What To Do When You Burn A Pie

Sometimes we forget that we stick something in the oven.   When that happens and your pie burns…

Feed it to a boy.

Laugh when he struggles to cut through the burnt crust.

Smile when the center is still totally edible and delicious.

Lastly, try again later.

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Banana-Date Muffins with a Crunchy Oat-Almond Topping, Vegan and Virtually Oil-Free

In an ideal world, when someone gave me an enormous container of dates, I would make date shakes every single day.

But in the real world, I don’t have a blender and I need to fit into a bridesmaid dress for a wedding this week.

So in the real world when someone gives me an enormous container of dates, I try to make healthy things with it.  It’s no secret that I love sweets.  Usually, I’m all for splurging and eating deliciously sinful sweets, but sometimes I try to make healthy versions.

Like this

Oh hey, muffin.

Vegan Banana-Date Muffins with a Crunchy Oat-Almond Topping

1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar, heaping
1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp cold water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 tbsp almond milk (or water)
1/2 cup chopped dates
For Crunchy Oat-Almond Topping:
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp flour
2 tbsp oats
1 tbsp blanched almonds

Pre-heat oven to 350F.  In a small bowl, mix together 1 tbsp ground flaxseed with 3 tbsp water to make your “flax egg”, put in the fridge for 5-10 while you gather your ingredients.

In a bowl, combine applesauce, sugar, “flax egg,” and vanilla.  Add flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Stir until just combined.  Stir in the mashed banana and dates.  If batter is too thick, add 2 tbsp almond milk.  Pour batter into lined muffin pan (12).

Combine ingredients for topping in a small bowl.  Sprinkle on top of unbaked muffins (the topping is optional, it’s tasty but not essential).  Bake for 25 minutes ish, or until it passes the toothpick test (this will vary by oven).

Allow to cool completely then enjoy, without feeling guilty about eating a muffin, because let’s be honest oil-free, whole wheat flour… basically means they’re good for you.

Maybe not quite, but chances are if you have one you’ll still fit into your dress.

I just ate 3, let’s hope I do…

P.S. Tomorrow is National Banana Bread day. Go ahead, jump on the band wagon.  You know you want to make this 🙂

Couscous Salad with Garbanzo Beans and Dates

I’m a fan of picnics.  Food and outdoors.

What’s not to like?

Living in Central NY I forgot how great picnics can be.  Now that I’m back in Southern California, and especially in Orange County, there are parks everywhere.  It’s quickly becoming my favorite pass time.

The beauty of California is that you can go on picnics basically year-round.  It’s February, and I’ve easily gone on at least 3 picnics this year.

You know what that means?  I need to start diversifying my picnic menu.  I started with cheese, crackers, fruit, sliced vegetables and hummus for dipping.  Now I’m getting more intense.  This last picnic involved plates and forks.

Watch out, I’m gettin’ fancy.

So the most recent picnic menu:

  • Couscous Salad with Garbanzo Beans and Dates
  • Lemon-Parmesan Asparagus
  • Fruit Salad

Let me tell you about this couscous salad.  Of course I brought it in a jar, but jars are optional.

The great thing about this salad (if we can really call it a salad) is how easy it is to make.    If picnics aren’t your thing, this is pretty great for a potluck as well.  Give it a try.  It’s mild but slightly exotic tasting.

I say yes.

Couscous Salad with Garbanzo Beans and Dates

adapted from Epicurious

2 cups water
1 tsp salt
10 ounces couscous
1/4 cup olive oil
zest and juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup lemon juice)
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2/3 cups chopped dates
1/2 cup blanched almonds
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped green onions

Boil water, add salt and stir in couscous.  Cover and turn off the flame, keep covered for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, prep all the ingredients (i.e. chop dates, cilantro, onions, etc.).  Once the couscous is ready, fluff it with a fork and transfer it to a large bowl to cool.

In a small bowl combine lemon zest and juice, olive oil, and cardamom.  Pour over cooled couscous and toss.  Add in the rest of the ingredients, toss and let it sit at room temperature for a few hours.  At this point you can search for the perfect picnic spot.  Once you’re there, serve and enjoy!

Easy, delicious, healthy and completely transportable. Perfect for picnics.

So if you’re in warmer climates, go on a picnic soon and make this.  If you’re in the cold, lay a blanket in your living room and have an indoor picnic, it’s not quite as fun but it’ll hold you over til late spring/summer.

Just saying, it’s worth a try.

Flourless Chocolate Bourbon Cake… in a Jar

I’m coming to terms with the fact that a lot of people like to wrongly think I’m a hipster.

I get it.

I have bangs and long hair that I don’t always brush.  I wear dresses.  I like bourbon and mason jars. I own too many things from Anthropologie.

Little do they know… I love Beyonce and Romeo Santos/Aventura and generally shop at Food 4 Less. Oh and I bathe daily and don’t think I’m any better than you.

Not very hipster-like if you ask me.

But just for fun, let’s keep up appearances.  I present to you a hipster dessert.

If you’re looking to impress a hipster, make this.  It’s sure to impress. Feel free to serve it with some PBR on a vintage plate while listening to some unknown band.

Flourless Chocolate Bourbon Cake in a Jar

from Babble

12 (4 oz) mason jars
1 stick butter
8 oz chocolate chips
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup Bourbon (I used Jim Beam) or other whiskey
Whipped Cream for Serving

Preheat oven to 350F.  In a saucepan, melt together butter and chocolate on low heat, set aside to cool slightly.  In a separate bowl, combine white sugar and brown sugar.  Add melted chocolate to sugars and stir to combine.  Add in eggs, one at a time, beat until well combined.  Add baking powder, baking soda and salt, stir.  Stir in Bourbon/Whiskey.  Pour mixture into 12 greased 4oz mason jars.  Place on a baking sheet, bake for 20-30 minutes or until they pass the toothpick test.

They’ll rise but big but don’t worry they’ll shrink again.

This might not be the prettiest dessert, but that’s okay.  Hipsters don’t care about pretty.  It tastes like bourbon and chocolate.  That’s all that matters to them.

Refrigerate until ready to eat.  I recommend eating them the next day with whipped cream.  The texture is better after chilled, and the whipped cream works wonders (that is if you have any left over from Valentine’s Day…).

So go ahead, make this for the hipster or in your life.  Or just a boy.  Or yourself.  Or anyone really.

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Solution/Chocolate Covered Strawberries

It’s February 14th.  Suddenly you realize.  Oh shit, it’s Valentine’s day.

Maybe you’re not a planner like others, but don’t worry, I’m not judging.  I have a solution for you.  Forget the fancy dinner.  My quick fix only involves one quick trip to the grocery store and a microwave.

Your Shopping List:

  • Fresh Strawberries
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Oil
  • Bottle of Champagne or Sparkling Wine
  • A Can of Whipped Cream

This is what you’re making.

Ladies or gentleman will love it.  They don’t have to know how easy it is, and who doesn’t love something homemade?

Plus chocolate covered strawberries are sexy.  True story.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

1 package of strawberries
1-2 cups chocolate chips (depending on how many strawberries you use)
1-3 tbsp oil

Clean the strawberries and leave them in the fridge to chill.  Put chocolate chips in the a bowl.  Microwave for 30 seconds.  Stir, microwave again, stir again until chocolate is melted.  Stream in oil as you stir.  Add enough so that it’s slightly runny.

Dip the cold strawberries into chocolate.  Lay on a piece of parchment paper.  Repeat until all strawberries are coated.  If you’d like you can add sprinkles or drizzle with melted white chocolate. Refrigerate about half an hour (or until chocolate is hard, or in a pinch, stick them in the freezer).

Serve them to your honey along with the champagne/sparkling wine, turn the lights down low if you want to get into it.

They’ll eat it up (literally and figuratively) and you’ll save some dollas.  Don’t worry, we’ll keep that between us.

See, Valentine’s day doesn’t have to be so bad.

What about the whipped cream, you ask?

I’ll let you figure out what to do with that…