This year has already gotten off to a great start. I’m much busier than I was last year, but since I’m no longer a freshman, I have a year under my belt and have a general idea of what to expect for this year. Probably the biggest differences are in the living situations. I’m living in a single in a suite on campus, and some of my friends have an apartment about 15 minutes away. I don’t see them quite as frequently as when they lived literally in the dorm next to mine, but that’s also because we just all have more homework. So far, it’s been a great balance, and I’m hoping that will continue even in the chilly winter bound to come sooner rather than later.
I’m not the only person who likes to cook but lives in a dorm, so there’s a lot of recipes out there that I can make in my cozy dorm room. I have a mini fridge/freezer in my room, but the lounge has a microwave and a toaster. My friends in the apartment do have an oven, so I’ll try to make some stuff over there, but for the most part these are going to be my quickie recipes that I make for myself in my cozy single.
Breakfast is hands down my favorite meal of the day, and always has been. Aside from the food being undeniably the best out of any meal, I’ve realized that by sitting down and eating ~real food~ (not energy bars) for just gets my day started on the right foot. Overnight oats are not a new thing in the blogosphere, so I think I’m a little late jumping on the bandwagon. I don’t really measure what I put in (I just eyeball it based upon how hungry I think I’m going to be), but I’ll give you guys estimates. I made this batch with banana kefir, which was really delicious. It’s creamier than almond milk, but gives you the tang of the yogurt without getting too thick. Topped with fresh strawberries (which are quite a delicacy here), it’s the perfect way to start the week on the right track!
Strawberry Banana Overnight Oats
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup banana kefir
1-2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 teaspoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
In a jar or mug, mix together the oats, kefir, chia seeds, agave, and cinnamon until well combined. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Top with fresh berries.
They’re oat-a this world! (If you can think of better oatmeal puns, please let me know!)
Good morning! I hope that spring has treated everyone nicely so far. This past month has been very hectic, and it’s only bound to get busier now that concert season is starting up. Within the next 3 weeks, I have my senior recital, my final orchestra recital, my chamber recital (with my group at MSM), my final orchestra recital (at my high school), and plenty more that I’m sure I’m forgetting to mention here. I love the spring, but it doesn’t leave me much time to actually get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather.
This weekend was especially wonderful to me because it was my last gymnastics meet in the USAG program. At states at the end of March, I qualified to my 3rd consecutive regional team for CT and had the opportunity to compete in Boston this weekend. It was such a fun meet, and I still can’t believe that after all of the hours of work I’ve put in, that this weekend was the end of my competitive career. It was by no means an easy road, but I wouldn’t have traded my experience for the world. I love gymnastics, no matter how much beam and I don’t get along. 🙂
Even though I was in the heart of training for regionals and preparing for the endless recitals coming up, I wanted to make sure that you guys weren’t left in the dark, and made these lovely springtime muffins to share with you. I love meyer lemons, but since they aren’t available very often I try to make the best of it when they’re there. These muffins are a lovely, light way to start off your day, with the slight tartness of the lemons and the crunchy turbinado sugar on top adding wonderful texture to the otherwise soft muffins.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Position rack in center of oven. Butter or spray with a non stick cooking spray 12 – 2 3/4 x 1 1/2 inch muffin cups. Set aside.
In a large measuring cup or bowl whisk together the egg, buttermilk, oil, Meyer Lemon juice and vanilla extract.
In another large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest. Gently fold in the berries. With a rubber spatula fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are combined. Do not over mix the batter or tough muffins will result.
Fill each muffin cup almost full of batter, using two spoons or an ice cream scoop and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from pan.
To say that I’m ready to wear big cozy sweaters and tall boots again would be an understatement. September is my favorite month, not just because my birthday happens to be in it, but because the weather starts to change to getting cool enough to break out the fall clothes but you don’t need a heavy winter coat, and the red and yellow (and brown) and orange leaves around have to put you in a good mood. And for those of us that are still in school (aka me), I’m back in high school, starting my senior year.
When I was little, going back to school was such an amazing time. I would get new pencils, pens, highlighters, markers, backpack, notebook, paperclips, and about anything else that was pink and sparkly. Now that I’m in my last year of high school, I don’t really get the same excitement about it, but using a new pen or eraser is still a little bit fun. The main downfall of going back to school? Not having time to do anything that isn’t school related. It seems that my life now revolves around 3 AP classes and college essays, with a little bit of piano quintet and music theory thrown in there. Baking? I wish.
A classic of the back-to-school lunchbox is the granola bar. I’ve made them in the past, but these little squares of almond-y jammy goodness are a much better way to start of my school morning. If you make these the night before, they’re an easy grab and go breakfast, and anything homemade just gets my day off to a better start. They come together in a pinch, so even if you don’t have time to make a layer cake, even just a homely little granola bar can brighten your day.
Back-to-School Strawberry Granola Bars- From One Sweet Cookie
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup strawberry preserves (or whatever flavor you want)
Slivered almonds (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8 inch square pan and line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.
Spread the pecans in a single layer on the prepared half sheet pan. Bake for about 5 minutes, or until lightly golden and fragrant. Cool completely on the pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, and pecans. Pour in the melted butter, and using a wooden spoon, mix together until well combined. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan. Press the dough evenly into the pan, forming a packed layer.
Using an offset or silicone spatula, spread the preserves over the dough. Evenly sprinkle the slivered almonds over the top. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and fragrant. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let it cool completely.
Even though it’s only Tuesday, my week is already fantastic. I was able to finish all of my finals early last week so I would be able to come to Ottawa, Ontario, to attend a summer music program! So yes, I’m technically blogging internationally, which is totally a first for me. I’m having so much fun meeting other kids and seeing some old friends too, and I can’t wait to spend 2 weeks here.
In addition to all of the music fun that’s been happening, we had our yearly gymnastics banquet last Friday night. It was so sweet seeing everyone from the gym dressed up in their pretty dresses and sparkly shoes (especially the little kids), but it was also emotional because the gymnast who is a senior this year is leaving after 16 years at Arena. We are all so proud of her and know that she’ll be an absolute start in college gymnastics!
Since my summer is just beginning (even though it’s not June 21), I thought that I would share an absolutely delicious tart with you guys. My mom has been working away at her website, which is sure to be launched in August, and I’ve been helping with a lot of the baking. We had a nice selection of strawberries that were begging to be used, and they were just too pretty to shove into a pie or crumble. This recipe is courtesy of Molly O’Neill, former food writer for the New York Times.
Strawberry Almond Tarts
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1/4 cup ice water
4 ounces almond paste
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and halved Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish.
1. Place the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until butter is the size of small peas. Add the water and pulse until dough barely begins to come together. Press the dough together with your hands, flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough out to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Fit it into a 9 1/2-inch quiche dish. Line the crust with parchment paper, fill with pie weights or raw beans and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the paper and the weights and bake for 2 minutes more. Set aside.
3. Place the almond paste and butter in a food processor and process until smooth. Mix in the flour, sugar and salt. Add the egg and vanilla and process until smooth. Scrape the mixture into the tart shell, spread into an even layer and bake until set, about 15 minutes. Cool.
4. Make a ring of strawberries around the edge of the dish, leaning the cut side of the berries up against the edge. Repeat, making concentric circles until the tart is covered. Just before serving, sift confectioners’ sugar over the top. Cut into wedges. Serve.
With the last weekend of summer closer than I would like it to be, I needed to give you guys a great recipe that uses up some of those delicious summer berries that I have been eating in every conceivable way this summer. Whether it be in cakes or cookies or just straight out of the container, I love summer berries and strawberries are no exception. While it can be a challenge to even get my hands on the strawberries in our house, I managed to grab a crate of locally grown strawberries that were just a day or 2 past their prime, which made these muffins even more delicious.
When I first saw this recipe on Taste of Home, I was a little bit suspicious. I’ve had my fair share of recipes with fruit in them that have left me with a wet soggy muffin mess that is just nasty. But with the locally grown strawberries begging to be used, I thought that I would give this one a shot. And boy, am I happy I did that! These were perfectly moist without being soggy in the least bit. They work with any fruit you have and are sure to brighten up your early school mornings!
Makes 12 Muffins
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt (vanilla yogurt works well)
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups coarsely chopped fresh or frozen unsweetened strawberries
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare 12 muffin tins. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, butter and vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 additions until just combined. Fold in the strawberries.
Scoop the batter into each muffin tin, making sure each one is even. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out cleanly. Let cool for 5 minutes then dig in!
Such a simple way to make your mornings that much better!
When we hear strawberry shortcake, cookie doesn’t come up in my mind. So when we had the most adorable little strawberries, I couldn’t not bake with them. No rhubarab so there goes my strawberry rhubarb pie, but I had just gotten heavy cream while I was at the store getting butter for the Nutella Buttercream (see Baci Blondies with Nutella Buttercream ) Helloooooo heaven. These were so light and refreshing compared to the bold flavors of the chocolate and Nutella in the brownies. They were just sweet enough, but oh so tasty.