When We Tried to Make Key Lime Bars

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We tried, really hard.  We even gave it a second try.  And we will see how that turns out.  All I know is that sometimes it’s not in the stars to come out with a victory.

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But maybe you shall succeed with these!  I wish you luck.  They are a good challenge.  And if they turn out, you will be in possession of squares of paradise: desserts that taste like a vacation in a hot Florida sun.

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As far as nutrition goes, I’m not sure these are really chock full of valuable vitamins and minerals.  They’re chock full of animal crackers and condensed milk, however!  Quite the trade off, am I right?

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Even though these aren’t healthy, the act of making them is quite therapeutic (even if you don’t end up succeeding at following the recipe…).  I spent time with friends and laughed!  On a Sunday!  Didn’t think that was possible (whaaat?).

We also ordered Thai food for lunch that was much more vegetable oriented than these dessert bars.

Also, this recipe is straight out of Cooks Illustrated.  Yeah…

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from cook’s illustrated

Recipe:
Crust:
5 ounces animal crackers (about 1 1/4 C crumbs) (Try to resist eating all the animal crackers)
3 tbs light or dark brown sugar packed
pinch salt
4 tbsp butter melted and cooled slightly

Filling:
2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 tbsp grated lime zest
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg yolk
1/2 C lime juice (do not use bottled juice) (BE STRONG!!!! YOU CAN DO IT!!!!)

Garnish (optional) (NOT AN OPTION!!!! :) )
3/4 C shredded coconut toasted until crisp  (I RECOMMEND THIS!!!!!)

~~note:  I used about 5 limes~~

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut about 12-inch length extra-wide heavy duty foil; fold cut edges back to form 7 1/2-inch width. With folded sides facing down, fit foil securely into bottom and up sides of 8-inch square baking pan, allowing excess to overhang pan sides. Spray foil with non-stick cooking spray.

2. To Make Crust. In workbowl of food processor, pulse animal crackers until broken down, about ten 1-second pulses; process crumbs until evenly fine, about 10 seconds. Add brown sugar and salt; process to combine, ten to twelve 1-second pulses. Drizzle butter over crumbs and pulse until crumbs are evenly moistened with butter, about ten 1-second pulses. Press crumbs evenly and firmly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake until deep golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling. Do not turn off oven.

3. To Make Filling: While crust cools, in medium bowl, stir cream cheese, zest and salt with rubber spatula until softened, creamy and thoroughly combined. Add sweetened condensed milk and whisk vigorously until incorporated and no lumps of cream cheese remain; whisk in egg yolk. Add lime juice and whisk gently until incorporated (mixture will thicken slightly).

4. To Assemble and Bake: Pour filling into crust; spread to corners and smooth surface with rubber spatula. Bake until set and edges begin to pull away slightly from sides, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Cover with foil and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled at least 2 hours.

5. Loosen edges with pairing knife and lift bars from baking pan using foil extensions; cut bars into 16 squares. Sprinkle with toasted coconut if using, and serve. (Leftovers can be refrigerated up to two days; crust will soften slightly. Let stand at room temperature, about 15 minutes before serving.)

Lots of Lentils

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A close friend of mine recently found out that she is slightly anemic.  If you’re not sure, people afflicted by anemia have a deficiency of red blood cells or hemoglobin (the protein on red blood cells that binds to oxygen and transports it to your body).  Because of this lack of oxygen, or rather, oxygen inefficiency, anemia can make you tired and weak.

Often, anemia is caused by an iron deficiency, as iron is used to make hemoglobin.  Iron deficiency is of particular concern in vegetarians and vegans; I went vegetarian for about a month until my mother expressed overwhelming concerns about such a deficiency.  It’s tricky to find natural sources of iron, and my Flintstone 1-A-Day vitamins weren’t up to my mom’s standards, for better or for worse.

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Lentils, however, do contain natural iron.  Per cup, lentils provide around 37% of your daily recommended value for iron.  Pretty good, huh?

This is a spiced up version of lentil soup.  It’s quick and easy to make: throw it all in the pot and you’re practically done.  It’s also a forgiving recipe, so feel free add/subtract what you like.

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And, finally, anemia is not just a veggie problem.  There’s nothing wrong with a little bit more iron, so even if you think your T-bone steak has got you covered, lentils can throw some fiber and protein, too.  Try them!

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{curried lentil soup}

–serves 4–

olive oil

salt, to taste

3/4 cup chopped carrot

1 medium chopped yellow onion

1 T + 1 t yellow curry powder

1/3 cup barley

3/4 cup lentils

4 cups vegetable broth or water (or combination of the two)

plain yogurt

lemon zest and juice

in a large soup pot over medium heat, saute carrots and onions in olive oil until onions are translucent.  add curry powder and salt and stir.  add barley, lentils, and liquid of choice, and bring mixture to a boil.  reduce heat to a simmer; cover for 45 minutes.  add extra liquid if needed.

5 cups vegetable broth or water (or a combination of the two).

to serve, top with dollop of yogurt, lemon zest, and drizzle of olive oil. enjoy!

I Didn’t Forget You!

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I just got busy.  I’m sorry!  I know that’s no excuse.  But after a month-long hiatus, energEAT is back so I hope you are hungry!

How appropriate that the first post of the new year (happy 2013) features kale.  I like to think of kale as the ambrosia of the health gods.  Today we are using Dino Kale.  It’s actually called that.  The official name for Dino Kale is Lacinato, but why would you say Lacinato when you have an excuse to say Dino?!  Buy kale.  Buy Dino.

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I have made these quinoa patties lots of times before without using kale.  But this is the new year, people, and we are embracing kale.  I don’t make resolutions.  I just like kale!

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Kale can be bitter, but that is why we saute it with shallots and garlic and then combine it with cheese and quinoa.  Always cheese.  All the time.

Eat these patties for breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner.  Do it!  They are so healthy and so yum.  You can eat them hot and right out of the frying pan, or you can store them in your refrigerator and eat them out of a Tupperware.  I have been known to practice both methods.

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Random note: can’t decide if I like this warm winter weather.  While it’s really nice to be able to go outside for a run without 85 layers of clothing on and still not get windburn, it’s freaking me out just a tad.  Near-50˚ temperatures in January is just not kosher.  Does anyone else feel like that?

recipe

{makes a lot of patties}

1 cup quinoa [when cooked, should yield ~2 cups]

3/4 of a shallot, chopped

3 cloves chopped garlic

bunch of dino kale

scant 1 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup grated (good quality) parmesan cheese

4 eggs

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

cook quinoa according to package instructions.  let it cool.  in a pan, saute chopped shallot in olive oil for about 2 minutes.  add chopped garlic.  saute for another minute. add chopped kale.  saute for another minute until kale is wilted.  add this mixture to the cooked quinoa.  let it come to room temperature (you can cheat by shoving the mixture in the fridge).

whisk 4 eggs.  set aside.  combine cheese, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper with quinoa-kale mixture.  add eggs and stir: the eggs are like glue!  everything sticks together!  it’s magic!

form patties into desired shape.  i use an ice-cream scooper to get a size a bit larger than 2 tablespoons.  in a saucepan (with olive oil) over medium-low heat, cook patties for about 4 minutes per side.  patties should be golden brown.  transfer to wire-racks lined with paper towels and enjoy immediately.

[unused mixture can be stored in fridge until used]

enjoy :)

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Gingerbread, Gingerbread, Ginger All the Way

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It’s funny that people always describe cookies as “ginger” cookies.  I have yet to see a recipe that has more than 1 teaspoon of ginger in it.  This recipe only has 1/2.  It actually has more cinnamon.  Perhaps it would be more accurate to call these “molasses cookies with assorted spices.”  Funny.  Gingerbread sounds more catchy.

Anyway, I am a big fan of ginger, cinnamon, and molasses, for a multitude of reasons.  I have a finicky stomach, for one thing.  Ginger and cinnamon are both good at soothing an upset tummy.  Besides adding taste, cinnamon is great for stabilizing blood sugar levels and preventing unhealthy spikes.

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When it comes to cookies, molasses is a secret weapon.  Molasses makes things sweet as well as moist and chewy.  We’ve all broken a tooth or two trying to chew a gingersnap.  Molasses is good at softening up baked goods so you don’t have to have your dentist on speed-dial.

Whatever you choose to call these cookies is your choice.  Bring them to a holiday party…or just keep them for yourself.  Your decision.  I know I’ve made mine.

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recipe

makes ~18 cookies

[adapted from running to the kitchen]

3/4 cup spelt flour

1/2 cup white or whole wheat flour

1/2 baking soda

1 t cinnamon

1/2 ginger

1/8 t salt

2 T molasses

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 egg

1 T canola oil

coating:

2 T sugar

1/2 t cinnamon

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and whisk.  In a small bowl, combine wet ingredients and whisk until smooth.  Add wet to dry and stir until combined.  Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.

After refrigeration, roll 1 T dough into a ball and roll ball in coating, if desired.  Bake on parchment-lined baking sheets at 350˚F for 8 minutes.

Remove cookies from oven, flattening them with a spatula.  After 5 minutes, transfer cookies to wire racks to finish cooling.

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Life is Wonderful

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I can now say that if I died today, I would die happy.  Let that not be a morbid statement.  That is a statement full of…JOY!

I’m about to namedrop like nobody’s business.  I met Joy the Baker.  I spoke to Joy the Baker.  And yes, I know her real name is not Joy the Baker.  IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHO JOY THE BAKER IS, YOU LIVE UNDER A ROCK.  Your life is sad.  Get some Joy in your life.  Now.

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There are so many things to be thankful for every single day.  At this time of year we start to think more about what matters, who we love, who we haven’t told we love.  Tell someone you love them!  Even if you don’t know them.  Even if you do know them, and they don’t know you.  I just did that!  I know Joy!  Does she know me?  In my head, yes.  I told her I loved her!  Is that weird?  Who cares.

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Joy wrote in my cookbook.  Well, her cookbook.  That I own.  It’s a beautiful cookbook.  Newest prized possession.

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In short, life is now complete.  December 9 should last forever.  I think I’ll mark this day in my calendar and celebrate the anniversary of this momentous occasion forever.

More wonderfulness (and a hockey elbow pad serendipitously placed in the background):

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Also, if you were wondering where this happiest moment of my life occurred, it was at the Eat Boutique, which is basically the best thing ever.  I managed to pick up some Coffee Syrup (yup, heaven does exist), sample approximately 83 different types of granola (and finally decide to buy some), caramels, ice cream, popsicles, and get a free cup of drip-brewed coffee from a wonderful person named Alessandro who should totally be my new best friend (um).

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Oh by the way, here’s a picture of food if that’s what you came looking for.  Obviously it’s one of Joy’s recipes, created with love.  It’s name is Honey Almond Butter Chocolate Tart and it is not healthy but do we really care?!  EnJOY it!

I LOVE EVERYONE  <3  :)

also follow me on twitter @unleeshed4

Baking Bread for the Impatient

This is the only real bread I have ever (and quite possibly, will ever) make.  It does not require yeast.  Yeast is dumb.  You have to wait for it to rise.  Unlike most things, the expiration date does actually matter.  Yeast can die.  Why?!?!  Things should not be allowed to expire…so inconvenient.

Cross country requires a lot of carbo-loading.  Not so much in advance as just on race day.  Stomachs are finicky.  Alas, I am forced to eat bagel after granola bar after apple after banana every. single. race.  Every single race, I always swear I’m done with carbs because I’m so bloated after force feeding myself simple sugars.  And after every race, the first thing I want to do is eat a sandwich.  An little anecdote regarding my will power.

So, here I am, the day after a race, baking bread.  The holy grail of all carbohydrates.  Haters, go ahead and hate.

This is oat soda bread.  It is fluffy.  It doesn’t have yeast, it has baking soda.  Eat this bread.

Thank you Heidi for this recipe.  It has allowed me the great pleasure of homemade bread without a bread-maker or dumb packets of yeast.  I am eternally grateful.

recipe from 101 cookbooks

2 cups oat flour

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I use whole wheat)

1 1/4 t salt

1 3/4 t baking soda

scant 1 3/4 cup buttermilk

oats/seeds/nuts for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 400˚F.  Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Make a well.  Pour in buttermilk in intervals (you don’t want dough to be too dry/too wet).  Mix until just combined.  On a well-floured surface, knead bread for 30ish seconds into a round dome.  Lightly coat the surface of the bread with remaining buttermilk and roll in sprinklings.  Put bread on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper (or lightly floured).  Bake on middle rack for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, move rack to upper level and bake for 20 more minutes, or until the bread makes a “hollow” sound when knocked on (credits to Heidi).  Allow bread to cool on a wire rack and enjoy it fully.

A note: oat flour can be easily made by pulsing oats in a food processor for about 2 minutes.  2 cups of oats = scant 2 cups flour.

Buttermilk can be easily made by combining 1 T white vinegar with desired amount of milk.  Stir and let sit for a few minutes.

Musings about life. And lunch for one.

Friends.  Family.  Strangers.

Cats.  Dogs.

Lovers.  Haters.

Happy daylight savings day, to those of you who live in participating states.  To those of you who do not, never fear.  I think it’s safe to say you’re not missing much.  Unless you get some sort of thrill out of setting your clocks back.  Then I don’t know what to tell you.

Do you remember getting participation awards?  I don’t think they were ever called that, but how many medals did you get just for showing up?  I probably have more of those than awards I’ve actually won.  No big deal though, I’m still a winner, right?  Everybody wins!  Duh.  For real though, when did they stop giving those things out?  I’ve run in a lot of races, people.  Can someone just hand me a dang ribbon?  Is that too much to ask?

Congratulations to all the people who contributed in any sort of way to the Pan Mass Challenge.  $37 million, a new record.  Amazing, right?  How can we not beat cancer with resources like that?  Every year we get better.  Let’s keep it up.

What do I write my next column about?  My last one was written at 11 PM after watching a presidential debate.  And turned in a week after my deadline.  What do you want to eat?  Ugh.  Life is tough.  But I need ideas…seriously.  Like, fast, too.  I’ve got to get eating.  And writing.  That part’s kind of important.  And can I please be reimbursed for this whole column business?  Eating out all the time is not cheap, I will tell you that.  School newspapers…they think everyone’s wallets are limitless!  A word to my editor: that’s just not true!

Here is a lunch for you.  It’s a lunch for one.  Does that sound lonely?  It’s not.  Don’t be worried.  You can make a second for you friend/brother/unicorn/insert [pro]noun here.  You should do that.  All it takes is a little bit of effort and you’ve got a warm dish of yum.  Yay.  Yay for you and me!  Friends forever, right?

recipe

adapted from Running to the Kitchen

[serves 1]

1 T evoo

as much kale as you can handle

just under 1/4 cup yellow onion, diced

1 clove of garlic, minced

red pepper flakes, to taste

salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 or 1/3 cup tomato/marinara sauce

1/3 cup cottage cheese

2 large eggs

Preheat your oven to 375˚F.  Grease/oil an oven-safe ramekin.

In a skillet, saute onion and garlic in oil.  Once onion is translucent, add kale and red pepper flakes and stir around until kale is wilted.  Spoon 2 T sauce into the bottom of the ramekin.  Top with half of the kale mixture followed by half the cottage cheese.  Top with more sauce and then remainder of kale.  Crack two eggs on top, sprinkle remainder of cottage cheese, salt, and pepper.  Bake in oven for 15 minutes.

If eggs are still undercooked at the end of 15 minutes, turn on the broiler and broil for a few minutes until they have reached the desired consistency.

Serve with some good bread :)

 

Salty Oat Cookies

I’m sure you’ve heard of the whole salty/sweet combination thing that’s been really popular for the past year or so.  Salted caramel, anyone?  Yeah, thought so.

But have you tried salty cookies?  At first thought it sounds gross, I’ll admit.  But it’s not!  Especially not when salty is combined with sweet chocolate, crunchy oats, and savory coconut.  The yum never stops.

These cookies, in addition to being delicious, are very hearty.  As in, eat-a-cookie-for-breakfast hearty.  You can totally do that, especially if you substitute raisins instead of chocolate chips (but even if you don’t….I won’t tell).  Judgment-free zone right here.

Oats are healthy.  So these cookies are healthy.  Right?  Here’s the deal.  These cookies do have oil in them.  These cookies do have chocolate in them.  But oats, coconut, and whole-wheat flour take away some of the guilt.  And if you’re going to eat a cookie, why not eat one that has fiber and healthy fats and will load you up with energy?  Vote oats 2012! (Seriously, oats are looking like a much better candidate…)

Annnddddd, oats are a very versatile ingredient.  They are complemented by so many other things: chocolate, coconut, dried fruit, salt, cocoa powder, nuts, etc.  Which means that you can get creative with these cookies.  As in, you don’t have to do everything I tell you (shocking!  I know).

So even though mine are delicious, you have the freedom to make your cookies in whatever way you enjoy most.  Get baking!

recipe

makes ~22 cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour (I used half whole-wheat, half regular)

1 t baking soda

1 t baking powder

1 t salt

1 1/2 cups canola oil

a bit more than 1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 t vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips/chunks

good quality sea salt

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a large bowl of an electric mixer (with paddle attachment), beat oil and sugar until creamy.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Add vanilla.  Beat to combine.  Add oats and coconut and stir.  Add chocolate and stir some more.

Using an ice cream scooper, shape 22 cookies on baking pans.  Sprinkle generously with sea salt.  Bake at 350˚F for 13 minutes, rotating pans halfway through.

[Try to] allow the cookies to cool before enjoying :)

Time Stops for No Man

Busy, busy, busy.  No time.  Not good.  Messy sink = proof!

Instead of a creation of my own, this week I bring you what’s on my list.  Get inside my head!  Consider this an exclusive, behind-the-scenes pass to my brain.  How excited are you?!

I’ve got a lot of things I want to make right now.  Fall temperatures have me craving roasted flavors and warm food.  Katie’s roasted carrot and peanut butter soup sounds so good right now.  Go make it!  I dare you.

Chocolate chip cookies are a timeless classic, blah blah blah.  Here are some more interesting ones.  Paleo-friendly and gluten-free.  Thank you, Gina!

insert: peaches.  They have gone with the summer.  They are unrelated.  I apologize.

I really like oatmeal.  A lot.  Joy has too many great ideas to go through them all, but here are two of her best oatmeal creations:

Brown Sugar Roasted Fig Oatmeal

Cranberry Toasted Coconut Flax Seed Oatmeal…yeah, I know.

And if I failed you in providing you with a lunch idea, look no further than Shutterbean, where you can find a delightful and healthful tuna salad sandwich.  Tuna is not gross!  Get over yourself.

Forgive me for slacking.  I’ll do better next week.  Eat some kale for me and promise to love me anyway.

 

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Tortillas

The sweet potato.  It’s back!  We meet again.  Do you remember when we met with tangy roasted sweet potatoes?  ‘Cause I do.  And it was good.  Let’s get together (ya ya ya)!

Here’s a confession: I hate tacos.  It’s true, I do.  Sorry, but they’re gross.  So I’m not going to call these tacos, because these are the opposite of gross.  These are yum!  Yummy.

Sweet potato is diced and roasted again.  Black beans are warmed and stirred with onion.  This is just the beginning of a wonderful relationship, friends.  We’ll look back on this some day and know that we knew them before they got together!  We’re the originals, people.

Tortillas: they pose a few questions for us.  Corn or wheat?  Here’s the thing: corn has a nice, toothy  , tasty bite.  But corn falls apart, and flour does not.  Here I opted for a {whole}wheat tortilla, slightly on the larger size.

Depending on what size tortilla you choose, these black bean and sweet potato concoctions may or may not be open-faced.  Which could or could not be a problem for you.  Do you mind a mess?  This may not be first-date food…it may not be that fool-proof.  Unless you throw caution to the wind and embrace the mess that eating can be.  It’s hard to eat well while looking good…unless you’re me (i love you!).

All kidding aside, have fun with these tortillas.  Black beans, sweet potato, lime…some of my very favorite things.  These can be enjoyed as lunch, dinner, or even breakfast, if you’re the savory type.

Deep colors and warm food, just in time for fall.

recipe

[serves 2]

1 sweet potato, peeled and mini-cubed

juice of .5 limes

2 T evoo

flaked red pepper, to taste

salt, to taste

1 cup [canned] black beans, drained/rinsed

1/2 t ground cumin

1/4 cup diced white or yellow onion

baby arugula

extra lime juice

2 whole-wheat or corn tortillas

Toss cubed sweet potato with lime juice, 1 T olive oil, flaked pepper, salt.  Spread on baking sheet and roast at 400˚F for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

Meanwhile, in skillet, cook onion with olive oil until translucent.  Add beans and cumin powder and stir over just enough to warm the beans.

Heat tortillas in an oiled or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds on each side.

Top tortillas with baby arugula.  Then layer on with sweet potato and black beans.  Drizzle with lime juice.  Enjoy :)

 

Dog #1, meet world.