One Teff Cookie…

photo 2Sheryl Crow sang, “No one said it would be easy, but no one said it’d be this hard.” This line has been going through my head the last few days. Often times throughout the day I have a movie, or at least segments of a movie going through my mind with a soundtrack to go along side it. My segment of a movie today is- I am driving in a daze as I leave the Elementary School, knowing my daughter is screaming and kicking trying to escape the reality, that yes; school is in this world and yes, will always be.
Mean people? Maybe, why? Well, there are just mean people everywhere and yes, I have had my share of meanies too. I have even been a meanie. Still? I hope not, I don’t mean to be if I come across as mean…as I down another peanut butter and chocolate chip teff cookie. Perhaps the only one I am mean to is myself.
I have an ever increasing appetite to write. I haven’t written in years. I used to write a new song every week, but in the last few years, I have just haven’t had an ounce of inspiration. This new episode, era, or fragment of my season in this life has turned a page. I want to write. I am going to write. Last night while I waited for food to pick up, I had no paper in the car to write, so I used a brown paper bag. It worked. It felt good to release the buildup of subconscious, grammatical dysentery. It’s a new chapter in my life. The chapter that carries with it words.
To eat, write, and be merry. Here we go with cookie recipe to take along with us for the ride.

Peanut Butter Chocolate chip Teff Cookies

Inspired by Bob’s Red Mill

Ingredients:
1 1/2 Cups Teff Flour
1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
1/2 Cup Maple Syrup
1/2 Cup Grapeseed oil or coconut oil
1 Tsp Vanilla
1 Cup Natural Peanut Butter
1 Cup or more…Chocolate Chips

How To Play:
Preheat oven to 350. Set aside an ungreased cookie sheet. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients, set aside. In a food processor, or just a bowl and a spoon…blend syrup, oil, vanilla, and peanut butter. Add the wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mix well. Shape dough into walnut size balls and flatten gently with the tines of a fork. Bake for about 13 minutes.
Enjoy.

And the reality is…Part 2

baking

With high hopes to making our way to the cabin today, 1 woke up nauseous and swearing she was going to puke. Man!! So excited and then so bummed. With all the hype of one of my favorite places, Trader Joe’s, in the news, I figured I would go first hand and investigate the buzz. I had good intentions of researching, but was so side tracked by the replenished rows of Kale, which I have not been able to get my hands on for months, and the beautiful chocolate choices above the frozen goods isle, I totally forgot all about TJ’s in the news and was in my grocery store glory. Tomorrow, the weather man says it is going to be warmer than today, so…cabin here we come? Maybe. I am trying not to plan so far in advance now…sheesh!
This evening I plan to bake my newest favorite cookie. I was in an accident, a rear end, a couple of weeks ago and have been told not to run, go to spin class, or work out for 2 weeks. It is week three and still no cigar. I am to take it super easy. Super easy to me is bake cookies. Seriously, when I am stressed, I run. When I feel overwhelmed, I run. When I feel good, I run. Now, I am not saying baking is replacing my exercise regime, but it is coming pretty close. Tonight I have been given the go ahead to start running again, but for only 2 minutes at a time…that is kind of the equivalent to eating a cookie or two. My dear friend gave me this recipe. It is from Planet Organic. I have never been before, but fancy these cookies a great deal. This isn’t the exact recipe, due to lack of ingredients on my part, but nonetheless, they are pretty cosmic, that’s for sure.

Cosmic Cookie

Inspired by Planet Organic

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups barley flakes
2 cups spelt flour or kamut
1 cup sunflower seed
3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened (optional)
1/4 cup flax seed or flax meal
1 cup granulated unbleached cane sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
2 cups dark chocolate chips or 1 3/4 cups carob chips
1 1/4 cups raisins or ½ cup cranberries
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
3/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 cup almond milk or soy

How To Play:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line two baking trays with parchment paper.
Combine dry ingredients : from oats to cranberries.
Combine wet ingredients: from water to almond milk.
Stir dry and wet together until just combined.
Portion cookie dough using 1/3 C measure or an ice cream scoop and place on baking tray.
Gently flatten cookies.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Enjoy.

Coconut Wonder Bars…

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I am not a huge fan of the word magic, so I often say wonder instead. An example, would be 1 asking me how a microwave cooks food and me replying, “It’s wonder!” Everything used for magic is wonder. These tricky, sticky, so awesome little bars are really called Lightened Up Magical Coconut Bars, but we are calling them Coconut Wonder Bars. Thanks to Oh She Glows, she has once again impressed me with at hit of sweet tooth goodness!

Coconut Wonder Bars

Inspired by: Oh She Glows

Ingredients:

1 can light coconut milk*
2/3 cup coconut sugar*
2 cups vegan graham cracker crumbs*
6 tbsp (65g) coconut oil*
3 tbsp maple syrup
3/4 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (I used real chocolate chips and didn’t measure, I always go abit over board with chocolate)
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3/4 cup pecans, chopped (I mixed it up with pecans and hazelnuts)
pinch of flaked sea salt, for garnish (optional)

How To Play:

1. Prepare condensed coconut milk: Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9-inch square pan with two pieces of parchment paper (one going each way). Add entire can of coconut milk into a medium-sized pot, and whisk in the coconut sugar. Increase heat to medium and bring to a low simmer. Watch closely as it can boil over very quickly! Simmer on low-medium heat for about 12-14 minutes, whisking occasionally, until the mixture thickens slightly. If film develops on the top as it condenses, just whisk it back into the mixture. Remove from heat to cool while you prepare the crust.

2. Prepare graham cracker crust: In a pot, soften coconut oil over low heat until mostly melted. Add to a mixing bowl along with graham cracker crumbs and maple syrup. Stir very well until thoroughly combined. Spoon graham mixture into prepared pan. Starting at the centre of the pan, press the graham cracker crumbs as firmly as you can, moving outward from the centre. The harder you press the crumbs into the pan, the better the bars will hold together.

3. Assemble: Pour warm condensed milk over the graham crust. Now, sprinkle on the chocolate chips, followed by the coconut, and finally the pecans, evenly over the condensed milk. Press the mixture down lightly with hands until the coconut milk soaks upward into each layer. Sprinkle with flaked sea salt (optional). I used Himalayan Pink Sea Salt…mmm!

4. Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 27-31 minutes at 350F, until the edges are golden. Remove pan from oven and place on cooling rack for about 30 minutes. Now, transfer the pan to your freezer for 2 hours (quick-set method). Or chill the bars in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight. When set, cut into squares (thaw at room temp first if removing from freezer). Bars can be wrapped up and left on the counter, or in the fridge or freezer.

Substitution notes: 1) You can use full-fat coconut milk instead of light. 2) Coconut sugar can be subbed for any granulated sugar (Sucanat, natural cane sugar, brown sugar, etc). 3) Two cups of graham cracker crumbs produced a fairly thick crust. You can probably reduce the amount to 1.5 cups if you want a thinner crust. 4) You can probably sub non-dairy butter for coconut oil.

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Enjoy.

A snicklesnack?

This crispy treat is, as 1 has been telling me, the greatest snickle-snack to have at school. Snickle-snack? Well, it is the little bit of food one eats in their lunch, it is kind of a snack, but not, because it is a snickle-snack, the snack before the snack?  It is my daughter’s favorite part of her lunch. Does anyone else remember kids in their classes having food allergies? I don’t. I remember wanting everyone else’s lunches, because they looked exotically processed, but allergies? Maybe of bees,  but not of kiwis or nuts. Many schools forbid nuts to enter the doors of their schools, understandably so. This is what makes these treats ideal.  I love making these nifty little crispy treats for the kids, plus they love helping me.  I tell them we add double chocolate chips and they think it’s the coolest, perhaps even most rebellious thing I do. I understand the nut allergy thing, but it can be a pain trying to find substitutes.  I far more love sunflower seed butter than peanut butter, anyways, and my kids do too, so I hope this helps someone who is in need of a new idea for a nut-free snickle-snack.

Crispy Treats with Chocolate Chips

Inspired by The Kind Diet

Ingredients:
5 cups Special K rice cereal
1 cup brown rice syrup
fine sea salt
1/2 cup sunflower seed butter
1 cup of chocolate chips or carob chips

How To Play:
Pour the cereal into a large bowl. Heat the syrup with a pinch or two of salt in a saucepan over low heat. When the rice syrup liquefies, add the sunflower seed butter and stir until well combined. Pour over the rice cereal. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
Once thoroughly mixed and cooled to room temperature, stir in the chocolate chips. If the mixture isn’t cooled, the chips will melt, which I guess isn’t tragic, but your call.
Turn the mixture out into an 8×8 or 9×13 baking dish. Wet your spoon lightly and press the mixture evenly into the pan. Let cool for 1 hour before cutting into squares.

Enjoy.

Carrot Coconut Cake


Hello October 27, what happened to the last 25 days since I last visited my own blog? Can time really go this fast? Obviously, because here I am. After a great time in Tacoma visiting sweet dear old friends from TWU, to experiencing a dramatic life changing conference in Victoria, here I am, to tackle the cyber world of our generation.
Tomorrow we are having church guests over to get to know the pastors, it is going to be fun. I have been preparing all day for the event. Thanks to the inspiration from Renata, my TWU life friend, we are having Broccoli cheddar soup, homemade bread, sun-dried tomatoes, a variety of cheese, salami, and green olives- sorry Joelle, I just can’t do pickles! My sister and pickles, seriously that is a blog within itself. For dessert, well Lizzie, I may sneak a piece over for you, we are having Rebar’s Carrot Coconut Cake. This is Sean’s absolute favorite.  It is what I am to bake for every one of his birthdays.  When we are in our 80’s, I will be baking this with my eyes closed.

Carrot Coconut Cake with cream cheese-white chocolate icing

Inspired by Rebar

Ingredients:
1 1/2- 2 cups grated carrots
3/4 cup crushed pineapple
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped dates
3/4 cup vegetable oil (or grapeseed oil)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
3 free range eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder, aluminum free
1 tsp baking soda, aluminum free
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice

Icing:
9 oz Philadelphia cream cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
3 oz white chocolate
3 cups icing sugar

This recipe adapts well to making cupcakes or a 9×13″ slab cake-which I did tonight for our church group tomorrow, but on normal occasions, I use the two 8″ round pans.

How To Play:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8″ round cake pans and set aside. Combine grated carrot, pineapple, coconut, dates, and walnuts in a large bowl. In a mixing bowl, beat the sugars with the eggs. Stir in the vanilla and whip on high until the volume has tripled. On low, pour the oil in slowly to blend well.
Combine the remaining dry ingredients and gently stir into the egg mix. Fold in the carrot mixture. Divide the batter among the cake pans and smooth the tops. Bake 30 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
While the cakes cool, prepare the frosting. Beat cream cheese on high until smooth and fluffy. Lightly blend in vanilla and butter. Melt white chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat. Add hot melted chocolate to the cream cheese mixture. Slowly add icing sugar, stopping to scrape down the sides now and then. Beat on high until all the sugar is well incorporated and the frosting is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Spread bottom layer with one third of the frosting, smoothing it evenly to the edges. Chill 10 minutes. Place the top cake layer on and frost the top and sides as you like. Garnish with toasted coconut, walnuts, and or a decorative piped border. Store refrigerated where it will keep well for up to 4 days.

Enjoy.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

For the last couple of years, these have become a family favorite. They are quite easy to make and fun to do with the kids. One would think living in Canada it would be a breeze to find Maple Sugar, however, not so the case for this gal. Trader Joes is the best place- price wise, but probably most wholefood stores carry it, just not when I’ve come by. If you don’t happen to have maple sugar, or can’t find it, sucanut does the trick.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Inspired by The Kind Diet

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Earth Balance Butter
3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter (I use smooth, unsweetened, unsalted)
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs or 12 graham cracker squares,processed fine
1/4 cup maple sugar or other granulated sweetener
1 cup chocolate chips, or carob chips
1/4 cup soy, rice, or nut milk
1/4 cup chopped and toasted pecans, almonds, or peanuts

How To Play:
Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the peanut butter, graham crackers crumbs, and maple sugar and mix well. Remove the mixture from the heat. Evenly divide the mixture, approximately 2 tablespoons per cup, among the muffin cups. At this point, I put the muffin tin tray in the freezer to set.
While setting, combine the chocolate and milk in another pan. Stir over medium heat until the chocolate has melted. Spoon the chocolate evenly over the peanut butter mixture. Top with chopped nuts. Place in the refrigerator to set for at least 2 hours before serving- or in the freezer, if you can’t wait like me.

Enjoy.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Snickerdoodles

I love snickerdoodles and have probably since the days of old, when my mother would make not only chocolate ones, but vanilla, too. These are really tasty and easy and have a hint of cayenne pepper which gives them a spicy bite. I like spicy bites. No, I am not meaning from a show like Twilight, more so the spicy bite one gets from old fashioned ginger beer, but that is a topic for another day. This recipe was inspired by Post Punk Kitchen’s Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles

Inspired by Post Punk Kitchen
Ingredients:
For the topping:
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the cookies:
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons almond milk (Or your preferred non-dairy milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon chocolate extract (or more vanilla extract if you have no chocolate)
1 2/3 cups kamut flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne

How To Play:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Mix the topping ingredients together on a flat plate. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, use a fork to vigorously mix together oil,  sugar, syrup, and milk. Mix in extracts.
Sift in remaining ingredients, stirring as you add them. Once all ingredients are added mix until you’ve got a pliable dough.
Roll dough into walnut sized balls. Pat into the sugar topping to flatten into roughly 2 inch discs. Transfer to baking sheet, sugar side up, at least 2 inches apart (they do spread). Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, they should be a bit spread and crackly on top. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Enjoy.

Carob Clusters

Carob Clusters with Toasted Almonds and Himalayan Pink Sea Salt

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups carob chips, sweetened
1/3 cup almond butter
1/2 cup toasted almonds, chopped (toasted hazelnuts work great, too!)
Himalayan Pink Sea Salt

How To Play:
Melt chips and almond butter together in a double boiler. Add chopped nuts. With a spoon, drop quickly onto a baking sheet covered with wax paper. Sprinkle the sea salt liberally over each cluster. Refrigerate or put in the freezer until they have set, about 10-20 minutes. Makes about 16 medium sized clusters.

Classic Blueberry Crumb Cake

Last week I had made this, but it was also the week that 3 swallowed the sticker, so it never got posted.  I often times parouse Martha Stewart’s website and found this recipe.   Every Tuesday I have a mom’s group I go to and thought this would be an opportune time to make it.  I unfortunately never had a chance to have a piece, but, it is scrumptious!  My sister thought it might even taste good with chocolate chips instead of blueberries, hey, why not?  Chocolate chips are great!

Classic Blueberry Crumb Cake

By Martha Stewart
Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sour cream
3 cups blueberries
Blueberry Crumb Topping
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

How To Play:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan.
In the bowl of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Add vanilla, and beat until combined. Add reserved flour mixture and the sour cream, and beat just until well combined. Fold in 2 cups blueberries. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Toss remaining cup blueberries with the crumb topping. Sprinkle crumb topping over cake. Bake until golden brown and cake tester comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Dust with confectioners’

Blueberry Crumb Topping 

Ingredients:
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

How To Play:
In a medium bowl, combine cinnamon, salt, sugar, and flour. Cut in the butter using your hands, two knives, or a pastry blender until well combined and crumbly.

Enjoy.

Birthday Cupcakes


For 2’s birthday all he wanted was chocolate cupcakes.  Oh, a child after my own heart. I love both chocolate and cupcakes.  I can’t believe he is now three.  It is fun to watch the kids and listen to them talk to each other.  Did I talk like this when I was their age?  There is a kind of pressure I have been feeling lately.  How much will my everyday interactions with my kids affect them both positively and negatively?  I remember most of my childhood from the age 2 1/2 years and up.  My words and facial expressions are being constantly imprinted into my little loves.  When I was running this evening, I was thinking about the different pressures currently overwhelming me. I am slightly neurotic, yes, especially with germs, so that is something I feel overwhelmed with, also finances. They have to be the ever constant beast in my life, just like my weight.  Losing weight and saving money are a handful of numbers and equations that I allow to fill my brain and consume my thoughts.  Sometimes I run to burn off steam, other times I run to distract myself, tonight was one of those nights.  I needed a distraction.  I had a really good conversation with my grandma earlier and I have come to the realization, whether we are in our 30’s or in our 80’s, we all have the same struggles and pressures in life, they just present themselves to us differently. I don’t want to live in fear.  I really don’t.  That is why I am dedicating this recipe to the worry warts.  Those who worry about weight, those who are concerned about money and germs, sickness and death. This is for those who lack discipline and fear they won’t be able to stop themselves from wanting to eat more.  The neurotics, the fear mongers and the scaredy cats, all of you, fear not, this cake will not harm you, it will liberate you…within reason, of course.

Birthday Cupcakes

(Inspired by Rebar’s chocolate cake)
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 Dutch process cocoa
1 1/2 Tsp baking soda, aluminium free
3/4 Tsp baking powder, aluminium free
1/4 Tsp sea salt
3/4 cup strong coffee
3/4 cup buttermilk (I used 3/4 cup milk with 1 Tsp vinegar added to it)
1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp vegetable oil (I used 1/3 cup grapeseed oil only)
2 eggs (1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk)
1 Tsp pure vanilla

Icing:
5 oz (150 g) milk chocolate
5 oz (150 g) dark chocolate
1/2 lb (225 g) butter, softened
1/4 lb (112 g) cream cheese, spreadable
1 Tsp pure vanilla

How To Play:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake tray. Set aside. Combine the sugar, flour,cocoa, baking powder, soda and salt in the bowl of a mixer and whisk on low to combine, making sure it is lump free. Add the coffee, milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla and mix on medium-low for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides. The batter will be pourable.
Use a ladle to distribute the batter evenly into prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 15 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes sit for 10 minutes before removing them from the tray.
* Note: This recipe is for a 8″ round cake, so there is extra batter. I made 4 small heart shaped cakes as well, to use all the batter. I don’t think it would enough to make 2 dozen cupcakes, but perhaps if they were small ones, it could.
Next, the icing. This, as mentioned above, is actually for the 8″cake’s filling, but I used it as an icing for the cupcakes instead. Melt the milk and dark chocolates in a double boiler and stir until smooth. Cool 10 minutes. Cream together the butter, cream cheese and vanilla. Mix the cooled chocolate into the creamed mixture.
Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, spread icing evenly over each one, gently transfer the iced cupcakes in the fridge and serve when ready.


Enjoy.