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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Crispy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

My friend Bonnie fed me these cookies a week ago and I knew immediately I would be making them.  She got them from the Oh She Glows cookbook (but I'm adding the link to Angela Liddon's web site with the same recipe - aside from using peanut butter instead of almond butter.)  These cookies are really delicious, but also really easy to put together, so it feels like I will whip them up often on a whim in the future.  Also, let it be noted (despite the fact that I don't really care all that much about omitting certain food groups, these cookies are vegan and - as long as you use gluten-free oats - they can also gluten-free.  As far as "crispy" cookies go, these were super much so that I cooked them for less time than the recipe called for.  However, Bonnie's cookies came out soft and fluffy when she made these (I cannot for the life of me understand how and, since she is currently on a family vacay, we have yet to compare every single part of our cooking procedure down to the finest of details.  I will update with answers if we discover how this happened.)  I am usually not a fan of such a crispy cookie, but these did come out incredibly tasty...addictively so.  In fact, these cookies were so tasty - along with being convenient and easy to make - that I just ordered the Oh She Glows cookbook.  It is very rare that I order cookbooks anymore...only if they speak to me from a health standpoint and have more than a handful of recipes that seem quick and easy to make.  The internet full of food blogs is truly my oyster, but hopefully this cookbook will prove to be a fun and useful reference.

Crispy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
recipe from Oh She Glows
makes 2 dozen cookies

1 Tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3 Tbsp water (this is called a flax egg)
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup natural cane sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt  (recipe called for fine sea salt...I used kosher)
1 cup rolled oats, ground into a flour
1 cup slivered almonds, ground into a meal
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine the almond butter and coconut oil using a hand mixer.  Add both sugars and beat for a minute.  Then add the flax egg and vanilla and beat until combined.  One by one, beat in the baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Then add the oats and almond meal and combine.  Lastly, mix in the chocolate chips.

Put 1-inch balls of the dough on the baking sheet about 2 or 3 inches apart.  Bake in the oven for about 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.  (The recipe gave a longer cook time, but I let them go for the suggested minimum of 12 minutes and the bottoms  Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack for another 10 minutes.  Try not to eat them all at once.  (I have had 3 today.)

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Chorizo and Potato Tacos

Tonight's supper was a surprise keeper.  I am always amazed when I work completely off recipe and my instincts prove to amazingly be correct.  I have always been a self-doubter, but tonight I figured you can't go wrong with potatoes and could it turn out bad???  It wasn't just not bad - it was soooooo good.  My quickie guacamole didn't hurt the cause either, but I don't have a recipe for that one.  I just eyeball and taste until I get it right.  Let's case it will help you...2 avocados, a big pinch of salt, about a tablespoon of minced onion, not even a teaspoon of minced garlic, juice of about half a lime, some chopped cilantro, and done.  I have overdone it with both the garlic and the onion on separate occasions and it actually dissuaded me from attempting guac for a very long was awful.  That's what you get when you follow bad recipes.  So fearful of making noxious guacs, instead I would just slice avocados and leave all the other flavors to the main dish.  I finally got back on the horse.

So have I told you how much I love cooking in my new kitchen?  Well not only to I love cooking in my new kitchen, but I also love taking pictures in my new kitchen!  At my old house, I would need to put the plates on the floor most of the time to be able to get (a) enough good lighting and (b) a background without children's toys.  My husband has actually taken pictures of me taking pictures for the blog (how meta...and super embarassing) because of how ridiculous me crouching over plates of food on the floor in front of our glass door looked...not cool, not cool.

So to summarize...I love tacos and taking pictures of tacos.

Chorizo and Potato Tacos

1 lb chorizo, casings removed and diced small
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 yellow onion, diced small
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
big pinch of salt
1 lb yukon gold potatoes, cooked. skins removed, and diced small (it is easiest to do this on a plate in the microwave)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 package of your favorite tortillas

Heat a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat.  Add the chorizo and cook until the fat renders and it turns brown and a little crispy, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Remove to a bowl with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Turn the heat down to medium and add the canola oil to the pan.  Then add the onion and saute until translucent.  Add the garlic and saute a minute more.  Add the chili powder, cumin, and salt and stir until combined and fragrant, 30 seconds or so.  Then add the potatoes to the pan and stir until they are heated through..  Return the chorizo to the pan along with the chopped cilantro and combine.  Serve with cheese and guacamole on a tortilla. visit page

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Healthy Eggplant Parmesan

So the move is over and we have been unpacking non-stop and one of my favorite people in the whole world came over and helped me unpack my entire kitchen - so thanks to her I am finally ready to cook a meal.  I am coming from a house with a tiny kitchen that lacked counter space and well, really just space in general.  It was less of a kitchen and more of two galleys that had a dining room next to it.  As much as I love cooking, that's how much I hated my kitchen.  I always had bowls and pans all over the dining room table.  (But it was a ginormous step up from our apartment in Medford - so who knew it would still be tight?)

That being said...I was even nervous about the space in our new home before we moved in...what if it still presented problems?  However, I love love love love love love love love love my new kitchen!  Words do not do it justice.  The best way I can put it...It gave me joy.  So now please let me share with you our first out of countless meals in our new, happy home.

Healthy Eggplant Parmesan
adapted from a recipe by Mario Batali

1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
tomato sauce (find the recipe here - and this is enough sauce to have plenty left over to serve with a pound of pasta)
1 cup of shredded cheese of choice (I used a mozzarella, asiago, provolone blend from Trader Joe's)
1 Tbsp romano cheese
ricotta cheese (optional)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, spread with the 2 Tbsp of olive oil and then lay out your eggplant slices in a single layer.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes until golden in color.  Then, flip them over and bake for another 10 minutes.  When done, remove from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Cover the bottom of a large baking dish with a thin layer of your tomato sauce.  Then place some eggplant slices in the dish.  Cover the slices with another thin layer of tomato sauce and then top with some of your shredded cheese and about a teaspoon of the romano.  Begin another layer of eggplant and continue this patter until you run out of ingredients.  I added a few dollops of ricotta to the top before placing in the oven uncovered for about 20 minutes until the cheese melted.

Serve hot with a side of pasta and extra cheese.