Cold Brew Nutella Banana Walnut Bread

When life gives you spotted brown bananas that emit fruit fly activity, life gives you banana bread.
I had the urge to make this banana bread in lieu of PMS symptoms in full rage and the deluge of chocolate cravings in full force. In the process of making this banana bread however, I wanted to tjuze it up a bit, so after a few more additions here and there, what went into my oven was a Cold Brew-Nutella-Banana-Walnut Bread (talk about the hyphenation game on fleek!).

INGREDIENTS
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups AP flour (I use King Arthur’s)
1 egg
1.5 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cold brew coffee concentrate (I use Grady’s Cold Brew)
4 ripe bananas
12 tbsp butter (at room temperature)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup nutella (or chocolate hazelnut spread)

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
2. In a medium sized bowl: mash bananas, milk, cold brew coffee, salt, vanilla and egg until banana mixture is the consistency of your desire (I like a bit of banana chunkage in mine).
3. In a separate bowl: sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
4. In the largest bowl: beat together butter and sugar until well combined.
Add in banana mixture until well combined.
Add in dry ingredients + chopped walnuts until just combined. Do not over mix or your banana bread will baking into hardened condensed loaf!
5. In a 9″ x 6″ greased loaf pan, spread 1/4 o f the banana bread mixture and layer/marble in a layer of nutella.
Repeat this step until banana bread mixture and nutella reach 3/4 of the way up the loaf pans (this recipe makes 2 loaves).
6. Bake in oven for 1 hour or until your kitchen smells like chocolately-nutty-banana-coffee goodness!
7. When done baking, take out of the oven and rest for 30 minutes.
8. Slice up your little loaves of love and enjoy!

Indelible – Edible Gratitude, 
-Kat

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Managing How To Meal Plan: 5 Tips for Beginners

This blog entry has been a long time coming and I’m finally glad to say that I’m determined to carve out time to share my tips for efficiency  when it comes to meal planning that I have experienced.
I began meal planning seven years ago, when I watched a short documentary/ attended a lecture in university called “The Story of Stuff” by Annie Leonard. It opened up my eyes to the systematic ways of our capitalist consumerism and one thing led to another and I watched Food Inc. on Netflix. This documentary changed my perspective on our large scale monopolized food system and how detrimental mass-farming for profit and volume and conventional ways of producing food is both harmful to ourselves and to the organisms we hurt in the process. I was so inspired by both these films that I decided to take a summer internship in 2009 at a local learning center whose curriculum focuses on educating inner-city communities about growing organic healthy food and demonstrated how to create adaptable recipes to please everybody’s palate. This place is also where I gained knowledge about the global impact coffee culture has presented within our society and why I love coffeeshops so damn much. Third wave obviously…

Before I go on, I want to preface that I’m not a nutrition expert or a health care individual, but I demonstrate living a sustainable healthy lifestyle to the best of my ability everyday since 2009. So I’d like to say that I’ve had enough experience eating sustainably & healthy.


There are a few tools/tips  that you need in order to begin your meal planning process. 
1. Start a Pinterest account
          Pinterest is a powerful visual vehicle for recipes and DIY. I have separate boards for things I want to bake, things to make for next week, and festive holiday recipes to try out.
2. Purchase a blank notebook 
          This step may seem simple, but I have volumes of filled notebooks that play witness to the documenting of recipes that I will eat throughout the week. Here’s usually a breakdown of how I categorize my meals
  • Breakfast (heaviest/heartiest meal of the day, most protein dense to help fuel you)
  • Snack 1 (sweet)
  • Lunch (something that’ll sustain me, but won’t make me fall asleep post eating)
  • Snack 2 (savory)
  • Dinner (I always aim to make a soup for the week, soup is filling but light and for me, is something I can eat everyday)
3. Compile a list of pantry/fridge essentials
     Nothing frustrates me more than in the process of meal prepping and I noticed that I lack an ingredient. Having a continuous supply of necessary items in stock will ensure that you don’t run into this problem like I have. Over the years my essentials from week to week are:
  • Herb of your choice (for me it’s cilantro and basil)
  • Eggs
  • Fresh lemon
  • Rotisserie chicken
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Kerrygold unsalted butter
  • A tomato sauce of some sort (like a bolognese, that I’ve made prior)
  • Salsa
  • Green onions
  • Bananas
  • Seasonal snack fruit of choice
  • Cheese (parmigiano reggiano, shredded cheddar, and cotija)
  • Some sort of carb to carry the protein and side veggies (such as cous cous, brown rice, polenta, and oatmeal)
  • A “carrier” veggie, basically any vegetable that you like that can also be a vehicle for flavors (for me it’s sweet potato, spaghetti squash, zuchini, and cauliflower)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (high quality)
  • Coconut oil
  • A tub of full fat Greek yogurt
*If this list seems daunting, note that this list is just MY personal preference of what I like to have on hand. The beauty of cooking is that you can customize everything to your liking.
4. Set a budget for yourself. 
I’m typically not one to go into scrupulous detail regarding budgeting, but budgeting your money for things that you consume everyday is more essential and crucial to get a handle on as I step into a more frugal lifestyle.
For myself, since the farmers market that I frequent only accepts cash, the most I will spend for myself on produce is roughly 30 dollars. For anything else that I don’t purchase at the farmers market, I buy at Trader Joe’s, which results in a maximum budget of  40 dollars. If my calculations don’t deceive me the weekly total for my budget equates out to be $70 and if we were to break it down further, that means I spend roughly 10 dollars a day feeding myself three meals a day in addition to two snacks a day. If that’s not eating a healthy lifestyle on a budget, then I don’t know what is anymore.
5. Have designated containers for specific meals 

Once you’ve tackled the daunting task of preparing your meals, it is imperative for these delicious meals you’ve made to have a home. For myself, I have four 2-cup volume glass pyrex cups for my breakfast and two large BPA free rectangular tupperware containers to hold my lunches and dinners. My snacks are usually batched in gallon Ziploc baggies and my crucial cold brew is in my usual 32 ounce glass bottle. The overall spatial footprint of all these items in the fridge amounts to half a shelf with strategical maneuvering.

 

The Last Note:
Get hands on
Basically, you can mentally plan and plan all you want but without proper execution and gratitude for the trial and error process, you won’t know what works for you and what doesn’t. My trial and error process has been extensive to say the least, but I’ve had a lot of enjoyment out of it. Throughout the work week, I dream of spending Saturday mornings perusing my local farmers market and talking to all the farmers about their recent growing season. This process has served as a new method of therapy for me on the weekends, I call it “My Sacred Saturdays” and I wouldn’t change them for a second.

Febrewary.

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Welcome To “Febrewary”
     Today is officially the first day of the second month of the new year. I feel like we as a culture have finally simmered down from the first month frenzy and have come equipped with some sort of routine for ourselves.
As for myself I’ve finally come out of the trenches of being sporadically ill for almost a month and have finally slowed to a pace of life I can manage right now. My sleeping schedule has finally aligned with my goals. My meal prepping is no longer a task that I had become anxious/scrupulous about and I am a month into the new fangled world of Bullet Journaling.
Needless to say the month of January was a readjustment month.
February however is just beginning and I am exclaiming that for this month, I will be writing with a focus on coffee. I’ve written about coffee before and my cathartic  relationship with it, but now I’m going to take that enthusiasm and expand it a bit.
I need to write about different coffeeshops and how each one I step into has a variable vibe.
This will further push my goal to write more and harness my writing skills that I have been in distant contact with (really need to do my English minor justice). Hopefully you enjoy the forthcoming posts featuring Instagram worthy images.
Indelible Gratitude,
-Kat

My Life In Coffeeshops

_DSC1954With the proliferation of popularity amongst social media, the respite of coffee shops and their appeal to customers far and wide is something I can always support.
The relationship I have with coffee shops has been transformative over the years; from stealing wi-fi at Starbucks on a regular basis to engaging with the elderly at my neighborhood Pannikin to now embracing the craft coffee culture and it’s widespread viral presence in today’s public domain, these spaces have always remained a place of this idea of “home-base” for me.
I was introduced to this idea of a home-base in my 6th grade English class. My English teacher at the time had giant letters scripted upon the white board of the classroom that just read “HOME BASE.” She then explained that her classroom, this space we share, is a safe place of ideas and conversation. In this space we do not degrade one another because our opinions are different, we seek to find similarities between ideas and talk about their common space. From that moment on, this arbitrary but philosophical idea of a “home-base” was something I was always seeking.
I found that feeling of a “home-base” in one of two places: a studio environment and a coffee shop.
My life in coffee shops thus far has always been one of connection, collaboration, and creation. I’ve spent my formative educational years spending my weekends in coffee shops, studiously plugged in and tuned out or gathering together amongst my cohort delving deep into the politics and study of design.
Nowadays, post-grad life, I spend my life in coffee shops unplugged and tuned in to the people that inhabit this space. I’ve read a lot of design articles from various parts of the interwebs about the rapid spread of coffee houses and their picturesque atmosphere and how much design thought goes both into the physical space and the business model when it comes to the creation of these environments. I’ve siphoned through the literature but at the end of the day the cathartics  I get when I step into a coffee shop (third wave, obviously) is second place to how I feel when I’m dancing.
I was first really initially introduced to this craft coffee culture around four years ago when I would spend my days in East County San Diego at this coffeehouse called Kaffee Meister. I grew fond of the space because it was quiet and the open window interface that was adjacent to the neighboring park always eased my mind in the greatest of fashion.
Fast forward two more years in 2014 and my caffeine journey became elevated when I decided to spend a couple weeks in Auckland to become reacquainted with who I really am (but that’s another story). I spent a majority of my alone time as one would predict, in coffee shops. The space I frequented was Atomic Coffee Roasters and I would just spend hours, watching people interact and having incredibly personal and intimate conversations with the baristas that worked there. I’ve met some great people in the walls of this establishment and although it will be ages until I meet with them over a cup of coffee, their impressions are clear and distinct in my mind. I’ve also fallen deeply in love with flat whites and pour overs in the land of the Kiwis.
Accelerate that timeline of 2014 two more years again and in 2016 I’ve re-fallen back in love with coffee shops. Although my hometown scene surrounding coffee is still in its progressing stages, the dynamic landscape of all these coffee shops with a unifying but diverse mission to offer a great cup of caffeine and perhaps conversation is something I only hope aims towards longevity. In trying times where all we ever do is live vicariously through our phones, it’s nice to have some real face time, in person, with a hot steaming cup of black fuel to reawaken your senses.
I actually had a more concise outline for this blog post, but I decided to throw that wayward and just go with my gut in the composition of it. I hope you all don’t mind the random stream of consciousness, I guess you can pen me down as a regular Holden Caulfield.
Indelible Gratitude,
-Kat

Sopa de Albondigas Saturdays

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The prep, complete with a groovy playlist.

The Lowdown:

My Saturday mornings consist of farmer’s markets, the local Trader Joe’s, and my weekly duty of making lunch for that day. If you know me, I take my food very seriously! Even more so when it involves my family. Glancing down at the ingredients I picked up from the market, I decided to make one of my all-time favorite comfort foods, Sopa de Albondigas.
Before I even start cooking, I have to put on a good playlist that consists of groovy feel good vibes. It sets “the stage” for a great session in the kitchen, plus, it’s the weekend! In this household, tunes in the kitchen isn’t an option…it’s NECESSARY. My playlist is featured in the righthand sidebar, and also listed below:
Weekend Kitchen Groove Playlist
 **The order of this playlist starts off with an energetic opening of Tuxedo’s “Do It” as a subtle way to get to cookin’ and then proceeds with radio hit “Uptown Funk” and then reverts back in time with a little bit of Motown, preferably Earth, Wind, & Fire and finally slows down with the ever classic “Sailing” just to leave you with a relaxed state of mind as you clean up the kitchen. 


 

THE STORY: Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset

My childhood best friend during pre-school to second grade was of hispanic ethnicity and since my parents were usually busy to pick me up from school, I would go to her house on a regular basis. This is where I fell in love with hispanic food, to be more specific, Mexican food. I remember watching her mother and her abuela compose this soup in their kitchen and even though I was young, I became receptive of the tradition behind this dish. The love and care that went into the making of this soup always made me feel at home..even though I wasn’t technically blood-related, they treated me as one of their own.**It also didn’t hurt that we both had the same last name, so we were kinda like sisters anyways. 

This recipe is to pay homage to my adoptive abuela, the instigator of my love for Mexican food. 


THE RECIPE: Vegprep

INGREDIENTS:
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 white onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled & cut into chunks
2 russet potatoes, peeled & cut into chunks
2 zuchini, cut into chunks
2 stalks celery, cut into chunks
1 white chili pepper, leave whole
1(14oz) can diced tomatoes
30 fl oz. low sodium beef broth
20 fl oz. water
salt & pepper to taste
**chopped cilantro & lime to garnish

Meatballin meatballs
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup cooked white rice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground oregano
1/8 tsp pepper
1 green onion, finely minced
↑ mix this ingredients together in a bowl and form into balls, using about 1 tablespoon per ball.

Insta_Albondigas
The finished product!

DIRECTIONS:
1. Place olive oil in a heavy stockpot and add onions. Cook until softened (about 2-3 minutes on medium high heat).
2. Add beef broth, water, potato, canned tomatoes, carrots and bring to a boil
3. Once soup is up to a rolling boil, lower heat to simmer and cover for 1 1/2 hours
4. Place meatballs and zucchini into soup and let simmer for another 1 hour
5. When soup is done, ladle into bowls and garnish with cilantro & lime and enjoy!

Catch Ya Later
-Kathy