The last couple of days out here in the Prairies have been hotter than H-E-Double Hockeysticks. Now a lot of people I know are basking in the heat, loving that it’s been +40, in stead of -40 like it will be in a few short months. Me on the other hand? No. I am not built for this weather, especially since I’ve been working in the bake-shop section of the kitchens at work. It’s been so hot that I start sweating just using the Hobart and mixing whipped cream. That’s a bad sign. A deliciously bad sign.
So what do you “bake” when it’s already baking outside?
The “Oh My God These Are So Good Why Can’t I Stop Eating These?” Cookies.
Yeah, these things are seriously that good. And deceptively easy.
Chocolate Haystacks – yields roughly 2 dozen tablespoon sized cookies
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups rolled oats
2 cups shredded or flaked coconut
Melt and mix the butter, sugar, cocoa, salt and milk.
Remove from heat and stir in everything else.
Drop by teaspoon, or tablespoon, or handful (whatever…this is one place where size doesn’t matter) onto parchment lined baking sheets.
Let air-dry and set. Don’t refrigerate! It’ll cause them to be all melty and gross when you take them out of the fridge. Just leave them alone for a while. Sneak one while it’s still warm and gooey though, because that’s just delicious.
I’m usually not a fan of coffee shop treats, unless it’s one of those cute little coffee shops that you KNOW bakes their own stuff in the back of the shop. The cookies are usually stale, the sandwiches usually pre-packaged, and their muffins are usually so dry they could choke a horse. But the Fancy Seattle-Based Coffee Shop That Shall Not Be Named won me over with their oatmeal fudge bars. For those of you who haven’t succumbed to these little beauties, they’re a layer of oatmeal cookie, then a layer of chocolate fudge, and then these cute little dots of oatmeal cookie on top. They’re chewy, and a little crumbly, and buttery…and…and FUDGE I FREAKING LOVE FUDGE!
That being said. I happen to be cheap.
Like, super all the way cheap.
You’ll only ever find me in the Fancy Seattle-Based Coffee Shop That Shall Not Be Named if someone else is buying, which doesn’t happen often. My friends are good friends, but they’re cheap too. So, how’s a girl supposed to feed her oatmealy-chocolatey-fudgey obsession?
Chocolate Fudge Bars
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Line 15×10 or 13×9 baking pan with parchment. Set aside 2 tbsp of butter.
In a large bowl, and if you’re feeling lazy here’s where you grab your stand or electric hand mixer, beat the big hunk of butter for about 30 seconds. Add the brown sugar and baking soda, beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
Beat in the eggs, and 2 tsp of vanilla. If you’re using a mixer you might have to stir in the last of it by hand. “Stir” in the rolled oats. “Stir” being in parentheses because anyone who knows anything about baking knows that at this point all kitchen utensils have been rendered useless and you’re going to have to get your hands right on in there and smoosh things together with your fingers. If you’re smart you’ll take off your rings first. If you’re not so smart, you may need to soak your rings afterwords. This stuff is thick and sticky…
Smoosh 2/3rds (about 3 1/2 cups) of the oat mixture into the bottom of the parchment lined pan. If you’re using the smaller pan you’re going to have a super thick layer…and that’s all good. If you’re using the larger pan the cookie will be a little crisper when it bakes up. Both are equally delicious and filled with fudgey goodness. There’s no hate here, size doesn’t matter.
For the fudgey goodness, melt the 2 tbsp butter, chocolate and sweetened condensed milk together in a medium sized saucepan. Stir occasionally or else you’ll end up with burnt chocolate nubbins, and nothing is sadder than ruined chocolate. Do this over low heat…because again, burnt chocolate is a sin. Once everything is melty, remove from heat and add in the last of the vanilla
Schmear the fudgey goodness onto the oatmeal goodness. Dot remaining cookie mixture across the top of the fudgey layer. You can do this all pretty-like, just like in the Fancy Seattle-Based Coffee Shop That Shall Not Be Named, or do what I usually do and turn the whole top into a giant cookie where almost no fudgey stuff is showing.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until the top is light brown. If there’s any fudge showing it’ll look moist. Cool in pan on wire rack. Don’t even THINK about cutting these until they’re all the way cooled down. I mean, leave the house and go entertain yourself for a couple of hours. Don’t cut ‘em until they’re set. I mean it.
I’ma be honest, I sometimes live off of protein shakes. It’s hard for a grain-free-gal to get her nourishment when she’s all “go-go-go” and roast pork is all “cook me for at least an hour.”
Sometimes…you just don’t have the time to do a full breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. Or bedtime snack. Or elevensies.
The key to a good – and healthy – shake is to remember three things: Fat, Protein, Carbs. And here’s the real secret…Are you listening? Fat. Is. Good.
Fat is a highly concentrated form of energy. It gives you over twice the energy that protein or carbs do. Without fat you can’t process and store vitamins A, D, E and K. Fat-soluble vitamins help to regulate blood pressure, heart rate and blood clotting. And those lovely healthy fats also make your hair pretty. It’s a win-win! Tasty healthy fats = happy heart and shiny hair? I’m in!
Carbs, also energy goodness. But these little beauties help you feel full. Which, let’s be honest, when you’re drinking a meal is a big issue.
Protein. Most people are not getting enough lean proteins in their diet. This stuff is a component of EVERYTHING in your body, you need it to build and repair tissue. And unlike carbs and fat your body doesn’t store protein, it has nowhere to draw from when you’re running low on it – you have to feed it in. Protein will help speed recovery after exercise, curb your hunger, and help you maintain a healthy weight. Protein is awesome.
I’ve seen far too many recipes out there for smoothies and shakes that don’t really have any benefits for you. Remember you don’t need ALL THE FRUIT to make your smoothie taste awesome, and be healthy. Avoid any smoothie recipe that’s calling for full cups of fruit, you really don’t need that much sugar in your life. I typically avoid fruit juices in my smoothies for that exact reason (with one exception, and you’ll see that below). Do some research! Figure out what you need, and what ingredients might help you. Anemic? Kale is super high in iron, and you can add it to just about anything without adding too much flavour. Need an energy kick? Matcha! Need to poop? Well, just about anything with fruit in it will help you – berries will go a long way too (all those little seeds). Or just scroll down to the bottom of the post…
FAVOURITE SMOOTHIE STUFF
Nut Butter: Awesome source of both healthy fat, and carbs. And it tastes like yum in your smoothie.
Avocado: Makes smoothies nice and thick, adds a nice soft flavour. This healthy fat also goes a long way to helping you feel full at the end of your drink.
Greens: Nope, not talking that powdered “daily dose” of greens crud. That stuff is LOADED with sugars, and sweeteners. I’m talking grab a couple of stalks of kale or a handful of spinach and toss ‘er in.
Bananas: Want your smoothie to have that awesome stick-to-your-ribs texture? Bananas will do it. Be wary, the more ripe (or overripe) they are, the more sugar they’ll be adding.
Flax Seeds: Great source of Omega 3s, and they don’t mess up the flavours you’ve already got going on.
Chia: Loaded with Omega 3s, calcium and lots of fibre. I LOVE these little guys. I usually add them in after the mixing, and let ’em soak up the smoothie goodness for a minute or two. The chias readily absorb liquids forming a gel like shell that helps…uh…flush you out.
The Nutter Butter Cup – HIGH in protein, and in fat…but so tasty.
150ml chocolate almond milk2 tbsp natural peanut butter
1 tbsp honey
1 1/2 cups ice (optional)
The Blueberry Muffin
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1tsp flax seeds
20oml almond milk
Mango Green Tea
1/4 cup frozen mango
200ml almond milk
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
Green and Nutty – protein-y and nice and refreshing! A nice, lighter feeling, meal
1ooml coconut water
100ml almond milk1/2 avocado
2 stalks kale
1tbsp peanut butter
Gotta Go – …this will make you poop. Sorry, there’s not really another way to say it.
100ml apple juice
1/4 cup blueberries
2 stalks kale
1 1/2 cups ice
2tsp chia seeds
I started this blog an embarassingly long time ago, and just never kept it up. So, recently I cleared out all my early 20 somethings ramblings and decided to start anew!
People keep asking for my recipes, so I figured I’d stash them here. I’m also a big fan of craft projects, picture taking, bike rides, and other wonderful rants. So if all goes to plan (which things rarely do) they’ll go here as well!