Disaster Cookies

Well, it’s a brand new week. And while I can’t say that it’s started off too well, given the traffic situation this morning, after the terrible week I just had, I’m going to go ahead and remain optimistic. Because let’s face it, it’s Monday, September 12th, and I think we could all use a little pick-me-up, no?

I should let you know now that given the aforementioned bad, bad week, I decided early on that I wasn’t going to weigh myself this morning. Had it been a loss, I’m sure it would have lifted my spirits and set this week off on the right track. However, had it been a, er, not-loss, I’m sure it would have send me plummeting straight down into the doldrums. It just wasn’t a risk I was willing to take. So if you’re the reader who only tunes in on Mondays because you have a strange fascination with knowing how much I weigh, you are officially dismissed until next week.

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For the rest of you, however, I do have something fun.

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Well, depending on how you look at it.

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Because I’m officially dubbing these cookies “Disaster Cookies”, given the fact that evidently they cause natural disasters. Yep, sorry guys. It’s all been my fault.

Oven Ready

The first time I baked them there was an earthquake. Then, there was a hurricane (and an epic recipe modification fail.) And finally, the third time, when I had finally perfected my recipe for these moist, fluffy, delicious cookies were baked, there was a torrential downpour that resulted in our basement being flooded.

Choco Chip.

Disaster Cookies
(otherwise known as Chocolate Chip)
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Makes 20+ large cookies

Bake at your own risk.

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat pasty flour (or 1 cup all-purpose, 1 cup whole wheat)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 bag chocolate & peanut butter morsels (or regular chocolate chips)

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt) in a bowl and set aside.

2. Cream together the butter and sugars in a large bowl (you can use a standing mixer, hand mixer, or spoon), then add the eggs and vanilla.

3. Begin adding the dry ingredients to the wet in batches. When the wet & dry are fully combined, add in the entire bag of chocolate chips.

4. Spoon onto a baking sheet and bake for 12 – 14 minutes. For the full affect of their awesome chewiness, allow to cool a fair bit before eating or they will seem crumbly. Believe me, they’re not! These cookies also freeze very well.

These are not diet cookies. At around 250 calories each, of course you need to watch your portioning. But, in the light of an earthquake, hurricane, and flood (oh my!) sometimes, you just need a cookie.

What do you do to make yourself feel better after a really crummy day? Or, in my case, week?

Dill-icious, Dill-ectable, Dill-ightful

I’m on a recipe-writing roll, my friends. I guess I’m just so inspired after attending the Healthy Living Summit last weekend!

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This one in particular is definitely a keeper. Super quick, super easy, and super flavorful (and I dare you to say that the name isn’t cute, too!) I’m going to go ahead and say it’s… super?

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No, in all seriousness, this is a perfect meal to whip up for yourself if you’re craving a fast, elegant meal without spending hours in the kitchen. And with no chopping, no dicing, and only one-pan to clean up, this dish is pretty much a weeknight’s dream.

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With such a short ingredient list and easy measurements, doubling, tripling, or octupling the recipe for date night or a dinner party is a breeze. I accept thank yous in email, card, and cash form.

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Dill-icious Lemon Tilapia
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Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes (Yes, really.)

This zesty, flavorful dish can be thrown together in 10 minutes – perfect for a healthy end to a long day’s work! Pair with brown rice and steamed veggies, or a nice hearty salad (do as I say, not as I do, haha.) Not a seafood fan? This punchy flavor combination would be great with chicken too!

Serves 1

Ingredients:

1 (6 oz) tilapia filet
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced (roughly 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dried dill (or 3 teaspoons fresh)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Heat the EVOO in a pan to medium heat. Season the tilapia filet with half of the lemon juice, salt and pepper right before cooking (if left too long before cooking, the lemon juice will start to cook the fish!) Place in pan and cook for approximately 2 minutes on each side (only turn once), or until fish flakes apart easily.

2. Whisk together the rest of the lemon juice, mayonnaise, dried dill, garlic powder, and additional salt & pepper in a small bowl.

3. Top with sauce and another sprinkle of dill before serving. Bon appetit!

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And look what a good friend I am:

And those stats include all of the oil (not all will be absorbed) and all of the sauce (you won’t need to use it all.) That being said, if you’re looking to scrimp on even more calories, you can simply use non-stick spray instead of oil and/or experiment with using plain greek yogurt instead of mayo for the sauce. My one recommendation there is that because the yogurt is tart already, you probably don’t need to use as much lemon juice. I would have tried it myself, but I didn’t have any on hand. And you know how I feel about grocery shopping, haha. Let me know how it turns out if you try!

East Meets West (Yet Again)

You guys know that I’m not exactly what I’d term “picky” when it comes to cooking. I play pantry roulette on frequent occasion because I am too lazy to follow real recipes, and it usually works out.

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As always, the game started with a rousing round of “what ingredients do I currently have in my possession that are still okay to eat?”

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It can be a risky game. RIP, my friend.

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Pantry, pantry, what’s in the pantry?

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But otherwise, it was all chop-chop-dice-dice-cook-cook-done!

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And, lo and behold, surprise success yet again! I’m giving all the credit to my Whasian roots this time.

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Putting my new post-HLS recipe-writing skills to use…

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Green Curry Mac & Cheese
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Similar to my Sweet & Whasian Tofu, this “dish” (I use the term very loosely) has a whole east-meets-west-in-your-mouth kind of vibe to it. Creamy and zesty, this one is potentially very weird, yes, but good! You’ll end up with plenty of curry sauce leftover as well, so bring it to work and pour it over some rice for a fast and delicious homecooked meal!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 medium zucchini, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 (6 oz.) box of Annie’s Organic Shells & Cheese (White Cheddar)
1 tablespoon green curry paste
1 (14 fl. oz.) can light coconut milk
1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
1 large tomato, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Set a pot of water on the stove to boil. Heat olive oil in a saute pan to medium heat, then add garlic and onion. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until onions become translucent. Add zucchini and bell pepper, cook for an additional 5 minutes. Season with salt & pepper.

2. While veggies are cooking, add the noodle shells from the mac & cheese to your boiling water. Cook per the instructions on the box, then set aside.

3. In the same pot you cooked your noodles in (or a separate one if you don’t mind doing more dishes) mix curry paste, coconut milk, fish oil and cheese packet from mac & cheese over low heat until all is dissolved thoroughly.

4. Add cooked veggies and chopped tomato to curry mixture and bring the sauce to a simmer. Allow to simmer and reduce for an additional 5 – 10 minutes, or until curry is of desired thickness. Pour some of the sauce over noodles and enjoy!

Strange? Yes. But delicious? Definitely. And a much fancier take on just a plain ol’ box of mac & cheese, don’t you think?

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See? I told you there’d be leftovers.

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And judging from the way these vultures were buzzing around, it must have smelled good, too.

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No curry for you!

And just one more…

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We’re dogsitting for my sister right now, in case you couldn’t tell.

Are you a fan of fusing cuisines together? Or does this seem like it’s just a little bit too weird for you? I’m always interested in other people’s take on it, but I find it fascinating. I mean, I kind of AM fusion, you know? So why wouldn’t I want to eat Whasian food?

Mango Guacamole

Catching up from the weekend, friends? Read up on my fun-filled Fourth weekend, complete with homemade cupcakes & pizza, a trip tothe farmer’s market and a show at Wolf Trap, and plenty of good, old-fashioned family fun at the dog park.

As I mentioned in last night’s very late post, I went to a cookout yesterday at Amanda’s. It was really fun, and a good mix of people that I already knew (hi friends!) and people that I know now (hi friends!)

I made my mango guacamole and it was a big hit! The bowl was totally scraped clean by the end of the night, which to me is the true mark of success, hehe. Throughout the course of the evening I got talking about the blog, and several people asked if the recipe was posted anywhere here. Well, ask and you shall receive.

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Mango Guacamole
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This sweet, savory, sassy dip is a sure-to-please party favorite. Let the tropical flavors of mango and lime transport you back to summer!

Ingredients:

4 ripe avocados
2 ripe mangoes
2 limes
1/2 small red or yellow onion, minced
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt & pepper, to taste

1. Chop, dice, cube, etc. your avocados and mangoes. Juice your limes.
2. Combine ingredients.
3. Eat.

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This is pretty much the easiest thing to make ever.

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Chop, slice, dice, and juice your ingredients.

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Do a little dance.

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Make a little love.

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Get down tonight.

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I only ended up using the juice from one and a half limes, so I used the last half for garnish. Since I was making this for a party, I made enough to feed a small army. You can obviously easily halve this recipe (2 avocados, 1 mango) to make a more reasonable amount for regular consumption. Or, you know, you can still make the full amount and then just secretly eat half of it yourself. Nobody would blame you, and I promise I won’t tell. 🙂

Healthy Almond Breakfast Cake

You may have seen in Daily Eats posts of the past that I enjoy to partake in a little thing called almond cake from time to time. Essentially inspired by a bottle of almond extract purchased from Penzey’s Spices on a total whim one day, it is probably my favorite thing to bake (other than my secret ingredient chocolate chip cookies, but those haven’t made the blog yet as I can’t really claim any kind of healthiness for those babies.)

This, on the other hand, totally qualifies for a cheesy headline:

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Delicious AND nutritious! This is a cake that is perfect for a grab-and-go breakfast as it’s made with whole grains, is low in sugar and saturated fat, and is chock-full of fiber and protein! Huzzah!

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Healthy Almond Breakfast Cake
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Ingredients:

– 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (if unavailable, you could substitute 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 all-purpose flour)
– 1/4 cup milled flaxseed
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 6 packets or 3 tsp stevia (or 1/4 cup sugar)
– 4 tbsp or 1/4 cup Earth Balance (or butter)
– 1 medium banana
– 1.5 tbsp almond extract
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 egg
– Almond milk (or milk of choice) as needed

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Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Measure out your dry ingredients (except the stevia) and mix together, then set aside.

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Peel your banana, break it into pieces and put in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 20-30 seconds, then mash with a fork. The banana should be soft and liquid-y.

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In a standing mixer or large bowl, combine Earth Balance, stevia, mashed banana, and egg. Mix well, then add almond and vanilla extracts.

Begin slowly adding dry ingredients to the wet, about a quarter of the mixture at a time, until fully combined. If the batter seems too dry, thin it out by adding a little bit of almond milk until you have a solid but sticky consistency that looks something like this:

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Transfer the batter into a sprayed 8×8 or 9×9 (just depends on if you want them thicker or not) baking dish. The batter should be thick, so you’ll want to spread it evenly in the pan with a spatula or knife. If you want, you can cover it with raw oats to make it look pretty and stuff.

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Bake for 15 – 18 minutes at 350 degrees. Once you can insert a toothpick or fork into the center and it comes out clean, the cake is done.

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Marvel at your baking prowess. Wasn’t that easy? Enjoy on its own, with a citrus glaze (lemon or orange juice + a crapton of powdered sugar), or with your favorite jam or preserves!

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When I baked up this particular cake, it was my first time baking with stevia and I think I overestimated how sweet it would make the batter. I only ended up using 4 packets (which equals 2 tsp) and it’s not very sweet on its own. So I upped the recipe to 6 packets (3 tsp) and I think that would probably make the cake taste more satisfying on its own. However, the sweetness level of the one I made is actually perfect to top with the strawberry preserves I picked up most recently at the Farmer’s Market and have it not be too sweet overall! So all’s well that end’s well, eh?

And look at how awesome I am, I even converted the nutrition facts for you all (love you, Sparkrecipes!) Not too shabby: 136 calories per serving if you cut it into 9 equal servings, or probably ~200 calories a serving the way I cut it, hehehehe.

9 Servings

Amount Per Serving
Calories 136.2
Total Fat 7.1 g
Saturated Fat 1.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.0 g
Cholesterol 20.6 mg
Sodium 68.8 mg
Potassium 65.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 14.5 g
Dietary Fiber 3.2 g
Sugars 1.9 g
Protein 2.8 g

For this recipe (and for all my recipes, really) I tried to pull out all the “healthy substitution” tricks I have in my bag: mashed banana instead of oil, stevia instead of sugar, whole wheat and flaxseed, etc. I think it turned out really well, but as we all know, substitutions can go horribly awry too (especially when it comes to baking!)

We’ve talked about healthy tips & tricks like putting spinach underneath your pasta and adding chia seeds to your oatmeal before, What is your favorite healthy substitution to use in cooking or baking?