Chocolate Popsicles

We’re thick in the middle of summer livin, summer lovin.

The sun is out.  The sandals are on.  And my legs are still a nice shade of pale white.  What can say?  I blame Oregon.

Its play-outside-eat-on-the-patio-have-a-breakfast-picnic weather.

Its float-the-river-drink-a-gin-cocktail-on-the-porch weather.

Its wear-a-maxi-dress-let-your-hair-air-dry weather.

And its definitely make-lots-and-lots-of popsicles weather.

I’ve never been a huge fan of popsicles, preferring ice cream, or a Flinstones push-pop, when I craved a cold treat.  I think part of it is that they are just so sweet and I hate the fake fruit/sugar taste of most popsicles.

However, this summer popsicles have been all the rage in the blogosphere so I decided to try my own… chocolate style, of course.

I’m not sure these could get any simpler.  Dark chocolate chips and chunks get tossed in a bowl.  Coconut milk is heated up and poured over chocolate.  Then we wait.

Bananas get mashed.  Coconut nectar gets measured.

All ingredients are whisked together.  The chocolate deliciousness is poured into cups that remind me of the dentist.  They always brought the dreaded fluoride to me in those cups.

After being placed in the freezer for about 30 minutes the cups are removed and a wooden popsicle stick is placed in the middle.

Back to the freezer for another hour and half… at least!

The result is a creamy, cold treat that I’ve been guiltlessly indulging in every night the past two weeks, except the night I went to Salt and Straw… but thats a whole other scoop of ice cream.  See what I did there?

I’m not gonna lie, these choco pops are rich.  If you don’t enjoy dark chocolate you are very welcome to use a lower percentage of chocolate chip/bar.  You can also use honey or maple syrup instead of coconut nectar.  Maybe you’d like to add peanut butter?  And maybe slash I definitely will give you a high five if you do.

Add salted caramel, try a different fruit, make 12 batches, and share them with a friend.  Why not?

After all it is feel-like-a-kid-again-eat-popsicles-for-breakfast-let-your-imagination-go-wild weather.

Chocolate Popsicles

Makes about 6

Ingredients

  • 2.5 ounces 99% dark chocolate
  • 2.5 ounces 67% dark chocolate
  • 1 banana, ripened and mashed or pureed
  • 1 tablespoon coconut nectar
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Directions

  1. Heat milk and coconut nectar in a small sauce pan until simmering around the edges.
  2. Place chocolate in a small bowl.  Pour coconut milk over chocolate.  Set aside for at least 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk coconut milk and chocolate together until mixture is smooth.  If your chocolate did not melt all the way place bowl over a pot of simmer water to completely melt chocolate.
  4. Whisk in banana until combined
  5. Pour mixture into small cups or popsicle mold.  Place in freezer for about 30 minutes.
  6. Remove from freezer and place popsicle sticks in the center of each pop.  Return to freezer for at least 1 1/2 hours.
  7. When you are ready to enjoy, cut a slit in the side of the cup and remove the cup from the popsicle.  Now, see how many licks it takes to finish!
  8. Store popsicles in an airtight container in the freezer.

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!

Yogurt Lemon Cake

Hi friends!

Its been a few days (slash weeks)… again.  And I’ve been missing you!… (again).

I’ve been out of the kitchen and in the workplace lately.  I’ve been entertaining family and wearing a graduation cap.  Life has had me busy and time has passed by leaving my measuring cups empty and my oven cold.

There are a lot of things I could tell you about from the last several weeks.  I could talk about my new job and how I work with feet.  I could tell you about the older man who couldn’t reach his foot leading me to put toe socks on his feet for him.  I could tell you that his feet were kind of gross and the toe sock definitely did not slide on easily.  Awkward.

I could also tell you about the running group that I agreed to lead since my boss was on vacation.  The one in which all the participants smoked me in the run… who knew pick ups would be so dang hard?  They all ran six.  I stopped at four.  Total fail.  I decided then that I am not a runner.  And I don’t think I want to be… I was debating for a few months.

I could tell you about the ridiculously boring speech given at my graduation ceremony.  You know its bad when she starts recounting life stories starting in 1950.  Don’t they screen these speeches beforehand?  Probably not.  No, definitely not.  What I want to tell you about is this cake

This cake tastes like summer! (even when its still raining in Portland)

Lemons are zested, sugar is measured.   Combined together and you get lemon sugar!  The zest permeates the sugar which helps with more even distribution in the cake. Sugar also helps release the oils in the zest.  Oil equals flavor.

Greek yogurt makes things tender and moist.  A lot of people hate the word moist.  I really don’t mind it.  Just so you know… fun, useless fact.

The recipe called for whole-milk Greek yogurt but I had 0% on hand.  You’ve got choices!

After the eggs, oil, and vanilla are added the dry ingredients get folded in.  Then into the loaf pan it goes.

Stray batter gets eaten with your fingers.  Taste test!

Real talk:  By the time this cake came out of the oven it was too dark to take pictures.  The next day was packed with events so I didn’t have time for a photo op then either.  Sooo, I ended up leaving the cake in the loaf pan for a few days, wrapped with a bunch of plastic wrap to ensure it didn’t get dried out.

The result?  Faaaantastic.  Really, I love this cake.  It tender and lemony… even after sitting a few days.  Fresh strawberries make it extra special!

You deserve good cake this summer.  Get into it!

Yogurt Lemon Cake

Recipe from Bon Appetit Magazine (called French yogurt cake in the magazine)

Ingredients

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 8.5 x 4.25 inch loaf pan.  Dust pan with flour, tap out excess flour.  Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, using your fingers rub together lemon zest and sugar until zest is completely incorporated and sugar is moist.  Whisk in yogurt, eggs, oil, and vanilla extract.  Fold in dry ingredients.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan.  Place pan in oven and bake until cake is golden and skewer inserted comes out clean; about 50 minutes.
  5. Let cake cool for about 15 minutes in pan.  Invert cake onto cooling rack to cool completely.
  6. Enjoy with summer berries, ice cream, whipped cream, or wherever your imagination takes you!

Cranberry Orange Poppy Seed Shortbread

I have been out of the loop for what seems like quite some time.  Life has been full of transitions, travels, and… I’m trying to think of another “t” word that would describe my life as of late but I can’t… maybe tasty?  Yes, we’ll go with that.

I’ve acquired a new job, taken a little jaunt around Europe, and eaten lots of delicious food over the past month or so but I have also been missing this space.  A place to come and share a thought, a story, or a weird habit.  A time to speak to no one.  A page for anyone to read.

I also missed the kitchen.  I missed beating butter and cracking eggs.  I missed the smell of ingredients blending together and wafting through the house when all was said and done.  And I missed telling you about what’s in my oven baking.  So lets just jump right into this…

Shortbread cookies remind me of girl scouts and my mom.  My mom always loved the girl scout shortbread cookies when I was little and I could never figure that out.  Did she know there were thin mints and tag-a-longs?  My little brain was baffled at the thought of a cookie involving chocolate being trumped by one that was just stamped with the girl scout symbol.

As with most cookies, these shortbreads start by beating butter and sugar together.  Lots of butter inhibits the formation of gluten and gives shortbread its crumbly texture.  Egg is added to act as a binder and vanilla for a touch of flavor!

This is really where things get good.  Cranberries, orange zest, and poppy seeds are mixed in to the dough.  The smell of orange and cranberry is quite refreshing and strangely alluring.  It took everything in me to not eat all of the dough right from the bowl.  Siren song!

After all the goodies are added the dough gets shaped into a log, wrapped in waxed paper, and chilled.  Then we’re on to slicing!  My favorite part.  A serrated knife slides easily through the dough making the process sort of relaxing.

The finished product is beautifully dotted with ruby, orange, and black.  The texture is crumbly and buttery and the fragrance alone will be leave you desiring a second (or third).

They even almost made me forget about the chocolate cookies I was going to bake next!  Almost.

Cranberry Orange Poppy Seed Shortbread

Recipe from Joy the Baker Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberry
  • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds

Directions

  1. In a small bowl whisk together flour and salt.  Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl beat together butter and sugar until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla until well incorporated, about another 2 minutes.  Scrape the sides of the bowl down when necessary.
  3. Add the flour mixture, orange zest, poppy seeds, and cranberries all at once.  Mix until just combined.
  4. Removed dough from bowl and divide in half.  Place each half on a sheet of waxed paper.  Shape into a log about 1 inch in diameter.  Wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator for at least three hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
  6. Remove dough from refrigerator and slice into 1/3 inch thick rounds.  Place on baking sheet about 1 inch apart.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are slightly browned.  Remove from oven.  After 10 minutes transfer cookies to cool rack to cool completely.  Store well wrapped at room temperature for up to 4 days.

~Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Cocoa Hazelnut Granola

I love that food has the ability to take me back to another place in time.  One bite of something familiar and memories flow back as if it were yesterday.  Our taste buds can be path to the the past.

When I first moved to Portland I was going to culinary school in the evenings from four to nine.  I’d usually eat a late dinner afterward throwing something together that resided in my fridge.  On Friday nights the boyfriend and I would go to Whole Foods.  I got just about the same thing every week– soup, my favorite was mushroom barley, a seeded roll, and a container of granola that they made in-house.  I am definitely a creature of habit and that was my standard for a long time.

This stage of my life consisted of lots of strange, you could also say obsessive, habits.  I’d eat two crunchy kashi bars everyday- one with my cup of coffee that I ventured out to get around 2 o clock and the other at night before bed (except for weekend nights).  I did the same workout everyday.  Lots of cardio machines.  I had to be slightly insane to keep that boring nonsense up for so long.  I can’t recall what I had for breakfast but assuredly it was the same thing everyday.  I wrote my calorie intake down before I’d go to bed every night.  If it was over 2000 kcal I’d make note and go way under the next day.

This is just a glimpse of my crazy brain.  Needless to say I was in an unhealthy state regarding my relationship with food, one that had been taking place for several years prior to coming to Portland.

As I made and then ate this granola fresh from the oven Sunday my taste buds took me back to that time in my life.  It seems so long ago now.  Habits have changed, obsessions have been worked through.  But, nonetheless, I remember that state I was in.  Completely wrapped up in the outside of myself while ignoring all that was going on inside, the true driving force behind my behavior.

Food has been a double edged sword for me for quite some time now.

I love food.  I love the experience of baking, eating out, or having a meal with friends and family. I enjoy and look forward to the next meal.  I love to taste, smell, and admire the beauty that food offers our senses.

But while I greatly enjoy food I have feared it equally as much.  The fear comes from deeper places of desiring perfection or a “better” figure.  But the fear manifests itself in the same thing that I love and am passionate about.  It’s strange how that happens… one thing causing both excitement and anxiety.

I am glad to reflect on that time only to see how far I’ve come.  As I bite into this homemade granola I am transported back but I am also made aware of where I sit currently; a place where I can eat without the fear that each tiny calorie will add to my frame.  I sit more in a place of acceptance than of judgement for myself.  A place of continually seeking a healthy balance.

Alright, enough blabbing about my past food troubles.  If you made it through all that you a high five. Or pat on the back.  Your choice!  If you skipped to this part where I’ll talk about the granola, I totally understand.

This granola makes my taste buds so happy.  Its crunchy.  Its nutty.  Its crunchy some more.  Slightly sweet from honey and sugar it also has a bit of a salty bite every once in a while.  The cocoa powder adds a hint of chocolate flavor but nothing over powering.  The coconut oil lends itself beautifully against the nutty oats and toasted hazelnuts.  And millet seeds.  Oh millet seeds.  I adore them.  I really have no words.  They just make this granola a 1000 times better.  Trust me.

I enjoy my granola most topped with a little milk.  Maybe you like yours mixed with some fruit and yogurt.  Or perhaps on top of some ice cream with a touch of honey.  How-about just a handful right out of the jar?  Yeah, I do that a lot too.

Cocoa Hazelnut Granola

Adapted from the Joy the Baker Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup raw hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup millet seeds
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 11/2 Tbsp honey
  • 5 Tbsp coconut oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and prepare baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
  2. In a large bowl combine oats, hazelnuts, coconut, millet seeds, cocoa powder, and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, honey, and coconut oil.  Place saucepan on medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves and bubbling occurs.  Remove from heat and pour over oat mixture.  Mix until well combined.
  4. Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet and spread into an even layer.  Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Stir granola and continue baking for 10 minute intervals until golden and fragrant.  (mine was in for about 25 minutes)
  5. Remove from oven and let cool completely.  Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

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.

Crispy Kale with Coconut and Farro

It’s been a slow sunday afternoon so far. While the sun is peeking through the clouds now, just 10 minutes ago snow was falling from the grey sky above my house.

As the snow was falling I started thinking about how much slower life is when it snows.  The flakes take their time reaching the earth’s floor.  No agenda, just floating in their own time.

It was peaceful.  It reminded me to take time.  Take time to look out the window and stare at the beauty before me.  Take time to walk through the woods or in the park.  Take time make good food.  Take time to listen to the people in my life that I love, and the ones that get under my skin.  They need time too.

This sunday snow fall made me take a step back from the stress of life, the busyness of the coming week, and the vast unknown of what lies ahead of me in the coming months.  I found myself drawn to the window, not wanting to take my eyes away from the white pillows that were providing a sense of comfort.  A feeling of calm.  God was speaking a word of rest to my heart through the beauty of his creation.

It was lovely.  And it was needed.  My stress levels were beginning to build as I was looking toward this week and the ones to follow.  Projecting my fears on the unknown is something I’m quite good at.  I really know how to overwhelm myself.  I get stuck in the future and forget that I’m supposed to be living in the now.  Because really, I don’t know what the future holds for me and I miss a lot of good things wonder about something that I can’t control.

Its funny how a simple sunday snowfall can bring so much light into my crowed head and worried heart.  A simple sunday snowfall drew me back to God.  Resting in his peace.  Relishing his beauty.  Finding grace in the small things.  Recognizing love all around me.

On Sundays, I rarely make a meal.  It’s usually brunch after church or snack on whatever is in the house.  However, I’ve been dreaming about baked kale the last few days so I thought today would be a great time to try out this recipe.  I had crispy kale for the first time a couple weeks ago and, seriously, why have I just now tried this?

It’s like a really thin, healthy, delicious chip.  Into my mouth it goes, straight to my tummy.  All parties involved are so glad its happening.  Kale if fully of vitamins A, K, and C and boasts antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cancer fighting nutrients!  Basically Kale is one of the best veggies you can eat.  Your body will thank you.  And then give you a high five.

Farro is chewy and slightly nutty, a great compliment to this dish.  Coconut adds a faint touch of sweetness while the flavors of soy and sesame create a salty bite that will make you want to the entire thing yourself.   Trust me.  I almost didn’t share.

Whether you decide to share or eat it all yourself take a moment to sit and enjoy.  Enjoy the flavors.  Enjoy the day.  Enjoy the now.

Crispy Kale with Coconut and Farro

Recipe via Joy the Baker

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 5 cups dino kale, ribs removed and torn into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flake
  • 1 cup uncooked farro

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring a couple cups of water to a boil.  Salt the water generously and add in the farro.  Turn heat down to a simmer and continue cooking farro until soft but with a bite, about 17-20 minutes.  Drain water and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together sesame oil, soy sauce, and sriracha.  Drizzle in olive oil while whisking to emulsify the oils.
  4. Place the kale and coconut on prepared baking sheets.  Drizzle about half of the dressing over the kale and coconut and toss to coat.  Bake for about 12-15 minute, until brown and crispy.
  5. Put farro in a bowl and top with kale and coconut.  Pour leftover dressing on top.  Serve warm.  Eat seconds.  Makes 4 small, 3 medium, or 2 large servings.