Tag Archives: cookies

That’s Totally Okay

Looking back through today’s pictures, I still don’t know how I was as productive as I was.

I guess that explains how it’s already 6 pm, though. Last I checked it was 10am!

There was lots of learning to be done, though. Both of the educational sense as well as the personal sense.

Like how it’s totally okay to completely mess up your pancakes, only to discover they’re the best you’ve had all week. Even if they look like they’ve already been digested once or twice.

…and it’s also totally okay to realize that maybe the only reason you make mini loaves of bread is not because you like it better fresh – but because it’s so much fun to make and smell.

Sarena’s bread has yet to disappoint. I don’t think it’s possible for it to. It is so quick, so simple and so delicious.

Roasted Red Pepper & Garlic hummus from Appetite for Reduction

Realize you’re home alone for 25 minutes? Well – it’s perfectly reasonable to go on an insane food-processor rampage, right?

For some reason, I can’t get the rest of my family to welcome with open arms the amount of noise required for making hummus and nut butters. On a Sunday morning, no less.

When people should be waking up to the smell of bacon, not the sound of hummus.

And yes, it’s totally okay to combine hemp seeds, sunflower seeds and peanuts in your quest to make the perfect unsweetened peanut butter. Just don’t forget the pinch of salt!

But hey – why not try a flavored cashew butter for once? I’ve never had anything other than “normal” cashew butter, so I decided to give it a try. Verdict? totally okay.

  • 2 c. roasted & salted cashews
  • 1 t. olive oil
  • 1 t. date syrup
  • 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 – 1/4 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. golden raisins

Method: Process the cashews until they form a ball. Break it up and add in the oil, syrup, extract and cinnamon. Process again until smooth. Add more oil depending on how runny you like it. Add in raisins and pulse a few more times to combine.

And by the way…if you just so happened to have made peanut butter before this…and didn’t feel like washing and trying your processor…it’s totally okay to just use the processor with the peanut butter residue still in it.

Not that I would have ever ofund myself in this situation or anything.

Haven’t done laundry in two weeks? Totally okay – it just makes you find all those old clothes you don’t know why you still have…but then realize why when you have nothing else to wear.

Again, not that I would know anything about that.

Yes, it’s perfectly fine to consider your workout for the day simply walking up a hill.

…but it’s probably easier to buy when the snow is up to your waist, and your dog might hate you for it.

Sorry for the butt shot…but this just had to be done. Kaia found that it worked best if she just tried dragging herself along on her belly.

We have so much snow right now. And we had a thundersnow storm last night!

It was kind of creepy and I was ready for the apocalypse.


I also realize that lately I’ve been hardly creative in the kitchen on my own, but rather have been making recipes out of books like it’s my job.

Well, I do wish it were my job…

But hey, that’s totally okay. I’m calling it “fine-tuning my technique.”

Because really, I don’t actually know anything about cooking or baking.

It’s totally okay to instantly think of your childhood when creaming “butter” and sugar.

Isn’t it a requirement of growing up to eat the butter and sugar when making cookies?

Not quite enough dried figs for your homemade “Fig Not-Ins” after you absent-mindedly munched on a few?

Using some golden raisins as filler is perfectly okay.

Adding anise extract, on the other hand? Totally not okay. Sambuca has ruined anise extract for me for the rest of my life, I think. I can’t have peppermints anymore because of peppermint schnapps, either.

Luckily, the anise was just an accentuating flavor, not a main player. I followed Vegan with a Vengeance‘s recipe because I wanted to have a more dough-like newton. The recipes I found online were more like a date bar – but with figs. I wanted more of a distinct fig newton! But, adding the anise idea came from this recipe.

Ironically, rolling the dough out for this was very time consuming and difficult and it will probably be many moons before I do it again. That and the directions confused me. I don’t think they were confusing, I think I was just having a “moment.” A “what the kale?” moment.

And if you lose patience with it, it’s totally okay to end up just making two giant tarts with the last of your dough.

And by the way – taste-testing your fig filling? Perfectly fine. In fact, I think it’s required. Mainly if you have some fresh bread and cashew butter to accompany it. D’oh.

Having paprika that’s older than you are? Well, that’s probably not okay, but I use it anyway. It probably doesn’t taste like…well…anything…to be perfectly honest with you.

I kid you not, I remember having this paprika when I was, like, three.

Because I was definitely using paprika as a wee little three year old. I distinctly remember burping “mo’ papriikay!” a time or two.

But until I finally remember to buy new paprika, this old stuff had to do for the mushroom and cannellini paprikas in Appetite for Reduction.

And in case you were wondering – it’s also totally okay to have sweet potato fries with every meal…and still not know whether you prefer them with barbeque sauce or hummus.

And lastly – it’s perfectly fine if you just watch the Superbowl for the commercials. I’m not a football fan…I prefer real sports.

Other things that are totally okay:

  • Realizing you haven’t gotten out of your pajamas all day. Which probably means they’re really gross considering the fact that I was definitely sweating walking up that hill.
  • Not putting away your laundry even if it’s all done.
  • Realizing you sort of enjoy the reading for your recent classes.

What was your “totally okay” moment of the day?

And I’ve gotta ask…Superbowl – yay or nay?

Advertisements

24 Comments

Filed under baking, bread, breakfast, cookies, cooking, dessert, dinner, food, healthy living, hummus, lunch, musings, nut butter, pancakes, photography, recipe, snow, sweet potato, vegan, vegetarian, veggies, vermont

Energy Cookies!

I loved hearing whether my voice/self was at all what you’ve imagined it to be. I’m not surprised a lot of you mentioned it sounded quieter/higher than you’d expected. I should have mentioned that I was trying to not talk normal-level, and my voice gets sort of higher pitched when I’m nervous.

Yes, I was nervous to be vlogging. Don’t laugh. I still haven’t seen many of you try an accent vlog!

_____________

You’re probably not surprised to learn that today was a snow-day. Since I don’t need to be anywhere in particular on Tuesdays I should add it was a self-proclaimed snow day, but still a snowday nonetheless.

…poor Teddie.

I made do, though – I have plenty of reading and homework to do this semester, that is for sure!

…but there comes a point in time when you’ve just got to take a break!

Dreena’s Energy Cookies have caught my eye and called my name everytime I open Vive le Vegan, but I kept just opting to bake SuperCharge Me cookies instead. Because the ingredients list was shorter.

Long lists overwhelm me.

But, given the fact that I have about every nut or seed imaginable and plenty of flours to choose from, I finally figured a long list would probably be better than a short one today. You know, dig into the stash.

My kinda cookies! They’re so nutty, seedy and moist! The only thing I changed from the recipe was I used 1/4 c. amaranth flour and the rest white whole wheat as well as some quick oats, almond extract instead of vanilla, cranberries instead of raisins and added some ground nutmeg. Oh, and replaced some of the maple syrup with almond milk.

Dare I say it, but I think I prefer these over SuperCharge Me cookies! I loved the combination of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and hemp seeds.

They’re also a bit more moist than SuperCharge Me cookies, which sometimes come out to dry for me. I realize that’s probably just due to me getting too experimental though, since SCM cookies are practically the holy grail of the power cookie and blog world. Rightfully so.

And re: amaranth flour – I love it! I think it lends a nice crust – these cookies have a bit of a crust on the outside that gives way to their soft interior, and my bread that I baked had a wonderful crust, too. I was terrified to use it when I first opened the bag as it had a very grainy, almost “dirty” smell to it. It doesn’t taste like that, though!

Chocolate has been growing on me more and more lately. I’m still not one to eat a bar of it plain, but I’ve been loving dark chocolate chips in baked goods. And stuffed in dates a la Gabriela. Maybe I should look into purchased dark chocolate chips that don’t contain artificial flavoring if this is going to become habit…

______________________

And I got over my unspoken-of cauliflower fear today!

I admit it. I had an irrational “thing” about cauliflower before.

I suppose there was no basis to this “thing,” because if I remember correctly, cauliflower happened to be one of the few vegetables I ate as a kid.

Of course, “if I remember correctly” usually means I’m not remembering correctly…but I digress.

In attempts to make Appetite for Reduction’s roasted cauliflower, I needed bread crumbs.

Or, pretzel crumbs if you’re like me.

Note to self: find whole wheat bread crumbs somewhere.

(who am I kidding, I can’t find whole wheat bread crumbs to save my soul…)

Maybe this is where I should clarify that I actually used a yellow cauliflower, not a normal cauliflower. Just before you go thinking I ate some wonky cauli.

The yellow one was fifty cents cheaper and I was being thrifty, remember?

Much to my surprise the cauliflower tasted like…well…the barbecue sauce I dipped it in. Crazy, right?!

It must have been the special Kaia-hair seasoning I used.

(and that’s mushroom tibs by the way, even though it may look like I decided to just share my plate with Kaia.)

Time for me to go batten down the hatches for the big storm.

And by batten down the hatches, I mean watch the Bruins game. I wonder how long it will take me to go stir-crazy tomorrow?

Are you easily intimidated by recipes with long ingredients lists?


29 Comments

Filed under baking, cookies, cooking, dinner, foodblog, healthy living, lunch, recipe, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian, veggies

Curry Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Day 1 of the Deep Freeze:

obviously not spent at the barn. This will be a weekend that is intended for curling up with a hot cup of something and watching the Bruins slaughter the Avalanche. Avalanches? The Avs, we’ll leave it at that.

Unless I’m at Hannaford’s, I guess. My mom and I both had to do some work in town and then pick up something in the “big town” (I know that sounds corny, I’m just refraining from naming places!) so I ran into Hannaford’s for some sweet potatoes…

…but Amaranth flour found its way in my basket when I saw it “bargain priced to move” at $1.99. I don’t pass up bargain flours that I haven’t tried yet. Even if I’ve never even had amaranth as a grain before.

The irony? When I got home, I was reading through my comments on yesterday’s post with buckwheat flour, to discover my flour infatuation is rather well-known to you guys, too.

Look at how much iron it has, though!

Anyways. I haven’t used it yet and probably won’t even open it up for another couples…weeks…but I just found it ironic I suppose.

I did, however, make more sweets today. Cookies for the fam. We have a lot of desserts in the house right now, but they keep getting gobbled up so I’ll keep making them.

Which is probably the reason why I do try and make an effort to make stuff at least a little bit healthier if it’s possible. I don’t want to be blamed for making my loved ones unhealthy, so it’s my way of being able to continuously keep baking things I guess 😉

Which is why it’s going to be our little secret that I didn’t actually follow the recipe for the cookies that were requested, and instead followed Angela’s Ultimate Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Recipe instead. The “requested recipe” was one that was an advertisement in a Rachel Ray magazine for Ocean Spray Craisins. It wasn’t that bad a recipe…but I think it was more of a “I like the process of finding a recipe rather than following one given to me.” sort of thing.

And yes, I baked with Angela’s printed-off recipe snugged in the magazine so it would look like I was following the magazine should anyone walk in the kitchen.

Ironically, I sort of unhealthified it, but mainly because I was feeling cheap and didn’t want to use the last of my coconut oil or maple syrup for something I wasn’t baking for myself.

Go ahead and call me selfish, I know.

That and, obviously, I needed to use cranberries. Raisins would just be a dead giveaway that I didn’t follow the other recipe, y’know?

The swaps:

  • 3/4 c. all purpose flour in place of Kamut
  • scant 1/2 c. brown sugar (the alternative suggested for Sucanat)
  • 1/3 c. maple syrup rather than 1/2 c.
  • 2 T. cow’s milk
  • 3.5 T. butter vs. coconut oil
  • 2/3 c. dried cranberries vs. raisins

I realize it probably seems contradictory to talk about using butter when I previously said I tried making things healthier – but I should probably clarify that I really don’t have any problems with butter or anything labeled “unhealthy.” I just don’t like to use a ton of it. And less than 4 tablespoons for 20 cookies is pretty marginal, if you ask me.

Alright alright. You’re sick of the cookie pictures. In case you were wondering, though, they were a serioius hit. And they smell amazing whilst baking. I think it was all the walnut meal and maple syrup.

Onto other, really unattractive things. I have the most difficult time photographing sweet potatoes and curries. The color just makes my WB go crazy, and it doesn’t help that I am so. sick. of having to use my flash to photograph anything that’s not lunch.

…which is just about everything, these days.

Being that my mom and I got home from town sort of late, I didn’t have time to have my daily sweet potato for lunch.

You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.

And so that meant only one thing: I had to make up for it at dinner.

Normally I’m pretty content just eating them plain, but decided I’d live life on the edge tonight. And stuff it. I had a stuffed sweet potato kick sometime last year, and they really are delicious.

I know it’s easy to slice into a fresh oven-baked sweetie and want to just eat it plain right then and there – but please, every so often…give the sweetie the love and time it deserves! Here’s one way 😉

Curry Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

  • 1 medium-large sweet potato (try and choose a round one versus a long skinny one!)
  • 1/2 a red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 a medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 t. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3/4 c. diced white mushrooms
  • 1/4 a block of tempeh, diced (or chickpeas or tofu or ground beef, for all I care)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 T. curry powder, depending on your taste (I used a heaping 1/2 T. of a sweet-ish curry)
  • 1/2 t. honey
  • salt, to taste

Preheat your oven to 425* and poke the sweet potato a couple of times. Bake for an hour, or until tender – when I knife can slide through it.

About half an hour into cooking, prepare your filling: in a small pan over medium heat, preheat your olive oil. Add in the onion and sautee until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and sautee one more minute. Add in the mushrooms and red pepper and allow to cook until all of the liquid has been cooked out of the mushrooms. Stir in the tempeh and then the curry powder and honey. If necessary, add a tablespoon or two of water at this point.

Once the potato has cooked, cut in half and very gently scoop out the insides, leaving 1/4 – 1/2″ around the outside. Chop the sweet potato you’ve scooped out and mix in with the filling. Spoon the filling back into the sweet potato and enjoy!

I’ve always been a fan of sweet potatoes and curry powder. If you’re hesitant, don’t be! It’s a lovely balance of flavors.

…or maybe I’m just weird. I’ve never been one to want to slather almond butter or maple syrup on my sweet potato, after all 😉

19 Comments

Filed under cookie, cookies, cooking, dessert, dinner, food, food blog, healthy living, recipe, sweet potato, sweet potatoes, tempeh, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian, veggies

Orange Date Cookies + GIVEAWAY!!!

I’ve been hiding a deep, dark secret.

That deep, dark secret is also ooey, gooey and deliciously sweet.

I’ve briefly mentioned my adoration for date syrup – but this type of relationship doesn’t deserve a brief mention.

It deserves an award and a plaque. I don’t love just anything, you know – and for something to compete with maple syrup, you know you’ve got a serious situation on your hands.

When Colleen at Organics are for Everyone contacted me to see if I was interested in trying their date syrup – my first response was the same as it would be had someone asked me a relatively inappropriate question pertaining to what kind of business a bear does in the woods.

…and then of course, my honesty got the best of me, and I instead let her know what I’ve actually tried their date syrup before, as the kind Tatianna had sent me some. I have nowhere to buy it in stores around here! Of course, I did make sure to mention that I would more than willingly welcome more samples if she so chose 😉

The possibilities with date syrup are endless. I liken it to maple syrup because it is a natural sweetener – but the taste is not alike at all, as I’m sure you can imagine. It is far less sweet, being derived wholly from the amazing date.

And that makes it wonderful to drizzle on pancakes!

Back when civilization began, there was date syrup. Stone tablets containing the earliest documented recipes in existence portray this flowing fruit of the date palm as an essential sweetener in the ancient world. It was, and still is, a delectable, complex fruit syrup with a variety of uses and nutritional benefits.

Its uses are many. The syrup’s rich flavor makes for an ideal substitution to processed sugar in your favorite baking and cooking recipes. Use it also as a topping with anything that would normally go with honey or syrup. The benefits are also numerous. A mineral content including potassium, magnesium and iron, make this a great alternative to sweeten up recipes without adding sugar.

Did you know dates have more potassium ounce for ounce then a banana? Forget about stuffing your cheeks like a monkey to get rid of those post-workout cramps! Instead enjoy some delightful date syrup in a protein shake, smoothie, or on its own, and enjoy every sweet bit as it absorbs into your system like sweet nourishment. Dates are also a great source of iron and magnesium as well as an excellent source of energy without adding a speck of anything to them. Use date syrup instead of high-sugar sports bars and drinks to replenish and recharge fatigued muscles.

And then, of course, there’s all the baking you can do with it! Its’ unique flavor lends itself well to cookies and bars, and naturally, I have been putting this theory to use!

When I made these date bars, I replaced the maple syrup the recipe called for with date syrup. It’s only fitting, right?! The substitute was a winner – while I haven’t yet tried them with maple syrup, this extra-datey version was a winner with everyone in my household – a rare occurence!

But my personal favorite recipe I’ve made with date syrup?

I suppose it could be considered a cross between SuperCharge Me cookies as well as the previously mentioned date bars: Orange-Date Cookies!

If you want to use half the dough to eat raw and the other half as a luxurious body scrub because it smells so wonderful, I won’t tell anyone. It can be our secret.

When I tasted one of these cookies hot out of the oven, I wasn’t sold on my final product. I thought they just needed a bit more zazz – maybe a touch mroe date syrup, a touch more orange juice.

But after letting them sit a couple hours, or even better, a day or two? I am in love. They are very subtly sweet – but the orange really shines through and plays well with the texture of the soft, chewy dates baked into their insides. The cashew butter is a wonderul compliment, too – it does not compete with the flavors, but rather, nicely complements them. In fact, my favorite way to enjoy these cookies? Smothered with a bit more cashew butter and had alongside a hot cup of coffee, tea or hot cocoa.

Orange-Date Cookies

yields 15-20 cookies

adapted from Vive le Vegan’s SuperCharge Me cookies

  • 1 c. quick oats
  • 2/3 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 t. sea salt
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/8-1/4 t. ground cloves
  • 1/8 t. ground nutmeg
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/3 c. chopped medjool dates
  • 1/4 c. dried cranberries (or extra dates)
  • zest of one medium orange
  • juice of one medium orange
  • 1/3 c. milled flaxseed
  • 1/4 c. date syrup
  • 2-3 T. almond milk
  • 3 T. cashew butter
  • 2 T. coconut oil, softened

Preheat the oven to 350*.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, oats, spices and baking powder. Stir in the orange zest, dates and cranberries, making sure the dates are separated. In a separate, smaller bowl, combine the milled flaxseed, juice of the orange, cashew butter and date syrup. Pour the wet into the dry and then add the coconut oil. You may need to add 2-3 T. almond milk, depending on how much juice your orange gave you. I think I had to add a tablespoon or two? You’ll want a stiff dough, but not crumbly.

Roll into balls and flatten slightly before placing on a sprayed cookie sheet.

Bake for ten minutes, cool for one minute on sheet, and then remove to cooling racks.

As I mentioned – I enjoyed these even more the next day, and especially smeared with more cashew butter!!

Now it’s your turn.

Do you want to win some date syrup? Of course you do. And you can!! Colleen graciously has offered me the opportunity to host an Organics are for Everyone giveaway.

Want to enter? I’ll give you a couple chances! And no, I’m not going to make you add me to your reader or follow me. Not to say that wouldn’t be lovely…

1. Follow OAFE on Twitter (@datesyruprocks) and tweet about the giveaway in some way, shape or form, linking back to this post.

2. Comment on this post with something relating to date syrup – how you would use it, if you have tried it, a joke involving date syrup, a fact, something to crack me up, you get the point.

3. Link back to this giveaway in your next blog post.

Additionally, it’d be awesome if you came up with and then posted a recipe involving date syrup (either on your own blog or in my comments if you don’t have one) but I realize you may be using this giveaway as your chance to get your hands on date syrup, rendering that potentially impossible, but it’s another option 🙂

Make sure you post a separate comment for each entry! The winner, whom I will randomly choose next weekend using a random number generator, will recieve two (!!) jars of date syrup!

Unfortunately, this giveaway is for people in the contiguous 48 states only. Sorry!

36 Comments

Filed under breakfast, cooking, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, recipe

The Baking Blog

You guys must wonder if all I do is bake and eat sweets these days! Yesterday, I mentioned baking as being my boredome-buster for being snowed in. I guess that’s not so surprising considering…well, I bake when I’m not bored, too. In fact, at this very moment, all I can think of is what I want to bake. And so, I’m sitting on my hands (or, typing this blog post if you want to be literal) because we have plenty of food in this house, and I know I have Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday to bake. Four days in a row without baking won’t be happening, so I figure I might as well give myself until Thursday to eat through Super-Charge Me cookies, cookie dough balls and muffins.

Had I mentioned how, after baking so much for friends and co-workers, all I wanted was some Super-Charge Me cookies? The craving was pretty intense, and I figured I had to make some for Santa on Christmas Eve so that he could be charged for his long night delivering joy and presents.

While nosing through my cupboard to see what I had in terms of dried fruit, I was reminded of an old obsession I had; dried apricots. I used to have dried apricots on a daily basis -how did I forget all about them?! They wound up being paired with roasted almonds in some good old-fashioned Super-Charge Me cookies. Hit the spot.

Is there something you used to have all the time, only to completely forget about it all of a sudden?

And yesterday, I made muffins. Mini muffins. When Ipopped these littlebabies out of the tin, I couldn’t stop ooh-ing and awww-ing, even shoving them in my mom’s face proclaiming “loooook at these little babies they’re so adorable!

I am officially wierd. You knew this.

My mother gave me Vive le Vegan! for Christmas, and naturally – I had to test it out. I was thinking muffins, and settled on the Orange-Poppyseed Muffins, but then when I was flipping through the desserts section, I saw coconut-lime cookies.

…Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Do you see where I’m going with this?

It had to be done, folks. I mean – who doesn’t cook with coconut and limes while there’s a blizzard outside? I realized afterwards how backwards I am. Here, in the middle of a blizzard, I am cooking coconut-lime poppyseed muffins while I should be standing over a pot of bubbling chili.

Ohhh, my life.

Before we get started, a few notes, mainly because I have this sudden obsession with bulleted lists lately:

  • They aren’t very pretty because I never bother smoothing out my muffin tops. Note to self: smooth out your muffin tops! We’ll just call them rustic.
  • If you bake these in mini-mini muffin tins you’ll probably die at the cuteness.

Coconut-Lime-Poppyseed Muffins

  • 1/2 c. + 2 T. ground oats
  • 1 T.  poppyseeds
  • 1 T. (generous) sugar
  • 1/4 c. shredded coconut
  • zest from one lime
  • 1/8 t. sea salt
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 1/4 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 2 T. coconut flour (or another 1/4 c. white whole wheat)
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • juice from one lime
  • 1 T. milled flaxseed
  • 1 t. chia seed
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 T. almond milk
  • 1 t. vanilla extract (I bet coconut extract would be good, though)
  • 1 T. coconut oil
  • 1/4 c. dried cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 375*.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, flaxseed and chia seeds.
  3. In a large bowl,combine the ground oats, poppyseeds, sugar, coconut, lime zest, salt, nutmeg, flours, baking powder and baking soda. Tip: sift in the coconut flour and baking powder and soda.
  4. To the lime juice and flax mixture, add your remaining wet ingredients, stirring to combine. Stir in the coconut oil. Combine everything and stir until well combined. Fold in the dried cranberries.
  5. Spoon the batter into sprayed/nonstick muffin tins until 3/4s of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes (longer or shorter is depndent on the size of your muffins. My baby ones were pretty crispy on the outside after 17 or so, while the large ones I left in for twenty.)
  6. Now, pop those little babies in your mouth like they’re popcorn, while watching the violent snowstorm from inside your safe and humble abode.

Oh, and for what it’s worth – sitting on my hands to prevent myself from baking totally didn’t work. I started writing this post shortly after lunch to keep myself entertained. It’s not 3:35 and I had to do something. It’s still frigid outside, I did all of my cleaning yesterday, and I don’t feel like going out again, either. I’m still chilled from being at the barn all morning.

So, naturally, I convinced my mom she wanted a dessert. She didn’t really, but I needed an excuse, you know. I convinced her she wanted date squares. And when I mentioned it, she realized she wouldn’t mind some date squares after all.

Touch-dowwwwwnnnnn, Jessica!

She’s used to this game I play by now – me suggesting she wants a dessert or a snack or something. And then I play a guessing game, until I say something that she actually says “oh, yeah, okay!” to. Her mom used to make date squares, I guess – so I hope these are just as good!

I followed the recipe in Vive le Vegan, however I used orange zest instead of lemon, coconut oil instead of canola, and date syrup instead of molasses. I quite like them, myself – they are not too sweet, and have the subtle tones of orange in the creamy date layer. The oats in the subtly sweet crust are a nice touch, too.

My thoughts on the cookbook? Another great one to add to my collection! None of the recipes are so complex that they are off-putting, nor are any so simple that I sort of laugh and say “well gee, maybe I should write a cookbook.” They are all health-conscious but not in a restrictive way, and there is a good, diverse selection, too. Lastly, the ingredients are all pretty easy to find, save for tamari and barley flour – though I think I could find both of those things if I knew to look for it at the co-op. The author does give subs for the barley flour, luckily – but it does make me want to try baking with it!

Have you “read” any new cookbooks? What’s your favorite one, or a favorite “kind”? I enjoy reading my cookbooks from cover to cover, not just skimming recipes. I find it really gets my creative juices flowing, and helps to teach me what works with what, too.

I’ve also found that I enjoy all types – not necessarily just vegan cookbooks or just “healthy”cookbooks. In fact, I love flipping through magazines with recipes for meat or things that aren’t trying to be healthy, too – because it’s another take on marinades and dishes!

23 Comments

Filed under cooking, foodblog, healthy living, recipe, Uncategorized

The Goodie Bags

It wasn’t until I was brushing my teeth this morning that I froze and remembered one crucial thing:

I never taste-tested the ginger cookies or the lemon poppyseed cookies.

I’d made them before and knew I liked the recipe – but never even thought to taste test this batch and make sure all was a-ok. My mom, my alternate taste tester, never did either. (we usually split duties because neither of us ever want a whole cookie/bread/what-have-you)

DSC_4816

We’re sort of funny that way, I guess. I got an e-mail asking if I ate what I made, too, and if not, how did I exercise such restraint.

I don’t consider it exercising restraint – I’m just not that big of a sweets eater, I suppose? I’m all for making the goodies, and often times will rather clean the cookie dough off the spoon and then share taste-testing responsibilities with my mom. I guess I’m lucky in that I don’t feel like if I bake, I’ll eat everything…a sample is fine, and my sweet tooth is satisfied. Even after  just a couple of samplings on the first day of baking, all I wanted was to sit down with hummus and carrots!

DSC_4749

Am I gross for dipping my carrots straight into the hummus tub? Probably. Am I the only one eating hummus in this house? Yes. So I’m not worried. Just don’t eat hummus if you come to my house, I guess.

That said, I still enjoy sampling, and I think my problem is not that I dislike sweets – it’s that most “normal” sweets are just too sweet for my tastebuds.

but that doesn’t mean I can’t recognize a good cookie when I try one. And I have confidence that every single goodie that wound up in my goodie bags fits that bill!

DSC_4884

I had planned on sharing the coconut balls recipes with you guys – but instead I’ll give you a quick run-down on everything I made. Hopefully if aybody is looking for a good holiday recipe, this will help!

DSC_4714

DSC_4708DSC_4709

DSC_4715

First up was the Never HomeMaker’s Chocolate Chip Mint Cookies. Peppermint extract was the other extract that found its’ way into my basket after being on sale! I knew mint + chocolate sounded like a perfect combination for Christmas.

DSC_4721DSC_4722

DSC_4723DSC_4741

DSC_4739

The dough proved to be one of the. best. cookie doughs ever. And the smell? I wanted to dive right in. I almost took back every single thing I said about not having a sweet tooth.

DSC_4743DSC_4747

The dough also proved to be tricky to work with. It kept crumbling apart, and at one point I thought it was going to be a complete and utter fail. I finally added a bit of almond milk which helped some. I think having the chocolate chips made it more difficult for them to stay together? I can’t figure out what I did wrong, because Ashley’s look really moist ad cake-like. I wouldn’t say mine were dry, but definitely more cookie-like.

Oh, well – they still tasted good, and managed to make it in one piece. Click here for the recipe.

DSC_4696DSC_4697

DSC_4699DSC_4702

DSC_4703

Next up? Eat, Drink and Be Vegan’s Maple Pecan Sticky Blondies.

I made them with walnuts, though, so I called them Maple Walnut Sticky Blondies Winking smile 

DSC_4725DSC_4726

DSC_4729

DSC_4731DSC_4735

DSC_4752

Ohhh my lawd – now these. These were my hands-down favorite. Not too sweet, and definitely a dessert that I would enjoy! Unfortunately, there was hardly enough for the five baggies I was putting together, and was left with just a couple of slivers.

DSC_4842

DSC_4843

The minor amount of molasses in these really comes through in the flavor. It threw my mom for a loop at first, but I think that might be what makes them so exceptional to me. Paired with maple syrup and walnuts? And moist and sticky from the help of coconut milk yogurt? Pour yourself a glass of milk and have a party, you deserve it.

DSC_4789DSC_4795

DSC_4792

DSC_4798DSC_4800

When I was first compiling my “baking list,” I had pretty much all cookies. Then the blondies butted in, and I knew a bread or muffin would tie everything together. Veganomicon’s Cranberry-Orange-Nut bread sounded perfectly seasonal.

DSC_4801

DSC_4824DSC_4848

These are the instances when I adore these mini loaf pans…even if it meant I totally fudged up the baking time. I should have baked these for a shorter amount of time than instructed, but I totally forgot about that.

As such, they developed a really thick crust, but luckily – remained moist and flavorful on the inside. I cut back a hair on the sugar (I should mention that whether I’m baking for myself or others, I always cut back at least a little bit on the sugar.) ad loved the subtle sweetness. It didn’t overpower the mingling of the cranberry and orange, but didn’t leave you puckering either.

This bread gets the award for “most sampled.” I just couldn’t decide if the thick crust was enough to get it kicked out of the goodie bag, but when my mom’s boyfriend tasted it blindly and said it was delicious, in it went.

DSC_4829

The other two cookies were tried and trueVegan with a Vengeance’s Sparkled Ginger Cookies and Eat, Drink & Be Vegan’s Lemon Poppyseed Crinkle Cookies.

Which leaves us with only two things…

DSC_4851

Two kinds of balls! Here they are naked.

Which do you prefer – quick breads or cookies?

Are you a cookie monster, or would you rather bake them?

26 Comments

Filed under baking, christmas, cookies, holiday, recipe

Holiday Traditions

 

DSC_4235_thumbDSC_4237 01_thumb

DSC_4237cr_thumb[1]

One cookie that totally missed a very deserved spotlight while my power was out were sparkled ginger cookies. (I got the recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance – but in case you need some convincing to purchase the book – there is someone who posted the recipe. )

I made these the Tuesday before the crisis and saved some for home and brought the rest to work

.DSC_4239_thumb[1]

With the holidays, I will probably be trialing many cookie recipes to decide which ones “win” the position of being in our cookie giveaway baskets. It’s become a tradition to bake an assortment of cookies to give with cards and trinkets, and my mom always makes the same cookies. Well, I’m just beginning to do the tradition myself, rather than just leeching all of my mom’s freshly baked cookies to give away.

DSC_4244_thumb[1]

DSC_4245_thumbDSC_4248_thumb

And what’s a gift basket without a good ginger cookie?!

They’re pretty much essential.

Ironically, the “taste testers” of these cookies are also the people who will be getting said goodie buckets.

It’s kind of like buying a present for someone right in front of them, just saying it’s for yourself. They’ll never guess that way, you know.

DSC_4247

These ginger cookies were the perfect ginger cookies. A chewy interior contrasted the slightly crunchy, sugar-covered exterior. I also added some crystallized ginger to the recipe for an added texture and gingery kick.

DSC_4316DSC_4317

DSC_4319

But the next cookies I made – Lemon Poppyseed Crackle Cookies – really stole the show. The recipe is from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. The only thing I did differently was sub the barley malt syrup for maple syrup, as I did not have any.

DSC_4321

I really am not adventurous/”playful” when it comes to tinkering with cookie recipes. There is too much chemistry involved! I want my cookies to be cookies – not cookies with identity crisis’s.

DSC_4327

DSC_4329

Someday, I’ll get there. For now – I’ll leave it to the pros Winking smile

These cookies, however – perfectly light, refreshing and flavorful with a perfect texture: chewy with a crust just crispy enough.

I forget how much I love lemon poppyseed way too often – believe it or not, it’s one of my favorite muffin flavors, but I can’t remember the last time I made them! Shortly prior to blogging, I loved making lemon poppyseed pancakes.

Do you have any holiday baking traditions?

What’s your favorite holiday cookie?

I sort of have a niche, cooking my way through vegan cookbooks and surprising everyone Winking smile

26 Comments

Filed under baking, cookies, dessert, gingerbread, recipe