Carrot Oatmeal Cookies

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Has it really been over a week since my last post? Oh my, oopsies. It’s Spring Break now and I had thought I would get caught up, but even spring break has been so busy that I’ve only had time to do so now!

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Last week I made a carrot cake for a bridal shower and decided to make these carrot oatmeal cookies to go along with it since my hands would have been covered in carrot shreds anyways. I had stumbled across the recipe for these cookies on my Instagram and I’ve been dying to make them. And now that I’ve had them and am looking at the pictures and remembering them, I’m dying to make them again.

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These cookies are everything a good oatmeal cookie ought to be while tasting like Christmas in your mouth. It’s chewy and full of flavor in every bite and just magical. The carrot taste is subtle but the cream cheese glaze complements it so well. It’s not even a little bit too sweet at all but just right. The flavors are phenomenal. It’s healthy and perfectly amazing!!!

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Carrot Oatmeal Cookies with Cream Cheese Glaze

makes 25 cookies

recipe adapted from Two Peas and their Pod

1 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled to room temperature

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup shredded carrots

1 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes

2/3 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine coconut oil and sugars, mix until smooth. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until well combined. Next, add the shredded carrots. Mix until combined. Slowly add flour mixture until just combined. Stir in oats, coconut, and raisins.

Drop cookie dough by heaping tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are slightly golden around the edges and set. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

Cream Cheese Glaze

2 ounce cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon milk

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Mix together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. Using a spoon, drizzle the glaze over the cooled cookies. Let cookies sit until glaze hardens up. Serve!

Pico de Gallo

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I’ve said this before and I will say it again. Food is so naturally beautiful!!

I have been wanting to make pico de gallo ever since I saw Ree Drummond Pioneer Woman make it on her Food Network TV show. It seemed so easy and a staple to her household that I figured I might as well make it a staple here! (Plus our apartment is in supposed study mode for midterms…supposedly.)

The recipe could not be more simple. Equal parts tomato, red onion, cilantro, and one lime and salt.

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Chop and dice them all up into pieces.

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Place in a bowl and squeeze out all of the lime juice! If you use your palm and roll the lime around flat on a table, it helps you get more juice out of it.

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Toss it around and season with salt! And that’s it! If we’re lucky, this will last us…maybe two days? I already know I have to make more after I finish this post.

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Pico de Gallo

recipe by Ree Drummond, Food Network

4 firm roma tomatoes, diced

1 red onion, diced

1 bunch cilantro, chopped (how fine or rough you want it chopped is up to you)

1 lime

salt to season

Place the chopped tomatoes, onion, and cilantro into a bowl. Squeeze out the juice of 1 lime. Toss and season with salt to taste. Enjoy with tortilla chips, with quesadillas, or as a side for chicken, lamb, or steak!

Acai Bowl

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The first time I heard of acai was through Dr. Oz’s show. The way he described it and showed off its list of benefits made me fall in love with this superfruit and want to give it a go. That was in the early days of high school when acai bowls weren’t “in” yet and no one knew what it was.

In short, acai is a berry that has even more antioxidants than the strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, and blackberry. It is said to improve your diet and metabolism and can even stimulate weight loss. Now, I don’t know how true all of it is, but just the fact that I can get more antioxidants into my system makes it a winner!

Acai Bowl

1 individual serving pack of Sambazon Acai Berry Pure Unsweetened Superfruit

1 large banana, sliced

1/2 c greek yogurt; strawberry, blueberry or plain flavor works well can also substitute for 1/4 c soy milk

5 strawberries, washed and sliced

optional: small handfull blueberries, washed

optional: small handfull raspberries, washed

granola (I use Kashi Go Lean Crunch)

cranberries

honey

Take your pack of acai, break it up a little bit so it is not in one chunk, and put it in a large magic bullet cup. Add in half of the bananas and half of the strawberries (the rest will be reserved for toppings). Put the greek yogurt (or soy milk) in the blender and add half of the blueberries and raspberries. Blend until it is completely smooth and pour into a bowl. Top with a handful of granola, sliced strawberries, rest of the blueberries and raspberries, cranberries, and lastly, drizzle the top with honey.

Coconut Almond Berry Tart

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About a week or two ago, I met with one of my professors for coffee. We caught up for about an hour and it made me so glad and thankful I go to school that I do! I was reminded that there are professors who genuinely care about their students, their wellbeing and success in life. I cherish the fact that we have professors who pray before class, who reminds us to take a pause through the busyness of life and remember who we are living for.

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Through this conversation, she told me her daughter had a gluten, dairy, egg, soy, and rice allergy. The bells in my head started to ding and I saw it as a challenge to find something that is completely safe for her to eat while retaining the same delicious flavor that a typical dessert has. My mom is also gluten intolerant and in the past, I have played with gluten free flours, almond flours, and coconut flours. However, I have always been able to use butter and eggs as a binding agent. This time around, I could not use butter as it is a dairy product nor could I use eggs due to the allergy. I did some recipe research, and while I came across many different crust recipes, none of them seemed to be able to produce something that looked like it would be a normal, full of gluten and full of dairy kind of tart. Many kinds seemed to be too crumbly, chunky, and not very appetizing. There were many close “candidates” but then would use a little bit of butter or an egg. And then I came across this crust recipe.

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It perfectly excluded all five of the required items. I decided to try this recipe because of the color of the crust and how it seemed like it was able to hold its shape by itself. I cut the recipe in half as I was only testing it out, and I regretted it, only because I wish I made more. The crust came out beautifully golden brown and as it was baking in the oven, the whole apartment filled with a beautiful nutty smell.

To begin, measure out all of the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix together.

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Pour in the water and vanilla and thoroughly mix it together with a pastry cutter. Then, pour in the melted coconut oil and honey and make sure it is all incorporated. The mixture will be crumbly. Can you see the small specks of cinnamon? Smells soooo good!

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Press the mixture into a tart tin. I am using mini nonstick ones since this is just a trial run. If you have a tart tin that is not a nonstick one, make sure you rub a thin layer of coconut oil all around the inside to ensure easy removal. Even so, because this mixture is crumbly, I recommend you use a tart tin with a removable bottom.

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Press the crust up the sides of the tin.

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Then, take the back side of a knife, and swipe the excess off. I am swiping to the left in this photo.

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You will get a nice clean edge. Because I cut the recipe in half, it was enough for two tart shells. If you use a full recipe, you should be able to make one full 8 or 9 inch tart.

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Bake in the oven until the sides are nice and golden brown. While these were baking, the bottom of the crust puffed up a little bit and I simply pressed it back down. Allow them to cool completely before removing from the tins. Gently remove them from the tins when cool. While I was removing them, one of the two stuck a little to the bottom and broke apart since it was not completely cooled. My strong recommendation to you is to allow it to completely cool and use a tart pan with a removable bottom!!

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I am now down to just one tart shell. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil until it is smooth and one mixture.

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Fill the chocolate into the tart shell, but do not fill to the top. The weight of the berries will cause the chocolate to rise.

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Place it into the refrigerator to slightly cool to a room temperature. Then, fill it with the desired berries or fruit and refrigerate until the ganache is set!

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Isn’t food so so beautiful?! And we have been given the privilege to enjoy and feast upon it!!

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This recipe is a definite winner, and I’ll be using it in the future, allergy or not!!

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Coconut Almond Berry Tart

Tart Crust

(In the photos above, I cut the recipe in half. The below recipes are given in full measurements.)

recipe from Grass Fed Kitchen 

1½ c almond flour/meal

¼ c coconut flour

¾ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp baking soda

⅛ tsp salt

¼ cup cold water

½ tsp vanilla extract

¼ cup honey

1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted in liquid form

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix together almond flour, coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt, until well combined.

Stir in the cold water and vanilla extract. Using a pastry cutter, mix in the honey and coconut oil until there are no clumps.

Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a tart pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the crust is a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely (30 minutes on a cooking rack) before filling.

Chocolate Coconut Ganache and Berries

1 c semisweet chocolate chips (make sure they are allergen free. Some chocolate chips contain dairy. The safest choice is to use Enjoy Life chocolate chips)

2 Tbsp coconut oil

1-2 cups of mixed berries

Over a double boiler or in a microwave on medium heat, melt the chocolate chips and oil until it is melted and completely comes together. Spoon into the tart shells. Make sure you leave 1/2 to 1 centimeter of the tart shell unfilled as the weight of the fruit will cause the chocolate level to rise. Place it in the refrigerator to cool to room temperature. Top with fruits (pat completely dry) and return to the fridge to cool completely. The mixture will thicken as it cools.

Pesto Prosciutto Arugula Pizza

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For today’s lunch, I wanted to make a…healthy kind of pizza. I’ve seen a whole bunch of places where they have the pizza crust and then what looks like a whole salad on top of it, making it a pretty smart way to get your veggies in for the day. I mean, there may be veggies on it but who doesn’t love pizza?

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With that, I chose to make the classic combination of prosciutto and arugula. If there is anything I love as much as smoked salmon, it is prosciutto. There’s just something about that dry, salted, curing magic that happens in the process which makes them both so addicting. The saltiness of the prosciutto plus the pepper tasting flavor that comes from the arugula come hand in hand when dressing a pizza.

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Yet before any dressing can happen, we start with the dough. This dough is probably the easiest and most fool proof pizza dough recipe you can get. The longer you let it proof, the more flavor that gets into the dough. I was able to make it ahead enough where the yeast created this beautiful risen dough over the course of two days. It would have been even better if I made this tomorrow, but I can’t wait any longer. The outcome came out to a gorgeous crispy yet bready crust to accompany the toppings.

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Pesto Prosciutto Arugula Pizza

adapted from Ree Drummond, Food Network

Basic Pizza Dough

makes 2 pizzas

1/2 tsp yeast

3/4 c warm water

2 c all purpose flour

pinch salt

scant 1/4 cup olive oil

Lightly grease a medium bowl with olive oil and set aside. Sprinkle yeast over water and set aside. In a mixer with a dough hook, mix the flour and salt. Drizzle in olive oil. Pour in the yeast mixture and continue to knead until all flour is incorporated into a ball, the dough will be moist. Turn it into the greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise for at least one hour, but it is best at least 24 hours in advance. The longer the better.

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Toppings

1/4 c pesto

1/2 c whole milk fresh mozzarella, sliced thin

pepper

4 slices prosciutto

1 1/2 c arugula

shaved parmesan

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. If you have a pizza stone, set it inside the oven as well so it can preheat.

Roll out prepared pizza dough onto a floured surface to be as thin as possible. Transfer onto the baking sheet. Spread a very thin layer of the pesto over the top, excluding the crust area. Do not overboard on the pesto, only a thin layer is needed. Layer on the mozzarella and sprinkle top with pepper. Slide baking pan into the oven or pizza dough onto pizza stone and bake for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Remove and top with arugula, prosciutto, and shaved parmesan.

Banana Oat Pancakes

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This year, my resolution is to incorporate breakfast back into my life. Now don’t get me wrong, breakfast is my absolute favorite meal of the day. You have the hash browns, hollandaise with a poached eggs, you have scrambled eggs, omelets, grilled potatoes, waffles, my goodness the list of deliciousness goes on and on! But this past year as school and work took up a majority of my life, it has simply come down to a slice of toast or an asian steamed bun. And while I do consider myself a carb addict, I know that I can be starting my day off better and with more energy to last me the whole day. And so on January 3, I made the first step and made breakfast. The only reason why it took three days to start my resolution is because, well, it is winter break and I don’t exactly wake up in time for it. But that is besides the point.

The point is, I finally woke up early enough to actually make breakfast! And while I normally hate making pancakes (they always seem to fail me…), I really wanted to try this pancake recipe because it seemed so simple! And it is gluten free! And you mix everything in a magic bullet! These Banana Oat Pancakes only uses three ingredients– one banana, 1/4 c of oats, and one egg. I guess when they were naming it they wanted to be exclusive and left out the egg.

Since we’re staying on the healthy page of the breakfast menu, I used honey to drizzle on the pancakes instead of maple syrup. I thought the honey would taste better anyways since the pancakes really do taste like bananas and well, honey and bananas go together…right?

These pancakes came out beautifully puffed and full of flavor. I used my cast iron skillet to cook them and they were browned evenly without me having to butter the pan after every single batch. Hopefully, I can keep up with healthy breakfasts for this year. My only problem now is just waking up for it….

Banana Oat Pancakes

one serving, makes 10 silver dollar pancakes

recipe from YouTube

1 banana

1 egg

1/4 c rolled oats

unsalted butter for the pan

Take the three ingredients and blend in blender. Heat a skillet on medium high and drop in enough butter to coat the pan. Once it is hot, take an ice cream scoop and drop in scoops of batter. Once bubbles begin to appear on the batter surface, flip and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer onto a place and serve with honey.

Chicken Noodle Soup// Cooking in Li

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Once again, college has begun again! This year, my friends and I moved into an on-campus apartment building with two bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom, and a living room! So blessed with the amount of new space we have to call our own for the next two semesters to come!

With a new apartment life, comes new responsibilities. One of the biggest is learning how to cook for ourselves. Before, we all ate in the on-campus cafeteria, or we would all eat out. By sophomore year, most, if not all of us, were done-goodbye-only-coming-here-if-absolutely-needed-farewell cafeteria food. Not that it wasn’t good, but it wasn’t our taste pallet. Yet, after the first two days of living in the apartment and eating out for almost every meal, we knew that our wallets weren’t going to be able to keep up with our stomaches.

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So, for the next few days, the next few weeks, and the next few months, our apartment will be cooking, experimenting, and finding out what it is to cook delicious food on a budget to feed a small crowd of hungry college students.

Starting with my chicken noodle soup. I’ve shared my chicken noodle soup recipe in a past post which can be found here. I made the soup because not only is the total for ingredients is around $10, but you can actually take the soup, separate them into individual tupperware and freeze it for future use. It’s completely healthy and completely affordable!

Hopefully, we can use this year to be able to start eating healthy again and to be more conscious as to what goes into our bodies. Cheers to junior year!

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