Yes to Yummy

Sweet Potato and Sage Risotto

January 27, 2016 Leave your thoughts Print this page



Basically, I have no idea what just happened to me? One minute I was walking through the door with my space cats backpack in August, and the next I was dragging myself out of school while wearing a Pusheen the Cat onesie and bright yellow sunglasses in January? Confusion?

A heavy snowstorm fell on my town the night after the last day of first semester, and when I awoke the next morning, the world was still, covered in a blanket of lovely white. I felt so peaceful watching the flakes fall from the sky, knowing that I had reached the stressful apex of my high school career and was about to giggle my face off on the ride down. With the heat cranked up and my fuzzy purple blanket wrapped around my shoulders, I took out a pencil and just…wrote. Wrote about everything I’ve felt, everything that’s taken place, everything I look forward to in the next few months. It was so nice to just breathe a sigh of relief, because the past five months have been insanely, insanely stressful at times.

On Sunday night, I decided to cook up this risotto after yoga class. And while it’s a delicious dish, I’ve come to realize that it’s more than that: RISOTTO IS A METAPHOR FOR MY LIFE. I know you are now groaning because I’m about to go off on a tangent, but BEAR WITH ME PLEASE, my English teacher this year doesn’t let me be creative and I need to let my imagination fly somewhere.


The thing about risotto is that you have to stir it. CONSTANTLY. And it gets annoying at times and your arm starts to hurt and you start yelling at your spoon, but you keep going, because you will ruin that risotto if you stop. And just when you think your risotto is done, you take a bite and even after three additions of liquid, it’s still too al dente. But you keep on keeping on, stirring and tending to that risotto until it’s just perfect. And you eat it and cry because carbs are beautiful, especially on a winter night.

Right now, I’m in the transition: I’m stirring my own personal risotto, and it’s not done yet. I’m getting there, but it’s not ready. I’m still adding things, still adjusting the seasonings, still searching for a balance. I am a very impatient person when it comes to waiting for things, so I get anxious and frustrated and awkward at times, but I just keep going, because I know that a delicious future is ahead of me. And I just gotta breathe and get through it.

But hey, stirring can be fun. I can still sing and dance like a fool. I can still have a conversation with someone sitting across from me and laugh at how adorable that smile is. I can still do a spontaneous yoga pose, still think about the complexities of life, still be myself through all of this stirring. And that’s awesome.

Okay. My risotto metaphor is done now. You may now proceed with your life.


This was one awesome risotto. I mean, sweet potatoes, fried sage, AND white wine?! Sign me up again. It was heavenly. Ugh. Now I’m hungry again.

So, make this risotto (possibly for me, cough, but wait, I can make this for myself hahahaha) and think deep thoughts about life and then just rejoice in delicious warm carbs. Good.

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Sweet Potato and Sage Risotto


Prep Time 5 min
Cooking Time 50 minutes, ish, I don't know, really
Total Time 1 hour, ish
Yield 4 servings

3 tablespoons of olive oil

8 large sage leaves

1 red onion, chopped

2 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup of arborio rice

1 cup of white wine

3 cups (approximately) of vegetable broth

Salt, to taste

A pinch of nutmeg

A pinch of smoked paprika

1 cup of roasted sweet potato puree

3/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese


In the bottom of a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat until glistening. Once hot, add the sage leaves, and fry until they are crispy and beginning to turn brown around the edges, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the fried sage leaves to paper towels and set aside.

To the sage-infused olive oil in the Dutch oven or heavy pot, add the chopped red onion and saute with a pinch of salt until beginning to soften and turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute longer, then pour in the rice. Stir frequently for two minutes, then slowly pour in the white wine.

Bring everything to a bubble, then reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring continuously, until all of the wine has been dissolved. Once things start to look dry again, slowly pour in a cup of the vegetable broth and keep stirring frequently until the liquid is again absorbed. Keep repeating this process until the risotto is thick, creamy, and the rice is fairly (BUT NOT TOTALLY) soft when you take a bite.

Yes, you have to stir constantly. Use it as an excuse for why you didn’t do your AP Stats homework. And no, I don’t know how approximately long this is going to take, or how much liquid you’re gonna have to add. Risotto is one of those things where you sit back, relax, taste as you go, and you’ll know when it’s done. Trust me.

When you think the risotto is just about done, add the nutmeg, smoked paprika, roasted sweet potato puree, and salt to taste. Stir continuously to slightly thicken the risotto, about 3-4 minutes, then taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary. (Hey buddy, go easy on the nutmeg! It can overpower easily!) When you’re satisfied, stir in the cheese and remove from the heat.

Serve immediately with the fried sage leaves on top. Please pour yourself a glass of wine, because I can’t yet. Thank you.


Until next time, my loves. <3 <3 <3

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Chocolate Crinkle Cookies with White + Dark Chocolate Kisses

December 28, 2015 Leave your thoughts Print this page


Oh yes. It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for.



(If you know me, you know I am now hysterically laughing all by myself and will not stop these maniacal giggles for at least another five minutes.)

But these cookies are #goals and #aspirations. What’s with the hashtags? #idk. Have I lost a great amount of self-respect over the course of the past month? #perhaps. 😉


I am so happy that it’s winter break, and that I’m currently sitting on a beach chair and listening to the ocean waves crash against the shore as my fingers pitter-patter away on my laptop’s keyboard. I think I understand why they call twelfth grade senior year: the stress ages you until you need either a cane, Social Security, or both.

*Badum tsssssssss*

But seriously. The past month has been a tired trudge through college decisions, more applications, endless essay-writing, tears, screams of joy, late-night panic attacks over Facebook Messenger, Snapchats with black and white filters and text labeled “crying and no longer trying,” distribution of sympathy brownies, and miserable mornings where I’ve hidden under my favorite English teacher’s desk clutching a pink blankie (true story). The moments of happiness were wonderful beyond compare, but the rest…

Still, I feel incredibly grateful for everything that has happened. Why?!

Well, throughout this anxiety-ridden time, I’ve honestly made more meaningful connections with the people around me than I have this entire school year. You know that High School Musical song “We’re All in This Together?” That’s what the past four weeks have felt like, at least to me. It’s been so…nice to see everyone giving each other hugs and talking openly and candidly with one another. Even though a lot of my friends received not-so-good news, others received fabulous news, and everyone was there for everyone else either way. In my humble opinion, it’s been a truly beautiful thing to witness, and I feel so lucky to have watched it unfold.

I’ve had wonderful, heart-warming conversations with some of the most lovely, kind people I know, both friends and teachers. I’ve gone on some fabulous adventures with my best friends to take my mind off of things. Yes, I’ve had moments of despair, but I’ve also had many moments of contentment, where I’ve been so happy that the universe has given me exactly what I needed after all. And for that, I will smile, because I can give love, I can feel love, and I can choose love.

You know what else was awesome? The ABBY BAKING RAVE 2k15!!!


Every year, I bake my teachers a variety of goodies around the holidays, but this year, I went all-out, because hey, it’s senior year: go big or go home! (That was the catchphrase that was going to be on our homecoming t-shirt, but then the administration nixed it because it’s supposedly a reference to alcohol. Ouch.)

I certainly went big. I started on a Sunday morning at 8:30 A.M., then baked and boxed almost non-stop until 1:30 A.M., pausing only to go to yoga so I could stretch myself out. (I then got up at 5:30 A.M. to do some more baking because I’m dumb/care too much.) I made croissants and pain au chocolat from scratch, linzer heart cookies with homemade raspberry jam, gingerbread cookies that I hand-decorated meticulously (there were 28 gingerbread folk in total!!!), and of course these crinkle cookies, whose kisses I also made myself. It was a tiring twenty four hours, but each element of the holiday treat box came out perfectly. I must say I’m very proud. 🙂


I healthified/veganized this recipe 100% on my own. Basically, I took a glance at a traditional recipe (loaded with copious amounts of butter and processed ingredients), adjusted some ratios, made some swaps, and VOILA, magic happened. They were so chocolaty, tender, and delicious…I wish I had more than the one I saved for myself. 🙁 Oh well, guess I’ll have to make them again!


Now, you can use regular chocolate kisses from the store, but I personally prefer to DIY them, simply because I can use much better quality chocolate and keep dairy out of the equation. It’s quite easy, really: all you need is some of your favorite melted chocolate and a kiss mold, and you’re set to go! People will be very impressed when you tell them you made the kisses from scratch. 🙂


Hugs and kisses from me to you. <3

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Chocolate Crinkle Cookies with White + Dark Chocolate Kisses


Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 11 min
Total Time 30 min
Yield 18-24 cookies


3 ounces of dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

3 ounces of white chocolate, melted and cooled slightly (use dairy-free white chocolate to keep it completely vegan)

Chocolate kiss mold


1 1/4 cups of non-hydrogenated palm shortening (I like Spectrum, which is unrefined and organic)

1 1/2 cups of unrefined cane sugar (you can reduce it down to 1 cup, but don’t go any further!), plus more for rolling (not hating)

2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder + 6 tablespoons of water, whisked together in a small bowl

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/4 cups of unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of salt



Using a little spoon, layer in white chocolate on the bottom of each slot in the mold, then put a little layer of dark chocolate on top. Keep layering a little bit at a time until you’ve reached the top.

Using a toothpick, gently swirl the white and dark chocolate together, scraping up and down the sides of each mold slot to make the pattern visible.

Chill in the freezer until solid, about 30 minutes. Pop out of the molds and store in an airtight container in the freezer until ready to use.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the palm shortening and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in the arrowroot/water mixture and vanilla, then beat on medium for another minute or two more.

In a medium bowl, sift together the whole wheat pastry flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the mixture 1 cup at a time to the wet ingredients, setting the mixer on low to ensure that you don’t have flour going up in your face.

Once all of the dry ingredients have been added, test the batter. If it holds together pretty well in a ball and doesn’t feel too sticky, you’re good! If it feels a bit too wet, add in another 1/4 cup of pastry flour and see where you’re at. If it feels too dry, add a splash or two of soy or almond milk to keep things moist.

Pour a bit of unrefined cane sugar into a bowl. Using a decent-sized ice cream scoop, take a large scoop of cookie dough and roll it into a sphere with your hands. Drop it in the sugar, roll it around to coat completely, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Pat the top three times gently with your hand and repeat with the remaining cookie dough. (I recommend placing nine to twelve dough balls on each sheet.)

Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes, until they begin to feel firm around the edges. Remove from the oven and promptly kiss each one with a frozen kiss that you prepared. Leave the cookies to hang out at room temperature for 10 minutes, then transfer to the fridge to cool completely so the kisses don’t melt.


Thank you, reader, for listening to me babble about my life. It’s been a wild year and I’ve had a lot to say about it, haha! You are a beautiful human being and I love you, whoever you are! May your 2016 be filled with happiness, laughter, and light. xoxo


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Healthier Smores Cupcakes

December 2, 2015 Leave your thoughts Print this page


Aren’t these cupcakes absolutely gorgeous?! I think they were worth waving over a candle for an hour. Yup, I did that. My blowtorch broke, so I used a candle to brown the top. Hey, when you have determination, you can do anything.


Sigh. I could totally go for a glass of determination right now. I’m kinda stuck in this very transitional time and it kinda totally blows. I try to be optimistic, to smile and see beauty in everything and sing Kumbaya, but most days I’m just so tired that I put my head down and keep plowing through. Sometimes I’m slightly convinced I’m going crazy, like when I drew myself as a prickly pink sea cucumber or when I was entertained by a cardboard box for a good fifteen minutes.

Is it too late to reclaim my identity as a cat?


I have a dream, and it’s so close that I can almost reach my hand out and grab it. And that’s super exciting. But at the same time, I feel like I’m going to vomit because that dream might not be mine to grab, and I’m going to have to pick up the pieces and find a new one instead. And right now…I know…nothing. That’s terrifying.

Ah, the trials and tribulations of being a teenager! At least I’ll always have cooking and baking to keep me preoccupied.


I’ve been up since 4:30 A.M. so I’ll spare you my mindless prattle and cut to the chase: THESE CUPCAKES. YOU MUST MAKE THEM. I didn’t have one–I gave all of them away to friends and family–but the reports from the taste testers were astoundingly positive. (Apparently one of my English teachers refused to share his cupcake when asked by a colleague because it was so good.) Several people said this was the best cupcake they’ve ever eaten, so you’ve gotta believe it, folks!


So go forth. Make cupcakes. Send good energy and prayers or whatever you do and dance little positivity dances for me. Thank you. Love you. <3

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Smores Cupcakes

Making cupcakes is fun, but you know what’s even more fun? Burning cupcakes, on purpose, for ART! No, I’m not a pyromaniac, just a girl who likes making cupcakes extra pretty.


Prep Time 1 hr
Cooking Time 20 min
Total Time 1 hr 30 min
Yield 10-12 cupcakes


1 large egg, at room temperature

2/3 cup unrefined cane sugar or coconut sugar

1/4 cup of molasses

1 cup unsweetened almond milk + 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup of vegetable oil or melted coconut oil

2 tablespoons of coconut cream (the thick stuff at the top of the can)

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

1 3/4 cup of whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of salt


4 ounces of dark chocolate, chips or chopped finely

1/4 cup of full-fat coconut milk


3 egg whites

3/4 cup of unrefined cane sugar

3/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with parchment liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar, molasses, almond milk/vinegar mixture, oil, coconut cream, and vanilla extract until well-combined. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together with a fork and fold into the wet ingredients, 1 cup at a time, until no clumps of flour remain. DO NOT over-mix.

Using an ice cream scoop or two large spoons, scoop the batter into the parchment liners until each is 3/4 the way full. Bake in the oven until a toothpick comes out clean in the center, about 20 minutes.

Let cool in the muffin tin for 15 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to come to room temperature.


Melt the chocolate in the microwave or a double boiler. Once completely melted, add in the coconut milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, and stir with a spatula. Let cool at room temperature or in the fridge until thickened but still very pliable.

Using an inverted spatula, spread a generous scoop of the ganache all over the top of each cupcake. Let the ganache harden a bit at room temperature while you make the marshmallow.


In a small saucepan, warm the egg whites and sugar over medium-low heat until the sugar is mostly dissolved, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add the cream of tartar and salt, and beat on medium-high until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and continue beating until stiff peaks form, about 2-3 minutes longer.

Immediately fill pastry bags fitted with a fat French tip with the prepared marshmallow meringue. Decoratively pipe it all over the top of each prepared cupcake, making whatever patterns you desire.


Using a culinary blowtorch (or a candle, if you’re old-school), gently brulee the top of each cupcake until the meringue begins to brown. Try not to stay in one place too long: once you’ve achieved browning, move onto the next section.

Store in an airtight container for up to 24 hours. Best if consumed right away.



Happy December, everybody! 🙂

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Pumpkin Roulade Cake (oil-free + dairy-free)

October 31, 2015 Leave your thoughts Print this page


Hello, gorgeous. Goodness, look at those curves on you! You’re really on a roll with beauty like that.

I’m sorry. My humor has been flushed down a dark toilet and has been clogged there for weeks. I haven’t even been writing for two minutes and I’ve already offended you with cake flirtations and bathroom references. I think this is what they call senior slump.


I am so glad October is over: it was a stressful month with taking the SAT, juggling classes with lots of reading, and submitting my early decision application to college (!!!). And when I get anxious or nervous, I resort to stress baking, so tasty treats have been spewing out of my kitchen lately.


Even though it was crazy, October still yielded lots of fun adventures and surprises. I made a flower crown and wore a toga to school. I went apple picking with one of my best friends ever (we collectively got 38 pounds of apples). I visited my top-choice school on a beautiful autumn day and felt perfectly at home there. I finally did full lotus. I dressed up as a tomato for Halloween.





…say what?! TOMATO?! Proof is in the pudding (or is it the sauce…tomato pudding would be disgusting…).

img_20151025_155355 1

Now you know why hot boys are knocking at my doorstep!!! 😉

So, yeah. Crazy months yield crazy baked goods.


This one was a huge hit with my taste-testing squad. Everyone said it was light, perfectly-spiced, and wonderfully spongy…and no one noticed that there was a) no oil in the cake, and b) tofu in the filling.

Once again, say WHAT?! I said tofu. T-O-F-U. In a dessert. And everyone agreed that it was delicious.


While this roulade cake sounds fancy (and hard to assemble), it’s really quite easy! If you can dump things into a bowl and have a kitchen towel you’d be okay with getting messy, you should be good to go.



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Pumpkin Roulade Cake

Want a healthy (yet beautiful) dessert that doesn’t have added oils and still tastes delicious? Look no further than this pumpkin roulade cake! Shh…don’t tell anyone…there’s tofu in the filling…

Adapted from this recipe.


Prep Time 3 hr
Cooking Time 15 min
Total Time 3 hr
Yield 1 cake (about 12 servings)


3 eggs, at room temperature

1/3 cup of unrefined cane sugar

1/3 brown sugar

1 cup of pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

3/4 cup of whole wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of ground ginger

Pinch each of nutmeg, clove, and allspice

1/2 teaspoon of salt


12 ounces of silken tofu

1/2-3/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder or cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Pinch of salt



Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 10 x 15 inch jelly roll pan with wax paper and nonstick cooking spray then set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. Whisk together and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Fold in the sugars, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract with a spatula until well-incorporated, then gradually fold in the flour mixture (1/2 cup at a time) until everything is combined.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake until the cake springs back when touched, about 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, dust a tea towel with confectioner’s sugar and set aside.

Once the cake is fully cooked, let it cool in the pan for five minutes, then invert onto the prepared tea towel. Peel off the wax paper and roll up the cake like a log, rolling from the short side to the long side. Put the cake wrapped in the tea towel on a cooling rack and set aside.


In a high-speed blender, process together all of the ingredients for the filling. Taste and add more confectioner’s sugar, if necessary.

Transfer to a small saucepan and heat over medium until bubbling. Next, reduce the heat to low and cook until thickened, about 5-10 minutes, whisking frequently to prevent clumps from forming. Once very thick, transfer the mixture to a bowl and put in the fridge to cool completely.


When both the cake and frosting are cool, unroll the cake onto a cutting board. Using an inverted spatula, spread the filling all over the cake, leaving about an inch around the border to make sure the filling doesn’t come gushing out.

Applying gentle pressure, roll up the cake with the filling inside the same way as you did before. Give it a squeeze to seal the seam and place the cake, seam side down, on a plate or the same cutting board you just used. Put it in the fridge for at least three hours and preferably overnight.

Let sit out for 5-10 minutes to come to room temperature before eating. Dust with confectioner’s sugar or unrefined cane sugar before serving, if desired.


What did YOU do this October?! Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know! 🙂

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Roasted Tomato, Pepper + Garlic Soup

October 13, 2015 Leave your thoughts Print this page


Hi everyone! So it’s t-minus three weeks until my early decision application is submitted (!!!) and boy, am I ready to be done with high school. Keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be receiving a big green “ACCEPTED!” when December rolls around! To those of you out there reading this, please send good energy my way…

…and I in turn will send good soup your way. Good trade, right??? 🙂


Now that the weather is growing cooler, we’re starting to move into soup season. That’s a good move, in my opinion: I love me a good bowl of warm, comforting soup.

Since we’re in the early days of fall, late summer produce like tomatoes and peppers are still available at the farmer’s market. They won’t be here for very much longer, so I thought I should make a soup to honor the last of this season’s nightshades.


This soup is stupidly simple to put together…but there’s so much flavor it’s unbelievable! It’s all in the ingredients, folks: you really can’t go wrong if you prepare fresh vegetables and fruits in just the right way so their individual flavors sing.


This really is so easy a kitchen novice could do it. All you do is slice up the tomatoes and peppers…


…roast them in the oven with some garlic, put them in the blender, and cook on the stove to thicken.



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Roasted Tomato, Pepper, and Garlic Soup


Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 min
Yield 8-10 servings

2 pounds of mixed tomatoes, halved or quartered if on the larger side

4 large bell peppers, sliced into big pieces

1 head of garlic, outer skin removed

1 teaspoon of sea salt

4 tablespoons of olive oil

1-2 teaspoons of unrefined cane sugar (optional)

Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease two large baking sheets with olive oil and set aside.

Divide the halved and quartered tomatoes and peppers evenly between the two baking sheets. Drizzle each with 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Toss to coat and put in the oven.

Put the head of garlic on a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle it with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Wrap it up into a little bundle and put it in the oven, too.

Roast the tomatoes and peppers in the oven until soft and beginning to brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Once soft, remove the garlic from the oven, too.

When the vegetables have cooled off a bit, transfer the tomatoes and peppers to a large blender. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of its skin and put it in there too. Pour in the salt and add a dash of cayenne, then puree until completely smooth.

Dump the contents of the blender into a large pot or dutch oven. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to low and cook for 30 minutes. Taste and add a bit of sugar, if necessary. If the soup seems incredibly thick, pour in up to 1 cup of vegetable broth or water.

Serve hot.


For now, peace out, Girl Scouts. I’ll just be here, thinking of my future college days and hoping this dream becomes a reality very, very soon…

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