Tag Archives: Summer

Summery Lemon Zest Sugar Cookies {Dairy Free}

6 Aug

Just because it’s August doesn’t mean I’m willing to allow the summering to wind down.  Quite the opposite, in fact!  I’m diving in even further the next couple of weeks, because let’s face it – I have too many more things left on my Los Angeles summer bucket to throw in the (beach) towel now!


Summer dresses are more in full swing than ever before.  Car windows are indefinitely rolled down.  Pedicures are sandy beach scuffed.  Hair & cheeks are perpetually breeze-blown and sun-kissed.  Chilly smoothies are a daily affair, and Cafe Gratitude shakes a way too expensive, forbidden love affair.

 Lemon Zest Sugar Cookies

(Adapted from my lime zest sugar cookies)

Tangy but sweet summer twist on the classic drop sugar cookie.  Citrusy, refreshing, and perfect for the hot weather months.  If you wanted to make a grapefruit version, we’d probably be best friends! 🙂


2  3/4 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup non-dairy margarine (ex: Earth Balance)

1  1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 Tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 3 Tbsp water

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tbsp non-dairy milk (ex: soymilk)

juice of 1 lemon

zest of 1 lemon

1/4 cup granulated sugar + zest of 1 lemon mixed, for rolling


Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.  Mix together the ground flax and water, set aside.

Cream together the margarine and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add the egg, flax and water mixture, and vanilla extract, lemon juice, and zest, and beat until fluffy.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Slowly add dry mixture into wet, mixing between additions.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  If the dough is a little too dry, add in the non-dairy milk; if the dough looks ok at that point, feel free to omit.

Scoop dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, wrap tightly, and put in freezer for about an hour or so.  When ready to bake, preheat over to 350* F, and scoop dough into 2 Tbsp size chunks.  Roll each into a ball with your hands, and roll in the sugar and zest mixture before placing on cookie sheet.

Back 8-10 minutes until edges are golden brown.  Allow to rest on the pan a few minutes before using a spatula to transfer baked cookies to a cooling rack.


Everything is warmer.  Everything is brighter.  Love is lovier.  Ice cream just tastes better dripping down your arm on the Santa Monica Boardwalk.  Twinkling white lights are more charming strewn across a summertime porch.  Laughter with friends is more therapeutic.


I wish I could press pause on life so that summer could live on well beyond September and into October…but I’ll settle for bike rides in Venice, and more sweet times to come as August lives on <3

My heart is happy when pretty things fill my weekends and I get to put pencil to paper to create.  The more I do, the more I inspire myself to want to create, which I love!

 Skies are blue, and dreams really do come true…even on a Monday morning! 🙂





Strawberry Nectarine Oat Squares

26 Aug

There are so manya fewone or two…ok, there’s one good thing about the quarter system, and that’s the fact that while all the other kiddies are wrapping up their endless days of summer and getting ready to ship off back to school, there’s still another month before our fall quarter starts.

HOWEVER,…and that’s a big-time HOWEVER, I love the “back to school” fever that seems to infect students and moms alike, spurring sales on school supplies & shelves stocked with fall clothes, and by the time I’m actually supposed to be doing my “back to schooling,” the hype is all hyped out, the sales are done salesing, and all the good fall clothes are all tapped out.

I think the fact that I haven’t actually had a summer break and have been attending classes basically non-stop since Christmas break of 2010 is completely irrelevant in this situation, too, so let’s not bring that up. Just because I haven’t gotten my fix of bright, summery fun, carefree, class free summer days filled with the beach, boys, and iced coffee doesn’t mean I can’t lament the fact that summer will soon be coming to an end, and then self medicate that loss with a hefty dose of hope that back to school is truly more about good times with friends at football games and frat parties rather than hours of mind-numbing, soul crushing classwork. That’s what all the magazines and ads say, anyway.

So anyway, the moral of this babbling is, I want the “back to school” time of year to last longer. Ya, maybe stretch those sales out til say, the end of September? I wanna get on that band wagon when that time actually comes for us quarter system kiddies (not to mention us Californians, who dread the thought of cool weather clothing well into October), and not a moment sooner…because obviously, I don’t want summer to end at all, EVER! But, if it has to, it should end in crisp, cool weather, new school supplies, fluffy sweaters, pumpkin spice lattes, tailgate parties, and all the hype that everyone else gets to embrace when the summer gravy train departs until next year.

The other moral of the story is, make these yummy strawberry nectarine oat-y bars for busy, get the kids or yourself out the door mornings! They’re like strawberry topped oatmeal on the go =)

Strawberry Nectarine Oat Squares
Adapted from Oh She Glows


* 1 1/2 Cups Oats
* 1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour (I needed to add about 1/2 cup more to get a thick enough “dough”)
* 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
* 1/2 tsp Salt
* 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
* 1 Egg
* 1/2 Cup + 2 Tbsp Margarine, melted
* 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
* 2 Tbsp Almond Milk
* 1 Tbsp Sesame Seeds to sprinkle on top

Strawberry Nectarine Jam:
* 2 1/4 Cups Chopped Strawberry & Nectarine (Any ratio is fine- I used 1 nectarine and the rest strawberry)
* 3-4 Tbsp Sugar
* 1 Tbsp Cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease or line an 8 x 8″ pan.

For the oat base, combine the oats, flour, baking soda, salt, and brown sugar in a mixing bowl.

Combine the melted margarine, maple syrup, almond milk, and egg in a separate bowl.

Add the wet mixture to the dry oat mixture, and stir to combine. You should get a pretty thick “dough”…if it seems too wet, add in a little extra flour, or more oats, or both until you get the right consistency.

Reserve 1/2 cup of the oat dough and set it aside. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of your pan.

Add your strawberry and nectarine mixture into a saucepan and heat on low for about 5 minutes. Add the sugar slowly, to taste. Heat for another 5 minutes until the mixture is juicy- use a spoon to pull out a few teaspoons of the juice in a mug or small bowl. Stir in the cornstarch. Add the juice and cornstarch mixture to the saucepan and simmer on low for about 10 more minutes, or until the jam thickens up. Take off heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.

Pour the jam on top of the oat base and spread evenly. Crumble the 1/2 cup of oat dough you reserved on top of the jam. Sprinkle with Sesame seeds.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, depending on how hot your oven gets. Allow to cool for 30 minutes before slicing.

For now, I think I’ll call these “back to summer school bars.” The calm before the fall!

Candied Ginger Bars

21 Aug

As it turns out, it didn’t actually hit me until today that I am really moving.  For whatever reason, the last several weeks of gathering boxes, stressing, and packing weren’t enough to get me thinking about what all of it really means until now.

Most of the times I have moved in the past (there have been A LOT of those times), I knew exactly where I was going next.  I had time to mentally adjust and prepare to be in my new space, and that’s always pretty comforting to me.  You know, like preparing to hit the ground rather than  blindly stepping off the side of a cliff and not knowing what to expect.  It’s the same, for sure…

This time, not so much.  I don’t know what to expect or where I’ll be.  What hit me possibly the most is the limited time I have left in my tiny kitchen of two years, and the limited number of baked good items I can produce from said kitchen in that limited amount of time.  The countdown begins!
(And yes, I realize there are ridiculous-looking water spots on that cutty-thingy…haha!)

Oh, while I’m on the topic of moving, I wish I could say I have a bunch of tried and true, handy moving tips for you that make the whole process a breeze. But unfortunately, I still don’t have it all figured out, even with practically 10 moves in the last 10 years. I can tell you this, though:

DO NOT under any circumstances wait until the very last minute. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve underestimated the amount of stuff I have, the number of boxes I’ll need, or the amount of time it will take to actually move everything!

Also, DO NOT help anyone else move (for instance, your brother!) in hopes that they will return the favor just out of the goodness of their hearts. Get it in writing!

Last but not least, if you plan to move, I suggest you have a place to move all your stuff to. Unlike me. Learn from my mistakes, will you?

There you have it. And now, for real, the good stuff.

Candied Ginger Bars
The bars themselves aren’t as gingery as a ginger cookie, but I figured if they were, it’d probably be a little too overpowering with the spicy candied ginger in there! Think balance =)

* 3 Cups Flour (I used 1 Cup Whole Wheat Bread Flour, 2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour)
* 1 tsp Baking Powder
* 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
* 1/2 tsp Salt
* 1 tsp Ground Ginger

* 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
* 1/2 Cup White Sugar
* 1/4 Cup Molasses
* 1/4 Cup Canola Oil + 1/2 Cup Margarine
* 1/4 Cup Almond Milk
* 2 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
* 2 Eggs

* 1 Cup Candied Ginger, minced
* 2 Tbsp White sugar or Turbinado Sugar for sprinkling on top.

Preheat oven to 350* F and line or grease an 8×8″ square pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the oil, margarine, brown sugar, white sugar, and molasses. Add in the almond milk, vanilla extract, and the eggs, mixing well between each.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ground ginger.

Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, mixing between additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically.

Stir in the minced candied ginger by hand.

Scoop the batter into the pan and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle sugar on top.
Bake for 20 minutes, then check. If it’s browning too quickly, turn the oven down to 325* and bake for 10 more minutes. Otherwise, just leave it at 350* and bake for 10 more minutes. Keep your eye on it!

Oh, and I’m just throwing this out there, but if you happen to see a girl wandering around campus occasionally, and it looks like she’s living in the library’s 24 hour Study Room and showering in the locker room…it’s totally NOT me. Definitely not. At all. =D

Red Pepper Hummus

29 Jul

Don’t tell anyone, but I’m double-dipping (umm…pun intended?!) a little on my post today! Fresh red pepper hummus definitely falls more into the Sprouts side of my blog spectrum, but I wanted to feature it over here on Sprinkles as well! 🙂

If you missed it, my family hosted a Texas-Style Pit BBQ last weekend. In keeping with the spicy, bold flavored theme, I whipped up this red pepper hummus as an appetizer. Pepper Predominant as it may be, I have to admit the peppers didn’t come from our garden…Shh!

Green peppers just wouldn’t have had the same effect in the recipe, I don’t think, though maybe eventually I’ll give them a try.

Red Pepper Hummus


* 1 15 oz. Can Garbanzo Beans
* 2 Tbsp Tahini
* 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
* 1 Medium Sized Red Pepper, chopped
* 3 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, sliced
* 2 Tbsp Chopped Garlic
* 1 tsp Paprika
* 1/8 tsp salt
* Pepper to taste


Rinse and drain canned garbanzo beans, and add to the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Add in tahini, lemon juice, chopped garlic, and process again until smooth.

Add the chopped red pepper, processing in between additions. Add in the chipotle peppers and process.

Finally, add the paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Adjust seasonings as needed.

From the looks of it, you’d think I could eat hummus on just about anything and everything…You might be right!

Peach Raspberry Cobbler

25 Jul

There’s a pretty good chance that peach cobbler is my all-time favorite fruit dessert. There’s also a 94.7% chance that it’s my all-time favorite dessert, period.

Cherry and blueberry are right up there, neck and neck, if you must know, and they fight it out every summer, vying for my attention. At this point in the summer, peach is winning.

So…maybe it’s just my current favorite? My favorite until I make a blueberry pie? Fair enough.

My mom has the cutest little accidental peach tree growing in her backyard. A happy accident. For years it’s been a little sparse on the production line of things, if you know what I mean…and coupled with the fact that bugs apparently place peaches as high on their favorite fruit list as I do…there haven’t ever been quite enough to support my incessant fruit habits.

Unfortunately, there still aren’t.

I wish I could go on to tell you the classic story of a peach tree underdog that finally overcomes the odds to produce pounds and pounds of juicy, glorious peaches that end up keeping even the most insatiable peach habit at bay. You know the story I’m talking about, right? No? You didn’t hear that one as a kid? Weird. Anyway…

In that story, my kitchen would end up overflowing with a never ending stream of sweet, crumble topped peach cobbler, all because of that little tree. Happily. Ever. After! Good, yes?

However, delicious as those little peaches are, and try as that little tree might, this peach cobbler was a result of a little help from the fruit stand peaches I bought last week.

Peach Raspberry Cobbler
This cobbler is more like a “crisp” because of its crumble topping. Super easy to make, super delicious, and gluten free, too!


Peach Filling:
* 6 cups Sliced peaches
* 1/2 cup Frozen raspberries, thawed
* 1 1/4 cup Sugar
* 1/4 cup Cornstarch
* pinch of salt
* 1 tsp cinnamon

Crumb Topping:
* 1 cup Oats
* 1 cup Oat Flour (I processed oats in a coffee grinder)
* 1 cup Margarine or Butter
* 1 cup Brown Sugar
* 1 tsp Cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 425* F.

Cut peaches into small slices and then half each slice (more bite-sized that way). Add peach slices to a large bowl along with the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon.

Stir together well and pour into an ungreased 9 x 13″ casserole dish.

To assemble the crumb topping, add the oats, oat flour, cinnamon, brown sugar, and margarine or butter to a separate bowl. Using a fork, cut the butter in to the dry ingredients until well incorporated. You’ll get a clumpy, course meal texture.

Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the peach mixture.

Back for about 45 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.

Moral of the story: If you can’t get happily ever after out of your tiny backyard fruit tree, get it at the fruit stand or farmer’s market instead, and call it a day. Done!

Still love you, little tree! <3