Friday, July 1, 2011

Avocado. Doughnuts.

I love Fridays. Especially when my “Friday” is actually Thursday.  Now that school is out for the summer, I have been working four 10-hour days at work—so Thursday night marks my weekend!!! 

I love having Friday off, because I then I have an extra day to do all of my errands.  I got up early, went to spinning, and came home and did a Yoga video.  

Have you ever done spinning? O.M.G.  Whenever I sit on that bike, I go through three phases of emotion…

For the first ten minutes I feel happy, thinking,“ Oh, this isn’t so bad, I could do this forever”

But then, I start to feel it in my legs, and begin to feel out of breath. The next feeling, anger, comes and I think “Only 15 minutes have gone by?!?!? How is the instructor able to talk and smile and move her legs so fast!!!..." 

This phase lasts for about half an hour…

Finally, with the last 10-20 minutes left, I feel so happy and strong and proud of myself that I accomplished this feat.  I can’t stop smiling through the sweat streaming down my face and lower back.  I love workouts that push me like this.

Spinning and I are like “this”. 

After my workout, I cleaned the house and started sorting out the fridge for food that has long been forgotten. 

This gave me an idea, and a segway into today's recipe : )

So today, I plan on giving you some tips on what to do with leftovers.  After, all I am a grad student, and I need to get creative so money doesn't get thrown away.  

Example 1:
What am I supposed to do with a large container of plain yogurt leftover from doughnut-making the night before?

A simple, yogurt parfait with fresh fruit from the farmers’ market:
Omigosh Yum

 And for lunch....

A Healthy Curry Chicken Salad (1 serving)
¼ cup plain, non-fat yogurt
Rotisserie chicken, shredded
Handful of chopped almonds and grapes
¼ teaspoon of both cumin and curry

This recipe is totally an estimate, but is really delicious.  Also, it doesn’t have the dreaded mayo that I hate to have in salads!  You can use whatever you have on hand to make this salad--instead of curry, you can add a dash of ground mustard with some celery and craisins to have a classic chicken salad.
After letting it rest in the fridge for a bit, so the flavors can get to know each other, I made a quick wrap.
 I used:
1 tomato wrap
1 wedge of Laughing Cow Swiss
Some lovely, peppery arugala and some sprouts (love the crunch it gives)

A perfect, light sandwich for lunch!!!

Example 2: 
I also found a lonely avocado on my counter that desperately needed attention.  See, Jill and I have an (un)healthy obsession with this tasty fruit (?) and we want to use it in everything that we eat!

SO that led me back to doughnuts.

Avocado doughnuts.

No, that wasn’t a typo.

I looked around for recipes, and apparently, there are no (non-vegan) recipes that incorporate avocados into these tasty treats.  (Surprise Surprise) I guess no one else is crazy enough to do this.

I looked at this avocado bread recipe and used it to start from.

Avocado Doughnuts
By: ME : )

2 cups flour
¾ cups granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 egg
1 mashed avocado
½ cup plus one tablespoon buttermilk
1 tsp cocoa powder
½ tsp allspice and nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix flour, sugars (I thought this weird, but just trust me!), baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, allspice, and nutmeg in a large bowl.

Mix mashed avocado, vanilla and egg together.  Then add buttermilk.  Add this mixture to the dry mix.  Mix together and fill doughnut pans.

It may not look pretty now, but trust me.

This makes A LOT of doughnuts—36 by my count.  After they cooled for 10 minutes, things started to get a little crazy. 

I brought out the powdered sugar.  And let my skirt fly up, as Pioneer Woman would say.
Then I brought out caramel—o dear me.  I would have made it from scratch, but I got a little antsy and couldn’t wait that long.  So I melted some caramel in the microwave, added some cinnamon, and went to town on the second batch.
For the non-avocado lovers, have no fear.  When I told my roomie about them, she was said, "Dear God get them away from me." Then I made her take a bite. And she said (and I quote!) "O crap, these are good!!"  

So give them a try : )

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Learning Experience

I came home today starving, so I reheated some gyozas. Amazing, folks!  I made a huge batch of these on Sunday, and froze them.  It only needed half a pound of meat (I used ground chicken), and it made about 30 pot stickers! All you have to do is sear the bottom and then steam them for 3 minutes.


I also must make a confession.  Today, I may have done something that was less than brilliant.  See, I have an addiction.  With popcorn.  Literally every day when I get home, immediately after dinner, I will make some stovetop popcorn.  I will then bring the pot in the living room for some quality time with my roomie and some Real Housewives.  Today didn't go so smoothly.
Yeah, the pan was so hot that it melted the roomie's carpet. Awk.  Hopefully she still loves me!

If she still did, maybe not anymore....heehee
So much for my popcorn addiction.

I was also a failure in the gym department today, as I was too focused on carpet cleanup and scarfing down some fabulous gyozas.  Boo. 

While I was digesting dinner (and aforementioned popcorn), I decided to explore one of the most popular foods in the United States.  Over 10 billion of these products are consumed by the US alone each year (Source
The doughnut.  Hundreds if not thousands different variations of them--and not one have I really caught on to (except for the occasional chocolate munchkin…).  Don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate, cake, and sprinkles, but I would honestly rather have this than a Krispy Kreme. 

Still, ever since I saw a mini doughnut pan I wanted to expand my horizons and try something new.  After looking through a few blogs, I settled on this recipe.

Baked Chocolate Cake Doughnuts
1 cup all purpose flour

2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder

1teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2/3 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon fine grain salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil

1/4 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

Lightly grease a doughnut (or muffin) tin and preheat the oven to 350F.  Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda, and then whisk in the sugar, nutmeg and salt.
Add the butter, and using your fingers, rub it into the dry ingredients until it becomes coarse crumbs.
Ew...... The feeling of butter on your hands is the WORST
In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, yogurt, vanilla and egg. Add to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Do not overmix, or your doughnuts may be a bit rubbery.
Fill each cup 1/2 to 3/4 full.  Bake for 6 to 10 minutes (depending on the size of your doughnut pan), until the doughnuts spring back when touched.

Lara recommended using a piping bag to ensure even distribution of the batter as well as a cleaner finish in the pan. However, I puffed out my chest with my newly found badge of "Blogger" and neglected to use the piping bag.  This was the result:
Try 2 with the piping bag
Much better :)

Lara also said that this batter makes about 15 mini doughnuts.  <--- I found that in using my mini doughnut pan, the amount of batter I had left over after three batches seemed enough for 1500 mini doughnuts. So come on down, I have lots left over.

Overall, I was happy with the result, but I wished that the doughnut was a little more dense.  The consistency reminded me of a cupcake, and, not to bash on the doughnut, but if I were to want something that tasted like a cupcake, I would want a cupcake.

So tomorrow, I will attempt once again on the marvel that is a doughnut--but with new ingredients.  And I will make microwave popcorn.
To be continued : )

PS Don't worry Vanessa, come Tuesday at work I will have a load of these babies with your name on it!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


So it's official. After months of encouragement from my family and coworkers, I am finally starting a blog!  If you asked me a year ago if I ever thought about starting one, or even if I read food blogs, I would have looked at you like this

 Well, not quite--but you get the picture ;) 

My boyfriend's sister, Liz, created a blog last year, and that got me hooked. After looking at her amazing recipes, I began expanding my horizon, to this and this

I will refer to Liz as "seestor" throughout this blog, and I want to clarify that I don't call her that because I am the psychocrazygirlfriendwhoneedstogetmarried….

This is the real story…

What really happened was when I met Liz for the first time at one of her friend's cookouts. I was really nervous to meet the bf's older sister, and to calm my nerves, began to drink a few beers to take the edge off. Before I knew it, I got roped into playing flip cup (now how could that have happened : ) ..... ). She was on my team, and in the heat of the moment, I shouted out 'SEESTORR"--and it stuck ever since! I just knew that we would develop a friendship that was just like that of a sister. You believe that was the realll reason, right…RIGHT?! 

Anyways, back to the food…

After a 3.5 mile run after work, the last thing I wanted to do was slave in the kitchen for some dinner. I craved something simple, delicious, and quick.  First, I made a simple tomato salad with some vine ripe tomatoes and some basil.  This simple combination, along with a drizzle of balsamic and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, creates a fresh simple starter for a summer meal.  It took literally 5 minutes to make and it really made me feel good after the run...but I still wanted more. 

The recipe I am showing you today is from the wonderful, beautiful, amAZing Pioneer Woman! In case you lived under a rock, this woman has swept the blog nation and the country with her no-fail recipes and wit.  She encompasses everything I love in a cook--the use of high quality and flavorful ingredients while having fun.  This simple recipe takes minutes to make but is.absolutely.amazing. I adapted it for two people (it's only my roomie and I!) and used what I had on hand.  That is what great about cooking--you are often free to branch out and use the ingredients that you have in your kitchen!

Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp 
1 pound deveined, unpeeled shrimp
2-4 tablespoons of butter, divided
2 cloves of garlic
Red Pepper Flakes
Juice of half of a lemon
Salt and Pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Rinse frozen shrimp and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet covered in foil.

Chop garlic and sprinkle it over the shrimp.  Place sliced butter pads on shrimp. Add red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and the juice of half a lemon.

Bake until shrimp is opaque and butter is hot and bubbly, about 8-10 minutes.
How beautiful is this?! Rich, buttery, and a little sweet from the lemon, this is a delicious, yet messy dinner! And don't forget to use some toasty bread to dip in the pockets of butter, garlic, and lemon. OMG this is so good! And it took 10 minutes to make!
Go make this immediately!!