Tag Archives: food

Almond butter for my nut-butter habit

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No, dear blog! I haven’t forgotten about you! Unfortunately, junior year has been difficult. More than difficult. There’s just so much going on! Classes are hard (although, I enjoy them), winter rowing has started (UGH. It’s all indoor conditioning. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love rowing and in a way, I love the winter season because you get so much faster. But it is very, very physically and mentally demanding) and of course, violin every morning before school! In addition to that, I recently got my driver’s license, which is an awesome thing, but practicing took up so much time. So fair to say, stress has been on my plate. Ironically, I just had to create a Public Service Announcement for my health class about stress. The irony.

With stress comes those sudden urges to make food. Seriously. I mean, I’m not making cupcakes every night or cookies every weekend. But, once in a while, if I have a few minutes, I’ll make something simple and sweet that satisfies that cooking craving.

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So one night, I noticed two things. 1. I had a lot of almonds. 2. I was out of peanut butter.

The rest is history.

5 great benefits to homemade nut butter-

  1. it’s fun
  2. it’s simple
  3. you can add in whatever you want (sweet or savory? Honey or salt? Cinnamon or…more salt?)
  4. it’s cheaper (get a thing of almonds from Trader Joe’s for about $5 vs store- bought almond butter for $7-$10_
  5. It’s healthier. Many store bought nut butters have oils added in. In other words, it isn’t made from JUST nuts. For example, a certain huge peanut butter producer also includes sugar and palm oil in their product. Not that this is bad, it’s just unnecessary and not all that great for you. At home, you can choose whether to include some oil or to just blend the nuts and eat.

You get the idea.

So without further ado, here is the simple approach to making homemade almond butter.

Need:

  • 2 cups almonds
  • cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 tbs veggie oil (also optional. I didn’t use any because I like raw almond butter, but for those who want a smoother consistency, adjust amount of oil to your liking.)

Directions:

Pour everything into a food processor and let it go. It’ll take a while for it to get to it’s true butter consistency. First, a powder will form. Then it’ll get crumbly. Then a ball will form. That ball will stay together for a while, but it’ll eventually break up. It’ll start to stick to the sides, becoming more and more buttery. Don’t stop it yet! Don’t fret, you’ll know when it’s done. It’ll be that creamy consistency that you love.

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*Note: Make sure to scrape the sides down every once in a while so that no crumbs are left out.

Scrape into a jar and enjoy on toast or in muffins or plain with a spoon (that’s my favorite way). This recipe makes about 1.5 cups of almond butter (I think? maybe 1.25). But anyways, I don’t have exact nutrition facts, but they are around 180 per 2 tablespoons and 7 grams of protein if this is made with no oil. Enjoy!

 

Cheesy Zucchini and Red Onion Flatbread from Bon Appètit

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I love cheese. So much. Brie, cheddar, ricotta, parmesan…the only cheese I don’t really love is bleu or gorgonzola. I mean, they’re alright. But anyways.

I also love bread. Carbs. Can’t get enough of em. Which is saddening, since I never have bread/pasta.

But tonight, I had both. IN ONE FOOD. It was glorious. So I shall share my discovery with you and you will bask in the glory of this cheesy bread.

I found this recipe on yummly.com, which found it on epicurious, which found it in Bon Appètit’s August 2006 edition. I did a couple of modifications 🙂

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 10-ounce tube refrigerated pizza dough
  • 3/4 cup garlic-and-herb cheese spread (such as Alouette), divided
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
  • 1 small red onion, about 1/4 cup finely chopped
  • 1 7- to 8-inch-long zucchini (yellow or green), chopped up pretty finely.
  • Olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper; butter the paper. Unroll dough onto parchment. Or if its just a hunk of dough, stretch it out so it’s an 8×8′ squareish shape. Spread half of herb cheese over 1 long half of dough, leaving 1/2-inch plain border. Sprinkle with half of Parmesan and 2 tablespoons parsley. Using parchment as aid, fold plain half of dough over filled half , but don’t seal the edges. Spread remaining herb cheese over top; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.  Sprinkle the veggies over the top of the bread; in lines or layers or however you please. The original recipe calls for the veggies to be sliced up in circles, but I think it’s way easier and quicker to just chop it all up and throw it on. Presentation is nice, but this is just as pretty. Sprinkle vegetables with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake bread until puffed and deep brown at edges, about 24 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley.

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Here’s the original recipe from Epicurious! http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Cheesy-Zucchini-and-Red-Onion-Flatbread-235578#ixzz2jXua1Ang

Hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

Chocolate Chocolate Cake

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“All I want is chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and vanilla ice cream!!!”

yada yada yada. This is what I’ve been hearing from my mother since her birthday on October 17th.

And unfortunately, I have not had time to make one! This is due to the fact that I have had a regatta every single weekend in October. I haven’t had a second to breath (or blog)!

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Luckily, things are now calming down as the fall season is coming to a close. Unfortunately, that means winter season is beginning…but that’s getting ahead of myself! Today, I had time to make my mom a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. The best part is, is that this cake is stupid easy to make. You literally throw all the ingredients in a bowl, bake it, and boom it’s done. This cake is extremely moist; it soaks in all of the frosting and ice cream. It’s the perfect cake for birthdays or dinner parties because it tastes complicated, but it’s so simple!

Cake recipe from Hershey’s Chocolate Cookbook

Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup veggie oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Directions!

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grase and flour two 9 inch round baking pans.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in LARGE bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed of mixer for about 2 minutes. Stir in the boiling water. The batter will be really thin, but don’t worry! It’s supposed to be like that. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick/knife inserted into the centers comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in pans, then flip onto wire racks. COOL COMPLETELY BEFORE FROSTING.

Chocolate buttercream frosting- from Magnolia’s Bakery (and found on Baking Up Chaos blog- link below!)

Ingredients:

  •  1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  •  2 tablespoons milk
  • 9 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, more or less. Depends on how thick/sweet you want your frosting

Directions-

First, melt the chocolate by assembling a double boiler. Heat on low until chocolate is smooth and creamy; about 8 minutes. Keep an eye on it so the chocolate doesn’t burn! In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the milk, beat until well incorporated. Add the chocolate (MAKE SURE IT IS ROOM TEMPERATURE. Otherwise it will melt the butter and you will have chocolate buttercream soup!), mix until chocolate is evenly distributed. Add vanilla extract and beat. Then, add the confectioners sugar- GRADUALLY. I used about 2 cups, but it honestly varies with desired consistency. Once all of the sugar is mixed in, assemble the cake and add vanilla ice cream and you have yourself dinner for the next three days!

Here’s the link to “Baking Up Chaos”

http://bakingupchaos.blogspot.com/2008/11/magnolia-bakerys-chocolate-buttercream.html

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Enjoy!

Healthy Carrot-Pumpkin Cookies

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Here’s a little sneak peak to how my evening went:

1. food gathering (grocery shopping)

2. failed attempt to make carrot chips (dang it)

3. tried to do a portion of SAT practice test

4. got bored of practice test.

5. Made cookies while watching the Broncos v. Giants game (which was awesome; although the Broncos really need to figure out how to not get a penalty on every freaking defense play. Like, seriously?)

The best part of my night by far was making these cookies. Why, you ask? Well. My mom got a whole freaking bag of carrots for that carrot cake last week. We were left with so. Many. Carrots. I took the challenge to use these carrots. And it turned out very, very well.

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I literally threw a bunch of stuff into a bowl, mixed it up, and it worked out REALLY WELL. Like, I was surprised. But my goodness, they are delicious! .The moisture from the shredded carrot and the pumpkin puree works really well with the flour and oats; they are also naturally sweetened with honey, maple syrup, and dates! These cookies are perfect for snacking or a healthier dessert.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 cups shredded carrot (about 2 1/2 large carrots, 8ish inches in length)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree, NOT pie filling
  • 1/4 cup honey*
  • 1/12 cup maple syrup*
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup chopped dates
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl and mix. Set aside.

Mix the carrot, pumpkin puree, honey, maple syrup, oats, dates, and butter with a hand mixer until thoroughly combined. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating until well incorporated.

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Lightly butter baking pans and drop tablespoon sized cookies onto the sheets. Flatted slightly with your fingers, but not too much. Just so that they are not huge clumps. On a 11x18ish sheet I was able to fit 25 cookies. Bake about 10 minutes, or until slightly firm in the middle. These are NOT hard, granola-y cookie. These are a soft, moist cookie. Be careful on the baking time.

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Enjoy!

Pumpkin Butter aka The Best Thing Ever

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I love fall. The morning air is brisk and fresh, you wake up curled in blankets because of the cold air outside, and the leaves are changing into the best colors.

And you start transitioning from summer to winter food. And sorry, but winter food is way better. It’s not that I don’t like BBQ or ice cream or things like that. I do. I love it all. But fall brings a bunch of warm, cozy, ancient recipes back into the kitchen. Osso Buco. Puttanesca. Paprikash. Green chili. Dilled veal. Just to name a few of my family’s favorites.

A lot of specific foods are also more acceptable in fall/winter: sweet potatos, pasta, baked veggies, and…..

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PUMPKIN. The best food ever. You will see me posted lots of pumpkin recipes in the fall; I shall bask in it’s glory and awesomeness while it is still socially acceptable to use it. So if you don’t like pumpkin, I am sorry. Learn to love it. Because it range from being super healthy (like this recipe) or just terrible-artery clogging-awesomeness (pumpkin pie, another thing that is just…ugh. I can’t. I want it. Wahhhhh).

But anyways going on. This recipe is from skinnytaste.com. It was the best decision I made all week. It tastes just like pumpkin pie. I am not kidding. It doesn’t have any weird ingredients in it or whatever; it’s all good stuff going in to produce probably the best type of butter on the face of the planet. It’s super low calorie, and super easy. And you can use it a number of ways! You can: put it on toast, use it as a pie filling, eat a spoonful plain, spread it on a cookie or ice cream or froyo, stir it into oatmeal, eat a jarful plain….For all the pumpkin lovers, give this a go!

Note: I actually halved this recipe from the original. The original recipe makes a whopping 3 3/4 cups. I can’t eat that much pumpkin that quickly without fearing it’ll go to waste. Thus, I decided to avoid the situation.

This all is from skinnytaste.com! You will find an endless supply of recipes for every single part of the day that are healthy and delicious! Gina Homolka, the author of many books and of the website does an awesome job of marrying pure ingredients and favorite foods into healthy recipes. Go check that website out.

Ingredients:

  • 1 15 oz can of pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling!
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup apple cider or juice
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (to taste)

Directions:
Combine pureed pumpkin, vanilla, apple juice, spices, cinnamon sticks and sugar in a large saucepan; stir well. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 – 40 minutes or until thickened. Stir frequently. Adjust spices to your taste. Makes a little more than 1 1/2 cups.

1 serving (2 tbs) =32 calories

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Enjoy! Here’s the link to the original recipe

http://www.skinnytaste.com/2010/10/pumpkin-butter.html

Classic Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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I just ate my weight in carrot cake.

Oh my gosh.

My stomach is about to burst. But it’s all worth it. This carrot cake is so amazing; it’s just a traditional fall cake everyone should learn how to make. There’s something about the secret sweetness of carrots, crunchiness of toasted pecans, and the creamy tartness of cream cheese that just makes it a flawless trio. The trick with carrot cake is finding the right one. Now I don’t know if I just haven’t had carrot cake for a long time or what but this carrot cake SPEAKS TO ME. It says “eat me, the calories are all worth it. eat me. eat me. eat me.” then I do and I feel bad so then I just eat my feelings in more carrot cake.

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You see this vicious cycle.

But you still have to make this cake.

It is from Paula Deen’s Southern Kitchen, which ensures it’s as traditional you can get. And- it’s EASY. It doesn’t take long to put together, bake, and assemble at ALL. It’s the perfect dish to kick off fall.

Ingredients-

  • Butter, for pans
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, optional

Frosting:

  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 stick salted butter, room temperature
  • 12 oz powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) round pans; Line bottom of the pans with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add eggs and vegetable oil. Using a hand mixer, blend until combined. Add carrots and pecans, if using.
Pour into pans. Bake for approximately 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pans, place on waxed paper and allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:
Add all ingredients  into a medium bowl and beat until fluffy using a hand mixer. Spread frosting on top of each cake layer. Stack the cakes on a serving plate and serve.

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Enjoy! Here’s the link for the original recipe below VVV

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/grandma-hiers-carrot-cake-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

Mean-Green Smoothie

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I think my mind is subconsciously trying to tell me green is my favorite color. I have been eating so many green things.

Pistachio nut butter

Guacamole

Kale

And now this new smoothie I created! I mean I’m sure people blend these fruits all the time, but these proportions I used seemed to work 😉 plus, it’s super huge (liiiike 25-28 ounces?) but low calorie. Which is nice. I like low calorie food not for the fact that I am not eating as much; I like low calorie food because it means I can eat MORE food. For example- would you rather have half a cup of ice cream, or a whole cup of froyo when they taste exactly the same? I have made my point.

ANYWAYS this smoothie is also very high in potassium, protein, and vitamin A. These benefits will keep you properly hydrated, energized, and boosts your immune system.

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 2/3 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 2 cups raw baby spinach
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ice cubes: optional. I actually forgot about them hahaha. But honestly, it really didn’t need them. It was very creamy, but pretty thin for a smoothie. If you want a thicker, colder smoothie, add about 6 ice cubes.

Procedure: Blend until desired consistency is reached. I did the “mix” version of my blender, the did “liquify” for about 30 seconds.

Enjoy! Nutrition Stats below

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