Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Back to school, and senioritis is inevitable.

Well semester numero dos is rolling now and I did not enjoy waking up at 6:30 this morning. I usually am really good at getting up right when the alarm goes off but today my body wasn't having it after 3 weeks of vacation.

But before I get to that I must tell you about last night's eats!
Mom's hand servin' it up.
My mom wanted to make steak tonight. Unfortunately she thawed 3 steaks not knowing that 5 people would be home for dinner, so we had to compensate with a little leftover ham (and the last of it, finally!) On the side I roasted up some brussel sprouts seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic and  fingerling potatoes seasoned with some "bacon and chive" seasoning we got at the grocery store a while back. We have tried the bacon and chive seasoning with the brussel sprouts before and it did not work. It worked amazingly well with the potatoes though!
My plate + seconds
roasted brussel sprouts = favorite veg, for sure.
***
I had to celebrate my last day of vacation with a little dessert (of course!). I had used up all the brown sugar on the huge cookies I made a couple days ago so my choices were very limited. I kind of like the limited list because I have a bagillion bookmarks of desserts I want to make and can never decide which recipe gets to be the next.
It was either brownies or almond joy cookie bars; hard choice, right?! After long deliberation, I went with the cookie bars and wow am I glad I did!
I found this "Almond Joy Cookie Bar" recipe over at Peas and Thank You a couple of weeks ago. She has so many great recipes I just know that each recipe I make from her is going to be amazing. Here's her recipe (my changes are noted in red)-

Vegan Almond Joy Cookie Bars
  • 1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 3/4 t. salt
  • 1/2 c. shredded coconut (toasted)
  • 1/2 c. oats
  • 1/2 c. chopped almonds (toasted)
  • 1/2 c. dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 c. organic sugar (I used 3/4 cup turbinado sugar minus 2 tablespoons and no stevia)
  • 1/2 c. NuNaturals Stevia Baking Blend (or just use 3/4 c. total of organic sugar)
  • 1/4 c. almond butter
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 t. almond extract
  • 1/4 t. coconut extract
  • 2 T. agave (honey)
  • ~2 T. almond milk (regular milk, ended up using ~1/4 cup)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray an 8X8 pan with cooking spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, coconut, oats, almonds and chocolate chips.

In a smaller bowl, mix remaining ingredients.  Add wet mixture to dry and stir until combined.  If mixture is too dry, add a splash more almond milk.


Spread dough into bottom of pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until set and golden brown around edges.

Let cool before cutting into bars.
-----
I made these lovelies in this awesome brownie pan my sister got me for christmas. They call it "brownie pan" but I have yet to make brownies in it; it works for any recipe really. Its a pan that has a removable bottom and a divider you insert into the batter before you pop them in the oven. They come out perfectly cut and the pan's sides just slips right off!
Pre-bake
 The biggest benefit I get here is see in the recipe where it says "let cool before cutting into bars"? Hah, I don't have to let them cool :D Straight out of the oven I can just take the divider out and they are ready to be devoured; which would probably happen anyways, let's be honest..
I also like how the dividers cut the cooking time down a little too, sometimes even up to 10 minutes.
Done!
Okay I apologize.. I couldn't resist taking a bite out of a piece before I took the picture; they just smelled so good! You understand, right?
coconut almond delight
As big as those pieces may look in the picture, they're actually quite small. The pan has the same area as an 8 by 8 pan so just picture that cut into 18 pieces.. okay, so maybe I'm just trying to justify the fact that I had three :P

Okay so you MUST make these bars ASAP. They are all sorts of crunchy and delicious:D I liked the flavor of the toasted coconut and almonds, and the caramel-like flavor from the turbinado sugar went very well with this bar so I'm glad my changes were good ones! :P

I told my mom there was no oil just 1/4 cup of almond butter in theses bars she couldn't believe it. These have that great fudgy dense texture, it tastes like there has to be a stick of butter in this thing! When I told my mom they reminded me of blondies she replied "yeah, but better!". My whole family devoured these things (even the whole wheat haters!)
Thanks Mama Pea!
***
 Breakfast this morning was some more of that delicious homemade bread half toasted, half fluffy, spread with homemade chocolate hazelnut spread and some coffee.
How many times do I need to stress that toasted thick bread is the BEST?! I like the thick fluffy (untoasted) slice too, it's really a draw. I guess what really sets it apart is that its thick, oh and homemade :D
On the side, half a pear and some more coffee (this time decaff)
Then off to school!
Bye, mom!
Pretty uneventful, I have two new classes this semester. Economics and Government AP. Fun.
***
Came home for lunch.
I live pretty close to my school so in order to save money I usually come home and eat lunch instead of going out. However, I'll probably go out two times a week just so I can hang out with my friends. You know, be a little social :P
That would be leftover fingerling potatoes, brussel sprouts, and a dr. praeger's California veggie burger all finished off with some ketchup. Heated up in the skillet cuz it keeps things crisp.
I absolutely love these veggie burgers; the flavor is phenomenal, but the texture is off. I can't really eat it as a "burger" because it is way too mushy and would just fall apart. I've tried many different heating methods (microwave, forman grill, skillet, toaster oven) and they still come out mushy in the inside ): These veggie burgers are still my all time favorites, though, so I will probably keep on buying them and just eat em like a veggie patty. In fact, rename this product a veggie patty and I'm sold! Well, I'm already sold on these puppies, but you get the point.
And look what I got for dessert!
A girl in my Food Science class made these for our class to enjoy. I originally passed them up thinking it was probably run of the mill box mix and canned frosting with more ingredients than there are elements in the periodic table, but I was mistaken! Her mom's friend owns a bakery shop that makes wedding cakes and she gave her mom the recipe for their famous traditional wedding cake! That's pretty cool if you ask me. So I took one for the road :D
Yup, this one was good! I can see why it's their best seller. It was sweet, but good.
***
After spending way too much time on the computer looking at blogs, no less, I got a snack.
The other half of the pear from this morning topping with cinnamon cranberry goat cheese and broiled till steamy perfection. That sure hit the spot :D

Okay off to do some homework, peace!
<3

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