to Pandora. Trying to sabotage my lockdown, yeeesh… But really, the Nutcracker is obviously not JUST Christmas music, teeheehee!

Anyway. Besides settling into holidayish time, I can feel myself going into hibernation mode. Not my fault, since Salem has decided that night will fall around 4:30 pm. Or maybe 4:10 today, as I look out the window… Winter weather makes me want to curl up and eat. All this cold weather and dark starts turning me into a bear. Wait. Do bears do yoga and pilates? Okay. Maybe not a bear.  A troll? Yeah. Probably. Do trolls hibernate? Maybe they style their really cool hair during the winter months?

This is getting ridiculous. Apparently my brain has gone on holiday without notifying  me. I’d be the last to know, I’m sure. I think all that theories studying has gone to my head… but at least the midterm is done and the paper is nearly there (assisted by copious amounts of the bread that this post features).  Besides turning into a bear/troll in the winter, I start wanting things like soup. And baked goods. Ha. As if. In what season do I NOT want baked goods?! NONE. How silly life would be without tasty baked treats. Booooring. Besides, the gremlins would get antsy!

SO!

Let’s get on with the purpose of this post. Sorry for the long hiatus between posts… The eating last week wasn’t cooperating on photogenic levels.

This soup is immensely satisfying on a hibernating troll level. Or on anyone’s level, really… It’s creamy and thick–rich without being terrifyingly bad for you. It also pairs well with cornbread (what doesn’t?!). I’m sure it would also be deeeelicious with a baguette, were you to have one lurking around. The soup is fairly basic, and uses things typically found in your (ok, my) pantry. It has a pretty short ingredient list, which is a plus when you desperately want soup!

I also decided it was time for the world to see my “It’s Willamette, Damn it!” bowl… You see, people have  penchant for mispronouncing the name of my school. In fact, it’s the most mispronounced in the contiguous United States. And it rhymes with damn it. So see? It’s an easy way to remember, for those of you who like to say “Will-uh-met”. NO. It’s Willamette, damn it!

See? I've even puffy-painted it, so that people can get it right!

Coconut Sweet Potato Soup (Bisque?)

Adapted from here! Serves… 3 girls. With leftovers.

Peruse your pantry, and acquire:

  • 2 monster sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cups of water, plus 1.5 tbsp
  • 1 can of unsweetened light coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • a hefty sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger
  • 1.5 tbsp cornstarch
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • red pepper flakes, also to taste (spicy soup=cleared sinuses, hoorayy!)

Bring the water in a soooop pot to a boil. Add your sliced sweet potatoes, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes, making sure the water doesn’t boil away. Mash the sweet potatoes in the pot (with that potato masher that you insisted that you didn’t need, but have subsequently used about 3 times. Thank you, mutti! And your mutti-skills, that decree that you are ALWAYS right), and add the can of coconut milk, brown sugar, and cinnamon/nutmeg/ginger. Simmer for about another 15 minutes, until it begins to thicken. In a small bowl, add cornstarch and remaining water, and stir into a thick paste. Add the cornstarch and red pepper flakes to the soup, and cook for another five-ish minutes. (I may have added a bit more cornstarch to get it to thicken faster… the soup was still delicious, and I was HUNGRY). Use a blender (or an immersion blender, if you’re one of THOSE lucky ducks), and puree the soup in batches. Return the soup to the pot, and season to taste with salt, pepper, or more spice or red pepper if desired. I’m sure it would be lovely with shredded coconut on top, but I wasn’t on the ball enough for that…

Eat with this!!

Sandy’s Cornbread!

Given to me by an awesome lady who I used to work with (and who is now fully enjoying retirement!), this is a very tasty yogurt-based cornbread. I adapted it a bit from the original recipe, mostly to include whole wheat flour (as we know… I don’t have all-purpose!). I made a half batch of this for Abby, Kira, and I, but I’ll include the full recipe here.

  • 8 oz lowfat plain yogurt (1 cup)
  • 1/4 c olive or canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 c cornmeal
  • scant 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 400. Lightly grease an 8″ or 9″ pan.

Whisk together yogurt, egg, and oil. Combine dry ingredients, add wet to dry, and  mix well. Pour into prepared pan, and bake for about 20 minutes.

If you halve the recipe, the batter fits into a 6.5″ pan, and is done a bit past 15 minutes. I occasionally have trouble with the center of cornbread being done all the way through in the small pans—check it to be sure.

I think the cornbread is about to take a dive off the handle...