Master Status.

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oh hey! I DID IT! I’m actually DONE!

A masters degree in 10 months? Not too shabby.

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Somehow, that isn’t computing in my brain… I still feel like I need to be doing something. I’m sure you know the feeling? But… I don’t! I’m taking a mini break from adulting, so the biggest decisions I have to currently make are a) am I going to go work out (answer: pretty much always yes) and b) what will I eat afterward?

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My presentation went well, and it felt really good to end on a high note! I’m officially a master? Or something. Ha.

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But! I now have more time and mental energy to blog and make interesting things, which is just lovely. I got a notification today that my bloglet is 5 years old today! I can’t believe it. It’s growing up so fast!! *sniff* … or maybe that means I’m just getting old; that’s probably more likely.

SO! For mutti’s (rather belated) birthday dessert, I got fancy. Coconut milk panna cotta (dairy free, paleo, vegan, refined sugar free) with date caramel and walnut cookie crumble. So good! And actually fairly simple, when it comes down to it — there are just a lot of parts, but they come together with a minimum of fuss.

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Coconut Panna Cotta with Date Caramel and Walnut Cookie Crumble

Dairy free, paleo, vegan, refined sugar free, gluten free — everything EXCEPT taste free. Because these are delicious! And they really don’t heat up the house much if you’re making them on a day that it’s stupid hot outside (not like I did that or anything). Yield: 3 panna cotta servings (I chilled mine in small coffee cups; about the size of normal ramekins only deeper) + extra caramel and crumble left over after serving. Recipe lightly adapted from Kiss my Bowl, here!

For the panna cotta:

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk, well shaken
  • 1/3 c pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp agar flakes*

*agar powder is no doubt better, but all my Whole Foods carried was the flakes, and they worked fine

For the date caramel:

  • 1 c pitted medjool dates, soaked
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 heaping spoonful of almond butter**

**mine is salted; I like the salty-sweet combo so you may want to add a pinch of salt if yours isn’t

For the walnut cookie crumble:

  • 1/2 c raw walnuts
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder / cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • splash of maple syrup
  • pinch of salt

In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the coconut milk until it steams. Whisk in the maple syrup and bring just barely to a boil. Whisk in the agar flakes and let cook for just about 5 minutes, still barely boiling/high simmering. Remove from heat and let stand in the pan, whisking occasionally, for another 5 minutes. Once cooled slightly, pour into molds of choice (I used small coffee mugs that are deeper and slightly less wide than a standard ramekin; ramekins are just fine if you have them!). Let cool on the counter until your fridge can handle it, then let them set up in the fridge for at least an hour.

While the panna cottas are chilling, use a food processor or a vitamix to make the date caramel. Pour the dates and a few tablespoons of their soaking water into the implement of choice, add vanilla and almond butter, and blend till smooth (or chunky. you do you!). Store in a jar in the fridge until needed.

I made the cookie crumble in the same vitamix as the date caramel without cleaning it overmuch, which worked totally fine. Add walnuts, cocoa powder, vanilla, maple, and salt and whiz away until it’s crumbly. Store in a jar in the fridge until needed!

The panna cottas should be firm to the touch on top and have lost most of their jiggle by the time they’re ready. Run a knife around the edge of the ramekin or coffee cup, and they should flip right out onto a plate. Top with excessive amounts of date caramel and cookie crumble for maximum effect, and indulge accordingly!

Any leftover date caramel (who are you?!) and cookie crumble keeps well in the fridge for at least a week (but I dare you to make it last that long).

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Really delicious half-eaten pumpkin loaf

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The first of the pumpkin loaves! I made one other pumpkin thing but this is more specifically FALL BAKING status. Because it’s suddenly freezing here and I’ve begun wondering how I survived in Oregon and also, where have all my warm clothes and layers gone?! I think I purged them from my wardrobe in a fit of frustration…. and now it’s become tank top, sweatshirt, scarf, fleece. Which is working tolerably well but… clearly I need help in the wardrobe department. Probably because whenever I try to buy sensible things I end up with boots and scarves and jewelry and don’t judge me, I know you have your weaknesses too, I see you over there on Etsy and Modcloth and Pinterest… oh wait, just me?!

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Also ps. Sorry for the slight awkwardness of the photos. I ate a bunch of the loaf before I realized it was good enough to share…. so you get half eaten loaf. I know that is sooooo appealing.

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On another semi unrelated note, I only have one more round of midterms and then it’s Thanksgiving! THANK GOODNESS. I have never been so grateful for the end of midterms in my life. Three rounds, so gross. I can’t really believe that I’m already only 3 weeks away from the end of the quarter. Can someone explain how that happened?! Mind blown. I have a feeling opera and jazzercise will get me through the last three weeks of medstats. And that will be my last three weeks of medstats EVER because obviously I am never doing that again.

I’ve been drawing again as a break from the madness:

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Jessie says hello, with drool:

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SO! Baking = coping mechanism. Let’s do this.

This bread is lightly sweet but so very fall-y and pumpkin-y and satisfying and delicious. I like the walnuts in there for texture but if that’s not your thing, chocolate would be just as good. It’s also stuffed full of beta carotene antioxidants, which is just generally fab.

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Quinoa Flour Pumpkin Carrot Bread

Vegan, refined sugar free, whole grain, can be gluten free! Friendly for IBS too since it has lots of great soluble fiber. Just in case you’re blessed with that sort of fun thing… it also might be fodmap friendly, depending on your fodmap tolerance; it was totes fine for me but it depends on you and your bod!

Yield: 1 loaf

  • 1 c quinoa flour, toasted*
  • 2/3 c whole spelt flour**
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • heaping 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 c pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 c pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 c coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water; let sit for 5 minutes
  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 1/4 c walnuts, chopped

*toasting gets rid of the natural bitterness — I do it in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes or until the flour smells toasty

** Replace with more quinoa flour for gluten free!

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a standard loaf pan with coconut oil or your greasing thingy of choice.

In a large bowl, whisk together toasted quinoa flour, spelt flour, baking soda and powder, sea salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In a smaller bowl, whisk or stir or whatever with your fave implement the pumpkin puree, maple, coconut oil, applesauce, vanilla, and gelled flax egg. Toss this whole bucket of delicious into your dry ingredients, and stir until combined. Add in carrots and walnuts about halfway and stir until the dry mix is incorporated. The batter will be pretty thick – spread it into your prepared loaf pan, and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. I had my timer set for 46 minutes, but my loaf came out perfectly at 42 — I started smelling it baking, and I don’t trust my super hot and uneven oven, so I tested it and it was actually perfect, so out it came. Let cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

Leftovers store best wrapped in foil in the fridge.

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My brain is sore from too much grad school

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How is it almost November? Can someone explain this madness to me? I mean, first of all it’s still kind of hot (summer, you can bugger off now… you have officially overstayed your welcome) but also, where did September and October go?! I want them back please.

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And I know the term compost cookies is probably unappealing, but it’s always made me laugh. I suppose you could call these ‘pantry cookies’ but isn’t compost more fun?? Besides… these are hippie enough that the stuff going into them is stuff that usually lurks in the fridge or fruit basket, and therefore is more like… compost! Obviously.

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These cookies get a little crisp on the outside while staying cakey and delicious on the inside. If you want a chewy pumpkin cookie, these aren’t it… but they ARE quite tasty. They store well in the fridge and make for a fast breakfast or a good snack. AND they’re full of healthy fats and good fiber, plus antioxidants. No refined sugar, can be gluten free… the options are endless. Don’t like walnuts? Use something else. Hate sunbutter? Use almond or peanut— These are extremely forgiving cookies.

They’re also super fast to whip together, no muss no fuss. I made them on a lunch break between classes because I desperately needed a brain break — I can only cram facts and knowledge into my brain in concentrated intervals for so long before I start glazing over. Case in point:

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Sometimes, you have to take a break from taking lecture notes for your own sanity.

Making cookies like this reminds me of undergrad when I would run home and make lunch and a batch of cookies in the hour I had between class and work. If that isn’t time management, I don’t know what is.

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Also, I really need to study right now but I am sleepy and brainsore (that’s a thing) and I just want to cuddle on the couch with my novel and a cookie and a nap. But.. le sigh. That is currently impossible because stats and the billion other things I have to do are calling my name and I really should get on that. But at least I shared cookies, so that if your Sunday is less nuts than mine, you can make something delicious out of your fridge compost. Happy almost November! Enjoy your pumpkin goodness.

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Pumpkin Banana Compost Cookies

Vegan, low FODMAP and IBS friendly, gluten free option (just switch the spelt flour for a gf flour of your choice), refined sugar free. And delicious! A Wait are those Cookies original. Yield: 12 cookies.

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  • heaping 1/2 c pumpkin puree
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp sunbutter (mine is unsalted)*
  • 1 tbsp almond butter (mine is unsalted)*
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened hemp milk
  • 2 c rolled oats (gf if desired)
  • 3 tbsp spelt flour
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • ~1/4 c chopped raw walnuts and dark chocolate

*alternatively, you can use 2 tbsp of the same nut butter; I just wanted a little variety

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or 2, if your oven is stupid tiny like mine and normal cookie sheets don’t fit. Rude. Bring on the quarter sheet pans).

This is pretty much as easy as it gets. Bust out a bowl. Mash up the banana with a fork, then stir in pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, maple, sunbutter, almond butter, and hemp milk. In the same bowl, because we’re making cookies on our lunch break between classes today and this needs to be fast, toss in oats, spelt flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Stir to combine. Stir in chopped walnuts and chocolate. Make sure the whole thing is nicely mixed, then drop lazy spoonfuls onto your prepared cookie sheet (all 12 should fit onto a standard cookie sheet no problem; these don’t spread). Bake for 15-16 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and mostly firm to the touch. Let cool on the pan for a minute before moving, then move to a rack to cool completely. Store leftovers in a plastic container in the fridge (glass will make them go soft).

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Bring on the Pumpkin

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The fall baking has arrived!

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Despite the weather not exactly cooperating (it sort of did yesterday…. I wore a light sweatshirt past 10 am. Omg. It was awesome), I have checked the box next to the ‘first pumpkin baked good for fall” box. Would have been earlier, but 90 plus temperatures don’t really lend themselves to pumpkin… I mean, they can but apparently for me they don’t.

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BUT. Solved that problem yesterday (made this, with a few tweaks: chopped dates instead of chocolate, omitted coconut flour; used difference spices and only 1/4 coconut sugar + maple), plus mashed potatoes, shredded ginger-rosemary chicken, mashed potatoes, rice, hardboiled eggs… And I also somehow found time yesterday to have brunch+a walk with a best camp friend, run a grocery errand, go to Target, clean my apartment, do laundry, read for epi, write more of my midterm paper, and finish my stats homework…. which as anyone in my cohort knows is quite a feat, 18 pages of SAS printout later… AND I made quinoa banana carrot bread, which is actually what this post is about, because I’ve now made it twice in two weeks so obviously it’s a winner.

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And I’m stealing the 10 minutes I have early early in the am when it’s still dark out and I’m not studying to share it with you because I love my invisible internet blog friends WAY more than I love doing homework.

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I also drew the next installment for the drawing challenge. Day 5: Best Friend. I have so many friends I couldn’t live without; and they all hold a piece of my heart!

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Also, sometimes this is what a grad school coping mechanism looks like (and yes, this app is still floating my boat) :

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extra dark chocolate, bbread with butter, food writing and a fun app = coping.

So! This bread. Is the right combination of not too sweet, just sweet enough, dense without being too dense, satisfying when you want a snack or dessert. It also has that great craggy top and slightly chewy sides that I think all quick breads should have, but that’s just me. It’s also fodmap friendly, IBS friendly, gluten free with only one teeny tweak, refined sugar free, and whole grain. YAY!

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Quinoa Carrot Banana Bread

Yield: 1 loaf. FODMAP friendly, IBS friendly, gluten free option (Just sub the 1/3 c spelt flour with an equal amount of quinoa flour), refined sugar free, high in beta-carotene and omega 3’s… and absolutely delicious. Inspired by Power Hungry, here!

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  • 1 c quinoa flour
  • 1/3 c white or brown rice flour (I’ve used both and either is delicious)
  • 1/3 c whole spelt flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/6 c coconut sugar
  • 3/4 c (2 large) bananas, mashed
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 1/4 c mostly-melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c unsweetened hemp milk (or non dairy milk of choice)
  • 1/3 c chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 375 (or 360 in the case of my abnormally hot and uneven oven), and grease a standard loaf pan with coconut oil.

Toast the quinoa flour in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until you can smell it: about 5 minutes (this is important! Quinoa flour can be a little bitter if this step is omitted); let cool for a few minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together toasted quinoa flour, rice flour, spelt flour, sea salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and coconut sugar. In a smaller bowl, mash bananas, then add maple syrup, grated carrots, melted coconut oil, vanilla, egg, and hemp milk, and whisk vigorously to combine. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients, and stir to combine (the batter will be thick, which is fine). Stir in walnuts. Pour the batter into your prepared pan, and bake for 45-50 minutes (mine comes out of my stupid hot oven perfectly browned at 360 degrees and 46 minutes; but you most likely have a normal oven that heats appropriately…) Check for a lightly browned top and a skewer that comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

For storage, wrap this in foil and store it in the fridge for the 30 seconds that the leftovers last…

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Because the end of summer session deserves WAFFLES

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YOU GUYS.

I survived summer session!!! Donedonedonedonedone. And now I get a very well deserved week and a half to sit on my butt or go do jazzercise or reorganize the apartment which is slowly starting to look less like the home of the box-people, or quite probably some combination of the above.

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And I also get to COOK. And maybe even BAKE, now that the weather in Davis has decided that it will deign to be somewhere under 100 degrees. It might only be somewhere between 95 and 98, but I tell you what — that is a hell of a lot better than walking out in 107 and feeling like you’ve been punched in the face by a wall of heat. Also, incidentally it feels like walking into a hairdryer set on high. Groooosssss. BUT! This week is supposed to be under a hundred, so perhaps it’s time to test run the teeny tiny oven in my apartment.

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Side note. I have noticed, in subsequent kitchen explorations of my apartment, that everything is sloped. Literally EVERYTHING. My bar counter slopes one way, the stove slopes the other. Which is super fun when you’re making eggs and they all decide to run together in the back of the pan, in one giant egg party blob. I foresee some hilarious cooking adventures ensuing, not to mention some slightly crooked cakes.

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This was also in evidence last night when E and I made waffles (because Friday night = breakfast for dinner, obviously) and the waffle batter all ran to one side of the waffle iron, creating very interesting effects and only mild spillage / escaping batter. They were still delicious, because also BACON and walnuts and banana jam and paleo and maple and grass fed butter and zucchini (I had to have something green. It would be out of character if I didn’t). And sorry if the pictures are garbage. I promise these waffles are DELICIOUS, which is why my pictures are lame because I really just wanted to eat them… Pictures of the fully loaded waffle were dinner last night, and the halfsie waffle with banana slices was second breakfast today. WINNING.

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Also, one random thing… Kira and I are doing a 30 / 60 day drawing challenge! (30/60 because LIFE and we may not actually be able to do it in 30 days… margin for error). SO! Day 1. Drawing Self. I am supremely out of practice with drawing people / faces / self… not to mention that self portraits are HARD! But I declare it a credible effort, so here you go. Just one more way to keep myself accountable to finish this thing!

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Happy Weekend! Make waffles, eat, be happy with your crooked kitchen and slightly janky stove.

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Paleo Blender Waffles with Bacon and Banana Jam

Gluten free, paleo, refined sugar free, high fiber, grain free, fast and easy. Makes a delicious dinner when paired with bacon and walnuts (because bacon, duh) and banana jam. Recipe adapted from the Roasted Root, here!

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For the waffles:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 c coconut flour
  • 1/2 c tapioca starch
  • 3/4 c unsweetened hemp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • heaping 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

For the banana jam:

  •  2 ripe bananas, all spotty: mashed
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • splash of hemp milk

For serving: cooked bacon, chopped into little pieces, chopped walnuts, shredded unsweetened coconut, grass fed butter, almond butter, and coconut butter (or some crazy combination of all of that).

Let’s waffle: preheat your waffle iron, and brush it with a little bit of coconut oil. I had no problems with these sticking, but only you know the character of your waffle maker! In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Once the waffle iron is hot, you know the drill…. pour about 1/4 to 1/3 c of batter into the waffle iron (the batter is super thin and that’s fine—just pour straight out of the blender) and cook until either the indicator light for doneness comes on (I estimate roughly 3-4 minutes per waffle for mine—I like them browned), or until you can lift the lid and take them out with no sticking. Keep warm in a low oven until serving, or just eat immediately! These also freeze and reheat in the toaster extremely well.

While the waffles are cooking, assemble all the delicious other things (toppings are the whole reason we eat waffles, yes??)…

For the banana jam, mash up the bananas with a splash of hemp milk and some cinnamon. Preheat a small skillet over medium heat, and cook the bananas until they firm up a little and lose some of their water content. They should caramelize just a little on the bottom of the pan, and you’ll know they’re done when you start smelling the delicious banananess of it all. Serve on top of the waffles for extra delicious.

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All kinds of random

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

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

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

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

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Thisthisthisthisthis!!!!!

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

SKIING!!!

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

BEACHING!!

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

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

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

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

Did British cavemen eat english muffins? If not, I refuse to be Paleo

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Sorry sorry for the blogging fail, I’ve been busy!! But to make up for all that, I have two wildly different cookie recipes to share with you. Never fear, all is right with the world when we have cookies.

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Hmm, some random musings first.

First and most importantly, I’m now a qualified TRX suspension trainer! Wheeeee!!! Now (after I practice forever and ever), I am certified to officially kick butt. I need business cards now, clearly. Get ready, world, I’m now certified and dangerous.

On a gastronomical level, I tried Welsh Rarebit for the first time when Mutti and I ventured down to Carmel by the Sea for the day. It’s… interesting. And no, it has nothing to do with rabbit, thank goodness. This, however was fantastic. How can you not love caramel and chocolate?!

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And then there is this enviously adorable picture of our feet on the beach.

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And then this awesome thingy that I can now do with my phone! Ridiculous photo editing triumphs! Totally unnecessary but hey, I love glitter so don’t judge.

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Okay so I suppose now I’ll share the cookies… because I spent 8 hours in TRX training, so obviously I earned a cookie (or a million. I was SO. HUNGRY). These cookies are amazing! Raw, vegan, and full of good things for you. No added or refined sugars, and they’re even gluten free! I’m kind of on a raw-date-nut-I’m-really-hippie-crunchy-to-the-core cookies, can you tell? These might even be paleo, maybe? I’m not sure, as I really like cheese and am not in fact well versed in the caveman diet as apparently cavemen didn’t eat cheese. Or english muffins. Maybe British cavemen ate english muffins? Whatever. To each his or her own eating proclivities, if you’re paleo, make these! If you’re not… make them anyway! Love food. Eat!

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Raw Chocolate Chip Cookies

I only slightly modified the recipe from The Sweet Life. Soooo good. I got 11 cookies out of mine, with a tiny ball of ‘dough’ left over to eat whilst making… These cookies come together in a snap, and set up easily in the fridge. Raw, vegan, gluten free, paleo, no refined sugars, no added sugars, good protein, and healthy fats. Um… you could go wrong how?!

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Firstly, you need:

  • 1/2 c dates, pitted puuuuhlease
  • 1.5 c raw walnuts
  • 1/2 c raw pecans
  • 1/4 c unsalted organic almond butter
  • 1/4 c rolled oats
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • small handful of dark chocolate chips

Secondly, do this:

Pit your dates. Please. Don’t murder your food processor…Process the dates (with maybe a teeny bit of water), until they’re smooth and form a bit of a paste. Add walnuts and pecans, and pulse again until smooth and slightly crumbly. Add in almond butter, oats, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla, and blend until smoothyish. The ‘dough’ should be crumbly but hold together when you press a bit between your fingers. If it needs a bit more sticking-together-power, add a tsp of water at a time until you get the consistency you want. Toss the dough out into a bowl, fold in chocolate chippies, and form it into balls or cookies or whatever (I like cookies with a fork pattern). Let set in the fridge for about an hour, and then consume with reckless abandon. I let mine sit on a plate for a bit, uncovered, then put them into a glass container.

Eat, in a wholly guilt-free and smartly indulgent manner. Eat the food you love… love the food you eat!

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