Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce

Remember back in the day when you (or your mom) packed your lunch for school?

There was the kids with the prepackaged Lunchables... I strangely was always really jealous of these kids even though thinking back on those circular hams make me gag. Maybe it was because they always had a piece of candy.

There were the kids with the healthnut parents that gave them turkey and cheese sandwiches on whole wheat bread with the crusts cut off. They always got carrot sticks as a side. Snoozefest.

Then there were the kids who got leftover dinner foods. This was me. If you've ever eaten at my household, you know that an Argentenian (Argentine?) dad and Italian mom makes for interesting dinner combos. Sometimes I'd get Spanish tortilla or Milanesas (breaded and fried beef). I mean I'm not complaining - I thought it was divine - but the other kids thought it was a little weird. 

I did, however, get a wee bit jealous when I saw the other kids with the Mott's applesauces. I mean what a perfect little dessert. There was always that circular spot in the lunchbox that it seemed to fit well in. 

Anyways as an ode to Mott's, I decided to make my own applesauce because I'm really skeezed (?) out by all the ingredients on the back of packaged applesauces. Those things have a pretty long shelf life so let's be honest here, they can't be too good for you with all those chemicals. Not to mention that weirdish taste...

The best thing about it is you can totally do it how you like. Don't like the skin? Peel it off! Like it totally mashed into smitherenes? Mash away. I prefer mine chunky. Like my peanut butter. And my men, remember?

Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce
Serves 2-3

2-3 apples, chopped (I used Pink Lady but Fuji or Braeburn would be great too)
1/2 water (it seems like a lot but it boils away!)
1 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp maple syrup

Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to boil. Let mixture boil until apples are completely soft (You might need to add more water, depending if your apples are still hard), about 10 minutes. Using a fork or potato masher, mash the apples to desired consistency.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Brown Sugar Blueberry Cookies

Listen, people. Things have been really busy around here.

I get up around 11, I think about what I want for breakfast for about 30 minutes...the Great Debate ya know? Do I wanna go the savory route and eat eggs (omelet?) and toast? Or do I wanna do sweet, and have pancakes or cereal & berries? These are the kind of monumental issues I'm facing this summer.
Anyways so after breakfast, I water the plants. I might go to the gym. Yesterday I did a boxing class. I thought it was gonna be like kickboxing...ya know some kicks here and there...a couple jabs...standard run of the mill aerobic stuff. I was really surprised when I walked in and the (kinda hot, also jacked) instructor handed me boxing gloves. And then taught me how to hit him. I highly suggest taking these types of classes if you were just broken up with. Or have a lot unsolved issues. Preeeetty good.

And since I torched all those cals, I figured I would reward myself with a hearty serving of these brown sugar blueberry cookies that I saw on this blog a couple days ago. If you like food even with a little inkling of your being, you need to check her blog out. The stuff she makes is absolutely deliiiicious and her pictures make you want to pick the food out of the screen.

That batter up there? Yeah it tastes like a blueberry muffin. After I took this pic, I ate that spoon (sorry Chrstner). Don't judge me - you know you want to eat it too. They puff up after they bake and they're just so fluffy! They get super big and thick. Just how I like my cookies. And some people would say my men too.

Brown Sugar Blueberry Cookies 
from Jessica at How Sweet It Is
makes 12-15+ cookies

1 stick butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon milk (I used Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk)
3/4 cup fresh blueberries (or you could use frozen too if you don't have fresh)
If you want to add chocolate chips, we can be best friends.

Preheat oven to 375.
Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add egg and vanilla, mixing well until combine, about 2 minutes. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon with the mixer on low speed. Mix until dough comes together. Add in milk. If dough is still crumbly, add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until it comes together. Fold in blueberries gently with a spatula – it is okay if they break a bit. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Remove dough from fridge and roll into 1 1/2 inch balls or scoop out with an ice cream scooper. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. Devour.  

These also freeze really well! So, if you're unlike me and can't finish the whole batch, pop them in the freezer and then when you want them, BAM! Fresh blueberry cookies. In your belly. Yum.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Strawberry/Banana/Choco Chip Pancakes

Well hello there again!

I know it's been awhile since I last posted...I've been back in the good ole U S of A for about a month now and things got a little hectic between my sister's grad school graduation (congrats Aleesh!), summer plan detours, and weekend travels. 

As I write this post I am sitting in my aunt's beach house in Ocean Grove, NJ. Population 40. The town reminds me of one of those old Mary Kate & Ashley movies when they're like 13 and get exiled to a small town for the summer only to discover there also happens to be extremely good-looking twin brothers living there coaching a swim team for the summer (hence also their amazing physique). I don't know if fate has the same fortunate plans for me while I live here this summer but a girl can dream right?
Anyways yeah. I was supposed to be taking summer classes in Florida but those didn't end up working out. So here I am. Alone. In this house. And really bored. So bored in fact that I might actually pick up my GRE book and start reading it. Before you say I'm lazy let me say that I do have a job! A good one actually, at this tutoring company that specializes in Math (right up my alley) but the guy said I'll be coming in in July.

Since i have all this down time now I'm free to go to the beach everyday (...which I do...), watch TV, relax, oh and go to NYC to visit some friends. Not a bad gig ya know. This past weekend I went into the city and got to see lots of my gfriends which I was really happy about. also because nyc has the yuuuummiest restaurants/cafe's in life (not an exaggeration). On Saturday morning, Elizabeth, Mick, and I wanted to try the infamous pancakes at Clinton St. Baking Company but when we got there there was an hour wait and our stomachs were already eating themselves. Instead we went a few blocks down to a cute brunch place called 7A. I got banana pancakes that came with this strawberry butter that had me swooooooning the entire meal. eliz and mick got rum butter with their breakfasts which also tasted like liquid candy. 
Anyways so i got back from nyc yesterday and I still couldn't stop thinking about those pancakes. It was like having cake for breakfast. My sister told me last night she had all these strawberries so i could noooot be happier when i woke up this morning. a quick Google search to check proportions and I whipped up some fluffy pancakes in 15 minutes. I just made the batter and separated it in different bowls to mix different fruits in them. Some were banana, some strawberry, some blueberry and some variations of those included chocolate chips. Every flavor was delicious, sweet from the fruit but didn't give you the instant feeling of cavities. And they were so fluffy! Stack up a couple of these bad boys with some frosting in between and you really could call it a cake...
Make them!
You will have a smile on your face for the rest of the day :)

By the way don't judge the pancakes by their not-so-pretty appearance. I don't have one of those fancy shmancy cameras so the pics don't do them justice. You're gonna have to trust me on this one.

If you live near a Trader Joe's, run immediately there and get that honey apple butter. You'll die.
Pancakes adapted from allrecipes
(with any add-ins) ex. mashed bananas, strawberries, blueberries, choco chips, etc
serves 2-4 people

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon (if cinnamon isn't your thang, you can leave it out)
1 egg
1 1/4 cups milk (I used Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, & cinnamon. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg, butter, & vanilla extract. Mix until smooth (a few lumps is fine). Stir in whatever mix-ins you like!

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium-high heat. Pour about a 1/4 cup of batter onto the griddle for each pancake. Flip after bubbles appear on the sides and top, about 3 minutes, and brown on other side. Serve hot with maple syrup, apple butter, and anything else you like. Try to refrain from licking your plate. Or don't.