Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Yoyo's Pumpkin Banana Breakfast Cookies

My breakfast cookies were one of the first recipes I featured on my blog almost 2 years ago. Hard to believe I've been blogging for about two years now but not hard to believe I haven't stopped eating these cookies! They're all natural and made with no added sugar or flour: my kind of food.

The base is simple: bananas, pumpkin, applesauce, peanut butter, and oats. I add protein powder or chia seeds for extra energy but you can add nuts, shredded, raisins, flaxseed, different spices, or anything you want really; they're very forgiving. I've been making them every other week or so and they make for a perfect grab-and-go breakfast or afternoon snack with no oatmeal to make and no bowl to clean afterward. I've given the recipe to a few people, but it's only fitting that I my first recipe here again to show off my new camera and lens!

I've been lusting after a DSLR camera for years now. In anticipation of future trips and future food (always), I finally bit the bullet a few weeks ago and decided to order the most basic DSLR model with good reviews, the Canon T3 Rebel. Then I had to decide which lens I wanted, the "nifty fifty" 50mm f/1.8 lens or the pancake 40 mm f/2.2 lens. After reading dozens of reviews and watching videos comparing the two, I finally ordered the 50mm f/1.8 and I love it so far. The picture quality is sharp and crisp and the bokeh effect (blurry background) is exactly what I was looking for. However, I didn't realize how shallow the depth of field was, meaning it's good for taking portraits or closeups of food or flowers but not a great walking around lens for taking normal pictures of people, scenery, landscapes, etc. I haven't figured out how to circumvent that problem yet (maybe just stand a mile away from whatever I'm trying to shoot), but for now I'm having fun with my new toy. Ok, enough technical jargon, more FOOD PICTURES! And a recipe.

Yoyo's Pumpkin banana breakfast cookies
Makes 12-14

  • 2-3 medium mashed bananas. The browner your bananas, the sweeter your cookies will be.
  • 2/3 cup pure pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup (or 1 single serving) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup all natural peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Optional: 1 scoop protein powder, 2 T chia seeds, 1/4 cup shredded coconut, nuts, etc
1. Preheat the oven to 350. 
2. In a large bowel, mix the first 5 ingredients together well. 
3. Add the dry ingredients to the bowel, adding the oats in last, and mix to combine.
3. Let mixture rest for 10 minutes. 
4. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup or scoop, make burger size patties with your hands and lay them on a nonstick shee tpan. Cookies will not spread, so lay as many as you can onto the sheet. 
5. Dot the top of the cookies with chocolate chips
6. Bake for 23 minutes or when the edges are slightly golden. Baking for 23 minutes in my oven will make soft, pillowy cookies. Leaving in for an extra minute or two will result in a firmer cookie.
7. Let rest on baking sheet for 5 minute, then transfer to baking racks to cool. Cookies will keep in the refrigerator for one week. 

They are not chewy or crispy like a normal cookie, but soft and pillowy (due to the pumpkin) like a bowl of pumpkin spice oatmeal in cookie form. I've experimented with different add-ins and spices and made chocolate cookies (add 1/3 cup cocoa powder), gingerbread (scale back on the cinnamon and add 1 tsp ground ginger), and even chai flavored cookies (scale back cinnamon and add 1/2 tsp ground cardamom), but you can never go wrong with the original. 

If you see me in the morning, I'll nearly always be eating my breakfast cookie during morning report or sneaking bites from my white coat pocket. I almost always have a batch in my fridge so ask me to try one. Or better yet, make them yourself to create your new favorite grab and go breakfast! 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend

Ahh, Memorial Day. For those of us lucky to have it off, it signals the start of summer and BBQ season, my absolute favorite summer activity. I was burdened by attending three potlucks/bbqs over the weekend and I'm still detoxing from the mountain of pasta, potatoes, burgers I consumed. Other than eating and reuniting with some friends, the fam and I went to National Harbor, MD to check out the grand opening of the Capital Wheel.
Charlie came too (of course)

National Harbor was a hybrid between what I imagine Annapolis to be (by the water) and Rio, maybe even smaller than that. Lots of the same shops as Rio, big name chain restaurants, families with dogs and babies (where did they all come from...), good for walking around for about an hour. We're spoiled by living close to the Rio and Rockville Town Center, which feel similar, so I don't think a special trip is really necessary, but it was a beautiful day and Charlie got to mark his territory in PG county, so it was still fun. 

On the way back, my parents dropped me off in DC and I spent some time catching up with friends. Plans for late night out were foiled by a trip to Shake Shack and as responsible adults with jobs and grad school, we retired at 11 pm.

At least the next morning we were well rested for brunch! At a cute little spot called Big Bear Cafe, in an "up and coming" neighborhood called Bloomingdale. How many years can a neighborhood be labelled "up and coming" before it's already there? My bet on is when there's at least a 30 minute wait for brunch. I guess Bloomingdale still qualifies because we were able to walk in and get a seat on the sunny patio as soon as we grabbed iced coffees. I'd definitely recommend Big Bear for the ambiance, the people watching, and the perfectly done cheese omelette. 

I spy strawberries from my seat on the patio

Afterward, we walked over to Giant and picked up ingredients for a BBQ hosted by a long lost friend from middle school. After baking in the sun for a few hours and catching up with her and some of her very DC friends, it was time to metro back home to the suburbs. DC, I'll be back soon!