This post is bananas

Incidentally, this post is also nuts. Well, chock full of nuts. I’ve gone bananas for nuts? (Thank you, thank you. I’ll see myself out.)

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I love bananas in every stage of ripeness, but there is a certain magic quality that brown bananas have, full of sweetness and possibility. My favorite use for ripe bananas has always been banana bread, mostly because there are so many different recipes out there to try and they’re all fairly adaptable.

With bananas going brown on the counter, I popped onto the siggi’s website hoping that my new favorite yogurt would have a suggestion for my perpetual favorite baked good. Much to my delight, they did!

banana-bread-ingredients-2

 

The recipe calls for their vanilla filmjölk, which is a very unique pourable yogurt that is similar to kefir. It’s slightly tangy and is often used in place of buttermilk to lighten up recipes. I like to pour it over muesli for breakfast, but I’d never cooked with it before so this was a welcome experiment.

The only adjustment I made to the recipe was replacing the chopped walnuts with chopped peanuts. This was because of an allergy in our house, but I must say that I think the banana bread tastes even better with peanuts in it. I’ve mentioned their site before, but I love having pre-chopped peanuts from Nuts.com in the pantry for days like this. All I had to do was measure and pour, which made the baking process a snap.

recipe-card-banana-bread

Per usual, I didn’t really measure the amount of spices and probably gave my banana bread a heartier dose of cinnamon than is called for. If you’re feeling punchy you could add a bit of ground ginger as well, or even your favorite mix of pumpkin pie spice.

For me it came out perfectly after 50 minutes of cooking and was delicious both warm the night I made it and also the next day slathered in peanut butter for breakfast. Because obviously I needed even more peanut-y goodness.

finished-banana-bread

Originally, this was meant to be the end of my post. But in delaying my writing by a week I ended up having a few more bananas go brown on me. In fact, these seemed to beg to be baked, going directly from green to brown overnight.

For those who are new to working with exceptionally ripe bananas, I wanted to take this photo to show you that they are not nearly as unappealing on the inside as they may seem on the outside. However, the peels will be rather… odorous, so it’s best to either put them in an outside trashcan or at least in an extra bag within your kitchen trash.

banana-ripeness

Recipe for 4-Ingredient Banana Oat Bars

The great thing about these oat bars is that, provided you use certified oats, they are completely gluten free and also dairy free. I have made them in the past with different combinations of dried fruits and nuts, but this time I went with chopped dates and the same peanuts I used in the banana bread.

The recipe is from the kitchn, and I would recommend you head over to her site and follow the instructions exactly. The only change I made was adding about 1-2 tsp of honey for just a little bit more sweetness. I included the vanilla and the salt, and put cinnamon both in the batter and sprinkled on top.

oat-bars

Because I used three bananas instead of two (waste not, want not) my bars came out slightly more thick than hers. I’ve made them in the past with fewer bananas and they come out thinner and crispy on the edges. That being said, I actually like these thicker bars. It makes them feel more like an anytime dessert rather than a snack bar. Since mine by nature have more moisture I decided to store them in the fridge rather than the pantry.

I currently have a new batch of bananas ripening in the fruit bowl, and something tells me I’ll probably have at least two brown ones again in the next week. So if you have a favorite recipe for very ripe bananas, I’m all ears! Let me know in the comments and I’d love to try out something different for a follow-up post.

Happy baking!

 

Quick and easy cornbread

We’re now entering my absolute favorite (part of a) season – the second half of autumn. Mornings and evenings are extra crisp, and the days are just cool enough to necessitate a sweatshirt. There’s something invigorating about weather that gives you goosebumps but stops short of making you shiver. And being the vampire that I am, it’s also quite enjoyable to have the sun’s intensity dialed down.

With hibernation on the horizon, it’s nice to have a comfort food recipe on hand that’s easy enough to make on a weeknight and also healthy enough to complement the inactivity of all-day Netflix marathons. (Speaking of marathons, I undertook a massive one last weekend, the result of which will be heading your way soon.)

The ingredient that makes my cornbread both fluffy and healthy is yogurt. And lots of it. Yogurt is a great substitute for butter or oil when you’re making quick breads, of which cornbread is my favorite. In the past I’ve used regular plain yogurt, but this time around I used siggi’s plain skyr and the result was magical.

cornbread04

For starters, it’s very thick and ridiculously creamy. It’s also fat free, and the 1 cup needed to make the cornbread adds an impressive 23 grams of protein to the batch. When you consider the additional protein from the egg and the cornmeal, this means that there’s about 5 grams per piece. (Not exact nutritional science, but a good approximation.)

Start by preheating your oven to 375°F and spraying an 8 inch round baking pan with nonstick spray. I prefer to use the baking spray that has a bit of flour in it, but if you want to make sure this is gluten free just grease your pan however you please.

cornbread05

In a large bowl mix together 1 cup cornmeal1 tsp baking powder1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt. Even though I’ve made this bread so many times I don’t need to consult the recipe, I somehow always get paranoid that I’ve mixed up the amounts of baking powder and baking soda and end up triple-checking my recipe notes anyway. Feel free to skip the paranoia.

In a smaller bowl, combine 1 cup plain yogurt1 egg, and 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar. The sweetener you use is also adaptable. Coconut sugar has a deeper flavor, closer to molasses, and will give the cornbread a much darker caramel color. The reason I like to use it is because coconut sugar is a natural sweetener that purportedly has a lower glycemic index than white sugar, though I have yet to read a scientific study that proves that to be absolutely true. From personal experience, I can say that it seems to me to be more slowly digested.

cornbread03

If you want your cornbread to have that familiar bright yellow color and just a hint of sweetness, I’ve successfully made this recipe before with both regular granulated sugar and Splenda. The bread does seem to come out just a bit more dry if you use Splenda, so keep a close eye on the cooking time.

Fold your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients, and mix thoroughly so that there are no dry pockets. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until it passes the toothpick test. The cooking time will depend mostly on your oven, but also on your choice of sweetener. Splenda tends to be closer to the 15 minute mark for me, while this batch with the coconut sugar took the full 20 minutes to bake.

cornbread02

If you’re anxious to dig in you can cut this right away, but it’s less likely to crumble if you can hold your horses and wait five minutes. Trust me when I say I know there are some days where waiting is just not going to happen, and that’s ok. Cut the cornbread into 8 wedges to serve, and since there’s no butter in the mix I feel good about putting a little bit on top.

cornbread01

If for some reason all the wedges do not get eaten immediately I store leftovers in the refrigerator. Leftover wedges can be reheated to eat on their own, or I find they’re great for dipping into hot stew or chili straight from the fridge.

Leftover makeover – Breakfast egg bake

I’m always at a bit of a loss when it comes to figuring out what to do with leftovers. Sure, you can pop them in the microwave and eat them again, but then you’re really just eating a sub-par version of the thing you ate the day before. (Unless you had soup. That reheats like a champ.)

I decided I’d try merging together last night’s dinner with this morning’s breakfast, and I’m very pleased with the results. It’s a pretty simple process, and you could use all sorts of things for the base. I happened to have roasted sweet potatoes, but that bottom layer could be any cooked vegetables, rice, beans, or even a bit of pasta. In fact, I think pasta would work splendidly.

To start, preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a ceramic dish with your oil of choice (I went with a bit of olive), and add your bottom layer of food.

Roasted sweet potatoes

Then, put a few spoonfuls of something tomato-based on top of your bottom layer. I used salsa, but you could also use tomato sauce, chopped fresh tomatoes, bruschetta topping, etc.

Potatoes and salsa

Since these leftovers are presumably coming out of the fridge, put the dish in the oven to heat up the bottom layers. 7-10 minutes should do the trick, but this will vary based on what you use for your base. It’s not an exact science, so don’t sweat it. Whatever food you’re using has already been cooked previously, so you’re just warming it.

Take the dish out of the oven and sit it on a heat-proof surface (e.g. the stovetop or a folded dish towel on the counter). I had a slightly larger ceramic container so I was able to crack two eggs into the dish. If you only have ramekins you can follow the same steps, dividing the ingredients between two small ramekins and cracking one egg into each ramekin.

Baked eggs

On top of the eggs I sprinkled salt and pepper, then added a bit of shredded cheese. This part is very adaptable as well. Want to keep it paleo? Skip the cheese. Want to give it more bite? Add chopped scallions or a handful of fresh herbs. Want more spice? Dot the top with some Sriracha.

Eggs and cheese

Put the dish back in the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, essentially until the whites are just set and the yolks are soft. The cooking time depends on how runny you like your yolks, and also a bit on how reliable your oven temperature is. I cooked mine for 12 minutes and it was the perfect consistency for me. There was a little bit of liquid from the salsa, so just take a look when you take it out of the oven to make sure you’re seeing salsa liquid and not uncooked egg whites.

Baked eggs

All that’s left to do is grab a spoon and dig in! If you’re a wheat-eater, feel free to dip some toast in this bad boy. Want to dip without the wheat? Rip a corn tortilla into strips and go to town.

From start to finish this took me about 20 minutes, which is a perfectly respectable amount of time to spend making weekend breakfast.

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Recipe – Chinese tea eggs

A lot of the food I miss from living in Beijing is difficult to near impossible for me to cook now that I’m back in the states. Some of it is lack of ingredients, some just lack of specialized skills, and some of it is (in my opinion) a hearty dose of wizardry. I have never had properly cooked 干煸四季豆 (Sichuan dry-fried green beans) outside of China, not even in a Chinese restaurant. It’s like there’s some sort of magnetic field that keeps all the deliciousness on the mainland.

However, one of my absolute favorite Chinese breakfast/snack foods is actually easy (and fun!) to make at home. 茶叶蛋, known in English as “tea eggs” are a staple in China. You’ll see them bubbling away in vats at grocery stores, neighborhood restaurants, and sometimes just on the sidewalk with a long extension cord reaching back to someone’s apartment.

They’re made by cracking the shells of boiled eggs and then simmering them in a savory broth. The end result is a subtly seasoned egg with a pretty marbled pattern on its surface. While they’re great for eating pretty much any time, tea eggs would make a particularly great addition to your Easter brunch or Passover seder.

Lapsang souchong tea

The most important element to a delicious tea egg is obviously the tea. I am a firm believer in using Lapsang Souchong (known in Chinese as 正山小种), a variety of tea from Fujian Province. After the leaves are picked they dry them over a wood fire, resulting in a very smoky tea. You can probably find it in any large specialty market (like a Wegmans or Whole Foods) or you can do what I do and buy it online.

Now, when I say the tea is smoky I mean very smoky. It smells like a campfire when you open the bag. In addition to tea eggs, I think it’s great for making a hot toddy, especially if you’re a fan of earthy liquors like Laphroaig. If you can’t find Lapsang Souchong, yerba mate tea also has some of the same smoky qualities.

Some people just use regular black tea, and in a pinch it will certainly do the trick. The flavor won’t have quite the same depth, but you will still get the lattice patterns. I am a huge fan of this smoky Earl Grey tea from Fortnum & Mason, and if I ever find it for sale locally I would love to give tea eggs a try using it.

star anise

There are just a few other spices involved, but it’s important that you use quality star anise here. I promise that the eggs won’t come out tasting like licorice. It helps enhance the herbal qualities of the tea, especially when paired with the cinnamon sticks. It’s also important that you buy the star anise from a shop that you trust, because there are two different types. One kind (from China and Southeast Asia) is delicious and edible, while the other (from Japan) is poisonous and should only be used as potpourri. The link I provide above is for a reputable source, and although a pound of star anise is a lot to buy, there are all sorts of amazing recipes you can make with it.

Ingredients

  • 6-8 eggs, hard boiled (reserve boiling water in pot)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. coconut palm sugar (or your sugar of choice)
  • 1/2 tsp. celery salt (optional)

Sachet containing:

  • 4g Lapsang Souchong loose tea (equivalent to 2 tea bags)
  • 3 pieces star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick (broken in half if necessary to fit)
  • 2-4 pieces fresh orange peel

Recipe instructions

Place your eggs in a pot and add enough water to cover them, plus about two inches. I’d say just go ahead and cook them to hard boiled, but if you feel comfortable handling a medium boiled egg that would work as well. Once your eggs are cooked, remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon and leave the water in the pot. Turn the heat down to low and leave the water simmering. Place the eggs in a colander and run cold water over them until they’re cool enough to handle.

Once the eggs are cool, take each egg and tap all over the surface of the shell with the back of a spoon or the dull side of a knife. This is the only step that requires a bit of finesse – crack too lightly and the broth won’t make it through the layers of the shell; crack too hard and the shell will fall off and disrupt the pattern. I would say err on the side of gentle at first, until you get a feel for it. You can always give the shell another few whacks if you don’t think it was adequate the first time.

tea egg spices

Let the eggs sit for a few minutes on the counter before you put them back in the pot. This will allow for some of the water to drain from within the shell. While the eggs are sitting, add the soy saucesugar, and celery salt to the simmering water and stir to dissolve. Using the slotted spoon, carefully lower each egg back into the broth. Then, add the tea sachet into the pot and cover it.

The length of time that the eggs simmer is really a matter of preference. I like to let them simmer, covered, over low heat for about an hour. Then, I take the pot off the heat, leave it covered, and let the eggs steep in the hot broth for another hour. At this point, if you’d like to eat the eggs you totally can. But I would recommend transferring the eggs and the broth to a glass container (removing and discarding the sachet), covering the container, and leaving it to steep in the fridge overnight.

tea eggs

The eggs pictured here were steeped overnight and eaten cold, because I was lazy and anxious to bite into them. When I’m not feeling that lazy, I prefer to eat my tea eggs slightly warm (not piping hot). To do this, take the eggs (still in the shell) out of the fridge and simmer them in the steeping liquid until warm. Then peel and enjoy!

I think the flavor stands out enough on its own, but if you wanted to get a little fancier with your brunch presentation tea eggs also taste great with a little dollop of sriracha mayonnaise (1 part sriracha to 3 parts mayo).

Update 3/29

I had a lot of leftover tea eggs in the fridge from recipe testing, so I decided this afternoon to turn them into egg salad. You don’t get the cool presentation of the pattern, but I will say that chopped tea eggsmayo = super delicious egg salad. No other spices necessary, unless you want to add in a bit more salt.

50 Shades of Grain

The past week or so, it seems like my world has been inundated with ads for the upcoming 50 Shades of Grey movie. For the record, I have not read the books, nor will I be seeing the film. Not because I’m offended by the concept of kink, but rather because I’m very offended by terribly written books. Especially terribly written books that hit it big solely because there’s a big segment of the human population that thinks taking an extra cheese sample at the grocery store counts as living dangerously.

So instead, I’m going to see if I can milk some of the promotional web traffic by casually mentioning 50 Shades in a blog post that has nothing at all to do with the books (or movie), but is instead about my love affair with quinoa. Actually, if you intentionally exile your mind to the gutter, you could argue that quinoa sounds a little bit like a tool Christian Grey would keep in the world’s lamest BDSM den. Just a little.

Aside from the awkward name, quinoa is a pretty sexy little powerhouse. It has tons of protein, plus fiber, calcium, iron, and a whole cocktail of B vitamins. And even though it seems grain-like in texture, quinoa isn’t a cereal, which makes it a gluten-free food. It’s actually in the same plant family as spinach, and the part of the plant you see packaged in stores is the seeds. Essentially, quinoa is the epitome of all that is awesome, the complete polar opposite of Anastasia Steele.

The only real downside to quinoa is that it’s coated with saponins, a natural defense mechanism that tastes bitter and foams like soap. In other words, saponin is the Christian Grey of the plant kingdom. This means that you need to thoroughly wash quinoa before cooking it, and you’ll need to use a very fine mesh strainer so that the sneaky little seeds don’t slip through. Once it’s washed, combine a 2:1 ratio of liquid to quinoa (I prefer chicken broth), bring it to a boil, then reduce to simmer for about 20 minutes (or until all the liquid is absorbed).

In addition to eating quinoa as a side dish like rice or couscous, there are tons of great recipes out there for more creative ways to cook it. One of my favorite recent discoveries is this recipe from Whole Foods for an egg bake that uses quinoa to create a sort of crust. You could easily adjust the recipe to accommodate whatever herbs you have on hand, and it can also be made paleo by swapping out the milk for coconut milk and skipping the cheese topping (but don’t do that, cheese is delicious). I used Silk unsweetened coconut milk in the version pictured above, and it worked like a dream without any coconut flavor.

Unlike 50 Shades of Grey, I completely understand and support quinoa’s recent rise in popularity. Not content to rest on their laurels (and some damn fine laurels, at that), the superfood superheroes at Nuts.com have started carrying pre-cooked quinoa dry goods. Quinoa puffs are a tasty gluten-free alternative to cereal. They taste like Rice Krispies (and sound like them too) but have the added benefit of protein. I love combining them with a handful of freeze-dried fruit and coconut milk.

quinoa-puffs-cereal

If, like the rabid 50 Shades fandom community, you’re looking for something hot and messy, they also carry quinoa flakes. These cook up with the speed of instant oatmeal and the texture of Cream of Wheat, but with the slightly nutty, legume-y taste of quinoa. The mixture may seem a little liquid at first, but it quickly thickens as it starts to cool.

Put 1 cup unsweetened almond milk in a large microwave-safe container and heat for 1 minute. Add 1/3 cup quinoa flakes, stir well, then return to the microwave for another 1 minute – 1 minute 30 seconds. Top it off with a handful of freeze-dried strawberries or 2 Tb apple butter and prepare for a mouthful of pleasure.

A how-to guide for the hibernation enthusiast

Even though the recent solstice means the days are getting longer, it’s still going to be a while before the days are hospitable. Considering the weather around here seems to be either bitter cold or sopping wet, the most inviting place to me right now is inside of my own home (or more specifically, inside of my sweatpants, inside my home).

I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a recluse, but I would say that I’m at the top of my hibernation game. To help the rest of you get on my level, here are some suggestions for making the most out of the remaining winter months.

Achieve maximum cozy

The aforementioned sweatpants are all well and good, but if you really want to show the season who’s boss, full-body comfort is key. The monastic styling of the iconic Snuggie does the best it can for a glorified bathrobe, but you can do better. For the ultimate in cuddly softness, there’s only one word you need to know: Kigurumi.

Mascot of Tsu Mie

Broadly, a kigurumi is any character costume, and the characters in Japan are notably weirder than anywhere else in the world. Because, Japan. More recently, the definition of the word has been expanded to include fleecy, magical, character onesies, affectionately also known as “disguise pajamas.”

positivelynatalie-totoro-kigurumi

I picked up a Totoro kigurumi while I was living in China, and I have several roommates who can attest to the fact that I wear it regularly. If you’re not lucky enough to live somewhere within Taobao delivery range, you can order online from the Kigurumi Shop. They have a pretty good selection of various animals and characters, including quite possibly the most adorable likeness of Dracula I’ve ever seen.

Take up marathoning

Running is not my forte. Running is not even remotely close to my forte. Binge-watching television, on the other hand, is an activity where I would have earned stacks of medals (if it were the sort of thing that they gave out medals for). My Netflix marathons are a thing of beauty, carefully balanced to both entertain and also occasionally allow me to pretend that I am learning something.

How does this scientific balance happen? Historical dramas. They are more interesting than documentaries, by far better acted than actual history shows, but also still full of incidental education. I spent some time re-watching the entire series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (vaguely educational if you squint your eyes and tilt your head sideways). After watching a season, I would take a pause for a period drama.

I started with The Paradise, which is a British series about a guy with immaculate facial hair who opens London’s first department store in 1875. Despite the fact that everyone has perfect teeth and the ladies seem to prescribe to 20th century grooming techniques, it’s still an interesting window to a period of time I didn’t know much about. Also over on that side of the pond, I very much enjoyed The Bletchley Circle. It follows a group of women who worked together as code breakers during WWII, who come together a few years later to solve a crime they realize the police got wrong.

great-hat

I’m now currently re-watching the entire series of Psych (in preparation for watching the final season for the first time) and I punctuated a few season breaks with the Canadian series Bomb Girls. It’s about ladies who work in a WWII munitions factory in Toronto and wear a lot of awesome hats. It also features some stellar dialogue, such as this line, delivered from a hospital bed:

asthma-cigarettes-quote

Snack like a champion

Now that you’re all snuggly and settled in for a day of sedentary streaming, it’s crucial to throw a bit of comfort food in the mix. Since you don’t want to pack on the pounds like an actual hibernating animal, I’m going to share with you a recipe for perhaps the greatest thing to ever come out of my microwave. Or any microwave, for that matter. It also saves you the sadness of hunting down a copy of Microwave Cooking for One.

The most important step in this process is finding yourself a very large mug. If the mug is too small, this delicious concoction will never make it out of your microwave and into your mouth. That would be a terrible tragedy.

Into this large mug, add:

  • 1 heaping Tb. almond flour
  • 1 heaping Tb. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tb. unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or coconut milk)
  • 1 Tb. honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Use a fork or whisk to mix it very well. I find it’s best to start with a slow stir, otherwise the cocoa powder will puff out of the mug, then more vigorously mix until the ingredients are fully combined into a batter. You could leave it at that, but I would strongly recommend taking a big spoonful of your favorite nut butter and dropping it into the center of the cup.

paleo-chocolate-mug-cake

Timing is probably going to vary based on your microwave, but I find that 1min30sec does the trick for me. The end result is a totally guilt-free mug of chocolate cake that you can then curl up with in front of the television. She’s not the prettiest girl at the ball, but damn does she know how to have a good time.

The hibernation of the mind

I have two basic states of being – creating and consuming – and I’ve found that they tend to be mutually exclusive. The interpretation of either state is relatively broad, but the main constant is that they remain separate. When I was younger, the transition was seamless. I would write feverishly for fifteen minutes, then pick up a book and read for an hour before going back to writing. It was a reflex, a natural jump from pen to paperback.

Now, I need to make a much more conscious effort to get myself from consuming to creating. It’s tempting to just place blame on the passage of time, to say that nothing is as simple as it was twenty years ago. Which, to be fair, is true. But I don’t think age is the issue so much as the time constraints of adulthood. Working full time means that I have limited free time and there’s only so much I can pack in.

As evidenced by the gap in posts, I’ve spent the past month voraciously consuming. Sometimes several books in a day (though the multi-book days were decidedly YA fiction) and quite a bit of film and television on top of that. There have been many times when I told myself I should sit down and write, but I’ve found it’s best not to force it if the will isn’t there. So, to jumpstart myself back into the swing of things, here are a few recommendations based on my recent consumption.

If you’re looking for an enjoyable quick read, look no further than The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. While American Gods remains my favorite of his novels, Ocean is creative, charming, and just the right amount of dark. In his distinct style he blurs the line between childhood imagination and reality, weaving an interesting tale in the process. I also quite literally loved the book – the pages (shown above) were rough cut, making it feel like a journal in my hands. Even if you’re not a fast reader, you could probably get through the book in a day (I read it in one afternoon).

Another jaunt into magical realism (with a heavy dose of both magic and reality) is Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being. The way she builds the story is absolutely masterful, as is her ability to be both bitingly funny and heartbreakingly serious. This is a much longer read, and is best enjoyed as slowly as possible. There is a lot of subtlety and a lot of footnotes (though the footnotes are a creative device, not a burden) so my advice is to take your time to absorb and appreciate the details.

Other books to add to your reading list:

  • Horns (Joe Hill)
  • The Leftovers (Tom Perrotta)
  • Vampires in the Lemon Grove (Karen Russell)

Tried my hand at overnight oats. Added coconut milk, honey and freeze-dried strawberries.

A post shared by Natalie Litofsky (@positivelynatalie) on

Other forays into consumption have naturally involved testing out new recipes. As an addition to my breakfast rotation I’ve started experimenting with overnight oats made in the fridge. It’s a relatively simple formula – at its most basic just equal parts oats and liquid – and very easy to adapt. The batch above was equal parts oats and coconut milk, plus some freeze-dried strawberries and a touch of honey. The only catch is that you have to remember to mix it up the night before. It’s a total bummer to open the fridge in the morning and realize that your breakfast has not already made itself.

My favorite combos:

  • 1/2 cup oats, 1/4 cup freeze-dried blueberries, 2 Tb unsweetened shredded coconut, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1 tsp. cinnamon, dash of nutmeg and ginger

While I won’t be NaNoWriMo-ing, I will make a commitment to write at least two blog posts a week for the month of November. While I’m working my way out of the hibernation of the mind, I suspect it will soon be followed by the hibernation of the body, so expect a lot of recipes in your future.