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puppy love [peanut butter “dog biscuits”]

14 May

After getting so many compliments on my lovely little dogs, I thought I may as well introduce them, & share their favorite treat (scroll to bottom if you want to skip the babbling and head to a super-easy treat recipe!).

First: Sandy the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Sandy, my regal Cavalier

Sandy was my first furbaby. I spent most of 4th and 5th grade year actively campaigning for a dog… I originally was obsessed with wanted a West Highland White Terrier, but my obsession interest ended up moving towards the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. I still remember the excitement of stepping into the breeder’s house to pick him up; he was 6 months old and already named.

Eight years later, he’s still going strong. Occasionally a somewhat lazy and grumpy old man, but regal and gorgeous all the same. And while he’s possibly a little “fluffier” than he ought to be, that just means more to cuddle with. ;)

Lily the Mini Poodle

Lily is my lovely little mini-poodle. I hate telling people I have a mini, because they automatically assume she’s some snappy, yippy little thing. Couldn’t be further from the truth! She’s possibly the sweetest dog ever, and even my friends who are cat people love her… She’s basically a real, live, warm, fuzzy teddy bear.

When we got her, she was 8 weeks old and could fit cupped in my hands. It was fairly amusing to see Sandy torment her by jumping on the couch with toys where she couldn’t reach them. Now she’s ridiculously good at jumping… to the point that she’s scaled baby fences before. I’m pretty sure she’s part teddy-bear, part rabbit, part sheep, and then part dog. Probably in that order.

And she sleeps in goofy places. Like in the nightstand in hotel rooms. Silly rabbit…

When I’m at home, I always make them a ginormous batch of dog treats. While I can’t exactly say if these are their favorite, they definitely eat them without any complaints. I mean, they’re part of my family, so they’re kind of obsessed with peanut butter (seriously, they sit there pleadingly every morning when my mom makes her peanut butter sandwich).

Incidentally, these are made with very few, very human ingredients. And while they aren’t exceptionally flavorful (which might be remedied with the addition of salt), they’re really crisp, crunchy, and delicious. And every time I make them, I have to fight to make sure some make it past my mom and into the dog treat jar.

Peanut Butter Dog Treats
from here

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup natural peanut butter
1 cup milk (I haven’t tried this with non-dairy milk, can dogs have almond milk?!)

Preheat oven to 385 degrees and lightly grease a cookie sheet.

Mix together milk and peanut butter until well combined. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Add dry to wet and mix well; it will start getting gummy the longer you use it, but they’ll turn out fine. Roll out onto parchment paper about 1/4 inch thick, and cut with cookie cutters (or into strips, if you’re lazy)

Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. To get perfectly even crispness, you can even try to flip them over once while baking, but it’s not really necessary. Dogs aren’t picky, after all…

(And neither is my mother).

Gratuitous video of Lily playing in the snow… please excuse the awkward audio and atrocious filming.

Tell me about your fur-friends. :)

a peanut-buttery guest post: clean eating chelsey

11 May

Thanks everyone for your super-sweet comments on my outfit yesterday… For those who asked, I got the shoes at TJ Maxx but I think they’re Steve Madden (I’m honestly too lazy to go check ;) ).

Today I have a special treat! Chelsey at Clean Eating Chelsey and I did a post-swap! Please give her a hearty welcome; she’s one of my favorite bloggers to read. Her posts are always funny, thoughtful, and/or delicious! :)

Hi Cookies and Carrots readers! My name is Chelsey, and I blog over at Clean Eating Chelsey. Nicole and I are doing a blog swap today, so be sure to check out her post at my place!

I thought I would talk to you about something very, very important today. Like seriously important – you should probably cancel any other plans you have this evening so you can devote yourself to this post. No, I’m not joking.

I want to talk to you about…

Peanut butter. Contrary to popular belief, I do not want to talk about the huge bags underneath my eyes. Give a girl some slack here folks – 6 AM doesn’t look good on most people, including me. I promptly used that spoon to depuff my eyes after eating my OIAJ.

Peanut butter and I have a very special relationship. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved peanut butter.

Okay, that’s a lie. I liked peanut butter when I was a kid – I never really loved it.

Sure, I had my fair share of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for brown bag lunches, but it was never anything I swooned over. In fact, I was always a little bit resentful of the kids who got to bring fluffernutter sandwiches to school – my mom was so against the fluff. It was sad to me then, but I understand it now. My kids are probably going to hate me since I won’t allow fluff within a 100 foot radius of them, but I’m already over it.

When I was growing up, we were a JIF kind of family – you know, that “peanut butter” filled with hydrogenated oils. Yum, sounds delicious, right? Wrong. I’m kind of a peanut butter snob now. Peanut butter must have just peanuts and salt. Evaporated cane juice and palm fruit oil is sometimes okay. Just give me the peanuts – I don’t need anything else. In fact, now that I have seen the light (aka eaten real peanut butter), there is no way I will ever go back to eating JIF (aka fake peanut butter) again. It just doesn’t compare. If you’re on the fence between real and fake peanut butter, just go for it – more specifically, go for Trader Joe’s Organic Creamy Peanut Butter.

The turning point for me was when I started putting peanut butter in my oatmeal. In fact, I thought that I was coming up with some novel idea by doing that until I realized three years later there was a whole blog world already on top of the whole oatmeal with peanut butter and bananas deal. So much for being one to pave the way for others. Around this same time, I went on a peanut rampage. I worked at a restaurant where eating peanuts and throwing the shells on the floor is mandatory. While my partaking in this event just meant I would have to sweep more up, I didn’t care. All I wanted was some peanuts.

I have branched out to other nuts – almonds, cashews – but nothing tastes as good as peanut butter. My favorite way to eat peanut butter is on top of oats or stuffed in dates

and we also can’t forget right off the spoon.

I actually think my biggest fear is being allergic to peanuts – or having a child that is highly allergic to peanuts. I think I would cry. So do me a favor today – eat a spoonful of peanut butter. I swear it will make your day complete.

Question: What is your favorite way to enjoy peanut butter?

the way the cookie crumbles.

15 Apr

One thing I’m working on in my life is accepting when things don’t go quite as I’d like them to. Of course, I like to translate this into something relating to food. Specifically cookies. So my new phrase? “That’s just the way the cookie crumbles.”

For instance:

Lately, I’ve been too busy to post daily, so I post every-other-day (and still feel kind of bad about it).

But lately, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. (PS I’m looking for guest posts :) see bottom of post)

This does not include any of the millions of extraneous meetings I end up having to go to… or the massive amount of reading I’m behind on. 

Sometimes, I end up falling asleep at 11:00 at night instead of hanging out with my friends.

Sometimes, you spend hours meeting to organize protocol for running a laboratory experiment (for psychology) only to realize the program itself isn’t running when you’ve already sat 5 participants down.

Sometimes, I miss 10 easy points on a chemistry test because the teacher poorly explained different types of error… resulting in me leaving chem with tears in my eyes (fortunately I had neuropsych right after and nothing puts me in a better mood than learning millions of neurotransmitters. I’m not even being sarcastic).

Sometimes, I dispense with the drama and just make cookies. And they’re delicious, but crumbly.

That, my friends, is really just the way the cookie crumbles.

I made these somewhat on a whim, and to use up the Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter I have in my room so I don’t eat it all with a spoon (difficult task, let me tell you). Since the peanut butter itself is fairly sweet, I didn’t want to add sugar… But ended up adding a bit in at the end anyways to help with chewiness and flavor. Still, these have less sugar than most recipe, and they’re vegan if you pick the right chocolate chips.

Peanut Butter & Co = LOVE

They are, as I said, crumbly. But really that means that the peanut butter kind of melts in your mouth. And they’re bursting with cinnamony goodness. So what they lack in binding, they make up for in flavor. However, these were originally intended for a package, and there’s virtually no way they would have escaped the harsh handling of the postman unscathed.

So I ate them. (Well, I had help, but…) And sometimes, cookie crumbles are even better than the real thing. Now that’s a lesson in positivity. :)

Cinnamon-Raisin Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes about 18 small-ish cookies 

1/2 cup Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter
2-3 tablespoons of oil
3-4 tablespoons nondairy milk, milk, or water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (more or less to taste)
1/2 cup raisins, chocolate chips, or whatever mix-in you prefer (I used half raisins, half chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a baking sheet.

In a medium bowl, mix together wet ingredients until well-mixed and caramelly (may take a few minutes). In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients.

Roll into balls for dough-ball-like cookies (even more crumbly) or flatten into disks for “traditional” cookies. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are just set. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from sheet; they will crumble.

But like I said, sometimes crumbles are even better.

What are your “cookie crumbles”?

If anyone is interested in doing guest posts, I’m thinking I’ll be interspersing them throughout the quarter to at least ease up a bit on my personal load… It can be about anything health, food, life related. :) shoot me an e-mail at cookiesncarrots at gmail.com :)

WIAW: second breakfast. [peanut butter pancakes!]

13 Apr

Thanks for all your support on my half-marathon… I’m excited, if also super nervous! :)

It’s Wednesday, and you know what that means…

 

Breakfast

I was not feeling super creative this morning. I’m actually in a food rut recently… and kind of a life rut, but that’s a different story.

So I had oatmeal. Packet oatmeal. Don’t judge. I added protein powder, which wasn’t photographed (this was half eaten).

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Peanut Butter may also have been involved.

Second Breakfast/Lunch

I came back from bio lab (this was last Thursday) to find that our lovely Assistant Resident Director for my dorm had prepared breakfast to share as she does every week… I couldn’t resist a few peanut butter pancakes as a delicious, free lunch (balanced? maybe not, but hey… I mean, they were topped with bananas foster, that’s fruit! ;) )

These were not overly sweet and were just peanut-buttery enough. I asked her for the recipe, and I’d love to make them myself and fiddle with them (you know how I do… maybe some peanut flour could be involved?!) but for now, here’s the recipe.

Peanut Butter Pancakes
Happens to be the same recipe as this one here, evidently from Color Me Vegan by Colleen Patrick-Godreau

1 1/4 cup flour
2 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup milk, dairy or non-dairy
1/4 cup peanut butter

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

In small bowl or measuring cup, stir together the milk and peanut butter til smooth.  Add to the dry ingredients and beat just until a batter is formed.  Do not overbeat.

Lightly oil a nonstick saute pan or griddle over medium heat.  Spoon the batter by 1/4 cupfuls inot the pan.  Cook until golden brown on both sides.  Serve immediately.

I also had a salad (not pictured). I always have a salad. My salad included my usual bell peppers & cucumbers & lots of greens, plus beans and some nutritional yeast sprinkled on top (no, they don’t have that at my salad bar, I brought it from my room…)

Dinner

I can’t believe I’m admitting this but I had ramen. Yep, super-typical college student right here.

I will say that it was Koyo brand vegetarian, low-fat ramen… Still ridiculous amount of sodium and more processed than I would like, but it hit the spot.

There may or may not have also been some cookies involved… but you’ll have to wait for those ;)

Any advice for getting out of food/life ruts/monotony?? Especially while very busy?

Eat anything especially good today? :)

tgif: monkey edition.

8 Apr

Firstly: If my face looked kind of big in those photos yesterday it’s probably because you guys compliment me too much and it’s going to my head. ;)

Secondly: Thank GOODNESS it’s Friday. Granted, I still have a neuro test to study for alllll weekend, but at least I won’t have classes.

Anyways, about that cookie dough

I stumbled upon this recipe for peanut butter-banana-chocolate chunk cookies. And let’s be honest my favorite flavor combination in the world is peanut butter + bananas + chocolate (I may be part monkey). Or perhaps cinnamon & chocolate. Or coffee & chocolate (side note: I just gave up caffeine and it’s killing me). I think I see a theme…

Made according to the original recipe, these are quite healthy. I modified them only slightly and added a little bit of ground flax to make sure it held together, as well as a couple of tablespoons of flour to make them a little denser. If you use bitter chocolate instead of regular chocolate chips, they’re sugar free; without the flour and with gluten-free oats, they’re pretty easily gluten-free.

Innards. Yum.

I also went ahead and continued with my dough-ball obsession and tried to make them more ball-like. To half of my half-batch, I added some powdered sugar and peanut flour to further enhance the peanuttiness and to make it a little denser. It sort of worked, but not quite how I wanted it. Meaning I will probably tweak this recipe further, but it was pretty good anyways so I’m sharing. :)

Healthy Monkey Cookies
Makes ~30
Adapted from here.

3 large, very ripe bananas
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups oatmeal
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar (optional)*
1/2 cup peanut flour (optional)*
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 – 1 cup chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips

* Totally optional, creates a denser but also less healthy cookie.

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl mash the bananas with the peanut butter, oil and vanilla. Mix in flaxseeds and let sit for a few minutes (I even microwaved this a little, mostly because my bananas were frozen…). In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients (except chocolate chips). Mix dry into wet and stir until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Bake for 11-13 minutes or until just set.

Share with your favorite monkey. Or someone whose genetic make-up is more than 95% monkey.

Yep, I’m talking to you.

What’s your favorite flavor combination?

Do you drink coffee/caffeine regularly? I am absolutely dying. I want it sooo bad… I think it’s mostly the taste, but my headache says otherwise… I refuse to admit my addiction. Sigh.

tastes of home. [reese’s-pieces cookies]

25 Mar IMG_8613

I do love college, but there are a lot of things to love about being at home.

The views.

Pretty city.

The ability to drive around and take ridiculous photos of myself in the car.

The family.

My brother is so big, it kills me!

And, of course, the food in many forms.

Such as the COFFEE (I am a true Seattle-raised Brazilian…).

Oh how I wish I had an espresso machine at school like my one at home…

Yeah, my friends and I went to a lot of coffee shops.

The five-pound bags of carrots… Thank you Costco.

May or may not have eaten two of these this week. Awkward.

The MASSIVE tubs of peanut butter… Also thanks to Costco.

5 pounds. 71 servings. Heaven.


And, of course, the cookies that inevitably come from said peanut butter.

I first made these cookies over the summer with Reese’s Pieces. They’re adapted from a recipe that was basically a normal chocolate-cookie recipe with the pieces in it. I decided to up the peanut butter factor by putting in peanut butter for half of the butter. It worked absolutely beautifully. This time, I used peanut-butter M&Ms and they were equally delicious.

I also love my mixer at home…And I may or may not have licked the beaters (don’t tell).

The dough is dark, fudgy, peanut-buttery and delicious. You might just want to eat it with a spoon. Don’t worry, I won’t tell. In fact, I condone this behavior. Can’t have me being a hypocrite now can we?

But if some make it to the cookie sheet, I’m fairly certain you won’t regret it. I made 24 of them earlier today and somehow they have all magically disappeared. It wasn’t even entirely my teenage brother’s fault… My dad (who “doesn’t like sweets”, remember?) definitely ate at least half a dozen.

I really should probably hoard this recipe to myself and sell it and make millions of dollars, but I’m feeling generous, and guilty for being so neglectful of everyone’s blogs. So here’s my peace-offering. ;)

Chocolate-Peanut-Butter Reese’s Pieces Cookies
Adapted from here

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs at room temperature
2/3 cup good unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 scant teaspoon salt (depending if your PB is salted or not)
10.5 oz bag of Reese’s Pieces (approx; feel free to sub PB M&Ms or basically anything! ~2 cups)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream the butter and half of the sugar until light and fluffy. Add peanut butter and the rest of the sugar and mix until creamy. Add the vanilla, then the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix well.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt and add to the egg/butter mixture with the mixer on low speed until just combined. Fold in the candy.

Drop the dough on a lightly greased  baking sheet (or line with parchment paper, which is often a good idea when working with candy), roughly the size of scant tablespoons (you can make them bigger if you desire, I tend to make small cookies; the original recipe recommends well-rounded tablespoons or 1 3/4 inch ice cream scoops and baking for 15 minutes).

Bake for around 12 minutes, or until the tops are beginning to crack (they will seem underdone, but take them out anyways!)
Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for 3 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack (or, um, a plate).

Enjoy them before someone else does (I’m lookin’ at you, brother).

What are the best things about being at home/what foods do you like best at home?

ballsy.

20 Mar

So I wrote a little bit ago about how I made dough balls in lieu of studying for finals.

Then I did it again so I could share some with the lovely Alex when she and I met up a week ago… But this time, I used some Dark Chocolate Dreams & cocoa powder to make CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER DOUGH BALLS (I know, intense, right?!)

The dough was deeeelicious, though extremely crumbly before I added water…

And then I think I added too much, because they didn’t quite stick together as well as I wanted. But I think my peanut butter was again kind of dry, so maybe adding oil would have been better.

At any rate, here’s the recipe… It’s mostly the same as Mama Pea’s but with a few minor tweaks. :)

Chocolate-Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Dough Balls
adapted slightly from Mama Pea

1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2-4 tablespoons water (if necessary)

In a large bowl, cream together peanut butter, margarine, and sugars until fluffy. Add in vanilla extract and cocoa powder and mix until well combined. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Add dry to wet in 2-3 batches, mixing until well combined each time. If your dough is still VERY dry and crumbly (like mine was, see above!) add in water or oil by the tablespoon until it starts to hold together (I added a little too much, actually). Fold in chocolate and peanut butter chips, and refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a baking sheet. Once the dough has chilled, roll about tablespoon-sized balls of dough and place on cookie sheet without flattening. Bake for 8-11 minutes (depending on size); this is the tricky part, because they won’t look particularly cooked but that’s what makes them delicious!

Let cool on cookie sheet then dig in.

Dough balls also made an appearance at sushi night. I told my friend who hosted the dinner that I’d bring cookies, and that she should pretend to be surprised. Unfortunately I only snapped one picture of the dough balls, but here they are:

They were delicious, not as sweet as Mama Pea’s version, but still really good. I may try tweaking them a bit, but this time I just used this recipe.

Have you ever made dough balls? Because if not you really should. They’re amazing.

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