Category Archives: coconut

WINNERS! (and Blueberry Yogurt Pancakes)

I think my butt hurts from sitting on it so much today.

Usually if I say that, I’m half kidding, knowing I didn’t just sit all. day. long. But that’s really the extent of what I’ve done, save for the 15 minutes I decided to do random workout moves so I could regain feeling in my limbs.

I had a bunch of work to get done today for one class in particular, a ton of work on a top-secret mission of mine that is proving to be quite a project as well as designing some things for a couple of lovely bloggers, and add to that the fact that we had company coming at 11:00 and a Bruins game on at 12:30, I knew I was going to have to work hard to make the most of my morning.

Yes, the Bruins game does take precedence over everything else on that list. D’uh!

I was fueled by the best, however. Maybe it’s weird, but I hate using this yogurt as a snack/part of a meal/whatever. It just seems too expensive to eat all at once. Is that normal? Instead, I like to make “sauces” with it for pancakes. Or heck, add it to the pancakes.

Usually I get vanilla, but they were out of stock of it last time I went. Major bummer. Either way, I also put off eating these for the said price reason. The best-by date was nearing, though, and I figured that it being blueberry flavored and the fact that I caved and bought frozen blueberries the other day was pretty much destiny.

I am frugal. Slash cheap. Sue me. I have high hopes for this summer’s show season with the boy.

Oh, right; the recipe. Because you’re not sick of my pancake recipes yet. (that’s a joke.)

Blueberry-Spice Yogurt Pancakes

  • 1/4 c. flour (I used graham, based on my obsession)
  • 1 T. (generous) cornmeal
  • 2 t. chia seeds + 2 T. water (mixed in a small cup)
  • 1 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 T. shredded coconut
  • 1/4 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 c. seltzer water
  • 2 T. blueberry yogurt
  • 1/4 c. blueberries (I used frozen blueberries that were uuuuber tiny – you might need more/less)

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. Add in the chia egg, seltzer and yogurt. Fold in the blueberries.

Pour onto a preheated, greased skillet and cook until golden brown on both sides.

Blueberry-Cashew Butter Yogurt Sauce

  • 1 T. cashew butter
  • 3-4 T. blueberry yogurt
  • almond milk, to thin as desired

Whisk everything together. That is all.

The seltzer water is a baking trick I learned from Sarena. I wouldn’t say it is critical for the recipe – if you don’t have it, just use a milk of your choice (don’t sub plain water!) The carbonation makes them a bit lighter than they would be otherwise, though.

Does life get any better than blueberry pancakes?

No. Well, maybe it would had I used fresh lemon zest and juice – but I’m saving the lemons I have in case I need them to make lemon poppyseed cookies for a winner.

Yes, I’ll get to the winners.

But first: I think I’ve deduced that the Nasoya tofu is better when you are looking for more of an eggy-type dish. For me anyways – everyone else seems to love it so I think I just have high tofu standards.

There could be worse personality traits, don’t you think?

Barbecue scrambled tofu a la Matt.

Of course, after I added spinach, shallot and garlic, I realized I essentially made a deconstructed BBQ Spinach and Tofu Sammie.

Old loves die hard.

Onwards and upwards: The real reason you’re all reading this/”reading” this but really just skipping down to this part:

Did you know that wordpress has a little “hide/show kitchen sink” button in the add new post screen? I never had any idea, and had been missing Windows Live Write solely because I knew how to change font color and size as I saw fit.

Oh, right. Giveaway winners.

First winner issss…

Comment #45, Averie!

And secondly…

Comment #54, Mary!

And seriously, wordpress needs to number their comments or something. There’s nothing like counting down 50 comments on a computer screen.

ANYWAYS! Congratulations, ladies! Your wish is my demand. Shoot me an e-mail with your choice and I’ll hop-to.

Thank you to everyone for entering, though – I was shocked at how many people got involved with this giveaway!! So I will definitely be doing another one sooner rather than later 🙂

19 Comments

Filed under blueberries, breakfast, coconut, dinner, healthy living, pancakes, recipe, tofu, vegan, vegetarian, veggies

Scrambling

I am loving reading everyone’s requests for winning the baked goods! Seems like the lemon poppyseed cookies and birdseed bars are in high demand 😉 Keep on piling in those entries!

***

I don’t think whatever that sickness I had yesterday had much of a chance…in fact, I think I effectively slept it off. Between dozing all morning yesterday and sleeping until nearly 8:00 this morning, I was good to go today. I woke up still a little “bleh,” but ate something and took 875% of my d.v. of vitamin C and I was feeling better already.

I actually received this sample along with my iHerb order, and I figured there was no day better than today to use it. Yes, that is 525 mg of vitamin C per serving, and yes, that does equate 875% of my daily value of the stuff.

I was a little worried I was going to turn into a clementine or something, but I’m still alive. Even better than alive, dare I say.

Maybe this was the reason why I felt so good all afternoon? It’s probably just coincidence, but oh well 😉

Good enough to go grocery shopping, even!

…unfortunately, I would have been better off at home. Ugh, $60? Really? I am so upset because I didn’t need to spend that much. In fact, I had just cashed a check for $45 an intended to spend no more than that.

I decided to just go to Price Chopper (from here on out to be called “The store which shall not be named,” AKA TSWSNBN) rather than Hannaford (closest thing I have to a Whole Foods around here, though I’m thinking it’s less expensive from what I hear) because of the whole convenience thing. TSWSNBN = 5 mins away, Hannaford = 1 hour away. It’s convenient if I’m in the area because of work/going to see Teddie, but not on a day like today.

Anyways. I get there and start cringing at the produce prices, but shrug it off thinking “I didn’t spend any gas money to get here at least.” and carry on. Note I pretty much just buy produce that’s on sale. If you can call it that.

Not only that, but they were out of just about everything I needed – most imperatively, dates.

I almost started crying when the stock-boy told me they were sold out. My lip started quivering and I had to breathe deep, but luckily I spared him the waterworks. And moved on to wanting to hit him over the head with the chopped dates he suggested I get.

You know you’re a date addict when you move from feelings of despair to ones of extreme anger.

Not only that but all their produce was on its outs, they didn’t have any old fashioned rolled oats unless I wanted to buy them in the tiniest container possible for $4 and I bought a moldy yucca.

So basically, I have to go to Hannafords and/or the co-op sometime soon anyway. And had I known that from the get-go, I just plain wouldn’t have wasted my time and money there today.

UGH! Okay, rant over. Onto happy things.

Like banana scrambles.

Oh hail yes. I feel better just looking at that. Don’t you?

It’s like food therapy.

See, the other option for breakfast the other morning was a banana scramble, but the French toast had the louder scream.

When I saw Jenny suggest a banana scramble on that very post, I knew it was fate. I had to try one, once and for all. I might start cheating on my pancakes for these babies, too.

But oyu know what I haven’t had in a while?

Anything gingerbread. I’m assuming this has been done already, since it is gingerbread and all…but here’s how I did it:

Gingerbread Banana Scramble

adapted from The Edible Perspective’s Cinnamon Banana Scramble

  • 1/3 c. quick oats
  • 1 T. oat bran
  • 1 t. chia seeds
  • 1-2 T. milk
  • 1/2 of a large banana
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/8 t. ground clove
  • 1/8 – 1/4 t. ground ginger
  • 1/4 t. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 – 1 t. molasses
  • pinch of maple sugar

Mash the banana with the oats. Mix in all remaining ingredients and then form into a patty with your hands. Place on a pre-heated, greased pan and cook until golden brown on both sides. Top with peanut-ginger sauce.

Peanut-Ginger Sauce

  • scant 1/4 c. peanut flour
  • 1/2 – 1 t. molasses
  • 1/2 t. maple syrup (or to taste)
  • pinch ground ginger
  • heavy pinch ground cinnamon
  • 2-3 T. milk

Whisk together all ingredients, starting with just 1 T. milk and adding more to get to your desired consistency. Check for sweetness, adding more maple syrup as your taste buds call for it 😉

The only thing that would have made this better would have been having it between French toast. Too bad I was out of bread :[

But naturally, when new obsessions are born, they do not die quickly. As a snack post-workout, I decided more were necessary as an almost-lunch-but-not-quite.

On a note unrelated to banana scrambles, I think this was when I realized I might be more of a “late morning” workout kinda gal. I’ve never given myself the chance to workout anytime other than mornings, before starting my day. I felt like my mind was so much more in it today, though.

Maybe I was just high on Vitamin C, though.

In keeping with my almost-tradition of making just about everything either gingerbread or carrot cake, though, these ones were carrot cake.

I die.

Carrot Cake Banana Scrambles

adapted from the Edible Perspective’s Apple Scramble

  • 1/4 c. quick oats
  • 2-3 T. applesauce
  • 5 shredded baby carrots (do you find it funny to imagine me shredding poor little baby carrots?)
  • 1 t. chia seeds
  • 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. ground nutmeg
  • pinch ground ginger
  • 1/2 T. shredded coconut
  • pinch maple sugar
  • 2-3 T. milk

Combine all ingredients, adding in more milk as you see fit. Carefully form a patty (or two) and place it on a preheated, greased pan. Cook until golden on both sides.  Serve and top with peanut-carrot sauce, coconut, carrot, pecans and molasses.

Peanut-Carrot Sauce

  • scant 1/4 c. peanut flour
  • 1 shredded baby carrot
  • 1/2 t. maple syrup (more or less as desired)
  • 2-3 T. milk

Whisk all ingredients together, adding milk 1 T. at a time until you reach your desired consistency.

I think this one would have been ever better with a banana instead of applesauce, just to add a little bit more sweetness to the carrots. I didn’t really want to go on three bananas today, though. What can I say?

What else happened today? Well, naturally I made more bread. Do I even need to say I love Sarena’s bread anymore? It’s probably engrained in everyone’s brains already.

I made this loaf with 6-grain flour that I’d almost forgotten about, adding in a little Vital Wheat Gluten to make up for the heavier flour.

You know bread is good when you can eat it plain without even toasting it.

I made Chelsey’s granola and burnt all the raisins.

Luckily, I don’t mind the occassional taste of char. You probably think I’m being witty right now but I’m totally serious.

Ironically, I also had to make it with quick oats. The whole reason I wanted to get rolled oats at the store was so I could make granola. My heart was dead-set on making granola though, so I didn’t give up. It worked better than I thought it would!

Aaand lastly – sausage and peppers and a baked sweet potato.

You know what I realized? I don’t think I like green peppers anymore.

And also: Jenn’s method of baking a couple sweet potatoes at a time (in the oven) for grabbing one on the fly, totally works. I baked this one when I baked one for last night, and after reheating in the toaster oven, it was just as good as if it were fresh out of the oven. It’s a great trick if I’m craving a sweet potato for work the next day since it takes an hour in the oven and I now flat-out refuse to microwave-bake my taters.

What are your time-saving techniques?


18 Comments

Filed under baking, banana, banana scramble, breakfast, carrot cake, chia seeds, coconut, cooking, dates, dinner, food, healthy living, molasses, oats, recipe, seitan, sweet potato, vegan, vegetarian

Cranberry Almond Coconut Balls

I’m pretty beat.

I’m ready for Christmas so that I can just relax, and work will stop being a whirlwind of people scrambling to get massive projects done at the last minute. I work in n industry where people being “last minute lucys” turns into our problem if we can’t make a 2-day job happen in 1-hour.

Of course, the 2-day job in 1 hour could potentially happen if everybody wasn’t working on the same deadline.

Such is life. There is a calm after the storm just like there is one before it.

And at least I had time to make these this weekend.

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After making my Mounds Balls, I quickly realized 20 balls for 5 hungry people (some going to families) was not going to cut it – especially at the rate that those balls are demanded. I made some again the next morning.

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But, you may know me enough by now that I couldn’t just do the same ol’ Mounds Balls as I made the night before. When my eye caught the dried cranberries I’d picked up, I decided to work them in there, too.

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Part of me also really wanted to work in some almond butter, but I resisted on the basis that even I am not completely sold on eating almond butter straight up, and so didn’t think I could convince anyone else of it, either.

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Then I wanted to make another batch with peanut butter – but aren’t there already peanut butter balls made with sugar and graham crackers and rolled in chocolate? Buckeyes or something? So I passed.

I like to remain relatively original. Hence why I don’t bake things like chocolate chip cookies. It breeds for comparison, and I’m really not that good of a baker. I dare you to find someone who doesn’t have a “favorite” chocolate chip cookie. Now think of how many people you know that have a favorite lemon poppyseed cookie. I rest my case. I will never be able to compete against people’s favorite chocolate chip cookies, no matter how good mine are.

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I used (and recommend) marcona almonds for this recipe – but I’m sure any almonds would be fine. I just enjoy the salty, smooth marcona almonds to contrast the sweetness of the coconut, and cranberry.

And FWIW, my disclaimers about this recipe are the same as they were for the Mounds Balls. I am in no way, shape or form declaring these to be healthified. They are, however, an enjoyable treat that gets you out of ay kind of trouble. Though maybe not quiiiiite as easily as the Mounds Balls do Winking smile 

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Cranberry-Almond Coconut Balls

for 21 balls:

  • scant 3/4 c. confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 c. date syrup
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil, softened but not liquid
  • 1 c. finely shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 c. dried cranberries (I think mine were fruit juice-sweetened, though only because I have a terrible time finding unsweetened!)
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped marcona almonds
  • 1/2 bag dark chocolate chips
  • 1” square parafin wax, finely chopped
  • 1 square baker’s chocolate, finely chopped

Cream together the date syrup, sugar and coconut oil. When smooth, add in the coconut, cranberries and almonds. Mix to combine, then chill for approx. 30 minutes.

When chilled, line a small baking sheet with waxed paper. Roll the coconut mixture into about tablespoon-sized balls, and place on the paper. Try and make sure they’re not touching. Freeze for at least an hour, or overnight.

When balls are frozen, set up a double boiler on the stove with the chocolate chips, wax and baker’s chocolate. Heat until smooth and thoroughly melted. When ready, remove from heat and drop the balls in a few at a time, using the spoon and your fingers to thoroughly coat. Place back on the waxed paper baking sheets when done, and chill/freeze when set.

I toasted some coconut and marcona almonds to sprinkle on top, too – which is entirely optional but an added touch. You’ll need to sprinkle it on a couple of seconds after you place the balls on the sheets, though, as the wax casues it to set pretty quick.

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I preferred these over the Mounds Balls, but most likely because I like “different” things.

What about you – do you like to break the mold, or do you tend to go with the flow?

16 Comments

Filed under baking, christmas, coconut, holiday, recipe

How to Become a Legend

My mom is a little bit of a legend. It is due solely to this one recipe lurking in her little black box.

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My mom isn’t one of those women who is constantly baking. She’d rather be outside doing something, working around the house. She bakes a lot come Christmas time, and occasionally during the winter months. It is a rare sight to see her baking in the summer.

She’s made these Mounds Balls every Christmas for the past…lot of years.

No one – no one – lets her forget it.

My bosses don’t let me forget it, either. I hear about them all year…joking “you can do whatever you want if you bring coconut balls!”

“Sorry, that’s only at Christmas time!” is the constant reply.

Nothing really makes these inherently Christmas-y except for the aforementioned reason that she only bakes this time of year.

And it’d never occurred to me before this year that maybe I could try making them myself. I mean, I wouldn’t mind being a legend!

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I even had some tricks up my sleeve. If I were Bobbette Flay, this is where I’d ask her Are you ready for a Throwdown?”

We’re both winners, though.

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A few things before we get started:

  • Only make these if you want an “out” out of every wrong thing you do. An instant way to make people forgive you.
  • Only make these if you want to instantly convince people to give you your way.
  • Only make these if you want to become legendary.
  • Only make these if you’ve got room for freezing a lot of balls. (We’re making balls, here. There’s going to be balls jokes.)
  • One last thing: I’m usually posting “healthified” recipes. Let me get this out of the way: this has not been healthified. In the least. They’re basically balls of sugar. And that’s totally okay. Like I mentioned yesterday, I’m totally satisfied after (half of) one, yet recognize how good they are Winking smile

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Even making the original recipe with my mom, I’d prefer them before coating in chocolate, and she’s the same. It’s now becoming clear where my “I don’t care for chocolate” tastebuds come from.

Still, I coated them because I realize the large majority of people would much rather have them covered in dark chocolate than a random little ball of sugar and coconut.

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Added bonus? They’re easy. A little time consuming since they can’t really be made in one sitting – but easy.

Mounds Balls

Slightly adapted from an old Taste of Home recipe for Mounds Balls

for 21 balls:

  • 1 c. confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil
  • 1 c. finely shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 c. flaked, sweetened coconut
  • 1/8 c. sweetened condensed almond milk (recipe below)
  • 1/4 t. vanilla
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped roasted almonds
  • 1/2 bag dark chocolate chips
  • 2 squares (2 oz.) unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1” square of parafin wax
  • optional: additional almonds and coconut, toasted, for topping after dipping in chocolate

1. Sift the confectioner’s sugar into a large mixing bowl and then add in the coconut oil. It’s okay to microwave it a few seconds to get it softened, but you don’t want it runny. Mix on high until “creamed.” Some notes: 1. You will need an electric blender for this. 2. It will take a while, but it will come together just before you admit defeat. 3. You’ll probably want to start slowly and work your way up to extra fast. Unless you want sugar in places it shouldn’t be.

Don’t ask me how I know any of that.

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2. Add in the coconut, condensed milk, vanilla and almonds. Blend just to combine. Chill the mixture in the fridge for about half an hour.

3. Once chilled, line a small baking sheet with wax paper. Roll the mixture into approx. tablespoon-sized balls and place on baking sheet. You won’t want them touching. Once all are done (I got 24, though I was a bit inconsistent with size) freeze for at least 30 minutes.

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4. Once your balls are frozen, set up a double boiler by placing a small-medium sized bowl over a saucepan with simmering water. Melt the chocolate chips, bakers chocolate and wax. You’ll want to make sure you shave the wax and bakers chocolate pretty finely, or else your chips will be melted but you’ll still have hunks of wax. Again – not that I would know anything about that.

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Make sure you’re careful not to let the water come up the sides and ruin your chocolate, too. One drop and you’ve gotta start over!

Once it’s smooth and ready, remove from heat (but keep on top of the hot water so it stays warm) and drop in a couple coconut balls at once. Spoon the chocolate over so it’s entirely coated, and then remove, setting back on the wax-lined sheets. Nothing fancy, folks – just use your spoon and the fingers!

If the chocolate starts to thicken, just put it back over heat. Once all are done, freeze or chill until set. Optional: I toasted some coconut and almonds that I sprinkled over top. This needs to be done almost immediately after dipping the balls, though, or else it won’t stick.

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Only thing better than these mounds balls? The rendition I came up with when feeling like breaking the mold:

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You’ll see that tomorrow Winking smile

Now…go make yourself a legend!

EDITED to add the Sweetened Condensed Non-Dairy Milk recipe that I forgot!

Simply simmer 1/4 c. brown sugar (lightly packed) with 1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk, 1 T. earth balance and 1 t. vanilla extract until thickened. Stir/whisk often.

18 Comments

Filed under baking, christmas, coconut, holiday, recipe

In with the Old, In with the New

Hey loves! Did everyone enjoy their extra hour of sleep? …oh, wait…you mean, we lost sleep? Snap.

I know I, for one, felt quite out of place in the kitchen this morning, making breakfast at 8am! It was 7:45 when I woke up – normally, that would be 6:45, and I was almost lost. I mean 8:00 is when I’m already having a snack, most days! Even 6:45 is a late morning for me – but I was up late and was pretty beat, so for a weekend it wouldn’t have been that late.

Once I finally found my bearings, I decided on a bowl of mango-coconut-ginger oat bran & barley flakes. Waffles crossed my mind, but I didn’t think I wanted to take the time and effort, and didn’t want to miss my morning oats! I had two exciting new purchases, too!

That doesn't really say Dundee's preserves - it's definitely "Jess's" preserves.

While I – sadly – finished my much-loved jar of Strawberry-Pom jam in the wee hours of the night, at least it meant I could open up a new find! Sure, I’ve got blueberry cherry jam and plum jam in the fridge – but neither of those belonged in my mango oats. And I allow myself three open at once. No more, no less. Gotta have some guidelines for the obsession, you know.

Goji Berries - Mulberries - Goldenberries

My online order from iHerb for this amazing Navitas Naturals mix came just in the nick of time – my goji berries from the co-op got finished up yesterday! I’ll get to what I think of it in a bit.

Rainy Days

I woke up quite a few times during the night to hear torrential downpours and howling winds – and it was only slightly subdued by the time I ate.  I’m not a rain-hater per se – in fact, I find it calming and comforting when I’m at work or need a lazy day – but this was a gross rain, not a pleasant rain. Does that make sense? Luckily – Rain Forest Nut and a delicious bowl of oats & barley made it seem at least a lil’ sunnier.

Ginger preserves = bliss.

The usual sautee method was done with some of the mango – mango, almondmilk, coconut, as well as some dried papaya. Also did a sprinkling of crystallized ginger, and was quite liberal with the coconut butter. Some things are  necessary when you need a lil’ extra sunshine.

Can we just talk about ginger preserves for a second? Okay, listen carefully. Ginger preserves are – to put it simply – the best thing since fork-split english muffins. I am not joking you. The only thing I didn’t like was that the consistency was more jelly-like than jam or preserve-like. And it’s high in sugar, but – ginger can be kind of spicy so I’m just going to push past that minor detail.

And the Navitas Naturals berry mix? LOVE it. When I was ordering to replace, I was looking into mulberries and goldenberries, as well as my usual goji berries. I actually had an order from my favorite supplier – Live Superfoods – for each of these items, but cringed when I saw what the total would be. They aren’t overpriced – but since I had to buy a large amount of each, it added up. When I saw Nicole mention iHerb the other day, I checked out their selection and it was like my mind was already being read – a combination of everything! Score. I had a $5 off code (thanks Nicole!) and decided I might as well order!

The verdict on the mulberries and goldenberries? SOOO good. I love their tartness, and I think they taste much better than just goji berries. I “re-hydrate” them if you will, by adding them to the oat mixture and simmering everything. That was the only way I would enjoy goji berries, but the mulberries and goldenberries I’ll gladly eat by the handful! A heads-up, though: while iHerb has great service – fast shipping, wide selection, low shipping cost – they are not the cheapest supplier out there, at least not for this. Maybe for some of their other products, though. Alas, I had a $5 off code, and you do too: if you want $5 off your very first iHerb order, enter WEZ004. With the cheap shipping (I think it’s one of the lowest out there – but fast!) and the $5 off, they’re not too bad of a deal.

Phew! Moving on.

this is my "moving on." look.

hah, random. sorry. Anywho. Sundays are usually grocery days – mainly produce. But I did some hemming and hawing, and decided I really didn’t feel like going out. Sure, the grocery store is 5 minutes away and it’d be fine driving. But days like this, you just want to stay inside! So I finally decided I’d just run Tuesday – I have plenty of essentials, I’m really just a little low on produce. No biggie.

That said, today I did what I do best: Grazed! I think I re-instated my title of the grazing queen. I even enjoyed some fun new snacks!

This one isn't new. But it's always tasty. Kashi, trail power, sunflower seeds,almondmilk, honey apple butter, orange.

After breakfast I was reading through some blogs, and Marla’s recent post really struck me. She mentioned how she had loads to learn – which is both empowering and frustrating, and I couldn’t agree with this more. In addition, we talked about how ruts stink, but they can invite unique opportunities. Marla, I couldn’t have said it better myself. It is so true! And I wanted to share this with everyone reading, because I think we all need the constant reminder when we are feeling down on ourselves that something good always comes when you least expect it, and every situation we deal with is an opportunity to grown and evolve as a person. Lately – I’ve been having mixed emotions about my photography, and some comments that have been said that could be taken as backhanded compliments. I read Marla’s words and immediately remembered: do what makes you happy. Those who like it, will like it. Those who don’t, don’t. Don’t change what you like, just to make someone else content. It’s not worth it.

I’d also been worried I’ve been getting in another food rut. Are my eats getting boring and repetitive? I can’t tell – I feel like repetitive, yes. But, remember when I was that girl who had a panini wrap or bulgur stir-fry every night? My, my, look how I’ve grown 🙂 Anyways – I’m going back to my loose meal-planning ways in efforts to get some new meals up in hurr’!

And what better day than today, when I am home free with a full kitchen?! That’s what I thought.

Never had a starfruit before. It’s pretty. It tastes just okay. English muffins are always amazingly okay, however. I remember when I was a kid, I would always have my toast with butter and cinnamon-sugar. I thought of this last night, and enjoyed an olivio and cinnamon-stevia english muffin. It made another appearance today.

What’s a food from your childhood that you haven’t had in a while, or have recently “brought back”? And if you’ve never done this with your toast, you should try it 🙂

It had been far too long since my last sweet-potato panini wrap. This one had a fried egg with spinach, red pepper, and red onion, almond mozzarella, and sweet potato rounds seasoned with some salt, pepper, and curry powder. I also made a quickie poppyseed-yogurt-dijon dressing.

This was much better the last time I made one, but I was too lazy to find that recipe. I mean, I’ll put a fried egg on anything. Same goes for sweet potatoes. You can’t go wrong. But if you’re going to do this, do it this way.

So, the majority of my day consisted of cleaning, laundry, drinking coffee, eating, and photo editing. That is, essentially, all she wrote. It was kind of nice. But I still have more photos to go through. Oh well! Do you guys like the random integration of new photos I’ve taken, or could you do without? I mean, I have a photo website and flickr, so I have no problem omitting them from my foodie posts. But I’m not sure if you’d like to see what I’m up to on the photo front? Input is welcome 🙂

Grilled PB, J, & Tempeh Lavash with a side of Chia Gel.

Holy yum. I think when I grow up I need to be able to work from home so I can snack like this all day. A-la Susan, I decided to make a tempeh, peanut butter, and apple-honey butter grilled lavash sandwich. I nuked pb, apple butter, and the tempeh, mashed up, and spread. I also sprinkled cinnamon-stevia on the outside. New obsession? Maybe. Unfortunately, it’s a bit difficult to make at work, so maybe not :[

Although – why on earth have I been so late to jump on the chia gel bandwagon? I think maybe because I’ve seen mixed reviews of it. Well, I adore it. The consistency, the texture, the taste, the chill, oh my! I just combined it with almondmilk, trail power, vanilla extract, and a sprinkle of sun crystals. This was also dessert tonight. And may or may not make an appearance on tomorrow’s oats. If it lasts that long.

Hey, while I'm in the kitchen...why not some oatmeal?

I have these random instant oats packets laying about from when I was an oats n00b. Well, why not put some of a packet to use with some raisins, almondmilk, sunflower kernels, cinnamon, and kashi? Ohhh, if you insist.

cheesy noods.

It was St. Patty’s Dinner Night in the Healthy Exposures household! …if you’re wondering why this doesn’t look like cabbage and corned beef – it’s because I hate cabbage and corned beef. So – you guessed it – I was on my own.

Why not make a cheesy bechamel-alfredo noodle dish? Ohhh, if you insist. And kale. and carrots. and a cheesy creamy sauce made with enough garlic to keep away a thousand vampires, fresh basil, sundried tomatoes, almond mozarella, fresh parm, almondmilk, chives, and…? I think that’s about it. Okay, random throw-in spices, I’m sure. And some white bean flour to thicken. And lots of “yum!”s.

I really wished I had more veggies, but luckily had some carrots! And the kale was fine, so it all worked out. I wouldn’t have complained if I had some red pepper and/or plum tomatoes, though. I need to save the last of my red pepper for tomorrow’s lunch, though!

And some good-ol’ parm-garlic lavash. Fine Dining. Sort of.

And that about brings me up to date! How has everyone else’s Sundays gone? I didn’t mind my lazy day – but it’s still really gross out.

I’m a little bummed, too – I think I’m back to waking up in darkness! Hopefully not for too long, though? And I guess the light at night is worth it.

I was going to include some information about goji berries, mulberries, and goldenberries in this post, but – I think I’ve about talked your ears off already. Or – read your eyes out. Whatever floats your boat.

Goodnight everyone! Back to the bump-n-grind tomorrow…oh joy?

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Recipe: Tropical Cupcake Parfaits

(aka…my birthday cake dessert of choice!)

So I’m finally getting around to posting this now. Hey, it’s only a week late – better late than never, right?

As I mentioned, I completely intended to follow Stella’s (The Witchy Kitchen’s) recipe for Mango & Coconut Cake. Not only did it sound and look delicious (as you may very well know – I’m a sucker for anything coconut, and I had recently discovered the deliciousness that is mango.) but it was already quite healthy! Considering it was my birthday I wasn’t so concerned about having a healthy cake, but I wouldn’t have complained.

As I continued looking the recipe over, I decided a banana would be good to add too – give it even more of a tropical twist! And then I realized, that often times – fruit purees can be used as a sub for oil. So I figured, hey, why not just omit the oil and sub the banana, anyways? And that’s what I did. And then, of course, I wanted to play even more and just turn them into fun cupcake-and-yogurt parfaits. Maybe not your traditional birthday dessert, but everyone loved them. And I got them to eat chia seeds.

For the Cupcakes:

original recipe here

Ingredients:

-1 1/4 c. white whole wheat flour

-3 T. stevia

-2 T. honey

-1 1/2 t. baking soda

-1/4 t. salt

-1/2 t. ginger

-1/4 t. chai spice blend

-1/2 mango, diced

-scant 3/4 c. almondmilk

-1 medium banana, mashed (should yield approx. 1/3 cup)

-1 1/2 t. vanilla extract

-coconut (to sprinkle on top)

Destructions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350*.

2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients, omitting the coconut. (note: you could add in coconut, as well – if my sister wasn’t “on the fence” about coconut, I would have.)

2. In another medium-sized bowl, whisk together your wet ingredients, omitting your diced mango.

3. Combine your wet and dry, and then fold in your diced mango.

4. Spray with non-stick spray 12 medium muffin cups and divide the batter evenly amongst them.

Sprinkle coconut on top (optional) and bake for approx 25-30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from tins, and allow to cool on a cooling rack! And obviously, as always – taste-test one or two to make sure they’re…you know…cooked all the way. Right? Right.

Omitting the oil worked out fine – they were still perfectly moist and – well – dreamy! If I were to make these again today, I think I’d even add in some dried papaya that I’ve got hangin’ out in my cupboard, as well as some crystallized ginger. Because I’m that kinda gal.

You could, of course, stop there and just devour these as-is. In fact, that’s how most of them were eaten – but for my birthday dessert, I took them one step further and made up a lime chia-yogurt pudding and layered it with some fresh fruit to make a deliciously refreshing parfait.

For the Parfait Yogurt:

Ingredients:

1/2 c. plain greek yogurt

-1/4 c. almondmilk

-2 t. chia seeds

-1/4 t. vanilla extract

-1/4 t. chai spice blend

-1 T. honey

-zest of 1 lime

(I also think I used the juice of half of it? But I didn’t write that down. Take that for what it’s worth, haha.)

Destructions:

Just combine everything! Adjust the sweetness to your taste. Also – this will not give you enough yogurt to make all 12 muffins into parfaits. I got five – and could have used a little more since it was so dang good!

To Construct the Parfait:

Additional Ingredients:

sliced straberries

-sliced kiwis

-poppyseeds

-lime zest

-shredded coconut

Layer to your hearts content! I topped with a sprinkle of lime zest and poppyseeds (hey – I think it was a mind trick – they thought the chia seeds were poppyseeds! Honestly, though – chia seeds have such a fun texture, and are an easy way to sneak in some extra nutrition for those people who think you’re a health nut who lives on rabbit food. If you have them, definitely use them! No one needs to know. But tell them after they rave, aight?)

Enjoy!

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Why Not BOTH?

Good evening, lovelies! I hope everyone was able to enjoy their Saturday – maybe it’s only blustery and cold again in Vermont, and you’re all being graced with sunshine?

plum oats

Like I’d mentioned yesterday, I had to work today 😦 I shouldn’t complain, really – I’ve been pretty lucky that I haven’t been asked to work Saturdays since Christmas time! I love having a full two days in a row off. Otherwise, it messes with my whole schedule. Yes – I realize I don’t do much of anything important on the weekends anyways – but I enjoy “me time.” Two days of being able to do whatever I please always makes me ready for another week of craziness.

Luckily, however, Saturdays are generally always really laid back. This is both good and bad: good in that we tend to just generally be even more relaxed than we are already, and bad in that it’s really easy to get bored and antsy. At least this time of year, anyways. I almost view working on Saturdays as just “hanging out,” not workin’ to pay tha billss.

This means – I can show up whenever I want, too!

I typically never take advantage of this, but today I got a little caught up in going through photos before leaving, so I decided I’d just meander it around 9:30 versus the usual 9:00. I took my time preparing and savoring this never-fail oat combo of plum and coconut. Yum! These plums are the perfect ripeness. So juicy and sweet! And I decided to use half barley and half oat bran for the base – it was so “fluffy” – I loved it! Granted, I’ve done this combo before, but I love the rolled barley flakes. Have you tried them yet?

Classifieds

For the plum topping I sauteed some chopped plum, almonds, dates and shredded coconut in some almondmilk. And the co-stars were White Choco Coconut PB and Artisana Coconut Butter! I was torn between the two, and then realized; why not a lil’ bit-a both?! It was a good call.

My meandering continued as I leisurely prepared a lunch.

I figured since I had to get more almondmilk on the way home last night – why not replace my fermented hummus while I was there?! I prefer Garlic and Chive – but Tomato and Basil is another wise choice. Each time I go to the store I went to last night (which isn’t the one I usually go to) I am astounded by the ridiculous array of hummus. Both the amount of brands, and the amount of flavors! It’s gotten so crazy! I remember when the options were pretty much garlic, sundried tomato & basil, original, and roasted red pepper. Now there’s everything to please even the strangest of cravings!

What’s your favorite hummus flavor? What’s the weirdest you’ve had?

My sincerest apologies if you hate burnt eggs. It’s the only way I’ll eat them. I want golden, crispy edges! Though – in my defense, this one looks so strange because that’s parmesan cheese on top 😉

WW wrap with hummus, spinach, red pepper, roma tomatoes, fresh basil, and two fried egg whites – that were fried in red onion, fresh basil, sundried tomato, and parm. I couldn’t decide – sundried tomatoes or fresh roma tomatoes? And decided – hey – why not both?!

Kiwi or orange? Well – you see where that went. And of course, popchips. New obsession. Their bags are way too small, though. I can’t say for certain- but I think I’ve only got a couple servings worth left already! Not good. I hope I don’t have to write them a letter like I had to write Silk. (p.s. thanks everyone for your support in my dreams of becoming the Silk ad-campaign girl. Maybe we should all write them and encourage it. We’ll all be famous! …i kid.)

Trail mix or Z-Bar?

This was almost a “why not both?” moment – but I ended up not eating the last of the trail mix. I brought it in case I needed a little something extra – I wanted to clean my office after work, so Idon’t need to go into town tomorrow.

So – after enjoying a delicious lunch and snackage – I was on my own at work. Yep – I had to work today so that my bosses could attend their nieces birthday party – which involved leaving me all by my lonesome for the last hour we were open, and closing up shop. I won’t lie. I was nervous! The good thing about Saturdays, though? We close at 4, not 5:30. So luckily, I would be able to clean the office and get home not too late. I almost thought I was going to be stuck there until 5, though! Why do customers always choose to come in at the last possible minute? Oh, well. I actually still got out of there by 4:30 – I was worried for a little bit, though.

I dreamt of this all day.

I confess. I have this thing. This thing involves me dreaming up dinner ideas by the time noon rolls around. Anybody else share this thing with me? I hope so. It will make me feel a little more normal. *cough*I won’t admit that often the ideas start rolling after breakfast*cough*

Tonight’s thing? Balsamic-Mango Glazed Salmon.

Remember Balsamic-Honey Glazed Salmon, one of my favorite salmon recipes? Well, it’s such a delicious recipe, yet also easily adjustable – so I decided why not play with it to replace the honey with a mango puree mixture? Ohhh, okay, if you insist.

I also crusted it with poppyseeds. I can’t remember where I saw this a little bit ago and had to try it – I love poppyseeds, why not? Newsflash: I love poppyseeds, but I don’t need them lovin’ on my salmon. I scraped them off. It didn’t taste bad, I just got weirded out by the amount of poppyseeds. Ah well. At least the rest of the recipe was a success: the mango-balsamic mixture was divine! Not to mention, it went great with the sauteed kale.

To make the sauce, I simply pureed half a mango in the food processor with a spoonful of greek yogurt, zest of half a lime, a dash of crushed red pepper, and a dash of lemon pepper. Meanwhile, a salmon filet that had been sprinkled with smoked salt and pepper (and poppyseeds – but don’t do that!) was browning in a pan drizzled with evoo. I don’t think browning is the correct term, but hopefully you’re pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down.

lime or mango? Um, hello, both!

Once your mango puree is ready, combine it with 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar and 1 t. honey. I also added a half a packet of sun crystals. Just taste it as you go – if you like it  more lime & vinegar-y, you probably won’t need to add additional sweetness. You could also add a bit more honey in place of that, though. Or cut back on the vinegar – I had a lot of the sauce leftover. No complaints, though – I sauteed some red pepper and kale in it, which was, to put it simply fan-freaking-tastic.

Try this. But don’t try and coat your salmon in poppyseeds. Lesson noted. Is there anything you’ve tried that you thought you would adore, but ended up not caring for?

To prove that I do still love poppyseeds, however:

English muffin, or Kashi?

A lil’ bit-a both! The last cupcake, too 🙂 I haven’t bothered with my crazy cereal bowls lately because I’m sure you can only take seeing so much soggy Kashi concoctions. But this one was too good: mango, Kashi, cupcake, crystallized ginger, and chai spice blend. Yes, please.

Plans for the night? I still have so many photos to go through! I am hoping to make some lee-way tonight and tomorrow, though 🙂 Listening to the wind whip outside, in my nice cozy down-comforter clad bed. With a vanilla latter. ohhh, if you insist.  And, Hopefully, I will get that mango-coconut cupcake recipe up tomorrow!

I hope everyone has a great night 🙂 Laterr gaterrrs.

oh yeah – sweet dreams ! (hehe…sorry.  I couldn’t help but laugh the entire time I heard this. You know – the whole “I want to change this, but I just can’t.” scenario.)

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