Weekend in Pennsylvania + Whole Foods Salad Bar Hack

Weekend in Pennsylvania + Whole Foods Salad Bar Hack

Another weekend in the books! I found out late last week I still couldn’t move into my apartment (that was supposed to be ready 9/1…WTF) so I went to PA to visit a friend because I figured might as well!


Friday:

Friday I had class pretty much all day. Made better by free coffee and a bagel. 


After class, I was hungry and needed a good meal. I didn’t know what I wanted but knew I wanted all of the things. Not having access to a kitchen has been stressful AF these past few weeks. 

Anyways, I hacked the salad bar and posted about it on my Insta stories and a lot of people seemed to like the idea so I’m sharing it again here:

I ate this at Whole Foods and was stuffing my face across the table from a super cute guy drinking kombucha and reading like a civilized human. Lol. What can I say I’m a savage.

After that, I visited my friend Joanna in BK for a few hours, then headed to my friend’s apt where I’ve been staying for a few hours of sleep. 

Saturday:

Saturday I was up bright and early to visit my friend Amanda in Pennsylvania. We took a lot of the same classes at NYU and she’s basically the best. I was so grateful she let me come visit this weekend.


I nommed on a banana while waiting for the bus. I also redeemed a free drink from some online promo thing from DD. 


Naturally, since it said I could select any size, I was super gross and picked the biggest size. #somuchcoffee


I got into Philly around 10:30 and popped my head into Reading Terminal Market. Yum!




My friend graciously picked me up and drove me to her house. 

Once we got there, we headed out to her epic garden to gather some goodies. She’s quite the gardener. #goals


Using some fresh tomatoes and cucs, I made a hummus lunch (with some pb for dessert) and we enjoyed the noms while watched Bravo. #perfection


After that we took her doggos on a quick nearby. It was beautiful! PA reminds me a lot of Wisco.


Back at her place, I showered and fell asleep for a few hours. Holy cow a real bed felt so nice.


Post shower/nap, Amanda picked a butternut squash from her garden and started roasting it to make butternut squash black bean burgers. 


She also made a farro salad with fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, artichoke heart, oil, vinegar, and salt & pepper. Yum!



A movie was next on the agenda. I fell asleep during it on the couch, then went up to bed around 12 and went straight back to sleep.

Sunday:

Sunday I slept til 8 which is super late from me but I think my body really needed the sleep. Breakfast with cinnamon apple oatmeal with almond butter. 


We decided to go apple picking at a nearby orchard next, which was fun. 


Applesss!!!


Lunch was delicious leftovers with a side of more Bravo.


Now I’m on the mega bus back into the city. Womp womp. Wondering if I can ever move into my apt…at this point I’m so frustrated I can hardly stand it. 


Bleh. New York is kinda the worst tbh. I was really apprehensive to move back here and after a lovely weekend in PA  am kinda like…what am I doing?

Anyways, I’m going to finish some readings for tm but thanks for stopping by! What’d you do this weekend? Comment below I love to hear from you!

Weekend Update/Life Update (My Next Step)

Weekend Update/Life Update (My Next Step)

Hey there! I haven’t written a post like this in a while so I figured it was time. I thought I’d share my weekend and what I’m up to next!

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This weekend I was actually supposed to be in Denver, but life was too hectic with a move coming up this week (eeeeep) and with zero packing done and no apartment yet I decided I’ll go to Denver in January instead. My anxiety hasn’t been serving me well these days. Sometimes it does, other times it’s a messy butthole that gets in the way. Right now it’s the later. #anyways #movingon

Friday:

Friday I took my brand new MacBook Pro to the Apple Store because after shelling out a boat load of money for it, it came with a broken “D” key. How irritating. The guy was also totally not nice about it and didn’t believe it came that way (he kept saying Apple Care would cover the damage this time…and I’m like this isn’t damage….it came messed up). Anyways, now I don’t have a computer I can use Adobe on until Friday which is SUPER annoying because I was in the middle of editing several videos. Ugh!

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Also on Friday, it was announced that Millie’s photo in the TJ’s contest won us a $500 giftcard. I AM SO GRATEFUL AND HAPPY. Thanks to all who supported us! Here’s the photo from Millie’s Insta:

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I actually found out about this on Thursday and took Millie out to dinner and froyo at Panera to thank her for her cuteness lol.

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She got the chicken that would have come on my salad.

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Can we be real for a moment? I frickin’ love Panera. Like I know it’s nothing phenomenal but it’s consistently good. I just love their salads and soups and bagels! Tho their bread is kinda meh IMO. Bring back the actually yummy sourdough roll days!

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Saturday:

Saturday I made peanut butter cookies (because I love to bake when I’m stressed; recipe coming soon), sort of packed, took Millie to the park, and was in a meh mood for most of the day.

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At the park, Millie made friends with a bee! Curious nugget.

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I met an old co-worker for dinner at Odd Duck. If you ever find yourself in MKE, go to Odd Duck. It’s small plates, different menu almost every time you go, and more often than not, very yum yum.

I got a quinoa salad (yes this photo is AWFUL, the lighting was dim) with greens, quinoa, apples, onions, golden raisins and a cumin vinaigrette. The golden raisins in it were MONEY. The cumin dressing could have used a hint more acid/salt to be a slam dunk IMO, but I tend to like very acidic/salty things so perhaps I’m biased.

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I also got this grilled cauliflower dish. It came with hunks of grilled Cauliflower (obvi) Guajillo Purée, Plantain Chips, Fingerling Potatoes, Poblano Jelly, Chili Oil “Powder”, Nopal Aioli. This was MONEY.

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After that I stopped by a friend’s in Bayview since I was nearby, did an errand, and headed home for sleeps.

Sunday:

Sunday I hit up Trader Joe’s bright and early to get in on some of their deals for their 50th anniversary. I got avocados and organic French baguettes for $0.50, and $93 of other stuff. I utilized the avos + baguette for an epic $1 lunch (with some everything bagel salt, of course).

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I also went to a barre class that morning, and ran another errand or 8. I also got stressed about my computer issues preventing me from getting work done so I made more cookies.

Levain Bakery Style Vegan Cookies

While I was baking I looked up and saw two wild turkeys and two deer in the backyard. Gotta love Wisco (political policies here aside)!

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Sunday evening I met my aunt for dinner at Beans & Barley, which is a Milwaukee health food institution that’s old school and charming in the best way.

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This was one of the first healthy diner type places around here, and it was nice to visit it since I haven’t been in a while. I love how old school certain things about it are. Like they put whole cherry tomatoes and alfalfa spreads in salad and serve everything with these cute tiny rolls and a pad of butter.

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Dinner was chips and guac with 3 kinds of salsa, a large greens salad (with all of the veggies, sunflower seeds, cashews, etc) with balsamic marinated tofu (yum), and of course, a wee little roll. Their balsamic dressing, BTW, is money.

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We also got dessert. German chocolate cake for her and vegan peanut butter chocolate cake for me. Yummo. Their cakes are good because they are not too sweet! #bless

It was a nice evening. I really enjoyed spending time with my aunt. She’s pretty awesome. After that I headed up, chilled with the weiner, and headed to bed.

What’s Next:

In an attempt to be more open about my life on my blog and not just post recipes, I’m going to share that I’m moving back to NYC for more school (yup). I’m starting at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health in the Environmental Health Sciences department, with a focus on Climate & Health. My goal is to focus on how climate change is impacted nutrition/food systems.

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Yes, I’m a mega-nerd. If you know me IRL closely, you’ll know this year was kinda tough for me. I moved cross-country and started something that I knew in my gut just wasn’t right. Lesson learned: ALWAYS trust you your gut, not your logical brain or what anyone else tells you should do.

Anyways, after realizing what I definitely DON’T want to do, I revisited an urge to enter this program. I took classes in this department while at IHN of Columbia, and was blown away by them. I felt so moved, and motivated. Also throughout that entire program, I realized my strength is not in basic lab science. I can do it, but I truly excel at social sciences and public health.

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I actually didn’t want to do this program since I’m wary about moving back to NYC after being there for so long and really enjoying a break from it, but accepted students day sold me. Hard. The department I’m in seems so awesome. The professors are amazeballs and very caring. And it seems like the students do such neat things!

I want to help communicate public health messages to the public and be an advocate. Eventually, I think, I want to be a professor. I have taught at U of MN and at Marquette, and really enjoy it! I’m excited to share my journey of life in NYC, public health, nutrition, and climate health. I hope you’ll join me; I’m legit VERY excited about this curriculum! And plan to NOT do what I did last time I was in school and stop blogging. No no. This is happening. HOLD ME TO IT.

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Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way, especially in this last weird/icky/bumpin’ my head around the world year. I feel truly humbled and blessed for this upcoming opportunity.

Thanks for reading!!! Comment about your weekend; I love hearing from readers!

Weekend Update

Weekend Update

Hi! I’m going to try posting more life-related posts. I don’t know why but these are the posts I love reading the most from other bloggers. Like, for some reason, I really care about the errands they ran and the lunch they ate. I have no idea if anyone cares about the errands I run or the lunches I eat. Regardless, let’s give this a whirl.

Let’s start with Friday:Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 10.41.44 PM

Friday I worked later than expected (I offered to stay some extra hours since the school I was at was short-staffed that day). After two weeks of dealing with a bum toe and like 80 trips to the doctor and a surprise (mini/minor) toe surgery, I was so tired Friday night I passed out on the couch with Millie at 9 pm. I don’t even remember what I ate for dinner. I know I ate, but I was so exhausted that entire evening is a blur. I woke up on the couch at like 11, put Millie out to pee, ate some chocolate, brushed my teeth, and immediately went back to sleep. Party. Animal.

Saturday: 

Saturday I was supposed to do a 33-mile bike ride called Tour De MKE, but with rain in the forecast, I didn’t want my toe wrapping to get all soaked and gross and soggy all day. I opted instead to do the NAMI walk for mental health with my aunt and her partner and some of their friends. I ate banana + pb + toast for breakfast and also had some of this cherry almond cake from last week:

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They had free bagels, so I was happy to be there. They also had free fruit, and I was really in the mood for a pear, but a bite in, my was really rotten (like inedible rotten) so I had to toss it. Tear. I didn’t take like any pics there minus this one of the art museum.

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Then it started to rain so we left the walk a wee bit early and I went to my aunt’s house to play with her puppy. You’re welcome for the pics.

Then I went home and hung out with MY pup, Millie for a while. I also made a giant bowl of oatmeal with bananas, blueberries, walnuts, cinnamon, and sunflower seed butter when I got home because I was damn and cold and I find oatmeal to be a comfort food. Also, my GI was a damn mess from being on antibiotics for 20 days. Luckily, I took my last dose with this oatmeal. YAY!IMG_4365

I spent the remainder of the afternoon/evening doing laundry and cleaning. I am truly way too much fun.

Sunday:

Sunday I had a banana with peanut butter toast and some melon for breakfast and went to a barre class in the morning because my toe was feeling up to it and my body has been craving movement since I had to spend a lot of time sitting with my foot up after my toe surgery.

Then, I met one of my best friends from elementary/middle/high school for brunch at Beerline Cafe. There is something about hanging out with your friends from childhood. Like, we always laugh like crazy. It’s so nice to connect with people for decades and never lose a bond, no matter the distance. I cherish time with my childhood friends. And brunch was perfect. We talked for hours. IMG_4375

Beerline is delicious. Like, SO GOOD. I dream about their Ethiopian Sweet Potato Lentil Wrap. It’s spicy and savory and so satisfying and comes with a cool, creamy sauce.

I wanted to get the banana walnut pancake special, but they were out (boo). So I tried the Tempeh Avocado BLT. It was good, but given how good some of their other stuff is, I probably wouldn’t order it again. I’m really all about that wrap. Which is why…

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I ordered one to go. Lol. I was still a little hungry. And that wrap is so damn good. I ended up giving half to my mom. Because the wrap is quite filling, and after half of it after a full sandwich, I was eating more for pleasure than because I was hungry. I recognized it, and shared with my mom, and she LOVED it.  Yay.IMG_4376

More cuddle time with Millie followed, as did a long walk listening to podcasts, catching up on some work for various freelance clients, and then dinner rolled around.

For dinner I made a clean-out-the-fridge salad with organic baby kale, roasted broccoli, some random frozen grilled Cauliflower from Trader Joe’s (which is LIT btw), some veggie balls from Ikea, some roasted frozen squash cubes. I also made a little brown rice on the side. Basically just used up a bunch of odds and ends.IMG_4008

Note: this isn’t the salad I made for dinner, but is filling in for the fact that I took no photos and I felt the post needed one/it’s really a random side salad I made with lunch a few days ago.

We’re low on food, but I’m planning to shop tomorrow, but it’s nice to use be forced to clean out the fridge/freezer sometimes. Then I parked my butt on the couch with Millie, and enjoyed a big bowl of cereal while watching the Kardashians with Millie and plugging away on some work.

I finished my night off with some booch (turnin’ up), a handful of dark chocolate chips, and a few of these random (super yummy) organic coconut chocolate mini bar bites I found on clearance at Target.

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This Week:

And that was my weekend. Have a good week everyone! I have a work, a dentist appointment and a pap smear on my agenda this week, so I’m pretty jazzed. Lol.IMG_4216

I have some more recipes to share soon. 🙂 And don’t forget to tune into my new cooking series, Vegan Bites, on Spoon University’s Instagram stories every Tuesdays! I’m makin’ mac’n’cheese dis week 8-).

 

Top 10 Posts According to Stats vs. My Top 10 && Check Out My New Facebook Page !

In June I revamped a food blog I started a year earlier, and created what is now the kbaked.com you see today. Blogging has not only been a fun outlet for me, but helped me find my voice and has given me a place to stretch and push myself because we all know how much I hate not having “real” homework right now.

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It’s also been a way for me to share my recipes and ideas, which has been fun. As a side note, you may or may not have noticed that I’ve transitioned from vegetarianism to mostly-veganisms for a variety of reasons, a large part of which has to do with long-standing digestive health issues. I plan to write a full post on this soon, but thanks for staying tuned with me through this; I feel SO MUCH BETTER now. Anyways, I plan to keep posting a variety of recipes with different options for different dietary restrictions, vegan, vegetarian, and/or gluten-free, etc.

I can’t go any further without saying a big thanks to all my readers for visiting! I love every single comment and share and appreciate you all!

In other news, you should *~* LIKE KBAKED ON FACEBOOK! *~* :

I started a new Facebook page for fans to “Like” if you’re heart desires. Invite all your friends, too! #shamelessselfpromotion

Today I look back and reflect on the past year [read: I am procrastinating a bunch of stuff I really should be doing]. Anyways, I’ve seen a lot of bloggers I follow do a round-up of recipes that were the most popular in the past year. Since I’ve never done a recipe round-up myself, I thought this could be fun. So here we have it. The Top 10 most popular recipes according to my statistics pages (based on pageviews) vs. my favorite posts form the past year. Enjoy !

Top 10 According to Stats:

1. Lemon Olive Oil Coconut Cake

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One of my first recipes on kbaked.com. I originally made it for my sister’s bridal shower…#tear #nostologia. An example of an oldie, but a goodie. 😉

2. Shortcut Mini Vegan Banana Cake Donuts with Almond-Coconut Glaze.

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Easy. Delicious. Cute.

3. Pumpkin-Apple Spice Fruit Roll-Ups! 

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Fall all rolled up without the junk.

4. Homemade Vegan Cheetos

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I never posted this recipe on Facebook or Instagram or twitter. But for some reason, it still gets lots of hits. Might be the wtf factor. Who knows?

5. 5 Ingredient No-Bake Peanut Butter + Chocolate Teddy Bear Cheesecake Bites

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Yummy, cute, and easy for the win, once again.

6. Pumpkin Spice Chia Seed Pudding

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NOM.

7. Funfetti Cookies with Birthday Cake M&Ms

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*~*make it like your birthday everrryyydayyyyy*~*

8. Recap: The Seed Experience NYC – Cooking Demo with Guy Vankin of Beyond Sushi

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My favorite restaurant’s chef cooking demo recap. I have Beyond Sushi to thank for re-blogging this.

9. Soft Baked Breakfast Bars with Date-Raisin Filling

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Alright.

10. Candy Corn Inspired Veggie Tart: Corn Crust, Roasted Peppers Sauce with Roasted Onions, Sweet Potatoes and Peppers

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As featured on Today.com’s food website !

My Favorites [in No Particular Order !]

1. Vegan Animal Crackers with Coconut & Strawberry Icing

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These were really fun to make and look oh, so wonderful if I do say so myself. They also tasted like a dream. I still have two in my freezer. Sometimes I save a few of my prettier baked goods and freeze them. I usually don’t actually eat them. I just admire them, like art work. Is that weird? Anyways the rest of them were f**cking delicious.

2. Spicy Sunflower Infused Waffle’d Falafel

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Because I love a hybrid and these were SO GOOD. And now I want to make them again.

3. Vegan Chocolate Silk Pie with Coconut-Almond Whipped Topping

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This pie changed me. And it is oh so easy to make.

4. 5 Ingredient No-Bake Peanut Butter + Chocolate Teddy Bear Cheesecake Bites [Vegan]

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A moment of need-for-something-comforting-and-kiddie-like as I made a very difficult transition out of my dream apartment

5. Autumn Black Rice Salad with Pomegranate, Coconut, and Sweet Potatoes

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Essentially a perfect, colorful, filling, tasty lunch.

6. Blackberry Cornmeal Pancakes [Vegan]

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Because these are truly light and fluffy and delicious.

7. Sweet Potato, Parsnip & Sweet Pea Samosas

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Incredible, earthy pockets of joy.

8. Christmas Avocado Toast [Pomegranate and Chili Pepper Flakes]

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So pretty. SO TASTEY. Literally eat this regularly still. Not just good for Christmas !

9. Everyday Vegan Hot Chocolate

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Because this is a daily ritual I never plan to give up. #lovehotchocolate

10. Rainbow Black Rice Salad

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Still a favorite; definitely a game-changer and go-to party food for me. Everyone loves it and it’s easy to pull together!

So there’s my round-up. I hope you enjoyed it. Thank you again to every single reader for every single view, comment, feedback, or share. Blogging is a really weird thing to start, and it’s very nerve wracking at first, but thanks to my nice readers I’ve kept going and am really enjoying the ride!

Happy 2015 ! 🙂

Pumpkin Spice Chia Seed Pudding

Now that it’s mid-September, it’s officially time to put pumpkin and pumpkin spice in everything you eat. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – pumpkin is practically the best thing that’s every happened to the culinary world. I’m obsessed with it. I honestly will eat canned pumpkin with cinnamon and a spoon. People think this is weird. I know it’s delicious.

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But canned pumpkin – besides providing a delicious fall-like umami flavor – is also a great way to bump up the veggie content, fiber, potassium and beta-carotene of basically everything. I use it a lot for both sweet and savory dishes and can’t wait to share many of them right here on kbaked.com.

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But first – let’s talk breakfast. I love chia seed pudding. I also love pumpkin. Genius idea: put them together! Add pumpkin pie spice! Eat what tastes like pumpkin pie filling in a bowl for breakfast! Bonus: it’s healthy! Chia seeds are known power foods filled with healthy-fats, fiber and omega-3s, and make an excellent pudding if allowed to plump up in the presence of a little liquid. This works with almond or any other milk, and the pumpkin only makes it thicker, creamier, and more scrumptious. Add as much or as little sweetener as you like. Maple syrup keeps the fall flavor profile on point, but anything will do! Heck, I’d even eat it without any sweetener. I.love.pumpkin.

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Anyways, make this the night before. Prepping takes like 46 seconds, and when you wake up all you have to do is take it out of the fridge and eat it. It could not be easier. In fact, it may be the easiest recipe on kbaked.com to date. Enjoy this delicious, healthy treat as breakfast, dessert, or a snack. It will keep you full and happy for at least a few hours, as would pair nicely with a pumpkin spice beverage if you’re into excess like I am. Happy fall and happy eats! xoxo, kbakes.

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Prep Time: 1 minute

Cook Time: 0 minutes, but should be left to chill for at least 2-3 hours

Level: Could not be easier.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 3 tablespoons canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup almond or soy milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon sweetener of choice (I suggest maple syrup or brown sugar; sugar, agave, or honey would also work quite well)

Directions:

1. Combine chia seeds, pumpkin, almond milk, and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl. Mix well.

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2. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight until the pudding has firmed up and become pudding-y. That’s a real word I promise.

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3. Top with sweetener and any other toppings you may desire (shredded wheat, nuts, or whipped cream if you’re feelin’ naughty ;-)) and EAT.

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Funfetti Cookies with Birthday Cake M&Ms

*~*cue katy perry song*~*

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I love healthy food. But sometimes I like really love to bake and eat things that are simply for fun and make me feel like a 5 year old because mental health is as important to physical health sometimes and feeling like I’m 5 makes me oh-so-happys! 🙂 So yesterday I wanted a mood boost so I made some very silly but delicious Funfetti Cookies with Birthday Cake M&Ms. To be honest, I am a sucker for all things “cake batter” flavored. My absolute FAVORITE cake batter flavored thing is the vegan soft serve from Lula’s Sweet Apothecary on East 6th street in NYC. It’s mindblowing and unlike anything else on the planet. You should try it. But I’m always down to try cake-battered flavored things – froyo, M&Ms, that cream cheese from Thompkin’s Square Bagels that’s all over Instagram right now, etc etc).


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And cake flavored things are super trendy right now – I feel like every time I turn around there’s another random cake battered or birthday cake flavored thing. No complaints from me.

dough.
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All of this cake batter-y sprinkly trending fits appropriately to the release of the new “Birthday” song by Katy Perry. I actually just love Katy Perry in general as a person and you cannot deny her music is catchy. You should listen to that song while you make these cookies. It will put you in a bubbly mood.


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Anyways, back to the land of sugar, these are simple, classic, homemade funfetti cookies (with vegan options listed) full of artificial colors. #yum #health I’m sure there are non junky sprinkles out there, but I used Wilton because they were around. And they worked for aesthetics and to make a softer cookie by cutting the gluten strands as they were mixed in (as all mix-ins do! #foodscienceminilesson).

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Birthday Cake M&Ms are relitively new, but available at Target and CVS and probably lots of other places. While you’re there you should pick out some big balloons (song reference) and party hats.

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Prep Time: 12 minutes
Bake Time: 12-15 minutes
Level: Easier than pie so I’ll say easy as Birthday Cake 😉

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or non-dairy butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 eggs or one mashed banana
  • 1.5 teaspoons real vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional, but I dig)
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash sea salt
  • 5 tablespoons sprinkles
  • 1 8oz bag Birthday Cake M&Ms

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Allow butter and eggs to come to room temperature. Zap butter for 10-30 seconds in the microwave until soft if you’re impatient like I am.

2. In a large bowl with an electric mixer or wicked arm, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula regularly. This will take 2-3 minutes.

3. Add mashed banana or eggs and vanilla and almond extracts to butter mixture, scrapping the sides of the bowl as necessary.

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4. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt. Mix until well combined. A cup at a time, gently fold into butter mixture until just combined. Add sprinkles and mix again.

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5. Roll dough into small balls (lol) and place on a baking sheet. This baking sheet from Crate’n’Barrel is my favorite ever! My sister gave it to me for Christmas. Love it! Nothing ever sticks to it and cookies always turn out BEAUTIFULLY. Thanks Jenn!

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6. Press 3 Birthday Cake M&Ms into each cookie. If you want a different look you can just mix them into the dough before rolling into balls. This will totally work, but just make note that Birthday Cake M&Ms are quite large. And in charge ;-).

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7. Bake 12-15 minutes until fragrant and slightly browned. Eat and dance and party and feel 5 years old. Share if you’re feeling nice. Or if you have your cranky pants on eat them all yourself, however this may result in a slight tummy ache (you have been warned).

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Spicy Sunflower-Infused Waffle’d Falafel Balls [Vegan]

Reason #1 you should make these: The name. Waffle’d Falafel Balls. Or Wafalafel. Whatever you call it, it’s great.

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Go ahead, say it out loud: “I made falafel waffle balls!” *instantly* you feel awesome. And a bit silly. Two great things to improve your mood and the mood of anyone lucky enough to share these with you.

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Which brings me to reason #2 you should make these: they are honestly ridiculously amazing. I [nearly] had to slap my mom’s fingers off them when I was taking photos. Although baking them in a waffle maker is totally unnecessary, it does wonderful things for the texture by providing more surface area for browning/crispiness and creating more dense and more airy pockets and gets a nice Maillard reaction going (which I explained better when I used the waffle iron to make Chocolate Chip Waffle Cookies here). You have my permission to make this recipe and simply bake them in the oven. They will still taste magnificent even though they would be as fun to say or quite as interesting to eat, but I think you’ll still enjoy them, and so will your body.

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Leading to reason #3 you should make these: they are quite nutritious! Chickpeas are powerhouses of protein, fiber, and quality carbohydrates which will give you oodles of energy to power through your day without leaving you feeling weighed down. If you aren’t already friendly with beans and legumes, I suggest you start eating more. They provide protein and satiety while also delivering the goodness of plants via an array of vitamins, and minerals. Aka, they win. Eat up friends, and don’t be afraid to toot. #worthit

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I made these vegan by replacing the egg typically seen in falafel recipes with one tablespoon chia seeds and 2 tablespoons water, which provided some viscosity and emulsification to the mix. I also ground up sunflower seeds for a boost of palatable fat, a more interesting texture, and a complimentary earthiness to dance with the chickpeas.

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These would be great on a salad, as part of a snack plate, or tucked into a pita or to bulk up a sandwich. Or, you can do what my mom did and just eat them plain. That works too. However you eat them, baked or waffle’d, enjoy these tiny nutritious nuggets of pure joy.

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Level: Easy
makes about 8 small waffle patties – serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas (15oz), drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds (can also use tahini instead)
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds + 2 tablespoons water (or 1 egg, if not vegan)
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/3 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder or cumin
  • a hearty squeeze of Sriracha or other hot sauce (if you like it hot, which I do ;-))
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Plug in your waffle iron and preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Place chia seeds and water in a small bowl to congeal and set aside.

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3. Drain and rinse can of chickpeas.

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4. Chop green onions and cilantro.

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5. Place sunflower seeds in a food processor and grind until fine. Slowly add teaspoon of oil until the sunflower seeds become a peanut-butter-like paste.

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6. Add chickpeas, onions, cilantro, spices, chia/water mix, juice of half a lemon, and Sriracha to food processor. Whirl until you get a nice mushy paste that is slightly wet and sticks together.

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7. Roll into donut-hole sized balls and place each in a quarter of the waffle iron. Close and allow to cook until golden brown and firm, about 2-4 minutes.

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8. Transfer to baking sheet and place in oven for about 10 minutes to crisp them up a bit. This is optional, but I like things crispy, so I did it, yo.

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9. Allow to cool and eat on a sandwich, pita, or salad. Or straight to the face!

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Shortcut Mini Vegan Banana Cake Donuts with Almond-Coconut-Vanilla Glaze

It was a very humid day today here in Milwaukee. One of those days where when I left the mall after a fail-boat shopping trip to look for a dress for my friend’s wedding, I literally felt like I had to swim through a wall of heavy wet air to reach my car. MmmMmm, sweaty.

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As I write this post, I hear thunder rumbling in the near distance. Today’s inevitable storm is on it’s way! Get excited folks, according to this morning’s news it might get dramatic. And who doesn’t love a dramatic storm (unless of course, you’re Millie, in which case, you may refuse to even step on damp concrete).

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I was bored and restless so naturally, I found myself looming in my baking pantry. As I rummaged through my goodies, I noticed a dusty old box of fancy cake mix in the back corner of the pantry. Cake mix (or any baking mix) in my household was considered worse than dropping a four-letter word. My mother and grandmother could have cared less if I screamed the F bomb as a kindergardener, but would thrash out irrationally if I dared bake anything not from scratch.

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To be honest, I couldn’t recall why the box was even there. I mean, it was a nice fancy Cherrybrook Vanilla Cake Mix from Target, probably purchased as a back-up at some point, left here by another human, or for some purpose that currently evades me. Anyways, the mystery cake box stared me down, daunting me, saying, “figure out how to use me, you beyotch. let’s get creative.”

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Game on. I decided I’d do something different than use it for cake. Honestly, when it’s a nice, preservative/junk-free cake mix like the ones Cherrybrook makes, I don’t really even think it tastes bad, as long as you don’t think of it in the same category as homemade cakes that ooze with butter and love. These mixes create pastries that more airy/fluffy orbes of sugary chewy goodness. If you take them for that, they are good. This is also how I advise meat-eaters to think about veggie burgers. Don’t think it’s going to be the same as meat. Take it for what it is and appreciate it’s different deliciousness. So I must agree with my heritage, no box mix will even come close to a from scratch cake. I wasn’t even going to blog these because they seemed like such a cheat, but I had a few inquires after I Instagramed them, so I figured I’d share my recipe. Apparently people want their vegan banana mini cake donuts, and who am I to deny them?

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As I continued to voyage through my mountains of baking supplies, I noticed my good old Wilton Mini Donut pan for baking mini donuts in the oven. The stars were aligning. Cake mix. Cake donut pan. I decided to use it to make cake donuts because mini things are instantly adorable and more fun.

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I nixed the additions on the cake mix box and replaced them with some vegan tricks. I used bananas to replace eggs because it works well and tastes great. The sweetness and flavor from the banana also complimented the vanilla flavors of the mix quite well. I also used carbonated water because from lots of experimental vegan baking I’ve learned it gives a nice, springy texture to things, which is what I was looking for in these cake donuts. I used other things I had around for glaze because who wants to go to the storm in a rain storm, am I righttt?

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Anyways, these turned out adorable and yummy and vegan and I added sprinkles because sprinkles make everything more fun and fix all the ugliness on your baked goods and in your life (important life lesson I learned at work). Enjoy these tiny Millie-sized treats. They are almost too cute to eat but nothing actually is because let’s be honest food is yummy.

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Decoration Time: 10 minutes
Level: Easy Peasy

Ingredients:

  • one box Cherrybrook Vanilla Cake Mix (or other cake mix, apparently Dunken Hienz is also dairy-free) ——> TELL NO ONE A BOX OF MIX EVEN EXISTED IN MY HOUSE PLEASE!
  • one ripe banana, mashed
  • one 12-ounce can of sparkling water [I used plain from my soda streamer, but any flavor LaCroix or a white soda would also work!]
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 2 cups powder sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk (I used canned for richness/flavor, you can omit these fancy milks and use any plain non-dairy milk if that’s what you have on hand)
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Peel banana and mash in a small bowl.

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3. Pour cake mix and sparking water in a bowl and add mashed banana and coconut oil. Mix.

4. Place a small amount into mini donut pan, so donut hole is only about 1/2 full. Less is more otherwise these turn out really awkward shaped.

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5. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until golden brown on the bottoms.

6. Pop out of pan and cool on a cooling wrack.

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7. Assemble glaze: sift powdered sugar (yes it is essential here) and add a drop of vanilla extract. Slowly add coconut milk and almond milk one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.

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8.Dip the top each donut into glaze and then into sprinkles or coconut shreds.

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9. EAT!

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10. Also avoid holding too close to puppies with extreme jumping skills, because they might do what Millie did and snatch it out of your hand (seriously…she got lucky this morning).

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“But mommy, it’s just my size !!”

 

 

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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