Friday, June 20, 2014

still good and still on the blog

If you follow my Instagram, then you know I've been making a lot of goodies that are.. wait for it.. already on my silly, little blog. I post recipes on here not only for your lovely convenience but for my own, too. I can't remember every ingredient, measurement, and detail I've done in the past. But good news, the recipes are still tried and true to what I remember.

Here's a look at some of my favorite recipes on this blog that I recreated recently:

Grain-Free Granola: I have more requests for this recipe than probably anything else from my blog.  It looks ordinary, but it's probably my favorite snack ever. It's healthy, Paleo, grain-free, and definitely addicting. It's also super easy to make, and homemade granola is the best granola. It goes well in yogurt, with milk, or by the palmful.

Rustic Apple Pie: My dad loves apple pie, so I jazzed up this homemade rustic apple pie for him. The tart of the green apple and the buttery, crunchy sparkling sugar crust are the perfect combo. It's pretty and it should be made for people you really love.

Cheddar Jalapeño Bagels: Look at this bagel. Really look at it. How could this not be amazing?! My coworker said she was dreaming about it recently and [didn't you hear?] I make dreams come true. That's just what I do. She told me that since she had my cheddar jalapeño bagel, she has not eaten a store-bought one. With the jalapeños mixed into the dough and laid on top, this satisfies jalapeño lovers everywhere.

These three recipes are some of my absolute favorites. Try them! You won't regret it. Promise.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

chocolate chip coconut cookies

We all know I LOVE Ina Garten's Chocolate Chunk Cookie recipe. It's a classic that should be in everyone's recipe box. The flavor of the dough itself is just SO damn good. Yesterday, I was feeling fancy and decided to cut out the nuts and added some coconut into the mix instead. The texture of the coconut is really harmonious with the chocolate, and the chewiness of the cookie itself with crispy edges is unbelievable. These cookies are TOO good and must be made right away. No joke. I couldn't take a picture that does these cookie any justice, because it was late and my kitchen lighting is the worst at night.

I could have easily eaten the whole batch. If I had kept them in my house, I probably would have. But, I decided to practice some self-control and share them with work and Starbucks.. because mid-week is always sweeter with baked goods. Happy Wednesday! (As I'm writing this, I'm totally regretting that I don't have any left for myself. I actually might make these again tonight.)

Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies
Recipe Adapted from Ina Garten
Yields 36-40 cookies

1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs, room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
2 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut

1. In a medium bowl, sift or whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
2. With a stand mixer with paddle attachment or hand mixer, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. On medium speed, mix in vanilla, then eggs one at a time. 
3. Add flour mixture to butter mixture Mix on stir speed until just combined. Add chocolate chips and shredded coconut mix on stir speed for a few seconds. Everything should be well-incorporated and should not look "dry" but do not overmix.
4. Refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour. *I added this step. The chilled dough will prevent a super flat cookie. If you want a super flat cookie, skip this step. Either way, it won't change the flavor. ;)
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
6. Drop the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet using a 1 3/4-inch-diameter scoop or a rounded tablespoon. With the palm of your hand, slightly pat down the rounded portions.
7. Bake for exactly 15 minutes (the cookies will seem underdone). 
8. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly on the pan, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. (OR eat warm, because that's how cookies should be eaten!)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

roasted sweet potatoes with bacon and scallions

During the school year, I suck at being healthy. So, during the summer, I try to cleanse my body of all the crap food and nourish it with the good stuff. I've especially been attempting to be as Paleo as possible before my New York vacay in July. I was doing really well but, truthfully, I've FAILEOd a few times this week for social purposes. Oops.

Can you believe I only started eating sweet potatoes about a year ago when I did my first Whole30? Crazy right? White potatoes will always be better in my book but, if it's in the potato family, I'll work with it.  Lately, I've been addicted to this one sweet potato side dish. Since sweet potatoes are Paleo-friendly, I don't even feel guilty that I've already made it twice this week. SO good.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Bacon and Scallions

2.5 lbs sweet potatoes
1 1/2 tsp grated fresh garlic (about 3 cloves)
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
3 Tbsp bacon fat (or substitute with extra virgin olive oil)
5 slices cooked bacon, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sliced scallions

1. Cook bacon. You can do this stovetop in a skillet or baked in the oven. Cook the bacon to desired texture (I like mine crispy!). Remove bacon from pan and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess fat. Also reserve additional bacon fat from skillet/pan to use. 
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
3. Prepare sweet potatoes. Wash the skin of the sweet potatoes by scrubbing with water. Cut raw sweet potatoes into 1-inch rounds, and then into half or quarter pieces. 
4. Place sweet potatoes, garlic, thyme, rosemary, sea salt, and black pepper into a large mixing bowl with 2 Tbsp of pourable bacon fat or extra virgin olive oil. (If the bacon fat has solidified, you can warm it up in the microwave to get back into liquid form.) Stir everything together until ingredients are well distributed onto sweet potatoes. I give the bowl a few tosses, too.
5. Place the seasoned sweet potatoes onto a foil-lined baking rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes or until sweet potatoes are fork tender.
6. Toss the warm sweet potatoes with 1 Tbsp warm bacon fat or olive oil, bacon, and scallions. 
7. Serve hot. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

banana walnut muffins with cinnamon crumb topping

This week was exhausting, people... like borderline unbearable. I've been working almost every day, which is a big transition for me. Two days this week, I had to be in at 5am. Both those days, I passed out once I got home.. while it was still light out. Hence, I've been semi radio silent even though I keep saying things will be posted on my blog "soon". Sorry, a girl's gotta sleep. But, instead of resuming faceplant into pillow right now, I'm blogging from bed.. in the dark.. with the John Mayer Where the Light Is concert playing on my t.v. Yes, this is real life.

When asked to come in to work at 5am, I never want to show up empty-handed. So, instead of getting a solid 8 hours of sleep, I did a little test-baking on Tuesday night prior to my 3:30am wakeup. I adapted my Black and White, Chocolate Chip Banana Bread recipe and present you with this:

Banana Walnut Muffins with Cinnamon Crumb Topping
Yields about 28-30 muffins

Banana Walnut Muffin
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white, granulated sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup canola oil
2 cups mashed ripened bananas (about 5-6 medium-sized bananas)
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Cinnamon Crumb Topping
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup white, granulated sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into chunks

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pan(s) with cupcake liners. 
2. Prepare Cinnamon Crumb Topping. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sugars, and cinnamon. With a pastry cutter, cut in the cold butter until you have large pea-sized crumbs. You can also do this with your hands, but I find a pastry cutter easier, cleaner, and keeps the butter cold. Place this bowl into the refrigerator.
3. Prepare the Banana Walnut Muffin batter. In large bowl, combine the dry ingredients-- flour, white sugar, baking soda, and salt. In a smaller bowl, combine wet ingredients-- eggs, canola oil, mashed bananas. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, carefully stirring until there is no more visible dry ingredients. Do not overmix. Fold in chopped walnuts until evenly dispersed.
4. Put it all together. Fill the cupcakes liners 2/3 full with the batter. Fill the remaining 1/3, up to the rim of the liner, with the crumb topping (about a heaping Tbsp). Gently pat down the crumb topping into the batter.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick come out clean. I also like to test by using my fingertips to gently pressing onto one to see if it is firm enough-- it should spring back a little bit when it's done.
6. Remove muffins from cupcake pans and place on a large tray or cooling rack. Serve warm. Can also be stored in an airtight container once cooled.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

royal chocolate- marshmallow bars

On my iPhone, I have at least 12 windows open on Safari. It's been like this for at least 6 months, which is kind of embarrassing. Every once in a while, I'll come across a recipe I want to try and leave the window open. I do this with the hope that, eventually, I'll actually have time to get the ingredients together and make it. You might be thinking: why not just bookmark these recipes? Good question. Here's my answer. I only bookmark recipes that I have already tried and are proven to be worthy of my recipe box. For the record, I didn't say it was a good answer.

So where is this going? On my first day off this summer, I immediately scrolled through the 12 open windows on my iPhone. I decided to make the Royal Chocolate- Marshmallow Bars by Recipe Girl.  I had all the ingredients, so it just seemed like an easy choice. 

Royal Chocolate- Marshmallow Bars
Recipe adapted from Recipe Girl


1st layer
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp unsweetened Dutch process cocoa

2nd layer
10 oz. bag of miniature marshmallows

1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups Rice Krispies cereal

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 12x9 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. Also line the pan with parchment so that there is extra parchment that hangs over all sides. *I do this because it makes removing the final product from the pan super easy once it's cooled. You can just lift it out carefully.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and Dutch process cocoa. Set aside.
3. In a stand mixer or large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, mix butter and sugar on medium high speed until well-combined. Then, add vanilla and eggs one at a time. Keep on medium high speed until light and fluffy.
4. Add dry mixture to the butter mixture. Mix on stir speed until just combined. 
5. Spread this batter into your parchment-lined pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until set. (*The original recipe used a 15x10 inch pan which required about 15-18 minutes. I had to add more time, but it's best to gauge based on if it's set and not wiggling around when you move the pan.)
6. After first layer is done, immediately pour the marshmallows on top and return back to the oven for 2-3 more minutes. With a knife dipped in water, spread the melted marshmallows into an even layer over the first layer. Let cool.
7. For the topping, heat chocolate chips, butter, peanut butter in a small saucepan on low heat. Stir occasionally and heat until the ingredients are well combined. Remove the saucepan from the stovetop and add Rice Krispies. Spread this mixture evenly over the marshmallow layer.
8. Chill until firm (topping layer is set). Cut into bars.

I made a few slight adjustments to the original recipe when I made these. I used a smaller pan (12x9 instead of 15x10). Even though I have a 15x10 inch jellyroll pan, I wanted the layers to be thicker and more substantial. It's really a preference and either will work. It's like choosing to make regular brownies or extra thick brownies. Remember, just like the directions on the back of a brownie mix box, account for extra baking time if you use a smaller pan.

These bars are crazy good. It looks super sweet and overwhelming, but it's really not. The first layer is like a hybrid of a brownie and cake. It's not overly sweet or dense. The 2nd layer of marshmallows makes you feel like you're biting into a cloud-- an airy, gooey cloud of heaven. And the top layer of chocolate, peanut butter, and Rice Krispies.. it's like everything you didn't know you wanted in a dessert. (See my Everything Rice Krispies Treats if you like this combo, too). 

Give these bars a try. This recipe is definitely going in my recipe box.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

summer update.

I don't spend much time on this blog discussing my personal life unless it's related to my obsessions with baubles and baked goods (duh). However, this year has been a defining one for me and I feel somewhat compelled to share. Keep reading if you're interested in the other tidbits of my life. Stop reading if you just don't give a damn.

I just completed the first year of my Dental Hygiene Program. There were highs and lows, for sure. Being with the same 18 other people all day every day was an adjustment, especially because we are a mixed bag of personalities. After our last final, there was a sense of relief, overwhelming happiness, and just so much love. The reality is that, despite the momentary clashes or inklings of competitiveness, we have all really grown and learned from each other. Most importantly, we made it through the year together. Okay, that's enough mush.

The semester ended about 2 weeks ago but, you know, there were celebratory [alcohol-related] festivities (because we like each other a lot more when alcohol is involved). And those were followed by a recovery period, which included In 'N Out, sleep, and hydration (in no particular order).

Without school for the summer, I'm dedicating myself to both of my jobs and this blog. But, I plan on treating this blog like my third job-- one with an irregular schedule and no pay-- for your reading pleasure [or boredom] only. I am here to serve. You're welcome.

This summer, my goal is to give you more-- more recipes (especially Paleo ones) and more baubles (because I don't do that nearly enough). If you follow my Instagram, you know I haven't neglected either. They just haven't made it to my [small-time] blog over the past few months. I'll work on it though. Promise.

Okay, goodnight lovelies. We have lots of catching up to do starting tomorrow! xo