Baking Break

It feels like Saturday in November.

It’s 43 degrees out, and I went to a bar last night.  That does not scream May in the middle of study week.  But don’t go thinking I’m some sort of hoodlum.  I managed to write a full draft of a 15 page paper on urban gardens and get through a poster session.  A gin and tonic or two was earned.

This morning, while I edited my paper and waited for the gym to open (1pm, seriously?), I decided baking was in order.  After all, what makes a cold study day better than a warm muffin?

Apple Muffins

1/2 cup almond butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour milk (or probably regular milk, juice, water, etc)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (unless your AB is salted)
3 small apples, peeled, cored and diced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine wet ingredients, add dry ingredients (minus apples) and combine.  Fold in apples.  Fill lined or greased muffin tin (almost full) and bake 20-22 minutes. Allow to cool and then give them away to all your studying (or hung over) friends!

Anyhoo… hope you’re all having a fantastic week.  Back to paper editing and studying!

M.I.A.

Hi Friends!

Next week is the last week of classes! Woo! That means the next few weeks I will be

or rather

Consequently this is the extent of the vegetables in my produce drawer:

Thus lunch has to be

Had this for a few days now.  Not sure how tomorrow’s going to pan out since I’m out of bread and cheese.  I’ll figure it out.

Also…

WTF, Ithaca!??! It’s practically May!!

Off to class I go!

Taco Flavored Kisses

You’re probably all too refined to watch South Park, but my lunch reminded me of that episode.

Taco Salad!  (But way healthier and probably more delicious!)

Started with:

  • Romaine (~ 3 cups)
  • Red Pepper (1/4 of a pepper)
  • Black beans (1/2 cup)
  • Cheddar Cheese (about an ounce)
  • 1 Packet of Wholly Guacamole!

Then topped it with my amazing homemade creamy salsa dressing: 1/4 cup salsa + 1 tbsp greek yogurt! That’s it!

Doesn’t look that tasty but trust me, it is!

Delicious! I considered having it again for dinner but decided I should probably vary my daily nutrient consumption (not that soup and toast was a better option… but oh well).

After lunch, I couldn’t resist a cupcake.  So I had a huge cat mug of tea with a cupcake.

Delightful!

Stress Eating:

So yesterday and today, I’ve been stress eating a bit, okay maybe more than a bit.  Honestly, I’m trying not to worry about it too much.  Everything will be turned in and done by Thursday.  I figure if I overeat a little too much these days, it’s not going to kill me.  I’m not going to let a little bit of overeating stress me out even more.  There are more important things for me to stress about right now.  I’ve realized this month that once my stress levels drop, I eat significantly less.  So the moral of the story is, sometimes stress eating happens and while I do all I can to curb it, sometimes I just have to give in, get my work done and move on to maintain my sanity.  What are your thoughts?

Guess I should get back to paper writing since I won’t be watching Lost 😦

Lastly, here’s a link to a hilarious blog post from NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me where they try the KFC Double Down Sandwich. Have a great night!!

Peanut Butter Banana Cupcakes

Hellooo everyone!  Thanks for your great comments on my last post about weight!  I appreciate the understanding!

In other news, I was super please this morning to find that my panini post made the Food Buzz Top 9!

Today felt like a ridiculously unproductive day.  Yesterday I went to the library from 10am until about 5:30 and managed to bust out almost 1400 words of my paper (needs to be 2,500-3,000).  Today after class, I went to the library hoping to bust out the rest of the paper but only ended up writing about 300 more words.  It was just NOT happening!  So instead I just went home, where I proceeded to snack for a good while (probably a consequence of my scant lunch.  I was too lazy to make lunch this morning so I packet a pear, a luna bar, 1/2 cup of edamame, a carrot and some sliced cucumber.  Not substantial enough.  I need a full meal!  Lesson learned, won’t happen again.)

In my unproductiveness, I decided to bake for a friend who is in need of a sweet treat.  I was feeling creative so here’s my creation:

Peanut Butter Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate PB Icing

inspired by Voracious Vegan’s Ultimate Peanut Butter Cup Cake

1 1/2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour (I used half whole wheat)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup + a little more milk (to make this recipe vegan, use soy/hemp/almond/other non-dairy milk)
See Icing recipe below

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine bananas, sugar, PB and vanilla in a large bowl.  Add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  As you combine, gradually pour in the milk until well combined.  Pour into lined cupcake pan and bake for 15-20 minutes (mine required 17 mins in the oven).   Allow cupcakes to cool completely and frost with PB Chocolate Icing.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Sticky Icing

inspired by Pioneer Woman’s Sticky Chocolate Icing

1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 ounces of dark chocolate
1 tbsp peanut butter

Heat together in a sauce pan, stirring until all ingredients are well combined.  Spoon onto cupcakes and spread.

These should probably be enjoyed with a large glass of milk or warm cup of coffee.  The sweetness is crazyyy!  Sort of wish they were a little more peanut buttery!  Oh well, next time I’ll add more!

I’m hoping to get more done tonight.  Not sure to what extent it’ll happen though.  Just need to pull through til Thursday!  I can do it!  Wish me luck!  Have a lovely night!

Random Question: What’s your favorite kind of cupcake? I’m a huge fan of carrot cake with buttercream.

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Icing and Other Delicious Eats

I baked last night! I used Pioneer Woman‘s Recipe for Yellow Cupcakes with Sticky Chocolate Icing.

Oh

My

Goodness

These may be the best things I’ve ever made, solely based on the icing.  I messed it up a little and used too much sweetened condensed milk and not enough chocolate so it ended up a bit saucy.   Which meant it was perfect for drizzling on popcorn…

My roommate enjoyed!

Along with splitting one with me.  Need to make sure they’re safe to eat after all.

This morning after a rockin’ workout, I dug through the fridge looking for breakfast.  I wasn’t in the mood for oatmeal (gasp) since it was 71 degrees this morning!  Instead, I found some quinoa that needed to be consumed and decided to experiment:

Greek Yogurt + Banana + Quinoa + Ground Flax + Cinnamon = Delicious!

It was particularly amazing with sips of coffee, which leads me to believe it would be delicious to try this but cooking the quinoa in coffee to give it that flavor.  I’ll give that a try at some point and let you know how it goes.

Then I went to class and got my study on.  Remember my to do list from yesterday?  Here’s my progress:

  • Finish Reading Good Governance in the Tropics (self imposed deadline: today… hmm might not happen, 90 50 pgs left)
  • Reading for Urban Transformations in the Global South (need to be done tonight, 3 of 5 readings done so far… Africa makes me sad…)
  • Reading response for above mentioned readings (by tonight at midnight)
  • Readings for Urban Spatial Theory (err… might not get to these)
  • Term Paper on Good Governance book mentioned above (due Tuesday Thursday, no idea what to write about… good governance?)
  • Econ problem set due Thursday (luckily almost done)
  • Methods problem set (basically kicking my butt, spent 4 hours on it Sunday only to do 1.5 questions out of 5… meeting with study group tonight, due Monday)

4 out of 7 things done!  Woo!  Also my paper has been extended and is now due Thursday! Super excited!  I’m actually surprised at how much lower my stress level is now as compared to a month ago.  I guess the changes I’ve made in life have been really helpful!   How are you all holding up with stress?

Back to food…

I came home after class and was pretty much starving.  While this morning I had planned to make a peanut stew (a la stew in a jar), all I really wanted was a HUGE salad.  So I started with a layer of spinach and romaine mixed together, added some sliced cucumber, one piece of artichoke heart and some wheatberries and topped it with some dressing.

Then, the exciting part…

I added a poached egg, because let’s be realistic, everything tastes better with a good runny yolk.

My meal ended with another amazing combo: toast + cottage cheese + jam + flax

Aaaamazing!

Now I’m ready to read more, catch up on blogland (don’t think I’ve looked at the internet today!) and watch the episode of Lost that I missed last night!  Hope you all have a fab night!

P.S.  I was sent this NY Times Article about people who take pictures of food by at least 3 people today… I thought it was cute that some friends thought of me when they saw food photography.  Anyone else see this article and smile?

There’s Always Bread Pudding

Do you ever wake up feeling as if something’s off?  There’s a little too much on your plate and you know that no matter what the day will just be a little bit disappointing.

Today I felt stupid for a few hours, then ridiculous for about just as long, and the worst of all like a bad friend and an overall failure in life. Too much stuff going on right now!

To take my mind off of it all for a little bit.  I turned a disappointing loaf of bread I got at the Farmer’s Market yesterday

into something slightly better.

Bread Pudding

1 loaf of bread (about 10 slices), torn into pieces (I used whole wheat)
3 cups of non fat milk
3 tbsp butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup raisins
2 tbsp rum
4 eggs

In a saucepan heat milk, butter, sugar, vanilla, raisins, cinnamon and rum until butter has melted and sugar is dissolved.  Put torn bread pieces into a large bowl, pour warm milk mixture over bread and toss to coat.  Let sit for about 30 minutes.

Add 4 eggs (beaten), transfer to a greased baking dish (I used a big 9×13 pyrex) and bake at 350 for 40-50mins.

Serve with a maple yogurt glaze (fancy way of saying greek yogurt + maple syrup mixed together).

I can’t deny that food is comforting, and I’m not talking about just eating it necessarily but the cooking part.  Preparing this took my mind off everything for a while.  Honestly, I would probably be a little happier if I had someone to give this to at the moment.  I love the smiles that come from receiving a treat, it’s almost better than eating it myself.

Since I’m a lonely duck on this Easter Sunday, I have to find another thing that will make me feel better… being a consumer (not an eater).

I can get these…

or

They cost about the same… Honestly, I could go without either but just out of curiosity, which would you choose and why?

When you’re not feeling great, what makes you feel better?

Hope you’re having a great Easter!

I Have Bad Taste in Music but…

Have you ever noticed that “small talk” usually refers to talking about the weather, music, books and movies?

Whenever someone asks me what kind of music I listen to I usually tense up.  A typical young adult conversation goes something like this:

Person 1: What kind of music do you listen to?

Person 2: Oh a little bit of everything… (at this point the person is being polite but eagerly anticipating spouting off a list of the great)

Person 1: What are some of your favorites?

Person 2: Well, Radiohead, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd… (note: if you’re talking to a hipster you’ll probably get some obscure band in there and maybe a Le Tigre or Rilo Kiley).

Person 1: Awesome, I love Radiohead.

That’s not really how it happens for me.  Usually, I avoid that question at all costs by turning it around and asking what they listen to, because let’s be realistic no one wants to hear that your favorites are Beyonce and Shakira.  Should you dare to admit which ones you actually like, you are bound to be met with a confused glare and an undoubted perceptive drop in IQ in the mind of the asker (the exception to this being foreign pop… if you like that, you’re golden.  Thank God for Juanes).

So while my musical taste may be abysmal, I feel that I have two redeeming qualities: movies and baking.

I like my fair share of ridiculous movies (ahem… New Moon… *cough*), but I like Wes Anderson movies as much as the next person and thought Raging Bull was great! I feel that I can adequately have a semi-productive conversation with a “movie snob.”

My other redeeming quality…

Blueberry Coconut Oat Muffins with Maple Oat Topping

1/2 cup apple sauce
1/2 a small banana mashed
2 1/2 tbsp almond butter
1 egg
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1/2 fresh or frozen blueberries
splash of milk, water or juice if batter too firm (I added about 1/4 cup)

Preheat oven to 350degrees. Combine all the wet ingredients in a bowl.  Add the dry ingredients (fold in blueberries at the end). Fill greased muffin pan with batter (about half full), top with crunchy maple oat topping (recipe below).  Bake for 20-25 minutes depending on strength of your oven. (Note: you can veganify them by adding an extra 1/4 cup of applesauce or another half of banana instead of the egg)

Crunchy Maple Oat Topping

2 tbsp flour
1/4 cup oats
1/2 tbps coconut oil
1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup

Mix together with your fingers to get a crumbly topping.

I may not know everything there is to know about “good” music, but I can make a hell of a muffin from scratch!

Not to mention they’re low fat and pretty healthy as far as muffins go.

Back to school work… Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Slimmed Down Coconut Cardamom Rice Pudding

Last week in NYC, I went to Rice to Riches for a pre-NYC departure treat with some friends.  This place is basically like an ice cream parlor, but instead of ice cream they serve rice pudding.  Let me just tell you.  It was delicious! (I even kept the cool tupperware container it came in!)

Ever since then, I’ve been wanting to make my own.  However, I realize that rice pudding can be a flat out FATTY treat.  So why not try to make mine a little healthier? (And cheaper!  My friend an I shared the “Epic” size and it was $8!  Isn’t that nuts?!!?!)

Coconut Cardamom Rice Pudding

inspired by Joy of Baking’s Rice Pudding Recipe

1/3 cup short grain brown rice (any length grain should work fine)
2 1/2 cups non-fat milk
1-4 tbsp sugar depending on how sweet you want it (4 made it EXTREMELY sweet, I would try it with 1 or 2 first )
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut
1 tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cornstarch

Place rice and milk in a sauce pan and bring milk to a boil (stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t burn on the bottom).  Simmer for 25-30 minutes (stirring every few minutes) until rice is al dente.  Remove from heat and stir in coconut, sugar, cardamom, and vanilla.  In a small bowl mix together cornstarch and some of the milk, once you’ve removed any clumps, add it to the pot.  Place back on medium/low heat stirring occasionally until thick.

Transfer pudding to individual bowls or one large container.  Serve warm or cold!

Soo good!  May have eaten a little too much…

This was like a delicious, creamy (Indian) dessert!

Now back to actual school work 😦 Not excited for this!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Lemon Cake filled with Creamy Goodness

I slept in til noon!  Isn’t that ridiculous!?!  Well maybe not for some, but for someone who rarely wakes up past 7:00am, it’s a miracle!  I must have been pooped from the weekend!  Sadly, I woke up with a sore throat and an overall gross/sore/tired feeling (I consumed several cups of echinacea tea  throughout the day to feel better… not working yet…).

So I lounged around most of the day and read blogs, as promised.  I also watched Pride and Prejudice and proceeded to cry my eyes out.  That movie gets me every time!  Love it!  After a full day of doing nothing, I started to get pretty bored, so naturally I decided to bake, because let’s face it, I would.

Lemon Cake

adapted from Raspberry Laced Vanilla Cake

1 1/2 cup cake flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice (or juice of 1 lemon plus enough water/milk to make 1/3 cup)
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together butter and sugar.  Zest lemon and add to mixture, add lemon juice/water/milk, vanilla, eggs and beat for a few seconds til combined.  Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and beat together until combined.

Pour dough into 2 9 inch cake pans (greased and floured), or cupcake pans, or mini loaf pans or whatever other shape (I used mini heart shaped pans).  I baked my heart shaped pans for 15 mins, for a larger cake you’ll probably need about half an hour.

Before or after, make the custard filling.

Homemade Vanilla Custard

adapted from Joy the Baker’s PB Banana Cream Pie

1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp corn starch
pinch of salt

Heat milk and vanilla in a sauce pan on low heat to prevent burning (stir occasionally).  In the meantime, in a bowl mix together egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Once the milk starts to simmer, stir in a small amount (about 1/3 cup should be fine) of the milk to your egg mixture.  Then add the egg mixture to the rest of your milk.  Stir constantly for about 5-10 minutes until thick.  Put in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap (lay plastic wrap on the custard to keep it from forming a weird film/skin/hardened layer) and chill in the fridge.

Super Fruit Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1/2 cup Crofter’s Super Fruit spread (I used the South America Flavor, but any type of jam, especially raspberry would be delicious)
~3 cups powdered sugar

For the frosting, cream together the butter and fruit spread, gradually add powdered sugar until you get your desired consistency.

In addition the the Super Fruit Buttercream, I made a traditional buttercream with just butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and milk.

To assemble the mini cakes (once cakes have cooled), level off the top of each mini cake (or each big cake if you used 9 inch round pans), spread a layer of fruit spread (suggest you microwave it for a few seconds for easy spreading), then a thick-ish layer of custard and press on the second cake layer (repeat if you want to do more than 2 layers).

One of these will go to the fella.  The other three plus the 4 cupcakes are up for grabs.

Well I guess that sufficiently entertained me for a few hours and also made good use of leftovers (had some egg yolks left over from an omelet and milk left over from Pi Day).

These probably would have been a good idea for Valentine’s Day.  Oh well!

Off to bed!  Have a great night!

P.S. In case you’re interested, here are some more pictures from NYC!

Stew in a Jar

Food bloggers are weird.

We take pictures of food…

Have an unnatural obsession with strange health foods (I mean who else really eats Chia seeds…)

We get super excited about new jars of nut butter…

and even more excited when the jar is empty so we can have oats in a jar.

Now, you can have another reason to get excited about an empty jar of peanut butter: Stew in a Jar

Stew in a Jar

1 tsp coconut oil or olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 tomatoes, diced (or a small can of diced tomatoes)
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 sweet potato, diced
1/2 tsp curry powder
2 shakes of cinnamon
Cayenne to taste
3 shakes of paprika
1-2 cups water or vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 nearly empty jar of natural peanut butter (or just a spoonful of peanut butter)

Heat the oil, add all ingredients onions, garlic, celery and carrots.  Cook til onions are translucent, add tomatoes, sweet potato and spices and stir.  Add water or broth, bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.  Spoon stew into nearly empty PB jar.  Stir and enjoy!  Serves 2-3.

Pretty delicious!  Definitely making this again!

I feel like I’m so close to the end!  Today I was in the library from 11:00am til 5:00pm with a short break for a 1 hr class (which I ended up cutting short…) and a 20 min nap.  Got a lot done though!

In the next hour, I hope to:
-Wrap up my econ paper: I’m doing an economic analysis of the Proposed NY State Beverage Tax!
-Finish 1/4 of a question and rewrite my econ take home midterm… I can draw a mean indifference curve!
-Do the dishes!

Wish me luck!

Have a good night!!