Category Archives: health

Honey Pistachio Muffins

DSC_0007I have irrational fears. Like, a lot of them.  Perhaps the most irrational of them all is the belief that the girl from the Sixth Sense lives under my bed. I’ve checked (physically) and know (rationally) that underneath my bed is full of storage and bags and there’s no way a creepy dead girl could fit, much less LIVE under there. But that CERTAINLY does not stop me from leaping into bed from five feet away so she (imaginary creepy dead girl) won’t be able to reach my ankles to grab them. M. Night Shyamalan, thank you for ruining my life.

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Additionally, I’m scared that every time I stub my baby toe I’m going to lose my toe nail. (This happened to me last week and NO I DO NOT WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT.)

And any time anyone gets hit in the eye and they cover their face like “Ouuuuch Charlie!“, I’m convinced that when they uncover it their eyeball is going to be GONE. Vanished. (Who has two thumbs and is passionately irrational? This girl.)

I’m also worried that I will forget my keys and/or forget to lock the door and someone will break in and murder me. (This fear was newly exacerbated when Mike couldn’t find his keys one morning only to discover them IN THE DOOR. ON THE OUTSIDE. WHERE THEY HAD BEEN ALL NIGHT.)

Finally, I fear that I will never own a puppy. (Just kidding. Threw that one in for comic relief. Obviously it’s only a matter of time.)

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Awhile back I heard someone use the term “sugar tumors”* and [(ir)rationally] convinced myself I was growing at least 17 and decided to back off the sugar for awhile**.

*It’s also possible that I made this term up in my own head.

**Read: Four days.

Despite the sometimes-breaks from sugar, I recently realized that I’ve never actually made a baked treat with minimal/no added sugar (to me this means granulated or cane sugar) and set off to make a baked good sweetened only with honey. And honey pistachio muffins were born!

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WOW-za. Revelation! First of all, I totally do not feel guilty eating these muffins for breakfast because, hello! Barely any sugar. They are just a little bit sweet, almost to the point of savory. And the batter? DEEEEEEEE-lish. Also perfection served warm with a little drizzle of honey.

DSC_0042Honey Pistachio Muffins (adapted from Scarletta Bakes)

yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup oil (vegetable or canola)
  • 1/2 cup honey (use the good stuff, it’s worth it!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, finely ground*
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, finely chopped

*Note: Use a food processor to grind the pistachios until they are the texture/size of coffee grounds.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk oil and honey until combined. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until fully incorporated. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ground pistachios.
  3. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the oil/honey/egg mixture in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk (so you should add some flour mixture, mix, half the buttermilk, mix, flour mixture, mix, the rest of the buttermilk, mix, the rest of the flour mixture). Stir until just combined; do not overmix!
  4. Divide the batter equally among the muffin tin, filling each liner about 2/3 of the way. Sprinkle the finely chopped pistachios onto the tops of the muffin batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

 

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

image_3This past weekend, I made a cake and frosting combo that called for EIGHT STICKS OF BUTTER. Two pounds, four cups, sixty-four tablespoons. Uh. Yuh.

The cake was obvi a huge hit but when it came time for me to bake some cookies (weekly ritual) my thighs, arteries, and life were like NO MORE BUTTAH. Buttah cleanse please! So I set off to make a cookie sans butter. And eggs. And white flour. And extra sugar.

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And so, my very first vegan cookies were born. Now I’m not going to sit here and tell you that these cookies taste exactly like your standard butter-laden chocolate chip cookie (because NOTHING compares to the good stuff) but I will say that they are quite delicious in their own way. The coconut oil gives them a buttery feel and the almond flour produces a crispy-crumbly-hearty texture. And the flavor! I have been sitting here trying to describe the flavor for at least 20 minutes and all I have come up with is gooooood. Like a nutty buttery [healthy! shh.] chocolate chip cookie ball. Real gooooood.

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OH! And best of all? These babies are so super quick and easy to make!! One-bowl-wonder!

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

yield: about 2 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut oil, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons almond milk (or soy or regular, whatever you prefer)
  • 1 cup almond flour/almond meal
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips*

*Let’s be real: I didn’t have vegan chocolate chips on hand so these cookies are not *technically* 100% vegan. But if you have vegan choco chips they will be!

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the coconut oil and brown sugar until combined. Add the vanilla and almond milk and stir to blend.
  2. Add the almond flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix on medium speed until fully combined; stir in the chocolate chips. Roll the dough into one-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet. Use your palm to flatten them slightly. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are brown and the tops have started to turn golden (almond flour browns more quickly than regular flour, so don’t be alarmed if they look a little darker than usual around the edges!)
  3. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for at least 15 minutes. The almond flour gives them a crumbly texture, so if you try to remove them from the cookie sheet when they’re still hot you’ll end up with a crumbled cookie mess (learned that the hard way). Carefully transfer the warm cookies to a wire rack to cool. I think these are most delicious served slightly warm!

Mini Almond Flour Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Dear Everyone in the World,

WHY HAVEN’T YOU TOLD ME ABOUT BAKING WITH ALMOND FLOUR BEFORE?????

Sorry for yelling.

Love,

MeI opened my fridge yesterday and spied the huge bag of almond flour I bought in Paris last spring (otherwise known as The Time I Went To Paris And The Only Souvenirs I Bought Were Food) that was {{GASP!}} about to expire!! Rather than let my beautiful Parisian memories go to waste, I decided to a little baking-with-almond-flour experiment.

Usually when I conduct a baking experiment in my kitchen, it goes 50-80% wrong and I send the failed baked goods with Mike into work and his fancy lawyer co-workers that I should try harder to impress work peeps eat them anyway and give me compliments and I feel super good about myself because even when I fail at baking I still make wicked delicious things. Right? Right.

So when I finally had a baking experiment success, I couldn’t help but feel a little mad at you, everyone in the world, for not telling me about almond flour sooner. I could have been baking 100% DELICIOUS things and sending them into Mike’s work and being impressive all along!! What the heck??? I forgive you.Baking with almond flour makes these muffins really really not dry (for lack of a better word) (AHEM…moist. MOIST! THESE MUFFINS ARE SO MOIST.) with very little added oil. Who knew???

And the flavor is out-of-this-WORLD. Try them! Try them!! I promise to never say moist again.

Mini Almond Flour Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

makes 36 mini muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a mini muffin tin with paper liners. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs and brown sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the bananas and vanilla; beat until combined. With the mixer on low, slowly stream in the vegetable oil until fully incorporated.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the banana/sugar/egg mixture and beat on low until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Fill mini muffin tin 3/4 full; bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges of the muffins are brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.**
  3. Allow to cool on a wire rack. Best served within 24 hours.

**Almond flour bakes differently that regular flour, so the muffins might look a bit over-baked but they will still be moist inside! Just watch them carefully once you hit the 12-minute mark.

Mediterranean Chickpea Wraps

It always cracks me up when people ask, “How do you resist eating all the things you bake??!”  Um, I don’t.  I eat the  things I bake (and have gotten good at sharing), but I eat plenty of healthy foods too.  It’s all about balance.

I’m lucky to live with a roomie who is a registered dietitian, so basically I watch what she eats and try to copy her.  Girlfriend eats a LOT of raw veggies.  A lot a lot a lot ALOT.  Since living with SarBear the Veggie Queen, I’ve tried to sneak more raw foods and whole grains into my diet, and I’ve found that once I made a habit out of it, it started to be really easy to eat healthy things [most of the time].

I’m also lucky to have a job where I spend half my day running around after little munchkins, so that helps too.  Keeping up with four-year-olds = burning mad cals.

After a weekend spent consuming 1298512721 gazillion chocolate bunnies and malted eggs and jellybeans, I wanted to share my favorite go-to healthy lunch.  It’s quick AND good for you AND delicious. I probably make these Mediterranean chickpea wraps once a week!  The chickpeas take a quick roll in a pan with spices and olive oil to get all crispy and flavorful, then you stuff ‘em into a wrap with plenty of fresh veggies and voila…lunch!  Eating a rainbow of veg TOTALLY negates any chocolate/baked good calories consumed.

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

serves two

Ingredients

  • 1 16 ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic powder, depending on how much you like garlic!
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon salt, depending on taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 whole wheat or whole grain tortillas
  • 2 handfuls romaine lettuce
  • 1/4 bell pepper, chopped
  • handful grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cucumber, cut into slices then quartered
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • feta cheese as desired

Directions

In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium for about a minute.  Stir in the spices and allow them to infuse the olive oil for 10 seconds.  Add the chickpeas and cook for 10 minutes, or until they begin to pop and brown.  Assemble your tortillas (or leave out the tortilla to make a salad), lettuce leaves, and chopped vegetables.  Divide the cooked chickpeas evenly over the two tortillas.  Sprinkle with feta cheese.  Wrap ‘em up or leave the tortillas flat and eat with a fork!

Brown Butter Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I was in preschool, we made Valentines for our parents that said “I love my parents because ________.”  I’m sure the other little kiddos said things like “…because they love me” or “…because they give me great hugs”.

I said, “I love my parents because they let me eat white bread.”

Seriously!  True story.  Real life.  I love my parents because they let me eat white bread.

If that isn’t a MAJOR RED FLAG for a future foodaholic, I don’t know what is.

Even at the ripe age of four years old, I knew what was up.  Sliced white bread, that’s what.  For the next 20 years, it was a serious struggle to get me to eat whole wheat anything.  Now that I’m older, wiser, and watched enough “This is Why You’re Fat” documentaries to last me a lifetime, I know that white flour = bad and whole wheat flour = good.  But that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop eating white flour anytime soon.

However, thankfully, miraculously, Trader Joe’s has started selling white whole wheat flour!  I’m not entirely sure of the nutritional specifics, but it’s basically the best thing that’s ever happened to me.  Whole wheat flour that looks and tastes white??  All over it.

So I’ve fancied up my standard chocolate chip cookie recipe with healthy whole wheat flour and BROWN BUTTER.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you’ve never browned butter before, STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING, drop everything, and go do it RIGHTNOWTHISMINUTE.

I can’t even talk to you about how many spooncupfuls of this cookie dough I ate.  But if we’re being honest with each other…at least 15.  Oh, and I’ve gone on Facebook 3 times since Lent started.  I hope this doesn’t hurt my chances of getting into heaven.

As a former whole-wheat-hater, you know that if I’m saying whole wheat cookies are good, they’ve gotta be really good. And these are better than good.  The whole wheat flour gives them more depth of flavor and a crumblier texture, and the brown butter gives them a nuttiness that is IMpossible to resist.   Dare ya.

Brown Butter Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

yield: about 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, browned
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour*
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
*If you can’t find white whole wheat, sub 1 cup whole wheat flour + 3/4 cup white all-purpose flour.
Directions
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Allow it to bubble, swirly constantly, until it starts to brown.  Remove from heat and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl of the bowl of a stand mixer, beat brown sugar, sugar, browned butter, and shortening until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg; blend well.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture slowly to the butter mixture; beat on low until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool on a wire rack.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes + Cream Cheese Frosting

I have a new favesie thing.

It’s carrot cake.

This is weird for a couple of reasons.

1. Carrot cake is made of (not surprisingly) lots of carrot.  Why would my new favorite thing be a VEGETABLE cake when there are things like peanut butter and chocolate in the world?  Seriously, like 6 (full-sized, not baby) carrots inside.

2. Usually carrot cake has raisins in it.  EW, ew, ew, EW.  Raisins baked into anything (especially a fluffy cake) makes my tongue itch.  Before you get all WebMD on me, no, this isn’t due to an allergy.  Rather, the texture of raisins gives me the heebie jeebies; they’re just so…plump.  Some things make people’s skin crawl, baked raisins make my tongue itch.  Judge me.

3. Cream cheese frosting.  Yeeuck.  I have a food aversion to cream cheese on anything except a bagel.

But, the stars aligned this weekend when I stumbled upon a raisinless carrot cake recipe AND discovered a perfect [not-too-cream-cheesy] frosting while doing my weekly cupcake research.  It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.

Carrot cake will make your whole apartment smell like pure heaven AND since there is like 1/2 carrot in every cupcake you can count it as a serving of vegetables.  Seriously, I checked with my nutritionist roomie.*  These cupcakes are SO moist and perfectly flavored.

ALSO I smooshed the extra carrot cake and cream cheese frosting together to make carrot cake cake balls and they were the BEST cake balls I’ve ever had.  Bonus points for zero cream cheese taste.

Pop on over to Pinch of Yum for the carrot cake cupcake recipe!  I used a slightly different cream cheese frosting recipe (see below).

Cream Cheese Frosting

(yield: enough for 12 cupcakes)

  • 8 ounces of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Beat the cream cheese and butter until combined.  In a large bowl, sift the confectioners sugar.  Add the confectioners sugar to the cream cheese mixture and mix on low until it starts to come together.  Add the vanilla, then beat on medium-high for 1 minute.  Turn up the speed to high and beat for 2 minutes.  Spread onto cooled cupcakes.

 

*Another lie.  Sarah please don’t call me out.  1/2 a serving?

Blood Orange Seltzer

This post is 99% about showing off pretty photos and 1% about recipe sharing.  You’ve been warned.

Blood oranges.

Are.

GORGEOUS.

Usually after I take my food photos, I up the color saturation in iPhoto a bit.

No color saturation upping necessary here.  Blood oranges + blood orange juice really just look like that.

Additionally, in the wake of the diabetes-inducing, cholesterol-spiking, biggest hit on my blog EVER Oreo Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes, I figured it was juuuust about time for my kitchen to pump out something healthy.

And healthy this beautiful seltzer is.  No added sugar, just 2 cups sparkling water mixed with the juice from 1 blood orange.  Simple and refreshing.

Chia Tea

No, not chai tea. Chia.

I’m here today to talk to you about chia seeds.  Those weird little tiny nuggets that turn into magic gel when you put them in a liquid.

Chia seeds…like chia pets, but not.

A one-ounce serving of chia seeds has 4g of protein, 11g of dietary fiber, and all kinds of omega-3 fatty acids and minerals (you can usually find them in the bulk foods section of your grocery store).  Chia seeds absorb 10x their weight in water, forming a “gel ball” around each seed.

Sooo… why am I telling you this?

Basically I have this problem where every time I go to Whole Foods, the refrigerated drink section calls my name and I end up spending $1358325 on Odwalla and Kombucha and Mamma Chia because I am unable to resist novelty.

Until one day when I realized I could TOTALLY make my own chia concoction for like $0.03 and a zillion health benefits.  Win, win.

All you have to do is pick a favorite tea…

Brew it, add some honey if you’d like, and throw in ~a tablespoon of chia seeds.  I stuck mine in the fridge to cool it down, but you could drink it hot if you’d like.

Bada-bing, bada-boom.  Healthy, yummy, strangely satisfying chia tea.  Enjoy!

Boilermaker 15K

GUYS, I did it!!! I ran a 15K in less than 2 hours, completing my goal with a smile on my face and without falling, quitting, or crying (who are we kidding, I cried 4 times). As a self-proclaimed loather of running, having only ever run as far as 7 miles, I truly didn’t think I’d ever be able to complete a 9.3 mile race.  It was reaaaallllyyyy really hard, but I’m super proud of myself for finishing and also super proud of the whole crew I was with!

Pre-race

The weather was perfect, the crowd was supportive, the hills were ROUGH, but we’ve decided to make it an annual tradition!

Post-race!

 

Tomorrow, tomorrow

You’re only a daaayyy awaaaayyy.

Tomorrow I am running the Boilermaker 15K. Remember when I signed up for it and was full of hope and optimism? Well now it’s here and I am only full of terror. And Biscoff spread.

15K = 9.3 miles

Last (and only) time I did a 5K, I came in second-to-last. And that was a third of this.

HAAAAAALLLP!

Luckily I have a great outfit planned (obviously the most important part) and feel surprisingly pretty good about the whole thing.

Dark pants in case I poop in them, a bright top so my family can spot me, and neon accessories because neon makes you run faster.

Send some positive vibes my way, please!