Light side? Or…. dark side?!

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So, are you on the light side?

Or…

The dark side?

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Both are equally appealing…

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B(lond)rownies are kind of like the Force. They have a light side, and a dark side… and they undeniably hold the universe together. My universe, anyway, I can’t speak for yours…

But really, when brownies are holding your universe together, that universe is pretty freakin fab!

I was a little more inclined to the dark side today with these. Dense, fudgy and rich, with small chunks of chocolate chips.. mmm. Doesn’t get much better than that. Except when there’s peanut butter added to your chocolate, in which case the ridiculous deliciousness of these skyrockets into the stratosphere.

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But then there’s these.

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And if you’re feeling like maybe your inclinations push you to the light side (blue, green and purple are pretty awesome lightsaber colors), there’s these. Dense, chewy-crumbly, with an almost graham cracker-like taste. And chocolate chips. Of course.

Actually, much like the dichotomy in the Force (and the real universe..) these two complement each other startlingly well. The deep dark fudgy of one plays nicely against the lighter molassesy flavor of the other.

So go ahead. Indulge your dark side and your light side, and make a batch of both. You never know when the mood might strike, or when your universe might become ruled by baked goods in the best possible way….

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Deep Dark Peanut Butter Brownies

This recipe is from Minimalist Baker, here! It’s freaking fabulous so I didn’t change a thing (other than omitting the powdered sugar and subbing in maple). Makes about 12 good sized brownies, in an 8 by 8 pan. Vegan, gluten free, and refined sugar free!

  • 1 can (15 oz) of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp flaxseed meal+5 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 c coconut sugar
  • 1/2 c creamy salted peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

Lightly grease an 8 by 8 pan, and preheat the oven to 350.

In a food processor, combine flax meal and water and let sit for a few minutes. Add in beans, coconut oil, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and soda, vanilla, maple syrup, and coconut sugar. Pulse to combine, and let it run for a minute or two—you want this to be very smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips, and pour batter into the prepared pan. In a smaller bowl, stir together peanut butter and maple. Drop dollops of the peanut butter onto the tops of the brownies, and swirl it in with a knife. Top with extra chocolate chips (because, why not?!), and bake for just about 30 minutes. The center should have no jiggle and the edges will pull slightly away from the pan. Let cool almost completely before slicing, as they’re a little fragile when warm. Store in the fridge in an airtight container!

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Light Side Blondies

These are adapted only slightly from Worth Cooking, here! The recipe makes about 12-14 wedges if you make it in a 9″ round cake pan, as I did. E and I decided these reminded us slightly of graham crackers in the way they tasted, and they’re dense, chewy and vanilla-y. They’re gluten free with oat flour, as originally written, but I was out. Vegan and refined sugar free!

  • 1/4 c flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 c tapioca starch
  • 3/4 c coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 7 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp vanilla (Yes, you read that right!)
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

Lightly grease a 9″ round cake pan (or square, or whatever). Preheat the oven to 350.

In a smallish bowl, whisk together flaxseed, water, and molasses and let sit. In a larger bowl, whisk together whole wheat pastry flour, tapioca starch, coconut sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add in flax mix, followed by coconut oil and vanilla. Stir to combine, tossing in the chocolate chips as you go. Spread the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for just about 30 minutes. The top should be firm, and the blondies will pull away from the sides of the pan slightly. Let cool a bit before slicing. I have no leftovers… but if I had, I would have stored them in the fridge ;)

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Cookies n’stuff.

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Excuses? No, not really.

I don’t have much to say for myself.

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Except that it’s FRIDAY which means…

I missed cookie Thursday, so obviously we need to have cookie Friday. Duh.

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Besides that, I am officially UN spotty AND I have tonsillitis no longer. What what! Clearly cookies are a necessary celebration. Besides that, I riffed on the lentil cookies again and these were too unusual and good not to share. I got the idea since I wanted to figure out another gluten free cookie based on lentils that could be chocolate free for my choco-free friends (Jill, these are for you!).

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I promise to do something savory or NOT a cookie some point soon. I mean, ideally my next post but my food life is unpredictable so no guarantees.

In other random food news (such is my life: a string of food-events. Breakfast! Snack! Lunch! Snack! Dinner! Snack!), Mutti had a birthday last week, which meant deliciousness at Boulevard and high tea. Which also meant a food coma ensued. Sooo worth it. Apparenlty there are also going to be a thousand pictures in this post, sorry I’m not sorry I reeeeealllyyy like photography (or whatever it is that I do)!!

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Truth:

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Additionally, did you know that eggs+sautéed mushrooms and spinach+chopped walnuts+chopped dates+a small sprinkle of parmesan is unaccountably delicious? Because it is. Promise. Hey!! This is savory. Mostly… Do I get any points for that??

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But anyway. Cookies. The reason we’re here in the first place. Happy allergen free cookie Friday! Proof that everyone can (and should) enjoy a cookie (or five) :)

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Peanut Butter Lentil Cookies

Lightly sweet, as I prefer my ‘snacking’ cookies (as opposed to full on indulgent dessert). Full of protein and fiber, as well as a host of other minerals and nutrients and such (phosphorus, manganese, Vit B6), they’re also gluten free, vegan, and refined sugar free. I’ll snap to that. Recipe modified from the chocolate-chocolate chip lentil version from last week, here. Yield: 15 cookies (maybe would have been 16 if I could have stopped eating the dough, oops).

  • 1.5 c green lentils, cooked
  • 1/3 c organic salted peanut butter (mine was chunky)
  • 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 c dark chocolate chips**
  • 1/8 c raw cocoa nibs**

**replace with carob for chocolate-free cookie fabulousness!

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If needed, precook your lentils (1/2 c dry=1.5 c cooked).

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

These are beyond easy (thank goodness for that because excuse me but who wants to make complicated cookies when they want cookies NOW?! Yes, that’s what I thought): Toss cooked lentils into the food processor, and process until mostly smooth. Add in peanut butter, oats, maple, vanilla, coconut, and baking powder, and pulse until it’s all combined into a big, deliciously thick mess. Stir in chocolate chips and cocoa nibs (I just take out the blade and use the bowl of the food processor). Drop by the tablespoon-sized ball onto the prepared cookie sheet, and bake 12  minutes until the tops are just firm. Let cool for a few, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely. Or just devour them immediately; why bother taking up fridge space for storage?!

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Transitory Friday obsessions and other musings.

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Friday things!!

1. I made these cookies. Again. For the second time in a week.

2. I’m finally not sore. It took me like four days to recover from my last set of workouts Monday-Wednesday, but hey. It was worth it! (Even though that involved being in ridiculous pain trying to hand people things across the cash desk or reach my arms over my head, but whatever. Reaching and handing are clearly unnecessary activities… riiiight?).

3. It is unbelievable how many times people come into the store asking: “sooo… my friend’s aunt’s cousin had these pants…. annnd they were, umm… black… do you have them?” … Really?!

4. My car’s back shocks are currently making the noise of the van’s horn from the movie Little Miss Sunshine. You know, like MmmmEMEMMEMMRMMBmmmbbBMBMMBMMM (that is exactly what horns sound like, by the way) everyyyyy time I go over a bump. I think it’s time to get this looked at…

5. I find this hilarious. Courtesy of Memphis Minnie’s bbq… om nama porkaya hahahah!

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6. Errrmeerrgeerrrddd my peanut butter jar is half empty. Someone rescue me.

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7. Kombucha. With chia. I’m obsessed.

8. I also made grilled pineapple and black bean quesadillas, with avocado and mango chutney. They were a winner, so you get a picture. I’m too lazy to post what barely counts for a recipe, so just chuck some pineapple on a grill pan and call it a day.

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Anyway. Without further ado, you should make these cookies! They’re stupidly easy and full of nutrients, without requiring an extensive list of ingredients or weird kitchen appliances. One bowl, one spoon, and maybe your food processor. Easy money. Gluten free+ lower in sugar+ higher in protein+ whole grain+ antioxidants from the chia+ mental well being from overall deliciousness= happy human.

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Absurdly Simple Peanut Butter-Chia Cookies

Yet another pb cookie recipe, I know I know, but hey. You can NEVER have too many peanut butter cookie recipes in my book. PB+chia is totally a power couple! Especially easy ones you can whip up when you desperately need a cookie. The recipe is ever so slightly modified from Cooking Uncorked, here! I got 15 cookies out of mine–you could easily have more if you made them smaller (though why you would ever do a thing like that is beyond me).

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Lezzzz do eeet:

  • 1 c oat flour (I pulverize a cup of oats in my food processor until fine)*
  • 1/3 c rolled oats*
  • scant 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1.25 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 c organic chunky peanut butter
  • 6 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c chocolate chips

*gluten free if needed for a gf cookie

Preheat the oven to 350 and rustle up a cookie sheet.

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Process oats into flour, if needed. Combine dry ingredients… in a bowl. Chuck in everything else. Lick spoon and pb-measuring cup. Ensure that there is no smidge of peanut butter left uneaten (heaven forbid). Clean spoon. Use your well defined and nicely muscled biceps to stir everything together. Drop by heapingish tablespoons onto the cookie sheet. Lick spoon, lick bowl. Bake cookies for 7-8 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is! Let cool for a minute or two on the cookie sheet, then move to a cooling rack (or your mouth).

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Gluten Free Gremlins

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More gluten free goodness!

I revamped my FAVORITE cookies to be gluten free and vegan! (no really. These are actually my favorite peanut butter cookie. EVER. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve made them—Kira can attest, I swear: these are what probably got me through my thesis last year. For reals. AMAZING. You see? So many capital letters must mean they’re fabulous).

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AND I did it without needing to buy anything extra special or expensive. Always a priority for me, as OH HEY student loan payment that deducted yesterday. Pshhh. Student loans. RUDE. Doesn’t the government know I have more important things to be paying for now that I’m finished with school? Ugh. ANYWAY. These cookies are cost effective and tasty! And I get to fling chia seeds all over the kitchen when I make them (not saying that happened or anything, or course not). And then the little seedies get to take up residence in my stomach with my symbiotic gremlins, and make them happy for several hours. Which means that in turn I’m happy. Wait. Pause. If it’s a symbiotic relationship I have with my gremlins, shouldn’t I be getting something out of it besides stupidly loud noises from my midsection?

Anyway. Make these cookies! They will make your gremlins happy (Don’t try to deny it and pretend you don’t have them, I know you do) with their healthy fats (pb), whole grains (oats and buckwheat), and mini seed nutrient powerhouses (chia), and chocolate (because chocolate makes everything better). And if your tummy is gluten sensitive, hooray! Buckwheat is naturally gluten free (despite having wheat in the name), and has a great nutty flavor. These cookies aren’t super sweet as posted, so increase the sugar a bit if you like a sweeter cookie (I’d say up to a 1/2 c).

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Peanut Butter Buckwheat Cookies

The original recipe post is here, if you don’t have a sensitive tummy or are vegan. Yield: 15 decently sized cookies.

  • 1.5 c rolled oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill certified gluten free)
  • 1/2 c buckwheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp butter-type-stuff (I use soy free Earth Balance; whatever you like is fine), slightly melted
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 3/4 c organic peanut butter (mine has salt)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp flaxseed mixed with 6 tbsp water
  • 1/4ish c chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a smallish bowl, mix together flaxseed and water, and let sit for about 5 minutes to create a flax “egg”. In a bowl, whisk together oats, buckwheat, baking powder, and chia. In a larger bowl, beat butter and applesauce with the brown sugar until lighter in color and fluffyish. Beat in peanut butter, vanilla, and flaxseed mix until combined. Working in batches so you don’t kill your hand mixer, beat in the dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chippies. Drop by the heapingish spoonful onto the prepared cookie sheet—-I like to flatten and shape mine slightly, as they don’t spread (this also means you can get the whole batch on one cookie sheet, WIN). Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly golden.

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Mo’ Muffins! And some kitchen shenanigans.

this pottery is ADORBS

Mo’ muffins!

I know, I know, they’re just so fun to photograph. Besides… I also made this.

you see that fab green color? Nutrients, that’s what that is. (Read: KALE!)

And this.

I’m just visually taunting you, no big deal

But this needs improvement, so you don’t get a recipe. Yet. Let me make it awesome first, then I’ll share.

And I also did this. Yeah yeah, there’s a wee bit of Scottish in me (have you checked out my last name lately?!) and I like to be repppin’ at the Pleasanton Highland Games. Don’t be judgy.

A Bellendaine!! [The Scotts are out! War cry of Clan Scott, ahhhhh yeahhh] And yes, that IS the ancient-green Scott tartan.

Anyyyway. These muffins. I made quinoa muffins once before back in Salem for Kira and I, and MAN were they delicious. So I figured, why not again? Except this time, I had a plethora of dead bananas getting deader by the minute in the fridge, and they really needed to go to a nice home in muffins. And cake. Which is why the above happened (imperfectly… it was kind of an experiment). And really, I stopped to listen to my internal thought process when I was baking… and it’s ridiculous. Really ridiculous. Apparently I am a tad ADD when baking: “ooooh dead bananas, they should go in something but what? Tired of muffins. No bread it takes too long I want instant gratification OH! CAKE! A half recipe would bake faster Hmmm okay so it has eggs but I don’t want to use eggs today what about flax? nahhh OOOH vinegar goes with bananas and brings out their flavor, what about vinegar and baking soda? ooh but wait I want quinoa… okay so quinoa muffins and banana cake and kale pesto… that’s a weird combo but whatever” etc etc etc and on and on and on. Be thankful you aren’t inside my head.

mo’ muffins!

Peanut Butter Banana Quinoa Muffins

Makes 11 muffins. Very slightly adapted from Pardon the Dog Hair, here! The quinoa gives these muffins a slightly crunchy texture (in an extremely good way), and are full of all kinds of delicious things. Whole grains, protein, lower in sugar, and perfect for breakfast. Or snack. Or appeasing your gremlins at any time.

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Acquire:

  • 1 c quick oats (uncooked) (Mine was more like 3/4 c quick oats, 1/4 c rolled)
  • 3/4 c whole wheat flour
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 c milk bev (mine was 1% milk)
  • 1/3 c lowfat plain yogurt
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp-runneth-over (aka heaping) peanut buttahhh
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c cooked quinoa (about 1/3 c dry)
  • 1 buhhnahhnuhhh, mashed
  • a sprinkling of chocolate chippies

it seems like there should be a rainbow leading to the pot o’muffin..?

Preheat the oven to 375, and lightly grease muffin tins.

You know the drill, muffins are easyyyy: In a bowl, whisk together oats, flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda, and cinnamon. In a larger bowl, whisk applesauce, vanilla, honey, milk bev, yogurt, and brown sugar until sugar dissolves. Add in egg, quinoa, and banana and whisk until incorporated. Add dry into wet, sprinkle in chippies, and (avoiding overmixing) stir to combine. Fill tins about 2/3 full depending on muffin size preference… and bake for 15-16 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

up close and muffin-personal

“Is this a special occasion?” And other no-bake madness.

crust is pretty!

Apparently once as a toddler, I said to my mother (regarding an ordinary dinner): “Always eat your veggies first, except for special occasions”… pause… “Is this a special occasion?”. See? Apparently my brain is hardwired this way (it must have been all the tofu I was fed as a kinder). Veggies are delicious. But I also love dessert… so what better when dessert and good-for-me ingredients tango together and create fabulous babies?? Or rather, when I can sneak healthy-type things into otherwise deceptively delicious desserts. Precocious child that I was (ha) I apparently developed my philosophies waaaay early in life: always attempt to get away with eating dessert first! Life is short.

pieeeee!

Although I also was quoted saying (in response to my mother saying that veggies made you strong), “No mommy, sleep does that!”. Hehe. Right on both counts, I should think?

Anyway. Pie. The next in the series of it’s-too-hot-to-bake-much-less-live-ew ‘baking’, here’s pie! Thankfully it’s cooled off slightly around these parts in the last few days, so I’m thinking cookies or somesuch later today. Because (after getting up at 5) I washed my car, which desperately needed it, and now I’m tired and need sustenance. Preferably snacky cookies. Uh oh, look out. But back to pie. Who doesn’t love pie? Delicious. Snappy. Frosty. Melty.

Just goes to show, bananas are awesome in pretty much any form. Besides, I love that they give this pie body and make it acceptable for breakfast. Potassium win. Plus antioxidants from cocoa and healthy fats from cashews and peanuts. AND dark chocolate. Definitely breakfast material in my book. Or at least elevenses, that awkward hungry time between breakfast and lunch (otherwise known as second breakfast, if it involves a muffin in Ricardo’s class).

that crust could have used a minute less in the oven…

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Banana Pie

I gratefully borrowed the recipe from Back to Her Roots, here! I made a few small adaptations so that I didn’t need to make a run to the store, but if I made it again, I’d like to try peanuts in the crust (I used cashews, as it was what I had). I also made this in a deep-dish pie dish, so I made 1.5 times the filling so that it would be a little taller. In a normal dish, the amount below should be fine. Maybe next time some coconut needs to go somewhere in this? Food for thought…

//

Putz and acquire for the crust:

  • 1.25 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews*
  • 1/3 cup milk bev (I used 1% cow’s milk)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (canola is fine too)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling-tastic (second set of numbers is the amount for a deep dish pie):

  • 3 large, ripeish bananas (or 4.5)
  • 1/4 cup honey (optional, only add if bananas aren’t very sweet)**
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (1/4 + 1/8 c)
  • 1 cup light coconut milk (canned, please) (1.5 c)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (1.5 tsp)
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter (1/4 + 1/8 c)

Chopped salted peanuts and dark chocolate for the topping, plus ice cream if you’re feeling frisky.

*The original recipe called for equal amounts of unsalted peanuts, but I still had raw cashews left over. The crust was still really good (I love the addition of nuts), but I’d be curious to try it with peanuts.

**I used just about 1/4 c of honey in my total amount of filling (1.5 times the recipe above), since I wanted this to be a bit sweeter than I usually prefer (sharing is caring). I may leave it out next time, depending on banana sweetness.

hello, dark chocolate, I love you.

Preheat the oven to 375.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and cashews. Pulse until combined and nuts are finely ground. In a liquid measure, combine milk bev, egg yolk, vinegar, oil, and vanilla. With the food processor running, drizzle the liquids into the dry ingredients and run until the dough forms into a ball.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out until slightly larger than the diameter than your pie pan of choice. Transfer the crust to the ungreased pie pan and flute the edges. Use a forkish thing to poke steam vents in the bottom (no one wants soggy, puffy crust). Bake for 16-18 minutes, until lightly browned (mine would have been good at 16ish, my edges got a bit brown). Let cool completely before filling.

While the crust is cooling, make the filling! If you’re not like me and have a decent blender, use that. If you’re like me and your blender is utter crap (yes. it is. it struggles even with a basic milkshake, much less anything more solid. Blender fail), use your food processor again. Chuck in all the filling ingredients (bananas through peanut butter, above) and blend until smooth, scraping the sides if necessary. Once the crust is cool, pour in the filling and smooth it out. Top with chopped peanuts and chocolate. Carefully transfer to the freezer, and freeze for 2ish hours. Mine sat for longer, so I let it thaw on the counter for about 25 minutes before we served it, which worked perfectly.

fin.

Your daily dose of (nice) inbox snark

I know it’s slightly blurred, but I love this one!

I do apologize for the large gaps between posts (I know, I know, it’s my wittiness that you miss)…

I’ve been busy busy of late and have been eating lots of tasty, albeit fast and non-photogenic, food of late. Like tempeh, for instance. I recently discovered that I do, in fact, enjoy this fermented “textured protein”, in spite of a childhood derision for said food object. Like, refusing to ever eat it EVER again. I suppose I’m eating my words on this one… (but that being said, I seriously WILL NEVER EAT tofurky sausage. Like, EVER. Ranks up there with one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever brought near my face… so unless they radically change the formula, there will be no more  of that). So. Tempeh. Tasty, especially in peanut sauce… but definitely NOT conducive to appealing looking photos… at all. You can thank me later for sparing you the pictures.

cooookies!

SO.

Instead, you get COOKIES! Surprised? Yeah, I thought not. But whatever, these are good and a nice change up from my pb-chia-oat-coconut routine. Except that these do have pb and oats, but there is this crazy addition of this thing called COCOA POWDER! Woah. Really going out on a limb here, aren’t we? Besides, I really obviously have a thing for pb cookies… and I had a jar of that amazing coconut-pb spread begging to go into cookies… and it was less hot… and chocolate and pb are a match made in heaven… so there you go. Chocolate cookies. With pb. And oats. Good(ish) for your health, wonderful for your soul. Be happy. Indulge.

bowl ‘o cookies

These cookies are on the soft side (although they are supposed to be chewy… huh. I’m thinking the reduction in sugar is causing the lack of chewiness, so if you prefer a sweeter cookie, go with the amount in the original recipe), so if you like crunchy cookies (Miss Kira, I’m looking at you), leave these in quite a bit longer so they can harden into rusk-like hockey pucks (just kidding!!). They’re lightly sweet but nicely chocolatey. I used a chunky peanut butter which is kind of funny considering I HATE nuts in my baked goods… I kind of didn’t put two and two together that chunky nut butter = nuts in cookies… but for some reason these are acceptable and pass my nut test. Go figure…?

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Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies

I made a full recipe and got 19 cookies… the original says you can get 36, but I question what kind of weirdo wants cookie that small… pshhh. Ever so slightly adapted from Eating Well. I didn’t have pb chips—if so, I would have used them.

Lezzzz DO IT! Scrounge and procure:

  • 1 c chunky peanut butter (or coconut peanut butter if you’re cool like me)
  • 1/4 c canola oil (I may try half applesauce at some point for kicks)
  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp plain yogurt (mine was nonfat)
  • 3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 c rolled oats (or quick oats)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4ish cup of chocolate chippies

failed attempts at cookie henge…

Heat the oven to 350, and line two-ish baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, oats, baking soda, and salt. In a larger bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together peanut butter, oil, and sugars until blended. Beat in eggs, vanilla, and yogurt until just combined. Stir in dry ingredients (the dough is on the sticky side) and chocolate chips. Drop by respectable spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets, flattening slightly with your hand or the bottom of a glass (turbinado sugar on the flattened tops is nice, but I was out). Bake for 8-10 minutes, being careful not to over bake. Mine went for about 10, but I was testing the convection settings on my oven, and mine probably could have gone a bit less. Let cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

for some reason I really like this one… It makes the bowl look luminous!

Workout. Get pumped! Eat. Love. Repeat as necessary!

semi-leaning tower of quinoa bars!

Happy first day of spring to you too, Salem. Thanks for the nice weather SNOW. What?! Like, actual snow this time too. About three inches of fluff on my car this morning… what is this?! Thankfully today was Workout Wednesday (ie the only reason I go to campus is to work out), or else I might have skipped class, hehe. (As Kira pointed out, at least I have my priorities straight. Miss a workout with Christine? NEVER! ha. But hey! Justified, as pilates/fitness instructor is my career of choice) Besides, I had to go give Christine her quinoa-banana bars. Yes. I am the kind of person who bakes treats for her fitness instructor. We have the same workout addiction after all: Must…work… out! And buy new active wear! Healthy snacks in exchange for a Pilates-Core body butt kicking? I think it’s a fair trade ;)

So now I’m nicely sore and contemplating going back out into the wet for work. And wet indeed it is now… we’re getting semi-frozen rain-ish-slush-gross now, because, well, why not? I have holes in my uggs, that’s why not. My heels got suspiciously damp when I was wearing them this morning… seriously, I had all these grand plans to take my winter-wear home over spring break to leave it, so that  I had less to take home in May. Fat chance. Watch, I’ll leave it all here and it’s be sunny and glorious the rest of April. Hmm. Maybe this is logical… maybe I should take it home?! Oh weather gods, how you love to mess with us here in Salem. I like snow, don’t get me wrong, but only when I can ski on it, pleaseandthankyou.

there's a rogue one!

Anywayyyy. Today I have bars for you! Healthy snack-type bars, like a cross between banana bread and a granola bar. They’re packed with all kinds of goodness: whole grains, peanut butter (YAY!), quinoa, flaxseed, bananaaaaas, and cardamom. Mmm. Can’t go wrong with the banana-cardamom combo, it’s fab. These bars also happen to be vegan, just for funzies! They’re perfect with a little (more) nut butter swiped on top (uh-oh, I can see the bottom of my peanut butter jar, mayday mayday!) and extra bananas :)

oh hey, up close!

Peanut Butter-Banana Quinoa Bars

Recipe only slightly adapted from here! Makes… 8 ish? I made it in a pie dish, and cut rectangles out of the center. Wedges would have been good too.

  • 2/3 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 c chunky peanut butter
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/3 c cooked quinoa*
  • 1/4 c wheat germ
  • 1.5 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 3 tbsp turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 c milk bev (soymilk for me)
  • sprinkling of dark chocolate chippies!

barsssss

*I cooked 1/3 c dry quinoa in 2/3 c water, yielding enough for the bars + dinner leftovers :)

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a dish of choice. I made mine in a 9″ pie dish, since a square 9″ seemed too big.

In a smallish bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and baking powder. In a largeish bowl, mash up the banana with a fork, and then vigorously stir in peanut butter until combined. (Added bonus: bicep workout!) Add in quinoa, wheat germ, flaxseed, sugar, vinegar, and soymilk, and stir to combine. Toss flour mixture and chocolate chips into the wet ingredients, and mix together until combined. Spatula-ize the batter into your prepared pan (Yes, spatula is a verb now), and bake for just about 30 minutes. A tester should come out clean when done.

Workout, feel pumped, eat, love! Repeat as necessary.

this may or may not be how my peanut butter disappears so fast...

I think I may have chia seeds stuck to the bottoms of my feet…

playing with my food again...

okay. I have to admit I was skeptical at first.

I mean, really.

When I first bit into one, they were borderline CRUNCHY. And we know how I feel about that. Hippy-granola crunchy birkenstocks with socks and legwarmers? Totally acceptable (acceptable to the point of being part of my normal wardrobe. plus yoga pants, naturally). Crunchy cookies? SO NOT.

But.

Then.

magical floating cookie! (is a tad overexposed on the top bit, oops)

I took a another bite. And the chocolate was warm and melty and gooey (Let’s be real, warm, melty gooey chocolate on ANYTHING makes whatever it is that much better) , and the honey-peanut butter duo tangoed warmly over my palate, reminding me of Vati’s pb/honey sammies (Just thought I’d practice my florid writing style). Warm out of the oven, these have excellent flavor.  Definitely acceptable. Not my favorites, by far, but good, in their own kind of oat-y, crunchytastic way. Besides, there’s always room for improvement. It might have helped a bit had I not burned the bottoms (not exactly sure how this happened) and flung chia seeds and oats all over the kitchen. Spastic baking? Check. Sorry, Kira… there may in fact be chia seeds stuck to your feet tomorrow. A maybe a stray oat or two. Oops.

On another side note, I think peanut butter cookies might be my thesising fuel of choice. It seems to be working… 1/3 of the way there, with 28 pages deemed excellent by my advisor, wheee! What a perfect excuse to eat more cookies… not as if I actually needed one. But really. The amount of chia-peanut butter-oat-coconut cookies I’ve consumed over the last few weeks/months is rather staggeringly impressive!

cookie cantilevering... someone's gettin' fancy!

Oaty Peanut Butter and Honey Cookies (With CHIA!)

Of COURSE they have chia seeds in them! Because chia is fab. Allll the time…in EVERYTHING! Ha.

Adapted from Visions of Sugar Plum, here! I got 11 cookies. Because I made them MASSIVE. I don’t do things by halves, clearly. What fun is that?!

Scrounge:

  • 1 1/3 c rolled oats
  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1.5 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp Earth Balance
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/3 c peanut butter (chunky natural, as per usual)
  • somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c chocolate chippies

cookies viewed through the mystical swirls of the tupperware... which is no longer empty!

Preheat the oven to 375 (perhaps 350 would have yielded slightly less-burnt-bottomed cookies? Something to try) and lightly grease your cookie sheet.

In a smallish bowl, stir together flour, soda, chia seeds, and oats*. In a larger bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together Earth Balance, applesauce, honey, peanut butter, and brown sugar until smooth. Add in egg and vanilla. When combined, beat in flour mix (if it flies around too much, stirring is perfectly acceptable) and chocolate chippies (*I stirred in oats last and had trouble getting them all to incorporate—I would beat or stir them in with the flour next time).

Form cookies of desired size and plop down onto baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden on the tops. I might try reducing oven temp or baking them for slightly less time. Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, and then move to a wire rack for consumption  ahem I mean further cooling.

uhoh. Chocolate evidence.

Once again, I dream of quinoa!

innovative picture taking!

I did warn you…

But nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Nor were you expecting this particular form of quinoa, I’m sure. Although knowing me… you probably shouldn’t be surprised.

So guess what?!

I win!

I found a way to combine QUINOA and PEANUT BUTTER! Just like I told you I would. And guess what else? This also includes CHIA SEEDS! Wheeee! All of my favorite foods, all rolled into one. All we need is goat cheese (ew. no thanks, not in this case. See? I told you I was fickle… goat cheese can’t expect me to be its one and only, there are too many other distractions!). I’ll give you one guess what form this deliciousness comes in…

COOKIES!

Yep.

COOKIEEEEESS! Of course. Lately, would you expect anything else? I thought not. And besides, I was getting concerned about my peanut butter consumption for this week (that jar was looking a tad full, heaven forbid I shouldn’t meet my weekly jar quota)… but I just solved that problem. I should have no problem getting though the rest of this jar by Sunday, when we shop again, since I’m apparently a peanut butter eating machine. I don’t even think I ate this much of it as a kid! Whatever. It’s good for me :) As are these cookies! They’re whole grain, from the oats and quinoa, and they have the added benefits of chia seeds. Plus, they have healthy fats from peanut butter, and unrefined sugar (they’re sweetened with honey). What’s not to love? The tupperware is happy to be full once again.

I'm officially the cookie monster

Peanut Butter Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 12 decent sized cookies. Adapted from here! They’re definitely interesting cookies: not your typical cookie, since you can totally tell you’re eating quinoa. If it doesn’t bother you, go for it! I think they’re good for a change, but the pb-chia ones are still my reigning favorites :]

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper.

Rummage:

  • 2 cups of cooked quinoa (1/2 c dry, cooked with 1 c water)
  • 1/2 c natural peanut butter (I used chunky, of course!)
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1/4 c chia seeds
  • scant 1/2 tsp salt (my peanut butter is salted already)
  • 1/3 c chocolate chippies

floating coookie?!

Stir together quinoa, peanut butter, and honey in a largeish bowl. Once combined, add in oats, salt, and chia seeds, and mix to combine… getting a bicep workout in the meantime. Once combined, toss in your chocolate chippies. Form into balls and drop onto the cookie sheet. I find that with peanut butter cookies, I have to push the chocolate chips in later, since they don’t want to stick to the dough. Flatten a bit, before they go into the oven. Bake for 18-20 minutes (mine were done at 18), or until golden brown.

These are particularly good when grooving to Paul Simon…