Zucchini Bread

I really bake too much. I think I could definitely benefit from actually cooking, not just baking. That’s something I need to work on.

I had some zucchini in my fridge that really needed to be eaten, so I decided on bread. I absolutely LOVE zucchini bread, and I’ve never baked any type of bread before. I also wanted something I could take in to work and be that intern.

The original recipe can be found here.

Ingredients:
2 eggs
1/4 C oil (I used grapeseed but olive or canola would be fine)
1/4 C applesauce, preferably unsweetened
1 C brown sugar
2 large zucchini (about 2 1/2 cups grated)
~1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 self rising flour (I used regular flour plus 2 tsp baking powder instead)
1/4 C flax meal
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1/2 C chopped walnuts

Special Tools:
8×4” loaf pan

Instructions:
1.
 Preheat your oven to 350 F.
2. Lightly spray and flour your loaf pan (or line it with wax paper, which is probably the smarter thing to do, but I didn’t have any).
3. Grate your zucchini… It’s a good arm workout, I promise. My kitchen came with this handy grater that collected everything into a little drawer, but you can always just grate it into a measuring cup.

4. Whisk eggs in a medium bowl. One at a time, mix in the oil, applesauce, sugar, vanilla, and zucchini.

5. In larger bowl, combine the flour, flax, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and nuts.

6. Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture to combine. It will be very wet! Don’t worry.
7. Pour batter into your loaf pan and bake for 50-60 min, or until a skewer comes out clean.

This came out so great. Super moist and just the right amount of sweetness.

I think my fellow interns liked it too!

Strawberry Raspberry Muffins

Yesterday morning was unbelievably productive. I woke up at 9, went for a run, and made muffins all before my roommate woke up. Ha.

These are so summery! And not too sweet, which is a problem I have with a lot of muffins…

Makes 12 muffins. The original recipe can be found here.

Ingredients
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup flax meal
1/4 cup rolled oats
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 cup milk (I used soy)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup diced strawberries
1/2 cup raspberries

Instructions
1.
 Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, flax, oats, baking powder, and salt.

3. In a medium bowl, beat together butter and sugar.
4. Beat the egg, milk, and vanilla into the butter/sugar mixture.

5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix until a batter forms.

6. Stir in the fruit.

7. Evenly distribute in muffin pan and bake for 17-25 minutes. (Mine took closer to 25.)

I love these silicone liners! You just put them onto a cookie sheet when you bake. Super easy.

Maple Ice Cream

This isn’t really a recipe, but it is a good story.

I started my internship at Google this week, and it’s awesome. Unfortunately, I’m cooking a lot less because I eat at work everyday, but I will keep cooking on the weekends. However, today we had an Iron Chef competitions for the interns!

My team was the best, obviously. We made sliders with mustard grilled into the meat like you can get at In N Out (and grilled portobellos for us veggies), plus potato salad. The other team was making a dessert, so I got to thinking… The only recipe I really know by heart is ice cream. So I asked the chef who was supervising (we were cooking in one of the cafes on campus) if I could use the froyo machine. He said yes.

Unfortunately, the froyo machine had already been taken apart for cleaning, and the chef had no idea how to put it back together. While he tinkered with it, I made my super huge batch of ice cream.

Ingredients:
1 gallon heavy cream
1/2 gallon soy milk (I didn’t immediately find the milk, and this was a competition with a time limit!)
1 quart granulated sugar
1/2 quart maple syrup (the vanilla extract was hiding somewhere in the kitchen)

In the end, the chef never did get the machine to work. But, of course, this is Google, and nothing can be wasted. Therefore, my ice cream will be made and served tomorrow at lunch!! I’m so excited to see how it turns out!

White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

I’m cooking in a new kitchen now! I’m all settled into my new apartment, and I start my internship tomorrow. Unfortunately, that means I will be cooking less. Hopefully I’ll be able to have at least one recipe per week. That’s the goal, at least.

Anyway, on to the recipe. This is the second white chocolate cookie I’ve made this summer. (The first one, white chocolate cranberry, was before the blog.) I’ve never been a huge white chocolate fan. I dunno, it always seemed so plain to me, but now it’s my new favorite for cookies. I don’t know what my problem was before! White chocolate makes cookies seem so much lighter and more summery, not heavy like normal semi-sweet chocolate chips can be.

The original recipe can be found here.

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
14 Tbsp butter, softened (this seemed like an absurd measurement, so I used 1 stick and 2 Tbsp oil to make up the difference)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
5-6 oz white chocolate chips (half a bag)

Instructions
1.
 Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper (I used a silicone mat).
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. Make sure the butter is soft – 7 sec in the microwave usually does the trick.
4. In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until creamy. It might be easier to use a rubber spatula than a mixer if butter starts flying everywhere, like mine did.

5. Into the butter/sugar mixture, beat in the egg and vanilla.
6. Gradually incorporate the flour mixture into the butter/sugar mixture until a nice yummy dough forms.
7. Mix in the white chocolate and oats. Try not to eat too much raw dough!

8. Take about 1 1/2 – 2 Tbsp dough in your hand, roll it into a ball, squish it a little so it’s flat, and put it on the cookie sheet. Continue with the rest of the dough, placing the cookies about 2 inches apart. I’M SERIOUS. THESE COOKIES SPREAD OUT A LOT. You can even bake half the dough at a time to make sure the cookies are super spread apart.
9. Bake at 350F for 13-16 minutes. Let cool before eating.

Toffee Fudge Swirl Ice Cream

I think I might be a genius. I had bought a carton of heavy cream, but after making two batches of (delicious) ice cream, there wasn’t quite enough for a third. But I really wanted some, so I dug around the fridge. We also had an almost-empty carton of milk, and an almost-empty tub of nonfat Greek yogurt. So what did I do? I mixed them together.

I was afraid this would fail miserably. What makes ice cream creamy is all the fat. A lot of recipes call for heavy cream and whole milk, but I’ve been getting by with 2% just fine. But add nonfat yogurt into the mix? I was afraid it wouldn’t freeze right or taste as good. I was wrong.

I decided to go with just plain old vanilla, that way I wouldn’t be too bummed if it didn’t work out. This WAS an experiment, after all. But once I realized it was fine, I did some improvising. It’s amazing what some toffee chips and “fudge topping” can do.

I adapted this from the little recipe booklet that came with my Cuisinart ice cream maker.

Ingredients:
3 cups  milk/yogurt/heavy cream (I had about 1 C cream and 1/2 C yogurt)
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
Pinch salt
Toffee chips
Fudge topping

Special Tools:
Ice cream maker

The ice cream base.

The mix-ins. Keep in mind, you can always use other things like chopped nuts, chocolate chips, or nothing at all!

Instructions:
1.
 Put everything except toffee and fudge into a large bowl. Use a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk to combine, making sure the yogurt is completely incorporated and the sugar is dissolved.

Look at that chunky yogurt!

2. At this point, Cuisinart says you should chill the mixture in the fridge for 1-2 hours. You can if you want, but I didn’t. I mean, almost everything in there came from the fridge – what’s putting it back gonna do?
3. Freeze in your ice cream maker.

It frothed up a bit at first… Never seen that before.

4.  When it looks almost done, throw in the toffee. I don’t know how much, just do it until it looks like enough. You can never have too much toffee.

5. Beginning with ice cream, alternate layers of ice cream and fudge in whatever bowl you’ll be storing this in, kind of like marbling a cake. If that makes no sense to you, basically just throw in a little bit of fudge on top of every scoop of ice cream. Make sure the fudge isn’t too thick; you can spread it out with a spoon if you need to. This will give you some nice fudge swirls when you scoop it out later to serve.

6. Throw this baby into the freezer for a couple hours so it will get a better consistency. Or eat it now, if you’re impatient. I won’t judge.

Black Bean and Corn Quinoa Salad

Quinoa (that’s KEEN-wah) is my new favorite superfood. It’s so easy to use – it has a pretty mild flavor, so you can incorporate it into anything. Cooking it is a breeze – it cooks the same as white rice. And, of course, its most important quality: it’s a complete protein. Whaddup.

This salad is nice and summery, not to mention super filling. One bowl of it was enough for me for dinner. I ate it hot, right after the quinoa cooked, but it would probably be good cold too.

I made a bunch of changes to the original recipe, mostly because I was too lazy to go to the super market, but it came out delicious. Also, I increased the amount of quinoa because the original looked like veggies with quinoa, not quinoa with veggies, which is what I wanted, and this had to feed a family of four.

The original recipe can be found here.

Ingredients:
1 can black beans
1 can corn
1/4 red onion, diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced (I used green, but red might have been better)
1 green onion, chopped
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
Mango salsa (My package was half-eaten since my mom decided she needed a snack this afternoon, boooooo) – optional
1 1/2 cup uncooked white quinoa
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cumin
dash salt

Special Tools:
Rice cooker (the quinoa can be cooked on the stove, but this way is easier I think)

Not all the ingredients made it into the photo…

Instructions:
1.
 Rinse the quinoa and cook in rice cooker with 3 cups water.

2. Drain and rinse the beans and corn.

3. Chop your veggies!

4. In the biggest bowl you can find, mix the beans, corn, and the rest of the veggies.
5. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, and salt.
6. When the quinoa has finished cooking, toss it in with the veggies. Pour in the dressing and mix. Serve.

So fluffy!

Delicious (:

Tropical Green Monster Smoothie

I make a smoothie for lunch everyday. Like, literally, everyday. We had this really crappy blender that I absolutely hated, so on Tuesday, my mom and I went to Sur la Table to get a new one. We saw it in the catalogue and it looked amazing, and on sale for only $50! We get there, and they only have ONE left – the display model, so we got a 10% discount! It was like it knew. It KNEW it was destined to be my blender. It waited for me.

So anyway, this was the test run of the blender. I’ve made this smoothie before, so I knew it was delicious. It was even better when it didn’t take me 15 minutes to make because the blender is so crappy.

I usually just eyeball all the amounts when I make smoothies – I’ve made so many that I know how much to put to get the right size smoothie. I tried to pay attention to how much I use, but keep in mind that these amounts are estimates. This makes either two smaller smoothies, or one really big one.

Don’t be afraid of the color. In fact, embrace it. It’s delicious. And healthy. Trust me.

Also, I don’t have a source for this recipe, because the source is me! I am a smoothie pro.

Ingredients:
1 unbelievably ripe banana
4 oz. frozen mango puree (frozen mango chunks would work too)
1/3 C frozen pineapple chunks
1/4 – 1/2 C citrus juice of your choice (I used lemonade) – adjust amount to desired consistency/crappiness of blender
1 huge handful of spinach
1 scoop soy protein powder – optional
1 Tbsp chia seed or flax meal – optional
Ice cubes (frozen juice or coconut water is even better) – optional, I didn’t use any today

Special Tools:
Blender

Instructions:
1.
 Run the pouch of mango puree under hot water for about 20 seconds to slightly thaw it – it will blend easier.
2. Put everything in the blender.

3. Blend. You may have to stop to mix it up to make sure all the spinach gets chopped up in there.
4. Drink. With a straw, if you’ve got one. It’s better, trust me.

I still have all the silly display stickers on my blender…