Posts Tagged 'coconut'

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Snack Cake with Coconut Topping

Weekends are so much better now that I’m back at work.  I appreciate them about a million times more than I did when every day was pretty much the same.  Obviously it was great having Mike home all day on the weekends, but now there’s even more of a focus for both of us on spending quality time with Ellie.

There’s more time for enjoying tea, which has become my new Friday night beverage of choice.

I did end up having a beer after this, but I couldn’t even finish it because I fell asleep on the couch at 8:30.  Oh parenthood, you do crazy things to people.

There’s more time to savor the view out of Ellie’s window as the sun is coming up.  I was never really big on sleeping in, so this getting up before the sun comes up thing actually isn’t too much of a life change.

And more time for BAKING!  When I was driving home from work yesterday I had pretty much made up my mind that I was going to bake oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  But then I realized I’ve done that too many times, and I had plenty of time to bake something new.  Oatmeal snack cake seemed like a good idea, but adding chocolate chips was essential.  For some people, this is probably too indulgent for breakfast or snack, but it makes a great casual dessert!

(adapted from The Bitten Word)

Chocolate Snowball Cookies

Smart people tend to read recipes carefully, sometimes more than once. They definitely don’t mix up cooking time and cooling time, leading to hideously burn candied nuts.


Those were supposed to be a hostess gift for the Christmas party we went to this weekend, but nope, I burned the crap out of 2 cups of mixed nuts (tossed with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger) because I read the cooking time as 45 minutes even though that was the cooling time. What a bummer. Fortunately we had everything on hand to make these cookies.

Soft chocolate cookies, rolled in sugar and dried coconut. Definitely good enough to make me forget about my embarrassing kitchen mishap.

(adapted from The Curvy Carrot)

Magic Scotchie Cookies

Why are these called magic scotchie cookies? Because I incorporated some features of magic bars (or 7-layer bars, or Hello Dolly bars) with scotchies (oatmeal and butterscotch chips). I left out chocolate chips because I didn’t want to overpower the butterscotch flavor. They’re pretty addictive, so I was happy to pack them up and send them to work with Mike.

This is the LAST day of my maternity leave! It’s gone by really fast, and although I know I’m really going to miss Ellie, I’m really happy to be going back to work. I stopped by for a department meeting the other day and ran into several of my students from last year who are now in high school. They were some of my favorites, and they all ended up running Cross Country this fall. One of them said she never would have considered it if I hadn’t encouraged her and talked about how fun it was. She started last year hating running, and now she’s already starting to train for the track season!

I’m going again today to pick up my work laptop and some of my teaching materials, because this weekend is going to involve a lot of lesson planning. I’m kind of nervous about how I’m going to balance teaching, training, blogging, and most importantly, being Eleanor’s mom, but fortunately Mike is amazing and has no problem trading off morning duty so we can both get workouts in, so that will help a lot.

Oh, and I finished the hat! It fits Mike perfectly, yay. Next up: a stocking for Ellie. I found a pattern but I’m pretty intimidated. Thank goodness for youtube videos – any time I get stuck, I find a video of what I’m trying to do, watch it about 35 times, and attempt it myself. It worked out pretty well for the hat, but that was a ridiculously simple pattern. There’s a good chance Ellie will just end up with a stocking from Target, but I’ll do my best.


Coconut-Cilantro Quinoa Bowls

Welcome to the latest installment of “things to do when your due date is a week away with no baby in sight.”
1. Hit the gym. Be super tempted to stay on the elliptical until you go into labor.

2. Make bagels. Decide that while they’re pretty good, Peter Reinhart’s recipe is better, so they don’t deserve a blog post of their own.

3. Toast said bagels and top with cream cheese, capers, red onion, and heirloom tomatoes. Repeat more times than is probably healthy within a 24 hour period.

4. Practice changing diapers. Or take a picture of your husband while he practices.

5. Go see Our Idiot Brother. (It’s adorable)

6. Make this for dinner.

I hate it when people tell me “you HAVE to make this immediately, it’s SO good!!!!!!!” so I’m not going to do that to you. I will be thinking it very hard, however. It really was one of the best dinners we’ve had in awhile (yeah, I probably say that too often…)

I started with a recipe for swordfish with cilantro-coconut chutney. Obviously I don’t eat swordfish so I used slabs of tofu instead. Then I served it over quinoa, cooked in vegetable broth with a squeeze of lime. With a raw vegetable salad on the side (or mixed in), it’s a complete meal in a single bowl with a great mix of textures and flavors, and a nice amount of protein.

This was the first time I tried dredging the tofu slices in a little flour, corn starch, and salt before pan-frying them. Mike loved it, I wasn’t quite as sold, so that step is optional.

I know the ingredient list looks a little daunting because there are four different components to this meal, but it actually comes together pretty quickly.

(adapted from Ani’s Raw Food Asia and A New Way To Cook)

2 small red bell peppers, julienned
2 Persian cucumbers (or 1 English cucumber), seeded and julienned
1 large carrot, juliened
1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
pinch salt

2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup quinoa
pinch salt
juice of half a lime

a drizzle of vegetable oil
2 tbsp all purpose flour (optional)
1 tbsp corn starch (optional)
pinch or two of salt (optional)
1 lb extra firm tofu, well drained, and cut crosswise into 1/2″ thick slices

about 2 cups fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 serrano chile, roughly chopped
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
2 tbsp unsweetened, dried coconut

Start with the vegetables: Put the julienned vegetables, olive oil, vinegar, and salt in a medium bowl, toss to combine, and set aside.

Bring the broth and a pinch of salt to a boil in a medium saucepan, stir in the quinoa, cover, and cook over low until all the liquid is absorbed, 15-20 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and fluff with a fork.

If you’re using flour, cornstarch and salt for the tofu, place them in a shallow dish and mix well. Dip each slice of tofu in the mixture and brush off any extra. Heat a thin layer of oil in a skillet, and cook the tofu slices until golden brown. Set aside.

To make the sauce, combine the cilantro, chile, cumin seeds, sugar, and lime juice in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the coconut milk and process until nearly smooth. Gently stir in the dried coconut, and adjust lime juice or sugar if necessary.

To assemble each bowl, put quinoa in the bottom, top with some vegetables, a slab or two of tofu, and drizzle with sauce.

Kale and Farro with Marinated Tofu

Wow, what a weekend! It was exactly what a good weekend should be. Incredibly relaxing, but also just productive enough to feel like I got lots done without being stressed out.

We kicked off Saturday morning with a visit to the gym. After not going for a week and a half, as soon as Mike started getting ready I decided I wanted to give it another try, and it was SO much better than the last two visits. I rode the bike for 35 minutes and did some upper body weights. I brought water with me and made sure I was drinking frequently…no dizziness! Can’t wait to go back today!

After the gym we took a tour of the hospital where the baby will be born. I definitely feel a little bit more comfortable now that I’ve seen exactly where I’m going to go, but with less than four weeks until my due date I still don’t feel completely ready (and probably never will!)

After the hospital we were both craving Korean food, so we headed over to My Tofu House (4627 Geary, San Francisco). Their specialty is tofu soup (soon dubu) but we both ended up ordering dolsot bibimbap (rice and vegetables in a hot stone bowl). The light wasn’t very good so my pictures are pretty crappy, but the food was delicious and the service was friendly and quick.

Sunday started with pancakes, like all Sundays should.

The hospital tour really lit a fire under us to get all the remaining baby stuff we needed, so we went to Babies R Us and now have pretty much everything that was on our list. We also realized that the name we’d settled on months ago wasn’t so appealing anymore, so we have a new name in mind (but still want to wait and actually see the kid before we tell anyone).

So about this recipe… I FINALLY found farro at the co-op after months of wanting it! I’m not sure if they were always out of it before, or if they just started carrying it, but I bought a ton of it and I totally love it. It’s not as chewy as barley and is super easy to cook, plus you can pair it with just about anything. For this dinner I roasted some kale with coconut, tossed it with cooked farro, and topped it with some marinated, pan-fried tofu. Simple, healthy, and really, really delicious!

(adapted from Super Natural Every Day and Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone)

1 lb extra firm tofu, pressed and drained
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
a big pinch red pepper flakes
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp soy sauce

1 cup farro
2 1/2 cups water
pinch salt
1 bunch lacinto (dinosaur) kale, ribs removed and coarsely chopped (3-4 cups)
1/3 cup dried, unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 cup olive oil

First, make the tofu marinade. Combine the ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, 2 tsp sesame oil, brown sugar, and 3 tbsp soy sauce in a small bowl and mix well.
Slice the tofu crosswise into 8 thick slices. Arrange in a single layer in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over. Turn slices to coat, cover the dish, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Whisk together 1 tsp sesame oil, 2 tbsp soy sauce, and olive oil. Toss the kale and coconut together with about half the oil mixture. Arrange on a large, rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, or until kale is just beginning to brown (don’t let it brown completely or it will be bitter).

To cook the farro, bring the water to a boil with a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Stir in the farro, turn heat to low, and cover, simmering for about 15-20 minutes or until the grains are tender. Drain excess water and put the farro in a large bowl.

Toss the kale and coconut with the farro, adding the remaining oil mixture to taste.

Pan fry the tofu slices in a well-seasoned or nonstick skillet until firm and golden. Scoop some of the salad into a bowl and top with the cooked tofu.

Homemade Samoas

We’re right in the middle of Girl Scout cookie time, which is normally one of my favorite times of year becuase honestly, even though they’re horrible for you, those cookies are pretty addictive. But now that I know how disastrous palm oil (which is used heavily in Girl Scout cookies) is for orangutans (more information about that here, and a quick google search yields MANY more links), I think I’ll stick with making my own from scratch and just donate directly to local troops.

Fortunately, there are a lot of fantastic recipes floating around, and I could not pass up the chance to make Samoas (my absolute favorite Girl Scout cookie variety). With real butter shortbread, toasted coconut tossed with caramel, and a drizzle of chocolate, these might be even better than the real thing. I sent most of them to work with Mike and they disappeared before the afternoon.

The one drawback to these is that they are pretty time consuming. It was kind of frustrating trying to spread the caramel coconut mixture onto the shortbread, and I ended up dipping my fingers in cold water and pressing it on rather than using a knife. It worked really well. On a normal weekday I would never go to such laborous lengths to make cookies, but I had all last week off, so when I wasn’t lazing on the couch (which admittedly wasn’t that often), I was in the kitchen. It was a nice, relaxing week but I realized by about Tuesday afternoon that being a stay at home wife would make me go INSANE. I am so ready to be back at work!

The weekend was a LOT more active than the week. We tried a new macaroni and cheese restaurant in Oakland called Homeroom (400 40th Ave, Oakland). I started reading Local Lemons while we were in Korea, because it made me feel connected to California (which I missed like crazy). When Allison started writing about opening a mac and cheese restaurant I knew I wanted to try it as soon as it was up and running.

Homeroom has now been open for about 2 weeks. I absolutely loved the feel of the place, with paper menus that have directions for folding them into paper airplanes, a vintage lunchbox holding the menus, and a huge chalkboard showing where in California a lot of their ingredients come from. Another awesome touch? The menu recommends beers to go with each variety of mac and cheese!

I got the Classic, with buttery baked breadcrumbs on top. It was creamy and PERFECT in every way, especially after I drenched it with hot sauce. I also got a side salad, and the citrus dressing was the perfect balance of sweet and tangy. Normally I am not a fan of lettuce-only salads but the dressing completely made up for the lack of other vegetables or add-ins. Because my portion size ended up being a little on the small side, they brought me a free brownie, which was perfectly fudgy without being overly heavy. Magical.

Mike got the Mexican Mac with jack cheese, chorizo, chipotle, cilantro, and lime. He loved it. Our only complaint was that the service was REALLY slow and they forgot Mike’s beer…but I’m sure they’re still just working out the kinks because they haven’t been open for long. I want to go back soon and try a couple other varieties (and probably some other desserts…)

Sooo there’s your unhealthy dose of goodness for this beautiful Monday. All things are fine in moderation, right?

(from Baking Bites)

makes about 30 cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 to 2 tbsp milk

3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp whole milk milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

To make the cookies: Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and mix well.

Whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl, then add to the butter mixture and mix on medium just until combined. Add 1 to 2 tbsp milk – as much as you need to get the dough to hold together without being sticky.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Roll the dough out between two sheets of parchment paper to about 1/4″ thick.

Cut into 1-1/2″ to 2″ circles and transfer to an ungreased cookie sheet. Using a straw, remove the center of the dough and move the straw around a little bit to widen the circle slightly.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until no longer doughy. Cool on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.

To make the topping:

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and sprinkle the coconut evenly in the pan. Toast in a 350 F oven stirring every two minutes, until golden brown brown. Remove from the oven to cool.

Combine the salt, milk and caramels in a medium saucepan. Cook over low, stirring frequently until smooth. Stir in the coconut.

Spread a tsp or two of coconut mixture on each cookie and set aside.

Melt the chocolate chips in the top of a double boiler. Cool slightly, then scoop into a ziploc bag and cut off a tiny bit of the corner. Drizzle the chocolate over the cookies and let it set. Store in an airtight container.

Carrot Cake Cookies (raw and vegan!)

Pleeeeease don’t let the “raw and vegan” up there deter you from this recipe (I’m guessing my sister has already stopped reading). These taste a little like carrot cake Clif Bars (one of my favorite flavors!) and they’re surprisingly easy. Plus they have just a few ingredients, don’t require you to turn on the oven, and are insanely satisfying at any time of day. If those Brownie Bites weren’t really your style, these are a great alternative. But I’ll stop trying to sell you on them now, and get to what’s really on my mind.


A year ago right now, we were getting on a plane from Bangkok to Portland, after our year-long travel adventure had come to an end. We spent a lot of time in Thailand in 2009, most of it in Bangkok, which is tied with London for my favorite city in the world. From a purely food standpoint, Bangkok wins by a MILE.

At this time a year ago, there were already (really creepy) Christmas decorations in the main shopping area.

I was running every morning in Lumpini Park…

and following it up with Thai iced coffee from a street cart.

It seemed fitting somehow to end our adventures in the same place they started.

It’s sometimes almost painful how much I miss that place!

But at least I can console myself with these cookies. And I’m not sure that cookies is the best word for them, because the texture is actually more like dough. Amazing, dough.

This was a total experiment that started with just throwing random stuff into the food processor.

I kept adding stuff (and tasting) until they seemed ready, then I rolled them in coconut and let them chill for about an hour. I knew I loved them but the real test was Mike. He loves all cookies, but sometimes my kitchen experiments are a little too out-there for him (and he didn’t go crazy for my maple-almond butter cookies), but we were both in love with these, so the recipe is a keeper!


makes about 24

1 cup (packed) pitted medjool dates
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
2 small carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut (for rolling)

Combine all ingredients (except coconut) in a food processor and pulse until mixed but not smooth. Taste and add more spices according to your tastes.

Spread the coconut on a plate

Moisten your hands so the mixture doesn’t stick. Pick up about 2 tsp at a time and roll into a ball between your hands. Roll in coconut and flatten slightly, then place on a plate. Repeat with remaining dough, then chill for at least an hour.


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