Pumpkin Pancakes

First of all, I  want to acknowledge the fact that I am writing this post on September 11th. 3,000 people lost their lives, and they will not ever be forgotten.

I don’t mean to make this post depressing, but I didn’t want to be blabbing on about pumpkin spice without acknowledging the date.

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Can you believe it? It’s that time of year again! Dreaded by some, embraced by many.

PUMPKIN SEASON.

I have been waiting impatiently for this time to come. Pumpkin is my favorite thing about Autumn. I know it’s not Autumn yet, but seriously, who cares? Right. Nobody cares, except for the pumpkin haters. Sorry haters. (Not sorry.)

I’ve decided to go on a pumpkin kick until the end of October. I need to branch out from my usual pumpkin smoothies and pumpkin oatmeal. I want to explore strange new pumpkin recipes; I will boldly go where no chef has ever gone before! Although I’m sure people have put pumpkin in everything already… I mean, we have pumpkin in our morning coffee! Thank goodness for Starbucks. There is also pumpkin yogurt, pumpkin cream cheese, pumpkin almonds, pumpkin cereal, and pumpkin chips. God bless America.

About these pancakes… They are amazing. If you are skeptical of putting pumpkin into pancakes, then try it. The pumpkin makes them super moist and rich while the spices make them taste warm and cinnamon-y. They are perfect for a chilly Sunday morning in Autumn.

Pair ’em with a pumpkin latte and you’ll be golden.

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Sorry about the terrible picture quality, I’m practicing with a new camera.

 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (I never  have pumpkin pie spice, so I use allspice instead)
  • 1- 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter or canola oil
  • 1-1/2 cups milk (preferably whole milk, but I had success using a mixture of skim milk and half and half)

Directions:

  1. Combine the the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Place the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir gently. The batter will be very thick, and it’s OK if a few lumps remain.
  3. Pour about 1/4 cup batter onto a greased pan. Cook until golden brown. (My pancakes weren’t bubbling, so I just flipped them after about 2-3 minutes on medium heat.)
  4. Keep cooked pancakes in a 200 degrees Fahrenheit oven until you are ready to eat them.
  5. Top with maple syrup, or whatever your heart desires, and enjoy!

 

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The pool of syrup at the bottom does NOT look aesthetically pleasing. Forgive my photography skills.

 

Original recipe: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/08/21/pumpkin-chocolate-chip-pancakes/

No-Bake Oatmeal Cookie Bites

Hello! It has been quite a while. I wish I could say I had a decent excuse for my prolonged absence. I mean, I do have an excuse, but it is not decent in the slightest.

I’ve been lazy to the max. Great excuse, right?  I haven’t spent much time in the kitchen. Instead, I’ve been lounging around in Connecticut and Boston eating lazy person fare (aka peanut butter and jelly sandwiches) while dreaming about living a successful life. I’m not making much progress, obviously. Oops.

Now to talk about these cookie bites. They are the perfect summer dessert. There is absolutely no reason to turn on the oven and slow roast your family. The weather is hot enough. They are also somewhat healthier than your average cookie, but don’t get too excited. There is still sugar in them. And chocolate. Can’t forget the chocolate.

These cookie bites are made with peanut butter, chia seeds, flax seeds, oats, cranberries, honey, and chocolate chips. Hurrah. If any of these ingredients sound unappetizing to you, you’re in luck. You can easily substitute the ingredients. You could use almond butter, raisins, agave, and butterscotch chips instead. Go crazy with the variations. These might taste good with almond butter and maple syrup rather than peanut butter and honey. Now I’m regretting that I didn’t use that combination first.

As I was mixing the ingredients, I tried to think of a good name for these little cookie bites. Due to the bird food like ingredients, I really wanted to have the word ‘bird’ in the name. Initially, I wanted to call them “bird balls.” At first that sounded like a wonderful plan. Then I thought about it some more. Finally,  I came to the realization that “bird balls” was possibly one of the worst names I could’ve thought of. My second idea was to call them “bird bites.” That name seemed alright at first, but it sounded too much like a meaty hor d’oeurve that you would be offered at a fancy party. After a few more feeble attempts (bird seed cookies, bird spheres) I gave up on the idea of putting ‘bird’ into the name.

That, my friends, is how I came up with the boring, unoriginal, unexciting name: No Bake Oatmeal Cookie Bites.

But don’t fear. These cookies do not taste boring, original, or unexciting. They are sweet, oat-y, chocolate-y, and peanut buttery. Maybe just a little bird-y too.

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Wow, you can see all of the ingredients! That’s uncommon these days. 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup peanut butter (or allergy friendly alternative)
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds, finely ground (I used a coffee grinder)
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup cranberries

Directions: 

  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Chill for at least 30 minutes, then roll dough into 1 inch balls. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Very simple, very easy. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie

Not another darn smoothie recipe… Ew!

No. This smoothie is not ew. This smoothie is a miracle smoothie. Why? Here’s why:

  • It tastes amazing
  • It’s nutritious
  • It’s super filling and will keep you satisfied until lunch
  • It has peanut butter and banana

There is only one thing wrong with this smoothie:

  • It’s ugly

And I’m sure we can all get over the fact that it is slightly horrible looking, right? You could possibly make it look prettier by throwing in some leafy greens. It would become even healthier.. yay! But I don’t know it might look even grosser.

Anyways, the looks are unimportant, but the taste is extremely important. It is sweet, creamy and peanut-buttery, but the texture is a bit different from your normal smoothie due to the oat powder. The oat powder and the peanut butter work together to make the most satiating drink I have ever had. Seriously. It makes for a good pre-run breakfast.

If you like peanut butter and bananas, I highly recommend that you make this as soon as possible. Like right now.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 cup almond milk   ( If unsweetened, you may want to add a tablespoon or so of sweetener)
  • 3/4 cup oats, ground into a fine powder (I used a food processor)
  • A few ice cubes

Directions:

  1. Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  2. Drink it and be amazed.

I don’t have a picture of this smoothie yet, but I will try to get one soon. I took multiple pictures of it and they all disappeared.

For now, just picture a smoothie that is quite ugly indeed.

 

A Game of Thrones Feast

I love Game of Thrones. First, my dad started watching it. Then my sister. When my sister tried to get me to watch it, I was like “You can’t get me to watch that stupid show! It’s stupid! Dragons! HA!”

Boy was I wrong.

Now it’s a full fledged addiction. Sundays are my new favorite day of the week. 9’o clock on Sundays are my happy place. Season six is giving me pure joy. After a full year of waiting, the premier is like being reunited with your long lost lover. Hopeful fans pray for Jon Snow’s resurrection. Utter despise for Ramsay is growing with every minute of his screen time.

But I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll keep quiet about the show. It’s time to talk about the food.

To get pumped for the season 6 premier, I decided to cook up a feast. My sister got a cookbook called The Feast of Ice and Fire, which holds recipes from the North, the South, the Wall, Dorne, and across the Narrow Sea. Basically this book is the key to good food. Since most of the recipes are meat heavy, I used a different recipe for the stew that I found in a vegetarian cookbook. The bread, onions, and ham come from The Feast of Ice and Fire.

I served the stew in homemade bread bowls. The bread bowls were crusty and filled to the brim with hot, hearty stew. The pearl onions were dripping with a sweet brown gravy. The ham… I don’t know. I’m vegetarian. But the way my sister was gushing over it made it clear that it will please each and every ham-eating omnivore out there. The salad sorta just sat there. Who needs salad when there are bread bowls? I’m fairly certain bread is healthier than leafy greens. My taste buds told me so.

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Stew, ham, and onions in gravy. 

Alright everyone, here comes a wave of recipes. Don’t be afraid to eat a ton. You need it. It’s cold in the North.

Winter is Coming.

 

For the bread:

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons dry yeast
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 6 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • cornmeal (for dusting the pan)

Directions:

  1. Add the yeast and honey to the warm water and stir.  Let sit for about five minutes before adding the flour and salt.
  2. Put the dough on a well-floured surface and knead it for about five minutes. If you poke the dough and it bounces back, it’s ready to go. If it’s too sticky, add a bit more flour.
  3. Place the dough in a large greased bowl, cover it with a towel, and let it rise in a warm area for about two hours. Once the dough has doubled in size, divide it into thirds. If you want to make bread bowls, divide the dough further. Put the dough balls on a pan sprinkled with cornmeal and let them rise for an additional 40 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to about 450 degrees F. Fill a baking dish with two cups water and place it underneath the rack where the bread will bake. This will help create a crusty crust. Bake the loaves for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is dark golden brown. The loaves should should hollow when you tap them.

 

For the onions:

Ingredients: 

  • 10 ounces pearl onions, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary or thyme (or any herb you desire)
  • 1/3 cup apple cider or apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 3 cups veggie broth

Directions: 

  1. Cut seven of the onions into quarters. Put the honey, butter, herbs, and onions into a deep frying pan and cook at medium heat. Cook for about 8 minutes, or until the onions turn golden brown, stirring to keep them from burning.
  2. Add the cider to the pan in 3 splashes. Let it heat between each splash. This helps the gravy taste sweet.
  3. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and stir well. Then add the veggie broth, and let simmer until it has reached your desired consistency. I usually add 1-2 more tablespoons of flour. Serve hot.

For the Stew:

Ingredients: 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 potato, chopped
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 5 cups vegetable broth, chopped (heh)
  • teaspoon of thyme, sage, or rosemary
  • 2 lbs white beans, about 4 cups, drained and rinsed
  • 8 oz orecchiette or other pasta shapes, about 2 cups
  • pinch of hot red pepper flakes
  • salt and black pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, the add the onion, garlic, and potato and cook until golden, 3-4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, then simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Ladle stew into bowls (preferably made out of bread.)

 

For the ham:

Ingredients:

  • 1 spiral cut ham (we used a small cut of ham rather than an entire ham and it worked fine)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, stir together the honey, vinegar, and cider. Stew over medium heat for about ten minutes, then pour over them ham. Cook the ham according to package directions, and periodically baste the ham with the juices. Serve on a fancy platter.

 

Wow. Feast away. I can’t take credit for all these recipes, even though I did make modifications. I omitted ingredients we didn’t have on hand and made the ingredients vegetarian.

Here’s my works cited:

Monroe-Cassel, Chelsea, and Lehrer, Sariann. A Feast of Ice and Fire. New York: Random House. 2012. Print.

Bramley, Tessa. Easy Vegetarian. New York: Ryland Peteres and Small. 2007. Print.

 

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

 

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Yay chocolate.

It has been a busy last few months. Wasn’t it January a couple of weeks ago? Was Easter yesterday? No February post, my bad. Wow.

It’s April.

That means state testing and finals are just around the corner. I took one state test already, the writing portion.

It was awful.

Anyway, time to talk about this smoothie. Quick, easy, and pretty healthy. I use Silk chocolate almond milk. That stuff is the bomb. I wonder who came up with the idea of almond milk. Who would pick up a small, hard nut and think, “Wow, this would make a delicious drink!” Pure genius…   Back to the smoothie! Tastes like a chocolate milkshake. But a banana sneaked in. And no chocolate ice cream. Not actually a milkshake, but tastes darn close. This smoothie makes a perfect post workout snack, and has been fueling me after track practice for the last couple of days.

I strongly recommend this smoothie to anyone who loves chocolate and peanut butter.If you don’t like peanut butter, just take it out. Be that way. Oh, fun fact: I used to hate peanut butter. Wouldn’t touch the stuff.

Something was wrong with me.

Enough small-talk. Time for a chocolate smoothie.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Silk Dark Chocolate Almond milk (or other chocolate milk)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter (optional?)
  • 1/2 cup ice

Directions: 

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until frosty. Add more milk if it is too thick. Enjoy immediately.

Simple French Toast

I love French toast. It’s crazy simple to make, and yields tasty results. All you need is a few kitchen staples like bread, milk, eggs, sugar, and cinnamon. Perfect for lazy mornings. Or evenings. This is a regular dinner at our house.

Make sure to soak the bread in the egg mixture thoroughly, but don’t let it sit for too long, otherwise it will fall apart. Also, don’t be afraid to add other spices and flavors into this recipe. Sometimes I add nutmeg and replace the milk with eggnog for a special Christmas treat, or put in a few tablespoons of pumpkin and a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice for a taste of Autumn. But I have a feeling many people aren’t thinking about Christmas and Fall. I’m so ready for summer.

It’s still February. Help.

Ingredients:

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Yum. The weird things in the back are vegetarian sausage patties, if you were wondering. 

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk of choice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6-8 slices bread

Directions:

  1. Whisk everything but the bread in a shallow bowl. Soak a piece of bread in the mixture for about one minute, or until both sides are covered. Place on an oiled pan and cook over medium heat until both sides are golden brown. Keep the cooked toast in  a warm oven at 200 degrees F.
  2. Cover with maple syrup. Or powdered sugar. Or peanut butter. Whatever floats your French toast boat.

Too easy, right? The hardest part is not eating too much.

Good luck.

 

 

 

Key Lime Pie

Happy 2016! I hope you had a fantastic 2015, and I hope that you have an even better new year. My goals are to cook lots, eat well, run a ton, and post more on my little blog. I want 2016 to be a great, healthy, happy year.

But… in my mind, 2016 doesn’t really start until January 10th. You see, many people associate a new year with a fresh start, which means healthy food. Ha! Not in our house. My sister and I both have early January birthdays, so cake and candy are thrown at us left and right. On our birthdays, we have cake with breakfast, and cake after dinner. It’s nuts, I know. For her after dinner treat, my sister recommended key lime pie, and of course, I jumped on the opportunity to bake.

Key lime pie is unbelievably simple to make. The hardest part is waiting for it to chill. But your patience is rewarded. This pie has a sweet, buttery, graham cracker crust, and a smooth, sweet and tart filling. Oh my gosh.

Not very new years resolution friendly, is it?DSC_0737

Ingredients: 

For Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 9 whole crackers)
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  1. Mix all ingredients together, then press into a 9-inch pie pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

For Filling:

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons lime zest
  1. Whisk all the ingredients together, then pour into the prepared crust. Bake for 17-20 minutes at 325 degrees. Chill before serving. (I recommend 1 1/2 to 2 hours in the fridge.)

Wow. So easy. The leftover egg whites would make a healthy breakfast after you stuff yourself with this pie.

Its dangerously delicious and easy. You’ve been warned.

*If you hate whacking the life out of graham crackers until they become crumbs, then use a food processor. I got one for my birthday. LIFE CHANGING.