Healthy Pumpkin Pi Pancakes

I attend a school for nerds.

It’s the truth.  We all admit it.  We’re gifted and talented labrats with giant glasses and braces, skipping grades left and right, and heckyeah we’re proud of it.

Which is why the title of this post actually does NOT contain a typo.  I do sincerely hope you  realize the significance of this particular day of the year.  March 14; 3/14.  Also known as the first three digits of the ratio pi.  Also known as National Pi Day.  Also known as the best non-school-excusing holiday of the year.

Every year for three years in a row, preceding my school’s annual Pi Recitation Contest, I’ve done my best to memorize as many digits as possible and thus clinch Pi-Memorizer-Victory, and by extension, the grand prize: a whole homemade piE, all to myself.  The first year I competed it was cherry (won with 181 digits), the second year, apple (secured via 348 digits); and it was indeed apple again this year.

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😀

YES, PEOPLE: I HAVE ONCE AGAIN SECURED THE TITLE OF PI MASTER!!

I was really hoping to memorize 500 digits this year, since it seemed final and awesome and I’ll be leaving the school next year so I kind of wanted to “go out with a bang”, but sadly I forgot a “26” somewhere in there and ended up with a grand total of 433 digits past the decimal point.

3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971 69399375105820974944592307816406286208998628034825342 11706798214808651328231664709384460955058223172535940812 84811174502 8410270193852 110555964462294895493038196442881097 5665933446128475648233786 7831652712109091456485669234603486 1045432664821339360726024914 12737245870066063155 881748815209209 6282925409171536436789259036001133105305488204665213 8414695194151160943315727036575959195309218611738193!!

But, this post is not about pi.  Well, it kind of is.  Happy Pi Day!  Mainly it’s about piE, specifically Pumpkin PiE pancakes that I’ve been enjoying for breakfasts all week…you know, for preparation. 😉  They’re super healthy and contain a #strangebutgood secret ingredient!!

When I saw Heather at Kiss my Broccoli playing around with including “riced” cauliflower in her pancake and dessert recipes, I knew my own recipe testing would not be far behind.  Before I even realized what was happening, I had whipped up THREE batches of these cauliflower pancakes (though without the coconut flour, alas), and was working my way toward my own modified version.  I managed to include the stuff of the gods, peanut butter (though any other nut butter would also work here [try almond or pecan!]), make it more pi(e)-like, and squeeze in yet another vegetable.  And yet, yes, it still tastes like a sweet breakfast! 🙂

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Recipe: Healthy Pumpkin Pi Pancakes  (1 serving)

-2T flour of choice (I used white-whole-wheat)

-Half-scoop vanilla protein powder (I’ve heard of something like cinnamon protein powder too…if you have it, try it out here!)

-1/4 t baking powder

-1 t pumpkin pie spice (or blend cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg)

-1/4 c riced cauliflower (pulse raw cauli in food processor until pureed, or the consistency of rice)

-1 egg

-splash almond extract

-3 T canned pumpkin

-2 T milk of choice

Instruction:

Coat a skillet with cooking spray, butter, or oil, and set over medium heat.

Mix dry ingredients (spice, flour, protein powder, and baking powder) together in a small bowl.  (You don’t need much bigger than cereal-bowl-sized).  Mix wet ingredients together in a separate bowl, and stir both mixtures together until incorporated.  Scoop picakes onto skillet (they will not bubble like traditional mixes), and cook for about 5 minutes on either side. Once plated, top/stack them with the aid of Peanut Butter Pumpkin Cream!:

Ingredients:

-2T peanut butter/nut butter of choice

-2T canned pumpkin

-2t maple syrup

-1t molasses (blackstrap, if you like)

-sprinkle of each cinnamon and nutmeg

Instructions: Mix 🙂

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Top picakes with more cinnamon, and enjoy.

DSCN1072That’s my orange pi shirt, and I quite enjoy it.  On the plate are my orange pumpkin piecakes, and I quite enjoyed them. 🙂

Happy Pi Day! 😀

Fauxtmeal Success: Sweet-or-Savory Cream of Quinoa

In my quest to fill the void that my necessary abandonment of oats (know them and love them, friends) has left in my soul, I’ve been experimenting with countless different takes on the hot cereal–“fauxtmeals”, if you will.  You name it, I’ve tried it–tofu fauxtmeal, egg white fauxtmeal, paleo fauxtmeal, and other hot cereals like cream of rice and wheat.  The sad truth is, nothing could live up to the nutritional and delicious legacy that oats had left behind.  The texture–oats were chewy and toothsome, my friends.  They blended so perfectly with runny nut butter and they lent themselves to endless flavor combinations and they were a wellspring of iron and protein and soluble fiber and they were oats

Hallelujah!

Hallelujah!

In the end, I couldn’t recreate oats.  My newest breakfast staple doesn’t taste remotely the same, but it retains that comforting warm creamy hot cereal aspect, it’s still scrumptious in its own right, and it delivers an equal, if not even more powerful, nutritional punch than its predecessor.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you…

Cream of Quinoa.

Cream of Quinoa is a little bit like polenta and a little bit like cream of rice, but mostly it’s like Cream of Quinoa and does not deserve to be pitted against other hot cereals in a quest for oatmeal resemblance.  It’s simply a nutritious and delicious quickie breakfast.

Cream of Quinoa tastes good drizzled with olive oil, cheese, coarse salt and black pepper like grits….

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…and Cream of Quinoa tastes good prepared with a sweetener and some fruit like “traditional” oatmeal (here, I’ve paired it with some cream cheese, honey, and blueberries).

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Recipe: Cream of Quinoa

-1 cup quinoa

-5.5 cups water

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and rinse quinoa in a sieve.

2.  Arrange quinoa evenly in an enclosed (edged) baking sheet and blot with a paper towel to absorb excess rinsing water.

3.  Toast quinoa in oven for ~12 minutes, giving it a good stir every five minutes or so.  (You could also probably toast the quinoa in a skillet!)

4.  Allow quinoa to cool, and send it through the spice grinder, food processor, or, in my case, the Magic Bullet (with the “grinding” blades, not the “blending” blades).  It should turn from the consistency of, well, quinoa, into a soft sort of flour…it feels and looks like golden sand.

This...

This…

To this!

To this!

5. Now two roads diverge in a yellow wood…

For a single-serving microwave breakfast:

Take 1/4 cup of your toasted quinoa flour, mix with 3/4 cup water (or milk of choice) in a deep bowl (it will poof), and microwave on high for 1 minute–stir WELL–and another minute.  Let cool and top!

To prepare a bunch of future breakfasts on the stovetop:

First, mix the full batch of quinoa flour with 1 cup of the water and allow to sit.  Bring the remaining water to a boil.  Combine the flour-water mixture with the boiling water, cover, reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Let cool and top!  There are endless topping combinations…let your imagination run wild! 😀

Lately

Hiatus 

Hey everyone!  Apologies for the 5-day bloggus hiatus.  I was kinda feelin’ the burnout from the last week of intensely thought-laden, everyday posting, and I also had some amazing(ly stressful) things going on in my life, mainly in academics.

Blogging is PART of living for me, but if I don’t take time to LIVE OUTSIDE of blogging, then my blog suffers, ya hear me? 🙂

So, I took a week for myself, to get things all straightened out and work on that living part of my life.  I didn’t log onto my laptop for the week, not even to check my email (gasp!).  So that was awesome.

But now I’m back, if only to inform you of my potential further absence.  😉

Testing, testing…

So, you see, I’m off on a little trip to try to secure myself a scholarship from a fancy-shmancy school.  It’s going to be great and nerve-wracking and hopefully a little fun, and it may or may not render me too brain-dead to blog once I get back.  I’ll do my best, though–I’ve got some workout posts in store! 🙂  (As well as some more writing-related posts…gosh, who knew?)

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Brain Food

One of my favorite speedy dinners, especially on jam-packed study nights (that also happens to be loaded with omega-3's!!) is kale sauteed with a clove of garlic in extra virgin olive oil, topped with a fried egg, and usually with some sort of grain (quinoa, brown rice, etc.) thrown in.  I'm pretty sure I could eat this every day for the rest of my life--it's quick, EASY, comforting, nutritious, and delicious.

One of my favorite speedy dinners, especially on jam-packed study nights (that also happens to be loaded with omega-3’s!!) is kale sauteed with a clove of garlic in extra virgin olive oil, topped with a fried egg, and usually with some sort of grain (quinoa, brown rice, etc.) thrown in. I’m pretty sure I could eat this every day for the rest of my life–it’s quick, EASY, comforting, nutritious, and delicious.

All this week I’ve been desperately upping my intake of Omega-3’s, both because of their potential benefits to mah joints as well as their benefits to brain function, which may or may not be purely psychosomatic, but, hey, whatever works!  (It also doesn’t hurt if they come in the form of chocolate pudding, which I’ve been regularly downing also. 😛  Still in incredible awe over how appetizing Angela Liddon can make brown food look.  I need to jump back on the food photography/recipe developing bandwagon, stat!!)

Strange But Good: 2-Ingredient Banana Creme

Of all the possible ways to capture people’s attention, excluding, of course, suddenly dropping dead or screaming “I’M BEING KIDNAPPED!!”, I have found there to be two most effective options:

1.  Megaphone.

2.  Dangle a picture of chocolate in front of them.

DSCN0496Oh, wait, maybe there’s three effective options:

3.  Shout “I HAVE CHOCOLATE!!” through a megaphone.  Oh, and if you happen to be in the food blogging community, it will help your case if you also add “IT’S HEALTHY!!  THREE INGREDIENTS AT MOST, THAT’S ALL!  AND, YES, IT’S #STRANGEBUTGOOD!!”

Ah, #strangebutgood.  How I love thee.

Strange But Good is the brainchild of Laura, of Sprint2TheTable fame; a blogger linkup designated to showcasing the strange…but good!!…foods that we bloggers have integrated into our lives.  You know, the usual: things like chocolate-covered sweet potatoes, extravagant oatmeal creations, etc.  In other words, Strange But Good is singularly THE BEST IDEA EVER.  Except, you know, maybe the internet.  And ice cream scoops with antifreeze in the handles…but that’s a whole ‘nother story.

This particular Strange But Good recipe was born out of a happy accident one day, when I was blending up a Green Monster and forgot to add milk.

“What kind of person does that?” you ask me?  “It’s a smoothie!  It necessitates milk in order for it to be smooth!!”  I don’t know; apparently, I’m just wonderfully scatterbrained enough to make these kinds of mistakes, because, on this particular day, when I was heading to the refrigerator to remedy my dairy-deprivation calamity, I happened to taste the “smoothie” anyway.  To my very pleasant surprise, it tasted like a healthier (read: not as cloyingly sweet) version of the filling of the ever-famous Banana Creme Pie!!

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 As Scott Conant said the other night on Chopped“It was a little bowl of goodness, and it made me happy.”  #foodnerdalert

So, without further fanfare, let me present to you the strange, delicious basic recipe for

2-Ingredient Banana Creme

-1 banana, the riper the better

-4 oz tofu (silken if you want it to look creamy like pudding, as above, but any kind, even extra-firm, will work!)

Directions:

Combine ingredients in a blender.  Blend until smooth.

Top with chocolate chips, nuts, flavored syrups…whatever floats your (banana) boat.  😉

Be happy 🙂

DSCN0471See what I did there? 🙂

If you want to get cuhrayzee, you can blend in 1-2T of cocoa powder (and some optional sweetener, depending on your sugar tolerance/preferences) and make 3-Ingredient Chocolate Banana Creme, as in the first picture.

OR, if you haven’t had enough STRANGE, go on and try Green Banana Creme by blending in a couple handfuls of spinach!!

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I iced mine with some chocolate PB2, and slurped to my heart’s content. 🙂  And believe me, I TRIED to take a decent photo, but I was working with green and brown food, as well as objectionable 6:30 AM lighting.  Come, fellow food bloggers–be sympathetic to my plight, and revel in the strangeness of a good tofu smoothie!

–The Girl in the Orange

Vanilla Cinnamon Almond Butter

A few months ago, I found out just how stinkin’ easy it was to make almond butter at home in the food processor–you can even do it in the Magic Bullet!  (Which I do.)  It’s cheap, you know exactly what’s in it, you save resources by not paying for the glass jar or fancy labels, and it’s endlessly customizable.  Needless to say, I swore off the MaraNatha then and there.  Nowadays I find that if I make a jar on the weekend, I’m set for the rest of the week in terms of nut butter desires/needs.

DSCN0112Before I tried out this variation on homemade raw almond butter, I had never tried my hand at making a flavored (or, “gourmet”, if you like–that sounds much fancier (:) almond butter.  The only flavored nut butter I had EVER made was Oh She Glows’ Dark Chocolate Pecan Butter–but that was guaranteed to be a winner, right?  It has chocolate in the name.

Then it occurred to me that I always put cinnamon on my homemade almond butter anyway…why not incorporate it into the actual nut butter itself?  A lengthy perusal of cinnamon almond butter recipes on several of my favorite food blogs turned up quite an extensive cache of recipes…but you know what?

Every single dang cinnamon almond butter recipes involved MAPLE SYRUP.  I happened to be out of this valuable commodity at the time in question, so understandably this infuriated me so.  What was a girl to do?

Make Vanilla-, not maple-, cinnamon almond butter, and stop being infuriated.

Ingredients:

-1 cup raw almonds

-1t-1T cinnamon, depending on the height of regard in which you hold cinnamon

-“Guts” of 1 vanilla bean

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The back of my Trader Joe’s vanilla bean package offers helpful information on how to “gut” your vanilla bean.  You are welcome.

Instructions:

So many pro bloggers offer amazing helpful tutorials on making almond butter from scratch, so I’ll leave the in-depth explaining to them. 😉  The main premise is that with enough blending and blending and blending and scraping and scraping and scraping, raw almonds will go from raw almonds to this.

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Especially if you make it in ye olde faithful Magic Bullet, there will be lots of times when you are near to giving up hope.  This is just crumbly almond flour, you’ll think.  This is never going to butterize (yes, even in your mind, you will be using the scientific terminology).  I’m going to go mad because I have to keep scraping the food processor so often.  At these moments, I implore you to think of your impending vanilla-y almond buttery deliciousness (which WILL manifest itself in time!), and charge on.  That’s right, MaraNatha’s got nothin’ on you.

Once you have powered through, you will be left with a warm, Autumnally spiced (even though it is Winter…shhh!) gooey spread of utter deliciousness, perfect for slathering on apple slices

DSCN0116AND swirling into warm bowls of the wonder that is oatmeal.

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This bowl contained hot steel-cut oats, a hit of greek yogurt, apple butter made by a coworker of Mother Dearest, and the all-important Vanilla-Cinnamon Almond Butter.  And then I died.

Who’s with me for pretending it’s still Fall? 😉 It’s not like we’re getting much snow around these here parts anyway…

Birthday Cake Baked Oatmeal

I feel sho shcandalous.

I was so mean to you, you guys.  So, so mean.  And you didn’t even know how mean I was being, when I dangled this picture of a certain Birthday Cake Baked Oatmeal under your noses in an unassuming post about positivity.  Pssh, positivity?  What was I thinking?  There are much more important matters to discuss…

My birthday breakfast, set alight.

My birthday breakfast, set alight.

LIKE CAKE, OBVIOUSLY.

This recipe was born out of a yearning for a perfect, healthy, cake-like, invented-by-me birthday breakfast for my own turning-of-the-year (December 10th).  When I was concocting it, I figured it would either be a big hit or a big miss…

Dramatic Tea and Birthday Cake Baked Oatmeal 014

IT HIT.  Hard. Yummmmm.  I made it and ate it on my birthday and DIDN’T TELL YOU GUYS HOW TO MAKE IT!! 😉  Shcandalous! 😉

But now you can know.  I’m done with being mean.  I figured, since I didn’t know anyone whose birthday is coming up soon, I could post the recipe as a New Year’s breakfast–it is the birth of 2013, peeps!  (Good thing the world didn’t explode on the 21st…no, no, I’m not going to go there.)

Happy, happy new year.

Without further ado…

Birthday Cake Baked Oatmeal

This is the “classic” birthday-style cake; creamy vanilla cake, chocolate frosting optional.  I realize some of you would prefer chocolate cake, but tradition must be honored.

Inspired by this and this.

Ingredients:

3 T raw cashew butter combined w/ a splash almond extract and a splash vanilla extract, and SPRINKLES!

1/2 recipe vanilla chia amazeballs (directions in the Instructions section)

1 1/2 c rolled oats

1 c milk of choice

1 tsp baking soda

1 egg

2 T flax

1/2 c vanilla honey Greek yogurt

1 more splash vanilla

Directions:

Mmkay, this is intimidating, but your final cake-for-breakfast will be worth it, so bear with me.

First, you’re going to combine your cashew butter with a splash of almond extract and a splash of vanilla extract, and some sprinkles, if you wish.

036It will probably look something like this.  Except, there’s no doubt yours will look prettier than mine.  (It’s dang tasty, though, and that’s all that matters, right?  You can’t go wrong with almond extract.)

Next, you’re going to do your second bit of prep work here: Prep your half-batch of Vanilla Chia Amazeballs.  Buzz 6 tbs oats in a food processor until they become flour (or just use oat flour, or instant oats), mix in 1 T almond butter, 1 T agave nectar, .5 t chia seeds, and (2 tablespoons vanilla protein powder and .5 teaspoons vanilla extract) OR, if you don’t have protein powder, (1 T ground flaxseed and 1 t vanilla extract) will also work.  Roll into eensy weensy little balls…

LITTLE tiny things.

LITTLE tiny things.

With my (child-size) hand, for size comparison.  Yes, it’s a laborious task, rolling all that batter into balls that are barely half a teaspoon each, but it will allow them to distribute evenly throughout the oatmeal bake and give you more amazeball per bite!

Whew.  Now you’re done with the prep work!  Breathe a sigh of relief!  Now you just have to mix stuff!

Combine all the other ingredients in a large bowl (glass is best) and combine well with a spatula.  Stir the cashew butter fully into the mixture but just incorporate the amaze-balls.

Pour into a greased pan and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 40 minutes.

I chose a ROUND pan to kick off new year’s, because according to Chocolate Covered Katie, round things (especially breakfasts) 😉 bring good fortune into the new year by symbolizing coming full circle and starting a new cycle!

It is also shaped more like a cake this way.

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(And then I, erm, tried to frost it somewhat, purely for your amusement.  Clearly, I overestimate myself.)

Topping ideas?  When I actually ate this on my birthday, I used some almond butter, agave, avocado, and cocoa powder mashed together as “frosting” (no, you can’t taste the avocado), and that was great.  Plain ol’ chocolate nut butter is also great.  If your new year’s resolutions involve something along the lines of eating less chocolate, however (the horror!), it’s also “amazeballs” just smeared with some more cashew butter.  And sprinkles.  Yesh.

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How can you not start off a new year on the right foot with cake for breakfast??

Good fortune to you this coming year. 🙂

Apple PB Baked Oatmeal

Aaah.  Baked oatmeal, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways:

1.  You contain oatmeal, usually some eggs and milk and sometimes fruit and nuts and other good mix-ins, so you’re a pretty dang healthy breakfast.  But you still taste amazing.

2.  If I make a tray of you on the weekend I have breakfast covered for 4 days (usually…snacks happen) out of the 5-day week!

3.  YOU ARE LIKE EATING A GIANT COOKIE FOR BREAKFAST.

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Need I say more?

It is a universally accepted fact, except among the nut-allergic crowd, that one of the best snacks in the world is apple and nut butter.   (Well, besides carrots and peanut butter, nut butter straight from the jar, cheese, and sweet pickles–but I find those don’t lend themselves well to oatmeal recipe creating.)  Additionally, many people (except for those Paleo or fruitarian folks) argue that oatmeal is one of the most nutritious choices for breakfast!  Soluble fiber, protein, iron, calcium, other trace minerals…and yumminess.

(When I told a family member last week that one of my favorite foods was oatmeal, she spent five minutes trying to process this.  I guess I forget that normal people don’t eat oatmeal for breakfast every day! ;)…What do they eat?)

Winter is coming up, so now is pretty much our last chance to pay homage to our delicious Fall apples.

Baked oatmeal=homage.  Yummy, warming, comforting healthy homage.

Apple PB Baked Oatmeal

-1/3 c. applesauce mixed with 1 T chia seed overnight

-1 1/2 c. rolled oats

-1/2 c. steel-cut oats

-1 t baking soda

-1 medium egg

-2 T maple syrup

-1/2 c. milk + ~3 T

-3 T melted peanut butter (crunchy is the tastiest) (other nut butter should work as well–if you would eat it with apples, try it out!)

-3/4 c. diced apple

-Splash of vanilla extract

-Anywhere from 2t-2T ground cinnamon (depending on how much you like cinnamon! 🙂 I definitely recommend the higher amount, though)

Directions:

This recipe takes a bit of forethought, since the first step is to combine your 1/3 cup applesauce with one tablespoon of chia seeds and let it soak in the refrigerator overnight (the chia will absorb some of the liquid in the applesauce).  But once you’ve got that done, the rest is a breeze!

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Your applesauce should look like this after the soaking.  It’s disgusting looking, I know.  You won’t be able to see it in the finished oatmeal.

And then, well…stir everything together! 😉  The peanut (or other nut) butter is really easy to melt in the microwave–just put it in a little microwave-safe bowl and nuke on high for 15-20 seconds.  (Be careful, as you can scorch it!)  It should be pretty runny and easy to mix in after that point.

During the first trials of this recipe, for some reason I fixated on one cup of milk, and it always took MUCH too long to bake and ended up MUCH too moist.  I can’t vouch for the exact amount of milk you should put in now, but I recommend starting with 1/2 c. and then adding it by the tablespoon until the batter is “stirrable” (I ended up using three extra tablespoons.)

It works best if your apple pieces are about this size.

It works best if your apple pieces are about this size.

Bake in an 8×8 pan (or a similarly proportioned pan, so long as it works out to an area of 64) at 350 degrees for 30-50 minutes, depending on humidity, juiciness of your apples, oven quality, etc.  (Our oven is poor quality and my apple wasn’t very juicy, and mine took 40 minutes before I declared it baked.)

All done!

All done!

Slice into 4 squares (see?  It IS like a GIANT cookie!), take one, and devour.  Top with more sliced apple or nut butter, maple syrup, or apple butter, if you want to be all fancy-like.

Or you could just eat it on its own.  It's pretty tasty, if I do say so myself.

Or you could just eat it on its own. It’s pretty tasty, if I do say so myself.

‘Wicked’ and HUMMUS PASTA

Hola to all from The Girl in the Orange!  I hope you’re all enjoying your 3-day weekend (if you get one)!  I’m not sure if there will be time to post tomorrow, so I’ll say Happy Veterans Day now, for all my lovely USA readers!  Of course, I can’t overstate how important our soldiers are to us; a HUGE thank-you to everyone serving for our freedom.

Something good to do over a 3-day weekend is to be productive.  Get a jump start on a mega-homework load, do some yoga, go for a long run, compose a song, write a book, whatever!

Or you could blog about things like hummus and go see Broadway musicals. 😉

Today we took a day trip to Seattle to see the musical Wicked (I still think it’s ironic that Seattle is actually referred to as the ‘Emerald City’), which was a fun getaway.  I enjoyed the play, but– don’t hate –it wasn’t the breathtaking, stunning performance I thought it would be.  Meh, just another musical.  One thing I will say for it is that it had a lot of character.

But that’s not the main topic of this post!  There are much more important things than musicals (to me, at least, lest Rachel object), such as hummus and quick dinners.

All you hummus lovers, have I got a recipe idea for you!

You may have noticed that the “recipes” I post here (yup, all two of them) are more rough ideas than recipes.  This is partly because in my own life, I generally rely on quick, throw-together meals rather than intricate recipes (not enough time in the day!), and also partly because I feel intimidated posting something and proclaiming it a “recipe”.   It seems to imply that I am confident in my kitchen skills; I’m not, but this creation is pretty boss.

This is definitely not a recipe, but it’s been my dinner for the past two nights and I’m pretty dang pleased with myself for inventing this endlessly customizable bowl of delicious awesomeness.  It’s very convenient and speedy, plus it utilizes staples I almost always have lurking somewhere in my fridge–hummus, vegetables, and cooked pasta.

In order to make the aforementioned Hummus Pasta, one must simply take a serving of pasta, roughly chop up some veggies (here I used garden zucchini and red peppers) and whip up a hummus sauce for their creation.  The sauce is simple; all you need to do is thin hummus, homemade or store-bought, until it is your favorite consistency for pasta sauce.  I recommend using apple cider vinegar to thin; it gave my sauce a really nice and sweet taste, mixed with Pita Pal Roasted Red Pepper Hummus (best. ever), but if your hummus is garlicky you can also just use water.  Pour the sauce over your bowl of noodles n’ veggies, and call it cooking! “Hummus Pasta” certainly sounds gourmet. 😉

Take a picture, too; noodles are an endlessly forgiving photography subject.  Congratulate yourself on a quick, awesome, hummus-y meal and use the time you just saved by not cooking to do awesomesauce (pun INTENDED.  yeah!) things! 🙂  Can you tell I’ve been put in a good mood by the weekend? 😉

Breakfast Creamsicle Smoothie

Yes, I know I promised to share this recipe with you guys earlier this week, and I should have, seeing how I actually perfected it on Tuesday morning, but life got in the way.  I really can’t apologize.

I really want a T-shirt, or maybe one whole wall of my room, saying “Life happens”  to remind myself to take each day by the reigns and breathe.

So, yes, life happened–remember to breathe–but now I finally get to share my oatmeal-orange smoothie concoction with you guys!  You could stop breathing now, if you so choose.

As I have mentioned in past posts, I am a big fan of all things citrusy–hence The Girl in the Orange.  This love certainly does not exclude frozen novelty desserts.  My favorite sweet treats as a wee sprite were all frozen, and I especially liked root beer floats, turtle sundaes, hot fudge sundaes, mint chocolate chip ice cream, Bear Claw ice cream (a total love affair!..for another post), Dairy Queen Cheesequake and Kit-kat blizzards, and, of course, Creamsicles.  Somehow I didn’t weigh 5 thousand pounds!  Nowadays I prefer healthier indulgences, but if it’s a special occasion I certainly don’t mind digging into a hot fudge brownie sundae.  Mmmm.

Creamsicles hold a deeper meaning for me, as well–one of my happiest memories in the few weeks before moving was hanging out with my friends on the school soccer field, slurping away at delightfully orangey Creamsicles.  I miss them so much.  (Friends, not creamsicles.  You can buy those here too.)

I had been toying with the idea of a Creamsicle I could drink for breakfast for a long time, and, coupled with my recent cold and, by extension, our surplus of oranges, last week was the perfect time!

Breakfast Creamsicle Smoothie

makes 1 nice tall smoothie

Ingredients:

1 batch SOLID overnight oats (recipe follows)

1 cup orange juice (I used freshly-squeezed–so much sweeter!)

1/2 frozen banana

2 tsp orange zest

1/4 cup greek yogurt

Directions:

Um, blend them together.  In a blender.  Hopefully this was rather self-explanatory.

Solid overnight oats:

Mix together 1/2 cup old-fashioned (rolled) oats, about .8 cup vanilla almond milk, a splash of vanilla extract, and 1.5 tablespoon chia seeds in a reusable, sealable container.  Seal and place in the refrigerator overnight, or for at least a hour and a half.

This mixture uses a lot of oats and chia seeds and not much liquid, so it will be VERY THICK in the morning with no liquid left over.  This is okay, as it will make your smoothie nice and thick!  If you like thinner smoothies, though, you can omit the greek yogurt in the smoothie or add more liquid to the overnight oats.

Notes on this smoothie: the orange zest is very important in this recipe as it really lets the flavor of the orange shine through!  If for some reason you have orange juice but not zest, you can probably sub in a LITTLE splash of orange extract.

Also, this smoothie will not be orange.  Just warning you.  Creamsicles get that appetizing sunrise hue from a whole truckload of artificial colors, but in this smoothie the milk and shtuff will overpower the orangeness of the orange and it will be white and frothy.  Trust me, though, it still tastes orange and it still tastes good.

Enjoy this lovely Autumn weekend while it lasts!  Monday seems so daunting…

Didn’tcha Miss Me?: A Conglomeration of Food Photos, Explanations, a Recipe and Recipe Pending

Happy September 16, folks!  Holy cow, how are we halfway through this month already??  I need to start dreaming up my Monthly Recap…what have I done this month?

I am sorry my posts were a little late this week, but, I DO have an explanation!!

Here it is:

The Girl in the Orange has a cold.

Not just any cold, either.  This really sucks.  Really, REALLY sucks.  I mean, I’ve got the whole works: sniffle, sore throat, nasal and chest congestion, wicked fever, weak and achey body, general crappiness.  The worst part is that the bulk of this cold, the awful phase, the crying phase, the not-able-to-breathe-through-mouth phase, the freezing-at-my-core-and-sweltering-everywhere-else phase, the I’m-so-delirious-with-fever-I’m-singing-about-sticks phase, happened during a school-wide camp I went to earlier this week.  I was pretty miserable.  Coughing out my lungs and still determined to participate in all the activities.  When my cold got too much to bear, I huddled up in my sleeping bag in my cabin.  A teacher found a nurse practitioner to stay with me.  She gave me Tylenol and swiped herbal tea from the “adults-only” stash of hot beverages for me.  People are too nice..!  I felt like such a burden; I really shouldn’t have come to camp.  But I really do appreciate all the kind things people did for me when I was in the grips of this nasty, nasty virus.

This is children’s Mucinex, because it’s way less stressful to take than the adult stuff and comes in Orange Creme Flavor.  Shot with my point-and-shoot; sorry.

The little glob of mucus sliding down the medicine trail on the front totally makes me feel dainty and ladylike.  (I kid, I kid!)

This is my dad’s “horay-I’m-sick-too” stash of gummy bears.  This bag was full yesterday afternoon.  Truth.

Vegetarians cannot eat gummy bears.  Gummy bears are made of gelatin.  Gelatin is made from boiling hooves and cartilage and shtuff.  Gelatin bad.


I eat oranges instead.  Hello, Vitamin C!

So, yeah, I’m sick, definitely not running-ready, so I’m mostly lounging around the house doing small jobs and writing and trying to be productive (I fail most of the time).  But, in all my free time now, I had time to fiddle around with a new recipe until it was blog-ready!  I also am busy putting the finishing touches on a “Breakfast Dreamsicle Smoothie” that is in the works incorporating almond milk or yogurt, oatmeal, and orange juice.  Somebody has probably done this before.  Don’t tell me about it.  I want to develop a new recipe for myself!

These are both breakfast recipes…I find that sweet breakfast recipes are generally harder to mess up than, say, a curry.  Though curries do have their time and place.  They’re just so much harder to photograph than sweet things!!

See what I mean?  Not terribly delicious-looking.

Bad-quality photo, bad-quality icing job, still delicious.  Desserts are incredibly forgiving.  Something about the implied presence of some sort of sugar makes photos pop.

Without further ado, here is my recipe for “Pumpkin Whip Oatmeal” that I created last Monday with the remnants of a can of pumpkin puree.  I find it very fitting that the first recipe to appear on this blog should incorporate both oatmeal (one of my reasons for existence) and the color orange…

Pumpkin Whip Oatmeal

makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

1/4 c. dry steel cut oatmeal

1/4 c. (or more, if you really love it) pumpkin puree

3/4 c. plain greek yogurt

1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses

A lot of cinnamon (I just dumped it on there, so I’d say maybe about half a tablespoon?  You can cut it down though…I have a cinnamon problem.)

2 pinches ginger

1 pinch nutmeg

Directions:

1.  Cook the steel-cut oats in “I’m a student, you think I’m going to have enough time in the morning to actually boil oats for half an hour?” fashion.  (This means combining your oats with the appropriate amount of water the night before and bringing it to a boil for a few minutes.  Then shut the stove off, cover the pan, and push it off of the hot burner.  In the morning add a little splash of milk and reheat it over the burner just until warm.)

2.  Transfer your oats to a bowl of some sort.  Not that I ever eat things out of the pan…

3.  Stir in pumpkin and yogurt.

4. Drizzle with molasses and stir in the spices.

5.  Realize as you are enjoying your creation that you should probably have taken a picture of it for your blog, but, as it’s 6:30 on a Monday morning, setting up a food photo shoot is completely out of the question.

Happy Fall to all!  Hold the Great Pumpkin near and dear to all of your hearts, and I will see you back soon with my Dreamsicle smoothie.