Yummy Hummus

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I hope you are having a rocking day. If not, watch this video and you will feel happier.

I am having a rocking day because exams are over and I have much less homework than I’ve had in the past three weeks! Hallelujah!

A great way to spend that free time is by cooking and baking. One of the things I’ve been cooking* is hummus! Hummus is a staple food in our house. We eat it all the time! It’s great for lunch with veggies in a veggie wrap, as well as for dipping veggies in for snack! It also takes 5 minutes or less to whip it up. Enjoy!

*Is making hummus considered cooking? Idk. Let me know what you think!

P1240663P1240669Yummy Hummus

adapted from the cookbook Barefoot Contessa: How Easy Is That?

makes 2 cups

  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed but with a few teaspoons of the liquid reserved
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • a few dashes of Sriracha sauce

Drain the chickpeas but reserve a few teaspoons of the liquid and put both in a food processor. Add everything else and blend, baby, blend! If the hummus is too thick for your liking, add some more lemon juice. If it’s not spicy enough, add some more Sriracha sauce! A little drop of sauce goes a long way, though, so try not to add too much or you will have steam coming out of your ears (insert Scooby Doo video reference that makes me laugh every time I watch it)! You can enjoy this hummus with raw veggies, crackers, bread, or whatever else you fancy! The hummus tastes even better the next day!

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Have a fun day, and seriously watch this video because you will (probably) laugh!

xx Ellie

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Fab 5 Friday 1/23/15

This week started out not fun but has become super fun! I took exams Monday through Thursday, which were definitely NOT fun (but I had to do them), but today I didn’t have school! Yay for breaks! My favorite things this week are things that I love because they make me happy. You probably or will probably like them too!

1. Brick Road Pizza Co.

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This is one of my favorite restaurants in my city. They cater to vegans, vegetarians, and carnivores alike! On Tuesday through Friday they have an all-you-can-eat buffet with salad, doughy and delicious breadsticks, soup, and VEGAN PIZZA! OMG it’s delicious. And to complete your meal… the best vegan chocolate chip cookies in the universe. I went there today for lunch and ate my weight in pizza topped with vegan cheese, tempeh chorzio, tomato, artichoke, mushroom, and kale. Kale yes!!! My mouth is watering just looking at them in the above pictures! If you’re ever in Michigan (near or in my town), come here. You will not be disappointed!

2. Days off school! 

I had today off of school so the teachers could prep and grade exams and such. It was great! It’s so nice to sleep in and have a day without homework and school stress.

3. The Theory of Everything

Since I didn’t have school today (see #2), my family and I went to the movie theatre to see The Theory of Everything. It’s the true story of Stephen and Jane Hawking. The movie plot line was okay. There was not a ton of action since it’s about Stephen and his transformation from young, able-bodied student to ALS-inflicted, wheelchair bound physicist. The cinematography was great, but my favorite part was the acting. Eddie Redmayne is a genius actor! He was able to portray Hawking’s decay and actually looks just like Stephen Hawking! Felicity Jones is wonderful as caring Jane who has the weight of Stephen and the rest of her family on her shoulders. This was a good film because I learned more about who Stephen Hawking is and what his life is like. It’s a film for mature audiences though, because kids might be bored watching it.

4. Playing Tennis

I’ve missed playing tennis! It is my favorite sport, but I don’t get to play it much in the winter because there are not very many indoor courts available. However, I’ve gotten to play it three times this week already. Yippee! I love tennis and I am so excited for tennis season at my high school (it’s in the spring for girls). Does anyone else love tennis?

5. MyFitnessPal App

This app is SO COOL. I love food and the science of food and calories, so this app is super interesting to me! It tracks what you eat, the calories in the food you eat, and the exercise you do. I don’t really care about all that because I don’t think you should count calories. You should eat whatever you want if you’re hungry (but I’m partial to vegan food!)! What I do find interesting: you can type in a URL (for a recipe) on the app, get the recipe from the site, and the app will determine how many calories are in the recipe! Cool, right!? I think so. Does anyone want me to include the nutritional information for my recipes from now on? Let me know if you do and I will!

This week has been pretty eventful with exams and such. It’s been fun though! I hope you’ve had a fun week so far and that your weekend is fabulous!

xx Ellie

Vegan On Vacation

I sit in a pile of thick exam review guides as I dream of summer and reminisce about my 3 week adventure to Asia. My high school exams are this week, but instead of studying I want to be on the beach in Boracay (who wouldn’t want to be!?)! To remind myself of the trip, [procrastinate], and to help you when you travel, I put together a nifty travel guide about being vegan on vacation! Here, you will find tips to make traveling more fun (or at least bearable!) and tips about how to stay vegan wherever life takes you! Enjoy!

Tips to make the traveling process more bearable:

  • Speed walk around the airport during layovers. It helps prevent blood clots and drives away stiffness.
  • Do yoga in the airport. Don’t be afraid to look silly! Stretching after a long flight makes you feel so much better.
  • Bring fun things to do at the airport and on the plane. Put books, a notebook and a pen, crayons, an iPod, your computer, knitting, etc. in your carry-on bag. Bring more than one of the above so if you get bored, you can easily switch to another activity.
  • Nap in the airport or on the plane. Every little bit helps to prevent jet lag!
  • Drink LOTS of water. It drives away jet lag and dehydration. Bring a large water bottle that you can use on the plane and at your final destination.
  • Book your meal(s) ahead on the airplane. Most flights serve meals or snacks of some sort during the flight. Call the airline before your flight and request a special meal. If you’re vegan, request a dairy-free and meat-free meal on the plane. If you’re vegetarian, request a meat-free meal. I didn’t pre-request a veggie meal on a Vietnam airlines flight, but I asked a stewardess if they had extra veggie meals and they did! It never hurts to ask for veggie options, and airlines and stewards/stewardesses will be happy to help you if they can! A bonus: the meals are pretty good! Both Delta and Vietnam airlines had healthful meals focused around fresh fruit and vegetables. I even had kale and quinoa on one Delta flight!

How to stay vegan on vacation:

1. Book your meals on the airplane (see above)

2. Pack snacks wherever you go: Snacks save tummies and tempers!

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GREAT SNACKS ARE…

  • fresh fruit: fruit that you can peel, like oranges and bananas, are best because the fruit is protected.
  • crunchy veggies and hummus.
  • banana balls
  • nut mixes (my fav: almonds, dried cherries, and chocolate chips!)
  • hearty + protein-packed granola bars: I love LÄRABARS. Or make your own!

If you can, pack snacks in plastic baggies that you can throw away after eating so you don’t have to haul tupperware around for the rest of your vacay.

3. Happy Cow.net : This website is fantabulous. Simply type in the name of the city you’re in and Happy Cow will find you a list of all the vegan, vegetarian, and veg-friendly restaurants in the area! Most of the restaurants that Happy Cow suggests have great food! It helped us find restaurants in Hong Kong. It’s also helped me find restaurants that cater to my food needs in my hometown! You can use Happy Cow anywhere (you just need internet)!

4. Remember that every restaurant (well, except McDonalds) has fresh fruit and veggies! If you’re stuck at a place with no vegan options on the menu, you can always ask for a plate of fresh fruit or veggies. Make sure that you know the words for “vegan”, “vegetarian”, “no meat”, “no dairy”, and “vegetable” if you travel to a place where people don’t speak the same language as you! If you talk to your waiter or the chef at a restaurant, they will be able to help you find something to eat. Remember, they want you to be able to eat something from your menu! It doesn’t hurt to ask for something special!

5. Go to local grocery stores or markets to stock up on food. They will have everything you need!

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A fruit market in Hong Kong

6. Don’t stress about food! Everything happens for a reason, and everything will work out in the end. At the end of the day, you’re on vacation. It’s a time to do fun stuff and try new things! I loved being in Asia because I got to try new foods that I would never ever get fresh here in Michigan! Hopefully you will get to try new foods on vacation! And seriously, don’t stress about what to eat. Do your research, and you’ll be fine. Even if you don’t research, you will find something to eat wherever you go! Well, back to studying! Good luck to anyone else who has exams right now, too!

Have a fun day and go out and explore!

xx Ellie

Fab 5 Friday 1/16/14

I can’t believe that it’s Friday already!

This week has been a whirlwind. Exams are next week at school, so I’ve spent most of my time getting ready for them. I’ve also been watching a lot of Cupcake Wars because I have a cupcake obsession. Even though this week has been busy and full of schoolwork, I have seen a lot of fun things! Therefore, there’s a whole lot of fabulousness on today’s list! Get ready!

1. Instagram

As I mentioned in last week’s Fab 5 Friday post, I got an iPhone! Since I now have an iPhone, I have the ability to use Instagram! This week, I created an Instagram. On it, you’ll find pictures of yummy food and recipes! It will be another great addition to Peanut Butter & Ellie!

Follow me @peanutbutterandle

2. Teaching Yoga

This past Tuesday night, I taught yoga to a group of people for the first time! We have a yoga club at my High School, and I had the honor of being the first student to teach yoga for yoga club! It was fun to come up with a routine to teach people, and it was fun to see people bond over yoga when I taught! I love yoga, so I was very happy that I got to share my love of it with others! If you’ve never done yoga before, you should try it! It is fun and it feels great!

3.  Cupcake Wars

I don’t normally watch reality TV. In fact, I don’t like it. However, there is one exception. Cupcake Wars. It’s so fun to watch and get inspiration for cupcake flavors and decorations! If you love cupcakes, you will enjoy Cupcake Wars!

4. These Cupcakes

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As I mentioned, I have an obsession with cupcakes. These cupcakes satisfy my sweet teeth, and I could (and do) eat the frosting by the spoonful! They are scrumdidilyumptious and actually do taste similar to french toast! I am in love with them.

5. The Man Who Came to Dinner

My High School is putting on this comedy this weekend. I saw it tonight and loved it! It is funny and full of great actors who also happen to be great people! The story revolves around a radio show host, Sheridan Whiteside, who breaks his hip outside the steps of the house he’s about to have dinner at. He has to stay with the family who he was going to have dinner with until his hip heals, and this leads to conflict because Sheridan isn’t the easiest person to live with. The show is great, especially since it is completely student-run. Students direct, star in, and crew for the show! The Man Who Came to Dinner is also a 1940s movie, so those of you who don’t live near me can still experience this funny show if you watch the movie!

I hope you are having a fabulous friday filled with fun (number 6 on the list: alliteration)!

Have a happy weekend!

xx Ellie

Banana French Toast Cupcakes (v)

I can’t stop thinking of cupcakes!!! I guess I’ve been watching too many episodes of Cupcake Wars.

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Cupcake Wars is such a fun show to watch! Four bakers come together in Los Angeles, CA. They are given certain challenge ingredients that they have to make a cupcake with in 45 minutes. If they advance, they make 3 kinds of cupcakes in 90 minutes. For the final round, they have to make an 1000 cupcake display for whatever event the episode centers around. These events are typically big, famous, themed parties that bakers are making the cupcakes for. Their cupcakes are judged on flavor and presentation. Watching the show has given me loads of cupcake inspiration!

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Naturally, I wanted cupcakes after watching a few episodes. One baker made a banana nut cupcake, and it prompted my mom and I to create these sweet suckers.

These cupcakes would win Cupcake Wars. They are sweet, nutty, and taste like french toast! Really! Try them out as you watch Cupcake Wars and you will be happy.

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Banana French Toast Cupcakes

makes 12

adapted from these Bake and Destroy cupcakes

Cake

  • 1/2 cup banana (1 huge banana), mashed
  • 1 & 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 and ½ tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup nondairy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.Toast the walnuts and pecans for 4-5 minutes. Mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Mash the banana in a mixer / blender / food processor, etc. Transfer it into a small bowl, and mix it with the oil, nondairy milk, and vanilla. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry. Fold the walnuts into the batter. Line and fill cupcake tins 2/3 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool, then frost them!

Frosting

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons Earth Balance
  • 6 tablespoons non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • 2 tablespoons + 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Beat everything together until it’s light & fluffy. It will take 2-3 minutes. Frost the cupcakes and enjoy!

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These cupcakes are seriously the bomb. My mom gave them a 10/10. The frosting was so good that I ate it with a spoon! They make my mom and I happy. We hope they make you happy, too! Enjoy!

xx Ellie

Fab Five Friday 1/9/15

Happy Friday!

This week has been rough because I have had to make up a lot of schoolwork that I missed while gone on my trip. I also got sick, and I still don’t feel wonderful. However, my week became better with the following good things. I hope these make you feel better too!

1) SNOW DAYS

Today, my school was closed due to vast amounts of snow and cold temperatures. I was SO HAPPY because it gave me time to catch up on sleep and homework. Snow days are amazing, especially when you are behind in school (cough cough me). They make me glad I live in a place where snow is prevalent in the winter!

2) My iPhone!!!

I got a (used) iPhone 3 this week, and I couldn’t be more excited! Yes, it’s not as fancy as other phones, but it is way nicer than my old phone! It’s much easier to text on because I don’t have to push down letters on a keyboard, and there’s auto-correct so I don’t have to go back if I spelled something wrong. The emojis on an iPhone are very fun to use, too. I also now have a portable camera thanks to the iPhone built-in camera. I am thrilled that I finally have an iPhone.

3) 13 Going on 30

I watched this movie today and really enjoyed it. It’s a cute story about a 13 year old girl who is fed up with middle school drama, so she wishes she could be 30. Lo and behold, she becomes 30 with some wishing and magic dust! It made me cringe at points, but I knew it was going to end up okay (It’s a rom com, so of course it will end happily!). I enjoyed the storyline and the actors were fun to watch. If you are looking for a relaxing rom com, try 13 Going on 30. It won’t disappoint!

4) Getting Enough Sleep

I love sleep, and thankfully I’ve been able to get a lot of it this week. I have taken naps almost every day this week. It’s just so nice to sleep.

5) My Clothing Souvenirs from Asia

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I’ve had a lot of fun wearing clothes I purchased during my trip! I found a lot of neat clothing! I bought white shorts (top left), 2 pairs of patterned PJ shorts, 2 pairs of jeans, a beautiful traditional-style Asian tunic (bottom left), 2 fun tank tops (bottom right), flowy pants, and a jumper. I was gifted a pretty pink traditional-style dress and sweet sneakers from my Aunt and Uncle. I am loving these purchases and gifts!

Did you get anything amazing and worth sharing this holiday season?

Have a fabulous weekend!

xx Ellie

Peanut Butter Prints

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I love peanut butter. I love jelly. I love peanut butter & jelly.

After all, I am peanut butter & Ellie!

I also love chocolate and pumpkin pear butter. Therefore, I love these cookies. If you love any of the above, you will love these cookies too!

They make a perfect snack or dessert. You can even just make the cookie dough and eat it because there are not any raw eggs in it (See photo below)! They’re soft, sweet, and delicious! Make and enjoy!

found on Pinterest

Peanut Butter Prints

adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie

makes around 15 cookies

For the Cookies:

  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (or another nut or seed butter if you are allergic to peanuts)
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup raw cane sugar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp flaxseed meal + 3/4 tsp water mixed together to form a flax “egg” OR 2 Tbsp applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

P1230016cookies topped with homemade strawberry jam (left), melted chocolate chips (middle), and pumpkin & pear butter (right).

Cookie Toppings:

  • strawberry jam (homemade is best)
  • melted chocolate chip mixture (melt some chocolate chips in the microwave and stir them together) or some sort of chocolate spread
  • pumpkin and pear butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix dry ingredients (including peanut butter), then add in the wet ingredients. Form the dough into balls. Bake for 8 minutes. The cookies will magically flatten out (a lot) when baked. They will also look underdone. However, they will firm up! Make a little indent in the cookie and add a teaspoon or so of your favorite jam or spread (Nutella or a Nutella-like spread would be great on these cookies as well!) in the indent. Let cookies cool for at least 5 minutes before removing and devouring.

Have a nice day!

xx Ellie