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updates & foodie guest post!

8 Jul

Hey guyyyys

I’m back! Well, actually, I landed on Monday evening so I’ve been a bit delinquent. But to be fair, I got home on Monday at 10, had two days to hang out with my best friend/sleep, and then yesterday came back to school for summer research & classes. 

Here is one of the fab guest posts I’d hoped to get up while I was gone… unfortunately I had no internet access except my mom’s phone so I was only able to bring it to you now! I’ve spent a lot of today working through the ~2000 pictures I took at Disney (um, seriously) soooo be prepared (ha, Lion King reference!) for some recaps in the near future. 

Let’s give it up for one of my favorite blends (blog-friends, get it?!), XC Foodie! She’s bringing us a little bit of Cookie and a little bit of Carrot (um I NEED to make that dip, stat!)… what a cutie :) And speedy to boot… check her blog out! ;)

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Hello Everyone! I’m Tara from XCFoodie.

I’m a track and cross country runner with a huge appetite for food. I love to bake and cook to offset the energy expenditure of running. I eat a mostly healthy, vegetarian diet, but I think balance is important. Today I want to do a tribute to two of Nicole’s favorite things. What are they? Cookies and Carrots of course! This is the perfect example of balance between nutritious and delicious (not that carrots aren’t delicious!).

COOKIES:

Well, technically these are blondies. But blondies are cookie bars. Therefore they count as cookies. I put together this delicious recipe for my track team. Since we’re runners we eat… we eat a lot. You should see our psyche parties. Dessert is a mad house. I made these for practice though, and we enjoyed them after a long, strenuous speed workout. Not a crumb was left, and people were attacking me for seconds and thirds!

Chocolate Chip Butterscotch Toffee Blondies

Ingredients:

1 cup butter (2 sticks)

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons agave nectar

3 eggs

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup butterscotch chips

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup toffee bits

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9 inch pan.

Cook the butter in a saucepan over medium heat until it turns brown (see browning butter tips here if you are unfamiliar with the process), and then remove it from the heat. While it cools, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Combine the brown butter, agave, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, and stir with a wooden spoon until they are combined. Add the eggs to the bowl and attach the bowl to the mixer. Beat the mixture at a medium setting for 3 minutes using the paddle attachment. Add the vanilla and continue beating it until the vanilla is incorporated. Add the flour mixture and mix just until combined.

Remove the bowl from the electric mixer. Fold in the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and toffee bits. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when inserted in the center. Take out the blondies and let them cool before cutting.

CARROTS:

I’m a dried-bean-phobic. I had a bag of red lentils in my pantry for about a year before I decided to use them. One night, I got this intense craving for hummus, but all I had was lentils. My fridge was also overflowing with carrots that I needed to use up. I decided to combine the lentils with carrots, and they complimented each other nicely in this spicy, satisfying dip. It may not have been hummus, but it was just as delicious!

Moroccan Carrot Lentil Dip

1/2 cup dry red lentils

1 1/2 cups water or veggie broth

9 oz. carrots

1/4 cup chopped onions

1/4 heaping teaspoon of each of the following: cumin, cinnamon, coriander, turmeric, and allspice

1/8 – 1/4 tsp cayenne

salt to taste

Add the lentils and water in a saucepan. Heat on high until the water boils. Reduce to a simmer and cover, leaving the top slightly ajar. Simmer for 30 minutes, checking every so often (I checked every 5 minutes) to stir and add additional water if necessary. After 30 minutes, remove from the heat and cover completely. Allow it to absorb any leftover liquid for at least 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute the onions in a small frying pan on medium heat, approximately 3 – 5 minutes or until translucent. Steam the carrots (I used the microwave method, 1/4 cup water and microwaved 2.5 minutes or until soft).

Combine the lentils, carrots, and onions in the food processor. Process until smooth. Add spices and salt. Process for about 30 seconds or until they are thoroughly distributed.

What is your favorite cookie?

What is your favorite way to use carrots?

Nicole’s Question: How much do you want to hear about Disney? Be honest, I kind of understand if you don’t want to hear me babbling about how much I love Disney Princesses because I’m about 4 years old. I have a zillion pictures and don’t want to bore anyone to tears. In fact I may do it in installations. I’m not sure if I should put it chronologically or by park… Any ideas/suggestions/etc welcomed :)

comatose ovens & crunchy crackers.

23 Jun

Those of you who follow me on twitter may have seen me whining about my oven being, well, defunct. It is true. And you can only imagine my devastation.

My best friend chalked it up to an overuse injury. But I told her that the prolonged periods of rest followed by short spurts of activity were meant to be interval training! And besides, it wasn’t anything I baked that caused the problem… You see, my oven took up smoking, and you know, smoking kills…

My mom baked a little tray of Trader Joe’s cinnamon bun-things for a get-together the other day and for one reason or another it left some residue at the bottom of the oven. I went to preheat it the next day to bake some cookies & I realized that my oven was smoking.

The logical next step was to try to make my oven come clean. But the clean cycle sadly left my oven nonresponsive, in a coma, if you will. It’s still displaying a little red “FO” (maybe for “eff off?”) and a sadly incorrect time, and NONE of the buttons work.

Fortunately there is another oven in my life… my toaster oven.

Hooray for the convection bake setting!

So when my dad scoured through the pantry and found nothing with which to eat his hummus (we’re clearing the pantry/fridge for a 10-day vacation), I was still able to oblige with some socca crackers courtesy of the lovely Ashley.

Actually, I first made these last week with my real oven, but had to make a batch today to use up the hummus… difficult life I lead.

Mine were a little different as I’m kind of stingy with my raw buckwheat groats… So I just used 1/2 cup of chickpea flour, 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast, 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder and mixed it all up and sprinkled it with sea salt, then baked for awhile. Head to the real recipe here for better directions & pictures. :)

The recipe is delightfully simple and while mine aren’t as pretty as Ashley’s (but really, that’s damn near impossible) they were crispy and delicious and psuedo-cheesy. And I may or may not have licked up the batter. I have a thing for nooch. It’s a problem.

I was kind of curious about the nutritionals on these babies and found that if you make a half-batch with 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (extra nooch = love), it’s about 150 calories and 13.6 grams of protein and 6.4 grams of fiber. Not too shabby! I’ll definitely be stocking some garbanzo flour in my kitchen next year. :)

Oh, and the hummus?

Mission accomplished. :)

What do you do when you’re trying to clear out your pantry, etc? 

Ever dealt with a broken oven? 

cocoa for coconut [cookies & coupon code!]

20 Jun

Spoiler: My mom says these are the best cookies I’ve ever made.

And considering the sheer number of cookie recipes on my recipe page (which I haven’t updated in like two months, oops), that has to be saying a lot.

But let’s backtrack, shall we?

A few weeks ago I was approached by the very-sweet Jen from Kelapo Coconut, asking if I’d like to do a review of their virgin coconut oil. Having experimented with coconut oil once before, I was more than happy to oblige. However, I was in the thick of finals so I had them send it to my home address and upon arriving was ecstatic to find this waiting in my dining room for me:

Ideas for different cookies and desserts bounced around in my head for weeks. While there are certainly plenty of savory ways to use it, I was obviously inclined to use in baking for that slight coconutty taste I found it lent to baked goods.

There are a bunch of reasons to love coconut oil that I’m not particularly keen on getting into now; suffice it to say it’s a delicious and more wholesome source of fat! Not to mention that it’s delicious. The Kelapo coconut oil was a little harder than I expected but blended beautifully into these delightful morsels of goodness.

These are chocolatey, dense, and just slightly coconutty. Aka perfectly delicious in every way. I am SO happy to have had the chance to try this product and experiment with something I might not have picked up off the shelf myself!

But should YOU want to try your hand at these cookies or any of the many recipes on Kelapo’s recipe blog, I am happy to announce that I was given a coupon code just for my lovely readers to use on Kelapo products. Just type in Nicole20 (case sensitive) into the code box when ordering to get a whopping 20% off your order!! The code is valid for a month, through July 20th.

These cookies, however, did not last even a day.

Cocoa for Coconut Cookies
By me :)
Makes 12-16 cookies; easily doubled!

1/2 tablespoon flax + 3 tablespoons water, microwaved for about a minute & stirred until eggy
1/4 cup Kelapo coconut oil
1/4 cup sugar
2-3 tablespoons cocoa powder (depending how dark yours is)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons cocoa nibs (completely optional, see below!)

The main offenders…

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put flax & water in a small bowl or mug and let sit until thickened.

In a small bowl, beat together coconut oil and sugar until well mixed.  Beat in cocoa powder and flax egg until well combined. Add in dry ingredients up until coconut flakes; mix until thoroughly combined. Stir in coconut, chocolate chips, and cocoa nibs (if using).
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are set.

ENJOY!

Notice the use of cocoa nibs?

Well, I got to visit a chocolate factory last week and my friends bought these as a thank-you gift for my mother for hosting them… And of course I couldn’t resist tossing them into cookies. And pretty much everything else. The deep dark 100% chocolate taste is just irresistible. They don’t particularly SHINE in these cookies (too much other stuff going on) but they do add a pleasant crunch here and there. Totally optional though!

Ever tried coconut oil? What’s your favorite thing to do with coconut oil/any coconut product??

if you can cream it, you can do it.

18 Jun

Today was one of those days.

You know, those days when a lot of little things seem to go wrong and you have an overwhelming urge to assume the fetal position? One of those days. To be sure, nothing particularly earth-shatteringly horrible happened… I woke up at my best friend’s house (aka my second home) after a fabulous sleepover, but it was rainy & dreary & I had to skip out on a hike because my shins have been bugging me. Oh, and I tried on a swimsuit. Now that is a recipe for disaster.

A recipe to make me feel better though? A good old-fashioned cookie.

Lately I’ve been experimenting with healthy baking. Gluten-free baking. Vegan baking. Lower-sugar baking. These are none of the above.

You see, I find there’s something inherently calming about creaming real butter and real sugar & watching them get fluffy & creamy & delicious.

There’s something about breaking out my good old garage-sale Kitchen Aid hand-mixer & whipping up a batch of completely nutrition-less, chocolatey cookies. Something about the texture of real eggs as they swirl around in the batter.

This is what got me addicted to baking. The simplicity of the ingredients, the perfection of the chemistry, the call to simpler days when calories & fat grams never mattered.

 

Maybe it’s counter-intuitive to be upset about swimsuit-shopping and turn to baking cookies, but hey, it works for me.

Colorful M&Ms definitely don’t hurt.

I adapted this recipe slightly mostly because I was lazy and didn’t want to make precise measurements (aka 2 tablespoons to divide 1/4 cup in half). While most of the work & the credit should definitely still go to the original author, rather than rattle off my minute changes I’m just going to type up the recipe myself. But really, any old recipe will do.

Just make sure it has real butter (or Earth Balance, at least) & sugar.

Chocolate-M&M Cookies
Makes ~20 cookies
Adapted slightly from love and butter

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 whole egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Most of a 5.6 ounce package of M&Ms (or whatever mix-in you choose)

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

In a medium bowl, beat together butter & sugars until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla, then egg; mix well. Add in dry ingredients and beat until well combined.

Fold in desired amount of mix-ins.

Scoop with a standard cookie scoop (or your own spoons, I won’t judge) onto a cookie sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each. Bake for about 11 minutes or until edges are set and tops are crackled. Let cool for about 5 minutes then carefully remove; the M&Ms may try to stick to your cookie sheet, so this is best done when they’re still a little warm.

Share with your family & friends and enjoy the smiles you’ve created.

Other things that help on a so-so day?

Fluffy puppies. Clinically proven to increase happiness. You can borrow mine if you come over :) And, of course, I’ll bring cookies.

What cheers you up on a bad day?

arts, sciences, & banana muffins

15 Jun

I’ve never considered myself to be all that creative. Sure, hand me some kind of problem and I’ll probably come up with some “out-of-the-box” solution (remember my “oven mitt”?). But set a canvas and some paints in front of me and I’ll agonize for years and possibly come up with some deep philosophical justification about the blankness of my soul as portrayed on the blank canvas rather than paint anything. Or I’ll put smiley faces and hearts.

Even photography, which I do enjoy, can be a struggle when I have to fabricate some sort of scene or idea. Candids? Sure. Staged artistic pieces? Not so much. I tend to like working with something that already exists rather than “creating from nothing.”

Enter baking. Combining some semi-scientifically-precise amount of fat, flour, & leavening to yield hopefully-delicious results. Certainly not all of my flavor combinations are unconventional or unique, but there’s still something decidedly gratifying about making up a recipe on a whim and having it work perfectly. Obviously the actual writing of recipes is not exactly creative in and of itself; there are only so many ways to write “bake at 350 until lightly golden”.

So when I was feeling an itch to get a little creative, I found my way into the kitchen and started grabbing things. Banana. Almond extract. Sliced almonds. Whatever I could find in my pantry. The result? Not a particularly outstandingly unique concoction, but decidedly delicious nonetheless, and the perfect marriage of art, science, & sugar. Just my kind of mixture.

Banana-Almond Muffins
Created by moi :)
Makes 6 muffins 

1 over-ripe banana
1/3 cup almond milk
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (more if desired)
3/4 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3-4 tablespoons sliced almond (divided)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a muffin tin (if using a 12-cup tin, put a little bit of water in the empty tins to prevent warping)

In a medium bowl, mash banana and combine with almond milk, oil, almond extract, and sugar. In a separate bowl sift together dry ingredients (except almonds). Make a well in the center and pour in wet ingredients; stir until just mixed. Gently stir in 2-3 tablespoons of sliced almonds. Divide batter between 6 muffin tins and top with remaining almonds.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until lightly golden on the edges and a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean.

Enjoy!

What’s your favorite form of creativity? 

fearful cinnamon rolls

28 May

I’ve mentioned before that I’m kind of a fraidy-cat... remember my story about Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets?

Obviously I have other fears. Like zombies (my friend somehow talked me into watching The Crazies with him last night… not sure how I managed to sleep). Or my somewhat hypochondriacal fear of stress fractures in my shins (though it’s not a totally unfounded fear, nor did it prevent me from running 6.1 miles on the treadmill today… I’m a slowpoke but I was excited I could run for that long!).

My biggest kitchen fear? Yeast. It’s unpredictable. I usually have to go through two packets to get one to come out right. I’m always afraid it just won’t work.

Luckily Mama Pea is here to help… and thus I made cinnamon rolls.

Admittedly, these are from a few months ago. Admittedly, I wanted to post these either on my brother’s birthday or right after, because he is a cinnamon roll addict and I definitely made these for him. (I’m just kind of behind on… life).

Tell my teachers to stop assigning me papers and tests and then maybe I’ll do half the things I intend. (Aka… sorry for the prolonged silence, I’m alive, I promise! And summer is just around the corner and then you won’t be able to get rid of me).

In the meantime, let’s dream of comforting, carby cinnamon rolls sans fear and copious amounts of homework.

You can find the recipe here. Since my brother is a growing teenage boy I made them with half oil instead of the pumpkin (also because I wanted the pumpkin for myself, let’s be honest) but otherwise I made it by the brillliant recipe by Mama Pea. And they were good. I don’t even like cinnamon rolls and I liked them.

Tell me about your fears, culinary or otherwise. :) And your weekend plans for the long weekend! I’m sleeping. And trying to stay afloat in my last week and a half of school this year… IthinkIcanIthinkIcan!

guest post! chocolate chip cookies & pumpkin bread from ‘meow or never’

19 May

So today I’m devoting myself to the books again… Well, I mean, kind of. My presence on Twitter begs to differ. At any rate, I’m handing the blog over to the lovely Katey & Sara… we’re pretty much the same people in different states (actually, I guess Sara and I run exact opposite schedules :) ). They’re sharing some of their delicious recipes with us today! And I’m pretty sure we need to hang out when I get back to Seattle… Just sayin’. :)

Hello! This is Katey and Sara, and we’re excited to be guest posting today! Just a little bit of background on us: We’re sophomores at the University of Washington who enjoy taking long walks, baking, and tanning (especially since the sun has finally come out!). We started our blog “Meow or Never” to document our adventures before Sara returns to California and are striving to fit everything in in these last 3 weeks. Some of our past outings have been going to Pike Place Market, Greenlake and Fremont, all of which typically center around food (we’re big fans of finding new cafes and having picnics). We also frequently start off our Sunday adventures with yoga and Starbucks, which make the perfect recipe for a great day, in our opinion. In order to fund our adventures, we’ve taken our talent for turning flour+sugar+eggs into deliciousness, selling batches of cookies/bars/breads to our friends or anyone in need of some baked goods. Today we want to share some of our favorite recipes.

The first is for our chocolate chip cookies, which are always a hit with customers.
• 2 sticks unsalted butter
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1/4 cup granulated sugar
• 1 egg
• 2 1/2 tsp. vanilla
• 1 3/4 cups + 7 tbsp. of flour (we know, it’s strange)
• 3/4 tsp. baking powder
• 1/3 tsp. of baking soda (just eyeball this)
• generous 1/4 tsp. of salt
• however many chocolate chips you desire! (or any add-in of your choice! we have made this dough with M&Ms, and also did a white chocolate chip-macadamia nut recipe, both of which rocked)
-Preheat your oven to the temperature specified on your chocolate chip bag (we think we usually set ours at 350-375)
-In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars together. Then add the egg and vanilla and beat till very well blended.
-Mix together dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Gently add in half of the dry mixture into the wet, combine and add the second half. (If you are like us and lack bowls, counter space and patience, feel free to just add each dry ingredient directly into the butter&sugar. We promise they will still come out!) Just be careful not to overmix.
- Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a baking sheet and bake for 8-12 minutes depending on your oven (we recommend checking and timing your first batch). Remember to let the sheets stand for a few minutes after you take them from the oven so they don’t lose their shape.


One of our favorite flavors is pumpkin (we are slightly obsessed with the pumpkin spice latte during the holiday season) and if you are like us and need a pumpkin fix during the off-season, here is a wonderful recipe for pumpkin bread:
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 1 cup canned pumpkin
• 1/2 cup of oil
• 2 eggs
• 2 cups of flour
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• 1/2 tsp. of salt, nutmeg, cinnamon (each)
• 1/4 tsp. ginger
• 1/4 water
Optional: 1 cup of raisins & 1/2 cup chopped nuts (or pretty much whatever you want)
- Combine sugars, pumpkin, oil and eggs. Beat until well blended.
- Sift together flour, soda, salt, spices. Add to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
- Stir in water, and add-ins if desired.
- Spoon into well oiled 9x5x3 loaf pan
- Bake at 350 degrees for 65-75 minutes or until done when tested. Turn out on rack to cool.

We hope that everyone is having an awesome week and spring! And we urge you to try these recipes, enjoy them, and have some fun adventures of your own! We especially want to thank Nicole for letting us be a part of her adorable blog, she’s such a sweetheart and so great to work with!

WIAW: workload wednesday.

18 May

Oh how I love me some alliteration… Here’s a rather brief WIAW, because I want to procrastinate just a little longer.

Before we get started… everybody check out Kate’s raffle over here where you can bid on delicious desserts and support a fabulous cause (she’s fundraising for a hospice she’s running the Chicago Marathon for!)! My cookies are up for bids too. :)

Breakfast

Okay, so I made cooked overnight oats with peanut flour. I am newly obsessed with the stuff and may or may not have gone through a bag in about a week. These oats were SO creamy and peanutty and protein-filled and delicious!

Peanut-Flour Overnight/Voluminous Oats

1/3 cup oats
1 teaspoon chia seeds
2 tablespoons peanut flour
sweetener to taste
a few dashes of cinnamon
~2/3 cup of water or almond milk (possibly more)

Nuke for about two and a half minutes and stir well; cover and leave in fridge overnight. Stir in more liquid in the morning if desired! :)

Lunch

I had me a salad. With some of this salsa on top…

I bought it at the little market my school has and it’s kind of awesome, definitely has a kick to it. But now I have to work on using it all up! So I’m putting it pretty much on everything… Though I’ve always loved salsa on salads. :)

Snack

I went for a run on this day (last Friday)… 3.1 miles! That would be my second run in 6 months. I’m not, however, sharing how fast it was because it was incredibly slow… And my shins are still a little tender which is making me freak out a little bit but we’ll see. I pulled a Matt and refueled with (my very first!) Kombucha and Fage 2%

Um, yeah, this was pre-shower… And the posters in the background are my roommate’s. Just sayin’.

Dinner

I had soup at the lunch room but was hungry again about an hour later (silly running!) so I made some savory oats. Just added some nutritional yeast into the oats and some salsa on top per Heather‘s suggestion.

Oh, and I bought these. They were ridiculously hot and kind of made me cry, so I washed them off a bit which helped… I did like the crunch they added!

**I had more snacks throughout the day that were not photographed!! Just a disclaimer! :) **

Hope you’re all having lovely days… I’m back to hitting the books & learning about the occipital and parietal lobes. Three tests in two days… Oh and a term paper in a week. Whoops.

Eat anything delicious recently? Tell me about it! :) Or go check out my post from yesterday with lots of random facts about me and tell me something about yourself ;)

banana pancakes.

16 May

Pretend like it’s the weekend…

I wish. I also wish it were summer and I were at home where these photos were taken oh-so-long ago.

This week kind of sucks for me. I have 2.5 tests (one’s a “quiz”), 1 review session to plan, 1 small paper, and 1 big paper I really need to get working on. So do excuse me if I’m a little more absent(minded) than usual.

So in lieu of intelligent posts, I will ply you full of photos of treats I made long ago while I stuff myself full of more dietary fiber than a cow probably eats in a day (when I’m stressed, I binge-eat vegetables. It’s perfectly normal, I swear).

And we’ll both look longingly at the pictures & I will hopefully stop looking at them long enough to study…

But fear not, I will be back in full force soon. 13 days of classes left, 24 days of the quarter left, & then I will be free!

This recipe comes from Peanut Butter Boy… check him out if for no other reason than he apparently loves peanut butter a whole hell of a lot which gives us a lot in common. It’s definitely healthy-tasting and is more of a protein pancake than a typically fluffy, light, comforting pancake, but I rather enjoyed them, though I’d be curious to see how a pinch of baking powder would work… and I definitely want to whip up some completely nutritionally devoid banana pancakes in the near future.

Possibly while listening to Jack Johnson. Just for kicks.

Banana Cottage-Cheese Pancakes
from here

1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup nonfat cottage cheese
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons egg white/egg substitute
1 overripe banana, divided
(possible addition: 1/4-1/2 teaspoon baking powder?)
blueberries, chocolate chips, or desired mix-ins (optional)

Blend together oats, cottage cheese, egg substitute, and half of banana until well mixed; if it’s too thick, add a little bit of milk or water and mix until it reaches the desired consistency. Slice other half of banana into thin slices to put on top of pancakes.

Heat a large skillet and spray with cooking spray (or use butter/oil). Drop about 1/4-cup-fuls of batter and flatten if necessary; press banana slices in gently. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the top starts to set, then flip and cook on other side for about a minute.

Spread with peanut butter, drizzle with maple syrup, coat with chocolate chips, or eat them however you want.

And definitely pretend like it’s the weekend.

What do you eat when you’re stressed?

Any Jack Johnson fans? :) I have a really distinct memory of listening to him on the car ride to crew practice after school… Combo of his crooning + the heat of the car made it VERY difficult to get out of the car and out onto the cold water though!!!

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. :)

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