Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I lied. No blueberry spice crumb bars here today. I didn't have all the ingredients on hand, so I opted for a quick and delicious fix that I hadn't tried -- vegan chocolate chip cookies. They are delicious and comforting and homey, just as chocolate chip cookies should be. And, once again, I don't know why I am still surprised by this, they don't taste like they're missing a thing (i.e. butter or eggs). They're amazing. The girls who wrote Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar (among other titles) deserve metals - many, many, metals - for they're amazing vegan recipes!!! Did I mention they took about 30 minutes from start to in-my-mouth?!

Picture courtesy of the old Olympus camera!

Chocolate Chip Cookies {adapted from VCIYCJ}
Makes two dozen two inch cookies or about 16 three inch cookies
1/2 brown sugar
1/4 white sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon tapioca flour
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease two large light metal baking sheets.
Mix together sugars, oil, milk and tapioca flour in a mixing bowl. Use a strong fork and mix really well, for about 2 minutes, until it resembles smooth caramel. There is a chemical reaction when sugar and oil collide, so it’s important that you don’t get lazy about that step. Mix in the vanilla.
Add 1 cup of the flour, the baking soda and salt. Mix until well incorporated. Mix in the rest of the flour. Fold in the chocolate chips. The dough will be a little stuff so use your hands to really work them in.
For 3 inch cookies, roll the dough into about ping pong ball size balls. Flatten them out in your hands to about 2 1/2 inches. They will spread just a bit. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes – no more than 9 – until they are just a little browned around the edges. I usually get 16 out of these so I do two rounds of eight cookies. Let cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.
For 2 dozen two inch cookies roll dough into walnut sized balls and flatten to about 1 1/2 inches and bake for only six minutes.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Red Plate Smoothie?

Baking has been minimal around here the past week or so because we've been so busy, and because a dear friend made me a dairy-free apple crisp for my birthday! I do, however, have a smoothie recipe to share. Fortunately, there is no picture of a smoothie on a red plate (weird) because, unfortunately, my camera is broken!

So here it is, in rough form, because every smoothie (and blender) is different and everyone enjoys a different consistency --

Chocolate Almond Milk
Chunks of frozen bananas
A tad of vanilla extract
A tablespoon or so of cacao nibs
A glob or so of smooth peanut butter, optional
Ice, if needed

Blend to desired consistency and enjoy! Kids love it, too!

Coming up this week - Blueberry Spice Crumb Bars!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Embrace the Camera: November 18, 2010 -- Birthday Edition

Tuesday was my birthday and, boy, did I get spoiled! My sweet husband did so many thoughtful things to make this birthday a special one. I think my most favorite moment was when Zoe came blasting through my bedroom door at 7am (I'm sound asleep, mind you) shouting "Happy birthday, Mommy!" Then she pulled herself up onto the bed, handed me a gift and an envelope. As I opened the card, I heard, in a soft whisper - "go, go" and then, in a sweet little voice - "happy birthday to mommy, happy birthday to mommy..." {Johnnie recorded her singing; it was one of those recordable cards}Ah, it melted my heart. Thank you, Johnnie and Zoe and Colby for making momma feel so special this year!

So, without further ado, here are some photos from my special day --

Discussing the art of blowing out a candle. Zoe loves it.

A special red plate for a red-plate-series-cupcake! (Thanks, mom)
The chaos that is my life :)

Side note #1: I really need to figure out my camera. I think the cupcake is in focus in most of these shots!

Side note #2: I think it's time for an Embrace the Camera: Spouse Edition. We are definitely lacking in that department!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Embrace the Camera: November 11, 2010

This week I am sharing about a sweet routine that's fallen into place in our household. Every night around 6:30-7pm our baby boy crashes and is miserable until he's put to bed. Apparently his daddy was the same way, though I can't imagine :-). So as me and the babe make our way to the back of the house for the last nursing session of the day and bedtime rituals, Zoe and her father snuggle up on the couch to read two Bible books and, Zoe's favorite, Curious George. It's very sweet. And I'm willing to bet it's her favorite time of day. Love them!

Starting to read along :)

Next week, I promise, I'm going to be in the picture!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fun & Fancy Marble Cupcakes!

It was time to switch things up again and try out another cupcake recipe. From Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World (which I think I'm going to start abbreviating -- VCTOW) here are the Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting. Pretty and tasty! I love cake.

Here's another shot because I love the marbling.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Embrace the Camera: November 4, 2010

I wasn't sure if Zoe was really going to get into (or get) halloween but, boy, was I wrong! She loved it. When the first door opened, she said "I want candy." Ha! We worked on that. After each door closed, she ran down the steps saying "another door, another door." It was cute. I don't know if our family will choose to celebrate halloween every year, but for this year, it was fun.

Here we are - me and my monkey. Freezing.

And in the spirit of halloween, here's a picture of Zoe and J just as they are exiting the haunted house -- poor girl!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Cowboy Cookies!

"If I ever get back to Oklahoma I'm gonna nail my feet to the ground. Those Oklahoma City girls are fine and Tulsa's quite a town. If I ever get back to Oklahoma I'm gonna nail my feet to the ground."

A little country tune about my hometown in honor of these cookies.

Cowboy Cookies
{Recipe courtesy of Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar}
Makes 2 dozen (or so) large cookies

2 cups quick-cooking oats
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup nondairy milk (I used unsweetened, original almond milk)
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
1 cup chopped toasted pecan pieces
  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a medium-size bowl, stir together oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat together oil, sugar, brown sugar, nondairy milk, flax seeds, and vanilla. Fold in half of the flour mixture to moisten, then fold in the remaining half. Just before the mixture is completely combined, fold in the coconut, chocolate chips, and pecans.  
  • For each cookie, drop 1/4 cup of dough (about the size of a golf ball) onto cookie sheets. The dough will be sticky and thick. Leave about 2 inches of space between each cookie. Flatten slightly with moistened fingers or the moistened back of a measuring cup; repeat dipping in water for each cookie. Bake for 14-16 minutes until edges start to brown. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to wire racks to complete cooling.