Tag Archives: gingerbread

Squash Banana

I’ve discovered my purpose in life.

To make (and eat) gingerbread overnight oats. Hey – I’ve made gingerbread waffles, gingerbread hot oats, gingerbread birdseed bars…you must have seen it coming! I’m a little bit of a gingerbread fiend – I love it even more than pumpkin, although I think gingerbread is more Christmas-y than Thanksgiving-y, and jumping ahead to December is admittedly quite frightening.

Gingerbread Overnight Oats

  • 1/3 c. quick oats
  • 1/2 of a ripe banana
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • generous pinch of ginger and nutmeg
  • 1 t. chia seeds
  • 1/2 T. blackstrap molasses
  • 1/2  c. + 2 T. almond milk

Combine all the ingredients but the almond milk in a bowl, mashing the banana into the oats and other ingredients. When it’s pretty much combined, stir in the almond milk. Cover and refrigerate!

I tasted it before stirring in some vanilla chobani, and it was just right. After the vanilla chobani, though, the gingerbread flavor got a little more muted. Next time I’ll definitely nix the greek yogs!

I was really lazy photographing foods this morning. I just figured…you guys know what some fruit and birdseed bars look like by now!

I did, however – enjoy another fantastic sandwich, though. I’ve been on a roll this week! It was sweet basil pesto tapenade, red onion, sliced apple, and tempeh. The tempeh I grill on the panini maker at work, and then panini the whole sandwich once the tempeh is done. I love that pesto tapenade!

I couldn’t resist playing with the cookies before bringing them in, though. These were a major hit! I think maybe I’ll make it a mission to bake more cookies out of Veganomicon. These were fun to make and I enjoy making things that are genuinely enjoyed, too.

Which makes me think…how great would it feel to run an entire restaurant? cafe? deli? I think I’d fall asleep smiling every night. Food really brings people together…I mean, look in any deli’s dining room, and you’re bound to see smiling faces and stories being told. And not just friends getting lunch at a random place – but the relationship between the deli and the diner. You know, “becoming a regular.” My boss went to get lunch at the place I used to buy bread religiously at (remember?!) and the man came up with a new creation. He gave some to my boss to try, and gave him a piece to bring me, too.

Isn’t that sweet?! I used to go in there every other week…and the bread is really good! I’ve just been having so much fun trying to make my own. I am bound and determined to make a loaf that doesn’t fall! That said, this wasn’t the first time I was sort of tempted to just go buy a loaf just for the sake of buying a loaf.

Do you develop “bonds” with anywhere? A place you frequent, and most recognize you right off?

Anyways. The bread was really good…he’s so creative! The new loaf is made with apple cider instead of water, and has dried and fresh apples in it. The only thing I didn’t like was that it had a strangely chewy texture…but I’m not sure if that’s because it’d gotten a little warm inside the plastic wrap he put it in? Regardless – I toasted it and spread it with some peanut butter and cinnamon. Lovely snack 🙂

Did anyone else adore The Lion King as a kid? I think that’s probably my favorite movie ever. Even still. How adorable is it?! The first Lion King, mind you. Anyways, this isn’t as irrelevant as it seems…because both last night and tonight, when I see this sunshine squash filled with beans and rice, I think of Rafiki’s little gourd thing with paint.

[source]

What was your favorite childhood movie? Maybe I just liked Rafiki because he says (rough translation) “thank you very much squash banana, you’re a baboon and I’m not.” I mean…how cool is he?!

And…other than that, today’s been full of “I have burdocks in my clothes!” Namely, the butt of my pants, but that wasn’t anything I wanted to share with the guys at work. My little monster decides it’s fun to find the practically nonexistant burdock bushes and stick his whole head in them. As in, A and I have no idea where this lone burdock bush is, and neither do any of the other horses, but Teddie sure does. Ugh! This is the worst time of year for them, too – because they’re so dry and you just get a bunch of random tiny little burs down your sleeves and other places that they shouldn’t be, nor does it make sense how they get there – but they are.

I hope everyone enjoys their weekend and has as great of weather as we are predicted to have!!

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

Meltdown

Whew – I almost had a meltdown today.

As in “ee gads my computers dying I’m going to lose all the senior portraits I haven’t backed up yet oh my god how am I going to explain that to these people whatamigonnado.”

...but at least there were gingerbread waffles to kickstart the day!

You see, it was right in the middle of a great downward dog that my computer decided it hated itself and wanted to die.

*insert panic*

*insert trying helplessly to eradicate the virus-trojan-whathaveyou before I needed to leave to shoot another senior portrait*

*insert thinking of all of the worst-case-scenarios: I would be left with no computer, no photoshop, and none of the portraits I’ve already done*

But, hey! None of that happened and I’m here now. Safely blogging from my usual computer. With all of my pictures. And photoshop.

I decided to waste no time and just brought Mr. Laptop straight to the computer doctor. Which sort of gives me the creeps. I mean – what isn’t on people’s computers these days? It makes you wonder if they get a little nosey, you know? I mean…I told him I was afraid to do anything because I had a ton of really important pictures on there.

As I was leaving, I thought to myself “he’s probably going to think I’m talking about all the food pictures and think I’m really weird.” Especially because I have an “I heart Larabar” sticker right on the top of it. True story – scored it from Katie, actually!

To make a long story short, these gingerbread waffles were really good, and he fixed my computer a lot faster than I thought he would. (He said tomorrow, initially.) Since I shot another portrait this morning, as I mentioned, this means I had no time to go through them this afternoon, so this’ll be aquickie from me! That and, I did a lot of reading for my online classes so now I just need to complete online assignments and stuff.

I was not meant to read very many blogs this week, apparently! I promise the insanity will end soon – I don’t think I have any portraits this weekend!

And to add to that – I think this week is a pretty good example of “healthy does not = time consuming.”

Needless to say – with all that pessimism I was displaying, you can surely imagine my excitement when I saw a package waiting for me when I arrived home. Mo, this so brightened my day!

I am already obsessed with date syrup. So good!! I also got a kick out of the fact that the dates listed the entire pack as the serving size. I just imagined myself plopping down with a fork and a knife and going at them! I think this is definitely a reason as good as any other to make date cinnamon rolls 😉

And I have never heard of this…yellow powder…before, but am so interested to try it! Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what it’s called because when I ripped the tape off, I ripped the label off :X Mo…?!

Side note: my mom was a little sketched out by the random yellow container with no label sitting on the spice counter, and even moreso when I said it was sent to me by one of my foodie friends. Maybe she thinks your poisoning me or something.

This green monster was just like banana soft serve – couldn’t even taste the spinach, and had the same texture as the banana soft serve!

And I did some baking to calm my nerves. I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to bake for myself – so I turned to baking for work!

I ended up getting a good arm workout out of the ordeal, too! It was nice making something “normal” (in mom terms – to me normal is the stuff I usually bake!). Normal is always pretty, isn’t it?!

I mean, look at those crackles! You don’t get those pretty cracks with just anything.

As a side note, ss it weird that “normal” is still vegan? Bahah…

I used Veganomicon’s “Chewy Chocolate Raspberry Cookies” recipe – which you can find in the book, or here. I added dark chocolate chips for the choco fiends at work 😉 I really wanted to add walnuts but then decided not to use any of my precious walnuts 😉

These were really fun to make…and hopefully to eat, too! I tried one and think their texture is impeccable, and ironically, that’s what my mom said, too. Well, she didn’t say impeccable, just raved that they had great texture.  Apparently, I just like to use the term impeccable lately.

I put all that basil to work, too – Veganomicon’s Sweet Basil Pesto Tapenade! Clickie here. I used date syrup rather than maple syrup, though – had to! I reduced the oil a bit, too, and didn’t have any lemon.

And last thing I made was cheater baked beans. (Click)

I hadn’t made them in a while, and forgot how much I love them! They were so perfect inside a little roasted sunshine squash.

I really delved into reading for nutrition, too. This week is on fats! Some very interesting reading on saturated fats/trans/cholesterol/total fats. I was really interested on their input that coconut oil is highly saturated, even moreso than butter…which, you would think would make it worse for you, which really questioned by research about coconut oil being good for you. Basically, fats are essential for energy and wellbeing but it’s still important to not overdue it and make sure you’re taking in the right kind, just like everything in your diet! But, don’t think fish oil pills are the cure-all…in fact, you might want to be careful and do a little research into the maker of your fish oil pills if you do take them. If you get enough omega-3s from your diet, you’ll want to be aware of the fact that too much may suppress immune functions. Additionally – since they’re made from fish skin and livers, they’re most likely to have increased levels of pesticides and heavy metals unless they’re refined to eliminate them, as well as high levels of vitamins A and D, which can potentially be toxic. Like all supplements you choose to take – make sure you do your research first!

Oh and, I learned that molasses only has iron in it because of contaminants from the machinery it goes through.I never knew that. I still love molasses, though. As a kid, I’d always say “mole asses.” I was so well-mannered.

How do you deal with panic-mode? Are you calm, cool, and collected – or do you run around like a chicken with its head cut off?!

 

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It’s All the Rage

There are two things running rampant in blog-ville these past few days.

One, pumpkin.

And two, a pesky little thing we’ll call the MC article. Lets talk about pumpkin first. Pumpkin is a lot happier.

So, brew yourselves some coffee…

…and lets discuss how to go through a can of pumpkin in just one day. Yes – that’s right. I’m sort of bummed. I usually prefer the smaller cans because the big cans are…just too much pumpkin all at once. And now I don’t even have pumpkin left to have overnight oats with tomorrow. Nice going, Jess.

Apparently, I was really into “tutorial-type” pictures today.

If you bear with me through them all, I’ll show you a Teddie video tomorrow. Don’t get your hopes up, though. We’re not doing anything, I just show you him trying to eat a carrot for two minutes and forty seconds.

Anyways. We’re gonna make pumpkin pancakes with an apple compote type topping. Yes, I said pancakes. I was feeling adventurous.

Start by chopping up a nice, fresh, crisp, local apple, and sautee it in some almond milk, cinnamon and a teensy drizzle of maple syrup over low heat while you prepare everything else. If you’re good, the timing will be impeccable, I promise you.

And meanwhile, mix together 1/4 c. quick oats, 3 T. WW flour, 2 T. oat bran, 2 T. raisins, baking powder, 1/4 c. pumpkin, 1/2 t. cinnamon, 1/4 t. nutmeg, 1/2 T. molasses, 1/2 c. almond milk, 1/4 c. pumpkin puree, and a chia egg and pour by 1/4 c. scoops into a preheated non-stick pan sprayed with olive oil spray. Or coated with real oil, whatever.

I know, I know. Teflon and spray oils, I’m surprised I’m still kickin’.

Whilst those are cookin’ (cause they take forever, and reminded me why waffles are so. much. more. convenient.) take your vitamins…

…and make the prized peanut butter sauce. It’s quite simple. Like sunshine and spaghetti.

I currently have a big jug of Canadian maple syrup, though. It was an accident, I swear. Please don’t throw me out to spend the night with the horses, please don’t!

I just mush-mix about a tablespoon or so of peanut buttah with maybe double or triple the amount of kefir, and a lil’ drizzle of maple sizzurp.

Don’t forget to keep stirring your apples!

Don’t forget to flip your pancakes!

You could probably make four normal sized ones. I, however, grew too impatient for that and just made the last one really huge.

And toasted the first two while I waited. Please tell me I’m not alone and you guys toast your pancakes, too. So good!

Add some raisins to your apples in the last few minutes or so! They pucker up and…well, who doesn’t like apples, cinnamon, and raisins?! You cook it until the liquid is just about gone and/or the apples are soft. You can add more milk if you haven’t reached the desired consistency yet.

And plate it all up!

These obviously aren’t your typical pancakes – they’re like oatmeal in the middle, all mushy, pumpkinny, and yummy – which was just what I was going for! If you want a really excellent “real pancake” recipe, however, might I suggest this one?

It still doesn’t feel like “pumpkin season” yet, and so I was apprehensive about breaking out the pumpkin – but once I did, there was, apparently, no stopping me.

When I came home from the barn, I had to fix up a pumpkin green monster!

Topped with wheat germ, pepitas, and figs with a slice of toast and cashew butter.

And then, I baked.

I baked pumpkin birdseed bars, of course! Except, after the fact, they’re more like gingerbread birdseed bars, but I’m not complaining. It made me realize – why hadn’t I thought to make gingerbread?! Sure, I made ginger ones (which, by the way, my mom brought to work and told me her co-worker wants the recipe! I was flattered.) but that differs from gingerbread.

Combine 1/4 c. rolled oats, 1/4 c. puffed millet, 1/4 c. pepitas, 1/8 c. chia seeds, 1/8 c. poppyseeds, 1/8 c. chopped walnuts, 1/8 c. sunflower seeds, 1/8 c. protein powder, 1/4 c. raisins, 1 t. cinnamon, and 1/2 t. nutmeg

…and then play with molasses. I paid good money for this organic, fair trade molasses! …and was unashamedly mesmerized by how gooey and dark it was!

In a smaller bowl, combine 1/4 c. milled flaxseed, 1/4 c. pumpkin puree, and 1/8 c. blackstrap molasses.

Mix it all up…

…and then combine it with the dry ingredients. It won’t be easy at first, but neither is life. I’m just prepping you for the real world.

You might need a little more moisture – that’s okay, just pour in 1-2 T. of unsweetened almond milk. You’d rather them be too wet than too dry! Unless you’re…different.

And heck, now that you mention it, some ginger syrup would taste pretty fine, too! Just a drizzle will do.

Before anyone asks – no, by technical definition, this is not a “bar pan.” It is to me, though, so it will continue to be called that by moi.

It is, however, a mini loaf pan. It’s the equivalent of an extra large muffin pan, I think.

Make sure you press them down really, really good! Sort of press and smooth, ya know?!

Bake them for 10-15m at 375*. More for crunch, less for…goop? Whatever floats your boat.

I think I did 13 minutes, and have a wonderfully moist yet still “bar-y” texture.

Yes, 13 minutes. That’s  a big deal for me, considering when cooking things I prefer to go in multiples of five.

Believe it or not, I did more with my life than bake pumpkin today. Aside from playing with Teddie and the other ponies, doing homework, and getting in some twerkin’ out, my big bargain buys came from SmartPak.

Why yes, yes I do jump at the chance to save 90%. This jacket was originally $236 (honestly – who pays that?!) and I paid $24. Oh, yes. And the vest, too. I had to.

But, continuing on in our practices of pumpkinism, lets make pumpkin baked gobbletti! Gobbletti (or gobetti? I don’t know) is a form of pasta, if you’re scratching your heads. This was based on a Veganomicon recipe. It’s my “I don’t feel like dirtying dishes and want to get more reading done rather than stand over the stove” version.

Nuke a couple handfuls of baby spinach in a large bowl until it’s slightly wilted. Stir in 3/4 c. pureed pumpkin, 1/4 c. chopped red pepper, 2 T. diced red onion, a generous pinch of nutmeg, 1 t. date sugar, generous 1/2 c. black beans, salt, maple pepper, and ground black pepper.

Thin it with water (1/2 c.?) and stir in your pastaaa. I love this shape! Shape really is everything.

Cover, and bake at 375* for 45 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked.

I topped it with some dried sage, chopped walnuts, and paprika. It was lovely. But apparently I was too eager to eat it to take a good picture.

I made a double batch, though – maybe tomorrow I will.

Or not.

Anyways. This post was needlessly picture heavy, sorry about that. Now onto something a little more serious that I’ll preface with this: I was, and am still not, one to get involved in drama-rama. All through high school and still now, I don’t really care about who said what and she said that. I don’t keep grudges, I don’t retaliate, I try not to get too upset. Life is too short for that junk. When I read the Marie Claire article that I’m sure you’ve all heard of, my heart hurt for those bloggers. I just can never understand when people are downright mean.

I’m not going to defend them (Not only have they done it quite eloquently thmselves, but I don’t know them) because it’s not my job. In fact, sure – the article raises a good point, though quite arguably, one that could have shown both sides of blogging… because here’s the positive: it can educate for the better, and counter against disordered eating, too. I am only where I am now because of these blogs. The media sure as heck didn’t have anything to do with it. Blogs have done more for me than the public and media has, and media is far more commonly seen than the majority of the health blogs out there. When I first started blogging, I was all about “shortcuts.” Sugar free maple syrup, because obviously chemicals are better than real food. Stevia, because of course any form of calories from sugar were the devil. Oil alternatives, because of course there’s no such thing as healthy fat.

Note the sarcasm. When we go through the grocery store aisles, see commercials on TV, and see advertisements in magazines, it’s all low-cal, low-fat, sugar-free, fat-free “food substitutes.” I don’t know about you, but that’s not what I see from the majority of blogs I read. And if I read one that I don’t agree with, I don’t have to read it. Ahh, the wonders of that cute little red “X” in the top right corner.

So, that’s that. I wasn’t going to say anything, but I feel like by not, I am turning a blind eye. So yes, I understand that while the article may raise a valid point about some blogs, I also understand that when it comes to the blogs in question, I’ve never been more inspired to become the best “me.”

And that’s that. So – what’s your favorite pumpkin dish?!

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Millet and Black Bean Gratin

I can’t imagine being a chef and getting an oil burn or anything worse than a little “whoopsie.”

Made with 1/4 c. each: chia seeds, mixed nuts, sunflower seeds, 2 T: sesame seeds, garlic salt

I gave myself a baby burn while I was removing my crackers from the toaster oven (…and being stupid and twisting my arm around with the pan to put it on the far side of the cutting board, so yes, it was my fault.) and it’s still screaming at me. Matter of fact, it’s right on the area of my arm that also rests right on the edge of the keyboard as I type. Smooth moove.

The worst part of this story is that it didn’t even leave enough of a mark to make anybody believe it hurts. Le sigh.

What’s the worst you’ve hurt yourself in the kitchen?

Anyways. The main reason I had to contort myself into strange shapes with the pan was because I was taking up so much room with veggies to broil for a Veg Gratin. I saw a lovely-looking one on Nicole’s blog this morning, and I had to have one. First I thought of making hers, except with bulgur instead of brown rice, and broccoli too. But then I started surfing, and found this one on Epicurious.

I can’t really say this is like either one, but since I never would have arrived at this point had it not been for that initial influence, we wouldn’t be having this discussion now, would we?

Millet and Black Bean Gratin

Serves one really hungry person, or two as a “mostly dinner.” Because that makes a lot of sense.

  • 1/8 c. millet
  • 1/2 c. black beans
  • ~1/2 c. sugar snap peas
  • ~1/4 c. diced carrots
  • ~3/4 c. broccoli
  • 1/2 T. milled flax mixed with 1 1/2 T. water
  • 1 T. nutritional yeast
  • 1 t. dijon mustard
  • 1 small tomato, sliced thin
  • 1/8 t. garlic salt
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Begin by preparing your millet. To be honest, I’m not really sure how millet is supposed to be prepared (I thought it was 3:1 water to grain) because I followed the directions I found and kept having to add more water. But! I did toast it first, just so we’re on the same page.

While that’s simmering, prepare your veggies by seasoning with salt and pepper and roasting them for 15-20 minutes in a 400* oven. (for more crunch, don’t pre-cook your veggies.)

In a medium-sized bowl, mash up the majority of the black beans, some left for texture.

Add in the nutritional yeast, dijon, broccoli and carrots, and mix. You’ll want to make sure the veggies are relatively finely chopped. Once it’s combined, add in your cooked millet and then the flax egg. This helps to bind it a bit.

Spread the mixture out into a casserole pan, and top with the sugar snap peas and tomato slices. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes in a 400* oven.

Note: This was made in a toaster oven.

Observations: While I would have loved being able to do this with garbanzos or, even better – butter beans – I’m still in a bean crisis. Alas, the black beans in this weren’t so bad afterall! As I was making it, I thought I’d missed the mark just based on what I like. But I love the creaminess the beans and millet combined gives it. I was waffling about what to do for seasonings, but in the end, as you can see – kept it simple. Garlic salt was really enough! I find veggies, beans, nutritional yeast, and dijon don’t really need any crazy kind of “pumping up.”

Dinner: Naturally, I enjoyed mine over a bed of greens with some Ragu and feta.

Additionally, I think I’d probably like this with tomatoes and garlic and basil only (in the beans layer, beans being a white bean of some sort) but I have  broccoli and sugar snap pea overload. It’s okay, though – I do love them!

And last but not least – this was my first time trying millet! I know, I know – I realized at the co-op yesterday that I have so many grains I’ve yet to try. I was just going to restock on quinoa, but then amaranth, millet, and wheatberries had me change my mind. Didn’t get amaranth, but it’s in the line-up.

What’s your favorite grain?

But, back to something that didn’t require too much debate – breakfast!

I opted for gingerbread waffles today. To my typical waffle recipe, I added:

  • 1/2 T (?) molasses
  • 1/4 t. cinnamon
  • 1/8 t. nutmeg
  • 1/8 t. ground ginger
  • 1 t (?) light brown sugar

and to add to the ginger lovin’ I topped them with about 3/4s of a large banana sliced and nuked with chopped dried figs, slow roasted pecans, crystallized ginger, ginger-peach preserves, and a sprinkle of light brown sugar. Next time I would definitely add more ginger! And maybe a touch more molasses, too. I am always weary of over seasoning something. I mean – you can always add more, but once there’s too much, you’re done for!

These were a little bit “gooier” than the usual ones I make. Not a bad thing – I liked the moistness the molasses added – but just a forewarning if anyone has had trouble with these sticking in the past.

This proved to be the best fuel for dealing with the little monster today! He was quite full of himself. It was actually a lot of fun, heh. It’s also a little bit comical, because I think had a non-horse person watched us, they would have felt bad for me – but in the end, I felt very accomplished. Actually, I take that back – someone who couldn’t read a horse’s body language probably would have thought we looked good! There was a lot of “new stuff” to deal with. First, we rode while A was. Now, we’ve ridden with another pony in the ring before, and while A was finishing up – but never while she was cantering around, jumping, etc. So being in the same ring as another horse who moved faster than a slow jog was something he took surprisingly well. Didn’t care much at all until Jewel came in – the pony he (should be) used to, and doesn’t usually care about.

However, I think she may have been in heat, and Mr. Teddie here thinks he’s…ahem…more of a man than he really is. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he was gelded very late and has little baby Teddies roaming around. So, with her – he was fixated. I was actually about to cool him out – long reins and all – when he decided he would bee-line across the ring to get to her. Luckily I put the kibosh on that, and took advantage of his renewed energy to make. him. work. And would you believe it, that little stinker was bending, flexing, using his behind, and moving out like the best of them! I had a lot of fun 😀 We got a quick canter in, although as I was saying to A – “we don’t canter, we take strides of consecutive buck and then sort of canter.” haha. But it will come. He’s already caught on that I don’t want a really fast trot when I ask, I want a canter – he gave me (some bucks and) a canter within a couple seconds!

My other thought was that maybe he was nervous that “his” mare was in the ring with him and another gelding – who A was on. Anyways.

All of that hard work was rewarded with some of the best sludge I’ve made yet.

Yes, this was probably the grossest colored green monster I’ve made thus far – but definitely the tastiest! I took the cue from Amanda and added coconut water instead of almond milk today. I, too, have been feeling insanely thirsty lately. I always drink a lot – but yesterday I swear I was thirsty every five minutes. I didn’t have a problem today, so I’m wondering if it was maybe just from not drinking much over the weekend.

But it was all about the blueberry-coconut relationship today! In the blender went (approximately):

I topped the pond sludge with:

  • more fresh blueberries
  • quick oats
  • marcona almonds
  • shredded sweetened coconut
  • chopped date
  • all-natural chunky peanut butter
  • drizzle of (local) blackberry honey creme

Oh. my. heavens. Why won’t coconut water just come out my faucet, already? So good. I enjoyed the rest with my smoothie – I think the whole bottle would have left it far too runny. I was happy to drink some plain, though 🙂

Wondering about the bennies of coconut water? I touched up just the basics here 🙂

Have you ever had coconut water? What did you think of it?

P.S. Alisa wrote a great article here about the findings linking calcium to potential heart problems. Well – that’s not as true as implied initially! Definitely give it a read 🙂

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