California treated us well, especially when we loaded my purse with bread, avocados, hummus, and grapes, and then proceeded to find that perfect shady spot in a park to picnic and then nap. Vacations are wonderful like that.
And then there was our great search for the best cold pressed juices in San Francisco. Tough life. Happy Moose Juice had the cutest packaging, but I think Pressed Juicery won us over with their chocolate almond milk. And their location in Palo Alto had a healthy soft serve bar that was out of this world. Move to Austin, Pressed? Please?
We also stocked up on lots of snacks to get us through our adventure-filled days, so some variety of nuts and fresh produce and energy bars were always in my purse at the ready. We basically went on a tour of all the grocery stores in the Bay Area. It was fun, but it did make us miss our Whole Foods and the tacos that are a staple of our diet.
In terms of macarons, we ate a lot. I’m talking all the flavors. Cherry bourbon! Peanut butter and jelly! And then the Miette macarons were stellar, of course. There was also a bag of local granola I bought to bring back to Austin that was somehow eaten two days before we left. Weird how that happened…
But then we came back to Texas, the heat hitting us hard, and we had to settle back in to our little corner of the world with the basset. And I made this bread with lots of hatch chile spice to help us acclimate. And everything felt right.
California was good to us for a week, but Texas is good to us forever.
(Bread notes: The amount of water you need depends on how hot your kitchen is when you’re making the dough. I needed two cups, but most of you with cooler kitchens could probably go with one and half cups. You’ll know. Use most, but not all, of the seeds from the 2-3 chiles you chopped, unless you want things extra spicy.)
- 3 cups bread flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon yeast
- 1 cup hatch chiles, chopped with seeds
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups water
- In a mixing bowl, combine bread flour, salt, and yeast. Stir in hatch chiles with a rubber spatula, then add water, until no flour remains and the dough is wet and sticky.
- Place dough in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm, draft-free place for 12-14 hours. The dough should have expanded and become even more sticky.
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees and place Dutch oven, with the lid, inside.
- Place dough onto a heavily floured work surface and shape it into a loaf. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until it has spread out and risen, about 30 minutes.
- Remove Dutch oven from the oven and carefully flip dough into it. Shake the Dutch oven slightly to spread the dough if it doesn’t flip properly.
- Bake for 30 minutes with the lid, then remove lid and bake for 15 more minutes. The bread should be golden brown when removed from the oven and sound hollow when tapped. Place bread on a wire rack to cool completely before serving and enjoying.
There is no other way to start this post than to tell y’all how good and filling and delicious these little parfaits are. I should probably also tell you that they only take 15 minutes to put together and they’re healthy.
Are you running to your cabinets to find your parfait jars yet?
You should be. This was my first time venturing into the raw dessert territory, but it certainly won’t be my last.
Mainly inspired by Oh, Ladycakes and Lawrence’s requests for desserts with whipped cream, these turned into such a luscious, cold dessert and we loved every spicy and sweet second of it.
The only thing that could give you a slight hiccup in this recipe is the coconut milk. Despite your best efforts, sometimes the fat doesn’t fully separate and won’t be chunky enough to form stiff cream.
If you get a dud of a can, don’t worry. Continue on with the recipe. Just know that instead of whipped cream it becomes more of a whipped sauce. It still tastes delicious. You can also use standard heavy whipping cream if that’s your preference.
Basically just get ready for some super cute jars filled with all the most wonderful things. You’ve found your parfait jars by now, right?
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 12 Medjool dates, pitted
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 2 cans coconut milk, full fat, refrigerated overnight
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- Place walnuts, almonds, nutmeg, cardamom, and ground ginger in a food processor fitted with an s-blade. Grind until the nuts turn into a mostly fine meal. Add the dates and blend until the mixture becomes sticky and crumbs develop.
- Add the almond milk and blend until a dough forms and becomes even more sticky. Place dough in the fridge until ready to layer.
- To make the coconut whipped cream, scoop out the top fat from the can and place it in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Discard the coconut water.
- Blend for about 25 seconds to get any chunks liquefied, then add powdered sugar and increase speed to high and whisk for 1-2 minutes until thick. Add in vanilla and cinnamon and blend until just incorporated.
- To make the parfaits, use six 7-ounce ramekins. Use half of the dough to form the bottom layers, followed by half of the whipped cream, and a layer of blueberries. Repeat.
- Serve immediately and enjoy or place in the fridge to chill until serving.
Think about that for a second. And then think about how great you feel after you take your first bite of a particularly delicious or decadent treat. You feel great. And you feel even better if you made that treat yourself. What you don’t feel is stress.
Enter these ridiculous dark chocolate chili banana bread muffins. The banana bread recipe to end all banana bread recipes. I don’t even like banana bread but I like these muffins. Correction…I love them.
The stress I had about a very busy upcoming week melted away as I started to make these beautiful, stud(ly) muffins. And did I mention they are healthier than your average muffin? All the excitement!
The chili powder sneaks up on you to give a taste that is unrivaled. Plus it pairs incredibly with the dark chocolate chunks hiding in the muffins, and just leaves you wanting to gobble down more muffins. Is it Thanksgiving? Because I’ve basically become a turkey.
Almond flour and buckwheat take the reins to make these gluten-free, but they most certainly do not taste “gluten-free.” However, if you don’t want these GF, sub in about 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour for the buckwheat and almond flour, and take out the xantham gum. You can also sub in two regular eggs for the flaxseed eggs.
We normally give away baked goods to friends and coworkers, but these are nestled safely in our fridge because they are just too good and we want to eat them all. Pro tip, especially if it is 90+ degrees wherever you live, these are amazing cold.
But really, they’re amazing in all forms, and if you’re feeling stressed about something, take some time out of your day to bake and indulge and feel better. Forget stress. Remember desserts.
- 1/4 cup margarine
- 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal, 6 tablespoons water
- 1 cup almond flour (raw, not blanched)
- 1 cup buckwheat flour
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon xantham gum
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 3 large extra-ripe bananas
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup dark chocolate chunks (vegan, if you prefer)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with 10 liners. Fill remaining two muffin slots halfway with water.
- Melt margarine in a large, microwave-safe bowl and set aside. Combine flaxseed meal and water in a small bowl and set aside for at least 5 minutes.
- Place almond flour, buckwheat flour, brown sugar, xantham gum, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and chili powder in a medium bowl. Whisk and set aside.
- Add coconut oil and bananas to the margarine and mash/stir thoroughly until only a few small pieces of bananas remain. Add vanilla and flax eggs and stir until combined.
- Fold flour mixture into the banana mixture until just combined. Fold in chocolate chunks.
- Bake for 17-20 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and let rest for 2 minutes before removing muffins to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve and enjoy.
You can only eat so many cookies before things catch up to you and you realize you should probably be eating some veggie bowls, just for good measure. Or drinking smoothies that remind you of baked goods. That’s close enough, right?
Well, this cinnamon roll smoothie is pretty phenomenal. It may not be an actual cinnamon roll, but it is so good. So good that Lawrence refuses to drink any other smoothie and I’ve become a cinnamon addict.
Pros: Smooth, creamy, cold, cinnamon-y, luscious, etc, etc. And HEALTHY!
DESSERT PICKLES. If I had a nickle for every time I told Lawrence I wanted a pickle…well, we could buy a lot of pickles. And some chocolate to dip them in. These are everything. Thank you, Molly Yeh.
This twist on PB&J looks delicious and amazing and perfect for a picnic. Count me in.
Not only are the photos beautiful, but these frozen grape daiquiris sound divine. I have memories of sipping strawberry daiquiris — 86th the rum — when I was much younger, and these beauties bring all that whirring back.
I’m already thinking about what I’m going to eat when school and work start up again and I’m busy to the max. These super seedy granola bars look like a good idea. A really really really good idea.
PS do you want to see pictures of Guss the basset hound?? Instagram has them. And they’re pretty cute, if I do say so myself. Which I do.
- 2 frozen bananas
- 1 coconut water ice cube
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon cacao nibs
- 1 tablespoon natural almond butter
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 date, pitted and diced
- 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
The quest to not turn on the oven in the middle of summer continues, and I think we’re doing quite well. Especially since it led us to buy a spiralizer and get on the zucchini noodle train.
Potentially the greatest carb saver since cauliflower pizza crust, zoodles have become our lifeblood and we are buying all the zucchinis that Austin grocery stores have to offer.
And what makes zucchini noodles even better? Mixing in broccoli, snap peas, and cheese-free pesto. Aka the ultimate green veggie bowl. It takes all of 10 minutes to put together, from start to finish, and you barely have any dishes to wash. Yes yes yes.
If you don’t have a microwave steamer, steam as you would on the stove. Also note that you can basically use any combination of nuts for the pesto. We’re not super big fans of pine nuts, so we like to play around with other varieties. The cashews in this particular pesto give it some heft and actually make it taste slightly cheesy.
Brussels sprouts would be ridiculously good as a veggie sub in this recipe, if you want to opt out of the broccoli or snap peas. Cauliflower is another lovely option, but then you lose some of that green, and the color is half the fun.
Lastly, this recipe really pulls double duty in that you can eat it raw! Don’t want to steam it or have any heat? No worries. Rawtastic!
Do y’all need more convincing? Go make the easiest, super-healthy, and beautiful green weeknight meal there ever was. Your dinner companion will thank you. And so will your stomach.
- 2 medium zucchini
- 3 cups broccoli, chopped (about 1 head)
- 1 1/2 cups snap peas
- 1 ounce basil
- 1/4 cup nuts (recommend 1/8 cup walnuts and 1/8 cup cashews)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- Optional hemp hearts to top
- Using a spiralizer, prepare zucchini noodles and set aside.
- Place broccoli and snap peas in a microwave-safe steamer and microwave for 4 minutes. Place zucchini noodles on top and steam for 3 more minutes, until broccoli and snap peas are tender and zucchini noodles are only slightly crunchy.
- While vegetables are in the microwave, place basil, nuts, olive oil, garlic, and salt in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour pesto into the steamer and mix all the vegetables together. Divide equally into two bowls, add more salt to taste, and top with hemp hearts. Serve and enjoy.
If you follow us on Twitter, then you may know that I said some fighting words last week when I declared frozen custard greater than ice cream. In the heat of the moment (or chill of the moment, I suppose) frozen custard had my heart.
But I’ve repented, and understand that ice cream has its place in my heart too. Going home to Dallas last weekend and eating lots of my mom’s ice cream pie didn’t hurt either.
And the great thing about homemade ice cream is that you don’t need to fuss much over it. You could watch a whole episode of The Office (maybe the one where they all drink too much espresso) while it’s churning and not have to worry about it. Isn’t that fun?
The basil in the recipe pairs really well with the white chocolate and the strawberries. I know it sounds kind of weird, but those savory undertones take this to a whole other level. Plus, if you buy “too much” basil, you’ll have leftovers and can make pesto. Win-win.
The xantham gum acts as a de-icer of sorts to keep the ice cream smooth and creamy. If you’re going to eat all of the ice cream in one sitting and not freeze it, feel free to omit the xantham gum. Otherwise, stay smart and avoid ice crystals.
So, while I still stand by my love for frozen custard, ice cream has wiggled its way back in to our apartment and our hearts. It wouldn’t be summer if we didn’t eat some ice cream, right?
- 6 ounces white chocolate (use vegan if you prefer)
- 2 cans coconut milk (one lite, one full fat)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 0.4 ounces basil leaves, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon xantham gum
- 2 cups strawberries, stemmed and chopped
- Place white chocolate, one can of coconut milk, and granulated sugar in a large pot over medium high heat and stir until white chocolate melts and sugar is dissolved.
- Add the other can of coconut milk and basil leaves to the mixture. Stir occasionally and bring it to a boil, then remove from heat. Place a fine mesh sieve over a large bowl (preferably with a spout) and pour the liquid into the bowl.
- Discard the basil leaves collected by the sieve and whisk the xantham gum into the liquid. Let cool for about 20 minutes before covering with plastic wrap and placing in the fridge. Chill for at least 5 hours.
- Place the strawberries in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the berries start to break down, then use the back of a spatula to break them down even further.
- Continue to stir and mash until only small pieces of strawberry remain and the mixture is mainly liquid. It should come to a boil.
- Remove from heat, then place strawberry mixture into a bowl and let cool at room temperature for about 20 minutes before placing in the fridge.
- After ice cream base has chilled for at least 5 hours, place it in your ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s directions. Once ice cream becomes thick and almost done (about 22-25 minutes in), add in the strawberry mixture by the spoonful.
- Churn for a few more minutes before placing ice cream in a loaf pan. Serve immediately and enjoy, or freeze until ready to serve (thaw for a few minutes beforehand).
Texas heat creeps upon us more and more. The hum of cicadas is always present – Lawrence once called that hum “the sound of Texas heat rising.” But our apartment needs no extra heat rising, so this week we’ve traded in cooking for fruit, nuts, hummus, and steamed veggies. And SMOOTHIES.
This recipe has been on the backburner for a while. But there is no better time than now to share it, when we all need to cool off, rehydrate, and get a little bit of extra protein here and there.
I’m sometimes hesitant to post smoothie recipes because they’re always so easy to do that they’re barely recipes. But then I realize that smoothies are incredibly delicious and the world needs more of them. Especially those of the blueberry vanilla variety.
There are only a few things to note with this recipe. We’ve been making coconut water ice cubes (just pour the water into a standard mold and freeze) and using them in our smoothies. You can use regular ice cubes, but the coconut water adds a nice bit of sweetness.
We’ll also sometimes add protein powder, but I find protein powder to be a fickle friend. That chalky taste/texture is sometimes a little too overpowering for me. But, if you want it, go for it. Yay protein!
And that’s that. With all the time you save making smoothies and not cooking, you have more time to read books. I highly recommend this strategy to beat the heat. I also recommend Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, which is kind of devastating and crazy.
But there are also nice quotes like “If I took her in my arms, she would smell like berries and powdered sugar.” Isn’t that what we all want to smell like? This blueberry vanilla smoothie might put us on the right track. And keep us cool.
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- 2 coconut water ice cubes
- 2 heaping tablespoons non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla protein powder (optional)
“Do you really want to live in a world where you are denied cupcakes?” That’s what Lawrence asked me as we (mostly me) debated whether to eat another cupcake. “I’ll split it with you.” And that’s what Lawrence said right before I headed to the kitchen to get another cupcake for us. Sweet victory.
And when I say “sweet,” I mean it. Real strawberries are packed into the cake and the frosting. A pound and a half of strawberries, to be exact. No artificial food coloring needed here. Just the good stuff.
I had the weirdest craving in the middle of the week for a strawberry cupcake from a bakery where my friend works (weird because it’s four hours away and I’m a diehard supporter of their cinnamon cupcake). Plus, Lawrence put up with several mushy fruit baked goods in a row, and I wanted to give him a cupcake sans wet fruit pieces. The stars aligned for these cupcakes to be made.
This sweet strawberry cupcake hits all the right notes and is so easy to make. Cooking down the strawberries is the only part that’s a bit off course from a standard cupcake recipe, but it is so worth it. There is no substitution for real strawberry flavor. Leave the Jello packets behind, y’all.
Everything else is smooth sailing. Just don’t be a klutz like me and get powdered sugar all over your kitchen (and yourself). I do it every time. I don’t know how, it just happens. But then I got to taste fresh strawberry buttercream frosting, and everything was OK.
Basically, this is summer in a cupcake. And I don’t know about y’all, but I definitely don’t want to live in a world where I’m denied sweet, summer-y strawberry cupcakes.
- 1 pound of strawberries, stemmed and chopped
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup non-fat milk or almond milk
- 1/2 pound of strawberries, stemmed and chopped
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- Place all strawberries, for the cake and the frosting, in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Stir until berries start to break down from the heat. Use the back of a spatula to release juices and continue to break down the berries. Lower the heat to low when the mixture is mostly juice. Break down any remaining large chunks. Remove from heat.
- Place a fine mesh sieve over a medium-sized bowl and pour the strawberry mixture into the sieve. Using the spatula, get all of the juice out of the pulp that remains. This will take several minutes. Place liquid in the fridge to cool.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with 10 liners.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
- Reserving 1/3 of the strawberry liquid for the frosting, combine the other 2/3 with the milk in a separate bowl and set aside. Keep the remaining 1/3 strawberry liquid in the fridge.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in half of the flour mixture. Add half of the strawberry milk. Repeat and then place 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin tin.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and let sit for several minutes before removing cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, assemble the frosting. Beat together butter and remaining strawberry liquid. It will not look combined. With your stand mixer on low, add one cup of powdered sugar at a time, until you get the consistency and sweetness you desire. Add the cornstarch to help thicken the frosting.
- Pipe frosting onto each cupcake, then serve and enjoy.