Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Everything but the Kitchen Sink Cookies-Healthy and Vegan

I am back from a weekend in Portland and I had a wonderful time! My parents and I left Saturday morning and arrived late afternoon. The intent of this trip was to simply get out and explore and so none of us had anything planned. Fortunately, I had researched vegetarian/vegan restaurants in Portland a few days before and made a list of places I wanted to try. The thing is, the food that I want to eat (vegan/sometimes raw/always healthy) isn't necessarily the food my parents want to eat. My parents always honor my food choices, but they aren't always jumping up and down for "raw, vegan pad Thai" if you know what I mean. As we were closely approaching Portland, my parents asked me, "So where do you want to go in Portland, and what do you want to do?" I responded with, "I just want to explore and I want to eat at nice restaurants and shop around". I was really thinking, "I want to eat at vegan restaurants and buy some hip clothes made out of recycled materials", but I restrained my inner hippie. I told my parents that as I was looking up places to go, I noticed a lot of restaurants were located on Alberta Street. Alberta Street here we come! Let me tell you, Alberta Street did not disappoint. I mean, any place that has the words "Go Vegan" with a heart written around it is my kind of place. My parents even liked it too; it also had a lot of wine shops and art galleries. We decided to eat lunch at a restaurant called, "Le Petite Provence". It wasn't vegan but my parents promised to buy me a vegan baked good. It's all about compromise. I had a quinoa tabbouleh salad with fresh bread and farmer's cheese:) Later, we walked around and I got a really good juice from this small juice stand and this amazing vegan brownie from a gluten free-plant based bakery!...Can I move here?! Later that night, we drove into Cannon Beach because we were staying at my dad's friend's house. The house was so adorable that I made the comment, "I want this house! I have to get my career going ASAP so I can make some money!" On Sunday, we spent most of the day in the car, taking the long way back home to see different parts of Washington State. We all had a great time and I loved exploring a new part of Portland. I was happy to be back home, but I was still thinking about one thing. That brownie. That amazing brownie. So fudgy and filled with bits of dark chocolate and cocoa nibs. I looked up the bakery on the Internet to see if maybe they had the recipe for the brownie online...hey, you never know until you try, right? Of course, I couldn't find it, so I resolved to make something else with cocoa nibs and I stumbled upon this recipe from the blog "Oh She Glows" for "Irresistible Chewy Trail Mix Cookies". I was sold on the recipe when I saw the extensive healthy ingredient list. As I was making these cookies, I was thinking, "I really hope that these turn out good and that my parents will eat them." Well, let me tell you, my dad took one bite and said, "Mmmm!! These are so good!" Score. Vegan cookie:1 vs Unhealthy cookie: 0.
The recipe for these cookies can be found here:
I followed the recipe except I didn't have any raw nut butter on hand and substituted applesauce. They still turned out great! Not too sweet, moist and chewy!

Picture Time!

At "Le Petite Provence"

Lunch at "Le Petite Provence"


Juice Truck Menu

Excuse my face, it was kind of windy

Los galletas!!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

On the Road Again...

On the road again. Just can't wait to get on the road again. The life I love is making music with my friends. And I can't wait to get on the road again. I am currently occupying my time watching the TV program, "Spain on the Road Again" and Willie Nelson's song is on repeat in my head. Watching "Spain on the Road Again" makes me fantasize about moving to Spain after falling in love with a handsome Spanish man and spending my time tending to my garden and winery and raising my two kids. One day it will happen...one day. Anyways, speaking of "on the road", this weekend my parents and I are taking a weekend trip to Portland. Although we are not going anywhere exotic or international, I love little weekend trips. They are the perfect way to adventure without getting homesick. Since the drive to Portland will take a few hours, I figured it would be wise if I made something to snack on for the drive there. I had remembered buying a small bag of poppy seeds at World Market a few weeks ago, and so I decided to make Lemon Poppy seed Bread. A classic. My high school used to sell these giant lemon poppy seed muffins in the morning and whenever I saw somebody eating them, I would just stare because it looked so good. You may ask, "Why didn't you just buy one Marissa?" Well, I will tell you, it was very simple. I never had cash on me. However, this bread will definitely make up for lost times. Plus it's made a little healthier with the addition of whole wheat flour and non-fat Greek yogurt! Oh and I also wanted to share with you all the recipe for this baked pasta that I made for dinner last night. It was, as my friend Katie would say, "Yums". It was baked pasta with roasted vegetables and three cheeses. A mouthful but totally delicious. 

Lemon Poppy seed Bread
(Recipe credit to: http://www.fitmamarealfood.com/lemon-poppyseed-bread/) I followed the recipe exactly except that I also added about 1 teaspoon of almond extract. I love almond flavor with lemon poppy seed bread.

For the Baked Pasta, the recipe was by Giada de Laurentiis, and here is the link:   http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/baked-penne-with-roasted-vegetables-recipe/index.html

Oh and p.s., I recently made home made thin mints and my mom took them to work with her. She told me that they were a big hit and that people wanted the recipe. Unfortunately, I didn't get photos of them, but I will certainly share the recipe! They truly tasted like Thin Mints!

And now pictures!!!!

Beautiful Fuchsia's in our garden! We call the hummingbird that feeds off of it, "Jack", after the wonderful Mr. Jack Johnson:)

Bread with marmalade

Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

Our eggplant in our garden is finally coming in! Can't wait to cook with it!

Oh p.p.s.! Since I am going to Portland this weekend, I would love to receive comments about suggestions on where to go/eat. So excited!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Apple Crisp

I always do this. I always yearn for fall and winter when it's summer and yearn for summer when it's fall and winter. I guess it's all about wanting what you can't have. Although I must admit that this summer in Seattle has been beautiful, there is a large part of me that longs for rainy days and cuddling up near the fire while drinking tea or warm cider. Yesterday, my mom and I drove to one of Seattle's nicest parks (Discovery Park) and had a pic-nic and hike. It was wonderful. The sun was out but the air was beginning to turn chilly and the yellow and red leaves were falling like snowflakes. My mom and I (self-proclaimed hippies) both made the statement, "It's beginning to smell like fall." (Don't judge, you know that fall time has a smell). My dad has been out of town for the past week and so it has just been mi madre and I. Mommy and me time was spent cooking together, shopping together and watching The Godfather series together. My dad returns home tonight and I thought a great way to welcome him back home as well as to celebrate the beginning of fall would be to bake him an apple pie. Now, if you should know one thing about me, it would be that I love pie. Like really love pie. However, I have to admit that I love crisps more. I think it's also because crisps are very simple...it's really hard to mess up a crisp. So, I was thinking about which apple pie recipe I should use when I figured that a crisp would be much better. I decided to be gutsy and utilize some experimentation. I did not use a recipe for this crisp, I simply made it up. I consider myself a modest person, but I must say, this crisp is delicious. Plus, it's healthy and vegan! Double whammy! Or I guess triple whammy? So if there is anybody out there that also suffers from "always wanting the other season" syndrome, here is a wonderful apple crisp to fulfill your cravings. Dig in!

Healthy Apple Crisp
5 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon (or as much as you desire, I firmly believe you can never have too much cinnamon)
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup oats
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons virgin coconut oil (at room temperature)

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 9 by 15 inch pan and set aside.
2) Combine the apple slices, sugar, honey, cornstarch, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt in large bowl and set aside.
3) Mix together the oats, almond flour, walnuts, sugar and cinnamon. Add in the coconut oil and mix together the coconut oil with the other ingredients using your hands until the coconut oil is thoroughly incorporated.
4) Pour the apple mixture into the pan and top evenly with the oat/coconut oil mixture. As an option, you can also take about a tablespoon of earth balance and sprinkle little bits over the top to make for a nice browned top.
5) Bake the crisp for 40 minutes on the middle rack of the oven.
6) Enjoy with some vegan coconut milk ice cream, pumpkin spice candles and Ella Fitzgerald music. Not necessary but highly recommended.