Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Citrus Blueberry Green Smoothie

I have no time. Yet I also probably have bronchitis, so I better start making some time.

The fast paced nature of college has led my eating habits down a very bad path.

I've been trying to combat this. I cook, I try to eat healthy.

But, pizza always seems to be hovering over me like a dark cloud. Not that there is anything wrong with pizza. I love pizza.

But I feel like everyone in college needs Cookie Monster to drop by and remind them that pizza is a sometimes food.

Maybe that's the solution.

All of this thinking about nutrition and my new Christmas blender has gotten me looking into green smoothies.

"Try a green smoothie!" the internet exclaims. "You can't taste the spinach!"

So, I places some of the frozen spinach we had in the freezer in the microwave to steam it, then I let it cool.

After adding greek yogurt, berries, and a tangelo, I could still taste the spinach. So could Code Boyfriend. It kind of coated our tongues in a vegetable, dirt taste. 

Needless to say, that was thrown out.

But I wanted to try again.

So, I tried celery. Hallelujah! 

A vegetable I could mostly cover up in a smoothie. If you think about it, celery has an almost fruity taste anyways. 

If you can get past the stringy texture. But my emersion blender made quick work of that! 

So here it is, a "green" smoothie that I can actually drink. I hope you can to.

No offense to anyone who likes spinach in their smoothies. I'm trying again with fresh, baby spinach  Wish me luck.

Citrus Blueberry "Green" Smoothie
  • 2 Small Stalks of Celery
  • 3/4 of a Cup of Frozen Blueberries
  • 1/2 of a Cup of Vanilla Greek Yogurt (Mine is non-fat, but go with what you feel)
  • 1 Whole Tangelo, minus the skin and seeds
  • 4 Ice Cubes, not necessary, but nice for the texture

Combine all ingredients in your blender carafe, mine is just a large cup.

I have no idea why neither the yogurt nor the ice is in this picture... Derp.

Blend until smooth and pour into a pretty glass. I felt fancy so I made myself a heart garnish out of the tangelo peel. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

DIY Vanilla Extract

Thank you Code Boyfriend for taking my very large hint and getting me vanilla beans for Christmas.

I've been dying to try to make my own vanilla extract, but vanilla beans are just so darn expensive. On a college budget, it's very easy to say, "Oh this will cost less than buying tiny bottles of vanilla extract in the long run". 

But then 1 vanilla bean at Wegman's is 9 dollars.

"They're cheaper online," the internet screamed at me. But they were never cheap enough for me to take the plunge on my own accord. 

So, imagine my excitement when I unwrapped a package of 5 Madagascar vanilla beans from Code Boyfriend.

After much internet searching, I couldn't decide whether I wanted to use borbon or vodka to extract the delicious perfume from the beans.

So I split the difference and made both. 1 mason jar each.

Once I start baking with them, I'll let you know if I can tell any difference at all.

  • 2 - 1 pint mason jars
  • 5 Vanilla Beans
  • 1 and a 1/2 cups of vodka and bourbon
Split all of the vanilla beans down the middle and in half, and divide them up evenly into both sterile mason jars. I pulled my directly from a very hot dish washer. Trust me, you don't want contaminated vanilla.

Pour in enough of your chosen alcohol to cover the beans. Since I cut mine in half, this ended up being around 1 and a half cups of each type of booze. 

Store in a cool, dark place, shaking daily to distribute the vanilla. 

The internet tells me they will be ready in 5 weeks. I'll post a follow up picture then!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Loaded Potato Pancakes

I was scrolling through pinterest when I was struck by a fantastic idea.

You know all those hash brown recipes? Why don't they have bacon in them??? What if you loaded hashbrowns like you load baked potatoes?

I know, I know, stroke of pure genesis. I haven't really been this inspired by food in a while.

School kind of kicks the inspiration right out of you.

School is really hard, you know? Senior-itis is an strange thing, but I think mine stems from no longer feeling like I belong on this campus. Now I just feel as if I am waiting for my life to start.

I think college is a time to figure out who you are, but I'm still trying to figure out what to do here once you find out.

I'm a knitting, a baker, and a scientist who loves Basset Hounds, mexican food, and nights in with Code Boyfriend. So what am I waiting for?

While I ponder that question, here is a college recipe. Hopefully it will fit into the rest of my life too.

Loaded Potato Pancakes
Feeds 3 hungry college students
  • 2 Cups of Frozen Hash Browns
  • 1 Cup of Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Cup of Sour Cream
  • 2 Eggs
  • 4 Strips of Bacon, Crumbled
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix the hashbrowns, cheese, eggs, and sour cream in a bowl. Salt and pepper.

Cook bacon crispy, and crumble into the potato mixture. (No idea why this looks like egg salad)

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and form a nice large "pancake" on the bottom of your pan.

Cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes until the underside is golden brown and delicious. Flip, and repeat.

Due to running late to knitting club, and the speed at which these potato pancakes were devoured, I didn't get a pretty plate picture. Sorry about that.

I do highly recommend putting chives in this dish. I would have but Code Boyfriend doesn't eat onion. They would taste exactly like a loaded baked potato if you did.

Roommate informed me that if I made these every night, she would be a happy camper. Great reviews over all, you should try this recipe.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Cran-Blueberry Citrus Smoothie

What are you doing to me, Rochester??

Isn't it hard enough to stay focused on studying for my Biochem exam tomorrow in the dead of winter? Now you have to go and dangle spring in front of my face?

If you haven't been paying attention, today the weather in Rochester, NY was supposed to hit 68 degrees.

The past few weeks it's barely been above freezing and I've been bundled up to my eyebrows with a down coat and flannel lined pants.

For no reason at all, today the temperature skyrocketed, and this was the beautiful spring view out my back window.

January 13th... are you freaking kidding me?

In response to everything I've come to understand about the unforgiving, unyielding East coast winters being thrown out the window, I decided to take a little siesta from my homework and celebrate by using my new blender.

And something wonderful happened. A nutritious, thick, fruit smoothie from only things that were lying around my house.

I will say that Code Boyfriend thought the mixture of the cranberry and the citrus juice made the smoothie a little to tart for him, but I thought it was extremely balanced with the creaminess of the yogurt. If you would like a more mellow flavor, substitute apple juice for the cranberry.

Cran-Blueberry Citrus Smoothie
Makes 1 serving

  • 1 - 6 oz container of Greek Yogurt - I used Wegman's Vanilla
  • 1/2 Cup of Frozen Blueberries
  • The Juice from 1 Tangelo, you can easily substitute lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, or any other citrus you have, but I had tangelos that were about to go bad.
  • 1/4 Cup of Real Cranberry Juice
  • 4 Ice Cubes

Layer all of your ingredients into a large cup, or in a blender.

I got an awesome new Cuisinart emersion blender for Christmas  This is the cup that comes with that because I have no other glasses wide enough to fit the mouth of the blender.

Blend until everything is homogenous, which took me about 45 seconds. (Please notice how my blueberry smoothie matches my epic purple blender)

Pour into a fancy cocktail glass, and garnish with a slice of whatever citrus fruit gave its life for your smoothie.

I felt the need to add a bendy straw. Your mileage may very, but what is a smoothie without a bendy straw? 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Buttermilk Waffles

Saturday mornings are usually pretty sleepy around here.

Sleep late, eat breakfast at the table like humans, and drink coffee slowly out of a real cup and not a travel mug.

This is in stark contrast from school mornings, where I inhale a bowl of oatmeal while packing my backpack and drink coffee while driving to school.

So after a late night of Settler's of Catan and alcohol, everyone slept in. Once I got up, I got this idea in my head that I wanted to make waffles.

I had some leftover buttermilk from trying to make Buffalo Cauliflower... that recipe needs a little more tweaking before I share it.

So buttermilk waffles it is!

Buttermilk Waffles

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
  • 2 Cups of Flour
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 and 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 2 Tablespoons of Sugar
  • 2 Cups of Buttermilk
  • 4 Tablespoons of Butter, melted
  • 2 Eggs, separated
Combine flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar in a large bowl.

Combine buttermilk, melted butter, and egg yolks.

Gently combine the wet and dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.

In a separate clean bowl, whip the egg whites into soft peaks. This means that when you remover the beater or whisk and turn it upside down, a small mound will flop over the top.

Softly fold the whipped egg whites into the batter.

Pour 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of batter, depending on the size of the iron, into a preheated waffle iron. Make sure to remember to oil the waffle iron! I use Pam for this.

Cook for 3-7 minutes, depending on how hot your waffle iron gets. I usually need to be closer to 7 minutes, with my Oster Waffle Iron. 

It's not fancy, but it makes decent waffles.

I always move finished waffles directly onto the rack in a warm over so they stay crispy as I finish the rest of the waffles.

My first batch of waffles in this iron was a yeasted recipe, which were awesome, but these cook way faster and don't have to sit out over night like the yeast recipes do.

This is a solid, no prep, waffle recipe.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Carrot Cake Cookies

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I had a very nice Christmas break. Two weeks was not quite long enough to recharge my school batteries, but it was nice to remember what sleep feels like.

It's back to the college grind today, but it's very unsettling to think that I only have 5 months left.

Code Boyfriend and I have huge plans for after graduation, but more on that later.

Right now, I want to show you pictures from my awesome new camera (hooray for Christmas presents!), as well as the cookies I made for the Knitting Club e-board.

I got so busy before break that no one got any cookies! I had to fix that. So now, carrot cake cookies.

They're soft, and cake-y. Just like a carrot cake muffin. But only the top, which is everyone's favorite part anyways.

Doesn't that look good?

I'm so excited to dig in to them at the meeting tonight.

Carrot Cake Cookies
 Adapted from LandOLakes
  • 1 Cup of Butter, softened
  • 3/4 Cup of Brown Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup of White Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 and 1/2 Cups of Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 2 Teaspoons of Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Cups of Shredded Carrots (About 4 Carrots)
Cream together butter and both sugars until fluffy.
Slowly beat in both eggs.
Beat in flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
Finally, gently mix in carrots.

Place about 2 tablespoons of dough about 2 inches on a baking sheet, lined with parchment or a silicon baking mat. (Please note my awesome new silicon baking mats!)

Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. They won't stay soft if you overcook them. And who wants crunchy carrot cake??

Frost with cream cheese frosting and enjoy!