college clip: pizza and cookies in a community kitchen

My residence hall at school doesn’t have a kitchen, so nearly all the cooking I do takes place in my dorm room with a rice cooker (see here, here, and here).  However, a friend of mine does have community kitchen access, so we cook there together from time to time.

This weekend, I wanted to try a new pizza dough recipe, and she wanted to make cookies.  She got the cookie ingredients, I got pizza stuff, and we set to work!

Here’s how it went:  We were lucky to snag some greens from the greenhouse behind her dorm.  We could not access the kitchen with the stand mixer and multiple baking sheets, so old pots were our stand-in mixing bowls and some of our cookies were baked in a mini cupcake tray.  The first batch of cookies was a little too oily, so we added more flour, and the next ones were perfect.  The pizza toppings we used came from the salad bar at the cafeteria, and we did Daiya-stuffed crust, which, needless to say, was amazing.  Our food turned out great.

None of the recipes we made were totally original, but here is the link to the dough recipe I used (and loved), and here is how I veganized the basic Toll House cookie recipe:

Chocolate Chip Cookies:

  • 2 1/4 – 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt (we didn’t have any so can be made without)
  • 2 sticks vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups vegan chocolate chips (we mixed vegan white and dark chocolate chips)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.  Using less flour will yield flatter, crisper cookies that spread more but may be a little oily.  Using more flour will result in thicker, chewier cookies, and the flour in this recipe can be increased up to 3 cups if desired.
  3. Combine the cornstarch and water in another small bowl with a fork or whisk until fully combined.
  4. Mix butter in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or in a bowl with a whisk) until creamy.  Add the sugars and vanilla extract, and continue to mix.  Then, add half the cornstarch/water mixture (which may need another quick stir), and combine.  Add the remaining cornstarch/water and mix, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary.
  5. Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture, and combine (switch to a spatula at this point if you are mixing by hand).  Then add about half of what is left, and combine that too.  Scrape the sides of the bowl, and mix in the remaining flour mixture.
  6. Mix in your add-ins.  This can be 2 cups regular chocolate chips, 1 cup dark chocolate chips + 1 cup white chocolate chips, 2 cups nuts, 1 cup of raisins + 1 cup peanuts, or whatever you like in a cookie.
  7. Drop 1 tablespoon mounds of cookie dough 2 inches apart on a baking sheet (you should be able to fit 12 or 15 depending on the size of your tray), and bake for 9-12 minutes until just starting to brown (check that bottoms are brown/cooked if unsure).  These will be very soft right out of the oven, but they will firm up a lot after cooling.  Enjoy your vegan treats!!

 

3 ingredient smoothies!!!!!

unnamed-1
orange juice, frozen mango, and banana

I have been working on this post for a long time.  I drink a smoothie almost everyday, but actually following my recipes to make sure all of them are in fact delicious has been a challenge.  I like to create something new everyday, and I often use a lot more than just 3 ingredients.

unnamed-3
dates, pineapple, frozen mixed berries

Here are my favorite 3 ingredient smoothies!  Most of them are winter-friendly, relying heavily on frozen fruits.  The smoothies I love the most are listed first, and then are some other good ones.

Tips before making these smoothies:

  1. If dates are included, use them sparingly, especially if you have never tried them.  I recommend using between 2 and 5, depending on the size of your smoothie.  They are also very calorie dense for being so small.  I love them, but many others do not.  If only a couple are used for a large smoothie, the taste is not easily detected.
  2. Use about 1 or 2 handfuls of greens when needed.
  3. Unless you have a really, really good blender, blend dates and/or greens first with a little water to get them totally blended before adding other ingredients.
  4. Fruits like mango, banana, and/or pineapple should account for the bulk of the smoothie in these recipes.
  5. Use ripe, spotty bananas with no green left for best taste and digestion!
  6. If you like bananas on their own but not in smoothies, try adding them after all the other ingredients have been blended.  Blend for only a short time.  This really helped me.  Freezing them ahead of time also makes a big difference in taste after blending
  7. I use water (and sometimes a little coconut water) to liquify my smoothies, but plant milks can be used as well.
unnamed
spinach, frozen mango, and banana

my top 4 combos:

spinach, frozen mango, and banana

coconut water, dates, and banana

frozen mango, spinach, and dates

frozen mixed berries, fresh orange juice, and banana

unnamed-4
coconut water, dates, and banana

more favorites:

dates, frozen pineapple, frozen mixed berries

strawberries (fresh or frozen), spinach, and banana

kale, coconut water, and banana

fresh orange juice, frozen mango, and banana

unnamed-2
frozen mixed berries, orange juice, and banana

other ideas:

pineapple, frozen mango, and kale

blueberries (fresh or frozen), spinach, and frozen mango

banana, frozen mixed berries, and pineapple (fresh or frozen)

 

 

I hope these smoothie ideas will inspire you to drink smoothies, try new things, and create your own combinations.  If you make any of these or have a 3 ingredient smoothie recipe to share, please let me know in the comments!  Thanks 🙂

top 5 sweet potato sauce

IMG_2544

Whenever I make a meal for my friend Patrick, I demand a solid opinion out of him about the food because I genuinely want to improve my cooking.  Usually when I follow recipes (or attempt to follow recipes), he says the food is good, but there is never enough sauce for his liking.  Well, one day I decided to throw a bunch of stuff in a pan and turn it into the thick, flavorful sauce he had been looking for.  I had not intended it to be particularly amazing, but we both loved it.  Although this recipe for “top 5 sweet potato sauce” has been altered slightly from my original creation, Patrick still considers this sauce to be one of the top 5 best things I have made.  In fact, he said he may even like this version better.

Eat this on wheat pasta (we used fettuccine), with bread, mixed with rice or barley, with gluten-free pasta (brown rice quinoa spaghetti would be my recommendation), on greens, or however you want!  I can even see this being turned into a soup or a potato mash.  Let me know in the comments if you tried it, what you thought, and how you ate it/what you ate it with!

IMG_2542

Top 5 Sweet Potato Sauce:

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 big onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic chili sauce (optional)
  • 2 large fresh tomatoes or 1  14-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 teaspoon fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary (or 1 teaspoon fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
  • 1 cup water (plus a little more)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees, and roast whole sweet potatoes with skins for 45 min to 1 hour until soft.
  2. Chop onion, mince garlic, and dice tomatoes separately.
  3. Cook onions and garlic at medium heat in a very large pan or medium pot.  A little water should be added to prevent sticking and for easy combining in the next step.
  4. Add tomato paste, chili garlic sauce, and more water if necessary.  Mix until no clumps of tomato paste remain.
  5. When sweet potatoes are cool enough to touch, cut them into pieces and add them to the pan, leaving skins on if your blender or food processor will be able to pulverize them.
  6. Add tomatoes, herbs, cup of water, and pepper.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes (until tomatoes are cooked if using fresh).
  7. Turn off the heat, and, if necessary, allow sauce to cool before pureeing it with a standing blender or food processor or immersion blender.  Blend the sauce until it is smooth, creamy, and homogenous in texture.  Adding more water at this point may be necessary.
  8. Taste the sauce, and add more pepper if desired.  For a creamier sauce, almond milk can also be added here.
  9. Enjoy this sauce with pasta and greens or however you wish!
IMG_2551
We ate ours with fettuccine pasta and raw spinach. Kale and collard greens are also great here.

orange cardamom cranberry granola

IMG_2511

I have to confess that this recipe is a little random, especially as a first post.  I do not eat granola very often, and I don’t have very much experience making it.  Luckily, the recipe I created turned out great.  This is what I came up with, and I hope You enjoy!

Orange Cardamom Cranberry Granola:

  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 cup rice puffs (or an additional cup oats)
  • 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom (more for stronger flavor)
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet (parchment alternative here)
  2. In a small bowl, juice the orange.  Mix in maple syrup, cinnamon, and cardamom with a fork.
  3. Place oats in a large bowl, and slowly pour in liquid to coat the oats.
  4. Stir in cranberries.  Add rice puffs, last to avoid sogginess.
  5. Bake in the oven for 10-15 min until oats are cooked and crisp.
  6. Allow to cool.  Eat plain, with plant milk, or topping a smoothie bowl!