baking · bars · dessert · easy · quick · snacks · vegetarian

Blondies

The snow has been out of fucking control here in Minneapolis. We didn’t get much snow at all this winter until about 2 weeks ago, at which point it dumped all the snow we should have gotten over the course of 3 months in 2 weeks. On top of that we also had the coldest day on record since the fucking 1800’s* or some shit. I HAD ICE ON THE INSIDE OF MY APARTMENT WINDOWS.

THIS IS NOT OKAY.

Today the city issued yet another snow emergency, which just means the street parking situation will be all fucked up. My tiny ass Honda Fit is missing her cushy life with the retired couple that bought her new 10 years ago. She used to live in a garage for fuck’s sake. But she’s a fighter! It only took 3 tries (and a little pep talk) to get her started on the coldest day in recent history (it was a high of -15… that’s NEGATIVE FIFTEEN DEGREES).

The day prior to the icy windows day was a balmy high of -2, so I thought it’d be a great idea to walk to therapy. After all, it was only 4 blocks from the gym, which was already charging me for parking, so why pay a meter too? I layered up with my base layer first, which consisted of leggings, wool socks, a tank top, and a long sleeved t-shirt. Then I had a cheap-ass peacoat, a very warm knit hat that covered my ears, a chunky hand knit infinity scarf (also pulled over the hat), and super warm mittens. Oh, and snow boots of course. I don’t fuck around with footwear in the winter. It’s always North Face now that I’m an adult. In New York, my tiny 23-year-old brain thought discount store fashion boots were acceptable footwear in the snow. I was a goddamn moron. Clearly I haven’t learned much yet, though. Because, if you know anything about winter, you’ll know that my attire for that 4 block walk was absolutely not sufficient. My legs were literally only covered with LEGGINGS. Not even thick yoga leggings, but fashion leggings. I might as well have been out there pants-less. That millimeter of fabric was doing absolutely nothing to cut the wind. At first I thought I’d be fine, because it’s only 4 blocks. I can handle anything for 4 blocks. Halfway through the walk I realized I’d made a huge mistake. My thighs were starting to hurt, and I was getting nervous. By block 3 my thighs started to sting. Waiting for the crosswalk across the street from my therapist’s office they started to feel warm again. That’s when I really started to panic, because I had some elementary school memory flash before me of being told that was a bad sign (which is completely false, but try telling that to my anxiety). I couldn’t cross that street fast enough, and silently cursed every single car that made me wait.

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Bourdain likes to help.

I finally made it to my appointment, and even back to my car afterwards (with a stop at Chipotle to warm up). This week I opted to pay for parking across the street. Plus, it gave my car a chance to warm up in the parking ramp. She deserves it. She didn’t ask for this life.

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After therapy last week, I decided to bake yet again. I’ve been baking a lot due to the weather. Plus, it calms me down when I’m anxious or overwhelmed, which has also been an issue lately. I’m also hoping to get a spot in the local farmer’s market to sell baked goods, which means I need to practice different recipes. I’ve been feeding T like crazy, and also bringing things to work. These blondies were not heavily shared, though. I was feeling selfish, and that’s okay. Plus, the recipe only makes an 8 x 8 pan of them, which is so much more manageable than most brownie and blondie recipes.

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Feel free to mix in whatever you’d like instead of the vanilla chips and pecans. Chocolate chips would be awesome, as well as various candy and nuts. I chose vanilla chips and pecans because I wanted to keep these “blonde” rather than just making a variation of a chocolate chip cookie.

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Blondies (originally from here)

1 stick butter, melted

1 cup packed dark or light brown sugar (I used dark because it’s better)

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

Dash of salt

1 cup flour

1/3 cup vanilla chips mixed with chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 pan and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together butter and sugar. Add in egg and vanilla. Whisk well. Then with a large spoon, slowly incorporate the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Finally, fold in the vanilla chips and chopped pecans.

Press into greased baking dish so that it’s one even layer (it will be the consistency of cookie dough). Bake for 25-30 minutes. Scoop a big bite out as soon as it’s cool enough to not burn your face off. Cut the rest into cute little squares and serve on a plate/tray so no one else knows you weren’t able to control yourself before it was fully cooled. Or don’t and own it. You’re allowed to eat blondies at any temperature you choose.

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*This “stat” was pulled right out of my ass. I believe it was the coldest day since the 90’s. Same thing though, right?

baking · cake · chocolate · comfort food · dessert · snacks · vegetarian

A Disaster of a Chocolate Strawberry Cake

This cake was delicious, but a fucking mess. I forgot to grease the cake pans like a goddamn amateur. It was my friend’s birthday cake (sorry, Stacy), but she was nice about it. Seemed wasteful to throw away perfectly good cake that was just a little (a lot) broken. We don’t waste cake around here!

Speaking of which, I went to a wedding 2 weekends ago where they had chocolate cake with Bailey’s cream in the middle. FML. YAAAASSS. I had two pieces, and I’m not even a little sorry. Wedding cake slices are tiny as fuck. I had one after dinner, like a normal human. Then I drank a bunch and ate another one a few hours later. I know how to do a wedding right.

It should also be noted that Hannah and I fucking badgered our way into this wedding like fucking pros (except it was by accident). I never thought Jeni would give in to our bitching about wanting to be flower girls (I never got to do it as a child). When she came up to us several weeks ago to announce that we’d be walking the dogs down the aisle, our jaws dropped. Were we really so annoying that she put us in her goddamn wedding? I can’t believe it, even now. It’s like we have a super power or something. I think we should go around begging our way into weddings more often. And dog walker? Fuck. That’s literally the best job in the wedding party. We didn’t have to buy fancy dresses, or plan any parties. We just got to show up, play with dogs, and still be apart of the whole thing.

I fucking love weddings that don’t involve dancing. This one took place in a bowling alley (but, like, a fancyass bowling alley), and also had a photo booth. I know all the hipsters do photo booths at their weddings, but my friends and I have never been cool enough. This was legit my FIRST photo booth. Excitement! And the wedding was for a coworker, so most of my badass work friends were there. We got together for a clinic photo and that shit fucking killed me. The longer I look at it, the harder I laugh. It literally NEVER stops being funny. Hannah and I did one together, too, which is just fucking fantastic. I can’t with these people. I love them so much.

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Are you seeing this?! We’re pretending to stab the bride. Obviously.

We also all traveled “up north” together last weekend. For those that don’t know, “up north” in Minnesota refers to basically anything more than an hour or so north of the Twin Cities. It’s where everyone goes on the weekends in the summer. The thing is, I don’t love being in nature, so I don’t often go up north. Stories from our drunken adventures will be in the next blog post. Have I mentioned yet how much I love my co-workers?

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Chocolate Strawberry Cake (originally from here – which is where you should go to see what this is actually supposed to look like)

For the Cake:

2 cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
For the Frosting:

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and slightly cooled
For the Ganache:

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup heavy cream

For the garnish:

Sliced strawberries – as many as you’d like. I used about 16oz.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. GREASE THE PANS RIGHT AWAY (don’t be like me, or your cake will fall apart). You’ll need two of the 9 inch round cake pans.

In a stand mixer, throw in the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well, then add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat for 2ish minutes before adding the boiling water. Pour into GREASED pans (again, don’t be like me). Bake for 30-35 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean). At this point, I like to place my cakes into the freeze to stop the baking process. Leave ’em in there for 20ish minutes. Remove from the pans (this is easier if you greased the pans).

For the frosting:

Start by beating the butter on high in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add the vanilla and melted chocolate. Once smooth, set aside to make the ganache (aka the BEST part).

For the ganache:

Heat the cream in a small pot over medium-high heat until it starts bubbling around the edges. Place the chocolate into a small, heat-safe bowl and pour the scalded cream over the top. Let sit for a minute. Stir until smooth.

To assemble:

Spread the frosting over the bottom layer of cake and top with sliced strawberries before adding the second layer of cake. Pour the ganache over the whole thing. Let it set for a couple of minutes before adding more sliced strawberries.

Done. Nailed it. Eat up! Doesn’t matter if it looks janky. Serve that shit with no fucking shame. Never apologize for baking someone a cake.

 

baking · cake · Cheesecake · chocolate · comfort food · Dating · dessert · vegetarian

Brownie Cheesecake for a Visitor

As previously mentioned, my love language is “acts of service,” which is primarily demonstrated through cooking and baking. Since the guy was visiting from Hawaii last week, and I had missed his birthday by a few weeks, I made him this birthday cheesecake (which is better than a boring normal birthday cake). He mentioned in passing once that he loves cheesecake. I pay attention to these things. He also mentioned that he doesn’t like cream cheese, which obviously doesn’t make any fucking sense. Honestly, it was almost a deal breaker, but I was able to move past it. I’m mature like that.

The cleaning frenzy was out of control to prepare for his visit. I bleached my bathtub for God’s sake. WHO AM I? I just kept hearing my friend, Liz, teasing me for the mold and soap scum during her last visit. To drive her point home, she drew a heart in the soap scum with her finger, which was both cute and disgusting.

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Y’all. This visit was incredible. We saw so many things, and had so many conversations and experiences. He tried AcroYoga for the first time. He attended a Yin class that I taught. We drove to Duluth and walked along the shore of Lake Superior (where he picked up trash and I swooned). We went to the science museum and the sculpture garden. I cooked dinner while he made cocktails. We went to fancy ass restaurants. We ate the most marvelous food together, including peanut butter stuffed jalapenos (The Butcher and the Boar) and a hamburger that was sauteed in duck fat (New Scenic Cafe). I ate meat despite my vegetarianism (FML, that shit was good). I don’t know why he has that effect on me. I just so rarely have dinner with someone else that loves food as much as I do. It makes me want to try everything being served.

Despite all the fun things we did together, my favorite part of the whole trip was simply walking around the city. We sat together. We people-watched. We talked. We held hands. We watched the sun set. I was basically living inside a movie. Obviously.

At the end of the visit, I cried a bunch at the airport. Like, a bunch. It was messy and embarrassing, as most human experiences are (at least the ones worth having). When I apologized for crying and “being weird,” he simply said, “Don’t apologize. You’re open and honest. I appreciate that about you.” I’m sorry… what? Who the fuck is this guy? What the fuck is happening? Am I being punked?! (Does that reference make me sound old?)

There’s still a 4,000 mile barrier and a lot of uncertainty. I get that. But, fuck it. I’m holding on as long as I can, while remaining open and honest. Isn’t that what life is all about? Staying open to the experience? #noregrets

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Anyway! There are several steps in this recipe. I sort of enjoy the fact that it looks really complex (and comes across fancy as fuck). While it can be a bit time consuming, it’s actually fairly simple. Don’t let all the steps scare you! Go make this for someone you care about, or just for yourself. I have a friend that likes to eat this cheesecake in the bathtub while listening to Tom Waits. My guy ate it for breakfast in his underwear (which is the biggest baking compliment I’ve ever received – also, y’all know how much I love eating sweets in my underwear). This is a judgement-free zone. You do you.

The trick to making this pretty is not skipping the ganache layer. Ganache provides it with a smooth, luxurious finish. Otherwise it can look sloppy as fuck. Don’t be a sloppy fuck. Plus, why would anyone even consider skipping an extra chocolate layer? It’s absurd.

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Brownie Cheesecake (originally from Smitten Kitchen)

For the brownies: Follow the instructions here. Set in fridge until cool (I made these the night before). Once cooled, cut into smallish squares (approx. 1″).

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For the crust:

1 1/2 cups finely ground chocolate Teddy Grahams (or Annie’s brand Bunny Grahams)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/3 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

Mix all the crust ingredients in a medium bowl. Press into a greased pie pan, getting some up the sides as well. Set in fridge until ready to fill.

For the cheesecake:

3 (8 ounce)  packages of cream cheese, softened

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup sugar

2 cups brownie cubes (You will have extra! You’re welcome!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat cream cheese in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. On a lower speed, add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla and sugar.  Make sure to scrape the bowl occasionally to get all that good stuff mixed together. Once everything is fully incorporated, fold in the brownie cubes. Pour filling over the crust and bake for 45 minutes. Outer edges will brown slightly. Let cool completely. I usually throw it in the fridge right away, but that’s not what the pros do because it can cause the top to crack. We’re not worried about cracks, though, because we have some motherfuckin’ ganache to cover all of our mistakes. Only cover with ganache once fully cooled.

For the ganache:

3/4 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Bring heavy cream to a simmer (basically once the edges start bubbling), and pour over the chocolate chips. Let sit for a minute or two, then whisk together. Pour over the cooled cheesecake and place back in the fridge. Once set, dig in!

Now then, I’m off to finish the last piece of this… while watching Netflix in my underwear. I suggest you do the same.

baking · breakfast · brunch · comfort food · Dating · dessert · easy · Fruit · jam · pie · snacks · Tarts · travel · vacation · vegetarian

Strawberry Rhubarb Tarts

I texted Cortney today, “I miss you. I want to come visit and drink iced coffee in the rocking chairs. Then we can go for a swim at our beach.” She responded with, “I’m ready. Let’s do it.”

Don’t have a lid for your sauce pan? Just cover with another pan! Lids are for rich people.

The rocking chairs are special for us. They’re all along the front porch of the Moana Hotel in Waikiki. Cortney took me there on my first trip to Oahu 2 years ago because it’s a great spot for people watching. I had ordered iced coffee from the coffee shop attached to the hotel and impulsed a few macaroons as well. We settled into our chairs with our fancy cookies and proceeded to check out all the hot people that walked by, having one of our many epic conversations. That experience stuck out to me. It’s silly, because we also went snorkeling and hiking and touring and did a million other amazing Hawaiian things. This was just one random morning. But for some reason, every time I think about visiting her again, I imagine those rocking chairs.

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During my most recent visit we recreated it. It was the morning after my second date with the guy. I refused to tell her anything about it until we were comfortably seated in our chairs with iced coffee and macaroons. She was dying. Keep in mind, Cortney has never met the guy. He is merely a friend of a friend. She didn’t actually have a clue how our dates were going to go, or if he was going to be a crazy person that sends unsolicited dick pics. For all she knew, he could have been a fucking murderer. Honestly, it’s mostly just dumb luck that I’m not dead right now. Okay, I’m being dramatic, but after my Tinder experiences I have become a little (understandably) guarded. So we sat down in our beautiful wooden rocking chairs, taking bites of our tropical flavored macaroons, and I finally launched into the story about the night before, when I discovered that I had found someone incredible. And we did what Cortney and I do best… we talked it all out. She let me gush, and then offered up her thoughts/feelings/encouragement. She allowed me to be unapologetically myself, just like she always does (and what I try to always do for her), and encouraged me to feel all my feelings. While I skipped zero details with Cortney (often starting statements with, “This is a little TMI, but….”), I will skip almost all of the details with you, dear readers. Just know that this person made me feel like I was enough, just as I am… in all of my very human glory.

(Side note: He’s coming to visit me next week. “Excited” is an understatement.)

When Cortney visited last fall, we made hand pies. This is a variation of that, but better (in my opinion). The only annoying part is the fucking dough. All the freezing of shit and the waiting. I’m not great at waiting (duh). It turns out that it’s worth the wait, and it’s easy as fuck to make. Get on it, y’all. You won’t be sorry.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Tarts (inspired by Smitten Kitchen)

1 1/2 pounds rhubarbs stalks (or approx. 6-10 stalks depending on size), cleaned and trimmed of leaves/dirty ends

1 cup dark brown sugar

a splash of vanilla

2ish tablespoons strawberry jam (Thanks, Stacy!)

Slice rhubarb in half, length-wise, and then chop in approximately 3/4″ pieces. You should have about 4 1/2 cups, but it doesn’t have to be exact. Set aside 1 1/2 cups. Combine 3 cups of the chopped rhubarb with the brown sugar and vanilla in a sauce pan on the stove over medium-low heat. Cover and let sit for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. It should become pretty saucy. Uncover and increase heat to medium, cooking for another 10-15 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and causes the spoon to leave a trail at the bottom of the pan. Once finished, stir in the strawberry jam, letting it melt in. Finally, add in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of rhubarb. Pour into a bowl and set in refrigerator until cool.

For the crust: follow instructions from Fruit Hand Pies. Except you’ll just put a scoop of the filling in the center of a piece of dough and mush the sides up around it. It’s like a little bowl for jam… that you can eat!

Place them on a greased cookie sheet (or cake pan!) and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. This should make about 8-10 tarts. I only had enough rhubarb for 4 tarts. Then I ate one before the final photo, which is why there are only 3 finished tarts. Fuck it. I’m human, and I was hungry/had a craving. My only regret is that I didn’t make more.

baking · cake · chocolate · comfort food · dessert · easy · vegetarian

The Best Chocolate Cake

I made this cake a few weeks ago for Hannah’s husband’s birthday. He requested chocolate cake, and gave me no other fucking information. I was like, “But what kind of chocolate? Chocolate on chocolate or vanilla frosting? Maybe a raspberry filling? German chocolate? Nuts? Ganache? Dark or milk?” Honestly, my chocolate questions can go on and on… and they did. Hannah told me she was just going to pick up a sheet cake from the grocery store if I didn’t shut the fuck up (how dare she). Who the fuck would choose a shitty sheet cake over homemade? Fuck.

So I found this recipe on Pinterest, and was very excited about it’s simplicity. I guess I don’t need to add all the bells and whistles to end up with a delicious cake. This shit is moist as fuck, and the frosting begs to just be eaten by the spoonful. Now, I understand my cake decorating skills are lacking. This surprises no one. Despite my art degree and love of baking, I’ve never been great at making my cakes beautiful. But who the fuck cares? Some day I’ll take a class to learn, but until then… my ugly cake still tastes better than your masterpiece. Besides, everyone knows fondant tastes like shit.

Unrelated Hawaii story: Cortney took me to the Polynesian Cultural Center on one of my last days. I know this place is supposed to teach us about all the different Polynesian cultures (which it did!), but our favorite part was the half naked men dancing. During the first performance we stopped at (I believe it was the island of Tonga), there was one dancer that was so attractive that Cortney and I immediately started aggressively elbowing each other and gesturing with our eyes. He was one of those guys that you think has to be famous or a model or something. I mean, normal people don’t just walk around looking like that. It’s distracting. He must cause so many car accidents by just crossing the street every day. Fuck. So there we were, in the middle of all these wholesome families, just losing our goddamn minds. At one point during the performance, a few of the dancers walked into the audience. Our guy stood a few feet away from us and we got the giggles like a couple of fucking inappropriate teenagers. I was actually pretty embarrassed, but I could not stop. It was completely fucking involuntary at that point. I couldn’t even look at Cortney because I knew the giggling would amplify to uncontrollable laugh-snorting. By the end of it, I was full on crying. I would like to remind everyone that I am 31 years old.

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The Best Chocolate Cake

2 cups flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk or half and half

1/2 cup canola oil

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup strong hot coffee

 

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

4 cups powdered sugar

4 tablespoons milk or half and half (or more if it needs thinning)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9 inch cake pans and set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, both sugars, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, and salt. Set aside. In a mixer, mix together milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Slowly add in the dry ingredients. Once fully combined, add in the hot coffee. Divide between the 2 pans and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

My trick to keeping the cake from drying out is cool it in the freezer. Just throw both pans in the freezer straight from the oven. Leave them in there for about 20-30 minutes.

For the frosting:

Beat the butter in the mixer until fluffy. Add in the rest of the ingredients and whisk until creamy. If the frosting is too thick, add a little more milk.

Frost the shit outta that cake.

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There was a lot of alcohol involved.

baking · comfort food · Cookies · dessert · vegan · vegetarian

Vegan Snickerdoodle Cookies

I’m not sure what the deal is, but I had horrendous anxiety tonight. Like, I was fine all fucking day, but then this evening hit, and I just lost it. Does this happen to anyone else? I ended up calling Cortney in a panic, and she calmed me right down. I have the best friends in the world, for real. Even when I’m being irrational and frantic, they always reassure me that my feelings are valid, and that it’s important to just let myself feel things. I think that is worth repeating, since it’s only been within the last few years that I have come to accept this…

Regardless of how you are feeling, or how other people might feel in your situation… even if it seems silly or irrational… please know – your feelings are valid. Always. 

It probably doesn’t help that I keep cramming 25 things into my days, instead of just giving myself time to relax. I have 3 separate friends coming to visit in the next week, plus the teacher training, plus work, plus yoga, and trying to fit in time to see my mom once in awhile. It’s a disaster mostly. Seems appropriate, considering I am mostly a disaster all the time. It’ll all work itself out… right?

On a whim, I decided to make these cookies for my Yoga Teacher Training class today. Class started at 11:30am, and I got up a 7:15am to get all my shit done. This meant going cat sitting, stopping at the farmer’s market, doing laundry, and baking these cookies. I was pleasantly surprised with my mad time management skills when everything was done, except the cookies, by 9:45am. I was like, “Fuck yeah! I have so much time to bake! This’ll be done in like 40 minutes.” So I started mixing everything together without reading the full recipe first. I got all the way to the end before I read, “Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.”

W.T.F.

It was like 10:10am at this point, and I needed to leave my apartment by 11:20am. PANIC.

But I’m a fucking pro. So, fuck yeah those cookies made it to class. Maybe they were too hot to have a lid on their Tupperware container, but they fucking made it.

Unrelated: Can someone please fucking help me get my air conditioner unit into my window? I’m fucking melting over here.

Also unrelated: I nailed my fucking headstand this week!

 

Vegan Snickerdoodle Cookies

1 1/2 cups flour

2 tablespoons corn starch

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons flaxseed meal

4 tablespoons almond milk

6 tablespoons cashew butter

6 tablespoons coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Warning: This recipe requires refrigeration of the dough for 1 hour! You need to know that before going in.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, corn starch, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. In a smaller bowl, whisk together flaxseed meal and almond milk, then add cashew butter, oil, vanilla, and cinnamon. Whisk together until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Add wet mixture to dry ingredients. You’ll need to use your hands a little for this one… add about a tablespoon of water if not holding together, and knead with your hands. Once all the ingredients are fully mixed in, and dough can hold together in a ball, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Mix equal parts cinnamon and sugar into a small bowl (I did 3 tablespoons of each). Roll balls of dough (1ish inch in size) in the cinnamon/sugar mixture, and arrange on a cookie sheet. These cookies will not spread, so feel free to cram as many as you can get onto one cookie sheet. Press each one down with a fork, and bake at 375 degrees for 11 minutes.

Let cool, then shovel them all into your face. Be shocked that they don’t taste like shit (because they’re vegan).

 

baking · breakfast · brunch · dessert · easy · gluten free · lunch · quick · snacks · vegetarian

Simple Homemade Granola

Guys. I have been so good at budgeting this month. Yes, I only it’s only a few days in the month, but still. I went 3 days without spending any money at all. NONE. No fancy pillows, no donuts, no coffee, NOTHING.

That streak was broken Saturday when I went to make dinner for a couple of friends, and realized that I had used all my brown sugar making cookies the night before. Sigh. I had to go to the store – I had a plan! I was just going to buy brown sugar. No big deal. I ended up with 2 avocados and an onion, in addition to my brown sugar.

It really could have been so much worse. I didn’t even look at the bakery section. That’s progress.

So, I actually filled out my budget spreadsheet from last month. My home decor section (which honestly shouldn’t even exist) was out of control. I blame the fancy pillows. Those fuckers tricked me into thinking I needed them. It wasn’t my fault. My budget for home decor this month is $0. Obviously.

When I went to the grocery store on the first of the month, I decided it would be my only trip for 2 weeks. The following day, I was really sad I hadn’t splurged on granola. But, seriously, that shit is expensive. I figured I didn’t need it. But regular oatmeal makes me sad. So I had an internal battle with myself about stopping at the store and ONLY getting granola.

You know what I did instead?

I fucking made my own.

That shit goes for like $10 a bag, and I made twice as much with shit I just had lying around my kitchen. Genius. I’m so fucking proud of myself.

Be like me. Don’t waste your money.

Simple Homemade Granola

3 cups old fashioned oats

A handful of sunflower seeds (shell-less, obviously)

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1 tablespoon cinnamon

Splash of vanilla extract

Splash of almond extract (this is key!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the oats and sunflower seeds in a large glass baking dish, and bake for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. While that is baking, whisk all other ingredients together in a small bowl. Once the oats are done, pour wet ingredients over dry, and mix all together. Pour everything on to a greased baking sheet, and spread into an even layer. Bake for 5 minutes, then turn off the oven but leave the pan in for another 5-8 minutes. Let cool/harden. Scoop some into a bowl, add some chia seeds, sliced banana, and milk. Feel smug about your frugal nature. Try not to spend the $10 you saved on fancy pillows or donuts.

**Side note: You could add any type of nut to this as well. I just didn’t have any on hand. It would also be great with dried fruit or chocolate chips, which should be added at the end (once it’s cooled). This recipe is easily adjusted to whatever flavor you want – be creative!

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This is Harriet watching me scrape the granola off of the pan after it cooled. She obviously approves. Look at that look of desperation.