Tag Archives: Almonds

Almond butter and jelly vegan thumbprints

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It’s Oscars day, readers! And some poor sap put me in charge of cookies for the Oscars party! I’m sure they were thinking: I sure hope she brings something vegan. Next time I’ll be put in charge of wine or like paper plates or something. That is, if I ever get invited again.

Almond Butter & Jelly Vegan Thumbprint Cookies, makes about 3 dozen cookies. Adapted from The Kitchn.

2 cups raw almonds
4 cups rolled oats
1 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup whole wheat flour, divided
1/4 t salt
1 cup canola oil
1 cup agave + maple syrup (original recipe uses just maple syrup, but that’s just throwing money around! I found a mixture at Trader Joe’s for a fraction of the price.)
Jelly flavor of choice
Creamy almond butter
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(forgot to include the almond butter in that pic – sorry!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put the almonds in the food processor and process for about 15 seconds. Mine looked like this when done:
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Put the almonds in a large bowl. Back to the food processor: add the oats and process about 20 seconds. Again, here’s mine after 20 seconds:
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Add the oats to the bowl with the almonds. Stir in 1 1/4 cup flour and the salt. Add the canola oil and maple syrup (note: you can use the same measuring cup and add the canola oil first then maple syrup, and the syrup slides right out!) and stir. Add the additional flour if your dough is really sticky.
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I used a 2 T cookie scoop to scoop out my dough onto lined cookie sheets:
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Use your thumb or an adorable tiny spoon you got at Ikea to make indentations in the cookies.
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Add a dollop of almond butter and jelly to each cookie (or just jelly – I made some of each!).
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Bake for 15 minutes and let cool.

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Goat cheese, fig, almond butter & pear sandwiches

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This past weekend was a long girls weekend in (where else) Birmingham, Michigan, which is quite adorable, made more so by the fact that my friend Ali lives there. My friend Ling and I had the idea that we’d take the train there, which is always more exotic and romantic in theory than in practice (we should have learned this lesson from Carrie & Samantha I guess). So despite the fact the rest of our train company was less than savory, we kept it classy by packing a picnic so we didn’t have to eat in the dining car. We might have starved otherwise, since the dining car only offers Pringles and Diet Pepsi and only takes cash.

Witness: the classiest of sandwiches. Pack this in your chicest hat box and board the train with your nose in the air, a-la Carrie Bradshaw.

Goat cheese, fig, almond butter, & pear sandwiches, adapted from Pastoral’s Nutty Fig sandwich. Makes one train sandwich; double this recipe if you have a partner in crime.

-2 slices of wheat bread (I used Trader Joe’s sprouted wheat bread)
-1 small pear (The inspiration sandwich actually used apples, which are delicious, but a less bite-able for a sandwich. The whole apple slice came out in every bite and I had to keep putting my sandwich back together.  A ripe pear works much better.)
-1 T goat cheese
-2 T fig jam (I used Trader Joe’s but Whole Foods also carries an amazing fig jam)
-1 T almond butter

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Spread your almond butter on one slice of bread and your goat cheese on the other.

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Slice up your pear very thinly.

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Spread your fig jam on one side and layer your pears on the other.

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Put the sides together, slice on the diagonal, and pack up for your trip! Don’t forget a little dark chocolate for the ride!

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The salad I apparently can’t go 2 days without

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There is a cheese & wine shop near my work called Pastoral that sells sandwiches and salads during lunch. One salad in particular has stolen my heart, and I get it at least once a week. This weekend I found myself craving it and decided it was time to recreate this masterpiece at home. Because there was just no way I could wait until Monday.

Pastoral-esque “Health Nut” salad, serves 1

-about 2-3 cups mixed salad greens
-1 small tomato (these are not on the original salad – I added them)
-about 1/4 cup cucumber slices
-roasted spiced almonds (I picked up the rosemary Marcona almonds from Trader Joe’s, which are amazeballs)
-1/4 of an avocado
-about an ounce of Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
-amazing red wine vinaigrette, which I came pretty close to replicating, see below

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Top your salad greens with all ingredients and prepare to be addicted.

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Now, there are a few corners you must not cut when assembling this salad:
1. No pre-shredded cheese. Do yourself a flavor (pun intended) and get some real Parmesan and shred it. All the diffs in the world, I promise.
2. No bottled salad dressings.
3. No plain almonds. It just wouldn’t be the same.

Pretty-close-to-amazing red wine viniagrette:
-1/4 cup red wine vinegar (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
-1/2 cup olive oil
-1 T dijon mustard
-1 t honey or sugar
-salt & pepper

Put all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor until combined.

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Reader Request, part 2: What’s in your cabinet?

I’m following up my super exciting post on my fridge with what’s in my cabinet? I always have a random assortment of stuff in my cabinets that I keep in these glass jars, which helps me see when I’m running low on stuff, and it also makes cooking easier when you don’t have to fumble with annoying packaging. Most of the stuff in these jars changes often based on super random impulse buys at Trader Joe’s.

My fave dry goods (lowest cost in green):

Oats: I’m a sucker for oats, but Kath wrote the book on oatmeal, so I’m not even going to go there on this blog. Check out her site for a zillion ideas! I usually buy rolled oats (not instant – trust me, its worth the extra 3 mins!) from Costco or the bulk bins at Whole Foods.

  • Trader Joe’s: $.13 per oz
  • Whole Foods (bulk bin): $.08 per oz
  • Costco: $.04 per oz

Quinoa: I always have this on hand to use in place of rice, which I dislike. (Anyone else think eating rice tastes like you have mouse droppings in your mouth? No? Huh). I usually buy my quinoa at Costco, but its in the bulk bins at Whole Foods as well if you don’t want to make a Costco-sized commitment. When I encounter a recipe that calls for rice or couscous, I usually use quinoa because I prefer the taste, and it cooks a bit quicker than brown rice.

  • Trader Joe’s: $3.99 per lb (box)
  • Whole Foods (bulk bin): $2.99 per lb
  • Costco: $2.25 per lb (comes in a 4 lb bag)

Black Beans: I usually buy cans of black beans at Costco and keep them on hand for quick dinners. Its so easy to throw together tacos or toss some black beans on a salad for a quick week night meal. Note: the cheapest option is definitely to buy dry beans and cook them, but for some reason I haven’t tried this yet! I’ll be sure to blog about it when I do.

  • Trader Joe’s: $1.19 can (organic), $.89 can (non-organic)
  • Whole Foods: $.99 can (organic)
  • Costco: $.62 can (organic)

Nuts & seeds: I always keep a few varieties of nuts on hand. Right now I have in my pantry: sliced almonds, walnut pieces, pecans, and pumpkin seeds (pepitas). As long as I have one of these, its easy to substitute into any baking recipe. And I love topping a salad with seeds for some crunch.  Since I’ve given up sugar for Lent, its handy to have some seeds and nuts around to cure my sweet tooth with a sad excuse for trail mix of: pumpkin seeds, raisins, and cacao nibs.

Protein powder: I’m pretty picky about my protein powders since a lot of them contain metals (gross!). I like Sun Warrior Vanilla and Vega Vanilla Chai since these are vegan and have great nutritional content. The Vanilla Hemp Protein powder at Trader Joe’s is good in a pinch (some people think this tastes too “woody” but I don’t really notice it)! I usually buy Sun Warrior and Vega online when they are having a deal (I get their emails). They seem expensive, but I use about a tablespoon at a time so they last forever.

Chia seeds: Loove these. They have all the benefits of flax seeds (read: Omega-3s) but don’t need to be ground up (did you know that the body can’t utilize the omegas in flax seeds unless they are ground?). I put these in my morning smoothie, in oatmeal, or use them to substitute for an egg in baked goods. I’m sure you can get a great deal on these online, but I have found Navita’s Naturals brand 1 pound bags for $9.99 at Whole Foods, so I usually  just pick them up there. Since I only use about a tablespoon at a time, one bag lasts a long time.

So here’s whats in my easy-access grain shelf currently:

And the pantry:

Top shelf:

  • Misc oils, baking powder, whole flax seeds*, cacao nibs
  • Sliced almonds, whole raw almonds, unsweetened coconut

Middle shelf:

Bottom shelf:

  • Powdered sugar, flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar

These pictures make our kitchen look far more organized than it actually is, so don’t be fooled. Let’s call a spade a spade: I’m a lot of things, but organized just ain’t of them.

In other whats-in-my-cabinet/fridge news, here’s what happens if you let me loose in Stanley’s with $30:

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*Note: flax seeds are a great way to get fiber and Omega-3s into your diet. But they are a little complicated: your body can’t digest them whole (probably because our teefs aren’t good at grinding seeds!), but they oxidize quickly when ground, and there is little nutritional value once they are oxidized. For this reason, I buy them whole and grind them in our coffee grinder before using. If this is too much work for you, buy the ground flaxseed meal (they have this at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods) and store it in your fridge or freezer in an airtight container after you open it.

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Sunday night at Naveen’s and raw “cookies”

Sunday night my friend Ling invited us to dinner at Naveen’s Cuisine. Oh, the fun that was had! This is evidenced by the fact that I failed my sobriety test (note: this is both contacts making it into the case, clean and with solution). Unfortunately, the next morning, both contacts were in the case, but there was no solution. One point Naveen.

Naveen’s is BYOB and we had a blast making traditional and healthy Indian cuisine. Look how cute it is (apologies for the poor pictures – I brought the point-and-shoot in an effort to look less crazy, but I blew my cover when I took 15 pictures of my plate):

Before the room started spinning, I learned a lot from Naveen!

  • Be sure to chop up the stems of your fresh cilantro, not just the leaves – the stems have a lot of flavor!

  • I need to pick up Chat Masala – an Indian spice made from green mangoes. It was delicious!
  • Cutting onion techniques: Cut off the root and stem, then rinse under water to remove some of the sulfur so your eyes don’t water (watering is caused by sulfur from the onion mixing with the water in your eyes). Make your first cuts of the onion lengthwise, then cut the other direction moving from stem to root – it holds together better this way.
  • When you have a lid on your pan, make sure when you lift it to let the steam drip back into the pan – the steamy water has flavor you don’t want to let escape! See below:

  • Naveen cooks his basmati rice with 1 1/2 cups water to 1 cup rice.
  • Always pick frozen veggies over canned if fresh is not in season!
  • Don’t bang your metal utensils on the side of your pans. The lid forms a seal around the pan and the more you tap your utensils on the pan the more you damage the seal.
  • Most importantly, with any recipe: If you like something, add more of it. If you don’t, leave it out!

Another weekend adventure was to make raw “cookies” that were lent-friendly (i.e. no added sugars).  The result is something between and amazeball and a Larabar. I put cookies in quotes because they don’t taste much like a cookies and they aren’t baked, but they kinda look like cookies if you don’t have your contacts in and you are super hungry.
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The inspiration was this RAW Kitchen Sink cookie:

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You’ll need:
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup oats
3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup goji berries (optional, I used them because I had them – add a few more raisins if you want to omit these)
1 T coconut oil
1 vanilla bean
1/8 c cacao nibs (or chocolate chips)
1/2 t sea salt

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Let’s do this:
Start by pouring some warm water over your raisins and goji berries. Set aside to plump.

Add coconut to your food processor and process for about 30 seconds, so it looks like this:
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Scrape out your vanilla bean and add to the bowl.
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Process again for 10-20 seconds.
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Add the almonds, coconut oil, oats, and salt and process about 20-30 seconds (longer if you use whole almonds rather than sliced).

Drain the raisins and goji berries and add to the food processor, process about 10-20 seconds, until well combined. Add the cacao nibs (or chocolate) and pulse a few times (I like “chocolate chips”  in mine so I just pulse 2 or 3 times).
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Scoop out of the food processor with a cookie scoop if you have one – otherwise you can just roll them into balls with your palms. This made about 15 “cookies” for me, but you can make them smaller or larger if you like!
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