Cream Wafers, A Mini Lesson in Blitz Puff Pastry

May 9, 2016

Since I was little, my mom has made cookies for all the holiday events around Christmas. Anytime we had people at the house she had a stockpile of delicious cookies from recipes either shared with her or just new ones she has found and wanted to try. She would make tins of these cookies and give them to the neighbors as a holiday gift and they would bring them back and say “gotta give you the tin back so you can fill it up again next year!” There were some regular staples in the cookie department that have come back year after year and are now just a tradition. Now, she has a little more help, since my little kid self wasn’t quite as interested in cooking as my grown up self, and I love that cookies are our annual holiday treat.

We have our traditional favorites:

Butter Cookies are always abundant. They are like sugar cookies but a little more snappy, and lighter in flavor so theres a good balance between butter from the cookie and sweet from the icing. Sugar cookies can sometimes be overly sugary by the time you add icing.

Snickerdoodles: Don’t get excited, or wait, do get excited. . . These aren’t traditional, my mom makes them her own by subbing in a substantial amount of cinnamon and dark brown sugar. Then they get topped with a light and fluffy vanilla buttercream. They really are so much better than what everyone is use to.

Then there is the last but certainly not least. Cream Wafers: These are little sandwich cookies that have two flaky wafers, and once the dough becomes pliable and you cut the shapes out, you crust one side in sugar and bake them until they are golden on the bottom. In between those wafers is just a simple cream and its all that it needs. Its classic, its simple and just like our other cookie traditions its perfect. I promise they are worth the time, as they aren’t simple drop cookies. Make them once and you’ll understand why I’m going on and on and on about them.

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This is not the end of my cookie saga. My new revelation now that I’ve made them quite a few times and beings that I now know a little bit more about the technical side of doughs and pastry and what not I see these little delights in a new way. They are essentially tiny little puff pastry cookies, docked, and then coated in sugar, then sandwiched with cream. . . Puff Pastry. . . hmmm. . . technical stuff. Who knew!

Print Recipe
Cream Wafers
Course Desserts
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
Cookies
Ingredients
Wafer Cookies
Sugar Crust
Creamy Filling
Course Desserts
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 1 hour
Servings
Cookies
Ingredients
Wafer Cookies
Sugar Crust
Creamy Filling
Instructions
Wafer Dough
  1. In a mixer with a paddle attachment, mix together butter and flour until mealy (little pea size butter pieces gathered in the flour.)
  2. Add Vanilla to the Cream and stream into flour on low setting until the dough comes together.
  3. Wrap in plastic wrap and put in fridge to chill for an hour until firm.
Sugar Crust
  1. Lay out sugar onto a plate or a bowl, add colored sugar or use plain granulated sugar per your baking needs.
  2. Once the dough has chilled, take half of the dough onto a floured surface and roll to 1/8 of an inch thickness. (These are going to be sandwich cookies so the two halves do not need to be too thick as they will puff up when baked.)
  3. Take small cookie cutter and cut little shapes out of your rolled out dough, just remember if you do different shapes that you need cookies in multiples of two.
  4. Once cut out, take a fork and prick the tops of the wafers with the tines of the fork and press the top of the dough into sugar. (If the dough is too cold to pick up sugar, you can use a cream wash and dab onto the dough with a pastry brush and then sprinkle with sugar.)
  5. Lay out on sheet trays and bake @ 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until bottoms are golden.
Creamy Filling and Finishing
  1. Whip together in a mixer with a whisk attachment the Butter, Powdered Sugar and Vanilla until light and fluffy.
  2. Take paired Sandwich halves and place a dollop of creamy filling on one side. Press matching side of wafer together. Continue with the rest of the cookies and you are all ready to enjoy.
Recipe Notes

I have substituted half and half for the heavy cream in the recipe and they worked well, I could tell a slight difference in flakiness, but if you are in a bind and need to make them quickly and don't have any heavy cream them sub on. . . 

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Starting Anew

May 8, 2016

I’ve been gone a long time. . . and I have really hated how much I’ve dropped the ball on this blog and on being creative in general. However, I do have some very good excuses. The first one being that I got Married!! Yes, it was planned quickly, no there wasn’t a reason why other that we wanted to be together forever, very badly♥ 

Kurtis (My husband) is my best friend and we both wanted a simplistic rustic wedding, so we planned a wedding on my Grandma and Grandpas land, it was filled with love, family, friends, color, tents and cake. . .

 

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I understand why some people like big formal beautiful weddings, I just can’t for myself. I like small and intimate, I hate feeling like I will never get around to chatting with everyone if I invite them. I made a small pumpkin cake and my friends Maggie and Anne were kind enough to make desserts for a dessert table. Cheesecake, pie and cookies. My cousin Sara officiated the wedding and our close friend Jason who caters locally was kind enough to handle our little  event. Everyone was marvelous! 

 

Fast forward a few months. . . three months to be exact, and Kurtis and I got some very life changing news. Enter: Kerrick Whitney McCurdy

 

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He makes my heart melt every single day, and as most new moms know or learn rather quickly, nothing means more than making sure your little person is well taken care of and thats what I have been doing over the last few months. I have often thought of posting and updating what has been going on, but life has always gotten the better of me and here we are, months later with an adorable little baby who is 8 months old and I couldn’t be happier♥

Here is to new beginnings, something really made me want to retouch and edit the logo and I have come up with something very fun and I think it definitely is a great place to kick off. See you guys all soon and we can share new recipes together!

 

Sunshine Baking

Crème Brûlée

March 1, 2015

I’m a moody eater. . . If you haven’t already figured that out from all my previous posts, just refer back to almost all of them as a reference. I’ve come to terms with this side of my foodie self. On any given day I may want something that seems way out there. When I’m indecisive, which is frequent, I can more easily make food choices for health purposes, but most of the time, my inner dialogue is much like that of George the dog from Disney’s “UP.” Something like this “I really need to finish folding these cloth . . . OHHH, GRILLED CHEESE AND TOMATO SOUP! YES!!!!!!!” Or my newest craving since I saw the episode of “Friends” where Chandler and Rachel steal the neighbors cheesecakes repeatedly because its so creamy and yummy. Great, now I want cheesecake. . . And such is the state of my stomach. This recipe is so simplistic, it doesn’t take much shopping to put it together, in fact it’s all of 4 ingredients, a couple of which you probably already have, so its an easy throw together dessert, which lets just face it. . . the biggest problem to solve as a moody eater is when you do figure out what you want, is it worth a trip out to get the ingredients? I can promise you that Crème Brûlée will never fail you. It is rich without being too rich, it is simplistic, without leaving you wanting, and it is just enough sweet to satisfy those after dinner cravings where we all go diving through our pantries to see what kindof sweet treat we have stashed away. So gather your handful of ingredients and get going!

Print Recipe
Crème Brûlée
A decadent yet simplistic baked custard.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
ramekins
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
ramekins
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat Oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Mix together the Egg Yolks and the Granulated Sugar until combined.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat the cream until scalding, but do not let boil (If it does boil, don't panic . . . it will be fine.)
  4. Place 4 ramekins on a sheet tray so they are ready for you to pour the custard.
  5. Stir the scalded cream slowly into the egg yolks until combined, then add the vanilla and salt. (I prefer Vanilla bean paste for this as it makes the vanilla flavor more robust in this custard.)
  6. Pour the custard mix into the ramekins and place in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the custard is just set. Once set remove from oven and allow to cool at room temperature until they are easily handled. Then refrigerate until fully chilled.
  7. When ready to serve remove custards from the fridge and dab any moisture from the top of the custards. Then sprinkle with a light coating of sugar and you can either Broil the sugar until it caramelizes or you can use a blowtorch. Just be careful, once it begins to caramelize, it goes fast so be ready to pull the tray from the broiler or to cut the torch off quickly.
  8. Eat within the hour as the crispy caramel crust will only stay crunchy for a short time.
Recipe Notes

This recipe was adapted from the book "Professional Baking." It is a very simple recipe and I didn't want to stray too far. I hope you get as much use out of it as I do.

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The Sugar Cookie

November 18, 2014

Sugar CookiesSometimes you just need simplicity to reign in your life so you don’t have to struggle with all the other crazy things life brings. We all have enough headaches throughout the course of our days with traffic to work, work itself, people showing up to work that don’t want to work, never having enough time to get everything done, and then traffic home where you have made so many decisions at this point your go to answer to everything becomes “I don’t care.” After all this, simplicity always wins out for me. Being a chef everyone always peppers you with very specific questions or statements about your food life, something like,  A.) Whats your favorite thing to cook? For which my response is always: “I’m a moody eater, therefore my moods govern my favorite thing to cook at any given time.” or B.) You must eat great meals every night! For this my response is “No, you are crazy.” My favorite thing to have in the evening time in the summer is a cold salad of some sort, like a summer salad or pasta salad; in the winter time it switches to grilled sandwiches (grilled cheese mostly) and soup (I’m a fan of simplistic tomato). See where this is going? After a long day at work where we cook for so many people, manage time and space and arrange for things to go just right, keeping it simple at home is my favorite. I know everyone likes to go to restaurants and order crazy things that they would never be able to do at home, and I say go for it! You get that lobster mac, or that entree salad with everything on it that ends up making the calories more than the other entree you were checking out that you thought was way more fattening than a salad. Because at home, we are gonna keep it simple, pasta and cheese, yes please, and a salad with, hmmm. . . . what do I need to get rid of before it goes bad?

Life is Messy!

Life is Complicated!

Lets Un-Complicate it: Well maybe we will just make some cookies that are really simple and eat a few and feel less complicated yea?! Sounds like a good plan to me too. I have a huge stock pot of cookie cutters that I need to dust off now that the holiday season is upon us (and yes, I have listened to a Christmas song or two and I totally watched The Grinch last week.) Cookies are going to be your best friend so let me throw a very simplistic cookie recipe your way and you can just bake your feelings and enjoy!

 

 

Print Recipe
Sugar Cookie
Simplistic sugar cookie dough that is easily manipulated to handle many inclusions and flavor profiles. My base for many of my favorite cookies.
Course Desserts
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Course Desserts
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Cream together the butter and sugar, until light and fluffy.
  2. Once the mixture is thoroughly combined, slowly add the eggs and the vanilla and almond extract. While this is mixing go ahead and combine your dry ingredients.
  3. Stop and scrape down your mixing bowl to make sure everything is mixed properly. Slowly add the dry ingredients a little at a time. The mixture will seem dry, but once ready, it will come together.
  4. Take your dough to a floured surface and roll out to the desired thickness, I prefer mine about 1/4 of an inch thick. But it is your choice entirely. You can also scoop these cookies and press them into rounds with a glass bottom, or your hands if you don't want to use the cutout method.
  5. Place on baking sheets with 1/2 an inch of room between cookies and bake on 350˚ F for approximately 8-10 minutes, or until the edge just turns golden.
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Summer Spritz Ginger Ale

August 7, 2014

Ginger Ale, and Improvising.

 

Pinterest, the place all women go to get a million different ideas as to how to properly organize every aspect of their lives, and then feel bad about it, after not following through . . .We aren’t even talking about all the really crazy crafty stuff that takes days of drying and layering paper and then painting and then sealing after the paint dries . . . No no, we are simply talking about things as generic as:  “Follow these 10 simple steps for the easiest move of your life.” Or, “If you organize these 5 areas of your home, you will have the most organized house in your neighborhood.” It’s a lie, don’t give in, I’ll let you in on a real secret. Moving, no matter who you are, how organized you become, or how prepared you think you are, is just one big mess. It’s life, and it’s really all about improvising.

 

Who am I giving this to? How am I ever going to fit that through the front door? My current predicament of: How do I maximize the usage of my non existent counter space?! And you never really notice these little nuances until you get to where you’re going. So I set out on a journey recently to find a kitchen island; something that I could upcycle. Think old dresser at just the right height to where I could paint it an azure blue, use the drawers for extra storage and put a butcher block on the top Great idea right? Yea, in theory it is, in reality, dressers don’t really come in a height that my 5’4” self can comfortably chop onions on. Now here comes the part where improvisation becomes really important. I’m walking through a shop the other day and find myself in the path of a potting station recently marked down . . . whoop! Guess what potting stations are: you guessed it! They are exactly the right height for me to chop some veggies on. Who put their thinking cap on this morning, I did. And it’s working out beautifully, I must say.

 

I know you are currently asking yourself why you take the time to listen to me ramble about a crazy move, my messy self, and a potting station turned kitchen island, but truly, there is more to this story than a new place to chop onions. There is, just as in all things, a wonderfully hidden lesson, and maybe to some it isn’t all that hidden, maybe you just get it more than others, but here is what I’m thinking:

 

 “Improvising is wonderful. But, the thing is that you cannot improvise unless you know exactly what you’re doing.”

Christopher Walken

 

So here is a scary thought, maybe in all the crazy life we live, and all the self-doubt, we actually carry on, excel, and succeed because we know a little more than we give ourselves credit for. An example: This ginger ale recipe that I am sharing with you today. I set out to replicate this yummy ginger ale at a restaurant in town, and I made it just like the restaurant, then over time, I made my own variation, and now, I want to share my wonderful refreshing creation with you!

IMG_0267Ginger Ale

 

Print Recipe
Home Made Ginger Ale
Refreshing and Crisp
Course Anytime, Drinks
Prep Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 60 minutes
Servings
Glasses
Ingredients
Ginger Syrup
Ginger Ale
Course Anytime, Drinks
Prep Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 60 minutes
Servings
Glasses
Ingredients
Ginger Syrup
Ginger Ale
Instructions
Ginger Syrup
  1. Combine all the ingredients for the syrup in a saucepan over medium high heat, and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 5 minutes and then remove from heat.
  2. Let the syrup cool to room temperature before use. If you use it before it cools it will melt too much of the ice and make your beverage watery.
Ginger Ale
  1. Get 4 tall glasses out and in the bottom of each combine 1 lemon wedge, 1 lime wedge, a and a few leaves of mint.
  2. Muddle together the lemon, lime and mint. And pour 2-3 Tablespoons of syrup over the mixture.
  3. Fill the glass 1/3 of the way with ice and finish with MIneral Water. Mix with a straw and enjoy!
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The Things We Don’t Talk About . . . Rice Pudding.

May 10, 2014

Rice PuddingThere are things we don’t talk about, women that is, we don’t talk about morning breath, we don’t talk about stinky feet, we surely don’t sweat, we just quietly conceal and move on with our day. It is commonplace and to quote my grandma “it’s just not ladylike.” So I know you are scratching your head right now thinking, where the heck is this going? She writes about food, yet she’s talking about sweat and morning breath, but please trust me, I’m almost there friends . . . Ok, how does food earn the status of “just not talked about?” You don’t hear too many people coming home from the restaurant saying “Wow, how about that bread pudding?!” or “Hey, did you get to taste that scrumptious custard? Boy oh boy, was that good!” This is where you imagine that blank faced girl standing in front of you taking her hand and giving you a big thumbs down in over exaggerated indifference of your excitement for these commonplace foods. They aren’t embarrassing; they aren’t something to be ashamed of (although I have to say, morning breath, and all those things I mentioned before happen to everyone, so we shouldn’t really be embarrassed of those either.) So why do we brush them under the rug? Why do we fail to appreciate and recognize the foods that have withstood the test of time? I’m standing up to that today.

 

Let me tell you this, I am a big fan of common foods; I love a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup anytime. Pastry cream (Which is essentially just pudding.) is delicious on a spoon, or in little tarts dressed up and glazed to perfection. Breakfast of choice: Egg and toast. When I was young all I wanted when my mom made spaghetti was pasta with butter and Parmesan, and to this day, although I love a good red sauce, I still go for pasta, butter, parm and herbs.  All I’m saying is in this moment; lets give a shout out to the less recognized but equally as amazing, comfort foods. If we are honest with ourselves, more often than not, these are the foods we will reach for, just like when life comes to call and you don’t know who you want to talk to, but you know talking to your Mom will make it better, foods can have the same comforting effect. I don’t know why I’m stressed and I don’t really want to eat my emotions away, but this piece of salted dark chocolate will really do something for my soul that nothing else can . . . ok I may be over exaggerating a tad, but for real people, what happened to rice and bread pudding? Mac and Grilled Cheese? I’m keeping it simple today. Welcome Coconut Milk Rice Pudding, it is creamy, it is wonderful, it is an eclectic party of yumminess in your mouth. Bonus: it is gluten free, and this recipe is also vegan, however if you choose to use regular milk because you don’t like coconut, that’s cool too, we still like you. Give it a try, I promise you will feel yourself sigh in contentment ♥

 

 

Print Recipe
Coconut Rice Pudding
Comforting, Classic and delicious dessert.
Course Desserts
Cuisine American, Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Pudding
Toppings (Optional)
Course Desserts
Cuisine American, Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Pudding
Toppings (Optional)
Instructions
  1. In a medium size saucepan, over medium high heat, melt your coconut oil and add your rice.
  2. Stirring occasionally, let rice toast until you see some golden color. Add the Coconut Milk, Water, Lemon and Lime Zest and Juice, Salt, and Cinnamon. Bring to a boil.
  3. Once your mixture boils, reduce to low heat cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed or the rice is cooked through.
  4. Remove from heat, add Sugar and Honey and stir until dissolved. Slowly pour Almond Milk into rice mixture until you reach the desired consistency. Some prefer their rice pudding thicker than others, so make it however your prefer.
  5. I garnished my pudding with freshly diced mango and pistachios. You could go for any dried fruits, raisins, currants, cherries. Whatever you fancy ♥
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Texture . . . And Granola

March 13, 2014

 

Granola

Let’s talk about texture. When you eat a bunch of yogurt do you get to the bottom of the cup and just almost have to gag because it was so monotonously creamy? For me there is just something about the lack of texture that makes me detest plain yogurt or really anything that is just the same texture over and over. I mean, that’s why we have a chip or veggies with hummus, chips and dip, a crunchy piece of toast with your yolky eggs, and a delicious granola with your creamy yogurt.

  Texture adds interest, an extra flavor profile, and something to keep your food exciting. When you think of interest as far as food is concerned, chefs look at everything in layers. We cook something and season it; then if we add something else for texture, it too gets a flavor profile and seasoned. We tear food apart and put it back together in a new way. Hoping that with every plate we send out, or with every recipe we have created, we have created a new texture for you to appreciate. We have combined something that will peak your interest, that once your taste buds have registered what you just took a bite of, your eyes will need to double take all that was on your plate. That is why Chefs are so fiercely protective of what we make. It is a piece of us, it is a creation, just as an artist would paint, or a nurse would care. It is ingrained in us, we create, and we send it out into the world, hoping that everyone will take in what we create with open hearts. Please accept our new textures, our re-invented or re-visited combinations, and if it’s not to your liking, well then it is just something you won’t necessarily have to revisit. But I bet no matter who you are, or what you like, you find food and textures that suit your taste, your liking, and your soul.

 

 Ok, so on a less serious note, I love the feel and consistency of a good granola. I know, I have a thing for oats, and I just can’t help it, they are just so good for you. They have a host of positive facts that you can check out at “The Worlds Healthiest Foods.” Website. Here you can learn more about how oats help maintain healthy blood sugar levels, they keep you full for longer due to the high fiber content, boost immune response, and they even have an antioxidant unique to them that protects the healthy cholesterol in our systems from being destroyed . . . I mean, who doesn’t want those benefits. My favorite way to eat this granola is either with just some unsweetened vanilla almond milk, or with Greek yogurt, honey, and some fresh berries and mango. DELISH! I hope you all enjoy the crunch it adds to your yogurt, and the wonderful texture it will add to your life

 

Print Recipe
Classic Granola
Simple, crunchy, sweet and satisfying.
Course Breakfast, Snacks
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Course Breakfast, Snacks
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Start out by preheating your oven to 375 degrees. Then in a medium size bowl, combine the first five ingredients and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the Coconut Oil, Honey and Brown Sugar until it is a liquid consistency. ( This just melts the oil and softens the honey so it can more evenly coat the dry ingredients.)
  3. Once your stove top ingredients are all melted together and nice and consistent, pour them into the dry mixture and add the vanilla extract. Mix this until all the oats are well coated.
  4. Pour the mix onto a baking sheet either lined with parchment or sprayed with non-stick spray and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the baking sheet and with a spatula, turn the granola over so it browns evenly. Continue to bake for another 20 minutes or until the granola is a dark golden brown. Remember that everyones oven is different so you may need to leave it in a little longer.
  5. Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before taste testing. It will not be crunchy just out of the oven, but as it cools, it will harden to the proper texture.
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Banana Peanut Butter Breakfast Cookies

March 4, 2014

 

Breakfast, it is a sacred wake up time, a time to reflect and plan for your day. It is an imaginative time; I often think of the Alice in Wonderland quote: “Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” . . . it is the start to what could be a magnificent, or a down right ugh, sort of day. I plan the many things I would love to get done that day, and in reality, I will achieve half of those things. Because at breakfast, it is easy to feel grand about your abilities, you are lovely, and no one has wasted their energy trying to bring you down yet today, you haven’t had to fight against those that wish your day ill will, and you have met nothing but encouragement in the mirror. Yes, mornings are sacred, unblemished bits of our reality, and they pass ever so quickly.

 Breakfast Cookies

It’s the nature of the beast; we are busy creatures in this world and a lot of the time we must run around trying to achieve our important daily tasks, and in doing so, we forget about breakfast, about reflection and planning. We lose our imaginations and become strictly doers. I still think you can get your time in even if you are in the car, and I have a perfect recipe for those on the go. They are called Breakfast Cookies . . . I know, it seems to be quite the oxymoron. I mean, I’ve had cookies for breakfast before yes, but never breakfast cookies . . . and does that somehow imply that they will be less tasty? Not quite, a breakfast cookie is really just breakfast but in cookie form. This recipe only needs 4 ingredients to make the base, Oats, Honey, Peanut Butter, and Bananas. You don’t need any thing else, however I enjoy adding some things in, be it dried fruit, chocolate chips, nuts and seeds . . . Your choice. So here’s to your morning, may it be ever productive, wholly imaginative and may it kick some serious butt!

 

Print Recipe
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
Very simple, very tasty, only 4 ingredients needed to make breakfast cookie magic.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
Cookies
Ingredients
Oatmeal Cookies
Possible Inclusions
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
Cookies
Ingredients
Oatmeal Cookies
Possible Inclusions
Instructions
  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 350° and lining a baking sheet with either parchment paper or pan spray.
  2. In a food processor place 2 cups of oats and process until a course flour is achieved.
  3. On the side, in a medium bowl, mash together with a fork, the ripe banana, peanut butter, and honey. Then once all worked in together, mix in a cup and a half of the oat flour and any other inclusions.
  4. I like adding chocolate chips and chia seeds, but it is your choice. You could go with dried cherries or raisins.
  5. On the baking sheet spoon out the cookie badder to whatever size you want the cookies to bake off to, they do not expand once baked.
  6. Once portioned out, bake for 15-20 Minutes until they are almost completely set up. Let cool and enjoy!
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Vanilla Bean Sugar

March 1, 2014

 

Vanilla Bean Sugar

This weekend, such a gray daze of nothingness planned and I couldn’t be more excited about that.  Outside through the gray cold you can hear birds chirping as if it were warm outside, and it is not. It is a frigid day, to be filled with hot cups of coffee/tea, kitten cuddle time, Disney movies and probably some cooking to keep warm. Goals for my day include the possibility of a veggie taco dip, maybe some crochet . . . Oh by the way, did I tell you all that I recently began crocheting. If you ever want to just find something to occupy your hands, or something to keep your mind engaged, crocheting is very fun and fulfilling. So far I have managed to get down the basic stitches and make some simple things like a heart, and I made a rainbow doily yesterday . . . it is a little big, and I’m a little inconsistent in my stitches, but I found a great blog called Lacy Crochet, and she has some excellent directions. Some of the “instructors,” on youtube forget that since we are looking for help, we are probably beginners in some areas . . . They start crocheting at rocket speed saying things like “now chain three and slip stitch into the center, chain 6 and triple stitch a double stitch into the same stitch.” I’m all over here in my corner like “Say What?!?!” Anyways, once you get past that first initial stage of “I have no idea what they are saying,” and you figure it out, I promise it is worth it.

crochet heart

 

 Now I just have to figure out what to make this weekend. I know of one thing for certain, my sugar container next to the coffee pot is very low on a particular blend of sugar.  Enter . . . Vanilla Bean Sugar. Probably the highlight of the coffee experience in the morning is the vanilla bean sugar I use in it. Of course I use it in many other recipes. For example: I like to roll simple cookie dough in it so that when they bake the bottom caramelizes and is deliciously crunchy. Pretty much any recipe that calls for a little bit of sugar, I will sub the vanilla bean sugar for that extra something. I used it in the Honey Cinnamon Cashew recipe and when I make homemade ginger ale, or lemon ginger tea. It is one of the simplest things you can make, so lets get to work . . . bippity boppity boo, and hello yumminess!

Print Recipe
Vanilla Bean Sugar
I promise you will use it for everything. . . . and I mean EVERYTHING! I use this mostly in my coffee. However I love using to make caramel, making batches to give as gifts, and coating small cookies with the sugar so when it caramelizes it has much more flavor.
Course Anytime, Desserts
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
Cups
Ingredients
Course Anytime, Desserts
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
Cups
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Pour the contents of the Raw sugar into a big bowl.
  2. On a cutting board, slice your vanilla bean pod in half. Take the side of your knife and run it along the inside of the vanilla bean scraping out the black seeds you see inside.
  3. Place the seeds into the sugar bowl and put the pods in as well. I like to take a handful of sugar and press it up against the skin of the vanilla bean pod to help scrape the remaining seeds from the inside of the pods.
  4. Then take the sugar and rub it in between your hands to break up the little seeds until they are evenly distributed throughout the sugar.
  5. Separate into the proper storage containers, I like resealable mason jars, but you can put it back into the raw sugar box if you prefer.
  6. I also leave the pods in the sugar for continual flavoring.
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Muesli and the Monsters

February 19, 2014

Within my boyfriends’ apartment there exists these creatures; they unknowingly do things like change the home page of my Internet settings. They make blog posts that look something like this (CCCCCCCCCCCCCCKCCCCCCCLCCCC.) And they are the Monsters. If it weren’t for the wonderful technical support of my friend Ty, I probably never would have connected that my computer wouldn’t open to the proper home page anymore, and having to explain to him how such a home page was set was even more fun. But isn’t that the way monsters are? Some call them kittens, but regardless of what you call them, they have no regard for your daily tasks beyond petting them, feeding them, and or playing with them . . .

Monsters

 May I introduce to you The Monsters: Luna, Pedro, and Simba. Luna is the one standing directly in the middle of my keyboard, Pedro has ahold of her tail, and Simba just stuck his head in the picture for good measure. They are wonderful, adorable, and they care nothing for the tasks that us humans must perform in our day-to-day living.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have the simplistic mindset of a cat? Although I may not be able to adequately simplify my life to that of a cat, I try to keep things simple when it comes to the food that I prepare, and for breakfast, lets just be perfectly honest no one likes to overcomplicate that. My favorite morning cereal, is Muesli, I had never had it until I worked on a cruise ship. I saw it sitting on the buffet in a pretty white bowl, and it just looked so ordinary. Let me just say, it was anything but ordinary. It was bursting with flavor and texture. Lightly sweet, and just filling enough to keep you satisfied through your morning. I set out to recreate what I tasted on the ship, and it wasn’t too long before I found the combination that I was seeking. I left out the raisins, and added honey, and I couldn’t be happier with what I came up with. The addition of quinoa to the oats and almonds gives you extra protein to keep you full for longer, and when you toast everything it gives the cereal a complexity that you long for in your morning routine. Add a cup of tea or some delicious coffee and you have an amazing morning awaiting you. I hope you enjoy the cereal, and you’ll have to let me know what you think!

Muesli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Print Recipe
Honey, Apple Cinnamon Muesli
Simplistic and comforting, everything you want in a morning ritual.
Course Anytime, Breakfast
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 180 minutes
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Course Anytime, Breakfast
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 180 minutes
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. On a baking sheet mix together the oats, quinoa, and slivered almonds.
  2. While the oven is preheating, In a bowl off to the side whisk together the yogurt, almond milk, cinnamon and honey.
  3. Place the tray into the oven to begin toasting the oat mixture. Set the timer for about 10 minutes, but toast them until they are fragrant and just begin to get some color.
  4. Take the apple and dice it into little squares and keep it off to the side.
  5. Remove the toasted oat mixture from the oven and let cool. Once it has cooled to room temperature combine the dry mix with the milk mixture and apple. Let sit for atleast 3 hrs to soak in the fridge. I like to let it go overnight.
  6. When ready to serve, dish the muesli out and pour almond milk and honey over it to taste. I like to approach it similar to cooked oatmeal and finish it off per person as some like it thicker and sweeter than others.
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