Friday, July 27, 2012

coffee ice cream


No cooking, ice cream maker, or hassle needed to make this delicious, creamy, coffee ice cream.

It may be disgustingly hot out, not the best weather for hot coffee -- but for those of you in need of a caffeine fix, this is the thing for you! This is nothing like those fake chain store coffee flavors, this packs in a deep, coffee punch along with the creamy consistency of ice cream.
The active time for this recipe is only 15 minutes! A little mixing, a little beating. The only hard part is waiting for it to freeze!
My dad is from Rhode Island, and Rhode Islanders take their coffee ice cream very seriously. In fact, coffee milk was named the official state drink in 1993! The Newport Creamery is one of the most famous venues in the state to get a fix of delicious ice cream, or a shake known as an Awful Awful® for "Awful Big" and "Awful Good." If my dad says this is "awful good" coffee ice cream, its the real deal.
With love,
Erica


Ingredients
2 cups heavy cream
1 (14 oz.) Sweetened Condensed Milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup strongly brewed coffee
1/4 cup cacao nibs

Whip heavy cream to stiff peaks in large bowl. Whisk sweetened condensed milk, butter, vanilla and coffee in large bowl. Stir in cacao nibs. Fold in whipped cream.
Pour into a 2-quart container and cover. Freeze 6 hours or until firm. Store in freezer.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

blueberry buttermilk pancakes (guest post)



Today I'm so excited to be featured on Top With Cinnamon which is run by one of my favorite fellow teen bloggers Izy! Since breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day, and since blueberries are in season now -- I decided to share my Blueberry Buttermilk Pancake recipe. A big stack of these fresh off the griddle is the perfect thing to wake up to on a Sunday morning. In my opinion, the ultimate weekend luxury is a big stack of warm, fluffy pancakes covered in a shiny, golden layer of syrup.

Click here to get the recipe!

mall-style mini pretzel dogs

Nothing screams summer like baseball games, giant pretzels, and hot dogs.  Since we're in the height of summer right now, I thought I'd share this yummy, kid-friendly, all-American recipe with you. It’s an all-beef hot dog wrapped in a soft, homemade pretzel and sprinkled with just the right amount of coarse salt. I served mine for dinner with some gazpacho and potato salad. These would make such a fun appetizer for any summer picnic -- plus they're so darn cute!


When I was little, I remember loving "pigs in a blanket" -- hot dogs wrapped in pre-made crescent dough. These take those little piggies to a whole new pretzel-twisted level. Plus, I made mine a little more wholesome by adding some whole wheat flour, and using beef hot dogs from Applegate Farms, which are made with USDA certified organic beef, and are lower in fat than your average beef hot dogs.
There is something so irresistible about a warm, soft pretzel straight from the oven. A crisp, salty crust surrounding a perfectly soft, chewy center. Homemade pretzels must be difficult to make right? Wrong. You can have these addictive little bites in less than an hour and a half! My favorite way to eat these is with some ketchup and spicy mustard. If you want to replicate that "mall pretzel" taste, brush them with melted butter after taking them out of the oven. You could also try them sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, stuffed with garlic and cheese, or even the infamous pizza pretzel. Get creative!

What's your favorite mall-style pretzel?

With love,
Erica

*Note: These are delicious! One note, my dad said as a meal these would be much better with "more dog, less pretzel." So they could be improved by using full length hot dogs, and less dough. 


Pretzel Dogs
makes 16 pretzel dogs

1 ½ cups warm water (between 110 and 115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
about 14 cups of water
1 cup baking soda
1 large egg, beaten, with a splash of water
salt and pepper for topping

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix warm water and sugar.  Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and set aside for 5 minutes.  The mixture will begin to foam and froth.  If it doesn’t, throw the mixture away and start again with new yeast.
Once the yeast and water is frothy, add the flour, salt, and melted butter.  Using the dough hook, mix on low speed until well combined.  Increase the speed to medium and knead the dough until it is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, creating a ball of dough around the dough hook.  Beat on medium speed for approximately 4 minutes.
Remove the dough from the bowl.  The dough will be soft, pliable, and just a bit sticky.  That’s perfect.  Scrape any residue out of the bowl and coat the bowl with a bit of vegetable oil.  Place the dough back in the bowl, sprinkle with flour, cover with plastic wrap, and store in a warm place to rise.  Allow dough to rise, until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Place baking racks in the center and upper third of the oven.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and lightly brush the paper with oil.  It’s important to brush the parchment paper or the pretzels will stick!
Combine water and baking soda in a large pan (8 quart is fine) saucepan and bring to a boil.
While the water comes to a boil, turn the dough out onto a clean, slightly oiled work surface.  Divide dough into 8 or 16 pieces, depending on how large you’d like your pretzel dogs.  8 pieces of dough for whole hot dogs.  16 pieces of dough if you’re doing to slice the hot dogs in half.
Start with the fingers of both hands in the center of the dough, and roll, moving your hands outward as you roll.  Roll the dough along the oiled surface until you have about a 24-inch or 12-inch piece of rope (depending on how large your piece of dough was… the more dough the longer the rope).
Wrap pretzel around a hot dog, making sure to seal the ends.
When water has come to a boil, gently lower a few pretzel dogs into the boiling water.  Boil for 30 seconds.  Remove carefully, using a flat, slotted spatula.  Place on prepared baking sheet.  Brush boiled pretzels with beaten egg, and add coarse sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
Bake until deeply golden brown, about 12 to 14 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack for a few minutes before serving warm. I love mine with mustard or ketchup :)
If you’re not going to enjoy all your pretzel dogs, double wrap them in plastic wrap and store in the freezer.  When ready to serve, transfer out of plastic and into a piece of foil.  Wrap well and bake in a 350 degree oven for 12 minutes, or until heated through.

Adapted from Joy the Baker

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

turkey avocado tartine

 My mom and I both love Le Pain Quotidien -- a wonderful, Belgian chain bakery and communal table emphasizing fresh, organic ingredients. One of their specialities are tartines, or open faced sandwiches. These open faced sandwiches are so fresh, elegant, simple and fun to eat! Tres francais! They are also much healthier than traditional sandwiches, especially when using only one slice of bread. One of our personal favorites is the Turkey Avocado Tartine. Nutty Dijon mustard, moist slices of turkey, and creamy avocado come together perfectly on top of earthy, whole grain bread. I love Mestemacher Fitness Bread -- it's high in fiber, low in fat, and preservative free! This is the perfect simple, healthy lunch -- full of protein, fiber and healthy fats.
What are your favorite sandwich toppings?
 With love,
Erica
Ingredients (serves 2)
  •  2 slices of earthy, whole grain bread (I used Mestemacher Fitness Bread)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2/3 cup sprouts
  • turkey slices
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • Salt + pepper to taste
  • Lemon
Toast the bread. While the bread is in the toaster, slice the avocado into thin slices. Spread each slice of bread with a tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Top with 1/3 cup sprouts. Arrange turkey slices on top, followed by avocado. Season with salt and pepper to taste and a nice big squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Serve with fruit or small salad. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

peach cobbler ice cream


I don't have an ice cream machine, and have always shyed away from any ice cream related recipe. However, when I saw this easy method to make ice cream without a machine on Kevin and Amanda, I decided to give it a go... and it has changed my life forever. This method is so easy (just pop it in the freezer and forget about it) and so rewarding (we're making our own ice cream people!). My family couldn't get enough of this stuff, its so smooth and creamy that no one would ever guess that it's not churned. There's no doubt that homemade ice cream is the supreme summertime treat, and there's also no doubt there will be many more ice cream recipes to come now that I have this awesome method up my sleeve!


The peaches at the Farmer's market are perfect this time of year -- sweet, juicy, and not at all mealy. I think we bought around 20 of them! I was planning on making a peach cobbler, but then decided that ice cream would be a happy substitute since these days its (almost) too hot to bake. Instead of plain peach ice cream, I jazzed it up a bit with graham cracker crumbs and a healthy dash of cinnamon to simulate the warm flavors of peach cobbler. It's basically summer in a cone.


Needless to say, this peach ice cream is a new favorite recipe of mine, and will always be special to me as it is the first ice cream I have ever made. This is the perfect way to celebrate the rich, festive flavors of summer. I encourage all of you who, like myself, stay away from the homemade ice cream scene to hop on over and give this recipe a go :)
What's your favorite ice cream flavor?
With love,
Erica
Ingredients
2 cups heavy cream
1 (14 oz.) Sweetened Condensed Milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 peaches, diced
1 cup graham crackers, crushed (I used cinnamon grahams, of course)

Whip heavy cream to stiff peaks in large bowl. Whisk sweetened condensed milk, butter, vanilla and cinnamon in large bowl. Stir in peaches and graham cracker crumbs. Fold in whipped cream.
Pour into a 2-quart container and cover. Freeze 6 hours or until firm. Store in freezer.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

pesto portobello pizza

Nothing says TGIF like fuzzy socks, some cheerful music, and homemade pizza. If you've never made homemade pizza before, I dare you to give it a go. Homemade pizza dough is so easy to make ahead of time and leave in the fridge to rise-- and it's ready to go when you are! I love being able to customize the pizza to my family's tastes. My mom doesn't eat very much dairy, so I usually make one pie with cheese, and one without. Not only are my homemade pies much healthier (hello whole wheat deliciousness and fresh veggie toppings!), but nothing beats the smell of fresh pizza baking in my oven. It’s Sunday night, but it’s never too early to start thinking about the next weekend. Don’t you agree?
stretchy, gooey, bubbly mozzarella cheese
 This is a great vegetarian dish to try out -- all of you meat lovers will forget all about the pepperoni when you taste this medley hearty mushrooms, sweet onions, and peppery pesto. Top this off with some bubbling mozzarella cheese for one of the most elegant and sumptuous pizzas combinations ever -- slightly smoky, a touch salty, with a balance between rich and light taste.
What's your favorite pizza topping?
With love,
Erica
glorious, homemade goodness

 Whole Wheat New York Style Pizza Dough
 Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup AP flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt (about 1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons EVOO
1 cup water
  1. Combine flours, sugar, salt, and yeast in bowl of an electric mixer with dough hook attatchment. Mix until incorperated. Add olive oil and water. Run mixer until mixture forms ball that rides around the bowl.
  2. Transfer dough ball to lightly floured surface and knead once or twice by hand until smooth ball is formed. It should pass the windowpane test. Place dough in a covered quart-sized deli container or in a zipper-lock freezer bag. Place in refrigerator and allow to rise at least 1 day, and up to 5. Remove from refrigerator, shape into balls, and allow to rest at room temperature for at least 2 hours before baking.
    Adapted from Serious Eats

    Pesto Portobello Pizza

    Ingredients

    1 batch pizza dough
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    1 lb. cremini mushrooms
    1/2 of a red onion, thinly sliced
    1 cup pesto (homemade or store-bought)
    8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    fresh basil to garnish
    1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F
    2. While the oven is preheating, prepare the toppings. In a skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and add the sliced mushrooms and onions. Cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the mushrooms and onions are soft and browned, 10 to 15 minutes.
    3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two pieces. Flatten the dough ball into a disk using the palms of your hands. Roll out the dough until it is about ½-inch thick. Transfer dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet or pizza pan (whichever you are using).
    4. Spread the pesto over the pizza dough, just as you would pizza sauce, leaving a ½-inch border uncovered. Spread the mushroom and onion mixture evenly over the pesto, arrange mozzarella slices on pizza and sprinkle with Paremsan cheeses. Garnish with fresh basil leaves. Place your baking sheet or pizza pan into the oven.
    5.  Bake until the crust edges brown and the cheese is golden brown in spots, 8 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven, slice and serve.
    Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

snickerdoodles

It's not too surprising that I love these cinnamon-sugar rolled cookies -- perfectly soft and chewy in every bite. This recipe is adapted from Mrs. Sigg's famous, perfected snickerdoodle recipe, which has been tested and loved by many. It is one of the easiest cookie recipes ever -- and I always have the ingredients on hand, so it is perfect for midnight baking when the supermarket is closed.  Why mess with something so simple and perfect?
This cookie has a thin, crunchy cinnamon-sugar exterior and a soft, chewy, melt-in your mouth center -- just the way I like them. If you’re a fan of a more firmer cookie, just let them bake for an extra minute or two. Pop one in the microwave before devouring for a cinnamon-spicy warm treat.
Do you have a special recipe for midnight baking?
With love, 
Erica

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Cream together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, the eggs and the vanilla. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Shape dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls. Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls of dough in mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking sheets. 

Adapted from All Recipes


Friday, July 20, 2012

Starbucks' Vanilla Almond Biscotti

Today I am super excited to share with all of you one of the lovely friends that I have made through my adventures writing Cannella Vita. One of my favorite things about food blogging (besides getting all these baked goodies) is meeting and connecting with so many other people who share my passion for food. Izy is a lovely teenage food blogger (just like myself) from England. Her emails always make me smile, and all of her pictures always take my breath away. Without further ado, here's Izy!

 

Hiya everyone! I'm Izy, another teen blogger, and I blog over at Top With Cinnamon. I'm super excited to share this recipe with you today, here on Erica's amazing blog :)


I love crunchy, crispy food the most! Fresh grapes from the fridge while they're crisp and juicy, cereal (no milk on mine, I don't want no soggy cereal) and biscotti. Not ones which should come with a tooth hazard warning, but crunchy and crumbly with creamy almonds and a sugar-speckled crust (I'm seriously surprised I didn't end up sprinkling cinnamon-sugar onto this dough before baking it).

 

Along with hot coffee or tea, they are a perfect mid-morning snack!


Annndd, it's fact time: 'Biscotti' literally means 'twice baked'- 'bi' meaning two and 'scotti' (think of the word scorch) meaning baked. Hooray for random facts, they make your friends sigh in exasperation amazement at your unexpected knowledge-bombs.

Vanilla Almond Biscotti (Starbucks Copycat)

2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (I used half a.p and half whole wheat)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup roughly chopped almonds
3 tbsp butter, cut into small cubes
1 egg plus 1 egg white
3 tbsp buttermilk
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie tray with baking paper.

Put the first 6 ingredients into a large bowl. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or rub it in with your fingers (like when making pie dough or crumb topping). Set aside 2 tbsp of the chopped almonds, and add the rest into the bowl with the flour mixture.

In a small jug / bowl, whisk together the egg, egg white, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Pour this into the bowl  with the flour mixture and stir together gently until the mixture comes together. You may need to use your hands to finish mixing it by lightly kneading the dough a few times.

Place the dough on the lined cookie tray and shape into a log roughly 10" long, 5" wide then flatten it slightly to 1" thick. Sprinkle on the reserved chopped almonds and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown on top. Let it cool on a wire rack until it's cool enough to handle. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees F.

Slice the loaf across its width using a sharp knife or a serrated bread knife, into 3/4" thick slices. Place the biscotti cut side down back onto the cookie tray. Bake them again for 10 minutes, then flip them over and bake for a further 10 minutes. Remove them to a wire rack and let them dry out overnight in a dry place.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

carrot muffins

My Dad bought a 5 pound bag of baby carrots that was about to go bad, so I had a lot of fun experimenting with various carrot recipes -- carrot cake Lara bars, carrot cake granola, carrot pancakes... but my carrot-fest would definitely not be complete without a real carrot cake! 
This is the famous, perfected recipe by Grandpa Sam, which has been tested and loved by many
I altered the perfect recipe ever so slightly, adding some cloves, allspice and a bit of freshly ground ginger root.
These are extremely moist, tender and sweet, with a rich, warm, spicy aroma. Simply put, the best carrot muffins I have ever had. Delicious with a big shmear of cream cheese. Oh, and these get even better with age, so pop them in the fridge for a while for an even better treat (if you can wait that long!).
What's the best muffin you've ever eaten?
With love,
Erica
Ingredients
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp fresh ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice
  • 1 cup raisins

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 2 muffin tins with a paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, allspice and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, oil, sugar, ginger and vanilla. Mix well. Add flour mixture and mix well.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine shredded carrots, coconut, walnuts, pineapple and raisins.
  5. Using a large wooden spoon or a very heavy whisk, add carrot mixture to batter and fold in well.
  6. Pour into muffin tins, and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20-25 minutes. Check with toothpick.
  7. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. 
Adapted from Sam's Famous Carrot Cake

watershed's chocolate chip cookies

This is a recipe from Watershed, a hip seafood restaurant in Washington D.C. In addition to their succulent seafood and hip Southern sides (hushpuppies anyone?), they are famous for their chocolate chip cookies. They serve out countless batches of these soft, classic cookies with a cold glass of milk for dipping -- the ultimate comfort food.
 And let me just say, these are some good cookies. Adding milk chocolate—in addition to the more-bitter dark chocolate—"gives the cookies a little extra gooey texture" says Tom Wellings, the pastry chef at Watershed. To add another flavor dimension, Wellings recommends sprinkling some sea salt on the cookies right before baking. I love the crinkley, soft, chewy texture of these cookies. There are so many overcomplicated chocolate chip cookie recipes out there (bacon chocolate chip cookies? what in the world?). This is a simple, easy, straightforwardly delicious recipe. Perfect with a glass of cold milk.

I am sending a batch of these along with a batch of snickerdoodles in a care package to my counselors from my service trip in New Mexico, who are currently still there leading another group.
What kind of treats do you like to send in the mail?
With love,
Erica
all packed up
Watershed’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

2¾ cup flour
1¼ teaspoons baking powder
1¼ teaspoons baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¼ cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1¼ teaspoons salt
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 bar 70 % dark chocolate, cut into chunks (I used Ghiradhelli)
1 cup milk-chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a sheet tray with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and baking soda, and set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, brown sugar, salt, and scraped vanilla bean on medium speed until light and fluffy, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Adjust mixer to a low speed and add the eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated. Add vanilla extract and then the flour mixture. Pulse the mixer on and off just until the flour is totally mixed in. Fold in the chocolate.

Scoop batter onto the sheet tray, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake until golden brown, approximately 12 minutes. The dough—already separated into individual cookie balls—lasts in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

carrot cake lara bar copycat

 Bars are one of my favorite snacks to pack myself during the day, they are compact, non-messy, and delicious! Lara bars are some of my favorite bars to carry around with me because of their simple, pure ingredients and delicious flavors (unlike the dreaded Power Bar!). The one downer about these bars is that they are so expensive (a $2 price tag per bar!). That's why I learned how to make them even better and cheaper at home!

Sometimes I find Lara bars a little too sweet from all of the dates. Although these bars are sweetened with dates (no refined sugar!), dates are not the main ingredient. I used some of the huge bag of carrots (the same one that led to a carrot cake, carrot pancakes, carrot cake granola, and some moist carrot muffins), some spicy cinnamon, sweet plump raisins and some shredded coconut -- and they  tastes just like big slices of carrot cake. 

These bars are moist, dense, and a little bit chewy. They have no refined sugar (naturally sweetened by dates and raisins). They are full of fiber, beta-carotene, vitamins A, C and K, and potassium, thanks to the carrots.  These could also easily be made gluten free by subbing in GF flour. Are you sold yet? Oh, and they taste kind of like pumpkin pie. Now you're sold. I was surprised that this homemade version ended up tasting much better than the packaged bars. Healthy has never tasted this decadent before! These little bites are perfect for a pre/post workout snack, 3-o'clock pick-me-up, or even breakfast, as they are natural and full of nutrition.

What is your favorite Lara Bar flavor?

With love, 
Erica

Ingredients

  • 10 medjool dates, pits removed (about 5.5 ounces)
  • 2 cups shredded carrots (from about 5 medium carrots)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried coconut
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour, white whole wheat flour, or gluten-free flour (I used Arrowhead Mills Sprouted Wheat Flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans (optional)
Lightly spray or oil an 8×8-inch baking pan. Preheat oven to 375F.
Place the pitted dates in a food processor and pulse until the dates are chopped and begin to form a paste (or pound them with a rolling pin if you are like me, and don't have a food processor). Scrape them into a bowl and add all ingredients EXCEPT flour, baking powder, and pecans. Stir until all ingredients are well-blended.
Combine the flour and baking powder in a small bowl and mix well. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until just blended. Spoon it into the prepared pan, sprinkle with pecans if desired, and press them lightly into the batter with the back of a spoon. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting into 12 bars and serving.
Nutrition (per serving, including walnuts): 128 calories, 9 calories from fat, 1.1g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 57.2mg sodium, 309.7mg potassium, 30.3g carbohydrates, 3.6g fiber, 18.5g sugar, 2g protein, 3.9 points.

Adapted from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

Monday, July 16, 2012

carrot cake pancakes


So I told you about that huge bag of carrots sitting in my fridge? I've been going to town making all sorts of carrot treats, like carrot cake Lara bars, carrot muffins, carrot cake granola, and a big ol' carrot cake. But I was forgetting about one of my favorite kinds of cake... pancakes.

These are extremely moist, fluffy pancakes with the warm and spicy aromas of carrot cake.  Carrot cake has always been a favorite of mine, probably because it is usually covered with luscious cream cheese frosting. Although there is no frosting on these pancakes, I made a killer cream cheese and Greek yogurt glaze to slather on top of them. Cake for breakfast anyone?

Plus there are a ton of fun add-ins you can throw in these pancakes, I added some big, buttery walnut pieces, some sweet, plum raisins, and topped it all off with some toasty coconut shavings. These are such a fun twist on traditional pancakes (because some one can only eat blueberry pancakes for so long...)
Do you have any funky pancake recipes?
With love,
Erica

Ingredients
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves 
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese 
 In a bowl, combine the first 7 ingredients. Combine the egg, brown sugar, carrots, milk and vanilla in another bowl. Stir carrots into dry ingredients until just moistened. Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a greased griddle or skillet. Turn when bubbles form on top of the pancake, and cook until golden brown. For the cream cheese glaze, place cream cheese, powdered sugar, and Greek yogurt in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Add water or milk until you achieve desired consistency.

Adapted from here 

five seed almond bars

I love to decipher and reverse engineer recipes -- whenever I taste something yummy out and about, I always say smugly to my friends "I bet I could make this at home for much cheaper." This is exactly what happened when my mom brought home a bag of Five Seed Almond Bars from Trader Joes. If you want to go out and buy these amazing bars of goodness, you can find them in a little white bag near the biscotti, but if you want to make them yourself... keep reading.

These bars are delicious and healthy.

Delicious: These bars are moist, nutty, with just a hint of cloves. They have a satisfying chewiness, kind of like a oatmeal cookie. Their warm, spicy aroma reminds me of gingerbread or spice cookies. Basically these bars are the love child of a gingerbread man and a chewy bar.

Healthy: These bars have 53 mg of omega 3 fatty acids, and each bar has only around 110 calories and is full of delicious, healthy fats.

Have you ever reverse-engineered a recipe?
With love,
Erica

Ingredients
 
1 cup raisins
1 1/8 cup flour (I used sprouted whole grain flour)
3/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup quick oatmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick melted salted butter
1 egg
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup flax oil (or you could use olive oil, or any other oil you have on hand)
1 cup of seed mix: flax, sesame, pumpkin, poppy, sunflower (or any dried fruit or nut mix)
1/3 cup slivered toasted almonds

Measure out the seed and almonds in a small bowl, so that you can quickly add them later.
Put the first set of dry ingredients in a food processor or a mixer and blend for 30 seconds, until the raisins are finely chopped (if using a mixer, pound the raisins the old fashioned way in a ziploc to form a paste). Add the liquid ingredients next. Be sure to use melted butter, otherwise the mixture will be too stiff. Processor for about 30 seconds until a ball forms. Immediately add the nut mixture and lightly blend to mix (rather than pulverize).
Place mixture on in a 9x13 baking pan lined with parchment paper. Spread evenly to the corners of the paper.
Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes. It will be very soft and harden as it cools. Let cool a bit, then cut into bars and let cool completely.

Adapted from Seed Sprout Savor 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

carrot cake granola

Yes, I've been going crazy for carrots lately -- carrot Lara bars, carrot pancakes, some carrot muffins and a big moist carrot cake slathered with cream cheese frosting. I can say that my dad's 5 pound bag of carrots was a blessing in disguise, as it left us with a ton of carrot flavored treats.


I always feel ripped off buying granola at the store. Its so expensive, and I can't help thinking "I could have made this even tastier at home for much cheaper" with every spoonful I eat. Plus, who knows what really goes into the store-bought varieties? (even those super-pricey organic ones). Personally, I find the aroma that fills my kitchen when a batch of granola is toasting in the oven incentive enough to make it at home. (check out my tropical hawaiian granola here)

This granola captures the essence of carrot cake perfectly -- full of rich toasty coconut flakes, big buttery pecan pieces, and chewy, sweet raisins . In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if my neighbors thought I had a big ol' carrot cake baking in the oven. It looks like regular old granola, but its a mouthful of crunchy carrot cake in every bite! Some mornings I wake up and think "Man, all I want today is a big bowl of cake for breakfast" -- I'm sure some of you can sympathize. When I pour some cold milk on a big bowl of this granola, the clusters soften ever-so-slightly and the milk resembles cream cheese frosting. Full of rich coconut flakes, big buttery pecan pieces.

So yes, I am proud to say I am a borderline hippie who loves to make her own granola.
Do you have any funky granola flavor ideas for me to try? I am up for a challenge!
With love,
Erica


Ingredients
  • 2  cups old-fashioned oats
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup honey puff cereal
  • 2 cups puffed brown rice cereal
  • 2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 inch ginger root, grated
  • 1 cup apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup (a little less than) agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup dried coconut
  • 1 cup raisins
How-To
  1. Place two oven racks on the top and bottom 1/3 of the oven.
  2. Preheat the oven to 300°.
  3. Set aside two baking sheets with sides lined with a silpat liner, parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  4. In a large bowl, combine both oats, honey puffs, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and ginger.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the apple sauce, honey, brown sugar, agave, canola oil, vanilla extract and carrots.
  6. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
  7. Pour the granola on the baking sheets, splitting evenly between the two baking sheets.
  8. With a silicone spatula (or any other flat tool), push down the granola to make a compact, flat and even layer of granola.
  9. Place the baking sheets in the oven for 20 minutes (one on the top, one on the bottom).
  10. While that is in the oven, chop your nuts and combine them in a bowl and set aside.
  11. With a large spatula flip over the granola, cut the larger clumps in half and add the nuts and coconut to the baking sheet.
  12. Bake for another 20 minutes stir around and break up any clumps that wouldn’t fit in one bite.
  13. Bake for a final 20-30 minutes, until completely dry and golden brown.
  14. Let the granola cool completely on the baking sheets.
  15. Once cool, add in the raisins
  16. Store in airtight containers and enjoy!
Adapted from Chocolate and Carrots Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Saturday, July 14, 2012

brown butter cinnamon rice krispie treats


 I recently sent a care package to my counselors who led my New Mexico service trip. I sent my Watershed Chocolate Chip Cookies, and my favorite Snickerdoodles. However, one of my counselors had a gluten allergy, and I couldn't leave him out of the fun! That is why I made this gluten free (and delicious) treat.
Rice krispie treats bring back so many childhood memories. I remember in 4th grade we used to get some sort of packaged snack to our classroom in the afternoon, usually raisins or pretzels or teddy grahams. On some occasions however, we would get those big rice krispie treats in the shiny blue wrapper. Those were the days.
This recipe takes the sweet, gooey, crispy treats of childhood to a new level that both adults and kids will love. I love recipes that put a twist on classic food items. These have a nice nutty, flavorful taste due to the brown butter and aromatic cinnamon as opposed to the sickly sweet store-bought treats.
Plus this recipe is fail proof and reliable, is no-bake and has only 5 ingredients. What more can you ask for? These are perfect for kids, bake sales and to ship to friends in the mail. I made them with Erewhon Gluten Free Brown Rice Cereal... so they are healthy right? ;)

Do you have any good gluten free recipes?
With love,
Erica


Ingredients
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 10-ounce bag mini-marshmallows
heaping ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 cups puffed rice cereal (I used Erewhon Gluten Free Brown Rice Cereal)

Grease an 8 by 8-inch square pan.
Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a large pot. Once melted, whisk constantly til the butter froths and then begins to turn brown and smell nutty. Keep whisking until it is studded with deep caramel brown flecks, then immediately take off the heat (butter goes from brown to burnt very rapidly, so keep close watch). Add the salt and cinnamon, and whisk until incorporated. Add the marshmallows, and stir using a silicone spatula until the marshmallows are melted and the mixture is uniformly smooth. Add the cereal and gently fold in, til evenly distributed.
Pour the cereal mixture into the prepped pan, and using a piece of waxed or parchment paper, gently press down into the pan to make an even layer. Allow to cool, then cut with a sharp knife into 16 squares.
Adapted, slightly, from Bowl Licking

nutella swirl banana snack cake

The recipe that I'm sharing with you today is on the verge of magical. It's delicious, chocolatey, hazelnut-y... oh, and did I mention its healthy? Yes this Nutella swirl banana snack cake tastes decadent... and is actually pretty good for you.
Shall we start with the decadent part? The chocolate banana combination is everywhere -- take Starbucks' ever-popular banana chocolate chip coffee cake. What could be better than bananas and chocolate? bananas and nutella. The nutty spread couples perfectly with the sweet banana flavor, and along with a pinch of instant coffee, it takes this plane-jane banana cake to a whole new crazy level.


Now for the healthy part. What's to argue with fruit, a little bit of butter sugar for good measure (cause this is a cake after all),  whole wheat flour, and healthy Nutella (I used the reduced sugar version from Justin's Nut Butter).
This cake is the prefect snack and the perfect excuse to eat cake for breakfast!
With love,
Erica

makes 9-12 squares
Ingredients
1 large egg
1/3 cup loosely packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant coffee
3 ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup AP flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Nutella (or other hazelnut spread)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8×8 baking pan with non-stick spray
In a large bowl, whisk egg and brown sugar until smooth. Add in vanilla extract, instant coffee and mashed bananas, mixing until combined. Add in flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt, mixing until the batter comes together. Add in melted butter and mix until evenly distributed. Pour into baking pan. Add heaping tablespoons of Nutella (about 4), and gently swirl into the batter. Bake for 20 minutes, or until edges are golden.
Inspired by How Sweet It Is

Friday, July 13, 2012

blue corn bread

Simply put, cornbread is delicious. It is the perfect "accompaniment" to countless soups, salads, stews... especially chili. I love how cornbread is the perfect marriage of sweet and savory -- with  crumbly, fluffy texture and sweet, buttery flavor in every bite. Why mess around with something so simple and perfect? This recipe is the most simple, straight-forward, fool-proof cornbread recipe out there. It's delicious, so why fuss with it?

I picked up a bag of blue cornmeal on my service trip to Santa Fe, so this loaf brought with it many memories from my unforgettable trip. Blue corn is also known as Hopi maize and is grown primarily in the Southwestern United States. It is an essential ingredient in New Mexican cuisine. In addition to a beautiful, vibrant color, it has several nutritional perks as well -- having 20% more protein and a lower GI than white corn. It also has a sweeter, nuttier taste.
blue cornmeal -- all the way from Santa Fe!
I love to eat my cornbread with a big pat of coconut butter and a dollop of honey, and watch as the big, soft crumbs soak up the sweet, velvety goodness. This cornbread is exactly how I like it, crispy on the outside with a moist crumb inside.
Do you ever take ingredients home as souvenirs?
With love, 
Erica
crispy, brown edges
Ingredients
1 cup blue cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup white sugar
1 pinch salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter 
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x9 inch baking dish. Mix cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Sift 3 times. Stir the eggs and milk into the cornmeal mixture. Place the butter in the prepared baking dish, and melt in the preheated oven. Mix hot, melted butter into the cornmeal mixture. Transfer cornmeal mixture to the prepared baking dish. Bake on center rack in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the edges of the cornbread pull away from the sides of the dish, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes before cutting. 
This is most delicious straight out of the oven with a big, melty pat of butter and some honey -- but it keeps well covered in the fridge, and makes a great quick breakfast or snack when warmed in the microwave!