Tag Archives: breakfast

Fruity PB & Raisin Bran Muffins

Do you save papers? I do. All kinds of papers. I think I come from the transitional generation whose formative years gave them the impression that paper (along with cursive writing and envelope addressing) was one of the pains of daily life and always would be. And then in the middle of our adolescence, it became necessary that we also know how to turn in all our assignments online (even when the website was made by dinosaurs from a millennium past), as well as have all the social media accounts in order to stay on top of last minute homework assigned at midnight (not to mention if we wanted to have any friends.) Typing was also an issue. So I save paper, and once or twice it has really saved me from a lot of grief, but other times it kind of weighs me down.

For instance, I still have a binder full of my “following a columnist” project in AP English in 10th grade. Four years later, it’s lying in a box on the floor of my room (a nice little nest for the cat, I guess, but little else.) I don’t really expect my teacher from high school, who moved to a different school district, to suddenly barge into my house and demand to see my columnist project. Teachers always warned us to save papers until the end of the term to help make up for their capricious tendencies to accidentally give students zeros on papers that were turned in, graded and returned. But I took that practice to heart in a big way. My accordion binder never gets opened, but it sits fatly on the floor looking all self-important and bulging with all my little quizzes and worksheets from years ago, from schools I already graduated from – just in case.

oatmeal banana chocolate raisin bran muffins

Sometimes the reason I keep the papers is sentimentality. I was so happy the first time I got an A+ 100% Wow! 🙂 on a sixth grade history test that I cherished the paper with the precious red pen marks on it like a sort of Rosetta Stone, a reminder that no matter how discouraging my teacher might be later, she had smiled and said Wow! to me once. I also tend to keep ticket stubs, pages of magazines I like and steal, even notes to myself from a different period of my life to help me remember what it was like to be inside my own brain at that time. For instance, I still have pages of emails I printed between myself, my mom, and my dietician when I was first re-learning to eat in the ninth grade. Questions about half-tablespoons of olive oil and how much lettuce was necessary to make that a feasible conquest, and whether I could take a week off running when my tooth was extracted. And tons of post-its from the years afterwards, covered with my obsessive calculations and kind of stern notes to self intended to make sure I did everything right. I don’t believe in those post-its or what’s on them anymore, but for some reason it felt wrong to just recycle them. Like maybe one day some researcher on eating disorders like the one I had will benefit from the documents. Again, though, I’m not expecting a researcher to break into my house, any more than I expect my tenth grade English teacher to do so.

So far I have mentioned papers that I keep because of superstition and those that I retain for sentimental reasons. There is a third and final class of papers that haunt my drawers, binders, shelves, and basically every corner of space in my physical life, and this is the category that ought to be the least consequential: papers I keep simply because I am too lazy to do anything else. I picked up an informational flyer about how to rescue a baby bird – and when not to interfere – the last time I was at the vet, and I think it is still in my drawer with the millions of golden safety pins and plastic bags I hide from my cat (who chews on plastic.) I could have scanned it, saved it on my computer, even shared it on social media to help spread the knowledge – but I never did. I also could have read it over, decided I was done with it, and recycled it – but I didn’t want to make that kind of irreversible commitment. Hence its perpetual purgatory in my desk drawer.

Most of these papers are just nuisances and really nothing too interesting in the context of this blog: the cut-up black and white model from an art school workshop that revealed to me the horrors of the fashion design business; a magazine full of advertisements that seemed like a really great free souvenir at the Oregon Symphony last fall; the program from a play I liked but really have never wondered since what was the last name of the person who played Matt. However, one such paper is the source of this post today: an idiosyncratically-folded notebook page where a certain recipe was jotted down, many weeks ago, the last time I was at home with a real oven. I wanted to share the recipe with my readers, but the desire was apparently not so burning that I was able to get the post finished within the week I had at home. So I stuffed the batter-blotted, pencil-smeared page into the back pocket of my music binder, along with a practice record from March 2015 and a failed start to a drawing of jellyfish fashion designs. Luckily for you all, I am not going to be blogging about practice records or my terrible drawing skills today. Instead, here is the recipe for some hearty, dense, and nuanced peanut butter banana oatmeal muffins featuring a lovely dark chocolate center. So here. Thanks for taking this piece of paper off my hands.

Fruity PB & Raisin Bran Muffins

Makes 12 regular-sized muffins

peanut butter chocolate banana raisin bran muffin

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 packet Quaker lower sugar oatmeal, Maple Brown Sugar flavor (or replace with your preferred instant oatmeal packet)
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2-1/2 cups Raisin Bran cereal (I used an off-brand)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 medium overripe banana, mashed
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • one 6-oz/single serve container of flavored yogurt of your choice (I used Yoplait low fat Strawberry Cheesecake flavor, but prefer other brands in general because Yoplait includes gelatin in their recipe and I really don’t like to use gelatin if I can avoid it)
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used 1% fat dairy milk, but I imagine non-dairy milks might also work)
  • 1/2 cup Reese’s peanut butter chips and/or semisweet chocolate chips (I used a mix in my odds-and-ends rendition, but you can use either or both according to your taste)
  • 12 Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Kisses, unwrapped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 Fahrenheit. Line a regular-sized muffin tin with 12 muffin papers or foil liners.

In a large bowl, combine cereal, mashed banana, honey, and yogurt. Let it sit for three minutes or so to soften cereal. Beat with a hand mixer on medium until all the cereal is crushed. Add egg and milk and beat until mixed.

In another large bowl, combine the flour, oatmeal, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine.

Pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture and stir gently until combined, being sure not to over-mix. Add the small chocolate/pb chips and stir in gently.

Spoon the batter into each muffin liner, distributing as equally as possible. Cups will be close to full of batter.

Bake at 400 Fahrenheit for a total of 15-20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out with crumbs of baked muffin on it rather than wet batter (it will not be “clean” because the muffins are dense and gooey; this is a good thing.)

Somewhere in the middle of the baking, around 10 minutes through, remove the muffin tin carefully from the oven (but leave the oven on!) Press Hershey’s chocolate kisses gently into the top center of each partly-baked muffin, with the tip facing down. Return to oven for remaining time.

Allow to cool as long as the willpowers that be will permit, and dig in!

I think these taste best warm with the chocolate all melty, but they are also good from the fridge the next day.

chocolate banana oatmeal healthy muffin recipe

Websites used:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/banana-chocolate-chip-muffins-101020

http://www.livestrong.com/article/538118-banana-as-substitute-for-oil-ratio/

https://www.kelloggs.com/en_US/recipes/honey-raisin-bran-muffins-recipe.html

Cupcakes

sprinkles chocolate strawberry lemon cupcake for one

(Scroll down for single-serving chocolate lemon cupcake recipe)

Cupcakes - a life - four section poetic memoir about eating disorder and social anxiety

I.

We may oh-nly ha-ave tonight

But ’til the mo-orning sun you’re mine

aaaalll mine

Play the music low,

And sway to the rhythm of love.

Du-dump-dum-dum.

The Prius is a porpoise in a sea of humpbacks, trying to fumble back home over the four-way-stop hills and past the tiled walkways filled with walking mannequins that make this city a hip tourist destination. Inside, there is music, and my dad smiles at me. I smile back, shyly, before returning my full attention to the cardboard box in my lap. Tucked neatly inside are two fancy, special cupcakes – one for each of us, and probably too expensive to tell mom.

At the kitchen table I let him talk about history, science, the news. My cupcake looked like a butter-kissed rose, whirling across a ballroom floor between the beams of honey chandeliers, until I was about halfway through. Then, even for me, the mounds of chocolate, peanut butter, chocolate seemed a bit much.

I don’t know why I didn’t stop earlier than I did, I remark as I throw the half-eaten carcass in the garbage. One dessert a week, one evening has sabotaged my week of fat-talking and attempts to eat less. I am a cupcake, heavy on the kitchen floor as I stump along toward next Monday.

She’s got

Blue eyes, deep like the sea

They roll back when she’s laughin’ at me she

Rises…. up…. like the tide…

The moment her lips meet

mine.

II.

I wear a red coat every day. I haven’t been shopping for clothes since the first block of ice fell on my October, the first time I remember feeling cold every minute of every day. I have not eaten a cupcake for approximately eleven months, though I play baking games on my computer between geometry headaches.

It takes too long to write in my journal, so I have stopped recording every fleeting glance or marshmallow moment or thought of death. Instead, I draw cupcakes. These are not for eating – they are supermodels, composed of whipped sugar and buttermilk, with fluttering eyelashes and pooched lips. They are shaped like chubby soda cans, straight and round and squat, but they wear their feather boas and red pumps as if they were Marilyn Monroe. I am going to publish them online. They are going to be famous, and I am going to stay hidden behind the screen. Maybe…

III.

I have learned to take it as a given that I will get lightheaded after a few hours at a birthday party.

I saved up calories today so I could survive on a slice of veggie pizza around the circle of Mario-whizzes who also do makeup art. I don’t want to eat anything more, but people keep offering me cupcakes from the plastic-box city built of them, identical yellow and pink frosted heads gazing up into the kitchen ceiling light, with no comment.

One other girl – I don’t know her – also refuses the cupcakes. “I have high blood sugar,” she explains, as if we didn’t already gather that from her dragonfly fashion of alighting and zipping between groups and games all afternoon. I believe her, even though her knees are rather boney.

The night drags on. I wander through the caves that are granite rooms, proudly ensconced in Tori’s leather jacket, staring at the floor next to each tight circle of conspirators. My lips grow fond of each other so it would feel strange to open them.

The girl with high blood sugar approaches from a room full of light and noise. She licks at the crown of pink frosting on a vanilla cupcake, as her fingers paint themselves the colors of disobedience. She addresses me: “I think you are a very creative and sensitive person. You have a certain aura, it’s unusual.”

When my dad honks outside, I give Tori her leather jacket back and cringe into the June night.

IV.

My school does a “birthday bash” once per month, to honor all the kids who might have had birthdays within May, for instance, regardless of whether their friends knew or bothered to buy them sugar-blossoms tied up in ribbons. This month, I’m just glad for the first time to be one of four at a table where there is no silence or space for outsider stares to invade. The other girls choose their stout cakes, pile on their choice of frosting, sprinkle on their choice of sprinkles, and come back to finish our conversation about whether or not short guy superheroes are acceptable in films. One drops her cupcake on the floor in a wild gesture of condemnation, leaving a frozen chocolate tidal wave waiting to usurp her chair legs for a moment before she erases the mishap with several recycled napkins.

I try to ignore the table catty-corner to us, but at the same time I want them with their cupcakes to hear us, to see me with people who are also eating cupcakes. The girls are pretty as vanilla flowers wrapped up in orange silk, glancing at my glaring defense of natural height rights for all people. And he – the one who hyphenates my breaths – dares me to glance back. He has a colorful cupcake, a work of art really, a swirl of sunflower-yellow frosting tying into a whirl of strawberry smoke, hailing deep chocolate gems. No inch of the small white plate will be spared a colorful decoration. Does he notice me? Does he think I am with them?

When I look up again, he has left with his. I am still with mine.

She rises up like the tide –

chocolate lemon single serve healthy cupcake

Recipe: Chocolate Lemon Cupcake for One

based on Chocolate Covered Katie’s Cupcake for One

Ingredients:

cupcake batter

  • 3 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • tiny pinch salt
  • 1 tbs sweet nut butter (I used PB Crave Cookie Nookie Peanut Butter; Spekuloos cookie butter might be a popular choice)
  • 4 tsp water
  • 1 tbs of the yogurt you are using for frosting (see below)

frosting

  • one 5.3 ounce container of lemon flavored Greek yogurt (I used Dannon Light & Fit Lemon Meringue Pie Greek yogurt)
  • 1 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
  • 1 fresh, washed strawberry
  • 1 tsp rainbow nonpareils

Directions:

Preheat oven to 330 Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir. Add nut butter, water, and one spoon of the Greek yogurt (reserve the rest for the frosting.) Mix well.

Pour all the batter into a foil cupcake liner inside a mini ramekin. Place ramekin on a cookie sheet for stability. Bake at 33o F for 12-15 minutes or until you are satisfied with the texture of the cake.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

For the frosting, add cocoa powder into the rest of your Greek lemon yogurt, and mix thoroughly. When cupcake is completely cool, spoon frosting on top. Top with rainbow nonpareils and fresh strawberry (or your favorite cupcake toppings.) Enjoy this dense, protein-rich, tart and sweet treat any time of day!

Note: If you make the cupcake batter without baking powder, it’s yummy raw (and safe to eat since there are no raw eggs!)

Natural Cravings and Banana Oatmeal Cookie Muffins

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Over the past couple years, my family has progressively evolved into naturalists. (Maybe it’s been sneaking up forever, and I just haven’t given the change much thought until now.) I’ve gone from filming “wildlife” documentaries about the household cat to clambering around on the treacherous rocks at Cabrillo Beach, gasping in awe at the sight of a small green arthropod (in this case, a forgivable crab and not a spider 🙂 ).

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My brother, though he won’t admit it, knows everything about all kinds of animals (he taught me to distinguish between a hammerhead and a shovelnose guitarfish on Pinterest). As for my mom, she has joined iNaturalist, the free site that allows everyday people to record sounds or images of animals or plants along their daily routes and crowdsource species information on their own finds. Since it includes a substantial population of nudibranch identifications, I might end up joining myself eventually.

My dad? Well, he is performing a method study of seventeen-year cicadas by practicing their ritual dormant state (he imitates a rock all day.) Not that there’s anything shameful about that – I’ve had enough people look at me funny for spouting the word “crinoid” to know the phrase “to each his own” by heart.

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Meanwhile, I’ve been doing some foraging at the local plastic hole and in the preservative forest, searching for the species of grocery I feel good about posting about on this blog. When I came up with some perfect yellow bananas and a bar of Endangered Species dark chocolate with cranberries and almonds, this recipe became a reality.

These muffins are hearty, very banana-y, and moist. The nutty chocolate is not too sweet, so its sharp darkness and the tart cranberries really shine through. The idea is a soft banana muffin topped with chewy oatmeal cookie. The result is delicious, and sweetened only naturally with very little fat. If you are seeking homegrown energy to power your daily migrations or pollination excursions, try this recipe.

Banana Chunk Oatmeal Cookie Muffins

Based on recipes from Food.com and Amy’s Healthy Baking

Makes 12 regular-sized muffins

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Ingredients:

cookie dough

  • 1 packet Quaker instant oatmeal, Raisin Date and Walnut flavor
  • 1 tbs whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbs creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tbs pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbs water
  • 1/2 of an Endangered Species cranberry almond dark chocolate bar (break into uneven chunks; save a few to go into the muffin batter)

muffin batter

  • 2 bananas (mash 1.5 of them; reserve 1/2 of one to slice for topping)
  • 2 eggs
  • 5.3 oz (one container) Dannon Light and Fit Banana Cream flavor yogurt
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 packet Quaker instant oatmeal, Raisin Date and Walnut flavor
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • scant 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4-1/3 cup water
  • 1 ounce dried cranberries (I used a single-serving box of Craisins)
  • dash cinnamon
  • 2 splashes ginger

(reserve some chocolate from cookie dough above for batter)

Directions:

For cookie dough: In a small bowl, combine one packet oatmeal, 1 tbs whole wheat flour, 1 tbs smooth peanut butter, 1 tbs maple syrup and 1 tbs water. Add in about 2/3 of your chocolate chunks. Stir. Chill cookie dough in fridge while you make the muffin batter.

For muffin batter: Place 1-1/2 bananas in a large bowl, broken into several pieces. Using a fork, mash the bananas as much as possible. Crack in two eggs, and beat them with the mashed banana. Add yogurt; mix well.

Pour dry muffin batter ingredients into wet mixture. Mix to combine; batter will be dry. Add 1/4-1/3 cup of water (I used about 1/3 of the empty 5.3 ounce yogurt container to measure my water).

Sprinkle in remaining chocolate chunks. Add a dash of cinnamon and two splashes of ginger. Add dried cranberries. Stir gently; do not over mix.

Baking Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 Fahrenheit (I did this just before I started making the batter, and after I had put the cookie dough in the refrigerator.)

Line a standard-sized muffin tin with 12 nonstick muffin cups.

After muffin batter is ready and cookie dough has chilled for about 15-20 minutes, spoon equal portions of muffin batter into each muffin cup. Use remaining 1/2 banana to top each muffin with one to two banana slices.

Bake muffins for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add a glob of the oatmeal cookie dough to each one (I found it worked best to scoop up small globs in a spoon, then form them into vaguely cookie-like patties with my fingers before placing them on the muffin tops.)

Return muffins to oven. Bake for an additional 12 minutes or until muffins are golden brown and set, and a cake tester comes out clean. Avoid over-baking as this will make the cookies less chewy.

Allow to cool. Serve warm and melty. These are also good very chilled, though I wouldn’t recommend them at boring room temperature. Enjoy!

Simple Chocolate Berry Oat Shake

chocolate berry oatmeal smoothie easy recipe

Hi. I’ll spare you the long apology for why I haven’t blogged since (I’m afraid to check how long it’s been.) In brief, I’ve been stranded in a desolate place called college, where there is little to no opportunity for ventures into the unexplored world of baked, cooked, or blended nutriment. If you regret not seeing any fun recipes on this site for the past millennium or so, imagine how I must have felt having to eat the distinctively uncreative food available in my isolated confinement.

Overall, I actually had a pretty good first year of college, aside from estrangement from my blender. But that’s boring and I won’t get into it right now. Are you ready for an ice cold summer refreshment smooth as the most decadent of ice creams yet packed with hearty grains and splashed with the splendid kiss of tart berries? Here is your (5-ingredients only!) recipe.

Simple Chocolate Berry Oat Shake

serves one

strawberry chocolate oatmeal smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 8 fresh strawberries
  • 1 Weight Watchers brand (or similar) chocolate fudge ice cream bar
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 tbs fruit preserves (I used Whole Foods 365 brand Fruits of the Forest flavor spread)
  • 1 individual packet dry instant oatmeal (I used Quaker lower sugar maple and brown sugar)

Directions:

Wash strawberries, remove stems and leaves, and chop each into three or four large pieces (to ease blending.) If desired, reserve one strawberry for decoration.

Combine strawberries, ice cream bar, water and fruit preserves in blender. Blend until smooth.

Open oatmeal packet and pour dry oatmeal into blender. Blend for 8-16 seconds (longer blending leads to smoother texture, but I like some grainy chunks in my shakes.)

Pour smoothie into glass and serve cold.

 

Chocolate Fudge Breakfast Cake with Peachy Mango Tang

IMG_1879

If you live in the US and ever shop at such supermarkets as Safeway or Albertson’s, you’ve probably been inundated recently with flimsy paper game boards and tiny tear-off tickets. The goal of the Monopoly grocery game, as you may or may not have cared to read in the instructions, is to keep shopping, wear your eyes to charcoal nubs and hunch your back into a hilltop while you pore over the game board, struggling to match a set of alphanumerical tickets to the prize that a certain combination allows you to win, “potentially.”

Meanwhile, the grocery store issues the same tickets over and over so you’d have to travel the US to find all the unique codes to win a prize. If this seems like too much work, there is also an online sweepstakes wherein you can enter codes on specially-marked tickets and get a message that your code is not a winner. In exchange, the site will collect your contact info for who knows what subliminal purpose, as if the great wide Internet didn’t already provide this information for anyone curious as long as the inquirer swore their conniving intentions.

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If you by some cosmic accident earn all the tickets required for a certain prize, you can take your fragile ticket-game-board to a store and, providing no desperate rival tears it out of your grasp on the journey, show your “potential winning game board” to an employee, who will surely call over several others of increasingly intimidating stature within the company hierarchy, until one finally has the authority to convince you that you are not eligible to receive your prize after all.

Or, alternately, the employees may surrender and give you that $35,000 vehicle or $200 family picnic. Thinking you have triumphed, you will march through all the red tape to actually obtain your prize, no doubt to find that your Cinderella story is fleeting: the fairy godmother may give you a free car, but she’ll certainly not help you pay for gas or maintenance after that fender-bender resulting from your boundless road excitement upon having won against all odds. You may well receive a free jar of pickles for a family picnic, but there’s no guarantee your family will be willing to budge from the Superbowl commercials or eat their sandwiches without fighting over the Frisbee and making all the potato salad spill on your nice new checkered blanket. Is that heartwarming family experience really worth $200? Or your newly incurred blindness and hunchback?

oatmeal chocolate coconut peach microwave breakfast cake

For most of us, who will not “win” anything at all, the contest simply results in lifelong trauma from seeing this old geezer threatening us with the heavy hand of capitalism around every corner of the supermarket:

monopolygrocerygame2016

Regardless of the threat posed by this skulking symbol of human subjugation and dehumanization as hopeful middle-class citizens are reduced to statistics in an odds ratio, I have bravely continued to shop at my local grocery stores. After all, I had to buy ingredients for this fudgey, chocolatey breakfast cake for one with a touch of tropical tang that made my morning marvelous. Besides, I might as well collect the tickets while they’re available: I might win a prize!

You don’t have to win the lottery to taste this hearty, intriguing, and indulgent microwave cake. All you need is five minutes, a microwave, and a few commonplace ingredients you probably already have lying around (feel free to replace the brands/flavors I used with ones that suit you). Fuel up for the race to the top – but don’t get so strong and nourished you beat me to that $200 family picnic, or I’ll be so mad I just might have to sue you!

Chocolate Fudge Breakfast Cake with Peachy Mango Tang

Serves one

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Ingredients:

cake

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
  • one single-serving packet bananas ‘n’ cream instant oatmeal
  • dash ginger
  • 1 egg
  • one single-serve Jell-O brand sugar free crème brûlée rice pudding cup (103 grams)
  • 1 tbs chocolate peanut butter blend (I used Reese’s Spreads)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbs semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Nestle)

topping

  • one container nonfat peach Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbs sweetened flaked coconut
  • handful of dried mango (I used a 10 g pouch of Crispy Green brand dried mango)
  • 1 tsp honey

Directions:

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine cocoa, oatmeal, and ginger. Mix.

Beat in egg. Add pudding, peanut butter, and honey. Mix to combine. Batter will be thick.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Microwave batter in microwave-safe bowl for about 2 minutes or until cooked through (I did 1-1/2 minutes but found my cake was just a little on the fudgey side).

Top with yogurt, coconut flakes, dried mango, and a drizzle of honey. Enjoy warm.

Snow White Fudge Apple Pie

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Lately I’ve been thinking up desserts to represent the major princess tales we all loved/hated as children: what type of cake would tell the story of The Little Mermaid? How to design a sticky bun fit for Cinderella? I like the idea of desserts based on fairytales because 1) it’s a fun idea for a kids’ party (and by kids I mean kids of ANY age), 2) desserts are a necessary part of life and abstaining from them will NOT yield an anatomically-impossible Disney-Princess figure, it will just turn girls into Grumpy of the Seven Dwarfs. All of today’s princesses should enjoy life and learn to accept their realistic figures. 3) I’m really into fantasy writing at the moment. Immersion in the genre through handmade food is a procrastination technique method writing exercise.

chocolate fudge apple cake

 

Anyway, one of the dessert ideas that stuck in my head was a wake-up cake for Snow White, so she wouldn’t have to wait for a kiss from some wayward prince. Chocolate espresso fudge is a sweeter awakening than insistent lips anyway. Add some spiced Granny Smith apples and melty chocolate morsels and this dessert is a masterpiece fit for royalty! I also mixed in some Post Cocoa Pebbles cereal to go along with the breakfast theme, but unfortunately the cereal didn’t stay crunchy and so it doesn’t add much to the texture. I recommend replacing it with something flavorful, such as chocolate covered dried fruit mixed into the batter.

While it is a refreshing bite cold from the fridge, I find this fudge cake most tasty warm, with the chocolate morsels melting at the slightest brush of the fork and the aroma of tart baked apple permeating the deep, barely sweet chocolate.

For those who like their chocolate cake a bit sweeter, I might add some additional sweetener by substituting a sweeter liquid for the yogurt in this recipe. I also accidentally used twice as much salt as the 1/2 teaspoon I had intended, but I don’t think it affected the taste noticeably, so use however much or little salt you prefer.

Snow White Fudge Apple Pie

Adapted from recipe on Add a Pinch

Makes one 9″ round cake/pie/thing

Serves about 8

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Ingredients:

batter

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
  • 1 packet Starbucks Via Veranda Blend
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (or use agave to increase sweet taste)
  • 5.3 oz Greek 2% apple cinnamon flavored yogurt (or use regular yogurt for more sweetness)
  • 7 fl. oz (one container) Früzinga brand honey vanilla drinkable yogurt (or use any other sweet liquid such as flavored milk, almond milk, etc.)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup cocoa pebbles cereal (I recommend replacing this with dried fruit, nuts, chocolate-covered fruit, etc. for more flavor/texture contrast)

topping

  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple
  • dash of cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • pinch of ginger
  • 1/4 cup cocoa pebbles (or other mix-in/topping of choice)
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Nestle Toll House)

Directions:

For batter:

Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Line a 9″ cake pan with aluminum foil. Apply nonstick cooking spray.

Combine flour, cocoa, instant coffee, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly.

Beat in egg with a fork.

Add maple, yogurts, and vanilla extract. Use a hand mixer on a medium speed to blend the batter.

Reduce mixing speed to low as you slowly add the boiling water to the batter.

Mix for about one minute on high. Batter should be thin.

Stir in your mix-ins (Cocoa Pebbles, dried fruit, etc.)

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 Fahrenheit for a total of about 30-35 minutes or until set, removing from oven after about 20 minutes to add topping before baking is finished.

For topping:

Chop Granny Smith apple into small chunks. Toss with the cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.

After baking the cake at 350 Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes, remove from oven and sprinkle on the spice-coated apple pieces evenly. Add chocolate chips and your dried fruit or other mix-in (I used Cocoa Pebbles.) Then bake for another 10-15 minutes.

Serve this cake hot. After all, it has to replace an unconscious kiss and awaken a very sleepy Snow White…

Nutty Mocha Almond Fudge Pear Smoothie

chocolate pear mocha almond fudge peanut butter smoothie

Today is New Year’s Eve, a sleepless night of lavish parties, overconsumption of hors-dœuvres, and potential substance abuse, for many celebrants.

Tomorrow is New Year’s Day, the first day of many people’s new health regimes for 2016. Far too many of us are unsatisfied with our physical bodies and resolve to alter them, often using drastic measures that compromise our personal qualities such as compassion and patience. (Anyone who has ever had a family member or friend go a week on only spinach and grapefruit can attest that they aren’t very fun to converse with at the breakfast table during that time.)

Far too many of these so-called health resolutions will fall by the wayside within a few months, as people slip back into old routines that may not provide optimal nourishment for their bodies. Rather than making a resolution I can’t keep, this year I hope to explore more ways to nourish all levels of my being while also treating myself to something that’s going to put me in a good mood for conversation! (Especially as one of my other hopes for the year is to make some new friends). With recipes such as this fueling, decadent smoothie, I can get the best balance of physical, emotional, mental, and gustatory health.

This satisfying smoothie is perfect for breakfast, an afternoon pick-me-up, or a secretly healthy dessert. A sophisticated blend of subtle mocha, rich chocolate, salty nut butter, juicy pear, and sweet banana, serve cold and savor (that is, if you happen to live in a place that’s warm enough for cold drinks in January!)

Nutty Mocha Almond Fudge Pear Smoothie

serves one

chocolate mocha almond pear peanut butter smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup plain almond milk
  • 1 single-serving container of dark chocolate pudding (I used Jell-O sugar free)
  • 1 whole fresh pear, washed and cut into large chunks
  • 1 frozen banana (or use a fresh banana and add more ice)
  • 1 small ice cube
  • 1 So Delicious brand Mocha Almond Fudge frozen almond milk bar
  • 1 tbs nut butter (I only had crunchy peanut butter, but almond butter would match the theme of the smoothie better if you prefer.)

Directions:

Place almond milk, pudding, pear, banana, and ice cubes in blender.

Carefully break off some of the chocolate coating on the frozen almond milk bar using a spoon. Reserve in a cool place for topping.

Spoon the rest of the frozen almond milk bar into the blender with the other ingredients.

Blend until completely smooth.

Pour into a tall glass. Top with a dollop of nut butter and a gaggle of chocolate-almond pieces. Go nuts over this addictive treat any time of day!

Note: this smoothie can easily be made vegan by using vegan pudding and making sure all other ingredients are certified vegan.

Good Morning Smoothie Featuring Post Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds

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I come from a cereal breakfast family. Every morning when I was in elementary school, I took for granted that cereal with milk would be breakfast. It wasn’t until high school that I began to branch out with toast, eggs, and other more interesting creations. But I can’t say I’ve never looked back.

Over the years, various brands and flavors of cereal have taken on certain characters for me based on the memories I associate with them.

For instance, one of the Spiderman movies came out when my brother and I were both in a Froot-Loops phase. The cereal began advertising Spiderman trinket bobbleheads inside each box, so every time we opened a new box we’d discover a new plastic treasure to end up forgotten on the floor a few minutes later. Now every time I see a picture of Spiderman I smell the sugar and food coloring of Froot-Loops.

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Image copyright Marvel Comics, found on https://craytoncomicblog.wordpress.com/2010/11/07/review-157-carnage-1-oktober-2010-marvel-comics/

When I was around twelve, in that awkward stage between unhealthy child muncher and unhealthy dieting tween, my family was on vacation in some So-Cal town. Because everyone was picky about breakfast, Dad took us kids to the local grocery store to get whatever we were willing to eat. I actually wanted to try something different, so I picked out Cinnabon cereal: basically tiny stale cinnamon buns in milk.

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Image found on http://forthemommas.com/store-deals/weis-markets/weis-kelloggs-cereal-low-87

I was disappointed that the cereal wasn’t as amazing as a real cinnamon bun. My mom also noted that it was lower in nutritional value than the cereals I would usually eat at home (Special K, Honey Bunches of Oats, Post Selects, etc.) I renounced the cereal, teary-eyed and embarrassed.

The lowest calorie cereal I could find in the grocery store back home was Fiber One 80 calorie cardboard squares. My first year of high school, I would pour a few squares into a bowl that had once overflowed with Froot-Loops, add a few drops of skim milk, and slice up two strawberries to match the picture on the box.

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Image found on http://www.mrbreakfast.com/cereal_detail.asp?id=1462

One time my mom was trying to convince me I wasn’t eating enough and insisted upon measuring my cereal. I was terrified I would discover I had poured more than a serving size into the bowl, but actually it was less than the stated 3/4 cup. My mom and I looked each other in the eye, both knowing I had a problem, both unsure whether to laugh or cry. I’ll always remember that moment as one of the painful sunbeams that has illuminated my long and ongoing path to healing.

This past summer, my mother, 14-year-old brother and I were on snack break at the Natural History Museum. I chose to grab a single-serving convenience cup of Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds, an old favorite, and some Greek yogurt to mix into it.

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Image credit: “NaturalHistoryMuseumOfLosAngelesCounty” by David Leigh Ellis – Self-photographed. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:NaturalHistoryMuseumOfLosAngelesCounty.jpg#/media/File:NaturalHistoryMuseumOfLosAngelesCounty.jpg

My brother eyed my purchase suspiciously and remarked, “You know those cereal cups are for college students, right?” Since I was shipping off to my first year of college at the end of the month, I felt entitled to eat college convenience food. My brother just shook his head as I mixed the yogurt into the sweet granola clusters and flakes. Clearly I was a precocious one.

I haven’t seen any convenience cups of Honey Bunches of Oats at the 7-11 near my college. I’ve missed them, and I feel like I’m not getting the real college experience my brother promised. So now while home for winter break, I decided recently to pick up a full box at the grocery store, a better value than those individual cups anyway. As soon as I brought it home, my mind was whirring with ideas of recipes to use it in.

This one is pretty simple: a fueling, invigorating blueberry orange smoothie with a full serving of Post Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds for added crunch and a spoonful of crunchy peanut butter for added energy. Feel free to use almond butter or any other nut butter of your choosing.

Blueberry Orange Peanut Butter Crunch Smoothie

serves 1-2

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Ingredients:

  • one single-serving container Greek blueberry yogurt (I used Yoplait Greek 100)
  • 1/2 cup plain almond milk
  • 1 whole large navel orange
  • 1 frozen banana (or use a fresh banana and add more ice)
  • a couple ice cubes
  • 3/4 cup Post Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds cereal
  • 1 tbs crunchy peanut butter

Directions:

Peel orange and separate segments for easier blending. Place most of the orange segments in the blender, but reserve one or two for garnish.

Pour almond milk into blender. Add yogurt, frozen banana, and ice cubes.

Blend until smooth

Add cereal and blend for about five seconds, just to mix it in.

Pour smoothie into serving glass. Garnish with reserved orange slice(s) and a scoop of your favorite nut butter. Enjoy cold.

Up and at ’em!

Davey Scones’ Locker!

 

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I lied in my last post when I said I’d been away at college the past few months. Actually, I’ve been traipsing the Coral Sea on a bedraggled schooner with several diverse characters including Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson, Michael Crichton’s Lazue (hawk-eyed female, raised as a man), and the obligatory Jack Sparrow. Our mission? Capture all shark-finning boats, train the fishermen onboard to be marine biologists, perform emergency surgery on the sharks, and of course, take all the fishermen’s treasure for ourselves.

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We managed to overtake one ship just as its captain was about to slice off the dorsal fin of a reef shark. Madame Ching the pirate queen shocked him with a spontaneous performance of “Call Me Maybe,” which made him drop the thrashing fish to the deck.

Noticing the peculiar shape of the shark’s stomach, I came over and performed CPR until he coughed up none other than Auntie Teach’s Recipe Book. Allegedly handwritten by the aunt of Edward Teach (Blackbeard) in the Golden Age, this pudgy, homespun volume of recipes to fuel illegal activity on the high seas has been sought after for centuries by foodies and historians alike!

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I decided to sell it to a museum as an act of charity that also made me a lot of money. But before doing that, on our last day on the pirate ship, I flipped to a random shark-bile-soaked page and made the recipe lovingly scrawled (and personalized with drips of rum) for “Anti-Scurvy Scones.”

When traveling at sea for weeks, particularly before refrigerators were invented, getting fresh fruits and vegetables was a serious problem. Sailors used to drink lime juice to avoid nasty diseases resulting from a lack of certain vitamins.

640px-Wreck_of_the_Dart_(Sketched_on_the_Morning_after_the_Storm_of_the_25th_Octr_1842)_at_Madeira

Auntie Teach’s recipe includes flavorful limeade, as well as coconut flakes that could have been harvested from local islands, dried cranberries that would have been brought onboard to replace fresh fruit, and white chocolate chips to sweeten the deal. She packs even more nutrient-rich fruit into these breakfast delights with the surprise inner filling: passionately tart red raspberry compote made from frozen raspberries. As our formerly shark-finning friends loved smoothies, they had a freezer full of the berries for me to mush to pulp.

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Over a breakfast of hot scones oozing gooey raspberry filling, we discussed the state of sharks in today’s changing world, as well as practical matters such as the leeches in Jack’s boots and how terrible the internet service was in the middle of the ocean.

By the time we got back to the states to drop me off at college, everyone was begging me for this recipe. I promised to publish it on my blog. And a pirate always keeps her word, especially if she doesn’t want to be troubled with revenge while trying to finish school. So here it is.

Click here for the full recipe: “Pirate” Scones (Key Lime Coconut Surprise)

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Like reading about swashbuckling environmental pirates as much as you like healthy treats? Check out my free ebook People with Fishtails on Smashwords and Amazon, and my active author blog, aseaworthyfrigate.wordpress.com for more.

Image credits in order of appearance (excluding scone pictures which were taken and edited by me using iphoto and Ribbit):

“Nordsee”. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nordsee.jpg#/media/File:Nordsee.jpg

“Wreck of the Dart (Sketched on the Morning after the Storm of the 25th Octr 1842) at Madeira” by Emily Geneviève Smith – National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wreck_of_the_Dart_(Sketched_on_the_Morning_after_the_Storm_of_the_25th_Octr_1842)_at_Madeira.jpg#/media/File:Wreck_of_the_Dart_(Sketched_on_the_Morning_after_the_Storm_of_the_25th_Octr_1842)_at_Madeira.jpg

 

Goodbye Granola

chocolate peanut butter raspberry honey granola

No, I’m not saying goodbye to granola! That would be a tragedy, as it’s practically the reason I get up many mornings. But the reality is, I’m probably saying goodbye to making it myself for a while. In fact, most things I’ll be eating at the dining hall or buying at the grocery store, since I’m going to college next week. So as a way of saying goodbye to baking, as well as to my mom, who love peanut butter and granola, I made this granola today.

It contains chocolate chunks and dried raspberries, a combination that reminds me of Valentine’s Day. I almost coated the oats with cocoa powder, but my mom talked me out of it. And I’m glad she did – she and I both liked this granola just the way it is! Click here for the full recipe.

peanut butter chocolate raspberry granola

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