Maple Cheddar Shortbread

This maple cheddar shortbread is a cinch to make. I used gluten-free flour, but feel free to use regular flour as well. This is a winner for anyone who loves a salty-sweet treat. 

Gluten Free Maple Cheddar Shortbread

Have you ever gone through a period in your life where you felt like nothing was in your control? You were robotically moving from one point to the next, trying not to crash, grinning and bearing like crazy?

Yeah.

That’s been this semester for me. I even got in trouble for not grinning enough.  I want to launch into a this-wouldn’t-be-an-issue-if-I-were-a-dude diatribe, but I’m too tired. Ladies, you get me.

Shredded Cheese

When life gets like this, I find it useful to focus on routine matters.  There’s peace in the familiar, in the tried and true.  A running routine, a morning tea routine…..a cheddar routine?

It’s not a crazy notion, really. Think of all the comfort foods that include cheese.

I love these cookies for their amazing cheddar-packed flavor and for their simplicity. The dough comes together quickly in your food processor or blender or Bullet or whatever. If you are a traditional kind of human, you can even use a pastry blender.

Chill the dough and roll it up a pecan maple mix, and chill again. Then cut it up into 1/4 inch slices and bake.  The pecan coating with caramelize in the oven, which is a happy compliment to the sharpness of the smoked cheddar.

Gluten Free Maple Cheddar Shortbread

 

Raise your hand if you need a little bit of sweet to compliment the sharper notes in your life. (that’s everybody, right?)
a-2

Maple Cheddar Shortbread

Yield: 21 cookies

prep time: 15 min/ chill time: 35-45 min/ bake time: 15-18 min

Ingredients

  • 8 oz of smoked cheddar, shredded
  • 2/3 cup of cup to cup gluten free flour (like Bob's in the blue bag)
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • outer pecan coating
  • 3/4 cup pecan pieces
  • 3 more tbsp maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Throw the shredded cheddar and a good portion (but not all) of the flour in the blender and pulse until combined and crumbly.
  2. Dump the cheddar mix in a bowl. Add the maple syrup and sriracha, and then the remaining flour. (you want to add the remaining flour last because it will make the wet ingredients easier to mix in with your hands).
  3. Um....mix it all together with your hands and then roll it into a log that's about 7 inches long and about 2 inches in diameter.
  4. Wrap the log in parchment paper and freeze for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Combine the maple syrup and pecan pieces.
  6. Unwrap the log, spread the maple pecan mix on the parchment. Roll the log in the mix and then wrap it back up tightly.
  7. Freeze for 25-30 more minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350.
  9. Slice the log into 1/4 inch pieces.
  10. Bake for 15-18 minutes until they darken and get a little golden. If they are a little dark on the bottom (which normally is an awful thing to happen to a cookie), that's totally fine. It's just the maple syrup caramelizing on the bottom. Also, the pecans will caramlize too and that makes it so amazing.
  11. The cookies will be pliable right of the oven, but will harden and snap as they cool.
  12. Serve with love
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adapted very slightly from here

Gluten Free Maple Cheddar Shortbread

Healthy Homemade Slush Puppies

Healthy Homemade Slush Puppies

The first summer that Jason and I dated, we subsisted mainly on frozen treats and the occasional peanut butter waffle. It was awesome.

Let me tell you about those frozen treats. We ate Popsicles of all flavors, Slush Puppies by the dozen, boxes and boxes of Minute Maid frozen lemonade. We both liked the raspberry lemonade ones better, but if there was only raspberry lemonade pop left, we’d save it for the other person. How womantic.

raspberries

Here’s the thing about eating all those frozen treats, though. There’s the sugar bit, and the no real nutritional value bit, and the “you-are-adults-did-you-really-eat-all-those-Popsicles-in-one-sitting” bit.

And then there’s the weirdest bit of all. The bit where you realize just how much food dye is in those things, because it manifests itself….uh….the next day.

I’m not opposed to using food coloring, but dang, there is a LOT of food coloring in off-the-shelf Slush Puppies.

Healthy Homemade Slush Puppies

These bright happy puppies have zero artifice. There’s nothing but bright happy produce in here.

There are two kinds here. Apple-cherry, and raspberry-lemonade, of course! The apple-cherry is the sweeter of the two, and the raspberry-lemonade is tart and puckering and fresh.

I know you can buy slush puppy bags on various places around the interwebs, but I couldn’t be bothered. I made my own by cutting regular snack bags and then sealing them with heat (alternately using a skillet and a lighter). But if that doesn’t sound like your uh…bag….you can get any variety of bags here.

Healthy Homemade Slush Puppies

Healthy Homemade Slush Puppies

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 14 pops

Ingredients

  • 2 cored apples
  • 2 1/2 cups frozen cherries
  • 2.5 cups frozen raspberries
  • 2 cups grapes
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Defrost the frozen fruit (yeah....you'e just gonna freeze it again)
  2. Place the apples and cherries in a blender and combine until smooth.
  3. Place a cheesecloth or flour sack cloth over a large bowl and pour the cherry mix over that. Squeeze out all the juice. You should end up with bout 2 1/4 cups of juice. Discard the juicing solids, or use them in baking, if you wish.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 with the cherries, grapes, and lemon juice.
  5. Pour the juice into your bags. My bags were about 5.5 x 2 inches. I was able to fit about 1/4 cup of juice into each bag. Make sure to leave about 1.5 inches at the top, because you will need to seal the bag as well allow room for the ice to expand. Otherwise, the bags will burst once they freeze. (1/2 inch to seal, and 1 inch of room).
  6. Freeze for 8-12 hours, until solid. Makes 7 of each flavor.
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Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Recipe (seriously….3 minutes, 3 ingredients)

This simple chocolate peanut butter fudge is ready in minutes. It only dirties one bowl, and you whip it up in your microwave. Vegan.

Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

As it gets warmer out, I can’t help but think of warm weather foods. A mouthful of stinky ramps. Charred corn, hot off the grill. Cold watermelon, perfectly salted. And fudge.

I suppose fudge is technically a beach treat, and not specifically a warm weather treat, but you know….folks generally go to the beach in the summer.

And technically, if you asked me where I wanted to go on vacation right now, I’d tell you the mountains, and not the beach.  But fudge can be enjoyed anywhere.  Pack these up in a box and tuck them into your cooler for a long drive out to a quiet hammock.

Simple Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

This recipe actually started out as an attempt at chocolate peanut butter, for Jason to dip his pretzels in as an after-school snack. Er….after-work snack? Nah, that sounds wrong. I think we all understand that the idea of after school snacks carry far past our classroom days. Whether you’re removing your dirty soccer cleats or peeling of damn panty hose, it’s still an after-school snack.

Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Anyways, the pretzel-dip thing didn’t quite work out, but one thing lead to another and I retooled the recipe to become classic chocolate peanut butter fudge.

It makes a small batch, but it can easily be doubled or tripled if you wanted to bring it to a party.

The sprinkles are optional (I only added them for the photo aspect), but if you can put anything you want over top. An extra drizzle of peanut butter, chopped nuts, a sprinkle of big-flake salt, whatever.

Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge (seriously….3 minutes, 3 ingredients)

Prep Time: 1 minute

Cook Time: 3 minutes

Yield: 28-32 1-inch pieces

Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge (seriously….3 minutes, 3 ingredients)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Place everything in a glass container. Microwave for 1.5-3 minutes, stirring at 30 second intervals, until the chocolate is fully melted. Pour into a parchment-lined loaf pan and cool until hardened. When fully cooled, slice and serve.
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easy vegan fudge

Blueberry Newtons (homemade fig newtons)

Blueberry Newtons, DIY Fig Newtons

So Jason is a bit of a tri nerd and he loves his tri podcasts almost as much as he loves buying bike gear.  Whatever.

Anyways, on one of these podcasts, someone mentioned fig bars, and all these other people started chiming in on how great fig bars are for bike workouts.   Jason immediately asked me to make him some. And I was like, “uhh….but you don’t like figs or Fig Newtons?” And then he clarified that he wanted raspberry, cherry, or blueberry newtons.

So I set to work. The filling came readily enough, because I’d made it dozens of times. BTW, you can also do these with raspberries….just follow the cooking directions for the blueberry filling and reduce the cooking time by about 1 or two minutes.

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The dough was much more of a challenge. I was picturing a nutty newton, but Jason specifically requested something with lots of carbs and as little fat as possible. So I couldn’t use almond flour at all. I tried using all oat flour, but the newtons came out gummy and gross.

I finally chose buckwheat flour mix, which satisfied the nutty flavor I craved, but is far lower in fat than any nut meal.

The results were addictively fantastic. They’re soft and sweet and pillowy and filled to the brim with a homemade blueberry jam that won’t spill over when baking.

The only part that’s kind of annoying is that the dough likes to be chilled…..but I chose to consider chilling time as study time, so I could learn and cook at the same time.

This recipe make as generous batch of 24, but I doubt there will be a single one left by the time Jason has his next long bike workout. What? I gotta fuel my studies somehow.

Blueberry Newtons, DIY fig newtons

Blueberry Newtons

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 22-24

The dough calls for a banana as the wet ingredient. Do not, under any circumstances, use an very ripe banana --- the dough will be super sticky and very hard to work. Choose a just right banana --- not too green and not too spotty and brown.

Ingredients

  • 14 oz frozen blueberries
  • 8 dates
  • 1 banana (1/2 cup purreed banana)
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats, ground to fine flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Place the blueberries and the dates in a pot over medium-high heat. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring twice. Uncover, lower heat to medium, and continue to stir for about 3-4 min. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Puree till smooth.
  2. Scoop the blueberry filling into a zip bag for easy piping later on. Store in the fridge.
  3. Liquefy the banana with brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla.
  4. Combine the buckwheat flour, the oats, and baking powder, the baking soda, and the salt.
  5. Combine the banana mix with the buckweat mix.
  6. Chill the dough for at least an hour.
  7. Cut out 10 strips of parchment paper, 2.5 inches wide.
  8. Divide the dough into four equal parts, and shape into logs.
  9. Sandwich the logs in between two strips of paper, roll them flat (1/8th inch). Trim them up and roll the scraps between the remaining two strips of paper.
  10. Let them chill in the fridge again (the dough gets sticky fast), then remove the top layer of paper.
  11. Cut a 3/4 inch corner off of the ziplock bag where you've stored the blueberry filling, and pipe it down the center of the dough. I recommend keeping the dough strips in the fridge and only removing one at a time to pipe the filling on. Flatten the filling a little with a knife.
  12. Measure every two inches of dough and cut, then fold the dough over the filling.
  13. You can also fold, THEN slice, but I find makes for messier edges. Don't try to separate the cut parts -- you'll do that after baking, like a pizza.
  14. Preheat the oven to 350 and continue to chill the bars.
  15. Put the strips directly onto the baking sheet and bake for 10 min
  16. You can cut the bars right away (separate them) or wait until they've cooled a little.
  17. The bars will soften after a few hours, and this is when they start to get sooo good. Honestly, wait about two hours before taking a bite.
  18. Serve with love, makes about 24 bars. Keep in fridge in airtight container for up to 1 week.
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Avocado Almond Butter Grapefruit Chocolate Chip Blondies

soft, fudgy, citrusy almond butter blondies…..plus a bonus recipe for peanut butter blondies! 

Avocado Almond Butter Grapefruit Chocolate Chip Blondies

I obviously love cooking and baking and experimenting in the kitchen, but I’ve not had much time to do so of late.

This is why one of the reasons these blondies is so darn wonderful. They come together in minutes, and are a one-bowl, low-mess recipe. They’re gluten free and vegan and I bet you already have most of the ingredients in your kitchen right now.

If you don’t have red grapefruits, hurry out and get a bunch before the season ends! They are so wonderful this year. The citrus in these is actually rather mild, despite having a generous pour of grapefruit juice and three tablespoons of zest. Yes, that’s right. I started out with less than half that, but batch after batch of blondies yielded no grapefruit flavor at all.  I’m not sorry, because I got to eat a lot of grapefruit during testing.

almond butter blondies

I usually eat way more peanut butter than almond butter, but I’ve been on a big almond butter kick lately, can’t get enough. Mostly because almond butter was on sale for once. I know that a lot goes into making almond butter, which is why it’s priced as such, but I rarely purchase it at regular cost. So when I spotted some on sale, I stocked up. (cue my mother lecturing me on spending more on sale items because I bought a lot of them).

almond butter blondies

 

These blondies worked out so well with their almond-butter-avocado base that I decided to try them with peanut butter-banana. This was a good decision. So today, you get two awesome nut butter blondie recipes. Yay!

wait, Annie. You go over a week without posting a recipe, and now you’re including two in the same post? why?

Well, first, the ratios in both recipes are almost the same, give or take a few changes. And the process is the same. That made me feel guilty about making them two separate posts. If I’m going to be flaky about blogging while I wrap up school, I want you to get your money’s worth when I do post. Also, bars themselves look alike, and I didn’t want y’all to be bored looking at similar photos. Here is the only picture of the peanut-butter banana blondies.

bad jason!
bad jason!

Jason chose not to wait for the bars to cool before he dug in.  He did this because he thought it would annoy me.  It half annoyed me, but I mostly thought it was cute. Sorry. Ugh, now I’m the annoying one, thinking that my husband’s dumb habits are cute.

Trust me, if these bars had been complicated at all, I would have been super mad. But a) I was planning on making them again and b) they took less than five minutes to make, so…..whatever. c) There was no sign telling him not to eat them. I have to make signs when I plan to shoot. Because manchild.

err…well, he might have not been the only one who couldn’t wait until the pan was cool. 😇

almond butter blondies

Avocado Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 8 bars

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup mashed avocado*
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 3 tbsp grapefruit zest
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Line an 8 x 4 loaf pan with parchment or aluminum foil.
  3. Throw all of the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, in a blender or food processor until fully combined and smooth. Make sure there are no oatmeally lumps
  4. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and swirl in the chips
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, until a tester inserted comes out mostly clean (or with a few wet crumbs)
  6. Allow to cool before cutting. Serve with love.

Notes

*this is about 1 medium avocado, or about 1.5 smaller avocados) **about three grapefruits' worth

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BONUS recipe, Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Blondies

  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup of mashed banana (about 1 medium banana)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup of almond milk
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • a generous sprinkle of coarse-flake kosher salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 and line a 8×4 loaf pan with foil or parchment
  2. Throw all ingredients, minus the chocolate chips and the salt, into a blender. Blend till smooth with no lumps
  3. Pour into prepared pan, swirl in the chocolate chips, and sprinkle the salt on top
  4. Bake for 30 minutes, tester may still have wet crumbs. Allow to cool before cutting. Yields 8 bars

note: the sweet notes in the peanut-butter blondies are light. if you prefer a sweeter blondie, use 1/3 cup of maple.

Mochi Ice Cream Pie

Mochi Ice Cream Pie

 

Um, this was supposed to be a pi-day recipe, but can y’all forgive me for being late?

My life is a whirlwind right now, I started a new fieldwork location this week that more than triples my commute, the hours of the site itself are longer, and I’ve started studying for my board certification exam.

This pie was made, photographed, and ready to go last week, but then life happened and I never got around to writing the post.  It was Sunday night and it was either get all my clothes prepped and ironed for the week, or do blog. So even though a late post appears irresponsible, it was the dutiful thing to do.

With all this annoying adult-like dependability 😴 comes a need for a unicorn-colored fantasy pie.

Mochi Ice Cream Pie

I have been dreaming of a pastel-colored dessert forever, but I couldn’t think what it could possibly be. I just knew that I wanted sweet candy colors. And then I had a yearning for mochi ice cream, which I haven’t had in a long time. And since mochi candy proved remarkably easy to make, I decided to try mochi ice cream.

It’s perfect for me right now because the active part of the cake is rather short, and you can do it over the span of two days if you need to. Mix the ice cream one day, allow it to harden, and then make the mochi wrapper the next day. Or mix up the ice cream in the morning and do the mochi in the afternoon. Whatever. The active part of this is rather short, with ample freezing time in between steps. And although mochi sounds intimidating, it cooks in two minutes in the microwave.

You don’t need to make your own ice cream for this one. Just buy the palest vanilla (dairy-based, coconut-based, almond-based, any kind works), divide it, and add some mix-ins. I split a 1.5 qt container of vanilla bean and mixed in matcha and blueberries, but you can dish up anything you like. Funfetti ice cream would go great here. Or maybe half Funfetti, half strawberry, for no other reason than pink.

Mochi Ice Cream Pie

does anybody know when Lisa Frank’s birthday is?

Mochi Ice Cream Pie

prep time: 45 min freeze time: at least 4 hours

Ingredients

    ice cream
  • 1.5 qt container of any kind of vanilla bean ice cream, divided
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 3 tsp matcha
  • mochi wrapper
  • 3/4 cup mochiko rice flour
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • food coloring
  • cornstarch, for rolling out the mochi*
  • optional decorations
  • 1/2 cup mochiko rice flour
  • 3.5 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • food coloring
  • corn starch, for dusting.

Instructions

    ice cream
  1. Allow the ice cream to soften slightly on the counter. Line a springform pan with plastic wrap and set aside.
  2. Mix 4 cups of the ice cream with 3 tsp matcha and spread it into the pan.
  3. Blend the other two cups of ice cream with the 1/4 cup of blueberries and pour or spread that over the matcha layer.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until very firm.
  5. mochi
  6. Spread some plastic wrap or parchment your counter or table. Dust with corn starch. Dust a rolling pin with cornstarch too and set it aside.
  7. Combine the rice flour and sugar in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the water and food coloring.
  8. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and nuke on high for 1 minute.
  9. Remove, stir it with a silicone spatula, and then nuke it again for 30 seconds. Stir. Nuke for 30 more seconds. Stir.
  10. Dump the mochi out onto the prepared surface and roll it out to about 1/6th-1/8th inch thick. Lift it by the plastic wrap onto a cookie sheet and place in the the fridge (not freezer) for about 15-20 minutes.
  11. While the first batch of mochi is firming up, prepare your decorative mochi. Mix the mochiko, the sugar, and the water. Divide among smaller glass bowls and add food coloring as desired. Since these are smaller batches, they will need less time to cook. It's best to cook in 15-second intervals and stir. I found that my largest color batch (the pink) only took about 1 minute total. The smaller batches (the yellow) took about 30 seconds, total.
  12. Roll out the colors in the same manner that you rolled out the larger batches. Cool slightly, then cut into shapes. I used an old pair of kitchen scissors and a cookie cutter.
  13. When the first batch of mochi is firm (this should take about 20 minutes), remove the the ice cream from the tin and the plastic and place it in the center of the mochi.
  14. Then wrap it all up. This will be the bottom, so it doesn't have to be perfect.
  15. Carefully flip it over and add your decorations. Cover with plastic wrap again (to prevent freezer burn) and allow it to firm up. Alternately, you can serve it right away. If you do return it to the freezer, let it soften a bit before eating because the mochi is much better that way.

Notes

* you can also roll out the mochi in half cornstarch and half powdered sugar.

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wrapper adapted from here

DIY Mochi Ice Cream Pie

Healthy Carrot Cake Bars

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I don’t even know where to begin with these healthy, vegan, gluten-free, simply amazing carrot cake bars.

Well, maybe I did know where to begin — adjective-palooza.

But they really are all those things and more.  Did I mention they’re satisfying? That they smell so good when they’re in the oven?

And the texture is kinda magic. On the first day that you make them, they come out silky, like pumpkin pie. And then after that, they deepen into a soft fudge.  I’ve been eating them at breakfast, which is a super incentive to get outta bed. Aka, I hit only hit the snooze button 14 times instead of 17 times.

If you’re a snooze button addict and your husband/girlfriend/corgi puppy resents you for it, this may be the solution to all your relationship problems.

healthy carrot cake bars
oooohhhh soofft fudggge. and in case you’re wondering, yes, you can pick them up with your hands.

Though they’re not completely guilt-free ( I got kinda happy with the maple syrup), they’re full of bananas, carrots, chickpeas, and oatmeal.

I kind of want to talk about them some more, but I also want to get to bed. So this post is a little bit on the short side. Sorry. Only not really because the time you save blog-reading is time you can spend making carrot cake bars instead.

e

 

Healthy Carrot Cake Bars

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 8 bars

Ingredients

  • 2 medium bananas
  • 6 oz worth of carrots*
  • 5 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup of chickpeas
  • 3/4 cup of rolled oats, ground to fine flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Optional:
  • a few nuts or pumpkin seeds, for color

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 and line a 4x8 loaf pan with parchment paper
  2. Blend up the bananas, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt.
  3. Add the carrots one by one (or all at once, if you have a more powerful blender than I do)
  4. Add the chickpeas and then the oat flour and blend again.
  5. Manually stir in the baking powder.
  6. Spread batter into the pan. Make designs on the top of the batter with a fork (don't skip this because you're essentially scoring the batter, which helps with even baking)
  7. Sprinkle some seeds over top if you want.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes. A tester inserted into the center might still have wet crumbs, but that's fine. Allow bars to cool completely before cutting.
  9. Makes 8 bars, serve with love.

Notes

* 6 oz of carrots = 3 larger fresh carrots, or about 5-6 smaller carrots.

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Vegan Mexican Caldo

aka Caldo De Chickpeas

caldo12_8

I’m sorry I’ve been so flaky with posting. Life is crazy, yes, but everyone’s lives are always crazy. I’m no different.

It’s not the lack of time, but rather the lack of good words.  I had a huge slip in the past week or so, and I felt worse that I’ve felt in a long time. Mad. Exhausted. I didn’t run, I couldn’t walk down the grocery store aisle, even.

Not for lack of physical ability.

I’d been feeling fine, and for no reason at all I didn’t feel fine anymore.  Well, there was a reason, but I think that was merely a straw and not the true bulk of …. of…. of whatever.  Still, I was angry at the straw. The straw hadn’t meant to harm, but had harmed nonetheless.

This is probably too much for a blog post about soup. I have been feeling a little better this week and am focusing on getting back into a healthy routine. Or at least a routine.

Sorry.

Ahem, onto the soup.

I wanted something classic and comforting, but healthy and light.  Any abuela worth her salt (con limón) knows that Caldo de Pollo is textbook Mexican comfort food. Although every home chef has their own variation, the basic elements are chicken in bone stock, rice, a bit of pepper. And a mirepoix of sorts with huge chuncks of carrots instead of finely diced ones. If it has little pea-sized carrot bits, it’s not caldo. You can, however, have an awesome Caldo without the Pollo.

dancing-carrots

I have finally joined the mass obsession with chickpeas. I get it now. I need to start soaking them instead of buying them in cans because our recycling is getting ridiculous. We don’t have curbside pickup, which means we usually get a pretty big pile before one of us draws the short straw to drive it in.

Kidding. I always make Jason do it.

This soup is incredibly simple and cheap, with ample servings of iron and protein. I generous lemon squeeze and a chopped up jalapeno give it a bright peppy edge. Despite its Mexican influences, this isn’t a bad soup to eat with chopsticks aside your spoon. They make the spinach easier to pick up.

But if you lost your chopsticks down the garbage disposal, or accidentally threw it out with the leftovers or whatever, a fork is fine too. We’re humans. We adapt, right?

Vegan Mexican Caldo

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 2 main servings, or 4 side servings

Vegan Mexican Caldo

Ingredients

  • 8 to 10 oz of carrots
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 white onion, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can drained chickpeas
  • 8 oz fresh spinach
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth
  • salt to taste
  • a few cilantro sprigs
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 jalapeno

Instructions

  1. Chop up the carrots into chunks. Not little chunks.
  2. Place the carrots, the onion, the bay leaf, the garlic clove, and about 1/2 cup of the broth in a medium saucepan. Cover, cook over medium-high heat for about 8-10 minutes, until carrots soften. Reduce heat to medium.
  3. Slice the jalapeno and add it to the soup along with the chickpeas and the rest of the broth
  4. Allow the soup to re-heat, about 5-7 minutes
  5. Add the lemon juice, turn off the heat, and add the spinach. The spinach will wilt quickly.
  6. Garnish with cilantro, serve with love and tortillas.
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Mini Peanut Butter and Jelly Pop-Tarts

tiny DIY Pop-Tarts with only a handful of ingredeints

Gluten Free Vegan Pop-Tarts Peanut Butter and Jelly

Jason is a guy who loves breakfast junk food. Chocolate chip pancakes, gallons of syrup, full fat chocolate milk, waffles with a layer of chunky peanut butter 1-inch thick; an entire box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It doesn’t bother me because he doesn’t eat like this on a regular basis. We’re all allowed our food vices.

Even if it did bother me, he’s the stubbornest husband in the world, so I could nag my head off and it wouldn’t make a lick of a difference.

Last week, he mentioned something about Pop-Tarts. I tucked it in the back of my mental food Filofax, but then I decided that it needed to be pushed up to the front. I didn’t want to make anything complicated, and these are simple as can be. They are actually rather low mess, which fit well with my goal of “oh-please-let-the-kitchen-be-clean-for-longer-than-30-minutes.” I didn’t have to leave the house for ingredients, as they were already tucked in various corners of my kitchen*. And lastly, it was Valentines Day and food is full-blown love gesture in my world.

He ate more than half of them within 20 minutes or so. That made me incredibly freaking happy. I love feeding my guy.

DIY Gluten Free Vegan Blueberry Poptarts

Frozen blueberries are one of my favorite ingredients.  I can’t say that I’m hypercreative with them — I cycle between smoothies and jam, smoothies and jam.  There’s no shame in this apparent redundancy — there are dozens of blueberry smoothie recipes and a plethora of ways to use jam.

I’ve been making frozen fruit and date jam for awhile now, and I like it because tastes better than store jam, and is simpler then pectin jam. You just throw dates and fruit in a saucepan and when it gets jut right, blend it up and you’re done.  It’s easier when you have an immersion blender, which I currently don’t. Mine burned out several months back I have yet to replace it. I gotta get on that because it’s winter and I’m backlogged on my creamy comforting soups.

Also, another thing about this jam — it’s less messy than other jams. That sounds very weird and suspicious and y’all aren’t believing me on this, but don’t know how else to describe it. See how the jelly is peeking out a little from the side of the crust? Well, when you bite into it, it doesn’t squirt out or anything (at room temp. no promises on hot jam). Maybe Hot Jam! should be me new exclamation. Hot Jam, it’s cold out! Hot Jam, you look cute those boots! Hot Jam, Annie’s a real nerd, isn’t she? 

vegan gluten free pop-tarts diy pop-tarts

Mini Peanut Butter and Jelly Poptarts

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 11-12 mini pop tarts

Serving Size: 1 pop tart

Ingredients

    Crust
  • 1 cup of rolled oats, ground to flour
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 8 pitted dates, softened in hot water
  • pinch of salt
  • Jelly
  • 2 cups frozen Maine blueberries
  • 5 pitted dates
  • sprinkles
  • coarse flake sea salt
  • zest from one lemon

Instructions

  1. Before you begin, set the blueberries out to defrost for about 1/2 hour.
  2. Crust
  3. Blend together the dates, the peanut butter, and the oat flour. It should ball up in your blender or food processor. I love this part because the sticky stuff gets on the ball and not the blender cup, making for easy cleanup. Yay!
  4. Roll the crust out to 1/8 inch thick, then cut rectangles that are 1 1/2 inch by 2 1/2 inches. should end up with 22-24 rectangles. If they get hard or crusty to roll at the end of the batch, roll the dough in your hands for a bit to warm up the pb oils.
  5. Jelly
  6. Place the defrosted blueberries and the five dates in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Cook, covered for 6 minutes and uncovered for 5 minutes. Imitiatley remove from heat. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
  7. Blend the blueberries to an even consistency.
  8. To assemble
  9. Place 1/2 to 3/4 of a tsp of jelly on a crust rectangle and cover gingerly with another rectangle. Don't pinch the ends together with a fork-- there's not enough room-- just press together gently with your fingers.
  10. Sprinkle lemon zest and a little bit of salt over top. If you want, use little cookie cutters to make the top more festive
  11. Serve with love

Notes

I used my omnigrid sewing square to make the rectangles just right. i think i use it more in the kitchen than i ever did when I sewed a lot. if you have one buried in your craft stuff, relocate it to the kitchen and store it with the cutting boards. you'll find yourself using it over and over! that said, if you don't have an omnigrid, a regular ruler will also do the job here.

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Gluten Free Vegan Poptarts

crust adapted from the first mess

 

Enjitomatadas

enjitomatadas = enchiladas, cut the spice, and turn up the comfort.tomato

Enjitomatadas are the quiet cousin of enchiladas. Enchiladas are the extroverts, they pick the music and scene, they bring the booze. Enjitomadas are the muted introverts. They lurk in against the wall, waiting to go home, curl on the couch with a book and quilt.

Enjitomatadas are a bizarre choice for me, because I love spice, and heat. I enjoy food that makes me sweat, that makes me run for something cool and fatty on my tongue. But not everybody does. some merely like milder flavor notes,  others are physically unable to digest the cutting capsacin.

enjitomatada
greens and starch before their tomato bath

Despite its lack of heat, I cherish this dish because of its comfort and versatility. I chose to fill mine with potato and asparagus, but you can choose anything. I encourage you to use classic flavors, perhaps things that remind you of your childhood.  I selected potatoes for the kid bit, and asparagus for the healthy bit.

These almost didn’t have asparagus because the early season asparagus were initially marked six dollars a bunch. What, no thanks. But then I spotted them in a different store a few days later for a reasonable price. And then that reminded me this one time in NC when asparagus was on super sale, and I flipped out so much that the nana who was shopping next to me caught the excitement and we both had a good laugh.

a-6 Sigh. I can hear people getting bored me with saying how much I miss North Carolina, but I can’t stop. I’m sorry! Really. Maybe. I just need like one run at Umstead and I’ll feel better. Just one CW float from Cook-Out. Just….oh never mind.

This tomato sauce is easy, just tinned tomatoes and a garlic clove, sugar and a pinch of spice. But just a pinch, you want the heat to be gentle and quiet and barely there. Hush.

Enjitomatadas

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6-8

Serving Size: 3-4 tacos (serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 6-8 white corn tortillas
  • 1 huge russet potato
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 14 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes in juice
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • heaping 1/2 tsp sugar
  • pinch of cumin
  • pinch of cayenne
  • olive oil
  • salt

Instructions

  1. Turn on the broiler
  2. Slice the potato into fries, and microwave the fries for 5 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil and regular or seasoned salt. Broil them until they get crisp and lightly brown, about 2 1/2 minutes on one side, and just under 1 1/2 on the other side.
  3. Do the opposite of the asparagus. Trim and microwave for 2 minutes, then drizzle with olive oil. Broil for about 5 minutes, turning halfway through.
  4. Blend the tomatoes with the garlic. Pour into a small saucepan add the cumin and cayenne and warm, adding salt to taste.
  5. Toast the tortillas till barely crisp but still pliable.
  6. Assemble. Stuff the veggies into the tacos and add a very generous pour of sauce over top --like, more than what's in the photo.
  7. serve warm with black beans or rice on the side.

Notes

this dish is rather light for dinner. serve it with black beans or rice on the side to make it a little heartier.

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Mild Enchilada Recipe