To Banana Peach Oat Breakfast Shake

So with all of the holiday sweets floating around, a healthy, substantial breakfast is always needed. A housemate mentioned oat breakfast shakes to me and I thought I would try it out. I love oats but do not like oatmeal – something about its texture turns me off. I wish I liked it though so it is such a hearty and healthy breakfast, but think this will suffice for me to get in my morning fiber, fruit and protein. Be sure to try different fruits to mix it up, I know I will be. Top of my list are blueberries and strawberries.

1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 banana
1/4-1/2 cup frozen peaches (this is where you could try different fruits)
1 tbsp. peanut butter (I wouldn’t put this in with other fruits – just my banana peach combo)
a dash of cinnamon

Add it all to a blender in the order listed (you want liquid at the bottom to help with the blending process) and then transfer to a cup and drink!
Extremely simple, delicious and even works as an on the go breakfast!



To Peppermint Hot Cocoa Mix

My roommate from last year just graduated this December and is now on her way to becoming an elementary teacher. She was sweet enough to get me a graduation gift back in May (a necklace from Ten Thousand Villages, a Fair Trade Store down in Champaign and an Indian Cook Book that I have used which reminds me I need to upload my Indian Meal Menu!) so thought it was only right to get her a gift. I found her the perfect animal print planner but wanted to pair it with something and while on FoodGawker came across this peppermint hot cocoa recipe on Life and Kitchen. A perfect addition to any gift or as a stand alone gift for co-workers. Christmas may have been two days ago, but having yet to see the first snowfall I know that nights of getting cozy under a blanket while watching a movie, reading a book or sitting and studying (what every good student must do) will be plentiful in the coming winter months so for all of your friends with winter birthdays why not make them a nice treat that will continue to please all the way through February!

Peppermint Hot Cocoa Mix

12 candy canes
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
2 1/2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 cup unsweetened dutch process cocoa powder

Using a food processor, grind the the chocolate chips into a fine powder.  Then do the same for the candy canes.  Mix the powders with all of the rest of the ingredients.  Keep the mix in an airtight container.

To prepare the cocoa, mix 1 cup of hot milk with 1/4 cup of the cocoa mix and stir well.  Obviously, the higher the milk fat, the creamer it will be.

As an additional decoration to the jar I added a layer of mini marshmallows – everyone needs a little fluff.

A tried some with soy milk and it was just fantastic!



To Sweet Potato Tacos

A couple weeks back my friend Allyce emailed me a sweet potato taco recipe and they just looked absolutely delicious. If I haven’t shared it enough I absolutely love sweet potato. Problem was I had hit my busiest time of the semester and couldn’t find the time to make them. From there it just seemed that my life was snowballing more and more into the direction of paper writing and for-going all activities that make us human; sleeping (2 hrs a night), showers (once every 72 hrs) and eating proper meals (granola bars and clementines were my saving grace). Quite pathetic and I was ashamed to admit, but after getting my transcripts for the semester knew that it was all worth it.

She found it on the Bitchin’ Kitchen website (these girls are great). I didn’t tweak the recipe so I just recommend checking out the two sisters blog – I love it. There are four different fillings but every filling is worth it. YUM! Both of my cameras had exhausted batteries so I wasn’t able to take photos of the final product but the original post captures the food beautifully (and a friend was able to capture an action photo of me heating the corn tortillas – with my signature kitchen style of dish towel over my shoulder)


I made these for my Chinese Gift Exchange that my friends and I have been doing since high school and they enjoyed them too! A perfect (healthy) dish to help equalize all the sweets that tend to be in ample supply during the holidays.

Don’t wait as long as I did to make these!



To Shortcut Homemade Tagalong Girl Scout Cookies

Coming home for winter break means that our house is overflowing with German Christmas Cookies. My mums had pretty much made all of the family recipes so our Christmas tins were pretty much full. However, I always like to bake when I am home and as mentioned in the Sweet Tacos post, I was having friends over for our annual Chinese Gift Exchange and thought if I made something sweet I could use it as the thankyou gift for them coming. My favorite two things to bake with are chocolate and peanut butter so thought I should make something incorporating both. Well this summer some family friends visited and brought these cookies along with them and I had yet to try making them myself so thought it would be the perfect recipe. Not to mention they package well (no crumbly mess) so thought they would be perfect for the Christmas Tree Bags we had. Not to mention pretty much everyone loves Girl Scout Cookies (myself included since I was a Girl Scout for a fair number of years).


80 round buttery salted crackers, such as Ritz

Peanut Butter

12 oz. chocolate bark



Lay wax paper on a flat counter surface, near your stove (if melting your chocolate bark via stovetop in a simmer pot) or near your container with the chocolate bark that was melted in the microwave (low setting, stirring regularly).

Place a 1/2 tablespoon of peanut butter onto one cracker and top with another. Continue to do this until all crackers are paired up.  Drop the cookie sandwiches by one into the melted chocolate, using a fork to lift out andtap off the excess chocolate. Place on the wax paper to set up (about 20 minutes) or place on wax paper in the fridge if you need them to set up a lot faster. Sprinkle with your sprinkles of choice (but do so before the chocolate sets up).

Yield: 40 cookies

Package up and share with friends!



To Cinnamon Roasted Almonds

One thing that I absolutely love to get from winter fairs, especially in Europe are the roasted nuts. Instead of paying an arm and a leg for them I thought that I might as well just try and make my own, and I am sure glad I did. This recipe from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen, is simple and leaves you with irresistible cinnamon roasted almonds…almost too irresistible. At least you are getting some protein when you eat them, right?


1 egg white

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups whole raw almonds

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a 10×15 inch jellyroll pan with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl beat the egg white and vanilla until frothy but not stiff. Add the nuts, and stir until well coated. Mix the sugars, salt and cinnamon into the nut mixture. Toss to coat. Spread evenly on the prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden. Allow to cool. Store nuts in airtight containers.



To Baked Vegetable Egg Rolls

and to my first cooking dinner with my roommate Laura! This past semester I lived in a vegetarian co-op and we each had to cook dinner once a week with a fellow roommate. This was the first (and I guess last dinner that I would cook with my roommate Laura for the co-op). We decided to make spicy peanut noodles (there is an earlier post of this from November 2011) and egg rolls. And saying this was my first time making egg rolls I wanted to document it.

The recipe came from For the Love of Cooking and really was simple (just time consuming – especially when cooking a dinner for 11)! So naturally we ended up with over 30 egg rolls – Laura was the patient one who wrapped them all!

1 tsp olive oil
2 cups of savoy cabbage, chopped
2 cups of shredded carrots
2 cups of bean sprouts (the grocery store was all out of these so I picked up alfa
lfa sprouts in place of)
1 can of water chestnuts, chopped
2 tbsp green onions, sliced
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp corn starch1/4 cup water
14 egg roll wraps
Sweet chili dipping sauce or sweet and sour sauce (for dipping)
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot add the cabbage, sprouts, carrots, chestnuts and ginger to the pan and cook, stirring frequently for 4-5 minutes, until the vegetables just begin to wilt but still remain a little bit crisp. Mix the corn starch with the water and mix thoroughly. Add the corn starch mixture and soy sauce to the pan along with the green onions. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and let cool.
Place two tablespoons of the cooled mixture on the center of the egg roll wrap. Fold the bottom up over the filling. Next, fold the two sides over, making it look like an envelope, then roll it up like a burrito. (The secret here is not to overload on the mixture, otherwise the wrapping will be too difficult)Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the rolled up egg rolls on a baking sheet. Once you have rolled them all, spray the top of each egg roll with cooking spray.

Place in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes then turn them over. Bake for an additional 5-7 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Serve with sweet chili sauce or sweet and sour sauce. Enjoy.

All of the roommates loved the meal. Add cantaloupe or another melon as a palate cleanser and something sweet for the end of the meal (aka dessert)!
To big “family” dinners!