I'm Still Alive!

Goodbye Ohio!
photo by Elaine Sylvester

Hello again!

I promise I have not abandoned ship here. I literally was studying 24/7 until Friday night and had no space in my brain for anything besides papers, chemistry and memorizing dance history facts. I think I forgot what it was like to breathe. 

But guess what. I'm DONE. And I'm pretty sure everything went successfully!

Now, with a huge exhale, I am finally relaxing a bit, packing up my stuff and preparing to move in with my friend for a week while I stay on campus for graduation. I have a lot of friends who are seniors, plus I'll be working my waitressing job, so I'm really excited that I'm here for commencement week this year!

Unfortunately, I'm not sure if I'll have a lot of opportunities to bake or cook anything special and if I do, photograph what I make. This may change, but just to be safe I'm warning you all that I may have to take a mini-hiatus until I'm officially on summer break. 

So, I will see you all in about a week with new delicious summery recipes, coming to you from my home kitchen. No more tiny college kitchen for a year! Crazy!


Cherry & Almond Biscotti

My mom and I are both earlybirds. Ever since I can remember, whenever I wake up and come downstairs, she is always sitting and reading with a cup of coffee at our kitchen table. She makes me a cup, I sit with her and we chat and enjoy the morning together. This is probably the thing I miss most when I'm away in school- sharing lovely mornings with my mom.

Me, my mom, and her mom.

Happy Mother's Day! To my own amazing mother and all mothers out there. 

In her honor, I made these cherry & almond biscotti to enjoy with her morning cup of coffee. Biscotti is one of her favorite treats and the tart cherries and nutty almonds make the perfect flavor combination! So mom, I love you and these are for you.

Along with this song :)

Cherry & Almond Biscotti (loosely adapted from Susan's recipe)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp ener-g egg replacer
6 tbsp water
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla 
optional: 1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup almonds, slivered or chopped
1/2 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped

1. Preheat your oven to 350º and lightly oil a baking sheet.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk together the egg replacer and water in a measuring cup until it begins to thicken, then add it to the flour mixture along with the maple syrup and vanilla. Fold in the cherries and almonds. If the dough is too dry to form it into a ball, add water, one tablespoon at a time (I had to add 2).
3. Form the dough into two logs, about 2 inches wide and flatten them onto your baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes.

4. Cool the logs for about 10 minutes, then using a sharp knife, very carefully cut the biscotti into 1/2" wide slices on a diagonal. Arrange the slices on the sheet face up and put back in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove, flip the biscotti, and bake more 10 more minutes. Let cool for at least 15 minutes. Enjoy dunked in your morning coffee!

What is your favorite thing to do with you mom?

And now it's crunch time.

Yes, I am talking both about my finals and biscotti. Double crunch.


Seduction by Cookies

When it comes to men, there is always going to be the one that got away. In the real world, you can choose not to see him anymore and forget about it. However, in a college of only 3,000 students packed into one tiny town, it is guaranteed that you will see him. And when you see him you will probably be wearing sweat pants, have your hair up because you forgot to shower, look totally sleep deprived from studying, and be waiting in line at the student grocery store buying a huge jar of peanut butter and a bag of kettle corn. That is my life.

If life were fair, it would go like this:

You casually bump into him wearing your best outfit, looking awesome and carrying a big plate of these cookies. You offer him one, he takes a bite and suddenly doesn’t know what he ever did without you. Totally realistic. Seduction by cookies? Definitely possible. Especially with these...

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies 

makes about 3 1/2 dozen

8 ounces vegan cream cheese (I used Tofutti)
1/2 cup vegan margarine
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tsp ener-g egg replacer mixed with 1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

1. Preheat your oven to 350º and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. Cream together the margarine, cream cheese and sugars until fluffy. Beat in the egg replacer and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt and mix well. Fold in the chocolate chips and try to refrain from eating the entire batch of batter then and there.
3. Scoop the dough in tablespoons onto the cookie sheet, leaving about an inch between each cookie. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden brown. The cookies will still feel squishy right out of the oven, but this is a trick. They harden a bit as they cool! Enjoy with a glass of soy milk and don't forget to share!

These cookies are my new favorites: incredibly simple and amazingly delicious. They are slightly cake-y with a little crisp on the outside, plus the cream cheese adds a little extra something to what would otherwise be a traditional chocolate chip cookie!

Just to warn you... I tend to go on cookie kicks around exam time. They are the perfect study food for you and your friends! Don't be surprised if there are more cookie recipes to come in the next couple weeks :)


Chocolate-Dipped Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies

It's that time of year again...
The time when dark circles appear under my eyes, chunks of hair can be found on the floor from tearing at it, and a huge cup of coffee is considered a meal.

My friends, welcome to finals.

Sometimes I think the worst part about final exams and papers is anticipating them. Once you actually start to study and write, it doesn't seem too bad, but thinking about having to do them is pretty overwhelming. That's where I'm at right now. Time to just grab a cookie and dive in.

I made these for my boss's daughter's bake sale last weekend (and may have saved a couple for myself). They were the only vegan baked good there, but he said they sold out within the first hour! These cookies are perfectly crispy on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside. Plus, of course, the chocolate adds the perfect touch.

Chocolate-Dipped Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies

makes about 2 dozen cookies

1/2 cup vegan margarine
3/4 heaping cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 3 tbsp water
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp vegan margarine
1 tbsp soy milk

shredded unsweetened coconut to decorate

1. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar. Mix in the vanilla and cornstarch mixture and stir until smooth. Add the salt and flour and use your hands to combine. If the dough is too crumbly, add a tablespoon or two of water. Wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes. 
2. Preheat your oven to 350º and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Once your dough has chilled, take it out and let it soften a bit. Roll it out on a floured surface until it is about 1/4" thick. Using a sharp knife, cut out rectangles until all of the dough is used up. Place the cookies on your prepared sheet and bake for about 15-18 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.
3. While the cookies bake, combine the chocolate chips, margarine and soy milk in a small bowl and microwave for a minute, or until the chocolate melts. 
4. Let the cookies cool for about 15 minutes, then one-by-one, dip just the top half of each cookie in chocolate and use a knife to spread it around a bit. Sprinkle with coconut and place back on the baking sheet. After they are all dipped and sprinkled, stick them in the fridge to chill for at least an hour before serving. 

Have a great weekend! 
I will be trying to soak up as much sun as I can before I quarantine myself in the library.


Monkey Bars

Thanks to my wonderful friends, family and your lovely comments, I ended up having a great twentieth birthday! Let me recap the highlight of the night for you...

A group of friends and I went to this mexican restaurant for dinner. My best friend Melissa decked me out in obnoxiously glittery necklaces saying "happy birthday" and a birthday goblet. When the servers of the place noticed this, one of them came over and said "It's your birthday? I make you something." 
About 20 minutes later, out came this huge plate of deep-fried something covered in whipped cream with a trail of servers following. They put a sombrero on my head, sang me happy birthday and tried to spoon feed me whipped cream and couldn't understand why I wouldn't just eat it. I'm pretty sure I was bright red the entire time. 

Lesson learned? Birthdays are really just excuses for your friends to embarrass the hell out of you :)

Anyway, the day after my birthday I had a huge sugar crash, so I decided I had to bake some other treat to have around. I called them monkey bars because of the super yummy banana and coconut combo- monkeys eat those things, right?

These really don't have too much sugar in them and with oats and whole wheat flour I decided I could justify eating one for breakfast! Although they are so delicious, it's really hard to eat just one.  I pawned a couple off on my friends and they absolutely loved them. 

Friend tested, friend approved. 

Monkey Bars

makes 9 bars

1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp agave 
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 ripe bananas
1 1/2 tsp energ-G egg replacer mixed with 2 tbsp water or 1/4 cup applesauce
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup chocolate chips


1 tbsp agave
2 tbsp oats
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut

1. Preheat your oven to 350º and lightly oil an 8x8" pan.
2. Mash the bananas in a large bowl. Whisk in the oil, brown sugar, agave, vanilla and egg-replacer. Stir until smooth.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, oats and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined. Fold in the coconut and chocolate chips and pour the batter into your prepared pan.

4. Make the topping by placing all of the ingredients in a small bowl and crumbing them together with your fingers. Sprinkle evenly over the batter and bake the bars for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool at least 15 minutes before cutting, then dig in and enjoy!

Chewy, crumbly, chocolate-y, with a hint of toasted coconut. Does it get any better?