Sunday, November 22, 2015

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies (and Healthy Too!)

Tuesday is another class party day (I have different classes, so it's easier to spread out the celebrations). I am shooting for more healthy this time. That and something that is easy to transport. These cookies are made with both regular flour and whole wheat flour and rather than sugar, made with honey. These aren't super sweet so hopefully I won't have a bad sugar crash later!

6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup carob chips (or chocolate chips if you don't mind it not being vegan)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the coconut oil, honey, water, and vanilla extract. Mix well. Then add the flours, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Add the carob chips and mix on medium to high to combine.

Using a cookie scooper, scoop the dough onto the prepared sheet. These do not spread at all, so don't worry about putting them too far apart. Bake for 9-10 minutes. Be careful not to let them burn.

Makes about 21 cookies.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Chocolate Cake in a Mug

If you're like me, you probably get a sweet tooth daily every once in a while. Mug cakes are fantastic for being able to control portions while satisfying that sweet tooth. This is my go-to for chocolate cake.

1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
14 cup milk
2 tablespoons applesauce

Combine all the ingredients above in a mug and mix well. Microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds. You may also top with berries and yogurt.

Tea Sandwiches - Cucumber; Chicken Salad

Today, I have a homecoming event at church. That is, here in Phoenix, we tend to get a lot of "Snowbirds", those who live here in the winter. Let's face it, our winters beat a lot of other places! So, each year, we have a homecoming potluck to welcome everyone back. Plus, we are big eaters, so any excuse for large quantities of food is a good one! There are always lots of salads, 7 layer dips, chips, and desserts. I decided to make something a little unusual for potlucks: tea sandwiches. I have always loved tea (coffee doesn't appeal to me), and I thought why not! There are lots of vegetarians there, so I made one that is a classic cucumber sandwich, and a chicken salad sandwich. Since cucumber sandwiches have a bad rap for being bland, I added in a garlic lemon spread.

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

1.5 cups cooked chicken (or canned chicken)
1/2 cup celery, minced
1/2 cup black grapes, chopped
3 tablespoons red onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup mayo (I used a vegan version, "Just Mayo", actually tastes amazing)

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. You may make this the day before and allow for the flavors to meld (do not assemble until the day of so the bread does not get soggy).

Cucumber Sandwiches

1 stick butter, room temperature
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced thin
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Lightly salt the cucumbers and allow to drain for 1-2 hours in a colander.

In a small bowl, combine the butter and garlic. Apply to each side of the bread.

In another small bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, and pepper. Dip the cucumber slices, and arrange them on the bread.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Oatmeal Cookies

I originally made these cookies as part of a fundraiser for March of Dimes at work. This time, I'm making them for one of my classes. Once a semester, I like to have a class party. Helps with morale, especially with the last few weeks. Plus they can't hate me too much as I give them exams when I make them cookies!

1 stick butter at room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2 1/2 cups oatmeal

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, shortening, and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and beat well. Then add the buttermilk.

In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking soda, and spices together. Add to the butter mixture in batches, beating after each addition. The on a slow speed, beat in the oatmeal until just combined.

Drop about one heaping teaspoons of dough two inches apart. Bake for 11-13 minutes until just before the edges begin to brown. Leave on the cookie tray for about 2-3 minutes after removing from the oven before cooling the rest of the way on cooling racks.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Quinoa with Asparagus and Dijon Garlic Dressing

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
Salt to taste
10 stalks asparagus
Olive oil

Splash of water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Juice of 1/2 lime

In a small pot, combine the quinoa, water, and salt. Bring to a boil and them lower the heat, cooking for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, break apart the asparagus into 1-2" pieces, drizzle with olive oil, and roast at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients. Allowing to sit for 20 minutes to allow for the flavors to meld.

Combine, the quinoa, dressing, chopped tomatoes, feta, and asparagus in a bowl. Serve while hot.

In the mood for a change!

Hello everyone out there! You may have noticed a bit of a makeover for the blog. I realized that I've been using the same colors and graphics for several years now. It's time for a change!

Creamy Orzo with Mushrooms

Temperatures are starting to drop. Kind of. This is Phoenix after all. For Phoenicians, once it drops below 80, we start reaching for sweaters and jackets. It's even getting into the 60s at night! Brrrr! When it starts getting colder, I start wanting warmer food. I baked three loaves of bread this weekend and tonight, made a creamy orzo.

2 1/4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup orzo
Salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 package Portobello mushrooms, sliced
Parmesan cheese, optional

In a medium pot, bring broth and orzo to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, along with nutmeg. Continue to cook about ten minutes, stirring occasionally, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot.

Meanwhile, in a large pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Cook until onions become translucent and mushrooms have released their juices.

Add the orzo to the mushroom pan and cook for a few minutes, until some of the broth is evaporated (do not allow to dry out).

Remove from heat and add parmesan cheese. Serve while hot.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Slow Cooker Beef with Cucumber Mint Sauce

Yesterday, I feel like I was incredibly not productive. I had grandiose plans of going to the gym, cleaning house, getting work done...none of that happened. I did; however, go to the grocery store. I spent way too much money (shocker). When I got home, I did lots of meal prep to get me through the week. This is a great freezer meal. If you do decide to freeze this, combine the ingredients in a freezer safe bag PRIOR to cooking. Then when you want to cook it, allow to defrost for several hours in the fridge. Then add the whole bag to the slow cooker.

2 pounds beef roast
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (1 tsp if you like spicy!)
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 small onion, chopped
1 small jalapeno, seeds removed, diced
15 ounces petite diced tomatoes (canned)

Place the beef in the slow cooker first, followed by the rest of the ingredients. Cook on low heat for about 4 hours (less/more depending on your slow cooker's cooking speed).

When ready to serve, slice the meat. Serve with flatbread or pita bread. Top with sauce (recipe to follow).

1/2 cup Plain yogurt
1 cucumber, peeled, diced
6-8 fresh mint leaves, chopped

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.