Archives for September 2012

Frost Me.

Happy Monday y’all!
I found myself actually asking, “Is it really Monday?” Can you tell I am already ready for Friday? Now this is normal for me, but this week I am extra antsy…this is only because I had a stellar weekend. And by stellar I mean a righteous, hang-ten, over the moon unbelievably do nothing weekend. Yesterday I studied to get ahead in my classes only because I am an overachiever…cant stop. won’t stop. However, I did finally stop when I realized I had to get out of the house…so I did what any normal person would do…went to Barnes and  Noble, grabbed a thick stack of cookbooks and a combination of celebrity trash and cooking magazines, and read them.
By read, I mean scan the magazines for what I’m looking for. I don’t really read. Unless it’s for school. So, if you have a book club that you want to invite me to attend, I suggest that involve vino…lots of it. I usually need alcohol to get me to discuss a book, especially if it has to do anything with 50 Shades of…well, anything. No thanks. I’ll pass.
Anyway, Saturday morning I was feeling extra energetic, meaning I was bored out of my mind. So, one thing was on the agenda: cookies. I had a ton of bananas that were on their last leg and while I don’t want to burn myself out on banana bread, I decided to make banana bread cookies.
Best idea yet.
I mean, it’s like banana bread…but in a cookie.
So, really I did make banana bread…but in a small, hand-held, take with you on the go, cookie form.
Best part is…these are a one bowl wonder.
Easy cleanup. And if you know me…I hate a messy kitchen. I am definitely the clean as you go type of person.
This can get ugly when I am cooking with someone who flings pasta sauce on the walls and gets more flour on the kitchen island then in the actual cake batter.
Oh, to make the cookie even better…you NEED dark chocolate chips.
Because they seriously make everything better.
Oh, and a cream cheese frosting.
Because a cookie this good deserves to be frosted.
I just love that word…frosted. Don’t you? It reminds me of snow…which I’m still dreaming about.
I just want to build a damn snowman and name him something cool like Billy, Bob, or Frank.
Now, is that too much to ask?
I think not!

Gluten-Free Banana Bread Cookies with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe slightly adapted from Cookies and Cups):

Ingredients:

For the cookies:
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 c. packed light brown sugar
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 t. pure vanilla extract
1 egg
1 1/2 c. buckwheat flour (you can also use a.p. flour or gf a.p. flour or experiment)
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. dark chocolate chips

For the frosting:
8 oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature (if you are lactose intolerant use cream cheese substitute)
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 T.  honey

Instructions:

For the cookies:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the bananas, brown sugar, evoo, vanilla, and egg.
3. Add in the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix until smooth.
4. Fold in the oats and chocolate chips and mix until evenly incorporated.
5. Drop the cookie dough by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets. Space each cookie about 2 inches apart.
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are slightly golden and the centers are set.
7. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on high until smooth.
2. Add the powdered sugar and beat again until smooth and creamy.
3. Add the honey and beat again.
4. Frost each cookie with about 1 tablespoon of frosting.
5. Devour.

Makes about 27-28 cookies.

MANGIA!!!

My Life According To…

Happy Sunday y’all!
Not much for pictures around these here parts this week.
I have been a busy little bee.
I would rather be busy than bored…for sure!
A little gift from Nikki’s Coconut Butter in the mail.
Holy Coconut Butter Batman. If y’all are good I will be doing a giveaway soon!
 Cookies…all day erryday. 

Welcoming fall with pumpkin
pretty sure I am going to turn into a pumpkin real soon.

True Life: I could eat Roasted Carrot Soup and Bacon Grilled Cheese Croutons for lunch for the rest of my life. 
Dear God, please send snow!
MANGIA!!!

Souping up for Fall.

Yo, Happy Thursday! Today I thought I would channel my inner vanilla ice and kick things off white-girl style. Okay…maybe not. Dear Houston, my body is really, really, really into this fall thing, so please be so kind as to bless us with cool weather. You might even want to add some colored leaves in there and perhaps some hot chocolate. K, thanks!

If you haven’t noticed, I’m trying to will fall here a.s.a.p. While some areas of the U.S. are already experiencing below freezing temps, it takes us a little longer round’ these here parts. I have gotten a head start on my fall recipes, whether or not Texas has decided to change seasons. This can only last so long seeing as I am not really a happy camper when its 90 degrees in the middle of October and I am trying to prevent the Halloween candy from melting inside the house. No bueno.

Yesterday was the first time it actually felt cooler outside and to welcome the windy, crisp air, I had one thing in mind…comfort food. I wanted soup…but I also wanted something to slop up that soup, but not necessarily a sandwich, no…I wanted a sandwich cut up into bite-sized squares. Because sandwiches are just cuter like this…and you can call them croutons and eat like 20 of them…never to realize that you have devoured 2 sandwiches in the process. No biggie.

It all starts with roasted carrots.

They get whipped into a soup.

This soup plays some tricks on us. It’s thick and creamy as though it has actual cream in it.

WRONG! This soup is totally vegan and good for you! Oh, and the flavor! 

So, things were vegan until I just had to go and add my beloved bacon to a sandwich…

that transforms into croutons.

Melty, gooey, cheesy, salty perfection!

Then the not so vegan croutons take a dip into the vegan soup.

It’s all about balance, right?

Dunk these beauties and welcome fall!

Roasted Carrot Soup with Bacon Grilled Cheese Croutons (GF):

Ingredients:

For the soup:
8 large carrots,
extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 c. low-sodium vegetable broth ( or water)
1 c. water
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the croutons:
1 lb. of thick cut pork bacon, uncooked
6 slices of fresh part-skim mozzarella cheese
12 pieces of gluten-free multi-grain bread
unsalted butter, at room temperature, as needed

Instructions:

For the soup:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place the carrots on the baking sheet and drizzle with evoo.
3. Bake for 40-45 minutes, turning the carrots halfway through the baking time so that they are lightly golden brown on both sides. You want the carrots to be tender, easily pierced with a fork.
4. Heat a dutch oven over medium heat and drizzle with evoo.
5. Add the onion and garlic to the pot and saute for 4-5 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
6. Add the carrots, veggie broth, and water. Turn the heat to low, and using an immersion blender, blend everything together to a smooth, creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. (You can also put all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend if you don’t have an immersion blender).
7. Let the soup simmer for about 30 minutes.

For the croutons:
1. In a large non-stick skillet, fry the bacon over medium-high heat until lightly golden brown and crispy.
2. Place the bacon on a paper-lined plate to drain.
3. Place 1 slice of mozzarella cheese on 1 slice of gluten-free bread, fold each piece of bacon in half and place on top of the mozzarella.
4. Cover the bread with another slice of bread to make a sandwich.
5. Spread butter on both sides of the sandwich.
6. Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium heat.
7. Put the sandwich in the skillet and grill on both sides until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes.
8. Place the sandwich on a cutting board, cut off the crust, and slice into thick strips lengthwise, then crosswise, forming small squares.
9. Place croutons over a bowl of soup. Top with extra mozzarella and crumbled bacon if you dare!

MANGIA!!!

Pumpkin Beans.

Happy Wednesday y’all!
I am taking my last exam of the week today…whoo-freaking-hoo! Let’s just say I owned my first two tests…in fact, I beat them down into the ground. When I was taking them, I totally wanted to yell out “Boo-yah” after I answered each question. I am the type of person who likes to get stuff done, so the sooner…the better, especially when it comes to school work. Yesterday was like a weight lifted off my shoulders…and ya know what I did after? I went home and broke out the pumpkin. O yes, it happened.

 Well, actually, I broke out the pumpkin about 2 weeks ago and have been eating it by the pound ever since! However, yesterday was the first time I have baked with pumpkin since last fall. Let me tell you…I have missed my beloved pumpkin. Fall is my favorite time of the year…and pumpkin is one of the top three reasons. Now, I could easily eat pumpkin out of a can all year around, but let’s get real…pumpkin is 10 TIMES better in the fall. I want to see the brightly colored leaves falling from the trees as I sit on my back porch and enjoy a warm slice of pumpkin bread and a hot cup of coffee. Pumpkin and 105 degree heat…no fun, pumpkin and sand in your shorts…no fun-er-er.? So, yesterday I brought my pumpkin guns out of hiding.

A good pumpkin bread starts with the essentials.

Now, we are using Cup 4 Cup, which is a bomb-diggity gluten-free flour blend. Oh, and this bread is vegan…boom!

The pumpkin provides all the moisture in this bread, along with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil…just because it runs through my veins.

The olive oil, that is.

We pour that ooey, gooey, dense bread batter into a perfect loaf pan.

My favorite thing about this bread is that it has my kitchen staple, Mexican Vanilla Extract, baked right it. It lends a bold, nutty flavor the the sweetness of the pumpkin bread.

Then, while the bread is doing a baking magic dance in the oven, we make the simplest glaze on the face of the planet.

Powdered sugar and Madagascar Vanilla Beans. 

Mah fave.

You know what happens now.

Glazing time!

I would never be able to work in a donut factory…all that glaze is a hazard.

I’d secretly lock myself in the employees lunch room and drink a batch of the donut glaze by myself!

Thick, sweet, vanilla bean goodness.

This is what Wednesday is all about.

Mexican Vanilla Pumpkin Bread with Vanilla Bean Glaze (GF/V):
Ingredients:
For the bread:
1 1/2 c. Cup 4 Cup Gluten-Free Flour or any other gluten-free flour blend
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1/2 c. raw coconut sugar (or packed light brown sugar)
2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1 c. canned pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 c. unsweetened, vanilla almond milk
1/2 c. water
1 t. Beanilla Mexican Vanilla Extract
For the glaze:
1 c. powdered sugar
water, as needed
Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 in. loaf pan with cooking spray.
2. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. 
4. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour the wet ingredients into the bowl. Combine and mix until smooth.
5. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Let the bread cool completely before glazing.
6. In a small mixing bowl, combine all the glaze ingredients, adding enough water to make a smooth, thick glaze. Don’t add too much water or the glaze will be too drippy, I added about 3-4 tablespoons for the perfect consistency. 
7. Drizzle the glaze over the entire loaf of bread. Slice into even slices.
Makes 12 slices.
MANGIA!!!

Secret Recipe Club.

Happy Monday y’all!
It’s time for another Secret Recipe Club Reveal and let me tell you, I have not been able to contain my excitement with this one. My secret recipe for this month comes from Taryn, the voice behind the sweetly delightful blog, Sweetly Serendipity. It didn’t take me 10 seconds to fall absolutely in love with Taryn’s blog. Home girl seriously knows what she is doing in the kitchen. As I was reading Taryn’s bio I noticed that we share the same motto when it comes to food: we both have a passion for sharing our food with others and in our kitchens, food=love. I cannot stress how important this is to me…baking and cooking is what I do best, and most importantly, it’s how I show my love for others. I am so glad that I found a fellow blogger who shares the same passion and values! I am sure you all do too! 
Taryn is also from Massachusetts, where I once lived when I was little, and wouldn’t you know? Taryn has aspirations to open up a bakery in the future…just like me! Well, there is NO DOUBT in my mind that she has the talent to do it! I mean, seriously, just check out some of her amazing recipes. You can imagine how stumped I was trying to decide which recipe to choose…I mean, obviously I need to hit up those Bacon Cheddar Scallion Scones and OMG these Candy Bar Brownies! However, one recipe was calling my name: Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies . So, boom. Done! 
Now, you know I am the queen of modification and because there was a giant jar of unopened Nutella in my pantry….these babies were getting stuffed. In order for the cookies to hold up well, I added coconut flour for more of a cookie dough like texture. 
Let me tell you…sinful!

The cookie dough is sooooo buttery, with a nutty flavor from the almond flour…and the chocolate chips…
they kick it up a notch.
 Then I had to go and do this…
which may have been my best idea

like…EVER!

A tall glass of almond milk is definitely encouraged with these chewy, cake-like cookies!

I got extra creative with the last batch and 

added unsweetened, coconut flakes 

because it is physically impossible for me to go a day without coconut in my life.

Really, the choice is yours…take these cookies over the top…add your fave mix-ins. 

Oh, and definitely do the Nutella dance…
you will thank me later for that one.

Big thanks to Taryn! 
These cookies are ah-maze!
Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies stuffed with Nutella (GF) (original recipe by Sweetly Serendipity):

Ingredients:
2 1/2 c. almond flour
1/2 c. coconut flour
1/2 t. sea salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 c. coconut oil, melted
1/2 c. agave nectar
1 T. pure vanilla extract
1 c. dark chocolate chips ( I used Ghirardelli 60% cocoa)
Nutella, for stuffing

Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
3. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, sea salt, and baking soda.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil, agave, and vanilla.
5. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well.
6. Mix to combine.
7. Fold in the chocolate chips.
8. Portion out a tablespoon full of cookie dough, place the dough on the baking sheet and slightly flatten the dough using the palm of your hand.
9. Put 1/2 teaspoon of Nutella in the center of the flattened cookie dough.
10. Cover with another tablespoon of cookie dough, pinching and sealing the sides of the cookie dough to form a round cookie with smooth edges.
11. Repeat with the rest of the cookie dough.
12. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until slightly golden brown on top. Let cool on baking sheet for about 3-5 minutes, then serve.

Makes about 25-30 cookies, depending on the cookie size.

MANGIA!!!