banana oatmeal nutella pancakes

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of “in the larger scheme of things…” thinking.  Here at astronomy camp, we’ve been talking a lot about big things, like black holes, supernovae, and ominous things like “dark matter” and “dark energy.”

Thinking “in the larger scheme of things” can make me feel small and insignificant.  I am smaller than a dustbunny of a dustbunny of a dustbunny in our solar system, which is one of many in the Milky Way Galaxy, which is one of billions of billions of galaxies in a universe that is constantly expanding.  We are living on the periphery of a very average galaxy, orbiting a very average star… puts my seething rage toward the dude who took my java chip frappuccino at Starbucks yesterday into perspective.

That’s the thing…if I’m so incredibly small, do things really matter?

The universe isn’t going to care if I smiled at you on the Metro.  Space aliens will never find out if I replaced the toilet paper roll.  Mars wouldn’t know if I wrote you a handwritten letter or a sloppy Facebook message.  The black hole at the center of our galaxy definitely doesn’t give a damn whether I washed my hair this morning (thank god).

I guess this is one way of looking at things, “in the larger scheme.” But the other geeky way of looking at our place in the universe is that every action has a reaction.  Every shake and rattle sets off another and another.  In this scenario, the little things do matter.Although the former way of thinking about it is tempting (and gives me an excuse not to wash my hair so often), I’m pretty convinced that the latter is better.

Think about flipping pancakes. The trick to making good pancakes is to wait until you see little bubbles form around the edges of the pancake. These super tiny bubbles signify that the pancake is “flippable.”

These bubbles are smaller than my pinky fingernail.  In the “larger scheme of things” they are  practically invisible. However, that little bubble makes the difference between a big, shriveled, goopy mess of pancake batter and a glorious, fluffy stack of pancakes. The difference between a grouchy, hungry morning spent washing batter off my black yoga pants, or leisurely watching pools of butter melt atop fresh flapjacks while sipping a mug of coffee.
With love,
Erica

 

Banana Oatmeal Nutella Pancakes

Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 banana mashed
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup Nutella

Instructions

  1. Stir together all of the ingredients except for the Nutella in a large bowl until well combined.  Gently swirl in the Nutella.

  2. Spoon the batter into a hot skillet over medium heat.  Cook each pancake until the batter starts to bubble at the edges, flip and cook until golden brown.  Continue cooking remaining pancakes. 

  3. Enjoy with butter and maple syrup! (and perhaps some more Nutella!)

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

protein pancakes

It has been almost two weeks
since I’ve been on the Internet — I’m going to tell you what I’ve been up to.

Not much. But then again,
a whole lot.
I actually was somewhat busy — just two Thursdays ago I took my
Chinese final and went to prom (I’ll save that story for another day).
Then, I just sort of dropped off
the face of the Earth.  I worked part-time as a hostess at a cafe, did
some reading (just finished Paper
Towns by John
Green), snapchatted, did some almond butter stress eating, and a whole lot of
wandering.
Yesterday,
I wandered down the street aimlessly, first into a CVS to buy a few pointless
things like tanning oil and Icebreakers gum.  Then I talked to some of the
volunteers collecting signatures outside the metro station for a good while
about string
quartets and the weather.  Then, I wandered downtown and had Mediterranean
style tacos with my mom at 3pm.  Leisurely summer livin’ at its finest.
A few nights ago, I got into bed at 10:10 p.m.  Turned off the
lights.  My room was nice and warm because I never turn the AC on.  I stayed up until midnight just watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s on my laptop and then drifted off to sleep.
It’s like time just slowed down twofold.  My brain cells were burnt and fizzled to a crisp.  The thought of sitting down and writing made my stomach turn.  I ate a lot of Popsicles.
And then I realized that I had not been blogging and felt totally ungrounded and lonely — so I’m back!  I’m looking forward to going on wild summer
adventures and telling you all about them.  I’m going to bake luscious cakes
and eat them and tell you all about those too. I don’t regret my disappearance; I think it was healthy to do a bit of wandering.  Now, I’m ready to get caught up in the world again like I’m known to do and attack whatever comes my way and report to you all about it.
Speaking of attack, this
is total “attack food.”  These protein pancakes have two
ingredients, protein powder, egg whites, and pure power.  Eat these for
breakfast and you will feel like a literal beast for the rest of the day.
With love,
Erica

 

Protein Pancakes

Servings 1

Ingredients

  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 3 egg whites

Instructions

  1. Beat the protein powder and egg whites together well in a bowl. Add a dash of cinnamon/vanilla/stevia to taste.  Heat a bit of coconut oil in a skillet and cook for about 3 minutes on each side over medium heat.

  2. Feel free to jazz these up with chocolate chips, blueberries, bananas... whatever floats your boat.

1 scoop protein powder
3 egg whites

Beat the protein powder and egg whites together well in a bowl. Add a dash of cinnamon/vanilla/stevia to taste.  Heat a bit of coconut oil in a skillet and cook for about 3 minutes on each side over medium heat.

Feel free to jazz these up with chocolate chips, blueberries, bananas… whatever floats your boat.

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this p

orange scented french toast



soak:
to lie immersed in liquid (as water): become saturated by or as if by immersion

Soaking is a magical thing. I love the idea that things can drastically improve by just sitting in liquid.  This idea of idle productivity is particularly appealing to me right now, as I am procrastinating on typing up this MASSIVE outline for finals.

Things that get better after soaking:

  1. T-shirts.  There’s nothing like a soft, vintage, sun-kissed t-shirt.  I recently did a little DIY project, soaking some of my stiff, school t-shirts in a salt water bath for a few days and then machine washing them.  After a few days of soaking in salt water, they were light and soft.  Easy-peasy. 
  2. Legs.  Not quite soaking, but the absorption process is similar — letting thick, minty lotion soak into the skin for a few hours makes such a difference.  Scaly legs put me in an awful mood.  So does lotion that smells old-ladyish.  I’ve recently been obsessed with Seacret Ocean Mist Body Lotion.   No, I am not being endorsed by Seacret, although I’m quite flattered if you thought so.  I get sent stuff like industrial sized jugs of almond butter and oats (not that I’m complaining), not fancy-schmancy body creams and cosmetics. 
  3. People.  No matter how awful of a mood I am in, a soak in the bath never fails to melt some of the angrys away.  
  4. Breakfast.  Ahem french toast…

This is literally just stale bread, taken to unbelievably classy heights by a quick soak in heavy cream and orange zest.  That soak turns a boring slice of bread into an eggy, custardy, zesty sensation!  

I wish more things worked like this.  I wish I could soak in a special bath and come out knowing all of the countries in the world, or maybe I could soak in a magical concoction and emerge speaking fluent Portuguese.  That would be convenient (especially with AP exams coming up).  If I could soak in some sort of magical U.S. history bath, life would be hella easier.

Maybe someday I’ll soak myself in some heavy cream and orange zest and come out extraordinary. Never know!

With love,
Erica


Ingredients

3 eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream, and 1/2 cup milk *you could just use milk, but cream makes this really rich and custardy
1/3 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of one orange
dash of salt
6 thick slices of challah bread (slightly stale is ideal)
butter for cooking
blueberries, syrup, and/or orange marmalade for serving

In a large dish, whisk the eggs, cream, milk, juice, vanilla, zest, and salt together.

Soak the bread slices in this mixture (about 15 seconds on each side)

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pan over medium-high heat until it begins to sizzle.

Add as many slices of bread to the pan as will fit — and cook until golden and crisp (about three minutes per side). Repeat until all of the bread is cooked)

Serve with orange marmalade, syrup, and some fresh blueberries!

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

homemade muesli

I would have thought that all of the “healthy new years resolution” buzz would have slightly died down by now (i.e. some people would have already given up).  But no, everything is still in full swing.   People are bumbling left and right carrying yoga mats, Safeway is totally sold-out of kale, and I have to elbow through people while trying to run my normal (usually very uncrowded) loop around the block.  Right now, everyone is so focused on what they want to change about themselves/their routine.

What about the things that we actually like about ourselves?  What about our little daily rituals and routines that make us happy?

I think that this whole mentality that we need to “fix” our bad, former ways, and “totally revamp” our routine is problematic.  So Dr. Oz told you that the gingerbread latte that makes you smile is going to slowly and painfully kill you, or your neighbor told you that Cross Fit is so much better for you than your weekly Friday night yoga class.  Do you need to switch your gingerbread latte for celery juice?  Should you tone your booty with jump squats instead of utkatasana?

Personally, I don’t think so.  New Years is a great time for trying new things, and sometimes they work out (I recently became re-obsessed with green smoothies).  But why be miserable for the entire month of January? A little bit of familiarity and routine is important to hang on to in this crazy, unpredictable world that we live in.

Right now, things are a little crazy for me (exams, track starting again, new semester… not to mention that it’s beyond freezing outside).  This is a recipe that I’ve been making forever, it’s a little bit of familiarity in this otherwise chaotic time.  My special muesli has powered me through many English exams, track meet, and chilly days — I know it’ll still work.

What’s a familiar thing that you’re going to hold on to in the new year?

With love,
Erica

Homemade Muesli

Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 gala apple grated
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup juice
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • Large pinch ground cinnamon
  • a dash of cloves
  • 1/2 cup nuts and dried fruits of your choice
  • 1 Tbs. chia seeds optional
  • fresh fruit for serving

Instructions

  1. Combine all of the ingredients except for the fresh fruit in a container with a lid. 

  2. Place in the fridge overnight. 

  3. In the morning, scoop into bowls and top with fresh fruit.

nutella twists

“I realized this week that I just cannot do it all, so I will choose to do what I can, fabulously.” 
— Clinton Kelly 

In school, I’ve heard a lot of pep-talks.  From teachers, coaches, mentors, etc.  They all go along the lines of “work hard,” “always do your best,” “never give up.”

spread

I am a firm believer in all of these things, and I take pride in doing my best and really putting my heart into things that I care about.   However, I’ve realized is that no matter how hard I work, it is physically impossible to do it all.   And that’s OK.

Moderation is a tough concept to grapple with, especially for a young person like me.  I want to learn things, I want to be able to do things, and I want to understand things.  And I’m impatient.

slice

In Japanese, there’s this word, tekitou.  In English, it translates to “halfhearted.”  However, to me, the word means quite the opposite. “Halfhearted” has such a negative connotation.  To me, tekitou means doing the things that I love and care about wholeheartedly, and in regard to living a balanced life (and not driving myself totally crazy), not sweating the little details in all of the other things I have to do, and remembering that not everything has to be picture perfect.

twist

So onto the recipe, there’s nothing quite like homemade pastry.  But ask anyone who has rolled out their own puff pastry — it’s an ordeal and a half.   Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Sometime’s it’s OK to cut a few corners.  Especially in the baking world.  Like for instance, (this is for all of you food bloggers and avid bakers out there), how many times have you actually taken butter out of the fridge an hour before baking to let it “soften to room temperature?  I’ve never done this (except for the one time I simply forgot to put it back in the fridge after buttering my toast).  I always just give the stick a 30 second zap in the microwave.  Tekitou. 


I’m always in the mood for some buttery, flaky, Nutella-swirled goodness.  And although I am often in the mood to play with dough as well, my schedule doesn’t always allow for making homemade puff pastry.

Here’s a quick-and-dirty little recipe for beautiful, Nutella twist pastries.  They look like I slaved for hours over them — rolling and folding puff pastry.  They taste all insane, buttery and chocolatey, and take minutes to twist together.  Win win win.  I finished my math homework, and got to make these awesome little twists of goodness.  Tekitou.


powdered sugar always classes things up

How were you tekitou today?


With love, Erica 

Ingredients 
1 box frozen puff pastry (thawed)
Nutella
1 egg
powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Roll out your defrosted puff pastry into a 2mm thick long, rectangular shape.  Spread a thin, even layer of Nutella onto the pastry.  Roll the puff pastry up jelly-roll style from the long end.

Using a sharp knife, slice the roll in half vertically, exposing all of those layers of Nutella.  Cut each half into fourths.

Hold one piece of puff pastry from both ends and start twisting it, turning each hand in opposite directions
until you have a tall spiral shape. Hold one end of the strip in place
with a finger, and roll the rest of the spiral around it until you get a
small spiral. Tuck in the last end underneath the pastry, making sure
you do so tightly so it won’t uncurl during the baking process.

Repeat with the other sheet of puff pastry.  Place each
spiral about 3 inches apart from one another on the prepared baking sheet.

Lightly brush each pastry with beaten egg.   Bake in the preheated oven for 14-18 minutes, or, until the puff pastry has turned into a
golden brown.

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

blueberry scones

By now, you guys are probably getting sick of “sights and bites,” and are hungry for a real, meaty recipe post. Am I right?
Well here you go.
After being away from my kitchen for over a month, I went absolutely cray when I got home.  I really should have been unpacking, but you know what I did instead?  Whipped up a batch of this granola, a green smoothie, and these scones.  Oops. #noselfcontrol.  
Those of you who follow me on Pinterest know that scones have been on my radar recently (even created a new scone-themed board).  Now that I’ve dove headfirst into the world of scone-ery (?), I’ve learned that there are two types of scones, British scones and American scones.
The British are world-famous for their scones (pronounced “scon,” if you want to be authentic).  British scones are plain and simple (none of these crazy blueberry shenanigans going on across the pond…), and always served with tea.  They’re hot, crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth, and barely sweetened.  These guys are the perfect vessel for jams, marmalades, clotted cream, butter… you name it.
The American scone is really not a scone at all, it’s more like a snazzed-up biscuit.  And unlike the Brits, we like stuff in our scones, not on them.  We fold in cranberries, white chocolate chunks, fruits, cinnamon chips, even cheddar cheese and jalapenos.  Leave it to America to fold cheddar cheese into everything…  we seem to have a knack at taking recipes and corrupting them until they’re unrecognizable (Chicago-style deep dish pizza/Auntie Anne’s Bacon Jalapeno Pretzel Nuggets).  Sometimes it’s just plain nasty (corn dogs… sorry if there are any corn dog lovers out there…), and other times, that “corruption” can be a beautiful thing (the (in)famous cronut).  Kind of like when Dylan went electric, the abandonment of tradition outrages some, but it opens the door to entirely new genius and possibilities for others.  Like these maple bacon brown sugar scones.  Whoa.
this is what butter looks like after being grated in a cheese grater
I feel kind of sorry for scones.  They’re severely underrated.  Does anyone actually say that they like scones?  People love their blueberry muffins, coffee cakes, and doughnuts; a scone always seems to be seen as that thing that you order when you go to Starbucks at 10pm and the glass case is basically empty.
But scones are awesome.  They’re 100000x classier than any muffin I’ve ever seen, and they’re wickedly easy to make.  Scones don’t deserve the prejudice they are subject to.  Especially these blueberry scones. 
Before I wrap up my rambling, let me tell you about these scones.  These scones are leaning toward the American variety of scones, as they’re a tad sweeter than traditional scones and can be eaten plain.  They’re jam-packed with summer blueberries.  They’re crisp and crumbly on the outside (thanks to a generous sprinkling of raw cane sugar), and fluffy and muffin-y on the inside.  Basically, the classed-up cousin of my favorite blueberry muffins in the world.
With love,
Erica
Ingredients:
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons. baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Raw cane sugar for sprinkling


Preheat the oven to 425˚ F.  Grate the frozen butter with a cheese grater (neat trick right?!).
  
Whisk together the milk and sour cream.  Whisk together the flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl.  Add the grated butter to the flour mixture and mix. 

Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and fold with a spatula just until combined (dough should be shaggy). Transfer the dough to a generously floured work surface.  Dust the top of the dough with flour, and knead a few times.  DON’T OVER-KNEAD!!!!! (sorry if I scared you… but it ruins the scone-y texture)

With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12-inch square.  Fold the dough into thirds, so it’s a longish, skinny rectangle.  Then fold that rectangle lengthwise into thirds, so it’s a small square.  Chill in the freezer for 5 minutes. 

Roll the dough into a 12×12 inch rectangle.  Sprinkle the blueberries evenly over the surface of the dough, and gently press down (try not to squish them).  Roll the dough up to form a tight log (cinnamon bun style).  Lay the log seam side down and gently flatten the log into a 12 by 4-inch rectangle.  Using a sharp, floured knife, cut the rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles.  Cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles.  Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.

Brush the tops of the scones with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with raw sugar.  Bake for 18-25 minutes, until the tops and bottoms are a nice, golden brown. 


Adapted ever-so-slightly from the wonderful Indigo Scones

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.