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Raspberry Chia Post-Workout Smoothie

This Raspberry Chia Post-Workout smoothie is vegan and gluten-free and macronutrient-balanced to aid in muscle recovery after a tough workout. 

It’s bright and fruity and a little bit creamy from almond milk and hemp seed magic. And it’s packed with relatively low-glycemic berries. Win win win win win win win.

Tip

This smoothie is macronutrient balanced for muscle recovery. If you'd like to sweeten it up without changing that balance, try adding a few drops of liquid stevia.

Raspberry Chia Post-Workout Smoothie

This vibrant smoothie is macronutrient-balanced to aid in muscle recovery after a workout. It's quite thick, and it's hardly sweet since raspberries are so low-glycemic and there are several creamy ingredients. If you'd like more sweetness, add a little bit of your sweetener of choice, from a chopped Medjool date to a tablespoon or two of maple syrup to a few drops of liquid stevia, which won't change the macronutrient balance.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in blender and process until perfectly smooth. Serve immediately.

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Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 329 Total Fat:: 19.3g Carbohydrates:: 31.5g Fiber:: 8.5g Protein:: 13g

Candy Cane Chocolate Cupcakes

These candy cane chocolate cupcakes fit the only three requirements of my holiday class baking projects: they’re nut-free, they have a high cuteness to effort ratio, and they’re vaguely secular. On my best days, I can say the same for myself. 

Tip

Don't be scared of piping frosting. It's actually easier and much faster than spreading. These cupcakes get their look from a single glug of frosting piped from straight overhead with a star tip.

Ho ho holy crap

Ho ho holy crap, you guys. Only four days ’til Christmas. I think I start a post that way every year. But it’s okay, because it’s genuine shock and awe speaking, so it’s relatable, right?

I know I don’t have to tell you about all the obligations this time of year. One love-hate-love task I often rue the day I volunteered for is making treats for a class party. (Two weeks beforehand: I’m looking forward to this! Definitely signing up! Two days beforehand: Jesus Christ almighty, what have I done? Ten seconds after finishing: SO CUTE, YAY!)

These chocolate candy cane cupcakes fit the only three requirements of my holiday class baking projects: they’re nut-free, they have a high cuteness to effort ratio, and they’re vaguely secular. On my best days, I can say the same for myself. 

 
Candy Cane Chocolate Cupcakes 780 | Umami Girl

Ta-daa!

Of course, chocolate candy cane cupcakes are great for non-classroom occasions too. They’re just perfect chocolate cupcakes topped with slightly amped up chocolate buttercream frosting and decked out just enough for the season.

Ta-daa! That’s literally all the words I can think of share with you today.

Candy Cane Chocolate Cupcakes

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 33 minutes
Serves 24

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup boiling water

For the frosting

  • 16 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

To decorate

Directions

Make the cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two standard muffin tins with 24 decorative paper liners.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, mix sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt on low speed until well combined.
  3. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed until batter is smooth. Pour in boiling water and carefully mix on low until just incorporated.
  4. Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake cupcakes for about 18 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Make the frosting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk (or in a large bowl with electric beaters), beat the butter for three to four minutes until light and creamy.
  2. Sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder, then add to mixer (with mixer off) along with milk, vanilla and peppermint. Beat on low until incorporated, then on high for three to four minutes until smooth and fluffy.
  3. Let sit for 10 minutes to help powdered sugar chillax a bit into the mix. (Technical term.)
  4. If frosting is too thick, beat in up to two tablespoons more milk a little at a time. 

Decorate

  1. Scoop frosting into a large piping bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe some frosting straight down onto each cupcake.
  2. Dust each cupcake with some crushed candy cane and spear with a mini candy cane, making sure it penetrates the cupcake and not just the icing so it doesn't fall out. That's it!

Notes

Pre-crushed candy cane is a thing. What even is the world?

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 361 Total Fat:: 15.9g Carbohydrates:: 56.1g Fiber:: 1.6g Protein:: 2.7g

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

This chocolate buttercream frosting tastes great and cooperates like your children rarely do, and with any luck it will become a staple in your household like it has in ours. The frosting pipes easily and also spreads well. I like to use a really good salted, cultured butter like Kerrygold (which, TBH, I use for absolutely everything). In a recipe with only a few ingredients, it really makes a difference. And lo, it’s inexpensive to boot.

Tip

Don't be scared of piping frosting. It's actually easier and much faster than spreading. The cupcakes below get their look from a single glug of frosting piped from straight overhead with a star tip.

Chocolate buttercream for cupcakes

I’m thinking back fondly to that time when I should’ve been Christmas shopping, preparing teacher gifts and planning a Christmas dinner menu, but instead decided to stay in my PJs for an extra 90 minutes and publish two recipes in one day. Oh hi, that was right now (and here’s to making multiple school drop-off runs in PJs, as one does).

Yesterday I sent these cuties to school for Celia’s 4th grade class even though the child herself has been home sick all week. Find that recipe, which I love for its cuteness to easiness ratio, right here.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting 780 | Umami Girl-2

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

This recipe makes enough to frost 24+ cupcakes the way you see here. For a big cake, a larger batch of cupcakes or a higher frosting to cupcake ratio, you can 1 1/2x or double this recipe. A double recipe requires a larger stand mixer or a very big bowl (see note).
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Serves 24

Ingredients

  • 16 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk, plus more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk (or in a large bowl with electric beaters), beat the butter for three to four minutes until light and creamy.
  2. Sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder, then add to mixer (with mixer off) along with milk and vanilla. Beat on low until incorporated, then on high for three to four minutes until smooth and fluffy.
  3. Let sit for 10 minutes to help powdered sugar chillax a bit into the mix. (Technical term.) If frosting is too thick, beat in up to two tablespoons more milk a little at a time. 
  4. This frosting pipes beautifully and spreads equally well with a spatula. I prefer to use it right away, but you can keep it covered in the fridge for several days, bring to cool room temperature and whisk again for a minute to use leftovers.

Notes

I use the 6 quart bowl lift KitchenAid for a double batch of frosting. I recommend sifting in batches.

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 130 Total Fat:: 8g Carbohydrates:: 15.7g Fiber:: 0.5g Protein:: 0.4g

Reverse Sear Pork Chops with Quick Shallot Herb Pan Sauce

Dry brining is a super-easy way to make this tender cut of pork chop shine. Reverse searing -- baking at a very low temperature first and then searing in a blazing hot pan on the stovetop to finish -- gives you great control over the cooking process. And a quick, flavorful pan sauce brings it all together without a lot of hassle.

Tip

Reverse searing means cooking meat low and slow until it's almost done and then searing it in a blazing hot pan at the very end.

This section is not about reverse seared pork chops.

All right people, first things first here. There is no quick shallot herb pan sauce in these photos. Why? Because although I am pretty good at a decent number of things, I am pretty terrible at a lot of others. The other day on an endless car ride I was thinking about how it's possible to be medium-brilliant and kind of medium- to high- at-risk at the same time. 🙂 So that's where we begin.

You all know I delight in talking about unrelated topics when posting recipes. But today we have a lot of food-related business to get through, so I'm just going to have to put on my big-girl pants and talk about that. We've got the dry brine. We've got the reverse sear. We've got the rib chop. And we've got no choice but to dig in. Let's do it.

WTF, Dry Brine?

I love the term dry brine. It sounds so official, doesn't it? It's a process, people. Do you want to know what the process is, though? It's sprinkling a little too much salt and maybe some sugar onto meat and then waiting a while. That's it. Yay.

Brining can help meat stay tender and flavorful, but wet brine is a pain in the ass and can prevent a good sear. Dry brine is kind of a magic solution (pun intended). Salting meat draws out a little bit of its moisture, which dissolves the salt, and then the whole thing gets reabsorbed into the top layer of meat, infusing it with flavor and goodness. The little bit of sugar in this recipe helps the chops sear perfectly and also enhances the flavor of the pork. (You'll hardly notice it, but pork works well with a touch of sweetness.)

WTF, Reverse Sear?

Reverse searing is pretty genius, you guys. It gives you a beautiful, golden, crisp exterior but also a lot of control over the cooking process. I would never have thought of this technique on my own, and I'm so glad someone else did. Here's what it means to reverse sear: you start by cooking meat at a very low temperature, in this case at 250°F in the oven, until it's not quite done. Then you get a cast-iron pan blazing hot and spend 3 to 4 minutes just searing the shit out of the chops, quickly developing a coveted crust and brining the interior up to temperature in the process.

Again, yay.

WTF, Rib Chops?

I will spare you a pig diagram, because you and pigs both deserve better. But here's the deal. Rib chops, like all pork chops, are cut from the loin, which basically runs down the pig's back between shoulder and tush. (I say tush because butt is confusing on a pig -- more on that never.) It's a good, tender cut, once reserved for the wealthy, and is where the expression "high on the hog" came from. The loin gets cut into chops if we're having chops. Rib chops come from behind the shoulder and can be pretty varied depending on whether they're cut from closer to the shoulder or the tuchus. (Technical term.) Regardless, they take well to brining and searing, and they should cook nice and evenly, so they're a good choice for this dish.

Reverse Sear Pork Chops with Quick Shallot Herb Pan Sauce

Dry brining is a super-easy way to make this tender cut of pork chop shine. Reverse searing -- baking at a very low temperature first and then searing in a blazing hot pan on the stovetop to finish -- gives you great control over the cooking process. And a quick, flavorful pan sauce brings it all together without a lot of hassle.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Additional Time 1 days
Total Time 1 days 50 minutes
Serves Serves 6

Ingredients

For the dry-brined pork chops

  • 6 bone-in pork rib chops cut 1 1/2 inches thick (see note)
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

For the pan sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 sprig fresh time
  • 1 sprig fresh sage
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups stock
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

  1. The night before serving, place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet and lay pork chops on top. In a small bowl, combine salt and sugar and rub evenly over chops. Place, uncovered, in refrigerator. Remove from fridge an hour before cooking.
  2. Preheat oven to 250°F with a rack in the center. Place pan in oven as-is and bake chops until an instant meat thermometer reads 110°F, which should take about 30 minutes. Start checking after 25 minutes. (I need you to trust this process -- don't raise the oven temperature, and don't be tempted to cook the chops past 110° at this stage. It will all work out in the end.)
  3. Heat two tablespoons of the oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over high heat. Turn on an exhaust fan — things could get exciting.) When the oil begins to smoke, add two pork chops to the pan. Sear for about one minute on the first side without tinkering — chop should be deep golden-brown. Then flip and sear a minute or so on the other side until beautifully golden. Finally, stack the chops and pick them up with tongs, holding the “fat cap” (the fatty side of the chop) against the bottom of the pan to sear. Remove chops to a plate, pour off used oil (but don't wipe pan), and cook remaining chops two at a time in the same way, starting with fresh oil. (Or use multiple skillets).
  4. To make the sauce, pour the used cooking oil out of the pork chop pan and discard, but don't wipe or wash the pan. You want to keep all those good cooked-on bits. Set the pan over low heat and melt the butter. Add shallot, thyme and sage and cook, stirring, for just a minute until the shallot is tender but not too brown. Stir in flour, raise heat to medium, and cook for a minute or two, until very frothy. Stir in wine and stock (along with any accumulated juices from the chops) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until thickened to a gravy consistency, about 5 minutes. Off the heat, stir in parsley. Spoon sauce over plated pork chops just before serving.

Notes

Ask your butcher to cut the chops for you. They're thicker than most pre-cut chops, and that really helps to keep them perfectly cooked on the inside. 

Recipe and technique adapted from Serious Eats.

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 588 Total Fat:: 31.3g Carbohydrates:: 3.4g Fiber:: 0.1g Protein:: 67.5g

Roast Chicken and Potatoes with All the Best Things

This roast chicken is so savory and satisfying. Add a simple salad and some wine, and you've got an easy dinner party for six in one pan.

Tip

To make this whole meal gluten-free, use a good gluten-free flour blend (such as this one) to make the gravy.

Chicken with stars

Happy cozy weekend to you. Once upon a time we used to make this juuuust slightly extra-special roast chicken and potatoes on a regular basis. Then I forgot about it for years. But recently a nice thing happened — more on the details some other time — and one morning I ended up promising our little Celia that I’d make “chicken with stars” for dinner.It was very sweet. We had a nice hug. But boy did I not know what chicken with stars meant. Neither did she.Celia went off to school, and I started thinking.

A.k.a. roast chicken and potatoes with all the best things

This roast chicken with butter, prosciutto, lemon, thyme, sage, and full-on savory happiness is adapted from an old Jamie Oliver recipe. I’m not sure what brought it to mind again that day — maybe the fact that in my current aggressively post-vegetarian state I basically wrap every single thing in layers of prosciutto? — but I figured, hey, Jamie Oliver is a star, and so are most of the ingredients in this recipe. Gravy is certainly a star in my eyes.

A.k.a. the perfect dinner party for six

And that’s that.I highly recommend this easy recipe for a cozy dinner party of up to six people. Just add a simple salad and plenty of wine. And maybe a nice fire and some sultry jazz.Have a great weekend. Talk to you soon.

Roast Chicken and Potatoes with All the Best Things

This roast chicken is so savory and satisfying. Add a simple salad and some wine, and you've got an easy dinner party for six in one pan.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken, 4 to 5 pounds
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened and divided
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 fresh sage leaves, minced
  • 1 lemon, zested and cut in half
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 pounds new potatoes
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F with a rack in the center. Choose a roasting pan that will accommodate the chicken and potatoes. (A good old 13" x 9" metal roasting pan that's on the deeper side and safe for the stovetop usually works well.) Place the chicken in the pan breast-side up and slide your fingers gently between the skin and the breast to make a pocket on each side.
  2. In a small bowl, mash together four tablespoons of the butter, the chopped prosciutto, garlic, sage, lemon zest and a few generous grinds of black pepper. Use your hands to spread most of the butter mixture between the skin and breast of the chicken, then rub the rest all over the outside of the bird. Tuck the thyme sprigs and lemon halves into the cavity of the chicken. Roast for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of very well salted water to the boil, boil the potatoes for 10 minutes, and drain. 
  4. Use tongs to lift up the chicken for a moment and add the parboiled potatoes to the bottom of the roasting pan. Roast for 40+ minutes more, until an instant thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (but not touching the bone) reads 165°F. Let chicken rest on carving board for 10 minutes and spoon potatoes into a serving bowl. 
  5. Make the gravy while the chicken rests. In a small bowl, mash together the remaining two tablespoons butter with the flour to make a paste. Set roasting pan over medium-high heat on the stove (one or two burners, depending on the size of your pan). Whisk flour paste into pan drippings and let brown for a minute. Then whisk in wine and simmer for a minute or two. Pour in stock, whisk to remove any lumps, and simmer for about 8 minutes until nicely thickened. Taste for salt and grind in some black pepper.
  6. Carve chicken and serve with potatoes, gravy to pass at the table, and maybe a nice simple kale salad.

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 769 Total Fat:: 39.8g Carbohydrates:: 32.4g Fiber:: 4.1g Protein:: 66.9g