Vat o’soup Monday

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I just love vat o’soup Mondays.

Such a satisfying feeling to know that I have leftovers for DAYS. And besides, it was my favorite kind of day (overcast, rainy) so obviously soup was a must. Because everyone knows that soup+cornbread+rain are like the three musketeers.

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Don’t be fooled by what looks to be a large amount of space in that pot… it is a MASSIVE pot. I can practically fit in it.

Also…

Happy Fat Tuesday! Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Not that anything I’m posting about has to do with Mardi Gras… perhaps I should have made pancakes. Oops. Whatever, at least this happened this weekend (in typical Mardi Gras indulgent fashion):

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Sorry I’m not even a little bit sorry! Ha.

And this food happened to be pretty. So here you go. I’m not even going to dignify that with a recipe though, it’s stupid simple. Beans+avo+cucumber+salasa=lunch. *Someone* was apparently feeling lazy…

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But anyway. SOUP!

Butternut Squash, Pinto Bean Soup with Ginger and Nutmeg

This is one of those “let’s see what’s in the fridge that needs to be used” type of soups, which incidentally are my favorite kind. This one is primarily butternut squash, pinto bean, and carrot—it has overtones of nutmeg and ginger. Mmm. I won’t lay this out as a “recipe” per say… but it’s a waitarethosecookies original, and it’s delicious. I never measure when I’m making soup, so bear with me. As always, adjust to taste as suits your tastebuds!

It’s kind of even ridiculous for me to even try to quantify this into a recipe, but whatever. You get the gist and improvising is fun! Have at it.

Things you sorta kinda should have, but can probably fake it without them anyway:

  • 1 large +1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 onion
  • some carrots
  • olive oil
  • seasonings (Salt, pepper, fresh ginger, fresh+dried sage, nutritional yeast, nutmeg)
  • chicken stock (or veggie), about 4 cups worth
  • 3 potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 cans of pinto beans, rinsed
  • 2-3 c greens, roughly chopped

Ooookay let’s do the soup thang!

Halve butternut squash and scoop out the seeds. Place squash cut side down on a cutting board and bake for 30 minutes at 375. Take squash out, flip over and let cool until you can scoop out the puree without burning yourself.

In a large soup pot, saute an onion in a good glug of olive oil. Add a bit of salt and pepper, minced fresh sage (3 leaves), a sprinkle of dried sage, and about a tsp of diced fresh ginger. Toss in 3 or 4 good sized carrots, diced. Let all that cook until the onions are translucent, then add butternut squash puree and about 4 c of chicken stock. Puree the whole thing with an immersion blender.

Slice up a few potatoes reeeeally thinly, and add them in. Let the soup simmer until the potatoes are soft, then add two cans of pinto beans (well rinsed), 1/4 c nutritional yeast, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, salt to taste, 1 c cooked green peas, and 2-3 c roughly chopped greens. Simmer until the greens are wilted, then serve hot. I like mine with chopped up cashews and walnuts+pepitas, because you know it’s all about texture!

Makes excellent leftovers, clearly…

Also.. cookies and a good book are always a good choice.

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Math is only fun when there are cookies on one side of the equal sign

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Whoops… I baked.

Um really though? Like that’s any surprise at all, you all know me far too well.

And whatever, it’s the holidays and I can’t help it!! It’s like… wired into my synapses that as soon as it gets cold I have to make things. Not just any things but preferably cookies. COOOOOKIEEEEESSS!!! Holidays = cookies. Just like butter = heaven. Everyone knows that.

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Besides, there are lots of excuses to feed people around the holidays and we know I really like doing that too.

As Brianna the Bestie (BtB?!) pointed out: “Because I know that’s something you hate to do… cook for people…”

Oi. I am so predictable sometimes.

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But not always… I like to spice things up and keep it interesting. You’d get bored if I wasn’t kind of nuts and supremely hilarious all at the same time, wouldn’t you?!

Speaking of spice…

It’s in these cookies.

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Because it’s the holidays! And even though I’m not a math person I’ll give you one more equation (because equal signs really mean balance and obviously your life needs cookies to have the proper balance): cookies = holidays = cold weather = spices. Like ginger and cinnamon. Luckily for you, these have both! So you don’t have to choose or anything… The hardest choice regarding these is probably whether or not to dip them in chocolate. And that’s not really a hard choice because seriously? Why WOULDN’T you?!

And maybe make a sandwich with them and some salted almond date caramel. Because I don’t know about you but that just took my cookie to a whole new gastronomical level. My cookie is in the stratosphere now. Is yours?

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Chocolate Dipped Ginger Cookies

Recipe gratefully adapted from Whole Pure Recipes, here! I made a half batch for a yield of 14 small cookies—I’ll post the measurements for the small batch here. Obviously I made the entire recipe of date caramel because hellllooooo, of course I want extra of that lounging around. Obvi.

Vegan and refined sugar free!

For the cookies:

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp cornstarch (organic, please)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 5 tbsp water
  • 1/4 c unrefined coconut oil, slightly softened
  • 1/4 c coconut sugar
  • 1/8 c molasses
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • a bit of extra coconut sugar for rolling

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

In a smallish bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, ginger, cinnamon, and salt. In a really smallish bowl, combine flaxseed and water and set aside to gel. Now in a slightly largish bowl, combine coconut oil and coconut sugar. Using a whisk (I wanted a bicep workout, feel free to use an electric mixer or whatever), vigorously whisk together sugar and oil until the mixture lightens in color a bit. Whisk in molasses, vanilla, and the flax egg, until smooth. Add dry ingredients into wet in two batches, stirring to combine but avoiding over mixing. Roll the dough into small teaspoon size balls, roll it in the extra coconut sugar, and then flatten them slightly on the cookie sheet (they won’t really spread). Bake for just about 9 minutes, until the tops are firm. Remove and let cool for a few minutes, then move to a cooling rack.

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For the salted almond date caramel:

  • 1.5 c medjool dates, pitted
  • 1.5 tbsp unsalted almond butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt

Pour a few cups of near-boiling water over the pitted dates, and let them sit for about 10 minutes (while you do the cookie dishes and the cookies finish baking… multitasking, you know?), reserving the soaking water. Once softened, toss dates, almond butter, vanilla and sea salt into the bowl of your food processor, and send that baby for a whirl until everything is combined. Add the reserved soaking water one tbsp at a time, until the caramel is smooth (I usually leave some date chunks in there because I like chunks…). Store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks, assuming it lasts more than a day…

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For the chocolate dip:

  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp refined coconut oil

Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl (or a double boiler if you’re feeling less lazy than me) until melted.

Dip cookies in chocolate and thriftily eat the rest (it’s too good to waste!). I let mine sit on parchment paper on the counter for a bit before transferring them to a plate in the fridge for the shell to fully harden.

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Yes, I’ve been known to eat this for breakfast too…

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MUNG BEANS!

No, they’re not lentils.

Yes, I eat them for breakfast! In oatmeal. Or not, and just by themselves.

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Whatever, I told you I got more alternative/awesome every day! It’s why you hang out with me, isn’t it? Right. That’s what I thought!

I find this kind of hilarious, but one of my bestie friends (who happens to be Thai) told me the other day that apparently I’m a closet-Asian. Like, I eat more traditional Asian foods with ridiculous gusto than she does! Probably not true, but I’ll take the compliment ;) And then she pointed out my obsession with aduki beans… and now mung beans… and woonsen noodles… and the amount of tea I drink… and so on.

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Another work friend of mine and I mess with each other daily about what we’ve brought to eat that day: I’ve been accused before of bringing rabbit food… so every time I have some new kind of bean or legume or whathaveyou, I make sure to point it out (alternatively, if I bring beef, obviously we make a huge deal out of that too since that’s generally her province). This kind of thing really only encourages me… I continually try to one up myself and bring the most alternative beans I can find. Muahaha. Rabbit food for the win! Mung beans were the last iteration… let’s see what I can come up with next, heeheehee!

This soup is delicious either by itself or (as I ate it) over brown rice. Mung beans are one of the most easily digestible beans, are low-glycemic, and full of fiber and protein. They’re also a really good source of iron, potassium and zinc, AND provide vitamins A, K, B6, and folate. Eat them! Beans, beans they’re good for your heart (among other things)…

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Mung Bean Stew

Recipe slightly adapted from Pinch of Yum, recipe here! I only used about half the mung beans in the stew, and then used the leftovers the rest of the week. You can also use all of them, up to you and how many you’re feeding! Delicious warm or cool, and supremely simple to make. I soaked my mung beans for about 4 hours before cooking, but the online searching I’ve done has given me mixed results on whether or not this is necessary. I usually soak things, so I split the difference and only soaked them for a short time.

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  • 2 c mung beans, sorted and rinsed
  • 6 c veggie (or chicken) broth
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 c canned coconut milk (I used light)
  • one massive double handful (or half a bag) of mixed greens or spinach
  • salt to taste
  • brown rice to serve, optional

Bring the broth to a boil in a large pot. Add drained and rinsed beans and cook, uncovered, for about 40 minutes. They will eventually absorb most of the liquid, but I found that around the 30 minute mark I added a bit of water each time I checked it. The beans should be soft but not smooshy, with a really thick consistency when you stir them.

Heat the oil in a pan, and, when hot, add onion and ginger. Sauté for 3-5 minutes over medium-low heat, until the onion is translucent. Add greens and cook until they’re slightly wilted. Add the contents of this pan into the bean pot, and let simmer for just a few minutes. Stir in cardamon, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and coconut milk. Salt to taste.

I served mine warm, but I ate it later at room temp and it’s delicious both ways. Leftovers keep in the fridge for a few days no problem! I ate mine over brown rice, which was an excellent decision.

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Life is too short for undelicious food

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Lazy girl’s idea of a meal, right here. In a HUGE bowl. I like to eat out of massive bowls sometimes, just for fun…. and then besides, when I make something in a huge bowl and then eat out of it, there’s less washing! See? Lazy.

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But also delicious. Because even when I’m being lazy I still want delicious (and obviously good for me) food. Duhhh. You invisible internet friends have known me long enough by now to know that life is too short for blah and undelicious food. Right? Right.

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Anyway. This is  a textbook example of my random thought process when cooking: “hmm.. I’m closing tonight. Need dinner. Have chunk of time in the middle of the day after lifting… hmmm… I’ll make cookies! Raw date newton bites, those are happening… need more dates… oh wait. Cookies aren’t dinner. Almond butter is dinner! Noodles. Soba. Veggies! Lots of veggies. Random tupperware in the fridge has beans.. corn.. chicken… sweet potatoes. Oooooh. They are ALL going in the bowl… oh wait. I’m HUNGRY! It’s lunch. These noodles are delicious, maybe I should just eat them… Waaaiiittt… this was supposed to be dinner!” *in the middle of a bite out of bowl* *slowly puts fork back down* … “fine. eggs. eggs are lunch. noodles are dinner…… is it dinner yet??” Oi. Sometimes I think my brain has a life of its own. Wait. I KNOW it does, otherwise how would it come up with some of this stuff?! Like putting spinach in way more places than it rightfully should go.

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Mmm. I just ate the leftovers for lunch. Out of a MASSIVE bowl. What an inspired idea…

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Lazy Girl Almond Butter Noodles

This is a riff on an earlier recipe I had on here—the peanut noodles, remember? Anyway, I’ve been off all things peanut for a while now, so almond butter has become my nut butter of choice (again). I love these because they’re a) delicious, b) come together in a SNAP (probably takes 15 minutes, start to finish), and c) suuuuper adaptable. Have leftover chicken or black beans in the fridge? Use them. Weird bits of veggies? Yup, those too. Anything and everything. Out of soba? Use whole wheat spaghetti. It’s delicious however you do it… but I’ll provide the framework for last night’s particularly delicious version. Recipe from… me! Serves 3… ish. With leftovers.

Gluten Free with gf soba noodles, vegetarian or vegan without chicken. Ginger: anti inflammatory and warming, among other amazing things. Soba: buckwheat, a whole grain. Almonds: healthy fats! Veggies: umm.. need I explain this?!

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  • Two heaping spoonfuls of almond butter (as in, your spoon runneth over)
  • about 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp Bragg’s liquid aminos (my version of low sodium soy sauce), with some extra to drizzle to taste
  • 2 bundles of organic soba noodles
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 bag of TJ’s power to the greens (spinach, kale, chard, lots of delicious things)
  • 1/2 box of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 sweet potato, sliced and microwaved until soft
  • 1/2 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 c corn, defrosted
  • leftover chicken, sliced

Firstly, raid fridge. Find all the odds and ends you want to use and assemble them on the counter.

I always slice the veggies first, since it takes the longest. This time, I steamed sliced zucchini, greens, and mushrooms. While the veggies are steaming, start yo’ noodles! Soba noodles cook quickly—after the water comes to a boil, time them for exactly 4 minutes. Once they’re done, drain and rinse them immediately to remove the starch (otherwise they get ruuuul clumpy). In a small separate bowl, stir almond butter, ginger, and bragg’s together. Add a bit of warm water to thin it out—it’ll look weird at first but keep stirring until smooth!

Grab a mega mixing bowl. When noodles and veggies are done, toss them in, followed by an odds and ends from the fridge (corn, beans, chicken, whatever). I like to try to time it so that the sauce goes over warm veggies or noodles, since it helps melt it a bit and distribute evenly. Toss sauce with the contents of the bowl until evenly coated. I usually end up adding a bit more bragg’s to taste towards the end.

Eat. Love your food that loves your body back!

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Milkshakes happen.

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Sooo…

I made cookies.

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And then I made a milkshake. With cookies. And Bailey’s.

Yes.

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(This was the other night. And then this morning I went to my favorite bodyrock class and now typing is difficult because my arms are shaky and already sore. Bahahah ooooh I love that class so much! See? It’s all about balance. Milkshakes one day, total and complete ass-kicking the next: this is how I roll)

Be jealous… be very, very jealous.

Luckily I had Vaccuum Vati around to test run the milkshake, just in case it was terrible. Except excuse me?! How could molasses-ginger cookies+ice cream+Bailey’s ever be terrible?! That’s right. It couldn’t.

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The cookies are fabulous on their own of course, and actually rather guiltless (Not that I think anyone should EVER associate guilt with food—I’m just using this as a handy turn of phrase. Food is love! Just indulge responsibly…). They are soft and chewy, with an amazing gingerbready-molasses kind of flavor, and actually really remind me of cookies my grandma used to buy when I was a kid: I liked taking three evenly spaced bites around the perimeter of the cookie to make it look like a dress. Yeah. Weird child, don’t even get me started. But whatever, they have a similar taste profile, at least as far as I remember. Apparently all my memory cells regarding that particular memory are taken up with the three evenly spaced bites (I don’t even remember what brand they were…).

Anywayyy, moving on. Make these! Your body will thank you for the nutrients, and your brain will thank you for tricking it into thinking you’re totally indulging. When you’re really not. Unless you choose the milkshake option, which you totally should. Obviously.

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Molasses Ginger Cookies

The recipe comes from Running to the Kitchen, here! I made only a few slight changes (mostly just flour), but mine did this weird spreading thing. Can’t say I particularly minded, since I obviously have a thing for enormous cookies the size of my face. I got 11 palm-sized, really flat cookies.

  • 3/4 c almond flour (I ground almonds in my food processor until fine)
  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 c chopped dark chocolate

These cookies need to chill for at least 2 hours, so keep that in mind before you mindlessly preheat the oven like me.

In a mediumish bowl, combine almond flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt, and stir to combine. In a smaller bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil, molasses, honey, vanilla, and egg. Add wet into dry, toss in chocolate shards, and stir until just combined. Cover the bowl and stick it into the fridge for at least an hour and a half, preferably more like 2.

Now you can preheat the oven to 350 (you impatient little minx), and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. When the dough is thoroughly chilled, drop the cookies onto the prepared cookie sheet, using your fingers to smooth them into nicer-looking shapes. My dough was very sticky, so I advise using spoons rather than attempting with your fingers. Leave enough space between your cookies to allow them to spread, as mine did—or rather, as mine morphed into a giant cookie amoeba. Ridiculously tasty, but they ended up with some flat edges, hhehe. Bake for 8-10 minutes (mine went for 10), then let cool on the sheet for about 5 before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Store in a plastic container between wax paper to retain their chew!

you see what I did there??
you see what I did there??

If you care to try the milkshake (which you most definitely should…), blenderize a cookie, a few blobs of vanilla ice cream (good quality, please), and a healthy glug of Bailey’s. Serves… one. Don’t plan on sharing: trust me, you won’t want to.

oops, caught in the act
oops, caught in the act

Don’t be judgy, it was delicious!

Being out of cookies is a good thing… said absolutely no one, EVER.

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Welcome to the ridiculousness that is my random life:

Thursday things! A compilation of totally irrelevant, irreverent, and random things. Because I know that you totally want to know all this stuff. Really, you do.

1. I am utter crap at turning my brain off in savasana. Like, I’ll be laying there going “oooh this is good I’m not thinking! Look at me, being a boss in savasana, like a not thinking boss..” and then I realize that there’s this subconscious little stream of thought going on the whole time about random crap. WTF brain?! Can’t you see I’m savasing?? Sheesh. You’d think my own train of thought could give me a break for all of five minutes.

2. Stupidly obsessed with Mad Men. Why won’t they tell me when it’s coming back?! For that matter, why isn’t it on NOW?

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3. I just made cookies. But only two. And all for me. Because I went to Whole Foods in search of a gf/vegan cookie…and. they. FAILED. So I made my own, which were infinitely better and cheaper, as per usual. I think I just made my own day. Besides, I have to power up before bodysculpting class. Duhh. Cookies are clearly an optimal way to do this.

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4. I might look like a fool doing the gangnam style dance, but sorry I’m not sorry don’t care! Ridiculously catchy. I’m sure I look especially precious trying to do it in my car at a stoplight…

5. Saturday morning, I will be consuming an egg and english muffin sandwich for breakfast and I. CAN’T. WAIT. The end of the ridiculousness is in sight! Thank god, I don’t think I could take too much more of this, especially since I’m seeing no noticeable differences. Bread and eggs are happening, ideally together, and as soon as possible. That being said, I have developed a newfound appreciation of buckwheat flour.

6. Based on the last few sets of photos I’ve taken, it would appear that I’ve subsisted the last few weeks on cookies. LIES, I promise I’ve eaten some savory stuff… here and there. Oh. And an enormous pile of spaghetti squash.

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7. I am now out of cookies. How did this happen?

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8. I may be out of cookies, but there are BALLS in my fridge! (hehehe). The recipe is here!

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9. My cats are officially adorable.

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That’s all.. for now! Muahahha.

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Oaty Ginger Cookies

Ever so slightly adapted from Imma Eat That (I freaking love her ideas!). I got 12 cookies. These are excellent with ice cream and peanut butter, juuuust sayin.

  • 1 c + 1 tbsp gluten free oats
  • 1/3 c raw pecans
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • scant 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed+2 tbsp milk bev
  • 2 tbsp chocolate chippies

Preheat oven to 350. Make flaxegg by combining flaxseed and milk bev, and let sit while you throw everything else together.

In a food processor, whizzzzz oats, pecans, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking powder, and salt, pulsing until combined into a flourlike consistency. Combine pumpkin puree, molasses, and flaxegg in a smallish bowl. Add wet into dry, stirring to combine. Stir in chippies. Form cookie-like shapes and drop onto a cookies sheet (flattening slightly). Bake for 15ish minutes, then cool on a rack!

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