Confession: I was exhausted by the time 8:30 rolled around last  night. I tried to fight it ’til at least 9:00 though – still grandma status, but oh well.

At least going to bed early means waking early, so that my mom and I could go for a nice morning ride before it got too hot. First on the order, though, was breakfast.

Apricots twice in a row was not planned, but when I saw what I was working with for fruit, noticed that these were on their last hour with the heat lately. I wasn’t sure if they’d make it to lunch, even! So, since figs are the new banana when it comes to oatmeal, I test drove a new apricot-fig oatmeal concoction.

The base:

The Top:

  • chia-flax icing
  • cashews
  • PB & Co Mighty Maple
  • and a compote of a fresh apricot and a dried Turkish fig, simmered in some almond milk and maple syrup.

No complaining here! What doesn’t taste good in combination with a fig in oats? Okay, so don’t answer that – because I’m betting my other love, coconut, shouldn’t be combined with my love of the fig. Who knows what I’ll do next, though.

I enjoyed some hot Green Mountain Southern Pecan with this lovely bowl of oats.

I dawdled around a bit, doing unimportant things like laundry and cleaning bathrooms. Oh, what wastes of time – who needs sanitation in their lives, anyways?

I jest, I jest.

My mom and I went on a ride on a new trail – just giving it  test drive. There were multiple times when I was thinking to myself “if Jiggy kills me today, how is everyone going to know what happened to me? Will they think I simply started having a normal college-kid lifestyle, or will they find out that I died a dramatic death?”

connect the spots.

Luckily, I’m back in one piece. Not a happy one piece, but I’ll take what I can get when it comes to that situation.

It was probably because I made him wear his dorky fly-veil. Hey, I was trying to protect him from the ‘skeeters and other biting, brutal bugs. He should have appreciated it.

Needless to say, I was hungry for a snack after horse wrestling for three hours, and when I remembered the quinoa-bulghur muffins still in my freezer, my spirits were instantly lifted.

Half with earth balance, half with almond butter. I think I prefered the earth Balance half, I know you were dying to find that out. I think I could eat these for breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, dessert, and nightly snack (x2) and be happy with life. My body might hate me, though. Oh well. Anybody else tried them out yet? I’d love to know what anyone else thinks! I won’t be offended if you hate them.

Anyways – motivation stayed with me throughout the morning as I cleaned my saddle…

…attempted to make cashew butter…

…and made chickpea patties.

Re: cashew butter. Uh, any pointers? I’d like to start making my own nut butters… I think at first I had no interest because I just wanted to try all the brands and flavors…now that it’s not so “new” to me, I’m feeling rather frugal! Sarena’s influenced me, too – as does a new pony I have things to buy for 😛 But – I just blended toasted cashews until they were pretty well mushy…and then added some maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, and a tablespoon or so of almond milk per Sarena’s suggestion and processed further. I think the liquids and having them warmed from the toasting definitely helped to make it smoother and blend easier – but I still wound up with something reminiscent of a peanut (er, cashew?) butter cookie.

It’s spreadable and tastes pretty darn good if I say so myself…but should I have blended it further? Or is this about as good as you’re going to get when it comes to homemade nut butters with a bad processor? To be honest, I wasn’t thinking I was going to get something even relatively reminiscent of a spreadable cashew butter – I always said “ah, my blender can’t do that…” so I’m still pretty pumped 🙂 Would love some feedback, though! Just another test drive!

For the chickpea patties this time, I made a few alterations based on my thoughts from last time. I ended up using oats in place of the breadcrumbs (dirty food processor + lazy Jess = no homemade bread crumbs today), balsamic rather than soy sauce, and pretty much nixed all of the spices and replaced them with garlic salt, dried basil, sundried tomatoes, and scallions. Now that I think about it, why didn’t I use garden fresh chives? Oh well. I baked them in our new toaster oven, too. Don’t laugh, but I’m pretty pumped I can roast some broccoli or make fries without turning on the whole oven. That and, I was always frustrated that our oven’s broiler doesn’t work. Now I have my broiler. Added bonus: these made the whole house smell beyond amazing. Who would have thought chickpea patties could be the new air freshener?

Eventually, though, it was time for lunch and I opted for none of the things I made. Leave it to me. Rather – a tempeh panini.

I used some local cranberry orange nut preserves, local pepper goat cheese, pan-fried cinnamon tempeh, and local spinach. Oh and locally made bread, too. I’m on a roll! It was perfect. I think the Crofter’s sitting in my fridge has become the last cookie in the cookie jar. I don’t want to finish it, just like no one wants to be the one to take the last cookie. I’ll work up the courage eventually.

I test drove the toaster oven for some sweet potato fries, too. Just gotta make sure everything works, you know! I just seasoned with salt, pepper, and curry powder. I love sweet potatoes and curry powder, but have never had “sweet” sweet potatoes – as in, sweet potato fries with cinnamon, maple, almond butter, etc. Maybe I’m crazy.

And eventually, a red delicious for dessert, split halfsies with Jiggy. Because red delicious apples may in fact be red, but I don’t find them to necessarily be delicious. Maybe red Medicore would be more fitting.

I planted my red peppers and blackberry bush today, too! My mom burst my bubble a little bit when she informed me that we’ve never had luck growing peppers – but I’m going to remain optimistic and shower them with love, anyways. I do love red peppers…I don’t love paying $4/lb. Crazy talk.

I went for a small snack of cottage cheese and pumpkin butter in addition to a dr. Kracker with homemade cashew butter a short while afterwards. This stuff is actually really good and smooth, although I admit I still feel funny calling it butter. Though, I guess it’s smoother than the almond  butter in my cabinet…guess it works. Can anyone tell I write these posts throughout the course of the day and my thoughts change throughout? You all must not know what to think 😉

We were grillin’ again tonight, and rather than have steak and potatoes like some other residents, I threw a chickpea cutlet on the grill! I thought I’d get some fancy-dancy grill marks and it’d be all cute since it’s be a chickpea patty, and not even a chicken patty – but it didn’t work quite like that. Oh well.

I made a home-made ranch dressing/spread to go with it – just some greek yogurt, dill weed, fresh chives, sundried tomatoes, black pepper, and garlic salt. It’s based off a Clean Eating recipe – and it’s pretty much spot-on in flavor of bottled ranch dressings, but way better.

I had it with some tomato paste and fresh buttercrisp (?) lettuce, too. I think I liked these better eating them “fork and knife,” as Veganomicon mentions. I actually didn’t even think to make them into a sandwich until that’s immediately what my mom thought to do when we had them the other night. It’s funny how we can get stuck thinking one thing, huh? Anyways – it was really great, but I couldn’t taste the actual cutlet enough to really enjoy it. This might also be because they didn’t have quite as much bite to them as last time – I think I used more liquid.

I enjoyed some corn on the cob with some Earth Balance and, of course, salt. Everybody’s favorite 😉

Aaaand, after all this outdoors business combined with the heat – I’m tuckered early again! Hopefully I can make it to 8…



Filed under breakfast, cooking, dinner, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, lunch, oatmeal, recipe, Uncategorized

23 responses to “Test-Driving

  1. Will you be my personal chef? Your meals look amazing! Have a great day…good luck with the nut butters! I’ve never made them myself.

  2. I need to try those muffins! When making nutbutters, In my big food processor I find you have to process it for a LONG time like 10-15 minutes, so in the mini one it is probably longer! Also adding a tablespoon or less of oil will help smooth it out as well. My next attempt is walnut butter. And I just tried tempeh for the first time yesterday, and am in love, what took me so long?!!? needless to say I will be on a tempeh kick.

  3. Mo

    Awww. Poor Jiggy. He looks cute, though. 😛

    Nooo idea about the cashew butter. You probably just have to let it run longer. I tried making peanut butter before and it basically came out the same way haha. I didn’t roast them before though which probably helped it not blend easily, and I’m fairly sure I didn’t blend it enough. If your food processor can finely chop a bunch of dried fruit, I’d be surprised if, given enough blending time, it wasn’t able to turn a pretty soft nut into butter. 🙂
    Ahhhh the chickpea patties look to die for. Recipe? 😀
    Red delicious apples suck. You’d think they wouldn’t given their name, but they’re the worst combination of tough, bitter skin and soft, mealy insides. Blech.
    You know what’s ridiculously good, though? Lime juice and salt on corn on the cob. I haven’t eaten corn with butter in maybe 8-9 years ever since I heard Emeril Lagasse talking about putting lime on his corn. The man annoys me sometimes but that was a damn fine idea of his. 😉

  4. Well, grandma, when you get up at the crack of dawn…you’re gonna be tired earlier! Seriously, everything looks amazing!!! Definitely go longer on the nut butter. You could probably add a little oil too, but I never like doing that. I actually don’t mind the cookie dough type consistency. I warned you it was a whole beast of it’s own. You definitely need a hard core machine though and more time on it if you want it smoother! Get some rest tonight! I hope it is peaceful for you!

  5. I want to make my own nut butters too, but I think I’ll wait for a vitamix because I feel like I’ll burn out my processor. Your chickpea patties look so so good, I think I’ll be making some this week, maybe with brown rice? I’ll keep ya updated 🙂

  6. “Fig is the new banana” haha I love it! And I used to always make my horse wear the dorky fly masks. I even had one that had these big eyes on it so he looked extra weird.. I’m pretty sure he loved it. =P

  7. im grandma status right now! i feel like i just…..can’t….get……..going…… lol

    ur chickpea patties are adorable and scrumptious! ur such a creative girly!!

  8. Aww Jiggy in that fly mask…

    Thanks for the awesome photo tips…I seriously had NO TIME with that baby so I need to just get my own dslr soon!

    The figgy apricot oats look scrumptious! I am thinking of making chickpea cutlets again tomorrow since I loved them so much last time. Maybe the bread overshadowed a little for ya tonight?

    The panini looks grand as usual lady! Nut butter wise, I’ve made pb-almond, and maple almond, oh and chocolate hazelnut (turned out almost gooey…weird). They all are more thick than the store bought natural ones and not quite sure yet why. Even when I add a tiny bit of coconut oil, they aren’t the same texture. Have a good night lady! Sounds like you might get a good amount of sleep!

  9. girl – i gotta say i’ve been way ahead of you on the fig-apricot thing. that’s been my jelly combo for prob 3 years now 🙂 great minds think alike… and fig and coconut is a definite DO!

    as far as nut butters, i wouldn’t add the almond milk into your cashew butter. that’s just my personal, non-expert recommendation, but i usually find if i just be patient and process it for a loooooooooooooooong time, i do much better without any added liquid. but the nicer your processor, the smoother the butter gets, unfortunately. damn college tuition.

    ps – i love how every night before i go to bed (also at grandma time), i gotta check my nightcap posts (yours and like 2 other daily bloggers!). i always enjoy!

  10. Those chickpea patties look delish! This recipe is being saved for sureee

  11. Sounds like you had a great day love!
    Homemade nut butter-very cool! I’m not sure my food processor could handle that… yeah. Probably not. But yours sounds fabulous! And nut butter is so. darn. expensive! Which, by the way, why in the world is it? It’s basically ground up nuts… I mean, c’mon now?
    The “ranch” spread sounds great too as I am a big fan of ranch dressing!
    Oh girl, I’m fighting sleep right now too. I’m EXHAUSTED. It’s ok to give in to your old lady tendencies now and again, I know I do 🙂
    Love you!

  12. giiiirrrrl. everything looks amaze-balls

  13. The picture of Jiggy in his fly cap is too cute. I never even knew those existed, but it’s definitely a reason to smile!! About the cashew butter, I bought some brazil nut butter that has an incredibly crumbly consistency, and I’ve found that zapping it in the microwave for a few seconds really helps the spreadability!

  14. Oh you’ve totally put me off making my own nut butter now! I thought you just blended it too, maybe I’m wrong…? Have you been on edibleperspective.com? She makes a ton of nut butters that are all runny and everything!
    Lol at your hack out – my last horse used to pull. like. a. train. (we did endurance riding, she was just mega fit!) It sure gives the arms a good workout!! What’s going to happen to Jiggy when the new one arrives?
    Oh, and I have your muffins on my ‘List of things to cook/bake/eat once exams are over’ 😀

  15. Jiggy is so cute! I love his fly veil.

  16. I REALLY want to make those chickpea patties! In fact, I just might =) I looked at your original recipe and don’t have some of the ingredients, though :/ But you’re saying oats can replace the pretzel breadcrumbs? And would it be horrible to omit the apricots…?

  17. “mediocre red apples” bwhahaha! that made me laugh out loud, and I agree!

    Everything is looking tasty as per usual!

    Would it be weird to pick a post of yours and follow the entire menu for a day?

  18. Jiggy looks adorable! 😀

    And I’m with you on feeling like a grandma. I can barely keep my eyelids open past 9:30 these days…ugh.

  19. Haha, don’t worry, I’m in perma-grandma mode too. I’d much rather wake up early at 6 am than go to bed at that time like some people I know!

    Your new toaster oven sounds super handy. I haven’t had one since I set my last one on fire bahaha!

    Holy cow I bet that homemade ranch dressing is killer. Gotta give that a try!

  20. I love all the chickpea patty variations you are coming up with! Chickpeas are my favorite bean so you’ve definitely stuck my heart there. I would love some of these recipes, if you wouldn’t mind :). With making nut butters, I’ve found that roasting them (like you said) helps. Also, you can’t give up. Trust me. Just keep blending, just keep blending (I’m totally singing like Dory in Finding Nemo right now haha). The longer you blend it, the creamier it’ll get. I didn’t even have to add extra oil.

    Have a lovely day!

  21. teenagehealthfreak

    so do you ride dressage or english??? I can’t really tell…I used to ride dressage and do a little jumping!!!

  22. aha no worries about the grandma feeling – I love getting to bed real early to make sure I get enough sleep 🙂

    mm those chickpea patties sound great – I love sundried tomato flavoring & scallions just make everything taste a little bit better.

  23. Dee

    $4/lb for red pepper? :O

    girl, i’m SO making that chickpea burger for Memorial Day weekend. Watch though, I’l get really lazy and end up not doing anything! 😦

    yay to home-made nutbutters. I’ve never even attempted to make my own because honestly, all I’ve got is a magic bullet and an oster blender. oh, to own a vitamix or food processer! 😉

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