fudgy brownies with mint frosting

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I’ve heard that people wear and eat green things on St. Patrick’s day. I guess that’s why I felt compelled to dust last year’s chocolate-irish stout and baileys cupcakes with green sugar. And why I felt compelled to do the whole chocolate-mint situation this year with these brownies. I doubt these brownies are culturally or historically meaningful in any way, but I am a woman on a Monday who has no more Thin Mints left. I need this chocolate-mint combo.

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This recipe is a one-bowl, no electric mixer kind of deal. You’re welcome. These incredibly fudgy brownies start off with an incredibly simple, cocoa-based batter. All you need is butter, sugar, cocoa powder, a pinch of salt, and a microwave. Stir in a couple eggs and some vanilla, and just a touch of flour, and you are in business. I highly recommend adult supervision while you make these so that at least some of the raw batter ends up getting baked.

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Just look at how dense they are. Seriously, it’s the thickest, chewiest, fudgy brownie ever–and such humble beginnings. I love the refreshing contrast of the peppermint paired with all that chocolate. This frosting is fluffy, creamy, and sweet, and just begs to be slathered all over these brownies. You are more than free to eat what’s left with a spoon in front of some Netflix. That’s what Sundays are for, after all. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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fudgy brownies with mint frosting
yields one 8×8 pan; 12-16 brownies, depending how you cut them
(adapted from various sally’s baking addiction recipes)
ingredients
for the brownies:
10 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
for the frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
1 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1-2 drops green food coloring (start with 1 and see if you need more)
directions:
1. Line an 8×8 baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving some overhang so you can easily lift the brownies out. Set aside. Preheat oven to 325 F.
2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, place the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Microwave at 30-second increments, whisking after each, until everything is incorporated and mixed well. Set aside and let cool for a minute.
3. Whisk in the vanilla extract, and then the eggs, whisking until everything is smooth. The batter will be on the thicker side. Add the flour and whisk well; it will get even thicker at this point.
4. Smooth the batter into the prepared pan and bake 25 minutes (if still very undone in the center, bake an additional 3 minutes or so–do not bake the brownies for over 30 minutes). Allow the pan to cool completely on a wire rack.
5. When brownies are cool, make the frosting. Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Add the milk, peppermint extract, and food coloring, beating until combined.
6. Remove the brownies from the pan by lifting the aluminum foil. Slather frosting all over the brownies, then cut. You can sprinkle mini chocolate chips on top, as I did!
Enjoy!
R xoxo
 

chewy oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies

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Guess who’s back? This kid. And I’m back with one of my favorite recipes of all time. After an unethical amount of studying for my licensing exam yesterday (seriously…9 years of school is apparently not enough torture for psychologists), I needed a break today. A real break. Cue a long run and cookies – the best oatmeal cookies ever, to be specific. Any time I want to make oatmeal cookies of any kind, I start with Deb Perelman’s base recipe and switch up the add-ins. I’ve been using this recipe for years, and anyone who has ever had these oatmeal cookies has either immediately hugged me or asked for the recipe. There is just something so classic and comforting about a good old-fashioned oatmeal cookie. No raisins allowed.

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These cookies have more rolled oats than flour (triple what is in that picture) and a gorgeous touch of cinnamon. I make the half teaspoon a heaping one, and it makes me ecstatic (you can add less if you’re not as oddly entranced by cinnamon as I am). There is nothing better than cinnamon. This is the kind of recipe where you probably have everything you need right in your fridge and pantry–simple ingredients like butter, an egg, brown sugar, rolled oats, flour, and vanilla.

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The cookie dough takes a quick 10 minutes to pull together, and after a brief hangout session in the fridge, the flavors meld together and bake up into glorious cookies that are delicately crispy right around the edges and thick and soft and chewy on the inside. They taste incredible a few minutes after they come out of the oven–so good, in fact, that I had four for lunch. Whatever, I’m a grown-up and can do what I want. Besides, look at the glorious melty chocolate and oatmeal goo that is these cookies, with that caramelized chocolate on the bottom. You are welcome.

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chewy oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies
yields about 2 dozen

ingredients
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking or steel cut)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
heaping 1/2 cup chocolate chunks (or dried fruit, or other chocolate chips, or nuts)

directions
1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand/electric mixer, cream together the butter, egg, brown sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
3. With the mixer on the stir setting, slowly pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chunks.
4. Put the bowl of cookie dough in the fridge for15 minutes or so. In the meantime, preheat oven to 350° and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
5. Once the dough has chilled a bit, scoop about two tablespoons of dough per cookie and space them evenly on your baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are just golden brown. The tops will look underdone; let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheet to finish baking.

Enjoy!

R xoxo

baked cookies n cream donuts

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Happy New Year everyone! I was traveling and busy eating my weight in fattoush, but I am back with a killer recipe for what are some of the best baked donuts I’ve ever had! Think about it: chocolate donuts dipped in a sweet vanilla glaze, topped with crushed Oreo-filled whipped cream, and sprinkled with Oreo chunks. Oh mah gah! I found this recipe through Internet crack (aka Pinterest) and knew it would be the perfect use of the Oreos and heavy cream I needed to use up. (Anyone else buy Oreos for baking purposes only?)

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One of the best parts about baking donuts is the minimal mess – have you ever fried donuts? No one likes working with hot oil. Plus, baked donuts are somewhat lighter. Of course, then you top them with all sorts of naughty things like whipped cream and crushed Oreos, but I have a good feeling you’re still in January mode and have been going to the gym. These cookies n cream babies are worth the cardio. My donuts ended up looking more chocolatey and much more (m-word alert!) moist than the original poster’s, possibly because I used dark cocoa powder and dark brown sugar, and I found the amount of milk listed in the glaze recipe to be too much, but they turned out fantastic!  The donut part is gloriously decadent and chocolatey and fudgy, and the whipped cream and Oreos provide the perfect contrast and extra sweetness. Make these, and revel in the heaven on earth that is cookies and cream.

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baked cookies n cream donuts
yields about 14 donuts
(recipe via Cooking Classy)

ingredients
for donuts:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk

for glaze:
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
5 Tablespoons of milk (as I previously stated, maybe start off with even less and add as needed)
1 Tablespoon heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 Oreos, crushed

for whipped cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
2 Oreos, finely crushed

directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Coat your standard-size donut pans with nonstick spray or softened butter and set aside. (If you have just one pan, you can bake in batches; just let the pan cool completely between rounds.)
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Create a well in the center. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the brown sugar, granulated sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk until smooth.
3. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until well combined.
4. Use a pastry bag (or spoon, just take it slow!) to divide the batter evenly among your donut wells, filling them 3/4 of the way. Bake donuts for about 12 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn out the donuts on a wire rack for them to cool completely.
5. While your donuts are cooling, make the glaze by whisking together all the ingredients. Set aside.
6. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add in the powdered sugar and continue to beat on high until stiffer peaks form. Fold in the 2 finely crushed Oreos.
7. Dip each cooled donut in the glaze, then pipe some of the whipped cream into the donut hole. Top each donut with some crushed Oreos.
8. Serve immediately – you can store leftovers in the fridge in a tightly covered container.

Enjoy!

R

vegan vanilla cupcakes

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Is there anything better in life than a sprinkle-topped cupcake on your birthday?

I mean…children’s laughter, fulfilling jobs, and hugs are way up there, too. But cupcakes–they take you back to when you were a kid and everything was good. It was a new friend’s birthday this week, and since he is vegan, I wanted to make him a classic birthday treat that he could enjoy without thinking twice. Vegan vanilla cupcakes, yes please!

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I have tried my hand at vegan sweets a few times (like this pumpkin pecan granola and these no-bake quinoa oatmeal cookie bars), but never at vegan cupcakes. I was surprised at how fluffy and (m-word alert, eww!) moist they were. The crumb on these babies was incredible. And the flavor was like classic birthday cake–super vanilla-y and buttery and just perfect. These cupcakes require one bowl, and you can whip up the batter in a matter of minutes. Bonus? You can eat the raw batter and not hear your mother’s voice telling you that you’re going to die of salmonella poisoning. As for the frosting, it is just as quick and easy to make and tastes just like your favorite fluffy buttercream. Make these cupcakes and find a way to take them to a birthday/Christmas drag brunch.

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vegan vanilla cupcakes
(yields 12; recipe doubles well)
adapted from the minimalist baker

ingredients
for cupcakes:
1 cup non-dairy milk + 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) vegan butter, softened to room temperature
scant 1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

for frosting:
1/2 cup vegan butter, softened to room temperature
2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
splash of non-dairy milk
sprinkles, if desired

directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F with a rack in the center. Line a standard-size muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.

2. In a liquid measuring cup, stir together the milk and vinegar and set aside for a few minutes until curdled.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

4. In the stand of your electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy and then add the sugar, beating until combined and fluffy. With your mixer running on low-medium, slowly add the flour mixture and milk, alternating between each, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides and bottom of your bowl as needed and increase the speed until the mixture is combined with no large lumps.

5. Fill muffin cups 3/4 of the way full and bake for 20-24 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. The cupcakes will be barely golden. Allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes, then remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

6. While cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, along with the vanilla, and beat until combined. Add in a few drops of milk at a time until desired consistency is reached. Don’t add in too much, since you want to keep it thick and fluffy.

7. Spread or pipe the frosting on top of the cupcakes once completely cooled, and top with sprinkles. Cupcakes can be stored tightly covered at either room temperature or in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

R xoxo

chocolate candy cane kiss cookies

Cookies 1

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It took me a little longer than usual, but I am fully in the holiday spirit. Most of my Christmas shopping is done, I have a wreath on my door, I’m heading to Lebanon in two weeks, and I’m eating peppermint everything. That last one isn’t unusual for me, but now I feel justified in my love for all things chocolate and peppermint. I can’t tell you how many Starbucks baristas have made comments about my getting a peppermint hot chocolate in March. December, though? I feel validated, let me tell you.
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The last few weeks have been pretty stressful at work, and the simplest thing like having a bowl of Hershey’s candy cane kisses in my office has put a smile on so many of my coworker’s faces. We do so much for other people, that when I looked at the (yes…second) bowl of these delicious chocolates at my house last night, I knew I wanted to whip up some hump day treats for my coworkers. How adorable are these cookies? They are simple to make, and you can top them with any flavor Hershey kiss you like, or swap them for some chocolate chips in the cookie dough. They’ll be perfect at your next cookie exchange.

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chocolate candy cane kiss cookies
(adapted from the classic Hershey’s recipe)
makes about 30 cookies

ingredients
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon milk (any kind will do)
Hershey’s candy cane kisses – it helps to unwrap them before you start baking (or 1 cup chocolate chips)

directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Set aside ungreased nonstick baking sheets.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the butter, both kinds of sugar, and vanilla extract for a few minutes until creamy and fluffy. Add in the eggs and milk, beating until incorporated. (If using chocolate chips, mix them in with a wooden spoon at this point.)
4. Scoop out one-inch cookie dough balls and stagger them on your baking sheets. Bake for 10-11 minutes. As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, press an unwrapped Hershey kiss into the center of each.
5. Transfer cookies to a wire wrack and allow to cool completely.

Enjoy!

R

chorizo, kale, and pepper egg bake

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Hello, hello, old friends! I do apologize for my absence. I have just been running around nonstop getting settled and into a routine – getting my couch delivered to my new place was a full-time job in and of itself (seriously…good lord). But, I am sitting on it as I type, and it is glorious and charcoal gray and perfect. I have been, of course, cooking and eating delicious things – but I’ve not had the time to share. Will this egg bake make up for lost time? Think of it as your breakfast for the week. Or an easy-peasy brunch dish for next Sunday.

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The local heavenly grocery store (I will always love you, Publix, but Rouses has got game) always has house-made or locally-made sausage. I would not normally care about this sort of thing, but when a girl sees fresh chorizo, she jumps on that boat. It is spicy and full of good flavor – the fat it renders is practically bright orange-red – and it pairs wonderfully with earthy kale and sweet bell peppers. To make the dish vegetarian, you can absolutely leave out the chorizo; and you can also use any veggies you want. Spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms would be great substitutes!

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After crisping up the chorizo, wilting the kale, and getting a scorch on some softened bell peppers, you just throw it all into a baking dish and top it with a mixture of beaten eggs and a little milk. You can use a combination of whole eggs and egg whites, if you like, and any kind of milk will do. Just slide the baking dish into the oven and you’ll have a delicious, healthy breakfast ready in no time. I let the whole dish cool and then cut it in slices – it made a phenomenal breakfast this morning, and I plan on wrapping up tomorrow’s in a tortilla and spiking it with Cholula. This egg bake is satisfying, full of protein and veggies, and a total no-brainer.

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chorizo, kale, and pepper egg bake
serves 6 (can easily be doubled; use a 9×13 baking dish)
Note: You can prepare this the night before a brunch – just do everything up until step 4, cover tightly, and refrigerate! Then you can pop it in the oven in the morning and have a fresh egg bake in no time.

ingredients
1/4 lb. fresh chorizo, casings removed
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced large
1/2 red bell pepper, diced large
5 kale leaves, chopped
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk; dairy milk is fine!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt)

directions
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Coat an 8×8 baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
2. Over medium heat, cook the chorizo, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until cooked through and starting to brown and crisp. Drain over a paper-towel lined plate and set aside. In the same pan, cook the bell peppers and kale until soft.
3. Distribute the chorizo in an even layer at the bottom of your baking dish, and top with the cooked veggies. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and spices, and then pour this mixture over the top of the chorizo and veggies.
4. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned and the middle is just set. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting!

Enjoy!

R

cinnamon cheesecake-filled pumpkin bundt cake

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I am in the midst of getting settled into a new place, in a new city, and love that we got a burst of cool fall weather for a couple mornings. And amongst all the craziness, I ran into a new coworker while running errands and he invited me to a lovely potluck brunch that he was hosting. I had yet to finish unpacking, but if anyone reading this knows me at all, you know that I had finished organizing the kitchen the night I arrived. So, in my new oven and old bundt pan, I whipped up this delicious pumpkin cake with a surprise in the middle.

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The batter of this cake is incredibly thick and fluffy. You will find yourself scooping and pressing it into the pan rather than pouring – and this makes for a beautifully textured cake. Dense yet fluffy all at the same time. The pumpkin cake is spiced with all the beautiful flavors of fall: plenty of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves. As for the thick, creamy cheesecake filling, it is perfectly lightly sweet and has a touch of cinnamon that plays off the cake really well. Divine.

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Despite how decadent this cake may seem, it isn’t overpoweringly sweet at all. In fact, it was perfect for a brunch table and would be equally at home for dessert. The cake is velvety and tastes like every pumpkin dessert you love, and the filling looks gorgeous and tastes like a couple bites of cheesecake. Happy fall!

cinnamon cheesecake-filled pumpkin bundt cake
yields one cake
(adapted from chew out loud)

ingredients
for the filling:
8 oz softened cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

for the cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground all spice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup canola oil
1 can (15 oz) pure pumpkin puree
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°, with a rack in the bottom or middle position. Thoroughly grease a Bundt pan and set it aside.
2. Make the filling: Using an electric beater, cream together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add in the egg, cinnamon, and vanilla extract, beating until combined. Cover and store in the fridge until ready to use.
3. Make the cake: In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and all the spices. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the butter and both sugars on medium high until fluffy and combined. Add in the eggs, oil, pumpkin, yogurt, and vanilla and beat until incorporated.
5. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients – don’t use your mixer for this step!
6. Fill the prepared Bundt pan with half of the batter, pressing it into all the crevices. Using a wooden spoon, create a groove through the batter and pour in all of the cream cheese mixture. It’s ok if some of it spills over the groove you have created, but just try to keep a border of batter around the edge (see picture above for clarification). Spread the remaining cake batter over the top of the cream cheese.
7. Bake for 55-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired! Store cake, tightly covered, at room temperature for a few days.

Enjoy!

R xoxo

pumpkin pecan granola (vegan + gluten-free)

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I walked out of my apartment early yesterday morning to go for a run…and it was breezy. And cool. In the most autumn-like way possible. It was fantastic. I had just spent an amazing weekend in upstate New York for my best friend Sara’s wedding to her amazing now-husband Chad. It was most definitely sweater-weather there, and I was excited to see a hint of fall here in Louisiana when I got back.

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The wedding was beautiful – every event leading up to it was just as classy. The groom’s family is from Vermont, so our rehearsal dinner party favor was a gorgeous glass bottle of pure maple syrup. I am addicted to the stuff, and I must say this is some of the best I have ever had. I put it to use in this delicious recipe for crunchy, spiced pumpkin pecan granola. The batch is big enough to last me through the next week of packing – did you hear I’m moving from Baton Rouge to New Orleans next week? I know…fabulous.

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Store bought granola is, of course, delicious. And it’s a good option when you’re looking for a healthier mid-morning snack. But making granola is ridiculously easy–and what’s even better, you can control how much and what kind of sugar goes in. This recipe calls for just a quarter-cup of maple syrup. It’s a much healthier alternative to processed granulated sugar, and the smoky-sweet flavor pairs up beautifully with the pumpkin, cinnamon, and nuts.

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I used a mixture of pecans and almonds, since I had both on hand. You could use all almonds, all pecans, or even throw in some dried cranberries if you like! The oats clump together and make these crunchy-sweet little bunches that are full of fall’s favorite flavor: pumpkin pie. All you need is a food processor (or a Ziploc bag and a rolling pin!) and one bowl. Toss everything together, bake, and enjoy a healthy and delicious breakfast all week!

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pumpkin pecan granola
yields about 3 cups, or 6 half-cup servings

ingredients
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup pecans
2 cups rolled oats (not the quick-cooking kind; use certified gluten-free if you are sensitive to gluten)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
dash of nutmeg
dash of cloves
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup (can substitute agave, or honey if you aren’t concerned about keeping it vegan)
1 Tablespoon canola oil (or any kind you like–just probably not olive oil, its flavor is too strong)

directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a food processor (or using a Ziploc bag and rolling pin), very coarsely grind the nuts. It’s perfectly fine if a few are left whole, you want the granola to have chunks.
3. In a large bowl, toss together the nuts, oats, and all the spices. Add in the pumpkin, water, maple syrup, and oil, stirring well.
4. Spread mixture into an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so to prevent burning. When the granola has dried up and feels crisp, take out the pan and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Enjoy!

R

pumpkin chocolate chip waffles

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I know, I know. It’s like as soon as July ends, people get fall fever. Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing I love more than crisp weather (crisp. NEVER cold.) and a good pair of boots. But let me enjoy August while it’s here! I was in Target at the end of July and they already had pumpkin spice everything. And I have joined the pumpkin spice madness with these waffles. In all fairness, it is September now. And these waffles are flipping delicious.

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Is it wrong that I made them for an afternoon snack? It felt so right.

These waffles are full of all the pumpkin you love and crave this time of year. Lots of cinnamon, lots of other warm spice goodness – it’s pumpkin spice in waffle form. If you are a pumpkin purist, just leave out the chocolate chips. It’s that easy! Swap in pecans, or even white chocolate chips for a different twist. Just make these crispy-fluffy-pumpkiny waffles and give fall a big welcome back hug!

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chocolate chip pumpkin waffles
yields 6 large waffles (can easily be halved; or make the whole batch and freeze them!)
(adapted from Epicurious)

ingredients:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 large eggs, beaten
2 cups milk (buttermilk is best, but any kind will work)
3 Tablespoons melted and cooled butter (or canola/vegetable oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (more if desired, but you don’t want to overpower the pumpkin)

directions:
1. In a medium mixing bowl, toss together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices, making sure to break up any brown sugar clumps. Set aside.
2. In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, melted butter, vanilla extract, and pumpkin. Whisk in the dry ingredients just until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips.
3. Spray a hot waffle iron with cooking spray and cook according to your manufacturer’s instructions.

Serve with butter and warm maple syrup, and enjoy!

R

 

three-chile gouda and veggie panini wrap

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Crunchy, gooey, spicy, and cheesy all in one pretty little wrap. And all of this happened by accident. I had spent a careful eight minutes at Whole Foods internally debating whether I should go for a block of smoked cheddar or classic sharp white. 

And then I got home.

And saw a lovely little label on the back that said “Three-Chile Gouda.” I, who find black pepper on the hot side. I, who eat no cheese other than cheddar, mozzarella, and halloum. THEYALLLOOKEDTRIANGULAR.

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I became determined to make lemonade out of the situation. Expanding my cheese repertoire, being a brave adult, and all that jazz. Out came the grater and some fresh veggies and a delicious flatbread. And all this loveliness happened. With a big green salad, I had a delightful late-afternoon lunch. And then had the same thing for dinner with some roasted chicken.

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The cheese was not as spicy as I expected and super creamy. It played up beautifully against the sweet smokiness of the red bell peppers and savory mushrooms. I drizzled a little salsa verde all over the top, which was incredible with the crunchy flatbread. You could make these as quesadillas, or even add grilled shrimp, beef, or chicken to the filling. Maybe even spread some pesto before wrapping up the flatbread, or swap the cheese for buffalo mozzarella! Whether you have a panini press or use a plain old skillet, I promise this will make a delicious, quick meal!

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three-chile gouda and veggie panini wrap
makes one

ingredients
flatbread of choice (on the larger side) or two tortillas
half of one bell pepper, cut into strips
a handful of sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup grated three-chile gouda
salsa verde (optional)
olive oil
salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste

directions
1. Coat a skillet or pan with a few teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat. Saute the bell pepper and mushrooms until they are as tender as you like, also seasoning them to your preference. Remove the veggies from the pan, keeping the heat on medium.
2. Into the middle of your flatbread, scatter the cheese. Top with the cooked veggies. Wrap the flatbread as you would a letter before you put it in an envelope (or however is best for the kind of bread/dough you are using). 
3. Add a drizzle of olive oil into the pan, and let the wrap toast for a few minutes on each side, until the cheese has melted and it’s crispy golden-brown on the outside.

Enjoy!

R