Category Archives: snacks

Strawberry banana smoothie

This isn’t going to be the longest (or best, or most original or most interesting) post but if you’re interested in a quick, easy breakfast or snack and you possess a blender, keep reading!

I used to be a person who never ate breakfast. At other times I would eat cereal, fruit, eggs, toast, or a full breakfast of eggs, hash browns and bacon/sausage. Lately, I’ve been making this smoothie. Not every day, and not always as breakfast but sometimes as a snack. It’s really simple but tastes amazing, almost like a dessert.

The interesting thing about this smoothie is the chia seeds. They really add a nice texture and make this a lot more substantial than just some blended fruit. The greek yogurt adds a nice thickness and the vanilla adds some flavor (though you could use plain if you wanted, I prefer the added flavor and sweetness.) You can, of course, use regular yogurt if you don’t like greek yogurt and adjust the amounts to your liking.

Ingredients:

1 banana, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup-1 cup chopped strawberries
1/4-1/2 cup vanilla greek yogurt
1 Tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
(water if needed for blending, less water will make a thicker smoothie)

Recipe:

1. Add all to blender.

lookin good

2. BLEND!

mmmm

3. Enjoy.

yay

Post & photos by: Melissa

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Black bean and guacamole tostadas(?)

I’m not sure exactly what to call these, but I got my idea from this recipe so I’m going to call them tostadas. This recipe makes a really easy snack, lunch, or dinner (and I suppose breakfast, but I think that would be a little weird.) Here’s my version:

Ingredients:

3 large tortillas (your choice)
6 Tablespoons grated cheddar cheese (or more if you’d like!)
1 can black beans, drained
1 Tablespoon of taco seasoning (from a packet)
Cilantro (shredded, to taste, I used about 2 Tablespoons)
3 large spoonfuls of guacamole (I made mine with a powder mix+avocados)

Recipe:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the drained black beans in a small saucepan and heat over medium. Add taco seasoning and stir, then add cilantro and stir to combine. Cook for a few minutes, until heated through.

all stirred in

 

2. Spoon some of your black bean mixture onto a tortilla, and top with guacamole.

toppings

 

3. Fold your tortilla as desired, and top with cheese.

topped with cheese

 

4. Bake for about 10 minutes. Then, raise heat to “broil” for about 3 minutes, with oven cracked open, or until cheese has slightly browned. Remove from oven (carefully!)

crispy cheese

 

5. Enjoy!

so cheesy! :D

 

Post by: Melissa
Photos by: Melissa


Baked sweet potato chips

I’m always interested in healthier alternatives to snack food, so when I came across this recipe on Minamalist Baker (yet another food blog I’m addicted to now) I knew I wanted to try it.

I was pretty satisfied with how these turned out. Overall I think I should have added a bit more salt and baked adjusted the baking time and temperature a little so some wouldn’t be overly-brown. But they were crispy and delicious, despite the look. These also would’ve been easier to make if I had a sharper knife to chop with, or a mandolin slicer. I halved the recipe for my experiment, but will reproduce the original for you here.

Ingredients:

2 large sweet potatoes
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
A pinch of salt (to taste)
(I also peppered mine, but don’t think it added much)

Recipe:

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cut sweet potatoes thinly into rounds.

sweet potato

cut it up

2. Coat slices in olive oil.

3. Place on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt or desired seasonings. Make sure they are not touching.

waiting for baking

4. Bake for 1.5- 2 hours, flipping at least twice to ensure even cooking. I flipped these around 5 times because I get paranoid. I also took a few off the sheet earlier than others, because they were slightly smaller. Make your own judgments about your chips. Remove from sheet and cool on wire rack when golden brown and crisp.

crispy

5. Let cool, then enjoy! They’re a great snack and alternative to store-bought chips, and I would definitely make them again!

piled high

Post by: Melissa
Photos by: Melissa


Tallahassee: Au Péché Mignon and the farmers market

Recently I looked at my bookmarks on Yelp. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Yelp lets you bookmark places that you want to try and organizes them into lists for you by category. I looked at all the places I wanted to try around Tallahassee and found there were almost 80! A few I had already tried and hadn’t taken off my list yet, so I reviewed them and deleted them and I’m left with about 75. I don’t know if I’ll get to them all, but I did cross one off my list today!

Today I went to Market Square in Tallahassee and tried Au Peche Mignon, the local French bakery. It was amazing! I didn’t think that macarons existed in Tallahassee, but I was wrong. Today I tried three of them and one amazing almond chocolate. The bakery is conveniently located next to the farmers market (on Saturdays.)

First, the market. I was happy to see it was here, I’d never been in this area on a Saturday before and it was really quite cute. There were lots of fruits and vegetables for sale and a man playing guitar. It was pretty lively but I had no trouble parking, which made me happy. It probably helped that it was a gorgeous, sunny day.

farmers market

food!

After I walked around the market I headed over to the pastry shop.

au peche mignon

So I had a look around.

macarons omg

pastries and cakes omg

more pastries and cakes omg

chocolates omg

sign and more pastries! and cheese!

I ended up with 3 macarons (which I’ll get to in a moment) and a delicious almondine chocolate. The macarons come in this adorable bag (which they actually seal at the top for freshness, which is such a nice touch.)

cute bag

macarons!

I got these flavors, from left and around clockwise(in picture 2): strawberry jam-filled,  hazelnut with kirsch buttercream & nutella. I liked them all, but the strawberry jam one was the most perfect and delicious. The nutella one was great but the shell was a little hollow, and the hazelnut one was the perfect consistency but I should’ve paid more attention and gotten the chocolate-filled hazelnut, because Kirsch is a type of brandy and I was confused as to why the macaron tasted a bit like alcohol. However, if you like that sort of thing, it had a great texture, brandy’s just not my thing. I’ll definitely try more macarons there in the future!

Next, the chocolate. I’m not sure any of my pictures captured the true beauty of this chocolate! I got the “almondine” chocolate, which is described as: “a whole caramelized almond and ganache covered in dark chocolate” and I could pretty much eat these all day every day and not get enough.

could it be in here?

so good

In summary, amazing. I recommend. If you live around the area you must go, and if you visit, you must go. I’m excited to return in the future and I really want to try their baguettes!

Post by: Melissa
Photos by: Melissa


Chocolate chip cookies

Recently I made some chocolate chip cookies, inspired by this youtube video.

I didn’t follow the recipe exactly and I wasn’t able to make them as perfect-looking as he could, but I’m not a professionally trained chef and I will attest to the fact that they were the best-tasting chocolate chip cookies that I’ve ever made from scratch. If you’re interested in the recipe, keep reading!

Ingredients:

3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cup butter (8 oz=1 cup=2 sticks of butter) ROOM TEMPERATURE
2&1/4 cup flour
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 Tablespoons of water
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (or any amount you wish to use in the cookies)

Recipe

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugars (brown and regular granulated) together in a bowl (use a mixer if you can, otherwise this takes so much arm strength. I finally used a hand mixer after my arm started to hurt from using a fork, which works but is the wrong approach.)

butter in a bowl

butter and the sugars

mashed more than "creamed"

2. Add your flour and mix until lightly incorporated.

so much flour

incorporate that

3. Add your egg yolk and mix.

egg yolk

4. Add your vanilla and salt, and mix to incorporate.

vanilla smells so good

dough looks decent

5. Add your baking soda, stirred into/dissolved in the water.

just this much

6. Refrigerate dough if desired, around 30 minutes to make it easier to work with. If not, go ahead and roll out dough balls. I’m using my Silpat again here (as seen in use here) but you can use wax paper, pam, etc. to keep them from sticking.

dough balls

7. Flatten dough balls with the palm of your hand.

flat little cookies

8. Add your chocolate chips.

looks great right?

9. Now, I don’t know why, but these spread like CRAZY and didn’t look perfect. You’ll just have to see what works best for you… Bake at 350 degrees for 9-12 minutes, I baked them for 10/batch and let cool on sheet for two minutes before placing on a baking rack to fully solidify.

why do they look so crazy

10. Let cool completely.

cool, cool, cool

11. Enjoy your cookies!

Post by: Melissa
Photos by: Melissa


(Salted) Dark chocolate truffle cookies

I decided to try my hand at making some cookies I saw over on How Sweet it Is.

These turned out very delicious (though I only ended up salting about half of them, because I was in a hurry to get them into the oven every time I was baking a new batch) and they didn’t spread as much as I expected them to. I also experimented with using my Silpat baking mat for the first time. It was great! I didn’t have any wax paper, so I just laid this down on my baking sheet and baked the cookies on it. This made for great, easy clean-up. You just wash the mat afterward and everything is clean (minus the bowls and utensils you used for prep!) These are really rich, dark chocolate cookies and I loved them. I did not choose to dip them in chocolate and sprinkles, but I would have if I’d had more time and I might the next time I make these!
AS A WARNING, YOU WILL NEED TO LET THE DOUGH SIT FOR 4 HOURS TO OVERNIGHT BEFORE BAKING.

RECIPE FROM HOW SWEET IT IS, adapted from THIS. Makes approx 30 cookies.

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces bittersweet (mine was 60%) chocolate, chopped
2 cups dark chocolate chips
3 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons dark chocolate/dutch process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Recipe:

1. Melt your butter, bittersweet chocolate and HALF OF THE chocolate chips in a bowl. I microwaved mine in 40 second increments, stirring when necessary, until completely melted. Allow mixture to cool.

butter is healthy, not quite a whole stick

chocolate deliciousness

fancy chocolate bar

baking chocolate broken up

goopy chips

smooth and melty

2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder. Set aside.

cocoa-y

flour-y

with salt and baking powder

all mixed up

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer (if you’re lucky enough to have one!) or in a regular large bowl, add your sugar and eggs and beat/whisk on high/quickly for about two minutes or until light and fluffy.

sugars

light and fluffy

4. Add vanilla and melted butter/chocolate mix, and stir until combined  (1-2 minutes.)

vanillas

vanilla mixed in

stirred in the chocolate

5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and your whisk or mixer attachment, and add the mixed dry ingredients. Stir in with spatula until fully combined.

combining the flour

6. Fold in remaining chocolate chips.

chocolate chips for days

chocolate chips: WITH OUR POWERS COMBINED

7. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for a minimum of 4 hours, to a maximum of overnight.

8. Remove from fridge when ready to bake. Line ungreased baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat. Wet hands and roll the dough between hands into 1 inch dough balls, placed 2 inches apart on baking sheet. This is when you can slightly salt them if you want. Bake for 9-10 minutes (in my experience, 10-12.) If baking in batches (which, lets face it with 30 cookies that’s pretty likely) place the dough back in the fridge, covered, between batches. When you remove the cookies, you can salt them again lightly if you want to. I did not. Be careful when removing these, you may want to let them cool a little, because they may be gooey. I placed them on a baking rack to cool, which did not take long.

six dough balls on my Silpat

with salt

cookies are delicious

9. Enjoy your cookies (WITH MILK!) These are great with milk because they’re so rich.

baking rack

Post by: Melissa
Photos by: Melissa


Holiday Food: Yam fries & glazed Brussels sprouts

For the Holidays (Christmas specifically)

me in seattle over Winter Break

My family made some special foods. Kind of a spur of the moment thing.

First off, my mom made balsamic glazed Brussels sprouts. These are amazing. I will update this with the glaze recipe if she lets me know what it is…. but essentially you salt/pepper and bake the sprouts until they are a bit crispy. You can also cut them in half if you’d like.

far away

up close

And then you drizzle them with glaze. Which will get rather thick, so the drizzling is best done early before the hardened sauce makes it impossible.

saucy sauce

plated and served

In addition, I made yam fries. These were a first attempt and I have a few tips and tricks for you.

Firstly, use whole yams. If they are the same size/shape, all the better for uniform fries.

weird yam

Then, halve the yams and cut into fry shape. Tip 1: First, wash and DRY the yams so the fries won’t be soggy.

cut them up

Now cut them like this or smaller

If you cut them smaller than I did they will be crispier, which I think is desirable. I just didn’t know at the time. But anyway, lay them out after you salt/pepper them and drizzle them with olive oil and bake (or broil but be careful with that) until they are cooked and crisped to your liking. And enjoy!

salted and peppered

20121231-183420.jpg

Hope you had a happy holiday!

Post by: Melissa
Photos by: Melissa