Lunatics Hanging Out of Trucks (Or How to Make an Orange Julius)

Remember on Friday when I said I thought I was coming down with a cold?

Yeah, well, I was kind of right.

I am sick, but it’s more of a nuclear germ assault affecting everything above my neck than your average garden variety cold. I’m actually going to the doctor today because I can hardly swallow, it hurts to speak above a whisper, and each day it gets worse instead of better.

When I woke up this morning I wanted to tear out my own tonsils with a kitchen knife but decided to make myself an orange julius instead. I didn’t have any concentrated orange juice in the house, so I had to walk up to the market on the corner to get some.

I threw on some fleecy pants that add at least five pounds to my legs, a huge cashmere granny sweater that gives me an ass for days, and I twisted my un-brushed hair into a makeshift bun. I was wearing my glasses and my chucks, and I generally looked (and felt) like all-around hammered shit.

As I was walking home, frozen OJ in hand, I heard incessant whistling over my shoulder. I looked over to see some lunatic hanging out of the side of a pick up truck waving at me. When things like this happen I often wonder why I ever bother to brush my hair or apply make up because I swear weirdos will nearly fall out of moving vehicles gawking at you no matter how heinous you look.

I’m sure there’s some lesson in there somewhere only I’m too tired to figure out what it is right now….

I was on the fence about whether it was culinarily responsible to post my orange julius recipe when I couldn’t actually taste the one I made this morning but decided to do it anyway because I’ve been drinking them since I was a kid and they always tasted OK before.

I’m sure this one was great too.

At least it looked like it tasted good.

At least it looked like it tasted good.

Orange Julius

4 oz Orange Juice Concentrate
1 C Whole Milk
8 Ice Cubes, Crushed
2 T Honey, Melted
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 C Water, optional*

Put all of the ingredients into the blender. Blend and enjoy.

And before I head to the doctor, here’s a cheerful break up song to add a little skip to your step. I can’t get enough of it even though I haven’t really broken up with anyone since February, and that was only sort of break up adjacent because we didn’t go out that many times.

Whatever.

The beat is awesome, and Kygo is everything.

* I like mine to have more of a kick so I skip the water, but you do you. 

Mint Chocolate for My Mouth (Or Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls)

Remember how I was all into the Cookie Dough Protein Balls from PaleOMG a few weeks ago? (If not, you can find the Balls for Breakfast post here.)

Well, I am still into them. WAY into them. Only, I was eating a handful one day and thought, “What if I put MINT in here?”

If you’re thinking, “Mint with almonds? Have you taken leave of your senses, woman?” I understand.

But go with me for a moment here because it’ll be worth it.

I promise.

Spence the Spinosauraus Can't STOP with these things.

Even Trudy the Triceratops can’t STOP with these things.

If you think Trudy and I are on to something with the mint in our mouths, here’s the recipe.

Mint Chocolate Cookie Dough Protein Balls

1/2 C Trader Joe’s Vanilla Hemp Protein*
2 T Coconut Flour
1 T Coconut Sugar
pinch of salt
1 T Almond Butter
2 T Almond Milk
1 1/2 T Coconut Oil, melted
1/2 tsp Pure Mint Extract
2 T Miniature Chocolate Chips, Semi-Sweet

Mix the first four ingredients together in a small bowl. Mix the almond butter, almond milk, coconut oil, and mint extract together in another bowl and stir to create uniform consistency. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix to blend. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Roll into balls and allow them to firm up in the refrigerator.

Try not to eat them before they set up….

Oh, and the other thing I’m into right now?

Is this song by Thomas Jack.

Please don’t get all uppity about the Chaplin film that contains this speech and give me a lecture on sensitivity. I just like the words in the context of the song.

*Trader Joe’s also makes a chocolate hemp protein. That would probably be good as well. 

French Toast Won’t Make Me Fat, Right? (Or How to Make Candied Pecan French Toast)

French Toast is more interesting with it’s stuffed with cream cheese and candied pecans. For real.

My dad’s mother, Agnes, was Finnish, and she was an excellent cook. She was a sweet, reserved woman, and she expressed her love for her seven children and their families by making meals for them. She passed away in April, and it’s a lasting regret of mine that I never had the opportunity to sit with her and copy her recipes.

I feel like a part of my culinary heritage has been lost. A piece of the past went to the grave with my Grandma five months ago….

I mean, she made her own pickles. How do I not have those recipes?!? (See more on my pickle obsession here. God help me if I ever get pregnant; I’ll probably hijack a Vlasic truck.)

I can remember visiting her as a kid and thinking she was some sort of magician because she knew how to make pickles. I was a city kid, so it was somewhat of a revelation that pickles came from cucumbers and not the Vlasic Stork.

I need to see if any of my aunts have her pickle recipes….

She also made thin Finnish pancakes that sort of resembled crepes and the most amazing Finnish Nisu bread. Nisu is similar to challah, which I also adore. They’re both sweet, egg-based breads and, honestly, I forget I’m trying not to be fat in the presence of both of those breads.

A good friend of mine brought me a loaf of challah left over from Rosh Hashanah, and after I decimated most of the loaf in one sitting, I decided to use the remainder to make French toast. I was in the mood for something with a little more pizzazz than the typical variety, so I decided to stuff it with cream cheese and candied pecans.

Why not, right?

In case you’re wondering… the why not came a few days later when I put on my don’t-you-dare-get-fat-jeans and discovered that I am indeed fat. I mean, I know I’m not really fat, ‘cuz the only other people more critical of their bodies are 16 year old girls currently residing in eating disorder clinics.

Whatever….

The rational half of my brain is telling the vain half of my brain not to freak out (too much). It has been murderously hot the last two months so my hikes have been shorter than usual. Plus I have been recipe testing all kinds of cupcakes, which you will see in the coming days.

OK, enough lamenting. Let’s just be happy and talk about egg saturated bread slathered in syrup.

This is how I made the French toast. I served it with real Canadian maple syrup and spicy sausage because I can’t have all sweet without some savory.

I think this would also be awesome with Trader Joe’s sweet and spicy pecans, by the way.

Challah French Toast with Candied Pecans
The portions are approximate.

2 thick slices of Challah
2 eggs
¼ C whole milk
½ tsp vanilla
4 T cream cheese, room temperature
8 candied pecans, finely chopped
whole candied pecans for garnish

2T butter
½ T vegetable or grapeseed oil

Whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla. Pour the mixture into a casserole dish or pie plate. Tear a small hole in the center of the slices of challah (but do not tear all of the way through the bread) and place the bread in the egg mixture. Allow the bread to become saturated with the egg mixture. Flip the bread over allowing the other side to absorb the mixture.

In a separate bowl, mix the finely chopped pecans and the cream cheese together.

Heat the butter and oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. (Adding oil to the butter will prevent it from burning too easily.)

Place the bread into the pan with the hole in the bread facing the bottom of the pan. After the pan side of the bread has become golden, flip the bread over so that the fully intact side is on the bottom of the pan. Spoon the pecan cream cheese mixture into the hole. Allow the second side to get golden brown.

Remove the bread from the pan. Serve with real Canadian maple syrup and garnish with additional pecans, if you wish.