Carrot Oatmeal Cookies (Vegan!)

As I mentioned in my previous post, I recently discovered the blog 101 Cookbooks.  After yesterday’s great success, I decided to try the carrot oatmeal cookie recipe this morning.  It has many ingredients that I love (carrots, oats, and maple syrup) so I felt I couldn’t go wrong.  I don’t want to over exaggerate, but this recipe is truly amazing! I could eat a million of these – okay a little bit of hyperbole – but they are just so flavourful with a perfect cookie texture.  It is definitely one of my new top five favourite cookies.

I feel like these could also be considered a breakfast cookie because they have the light sugary flavour from the maple syrup, relaxing oats, and always delicious carrots.  Perhaps they could be considered healthy-ish.  Adding carrots makes everything healthier right?  Also – no eggs – which makes them vegan!  The cookies went perfectly with a cup of tea and I have eaten four already.

The recipe makes the perfect amount of small cookies (about two dozen) and not that much mess.  One bowl to clean up, which is not bad, considering the major messes I have made in the kitchen in the past.  Jonathan and my Mom will attest to some of my huge kitchen chaos moments.

Ingredients

1 cup all purpose flour (you could use whole wheat pastry flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 cup rolled oats (I was bad and used quick oats, but they seemed to work out)
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup real maple syrup, room temperature
1/2 cup canola oil (the original recipe calls for coconut oil)
½ teaspoon of ground ginger and ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375F degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, ground ginger, ground cinnamon and oats. Add the shredded carrots.  Measure out the maple syrup and canola oil and then add to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.

Drop onto prepared baking sheets, one level tablespoonful at a time, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Bake in the top 1/3 of the oven for 10 – 12 minutes or until the cookies are golden on top and bottom.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Five Seed Soda Bread

What does a foodie do at parties?

Exchange recipes of course!

One of Laura’s best friends who was at the bachelorette party on Saturday and I got chatting about favourite recipes.  She sent me a link to the blog 101 Cookbooks.  Originally her recipe suggestion was for black bread.  However, I was looking around the website and found this recipe for a healthy, grainy, delicious looking soda bread.  So, this morning I went to the store to buy all of the seeds and organic spelt flour.

Having never made bread before, I thought I should start with a soda bread.  The bread was grainy, warm and had the perfect texture.  My Mom’s only critique would be to add a tiny bit of honey.  Luckily, Jonathan will be in Aurora on Thursday, so I can try to make this bread again – with a smidgen of honey.  Even without the honey, the flavour of this bread was amazing with all of the seeds.  I am very happy with my first attempt at making bread.  I may even have to try out another new bread recipe from 101 Cookbooks tomorrow.  All of the recipes look wonderful and have detailed, easy to follow instructions.

Ingredients

2 1/2 tablespoons EACH sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and flax seeds.

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 3/4 cup / 9 oz / 250 g spelt flour
2 cups / 9 oz / 250 g unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 3/4 cup / 14 oz / 400 ml buttermilk
a bit of extra buttermilk/milk

Preheat your oven to 400F / 205C. Place a rack in the center of the oven. In a small bowl combine all the seeds and set aside.

Sift the flours, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Stir in all but 2 tablespoons of the seeds. Make a well in the flour, pour in the buttermilk, and stir until the dough just comes together. If you need to add an extra splash of buttermilk because the dough is too dry, you can. As Hugh says, “Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly for about a minute, just long enough to pull it together into a loose ball but no longer – you need to get it into the oven while the baking soda is still doing its stuff.”

Place the dough on a lightly floured baking sheet and mark it with a deep cross across the top, cutting two-thirds of the way through the loaf with a serrated knife. Brush with buttermilk and sprinkle with the remaining seeds, making sure plenty of seeds make it down into the cracks.

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until the bread is golden crusted on top and bottom (you may want to move the oven rack up for the last 15 minute if you need more color on the top of the loaf). Cool on a wire rack.

Makes a single loaf.

Adapted from River Cottage everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, published by Bloomsbury.

Prep time: 10 min – Cook time: 40 min

Healthy Warm German Style Potato Salad

I took a bigger break from blogging than I meant to with the Victoria Day long weekend.  For the weekend my family went up north to the cottage.  It was a gorgous sunny day – so warm that Laura and Chris braved the cold lake waters to put in the dock in the lake! Depending on the weather we will be up boating and swimming in the lake as soon as possible.  The family has been going up to this cottage for four generations.  My great grandparents bought the property and built it.

It wasn’t just the Victoria Day weekend – we also celebrated my Auntie Andrea’s birthday with cheese and crackers, cookies and lots of treats.  It was lovely to sit by the lake and all together.  Auntie Andrea did a lot of work for Laura’s bridal shower and she continues to listen to all of my Mom’s checklists and wedding plans.  It is wonderful to see sisters that always have each other’s back.  I am even luckier with my three sisters.  Despite a few arguments, we get along well and always want the best for each other.

This warm potato salad recipe is one that Jonathan and I – inspired by this recipe – experimented with and really quite enjoyed.  There is zero mayonnaise, which gives it a distinct, but delicious flavour.  It is very different from the type you get in the grocery store that is full of calories.  The flavours came from the honey Dijon mustard, celery seed, white wine vinegar and chili flakes.  If you are looking for a new favourite potato salad recipe – you’re in luck!

Ingredients

7 medium red potatoes, unpeeled

4 slices bacon

¾ cup chopped onions

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1/ teaspoon celery seed

2 teaspoons Montreal steak spice

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons crushed chili flakes

¾ cup water

¼ cup white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons dijon mustard

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  • In 4-quart saucepan, place potatoes. Add water just to cover. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Simmer covered, 25 to 30 minutes or until tender. Drain; cool slightly. Cut into slices.
  • Meanwhile, in 12-inch nonstick skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Chop bacon; set aside.
  • Remove and discard bacon drippings from skillet. Add oil; heat over medium heat. Add onions; cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender. Stir in flour, sugar, salt, celery seed, and other spices. Gradually stir in water, vinegar and mustard. Cook over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until bubbly and thickened.
  • Stir in potatoes and bacon. Cook, stirring frequently, until thoroughly heated. To serve, sprinkle with parsley.

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

Sweet potato is one of my favourite vegetables.  I was rummaging in the refrigerator around lunchtime and saw sweet potatoes, so I thought I would make soup.  Fresh sweet potato, apple, baby carrots, ginger root and rosemary combine to create a delightful and refreshing soup.  The ginger, cumin, and crushed chili flakes give a light spicy flavour that is mild, but delivers a touch of heat.  More crushed chili flakes can be added for a spicier soup.

This soup is easy to make and extremely healthy!  I was reading through Chatelaine magazine and soup was one of their recommendations for weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight.   Combine this soup with sunflower or pumpkin seeds, a twenty-minute workout session and you will be on you way to a healthier lifestyle.

Ingredients

2 tbsp of canola oil

1 shallot sliced finely

2 sweet potatoes peeled and cubed

Half of an organic apple – peeled and cubed

1 handful of baby carrots

4 cups vegetable broth

2 garlic cloves minced

thumb sized piece of fresh ginger root – minced

½ tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

½ tsp cumin

1 tbsp fresh rosemary

1/8 tsp crushed chili flakes (or more if you like it spicier)

Instructions

  1. In pot place oil, sliced shallot, ginger root, garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add chopped and cubed sweet potato, apple and handful of baby carrots and let soften.
  3. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil.  Add in spices.
  4. Boil for 20-30 minutes or until vegetables have softened and will break apart with the back of a wooden spoon.
  5. Put in blender and combine with pulsing motions.  If needed reheat in saucepan.  Add fresh rosemary for garnish.  Then serve.

 

Healthy Five Grain Apple Muffins

Healthy and tasty muffins are possible.  The first step is to substitute canola oil for the butter.  Adding 5 grains is also better than one.  Wheat, rye, barley, tricticale and flaxseed are packed full of fiber and are low in fat.  If you do not enjoy mushy oatmeal, these muffins are an excellent alternative.  Raisins or other dried fruits could be added as well.  These are easily one of my new favourite muffins.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill 5 Grain Rolled Hot cereal
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 apple peeled and grated

Instructions

  1. In large mixing bowl, combine flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together milk, egg, oil and vanilla.  Always separate wet and dry ingredients when baking muffins.  Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients.  Add in grated apple and combine thoroughly until all ingredients are moistened. Spoon muffin batter into a greased muffin pan.  Makes approximately 12 muffins.
  3. Bake in centre of oven at375°F for about 20 minute. Let cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack and let cool completely.
  4. Once cooled you can wrap these muffins up individually in a zip-lock bag or with plastic wrap and freeze for two weeks.