2018 Update

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

It’s crazy, isn’t it?  2017 is almost over.  In less then 24 hours it will be a completely new year full of potential.  Thousands of people will make resolutions to better themselves, and as the ball drops at midnight the race to complete those goals will begin.  365 days may seem like a long time but in realty it goes by in the blink of an eye.

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Looking back 2017 was jam packed.  I posted tons of recipes and updated you all on my life in my Saturday Stroll series.  It was a roller coaster of ups and downs and I’m thankful for all of you who joined me on the crazy ride.  No matter whether you’re a long time reader or you stumbled upon my blog through Finding Vegan or Pintrest or some other photo sharing website, I’m so grateful for each and everyone of you.  The fact that in the past year I was able to triple my blog traffic is mind boggling.  Even more shocking is that these views come from all over the world, not just the US.  Papers and Pastels started out as a project that I did not think would ever go very far, but it’s safe to say that my little project has become something bigger then I ever thought it would.

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So in honor of the new year that is just hours away I decided that I’m going to be completing 18 goals before 2018 is over.  To inspire you all to create your own goals as well as to keep myself accountable I thought I would share my favorites of these resolutions accompanied by some of my favorite photos from 2017, so here we go:

1. Meal Prep

Everyone who knows me knows that I wake up at the crack of dawn, yet somehow cannot manage to leave my house on time.  I don’t know why, but my time management skills have never been up to par.  To try and aid this issue, this year I want to plan my meals in advance so I’m not scrambling to put together meals at the last minute.

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2. Be able to do a pull-up

As simple as this seems, this one has been on my to do list for a long time.  I’ve always wanted to be able to do a pull-up and have never been able to, but I have a strong feeling that 2018 will be my year for it.

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3. Bullet Journal

I absolutely love how pretty bullet journals look and have been recently obsessed with reading bullet journal blogs.  I began bullet journaling in June, but I have been slacking lately and would like to get back on track.  It’s such a pretty way to relax and detox from the day.   IMG_8973

4. Run to Boston

This has also been something I’ve been meaning to do for a while.  I don’t have any particular reason why I want to do this, but I think it would be a fun experience.

IMG_82925. Read 12+ Books

I used to be a HUGE bookworm.  I would plow through at least four books in a single week if not more.  As my schedule got more and more packed I began to prioritize other things over reading.  I feel like I’ve forgotten how nice it is to curl up in a cozy corner with a good book and just relax.  That’s why I want to make it a priority to read at least one book of my choice per month.

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6. Cook dinner once a week

As good as I am at baking, I’m an awful cook.  Everyone who I talk to is shocked to learn this because I spend so much time in the kitchen, but it’s the truth.  This year I want to fix this and teach myself how to cook by making dinner at least once a week.

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I hope I inspired you to write your own goals, have a happy new year!

#18before2018

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Teff Flour Pumpkin Bread

Back in June I posted this banana bread recipe with teff flour and you all went wild.  To this day it’s my most viewed post and continues to bring in lots of traffic daily.  So I’m back with yet another teff flour recipe because if I didn’t convince you in my first post featuring the magic flour, I’m sure I’ll have you captivated by the grain by the end of this post.

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As I mentioned last time, teff is an Ethiopian grain that some olympian runners swear by.  It’s an amazing source of both protein, iron and calcium.  It also aids weight loss and promotes bone strength.  It really is a superfood.  Lately, I’ve been switching out about 1/2 a cup of white flour for some of this bad boy just because it has so many health benefits.  I mean a flour that tastes good AND boosts your immune system?  Why not!

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Today’s recipe features this super flour in a pumpkiny loaf of bread, because fall.  Now you might be thinking: ‘But Kat it’s almost winter!’.  That’s where you’re wrong.  Winter doesn’t officially start until December 21st (also known as my birthday [!!] but that’s another story), so I’ve got 26 more days that it is acceptable to post pumpkin and apple recipes.  Don’t worry December won’t be all fall flavors, I already have some peppermint recipes in the works, but there may be a couple last pumpkin posts sprinkled in with the winter flavors.

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Teff Flour Pumpkin Bread

  • Servings: 1
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour or white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup teff flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 15 oz pumpkin puree (generally 1 can)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup pecans, raisins, chocolate chips, etc.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Grease a bread pan of your choice.
  2. In a medium sized bowl mix the pumpkin, maple syrup, oil of your choice, and milk, stirring until combined.
  3. Add the baking soda, salt, and spices to the bowl and blend.  Sprinkle the two different types of flour on top and fold into the mixture until a batter forms. Throw in whatever add ins you chose and mix together.
  4. Fill the prepared bread pan and bake for 55 minutes – 1 hour.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool for longer.

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Pumpkin Scones {Vegan}

As you all probably already know, Fall doesn’t seem to be coming this year.  Weather wise, that is.  It’s hot one day and freezing the next.  The leaves aren’t quiet sure what to do and most of them aren’t turning their normal fire-y red or orange.

Despite the fluctuating weather, however, fall flavor is in full swing.  All of the grocery stores have stocked up on apple and pumpkin flavored foods and have mounds and mounds of candy stacked in every aisle for the upcoming holiday.

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Last year, I ushered in the transitional season by sharing my favorite apple cake.  This year I wanted to kick off fall by sharing something with a pumpkin flavor.  These scones are delicious and melt in your mouth.  They’re the perfect breakfast to make when you want a bite of fall, but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen.  Just be careful when you make them, before you know it you’ll have eaten the whole plate!

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Pumpkin Scones

  • Servings: 6
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Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup frozen coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon chips
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons water

Directions

  1. Preheat an oven to 425 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. Grate the frozen coconut oil over the mixture and work it in with your hands until the mixture resembles wet sand.
  4. Add the pumpkin and cinnamon chips and fold with a spatula until combined.
  5. Dump the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and pat the mixture into a circle about 3/4″ thick.  Cut the circle into 6 sections and place the six wedges of dough on the prepared parchment paper.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the scones are golden brown around the edges.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes.
  7. While the scones are cooling whisk the powdered sugar, cinnamon and water in a small bowl.  Once the scones are cooled drizzle the glaze on and enjoy!

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Chocolate Chip Shortbread

I was all out of mini chocolate chips.  So then I bought some.  And then I didn’t know what to do with them.  So they sat in my pantry, unopened, in the bin of over flowing chocolate chips because if you don’t know- Hi I’m Kat and I have a chocolate chip obsession.  But that’s a story for another day.

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Today we’re talking chocolate chip shortbread because they are clearly what mini chocolate chips were made for.  That and mini muffins, because who wants regular chocolate chips in their tiny muffins?  That would be no fun at all.
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I love shortbread because it really is the perfect cookie.  If you want a cookie that requires no thought, shortbread’s got you covered.  Butter, sugar, flour, blend, bake and you’re done.  But if you’re craving something a little more complex, shortbread is there for you too.  If you want to get complex you can easily customize the flavor.  Brown sugar will give it a more caramel-y flavor whereas powdered sugar creates a softer crumb.  That’s why I added a little of both to today’s mixture so that you can have the best of both worlds.  You’re welcome.

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The mini chocolate chips are really the star of today’s show, but if you want to go with a different add in, go ahead.  Pecans or almonds might be fun.  Ooh, or you could add raspberries and drizzle it with chocolate.  Yum, sort of like a inside out thumbprint cookie.  Whatever you decide to throw into the batter, I’m sure it will turn out well.  How can you go wrong with shortbread?

Chocolate Chip Shortbread

  • Servings: 12-24
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat an oven to 325 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixer beat the butter and sugars on high speed until combined.  Add the vanilla.
  3. While the mixer is running, sprinkle in the flour and salt.
  4. Toss in the chocolate chips and mix until just combine.  Be careful not to over mix.
  5. Using a spatula, spread the cookie dough on the parchment paper.  Place another sheet of parchment paper on top of the cookie dough.  Using a rolling pin roll the parchment paper covered cookie dough out until about 1/4 inch thick.  Place the slab in the fridge for at least an hour.
  6. Once chilled, remove from the fridge and cut into desired shapes.  Bake for 15-25 minutes depending on the size of your cookies.  They will be done with the edges are slightly golden brown.
  7. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before enjoying.

Variation: Taking 1 and 1/2 cups chocolate chips, microwave in twenty second increments, making sure to stir in between every increment until fully melted.  Dip half of the cookie in the melted chocolate and allow to cool.

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Chocolate Pavlova {Vegan}

What the heck is a pavlova?  That’s probably what you’re thinking right now.  Well, my dear friends it’s a magically delicious dessert that tastes like a cloud.  A chocolate cloud, but nevertheless a cloud.  It’s basically a meringue cake.  To construct one, you start with a meringue base and then slather loads of whipped cream and berries on top and PRESTO your pavlova is done.  Personally, I’m obsessed with the chocolate ones, but the plain old vanilla ones are delicious too.   IMG_8934.JPG

IMG_8927Your next question is probably something along the lines of: But Kat, meringues are made of egg whites, how can a pavlova possibly be vegan?  One word: Aquafaba.  I talked a little bit about aquafaba in my You Had me at Chocolate Cake post and my failed attempt at making chocolate frosting with it.  Since then, I’ve discovered a world of even more possibilities with the strange liquid and have come back ready to conquer the baking world.  For those of you who don’t know what it is, or who didn’t read my post on it, aquafaba is simply put, bean juice.  It’s the leftover liquid that you have when you open a can of chickpeas and although it doesn’t sound all that appetizing or like it would fit into baked goods, this stuff is vegan gold.  When beat, aquafaba fluffs up just like egg whites and can be used almost identically.  The best part is that it doesn’t even taste like chickpeas (because, ew, who wants that in their brownies?)!

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So today’s pavlova contains 0 egg whites and all the magical bean juice known as aquafaba.  Trust me, you’re not even going to miss the egg whites.

Chocolate Vegan Pavlova

  • Servings: 8
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup aquafaba (about the amount left in one 15 ounce can of chickpeas)
  • 1 cup superfine sugar (if you can’t find any, you can always grind your own in a food processor)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • a pinch of salt
  • Toppings (strawberries, chocolate, blueberries, nuts, etc.)

FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM:

  • 1 15 ounce can of coconut milk refrigerated overnight
  • 2 tablespoons vegan powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat an oven to 300 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Beat the aquafaba in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment for about 5 minutes or until peaks begin to form.
  2. Once whipped, add the sugar one tablespoon at a time while continuing to whisk until the mixture forms glossy peaks.
  3. In a small separate bowl, mix together the cream of tartar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, vinegar, and salt.  With the mixer running slowly add the cocoa mix to the aquafaba.
  4. Using a spatula, divide the meringue mixture onto the preprepared pan into four even circles.  It’s okay if they aren’t the prettiest at first, you can shape them with the spatula.
  5. Place in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 250 degrees.  Allow to bake for an hour to an hour and a half until the meringues make a nice thump noise when gently tapped.
  6. Once baked, turn the oven off and allow the meringues to cool completely inside the oven.
  7. While the meringue is cooling, open up the can of refrigerated coconut milk.  Pour out the liquid and scoop the solid coconut cream out into a medium bowl.  Add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract (if using).  I personally think that the almond extract adds another layer of flavor that you don’t get without it, but it’s not required for this recipe.  With a hand mixer beat the ingredients until fully combine and the mixture appears to be the same consistency as whipped cream, about three minutes.
  8. Once the meringue is cooled carefully peel it off of the parchment paper and place it on a serving plate.  Spread a layer of whipped cream on top of it and sprinkle your desired toppings.  Place the next meringue on top and repeat.  Repeat this process until you have no meringue left.
  9. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Black Bean Brownies

Before you get all mad at me for being gone for almost a month (I know, I know, I’m so sorry), just look at these brownies.  If you’re still mad, keep looking until you aren’t anymore.  I mean, we’ve got tons of more important things to talk about then me being gone for a month (yikes, again I’m sorry), firstly brownies, and secondly- um did you read that last word? BROWNIES!

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So yep, I’m jumping on the black bean in brownies wagon.  I mean, why not?  They’re brownies- but with tons of protein, so they’re basically an expectable lunch, right?

Per usual, these delicious bites of heaven are vegan, as well as mouth watering.  They’re packed with protein and are only 55 calories per square.  If that’s not a major win, I don’t know what is.  IMG_8402
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Black Bean Brownies

  • Servings: 12
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1 flaxegg (1 tablespoon flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate chips melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 8 by 8″ pan and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor blend the black beans, flaxegg, sugar, melted chocolate chips, and vanilla until mixed.  It’s okay if it looks like there are a few black bean chunks.  The mixture should somewhat resemble refried beans.
  3. Add the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and salt to the blended bean mixture and pulse until combined to form a batter.
  4. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 8-12 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean.
  5. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting and enjoying

 

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Teff Flour Banana Bread

For me, bananas are one of the most conflicting foods.  I have no idea whether I like them or not.  I like them in some things like these killer banana pancakes, but other foods with bananas like smoothies make me want to gag.  Don’t even get me started on banana flavored candies, those things are so gross.

Banana bread, however, falls into the first category.  I love banana bread- no I worship banana bread.  Whenever I make it I almost always end up eating the entire loaf in one sitting.  Now you may be thinking that that’s okay because banana bread has a reputation for being pretty ‘healthy’.  This is false.  It’s often times loaded with tons of sugars and unhealthy oils.  It’s very deceiving.  IMG_8227

This is where my recipe comes into play.  It doesn’t have any sugar and yet it still has that classic sweet taste that all banana bread needs.  It also contains one of my favorite healthier flours- teff.

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You’re now probably thinking what the heck is teff flour, so here’s the rundown.  Teff is an Ethiopian grain that is packed with iron and minerals.  It’s supposed to do wonders for runners, which is just a bonus for me on top of it’s fantastic flavor.  You can cook the grain plain, which I do do sometimes, or you can use the flour to bake it into things like this banana bread.  Either way, it’s nutritious and delicious.  If the idea of teff flour freaks you out, you don’t necessarily have to use it for this recipe, but I would give it a try, you might just be surprised.

Teff Flour Banana Bread

  • Servings: 1
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour or white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup teff flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 very ripe bananas (the browner the better)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup pecans, walnuts, chocolate chips, etc. (pecans are my favorite add in!)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Grease a bread pan of your choice.
  2. In a medium sized bowl mash the bananas.  Add the maple syrup, oil of your choice, and milk, stirring until combined.
  3. Add the baking soda, salt, and cinnamon to the bowl and blend.  Sprinkle the two different types of flour on top and fold into the mixture until a batter forms. Throw in whatever add ins you chose and mix together.
  4. Fill the prepared bread pan and bake for 55 minutes – 1 hour.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool for longer.  I absolutely love cutting a slice while it’s still a little warm and spreading a huge glob of cream cheese (I love Kite Hill’s) on top, but that’s just me.  Hope you enjoy!

Note: Recipe is adapted from Cookie and Kate’s Banana Bread

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