Cookies with my Mom

I didn’t actually make cookies with my mom, but she was in my heart the whole time! We use to always make a ton of different kinds of cookies at Christmas time, we even had the best Christmas Cookie Parties! I’m very much looking forward to forcing all of my friends to come to my house and eat a ton of cookies next year (HEAR THAT LADIES! THE MELIM CHRISTMAS PARTIES ARE MAKING A COMEBACK!)

My favorite cookie (please note the Almond Rocca is my favorite Christmas treat, although I wouldn’t really put it in the cookie category) is a Thumb Print Cookie! Oh I love them! Little buttery cookies topped with jam! Whats not to like?

Last Saturday I went to a party at Ms. G’s house (I don’t know why I didn’t take any pictures) but I made Thumb Print Cookies. Thank god I left them at her house or I would have eaten them all!

The recipe I used is here.

 

Send boy out to get cute Christmas plate

 

 

I wore fun fluffy hair and a gold glitter headband and matching belt...yay parties!

 

 

 

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FALL FOOD: pumpkin scones

I made these at the beginning of September and am just now getting around to posting them. I actually made two batches of these they were so good!  I enjoy scones way more as an adult, as a child I found them dry and bland. Even still sometimes they are. These however are much more cake like, a little soft, the recipe describes them as more like Starbucks Scones.

The recipe is from this website and goes as follows:

Combine in a large bowl:
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
7 tbsps granulated sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼tsp ground cloves

Cut in:
6 tbsps cold, unsalted butter, cut into chunks

In a separate, small bowl whisk together:
½ cup cooked pumpkin (I used the stuff that I went crazy and bought 50 million cans of last Thanksgiving. I don’t KNOW why!)
3 tbsp half & half (I just used 1 tbsp heavy cream to 2 tbsps 1% milk, because that’s what I had.  I imagine whole milk would work okay, too.)
1 large egg

Combine wet ingredients with dry, being careful not to overwork the dough. This is tricky because they really don’t want to combine. I used a cutting motion with the side of my plastic spatula that is probably so not approved by the Culinary Institute of America but screw them, because these are the bomb anyway.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, pat to 1 inch thick and cut in the shape of your choice. Bake at 425˚ for 16 – 17 minutes. When done, remove to cooling rack to cool completely.

I iced them first with confectioners sugar blended to a thick glaze with cream and milk. No exact measurements, just mess with it till you get the consistency right. Not to thin, though! Then, when that had hardened up a little, I mixed even MORE confectioners sugar with the spices in the scones to an ever THICKER consistency, and drizzled it over the top. It looks like a lot of icing, but honestly it’s…

a lot of icing. I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it. Happily, that’s one component you can leave out or adjust to your liking.

Now that the weather is SLOWLY creeping out of the 80’s and 90s’ (don’t EVEN get me started on how pissed off I am at Colorado for ruining my LAST fall here! No one wants 96 degree weather in September!) I plan to do more fall baking! I even bought Rachel Ray’s magazine that has so many yummy fall recipes in it! I’m also craving chili like you wouldn’t believe! As soon as it’s a nice 65 degrees I will be having Mr. Gaunt crock-pot some!

Easy Peasy Peach Cobbler

This is the most delicious and easiest Peach Cobbler on earth. Seriously. I made each of us one of these in my little ramekins dishes from Pier One. For ice cream I buy Haggen Dazs 5 ingredeint Vanilla Bean…oooh so yummy. This can also easily be made vegan using vegan butter.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups Peaches Pealed and sliced thinish
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C.) Lightly grease 2
  2. In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, flour and butter. Mix until crumbly.
  3. Place sliced and pealed peaches in a bowl and toss in white sugar. Mix well
  4. Place 1/2 the Peach mixture into two Ramekins.
  5. Pack the crumble mixture on top
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown

Vegan Apple Banana Mini Muffins

My friend Jenny made these for Liam to have in the morning for breakfast. She joked that she made mini ones to be baby size, but Liam just eats 4 or 5 of them. There still extra cute in mini form, I chose to make mini just to reduce my portion size.

About a week ago I broke down and bought Organic Unbleached Flour instead of my usual Whole Wheat Flour. As much as I LOVE WW Flour, it’s not the best for baking, and I really like to bake. When Jenny gave this recipe to me it wasnt Vegan. The recipe called for 2 eggs, which I substituted for 2 overly ripe bananas, works perfect! Also I switched the regular butter to Earth Balance Vegan Butter. Lastly it calls for chunky Applesauce, but I only had smooth, so I diced up a small apple and threw that in with it.

They turned out amazing! So moist and yummy! Perfect for breakfast and a mid day snack, they don’t need butter or anything. I will be making these often. Jenny freezes them and throws them in the microwave for breakfast, seems like a pretty good idea.

VEGAN APPLE BANANA MINI MUFFINS:

Ingredients

6 Tablespoons Vegan Butter Melted

1.5 Cups Organic Unbleached Flour

1 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Salt

2 Very Ripe Bananas

2/3 C Brown Sugar

1 Cup Organic Unsweetened Applesauce

1 Small Apple

Directions

Preheat oven to 375

Spray mini (or big) muffin pan with PAM

Melt Butter in large bowl

Add Bananas, Applesauce, Diced Apples and mix well

In a separate bowl mix all dry ingredients.

Combine Dry ingredients with Apple mixture, stir well.

Fill muffin tray 3/4 full

Bake for 20 minutes.

These would also be good with some walnuts in them too!

In other fun news I will be ordering a Cherry Pitter and a Food Dehydrator tomorrow! I also got the latest issue of Clean Eating Magazine and it is FULL of amazing summer recipes I need to try, including Roasted Cherries that will be so much easier to make with my cherry pitter.

My food diet has been going amazingly well, I am down 4.5lbs since Monday morning! Crazy! I did however cheat tonight, a good friend of Mr. Gaunt’s is moving tomorrow to Arizona and wanted to take us out to dinner. I picked going to Merels one of our favorite restaurants, because I knew they had some good vegetarian options. I ended up getting a Veggie burger with a fruit cup side, plus a basket of yam chips and guac for the table. I limited myself to only a few chips and just half my burger, plus FOUR giant glasses of water to make me too full to keep eating. Still feeling a little guilty I made sure I went straight to the pool when we got home. Usually I swim 20 laps and then do another 1/2  hour of water aerobics. Tonight I stepped it up and did FORTY LAPS! Wowza! It felt amazing. I have now done 5 consecutive days of lap swimming, go me!

Vegan PB&J Muffins

My friend Jama posted these on her (private) blog, and they looked so good! I also had pretty much all the ingredients needed, so I whipped them in this evening. Jama is a Clean Vegan, which I am very interested in. She doesn’t eat fake things like Vegan Mayo, Seitan, Soy Burgers. Basically just naturally occurring foods. Soy in generall weirds me out, which is a big reason I still eat meat, I don’t want to do soy. I have recently thought about ditching cheese though, and trying to cut back on the meat…shhh…dont tell Mr. Gaunt.

I also feel like I’m going to remove eating out all but one day a week. Nothing good comes from a restaurant (including no blog posts from me…lol!) And produce season is coming, and I’m jumping back on the veggie/cooking bandwagon! Oh and the pool opens in TWO WEEKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh speaking of Pools, I have officially decided to rock a bathing suit with a skirt this summer. Ms. G gave me one, and it is totally dated and grandma-like, and I LOVE IT! It covers the thighs and accentuates the waist. I might even take a full body shot of it for yah…lol! Basically I decided that I love to swim, and I don’t give a shit if my suit is a littleold school looking, obviously people can see I’m still young, and Id rather have a flattering grandma suit than a not cute modern suit. So that is that!

Oh I was talking about muffins…lol. Yeah so I pretty much made it like the recipe said, except I didn’t have ground Flaxseed, only whole flaxseed, so I used that. Also I didn’t have any Bran, so I did a 1/4 cup of oats. Last and most important, I used Whole Wheat Flour instead of regular flour. This brought a whole new discussion that I will talk about at the end of this post. For now here is the original recipe:

2 C flour

1/4 C sugar

1/4 C ground flax seed

1/4 C bran

1 Tab baking powder

1/2 teas ground cinnamon

1/2 teas salt

1/3 C creamy peanut butter

3 Table spoon vegan margarine

1 C soy milk

1/4 C maple syrup

1 teas vanilla extract

1/4 C jam

Preheat oven to 4oo degrees. Mix first seven ingredients in a big bowl. Using a fork or pastry blender, add vegan margarine and peanut butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add soy milk, maple syrup and vanilla. Stir until just mixed. Do not over stir.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin. Add a teas of jam to the top of each and bake in the oven for 2o minutes. YUM!!

Jama’s looked all light and fluffy and yummy, mine…well…not so much. I blame two things on this. 1. The altitude here SUCKS for baking, Jama lives in California.  2. The Whole Wheat Flour:

See I said a while ago that I planed on replacing everything with Whole Wheat Flour, because it is healthier for you. So far I havent had a big problem with, but I wouldn’t say it really works the same as All Purpose Flour. See WW flour is so much heartier. It gives things a totally nutty-hearty flavor, basically it TASTES like health food. Also it doesn’t rise as well (avoid using in things that need to be light and fluffy: Cakes, Pie Crusts, Pastries) and it definitely is darker in color. Personally I found a liking to it. I like that it taste more substantial and more nutritional. However Its not for everyone. Mr. Gaunt likes it ok, or at least he pretends to. I think I may actually buy some AP Flour for baking too though.

I would make these again though, they are more like a hearty breakfast muffin than like cake or a treat. I think they will be yummy with a banana in the morning, or some Earth Balance Spread on it. I would defiantly tell people to make these.

Tie-Dye Cupcakes

Ms. G turned 60 last month, so we threw her a big Sweet Sixty – 1960’s Themed Party on Saturday! It turned out great, everyone in costume with fun decorations and retro food! I might do a post later with pics. I volunteered to make her cake (which I switched to Cupcakes because they are much easier to serve) and new I wanted to make a Tie-Dye Cake (some call it a rainbow cake, but we’re doing the 60’s here) that I have seen floating around the web.

The Cupcakes are actually pretty easy to make, and SOOO cool to eat! They do take a fair amount of time, and dishes, but not too much talent.

I bought basic Yellow Cupcake Mix (I think Duncan Hines, but anything will do) and mixed it up per box instructions. You could make your own cake batter too, it works the same. After your batter is all mixed, divide it evenly into 6 small bowls (RED, ORANGE, YELLOW, GREEN, BLUE, PURPLE) I also used 6 disposable spoons to save on cleaning.

To dye your batter you need a high quality Food Coloring. I have always like Wilton’s Icing Colors, they are slightly more expensive but WAY worth it. I got mine at Michael’s Crafts. Start with a small amount, stir in, and add more until you get the colors you want. The Brighter the Better!

You will need to use cupcake liners for this project and have some napkins ready for dripping. To get the layered look, I suggest putting your bowls in order of the rainbow. You will spoon about a tablespoon (just enough to cover the bottom) of the first color into the bottom of each liner. Then move onto the next color, and spoon that color on top of the previous one. Continue with each color. This does NOT need to be perfect. Be aware of how much you are putting into each liner, you don’t want to overfill or not have room for all the colors.

At the end I made a few ugly mix ones with the last bits of color, they turned out fun too.

Then you just bake as usual. Let cool. Frost. Sprinkle. Done!

You can also make a whole cake like this too. Here is the directions for that.