Whole Wheat Waffles with Strawberries and Coconut Whipped Cream

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I’m an asshole to sleep with.

I steal the sheets. Sometimes I snore. I drool. Excessively. And I totally hog the bed.

On several occasions Roo has found me in…

the “diagonal,”

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the “L,”

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the “Vitruvian Man,”

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and what Roo likes to call, “the Captain Morgan.”

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Did I mention that I’m notorious for shoving people out of “my space?” Like, onto the floor?

Yup, Roo is lucky to be with me.

And by lucky, I mean I bribe him with waffles for breakfast. Waffles totally make up for being pushed out of the bed, right?

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Dark Chocolate Raspberry Granola

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I hate pedestrian crosswalks.

Not the ones you can cross by your own free will, but those that require you to press a button.

I just…can’t.

When I look at it, I see the man who didn’t wash his hands, the child who just wiped their nose, or the woman who picked up after her dog.

I see a germ here,

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here,

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and here.

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And then exponentially increased because we all know there’s an epidemic of gross going on down there.

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So I adapt.

I cover my hand with my shirtsleeve. Sometimes I use my purse. I’ve even used my hip to press that damn button.

And yet.

If I’m at party, and there are communal snacks, I’m ok with it.

Hands diving into a bag of chips? No big.

Only want half of that cookie? That’s cool, break it in half and we’ll share.

Grab a handful of granola? Just make sure you have it with some coconut yogurt too.

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Just don’t ask me to hit the crosswalk button on our walk home.

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Soft Crunch Banana Bread

“I may have referred to myself as an STD today,” I said, sitting down next to Roo on the couch; my purse and gym bag still slung over my shoulder.

Roo furrowed his brow. “You what?”

“You know how I haven’t been able to take my favorite spin class because of the Lexington job?”

“Yes.”

I sighed. “Well, I finally went. When I walked into the studio, my instructor exclaimed, ‘You’re back!’ and I replied -”

“Do I even want to know?”

I looked down at the floor and muttered, “I’m back. Like herpes.”

“No.”

“Yes.”

Roo shook his head. “No. Just….no.”

“Then I said I made her a loaf of banana bread.”

“I’m guessing she wasn’t too excited to take it from you.”

“She looked at me as if I had put my hair in it.”

“Well-”

“I know!” I whined.

Roo patted me on the back and removed my purse and gym bag from my shoulder.

“Oh, thanks.”

“No problem,” he replied, as he opened my purse.

“What are you -”

Roo looked up. “I’m looking for the banana bread. So what if you put your hair in it.”

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Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Dark Chocolate Icing

There are a lot of things I’m terrible at.

I’m awkward when meeting someone for the first time; saying what immediately pops into my mind. “Oh, you’re from Arizona? Does that mean you grew up with crystals and learning about energy fields?”

Every other driver is ‘Dude’ when I’m behind the wheel (especially when the try to cut me off). “Dude…Dude…Dude! Were you even looking?!”

And general housekeeping is beyond me.  I rarely (if ever) vacuum, I hate doing the dishes, and I can’t fold a fitted sheet.  Seriously, those elasticated corners? Worse than figuring out a rubix cube.

Right now you’re thinking Roo is one lucky guy, right?

But I can make cake.

Really good chocolate cake.

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Yogurt Cake with Lemon and Blueberries

Every morning I walk into the kitchen, turn on NPR, sit at the table and open my laptop. I check my email, Facebook and Twitter.  I scroll through updates/tweets from hours prior, often wondering if other people go through the same ‘ritual’ everyday.

“When you check your Facebook, do you keep scrolling until you see something you remember from the day before?” I asked Roo, as he walked into the kitchen.

He stopped and scratched his chest, his eyes bleary from just waking up. “That’s exactly what I do.”

“I thought I was the only one.”

“It’s the most efficient way to do it.”

“And do you hate yourself for technically wasting all that time?”

Roo laughed, “No, it’s the most efficient way to catch up on the ‘News.'”

I got up from the kitchen table and walked over to the Keurig. “And is that typically it?” I asked, flipping the switch on.

“Well, I check Fantasy Baseball and my email too.”

“And wait for me to make the coffee,” I joked.

“If by ‘making the coffee’ you mean, pushing a button, then yes,” he replied, as he removed the saran wrap from the yogurt cake on the counter.

I pointed at the slice he was about to pop into his mouth. “And make you breakfast cake?” I said.

“I believe this appeared on the counter overnight. It could have been Monkey who made this.”

“Yes, our evil cat has developed a sudden penchant for lemon, blueberries and baking.”

“Correction, our evil genius of a cat.”

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How to Make Coconut Milk Whipped Cream

Oh look, another followup post.  This time to Banana Bread with Bittersweet Chocolate and Candied Ginger.

Don’t you love these?

I know, you were probably hoping for another Ryan Gosling post, but I’m selfish.

Because I want Ryan all to myself.

Actually, I don’t.

Yes, I’m probably the only female (in the world) who doesn’t find Ryan Gosling attractive.  In fact, I’m a little pissed that I can’t say, “Hey Girl” to my friends anymore without them replying, “Totes Amaze!”, “Hashtag, IheartRyanGosling!” or “Why haven’t you seen Drive yet!?! Are you even American?”

But enough about Ry-Gos.

Let’s talk about coconut whipped cream.

It’s light, luscious, slightly sweet, and just barely coconut with the warmth of vanilla shining through. It’s perfect folded into chocolate ice cream, dolloped on top of hot cocoa and I love sometimes, sometimes I can’t picture life without having it spooned onto cakes, brownies, or even eaten straight out of the bowl.

In less than five minutes I can make myself a treat to eat while still in the kitchen, pretending not to hear Roo ask, “whatcha making?” from the other room.

I’m sure if I said “Ryan Gosling,” he wouldn’t mind me keeping it all for myself.

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White Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Raspberries

“You’re like the hoarder of light bulbs.”

“You never know, this may be a collector’s item one day.”

“Really,” as I reach for the lightbulb to toss it into the trash.

“Hey. Hey! Don’t touch my lightbulb!”

“Roo, it’s garbage!”

“No, it’s my precious.  PRECIOUS.”

This is what I have to deal with.  But there’s an upside.

We’re having pancakes for dinner.

Sure, you can have your *King Cake, but you know what?  That little plastic baby Jesus freaks me out.

Seriously, how can you enjoy your cake when somewhere, lurking inside is little plastic baby Jesus, waiting to choke you.

And technically, is today called King Cake Day?  No, it’s Pancake Tuesday, and eating this

is way more fun than having this,

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How to Make Almond Milk

Last week I tweeted about my new found love for Peanut Butter Cheerios with homemade almond milk.  I was a bit surprised when a few of my friends asked me for a recipe, because, well hello, these Cheerios are life changing.  And almond milk is you know, just this slightly nutty, creamy medium with a hint of vanilla for the Cheerios to swim in.

Ok, so it’s a bit more than a medium.

I also promised I would post this week, so here I am, sharing my version of “How To Make Almond Milk.”

Because that’s what I, will do for you.

And by you, I mean myself, because that’s what a narcissist gets, as no one wants to read material that’s all about me me me.

But isn’t that what blogging is all about?

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Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Before you get mad at me for posting a cookie recipe less than two weeks after New Year’s…

Did you really picture 2012 without cookies?

I didn’t.

With the cold weather, sunset by 4, and lack of insulated windows in our apartment, I’m baking cookies.

These chewy, chocolate chip cookies.

Any excuse to turn the oven on really.

But! They have half the oil and aren’t tooth-achingly sweet.

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Cranberry Cardamom Bread

Whenever Roo has school vacation I feel pressured into making sure there’s food in the house so that he doesn’t go back to his old ways of living on takeout.

While there isn’t anything wrong with treating yourself once in a while, Roo’s love for Foodler, and Foodler’s love for reminding him what he used to eat as a bachelor, makes me nervous.  Cheeseburgers, chicken parm subs, and pizza, lots of pizza; meals that contribute to high cholesterol levels and make Roo’s doctor say things like “statins.”

Even though I’ll be at work this week, I’m comforted by the fact that I left soup, potstickers and noodles for Roo to have for lunch.

As for breakfast, that’s a little trickier.  Roo is not one who likes to eat anything in the morning so it usually has to be something enticing like “breakfast cake.”

“Breakfast cake” is a term Roo coined months ago, after I started making healthier cakes that lacked frosting, were only slightly sweet, and great with a cup of coffee.  It was a phrase that sounded all too perfect.  And because of that, I couldn’t stop.  I’ve been making “breakfast cake” every weekend since.

This week’s “breakfast cake” was inspired a bag of cranberries I found in the back of my fridge.  With New Year’s approaching, I’ve had a sudden urge to clean and organize everything in the apartment.  The downside is that I find things like an old bag of cranberries that I was suckered into buying because the clever labeling read, “Use One, Freeze One.”

I forgot to freeze the second one.

But, cranberry cardamom bread was made, and like most spiced goods, this cake gets better the longer it sits.

If you’ve never had cardamom before, it’s a spice that I can only describe as citrusy (sure, that’s a word).  The orange zest and cranberries in this cake only enhance cardamom’s flavor; a potpourri of mid-winter awakening.

The outside of the cake is slightly caramelized, yielding a soft, pleasant crunch as you take your first bite.  The crumb is more delicate than for example, a squash based cake, but in no way does it shrink away from the bold, tart cranberries.  The slight sweetness pairs well with the berries that burst mid-baking.

I’m already looking forward to tomorrow morning so that I can have another slice of this for breakfast.

As long as Roo doesn’t beat me to the last slice first.

Adapted from Chez Us

Makes 1 Loaf

Ingredients

1 flax seed egg (1 tablespoon of ground flax seed and 3 tablespoons of warm water mixed and set aside for at least 5 minutes)

Half cup soy milk (or any other non-dairy milk of your choice) and half teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, set aside for at least 5 minutes

Quarter cup of butter (like Earth Balance)

1 cup of sugar

2 cups of white whole wheat flour

One and a half teaspoons of baking powder

Half teaspoon of baking soda

Half teaspoon of fine sea salt

Quarter cup of unsweetened applesauce

Zest from 1 orange

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Half teaspoon cardamom (Cardamom is an intense spice.  If you’ve never used it before try a quarter teaspoon.  And if you hate cardamom – gasp! – try cinnamon.)

12 ounces of cranberries (A bag of cranberries you can find at your supermarket)

Equipment

A stand mixer (or electric beaters and large bowl)

A medium sized mixing bowl

A whisk

A zester

A spatula

A 9″ loaf pan

Parchment paper or grease your loaf pan with either baking spray or butter and flour

Place the oven rack to the middle position in the oven.  Preheat the oven to 350F.

Line the loaf pan with parchment paper (or grease it).

In your standing mixer (or with a electric beaters) add the butter and sugar and cream together for about 3 minutes (until well combined).  Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Whisk the ingredients till well combined (and there are no visible lumps).  Set aside.

To the standing mixer, add the applesauce, flax seed egg, soy milk with apple cider vinegar, orange zest, vanilla extract, and cardamom.  Mix till well combined.  Be sure to scrape down the bowl, going down the sides, and back up, with your spatula.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet.  Mix till just combined, then scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the cranberries and fold into the cake batter with your spatula.

The batter is going to be thick, don’t worry.

Scoop the batter into your prepared loaf pan.  Bake for 50 – 60 minutes.  At the 50 minute marker, check the cake with a cake tester (a toothpick, knife, fork etc).  If it comes out from the middle of the loaf with only a bit of crumb, it’s done.  If the cake tester yielded wet batter still on it, throw the cake back in the oven and bake for another five minutes.  Continue checking every five minutes until it’s done.

Allow the cake to cool to room temperature before serving.