Blah blah cookies blah blah blah

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Disclaimer: I actually made these forever ago and was holding out on you.

No, not really forever… just last week and I’ve been busy busy so sorry sorry but here they are. And also I have this really fab lunch I’m currently eating and will share that next. I’m just SO nice, aren’t I?! Actually kind of wishing I had some of that lunch left, because sadly it’s gone and it was delicious and chickpeas are my new favorite thing! Not really new.. at all… but in this combination they’re amazing and delicious and why are they gone??

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Also, my cats are adorable. Their adorableness never ceases to amaze me, which is why I apparently have so many cat photos. Here’s one more just because it’s my blog so if I can show you cats if I want to! Muahaha.

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ANYway. Cookies.

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These are pumpkin! Kind of like pumpkin pie consistency when they’ve hung out in the fridge for a bit. Happily nutritious too, since they’re grain free, gluten free, and vegan. AND refined sugar free! Wheee! If you like them with a slightly crunchier top, I recommend eating them after they’ve cooled slightly; otherwise, store them in the fridge for a soft, dense consistency. They’re delicious either way though, so do yourself a favor ;)

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Grain Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe gratefully borrowed and only a teeny bit adapted from cHow Divine, here! Yield: 14. Grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free, vegan. High in antioxidants, healthy fats, and beta carotene.

  • 2.5 c almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I make my own)
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed+3 tbsp water)
  • 1/4 c grade B organic maple syrup
  • 1/2 c pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (I used refined), melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

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Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine flaxseed and water and let that sit aside to gelatinize whilst you’re doing everything else..

In a smallish bowl, whisk together almond flour, baking soda, pie spice, and sea salt. In a larger bowl, (using a mixer or your incredibly large biceps—I opted for biceps since I was too lazy to wash the mixer) beat together maple syrup, pumpkin puree, melted coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Add dry into wet ingredients, toss in flax egg, and stir to combine. Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop by the tablespoon-sized ball on the prepared cookie sheet, and flatten slightly (they won’t flatten as they bake). Bake for 15-17 minutes, until the cookies are lightly golden and mostly firm to the touch. Let cool on the baking sheet, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely (they’re a little delicate, be careful!).

I store my leftovers in the fridge–the texture gets a teeny bit softer but I think more delicious.

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Of course avocado belongs in cookies. What did you think?!

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AVO!

Obviously it belongs in cookies. I mean… I put spinach in oatmeal and tons of other places where normal people usually don’t (but what’s the fun in being normal, I ask you?). So clearly avocado in cookies was a logical next step for the girl who is borderline obsessed with green things.

Wait.

Maybe not even borderline obsessed. Let’s just go with obsessed? Good, I’m glad we got that one settled.

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Anyway. Happy Thursday-Almost-Friday! I have virtual cookies for your inbox, hooray! (Unless you are, of course, one of the lucky few who might be a recipient of these cookies… see what happens when you’re nice to me? I feed you!!). And not just any cookies, oh no. I would never ever just give you ordinary cookies, that goes against my principles.

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These little guys are nutrient-dense powerhouses, ready to smack down your afternoon slump. What slump? Not when you have these. Chewy and a little crunchy from the buckwheat groats, full of healthy fats (almond flour and avocado) and complex carbs (buckwheat groats and oats). Apparently buckwheat contains all eight amino acids! Bonus. And besides that, it’s an excellent source of manganese, copper, magnesium, and fiber. So that means I can eat these for dinner, right?? I mean, they have the requisite green things in them that apparently ALL of my food has to have…

Ps. How is it already February?? Can someone answer that? I’ll give you a cookie…

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Avo Chocolate Chippie Cookies!

Yield: 17 smallish cookies. Gluten free, refined sugar free, and dairy free (with appropriate dairy free chippies). Recipe only slightly adapted from Imma Eat That, here! Oh. And these took me about 15 minutes start to finish, so you have no excuses to not make them!

Rustle up:

  • 1/3 c raw buckwheat groats
  • 1/3 c almond flour
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp flaxseed
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 c coconut sugar
  • 1/3 c mashed ripe avocado
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda+1/2 tsp warm water
  • 1/3 c dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp raw buckwheat groats

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Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

This part couldn’t be simpler. Muscle out your food processor (assuming it weighs a metric ton like mine), toss in 1/3 c buckwheat groats, almond flour, oats, flaxseed, salt, and coconut sugar. Whiz together until every thing is mostly finely ground. Pour all this goodness out into a large bowl and set aside. In a separate smaller bowl, vigorously whisk together the mashed avocado and egg until the whole thing is homogenous with only a few chunks. Whisk in vanilla. Combine baking soda and warm water in a small bowl, and once dissolved, whisk it into the avo-egg bowl. Pour liquid into dry, add chocolate chips and remaining buckwheat groats, and stir to combine.

Roll the dough into roughly ball-like shapes and pat them down flattish on the cookie sheet (they won’t really spread). Bake for 8-9 minutes, until the tops are just firm to the touch. Cool for a few minutes, then move to a cooling rack for immediate consumption…

I found I liked these cold, and have been storing them in the fridge. I would assume they keep better longer in the fridge anyway, but I doubt mine will last that long with all the vultures around here!

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Milk is most definitely a good choice

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So… I went to the movies on Thursday night.

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Which lead me to the realization that I basically carry my entire life in my purse on a regular basis. Purse doesn’t really cut it. Let’s try… BAG. Lip balm? Check. Wallet? Yes. Phone? Obviously. Keys. Gloves. Pen. Gum. Tea bags. Novel (clearly. What if I have a spare five minutes or something?! Better to read than to stare at a screen). Water bottle? Helloooo. And cookies. Duh. Who DOESN’T carry a tupperware of cookies in their purse?

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Besides, movie snacks are horrendously expensive and full of junk. I would rather make my own and save twenty bucks, you know? I’ve even been known to sneak in a sandwich. It was a lunchtime movie!! I was going to be hungry! And hungry=impatience and very little focus. I’m not paying over ten dollars to be hungry and distracted. And it’s way more fun to whip out your smuggled in snacks and watch the looks of jealousy from your neighbors than to eat the theater crap (Except for maybe the occasional popcorn, I might make an exception for that, but only if I have snacks with me to combat the saltiness).

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So anyway. My life comes with me on my shoulder on a regular basis and may even include cookies. Those lucky souls escorting me to the theater are no doubt grateful for this, unless they get asked to hold my bag…

Bicep workout, anyone?

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Almond Coconut Cookies

This recipe is only a teeny bit adapted from Making Thyme for Health, here! These are gluten free and dairy free, AND free of refined sugar! And possibly paleo? Though I’m not gluten free, I’m always looking for ways to switch up my snackies and desserty type things, and these totally fit the bill. Delicious, satisfying, and quick to come together. Besides all that, they’re full  of nutrients, which is how I like all of  my food to be. None of those empty calories for me, thanks!

I found that the coconut flavor is much more pronounced than the almond; if you’re really going for almond, I’m sure a splash of almond extract would be delicious.
Yield: 16 cookies

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Rustle up the following:

  • 3/4 c almond flour/almond meal
  • 1/4 c coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 c almond butter (mine was salted, I like the extra bit of saltiness)
  • 1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c raw honey
  • 1 whole egg+1 yolk
  • 3/4 c shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

In a large bowl, whisk together almond meal, coconut flour, sea salt, and baking soda. In a smaller bowl, whisk together almond butter, coconut oil, vanilla, honey, egg and egg yolk. Keep whisking vigorously for a few minutes, until the mixture is smooth and combined (alternatively, you could use a mixer but eehhhhhh I didn’t want to do extra dishes…). Stir in shredded coconut. Toss wet into dry, and stir slowly until combined (trying not to fling flour everywhere, no I obviously don’t speak from experience, what makes you say that?!). Stir in chocolate chips—the dough should be very thick. Refrigerate the dough for at least a half an hour.

Preheat oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Once dough is chilled, roll it into tablespoon sized balls and flatten them slightly onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for just about 10 minutes, until golden. Let cool for a few on the cookie sheet, then remove to a cooling rack! And don’t do this, unless you want cookies that have… character:

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Oops!

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The smashed ones were definitely my favorites…

I think you’ll find I’ve had a browniepiphany

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So you know how I’m always whining about how I’m soooo picky with brownies and that I never make them and blah blah blah?!

Yes, well…

I think that might have changed.

THESE.

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Gaahhhh… I can’t even.

Crackly crust. Fudgy, dense interior… IN. A. SKILLET. With ice cream. And date caramel. And two spoons.

Be jealous, it’s okay.

And yeah. They were so good I didn’t even really get proper pictures, but that should tell you just how good they really were. I think they might actually be too good for their own good…

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Everything I want in a brownie and then some. AND double bonus, they’re gluten free and dairy free! Not that I’m either (um, hello BUTTER) (and bread. obvs) but for all my little pallies out there who don’t do the gluten and dairy thing, these are for you. Because I love you and I want you to have fabulous brownies.

Time for second breakfast. I ate oatmeal for the first round, so obviously brownies make a logical second choice? Yes, I thought so too.

tis the season!
tis the season!

The Best Brownies

Gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free. Recipe adapted from Recreating Happiness, here! I made a 1/2 batch for a 5″ cast iron skillet, so I’ll post those measurements here. Double for a larger skillet, or an 8 by 8 pan. I highly recommend making them in cast iron, because eating them out of a warm skillet is magical.

  • 1.5 tbsp unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 oz dark chocolate (I used 72%)
  • 1/2 c extra dark chocolate chips (I used Guittard)
  • 1/4 c coconut sugar
  • 1/3 c almond flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chips (Guittard)

Preheat the oven to 325, and lightly grease pan of choice (I used a 5″ cast iron skillet and coconut oil).

In a microwave safe bowl, melt coconut oil, dark chocolate, and 1/2 c extra dark chocolate chips until completely melted. Set aside to cool slightly. In a small bowl, whisk together almond flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside to hang out with the cooling chocolate.

In yet another bowl, whisk together coconut sugar and melted chocolate until combined. Whisk in egg—longer whisking creates the crackly crust! (who knew). Whisk in vanilla, then stir in the contents of the almond flour bowl and the chocolate chips. Pour/spread batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the top is set. Make sure not to over bake! No one likes dry brownies… I checked mine at 17 minutes, and then let them bake for another 4ish minutes. Mine were fairly thin, so test according to thickness and how hot your oven runs.
Let cool… or not.

Eat out of the skillet, preferably with ice cream and some date caramel… and someone else. Sharing is caring ;)

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Throwback Thursday and the Lentil Life

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AND THEN. I made lentil bars! Because… well, why not?! And then I sort of became the lentil bar fairy and handed out several at work, one of which went to this particular friend who *claims* that she doesn’t like lentils. Uh-huh. Just wait.

Said friend ate lentil bar.

One day later…

Friend commissions an entire batch of lentil bars for eating purposes!!

VICTORY OF THE LENTILS! Muahhahah.

And guess what? I have a new nickname!

I’ll give you one guess…

Lentil!!!

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Naturally. The now lentil-converted friend decided I was henceforth to be dubbed Lentil (always said with some sort of accent, of course), mostly because we have a running joke that she brings meat and I bring rabbit food for lunch…and then when I bring beef it’s like.. WOAH. So yeah. A very apropos nickname, I would say ;)

And one more for your viewing pleasure… Throwback Thursday! I was six. Things haven’t changed much…

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Lentil Bars

Recipe slightly adapted from She Bakes Here! I’ve made this twice—once as a single recipe, once doubled. I used green lentils once and red lentils once, and I think I prefer red, though you can use either. If using green, make sure you cook them just a little bit longer so they’re easily mushable (technical term). I reduced the sweetener a little so these aren’t overly sweet, but perfect for a mid morning or on the go snack. They were a big hit with the work peeps!

As posted, the recipe makes a single batch in an 8 by 8 pan (I used a circular pie dish).

Vegan, refined sugar free.

  • 1/2 c red lentils
  • 1 c water
  • 1.5 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 c ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • heaping 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/3-1/2 c maple syrup
  • 1/4 c dark chocolate chips

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add lentils, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes until very soft. Drain, if needed. Mash lentils a bit with a fork (though they should be pretty much like puree already), and set aside in a large bowl.

Preheat oven to 300, and line your baking pan of choice with parchment paper.

Using the same bowl the lentils are hangin’ out in, add oats, whole wheat flour, flaxseed, cinnamon, salt, almond butter, and maple syrup. Toss in chocolate chips and stir to combine (seriously, could this be any easier?). Once incorporated, spread the dough into your prepared pan—I found it easiest to use my fingers to spread it out, as it’s really thick. Get it mostly even and then pop it into the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the oats on top are slightly crispy.

Let it sit in the pan for a few, then pull the whole thing out by grabbing the parchment. Let cool completely on a rack before slicing! These keep well in tupperware at room temp for a few days.

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I really do actually eat vegetables. Promise!

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And now for something completely different in the cookie realm!

Because obviously I haven’t given you nearly enough cookie recipes lately (um. lies?!) And because I’m pretty sure said no one ever there’s such a thing as too many cookies. And if they did, whatever, we obviously can’t be friends. Schaaaawwrryyy! Cookies are the number one principle of my personal philosophy. Life is sometimes tricky, it’s better if you eat a [healthyishkindasortamaybe] cookie!

I think cookies might actually be one of my favorite things to make. Oh really, you say? As if the blog title alone doesn’t prove that!

Cookies on cookies on cookies. One would think this is all I eat…

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Um. I promise I eat vegetables! Like, I actually eat a ridiculous  amount of vegetables. And fruit. And eggs. Ask my mother, she claims it’s difficult to keep me in vegetables… I just… LOVE… SPINACH! Hoooomg. Among other things. I’ve gotten really good at putting spinach where it doesn’t necessarily belong but is undeniably delicious. Like maybe in the banana scramble I made today. So bizarrely wonderful and so perfect for St. Patrick’s day. Hmm. Shield your eyes if you abhor green things, that just might be the next post.

SO anyway. Cookies. Best eaten any time of day, with or without a milk-type beverage.. Eat three, and call me in the morning. Seriously, if medical practitioners gave out this kind of advice, I think the world might be a slightly more magical place.

So now instead of cruncy-hippie-granola raw cookies, you get [somewhat less crunchy but still kind of, whatever I’m still kind of granola] vegan salted caramel chocolate chip cookies! Cue yummy sound. Did I just make the yummy sound? … No. That was definitely you. Oh no? Well.. if it wasn’t *YOU*, and it wasn’t *YOU*… and it wasn’t *ME*…

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Vegan Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe unintentionally adapted from Keepin’ it Kind. I made biggish cookies and ended up with about 15 or 16, but depending on size you could conceivably make up to 24ish… if you use a smaller scooping technique. Don’t judge, I’m rather a fan of large cookies! These are fab cookies, and the dough is just as good (number one perk for vegan baking: dough eating adventures).

I didn’t have coconut sugar, though next time I’ll be using that as my caramel wasn’t quite what was intended visually. It got the point across though, and tasted amazing! That being said… you *can* make these with regular sugar, as I did, but coconut is preferred (and keeps them slightly less refined).

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Let’s make tasty things:

  • 3/4 c sugar (see above note)
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 c full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (mine is the unrefined variety that smells like coconut)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed+3 tbsp water)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 c dark chocolate chippies

To do so, we…

Make caramel!
Pour sugar and water into a smallish saucepan. Whisking frequently, bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to low/simmering, and let it reduce until the water is reduced by half. If you use coconut sugar, the water should be dark brown; if using regular sugar, it’ll be lighter in color. Keep whisking, as it has a tendency to bubble up. Slowly whisk in coconut milk and continue whisking for 10-15 minutes or until (if using coconut sugar) the mixture thickens and is a dark brown. If you’re like me and you attempted regular sugar, it’ll look grey. Not the most gorgeous color, but delicious. Promise. The mixture will thicken as it cooks, more so with coconut sugar than regular. Stir in the salt, and remove from heat. Let it cool while you do the rest of the cookies, or you can store the caramel in a jar in the fridge (it keeps for several weeks, tightly sealed).

Onward! Cookie time:

Mix up your flax egg and let it sit for a bit to thicken.
Mash up the banana, toss in slightly meltedish coconut oil, and use a mixer to beat until fluffy. Whisk in vanilla extract and 2/3 c caramel sauce (save the rest for later). Once the flax egg sets up, whisk that in.

In a larger bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt. Add dry ingredients to wet, stirring until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips, and slightly flatten the dough into the bottom of your bowl. Pop it into the fridge and let it chill for about a half and hour.

Preheat the oven to 350, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove the dough from the fridge and make several cuts through it with a knife. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the dough, without mixing it in. Drop blobs of dough onto the prepared cookie sheets (whatever size you deem necessary for that particular day…), leaving the streaks of caramel running throughout. The dough will be a bit wet with all that, but just roll with it. Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes (I know that’s a huge range, but I did mine on convection so they ended up going a bit longer. Check at 8, and go from there!) Because of the caramel, the cookies can look a bit underdone, but they should be solid to the touch when done—check the bottoms if you’re not sure. Let cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, and then transfer to wire rack.

Do yourself a favor and eat one warm out of the oven!

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One furry dork and ridiculous cookies: I’m obsessed.

Wow. My cat just stuck his paw up and gently touched my face. As in a… “You are NOT paying enough attention to me, I’m sitting here looking cute, HELLO I’m furry and adorable and I employ tactics just like Simon’s cats so pat me NOW” type of paw to the face way.

We’re talking about the butternut squash pancake-eating cat.

This one.

What a goober. Maybe he wants to do some yoga?

is this like upward facing kitty? kittyasana?

Have I told you about how he LOVES freshly dead spiders? He must be a pacifist, or else he doesn’t like the tickly feeling of eating legs (I can’t say I blame him really)… he waits for Vati to kill one for him, and then he starts purring as soon as he hears the slap of the birkenstock. And then he eats it off the bottom of the shoe. Weird much?! That and crunchy things. Oh. And he snores.

Welcome to the life of Nosh. Sleep a lot, get fed some freshly dead spiders and crunchy things, paw your human in the face until she pays attention to you, purr until you drool, sleep more, purr more, discover your human doing yoga and join in, and then round out your day with more sleeping. Life’s rough, isn’t it?

(Side note. If you haven’t seen Simon’s cats on Youtube, click away from this page and look it up immediately. You’ll thank me later!).

No, I’m not just a crazy cat lady. I promise this post isn’t completely about little furry beings…

Anyway. Before I so rudely distracted myself going off about the ridiculous paw-to-the-face tactics employed by my resident furball (one of two), I was going to tell you about these:

And how you should tote your laptop into the kitchen and make them. NOW. Immediately. Because seriously, these cookies are amazing. Chewy, oaty, and coconutty. Not a word but hmm, don’t care because these are so amazing. I’m contemplating another batch in the insanely near future they’re that good. And besides, we know how ludicrously picky I am about chocolate chip cookies… so obviously these must be good. Nosh hasn’t rendered his opinion as of yet, unless the face-paw was any indication… maybe he was telling me to go grab the leftovers. Wait, what leftovers? Apparently I’ve eaten them all. Do yourself a favor. Make cookies: your house will smell like love!

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

I slightly adapted the recipe from the Cooking Actress, here! I got 9 cookies, rather tragically… when (not if) I make this again, I’ll be doubling the recipe. The cookies are chewy and oaty, with a slight taste of coconut and chocolate.

  • 2/3 c + 1/2c oat flour (equal amounts of rolled oats processed in a food processor)
  • 2 tbsp rolled oats
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2.5 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp unrefined coconut oil (the kind that smells like coconut when you open the jar—refined doesn’t have a coconut taste)
  • 3-4 tbsp light coconut milk (from the can)
  • 3 tbsp chocolate chippies

Preheat the oven to 380, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Combine oat flour, rolled oats, both sugars, salt, and baking soda in a bowl. In a smaller bowl, melt coconut oil, vanilla, and 3 tbsp coconut milk together. Add wet into dry, adding slightly more coconut milk if the batter seems too dry. Fold in chocolate chippies, and drop by the spoonful onto your prepared baking sheet. Pop into the fridge for a few minutes, until cold. Bake for 7 minutes (best if they seem slightly undercooked when you take them out), and let cool for a least a few minutes on the cookie sheet. I store mine in a plastic tupperware—as much as I dislike plastic, glass containers will make your formerly chewy cookies go soft.

Eat, preferably with a kitty on your lap and with some loved ones around. Cookies are better when they’re shared! <3

Fickle tastebuds and a bit of gastronomical distraction

Woah. I just ate the best pear. Ever.

mmmm, PEAR!

Like, so freaking good I got distracted from what I actually sat down to write about, and took pictures of its deliciousness. Occupational hazard, you know. Textbook example of the fickle nature of my tastebuds.

But seriously. Pear = gastronomical delight. Go eat one. Do it now, do it now, do it now….

fork full o’pear

Or maybe do it after you make these cookies— you know, the whole reason I was going to write this post, NOT the pear. That way, while the cookies are baking, you can eat your pear. Because pears and pumpkin are basically fall in a bite. Annnnd, they go really well together. Like pumpkin butter on an almond butter-pear sammie. Delicious. Especially when you use your Star Wars sandwich cutters. What? No, of course I don’t own those… um. Moving ON!

As we know, I am the Queen of Orange! Soooo, that means when pumpkin season rolls around, I start hoarding. Because you never know when some crazy might buy ALL of the pumpkin in the store, and heaven forbid THAT might happen, I would be devastated. To prevent this (imagined) eventuality, I buy about two cans of pumpkin per shopping trip. Just in case, you know. Besides, considering I used two cans in the last two days, my stockpile lasts a laughably short time. Ridiculous, I know… but I LOVE pumpkin cookies almost as much as I love pears, aaannnddd pumpkin curry happened last night. I also recently discovered that pumpkin in quesadillas is BOMB. Feel free to be jealous…

Pumpkin cookies are amazing. I’ve lost track of how many different recipes I’ve tried, but I have at least one reigning favorite vegan one at the moment, and then the one I’ll share below. The one below is fabulous chilled—in fact, I prefer them that way, as they get nice and solid, with a bit of chewy from the oats, and they taste almost like pumpkin pie. AND they’re healthy: totally breakfast appropriate. They’re fat free and  (very nearly) cholesterol free, if you’re into that kind of thing, relatively low in sugar, and full of whole grains. Besides all that, on a very kindergartenish level, when I come home, they mean I can have milk and cookies. Which to me, is  a perfect afternoon pick me up.

So. Go make these. And then eat a perfect pear while the cookies are baking. And then eat a cookie. And then smile inside and out :)

Chewy Oaty-Pumpkin Cookies

The recipe is slightly modified from Pardon the Dog Hair, here! I ended up with 18 tablespoon-ish sized cookies (which I naturally squashed all onto one cookie sheet, as I’m lazy).

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 c rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • scant 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • pinch of cloves
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • scant 1/2 c maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 6 tbsp pumpkin puree (perfect for using up those awkward amounts)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c chocolate chippies

I’m pretty sure you’re familiar with cookie making methods… buttttt, just in case:

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or lightly grease.

In a bowl (no, really?), whisk together all the dry ingredients: flour, oats, baking soda and powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and cloves. Set aside. In a slightly smaller bowl, vigorously (use those biceps!) whisk applesauce and maple syrup. Add in egg and whisk a few seconds more. Add in pumpkin and vanilla, and whisk to combine. Pour wet into dry and add chocolate chippies, and stir until incorporated. Drop by fatty tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet, and bake for about 11-12 minutes. Easy money! Let cool on a rack before storage—I like to store mine in a tupperware in the fridge. Enjoy the fall deliciousness :)

Cake rolls are annoying to photograph but undeniably delicious.

this is how I rolllll

Today and tomorrow I’m doing makeup for my elementary school’s play! I looove helping with the play—I’ve attended every year since I was in it myself, and I did makeup last year as well. The kids are adorable and so excited! And Mrs. Noel is hands down the most awesome director. EVER. Who else could wrangle that many children with such grace and humor?! This year, they’re doing Beauty and the Beast, which is awesome, since I was in that one in 5th grade (I was also in Pirates of Penzance in 4th)…. except today I realized as I was doing Gaston’s makeup that most of the kids in this show were born the year I was in the play. EEEEKKKK! Way to make me feel SO OLD.

Okay really, I need to get onto a more regular schedule for this blogging biz… How is it that when I was in school and theoretically “busier” that I had more regular posts?! Whatever… I’ve been crazy busy and having lots of fun, so absolutely no regrets there. However.

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It’s cake time! It’s been waaay too long. Well, at least since I’ve MADE a cake. No guarantees on what I’ve eaten recently… I’m sure there’s some cake in there somewhere…

I’ve been intrigued lately by interesting flavor combinations, like the curry-chocolate chip cookies. When I was down in San Luis Obispo last weekend visiting friends, I made the curry cookies again, except this time with five spice! It was totally inspired, and sooo good. I think I may like those better than the curried ones, actually. There’s something about the coconut+five spice+chocolate that is really tasty. So, when I got home, I wanted to do something else with those flavors. But I decided, rather than making yet another batch of cookies (though we do know how much I love cookies), I would make a cake! But not any cake, oh no… A cake roll! I’d actually never made one before this, so this was quite the novel experience… not as difficult as anticipated, with just a minor bit of cracking. No big deal, nothing that cleverly placed whipped cream can’t hide, ha. AND, added bonus: this cake is fat free! (the cake bit. Not the whipped cream, obvs,… gotta have a little indulgence in there somewhere!). Five spice is also reputed to have health benefits (though I’m not entirely sure what they are).

mmm… five spice = new favorite flavor!

Five Spice Roll Cake with Coconut-Chocolate Chip Whipped Cream

I adapted the cake recipe only slightly from Cooking Light, and ignored their filling idea in favor of using whipped cream with chocolate chips folded in. The chippies got rave reviews from all tasting parties, since they add texture interest and go well with both five spice and chocolate.

For the cake:

  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar, divided (6 tbsp + 6 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp five-spice powder*
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • largeish pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coconut rum**
  • 1/3 c unsweetened shredded coconut
*the blend I used was organic five spice, with cinnamon, star anise, fennel, sichuan pepper, and cloves. Try to find one that doesn’t have any weird additives beyond spices
**the original recipe called for coconut extract, but no way was I going to shell out $6 for a small bottle of imitation coconut flavor, eww. So I did what I do best: improvise! Malibu rum worked exceptionally well instead…
yumyumyum

For the filling:

  • 1 c whipping cream
  • powdered sugar to taste
  • coconut rum, to taste
  • vanilla extract, to taste
  • a good handful of chocolate chips

For the cake! Preheat the oven to 325, and line a 15 by 10 inch jelly-roll pan with waxed paper. No worries if it doesn’t come all the way up the sides.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, 6 tbsp sugar, and five spice powder. In a non-reactive bowl (I like to use the metal bowl from my kitchenaide), beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy. Add in cream of tartar and salt, and beat until soft peaks form. Add remaining 6 tbsp of sugar 2 tbsp at a time, and beat until you see stiff peaks when you pull the beaters out (beating egg whites might be one of my favorite things ever… I love how they change!). Once you have stiff peaks, quickly beat in the lemon juice, vanilla extract, and coconut rum.

egg whites are awesome!

Sift 1/4 c of the flour over the egg whites, and fold in until combined. Repeat until all the flour is incorporated. Spread the batter out into the prepared pan, smoothing out the top. Sprinkle the top with coconut, and bake for 20 minutes, until lightly browned. The top should spring back when you touch it lightly.

Place a clean (preferably relatively smooth, not really ribbed) dish towel over a largish cooling rack, and lightly dust with powdered sugar. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 3 minutes, then loosen the sides and invert onto the towel. Peel off the wax paper. Starting from the narrow end of the cake, roll the cake and towel up together in a spiral, and place seam side down on the cooling rack to cool completely.

While the cake is cooling, make filling! Using an electric mixer, beat cream until it starts to get a bit more solid. Add in powdered sugar a little at a time, as well as a little vanilla and rum (to taste, as desired! I probably used about 3-4 tsp of powdered sugar, 1/2ish tsp vanilla, and 1 tbsp rum—my measurements were definitely not exact… pour and taste is my preferred method for whipped cream). Beat until the cream is… creamy?! You’ll know when it’s done, just don’t go too long and turn it into butter! Fold in chocolate chips.

When the cake is completely cool, unroll carefully from the towel. If it rips a bit, don’t freak out! Better luck next time, and you can disguise the rip with a bit of whipped cream, or else put the cake on it’s plate rip-side down, haha… and yes, I speak from experience! Spread the whipped cream filling evenly over the inside of the cake, and then carefully roll it back up. Sprinkle the top with a bit of powdered sugar or extra coconut if desired. Eat immediately or chill briefly, but make sure you keep it in the fridge for storage (if it lasts that long, ours didn’t!). Serrated knives work best for slicing and serving.

this looks like some kind of awesome moonscape…

Back in the realm of relative normalcy (ish)

ooh goodness YUM

oooohhhKAY! I’m BACK! You know, you might have missed me if I’d been gone too long… and we can’t have that, can we?! Oh no.

Now that I’m back in the realm of relative normalcy (I say relative because really… am I ever really normal? Correct answer: NO), it’s time for seasonal baking and cooking! Which means that I’ve been effectively eating my weight in fresh fruit and veggies errryyday (hooray, summer!!), particularly strawberries and zucchini. I kind of forgot how in California it’s farmer’s market time basically year-round… I’m a naturalized Oregonian now! What is this weird sunny weather that persists allll the time?! Why do I have to go running at 6:30 am in order to avoid completely dying of heatstroke?! Pshh. Good thing I’m 99% sure I’m moving back up the Pacific Northwest… heaven forbid I get too tan! Hehe. But for reals, I LOVE the NW… it’s lovely! Weather included :)

ANYWAY. After that longish tangent, let me get to the point I was originally making before I interrupted myself: I love in season eating! So expect to see a lot of that around here these days.

Except today.

see? something green. To bad it’s not the subject of today’s post…

You see, here’s what happened: I made delicious zucchini cakes (AGAIN, mind you this is the second time), but they were FUGLY. And I was HUNGRY. Soooo… you get dessert, instead! I know, I know… you’re sooo disappointed. But really, don’t be. It’s FAB! And I’ll send some savories your way sometime soon, promise!

cheese. From the zucchini cakes. Because this way you can feel like I feed you something besides dessert.

Besides, this dessert is sneakily nutritious, which happens to be my favorite kind. Because who doesn’t love getting sneaky nutrients in a dessert?! These little muffin-tin cookies are vegan (with vegan chocolate chips, which I didn’t have), gluten free, and sugar free! Can’t go wrong with that… especially when you eat them with ice cream! Ha. I suppose if you wanted to be completely virtuous, you could rustle up some healthier non-dairy frozen sub… but I was too lazy. If chickpeas in cookies freak you out, tough beans! Ha. Juuust kidding. Don’t worry, you wouldn’t know they were in there unless I told you :)

Because ice cream makes everything better!

Sneakily Healthy Muffin-tin Cookies (Aka Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies)

I adapted my version from Chocolate Covered Katie. She prefers a link rather than a write-out, so you’re going to have to go visiting for the full recipe… clicky click click! It’s delicious, promise! Click the link for the original post; my notes are below.

gooey deliciousness

Yield: 5 muffin/cookie/things

  • I made a 1/2 recipe, as per usual, and baked them in muffin tins (I got 5).
  • Bake at 350 for somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes, depending on size and desired gooeyness (they’re vegan, so no worries on freakydeaky uncooked eggs)
  • All the ingredients halve easily, so no problems there. Use whatever smaller pan floats your boat—when I unearth my six-inch baby cake pans, I’ll probably make it again in those.
  • I used 1.5 tbsp olive oil.
  • If dates aren’t your thing, go ahead and sub in brown sugar (I’d say somewhere around 1/2 c for the same level of sweetness), but I prefer dates. It keeps things all natural and a bit more virtuous :). I used 4 medjool dates, pitted and chopped into smaller pieces.
  • I used chickpeas, but I’d like to try this again with cannellini beans for something different!
ice cream-less… but what’s the fun in that?!