Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes

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Pancakes are one thing that I prefer to make from scratch. Most people would rather just the boxed mix but I am a firm believer in making my own pancakes, which is mostly because then I can make fun, healthy concoctions.  I made this recipe which is egg free and low calorie. They were really good but I do plan on improving the recipe in the future.

I used this recipe from Foodie Fiasco and instead of just plain pancakes I added blueberries for a sweet and fun touch to the dish.  One of the reasons I love this recipe is because it is so simple, all you do is combine the ingredients and together and pour into a skillet. Simple, easy, and quick. For me, recipes that allow me to move fast in the morning is always a plus. I have a hard time making breakfast food because there just simply isn’t enough time.

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I’ve been in a pancake and waffle mood lately.  Typically, these are foods that I only eat when I indulge, but recently, I’ve been craving them on a normal morning, which is fine because they are so yummy and delicious.  Also, this is a great step for me in self improvement because I’ve been allowing myself to eat them normally.  My relationship with all kinds of food has significantly improved.  I don’t have negative association of certain foods and food fears, and I allow myself to relax and eat what my body wants and needs, rather than what I believe is “healthy.”

So overall, I’ve made some big steps in self acceptance and recovery this year, and I plan on going deeper into that development in another blog post.  Also, I’ve been super MIA lately on my blog because my life has been super hectic right now, but I plan to start updating more regularly. I update my instagram more frequently so follow me on there if you want to more updates, more often 🙂   But for right now, enjoy these yummy blueberry pancakes!

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Recipe found here.

What you need

*I doubled the original recipe, so if you want the original measurements, just halve these

1/2  cup white whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

pinch salt

1/2  cup almond milk

1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

sweetener, to taste (I used coconut sugar)

What To Do
In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and stir until completely combined. Allow the batter to sit for a minute while the pan is heating up.
Spray a skillet with cooking spray (I used coconut oil spray) and heat over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, pour the batter into the pan in 2 tablespoon rounds (or larger, depending on desired size) and cook until golden, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for a few more minutes, then transfer to a plate.

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Note* these pancakes have a pretty strong whole wheat flavor, which I like, but if you aren’t on board with it, you could always use regular flour 🙂

Hope you liked these pancakes and are enjoying your morning!

Love,

Jess

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Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cake

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So this was a big event for me baking wise.  I have been wanting to make a cake for a really long time, but just haven’t had the time yet.  I have made cakes before, but they were smaller.  This is my first real layer cake complete with frosting and filling, so I was really excited.  Mostly I make individual sized desserts like brownies, bars, and cupcakes.

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I wanted to do something different than your traditional chocolate and vanilla.   I found this wonderful recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction, and I knew immediately I had to make it. Originally it called for raspberries, but since I didn’t have any, I substituted with strawberries and it came out wonderful!  Its a vanilla cake recipe and then filled with chocolate chips and strawberries…what more could you want?

Also, just to note, the recipe calls for it to be a 3 layer cake; however, I only had two cake pans, so I just made a two layer cake, which was delicious all the same!

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I brought it to my family for Easter Sunday last week, and everyone loved it! I think its just a really great recipe that can satisfy a lot of different people.

Original Recipe can be found here.

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What you need

Ingredients:

3 and ¼ cups (405g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, melted
1 and ¾ cups (350g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups (480ml) buttermilk*
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup strawberries
Chocolate chips (as many as you want!)
MILK CHOCOLATE FROSTING
1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3-4 cups (360-480g) confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup (63g) unsweetened cocoa powder
3 – 5 Tablespoons (45-75ml) heavy cream (or half-and-half)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract*
salt, to taste*

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Generously coat three 9x9x2 inch round baking pans with nonstick spray (I used coconut oil spray). Set aside.

To make the cake, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl and then set aside. Melt the butter in the microwave in a large bowl. Then, vigorously whisk in the granulated sugar, then the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract. Once the wet ingredients are whisked together, slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until there are barely any lumps. The batter will be very thick – try not to overmix. Fold in the raspberries and chocolate chips – be gentle.

Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans. Bake for 22-24 minutes. Cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the pans on a wire rack.

Make the frosting: Cream the butter with a hand or stand mixer on medium speed for 3-4 minutes. This will create a nice creamy base for the frosting. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and 3/4 cup of cocoa powder. Mix on low. Add 3 Tablespoons of heavy cream and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. If your frosting is too thin, add up to 1 more cup of powdered sugar. If your frosting is too thick, add up to 2 more Tablespoons of heavy cream. Taste and add salt if you prefer.

Assemble and frost: Place 1 layer on your cake stand. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Place 2nd layer on top, and add more frosting on top and spread around the sides.

*I did not have buttermilk, so I just made it myself.  To do this for the 2 cups milk, add 2 two tablespoons white vinegar to it and let sit for 5-10 minutes.

* I forgot to add the salt and vanilla to the frosting and it tasted fine, it was just very rich.  These measurements are from the original recipe, so use if you like.

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This was such a delicious cake, I really recommend it if you’re looking for something a bit different or a bit more sophisticated.

Let me know how you liked it!

Love,

Jess

Earl Grey Cupcakes

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Happy Daylight Savings!

I slept right through my alarm, well I actually turned it off and then promptly went back to bed for another hour, so daylight savings time didn’t really affect my sleep schedule so much as it just put me back an hour into my day. But I actually love daylight savings because now it will be lighter, later at night, and it’s not going to be 5 o clock and pitch black.

Anyways, I feel like a broken record when I say I’ve been so busy lately.  These past two months have been insane, I’ve been living and breathing swan lake, and if i’m not in rehearsal, I’ve been at auditions.  Its been a crazy winter, but its dying down now, and I’ve finally had some time to bake.

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Cupcakes are my favorite thing to bake because you can have so much fun with flavors, decorating, and filling.  I love coming up with fun cupcake combinations, healthy or not.  Today I wanted to stray from the normal chocolate/vanilla and make something a bit more interesting.

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I decided on these Earl Grey Cupcakes from Mrs.B’s Kitchen.  They’re perfect because I love tea and I love cupcakes! The only problem I ran into was the measurements.  Her recipe uses the Metric system, so I had to convert it all to cups.  I think I may have make some calculation errors because the cupcakes came out very dense, almost scone-like.  However, they are still really yummy and I love the flavor, so it doesn’t bother me.

I used red food coloring to dye the frosting a light pink and then topped the cupcakes with edible pearls and silver sprinkles to give them an elegant touch.  These are definitely more sophisticated cupcakes perfect for an afternoon tea or dinner party.

What you need

4 Earl Grey tea bags

1/2 cup skim or low fat milk

1 stick butter

1 cup sugar

1/4 tsp almond extract

2 large eggs

1 cup self raising flour

1 cup flour

Frosting

1 stick butter

1/4 cup milk

4 cups powdered sugar

food coloring of choice

Pre-heat the oven to 350F line a 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake liners.
In a small saucepan, heat the milk on a medium heat until it starts to boil. Take it off the heat and put the teabags in. Cover the saucepan and leave the teabags to infuse for 30 minutes, then dispose of the teabags.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the almond extract and mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a separate bowl, mix both of the flours. Add one third of the flour to the butter mixture and mix gently until just combined. Pour in one half of the warm milk and again mix until just combined. Repeat these steps until all the flour and milk have been added, ending with the flour. It’s really important to not overmix at this stage and only beat until the ingredients are just combined at each addition.
Spoon the mixture into the liners, filling each case to about 2/3 full. Bake for 25 minutes.
Leave the cupcakes to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then place the cupcakes onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting, in a large bowl beat the butter, milk, vanilla extract and 2 cups of the powdered sugar until well combined and smooth. Be prepared to beat the mixture for a few minutes to get a delicious frosting! Gradually add the rest of the powdered sugar and keep beating until well combined and creamy.
You can add a few drops of food coloring to the frosting and beat until the food coloring is evenly mixed throughout.

Original Recipe located here.

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I hope you like these cupcakes! If you try them out, Let me know!

Love,

Jess

Green Monster Smoothie

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OMG.  Green Smoothies are not usually my thing, since whenever I make them they always turn out brown and look disgusting. But the other day I made the most incredible, yummy, and prettiest green smoothie ever, and I just had to share the recipe. I love my instagram, and the best part about it is that I can follow so many different food bloggers, and find out so many new health tips just by scrolling through pictures.  The other day I was reading how a great way to start off your day is with a banana smoothie. Now, for me, a smoothie almost isn’t a smoothie if it doesnt have bananas in it, but I can’t do just a plain banana smoothie-I need to have other flavors in there.  So since I had kale in the house, and an avocado, I figured lets try out a green smoothie one last time.

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Now the key to making green smoothies look pretty is by not putting berries in it.  Or any other dark colored fruit/veggie.  I always wanted to throw all the fruit I had in the blender, and its basic knowledge that when green mixes with pink, funky things will happen. So I decided to keep it simple.

What you need

Handful of Kale

A few chunks of honeydew and pineapple

Half an avocado

Half a container of vanilla greek yogurt

Frozen banana

Little bit of water

Now I didn’t really measure any of this out.  I basically just shoved as much as I could into my nutribullet. The water is important though, because without it you will get a really, really thick smoothie. I usually start with a little, and if it isn’t blending add more.  It just depends on how thick or thin you want your smoothie.

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I have to say though, starting your day off with a smoothie is a really great idea. It gets you energized and refreshed, without making you feel too full or bloated.  Its also a great way to incorporate fruits and veggies into your day. Let me know if you try it and if you like it!

Also, follow me on instagram!

Love, Jess

M&M Cookie Oat Bars

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Valentine’s Day is this Saturday! Normally, I don’t really care for Valentine’s Day, as I never have anyone to spend it with, but it is a great holiday to justify eating tons chocolate, which I plan on doing this year.  Last year, I was on a chocolate restriction during Valentine’s Day, but at the insistence of my friends, I actually let myself indulge in a truffle.  I remember feeling so terrible and embarrassed about it, and thinking it was such a big deal that I had a piece of chocolate.  Now, I eat chocolate everyday, granted it’s usually dark chocolate, but its still chocolate.  I’ve learned that restricting only makes things worse, so let yourself indulge a little everyday.

I’ve been seeing my Instagram, flooded with Valentine’s Day dessert ideas, and I’ve been dying to make one of my own.  One of my best friend’s birthday is tomorrow, so I figured it was the perfect excuse to start baking! I found the recipe for these Healthy Chocolate Chip Oat bars on Pinterest from Half Baked Harvest. Normally, Valentine’s Day means chocolate covered strawberries and just rich chocolatey treats, but I have been really craving cookies lately.  You can never go wrong with a good cookie, so I figured, why not?

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Instead of filling these bars with dark chocolate chunks, I used festive M&M’s (which I know are not healthy) but it uses oats to reduce the flour and uses no butter, so I figured, its kind of healthy. I topped the bars with chocolate chips, and that was a great touch because it allowed there to be melted chocolate on top, since the M&Ms don’t really melt.

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Original Recipe: Half Baked Harvest

What you need

2 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut oil, melted
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
M&M’s to taste and a sprinkle of chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and line a 9×13 inch baking dish with parchment paper. In a large bowl with a mixer add the oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, melted coconut oil, eggs and vanilla and beat until combined and the dough holds together

Fold the M&Ms into the batter and spread batter into pan. Top with more m&ms and chocolate chips.  Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool and Enjoy!

*Note: I needed just a little more than 1 cup of coconut oil, I would recommend putting 1 cup in, and if you feel like you need more, melt a small amount more and add in.

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Hope you liked this Valentine’s Day inspired recipe!

Love,

Jess

Peanut Butter Energy Bites

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My life is so hectic right now, I haven’t had much time to bake, cook, or do anything other than study for finals and go to dance.  When I, surprisingly, had a few hours free last night, I couldn’t imagine starting a whole new baking project, so I searched pinterest for an easy, fast, but yummy recipe to make.

And that is how I found these incredibly yummy and healthy no bake Peanut Butter Energy Bites!

These bites literally take about ten to fifteen minutes to make, and a half hour to chill.  All you do is throw stuff in a bowl, stir it together, and roll into balls.  Simple, quick, and delicious.  To be perfectly honest, my favorite kind of recipe is one that is super yummy but doesn’t require a lot of steps or effort on my part.

These protein bites can be eaten in the morning for breakfast, as a snack, or for dessert; my dad is obsessed with them, and has been having some everyday.

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The recipe is adapted from Gimme Some Oven

What you need:

1 cup old-fashioned oats

2/3 cup coconut shavings

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup ground flax seed

1/2 cup chocolate chips or cacao nibs

1/3 cup honey or agave nectar

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 tablespoon hemp seeds

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.
Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like.  Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

I made about 16 bites but if you roll into smaller balls, you can get about 20-24.

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I hope you liked this recipe!

Love,

Jess

Chorizo and Bean Soup

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Hello Winter!

All the sudden it got very, very cold.  We went from having a 60 degree winter break to an 11 degree day…I have no idea what mother nature is thinking right now.  I’ve been trying to enjoy the cold, but its just so hard.  I’m a warm weather girl, and I simply don’t like being cold.

Anyway, winter is always a great time for soups! Today, my mom and I made a vegetable bean soup with mexican chorizo, and it was very yummy and tasty…perfect for a cold winters day.  Soup is surprisingly really simple to make, and if you stick with low sodium broth, it can be very healthy (as long as you put healthy things in, that is!).  Recently I’ve been on a soup and salad kick, which is always a good combo.

This soup was intended to be a minestrone, but when my mom saw the chorizo in the store, we decided to change it up a bit.  So its basically minestrone with chorizo, or just a vegetable, bean, sausage soup.

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What you need:

1 onion

2 stalks Celery

2 Carrots

1 Turnip

Thyme, salt, pepper, and 3 cloves of garlic pressed, and a bay leaf

2 links of Chorizo, chopped

46 fl ounces Lower sodium chicken broth

12 ounce Can of diced tomatoes

1 green and 1 yellow zucchini

1 can of white beans

Favorite kind of pasta

Prep:

Rinse and drain one can of white beans

Chop up vegetables

Chop up the chorizo

To start:

Add the onion, celery, carrots, turnip, and chorizo to a large pot. Sauté for about a minute and then add salt, thyme, pepper, the 3 cloves of garlic, and bay leaf till tender, or for about 8 minutes.

Add the chicken broth and the can of diced tomatoes; let heat up

Then both the zucchinis and cook for 10-15 minutes

Add more salt and pepper, to taste, and the small can of white beans, rinsed and drained, to the pot.

Let this mixture cook for a 5-10 minutes.

Turn off the heat.

Now, in a separate pot, cook the pasta of choice al dente. Once cooked, add carefully to the soup.

Enjoy (with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top if desired)!

This recipe was a bit more adventurous for me, as I don’t normally make soup, but my mother was teaching me this time, so she did most of the work 😉

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I hope you all are enjoying your winter so far!

Love,

Jess