Homemade oreos

I love the fact that I have ridiculous amounts of free time at the moment. It’s so fun to be spending my time making food, reading novels, & pondering future life choices (graduate school in Europe perhaps??). My life is pretty wonderful indeed!

Also, these oreo cookies are just amazing. Mmmmm. They taste like coconut-y oreos, which I’m totally fine with.

The filling is made from either coconut cream or coconut milk – the difference is simply that coconut cream has a bit more of the coconut meat that you will be using for the filling, whereas the coconut milk has slightly less coconut meat and more of the coconut water in the can. For desserts, I recommend using the coconut cream because it has a slightly sweeter flavor & has more coconut meat, but you can use whatever you can find in your area!

Enjoy these cute & simple cookies!

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Homemade oreos (adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie)
Cookies:
1 1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar (or xylitol)
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup milk of choice
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup or agave

Filling:
3/4 cup powdered sugar (or to taste)
1 tsp vanilla
2 cans coconut cream (or coconut milk)

  1. Combine first 4 ingredients.
  2. Combine all liquid ingredients for the cookies. Mix wet into dry.
  3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before baking – this will keep the cookies nice & soft!
  4. Preheat oven to 300 F.
  5. Meanwhile, make the filling. Scoop the white cream from on top of the coconut cream. Leave the watery liquid for later – you can use this like milk in other baking recipes or add it to smoothies.
  6. Whip together cream with vanilla & powdered sugar. Put in fridge as well.
  7. Take cookie dough out of fridge & roll out thin. Use a cookie cutter or the bottom of a glass to cut circles.
  8. Bake on a greased cookie tray for 10 minutes – they will look underdone but take them out anyway.
  9. Let cookies cool completely before trying to remove. Spread filling on cookies & top with another cookie for oreo perfection!
  10. Store in the fridge so the filling doesn’t get runny.

Bread pudding

I have not made a dessert in quite awhile, but I finally have some free time after graduating this month, so I am going to be cooking up crazy dishes all the time! 🙂

So, desserts & appetizers will be happening too, which is very exciting given my usual habit of just making a big one pot meal.

Anyway, I love love love bread pudding. It’s so wonderfully delicious that I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for quite awhile.

It was perfect timing too, since I just bought a ridiculous amount of hamburger buns for a cookout I had with my psychology honor society & faculty. Not as many people showed up as we thought, so I came home with a lot of extra bread.

Best idea of what to do with extra, mediocre bread? Make bread pudding.

This version is vegan & way healthier than most bread puddings since there is no added cholesteral from eggs or butter. I even reduced the amount of sugar by half from the original recipe. And trust me, it still tastes heavenly. I’m very proud of this one. 🙂

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Bread pudding (adapted from about.com)
8 cups day old bread, cubed
6 cups milk of choice
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp caramel flavor (optional)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups raisins
1/2 cup chopped almonds or pecans (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Dump bread cubes into a large pan.
  3. Stir together remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over bread.
  4. Stir everything to combine.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes in oven.

Chocolate mug cake

Do you ever have an intense craving for dessert and there is none to be found? On those occasions, I love making mug desserts. In case you missed the craze, it’s all about mixing a couple quick ingredients in a mug, and throwing it in the microwave. It’s easy & perfect for one person craving sweets.

For awhile, I was thinking that microwave ovens were terrible for you. I read that they cause cancer (not true) and that they make your foods lose nutrients (also not true). I’ve been reading a lot of blogs on nutrition & health lately, and I’m getting a little frustrated that people are making claims about “natural” things without looking into them.

While I love being healthy, and natural things may indeed be a good route to health, they are not necessarily always better! I think at the end of the day, it is important to look to solid research to figure out what works & what doesn’t. Sometimes, natural health methods aren’t always well researched, but sometimes they are. It’s always good to check first on Google Scholar and be well informed before trying any new remedy. 🙂

Anyway, back to chocolate. Here’s a recipe for a quick easy & vegan chocolate mug cake. Enjoy! 🙂

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Chocolate mug cake (adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp whole wheat flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
2-3 tsp olive oil
3 tablespoons milk of choice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Combine dry ingredients in a coffee mug.
  2. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients.
  3. Microwave 30-50 seconds.

Incredibly simple & healthy apple tart

Friends, my house smells like cinnamon apples right now, and I am loving it! =)

I don’t know about you, but I love pies. But pies, like most desserts, are loaded with sugary sweetness.

When I was in France for a semester of college, my host mom occasionally made this apple pie that, instead of apples doused in sugary syrup, was just cut apples layered over a crust. I remember thinking, why don’t we do that in the US??

Then I realized, we do. We just call them tarts.

So that is what I set out to make! A yummy, healthy apple tart, inspired by my French host mom.

My first task was to find a healthy simple pie crust. I don’t know about you, but I actually don’t care at all about pie crust. The only reason it is there is to transport delicious pie filling into my mouth. So, I didn’t want a pie crust with butter or loads of sugar, because frankly, I want to put sugar in other places I care more about.

The closest, simplest recipe I could find was from Gluten Free Vegan Girl. However, I didn’t want to buy dates so I used raisins. I also changed up the proportions a little bit. And it turned out great! In the future however, I am thinking about adding some olive oil in the crust to make it a little less dense and a bit more soft. If you try this, let me know how it goes!

Also, I did mine a bit too long in the oven, and the edges of the crust were a bit too done. Make sure to watch the tart carefully so nothing burns! Learned my lesson the hard way. 😉

tart

 

Oatmeal raisin pie crust (adapted from Gluten Free Vegan Girl)
3 cups oats
2 cups raisins
1 tsp vanilla extract
Dash of sea salt
2 tbsp water or as needed

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Pour oats in a food processor. Grind into a fine powder.
  3. Add in raisins, vanilla, and salt. Blend until it begins clumping slightly and there are no more raisin chunks.
  4. Add in 1 tbsp water and blend. You want the dough to clump up entirely and start forming a ball. Keep adding water until dough like consistency.
  5. Press down into pie pan.

Apple tart filling (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
3 apples, sliced thinly
2 tbsp butter of choice
4 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

  1. Layer half of the apple pieces in the pie crust. Brush half of the butter over them. Sprinkle half the sugar and cinnamon over the apple pieces.
  2. Layer the other half of the apple slices on top of the first layer. Brush the remaining butter on them. Sprinkle with the remainder of the sugar & cinnamon.
  3. Bake in oven for 30-50, or just until apples are soft and edges are browning. Watch carefully to make sure the crust/apple edges don’t begin to burn!

Chocolate coconut truffles + a basic formula for raw (ish) truffles

This recipe I entirely made up to satisfy a craving I had for chocolate the other day. It’s not a craving I get often, but apparently writing a ten page paper the day before it’s due will do that to you. 😉

Anyway, this recipe is sort of similar to those awesome raw truffle recipes floating around the web, though it’s no longer raw since I added powdered sugar. This recipe is vegan, but if you are a strict vegan, some powdered sugars might not be for you. The easiest thing you can do is buy raw sugar and grind it up a bit in your food processor. This will give you the same texture as powdered sugar and will definitely be vegan!

Overall, these guys are (relatively) healthy! Especially compared to most of the dessert recipes floating around out there. Or the intensely sugary things you can get at many restaurants. You can even make these truffles healthier by toning down the sugar or trying it with honey or agave instead.

Here’s my favorite basic instructions for making raw (ish) truffles. Feel free to experiment with other ingredients as you wish! Some of the ingredients overlap categories (e.g., honey sweetens but can also help with binding), so some experimentation is necessary if you want to create your own truffles. If you find a great truffle combination, post it in the comments below!

Basic raw (ish) truffle formula
For solids: nuts, various seeds, oats, coconut, cocoa powder, various spices (e.g., orange zest)
For binding: peanut butter, vanilla extract, fruit juice, various fruit, applesauce
For sweetening: honey/agave, pure maple syrup, dates, cinnamon, sugar of choice
For coating: various sesame seeds, ground nuts, powdered sugar

  1. Add about 2 cups of solid ingredient(s) to food processor.
  2. While blending, add binding ingredient(s) until the consistency of cookie dough. It should be slightly sticky, but you should be able to form balls of dough with it. If it is too sticky, add more solid ingredient(s). If it will not stick together, add more binding ingredient(s).
  3. Taste and add sweetening ingredient(s) as desired, or not at all.
  4. Form in balls and roll in coating of choice. Put in refrigerator until firm (or sneak a few beforehand). 😉
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Chocolate coconut truffles 
2 cups cocoa powder
2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
3 tbsp applesauce
3/4 cup powdered sugar + more for dusting

  1. Add cocoa powder and coconut to  food processor.
  2. While blending, add applesauce a little at a time until the consistency of cookie dough (you may need a bit more or less than what I listed, I didn’t actually measure mine). It should be slightly sticky, but you should be able to form balls of dough with it. If it is too sticky, add more cocoa powder and/or coconut. If it will not stick together, add more applesauce.
  3. Taste and add powdered sugar as desired (you may not need as much as I put in.
  4. Form in balls and roll in a bowl with powdered sugar. Put in refrigerator until firm (or sneak a few beforehand). 😉

A very blueberry birthday cake

So, it was my birthday this past Wednesday! I’m 22 now!

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Patrick came down to surprise me, and stayed just until today. I felt super special. It has been a lovely couple of days & it was nice to have him around. 🙂

I didn’t really have any plans for my birthday, but I ended up sharing cake with my roommates & Patrick, chatting with everyone, and playing this awesome board game Patrick gave me. It was a wonderful time indeed. Simple, but perfect.

I made myself a birthday cake that is chalked full of blueberries because they are my favorite. It’s definitely not a super sweet cake, as I don’t like crazy sugary things. It is definitely moist & light, but crazy delicious. Everyone who tasted it agreed it was pretty yummy. 🙂

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Blueberry cream cheese frosting
16 oz 1/3 fat cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 c blueberries

1. Blend together until smooth.

Very blueberry cake (adapted from dailyswadsugandh.com)
1 cup fresh blueberry
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup milk of choice
½ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Prepare 9″ cake pan by spraying with olive oil and lightly flouring.
2. In a bowl, toss the blueberries with 1 tablespoon of all purpose flour.
3. In a separate bowl, add all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon and salt. Stir through flour mixture until combined well.
4. In a large bowl, beat oil, milk, apple cider vinegar and sugar on medium speed by using hand mixture until combined well.
5. Then add vanilla essence and flour mixture, mix together and beat on medium speed until well combined.
6. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter.
7. Fold in the blueberries and stir with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.
8. Pour the cake batter evenly in the prepared cake pan.
9. Bake the cake for 60-80 minutes until a toothpick / cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
10. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then turn over the cooling rack and cool completely.