Christmas Time is Here

“Where do you think you’re going? Nobody’s leaving. Nobody’s walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We’re all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We’re gonna press on, and we’re gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he’s gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse.”

Clark Griswold, Christmas Vacation-

Watching Christmas Vacation in this house pretty much signifies that the holiday season is in full swing.

Christmas Vacation

I set out big pot of white bean and spinach soup, maple cinnamon popcorn, and a couple cherry and pomegranate martinis.

Then we slurped, crunched, and sipped our way through all the  Griswold shenanigans.

In a perfect Christmas world, I would have a cup of old-fashioned egg nog sloshing around a Marty the Moose glass in one hand, and  a big old piece of rich chocolate fudge in the other hand.

Marty the moose mug

Since raw eggs aren’t my thang, I’ve developed quite an affection for Silk Nog.

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It’s especially delicious in hot mug of coffee when you can’t get your hands on Marty the Moose.

Christmas Vacation Moose Mug

And you know what makes that hot cup of nog coffee even better?

That’s right.

Fudge.

Vegan Fudge.

TWO INGREDIENT VEGAN FUDGE.

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It’s a Christmas Miracle!

It’s  a Wonderful Life!

It’s the hap, hap, happiest Christmas discovery since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye.

There are no weird or unusual ingredients in this recipe, which is annoyingly common in vegan fare.

Coconut butter?

Sorry my small town Food Lion just ran out of their last jar.

Usually it’s next to the Kale chips and Spirulina powder but that $20.00 jar of coconut butter seems to be flying off the shelves.

No worries, the only two things you need for classic, no fuss fudge is chocolate frosting and chocolate chips.

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That’s it.

In all honesty, I skipped the plastic container of frosting, even though it is often curiously vegan, and made a batch of my own.

I used the recipe found in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, but your favorite frosting recipe should work.

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World

I also use Ghiradhelli semi-sweet chocolate chips because they are non-dairy and delicious.

Semi-sweet chipsUse whatever you have and whatever you like.

If you’re so inclined, you could use any combination of frosting and chips.

White Chocolate Cinnamon?

Caramel Butterscotch?

Chocolate Peppermint?

The possibilities are endless.

VEGAN CHOCOLATE FUDGE

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1 cup of chocolate chips

1 cup of chocolate frosting

Melt chocolate chips over a double boiler or simply microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each round.

Stir together melted chocolate chips and frosting until smooth.

Spread evenly into 9 x 5 loaf pan, heavily greased or lined with tinfoil

Refrigerate until firm.

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Vegan Chocolate Fudge?

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Hallelujah! Holy Shit!

Where’s the Tylenol?

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Batch 29

This week hit me like a Mac truck.

Maybe it was all the sugar.

Or the long hours at work.

Or the sugar.

Desserts in this house are a recipe for disaster.

They usually require a vacuum.

Because we can Hoover us some cake and cookies.

So when I was thinking of what to make for the husband’s birthday, it seemed like a terrible idea to have an entire cake seducing us with it’s rich, chocolatey aroma.

Cupcakes seemed like a reasonable alternative for their perfect little portion controlled cakelettes, but the idea of 12 cupcakes lingering on my kitchen counter was enough to make my insulin jump just thinking about it.

So I took a little foray into small batch baking.

And came up with a recipe that makes four svelte servings of chocolate brownie cupcakes.

Not wanting to dirty up an entire cupcake pan, I poured the batter right into four ounce mason jars.

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And when they emerged from the oven all cupcake and crackely, I heaped on some brandied cherry topping.

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Because I can’t pipe frosting to save my life.

And I can’t make frosting if I use all the powdered sugar practicing my skillz.

SMALL -BATCH BLACK FOREST

BROWNIE CUPCAKES

(Makes 4 cupcakes)

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For the cherry topping:

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1  (12 oz.) bag of frozen cherries

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons arrowroot starch

1-2 teaspoons brandy

For the cupcakes:

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Want a more traditional cupcake? Omit the baking chocolate in the batter.

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

pinch salt

1 oz. baking chocolate, chopped

1 tablespoon canola oil

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup non-dairy milk, warmed

To make the topping: 

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Cook cherries and sugar over medium heat until heated through.

Add arrowroot starch and boil for one minute.

Remove from heat and stir in brandy.

Transfer to a container and refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the cupcakes:

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Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.

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Stir in the chopped chocolate.

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Make sure to give the chocolate a good chop. This will make it easier for it to melt into the batter when you add the warm milk.

Add oil, vanilla, and cider vinegar.

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Slowly pour in the warm milk.

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Stir until batter is smooth.

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Distribute batter evenly into four, greased (4 oz) mason jars.

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Place jars on a cookie sheet before placing in the oven.

Bake for 12-14 minutes or until top springs back when touched.

Cool.

Top with cherry topping and additional chocolate shavings.

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The best thing about these cupcakes?

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They’re portable!

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HUSBAND!

Hope your first 29th birthday is the best!

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I know my second one is going to be epic.

Killer Cereal

You know what I’m really bad at?

A lot of things.

But you know what I’m really, really bad at?

Making decisions.

Oh, not major life decisions.

I knew I wanted to go to college before I even went to full day kindergarten.

I didn’t get cold feet before my wedding because I was more than sure I was ready to be a Mrs.

I put my life savings toward my very first home with hardly a care that I would

potentially have to eat Oodles of Noodles for the next 30 years.

Life might actually be easier if I was forced to eat Oodles of Noodles for the duration of my home loan.

Because then I wouldn’t have to decide what to eat.

I.can.never.decide.what.I.want.to.eat.

I have literally stared into cupboards for upwards of 45 minutes trying to decide what I want.

I want everything.

And nothing.

My step-dad has been witness to this.

If he came into the kitchen and found me planted in front of the pantry for longer than it would take a lasagna to cook, he would look at me and chuckle…

“Looks like its a cereal for dinner kind of night.”

Yes!

Cereal!

Jeeze louise, there are 7 kinds of cereal in there.

This is never going to end.

But cereal-ously, I love cereal.

And granola.

And granola cereal.

And chocolate granola cereal.

Because sometimes, nothing will do for dinner besides a big old bowl of  cereal granola.

Cocoa Crunch Granola

2 cups old-fashioned oats

2 cups crisp rice cereal

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

pinch salt

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*Tidbit: You can also use 1 tablespoon of canola oil for a nut free granola*

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together oats, rice cereal, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

If you want crispy granola, you must use crisp rice cereal. Also known as Rice Krispies for the upper middle class that can afford such name brand-ary.

Does there really need to be baking soda in granola? Well, no. But it makes the cocoa taste less bitter.

 

Add peanut butter (or canola oil, if using) and maple syrup.

Mix until oats and rice cereal are evenly coated.

Spread onto a baking sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes

*Tidbit: Check frequently since granola tends to burn quickly!

This has a lot of sugar to be eating giant bowls of it, but feel free to sprinkle it on smoothies, fruit, non-dairy yogurt, or just eat it by the handful.

But if you’re eating it for dinner, by all means, load the bowl up.

Well, shoot.

Now I have to decide what I want for breakfast.

KEEP CALM AND CRUNCH ON!

Brownie Points

Sit down.

Seriously.

Sit down.

I SAID SIT DOWN!

Are you sitting down?

Good.

Because this recipe could knock you off your feet.

Brownie Batter Dip.

I SAID BROWNIE BATTER DIP!

Morracan Carrot Salad and Brownie Batter Dip 411

Brownie.

Batter.

Dip.

And it’s healthy.

Are you still sitting down?

Because the ingredients may scare shock you.

There’s only four.

Black beans, cocoa powder, black cocoa powder and pure maple syrup.

You might be wondering what the difference between cocoa powder and black cocoa powder is.

Here’s a visual:

Cocoa powder.

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Black cocoa powder.

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Black cocoa powder tastes like Oreo cookies.

Find some.

I SAID FIND SOME!

Just in case you can’t find any, feel free to use 3-4 tablespoons of regular (i.e. boring) cocoa powder.***

(***UPDATE: After a careful comparison of about 22 spoonfuls of brownie batter dip, it NEEDS the black cocoa powder. Fear not! I will be working on a new recipe for those folks that can’t find the black cocoa powder!).

Hold all your bean biases until you try the dip.

It even passed the pregnant- lady- at- work test.

That means things.

Like, even fetus’ love this dip.

And I don’t even think a fetus has fully developed taste-buds.

BROWNIE BATTER DIP

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1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed

6 tablespoons maple syrup (just over 1/3 cup)

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 tablespoon black cocoa powder

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor.

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Blend until creamy and smooth.

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Serve with fresh fruit, pretzels, cookies, or crackers.

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Or just eat it from a spoon like any decent human being.

Feel free to teach the batter to mouth technique to the fetus at a developmentally appropriate age.

*March “Clean” Eating tidbit: This recipe used the last can of black beans from the pantry!

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The Cookie Police

I don’t have a lot of personal experience with the police.

Except for that time I was questioned about credit card theft.

(It wasn’t me)

And the time I was caught underage drinking in college.

(Honesty is NOT the best policy)

((Run like hell is))

And the time I got into a car accident….with a bus.

(I didn’t see it?)

The woman on the bus that sued me might have needed a police officer.

To stop me from punching her in her “whiplashed” face.

Just so you know ma’am, suing three people in the same year seems slightly suspicious.

I suggest you take your 100 grand and get right with God.

But I digress.

When the police aren’t chasing around drunken college idiots and writing up accidents involving  major city transportation systems, they are doing very important things.

Like capturing the true credit card thieves.

(I told you it wasn’t me)

They also pretty much save the world on a pretty regular basis.

The nature of my job actually does require a fair amount of police interaction, and I thought it would be nice if I could find a way to say thank you for all of their hard work and dedication.

And for not making spend a night in the drunk tank.

The agency I work for was kind enough to let me hold a cookie drive (RAK!) so that I could deliver batches of homemade cookies to each of the state police troops in the county.

Now this is a big, fat cliche, but when I think of cops, I think of coffee.

I mean, they need a good cup of joe to carry them through exhausting shifts of busting bad guys.

Espresso is nice, but I have a feeling police try to avoid things that come in shots.

Like espresso.

And bullets.

The solution?

A cookie with two kinds of chocolate, coffee, and freshly chopped coffee beans mixed right into the batter.

It is the perfect balance of  bitter coffee and sweet cookie.

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MOCHA JAVA COOKIES

½ cup non-dairy butter

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon chia seeds + ¼ cup brewed coffee

2 squares (2 oz) semi-sweet chocolate, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ¼  cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

¼-1/2 cup chopped coffee beans

Chia seeds are much cooler than chia pets. The seeds offer fiber, protein, calcium, magnesium, and heart healthy omega -3's. Chia pets just die because no one EVER remembers to water the chia pet.

Combine chia seeds and coffee and set aside for five minutes to gel.

When combined with liquid, chia seeds make an excellent replacement for eggs in vegan baking.

In a small bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

For a chewy, brownie-like cookie, reduce flour by 1/4 cup.

In a large bowl, cream the non-dairy butter and sugar.

Add chia mixture, melted chocolate and vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly.

Add dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Fold in chopped coffee beans.

Since the coffee flavor is prominent in this cookie, make sure to use a high quality bean. If you have extra because you don't regularly use whole beans, you can put the leftovers in glass vases and have a great smelling centerpiece.

Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into a ball and place on a cookie sheet.

Tidbit: These look much better if you take the time to roll them into balls instead of just dropping the dough on the cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

The cookies will be very soft when they come out of the oven. Let them cool completely before shoving them in your face.

Bag the evidence.

Don’t forget the K-9 unit.

Thank you to all of the men and women who work hard to keep our community safe.

We appreciate all that you do!

You have the right to remain RAK’D!

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Date Night

I had a date for Valentine’s Day.

Actually I had a double date.

It was kind of an affair to remember.

Young.

Dark.

Rich.

Chocolate-y.

Everything I am looking for in a hott date with beer and the remote.

My date shamelessly tried to get me drunk.

I got so chocolate wasted that I agreed to a threesome.

We took the party to a bar.

It was so crowded we were practically on top of each other.

We partied pretty hard.

I’m not going to lie.

Things got kind of hazy at one point.

I had my non-blurry eye on someone special.

Sadly, the night came to an end.

We broke up.

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My heart is shattered.

We were a recipe for greatness.

 Date -Night Bark

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate

1/4 cup dates, chopped

1/4 cup dried tart cherries, chopped

1/4 cup almonds, chopped

Melt chocolate in a double boiler on the stove or in the microwave. If using the microwave, be sure to stop and stir the chocolate every 30 seconds until melted.  Spread melted chocolate in an even layer on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Top with dates, cherries, and almonds and gently press into the chocolate.  Allow chocolate to harden completely and then break into pieces.

I’m not too sad about the break up.

I’ve already got another date lined up for next weekend.

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