with six foot snow drifts mounting outside my door and about a 36” cover of snow everywhere else in sight, there were few things i wanted to do during this blizzard other than eat grilled cheese and tomato soup.
…ask and you shall receive.
(that little mirror over on the right side of the picture is my car. awesome.)
anyway, i was glued to my couch working from home all day friday and saturday, but once saturday night came around, i was going a little stir crazy. first on my list was whole wheat banana-pumpkin muffins for breakfasts this week. before i started to put everything away, though, i realized i had 1/4 a can of pumpkin hanging around, all my baking goodies out and nowhere to go. so… i made some healthy whole wheat pumpkin dark chocolate chip cookies. in the entire batch, there is less than 1/2 a cup of sugar, whole wheat flour and rolled oats, pumpkin puree, no oil or butter.
unlike 99% of my recipes, i didn’t take step-by-step photos of this one because - to be honest - i didn’t have high hopes! this summer, i was tasked with making oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for my friend adam and i tried 3-4 times before getting them right. when trying to healthify cookies, i sometimes lose my mojo.
to my surprise, they turned out fantastic and i couldn’t help but share them. you get some finished product pictures instead of step-by-step, but i’ll walk you through the process anyway.
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c. rolled oats
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1/3 c. dark chocolate chips
tips & things to do/know before you get started:
-preheat your oven to 350 degrees
-this recipe makes appx. 16 decent-sized cookies
-because there’s no butter/oil, they won’t rise/spread like “normal” cookies, so feel free to put them closer to one another on the baking sheet, but also flatten them out a bit so you don’t wind up with thick cookie puffs
okay now that that’s all settled, let’s get baking!
in a small bowl, whisk together your wet ingredients (pumpkin, vanilla, eggs) and set aside.
in a larger bowl, stir together the dry ingredients, aside from the chocolate chips. once everything is well-mixed, pour the wet ingredients into the dry. the dough will be fairly dry - don’t worry about it. mix in the chocolate chips and make sure they’re evenly-distributed throughout the dough.
line your baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it. roll the cookie dough into balls, flatten them slightly and place them on the cookie sheet. (note: since my dough seemed a little dry, i made sure to knead slightly with my hands to make sure all the flour/dry ingredients were mixed in).
pop them into the 350-degree oven for 13-15 minutes, depending on how well-done you like your cookies.
delicious :) enjoy!
i love a good cupcake. like LOVE. whenever i would take the train home from NYC in the last year or two, i would pop over to the little magnolia bakery stand in grand central and get a treat for the ride home. it would be pretty darn difficult to convince me to get something other than their cupcakes because i even like their frosting and i am NOT a frosting person.
then one day, i was feeling daring. i had heard rumors that their banana pudding was their truly hidden gem, better than any cupcake and i didn’t believe it. i was in new york for a couple of days and knew i could always grab a cupcake later if said pudding was gross, so i went ahead and tried it. let me tell you! it was practically life-changing. HOLY COW!
fluffy, light, sweet, chunks of banana, nilla wafers sort of soaked by the pudding so they were cakey, not crunchy. basically, i wanted to bathe in this stuff.
fast forward to a visit from my friends allie & adam this december. i had a hankering for some pudding (because, well, when do i not crave it??) and as a surprise, they brought some in with them from the city (!!!). best surprise ever?
i ate it slowly because i didn’t want it to end, so i was on the 1-2 Tablespoon a day plan until i realized it would go bad at that rate. i even (gasp) shared some of it.
as soon as it was over, though, i needed more. my schedule would not allow for any trips to new york soon, so i was left to my own devices, the internet and the grocery store. turns out their recipe had been released a few years ago in the magnolia bakery cookbook.
in all honesty, i didn’t follow this recipe completely (in hopes of reducing a wee bit of the sugar and fat). it still tasted AMAZING, i felt a little less guilty about eating it, but the pudding just didn’t have the light, fluffy texture that the real stuff has. to be honest… i’m okay with that. the magnolia version is an amazing treat a few times a year - this stuff was a nice compromise.
if you’re interested in the real recipe, buy the book check it out here. if you don’t mind nixing half the evaporated milk, holding off on half the cookies or swapping out heavy cream for the lighter variety, check out my version here!
8 oz. sweetened condensed milk (1/2 a standard 16 oz. can)
1 1/2 c. cold water
small box instant vanilla pudding
1.5 cups light cream
1/2 box Nilla wafers
3 bananas, sliced
not too intimidating of an ingredient list, eh?
first mix together your sweetened condensed milk, pudding and water in a medium bowl. once it’s dissolved together, pop it in the fridge and let it sit for 3-4 hours.
i tried to whip my light cream and fast forward… it does nothing but froth it. i actually liked this step, but feel free to skip it. by using light instead of heavy cream, you not only save plenty of fat, but you also take away the ability to make whipped cream. hence the lack of the light, fluffy pudding found in the original. this method still makes it less “gloppy” and solid than normal pudding, though, so i recommend it!
anywho, after you whip/attempt to whip the cream, fold in your pudding that should be set in the fridge.
while that sits for a second, slice up your bananas and open up the nilla wafers. get out a large glass bowl/trifle and then get to layering!
pudding > bananas > nillas so on and so forth until you run out of all the ingredients! make sure you’re topping it all off with a final layer of pudding.
and there you have it! a slightly less decadent, still totally amazing version of magnolia bakery’s famous banana pudding :) enjoy!
hi kiddos - happy new year! apologies for being totally MIA. i have been falling off the recipe wagon and even the monthly recap train. all forms of transportation - fallen off.
i guess sometimes it’s more important to be living your life rather than blogging about it, eh? that and a serious case of vacation, holidays and long term dogsitting have gotten in the way. excuses, excuses. i know. i’ll pipe down.
but hey, now it’s 2013. and i know the number 13 has a bad reputation for being awfully unlucky, but i say screw it. this year will be fabulous - mark my words.
while i don’t usually believe in new year’s resolutions (i’m more of a monthly goals gal, myself), here are some things i’d like to do in 2013:
read more.i always say this, but after cleaning out my childhood bookcase this past weekend, i remembered how i used to DEVOUR books and how much i loved reading. hate to say it, but i think it was school’s fault that i started to hate the activity. i’ve also come to the conclusion recently that i much prefer non-fiction to fiction. give me a funny memoir any day of the week. anywho, i got an ipad and am hoping that a high tech e-reader is the answer to my prayers. i’ll flip a page with a flick of my finger and i won’t have a pile of dust-collecting books taking up valuable real estate in my room once i’m done with them.
pay off my student loans. the beauty of moving home after a few years living on my own is that alllll the money i would have put towards rent and utilities has gone straight to the us dept of education and dear old sallie mae. while i absolutely detest these folks, i’m proud to report that i am aiming to rid my life of them by my birthday. about eight years ahead of schedule, but not a moment too soon. (don’t worry, though, i still think my education and college experience were worth every penny)
start grad school. the only stinky part about goal #2 is that DoE and sallie will be welcomed back into my life a few months later if and when i start grad school. great… i think this decision will pay off big time in the long run, even if it makes me slightly grumpy for the next 2.5 years. if i’m going to be serious about this goal, though, maybe i should focus a little more on studying for the GRE, which i’m taking in t-26 days. just a thought.
drink more water.i’ve fallen off the wagon from my days as a loyal #100ozchallenge member and i really need to get back into sipping h2o at my desk and carrying it with me. sure, it might result in a great many bathroom breaks, but it’s for the best. i think i’ve found the key to my success at this challenge lies in the power of straws. am i wrong or is everything more fun to drink with a straw?
run three 5k’s. last year i ran two (one in person, one virtual) and i’d like to step up my game by completing three this year. also, by run, i mean any combination of running and walking that i see fit. at this point, i could care less about my finishing time and just care more about finishing. i’ve already got one on my calendar for the end of march, so we shall see where else i round out my list of three!
follow the one-minute rule. when i was reading gretchen rubin’s the happiness project, one of my favorite tips was her one-minute rule. if any task you need to do (call in a prescription, file a bill or pick up a pair of shoes) will take less than a minute, JUST DO IT. if you keep putting it off, you’ll eventually have a pile of shoes, a thick stack of bills or will be scrambling at the last minute to get to the drugstore. if you just take care of it at that moment, though, you weirdly will end up with less of a mountain of chores and more free time, i’ve found. i love, love, love this goal, because it has already worked wonders for me in the first week of the year.
bite the bullet.i love pen pals and value relationships, but i am terrible about putting off email responses and dawdling when it comes to making phone calls i don’t want to make. i need to just get them over with and be a responsible grown up… at least in this one small aspect of my life!
make a portfolio website. you might not know it, but i design websites and graphic design elements in my spare time. for lots of people, too! i am so proud of some of the work i’ve done, but have nowhere to display it. i’m not sure if i’ll make it a tab on this ole blog that i can link people to or start a whole new site, but i need somewhere to show off my stuff!
downsize.i’m insanely sentimental - as seen in the picture above, where i’m sporting a nursery school headband, my first pair of goggles and a sequined headband from my third grade dance recital..). i still have napkins from airplanes i took on my first trip to california when i was 12 and purses from sixth grade. at the end of the day, i don’t NEED this stuff. if it doesn’t fit, isn’t in style or isn’t representative of some monumental moment in my life, i have a feeling there is someone else who could use it (donate!) or the garbage would really appreciate it. before i moved home, i tackled a monstrous purge of the contents of my room, but after settling back in for a year and a half, i’m sure i can afford another sweep through.
think of tv as a reward, not a hobby.i love television. like love, love, love it. i swear netflix and the dvr are the demise to any exercise routine or productivity in my life. i need to remind myself that tv is a reward when i’ve done everything i NEED to do, not just a nightly activity. also… less mindless tv (i’m looking at you,keeping up with the kardashians) and more dedication just to the series i love.
go to sleep earlier.(gratuitous picture of my favorite snuggle buddy, lulu - yes i’m hidden under those covers somewhere) whenever i get into a routine of going to bed earlier, i am reminded how much i LOVE it. nothing good happens after 1030p when i have work in the morning and i always feel so much more refreshed in the morning when i get a good night’s sleep. i can’t control when i have to get up in the morning, but i can control what time i go to bed at night. also, note to self: you’ve seen every episode of friends at least six times. you don’t need to stay up until 1130p every night to catch an ep before sleep.
be grateful. pretty simple - and yes, i recognize this quote has nothing to do with gratitude - i just needed somewhere to put it. i know i’m very lucky and have an amazing family, friends, job, my health, etc. sometimes it’s easy to forget to be grateful for these things, but i’m going to make every effort to be more mindful of this in 2013.
what are you going to focus on in the new year?