Maple Glazed Pecans

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Have you ever heard the soundtrack for “Hamilton: an American Musical?”

I finally started listening to it this past week (better late than never) and I. CAN’T. STOP.

It is so dang good. The tunes are catchy, the writing is phenomenal, and the singers are so talented as they rap AND sing. I used to not like rap very much, but after this listening experience I like it a lot. I maybe don’t like trap rap… but I’m in love with the “Hamilton” rap. If you haven’t listened to Hamilton, this is your friendly suggestion to listen to it as it will improve your life.

The “Hamilton” music is getting me through my final exams, which are this week and next. Any time I don’t think I can make it through exams, I listen to Hamilton and think about how I’m going to study hard so I’m not not “Helpless” and that “I’m not throwing away my shot.” I think that I’ll “Stay Alive” through exams if I study “Non-Stop” but also “Take A Break” or two. I’ll be “Satisfied” if I get good grades. Ok I’ll stop with the Hamilton references now.

dsc_0018You know what’s also keeping me sane through the midst of final exams? DEEZ NUTS (sorry, I had to).

These nuts, though. They’re sweet and salty and utterly delicious. What’s not to love about pecans glazed with maple syrup and roasted in the oven until they’re caramelized? Pecans are full of protein and magnesium, which reduces blood pressure. It’s good to reduce blood pressure now as it will probably spike during exams due to stress.

The sweetness in these nuts makes them addictive. They taste like fall. They make a great snack by the handful, and they are wonderful added to salads.

My call to action for you today is to 1) listen to the Hamilton soundtrack, and 2) make these maple-roasted nuts. Both are addictive and will change your life for the better. img_6212

Maple Glazed Pecans

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pecans
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, then spread out the pecans on it.
  3. Drizzle all the maple syrup over the pecans, making sure to really coat each pecan.
  4. Sprinkle salt over the pecans.
  5. Bake the pecans for 35 minutes, taking out every 10 minutes to stir, until maple syrup hardens.
  6. Let cool, then enjoy! These keep for a few weeks when stored in an airtight container.

Happy Wednesday!

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Rhuberry Muffins

Happy Wednesday! How are you? What are you up to?

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I’m back at my cottage (aka my home for the summer) after a five day trip to Chicago, USA this past week! I went to Lollapalooza, a huge four day music festival in one of the Chicago parks, and it was tiring but fun. 🙂 I was excited because I got to see some of my favorite artists there, as well as discover new rocking artists. My favorite performances were Oh Wonder, Halsey, the 1975, Melanie Martinez, Years & Years, and Ellie Goulding. OH MY GOSH guys I’m obsessed with Ellie Goulding now- she is so great, especially live! Please give her a listen. Oh Wonder too- I love them so so much.

Has anyone else ever been to Lollapalooza (or another music festival)? This was my first music festival, but hopefully I will go to more as I love music!

You know what else I love? Muffins!

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100_8514.jpgThese rhubarb and berry-filled muffins are a great way to use all the fresh produce here, since it’s the end of raspberry and rhubarb season and the beginning of blueberry season.

Believe it or not, this was the first time I’ve ever used rhubarb. I didn’t even TRY rhubarb until this summer, when my grandma made my family and I a rhubarb crumble. It was very tart- way more so than I was expecting! Because of rhubarb’s tartness, I decided to pair it with sweet (but also sometimes tart) raspberries and blueberries in this recipe. It took a few tries to get the right berries-to-flour ratio, but eventually these muffins were perfected!100_8752100_8760I like these muffins because they are fruity, but they have a little zing to them thanks to the fresh ginger and other spices. Give them a try and let me know what you think! Tag me on Instagram @peanutbutterandle or twitter @peanutbuttereli if you make them.

I have much more to share about my time in Chicago- a post will be up later this week about it! Talk soon! Until then, eat muffins. 🙂

xx Ellie

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Rhuberry Muffins

(Rhubarb Raspberry Blueberry Muffins)

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups oat flour (to make: process an overflowing 2 cups of oats in a food processor for a minute, or until it turns into a fine flour)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (or 2 more heaping tablespoons of brown sugar)
  • 1/3 cup chopped rhubarb
  • 1/4 an overflowing cup of blueberries
  • 1/4 an overflowing cup of raspberries

For the crumb topping: mix together 1/4 cup rolled oats and 1 tbsp brown sugar, then sprinkle a handful of topping over each muffin before you put the muffins in the oven.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Rinse blueberries, raspberries and rhubarb stems.
  3. Peel the outer layer (strings) off of the rhubarb stems, then cut stems it into ½ inch cubes. Now set aside all the fruit.
  4. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg).
  5. Add in the wet ingredients (vanilla, applesauce, and maple syrup).
  6. Whisk to combine the wet and dry ingredients.
  7. Fold in the fruits.
  8. Line a muffin tin with muffin liners. Scoop batter into tins so they are 3/4 full.
  9. Sprinkle the crumb topping onto the muffins, if desired. I like it because it adds a nice crunch.
  10. Bake the muffins in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the muffins.
  11. Let cool for a few minutes, then enjoy! They only last for a few days, so eat them quickly! Or freeze them for later.

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Gingery Veggie Stir-Fry

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I’m all about using fresh vegetables in the summer. We have a square foot garden at my cottage, which is where I live in the summer. I live in the cottage, not the garden btw. I may eat a bag of baby carrots a day, but  I’m not THAT much of a rabbit.

We grow all kinds of vegetables in our garden, but the plants that thrive there are broccoli, green beans, swiss chard, lettuce, and kale! I used three of those five fresh vegetables in this stir-fry, which is one of my go-to summer meals. It has a great natural flavor thanks to the fresh veggies, but it also has a little kick from the ginger and garlic.

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fresh veggies from our garden  : green beans, broccoli, and swiss chard

I use the vegetables we have on hand when I make this stir-fry. I often just step outside and grab veggies from the garden! No worries if you don’t have a garden. You can just use whatever veggies you have in your kitchen for this stir-fry! This ginger / garlic combo tastes great with almost any vegetable (although I’m not sure how great it would taste with beets or cucumbers…).

It is the perfect light summer meal, but it also makes a great side dish. I can see this being served at a dinner party, as a potluck dish, or as a side to a veggie burger!

Enjoy one of my favorite simple, flavorful, and fresh meals!

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Gingery Veggie Stir-Fry

serves 2

*This is a very “laid back” recipe. Below is what my mom and I usually stir-fry, but you can add and subtract as many veggies as you’d like!*

  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1-2 cups beans
  • 1-2 ears of corn
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1-2 cups swiss chard (3-6 large leaves)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger OR you can use squeeze-able ginger like the one linked HERE.
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Chop the veggies into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Spray / oil a large pan with cooking spray / olive oil.
  3. Add the veggies to the pan. Turn the heat on the pan to medium-high. Sauté the veggies (stir them back and forth with a spatula) until the swiss chard is wilted and the veggies are a tiny bit brown and look ready to devour! Pour the veggies into two bowls, season with more ginger, garlic, salt, and pepper (if desired) and enjoy!

Have a happy, veggie-filled day!

xx Ellie

P.S. – a great post-meal snack is one of these cupcakes! I made these yesterday for my street’s block party. They’re banana chocolate chip spice cupcakes with expresso frosting. I guess they’d be called banoffee  spice cupcakes? The recipe is from Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli (I’m kind of obsessed with her and her recipes if you haven’t noticed… 🙂 ). I topped them with cinnamon and a Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chip (I’m also obsessed with these chocolate chips!!!).

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5 Minute Quesadilla

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Quesadillas are perfect for days when you a) don’t feel much like cooking, b) are trying to clean out the veggies from your fridge, or c) when you’re running late and need to make and eat something quickly.

This quick and easy quesadilla takes only 5 minutes to make! And it’s customizable — you can put whatever veggies you have on hand into it! Hooray for simple recipes! Quesadillas are also a great way to eat more veggies, which we need a lot of (look at this neat food pyramid!).

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I enjoyed this quesadilla a lot. I hope you do too!

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VEGAN QUESADILLA

MAKES 1

  • 2 tortillas
  • ½ cup vegan cheese, such as Daiya mozzarella (sold at most grocery stores)
  • 3-4 tablespoons salsa
  • 1 cup sliced broccoli
  • green beans
  • ½ cup spinach
  • olive oil OR cooking spray (for pan)
  • OTHER ADD-INS: mushrooms, asparagus, carrots, avocado, zucchini, swiss chard, meat substitutes (tofu, tempehseitan, etc.)

Chop the veggies. Drizzle 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a large pan OR spray the pan with cooking spray. Add a tortilla to the pan. Sprinkle cheese on top of the tortilla. Add the veggies and the salsa. Add more cheese. Add a second tortilla on top. Turn up the heat on the burner to medium-high. Let it cook for a minute or two, then spray the top tortilla with cooking spray. Now, flip the quesadilla with a giant spatula if you have one! The flipping is the trickiest part of the whole recipe! I’m proud of you for doing it. Then let the other side cook for a minute. When both sides are light brown and crispy, turn off the heat, take the quesadilla out of the pan, and put it onto a plate. Cut it in fourths (like in the pictures), or just eat it as one gigantic thing. Your choice!

I HOPE YOU’RE HAVING A FUN WEEKEND! WHAT ARE YOU UP TO?

XX ELLIE

Pesto Protein Bowl

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What is your favorite “type” of food? By type I mean ethnicity, a.k.a. where the food originally came from.

I honestly don’t have one favorite type of food. I LOVE Mexican food (salsa’s where it’s ATTTT), Costa Rican food (beans and riceeeeee), Thai food (peanut noodles = heart eye emoji), and Mediterranean food (baba ganoush and HUMMUS >>> ). But sometimes I crave Italian food (pasta, pizza, and LOTSA BASIL) and “American” food.

Okay change of subject (but it’s related) : what counts as American / USA food? I feel like it’s a mix of a bunch of other cultures’ food. When I think of USA food I UNFORTUNATELY can only think of McDonald’s type of food : burgers, fries, milkshakes, ice cream. I also think of pizza and spaghetti (but then I’m like, “aren’t those Italian!?”). SO anyway, tell me in the comments what YOU think is “American” food!

So back to my favorite food culture. I LOVE Mexican food, but I also like Italian food. That’s why I love this bowl. It’s a Mexican-type bowl full of grains, black beans, and salsa-like ingredients like corn and tomato. Then you add pesto and it adds an Italian flair to what I previously decided was a Mexican-themed bowl. So if you have a hankering for Mexican food and ALSO Italian food, try this bowl! That way, you can enjoy the foods and flavors of both cultures!

It’s a pesto protein bowl because it’s very pesto-y and chock-full of protein thanks to the quinoa and black beans. Enjoy it!

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Pesto Protein Bowl

serves 4

*It’s SUPER quick and easy to make!*

For the Pesto

from pg. 12 of The New Basics cookbook

  • 2 cups of fresh basil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

Process the garlic, basil, salt, and pepper in the food processor. Slowly add in the oil through the “feed tube” while the motor is running. Process until the basil is puréed.

For the Bowl

  • the pesto (obvi)
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1  15.5 oz. can black beans
  • 4 ears of corn
  • 3 tomatoes
  • basil leaves (to top the bowls)
  1. Measure 1 cup of dry quinoa and cook according to package directions. Pour the quinoa into a big bowl when it’s done cooking.
  2. Drain and rinse the black beans (keep the liquid to make aquafaba!) and add them to the bowl.
  3. Cook some corn and add it to the bowl.
    • Side note: a great way to cook corn is to wrap the ear in a wet paper towel and cook it in the microwave! Cook each ear for 2 minutes on high. So if you do 2 ears at a time, set the microwave for 4 minutes. ***Thanks Dama for the tip!***
  4. Wash the tomatoes, then cut them into small pieces and put them in the big bowl.
  5. Pour all the pesto into the bowl and mix all the ingredients together.
  6. Scoop the mixture into bowls, and serve with fresh basil leaves and salt + pepper. Enjoy!

Have a fun day!

xx Ellie

Strawberry Jam

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Strawberry jam should be in all households. I can’t live without it! Well, technically I can, but I’d miss it a lot. So I should just say that I’d be sad without it.

ANYWAY.

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Strawberries are tasty. They’re tasty by themselves, sprinkled with sugar, in pie, in baked goods, and most importantly IN JAM. Seriously, what’s better than bottled up strawberries?

Chocolate, if we’re being technical again. However, nothing is better than chocolate in my book.

So back to strawberry jam. It’s tasty. If you don’t like strawberries… well who doesn’t like strawberries!? But if you truly don’t like them, you can make this jam with other berries instead. You could make raspberry, blueberry, or blackberry jam. More yumminess.

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My family has been making this recipe for a long time. I’ve been making strawberry jam every summer since I was a wee babe! My grandma would wash and cut the tops off the berries, I would mash them, and my mom would mix them with sugar and Sure-Jell. Making jam together with your family is a fun bonding experience, and it has become a tradition in my house! Hopefully it will become a tradition at your house, too!

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The BEST StrawberrY Freezer Jam

instructions found in a Sure-Jell container

makes 5 jam jars worth (5 cups of Jam)

  • 1 quart (2 cups) of mashed strawberries
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 Sure-Jell packet (Sure-Jell = fruit pectin)

1. Wash the berries.

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2. Cut the stems off them and put them in a container.

3. Mash them.

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4. Fill a bowl with 4 cups of sugar.

5. Add the berry mixture into the sugar bowl and mix until combined.

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6. Meanwhile, pour 1 cup of water into a saucepan.

7. Add Sure-Jell into the pan.

8. Boil the mixture on medium-high heat. Stir constantly for a minute while boiling. Remove from heat.

9. Add the Sure-Jell mixture into the berry mixture and stir constantly for 3 minutes.

10. Spoon the jam into jam jars. Leave a ½ inch space at the top of the jar.

11. Leave the jars out for 24 hours to let them set.

12. Put the jam in the freezer, and keep it there until you want to use it!

That’s it! Clear, concise directions, right from the mouth of my mom (I understand her directions better than the ones from Sure-Jell).

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This jam is great on peanut butter & jELLIE sandwiches, on toast, in these muffins, and by the spoonful! Enjoy!

xx Ellie

 

Peanut Butter

True fact : I eat peanut butter every. single. day.

I’m pretty sure that I’m obsessed. Peanut butter is a good thing to be obsessed with, though, because it’s full of protein, good fats, AND it can pretty much go on anything to make it taste delicious!

I put peanut butter on sandwiches, dip fruit into it, dip carrots into it (it’s good, I swear!), and dip chocolate chips in it for a healthy homemade Reese’s cup! Peanut butter’s powers have no limits.

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Because I eat so much peanut butter, I figured it was time to make my own. Making your own peanut butter is better than eating store-bought peanut butter because not-so-good ingredients like palm seed oil and sugar sneak into the processed kind. I figure that if I make my own, I can have more of it because I don’t have to worry about eating too much sugar or icky oil! Hooray for more peanut butter!

There’s only one ingredient in this peanut butter compared to the 7 or 8 ingredients in processed peanut butter! It also only takes a minute or two to make. Hooray for simple recipes!

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Homemade Peanut Butter

makes 3/4 cup

  • 1 cup of peanuts (I used ½ raw jungle peanuts and ½ salted, roasted, canned peanuts. That way, I get the benefits of raw peanuts with the tastiness of salted and roasted peanuts!)*

Pour the peanuts into a high speed blender (I used a Vitamix)**. Slowly increase the speed on the blender and process at high until the nuts turn from a flour into a butter (about a minute and a half). You may have to stop the blender a few times and mix it around so all the nuts blend. Take the peanut butter out of the blender and enjoy!

**I haven’t tried this, but it would probably work to make peanut butter in a food processor! You’ll just have to blend it for longer.

*You could use this same method to make almond butter, cashew butter, sun butter, and coconut butter, too! Just sub whatever you want to make into a butter for the peanuts and blend it up!

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Have a great Mother’s Day!

xx Ellie