Everything You Need To Know About The Diet Industry

The diet industry doesn’t care about you or your physical or mental health or your happiness.

They care about your money.

Millie & Banana Emoji

The end!

 

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Weekend Eats Recap: November 20-23rd, NYC

So I’ve never done one of these posts before, where I recap what I ate for a few days. A lot of bloggers do it every day, or post weekly updates on every meal they ate that week. Personally I love to read these and I have no idea why. Why is it so darn interesting what someone you don’t even know in real life ate for a week or a day? I don’t know. Maybe because you can get inspired for new ideas based on something they ate? Or inspired to try a new restaurant or cuisine? I do not have the answer to such questions, but I thought I would try out the whole what-I-ate thing once on this blog and see how it went.

my old stomping grounds !

my old stomping grounds ! #nyu

So heres what I ate from the evening of Thursday, November 20th-Sunday November 23rd while I was back home in good old NYC. Per usual, I ate a lot. I eat constantly. This might be why I’ve never done one of these posts before. I snack so often that I forget to take pics of like 80% of what I eat (yes, all my obnoxious food-instagramming is only a tiny portion of my actual overall food consumption). Anyways, here are my eats for those 3 days in photos and words. Honestly everything I had was great. And it made me excited and eager and anxious to return! NYC, I’ll be back soon ;-). In the meantime, here are my EATS:

Thursday, November 20th, 2014:

Breakfast:

  • 2 slices Angelic Bakehouse Sprouted Raisin Bread (THE BEST bread EVER – has replaced my Ezikel habit…seriously try it; it’s softer and more delicious, and it’s local to my hometown, Milwaukee, although it is available at Whole Foods nationwide) + almond butter and a sliced banana. I also had coffee with soy creamer and chamomile tea on my way to work.

Snack:

  • a sliced pear with cinnamon and almond butter

Lunch:

  • Leftover spaghetti squash marinara, small salad, veggie burger on more Angelic Bakery bread with sriracha, and a big old glass of almond-coconut milk (trying to use things up before leaving for the weekend).

Snack on the plane from MKE–> NYC:

  • half a Kashi peanut butter bar, an apple, a banana, half an almond butter sandwich on more Angelic Bakery bread (#addicted)

Dinner:

  • Beyond Sushi takeout. I landed late at night (like 9:00pm) and got dropped off at the 14th street location to pick up sushi for my friend and I. I had the November Roll of the month, which had Sweet Persimmons, Roasted allspice Turnips, grilled Heriocot Verts, and was topped with Seaweed Salad. It wasn’t my favorite roll of the month (that would go to the one they had in August), but it was delicious none-the-less and fun to try Persimmons, which I’ve been meaning to give a whirl for a while. I also had my go-to favorite roll. The Sweet Tree, with Sweet Potatoes, Avocado, Alfafa sprouts, and 6-grain rice. AMAZING AS ALWAYS. I love you so much, Beyond Sushi.
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November Roll of the Month

The Sweet Tree Roll

The Sweet Tree Roll

Snack:

  • Remaining half of Kashi bar + a few bites of chocolate, after which I face-planted into a pillow and slept!

Friday, November 21th, 2014:

I woke up early and although I usually immediately eat and drink coffee, I was sleeping at a friends and didn’t have a kitchen to use. I had a meeting in Brooklyn at 10 and decided to take a train from Union Square and swing by the Farmer’s market on the way. I ended up grabbing stuff at Whole Foods, cause I saw it as a one-stop place for coffee and food and was running short on time.

Breakfast:

  • Coffee with soy milk, a big-old whole-wheat NYC bagel with peanut butter, and a giant organic Gala apple which was one of the best apples I’ve had in a while. I had to eat this breakfast on the train because I was so low on time, and I felt super obnoxious being that person. I figured it would be no biggie but the train ended up being SUPER packed, but my blood sugar was super low so I wallowed in a corner and ate my apple and half my bagel. Once I could see/think/again, the train was at the Wall Street stop, and like 90% of the people got off. And then I had a whole train car basically to myself to eat the remaining half of my bagel in peace. Lol. #alittlelate

Lunch:

  • After running around Brookyln and back to Manhattan and meeting a friend for coffee quickly, I ended up not eating until around 3 pm, by which time, I happened to be near the Union Square Whole Foods again. I was so hungry and grumpy and indecisive of what to eat, and I remembered I had a $50 Whole Foods giftcard on me so I opted to hit the EPIC Whole Foods hot/cold food bar for lunch. It was perfect because I had no idea what I was in the mood for and the millions of options could all end up in my bowl together. This is my favorite way to eat. Buffet styles are the best, cause I like to try EVERYTHING. I spent $12 on my mixture of salads and grain salads and tofu dishes and falafel chunks and dumplings. I also grabbed a sprouted roll and 3 Mast Brother’s bars and an unsweetened iced tea to use up my $50 giftcard. #freelunch sort of. #winning. I ate upstairs overlooking the park and charged my phone and sat down for a while and people watched. It ended up being perfect.
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this + a million other things at Whole Foods. YUM.

Snack:

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Snack #2:

  • A mini cupcake from Magnolia Bakery (they have minis now !!!)

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Dinner:

  • I met two of my favorite people/friends Joanna and Cassie for dinner at Peacefood, a vegan restaurant in the village. It was late, I had walked 15 miles that day according to my iPhone tracker, and I was HUNGRY. Like, I needed a sandwich hungry. I ordered the Vegan Cheeseburger with Cashew Cheese, Avocado, Caramelized Onions, Sprouts, Tomato, Lettuce, and some drippy delicious sauce. I inhaled it.
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Vegan Cheeseburger at Peacefood NYC. SO GOOD.

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best sandwich of my life. i inhaled it. 

  • We had dessert at Peacefood, too. Strawberry Shortcake and a giant Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich exploding with frosting. The 3 of us split these two. SO GOOD.

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Saturday, November 22th, 2014:

Breakfast:

  • Shocking fact (not): I ended up leaving my purse at Peacefood, so I headed back in that direction early the next morning. The nearest subway station is Union Square, so I ended up, once again, grabbing some food there. I had the BEST Vegan Blueberry Muffin like, ever and another organic Gala Apple (it was just too good the day before). I have to recreate those muffins. I think they used spelt flour, and I think that did the trick. I ate that on my way to pick up purse and visited a friend who works at an East Village coffee shop, where I got some free coffee with soy milk and some free granola with soymilk. Yummies.

Snack:

  • banana purchased at a bodega #nyc and half a Kashi peanut butter bar

Lunch:

  • I ended up NEEDING food when I was at Dominque Ansel with friends later that day so I ordered real food there, which I’ve never done before. I had a delicious salad with Endive, Sprouts, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Pear, Caramelized Pecans, and a Truffle Vinaigrette. The salad was delicious and the Roasted Sweet Potatoes and caramelized nuts were so flavorful that I, thankfully, didn’t need that vinaigrette. Which was nice, because to me, that dressing had a very strong flavor, and was a bit too much for me. I like truffle, but only in small amounts. I found the dressing a bit overpowering, but enjoyed the salad nonetheless.
Salad at Dominque Ansel Bakery

salad at Dominque Ansel Bakery

  • I also had a DKA from Dominique Ansel:
DKA!

DKA!

  • And took a selfie while eating lunch with Dominique in the background. I’m really creepy. Whatever. I idolize him.

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Dinner:

  • I met up with another amazing friend for dinner. We ended up at Peacefood again, which was honestly fine by me. The dinner was early and I’d eaten lunch and a pastry a few hours earlier, so I wanted something lighter. I ordered the Asian Greens Salad with Jicima, Tempeh, Carrots, Greens, and some delicious Peanut Ginger dressing. I’ve ordered this salad many times, and it’s always fresh, flavorful, and light-yet satisfying. It’s still my favorite salad there…minus perhaps when they have the Protein packed Kale Salad on the specials menu.

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  • I wasn’t going to get dessert cause I had just had some, but then my friend ordered carrot cake and I ended up eating half of it because it was so fucking good. (Sorry Olivia…) Great meal, great conversation, great friend. 🙂
  • In other news, Amanda Seyfried (aka Karen from Mean Girls) was dining near us. I tried snapping one creeper pic as I sat down, but it was blurry and I felt rude attempting again, and was also soon distracted by food.

Bedtime Snack:

  • remaining half of Kashi peanut butter bar, more chocolate

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014:

Breakfast:

  • I grabbed some trendy pour-over coffee (with soy milk) at a hipster-y coffee place with my friend Cassie, and ate a banana and an apple and half another Vegan Blueberry Muffin to fuel me up for the day.

Lunch:

  • I met my friend Minhye for lunch at Chelsea Market. I tried to talk myself into eating something “different” but desperately wanted Beyond Sushi again. So I got it. I got a Mighy Mushroom Wrap and another Sweet Tree Roll. I’m not usually into mushrooms, but this wrap is honestly amazing. I get it without the mushroom-y sauce on top and ask for an extra hot sauce. It’s literally so good I almost cried eating it. It was randomly VERY nice out so we ate outside upstairs on The Highline. It was awesome.
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Beyond Sushi on The Highline

  • And went for a stroll. The Highline Park is now fully open, and totally awesome. WALK IT!

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Snack at the Airport:

  • Plane delays = grumpy/hungry me. I had a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee with soy milk, a whole-wheat bagel with vegan spread, and highly overpriced apple and banana. #airportfood. I also ended up eating an Enjoy Life Caramel Apple Bar and a Cashew Cookie Larabar that I found in my backpack. I love finding food in my backpack. What a win. I also had some tea and a mini bag of mini pretzels on the plane.

Snack at Home:

  • I got home around 11:30 and needed a second dinner before showering and going to bed. I ate a bunch of veggies with dip and crackers and another veggie burger with an Angelic Bakery whole-wheat wrap and hot sauce/ketchup and chopped lettuce. I then downed a couple spoonfuls of peanut butter and some almond coconut milk and called it a night.
my helper.

my helper.

So that’s it. All my eats last weekend. Lots of fruit and granola bars and carbs and veggies. Like 90% vegan. Pretty standard to my typical eating, but also more eating out than usual. In case you care, which you probably don’t. But it was kind of fun to recap it. Maybe I’ll do it again. Maybe not. That’s sort of the fun of having your own blog. You can experiment. I wonder if anyone is still reading. Doubtful. If you are, leave a comment below and I’ll send you a special surprise. Lol. Have a good day!!

xoxo,

K-Bakes

Homemade (healthified) Reese’s Puffs-ish Cereal

The other day I had a ratchet craving for Reese’s Puffs cereal. Maybe it’s because I spent all day hosting kiddie’s birthday parties at a froyo shop, where I watch wee little ones pile on every fluorescent color and artificially flavored goodie onto their mountains of frozen yogurt, but lately I’ve been craving some #tbt nostogolia noms.

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You know what I mean. Things you don’t really eat anymore but still want once in a while. Like Fun-Dips. Frosted animal crackers. Lunchables and fruit snacks and Capri Suns. And dessert-y cereal like Capt’n Crunch and Kix and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Or in my most recent case, Reese’s Puffs. I don’t generally a lot of eat sugary cereal, though (more of a plain grain girl in the morning), so I didn’t have any Reese’s Puffs chillin in pantry. So instead of going to the store <5 minutes from my house to buy some like a normal human being, I was like “I’ll make my own!”

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…because that’s way less of a hassle. NOT. Whatever. Sometimes I don’t really bake crazy, weird, complicated, or bizarre stuff for any reason other than I enjoy the challenge. Baking has always been my hobby since I could hold a spoon, so I pretty much live to create unnecessary mini-projects for myself, like make homemade marshmallows and graham crackers, and apparently Reese’s Puffs.

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Lately I’ve been intrigued by homemade cereal anyways, so I figured this craving was a convenient excuse to give it a whirl. These babies are yes, tasty, and yes, far more work than purchasing a box of cereal at the store. But they’re healthier. And you can actually eat more than a bowl without feeling a sugar-glaze on your entire mouth/throat. Also, if you make these, you can say you fucking made Reese’s Puffs. Which sounds totally cool and/or like you REALLY need a life depending on who you speak to. I’d also like to publicly acknowledge that these kind of look like turds or weird rabbit food. I’m okay with that. Now let’s move on.

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In summary, these are a bit putsy, but yummy. I really just like them as a dry snack. Zipped in a baggie they’d go great in your backpack for a study boost, and/or in your apron as you work 3 back-to-back birthday parties at your local froyo shop. Not that I speak from experience. They make a great addition to yogurt, too. Puff puff. Crunch crunch. Nom nom.


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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10-20 minutes
Level: Easy (but putsy)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flours of your choice (I used a mix of whole-wheat and oat flour)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour (If you don’t have this, substitute with a higher-protein flour, like oat or bread. If you have none of these, all-purpose will suffice!)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup honey and/or maple syrup

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Place flours, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda into a bowl and mix.

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3. Place peanut butter into a small bowl and microwave for 30-60 seconds until warm and melty and yummy. Pour honey and/or maple syrup into the microwave and give it a nice stir until you have a gooey, sticky peanut butter mixture.

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4. Place flour mixture into a food processor and pulse ingredients together. Meanwhile, slowly pour the peanut butter mixture throw the funnel-thing and a sticky dough should eventually form. You may need to add more honey and/or maple syrup. And/or melted peanut butter if that’s what you’re more into. You just need to make sure the dough is sticky-ish. The dough should be a little dry, but moist enough to shape and hold together.

5. Transfer to a bowl and mix if necessary. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll dough into tiny Reese’s-Puff sized balls.

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6. Place onto parchment paper. Pop into the oven for 10-14 minutes, until hard and crunchy and slightly lighter in color.

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7. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Pop into your mouth directly, or enjoy with milk of choice in a bowl. Goes well with bananas. And/or mixed into your regular breakfast cereal to #shakeitup. And yes, they do make your milk taste extra gooooood at the end ;-).

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Homemade Twix + Homemade Almond Joy

As long as I’m rolling out candy recipes, (Kit Kats earlier today, Take 5 Bars with Graham Cracker and Sea Salt yesterday,) I thought I’d also post my homemade Twix and homemade Almond Joy bars. These were also part of my DIY Candies piece for NYU Spoon and were featured on The Daily Meal. I gave Kit-Kats their own post because Kit-Kats are a godly food in my eyes so I felt they deserved it. I’m combining Twix and Almond Joy because they’re also in my top 5 favs, but I’m also kind of lazy right now and I think my pup has to poop so I’m anxious to finish this post so we can go on a walk. And you know what? My blog my rules. *whip crack* Anywhoo, I feel like everyone loves Twix. I do too. I also feel like a lot of people think of Almond Joy as “old people” candy. It’s not. It’s great. Don’t judge my love of it and think I’m an old grannie. Even though ever since I turned 22, I’ve been going to bed progressively earlier. It’s fine trust me, I just like my bed a lot.

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I feel like it is my responsibility to clarify, while I categorize all these homemade candies as “easy,” I should also mention that they’re all putsy. (ie: you got to have a bit of patience because it’s a lot of repetitive handling and spreading of chocolate etc). But spreading chocolate and being putsy is fun when you get delicious end results. At least in my eyes. Give these a whirl. And just like the Take 5 Bars, I reccomend Sea Salt. Also that Real Salt brand Sea Salt is dank monies. You should buy it. It’s like $6 for that bag, but so, so, so worth it. Last night I ate some food just so I could have a vessel for the salt. I do that a lot with hot sauce too. And salsa. And then I need a sugary chaser, like these bars. Life is all about balance, people!

Twix:


Baker_Twix_Ingredients

 

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
1 small box butter shortbread cookies
1 9 ounce bag baking caramels
1 12 ounce bag chocolate chips
sea salt (optional)

Directions:

1. Place parchment paper or aluminum foil onto a large plate or baking sheet, and place it next to your work space.

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2. Unwrap caramels and place in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high in intervals of 30 seconds until melted, stirring between each interval.

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2. Spread caramel onto shortbread cookies using a knife. Place each caramel covered cookie onto the prepared sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt if you’re fancy.

3. Allow caramel to cool on cookies. This should take about 20 minutes.

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4. Empty the chocolate chips into a large microwave safe bowl. Place in the microwave and microwave in increments of 30 seconds, stirring after each increment, until chocolate is melted. Be careful not to burn chocolate.

5. Use a knife to spread chocolate on all four sides of the caramel coated shortbread cookies and place back onto prepared pan.

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6. Place cookies in the refrigerator until chocolate has set, about 30-60 minutes.

 

Almond Joy

Baker_Almond

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
4 cups sweetened flaked coconut
7 ounces sweetened condensed milk (half of a small can)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 12 ounce bag chocolate chips
1/2 cup raw almonds

Directions:

1. Line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper or grease with butter or nonstick spray.

2. Pour sweetened condensed milk into a medium sized bowl and add powdered sugar. Mix until smooth and well combined. Fold in sweetened coconut.

3. Pour coconut mixture into prepared pan. Spread and pat it down evenly with a spatula.

4. Place almonds in rows on top of the coconut mixture. Press each one into the coconut just a lightly, until each nut is about half submerged in coconut.

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5. Place pan in the refrigerator for about an hour until coconut is set and firm.

6. Grease a sharp knife with cooking spray. Cut the coconut mixture in rows following the pattern made by the almonds, and then into individual 2-inch bites.

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7. Place parchment paper or aluminum foil onto a large plate or baking sheet, and place it next to your work space.

8. Empty the chocolate chips into a large microwave safe bowl. Place in the microwave and microwave in increments of 30 seconds, stirring after each increment, until chocolate is melted. Be careful not to burn chocolate.

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9. Using hands, dip each 2-inch bite in chocolate and use a knife to coat chocolate evenly. Place on lined baking sheet.

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10. Place almond joys in fridge for 30-60 minutes until chocolate is firm. Keep cold until serving. Nom it up and defend these beauties as young AND old person candy.

 

 

DIY Cronuts link (a recipe by me) && an explanation of my disappearance

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direct link to recipe here

hey everyone!

sorry i have vanished from my blog for quite a while. like has been crazy. once school got going, i ended up kind of tossing my blog to a backburner on my priority list and quite honestly even forgot about it for a while. but i plan to update it a bunch this winter break, and hopefully not to neglect the poor thing from now on. i’ve been home from school for a few days now and have literally been baking non.stop. cookies. more cookies. even more cookies (can never have too many cookies, right?). italian rainbow cookies (my fav – swoon). cookies for my dogs and my sister’s dogs (damn so many cookies!). cakes. candy. barks. eclairs. and i got a buche de noel on the way. so now i have quite a bit of inspiration for some posts. on top of that, i have a bunch of stuff i did over the semester that i can slap up here over the coming weeks. 

the semester was awesome. busy, but awesome. i finally felt like i’m at a place in my education where i enjoy all of the classes i am taking, and it was such a thrill to find enjoyment in doing my schoolwork, and actually enjoy lectures and reading. 

in case you are wondering, here is what i took:

  • Intro to Food Science
  • Human Anatomy (at a graduate level…it was a bit of a challenge but i ended up doing it anyway!)
  • Diet Planning & Assessment (a nutrition class, part of the DPD sequence) 
  • Lab in Psychopathology
  • Social Psychology

so that was it. five classes (one a graduate science class that met at 8am). i also wrote all semester long for NYU Spoon. it was great. all of it. especially NYU Spoon. i don’t think those kids realize how humbled i feel to be a part of it. they all seem so legit (journalism majors, working at E! and CNN, etc) and here i am, just some premed (although i’ve been having doubts about med school – more in a future post) and nutrition minor like “oh hey, i like food.” but whatever. i’m thrilled to be a part of it.

which brings me to my first post. 

here is a link to my original article on NYU Spoon on how to make cronuts

truly, it’s not as hard as it sounds. sure, it takes a long time and its repetitive. but it’s not, ya know, hard. give it a whirl and impress your family or someone special for christmas or new years breakfast this season. personally, i have a taste aversion to donuts, so even thought i knew these were good, it was hard to enjoy them, but everyone else seemed to go CRAZY for these babies. and i hope you will too!

happy holidays everyone! and hello again blog world! 

homemade thin mints.

As I promised at the end of the Carmel deLites post, I recently attempted to make Thin Mints from scratch. And you know what? These are quite less labor intensive than the deLites (although, in my personal humble opinion, not quite as tasty). These are still pretty good though, and carry a “wow” factor much like their sister cookies. Speaking of sisters, I’m bringing these to my very own sister’s Bachelorette party this Saturday. hash tag exciting!

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Also speaking of sisters, I’m no longer sobbing over the fact that girl scout sisters do not voyage up the five flights of stairs that lead to my apartment to knock on my door and try to sell me their cookies. At this point, I’m convinced I don’t even need them. The quest to make homemade Girl Scout Cookies has become a project of sorts for me, and I like the challenge of trying to re-create something so beloved and ionic. I think I may actually make it a goal of mine to attempt to re-create every flavor, or at the very least, all my favorites. So far, so good, so I’m gonna keep on keeping on!

Below you’ll find the recipe for the homemade thin-mints, which according to the Girl Scouts website, are the #1 selling cookie, accounting for 25% of their annual revenue.

The cookies that come out of your kitchen will lack high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and palm oil that the conventional cookies have. This is a good thing. They also lack the portion-controlling sleeve. Now there’s no “holy fuck I just ate a whole sleeve of Thin Mints I gotta put the box down” afterthought to slow your consumption. But to keep yourself from eating yourself into a minty diabetic coma, I suggest sharing with friends. I don’t think they’ll mind.

i found peppermint oil at target for $4.99 and coconut oil at trader joes for $5.99 #gooddeals :)

i found peppermint oil at target for $4.99 and coconut oil at trader joes for $5.99 #gooddeals 🙂

For the cookies:

  • 1 lb (2 sticks) butter, brought to room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 egg whites, at room temperature (baking tip: egg whites dry out baked goods, which is what we want for a crunchy cookie. for a moist cookie or a richer dessert, yolk is used
  • 1 and 1/4 cup flour
  • pinch of salt

baking tip: you want the butter and eggs at the same temperature (room temperature) when baking so they cream evenly. if at different temperatures, they dough will get lumpy! let them sit out for a few minutes before you bake, or warm butter gently in the microwave for 10-20 seconds

For the mint-chocolate glaze:

  • 12 oz (one and a half bags) high-quality semi-sweet chocolate chips (i used ghardelli)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil (butter or vegetable shortening would also work)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract (available at Target & Whole Foods if you can’t find it in your local grocery store)
the dough will be slighly denser than normal cookie dough. be sure not to overmix it or you will get a tough and unpleasant texture
the dough will be slighly denser than normal cookie dough. be sure not to overmix it or you will get a tough and unpleasant texture

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Directions:

  1. Cream butter and white sugar using a kitchen-aid mixer or hand-mixer at high speed for several minutes until fluffy and fragrant.
  2. Add powdered sugar in two portions, mixing well after each addition.
  3. Add cocoa powder in two portions, mixing well after each addition.
  4. Add egg whites and mix.
  5. Mix flour and salt in a seperate bowl, then add to the butter mixture, folding in gently with a spatula. (Do not overmix! Or you will get a tough cookie)
  6. Roll the dough into a log that is just over an inch in diameter. Yes, it will look like a big piece of poop.
  7. Wrap the log in Saran Wrap and stick in the freezer until frozen (about an hour) or overnight
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees about 20 minutes before you want to bake the cookies
  9. Remove log from oven.
  10. Slice into thin circles, about 1/8 inch wide (just eyeball it – go for what a thin mint looks like/is shaped like!)
  11. Arrange cookie dough slices about an inch apart on cookie sheets.
  12. Bake 8-10 minutes until the kitchen smells chocolatey and cookies are slightly darker and raised.
  13. Allow cookies to completely cool on a cooling rack.
  14. Melt chocolate chips & coconut oil in a large bowl in small increments (30 secondsish) in the microwave, stirring after each increment until smoothly melted. This can also be done on a double boiler on your stovetop. Once melted, add the mint extract and stir well.
  15. Dip each cookie into the chocolate mixture, and wipe off excess chocolate with a knife or with your fingers.
  16. Place chocolate-dipped cookies on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper and stick into the freezer. Let these freeze until hard. The cookies should be able to peel right off the parchment paper when they’re frozen.
  17. Pop into an airtight container or plastic bag and store in the freezer or fridge until you are ready to enjoy them 🙂

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Happy eating! What Girl Scout Cookie should I attempt next? Peanut Butter Pattie? I actually have been thinking about how I could do this, and think I have it figured out. And it’d be pretty simple.

happy baking and happy eating!

kbakes out.

that one time i lived in paris.

Exactly a year ago, I was working hard to cross things off my Paris-bucklet list as I savored my last few days in France. I spent six weeks nestled in a story-book-like schoolhouse in the Latin Quarter, commuting to French class 4 days a week at the quant NYU Paris campus through NYU Study abroad.

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goofin off en Paris!

I’m not really even sure where to start with Paris. It was almost surreal and when I reflect on it, part of me can’t believe that I lived it. Undoubtably, it was probably one of the best – if not the best – experience of my life.

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This is in retrospect, though. At the time I didn’t really realize how fucking lucky I was to be there. I was battling home-sickness and New York-sickness, as well as constant stomach problems brought on by the change in cuisine. I actually had a countdown on my wall, and happily crossed off the days until I headed home. The thought of this countdown disgusts me now, and looking back my only regret is that I would have been more open-minded, lived in the moment more, and tried harder to enjoy myself instead of wallowing in self-pity. Change in environment and food and culture and routine certainly let my anxiety creep over and control me a bit, but all that said, I still had the most amazing time and will never ever forget those beautiful six weeks.

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I got to do so much. I met the most amazing people, whom I’m still quite close with (in fact, the girl I’m lucky enough to call “roommate” for the upcoming year was someone I met in Paris). What I love most about my “Paris friends” (as I call them) is that we’re all incredibly different. We had different majors, interests, backgrounds – but somehow we all sort of clicked as a mini group. If we hadn’t all been tossed into Paris together hat summer, I’m not sure I would have found any of them or even if I had, gone out of my way to be friends with them. But I love them. They provided comfort, laughs, emotional support, and adventure buddyship I needed to get through study abroad. And even though some of them have since graduated college and even live in different parts of the world, we’re still connected. We still talk, and we still hang out. And that’s a bit miraculous to me. They became and remained some of my closest friends, which is something I never expected to gain from the trip.

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Not only did I make friends, I learned SO much. Likely more in six weeks than I normally do over a year. I learned a lot about France, the language, and French culture, of course, but less obviously I learned so damn much about myself I felt like I grew up 10 years mentally and emotionally. While I was there I realized how set I can be in my ways. Lesson learned – I’m now more open and more flexible, and try to appreciate things and humans for the way they are. And I’m happy about this. I also realized how much I am absolutely in love with New York. I’m having withdrawals this summer, as well. Anytime I leave for an extended period of time, I crave it. Life just makes more sense there to me. Where else can you get any kind of food delivered to your door at any hour of the day? I love not having to rely on a car, and adore how – although it sounds paradoxical to some – walking alone at 3am in the big city somehow feels totally safe. I love that in a 30 minute walk I can be in several neighborhoods and feel how their cultures make each very distinct and as if its its own city. I love that I can have access to basically anything at any hour of the day. 24 hour restaurants, pharmacies, office supplies stores, Best Buys – man we are SPOILED in the city. And now every other city just feels kind of limiting. So I guess, in Paris, I learned I’m becoming a New Yorker- and possibly a lifelong one.

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Speaking of spoiled, New York tainted my ability to appreciate French cuisine. Well aware that I’m likely making many people doubt my ability to know/love good food – I gotta say – I did not think the cuisine in Paris was all that great. This is totally personal, and probably has a lot to do with the fact that I do not like meat, which a lot of classic French cuisine includes. Aside from that, I found a lot of dishes over-buttered and under-seasoned. Often times I would eat an omelet or a side of cooked vegetables and taste only butter. I’m sorry – I’m Italian – I’m all about olive oil, and using it only to enhance (rather than overpower) the flavors of food. As someone who has never craved grease in my life, I found a lot of French entrees to be just a bit too rich for my taste.

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we found healthy food at Le Pain Quotidian – a Belgium place with a French name that was familiar to us as they have many locations in NYC (this is one of my favorite spots for any meal)

That said there were some things France knocked out of the park. What stands out most clearly in my memory was the fruit and the cheese. Fruit in France is all grown more or less organically – there are way fewer pesticides and nothing is genetically modified. And you can tell! The strawberries are all tiny, but pack much sweeter, deeper flavors than the large commercial ones you see in American grocery stores. In fact, all the fruit tastes sweeter. I’m not sure if its the water or the soil, but every piece of fruit was as satisfying to me as candy – and I have a raging sweet tooth. I also fell in love with donut peaches and fresh apricots in France – I ate so so many of these. And the pink lady apples were tarter, crisper, and sweeter – just overall more intense – than any I’ve been able to find here.

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Regarding true sweets, France did have delicious pasteries. They used almonds, coconut, pistachio and nutella (all things I love) in many of their desserts, and did it quite well. I had a soft spot for coconut and almond croissants, as well as macaroons and absolutely anything filled with pastry cream. I’d like to say these stood out to me more than American pastries, but sadly they didn’t. I’ve been very spoiled by excellent bakeries in New York and Milwaukee, and France’s pastries, while delicious, where simply among (not ahead of) others I’ve had. That said, I loved their use of many ingredients in dessert that are often overlooked in the United States, and I left inspired as a baker.

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MMMmmm but all that sweetness needs something to balance it – this is perhaps why cheese is often or after served among dessert or fruit in france. And yes, the rumors are true. France knows and loves its cheese. It sits on a Parisienne pedestal and for good reason. I had a LOT of kinds of cheese, but goat has always been my favorite. And the goat cheese I had there (and I ate it a lot – salad chèvre was my go-to dish at a lot of restaurants) perfectly tangy and creamy. It was absolutely blissful to eat dipped with some chewy French baguette.

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salad with goat cheese…a favorite dish of mine in france

Speaking of grains, both my digestive system and I, truly missed whole grains while in France. My body is so used to consuming whole grain 90% of the time (because I truly prefer the taste), so the lack of fiber and sudden influx of refined flour wrecked havoc on my intestines. An overshare, perhaps, but this prevented me from enjoying a lot of food/experiences while in France.

All this talk of food makes me thirsty. So let’s move on to another France no-brainer: WINE. I was not a wine drinker before France. I was convinced I didn’t like it. Now I love it. Thanks you France! I kid you not, in some grocery stores, you could buy (cheap) wine for less than soda, some full sized bottles cashing in at a mere Euro (about $1.30 USD). I was even lucky enough to go on an NYU-sponsored all-expenses-paid field trip to Bordeux, where in addition to boat tours and excessive wining and dining, we were lucky enough to tour a winery. That weekend remains one of the most cherished of my entire life. I felt like I was living in a painting or a dream. It remains surreal, even as a memory.

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I’m going to finish my France food post with something I know and love: ice cream. More specifically, gelato. In Paris I fell deeply in love. With Armorino Gelato. A Paris born chain started by two Italian men (because Italians do everything best), Amorino was on every corner to satisfy my ice cream addition. Expensive, yes, but well worth the money. It is clearly  made from real, quality ingredients (think – actual fruit, high quality chocolate, real cherries and coconut, etc) and they let you layer as many flavors into a beautiful flower as you could fit. This gelato was perfection. Creamy, but not too creamy, it boasted a a balance that was never too rich nor too sweet to overpower the star ingredient of each flavor. I became quite partial to the Speculoos, pistachio, coconut, mango, and amaretto (almond with cherry chunks). It was one of my favorite treats in France, and by some lucky miracle, the only Amorino in the US is within walking distance to my apartment in New York City, so I haven’t had to give it up. I go there from time to time, not only because it’s incredible, but because every bite is laced with nostalgia. And let’s be honest – food that can wash you with warm memories and fuzzy feelings always becomes a favorite.

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amorino gelato

So there you have it. A really unorganized food-laced reflection on France. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss it. But my Paris experience has never left me. My friends are still very present, and it has inspired me to be more open-minded and embracing of life. Most invaluably, I try harder to explore my world around me. Milwaukee, New York – Paris taught me to take advantage of my surroundings and see what the world has to offer. It’s important to experience life and not post up in your room. The world is meant for seeing. Every site, sound, and bite you take helps you grow up. Merci, Paris, for teaching me much more than how to ask someone, “où sont les salles de bains?”