Monthly Archives: April 2012

Snacker Day Saturday: 4/28

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This week we’ve had a mix of spring showers and sunny days, meaning that I’ve been alternating between craving warm comfort food and light, delicious treats to keep me cool. The only problem? I always crave ice cream when I come back from a long walk in the sun. Don’t get me wrong – craving ice cream is no problem, but if I were to give in and eat a pint each time that I wanted some, I’d probably start to resemble a nice, round scoop of the delicious stuff.

This week I came up with a snack that looks as beautiful as a freshly decorated cupcake, but is simple and cool. So get outside and enjoy the sunshine, because when you come back from your walk, from mowing the lawn, or from lounging poolside you can whip this up and enjoy a nutritious snack!

Frosted Grapefruit Coolers
Ingredients
1 grapefruit
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Optional: 1 teaspoon brown sugar, lemon and lime zest
How To
1. Cut the grapefruit in half. With a knife, cut around the edges of the fruit. Then, cut the fruit into segments, but leave all of the fruit inside of the peel.
2. In a small bowl, mix yogurt with cinnamon.
3. Top the grapefruit with the yogurt mixture. If you want it to look prettier, Put the yogurt in a sandwich bag and then pipe it onto the grapefruit. Next, sprinkle with optional toppings if you’d like.

Hope you enjoy the snack! And to keep this post citrus-y and sweet, here’s your little snippet of literature for the day. It’s a poem that’s a lot heavier than the snack I just suggested, but it’s an interesting one to think about. It’s called “Sunday Morning” and it’s by Wallace Stevens. Hope you enjoy!!

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Breaking Clean [Book Review]

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This is a memoir that will have you re-reading pages to check that your eyes aren’t tricking you. It’s a memoir that will cause your electricity bill to rise for a couple of nights as you read under lamplight until your eyes just can’t stay open any more. It’s a memoir that will captivate your senses, imagination, and awe as you read about Judy Blunt’s life.

The title of the memoir I’ve just made so many claims about is Breaking Clean. Judy Blunt, who now resides in Missoula, Montana, chronicles her upbringing as a third-generation homesteader on the harsh plains of eastern Montana.  Unimaginable snow storms with winds strong enough to make a house shriek, roads that Blunt describes as “gumbo” in texture surround her childhood home, and frequent, dangerous encounters with both animals and farm equipment make pocks in her like hail does a roof. Not only is Blunt shaped by these natural forces, but also by the codes that regulate life on the plains: the pressure on women to maintain homes, help out on the farm, and expect no credit for either, the strict code imposed to never question an elder, and the constant favoritism of males over females in regards to inheritance and perceived ability. Blunt shoulders these adversities (along with many others) throughout her upbringing and pummels her way through obstacles and self-doubt to determine what she truly wants in life.

The community that Blunt grows up in is small, set in tradition, and shaped by the land. Homesteaders in this part of Montana live in near-isolation. They rely on themselves to produce enough food to last through frigid winters. They rely on the men to tend to the cattle and the business. The women are expected to keep up with housework, canning, gardening, raising kids, cooking, and assist their husbands when they can. Each person who lives out on these plains works as hard as a human body can. This impeccable work ethic ingrained in Blunt is highlighted once she goes to high school. It is the norm for high-school students from the plains to pay room and board in order to live in town and go to school. On top of these adult responsibilities, adjusting to life in a city, living without parents, and succeeding in academics, Blunt picks up a job at a local diner where she is awarded a bonus on her paycheck because she works so hard. If this doesn’t demonstrate to you Blunt’s commitment to succeed and her unfailing trait of putting every ounce of herself into a task, I don’t know what does.

Parallel to the nature that surrounds these tough homesteaders, Blunt experiences periods of tragedy in her life, but also celebrates in harvest. She describes situations such as a massive wildfire racing toward her home, torrential downpours that make the roads nearly impassable when she needs to go to the hospital, snow storms that obliterate masses of cattle, and with them any hope of success for the year. She elaborates on her schooling experience in a one-room schoolhouse, reflects on the introduction of plumbing and electricity into her life, shares stories of how she kept herself entertained with her brothers and sisters where games included fire and facing bulls head to head. There are tender moments in the memoir: bonds formed with farm animals who had to be killed for the family to survive, intimate details of rage and disbelief as she physically transitions into a woman, feelings of isolation and loneliness from the perspective of Blunt as she craves any form of attention or acknowledgment from males in society, and the communication of a feeling of suffocation in a community where women were expected to remain in their places and complete massive amounts of work without any sign of weariness or grudge. The multitude of topics, situations, emotions, and syncretism between the actions of nature and the feelings of man make this memoir potent in its power to foster genuine emotion within the reader.

The memoir is written in a manner as raw and honest as the wind-blown prairie that the memories stem from. Blunt explores each facet of her upbringing, schooling, community, and marriage with as much curiosity as she does the ripples, dips, and dents of the vast land that she studies on horseback throughout her youth. Each startling description of a life characterized by determination, hard work, astounding obstacles, and the stifling traditions of the community is accompanied by subtle humor and an overwhelming beauty. The story is awe-inspiring, insightful, and a powerful tale of human struggle, and success in a place where it appears that little more than prairie-grass should be able to flourish. I highly recommend this book and commend Blunt not only for the incredible words between the covers, but also for her introspection, work ethic, and courage to follow an unpaved path towards the life that she needed.

Roasted Zuchinni Mock-sagna

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There are some days I just crave lasagna. Ever have one of those days? It usually happens to me when the day is long and cold – like today! Despite the fact that it’s April, a day filled with chill-to-the-bone weather, grey skies, and a drizzle of rain popped up. I spent the day shuffling to class, rushing into the warm gym to work out, and then hustling home to get snuggled into sweat pants. All I wanted for dinner was a heaping slice of lasagna, piled high with veggies and filled with warm Italian flavors. Then I wanted to eat. And repeat.

However, I had no lasagna noodles on hand and not nearly enough ingredients to fill an entire casserole pan with veggies, so I resorted to my next best option: creating my own “mock-sagna” with an array of vegetables, spices, and tofu from my supply in an individual casserole dish. I’ve raved about this utensil before, this useful, one-dish-wonder individual casserole pan that creates perfectly portioned dinners. I’ve made a creamy pasta casserole and a coffee infused sweet potato casserole in it before and I love the way that it bakes the meal evenly throughout and doubles as a great bowl to eat out of.

Today was the perfect day to break out the casserole dish again, and I combined numerous roasted veggies to create a mock-sagna that satisfied my craving for a hearty lasagna while only using ingredients that I had on hand. I paired the vegetables with a “cheesy” roasted tofu that takes on the texture of ricotta and adds a saltiness to the dish. Best of all, this meal was quick to make and perfect for an oddball chilly day in the middle of spring. Hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

Roasted zucchini Mock-sagna
Ingredients
1 zucchini
1 tomato
1/2 package frozen spinach
1/5 block of firm tofu
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
Garlic powder
Salt
Pepper
Italian seasoning

How To
1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Slice zucchini longways, into very thin noodle-like pieces. Be careful doing this and try to make each piece even.
3. Slice tomato into thin slices.
4. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking oil and place the zucchini onto it. Sprinkle zucchini with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Pop them in the oven until they brown slightly around the edges.
5. At this point, add the tomatoes to the pan and sprinkle with same spice blend as zucchini. Cook for 5-10 more minutes. When finished, place to the side to cool.
6. Remove spinach from the freezer and microwave as per package directions. Take half of the spinach and drain it. Put it into a skillet and mix in mashed tofu. Heat in skillet with nutritional yeast until tofu is slightly browned/firm.
7. Grab your casserole dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray casserole dish with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the dish with zucchini slices. Next, layer half of the spinach and tofu mixture. Cover with all of the tomato slices.
8. Layer another layer of zucchini and then top the dish with the remaining tofu and spinach mixture. Sprinkle extra nutritional yeast on top, if desired.
9. Bake the mock-sagna until the top is slightly crisp and the dish is clearly heated. Then, sit down and enjoy your own personal piece of comfort!

Snacker Day Saturday: 4/21

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Snacks come in handy when you’re hiking.

I only know this because some of the most rewarding moments spent hiking are when you reach the top of a mountain or the mid-point of a trail, or a lookout and have the chance to rest for ten minutes or so and indulge in a treat. Snacks are also useful if you’ve walked for so long you feel like your feet are about to fall off and your stomach is growling.

Andrea is going hiking this weekend so I thought I’d surprise her and try to create my own bars so she could bring them on her trip with her. I’m usually not a huge fan of bars (I’d rather sit down for a real meal), but on the trail this just isn’t possible. So I did what I could to make three different flavors of bars for her to take into the wilderness for snacks this weekend.

I made chocolate peanut-butter, plain peanut-butter (both of these flavors also have variations that include chocolate chips), and…..drumroll please…..GINGERBREAD! I know, I know, some of you think that gingerbread isn’t ‘in season’ right now, but I’ll explain my rationale.

I’m not sure if I’ve confessed this or not before, but I’m a fan of listening to Christmas music almost year round. Note, I said almost. I usually take a break of a month or two and then crank up the frosty tunes starting in about June.  Last year my family moved houses and because it was summer and I had nothing else planned, I decided to physically “move” myself from one house to the other by walking. I set out on a nearly 15 mile journey from one house to the other with a water bottle in hand and speakers in my ears. To combat the above-100 degree heat, I thought it would be smart to listen to some Christmas music. So I did. The whole way. And even if the music didn’t really cool my body down at all, it put a pep in my step the entire walk.

Today I went on a walk with my iPod on shuffle and a Christmas song popped up. As soon as it did, I knew that today was the day to deck the halls. I did by coming up with this gingerbread flavored bar that would make even the grinch happy. So, without further ado, whip out your food processors and Christmas jams and let’s get snackin’!

Snacker Bars are Comin’ To Town

Peanut Butter Bars
Ingredients
1 1/2 cup peanut butter puff cereal
3 dates (pitted and sliced in half)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
How To
1. Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until all ingredients meld together into one ball or until the consistency reaches the point that you can easily put the batter in your hands and make a cohesive ball.
2. Shape the batter into whatever form you’d like or see below for a variation!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
Ingredients
1/2 of batter from above
1 1/2 tablespoons chocolate chips
How To
1. Split the batter above in half with a knife. Leave one half as plain peanut butter bars and mix the other half of the batter with chocolate chips.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Ingredients
1 1/2 cups peanut butter puff cereal
3 dates (pitted and sliced in half)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon agave
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
How To
1. Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until all ingredients meld together into one ball or until the consistency reaches the point that you can easily put the batter in your hands and make a cohesive ball.
2. Shape the batter into whatever form you’d like or see below for a variation!

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars
Ingredients
1/2 of batter from above 1 1/2 tablespoons chocolate chips
How To
1. Split the batter above in half with a knife. Leave one half as plain peanut butter bars and mix the other half of the batter with chocolate chips.

Gingerbread Bars

Ingredients
1/2 cup mixed soy nuts and pumpkin seeds
1 packet vegan maple instant oats
1/2 overflowing tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon agave
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
How To
1. Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until all ingredients meld together into one ball or until the consistency reaches the point that you can easily put the batter in your hands and make a cohesive ball.
2. Shape the batter into whatever form you’d like! (I suggest gingerbread men).

Now that you’ve got your hands on these bars, I’m sure that your brain is hungry for some reading material. Good thing I’ve got a little snack to appease your intellectual side. It’s a story called “Christ, Their Lord” by Stacey Richter and you can find it in the Best of Tin House Stories published in 2006. It’s an energetic story packed with strange happenings that all center around Christmas, which is why I thought it would be perfect for this snacker day that I’ve packed full of Christmas references and stories. I hope you enjoy this slightly different and artistic take on Christmas that Richter uses in order to convey the complex relationship that the main characters are involved in.

Happy snacker day to all, and to all a good day!

Fiesta!

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Before this year started, I had no idea what it was like to host a dinner party. Sure, I’ve folded my share of napkins in the past for company coming to our house, or helped my mom chop tomatoes for pasta salad, but never had I undertaken the task of single-handedly serving dinner to company before. This year has been great with helping me strengthen my confidence in cooking for others, and cooking meals that are friendly toward the diet of any guest that may pop in. I started the year by preparing my own version of spaghetti pie. I whipped up a vegan version of spaghetti pie modeled after one that my grandma makes and then made some donuts for guests to snack on in case dinner failed. Fast forward through the months and I’ve made quinoa pizza crust, a “little kid” themed dinner complete with veggie burgers, mac n’ cheese, and sweet potato fries, red cabbage cole slaw, veggie and tofu “cheese” stuffed manicotti, and then the dinner from last night…a Mexican themed spread that offered guests almost as many choices as Chipotle!

Lettuce wraps, tortillas, and blue-corn chips all served as vessels for the numerous toppings we had available. These included scrambled tofu, roasted zucchini, salsa, homemade guacamole, sauteed bell peppers and mushrooms, oven-roasted broccoli, Daiya cheddar cheese, tumeric-seasoned brown rice, and shredded lettuce. Whew, that was a mouthful – literally.

Sorry for the lame pun, but the make-your-own creation style dinner was a perfect way to satisfy everyone’s hunger in a way that they felt happiest eating. We had loaded burrito concoctions, nacho-style creations, and taco salads grace our table. Everything was vegan on our table and no one had a problem finding delicious food to enjoy! Meals like these (create-your-own) provide people with opportunities to stick to a diet of their choice – whether that involves remaining gluten-free, plant-based, vegan, or omnivorous choice. Best of all about this meal? It’s so easy to throw together that even Ripley can do it.

Who’s Ripley, you ask?

He’s Andrea’s spicy little yorkie who loves cooking as much as Muff-puff does. He’s always ready to help cook some vegan spreads!

If you’re interested in creating a meal like this at home for your family or for company, here’s the “menu” we used last night with simple tips on how to throw everything together.

The Staples
Tortillas, Chips, Rice and Lettuce Wraps.

These are the basic vessels that people can use as a base for their meals. Out of these bases, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, salads, rice bowls and wraps can be created. Having great basics such as these makes it easier for guests to get creative!
Note: we used whole wheat tortillas, blue-corn chips, and short-grain brown rice. Andrea added some tumeric to the rice to add flavorful warmth to the dish.

Toppings
Spreads/Dips: Salsa and homemade guacamole

Pick a flavorful salsa that will really stand out in your dish! Providing guests with a couple of salsa choices can also accommodate people with differing levels of spice tolerance. To make the guacamole, mash together ripe avocados, garlic (fresh or powdered), a little red chili powder, and the juice of half a fresh lemon. If you’ve got red onion or tomato on hand, you can mash a little of either vegetable into the guacamole as well. Make sure you make a good amount of this stuff-the guac goes fast at most gatherings!

Veggies: roasted zucchini and broccoli, sauteed bell pepper and mushrooms, and shredded lettuce

For an extra pop of flavor, roast veggies in garlic powder and salt and pepper. Roast veggies for 20-30 minutes at 350. Sautee mushrooms and bell peppers with a little veggie broth on top to keep them moist and prevent them from sticking to the pan. The greatest part about these veggies is that you can literally use any that you have on hand! Toss some cold tomato chunks, slices of avocado, seasonal squash varieties, roasted sweet potatoes, or corn in serving dishes and put them out for your guests to use as they please.

Protein: scrambled tofu

Lightly smash tofu with a fork until the tofu attains the texture of scrambled eggs. Toss with garlic powder and nutritional yeast for a pop of flavor. Cook on a skillet until tofu becomes firm and a little bit brown on the edges. Other ideas for protein: any type of beans, lentils, or sauteed seitan.

Extras: Daiya cheese
Although not necessary, cheese adds even more variety to the menu and offers a chance for guests to make nachos, quesadillas, or just add more flavor to their meal! Other extra ideas include things like vegan sour cream, chopped chives, or queso. Get creative!

I hope you have luck creating a fun meal for your family or any guests that you may host! I sure did with this menu, and everyone ate to their heart’s content.

Family Dinners

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Family dinners have been one of my favorite parts of each day. It’s always a time to gather around food with the people I love most, mixing nutritious bites of dinner with conversation about our days. The food that brings us together as a family each night has varied throughout the years but it has always served the same purpose; to bring us together each evening around a cozy table to spend time together.

My parents and our life situations have always encouraged adventurous eating. Crawfish, alligator meat, spicy jambalaya, and a host of king cakes from Louisiana. Halibut, monstrous bear claw donuts stuffed with apple, wild rhubarb, and my first experiences of Thai food came from Alaska. And then a new world of cuisine from where we moved next: Indonesia. There we dined over Mi Goreng, Chicken Satay, Lumpia and endless bowls of rice. We also had access to fresh tropical fruits like mango, pineapple, rambutan, and papaya. Throughout our time in Indonesia we toured over 20 countries, sitting down for family meals in each new locale. Fish n’ chips in Australia, Peking Duck with plum sauce in China, a foul-smelling cheese factory in Switzerland (we didn’t eat much at that meal), heaping bowls of noodles followed by 7/11 slushies in Singapore, Soba and sushi in Japan, dahl and naan in India, and brahts and gummy bears from a train station in Germany. After our time in Indonesia, I experienced gained a love for sweet tea, pulled pork, snow cones, and cheese enchiladas after living in Texas and Oklahoma.

Needless to say, I’ve tried a wide variety of foods (and I’m talking wide variety – imagine a second grade version of me on a field trip staring across the table at a cow brain), but it’s not the food that I remember most. Often what I remember while reflecting back on my meals over the years are the conversations I’ve had at the dinner table, my parents genuine interest in the happenings of our lives, and the quality time spent together each and every night. This experience was such an integral part of my upbringing that I feel lost without family dinner. Even now that I’m in college I’m lucky to have roommates that enjoy eating with me each night for ‘family dinners’. We sit around our small apartment dining table over monstrous piles of veggies, pasta or sometimes cupcakes, and share little snippets of our days with one another. Although it is routine and nothing special per se, the nights that we eat dinner together are always a special part of my day.

I would have to say that the literature world agrees with me for the most part in this respect; that eating meals as a family often helps to strengthen relationships, provide a positive routine for people each day, and offers insight into the lives of characters and their relationships with others. By examining a few families at dinnertime, family dynamics become clearer, and sometimes insight is gained about a particular character (and if none of this is discovered in a passage, it’s always fun to read what your favorite characters eat, anyway)!

I’ll start with the novel Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. The main character Melinda is struggling through her freshman year of high school for more than one reason. I’d propose that one reason she struggles is because of her family life at home; she feels as though no one is there for her to talk to or confide in. Her mother is stressed out and constantly busy at work, and her father is stuck in a similar situation. Melinda describes her typical dinner situation by saying “I order my dinner at 3:10 and eat it on the white couch….I chow and watch TV until I hear Dad’s Jeep in the driveway-then bolt upstairs” (15). Melinda’s dad then heats up the pizza, pours himself an alcoholic beverage, and sits down to watch TV and eat dinner alone. The entire family struggles as a result of the lack of connectedness and support they experience with the people around them who they are supposed to love and trust the most. In this situation, it is easy to see why Melinda battles for so long with the negative events she experienced the previous summer because there is no opportunity for her to approach her parents about what she is feeling.

A scene in the William Faulkner’s novel As I Lay Dying is also very telling in terms of social and familial dynamics during the time period. For starters, the father of the household instructs his daughter Dewey Dell to “Git up now, and put supper on” immediately after his wife dies (Faulkner). He offers no time for his daughter to grieve over her mother, instead viewing dinner as a practical means for the family to “keep [their] strength up” since they have to travel a long way to bury the mother (Faulkner). This command directed at his daughter signifies the power of men during this time period: as a father figure, Anse has the authority to tell his daughter what to do and she in turn is forced to comply. Because she is female, she is expected to make dinner. Additionally, Anse expects his entire family to show up to supper and sit at the table (with the exception of Dewey Dell because she is female) and makes sure that they all eat. When Dewey Dell only makes turnip greens and slices bread for supper, there is audible dissatisfaction that the meal is not hearty enough to sustain them. This shows that the family views food strictly as sustenance and nutrition and not necessarily for pleasure. This could be because of their economic situation (a poor one) or their occupation as farmers, meaning that they labor long and hard in the fields and rely on proper nutrition. This example of family dining lends itself to readers asking questions of themselves regarding motives behind food choices. Do you eat food because of its nutritious properties or for taste or flavor alone? Or both? Is there someone in your family that you expect to cook the meals? Why is that? Does your lifestyle directly affect what you eat (ex. if you are a runner, you eat nutritious foods to fuel your exercise)?

A story that shows not only how meals can be important as far as sustenance goes, but also how it can be a source of unlikely, yet beneficial relationships is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Scholars have commented and debated the nature of Huck and Jim’s friendship since the publication of the novel, but no one has denied that the relationship (although highly unlikely given the time period and circumstances) existed. As soon as Huck runs away from his father, he finds himself on an island where he meets Jim and realizes that the two of them could mutually assist each other in escaping from the lives that exist for them in the town they are from. Their partnership begins to be forged symbolically through their preparation and consumption of breakfast with one another. Huck catches a large cat-fish and then Jim cleans and fries the fish. The two then “lolled on the grass and eat it smoking hot…then when [they] had got pretty well stuffed, [they] laid off and lazied” (Twain). This easygoing companionship and eagerness to assist one another foreshadows their journey down the river together and shows how significant meals can be in developing familial-type relationships of mutual respect, helpfulness, and compassion.

There are countless other examples of family dynamics that can be found throughout any type of literature. These three examples simply point to a small range of possibilities that exist within the realm of familial dynamics as influenced by social, historical, cultural, and personal factors. Most important to glean from these examples are the overwhelming and evident examples of why family dinners are often a positive addition to a daily routine, and how the absence of such dinners can either reflect or lead to isolation.

I am happy to say that my dinners at home and school are filled with “family”. At home I eat with my real family, and at school I eat with the family I’ve made for myself; a group of friends who understand me and my life and are willing to take time out of their days to listen to my triumphs and struggles each day, and me to theirs. I urge you to take time this week to enjoy a great meal with family (whoever that may be in your life). If you’re nervous about what to serve for dinner, I am going to post a quick and easy meal plan in a post tomorrow that is friendly toward any diet! Here’s a sneak peek:

 

Quinoa Cookies

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I love when desserts are deceptively healthy.

Deceptively healthy?

I’m sure you’re asking yourself if you just read that right. The answer is: you did. Trust me, I love my desserts. If you put a bowl of ice cream in front of me, I’ll make it disappear in a matter of minutes. Chocolate cake? I’ll scarf it down. Cheesecake? Check. Pie? Gone. Brownies? Finished within seconds.

But I don’t necessarily always love how these desserts make me feel after eating them. I hate the feeling of being in a “sugar coma” for hours after indulging in a treat, so I’ve started making little swaps here and there to add a little nutrition to my sweets. I’ve made chocolate cake that’s entirely healthy, soft-serve ice cream by blending a banana in a food processor, made mousse using tofu,  and exchanged apple sauce for sugar in a bunch of recipes that I’ve sampled.  There’s nothing better than digging your spoon into a chocolate concoction that resembles a lava cake and knowing that you’re treating your body right by doing so.

That being said, I believe that everything can be enjoyed in moderation, so I’m not giving up old-fashioned butter ‘n powdered sugar frosting anytime soon!

Today I’m sharing with you a recipe that comes from the creative culinary endeavors of my friend Andrea who you might remember meeting a couple weeks ago in her guest post (she’s also starred on this blog in several other baking posts if that gives you any indication of her talents in the kitchen). I got a text from her today asking me if I wanted to attempt helping her create some sort of quinoa cookie. Of course, I said yes.

She got to work baking as we made dinner, quickly throwing together banana, chocolate, quinoa, and almond meal to whip up an irresistible batter. The ingredients mingled as we dined and then Andrea put the finishing touches on the mix after dinner. This is the recipe she came up with, and it’s outrageously delicious. Also, these cookies are so healthy they could almost be considered a superfood. Your mind and body can feel good about eating this treat!

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Titanic, the fact that Andrea loves Leo and the Titanic movie, and the fact that it’s hard for me to get these cookies out of my hands, I’m naming them “Never Let Go Quinoa Cookies”.

Never Let Go Quinoa Cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa

1 banana

1/8 cup apple sauce

3/4 bar of chocolate

1/4 cup + heaping 1/3 cup almond meal

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder (+water)

A pinch of salt

How To

1. Cook the quinoa according to package directions. Transfer cooked quinoa to a bowl and let it cool while you assemble the other ingredients.

2. Mash a banana very well in a medium mixing bowl. Add apple sauce, and quinoa. Preheat oven to 350.

3. Break chocolate into small chunks using a knife. Mix into mixture above. The chocolate should melt upon contacting warm quinoa, but if it doesn’t, pop the mixture into the microwave for a few seconds to melt the chocolate into the other ingredients.

4. Add almond meal, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Stir well.

5. In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix 1 teaspoon baking powder with a little bit of water and let the mixture fizz. Then add baking powder mixture and baking soda to the batter. Stir well.

6. Grease a cookie sheet and scoop batter onto the cookie sheet using a small spoon. Put the cookies into the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees, checking them to make sure they don’t burn. If you’d like a crispy exterior to your cookie, let the cookies broil on high for 1-4 minutes (depending on the strength of your oven and your desired level of crispiness). Be CAREFUL if you use the broil function on your oven.

7. Once your cookies are baked, take them out of the oven and enjoy a wholesome treat!

These cookies are great for dessert, as a snack, or even as breakfast! They’re packed with healthy ingredients that will fuel your body all day long. Try dunking them in some coconut milk for an extra rich snack packed with healthy fats. Thanks, Andrea for a great recipe!