Cinnamon Apple Green Smoothie

makes 1 large smoothie

 Now, you’ve probably all seen green smoothies and whether you like them or not, I’m guessing the first time you saw their green color you cringed.  I know I did.  I was hesitant to try them, but I like new things so it didn’t take too much coaxing myself to try.  I believe I had my first experience with a green smoothie last summer.  I was making a smoothie and somewhere in my doing so, I decided to add spinach to it.  I was nervous that I would be able to taste the spinach but guess what…the smoothie tasted just like berries!  From there on out, I have been addicted to green smoothies.Let’s talk about spinach.  It is one of the most nutritious leafy greens out there.  It is rich in iron, vitamin k, and even protein!  To be honest, raw spinach does not “bake my cornbread” if you know what I mean.  It tasted bland and a really dry to me.  I like it cooked, but we all (should) know that cooking vegetables rids many of their health benefits.  However, blending raw spinach leaves into a smoothie doesn’t take away any health benefits(that I know of), and no one has to deal with the texture!To be honest, this is a very impromptu post.  I have been feeling sluggish from all the heavy food I’ve eaten over the holidays, and I wanted to lighten my load a bit by having a smoothie for lunch.  I threw some ingredients in a blender yesterday and once I poured it, I thought the color was pretty enough to blog about.  But, I’m very glad I’m sharing this with you because this is the best green smoothie I’ve ever made.  No joke.  Another great thing?  There are NO added sweeteners!This smoothie is the perfect texture.  Not too thick, not too thin.  It’s tart and sweet at the same time.  It’s also very filling!  This smoothie is oozing with health benefits and will most definitely make you feel a bit lighter after the holidays!

 Let’s do this.

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A Holiday Recap

I hope all of you had lovely holidays.  Family, friends, and food, food, food galore defines the holidays for me.  My grandparents have been here for around a week and their entire lives revolve around dinner.  Which is, well both nice and sort of annoying.  But around the holidays, I do really love it.
For Christmas Eve my mom, Nana(grandma on my mom’s side), and I made a dessert called Swedish pastry.  My dad’s mom is originally from Sweden, and whenever we can “recreate” her heritage, we do.  I also have a bit of an obsession with Sweden(although I’ve never been), but we can talk about that later.  Anyway, Swedish pastry is a buttery, flaky dough, topped with a dough like milk and egg batter, topped with an almond infused glaze.  It’s not too sweet, but damn is it good.  Especially heated up.

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Chai Spiced Pistachio Muffins

makes 12 standard sized muffinsOkay, I’m going to start off saying that this recipe was copied from Cooking Light.  Yesterday I was looking up “healthy muffins” and stumbled across this lovely recipe.  It looked so, so good and I couldn’t decide how I would make it any better.  The only thing I tweaked was not putting glaze on top and incorporating pistachios inside.

With that being said, let me talk about how much I adore pistachios.  Pistachios are the food from the gods in my opinion.  They are nutty but also somewhat sweet.  Also, they are by far the most photogenic nut.  I mean, they’re green!  Pistachios are also extremely addicting.  They may as well be called the nicotine of the gods as well.  I mean, who has even eaten one pistachio and said, “alright, I’m good,”.  Ha!  No one.  I think it’s because they’re so fun to crack.  Working to get your food in such ways makes it much more fun to eat.

I had never thought of actually baking with pistachios until I saw the Cooking Light recipe.  In fact, it’s quite ingenious.  They are perfectly salty to counteract the sweetness of the muffin.  Plus, the crunch they create makes these muffins very satisfying.

One more thing about pistachios, they lower bad cholesterol and increase antioxidant levels.  Say whaaat?!  That’s right, they’re super good for you.  They also have tons more health benefits so if your into that stuff,  read here.

Okay I’m getting antsy so…

Let’s get goin’!

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Maple Snickerdoodles

makes 60 small cookiesSnickerdoodles are the bomb.  They are literally a conglomerate of everything most people have laying around the house mixed into chewy, crunchy goodness.  They are sort of the go-to cookie when there isn’t much around.  According to Wikipedia, the word “snickerdoodle” comes from the German word “Schneckennudeln” which means “snail noodles”(a pastry).

Now is the time of season to be baking tasty treats all the time.  They make fantastic gifts and I don’t know a single person who doesn’t like a cookie.  Therefore, I have a fabulous excuse to bake whenever the hell I feel like it.

If you don’t have a family that will eat the cookies you makes( parents) they make great treats to take to friends at school, co-workers, parties, et cetera, et cetera.  My favorite part about these cookies is how adorable they are.  They’re so tiny and cute that they are just too hard to resist.  Then again, you can make them larger if you please.  I bet they would taste just as great.

Although I wanted to make a snickerdoodle type of cookie, I wanted to jazz it up.  I found a recipe for maple sugar cookies and a recipe for chai spiced cookies.  So, I mixed them together.  The result was tasty.

Let’s do this.

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Lemon & Orange Waffles

makes 8 waffles

As you may know if you’ve read my previous posts, I am a waffle lover.  If I could have waffles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at least three days a week, I would.  They are the perfect balance of crunch and chewy to satisfy both needs.

I also have a love for citrus.  I eat Cuties like I eat popcorn.

As I was searching around for ideas to make a lovely breakfast, I stumbled upon Lemon Ricotta Waffles by Joy the Baker.  They looked super tasty and unique.  I’ve never tried lemon in my waffles, but citrus adds a much needed “oomph” to most everything.  Her waffles, as the name implies, call for ricotta cheese except there was none in the house so I used plain yogurt instead.  From there, I decided to tweak the recipe even more.

If you have noticed, I love adding whole wheat pastry flour to all of my baked goodies.  I think it makes the food a bit denser and have a “livelier” texture, if that makes any sense.  I also like to use natural sweeteners when I can.  These waffles called for three tablespoons of white sugar, but since I put maple syrup on my waffles, 1 tablespoon of honey was sufficient.

These waffles turned out to be quite tart but also a bit sweet.  They are complimented well by maple syrup, peanut butter, bananas, and blueberries!

Before we cook, look to your right.  See that little blue button?  You should press it so I know y’all are reading.  Soooo, yeah follow me on Bloglovin’!

Let’s do this..

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Cinnamon Peanut Butter Pancakes

makes about 8 pancakes

You guys…POWDERED PEANUT BUTTER! Say whaaat?!  Yes, it is true because I bought it with my own money(ehh my mom’s), saw it with my own eyes, and cooked with it in my own kitchen.  I first heard about the lovely gem, PB2, on The Oatmeal Artist(which by the way is such a fantastic blog).  Basically, it is ground and dehydrated peanuts, that when mixed with water, turns into peanut butter(supposedly, I haven’t tried that).

Now that I have this ingredient, I want to try it in everything.  So why not start out with an easy pancake recipe, right?  Right!  It worked out great.  Except, if I make it again(which I will) I will put 2 tbsp rather than just one.

Pancakes on the weekends are so heartwarming and soul-fulfilling.  They come in a close second to waffles.  When I would have friends for sleepovers at my house when I was younger, my family would slather our pancakes with peanut butter and all my friends would just stare, not quite knowing how to react.  Not knowing that applying generous amounts of peanut butter to pancakes wasn’t quite a social “norm” surprised me when I would go to my friends’ houses.  I would ask where the peanut butter was and everyone would stare.  To say the least, when I pushed my friends to try this perfect combination, I changed lives.

Peanut butter on pancakes is one of my favorite foods in the entire world.

I’ve never mixed peanut butter into my pancake batter, so buying this powdered peanut butter made me really want to experiment.  Powder=no gooey stickiness, so that’s always helpful.

Let’s get cookin’!

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Lemon Poppyseed Scones

makes 11 scones
Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Have you ever made scones before?  If so, I hope you felt as old-fashioned as I did.  Making them made me feel like I lived in the rural countryside, making baked goods for a cute little coffee shop.

I had never made scones before, so this was a test for me.  Since I’d never made them, I didn’t tweak the recipe for fear I would mess something up, but if I make scones again, Ill try to put my own twist on them.

My Grandparents flew in on Tuesday and let’s just say that my Grandpa is hard to please when it comes to food.  He is like a five year old with “picky-ness”.  Luckily, I knew that he likes things with lemon and poppy seeds.  He loves the scones.  They couldn’t be eaten faster.  I feel so accomplished.  Since it’s a holiday, I won’t bore you with too much writing soooo…

Let’s get cookin’!

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Denver Trippin’

Last weekend I went to Denver to 1) tour colleges and 2) visit family.  Colorado is such a splendid place.  If you look to the east you’ll flat plains, and to the west you see the giant, gritty, Rocky Mountains.  It’s a stunning place.

I wasn’t able to cook anything since we were out of the house the majority of both days we were there, but I did eat EXTREMELY well. I love breakfast food for any meal of the day but sadly, I usually go out to breakfast maybe once a year.  Last weekend, that tradition was broken.  I went out to eat scrumptious breakfasts two days in a row!

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Sweet Potato & Yellow Pepper Soup

Let me just start off with saying this: Parks and Recreation is not a mere T.V. show folks.  It’s an addiction.  If anyone else feels the same way, leave a comment so I know I’m not alone.  There’s  no way I possibly could be.
Sorry I didn’t post anything last week.  I was on a trip with (1) no access to a stove and (2) slow Internet connection.

But here’s some fantastic news…it snowed ALL day today.  Not even on and off, you guys.  It literally was consistent throughout the day.  Sooo, I decided to make soup again.  To be more specific, I decided to make orange soup again.  If you haven’t seen my last post and don’t know what I’m making a reference to, click here.

Today, I made sweet potato and yellow pepper soup.  It seemed as if it would warm me from the inside out.  Also, it gave me an excuse to watch Parks and Rec. without feeling unproductive.  I don’t know, is my reasoning completely illogical?

Anyway, this soup’s original recipe called for pumpkin but since I made a squash soup last time I posted, I decided against that.  Sweet potatoes are another one of my loves so I used those instead.  This soup has a lovely winter-y feel to it without being heavy and too filling.

Let’s get cooking.

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Thai Butternut Squash Soup

serves 8-10I woke up today, opened my curtains, and peered out my window to see snow flying in all directions.  Instantly, I knew it was a soup-making kind of day.  Looking through my kitchen, I saw we had squash, but it was spaghetti squash: not the best for soup.  I drove though the blustering snow to the grocery and picked up a couple squash.Let me tell you about my love for squash.  If I could eat it for lunch every day, I would.  I used to despise squash, but during the last two years, it has become one of my favorite foods.  I can’t decide if I like acorn squash more than butternut or vice verse.  It really doesn’t matter though, because all squash is amazing!

Conventional butternut squash soup is delicious, but I wanted to make something non-traditional. Butternut squash soup is warm and winter-esque…just like thai food! Hey, why not combine the two?

Also, I’ve only ever used my family’s VitaMix to make smoothies and sauces.  Today I broke that pattern.  I used it to mix up the soup and, man, it worked impressively well.  I think I’ll develop an addiction to creating creamy soups throughout the upcoming winter.

Usually butternut squash soup contains heavy cream and lots of butter.  I’m not bashing those ingredients, but I wanted to make a soup that I could eat a lot of and not consume all my daily calories in one meal.  Instead of butter I usually use coconut oil (it withstands heat better than butter or olive oil) and I like to use coconut milk in the place of cream.  I’m trying to cut a lot of dairy out of my diet as well, so this soup is dairy-free.

Let’s get a-cookin’! Read more Thai Butternut Squash Soup