Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bites

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bites

Another month, another new recipe up on Yoga By Candace!

I recently developed these Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bites for her blog. Packed with nutrient-dense items and an extra kick of Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, these bites will have you looking like Jennifer Aniston in no time!*

While it’s definitely easy to one, snack on something less healthy, and two, eat a breakfast that is less healthy, these bites definitely have your bases covered. Make them ahead of time! You…and your stomach…will be thankful that you did.

Head over to Yoga By Candace for the full post and recipe!

* – Perhaps a slight hyperbole, but a girl can dream…

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bites

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bites

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bites

curried coconut roasted almonds

Curried Coconut Roasted Almonds

I’ve never been much of a nuts girl, and that still hold true. I loved shelling peanuts growing up, and I loved peanut butter as much as the next kid…well, as much as the next kid that wasn’t allergic to them, at least. Heh. However, cashews, walnuts, almonds, and the like were not even close to landing on my list of favorite foods. Over the past few years, especially since living in NYC, my love of nuts has grown. Actually, I should say my tolerance for nuts has grown. It ain’t quite love yet. Ha! That being said, almonds and I have become more friendly in the past year or two. Honestly, I love them straight up, unsalted, and unroasted. Every now and then, however, a shot of flavor is appreciated.

curried coconut roasted almonds

I’ve never roasted almonds before, but decided that roasting them in some coconut oil would give them a great flavor. I wanted to add something else that wasn’t necessarily straight up sugar; I was originally going to go the sweet route, as I do love cocoa-dusted almonds on occasion. Sorting through my horrendously unorganized shelf of spices, i came across my trusty beloved Jamaican Curry, and visions of hot bowls of vegetable coconut curry popped into my head.

curried coconut roasted almonds

I had to give it a shot!

curried coconut roasted almonds

It took some trial and error, but I think…I think…I think this might be it!

Curried Coconut Roasted Almonds
(Makes 2 cups)

Ingredients:
– 2 cups whole almonds, unroasted
– 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
– 1 teaspoon Jamaican curry powder
– 1 tablespoon sweetener of choice (see note in Before We Get Started)
– Dash of salt

Before We Get Started…

– As I mentioned in the prologue, there was a lot of trial and error when making these almonds. I can say two things assuredly:

– Do not use roasted almonds! After cooking, they will taste distractingly smoky, even a little burnt.

– Do not use Sugar in the Raw or any other type of course sugar. I made my first batch using Sugar in the Raw, and the sugar’s coarseness causes it not to stick to the almonds well. I ended up scrapping a lot of burnt sugar off of the bottom of my baking sheet. A refined sugar (if you don’t mind using it!) or a liquid sweetener (agave, et al) is definitely your better bet.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 375°F.

2.) In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and toss until coated.

3.) Place on lightly greased baking sheet or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in oven and roast for 30 minutes, checking almonds and shaking at the 15 minute mark to make sure they aren’t over-roasting.

4.) Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before eating; extra almonds can be stored in an airtight container.

NOTE: Please forgive the quality of these photos. My camera’s card went kablooey for a few days, so I was taking the best iPhone photos that I could in the interim. Ha! A reshoot of these photos is due in the future…

Potato Chips

Potato Chips

I’ve previously stated on this blog that my love for salt and all things savory far exceeds my love for sweets.

Just ask my mother. I have been oft scolded over the past few decades of my life for stealing chips from her bags of potato chips.

I still steal from her bags of chips when I’m visiting them in Connecticut, though she doesn’t eat chips the way she used to. *sigh*

Potato Chips

Recently, a new underground shopping mall opened in the Columbus Circle subway station. Turnstyle is full of hip bakeries, juiceries, and restaurants. I commute through this subway stop two to three times a week, and at the end of my work day, as I walk past artisan grilled cheese sandwiches, freshly-fried miniature donuts, and fair trade cold brewed coffee …I still will go to the magazine vendor on the platform and buy my 50¢ bag of Utz potato chips.

…I just love potato chips. For me, choosing my all time favorite comfort food is a hard battle between them and macaroni and cheese. Maybe I’ll start crumbling chips on top of my mac and cheese! Hmmmmm…tempting

Potato Chips

Note: I ate about 90% of this entire batch of chips after photographing them. Bless my roommate Sally for tackling the other 10%. She saved me from myself. Ha!

Potato Chips

Potato Chips
(Makes approximately 4 – 5 cups of chips)
(Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit’s recipe for Crispiest Potato Chips)

Ingredients:

– 2 Russet potatoes, scrubbed and left unpeeled
– 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
– 4 cups vegetable oil
– Salt, to taste

Before We Get Started…

Though seemingly simple, this recipe took me almost two hours to complete from start to finish. There are many steps, so get prepared first:

1.) Have a large bowl ready to soak potato slices in after they have been sliced.

2.) Have paper towels or clean dish towels placed on two baking sheets after potatoes have soaked, then have paper towels or a clean dish towel available to pat them dry before they are fried.

3.) Have two baking sheets lined with paper towels prepped so potatoes can immediately be drained when removed from the oil; in lieu of baking sheets, wire racks will work.

4.) Having a cooking thermometer is key and recommended.

Directions:

1.) Slice potatoes to approximately 1/8″ thick with a knife or a mandolin. Place slices in a bowl filled with cold water and gently agitate with hands to remove starch from potatoes. Drain, refill bowl, and gently agitate slices until water runs clear. (i.e.: Majority of starch has been removed.) In the same bowl, cover the potatoes with cold water and add vinegar. Allow to sit for 30 minutes. Drain and place slices on towels on baking sheets. (See #2 on Before We Get Started) Pat dry.

2.) In a medium to large heavy-bottomed pot, clip cooking thermometer to pot, add oil. and bring to a temperature of 300°F. Working in batches, gently add and fry slices until golden brown on both sides, about 4 – 5 minutes per batch. Carefully remove slices from oil with slotted spoon or spatula and place on baking sheets. (See #3 on Before We Get Started) Season with salt or preferred seasoning(s).

fried pickle chips

Fried Pickle Chips with Lemon-Garlic Aioli

It’s funny how I planned to create content for the blog this past weekend, and, well…I didn’t.

Ironically, I had planned to cook this past Sunday. I, instead, spent most of the day cooking baked cheese grits, sauteed Brussels sprouts with homemade bacon salt, pea greens sauteed with garlic, and cinnamon rolls from scratch, all while splitting a bottle of champagne with my dear friend Emilie.

Despite all of that cooking, none of that aforementioned food was photographed for the blog. However, my stomach was quite content. My equilibrium was also a bit on the tilt.

IMG_4890

IMG_4897

IMG_4895

Well-composed iPhone shots. Haaa.

So, as I work on new blog content today to post through the rest of the week, I’m reaching back into my annals for this “new” recipe…

As Superbowl Sunday approaches, I fall squarely into the niche of “I could give a shit about football, I don’t watch for the insane commercials like I used to, but I will eat all of your nachos”. Last year, my two former roommates Emily and Liz, plus our doggie roomie Ellie, decided to have a small Super Bowl gathering at our apartment, if only to gorge on food. Indeed, I did whip up some recipes for us to share, such as a Caramelized Onion & Brussels Sprout Pizza and Fried Pickle Chips with a garlic-lemon aioli. They both scored touchdowns!

(Oh. God. I can’t believe I just said that.)

IMG_3161

The pickle chips were a bit of a process to create, because frying something with a high water content means preparation is key. I recall having to lay pickle chips on paper towels atop our breakfast bar; in turn, I also had to keep an eye on Ellie as she hungrily eyed the veritable buffet of pickle chips in front of her.

IMG_3170

These make for great Super Bowl fare, plain and simple.

IMG_3178

Fried Pickle Chips with Lemon-Garlic Aioli

Ingredients:

Fried Pickle Chips:

– 1 24-ounce jar of dill pickle chips, patted dry
– 2 cups vegetable oil
– 1 cup all-purpose flour
– 1 tablespoon cornstarch
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 3/4 cup seltzer water

Lemon-Garlic Aioli:
– 1 cup mayonnaise
– 4 garlic cloves, pressed or ground with mortar; 1 teaspoon garlic powder can be substituted
– Juice of 1/2 lemon
– Salt, to taste
– Dash of chili powder (optional)

Before We Get Started…

– Stick to vegetable oil while frying the pickle chips; grapeseed would be an acceptable other option. I would not recommend olive oil for frying; I’m not preaching about low smoke points necessarily, but I think frying with two cups of it is a waste of perfectly good olive oil, if I can be frank!

– For frying, I would highly suggest investing in a deep-dry thermometer. Even if your heat is set at a constant setting, oil temperatures can fluctuate. It’s important to keep the temperature constant.

Directions:

1.) Remove pickles from jar, reserving pickle juice. Place a layer of paper towels over a cooling rack. Place chips on paper towels and apply additional paper towels to cover them; allow to drain for 30 minutes. Remove paper towels and pat dry to remove any leftover moisture. Place chips on plate and set aside. Place fresh paper towels over a cooling rack or on a plate; these will be used to drain pickle chips after frying is completed.

2.) Using a deep heavy-bottomed saucepan or a dutch oven, bring 2 cups of vegetable oil to 350°F over medium heat.

3.) In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, and baking powder. Slowly whisk in 3/4 cup seltzer water until batter is of a uniform consistency.

4.) In small batches (I recommend six to eight chips at a time), coat chips with batter, allowing any excess to drop off. Slowly add pickle slices to oil. Fry on one side for 60 – 90 seconds before flipping; cook on other side for 60 – 90 seconds or until the chips are overall crisp and golden brown in color. Remove chips from oil with a slotted spoon or spatula and place on the fresh paper towels.

5.) For lemon-garlic aioli, whisk mayonnaise, lemon juice, and garlic in a small bowl. Add salt to taste. Add optional chili powder, if desired.

6.) Serve chips, while still warm, with aioli.

kale chips

Cilantro Lime Kale Chips

Kale chips are a magical snack, one that can do many things other chips can’t.

Case in point: A few weeks ago, my co-worker Krystal had run out of the office and grabbed some lunch. By proxy, that means I can eat the chips she purchased. (That’s how friendship works, right?) She decided to grab a type of Lay’s she has never tried before: Limón. Lay’s has put out some crazy flavors of chips as of late; I am a purist, and like my chips simply salted. I’ll go for salt & vinegar if I’m feeling saucy. Otherwise, no thank you. Still, how offensive could lemon-flavored potato chips be?

Very.

However, a baked kale chip can take nearly any sour or savory flavor you throw on it, citrus included.

kale chips

I do love plain kale chips, just adding a bit of sea salt to enhance their flavor. Conversely, it’s nice to dress them up from time to time. Kudos to Katie at Twist of Lemons; a few days ago, she posted a photo on her Instagram feed of her massaging kale with, among other ingredients, cilantro! I’ve been experimenting with kale chip flavors of the past week, but this idea of hers stuck. Rarely to I think of adding herbs to my greens…and I’m not sure why I don’t do it more often.

kale chips

The lime juice, in conjunction with the cilantro, give these chips an incredibly bright flavor. The light application of olive oil gives it a great crispness. And the salt, well, it just brings it all home, as it should.

kale chips

You really can’t go wrong with these. They make a great snack, though one that’s easy to down in one sitting all by yourself. Frankly, it’s pretty guiltless if you ask me. Munch away!

kale chips

Cilantro Lime Kale Chips
(Makes…a lot of chips!)

Ingredients:

– 1 bunch lacinato kale
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely minced
– Juice of 1/2 lime
– 1 teaspoon sea salt

Before We Get Started…

– This needs to be done in batches. Though it is easy to place all of the kale pieces on one baking sheet, they need room to properly bake and dry. Placing them on one sheet will result in flavorful yet hot and soggy pieces of kale, not light and crisp kale chips.

– All ovens have different temperatures; mine seems to run at a very hot 400°F. After 10 minutes, be sure to check your kale! Mine always finish in the closer side of 10 minutes, while another oven I’ve made kale chips in take closer to 15 at that same temperature.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease or place parchment paper on two baking sheets. Set aside.

2.) Wash kale and thoroughly pat dry. Separate the greens from the ribs of the kale; tear kale into medium to large pieces and place into bowl. Thoroughly massage kale with olive oil. Toss kale with lime juice, cilantro, and salt until coated.

3.) Spread leaves out on baking sheets evenly; leave enough space around the leaves for them to bake and dry out.

4.) Place in oven and bake for 10 – 15 minutes, or until dark green with roasted spots, but not completely brown! (See note in Before We Get Started…)

5.) Remove from oven and allow to cool before eating. Kale chips can be stored in an airtight container.