Flaxseed, Millet, and Black Pepper Crackers

How does time go so fast?  I can’t believe it is almost November already.  When I was a young child I remember things taking so long to occur.  All I wanted was for the day to be over so that I could put my halloween costume on and go fill my pillow case up with candy.  Hours passed slowly.  Days passed slower.  Weeks felt like years… especially when Christmas was involved.  Couldn’t we just make it so that everyday in December gave birth to baby Jesus?  And therefore presents… my little brain didn’t quite understand.

Now time seems to flash by, each year leaving me feeling a little bit farther behind in the things I’d like to do, make, see, and read.  There is balance that I’m slowly learning year by year.  Each season offers different adventures, and of course, we want to do them all.  But sometimes that gets overwhelming.  Sometimes that take the joy out of the experience because the doing becomes more important than the being.

All week long I’ve been thinking that I need to make doughnuts for this post.  That was my plan!  I had to get it done.  (And I really wanted a doughnut.. duh).  But as life was happening I began to slowly come to the reality that my time table was not going to work out.  There were old friends to be around and new friends to make.  There was work and workouts.  There was sleeping in a little bit later because its too dark in the morning to actually want to get out of bed.  Doing was not going to happen.  Being was a better idea.  Engaged in the life that was actually swirling around me as opposed to planning for the things that I need to get done.

 Can I real talk you for a second?  I actually made these crackers several months ago and have yet to share them with you all.  Thats real life.  I sort of got excited about other things and these took to the back burner.  Does that mean that weren’t that good?  Absolutely not!  They are full of flavor and texture, perfect on there own or accompanied with a creamy, salty cheese.

These crackers are relatively easy.  Butter gets cut into the dry ingredients which includes two types of flour, flaxseed meal, salt, pepper, baking soda, and millet seeds for an added crunch.

Buttermilk gives this flour/butter mixture a big drink and hydrates them all up!

After a few turns on the table and rest in the fridge, the dough is all set to be rolled out and cut into perfect circles.

A prick of the fork ends the process before the oven takes over, browning these crackers to oblivion.

As far as crackers go, I suppose these could be considered “healthy.”  Whole grains and millet seeds provide lots of fiber and flaxseed have the benefit of omega 3s.

I would mostly just consider them tasty.  The black pepper adds a great savory quality that I think would be offset perfectly with a creamy cows milk cheese and blackberry jam.

Thats just my imagination talking though.

Flaxseed and Black Pepper Crackers

Recipe slightly adapted from the Joy the Baker Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup millet seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Directions

  1. Place rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.  Set aside
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flaxseed, flaxseed meal, flours, baking soda, salt and pepper.  Add the butter and work the butter into the flour using your fingers.
  3. Make a well in the center of the butter flour mixture.  Pour the buttermilk into the well and use a fork to bring the ingredients together.  All the dry ingredients should be moistened by the buttermilk.  The dough will be shaggy
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead together about 10 times to bring dough together.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  5. When chilled, cut dough in half.  Working with one half at a time, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/8 inch thick.  Use a 1/2 inch round cookie cutter to cut out crackers.  Prick each cracker with a fork and place on prepared baking sheets.
  6. Bake crackers for about 15-18 minutes, until slightly browned on the edges.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before placing in an airtight container.  Crackers will last for about 4 days stored in an airtight container at room temperature.  Makes about 4 dozen.

Arugula Walnut Pesto

Lets start the week out with something green.  Lets start the week out with vegetables and healthy fats.  Lets start the week with a pop of flavor.

They (whoever “they” are) say you eat with your eyes first.  Green as grass arugula pesto is not only appealing to eye, but easy to make and incredibly versatile.  Arugula’s natural peppery flavor and a salty bite from the parmigiano reggiano lends itself well to a multitude of dishes.  This pesto can be used up right away or frozen for the future.

I’ve collected a few recipes from around the web that utilize arugula pesto in tasty ways.  Try one of them out or make up your own combination.  Let me know what you do!

I love the colors of this mac and cheese.  It almost makes it feel healthy with all that green… almost

This would be a great salad to make for lunch.  Wheat berries have a slightly chewy texture with a nutty finish.  Perfect with a peppery pesto.

Pesto on your pizza?  Its a great way to switch up your pizza toppings and add new flavors in the mix.  I’ll take two slices right now.. thank you

If you’re looking for an easy week night dinner just grill up some chicken and top it with pesto.  Simple and delicious!

This is a great dish for when company comes over.  It looks impressive and you won’t have to spend hours in the kitchen.  Look at those colors!

Arugula Walnut Pesto

Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces or 2/3 cup walnut halves, toasted
  • 1- 10 oz bag of arugula
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Place olive oil, parmigiano reggiano, walnuts, arugula, salt, and pepper in a food processor.  Process until all ingredients are ground into a thick, smooth paste.  Thats it.. you’re done!
  2. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze to use later.

Blueberry Pie Bars

Hi Friends!

Can I just say that I am really enjoying the cooler weather?  I was actually excited when I woke up a couple days this past week and the gray wall of clouds hid the sun and a slight mist dotted my windows.  It seemed refreshing.. and oddly comforting.

Portland must be changing me if I’m pining for cool weather and clouds instead of an extended stay of sunshine.  Next thing I know I’ll give up my umbrella completely, because we all know that a true Pacific Northwesterner does NOT use an umbrella.  Frankly, I’d rather not get my shoes wet.  The umbrella will stay for now.

On a completely different note, do you ever have those days when you just want to eat everything in sight?  Me too.

Scone for breakfast?  Sure!  Giant chocolate chip cookie?  Why the heck not?  Part of my BF’s salty cheesy quesadilla?  I better at least have one bite…

Sometimes you just need an eat day.  Sometimes you need to treat yo self!

Fall is officially here, but summer bounty is still holdin on by its finger tips.  Lets just keep buying berries as long as we can.  Lets buy berries and freeze them, can them, eat them fresh.  Lets buy berries and make pie with them.  Lets buy berries and have an EAT day.

These blueberry pie bars are a sweet treat that will leave you hopped up on sugar and ready to tackle anything (until you crash 3 hours later).  Just kidding…  Sort of.

These bars start off with a brow sugary oatmeal crust.  A dash of cinnamon gives them some warmth and that familiar pie flavor.

Butter is a delicious, necessary ingredient.  It gets cut into the dry ingredients until the dough forms into large chunks.

Blueberries are the star ingredient, and rightfully so.  Their deep blue colors turn royal purple after a trip to the oven, and fresh summer blueberries offer the right sweet to tart ratio.  I used fresh but frozen is definitely an option as well!

Cinnamon and brown sugar along with a little flour are mixed with berries.  Lemon zest gives these bars a much needed pop of freshness.

A little bit of the crust is set aside while the remaining gets pressed into the pan.  Top that with the berries and crumble the rest of the crust on top.

Then they take a little trip to the oven.

I’m not gonna lie, these pie bars are sweet, and a little square goes a long way.  I might try reducing the brown sugar next time I make them, or using another type of fruit (Deb used raspberries in the original).

Have an eat day now or freeze some for a rainy day.  Either way, you’ll be glad these are in your tummy.

Blueberry Pie Bars

Recipe slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

For the crust and crumb:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

For the blueberry filling:

  • 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch glass or light-colored metal baking pan. Put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up the two short sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends. (This will make it easy to remove the bars from the pan after they have baked.) Butter the parchment.
  2. Put the flour, brown sugar, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a food processor. Pulse in short bursts until combined. Add the butter and pulse until loose crumbs form.
  3. Reserve 1 1/2 cup of the mixture and set aside. (Note: The book suggests you reserve one cup only.  Pour the rest of the mixture into the prepared pan and use your hans or the back of a large wooden spoon to push the crust into an even layer at the bottom of the pan. The crust should touch the sides of the pan. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the crust cool. Keep the oven on while you make the raspberry filling.
  4. Make the blueberry filling: In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and flour together. Add the raspberries, lemon juice and butter and use your hands to toss gently until the blueberries are evenly coated.
  5. Assemble and bake the bars: Spread the blueberry filling evenly on top of the cooled crust. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture evenly on top of the filling.
  6. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan every 15 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the filling starts to bubble around the edges.
  7. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then cut into squares and serve. The bars can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two days.

A Look Back- Summer Livin

I’m taking a look back at summer 2012.  It was filled with travels, milestones, new adventures, new friends and lots of good food.
Come take a look!

My summer started off great with a little jaunt across the Atlantic.  I took my passport and hopped on a plane to Berlin with my BF, his brother, and his brothers GF.
We saw the Berlin Wall in a walking tour around Berlin.  In Prague we went to the beautiful St. Vitus Cathedral and sipped on coffee in the Old Town Square.  We rode the train from city to city, passing by beautiful fields of yellow.  We stayed across from and saw an Opera at the Staatsoper in Vienna.
We ate lots of food… of course!  Gelato was a great afternoon snack in Prague.  Lemon sorbet was a (very delicious) palate cleansers at a Italian influenced dinner.  Beer gardens in Prague and Munich made for a great afternoon break.  Bread and cheese from the Naschmarkt was the perfect lunch after our arrival in Vienna.  Coffee was a daily occurrence.  But the fragilite from Demel Pastry Shop in Vienna was by far my favorite treat of the trip!
I started two jobs this summer.  One at a gym.  The other at a podiatrist office.  I’ve taught people how to squat and lunge.  I’ve learned lots about natural foot health.  (Correct Toes are a miracle worker and shoes should be flat, wide, and flexible… just so you know)
I graduated from college!  So did Mirjam and Lisa.  We were all very excited in our square hats and giant gowns.
I saw the great outdoors.
I went to Mount Saint Helens.  I hiked to the top of peaks to see incredible views of Mt. Hood.  I saw the Columbia River Gorge in all its glory.  I took strolls through the park.  And I walked across suspension bridges.
I ate foods.
Pizza at Nostrana.  Salt and Straw ice cream.  Bone marrow and pretzel toast.  Kale salad from Caveman Cart.  TWO double yolk eggs (that never happens!).  A paleo picnic breakfast in the park.  S’mores deconstructed with a side of bourbon.  Shrimp and veggie skewers for dinner on the deck.
Its been a good eating summer!
I drank drinks!
Brew fest was fun and raspberry beer was my fav.  Red wine with JoJo B on NW 23rd.  Gin and tonic at the Mansion.  Purple haze with my mom.  Margaritas on the rocks.
I took another trip this summer.
I headed North to Canada with my momma.
We got on a boat to Victoria, BC.
We went whale watching on a small boat.  It was crazy cold and we were all just as excited as a kid at Disneyland when we saw the whales.
Butchart gardens was beautiful and unique.  After a stroll through the gardens we had ginger orange scones at high tea.
We stayed at Abbeymoore Manor, a beautiful bed and breakfast run by the nicest people! The mornings were enjoyed with a cup of coffee while we ate homemade breakfast.
The harbor was filled with boats and the sky filled with clouds!
I became obsessed with three things.
Chocolate popsicles.  Bing cherries.  Annie’s bunnies.
Boom Boom Pow!
I got my nails done did.
I blazed like nobodies blazeness.
I yolo’d a haircut.
I also listened to lots of JtB and Shutts
I found this old picture of my family vacation.  We were in Hawaii.  And, obviously, we were thrilled.
This picture continues to make me laugh… every time I see it.  I have got to get back into lady bugs…
 All in all, my summer was great summer.  Tell me about yours!
P.S. I am now ready for bright colored leaves, cool autumn breezes, and comfy sweaters.

Whole Wheat Honey Biscuits {and Gravy}


Sometimes you just need a little comfort.  A hug, a hold, a good word, and high five.

Sometimes comfort is in order because you just aren’t feeling optimal.

Sometimes comfort is needed because your heart is breaking… which definitely means its aching.

Sometimes you need a little comfort because you messed up at work and sent the wrong product to a dude in France.

Sometimes comfort comes in handy when you have to say goodbye… to a loved one, a pet, or your favorite t-shirt that has a big gaping hole in the arm pit (thats real life).

Sometimes you need comfort because the world seems so big and you seem quite insignificant in its core.

Sometimes comfort calms you down after being stuck in traffic for an hour (or 2)

And sometimes you just need a little comfort because its a Tuesday morning.

Tuesday morning comfort is the best!  Especially when accompanied by homemade biscuits and gravy.

Whole wheat honey biscuits al a Joy the Baker are a cinch to make.

Flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Irish butter.  Buttermilk and raw honey.

Butter gets cut into the dry ingredients.  Use your fingers!  The end result will be pieces about the size of nickels and peas.

Stir the honey into the buttermilk.  Pour over your butter/flour.  Then…

Mix!  But only until ingredients are just combined.  Over-mixing will make the biscuits tough… and no one wants a tough biscuit.

A little butter gets melted in a skillet.

Drop 1/4 cup of dough into your pan.  Joy used a cast iron skillet, I just used a nonstick pan.  Use what you’ve got!

You know what comes next.  Bake until the biscuits are golden brown on top and buttery in the middle.

These biscuits are true comfort.  Warm and buttery they lend themselves well to all sorts of biscuit situations.  Topped with grape jam? (yes please!).  Sandwiching a fried egg and a slice of bacon?  (why not?).  Stuffed with goat cheese (that’s Joy’s version..also yummy).  But what about topped with sausage gravy?

Uhhhh, I think Tuesday comfort requires gravy.  Right?

Yes, yes it does.

It also requires that I eat off of my grandma’s southwestern plate and scramble up an egg.

High five, hug it out, say something nice.  Comfort yourself… B&G style!

Whole Wheat Honey Biscuits

Recipe slightly adapted from the Joy the Baker Cookbook

Makes 8-10 biscuits

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 11/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes, plus more for pan
  • 1 cup buttermilk, cold
  • 2 Tablespoons honey

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.   Place non-stick skillet or cast iron pan in the oven while it is preheating.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Using your fingers, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the flour resembles a course meal.  Butter will be in pea size and nickle size pieces.
  4. Make a well in the middle of the butter/flour mixture.  Mix together the buttermilk and honey.  The honey will not completely mix into the buttermilk but thats okay.
  5. Pour buttermilk and honey into the flour mixture.  Using a fork, stir together ingredients until just combined.
  6. Remove skillet from oven and melt about a tablespoon of butter in the pan.
  7. Scoop about 1/4 cup of dough into the pan.  Position biscuits about 1 inch apart from each other.
  8. Bake for about 14-16 minutes or until the tops of the biscuits are golden brown.
  9. Remove from oven and serve warm.

*Biscuits will keep for up to 3 days well wrapped and in an airtight container at room temperature.

Gluten-Free Blueberry Marionberry Crisp

Do you ever just feel kind of stuck?

Not necessarily in a bad way but just in a blah way.  Not feeling like you’re moving forward.  Or rather unsure of what direction to actually be moving in?

I’ve been been feeling that way lately.  And I’ve felt a little off.

The last few months I just haven’t felt completely in-sync with myself.  I’ve been plugged in a lot… reading blogs like a mad woman, taking/scrolling through pictures on instagram, dabbling on twitter,  and basically just filling my attention with whatever I can find.  My iphone is very good at keeping my attention occupied.

I think its a bad coping mechanism for feeling like I don’t have a clear direction at the moment.  I’ve got some good things going on and God has provided for me in out-of-the-blue type of ways, but I still feel like the picture is a little fuzzy.  And so,  I’ve been living vicariously through other people either on facebook, instagram, or blogs because I feel like “those” people have it together a little bit.  There pictures seem to be in focus, and engaging with theirs means I can avoid the headache of wrestling with my own.

Its only for so long that I can avoid things though.  I guess its only as long as I can stand to have that “off” feeling inside of me.  That feeling that some part of me is not being fulfilled, or utilized, or attended to.  The quiet/ introspective/contemplative part of myself has been shoved to side so that I can look at instagram one more time.  And I miss her.

I’ve noticed that she’s been gone but I haven’t been able to put my finger on it.  I just thought it was an ebb and flow situation and she’d be back soon.  I think I was wrong.  Because as true as it is that we ebb and flow through life we also must attend to and nurture as well.  Those require thought, intention, and action.

Just like this crisp.  A little bit of thought, a touch of attention, and some action make this crisp a delightful after dinner (breakfast or lunch) treat.

I was trying to make this dessert paleo because this boy that I love is eating like a caveman these days.  I, of course, will not let him go without dessert so this was my first attempt.

I combined butter, flaxseed meal, sliced almonds, raw honey, and coconut flour to make the topping.  The best way to do that is just use your hands.  Like a caveman.

Fresh blueberries and marionberries get washed and set in a bowl.  A spoonful of honey and a couple teaspoons of cornstarch are added to the berries.  After mixing together, the berries sit for about 5 minutes to get their juices flowing.

Fill your baking dishes (they totally don’t have to match) with blueberries and top with the crisp.

Drips of berry juice are sure to get on your counter… its part of the process…

Also part of the process is a scoop or two of ice cream.  Vanilla is always fantastic, but I had pistachio on hand… such a good coincidence!

This crisp was full of blueberry and marionberry flavor.  I didn’t add a lot of honey to the berries so the crisp was less sweet than most that I’ve had, which I prefer.  The topping has a slight coconut flavor from the flour and adds great crunch and texture.

To be totally honest, I was kind of just adding as I went.  The following recipe is more of a guideline.  I approximated most of the measurements but it turned out great.  If you like your crisp on the sweeter side feel free to use regular sugar or add more honey.  The topping can be made with wheat flour if you don’t have coconut on hand.  A little cinnamon or ginger would create another layer of flavor.  Crisps are forgiving so don’t be afraid to take a bit of chance!

Blueberry Marionberry Crisp

Recipe from my crazy brain

Ingredients

  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup marionberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons raw honey
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed meal
  • 4 Tablespoons coconut flour
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, cold

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place berries in a medium sized bowl.  Add cornstarch and 1 1/2 tablespoons honey.  Mix until incorporated and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl combine coconut flour, almonds, flaxseed meal, butter and honey.  Cut butter into other ingredients with your fingers or two forks until they are about the size of a pea.
  4. Pour berries into oven safe baking dish.  Top berries with crisp topping.  Place in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.  Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream!

Banana Ice Cream

Dear Future Me,

Its me.. I mean you.  Uhhh same thing.  Here are a few tips I’ve learned lately that you might want to remember.

One:  Wear a suit to an interview.  You might feel like your body is in some strange universe since you’ve been wearing stretchy pants for the last five months, BUT a suit is the way to go.  You’ll be looking mighty sharp next to all the people wearing t-shirts and jeans.  Also, bring cookies with you if you are telling them that you went to culinary school and like to bake.  It will be a good move.  Promise!

Two: Don’t be self conscious about going to the movies by yourself.  Yeah maybe you’re seeing a sappy love story sitting all by your lonesome while everyone else in the theater is sitting next to their best friend or significant other.  That says nothing about your self worth.. it just builds character.. somehow.  P.S.- Peanut m&ms build character too.

Three: Buying the Whole Foods brand of peanut butter might not be a good idea.  Yes, it tastes so good and reminds you of Peter Pan peanut butter cups but those four or five spoonfuls will catch up to.

Four:  Quit being a worry wart.  Its just unnecessary stress that leads to a dead end. Nothing good comes of it.

Five: Listen to people.  I mean like eye contact lots of empathy type listening.  It will make them feel loved and understood.  Its what you really want. We all need that.

Six: Write a handwritten letter to someone you love, appreciate, admire, or are thankful for.  Bring snail mail back in vogue.  The receiver will be delightfully surprised.

Seven: Make banana ice cream.  Again.

Let me tell you about this “ice cream.”  No cream.  No eggs.  No sugar even.  Its just bananas.

Yep, thats it!  Peeled. Frozen. Pureed.  Its that easy.

The result is a creamy, ice cream like treat that lends itself well to a multitude of toppings. I made three types from this batch; plain with a little cinnamon on top, peanut butter with a touch of cocoa powder, and chocolate chocolate.. cocoa powder, melted chocolate, and chocolate sprinkles.

The possibilities are many.  Let your imagination guide your taste buds.

Banana Ice Cream

I first saw this from Zuzanna a while back.

Ingredients

  • 1-2 frozen bananas (I used 2 and it made about 11/2 cups)
  • Extra toppings- nut butters, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, fruit, coconut, vanilla extract, etc.

Directions

  1. Peel, then cut bananas into bite sized pieces.  Place in freezer for 2-3 hours.
  2. Remove from freezer and place in food processor.  Process bananas until they blend into a creamy ice cream like consistency.
  3. Mix in any extras you’d like.
  4. Enjoy!

*Store any extras in air tight container in freezer.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

We’re all unsuspecting, really.  We all just have this body, this exterior that we could fool anybody with.  You know what I’m talking about.  Don’t try to act like you don’t!  I know you’ve got a lot going on inside that never quite makes it to the surface.  It’s okay, I do too.

Because inside I’m quite the talker.  Just in my head though.  Or when I have a drink or two. But thats a different subject.  Inside, I have lots of opinions.  Inside, I analyze like nobody’s business.  Inside, I feel totally normal being totally awkward.  Inside, I’m quite curious.. like George.

Inside, I’m a little crazy.  Inside, I think I’m good singer… then that comes out I realize, once again, that I’m not.  Inside, I should myself a lot… I should do this, I should do that.  But inside, I don’t want to do most of those things.  Inside, I’m a nervous… a lot.

Over the years I’ve gotten good at hiding the inside.  I’ve been perfecting the filter that only allows out the things I think most people will approve of.  Wanting approval, acceptance, a place to belong I shove inside the things about myself that are different in order to fit the body that someone else has constructed.  I feel like I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember.

I’ve been slowly waking up to this reality that I don’t know who I am exactly.  Or more correctly, that I don’t know how to let it out.

My best friend came to visit last week.  I was continually noticing the ease with which we interact.  The walls were down and the inside flowed to the surface.  We have a transparency with one another that I don’t feel with most people.  But it brought to light how much I want and need that in my life.

 It also brought to light how much cookies aid the process to transparency.  Give a girl a cookie and she’ll open up a little bit.

Give a girl a chocolate cookie with peanut butter inside and she’ll divulge all the craziness going on inside.

And its awesome.

These cookies, too, are unsuspecting.  Much like the people you run into everyday, their exterior only conveys so much.  Chocolate.  That is undeniable.  But whats inside is the treat.  The treasure to this cookie lies right in the center.  Slightly salty with just enough sweetness, the peanut butter surprise offers just that..  a surprise to your taste buds.  And one that I assure you will be welcomed.

Chocolate comes in two forms in this cookie.  Powder and chip.  Double the chocolate, double the fun.  This cookie crisps on the edges and softens as it centers around the peanut butter filling.  It might take a bit or two to get to the center but it’s an enjoyable trip to get there.  And finally, chocolate and peanut butter unite once again to form a delicious union!

I totally suspected that would happen.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used minis)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter

Directions

  1. Mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda.  Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer or using a hand mixer, beat together butter granulated sugar and 1 cup brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated.  Add in vanilla.
  3. On low speed slowly add dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for about 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
  5. In a small bowl, stir together peanut butter and remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar.
  6. Remove dough from refrigerator.  Using a 1 1/4 inch scoop or heaping tablespoon, drop balls of dough onto baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  The cookies will spread quite a bit so be sure to give them ample room to grow.  Using your thumb, make an imprint in the center of each ball.  Place 1 teaspoon of peanut butter filling into each thumbprint.  Scoop a second ball of dough, flatten it with your fingers, and mold it over the peanut butter filling.
  7. Bake until firm, about 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool on pan for about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack to continue cooling.  Repeat process with remaining dough and filling.

~The dough started to be tough to work with when I was molding the tops onto the bottom.  If this happens to you just put a little bit of flour on a plate and dip your fingers in the flour before flattening the dough.

5 Favorites!

A couple weeks ago on an episode of Joy the Baker podcast (which I’m totally obsessed with), Joy and Tracy gave listeners a fun assignment:  Post 5 of your current favorite things to your blog.

Here are five of my current favorites 

I’m totally into this drink right now.  Kobucha met chia seeds and they made a tasty baby.  Wait, that sounds weird.  Whatever.  It’s delicious.  And chia seeds are totally good for you.  Lots of omega 3s and 6s plus a good amount of fiber.  And, honestly, I don’t know much about Kombucha but the label says it will reawaken, rebirth, repurpose, and redefine.  I’m not sure about all that but it will keep your taste buds occupied for a while.  And thats enough for me.

What’s going on in this picture?  Well, let me tell you all about it.  This is a picture of my small group.  Thats communion.  Bread. Wine. Community.  Drinking. Eating. Talking about life.  A new way, or rather a different way to experience the sacraments.  I loved it. Definitely a favorite.  Oh! And that book.  Thats Ed on the cover.  I don’t know him personally but he’s really cool.  You should listen to his story.  Lots of good stuff going on with him.  Lots of wisdom to learn from.

Spring has finally sprung, or at least its beginning too.  I love the pink and white blossoms covering the trees.  It makes me feel like I’m in candy land.  Like those colored marshmallows are stuck all over the tree branches.  I dunno. I just think about that every year.  Its just this thing I do.

I’m totally into lululemon and I’m even more into these pants right now. They fit perfectly and the waistband is striped in pretty colors.  I usually wear a long tank when I’m working out so the colored waistband makes me feel like I have something special going on.  Its comparable to wearing a really cute pair of underwear.  It just makes you feel special even though no one really sees them.  If you’re a guy you probably have no idea what I’m talking about.  Oh well.

I cheated.  I’ve got three favorites going on in this one picture.  First, that girl standing next to me.  She’s my bestie from NM.  We’ve known each other since 7th grade.  We’ve been through a lot of awkward phases together.  Next, is that juice in my hand.  Fresh, organic, and totally tasty and, of course, totally good for you.  If you live in Portland, get into it!  Last, my shooting the gun face.  I’ve just been doing that a lot.  It makes me laugh.  Success.

Lime Curd

You guys!  Guess what?  I’m finished with college.  Yep, totally finished.

I was excited.  I gave myself a high five.  That was about it… slightly anti-climatic.

I wanted to eat like 5 cupcakes and relish in my accomplishment.  I want to travel the world for a little bit.  I want to bake a lot… with expensive chocolate.  I want win a bunch of money and just be set for a while.  Or maybe someone who really loves me a lot would just want to fund all of my travel/baking adventures… maybe take me on a shopping spree or two?

No?  Thats not gonna happen?  Shoot!

In the mean time, while the rain is pouring down and I’m avoiding sifting through job listings, lets talk about limes!  And curd!

I had a large bag of limes leftover after catering my friends wedding this past weekend so I decided to turn those green gems into something really tasty.

First limes get washed, zested, and juiced.  Time to pucker!

Next it’s time to separate eggs.  This curd uses two whole eggs and 4 yolks.  All those eggs  create a rich, smooth, creamy curd.

Butter and honey get satiny together and are whipped up before adding in the eggs and lime juice.

After a little heat, stirring, and lime zest your curd is finished!

Seriously, this curd is good.  I’m usually not a huge citrus fan but I really enjoyed this.  It has the perfect balance of tart and sweet.   Its smooth and creamy and literally melts in your mouth.

I just took another bite to be sure I was correctly describing this.  I was but I might need another bite just to be sure…

The yellow hue with dots of green zest make it perfect for spring.  Its like Easter in a jar.

Speaking of Easter, these little parfaits would be a perfect addition to an Easter brunch.

Really, they’d be a great addition to anything… breakfast, a lunchtime dessert, a healthy snack, or light after dinner sweet.  Layers of greek yogurt, lime curd, strawberries, and hazelnuts are a treat for both your eyes and your tummy.  Yes!

Lime Curd

Recipe from Cookie and Kate

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, soft and cut into small cubes
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 10-12 limes)
  • 1 Tbsp finely grated lime zest

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, cream butter and honey.
  2. Add egg slowly, beating until incorporated.
  3. Pour in lime juice and mix until combined.  Pour mixture into a non-reactive saucepan.
  4. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens, about 5-7 minutes.  Be sure to continue stirring through the whole process to avoid the eggs curdling or mixture sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Once the mixture is about at boiling point it will thicken quickly.
  5. Remove curd from heat and stir in lime zest.
  6. Pour into glass jar and let sit until completely cool.  Once cooled, screw on the lid and store in the refrigerator.  Makes about 2 cups.