Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkin Banana Oats

pumpkin banana oats

Pumpkins mean one thing...Fall.

When I think of Fall, also comes thoughts of...
leaves in brilliant hues
crisp, cool breezes
oranges, reds, browns dressing porches and people
a need for comfort, for warmth
a desire for spices and a hot cup of tea
pies, pickled pieces, pot stews
and, of course...

I've now reached the double digits of loaves of pumpkin bread baked in our kitchen this month. (Don't worry about my cholesterol levels--all but 1 was given away.)

Daydreams of ideas and visions in cookbooks bring new pumpkin recipes to my growing obsession love for the pumpkin taste. I've been using canned pumpkin 1)because I don't have the energy to scoop out fresh pumpkin and 2)because it's actually pretty great for you, healthwise.

Hope this gives you more ways to reach 300% of your vitamin C daily needs and 50% of your soluble fiber needs, as well as a ton of potassium, all in one warm bowl.

Pumpkin Banana Oats
easily doubled, tripled, prepared on stove or in a slow cooker, or a zapper if you have class in 20 min.

1/2 cup oats
1 cup water 
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (unsweetened)
1 medium banana, sliced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of pumpkin pie spice (or nutmeg/allspice/cinnamon)
Dash of ginger (optional)
2 t. brown sugar (optional)

 Quick version:
Heat/cook oats and water until oats are 75% cooked. Add in remaining ingredients and stir. Heat until banana is softened and oatmeal is completely cooked. Savor the flavors.

Happy eating! Laurel

Blueberry Olacakes

Blueberry Olacakes

It's time for an installment of something warm, cozy, easy and healthy.

Another Olacake

Blueberry Olacakes
makes 6 olacakes, 2-3 servings
1 cup raw oats
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/4 t. baking soda
2 TB sugar
1/3 cup apple juice
1 egg
1/2 t. vanilla
handful frozen blueberries

Mix dry ingredients, then add wet ingredients and mix all together in a bowl (this is not a precise recipe). Stir.

Heat up a nonstick pan/griddle, spray the pan, and cook the 3-4 inch olacakes like you would pancakes. Serve hot, with maple or blueberry syrup if you like.

Ever had a Peruvian tangelo? Try it, you'll like it. 
Thanks to Matt for this treat.

On to more paper-writing. Happy eating! Laurel

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How about a turkey burger, shall we?

The following is to be whispered in Texas...I've never been big on beef burgers. I appreciate the American cultural and roller skates and all that. I also love the varieties of meats (and non-meats) used, as well as the creativity in ingredients, pairings, the such (see HOPDODDY on the Restaurants page). The idea of burgers are kind of amazing. I like eating anything on a deliciously hot and fresh homemade bread/bun. However, my body's not so big on the beef. (Okay, I'll admit it, I can't do beef anymore...ever.) But, before you go and feel sorry for me by eating a 2 lb. Cow-on-a-bun in my honor, please don't. Save your limited artery-clogging space for chocolate macaroons (I'll post them later) or a variety of pumpkin-infused sweets (which I'll also reveal someday...promise), something sweet and delectable...not a mooing entree!

So let's make a turkey burger. Simple, easy, tasty.

Quickie Turkey Burgs (Trivia: Burg is German for "castle")
serves 4 grown-ups (1 burger will be bigger than the others...for the sweaty griller)

1.25 lb. lean ground turkey
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 TB dried oregano
1 TB dried basil
1 t. chili powder
Dash of salt
Dash of thyme
4-6 crackers, crushed
1 TB mayo (optional)
1/2 t. crushed red pepper (optional)

Carefully mix all ingredients together in a bowl, using a spoon or your hands. Form 4-5 patties and put on a plate. Let flavors come together by chilling raw burgs in fridge for 1 hr. Grill and eat.

Potent Notables: Turkey burgers tend to fall apart on the grill. That's why I've added a few club crackers (crushed) and some mayo (egg whites keep the meat together, just like in baking). You can use breadcrumbs, most any absorbent bread/crackers crushed, or an actual egg white if you'd rather.

Happy eating! Laurel

Monday, October 10, 2011

Busy, busy week

This is a crazy week...

Lots of assignments/reading due
Thesis proposal due
Pat (MIL) coming to town Wedn! yay!!
My ordination is Sunday in Houston
Going to Dallas tomorrow and Austin Wednesday

This is such an exciting week but also so tiring. Would appreciate your prayers. :)

Someday I'll post those pumpkin donuts and pumpkin butter from this weekend. Here's a pic to get you excited. :)

Happy eating! Laurel

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Surprise dinner and Caramelized peaches

Happy Sunday!

This weekend has been full of work and papers and a (little) bit of baking.
Matt surprised me with a deliciously tasty shrimp pasta. Mmm.

 And, to thank him, I made dessert...for myself. Oops. Easiest dessert ever.
 1 very ripe peach, sliced
1 1/2 TB margarine/butter
1 1/2 TB brown sugar
Dash of cinnamon

In a saute pan, add margarine, cinnamon and brown sugar. Stir until melted. Add in peaches and cook on a lower heat for 3 minutes. Cover (with lid propped open slightly) and let simmer for 8 minutes or so. Eat!

Serve by themselves or over yogurt or vanilla ice cream. Enjoy.

 On a random note, after 24 years, I have stopped biting my nails. I just had to document it! Okay, enough of that. Go eat the peaches.

Happy eating! Laurel

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Banana Shake

I'm finishing up a reflective paper on Madeleine L'Engle's Walking on Water. While I've read A Wrinkle in Time and know she's super famous and the bit, I don't think I knew her until this book. Like, really know her. She mentions things that I didn't realize other people also thought about, and that is a sign of a good writer...someone who gets me out of my own little world and let's me think bigger. I recommend it. She relates her Christian faith to her identity as an artist, but my assignment in class was to replace "artist" with "minister" every time I read it. As far as I'm concerned, you can replace "artist" with "mechanic" or whatever your profession is, because this replies to everyone trying to understand life and their place in it.

It's time for something quick, tasty and that will satisfy my super sweet tooth that comes out when I have to (procrastinate and) write a paper.

Dairy-free Banana Shake
3 bananas, peeled and frozen for 2+ hours (in freezer, duh)
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/3 cup milk (I used light vanilla soy)
Optional: handful frozen strawberries, 2 TB nuts, unsweetened coconut, chocolate syrup, anything you'd put on an ice cream sundae)

Blend bananas and milk in your blender for 2 minutes. Line a glass with chocolate syrup. Pour half of shake into glass. Scarf.

Happy eating! 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Banana bread muffins

One of my favorite things to do is take a healthy, flavorful bread recipe and turn it into a muffin...especially a mini muffin!

With the semester back in full swing, I've started baking a "batch" of mini muffins (about 24) and storing the cooled muffins in sandwich bags with 3 in each. Then I freeze them and can grab them on the go. I'll keep them frozen in my lunchbag but, for breakfast and immediate eating, I microwave them for 30 seconds...perfection! It's way better tasting than frozen waffles, as well as much better for you.

Like most people who like to spend time in the kitchen, I've made more than a few different banana bread recipes but this is probably a combo of several because-today-I walked into the kitchen and threw a few things together. (Sorry, not sure who to give credit Michael Jackson? My agent? :) ) Hope this is tasty and fun to make.

Banana Bread Muffins
Makes 24 mini muffins or 10-12 regular sized muffies

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking soda
Dash of salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg (optional)

2 TB agave nectar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 ripe, soft bananas--peeled and "smooshed" with the back of a spoon
1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup brown sugar
2 TB margarine/butter, melted
1/4 cup chopped pecans/walnuts (whichever you like)
1/4 cup of raspberries, slightly frozen (put in freezer for 30 min) 

1. In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
2. In a large bowl, combine all wet ingredients. Put topping ingredients in a small bowl, stir together, and microwave for 30 seconds. Set aside.
3. Pour dry into wet ingredients and gently fold with a wooden spoon, until all is moistened and gooey. (Don't over stir.)
4. Spray muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray (or whatever your routine is) and gently pour 1 to 1 1/2 TB of batter in each tin. Top with either 1) half a raspberry or 2) 1 t. drizzle of topping mix.

Bake at 350 for 8 minutes, or until they've risen and browned a bit.
Voila! Baby bits of happiness. Leave them in the pan for 2 minutes before putting them on a plate/cooling rack to get to room temp. Try not to eat all of them while they're cooling. HAPPY TUESDAY!

Monday, October 3, 2011


Matt did something funny the other day that I must document...

Through some crazy circumstance, my silicone baking mat was ripped to shreds. Not only did Matt replace it, but -wait- there's more.

He held out the mat and said, "BED"

He held out a bright red microfiber dish dryer and said, "BATH"

He held out a silly egg-shaped spatula and said, "AND BEYOOOND!!"

Truly adorable, charming, and a bit dorky. And now he's playing Damien Rice's Rootless Tree (see chorus). Heh, I love him.

Has someone close to you ever done something sweet, thoughtful and a bit dorky? I don't think we should underestimate these kinda have to put yourself out there to do them, be a little vulnerable. And, in order to receive said dorky gift, you must be a little vulnerable, too. Every day I am reminded that marriage and relationships in general are special, can be really strong, but they're always a little delicate. I'm not the super mushy type, but there's nothing wrong with a little mush here and there. Just not smush...that's a Jersey Shore term and not to be repeated by a pale, non-jet-black-dyed extensioned-hair girl of German and unknown descent. Haha. That's enough.

Happy night.

Nutty Ginger Peach Oatmeal

This is tasty. The inspiration is from Americanized Indian foods that combine the ginger-peach flavors--chicken dishes, hot teas, desserts. Why not roll it into breakfast?

Nutty Ginger Peach Oatmeal
serves 1 but easily double, tripled
1/2 cup oats
1 cup water or unsweetened vanilla soy milk
1 TB ground flaxseed
1/2 peach, bite-size pieces
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon candied ginger, sliced into tiny bits
1 t. brown sugar

Pour each ingredient, in order, into a ceramic bowl.

Microwave for 3 minutes (or on the stove for 5 minutes, covered). 

Once cooked, stir gently. Serve piping hot.
The flaxseed gives the oats a nuttiness, the peaches bring comfort and sweet tang, and the candied ginger adds zest and a spice out of this world. I like my oatmeal a bit sweet so the brown sugar balances everything. Yummm. This should fill you up for 3-5 hours.