White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies (vegan)

Now, I don’t normally like to start a post with a negative thought but this is necessary:  I hate aggressively dislike when people think vegan baking = tastes like dirt.  And even worse are the people who do not try something because it’s vegan!  Vegan baking can be so good!!!!  SO GOOD!  I’m not even a vegan and I mainly cook and bake vegan because it’s delicious (not to mention easier on my digestive system).

Ok now some positive vibes!

Slight crunch on the outside, soft yet chewy on the inside…. these cookies are heaven in your mouth!  Purely divine, especially when eaten sitting on the couch while watching Raging Bull (this was me night last night and p.s. Such a good movie!!).

These cookies would also make a great going away gift to a husband who is going away for a month and  a half to work in a city 7 hours away (again a reality for me *tear*).  Ladies, if your man is going away for awhile you must send him away with something to remember just what a wonderful lady he has at home.  These cookies are just one of the things that will remind him of this.

I’ve made these cookies a few times now and it is my absolute favorite cookie recipe.  Perfectly customized to my preferences! You can customize it to your liking with the add-ins too.  Use dark chocolate chunks and dried cherries, dried apricots and pumpkin seeds….. the options are endless!  The only requirement here is that you must make them! Oh and you must use the brown rice syrup and the cornstarch-these are the keys to chewyness!

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies (vegan)

Dry ingredients:

4 cups flour

4 tsp cornstarch

2 tsp baking soda

1 cup sugar

1½ tsp salt

Wet ingredients:

½ cup maple syrup

½ cup brown rice syrup

4 tsp vanilla

1 cup canola oil

Add-ins: Your choice!  I used white chocolate chunks and roasted, salted macadamia nuts (sweet and salty, oh yeah!)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease cookie sheet, or use silicone baking sheet.

2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.

3. Combine wet ingredients in a medium bowl or a big liquid measure. Mix till combined.

4.  Add wet mixture to dry and stir till just about combines.  Throw in your add-ins and finish mixing.  This dough is a little on the crumbly side but trust me, these cookies bake up beautifully-not dry at all!!

5. Make dough balls about the size of golf balls and flatten on cookie sheet.  Don’t worry about placing them too close together, these beauties don’t spread that much.

6. Bake for about 10 minutes.  They get a little golden on the bottom but don’t overcook.  If anything they should appear undercooked.  Remove from cookie sheet right after they come out of the oven.  Let cool on a cooling rack.  These cookies firm up to the perfect cookie texture after letting them sit for about 10 minutes.

Makes approx 30 big cookies

Enjoy!


Posted in Cookies and Bars, Recipes | 2 Comments

Coconut Lime Wild Rice with Squash and Mushrooms

Lime and Coconut….. Coconut and Lime……. No matter which way you put it, this combo rocks!!  These flavors are the backbone of this recipe and they compliment wild rice perfectly.

Oh my goodness, you must try this recipe.

I started off recreating a Coconut Lime Basmati Rice with Butternut Squash I had at a local restaurant but this dish really took on a life of its own.  Roasting the squash and adding mushrooms, zucchini, and changing the rice to wild rice completely upped the delish factor.  I also made a simple no cook balsamic sauce that compliments the flavors wonderfully.

I know what you’re saying.  Could this dish get any better?  Well my friends it sure can.  Roasting squash and cooking rice can take some time, but most of it’s inactive.  You can totally cook the rice and roast the squash in advance and throw this dish together in no time on the day of!  Do it.

So here it is, my darling Coconut Lime Wild Rice with Squash and Mushrooms:

 Coconut Lime Wild Rice with Squash and Mushrooms                                                *makes approx 6 servings                                                

1 medium/large white onion, chopped

1 medium zucchini, chopped                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               1½ cups sliced mushrooms (I used cremini)                                                                            

salt and pepper to taste                                                                                                                    

1 inch fresh ginger, minced                                                                                                              

3 cups butternut squash, chopped in 1 inch cubes and roasted                                                  

3 cups cooked wild rice                                                                                                                    

1 can light coconut milk                                                                                                                    

¼ tsp cinnamon                                                                                                                                

4 handfuls of fresh spinach                                                                                                          

juice and zest of one lime                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1.  Spray a large non stick pan with cooking spray and heat over medium high heat.  Add the onions, zucchini, mushrooms and salt and pepper to taste.  Sautée for 5-6 minutes, till onion is translucent.  Add the ginger and sautée for one more minute.                                  

2.  Add the roasted squash , cooked rice, can of coconut milk, and cinnamon.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.  

3.  Add the spinach and cover the pan to let it wilt.  Stir in the lime zest and juice.   Serve with Balsamic Sauce (recipe follows).      

Balsamic Sauce

6 tbsp balsamic vinegar

6 tbsp agave nectar (maple syrup would work)

5 tbsp olive oil

Wisk all ingredients together!  Thats it! Simple and delicious :)

Posted in Main Course, Recipes, Vegan | 3 Comments

Chewy Peanut Butter and Banana Cookies

Ah the Peanut Butter cookie.  I was never much of a fan.  Any recipe I tried seemed to yield the same result- Peanut butter cookies that were hard, dry and not very peanut buttery.  I could not get what all the hype was about….. Until this recipe came along.

Instead of eggs, I use banana.  I also added some maple syrup, maple extract, and brown rice syrup.  I love how brown rice syrup makes cookies so chewy.  And the banana adds that little something that makes these cookies perfect.  The texture is like a soft and chewy ginger molasses cookie but full of peanut butter and banana flavor!

Try them and love them!

Chewy Peanut Butter and Banana Cookies           

Yield: 3 dozen

¾ cup smooth peanut butter (not the natural kind)

½ cup vegetable shortening

¾ cup light brown sugar, packed

¼ cup maple syrup

¼ cup brown rice syrup

2 tsp vanilla

2 tsp maple extract

1 ripe banana, mashed

1 ¾ cup all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

¾ tsp baking soda

granulated sugar for rolling or sprinkling

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375°.  Prepare cookie sheet.  I use a silicone baking mat but otherwise you can use parchment paper or lightly grease cookie sheet.

2. Cream together the peanut butter, vegetable shortening, sugar, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, and extracts.  Cream together until the texture is light and fluffy and slightly pale.  Mix in banana until just combined.

3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda.  Slowing add to wet mixture and stir until just combined.

4.  Take tablespoon sized pieces of dough and roll into balls.  Place dough balls on cookie sheet 2 inches apart.  Use a fork to make criss cross marks and slightly flatten cookies.  Sprinkle sugar over the tops of the cookies.  For completely sugar coated cookies: Use the above method but before placing dough balls on cookie sheet, roll dough balls into granulated sugar and then continue with placing them on the cookie sheet and make the fork criss cross.

5. Bake for about 8 minutes, until slightly golden.  Let cool on cookie sheet for about 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Recipe adapted from the Brown Eyed Baker.

Posted in Cookies and Bars, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegan | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Just Like Dad’s Oatmeal Cookies

Hello Blog World!

After a long hiatus, I’m back!

There’s no reason in particular that I took a break from blogging….. kind of a mixture between being super busy and feeling like I needed a break.  Anyways, I’m back and I made cookies!

Ok, the title may be a little deceiving to some.  The “Dad” I’m referring to is my Dad, not the brand Dad’s Cookies (those are good too! But totally different).

My Dad makes some delicious cookies.  You may even say they’re Dad-licious……. Whoa that was totally a Dad Joke…. I sometimes make those.

Back to my Dad and his cookies.  He may switch up the recipe for the dough but without fail, there will always be chocolate chips, raisins, walnuts, and rolled oats thrown in.  Sometimes he’ll also add coconut, pecans, and maybe even cashews (he’s crazy like that).  But always always there will be those 4 ingredients making an appearance in his cookies.  And they’re always soooooo good!

The cookies that I made are just like my Dad would make.  Only my version is vegan and incorporates flaxseed and brown rice syrup….. I don’t even know if my Dad knows what brown rice syrup is…..  Anywho, these cookies turned out perfectly!  Chewy, sweet, perfectly spiced.  And YES, nutmeg is necessary!!!!  I never used to use nutmeg when a recipe called for it but I’ve recently discovered the importance of it.  It adds the “little something extra” that a recipe needs.  Nutmeg = Necessary.  Just do it.

Just Like Dad’s Oatmeal Cookies      

½ c. vegan margarine, softened

½ c. brown sugar, packed

¼ c. brown rice syrup

¼ c. granulated sugar

1 flax egg (1 tbsp flaxseed, ground and added to 3 tbsp water)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 c. all purpose flour

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp nutmeg

½ tsp cinnamon

1½ c. rolled oats

½ c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (non dairy)

½ c. raisins

¼ c. walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 375°

2. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugars, brown rice syrup, flax egg, and vanilla until well mixed.

3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Add to wet ingredients and stir until combined.

4. Fold in oats, chocolate chips, raisins and walnuts.  Drop by golf ball sized dough balls onto a greased cookie sheet.  Bake 10-13 minutes until golden.  Cool for a few minutes on sheet before removing to wire rack to cool completely.   Makes approximately 20 large cookies.

*recipe adapted from Deborah’s Culinary Confections , courtesy of The Brown Eyed Baker

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

So rainy!

Wow, I woke up this morning to some serious rain.  It’s absolutely pouring!  The rain is supposed to continue all day….. I have to walk 20 minutes to get to work.  Not so fun.  I love rain when I have a day off and the only thing I have planned is watching movies and eating something like soup.  Why couldn’t the rain have been here yesterday??  All I did yesterday was go to the gym, get a few groceries, make soup, and watch movies while the soup simmered away.

Yes, yesterday should have been a rainy day.  It was the perfect cozy day.  Andy’s got this horrible cold so he needs to rest.  What kind of wife would I be if I didn’t join him??  Cozying up and watching movies, it was tough but I had to do it ;)

We watched Prince Valiant and Runaway Bride.  Has anyone ever seen Prince Valiant? It’s a film starring Robert Wagner and Janet Leigh, made in 1954.  I won’t really tell much about the movie except it’s based in Camelot and involves vikings, knights, and King Arthur.  A couple nights ago we watched Camelot-so good!!  Andy grew up watching these types of movies and loves them.  If it wasn’t for him, I probably would never have seen them.  I actually really like them!  Camelot is definitley my favorite out of the two (it’s a musical, Prince Valiant is not).

I do need to bring attention to one thing about Prince Valiant.  Robert Wagner’s hair…..
source

Isn’t it hilarious??  This picture doesn’t even do it justice.  His hair is glistening and always perfectly set thoughout the whole movie.  Love it!

Ooooh yes and I’ve got to tell you about the soup I made!  Its Matzoh Ball Soup from Vegan with a Vengeance.  I’d never in my life made anything with matzoh meal in it before.  I’d never even tasted it before!  This recipe was so easy to follow and so so tasty.  Perfect for a sick husband.

The soup is made from homemade broth.  I can’t believe how easy vegetable broth is to make.  And the flavor is so amazing!  I loved having the broth simmering away on the stove while we watched movies.  The smell added to the cozyness of our day :)

The soup turned out perfect!  I’m bringing leftovers to work….. not too sure how the Matzoh balls will reheat but we shall see.  This is definitely something I’ll make again.  The only requirement is time.  Not too much of the cooking time is active.  You just need to be in the house while the matzoh balls and broth are simmering.  So if you’re ever having a lazy day around the house this soup is perfect!!

p.s. The recipe for those brownies I mentioned the other day needs some tweaking.  I liked them at first but I know they aren’t at their full potential.  Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to keep making and tasting brownies.  What a life :)

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Friday I’m in love!

Hi Bloggies!

Hope everyone’s having a fun Friday :)

My Friday wasn’t so fun, it was actually a really busy day at work.  I’m so tired that my brain feels like mush!  But work is over now so I can concentrate on more important things like blogging! Just be warned that this post may not be full of very much personality…… I feel like a zombie right now.  A zombie with mush for a brain.

Zombie talk aside, I’d like to thank each and every one of you who commented on my last post.  It means so much to me to have such endless support and I’m so grateful.  Seriously, the blog community is the best!

I’ve been doing great with Intuitive Eating.  I’m in such a good mindset right now that it’s hard not to be doing well.  Every day is a day I learn something new.  I’m learning how to trust and respect my body and what it craves. I feel so free having no limits to the foods that I can choose, I’m so much more relaxed….. it’s pretty amazing.  Right now I’m just concentrating on getting over fear foods.  I feel like I’m eating a bit more than what my body needs but I’m not worrying about it.  I’m sure that I’ll eat the proper portions once my body realizes that it will forever have access to any food whenever it’s hungry.  Right now its just making up for lost time being without all these good foods for awhile :)

Here’s a few things I’ve been enjoying over the past few days:

Cinnamon Pecan Cereal from Costco- Of course I added raisins.  Raisins just seem like a must for a cereal with cinnamon and pecans :) Bananas would have been in there too but we had none :(

Azuki Beans with Kabocha Sqaush- This recipe is fromThe Kind Life.  Here’s a link to the recipe.  I added some cumin and ginger to it because I like things spicy.  It was so good.  If you have never tried Kabocha squash before, get on it!!!!  Its creamy, squashy, and super tasty!  My favorite winter squash without a doubt!

Chocolate-Walnut Brownies- These are amazing!  I made them the other day.  Recipe to come soon :)

Well I’m off to relax and watch a movie with the Hubby.  TGIF!!!

One more thing:

Anyone else know the song by the Cure, Friday I’m in Love?  It’s so good!!!  I love it.  It makes me happy :)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

A new direction…

Hi friends!

How’s everyone’s week going?

I’ve got a pretty unusual week for me.  I worked Sunday, I’m working this Saturday, which means that I have two days off mid week-Tuesday and Thursday.  I’ve been Monday to Friday for like two months.  This is gonna be weird!  Having days off on weekdays are really productive for me though.  I’m looking forward to getting some necessary things done around the house and having lots of “me time”.  I’m the type of person who needs “me time”, are you?  Or, do you always love being with other people?

Something that I’ve refrained from mentioning on my blog is that I’ve suffered from an eating disorder, anorexia.  From when I was about 15 till I was around 21 I was deeply in the disorder.  During this time there were a few spans of a couple months were I really thought I was or was close to being better but I really had no idea what “better” really was.  For the past few years (mainly in the last year) I’ve considered myself finally recovered.

Being recovered to me goes like this:

Day by day eating disorder thoughts cross my mind.    I’m really great at ignoring the thoughts telling me to under eat but I still really struggle with the types of foods I eat.  I have “safe” foods and foods that I’m not so comfortable having.  I’ve definitely come a long way and do frequently challenge myself with eating things out of my comfort zone but these times always require lots of thought.  I’ve also noticed that when I branch outside of my “safe” foods I now tend to overeat.  This is mostly due to that voice inside my head telling me that I won’t be eating this “forbidden” food for awhile so I better enjoy it.  Or sometimes I’m tired of living with these restrictions that I set for myself so I make myself eat a “forbidden” food even if I’m not hungry, even if I don’t feel like eating it……. this seems eating disorder-like as well.  I could go on and on about this sort of thing but I won’t.  To make this long story short- I’m not fully recovered.  I’ve got work to do.

What are my goals?

I want to be able to eat what I feel like eating, not something that my eating disorder is telling me is the right choice.  I want to make the choice.  I want to be able to eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full.  I want to listen to my body and do what it’s telling me.  I want to trust that my body will make the right choices for me.  I want to be free of all these restricting thoughts in my head.

What are my plans?

I’ve mentioned the book Intuitive Eating on here before.  I absolutely love this book.  It describes my goals perfectly.  This book teaches you to make peace with food and free yourself from dieting (eating disorder) thoughts.  I’ve read this book before but haven’t actually followed what they say.

The book is based on the theory that if you allow yourself to have no restrictions with food-no portion sizes, no forbidden foods-you will be able to make peace with food.  Eating what you truly crave will leave you satisfied.  Knowing that you can always eat what you want, when you want will let you stop when you are full because you know that if you’re hungry you can have more.

This is such a wonderful book and my brief description does not do it justice.  The book goes more in depth and description.  I really recommend this book to anyone who wants a better relationship with food!

So, my plan is to follow the Intuitive Eating Program.  I already feel a sense of contentment and freedom!  No limits, no good or bad foods….. I feel a little lighter!

Of course I know that this won’t be easy.  There will be up and down times.  Times when I take the wrong turn or a couple of wrong turns.  But I really want to get this a shot.  I’m going to give it my all and document my progress.  Yay me!

What this means for the blog:

I’m actually super excited for my blog.  I can’t wait to do posts about all of the new recipes I’m going to try and all of the different foods I’ll eat.  Through this process my blog will blossom into what I wanted it to be.  A blog with great foods that I’ve discovered and lots of recipes.  My restrictions with food have really limited my blog thus far and I can’t wait to break free!

I’ll also give updates with what I’m feeling during my progress with intuitive eating.  I know it’ll be a great way to further myself in recovery and be a way to document how far I’ve come.

Anyways, off I go to start my Tuesday.  It’s my brothers birthday today so my mom and I are going to hang out and prepare for his birthday dinner.  I love hanging out with my mom.  She’s the best :)

Hope everyone has a great day and thanks so much for listening!

xoxo


Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments