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Chocolate Almond Granola Bars

Hi everybody,

This is the first of a series of post-hurricane-catch-up posts that I’ll be writing–I did lots of cooking and baking while Sandy was happening, but was wifi-less for days (THE HORROR), hence my lack of posting. But I’m back! Lucky for me, we didn’t get hit too hard by the storm. A few power outages, fallen trees, and the loss of internet was all we really had to deal with. A huge part of downtown was not so lucky. Love you, New York. Stay safe.

This recipe was the result of a baking void build up from a few days–I needed to make something, but I didn’t want it to be unhealthy. All I did during the hurricane was wake up, eat, watch Law and Order SVU, eat more, shower more than necessary, eat, etc. We weren’t allowed to leave our homes, okay?! What else was I supposed to do? Anyways, after almost an entire week of constant eating (mostly those brownies in the last post), these granola bars were what I needed. They’re delicious, easy, and portable. And who doesn’t love granola bars? Warning: these are not super sweet. If you’re looking for a Chewy-bar-caliber sweetness, do not look here. The only thing I sweetened these with was banana; if you want something more, you could always add sugar or honey! Easy fix. I really wanted to make these a little more exciting by drizzling some melted chocolate over the top, but my chocolate chips mysteriously disappeared. I kid you not, I’m not even being sarcastic right now. They were in the cupboard last time I checked! Anyways, until I get more, these will have to do. Not the worst thing in the world! They were yummy either way.

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 c. peanut butter

1/4 c. almond butter

1 1/2 Tbsp. cocoa powder

1 c. old fashioned oats

1/4 c. almond meal

1/2 c. chopped almonds

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease an 8×8″ pan. Put your bananas in a large bowl and mash with a fork (or your HANDS if you’re daring!) until as many lumps as possible are gone. You’re not going to be able to get all of them; don’t fret. Add your nut butters and mix until combined. Add your dry ingredients next and stir until everything is incorporated. Maybe add 1/2 c. or so of chocolate chips if you have them! Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and the center is firm (but still gives a little). Wait until the bars cool completely before cutting! I cut mine into 10 granola-bar-sized bits. It worked out nicely.

Can you tell I love almonds? You could obviously add any other mix-ins you want to this, but I wanted to keep it a simple chocolate-almond combo. Dried fruit would be yummy, chocolate chips, coconut, etc. Go crazy. If you’ve never made your own granola bars before however (I hadn’t!), I highly recommend it! It’s honestly so simple. Aaaand cheaper. And so fresh! And there are no funky ingredients! And, last but not least: you can customize them. What’s better than that?

Enjoy!

Love, Emily

 

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Hello lovelies,

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This was an experiment. It turned out rather beautifully, if I do say so myself! My one complaint: these were not super solid. In fact, they were rather crumbly, which was unintentional, but unavoidable. Allow me to explain. I had been waiting for a few days until I had time to make something delicious with my sweet potatoes and was shocked and upset to discover upon opening their little bag that I’d been stashing them in that two of them were moldy! I don’t understand why, seeing as they were in a nice, dry spot in my cupboard but apparently that wasn’t good enough. Hmph. (Can you tell I’m bitter?) Anyways, I salvaged two scrawny sweet potato babies, but the two heftier ones were not so lucky, hence my slightly crumbly quinoa cakes. I’m going to write the recipe as I intended to do it and hopefully it will work out better for those of you who might try it. When I make these again (which I certainly will, they were yummy!), I’ll update this post as needed if I alter the recipe. Sound good? Good!

1/2 c. cooked quinoa

1 c. uncooked spinach (once cooked, it will wilt down a ton)

2 cloves garlic

1 large egg, lightly scrambled

1/4 c. pine nuts, toasted

1/4 c. almond meal (or bread crumbs, if you’re feelin’ it)

1/4 c. parmesan cheese

2 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed

salt and pepper to taste

1-2 Tbsp. olive oil

First, cook your quinoa and set it aside to let it cool. Saute your spinach in a little bit of olive oil on medium heat until it’s wilted–this should take about 5 minutes. Add your minced garlic and cook for another minute or so. Throw your garlic and spinach into your quinoa pot and get ready to toast your pine nuts. I wiped out my pan with a paper towel and just used that to dry toast them on medium-low heat until they were lightly browned. Throw those in with the rest of your cooling ingredients. Next, peel and dice your sweet potatoes and place them in a pot of water. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, cooking them for about 10 minutes until they are tender. Drain the water, place them in a separate bowl and mash them up with a fork. Add this to your quinoa pot also. Make sure everything is cool before you move on, you don’t want to cook your egg! Add your parmesan, almond meal (or bread crumbs), egg, and salt and pepper and mix well. Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil on medium heat in a skillet and form patties with your hands (I made 4!). Cook each quinoa cake for a few minutes on each side (mine took 5ish minutes per side) and enjoy!

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Ugh I’M SORRY my pictures are horrible. I’m getting increasingly frustrated with my broken lens issue. Although apparently not frustrated enough to get it fixed. The time will come soon.

Oh and on another, more relevant note, I have a confession: I ate my quinoa cake with a rather weird condiment. And by rather weird I mean very weird. Please don’t make fun of me…….I spread pumpkin butter on top……..I KNOW IT’S STRANGE I don’t even know what possessed me to reach for it when I was surveying my options in the fridge. But I must say…it was oddly delicious. I was super into it. I’d recommend it to you, but most people probably aren’t as weirdly pumpkin-obsessed as I am. Whatever, guys. It was yummy.

Love, Emily


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Portabella Pizza Bites

Hi hi hiii,

So I’m a huge fan of mushrooms. They are quickly becoming one of my favorite things to cook with and eat. One of my aaabsolute favorite things is a really good mushroom pasta sauce. UGH yum. Unfortunately, this is not a recipe for that. Maybe someday. This is instead, a super easy, super delicious, super fancy-looking but super low maintenance recipe for a quick vegetarian dinner. (I maaay have seen this on a P90X nutrition plan website via Pinterest which I’m slightly embarrassed about…but shh it’s fine)

6 mini portabella mushrooms

1 egg white

1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Pizza/tomato sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

All you have to do is hollow out the mushroom caps with a spoon and stick them in the oven for about 7 minutes at 400 degrees. Mix the egg white and cheese, pull your little shroomies out of the oven, spoon a little bit of sauce into the bottom of each, add the cheese, and broil in the oven on high until the cheese is nice and bubbly and golden. How easy is that? Alsooo you can put whatever toppings you want/will fit on your teeny pizzas (obviously), I just didn’t have anything. College student problems.

Happy dining!

Love, Emily


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Baked Zucchini Fries

Hi friends!

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I’m here! Cooking! In my tiny apartment kitchen! To be honest it’s the only thing keeping me sane at this point. Last night my appetite was insatiable. I was home by myself (two of my roommates were a music festival, and the other one was home for the weekend) so I had the kitchen to myself and only myself to cook for. Since I was home alone, I went out to eat with some friendsies so I wouldn’t have to mess up the kitchen for just myself. I ate an entire Italian deli sandwich for dinner, came home, worked out, and decided that because of that, I deserved more food. So naturally I had to make something to fill my cooking void for the day. I guess zucchini fries weren’t the worst thing I could’ve eaten in this situation, so I’m kind of proud of myself I suppose. Lalalaaa I am incorrigible. Anyways! These were super fast, super easy, and super yummy. I just made one zucchini because the entire batch was just for myself (ha) but you could easily double the recipe if you’re actually feeding people other than yourself. Make ’em:

1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise into little “fry-sized” pieces

1 egg, beaten

A couple tablespoons each of Italian breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese

Drizzle of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450! Basically all you have to do is mix the breadcrumbs and parmesan together, coat the zucchini pieces in egg, coat them in the crumbs/parm combo, and arrange them on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Stick them in the oven for about 12 minutes or until they start to get tender and lightly brown around the edges. I took them out, drizzled some olive oil and sprinkled some salt and pepper on top, and proceeded to thoroughly enjoy them. 

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These were delish. Can’t wait to make them for my roomies.

Love, Emily


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Lemon Basil Zucchini Lasagna

Hi loves,

Wow okay yeah, I realize my title is a mouthful. I didn’t know what else to call it to capture the true essence of the recipe, okaaaay? Basically, I saw this recipe a while ago and I thought it looked new and exciting. Who doesn’t love lasagna? It’s cheesy, saucy, pasta-y, veggie goodness all baked into one dish. If it wasn’t all gone by now (we only had one slice left from a fairly hefty casserole dish and I ate it the next night…yes, it was that yummy) I would definitely be eating some as I type.

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I have a certain friend who, for one reason or another, will not accept that I am, in fact, a decent cook. This dinner was an attempt to change that. My lasagna resulted in some compliments from some of my toughest critics! Try it, it’s delish.

3 zucchini, sliced lengthwise

1 box of flat, no-boil lasagna noodles

3 1/2 tablespoons of butter

3 1/2 tablespoons of flour

2 c. milk

3/4 c. ricotta

1/4 c. fresh basil, chopped

2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

grated parmesan for layering

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First and foremost, coat your sliced zucchini lightly in olive oil and cook on an outdoor grill. Next, make the sauce by heating the butter in a saucepan on medium until melted, mixing in the flour until combined, then adding the milk and whisking until the mixture thickens (it took me about 6-7 minutes). Once thick, stir in the ricotta, basil, and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set this aside. Preheat the oven to 350 and begin to layer your lasagna! I used a 9×13 casserole dish. Start with a layer of sauce, then noodles, then zucchini, then cheese and repeat. Don’t overlap anything! It’s quite alright if the layers aren’t perfect. Once you’re done layering, finish the top off with sauce and parmesan and stick it in the oven for about 25-30 minutes until the cheese on top is nicely bubbly. Let it sit for 10 minutes before you eat it (the absolute worst part of making any dish, I know).

Ta daa! Beautiful lasagna.

I paired this with some chicken breasts that I marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, fresh basil, and salt and pepper and grilled and it was a perfect pair. My friends enjoyed their dinner, I enjoyed eating it as much (if not more) than I enjoyed making it, and all in all this was a success. If you’re a “traditional” lasagna fan, I suggest you give this a try!

Love, Emily


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Veggie Pizza

Hi guys!

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Apparently I love veggie things lately. Let’s be honest, I love veggie things always. Veggies are great. And I’ve been really craving pizza lately too. I eat a ton of pizza when I’m in New York (which probably contributes to the noticeable decline in health I experience vs. when I’m home…oops), and I haven’t had any in ages. My family never eats pizza. With the exception of my teenage brother who eats anything and everything he wants, we are super health-conscious in my house. As delicious as pizza is, it is disturbingly unhealthy, I will admit. Although every once in a while, I encourage you to get a real, hefty, doughy slice of pizza loaded up with goodies, this is a nice option for when you’re craving pizza but wanting healthy. So naturally when I saw this recipe on Pinterest, I was excited to try it.

So the super sneaky thing about this pizza is…the dough is made out of cauliflower! I wasn’t joking when I said it was veggie pizza. Heh. Yeah alright I am so not funny. Okaaay I know this sounds kinda questionable…I’m not the hugest fan of cauliflower (the smell scares me), but in this context, it didn’t bother me at all. Quite the opposite, in fact. Although it wasn’t quite as satisfying as a bigger-than-your-face slice of New York pizza smothered in buffalo sauce and bleu cheese (hnnnnng), it did the trick for my pizza craving, aaand it was parents-approved. Win, win!

Here’s the recipe for the crust (I’ll tell ya what I put on it later):

Preheat the oven to 450.

1 head of cauliflower

1 egg

1/3 c. mozzarella cheese (the original recipe had goat cheese, but I didn’t have any on hand)

1 tsp. oregano/Italian seasoning

Wash your cauliflower and cut it into florets. Throw these in a food processor in little batches at a time and pulse until the cauliflower is chopped up enough so that it looks like little grains of rice. Put your “rice” in a microwave-safe bowl, cover it and microwave on high for 7 minutes so that it’s nicely steamed and no longer has that funky cauliflower smell. Dump your “rice” into a thin dish towel and (no, I am not kidding), squeeze the hell out of it. I mean it; squeeze like there’s no tomorrow. Get all of your frustration out on this stuff (I know I did). Once it’s properly squeezed, dump it back into a bowl and stir in the egg, cheese and seasoning until properly mixed. This is your dough! Spread it out as thick/thin as you’d like (I like mine super thin) on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Please please use parchment paper. Or grease it or something. I used tin foil because I didn’t have any parchment paper and had to practically peel pizza-slice-shaped pieces of foil off the bottom of each slice. No fun. Stick just your crust in the oven for about 15 minutes until it starts to get lightly browned and crispy. Here’s your crust! Now turn off your oven and turn on your broiler for the final phase of veggie-pizza-making.

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Then comes the fun part! Toppings! For this, I just sauteed about 1/4 c. of thinly sliced mushrooms and 1/4 c. thinly sliced red onions with 1 clove of chopped garlic and about 1 tbsp. olive oil on medium for about 2 minutes. I spread some pizza sauce on the finished crust, sprinkled some mozzarella, and put my mushrooms and onions on top, then stuck it in the oven and broiled it for just a couple of minutes until the cheese was nice and bubbly. Remove, slice, and enjoy!

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Munch on, health-conscious pizza lovers.

Love, Emily


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Veggie Egg Bake

Good morning, friends!

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Last night, I made breakfast for dinner. I absolutely love breakfast foods, but sometimes (…okay, most of the time) I am in no mood to go through the hassle of actually MAKING BREAKFAST. Like pancakes or whatnot. Too much thinking too early in the morning. So naturally, breakfast-for-dinner is the next best option. You still get the breakfast foods, but then you have all day to mentally prepare for your cooking endeavor. (At least, this makes sense to me…)

Instead of a batter-y breakfast, I opted for an eggy one. I kept hearing people talk about/seeing recipes pop up on pinterest for egg bakes, and since I’d never made one before, I thought why not. It looked easy enough. Turns out it was extremely easy as well as delicious and oh so satisfying. As I sit here typing this, I am, in fact, eating the one remaining slice with half an avocado mashed on top for breakfast and I am overcome with breakfast happiness. Not only is it delicious, it’s good for you! Eggs are pretty much the best thing in the world for you so if you don’t like them, you’re really missing out. Eat eggs. Do it.

1/2 c. chopped green onions

6 oz. baby spinach

2 tsp. olive oil

1 1/2 c. shredded cheese (I used mozzarella, it was delicious)

1/2 c. thinly sliced mushrooms

8 eggs

2 tbsp. milk

salt and pepper to taste

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Preheat the oven to 375. Cook the spinach and olive oil in a skillet on medium heat until it’s wilted; about 2 minutes. Transfer the cooked spinach to a lightly greased casserole dish (I used a 9×13″ one, but you can use a slightly smaller one if you have it on hand/if you want your egg bake a little thicker) and spread the cheese and other chopped veggies on top. Scramble the eggs in a bowl with the milk (I always scramble eggs with milk; I find it makes them fluffier and more delicious. Picked this trick up from my mama) and season them with salt/pepper. I used about 1/2 tsp. Lawry’s seasoned salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper…Lawry’s on eggs is my weakness. Ugh, yum. Pour the egg mixture on top of the veggies and gently mix together with a fork to make sure the egg is evenly distributed. Stick it in the oven for about 35 minutes until the edges are lightly brown and there ya go!

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I ate mine with some Trade Joe’s Jalapeño Pepper Sauce on top, which was fabulous. I will definitely be making this again; it was a nice alternative to the usual “chicken and side dishes” dinner.

Love, Emily