Tuesday, October 23, 2012

College Cooking: Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip

Slowly but surely, I'm finding more things to cook in college, which makes me very happy!

However, I'm also struggling a little bit to keep up good nutrition habits in college (big surprise there, huh?). I feel like everything I'm eating is generally healthy but it's just really hard to make sure I'm eating lots of vegetables and a variety of proteins, getting enough healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, etc. when I'm living off convenience food and boring salad bars. So, my goal is to keep doing my best by cooking my own food when I can and making sure I'm not eating too much junk, even when everyone else is snacking on endless Halloween candy.

One great snack I've come up with is this amazing peanut butter yogurt dip. It's a perfect combination of healthy fats, protein, and carbs that keeps me full and satisfied after a long run. I enjoyed it simply with apple slices and then decided to sandwich a spoonful between two banana slices and freeze it. Amazing. It was a fantastic dessert that reminded me of peanut butter ice cream or Dibs (maybe drizzle them with a little melted chocolate?). Yum.

Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip
1 6 oz container plain greek yogurt
2 tablespoons creamy or crunchy peanut butter (I had crunchy on hand)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
a drizzle of honey or other sweetener, to taste

1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl or in the greek yogurt container.


For and update on my dad and my half marathon training, visit my dad's CaringBridge page and my Team In Training fundraising page!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

College Cooking: Microwave Pumpkin Butter

I though it would be fun to start a segment about college cooking. With extremely limited resources, it's hard to get in my fix of cooking and recipe creating, but it's turned over a whole new leaf of figruing out ways to cook delicious and healthy recipes with basically a can opener and a microwave.

The first thing I've really cooked, from scratch at least, here is pumpkin butter (no surprise there) and it turned out better than I could have imagined. This pumpkin butter is basically like eating pumpkin pie filling on a spoon...or on oatmeal, toast, yogurt, or whatever else you want to slather it on. Plus, it smells amazing. I could hear people walking by my room asking why it smelled like someone was baking pumpkin pie...yeah that was me. But best of all, it's super easy! You just mix together a few ingredients, microwave, and you're left with smooth, thick, sticky pumpkin butter that's absolutely perfect for fall.

Microwave Pumpkin Butter
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon raw sugar or brown sugar (I used Sugar in the Raw packets from Starbucks)
2 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup for a vegan option)
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1. Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a microwave-safe bowl
2. Cover/wrap the bowl with a paper towel, then microwave on full power for 5 minutes.
3. Remove the bowl from the microwave, stir, replace the paper towel, and microwave for another 3 minutes.

Like I said, this stuff is super thick and smooth and tastes exactly like pumpkin pie. There's not much more I could ask for from my humble little dorm microwave!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pumpkin Season

It's finally time for pumpkin recipes! I would say that fall is my favorite season, but I say that about every season when it's rolling in, so I'll just say that I love fall. Possibly it's because I get to make endless pumpkin recipes and it's actually acceptable for the time of year.

As you know, I don't have a kitchen in college, which is probably the hardest part of being here. But last weekend I was able to sneak away to Cape Cod with some great friends from back home and be in a kitchen again! The Cape was such a wonderful vacation with the long Colombus Day weekend, and I loved finally being able to whip up some autumn recipes. First on my list: pumpkin scones and granola.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Scones with Oatmeal and Cranberries

There's nothing I love more on a chilly fall day than curling up with a cozy blanket, hot tea, and a sweet, spiced pumpkin treat for breakfast. These scones fit right into that picture. They're moist and soft, hearty and oaty, sweet and cinnamon-y, comforting, and simply delicious.

1 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or mix together your own cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
6 tbsp milk (dairy or nondairy)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon water
dash pumpkin pie spice

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients (oats through brown sugar).
3. In a small bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, milk, and oil.
4. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Stir in the cranberries.
5. Shape the dough into a rectangle on the baking sheet, then cut into 8 triangles.
6. Bake for 23-27 minutes, until the scones are firm to the touch. (I baked mine for 22 minutes, then took them out and separated the scones, then ended up baking them for another few minutes until they were completely cooked through.
7. Let the scones cool for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the glaze ingredients and drizzle the glaze over the scones.

Pumpkin Spice Granola

Another thing I love during the fall is crunchy granola as a snack. It's so comforting and nutty, and adding pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice only adds to it's special place in my heart. However, a lot of the granola you buy in stores have a ton of added oils, refined sugars, and other ingredients that really aren't necessary! I made my granola without any added oil and it turned out wonderfully crunchy and clustered, with a spicy not-too-sweet flavor. I really love the unique flavor of hazelnuts in this granola, but feel free to use whatever nuts you have around. Granola Perfection!

2 1/2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
6 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
pinch of salt
1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking
sheet with parchment paper.
2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, then crumble the mixture evenly onto the baking sheet.
3. Bake for 40-45 minutes, stirring halfway through. Allow to cool completely. (It's okay if it's not completely crispy right when it comes out of the oven, it will get crispier as it cools)

Happy Fall Baking!