Pinky up, I made you scones!

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Scones!!

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Because… three day weekends seem like they’re made for making leisurely breakfast things. And because I love ALL of the breakfasty items (odd, given that my breakfast of choice closely resembles pond scum… oh wait. Spirulina IS pond scum!! Silly me) but for some reason never make them (weird, I know, I’m attempting to remedy that. Someone host a garden party brunch and have me bake!!), I decided that Labor Day = scones. Besides that, I paradoxically labored a lot on Labor day and needed sustenance of some sort.

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Also I hadn’t made scones in I couldn’t tell you the last time, so I was way overdue.

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Life would have been beyond perfect if only I’d had some lemon curd for these, but whatcha gonna do. I mean, it would have been even more perfect to eat them in some English manor house with tea and lace and delicate china, but I do suppose you can’t have everything. Pinky up!

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I read somewhere that someone described the scent of cardamom as haunting— a statement I totally agree with. There is something about its fragrance that seems to stir memories you didn’t know you had, almost like they’re from lives and times before this one that we’re currently in. Or maybe that’s just me. Do you have scents that do that for you? Tea tree oil is evocative for me as well, thought that one reminds me of childhood. Olfactory memory is pretty fascinating— to think that a cascade of memories and associations can be triggered by a simple smell. They kind of sneak up on you when you’re least expecting it, or so it seems to me.

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But anyway, enough about haunting spices and such. Besides smelling divine, these are perfect for a lazy weekend brunch. And now that I actually have weekends free (no more working weekends!!), I fully intend to revive this lovely tradition and force myself to eat something besides my beloved pond scum for at least one day of the week (good luck with that one. Pond scum is addicting).

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Blueberry Cardamon Scones

Egg-free, whole grain, and sweetened only lightly by coconut sugar. Yield: 8. Recipe adapted slightly from Mama Mouse Says, here! I definitely wanted to try these with lavender, but we grow our own and we’re out of season at the moment, so I opted for the slightly more fall-ish scent of cardamom with the last of summer’s blueberries. They’re excellent with a bit of salted butter, and would be absolutely perfect with lemon curd, if you’re lucky enough to have some on hand.

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  • 2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1.5 tbsp baking powder
  • 2.5 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 5 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into little chunks
  • 1/2 c light coconut milk
  • 1/2 c plain, lowfat yogurt
  • 1 scant tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c fresh blueberries

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

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, coconut sugar, salt, and cardamom. Cut in the butter using your fingers or a pastry cutter—the butter should be in small, pea sized chunks. Carefully stir in blueberries, until they’re completely coated in flour. In a separate bowl (or a glass liquid measure like I did), whisk together coconut milk, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Stir wet into dry until mostly incorporated, then turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Pat it down or roll it out (I just used my hands, no need with this dough to dirty a rolling pin) to about 1/2″ thick round. Cut the dough into 8 triangles, and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for just about 15 minutes, until lightly browned. They’ll feel a little soft to the touch but shouldn’t be squishy… and they’ll firm up as they cool. These are best if consumed the day you make them, but store in an airtight container and warm slightly before serving if there are leftovers!

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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…?

//

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!

I am NOT a hoarder (except where black bananas are concerned…)

are you jealous yet?

I’ve been hoarding black bananas again.

And despite it being another one of those mega awful hot days, I was waaay jonesing for some banana bread. I blame Great Harvest entirely, since mom and I got a slice there the other day (their banana bread is BOMB), and ever since my black bananas have been singing their siren song from the fridge. I had to relegate them there anyway, since they were ridiculously ripe. Aka perfect for banana bread, mmm. At least the fog rolled in this evening, so that by six turning on the oven was actually feasible… I didn’t exactly think that baking banana bread in my car was going to be a terribly successful operation. I mean, maybe if I left it in there long enough… but no. I needed banana bread. NOW.

My only issue with banana bread is that I’m still on the hunt for the best ever. I’ve lost track of how many recipes I’ve tried, but more often then not they end up in banana bread pudding, and I wind up disgruntled and still jonesing. Either the flavor isn’t right… they’re healthy but too ‘hydrated’ (a nice substitute for the word moist, don’t you think? Ewww. Moist. What an unappealing word), or delicious but nutrient-free. Ugh. Nothing more annoying than a dissatisfying banana bread.

soooo symmetrical. 

Luckily, this time I found a winner! This ranks high up on my favorites list: it IS really tasty. The next test will be how it tastes tomorrow… And it’s not insanely bad for you, at least. I was pleased with it for another reason as well—-the center didn’t sink! Finallyyyy, a banana bread that didn’t end up with a sinkhole for a center. Bleh. SOME people might like the goopy undercooked center… but I am sooo not one of them. My favorite part is crust, hands down. This banana bread is just sweet enough without being overpowering, and is (I think) the perfect consistency (not too hydrated…). I like the addition of vinegar—it brings out the banana flavor wonderfully. This bread’s also decently okay for you (Not wonderful, but hey. Indulge a little!), with whole grains and a bit less fat than usual, as well as slightly less sugar. And duh, it’s got buhhhnahhhnuhhs! Potassium, heyheyhey! Who doesn’t like a good hit of potassium hidden away inside a baked good? Especially when you make an ice cream sandwich out of your bread. Oooooo. Brilliant.

//

Perfectly Hydrated Banana Bread

Delicious plain…but really, are you going to pass up ice cream after I showed you the pictures?! No, I thought not.

Very slightly adapted from The Galley Gourmet.

  • 1 1/3 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • just over 1/2 c sugar (or 1/3 + 1/4ish)
  • 5 tbsp butter or Earth Balance (I happened to use EB for this one), soft-ish
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c mega ripe mashed banana (I used 2.5 largeish ones)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp plain yogurt (I used nonfat)
  • turbinado sugar for sprinkling, if you have it

my ice cream is rocking its asymmetry 

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a standard loaf pan, or mini loaves if you’re feeling fancy.

In a medium-ish bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda and powder, and cinnamon. Set aside. In another bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together sugar and butter until fluffy and combined. Add in flour mixture in two batches, beating to combine. Once incorporated, beat in eggs until combined (avoid overbeating! No one likes tough banana bread… and besides, overworking the dough can negatively affect the rise).

In the recently vacated bowl that previously held flour, mash bananas. Add in vanilla extract, vinegar, and yogurt and stir to combine. Toss the contents of this bowl into your larger bowl, and stir until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and bake for 50-60 minutes. Mine was perfectly done at just 50, but check to be sure your oven’s cooperating anyway. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto a cooling rack. Wait until cool to scarf… or not!

melty and delicious.

Sixty page thesis beast deserves cookies!

Because, you know, I reeeally like to store things in jars.

I apologize for the blogging delinquency! Between thesising and graduation looming in five weeks (how did THAT happen?!) I’ve been just a little busy… But I’ve been very productive in the thesis realm lately (which is good, since my presentation is two weeks from Tuesday—eeeeep! I’m starting to see Neo-Gothic architecture everyyyywhere, including in movies… and think in architectural terms. This has got to stop!), which needed to happen a little bit more than blogging. But now that my SIXTY PAGE beast of a thesis is edited in entirety, I’m down to just the conclusion! Hooooray, now I have time for some blogging catch up!

SO! Now I can share the tasties I’ve made recently with you. I promise I’ve still been eating (relatively) interesting things lately. Ish. Dinner needs work. But when I get off work and then thesis for a few hours, dinner gets last priority… steamed veggies + protein of choice + quinoa/polenta/oats is usually what happens… delicious, to be sure, but really, I’m getting bored. BUT! In two weeks, I will be DONE WITH THESIS! And therefore have much more free time for the important things (you know, like new active wear Pilates, eating, and cooking).

So. Enough of that… moving ON!

Happy Easter, by the way :) I ate the ears off my dark chocolate bunny, mmm. I’m not sure how to tackle the rest of it, as it’s solid, and I feel kind of mean if I try to stab it with any sharp implements…. Is biting more humane?! Yeesh. Chocolate bunny dilemma.

So besides neo-gothic skyscraper architecture and moral dilemmas regarding humane consumption of chocolate bunnies, I’ve been baking! I promised myself I would share other things besides healthy cookies, but oops. Cookies happened again, and they’re good! Besides, I liked the pictures. So you get cookies again, and THEN I promise something different. Promise! These cookies are lightly sweet and cakey, perfect for breakfast or a snack. The ingredient list is very forgiving, so feel free to substitute with whatever you have on hand.

jars make superior storage devices.

Banana-Yogurt Breakfast Cookies

I made these with Christine (workout and baking buddies! what a great combo, cookies + pilates), and I think we got about 20 smallish cookies. They could easily be made bigger if you want more breakfast-sized cookies. We adapted them from The Hot Plate, here!

Acquire:

  • 1/2 c plain lowfat yogurt
  • 3/4 c mashed ripe bananas (about 2 bananas)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp turbinado sugar (or honey, if you have it)
  • 1.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 c rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • judicious handful of pepitas
  • sprinkling of chocolate chippies (We had minis, yayyy!)

oh no! it's escaping the jar. time to EAT IT.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease cookie sheet(s). In a medium mixing bowl, combine yogurt, mashed banana, olive oil, egg, vanilla, and sugar. Stir to combine. In another bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, oats, flaxseed, cinnamon, baking powder and soda, salt, and pepitas/chocolate chips. Add wet into dry, and stir to combine. Drop by the heaping spoonful (or two, if you want massive cookies) onto your prepared cookie sheets, and bake for 10 minutes! Easy peasy cookies to appease your snacking gremlins.

mm.

Definitely Leprechauns.

a scone-clover! hehe.

Sláinte! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day :)

So. I had taken a fab set of pictures for today’s post (with natural light, even! Thanks, Oregon, for cooperating) yesterday, and they were all nicely stored on my camera, ready to be uploaded. This morning, when I uploaded them, I swear I put them into my blog photos folder. I know I did. So…

Where are they?! Nowhere to be found, is the answer I’m looking for. Maybe in pot of gold at the end of a rainbow? I suspect leprechaun involvement in this (definitely not user error. DEFINITELY leprechauns). Probably because I didn’t make a leprechaun trap last night… those sneaky little buggers! I better rustle up some green to put on… currently I’m not wearing any (that’s visible, anyway! ha.). I’ve always loved St. Patrick’s day! And yes, I am for-reals Irish (not just 1/365th), which is probably why I’m being targeted by those feisty little green men.

Blurry, but I still like it...

Anyway, after much grumbling, I took another set of photos (sadly not as good as the last ones), so you can vicariously enjoy the soda bread scones Kira and I made to celebrate! They turned out beautifully—the shape almost reminds me of a four leafed clover. Scoring the top of soda bread lets the fairies out (and promotes even baking, but that’s less fun), so I kept to this tradition and scored my scones into triangles… we now have a sprite-free apartment! To me, these scones don’t taste like traditional soda bread, but they are definitely delicious. And not at all bad for you, since they’re made with soda and yogurt rather than eggs and butter. Mmm… and, I have to say, they’re excellent with lemon curd (what isn’t?!)!

yum yum yum

Irish Soda Bread Scones

Very slightly adapted from Eat Drink Love, here! Makes 8 scones.

  • 3 c whole wheat pastry flour (We used half pastry, half whole wheat bread flour)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional but sooo good)
  • 1.5 c low-fat plain yogurt (Kira and I usually keep this instead of buttermilk, but buttermilk works here too)
  • 1/3 c chocolate chippies
  • 1 tbsp turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 425, and line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Make a well in the center, and add yogurt and chocolate chips (or other add-ins of choice). Stir to combine: the dough will look shaggy when its close to incorporated. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead into a circle (ish). Place onto prepared baking sheet, and slice into 8 scones (a knife works fine for this). Brush the tops with buttermilk (if using), and sprinkle turbinado sugar onto them for crunch factor :) Bake for 20 minutes, until the tops are golden! Eat. Preferably warm, with lemon curd. Mmm. Maybe share with a leprechaun, if one happens by…

Star Destroyer, anyone??

The Return of Muffinhenge

Muffinhenge is making a comeback! Would this be the Muffin Revival? Or Neo-Muffin architecture?

Brace yourselves.

A baked good that is NOT a cookie?!

Weird, I know. But just roll with it… there will be more cookies coming soon, I’m sure, at the rate I’m consuming them! Having cookies around is just SO civilized. But I decided that there had been a depressing lack of muffins around here lately, which translated into a severe lack of portable snacks. And portable snacks are a hot commodity in this apartment, between Kira’s and my work/class schedules. Girls must have easily portable and tasty snacks! Besides, last semester I got really attached to muffins. And thesising requires copious amounts of brain pushups, which translates into LOTS OF CARBS! Gotta keep those brain cells happy and firing, and for that we need carbs. Since glucose is the primary source of energy for brain neurons, whole grain carbs are a necessary part of a healthy diet (just say no to Atkins!). Helloooo, muffins, you adorable source of brain energy!

uh-oh... one got away!

And really, muffins are just another excuse for me to consume more peanut butter. Which, by the way, I am packing away at a truly impressive rate of consumption. One jar. PER WEEK. The bag of glass recycling can prove it: there are two empty jars in there, and I’ve been back for two weeks. I’m also steadily on course with the jar in the fridge… have no fear, I’m sure it will join its companions by the time Sunday rolls around…

In other news, I’m also on a quinoa kick. One of these days, quinoa and peanut butter are going to become happily married. In my stomach! My quinoa dinners the last two nights have been deeeelicious, but I’ve been too hungry/lazy to photograph them, so you’ll just have to wait a bit for that! It’ll come, I promise. For now, content yourselves with these muffins: Full of whole grain goodness (raw wheat germ and whole wheat flour) and apples, with no added sugar!

that little stray crumb is just asking to be eaten...

Apple Wheat Germ Muffins

Adapted from Bright Eyed Baker, here! Original makes 12, but I only made 6, so I’ll post my measurements. Double if desired!

The original recipe calls for wheat bran, but I don’t usually have that around. What I do have (and LOVE) is raw wheat germ. It substitutes perfectly into a muffin for bran, and results in a slightly lighter, less dense muffin. Love love love! Use what you have, though—either is fine!

Rummage around in your pantry for the following:

  • 1/2 c plain yogurt (mine happened to be nonfat, whatever you have is fine!)
  • 3/4 c raw wheat germ (I’m sure toasted is fine as well)
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 a large or 1 smallish whole apple, depending on apple-y density preferences, cut into chunks
  • small handful of choc chippies, for sprinkling (life is better with texture)

Preheat the oven to 375, and lightly grease your muffin tin.

In a small bowl, combine wheat germ and yogurt, and let sit while you do the other stuff. In a larger bowl, mash the banana, then whisk in egg and vanilla. Keep whisking until smoothly combined. Add wheat germ mix to this bowl, and stir to combine. In yet another bowl, sift dry ingredients: flour, baking soda and powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add wet ingredients to dry, and stir until just combined (try not to overstir: no one likes tough muffins!). Fold in apple chunks and chocolate chippies.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. Mine were done at closer to 20, if you have a convection oven, I’d check at 15. A tester should come out clean, and they’ll be nicely golden brown. Let cool (or not) on a wire rack.

Enjoy with a large smear of peanut butter, whilst thesising away regarding Neo-Gothic architecture on a grand vertical scale….and be smug in the feeding of your brain, which will allow you to produce a thesis of epic magnitude. Neuron food, for the win!

look at that up-close and personal apple-y goodness!

Boatloads of rain? Make mountains of curry!

mountains of curry in exchange for boatloads of rain!

The best way to combat boatloads of rain?

Make boatloads of curry!

Since Salem and the Willamette Valley are in the process of attempting to become the new Atlantis and submerge completely under water, we’ve had (by some estimates) about 6 inches of rain in the last 57 hours. Apparently the weather gods have gone completely nuts… there are creeks flooding all over the place, and according to the Statesman Journal, this is a once every hundred year occurrence, where the Willamette River rises about 30 feet. Excellent. At least I live on the second floor… Perhaps I should start constructing an ark? I’ve rather resigned myself to being damp for the foreseeable future. Forget about wet feet, I’ve been damp all over for about 4 days! Yeeesh.

Anyway, because I didn’t work today (the kiddies at Bush Elementary, where I work, got sent home due to extreme weather) I ended up with a strange amount of free time. And a headache. Which meant that I wanted nothing to do with my thesis. Consequently… baking/cooking explosion! Why would I spend the afternoon doing anything else when it’s beyond nasty outside? Right. That’s what I thought too.

Which means that mega dinner happened. Because boatloads of rain calls for boatloads of curry! And because curry is spicy, sweet, and warming all at the same time: a good thing to consume when it’s semi-monsooning outside. And then flatbreads. And cookies. I wasn’t just going to make curry, with no accoutrements, now was I?! How boring. I am now feeling quite productive and refreshed. And full. (I would perhaps like to digest just a wee bit faster… I want cookies!)

So. Without further babble, here is tonight’s din din! Deeeelicious. Go make yourself some. I would invite you over to eat some of mine (since Kira and I will now be eating curry for the next million years, hahah oops. I made a lot!), except you might have to locate a boat to come see me… maybe paddle upriver like a salmon?

curry isn't curry without a HUGE BLOB of chutney

Mega-ton of Chicken Coconut Curry, with Oregano-Yogurt Flatbread

Curry adapted from the blog Including Cake, here! Flatbread recipe adapted from here! This makes… a lot of curry. Which is a good thing! Helloooo, leftovers! And look how good it is for you! Lots of beta carotene from the sweet potatoes and orange pepper, and garbanzo beans are high in fiber, antioxidants, and minerals like molybdenum and manganese. Plus coconut is good for you on all levels :)

For the curry:

  • 1 large, 1 small (or 2 medium) sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 a large onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp Madras curry powder (only the best!)
  • 1 orange bell pepper, sliced (or whatever color you have)
  • 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 can of light coconut milk
  • cornstarch mixed with water, if needed to thicken
  • cooked chicken (if you want. I added a broiled chicken breast to mine for extra protein)
  • I would have added spinach, if I’d had any! Next time :)

Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Add onion, cooking for a few minutes until soft. Add curry powder, stirring to combine. Cook for a minute more. Toss in sweet potato chunks, bell pepper, chickpeas, and coconut milk! Simmer for about 15 minutes. At this point, add cornstarch if not thick enough for your taste. I tossed in my chicken pieces and let it simmer for about 5 more minutes. Serve hot, over flat bread, naan, or rice. And be sure to top it generously with shredded coconut (if you like that sort of thing), and mango chutney. I like me some spicyyyy curry!

Oregano Yogurt Flatbreads

I made half the recipe, which yielded 4 cute little breads. I would definitely make the whole recipe if not cooking this for just two people, so I’ll include the full measures here. I also used oregano tonight, but any spice is fine! It appealed to my olfactory sensibilities tonight :) AND it went well with the curry, bonus!

  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2.5 tsp herbs of choice (I used oregano)
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 c yogurt (I used nonfat plain, not greek, as it was what I had on hand)
  • a bit of canola oil, for cooking

Whisk together flour, herb of choice, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add in yogurt, and stir to combine. The dough will be shaggy-ish, so add a little yogurt if it looks to dry. Mine seemed fine with the amount given, but I might make it again, and see what happens with a bit more. I found my breads to have a nice consistency as is.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it holds together and is not sticky. Divide it into the number of breads you want, and roll it into balls. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick.

Swirl a bit of canola oil in the bottom of a nonstick skillet. When the oil is hot, plop the flattened dough into the pan, and cook until golden brown on each side. Serve hot, preferably with a mountain of curry!

Best dinner for a rainy day/week!

Holiday Trolls and Mispronunciation

Look at that cornbread. yeah. You know you want some!

I’m in full holiday-mode now.

Well, kind of.

I’ve put myself on Christmas music lockdown. I have a really irrational urge to listen to it, but I’m resisting. December 1st is the acceptable time to start listening. Tell that to Pandora. Trying to sabotage my lockdown, yeeesh… But really, the Nutcracker is obviously not JUST Christmas music, teeheehee!

Anyway. Besides settling into holidayish time, I can feel myself going into hibernation mode. Not my fault, since Salem has decided that night will fall around 4:30 pm. Or maybe 4:10 today, as I look out the window… Winter weather makes me want to curl up and eat. All this cold weather and dark starts turning me into a bear. Wait. Do bears do yoga and pilates? Okay. Maybe not a bear.  A troll? Yeah. Probably. Do trolls hibernate? Maybe they style their really cool hair during the winter months?

This is getting ridiculous. Apparently my brain has gone on holiday without notifying  me. I’d be the last to know, I’m sure. I think all that theories studying has gone to my head… but at least the midterm is done and the paper is nearly there (assisted by copious amounts of the bread that this post features).  Besides turning into a bear/troll in the winter, I start wanting things like soup. And baked goods. Ha. As if. In what season do I NOT want baked goods?! NONE. How silly life would be without tasty baked treats. Booooring. Besides, the gremlins would get antsy!

SO!

Let’s get on with the purpose of this post. Sorry for the long hiatus between posts… The eating last week wasn’t cooperating on photogenic levels.

This soup is immensely satisfying on a hibernating troll level. Or on anyone’s level, really… It’s creamy and thick–rich without being terrifyingly bad for you. It also pairs well with cornbread (what doesn’t?!). I’m sure it would also be deeeelicious with a baguette, were you to have one lurking around. The soup is fairly basic, and uses things typically found in your (ok, my) pantry. It has a pretty short ingredient list, which is a plus when you desperately want soup!

I also decided it was time for the world to see my “It’s Willamette, Damn it!” bowl… You see, people have  penchant for mispronouncing the name of my school. In fact, it’s the most mispronounced in the contiguous United States. And it rhymes with damn it. So see? It’s an easy way to remember, for those of you who like to say “Will-uh-met”. NO. It’s Willamette, damn it!

See? I've even puffy-painted it, so that people can get it right!

Coconut Sweet Potato Soup (Bisque?)

Adapted from here! Serves… 3 girls. With leftovers.

Peruse your pantry, and acquire:

  • 2 monster sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cups of water, plus 1.5 tbsp
  • 1 can of unsweetened light coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • a hefty sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger
  • 1.5 tbsp cornstarch
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • red pepper flakes, also to taste (spicy soup=cleared sinuses, hoorayy!)

Bring the water in a soooop pot to a boil. Add your sliced sweet potatoes, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes, making sure the water doesn’t boil away. Mash the sweet potatoes in the pot (with that potato masher that you insisted that you didn’t need, but have subsequently used about 3 times. Thank you, mutti! And your mutti-skills, that decree that you are ALWAYS right), and add the can of coconut milk, brown sugar, and cinnamon/nutmeg/ginger. Simmer for about another 15 minutes, until it begins to thicken. In a small bowl, add cornstarch and remaining water, and stir into a thick paste. Add the cornstarch and red pepper flakes to the soup, and cook for another five-ish minutes. (I may have added a bit more cornstarch to get it to thicken faster… the soup was still delicious, and I was HUNGRY). Use a blender (or an immersion blender, if you’re one of THOSE lucky ducks), and puree the soup in batches. Return the soup to the pot, and season to taste with salt, pepper, or more spice or red pepper if desired. I’m sure it would be lovely with shredded coconut on top, but I wasn’t on the ball enough for that…

Eat with this!!

Sandy’s Cornbread!

Given to me by an awesome lady who I used to work with (and who is now fully enjoying retirement!), this is a very tasty yogurt-based cornbread. I adapted it a bit from the original recipe, mostly to include whole wheat flour (as we know… I don’t have all-purpose!). I made a half batch of this for Abby, Kira, and I, but I’ll include the full recipe here.

  • 8 oz lowfat plain yogurt (1 cup)
  • 1/4 c olive or canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 c cornmeal
  • scant 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 400. Lightly grease an 8″ or 9″ pan.

Whisk together yogurt, egg, and oil. Combine dry ingredients, add wet to dry, and  mix well. Pour into prepared pan, and bake for about 20 minutes.

If you halve the recipe, the batter fits into a 6.5″ pan, and is done a bit past 15 minutes. I occasionally have trouble with the center of cornbread being done all the way through in the small pans—check it to be sure.

I think the cornbread is about to take a dive off the handle...

 

 

 

Super Squash Strikes Again!

No, that is NOT ranch dressing. Just in case you were wondering.

That’s right.

You can’t escape my obsession with squash for long.

I’m not orangey yet, believe it or not. I’m sure we’re getting there, between the amount of pumpkin, squash and pumpkin derivatives I’ve been consuming (not to mention carrots and bell peppers. oops.) Whatever, I like my beta carotene and Vitamin A.

Lucky for you, (and me), squash is SUPER SQUASH. As in, SUPER good for you! It basically deserves a cape and some spandex for full-on superfood status. Full of phytonutrients AND antioxidants AND vitamins, it is probably one of the best winter foods out there. Besides, it’s versatile and delicious, so why WOULDN’T you eat it?! Especially when I’ve discovered tasty recipes for you. I sort of like to imagine a butternut squash chunk with a cape on flying around antioxidizing the crap out of free radicals, providing anti-inflammatory support, and blocking the formation of cholesterol in cells, all while providing thorough gastronomical enjoyment to the being consuming it (Ideally me). Talk about a super squash.

Incidentally, I read that b-nut super squash contains THREE HUNDRED and FORTY FIVE percent of your daily Vitamin A requirements, per cup. Yup, you read that right. No wonder I have fighter-pilot vision, it must be all that Vitamin A and retinol.

Whoaaaa. I just reread the last two paragraphs. Yeeesh. I am SUCH a nerd. But I am totally ok with that, it’s part of my charm, right? Hehe.

So, onto the recipe! This is something a bit different—Kira and I both agreed that it was very unlike anything either of us had ever made (in terms of its flavor profile). It was also delicious (because I would never share with you something that wasn’t, of course!). It also steams the squash, which, fun fact, helps it retain its nutrient density (so that you get all 345% of that Vitamin A).

Middle Eastern Egg Noodles with Squash, Yogurt, and Cashews

Adapted from Delicious Living, which I picked up from Whole Foods at some point and clipped the recipe.

Supposedly this serves 6, but we made half the recipe and had waaay more than what would feed 3 people. I’ll list our measurements :)

Food type items:

  • 3/8 c plain, low-fat yogurt
  • 1 clove of garlic (or frozen chunk, if you like the Trader Joe’s version, like me)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried mint (or mint tea, if you can’t find regular mint…)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 3/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • a good shake of cinnamon
  • a few grindings of pepper
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 butternut squash, cubed into 1″ pieces (ish) (I am so NOT that exact)
  • 1/2 c water
  • egg noodles, to feed your crowd
  • 1/3 c coarsely chopped cashews (or more, if you’re me and you’re nuts for nuts, haaaa) (or just NUTS)

Firstly: Combine yogurt, garlic, and salt in a bowl. Crush mint between your fingers and add to yogurt. Whisk until smooth, then cover and let it chillax in the fridge.

Secondly: Heat oil in a skillet (or straight sided saute pan) on medium. Add onion, and cook until onion browns, about 6 minutes or however long it takes your particular onion. Stir in coriander, cumin, cinnamon, and pepper. Add tomatoes, squash, and water. Cover and simmer over medium heat about 15 minutes (according to the recipe—ours was probably closer to 20 or 22 minutes), until the squash is tender.

In the meantime, cook yo’ noodles. Usually my egg noodles are done after about 7 minutes. Drain. Toss pasta with squash sauce, and then plate. Drizzle with yogurt sauce and liberally sprinkle (or douse) with cashews.

*Alternatively: the recipe orinigally calls for a can of no-sodium added crushed tomatoes, but we didn’t have this. Besides, we decided we’d rather use fresh ingredients if possible! So in went a small carton of cherry tomatoes, hooray! Also, the original specified walnuts, which we also didn’t have. Whatever, I prefer cashews. Either way, whatever you have!

Incidentally, if you’re interested, the recipe includes nutrition facts! I just thought I’d share (though don’t expect this on a regular basis, because a) I’m too lazy, and b) I don’t calorie count!)

Per serving: 358 cals, 11 g fat (3 g monounsaturated, 6 g polyunsaturated, 1 g saturated), 1 mg cholesterol, 12 g proteinm 51 g carbs, 7 g fiber, and 86 mg sodium.

Super squash strikes a blow against free radicals everywhere!

Inadvertent Tuesday Baking Spaz

Six point five inch cake pans are probably the best invention in the cooking world.

Seriously! I had no idea how much I was missing out until they came into my life… I make EVERYTHING in them! They’re perfect for two people (because really, even I think a 3 layer, 9 inch cake for two is a wee bit excessive), and it means that Kira and I can try even more things, since we don’t have to forage our way through a huuuge amount of food. Perfect.

Tuesday’s random baking occurrence happened to involve some blackberries, nicely donated by Kira’s lovely Mutti. What better use for slightly-tart blackberries than in CAKE?! And what better excuse for breakfast than a whole wheat cake with fruit?! Or midmorning snacking. Or mid afternoon. Or whenever.

I really love snack-type cakes. You know, like the type that isn’t very sweet, usually made in an 8 inch pan. They take me back to my childhood, when my wonderful Mutti would make crazy chocolate cake, and I would come home and power down a fourth of the cake (no, I’m not joking) for an after-school snack. No milk, either—milk is for sissies! I’ll chase my cake with a shot of ice cream, thank you! I would (and maybe still do, *ahem*) eat it by excavating the cake from underneath, to preserve the glazed bit on the top and on the sides, to be eaten last and with great relish. Corner pieces are my favorite–all the glaze puddles in the corners! I’ve been known to scrape the glaze off of Vati’s cake, when he was distractedly looking the other way, teehee! Not that I do that anymore, psshhh…

Anyway. This random baking spaz involved, like I said, blackberries. Lots of antioxidants in those cute little seedy characters. This cake was significantly less sweet than most cakes, which Kira and I really liked. We reduced the sugar a bit, but it has a nice crust of crunchy turbinado, which provides a bit more sweetness. This cake got a definite two thumbs, waaaay up. It really would be perfect for a light ending to a brunch, and I’m sure it goes well with ice cream (what doesn’t?!).

Not the most aesthetic, but WHATEVER. It was delicious, and we wanted cake sooner rather than later.

Blackberry Yogurt Cake

Adapted from here!

Though we made it in 6.5″ pans, I’ll post the full recipe :). We made a few adaptations—I’ll note them in the recipe.

Preheat yo’ oven! 350, pleeease. Lightly grease your pan of choice (originally a 9″ round cake pan).

  • 1 egg
  • 1.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1/4 c butter (we used unsalted), softened (or microwaved, if you’re lazy like me)
  • 1/2 c sugar*
  • 1.5 tsp sugar for sprinkling on the top, for crusty deliciousness!
  • 1/2 c plain yogurt, thinned with a bit of milk**
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • blackberries, as many as you deem appropriate

*As you know, I have a penchant for reducing the amount of sugar in recipes. This one originally called for 2/3 c for the entire cake. Since we halved it, I used 1/4 c brown sugar. Kira and I both like it—if you want it sweeter, feel free to up the sugar. If I made the full batch, I’d probably use a scant 1/2 c.

**The original recipe called for buttermilk. We have it, but it’s currently in a bit of a frozen state for preservational purposes… as we (rightly) thought we’d not use it right away. Since plain yogurt is a buttermilk substitute, we used that instead, and thinned it out with a bit of milk. It worked perfectly! I would totally do it again.

Whisk the dry ingredients in a medium-type bowl: flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar with your trusty handheld mixer that you inherited from your grandmutti, until light and fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla.

Mix in the flour, being careful not to spray it everywhere with the electric power of the beaters. I do NOT speak from experience this time… well, rather I speak from experience in that it DIDN’T happen this time, so there! Alternate the flour and the buttermilk until you have a batter. It’ll be rather thick.

Spoon the batter into the pan, and place the berries into the cake, pressing them down into the batter. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the top (make sure you don’t skip this—it’s excellent!). We used turbinado, and it creates a super tasty crunchy crust.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown. For a half recipe, it was probably somewhere around 25-20 minutes (just keep checking after 15 until a tester comes out clean).

Indulge your gastronomical gremlins’ snack attacks any time of day… they’ll love you for the change from muffins to cake (because they’re fickle like that). Besides, it has fruit and a serving of whole grains, AND reduced sugar. I’m thinking this makes it a nicely balanced snackie, which should appease both you and your gremlins :)