Carrot Cake Oatmeal

I’m listening to an acoustic summer playlist on Spotify right now and drinking a glass of red wine. I’m about as relaxed as a person can be at 8:52 on a Tuesday evening.

In the spirit of feeling exceptionally laid-back right now, I don’t have much to say about this recipe.

Seriously, I have nothing to say.

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Carrot Cake Oatmeal 
Source: Annie’s Eats
Printable Recipe 

3C water
1C milk (or nondairy milk of choice)
1T butter
1C steel-cut oats
1/4tsp salt
3T brown sugar
3 carrots, peeled and shredded
1/2C shredded coconut
1/3C raisins
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
1/4tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Bring water and milk to a simmer in a pan on stove.
Melt the butter in small skillet. Add in oats and stir until slightly toasted.
Add oats to simmering liquid.
Reduce to medium-low and cook until thickened, about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Add in salt, brown sugar, carrot, coconut, raising, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
Cook until almost all liquid absorbed, continuing to stir occasionally. This will take about 10 more minutes.
Remove from heat. Let cool for about 5-10 minutes before serving.
Top with additional coconut, milk, butter, and/or a sprinkle of walnuts.
Enjoy!

Half Dome and Tabbouleh

Once upon a time, we decided a trip to Yosemite was needed.

In all honesty, it started out as a bit of a joke. We live on a street that is named after the famous national park, and we’ve been continually surprised at how many people mispronounce, misspell, or have never even heard of Yosemite as an actual place …. and not just a random pile of letters.

Yo-SEE-might

Yah-se-might

You-say-mitt

I could go on an on about the pronunciations I’ve heard, but this isn’t really about that.

Half-dome.

When we started researching Yosemite, we quickly set our sights on being able to hike the famous cables to the top of Half Dome. After a last minute lottery entry won us a spot, we found ourselves making a quick pit-stop at a hardware store to purchase $8 gardening gloves so we were prepared.

I’m being sarcastic about being prepared. Sure, we had read a few travel website reviews of the hike on the plane ride to California and we had purchased a few granola bars to eat along the way, but that’s pretty much where our preparation ended. Ha.

Determined we were. Prepared we were not.

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I thought about giving you a mile-by-mile review, but I could sum it all up by simply saying that some things in life (read: views, views, views) are more than worth fatigued muscles and blistered feet.

Sidenote: If someone could comment below on how to properly pose when you are standing on a mountain, I’d really, really appreciate it. I have a few too many extremely awkward, hands-over-my-head-tada-pose pictures.

 

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Tabbouleh 
Source: Ina Garten 
Printable Recipe

1C bulgur wheat
1 1/2C boiling water
1/4C freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4C olive oil
1C minced green onion
1C chopped fresh mint
1C chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 hothouse cucumber (peeled, seeded, and diced)
2C cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tsp black pepper
salt

Combine in a bowl, combine bulgur with the boiling water. Add in lemon juice, olive oil, and a 1 1/2tsp salt.
Stir and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
Once all the liquid has absorbed (about 1 hour), add in scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, a pinch of salt, and the black pepper.
Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed.
Enjoy!  (This tastes best after resting in the fridge for a few hours)

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

 

Zucchini and I go way back… way back to my childhood when my mom’s garden inevitably overproduced the following:

  1. tomatoes
  2. zucchini

As a child who didn’t believe in eating vegetables, fruits, whole grains, or anything not coated in cheese or sugar, this was always a rough time of year for me. My mom would recommend I try the garden-fresh produce that we had so carefully watered and tended to all summer and I would throw dramatic screaming toddler rants to once-again prove that I was right and she was wrong.

Times have changed and I know find myself liking loving seasonal produce. Like all trips to the farmers market, my latest one left me with way too much. (it’s so hard to choose!)

What to do with a counter full of zucchini? Make bread and gift it to your closest friends of course.

Your friends won’t be disappointed.

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Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Source: King Arthur Flour
Printable Recipe

2 eggs
1/3C honey
1/2C vegetable oil
1/2C light brown sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp salt
1/2tsp baking soda
1/2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp espresso powder
1/3C dutch-process cocoa
1 2/3C AP flour
2C shredded zucchini, gently pressed so some of the excess liquid is removed
1C chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.
Grease a loaf pan (8.5″ x 4.5″)
Beat eggs, honey, oil, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth. Set aside.
In a different bowl, combine salt, baking soda, baking powder, espresso powder, cocoa powder, and flour.
Add in wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until almost combined. Then add in zucchini and chocolate chips.
Once combined, pour batter into pan.
Cook at 350 for 70-75 minutes,  until a toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from oven. Let cool for about 10 minutes and then remove from pan. Allow to cool completely.
Slice and serve!

Smoky Caramelized Cauliflower Frittata

Going out for brunch is simultaneously always a great idea (yum!) and a slightly stressful experience for me. I’m usually more of a savory breakfast person, but whenever I see a menu full of fancy stuffed french toast options, various uniquely flavored pancakes, and other sweet brunch treats, I start to fret a bit. Occasionally, I choose a sweet option, but I think my most memorable brunch experiences are of the savory variety. Typing this right now has me thinking I should make plans to go to breakfast with someone ASAP.

If you’re hosting a brunch for your friends, enemies, cousins, sister-in-laws parents, coworkers, neighbors or the cashier at your favorite grocery store, this would be a nice dish. It’s very easy to prep and really tasty. It’s also a bit unusual without being completely esoteric. Cauliflower and eggs compliment each other quite well in this frittata. The finished product has a subtle smoky flavor thanks to smoked mozzarella and a few dashes of paprika. I don’t think the addition of a second cheese (hello, sharp cheddar) hurts either. This was good on day 1, and great on day 2.

Let’s brunch.

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Smoky Caramelized Cauliflower Frittata
Source: Yotam Ottlenghi’s cookbook “Plenty” via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Printable Recipe

1 head cauliflower, cut into 1″ florets
11 eggs
1/4C creme fraiche (alternate: greek yogurt)
2T dijon mustard
1T sweet smoked paprika
salt, pepper
5oz smoked mozzarella, shredded (divided)
4oz aged sharp cheddar, shredded (divided)
2T olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 13×9 pan. Set aside.
Bring a pan filled with water to a boil. Season with salt. Simmer cauliflower for 5 minutes, until partially cooked. Remove, drain, and pat dry. Set aside.
Whisk together eggs, creme fraiche, mustard, and paprika. Season with salt and pepper.
Add in 3/4 of the cheeses, and chives.
Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
Add the par-boiled cauliflower and cook until golden brown, stirring occasionally.
Once golden, add in minced garlic. Cook for about 1 minute, until softened and fragrant.
Remove garlic-cauliflower mixture from heat and distribute evenly in the 13×9 pan that has been greased.
Pour the egg mixture over the cauliflower.
Top with remaining cheese.
Bake until eggs are set, about 15-20 minutes.
Remove from oven. Cool slightly and cut into squares.
Enjoy!

You Can Put Sweet Potatoes In Brownies and Still Be Cool

I put sweet potatoes in my brownies

… because Daphne Oz told me to do it.

Does that make it ok? She seems cool, right?

I went through a phase a few years ago where I was sneaking chickpeas into blondies, black beans into brownies, carrots into oatmeal… the list goes on. Then I tried a normal brownie recipe and realized that I liked it better. I’ve slowly gotten away from that trend because I’ve found that (in general) i like to eat my beans/veggies separately from my desserts.

Duh.

I like eating healthy, but I like eating unhealthy too. Sometimes, I just want to spluuuuuurrge.

This is a good in-between. The sweet potato makes it more of a dense, indulgent brownie, but they are made into mini-muffins so each one isn’t very caloric. If you’re looking for  tiny treat, eat one. If you’re looking for a sppllluuuuurrrrgggeeee, eat the whole tray. That’s pretty much what I did.

Duh.

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Sweet Potato Brownie Bites
Source: Daphne Oz
Printable Recipe 

1 sweet potato
1/3C mini chocolate chips
1/3C hot coffee
2T butter, melted
2 eggs
1/2C light brown sugar
1tsp vanilla
1/2C AP flour
1/2tsp baking powder
3/4C coca powder
1/2tsp salt

Cook sweet potato on high in microwave for 5-7 minutes, until tender. Allow to cool slightly and scoop out flesh. You will need 1C total for this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 350.
In a small dish, pour hot coffee over the chocolate chips. Stir until chocolate chips are melted. Set aside.
In a large bowl, add sweet potato, butter, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Stir in the coffee mixture.
In a different bowl (lots of bowls needed for this one – sorry!), stir flour, baking powder, cookout powder, and salt.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Stir until just barely combined.
Fill mini muffin tin about 3/4 full.
Bake at 350 for 8 minutes.
Remove and allow to cool.
Enjoy!

Poblano, Corn, & Zucchini Tacos

In June, I visited Zion and Bryce with 2 of my brothers. We still can’t stop talking about it. It was nothing short of awesome.

We hiked for 4 days straight, up and down every trail we could find. It was exhausting in the best possible way. The temperature was over 110 degrees while we were there, but we didn’t mind. We carried a few extra bottles of water, coated ourselves in excess sunscreen, and started hiking in the wee hours of the morning (i.e. 5am) to avoid the heat of the day.  We sat on top of incredible overlooks staring at the most astounding views eating granola bars and apples. As much as I love good food, a peanut butter sandwich at 6500 feet elevation overlooking a canyon after hiking for a few hours tastes just about as good as anything I’ve ever tasted. We argued about politics, what is the most delicious fruit, and who is the best soccer player in the world in order to distract ourselves from our fear of heights. By the way, the most delicious fruit is the cantaloupe. I’m pretty sure I won that battle.

The highlight of the trip for me was the Narrows, which is a hike along and in the Virgin River through a narrow (hence, the name) portion of the canyon. We rented water shoes and walking sticks which made walking on all of the slippery rocks more manageable.  We read about it before we went and people likened it to ‘walking on wet, slippery bowling balls,’ which turned out to be an accurate description. We spent hours hiking in the river, but the chilly water felt amazing given the air temperature. The scenery was incredible and I mean i-n-c-r-e-d-i-b-l-e. The three of us were quiet for major portions of this hike – literally speechless over the majestic views.  Do I sound enamored? Insert heart face emoji here.

 

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We’ve been adventuring together for a long time. I have fond memories of playing weird made-up games (i.e. lava monster) on the swing set in the backyard growing up, riding bikes in our neighborhood, and collecting pet bugs in Folger’s coffee cans. While I’ll always cherish my Zion/Bryce hiking experience, I left Utah feeling mostly thankful for my brothers.

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As mentioned, we didn’t eat anything too fancy on our vacation. I did enjoy a salad that contained corn, zucchini and poblano so I was delighted to find this recipe with the same flavor combination. I used to think vegetarian tacos meant bean tacos, but the wide variety of veggie-filled taco recipes has broadened my viewpoint. These were good – possibly some of the best vegetarian tacos I’ve eaten. I added some black beans to my tacos for a little extra protein, but they were delicious both ways.

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Tacos of Creamy Roasted Poblano, Corn, and Zucchini 
Source: Rick Bayless
Printable Recipe

4 medium fresh poblano chilis (~1lb)
3T vegetable oil
1 white onion, sliced 1/4″ thick
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2tsp dried oregano
3/4C heavy cream or Mexican crema
salt
4 zucchini, cut into 1/2″ cubes (~1lb)
1C fresh corn
1/4C chopped cilantro
12 tortillas
1/4C Mexican queso fresco (or feta if unable to find the queso fresco)

Roast the chilis under a broiler, turning so they are blackened/blistered on all sides. Once finished, remove from broiler and place in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to cool. Once they are cooled, rub off the skin and pull out the stems/seeds. Slice into 1/4″ strips.
Heat 2T oil in a large pan over medium heat.
Add onion and cook until slightly browned and tender, about 6-7 minutes.
Add in garlic and oregano. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add chili and cream.
Season with salt.
Cook until cream has thickened slightly, about 2-3 minutes.
Transfer to a bowl to cool. Wipe out the pan.
Add 1T of oil to pan. Heat to medium-high heat.
Add zucchini. Season with a dash of salt.
Cook until browned, stirring occasionally. This will take about 8 minutes.
Add corn and let brown, about 2-3 minutes.
Add in the pepper-cream mixture and cilantro.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer.
Taste. Add salt if needed.
Serve on tortillas with queso to top.
Taste and season the mixture with salt, usually about ½ teaspoon. Transfer the rajas a la crema to a bowl and wipe the skillet clean.
Enjoy!

Toasted Coconut and Pineapple Granola

Raise your hand if you l-o-v-e granola.

I consider myself to be a bit of a granola connoisseur (possibly a granola snob) as I have tried quite a few different recipes without much success.

This recipe is 4 out of 4 stars deliciousness. It’s toasty oatmeal and coconut perfection chock full of sliced almonds and little dried pineapple pieces that is delicately sweetened by a touch of maple syrup. In other words, it’s amazing.

I’d be lying if I told you that I had exhibited normal amounts of self-control after making this, and simply sprinkled a small scoop on yogurt. This is the kind of granola that has you shoving fistfuls into your mouth throughout the morning… and afternoon… and evening too.

 

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Toasted Coconut and Pineapple Granola
Source: Andie Mitchell
Printable Recipe

3C old-fashioned oats
1C shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1C sliced almonds
1/4C vegetable oil
1/3C maple syrup
1tsp vanilla extract
1C chopped dried pineapple

Preheat oven to 325.
In a bowl, combine oats, coconut and almonds. Set aside.
In a small pan, combine oil, syrup, and vanilla. Heat over medium heat until heated through, about 3 minutes.
Pour oil mixture over the oat mixture. Add a dash of salt.
Stir until combined.
Spread onto a large baking sheet.
Cook for 20 minutes at 325, stirring every few minutes to ensure even browning.
Remove from oven. Allow to cool. Add chopped pineapple pieces.
Store leftovers in an airtight container.
Enjoy!