Only a Week Left? Final Ramadan Reports

Checking in to you live from the last week of #ramadiet2k17 and y’all, it’s hot! We were in the midst of a heat wave last week, which promptly followed a cold snap that I was not at all complaining about. But here we are, nearly at the home stretch. It flies by every year. Let’s finish strong!

I’m going to tell you about what I’ve been making and eating. Because of this diet where I’m avoiding simple carbs and added sugar, I get to be creative not only about my savory meals but how I stay content with some alternatively sweet treats.

One of my favorite ways to break my fast (after a date or 3) is with a smoothie. Bananas, peanut butter, frozen blueberries, almond milk. It’s easy and full of good stuff, and sometimes I even freeze it for a frozen dessert.

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A great breakfast hack I’ve been doing all month is making French toast with Ezekiel bread. This idea also comes from my friend Rebecca, healthy eating extraordinaire. I soak slices of bread in almond milk, egg, vanilla extract and cinnamon. I don’t like almond milk on its own, but when it’s being used for something like a smoothie or French toast, you can’t taste it anyway. And when I say soak, I mean it – the bread isn’t ready until you can squeeze it in the center and batter squishes out. This will take around 30 seconds. I make the batter in a shallow tupperware the night before to save time in the morning. I put peanut butter, maple syrup, and sometimes fruit on this French toast, and satisfies my sweet tooth just fine. Yes, I’ve allowed myself maple syrup as my one sweetener for the month. Frankly, this French toast kinda needs it.

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I always make sure to keep oatmeal in my suhoor (pre-dawn meal) rotation to regulate my cholesterol and stay fuller longer in the morning. Don’t be discouraged by oatmeal. There’s so much you can do with it. Add fresh fruit, honey, toasted nuts, coconut oil, nut butter, dates and other dried fruit…the possibilities are endless. Think of it as a vessel for things you like instead of just morning sludge. Get creative – I know you can do it, I promise.

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As we approach the final days of Ramadan, Muslims around the world get focused on their worship with prayer, reading the Qur’an and more. In the last ten nights is Laylatul Qadr, or the Night of Power. This is the night that the Qur’an was brought down for mankind. It is believed that this night has the strength of 1,000 months, so any good deeds (prayer and charity, for example) done on this night are considered as if they were done for 1,000 months. As you can imagine, it’s a particularly spiritual time for Muslims, and many spend longer hours at the mosque at night praying. In a week will be Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan, full of food and festivities. Check back in soon to see how we throw down in NYC and some final reflections. Stay cool, friends!

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Easy Apple-Cran Crisp

     It is now clear to me that Fall is here to stay. Prepare for scarves, hoodies, and beanies on campus/elsewhere. I wanted to quickly share a really easy recipe for those still with some apples hanging around the kitchen from that one time you went apple picking. We have to make room in the fridge for pumpkin everything anyway. While you wait for an updated cookie recipe, here’s some soft-yet-crunchy apple-cranberry crisp! Really, the hardest part is cutting the apples.

Apple Cranberry Crisp, from Better Homes and Gardens
Here’s to recipes turning out the same as their picture!


Ingredients

5 cups thinly-sliced peeled apples
1 cup cranberries(frozen or fresh)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl combine apples, cranberries, and granulated sugar. Transfer to a 2-quart square baking dish or a 9-inch pie plate.
  2. In a small bowl combine oats, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle oat mixture evenly over apple mixture.
  3. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm with a dollop of ice cream or whipped cream. Makes 6 servings.

     In other news, the (no longer) new school year has brought a new food blog! I’ve come together with other college bakers/cooks to bring you varying recipes and kitchen adventures. We call it College Bakers’ Collective, and you can find it right here. It’s been really cool getting to see what other college kids, who are just as busy as the next kid, are up to in their kitchens. Come say hi; if you’re waiting for something new from me, there’s a good chance something has already been posted @ CBC. Stay warm, kids!

Oatmeal Date Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

As seen on “Foreign Food on Photos“, my Nigerian food blog
If you look closely you can see the SURPRISE

     EVERYONE GUESS WHAT! I made cookies.
     Duh, I made cookies…I mean I created cookies. How is this the first time I’ve made a cookie recipe, you ask? I’ll get back to you on that. But it looks like it took traveling 5000 miles from my kitchen to do it. Don’t worry, it will happen again! And it’ll only take me 300 miles. But here’s what happened.
     My uncle bought a good 3 kilos of rolled oats after giving up on the instant lifestyle (darn). He kindly asked if I would be willing to help him make some cookies with them (or something like that). So what does bored old me do with a clean kitchen in the dead of night when everyone’s gone to bed? Get cReAtIve. And too creative, by the sounds of it, right? Don’t worry, read on!
     With a half full tub of peanut butter waiting for me to make my lunch sandwiches, some questionably-sourced dates returning from I’m-not-sure-where in my cousin’s hand, no chocolate, and those darned oats, I had some interesting flavors to work with. And work I did. I wanted to go all out after the chocolate chipless cookies I’d made some weeks before, so why not use all these things, and if no one likes them, more for me! Haha kidding…
     ….yeah. So I had the basics: butter, sugar, flour etc. I decided to try the dark brown sugar that was around, which was a successful first. It’s also expiring on Thursday. Here was my “logic”, if I had been thinking rationally (I think it’s all subconscious at this point): peanut butter cookies are a norm, and so are oat and date cookies (soo good, you can actually check “my” recipe here!). Oats and peanut butter could be easily paired together. This combo might need something sweet to cut the thickness/nutty flavors. Dates are sweet. In they go!

Dark brown sugar for extra molasses chewiness and color

     Of course, right after adding some knife fulls of peanut butter, I decided I wanted to be like those fancy gourmet bakers who stuff shenanigans into their cookies. In my ideal cookie, this would be chocolate. Just an eruption of melted chocolate everywhere. But I had peanut butter. And peanut butter is what I used. So peanut butter cookies became stuffed with peanut butter. And it was an excellent choice. If you’re not so into PB, you can skip that part, but don’t skip the PB in the dough because it’s mild and lovely. I made some normal cookies so I wouldn’t overwhelm with the decadence, and they were good too.
     Alright, enough of the blog banter, let’s get y’all baking these. And I must warn you that some of these instructions and measurements are approximate, for I guesstimated a temperature from the knob on the gas oven and kept adding more of stuff. Who goes exactly by the recipe, though? They’re more like guidelines, anyway.
     Also, if you think of a better name for these cookies, do tell! I’ll bake you some for free. So far my other candidate is “Oatmeal Date Cookies with a Heart of Peanut Butter (or gold??)”

How innocent-looking

Crazy Oatmeal Date Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies
Makes 25 stuffed cookies, or 35 regular cookies

Ingredients
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup butter at room temperature
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 dashes of salt
6-8 mejdool dates, coarsely chopped
1 cup rolled oats
Several more spoonfuls of peanut butter

  1. Preheat the oven whenever you want, but it will be at/around 360 degrees. Butter two cookie sheets and set aside.
  2. Combine your softened butter and sugars in a large bowl until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well, then add the peanut butter.
  3. Gradually mix in the flour, baking powder and salt. Add in the dates, making sure they separate in the dough. Gradually stir in the oatmeal.
  4. To make stuffed cookies, make small balls of dough, using just over half the dough, and place on the cookie sheets. Use a spoon to make a small well in the dough. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to stiffen. Place a 1/4 teaspoon of peanut butter in the well of the dough. Use your hands to flatten small tops to cover the peanut butter. Diligently seal the sides of the cookie so the peanut butter doesn’t escape.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean/with just peanut butter.

You can make bigger cookies to add more peanut butter,
but they’re already fairly large
I suggest finding your milky beverage of choice before
finishing the batch

Facebook Responds: Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Ok who has the same plates as we do?

     I was running low on flour, yet I had the baking itch. Some timing that was. Too indolent (yay vocab words) to figure out what to make while my dad stopped at the too-far-and-too-lazy-to-go co-op just for me, I used all the resources at my fingertips at the time (all nine). When faced with the request “Aaaah quick someone tell me what to bake.” in the form of a Facebook status, Facebook really delivered. I went with former classmate Mandy’s Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies, from Post Punk Kitchen, on their game once again (recall the college-ified chocolate chippers)! Excellent choice. There was definitely more chatter than I was expecting on that status. About eight people’s worth. I think I could make this work to my advantage. Might make it a new theme: mandatory recipe usage from comment of Facebook status…uh oh.

Get your nutmeg ready! Because yours is probably whole too
(it’s the hipster thrifty thing to do)

Molasses is important!

     Since this was a vegan recipe, there’s no egg or butter. But you can change this if you want, though the texture without is just fine. Key players are now canned pumkpin, molasses, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Still playing with my food…

     I omitted a lot of extra crunchies that the recipe had, but I’m sure the cookies are still fairly nutritious…

You should probably keep the oatmeal (rolled/old-fashioned!)

Ok here’s my version
Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients
2 cups flour
1 1/3 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup half melted butter (it’s not like you don’t do that by accident anyway right?)
2 tablespoons molasses
1 cup canned pumpkin, or cooked pureed pumpkin (ain’t noobody got time fuhdat)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Have ready 3 greased baking sheets.
Mix together flour, oats, baking soda, salt and spices.
In a seperate bowl, mix together sugar, butter, molasses, pumpkin and vanilla until very well combined. Add dry ingredients to wet in 4 batches, folding to combine.
Drop by tablespoons onto greased cookie sheets. They don’t spread very much so they can be placed only an inch apart. Flatten the tops of the cookies to press into cookie shape. Bake for 16 minutes at 350
Remove from oven and get cookies onto a wire rack to cool. These taste best when they’ve had some time to cool and set. They taste even better the next day! ( <– Ha what?)

Here’s the real one…

Let’s do this again, social media outlets.

Speaking of, my Instagram feed’s been killin it as of late, check it out for pre-blogging snaps @ http://instagram.com/carmzl …#shamelessplugging.
While we’re at it, send me your favorite cookie recipe! Maybe it’ll show up here. Till next time!