Smoothie Bowl Jar

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It all seems so clear now: I love smoothie bowls. I love breakfast in jars. But I never thought to combine the two. Now that I have, there’s no going back.

A smoothie bowl jar is the ultimate breakfast. It has everything you want: The “buried treasure effect,” or, the fun of digging to the bottom of a jar for granola; it’s pretty; and it’s delicious. It’s basically everything you want in a life partner, except that you can eat it for breakfast.

I started my jar by sprinkling a layer of granola on the bottom. Then, you fill the jar up halfway with a smoothie of your choice. Layer in some bananas and then top with the rest of the smoothie. Garnish with more granola and berries and you’re good to go.

The one thing I will say is that it’s not as easy to eat a smoothie bowl jar as it is a smoothie bowl. Fitting the spoon in the jar can be challenging, which is probably why you’ll want to use a straw at some point. I drank part of the smoothie and then went in with my spoon for the granola and banana.

Anyway. Enjoy this hybrid! Here’s a good song to play while you’re blending, or when you’re pondering the deliciousness of smoothie bowls and breakfast in jars.

Smoothie Bowl Jar (from me, to you)

Ingredients

1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1 cup strawberries, hulled and stems removed
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup granola, plus more for topping
1/4 cup blueberries
1 banana, sliced into rounds

Directions

Blend the raspberries, strawberries, Greek yogurt and almond milk in a blender on high until smooth. Take a Mason jar (or another glass jar with a screw-top lid) and put the granola at the bottom. Then, pour roughly half the smoothie on top of the granola. Top the smoothie with the banana rounds, then pour in the rest of the smoothie mixture. Top with granola and blueberries. Enjoy!

Posted in Breakfast, Gluten-Free, Smoothie Bowls, Uncategorized, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bourbon Banana Bread

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I’ve wanted to make this banana bread for years but I kept putting it off. Last night, I had the perfect excuse.

I was already feeling depressed because it was President’s Day and America doesn’t have a President, plus I had to work when most people got a day off. Then, I heard that anti-semites desecrated the burial grounds of a Jewish cemetery where my great grandparents are interned. After that, it was time to bring out the bourbon.

Sometimes, when you add alcohol to food, you get a subtle whiff or taste of it. That’s not the case with this banana bread. You can almost get drunk smelling the batter. This bread is not messing around.

I love the chocolate chips and walnuts in the loaf. I usually put chocolate chips in my banana bread but I’d never put walnuts in before. As it turns out, it’s the perfect complement. They add some texture to the crumb and balance out the sweetness from the bananas and chocolate.

I brought part of the loaf to work for breakfast this morning to bribe people into doing what I wanted them to do. It seemed to work. I didn’t tell anyone that there was bourbon in the bread, but I figured that everyone needed it whether they said so or not.

Here is a song that describes the last 48 hours. Here’s a song that I hope describes the next 48 hours.

Bourbon Banana Bread (slightly adapted from Joy the Baker)

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups mashed ripe bananas (from about 3 bananas)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons bourbon
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8×4-inch or 9×5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute between each addition. Stop the mixer, scrape down sides of the bowl, and add bananas, lemon juice and bourbon. Beat until well incorporated.

Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture all at once. Beat until almost incorporated. Stop the mixer and remove the bowl. Add the walnuts and chocolate chips and incorporate the last of the ingredients with a spatula.

Batter will be thick. Spoon the mixture into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow loaf to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy! The loaf keeps for about five days as long as it’s tightly wrapped.

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Berry Smoothie Bowl with Seed Mix

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A month ago when I was on the train coming back from Chicago, my youngest sister sent me a picture of her (first?) attempt at a smoothie bowl. I thought that I’d found every topping that there was to find for bowls, but I was wrong. She topped her bowl with a seed mix that I’d never seen before.

It turns out that it’s from Trader Joe’s and it’s delicious. It adds some texture to smoothie bowls, which I like, and it looks pretty next to berries. Win-win.

I used to be strict about only using fresh berries on top of my smoothie bowls. Now, I don’t care as much. If the fresh berries look bad (which, let’s face it, they often do during the winter), I slightly defrost some frozen berries and put them on top. In this bowl, I used frozen raspberries and fresh blueberries. It still tasted delicious.

Anyway. This is a great bowl for days like today, when you maybe had to go to work but no one else you know had to, and you feel depressed because it’s President’s Day and America doesn’t have a President.

Here’s a song that makes you forget about it all (at least momentarily).

Berry Smoothie Bowl with Seed Mix (from me, to you)

Ingredients

1/2 cup frozen raspberries, plus more for topping
1/2 cup blueberries, plus more for topping
1 banana
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
Trader Joe’s seed mix, pumpkin seeds and gluten-free granola for topping

Directions

Blend the frozen and fresh berries, banana, Greek yogurt and almond milk on a blender on high until smooth. Top with the seed mix, pumpkin seeds and gluten-free granola. Enjoy!

Posted in Breakfast, Gluten-Free, Smoothie Bowls, Uncategorized, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Açai Almond Butter Smoothie Bowl

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I made this bowl a couple weeks ago but I forgot to tell you about it. If I’m going to be completely honest, I avoided telling you about it. I made this bowl for breakfast for me my sister and she specifically said that she didn’t want any almond butter in it, but I put a heaping tablespoon in. Whoops.

I wanted to make the smoothie bowl thicker because I was worried that the toppings would sink to the bottom. There’s nothing worse than starting to assemble a bowl and watching everything sink like quicksand. So, when I noticed that the smoothie was too thin, I added the almond butter and oats. They made the smoothie thicker so I could pile whatever I wanted on top.

Anyway. My sister ended up loving the bowl so clearly, what she doesn’t know doesn’t hurt her. Also, I loved the bowl, so it was a double win. I like to have a lot of texture in my food and this bowl is a perfect example: There are juicy blueberries, crunchy almonds and granola and light hemp and chia seeds. The ingredients make you feel less like like you’re eating fruit soup and more like you’re eating a full meal.

Here is a good song to play when making smoothie bowls with secret ingredients. It’s also good for winter days when it feels like spring and you drive around with the car windows rolled down. Enjoy!

Açai Almond Butter Smoothie Bowl (from me, to you)

Ingredients

1 açai frozen smoothie pack
1/2 cup strawberries, hulled and stems removed
1/4 cup blueberries
1 heaping Tbsp almond butter
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup almond milk
blueberries, kiwi, almonds, granola, hemp seeds, chia seeds and strawberry for topping (feel free to add or subtract based on what you want)

Directions

Blend the açai, berries, almond butter, almond milk and rolled oats in a blender on high until smooth. Top with additional berries, almonds, chia seeds, hemp seeds and kiwi. Here’s a good video tutorial for making kiwi flowers.

Posted in Breakfast, Smoothie Bowls, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Spinach Gruyère Quiche

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This is my first quiche. I feel proud of it, the way you might about a newborn baby or a puppy that you’ve finally house trained.

I think that before, I was scared to make quiche. I’ve had a lot of traumatic experiences with homemade pie crust and I didn’t want to repeat them. Thankfully, that did not happen tonight.

The trick to making pastry crust is time and patience. If you’re willing to wait, you will be rewarded with delicious, flaky crust. My crust didn’t reach all the way to the top of the pie pan like I wanted it to, probably because I was worried about ripping the dough when I rolled it out. It still tasted delicious, though.

My favorite part about the quiche is the filling. I love shallots and eggs together, and the Gruyère takes the combination to the next level. I was a little wary of using frozen chopped spinach because I like using fresh ingredients when I cook. But it ended up being delicious. Just make sure that you wring all the liquid out of the spinach before you put it in the quiche. Otherwise, the quiche will get soggy. There is nothing worse than soggy quiche, except, maybe, no quiche at all.

Here’s a song that I played while I waited for the quiche to bake. It’s good for moments when you need motivation. Or, you know, whenever.

Spinach Gruyère Quiche (slightly adapted from NYT and here)

Ingredients

for the crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter (1/4 pound), cut in 1/8-inch pieces
3 tablespoons ice water

for the quiche:
1 9-inch deep dish frozen pie crust
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 large eggs
1-1/4 cups heavy cream
pinch ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup grated Gruyère
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and wrung free of water

Directions

First, make the crust. Put flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or food processor. Add butter and quickly cut it into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water and mix briefly, about 30 seconds, to form a soft dough. Remove dough, shape into a thick disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Bring to cool room temperature before rolling.

To roll, lightly flour dough and counter. Roll out gradually, periodically letting dough rest for a moment before continuing. This makes rolling easier and will keep dough from shrinking back during baking.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Roll dough to a thin round approximately 13 inches in diameter, then trim to make a 12-inch circle (refrigerate and save trimmings for patching). Lay dough loosely into a 9 inch pie pan (or fluted pan if you have one), letting it relax a bit. Fold overlap back inside to make a double thickness, then press firmly against the pan so the finished edge is slightly higher than the pan. Bake the crust for 10-15 minutes, or until light golden brown.

Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool on a baking sheet. Turn down the oven to 325 degrees F. Meanwhile, make the quiche filling.

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook shallots until slightly brown. Add in garlic after about 3 minutes and cook the mixture until fragrant. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, heavy cream, nutmeg, salt and cayenne pepper.

Spread shallots over bottom of cooked crust, then sprinkle grated Gruyère over top. Scatter spinach evenly over cheese (breaking up clumps as best you can), then pour egg mixture over top.

Bake at 325 degrees for 50-55 minutes until custard is set and top is lightly golden. Serve hot or warm. Enjoy!

Posted in Dinner, Uncategorized, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

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Six years ago after I moved back from France (I can’t believe it has been six years), I spent some time in Columbus, Ohio. My boyfriend at the time was working there during the summer so I went to stay with him for a week. I came to see him; I fell in love with Jeni’s.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is, in a word, magic. I know this. Joe Biden knows this. Anyone who calls themselves a true ice cream lover knows this. It’s just BEYOND. Their flavors are inventive and bold, and quality is on point. I ended up going to Jeni’s three times during my Columbus visit and I was only there for five days.

I was sad when I left Ohio because I didn’t think that I’d be able to try Jeni’s again unless I paid an obscene amount of money to ship pints to my door. Luckily, Jeni’s decided to expand. There are now stores in Chicago, Nashville, and St. Louis. I’ve been to them all.

Yesterday on my lunch break, I walked to the one in St. Louis’ Central West End neighborhood. It was a beautiful day that tricked me into thinking that it was spring, and to me, spring means ice cream. I got a scoop of the juniper and lemon curd and a new flavor called “The Matterhorn” with wildflowers, honey and almonds. I cried a few tears of joy but I tried to hide it as I walked down the sidewalk with my cone.

Anyway. If you’re ever in Columbus/Chicago/Nashville/St. Louis, find a Jeni’s and try their ice cream immediately. If you’re not, you’re still in luck because Jeni’s now ships to grocery stores. I managed to find the ice cream (albeit for a price) at Whole Foods in D.C. and California.

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Strawberry Banana Smoothie Bowl with Almonds

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Occasionally, I like to cut fruit into circles and layer it. Don’t ask me why. It’s probably the same reason that I used to pull apart paper clips and turn them into bracelets and earrings. We all have our impulses.

ANYWAY. Wanting to create a strawberry-banana weave was the inspiration for this smoothie bowl. I did it across half of the bowl and then I realized that it would look better with some extra toppings. I added granola for crunch and flavor, chia seeds for aesthetic and almonds to round out the toppings. I was happy with the way it turned out.

Tonight I got home from work and I was tired, and it was starting to get dark outside. But then I forced myself to go on a run. I like to be active after sitting at a desk all day. I walked outside and I stopped in my tracks. This is what the sky looked like:screen-shot-2017-02-16-at-8-43-52-pm
I’m not sure what the lesson is, here. Force yourself to go running when all you feel like doing is lying down on the kitchen floor? Always look up? I think both of these are true. But more than that, I take solace in these kind of sunsets. It reminds me that everything will be okay.

Here’s the song that I turned on to force myself to leave my house and go on a run. It’s also good for making smoothie bowls.

Strawberry Smoothie Bowl with Almonds (from me, to you)

Ingredients

1 banana
1 cup strawberries, stems and leaves removed
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup nonfat yogurt
granola, chia seeds, almonds, strawberry and banana slices for topping

Directions

Blend the banana, strawberries, rolled oats, almond milk and yogurt in a blender on high until smooth. Top with the granola, chia seeds, almonds, strawberry and banana slices. Enjoy!

*A trick for making the strawberry-banana weave is to start with the berries. They’re lighter than banana so they won’t sink down as much when you put stuff on top of them.

Posted in Gluten-Free, Smoothie Bowls, Uncategorized, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment