Homemade Ricotta Gnocchi

I have to say I feel quite accomplished for this one.

photo (26)

So, I spent this whole weekend doing last-minute studying for the GRE (it is tomorrow, after all). And when I say I studied this whole weekend, I mean I looked at the books between cleaning my apartment, enjoying the beautiful weather, and making pasta from scratch.

photo (27)

That’s right. Pasta. From scratch.

These ricotta gnocchi are bites of goodness. Dense and delicious, perfect for some pesto sauce. They were so good that I literally just ate this dish an hour ago and knew I had to give you all this recipe.

Ricotta Gnocchi (as seen on Hip Foodie Mom)
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • about 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well using a rubber spatula or your hands. Knead/mix the dough for about 2-3 minutes. Expect the dough to be somewhat sticky. The dough should come together after a few minutes.
  2. Transfer the dough onto a well-floured work surface then using your hands, bring it together and shape into a mound. Wrap your dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to one hour.
  3. After the dough has chilled, unwrap (sprinkle on a little flour to help you work with the dough if needed) and cut the dough into 3-4 pieces and then roll each piece into 12-inch long ropes or as long as you can get it (about ¾-inch thick). While rolling, if needed, add a little extra flour to your hands or the work surface (My dough was pretty sticky so it took a lot of extra flour).
  4. Using a knife, cut the ropes into little squares (about 1 inch wide).
  5. When finished, lightly coat each little morsel of gnocchi with a dusting of flour. At this point, you can either cook the gnocchi or freeze it. If freezing, place the baking sheet with gnocchi into freezer and freeze for about 2 hours until the gnocchi are hardened. (If your freezer is tiny like mine is, use a plate or smaller flat surface to balance the gnocchi on). After 2 hours, transfer the frozen gnocchi to a plastic container or resealable bag. When you are ready to cook the gnocchi, simply remove from the freezer and follow step 6.
  6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the ricotta gnocchi and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes or until the gnocchi begin to float. Using a slotted spoon, remove the gnocchi and set aside.
Advertisements

Sinless Brownies: a battle against sugar cravings

I am waging a war.

I don’t know when my love of dessert turned from occasional to shockingly often, but for some reason a meal just doesn’t feel complete without a little something sweet at the end. The problem with the craving lies in the desire to consume processed sugar, which has extremely addictive qualities. Studies have even show that the human body hormonally responds to sugar like it would to drugs like cocaine! Scary stuff.

Now before you set down that cookie or throw your homemade pie out the window, you should know that there are ways to get some sweetness in your life. As much as the effects of excessive sugar intake alarm me, I truly believe that in moderation (and moderation is key), sugar can really enhance one’s health. The proof: the health benefits of chocolate.

photo (24) photo (25)

With this in mind, I have been consciously trying to find recipes that allow for my love for dessert without fueling my addiction to sugary stuff. Don’t you worry sugar-lovering readers: I still have a whole bag of sugar that I am certain I will bake delicious goodies with. I just figure I should balance it out with some guiltless treats too!

The trick to these brownies is utilizing the naturally sweetness of dates. Dates are nature’s candy, and their sticky-sweetness is perfect for desserts.

Sinless Brownies (makes 1 8×8 inch pan)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup blanched almond flour
  • ¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 ounces baking chocolate (100% cacao)
  • 7 Medjool dates (1/2-2/3 cup) pits removed
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla stevia (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a food processor or Vitamix blender, pulse together  flour, salt and baking soda
  2. Pulse in chocolate until the texture resembles coarse sand
  3. Pulse in dates until the texture resembles coarse sand
  4. Pulse in eggs
  5. Pulse in coconut oil and stevia (optional) until mixture is smooth
  6. Transfer mixture to a greased 8 x 8 inch baking dish
  7. Mixture will be very thick, so be sure to smooth it with a spatula
  8. Bake at 350° for 18-22 minutes
  9. Cool for 2 hours, then serve

Question for all of you: Do you have a go-to healthy dessert? If so, I would love to hear about it! In the battle against sugar, one can never have too much ammo.

Hey, lets run a half-marathon and then eat some bread pudding!

I finally checked some things off the bucket list this weekend: taking the boyfriend out to the Harvard Club, finally eating at a Momofuku restaurant (it was incredibly delicious, by the way), AND running a half marathon!

IMG_3146

I have always wanted to do something competitive and endurance-based like a marathon. Maybe it’s my love for running, maybe it’s my masochistic tendencies; regardless, I knew I wanted to run some sort of race while living in NYC. The More Fitness Women’s Half Marathon became the perfect solution.

I know you’re all wondering: the race went a lot better than I planned! This does not mean I will be running long distance races forever and always, but it was a fun experience and something I will always remember.

IMG_3152

So now onto the food: after the 13.1 miles I put my body through I was exhausted. So tired that I slept most of the afternoon. By the time I was feeling like a normal person it was getting close to dinnertime, so I went to the kitchen to explore my options. It was then that I re-discovered the Portuguese sweet bread my mom had brought to me when she visited the week before.

Now, I am not particularly fond of Portuguese sweet bread. I am, however, fond of bread pudding. Where my attachment for this sticky, dense dessert came from I may never know but I do know that it is the perfect solution for dry bread.

IMG_3158 IMG_3159

Portuguese sweet bread pudding is a great variation on a traditional recipe, and because the bread had some sweetness to it I was able to go lighter on the sugar content in this recipe. This is a good thing because when eaten in moderation I get to enjoy a dessert I have a soft spot for, hopefully without creating any “soft spots” on my person. And if I eat more than I moderate amount: I ran 13.1 miles yesterday, I certainly believe I’ve earned it.

Portuguese Sweet Bread Pudding (Makes 1 pie dish or 8-11 pan)

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf Portuguese sweet breadIMG_3160
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp butter or margarine (I actually forgot to add this ingredient and the recipe turned out great without it)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Break bread into small pieces into an 8 inch square baking pan. Drizzle melted butter or margarine over bread. If desired, sprinkle with raisins.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat until well mixed. Pour over bread, and lightly push down with a fork until bread is covered and soaking up the egg mixture.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 35-45 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly tapped.

The Super Sweet Blogging Award

Well hello there!

I must say it has been too long, but it’s for good reason: I have decided to start studying for the GRE! Let me tell you getting back into the groove of studying is NOT easy. Though I must say I am actually really enjoying it (guess I am more of a nerd than I thought).

Anyways, today I wanted to let everyone know that Daisy and the Fox has kindly awarded me the Super Sweet Blogging Award! As someone who blogs for the love of sharing my obsession with food, I am honored to have so many people who read my blog and try my recipes. Thank you all for your support it means so much! And please go check out Daisy’s blog for some adorable DIY crafts and delicious recipes!

The Super Sweet Blogging Award

The Rules:

  • Give credit to the person who chose to nominate you
  • Answer the “Super Sweet” questions
  • Nominate a “Baker’s Dozen” (13!) blogs

The Super Sweet Questions

  1. Cookies or Cake? Definitely cookies…fun to make and extremely versatile, perfect chance to be creative!
  2. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate Lover!
  3. What is your favorite sweet treat? Oh gosh that’s a tough one. Scones, I just love ’em! 
  4. When do you crave sweet things the most? Right after dinner I always need something sweet, even if it is fruit. I just love to end my day with dessert!
  5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be? I wish I had a sweet nickname! If anyone has any suggestions that would be much appreciated.

Nominate a “Baker’s Dozen”:

  1. Sally’s Baking Addiction
  2. Chocolate-Covered Katie
  3. Brown Eyed Baker
  4. Nutritionist in the Kitch
  5. Domesticate ME!
  6. Barbells and Buttercream
  7. Dessert for Two
  8. Hungry Brownie
  9. Yeah…imma eat that
  10. Mangia
  11. Joy the Baker
  12. Two Peas and Their Pod

To the nominees: I love your blogs; your recipes and writing keep me coming back to see what’s new. Keep up the good work!

Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes

No place does brunch like NYC does brunch. Growing up, I never really set aside time on the weekends to eat a nice, luxurious midday meal (unless you count the boxes of cereal I would consume while watching One Saturday Mornings). Once I moved to the East Coast, I was introduced to this great weekend food tradition, and I have accepted it with unparalleled enthusiasm.

IMG_3027

I love exploring the popular brunch locations in the city, but I also enjoy making brunch food myself. I recently did brunch at my friend Christine’s beautiful apartment. We decided on banana chocolate chip pancakes, and I knew I had to share this recipe with all of you!

IMG_3028

Chocolate chip banana pancakes and a fresh vegetable omelette with feta cheese…so delicious and satisfying!

Just so you all know: you will never need to buy Bisquick ever again after making this recipe. Not that there is anything wrong with Bisquick…but I will say it’s kinda fun to make pancakes completely from scratch and see every ingredient that goes into it. And the addition of bananas and chocolate chips only make this brunch recipe better.

IMG_3029

Let’s take these dessert-like pancakes and top them with homemade cream cheese whipped cream: BEST. IDEA. EVER.

Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes
Ingredients: 
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 bananas
  • Chocolate chips (the more the merrier!)

Directions:

  1.  Mash bananas in a small bowl using a fork, set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk dry ingredients together.
  3. Beat egg, butter, sugar, and vanilla extract in another bowl. Pour in milk and mix all these ingredients together.
  4. Pour the bowl of wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, and add mashed bananas and chocolate chips. Mix until incorporated.
  5. Heat a skillet and melt butter (or heat oil of choice) on the pan. Over medium to medium-high heat, pour 1/4 cup of batter onto the skillet. Wait for one side to cook for a few minutes and then flip. Repeat with the rest of the batter. Add more butter or oil in between batches of pancake as necessary.
  6. These pancakes taste wonderful on their own or with toppings! My recommendations: freshly sliced bananas, Nutella, whipped cream topping, chocolate sauce, chopped walnuts, or peanut butter.

Steak & Blue Cheese Salad

IMG_3038 IMG_3039 IMG_3040

Steak and blue cheese. A combination as beautifully delicious as they come. Nothing beats a good steak and blue cheese salad when I want a red meat fix AND I know I should get a serving of vegetables in my diet. Add some light dressing and I’m good to go!

Steak & Blue Cheese Salad (serves 1)

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 oz. cooked steak (I used NY Strip Steak, baked in the oven to medium-rare perfection)
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 Roma tomato
  • 1 handful blue cheese
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper, to tast

Directions:

It’s as simple as chop, toss, and enjoy!

PB2 Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think I have a cookie infatuation.

IMG_3078

IMG_3080

Cookies are a beautiful thing. As handheld, portion-controlled bites of satisfying baked goodness, cookies can actually be good for you when you combine a healthy recipe with a little self control. Okay, when they look like this it takes a lot of self control. Anyways….I went crazy in the cookie department recently, making my oh-so-popular Cake Batter Sugar Cookies in addition to a new recipe. Allow me to introduce to you the PB2 Chocolate Chip Cookie:

IMG_3084

PB2 is the new healthy take on peanut butter. Peanut butter can be good for you, if you choose not to eat half a jar in one sitting. For those of you like me who have a hard time taking the spoon out of the peanut butter jar, you have to try PB2. The makers of PB2 take peanuts and press them, removing 85% of the fat and oil. What you get is a jar of powder that with the addition of water turns into peanut butter for only 45 calories per 2 tablespoons! PB2 may not taste like your typical Jif of Skippy brand peanut butter, but it is not a bad way to get a peanut butter fix. Also, PB2 works wonderfully in baking, specifically in this recipe. Give it a try!

IMG_3081

 

PB2 Chocolate Cookies (Makes 12-18 cookies)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup of butter, softened
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons of light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of PB2 chocolate peanut butter
  • 1 package Hershey’s chocolate chips (or chocolate eggs-I was making this batch right after Easter Sunday)

Directions:

Preheat over to 375 degrees F. In a bowl, combine flour, soda, and salt. In another bowl, cream the butter ans sugar. Next, beat in the egg and vanilla until creamy.  Add the flour mix from the other bowl and blend.  Then add the PB2.  Mix well.  Next, stir in the chocolate chips.  Drop rounded cookie dough onto your baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden.  Let your cookies cool and then store them in a container with a lid.