Drinks

174

Tahini Date Shake (V, GF)

If you didn’t already know, I’m a big tahini fan. It’s basically grownup peanut butter and it just adds something a little more special to recipes that call for nut butters. Now, I’m not quite ready to whip up any tahini and jelly sandwiches, but I’m very into adding spoonfuls of it to cookie dough, dressing, hot chocolate, and smoothies/shakes! Since it’s now officially summer, I think it’s high time to spend any free moments sitting outside and drinking cold drinks. And that often means cool and creamy tahini shakes. Basically a milkshake for breakfast everybody, get excited! I’ve made a pact with myself to take fifteen minutes every morning to drink one of these (or these) and read a few pages of very important literature and not think about anything else. And then those precious minutes are over and it’s back to writing cover letters and freelance article pitches and crying being excited by the challenge of not knowing what’s ahead.

In other news, Emily and I are currently up to our ears in blue frosting and chocolate chili cupcakes because we got a catering gig! And I must admit, getting paid to chop cilantro and whip buttercream and marinate shrimp is not at all a bad thing. In fact, it kinda really rocks. So general announcement, if you ever are in the market for someone else to make your food for you, drop me a line here because we’re a bargain and the food is slammin, if I do say so myself. And now for some links that made me smile:

A breakfast sandwich crawl sounds like my kind of adventure.

Goals

Food52 featured my Minty Orange Gimlet in a cocktail roundup to toast summer hooraaaay~

Co-owner of Tartine Chad Robertson’s ideas for the future: eco-robotic bread baking. “You can source your grain from a regional economy, you can fresh-mill it, and you can bake 20,000 loaves using robots.” yes ok.

The other owner of Tartine (incidentally, Robertson’s wife) Liz Prueitt has some pretty fucking fantastic things to say about women who want to work and have a family and not be questioned about how they “do it all.” She does not mention robots.

I can’t stop watching this video idk idk idk.

O’Neill’s rant about red velvet cake on OITNB was probably the funniest thing that’s ever happened on the show.

Someone buy me tickets to the Saveur cookout for my birthday even though my birthday isn’t for five months plz?

ps- Happy Father’s Day to any dads out there! So glad mine was happy to take me back in after graduation (although I have a sneaking suspicion it’s mostly because I make dinner every night…)

Shake (serves 1)

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup date water)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon tahini
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 pitted deglet noor dates
1/2 frozen banana
ice
1 teaspoon coconut oil (optional, for added energy boost)
1 shot rum or kahlua (also optional, you might not want to have it for breakfast with this addition) 

Soak the dates in hot water for ten minutes and chia seeds in warm water for five. Combine everything in a blender and really let it rip for a while to break up the dates (unless you’re super lucky and own a Vitamix, in which case the whole thing will take about 20 seconds.) Consume solo or with your favorite breakfast cookies (pictured: Laura Wright‘s Ultimate Breakfast Cookies!)


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Breakfasts, Desserts

171

No-Bake Seedy Mocha Coconut Slice (V, GF)

First post back in my trusty Jersey kitchen! I’ve missed it so. The weirdly yellow speckled floors. The full-sized food processor. THE DISHWASHER. I can’t even describe how many times in the past few days I’ve started washing things by hand and then remembered I can just toss it in a thing that will clean the dishes for me!! No more waking up to a sink full of things I was too lazy to clean the night before. Truly a miracle.

As much as I love having certain things back, it sure is weird being in a real house again for the long haul. I realize like four times a day l have yet to turn off all my alarms telling me about work shifts at the museum and production meetings at the theatre. I can’t remember where I left my bag or shoes or iPod or sunglasses because I can’t just throw them into the same corner of my apartment every time I come home anymore (my roommates totally loved me, can you tell?) I’m taking a big risk if I leave my computer plugged in unattended because a certain member of the household likes to sharpen his fangs on electrical cords when no one is watching. On the other hand, it’s a dream come true to be able to jump in the car and be five minutes away from Whole Foods. It’s actually going to become a problem soon. I like grocery shopping way too much, don’t judge meeee. I’m also growing quite fond of this whole waking up to a pot of coffee already brewed thing. And having a big tv instead of my tiny laptop to re-watch all of Mad Men explore important documentary films. I’ll start my summer job soon enough, but until then I’ve really been getting into having nothing to do. And I’ll continue being a big fan for maybe another week, then I’ll start to go insane and probably begin crafting again. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Let’s talk about food. Specifically this recipe. It originated from a recipe by my all-time favorite vegan blogger Ashlae of Oh, Ladycakes. While rummaging in the fridge for dates, I found a container of prunes. And because I’ve been trying real hard to broaden my food-horizons lately I ate one. I was not a fan. Que sera, sera. However, the texture was very promising, as in it resembled a perfectly moist date. Lo and behold, pruney date crust is slammin’! And while I’m not too fond of them on their own, when blended with super sweet dates and nuts and coffee and chocolate, they add a whole new world of flavor. So don’t knock it til you try it, trust me! The greatest thing about this treat is that it’s totally substantial enough to be breakfast, but decadent enough to have for dessert (with a healthy dollop of whipped cream, duh.) PS- if you have a nut allergy, omit the almonds and almond milk; bump up the oats to 1 1/4 cup, the pepitas to 1/4 cup, and swap the almond milk for the water your dates/prunes have been soaking in! Also thx to Emily for being my hand model extraordinaire~

Slice (adapted from Ashlae Warner, via eHow)

1 cup raw almonds
3 tablespoons pepitas
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon coffee grounds
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
heavy pinch vanilla sea salt (or just normal, I won’t tell)
12 deglet noor dates
3 prunes
2 tablespoons cocoa nibs
1/4 cup almond milk (or date water)
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract (optional)

3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons maple syrup

shredded coconut, chopped almonds, cocoa nibs, crystalized ginger, dried chopped fruit, etc. (for topping)

Make the crust: Place the dates and prunes in a bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside for at least ten minutes. Drain, reserving the water to replace almond milk in this recipe (or for adding further deliciousness to a smoothie!) Blend the almonds, pepitas, coconut, oats, coffee, cocoa powder, and salt in a food processor until it turns into a fairly fine meal. Add the dates, prunes, cocoa nibs, and extract (if using) and blend until combined. Add the almond milk or date water and pulse until the mixture forms large crumbs. Press the mixture into an 8 or 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom (or if you’re me and just moved all your kitchen equipment from one home to another, use whatever you have hanging around that vaguely resembles said tart pan; in this case, a spring form pan. See, they’re not just for cheesecakes!) and put it in the freezer to make it bake.

Make the topping: Whisk together the coconut oil and cocoa powder until smooth, it will resemble melted chocolate. Add the maple syrup and whisk well. (Spoiler alert: this is the BEST and easiest vegan chocolate frosting if you’re ever in a pinch.)

Put it all together: Take the crust out of the freezer. Working quickly, spread the topping over the crust with an offset spatula and sprinkle with additional desired toppings! Good luck getting this to last over two days, but Ashlae assures us it will keep in the freezer for up to 6 weeks!


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Desserts

166

Honey Hazelnut Brownies (GF)

 

If I were one of the seven deadly sins, I’d be gluttony. Growing up, I was 100% never the kid who got distracted by TV or a gameboy or playing outside during dinnertime. I’ve always been all about the food. Still am, if you didn’t already get that. It doesn’t really matter what the food is. Be it a plate of raw-vegan-paleo-something or a sleeve of Thin Mints, I really don’t care. I will want to finish whatever I can find. That’s why I make an effort to surround myself with good food. It doesn’t have to be spinach, but it does have to have some kind of body/mind health benefit. So that’s a way of saying that while I do eat a great many brownies, they aren’t filled with milk chocolate (pffff) or 3 cups of bleached sugar or anything like that.

I’m sure there are others like me out there- those who love to eat all the things, but still care about what they put inside themselves. That’s why I’m sharing (another) recipe for good-for-you brownies. It’s similar, but just different enough to be a completely unique brownie experience. My favorite part of this recipe was hands-down the coconut oil. It made the brownies smell so good. Even after they’d cooled and were hanging out in the fridge- spoiler alert, when these bad boys are cold, they’re even better. But maybe that’s just me. This was also the first time I’ve sweetened brownies with honey and I must say, it’s my new favorite thing. There’s something about using honey instead of regular sugar in a dessert that makes it more interesting. You know the thing you’re eating is sweet, but it’s not a usual kind of sweet. You must mull over the complexities of your dessert by having another brownie. And then another. It’s basically homework. I may or may not have crumbled them over several bowls of pistachio gelato during my analysis of honey vs sugar dessert. It was very important work.

Speaking of overindulgence, Heinz and Kraft are merging to form one giant superfood company (but not this kind of superfood. More like this kind.) What does this mean? That Kraft singles will now come with ketchup packets so we can finally always be ready to make a proper grilled cheese??! One can only hope..

Brownies

1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp cocoa nibs
1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts

Line a baking tray with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk the wet ingredients until smooth and set aside. Whisk together the almond flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt, then add to the wet ingredients and combine. Fold in the chopped chocolate, cocoa nibs, and hazelnuts. Bake 20-25 minutes.

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Drinks

153

Almond Latté (V, GF)  

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This is the time of year where I find myself back in my hometown for about a month: a stretch of time where living out of a suitcase feels ridiculous, but fully unpacking seems unnecessary. So I’ve settled on a happy medium in which every morning I remove everything from the duffle bag and pile it onto my bed. I wear whatever I need to wear, and promptly forget all about it until midnight, when, too sleepy to care, I shove my clothes back into the duffle and move the cat (who has recently claimed my bed as his throne) aside and pass out in whatever free corner I can find. The whole process repeats itself the following morning. I have only been home for two weeks- there’s still time to unpack! I’ll no doubt be saying this until mid-January. Honestly though, who has time to unpack where there is food to be made? More honestly, I have plenty of time, because quite literally, all I’ve been doing since I got here is making cookies. And challah (stay tuned, those of you who have a desire to learn to make or look at many pictures of Jewish honey egg bread).

My favorite part of being home is hands down my proximity to the espresso machine. For years, all we had was one of those shiny stovetop moka pots. Don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful and made great coffee. But it also required lots of care concerning boiling hot steam and what is known as the “safety release valve”. In my book, this is pretty much a disaster waiting to happen. Sure, I’ve had my fair share of baking tray burns and paring knife/finger lacerations, but those are business as usual if you spend the vast majority of your time in a kitchen. And they’re nothing a little Neosporin and band-aid can’t fix. Which brings me to my next point: have you ever had a steam burn? There is no escape. No amount of ice or crying or bourbon will fix that kind of pain. That is why I experienced true coffee-flavored, pain-free bliss when this bad boy arrived at our doorstep a while back, and I’ve used it religiously every chance I get ever since. The following latté is a truly perfect afternoon jolt, even more so when used as a vessel for dunking leftover Christmas cookies. It also makes a great dessert for caffiends like me. Looking for others? Exhibit A. Exhibit B.

Latté

1 shot espresso
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. honey, agave syrup, or sugar (optional)

Heat the almond milk over the stove, in the microwave, or in a milk frother. While that’s happening, pull the espresso shot. Add almond extract, and sweetener (if using) into a mug. Pour the coffee into the mug, then top with milk. Enjoy!

 

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Drinks

152

Egg(less) Nog (V,GF)

Happy end of Hanukkah and merry Christmas Eve to those who celebrate! I think a rainy twenty fourth of December is a perfect time to share a recipe for a fairly time consuming holiday treat: egg nog! Rather, egg(less) nog, as it is vegan. This is the first time I’ve ever experimented with making my own nut milk, and I can now say with absolute certainty I know why it’s so expensive. There’s waiting overnight involved and the end result does not yield nearly as much as one would think. Therefore, I will no longer feel guilty for shelling out an extra three dollars a carton to have my soaked almonds/cashews/what have you squeezed for me. Now, that’s a statement of privilege if I ever heard one, amirite? Regardless, I’ve recently been reading some pretty scary articles about the ethical implications of milk (which is not news, as you can see from the article dates, but I’m just trying to be more informed). So I’m currently in the process of switching completely over to non-dairy milk, unless I can make it to a farm and watch the milk come from the well-treated cow. Or a world-wide restructuring of the production of milk happens. Y’know, easy and possible things like that. As of right now, I’ve been able to phase out milk in every area except my coffee, where several splashes of 2% make their home on a daily basis. Almond milk is too weak; coconut milk is too rich; most creamers are full of sugar. Complaint complaint complaint. I’m working on it! I’ll figure something out. Still, it was about time I learned to make my own, and when this nog presented itself in the December issue of Bon Appétit, I knew it was a sign. The original recipe also describes serving the drink with whipped egg whites on top, which I did not do, as I am scared of raw eggs, but feel free to follow the link and try that yourself.

SO, I have listed directions for how to make this drink 100% from scratch, and also my suggestions for how to make it a little semi-homemade, because, as I said in my last post, sometimes store bought is fine. I recommend using almond milk -or soy, if you’re into that- because they’re the most common non-dairy milks and therefore the most affordable. Happy holidays!

Nog (from Bon Appétit)

1 c raw cashews

1 c skin-on raw hazelnuts

2 wide strips orange peel

2 cinnamon sticks

2 star anise pods

4 cloves

1 13.5-oz can coconut milk

2 tbsp agave syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 c dark or spiced rum (OR if you’re me, some kind of whiskey) – optional

4 pieces of cheesecloth

Combine cashews and hazelnuts with 4 cups of hot water in a large bowl. Tie the orange peel, cinnamon, anise, and cloves in a piece of cheesecloth, lightly crush spices with a wooden spoon, and place in the nut mixture. Let sit overnight, covering with a lid/plastic wrap after the mixture gets to room temperature.

Remove spice bundle and discard. Blend nut mixture (I had to do mine in two batches) for two minutes. Line a fine-mesh sieve with cheesecloth and place over a large bowl. Pour nut mixture through sieve and squeeze out as much liquid as possible (this also will be easier if you do it 3-4 times, replacing the cheesecloth each time).

Pour the coconut milk into a separate bowl. Whisk well, until the cream and water are smooth. Add coconut milk to nut milk. Whisk in the agave and vanilla until smooth. Cover and chill for about three hours.

Before serving, whisk up the nog to freshen the froth, then pour into a punch bowl along with your desired liquor. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg!


 

Quick-and-Easy Nog variation (adapted from above)

4 c unsweetened almond milk (I recommend this brand, because they only use less than 2% alternative thickeners- much better than most out there!)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp orange extract

1/4-1/2 tsp anise extract (personal preference)

+ everything listed above (no cheesecloth needed)

Place almond milk, spices, and extracts in a large saucepan over medium low heat. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until spices are aromatic. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Follow above instructions starting with the coconut milk.

 

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Desserts, Snacks

144

No-Added-Sugar Brownies (GF)

My original beginning to this post was the following: Wait! Don’t run away! You saw “no added sugar” and “brownies” in the same phrase and immediately got upset, right? I’m sorry, I swear this recipe is worth it!

And then I changed my mind. Why was I defending the things I made for my blog like there was something wrong with them? Why was I saying sorry for something I believe in? Earlier this year in a class we were discussing apologies, first in the context of theater, and then just in general. During the conversation one of my friends made a comment that’s stuck with me. She said women apologize significantly more than men. This is a fact, guys. (Also, read this and watch the commercial; even though it’s for shampoo and is naturally a little overdone it’s kind of important.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about this and am really curious as to why it’s such a phenomenon. Why are women always apologizing? There’s nothing in our genetic makeup that scientifically says those of us with two X chromosomes will be more inclined to ask for one’s pardon before entering a room or asking a question, let alone asserting something they believe. This is something that has occurred through the bizarre way women are “expected” to interact with others. I realized I do this a lot. I say sorry to my professors before making a comment in class that might not be completely correct. I say sorry to my boyfriend for asking him something that might come off as needy or despondent. I say sorry to my roommate for asking her to clean up grease she splattered over the stove all four of us share. I say sorry to my friend for asking to borrow a bobby pin. Why do I apologize so much? These are not instances where you jab someone in the ribs with your umbrella on a crowded subway or spill a bowl of soup on the person behind you in line at the deli. For those moments of accident or plain ol’ human error we should probably apologize. In fact, I’d be pretty bummed if I tripped over your bag in the doorway and you didn’t say sorry. But I am through with apologizing for feeling the way I feel or doing the things I do. If I want to eat foods that are “good” for me, I will do so. And if I want to eat foods that are “bad” for me, I’ll do that, too! I don’t want to feel like I have to say sorry for eating almonds while you eat a Snickers bar. I wouldn’t ask you to apologize or defend your choice to me. Snickers bars are awesome, I just don’t feel like having one today.

And right now, I’m going to share with you a recipe for brownies that have no added sugar (or just a tad if you add chocolate chips, that is), egg yolk, or grain. They’re full of good fats and protein. They’re clean and they make my body feel good, but they are still just as chocolatey as the other fifteen brownie recipes I have in my rotation. I’ve never felt as healthy as I have since I started making a conscious effort to eat good food. And that’s my choice- hey, it’s my life, right? If you want to have this for dessert, you do it. And don’t you dare apologize. If you want to eat this for dessert, go ahead! But please don’t say sorry. If you agree to do this, I promise I’ll try to live my life the same way.

Brownies (adapted from Health Magazine)

1/2 c raw almonds (use sliced if you want a smooth brownies, whole if you want a little crunch)

1 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder

1 c packed pitted dates (soaked in hot water for 10 minutes)

1/2 tsp baking soda

pinch sea salt

1/4 c unsweetened almond milk

2 tbsp coconut oil (solid)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 egg whites

2 tbsp dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper and coat with baking spray. In a food processor grind almonds (if using who, cocoa powder, chocolate, baking soda, and salt. Pour into a bowl and set aside. Place the dates, vanilla, and coconut oil in the food processor (stay tuned for a very exciting how-to post on date butter!) and blend until smooth. Resist urge to dip finger into results. Add almond mixture and blend together. Pour into a bowl. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites with a whisk or hand mixer until medium peaks form. Fold into original mixture along with chocolate chips. Spread into the baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes (they firm up on the outside very quickly, and will likely not be done after ten minutes even though they look like they are). Let cool completely before slicing and munching!

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Desserts

132

Chocolate Almond Cake (GF)

According to David Lebovitz, this recipe is considered a “snack cake” in France. Which in my world means I can eat it for breakfast. And let me tell you, chocolate + almond + cake + morning coffee – anywhere to be at a specific time = happy morning. These late July mornings in particular have been calling me to eat cake for breakfast, specifically because of how I’ve been waking up. I’ll explain: on more than one occasion this summer, my sister and I have lugged our old air mattress onto the screen porch in our backyard. We’ve then fallen asleep listening to the crickets and the rustling of summer plants in the breeze and sometimes the dull roar of VERY low flying planes (because apparently we live in an airport now?). But no matter how hot the following day gets, when we wake up on the porch it’s always that great kind of summer chilly where you absolutely need a comforter and big wool socks even though your PJs are a tank top and shorts. What could possibly be better than to heat up a piece of chocolate cake and a mug of coffee and devour both on said porch under said comforter?? Nothing. Nothing could be better. Except maybe relocating the coffeepot to the porch permanently. This summer has definitely been one of the mildest I can remember. And this very likely could be indicative of climate change- which at this point will probably require everyone needing SPF 5000 to leave the house in daylight while also wearing snowsuits from the blizzards that happen every hour (#science, everyone. You heard it here first). But honestly, if it leads to more brisk summer mornings I think I’d be okay with it.

JUST KIDDING. Okay let’s have some cake!

 

Cake (adapted from davidlebovitz.com)

6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 c unsalted butter, cubed

4 eggs, separated

1/2 c raw sugar

1/3 c plain  yogurt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt

1 c almond flour (but rly you can use any nut flour you’d like)

dusting of powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch cake pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.

In a large, heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter until smooth (stirring with a wooden spoon) then remove from the heat and let cool a bit.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, half of the sugar, yogurt, vanilla, and salt. Then whisk them into the melted chocolate. Stir in the flour.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or by hand with a whisk) whip the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually whip in the other half of the sugar until the whites form firm peaks. Fold one-third of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remaining chocolate mixture just until it’s completely combined. Pour the batter into the pan and level the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (the outer edges of the cake will feel set, but the center should still be soft). Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the cake pan. Dust with powdered sugar.

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130

Almond Chocolate Mousse (V, GF)

These recipes come from Oh, Ladycakes, a really incredible baking blog. Not only are the photos absolutely beautiful, everything made for the blog is vegan! While I am not a vegan, I really love exploring vegan baking. It’s like being a mad scientist only you end up with dessert and not turning yourself into a giant lizard or something. Vegans really know their stuff in terms of good alternative fats, as butter, eggs, and cream are personae non gratae in their kitchens. Here’s something I’ve learned: baking tips from bloggers are sometimes wrong. Sometimes home cooks get lucky when following their hearts in terms of making changes to recipes, then when someone else tries to duplicate said recipe it just doesn’t work. Here’s another thing I’ve learned: vegan bloggers are often exempt from this list. They HAVE to be. For example, when making ice cream, if a proper alternative to egg yolks is not established, there will be no ice cream. And then the vegan will probably be sad, as one often gets when one cannot have ice cream. So if you ask me, trust the vegans. They may not eat bacon or eggs, but they know their stuff in the kitchen.

Mousse (makes 4-6 servings depending on how big; altered slightly from Oh, Ladycakes)

6 oz dark chocolate (65% or higher)

3/4 c. unsweetened almond milk

Coconut Whipped Cream

Fill a large mixing bowl halfway with ice cubes and set aside. Place four-six small jars near your workspace. Add the chocolate to the top of a double boiler (or a heat safe bowl) over and inch or two of boiling water and melt completely. Once it’s melted, remove from heat and set the double boiler insert over the bowl of ice. Add the milk and stir with a spatula until mostly combined (don’t forget to scrape the bottom and edges of the bowl too!). Using a hand mixer on medium-low speed, beat the mixture for 3-5 minutes. It will get very bubbly, and then then rippled lines will start to appear as the mixture thickens. Once all you can see are lines, mix for an additional 10 seconds then immediately pour the mousse into the jars. (If you overmixed and the mousse is too firm to pour into jars, simply return the bowl to the double boiler, melt the mixture completely, and begin again!) Tap each jar on the counter to remove any air bubbles, top with lid, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until set.

Top with coconut whipped cream (scroll down) and cherries, toasted coconut flakes, chocolate shavings, sprinkles, fresh berries, whatever you like!

 

 

 

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Breakfasts, Desserts, Snacks

125

Muesli Cookies + How to Make Almond Butter

I’m pretty sure I know what you’re thinking: “I thought muesli was some weird health food, what is it doing inside a cookie?!” Well, you’re right- muesli is some weird heath food (technically it is a breakfast dish based on oats with nuts, grains and dried fruit served with milk or yogurt) but it actually makes for a really great cookie base! The results are like oatmeal raisin cookies with a kick! My favorite part of this recipe is yes, these cookies can be a healthy dessert, but they actually make for a pretty great breakfast/snack too. I like to grab them when I’m running out the door to work, they’re very easy to consume while also driving a car (a thermos of hot coffee on the other hand…) My second favorite part of this recipe is the fact that it got me to explore making my own almond butter. The process really couldn’t be more easy. It’s almonds and nothing else. Are you scandalized? I know I was! But using almond butter from the jar never hurt a soul, don’t be embarrassed if you take this route. I strongly recommend you make these cookies and eat the first batch of warm, right off the baking sheet. Don’t even bother getting out the cooling wrack, you won’t need it. Then make another batch and take them on the go or eat off a plate like a civilized human (a respected, yet in my opinion slightly overrated attribute as it involves dirtying a dish).

Cookies (makes about 12; embellished slightly from Top With Cinnamon)

1/2 c. nut/seed butter  (from the jar or homemade- as I mentioned, I used almond butter)

1/3 c. honey

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

1 3/4 c. muesli

1/4 c. dried cranberries

1/2 c. flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium pot over medium heat, melt together the nut butter and honey until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the cinnamon, cloves, ginger, salt and vanilla. Let the mixture cool for a few minutes, then beat in the egg. Add the muesli, cranberries, flour, and baking powder to the pot and stir until combined. Take heaping tablespoons of dough, roll into a ball and flatten slightly onto the baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough, spacing the cookies about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden brown underneath, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely, then store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

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Sides

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Orange Arugula Salad (with Shallot Vinaigrette)

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It’s beginning to look a lot like summer in Jersey! And with that comes picnics and other outdoor events (note: “events” often = dinner outside with my parents I am so #popular) Anyway, these aforementioned events often call for something green and healthy. Therefore I give you this salad! It’s is so simple, fresh, and delicious. The sweet oranges go perfectly with the peppery arugula and crunchy almonds. I may or may not have eaten the whole bowl of the pictured finished product. I dare you not to do the same.

 

Salad

2 bunches arugula, washed and torn

1/2 c. slivered almonds

1 large orange (or 3 clementines)

Slice the orange and add all ingredients to a large bowl.

 

Vinaigrette

1/4 c. balsamic vinegar

2 tsp. dijon mustard

1 shallot, mined

2/3 c. olive oil

salt and pepper

Add all ingredients to a mason jar and shake well. Pour over salad and toss!

 

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