Hmm…What To Do With Leftover Pumpkin? (Banana-Pecan Pumpkin Bread)

Man, those pumpkin pancakes were so delicious. A week later, I’m still feeling as good as I did after I made them. Worst thing about them, though? Well, now I’ve got two Tupperware containers full of extra pumpkin. How should I use these now? In fact, what to do about the near-empty bags of seeds, banana chips, and nuts in my pantry? Now, that bag of flour also seems close to empty…as does that container of cinnamon…

And sha-BAM! It was like divine inspiration, only in the form of food.

OH. Of course. Pumpkin loaf! Not too sweet, still flavorful and decadent, spicy and delicious, and I can use the rest of the sparse ingredients I have…why didn’t I think of this before? Good thing I just discovered a bread pan during a massive kitchen reorganization. Oh, and what’s this? An electric immersion hand blender? Oh, how I love unexpected and late Hannukah gifts.

Sorry I’m keeping this post a bit short, everyone! College essays are beckoning me against my will. Soon the whole process will be over, soon everything will be officially out of my hands, and soon I will be catching up on my backlog of posts!

Little chunks of happiness in every slice!

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The End to All Your Rainy Day and College Application Woes (Pumpkin Pancakes with Walnuts and Bananas)

It might officially be “winter break,” but I’m pretty sure whoever coined that term didn’t have to deal with college applications and the mountains of essays and deadlines that hitch a ride with them. Couple all of that with the massive amount of rain outside preventing me from going most anywhere except to the other end of the house, and it’s understandable that there’s a possibility that I might get a little stir-crazy and end up going a wee bit mad under the stress of applications.

Gladly, things never came to that. You want to know why? That other end of the house that I can walk to happens to have a kitchen, a kitchen where I made these little mounds of sunshine:

See? The heavens are practically beaming on these pancakes!

Oh, but I forgot to mention: these aren’t your run-of-the-mill pancakes. No, not even close. These pancakes have magic in the batter.

…Well, they don’t quite have any magic in them. However, they are mini pancakes, and the amount of flavor in such small packages is pretty darn close to magical.

Just in case the thought of eating four pancakes all by yourself scared you (or made you feel a little pudgy), this’ll put you at ease

 

 

Now, some advice to my fellow seniors who are trudging through their respective applications or to anyone who is having a bit of a down day: Make these. Now. From personal experience, I can tell you that these pancakes are enough to stave off the gloom for a whole day and then some.

In fact, even if you are feeling absolutely elated, you need to make these. Heck, why are you even reading this post anymore? You should be in the kitchen right now getting…oh, right, I need to tell you how to make these. Well, I’ll be happy to oblige! 🙂

P.S.: Would you have guessed that these pancakes are very healthy? Surprise!

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Dinner with Two [Salsas], of Two [Tacos], for Two [People]: Rainy Date Night (Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos with Pico de Gallo and Mango-Cucumber Salsa)

Finals are over…YES!!!!!!!

Sorry about that, I needed to have a bit of a release. I’m good now. Won’t happen again.

Promise.

Now with finals over, what better way to celebrate the first weekend of break by grilling Mexican-style? It may not be summer in Southern California (which is, for the most part, year-round here)—in fact, it might even be pouring rain outside—

It’s raining really hard, trust me. I’m a blogger, not a photographer, gosh darnit!

—but a grilling celebration was definitely in order last night.

A tip for an amazing date night if you ever run out of good ideas (or even if you don’t): stay in. I’m dead serious! Start by finding recipe for a flavorful and hands-on dinner and then go to the market before getting together with your date.

Nom. Nom. NOM.

Then, instead of going out on the usual mundane sit-down dinner date, make dinner together. “A man who can cook?” Yes, every girl wants that. You can share food, swap stories (sleepwalking does make for a very funny story), and—in our case—bask in the heat of the grill and in the relief that finals are finally done with.

Girlfriend + Knife = Dangerous. Girlfriend + Knife + Mango = Delicious.

Nights like this—and food this delicious—well, that’s what life is all about, isn’t it?

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How To Get Through Finals Week (Brain Power Smoothie)

5 Finals & 10 college applications to go.

Boy, my brain is tired.

Good thing that I’ve got just the thing—er, smoothie to fix that.

Fruits? Check. Vegetables? Check. Fiber? Check. Protein? Check. Omega-3-rich oil? Check. Magic? Check. This chilly fruity tonic has just about everything you can think ofand all of it is brain food! It has a whole host of Omega-3, complex carbs, B vitamins, antioxidants, tryptophan…whoa, sorry there, I got a little carried away. The brain is definitely my thing (if you didn’t already now, I’m an aspiring neuroscientist), so I know a little something about what it likes and doesn’t like. Don’t worry, though—it took me a while to figure out what all the nutritional buzzwords people like to toss around really mean. Let’s do a quick rundown of the ingredients in this smoothie and why they’re ridiculously great for you, your brain, and most importantly, your studying:

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Latke-fest! (Latkes With Green Onions)

Hannukah: the commemoration of the victory of a rag-tag group of farmers-turned-soldiers (the Maccabees), led by Judah, over the pagan Syrian invaders, celebrated by lighting candles on a menorah for eight days (commemorating the small amount of oil that kept the Maccabees’ crude menorah lit for eight days in their newly rebuilt and re-koshered temple), cooking fried foods (again, tied to the idea of oil) like latkes and sufganiyot (traditional Jewish jelly or custard-filled doughnuts), and…by giving out and receiving presents for eight days straight.

That last part doesn’t make too much sense, but who is complaining? Santa and his one day of presents has nothing on Hannukah Harry’s eight crazy nights.

My favorite gifts to receive—and especially to give—aren’t the ones you can simply buy at the store or order online on a whim. Better yet, it could be immaterial. The present that spawns a great experience or an incredible night, the one that leaves a lasting impact, the one with a clear intent behind is the kind that really resonates with me.

Therefore, what better gift for girlfriend on the 5th night of Hannukah than to spend a great Sunday night making latkes! Luckily, girlfriend loves cooking and finds the idea of peeling, grating, dicing, mixing, and frying appealing—as long as it’s all followed by eating.

And eat we did.

Well, at least I did. A lot.

Luckily, the family was there to join us and take part in the latke-fest. Thank goodness, because I would have eaten all of these latkes! Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside without being soggy and greasy, and an extra bite from the green onions. Delicious!

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A Quick Breakfast for Any Teen in a Hurry (Homemade Granola and Yogurt Parfait)

I was talking with girlfriend (I’ll just call her “girlfriend” for the sake of anonymity) at school the other day, and she said, “No, I don’t really like breakfast. Well, maybe I would like it, but I don’t ever have enough time to eat it.”

W-w-wait…did I just hear that correctly?

Just to put my reaction into perspective, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Who wouldn’t want to start their day off with a stomach full of sweet fruit, piping hot eggs, or creamy oatmeal? Heck, why not all three? I understand that it’s hard for my girlfriend–along with, unfortunately, many of my peers–and I to find a time to eat somewhere during our zombiesque prowl around the house between waking up and dashing off to school in the morning, but how couldn’t one make time for it? Thankfully, I have a morning routine that leaves me exactly 5 minutes for breakfast. When I’m running on schedule, I mean. Which is hardly ever. By which I mean never.

Now, you may wondering, “How the heck do I make and eat breakfast in 5 minutes?” Technically I eat on my way to school in a Tupperware bowl (hey, I never said I was classy), so I guess I do cheat the time a little bit. However, it’s easy! My official 5-step plan for my friends’ and girlfriend’s breakfast woes that I follow every weekday breakfast is:

1) Yogurt.

2) Granola.

3) Fruit.

4) Honey.

5) Eat.

See? It’s that simple! Full of fiber, protein, vitamins (depending on the fruit), and amazing flavor to keep you going for the next few hours.

This weekend, I actually had some extra time on my hands, so I decided to make something that would benefit me in the long-term. I made a jar full of homemade granola for the week!

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