Eye-level with a cookie is the best place to be!

mmm, chocolate cooookies!

Once again, the weather gods are totally bonkers. I think they just like to mess with tiny humans for sport. Like, I’m sure they find it hilarious when I go trudging through some nasty weather after class, only to walk into my apartment and have it become immediately sunny. The roof is steaming, haha! Snow? Again? Is this really necessary?? And yesterday it was so incredibly windy, I thought if I wore a hat large enough I might lift off the ground like the Flying Nun (except not a nun. More like a flying Pilates-enthusiast in my yoga pants). Gusts up to 50 miles an hour?! Ridiculous. This weather is even more insane than usual, even by Salem standards. Sheesh.

So what do I do? Make cookies! Natch. When the weather gets icky, baking is always a good strategy. Especially when it leaves you with excellent snacking cookies, healthy AND delicious. Come to the Dark Side. I have cookies! Ha. I was getting irritated by the lack of snacks I had around, so these happened. Besides, I need more things to put lemon curd and biscoff spread on, in order to convey them to my mouth so I don’t feel silly eating them out of the jars. Not that I really let that stop me. But life is more fun with a cookie, obviously.

These have all kinds of healthy benefits! Full of fiber and cholesterol-friendly :) (as in, NO cholesterol, and only healthy fats + plant-based saturated fats, which are okay for those watching cholesterol!) They clock in around about 200 calories, making them a great pre (or post. or both) workout snack. The chia seed has made a cookie comeback, after several weeks (gasp!) of disuse… and we already know all about chia’s crazy antioxidant capacities. These cookies also feature healthy coconut and olive oil fats, as well as unsweetened cocoa powder for more antioxidants! Besides all that, apparently cardamom has great nutritional benefits too! I didn’t know this, but it helps digestion, contains lots of vitamins, minerals, and essential oils, and is another source of antioxidants! Those sneaky free radicals don’t stand a chance.

This recipe supposedly made 28 cookies. Psh. I made 11. Mine are perfectly sized ;) I don’t stint when it comes to cookies, especially when they’re good for me!

eye-level with a cookie. (the best place to be)

Chocolate Chia Cookies

Adapted from Vanilla and Spice, here! These cookies are really tasty: a little like gingerbread, as Kira pointed out. We both really liked the cardamom flavor in them, and they’re soft but chewy on the inside. Mmm. Makes somewhere around 11 or 12 2-3″ cookies.

  • 1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cardamom (seems like a lot, but it’s not overwhelming)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c plus 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 c chia seeds
  • 1/4 c light coconut milk (any milk bev you have on hand I’m sure is fine, I wanted to use up some leftover coconut milk. I am SO GLAD I did)
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1.5 tbsp vanilla extract (yes, that is tablespoons)
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1/3 c chocolate chippies
I like to play with my food!

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a cookie sheet.

In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, salt, cocoa powder, and chia seeds. In a smaller bowl, whisk together milk bev, applesauce, and vanilla. Add wet into dry, add oil, and then stir to combine. I found I needed to add a few tablespoons of water to make the dough come together. Fold in chocolate chips as you combine wet and dry.

Form into little balls and place on the cookie sheet—I kind of shaped mine and flattened the tops a bit. This dough is really easy to work with, extra bonus! Bake for 12-13 minutes, or until the tops feel firm when lightly touched. Mine were done at 12!

Apparently it’s decided to be sunny this afternoon… I’ll guess I’ll just have to eat my cookies and enjoy it :)

see? there I go again. Cookie towers are more fun than blocks. You get to eat the pieces that fall off!

Tart-tastic Antioxidants!

mmm, antioxidants!

I’m feeling less than creatively humorous today…It must be on account of all of the holiday sweets I’ve been consuming lately. Oops. Whatever, that’s not stopped me from baking like a crazy! Really, does anything ever stop me? … Correct answer: No.

BUT.

Bring on the healthy (ish) dessert! I win, I win!! Delicious AND nutritious (or hey, I can at least tell myself that, right?!). I sort of needed a break from all of the layer cakes. A short break, mind you, but a break none the less. In comes the tart! This tart is sort of a combination of a rice pudding and a tart crust, but it’s vegan! Which is awesome, as I’d like to get into more vegan baking (I find it intriguing). Besides, I LOVE rice pudding, and this definitely qualifies. It’s also really akin to a sticky rice dessert, which I ALSO LOVE (are we seeing a trend here?!), which therefore also makes it delicious.

On the nutritious side, it has a mostly minimal amount of fat in it—coconut oil is good for you, anyway! It also is made with black rice (sometimes known as Forbidden Rice, as only the emperor of China was allowed to eat it for the benefit of his longevity), which has more of the antioxidant antohcyanin than blueberries! It’s high in fiber, iron, and an excellent source of minerals. AND Kind of can’t go wrong, when I’m eating antioxidants for dessert! No wonder the emperor was so protective of his rice. But the common people have it now, so ha! Besides all that, it is a gorgeous purple color. Which makes my eyes AND my stomach happy. Everyone wins. Including the gremlins that hang out in my stomach, as we know they loooove color.

But wait. There is even more nutritionalness to be found in this dessert! The crust is made with whole grains and cashews (which contain the same oleic acid–monounsaturated fatty acid found in olive oil), and coconut oil, which is insanely good for you (the lauric acid is an antioxidant, among a million other things).

Okaaayyy. Enough with the nutrition lesson. I just really had to convince you how good this is for you… so that you’ll go home and make it. It’s fab, you won’t regret it. And then eat a slice. Or two. Or five. And revel in the fact that you’re making your body happy! It will thank you later :)

mmm, antioxidants

Black Rice Tart

From NeverHomeMaker, original here! (and their blog is fab, check it out!). Makes one tart.

For the crust:

  • 1/3 c raw cashews
  • 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c coconut oil (because it’s good for youuu!)
  • 1/8 tsp/a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp lavender (we grow our own)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For the sticky rice

  • 2 c water
  • 1 c black rice, uncooked
  • 1/3 c maple syrup
  • 1 can of coconut milk (I used light from Trader Joe’s and it turned out fine!)
  • 1/3 c unsweetened coconut flakes

Whatcha do!

Preheat the oven to 325, and lightly grease a tart pan (or a pie dish—my tart pan is in Salem, so that’s what I used).

In a food processor, process the cashews and 1/4 c rolled oats until finely ground. Add the rest of the oats, lavender and salt, pulsing to combine. I left some slightly larger chunks. Pour into a medium sized bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the coconut oil. Once melted, stir in vanilla and brown sugar, and simmer over a low flame for 2 to 3 minutes. Mine looked weirdly separated/congealed, but turned out fine. Pour the hot syrup over the dry ingredients, and combine thoroughly. Press the crust into your pan of choice, making sure to cover the bottom and go up the sides a ways. Bake for 5 minutes, then let cool. When cool enough, let it set in the refrigerator.

While the crust is cooling, start the water for the rice. When it boils, add rice, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. Add coconut milk, maple syrup, and coconut flakes, and continue to cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes more. I stirred continuously (it makes for meditative thinking time, hehe), but I’m not entirely sure this is necessary—occasional stirring would likely be okay. Transfer the pudding to a bowl, and let cool. Chill briefly in the fridge before using. Once chilled, pour the pudding into the tart shell, and chill until serving. I topped mine with more shredded coconut.

It was deeeelicous! Mine had a little trouble coming out of the dish cleanly—my crust was rather sticky. Next time… more coconut oil to grease the dish. It was a bit more like a crumble than a tart slice, but ridiculously tasty nonetheless, so I wasn’t complaining ;)

Holiday Trolls and Mispronunciation

Look at that cornbread. yeah. You know you want some!

I’m in full holiday-mode now.

Well, kind of.

I’ve put myself on Christmas music lockdown. I have a really irrational urge to listen to it, but I’m resisting. December 1st is the acceptable time to start listening. Tell that to Pandora. Trying to sabotage my lockdown, yeeesh… But really, the Nutcracker is obviously not JUST Christmas music, teeheehee!

Anyway. Besides settling into holidayish time, I can feel myself going into hibernation mode. Not my fault, since Salem has decided that night will fall around 4:30 pm. Or maybe 4:10 today, as I look out the window… Winter weather makes me want to curl up and eat. All this cold weather and dark starts turning me into a bear. Wait. Do bears do yoga and pilates? Okay. Maybe not a bear.  A troll? Yeah. Probably. Do trolls hibernate? Maybe they style their really cool hair during the winter months?

This is getting ridiculous. Apparently my brain has gone on holiday without notifying  me. I’d be the last to know, I’m sure. I think all that theories studying has gone to my head… but at least the midterm is done and the paper is nearly there (assisted by copious amounts of the bread that this post features).  Besides turning into a bear/troll in the winter, I start wanting things like soup. And baked goods. Ha. As if. In what season do I NOT want baked goods?! NONE. How silly life would be without tasty baked treats. Booooring. Besides, the gremlins would get antsy!

SO!

Let’s get on with the purpose of this post. Sorry for the long hiatus between posts… The eating last week wasn’t cooperating on photogenic levels.

This soup is immensely satisfying on a hibernating troll level. Or on anyone’s level, really… It’s creamy and thick–rich without being terrifyingly bad for you. It also pairs well with cornbread (what doesn’t?!). I’m sure it would also be deeeelicious with a baguette, were you to have one lurking around. The soup is fairly basic, and uses things typically found in your (ok, my) pantry. It has a pretty short ingredient list, which is a plus when you desperately want soup!

I also decided it was time for the world to see my “It’s Willamette, Damn it!” bowl… You see, people have  penchant for mispronouncing the name of my school. In fact, it’s the most mispronounced in the contiguous United States. And it rhymes with damn it. So see? It’s an easy way to remember, for those of you who like to say “Will-uh-met”. NO. It’s Willamette, damn it!

See? I've even puffy-painted it, so that people can get it right!

Coconut Sweet Potato Soup (Bisque?)

Adapted from here! Serves… 3 girls. With leftovers.

Peruse your pantry, and acquire:

  • 2 monster sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cups of water, plus 1.5 tbsp
  • 1 can of unsweetened light coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • a hefty sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger
  • 1.5 tbsp cornstarch
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • red pepper flakes, also to taste (spicy soup=cleared sinuses, hoorayy!)

Bring the water in a soooop pot to a boil. Add your sliced sweet potatoes, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes, making sure the water doesn’t boil away. Mash the sweet potatoes in the pot (with that potato masher that you insisted that you didn’t need, but have subsequently used about 3 times. Thank you, mutti! And your mutti-skills, that decree that you are ALWAYS right), and add the can of coconut milk, brown sugar, and cinnamon/nutmeg/ginger. Simmer for about another 15 minutes, until it begins to thicken. In a small bowl, add cornstarch and remaining water, and stir into a thick paste. Add the cornstarch and red pepper flakes to the soup, and cook for another five-ish minutes. (I may have added a bit more cornstarch to get it to thicken faster… the soup was still delicious, and I was HUNGRY). Use a blender (or an immersion blender, if you’re one of THOSE lucky ducks), and puree the soup in batches. Return the soup to the pot, and season to taste with salt, pepper, or more spice or red pepper if desired. I’m sure it would be lovely with shredded coconut on top, but I wasn’t on the ball enough for that…

Eat with this!!

Sandy’s Cornbread!

Given to me by an awesome lady who I used to work with (and who is now fully enjoying retirement!), this is a very tasty yogurt-based cornbread. I adapted it a bit from the original recipe, mostly to include whole wheat flour (as we know… I don’t have all-purpose!). I made a half batch of this for Abby, Kira, and I, but I’ll include the full recipe here.

  • 8 oz lowfat plain yogurt (1 cup)
  • 1/4 c olive or canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 c cornmeal
  • scant 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 400. Lightly grease an 8″ or 9″ pan.

Whisk together yogurt, egg, and oil. Combine dry ingredients, add wet to dry, and  mix well. Pour into prepared pan, and bake for about 20 minutes.

If you halve the recipe, the batter fits into a 6.5″ pan, and is done a bit past 15 minutes. I occasionally have trouble with the center of cornbread being done all the way through in the small pans—check it to be sure.

I think the cornbread is about to take a dive off the handle...