Merry Hanukkus

Hey all,
I’m writing you from my couch where I’ve been sitting, relaxing, for most of the morning. My Christmas started out on a good note:
– wake up without alarm clock
– yoga practice (dvd)
– steel cut oats with milk, pumpkin, pomegranate, flaxseed meal, and almond butter (so. good.)
– backed-up-email-reading

The rest of my day looks like this:
– debate doing this workout in preparation for the day’s feasts
– traditional feast with extended family and friends
– white elephant gift exchange (so fun)
– taco feast with the boyfriend’s immediate family

This past week I’ve been baking a bit for my friends’ holiday presents, which means a lot of dough-eating/”broken”-cookie-eating:

Notice the greasy stain where my "tester" cookie once rested

Oh darn, it broke apart. Might as well store it in my belly ūüôā

I bake cookies for my friends pretty much every Christmas. This year’s assortment looked like this:

Christmas Present Cookies

To the left we have Orange Spice Molasses Cookies :

Orange Spice Molasses Cookies

Wonderfully spicy and delicious. I think I’ve probably made a better molasses cookie in my day, but this recipe still is pretty darn delicious.

To the right (and pictured above) we have Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies:

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

These cookies are. so. good. This is the type of cookie that milk was made for. So rich and delicious. I doubled the recipe, added vanilla, and replaced the 2 cups white sugar with 1/2 cup organic turbinado sugar, 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar, and 1/2 cup stevia for baking.

On top you’ll find Coconut Date Cookies:

Coconut Date Cookies

I made these exactly as called for in the recipe except I doubled everything in the recipe except the sugar. These were simply fantastic. Another one of those “broken”-cookie-eating-cookies.

I was very pleased with how the cookies turned out. As you can see above, I gifted them to my friends in glass jars that they can reuse for future cookies or any decorative storage of their choosing.

As a side note: anyone else notice that their craving for sweets increasing in this holiday season? 

Did you fit in some exercise on Christmas?

One of those weeks.

You ever have one of those weeks where you feel like you can’t-quite-get-a-hold-on-what-you-have-to-do / what’s-going-on and then all-of-a-suddenit’s-the-weekend? That’s where I am this week. Switching to a job where I create my own hours is a big transition for me, but on top of that, there was a holiday at the beginning of the week and I had about half the caseload- so it left me a bit unsure of how my week should really be looking. I’m still unsure, but I’m just going to roll with it for the rest of the week and then hopefully be able to start fresh on Monday.

At this point you may be thinking: “what the heck is Megan talking about?” or “nice over-share, Megan.” But here’s a purple-green bell pepper:

crazy, right?

And here’s an old picture of an almost-empty peanut butter jar, perfect for OIAJ (oats-in-a-jar):

my motivation for eating more peanut butter.

And here’s me introducing the deliciousness that is Sunflower Seed Butter on Flourless Wheatberry Bread to my good (German) friend Xaver:

He loved it.

Alright, that’s it for now. No time to do my 5 Things Thur…Friday yet. But stay tuned, as I am planning on completing it once I complete my jobly duties.

 

Summer Deliciciosity: Fresh Fig Cake

Quick life update before I fill you in on what you really want to hear about (cake):

My good friend (and bf of my friend Ashley), Xaver, is in town from Germany (hi Xaver! ;Ashley, show this to him, pleeze.)

From left: Regina, Me, Ashley, Xaver

Aren’t they cuuuute? But anyways, this weekend was spent having fun and catching up (hence the lackage of new postage). But fear not, I still kept myself busy in the kitchen. So here is your cake:

One (of many) things I look forwards to every Summer are fresh figs.

juicy.

Early in my childhood, my mother planted a branch of my Uncle’s fig tree in our backyard. (That’s how you do the growing-fig-tree-thing) It flourished in the Virginia climate, and so every Summer around August we get buttloads very many figs. The season’s short, but the figs are plenty, and I like to take full advantage of the opportunity to eat fresh figs (they don’t keep well, so you don’t find them much outside of their dried form at the grocery store).

So, naturally, the best way to eat fresh figs is in a baked good.

but for real, fresh is probably equally as awesome

I got the idea for this recipe from here and edited it a bit to suit my desires.

Fresh Fig Cake 

¬† ¬† ¬†(alternatively, you could make “cakes” and bake the batter in muffin tins)
¬† ¬† ¬†Makes 1-13×9 cake or 24-“cakes”
Ingredients
– 3/4 cup your-choice sweetener (i.e., sugar, brown sugar. I used coconut palm sugar but it’s really-really good with molasses)
– 1 cup plain yogurt
– 1/4 cup canola oil
– 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
– 2 tsp vanilla
– 2 flax eggs (combine 2 tbsp flax w/6 tbsp water and beat w/fork until gelled)
– 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
– 1 1/2 cups multigrain hot cereal (or old fashioned oats)
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp ground sea salt
– 3 cups fresh figs, chopped (peel on)
– 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Directions
1. Heat oven to 350ňöF and spray baking dish or muffin tins with cooking spray (or use liners for the tins).
2. In a large bowl combine the sugar, yogurt, oil, apple butter, vanilla, and flax eggs. Beat on low until blended.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, multigrain cereal (or oats), baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
4. Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and beat on low  until well blended.
5. Fold in the chopped chopped figs and walnuts.
6. Spoon batter into your desired baking-container
7. Bake for 40-45 minutes in a 13×9 dish or 30 minutes in muffin tins.

mmm

ready-to-bake

Done!

After tasting this baby, I was slightly gulp disappointed. It tasted… healthy.The coconut palm sugar wasn’t quite as sweet as the cane sugar I used in the apple cake, and the recipe didn’t live up to my memory from last year of when I made it with molasses. So, I was left in a predicament: all this fig cake and no eating motivation. Enter solution: peanut butter. I spread a nice layer of peanut butter on the top of this baby, and wow! Delicious.

Super moist and super enticing.

If I had to do it over again, though, I would use molasses instead of the palm sugar… or add more palm sugar.

What was the last thing you baked?

What’s your go-to method for fixing a cooking/baking mess up?

Anything cool going on in your life?