Monday, October 9th, 2017

WEEKEND BAKING : PUMPKIN WHOOPIE PIES

In the spirit of October I was wanting to try out a new pumpkin recipe this year.  At Hunter’s request these whoopie pies were the winner for our weekend baking adventure.  These are insaaaanely good! Make sure you have somewhere / one to take some too so you’re not stuck eating them all because it just might happen 🙂  This makes a decent sized batch so they would be perfect for sharing at a Halloween party. Plus they are really cute. 

PUMPKIN COOKIES:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 Tablespoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups (about a can and a half) chilled pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

CINNAMON MAPLE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

3 cups powdered sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
3 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon

 

Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Mix the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl then set aside.  In a separate large bowl whisk the sugars and vegetable oil together.  Then add in the pumpkin and continue to whisk. Lastly, add the eggs and vanilla until combined.  Then sprinkle in the flour mixture and whisk until completely combined.  Drop spoonfuls of dough about one inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes.  This makes a lot of cookies so I prepared an extra baking sheet so I could pop them in and out of the oven while working on the frosting. For the frosting use a large bowl with an electric mixer to beat the butter.  Add the cream cheese and beat until combined. Add in the powdered sugar, make syrup, vanilla and cinnamon and beat until smooth and combined. Do not over beat so that the mixture stays thick.  After the cookies are completely cooled turn half of them upside down.  Spoon frosting into the center and place another cookie on top (flat side down) pressing lightly to even out the frosting.  Refrigerate for an hour or so to make them firmer, although we served them right away and they were perfect.  (this recipe is adapted from a couple other standard whoopie pie and cream cheese frostings I read online)

Happy baking! XO

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Sunday, August 27th, 2017

WEEKEND BAKING : PEANUT BUTTER OATMEAL COOKIES

Lately it’s been my ritual on Sundays to try a new recipe.  A little twist on oatmeal cookies and omg they turned out so good! Soft, gooey, and easy to make. 

INGREDIENTS: 

1/2 cup softened butter
1/4 cup sugar 
3/4 cup dark brown sugar 
1/2 cup peanut butter 
1 egg 
2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour 
1 cup rolled oats 
3/4 cup chocolate chips 
1/2 unsweetened coconut

DIRECTIONS: 

Preheat over to 350.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  In a bowl using a mixer, combine the sugars, softened butter, and peanut butter.  Add in the egg.  Then stir in the vanilla. In a separate bowl mix the flour, salt, baking soda, and oats together and gradually beat into the creamed mixture until well combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips and coconut. Drop spoonfuls of the dough onto the baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  Cook for 7-8 minutes and let cool for a few minutes before moving to a cooling rack. 

ENJOY! 

XO

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Saturday, July 1st, 2017

AMERICAN PIE FOR THE 4TH OF JULY

This is the perfect treat for the 4th of July holiday weekend.  It’s super easy to make and looks so festive.  Two baking sessions in one week is huge for me guys, ha.

Ingredients: 

Strawberry Filling – 
1 quart of strawberries
1 carton of raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice 

Blueberry Filling –
1 pint of blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Two store bought pie crusts

You can make your own crust if you’re your feeling fancy. Which I wanted to but for times sake I decided to buy public brand crusts.  You also might want to pick up some vanilla ice cream to serve with this, just sayin’.

Preheat oven to 350. Blind bake the crust by greasing your pie plate. Roll out the pie crust and press it down and ruffle the edges (if you want) with your fingers. Use a fork to make about 20 indentations around the bottom (this allows air to escape). Grease the inside of the crust, line with aluminum foil and fill with dry rice or beans (or something similar).  Bake for 10 minutes. Remove aluminum and beans and allow the crust to cool.  Meanwhile make your fillings… combine all ingredients for the strawberry in a large bowl and all ingredients for the blueberry in a smaller bowl. Use a piece of aluminum foil to make a ‘barrier’ between the two berries (fold in a 90 degree angle) and carefully place the berries where you want them.  Removed the piece of aluminum and situated your ‘flag how you want it. With the second pie crust use a small knife to cut stripes and little stars. Make sure to press the stripes into the sides of the bottom crust.  Brush the entire thing with milk then bake for 40-45 minutes. 

Happy 4th of July! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. 

XO

pot holder, berry container, & measuring spoons from Anthropologie // marble rolling pin is thrifted

And just because he’s cute… 

 

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Friday, June 30th, 2017

A HOMEMADE PUPCAKE (FOR BLADE’S FIRST BIRTHDAY)


Since we love this boy so much, naturally we decided to celebrate his first birthday with a homemade ‘pupcake’, if you will.  I’ve been wanting to experiment with some organic / natural homemade treats so I thought this would be fun and cute for starters (all for the sake of photos + @bladethedogo ‘s instagram of course, ha). We’re just a little obsessed with him!

Ingredients: 

1 c. unsalted, all natural peanut butter
3 eggs
2 bananas (mashed)
1 apple (diced)
1/2 c. coconut flour
 1/4 c. cottage cheese
3/4 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 350, grease a cake pan (or this could make 12 cupcakes / muffins), in a large bowl combine the peanut butter, cottage cheese, bananas, and eggs.  Mash and stir until well mixed and smooth (ish).  Add in diced apples, coconut flour, and baking soda.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on the top.  Remove and let cool before frosting. 

Frosting ingredients:

1/2 c. cream cheese
1/2 c. unsalted, all natural peanut butter
1 tbsp. coconut oil 

Cream all ingredients together until smooth and frost once the cake (or cupcakes) have cooled. 

All of the emotions of your first birthday and first cake tasting….

It’s his party and he’ll cry if he wants to. 

Happy Friday!

XO

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Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

CARROT CAKE

I’VE MADE THIS RECIPE BEFORE AS A CAKE AND IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN A HUGE HIT. I DECIDED TO TRY CUPCAKES FOR EASTER SO THERE WOULD BE MORE TO GO AROUND. THEY WERE JUST AS DELICIOUS!  SEE MY ORIGINAL POST HERE
 
INGREDIENTS:
4 EGGS 
1 1/4 CUP VEGETABLE OIL 
2 CUPS WHITE SUGAR
2 TEASPOONS VANILLA EXTRACT
2 CUPS ALL PURPOSE WHITE FLOUR
2 TEASPOONS BAKING SODA
2 TEASPOONS BAKING POWDER
1/2 TEASPOON OF SALT
2-3 TEASPOON CINNAMON 
3 CUPS GRATED CARROTS 
THEN…
I ADDED WALNUTS, RAISINS, DRIED CRANBERRIES, AND UNSWEETENED COCONUT.  THIS IS COMPLETELY OPTIONAL BUT I PROMISE YOU WON’T REGRET THROWING THESE EXTRAS IN! 
 
BEAT EGGS, OIL, SUGAR, AND VANILLA IN A LARGE MIXING BOWL UNTIL SMOOTH.  ADD IN THE FLOUR, BAKING SODA, BAKING POWDER, SALT, AND CINNAMON. ADD THE CARROTS AND OTHER MIX INS. POUR INTO CUPCAKE SLEEVES (OR A GREASED PAN FOR THE CAKE VERSION).  COOK AT 350 DEGREES FOR ABOUT 20-25 MINUTES (OR 40-50 IF YOU’RE MAKING THE CAKE).
 
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
1/2 CUP BUTTER, SOFTENED (NOT MELTED!)
8 OZ CREAM CHEESE, SOFTENED (NOT MELTED!)
4 CUPS OF CONFECTIONARY SUGAR
1 TEASPOON OF VANILLA
 
ENJOY! 
XO
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Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

FAVORITE FALL DISH: TWICE BAKED BUTTERNUT SQUASH

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Second time I’ve made this in two weeks, it’s just so good and the perfect dish for fall.  I adapted a recipe I found somewhere and you really could add any type of seasoning depending on whether you like sweeter or more savory dishes.  We also tossed some carrots and peaches in balsamic, olive oil, and cinnamon and threw them on the baking sheet as a side (this was an experiment but they turned out really great!)

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Ingredients:

1 Butternut Squash

2 T.  non fat yogurt

2 T. goat cheese

1 T. Honey

Add cinnamon, sage, and rosemary to your liking! We have a herb garden and I tend to go overboard on the rosemary, I love it so much 🙂

Directions:

1.Pre heat oven to 450

 2.Slice squash into two halves

3. Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray (I use coconut oil spray from Trader Joes)

4. Bake for about 45 minutes (check by poking it with a fork, if it comes out easy it’s ready!)

5. Remove from the oven and lower temperature to 425

6. Scoop out the flesh and in a bowl combine the squash flesh with the other ingredients

7. Spoon back into the squash skins and top with rosemary and goat cheese

8. Bake for another 10 or so minutes or until the mixture is hot throughout

9. Garnish with sage and enjoy!

XO

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Sunday, November 15th, 2015

SUNDAY EATS : VEGETARIAN RECIPES FOR FALL

I made this delicious brussel sprout and sweet potato recipe last week and it had more searching for more recipes that would be perfect for cozy fall evenings (vegetarian style).  I love how foods can be nostalgic of seasons past… there are certain flavors and dishes I crave as the temperatures drop.  Since I’m not the best of cooks and have to save my creativity for painting, thank goodness there’s pinterest to bring ideas to light.  Here’s a round up of some favorites on my list to try this month and next: 
Had to throw in some sweets of course and my brussel sprout obsession is still going strong. 
Have a lovely Sunday. 
XO
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Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

RECIPE : BAKED PUMPKIN DONUT HOLES

I made these baked donut holes for Halloween this weekend and since they turned out pretty good I thought I would share! I found a recipe online and made some minor changes (I forgot to save the link of course, sorry!) 
Here is what you need: 
1 3/4 c. Flour
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 Egg
2 tsp. Baking Powder
3/4 – 1 tsp. of Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 c. Brown Sugar (packed)
1/2 c/ Vegetable Oil
1/2 c. Milk (I used skim)
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
About half a can of pumpkin 
Preheat the oven to 350.  Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl (flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice).  In a separate bowl mix the oil, brown sugar, egg, milk, pumpkin, and vanilla extract.  Combine all ingredients together and mix until smooth. In a very well greased (I used coconut oil spray) mini muffin pan spoon the batter evenly.  Fill them about half way. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until you can stick a toothpick in and pull it out clean.  Allow them to cool for a few minutes, while they are still warm you can mold them a bit to make them more round like donut holes. 
For the coating, melt a half stick of butter.  In a separate bowl mix a 1/2 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of cinnamon. Dip the donut holes in butter and lightly roll them in the cinnamon sugar mixture.  The cinnamon sugar takes away a bit of the pumpkin flavor so I left some of them plain and they were still delicious!
Happy Baking! 
XO

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Thursday, August 6th, 2015

KITCHEN STORIES : FAVORITE BEANS & RICE

This shouldn’t even fall into the category of “recipe” because it’s so simple to make.  These days what I look for in a meal is easy, quick, and healthy / low calorie.  I am by no means a cook but in the past I always enjoyed the process of making / baking, photographing food, and sharing it here so I am challenging myself to doing this more frequently again.  
I try to incorporate beans of some sort into most dinners since I am vegetarian.  For Hunter who wants to eat meat every once in awhile, this is the perfect thing that I can whip up enough for both of us and he adds grilled chicken to his. Here’s what you need: 
1 cup of brown rice (simmers for about 45 minutes)
1 cup (dry) or canned black beans
1 cup (dry) or canned pinto beans 
chopped onions
chopped red peppers 
fresh basil 
fresh chopped garlic
black pepper 
If you use dry beans they take a little more preparation and cooking before adding vegetables. Otherwise,  combine the canned beans, onions, peppers, basil, and garlic into one pot and let simmer for about 30 minutes.  I don’t measure the vegetables, just put as much or as little to your liking.  We added cherry tomatoes and a hint of cilantro to the top.  Sprinkle with pepper, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, and enjoy. 
XO 
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Friday, July 31st, 2015

HAPPY FRIDAY + SOME LINKS

‘feathers’ now in 8×10 and 11×14 in my shop
Happy Friday! 
Some things I found and loved from the week: 
*This bikini!
*Local Milks eggs, feta, and collared greens recipe. oh my.
*This proposal in Iceland, NBD. Eep!
*These metallic cords from West Elm
*I’m always reading travel articles, especially loved this top 15 most epic dives list
*This Camilyn Beth dress is my new favorite (every color please)
*These tattoos are amazing
*I bought this kaftan dress and I’m obsessed (it’s currently on sale)
Have a wonderful weekend!
XO
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Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

HAWAIIAN MULES + A RELAXED GIRLS NIGHT

Saturday night I hosted a little girls night at my house.  Really hoping this will become at least a monthly thing!  It’s so fun to entertain and experiment with crafting different cocktails.  Having simple snacks like a cheese plate, a “featured” cocktail, and some fresh flowers really brings everything together with minimal effort.  Relaxed, simple, and fun are always my goals when having anyone over.  We’ve all been into mules lately so we let the Hawaiian mules be the focus of this gathering.  
To make: 
Approx. 1/2 cup of pineapple vodka 
Half a can of ginger beer (we like goslings brand)
Splash of pineapple juice 
Squeeze of fresh lime 
Garnish with fresh pineapple, serve, and enjoy! 
XO
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Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

LETS DRINK : BLUEBERRY MULE COCKTAILS

It’s Wednesday, so if your weeks been anything like mine you might be in need a mid-week cocktail.  I have to give my friends at The Kissing Tree Vintage (my #businessandbooze buddies) mad props for taking this drink to another level!  
Disclaimer : if you already like Moscow Mules as is, you may become addicted.  Consider yourselves warned.
Here is what you need to craft this delicious drink:
1/4 cup of vodka
ginger beer (about half of a can)
2 tbsp of blueberry syrup 
A squeeze of fresh lime juice and a slice for garnish
*this quantity is based on one drink, so if you’re wanting to get wild maybe add a little more vodka. 
haha.
To make the blueberry syrup:
Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil.  Add 1 cup of blueberries, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.  Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sleeve. Add 2 to 4 tbsp of sugar to desired sweetness.  (this amount will last you for plenty of drinks!) 
CHEERS! 
xo
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Monday, December 22nd, 2014

EDIBLE GIFTS : PEPPERMINT CHOCOLATE COOKIE BARK

If you’re up for some mad holiday baking this week, I highly recommend this simple and delicious cookie bark.  It’s pretty ridiculous and super easy to make!

PEPPERMINT CHOCOLATE BARK COOKIES: 
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk 
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped candy canes or herseys candy cane kisses
2 ounces white chocolate
*Preheat oven to 350.  Spray 13 x 9 pan with non stick spray and line with parchment. You’ll be using this as a “handle”.  Beat butter in a large bowl until creamy.  Gradually beat in sugar.  Continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla then egg yolk. Gradually add flour and salt, beating on low just to blend.  Drop dough in prepared pan spacing evenly.  Use moistened fingertips to press dough evenly along the bottom of the pan.  Pierce dough all over with a fork.  Bake the cookie base for about 30 minutes, until light golden brown and the sides start coming away from the sides of the pan.  Immediately sprinkle chocolate chips on top and let stand until they soften, just a few minutes. Use a spatula to spread the chocolate evenly.  Immediately sprinkle chopped candy cane on top.   Separately, microwave and stir white chocolate in small bursts until smooth.  If it’s too thick add a little vegetable oil.  Use a fork to drizzle the white chocolate on top.  Cool until white chocolate hardens, about 30 minutes. Using the paper as your handle, remove from pan and place on a cutting board.  Using a large knife, cut the bark into irregular shapes or squares if you prefer.
xox 
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Monday, December 22nd, 2014

EDIBLE GIFTS : LEMON SUGAR COOKIES

Sugar cookies are the best mainly for decorating purposes.  These were really fun to make with my family and bff this past weekend.  You can follow this simple sugar cookie recipe here but the frosting is the key to these so they harden and look pretty to decorate! 
2 cups confectioners sugar
1-2 tbsp milk (add more if it is too thick)
1 tbsp light corn syrup 
1/4 tsp of lemon extract (you could also do vanilla or almond!) 
Cream the first to ingredients together so they become light and fluffy.  With a mixer, add the light corn syrup and extract.  It should be really smooth and glossy, this is key to hardening after you frost them.  
Happy Baking!
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Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

EDIBLE GIFTS : LAVENDER SHORTBREAD COOKIES

I love making these lavendar cookies and at the request of Cami, I whipped up a batch these week to bring to her studio.  I haven’t quite mastered these appearance wise, but they are definitely delicious.  I foresee more baked gifts in my near future, so stay tuned!

Lavender Shortbread Cookies: 
5/8 cup butter 
1/2 cup white sugar 
1 egg 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
1 tablespoon lavender flowers 
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
(we’ve made this with substitutes to be gluten free and they still turned out great!) 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
Grease cookie sheets 
Cream together the butter and sugar
Beat the egg and blend it into the butter and sugar
Add vanilla, mix in lavender flowers, and the flour
Drop by taespoonfuls onto cookie sheets
Bake about 10 minutes or until golden
Remove to cooling racks and sprinkle with decorative sugar (optional)
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Friday, November 7th, 2014

PUMPKIN CUPCAKES WITH MAPLE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING


I made these for our Halloween party last weekend, but we all know pumpkin carries over to Novmeber / Thanksgiving.  I’m definitely not sick of it yet! There’s something about the smell of fresh baked good lingering though the house that makes me feel more like it’s fall (since it’s still 80 degrees here).  I just really love an excuse to bake (and thankfully Hunter likes to eat).  

I used some substitutes to make my cupcakes gluten free, I’ve listed both ways.  (I adapted this recipe from Free People Blog) 

Here is what you’ll need: 

3 cups all-purpose flour (or coconut flour for GF)
½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp cinnamon (more if you reallllly like cinnamon like us)
¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice 
3 eggs
1 cup coconut sugar (for GF or use regular granulated)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup fat-free milk
1 15 oz. can pumpkin
2 tbsp honey
1 tbs pure maple syrup
½ cup oil
½ cup applesauce

Preheat the oven to 350° and prepare two pans with cupcake liners or cooking spray (makes about 24 cupcakes). In a large bowl mix dry ingredients; flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice. Using a mixer, beat the eggs, and gradually add the sugar until well combined. Mix in the pumpkin, followed by vanilla, milk, honey, maple syrup, canola oil, and applesauce. Once the mixture is smooth, mix in the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Pour the batter into pans and bake for about 22-25 minutes until the cupcakes are cooked through (use the toothpick trick to check them!).  


And now for the frosting! 
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened

4 tbsp butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon (again, more if you’re cinnamon obsessed like me)




Using a mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Slowly add powdered sugar, scraping the sides of the bowl as you go. Pour in maple and continue mixing until fully combined.  The frosting should be light and fluffy. Spread onto cupcakes and enjoy! 
Happy Friday! xox 


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Thursday, October 30th, 2014

FALL FAVORITES : PUMPKIN KAHLUA COCKTAILS

I hope you’re not sick of pumpkin yet because this little cocktail is quite delicious (and not overly pumpkin-y).  Perfect for whatever Halloween activities you’ll soon be indulging in.  Here is what you will need to make this:

“Pumpkin White Russian”

Pinnacle Pumpkin Pie Vodka
Kahlua
Milk (whole is typical but other works great too)
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Cinnamon
Cinnamon Sticks (optional, for garnish)

I followed a white russian recipe to get the porportions right the first time (I’m no mixologist).  I started with 2 ounces of Kahlua, 3 ounces of vodka, and a smidgen (let’s say quarter to half of a teaspoon) of pumpkin pie spice.  Shake it up a bit then add 6 ounces of milk and shake again.  As I said, typical white russians call for creamer or whole milk, I prefer skim or coconut milk, that’s up to you!  I used another pinch of cinnamon on top and a cinnamon stick to garnish.  This basically made a good sized “rocks” glass.  So if you are shaking up some beverages for a few friends I would definitely double or triple the recipe at least!

Cheers! 

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Thursday, June 26th, 2014

HOMEMADE GRANOLA FOR LIFE

This is a my idea of perfect snack.  My mom has been making homemade granola for umm forever. You can make a huge batch of it to last all week (or two).  We like to distribute it into plastic baggies, take it to work, pack it in lunches, etc! 
You will need: 
4 cups oats (gluten free if you wish) 
2 cups sliced almonds
2 cups coconut 
approximately 1 cup raisins, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, dried apricots 
sprinkle with cinnamon and honey OR agave nectar to sweeten 
This makes a big batch and there is no right or wrong to the measurements of granola.  You can use more of the stuff you like better (thats what I do aka more walnuts, more cinnamon – always!) .  I’ve also used cranberries rather than raisins and you could throw in any other dried fruit that you fancy. 
I then spread the ingredients on a baking sheet, cook on 350 for about 30 minutes.  I like to check every 10 minutes and stir it up a bit so the stuff on bottom gets browned and crunchy as well.  
Enjoy! xx
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Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

HOMEMADE FIG, PEAR, & GOAT CHEESE PIZZA

I can hardly call this a recipe because putting together a homemade pizza is so quick and easy (plus no measurements required!).  Hunter would maybe eat pizza everyday if he could and since cooking can be a task some nights, I’ve had to come up with some healthy alternatives to one of our favorite foods.
 This night in particular, I cheated with the crust and bought a ready to embellish gluten free one from the store.  You could buy whatever crust for this or make your own if you’re feeling realllll ambitious.  I lightly brushed the crust with olive oil.  Next I added arugula, just barely covering the crust.  Then I added the pears and figs (I use about 3/4 of a pear and maybe 5 figs cut in half for this one).  I then added some finely chopped onions. Lightly sprinkle the goat cheese on top (or heavily if you’re not on a “diet” like me, because goat cheese is amazing!).  Finally, I seasoned with black pepper and rosemary.  Bake on 425 for about 10 minutes (or follow directions on the crust if using a pre-made one). 
And enjoy! xx
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Friday, June 6th, 2014

WEEKEND TREAT : OATMEAL COCONUT PB COOKIES

Happy Friday! 
If you’re looking for a little treat to splurge on this weekend, I suggest whipping up a batch of these oatmeal coconut peanut butter cookies.  They are pretty delicious! 
I’m giving you the “real” ingredients but I’m also all about substitutes to make sweets a little “healthier”.  You could definitely use substitutions to make them vegan and/or gluten free and they would be just as good!  I usually do GF (your local health food store will have all the substitutes you need; flour, oats, etc).
Here is what you need: 
1 cup butter, softened 
i cup packed light brown sugar 
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups of oats 
1 cup coconut flakes 
1 cup peanut butter (I used half a cup of peanut butter and half a cup of peanut butter chips because I was curious and also afraid that peanut butter would take over… but it didn’t. So you could definitely add a little extra or use both to your liking!)
Preheat oven to 325. In a large bowl, cream the butter and both sugars until smooth.  Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla.  Combine the flour, baking soda, salt; stir into the creamed mixture until blended.  Mix in the oats, coconut, and peanut butter.  Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for approximately 12-14 minutes (I did 14 minutes because they were still gooey, just keep an eye on them).  Let them cool for about 5 minutes before transferring from the baking sheet to a wire rack or parchment paper to cool completely.  
Then style them and take some photos for your blog – kidding… that’s the part that took the longest. ha.  However, I love experimenting with lighting and food photography so that’s how the post came about after all.   I think I will work on more treat posts in the future.  Hope you enjoy! xox 
*adapted basic oatmeal cookie recipe from allrecipes.com
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Friday, February 21st, 2014

OUR FAVORITE CARROT CAKE

I’ve made this carrot cake a few times, we’re kind of in love.  It’s Hunter’s favorite and each time he says “this is the best one you’ve made”. ha.  So I made it yet again for him for Valentine’s day this year.  We are not big holiday people, we just enjoy relaxing rather than fighting a crowd and waiting in line. So on Vday he made the most amazing portobello burgers and then we enjoyed our dessert and watched TV.  It was honestly perfect!

Now go make this –

INGREDIENTS:
4 eggs 
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil 
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose white flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoon cinnamon (if you’re a cinnamon nut like us, add more)
3 cups grated carrots (I think I did just under 3 cups)
THEN…
I added pecans, raisins, dried cranberries, and unsweetened coconut.  This is completely optional but I promise you won’t regret throwing these extras in. 
Beat your eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until smooth.  Add in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Pour into a greased pan.  Cook at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes. 
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
1/2 cup butter, softened (not melted!)
8 oz cream cheese, softened (not melted!)
4 cups of confectionary sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Enjoy! xo

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Monday, January 6th, 2014

JUICING 101 : TIME TO DETOX

I am so ready for a detox after the holidays. Aren’t we all? I mentioned not making resolutions, mainly because for me I feel they are too fleeting.  Especially when it comes to health / working out.  With the busyness of life and a weird schedule of working taking care of myself sometimes falls on the back burner (unfortunately).  I know if I am going to be fit and healthy for good then it has to be a lifestyle change.  I am a vegetarian / borderline vegan and sometimes it’s hard to find quick solutions for healthy eating…I want to commit more time to preparing healthy meals and perhaps juicing a meal a day.  I began juicing this weekend and was pleasantly surprised by these combinations: 
Citrus Green Tea Detox: 
1 grapefruit
1 oranges
1 cup of brewed green tea
half of a lemon (just squeezed juice)
half of a banana
a few cubes of ice
Green Detox: 
1 peach
handful of fresh spinach
1 cup of pineapples (I used frozen in place of ice)
half of a banana 
coconut milk
The first was a little bitter for me, but super healthy so it was worth it.  The second was pretty delicious despite the spinach (I thought it would taste weird) but it was great! I’ll be experimenting with more juices and smoothies this week and will be sure to document my finds.  xx
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Friday, December 20th, 2013

WEEKEND BAKING : FUDGE, PEPPERMINT BARK, & SUGAR COOKIES

A little weekend baking inspiration.  If you need a last minute gift or something to bring to a holiday party, I think something sweet and homemade is just perfect.  I can’t believe how ambitious I got yesterday! It was fun to have my mom and grandmother over to help bake treats for everyone.  Hunter was the taste tester and he approved.  The bark is especially delicious and the fudge was super fast and easy.  Here are the directions and ingredients for all: 
CANDY CANE FUDGE: 
110 (this was about a bag and a half) candy cane herseys kisses (unwrapped of course)
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup butter cut into pieces
crushed candy canes or peppermints 
*Spray pan with nonstick spray and line with wax or parchment paper so that it comes up two sides (you’ll want to use this as a “handle” to pull the fudge out of the pan later on).  In a medium bowl (glass or pyrex) combine the kisses, milk, and butter.  Microwave in 30 second bursts stirring each time until smooth and melted. Pour the mixture into your prepared pan and smooth the top.  Sprinkle the crushed candy canes and press lightly so they stay.  Chill for at least two hours or until hardened. Use the wax paper like handles to pull the fudge out, remove wax paper and lay on cutting board.  Cut and serve or store at room temp or in the freezer. 
PEPPERMINT CHOCOLATE BARK COOKIES: 
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk 
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped candy canes or herseys candy cane kisses
2 ounces white chocolate
*Preheat oven to 350.  Spray 13 x 9 pan with non stick spray and line with parchment. Again, you’ll be using this as a “handle”.  Beat butter in a large bowl until creamy.  Gradually beat in sugar.  Continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla then egg yolk. Gradually ass flour and salt, beating on low just to blend.  Drop dough in prepared pan spacing evenly.  Use moistened fingertips to press dough evenly along the bottom of the pan.  Pierce dough all over with a fork.  Bake the cookie base for about 30 minutes, until light golden brown and the sides start coming away from the sides of the pan.  Immediately sprinkle chocolate chips on top and let stand until they soften, just a few minutes. Use a spatula to spread the chocolate evenly.  Immediately sprinkle chopped candy cane on top.   Separately, microwave and stir white chocolate in small bursts until smooth.  If it’s to thick add a little vegetable oil (I had to).  Use a fork to drizzle the white chocolate on top.  Cool until white chocolate hardens, about 30 minutes. Using the paper as your handle, remove from pan and place on a cutting board.  Using a large knife, cut the bark into irregular shapes or squares if you prefer! 
For the sugar cookies, I just made classic cookies with vanilla frosting following these two recipes: 
HAPPY BAKING! 
xox
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Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

LIGHTER CINNAMON WALNUT BANANA BREAD

Another experiment in the kitchen gone good.  Hunter loves banana bread, so when I found this recipe below, I knew I had to try it with my own spin.  It was perfect and delicious.  
Here’s what you will need: 
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 1½ tablespoons honey
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ⅓ cup vanilla greek yogurt
  • Glaze:
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon (I added a lot because I love it, but you can tone it down with a bit less)
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 8.5 x 4.5 inch bread pan with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. 
  2. In medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and set aside. In another larger bowl cream together sugar and butter until creamy. Add mashed bananas and stir to combine. Mix in eggs, honey , vanilla, and greek yogurt. Add in the dry ingredients. Stir in Walnuts. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 35-40 minutes or until an inserted knife or toothpick comes out clean. Let cool. 
  3. Mix together powdered sugar, milk, more cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Drizzle glaze over cooled loaf and top with extra crushed walnuts. 

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Thursday, November 7th, 2013

PUMPKIN BREAD WITH WALNUTS & CHOCOLATE CHIPS

This pumpkin bread recipe was sooo good.  I made a few changes to the original, but I think there are probably several types of nuts / chips you could add for your own twist and it would still be perfect.  Beware, it makes a few loafs so be ready to share! 
You will need:
3 cups white sugar 
1 can pumpkin puree 
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cups water 
4 eggs
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (I put more)
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg 
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 – 1 1/2 cups walnuts 
(of course the last two are optional, I may even try some roasted pumpkin seeds or almonds next time)
1. Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour your pans!
2. Combine sugar, pumpkin, oil, water, and eggs in a large bowl.  Beat until smooth.  Blend in flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.  Stir in nuts and chips.  Fill your baking cans about 1/2 – 3/4 way full 
3. Bake for 45-60 minutes.  I would check at around 45 minutes.  Insert a knife or toothpick, if it comes out clean then your bread is ready.  Cool before removing from pan.  
Happy baking!
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Monday, November 4th, 2013

ICED PUMPKIN SPICE COOKIES

I made these pumpkin spice cookies for the first time over the weekend…they were reallllllly good.  I can’t even tell you how many Hunter ate.   I thought this recipe was a pretty perfect mix of spice and sweet, not one being more overpowering.  Before all things gingerbread starts taking over, whip up a batch of these babies, you won’t regret it: 
You will need:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder 
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened 
1 1/2 cups white sugar 
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
For the icing: 
2 cup confectioners sugar 
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1. Preheat oven to 350.  Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt then set aside
2. Cream together butter and white sugar.  Then add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla to the mixture and beat until creamy.  Mix in dry ingredients.  Drop onto cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls and flatten slightly. 
3. Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Cool cookies than drizzle glaze with a fork. 
4.  To make the glaze: combine the confectioners sugar, milk, butter, and vanilla.  Add milk as needed for drizzling consistency. 
Happy Baking! 
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Friday, August 9th, 2013

GLUTEN FREE PEAR & GORGONZOLA PIZZA

When I FINALLY found a good gluten free pizza crust I knew this had to happen.  I would always check health food store for crusts and I finally found gluten free dough at publix (in the butter and slice & bake cookie area).  I simply followed the directions on the package as far as baking temperature and bake time.  Of course you can use any old pizza crust or dough if you’re not gluten free. 
And then the magic was added:
– First I “caramelized” the onions.  That’s in quotes because I don’t know if I technically caramelized them but they were good.  I sliced them put them in a pan with olive oil and a little brown sugar and let them sizzle for a bit. 
– Rub the pizza with olive oil (as much as you desire, there is no traditional sauce on this pizza)
– Shredded mozzarella cheese (again as much or as little as you wish and I used the part skim kind)
– Sliced pears (about 1 1/2)
– Chopped walnuts (1/2 cup)
– Add your onions
– Sprinkle with gorgonzola (I got the reduced fat for this as well)
– Season with pepper and garlic 
Again, follow the directions your crust comes with.  I cooked on 400.  I pre-baked the crust for 12 minutes then baked everything together for another 10.  
Hope you enjoy this pizza, it was darn good.  Check back on Monday, I have some more gluten free cookies in store for you! 
xx
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Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

LEMON PEPPER ZUCCHINI SALAD

I eat a salad almost every night for or with my dinner.  I came across another zucchini salad recipe and thought I would try my own take on it.  It’s kind of nice to switch it up sometimes, while still keeping with healthy vegetables.  Plus this is vegan and gluten free!  
2 zucchinis 
cherry tomatos (cut in half, used almost the whole crate)
pumpkin seeds (1/4 cup)
sliced almonds (1/4 cup)
fresh basil 
artichoke hearts (small jar)
for the “dressing” I squeezed half a lemon, half a lime, a little olive oil, and sprinkled with garlic and pepper.  
(I added some sea salt and feta cheese to Hunters) 
 It was delicious!  The two zucchinis made about 4-5 servings, so alter it as you please. 
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Thursday, July 25th, 2013

A ( GLUTEN FREE ) CORN SALAD

I made this salad last week and we ate a little everyday until it was gone.  It was so good! 
You need: 
4 stalks fresh corn
1 red pepper 
1/2 onion 
1 lime
1 c. chopped walnuts
1/2 c. crumbled goat cheese (leave off the cheese to make it vegan as well)
cherry tomatos 
fresh basil
pepper and garlic to season 
This is such a quick and easy recipe.  While the corn boils, chop up all your other ingredients.  Let the corn cool and mix everything together.  Squeeze the lime and stir. Top with your goat cheese and seasonings.  It’s best when it’s been chilled for a bit.  Also, there’s no messing this one up so if you want to add more or less of the above ingredients depending on your taste it will still be superb. 
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Saturday, July 20th, 2013

BREAKFAST FAVES / VEGGIE EGG SKILLET

If only everyday I could find the time to make a delicious breakfast, but I guess that’s what weekends are for.  I had been wanting to make my own version of a veggie “skillet” that I love to order at one of my favorite breakfast joints.  For this, I chopped up onions, red peppers, and red skin potatoes.  I let that cook in olive oil, pepper, and garlic for a while before adding the eggs.  Then I went outside a plucked this basil from my plant (that is still alive, yay!).  Served with a fruit cup and of course, giant coffees. 
Happy Saturday, xx
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Thursday, July 18th, 2013

GLUTEN FREE LAVENDER COOKIES

Are you ready for a delicious treat?!

I’m really into these lavander shortbread cookies (thanks mom).  I posted some she made me on instagram last week and decided I needed to try my own and share the adventure with you. I’m going to give you some options…so in case you’re not a freak like me (aka trying to live dairy & gluten free) you can make them the “normal” way.  Have fun, enjoy, and share a few! 
Lavender Shortbread Cookies: 
5/8 cup butter  (earth balance for dairy free)
1/2 cup white sugar (or lower cal sugar substitute of your choice)
1 egg (egg beaters for dairy free)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
1 tablespoon lavender flowers 
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (gluten free baking flour)
*the original recipe called for an optional extra 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tbsp lavender for decoration, my mom said it was too strong so I left that part off as well, but that’s up to you! 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
Grease cookie sheets 
Cream together the butter and sugar
Beat the egg and blend it into the butter and sugar
Add vanilla, mix in lavender flowers, and the flour
Drop by taespoonfuls onto cookie sheets
Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden
Remove to cooling racks and sprinkle with decorative sugar (optional)
*I ended up taking mine out at about 10 minutes, I’m not sure if it was due to the substitutions I made so you might want to start at 10 and check on them so they don’t burn.
xoxo 
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Monday, June 10th, 2013

EATS : GLUTEN FREE HOMEMADE GRANOLA

I love making a huge batch of homemade granola to snack on.  It’s the perfect healthy treat.  This happens to be gluten free and very low in sugar.  I buy all ingredients in bulk from our local health food store.  I’m not so good at following recipes so I just throw in my desired amount of each item.  The oats, sliced almonds, and shredded coconut are the main part.  I add around 4 cups of rolled oats (I used gluten free), 2 cups of sliced almonds, and about 2 cups of coconut.  I added pumpkin seeds, walnuts, raisins, dried apricots, and pecans.  You could do about a cup of each of these to make a large amount. Again, I buy all of this in bulk and the raw, unsalted versions. It will stay fresh and last you while!  Lay all your ingredients out on a cookie sheet.  I sprinkled cinnamon, raw agave nectar, and a small spoonful of coconut oil over the top.  This was the first time I used coconut oil, Hunter and I both agreed it was the best batch yet.  The original recipe calls for olive oil and honey if you want it a little sweeter, but I am trying to cut sugar from my diet!  Set the oven to 350 and baked for about 25-30 minutes.  I start checking on it around 25 minutes, it should be golden brown and crunchy.  I always look at the coconut to tell when it’s ready since it gets real toasty looking!  
Happy Snacking!

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Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

ROASTED VEGGIES WITH POMEGRANATE

On June 1st I began a Paleo-Based Diet / Whole 30 challenge.  The idea is getting back to our roots…subtracting processed foods, sugar, dairy, things that are not natural, from our diet.  I read up on the Whole 30 on Free People’s blog. It sounds like a great challenge for someone who just wants to try it out or treat is just as a detox or cleanse.  They say anything you do for 30 days becomes habit right?! So anyways, Paleo is based on eating meats, eggs, lots of vegetables, some fruit, and only processed food that have natural and pronounceable ingredients.  I have altered a few things since I am a vegetarian.  I have added eggs and some fish into my diet but otherwise I am substituting with soy protein powder and more beans.  This diet makes total sense.  And for someone who has struggled with food allergies, stomach problems, and weight, I can’t believe I didn’t start doing this sooner.  In just 5 short days of cutting dairy and sugar from my diet I already feel better and my stomach already looks flatter…no joke.  
I am going to be sharing recipes and healthy snacks that we are eating during this time.  I’ve started an “eat” category on the left side to organize all of these posts.  I would love to hear other experiences with this diet…have you tried it? 
If you’ve followed any past food posts, you know I like to keep things simple and I’m unfortuntely not much of a recipe person so bare with me.  The other day I was looking around the store for ways to spruce up my usual dish of baked vegetables.  I saw this beautiful pomegranate and took it home to try out.  I added the seeds and squeezed the juice on brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and onions.  I also squeezed some lemon and added a small spoonful of coconut oil.  I seasoned it with garlic and pepper (remember no salt or butter on this diet! So the juices and spices became the “sauce”).  I baked on 350 for about 30 minutes.   Our salad consisted of romaine, tomatoes, mushrooms, strawberries, walnuts, and hard boil egg for more protein.  Again, without using dressing I just squeezed some lemon, added a very small amount of olive oil, and some pepper. 
Happy whole eating!
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