Peanut Butter Granola Balls

January 31, 2013 § 1 Comment

These were originally called “No Bake Energy Bites.” I like the “no bake” portion of the title but don’t like the “energy bites” part. It makes them sound healthy. Lets not kid ourselves. I don’t think they’re unhealthy per-se, but involve chocolate chips so I’m not gonna go so far as to make some crazy claims about them being good for your heart. Bottom line is they’re super delicious and convenient and easy to make.

They’re a bit messy to make too. I think kids would have tons of fun to make these. I don’t have access to any elementary school kids to test that theory though. If you have kids and they like making them, let me know.
PB Granola Balls
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I prefer mini)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut
To Make:
1) Microwave peanut butter and honey for a few seconds until they’re melty enough to mix in.
2) Stir together flaxseed, oatmeal, chocolate chips, coconut. Pour in honey and peanut butter and mix until combined. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
3) When chilled, take about 2 tablespoons and form a ball in your hands. Keep in a covered container in the refrigerate and enjoy!

Banana Bread Pancakes

January 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

I am a huge advocate of weekday pancakes. They make you slow down a little bit. In those span of days where you’re working, running errands, meeting people for coffee, stopping to make pancakes for yourself may be just what you need.
There’s something about getting up in the morning at a decent time, not too early but not late enough that you feel lazy. Whisking together some flour and milk, nothing too loud first thing in the morning. Mashing a banana can even be therapeutic first thing. Oh, and definitely make these while still wearing your pjs.
One of the best things about these banana bread pancakes is you don’t even need syrup as a topping. They’ve got just enough sweetness on their own. Or you can add it if you’re into it. Maybe even some peanut butter would be delicious. Go with your gut when you make these.
Banana Bread Pancakes
adapted from How Sweet It Is
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/8 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 tbsp butter, melt
To Make:
1) Whisk together flour, powder, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add in milk and vanilla extract and stir just until combined. Finally, stir in banana and lastly the butter.
2) Preheat pan and spray with non stick cookie spray. When warm enough, measure batter out but 1/3 cup and pour onto pan. Flip when bubbles burst on top of pancakes and cook for another couple minutes.
3) Serve with butter and maple syrup or your favorite pancake topping. Enjoy

Vegetarian Italian Garbanzo Bean Soup

January 18, 2013 § 1 Comment

Sometimes I just want to cut to the chase, this is a good soup recipe. I may be slightly obsessed with soup this winter. Something about cold, rainy days makes a big bowl of deliciousness that much more amazing.
This one is italian, savory and so filling. It’s vegetarian but you get some protein with the garbanzo beans. And if you like a little more kick feel free to add more red pepper flakes.
Italian Garbanzo Bean Soup
from Bella Sun Sun-dried tomato can
  • 1 cup small pasta shells
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 11.5 oz can tomato juice
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 2 can garbanzo beans (16 oz)
  • 6 oz baby spinach
  • 2-4 cups water
  • salt and pepper
To Make:
1) Cook pasta according to directions and set aside.
2) In pot for soup, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, rosemary, red pepper flakes and sugar and saute for a few minutes.
3) Next stir in tomato juice, balsamic vinegar, water, sun dried tomatoes and garbanzo beans. Bring these to a boil. Once at a rolling boil, reduce heat and simmer for 7-10 minutes. Now, optional step, you can puree half of the mixture to thicken it or leave this consistency depending on your preference.
4) When you’re ready, add the pasta and spinach to the pot. Keep it there until heated through. Season with salt and pepper and serve. Enjoy!

Applesauce Jumbles

January 11, 2013 § 1 Comment

My in laws visited a few weeks ago and brought along a tin of cookies made by our Mimi. Tucked into the lid of that tin was the recipe card, from 1980 typed on a typewriter with hand written notes. What a treasure.
The more I cook and read about food and eat the more I realize what a treasure recipes can be. Looking back my favorite gifts in recent years have been recipes from those close to me. My mom gave me a box with our family favorites written by her and my dad. My Nana (husband’s grandma) gave me a journal with her tried and true recipes that she hand wrote for our wedding. And last year my Aunt collected my grandma’s gems and put them into a mini cookbook for the family. And now this treasure from Mimi. What a collection!
These recipes may involve Velvetta and buffet spreads with deli ham and punch made with too much sugar but oh how they are loved. I fully intend to cook my way through them all as I live my life. Making the food makes me feel not so far away from them even though they may be gone or live hundreds of miles away.
These applesauce jumbles may not be from your grandma, but they’re from mine and I think you should make them. What’s not to love about a brown butter glaze on top of some deliciously soft cookies.
Applesauce Jumbles
Ingredients for cookies:
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp soda
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped assorted nuts
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of chocolate chips (based on how many you generally like)
  • 1/3 cup browned butter
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2-4 tbsp water
To Make:
1) Heat oven to 375*. Mix dry ingredients, flour, salt, soda, and spices, set aside. In mixer cream together softened butter (if not soft, but in microwave for about 30 sec on defrost setting) and brown sugar until smooth. Add vanilla, applesauce and eggs and stir. Slowly add in dry ingredients. Finally, fold in nuts and chocolate chips.
2) Drop by rounded tablespoons onto cookie sheet. I use a melon baller so they’re relatively even. Bake for 10 minutes. They don’t get that brown on top but they should be done. Let cool before glazing.
3) To make the glaze add sugar to brown butter and mix well. Add in vanilla. Finally, add water, 1 tbsp at a time until glaze is desired consistency.
5) When cookies are cooled, glaze cookies using your favorite method. I prefer the glaze in a sandwich bag with the corner clipped off. Let the glaze set and enjoy!

Broccoli Salad

January 10, 2013 § 2 Comments

Sometimes you need broccoli in your life. A healthy crunch between your teeth to make you feel like it’s okay that you didn’t do your crunches or go to yoga that day.
Maybe you sat inside because it was raining all day and drank cocoa and watched documentaries. It’s alright because you’re eating broccoli!
This is a particularly wonderful form of broccoli too. It’s got a delicious dressing and can be served at room temp or cold. It’s fancy enough to serve for Christmas (like I did) or laid back enough to pack in your lunch all week.
Broccoli Salad
from Kristen via “Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without”
For the salad
  • 1 large bunch broccoli
  • 1 tart apple, like granny smith
  • 1 small red onion
for the dressing
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pepper
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
To make:
1) Bring large pot of water to boil. Cut broccoli into large bite-sized pieces. Slice the red onion (like picture above). Put red onion into bottom of colander in the sink. Slice apple into half-inch pieces and set aside.
2) Once water is boiling dump in broccoli and simmer for 1-3 minutes, until color brightens and slightly cooked. Then pour broccoli and hot water over colander to slightly cook the onions and drain the broccoli. Leave there.
3) To make the dressing I just put all the ingredients, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper, honey and olive oil, into a jar and shake vigorously.
4) Put broccoli and onion into serving bowl. Add apples and combine. Drizzle dressing over the salad and use spoon to mix in until it’s all covered. If you’re making it ahead of time refrigerate until you’re ready to eat it or serve at room temp. Enjoy!

Almond Steamer

January 4, 2013 § 1 Comment

 You guys, I’m pretty excited about 2013. I just have a sense of anticipation for this year. This will probably be one of the more stable years I’ve had since before I started college. I’ll be in the same city, not getting married, and hopefully not getting robbed! Granted, crazy things could happen but I feel really ready for this year. I’m excited to settle in here in Seattle, develop community, explore the city, read a lot, get better at my job, and learn more. I’m asking Jesus to do work in and through me. The possibilities of a new year are endless. Deep thoughts like this are often thought over a hot beverage of some kind. Because really, I love hot drinks. Tea, coffee, cocoa, apple cider. All delicious.

My new favorite toasty beverage to consume is an almond steamer. It’s spiced, cozy and healthy. Well, healthy depending on how much sweetener you add 🙂 I encourage you to make this and invite a friend over to talk about the new year. Or drink alone, enjoying some peace and a good book.

adapted from Joy the Baker
  • 2 cups of your favorite brand of almond milk
  • honey, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom
  • touch of pure vanilla extract (or a vanilla pod if you’ve got it)
To Make
1) Pour almond milk into a small sauce pan. If unsweetened almond milk stir in honey, or brown sugar if you prefer, to taste. It will melt as the milk heats. I added about 2 teaspoons of some fancy, fresh honey my parents had.
2) Using the tiniest grater you have (see above picture for adorable example) add nutmeg and cardamom. Stir occasionally over medium-low heat until very warm. Once warm enough, remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. If you using a vanilla pod, add while the mixture is heating and take out before serving.
3) Pour into two cups, or one very large cup, and serve with a cookie, or two. Enjoy!

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