Monday, December 9, 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Garbage Disposal Cookies

A few nights ago, my uterus was all, "Hey! Mom! We want cookies and salty snacks and chocolate and EVERYTHING."

Is it weird that my uterus calls me mom? I mean, my cats call me mom, but that's different.


Ask, little uterus, and you shall receive. Let's make some garbage disposal cookies.

I made mine with liquid stevia because I can't handle a lot of sugar. I figured the sugar in the molasses, chocolate chips, and marshmallows was plenty for me. I haven't tried the sugar version of the recipe because I don't want to freak out and feel like shit and have to nap for six hours. Please let me know if you try it, and if 2 teaspoons is too much or too little and I'll adjust the note.

Garbage Disposal Cookies (vegan, gluten-free option, low-sugar option)
Makes 6-8 small cookies. Recipe can easily be doubled.
printable recipe

1 tsp ground flax seed mixed with 1 Tbsp water

1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup flour of your choice (I used 2 Tbsp teff flour + 2 Tbsp sorghum flour)
1/2 Tbsp fresh, finely ground coffee (crappy coffee is fine in these, just NOT instant coffee)
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger, cardamom, allspice, more cinnamon, or any other spice you love

1 Tbsp melted Earth Balance (or oil of your choice)
3 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk (soy, rice, or coconut would work, too)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
25-30 drops liquid stevia (or 2 tsp sugar)
1 Tbsp molasses (optional, but DELICIOUS)

1 Tbsp mini chocolate chips
1 Tbsp toasted coconut (or nuts, raisins, potato chips, cereal, peanut butter chips, etc.)
2 Tbsp broken up mini pretzels (about 4 pretzels, use gf pretzels if you need to!)
2 Dandies marshmallows, chopped into small pieces

Preheat your oven to 350º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine the flax and water. Set it aside.

Whisk your dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Set that aside.

Measure your fillers into a small bowl and set aside. I found it easier to cut up the marshmallows and add them to the dry ingredients so they didn't all just stick together in the bowl o' fillers.

Combine wet ingredients in a small bowl. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until it's nicely combined. Fold in your fillers (chocolate chips and all that). Scoop the batter on to your lined cookie sheet by heaping tablespoons. Flatten each cookie just a bit.

Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes. Let these cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack, otherwise marshmallows will stick and it will be sad. Cookies will be fluffy and muffin-like and you'll probably eat them all in one sitting.

Shit. I just had an idea. I'm going to make banana "ice cream" and make ice cream sandwiches with these. Maybe with a little peanut butter mixed in there. THANKS, UTERUS.

Are you going to make these? What are you going to put in them? Can I come over if I promise to bring champagne?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Gluten-Free Vegan Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

These cookies came from a desire for fall flavors, mixed with some laziness.

I've made a few things from Betty Crocker's gluten-free cookie and cake mixes recently with great results, but I hadn't been brave enough to start adding or changing things beyond subbing in oil and a flax egg. I figured I could just make a few modifications to the chocolate chip cookie mix, hope for the best, and eat whatever pumpkin-flavored mess I pulled out of the oven.

I can't believe they turned out as delicious as they did.

Just to make sure it was really that easy to make something so yummy, I made them a second time and took them to work. Almost everyone who ate one asked for the recipe. It was a happy day for this little baker girl.

So, I made a video. Finally. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time, but was never brave enough to put myself in front of the camera. These cookies are too good to not share, though.

I know. The lighting is terrible, and the video is really choppy, but I'll get better the more I do this. Which should be often, because it was a lot of fun!

I'm planning on more boxed mix tutorials, along with some other stuff. Carrot cupcakes. Mini stevia-sweetened 100 calorie pumpkin pies with whipped coconut cream. Mimosa cupcakes.

Vegan marshmallow fondant and how to turn it into little penis cupcake toppers.

I guess that kind of explains why my YouTube channel is called Blue Balls Bakery. Heh.

Oh, and here's the recipe in case you're a jerk and don't want to watch the video. Jerk.

Easy Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies
(vegan, gluten-free)
Makes 20-24 cookies

1 Tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 3 Tbsp water

1 box Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger

1 cup canned pumpkin puree (NOT canned pumpkin pie mix)
1/4 cup oil (canola, coconut, melted Earth Balance, etc.)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine flax and water in a small bowl and set aside.

Combine cookie mix and spices in a large bowl and set aside.

Combine pumpkin, oil, vanilla, and flax mixture. Give it a good stir, then add it to the dry ingredients. Mix until it's nicely combined. Dough will be sticky. Scoop dough onto your baking sheet by heaping tablespoons, leaving an inch between cookies. Flatten each one with the back of the spoon.

Bake cookies 11-15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into a cookie comes out clean. Let the cookies cool completely before storing in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Leftovers can be frozen, but you won't have any leftovers.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Champagney Update

Been workin' on my 32 Before 32 list.

8. Go hiking.

We've gone on two hikes recently. This weekend, Becky, my most amazingest friend, invited us to hike Mount Galbraith Loop with her and Colin. The weather was lovely and the conversation was raunchy. PERFECT.

Photo by Becky

There will be much more hiking in my future, with my thrifted Kelty backpack by my (back)side.

11. See Crystal Castles live if they do a U.S. tour.

Again, this happened thanks to Becky. When we still lived in Seattle, she sent me a text to tell me Crystal Castles had scheduled a Denver show. Even though I was going on two years of unemployment and paying $1,200 a month on a studio apartment, I bought tickets for Shaun and myself. That's pretty much why credit cards exist, right?

The show made us feel old and curmudgeonly, but we still had fun. 

We drank whiskey, avoided dope-sick fans (because it's the '90s and "dope-sick" is still a thing), and left early. Like, really early. BUT WE SAW CRYSTAL CASTLES. Finally.

19. Play Cards Against Humanity again.

Went to Jess and Justin's housewarming party. Drank weird shots. Played CAH. Met lots of awesome people (@jgamet and @mdusing and @livearrow). SO MUCH FUN.

25. Make pink pretzel hearts and give them to friends.

I made 'em. And maybe Shaun and I ate most of them. But I did send some to friends. 

So, really, I've been doing okay. As unhappy as I am with a lot of my life right now, things aren't that bad. I really have been focusing on my health like I wanted to this year (hello, low FODMAP life!). My mental health could use some help, but at least I feel okay physically. I guess.

School is on hold because I'm currently making what I made in my early 20s (yeah, really) AND taking care of two people on that sad amount of money. So, yeah, can't afford school and... fuck more debt. Really, things can only get better. 

Fuck, I feel like I should be writing this in Livejournal. THIS IS NOT BLOGGING. THIS IS WHINING AND BEING A POUTY GOTH KID. Thanks, champagne.

So, I guess that's all for now. Still working on my running speed/time. Still snuggling cats. Still working on reopening the monkandmao Etsy shop. BUT I'M IN DENVER. And things will be okay. I'll make them okay.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Socca is Delicious

I was lurking on Pinterest a few weeks ago (surprise, surprise), and saw a picture of chickpea pancakes. Chickpeas? Pancakes? Together? Whaaaaaa? I had never heard of such a thing, but I immediately started daydreaming about them. "Yeah," I told the cats, "we're making chickpea pancakes."

The recipe from Pinterest sounded... okay. But by then it was too late. I needed chickpea pancakes. NEEDED them. The wheat-allergic boyfriend was also pretty excited about the idea. So I went to google. 

This post by David Lebovitz talks about socca, a savory pancake that is a popular street food in Nice. FRENCH chickpea pancakes?! Holy shit. His recipe sounded so simple and delicious, but I knew I wanted a lot of flavor and some veggies in my pancakes, so I looked around a bit more and ended up combining parts of David's recipe with a few others I found online. I also added ground flax seeds and nutritional yeast because I'm obsessed with both at the moment.

Oh, and if you're wondering where to find chickpea flour, Whole Foods sells the Bob's Red Mill version, and most Indian and Arabic grocery stores sell it under the name besan.

So, I made some. I was curious to taste the difference between pan-fried and baked socca, so I split the prepared batter up and tried it both ways. Pan-fried was the definite winner. I blame the less-than-stellar baked batch on the crappy dollar store pizza pan I used. One day I'll have a giant cast iron pan. One day. *sigh*

Socca (Chickpea Pancakes)
Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free
Makes 6-8 8" pancakes if pan fried, 2-3 large pancakes if baked

1 1/2 cups chickpea flour
1 cup water
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
2 tablespoons nooch (nutritional yeast)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 - 1 teaspoon ground cumin (start with less unless you really like cumin)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for your pan
2 chopped green onions (both white and green sections)
1/2 cup frozen peas (optional, but yummy)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Cover the bowl and let the batter sit for an  hour or two. Or use it immediately. INSTANT GRATIFICATION.

To Pan Fry: 
Stir batter. Drizzle a nonstick pan (I used an 8" pan) with a little olive oil (1/2 teaspoon-ish) and heat on medium until hot. 

Pour in 1/4 cup batter and use the measuring cup to spread to fill the bottom of the pan. Cook until the entire pancake is firm and starting to brown on the bottom, then flip and cook a few more minutes, until the other side starts to brown. 

Transfer onto a plate or wrap pancakes in foil to keep them warm. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper before serving.

To Bake:
Preheat oven to 400. Drizzle a pizza pan, baking sheet, or cast iron pan with 2-3 teaspoons olive oil (which is more than I used, and my socca stuck to my shitty pizza pan SO BAD). Stick the pan in the oven to preheat.

Once the oven is done warming up, take the HOT pan out of the oven and pour a semi-thin layer of batter onto the entire pan, smoothing with a spoon if you need to. It's okay if your batter looks pretty thin. Thin socca is delicious and browns faster.

Bake your socca until the edges start to brown, which is anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes, depending on your oven, pan, etc. Let the edges brown. Please. It's so good that way.

When it's done, remove your giant pancake from the oven, cut into pieces, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. We only sprinkled ours with salt because we're ghetto and didn't have pepper. 
Ghetto socca. Still delicious.

So, are you going to make socca, or what? You should. For breakfast, or lunch, or a snack. They kind of taste like a much milder falafel. They're yummy and filling and high in protein and fiber. Yeah, you should make these. Your colon will thank you (unless you're like me, but that's a whole 'nother blog post). 


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Belated Birthday Post - 32 Before 32

My 31st birthday came and went without much of a celebration. Shaun took me out for lunch and drinks, but we had to call it a day after half a plate of nachos and a few sips of beer because I felt so shitty. I spent the rest of the night curled up in bed with a fever of 102. My first and only birthday spent in Seattle was kind of a let down.

I did get to spend a lot of time planning my list while I sat in bed, but shit happens and I'm just now getting around to posting it. I'm only six weeks late. I'm pretty excited about it and hope you think it was worth the wait.

1. Run an 8 minute mile.

2. Photograph another boudoir shoot.

3. Reopen the monkandmao Etsy shop with all cat-related crafts.

4. Get tattooed, even if it’s something small.

5. Put music on my phone and organize some playlists.

6. Wear sequins.

7. Get a massage with Shaun, if it’s in the budget.

8. Go hiking.

9. Stay (mostly) sugar-free. No cane or beet sugar, agave, maple or brown rice syrup, or hfcs (obviously). A little piece of high-quality dark chocolate is fine. #nomoresugarmonster

10. Spend some time in front of the camera.

11. See Crystal Castles live if they do a U.S. tour.

12. Experiment with tofu. Use it differently in a meal.

13. Run another half marathon, either a real one or on my own.

14. Buy used whenever possible (clothes, shoes, accessories, furniture, dishes, etc.).

15. Go camping.

16. Donate to five Kickstarter campaigns.

17. Don’t drink booze for three (non-consecutive) months, just for fun.

18. Use Couch to 5K to increase running speed. Try 7mph, maybe even faster.

19. Play Cards Against Humanity again.

20. Type up and organize my recipe file.

21. Make a video tutorial and share it with the internet.

22. Read a Vonnegut book.

23. Take a class.

24. Teach a class.

25. Make pink pretzel hearts and give them to friends.

26. Visit mom, grandma, Ash, and Isabelle in Utah.

27. See at least 5 arty/crafty projects to completion.

28. Give my car interior a thorough cleaning.

29. Leave food on my plate if I’m satisfied, especially when eating at a restaurant.

30. Visit the coast. Any coast.

31. Take a picture of each letter of the alphabet. This needs a hashtag.

32. This is the big one. Above all else, stay focused on what’s really important. Even if the other 31 goals on this list don’t get completed by my 32nd birthday, I will feel great if I can honestly say I worked really hard on this one.

Focus on...

- I’m about halfway to B.S. in Accounting. I would be thrilled to take 10-12 credits a semester, but I’ll be happy if I take at least 6 and kick ass at my classes.

-   ...building and strengthening relationships. This includes my relationship with Shaun, family, and friends. Don’t flake on plans. Ask more questions. Don’t take people for granted. Talk less about myself and learn more about others. Make an effort to spend time with friends I want to keep in my life.

- health, both physical and mental. Keep up with running, lifting weights, and HIIT. Add yoga once guided classes are in my budget. Take care of issues before they turn into sources of stress. Keep writing To Do lists and go to bed with a clear mind.

-   ...cultivating my inner beauty. Sadly, I’ve spend most of my life worrying about my appearance and neglecting my personality. It’s never too late to change that. I will be compassionate, understanding, curious, giving, forgiving, authentic, optimistic, and kind.

So, after years of making lists that involve spending a bunch of money, I've learned my lesson. I'ma work on ME. I can do this. All of it. Can't wait to share my progress!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

So that was 30, huh?

What a year. I lived in six different apartments/houses in three different states (Colorado, Utah, and Washington). It was a pretty rough year for us, really.

Shaun lost his dad six days after we temporarily moved to Washington to be close to his family. Now, my dad's cancer treatment has stopped working and he's quickly getting sicker. We're working on a plan to go home to Denver so I can be within driving distance of his place in Rock Springs, Wyoming.

So, yeah, things are kind of crappy.

On to more positive things. I still managed to cross a good number of things off my list.

1. Ride a motorcycle. The opportunity never came up and I did nothing to try to make this one happen. Shaun did get his motorcycle driver's license over the summer, so there’s a good chance he'll get a bike and we'll go for a ride one day.

2. Go to the teahouse in Boulder again. Blogged here.

3. Sew my own lingerie. Undies for sure. Possibly something else, too. Started this one, but I don’t have a sewing machine. Hand sewing stretched elastic sounds like a bad idea. I’m on the hunt for a cheap (thrifted) sewing machine and I’ll try to get these undies finished this year.

4. Try pad thai. We barely did any eating out this year, and I kept recipes cheap and simple. Still, I’m surprised I didn’t make this happen.

5. Go on a 90 day spending fast. I didn’t declare a spending fast at any point, but I’m positive I went at least 90 days without buying anything unnecessary. Still, I’m not crossing this one out.

6. Fire a gun. Finally did this and had a blast. I was really good and hit a couple small targets from 200 feet. Definitely something I’d like to do again.

Me and the Zombie Killer. My hair was so short!

7. Make sourdough bread (with my great uncle Ken’s recipe, if anyone still has it). I made quite a bit of bread this year, but no sourdough. Mom keeps saying she’ll get the recipe for me. It hasn’t happened yet. Maybe this year.

8. Buy new running shoes. I’ve been saying this for a couple years now. Although my five-year-old Nike Free 5.0 shoes started to get holes in the toes and the soles were obviously disintegrating, my broke ass had no plans (or money) to replace them. Luckily, my loverboy surprised me with a new pair for Christmas. Can’t wait to wear them when I’m over this cold and back at the gym!

9. Find jackfruit and make something out of it. Blogged here.

10. Wear red lipstick in public. Blogged here.

11. Bake (vegan) French macarons. Blogged here.

12. Go to yoga class every day for 30 days. Yoga classes are too damn expensive for a girl with my income. Bummer. Definitely plan on fixing this once I'm back in Denver and working somewhere awesome.

13. Learn how to can. Super simple! I haven’t canned anything because we haven't stayed in one place for more than six months and I don’t want to pack and move food. Maybe when we settle into a place this year, I’ll get on it.

14. Spend some time in front of the camera. Shaun took pictures of me on a few occasions. Even did a little bit of video. I’m still really awkward in when being filmed or photographed. I have plans to work on that.

15. Read at least 15 books. I’m really embarrassed to say this didn’t happen. Not even close. I read 1Q84... and a bunch of cook books. Those don’t count.

16. Make cupcakes for Marcelo. Didn’t spend enough time in Denver to make this happen, and cupcakes don’t ship well. Sorry, homie.

17. Fix the fan on my laptop... or just buy a new laptop. Blogged here.

18. Hang out on the beach. Blogged here.

19. Come up with a good veggie burger recipe. I now have a quinoa loaf recipe that can also be made into burgers. It’s delicious, especially when covered in mushroom gravy.

20. Go out to dinner by myself. Went to Shogun. It was awkward. I was the only customer in the entire restaurant.

21. Draw or paint a picture of my Monk and Mao kitties. I printed the photos I plan on painting. Unfortunately the canvasses stunk like mold from being stored at Shaun’s dad’s house and we had to toss them. I’d still like to do this.

22. Fix my broken chandelier. Blogged here.

23. Stop being afraid to say no. I did okay on this one. I could have done better, but I could have done a lot worse. I’m calling it a success.

24. Make raw cupcakes. I started experimenting with raw recipes earlier this year and found out I have a really hard time digesting large quantities of nuts. I made some great raw ice cream sandwiches for Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately most raw cupcakes are nut-heavy. Crossing this off was not worth the bellyache!

25. Start learning Spanish with Shaun. Our course starts on January 22nd! Yay!

26. Run 100 miles in one month. (That’s only 3.33 miles per day!) Spent less time running and more time lifting weights and discovering interval training. I finally added running back into the mix in the last few weeks, but not in time to run 100 miles.

27. Get my twitter lists under control. Blogged here.

28. Be happy in a bikini. I’m so glad this happened! I even bought myself a new bikini to celebrate since I had been wearing the same one for seven years. And, with the way I’ve been working out, I’ll be even happier in my bikini by the time summer gets here.

29. Eat a vegan corn dog. Blogged here.

30. Dance. Most of you probably think this is weird, but I didn’t dance at all. Not once. I don’t dance. Ever. I don’t get dancing. Music does not make my limbs flail about. Shaun and I want to take tango lessons, but that’s different. That’s art. Grinding and gyrating at a club? No thanks.

That's 18 out of 30. Better than last year!

I've been too sick and fevery to look at the computer for the last few days, but I'm getting better and my new list will be up soon. I'm doing things a bit differently on this next one and I'm excited to share it with you!

Happy New Year!