The Cookie Experiment!

The lovely folks at Swanson sent me some products to review and I was more than happy to oblige.

There are few things I enjoy more than just playing in the kitchen. Does that make me lame? Probably. I can live with that.

Look at all these goodies! Where to begin?!

I decided to go with the ultimate challenge: Work in all of these ingredients into one recipe.

Crazy? No, it’s efficient. It took some trial an error, but I did come up with a pretty sweet recipe. Ch-check it out.

Coconut Almond Cookies

Gluten free, vegan and delicious

I wanted these to be gluten free (for my name twin, Liz) and vegan, because, well, that’s just more fun!

I’m not a fan of mixing ingredients in a certain order. I honestly just threw everything into a bowl and then stirred it. Scientific, I know. But it’s easier that way. Then just pop them into the oven at 350 for about 11 minutes. Easy-peasy.

Then restrain yourself from tasting until they’re cool.

Warning: These are on the crumbly side. I think next time I might add in a flax seed egg. Just to see what would happen. But the taste is perfect!

Now if only I could sneak tofu into these. “Anti-veggie-guy” refuses to even try tofu. When I brought it up he said:

“Tofu is nasty and genetically engineered from alien poop.”

Boys.

I’m going to have to be sneaky on this one.

Thank you, Swanson folks, for allowing me to review your products! Honestly, they were all fantastic, but I think the date sugar is my favorite! I also used it in my cinnamon almond butter!

What’s the craziest cookie recipe you’ve ever tried? (Or just the craziest cookie you ever had!)

<3 Liz

What I [got him to eat] Wednesday

Some people eat meat, some people don’t. I don’t. And to be honest, I don’t really care if other people do. It’s just not my thing.

But what I don’t understand, is when someone won’t not eat meat.

Some people are literally opposed to eating a dinner without meat. Maybe it’s to exasperate me. Or maybe it’s because some people just love Lunchables (you think I’m kidding? I’m not.), but whatever the reason, it’s quite a challenge to convince some people that a vegetarian dinner can be quite good. I knew I had a challenging mouth to feed.

Thankfully, my twitterbuds came to my rescue, once again. After lots of ideas, one particular suggestion rose to the top:

Mama Pea’s Chickpea Tacos
(Mama Pea also just published a cookbook, so you should totally check that out too.)

My guy friend (who is opposed to all things vegetarian) had never had chickpeas before. So I knew this was a risk. But I did it anyway.

The guy topped his with cheese…

I kept it simple with beans and lettuce. You can’t see the chickpeas, but I swear they’re in there

I liked the chickpeas so much, I ate some on the side.

Although the guy was hesitant, at first, to say anything positive about this dinner, he did go back for seconds. I’d say that speaks for itself ;)

Anyways, vegetarian or not, everyone loves nut butter.

(Actually, that’s not true, but they should.) And last night I was in the mood to make a new kind of almond butter. Don’t get me wrong, I love plain old A-butter, but I was in the mood to spice it up.

Cinnamon Swirl Almond Butter

  • 1 cup of almonds
  • 2 tbsp date sugar (you could probably use brown sugar)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt (omit if your almonds are already salted)
  • pinch of nutmeg
Oh. My. Gosh. As if I wasn’t already in love with almond butter, this takes it to the next level. Try this. Now. It’s also making me think I need to go try PB&Co’s Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Peanut Butter…

Does anyone have tips to get “totally-opposed-to-anything-not-meat”-eaters to try new foods?

<3 Liz

Family Reunionizing

Hey there friends. Happy Monday! The family reunion was a lot of fun, but I’m happy to be back in civilization with internet, cell phone reception, and my own kitchen.

It was an interesting weekend to say the least. My family is crazy, just like every other family. 

Brother, sister in law, me, grandma, mom and dad!

The reunion weekend was named “The Summer of Canned Heat“, denoting both the extreme temperatures, and a tribute to my mom’s cousin, who was apparently married to the drummer of Canned Heat. This led to the watching of a 3 hour documentary about Canned Heat, which, for those are you who are unaware, is apparently “The greatest boogie-blues band of all time”… according to the dvd. I can’t make this stuff up.

I also can’t make up this picture.

The table next to us, at “Mexi-Itali” (yes, a Mexican-Italian restaurant) had a bag of cheese curls to eat with their meal. Oh southern Ohio, how you depress me.

On a more positive note, every year we have a golf tournament in memory of my grandpa, so it’s always fun to see who will get the trophy!

I was armed with my cooler full of yogurt and vegetables, so I managed to survive. I also talked my dad into going to the gym with me, and my 69 year old uncle came too. It was a very cute moment of family bonding. I wish I’d taken a picture. My family has a few health-conscious members… but in general, they’re very… unenthusiastic toward healthy food.

 

Do you eat like your family?

<3 Liz

Packing Up, Heading Out!

So glad it’s Friday. SO glad. This week has been interesting. I should start posting about the weird events in my life, instead of food. Like the random booty call text that I tweeted about. Or the guy I met for coffee that knew me but I didn’t know him. But that’s not what this is about…

Highlight of the Week: Game Night

Don’t be jealous of my sweet scrabble parties. You should have seen me act out “sex” in charades. (Who put that in there?!) Ohhh game night.

 

So this weekend is the annual…

Maynard Family Reunion

This is notable for a few reasons:

On the last family reunion, I was still in my vegan phase, and the chef at the lodge had just learned how to cook gluten free food. Apparently, he thought these were basically the same thing, because he kept trying to make me try his gluten free concoctions. Nice try, chef.

There is no internet. Enough said. (I actually checked the website to see if they had internet. When I saw them advertise a “video player machine” as an amenity, I gave up.)

I’ll be packing my own food with me, because I am high maintenance. a healthy eater am probably going to eat a bunch of junk food, and I have to balance it out somehow.

What I’m taking:

I’m also packing some soy crisps, hummus, and some baby carrots. I’m hoping the restaurant at the lodge has healthy food, but you can never be too sure…

I’m also packing my running shoes, because there are some great running trails! Maybe I can even convince my dad to give me some tennis lessons ;)

Anyways, that’s where I’ll be this weekend!

Do you have any family vacations planned for the summer?

<3 Liz

What [Protein] I Ate Wednesday

Not surprisingly, a lot of you had questions/comments about Arctic Zero.

Does it taste exactly like full-fat ice cream? No. But does it taste good? Yes. Think of it like a really really good frozen protein shake. If you’re the kind if person that likes PB2, then you’re probably the kind of person who would like Arctic Zero. If you think green smoothies and tofu noodles (not together) are gross… you might not like it. But if they sell it near you, I’d go try a pint!

Anyways, that’s part of what I’ve been eating these days! And since it’s What I Ate Wednesday, let me show you what else I’ve been muching on!!

On Sunday, two different people asked me the “Oh my gosh but how do you get protein??” question, which, as any vegetarian/vegan knows, is a silly question.

What does a protein filled day look like for me?

Breakfast

1 cup of soymilk, protein1 banana, 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder, 2 tbsp PB2giant handful of spinach= 20g protein

Snack

Fiber One Honey Squares 1g protein (not much protein, but it has 10g of fiber!)

Lunch

Smart Chili + fire roasted tomatoes- 19g of protein
I’m not normally a big fake-meat person, but I’ve really enjoyed Lightlife products!)

Snack

Soy crisps- 8g protein
I love these things. They’re like bbq chips… only full of protein!

Dinner

1 cup greek yogurt,  1/4 cup granola, 1 cup blueberries = 21g of protein

Snack

 The aforementioned Arctic Zero… and I ate almost the whole pint… which means 10g of protein (but only ~100 calories!) I also munched on some carrots and hummus plus some almonds, but I was too lazy to take a picture ;)
Total for the day: 79g of protein. Not so bad, for a vegetarian, huh? ;)

What do you eat for protein? If you’re a veg, do you get that question a lot?

<3 Liz

Demolition Derby!

Hey there friends! Hope you all had a fan-tastic weekend! Mine was full of adventures, as usual, which is this post has almost nothing to do with food. Sorry.

Instead, it’s all about smashed cars. Because sometimes, there are more important things to talk about than fiber.

My friend Alex was driving in a demolition derby, so naturally, we had to go watch and cheer him on.

His car did get pretty smashed… but at least he didn’t get pushed over the concrete barrier… like this car did.

Or this car

But don’t worry… the whole night wasn’t all about danger. I also met Smokey the Bear.

I know. I know, you’re jealous.

In other news, I’ve been loving Arctic Zero lately. Have you guys tried this stuff? Normally I’m a chocoholic, but I recently tried the cookies and cream flavor and it might be even better than the chocolate. The coffee one is quite tasty too..

And since it only has 150 calories per pint… I’ve been eating it a lot ;)

Did you do anything fun this weekend? Have you ever heard of Arctic Zero?

<3 Liz

Fiber Filled Friday

Happy Friday! Thank you guys for the awesome recipe suggestions. I think I’m going to have to try a cashew butter cookie next. It seems downright irresponsible that I haven’t tried this yet. Anyways, on to today’s public service announcement. Fiber.

Reasons why I like fiber:

  • It makes me feel full (which is impressive, because I’m always hungry)
  • It helps keep my cholesterol in check (although my cholesterol is pretty stubborn these days)
  • It keeps me… regular (duh)

Oh, and it can be super tasty!

The problem is, when people think fiber, they think…tree bark. That’s because they haven’t discovered all of the delicious ways one can consume fiber. So I’m going to showcase some of my favorite ways to get fiber in my diet:

Butternut squash

This baby isn’t just loaded with vitamins, it’s also packed with fiber! So pile up your plate with some butternut squash fries, and dig in!

Kale Chips

If you’ve read any food blog ever, you’ve probably seen kale chips. If you haven’t tried them, stop being lame, and make some of these. Seriously. They will change your preconceived notions about kale.

And if you’re feeling all “Shut up, I know vegetables have fiber” then how about picking up a box of:

Fiber One Honey Squares

They taste sort of like Honey Grahams. But they’re loaded with fiber, and low in calories too! Have you tried these yet? They’ve been making an appearance on my yogurt in the morning…

In other news, I’ve been staying  up too late, waking up too early, drinking too much coffee, eating too much frozen yogurt and drinking too much vodka. Now that I got that off my chest I think I’m going to go repeat those offenses this weekend. Thank goodness it’s Friday…

What’s your favorite way to get fiber?

<3 Liz

What I [Made] Wednesday

Happy What I Ate Wednesday, friends! If you haven’t joined the link party, go check it out! It’s the best part about Wednesday :)


I was in a bit of a funk yesterday. I’m not sure why, I was just feeling a little off. So I invited a friend over for dinner, and offered to bring the leftovers to a couple other friends. Sometimes, I just need to get in the kitchen. I spent some time searching the internet for a recipe, and I found this one from Angela @ Oh She Glows. Easy Creamy Tomato Barley Risotto. PERFECT.

I ignored three details:

1. I’d never cooked barley before
2. I’d never cooked risotto before
3. I was now making a vegan dinner for a dude

What was I thinking? I don’t know. Moving on.

Angela’s recipe is pretty easy to follow, so I followed it exactly closely… except I left out the miso, used fresh basil, and doubled it.

So how was it? Oh, it was fantastic.

Go check out the recipe here. That girl has some amazing recipes!

But no meal is complete without dessert.

And I had one thing on my mind:

Pecan Butter.

If I had been smart, I would have googled a recipe for pecan butter cookies. But I wasn’t in the mood to follow directions. So after a lot of trial and error (you should have seen the errors) I think I came up with a pretty good Pecan Butter Cookie recipe!

Pecan Butter Cookies

  • 1 cup of pecan butter (or 2 cups of pecans, tossed into the vita mix, until smooth)
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup granulated sugar + extra for rolling
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour

So I blended the pecans in the vita mix until they turned into “butter” then I added the coconut oil, egg and sugar into the blender. (I figured, I might as well let it do some of the mixing for me!)

Then I scooped it out, and added the cinnamon, salt and flour. Roll it into balls, and coat with sugar. They will feel a little oily. Flatten them down into cookie shapes (because they don’t really spread) and bake in an over at 350 for about 10 minutes.

Aren’t they cute? Actually, they’re not all that pretty, but they ARE tasty.

So I’ve made peanut butter cookies, almond butter cookies, and pecan butter cookies.

Whats next?

<3 Liz

Sunday Funday Brunch Party

I like cooking, but I rarely have an excuse to make anything more than a bowl of yogurt with blueberries, so I practically squealed with delight when my friend suggested brunch on Sunday. I love cooking, and I love hosting parties, so a brunch party was kind of a no-brainer.

Especially since it seems like the rest of the world hasn’t discovered the amazingness known as Cornbread Waffles.

You haven’t? Well you better get on it. GET ON THAT. They’re delicious. Not to mention simple. And super cheap. Ready for this?

Cornbread Waffles

Warning: Other waffles will never taste as good
  • 1 box of Jiffy Corn muffin mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup of milk

Mix it all up and pour it into your waffle maker.

 Bam. Amazingness. I recommend topping it with peanut butter, almond butter, or maple syrup. Or all three.
It was tough to snap a picture of these babies before they got snatched up, so forgive the not-so-glamourous shot.

Make a lot of ‘em, because these waffles will draw a crowd!

What’s your favorite thing to make [or eat] for brunch?

<3 Liz

Breakfast Improv + Potential Princes

Friday, you have no idea how happy I am to see you.

I haven’t been sleeping much lately, which really isn’t anything new. But I’m not complaining, it’s totally my fault. I’ve been staying out late, and getting up early. I know, I know, sleep is important, I get it. But I can’t help but think…

I’m never going to look back on my life and say

“Gee, I wish I’d slept more.”

So there you go. I’m going to continue being irresponsible and stay out late. I’m sorry I’m not sorry.

This morning, I had the potential to be cranky. Not because of the lack of sleep but because I was out of bananas AND blueberries. That meant no breakfast smoothie for me. So I improvised. (And I also realized that I shouldn’t be cranky. It was my own fault for not going to the grocery store. Oops.)

Breakfast was a bowl of greek yogurt with a diced up apple. It was… ok. I added some Love Grown Granola, which made it a little better.

In other news, look at what I picked from my garden yesterday!!

Don’t worry, it’s supposed to be green. How cute is that?

Are you planting any vegetables? Have you been able to pick any?

And since it’s Friday, and my brain capacity is almost spent, I’ll leave you with this.

This little guy swam up to me in the pool. He might have been a prince.  I guess we’ll never know. So for now, I’m blaming my singleness on the frog. Maybe I need to watch Bonnie’s vlog on dating advice for sane people (again). I learned my lesson on the smoking question. Ew.

Any fun weekend plans? I’m on a hunt for more adventure!

And maybe some sleep. Maybe.

<3 Liz