Biscoff Sandwich Cookies

Is this another recipe that’s going to break my heart?

What?! What do you mean?

Further conversation ensues and Paul elucidates his love of my baking and that he gets a little sad when I bake an outrageously tasty treat knowing that I most likely will never bake it again. Through the years (I’ve only been baking since 2008), there is an elite group of recipes I’ve made multiple times.

Homemade Biscoff Cookies with Biscoff Cream Cheese Filling most definitely meet the criteria for entry into this group.

I saw the recipe on pinterest and I immediately knew I would make them as Biscoff Spread has replaced Nutella as the top choice for toast, apples, sandwiches, spoons, crumpets…you get the picture. This was another recipe I baked and then stuck in the freezer pre-patellar fracture.

The recipe comes from Creative Culinary and you can find the recipe HERE. I plan on making these again and again. Once I’m allowed to bake again. ;)

And this is what happens when Paul is left alone while taking pictures for you:

photos by paulrus

a chocolate chip cookie

A chocolate chip cookie. That’s what motivates me to write again. And not just any chocolate chip cookie. It’s a cookie sweetened with pure maple syrup. It’s chunky with walnuts too. It’s tasty…very deadly. It’s a recipe I bookmarked for quite awhile. I saved it immediately when I first read about it last year on the blog Everybody Loves Sandwiches. For some reason, it took me this long to bake them.

So now I’m urging you all to go ahead and bake this cookies. Don’t take as long as I took. You won’t be sorry. You can find the recipe here:  Chocolate Chip Maple WalnutCookies.

Ten in 2010

Social networking is awesome. In 2009, I made a lot of new friends through Twitter and Facebook and blogs. One friend, Lori of RecipeGirl, with the support and encouragement of Twitter friends has started a challenge for the new year. One quick side note. I’ve met Lori in person. She is beautiful both on the inside and outside. She was actually one of my tablemates that encouraged me to ask Rocco DiSpirito out. :PLori’s challenge is Ten in 2010: Ten Weeks to Healthy in 2010. I’m always up for joining groups and have some goals I want to reach this year, so I jumped right in. It’s so open and really there are no rules. You pick your own goals. As of this writing, there are over 230 participants from all over the world. See the list of participants HERE. Anyone can join! You should too!

My Goals

  • Lose my vacation/holiday weight gain. Really it’s mostly holiday. I didn’t really gain anything on vacation. I think wearing a bathing suit every day kept me motivated. I gained an embarrassing number of pounds since I returned home smack in the middle of the holiday season.
  • Eat vegan at least 3 days a week. Last year I successfully ate vegan on Tuesdays for my Vegan Tuesdays. Some days easier than others. This year I want to expand it to three days a week, but rotate the days depending on my schedule. There’s nothing like being stuck in the Dallas airport on a Tuesday trying to find vegan food.
  • Participate in the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart. Starting on January 1, I’m participating in the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart. Check it out! There’s lots of recipes, information, and a meal plan. Once the 21 days are over, I’ll start my 3-days a week vegan eating.
  • Train for my half-marathon. Every year I run a half-marathon, but don’t train for it. This year, because I don’t want to be in pain for a week, I’ve actually decided to train for. I’m pretty fit, but not much of a runner. I may even try trail running this year!
  • Re-commit to yoga. Last June I started attending evening yoga classes, I stopped going in November and want to start up again. It makes me feel great!

I go to the gym very early in the morning before work. I usually just grab a bar and eat it on the way. Here’s a great recipe for you to try. Chia seeds (the same ones as Chia Pets) are a great source of omega fatty acids and contain a bunch of good-for-you minerals and vitamins. They actually have more antioxidents than flaxseed and are an excellent source of dietary fiber.

Raw Chocolate-Chia Energy Bars

From the January 2010 issue of Vegetarian Times.
  • 1 1/2 cups pitted dates
  • 1/3 cup raw unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup whole chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup raw slivered almonds
  1. Purée dates in a food processor until a thick paste forms. Add cocoa, chia, and extracts. Pulse until all ingredients are combined. Add almonds and pulse until nuts are chopped and well-distributed.
  2. Place a piece of parchment paper on work surface and transfer date mixture to it. Using your hands, press mixture into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle. Wrap tightly and chill overnight.
  3. Unwrap block and cut into 8 bars.

Nutrition: 195 calories, 5 grams of protein, 8 grams of total fat, 7 grams of fiber.


my sweet vegan

The day before I left on vacation I was contacted by the publisher of My Sweet Vegan asking if I would like to review the book. I practically squealed my answer. Hannah Kaminsky, the wonderfully gifted blogger, wrote the book and I’m a big fan of her blog–BitterSweet. Of course I would review her cookbook!

Often times when you read a cookbook review on a blog, the blogger has tried a bunch of the recipes and has gorgeous photos to match. I’m more of a real-time blogger–I tend to make something and post it soon after. I don’t have a back log of posts waiting for publication. For one, I’m not that organized and my life is a bit too chaotic. Secondly, I’m not a note-taker and if I don’t write about it right away I will forget about it.  Sometimes I’ll make something and take pictures of it and never write about it. So it goes.  {/paraphrase Vonnegut}

Anyway, starting today and throughout 2010 I will bake from My Sweet Vegan and write about it. Often times when I buy a new cookbook and can’t decide which recipe to make first, I make the very first recipe listed. I’ve made a bunch of first recipes. :P Anyway the first recipe from Hannah’s book is:  Better Banana Nut Muffins.

Do they live up to their name? Heck, yeah! The muffins were a huge hit at work. So much so that someone who very rarely ventures into my office came in to tell me how much he liked them. What makes them better? The banana flavor is intense. It shines, it screams it’s presence. These are not wallflower banana muffins. Where does the flavor come from? In addition to the usual mashed ripe bananas, the recipe calls for dehydrated bananas. Genius! Never in a million years would I have thought of that.

I can’t wait to try some of the other recipes:

  • Graham Flour Fig Scones
  • Butterscotch Blondies
  • Maple Pistachio Crèmes
  • Peanut Butter Bombs
  • Chai “Cheese”cake
  • Root Beer Float Cupcakes
  • Wasabi Chocolate Cupcakes
  • Green Tea Tiramisu
  • Plus a bunch more!

If you haven’t checked out Hannah’s blog, BitterSweet, please do. Not only are the recipes killer and creative, but she has mad photo skillz. Also, buy her book: My Sweet Vegan.

Happy National Bundt Day!

IMGP7408

Today, November 15, is National Bundt Day. The only reason I know it’s National Bundt Day is because one of my blogging friends, Mary from The Food Librarian. She chose to celebrate by baking and blogging a bundt a day for the 30 days leading up to today. She really, really, really likes bundts and named her blogathon–I Like Big Bundts.

Inspired by Mary, I baked a bundt to celebrate National Bundt Day: Deep Chocolate Sour Cream Pound Cake. The recipe came from Tish Boyle’s The Cake Book. You can find the recipe HERE. As its name implies, it is full of chocolate flavor.

IMGP7386

I’m a little late writing this post because yesterday I completed my longest hike ever. I hiked to the top of San Gorgonio, which at 11,501.5 feet is the highest peak in Sounthern California. Not satisfied with one peak, my hiking group and I  bagged two additional peaks: Big Horn (3rd highest, 10,997 feet) and Dragons Head Peak (4th highest, 10,866 feet). It was a tough and challenging hike, 19+ miles total. We started at 6:30 am and made it back to our cars in the dark at 5:30 pm.

Here’s a short video I shot from the top of Big Horn: