Thursday, August 28, 2008

Quick Update

B and I are in Oregon for the week visiting his brother's family. I love it up here, it is so much more relaxed and clean. We went to Eugene for the day on Tuesday which was lovely. His family lives in central Oregon, which is much drier than the coastal area, very high desert climate. Eugene was beautiful and so green. B observed that it was very "hippie"; in other words, just my kind of place!

Peaches are in season up here and we found a stand that supports local farmers, has better prices than the grocery store, and some of the best peaches I've ever tasted. We also got some delicious first-of-the-season apples. We'll be going to the farmer's market tomorrow. (This is what I do in every town I go to, some people research local historical sites, I look for farmer's markets.)

B's extended family have horses and I've gone horseback riding once already, and will again tomorrow. I got stepped on on Tuesday, and I've been icing that foot, but nothing so bad as to prevent me from going back for more!

Hope you all have a great month's end. I have a number of things to post when we get home, see you in September!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies: The Recipe

I know, I know, finally! As I mentioned previously, these cookies are 100% whole grain. What I found was that you can make these with no additional fat if you like (use all applesauce), but a mere 1/4 cup of oil improves the mouth feel, visual texture, and release considerably. I recommend using a silpat or parchment paper regardless of whether you use the oil, but it is essential if you choose to omit it. Additionally, these spread very little, so you'll need to flatten them to pretty much where you want them to end up.

Lower Fat Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 cups rolled oats (not quick cooking)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup neutral oil
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup "white" sugar
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
2 tbsp ground flax (whisked with)
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup oat milk (or other non-dairy milk)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 and adjust oven racks to upper 1/3 and lower 1/3 of oven. Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper or silpats.

Whisk together flour, oats, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl mix applesauce, oil, peanut butters, sugars, flax mixture, oat milk, and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Add dry ingredients and fold together just until combined. Add chocolate chips and mix just until evenly distributed.

I use a large scoop that measures about 3 tablespoons to portion the dough, if you don't have that just portion out scant 1/4 cup balls onto baking sheets. Using hands or the bottom of a flat drinking glass dipped in water, evenly flatten dough.

Bake 18-20 minutes or until the cookies just start to look dry on top, rotating top to bottom and front to back half way through. Remove from oven and cool on sheets 5 minutes then transfer to a rack to cool completely (you may need to give them a gentle twist to get them to release cleanly).

Try not to eat all in one sitting. Store any temporary escapees in an airtight container.

Makes approximately 26 generous cookies.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Back and Tan

We're back from a week of fun and sun (and dirt) camping in northern California. We stopped on the way up for a day in North Fork, a little town on the south side of Yosemite, to visit B's great aunt and uncle (one of my most favorite people ever). We then spent a week camping and boating with my family just north of Grass Valley.
We got to spend some time with my aunt and uncle who live in Nevada City and have some rockin' root beer at their restaurant Big A's Root Beer Drive-In in Grass Valley. You must stop in if you are ever in that area. They make their own root beer and it is awesome. They also have a huge menu, with plenty of things that you can veganize with addition/subtraction ordering (or just order any of the seveal french fry options - yum).
On my aunt's recommendation we checked out a new "hippie" store in Grass Valley called the BriarPatch Co-op, which was fantastic. I WANT ONE!!! The produce was beautiful, organic, and mostly local. They listed all their local suppliers and what fresh items came from each. They have a good variety of vegan products. Their bulk section was especially wonderful, nearly everything was organic and they had some things that I've never seen in a bulk section like agave, Dr. Bronner's, and laundry soap, and the most extensive bulk spice selection I've ever seen outside a speciality store. To be fair, this was the first co-op I've ever been in, and I was immediately smitten. If you live in the area I encourage you to support them, you don't have to be a member to shop there. If you are passing through it would be a great place to stop in to restock on snacks or grab a bite to eat (they have a prepared hot and cold foods section, seveal dishes of which were veg), definately better than the quickie-mart!
I have seveal things that I made for the "week of camping with omni's" to share with you forthcoming. Additionally, B built me a beautiful raised garden last month and I've finally got some stuff planted (although, a fair amount of it still looks empty). He kept a obsessively detailed photo essay of how he built it, so I'll be posting some of that here. Hope you had a great first week of August!