Archives for April 2012

Vegan Love.

Happy Monday!
This weekend was pretty cray so I barely had any time to bake/cook, much less eat. However, on Saturday I did get to experiment a leetle bit while I had some down time. Originally, I planned to make banana oatmeal cookies. One problem: No butter. Second problem: “too lazy to go to the store-itis.” So, I had to improvise, meaning, going vegan. 
It is really, really, ridiculously hard for me to imagine a cookie without butter. However, I can imagine a cookie with coconut oil, which, to me, is like the butter of the vegan world!
Bada-Bing, Bada-Boom…
Vegan Banana-Coconut Oatmeal Cookies
Now, these cookies are pretty freaking delicious, and healthy…but of course, I made them tiny enough to have  4 in one sitting…so, basically you can just throw the healthy thing out the window.
 
Unless, of course you have what they call…”will-power.” I only have the power to will these cookies out of the cookie jar and into my mouth.
Now, someone hand me a stick of butter.
Vegan Banana-Coconut Oatmeal Cookies:
Ingredients:
1 ripe banana (medium sized), mashed
1/3 c. melted coconut oil
2/3 c. packed dark brown sugar
1 t. pure vanilla extract
3/4 c. plus 2 T. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
2 c. quick-cooking oats
1/2 c. unsweetened, shredded coconut 
Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, mash the banana. Add the coconut oil, brown sugar, and vanilla and mix well using a whisk.
3. Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and mix until just combined.
4. Using a spatula, fold in the oats. Then, fold in the coconut.
5. Using your hands, roll dough into tiny balls, place on the prepared baking sheets, and flatten each ball with the palm of your hand. These cookies will not get really big during the baking process, so you can place them fairly close together.
6. Baked until lightly browned on the bottoms. About 10-12 minutes. Allow them to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet.
Makes about 17-18 small cookies.
MANGIA!!!

My Life According To…

Happy Sunday y’all!
Whew! I feel like I am going a mile per minute today. Actually, this entire week has been quite of a whirlwind. Let me catch you up…
I found my Ralph Lauren sunglasses this week and I was super excited to don them…
Okay, okay…I didn’t actually “find” them. They weren’t really lost in the first place. I just had to get my lazy self up to go dig them out of my small carry-on bag still full of clothes after moving out of my apartment!
 Then I realized why I don’t wear sunglasses in the first place.
1. I look like a gigantic bug.
2. They hurt my eyes. I guess it’s because I am not used to wearing things on my face.
Oh, I broke out the pink chubby stick my cousin gave me for Christmas.
News Flash: I never wear lipstick. Except on occasions. Even then I put lip gloss over the lipstick. The closest thing you will get to lipstick on me is chap stick. 
So, of course, this was one step up for me. Watch out world.
 I am currently addicted to this bread
Think God I have to pack away the kitchen for the move this week. This solves all of my banana bread/cake problems.
 Since making these jalapeno poppers, I am never touching another restaurant popper again.
Ever.
Also, I need to hire someone to come over and hide all of the hummus and pita chips that I made.
I am starting to smell like garlic and Parmesan. So attractive.
 Only in Texas do you see people hauling their boats along the highway that are bigger than my house.

My mom is quite the decorator. My dad played side-kick one night this week. 
Obviously, you can see what a big help I was.
 Don’t be fooled: I never give this dog a bath. Luckily, my dad does.
Then, he leaves her in the sink while she tries to make a run for it. O. LAWD.
 If you want to win my heart…you can do it with the best possible Americano ever.
Add a touch of cinnamon and coconut creamer…heaven.
Meet Annabelle…the newest member of my family.
 
Can you believe some mean ole’ puppy mill person was going to shoot her because she couldn’t have puppies anymore? Not on my watch.
My family has raised labs all of our lives and she is perfect.
 She gets in the car. Then doesn’t get out.
She is a pro lab. 
Hope your Sunday is going beautifully!
MANGIA!!!

Easy Peas-y.

Okay, so I intended on making you what I like to call the easiest recipe on the planet…but yet, so utterly knock-your-socks off delicious. You see, I attempted to make a microwave mug cake because it is Friday after all, and after a long-hard work week, you deserve something sinful, that can be prepped in five seconds and made in two minutes. Oh, but if only I had the skills to hold my camera and shoot a photo at the same time. Let’s just say, my chocolate mug cake face-planted right into the welcome mat by my back door. I couldn’t do anything but laugh hysterically, clean off the mess, and ummm not start over again. Can you blame me? Instead, I said, screw it…it’s almost Friday and poured myself a drank. However, let me make-up for my lack of balance skills with some easy, quick, and delicious recipes to make your Friday that much easier.

You need this Peanut Butter Chocolate Mug Cake.
Oh, oh and this 5-minute Chocolate Fudge S’mores Cake
because your boss yelled at your five times for not refilling the copy machine with ink.
What? You were raiding the office refrigerator…well, actually you were hiding your homemade basil pesto chicken flat bread sandwich in the back of the fridge away from the grimy hands of your co-workers.
Oh, what’s that? Apparently it’s National Grilled Cheese Month.
I missed the memo.
Thankfully….whaaaaaat, Jessica
Roasted Strawberry, Chocolate, and Brie Grilled Cheese…I can’t even deal.
 Oh, and the cutest married couple ever just had to go and put my favorite savory spread on a grilled cheese, oh, and crust it with my fave condiment, everrrrrr.
If you don’t have cray cray plans to go out and get bonkers tonight.
Make grilled cheese.
It’s easy.
It’s delicious.
You deserve a grilled cheese.
Because it’s Friday.
Because you should put on your fave pair of mix-match pj’s, scrunch your socks down to your ankles, and watch re-runs of The Real Housewives of Atlanta Reunion. 
I will be doing something similar, only because I am an 80 year old trapped in a 24 year old body.
If you don’t feel like having a leisurely Friday night with your feet propped up, and would rather take your job anxiety out on something….these.
I am instantly transported back to elementary school when I had no money for ice-cream and the ice-cream lunch lady, Mrs. Gasparini, would give me free ice cream sandwiches.
I owe my life in ice-cream money.
Who wants to help me pay it off?
Tomorrow.
HAPPY FRIDAY!
MANGIA!!!

P.I.T.A.

Yep, today is going to be a real pain in the (insert expletive for rear end here). Six point five hours of my life is being taken away from me today. Yes, people, I will be stuck in a classroom today for my first aid/cpr/aed re-cert…oh, I am soooo thrilled. After being out of school for almost two years, being confined to a classroom setting for even 2 minutes is torture. This should definitely go well. Who knows if I will even get a lunch break? Of course, food is always the first thing on my mind. So, guess who has snacks prepped? This chick right here.

I took some fresh pita bread…got this from the Greek place down the street and
Bam! Homemade Pita Chips!

Served with two of my faves…Hummus and Tzatziki

I would say that the person who sits next to me today is going to be very, very lucky.
I’m a sharer.
Baked Garlic-Parmesan Pita Chips:
Ingredients:
4 round pieces of pita bread, cut into sixths
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
6 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place the cut slices of pita bread onto the baking sheet and toss with the evoo (I used about 1/4 cup for the entire pan), making sure to coat both sides of each slice of pita.
3. Top each slice of pita with half a teaspoon of minced garlic and 1 teaspoon of Parmesan.
4. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
Makes about 24 pita chips.
MANGIA!!!

Pepper, Popper, Whatever.

You know what I really, really, ridiculously cannot stand? Bad dreams. Yep, you know, dreams that are so bad that you wake up with an aching feeling in your chest like you’ve been crying. Or, how about those “cray” “cray” dreams where you hang out/date a guy that you went to high school with? Whoa, whoa…hold the phone, where in the heck did that come from? Out of left field, that’s where. What a nightmare. 
Yea, so, anyway, I have been taking a 24 hour allergy pill, because, you know, I am allergic to life, and the end result is a mixture of bad, crazy, wild dreams where I wake up and ask myself, “Really, did that just happen?” Yep, sure did. Maybe they are called “dreams” for a reason…maybe they are a mixture of fears, joy, delight, or crazy things that will soon manifest themselves, or on the other hand, never happen. Lord knows I will hopefully never, ever, date this kid in my dream. Oh.mah.gawd. 100% no. 
Anyway, those dreams are neither here nor there. Let’s talk about what I dreamt about all day yesterday…Jalapeno Poppers. You know, the jalapenos that you get at a restaurant that are either deep fried, wrapped in bacon, or if you are lucky…both. Oh, oh…and just oozing with cheese. Instead of dreaming about them all day, I made my own version, or shall I say, versions…yep, two different kinds people.

First, I stuffed the jalapenos with a mixture of goat cheese, honey, and orange juice.

Then I stuffed the second set of peppers with a Greek yogurt/fig jam mixture.

In the words of Michelle Tanner…”Whoa, Baby!”

These things are a combo of all my favorite things, a little spicy, a little sweet, crunchy, and ooey, gooey, melty magnificence all in one bite.
 Little pieces of heaven wrapped in a hog.

Just look at that cheese.

Boo-yah!

Give me pork or give me death!
Now, who is bringing over the mojitos? My mouth is on fire!
Bacon-Wrapped Honey-Citrus Goat Cheese Stuffed Jalapenos
Ingredients:
4 large jalapeno peppers, sliced in half vertically, and de-seeded
4 oz. of goat cheese, at room temperature
1 T. honey
1/2 small orange, juiced
1/2 pound of bacon
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. 
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Place the halved jalapenos on the baking sheet.
4. In a small bowl, mix together the honey, goat cheese, and orange juice until smooth.
5. Stuff each jalapeno with 1-2 teaspoons of goat cheese.
6. Carefully wrap each jalapeno in one slice of bacon (i started at the tip of the jalapeno and worked my way up).
7. Season each jalapeno with a pinch of black pepper. and bake (along with the second recipe for jalapenos) for 18-20 minutes, or until the bacon is slightly golden brown and the cheese is oozing out of the jalapenos.
Bacon-wrapped Fig and Yogurt Stuffed Jalapenos
Ingredients:
4 large jalapeno peppers, sliced in half vertically, and de-seeded
6 oz. container of plain Greek yogurt (I used chobani)
1/2 c. fig preserves (I found mine at World Market if you can’t find in your local grocery store)
1/2 pound of bacon
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Instructions:
1. Place the halved jalapenos on the same  baking sheet as the already stuffed and wrapped jalapenos (from the first recipe).
2. In a small bowl, mix together the Greek yogurt and fig preserves until well combined (you want this mixture to be smooth, but it’s okay to have a few chunks of fig preserves in the mixture as well 😉 )
3. Fill each jalapeno with 1 teaspoon of the yogurt/fig mixture.
4. Wrap each jalapeno in bacon just like the recipe above.
5. Season each jalapeno with a pinch of black pepper, and bake (together with the jalapenos from the first recipe) for 18-20 minutes, or until the bacon is slightly golden brown and the cheese is oozing out of the jalapenos.
Note: Just eat these off the pan directly from the oven…no need to wait for them to cool. Just stuff into your mouth and enjoy!
Makes 16 stuffed jalapenos (for both recipes together). 
MANGIA!!!