Posts tagged ‘treats’

January 21, 2013

Granola Balls!

I think we’ve got it all wrong. We should be working two days a week and have five days to play and having fun and work on our projects and bake and whatever else we fancy. I know that’s more or less a ridiculous idea, but hey, a girl can dream, right?

I’ve actually been thinking a lot about work lately, about how this job was always supposed to be temporary, something to get me to the next phase of my professional life, which, in seven and a half years since I graduated from college, just hasn’t happened. After contemplating it a little (and freaking out a lot), I came to the conclusion that there are three reasons why I stay at this job, which doesn’t satisfy me in the least: #1. The money. Isn’t it always a little bit about money when you dislike your job? #2. I DO enjoy working with my brother…most of the time…when he’s not throwing office equipment. and #3, the biggest of them all: I don’t know what else to do.

Sure, I enjoy certain things that have the potential to become money-making endeavors: photography, writing, baking. But none of them are go-out-and-apply-for-the-job type careers. They take time to cultivate into something that can translate into our mortgage payment. And I’ve never been patient. And honestly, I have a hard time taking an idea and converting it into action. I get the brilliant beginnings and then they fizzle out, seeming to hit a mental brick wall in my brain.

And now I’ve started ranting about it and you probably think I have some profound conclusion to present to you now. I’ve figured it out! Right? But alas, I haven’t. All I got for you is a pretty cool recipe for what I’m calling “granola balls.” Jim helped me come up with the name. They’re kind of my take on like protein or energy balls, but Jim likes to eat granola bars for breakfast, so I told him they’re granola balls so the transition would be easier for him.

granola balls1

Granola Balls!

(yes, they do have an ! at the end)

makes approximately 16 balls…if you don’t eat about a ball’s worth while you’re mixing

1 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup almond butter

1/4 cup flaxseed meal

2 tbps honey

3 tbsp protein powder

handful of chocolate chips

handful of shredded coconut

Mix and mash and smush it all together. Roll into balls. Enjoy!

As for that other stuff we talked about today, I’ll keep you posted. I think I’m beyond the freaking out phase and into the lets-get-something-done phase. It’s hard for me. But I can do it. Just keep telling myself that, right? I can do it!


Any photographers, writers or bakery owners out there have any advise for me on how to run a successful business in those fields?

June 4, 2012

Strawberry, basil and balsamic cupcakes

One of the great challenges of living with food allergies is satisfying cravings. My biggest weakness is sweets. I have to constantly have something sweet on hand or else I go completely mad trying to find something. And now that I can’t have corn or wheat, my selection has narrowed immensely.

Most prepackaged sweets these days include corn syrup. Even some gluten-free ones use either that or corn starch. And what would streamline baked goods be without flour? Add to all of that my mom’s allergy to sugar and we are a sad pair when it comes to satisfying a sweet tooth.

So Saturday I went about trying to find an alternative that we both could eat. I wanted to make a strawberry cupcake and upon finding not one single recipe that didn’t include either a cake mix or a box of strawberry jello (gross!), I decided to wing it a little bit. I was entirely nervous about it, though. Winging baked goods is risky for me anyway because I’m always so scared I’ll mess it all up and then waste all of the food involved. But winging gluten-free baking? Super scary. But it turned out pretty well, so I figured I’d share the recipe with you.

Strawberry, basil and balsamic cupcakes

Strawberry cake

(adapted from Sprinkles Cupcakes’ strawberry cupcake recipe)

2/3 cup whole fresh strawberries, pureed (you can use frozen if that’s all you’ve got, but it’s summer and strawberries are aplenty!)

1 1/2 cups Bob’s Redmill gluten-free all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup brown rice syrup

1 large egg, room temperature

2 large egg whites, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a small glass measuring cup (easier to pour from…but you can use a bowl), mix together milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree.In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add brown rice syrup and continue to beat until well combined. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.

Balsamic whipped cream frosting

2 cups heavy whipping cream

4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp brown rice syrup

Whip it all together in your mixer until light and fluffy. Apply to cupcakes and garnish with fresh chopped basil and chopped strawberries. (I did overbeat my frosting a little bit…it still tasted ok, but it looks a little like cottage cheese in some photos)

The response to these was varied. My mom, who can’t have sugar loved them (although she, of course, wished they were sweeter). My sister-in-law, the one who adores almost everything I bake, wasn’t a fan. Not sweet enough for her either. My nephew devoured hers. Friends of ours, Christie and Nic, loved them to Japan and back.

Jim and I liked them enough. They’re great considering what they are. The cake is moist and pretty dense as most gluten-free stuff seems to be. There wasn’t enough basil flavor really, but I’m remedying that one in the next round. I’m going to make a small batch for my mom and do the rest with sugar…a simple syrup infused with basil and a regular old buttercream frosting…with balsamic in it.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

November 1, 2011

My weakness

Generally speaking, I can say no when I feel like I don’t want to eat something that isn’t good for me. Now, I’m not saying I have the will power of a steel beam or anything, but when it comes to the day-to-day stuffing of things in my mouth, I am usually pretty good about limiting my goodies.

With one exception:


Once I get started on this delicious chocolately hazelnut goop, I have a hard time not eating it by the spoonsful straight from the jar.

Needless to say, I try not to get started by mostly leaving it in the cabinet where it lives, but this morning I needed to eat something before I left the house (usually I have a bowl of oatmeal or something at my desk at work) because I needed to take a pill for the headache I woke up with. I’ve had bad experiences with pain medicine on an empty stomach before, so I always make sure there’s something down there before I take one.

Anyway, I needed something quick, so I toasted up a sandwich thin and slathered on (and then, reluctantly, thinned between the two slices) the nutella.

And of course, to keep myself from reopening the jar and slathering on “just a little bit more,” I put it right back in the cabinet before sitting down to eat my breakfast.

What are your weaknesses, those food items you just can’t get enough of?

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October 31, 2011

Halloween Candy Madness

Every year I buy a big bag of candy for the guys at work. I am the office manager at my family’s machine shop, a building that is, by day, filled with men, mostly older than myself, but who generally act about 12 years old.

Needless to say, Halloween candy makes them about as happy as 12 year olds in a spider man costumes, except they all dressed up as machinists.

I, myself, love a good twix or kit-kat bar, but I am desperately trying to avoid putting my hand back in the bag. I’ve had ONE kit-kat so far today, and I’m trying to keep that number as low as possible by distracting myself with a handful of mixed nuts instead.

What healthy snacks do you use when you are trying to avoid eating something you know you shouldn’t?