Fall Almond Cookies

Annnd I’m back after unannounced summer break. Have you ever just wanted to cut out all distractions and soak up the last bits of summer, and then your computer dies, and then your camera dies, and then your computer dies again? That happens to people right =).

These cookies remind me of running cross country in the fall and sitting in the back of the bus going to away meets. See, H and I would always make cookies for the team when we were traveling. We’d meet at her house the afternoon before the big day, after an easy or no practice and bake up a storm. One time while gathering all of the ingredients she took out the almond extract instead of vanilla. I was shocked and a little taken back.
me: “Almond instead of vanilla?”
H: “Yup, my mom and I do this sometimes for a different flavor. It’s nice trust me.”
me: “But that’s not what the directions say.”
H: “Haha, you don’t always have to follow the directions word for word Jo.”
A wise one that H.
Adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TB almond milk
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 TB almond milk

In a large bowl or standing mixer beat butter, sugar, and baking powder until fluffy. Add in the egg, almond milk, and almond extract and beat until well combined. Beat in as much flour as you can. (At this point I started a raise an eyebrow… as much as I could? What about the rest?) The original recipe said after you couldn’t beat anymore, to just stir the rest in. The dough was looking a little dry so I added a little more milk and continued to use my mixer haha. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375. Divide the dough in half so you can work in batches. Sprinkle a large cutting board with a little bit of flour. Take the first half of the dough leaving the second in the fridge, roll out the dough until it’s about 1/8 in thick. Using your favorite fall cookie cutters cut the dough in shapes! Carefully place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 7-8 minutes. Place the unused dough back in the fridge and repeat with the second half.

When cookies are done transfer to a wire sheet and let cool. Perfect time for the icing. In a bowl whisk together powdered sugar, almond extract, and the almond milk. Once the cookies have cooled completely, brush with icing and sprinkle festively!

Mini Bacon and Asparagus Quiches

Processed food is a funny thing. Crescent Rolls. Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts. Duncan Hines Classic Vanilla Frosting. All things you’d think I’d be allergic to but contain 0% dairy. Praise the food Gods.

The crescent rolls come in particularly handy when making mini quiches. Pie crusts are usually safe as well, but why cut something into 12 pieces when it’s already been done for you? I’d been craving quiche lately after seeing L make one. I took some inspiration from the “I LOVE BACON!” book’s Bacon, Asparagus, and Gruyere Quiche. The bacon book’s recipe used a lot of heavy cream and whole milk though. While I can find those soy substitutes, I was looking for something lighter and found a little inspiration from Eatingwell.com too!
Yields 12 mini quiches.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans crescent rolls
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup almond milk + 1 TB lemon juice (substitute buttermilk!)
  • 8 slices turkey bacon
  • 6 asparagus spears cooked (I used frozen and thawed… you know… lazy), chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups daiya cheddar style shreds
  • celtic sea salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 350. Grease a muffin pan liberally with cooking spray. Line muffin cups with crescent rolls, cutting dough to fill in holes when necessary.
On medium heat, fry up bacon in a large skillet. Crumble or chop bacon into bite-sized pieces.
Whisk together eggs, egg whites, and milk in a small bowl. Sprinkle bacon, asparagus, and cheese into individual cups. Divide the egg mixture evenly among the cups.
Bake mini quiches until the tops are light brown about 25 minutes.
Hopefully the quiches won’t stick too much, use a knife to loosen if needed.
Savor bacon, cheesy, buttery goodness with a little less guilt =).

Zucchini SoCo Cream Pies

Last night, August 8th, was “Sneak some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Night!” Strangest national holiday ever. I know you all participated. Much to L’s disappointment our neighbor’s did not haha. Must not be an abundance in the city. But that didn’t stop me from sharing the wealth! I whipped up these babies for my friends at work and they were D·E·L·I·C·I·O·U·S. Like an oatmeal cream pie crossed with zucchini bread and dipped in a little Southern Comfort =)
Adapted from marthastewart.com.

Ingredients:
Cookie:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp celtic sea salt
  • 1 1/2 Earth Balance buttery sticks, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light-brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp bourbon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup zucchini, finely grated
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Frosting: 

  • 8 ounces Better Than Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp Southern Comfort or other liqueur

In a medium bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate large bowl (or standing mixer) cream together 1 stick of butter and both of the sugars until fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla mixing well to combine. Stir in zucchini, oats, and walnuts. Refrigerate dough for about 1 hr.

Pre-heat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a large cookie scoop (about 2 TB) spoon out dough 2 inches apart. Bake cookies until the edges turn a crisp golden brown, about 17 minutes. Let cool completely.

For the frosting beat the cream cheese, confectioners sugar, and liqueur together until fluffy. Martha only used 1 cup of sugar, but I wanted my frosting a bit thicker so I added some more. After that it still wasn’t thick enough so I refrigerated it over night.

When the cookies are cool, and the frosting is thick and ready spread heaping amounts onto the flat side of a cookies. Sandwich together with another cookie. Eat and repeat!

Lobster Rolls with Lemon Oil and Garlic Butter

To say that I love lobster would be an understatement. I am a New England girl after all ;-). I once stayed in a relationship that was very much over a couple weeks too long because my boyfriend at the time bought me a lobster dinner for my birthday. Part of me felt guilty, but part of me was like “Maybe he’s not that bad… because… you know… LOBSTER!”. Sad, but true. Are lobster goggles a thing yet? If not, I’m coining it.

When the dairy allergy hit (yup I’m discussing it like a natural disaster) my options to eat lobster in a restaurant became very limited. In my opinion, the best way to enjoy it is definitely steamed with a big vat of melted butter. However my chances of finding a place that substitutes with Earth Balance are not very high haha.

Also, I’m not sure if you’ve ever cooked lobster at home, but it’s a little intense and tends to stink up your whole house. Whenever we did growing up, we’d steam them outside… big pot on the grill… at my grandparents house.
(me and d$… so happy… I couldn’t wait)(look at that pout haha… I just want my lobster Uncle Brian!)

I wasn’t looking for a big production, and since L’s slightly afraid of my favorite crustacean, I decided to buy some cooked meat and go the lobster roll route. No muss, no fuss, and no lobster feelers staring down L when she opens the refrigerator :-).

I found this really cool mom and pop type store Alive & Kicking Lobsters down the street from me. I ended up buying by the pound, and while it was pricier than my normal meals I got a decent size tail + claws for about $7.50. Not bad at all. Actually it could be terrible and I have no idea since this was my first time buying lobster meat, but I already had those lobster goggles on!

I knew right away I wanted to go butter style and not mayo since that’s what I am really missing!
Modified from Gourmet.com
Serves 6.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb. fresh lobster meat
  • 1/3 cup fresh chives, snipped
  • 1/3 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 TB lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Earth Balance buttery stick
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 whole wheat hot dog buns

Lay out all of your lobster on a cutting board and revel in all it’s beauty. Took a LOT of will power to not just eat it right there.
Chop lobster up into bite-size pieces, and place in a medium size bowl. Add in chives, celery, and parsley.

In a small bowl whisk together olive oil and lemon juice. Add in 1 TB  at a time to the lobster mixture and stir until evenly coated. I say that because I’ve been making these one day at a time and using 1 TB per serving. You could just dump it all in. Seemed like a lot of oil to me though.

Toast hot dog buns in toaster oven for 1-2 minutes. I placed mine upside down using the lines of the grill to hold the inside open. In a separate small microwavable bowl, place the butter with the garlic and melt for 45 seconds. Brush the inside of the bun with the butter mixture.

Stuff the hot dog buns with lobster mixture. They should hopefully be over-flowing. Maybe serve with some Summer Ale Fries. Try to fight off the effects from the lobster goggles, but I totally understand if you can’t :-).

Summer Ale Fries

Every now and then I come across a recipe that makes me think “I need that… in my belly… right now.” These fries did exactly that haha. Also, I love cooking with beer and it had been way too long. They were just the right amount of crunch, salt, and the little bit of grease you sometimes need after a late night. The perfect Sunday Funday food.
Yields 4 side servings if you’re willing to share =)

Ingredients:

  • 3 russet potatoes
  • 2 bottles summer style ale (I went with Harpoon!)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • 2 tsp celtic sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

First step is to slice the potatoes lengthwise in similar size sticks. Cut the potato in half and lay it flat to make it easier. In a medium size bowl marinate the potatoes in the beer for 15 minutes, tossing a few times. Pre-heat the oven to 425.

Drain the beer and mix the potatoes with the oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay fries out in a single layer (no stacking!). Bake for 45 minutes, turning once or twice.  After sprinkling with a tad more salt, enjoy with an ice cold Summer Ale =).

Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin in July… so weird right?! This weekend I was going through my pantry looking for something to put together without buying any food (read: Joanna spent too much money at Sephora). I ended up throwing away a fair amount of stuff that was past it’s due date, which I HATE doing, but I guess it’s for the best. I happened upon a can of pumpkin that read “July 2012”. Phew safe for the fall. But then I read the bottom that said “July 2011”! Massive fail on their part. Not wanting to waste anything else… especially pumpkin… some pancakes were definitely in order.

I never make them from scratch. I don’t know why. It seems like a fairly easy task yet I always use a mix. Trader Joe’s used to have this uh-mazing dairy-free one but I haven’t seen it around lately. When I got the usual “Did you find everything you were looking for today?” line I spoke up and the guy said that I was probably the only one buying it. Touché.
Yields 12 pancakes.

pancake mix + ingredients it calls for
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
handful of pecans for garnish (optional)

Make the pancake batter as directed. Whisk in canned pumpkin, cinnamon, and pie spice. Heat a large pan on medium and pour batter using the 1/4 measuring cup. Once small bubbles start forming on the top, it’s time to flip. Top with pecans and lots of maple syrup =).

Cookies n Mint Marble Frappe


The other day H’s status was “mint oreo frappe”.

That sounded heavenly on a really hot day.

It was all I could think about… until now =)

Serves 2.
Ingredients:

Melt the remainder of the chocolate bar in a small glass. Place the frozen desert, milk, and the 5 whole cookies in a blender. Pulse until desert and milk are combined and cookies are in pieces. Drip the melted chocolate along the inner walls of the glasses you’re using. Pour frappe into glasses. Top with Rice Whip and sprinkle on the crushed cookies. Garnish with reserved chocolate and mint leaves.