January 30, 2013

Savory Cornbread Waffles

So all day on Monday, I had this craving for waffles. With raspberry sauce. Warm and crispy waffles, soft on the inside, drizzled with some of my favorite raspberry red wine sauce. And maybe with a scoop of ice cream. Vanilla ice cream. That gets all melty and soft on the hot waffle and drips into all the squares and you just have this sweet and buttery and sticky delicious mess. Drizzled with raspberry sauce.

But here's the thing: I don't eat lunch. I'm never hungry for it. I snack on pretzels or dried pomegranate seeds during the day, and I'll maybe eat a protein bar on my lunch break. I'm not starving myself or anything; my body just does not want to eat a meal. Predictably, though, my tummy is super-grumbly when I get home from work. So with my only other option for dinner that night being pot roast (I'm not a fan of red meat. Never have been), I figured I would indulge my craving.

I was way too hungry for that sweet, sticky mess I had envisioned, however. No, when I'm that hungry, only something savory will satisfy. Then I remembered we had scallions and shredded cheddar in the fridge. That could be good.
Not only did I find the scallions and the cheese, but fresh cilantro, tiny sweet peppers, and limes. And in the pantry, a box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix. Hot damn, these waffles were starting to sound epic. And my tummy was starting to growl in earnest. In ten minutes, I had the ingredients chopped, the batter mixed, and the waffle iron preheated.

Yes. I used a mix. It was a quarter to 6 and I was hungry. I feel no shame in this. Neither does my tummy, which was very, very pleased with the end result. Because these waffles? They were good.
Now, to be fair, the flavors most prominent in these waffles were the cornmeal, scallions, and the cilantro. I think the lime juice and sweetness of the mix canceled each other out, and the cheddar really ended up getting lost. I also added a sprinkle of chipotle seasoning blend, just to ramp up the savory aspect.

But, but, these waffles were crispy-crunchy, with only a hint of sweetness and such a great blend of flavors that I maybe ate 2 whole ones for dinner. And one for breakfast this morning (they heat up well in a toaster oven). You could serve them with chili for a fun dinner. Or cut them into quarters and serve with salsa or guacamole in place of chips (great for a certain football game coming up soon, if ya know what I mean). Or  offer them topped with some pico de gallo or sour cream as a unique and tasty brunch dish.

Best of all, you could totally customize them however you want. Want the lime flavor a little more prominent? Add some zest. Prefer spicy? Try jalapenos instead of the bell peppers (how good would that be?). Don't like cilantro? .... I'm not sure what you could use instead. I guess you could skip it? And what's wrong with you? Why don't you like cilantro? Poor cilantro. It's okay. I still love you.
So the moral of the story is: I'm kind of sad I ate the last waffle for breakfast this morning. And don't be mean to cilantro.

Savory Cornbread Waffles {Printable Version}

Yield: 4 waffles

1 box Jiffy® corn muffin mix
½ cup milk
¼ cup fresh lime juice
2 tbsp. melted butter
1 egg
1 small bell pepper, diced
¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Handful of chopped fresh cilantro
Handful of chopped scallions
¼ tsp. chipotle seasoning blend (optional)

In a large bowl, mix together the mix, milk, lime juice, butter, and egg until well incorporated (some
lumps are fine). Mix in the remaining ingredients. Cook in a waffle maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Recipe adapted from the one provided on the Jiffy® box

January 27, 2013

Apple Cake Tart

A few weeks ago, I was looking for something to make, when my mother handed me a hand-written recipe. "Why don't you try this?" she said. "It's a recipe from Cousin Marie that your aunt and I could never figure out how to make. We were convinced that she left something out of the recipe."

Reading it over, I gave my mother a strange look. "Ma, this looks like an icebox cake."

"No. It can't be."

I looked it over again. Pudding, cool whip, graham crackers, and pie filling. Layer and chill. "I'm pretty sure I know what an icebox cake recipe looks like. I'm kind of an expert."

She snatched the recipe back and read it herself. "Huh. I could have sworn that this was the recipe."

"I'm pretty sure you and Auntie Pat together have enough kitchen know-how to figure out an icebox cake."
Fast forward to this weekend. I was looking through my mom's old recipe book, when I found another recipe from Cousin Marie. This one was labeled Peach or Apple Cake. When I took it out to look at it, I saw a note on the back, apologizing for leaving out the baking powder. I had found it.

Making it, I decided "cake" was a bit of a misnomer, as the end result is rather more like an apple tart, but with a thin, sweet layer of cake instead of pastry. So I dubbed it a cake tart. (I'd also considered "Apple Right-Side-Up Cake," but figured that was probably only funny to me and confusing to everyone else)
The original recipe suggested adding chopped walnuts to the top for the apple variation, but I don't like walnuts. I decided to use oats instead. This way I was thoroughly justified in eating a piece for breakfast. Oats and apples and milk and eggs. Totally healthy. Right?

Apple Cake Tart {Printable Version}

Yield: 6-8 servings

1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
½ cup warm (not boiling) milk
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
2-3 large apples, peeled and sliced thin*
¼ cup quick oats (optional)
Cinnamon sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking dish. In a large mixing bowl, mix together sugar, flour, milk, eggs, baking powder, and salt. Pour into the prepared pan. Arrange the sliced apples in a single layer on top of the batter. Sprinkle with oats (if using) and cinnamon sugar. Bake 30-35 minutes, until cake layer is set. Let cool on a wire rack.

*Peaches or pears would also work well.

Recipe from Cousin Marie

January 23, 2013

Strawberry Cake Batter Fudge

You guys want to know something? I love Valentine's Day.

Not because of the actual lovey-dovey crap. It's a teeny bit sickening. Plus, having my birthday the day after Valentine's Day, I'm quite used to getting shunted aside with everyone saying, can't we do it some other weekend because we had plans to be all lovey-dovey, kissy-kissy, I lurves you, stop it before I slap you in the face.

And it's not because I'm in luuuuuuurve, unless you count my imaginary very real oh-so-delusional totally valid yes, I'm really this sad completely healthy love affair with Benedict Cumberbatch. (He, uh, he can't make it to the States for Valentine's Day this year because uh, because he's in New Zealand pretending to be a dragon. Yup, that's it. Rawr.)(I really need a life, don't I?)

No, I love Valentine's Day because of the decorations and the colors and the flavors. I like pink hearts and sparkly cupcakes and chocolate covered strawberries. I like puppies dressed as cupid and cherry cordials and the little stuffed bears holding hearts that make kissy noises when you press them. And I love those little cardboard valentines that you used to give out in school, the cheesier (or nerdier)(or both...ier) the better.

I love everything tacky and cheesy about the holiday. But the second you start getting all real and heartfelt and sappy, Valentine's Day becomes Slapsgiving, we clear?
I used cake mix to make this fudge. But I am not ashamed, because this fudge is so easy to make that the kids can totally help out. And kids know that Valentine's Day is about picking out the best valentine in the bunch to give your crush and the worst to give that weird kid that makes fun of your hair. And also candy.

Strawberry Cake Batter Fudge {Printable Version}

Yield: Approx. 30 pieces

2 cups plus 2 tbsp. strawberry cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
2 cups powdered sugar
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
¼ cup milk
1/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
Sprinkles, for decorating (optional)

Lightly spray an 8x8 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. In a large, microwave-safe bowl, mix
together the cake mix and powdered sugar. Add the butter and milk to the bowl, but don’t mix them in
yet. Microwave for about 2 minutes on high, until the butter is mostly melted. Mix until everything is
well combined. Gently fold in the chocolate chips, if desired (they may begin to melt), and spread the
batter evenly into the prepared baking dish. Press sprinkles into the top, if desired. Chill for about 2
hours, until firm. Cut into squares and store, refrigerated, in an air-tight container.

Recipe adapted slightly from Sally’s Baking Addiction

January 20, 2013

Apple Baked Oatmeal & Quinoa

Me and the bestie went to see The Hobbit yesterday.

Can I tell you something that shouldn't really surprise you? I loved The Lord of the Rings. Books and movies. And I'm still mad at Peter Jackson for skipping the Cleansing of the Shire simply because he didn't like that part, even though I thought he did a fantabulous job otherwise.

Fast forward to the Hobbit. I read the book in sixth grade for class, and I didn't really like it. My mother, who also loves LotR, swore that it was because I read it for school with a teacher I didn't like. I tried reading it again, later. Still nope. So I wasn't too excited to for the movie.

And then Peter Jackson went and cast Martin Freeman as Bilbo. And then he cast Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug. It's like he planned it all out specifically to make me see it. I'm not sure I would have gone otherwise, but I love those two actors far too much to miss it. And maybe I was a tiny, tiny bit happy to see Middle Earth again.
But all that said, I wasn't thrilled with it. And I think my main problem was the length. 3 hours long, and not a whole lot happened. Plus, at times it seemed a bit confused. The Hobbit is a kid's book, and there are times when it seems that Peter Jackson tried to make it kid-friendly. Like the little-boy humor found in a few places, such as the troll accidentally using Bilbo as a handkerchief. Or when the dwarves start singing and kind of make it feel like a Disney movie. And if they had made it a kid's movie, that would have been fine, but these moments are immediately followed by epic battle scenes (which feel a bit tacked-on, to tell the truth) or terrifying moments with Gollum or the goblin king or the "pale orc" that I do not remember whatsoever from the book (I'm old). And no kid would be able to sit through the three-hour movie that was more exposition than anything else. Not to mention that a lot of the action scenes felt a bit recycled from LotR, and the CGI somehow doesn't look as good as it did in the other movies over a decade ago.

The fact is, they made the Lord of the Rings into 3 movies for 3 very lengthy, very involved books. Peter Jackson even originally pitched a two-movie script, thinking that he wouldn't be able to sell 3. So the fact that they're turning the shortest and simplest book of the series into 3 movies I think will make for a lot of tedious moments.

Will I go see the next one? Yes. Martin Freeman was a wonderful Bilbo, and I did adore the dwarves. And Benedict Cumberbatch as a dragon is just too delicious to miss. I just hope it moves a bit faster, and I'm a little bit sad that we won't be seeing Gollum again.
This recipe... has absolutely nothing to do with the Hobbit. Although I like to think that it's the sort of hearty fare Elrond might serve for breakfast in Rivendell. Or maybe it's too simple for elves. Hmm, in the Prancing Pony in Bree? That's from the Fellowship. But they didn't go to any taverns in the Hobbit, precious. Maybe the Bagginses eats it for breakfast, maybe it does. Gollum, gollum.

(Sorry. I'll stop with the impressions. Yes we will, precious.) (Last time, promise)(Gollum)

Since everyone in my house is sick, I decided we needed a warm, hearty, healthy breakfast. The kind that fills your tummy and makes you warm from head to toe. And since I have an awful lot of oats, and an awful lot of quinoa, I baked them both with some apples and dried cherries. Then served it nice and hot and drizzled with syrup. Yum. It's like a giant oatmeal cookie that you can eat for breakfast.

You probably could make this with old-fashioned oats instead of quick oats, and it would probably fall apart less, but quick oats was all I had. If you want to try, you should probably increase the liquid.
Apple Baked Oatmeal and Quinoa {Printable Version}
Yield: 8-10 servings

1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup quick oats
2 tbsp. sugar
1½ tsp. apple pie spice
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup peeled and chopped apples
1 cup dried cherries*
1 cup milk
¼ cup maple syrup
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 9-inch deep dish pie tin with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix together the quinoa, oats, sugar, apple pie spice, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the apples and dried cherries, and spread evenly into the prepared pie dish.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients until well blended. Pour evenly over the
oatmeal mixture. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until set. Serve warm, drizzled with maple syrup.

*Dried cranberries or raisins would also work well.

Recipe by Kim

January 16, 2013

Cannoli Cream Icebox Cake

Benedict Cumberbatch did not win a Golden Globe. >_<

No, I am not over it yet. I will never be over it. Because I believe in Sherlock Holmes.
No one will ever convince me that you told me a lie.
Oh, the trials and tribulations of being a fangirl. And they still haven't started filming the third series, but I heard a rumor about March.

So after the epic let down of Benedict not winning a Golden Globe-- which he totally deserved, Hollywood Foreign Press. Have you even seen The Reichenbach Fall?-- I needed the comfort of icebox cake. Because icebox cake is the ultimate comfort food. The texture of the softened graham crackers, and the real cream, and the thousand different flavors you can incorporate makes it perfect to soothe you when awards shows make mistakes. *grumble*
I decided to do a cannoli icebox cake, because I had all the ingredients on hand, and it sounded like a good idea at the time. I just adapted my Pumpkin Pie Icebox Cake recipe, and like in that recipe, the cream is very light in flavor and texture. I thought about just slathering cannoli cream in between the graham crackers, but I like the whipped texture, and it's covering the graininess that ricotta can give the cream

I also put regular chocolate chips in the cream instead of listening to my instincts and using minis, which made the layering a little more difficult than is should. The cream layers were so thick that the cake ended up being a little unstable. Hahaha, whoops. Still, it tasted good. And my cannoli-loving family gave it their seal of approval

So, Benedict, if you're still smarting from Sunday, here's a recipe that'll make you feel better. And if you don't want to make it, you can always come over so I can give you a slice. But only if you tell me how Sherlock survives. Deal?

Cannoli Cream Icebox Cake {Printable Version}
Yield: 8-10 servings

1 cup boiling water
½ cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. (1 packet) unflavored gelatin
1½ cups ricotta cheese
½ cup (4oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. orange zest
¼ tsp. almond extract
1 cup whipping cream, chilled
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Approx. 1 box graham crackers*
Crushed ice cream cones and candied citrus peel for decorating (optional)

Prepare the filling: whisk the boiling water, ½ cup sugar, and gelatin together until the sugar and gelatin are completely dissolved. Set aside. With an electric beater, beat the ricotta, cream cheese, zest, vanilla and almond extract together at medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and carefully stream in the gelatin mixture. Beat until completely mixed, cover, and refrigerate for 1-2 hours, until thickened. Meanwhile, whip the cream and remaining 2 tbsp. sugar at high speed until soft peaks form. Carefully fold the whipped cream and chocolate chips thickened ricotta mixture.

Assemble the cake: line a loaf pan with plastic wrap. Spread the filling evenly in the bottom of the loaf pan, about ¼ inch thick. Place a row of graham crackers on top, filling as much space as possible. Top with another layer of graham crackers and spread with filling. Repeat until the top of the loaf pan is reached, ending with the filling. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

To serve: invert the loaf pan over a serving dish to release the cake (it should pop right out). Frost the
sides with the remaining filling. If desired, top with crushed ice cream cones and candied citrus peel.
Serve chilled.

Tip: You can also make a freeform cake. Just line the serving dish with graham crackers and layer from there.

*Almond cookies would also work well

Recipe by Kim
I can explain&#8230;
I could stare at that gif all day long. I think I have a problem...

This recipe is featured on Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party
Foodie Friends Friday

January 13, 2013

Spinach and Sausage Calzones

Am I the only one that gets a little worried about how their mind works sometimes? I was going to make pretzels. I had planned (that dirty, dirty word) to make stuffed pretzels. I had done research on stuffed pretzels. I had pinned recipes for stuffed pretzels. I had decided to do a spanakopita-inspired stuffed pretzels, with goat cheese (because I didn't want feta) and spinach and sausage.

And I made calzones. Brain, stop trolling me. I now have an unused log of goat cheese in my refrigerator, all thanks to you.
To be fair to Mr. Brain (although he doesn't deserve it, since this is far from the first time he's done it to me)(and he's now apparently male for some reason. I don't know. I'm special.) I was already a bit disheartened by a recipe fail earlier on. I had found the easiest bread recipe in the world, and I was going to make it, then I was going to make a panini with it, and I'd be set with my recipes for the week. Then the bread came out of the oven, and it was gross. See, more planning, and more planning fails. I should really know better.

Anyway, I was disheartened by the bread fail, and Mr. Brain didn't want to go through that agony again. So slowly, stuffed pretzels became stuffed pretzel buns, which became stuffed buns, which turned into calzones.

And, you know, these turned out amazing, so you can't really be too mad at Mr. Brain. He came up with this filling, which is the most epic of noms. Seriously, if it wasn't for the fact that there was raw egg in it, more of the filling might have ended up in my mouth than in the calzones. Creamy and garlicky with the spinach and the sausage and the little tang from the Swiss. Cripes, I'm drooling. I made it pretty super garlicky, but you could tone that down if you want. Just don't tell me, because then we can't be friends.

If you increased the ricotta, this would make killer lasagna or stuffed shells. Or you could wrap it in super simple pizza dough and have a bunch of these hand-held beauties ready for your Superbowl party. Which is soon, right? Soonish? I don't know; I have board game parties, not football parties. But these work well there, too.
So maybe Mr. Brain's trolling all works out for the best. But that doesn't mean I have to like it.

Spinach and Sausage Calzones {Printable Version}

Yield: 10 individual calzones

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
Big pinch crushed red pepper (optional)
1lb sausage meat (casings removed)
16oz. ricotta cheese
1 pkg. (10oz.) frozen spinach, thawed and drained
½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
2 eggs
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. sea salt
Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
1 recipe Basic Pizza Dough (see below), or premade pizza dough
1 tsp. water

Preheat the oven to 450°F. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic,
and red pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until the onions are translucent. Add the sausage meat and
continue to cook until the sausage has cooked through. Drain off the fat and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, spinach, Swiss, 1 egg, and seasonings until smooth. Mix in the sausage.

Divide the pizza dough into 10 even pieces. Flatten into rounds and roll out to ¼” thickness. In the center
of each round, mound about 3 tbsp. of the sausage filling. Fold the dough in half over the filling, and
pinch the sides together to seal. Place the calzones on an ungreased cookie sheet, and pierce with a
fork. Beat the remaining egg with 1tsp. of water, and brush the tops of the calzones with the egg wash.

Bake 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 400°F and bake another 5-10 minutes, until the
calzones are an even golden brown. Let cool a few minutes before serving.

Recipe by Kim

Basic Pizza Dough {Printable Version}

Yield: 1 12inch thin crust pizza

1 tbsp. active dry yeast
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. warm water (about 110°F)
2¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. olive oil

Dissolve the yeast in the water and let activate for 10 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour and
salt, and make a well in the center. Pour the yeast mixture into the well, and using a fork, pull the flour
into the yeast mixture. Continue stirring until a dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic,
about 10 minutes. Add more flour as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking.

Coat the inside of a clean bowl with the olive oil. Form the dough into a ball, and place it in the bowl,
turning it over to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1
hour. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Punch down the dough, and form it into a ball.
Cover with a dish towel and let rise again for about 20 minutes, until almost doubled in size. Stretch into
desired shape and bake as directed.

Recipe adapted slightly from Williams-Sonoma The Best of the Kitchen Library: Baking

This recipe is featured on Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party
Foodie Friends Friday

January 9, 2013

Sweet Potato Quinoa Muffins

I know what you're thinking (because I'm psychic, of course). Two recipes with quinoa in a row? What the crapperdoodle is with these shenanagins?

And I know you used the word shenanigans, because it is an awesome word. As is crapperdoodle, which is a Kim-made-it-up special.

There are two main reasons for the sudden influx of quinoa. The first is because someone decided it was a good idea to buy a giant 30lb bag of quinoa, even though he'd never made it before and has no idea what to do with it other than just cook it plain. (Okay, so it was a 4lb bag, but 4lbs of uncooked quinoa is a lot of frickin' quinoa).

The second is because it's January and everyone is on their New Year's resolution diets. Normally that wouldn't bother me, but everyone is all whine whine you're ruining my diet whine whine OMG, you know I shouldn't eat this stuff whine whine whine your pictures make me so hungry that I have to go and stuff my face. And even though I argue that just because it's there, doesn't mean you have to eat it, it's still all my fault.

So with everyone whining for healthy stuff, and me with a surplus of super healthy quinoa, it seemed logical to kill two birds with one stone (Mr. Spock, eat your heart out). And the fact that quinoa is easy to make in large batches and keeps well in the fridge doesn't hurt.
Though traditionally served like a grain, quinoa is actually a seed, similar to couscous in terms of texture. It's high in protein, amino acids, and vitamins, and it has a nutty sort of flavor. It's nutritional value has made it the new "it" food in health and fitness circles.

So I took the vitamin-rich quinoa, combined it with vitamin-rich sweet potato and put it into a whole wheat muffin. Because I care about your health. And it got people to stop whining. But mostly the first thing.
These are pretty short and ugly muffins. I made the batter way too thick (I fixed that for you in the recipe. You're welcome), and they didn't rise much. But instead of being dense like I expected, they were soft and as packed with flavor as they were with nutrition. I'm not the hugest fan of sweet potatoes, so these aren't exactly my favorite. But they got some rave reviews from the people I fed them to, so I guess they turned out pretty good.

I hope the New Year's resolution dieters are satisfied. I'm not sure how long I can keep up these healthy recipes. I'm starting to feel vaguely itchy.
 Sweet Potato Quinoa Muffins {Printable Version}
 Yield: 20 muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. nutmeg
Heaping 1 cup cooked and mashed sweet potato
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup milk
½ cup butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, cinnamon, salt,
baking soda, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, mix together all remaining ingredients, except the quinoa, until smooth and well blended. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix until fully incorporated. Fold in the quinoa. Divide the batter equally between 20 muffin cups and bake 18-20 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Cool on wire racks.

Recipe by Kim


January 6, 2013

Quinoa Breakfast Cookies

Can we just take a moment and talk about how British TV has ruined my life?

Mostly I'm talking BBC's Sherlock. Because over a year has passed since the last episode, and they haven't even starting filming the next season.

And do you know why this is? Because the stupid actors have to be sooo brilliant that they're totally becoming famous, and doing blockbuster movies, and Peter Jackson even delayed filming of the Hobbit because Martin Freeman just had to go and finish breaking my heart and filming the last of series 2 of Sherlock. Into little, itty bitty pieces, Martin Freeman. Itty bitty pieces.

Martin Freeman plays John Watson, and he just sort of grabs hold of you and he's so sweet and lovable and unexpectedly badass that you don't even notice the grip he's got on your heartstrings until he freaking pulls, and oh crap, can't handle all the feels. I knew enough of the Sherlock Holmes canon that I knew what was going to happen, and I knew what it meant, but freaking Martin Freeman still had me bawling like a baby.

And then there is Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Sherlock, and is just as brilliant as Martin Freeman, and I'm a little bit in love with him and his cheekbones. It's a little bit unfair how good-looking he is, because he's a wonderful Sherlock. See, even though Sherlock Holmes is such a cold, unrelatable character, you start to like him because Watson does. And then you like him even more because it's clear that he cares about Watson, but he doesn't have any social skills to speak of, so you excuse him for being a prick because of those adorably awkward moments when he tries to apologize. And of course he's amazing and has superhero-like powers of deduction, and despite the fact that he claims sentiment is a weakness, he lets you glimpse those moments that show he really does care, made all the more profound for their rarity. And he does this all while being, if I may borrow a term from Anne Rice, a gorgeous fiend. There's no defending against that.

And then there are the moments when John and Sherlock giggle together like little boys, and that just chips away your last little bit of defense.
Of course, that all says nothing of the writing and direction, which is smart and subtle and doesn't pander to the lowest common denominator like a lot of shows do (even though I solved A Study in Pink like 20 minutes in; come on Moffat, you're better than that).

Not like Elementary, which I started watching in an attempted to feed my Sherlock addiction. Jonny Lee Miller is fantastic (mostly because he plays Sherlock in a completely different way; you can't out Cumberbatch the master), but the writing is poor, and I can't get behind Lucy Liu's Watson. She's annoying and a nag, has a rather confused backstory and is completely unrelatable. Watson is supposed to be the everyday man (or woman, as it were), the one you identify with and the plot device Sherlock has to explain his deductions to. She works as a plot device, not a whole lot else. If they could amp up the writing a little more, make Watson a little more sympathetic, and the police a lot less dumb, it would be a good show. Not as good as Sherlock, but then we don't have to wait thirty years for the next season, either.

So that's one example of how British TV has ruined my life. And I didn't even get into Merlin or Doctor Who. Next time.

After having British TV ruin my life and Martin Freeman break my heart into itty bitty pieces, I deserve cookies. For breakfast. Don't you agree? 

And they're not just cookies, but super healthy vegan cookies made with protein-packed quinoa, whole wheat, bananas, and only 1 tablespoon of oil for the whole batch. And some antioxidant-rich dark chocolate chips. Because I need chocolate after all the feels, okay? *sniffle*
These cookies are soft, sweet, and flavorful. You're never going to mistake them for the dessert kind, but they're tasty and so darn healthy, you can eat them for breakfast. Or munch on them guilt-free while watching Sherlock and sobbing your brains out.

Quinoa Breakfast Cookies {Printable Version}
Yield: 18 cookies

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp. wheat germ (optional)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
1 banana, mashed
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp. molasses
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
½ cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, wheat germ (if using), baking powder,
cinnamon, and salt. Add the banana, sugar, molasses, oil, and vanilla, and mix until well incorporated.
Fold in the quinoa and chocolate chips. Drop the batter by the tablespoon on a cookie sheet lined with
parchment paper or a silpat mat. Bake 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are set. Cool on wire racks.

Tip: The cookies will stick. Use a metal spatula to help remove them.

Recipe by Kim