Friday, January 21, 2011

A Mommy-Appoved Cookie Dough

When it comes to junk there is definately a list of things that I COULD say "no" to --- (Let this be known that I don't particularly LIKE saying no...)

But if there is ever a cookie (usually of any kind) in arms reach, there is no way that I could pass it up. Cookies are my definite go-to when I am in a bad mood, in a good mood, hearing a rumble in my tummy, or just simply craving something sweet.

Well tonight --- after finishing off my final cookie last night --- I gathered up the cookie-ingredient essentials and got to work.

Over the Christmas holidays, I baked up a vast array of goods...Everything from pumpkin loaves, to blondies, to chocolate chip dough balls. And let me tell you, those dough balls were irresistable!!! The image of sneaking into the sweets drawer to snatch a dough ball has been burned into my memory...

Even though I did not make the EXACT recipe from that of the holidays...Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Dough Balls.

Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Dough Balls

Makes 1 dozen

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/8 cup rolled oats (optional)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup mashed ripe banana
1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/8 cup gogi berries
2 tbsp. ground flax seeds

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. From the start of the list, combine all of the ingredients (except the oats) in a large bowl.

3. Mix until well combined. It may seem dry in the beginning, but believe me, it gets really wet. When everything was fully mixed, I added some rolled oats to add a soaking up ingredient.

3. Drop dough (about a tablespoon)balls onto a well greased cookie sheet. This dough was far wetter than last time so I was litterally dropping clumps of dough onto the sheet rather than rolling the dough into perfectly shaped balls.

4. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until they are lightly browned on top.

* Remember that these cookies are egg-free so you really just have to bake them until they are brown and warm...It's okay for them to be undercooked as that's what makes them stay gooey like chocolate chip cookie dough!!!

Let yourself savour that little baby of goodness!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Something borrowed, something new, something blue?

Sure, a steak has never touched my lips, but in no way does that make me a "vegetarian." In fact, I am proud to say that I have tried chicken and turkey, and I eat fish on a regular basis. I am what one would call a "pescatarian." (I love how we english-speakers need a word for everything...If there isn't one, we simply make it up by turning to our latin lovers. In this case, pescatarian comes from the latin word "piscis" or fish.)

I know growing up, getting me to eat fish was like pulling teeth. I wasn't a picky eater by any means, but when it came to certain foods I always enjoyed putting up a fight.

Well, that past is certainly behind me as I absolutely adore fish/seafood. The idea of becoming a real vegetarian almost seems impossible knowing that I wouldn't be able to indulge into a bowl of steaming mussels or a raw tuna steak...

Yes; raw tuna. I, myself, am quite surprised that this could quite possibly be my favourite meal as it was only four years ago when I choked back a few tears at my 16th birthday dinner. To celebrate the big day, my parents took me to the Eldorado, a restaurant/hotel that sits practically on the shore line of Okanagan Lake. Feeling a little luxurious, I decided to be adventurous and really indulge. For the first time, I was going to try blackened ahi tuna.

I sat anxiously waiting for my 16th birthday dinner, and then it came.

When I saw the bleeding flesh atop my salad, I nearly died. However, I didn't push my plate away...Not yet. I took one bite.

Not only was the texture unbearable, but the thought that my meal was only one stage away from still swimming almost killed me. I would have rather seen my own leg on the plate in front of me.

Tears flowed down my cheeks, and that's when mom came to the rescue...We switched dishes promptly. I don't remember what I ended up digging into, but whatever it was most certainly dried my eyes.

For four years, I didn't come into any contact with anything resembling that scarring dish...That was until last summer when I fell in love with it. As I sit here trying to remember what meal turned me on it again, sashimi keeps popping into my head. Even though I was simply trying to impress a date, I held back my detouring thoughts and down my just consumed fleshy slivers.

It was delicous, bloody delicious! The texture was not what I remembered; in fact, it was so buttery and easy to ingest that the tears previously lost made me laugh.

Since then I have had some incredible ahi tuna dishes, and whenever I see it on the menu, I am instantly sold.

However, being a student obviously restrains my eating out ability (especially right now in the dead month of January) and thus has forced me to learn how to prepare my favourite meal at home.

Ahi Tuna Steaks

You can find ahi tuna at essentially any grocery store with a deli. Most often I would suggest getting it fresh at the deli counter, but sometimes them deli clerks are a little low on the silver lined cuts or they aren't fresh at all...So that's when I suggest getting them frozen. I promise you that they still taste amazing, and are simple to defrost.

If frozen, thaw the steaks in the refridgerator for a few hours, or for a speedier process, place the packaged steaks in hot water.


(Adjust measurements accordingly)

2 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbps. soy sauce
A squeeze of Sriracha, or more or less, depending on your heat scale
Ginger, to taste

1. Combine all ingredients and whisk together.

2. Place thawed steak into marinade and let sit for about half an hour.

To the frying pan it goes.

Yes, you can BBQ the beautiful cuts but when you live in a box like me and have no access to such a luxury, you must turn to your frying pan.

Because the tuna has already been sitting in sesame oil, you do not need to re-oil the pan...Especially if it's non-stick. Turn the element up to high, in order to ensure proper searing. When you think it's hot enough...or the element is resembling a burning coal, you know it's good and ready!

(My stove isn't usually that filthy...Be cautious of spattering marinade. She can really burn!)

Throw the steak on, marinade and all, and let fry for about a minute. However, I am not one to follow a clock as I think senses are a more effective tool when it comes to cooking.

When you can SEE that the bottom half of the tuna has turned to a shade of white/grey, it's time to flip. Then it's simply a matter of searing the other side to your liking and she's done.

I served my tuna with zucchini spears, broccolini (an appropriate accompaniment to an asian infused main) and ginger-fused quinoa.

It was absolutely delicious. The tuna just melts in your mouth.

On a side note...I have quite possibly the biggest sweet tooth around. It's also quite clear that it has become worse (or better?) over the past few months --- Thank you Christmas --- However, when I eat a real protein packed meal, the sweet tooth is dampened quite a bit...In fact, it really doesn't make me crave something sugary at all.

Could this mean that I really am just craving more fleshy meals?

No, not yet.

I caved...I had a chocolate chip cookie anyway...and then more chocolate chips after.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Nutty October

It's that ray of sunshine that streams through my window every morning, followed by the constant sound of rustling leaves, that keeps me from going crazy this time of year.

And then, it's that pile of loose leaf paper, the stacked books, and the crumbled up interviews in the wastebasket that bring me right back to my frantic state.

October is a beautiful disaster for me, and I am almost certain that that is the case for every other university student in Canada and the world.

However, last night as I was laying in bed thinking about the midterm I had to write this morning I suddenly felt at ease. There really was nothing I had to worry about. Sure, I could go over everything I DIDN'T know for the exam...Or else, I could think about all the simple things in life that make me happy --- Like sunshine, rustling leaves, delicious food, racing heart rates, beautiful family and friends ---Why do we let such little things like midterms and papers get to us? There is so much else to life, there is so much beauty.

I woke up with ease this morning as those pleasing thoughts I went to bed with took any sign of grogginess out of me.

This mornings run felt easier than ever, too. Instead of huffing and puffing, I breathed deeply in the crisp fall air; and instead of looking at my own racing feet, I waved to every Jo Blow that crossed my path. Today was going to be a good day, midterm or not.

For breakfast, I had some protein packed pancakes --- topped with sliced banana, agave nectar, and almond butter. Lately I have been doing half spelt flour and half oats to switch up the texture. I have also been adding in whatever I feel is necessary, like today for some brain food I threw in some flax seeds.

They were delish. I must say these are a great way to get through my ever-so-gritty and over powering in taste Vega powder!

After breakfast I went about my day --- On what seemed like broken glass --- As I was informed that at any point during the day an exterminator could come barging through my door. Why? I don't know. I promise you I have seen no rodents or bugs as of late. However, my landtoad likes to keep us on edge...Posting signs is her cup of tea!

No exterminator yet.

I was dying to get home after class tonight as while I was deeply involved in class discussion this afternoon, I found a recipe that looked too good to pass up. A mixed nut engery bar --- and we all know I love any and all things nutty --- and I happen to have an influx of nuts in my freezer, always.

I found this recipe while perusing the Carrots n' Cake bake sale...I most definately found some other must-trys! Those will come; I promise you.

Here is my version...However, it is is very similiar to Amanda's lovely creation

Nutty Enegery Bar


1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup dried prunes

1/4 cup ground flax (you can use whole flax seeds; just add them into the first processing step in order to grind them up!)
approx. 1 tbps. dried coconut
approx. 1 tbps. agave nectar
aprox. 1 tbps. of almond butter
1 tsp. vanilla

1. In a food processor, combine nuts and dried fruit; pulse until it forms into a crumbly mixture (about 30-45 seconds.)
2. Transfer to a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir until everything is well combined. (I used my hands to make sure everything was good n' stirred!)

3. Pour into a pan and flatten to desired thickness...Mine were about 1/2 an inch thick!

4. Store in refridgerator for a few hours, or until you can't wait any longer...

I waited until after dinner to indulge with some heated and diluted almond milk...But wow, these are incredible. The prunes are perfectly sweet, and the nuts add a nice texture!

For dinner tonight I had a portabello "pizza." And by pizza, I mean open-faced melt with toppings.

In olive oil, I grilled the portabello mushroom for a few minutes on both sides. I then sprinkled on some dried italian spice, dried chili flakes, and some soy sauce (to give the mushroom an extra bit of flavour.) With the mushroom on its bottom, I lay on some sliced roma tomatoes, and grilled eggplant. I then transfered the baby to an oven proof dish where I proceeded to top it with spinach and mozarella cheese --- And into the broiler it went!

At the last minute, I added some sliced green olives.

This "meaty pizza" was to die for...I forgot how incredible real mozarella is! It gets so stringy and chewy when it's melted...Mmmmm.

I dipped it in Dijon mustard and sriracha...

Now I must force myself to do work as October and all of its glory is still going full throttle!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Protein Packed Pancakes

Those grey skies blew right on over --- Waking up to sunny blue skies was a perfect way to begin a Friday, or my weekend. Having Fridays off from school is so nice; I get a long weekend every week!

I headed out for my morning run with money in hand as I had to pick up a few things at the end of it --- Running out of toilet paper is something that is unheard of until you live by yourself. I didn't know there wasn't a never ending supply of the stuff...

For breakfast today I tried out Angela's spelt pancakes from Oh She Glows; however, I switched it up a little as I am too stubborn to follow any directions.

Coconut Spelt Pancakes

1/3 cup spelt flour
1/2 tbsp. Vega Complete Whole Food Optimizer (chai flavour)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. coconut flakes

1/3 cup almond milk (maybe a little more depending on consistency)

1. Mix together the dry ingredients, and then gradually stir in the almond milk. If the mixture is too thick, feel free to add a little more milk or water.

2. Pour small rounds onto a greased frying pan (I used coconut oil for that extra hit of coconut!)

3. Flip cakes as soon as you see bubbles forming on the top! Fry the other side until it is golden brown --- another couple of minutes.

4. Walah! A healthy single serving of pancakes! Accessorize as you please.

I topped my pancakes with some frozen banana puree, chopped walnuts, cacoa nibs, flax meal, and craisins for some colour!

I was a little low on agave nectar due to my granola disaster last night, so after awhile I started dipping my pancakes in some raspberry spread.

The batter made about three small pancakes...and it was plentiful! The protein powder fills ya rightt up. I'll let you know tommorow if they stick with you throughout the morning!