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Jessica’s Vegan Breakfast Cookies

These cookies were good and gave me a ton of energy when I ate them, so I figured I’d share the recipe. Originally they come from here. Check it out—here’s my take on them:

1 1/2 cups regular rolled oats
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup of almond meal
1/2 cup mixed nuts, finely chopped
1 cup dried fruit (I used 1/2 chopped dried dates, and 1/2 choc chips. You can omit the choc chips, but why would you want to :)???)                                                                      3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

1. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients.

2. Combine wet ingredients in a smaller bowl.

3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and form into golf ball sized cookies.

4. Place on baking sheet, and flatten slightly.

5. Bake for 20 minutes, until brown around edges.

Yes, you can sub 2 eggs and butter for the bananas and oil. Yes, you can freeze these. Yes, you can substitute flax meal if you have a nut allergy. Yes, I took this terrible picture on my webcam. Enjoy! jb

Baking Organization 101 and Caramel Apple Bread

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For this post, I want to share about how I keep all of my baking supplies organized. I have one of those husbands who might be called unique. He needs things around him to be organized or he can’t sit still. I realize this is kind of a strange quality in a man, but I do love it most of the time. My baking supplies used to be in two overhead cabinets above the stove, crammed in with no space and no way to find anything. When Maddy Lu started, things were getting even messier. That’s when I decided I needed to do something- for my marriage and cabinets. My baking life after organizing has been so much easier! I will share how I keep my supplies and where I got the ideas along with some pictures:

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All of my baking supplies are organized in a large basket from Target. It was around $20 for the basket. It just so happened that everything fits perfectly!
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If you notice inside of my basket I have homemade vanilla. You can use any container, but I find that one with a spout is best. Use 4 vanilla beans for every one cup of alcohol you use (I used cheap Vodka that I bought at a liquor store when I was almost 8 months pregnant. No, the cashier did not bat an eye to sell it to me). Shake the bottle a couple of times a week and in a few months you will have your own vanilla. (Package it in smaller bottles for great gifts!) If you peek behind the vanilla in this picture you can see a bit of my container garden I have growing on the back deck. It got a little swamped with the rain we had this weekend.
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You can make a mason jar into anything (just look up ‘mason jars’ on pinterest… it will prove my theory.) I fitted the lid of a salt container under the ring of the mason jar and it pours just like normal, but can be filled with anything. I have several of these in my pantry. They’re great for grains like rice or couscous. They also keep humidity out of salt in the summer.

Since today was a cool, rainy day, I felt like it would be a great day to bake something delicious. I saw a recipe for apple bread a while back, and it caught my eye so I figured I’d give it a try and then share with our Maddy Lu readers (do we have those?). Here are some pictures of the journey, and the recipe below.

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Start with some good apples. We buy organic through Suburban Organics and it saves us some money on good food. You only need two medium sized for this recipe.
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Here’s my apple peeler! It isn’t an ancient torture device, though it may look like it. Yard sale find last year for $2, but it’s saved me tons of time and energy peeling and slicing apples.
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There goes that apple peeler working it’s magic. Anyone have an good ideas for what to do with the long strings of apple skin you get? Maybe a pretty pie topper.
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Oh yes. And it is so good, not to mention good looking. And this recipe makes two loaves which is nice for freezer cooking!

Recipe comes from Passthesushi.com (http://passthesushi.com/caramel-glazed-apple-bread)

Bread:

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded peeled baking apples (2 large)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Glaze:

  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Preparation:

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottoms only of 2 (8×4-inch) loaf pans with cooking spray or shortening.

In large bowl, stir together apples, 1 cup brown sugar, the buttermilk, oil and eggs. Stir in remaining bread ingredients just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour into pans.

Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes on cooling rack. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans and place top sides up on cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

In 1-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in 1/4 cup brown sugar. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly; reduce heat to low. Boil and stir 2 minutes. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling; remove from heat. Cool to lukewarm, about 30 minutes.

Gradually stir powdered sugar into glaze mixture. Place saucepan of glaze in bowl of cold water. Beat with spoon until smooth and thin enough to drizzle. If glaze becomes too stiff, stir in additional milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, or heat over low heat, stirring constantly. Drizzle glaze over loaves. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 4 days, or refrigerate up to 10 days.

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,200 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 37 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Enough is Enough

Enough is enough. You have enough cookie recipes.

I don’t mean to sound harsh, but you know it’s true.

And that’s coming from the cookie monster.

I don’t know about you, but I need to fast from cookies.

It’s sounds terribly harsh and I don’t mean to be harsh, but perhaps that’s what it’s going to take.

I don’t mean I’ll never eat a cookie again, but I really need to cut back. The other day began with a cookie and I justified it by telling myself that the caffeine and antioxidants in a sour cream chocolate chip cookie make it a wholesome breakfast choice. From there, I moved on to the mid-morning molasses cookie that I had with tea, thinking of it as a comforting, transitional type of snack. (We’re transitioning to lunch.) I was making soft spice biscotti during the lunch hour, so guess what kind of cookie I had for lunch. Yep. There I was crunching on biscotti ends while my toddler finished up her applesauce and the baby downed his spinach and pumpkin. Eek.

The kids wore me out and there was no time for napping so at 3 o’clock  rocky road biscotti and a cup of coffee came to the rescue.

I feel like I’m at confession.

You’d think it would end there.

You’d think.

But no. I was straightening up in the kitchen and spotted an iced lemon cookie that had a crack running through its center. We can’t have that. So, I had it.

I love cookies, but after a day of them I felt rather dry. I needed something sweet and refreshing and I found it.

The following is an adaptation of a recipe I found in How to Eat Supper by Rosetta Lynn Kaspar and Sally Swift. These ladies are fantastic, fantastic, fantastic. Every Saturday at noon I tune in to public radio to hear Lynn talk about food on her program The Splendid Table. Ah. Fantastic. Her books are just as delightful. I highly recommend them.

Homemade Fruit Sorbet

Get the food processor running! And keep it running through the entire process.

Run 16 ounces of frozen fruit (strawberries, peaches, pineapple, etc.) through the processor.  Add 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract, a pinch of salt, 5 tablespoons of sugar (to taste), the juice of 1/2 of a large lemon, and 3 tablespoons of water. Puree this combo until you have a smooth sorbet. You’ll need to scrape down the bowl of the processor a few times.

So, get out the frozen fruit tonight!

We can eat cookies tomorrow.

Something So Delicious

Oh no.

Another amazingly, scrumptious frozen delicacy.

And it’s not a frozen pumpkin pie.

I may never have to buy it in the store again.

Never.

And I didn’t need any fancy equipment.

Big plus.

I made it myself (sounds like my toddler).

I made the good stuff that’s good any time of the day but especially late at night on a hot day.

(I almost typed “hot date.” Ha. I guess it could be good on one of those too.)

I made the tasty treat that I’ve loved every day of my life except for the 270 that I was pregnant with Asher. (Absurd, but I couldn’t look at the stuff.)

I made….

Ice cream.

And so should you.

A chocolate ice cream that’s smooth and ridiculously rich. For you. I almost don’t want to share this. But that wouldn’t be right, would it? Sharing is what blogs are for. Right?

The ice cream is excellent as is, but I recommend adding one or all of the following to the recipe:

peanut butter, toasted chopped nuts, miniature marshmallows, bits of mint cookie, crushed toffee…

I think you get the idea.

The recipe comes from the fabulous Cook’s Country Magazine.

Easy Chocolate Ice Cream

1 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso powder

1 tablespoon hot water

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch salt

1 1/4 cups cold heavy cream

1. Combine the coffee powder and hot water in a bowl. Let it stand for about 5 minutes until the coffee dissolves.

2. Microwave the chocolate, milk, and coffee mixture in a bowl for 1 minute, stirring every 10 seconds.

3. Stir vanilla and salt into chocolate bowl. Let cool.

4. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the cream for about 2 minutes until you see soft peaks.

5. Whisk 1/3 of the cream into the chocolate mixture.

6. Fold the remaining cream into the chocolate mixture until incorporated.

7. Freeze in an airtight container for at least 6 hours.

A Toyota to Tom’s River

We packed up the Toyota and clink-clanked our way to Tom’s River. We could have hired a horse and carriage. A horse and wagon would have been more like it, actually. The clinking was the vase in the back and the clanking was from my practically strutless car. Why did we take it?

It seemed like a good idea at the time–just like the instant mashed potatoes and chocolate covered strawberries at midnight. Oh and Life cereal to get some whole grain in there. I heard later that Jessica was having a turkey hotdog on sliced bread with salad at that hour. I think she did far better than me even though she argues that there was an excessive amount of garlicky dressing on her salad. Boo-hoo. Slightly sweet cereal with powdery potatoes or hotdog and salad?

I did have strange dreams that night involving mashed potatoes and the letter V.

V is for Victoria. Victoria is getting married and Maddy Lu had the honor of putting together a dessert table for her bridal shower. The dessert menu was as follows:

fudgy mocha cake pops, miniature raspberry-lemonade cupcakes, miniature boston cream cupcakes, blueberry bread skewers, lemony sugar cookies, and chocolate covered strawberries.

And yes, we piped V on the strawberries and on the cookies.

Now, do you understand why I was eating chocolate covered strawberries at that hour and having nightmares about the letter V?

We had a great time setting up the sweet table. And I hear they had a great time eating our foods.

Love it.

Happy wedding, Victoria.

Cake and Cake

“She’s young, Hoss.” He wasn’t deterred. He was determined to marry her.

It was love at first sight. Or so the story goes. I don’t doubt it. My grandmother is lovely and I’m sure she was just as lovely  that day.

A young girl of sixteen comes into a store to visit  her aunt and the young man behind the counter spots the girl and is won over. He found his wife.

On July 14, 1951, Horst and Jane were married and honeymooned at the Jersey Shore. She was seventeen and he nineteen.

Six children, many grandchildren, and a few great-grandchildren later, Horst and Jane are still happily married. Last Thursday they celebrated sixty years of marriage and Maddy Lu made their cake.

My grandmother has a very clean, vintage-chic sort of style, so we tried to capture that in the look of the cake. At first we thought we’d re-create a wedding cake from 1951, but soon realized that that was not the way to go. An ornate white on white cake with a 1950s cake topper just didn’t seem to suit my grandparents at this time in their lives. We made a 2-tier buttercream cake with vanilla buttercream frosting–one chocolate cake tier, one vanilla cake tier and strawberry-lemon buttercream filling.

It went over very well. The look was just what we were looking for and the taste was just right–moist,flavorful cake with a strikingly delicious and surprisingly refreshing buttercream filling.

Delivering the cake was the scariest part. There could not be any mistakes. And there weren’t but I felt quite ill when we arrived. I don’t think I breathed the entire forty-five minutes.

The next day was Minnie Mouse. Baby Bella turned one and had a Minnie Mouse birthday party.

We did a 2-tier cake–one chocolate layer and one vanilla–with a light buttercream frosting and covered both tiers with marshmallow fondant. We also made cupcakes to match.

Maddy Lu used a lot of black and red food coloring that weekend. My husband is still finding bits of pink fondant.

It was a good time.

I came home with sunburn on my neck only to wrap up my hair, tie my apron around my waist, and get back to work. I was commissioned to make a blueberry pie. I love pies. I can’t find much I don’t like about them. I love to make pies (rolling out a pie crust is very soothing) and I love to eat pies (there’s nothing like cold, next-day pie). This one was a blueberry pie. Next time you make a blueberry pie put in an extra cup of blueberries (six) and add two teaspoons of fresh lemon zest to the mix. You will thank me.

Happy eating.