February 12, 2016

Breakfast Sundae

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M: Since it has been a little while, we thought we’d update you all on a few things…for one, I no longer have wisdom teeth! Besides the swollen cheeks and liquid diet, I thought the experience was kinda fun. I made a soup schedule for an exciting week of liquid food and shamelessly enjoyed milkshakes and ice cream!

S: Even thought my winter break was jam packed with family time and catching up with old friends, I made sure I visited Monica when she was recovering because I didn’t want to miss out on the chance to see her with cute lil chipmunk cheeks!

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M: Thankfully, by the time break was over I was completely back to normal. Winter break went by quickly as always, but proved to be even more eventful than ever… I baked a ton, sent an old friend off to the Caribbeans, and rang in the new year with a 5K! In addition, I decided that I was going to focus on Interior Design at Davis! When winter quarter started, we hit the ground running again… Serena and I drove 7 hours down to SoCal with our fellow DCFers to attend the SALT conference! We both had an amazing time and left empowered and inspired to take on the new quarter with gusto.

S: Oh that reminds me! Another recent advancement is that when we were in SoCal…I TRIED PORTOS BAKERY FOR THE FIRST TIME! To be honest I was worried it wouldn’t live up to the hype. But man oh man…those guava cheese rolls still pop into my daydreams during class every so often.

M: It was awesome tasting the array of pastries that Serena brought back, but we both knew it was about time we created another one of our own recipes. Inspired by my blender, which I had formed a tight relationship with through my wisdom teeth removal, Serena and I developed our newest recipe…a Breakfast Sundae!

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S: I have really fallen in love with our approach to coming up with new recipes because essentially we just talk about what has happened in our lives recently and then draw inspiration from that! This time for Mon it was her wisdom teeth and for me it was how at the conference in SoCal I brought one of my recent favorite snacks and everyyyyyone was hatin’ on it & making fun of me hahaha. So, as a highly competitive individual, I made it my personal goal to prove through this Breakfast Sundae that my beloved, but extremely misunderstood, brown rice cakes are actually pretty delicious.

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M: Serena eats those things ALL the time, straight up, no additions. It blows my mind! What also blows my mind is how how frozen bananas take on an ice cream texture when you blend them… I mean, come on… could bananas get any cooler? (pun intended)

S: And of course I gotta give a shout out to how crazy awesome the toasted brown rice and almond topping is…it literally tastes like kettle corn but without the hassle of those annoying kernels that get stuck in your teeth! Honestly, this whole dessert is kinda magical.

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As the frozen bananas begin blending it is hard to imagine the chunky mixture becoming the creamy, dreamy ice cream pictured above…but then BAM it suddenly forms into smooth frozen goodness. We called it the Breakfast Sundae because college taught us that coffee with your breakfast in the morning is heaven sent…and what better way to get your daily dose of caffeine than with frozen banana coffee ice cream?! And to tie it all together we used the breakfast staple–maple syrup. No joke, the smell of brown rice cakes and almonds frying in coconut oil and maple syrup makes you feel like you are standing outside the kettle corn stall at the carnival. But this is not a sundae for the faint of heart because we added a pinch of cayenne that mingles with the coolness of the ice cream to tingle your taste buds. This Breakfast Sundae recipe is so adaptable…you can make strawberry banana ice cream topped with a brown rice and coconut crunch or even banana peanut butter ice cream topped with a brown rice and chocolate crunch! It is such an easy process too, so you really have no excuse not to woo your Valentine this Sunday with a bomb sundae.

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#dessertdoesnthurt – Breakfast Sundae from Ed Ju on Vimeo.

– m & s

December 6, 2015

Pear and Brie French Toast Skewers

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S: Recently, Monica and I had the awesome opportunity of hanging out with a fellow healthy dessert lover, Hana aka @hungrygirl325! It has been such a joy getting to hear her story and being in the presence of someone so sweet and passionate.

M: Seriously! I had no idea that we would end up meeting and working with the girl I followed on Instagram a few days earlier…

S: Tell the story, Mon!

M: I started following Hana on Instagram partially because a majority of her pictures had peanut butter and carbs in them, but mainly because I thought her pictures were beautiful. Little did I know that she went to UC Davis and that I would see her at the ARC a few days later! I approached her with, “Hi! Are you that girl on Instagram that posts really pretty pictures of food?”. A conversation later, we were planning a collab where we would challenge each other to recreate one of our original recipes.

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S: When Hana challenged us to reimagine her Snickerdoodle Bread, Monica and I were honestly a little bit stumped. For a week or so, we threw around all kinds of ideas from monkey bread to muffins, but none of them seemed to stick. Finally, we both began thinking back to our childhood for some inspiration because that usually works for us haha.

M: One of the first breakfast items my mom taught me how to cook when I was younger was French Toast. I loved it because the interactive process and delicious product made me feel like a true chef.

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S: For me, I remembered being so excited whenever my family would make French Toast for breakfast because my mom would always let me be the “bread dunker”! I loved getting my hands all goopy drenching pieces of bread in the egg & milk mixture as the mouthwatering scent of vanilla extract and cinnamon filled the air around me.

M: To make our French toast more snickerdoodle-esque, we decided to roll it in a bit of cinnamon and sugar before cooking it in the pan. The result was an elevated French toast that was crispy and crunchy on the outside.

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S: Testing our french toast recipe left our house smelling like cinnamon sugar for days, and coming home to the smell of cinnamon sugar was an immediate destressor amidst a cuhrazy end of the quarter (no joke, you should try it). I can’t wait for this quarter to be over because…I will be done with computer science, YES! I think I will throw a party for myself when I finish that final haha.  

M: Perfect! We can make these skewers for the “Serena is Done with CS” Party! Skewers always seem to be the ultimate party food, probably because of how easy they are to make and eat! While Serena and I might make these during a “Serena is Done with CS” Party, you can make these over your Holiday Break for your family and friends to enjoy too.

S: They are the perfect little bite of sweet and savory, hot and cold, soft and crunchy, mmm! And Mon, you can totally make them when you open that dream cafe of yours too! Irona did tell us she could imagine it as a sandwich in a hip cafe!!

M: Let’s be honest, Serena, this combination would be good anytime anywhere…

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These little skewers might be petite in size, but they pack a ton of flavor in one bite! Although one of our most simple desserts, the beauty of these bites lies in the symphony of flavors, textures, and temperatures. The brie’s subtle saltiness creates a harmony with the sugary, spicy coating on the french toast and the sweet pear flavor. Then as you continue to chew you experience the texture and temperature contrast of a tender but crispy piece of cold juicy pear and a chunk of slightly melted creamy brie cheese all sandwiched between two squares of hot and slightly chewy french toast. The best part is, you can skewer these little french toasts with tons of different things: strawberries & goat cheese, blue cheese & apple, ricotta & peach…so many options…looks like we are just going to have to throw a ton of parties so we can try all these combinations!

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– m & s

October 26, 2015

Microwave Peanut Butter Apple Crisp

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M: Since Chocolate Covered Katie is holding her “Hug a Fat Month” Serena and I knew we had to create a recipe using my absolute favorite fat…the food I could not live without…PEANUT BUTTER!

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S: There are tons of peanut butter pairings, but one that is near and dear to my heart is peanut butter and apples — my go-to post volleyball game snack during high school!

M: Anything peanut butter is my go-to snack! Peanut butter toast, peanut butter with bananas, peanut butter granola bars, peanut butter cookies… (that was for all you Forrest Gump fans). But Serena’s pairing of peanut butter and apples is definitely a top contender. Especially during fall, when apple harvest is in full swing! The thought of fall always brings me back to childhood memories with my family when we took trips to places like Apple Farm and Apple Hill, where apples were the main attraction. Apple tarts, apple cider donuts, apple wine, apple butter, apple muffins, apple pie… haha sorry, that movie reference never gets old!

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S: After we decided to do something with these two ingredients we brainstormed possible desserts that could highlight these flavors and then it hit me…whenever I go back to Cupertino my mom always makes me food to take back. Sometimes it’s beef and broccoli and other times chicken chili, but the one thing I always return with is a huge chunk of her signature APPLE CRISP! BAM. Apple Peanut Butter Crisp. Perfect.

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M: However, this is not your typical apple crisp. Let me explain. Our house gathers every Friday evening to share a meal together. It’s something we decided on before we all moved in together. Throughout the years, it’s been the reason for much laughter, story-sharing, empty ice cream tubs, and refreshing girl time. And every week we rotate who cooks dinner!

S: The other week when it was Isabel and my turn to cook we made some bombbb sweet potato bowls, yum. The funny thing was we cooked almost all of the components in the microwave! Monica can attest to the fact that I am all about efficiency, so most aspects of my life are subject to that…even house dinners haha.

M: I can also attest to the fact that those sweet potato bowls were DELICIOUS. And I couldn’t believe they were microwaved. So this week, we wanted to bring you the convenience of a microwaveable dessert. Not just any dessert, but an apple peanut butter crisp. Sound impossible? We thought so too after the third try. Too soggy, too dry, overflowing ramekins, it all happened! Thank goodness nothing exploded. But after the fourth round of listening to the microwave beep 3…2…1, Serena and I removed a sizzling ramekin with fingers and toes crossed. Top: crunchy. Filling: warm, ooey and gooey. Bingo.

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S: This is seriously one of our fastest and simplest, but also most unique and delicious desserts yet. You might think this is just another one of those deceiving Buzzfeed/Pinterest “Easy Microwave Chocolate Mug Cake” recipes that never really turns out how it is supposed to and taste like a sad excuse for the dessert it claims to be, but that is not the case! Trust me, I never lie!!!

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Apple pie is an American classic, but it pales in comparison to this ooey gooey, crunchy, flavorful apple peanut butter crisp. The crumble on top is crunchy even without being baked in the oven because it is studded with peanuts, toasted oats, and turbinado sugar then mixed with a heap of peanut butter and a drizzle of coconut oil that crisp it in the microwave. If you listen closely you can hear the soft bubbling of the apple chunks cooking in their own juices (sorry, was that graphic?), and that’s how you know…you are about to uncover a molten, cinnamon apple filling oozing beneath that crispy, peanut buttery topping. Fall is all about comfort food, but comfort food usually employs the “low and slow” cooking method…ain’t nobody got time for that! Pop these little dishes of delight in the microwave and TWO MINUTES later you have fall in a bowl. If you are feeling like a rebel, plop some Three Twins vanilla bean ice cream on top, sprinkle it with cinnamon and drench it with Cutter and Squidge salted caramel. Be warned…if you do so, this dessert might hurt a bit!

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and for another amazing recipe video filmed by ed!

– m & s

October 5, 2015

Earl Grey Scones with Dark Chocolate Orange Ganache

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S: Dessert Doesn’t Hurt is officially one year old now!! And to celebrate we decided to do something special…ADD A NEW MEMBER TO OUR TEAM!

M: We are excited to introduce you to Ed Ju, the Dessert Doesn’t Hurt videographer! If you didn’t know already, Ed’s work is seriously incredible. He does everything from wedding photography to graduation portraits to stranger projects, and now, food videography! Oh and here’s a fun fact… ED DOESN’T LIKE DESSERT. You would think that is a pretty crucial part of being on the DDH team right? That just goes to show how amazing we think his work is!

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S: But that isn’t the only thing that happened while we were away from the blog for a bit….Dessert Doesn’t Hurt traveled the world!

M: Yeah we did! This summer I traveled to three countries: Taiwan, England, and France! Each showed me amazing things (and fed me amazing food).

S: And I had a blast studying abroad at the London School of Economics! I gained a new sense of independence, got to experience working with people from all over the world, and now get to say that I have traveled outside of the United States (finally)! My family was lucky because they came for vacation at the end of my program after I had found all the best food places and could navigate the tube like a legit Londoner. What was really cool though, was that during my program different people from home happened to be coming through London! It was so refreshing to see some familiar faces, but of course, my favorite visitor was Monica (she made me say that).

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M: You were a legit Londoner! When I so kindly blessed Serena with a visit in London, she took me to her favorite boulangerie in Covent Gardens called Balthazar. We shared a delicious pastry and I told her about how crazy it was traveling with my family 24/7 after living away from them for so long. I learned so much about them and saw how much we’ve grown as individuals since being apart. My family is very active, so we hit all the main attractions including the London Eye, Big Ben, Piccadilly Circus, and even the Facebook London HQ (shout out to my hip dad)! One of my favorite spots, however, was Borough Market. FOOD FOR DAYS.

S: Oh my gosh, don’t even get me started on the food! I had an addiction to two things while there: gelato and high tea. There were four amazing gelato shops literally right by my dorm, so it was never a matter of whether or not to get gelato it was a matter of which gelateria to go to. Also, I think I set a record for the most times at high tea within a 7 week span…still haven’t decided if that is embarrassing or impressive (probably a bit of both haha).

M: Dude, totally impressive. They should call you Her Majesty the Queen Serena, just for your high tea resume. I, too, got to enjoy high tea in London! Well, kinda. My dad and brother were racing each other to see who could eat to the top of the tier faster. Boys…

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S: So, inspired by all the new experiences Mon and I had this summer, we bring you a new take on an old English classic…Earl Grey Scones with Dark Chocolate Orange Ganache! I know what you’re thinking, “scones have to be fluffy and beautifully buttery…a healthy scone is probably a dry, weird cake just posing as a scone.”

M: We had the same thought while looking at all kinds of “healthy scone” recipes, which is why we developed our very own that doesn’t compromise the integrity of our beloved scone. We use whole wheat flour instead of white, almond milk instead of heavy cream, and a combination of greek yogurt and butter to limit the fat but keep that light, fluffy texture. And instead of a (not so healthy) clotted cream accompaniment we made a simple dark chocolate orange ganache that takes this scone to the next level. We hope the delightful flavor of these earl grey scones take you straight to a small tea shop in London. Enjoy!

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When these lovely little disks of deliciousness come out of the oven the tantalizing smell of earl grey notifies everyone within a 100 foot radius that it is tea time!!! By steeping the tea in the almond milk that gets incorporated into the batter and adding real earl grey tea leaves into the mix you get both a pungent and pronounced flavor of earl grey tea in every bite. Because of the baking soda’s reaction with the yogurt this dough is light, fluffy, soft, and satisfying even without the standard (excessive) amount of butter! Since it is made with whole wheat pastry flour you finish feeling full and ready to take on the day! 

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And as if that wasn’t enough, the silky dark chocolate ganache is full of little bits of orange zest zing that enhance the bergamot oil (orange essence) found in earl grey tea making it a truly unique scone experience.

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and now… check out Ed’s amazing video on how to make these scones! (up your volume and fullscreen it for the whole experience)

#dessertdoesnthurt – Earl Grey Scones from Ed Ju on Vimeo

– m & s

May 6, 2015

Blackberry Lemon Quinoa Pancakes with Cinnamon Yogurt Sauce

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S: This quarter has seriously been flying by. I can’t believe it is halfway done already…and it is even more unfathomable that some people are already DONE with school…not fair.

M: I know! Looking at the calendar seriously freaks me out. But at the same time, I can’t wait for summer because I’m going on a missions trip to Taiwan! Since I have to pay for my flight (getting to the other side of the world is expensive), I started a fundraiser called Cookies on a Mission. I am baking my signature Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies for people to purchase throughout the entire month of May, and all the proceeds go towards my trip!

S: When Monica first told me her idea I thought it was ingenious, and offered to help with whatever she needed. I guess majoring in Managerial Economics has its benefits because I am currently serving as her Excel expert…profit margins don’t figure themselves out, ya know.

M: Honestly, Serena, you’re my hero. The way you whipped out that profit margin was magical. But excel sheets and numbers aside, I am so overwhelmed by all the support I am receiving for Cookies on a Mission! Just this weekend, I baked over 200 cookies to fill orders for the first of several pick-up dates. Thank you all for your support and cookie loving stomachs!

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S: Monica’s cookies are on a mission, and this past Picnic Day I served pancakes with a purpose! Picnic Day is the biggest event at Davis, so, I helped organize an event to capitalize on the fact that the campus would be teeming with families and college students. We decided to pass out free pancakes as a way of showing people some love, I am pretty sure free food is everyone’s love language!

M: Serena was so awesome, you should’ve seen the way she worked the crowd. Her ability to make anyone laugh always amazes me.

S: Ah, you flatter me haha. Usually I’m crunched for time in the morning, so it was a nice change up eating fresh-made pancakes at the event. I think that day reinvigorated my love for pancakes…not that it was very hard, because we all know I’m a sucker for anything bread-like and carb-filled.

M: That’s funny because over Spring break I rediscovered MY love of pancakes after deciding to whip up a batch on a slow morning. Sadly, pancakes are technically a form of “cake,” and are not exactly the healthiest way to fuel your day.

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S: But as people who believe that dessert doesn’t have to hurt, or…err…breakfast in this case, we decided to create a pancake recipe that would satisfy our sweet tooth (and carb cravings) and still help start our day in a healthy way! Oh, and I guess yours too haha.

M: This pancake is a powerhouse because of the unlikely ingredient, quinoa! Like our Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Avocado Cake, Serena and I were shocked at how the healthy substitute didn’t compromise the delicate texture of the cake. Quinoa adds protein, whole wheat flour is more nutritious than white, lemon zest and blackberries give you a burst of vitamin C, and the greek yogurt sauce replaces the desire to drown your pancakes in sugary syrups. If anyone decides to make these this weekend, please let me and Serena know. We’ll bring the coffee.

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As soon as you begin toasting the quinoa and a delightful toasty, nutty aroma fills the air, your nose immediately tells your taste buds that they are going to be in for a treat. The hearty batter successfully achieves the airy, fluffy texture required of anything that calls itself a pancake, and the quinoa adds a slight crunch to keeps things interesting. The undertones of acidity from the lemon zest accentuate the sweetness of the cooked blackberries, which all live in flavor harmony with the earthy pancake batter. We topped our pancakes with a simple cinnamon yogurt sauce to add creaminess and provide more layers of flavor, as well as some toasted coconut that connected with the roasty quality of the quinoa flour. These pancakes are essentially a blank canvas, so go crazy with your add-ins and toppings: pomegranate seeds and dark chocolate, slivered almonds and caramelized bananas, strawberries and whipped cream, seriously…you can’t go wrong.

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– m & s

March 30, 2015

Chia Seed Pudding: Two Ways

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S: After a brutal week of finals, it is only fair that they give us a week of break!

M: Amen sista. And a week is barely enough! I started off my break with heavenly potato puffs  at Gregoire’s in Berkeley with my roommate Amy. What are potato puffs, you ask? They are essentially fried balls of mashed potatoes. Fluffy and crunchy at the same time, and ridiculously delicious. I also tried on a pair of really expensive jeans, had a beautiful oceanside picnic at Shark Fin Cove with my good friend Janna (we brought a french baguette longer than my arm), visited my dad at Facebook, hiked around San Bruno State Park with my family, and baked a flourless chocolate espresso cake, twice! And of course, lots of yoga.

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S: While Monica was off doing all of that during spring break, I was in San Diego for three days visiting my brother, eating delicious seafood, going to the beach, and engaging in some retail therapy. Then I flew to Seattle with my best friend, Britni! Why Seattle? Food. That’s why. We had Greek yogurt at Ellenos, Russian pastries at Piroshky (so good we went twice during our three day trip), and the best old fashioned donut EVER at Top Pot Donuts (Alton Brown from Food Network visited this place…pretty coool).

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M: Hey Serena, remember when I was telling you about the article I read in Kinfolk about how our eating habits reflect our lifestyle?

S: What are you trying to say, huh? I was on vacation in Seattle so I was allowed to go a little food crazy.

M: Haha that’s what I’m saying! Your willingness to try so many different foods in a new city reflects your adventurous side. I think it’s really interesting how our subconscious food choices reflect our personalities. Peanut butter reflects mine. No surprise. At the beginning of winter quarter I had one jar of peanut butter, but I ended the quarter with 6 opened jars of peanut butter. Proof below.

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I wanted to try all of them because I enjoy a wide variety of flavors in my food! I’ve noticed that this habit of wanting to try everything all the time shows up in other aspects of my life beyond food. At Davis, there are so many opportunities, clubs, classes, and people that I want to pursue. Last quarter, I noticed that I was fulfilling my desire to do all these things, but unable to spend enough time and energy to put my best foot forward at all of them. So I’m learning how to prioritize! Maybe this quarter I’ll actually finish a jar of peanut butter.

S: For me, I am always trying to maximize my time. My food choices definitely reflect that. Especially during finals week…man, I ate so many frozen vegetable lasagnas…you can’t spend hours on meals when you have to watch three movies and read ten stories for your Science Fiction final! I find that I am always on the go, so my food tends to be quick and easy, meaning, I have had to find hacks for eating healthfully and time efficiently! For all the other busy bees out there, Monica and I want to share one of our favorite ways to eat healthy under a time constraint with you…CHIA PUDDINGS!

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If you haven’t fallen victim to the chia craze yet, these puddings are going to blow your mind because:

  1. Chia seeds are a source of soluble fiber, so you feel fuller longer and don’t have to waste time running to the vending machine for a midday snack
  2. They are also poppin with protein!
  3. Our puddings are made with dark chocolate or matcha, so each spoonful is brimming with antioxidants
  4. You can make large batches ahead of time and eat it all throughout the week (#mealprep, anyone?)

 

Coconut Dark Chocolate Chia Pudding

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Creamy. Chocolatey. Coconutty. These three C’s are music to any dessert lover’s ears. This pudding is undeniably delightful. It is thick and rich, but not so rich that you finish a bowl and feel a food coma coming on. In fact, you finish one bowl and instantly want another. The coconut flavor is strong but doesn’t overpower the slightly bitter dark chocolate. This pudding is scrumptious, silky, smooth, with a little crunch from the chia seeds, and best of all it is also full of protein and antioxidants so you can indulge innocently! Strawberries, raspberries, and pomegranate seeds add some tartness that enhance the already bold flavors of chocolate and coconut!

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Matcha Green Tea Chia Pudding

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This Matcha Pudding is a pleasant pale green, but in reality this is a mean green fighting machine! It is bursting with antioxidants and provides a bit of caffeine for those days you need a little kick of energy to get you going. The flavor is light and clean, good for any time of the day! It is slightly sweet, a touch earthy, extremely refreshing, and very delicious. Green tea is super versatile so throw in some bananas, blueberries, granola, chocolate chips…whatever you have in your pantry will (most likely) taste fantastic!

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– m & s

February 24, 2015

Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Avocado Cake with Homemade Raspberry Sauce

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M: What has been your favorite Valentine’s Day so far?

S: I would have to say…this Valentine’s Day was definitely one of my favorites!

M: Me too! As a house, it has become our tradition to have “Galentine’s Day” which is basically a day to celebrate our sisterhood by eating good food, especially dessert! Last year, we opted for a classy sushi dinner at Mikuni’s, this year we decided to take things into our own hands and get fancy in the kitchen.

S: Our housemates all made a steak dinner, watched Big Hero 6, ate a ton of popcorn (made fresh and seasoned with garlic butter by Monica!), and then dug into, dare I say it, the most delicious dessert Monica and I have made so far.

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M: Amennn. Talk about warm, chocolatey, cakey goodness. When Serena and I were on Pinterest for some Galentine’s Day dessert inspiration, all of the results were either heart shaped, bright red, or chocolate. I’m not kidding, search Valentine’s Day dessert on Pinterest and you’ll see what I’m talking about! We aren’t really into brightly colored heart shaped desserts, but…

S: Chocolate was a definite yes!

M: Especially since we recently made a trip to Dandelion Chocolate in SF a few weekends ago for my birthday! They totally nailed it by taking me there – we had a fancy S’more, frozen hot chocolate, and a PB chocolate tart. That last one got me because it had chocolate AND peanut butter. If anyone knows me well, they would know that peanut butter makes up about 50% of my diet.

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S: And as if that wasn’t enough chocolate, a week or so later, the Davis Whole Foods held an event all about chocolate! Since I am smart (and loathe long lines/big crowds), we got to the event early and were able to enjoy tasting every single delicious sample of Chocoxlove chocolate bars, chocolate chicken mole, chocolate candied bacon, flourless chocolate cake, and more. It was fantastic, and I went home with a full stomach and confidence that we HAD to make a chocolate-centric Valentine’s Day dessert.

M: That flourless chocolate cake was so good. Serena and I stood in the middle of Whole Foods with our mouths full, wondering how something “flourless” could be so yummy. Later, we looked up a recipe in hopes that we would be able to make a version of it for Galentine’s Day dinner and discovered that “flourless” definitely does not mean “healthy”. Every recipe included lots of butter and sugar! Thank goodness we did our research, because that dessert really does hurt.

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M: Taking inspiration from Scaling Back Blog’s Chocolate Hazelnut Avocado Cake, we constructed our very own versatile chocolate cake that I dare say, does not hurt. It’s vegan (I didn’t even realize until after we made it) and it satisfies that chocolate cake craving you get every once in a while. Or everyday, I’m not judging you.

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This cake is chocolatey, soft, and satisfying. The avocado flavor is completely hidden, but it still provides the fat content (but healthy fats!) to maintain the light, fluffy texture you would expect from a chocolate cake that does hurt! We served it warm with vanilla ice cream to add a contrasting creamy coolness and a super simple, homemade raspberry sauce for a balance of bright acidity that enhanced the deep, luxurious chocolate flavor. You can’t go wrong with raspberry and chocolate because they go together like peanut butter and jelly, like bacon and eggs, like Monica and Serena — perfectly! This is probably our favorite dessert yet, even our housemate Isabel, who doesn’t really like chocolate (she’s crazy), wiped her plate clean! And the best part is that this cake is a great base for all kinds of things: top it with green tea ice cream and crushed almonds or even cut them into cubes and skewer them with strawberries!

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I could literally eat this raspberry sauce by the spoonful straight out of the pan it is that good. We loved that it was so simple and straightforward but still had a robust raspberry flavor. The dash of honey and splash of fresh orange juice accentuate the sweet yet tart quality of the raspberry. You can even make extra, store it in the fridge then reheat it the next day and it is just as delicious!

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– m & s

February 8, 2015

Cranberry Orange Granola

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M: Hey guys! I know it’s been a while… didn’t you miss us?

S: Oh I know they did! My friend Kimberly even posted on my Facebook complaining that we haven’t posted recently. Oops!

M: Well, life has been busy. While Serena and I were out, we spent time with family and friends at home, chilled on the beach at Costa Mesa, and celebrated my birthday in SF. Hard life, right?

S: Amidst all the busyness it was great spending some time outside of Davis. When we were in Costa Mesa our hotel was right next to the LAB Antimall, which is this adorable, artsy area with food and shopping. For me, food is a crucial part of any trip, and I loved the places that we tried here! Vitaly had one of the most pistachio-y, pistachio gelatos I’ve tasted (that dessert might have hurt a bit..) and Kitakata Ramen Ban Nai had “hand-crumpled” noodles with a super unique texture! If you are ever in Costa Mesa you seriously need to check this area out, and if you don’t think its the cutest place ever then you’re crazy.

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M: I loved that whole area so much! I’m a design major, so I really appreciated all the eye-catching artwork and architecture. And I got to try vegan food at Native Foods Cafe – I liked their Ensalada Azteca so much that me and my friend Haylie emailed them (basically a persuasive essay) asking them to open a restaurant in Davis!

S: I didn’t even know that you did that until right now when I read it, but I would totally go all the time if they put one here! Everyone always wants to eat healthy, but most people can’t find the time to make healthy food…there’s a reason people associate top ramen with college students.

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M: The struggle between time and healthy eating is so real, that is why we wanted to share our convenient and healthy answer to midnight munchies, stress eating (Serena, that’s for you), breakfast skipping, and dessert cravings… Cranberry Orange Granola! This granola will help any college student (or busy worker) in three ways:

1. It can be made in big batches and can last for months…or if you live in our house, one week max.

2. You can do homework (or watch How I Met Your Mother reruns) in between the bake times.

3. It keeps you satisfied throughout the day because of a magical ingredient called oats.

Trust us, once you make this granola, you’ll never want to spend money on that other stuff at the supermarket. It’s that easy and tastes that much better!

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Granola is truly an artform…the perfect granola is flavorful, clumpy, and crunchy. We have altered and re-altered…and then re-re-altered this recipe, so we hope that you enjoy our masterpiece! Winter is citrus season, and this granola packs an orange punch with the secret sugar and zest mixture that really accentuates the flavor. The cranberries are tart and sweet, pairing beautifully with the earthy, orange zest infused oats/nuts! We used two techniques to get our granola crispy and clustery: adding egg whites to help bind all the ingredients & packing the granola together partway through the baking then breaking it apart after it cools. We used walnuts and almonds to our mix, but you can add pistachios, pecans, pumpkin seeds…or maybe even throw in some coconut or dark chocolate!

 

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– m & s

November 27, 2014

Mini Pumpkin Pies with Coconut Oil Crust

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M: Around this time last year, we had had just started our friendship. Crazy!

S: Dang…I know right?! Not gonna lie, the first time that we met I did not expect us to be this close, BUT I am so thankful that we are haha!!

M: Aw same! It’s cool how even though we’re pretty different, we can be such close friends. Serena thinks a lot and is skillful at planning and managing time and things in general. I am more of a feeler and tend to live life as it goes (which usually results in being late to class everyday…). But one thing we for sure have in common is our love for PUMPKIN PIE! Mmmm. Hands down our favorite pie during the holidays, and even beyond the holidays.

S: Beyond the holidays…SO TRUE. Why has our society restricted pumpkin pie to one time of the year?! It is a serious injustice. One thing that Davis got right (good job, Chancellor Katehi) — pumpkin pie served at the dining commons at random times all throughout the year woohoo!

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M: There are many reasons why I love pumpkin pie so much – the spiciness and creaminess of the pumpkin filling and the bite of the flaky, buttery crust are two of them. Another reason why I love it is because it brings me back to the start of my freshman year when Serena and I were both just beginning to be a part of Davis Christian Fellowship (DCF) and we attended their annual semi-formal Thanksgiving potluck dinner. That’s when we first bonded over our mutual love for pumpkin pie (and took a picture out of excitement, which is also shown in our About page).

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S: Aww, I think we could consider that day our friendaversary! But I remember the first time we officially met was at Thai Canteen before the Interfellowship Worship Night. You were with Stephen, who I knew from high school, and I was with Isabel (shout out to the best roomie ever). Honestly, we were debating whether or not to sit with you guys or just be anti-social and sit by ourselves, but I am so thankful that we decided to join you guys for dinner because that really opened the door for us to be friends. I’d even venture now to call us sisters!

M: I totally remember that! A year later a ton has changed, but all I can think about is how thankful I am for meeting you and everyone else in DCF. It is a community where you can trust literally everyone to love you for exactly who you are. Unbelievable, right? But that is what DCF is, and I am so grateful that I learned about true community.  At the time I didn’t realize that my freshman year would be so monumental, but looking back, being a part of DCF last year has actually redefined my life — how I see myself and how I see others.

S: I second that! And I really had one of the best seats in the house because I got to witness your growth firsthand. To all you out there reading, lemme tell you, this girl was so courageous and bold last year, and I have seen how that has translated into who she is now. Sadly, I missed our one year friendaversary because I went back home to the Bay last weekend for my grandma’s 90th birthday (the big nine zero…major respect), but I am glad Monica still made our “friendship dessert”! Made me feel all sentimental (:

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serena’s grandma being a g

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roast seeds with olive oil and seasoning for something tasty to munch on while baking!

M: I mean, it was only suitable that I brought pumpkin pie to this year’s annual DCF Thanksgiving potluck dinner! My friend Iris and I had such a good time baking these beauties. They’re quality — made from wholesome ingredients like fresh roasted pumpkin and coconut oil, they are sure to impress your family and friends this Thanksgiving holiday! And they’re mini! It’s factual that things are cuter when they’re mini.

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S: We hope that this post finds you with a full stomach and thankful heart, but don’t wait until next year’s Thanksgiving to try out this recipe because Monica and I both believe that there is never a bad time for pumpkin pie, especially when you can make one that “doesn’t hurt”!

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For something so small, these pumpkin pies really pack a flavor punch (kind of like Serena…). The crust is flaky and soft, providing the perfect vessel to hold the beautifully creamy (thank you, greek yogurt!!) pumpkin filling. Both the filling and crust are balanced in their sweetness because after a huge Thanksgiving dinner the last thing you want is something sickeningly sweet. Fall is all about flavors that make your soul feel warm, and this pumpkin pie is full of spices that do just that! Furthermore, there is a unique earthy flavor that comes from the roasted pumpkin, but if canned pumpkin puree tastes great too if you don’t want to roast your own! If you’re feeling adventurous you can get creative and top these babies with cinnamon whipped cream, spiced pecans, even some dark chocolate shavings!

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pumpkin pie by new york times // coconut oil crust by call me PMC

– m & s

November 19, 2014

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pots de Creme

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S: One of the biggest differences between the dorms and off campus living is that we have to take care of our own meals. Since I am a big planner, when I think about my meals I always take into account that I need to “get my calcium,” because my mom ingrained that into me from a young age. Sadly, milk (aka liquid calcium) has never been my favorite drink. Especially warm milk…for some reason my grandma loved giving me warm milk and I would always wonder what I had done to deserve this cruel and unusual punishment. I have never craved milk, ever…except chocolate milk, but that doesn’t count. When I was younger, I figured I couldn’t dodge milk forever so, being the cunning child I was, I devised (what I thought was) a failsafe plan. My dad was the one person in our family that rarely drank milk because he was lactose intolerant. So I made an important life decision: I was now lactose intolerant. Every time I drank milk or ate a dairy product, I would complain just enough to elicit some pity, and then blame it on inheriting lactose intolerance from my dad. It actually worked for a while, so, no milk for Serena! Little did I know that eventually, my oh so kind mom would solve her poor, “lactose intolerant” daughter’s problem by buying Lactaid milk instead. That was a sad day. The funniest part is that after avoiding milk for so long I think I actually developed mild lactose intolerance. Sigh. You live and you learn.

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M: Looks like a “mild lactose intolerance” is something we have in common! I’m definitely not completely lactose intolerant (I would cry because ice cream my favorite), but when I do consume dairy, I get a litttttle gassy. Too much info? Sorry.. but I’m being real with you guys! And to be fair, it’s because I take after my mother. She has the loudest, most earth shaking belches in the world. I’m not exaggerating when I say that you can hear her belches from across the house. They don’t come in pairs. They don’t come in triplets. They oftentimes come in groups of 4-5. And the best part is, she really DGAF. We’ll just be finishing our meal at a nice restaurant and WOOP there she goes. In public. Not holding back. I just sit there trying to avoiding eye contact with anyone because God knows that even the busboy was wondering what just happened.

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M: But I love my mom, and I say all of this out of complete love for her. This weekend, we went on a yoga retreat together at Costanoa Coastal Lodge near Pescadero, CA. Although I was the only 19 year old amongst a group of 20 moms, I had such an amazing time catching up on what crazy things she’s been up to. Recently, she traveled to Prague with my dad, ran 4 miles to train for a half marathon, started a group of neighborhood ladies to talk about healthy eating and recipe making, and of course, took pictures of everything she did (she posts at least 3 pictures on Instagram every day). She even hopes to start her own company in the future. I have realized that I’m becoming a lot like her. And I really like that. I am proud to take after such a passionate and awesome woman…even if it means I belch incredibly loud.

S: Because Monica and I are, what I have deemed, lactose sensitive, we’ve both started exploring different kinds of milks like soy and almond! I must say that almond milk is definitely my go to, and this recipe was one that really sold me on almond milk’s substitutive powers. Pots de Creme usually calls for heavy cream to achieve a decadent, custard-like consistency, but this Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pots de Creme recipe uses almond milk (which is way lower in fat and calories) and still achieves that rich, luscious quality. And in all seriousness, peanut butter and chocolate are easily one of the top three most delicious flavor combinations in the world. The recipe is so simple, but it yields an impressive result that even the lactose intolerant can enjoy! Thank goodness, because constant burping from Monica would be very disruptive to my studying.

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These little pots of deliciousness are full of robust chocolate flavor because the recipe calls for dark chocolate with a fairly high percentage of cocoa (antioxidants, anyone?) and it is just a touch sweet. The dark chocolate pairs beautifully with the peanut butter flavor, as expected, and it is so satisfyingly creamy and luxurious that you probably wouldn’t even guess that it is healthy. We topped ours with greek yogurt and crushed almonds, but you can pair yours with fresh fruit, whipped cream, any kind of nuts, popcorn, cereal, whatever floats your boat! If you’re a chocolate fanatic (or peanut butter hater…) you can omit the nut butter all together and it will still make you want to lick that cute little ramekin clean!

dark chocolate peanut butter pots de creme

original recipe by green kitchen stories

– m & s