Banana Breakfast Oat Cookies

Cooking shows put me to shame. I’m currently sitting on the couch watching an episode of Chopped as I type this. The people on Chopped only get 20-30 minutes to cook while I spend almost an hour just baking cookies. They’re also forced to use weird ingredients like mango steen and mashed potato candy (wtf?). It almost makes me feel guilty about eating the same thing for lunch everyday. Almost.

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While trying different foods/ ingredients is exciting, sometimes it’s just easier to use what you know. Like these cookies, they’re made with easy pantry staples, but they’re still pretty tasty. Recently I’ve been making more desserts/food without refined sugar. These cookies are sweetened only with blended dates and mashed bananas. And of course what is banana without peanut butter? Peanut butter and banana are just two foods meant for each other. These cookies have no flour and can be made gluten free by simply using gluten free certified oatmeal. Yes, cookies for breakfast exist.

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Banana Breakfast Oat Cookies (Makes 8-9)

2 ripe bananas (I used medium-sized)

1/3 cup pitted dates

2 tbsp. coconut oil (melted)

3 tbsp. peanut butter (I used natural)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 cup oatmeal (divided, use gf certified if necessary)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. In a food processor blend together bananas, pitted dates, coconut oil, peanut butter, and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Add salt and baking powder. Process until combined.
  4. Add 1 cup of oats and process until the oats are only slightly broken down. Take the blade out of the food processor. Stir in the last half cup of oats.
  5. Use a 1/4 cup scoop to put the cookies on a greased baking sheet or slipat. Bake for 15-17 min. These cookies will stay well in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks (the cookies do however get a bit soft after being in a sealed container).
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Maple Blueberry Scones

I recently visited England and naturally, I had to drink tea. The only way I drink tea is when it’s offered with little sandwiches, sweets, and scones. The British like to call this afternoon tea. When I had afternoon tea they served an enormous amount of food, way too much to be considered a “light meal”. First there were small sandwiches, four of them. Next, they brought out a dessert tray. On the top there were mini cakes, strawberry tarts, and small shots of jello, on the bottom there were scones served with clotted cream and strawberry preserves.

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And of course being an ignorant American, I thought that the clotted cream was butter. No, clotted cream is not butter, clotted cream actually has less butterfat than butter. Despite being less rich and fatty than good ol’ butter, I still thought it was pretty damn good. I think I had a bit of an epiphany while I was eating that scone. Scones can be dessert, they can be breakfast food, they can be sweet, you can eat them with jelly (I REALLY like jelly, like a lot), they can be savory… The list goes on and on.

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Once I was back in the states and had a kitchen to bake in, I had to make something. Of course it was scones. They’re not just amazing, but they’re also pretty basic. This recipe takes your classic scones and puts a bit of a twist on it by adding maple syrup and blueberries. I was a bit disappointed that the maple syrup flavor didn’t stand out after I baked the scones, but it did help provide a very subtle sweetness. The blueberries are great baked into the scones, as they get a little jammy when heated. I bet you can guess what I’m having for breakfast tomorrow.

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Maple Blueberry Scones (Makes 6-8 scones)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder (heaping)

1/4 tsp. baking soda

pinch of nutmeg

1/4 tsp. salt (heaping)

6 tbsp. cold butter (cut into cubes)

1 1/2 tbsp. maple syrup

1/3 cup milk

1 egg yolk

1/2 cup blueberries

Egg white for brushing on top of scones before baking

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, pinch of nutmeg, and salt. Work the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or your fingers. Stop once the mixture looks like a coarse meal.
  3. In a measuring glass, combine egg yolk, maple syrup, and milk and beat lightly with a fork. Add all to flour mixture, stirring enough to make a soft dough. Fold in the blueberries.
  4. Turn out onto a floured board and knead  lightly.  Roll or pat out into a 1-inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch rounds using a round cutter or cut into 2×2-inch squares. Reshape and roll dough to create more scones with excess scraps.
  5. Place on an ungreased baking sheet or slipat.  Brush with lightly beaten egg white.  Bake for 13-16 minutes or until golden brown on top.  Serve warm.  Scones are best the day they’re made, and though they can be frozen and lightly reheated in the oven if you need a future treat.

Adapted from Joy the Baker

Strawberry Coconut Date Oatmeal

Breakfast quinoa. That’s what I thought of  as I peered inside the pantry this morning. Coconut quinoa with sliced bananas, that sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it? But wait Trina, to make breakfast quinoa, you need quinoa. Alas, when I looked in the pantry, no quinoa. You can imagine my disappointment. Well what was I supposed to now? I have to eat, and I need whatever I eat to be pretty enough to blog about.

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Oatmeal. The new prettiest breakfast food. Well I can make that, it’s easy, and I can decorate it. Recently, thanks to a plethora of health bloggers/ instagrammers, it’s become a the new “it” breakfast food (yes, there is such thing as in “it” food). Decorating oatmeal is an art. These bowls are carefully arranged with an assortment of fruits, nuts, nut butter, chocolate, etc. And you thought oatmeal was just that plain healthy mush. This oatmeal isn’t quite as fancy as the ones you might  see, but it’s still quite tasty. Now to tell you the truth — I’ve actually made this oatmeal multiple times. It’s more time consuming then just making strawberries and cream oatmeal from the packet, but it’s SO much better. Health wise AND taste wise. It’s also sweetened with dates and coconut milk, thus making it vegan and refined sugar-free. Like me, you can’t make this oatmeal just once, you’ll have to make it multiple times.

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Strawberry Coconut Date Oatmeal (makes 1 serving)

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1/3 cup light coconut milk

2/3 cup water

3 pitted and chopped medjool dates

Pinch of salt

1/8 tsp. coconut extract

3-4 sliced strawberries

Shredded coconut to garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a pot, bring coconut milk and water to a boil. Add oats, dates, and salt. Bring heat down to medium or low.
  2. Cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once it’s thick and creamy, take it off the stove and add coconut extract.
  3. Pour into a bowl and decorate with sliced strawberries. Garnish with shredded coconut.

Tofu with Mango Salsa and Coconut Rice

Fresh — what other kind of dish do you want in the summer? Let’s be honest here, I could dream about mangoes. The best time is when they’re perfectly ripe and sweet with just the smallest hint of tartness. I love eating them with greek yogurt and granola or vanilla ice cream, but today I took a bit of a different route. A savory route.

TopAngleI’ve already proclaimed on this blog that I don’t do savory food, but I think I’m changing my mind. This dish started the revolution. Slightly sticky coconut rice piled with sweet mango salsa, served with a side of grilled tofu “steaks”. The mango salsa was super simple, I just tossed diced mango with some bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, and lemon juice. I think this mango salsa would also be amazing with some plain corn chips.

AngleOh, we can’t forget about the rice and the tofu. The rice was cooked in coconut milk with garlic and thyme. It has a nice slightly sticky texture. The tofu was probably the easiest to make, I just cut them into thin strips and pan fried them in coconut oil with salt, black pepper, and chili powder. Each component of the dish alone is rather boring, but when you put them together, they create the perfect dish. Mmmm, I think I’m forever sold on savory food now.

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Tofu with Mango Salsa and Coconut Rice (Serves 3)

6 oz. extra firm tofu

Coconut oil (for the pan)

Salt and black pepper

Chili powder

 

1/2 cup jasmine rice

1/2 cup light coconut milk

1/2 cup water

1 tsp. thyme

1 clove garlic

Coconut oil (for the pan)

 

1 mango (diced in bite sized cubes)

1/4 red onion (diced in bite sized cubes)

1/4 green bell pepper (diced in bite sized cubes)

Juice from 1/2 a lemon

3 tbsp. chopped cilantro

1 green chili pepper (chopped finely)

Salt and black pepper (to taste)

 

Instructions

  1. Place tofu on paper towels to drain (this should take about 10-15 min.). Cut into 6 strips (2 strips for each person). Heat pan up to medium heat. Put coconut oil and then tofu “steaks” into pan. Season each tofu “steak” with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Flip, once opposite side is golden brown in color (or grill marks appear). Season the opposite side with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Once finished, set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss together mango, red onion, bell pepper, lemon juice, green chili pepper, cilantro, salt, and black pepper. Place in fridge for at least 10 min.
  3. Heat a pot until medium to high heat. Add about 1-2 tsp. coconut oil. Add minced garlic and thyme, and saute for about a minute. Once the garlic and thyme are cooked, add the coconut milk and water, bring to boil. Once at a rolling boil, add rice. Cook for 15-20 min. or until done, add more water if necessary.
  4. Spoon coconut rice onto plate. Add two grilled tofu steaks. Lastly, put mango salsa on top of the rice. Garnish with cilantro leaves if desired.

Inspired by oh she glows

“Healthy” Crepes

Healthy is a relative term, it’s very hard to define. All of us have our own personal definition of what it is. For some of us it’s no refined sugar, for others it’s low carb. I hate putting labels on food, some foods have more nutritional value than others, but we need to realize that ALL food has some type of nutritional value.  So with that being said, these aren’t healthy crepes, they’re “healthy” crepes. These crepes are lightly adapted from Basic Crepes. I first scaled down the recipe down to one, because if you’re like me, it’s much easier to make something without having any lonely leftovers.

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 I then subbed out half of the flour for whole wheat flour, an easy change that didn’t change the texture too much. Next was egg whites for eggs and coconut oil for butter. Now what am I supposed to do about the filling? I could of used light cream cheese, but I didn’t have any. So I used the closest thing I had to cream cheese, cottage cheese. I added a splash of  vanilla to it and sweetened it up with a little bit of honey. But wait Trina, I don’t like cottage cheese. I know, I know, a lot of people don’t like cottage cheese, but with this recipe you could easily sub greek yogurt or neufchâtel cheese.  When it comes to the fruit in this recipe, use whatever you have on hand. I went with half a sliced banana and some strawberries. I also think it would be absolutely delicious if you added a little orange zest to the cottage cheese and used blueberries. Whatever variation you choose, I hope this can help provide you with a healthier start to the day.

Crepe Stand

“Healthy” Crepes (Makes 1 serving)

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 tbsp. whole wheat flour

1 egg white

1/4 cup milk (cow, soy, almond, etc.)

2 tsp. melted coconut oil

Pinch of salt

1/3-1/2 cup cottage cheese

Honey (add to taste)

Splash of vanilla

Fruit of choice (I used 3 sliced strawberries and half a banana)

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flours and salt.
  2. Measure out milk in a measuring glass. Add melted coconut oil and egg white. Beat together until combined.
  3. Add  the liquid mixture to the flour mixture gradually. Mix until well combined.
  4. Heat a lightly greased or sprayed pan to low heat. Use a 1/4 cup or cookie scoop (if you want small crepes) to pour batter into pan. Tilt the pan in a circular motion so the batter spreads.
  5. Cook the crepe for about a minute before flipping. Cook the other side for just a few seconds.
  6. Once the crepes are all cooked, set them aside for a few minutes while making the filling. In a small bowl mix together cottage cheese, honey, and vanilla.
  7. Assemble crepes by filling each with cottage cheese and fruit of choice. You can now either fold them in half or roll them up. Enjoy.

Inspired by Allrecipes

Weekly Wonders…#2

I know weekly wonders are kind of cop out for not posting a real recipe post, but I have to say really do have an excuse. For this whole week I’m on vacation, and I’m sorry to say that this is the only post I’ll have this week. Hopefully next week I’ll have another recipe for you guys, but until then, I hope you guys enjoy this post!

1) This kimono. Now if only Forever 21 had free shipping.

2) This book. Only 20 more pages to go! A really interesting read because I actually have two siblings.

3) This song. I’ve actually had her album for awhile now, but I just recently fell in love with this song.

4) This hair. Allison Williams is gorgeous and so is her hair.

5) This concealer. The ladies at Sephora are quite convincing. This concealer has kind of a yellow tone, but it still provides medium coverage for all my spots.

6) This dessert. A twist on strawberry shortcake, it’s the perfect way to use up all the strawberries I have.

7) This nail polish. I hate painting my nails, but this color got me excited about it.

8) This TV show. I’ve already watched all three seasons, as you can see lots of time in the summer. Lots of time.

9) This city. I’m visiting it soon and it’ll be my first time overseas!

10) This “exercise”. I’ve been doing this to strengthen my wrists for tennis.

Lemon Cupcakes

Oh cupcake, why do you always have so much frosting, do you really need that much? Before we continue let’s get this straight, I don’t really like cupcakes. The chock full of frosting on top of each one makes me cringe. There is one frosting that I do manage to tolerate — cream cheese frosting. I love the flavor that cream cheese provides, and I find it lighter than American buttercream or Swiss meringue frosting. Now that it’s summer I find myself craving lighter desserts that involve fruit or citrus. Citrus, for me, usually means lemons. And lots of them.

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Recently I received the Sally’s Baking Addiction Cookbook from my lovely sister, and I had to make something from it. So I made the lemon cupcakes from her website and used the frosting from the cookbook. Now these cupcakes are VERY lemony (lemony isn’t a word yet, but it will be). Sally uses the zest and juice of 2 lemons for her recipe, but I found that to be way too much, so I used the zest of 1.5 lemons and the juice of just 1. I found that once I scaled down the amount of zest and juice, the cupcakes still had that sweet yet lemony flavor.

TopViewThese cupcakes are frosted with a lemon cream cheese frosting that you can find in her book. This frosting is perfect because it has both lemon AND cream cheese to balance out all the powdered sugar. However, I did find the frosting to be much runnier then I liked and had to add a little bit more powdered sugar. Overall, this cupcake is for a real lemon lover. Both the cake and frosting have a fair amount of both lemon juice and zest that provides the perfect lemon flavor.

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Lemon Cupcakes (Makes 12)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs (Use room temperature eggs)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup milk (I used whole milk)

Zest of 1.5 lemons

Juice of 1 lemon

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line 12-count muffin pan with paper liners. Set aside.
  2. Using a mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until everything is combined, scrape down the sides if necessary. Set aside.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a small glass mix together lemon juice, zest, and milk. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in 2 parts, alternating with the milk. Mix until just combined, do not overmix.
  4. Pour batter evenly into 12 cupcake liners. Bake for 18-2o minutes. A toothpick inserted in the middle will come out clean when done. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  5. Makes 12 cupcakes. Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 day and then in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Avocado Caprese Pasta

Today’s post is different from the previous posts on my blog. I’m a sugar kind of girl, sweet breakfast, sweet snacks, and dessert, always dessert. That being said, a girl can’t live forever on sugar, she actually needs to eat real food. Huh, who knew? Today I bring to you avocado caprese pasta, avocado, tomato, mozzarella, pasta, and balsamic vinegar.

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Avocado — is it a fruit? Or is it a vegetable? I have no idea, nor do I need to know, because regardless of what it is, it has an amazingly creamy texture that can be used in both savory and sweet foods. Now that we’ve established that avocados should be on your list of holy grail foods, we need to talk about price. You know when you go to Chipotle, and you want the guacamole on top, but it costs $2 for ONE scoop, so you have to skip out? Well maybe I’m just a cheapskate, but I find $1 for just one small avocado pricey. Whenever I do find avocados on sale I stock up. So with three avocados, the ideas got flowing. Avocado chocolate mousse, avocado smoothie, avocado cake… Avocado pasta. I found it! Now we have some basil that needs to be used so… Avocado caprese pasta, well now I think I’ve finally found it.

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Avocado Caprese Pasta (Serves 2-3)

8 oz. spaghetti

1 ripe avocado, halved, seeded and peeled

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

1 clove garlic

2-3 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Salt and black pepper

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 oz. mozzarella

2-3 tsp. olive oil

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.
  2. To make the avocado sauce, combine avocado, basil, garlic, balsamic and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add a little bit of olive oil to thin it out.
  3. In a large bowl, combine pasta, avocado sauce, cherry tomatoes.
  4. Garnish with grated or chopped mozzarella. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Damn Delicious

 

 

A Festive Tres Leches Cake

A couple days ago I made a cake, it was a sponge cake. Now being the unexperienced baker that I am, I didn’t have the faintest idea what sponge cake really was. So a quick google search brought me any needed information. Sponge cake doesn’t have any butter or oil, it get’s it’s texture from whipped egg whites. So let’s move away from this subject for a bit and talk about tres leches cake. When I first saw Pioneer Woman’s post on it, I was intrigued. Tres leches in Spanish directly translates into three milks in English. So after you bake sponge cake and poke holes in it, you pour condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream or whole milk on it — well that sounds good. Real good.

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Now this cake is traditionally topped with whipped cream and maraschino cherries. I did use the whipped cream and while I don’t usually enjoy it, it  helped balance the sweetness of the cake with a bit of creaminess. Since it was the fourth of July yesterday, I couldn’t deny myself the opportunity to make it festive, so I quickly ditched the cherries. Instead, I attempted to make a flag with blueberries and strawberries, yes I know it looks pretty crappy, but I prefer to think that it looks nice in a kind of kitschy homemade way.

 Whipped Cream

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Tres Leches Cake (Makes one 8-9 in. cake)

Cake:

4 eggs, room temperature, separated

3/4 cup cake flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Milk Mixture:

One 12 oz. can evaporated milk

One 4 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup whole milk

 

Topping:

3/4 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Pinch of salt

Fruit (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches, etc.)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F- and position a rack in the middle of the oven. Generously butter the inside and sides of a 8 or 9 inch round cake pan.
  2. Sift the cake flour, and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Use a large whisk to vigorously beat the yolks and sugar until they are pale, thick and creamy. (About 5 minutes.) Stir in the vanilla extract.
  4. In a very clean stand mixer bowl or a large mixing bowl, add the egg whites. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer running- gradually add the sugar. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, pile about one-third of the egg whites into the yolk mixture. Gently fold them together until smooth. Add half of the flour and continue to gently fold, being careful to not deflate the egg whites. Repeat with another third of egg whites, the rest of the flour, and the last third of whites. Do not over-mix, but batter should be smooth, airy and fluffy.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the top of the cake springs back when lightly touched or a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  7. Run a knife around the edge of the cake pan, and invert the cake onto a wire rack. Flip the cake right side up so it can cool.
  8. In a glass measuring cup or bowl, stir together the 3 milks. When the cake has cooled for about 15-20 minutes. Use a fork to make holes all around the top of the cake for maximum milk-soakage.
  9. Place the cake on a large rimmed plate or cake stand. Pour the milk mixture over the cake slowly, letting it soak in before adding more. Make sure to get all around the edges and sides, spooning spilled-over milk back onto the top if necessary. You may not need all the milk, but continue to really drench the cake until you think it’s evenly soaked.
  10. Chill in the fridge for minimum of one hour (I think I chilled mine for about five hours).
  11. Whip cream in a chilled bowl and fold in the powdered sugar. Spoon the cream over the chilled cake and top with fruit.
  12. Serve chilled.

Adapted from the baker chick