Maple Sandwich Cookies

Time for Sunday baking!

After my faculty/student mixer where I made carrot cake cupcakes, I had a TON of maple cream cheese frosting left over.  Instead of throwing it away (or eating it straight with a spoon), I decided to incorporate it into my weekly baking.  I didn’t want to make cupcakes again since I’m low on cupcake liners.

Then inspiration came… hmm I could make maple homemade oreos… Sounds delicious right?  Since I don’t have enough cocoa powder to make chocolate cookies and digging out my cars seems like a terrible idea, I thought of another alternative: maple cookies!


Homemade Maple Cookies + Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Maple Sandwich Cookies

adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Graham Crackers and Smitten Kitchen’s Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp sea salt
7 tbsp of butter
1/3 cup maple syrup
5 tbsp milk
2 tbsp vanilla extract
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

In a food processor pulse together dry ingredients.  Add butter, maple syrup, milk and vanilla and process until it’s a smooth ball.  Wrap in saran wrap or wax paper and chill for a few hours or overnight.

Once chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees, roll out the dough and cut into circles.  No need for fancy tools.

You could pretty much do this in any shape you’d like.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom.  Let the cookies cool completely.  If you’re in a hurry throw them in the freezer for a few minutes.

Put your maple cream cheese frosting in a plastic bag and cut off a corner.

This will make it easier to fill the cookies, no need for a knife!

Pipe a dollop of frosting on one side of the cookie

Press the other cookie onto the frosting.

Makes about 30 deliciously sweet cookies.

Enjoy!  Watch out for maple drippings!

I googled maple cookies after I made these and a lot of the recipes use maple flavoring!  That’s nonsense!  Use the real thing!

What’s your favorite type of sandwich cookie?

P.S. Don’t forget to go vote for my penguin olives over at Mara’s blog for the Cute Food Saturday, The Cuteiversary Contest!

P.P.S.  You can win some maple syrup to make this at Jessica’s VERMONSTER giveaway!!!

Just a Taste

Happy Saturday all!

On Wednesday when I picked the fella up from the airport, he mentioned he really wanted tapas.  So tonight, we went to a wonderful tapas restaurant here in Ithaca called Just a Taste.

We started with a wine flight.  I got the light red flight and he got the Spanish flight.

His was better than mine 🙂

We ordered 5 tapas (well really 6 but one never arrived)

Tortilla Espanola

Garlicky greens with blue cheese and walnuts

Goat cheese flatbread

Potatoes with Chipotle Aioli

Grilled Mahi Mahi

Everything was amazing!  The exception was the Mahi Mahi, which I didn’t care for.  The lovely fella ended up eating all of it!  It was too fishy for my taste!

If you’re in the Ithaca area, I highly recommend this place!  It was very tasty!  The lovely fella gives it an 8.6/10.  Pretty high rating!

Now we’re off to my neighbor’s birthday party!  I see more wine in my future.  Have a great night!!

Snowy Dinner Party

Yesterday, when I went to class, I stepped out of my apartment building and was basically knee deep in snow!

None of the sidewalks had been plowed or shoveled!  Getting to class was nuts!  But in the end I made it!  After two classes and a mixer, I headed home to start making dinner for a few friends.  I had two dishes planned.

One I saw on the Food Network while working out at the gym a few months ago.  The second from the NY Times.

First Dish: Veronica’s Vegetarian Meatloaf with Checca Sauce:

This was a hit!  It’s actually supposed to be made in a loaf pan but I made it in a 9×13 baking dish because I would have had to make multiple loaves.  It was very tasty!  I think it was a favorite here last night! As usual I made a few changes, instead of spinach I used beet green from the beets in the next recipe.  It was a great way to make use of something that usually gets thrown away!  And it tasted delicious!  I will definitely be making this again!  Maybe for Christmas this year?

Second dish: Marinated Giant White Beans and Beets

I thought this was really good!  As usual I made some changes.  I only had half a pound of lima beans since I used the other half to make Ginormous beans earlier this week so instead I added half a pound of chickpeas.  According to the lovely fella and another guest, it mixed very well with the vegetarian meat loaf.  This wasn’t hard to make but it was sort of time intensive.

All this goodness was enjoyed with Rhoda‘s homemade bread!

Sooooo good!  Soft and delicious!

Here’s my plate:

After dinner, we trudged through the snow to see an improv show, which was pretty funny.  Very entertaining.  Then the lovely fella and I watched The Hangover, which I thought was REALLY funny.  I feel like everyone in the world had seen The Hangover except me.  Have you seen it?

This morning, it’s still snowing 😦  Not sure what the plan is but either way it should be fun!

Have a beautiful day!

Also… Go over to Mara’s Blog and vote for my olive penguins to win the Cute Food Saturday contest!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Holey Moley!  We got a full blown snow storm!  I’m guessing we got around 2-3 ft? More than I’ve ever seen!  It’s still going strong!

So as I mentioned before, I am baking for a faculty/student mixer today.

I carefully chose a recipe I had made in the past…

Enter carrots:

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 tsp cinnamon
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cup canola oil
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup walnuts (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  Combine went ingredients in a larger bowl (mix in one egg at a time).  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.  Mix together.  Stir in the grated carrots and walnuts.

Line your cupcake pan.  Fill about half way.  DO NOT over fill!  This is what happens:

I overfiled my first dozen and they got terribly messed up!  I ended up having to make another half batch to make up for the mess ups.  I just knew these cupcakes were jinxed!! Oh well.  Turned out fine in the end!

Bake for about 20-22 minutes depending on the strength of your oven.

For the frosting….

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

16oz of cream cheese (I used reduced fat)
1 stick of butter, softened (I left it out over night, it’ll be fine)
1/4 cup maple syrup
4 cups of powdered sugar

With a hand mixer, cream together the cream cheese and butter, add the maple syrup and mix some more.  Gradually add the powdered sugar.  Chill in the fridge for about half an hour.  Spread on cooled cupcakes for carroty/mapley deliciousness!!

Off to class!  Have a wonderful day!!

Carrot Cake Oatmeal

My bananas aren’t ripe 😦

I’m a banana fan as I’ve mentioned in the past.  I usually have at least one per day sliced up in my oats or on toast or in a smoothie.  The riper the better!  Today my bananas are just yellow.  While I could have enjoyed it on a piece of toast, I really wanted oatmeal but I try to use really ripe bananas in my oats.  I guess because of the sugar breakdown as they ripen, they’re sweeter when riper?

Point being… my bananas were not quite ready for oats.  Then I remembered Christie‘s Carrot Cake Oat Bran I read about yesterday and decided to recreate my own!

My combo contained:

1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill 8 Grain Hot Cereal (or oats or oat bran)
1 carrot, finely grated
lots of cinnamon
dash of allspice
squirt of vanilla extract
topped with plain greek yogurt, agave nectar and a few pieces of walnuts

Pretty delicious!  Interesting way to get a veggie in!

Still… nothing beats the creamy sweetness my sliced banana adds to my oats!  I’m going to try this again but next time with a banana as a sweetener instead of agaven nectar!

Thanks for the inspiration, Christie!

Today is another busy day!  Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday!  But something fun…Tonight I’m baking for a faculty/student mixer!  I’m a little concerned because it was advertised as such: “Come mingle with faculty! Enjoy tea and coffee! Savor Karla’s delicious baked goods!” … just a little pressure to make sure it’s great!

See you tonight for some baking!!

Surprise!!

The lovely fella is here!  No exciting food today!  We had Ginormous Bean Extravaganza for dinner!  He approved!

And guess what…

Photobooth photoshoot…

Hair cut like woah! So relieved to not have that terrible mop anymore!

Have a beautiful night!!

GINORMOUS Bean Chipotle Extravaganza!

Hi friends!

I hope you’ve all have a great day!  Mine has been busy and sadly not very productive but oh well!  As I mentioned before, I’m trying to have more complete, balanced meals.  Today was a success!

Oats for breakfast, sandwich and soup for lunch, cantaloupe for a snack and dinner…

Just plain delicious!  I found this recipe on 101 Cookbooks a long time ago and bookmarked it for future making. I finally got around to doing so.  Of course I tweeked the recipe (quite a bit actually) but it still turned out delicious!

Ginormous Bean Chipotles Extravaganza

adapted from 101 Cookbooks Giant Chipotle White Beans

1/2 lb dried lima beans, cooked in salty water
1 tbsp olive oil
few dashes of cayenne, more for more heat
salt
1 tsp chopped garlic
14oz can of diced tomatoes (I only had whole tomatoes so I chopped them up myself, works fine)
2 tsp dried oregano (more if you use fresh)
1 tbsp of adobo from a can of chipotle peppers
1-2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1-2 handfuls of kale, chopped
1-2oz crumbled feta (or other crumbly cheese like cotija… which apparently doesn’t exist in Upstate NY…)

Heat the oil (about medium heat) in a pot, add the garlic and the cayenne, cook for about a minute.  Add tomatoes, salt and oregano.  Cook for a few minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the cooked beans and adobo sauce.  Stir in the kale and cilantro.  Transfer to a baking dish, bake at 450 for 10-15 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

I had mine with red quinoa!

and a huge salad!

You should definitely try this recipe!  It was soooo good!  If you’re one of those people who hates lima beans (don’t get this by the way) you can probably use any other bean, maybe cannellini?  That being said, I thought the lima beans were the perfect bean for this dish!  So big and “meaty”!  Delicious!!

I seriously loved this flavor combo!  Chipotle, feta and cilantro!  What could be better!?!

Try it!  I bet following the original recipe would be even more delicious!  She makes a cilantro pesto that I was just too lazy to make 🙂 Hence I just stirred in some chopped cilantro…

This is also a great make-ahead dish!  I actually prepared it all on Sunday, and today I just stuck it in the oven while my quinoa cooked.  Healthy and Delicious dinner in 15 minutes!  Voila!

Anyway, now I’m off to read before Lost!!  Anyone else as obsessed as I am?!?

Have a fantastic night!!

Food Fight

Yesterday was the longest day ever!  After we last “spoke,” I went to class, prepared for my discussion section, had discussion section (went really well for the first time yesterday woo!), went to class again, met with a professor, worked on the demographic forecast from hell and went to see Food Fight!

Ok, let me tell you a bit about Food Fight.

It was an interesting documentary about local/slow food.  The documentary centered largely around the local food movement started by Alice Waters in Berkeley.  Watching the documentary was sort of exciting since a lot of it took place in Berkeley and a lot of the interviews were done in Chez Panisse (remember when I went in January?).

Basically, the documentary critiqued the federal government for promoting industrialized agriculture through the use of agricultural subsidies for specific products and consequently degrading the quality of our produce.

I thought this was really interesting.  It really got me thinking about who to “blame.”  I know some people don’t agree with this, but I have a hard time blaming the federal government or specific people for things.  I think things need to be looked at in the context of a larger system.  While this film promoted local farming, which I agree is great, I was torn because I understand the rationale for industrial agriculture.

In economic terms, I understand that industrial agriculture creates economies of scale which are more efficient.  However, there is a disregard for quality.

I guess what I took from this documentary was nothing particularly new: our food production system needs to change.

For me, the larger understanding I gained is that it’s easy to assign blame to the federal government or particular people (yesterday in my discussion section, a girl said she “hates Earl Butz,” which I think is a little crazy), but I think it’s important to understand the underlying assumptions and motivations to what people do.  I understand that lobbyists are an important part of this mix, and I’m not saying that this is okay.

Local food is a little elitist and expensive.  A lot of chefs in the documentary admitted it, which I thought was quite refreshing.  While they talked a bit about poverty and accessibility, I would like to see an entire documentary on access to good food by the poor.  Local and organic isn’t cheap, I’d be interested to know how we can change that.  Is “voting with your fork” enough?

Anyway, I recommend the documentary.  Unlike, Food Inc. and other documentaries on local/sustainable food, this documentary is centered on the idea of good tasting food, as in eat local/organic because it tastes good.  I thought this was an interesting approach.

Have you heard of Food Fight?  Any interests or thoughts?

Have a fantastic day!!

Game Face

Hi all!  Happy Monday!

Thanks for all your supportive comment about my last post!  I really appreciate it.

This morning I woke up feeling on the ball.  I was up at 6:20, had some coffee, packed a lunch and headed to the gym 20 minutes before I usually do.

It felt great to get my work out over with earlier than usual… even though a ridiculous girl kicked me off the elliptical because she had signed up for the one was on after me.  There were 6 other ellipticals open… ridiculous!  Oh well, I didn’t let her get to me!

I wanted a change from plain old oatmeal so this morning I had Oats in a Jar using Bob’s Red Mill Hot Cereal! Delish!

My lunch is packed and ready to go:

Flatbread sandwich with a Morningstar veggie patty, hummus, tomato and kale

Along with some cantaloupe, an apple and a granola bar.

I’ve got my game face on to conquer the work load!

Another tip I didn’t mention: just do it! Get work done and stress will be reduced.  So that’s my goal for today.

Have a wonderful Monday!

P.S. Lovely Fella will be here in 2 days!!!!

Stop Stress Eating

I mentioned earlier this week that I’m under considerable amounts of stress.  No where else is this more evident than in my eating patterns.  I’ve been a Snacky McSnackerson literally to the point of feeling ill many times this week.  I want it to stop. Not only is it causing weight gain (I was down 5lbs on my new leaf challenge.  I don’t want to ruin that), but it’s just not healthy (physically or mentally).

There are some people who don’t eat when they’re stressed.  I wish I could be one of them.  I’m the exact opposite.  I can’t stop.  I’m not talking about an extra cookie here or there.  I’m talking about a lot of extra eating when I’m not even hungry.

Honestly, this is a little embarrassing for me to write, since so many people I know in person read this, but I keep reminding myself that I write this blog for myself, not for anyone else.  Lately, I haven’t been posting healthy recipes I like, because I simply haven’t made any.  I want that to change.

I was reading a few articles on stress eating and a lot of the problems/solutions don’t really apply to me.  I don’t keep junk food in the house.  Whole wheat toast, almond butter, peanut butter, cheese, fruit, granola bars, beans and green monsters aren’t unhealthy, but too much of anything is not good.  Sure, I have junk food occasionally but for the most part, I eat very healthy foods.  After reviewing many suggestions for reducing stress eating and finding solutions that don’t really meet my needs, I’ve decided to devise my own.

Here are a few problems and solutions I have in mind for how to stop stress eating:

  • Exercise: One common recommendation to reduce stress is to exercise.  Working out isn’t an issue for me.  I exercise 5-6 days a week, but I’m still stressed (and still stress eat).  I’m going to keep exercising but when I’m feeling very stressed, I’m going to try to do some yoga.  I’ve never gotten into yoga as it’s been terribly boring each time I’ve tried it but on Netflix watch instantly there are a few yoga DVDs.  Worth a try right?
  • Balanced Meals: A lot of people recommend eating 3 meals and 2 snacks throughout the day.  I think every person is different.  For some, 3 meals works best but not for others.  Recently, my snacking problem has been after lunch.  I come home and have a snack simply out of habit, even if I’m not necessarily hungry.  This results in me snacking the entire night and never actually eating a balanced dinner (today was a perfect example of that).  Instead I’m going to try to eat 3 meals a day and only have a snack if I’m really hungry.  Expect to see more healthy recipes I try!
  • Schedule: Being in grad school means I have a very irregular schedule.  While I start class everyday at the same time, there after, each day is different.  This makes it difficult to get in the rhythm of a schedule.  I need to have regular exercise, study, eating and relaxing times.  I want to re-form all the healthy habits that I used to have.  I’m working on devising a daily schedule for myself, which I can share if anyone is interested.
  • Obsession:  I admit it.  I’m obsessed with the scale.  This is just my personality.  I’m not very good at half assing things (except maybe math…).  Am I okay with it?  No.  Am I trying to fix it?  Yes.  I started counting calories again in January, as I had successfully done before.  This time it backfired.  The more stressed I got, the more I ate and the more guilty I felt.  I would eat very few calories one day (around 1200-1300) then I’d be ravenous the next day only to overeat!  The following day, I’d try to make up for it by eating very few calories again… see the cycle?  I lost weight but was terribly unhappy.  I still think calorie counting is an effective tool for weight loss, but obsession is not.  I need to check myself and reassess the deeper issue: stress.  So for now, I’m concentrating on eating 3 healthy, balanced meals a day while avoiding mindless snacking.  I’ll worry about weight loss and calories once I’ve gotten this one down.
  • Finding Alternatives: I’ve realized that a lot of times I eat to put off work.  Instead of eating, I need to find healthy substitutes.  I mentioned yoga above, but another one I’m going to try is cleaning.  Every time I feel like eating something when I’m not hungry, I’ll clean/organize something.  If I really want it by the time I’m done cleaning, I’ll have it.  Cleaning should be a good enough break 🙂

I’m writing this because I want to be healthy.  Not just physically healthy but mentally healthy.  I’m sure there are a ton of people out there who don’t struggle with this and simply don’t understand, some may even think this is flat out stupid.  But I also know there are a ton of people out there who face the same issues I do. I’m not going to let a stage of my life control my happiness. I’m going to take control, overcome it and succeed!

Do you have any other suggestions to put an end to stress eating or to manage stress?

I’ll keep you all posted on my progress.  Have a great, relaxing night!