Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Wow it’s been a hot second since I’ve blogged. It’s good to be back though!

In the time that I haven’t blogged, I’ve…

  • been running avidly! I am a member of the running club at my college, so I’ve gotten really into running this fall. Last weekend, our team drove 9 hours to Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA for collegiate running club nationals. I ran the most challenging 6K ever- hill after hill after hill, but I PRed (got a personal record) which was exciting. That weekend we also explored downtown Harrisburg (the capitol of PA), toured the Hershey candy world factory, and saw a political protest. It was quite the weekend.
  • went to multiple Big Ten college football games.
  • did a corn maze with my family when I went home for the weekend.
  • went on my first Uber ride.
  • met multiple other vegans, either in class or in the community kitchen near my dorm.
  • baked multiple times in the community kitchen.
  • and last and probably the most noteworthy, I got hit by a flying table.

Wait what?!

Okay so here’s the backstory. On Halloween weekend, I went to a fraternity party because why not try new things in college. I was standing with a crowd of people on the lawn outside the frat, facing away from the house, when ALL OF A SUDDEN someone threw a WOODEN COFFEE table out a second story window. When it fell, it hit the entire back of my legs and ankles with significant force. Needless to say, I fell down, cried, and went inside and yelled at a bunch of people in the frat because one of their members THREW A TABLE OUT A WINDOW AND INTO A CROWD OF PEOPLE AND IT HIT ME (and really only me). The table scraped up my legs, my calves and ankles swelled up to double their size, and my legs became badly bruised. It was hard to walk for the first week after it happened and I wasn’t able to work out, BUT I got super lucky because the table didn’t break any of my bones. I had to get an X-ray to check.

Even though getting a table thrown at me is bad luck, there is a silver lining to the story. I got lucky with the fact that the table only hit my legs. If I had been standing a foot closer to the house, it could have hit me in the head. That would have been bad, to say the very least. As in, I could have died (not to be dramatic or anything).

I’d say I’ve had a very interesting month or so since we’ve last talked. It’s been a good month though. Especially because I made these cookies.

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These cookies are a fall twist on the classic chocolate chip cookie. They’re adapted from my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe ever, the chocolate chip cookies in Chloe’s Vegan Desserts. I replaced half of the butter in the original recipe for pumpkin and added in a bunch of quintessential fall spices. It makes the cookies a smidge healthier and adds some flair to them.

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The whole recipe came about this past week when a few of my friends and I decided to bake together in the community kitchen. We made these pumpkin muffins (in cake form because we couldn’t find a muffin pan) and had leftover pumpkin so we decided to add it in to the cookies we’d planned on making. It turned out really well!

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Fun fact, we had to open the canned pumpkin with scissors and a knife because we couldn’t find a can opener, and we had to mix the cookie batter in a saucepan because we couldn’t find a mixing bowl. The cookies still turned out though.

I hope you like these cookies as much as we did, and I hope you can mix them in a regular bowl! Let me know if you make them, and let me know what you’ve been up to in the last little bit!

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Chloe Coscarelli’s regular chocolate chip cookies in Chloe’s Vegan Desserts

Makes 40 cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch OR 2 Tbsp more flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • ½ cup vegan butter, softened (I use Earth Balance)
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used Trader Joe’s semisweet )

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Cream together the butter, pumpkin, and sugars.
  3. Add in the water and vanilla. Beat the mixture, in a stand mixer or by mixing rapidly by hand, until it is light and fluffy (for around 2 minutes).
  4. Mix in the flour one cup at a time.
  5. Mix in the baking soda, salt, and spices. Mix until batter is just combined.
  6. Add in the chocolate chips. More is better!
  7. Roll the cookies into inch balls on a cookie sheet and bake for 9-10 minutes.
  8. Flatten the cookies when they come out of the oven by slamming the pan hard down onto the counter once or twice.
  9. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes, then enjoy!

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Happy early Thanksgiving! What are you making for Thanksgiving dessert?

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Chocolate Candy Halloween Bark

Halloween-themed candy bark that takes five minutes to prepare and tastes sinfully delicious? Yes PLEASE.

All you have to do is melt some chocolate, add your favorite candy into it, and refrigerate it for about an hour to make a simple, sugar-filled bark. It’s a fun and different way to eat Halloween candy.

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The nice thing about this bark is that you can tailor it to your dietary restrictions. Make it gluten-free by using certified gluten-free chocolate and candy (so leave out the Oreos and swap the pretzel M&M’s for crushed gluten-free pretzels). Make it vegan by using vegan chocolate chipsnon-dairy milk, and your favorite vegan halloween candies. No Whey Chocolate makes vegan versions of pretzel M&M’s and Reese’s piecescalled NoNo’s that you can order online and use instead of the originals.

I made this candy bark in my dorm room microwave but couldn’t find vegan chocolate candy on my college campus. Thus, the chocolate was vegan but the candy was not so I just gave it to some friends.

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There’s no reason not to make this chocolatey treat. It’s so simple that even the laziest college student can make it. As I said, I made it in my dorm room microwave! Plus, you can snack on the chocolate as you make it.

Gift everyone you know, from your friends to your arch-enemy, this treat (instead of a trick)!

Chocolate Candy Halloween Bark

makes 8 servings

this recipe was first published in my second Spoon University article!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 package pretzel M&M’s/ NoNo’s
  • 1 package peanut M&M’s/ 1/4 cup peanuts
  • 1 package Reese’s pieces/ Pea”not” butter NoNo’s
  • 8 crushed Oreos

Instructions

Gather your ingredients.

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Measure out chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli semi-sweet) and milk (I used soy) into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir the mixture to smoothen it out. Add in more milk as needed.

Add the candy to the chocolate and mix everything together.

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Line a cutting board, piece of cardboard, or cardstock with plastic wrap. Pour the bark mixture onto the plastic wrap and smooth it out so it’s about a ½ inch thick.

Happy Halloween! Eat all the candy you want today and have fun seeing all the trick-or-treaters! Let me know the coolest costume you saw.

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Fall Travel Essentials

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The temperature is decreasing in fall, and with these colder winds comes an itch to leave, to fly away somewhere warmer and summery. At least that’s how the birds and I both feel. As much as I like this crisp season full of everything pumpkin and falling leaves, I miss summer and crave warmth like you wouldn’t believe.

I don’t have any plans to travel THIS fall except to go to my real home for Thanksgiving break, but that’s only an hour away. However, I made a list of my fall travel essentials for those of you ready to jet off to somewhere exciting. Check out my travel advice and carry-on essentials, and let me know where you’re off to on your next adventure!

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Travel Advice:

  • Wear comfy clothing that you can sleep and relax in. My favorite travel clothes are leggings, a graphic t-shirt, and a sweatshirt. The pants from Betabrand are also great to travel in, and they have options from cute travel jeans to yoga pants.
    • Remember to keep in mind the temperature of the place you’re traveling to so you’ll be prepared clothing-wise when you land.
  • Wear layers. The temperature in an airport can be hotter than the sun or colder than Antartica within the same hour . Wearing layers allows you to be comfortable at any temperature by either taking clothes off or putting them on.
  • Bring a carry-on neck pillow so you can sleep more comfortably in the airport or on the plane.
  • Bring a carry-on backpack full of travel essentials.
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Some travel essentials: a comfy sweatshirt, granola bars, a journal and writing utensils, a water bottle, hand sanitizer, and comfy tennis shoes.

Here’s what’s in my carry-on backpack:

  • an extra pair of clothing just in case my suitcase gets lost: a pair of pants, a t-shirt, and undergarments.
  • activities for the plane
    • paperback books
    • my phone and headphones
    • journal and pens to write all about my travel experiences so I can share them on the blog! Check out my travel log on my trip to Guatemala here and my Asia trip log here.
  • snacks
    • granola/ granola bars
    • nuts
    • dried fruit
  • mini hand sanitizer
  • lip balm and lotion because planes are SO DRY
  • a water bottle
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Can you tell I like LÄRABARS?

Want ideas of what to pack in your suitcase? Look here! Want more travel advice, especially about traveling on a special diet (like veganism)? Look here!

Good luck with your fall travel! Where are you going, or where would you like to go this fall?

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4-Ingredient Microwave Cookies + an Announcement

Hey and happy Wednesday!

Let’s get right to it- I have an exciting announcement. Have you ever heard of Spoon University? If you haven’t, it’s a food writing website for college students by college students. Colleges have chapters, and each chapter makes articles and hosts cool events like this one. I joined my school’s chapter and published my first post today (!!!!).

I am so excited about being involved with Spoon. How excited you ask?

THIS EXCITED.

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Here’s a pic of me and donuts the size of my FACE at an event our chapter hosted this past Monday. 

My article is a recipe of four-ingredient cookies that you can make in your microwave. They’re great for busy college students everywhere because they only contain four ingredients and take like six minutes total to make and bake. They’re healthy enough to make for breakfast, but they’re also a great healthy snack or dessert for those not wanting to gain the freshman 15. Give them a try and show “Cupcake Wars” that you don’t need an oven to make satisfying dessert!

Please check out my first article and tell me what you think! HERE‘S the link. 

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Four-Ingredient Microwave Cookies

Makes 6 cookies

  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1/4 cup nut butter of choice- I used peanut butter
  • 3 100 calorie packets of oats (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  1. Mash the banana in a small bowl or mug.
  2. Stir in the nut butter.
  3. Stir in the oats.
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Form the cookie dough into 2 inch balls. Place on a (microwave safe) plate and heat in the microwave for a minute and 10 seconds.
  6. Take out of the microwave, let cool for a few minutes, and enjoy!

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I hope your day is as fun as you are.

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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Hump day calls for cookies. Agreed? Agreed.

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Oatmeal raisin cookies are the ugly duckling of the cookie jar. They seem to always be passed up for the more “appetizing” chocolate chip studded cookies. Poor oatmeal raisin cookies.

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These oatmeal raisin cookies are not ugly ducklings. They are tender, perfectly spiced, and filled with plump raisins. The more raisins the better is my philosophy when it comes to these cookies because they add a sweet surprise to each bite.

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I promise you that these oatmeal raisin cookies will not be passed up. They will be eaten faster than it takes for a grape to be turned into a raisin. Actually that’s a bad example since grapes take days to shrivel into raisins. How about these cookies will go faster than you can say, “Baby, it’s cold outside?” Yes, that’s better. And it’s true because baby it IS cold outside.

DSC_0114.jpgYou know how you can warm yourself up though? By turning on your oven and making these cookies. They taste like fall, especially when paired with a pumpkin spice latte* (aka fall’s official drink).😉

*Sidetone: what are your feelings on the notorious pumpkin spice latte (PSL)? Love it? Hate it? Never tried it? I’m the third option, actually!

What are you waiting for? Go get out your mixing bowl and prove to the world that oatmeal raisin cookies are not ugly duckings with this cookie recipe. Enjoy!

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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

makes 14 cookies

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 + ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp nondairy milk- I used almond
  • ½ cup raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk them together.
  3. Whisk in wet ingredients.
  4. Add raisins and mix dough until just combined.
  5. Spoon dough into balls on a cookie sheet, then flatten them a bit with your palm.
  6. Bake for 8 minutes. Let them cool for a few minutes, then enjoy!

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Happy Wednesday! Happy baking!

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Fab Five Friday 9/30/16

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We made it! It’s finally Friday!

How has your week been? Mine has been a struggle bus, but I made it without dying (barely). I’ve been feeling under the weather since last week Wednesday- I’ve developed a bad cold, just like about half the other students on my campus. I guess Mother Nature decided that once fall started it was time to send in the cold winds and torrential downpours, both of which helped contribute to the spread of the common cold version of the plague on campus.

If you’re feeling sick too, I sincerely hope you feel better and drinks lots of water and tea. Speaking of tea, number one on my fab five list is…

1. Trader Joe’s Spiced Chai tea

A.k.a. the main thing that has been getting me through the week! I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I’ve had five to seven cups of tea a day for the past four days. It helps me feel better so I figure I might as well load up on it! TJ’s chai is the best chai tea I’ve ever had (wayyyyy better than Tazo), and this is definitely my new favorite tea. It’s spicy and cinnamony and oh-so-good. My favorite way to enjoy it is in my giant MSU spartan mug with a 1:4 ratio of soy milk and hot water.

Before I came to college, I drank tea, but not that often and only chai. Now I drink it religiously! Green, chai, black, herbal… you name it and I’ll drink it. I like trying all the varieties the dining hall offers.

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2. Pretzel Bark Thins

Thank you to my grandma for introducing me to Bark Thins! They’re dark chocolate slabs mixed in with pretzels– what more could you want in a snack? They have other delightful flavors like chocolate almond, chocolate peanut, and chocolate pumpkin seed. I highly recommend these! You can find them at most grocery stores, as well as at CVS.

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3. Dining Hall Food

The food at my college is actually pretty good! I’ve been enjoying all different types of food in the dining halls, from oatmeal (with peanut butter and banana) to salads to hummus and pita bread with tabbouleh to roasted veggies and rice to soup GALORE. My lunch on Wednesday was especially good- vegan chili with french fries (chili fries!!), hummus, carrots, and steamed broccoli & cauliflower. img_4563

Another day I had a veggie peanut wrap, side salad, and herby potato pancake that was unique but really good.

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4. This Pumpkin Bread

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It’s vegan, gluten free, and looks fantastic. I know it has to be good since my friend Demeter spent six trials perfecting it! I highly recommend checking out this bread and Demeter’s site in general, Beaming Baker. Her recipes are good, her photography is incredible, and the stories she includes in each post are so entertaining. I can’t wait to make this pumpkin bread with my mom when I come home from college for the weekend next week!

5. Acro Yoga

I joined the acro yoga club at my school, and it’s challenging but so fun! For those who don’t know, acro yoga is basically yoga with a partner. You do poses together, most of which involve balancing (here are pictures of me doing it in Guatemala this past spring). The club meets every Sunday outside in a field for two hours to practice, from 2-4 PM.

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Here’s some of the acro yoga squad doing “throne” pose. I’m the third to the right (in the navy tank top), just chilling on my friend’s feet.

That’s what I’ve been loving lately! What about you? Favorite tea lately? Favorite snack? Let me know!

Have a safe and fun weekend! I’ll be back on Sunday with a fall cookie recipe.🙂

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What I’ve Been Eating in College (Collab)

Happy Monday!

I can’t believe that today marks the beginning of my FOURTH week of college. I’ve been here for almost a month already! How insane is that?! As you can tell, I can’t get over it.

Today I thought it’d be fun to share with you WHAT exactly I’ve been eating since I’ve been in college and am no longer cooking my own mealsdsc_0022

This post is a collaboration with my friend Stephanie of “Petite Pastels,” aka like the cutest lifestyle blog EVER.

Stephanie and I met this spring on Instagram of all places after she commented on one of my posts and we found out that she watched me play against her friends at high school tennis regionals (awkward)!! We also found out that we go to the same college, and we immediately connected over our blogs and our love of food/ tennis/ our college!! It turns out that she also lived in the same dorm freshman year that I’m living in now and we played on rival tennis teams (but possibly played in the same group tennis lessons). WHAT a small world. Anyway, Stephanie and I have been messaging on Instagram since May, and finally earlier this month she suggested we meet up in real life and do a blog post together (to which I said HECK YES!!!).

Stephanie and I met up this past Friday for dinner at the dining hall next to my dorm and had fun taking pictures of and eating dorm food (while people sitting by us hard-core judged us for being basic and taking pictures of our food). It was so fun to talk about blogging and tennis and all things “college” with her.

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For dinner, Stephanie got fries, hummus, tabbouleh, cantaloupe, and cooked broccoli. I got a giant salad (mixed greens, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, cooked beets, & a corn medley) and hummus, tabbouleh, and quinoa. What I like about the cafeteria we went to was that they have a “mediterranean” section every day with pita, hummus, tabbouleh, and quinoa.

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I live next to the “healthiest” cafeteria on campus, so that’s great. I’m not sure it’s the healthiest caf, but it does have a decent amount of salad and fruit. Every dining hall has menus each day that show dietary labels, so I can easily stay vegan as long as I stick to the certified vegan options. I’ve been eating a LOT of salad and fruit, which I like… we’ll see how I feel though once winter comes and all I’ll want will be ALL THE CARBS.

I’ve stayed vegan since I’ve been at college- it’s actually been pretty easy thanks to the dining hall selections! I eat every meal in the dining hall, unless I wake up late and miss part of my class so I have to literally jump out of my (lofted) bed and grab a Lärabar to eat as I bike to class… not that that’s happened or anything.😉

For breakfast, I eat…

  1. cereal with soy milk or almond milk (right now I’m obsessed with Kashi Go Lean Crunch) and fruit
  2. oatmeal with peanut butter and banana slices mixed into it
  3. Silk nondairy yogurt and MSU baker’s granola (picture #3)

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Typically we eat out of real bowls with real silverware but lately we’ve been using disposable plates and utensils because the caf is understaffed and has no one to do dishes.

For lunch, I eat fruit and…

  1. salad: my go-to is hummus with spinach, carrots, raw broccoli, cherry tomatoes, beets, and chickpeas
  2. fries [sometimes]
  3. rice and stir-fried veggies (when it’s served)
  4. quinoa, an apple with peanut butter, and carrots
  5. hummus, tabbouleh, carrots, and pita
  6. the soup of the day if it’s vegan. Today it was a hearty lentil stew that was pretty good (lentils, rice, veggies, and a little bit of broth). I’ve also had tomato wild rice soup and spicy Mexican tortilla soup.img_4332img_4335

Lunch from a few days ago: I got a salad with spinach, hummus, green beans, and carrots + grapes + spicy mexican soup + french fries. My friend Emily got mashed potatoes and gravy, spicy soup, fries, hummus, pita, and tabbouleh. 

I eat basically the same food as lunch for dinner.

A few days ago I had a super good tofu/ snap pea/ mushroom/ soy sauce stir-fry with quinoa and steamed cauliflower though!

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Snack-wise, I eat fruit from the caf or enjoy an afternoon pick-me-up in my room of chai tea and chocolate chips.

There are no vegan dessert options which is TRAGIC but hey, at least I won’t gain the freshman fifteen because of dessert??

However, a few days ago I made cookies in my microwave so I could have dessert (recipe will be on the blog later this week). Plus, some of my friends’ dorms have community kitchens that I can bake in… so I’ll get dessert somehow eventually. As of right now I’ve just been eating chocolate in my room (what’s new).

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So there’s what I’ve been eating! What have YOU been eating (whether you’re in college or not!)? I’m feeling pretty healthy and don’t think I’ve gained any weight because of all the exercise I’m doing, from walking around campus to biking to classes to running with the running club.


I’m so happy I got to collaborate on this post with Stephanie- be SURE to check out what she eats in college!! Her post will be a little different than mine because she lives in a house with a kitchen and can therefore make her own food.

Have a wonderful start to your week!

xx Ellie