Summer Veggie Rolls with Spicy Peanut Lime Sauce

Yesterday I got stuck in an elevator with the WORST person to get stuck in an elevator with…ever.

Here is a small synopsis of the things this woman said to me in our 30 minutes together:
Woman after noticing we were stuck: Oh great, I have scoliosis.
Woman to the man outside the elevator calling for help: Hurry up! I’ve been in here for half an hour (it had been ten minutes)
Woman to me: My dog is going to pee all over the place.
Woman to me: I don’t think any air comes into elevators when they break.

WHY do these ridiculous things happen to me? And how on earth do these people exist? To be fair to the crazy woman, I too was a bit freaked out. I don’t like tight spaces without windows, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to tell her that to freak her out more. I wish I had cookies in my bag or something to calm her down with. But alas, I was on my way to pick up kitty food and only had my wallet and keys. FAIL!

Onto another completely separate note, I recently made these spring rolls for a party, and they were a total hit! Tofu rolls are always my go to appetizer at Thai restaurants, and I love that I can make them just as good at home. Hope you like these, and have a happy weekend!!

To make the sauce, process the garlic, sesame oil, peanut butter, lime juice, tamari, sugar and water in a food processor until smooth. Adjust to taste.

Mmmm…..

Slice your (pressed) tofu into long strips and julienne the vegetables (slice into long thin strips). Set aside, along with peanuts.

Set up a roll making station and gather all of your ingredients in one area. Place a tea towel on the counter and fill a very large bowl with hot tap water. Dip one rice paper wrapper into the water and carefully submerge it once it gets soft. Hold it under water for about 10 seconds, or until soft, and remove from water carefully. Place it onto the tea towel and unfold any corners that may have rolled up.

Add the filling ingredients in the centre of the wrapper. Be careful not to overfill or the wrappers will tear. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

Roll the two sides of the rice wrapper inward and then flip the bottom over top the filling and roll forward. Place roll on a plate and cover with damp paper towels. Repeat for the rest.

Serve the rolls immediately with the peanut dipping sauce. These are also awesome with hoisin sauce!

Summer Veggie Rolls with Spicy Peanut Lime Sauce
Recipe lightly adapted from Oh She Glows
Makes approx 8 rolls + 1/2 cup peanut sauce

Ingredients:
For the filling:
Spring Roll Wrappers (at least 8-10)
1 block extra-firm tofu
1/2 English cucumber, julienned
1 red bell pepper, julienned
2 medium carrots, peeled & julienned
2 green onions, chopped
3-4 lettuce leaves, julienned
Vermicelli noodles, cooked
1/3 cup roasted and salted peanuts

For the peanut lime sauce:
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp sesame oil
1/4 cup natural roasted peanut butter
1/2-1 tbsp peeled & roughly chopped fresh ginger
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce if you don’t have any)
2 tsp sugar
1-3 tsp water, to thin out as needed

Directions:
Press the tofu in paper towel while you prepare the filling and sauce. You want to press all of the water out of it.

For the filling: Julienne the vegetables (slice into long thin strips). Set aside, along with peanuts.

For the sauce: In a mini processor, process the sauce ingredients until smooth. Adjust to taste. You may prefer more sweetener, tamari, oil, or lime juice.

Slice pressed tofu into long thin strips. You likely won’t need the entire block.

Set up a roll making station and gather all of your ingredients in one area. Place a tea towel on the counter and fill a very large bowl with hot tap water. Dip one rice paper wrapper into the water and carefully submerge it once it gets soft. Hold it under water for about 10 seconds, or until soft, and remove from water carefully. Place it onto the tea towel and unfold any corners that may have rolled up.

Add the filling ingredients in the centre of the wrapper (see pictures in post). Be careful not to overfill or the wrappers will tear. Sprinkle with peanuts and a sprinkle of salt.

Roll the two sides of the rice wrapper inward and then flip the bottom over top the filling and roll forward. Place roll on a plate and cover with damp paper towels. Repeat for the rest.

Serve the rolls immediately with the peanut dipping sauce. These also taste awesome with hoisin sauce!

Note:
-Rolls will keep for 1-2 days in the fridge.
-Sauce should keep for at least a week in a sealed container in the fridge.

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Skinny Peach Cobbler For One

Since I’m reducing my sugar intake over the next month to prepare for the Rock n’ Roll 1/2 Marathon, I thought I’d make a skinny version of peach crisp to calm my sugar craving. It can be the worst, and also peaches are AMAZING right now!

Training has been coming along, but I’ve decided that I need to switch things up a bit. So, after the half marathon I’m going to start training for a triathlon! I’ve done one before, but I took it slow since I didn’t know what I capable of yet and am super excited to start “shopping” for a race. Baking and racing – it’s what i’m all about.

This little cobbler is perfect if you’re trying to cut some sugar out of your diet without sacrificing flavour. My butter loving boy went crazy for this, my butter loving cat went crazy for this (but mostly just for the butter), and I devoured it needing to make it AGAIN to satisfy my craving. Perhaps these aren’t so skinny…

To make these preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Slice a peach in half and remove the pit. With a small spoon, scoop out the the dark red pit center, creating a bit more room for the crumble topping.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, salt, and coconut. Add butter and, with your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients.

Quickly break up the butter until it is well combined.

Place peach halves, cut side up, in a small, oven-safe dish. Top each peach half with a generous portion of crumble topping. Heap it on!

Bake for 20 minutes, until topping is golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve warm with vanilla ice cream or cold milk. Delicious!

Easy Peach Cobbler For One
Recipe lightly adapted from Joy The Baker
Serves 1-2

Ingredients:
1 ripe peach (not over ripe!)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon toasted coconut
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed

Directions:
Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Slice a peach in half and remove the pit. With a small spoon, scoop out the the dark red pit center, creating just a bit more room for the crumble topping.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, salt, and coconut. Add butter and, with your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients. Quickly break up the butter until it is well combined. Some of the butter bits will be the size of oat flakes, others will be the size of small peas.

Place peach halves, cut side up, in a small, oven-safe dish. Top each peach half with a generous portion of crumble topping. Heap it on!

Bake for 20 minutes, until topping is golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve warm with vanilla ice cream or cold milk. Peaches are best served warm from the oven.

Chocolate Nutella Cookies

This next month is going to be tough. Before every marathon or half marathon that I run, I always do a bit of a detox. Not a juice diet or anything wild like that…I EAT! I just don’t eat sweets or drink alcohol for a month. Simple sounding, but not for a baker like me.

Yesterday was my first full day off of sweets and I felt like a crazy woman. All I could think about was cookies. These Nutella cookies to be exact. I made them recently and they had me dreaming chewy, Nutella dreams (wait, what?) for a week. I seriously recommend these…but only if you’re not planning of going off of sweets any time soon. They’re addictive!

To begin, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and cocoa, set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter and sugars. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about two minutes. Add the vanilla extract and beat until extracts disappear….don’t mind the weird lighting in this picture either. Weird!

Add the Nutella and mix until batter is smooth.

Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternately with the milk in one batch, mixing well. Chill dough for at least 30 minutes before baking. Or eat it all.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line two baking sheets. Take a tablespoon of cookie dough and roll it into a ball (or use a medium cookie scoop if you’re lazy like me). Place on lined baking sheets and gently press down on the dough ball. Continue making dough balls until the cookie sheets are filled-leave two inches in between cookies.

Bake cookies for 10-11 minutes or until soft, but starting to set. Remove cookies from the oven and let cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes.

Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Enjoy!

Chocolate Nutella Cookies
Recipe lightly adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod’s book Cookie Cravings
Makes 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup good quality cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup Nutella
1/3 cup milk

Directions:
1. Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and cocoa, set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter and sugars. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about two minutes. Add the vanilla extract and beat until extracts disappear. Add the Nutella and mix until batter is smooth.

2. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternately with the milk in one batch, mixing well. Chill dough for at least 30 minutes before baking.

3. When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Take a tablespoon of cookie dough and roll it into a ball (or use a medium cookie scoop if you’re lazy like me). Place on lined baking sheets and gently press down on the dough ball. Continue making dough balls until the cookie sheets are filled-leave two inches in between cookies.

4. Bake cookies for 10-11 minutes or until soft, but starting to set. Remove cookies from the oven and let cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Kick Ass Black Bean Skillet Nachos

I feel like I’m getting on this train late, but have you noticed that pretty much anything can be baked in a well seasoned cast iron skillet?!

The idea is pure genius. I have an unreasonable amount of recipes bookmarked under “skillet meals” like this fun breakfast idea, this cookie and this monkey bread. People are freaking creative!

I’ve seen skillet nachos on blogs before, so I can not take credit for the genius behind this recipe, but I used what little knowledge I had about baking things with a skillet, threw some nacho fixings in a pan, and went to town.

There’s something about nachos that has me giddy. It must be the cheese, sour cream and salsa mixture with those salty tortilla chips…the other fixings are optional, but with the right ratio, this skillet recipe is deadly!

To make this, turn on your oven broiler. Using an 8″ cast iron skillet, place your tortilla chips across the bottom of your baking dish. Add the beans evenly across the chips, add the shredded cheese. Then add any extra toppings that you’d like to bake. I used sauteed onions, chopped green olives, and goats cheese.

Place your skillet in your oven and check frequently to make sure you don’t burn the cheese on top (it took me 5 minutes). Remove from heat, serve while hot and add your favorite cold toppings!

Heaven.

Black Bean Skillet Nachos
Serves 2
A Warm Vanilla Sugar Original

Ingredients:
2 Handfuls of good quality tortilla chips
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Nacho toppings to bake: jalapenos, chopped scallions, olives, corn, goats cheese and sauteed onions
Post oven toppings: avocado, salsa, sour cream, chopped tomatoes

Directions:
Turn on the broiler in your oven.

Using an 8″ cast iron skillet, place your tortilla chips across the bottom of your baking dish. Add the beans evenly across the chips, add the shredded cheese. Then add any extra toppings that you’d like to bake. I used sauteed onions, chopped green olives, and goats cheese.

Place your skillet in your oven and check frequently to make sure you don’t burn the cheese on top (it took me 5 minutes). Remove from heat, serve while hot and add your favorite cold toppings!

So easy, and so, so, delicious!

Green Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie

This past weekend the boy and I crossed the border to visit with the Grandparents. While in the States I saw some awesome State Trooper hats, a robbed bank, and the biggest supermarket that I’ve ever seen, but most importantly, I bought and tried Biscoff spread!

Along with all the awesomeness, the Grandparents made sure that Paul and I were well fed and had cookies and sweets at every meal (very important). I had the best time, but am now feeling like I need a day off “bad stuff”. So, this morning I blended together this beauty. A peanut butter and banana smoothie that tastes delicious, but is super healthy to boot!

To make this, place all ingredients into a blender with the heavy stuff on the bottom.

Blend on high until very smooth.

Enjoy! You’ll love it.

Green Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie
Makes 1 smoothie
Recipe taken from Healthy Food For Living
5 weight watchers points plus per smoothie

Ingredients:
1/2 cup milk of choice (I used 1%)
1 medium-sized ripe frozen banana
1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt (I used 0%)
2 Tbsp quick oats
1 Tbsp unnatural smooth peanut butter
2 big handfuls washed and dried baby spinach
a few dashes ground cinnamon, optional

Directions:
Place all ingredients into a blender and blend on high until very smooth.

Rhubarb Crunch

Long weekends do not occur enough. Can I get an Amen?

This past weekend I FINALLY went back to my hometown, spent some time with old friends, and drank some serious booze. It was magical. Since I have the coolest Grandparents ever, they allowed my noisy friends and I to set up some lawn games and party the night (and day) away.

The focus of the party was to celebrate the 25th birthday of two of my best friends, but also an excuse to get together and reminisce. High school graduation was 7 years ago. That deserves a W.T.F. So, when I’m feeling old and strange and confused, I need some serious sugar.

Enter Rhubarb Crunch. My new best friend, my new favorite crisp…and the crisp that makes all other crisps cry in a corner. Thank goodness this baby was here for me when I needed it. I meant to share this, I really did, but my boy and I ate it in one night. Whoops!

To make this, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8-inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in the cold butter or mix in the melted butter.

This stuff should be crumbly. Like this:

Press half of the topping into the prepared pan.

Sprinkle the rhubarb on top.

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Slowly mix in the cold water and heat over medium until the mixture boils; boil for 2 minutes or until thickened a bit.

Pour over the rhubarb in the pan.

Sprinkle with remaining crumb topping. Bake in the preheated oven for about an hour (start checking at 40 minutes) or until bubbly and beginning to brown.

Let cool on a wire rack before serving.

Enjoy! I like this stuff warm right from the pan…or with vanilla bean ice cream. Delicious!

Rhubarb Crunch
Recipe taken from Cooking for Seven
makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat flour (or all purpose flour)
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
4 cups diced fresh rhubarb (or frozen rhubarb)
1-1/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup cold water
ice cream, for serving (optional)

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8-inch baking dish.

2) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in the cold butter or mix in the melted butter. Press half of the topping into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the rhubarb on top.

3) In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Slowly mix in the cold water and heat over medium until the mixture boils; boil for 2 minutes or until thickened a bit. Pour over the rhubarb in the pan.

4) Sprinkle with remaining crumb topping. Bake in the preheated oven for about an hour (start checking at 40 minutes) or until beginning to brown.

5) Serve warm with ice cream! So good.