Tomato Caprese with Balsamic Vinaigrette

IMG_3565

IMG_3566

This dish was the appetizer of an international dinner I made for the parents. Juicy roma tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and a bite of basil is as Italian as you can get. And the balsamic vinaigrette is the perfect pairing to step it up a notch. This is so simple that it really doesn’t even need a recipe.

Roma tomato
Fresh mozzarella cheese
Basil leaves

1. Cut tomatoes into medium-thick slices. Cut cheese into slices and place on top tomato. Place a basil leaf onto the cheese, and there you have it. A little tower of pure, fresh food.

Balsamic Vinaigrette
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
Ground pepper

1. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper.

Advertisements

Banana Oat Energy Cookies

IMG_3546

IMG_3554

IMG_3558
Let’s give it up for being home from college and having a full pantry loaded with spices and ingredients. And also for only knocking down the stack of cookies twice before I snapped a picture.

IMG_3557These cookies are healthier than most (no butter, flour, or sugar!) And, they can actually be made into banana oat energy bars by pressing them and baking in an 8×8 pan. And on top of being healthy, this is a perfect way to use up ripe bananas.

Originally from Sally’s Baking Addiction [makes about 20 cookies]
*This recipe is easily adaptable. You can cut the honey/syrup out if you want it less sweet, swap chocolate chips for coconut, or add nuts and seeds. I used peanut butter instead of almond butter, cut the amount of honey in half, and added a few teaspoons of both chia seeds and hemp hearts.

2 and 1/3 cups quick oats
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup almond butter
1/4 cup pure maple syrup or honey
2 large ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
1/3 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 325F degrees. Grease or line large cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
2. Combine all of the ingredients into a large bowl. Using a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon, mix until all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined. The dough will be sticky and thick.
IMG_35403. Each cookie will be 1.5 Tablespoons of dough. Drop this amount onto prepared cookie sheet and slightly flatten the tops into desired thickness. The cookies will not spread in the oven.
IMG_35414. Bake for 15 minutes until edges are very slightly brown. Don’t bake any longer or the cookies will taste dry. Allow to cool on the cookie sheets completely. Cookies stay fresh at room temperature for 1 week. Cookies can be frozen up to 3 months.

Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips

IMG_3360

IMG_3358

IMG_3361

IMG_3349

The healthiest, cheapest, tastiest, and most simple chips to make. Feel free to omit the cinnamon if you don’t want any!

Original recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction
3 apples (any kind!)
ground cinnamon
granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven to 200F degrees. Line two large baking sheets with silicone baking mats (or VERY lightly grease with olive oil, butter, or cooking spray.) Set aside.
2. Wash and thinly slice the apples (use a mandolin if you have one for even slices.) Spread the apple slices onto the baking pans making 1 single layer. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
3. Bake for 1 hour, flip the apples over, and bake for another 1-1 1/2 hours. Turn the oven off and keep the apples inside as the oven cools down for 1 hour. This will help them get crunchy. Some apples may just be chewy and only slightly crunchy after 3 hours in the oven. Store apple chips at room temperature in an airtight container.

Homemade Sugar-free Granola Bars

IMG_3393
IMG_3395These are granola bars/fruit bars/energy bars/who cares what they’re called because they’re the best chewy and nutty bars you’ll every eat. And they’re healthy. And you just made GRANOLA BARS, which no one over does, so you’ll feel extra special.

To make these, you can basically throw anything in a bowl and mix it together. Different kinds of seeds, nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips, pretzel pieces, peanut butter, honey, etc. But make sure you have a binding agent (I used dates blended with water) so they stay together and you get granola bars, not granola.
IMG_3380

Get the original recipe here. I switched it up a little based on what I had in my pantry and used oats, oat flour, chopped up almonds, chia seeds, mejdool dates, all-bran cereal, water, sea salt, vanilla and a tiny pinch of cinnamon.

1/2 cup rolled oats, ground into a flour
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup all-bran cereal
1 cup water
3/4 cup packed pitted Medjool dates
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 325F and line a 9-inch square pan with two pieces of parchment paper, one going each way.
2. Add rolled oats into a high-speed blender. Blend on highest speed until a fine flour forms. Add oat flour into a large bowl.
3. Add water and pitted dates into blender. Allow the dates to soak for 30 minutes if they are a bit firm or your blender has a hard time blending dates smooth. Once they are soft, blend the dates and water until super smooth.
4. Add all of the ingredients into the bowl with the oat flour and stir well until combined.
5. Scoop the mixture into the pan and spread it out with a spatula as evenly as possible. You can use lightly wet hands to smooth it down if necessary.
6. Bake at 325F for about 23-25 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then lift it out and transfer it to a cooling rack for another 5-10 minutes. Slice and enjoy!

Flour Tortillas

We’re starting with the basics here, people. Flour tortillas can be the foundation for so many different meals. Or, they can simply be eaten with melted cheese. I know this because I am pretty sure I ate my weight in quesadillas back in the good old days of middle school (actually Anna and I would split them, so it was half my weight).

Unfortunately nearly all tortillas sold at the grocery store are laden with hydrogenated oils and mysterious ingredients with too many letters. Fortunately, these homemade tortillas are easier to make than those ingredients are to say.

These make perfect pizza crusts for individual sized pizzas. Make a lot and save the extras in the freezer! Kayla, these are perfect for you!


//Why yes, this is a very bad iPhone photo I tried to secretly take so my roommates and their boyfriends couldn’t tell that I was taking pictures of my food. But of course the sound went off.//

Homemade Flour Tortillas (3)
//Original website’s picture//

Homemade Flour Tortillas
from thecafesucrefarine.com

Ingredients:
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1 cup warm water

1. Combine flour, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a stand mixer. With the dough hook attached, mix dry ingredients until well combined. Add oil and water with mixer running at a medium speed. Mix for 1 minute, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl. After about 1 minute, or when mixture comes together and begins to form a ball, decrease mixing speed to low. Continue to mix for 1 minute or until dough is smooth.

2.Transfer from mixing bowl to a well-floured work surface. Divide dough in half, then in half again. Continue until you have 16 fairly equal portions. Form each piece into a ball and flatten with the palm of your hand as much as possible. If dough is sticky, use a bit more flour. Cover flattened balls of dough with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rest for 15 minutes before proceeding.

3. After rest period, heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Roll each dough piece into a rough circle, about 6-7 inches in diameter, keep work surface and rolling pin lightly floured. Don’t stack uncooked tortillas on top of each other or they will get soggy.

4. When pan is very hot, place one dough circle into pan and allow to cook about 1 minute or until bottom surface is lightly browned in places and starting to bubble a bit. If tortilla is browning too fast, reduced heat a bit. If it’s taking longer than a minute to see golden brown spots on underside of tortillas, increase heat a bit. Flip to other side and cook for about 30 seconds. You want the tortilla to be soft but have small golden brown spots on surface. Remove from pan with tongs and stack on a plate till all tortillas are cooked. Allow to cool completely if not using right away, When cool, tortillas can be placed in a large zippered bag or plastic container. They will keep well at room temperature for 24 hours or can be frozen indefinitely.