Cookie Monster

Here’s an easy way to make a small tot happy. Surprise them with a cookie monster. Simply cut a cookie in two and put a layer of frosting between the two halves. Then pipe two dots of frosting onto the top half and place chocolate chips in the center for the eyes. Insert chocolate chips around the outer edge for a mouth. Now you have a friendly cookie monster for your little one.

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Getting on the Bandwagon

So I’m not sure about you, but I keep stumbling upon pictures of Miley Cyrus out and about everywhere.  Miley is obviously a celebrity at this point, but I’m not 100% why.  She earned her celebrity status in a traditional manner through nepotism and a television show, but what has she done lately?

Though she’s young and I’m sure she has a lot ahead of her in her career, right now she reminds me a little of people like Jessica Simpson.  Yes she was a popular singer at one point.  Yes she successfully transformed that into several brands and business ventures.  Why exactly do the paparazzi follow her around now?

Anywho, confusion aside, Miley has recently been happy to endorse the option of going gluten-free.  I find this option extremely appealing, but seemingly impossible to practice.  While I do believe it would be beneficial to my digestive system, I would hate to put what seems like an extreme amount of effort into meal planning.  Especially since I don’t feel I have severe medical reasons for doing so.

But then I saw this decadent recipe from Martha, and gluten-free never seemed so delicious:

Flourless Double Chocolate Pecan Cookies (Gluten Free)

From Martha

Yields about 12 depending on size

Ingredients

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 oz. chopped bittersweet baking chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (I also saw a version in her magazine with macadamia nuts)
  • 4 egg whites (room temp, FYI baking with egg whites only works with real eggs, not egg whites from a carton)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Combine sugar, cocoa, salt, chocolate, and pecans.  Stir until mixture is uniform.
  3. Add egg whites to mixture and stir to make sure mixture is wet throughout, but try not to over mix.
  4. Drop dough as flat discs on parchment lined baking sheets.  The cookies will expand slightly in the oven.  Bake for 25 minutes.  The cookies will look dry and cracked when they’re done.

I enjoyed these because they an intense chocolate flavor and because of the egg whites they have a meringue-like consistency to them.

Green Machine

This Summer I’m surviving largely on salads.  I have extreemly limited cooking capabilities in my kitchen, not even a microwave, combined with zero cooking energy when I get home from work and the gym.  I usually get home around 8pm, so I need something ready to go because I’m not waiting around for a delivery, or trying to prepare anything.  I’m not a fast food burger kind of gal, so my go-to options are usually a pre-made salad, salad bar, or soup from the prepared foods section of a grocery store; or Panera.  Both are quick, easy, delicious, and affordable.

Confession: I suck at buffets.  For three reasons.  1. Sometimes I take the phrase “all you can eat” too seriously.  2. I don’t pick a theme or flavor profile, and while I love a good garbage salad, I manage to pick opposing ingredients.   I usually start in one direction, like greens/craisons/pecans/blue cheese/apples, then I see salsa and I want to turn around and make a southwestern salad so I just add it to the pile.  I have the same problem at fro yo places.  3. I need to remind myself to add nutritional value with a variety of veggies and protein.  Just cheese, nuts, and lettuce does not a healthy salad make.

To trouble shoot my problems, I do my best to take a couple warmup laps around the salad bar to decide the optimal combination based on the ingredients available (this tip is in every healthy eating publication ever).  And I also try to pile on the lettuce so it will fill me up and add negligible calories, making the “all you can eat” a little safer for me.

This summer I also have a decent salad bar at work, which I treat myself to once or twice a week (otherwise I try to bring my lunch).  I feel kind of nerdy though because I love it, and a lot of my co-workers see the salad bar as the boring option for lunch.

My Favorites:

Salad Bar: Whole Foods ( I typically go with, romaine, fresh spinach, pecans, blue cheese, craisons, squash, cucumbers, black beans, red onions, maybe bell peppers, and some oil & vinegar)

Fast Casual Salad: Thai Chopped Chicken Salad at Panera

btw, have you seen the new to-go containers?

Salad ingredients I love: edemame, craisons, salsa, red onions

Salad ingredients I hate: olives, avacado, bacon, egg

Fave Dressing: oil and vinegar or a lite raspberry vinagrette

Least Fave Dressing: french

At the moment I’m favoring the cheese/nut/fruit type of salad, but I’m also a sucker for a good greek or southwestern salad.

What kind of salad are you loving right now?