Sometimes written words just seem to get in the way, you know? Or maybe that’s just me suffering from a bout of writer’s block…
Tis the season for nog!
I’ve been holding onto a fierce craving for coconut as of late. I think it’s because the lovely white flakes remind me of snow… which we haven’t actually seen much of in Philly. It’s been 50-60 + degrees almost every day. With sunny skies.
Don’t get me wrong, I prefer flaked coconut snow over the real stuff any ol’ day– but there is something so magical about watching snow fall slowly against the glow of a streetlight. I am really looking forward to seeing some white stuff this year–which is a bold statement coming from a self proclaimed snow loather. They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, and since by now in Ohio I’m positive my family and I would have been pummeled by at least some atrocious freezing rain with me cursing up a storm about how we need to move to Tahiti, I guess it’s true. I think I’m really ready to brace the cold this year, armed with cute scarves and warm toasty beverages. If it ever actually gets here, that is. If not, I’ll happily play along in 60 degree temps.
Whether it’s snowy and cold or sunny and warm wherever you may be in the world, these cookies will fit the bill. Chewy and full of texture like an oatmeal cookie, these are best served completely cooled rather than warm from the oven.
There are few things I look forward to each year more than the month of November. With its arrival comes two of my most favorite days meant especially for eating great food and celebrating: my birthday and Thanksgiving.
I generally get a full week to stuff myself by extending the two occasions–which are usually only separated by a few days– into one massive foodfest. This Sunday, I will be celebrating my 30th year of life… and I am pretty darned thrilled about it. I’m usually a fan of birthdays, but I’m not one to want to go “all out”. But, this year is extra special for me as I have been looking forward to turning 30 since I was about 10 years old. I always thought I would have my shit pretty much together by then and would officially be an adult. Funny how your perspective on age can change when 30 smacks you right in the face. It’s not so far away anymore! Plus, I’m pretty sure I’ve officially been an adult for a while now–for a couple of years, anyways. And, as far as having everything together… ehh, I may have a little more work to do, but I’m not complaining. Life is very good and I feel super lucky to be living it. I have a great job I adore, a loving family, and amazing friends. I also have loyal readers like you that make me love what I do every single day that much more. And for all that I have, I am extra grateful.
I am starting my birthday/Thanksgiving bonanza tonight with this pumpkin pie. Bourbon makes it all the better, and I highly recommend serving it with a big dollop of sweetened whipped coconut cream. I’ll be toasting myself into the next decade of my life this evening with a hot mug of nog and a cold slice of pie.
These lovelies are somewhere in between cookies and cakes… and some may say they even have a little muffin action going on! Not overly pumpkiny, these soft and scrumptious cookies are a perfect snack with hot chocolate on a brisk autumn night.
One of my favorite things to do at night is make a batch of cookies from whatever the hell I have in my pantry. Usually I go for a basic cookie of sorts, like a variation of sugar cookie, Italian wedding cake, or peanut butter… but every once in a while I get a hankerin’ for something over the top. Last night I wanted a cookie with a little bit of everything thrown in. Enter the Ranger Cookie.
It’s been years since I’ve indulged in a delicious Ranger Cookie, but I remember that these guys normally have oats in them (and apparently flaked cereal, but my memory must have confused that with nuts yesterday. But isn’t that what good improvisation is all about? Surprises?). For me, oats are out. I’m one of those extra lucky celiacs who also is affected in very bad ways by oats, gluten-free or not. But, honestly, there are so many great things jam packed in these cookies, I’m not sure where the oats would even fit in!
Luckily, I made these early enough in the evening to remember to write down what I ended up putting in them. It goes a little like this:
Let the pumpkin mayhem begin on MV.
I admit, I created this recipe purely because of a selfish craving I was having for something sticky sweet and pumpkiny. I was going to try and pass it off as a treat my kids would enjoy for breakfast, but I became pretty possessive over it once it came out of the oven. The kids still got some, but I ended up having more than my fair share. :\
I’m not usually one to fall head over heels for a simple quick loaf, but the spicy cinnamon trail that runs through this sweet pumpkin bread is enough to make my heart sing a different tune.
It’s even more delectable with a slather of your favorite vegan cream cheese on top!
Fall is officially here. And with the coming of Fall, also comes an abundance of apples and pumpkins. Even though I loathe the impending cold temperatures, I relish the slight chill of autumn weather and the plethora of comfort foods that accompany it. Especially comfort food that include apples–whether it be a nice mug of cider (preferably the adult versions) or a hefty slice of cheesecake with the addictive flavor of apple pie strewn throughout. Apples are a staple in my house come the end of September… and they remain there all the way until December.
I used honeycrisp in this cheesecake only because my default baking apple, the granny smith, is nowhere to be found in any grocery store or market I’ve perused in Philly. Is this a problem in other parts of the world… or are our friendly grocery-teers mocking me and my east coast relocation?
Anyways, even with honeycrisps–which I truly hate to bake with, as they are a superior snacking apple straight to the core–this cheesecake takes apple pie to a whole new level. Or maybe this apple pie takes cheesecake to a whole new level? Whichever it is, be sure to chill this dessert in the fridge for at least 24 hours after baking for maximum enjoyment.
This savory tart is hearty enough to call a pie and delicious enough to star as a fantastic main course. I’ve always loved the combination of apples, onions and cheeze and decided to incorporate all three in this special entrée. The addition of unripened Bartlett pears gives it an extra touch of sweetness and unexpected flavor.
Inspired by my ongoing obsession with French everything, this tart is excellent for impressing house guests, or even just your favorite people who sit alongside you at the dinner table.
In an organized rush to get everything on our to-do list crossed off before we make the trek to Philly, I’ve packed most of my beloved dishes, small appliances, pots and pans, silverware and other kitchen necessities. Already I’ve filled up about 6 large boxes aaaannnd there are probably at least 3 more to go (yes, I may have a bit of an obsession). We’re also trying to quickly plow through our remaining produce and pantry staples leaving me with a fun challenge come dinnertime each night. I’m actually kinda diggin’ it.
I’ve yet to pack my favorite brownie baking pan (because lots of brownies are an absolute must for road-tripping), and we had an excess of fresh cherries just begging to be used. And for some reason I have a ridiculous amount of chocolate chips to try and use up in 10 days time… poor me, right? ;)
So, today I decided I should bake some chocolate chip cherry brownies. These guys are easy to make and pretty darned good for you — at least compared to most other things I bake! And they have chocolate! And cherries!
Yay for brownies!
Chocolate Chip Cherry Brownies
- 12 medjool dates
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 2 1/4 cup non-dairy chocolate chips, divided
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup superfine brown rice flour
- 1/3 cup potato starch
- 1 cup finely chopped cherries
Preheat oven to 350 °F. Lightly grease a glass 8 x 8 inch baking pan.
Combine pitted dates and non-dairy milk into food processor and puree until very smooth.
Over double boiler, melt 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips. Pour the melted chocolate into the date mixture and blend again until super smooth. Transfer to large mixing bowl and stir in vanilla extract and salt.
Add in brown rice flour and potato starch and mix until well combined. The batter will be very very very thick. Fold in cherries and remaining chocolate chips. I used clean hands to more or less knead the mix-ins into the batter.
Press batter into pan and spread as best you can to make a uniform surface on top. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Cool completely and cut into small squares.
As you guys can probably tell by now, I am a huge advocate of muffin making. I bake them often, and many times I like to feature them here on the blog. This is because, in my eyes, muffins may be the world’s most perfect food.
They are simple to prepare, they taste kinda like cake, and there are endless variations to be thought up. I could probably make muffins every single day and never repeat a flavor combo even once… at least for a year or so. And I’d relish every single minute of it. ♥
You know what else I love about muffins? My picky two year old will eat them for breakfast. She has a hard time agreeing to putting anything in her mouth that’s not a “leaf” (kale salads, raw spinach, etc.) or a cookie. Yet, every single muffin I’ve ever fed her has been happily gobbled up–mostly by her, sometimes by the dog. She’s also into sharing.
When I make muffins these days, I like to jam them full of mix-ins to balance out all those leaves. ;) These are typical blueberry muffins with a few extras–buckwheat, zucchini, and banana–added in for good measure.
Hey, lovely readers! Happy Thursday! I bring you this bagel as part of a group blogging challenge entitled, “Gluten-Free Dream Day at Panera Bread“.
What’s a Gluten-Free Dream Day at Panera Bread?
Well, basically a bunch of us bloggers came together and we each re-created our favorite Panera Bread bakery treat into a gluten-free vegan version. Pretty cool, huh? Some very talented folks are participating, and I’m excited to be part of it.
When I was invited to work on this idea with Marly, of Namely Marly, the same genius who brought us Top Ten Sandwiches: Veganized , I was all about it. But, I have to admit…. I haven’t been to a Panera Bread chain in a very, very, very long time. In fact, I think the last time I was in one was about 4 years ago, and that was only to pick up some grub for my office friends’ lunches. I did however get myself a soy latte, and from what I remember, it was pretty tasty.
Once I finally took a looksy at Panera’s menu and realized they had a Jalapeño Cheddar Bagel, I decided I wanted to recreate it in my own gluten-free and animal friendly kitchen. I love bagels… so I thought this would be right up my alley. Even though I had never had the actual Panera bagel, it sounded like something I would totally be into. And, man, was I right.
Chewy, crunchy (once toasted), spicy, and cheesy, this is definitely my kinda bagel. I’ve always been much more of a savory breakfast kinda gal, and I could get used to waking up to this deliciousness each morning with a piping hot cuppa joe… couldn’t you?
Homemade white chocolate, berries from the backyard, and fresh sage from the garden all add up to a ridiculously easy, yet sophisticated, tart.
As I was making this tart (at this point, I had only finished baking the crust) my husband kept begging me to let him try it. So, by the time the whole thing was said and done and photos had been shot, he managed to eat HALF of said tart in about 10 minutes. And he’s not even a white chocolate fanatic like moi. My son and I were equally impressed with how much he liked this recipe; but, given its delectable and slightly minty flavor from the sage, neither of us were surprised. This is a really great tart.