You’ve been warned. I said I’d end up baking during these crazy pandemic times. After irrationally craving cinnamon rolls–it is a Sunday morning–, I settled on making a version of Joanna Gaines’ cinnamon swirl quick bread from her cookbook, Magnolia Table. As a Christmas present, I’ve looked through this cookbook, but haven’t had a time to tackle any recipes. Given my brunch cravings and the copious time on our hands, I settled on making Cinnamon Walnut Quick Bread, but a lightened up version of this classic. I still think it’s crazy that the original recipe for this bread was supposed to have 2½ c sugar and a third of a cup of oil. Here, we use just under three-fourths cup sugar, less than a tablespoon of oil, and mix coconut and raisins. It’s perfect right out of the oven, but I recommend it cooling longer than we did, since we were a bit too eager to slice it up, thus left with some crumbly pieces. Ted and I enjoyed this warm, served with a cup of coffee and a side of Greek yogurt and strawberries (see first photo after recipe!). It was the perfect stay-at-home Sunday brunch.
Oh my goodness, can I eat this again? Is it tomorrow yet? I’ve been meaning to pick up some red curry paste since I usually have it on hand, but I’ve honestly been out since maybe the fall? Oops. I was thinking I’d make my crispy coconut tofu bowls for this week, but alas, I was at Trader Joe’s on Monday and their red curry sauce — trying something new! — just called my name. Add the zucchini I intended for the coconut tofu, toss in peppers I had, some brown rice noodles I have from my pantry . . . the rest is history. I folded in a generous, generous amount of cilantro and that paired with lime juice made this dish pop! Thai Red Curry Cilantro Noodles will be your new go-to pasta dish when you want a healthy version on takeout in the comfort of your own home.
Trader Joe’s Palak Paneer is the puréed spinach with Indian spices and a soft paneer cheese dish pictured below. (P.S. I would totally buy this again), and it pairs so perfectly well with whole wheat naan and this Indian Chana Masala. It’s spiced, has a little heat and is balanced with the palak paneer. Grab some naan with dipping or scooping or serve it over rice, and you have a filling, meatless dish.
Not my prettiest of shots, but man, the flavors are there. I love ordering Chicken Massaman Curry when I’m feeling Thai takeout (or the original version of Basil Drunken Noodles or No Fish Sauce Pad Thai), but sometimes, you need all the flavors without the delivery fees. It’s savory, a bit peanut buttery and just plain good curry. Compared to takeout, this curry is less salty, swaps brown for the usual white rice and cuts the fat by using less oil and light coconut milk. I also added a bit more nutrients and flavor with sweet potato instead of potatoes. I saved time using pantry staples like pre-made red curry paste and canned diced tomatoes. I also had rotisserie chicken to use for the week, but I may have to try this with tofu next time. This curry dish is really quite easy using what you probably have in your pantry. Plus, it’s a fun dump-and-run kind of dish, which lets the flavors meld and heighten all on their own.
This was quite fun! I haven’t truly made bread from scratch before, but I’ve made beer bread or ones using a bread machine. I chose to make Whole Wheat English Muffins post finals and as a study break before my next one. Making bread dough from scratch is actually cathartic even if it’s a bit of a waiting game. I got to properly knead dough to add air to it to make it light and fluffy, while also stretching out the gluten strands to give it its texture, and also “punch” it down to remove the extra air after it rises. The key is to stretch out the dough and not to pound it. (Check out The Kitchn‘s guide for exactly how to properly knead dough.) I saw a recipe for homemade English muffins in Real Simple this winter, but I’ve had a big store-bought batch hanging out in my freezer. Even though these are technically dairy-free, they’re still fluffy and just like English muffins are their signature time in the skillet. I also didn’t have cornmeal for the bottom, but never fear! Just be a bit more weary when cooking the bottom since the cornmeal doesn’t act as a buffer.
Kelp noodles are so fun! I never knew they existed until I saw this recipe on TIU. These noodles are super low in calories and carbs and virtually without fat. The noodles have a crunch, an al dente texture and a nondescript taste. They kind of remind me of tofu in the sense that they take on whatever flavors you’re cooking with. I tried my hand at Chicken Kelp Noodle Bowls. I added fresh ginger root, garlic, scallions, soy sauce and lime juice for a fun Asian flair. Toss kelp noodles with chicken cooked in coconut oil and shiitake mushrooms, you have such a fun and decidedly different weekday meal. I liked these so much that I went back to Whole Foods to grab more, but they’re out. I’ll have to make these next week with shrimp — stay tuned!
Confession: apparently I don’t have a square baking pan? I realize this every time I need one and never seem to remember to pick one up when I don’t. This explains as to why I baked my brownies in a pie pan and the pieces aren’t perfect squares . . . I made chocolate cookies using Greek yogurt before instead of butter and loved them. Like those, I made Greek Yogurt “Skinny” Brownies, which baked into dense, yummy brownies. These brownies are lower in sugar, low in fat (with the fat being healthier) and more nutrient packed if you use carob over cocoa powder. I tossed in some chopped walnuts and unsweetened coconut for texture. I was rationing my chocolate chips and would totally add more for next time! I’ve really wanted a true dessert versus just grabbing some dark chocolate pieces and/or some dates post dinner. I’ve been dreaming of some Halo Top ice cream on top of these brownies — stay tuned. It’s going to be amazing.
I found myself making easy, simply omelets in the mornings to use up copious amounts of veggies in my fridge and have been experimenting with different combos. Place omelets are satisfying and oh-so-filling. I’d like to call this one the Simplest Omelet because I found myself making it again and again. I tossed in carrots and spinach with a dash of grated parmesan. I really like sweet, savory and spicy combos. The cranberry or cinnamon raisin English muffin touches on the sweet, the parmesan in the omelet is savory and sriracha adds the spice. Plus, this is a 5 min. breakfast — winning!
UM, YUM! I stumbled upon Izy Hossack’s recipe for this Sweet Potato Bread and I’m beyond glad I did. Her site, Top with Cinnamon, is exactly what I love with cooking and food blogs: clean, simple and straight to the point. I tweaked her recipe and used whole wheat flour, added more spice and swapped the oil base. My only compliant is the loaf came out dense and did not rise very well, but this could be because I kept it true to Izy’s original, which is vegan. Despite not very much added sugar, the agave and sweet potato add just enough sweetness that’s accentuated by the spices. The nuts give the bread a hearty crunch. I whipped up a Greek yogurt spread to serve and the tanginess was the perfect balance.
My New Year’s resolution might be to try new things because I find myself gravitating to recipes I’ve always thought about trying, but never do. Cue a tofu scramble. My only complaint is that I found myself adding copious amounts — for me “copious” is a shake or two — of salt. I rarely salt anything and it seemed strange I was even reaching for the salt shaker in the first place. I got this idea from Minimalist Baker, who is quite a genius with plant based one bowl meals, ones that are 30 min or less or with 10 ingredients or less. With that aside, the tandoori masala spice from Whole Foods was full of subtle flavor; it’s an Indian spice blend of cumin, coriander, garlic, ginger and cardamom. It seems like it would be great to coat some breakfast potatoes. The coconut oil seemed to complement the spices quite well too, as well as the mild kick from the jalapeño. What a different flavor profile for the morning! While I still like my eggs scrambled, Tandoori Masala Tofu Scramble is a savory, protein-filled, one-bowl wonder.