Does anyone else just all of a sudden get in the mood for baking sometimes?
The measuring and mixing, pouring and stirring, baking and cooling. The smells of something delicious coming together and the anticipation of taste testing. It’s therapeutic to me.
Last week as I was jotting down a bunch of things to nab at the food store and planning out what healthy snacks I’d make this week, I got bitten by the baking bug. And I didn’t feel like just following a recipe, I was in the mood for experimenting and getting creative.
Today’s recipe is a result of that baking bug. These cookies center around a few of my favorite things: the combination of chocolate + peanut butter & cinnamon.
Cinnamon is without a doubt my favorite spice. I’m constantly sprinkling some on my fruit, in my smoothies, and on my toast. It gives meals a bit of something extra, au naturel.
I also love pairing cinnamon with peanut buttery goodness. Cinnamon sprinkled on top of sliced banana, topped with peanut butter. Oats with baked apple chunks, peanut butter & cinnamon.
Hope that you had a fabulous weekend. A highlight of my last few days included meeting up with my friend Trish and her little pup for a hiking doggie date….
Temperatures were in the 80s on Saturday, but it didn’t feel too hot because it was nice and breezy. Harley wasn’t slowed down by the warm weather and was her usual maniac, super friendly self.
Harley & Cody
Another fun thing I did over the weekend was volunteer with a group called CropSwap. The organization is dedicated to harvesting produce from farms, which would have otherwise gone to waste, and getting it to people who can’t afford to buy fresh fruit and veggies. As a health coach whose passionate about the importance of nutrition and eating a healthy diet full of whole foods, I wanted to get involved because I think it’s an awesome cause.
On Sunday morning we met at a farm in the area and harvested oranges to be donated to Feeding America. The farm had tons of pigs (lots of piglets too!), goats and dogs to play with. The pigs are apparently fruit hogs, and they love to eat orange after orange!
Another highlight of my weekend was food, obviously. I made this pancake combo – banana oatmeal protein pancakes with strawberries, blueberries & chocolate chips – two days in a row. How pretty are they?
Are you guys tired of my protein pancakes pictures yet? Don’t answer that… because I’m not tired of showing off my beautiful pancakes!
I spent a good amount of time in the kitchen experimenting. My Marine worked all weekend, and it always seems like when he’s gone and I’m not working and have some downtime, I cook and bake up a storm. He gets home and I’m all, “Hey try this… oooh have some of that!” and shoving food in his face. I don’t think he hasn’t any complaints about it though. 🙂
Now that it’s spring and half the world is starting to get out of freezing temperatures and polar vortex slumps, smoothie season is getting underway.
I know what you’re thinking: I live in California and can pretty much drink smoothies year-round. But the truth is, here in the south bay area, the temperature swings are pretty nutty. It’ll get up to 75-80 degrees during the day, then drop down to 35-40 degrees at night. Literally, the temperature doubles most days! When I first moved here I couldn’t believe it.
While I drank smoothies somewhat often during winter, my smoothie habit wasn’t nearly as frequent as it has been the last few weeks and will be probably until late fall. You see, the house I’m living in stays really cool – as in, it’s 80 degrees out but I’ll work from my office with a sweatshirt and slippers on, my dog generating heat at my feet, and a hot cup of tea in hand because it’s chilly inside.
Lately, due to the nights being more mild and the days being warmer in general, the house has been staying around a nice 70 degree temperature…which means that my teeth aren’t chattering when I sip on a protein shake. Yes, smoothies have been drank all winter, but they’re so much more enjoyable when you don’t have to bundle up first!
And so, I know that I just posted a smoothie recipe recently, but I’m posting another one today because my smoothie obsession is fully back in action! This vanilla peanut butter cinnamon smoothie was inspired by Sprouts Natural Foods Cafe in Lake Tahoe (you can read all about my eats in Tahoe here), where I recently had a delicious, creamy drink that I wanted to recreate at home.
I’m not pretending like this is one of the most innovative smoothie recipes you’ve ever heard of, but it sure is a winning combo. It may be my new favorite simply because it highlights a few of my long-standing kitchen obsessions: cinnamon, banana and peanut butter. I’m not going to lie to you, I could eat all of these things every single day. Oh wait, I pretty much already do.
Nearly all of the billion people on the planet who have eaten it say this, but granola is seriously addicting.
Despite knowing this, I got in a granola munching mood recently and couldn’t resist whipping up a new homemade version: cinnamon raisin flaxseed granola. Since it’s well documented on here that I’m cinnamon obsessed and eat it on nearly everything, it shouldn’t be a surprise that this granola is full of cinnamon-y goodness.
I decided to use a sweetener I haven’t used in awhile: brown rice syrup. A few tidbits about it:
Brown rice syrup is made by culturing cooked rice with enzymes to break down the starches, then straining off the liquid and reducing it by cooking until the desired consistency is reached.
It’s vegan and gluten-free.
It has a sticky consistency similar to honey – maybe even more gooey!
Surprisingly I did pretty good with portion control, and this batch was in my kitchen for almost a week, even though my hubby also loved it. By portion control, I mean measuring out a serving, then shoving a handful in my mouth of course…
This granola is awesome all on its own, in yogurt & fruit bowls like the one above, or just throwing some in a bowl and pouring [almond] milk on top.
Now that my kitchen is fresh out of this granola, I think I need to go make another batch!
After an awesome weekend in the Pasadena area with my parents (more on that later this week) and working from my hotel there yesterday, then driving back up to the Bay Area (telecommuting is a sweet gig!), today I’m back in my home office working with my puppy sleeping on my feet. I’m taking a little break from my work to share with you a recipe I came up with on New Year’s Eve:
Since I kept it low-key on New Year’s and was home with my hubby, I wanted to come up with a tasty celebratory cocktail with champagne as the star. I picked up some Prosecco at Trader Joe’s — which I know is technically Italian sparkling wine and not champagne, but it’s good enough for me! — and I also nabbed some of TJ’s sparkling apple cider.
The cocktail is made by first a.) making cinnamon simple syrup, b.) pouring the brut and cider in a glass, then lastly c.) spooning the syrup in. I was in cinnamon heaven with these drinks! The exact recipe is below.
Lazy Sunday mornings are the perfect time to play around in the kitchen. After sleeping in late today, I decided to procrastinate cleaning my house by first doing some baking.
Ever since I nabbed a mini muffin cup tin a few weeks ago, I’ve had mini muffin ideas floating in the back on my mind. The recipe started with a ripe banana and Granny Smith apple…
Hi, how cute are these mini muffin cups?!
I couldn’t resist snapping a picture with a few of the sunflowers I picked up at the farmers’ market yesterday for $3 [FABULOUS].
I love the idea of mini muffins because they’re small enough as a baby snack or part of breakfast, but big enough in size to be a nice little dessert to satisfy a sweet tooth, and also easy to grab on-the-go. I love the combo of apple, banana, and cinnamon, and so this wound up being my creation today:
First, I preheated my oven and lined the muffin tins with my adorable muffin cups.
Next I combined whole wheat flour, ground flaxseed meal, old fashioned oats, cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg, salt and baking powder.
Next I mashed a banana and peeled & chopped my apple…
I then mixed the banana, almond milk, and melted butter into the bowl, then added the chopped apple and combined everything well.
I spooned the batter into the cups…
…mixed cinnamon & sugar together, then sprinkled some on top of each muffin. I baked the muffins until a toothpick came out clean, which took 15 minutes.
Happy Tuesday! It’s been somewhat of a typical day around here, except for my hubby being home again today from work. He had a 4-day weekend for Veterans Day, which has been awesome! I worked throughout the morning and afternoon, and then we decided to go for a motorcycle ride right before it got dark out this evening. This was the first time I’ve gone riding with him zipping full speed down the highway. It was fun (and only a teeny bit scary!) to go on a thrill ride by the beach.
Moving onto my workout challenge this week, I have to admit that I’m sore right now from yesterday’s exercises! It’s funny how achy your body can feel from doing something different, even if it’s only 7 minutes worth of movement. My numbers today were: 57 push ups, 61 sit ups (the same exact number as yesterday) and a 3:12 plank hold. So, my push up number was less but my plank hold was a bit longer. It’ll be interesting to see if I can try and improve my numbers as the week goes on!
To answer the question of what the heck a vegetarian eats (or at least what this vegetarian eats!), here is my weekly rundown of meals & snacks for the day:
I started off my day making apple sandwiches by smearing peanut butter on thick apple slices, then sprinkling with cinnamon raisin granola and cinnamon. I love this breakfast!
For lunch, I ate this Mexican burrito:
Post-workout, I snacked on plain Greek yogurt mixed with pumpkin butter, cinnamon, banana and cashew pieces:
Dinner was Japanese noodles mixed with sesame seeds, broccoli, sugar snap peas, bell pepper, green onion, shiitake mushroom, soy sauce & rice vinegar. The meal was very similar to this recipe.
Lastly, I’m currently snacking on a few sea salt & turbinado sugar dark chocolate almonds from Trader Joe’s:
In writing this post, I started thinking about how I sprinkle cinnamon on things multiple times a day. It’s definitely my favorite add-on! Question: What is your favorite spice or herb to add to your food?
With cooler temperatures hitting most of the country as fall is well underway, you’d barely realize it living in San Diego. We did have a few days last week with temperatures around 70 degrees. I kept seeing people walking around with heavy jackets and boots on, and all I could think is that San Diegans are desperate to pull out their chilly weather clothing! This weekend was back to warmer temperatures. My favorite is when temperatures are in the low 70s, but don’t think I’m complaining. Laying on the beach earlier today and enjoying the gorgeous warm sunshine wasn’t too terrible. 😉
Even though it still feels a lot like summertime, I’ve been embracing a lot of autumn things — including my pumpkin obsession lately, picking up some fall-ish goodies during a farmer’s market trip yesterday…
I awoke this morning to waves crashing against the shore…
Yesterday our friends got married on the rooftop of La Jolla Cove Suites, and we stayed at the hotel overnight. Our room had the above gorgeous ocean view. It was a beautiful night to spend on a rooftop celebrating a great couple! Here are a few shots from the wedding:
with the lovely bride
Adam and I had a lot of fun and probably too many drinks, so I awoke not only to the sounds of the ocean… but also to a not so nice headache. Photo evidence of our good times:
Since neither of us were feeling too hot today, our Sunday was definitely a lazy one that involved a lot of football watching and couch lounging. One productive thing I did was experiment in the kitchen and come up with these babies:
I’ve had baking on my brain since I recently picked up these cream cheese wedges at the food store…
…and knew that today was the perfect day to come up with a recipe that included them. Peering around my kitchen, I spotted a lone sweet potato and concocted the idea of cinnamon sweet potato muffins. And what a fabulous idea it was!