Monday, January 24, 2011

Oatmeal Pancakes, and a little something called Mexico

This title might seem a bit confusing, pancakes and Mexico don't tend to fit in the same sentence too often, however these two things currently share something- a good friend of mine. Wait... now it sounds like the pancakes contain person (they do say love is an ingredient...?), let's pull a Tarantino and jump back to this past summer.

As some of you readers may know, I spent summer here in Worcester. Having had my friends-in-the-area group reduced to a good handful I became an e-mailing/facebooking/texting fiend. Thankfully between visits to Leah in Cambridge, weekly themed parties, some awesome roommates, and regular conversations with Sasha I survived. During one such conversation with Sasha, a particular oatmeal pancake recipe was mentioned. After a desperate plea on my side and a fit of giggles on the other I had my recipe!

The recipe comes from a family friend of Sasha's and makes for some pretty darn quick and tasty pancakes. They are simultaneously light and dense, and are just sweet enough not to need any sugary garnishing, but certainly don't suffer from the addition!

Oatmeal Pancakes
Makes about 8 small pancakes

1 cup oats (I suggest rolled or instant)
1 1/8 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Mix the oats and milk together in a small bowl and let the oats soak for at least 5 minutes. Separately combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Beat the eggs with the vegetable oil. Mix all the ingredients together until just evenly mixed, and cook batter in small batches on a hot skillet (I normally set mine at about medium heat). Flip once the batter on the top side begins to look cooked (and the bottom has those awesome brown swirly marks).

Super easy and delicious!

Sasha happens to be spending the year in Mexico City, specifically in the D.F., volunteering at Casa de los Amigos. The house is a "Quaker guesthouse/social justice organization/community center/international community in the center of Mexico City that hosts travelers all over the world, as well as immigrants and refugees seeking political asylum." She even has her own blog, which you can find here, that is full of posts that range from beautiful pictures of the city, daily struggles of living in the city (air pollution and clean feet, for example), and brief illuminations on immigration and globalization. I recommend checking it out!

Also, I'd like to invite readers to post or e-mail us any awesome recipes you'd like to share. Who knows, maybe yours could be the next featured post!

Warm wishes and toasty regards,

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Let’s Talk About….Milk




These are the cows that provide me and Kai with our milk



This is me chilling with said cows


This is Kai being crazy. Or excited to get our milk.


These are the machines that bottle our  milk


This is the sweet glass bottle our milk comes in

I guess I just felt like sharing this because I’m really proud that we’ve managed to maintain a drive to find local and more healthy foods. This milk was a particular win because we tracked down this awesome dairy farm where you can see the cows outside roaming happily.

Too frequently this country has turned to producing the cheapest goods we can, which often requires sacrificing the environment as well as our health.

It scares me how much the food industry can get away with just because consumers are not paying attention or are oblivious, and our government for some reason chooses to not protect the health of their people. 

If you want a really good book on this issue, pick up Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. This book changed my whole mindset  on meat, eggs, and dairy, and actually inspired my Master’s paper. It is not just a book yelling at you to become vegetarian, but it really gives you enough information to think about what you’re putting in your mouth. I’m actually not a vegetarian, but am pretty close. Another good one is In Defense of Food by Michael Pollen.

Anyways, discovering Cooper's Hilltop Dairy Farm was really a win for me over the food industry (lame right? but totally true). Kai is really proud that we’ve managed to spread the joy to about 8 of our friends, and constantly makes jokes about how we’re basically the milk man.

If you are one of our lovely friends (or even friends of friends of friends) in the area, and you want in on the delicousness of glass bottled, local happy cow milk, just let one of us know! We’re happy to pick up for more people!

Seriously. It’s SO good.

Happy extremely cold  oh  my god when is it going to be warm again winter day


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Peanut Butter Cookies


Ooooh. I found my pictures for these cookies and immediately became happy.

Do your cookies do that?


They could if you make these.

Peanut butter is funny. Did you know it’s really an American thing? Either that or a bunch of my international friends think that it’s really strange.

When I was studying in England, my flat mates made fun of me for how much of it I would eat (I really like peanut butter…). I know Kai also struggled to find it when he was in Spain.


Anyways. Peanut butter cookies.

Really, these were excellent, especially with tea.

I dipped half of mine in a chocolate ganache which made them even better.


Chocolate and peanut butter is always a good idea.



Peanut Butter Cookies

Adapted from Better Homes and GardenIMG_0785

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter, all natural chunky
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 egg, room temp
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


1.  Preheat oven to 375F.

2.  Stir together flour, baking soda and baking powder in a med bowl.


3.  In a large bowl, combine butter, peanut butter, sugar and honey until mixture is creamy.

4.  Stir in egg and vanilla until you can’t see any more egg.

5.  Stir in the flour mix in three parts to avoid getting it everywhere while you stir.  Mix it in until just combined.


6.  Spoon 1 inch balls about 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets.  You could also just use un-greased baking sheets.  Flatten balls with the tines of a fork in a crisscross pattern and sprinkle with sugar.    Bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden on top.





…then dip in them chocolate if you want an awesome experience.


Mmm these really were good. I’m gonna have to make them again.

You should too.

Then report back.

Happy baking!


Friday, January 14, 2011

Vegan Chocolate Avocado Cake


Again, allow me to demonstrate how backlogged my blogging is (hey look though…two in the same week!). Kai’s birthday was in December! And being his amazingly awesome friend (…one who loves to bake) of course I was going to make him a birthday cake!

When I asked him what cake he wanted he said “a strange one”. Great. Thanks Kai, that was a lot of help.


Luckily I was able to find a pretty strange one if I do say so myself.


Vegan chocolate avocado cake.

Are your eyebrows raised?

Trust me on this one. It’s worth the adventure.

I got the recipe from Joythebaker, which included this awesome avocado buttercream frosting.

Remember that TV show on Nickelodeon where they would literally just dump green slime on people?

The frosting totally looked like that.

In fact, if I were to have a slime throwing contest (…kai take notes this could be good), I would just make up a ton of this frosting…and chuck it at people.


Despite looking like someone had thrown a ton of green slime on my beautiful chocolate cake,this cake was REALLY good, and very convenient because it did not require milk, eggs or butter (we tend to go through A LOT of butter).

The frosting was the most interesting part. It was really tangy (probably because I added more lemon juice than I probably was supposed to), but it went really nicely with the chocolate cake. It was not as sweet as so many frostings are which was a pleasant change. The only change I would make would be to really make sure the avocadoes are as ripe as the possibly could be. Mine were still a bit hard, and I’m sure I sacrificed flavor for it.

PLAN AHEAD!! (ugh)

So if you’re looking for an adventure in baking, or if you just want a really awesome vegan cake, give this one a shot. I will absolutely be making it again.

Side note, you totally get instant “WOOOWs” for creating a baked good with both vegan and avocado in the title.

Bonus: you can attempt to pass the cake off as “more healthy” because it’s made with avocadoes instead of butter. Healthy fats! (don’t be fooled…it’s still a cake)

Give it a shot.


It’s awesome.


***NOTE*** I forgot to mention that this cake really sticks to the pans (sorry Sasha!!). Make sure you REALLY flour your pan!!

Recipe: Vegan Chocolate Avocado Cake

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winter Madness and French Onion Soup


Oh my god.

SO many things to post.

So bad at keeping up with it.

My keyboard is tired,  the million web tabs I had open for various projects are closed, I’m awesome at FreeCell again, and my final papers are turned in.

Winter break!

And boy is it winter out there. We are in the middle of a big nor’easter that consists of TWO storms combining together! …I’m a weather nerd. It’s wonderful.

So while the world is a white blur, I figured now would be an excellent time to post this wonderfully warming recipe.


You know the chilled to the bone feeling? That one where you feel like you will never get warm again?

This soup eats that feeling for breakfast.

French Onion Soup. Sounds fancy, but it’s so easy!! And it’s SO good.

So grab an awesome chopping partner, grab some wine, grab some tissues, and sit back and laugh in winters face while you eat this wonderful soup.



We had a crying contest to see who would last the longest.

I’m just gonna say I won


French Onion Soup

Adapted from Simply Recipes

  • 6 large red or yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced.
  • 3 Tbs of Butter
  • 1 Tbs of olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups of your stock of choice (beef, chicken, or vegetable), or a combination of the two (traditionally the soup is made with beef stock) **
  • 1/2 cup of dry vermouth or dry white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dry thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • enough slices of toasted French bread (4,6,8, whatever you want)
  • 1 1/2 cups of grated Swiss Gruyere (We used mozzarella because it was on hand)

**The better quality your stock, the better quality your soup! Stock really makes a difference.


1 In a large saucepan, slowly cook the onions in the butter and oil on medium high heat until well browned, but not burned, about 30-40 minutes (or longer). Add the sugar about 10 minutes into the process to help with the carmelization. BE VERY CAREFUL! …I left it for a few minutes and we ended with onions stuck to the bottom of the pot, and had to change to a new pot.


2 Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the stock, vermouth or wine, bay leaf, and thyme. Cover partially and simmer until the flavors are well blended, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaf.

3 Ladle the soup into oven proof bowls or casserole dish. Cover with the toast and sprinkle with cheese. Put into the broiler for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until the cheese bubbles and is slightly browned. Serve immediately.


Bleh this picture does NO justice to the final product.



Stay Warm and dry!


P.S. It’s Kai’s first ever snow day today!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Chocolate Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

As a cookie fanatic, I feel that we have been failing you, the reader, in some respects. We can talk about the advanced tactics in bread making all we want, or show you how to make a delicately balanced soup... but without a solid cookie recipe this food blog is lacking. Therefore, I introduce you to quite possibly the easiest and most scrumptious little cookies I've ever made!

Chocolate Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies!!! That's right, chocolate is in the name TWICE! The best part? It has a little bit of oats in it, so you can pass it off as a healthy snack! At least that's the excuse I give myself...

The cookies themselves are rather tender and have a slightly gritty texture (which sounds gross, but really isn't) while the oats give a nice textural change and provide a little bit of a chew. All in all, these are some quick and simple crowd pleasers. The recipe itself is adapted from epicurious and can be found here.

Chocolate Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about a dozen

3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons steel-cut or other type oats
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350F and butter a baking sheet. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl. Beat the butter in a separate bowl (an electric mixer is recommended to save you a lot of trouble) until nice and fluffy, then blend in your sugar and vanilla extract. Beat the flour, cocoa powder, etc. mixture into your creamed butter. Next, fold in the oats and chocolate chips.

When I made the cookies, I found the dough to be very crumbly. It was kinda gravelly... perfect for our gritty cookies! You are going to want to moisten your hands a bit, then try to compress the dough into small balls. Depending on the size of cookie you want, I might suggest around a big tablespoon worth. Also, the cookies are apt to REALLY flattening out, so if you don't want a thin and crispy cookie don't flatten them out on the baking sheet (or you could even chill the dough for a bit).

Bake for about 10 minutes or a tad more and pop em out! They may not feel very done, but they do stiffen up as they cool.

As I said, super easy and delicious!!!
Ith gu leòir!