Maple Ricotta Oatmeal Cake

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I went for a run in the park yesterday morning and it was beautiful. I’m so excited spring has officially sprung. It’s always fun to see students ‘sunbathing’ on the Columbia campus…hard to believe in just about a month I’ll be graduating law school and leaving academia behind. Winter was so long, it makes the few weeks of spring while I’m still in school seem very short!

 

IMG_0834

 

When I got home from my run, I was in the mood for an oatmeal cake for breakfast. I picked up a tub of ricotta cheese over the weekend to use in a polenta dish, and though I often use it in omelettes or pancakes, I’d never thought about other breakfast treats. All that changed when I went to whip up an oatmeal cake after my run yesterday morning, and instead of reaching for my usual Greek yogurt to spoon in, I went for the ricotta instead. I added some maple syrup to the mix, and this little ramekin of deliciousness became a Maple Ricotta Oatmeal Cake. It was roughly the same density as one of my other oatmeal cakes, but with a texture just a tad lighter and fluffier. I’m sure it would be great with lemon zest (which I didn’t happen to have on hand), like a lemon ricotta pancake – but with just the maple and cinnamon it was a delightfully dessert-y breakfast treat!

 

Ricotta and maple syrup and cinnamon, oh my!

Ricotta and maple syrup and cinnamon, oh my!

Continue reading

My Favorite Pancakes

Growing up, pancakes were one of my favorite breakfasts. My mom would make them as a special Saturday morning treat, filled with chocolate chips and topped with Stonewall Kitchen’s now-retired Strawberry Piggy Sauce. Pancakes at Sarabeth’s in Manhattan or my favorite diner in Connecticut were my birthday brunch treat, and my first year in college, the meal I ate before I went off to the airport for school each term to say goodbye to the US for a few months. (The UK one-ups the US by having a Pancake Day, but their pancakes are actually more like what we consider crepes). I’d have them topped with strawberries and bananas and drizzled with maple syrup, because I liked blueberries and chocolate chips, but why change a good thing?

When my wheat allergy was diagnosed, I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy pancakes in the same way ever again. Part of why I liked pancakes was the way they conjured up happy memories of childhood meals, before any of my struggles with food began, and the special feeling of having a treat on an ordinary morning I got whenever a plate was set before me. It wasn’t that I thought gluten-free pancake mix would taste bad. I just thought the pancakes would taste different. Which is true, of course. But that meant I didn’t really eat pancakes for a few years, until I started learning to cook for myself and coming up with new recipes. Pancake perfection was a distant dream, but I began to try anyway. Remember that saying, shoot for the moon, and if you miss, you’ll land among the stars? Well, I’ve taken that to heart, because the pancakes I’ve arrived at might not be perfect, but they sure do make me feel all warm and fuzzy the way I feel pancakes should. They’re sweet, fluffy, and gluten-free, and more than good enough for me!

 

Slide1

 

Continue reading

Four Month Blog-iversary and an Apples n’ Peanut Butter Muffin Recipe

I can’t believe it, but today is my four-month blog anniversary! The past few months have been a whirlwind with family and friends, running and recipes, and of course law school and everything leading up to graduation. But I’ve really been loving every moment I’ve spent on the blog. I had forgotten how much I missed writing for fun, about whatever is on my mind, since I started law school. After all, it doesn’t leave a lot of time for it! But I’m so happy I made the time, because writing, and reading other blogs, and beginning to feel like a part of something in the healthy living community, have all been fantastic little pieces of the journey so far. That said, on to today’s post – a new muffin recipe combining two of my favorite things.

Honeydew makes these muffins another snack that smiles back!

Honeydew makes these muffins another snack that smiles back!

I’m constantly experimenting with new flavor combinations for my muffins because I whip up a batch weekly for breakfast, brunch, an on-the-go snack or a running pick-me-up. Honestly, they’re practically a food group for me (just look at what I eat on a typical day!) These little dollops of deliciousness are what would happen if my Caramel Apple Cinnamuffins and Peanut Butter Cuppins had a muffin baby. Apples + Peanut Butter = Yum. Every time. Plus, I had an excuse to try out my new silicone muffin pan – I usually stick to a regular stainless steel pan, but lately mine has been getting tough to clean and the muffins have been sticking even when the pan is greased well, so I decided to give this cute red one a try. It’s a little trickier to remove from the oven without bending, but I’m happy to announce it was a successful test run! If you slide a knife carefully around the edges of each muffin before removing, they’re easy to pop right out of the pan.

 

Muffins in their new baking home

Muffins in their new baking home

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats

1/4 cup gluten-free sorghum or all-purpose flour

6 oz vanilla Greek yogurt (I used Oikos Traditional Greek Yogurt)

2 Tbsp milk of choice (I used So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk)

2 large eggs

2 tbsp peanut butter, melted (My favorite Peanut Butter & Co)

2 tbsp powdered peanut butter (I used PB2 Original)

1/2 cup apple, peeled and chopped (I like using Braeburn apples to bake, they’re the perfect twist of sweet and snappy)

1/3 cup applesauce

1 Tbsp butter (you can sub extra applesauce if you prefer)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Extra tbsp olive oil, butter, or cooking spray (to grease the pan)

 

Continue reading

March Recap + Roasted Parmesan Cauliflower Recipe

First things first – happy last day of March! I woke up to the sun shining and birds singing, and though rain is predicted later today, I’m just soaking up these rays of spring as long as they last.

 

IMG_0597

 

I can’t believe March has come to an end. Literally up until yesterday, I thought this month was going to have arrived and be leaving like a lion, but it might just be a welcome lamb! And in between the bouts of wacky weather, my March seemed to slink by while I wasn’t looking. I celebrated the first anniversary of my first half marathon with a second stab at the New York City Half Marathon, Which also meant my second anniversary of running!

 

At the finish line - it's not sweat I'm covered in, it's pixie dust!

At the finish line – it’s not sweat I’m covered in, it’s pixie dust!

 

I conquered another challenge (much smaller in scope) without really noticing by making good on my February promise not to buy any new clothes, and doubled the time – it’s been about 9 weeks, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but the funny thing is I’ve been tempted very little (except that suddenly I’m noticing all these holes in my admittedly well-worn running gear that seem to be telling me I should splurge on a pair of Wunder Unders…)

 

Seriously scrumptious side

Just one scrumptious dish

 

I got to share my feelings on food and its place in our culture, and with those a plethora of recipes that I have created and cooked in my journey to enjoying food as fuel for life. Some are old standbys and some new experiments. In the mood for a sweet and filling breakfast or snack? Try one of my oatmeal cakes, in flavors like Pumpkin Spice or Blueberry Muffin. Want a savory vegetarian main dish? Baked Garlic & Thyme Tofu is here to help, unless you’re in the mood for a Savory Goat Cheese & Vegetable Tart. Want a more classic brunch? Go for Smoked Salmon & Quinoa Quiche. Need some more vegetable inspiration? Just keep reading for my last recipe of March, and keep on cooking!

 

Continue reading

Blueberry Muffin Oatmeal Cake

This rainy start to spring has put a damper on my mood recently (bad pun, no apologies) and I’ve been wishing and hoping that the sun will break through and May flowers will bloom even when it’s supposed to be April showers. After all, March went out like a lion instead of a lamb, the weather should mix it up a little! To get in the spirit of spring, I’ve been making meals with lots of spring fruits and veggies like asparagus, artichokes, baby lettuces and berries. Since I already have classically autumn apple cinnamon and pumpkin spice oatmeal cakes, I came up with a lovely Blueberry Muffin Oatmeal Cake for this season. It’s a little cakier than my other oatmeal cakes, and worthy of the muffin name for that reason. Go ahead, whip one up and take a bite bursting with berries!

 

Ingredients:

Essential ingredients

Essential ingredients

1/2 cup gluten-free quick-cooking oats (using these instead of rolled oats results in more of a muffin-y texture – I went with Chex Gluten Free quick-cooking oats)

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 Tbsp Greek yogurt – plain, vanilla or blueberry

1 egg white (substitute applesauce if desired)

1/4 cup fresh blueberries

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp brown sugar

Pinch salt

For topping: 2 tsp each of Greek yogurt, cream cheese, and blueberry jam or preserves

For ramekin: 1 tsp butter (can substitute olive oil or cooking spray)

 

Continue reading

Miniature Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cake

I enjoyed my pumpkin spice oatmeal cake so much, I decided to whip up another – but since I’d finished the pumpkin, I needed a new flavor palate. Enter apples and cinnamon, one of the best combinations for a warming winter treat known to all mankind! Perfect for these days when silver-white winter is supposed to turn into spring, but spring seems a little shy to come out and play…

 

Ingredients:

Bake in a ramekin...

Bake in a ramekin…

1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup milk of choice (I used So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk)

2 Tbsp Greek yogurt (I recommend using 2% or full fat for the creaminess)

1 egg white (substitute applesauce if desired)

1/2 small apple, cubed

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch salt

For ramekin: 1 tsp butter (can substitute olive oil or cooking spray)

 

 

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

...flip into a dish to ice and serve!

…flip into a dish to ice and serve!

2. Combine all dry ingredients in a small bowl, then add in wet ingredients (only use 1 Tbsp of yogurt here) and cubed apple and mix well.

3. Melt butter in 1-cup (8 ounce) ramekin to coat inner surface. (You can also use olive oil or cooking spray, but I found that butter worked really well in this recipe to give the cake a yummy buttery crust).

4. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, then set oven to high broil for an additional 5 minutes.

5. Use a knife to carefully pry the edges of the cake from the ramekin (easy as long as it was greased well!) and flip upside down into a dish.

6. Top with 1 Tbsp of yogurt and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Enjoy!

 

 

Eat up!

Eat up!

 

This is a perfect post-workout breakfast – you can come home, whip up the ingredients, and stick it in the oven while you shower and get ready, then eat before you leave. It’s also a perfect lazy morning dish, because you can just lounge around reading the newspaper and slowly waking up while the oatmeal cake bakes. Basically, it’s great for everyone! And it’s completely gluten-freeWhat’s your go-to breakfast?

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

Meatless Monday: Baked Garlic & Thyme Tofu

Tofu. If you’re an omnivore (and even if you’re a vegan or a vegetarian) you might love it, but you also might fear telling that to other people, because the tofu they see at the salad bar or in the package is white, watery, and tasteless. I first started eating tofu when I began to rely on Amy’s Kitchen meals to heat up for dinner during my crazy first year of law school. The meals were good, but not big enough for a proper dinner, and lacking in the amount of protein I craved. Bathed in tamale or enchilada sauce, the tofu was fine, and since it’s so much cheaper than the chicken or fish I would otherwise cook, it was perfect for a law student budget.

Since then, I’ve carved out time in my life to cook proper meals (though Amy’s are great for those nights when I’m hungry and in a hurry!) and discovered that tofu can, in fact, be appealing all on its own when made properly. My favorite way to eat tofu is when it’s baked or grilled and tossed with complementary foods for a hearty and delicious bowl. This is my first baked tofu recipe, a classic I return to time after time. I’ll pair it with quinoa, mushrooms, mirepoix, and Parmesan cheese for a satisfying dinner.

 

Baked Tofu with Parmesan Garlic Quinoa, Mushrooms + Mirepoix

Baked Tofu with Parmesan Garlic Quinoa, Mushrooms + Mirepoix

 

 

Ingredients:

14 oz extra-firm tofu

2 tbsp brown rice vinegar

3 tbsp gluten-free tamari (soy sauce)

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp paprika

Olive oil (sprayable form preferable)

 

Instructions:

1. Slice tofu into 1″ thick slices and use dish towels to remove most of the moisture. Lie a towel flat on a plate, then arrange the tofu slices and place another towel on top, and press down. Repeat several times. (If you’re enough of a tofu aficionado that you own a tofu press to do this, then use that and I’m jealous of you.)

2. Cube the tofu slices into 1″ squares.

3. In a small bowl, combine the brown rice vinegar, tamari, and apple cider vinegar, along with 1 tsp each of the garlic and thyme.

4. Arrange tofu cubes in a plastic or glass container. Pour the marinade over the cubes and sprinkle remaining garlic and thyme on top. Cover the container, making sure it is well sealed, and shake a few times.

5. Place the container in the refrigerator and let sit for at least an hour, flipping it upside down halfway through the marinating process. Feel free to stretch out this step over several hours, or even overnight – it just needs at least an hour!

6. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8″ nonstick pan with olive oil. Place cubes evenly in the pan, ensuring that they aren’t on top of each other (squeezing the cubes in tightly is fine, they all just need to be touching the bottom of the pan).

7. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes. Turn off the oven, but let the dish sit in the oven for another 15-20 minutes to keep firm and warm. If you want to bake mushrooms with the tofu so they’re crispy, simply brush them with olive oil and put them on the tray when the tofu has 10 minutes left to bake.

8. Serve immediately on removing from the oven. Enjoy!

Serves 2-4 (for me, it’s two servings, but I like a protein-packed meal)

 

Baked Garlic & Thyme Tofu with Mushrooms

Baked Garlic & Thyme Tofu with Mushrooms

 

 

Do you try eating meatless every once in awhile, even if you’re an omnivore? What’s your favorite way to convince people that tofu is tasty?

 

 

 

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.