Summertime Mochi (Sour Cherry Slurpee Mochi and Horchata Mochi)

Horchata Mochi and Sour Cherry Slurpee Mochi

By some sweet stroke of luck, my first winter in the Midwest has been relatively mild.

It’s been kinda nice. Cold enough to have to bundle up a lot, but not so frigid that I’m slipping on ice everywhere. Cold enough so that I don’t have to wash my hair after every run, but not so windy that I have to wear two pairs of tights and Jason’s ski socks.

But not everyone’s been so lucky, and I’m sure those people are ready for winter to be over.

Folks, this one’s for you. (Okay, and  little for me and Jason. That guy just loves cherry gummies.)  These sweet, soft mochi are based on two classic warm-weather beverages, horchata and slurpees.

This is unbelievably easy to prepare, and with very little mess. The only messy part is tossing the mochi in the coating, and if you do it over the sink, you can avoid all that.
horchata mochiThe horchata mochi are just regular mochi with a bit of cinnamon tossed in.  It tastes uncannily like horchata, which I suppose shouldn’t surprise me. Mochi is pretty much candi-fied horchata, and horchata is kind of liquified thinnned-out mochi.

All this horchata talk makes me wish I had a cool glass in front of me right now. It’s been horribly long since I had a glass of real, true horchata. Sniff, first world probs.

The Sour Cherry Slurpee mochi gets its cherry flavor from real cherries, but the sourness from fake ones. A tiny packet of unsweetened Cherry Kool-Aid mixed into the dusting medium gives them a tiny bit of tartness. You’ll swear you’re about to get a ice-cream headache, as it you’ve just taken the first huge sip of red 40-flavor Slurpee.  And if the kool-aid packet and artifical flavorings freak you out, simply omit it and have regular Cherry Slurpee Mochi. It’s not as fun, but still good.

sour cherry slurpee mochi

Oh, hey! I finally put a picture of myself on the front page. I figured it would make my blog a little friendlier, even though on the “about me” page, there’s a totally scary picture that looks nothing like the front-page photo.  In my defense, the front page photo was taken on my wedding day, and the “about me” photo was a selfie I took for no reason. I feel like most selfies are taken for no reason.

I also updated my about me, so there’s more stuff about what kind of food you’ll find on the blog. I’m really trying to grow my blog, so please take a look at the page and tell me if you think it needs anything more. Are there questions you still have? Is there something crucial missing? Are you totally turned off by the messy kitchen pic? Tell me in the comments!  Thanks, loves!


Summertime Mochi (Sour Cherry Slurpee Mochi and Horchata Mochi)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: each recipe yields a heaping cup of mochi

*stir the coconut milk prior to measuring. please make sure you use full-fat coconut milk *sweet rice flour is widely available at most supermarkets, in the "international" section. It's usually in a white box, and most places carry the brand name "mochiko"


    Horchata Mochi
  • 1/2 cup of sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp full-fat coconut milk (see notes)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • Sour Cherry Slurpee Mochi
  • 1/2 cup of sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup whole frozen cherries
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp full-fat coconut milk (see notes)
  • 1/16 tsp baking powder
  • for the dusting
  • any starch (tapioca, corn) or any flour
  • -a little cinnamon for the horchata mochi
  • -1 .13 oz packet of unsweetened cherry Kool-Aid powder for the slurpee mochi


    for the horchata mochi
  1. preheat the oven to 275. line a 4.5 x 8.5 loaf pan with parchment paper
  2. stir the sweet rice flour, the sugar, the baking powder, and the cinnamon
  3. stir the water and the coconut milk.
  4. add the coconut milk mix to the sweet rice flour mix, until consistency is even and no lumps remain
  5. pour into the loaf pan, cover with foil, and bake for 1 hour.
  6. allow to set for several hours, or over night before cutting.
  7. Grease a knife and cut into 1/4 inch cubes.
  8. Combine some extra cinnamon with your dusting medium and toss in the mochi. Shake the excess powder off over the sink.
  9. for the Sour Cherry Slurpee Mochi
  10. preheat the oven to 275. line a 4.5 x 8.5 loaf pan with parchment paper
  11. Defrost the cherries in the microwave until they reach room temperature. Puree till smooth. you should end up with 1/2 cup of cherry puree
  12. stir the sweet rice flour, the sugar, and the baking powder.
  13. stir the cherry puree and the coconut milk.
  14. add the cherry mix to the sweet rice flour mix, until consistency is even and no lumps remain
  15. pour into the loaf pan, cover with foil, and bake for 1 hour.
  16. allow to set for several hours, or over night before cutting.
  17. Grease a knife and cut into 1/4 inch cubes.
  18. Combine the Kool-Aid paket with your dusting medium and toss in the mochi. Shake the excess powder off over the sink.
  19. Enjoy!
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adapted from food52

Easy DIY Mochi

Spicy Thai Brussels Sprout Salad

Spicy Thai Brussels Sprout Salad

In the past few years, there’s been an ever-growing trend where all sorts of foods get their own day. National Cheese Curd Day. National Blueberry Chia Smoothie Day. National Your Mom’s Cookies Day.

I truthfully don’t know if any of the aforementioned foods have their own day, and I don’t feel like Googling it at the moment.  If you float around the food blog world at all, I’m sure you’ve noticed this movement.  Since I am thoroughly uncool, I never notice the fad until it’s over. Or I get it entirely wrong.

Tuesday was National Tater Tot Day. This really was supposed to be a Tater-Tot Thai Brussels Sprout Salad, but I clearly missed the target. Ain’t no sharpshooter.

I was on my way home from my fieldwork/residency on Friday, thoroughly exhausted, but I needed to stop at the grocery store first. I was only going to make one stop, and if they didn’t have what I needed, I was gonna deal with it.

Well. They didn’t have what I needed. They did have three brands of tater-tots, all of which contained ingredients that were off-limits to me. Fine. I’d been feeling kinda heavy lately, and tots weren’t going to help that problem. I chucked a can of chickpeas into my basket and left.

And I’m really glad I did. Instead of being a heavy carby side dish, this became a tasty protein-laden salad.  I used my quick-roast method of cooking Brussels sprouts, wherein I nuke them for a few minutes before tossing them under the broiler. Also, you can broil them naked — by which i mean sans coconut oil — and still get a crispy result. Not as crispy, but still toasty on the outside and soft in the middle.

I roasted the chickpeas for good measure.

The spicy Thai peanut sauce is probably my favorite part of this dish. Which is odd, because usually my favorite part of a Brussels sprout dish are the sprouts. But this spicy Thai peanut sauce is thoroughly addicting. The recipe makes more than you will need for the salad, but it makes an awesome sandwich spread/taco filling/spoon filler. Is there a National Thai Peanut Sauce Day? Yeah. There is. It’s today.


(actually, i didn’t google that either, so if i’m wrong about that……💁)

Spicy Thai Brussels Sprout Salad

Yield: 4 side salads


    peanut sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp sriracha
  • 1.5 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • generous dash of garlic powder
  • salt to taste
  • salad
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained
  • 4 cups halved Brussels sprouts
  • lime and salt
  • 3 carrots, julienned
  • 1 cucumber, julienned
  • small handful of cilantro,optional


    peanut sauce
  1. Warm the water in small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the peanut butter.
  2. When the peanut butter is fully combined with the water, add the rest of the sauce ingredients. Turn off the heat, but leave it on the burner to maintain warmth
  3. for the salad
  4. turn on the broiler
  5. drain the chickpeas and pat dry. Sprinkle lightly with lemon and salt
  6. microwave the sprouts for 2.5 minutes
  7. Place sprouts and chickpeas on a foil-lined broiler-safe pan (use one sheet of foil for the chickpeas, and another one for the sprouts. the chickpeas will be done first, so you can just remove that sheet of foil and allow the sprouts to finish cooking)
  8. Broil the chickpeas and sprouts for about 2.5-3 minutes. Turn the sprouts and stir the chickpeas
  9. Allow the chickpeas to cook for another 2.5-3 minutes, and the srpouts to cook for another 3 - 4 minutes.
  10. Toss the carrots, cucumber, chickpeas, and sprouts together. Spoon the peanut sauce over top, garnish with cilantro.
  11. Serve with love.
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Thai Brussels Sprout Salad

Baked Honey Ricotta Pancake

baked ricotta pancake

I’ve loved ricotta from a very young age. Only I didn’t know it was ricotta, I just called it “that white pie that Nana makes at Easter.” She put little bits of canned cherries in there, and it was my favorite part of the Easter meal. Other than the rolls, obvs.

Other ways I love eating ricotta

  • In a bowl with fruit and nuts and honey
  • in pancakes
  • in ice cream
  • cookies


This is a bit of a combination of pancakes and pie, but it’s easier than either of them.  There’s no need to guard the griddle or flip this pancake. Flipping regular pancakes is requires care and attention, but flipping ricotta pancakes is a delicate art. An art that I have perhaps not studied enough.

Ricotta pie can be simple, but it can also be complicated — recipes ranging anywhere from 4 eggs to 12 eggs, heaps of sugar, cream, liquors. I never glanced at Nana’s recipe, so I can’t tell you how fussy it was, but I can tell you that it never tasted overwrought. It tasted simple and comforting.

And then there’s always the pie crust to contend with, enemy of even the most veteran baker.

baked ricotta pancake with raspberry

This humble cake has five simple ingredients. The fruit topping is purely optional — you can omit it and drizzle on some honey instead, or just eat it plain. I chose raspberry because I have been on a major raspberry drive lately. I just want raspberries in everything and on everything, especially when they are bright and tart.

Fresh out of the oven, the texture of this cake is soft and cake-like, egginess noteable but not overpowering.

If you leave it to mellow, the next day you will find it sweeter, with the vanilla more present, and carrying a definite custard texture.

Wonderful either way.

You can mix this cake in less than five minutes, but it takes about 40 to bake. This is a gift. Get up, make the cake, and spend the cooking time cuddling in bed. hello sunshine.

baked ricotta pancake slice

Baked Honey Ricotta Pancake

Prep Time: 4 minutes

Cook Time: 42 minutes

Yield: 1 6 1/2" cake (serves 2-4)


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup light ricotta*
  • 11/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp honey, plus 1 tbsp for drizzling on top
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • optional topping
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • nuts
  • honey


  1. preheat the oven to 375
  2. lightly grease a small casserole or pie pan (6 1/2 inch).
  3. Combine eggs, vanilla, ricotta, and honey. Beat on medium for about a minute or so, until well combined.
  4. Stir in the oats.
  5. Pour into the pan and drizzle additional honey on top
  6. Bake 38-42 minutes, until golden. It will still look a little wobbly when you take it out of the oven.
  7. Allow to cool slightly
  8. for the optional topping
  9. defrost the rasberries and mash them with a little honey. Spoon over top of the cake and sprinkle with nuts. serve with love


*light ricotta and part-skim ricotta are not the same thing.

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Easy Baked Ricotta Honey Pancake

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Granola

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Granola 1

Stop. This is not your healthy, agave-sweetened, raisin-and-prune granola. I love those granolas, but this is NOT one of them.

This is more like a chocolate chip cookie in granola form. Or I guess banana bread in oatmeal form. It’s not shy on the sweet stuff. It’s not shy on the nuts. It’s full of chocolate and crunch and madness. I have to be careful when making granola at home, because I inevitably find it addicting. But this tops all.  I just could not stop eating it.

And it was extra easy to eat because of how CLUMPY it was. Clumpy clump clumps.

Yeah, towards the very end of the batch there were some stray grains, but that’s what spoons are for. Or what turning-the-bag-upside-down-over-your-mouth-like-you’re-a-baby-bird-but-only-if-nobody-is-watching is for. No judgments.

Oh, speaking of addicting, my friend recently recommended the book 14 by Peter Clines. Y’all need to read this book, NOW.  Even if you don’t normally enjoy sci-fi, you will like this one. Promise.  I only enjoy sci-fi on irregular occasions, and this was very much one of them. I almost wish it was a series and not one lone volume. Sorry to jump from a granola conversation to a book conversation. It’s been a long week and I’m feelin’ a little jumbled. I’m so glad it’s Friday. Thus, here is the current mix of Cookies and Coffee with Friends. (cookies and coffee with friends, vol V)

Danguole’s Turkish Egg with Garlic Chive Yogurt.  I love a soft egg buried in salty yogurt. This is the very definition of a simple-yet-elegant meal.

Peanut Butter Day was this week. I missed it, but if we’re being realistic, every day is peanut butter day. To wit, Jess’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Chocolate Cups. 

Chocolate and cheese in the same bite, it’s . Nicole’s Parmesan Chocolate Mascarpone Truffles  Only the most epic ladytime food ever.

Amy somehow found a way to improve the Samoa with her Easy Samoa Truffles. My main deterrent in attempting my own samoas was they they looked laborious, but that is no longer an excuse.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this or not, but I love raspberry with chocolate.  A in, Raspberry Filled Chocolate Chip Cupcakes.

After all those deliciously naughty treats (and this granola), I need to clean it up a little with beet hummus. So pretty!

Welp, that’s about it. I hope your weekends are fun and relaxing and filled with people that you love! Or at the very least, some good dessert and a big glass of wine.


Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Granola


  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats, divided
  • 1 3/4 cups banana chips, divided
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup walnut bits
  • 1 tbsp flaxmeal
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tsp grated orange peel, optional
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a blender, pulverize 1/4 cup of the oats with 1/4 cup of the banana chips
  3. In a pot over medium low heat, combine the almond milk, the coconut oil, and the maple syrup. Add the almond extract, cinnamon, orange peel, flax, and pulverized oat mixture. Stir well.
  4. Add the walnut bits and the oats.
  5. Remove from heat and dump onto a baking sheet, patting out to spread.
  6. Break up the brown sugar and sprinkle chunks over the top.
  7. Bake for ten minutes and then turn off oven. Do not open the oven for 3.5-4 hours!
  8. Remove from oven, break it up a little, and then add the remaining banana chips and the chocolate chips.
  9. Use all the self control you have.
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clumping method taken from here

OMG chocolate chip banana bread granola!


Chilaquile Pizza! (tecolote pizza)


I feel like many of us know what chilaquiles are. (111, 336 instagram hashtags)

But there are fewer folks who know what molletes or tecolotes are. (11,849 and 1,395 insta hashtags, respectively). So if you’re one of the folks who do know what they are,  just skip over this mini vocab lesson.

Molletes: large Portuguese rolls, sliced in half lengthwise. The bottoms are slightly buttered and the tops are slathered with refried beans and sprinkled  with cheese. Toasted till golden and melty, often served with pico.

Tecolotes: Molletes, but with chilaquiles in between the beans and the cheese. No pico.

Tecolotes are what you wish you’d had in college, after long nights of hedonism and revelry. Tecolotes are the ultimate Mexican mashup food.  Tecolote is also a Spanish word for owl, btw.

Even though this is technically a tecolote pizza, my SEO is happier with it being a chilaquile pizza. My husband, who has never had chilaquiles (does that make me a bad wife?) called it a Nacho Pizza.

Even though this looks labor intensive, I guarantee it’s actually simple. The hardest part is making sure the oven-baked tortilla chips don’t burn, but I’ll tell you exactly how to prevent that from happening.

Otherwise, it’s just stacking ingredients.

  • Pizza crust
  • Black beans
  • Tortilla chips
  • Salsa
  • Cheese

The crust is made from Bob’s GF Pizza dough mix (was not paid to say that). I’ve sampled a few GF pizzas, and this is by far the best dough. It is the one that comes closest to that mom-and-pop pizza parlor crust. I can’t wait to make rolls with this.

The beans came from a can (they were put there by a man……🎶)

I usually make my own salsa, but for this recipe, I just purchased some from my favorite local Mexi place. I called a few days ahead and told them how much I wanted to buy, and that I would be bringing in my own containers. I feel like if you do this, they’ll be more than happy to sell you some, even if it’s not on the menu (it wasn’t at mine). But please please please do not used canned salsa, please. Just like with a regular pizza, the sauce one of the key elements to success.


And then I just grated up a block of sharp cheddar. You can use a Mexican or Nacho cheese blend if you like, but I just LOVE authentic salsas with sharp cheddar.

Imagine what a hero you’d be at your Superbowl Party/Puppy Bowl Party 🐶 🐺 ❤️/your friend Janice’s bachelorette party/ your nephew’s baptism…..if you strolled in carrying a pizza with freaking CHILAQUILES on top.  I mean, that’s why we’re all at the party, right? The food. Well, I guess friends and family aren’t so bad either…..’long as they share the pizza.

Chilaquile Pizza! (tecolote pizza)

Chilaquile Pizza! (tecolote pizza)


  • 1 package of Bob's GF pizza crust mix
  • plus - ingredients required by the mix: 2 eggs, olive oil, warm water
  • 15 white corn tortillas
  • 8 oz of sharp cheddar OR 8 oz or shredded Mexi cheese blend
  • 1 15 oz can black beans
  • 2 cups of salsa verde or salsa roja, or a mix of the two. I used 1 1/2 cups verde + 1/2 cup roja
  • a little olive oil and salt


    for the chips
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Line two cookie sheet with foil and grease them lightly with olive oil.
  2. Cut the tortillas into quarters. Sprinkle with lightly with salt and divide them evenly among the two cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring about every 5-7 minutes so they don't stick to each other. Some of them will be done before the others, so be sure to remove the darker-looking ones from the oven so they don't burn all the way
  4. While the chips are baking, prepare the pizza crust according to the package directions, and allow it to rise. If using a pizza stone, place it in the oven now so that it's good and hot by the time the dough rises. It's also a good idea to grease the stone.
  5. While the dough is rising, grate your cheese. Blend the black beans to a paste, seasoning with a little garlic if you wish.
  6. Turn the oven up to 425
  7. Once the dough is done rising, gently spread it out onto the pizza stone.
  8. The package instructions say to bake the crust for 7-9 minutes, place your toppings, and then bake for another 15-18 minutes. IGNORE THIS! for this particular recipe, you want to do the exact opposite. Aka, bake for 15-18 minutes, place your toppings, and then bake for another 7-9 minutes.
  9. To place your toppings, spread the black bean paste over the pizza. Add a layer of chips, then salsa and cheese, another layer of chips, cheese and salsa, chips, salsa, cheese, and so forth until the chips are all on the pizza.
  10. Serve while hot and melty.
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Vegetarian Buffalo no Chicken Tenders with Lighter Blue Cheese Dressing

vegetarian buffalo chicken tenders

This is a weird story, but a relatable one.

But, Annie, how can a story be both weird AND relatable?

Let me tell you, and then you’ll get it.

On Tuesday morning, I walked into the little staffroom at my new fieldwork/residency site and immediately smelled something good. Buffalo sauce. So, it’s 5:45 in the morning, and all of a sudden I wanted some buffalo foods. I guess night shift must have had them for dinner or something and the smell was still lingering. Wanting spicy bar food at the crack of dawn is a little weird, but I feel like we’ve all been there at some point. Like you open your eyes and right way you want sriracha fries or something. And no, I’m not pregnant.

vegetarian chicken tenders

The moment I got home that day, I set to work on making a meatless tender that I liked. Since I knew I was going to use blue cheese on the side, I didn’t bother with trying to make them vegan.  Sorry.

These came together remarkably quickly and easily. They have a bigger yield and are cheaper than boxed meatless tenders, and again, no weird ingredients. Soy allergy friendly.  The diy blue cheese dressing was a little more expensive than bottled dressing, but not by much.

But let’s talk about the taste here, since that is truly what’s important. I was so pleased with the way that they tasted that I ended up having them as part of my dinner for the next two or three nights. (what? i had a kale salad each one of those nights too!) And the texture is so filling and satisfying and not rubbery or weird in any way. I was one happy panda. Snow-panda happy.

light blue cheese dressing

And, dude, you can also make them into a sandwich! I melted a little cheese onto some udi slices, and then put on some of the dressing and smashed a few tenders in the middle. Buffalo chickpea tender sandwiches might be my new favorite sandwich. It was so hard to wait till lunchtime.

(this is where annie was supposed to insert some paragraph about how this is just right for your game day spread, and how if you have veggie folk/health-conscious folks coming to your football party, you should make this for them. but since y’all are smart, annie doesn’t need to write that. you already inferred as much, right?)

But seriously. Game day spread. Football food, woooo

vegetarian buffalo chicken tenders 2

Oh! I finally set up my recipe index page, so hopefully things here will be easier to find. Sorry it took so long.  Check it out, and feel free to offer any constructive criticism on it. Thanks!

Amazing Buffalo Chickpea Tenders

Yield: 18 tenders

Amazing Buffalo Chickpea Tenders


  • 2 cans of chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 roasted garlic cloves (yes they have to be roasted!)
  • 1 3/4 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 1/3 cups corn chex
  • 1 cup buffalo sauce
  • blue cheese dressing
  • 2 5.3 oz containers of nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 5 oz blue cheese crumbles
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste


  1. In a blender, combine the eggs, the roasted garlic cloves, the nutritional yeast, and a small handful (about 1/4 cup worth) of the chickpeas. Blend into a paste.
  2. Scrape the the paste into a bowl.
  3. Pulse the rest of the chickpeas to a very coarse grind. Do it fast so they don't become a paste.
  4. Stir the coarse-ground chickpeas with the egg paste until well-combined. Cover with plastic wrap or parchment paper, and place int he freezer for about 35 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 and generously grease a foil-lined pan with coconut oil
  6. Blend the chex cereal to a fine sand.
  7. When you take the chickpea mix out of the freezer, it will still be kind of wet, but cold enough to that it won't stick to the spoon when you scoop it to shape.
  8. Shape rather heaping tablespoon-fulls of the mix into triangles and coat on both sides with the chex mix. See the notes section below for specific instructions on how to successfully shape the triangles.
  9. Place the triangles on the baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes on one side and 8 minutes on the other.
  10. Towards the end of baking, microwave the buffalo sauce till it's nice and hot.
  11. When the tenders come out of the oven, let them cool just a sec and then use a fork to toss them in the buffalo sauce.
  12. for the dressing.
  13. Use about 3 - 4 tbsp water to thin out the yogurt. Mix in the lemon juice and half of the blue cheese, smashing up the blue cheese as you go, so that it gets good and mixed into the yogurt. Thin out a little more if you wish. Add the rest of the blue cheese, maintaining the crumbles whole. Add a dash of pepper, salt, and garlic powder, just to taste.
  14. Serve with love.


+do not use low sodium chickpeas

+the chickpea mix will still be rather wet when it comes out of the freezer. What to do: Drop a large tablespoon-full of the mix over the breading. The breading will hold it while you use the sides of your fingers to shape it into a triangle. Now you can pick up the triangle and turn it over to that the other side gets coated. It sounds like it's hard, but it's not and you can work rather fast

*I got my roasted garlic recipe from Real Simple. It doesn't taste quite as mild as long roasted garlic, but it's still good and only takes about ten minutes. What you do is, chop off the top of the head so that all the cloves are somewhat exposed. Put in in a bowl with olive oil and two tbsp water. Cover it with plastic wrap, and microwave for 7 minutes on 50% power. Leave the plastic wrap on for about three more minutes and then you're good to go. you can make batches of this and keep the cloves in the fridge in the oil they were cooked in, so they are ready for use whenever.

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Vegetarian Buffalo Chicken Tenders


Mardi Gras Smoothie Bowl


I once knew a girl from New Orleans. She was spunky and smart and worked at the zoo, but what I remember most about her is that really knew how to have fun.  Once, she had a little Mardi-Gras get together, but instead of calling it Marti Gras, she called it Stephanie Gras. It was funny because she was the teeniest person, and in no way gras. She’s probably forgotten about it, but it still makes me chuckle. I like to use it as a somewhat annoying term of endearment — Jason Gras. teehee

Mardi Gras may still be a few weeks away, but I am totally ready for spring party colors right now. Tout de suite.  That, and I have a few deliciously gras-ening recipes coming up, so I thought I’d preempt them with this nice, clean, fruit bowl.  Bright blueberries, tart little raspberries all topped with sweet sliced mangoes, carambola, and kiwi. Doesn’t that make you want to throw confetti up in the air? Okay, well maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But it is refreshing and energizing, which is kinda the same thing.

Speaking of throwing confetti up in the air, I realized it’s been a while since I’ve done a round-up of interweb goodies that have made me cheer. Thus, I present Vol IV of Cookies and Coffee with Friends:


Shelly’s unicorn bars!  Sprinkles and sugar cookies are the absolute magic cure for the winter blues

Sally’s Salted Maple Roasted Almond Butter This is how I feel about it: 😮! 😍 😛!

chiapud1Speaking of almond butters, I admired Erin’s Dreamy Almond Butter Chia Pudding. Chia pudding is back with a vengeance, and if you need further proof, just take a look at this citrusy dream from Jeanie & Co: Sunshine Citrus Chia Bowls. After seeing Erin’s pudding, I ended up making chia pudding for breakfast for the next three days. Using her approximate proportions, I made something wonderful. I mixed 3/4 cup of almond milk with 3 tbsp chia seeds, and added a little almond extract and brown sugar. Then I defrosted 1/2 cup of blueberries and 1/2 cup of raspberries, and mixed 1 tbsp into each of those. Layered it into a jar and popped it in the fridge. Yum. But……I didn’t really like the way the picture came out. ⬆️

Which leads me to Kristen’s 366 Imperfect Photography Project. I often feel like I have no idea what I’m doing, but this post gave me a little sense of solidarity. I only just got my camera at Christmas, so I’m still learning how to use DSLR . Before, I used my phone or Jason’s old point-and-shoot. This means my photos are going to be imperfect. I will strive to improve them. One day, I will be pleased with them. It’s okay if today is not that day.

I have got to try Karen’s 5-ingredient Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. Quick, practical, and thrifty.

Carla’s cheery Lemon Drop Cream Soda is just plain wonderful. This is what I want to be sippin’ on this weekend, and the weekend after that too.

Y’all know I can’t say no to roasted cruciferous veggies. I will stink up my kitchen all day for Beth’s Roasted Cabbage Wedges with Garlic Tahini.

What goodies did y’all like this week? Share something that you made that you’re proud of (or share someone else’s treats, if you’re so inclined)

Power Up!


Mardi Gras Smoothie Bowl


  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen banana
  • little bit of almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1/2 mango
  • 1 starfruit


  1. Slice up the kiwi, mango, and starfruit
  2. Blend up the blueberries and banana with just enough almond milk to make the blades move
  3. Blend up the rasberries with just enough almond milk to make the blades move
  4. Pour the blueberry mix into a bowl, and swirl the raspberries over top.
  5. Arrange the kiwi, mango and starfruit over the bowl.
  6. Enjoy!


tip: to keep the bright color of the raspberries, defrost them first so that you need less almond milk.


Incredibly Easy Veggie Burger


I have enjoyed many a veggie burger, but those burgers were not fruits of my labor. I ordered them at restaurants, bought frozen in boxes, cajoled my mother to make them when she visited.

But I wouldn’t make them. They were too much work, too much chopping, too many peels in my kitchen trash bin. They sometimes cooked funny, and they were inevitably expensive because of all the ingredients.  💰 💰 💰

Not this burger. This burger is awesome. (okay, all those other burgers were awesome too, but listen to the reasons this one is awesome).

First, it’s cheap-cheap-cheap to make. I spent less than ten dollars on ingredients, and that makes about 6 burgers. There’s some frozen things in here (frozen chopped kale and frozen corn), but since you don’t use the whole package, it’s even cheaper the next time you make them. Just pull the leftover corn and kale out of your freezer and you’re good to go.


Second, it just might be the easiest veggie burger ever, because there’s so little chopping involved. A food processor/blender/what-have-you does most of the work. You only need to chop two things — a red pepper and a jalapeno. Well, I guess three if you count the onion, but you’re not chopping that. You’re making a single cut, tossing the peel (which practically falls off by itself), and then putting the cut bit in the blender. No onion tears! Extra points. You bake it in a loaf pan, and then slice it up. No flipping or oily splatters from a skillet.

Third, you can slice it up, freeze the individual slices, and then have burgers for days! Easy dinner. Just nuke it for a minute to defrost and then toss it under the broiler for some nice toasty char. I usually take my own dinner when I eat at my in-laws, because our diets are rather different and I don’t want to have them make anything special just for me. Anyways, I went over there on Sunday, exhausted after my first long-ish (slow, cold, plodding) run of the season, and it was wonderful to just heat this up without having to scrap together a salad.

I ate it with ketchup 😁

Which leads me to my fourth point….it’s versatile! You can have in tacos with salsa, plain over your favorite salad, or open faced on toast with ketchup and a pickle. Or no pickle.

And, yeah, I will conceded that this is NOT the prettiest burger that you’ve ever seen, but um, after it’s in your belly and you’re happy, are you really gonna care?



Incredibly Easy Veggie Burger

Yield: 6 burgers


  • 2 cans of chickpeas, well drained
  • 1/3 purple onion
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1/4 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup frozen chopped kale (non-brick form)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp flax (optional but highly recommended)


  1. Preheat oven to 450
  2. In a blender, pulse together the chickpeas, carrots, and onion. Be very careful and quick. You are aiming for a coarse grind, not a paste.
  3. Chop up the red pepper and the jalapeno.
  4. Combine the chickpea mix, both peppers, the frozen corn, the frozen kale, the garlic powder, and the salt. Add the flax if using.
  5. Press mix into a lined loaf pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until toasty golden on top
  6. Allow to cool slightly before slicing -- if sliced too soon, it will be a little crumbly.
  7. Turn the oven up to broil, and with quick hands, slice and shape a burger. Don't burn yourself!
  8. Broil for a minute or two on each side.
  9. Serve with love

really easy veggie burger


Spicy Root Vegetable Stew

Root Vegetable Stew

It’s started to snow, and my first winter in the Midwest feels like it’s officially begun. I used to be able to get by with thick sweaters layered under a windbreaker, but that won’t do here.  Over the holidays I acquired a warm puffy coat with lots of pockets, and was pleased to be able to snuggle into its insulated depths. Some 1/4″ sheet metal screws drilled into old running shoes used to keep me steady in the slush, but now I have a pair of jangling snow cleats that are more appropriate for this weather. So now I suppose I’m ready for the frosty months ahead.

But I hadn’t yet made soup, and it was time. I love a simple root stew, chunky, the kind that you can eat with a fork it you really wanted to. Only a few ingredients can make an incredibly filling and comforting meal.


Speaking of few ingredients, I am trying to be more budget conscious when I cook (no promises though) 😇😈. We need to be saving a little money now, and I feel like many families experience the same after the holidays. This soup is wallet friendly, and both hearty and healthy.

warm soup

This soup is good and spicy, kind that warms in you in more ways than one, the kind that makes you sweat just a little. The key element here is a single plump chipotle pepper plucked from a can. One little guy flavors the whole pot. Chipotle peppers are one of my treasured soup ingredients, but I often only use one at a time. I freeze the rest, either wrapping them individually in plastic, or stuffing them in an ice try.

I crumpled queso fresco over top, but you totally don’t have to. Since we’re going with the budget theme here, I encourage you to use any cheese you have on hand. Some traditional Mexican soups are also served with cream stirred in, though I have never liked this.  But if it sounds like something you’d enjoy, try stirring in some Greek yogurt. The cheese topping is the only animal-derived ingredient in this dish, so skip it to make it a vegan meal. Feel free to trade it in for some cashew cream, or even a delicate drizzle of tahini.

Spicy Root Vegetable Stew

Spicy Root Vegetable Stew

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 3-4


  • 1/2 cup finely diced purple onion
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 russet potatoes
  • 5 medium carrots (about 1/3 lb worth of carrots)
  • 1 chipotle pepper from a can, plus 1 tbsp of the can juice
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups unsalted vegetable broth
  • salt to taste
  • to serve
  • crumlbed queso freso (of whatever cheese you have on hand)
  • warm corn tortillas, optional


  1. Place the onion, the garlic, and 1/2 cup of the broth in a pot over the lowest heat setting. Cover. Allow to cook while you prepare the rest of the ingredients (about 5 minutes)
  2. Scrub and dice the potatoes and peel and slice the carrots. Add to the pot with another 1/2 cup of broth. Raise heat to medium and cook for another 12 minutes.
  3. After 12 minutes, chop up the chipotle and add it to the pot with the tbsp of juice, the can of crushed tomatoes, and a full cup of broth. Cover once more.
  4. After about 23 more minutes (aka you are approaching the 40 minute mark of cooking, total), add the last cup of broth and allow to simmer for a minute or two.
  5. Remove from heat. Add a little salt to taste.
  6. Serve with love and cheese.


The Best DIY Chocolate Syrup

  • no soy
  • no weird ingredients
  • vegan
  • works great in non-dairy milks (almond milk pictured below)


We went to dinner at the in-laws’ a few nights ago and the kids (my niece and nephew) broke out the chocolate milk. It looked so sweet and cool and tempting an pretty soon the ankle-biters weren’t the only ones drinking it. Don’t you miss the days when you could have chocolate milk next to your broccoli and mashed potatoes?

I very much wanted some, but couldn’t have any. Many chocolate milk mixes contain soy, and I’d already gotten a few allergy attacks from eating leftover Christmas candy. I knew shouldn’t have it, but I eat it anyways and then I pay.  I needed to get my soy-sneezes back under control. That chocolate milk looked so good, but luckily there was some wine there to distract me.

A few days after that, I was restocking Jason’s snack cupboard an a tin of Carlos V milk mix fell out onto the counter. Tempted again! Speaking of his snack cupboard, can I just go on a little tangent for a sec?

He likes to mix chocolate power and protein powder into milk for his breakfast and it rather grosses me out.  It gets gloppy and lumpy and the powder never fully dissolves into the milk. I don’t know if this is actually gross, or I just think of it as gross. But I can’t be in the room when he makes his breakfast. Maybe it’s that he puts protein powder into milk, which I dunno, I imagine would feel like a rock in your stomach. Aren’t you supposed to put protein powder into water? Am I crazy? Why are so many of the paragraphs in this post ending in questions?

Are you tired of hearing my talk about Jason’s weekday breakfast habits?

Let’s talk about leche instead!

I recipe tested this a over a few nights, mixing individual glasses here and there to get the ratios right. Testing chocolate milk….whew…hard work.’ll notice that there’s quite a bit of powdered sugar in the recipe. Whoops? Yes, it tastes more sweet than chocolaty, but I have a firm belief that that is how cold chocolate milk should taste. A little trashy, a little nostalgic, and a lot comforting.


Simple DIY Chocolate Syrup


  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (Dutch process if you have it)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Stir together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.
  2. Add the water, stirring until there are no pockets of dry powder.
  3. Stir in the almond extract
  4. for chocolate milk
  5. add 1-2 tbsp of syrup to 8 oz milk. serve with love.


Store syrup in the fridge. Do not dip the milk-stirring spoon back into the syrup.