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Mug Cake in a Microwave

The thing about living by myself is that I find it hard to control portions when baking for one. When I freeze batter, I forget about it. When I make a full recipe, I never finish it despite gifting some to friends. When I halve recipes, it’s still too much for me. So I absolutely love microwave recipes! This mug cake recipe is one of my all-time favorites because all the ingredients are pantry staples and the recipe is so versatile– add your favorite fruits/chocolates/nuts to the batter and top with any frostings.

Ingredients (adapted from Averie Cooks):
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons coconut sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix until just combined. Pour batter into a greased mug about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way (depending on the size of your mug).
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Microwave on high for 60-90 seconds. Keep a close eye while the mug cake is in the microwave to make sure it fully cooks and doesn’t overflow.
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I topped my mug cake with a simple Nutella cream cheese frosting. So delicious and satisfied my craving in one go, no leftovers to worry about!
Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetHappy baking!
Annie

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cookies

Peanut butter & jelly is always a winning combo, even in cookies! These are my go-to cookies to make because they’re basically foolproof. If you’re not a fan of jelly, the batter is still a nice peanut butter-y base for any other add-ins– chocolate, nuts, marshmallows, etc!

Ingredients (adapted from SORTED):
7 tablespoons softened or melted butter
1 cup coconut sugar
1 3/4 cup flour (I used 3/4 parts white whole wheat flour and 1/4 part all purpose flour)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
~3 tablespoons peanut butter (to your liking, basically)
Your favorite jelly

Preheat the over to 350 degrees. First, cream the butter and sugar together. Once combined, add one egg. Mix evenly and add the other egg. Mix again!
Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset(Note: I halved the recipe for myself, so the batter looks like a small amount in these photos)

Next, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Add the dry ingredients in increments to the batter. Once the dry ingredients and batter are just combined, stir in the peanut butter. The batter may start to get really sticky and hard to mix but don’t be afraid to use your hands at this point 🙂
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Then cover the batter and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes MINIMUM (if left up to overnight, let the batter sit for ~15 minutes to warm up before assembling and baking). This makes it easier to handle the batter and prevents the cookies from expanding too much while in the oven.

After 30 minutes, form ~1 inch scoops of batter and place on parchment-lined baking pan. Make an indent in the center of the cookie with your finger, and scoop jelly into the well. Bake cookies for 12 minutes.
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I love how soft and chewy these cookies come out, with just the perfect golden crunchy crust!

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Nutella Greek Yogurt Muffins

Thursday was National Nutella Day! A perfect reason for me to slather anything and everything I ate with Nutella… yum. Using greek yogurt also gave these muffins the perfect moist cakey texture. What more can you ask for in a muffin?!

Ingredients (adapted from Julia’s Album):
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup avocado oil
1 egg
1 flax egg
2/3 cup greek yogurt
Nutella
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Topping:
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, softened

Preheat oven to 400F. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, coconut sugar, salt, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, mix together avocado oil, egg, flax egg, and greek yogurt. In another separate bowl for the topping, mix together brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter into a crumble (set this bowl aside for later).
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Then add the flour mixture to the greek yogurt mixture. Mix until just combined. (Tip: if it gets too sticky/dense, add water/milk to thin out the batter to the consistency of your liking. I added ~1/3 cup water to thin out my batter and the muffins turned out way better)
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Grab your muffin tin and use liners or lightly spray with oil. First fill the muffin cups 1/3 full with batter. Add a scoop (or more) of Nutella, and top with more batter to cover the Nutella or until the muffin cup is 3/4 full with batter. Lastly, sprinkle the muffin with brown sugar-cinnamon topping. Bake for 20 minutes in the oven, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
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These muffins were so good! I ate four within 10 minutes of these coming out of the oven. And then I froze the rest to keep myself from gorging. (These also keep well in the freezer!)

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Happy baking!
Annie

Winter Roasted Butternut Squash, Apple, Leek Soup

As the only CBC member left in Ithaca (congrats to our founder Carmen for her early graduation!), I have to tell you it is FREEZING here (actually well below….)- which means, it is the perfect time for a hearty, healthy, tasty, winter roasted soup! This soup’s recipe is vaguely flexible, feel free to add or subtract vegetables (or liquids) to taste- I always do.

p.s. this would go GREAT with David’s corn muffins from last week! 

pot of soup!

Ingredients:

3lbs of butternut squash

2 apples

3 leeks

1 head of garlic (thats right I said head)

Olive oil

Herbs/seasonings (I used rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper)

Chicken stock (about 2 cups)

White wine ( a generous splash)

Apple cider (to taste)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375

Peel and cube squash and apples (squash can be bought pre-cut), and slice the leeks (only the white parts). Then, peel every clove of garlic on the head (every single one).

Take garlic cloves and the cubed vegetables/fruit and spread on an aluminum foil covered cookie sheet. Toss vegetables lightly in olive oil and season with your herbs and salt/pepper.

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Put the vegetables in the oven, and cook for about 45 minutes (or until the squash can be easily pierced by a fork).

About 10 minutes before the vegetables are done, combine liquids (stock, wine, and apple cider), and bring to a boil. (In total there should be about 2 1/2 cups of liquids in the pot- so whatever proportion of liquids you want to do- go nuts!)

Take the vegetables out of the oven and put them in the pot with the liquids. Let the vegetables and broth simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

Finally, take your immersion blender (or pour your pot of soup into a conventional blender), and puree away!

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Enjoy your soup with parsley or chives, and goat cheese for garnish!

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Lazy Weekend Lasagna!

Nothing says  a weekend dish with friends like lasagna on a cold day! Enjoy this semi-lazy lasagna recipe which is actually vaguely healthy.

Prepare Sauce: Use pre-jarred sauce, garlic, onion, ground turkey, spices, pesto, and a generous splash of red wine!  (In the mean time boil the noodles!)

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Cheese layers: Mix ricotta, pesto, and egg. Slice up mozzarella.
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Layer the lasagna: Sauce, Pasta, ricotta (spread with spatula), mozzarella and parmesan, and repeat! Make sure to completely coat both sides of the noodles so they don’t get too crispy.
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…..AND BAKE!
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Ingredients:

Sauce:

  • 2 jars of Classico tomato sauce – You could make your own sauce with tomatoes etc. but this is MUCH easier, and just as tasty.
  • A pound or so of ground turkey
  • Olive Oil
  • Four cloves of minced garlic
  • One diced onion
  • A half cup or so of pesto (I make mine each summer and freeze small amounts to use throughout the winter or you can get some pretty good stuff at the grocery store. If you want to make your own its just basil, garlic, and olive oil!)
  • Generous splash (or two) of red wine (and a glass for you!)
  • Assorted Italian spices (oregano, basil, rosemary, salt peper etc.)

Lasagna noodles:

  • This one is pretty self explanatory, I used a box of the Wegmans brand (I needed to boil them), or you can use pre-cooked sheets

Cheese Layers:

  •  Ricotta spread:
    -1 Container of skim ricotta
    -1 egg
    -1 or 2 spoonfuls of pesto
  • Parmesan (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • Thin sliced mozzarella

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and get water for lasagna noodles boiling. Once water boils, add lasagna noodles and cook for 12 minutes. In the mean time, in a pan heat up olive oil, and stir-fry garlic and onion, add turkey and brown until done. Salt and Pepper the meat. Add the jars of sauce and stir in wine, pesto, and other spices. Let the sauce simmer until noodles are done.

While the sauce is simmering mix together ricotta, pesto, and egg.

Bring all your ingredients together and layer them in the pan. A layer of sauce, then noodles, ricotta mixture, parmesan and mozzarella. Then repeat until the pan is full!

Cook in the oven for 40 minutes! Then enjoy your tasty treat!

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Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

One day this week, randomly at 9pm after coming home from work, I decided to bake muffins (apologizing for the poor lighting in my photos ahead of time)… but didn’t realize until halfway that I didn’t have all of the ingredients (typical). So the theme of these muffins is basically “how many ingredients can I substitute and still make the end result palatable” (keep reading to find out how they turned out haha).

Recipe is adapted from Ambitious Kitchen (one of my fave blogs!):
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 scoop vanilla protein powder* (aw yes)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 bananas
1/4 cup agave nectar*
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp avocado oil*
1 flax seed egg* (1 tbsp ground flax seed + 3 tbsp warm water)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce*
1 tbsp soymilk*
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
(asterisk indicates substituted ingredient from original recipe)

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Yeah, that’s right. I didn’t even have EGGS! So disappointed in myself. But actually the flax seed egg turned out to actually have the gooey consistency of an egg. So impressed!

Anyway, preheat the over to 350 degrees. Mix flour, protein powder (if desired), baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. In a blender, mix bananas, agave nectar, oil, flax egg (top-ish right corner of the blender, if you can see it!), soymilk, and applesauce. Blend well until smooth.

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Then add wet ingredients to the dry…

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…and mix until just combined… (and can’t forget the chooooocolaaaaate)

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Pour batter into a well-greased muffin tin. I’m lazy and didn’t want to wash more dishes so I used liners tehe.

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Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

And they were surprisingly yummy! So delicious while warm from the oven. Even my mom ate a couple hehe.

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetEr, they actually browned after a couple of days (not sure if that’s due to the bananas?). But they make the perfect study snack!

Happy baking!
Annie

(healthy?) Cinnamon Apple Scones

In my head I thought making cinnamon-y apple-y scones and having them with a cup of coffee would be the perfect autumnal Saturday morning. Except the fact that IT WAS 80 DEGREES OUT TODAY (WHY?!). But I was craving scones so terribly last week! And I couldn’t bring myself to get one at the campus cafés because they’re super high in calories. So I thought I’d make my own spin on scones and try to make them the -slightest- bit more wholesome. Also I’d never made scones before and NEVER THOUGHT IT’D BE SO DIFFICULT (AGAIN, WHY?!).

Anyway, they turned out really pretty and yummy which never happens when I try to make a recipe ‘healthier’. SUCCESS (sorta, I didn’t have anything to swap out the butter with).

To make 8 of these scones, first preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Then gather these ingredients:
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/3 cup cold butter
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (~1/4 cup or as much to your liking)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 apple, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 cup soymilk
1/4 cup agave nectar (or honey)

In a medium sized bowl, mix dry ingredients (flour, protein powder, cinnamon, baking powder, salt). Add butter and cut into mixture.
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So I didn’t have a pastry cutter and tried to use a fork. TOO MUCH WORK. Used my clean hands instead. Also at this point I realized my butter was partially melted (80 DEGREES TODAY, REMEMBER), so I’m not sure if that contributed to how ‘wet/sticky’ the dough became.

Next, add the apples, soymilk, and agave to the dry ingredients. Mix until it becomes like a dough.
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Then flour down your counter/table, knead the dough a couple of times, and shape into a circle (~1/2 inch thick).
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Sprinkle some sugar and cinnamon on the top if you’d like! Now cut the dough into 8 wedges. On a baking sheet lined w/ parchment paper, separate the pieces and place (at least an inch apart!). Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and…

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Ahh! They turned out so much better than I thought they would! Not too sweet and chockful of softened apples. (I couldn’t help myself and wolfed one down before I took this picture tehe).

And then I had another one. With coffee. And pretended the weather was fall-like and not 80 degrees today.
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Happy baking!
Annie