Carrot Cake Snowballs

Like just about all of my great recipes, I found this one on Foodgawker and it looked so delicious and so easy, I said LET’S DO IT!

I’m not a huge fan of carrot cake – but to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of the vast majority of American desserts. I find that most of them taste like sugar on steroids rather than actual flavor. However, this one has that middle eastern twist and I can deal with that.

They involve pitted dates, but given that I live within 5 minutes of a middle eastern grocery store, I have something better – DATE PASTE. No need to get your blender sticky with dates.

This recipe also contains cashews – my new favorite nut, by the way. I only had salted cashews, so I rinsed them before I pulverized them in my Ninja blender. I also gave the oats a spin in there. If you’re using a package of date paste, I suggest doubling up on the other ingredients.

My altered recipe is below:

Ingredients

  • 4 carrots, grated
  • 13 oz date paste (1 package)
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted cashews
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • zest from 1/2 orange and freshly squeeze juice from said orange
  • desiccated coconut for rolling

Directions

  1. Peel and wash your carrots. Grate your carrots.
  2. Rinse your cashews if they’re salted. Pop them in a blender 1/4 cup at a time and burst blend them until they’re between coarse and fine.
  3. Blend your oatmeal as well. You don’t want a fine powder, but you do want everything to be about the same size.
  4. In a large bowl, combine carrots, date paste, oats, spices, salt, zest of an orange, and the juice if your orange together. You can of course opt to do this in a blender, but why clean more than you need to? Use your hands to mix together well.
  5. In a separate bowl, add coconut. Form your snowballs into balls and roll around in coconut.
  6. Pop the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving, to firm up.

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Plum Dumplings & Other Kitchen Adventures

First thing’s first: my feet hurt like you wouldn’t believe. I’ve been standing and walking all day long in non-supportive flip flops while cooking. My back’s also killing me a bit – signs of getting old??

Anyway, my parents have been down in Atlanta this weekend at a wedding, and this is the first time ever that my brother and I have been left alone for a prolonged period of time in the house. Since I don’t work Sundays, and I didn’t feel like spending my morning at the gym (though I should have!) AAAAND my creativity is currently shot in the art department, I threw myself into cooking. And drinking Blake’s Hard Cider, YOLO.

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I was not expecting a pleasant pinky-peach color.

It started out with deciding I was going to make Romanian plum dumplings (galueste cu prune). It’s a fairly easy recipe, and I found a recipe I liked. Since it begins by boiling potatoes, I did that – but I didn’t boil them well enough. Ensue frustration and annoyance at my impatience.

I was going to throw them away and feel guilty, but then I made a snap decision to save them and make a casserole/cheese melt thing. SUPER easy: I took the mildly boiled potatoes, chopped up 2 onions and 3 carrots, topped off with seasoned salt, paprika & garlic powder, feta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and then laid Muenster and Colby Jack cheese slices on top cause I didn’t have shredded cheddar and couldn’t go grab some (had other stuff cooking!). Baked this at 385 degrees Fahrenheit for about 40 minutes. It turned out really good, but I think the potatoes could’ve used more salt.

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The finished project.

Meanwhile, I had to boil another batch of potatoes. This time it went great. I was able ice bath the skins off and then mash them with a handheld mixer (+ 1 egg, + 50g butter) and then add in the flour (375g) and kneed the dough along. Afterwards, I cut up 5 plums into 12 pieces each, which ended up being excessive and made my third dish of the night, spiced plums. plums

I rolled out the dough and cup it up into palm sized sections, stuffed a piece of plum in along with 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar + cinnamon + cloves + cardamom, and pinched each shut and rolled them around until they were circular. Then came the boiling bath – I had to do it in two batches cause they were so big and so many.

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While they were boiling, I fried some plain breadcrumbs and EVOO in a pan and moved it to a big bowl. After the dumplings were done boiling, I strained them and then stuck them in the breadcrumbs and rolled them around. VOILA!

I ate 5. #noregrets

I ate 5. #noregrets

Oh, and the spiced plums? Super easy. Spray oiled a small baking dish, dumped the rest of the plums in there and topped them off with the remaining sugar + spice (and everything nice) mixture, sprayed with oil, and then baked for about 25-30 minutes at 350 F. The sugar mixture became kind of like a spiced glaze. So good.

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Oh, and all of these pictures were taken with my Samsung Galaxy Note 5. I was too lazy to mess with my Nikon today – partly because my fingers were sticky with dough and other ingredients for 6 hours straight. But I will say that I’m REALLY enjoying this phone’s camera and I’m so glad I decided to go with it rather than my initial intention of the Galaxy s6. The camera really sold me in store, and it excels IRL too.

Don’t forget to check out my Instagram @lovelikeangels, Society6 @lovelikeangels and Etsy @lovelikeangels

No-Bake Spiced Date Balls

Listen guys, I made date balls. And they’re delicious. And OF COURSE I want to share the recipe.

As expected, I found this fabulous recipe on Foodgawker a while ago (click here for original recipe) and it’s been sitting in my favorites for a while. I’ve been thinking about making it for a couple weeks now, and I finally got around to grabbing the ingredients late this morning.

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I often think about how genuinely blessed I am to live in the Metro Detroit area – we have literally ALL KINDS of ethnic food stores in the area thanks to the vast diversity of people from all over the world that live here. Therefore, finding things like date paste is a breeze. I’m not sure how it is in other parts of the country, but drop me a comment and let me know what your area is like in terms of cultural diversity, I’m interested!

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Now, as I’m sure you all have realized by now, I almost never follow recipes exact. I like to alter them to mine and my family’s tastes and dietary needs. So for this one, I eliminated the coconut sugar coating, cashews, and the ginger powder, and added cardamom, allspice, almonds, and two kinds of coconut flakes.

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F-stop: f/1.8 Exp: 1/100 ISO: 250

No-Bake Spiced Date Balls

Ingredients:
– 2 handfuls of almonds, medium-fine chopped
– 2.5 lbs date paste (yes, pounds)
– 7 oz sweetened coconut flakes (big, flat)
– 1 tbsp cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp nutmeg
– 1/2 tsp ground cloves
– 1/8 tsp cardamom
– 1/8 tsp allspice
– 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
– 2 tbsp water
– 1 bag finely chopped dry coconut flakes for coating (tiny, short)

Directions:
1. Combine almonds, sweetened coconut flakes, date paste, spices, and water in a big bowl.
2. Knead until well combined.
3. Roll into 1 inch balls and dip into finely chopped dry coconut flakes.
4. Refrigerate and enjoy.

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

Hi! I’m back. Told you guys I wouldn’t be gone long!

It’s refreshing taking a step back from having to do photography every single day. But let’s be honest, I definitely cheated a lot last year on this project. I used a lot of old photos on days I didn’t have new content and I’m not entirely sure I grew my skills too much…maybe.

I did learn learn my camera better and discovered some new lighting tricks, so there’s that. But anyway –

Because I’m not under pressure from myself to put out something fresh on the daily, I have more time now to leisurely take photos. So I’m coming at you today with some food porn because I made pumpkin spice pancakes this morning. Because Saturdays are for pancakes. Always.

Ingredients:
(Yields ~10 pancakes)
– 1 cup Pamela’s Gluten Free Pancake Mix
– 1 egg
– 1 tbsp oil (I use EVOO)
– approx 1 cup water, eyeball it to desired consistency
– approx 3 tbsp pumpkin puree
– cinnamon, allspice and pumpkin spice to taste

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TBT: Pumpkin Pudding

It’s Throwback Thursdays and it’s time to wind back the clock to one of the last times I photographed stuff with my old d3000.

Also Autumn is nearly here and what better time to remind you of all the possibilities of using pumpkins that await!? RIGHT!?

This was an attempt at some kind of homemade pumpkin pudding. It was alright. Not sweet enough, as I remember. I’ll have to try it again sometime and tweak it.

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