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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!

mother’s-day muffins [cappuccino muffins]

8 May

It seems that most mother’s day gifts I’ve given are things that only a mother could love.

Only a mother could love the paint-spattered excuses for “artwork” I proudly handed to her in the first grade.

Only a mother could love being ordered to return to bed for “breakfast in bed” consisting of lightly-burned toast, yogurt, & cereal.

Only a mother could love mug after painted mug of uncreative, polka-dotted ceramics.

Only a mother could love the “gift” of my high school’s dangerously delicious Cappuccino muffins, conveniently charged to her credit card account.

But anyone could love my at-home replication of those muffins. I searched far and wide, and it took a variety of different recipes, but when I finally stumbled upon this gem in Vegan Brunch by Isa Moskovitz, I knew I’d found my winner.

Perhaps not the greatest sacrifice on my part, but it did take some work… And a few less-than-perfect muffins. ;)

Vegan Cappuccino-Chip Muffins
adapted slightly from Vegan Brunch; also found here

1c almond milk (or your fave non-dairy milk)
1 heaping tablespoon instant coffee crystals
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (or more canola oil for a better “crust”)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a muffin tin.
In a small cup, mix coffee granules with half of nondairy milk; add in the rest of the milk and the vinegar, and set aside to thicken.
In a small bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Make a well in the center and add in oil, applesauce, vanilla, and thickened milk. Stir together until just combined, taking care not to overmix, then gently fold in chocolate chips.
Fill muffin tins about 3/4 full and bake for 22-26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in tins for a few minutes before removing and letting cool on a plate.

While I’m not actually at home to make my mom a special breakfast, I’m hoping that sharing her favorite recipe and sending some cyber-carbs will help fill the void until I’m home in a month (!).  I wish I could do more, as this seems like even more of a cop-out than usual.

Only my mother could put up with my incessant chatter, constant whining, the perpetually dirty kitchen & ever-dwindling supply of flour and sugar. Only my mother would make me breakfast in bed almost every day, & make my bed when I “forget” to. Only my mother thinks I’m the coolest thing since sliced bread so I should write a book/open a cookie shop (ah, delusions). Only my mother magically receives telepathic messages when I’m not feeling okay, and knows how to put a smile back on my face.

And most of all, only my mother loves me, hugs me, & listens to me when I need it most.

Love you, mom!

What are you doing for mother’s day? What about you could only your mother love/understand? 

soul-food [cornbread & cookies]

26 Feb

Also known as: I will find any excuse to bake.

One of my friends is one of the event planners for my school’s “Black Student Union”-type club (technically called Igwebuike). I was stalking her on Facebook when I saw their event today was a large “Soul-Food” potluck. I was intrigued by the idea of free food coupled with the fabulous opportunity to bake and share fabulous food, so I talked another friend into making something with me.

My crazy, awesome partner-in-crime

Of course, I had very little idea of what exactly “soul food” was… I still am not entirely clear on it, but this Wikipedia article was informative. While I would have loved to come up with some great vegetarian dish that fit the bill, we decided to go with something a little easier to make with stuff I mostly already had… CORNBREAD.

The usual offenders…

Actually, cornbread was one of my favorite foods when I was in Kindergarten… That and tomato soup. I was a cool kid… I also hated french fries. Go figure. So we bought an enormous box of cornmeal and just used the recipe on the back. But we used Earth Balance spread, melted, instead of the oil (I was almost out!) and Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer, because I didn’t want to buy eggs. I also sprinkled some Daiya on part of it, which was semi-successful. Oh, and I had to improvise an 8×8 pan using my 9×13… College baking is always a little bit improvised.

Adapted slightly from Albers cornmeal

1 cup corn meal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt (I used 1/2 tsp because my “butter” was quite salty)
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil (or melted butter)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
~1/2 cup corn kernels (optional, my addition!)

PREHEAT oven to 400°F. Grease 8-inch square baking pan.

COMBINE meal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Combine milk, oil and egg in small bowl; mix well. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; stir just until blended. Pour into prepared pan.

BAKE for 20 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm.

They were pretty good… A little less moist than the cornbread of my youth, but I think it’s just a slightly different type than the kind I used to have (which was also somewhat sweeter). I really enjoyed these!

Of course, I’m of the belief that cookies are soul food, no matter what Wikipedia might say. Because baking and eating them totally nourishes the soul.

I had some Dark Chocolate & Mint chips left over that I decided to use up… Again, I just pulled the recipe off the back of the bag. Again, I used Earth Balance and egg replacer. This made them significantly more crumbly than usual (I’ve made this recipe before) but still delicious. I mean, really, how can you go wrong with mint & chocolate?

They’re called Mint Chocolate Delights, apparently! For the recipe, click here.

There was tons of food at the event itself… All kinds of sweet potatoes and yams and collard greens (prob my fave part!)! Oh, and lots of chicken, but I didn’t partake in that… Here’s one of my plates.

I definitely hit the fruits hard. Meaning I probably ate half of a watermelon (I’m not even exaggerating). I just have no self control with fruit, it’s actually kind of a problem (pretty sure there IS such a thing as too much fruit… they’re still sugars!).

We ate well, and it was another welcome break from dining-hall food. Plus it was just fun to be in the kitchen with people!

Good friends + good food = love

Here are some of the other desserts people brought… There were some killer pies (especially the sweet potato pie, OMG!)

Have you ever had “soul food”? What’s your favorite kind?
What kind of food nourishes YOUR soul?
What would YOU do with a ginormous box of cornmeal? I need ideas!

going bananas [sugar-free banana bread]

22 Feb

Firstly: If you were not explicitly tagged in my last post please consider yourself formally tagged, because I’m kind of creepy and want to hear about everyone, so… Yes. Please share?

And now the main event…

I love bananas. Currently I’m hoarding two ever-blackening bananas in the corner of my dorm room. So pretty much half the room smells strongly of bananas… My roommate probably loves me right now.

This was over a week ago… They’re kind of black now. Oops?

There are just so many things you can do with them! Banana bread, banana muffins, banana pancakes, banana cookies, sugar-free peanut butter cookies… I could go on, I’m sure.

So when I was at aforementioned family friend’s house this past weekend and saw two spotted bananas on their counter looking rather sad, I decided to give them a home. Luckily this coincided with them having friends for a celebratory lunch (today is their daughter’s 16th birthday! Happy birthday Gaby!)

I decided on banana bread. The challenge, however, was to make it diabetic-friendly. Luckily, I had a little help in the form of Stevia in the Raw Cup-for-Cup sugar substitute. I also was mostly finding recipes that called for 3-4 bananas… which I did not have. After probably an hour of searching I finally decided on this recipe.

Here’s where things get “bananas”. Aka my reading comprehension skills fail me (and I’m paying how much for my college education?!). It clearly states to use 1/2 stick of butter. I read 1/2 cup. It’s okay though, I’m pretty sure it just made the bread more delicious… But you could use half the butter listed and it’d probably work, if you’re worrying about fat or anything.

Sugar-Free Banana Bread
Makes 12 slices… Adapted from here

1/2 cup butter (see note above!)
2 eggs
2 large, overripe bananas, mashed
1/2-2/3 cup Stevia in the Raw Cup-for-Cup
2 tbsp sugar (optional)
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a standard loaf pan.

In a small bowl, mash banana well. There can be some very small chunks, but you pretty much want it entirely mashed. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar substitute until fluffy. Beat in banana and eggs until well mixed. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently stir in walnuts (don’t over mix! it’ll get tough!)

Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Share and enjoy!

Getting cozy with more cookies… That had the proper amount of butter. Recipe forthcoming…

Please tell me I’m not the only one whose life is one big “blonde moment”… Share your baking/life mishaps!