Category Archives: health food

I’m Blue (Daba de Daba Di)

It wasn’t a conscious decision on my part…but the theme of the day was blue.

It started with moldy blueberry pancakes…

…packing a blueberry muffin Larabar…

…and then realized my blueberry-filled morning matched my blue hoodie…

…and by the end of the day, I felt like my hands, lips and toes were blue, too!

…Luckily, it just felt that way…which is sort of ironic to say because usually, with any luck, they won’t feel blue, either!

Anyways. You’re probably still confused by the “moldy pancake” mention, so I’ll enlighten you.

They’re buckwheat! Poor buckwheat has been getting neglected on my pantry shelf. And if I’m being completely real with you all, it’s because I wasn’t sure how well the flavor of buckwheat would go with a nut butter, and I don’t like passing on the peanut/almond/cashew butter in the morning.

There, I said it. I base the flavors of my breakfast off of how well I think the nut butter I have in mind will meld with it.

Finally I decided it couldn’t be that bad with some almond butter, and did it up with some blueberry buckwheat pancakes. I am ashamed to admit that I’d sort of forgotten about my love for buckwheat until I was organizing my recipe pages yesterday, and remembered my banana bread buckwheat waffles.

I decided to give blueberries a shot, as I don’t recall ever having them paired with buckwheat, but still topped it with half a grilled banana, almond butter and maple syrup. Real Vermont maple syrup, thank you. As you can see, we take our maple seriously. And you guys always thought I was joking about it.

Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes

1 serving

  • 1/4 c. buckwheat flour
  • 2 T. oat bran
  • 1 T. wheat germ (optional)
  • 1/2 – 1 t. baking powder (to be honest I never measure)
  • 1/4 c. + 2 T. almond milk
  • 2 t. chia seeds mixed with 1 1/2 T. water and allowed to “gel”
  • 1/4 c. fresh or frozen blueberries
  • earth balance or butter, for frying
  • toppings, such as: maple syrup, almond butter, banana

Preheat a non-stick pan over medium heat.  Combine the dry ingredients. Mix in the almond milk and chia egg. Fold in the blueberries.

Grease the pan with a light layer of butter before spooning the batter in two portions onto it. Cook until the sides look like they are beginning to set, and then flip and cook about 3 more minutes on that side.

Top with almond butter, maple syrup and a grilled banana or more blueberries.

Ohhh, buckwheat – how could I neglect you all these weeks?

As for the new Larabar flavor that this sweet & charming young lady hooked me up with?

Well, I’m actually pretty surprised I broke into it right away. Usually things like this I hold onto because I can’t find them, so I have this warped sense of “but I need to cherish it!” similar to how all of our grandparents hold on to every. last. thing. due to the Great Depression.

Or something like that.

But no. There was no waiting. I was too excited. Ironically, I wasn’t even hungry for a snack today but since I’d opened it before leaving home I wanted to at least have a bit of it! So I did, and saved the other half for dessert.

Now. You’d be hard-pressed to find me a Larabar I dislike. Sure, I have my preferred flavors and all – but with how simple they are and given the fact that they’re date and nut based, I can’t say I hate any of them. Not even a little bit.

This blueberry muffin flavor was no exception. But! As with most things in life (gosh darn it!) there is room for improvement. Larabar, I would enjoy a. a stronger blueberry flavor, and b. a little lemon zest. I feel these things will bring your blueberry muffin Larabar to an entirely new level altogether.

Unfortunately, things like this tend to be easier said than done, and here’s where everyone at Larabar is throwing up their arms and asking me if I want to start making them. In which case the answer is surely!

Have you ever tried buckwheat before?

What’s your favorite Larabar flavor?

(and as for putting this song in your head after reading the title of this post? you’re welcome. don’t hate me. please?)

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Filed under almond butter, banana, breakfast, buckwheat, cooking, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, lunch, nut butter, pancakes, recipe, review, vegan

Surprises

Today was full of fun surprises!

I was once again pleasantly surprised at how good my homemade almond butter was on pancakes this morning…

…and was also surprised to learn that Vermont has a maple law…which is giving McDonalds some flack about their new oatmeal!

“What we understand, is there is no actual maple in the [McDonald’s] product being advertised. Vermont maple law and regulations are very specific for how the term maple is used in advertisements,” Kelly Loftus, VAA spokesperson told Slashfood. “It is illegal to use the word maple on a product unless the sweetener is 100 percent pure maple. Artificial maple flavoring should be clearly and conspicuously labeled on the principal panel with the term ‘artificial flavor’.”

Read more: http://www.slashfood.com/2011/01/10/a-sticky-mess-for-mcdonalds/#ixzz1BcP2Afr7

Basically, Vermont is requiring them to give option of a tablespoon of real Vermont maple syrup, a teaspoon of Vermont maple sugar, or eliminating the “maple” advertisement since all it is is fake flavoring.

Can I get a hell-yeah for Vermont, please?

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Teddie doesn’t hate me after all…

…even if all I did today was dote on him.

When I got home, I was surprised that the mail hadn’t come yet…but was hungry and went ahead and made lunch anyway.

When it finally came, I’d be lying if I said I was completely surprised that I had two big “presents,” but I was surprised at what they contained!

Package numero uno – from the wonderful Blue Eyed Heart.

Blueberry Muffin Larabar?! I was pleasantly surprised when I heard of this new flavor. Yes, I was the girl eating a Dunkin’ Donuts blueberry muffin every. single. day. all through high school. I cannot. wait. to try this baby. How surprised was I to learn it’s more cashew-based than almond-based? Very – but that’s definitely a good surprised. Eye heart cashoos.

The most perfect-est pumpkin bran muffins ever. I broke into one STAT.

And the primary reason for the package: sprouted wheatberry bread.

My mom always said not to beg, and that it doesn’t get anybody anywhere. Well, I sort of begged for this bread and it got me a sprouted wheatberry bread addiction. That could be seen as a good or a bad thing. I choose to see it as a good thing.

The cutest lil’ mini loaf, too! I can’t wait to have mini PB&Js. If it lasts that long.

I think I’m convinced that I ought to try making my own sprouted bread now. That is, if I can’t convince her to get into business making and selling this bread 😉

I wasn’t just surprised with this month’s Foodzie Tasting Box

…I was just about awed!

Never, ever heard of Sun Dried Nectarines before. Cannot. Wait. to try them.

I expect at least half of the Foodzie boxes to be something I wouldn’t like, but that’s okay with me. I enjoy the surprise aspect, and don’t mind getting some things (like natural beef jerky) that I can pass on to someone else. That’s why I was so awed when I realized just about everything in this month’s box is a keeper!

While I usually like sweeter teas (Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride and Gingerbread, anyone?) these Runa teas were fun to try!

It certainly surprised me at how fresh the leaves seemed compared to the usual teas I drink!

Enjoyed with a cracker flat that L sent me…

…I got a little hungry while waiting for my tea to heat 😉 I can’t say I’m surprised at how delicious these are, though – spelt and cinnamon raisin are two things that have always had my heart.

Well, maybe not always. I don’t think I was a four-year old running around demanding my mom to make cinnamon-raisin spelt bread…but maybe.

I was surprised to realize I hadn’t had any plans for dinner, but then realized I was craving pasta

…which didn’t surprise me at how wonderful this simple meal was. Sometimes, good ol’ pasta just hits the spot, don’t you think?! Just a serving of whole wheat pasta, cooked and then tossed with:

  • drizzle olive oil
  • fire-roasted tomatoes
  • roasted red peppers
  • garlic
  • tempeh
  • fresh parsley

served atop collard greens sauteed in a bit of olive oil with red onion and garlic, and all garnished with humnut cheese and more fresh parsley.

I actually really hate fresh parsley, I’ve just been eating it because for some reason I decided I needed fresh parsley for something. At this point, I don’t even remember what I wanted it for. I just know I have a lot more to eat…

What have you been surprised by lately?!

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Filed under breakfast, cooking, dinner, food, foodblog, foodzie, health, health food, healthy living, hummus, italian, lunch, nut butter, pancakes, pasta, recipe, spelt, teddie, tempeh, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian, vermont, whole grains

Calzones and Cupcakes

And so continues the chronicles of the house-arrested Suzie Homemaker,

Doesn’t every Suzie Homemaker start their day with blueberry-orange pancakes and working out with shampoo bottles?

I really ought to get my butt to the store and buy some weights. Big Tresemme bottles don’t work as well as the big butternut squash I was using back when I was obsessed with them. In fact, when I was grocery shopping yesterday, I almost picked two up for the sole purpose of posing as light-weights.

Based on last night’s post, you probably had a hunch cupcakes would be seen today.

You were right. Good ESP!

While everyone’s go-to sources were all wonderful – I ended up with a request for “cinnamon cupcakes.” I immediately thought that this would be my chance to make the Chocolate “Sin”namon cupcakes in ED&BV, thus redeeming myself from making the mistake of leaving out the sugar, but then heard that there was a strict “no chocolate” rule from the individual putting in the cupcake request.

Well, yes sir. A quick tastespotting search yielded snickerdoodle cupcakes and I couldn’t have become more giddy.

Because who doesn’t like to say “snickerdoodle” ten times fast? I mean…I snicker just saying it, really.

I wound up finding tons of recipes that were all basically credited back to Martha Stewart.

Which was all fine and good, considering I didn’t care if they were necessarily “healthy” or not. I mean, they’re cupcakes. Who wants to eat an entirely healthy cupcake, anyways?

…but I just couldn’t bring myself to make cupcakes with 2 sticks of butter and 2 cups of sugar. My hand just couldn’t dig in the sugar bowl that many times, I don’t think. Everytime I tried it started spasming a little and the cup would fall from my hand.

Okay, so that’s a lie. Really, I’m just so used to vegan baking that I know cups and cups of sugar are relatively unnecessary and baked goods are still fantastic whether it’s butter or oil. Using that much just seems a little bit facetious to me.

And so, I followed this Snickerdoodle Cupcake recipe, which is just causing me to snicker even more as they were deemed “out of this world.” I even cut it back to 1/2 c. sugar, intending to frost them with a very sweet frosting, but ended up running out of steam and thinking they were “pretty” enough as-is.

I did end up omitting both of the extracts called for and replacing it with 2 t. of coffee extract, though.

I suppose you’re probably thinking to yourself “I wonder why she didn’t just use real coffee,” and I suppose you have a point. In fact, I asked myself that.

I still have no answer.

I also want to point out that I did not pay $9 as the label looks like it says. I’m crazy, I’m not that crazy.

But smelling this coffee extract reminded me of how I wanted to make my own almond butter, and it was decided I would make coffee almond butter.

Potentially something that could go oh-so-wrong, but it worked. It smells like almondy-coffee heaven, but luckily, the flavor is not too overpowering. I guess I’d even consider it more of an essence than truly tasting coffee-y.

This was my first time making almond butter. For some reason, I was under the impression that almonds were way harder than peanuts, making it impossible for me to make my own almond butter.

Almond butter that was also drippy. Because that’s how almond butter should be.

It was drippy!!! Okay, maybe more like…kind of runny. But definitely almond-butter-esque. I was a proud mama. And hellooo, so much cheaper than buying it. Maybe I’ll go into the almond butter business, after making this for, oh $4 tops when I can’t buy it for less than $10.

I ended up with walnuts in the mix, too.

Just ’cause.

  • 1 1/2 c. roasted & salted almonds
  • 1/2 c. walnuts
  • 2 t. coffee extract
  • pinch cinnamon
  • pinch sea salt
  • pinch maple sugar

It was so good I made an almond butter and banana calzone!

Topped with parsley! The usual, you know.

I didn’t fool you? Darn. Well, if I did make an almond butter and banana calzone I’d probably be too cool for school, so I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t.

I’ve been sort of dying to make pizza lately. Probably because I’m sort of going through a bread withdrawal.

The problem: I had no hummus. I like my pizzas with humnut cheese, thank you.

The other problem? Sixteenth-ing pizza dough recipes is too complicated for my mathaphobic mind.

I sucked it up and did it, though. I used the same spelt crust I’ve used in the past for calzones. I just love the nutty flavor the spelt gives, especially with my humnut cheese!

I saw this new hummus at the store yesterday and decided to give it a try. I’m pretty devoted to Cedar’s as you may know, but I liked trying new things, too! The Spinach and garlic flavor, as well as twice the protein, spoke to me too. Truth be told, had I known it was made with more soybeans than chickpeas I probably wouldn’t have bought it, but oh well. It’s really good! I’m all for a creamy texture, and this Nasoya hummus has that – just as good as Cedar’s, dare I say it.

And this is what was really in my ‘zone. Buffalo tempeh!!

…as well as tomato sauce, the humnut cheese, red pepper, parsley, cilanto and red onion. Strangely, the red pepper was what made this out of this world.

I ended up overbaking it because while I adjusted all of the measurements – I didn’t think to adjust the time!

As mentioned, I had to get mathematical with the recipe. While this is not an original recipe, I’m going to go ahead and post the measurements for you in case you want to make a calzone/pizza that’s not big enough to feed you for days on end! I made one large calzone, half for dinner and half for…some meal in the near future. With a side of sugar-snap peas it was just enough!

Whole Grain Spelt Pizza/Calzone Dough

from Bob’s Red Mill

  • 1/2 + 1/8 t. active dry yeast
  • 1/2 t. sugar
  • 1/4 c. warm water
  • 1/2 c. + 1 T. spelt flour
  • 3 T. white bean flour
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 t. olive oil

For directions, see here. I didn’t quarter the sugar amount because I wasn’t sure if it would affect the proofing of the yeast. I also didn’t quarter the olive oil because it seemed like a very minor amount to begin with! Next time I’d probably use a full teaspoon, actually.

This is definitely not a traditional pizza crust – but as I mentioned, I’m a little bit infatuated with it anyways!

And tht’s all! I’m finally going to get to see Teddie in the morning, after him being out of work for almost a week now! He’ll probably be a little monster for me…and while I felt really guilty almost all day today, I guess he could probably use a little “vacation time” anyways. Right? Right. (of course…with it being the arctic again this weekend – as in, 25 below at night and only getting to a high of 5 during the day -he’ll be getting another vacation here soon!)

So the question today is – when you bake for others, do you follow your own “food guidelines,” or just make whatever? For instance – if you’re vegan/gluten intolerant/dairy intolerant/health conscious – do you adhere to your guidelines when cooking for other people, or no? I said yesterday that I didn’t – but when I went to bake today, I realized I do! I’ve nothing against dairy or butter and what-not…I think it was just the fact that I know that copious amounts of sugar and butter aren’t necessary to produce a delicious dessert, I decided to make something I’d be more than willing to eat, too.

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Filed under almond butter, breakfast, cooking, dessert, dinner, food, food blog, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, hummus, lunch, nut butter, pancakes, recipe, tempeh, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian, whole grains

Suzie Homemaker meets Bob the Builder

Another snow-day. Or, sleet day.

Poor Teddie. He probably thinks I’ve forgotten about him, and soon he’ll wind up on the isle of long-forgotten toys.

…that was always the saddest part of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for me.

I think Kaia is living proof that stereotypes are just that – stereotypes. This is her saying “I’m the only mammal with husky blood that doesn’t want to play in the snow, thankyouverymuch.”

What a lazy bum.

You know what a snow-day calls for: a treacherous drive to the grocery store so I could settle down with a Rachey-Ray, dark chocolate chips, hummus and pretzels.

Okay, so that wasn’t really the objective of the trip, but it was one of those moments where I saw myself pushing a cart full of sweet potatoes, beets, yucca, almond milk, hummus and pretzels and then  of course, there’s the dark chocolate chips and Everyday with Rachel Ray …and I just had to laugh.

The cashiers probably I didn’t know whether I wanted to be a hippie flower-girl or cry over a recent heart-wrenching break-up.

And the answer is D.) none of the above.

I knew I had a mission to tackle.

Outside of the box: quick and easy to put together.

On the directions: says I need two people.

Well! I didn’t feel like waiting until my mom got home, and I’m sure she had other things on her agenda than spending two hours putting a desk together.

And so, with my supervisor close by, I set to work.

Mainly because I wanted to prove something wrong – whether it was the “quick and easy” part of the destructions or the “requires two people,” I was going to prove something wrong.

After forty five minutes and a couple of lost hairs, I had a drawer.

After another hour and a half, I had some semblance of a table.

The stupidest part of this whole desk: the fact that I’d have to have hands the size of a two-year-old’s to get these screws in.

There was a lot of blind groping around and hoping it went in. Yep.

There was a lot of “these freaking screws aren’t labeled and I don’t know what’s what!” followed by pretzels dipped in peanut butter – my recent favorite.

The weird thing about this desk, though? It made me eat wilted spinach and chickpeas mixed up with mustard. I’m saying it was the desk because usually I don’t have such random…concoctions.

Strangely, it was delicious. I suggest you try it, actually.

And after a sweet potato and some more banging, I finally had a desk.

With one problem. My supervisor wasn’t supervising me close enough, apparently.

When I surveyed my work and saw this, all I could do was fall into the couch and sit and stare at it...thinking "you have got to be kidding me."

Of course that was one of the only areas that required me nailing the back on, too – so I couldn’t jsut unscrew it. Whatever. I was over it and decided I’d just cover it up.

With something.

So looonnnng, mini coffee table and sitting/kneeling on the floor….

Helloooooo real desk! Ironically, as you can see, I didn’t end up using the compartment thing. At first I was pissed that is was just something that sat on top – but it turns out I’m lucky it is, because otherwise I’d have no room for the printer!

now I just need a chair.

So THERE, take THAT, desk! Two people my booty. Not only am I Suzie Homemaker, I am also Bob the Builder.

As you can see, though – the desk left its mark. Yeah, my blood is fluorescent magenta.

Isn’t yours? No? Oh…

…well maybe those are just my battle-scars from the beets I had to try for dinner. Remember my “trying new veggies” thing?

Last time I had beets, it was also my first time having beets.

They were from a can.

I thought they were Gross. With a capital G.

I decided if I went by the “I had it from a can and hated it” rule for everything, I’d probably stay away from any and all vegetables, so these lovely beet’s endearing color lured me back in.

I sliced them thin an roasted them, going for a “chip,” feel before plating them with spinach, bulgur and roasted chickpeas and drizzling over a dressing of clementine juice, fig jam, olive oil, fresh parsley, dijon mustard and garlic – which was inspired by a Moosewood’s beet salad recipe.

I should have roasted them longer – but I was getting impatient. And the verdict is: I don’t actually hate beets. I liked the crunchy ones best, though – and I wouldn’t yet call myself a beet fan, persay.

I am, however, welcoming beet recipes.

As well as cupcake recipes. Which seems really random – but I have another snowday tomorrow and want to make the fam some cupcakes. They don’t need to be vegan or anything – just your favorite cupcake or cake recipes, please 🙂

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

Four Things & Moroccan Recipe #978

A while ago, the lovely Jess tagged  me to do a fun little survey. Being the space cadet I am, I’ve been forgetting and forgetting! I only have one quick recipe to share tonight though, so there’s no better night to remember what I’ve been meaning to do:

1. Four TV shows that I watch

  • Bruins hockey
  • the morning news
  • Two and a Half Men
  • random Food Network shows when I’m bored/need background noise/etc. Really, the only thing on TV that I dedicate myself to and set time aside for, is the Bruins.

2. Four things that I’m passionate about

  • Teddie/horses/animals in general
  • photography
  • foooooood – including but not limited to baking, cooking and eating
  • life

3. Four words/phrases I use a lot

  • “Hi!” or “Hello!”
  • “Hi, this is Jess at [my workplace] just calling you to let you know your order is done!”
  • “how was work?”
  • “what’s goin’ on?”

4. Four things I’ve learned in the past

  • Everything really does happen for a reason, even if it seems it’s unfair.
  • Getting frustrated or stressed gets you nowhere.
  • It doesn’t hurt to ask questions.
  • People have better things to worry about than the way you look/are dressed/how you did your hair.

5. Four places I would like to go

  • England
  • Colorado
  • Canada
  • Italy

6. Four things I did yesterday

  • Played with Teddie
  • Baked
  • twiddled my thumbs
  • ate a lot of food

7. Four things I am looking forward to

  • Spring.
  • The cold being over with.
  • Setting up my desk tomorrow so I can finally use my computer without sitting on the floor.
  • Using CS5

8. Four things I love about winter

  • snowdays
  • watching the pretty snow fall
  • …I’m a little bit bitter about how cold it is right now, so that’s all I’ve got.

9. Tag four people to play along

Uhh, I think I’m a little late to the party on this one – who hasn’t done this?! If you’re raising your hand right now, I’m tagging you 🙂

And Yes, you read that right. I haven’t had a desk this entire time because the stupid winter delayed its delivery. I no longer have a butt and my knees are permanently deformed probably, too. Since I’m just using a little coffee table still, I’ve either been siting cross-legged/kneeling/leaning/whatever in attempts to try and be comfortable.

I’m whining about it. But whatever.

Since I love you guys, I’m not letting it negatively affect my sharing of recipes.

This is where some of you just roll your eyes in the back of your head because of the above fig picture, thinking to yourselves “JESS! We’re sick of all of your Moroccan dinner recipes involving cinnamon and dried fruit! Enough already!”

Well then. If you ask me, enough is never enough. I’ve been loving me some Moroccan tagine-esque dishes. What’s better than a spicy-sweet savory dish, marrying the spices of ginger, cinnamon and cumin with the sweetness of dried figs, raisins and fresh apple, pulled together with nutty bulgur wheat?

All I hear is silence. That’s right – there’s nothing better. Except maybe peanut butter and jam sandwiches, but that’s not a fair comparison because you can’t mess with that classic.

Anyways. This is enough for two-three servings. I had it for dinner last night, wrapped in collard green leaves, and for lunch today alongside a sweet potato.

Whether you eat it plain, stuff it in a collard wrap or pair it with another veg – it’s a winner.

Moroccan Bulgur Recipe #978

  • 1 c. cooked bulgur
  • 1/2 med. yellow onion, diced
  • 1 t. coconut oil
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed
  • 2 large white mushrooms, chopped (optional – I had two mushrooms in my fridge that needed using, but this could easily be omitted)
  • 3/4 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. ground ginger
  • pinch of ground clove
  • 3/4 t. ground cumin
  • 1 med-large Granny Smith apple, chopped and tossed with a bit of lemon juice
  • 3 dried figs, chopped
  • 2 T. dried cranberries, chopped
  • 2 T. raisins
  • 1 c. cooked chickpeas
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium pan over medium heat, heat the coconut oil. Add in the yellow onion and cook until soft, about 5-6 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook one more minute and then the mushrooms. Cook until tender. Add in the spices (you may need to add a tablespoon or two of water at this point) and combine. Stir in the dried fruits, apple, chickpeas and bulgur and combine well.

Serve either in collard green wraps, over a bed of spinach, or enjoy plain!

And now I’ve gotta fly because they’re replaying the B’s game from this afternoon, that I was only able to listen to while at work. It was a great game, though, and I’m so psyched I can actually watch it now!

What, if any, is your favorite sport to watch?

 

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

Cranberry-Orange-Date Bars

I could actually step outside today without feeling like I was going to lose my toes and nose after a couple of minutes! Phew. Of course…that doesn’t mean I was able to get much done, still, considering it didn’t get warmer until about 10:30. I went out to make sure Teddie still had his toes and whiskers, but didn’t ride him, just played. I feel “wrong” if I ride after 11. I know that doesn’t make sense, but it’s what he’s used to, too.

The one time I rode him in the afternoon, we had the most miserable experience to date, so maybe that’s my excuse.

Like human, like pet. Maybe we’re both morning people. Are you more productive in the morning or the afternoon? I wouldn’t say I use the afternoon to laze around – but if I’ve got a big project to do, it’s getting done in the a.m., not the p.m.!

Take, for instance, this morning: I baked cupcakes and date bars before it was even 10:00. And yes, I made my own breakfast and even got all dressed, too.

And for what it’s worth, let this be a lesson to you all: do yourselves a flavor and use fresh baking soda. I’ve been using old baking soda for…well, probably as long as I’ve been blogging…and never really cared.

I figured the things I bake just don’t rise too much due to the fact I’m usually using whole grains and…er…different…techniques.

Well, that may have something to do with it…but not when I’m making something perfectly “normal.” The first picture – cupcakes I made this morning with fresh baking soda. Above – cupcakes made with old baking soda.

There’s a bigger difference than it looks.

I’ll be making sure I use in-date baking soda from now on, thankyouverymuch.

I bet at least half of you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that sometimes, I just do the weirdest things. Borderline stupid, but I’d rather not call myself stupid. I guess we’ll just settle on “spacey.” Head up in the clouds, nah’mean? Just this morning, I can think of three things that made me immediately shake my head at myself:

  • Oiled a GreenPan. I had no idea they were as non-stick as they are so the oil just sat in one spot in the middle, and as soon as I poured eggs in, oil pooled at the top of the eggs. I felt like the guy on the Worst Cooks in America.
  • Speaking of the eggs, I was making an omelette for my mom’s b/f and totally spaced on how to make an omelette. I used to love eggs, and now I don’t even remember how to cook them. An omelette, for Pete’s sake. Shouldn’t that be almost second nature?!
  • While making these date bars, I put all the crust on the bottom, said aloud “Wow, I didn’t remember the crust being this thick last time!” only for my sister to say “wasn’t there crust on the top last time?” D’uh, Jess.

I’m glad my sister knows what’s up and Henry will eat just about anything served to him, because otherwise I might be in trouble. It’s a wonder I made it out the door with my head on this morning.

Please tell me I’m not alone – what’s the spaciest thing you’ve ever done in the kitchen?

Luckily, for all the things I do completely wrong, I can do things completely, right, too. I whipped up some rhubarb cupcakes on a whim based off of a request, and made some more date bars, too.

My mom and I were huge fans of the date bars out of Vive le Vegan last time I made them, and I knew it wouldn’t be long before I made them again.

Since I can’t make the same exact thing twice (apparently) I switched it up a bit this time.

Well, it’s either that or the fact that lately I’m obsessed with anything cranberry-orange, in case you haven’t been able to tell. It’s becoming a little bit of a problem.

A problem I really, really don’t want to fix.

Cranberry-Orange-Date Bars

Adapted from Delish Date Squares from Vive le Vegan

makes 16 squares. Or 8, if you like them as big as we do.

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 c. pitted Medjool dates, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c. cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c. water
  • juice from one large orange
  • 1/4 t. sea salt
  • zest from one orange
  • generous pinch of ground clove

Crust:

  • 2 c. quick oats
  • 1 c. white whole wheat flour or unbleached all purpose flour (I use WWW – there are so many other wonderful flavors in these that even the most sensitive of palettes can’t detect the disguised whole wheat flour!)
  • 3 T. sugar
  • 1/2 t. sea salt
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 3 T. date syrup (agave or maple syrup would work, too)
  • 3 T. almond milk (I used unsweetened)
  • 3 T. coconut oil

Preheat the oven to 350*. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine all of the ingredients for the filling except for the zest. Cook approximately 10 minutes, or until the dates break down. It might not seem like that will happen – but just keep stirring occasionally and the mixture will become smooth and thick. Once it is done, stir in the zest.

In a separate large bowl, combine the oats, flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. Add the date syrup and almond milk and combined until clumpy, and then stir in the oil, again combining until clumpy. You might have to use your hands. The mixture will be crumbly but should hold together okay when pressed.

Lightly spray a 9×9 baking dish (or thereabouts) and press 2/3rds of the mixture in the bottom of the pan. Pour and spread the date mixture over top, and then sprinkle and then gently press the remaining crust mixture over top of that. Bake for about 28 minutes, or until golden on top. Allow to cool before slicing and serving.

I was going to save some to bring to work tomorrow…but they might not be good enough.

Which is actually just Jess-speak for “These are too damn good to be giving away.”

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

Orange-Cashew Tofu

And yet again, I win the “world’s worst mother” award. It’s a good thing I’m not a little-kid person, because otherwise I’d probably leave my kids waiting for me in the rain after school when I was supposed to have picked them up an hour ago.

I didn’t ride Teddie Thursday because I didn’t feel like dealing with the snow.

I didn’t ride Teddie again today because I didn’t feel like dealing with the cold.

Truth be told, he’s probably not complaining – but it’ll probably be too cold again tomorrow, and the little bugger’s bound to be a handful for me on Tuesday! I even did an extra-long workout in attempts to kill time and give it a chance to warm up.

Unfortunately for me, “warm up” meant it raised a couple of degrees…from 10 below to allllmost 0.

Anytime you feel your nostrils freezing and your lungs burning when you step outside, I declare too cold to ride. Yes, I give you in the colder regions permission to poke and laugh at me.

Instead, I took the unplanned “morning off” to search for more ways to sell artwork other than just my Etsy. Including attempting to photograph a shot I printed, matted and framed yesterday.

Wouldn’t this look lovely hanging in your home?! I think so. (kidddding. Well, not really…)

Anyways. I won’t lie about being a leetle bit excited that it being so cold gave me an excuse to watch a mid-day hockey game against the Penguins. Usually I hate laying/sitting down and watching the tub in the middle of the day…but curling under covers and snuggling with a cup of hot tea was just the perfect activity for a cold day.

It was at this point that I got so upset I decided I might as well start marinating my tofu...

Oh, who am I kidding. I didn’t watch this game curled under covers, I watched it screaming and shaking my fist at the television. I sound a lot more sane if I just leave it at “sipping tea,” though.

...and it was at this point that I abandoned my tofu on my photography chair and went running back into the room.

….aaaaand, we lost. I’m just going to say they felt bad for the Pens after beating them so bad last time. That’s why we passed the puck to them so often, right, Susan? (just heckling – I’m happy for your boys. And you being a fan makes me not feel so grumpy about losing, because I’m sure it made you very happy.)

What better way to lessen the blow of a bad game than good food, right?

I’m talking tofu, not takeout.

One recipe that stuck out to me while flipping through ED&BV was the cashew-ginger tofu. Ironically, I liked it a lot more before I read the ingredients past “cashew butter,” but I was pretty well sold on the title and the fact that it uses cashew butter alone.

…and then I read the rest of the recipe and decided I probably wasn’t going to like it as it used tamari.

Not surprisingly, I did my own thing.

And loved it. A lot. Of course, one thing you guys miiiight not know about me is that I’m a closet cashew butter freak. Best nut buttah evah? I believe so.

The mellow flavor of the cashew butter combines so perfectly with the subtly sweet orange juice and orange zest, and the soft spice given from the ground ginger and clove. This tofu would be wonderful atop a nutty grain like bulgur or brown rice, preferably one seasoned with more orange and dried cranberries, too!

Orange-Cashew Tofu

Inspired by Eat, Drink and Be Vegan’s Cashew-Ginger Tofu

Serves 1 as a main, 2 as a side (?)

  • 1 serving tofu, as indicated on the box (for me, 1/5th of a block)
  • 1 T. cashew butter
  • zest and juice of one orange
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • pinch of ground clove
  • 1/4-1/2 t. honey (I’m sure agave or maple syrup would be just as good if you’re vegan, or it could probably even be omitted)
  • 1-2 T. water as needed

Slice the tofu into approx 1/4″ slices, and then cut into triangles. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients until smooth. It will look like it’s separating at first, but if you whisk fast enough it will come together in no time. (yes, you might need to use your big muscles) Pour half the cashew mixture in a small sealable container, and then layer in the tofu. Pour remaining cashew mixture over top, cover, refrigerate and let sit at least one hour.

When ready to bake, heat a drizzle of oil in a nonstick pan. Spread out the tofu and cook until golden on both sides. Reserve the marinade in the container, and serve by drizzling it over top. Note that you could probably pour it in the pan while the tofu is browning, too, and cook until it gets thicker, but I wasn’t sure that it wouldn’t get “thick and pasty” like the original recipe warns of. Next time, I’d give it a try, though, as it was a little liquidy still.

What’s that? You want to know what that mess is I served it with?

Oh, okay…

That, believe it or not, was my attempt at a neat plating arrangement, but it really just backfired.

Once I tasted it, I didn’t care, however. Because this meal was good.

  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed
  • 4-5 large white mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • juice of half an orange
  • zest of one orange
  • ~2 T. dried cranberries
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg

Heat olive oil in pan, add in onions. Cook until almost translucent and tender, add in garlic. Stir, add in mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper, cook until tender. Add in carrot, cranberries and juice of orange. Cook until most of the juice has been absorbed. Shut off heat, add in spinach, and cover until spinach is mostly wilted. Stir in nutmeg, orange zest and spinach until incorporated.

And that’s a scoop of bulgur on top, with some of the marinade spooned over and all topped with cashews.

I die.

Are you a wimp in the cold, too? Does weather have influence over your plans, or do you tough it out no matter what?

 

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