“hobnobs” oat cookie biscuits

do the phrases “nobbly oaty biscuits” or “one nibble and you’re nobbed” do anything for you? well they should.

I knew someone that lived in Scotland for some time who very quickly fell in love with McVitie’s Hobnobs. I visited her, and then naturally, fell in love with them too.

oaty. crunchy. lightly sweet.

be sure to dip them in tea like the Scottish people do.

or shove stacks at a time into your face if you’re having a good run of foot in mouth disease, as I’ve been having as of late.

I found a copycat recipe and they’re my latest most favorite thing in the whole wide world. they’re gluten and egg free (can even be dairy free) and I love the recipe as-is, however you can swap out the GF flour and xanthan gum for regular flour if you prefer. no biggie. I’m totally making them again for my gluten-sensitive mama, but for now, they’re ALL MINE.

“HOBNOBS” OAT COOKIE BISCUITS
adapted from Celiac Central

1 cup gluten-free oats, whole or roughly chopped or steel cut (I used steel cut)
2/3 cup gluten-free oats, ground in food processor to flour consistency
2/3 cup light brown sugar, spooned (not packed)
1/2 cup gluten free flour (I like Bob’s Red Mill)
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
2 tbsp honey (or maple syrup)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1+1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup butter (or butter substitute), melted
pinch of salt

  1. PREHEAT oven to 325° F. line 2-3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. WHISK oat flour, gluten free flour, chopped oats, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
  3. HEAT butter and syrup in the microwave in 15 second intervals, until the butter melts and the honey/syrup becomes liquid. stir in the vanilla extract and baking soda.
  4. ADD butter mixture to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
  5. DROP 1 tbsp scoops onto lined cookie sheets. the dough will harden as it sits, so try to scoop them out out at once.  flatten slightly with fingers.
  6. BAKE for 10-18 minutes until golden. (my batches only took 10 minutes.)
Posted in bake, gluten free, recipe, vegan | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

DIY LUSH solid lotion bars

LUSH. love their products. so natural. so lovely. so… expensive.

I wanted to make a solid lotion bar similar to those over at LUSH.  the recipe I found has far less ingredients, however a pretty good start and easy to make.

melt and pour. that’s all you do. I highly recommend you purchasing a candle melting pitcher like THIS one to melt all the ingredients. plus you can use it to make your own candles like I do! yes you can be just like me!

I made 12 bars (about 6 cups) for gifts. simple math. 1:1:1 ratio of beeswax, coconut oil, and shea butter. that means 2 cups each. because 2×3=6. GET IT?

DIY LUSH SOLID LOTION BARS
from little eco footprints
makes 12 (1/2 cup sized) bars

1 part beeswax (2 cups)
1 part coconut oil (2 cups)
1 part shea butter (2 cups)
silicone baking or soap mold (must be heat resistant!)
any essential oil (I used 40-50 drops total of a variety of scents)

  1. MELT all ingredients. you can use a double boiler, your microwave, and/or a handy melting pitcher I mention above (put this in a big pot of boiling water). you can throw everything into one pot to melt, or using separate methods to speed up the process.
  2. WHISK (carefully, it’s hot!) to combine. add more essential oil depending on preference.
  3. POUR (carefully, it’s still hot!) into silicone molds and allow to cool completely before popping them out. you can throw them in the refrigerator to speed this up as well. store them in an airtight container.

these things just melt onto your skin. like butter. want to make a really awesome moisturizing body scrub? try this recipe.

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sangria cupcakes with fruit compote topping

prepare yourselves for what mayhaps be the best thing you’ve put into your mouth. in a while, at least. they’re so darn fudge-y and OMG everything has red wine in it.

these cupcakes were my favorite out of the bunch made in a baking class at the BCAE. you can read about my experience HERE.

first I’d like to share some brilliant tips that I learned, thanks to Dustin Rennells, to help you make the best cupcakes ever/gain popularity/be famous/etc SO PAY ATTENTION:

  • butter seriously takes 6 hours at room temperature to soften. you can use the microwave in 15 second intervals in lieu of.
  • beat butter until it’s fluffy and white. this is aeration.
  • crack your eggs individually in a glass to view them. if you break them directly into a mix, you risk spoiling all of your ingredients with a rotten egg and/or shells.
  • sifting is sooo 50 years ago. aerate it by shaking flour over your measuring cup. DO NOT tap the sides to settle while filling:

  • if adding mix-ins (chocolate chips, fruit pieces, nuts), coat them first with flour (within the measurements of the recipe) to help them suspend in the mix rather than settle to the bottom while baking:

  • bake cupcakes on the same level, else they will bake unevenly if you stack them on racks in the oven:

  • remove cupcakes from the pan promptly; they will continue to bake about 3 more minutes if you leave them in.
  • immediately cover in plastic wrap until you are ready to frost, it will keep them moist:

  • allow to cool completely before frosting them.
  • store at room temperature.

now here’s the fun part. DECORATING.

piping frosting into nest shapes:

spooning fruit compote into the centers, like a true professional engineer:

aaand drizzling these bad boys with melted chocolate:

are you ready to make them now? your answer is yes.

SANGRIA CUPCAKES w/ FRUIT COMPOTE TOPPING
makes 24

for cupcakes:
4 eggs
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup boiling water
3/4 cup red wine (Shiraz)
5 oz chocolate chips

1 dark chocolate bar, melted via microwave or double boiler (for drizzle)

for compote:
1 cup pineapple, chopped
3/4 cup strawberries, chopped
3/4 cup raspberries or blueberries, chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup sweet red wine

for red wine frosting:
7 cups powdered sugar
3 sticks butter, room temperature
9 tbsp red wine

  1. PREHEAT oven to 350F. line muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.
  2. BOIL fruit compote ingredients until slightly reduced and thickened. allow to cool completely.
  3. WHISK together cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and boiling water in a heat proof bowl until all is melted.
  4. CREAM butter and sugar together in a larger bowl until fluffy and white. beat in each egg, one at a time. add baking powder and salt. slowly add flour until mixed. add some of the chocolate mixture from the previous step, then wine, alternating until all is blended. this is where I tell you the batter is weird and ugly. fret not!
  5. POUR batter into papered muffin tins almost all the way to the top, as these will not rise much.
  6. BAKE for about 18 minutes. you’ll know they’re done when lightly pressed in the center and immediately bounce back; the toothpick method doesn’t work here. remove from tins, cover with plastic wrap, and let cool.
  7. MIX frosting beginning with wet ingredients, then add powdered sugar.
  8. DECORATE! pipe frosting onto cupcakes in a nest shape, leaving a hole in the center. spoon cooled fruit compote into nests, then drizzle with melted chocolate.

keep dreaming buddybuddy. you have diabetes.

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OAK Long Bar + Kitchen with Blog and Tweet Boston

I recently joined Blog and Tweet Boston for brunch at OAK Long Bar + Kitchen in the luxurious Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel.

“Join us at OAK Long Bar + Kitchen, a stunning new Boston restaurant in the heart of Back Bay. Sip a hand crafted cocktail. Sample a farm to table American menu featuring local ingredients and purveyors.  Savor the dramatic results of an extensive restoration and each thoughtfully curated detail. With simple elegance complemented by contemporary spirit and style, our downtown Boston restaurant was designed to inspire.” -from their website

Extensive restoration indeed, this place is very old and very handsome.

The windows flood the restaurant with copious amounts of sunlight. No worries if you haven’t had your daily dose of vitamin D yet, they’ve got you covered.

Did you catch that pun?

We started with a delightful Hearth Baked Bread served in a cast iron skillet (that I had a hard time sharing with the table and nearly scolded the waitstaff for offering to take the remainder away), and their flatbread special: smoked salmon with cream cheese and capers.

Now I’m what you might call a Bloody Mary snob, so bare with me. My jaw dropped when it was placed on the table, clearly being the size of Jessica as you can see represented above. It was good, but not as spicy as I had hoped, and missing the olives. There are two things that I require in my Bloody Mary: lots of fresh horseradish and a handful of very salty olives.

No biggie though, down my gullet it went.

Onto the Chocolate Hazelnut French Toast. So very decadent and so very rich, thus I recommend it being an item to share. But get it. Definitely get it.

The OAK Burger was juicy and just check out that gorgeous toasted bun! JUST LOOK AT IT.

At $21, the Short Rib Quesadilla was lacking something. It was flavorful, but I think I was expecting it to not be so… flat. Or that it should have a side of jambalaya. Or beans and rice. Or a heaping mound of fresh guacamole. Or you know, something.

I feel the same way about the Eggs Benedict. I love love LOVED the grilled Wolferman’s english muffin, but a scoop of hash or diced potato would be a nice accompaniment.

I’ll definitely go back to grab a classy post-work cocktail with a friend. Aaand more of that Hearth Baked Bread… all to myself and only 5 dollars!

OAK Long Bar + Kitchen is located at 138 St. James Ave. Boston, MA and is a short walk from the T.

This complimentary meal was provided by OAK Long Bar + Kitchen and Blog and Tweet Boston. The opinions expressed here are my own.

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Cupcakes and Cocktails at the BCAE with Blog and Tweet Boston

I recently had the opportunity to join Blog and Tweet Boston at the Boston Center for Adult Education for Cupcakes and Cocktails. Led by Dustin Rennells, this baking class is perfect for all levels of bakers. I’m what you might call amateur so the entire 3 hours was very beneficial for me, but I’m certain the avid baker out there would learn a thing or two from him. Aaaand also have a blast doing it. You just may not be as lucky as me to have Jessica and Kristina as dates.

Cupcakes. Cocktails. Cupcake-Cocktails. Win-Win.

Their set-up is gorgeous and high-tech… I’ve designed a few commercial kitchens, so I know a good hood exhaust when I see one. Has great ventilation to boot, I might add.

Anywayyyyyy.

LET’S DO THIS

Dustin made sure that everyone got to participate in cocktail and/or cupcake mixing/baking/decorating. You’ll get your hands dirty and may even walk out with frosting on your shoe and smashed into your faux-fur trimmed winter jacket. These casualties, however, are totally worth it.

RISE MY CHILDREN.

WHAT WE MADE

Nothing like starting the evening off right with a Cake Frosting Shot. I haven’t had amaretto liquor since college, but I’m seriously thinking about stocking my cabinets with like 10 bottles. A girl’s gotta be prepared for the next snowmageddon, ya heard?

Something else that will distract you from snow? Spring Break Cupcakes made with coconut rum. I was blessed with the task of whipping its amazing strawberry frosting and had a terrible time trying not to stick my mits in it, Winnie the Pooh style. It was painful, I tell you.

Mentally. Painful.

Now let me introduce you to the key to my heart: bourbon whiskey. IN A CUPCAKE EVEN. Read: Brandied Peach Cupcakes with Tangy Brown Sugar Frosting, paired with an Apple Cider Hot Toddy that has a lovely dollop of butter melting in it. Yes, butter and yes I was hesitant and yes now I want to put butter in everything hot that I drink.

Last but not least because these were HANDS DOWN MY FAVORITE: Sangria Cupcakes with Red Wine Frosting and Fruit Compote Topping. OMG yes here is the recipe.

I must also mention that Elizabeth mixed up a most excellent Spicy Winter Sangria, and looked super fashionable while doing so.

OMG CUPCAKES FOR DAYYSSSSS. Thank you BCAE and Blog and Tweet Boston!

WHAT I THOUGHT

This was an excellent introduction for me to the Boston Center for Adult Education. I highly recommend taking their next Cupcakes and Cocktails class, being held on March 28, 2014 from 6pm-9pm for $60 (non-members) plus $25 materials.

The BCAE is located at 122 Arlington Street, Boston, MA 02116 and is a short walk from the T.

This was a complimentary class provided by the Boston Center for Adult Education and Blog and Tweet Boston. These are my opinions about my experience.

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ginger nama shoyu dressing (Life Alive copycat)

OMG have you been to Life Alive? totally in love “The Goddess” dish with Ginger Nama Shoyu dressing.

too bad the place is so friggin’ obnoxious that I hate stepping foot into it.

thank god for the GOOGLE machine.

you have to love two things to love this dressing: raw garlic and raw ginger. it’s pretty intense. I highly recommend eating it with a grain (brown rice, quinoa, etc). without that, I get something else intense: HEARTBURN.

but seriously this stuff is amazing and the recipe below makes a lot. I’m on week 2 of lunch salads. you may want to halve it and go from there, a little goes a long way.

GINGER NAMA SHOYU DRESSING
from Kick Ass Kitchen

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, roughly chopped
1/4 cup fresh garlic
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp nama shoyu (or soy/tamari sauce)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1-1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons olive oil

  1. BLEND garlic and ginger in a food processor until finely minced.
  2. ADD lemon juice, nama shoyu, and salt until combined.
  3. ADD olive oil slowly and blend until the dressing is nice and smooth.

my girl Jessica found a similar recipe that I’m curious to try. the ratios are totally different and it also has tahini sauce. YUM.

Posted in recipe, salads, vegan, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

DIY body scrubs

man it’s dry out. sub zero temps will do that. it’s SCIENCE.

good thing i’m addicted to body scrubs.

good thing they’re easy-peasy to make.

my favorite store bought scrub of all time is Fresh’s Brown Sugar Body Polish. at nearly 70 clams a jar i had to try to make my own.

the basic recipe is very… basic. it’s a 1:2 oil to grain (salt or sugar) ratio. you can use a variety of oils. sweet almond oil. safflower oil. jojoba oil. a mixture of oils. any kind of body oil. i like to use sweet almond oil, it feels a little lighter on the skin and not so, you know, oily. i stay away from olive oil, as it’s very thick. different oils have different oiliness. viscosity. learn it.

here are two scrubs that i love and make regularly. the amount of essential oil is all preference, so feel free to play with that.

DIY FRESH BROWN SUGAR BODY SCRUB

3/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sweet almond oil (or any carrier oil)
essential oils: grapefruit, lemon, orange, bergamont (start with 2-5 drops each)

  1. COMBINE the oils in a medium glass or metal bowl and stir. adjust the scent to your preference a few drops at a time.
  2. ADD the sugars and stir until mixed well.
  3. STORE in an air tight container.

DIY LAVENDER SALT SCRUB

1 cup dead sea salt, medium grain (epsom salt can be used too)
1/2 cup sweet almond oil (or any carrier oil)
essential oil: lavender (start with 5 drops)

  1. COMBINE the oils in a medium glass or metal bowl and stir. adjust the scent to your preference a few drops at a time.
  2. ADD the salt and stir until mixed well.
  3. STORE in an air tight container.

DISCLAIMER: the oils will make your shower slippery; please make sure your drain is working properly. also, salt is wonderful and healing but will burn like a major B if you have a cut. so there’s that.

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dark chocolate walnut skillet blondie

SANTA! santa got me a cast iron skillet!

what’s the first thing you cook in your new cast iron skillet? hmmm…. let’s see…

oh.

i know.

prrrrretty sure by law, you have to break in your cast iron skillet with bacon.

then, naturally, you make some kind of dessert. how about this dark chocolate walnut blondie?

heck. yes.

also i highly suggest inviting someone over to chop the chocolate for you, like little miss runshine. she even brought over three diamond rings! i’ll let her explain that one

DARK CHOCOLATE WALNUT SKILLET BLONDIE
adapted from theKitchn

10 inch cast iron skillet
3/4 cup dark chocolate (70% or higher), chopped
1/2 cup walnuts (or peeled hazelnuts), chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1-1/4 cups flour
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp espresso or coffee powder

  1. PREHEAT oven to 350° F.
  2. WHISK flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. set aside.
  3. MELT butter in skillet over medium heat, then add brown sugar and stir until dissolved.
  4. POUR (carefully!) the butter mixture into the flour mixture, then add the egg, vanilla, and espresso powder. mix with a spoon.
  5. FOLD in the chocolate, nuts, and coconut.
  6. SPREAD the dough into the skillet, and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  7. COOL before slicing!
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kale and roasted cauliflower salad with tahini dressing

i was so excited to make food for the workweek on the last day of my juice cleanse. the great thing about kale, is that you can toss it with dressing and it doesn’t get soggy, making it a great make-ahead salad. keeps for a few days. love it.

but i screwed up. i didn’t use a good make-ahead salad dressing. it was delicious, but i kinda maybe wasn’t thinking that if i blended avocado with other things it will still turn BROWN. duh, you say. DUH.

NO UGLY SALADS ALLOWED.

i guess it just looks like a nice balsamic vinaigrette. but it wasn’t. the damn thing just creeped me out.

so guess what i did? i rinsed it and salad spun it and made another salad! and also a giant mess. i sauteed it a bit because i knew after all of the trauma i put the kale through, it just wouldn’t be the same.

despite all of that i ended up making something even more delicious. i’m so SO very in love with this tahini dressing, folks.

KALE AND ROASTED CAULIFLOWER SALAD WITH TAHINI DRESSING
adapted from REAL SIMPLE

5 cups chopped kale
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 cups shredded carrot
1 head cauliflower, cut in florets
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 c water
1/4 c tahini
juice from 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
salt pepper to taste

  1. TOAST the pine nuts on a baking sheet in a pre-heated 350° F oven for about 4 minutes, stirring halfway. set aside.
  2. TOSS the cauliflower with 2 tbsp oil, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper (to taste). spread on a baking sheet and bake until tender, stirring halfway, about 25 minutes.
  3. SAUTE the carrot and cabbage in 2 tbsp oil for about 2 minutes in a large pan. add kale, stir, and cover with lid for another 4 minutes. don’t overcook the veggies, you just want them to get a bit soft.
  4. WHISK together the tahini, lemon juice, 2 tbsp oil, water, salt and pepper.
  5. TOSS everything together in a big bowl along with the pine nuts.

side note: i  suggest gradually adding and tossing the amount of dressing to your liking. you may have some leftover.

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(another) Raw Generation review

OMG I finally completed. Another. Six. Day. Juice cleanse. I’ve reviewed raw generation before, but this one was a little different. I did the 3-day Happily Ever After Bridal Juice Cleanse followed by the 3-day Skinny Cleanse. Hey, they had some mad sales going on. A girl can’t resist.

Now mother, calm down. I’m not engaged. I just wanted to have radiant glowing pre-bride skin, and I sure got it! All of the juices were delicious, and by day two I was rid of my post-holiday bloat. I miraculously cut out coffee AND booze, and slept like a baby. It also comes with a great cooler to haul them around, recipes, and grocery checklist.

They arrive frozen, in a giant well-insulated box…

So make room in your fridge…

Get out of my face coconut milk ice cream, because this is all I’ll be drinking for the next few days:

no. 1: carrot, apple, beet, ginger. This one will wake you up in the morning and give you a boost of energy, just like the bottle says. Also called “Cecelia”.

no. 2: orange, grapefruit, bell pepper. It smells very much like pepper, but surprisingly doesn’t taste very much like pepper. Very citrus-y, very good, and will keep you stable until “lunch”.

no. 3: apple, lemon, spinach, kale, collards. Prrrrobably the only person on the planet that thinks this tastes like bananas. I love bananas. It works. But seriously, it’s good and filling and nutritious and probably the best one for you out of this bunch. Also known as “Jessica”.

no. 4: cashews, dates, vanilla, cinnamon. I hope you have a sweet tooth, because no. 4 will most definitely satisfy it. VERY sweet, VERY cinnamon-y, VERY filling. It came just in time to distract me from my ritualistic afternoon coffee break. WHEW.

no. 5: fresh squeezed orange. Just what it says. Love me some vitamin C.

no. 6: pineapple, cucumber, aloe vera. Soothing, calming, and for some reason my dog went crazy for the smell of it. Like really crazy. Pretty sure he wanted to get in the bottle. This one is also called “Elizabeth”.

I recommend the Bridal Juice Cleanse if this is your first time, want to gently detox, and simply feel great. If you’re aiming for a more significant weight-loss, go for something greener.

Which brings us to the second half of my 6-day cleanse, the SKINNY cleanse.

I did this one before and really liked it. You can find my previous review HERE. I like to drink these juices in order as pictured above, it just works for me. They don’t specify an order but suggest alternating green with fruit.

My post, ‘juice cleanse 101. YOU CAN DO THIS‘, has some helpful tips, suggestions, and lessons learned for a successful cleanse, should you be interested in doing one yourself!

Good luck and DRINK VERY COLD.

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