Breakfasts, Drinks

151

Energizer Smoothie II [veggie edition]
(V, GF)

 

I used to hate to exercise. I’ve always been the person who picked the couch over the treadmill (and with fairly good reason, treadmills kinda suck); I was not a member of any sports teams following the age of nine, after an unfortunate season with the town softball league. Throughout high school and most of college I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the gym: I tried cardio kickboxing, the elliptical machine, the rowing machine, Pilates, “boot camp”, even a treacherous yoga endeavor where I managed to accidentally give myself some kind of semi-serious wrist injury that still hurts four years later. Each of these activities ended somehow: I was bored with staring at red numbers on a screen, it got too cold to walk to the gym, the list goes on.

Something changed this past summer. There was a consistent gnawing in the pit of my stomach. Something that made me feel wobbly and frustrated and disorganized. I’m sure a lot of people are familiar with this feeling and they combat it in various ways. I’ve heard driving can really help, but I while I do technically possess a driver’s license, I’m not what one would call “experienced” behind the wheel. I think the last time I parallel parked was my driving exam; I have yet to drive on a highway outside of rural Vermont. This is a long way of saying that this summer I started running. It was probably one of the best things I’ve done in a while, amid a whole host of unhealthy choices I pretty much consistently make. In all honesty, running is hard. Usually I forget how recently I’ve eaten and start the first ten minutes or so of the run with weird stomach cramps. I definitely broke my toe at one point in July (I honestly don’t know how, I should really wear shoes in my house) and didn’t realize, then ran on it for a while. But other than these tiny issues, running actually feels great. Maybe it’s the wind on my face or the music or the control I feel while speeding (a relative term) down the street.

On Thanksgiving morning I ran an 8K (because apparently runners live in Canada and still use metric?) and I finished the race. It wasn’t about seeing how fast I could go, or to get a big “congratulations!!!” from anyone who heard what I’d done that morning. It was just a thing I did. To see if I could do it. It was exhilarating, and in that moment jumping over the finish line I felt really happy. A huge part of my world kind of crumbled after that day, but that’s not what this post is about. This post is about feeling good from a healthy activity. Feeling good from something I do 100% for and with myself, which is actually a tall goddamn order. Can you count more than five things you do for and with yourself that are completely productive? I’m not sure I can. Regardless, every time I finish a run, I kick off my shoes, peel off the six shirts I have to wear to be outside without risking hypothermia -New England in December, anyone?- and make this green smoothie. Whether you’re a runner or a Netflix-watcher or a math major, I guarentee it will make your brain feel good. But if you’re really not into green things, try my first energizer bunny smoothie .

Smoothie (serves 1)

3/4 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or whatever milk you like)

1/4 c pineapple coconut water (I use this)

1 medium frozen banana

1/2 c frozen chopped spinach or 3 spinach ice cubes*

2 tsp date cream, agave syrup, maple syrup, or honey

1/2 tsp ground ginger

If using a normal blender, treat it gently by first blending milk, coconut water, and banana until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and liquify. If you have a Vitamix or Magic Bullet (lucky you) just throw everything in all at once!

* How to make spinach ice cubes: wash a large container of fresh spinach, roughly chop, then place in a blender and liquify. Pour mixture into ice cube trays and freeze completely. Store in a freezer bag pretty much indefinitely.

 

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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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Breakfasts, Desserts, Snacks

seventy two

Smitten Kitchen Granola

Granola is so rad. I find it super intriguing when something essentially has the same ingredients but nearly always tastes different, depending on where you find it. Haven’t you noticed that about granola, that no two are alike? It’s like they’re snowflakes or something (idk I’m tired). If you’re ever looking for a good one and you also happen to live near the Pioneer Valley, one of my favorite granolas can be found at Hungry Ghost Bread in Northampton, MA. I recently became the proud owner of the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook (late, I know..) and it is BEAUTIFUL. The writer of Smitten Kitchen, (a wonderful food blog if there ever was one) Deb Perelman, is on of my idols. She took the humble food blog and made it into a real business. She clearly is also a genius, because I don’t know how it’s humanly possible for one lady to create so many unbelievable recipes. She must be a sorceress. A food-specific-sorceress. Anywho, I wanted to make a quick recipe the other afternoon, so thus came the granola. I took a little creative license and tweaked the recipe a bit, but the bones and muscles of this one are all Deb’s (let’s say I added the fat. Like, for the sake of the body metaphor. Cause this is granola, obviously there’s not that much real fat in it. Lol food jokes. Okay sry I’ll stop). Enjoy! Looking for another granola recipe, this time in bar form? Try my Everything-Inside-Your-Cabinet Granola Bars!

Granola

– 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

– 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

– 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

– 1/8 cup ground flaxseed

– 2 tbsp. olive oil

– 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

– 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

– 1/2-2/3 cup maple syrup

– 1 egg white

– 1 cup dried cranberries (or any other dried fruit)

– 1/2 cup dried cherries (or any other dried fruit)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine all ingredients except for egg white and dried fruit. Toss to combine. Whisk the egg white until frothy and stir into the granola mixture, but don’t go crazy mixing it in completely- the pockets of egg white make that great granola-y cluster effect! Spread mixture onto baking sheet in a single layer. Bake 45-55 minutes, stopping halfway through to turn over sections of the granola, being careful not to break it up too much. When the granola is golden brown and dry to touch, transfer the pan to a cooling wrack. Once it’s completely cool, break up into any sized pieces your heart desires and add the dried fruit. (Keeps at room temperature in an airtight container for 2 weeks, longer in the freezer if you wanna make a bunch and save it for winter.) Note: if you can’t tell from the million pictures I took of this batch, I hadn’t figured out the egg white trick, so this granola is not clustery. But it was still delicious, so don’t fret if this happens to you!
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Sides, Snacks

fifty five

Baked Potato Chips

I love potato chips. Put a bag of them in front of me and I assure you they will be gone in about eight minutes. Maybe it’s the satisfying sound the crunch makes or maybe it’s just that wondrous combination of salt and fat; there’s just nothing wrong with it (if it’s wrong, I never want to be right again). So I decided I’d try my hand at them myself. First, I tried frying them in a big pasta pot full o’oil. Were they yummy? Yes. Were they also incredibly greasy and stressful and did they result in an oil burn on my hand? YES. So no, that’s not the method I’ll be sharing today. I decided baking was the way to go. And I was right. While you don’t end with that special taste that only comes from packaged food, you get a beautiful light and crispy product, kinda somewhere in between a fry and a packaged chip. I think they were slammin’, but make them yourself and you be the judge!

Chips

– 4 large baking potatoes

– 4 tbsp. olive oil

– 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

– kosher salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and line a few baking trays with parchment paper. Slice the potatoes very thinly on a slight diagonal with a mandoline slicer or butcher knife. Place them between two paper towels and pat dry. Lay the potatoes on the pan (it’s okay if they overlap a bit) and with a pastry bush, bush the oil all over them. Sprinkle on the garlic powder, then salt and pepper to taste. Bake about 7 minutes, then shake them around, flipping over if need be, then bake for an additional 3-6 minutes depending on how crispy you like. It’s very important to check them every minute after the original 7 to avoid burning! Cool on a wire rack to get that cool ripple-y potato chip shape (forgot to do this is the first batch that I photographed!). They go great with ketchup, honey mustard, hot sauce, tartar sauce, (essentially everything), but I served them with a barbecue dipping sauce for a little BBQ chip with a twist!

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Breakfasts, Desserts, Snacks

thirty three

Everything-Inside-Your-Cabinet Granola Bars

Hey, who remembers when I made my first post and said one of my goals on this blog was to make healthy recipes? Anyone? Hands?

Considering the fact that I’m fairly certain at least 86% of the stuff I post here is either cake and/or chocolatesugardessert-related (mmmmm health), I’m fairly certain that goal went out the window along with “I will finish all my work before drinking wine” and “eight hours of sleep a night is perfectly achievable”. Well we can rest easy now, as I’m adding another healthy recipe to the bunch! These little bars are like eating loaded oatmeal cookies, but you can have them for BREAKFAST. Who’s excited??! Besides me, if you couldn’t tell from the excessive capitalization and punctuation..

I dubbed these the “everything inside your cabinet” bar because you really can use basically anything. Cashews, pistachios, dried apricot, candied ginger- knock yourself out! However, once you add mini-marshmallows, caramel, chocolate chips, and the like (now I’m considering a second batch) I’m very sorry, but you may want to go ahead and crumble it over ice cream, ’cause that is just no longer a granola bar. Come to think of it, that actually really does sound delish. To the kitchen! (#help?)

Bars

– 3/4 cup honey

– 3/4 cup canola oil

– 2 tbsp mollasses

– 3 cups rolled oats (don’t use instant, otherwise you’ll just have nutty oatmeal..)

– 1/4 cup sunflower seeds

– 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds

– 1/4 cup chopped pecans

– 3/4 cup sliced almonds

– 1 cup ground flaxseed or wheat bran

– 2/3 cup dried cranberries or raisins (or both! live a little!)

– 1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a shallow rimmed baking sheet (if you want crunchy bars) OR a 9×13 inch glass baking pan (if you want chewy bars) with parchment paper. Mix oil, honey, and mollasses together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour the liquid over the dry and combine well (use your hands if you want to get into the granola spirit, otherwise a flat wooden spoon works just fine). Pour and press the mixture into your desired pan and bake for 12-15 minutes or until your desired texture. Let cool completely and then cut into squares or crumble into yogurt! (Heads up, if you’re making chewy bars, stick the whole tray in the fridge for a few hours after it’s cooled to help the bars bind together further before cutting them!)

(sorry I don’t have any pics of them in bar form…..I have hungry people living around me)

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Just a little mollasses shot for anyone interested in my superb photo takin’ abilities..

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aaaaand the now obligatory Instagram

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Breakfasts, Desserts, Snacks

two

Broiled Grapefruit

My first official recipe is a quick one: it’ll take ten minutes at most, maybe five if you’re really speedy. In the 50s, broiled grapefruit was a breakfast staple, but fruit covered in sugar and garnished with a maraschino cherry isn’t exactly the healthiest option. So for this recipe I used Agave nectar instead of brown sugar. This makes for the easiest breakfast, snack, or even dessert!

– 1 large grapefruit

– drizzle of Agave nectar

– sprinkle of raw sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to broil (500 degrees F). Slice grapefruit in half and place on a metal baking sheet. Drizzle Agave nectar over the fruit and if using, the raw sugar. Place in oven and bake for 3-4 minutes.

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