Some desserts are actually breakfast in disguise

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It’s September, my favorite month ever! I love fall. So even though the days start getting shorter again and that’s kind of a bummer, I do love the lead up to fall…. and boots! and scarves! and apples! and pumpkin!

But… before we get there! It’s still arguably berry season, and I see no reason to end that prematurely unless I have to (which I don’t!). Which means… raspberries! Which pair oh so well with hazelnuts and dark chocolate. And then…

BREAD.

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Because, sometimes you just need some bread pudding. Besides that, I am spoiled to live near Acme Baking, which makes some of the best bread around: all the more reason to get on the bread pudding train. Furthermore, bread pudding is one of those glorious things that only gets better and better the longer it sits, which means breakfast this morning was FANTASTIC. Eggs & cholula + kale + bread pudding? Sign me up. Oh. And obviously caramel. Because bread pudding should ALWAYS have a sauce, no matter if you eat it with ice cream anyway (also recommended; talenti coconut gelato was a spot-on choice). Enter the five second blender caramel with heavy hazelnut overtones… and so full of good things it’s practically a health food. Don’t get me started ;)

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Apologies for the lack of pictures; bread pudding isn’t the most photogenic of all the desserts and also it pretty much got annihilated before I could get in there with a camera for some in situ shots of plated dessert… Sorry not sorry.

Happy September, enjoy the beautiful days of Indian summer!

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Hazelnut, Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Bread Pudding with Hazelnut Caramel

This is neither gluten free, vegan, or paleo. Sorry not sorry! Sometimes, you just need some bread. It is, however, dairy free and refined sugar free. It is also extremely easy to throw together, using whatever you have on hand. Yield: one 9 by 9 pan. Like many things I’ve made lately, this does double duty as breakfast and is even better the next day, so the serving sizes are contingent on how hungry you happen to be… A Wait are those Cookies original!

Bread Pudding:

  • 1 loaf of (stale!*) bread, cubed (I used Acme Pain au Levain)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 c coconut milk (mine happened to be light; use whatever you like)
  • 1/2 c pure maple syrup
  • 1 runneth-over shot of Fra Angelico
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 c roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips
  • 1 c fresh raspberries (frozen is fine; thaw and drain first!)

Caramel:

  • 1/3 c roasted unsalted almond butter
  • 1/3 c maple syrup
  • 1/4 c coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp Fra Angelico
  • scant 1/4 tsp sea salt

* You can either cube it ahead of time and let it sit out, like I did, or slice and toast in the oven to stale it day of, if you’re short on time

You can make the caramel ahead of time, or while the pudding is baking (it comes together in about five seconds):

In a vitamix or a food processor, blend almond butter, maple, melted coconut oil, vanilla, Fra Anglico, and sea salt until smooth and incorporated. Adjust taste to suit your preferences!

Butter or use coconut oil to grease a 9 by 9 pan. Sprinkle coconut sugar over the inside of the pan if desired; this gives the bottom a little somethin’ extra…

Put the cubed bread into a large bowl. In a slightly smaller bowl, whisk together eggs, coconut milk, maple, Fra Angelica, vanilla, and sea salt. Pour this goodness over the bread cubes, using your hands to evenly distribute everything. Toss in hazelnuts, chocolate chips, and raspberries (reserve a few raspberries for topping if you’re feeling fancy). Let this sit for about a half hour so the bread can absorb the custard.

Preheat the oven to 350, and once the custard and bread have sat for a bit, bake for 30-40 minutes, until there is no visible liquid at the bottom when you separate it with a fork (you don’t want it dry though, so just look for pooling liquid). Mine was perfect at 40 minutes. Let cool completely, then refrigerate if you’re like me and like cold bread pudding! Or serve warm, it’s awesome either way. Store leftovers in the fridge and eat them for breakfast — highly recommended.

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Crisp = dessert, then breakfast

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Woah woah woah I graduate a month from yesterday! Wheeeeee almost time to decorate my mortar board. Because I care not that I’m getting a masters and that any display of creative originality might be frowned upon for grad ceremonies; any flat, otherwise boring surface is acceptable for yogic doodle decoration and glitter. Also, it’s probably time to make a dent in that giant pile of work I have to do between now and my practicum presentation but…. nah. I made crisp instead.

Because… CRISP!

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Infinitely more fun than papers and literature review and and and.. ew. Someone make all that go away so I can enjoy my crisp in peace, mmk?! Great.

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This one is full of springy, fruity deliciousness. Good for the soul and the bod — brightly colored (food should be fun!) and full of whole-food nutrients. Because all desserts should be able to do double duty as breakfast! Obviously.

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And with that… I’m back to work. Because even that little respite couldn’t last long (waaah).

Let’s get to it. Happy weekend!

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Vegan Raspberry Crisp with Meyer Lemon and Coconut

Fruity, lemony, springy, delicious, and good for your bod! All you could want out of a dessert / breakfast / fruity whole food shenanigan. Full of whole grains (oats), healthy fats (coconut and almonds), antioxidants (raspberries) and all kinds of textural fun. Vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free. Yield: one 8 by 8 pan. A Wait are those Cookies original!

For the fruity goodness:

  • 4 c raspberries (frozen is totes fine; just thaw them first)
  • 2 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp meyer lemon juice*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the crispy fun:

  • 1 c almond meal
  • 1 c rolled oats**
  • 1/4 unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • zest of one meyer lemon*
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 c melted coconut oil

*regular lemon will do but Meyers are SO fabulous; find them if you can!

** gluten free if desired

Preheat the oven to 350 and locate your trusty 8 by 8 pan that you make EVERYTHING in. Or maybe that’s just me…

In a large bowl, toss together raspberries, tapioca, maple, meyer lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Once it’s all combined, spread this evenly into the bottom of the 8 by 8.

In another largish bowl, stir together almond meal, oats, sea salt, and lemon zest. Add in maple syrup and melted coconut oil, and stir until combined, mashing out the largest lumps. Spread this goodness evenly over the raspberries in the prepared pan, and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the crumble topping is golden brown and the filing is bubbly and juicy (omg yum). Let sit for a few before annihilating. Leftovers (ha) store best in the fridge and are excellent for breakfast, just saying.

Top with any kind of iced dessert of choice – i.e.. vegan paleo gelato, dairy deliciousness, whipped coconut cream?! The sky’s the limit. You do you!

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Because sardines and brownies totally go together?! Uh. No. Just go with it.

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Food prep Sunday has returned in all it’s fridge-filling glory. And actually this week I literally went from empty empty fridge to stuffed fridge. Which is exactly how a Sunday night fridge should look, because Mondays are bad enough as it is without being irked by a lack of edible things.

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I do kind of love having an emptyish fridge — it forces me to get creative and use what I have. And it is definitely not a bad thing to cook down your fridge / freezer / pantry periodically. I had some epic meals at the end of last week, all full of new veggie combinations, as I was working with what I had. There was a deplorable lack of produce after Friday night though, so today I had a glorious Sunday of yoga, grocery shopping, and several hours of food prep. Ahhh. And then dinner and movie and dessert with the purring snugglepuss. Me-time doesn’t get much better than that!

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Also, yesterday was date day in Santa Cruz with E! AND OMG I DISCOVERED CHOCOLATE COVERED BACON!

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I mean, I’d had a bacon chocolate bar and have made bacon brownies… but a piece of bacon!!!! Covered in chocolate!!!! Amazing. And simple to make for myself… but let’s not. I would eat.it.all. But anyway, chocolate covered bacon. I highly recommend it.

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Back to what I was sort of talking about in a rambly fashion — food prep Sunday! Today I did a crockpot red lentil dal with ginger and curry, which will probably last me a week (I made a literal VAT), roasted radishes for later in the week, made a new batch of nut butter and cashew meal, baked a batch of vegan spelt brownies with a tahini-maple swirl (omg.save me from myself and the whole pan), and a sardine ragu over zucchini noodles and greens. Which, depending on your point of view, could be the best thing ever or the most disgusting. Obviously, I fall into the former camp, but hey. We can’t all be the same, or this would be one boring universe.

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But even if sardines straight out the can with a little mustard (and avo) isn’t your thing (ahem. not like I do that or anything), I’m advocating for you to give this ragu a shot.

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The sardines are simmered in red wine and tomato sauce, which tames their sardine-yness. I do love them, but I’ll admit they can be a little much sometimes (I really have to be in the mood for them). But in the sauce, they’re much milder. I served the sauce over some sautéed mushrooms and zucchini noodles with greens, and shredded a little goat cheddar over the top (Redwood Hill Farms is my favorite!! Their cheese is spectacular). Highly recommended, and in my lunch for work tomorrow (because this just gets better and better as the flavors do the leftover tango). This is reason number five billion why food prep days are so spectac: Lunches for at least the first half of the week, so I can be not hangry and cranky for the start of the week.

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Enough babble. It’s Sunday night and time for bed so I can be something less than a zombie come five am tomorrow. And this post is enough of a novel already, so on that note… recipeeeez!

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Vegan Spelt Brownies with Tahini Swirl

These brownies are much cakier than my usual brownies, so if cakey brownies are your jam, you’re in the right spot. I usually like mine fudgier, but these are great for a change. The maple tahini swirl is freaking fantastic as well, so if you like halva or just sesame in general, these are right up your alley. Vegan, refined sugar free, and delicious. Yield: one 8 by 8 pan, anywhere from 6 to 12 brownies, depending on what kind of day you’ve just had. Adapted from Love Me, Feed Me, here!

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  • 3/4 c whole spelt flour
  • 1/4 c + 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
  • a very full 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/3 c unsweetened hemp milk
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1.5 tbsp maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease (or use parchment) an 8 by 8 pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together spelt flour, cocoa powder, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, applesauce, maple, and avo oil. Stir to roughly combine. Add in hemp milk and chocolate chips, and mix until incorporated. Pour batter into the prepared pan. In a small bowl, stir together tahini and maple syrup. Practice your drizzle skills and make it look pretty as your pour it over the top of the batter… take a knife (or the spoon you’re currently using, if you’re lazy like me) and swirl it into the batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Let cool completely, and store covered in the fridge.

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And now for something completely different….

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Sardine Ragu over Zucchini Noodles

Savory, perfectly textured, and full of healthy fats and lycopene. All good things! Gluten free, low lactose (with goat cheese), and high in antioxidants. If you can, try to eat this on subsequent days — I find that the flavor just gets better and better. Yield: 3-4 servings. Ish. Recipe inspired by Spoonshine blog, here!

  • a good glug of olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, frozen or smooshed
  • 3 rainbow carrots, diced
  • 2 cans of sardines, packed in oil (I like Wild Planet brand)
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 125 ml red wine
  • 500 ml freshly boiled water
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated cheese of choice, optional
  • spiralized zucchini + sautéed mushrooms and greens for serving, or your fave pasta

Heat the olive oil over medium in a sauté pan. Once the oil is hot, add in onions, and garlic with a few twists of sea salt and pepper, and saute until the onion is translucent. Add in diced carrots, sardines (Including their oil), tomato sauce and paste, oregano, thyme, and red wine. Bring to a boil and let cook for 10 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and the alcohol has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper, and add the freshly boiled water.

Keeping the sauce at a high simmer, let it cook, stirring occasionally, for 35 minutes. It should be reduced and thicker, like the consistency of a meat ragu. Once the sauce has reduced, taste and season accordingly — add the tbsp of balsamic, plus more oregano or thyme, or salt and pepper (or all four).

Serve over zucchini noodles or your noodle of choice, with a sprinkling of grated parmesan or goat cheese over the top.

Here’s a little ommm to take into your Monday:

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:)

Messy and delicious Friday night

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Welcome to the latest installment remaking childhood treats to be not so nastily processed and full of garbage!

Okay… So we all know that I lovelovelovelove ice cream. But actually I lovelovelove ice cream and I LOVELOVELOVELOVE ice cream sandwiches. There is a world of difference when it comes to this. And no, a cookie with a scoop of ice cream on top is so not the same thing. Sorry. It just isn’t. I mean, in a pinch it is definitely an acceptable substitute, but give me ice cream smooshed in between two chewy cookies {and preferably drenched in sprinkles} and I am one happy camper.

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All that being said, I didn’t eat an It’s-It until I was 23. Weird, right? I know. I’m shocked too, belatedly…. especially because HELLO they’re only from San Francisco and I grew up in the Bay Area… how did I never eat one before then?? Thank you Elliott, for preventing this travesty from continuing. And I actually think they’re fairly delicious, which is also semi strange because despite loving ice cream sammies, I’m a snob. I won’t buy those nasty ones from the store, I only like the freshly made ones I get from shops. See? Snob. But beside the point. For being a processed ice cream sammie, its-its are actually good. AND the ingredient list isn’t scary. However…

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Why buy them when you could level up and make some that were even more delicious and with better-sourced ingredients and more nutrition?! Right. My thoughts exactly.

Which is why Elliott and I had a homemade its-it party this weekend!! I know, it’s okay… you can be jealous.

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And oooooohmygoodness were they good. Totes leveling up. It also helps that the cookies were whole wheat and maple-sweetened…. and then we used Straus ice cream (Because why WOULDN’T you, it’s only the best ice cream ever. Evereverever. I could so very easily inhale a pint in one siting… someone save me from myself and forbid me to buy it. Except don’t. Because now that I’ve discovered it I never want to eat anything else…

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Especially when it’s in these!!! And they’re covered in dark chocolate!! And the cookies are chewy even after they hang out in the freezer for a few hours!! And ice cream!!! And sandwiches!!

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Obviously I’m excited about this. Please excuse the massive amount of exclamation marks and capitalized shouting going on. Ugh. SO good. There are no words.

In other non ice cream news, I made that bacon lentil soup again because it was so fab. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

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And Jessie likes to pretend that she fits between me and my book. Cute. Also not true, but shhh no one tell her.

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Whoops, you caught me!

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My hair was weird that day. Don’t mind me.

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Make these! You won’t regret it in the slightest and I promise they’re better than the original.

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stuck cookie structural failure visible in the bottom left quadrant of the diagram

Homemade Oatmeal Ice Cream Sammies (ie, it’s-it… that’s probably a trademark, so I won’t call it that…)

These are also ridiculously easy! The cookies I used are whole wheat and sweetened with maple, which mollifies me a bit in terms of avoiding refined sugar (yes, I know I’m also eating ice cream with reckless abandon. It’s all about balance). I think these are best fresh, so I would only make as many as you’re going to eat in one sitting. Can be gluten free, dairy free, or vegan depending on dairy or nondairy ice cream of choice and cookie recipe [mine were none of the above].

Sooooo easy. Lez do it:

  • 1 batch of chewy oatmeal cookies (recipe I used is below)
  • 1 pint of super delicious, good quality ice cream
  • 1/2 c chopped dark chocolate (mine was 70%)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

Make favorite chewy oatmeal cookies. Let cool. Melt chocolate and coconut oil either in a double boiler or in the microwave on 30 sec intervals, stirring in between until fully melted. Set aside.

Take favorite ice cream (I prefer Straus vanilla chocolate chip) and smoosh in between two cookies. Eat ice cream out of the carton because… just because. Squash other cookie on top of delicious pile of cookie and ice cream, and then, working quickly to prevent meltage and structural failure, roll it around in melted chocolate. Pretend to shake off excess (but actually don’t, because chocolate). Place on a parchment paper lined plate and stick them into the freezer until the chocolate hardens, five minutes or up to two hours. Unstick carefully from plate and stuff face!

Grin happily and pat yourself on the back for leveling up.

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Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

These were SO perfect for making sandwiches. They didn’t turn into rocks in the freezer, and they stayed chewy until the next day. Whole grain, refined sugar free, and lower in sugar than most chewy cookies out there. Mmm cookies.. Recipe slightly adapted from Amy’s Healthy Baking, here! Yield: 13

  • 3/4 c whole wheat flour (spooned and leveled)*
  • 1 c rolled oats (leveled)
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c pure maple syrup (I use grade B)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chips

*I could have sworn I used 1 c of flour, now that I think about it… and they were delicious. But the recipe is written as 3/4 c, so I’m including both in case you’re a space case like I was when I made them…

In a large bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and sea salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together egg, maple, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Pour wet into dry and mix until just barely combined, stirring in chocolate chips. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop refrigerated dough by the tbsp onto the baking sheet, flattening each slightly (they won’t spread hugely). Bake for 11-13 minutes (mine were done at 12), until the tops spring back when touched and the sides are firm. Cool on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before turning into sandwiches! Store in an airtight tupperware at room temp unless you eat them all immediately.

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Brain mush.

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I think I’m just really obsessed with mushy food.

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What a nice way to start a blog post about FOOD, right?? Like, I’m trying to get peeps to keep reading the post, not click off immediately…

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But seriously. Mushy food is my jam. I like oatmeal SO MUCH that it gets me out of bed in the morning. For reals. I lay there going ‘ughghghh it’s dark and whyyyy and I know I have to but uhhhgggh’ and then it hits me… I get OATMEAL for breakfast. And I’m out of my bed like a shot. This is true life, I’m not kidding. It actually works. Every. Single. Morning. And I will be just as excited about it tomorrow as I was yesterday. Or the day before that. Or… well. You get the idea.

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And applesauce. And buckwheat. And any type of porridgy thing besides oatmeal. Is this weird??

I’m making the executive decision that it’s not. Because lentils can also be mushy but lentils are DELICIOUS. Stupidly so. And sooo easy. And cheap. And nutritious so what’s not to like?!

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Also. Too much studying of useless math and endless hours revising grad school app essays have turned my brain into mush so maybe that’s why I’m so fixated on mushy food today? Whatever. I made this for dinner yesterday and it was mushy and delicious and really, calling it mushy is really kind of mean because it is SO delicious. Let’s call it… creamy. And unctuous. And lentily. Spicy, comforting, soul food. There we go. That’s far better than mushy. It has character. I like my food to have character.

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Red Lentil Dal with Creamy Coconut Buckwheat

Gluten free, vegan, full of delicious grains and healthy carbs, and inflammation-fighting turmeric. Serve hot or cold—I like it as cold leftovers the next day. Recipe serves four easily, with leftovers. Buckwheat is my own method, dal adapted from Wholehearted Eats, here!

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For the buckwheat:

  • 1 c buckwheat groats, rinsed
  • 2 c light coconut milk
  • 1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • salt to taste

For the Dal:

  • heaping 1/2 c diced onion
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • heaping 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 c red lentils, rinsed
  • 1 c light coconut milk
  • 3 c water
  • 2 carrots, chopped into smallish pieces
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • a few grates of pepper
  • chopped Persian cucumber, roasted cashews, pepitas, unsweetened coconut for garnish

Buckwheat is amazing: In a medium sized saucepan, bring coconut milk to a boil. Once boiling, dump in buckwheat groats, cover, and turn down to a simmer. I usually add a few sprinkles of sea salt here (and more to taste after it’s finished cooking).  Let the groats simmer until they have absorbed most of the liquid, about 30 minutes (though I never set a timer; I just check it periodically. Groats should retain their chewy texture when fully cooked). Add salt if needed. Buckwheat tends to thicken up as it sits, so I usually turn it off when there is just a bit of liquid left.

What is a grain without a friendly topping?? For the dahl: heat avocado oil in a medium saucepan. Add in onion, ginger, cardamom, turmeric, pepper, and cumin and sauté until the onions are translucent. If the spices start sticking, add a splash of water—I find it helpful to stir the onions relatively frequently. Add in lentils, coconut milk, water, and diced carrots. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let it simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes (Stirring occasionally is probs good). Uncover, add salt (more to taste if that’s your jam) and let simmer for about 20 minutes more. Turn off the heat, let it sit and thicken for a few minutes more.

Serve over buckwheat, with veggie of choice and fave garnishes. I like chopped cashews and pepitas+cucumber and coconut. Leftovers are excellent cold or reheated the next day.

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What to do with quite demanding vegetables

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I have very demanding, rampaging vegetables on my counter.

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Cue late summer, bountiful garden harvest booty sitting in the kitchen yelling at me. Sort of. As much as a vegetable can ever yell at you, which is actually very little… except when it isn’t. Which is what’s happening right now as two extremely spotty, very disgruntled looking bananas clamor for my attention [helloooo, can you SEE how spotty we are?! Obviously you should make us into banana bread] right next to several massive, rando summer squash things that sprung from the compost and are slightly less delicious than zucchini. Who of course want to be made into zucchini bread. Or I guess technically that would be ‘random green-squash-variety bread’, but don’t tell them that. They were giving me enough dirty looks for a vegetable as it is. And threatening to roll all over the place and off the counter. Rude little suckers, aren’t they?!

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So I did what any sensible person would do when confronted by mass amounts of demanding produce…

I made BANANA ZUCCHINI BREAD. So there, clamoring veggies and spotty bananas. You have a baked goods home now, please leave me alone?!

Except don’t because having an excess of produce is probably the best thing ever.

At least in my life, it is.

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I had a friend over the other day and as I opened up the fridge, she goes, “Oh my god you have the most produce in your fridge I’ve ever seen!!” bahahha. Best situation ever. You can NEVER have too much fresh stuff. Even when it starts haranguing you to make it into things. Homemade chicken stock does that too, there are several jars in there wanting to become soup but ick it’s a thousand degrees outside and I already ran the oven like an idiot so no.

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I’ve just realized the amount of grammatically (no autocorrect, not dramatically) incorrect things in this post… too bad!! Studying for the GRE means I don’t have to be coherent in my personal blog space.

I told you I was pretty much five years old on the inside, right?! Well yeah. Case in point. But hoooomg was it delicious.

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So anyway. It’s hot and if you have an abundance of late summer produce, bake away! regardless of the fact that it will make your kitchen nastily hot. Don’t sweat it, just have a dance party in there while you’re baking and it will be like you’re sweating on purpose. Clearly I’m a genius.

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Banana Summer Squash Bread

I baked this in an 8 by 8 pan just to be different, though a loaf pan is totes fine too. Yield is about 9 good sized squares from the square pan. Can easily be adapted to be gluten free with all oat flour. Refined sugar free, whole grain, and vegan. Hooray! Also you get sneaky veggies, and who would say no to that?! The recipe is adapted from Hummusapien, here!

  • 1 c oat flour [I grind my own in a food processor]
  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed+6 tbsp water
  • 1 c mashed, overripe bananas (the super spotty ones that are being annoying on your counter)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp raw coconut nectar
  • 1 c grated summer squash variety, squeezed [I use a paper towel] after grating to remove moisture
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly grease your pan of choice (I used coconut oil, as always).

In a smallish bowl, whisk together flax and water and set aside to gel for your flax egg. In a large bowl, whisk together oat flour, whole wheat, almond flour, salt, baking powder and soda, and cinnamon. In a smaller bowl, mash bananas and stir in vanilla extract. Pour wet into dry, add flax egg, and stir until mostly incorporated. Fold in grated squash and chocolate chips. Spread the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for about 30 minutes, until a tester comes out clean (the time will be closer to an hour for a standard loaf pan). I found that a tester came out clean in mine at 20 minutes, but it would have been way too gooey so I stuck it back in for another 10—your call if you like SUPER gooey bread. I turned mine out onto a cooling rack immediately, but watch for breakage. Store in the fridge for super freshness! I like mine cold anyway, preferably with a good smear of almond butter.

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Soup is just an excuse for bread, don’t try to deny it!

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Soooooop.

And bread.

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Because obviously you can’t have soup without some bready, carby side dish. We all know that soup is really an excuse for bread, let’s be real here.

But mmmmm, soup. I do love it (but I DO NOT love photographing it. Ugh). ESPECIALLY now that I have this fabby immersion blender!! Which means that I can dispense with all that silliness of attempting to blend soup in a food processor (no, I don’t own a normal blender), which is a dumb idea as a) soup is hot. Hot things expand and b) food processors aren’t watertight (rude). So instead of soup going slightly all over the counter, now I can just bust out the trusty immersion blender, stick it in the pot of soup buzz buzz buzz and low and behold!! Creamy soup, no mess required. Genius.

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Also. I bought a spiralizer. Possibly the BEST decision I have ever made. And also possibly the most fun kitchen utensil ever created.

See?

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Reeeeealllyyyy looooooong zucchini noodles! So much fun to play with. Obviously avoided if you do the smart thing and cut the zucchini in half first, but why spoil your fun? Incredibly long noodles are so much more entertaining. And delicious, especially when you top them with bison pasta sauce and other delicious things. Unfortunately, it was slightly too delicious and there went that before I managed to take a picture of anything besides the noodles. Whoops! Next time.

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Anyway. Let’s get seasonal! Hellooooo autumn, you’re my favorite. The day I made this, I ate three sources of beta carotene in one day. No eye problems for me!
This soup is very easy, comes together in a snap, and is (naturally) delicious. The muffins are awesome too, likewise easy and delicious. In fact, if you time it right, you can bake them while the squash is simmering, then blend your soup and have everything hot at the same time. Wheee!

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Ginger-Coconut Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 4, with leftovers. Recipe inspired by Whole Foods, here! Gluten free, can be vegan with veggie broth.

  • a generous drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and diced (yield: 4 c diced)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 persian cucumbers, diced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated or diced
  • 3.5 c veggie or chicken broth
  • 1/2 c light coconut milk (out of the can)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • pepper to taste
  • pepitas, for garnish!

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Toss in onion, carrot, and cucumbers, and let cook until the onion is translucent (about 5ish minutes). Add ginger, let cook a few minutes more. Finally, add stock, squash, coconut milk, sea salt, and pepper, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let cook, covered, until the squash is fork-tender (about 30 minutes). Once squash is soft, use an immersion blender to puree soup to desired consistency. An upright blender is fine too, just make sure the soup is cool enough.
Garnish with pepitas just before serving!

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Pumpkin Cornmeal Muffins

My yield was 10, in my so-called ‘jumbo’ muffin tins. I never fill them all the way, but these muffins came out a totally normal size. High in vitamin A, low fat, refined sugar free, and whole grain! Recipe adapted from Running to the Kitchen, here!

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 c cornmeal
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 c lowfat plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted (I use Kerrygold Irish butter)
  • 1 c pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 375, and lightly grease muffin tins (I use coconut oil).

Whisk together whole wheat pastry flour, cornmeal, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and coconut sugar. In a smaller bowl, whisk together egg, almond milk, yogurt, melted butter and pumpkin puree. Combine wet into dry, mixing just to combine. Pour batter into the prepared pan, and bake for about 15 minutes (a tester should come out clean, and the tops should be slightly browned). Let cool for a few before turning out onto a cooling rack.
I’m sure these keep well, but ours didn’t last that long!

Throwback Thursday and the Lentil Life

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AND THEN. I made lentil bars! Because… well, why not?! And then I sort of became the lentil bar fairy and handed out several at work, one of which went to this particular friend who *claims* that she doesn’t like lentils. Uh-huh. Just wait.

Said friend ate lentil bar.

One day later…

Friend commissions an entire batch of lentil bars for eating purposes!!

VICTORY OF THE LENTILS! Muahhahah.

And guess what? I have a new nickname!

I’ll give you one guess…

Lentil!!!

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Naturally. The now lentil-converted friend decided I was henceforth to be dubbed Lentil (always said with some sort of accent, of course), mostly because we have a running joke that she brings meat and I bring rabbit food for lunch…and then when I bring beef it’s like.. WOAH. So yeah. A very apropos nickname, I would say ;)

And one more for your viewing pleasure… Throwback Thursday! I was six. Things haven’t changed much…

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Lentil Bars

Recipe slightly adapted from She Bakes Here! I’ve made this twice—once as a single recipe, once doubled. I used green lentils once and red lentils once, and I think I prefer red, though you can use either. If using green, make sure you cook them just a little bit longer so they’re easily mushable (technical term). I reduced the sweetener a little so these aren’t overly sweet, but perfect for a mid morning or on the go snack. They were a big hit with the work peeps!

As posted, the recipe makes a single batch in an 8 by 8 pan (I used a circular pie dish).

Vegan, refined sugar free.

  • 1/2 c red lentils
  • 1 c water
  • 1.5 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 c ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • heaping 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/3-1/2 c maple syrup
  • 1/4 c dark chocolate chips

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add lentils, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes until very soft. Drain, if needed. Mash lentils a bit with a fork (though they should be pretty much like puree already), and set aside in a large bowl.

Preheat oven to 300, and line your baking pan of choice with parchment paper.

Using the same bowl the lentils are hangin’ out in, add oats, whole wheat flour, flaxseed, cinnamon, salt, almond butter, and maple syrup. Toss in chocolate chips and stir to combine (seriously, could this be any easier?). Once incorporated, spread the dough into your prepared pan—I found it easiest to use my fingers to spread it out, as it’s really thick. Get it mostly even and then pop it into the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the oats on top are slightly crispy.

Let it sit in the pan for a few, then pull the whole thing out by grabbing the parchment. Let cool completely on a rack before slicing! These keep well in tupperware at room temp for a few days.

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The great secret of life is apparently… Oatmeal?!

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HOoomg. You. Guys.

I just discovered how to make the creamiest oatmeal EVER. In five minutes.

You see, I apparently LOOOVE creamy oatmeal. Except I didn’t really realize how much until I got oatmeal at work on Friday and was like, WHAT IS THIS?! How is it SO GOOD?! And then I started craving oatmeal. Don’t knock it till you try it… if you have to crave something it might as well be oatmeal, right?! Except that I knew I wasn’t craving the chewy-oaty kind I usually end up making at home, but this was baffling. What is the magical secret to creamy oatmeal that everyone had been holding out on me?!

BUT THEN.

I attempted to get oatmeal again at work last night because, well, you know, I was apparently still obsessed even though I’d had it for breakfast… and he MESSED. IT. UP. Who messes up oatmeal?! It was water. With bits of cooked oat floating in it. Um, excuse me? This so does not even kind of resemble oatmeal. Fail.

And I got irritated. Irritated enough to overcome my one (maybe two) day dependency on the oatmeal from work and figure out how to make creamy oatmeal fo’ myself! Annnddd…. I DID!! And it was AMAZING! And it took even less time than my usual oatmeal. And I will probably pretty much eat some form of oatmeal for all three meals for the next, oh, three days?! Abnormally obsessed. I knew I loved oatmeal for a reason…

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And the best part is that it takes about five minutes, start to finish, annnnddd while it’s sitting you can do your oatmeal thang and cut up fruit or heat up lentils or beans or whatever you like in your oats (Hmm. I may in fact be the only one who lentils and beans apply to). Beets are good too, they turn it pink! Okay. Stopping now before you stop reading my blog on account of my weird sophisticated tastebuds…

PS. Sorry for the lousy pictures. I was halfway through my bowl before I went, Hey! I should blog about this! But by then my oatmeal (probably not the most photogenic food ever anyway) looked ugly. But it was delicious. So you get filtered phone pictures instead but seriously: if you like creamy oats, don’t let them deter you!! To make up for it, I’ve also included some photos of fun in the vegetable bed…

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Creamy Oats!

Method culled from several sources and combined into a mishmash of what I liked. Recipe as written serves one, double/triple/intensify to suit your needs:

  • 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 1 c water
  • pinch of salt

See? Not even really a recipe, it has three ingredients… but. It’s. MAGIC.

Combine oats, water, and salt into a small saucepan. Cover, and bring to a rolling boil (watch it carefully, oats have a tendency to boil over and make your stove messy). Stir once, making sure all the oats are moistened, then cover the pot again and turn off the heat. Let it sit, covered, for about five minutes (do your oatmeal thang, cut up fruit, heat up beans or lentils or whatever weird things you like in your oats… oh wait, that’s just me), then stir and serve!! Amazing. Creamy oats. I am never ever ever returning to the chewy oat camp. Weelll… maybe. But not for right now ;)

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This one has blueberries, apples, coconut, and a date!!

Cake-ing it up.

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Thirteen hours in Disneyland?

Boom.

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Oh. And I ate the best fajitas. EVER. Followed by some really freaking amazing haagen dazs. Because obviously everything is just that much better with ice cream and fajitas.

I was nice and exhausted when I got home, which was excellent timing as that meant I could zone out in front of the super bowl and watch the niners lose (wahh), and then Downton Abbey! Wheeee!!!

And make cake. Obviously. Because what else would you expect?! Vegan cake, no less. Well… kind of vegan. I used milk, since I don’t usually have almond milk on hand. Whatever, technicalities. Make it vegan if you want, or don’t if you want! Noooo big deal.

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Also. Um, simplest cake ever? I think yes. Lame excuses not to make it? I think no.

Less babble. More cake!

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Vegan (ish) Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

Recipe from Just Eat Love, here! Only very slightly modified. I made a baby cake, in my 6″ cake pan, which ended up being just perfect. I’ll include the half measurements here, so double if you want an 8″ cake.

The what:

  • 3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 c + 1 tbsp milk bev (I used 1% milk, almond or soy would be fine too)
  • 1/4 c grade B maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon zest (I used the zest of one lemon, though I felt like I could have had more)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

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The how:

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease your pan of choice (I used coconut oil, as always).

In a bowl, whisk together flour, poppy seeds, baking powder + soda, and salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together milk bev, maple syrup, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Pour wet into dry, stir until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan, and bake for about 16  minutes for the teeny one, 30-40 for an 8″ cake, until a tester comes out clean. Let it rest for a few minutes before turning out onto a rack (or you can be lazy like me and leave it in the pan…). Garnish with powdered sugar, or ice cream if you’re feeling frisky!

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