Fun Things From the Weekend

I seem to be randomly sharing my weekends lately. It’s kinda fun, so I’m going to keep doing it. I love reading these blog posts and I am finding it fun to share them, as well.

Thursday:

My weekend started Thursday night when I picked up Jenn from the airport at 11:55pm. She came to town for a minute for a friend’s bridal shower. I brought Millie to grab her from the airport. Millie was VERY excited to see her Auntie Jenn.

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We got home around 12:45am and it was bed time for all of us (once Millie calmed down from the Auntie Jenn excitement).

Friday:

Friday I woke up early (shocking I know), went to barre, and made buckwheat and oatmeal waffles. Because waffles. I had mine with sunflower seed butter + bananas + other fruit.

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Jenn and I went downtown so she could visit her friend who has a newborn and a toddler. I would post pics, but I feel weird posting pics of a baby that isn’t mine without asking. I should ask. Anyways, he was super cute!! Also, god bless all mothers everywhere. Motherhood seems incredibly stressful and exhausting. I’m good with just fur babies for the foreseeable future.

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Then we went to Anodyne Coffee (the best coffee in MKE IMO) and walked around the lake front for a while. Milwaukee is so underrated. #hiddengem

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After that, it was back home. Jenn left shortly after to meet some friends for lunch. I was feeling anxious about getting some stuff done so I opted to stay home and #werk. Millie sat outside with me and modeled an awesome new sticker I got from Made Wild.

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She also modeled her new Civil Liberties Watchdog tee from ACLU 🙂

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Around 4:30, Jenn came and picked me up and we headed to TJs to buy some stuff for a cake she was making for a bridal shower.

We came back and got crackin’ on the cake. We made two layers vanilla and two layers banana. While cakes were baking, I made us some dinner with random things we had around the house. Going out seemed stressful because we were pretty tied to the cakes.

I made us a build-a-bowl sort of thing with my favorite marinated tempeh, black rice, cauliflower rice, baby kale, avocado, cilantro, green onions, roasted Japanese sweet potatoes, cashews, pineapple, and a spicy peanut sauce. We ate around 8:15pm with my mom and the meal turned out to be really yummy and totally hit the spot.

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Have you had Oriental/Japanese sweet potatoes before btw? They are AMAZING. They’re purple on the outside and white on the inside. They taste like chestnuts and I’m pretty sure they are what the potato emoji is representing. I like to bake them whole and gobble them up. For the bowls I sliced and tossed them in turmeric, cumin, and cayenne and roasted them up. YUM.

After dinner, we set the cakes out to cool, and started getting ready for bed (we were tired) and it was lights out by 10:00pm. #partyanimals

Saturday:

Saturday I got up at 5:30am (classic me) and got Jenn up at 7:00am (per her request) to finish the cakes. We whipped up some cream cheese frosting and nutella buttercream. Millie got caught in a powdered sugar shower and ate a bunch of the floor. Then we assembled the cake.

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Jenn decorated it all fancy to make it look like a birch tree, which was the theme of the shower.

Around 9:30am she left for the shower and then I ran a bunch of errands, ate bowl leftovers for lunch, and laid down (I wasn’t feeling too well) for several hours.

That night, we headed to a bonfire/BBQ at a friends house for a birthday celebration of sorts. It was a good old time with warm weather, lots of laughs, and lovely people.

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Around 12:30am we headed home (eep) and it was straight to bed!

Sunday:

Just a few short hours later at 4:00am, it was time to leave for the airport. I dropped Jenn off and was back home by around 5:30am. I napped for another two hours (until around 7:30am) and then took Millie to the park. I snapped this photo as she happened to turn around and sniff her butt. My dog is the weirdest. Like does anyone else’s dog do this? Anyways, eventually I went to a barre class to finish out the morning.

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After lunch, I did some work. Then, I headed out to Panera with my mom. It was quite an event. A tire blew when we were getting gas before dinner and we ended up walking to Panera.

Panera literally messes up my order every single time. I double checked to make sure they had my order right and went up the the prep counter like a frickin’ crazy person to verbally verify they were going to give me a salad without chicken.

Then, my salad came with chicken. Like it does every time. In fact, a girl working said something like, “I feel like every time I’ve seen you here they mess up your order.” And I was like “yeah.”

And then I’m in this awkward position where my order is covered with chicken and it’s all mixed in and they have to make me a new one and I feel like a whiny bitch. But like also, I don’t eat chicken and don’t like chicken shreds touching every inch of my salad.

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They then always give you the option to take home the salad or have them throw it away. Let’s just say my dog has eaten a lot of chicken salads this summer. Oh, Panera. I love you but get your sh*t together. Thanks so much.

Then we Uber’d home since the car was not going to make it. By that point, it was somehow like 8:30pm, so I enjoyed some ice cream and an early bed time.

And in case you care…

I’m happy to report the car is now all better with shiny new tires.

Also! I’m exciting to announce I’ll be starting a content internship with The Global Foodbanking Network this summer and continuing it for the rest of the calendar year :). Stay tuned.

Fun week ahead! I have 2 recipe posts planned, and a trip to Chicago in the works!

Homemade Graham Crackers

Do you ever get a baking itch you have to scratch? Like when you hear about something and the idea of making it sticks in your head and you find yourself googling all these recipes until you actually scratch that damn itch and make it already? I do. And that’s how I felt about homemade graham crackers.

Homemade Graham Crackers - Vegan

These are perfect for summer time. Since I guess that’s what it is now that it’s past Memorial Day.

Homemade Graham Crackers - Vegan - Kbaked

I used some vegan marshmallows from Trader Joe’s (for $2.99 whatup) and used some of their dark chocolate lover’s bar to make s’mores. It was epic. But I also like eating graham crackers with peanut butter.

Truth be told I made these last summer, but recently found the photos and realized I never posted this recipe! So here it is, from the archives :).  Enjoy!

Homemade Graham Crackers

Homemade Graham Crackers - Kbaked

Prep Time: 30-50 minutes
Cook Time: 15-25 minutes
Servings: about 24 crackers, depending on size

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or graham flour (Bob’s Red Mill and a few other brands make this; I found it at my local grocery store, but whole wheat pastry flour also works)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk
  • 3 tablespoons non0-dairy butter, or coconut oil, melted

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine flour, cinnamon, spices, baking soda and salt in a bowl and mix.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk brown sugar, butter, molasses, vanilla, and non-dairy milk.
  4. Add dry mix to wet mix and fold together until combined.
  5. Roll dough into a ball and allow to cool in the refrigerator for about 30-40 minutes, or in the freezer for 10. This is optional, but will help with rolling.
  6. Flour a surface and roll dough into a large rectangle, about 1/4th inch thick.
  7. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into triangles. I used a meat-cutter to make fun edges. This is optional.
  8. If desired, poke holes into surface to resemble graham crackers.
  9. Transfer to parchment-paper lined baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, until browned and slightly firm. Rotate halfway through baking.
  10. Allow to cool completely. Crackers will harden a bit as they cool.
  11. Enjoy!

Papaya Mango Coconut Tropical Cream Pie

The other night I had a crazy wild fun dream that I made a mini pie. As a result of this magical dream, I couldn’t stop thinking about a mini pie for a full 36 hours, which prompted me to go to Crate and Barrel and buy not one, but two mini pie dishes. Hashtag why buy one mini pie dish when you can have two?!

Vegan Papaya Mango Coconut Tropical Cream Pie.

I mean, how could I not? JUST LOOK AT THEM. I even took an iPhone foto to document the cuteness/brag about my purchases.

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This pie trip was actually super appropriate and justifiable because 1) I love pie and mini things and 2) The Recipe Redux challenge for the month of June was “Pie Love.”

I love me a good pie. I mean, really, who doesn’t like pie?Pie is for everyone; it is truly a food for the people. And pie can be oh so many different things – sweet or savory, fluffy or dense, chocolatey or fruity, or even veggie packed and dinner-appropriate. Pie is a food of many hats, you could say.

Papaya Mango Tropical Coconut Cream Pie - Vegan & Gluten Free!

I wanted to make a sweet pie because sweet I’m a dessert queen. At first I was going to make a fruit-filled pie. And then I did. It was peach and blueberry with a crumble topping. It was great. I ate it all in 24 hours. It’s likely that it’s recipe will pop up soon right here on kbaked.com. But then I next had a hankering for a cream pie. A fluffy, wonderful pillowy refreshing pie for summer. One you could hypothetically place your head down to sleep on, should you desire.

Vegan Papaya Mango Coconut Tropical Cream Pie.

Cream pies are a little bit less common for those who are dairy-free to come across. So I also enjoyed the additional challenge of dreaming one up and executing it. I used canned coconut cream as a substitute for heavy whipping cream. This works magically. There are a million recipes for coconut whipped cream on the internet, so I”m not going to pretend like I made it up. If you’ve never had coconut whipped cream, you should give it a whirl. Google “coconut whipped cream” recipe and make some. Side note: it’s delightful with berries.

Papaya Mango Coconut Cream Pie - Vegan & Gluten Free

I bought my coconut cream at (surprise surprise) Trader Joe’s for $1.49. Damn good deal. Also a good deal is the $2.99 papayas we have had in recently. Papayas have been such a nice change of pace for me as far as fruit goes. It’s like this creamy buttery mellow flavored tropical melon. Gimme.

Papaya Mango Tropical Coconut Cream Pie - Vegan & Gluten Free!

Papaya basically has the word “pie” in it, so I figured why not put it in a pie. And then I decided to add some mango for extra sweetness and a tropical flavor punch. The result is a wonderful fluffy and refreshing pie which is light and airy and fluffy and reminiscent of sitting on a beach in Cabo or something. Or sitting on your porch in Suburbia, WI. Basically the same thing right? right.

Papaya Mango Coconut Tropical Cream Pie. Vegan.

If you need something to lighten your spirits, tantalize your taste buds, or just something plain different to mix up the summertime dessert routine, I suggest you make this pie. Pro tip: tastes great with a whole lotta berries and a little extra crushed up graham cracker on top. Enjoy 🙂

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: at least 1 hour
Level: easy

makes one pie serving 6-8, easily halved for a mini pie

Ingredients – Crust:

  • 10 graham crackers (about 1 + 1/2 sleeves) –> for gluten-free, use gluten-free graham crackers or other plain crispy cookies
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

Ingredients – Pie Filling:

  • 1 can coconut cream refrigerated at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. —> (coconut cream is available at Trader Joe’s. If you do not have a Trader Joe’s in your area, simply take a can of full fat coconut milk and place in the fridge overnight. remove solid fat portion from can for pie)
  • 1/2 large papaya (about 1.5-2 cups cubes)
  • 1 cup cubed mango (frozen or fresh)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut for garnish (optional)

Directions:

1. In a food processor, pulse graham crackers into crumbs. If you don’t have a food processor, place in a ziplock bag and smash with a wooden spoon or rolling pin until crumbs form. Pour into a medium bowl and add sugar. Mix.

Vegan Papaya Mango Coconut Tropical Cream Pie

2. Melt coconut oil and add to graham crumbs. Mix well. Pour graham mixture into a pie dish and press into bottom and edges. Place in the refrigerator to set.

Coconut Whipped Cream  - Vegan

3. In a food processor or blender, combine cubed papaya and mango. Puree until smooth. Add sugar and puree again.

Vegan Papaya Mango Coconut Tropical Cream Pie.

4. In a large bowl using an electric beater, whip solid coconut fat from a can until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gently fold in papaya and mango puree mixture until just combined. Pour into pie dish with graham crust. Garnish with shredded coconut if desired. Place in fridge to chill for at least an hour. Enjoy :-D.

For more Pie Love from fellow Recipe Redux members, click around below:

Whole-Wheat Rosemary Tomato Focaccia

Happy September AND happy Labor Day friends! Today marks the end of the summer and the end of tomato growing season – which means that you may, like me, be overwhelmed by the amount of tomatoes you have at your disposal for consumption.

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There is nothing more August-y or wonderful than legit homegrown tomatoes. They taste 190% different than the big crappy ones you get from the grocery store in the middle of winter. You know what I mean – the sweet baby ones that you can literally pop like candy. OoooOooo baby are they a treat. I can literally eat an entire bowl of them and think nothing of it.

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Today not only marks the end of August, it apparently “officially” marks the end of summer. Sigh. And today, it was as if mother nature wanted to make sure we really knew this, so we had some morning thunder storms and cool, fall breezes to remind us of what lies ahead. Although I am sad to bid farewell to berries by the bucket-load and oodles of sunshine, I’m not totally opposed to fall. It’s my favorite flavor season (FALL VEGETABLES FTW!) and I am comfortable with the idea of big sweaters, racking leaves, apple pickin’ and pumpin’ cravin’. As the weather cools, I am only further enticed to warm up by the oven. Meaning more reasons to bake! #party.

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So on this awkward summer-meets-fall day, I decided to make a summer-meets-fall dish: focaccia with late summery tomatoes and fresh rosemary. I love fresh baked bread, especially on a windy cool day. And I’ve had a hankerin’ to make focaccia for a while now. I love its springy bouncy texture. Also today I learned it’s incredibly difficult to spell. So that initially make me like it slightly less, but also made more determined to master not only its spelling but also its taste. And then I forgave its difficulty to spell and accepted that I’m a terrible speller and moved on with life. With a pan of freshly baked focaccia to guide me to more important things.

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So give this stuff a whirl. It’s yummy plain, with soup, or for as an extra tasty addition to a sandwich. It’s highly customizable to your personal tastes, but the rosemary truly adds wonderful notes of pine and spice and the fresh tomatoes ended up as a gooey sweet caramelized topping. Ugh. Yum. #carbs5ever. So happy late-summer and happy early fall. See you in squash and apple season, babay.

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Prep Time: 4-8 hours

Bake Time: 20-30 minutes

Level: Easy

Ingredients:

  • one packet (1/4 oz) dry active yeast
  • one cup warm water (about 120 degrees F)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or molasses (food for the yeast to eat and grow!)
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup all purpose or bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • one large sprig rosemary, or 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 5-10 cherry tomatoes

Directions:

1. Warm the water and pour into a large bowl or stand mixer and sprinkle yeast on top. Add maple syrup and mix gently. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes until the yeast looks foamy at the top of the water.

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2. In a separate bowl, combine flours and salt. Slowly add flour mixture to water mixture, and olive oil, about 2 tablespoons of rosemary, and using the dough hook, mix dough well until a large dough ball forms, roughly 7 minutes.

3. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, cover, and store in a cool, dry, dark place for 2-8 hours until it has doubled in size. Punch down the dough, knead for a few minutes, and transfer to a small, oiled baking pan. I used a random 6×10 inch pan.

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4. Poke holes all over the dough and allow it to do a second proof (rising) for about an hour. This proof is more important than the first rising. Don’t skip it!

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5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. If desired, brush a little more olive oil on the bread surface, and slice tomatoes thinly and gently press them into dough surface. Sprinkle a little more rosemary and sea salt on top. Bake for 20-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean upon removal.

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6. Cool. Eat. Make a sandwich. Dip in bread. Eat more. Enjoy.

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Impromptu Summer Kale Salad with Cherries, Walnuts, Sweet Potatoes, & White Nectarines

Call me a basic bitch, but I really enjoy kale salads.

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I know, I know. So cliché. Just eatin’ ma raw superfoods! *insert hand flipping emoji girl here* But truth be told, there is something I really like about kale salads. And it’s honestly the only way I’ll eat kale. For some reason, when it’s cooked it makes me really uncomfortable. I feel like it’s tougher and gets slimy. This is just my opinion and if you disagree, I can respect your affection for cooked kale. But for me, it’s about the #raw the kale salad, which is not only trendy, but also tasty. [So trendy, in fact, while I was writing this post and eating my salad, it popped up on my mini-feed that my friend Caty blogged a kale salad simultaneously over on the east coast. you go Caty. You eat that kale].

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My favorite kale salad has kale, sunflower seeds, diced apples, sweet potato cubes, and goat cheese with a lemon vinaigrette. Today I didn’t have apples or goat cheese or lemons and am very low on sunflower seeds. So I did some improve with some seasonal goodies. And it turned out delicious! I’ll post my other kale salad recipe another time. But this one screams summer and I’m a huge fan of using seasonal produce so for now it’s goin up first.

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A lot of people like dried fruit in salads. Personally I’m all about the fresh fruit in salads. To me, it just feels more appropriate to have fresh fruit with my fresh vegetables and I think the fresh fruit adds juiceness and crunch that dried does not. That said, this recipe would also be great with dried cherries, especially in the winter. But as cherries are in season and happen to be among my top 3 favourite fruits, today they will go in my salad. Especially when it’s kale. The sweet/tart juicy cherries and nectarines just contrast nicely with the slightly bitter and tough kale. Speaking of fruit, I did a slightly sweeter play on my traditional lemon vinaigrette with orange juice. I dug it. I thought it worked nicely with the fresh fruit. Go fruit. Go vegetables. All hail kale. etc.

Ingredients: [serves one, can easily be doubled/tripled]

  • 2 cups raw kale
  • 1 white (or regular) nectarine
  • 1/3 cup cherries, pitted and diced
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 3 tablespoons walnuts

For vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon poppyseeds
  • salt to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cube sweet potato and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until cubes are tender. If you’re feeling lazy or impatient or hungry (which usually all occur simultaneously in my case), cube the sweet potato and microwave for about 4 minutes, until the cubes are tender.

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2. Dice nectarines, and de-pit and dice cherries.

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3. Wash and chop kale and place in a bowl. Add fruit and sweet potato cubes. Top with nuts.

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4. In a small dish, combine all ingredients for dressing and whisk with fork. Drizzle over your salad and enjoy a zillion delicious nutrients.

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Fresh Berry Salad with Basil

I made this at my sister’s bachelorette party, and it’s a very easy and crowd-pleasing way to amp berries from plain to sophisticated by adding one simple thing: chopped fresh basil. You can use any berries you want, even other fruits like peaches or cherries, and add fresh basil. It adds a freshness and contrast to the sweetness, and adds a second dimension of flavor.  You can add lemon juice and sugar is you’d like, but this dish is magic even without it.

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For the salad:

  • 4 cups mixed (i used strawberries, bluberries and raspberries)
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil

Directions:

  • Wash berries! (produce is one of the top offenders for food borne illness! so this is a must!)
  • Chop berries that require chopping (like strawberries)
  • Give basil a fresh chop
  • Combine in bowl.

See? Easy, delicious, and loved by all. Make yourself seem fancy by simply adding basil to your berries.

Enjoy!