Cookies:1, Empty Tupperware: ZERO!

mmm, cooookies!

Shazaaam! Two cookie posts in a row! Are you feeling loved? You should  be… I have only your best interests at heart :)

I promise I haven’t fallen off the blogging wagon! I’ve been SO BUSY with recruitment, but my normal schedule is returning to me on Monday, so we’ll have lots of tasty eats coming. Hooray! I’ve been getting antsy: there is decidedly NOT enough time to cook when you are expected to eat dinner at 3:45 in order to have time to recruit new sisters. A fun activity, to be sure, but definitely not friendly to kitchen experiments. It’s a bit more conducive to eating a sandwich for dinner. Yes. I did that yesterday.

BUT.

I made up for it with spontaneous cookies made during my lunch break between class and work! Time management, for the win! Hayley:1, crazy schedule: ZERO. Take that, empty Tupperware. Rejoice, in your fullness! You are empty no longer.  And I am satisfied. For the moment, anyway. I’m sure the combined efforts of Kira and I will make short work of this current batch, like the last *cough* two. Oops. What can I say, a girl’s gotta have cookies! It’s in the blog title, after all.

the not-so-leaning tower of cookies!

Besides, these are healthy(er) cookies—not your average white flour/sugar laden/yucky additive cookies. I like to make cookies that are bursting with nutritional value (or at least have some redeeming qualities!), so that I can eat them for a snack, in a pinch. And when I eat them for dessert, they’re much more satisfying. This particular incarnation is full of healthy things: they’re vegan (if you use vegan chocolate chips, which I didn’t), which means less saturated fat. They have oats and whole wheat flour, which means whole grains and soluble fiber! AND they have chia seeds (antioxidants galore and mega omega-3s) and coconut (healthy fats and anti-inflammatory properties!). And chocolate. Because what is life without chocolate? For cookie, these are pretty spectacular little guys. Oh yeah. Did I mention they are DELICIOUS?! Because they totally are. So seize your next awkward block of time (hellooo, lunch break!) and bake yourself some indulgently healthy sweets. You’re worth it!

"letting them cool". ha. as if.

Chocolate chip, Coconut and Chia Cookies

Adapted from (Neverhome)Maker, here!

These cookies are soft but a bit crumbly, with oaty-coconuty goodness. If you like a slightly denser cookie with nut butter, or want another chia recipe, check these! Both recipes produce cookies that are lightly sweet, but satisfying. I got about 11 good-sized (like 3″) cookies from the full recipe.

Whatcha need!

  • 1/2 c Earth Balance spread
  • scant 1/4 c brown sugar
  • scant 1/4 c turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 c unsweetened shredded coconut (or flakes. I used shredded)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 c instant oats (make sure you use instant, I think rolled would be too flaky/crumbly)
  • 1/3-1/2 c chocolate chippies, depending on your preference
  • 1.5 tbsp chia seeds
  • *If you want to throw in other add ins, feel free! I might try wheat germ next time…
they're saying: make meee!!

Preheat the oven to 350.

With an electric mixer, cream together Earth Balance and sugars until creamy. Add applesauce and vanilla, and beat to combine. In a smallish bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flour, coconut, salt, baking soda and powder. Add dry ingredients to your butter/sugar bowl, and combine (I used the mixer again for this, and it was fine…just be careful wher you’re flingin’ that stuff!). Stir in the oats, chocolate chippies, and chia seeds by hand.

Drop/roll into little balls and flatten slightly, making sure not to lose any of those precious choc chippies! Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Mine were done at about 11.

Go eat your cookies outside, in the warm (!!) Oregon sun, like a somnolent kitty in front of your apartment door. Thank you, Oregon, for this gloriously sunny day in January!

 

Channeling my inner Aztec Warrior

Wait... are those...?

Rainy weather needs cookies.

Besides, there was an appalling lack of dessert around here, and I was in need of something to satisfy my sweet tooth (healthfully, if you please). So. I decided to make healthy(ish) cookies! Who doesn’t love cookies? And besides, these are good for you. You want to know why these are good for you? Suuuure you do! Alrighty, here’s the dealio: These cookies have not only oats (a whole grain), and peanut butter (healthy fats), but they also have CHIA SEEDS!

Pause for effect.

chia! I didn't take this photo, though :) credit: http://www.buybigorganic.co.uk

You know, like those little things that you grow chia pets with?  Apparently they’re useful for something beyond growing funny green “hair” on a statue (who knew?!).

I have been putting these on oatmeal since freshman year of college (and, in fact, asked for them instead of candy one year for Christmas), but I’ve never really baked with them until this year! It’s fun, you should try it :)

These tiny little seeds date back to the time when the Aztecs were using them for sustained energy, as the main ration for their warriors (eating them makes me feel fierce). A higher source of omega-3 fatty acids than flax seed, these little babies are a superfood! They’re incredibly high in antioxidants, provide fiber, and are also a good source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc. Woah. That’s a mouthful for a tiny little seed! And they are seriously tiny. But they can be added to all kinds of things, with no taste addition (at least, not that I notice). Apparently there’s also been research that suggests chia seeds slow the breakdown of carbohydrates, which in turn slows their conversion into sugar. They also have anti-inflammatory properties, and provide quality protein. All pluses, in my book. But enough with the nutrition lesson! I just needed to give you even more of a reason to make and eat these cookies.

I’ve just been validated by my lovely roomie as well: as I sit here writing this, I can hear Kira “mmm yumm-ing” from the other room over their deliciousness! These cookies were a big hit with both of us, hooray!

COOKIES!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Cookies

Adapted from Yummy Mummy, here! I got 13 decently sized cookies.

  • 1.5 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tbsp chia seeds!
  • 1/4 c (half a stick) butter, room temp or softened in the microwave if you’re lazy like me
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 3/4 c natural peanut butter (just peanuts and salt, please! Mine was chunky, which is extra delicious)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • a good handful of chocolate chips (extra points for heart healthy dark chocolate)…mine was about 1/3 c
playing with my food again?! nahhh...

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: oats, flour, baking powder, and chia seeds. Using an electric mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add in peanut butter, eggs, and vanilla, and beat to combine. Stir in dry ingredients, as well as chocolate chips. This dough is flaky, so I just got messy and used my hands to shape little cookie balls. They don’t spread, so feel free to cram them all on one cookie sheet (instant gratification, yesss). I flattened the tops a bit, and stuck on the chocolate chips that insisted on falling out. (Why do chocolate chips never want to stick to dough with peanut butter in it?!)

Bake them for 10 minutes, until lightly golden! Devour. Channel your inner Aztec warrior.

oops. it fell down!

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 ;)

Tales of a muffin tin

MUFFINS! On a Sigma Nu plate, naturally...

Once upon a time, there were gremlins. These gremlins resided in Hayley’s upper digestive tract, mostly in the area of the stomach. Small beings, probably technicolor (likely thanks to large amounts of sprinkles consumed. whoops).

Now. Hayley normally has a very amicable relationship with the gremlins… except sometimes. They. Get. HUNGRY. And when they get hungry… well… more like hangry. Hungry-angry. You don’t want to be around them when they get hangry. Vociferous complaints start emanating from their subterranean hideout. And only a certain amount of vocal placating will suffice before they start rioting.

However, there is one thing that the gremlins love more than anything else.

Can you guess?

SNACKS!

Gremlins LOVE snacks. Especially home-made ones, that don’t come in packaging, and are derived from whole foods (not the store, silly!). What can I say, these gremlins are a bit picky (although  they prefer the word particular, thankyouverymuch). But. If Hayley can placate them with the right kind of snackies, life gets insta-better! No more hangry subterranean grumblings from small technicolor beings, and no awkward pauses in class when the gremlins attempt to loudly voice their dissatisfied opinion on the contents (or lack thereof) of Hayley’s stomach region.

Pause. Reverting to first person. As much as I like describing my gremlins in the context of their relationship to me in third person… Awkward.

Recently, I discovered a handy snackie that appeases the gremlins! MUFFINS! Thanks to Gillian, who gave me the bright idea of making a batch of muffins on the weekend, for snacks during the week. I knooooow all of my classmates are SUPER jealous when I roll into class with a homemade, healthy muffin. Yep, that’s right. Whole foods, non-processed, and a tastily convenient way to deal with all the random items in your fridge. Muffins are extremely forgiving :)

Whole foods+non-processed snackies=happy gremlins! (which in turn yields a happy Hayley, as we are a very symbiotic being…)

Here’s the recipe! I use this as a base, and throw in whatever I happen to have on hand, or whatever sounds good when the mood for muffins strikes. I cut these in half before I leave for class, and swipe some nut butter and jam or honey in the middle! Squash them back together and no one is the wiser ;)

down at muffin level

Muffin Madness, makes 6 (I make half the recipe, so it lasts me about a week)

Adapted from Easy Peasy Organic, here

  • 1 large egg (or flax egg, if you don’t have eggs)
  • 1/8 c olive oil (or whatever)
  • 1/2 c lowfat plain yogurt (milk, soymilk, or anything milkish is fine, I really like them with yogurt)
  • 1/8 c brown sugar (I prefer less sweet, if more sweet appeals to you, that’s fine! Honey also works, as does any sweetener)
  • 1/4 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c oat flour (or whole wheat, I like to use two different kinds)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
**Any add-ins you might want! My favorite combos are:
*mashed banana with cinnamon and vanilla, chocolate chips, and huckleberries
*grated fresh ginger, mashed banana, unsweetened shredded coconut, and chocolate chips
*grated raw sweet potato, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, choc chippies, and coconut
*anything, really. Just make sure you adjust the batter consistency to be not too runny (add flour), and not too thick (add milk/yogurt). It should be thick but not too thick, if you know what I mean… sorry for not being too specific! These are really forgiving. Don’t worry, I’m sure they’ll still appease your gremlins.
Preheat oven to 350, and lightly grease a muffin tin (I usually use coconut oil for this).
Mix the egg, oil, yogurt, sugar, and oats together. Add in whatever other wet add-ins you have (ie banana, vanilla, pumpkin, sweet potato, whatever), and stir to combine.
Mix your dry ingredients in a separate bowl, and then add liquid to dry. Be careful not to over-mix, since that makes for tough muffins! Just barely incorporate all the flour. Check consistency, adjust as needed.
Spoon batter into the jumbo muffin tin you are so justly proud of finding ON SALE at Sur la Table, and pop into the oven. Depending on your add-ins, bake time will vary, but I usually bake mine for about 20 minutes. Just keep an eye on them… I’m sure your gremlins will be happy to do that for you, as it means fresh, hot muffin for them, straight out of the oven! Excellent with earth balance, jam, nut butter, honey, or all of the above.
Enjoy the satisfaction of placating your own gremlins! (Don’t try to deny it, I know you have them too ;)

It’s not easy being green…

that's right. GREEN PANCAKES.

Ok.

I just have to say, in my defense… I don’t normally make green food.

I mean… I EAT green food. You know, like that color produced by chlorophyll. Like plants. Mmmmm, plants. I do love them. Especially the green ones! Like broccoli, bok choy, celery, lettuces. Um. I could go on, but in the interest of holding your attention.. *ahem* Let’s move ahead!

So.

Since I’m currently roomie-less (but NOT FOR LONG, YAYYYY!!!), I’m purchasing and consuming for one stomach (and its resident gremlins). I’m discovering this to be an exceptionally fun challenge, not only to eat all the stuff in the fridge before it goes traveling southward, but also to eat a varied, balanced, and nutritionally sound diet. BUT. This diet also has to be interesting. Why would I EVER eat boring food? Boring food is, well…BORING. Life is too short and my stomach is too small (sadly I’m not a cow with five stomachs, why weren’t humans invented like that, I ask you?!) to eat lame food.

Right. Sorry, that was rather tangential. ANYway. As I was saying, before I so rudely interrupted myself about boring food… In my travels through the recesses of my fridge, I happened upon some spinach. I knew it was in there, of course, but I wasn’t exactly sure how I wanted to use it. I also have three lonely mushrooms, just in case anyone cares. And NO, they are NOT going into pancakes, ewwy ew ew.

As I was staring down the spinach, I had  a BRILLIANT PLAN! (Because anything involving your adorable and tiny *PURPLE* food processor is a brilliant idea) I decided to make spinach puree and… wait… ADD IT TO PANCAKES! Can you say nutritional value, all in one tidy little yummy package? Because I can. And there’s more, ooohhhh yes. They were DELICIOUS! Spinach is so totally going into my pancakes from now on (except with a certain Pancake Friday buddy–you know who you are!)

So. Without any further babble, here is the recipe! You’ve seen it before in other forms, although the base for this is the most basic.

down at pancake level

Spinach-Oat-Buttermilk Pancakes (Serves one with a cow stomach, or one normal human plus leftover breakfast!)

Hugely adapted from Marion Cunningham’s Breakfast Book

Do the pancake shtick! Mix dry:

  • 3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • very scant 1/2 tsp salt

*Tasty add-in: I chucked in about 1/4-1/3 c rolled oats. I highly recommend this! It gives them a bit more body and lovely chewiness.

Mix wet in a separate bowl:

  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • some melted something (I used Earth Balance… the original recipe calls for 3 tbsp, I usually put in a spoonful or so… or not. Sometimes I leave it out. Butter or olive oil are fine too)

*To the wet ingredient bowl: ADD YOUR SPINACH! I’m not sure how much I actually used, probably about 2 c? I had about 2/3 or so of a bag left, and I used mostly all of it. It’s not very exact, but however much you want is probably fine.

You see? Healthy and delicious.
BABY PURPLE FOOD PROCESSOR!!

Mix wet into dry! I threw in a finely chopped banana, as per usual, which I also highly recommend. I may have even added a few frozen huckleberries and choc chippies to one or two but shhhhh don’t tell!

Pour. Cook. Drool. Photograph. Discover, whilst on the phone with a bestie, that you have GREEN SPRINKLES that match your pancakes. Freak out just a little bit and pour them on a wee bit over enthusiastically… then find out that the sprinkles have soaked into the pancakes while photographing, and that you now have sprinkles on your dinner. Secretly do a happy dance for sprinkles.

Watch Voyager. Eat and LOVE your green food. And NO, it did NOT come out of a replicator (though I wish it had!).

“At ease, Ensign Kim, before you sprain something” -Kathryn Janeway.

Do it.

oh. and ps: I just wanted to share this too!! I tested out my personal cake pans (size 6.5″) by making a half batch of Crazy Chocolate cake! It was EXCELLENT. I just made a few changes to the posted recipe, namely brown sugar instead of white or turbinado. Yummy! And sooo cute.

Perfect thirds!