The Hungry Musician

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough “Ice Cream”

You’ve seen it on Pinterest.

I know you have… It’s everywhere.

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Banana “ice cream” is a huge fad now, and for good reason – you can do pretty much anything with it, and it (basically) tastes like you’re eating soft serve ice cream. And I LOVE that, for a lot of reasons. Need I count the ways?

  1. It’s a great way to sneak in a serving of fruit, especially if you’re not a banana person. The cold temperature takes out most of the banana-y flavor. Take it from a person who’s not a fan of eating bananas by themselves. 
  2. It’s naturally sweet. Just like meee! (…If it’s a Friday and I’ve eaten recently.)
  3. It’s dairy free, for all those sensitive tummies out there.
  4. No fancy equipment needed. There are some fun contraptions out there specifically designed for banana ice cream, but an electric OR manual food processor works just as well.
  5. It’s another way to use up those spotty, soft bananas. 
  6. You can add anything you want into or on top of it. Healthy Coldstone? YES. PLEASE.
  7. My favorite part – it’s SINGLE SERVING. You use one frozen banana, and then don’t have to fight the irresistible pull of a carton.

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After all this glorification of banana ice cream, I WOULD be lying to you if I said that it’s exactly the same as ice cream. Ice cream certainly has its special time and place – like, melting over the top of a warm slice of pie on Thanksgiving, or when the Mr. Softee truck comes by on July 4th. Or, when you and your friends want to cry together and watch movies based on Nicholas Sparks novels. (Ben and Jerry’s was a stereotypical post-breakup staple in college for our group of friends, second only to the Whole Foods salad bar… We weren’t very consistent.) For the other 99% of your life though, I promise that banana ice cream can perfectly satisfy your frozen dairy craving.

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This recipe is so simple, I almost feel bad calling it a recipe. But I swear to you, it actually tastes like cookie dough ice cream. I ate this about 3 times last week, and regret absolutely nothing. So go forth, and go bananas.

 

..Haha

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough "Ice Cream"
Serves 1
Cookie dough ice cream alternative with a raw, vegan, no sugar added, dairy free base!
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 banana, frozen in coins
  2. 1/3 date and cashew bar, chopped (I used a "Cashew Cookie" Larabar)
  3. 1 tbs. dark chocolate or carob chips
  4. ~1/2 tsp. almond milk or water, if needed for blending
Instructions
  1. Add frozen banana, chocolate, and date bar to a food processor, blending on low until bananas are smooth. If the mixture is too crumbly, add almond milk or water to assist with blending. If you want chunkier mix ins, blend bananas first until almost smooth, then add the chocolate and date bar and pulse until broken up. Serve immediately.
Notes
  1. For easier blending, freeze the banana coins on a flat surface or spread out individually in a freezer-safe bag.
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My First Week as a Grad Student (And What I Fed Myself)

In my first week as a graduate student, I realized that I haven’t really been properly warned about a lot of really RANDOM things. In no particular order:  

1) Nobody warned me that on some days, my violin just won’t love me back.

2) Nobody warned me that ceramic knives are just as good at slicing fingers as they are onions.

3) Nobody warned me that someone would come to my door claiming to be MY electric company and SOMEHOW convince me to sign up for a DIFFERENT electric company. (Note to self: Don’t be so nice – you live in New York now. Your idea of “rude” is everyone else’s normal.)

4) Nobody warned me that I would see TIM GUNN in the book store while going to pick up How Sweet Eats’s new cookbook. I have also seen him in public once before, at a train station in Philly. Unfortunately, my outfit was not “making it work” either time, so I’ve never gone up to him. Potentially awesome selfies with Tim Gunn: 2. Awesome selfies with Tim Gunn? 0. 

5) After a few weeks of not getting to yoga, nobody warned me that this evening’s yoga class would be changed from “Mixed Level” to “Vinyasa.” Woops. My legs are gummi worms.

6) Finally, nobody warned me that organic whole chickens cost upwards of $27.00. Can’t a girl just get her roasted chicken on without having to file for bankruptcy? Damn. So, instead of doing the wise thing and buying the chicken and having meat for the week, yours truly bought a half pound of wild sockeye salmon for $9.00 and had enough fish for two meals… Practical. But what I did with that salmon. Ooooh, what I did with that salmon…. IMG_6166   Crispy Honey Maple Dijon Salmon (serves 1-2) (GF):

  • 1/2 lb. wild salmon, whole or cut into 2 filets
  • 1/2 tbs. dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tbs. pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

If making two filets, cut salmon in half before preparing. With the skin side facing down, coat the flesh of the salmon with a sprinkling of olive oil, spreading to coat evenly. Season with salt and pepper. Combine mustard, maple syrup, and honey. Drizzle on top of salmon. In a skillet over medium-low heat, place the filet(s) skin side up so that the flesh is being seared. Cook until the flesh becomes light orange all the way up to the skin, about 5-7 minutes. I covered the pan in the last minute or so to speed along the process. Remove the skin, and then remove the filets from the pan to serve. I served it with coconut cilantro jasmine rice and a kale-onion-garlic stir fry.  One super tasty example of when frugality just isn’t necessary.

I do have plenty of good tidbits to report, however.

1) I was able to free up my afternoons and leave more time for building up a private teaching studio here in New York City. Anybody need some violin lessons? :)

2) I met up with an Instagram friend, Drew (@thatviolakid) and went busking in Washington Square park last week, which was a BLAST. Drew is an incredibly talented violist at Juilliard, and regularly offers useful, inspirational tips for his Instagram followers. How fortunate that I’ve only been in school for a week, and already I’m meeting wonderful musicians and having great playing opportunities! It was also fascinating to observe the culture on the streets of NYC while standing in one place. It all just plays out in front of you. 

Busking shot, courtesy of Drew!

Busking shot, courtesy of Drew!

3) I won a string lottery at school orientation, and coincidentally won a pack of the gut strings I already use (which are super expensive but yet I still justify buying repeatedly, because they sound like butter and honey made a baby in audible form). For the freakin’ WIN.

4) My new violin bag from Evening Phoenix Designs came. It’s reeeeal purty and Casper is super happy to now be even more protected from the “elements” (i.e. flying rosin bits).

5) I currently have breakfast plans tomorrow at a place called “Oatmeals.” Which is, as you may have guessed, an OATMEAL BAR. I heard about the place through a fellow blogger, and I literally could not imagine a more perfect food establishment.

6) It’s September, so it’s time for pumpkin to start reappearing. Which means summer is fading, which is FABULOUS, because I’m kinda done with summer. The season was pretty good to me in general, but I had to turn my life upside down in the middle of it. So to me, the return of pumpkin is vaguely symbolic of a return to normalcy.  Therefore, I did two awesome things to honor pumpkin this week. 

First there was this stack of super sexy whole wheat pumpkin pancakes. With a syrup pour that might be borderline NSFW.

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Pumpkin Spice Pancakes (makes 8 mini pancakes):

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat or oat flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract (may sub. vanilla)
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • ~1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp coconut oil, divided

Combine all ingredients (except almond milk/coconut oil) in a small mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Add almond milk until the batter is a pourable consistency (~1/3 cup, probably more). Over medium heat, melt half of the coconut oil in a large skillet or griddle pan. Create four small pancakes using a 1/4 cup measure, and flip when the edges look dry (about 2-3 mins each side). Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with pure maple syrup.

Then, I made oil-free pumpkin bread. It turned out kind of dry, so I won’t give you a recipe. But it has been awwwwwesome re-toasted in the morning, and I’ve been putting alllll of the things on it. And by all of the things, I mean different flavors of peanut butter. Usually with blueberry jam. But sometimes with roasted bananas. I can be adventurous.

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Speaking of roasted bananas, I also figured out that they are more than amazing when put on COLD cereal. If you were ever into banana-flavored milk as a kid (or even if you weren’t… this is better) you NEED to try this.

I've really been nailing the mid-pour shots lately. And by me, I mean the iPhone's burst feature.

I’ve really been nailing the mid-pour shots lately. And by me, I mean the iPhone’s burst feature.

Roasted Bananas (Vegan/GF):

  • 1 large ripe banana, sliced into coins
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • cinnamon to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Warm the coconut oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add bananas. once they start to sizzle, add cinnamon and vanilla. With a ripe banana, no need for any added sweetness!

Okay, so I’m ALMOST out of things to share with you, but if you’re still with me and haven’t already left the building, here’s one more recipe. The last thing I’ve noticed being a graduate student is that I’m no longer in such a hurry to be an adult. Yes, the drive to succeed and build a career for myself is all still there, but I miss the days when I was a happily oblivious six-year-old and didn’t know what bills were and how to pay them. And when I was six years old, I also loooooved chicken nuggets. Dinosaur-shaped nuggets, to be specific. But now that we know what actually goes into those chicken nuggets, I prefer to pass. See? Life was so simple when I didn’t know what pink slime was (side note: does anybody really know EXACTLY what it is? I think that’s why it’s so scary…). And last week, after a long day of really hard placement tests, all I wanted to do was go back to first grade. So I made tofu nuggets. AND baked curly fries using my veggie spiralizer. If I’d only had a coloring book to go along with this meal, I would have been set.

IMG_5961 Tofu Nuggets (Vegan/GF):

  • 1 block extra-firm tofu, drained of liquid 
  • 1/3 cup oats 
  • 1/3 cup organic yellow cornmeal 
  • Extra virgin olive oil (~2 to 3 tbs. total) 
  • Trader Joe’s South African Smoke Seasoning, cayenne pepper, sea salt, and pepper to taste

Cube the drained tofu into thick chunks, about 1 inch long x 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. In a food processor, combine cornmeal and oats. Pulse until oats are crumbly. Add smoke seasoning, cayenne (sparingly!), sea salt, and pepper to taste. Toss the tofu cubes in about 1-2 tbs. of the oil, then transfer cubes to a bowl with the oat mixture, and toss gently to combine, being careful not to break up the tofu. Prepare a large pan with a very slight coating of olive oil. With the heat on medium, place the nuggets into the pan, rotating them occasionally until all sides are golden brown and crispy. Served here with some Annie’s organic ketchup, the baked “curly fries,” and garlicky kale.

…OK, I lied, there’s one more thing. IMG_6199

Make a mixing bowl salad. Put roasted chickpeas on it. (1 can chickpeas rinsed and drained + olive oil + salt + pepper + smoke seasoning in a 425˚F oven until creeeespy. Toss frequently and monitor to prevent burning.) Oh so fresh, oh so healthy, oh so satisfying.

And now, off to go find that coloring book.  

Baked Corn Dog Bites (Plus: Bonus Recipe!)

Back-to-school season. It’s a time for new backpacks, pencils, and books, and a time for that new jean jacket that you wear on the first day “because it’s Fall,” but in reality, is pretty weather-inappropriate. It’s also the return of lunch-packing season. 

I have a love/hate relationship with packing my own lunches. On one hand, I love knowing it’s healthier and that the portions are better. And, I feel way more organized when I have my own food packed away. But on the other hand, I just really stink at creativity and time management. I think to myself, “What if I actually looked forward to something new in my lunch? What if it wasn’t always some variation on greens + protein + beans + grains + avocado + hotsauce? WHAT IF?! The struggle is real completely first-world.

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That’s why this month’s Recipe ReDux theme made me so incredibly happy. “Bars and Bites for Brown Bags.” Um, YES please. I need allll the inspiration. Further evidence: I couldn’t even decide what to do for this month’s theme until yesterday. Literally, it took me forever to come up with an idea. But, after a long process of coming up with mediocre ideas that would either melt, spoil, or be thrown out by a child promptly upon discovery in a lunch box, I found my inspiration on Pinterest. Corn dogs. *Cue the excited screaming of my inner child at an amusement park*

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Unfortunately, they’re usually fried and unhealthy, and don’t usually fit into a lunch box. FORTUNATELY, these are baked, and do fit into a lunch box. While I’d love to claim total genius for this recipe itself, I do have to give a lot of the credit to Martha Stewart. I did modify her recipe, but don’t ever tell her that. I feel like modifying a Martha recipe is sort of equivalent to saying one of Oprah’s favorite things was actually your favorite thing first. It wasn’t. You’re wrong.

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But, I digress. These really are easy and they’re super delicious. Your picky eater(s) will love them, and they’re free of nitrates, dairy, and all those unknown nasties that like to find their way into hot dogs. I also snuck in some hemp seeds for a little boost, and used the leftover batter to make AWESOME cornbread croutons, which I have also included in a little extra recipe for you at the bottom. Win, win? I think so.

Enjoy! 

Baked Corn Dog Bites
Yields 16
Kid (and adult) friendly corn dog bites that you can feel good about packing in your lunch!
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 organic, nitrate-free, pre-cooked chicken sausages (I used Aidell's apple chicken)
  2. 16 lollipop sticks or small popsicle sticks
  3. 1 and 1/3 cup whole wheat flour (plus extra for coating sausage)
  4. 2/3 cup organic cornmeal
  5. 2 tsp. baking powder
  6. 2 tbs. hemp hearts
  7. salt and pepper
  8. 1 egg + 2 egg whites
  9. 3 tsp. honey
  10. 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  11. 1 and 1/2 cups unsweetened, plain almond milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  2. Cut each chicken sausage into four equal pieces.
  3. Skewer each piece of sausage onto a lollipop stick, meat side facing down (not through the casing). For the end pieces, make sure you skewer through the round end, so that the flat side is facing up.
  4. Begin batter by mixing flour, cornmeal, hemp hearts, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add salt and pepper to your liking.
  5. In a separate small bowl, whisk egg/egg whites, honey, oil, and almond milk.
  6. Add wet ingredients to dry, and stir just until combined.
  7. Coat each piece of sausage with a light layer of flour, and then dip into the batter. Use a spoon to help you, so that the sausage doesn't fall off the stick. Take off extra batter, but make sure that each piece is fully coated.
  8. Assemble flat side down with sticks pointing up onto a baking sheet greased with coconut oil spray (or lined with parchment paper). Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with organic, all-natural ketchup and dijon mustard for dipping.
Notes
  1. After about 5 minutes of baking, a lot of batter will have settled at the bottom of each corn dog, making it sort of a bell-shape. If you're not a fan of this look, carefully lift each corn dog - the top half should stay covered, and the bottom will lift out of the cooked batter - and re-coat the bottoms and any empty spaces with batter. Remove the cooked bits of batter from the pan, and replace each corn dog. Continue to bake for about 5-10 minutes.
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Adapted from Martha Stewart
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Black Truffle Rosemary Cornbread Croutons
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Ingredients
  1. Leftover corn dog batter
  2. 1 tsp. Black truffle olive oil
  3. 3 tsp. Extra virgin olive oil
  4. Dried rosemary, salt, and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  2. Pour remaining corn dog batter into a loaf pan.
  3. Bake about 15-20 minutes, or until set.
  4. Flip bread onto a cutting board and cut into small-medium cubes.
  5. Toss cubes with oils, rosemary, salt, and pepper.
  6. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake, flipping every 10 minutes or so, until browned and crispy.
  7. Remove from oven, and let croutons sit to cool and dry out before serving.
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Blueberry Almond Bread

“By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by National Dairy Council and the Quaker Oats Center of Excellence and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

 

I never quite understood the term “quick bread.”

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I mean, I get it logically. You don’t have to add yeast. In theory, a good banana bread should take less time to complete than dough takes to rise. But if I may define my own idea of “quick bread” for you, it would be bread that’s prepared and out of the oven in less than a half hour. Or even more ideally, bread that appears out of thin air. If this whole music career thing gets tough (haha… if) I’m going to invent a device that dispenses fresh, warm, delicious loaves of bread instantly at the push of a button. “Carb-O-Matic.” Patent pending. 

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I already have a few recipes for “quick” breads in my arsenal, including this one, this one, and possibly this one (I think scones count). In my opinion, though, you can never really have too many – despite my impatience, quick breads really are quite convenient to put together. As a result, they’re great for brunches, gift-giving, and pot lucks, and can often be repurposed as a muffin recipe, and won’t take a big chunk out of your day. That was a HUGE requirement for me when creating this recipe in particular. If you follow me on Instagram, you may know that the past week and a half has been a bit of a crazy roller coaster ride. I packed up one apartment and moved into another, changed cities, and then packed up a day later to go away AGAIN with my family. I’m now enjoying some well-deserved R&R (aside from the placement exam and audition prep for graduate school), but before I left, I promised that I’d spend my last night at home whipping up a nice recipe for this month’s Recipe Redux challenge, hosted by Quaker Oats and the National Dairy Council.

This bread is delicious fresh, as is, or toasted, but I would recommend storing it in the refrigerator if you do not plan to eat it all immediately as it is very moist. Enjoy!

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Blueberry Almond Bread
Serves 12
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups Quaker oats
  2. 2 tsp. baking powder
  3. 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1/2 tsp almond extract
  6. 5 oz. plain Greek yogurt
  7. 1/3 cup honey
  8. 1/4 cup sparkling water
  9. 1 cup fresh blueberries
  10. 1-2 tbs slivered almonds (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  2. In a food processor, grind oats into a very fine flour. Sift flour into a medium bowl.
  3. Add baking powder and salt, and mix to combine.
  4. Whisk eggs and yogurt together in a separate mixing bowl until smooth, then whisk in almond extract, honey, and sparkling water.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir gently to combine - do not overmix.
  6. Gently fold in blueberries, and transfer batter to a greased loaf pan. If desired, sprinkle a few extra blueberries and some slivered almonds onto the batter before baking.
  7. Bake about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Notes
  1. For a sightly sweeter bread, increase the amount of honey.
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Grilled Pineapple Mojito Sorbet

There are MANY dining establishments I will miss after I officially move out of Philadelphia on Thursday. My go-to food trucks that have been there for years will suddenly no longer be up the street, and my favorite places downtown will now be down in a different town. Also, did I mention that they are FINALLY opening a Chipotle down the block from my old place? I knew they’d try to pull that stunt AFTER I left… Now, I know that I’m much better off in my New York neighborhood (it’s really unbeatably awesome) and it’ll be super easy to become a regular at new and interesting places. However, one Philly location will be truly difficult to replace, and that is a magical place called Cuba Libre.

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At this magical place called Cuba Libre, there exists a wondrous invention known as “All You Can Eat Brunch,” where you eat cornmeal pancakes with mango butter, vanilla custard french toast with plantains, crab cakes benedict, and then some. A LOT of some. I have frequented CL’s brunch several times, and left each time without a drop of shame. Not even that one time, when I had to excuse myself mid-meal to go partially unzip the back of the dress I was wearing. I mean, you couldn’t tell, because I was wearing a cardigan. I also then continued to eat, against all better judgment. But yup, not even that time.

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There was another visit to Cuba Libre though, that I recall may have been a bit classier. That time, I also happened to order a grilled pineapple mojito. Clearly, that visit ended better for me because I was well hydrated… With rum. Right? No? That’s not how that works? 

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Unffffff.

Oh.

Anyway, while I was in Houston and looking for recipes to add to my queue, I thought of this. An homage to the great Cuba Libre grilled pineapple mojito, in sorbet form. Coincidentally, right after I returned from Texas, I learned that the Recipe Redux theme for July would be cooking with liquor. Uhh, PERFECT. I briefly thought about doing a beer braised meat dish, or maybe a pulled pork sandwich with a boozy barbecue sauce. Which I might still do, because that’s making my mouth water right now. But as my mind kept wandering back to that perfect mojito, I just couldn’t bear to part with my original idea.

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So, here we are. I told you that I would be finding more ways to incorporate grilled fruit into my posts this summer, and I always keep my promises. My recipe includes just enough rum to give the recipe “punch,” but not enough to make you silly (or overpower the delicious, fresh flavors). But, if you’re looking to get a little silly at your next BBQ, you can add another ounce or two (or three) of rum, and make this palate cleanser just a bit boozier. But, whatever you do, don’t skip grilling the pineapple. The fruit’s own juices will caramelize without any added sugar, making the fruit super sweet. So worth it.

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Grilled Pineapple Mojito Sorbet
Serves 10
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Ingredients
  1. 2 pineapples
  2. 2 cups plain sparkling water
  3. 4 oz. silver rum
  4. Juice of 1 lime
  5. 2/3 cup mint leaves (about 4 tbs. very finely chopped)
  6. Honey to taste (~3-4 tbs, optional)
Instructions
  1. Slice the pineapple. Begin by slicing off the leaves and the bottom of the fruit. Remove all skin and hard brown bits with a knife.
  2. When left only with yellow flesh, cut vertically around the core to create four pieces. Cut close to the core (but not into it) to get as much flesh as possible.
  3. Slice the four pieces into thick spears, and continue with the next pineapple.
  4. Place all spears on a medium-low heat grill, and keep the spears on each side for about 4-5 minutes, or until grill marks form.
  5. Transfer grilled spears to a blender. Let cool, then purée until smooth.
  6. Transfer the purée to a large mixing bowl and chill until colder than room temperature.
  7. Add sparkling water, rum, lime juice, chopped mint, and honey. Stir lightly to combine.
  8. Transfer mixture to an ice cream maker and follow directions.
No ice cream maker? Try this method!
  1. http://www.busyinbrooklyn.com/tag/how-to-make-sorbet-without-an-ice-cream-machine/
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