Showing posts with label dessert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dessert. Show all posts


Blueberry Chocolate Hazelnut Yogurt

I love yogurt. I also love Nutella. One of these things is obviously better for me, so I tried to make it taste a little bit more like Nutella. It's probably one of the best desserts I've had in awhile.

There is a distinct hit of hazelnutty chocolate, with each crunchy nutty bite, accompanied by the sweet tartness of the blueberries and the twang of the plain yogurt. If you're not a fan of plain yogurt twang, try subbing greek yogurt, as it's milder; beware, though, that with stirring it will lose much of its thickness.

If you're trying to make something for a dinner party, this would also make a great dessert parfait--embellish plain granola with hazelnuts and dried blueberries and layer it with chocolate yogurt. Add a pretty layer of fresh sliced strawberries on top for bonus points.

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Chocolate Yogurt with Dried Blueberries and Hazelnuts
serves 1

1.5T unsweetened cocoa powder
1.5T powdered sugar (***note: you can also use 2.5-3T of sweetened cocoa powder)
1c plain low fat yogurt
20 hazelnuts, toasted
0.25c dried blueberries (or sub dried cherries)

1. Put the cocoa powder and powdered sugar in a bowl; whisk together with a fork or small whisk.
2. Add about 0.25c of the yogurt, and mix thoroughly with the cocoa powder. One the mixture is homogenous, add the remaining yogurt and stir until mixed.
3. Sprinkle the nuts and dried fruit on top.
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Let me know what you think by leaving a comment or emailing me at piquantprose [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Mint Ice Cream and a (brief) Book Review

I love dairy products, and ice cream is no exception. But with no car to get to and from the store, bringing ice cream home is a challenge.

Problem, meet solution.

To celebrate the arrival of our ice cream maker (thanks, Jim!!) and ice cream book, we made mint ice cream from Humphry Slocombe's ice cream book.

If you've never heard of Humphry Slocombe, it's an ice cream shop in San Francisco, known for its mind bending flavor combinations. They use a basic custard base for almost all of their ice creams, and then jazz it up with cool add-ins and flavorings.

The book was a fun read--humorous but to the point, with plenty of self-deprecation. It's got plenty of reminders that ice cream is supposed to be delicious, and you should flavor it as you see fit.

Since we had mint languishing in our fridge, I used their Pepper and Mint recipe. Essentially, you steep the mint in the custard base while it cools, then strain and freeze. Dan and I found the recipe to be overly salty, and the pepper flavor didn't really come though. (Dan didn't even notice I added pepper.)

The recipe also says it makes 1 quart, but it did a pretty good job of filling our 2 quart maker. Maybe the constant stirring makes a fluffier ice cream, but if you've got a smaller ice cream maker, decrease the size of your recipe!

Otherwise, the custard provided a nice creamy texture, and an incredibly minty flavor. We are finishing off this batch soon, and looking forward to trying new flavors ASAP! Coming soon: graham crackers + honey, almond brittle + vanilla (if the almond brittle lasts long enough that is)

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment or emailing me at piquantprose [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Chocolate Banana Muffcakes

In an effort to not gain weight, Dan and I have been purchasing limited quantities of dessert. This way, instead of immediately eating cookies from a box, we spend an hour discussing whether to get ice cream or make cupcakes.

This weekend, cupcakes won out.

After foodgawking for 15 minutes, I clicked on a chocolate banana cake/muffin recipe, and immediately decided to make it. We had all of the ingredients, including exactly 0.5c of sour cream that was languishing in our fridge and leftover frozen bananas.

The recipe came together very quickly, especially with some help from Dan.

The end result is tender, moist and equal parts chocolate and banana. The crumb was tight, but had a lot of give. They would make spectacular cupcakes without the chunky fillings, and topped with peanut butter frosting.

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Chocolate Banana Muffincakes
makes 6 jumbo muffins

1.25c AP flour
0.25c cocoa powder
1t baking soda
0.5t salt
1 stick butter, room temperature
130g sugar
2 eggs
1t vanilla
0.5c sour cream
1.25c mashed bananas (4-5 medium)
0.5c chocolate chips
0.5c slivered almonds

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
2. Sift together the first four ingredients.
3. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until slightly fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time. (It looks kind of like pancake batter at this point.)
4. Add the vanilla, beating to combine.
5. Add the sour cream and dry ingredients alternately, beating until just combined.
6. Fold in the mashed bananas, chocolate chips and almonds.
7. Divide into jumbo muffin tin and bake for 35 minutes, or until center is set. (Test w/ a toothpick). 
For regular muffins, divide into 12 muffin cups, and bake for 18-20 minutes at 350°F.
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These were good even the next day, and didn't need any warming for consumption. Keep them in an airtight container, preferably out of sight (or you'll eat them faster than you should).

Note: These are in no way good for you, unless you're trying to gain weight. They've got about 500 calories apiece! I think they're delicious for breakfast--I can't handle less than about 600 calories in the mornings.

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment or emailing me at piquantprose [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Tuiles and Trees

Earlier this week, Dan and I decorated our first Christmas tree together!

Apparently, if you wait until the week of Christmas to decorate your tree, all of the ornaments go on sale. We decided to do a classy tree, with glass ball ornaments.. ok so they're mostly "shatterproof" glass, aka plastic.

That same evening, I tested the good graces of my La Farine apron once again. Flipping through my cookie book, I scanned ingredient lists to find something I could actually make. (A lot of the recipes call for cream of tartar.. probably a good thing we don't have any, or Dan and I would eat way too many cookies.)

I stumbled upon tuiles, a super thin wafer cookie that is incredibly pliable when hot, and very stiff and crunchy when cooled. They also look a lot like GIANT potato chips.

The recipe toted the difficulty of making these cookies--not only do they involve an unusual shaping method, they also require precise removal from the oven. The line between crisp and chewy is almost as thin as the line between crisp and burnt.

Fortunately, I had luck on my side.

Well, except on this batch.. I used parchment paper instead of aluminum foil, because I like to experiment. Outcome: cookie fail.

I'm not going to give you a recipe, because you should really just go buy the book. I will give you some advice, however:
1. Use aluminum foil, dull side up, liberally buttered. Alice Medrich claims silicone mats work as well--I don't yet have silicone mats with which to test, but I trust her.
2. After 10 minutes in the oven, check often.
3. Once they're out of the oven, work fast. On your first batch, I recommend making just one or two cookies, so you see how they behave right out of the oven. From there, you can increase the size of your batches.
4. Feel free to re-use aluminum foil, just make sure to re-butter!

Happy baking!

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment or emailing me at piquantprose [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Dessert Ideas

When I think dessert, I think ice cream, cake or cookies. But there are so many alternatives that are easy, healthier treats. Below are just a few examples to kickstart your dessert creativity.

1. Hot cocoa
The extra serving of milk will get you protein and calcium, as well as vitamin D. Use half cocoa mix and half cocoa powder to get a more interesting, less sugary cocoa. Also try adding cinnamon and nutmeg, or mint extract.

2. Candied nuts
Take 0.5c nuts, 0.25c water, 0.25c sugar and cook them in a saucepan over medium high heat until the liquid browns and thickens. Let cool briefly and enjoy. Use walnuts for the highest dose of omega-3s.

3. Frozen bananas
Peel a banana and put it in the freezer when you start cooking dinner. By dessert time, it will taste exactly like the banana ice cream in Ben'n'Jerry's Chunky Monkey--that is to say, incredible. This is a great way to use up slightly old bananas.

4. Frozen blueberries or grapes
These can be pre-frozen blueberries or you can take a pint of blueberries/grapes on their last leg and throw them in the freezer. I suggest letting them warm up for about 5 minutes before digging in.

5. Baked pear
Slice a pear in half and scoop out the seeds with a grapefruit spoon or paring knife. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and a bit of butter and put it in a 400°F oven until the pear is soft (~10-15 minutes).

6. Chocolate sorbet with raspberry jam
Good chocolate sorbet is a great alternative to chocolate ice cream, and good raspberry jam makes it feel infinitely more sophisticated. Please don't use Smuckers...

7. Nutella on a banana or whole wheat bread
Nutella is quite easily enjoyed straight from the jar. If you'd like your jar to last longer than a week, though, it is equally scrumptious when diluted with banana or whole wheat bread. Plus, you'll be adding some extra fiber to your diet.

8. Chocolate- or vanilla yogurt-dipped strawberries
Of course, summer strawberries on their own are an acceptable dessert. But to make it feel a little bit more special, melt some chocolate chips in the microwave with a dab of butter and dip away. This is also good with the sickly sweet store bought vanilla yogurts.

9. Microwave cupcakes
Ok, making a batch of cupcakes is admittedly dangerous. I'll make 12 and the next day we have no cupcakes left. Fortunately, microwave cupcakes make one cupcake at a time--much safer. There are tons of recipes out there!

10. Whipped cream
Although you probably ask for no whip on your morning frapuccino, it's actually a pretty innocent dessert. Instead of filling your bowl with ice cream, fill it with cold whipped cream and enjoy with a spoon.

What's your go-to dessert? What do you make on special occasions?

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment or emailing me at piquantprose [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Remix: Vanilla Meringues

If you've ever tried these vanilla meringues from Trader Joe's, then you probably know that they taste a lot like Lucky Charms marshmallows--excessively sweet with a hint of fake vanilla.

Dan and I figured we could tone down the sweetness and mask some of the fake vanilla flavor by adding a chocolate glaze. It was super easy to do and helped a lot. They're still unwieldy, and you'd need a lot more chocolate to completely hide the Lucky Charms flavor, but this saved them from the compost bin.

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Dark Chocolate Glaze

1oz 70% cocoa sweetened dark chocolate
1T butter

1. Place ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute.
2. Stir and microwave for 30 seconds. Repeat until butter and chocolate have melted together.
3. Dip biscotti, strawberries, meringues, etc. into the glaze and let dry for 30 minutes or so.
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The resulting chocolate layer will be firm enough not to react to touch but soft enough that it doesn't crack with biting.

Happy eating!

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment or emailing me at piquantprose [at] gmail [dot] com.

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I was gifted the remaining 10 eggs from a dozen, and have been trying to clean out my pantry. What better way to use up dried fruit, chocolate chips and coconut than oatmeal cookies? 

They're definitely not the most incredible cookies I've ever had (I think peanut butter surprises might take that title) but they're really quick and easy, not too terrible for you, and use up all sorts of pantry items.

I'd also like to try these with peanut butter in addition to/instead of butter and filled with banana chunks, peanuts, and almonds. Yum!

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"Disposal" Cookies
makes 4 dozen small cookies
adapted from Quaker Oats

butter melting device

0.5c butter (1 stick, 110g)
0.75c brown sugar (165g)
0.5c white sugar (100g)

2 eggs
1t vanilla

1.5c AP flour (185g)
1t baking soda (6g)
0.5t salt

2c quick oats (196g)
1c Bob's Red Mill 5-grain hot cereal [or rolled oats] (120g)
0.75c mini chocolate chips (110g)
0.5c unsweetened shredded coconut (40g)
0.75c dried cranberries, chopped (120g)

1. Melt the butter. Mix thoroughly with the sugars.
2. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix together with the fork until it's a light golden brown.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt, fluffing it with a whisk or a clean fork.
4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until it just comes together.
5. Add the oats, hot cereal, chips, coconut and cranberries mixing until combined. The dough will just barely hold all the add-ins.
6. Divide into tablespoonfuls on parchment lined or greased baking trays. Bake for 12 minutes at 350°F, or until golden brown.
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What's your favorite kind of oatmeal cookie? Do you prefer oatmeal raisin cookies or oatmeal chocolate chip? Let me know what you think and leave a comment or email me at piquantprose [at] gmail [dot] com. 

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Earth-Shattering Toblerone Cookies

I saw this recipe in CGCCMiyM Cookies and knew I had to make it, as soon as possible. Unfortunately, we ran out of chocolate chips.. so I delayed, hoping for a care package from parents well-stocked with chocolate chips. But then we ran out of chocolate.. and cocoa powder... and things got desperate.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, so D and I went to the student store in search of something acceptable to tide us over. (The care package did arrive eventually, with chocolate chips, mint chips, butterscotch chips, cappuccino chips, white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and cocoa powder. Phew!) What we found was more than acceptable--Toblerone!

We got home, and after gobbling up a whole bar of Toblerone all by myself (D gave up non-homemade desserts for lent, poor guy), I set about making these cookies with the remaining two bars.

I didn't have any corn syrup, as the recipe called for, but Toblerone bars have honey in them, so I replaced the corn syrup with honey.

Freeze half of the dough!!! After you split it into chunks of dough, freeze the chunks on an extra baking tray and then throw the frozen chunks into a ziptop bag in the freezer for later. Just label them with the baking time/temperature, the date, and the recipe name. I promise, any cookies you make will get eaten within 24 hours. Your waistline will thank you for using the freezer method of self-control.

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Earth Shattering Toblerone Cookies
makes 16 big, delicious, crunchy, crispy cookies, plus 1 cookie dough ball for sampling
adapted from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich

baking tray(s)
aluminum foil
kitchen scale (sorry, didn't take volume measurements on this one!)
two bowls
butter melting equipment

6oz all-purpose flour
0.5t baking soda
1.25 sticks unsalted butter
1.5oz quick oats
3.5oz white sugar
1.75oz brown sugar
2oz. honey
2T milk
0.5t salt
2 regular size Toblerone bars

1. Mix the flour and baking soda together in a small bowl, fluffing it lightly with a fork or whisk.
2. Melt the butter completely in a medium bowl, and then add the oats, sugars, honey, milk and salt.
3. Add the dry to the wet and mix until everything is just incorporated.
4. While the dough is cooling, chop your Toblerone bars into small chunks. Mix these into the dough.
5. Break off a chunk of cookie dough to tide you over while the dough rests overnight in the refrigerator. (No raw eggs! Whoohoo!)
6. The following day, line baking trays with aluminum foil and preheat your oven to 325°F. Break the cookie dough into 1.75oz pieces (about the size of a golf ball), placing four cookies on each tray. Flatten the dough slightly before you bake.
7. Bake these for 20-25 minutes at 325°F, until they are dark golden brown. Let them cool completely before eating.
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When I have access to an ice cream maker, I intend to make these into chocolate chunk cookie dough ice cream.

Do you own a kitchen scale? What's your favorite use for it? Let me know in a comment or by emailing me at piquantprose [at] gmail [dot] com!


Chocolate Coffee Banana Bread

Winter fruit selection is often depressing at best, so imagine my dismay when our dining hall ran out of oranges and decided to make do with mushy bananas. I'm okay with yellow bananas, but mushy is just beyond me.

Except, of course, in banana bread. So I did all of the other eaters a favor, and grabbed as many mushy bananas as I could without seeming too ridiculous. (Honestly, I think the staff are used to me doing ridiculous things at this point, like asking for a veggie omelet without the eggs.)

I made both regular and chocolate coffee banana bread in one morning.
Then, I began the quest for a suitable banana bread recipe. I had my mom's recipe tucked away in my email, but with the amount of butter it called for, it was much closer to cake. I needed something that wouldn't use up D's single dessert quota for the day.

After opening about 30 tabs worth of lowfat banana bread recipes in Safari, almost all of which called for margarine or applesauce, I finally found one. Ok, the original calls for applesauce, but I just used milk. 

Now, this is an incredible banana bread recipe, perfect just on its own. But when you run out of chocolate chips, and chocolate, the only solution is to take perfectly good banana bread, and add cocoa powder... and then eat said chocolate banana bread for breakfast the next day. And what is better than chocolate? Chocolate and coffee.. so I did it.

Once reinforcements arrived in the form of a care package, I realized I had to make this again, but with chocolate chips and cappuccino chips. Yes, I still ate it for breakfast.

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Chocolate Coffee Banana Bread
makes 1 large loaf

loaf pan
2 mixing bowls + mixing instrument(s)
kitchen scale (optional)
measuring cups
butter melting device


Book Review: Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies

In high school, I went to one of my teammate's birthday parties and had some of the best chocolate cake I'd ever had in my life. When I got home, my mom informed me that my teammate's mother was Alice Medrich. As it turns out, Berkeley isn't a bad place to grow up.

A number of years later, with that knowledge in hand, I felt confident purchasing her new cookie book, Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies. I've only made two of the recipes so far, but  my confidence was certainly deserved.

First, I made her whole-wheat biscotti. Last time I made biscotti, I accidentally turned the oven to 450°F instead of 350°F. These clearly turned out better. There wasn't anything particularly mind-blowing about the cookies, but they were really quite good. (They also made great spoons for eating pudding.)

Second, I made her Peanut Butter Clouds (although mine had a twist). This is something I never would have thought to make. So far in my life, I've been very much so a cookie purist--chocolate chip cookies, maybe some oatmeal thrown in. They were divine.When you buy the book, make them, ASAP.

The book also has a few sections on ingredients and prepping your kitchen for cookie madness. They're really helpful, so I suggest reading them. (It's helpful knowledge for more than just cookie baking.)

Ok, so the recipes are delicious, and D is certainly enjoying me owning a cookie cookbook, but a few notes of warning:
1. You will make cookies more often, and you will eat them (because they are delicious).
2. This is not a book full of quick cookie recipes to make on the fly. A lot of them involve interesting and different ingredients that you probably don't have on hand. Many others involve sitting overnight in the refrigerator. There are some quick and easy recipes, but it's not the majority of the book.
3. The book is terribly, horribly, awfully organized. I find that it's impossible to find almost anything in it, so I've taken to using post-it flags every time I find a recipe I like. Pretty soon it's going to be filled with flags. The book has an index, but it's surprisingly difficult to read. The table of contents isn't much help either, especially if you like crunchy, chewy, crispy gooey and melt-in-your-mouth cookies.

Still, all-in-all, this book is a win. I mean, it has upwards of 6 different brownies recipes--what more can a girl ask for in a cookbook???


Remix: Peanut Butter Cookies

When I say peanut butter cookies, I know what you're thinking:

(peanut butter + sugar + eggs) * oven = cookie

Well, it's time to rethink the peanut butter cookie. The original recipe came from Alice Medrich's book, Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-your-Mouth Cookies. I made two batches--one was exactly as she specified in her book, the other with my own addition. Mine won, hands down.

These are the originals, with chopped peanuts on top
The cookie itself is crispy but gets stuck in your teeth like cotton candy. The Reese's Peanut Butter Cup I snuck in the middle? The chocolate and peanut butter melt and stick to your tongue. It's an incredible play of textures.

The best part? The cookie is only 50 calories.

You'll burn off at least 2 cookies if you whisk by hand.
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Peanut Butter Surprises
makes 30-35 cookies
adapted from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich

whisk + really strong arm OR electric mixer OR stand mixer
measuring cups OR scale+1 measuring spoon
rubber spatula (OR something similar)
parchment paper
2 baking trays
plastic bag OR pastry bag OR spoon

3 egg whites
0.125t cream of tartar
4.60 oz sugar (2/3c)
3oz chunky all-natural peanut butter (1/3c)
2 bags Reese's Minis (they come in bags and are pre-unwrapped)
chopped peanuts (optional)


Pots de Creme

A few minutes after I asked D what he wanted for dinner, I found myself clicking on the first post on Tastespotting--pots de creme from Lick My Spoon.

I had everything on hand, so I made them. As with every other food blogger, I made my own substitutions (otherwise why would I bother posting again--I could just direct you to her post!).

First, I used peppermint tea (with loose peppermint leaves) instead of coffee. I brewed it strong, but you could hardly taste the mint. I think it needed mint extract!

Second, I used extra bittersweet chocolate, because it's what I had on hand. Next time I'd made it with semisweet. D found it a little bit too bitter for his tastes, although I thought it was delightful.

In other news, I started my culinary school application today!

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Chocolate Pots de Creme
makes 4 servings

hot beverage maker (tea kettle, microwave, coffee maker, etc)
blender (see Notes if you don't have a blender!)

6 oz. semisweet chocolate chips (about 1 cup)
2 eggs
1t vanilla extract (or mint extract)
0.5t salt
4oz. very hot peppermint tea, brewed very strong (0.5c, although beware it evaporates fast, so brew a little bit extra)



This weekend has been filled with lots of baking, shopping and eating... not as much homework, but it will get done eventually. Let's call it my own little way of celebrating Valentine's day.

Another favorite knife in the background!!!

D and I were watching Good Eats last night while our cinnamon bread was baking. The episode was about  parsnips, or more specifically hiding veggies in other foods to trick unsuspecting children. He used parsnips because they're sweet, mildly nutty and easy to disguise. He uses them in pear sauce, in muffins and to make chips.

At the beginning of the episode he mentions that beets would also be a good veggie to use, but their red color gave them away.

Since I'm not as worried about hiding my veggies, when I saw beets at the store, I decided to grab a couple and see what I could do with them.

After some pondering, I decided to try red velvet cupcakes, using beets as coloring. Not only in the spirit of V-Day, but this was a perfect opportunity to use our new blender! [The RA's bought a blender as a group for smoothie study breaks! I am currently the guardian.]

They're incredibly tender and light, with a fairly strong beet and chocolate flavor that I think is wonderful. They're not very red, but they are very delicious so it's ok. I've also given them a sour cream frosting with a hint of nutmeg.

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One-Bowl (Chocolate) Borscht Cupcakes
makes 24 large or 36 regular cupcakes

1.25c butter, very very soft
3c beet puree [see Notes]
2c sugar
1.5t salt
3 eggs
1.5t vanilla extract
1c milk (soy or regular) with 2T white or balsamic vinegar added [see Notes]
3.5c all-purpose flour
1c natural cocoa powder [see Notes]
2t baking soda
1 recipe of sour cream-nutmeg frosting (see below)


Valentine's Day Surprise - A Guest Post

A Valentine's Day gift from the Mini-Mart.
If you bring home Russel Stover, she'll know it was last minute. Guaranteed. But you don't have any time, do you? So go to the mini-mart and get her favorite flat candy, preferably Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and large York Peppermint Patties. (Bonus points if it's easy to cut.)

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Peppermint Patties are not inherently romantic. Go figure. So make them romantic. With just a paring knife (or really any reasonably sharp object) you can turn mini-mart candy into a Valentine surprise.

You folks on the West Coast have three hours left. See how happy it will make her?

Notice I said peppermint patties and peanut butter cups,  not or.

--- D


Energy Bars Take Two

Last week, I went on a training trip with my team to Austin, Texas.

Training trip = (Sleep + Eat + Row + Eat + Sleep + Eat + Row + Eat) * (Numbers of days in trip)

It was exhausting, but really, really fun. We also made a lot of great strides as a team, both physically and technically. While I'm glad to be back home with D, I'm also really glad we took the trip.

As you can see, I ate a lot during my training. Most mornings before practice, I ate a bar, because they were easy to eat, kept me going through practice, and were light enough that I could do the warmup run without getting cramps.

For a while I've been trying to find bars that give me energy and make me feel good. I tried a lot of different bars, from the FiberOne bars, to Clif bars to Nutrigrain. Finally I settled on Larabars. I really like that they only have a few relatively simple ingredients, they fill me up, and I can exercise right after eating them.

Wholesome, delicious ingredients.
I don't like how expensive they are, how difficult they are to find, or that I didn't make them myself! So I started to look for recipes. There were a lot of recipes for homemade Larabars, but lack of food processor basically took all of those out of the equations.

Before we left on our training trip, I tried to make a batch of energy bars. The recipe I used claimed to not taste as healthy as the input ingredients. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case--they tasted awful. I rarely throw away food, but these were that bad. Granted, I think I burned them a little bit, but there wasn't much goodness to begin with.

Over the course of the trip, I looked for more recipes, and found two that I liked. One of them is called "oatmeal crispies" and is basically oats, flour, butter and sugar baked into bar shape. I may try these in the future, but the other recipe sounded more like what I wanted: oats, nut butter and honey, with a whole bunch of yummy add ins.

It was really, really snowy here.
So today, D and I ventured through the snow in search of missing ingredients. We came home, mixed these up, and immediately devoured way too many of them. They're incredible!!! The rest I have wrapped up in my fridge ready to take to practice or as an afternoon snack. I'd also like to try making different versions of these.

Below, I have the general version of the recipe, which you can customize to taste however you want. I've also included our version at the very bottom (because it's that delicious) and the version I'd like to try next!

We both had these for dessert, that's how good they are.
----- ----- -----
Customizable Energy Bars
adapted from (never_home)maker
makes approximately 20 bars


1.5c nut butter
1c honey (or other liquid sweetener, like sugar syrup or agave)
1t vanilla
0.75c water 

2.5c quick cooking grains
0.5c powder (e.g. protein/cocoa/milk)
1c coconut flakes (you could probably replace this with more grains)
1.5c nuts (chopped) and seeds
1.5c dried fruit, chocolate chips, etc.
2c fresh fruit, chopped into small pieces
1c crunchy, salty stuff


Eating in Austin, TX

Our team is in Austin, TX for our annual training trip. Of course, that means 2 practices a day and lots of hungry bellies, so of course lots of food has been consumed. Most of it has been the mediocre hotel food, but we've managed to try a few Austin favorites:

The menu was limited to only 5 items when we (yes, all 150 of us) visited this taco truck, so we couldn't try everything. On the menu: chicken fajitas, beef fajitas, some sort of shrimp taco, the 'trailer park' and a vegetarian option with avocado.

I tried the trailer park, the beef fajita and the veggie option. The beef fajita was just ok. The sauce was delightfully refreshing and just spicy enough, but the lettuce on it was flavorless, probably free of nutrients and otherwise pretty pointless. The beef was not too far behind the lettuce. It was thoroughly overcooked and just generally not very good.

The avocado taco was good, but pretty boring. I would have appreciated a little bit more pizazz on it--maybe some tomato chunks, or a radish/cabbage slaw for some crunch? Even whole beans instead of refried would have made for a more interesting mouth feel. All the flavors worked, but the textures weren't quite there.


(Vegan) Chocolate Grapefruit Marzipan Cupcakes

Wow, what a mouthful.

These were pretty incredible. I put the vegan in parentheses because they don't taste at all vegan... at all. It took a while to get the frosting down, and you'll probably need to taste just to check and make sure it works with your cocoa powder and your grapefruit, but it should be very tart and chocolatey. It will be balanced by the sweetness of the cake and the richness of the marzipan.

My sister sent me pig shaped marzipan, so I thought I would mock the fact that these cupcakes are vegan by putting slices of pig on top of them.. It's a little difficult to tell what they are, but at least I was amused.

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(Vegan) Chocolate Grapefruit Marzipan Cupcakes
makes 12 cupcakes

0.75c soy milk
0.25c fresh grapefruit juice (this is about half of a juicy grapefruit's worth; if you use the whole half and it's not enough, use equal parts soymilk and vinegar to fill out the quarter cup)
grapefruit zest from as many grapefruits as possible (I used two, three would be great, but one would also be ok)
0.75c sugar (make sure it's vegan!)
0.33c canola oil
1c all-purpose flour
0.33c cocoa powder (I used Ghiradelli--yum! make sure the only ingredient is cocoa powder!)
1t baking soda
0.25t baking powder
0.25t salt

3T cocoa powder
0.25c fresh grapefruit juice (use the other half of the juicy grapefruit!)
4T powdered sugar

12 pieces of marzipan

1. Mix all the ingredients through salt together in a mixing bowl.
2. Pour ingredients into muffin tins (they should be about 2/3rds of the way full) and bake for 20 minutes at 350°F, or until the tops spring back when pressed gently.
3. While the muffins are baking, mix the 3T of cocoa powder with the remaining grapefruit juice. It should be very runny and very tart. Add powdered sugar 1T at a time until the frosting thickens to a thin buttercream consistency and the tartness is just overcome. (This is really to taste, so taste!) If it's still thin but sweet enough, add more cocoa powder. If it's too thick but still tart, either add more grapefruit juice or add some soymilk.
4. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting them with the glaze/frosting. (If it's liquidy, just dip the tops into the frosting and let them dry; otherwise, spread like regular frosting.)
5. Top each cupcake with a piece of marzipan.
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thirty minute dinner and dessert

We prepped a bit beforehand because we had to travel to the kitchen with all of our stuff, but I got home from practice at 6:15 and we had dinner on the table by 6:45. Dinner was pasta with chicken and veggies plus chocolate chip cranberry nut scones for dessert. If you spend 10 minutes (or less) prepping in the morning before you head out for the day, you could have dinner + dessert ready in thirty minutes or less.

The leftover scones make great breakfast/snack the next day, too!!!

The recipe looks complicated, but it's pretty simple. Basically, mix the scone batter while you're waiting for the water to boil, and bake them while the pasta is cooking. (You can also bake them while you're eating, if it's too hectic to try to bake them while cooking.) Then once the pasta is in the water, cook green beans, and heat pre-cooked chicken, canned corn and tomato sauce; combine with pasta and you have dinner. Yum!

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Thirty Minute Meal
serves four


Pumpkin Pecan Pie: Further from Tradition

OK, so the pumpkin pie + graham cracker crust was definitely a step up from standard pie crust... but we've made it even better! The biggest complaint from the peanut gallery was a lack of crust crispness on day two. Of course, I knew this meant we needed something that wouldn't absorb any of the liquid from the pie.

Nuts were the perfect solution. The update is just to the crust, but I've included the filling recipe again. You're welcome to use your own pumpkin pie filling, but this one is pretty spectacular! It's got a lot less liquid than most pie recipes, so the spices stay well incorporated and the pumpkin flavor shines.

Graham Cracker Pecan Crusted Pumpkin Pie
makes 1 9-inch pie crust


Pumpkin Pie: a Break from Tradition

As shocking as this may be, I didn't have more than a taste of pumpkin pie until last year, and the few times I tried it, I didn't like it. Then last year, one of my hallmates requested that I baked some pie, so I decided to try my hand at apple pie and pumpkin pie.

Not knowing any better, and wanting to minimize the chance of disaster, I bought crusts. Little did I know, this was my greatest stroke of genius. While I bought a standard pie crust for the apple pie, I decided to buy a graham cracker crust for the pumpkin pie. Delicious!!! I know it's a break from tradition, but if you've ever been even slightly dissatisfied with the crust of a pumpkin pie you should try it.

Included below is the recipe for the crust and filling. Of course, you could buy the crust, but why would you when it's so easy to make???

I would love to have more pictures, but half of the pie disappeared before we could take any pictures... and the rest disappeared within 24 hours of its emergence from the oven.

Delicious pumpkin pie!

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