Espresso Chocolate Bran Muffins

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I was walking to the mailbox yesterday to post a birthday card. Through slush & ice. Down my mile-long driveway. Okay, it was an easy stroll. And on the way back I ran into my not-quite-elderly or else in really great shape & elderly neighbor. She engaged in small talk. Eventually she asked what I study & when I replied “Global Environmental Policy” she responded: “Is that like… Al Gore stuff?”

Yes, folks. It is indeed a bit like “Al Gore Stuff.”

Though, only a fraction of us study climate change. Some of us study energy, some conservation, some international institutions, some water, and those of us that are particularly cool study agriculture & food.

Speaking of which, this week we’re actually studying the EU decision making process on GMOs. Which shall serve as a transition to delicious muffins made with organic whole wheat flour. And probably GM wheat bran… but I wouldn’t know, because it’s not labeled!

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These muffins are a one bowl, three measuring cups (because I use a 1/4 & 1/2 cup for everything) , throw it together in a jiff kind of recipe.

As muffin recipes should be.

And they’re dairy-free, whole wheat, bran muffins. Hello, sorta healthy.

With CHOCOLATE in them. And ESPRESSO. Which probably explains my use of caps right there.

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And the most important part is that I now have espresso-laden, semi-healthy muffins to take to campus Wednesday & Thursday.

I usually forget to pack any food at all and survive off overpriced soy lattes & bagels sold on campus. And by the end of the day my stomach feels cramped & ready to implode/explode. And my journey begins at 6 (wake up) & ends around 10 (get home). But fear not this week! I have prepared with muffins, tabbouleh, hummus & pita! Oh me oh my!

Also, these muffins make the house smell glorious. In all their chocolatey, espresso, fresh-baked goodness.

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Espresso Chocolate Chip Bran Muffins

Inspired by The Kitchy Kitchen
Makes 12 Standard Muffins

WET:
1/2 Cup Oil (i use canola)
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Brewed Coffee (cold)
1/2 Cup Soy Milk
2 Tbsp Ground Espresso
1 Egg (i use ener-g)
2 Tsp Vanilla

DRY:
1 2/3 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
2/3 Cup Bran (I used half oat & half wheat)
2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
3/4 – 1 Cup Chocolate Chips*

*I used dairy-free chocolate – half Ghirardelli Semisweet Chocolate Chips & half chopped Ibarro Mexican Chocolate. The Mexican chocolate is full of granulated sugar & adds a nice sugary crunch to the muffins. ┬áFeel free to use as much chocolate, or little as you like – keeping in mind that it may affect the volume of the batter.

Preheat oven to 375F. Line muffin tray with muffin papers.

Combine all the wet ingredients in a medium/large bowl. Add all the dry ingredients, except the chocolate chips.
Combine thoroughly. Stir in chocolate Chips.
Spoon batter evenly into muffin papers. Should all be about 3/4 full.
Bake for about 18 – 22 minutes or until muffins spring back to a light touch (or toothpick comes out clean method).

Now, NOSH.

With a cold glass or milk or hot cup of coffee.

Contains caffeine. Please, enjoy responsibly : )

All gone!

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Tabbouleh & Hummus

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Okay, snickerdoodles not what you wanted to start your 2013 resolutions off properly?

Well, don’t worry! I’ve got healthy stuff too!! Delicious, healthy stuff.

I grew up eating Lebanese food on special occasions. Mostly family gatherings, especially Easter. Grandma prepared most of it when I was younger. My cousins and I would sneak into the fridge at night during family reunions to steal the fatayers! We’d sneak a few, thinking we’d be satisfied, and then go back for secret seconds. I loved almost everything grandma made, but tabbouleh was never my favorite. Probably because it’s chock full of parsley and I’m not really a huge fan. But it’s been growing on me in the last few years and now I love it. Well curly leaf more than flat. Especially drenched in lemon juice. Probably thanks to Stephen… who adores Middle Eastern & Mediterranean cuisines. He loves when we make tabbouleh, hummus, pita, grape leaves, or fatayer. And any chance we get to eat it somewhere else. He once “confessed” he loved me because I could make such good Lebanese food. I was flattered!

Tabbouleh & Hummus are an especially great combination. They’re both quick & simple and require no cooking (if using canned beans). They’re also an extremely healthy combo. Chickpeas are full of protein, fiber, Manganese and Iron. While parsley is an excellent source of antioxidants as well as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Calcium, Folate, Potassium and even Iron. Most importantly, they’re delicious together – the flavors and textures are perfectly complementary.

So go ahead, indulge. In fresh, wonderful food that you can feel good about.

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Tabbouleh

2 bunches curly leaf parsley
1/2 cup bulgur
1 large cucumber
1/2 small red onion
juice of 2 lemons
several tablespoons olive oil
1/4 tsp cinnamon
salt, to taste
chopped mint, optional

Chop parsley finely. Chop mint finely if using (between a couple tablespoons & 1/4 cup).
You can use the food processor if you want, but that’s one more thing to clean!
Peel cucumber, seed & dice. Finely dice red onion.
Add the bulgur wheat to a small saucepan with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, stir & remove from heat. Let sit for at least 15 minutes or until water is absorbed.
Combine the parsley, bulgur, cucumber, and onion.
Pour olive oil & lemon juice on top & stir thoroughly.
Refrigerate & nom!

Hummus

1 can chickpeas
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon (or more)
1/4 tsp salt

This one is easy. Add all ingredients to food processor & blend until completely smooth!
Top with paprika, sumac, or zaatar, and olive oil. Or nothing. However you like it.
Many of my family members prefer it drenched in olive oil.
Refrigerate & nom!

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Snickerdoodles!!

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Happy New Year, everyone!

I know the new year’s resolutions usually dictate getting fitter, healthier, eating fewer sweets, etc.
Which especially makes sense after the holidays…
but I feel it has been long enough since Christmas to indulge in a little 2013 treat.
And one of my mom’s coworkers demanded 3 dozen snickerdoodles! Lol.
And apparently Snickerdoodles are Stephen’s favorite cookie. Which I guess I should have known since he loves cinnamon ­čÖé

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Snickerdoodles:

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp AP flour
2 tsp angel cream (or cream of tartar)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

combine & roll in:
1 tbsp cinnamon
3 tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Use center rack in oven.

Beat butter & shortening on medium until light, creamy & fluffy. Add sugar and beat thoroughly. Add eggs & vanilla and beat until all of the ingredients are incorporated and everything is still light & fluffy. Begin adding the dry ingredients and mix slooowly. Increase the speed until mixture is consistent.

Flour flying out of the bowl is the worst.

Combine extra sugar & cinnamon in a shallow bowl or on a plate. Making tablespoon sized balls of dough, gently roll them in the cinnamon-sugar to coat. Place on baking sheet.

Bake each batch for about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on drying rack.

Indulge.

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These cookies are especially good with a steaming cup of coffee.

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Or all by themselves.

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After dinner. For a nice & simple dessert.

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Even for a lovely, cinnamony breakfast ; )

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They’re light. And crispy. And they melt in your mouth.

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They’re probably delicious dipped in a cold glass of milk (cow OR almond).

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Or 10 at a time.

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Or just one bite.

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Enjoy!!!

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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So I lied. I said this post wouldn’t have chocolate in it. Are you really upset about that? Didn’t think so.

Thanksgiving is over. And so is Black Friday (which I maintain is only for the insane). Which means one thing: It’s time for Christmas cookies!!!!!

I’ve been dying to find a chocolate chip cookie recipe that doesn’t use butter but still tastes as good as Tollhouse. Because everyone knows Tollhouse is the ultimate in traditional chocolate chip cookies. Your grandma’s famous chocolate chip cookie recipe? Tollhouse. Don’t let her lie. She can’t fool you. It’s right off the back of that bright yellow chocolate chip package.

Well these aren’t the Tollhouse recipe, but they are damn good. Just as good. Promise. They’re adapted from a recipe out of my mom’s old faithful Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. And they have a slight taste of peanut butter that isn’t overwhelming but adds that butteriness that really makes the chocolate pop.

I thought the cookbook was much older but there are some images of ladies that look like they’re hanging out in the 80s.

Couldn’t find a copyright year.

Moment of truth: These cookies are DELICIOUS. Definitely Christmas worthy.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book
(it’s pretty old)
Make 4 Dozen

2 1/2 Cups Flour
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Cup + 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter
1/2 Cup Shortening
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup White Sugar
2 Eggs (regular, flax, or Ener-G)
2 Tsp Vanilla
9oz (1 1/2 Cups) Chocolate Chips

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Beat peanut butter & shortening on medium high until well-creamed and fluffy. Add sugar, beating well after each to maintain the fluffy quality. Add eggs & vanilla and beat for a couple more minutes. You’re essentially whipping the mixture – adding plenty of air.

Add sugar, baking soda, and salt. And beat on low until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. I used only 9oz and trust me, there were chocolate chips falling to the bottom of the mixing bowl & a ton in each cookie.

Using a tablespoon, scoop the dough out of the bowl placing about a dozen mounds on each baking sheet.

Bake for 8 to 12 minutes. 8 minutes for soft & chewy cookies, 12 for golden & crispy cookies.

Let them cool. Or don’t. Choice is yours. I definitely don’t recommend burning your tongue though – because then the rest of the cookies won’t taste nearly as good. But who doesn’t want to eat warm cookies right out of the oven?

Now hide them away in a cookie tin or they’ll all be gone in approximately 2, possibly 3, days.

OR

You can just dive in & stuff your face with delicious cookies. Grab a glass a milk. Or not.

Om nom nom nom nom nom nom.

Double Chocolate Cupcakes

 

These cupcakes were luscious. I used my forever go-to recipe from What Would Cathy Eat? and made a chocolate “buttercream” icing using aristocrat cocoa powder, shortening, earth balance, coconut milk, vanilla & powdered sugar. Yum.

 

I promise to post some new recipes soon! And they probably won’t involve chocolate!

 

Is everyone getting excited for Thanksgiving? Or should I say feast your face off day? I am : )

Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse is decadent. Light. Airy. Creamy.

Chocolate Mousse is one seriously perfect dessert.

Chocolate-lovers & mere chocolate-likers alike will want more.

I finally found a recipe that was true to tradition.

And easy.

With only 4 ingredient, really.

Chocolate, water, sugar & eggs.

Thank you, Frugal Feeding.

Now, for the goods….

Don’t you just want to stick that spoon in your mouth?

The mousse on the spoon magically disappeared…

Into my mouth.

Note: Be sure to use high quality DARK chocolate for the best results. I used an additional 2 tablespoons of sugar & my mousse was, in my opinion, the perfect sweetness.

Click here for Frugal Feeding’s Chocolate Mousse recipe.

Sweet Potato, Pinto Bean, Tomatillo Tacos w/ Chipotle Slaw & Cilantro Chimichurri

It’s a mouthful because they’re a mouthful. These tacos were inspired.

Inspired by Paladar Latin Kitchen. And man. Are. They. Good.

I mentioned that my Aunt Julia gave me a wonderful gift on the day of my brother’s wedding… didn’t I? A tortilla press!!! We’ve already made tortillas with them several times, as tacos are one of my all-time favorite eats. And I can say that it was definitely easier to use than trying to smush the tortillas into flat discs with a pyrex pan. Tortillas are absolutely worth making homemade. Especially if you love tacos.

Sweet Potato, Pinto Bean, Tomatillo Tacos w/ Chipotle Slaw & Cilantro Chimichurri

Makes 12 Tacos

Tortillas:

We make our own using Masa (Maseca), water, & salt. We follow the recipe on the back of the Maseca bag & always end up adding a little additional water to feel. You dry fry them in a skillet on high heat for a few seconds on each side. I personally like to add a little oil for a touched of fried flavor.

Filling:

  • 2 Cans Pinto Beans
  • 1 Clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 1/2 Large Sweet Potatoes
  • 2 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 Tsp Cumin
  • Olive Oil
Cut sweet potato into small 1/2 – 1 inch squares. Toss with cinnamon, cumin & olive oil. Roast on a baking sheet at 450F for about 30 minutes, flipping once or twice.
In a medium saucepan, sautee garlic just slightly before adding the pinto beans & chili powder. Heat over medium-low. You may want to add a bit of water so they don’t dry while preparing the other ingredients.
Chunky Tomatillo Salsa:
  • 7 Medium Tomatillos, diced
  • 1/4 Red Onion, fine diced
  • 1 Clove Garlic, minced
  • 1┬áJalape├▒o, minced
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • Salt & Pepper
Combine the diced tomatillo, onion, garlic & jalapeño. Toss in lime juice & sprinkle with salt & pepper.
Chipotle Slaw:
  • 1 Head of Cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1/4 Cup Veganaise
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • 2 – 3 Chipotles from canned chipotles in adobo, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Adobo Sauce, from can
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl & toss to coat thoroughly. You can make the sauce┬áseparately first but it’s not a necessary step.
Cilantro Chimichurri:
  • 1 Bunch Cilantro
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1┬áJalape├▒os
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • 1/4 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor. Puree.

I like to layer them with the sweet potatoes on the bottom, then the pinto beans. Top the filling with the chipotle slaw, spoon on some chunky tomatillo salsa then bathe the top with that cilantro chimichurri. Now, DIG IN. And Enjoy : )

These tacos are NOMLICIOUS. They are definitely ingredient intense but they are SO worth it. I don’t know if I could choose a favorite food or cuisine but I know I’d find it REALLY hard to live without Mexican/Latin food (it was pretty hard going 4 months in Germany with no decent Mexican, although the awesome Italian restaurant we frequented nearly made up for it).

What is your favorite cuisine? Do you love tacos as much as I do? Haha, of course you don’t. That was a silly question.

*I actually made these tacos at the beginning of the summer. Wow, did it take me a long time to post these. I promise it won’t take as long to make them as it took for me to post them!

Enjoy the last bits of summer as we move into Fall! Personally, I can’t wait! Although, I could definitely do without the darker days.