Almond Pulp Thumbprint Cookies

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This is a follow-up post from how to make your own Almond Milk recipe I posted to start the year. My family makes a lot of soy milk (which will be another post someday), but sometimes we like to throw in some fresh almond milk. We live in Lodi so there is an abundance of fresh almonds we usually get (often still in its shell). Almonds eaten this way are the freshest of any almond. Store bought just doesn’t compare. But for those not lucky enough to experience the country life, store bought will work just fine!

After making almond milk, you are left with this pulp. The pulp of course can be dumped as compost for your plants, but this stuff shouldn’t be wasted if you have the time to convert it into something else! Online, there are lots of recipes on how to use up almond pulp. My sister requested it be these Almond Pulp Thumbprint Cookies!

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Date/Almond Energy Balls!

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So far in the past month, I have changed jobs, happily shopped til I dropped, and over the first quarter of 2016, I have checked off most of my 2016 New Years’ Resolutions!!! I have checked off these ones:

  1. Become better at makeup.
    • I have learned contouring, and have bought new brushes and higher quality makeup.
    • I wear sunscreen every day now!!! I have finally found one that I really love. I put my lotion on my face in the morning, slather the Revision Intellishade tinted sunscreen with SPF 40 on top, and apply my makeup!
    • Still lots to learn, but I am working on it!
  2. Get a facial.
    • Got one. Didn’t really care for it, and since my skin isn’t bad at all, the facial person couldn’t really do much with my face. Thus, I felt like it was just a massage of my face, and apparently they did a gentle mask. It was whatever.
  3. Be more solid financially and independently.
    • The hustle continues, and doesn’t stop, but I have made a very big step towards this goal by transitioning to a new job! Still on track for my ultimate goals.
  4. Understand the types of investments out there.
    • Check mark. My new job is a wealth of learning opportunities and such a sexy industry to be in. Super excited for all the things.

The second quarter will be my goal #1 this year – improve upon my blog. Once I settle into my new job, I will spend whatever free time I have to learn about this! Also, my #4 goal this year (get skinny/get abs) is still incomplete, but I have consistently gone to the gym 3-4 times a week. This will also be the other focus of the second quarter.

To kick start the quarter, I made some Date/Almond energy bites, rolled in bee pollen and hemp seeds. LOVE the sweetness of the dates, some chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla that rounds it out. Delicious and it will be my snack of choice, rather than Cheez-its I’ve eaten the past week. You can add whatever seeds, nuts, dried fruits, milks, you want. The world is your oyster.

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Homemade Almond Milk

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Growing up I really hated drinking milk. Milk that was plain, milk that had chocolate in it, etc. I hated milk in my cereal, I always preferred eating the cereal plain, straight out of the bag, straight crunchy. But I was forced to drink it every morning before school, since milk has calcium, and milk is good for strong bones. I later discovered soy milk and almond milk as alternatives, and my life dramatically became better. Hah! So I went through a period of time where I made smoothies with and drank plenty of soy milk and almond milk. I bought them from Trader Joe’s, but always felt that the almond milk there was a little lifeless. Not very creamy or full body. So I set my sights on homemaking almond milk to see if there was a difference. And there is! Homemade almond milk is creamy and delicious, and when its homemade, you can add whatever flavors to enhance it. Almonds kind of got expensive, so I don’t make it very often, but if you want to drink the difference, give it a try!

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Peach Jam – Almond Crumb Bars

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If you follow me on SnapChat, you might have seen that a few weeks ago, I snapped about tons of fresh peaches from my family’s tree, and snapped a story where I was making peach jam. That peach jam failed…since I didn’t have enough pectin and was too cheap to buy more at the time. However, my dad and sister, seeing that it was an absolute fail, and that I reused old jars, set out to re-make my failed jam. They bought new canning jars and my sister cooked the recipe. Now she is legitimately a Jam Queen. She has made 15 jars of jam (since we had SO much super ripe needed to be eaten peaches). Also, it is grape season here in Lodi. This year, due to the hot, dry weather, the grapes ripened early. Since Lodi is full of wine grapes, my dad went to go pick some and now, my sister has made grape jelly! Needless to say, we are a jam obsessed household now. My dad, being the French baker he is, has made croissants filled with jam (see picture below), and I can’t wait until the holidays, where I can make cookies!!! But since it’s summer, I figured crisps, and cobblers are the best to use our supply. I didn’t have an 8×8 pan, so I put the batter in cupcake tins. Turned out perfectly!!! So you can use either to get the same result – light, jammy, crispy, almond-y, and yummy. It’s perfect for breakfast!

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Banana Walnut Muffins!

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As you may have noticed, I have a new Put a Ring on Annie logo! I had commissioned this new logo from my friend Joyce Lin, who is a fabulous artist. I would love to formally introduce her to you all in my next post. I wanted to do her justice for doing a great job and for putting up with my demands. But first, let me introduce you to Banana Walnut Muffins. Bananas are a favorite amongst so many people when fresh, and when they turn brown, they become this intense flavor-bursting specimen. It really takes over the space you are in with its smells. When baked, it’s comforting and warm. Warm is a good word to describe bananas. I am going to use it from now on. Like I said in my last post about Pumpkin Quinoa Muffins, muffins are an amazing thing – they can be frozen, thawed, and microwaved back to the day it was made. Also, it leaves blackish streaks in your baked muffins which makes it look swirly cool!!! If you haven’t noticed, please notice now – it’s super cool! It can even warm up your hands while you walk to the bus stop. True story – I do this everyday!

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Pumpkin Quinoa Muffins!

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More pumpkin pumpkin pumpkin!!! I made these in an effort to conserve energy in the morning and grabbing and going with my breakfast as a leave the house to board a bus. I learned awhile back that you can freeze muffins and then when you want to eat them, place them in the fridge overnight and it should defrost. Pop them in the microwave and you have got a hot muffin! How fun and convenient!! It’s like when I learned you can do that with bagels – one of my obsessions. More on that obsession some day. These muffins are packed with nutrition – pumpkin, quinoa, spices. It is an easy way to pack quinoa into your routine if you don’t want to cook it all the time. Quinoa is very high in protein so you can eat it to fuel your day! It is basically a seed, and it is fascinatingly related to spinach, beetroots, and tumbleweeds (I actually once had a friend tell me that he thought tumbleweeds were fake things that crossed in Bugs Bunny’s path in the cartoon…I basically choked in laughter.) Anyway, these are perfect fall breakfast foods! Enjoy them today!

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Buttermilk Pancakes <3

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Breakfast – the most important meal of the day! Since I work now, I try to eat a large and healthy breakfast, and then snack through company food throughout the day. For dinner, I try to eat a big salad to offset my food offerings of the day. It is already fall and another year has gone by without achieving the elusive flat stomach – but now I’ve got coworkers who want to motivate each other to lose the fat! More pressure = more success? I hope so!

On another note, I can’t wait to maybe have a kitchen again so I can start creating for fall recipes! Stay tuned!

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Dutch Baby Pancake with Fresh Berries!

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In light of Germany’s win yesterday at the World Cup, I decided to post this late post of my German pancake/Dutch baby! It is made with lots of eggs and milk and is super eggy to taste. I showed this to my friend and she asked if it was an egg pancake. Apparently our moms made these German pancakes without knowing it – my mom used to mix together a high egg to milk ratio with some flour and it was an eggy tasting pancake. Definitely not your traditional pancake. I like this because it is simple and you get to top it with whatever topping you like. I chose some berries because it is in season right now! Better get those antioxidants during bar study!

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Greek Yogurt Pancakes with Chia Seeds

 

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My parents came down for my graduation and since we went to Utah for family vacay, we spent all of our meals at restaurants. When we got back to San Diego, all we wanted was a simple homemade meal and breakfast. Since my dad is a fantastic cook, he ended up cooking 2 dinners at my place – tons of seafood like fish, lobster and shrimp. It was definitely super relieving and comforting to eat homemade food after like 12 consecutive meals outside and 2 buffets in Vegas. I made breakfast one morning and decided on some Greek yogurt pancakes with some chia seeds for some omega-3s and some berries for antioxidents. Simple and quick and so delicious!

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Pitaya Bowl!

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HEALTH FOOD MEGA POST!!!! I love healthy foods as you all know- the weirder the better. I love the fascination with all this raw stuff lately and totally have toyed with the idea of going on a raw food diet for a week. Maybe when I am not about to study for finals and the bar. But anyway, if you haven’t heard, PITAYA has been popular for a year now – a very distant, more popular cousin in pop culture of the ACAI berry – but it is actually a DRAGON FRUIT! Dragon fruits are those pink crazy weird looking fruits you see at Asian supermarkets. My mom bought some once and eating the fruit inside of a real, fresh dragon fruit was totally meh. It was white on the inside with edible seeds, way slimy and lacked flavor. I had no idea that the famous pitaya was actually dragon fruit. The Asian ones however are white in flesh, whereas the Mexican and South American varieties have a red/pink hue. This is definitely a quality it shares with the acai berry: it has a big vibrant hue to it and is definitely the new craze of food health junkies. I tried a pitaya bowl for the first time a month ago at PB’s Rum Jungle¬†and I loved it! The pitaya bowl is a lot less berry tasting, not sweet, and sorta has a slimy texture to it. Pitaya is normally paired with the same stuff as acai so they are both super interchangeable in terms of how you make them in smoothies and bowls. You can purchase pitaya packets at Whole Foods!!! Sprouts doesn’t have them yet (or at least at my local one doesn’t). I used to do a lot of those fun, fast facts about interesting food items so here are some about pitaya:

Fun facts:

1. Pitaya flowers only bloom at night so only bats and moths fertilize them. (kinda like how a bee polinizes flowers).

2. They originated in Mexico, but spread in popularity and cultivation in Southeast Asia.

3. There are many varieties- the Asian store bought ones have white meat with seeds dotted all over it inside; the smoothie pack variety is the pitahaya roja, which has a pinkish meat with seeds dotted all over it inside.

4. If you eat a lot of pitaya, your pee might turn reddish HAHAHA.

5. It has powerful antioxidents, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, fiber and omega-3s. All awesome stuff to keep you healthy and sane.

Here is a pretty powerful pitaya bowl recipe that I used for my first homemade bowl! Acai and pitaya are fun in that it can be paired with anything fun and healthy and colorful in your kitchen. Try it today since it’s so hot outside!

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