Easy peanut butter cookies

Will makes peanut butter cookies - just 3 ingredients

Recipes from labels

Vinny and I had the greatest time at the cottage this summer. One of the things we did was experiment with recipes on the labels of foods we brought with us.

“Let’s try peanut butter cookies,” said Will, studying the label on the jar of one of his favorite foods. “There’s only three ingredients. And we have them all!” More

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Celebrate Pi day with this easy chocolate cake — only 3.14-ingredients

Pi day cake

A cake suitable for Pi day, photo by Tip Junkie

The story behind Pi day

Normally, I’d choose a pie to celebrate the math constant π (Pi = 3.14159…) on its special day, which is coming upon us soon. Scientists the world over will likely be tucking into a delicious slice of one, perhaps a banana cream or pecan pie, More

Making sweet potato fries in the oven – perfect every time

sweet potato fries

Sweet potato fries, perfect in the oven

Sweet Patooty’s back! I raved about the fab qualities of sweet potatoes in an earlier post. But I’ve never posted a recipe for my favorite of all ways of having them… oven-baked fries. That’s because I never felt I’d gotten it quite right. But now, I think I can confidently tell you how to make these beauties come out delicious every time… crispy, not soggy, and definitely not burnt! More

The Night Circus: Black-and-white torte with raspberries at centre ring

The clock chimes 4a.m. at the Night Circus and bonfire is burning strong, fed by Marco's book of charms.

The clock chimes 4 a.m. at the Night Circus. Her bonfire burns strong, fed by Marco’s book of charms.

“What’s black and white with red in the middle?” Vinny asks.  “Give up? It’s the cake I made for my book club, when Erin Morgenstern’s novel “The Night Circus” was up for discussion.

On the surface, Morgenstern gives us an enchanting love story about magic. The circus, open only at night, shimmers in black and white. It is the venue for a desperate competition, as two wizards older than time pit themselves against one another through their best students. The light and the dark signify their two opposing ways of manipulating reality. Which will win out, Vinny wonders. More

Almonds two ways: Another pineapple dessert plus gluten-free cookies

Chewy almond butter cookies

 Verse 2

My little granddaughter
Came to visit me,
And all for a taste
Of my almond cook-kie.

Another pineapple and almond dessert…

Last week’s post featured Verse 1 of Vinny’s ode to almonds and the grilled pineapple dish with almonds I pictured there.

This time, I made another version, using the microwave instead of the barbecue. I drizzled some liqueur over the pineapple (which I sliced really really thin and spread across the dinner plate in a single layer). Then I nuked the plate for 1 minute in the micro. Finally, I topped the pineapple with Greek yogurt sweetened with stevia, then with lots of chopped  almonds, candied ginger, and cinnamon. It tasted like Paris. OO-la-la!

Gluten-free almond-butter cookies

Here’s an easy recipe you can make with the kids. You can even serve these cookies along with my pineapple dish for a special treat. It uses almond-butter. My friend Esther sent along the idea. She says, “These are tasty, just sweet enough, very nutty, and a touch chewy, as long as they are taken out of the oven when just done (no darkness on the bottom).”

I liked that there are only a few ingredients, no special tools needed except a hand-mixer, and no temperamental mixing instructions. These cookies taste like a treat straight out of a candy box :). Yet, they’re packed with good nutrition. Yay Esther!

On the left, no quinoa flour. The cookie is oilier and more crumbly than the one on the right, made with my recipe. Both taste the same.

Some tips

  • When I opened the jar of almond-butter, all the oil had pooled at the top. I had to pour the oil into the mixing bowl, scrape out the nut solids, and mix vigorously with a big spoon to incorporate the oil again. Thinking things over, this may have been because I used almond/hazelnut butter, because that was what I had in the cupboard. Hazelnuts are considerably more oily than almonds.
  • I halved the sugar in Esther’s recipe, using a scant half cup. I wanted each cookie to have an acceptable level of sugar (the guide is 5 grams a serving). My cookies clocked in at 7 grams each. They taste plenty sweet.
  • I added a third of a cup of quinoa flakes to the mix. The cookies didn’t hold together well without it. The quinoa absorbed the oil that seemed to leak all over everything without it. If you don’t have quinoa flakes, use oat flour… or even whole wheat flour if you aren’t allergic to gluten. Five ingredients make for an easy recipe kids can whip up themselves.
  • I buy quinoa flakes at the health food store. The beauty of quinoa is that it has no flavor of its own, unlike whole wheat. The cookies with quinoa flakes taste identical to the cookies without it – they just handle better. Plus they have a bit more protein and fiber.

almond-butter cookies

Vinny’s no-flour, no-butter almond cookies
Makes 16 cookies

  • 1 cup natural almond butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup quinoa flakes (available at health food stores)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • almond slivers to garnish (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Using a hand mixer, mix all the ingredients together on low speed.
  3. Scoop 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough 1 1/2-inches apart onto the baking sheet. I used my hands to make nicely shaped round balls.
  4. Flatten the dough balls (gently) with a fork, making a cross pattern on the cookies.
  5. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes. Watch them the last few minutes and take them out once they start leaking too much oil and before the bottoms darken. Mine were done at 9 minutes. Let the cookies rest on the counter in the pan for 2 or 3 minutes so that they have time to set before transferring them to a cooling rack.

Nutrition per cookie made from Vinny’s recipe

  • 150 calories
  • 10 grams fat (of which 9 grams is monounsaturated)
  • 13 grams carbohydrates (of which 7 grams is sugar)
  • 3.5 grams protein

Melting moments – A Christmas story tied up in bows

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Pinecone cake – a labor of love

“I don’t care about Christmas.” Eddy kicks the kitchen stool. “It won’t be the same, without Gramma.” Eddy’s heart feels frozen—it’s been that way ever since Gramma died.

Darren sighs. “Yeah, it’s been tough, buddy.”  He kneels beside his brother so he can see right into Eddy’s eyes. “Remember Gramma’s Christmas cookies?” Darren asks. “Let’s make some Melting moments.”

Eddy thinks of Gramma’s laugh when he got flour on his nose. “OK… I guess,” he says and reaches for Gramma’s recipe box. More

Pack these sweet potato cookies into kids’ lunches

sweet potato cookies, kids' lunches, low-sugar

Sweet potato cookies get top marks for “Delicious!”

Yes, indeed, once again you are looking at sweet potatoes. I mashed them up with some prune butter and a little maple syrup. Then I made a cookie dough by adding oatmeal, whole-grain flour, and ground sun-flower seeds. As a way to get vegetables into the lunch boxes of picky eaters, these are spectacular! More

Imagine… Tasty substitutions that work for good health!

Ice krispies

Ice krispy cakes are even healthier made from brown rice cereal, fortified with flaxmeal. The recipe is included in Vinny’s book.

Following on from last week’s account of a disaster averted while trying to alter a recipe, I’m sharing a wonderful post I found on-line this week. It’s all about how to make successful substitutions, mainly in baked goods, but in other ways, too. More

Heavenly healthier chocolate angel cake

angel food iced with avocado

Angel food cake iced with avocado cream

If a kid can read, he can likely cook. But the watchful eye of experience is a wonderful thing. Witness the action in Vinny’s one-act play and decide for yourself… More

Fave fotos à la 2012

A year in review, through Vinny’s favorite pictures. The pictures are a fun way to index some of  the posts you liked best. Should old acquaintance be forgot… click through and remember! More

Help, I’m Drowning in Sugar!

Artwork by Salvador Dali, Dali Museum-Theatre, Figueres, Spain

Sculpture by Salvador Dali, Dali Museum-Theatre, Figueres, Spain. Photo by me!

If, like me, you’ve found yourself drowning in a tsunami of baked goodies this holiday season, perhaps you’ll want to make a New Year’s resolution.

Repeat with  me: In 2013,  I promise to choose fruit instead of baked sweets for treats, snacks, and dessert. More

Shape Up with holiday cookies

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Our Christmas-shapes inventory is pathetically low.

The problem

Those aren’t Christmas cookies, Vinny,” says Isla. She’s looking at a new batch of Melting Moments fresh from the oven, each decorated with a jewel of raspberry jam (no sugar added) and crowned with flakes of real gold.

“Of course they are,” I say. “I make these every Christmas. Ergo, they are Christmas cookies. Delicious!”

“But, Vinny! Christmas cookies gotta have shapes! They gotta look like candy canes or Christmas trees!” More

The Queen’s Beets – Let Them Eat Cake

“Woe is me!” sighs Marie.

How Queen Marie learns to dance

Marie Antoinette found herself  bored silly. She had everything she wanted. If she clapped once, her servant would come with a tray full of chocolate cake. Twice got her steaming mugs of cocoa and cream. Three times and she went mad over baskets of truffles and éclairs. But she wasn’t happy. More

Skinny Brownies with Three Kinds of Chocolate

Happy occasions demand chocolate!

A very chocolaty recipe jumped right onto my screen just after Halloween, from Chew Out Loud.

Vinny, however, found this recipe a tad high on sugar (2 1/2 cups). So we experimented with stevia in place of sugar. More

Apples and a Misty-Moisty Cake

Dan and Christine's wedding - apples

An apple a day keeps the doctor away

This little rhyme is one of the first things kids learn about healthy eating. One of baby’s first solid foods is apple sauce. And as kids grow, they often choose apples as a favorite snack. But are apples really so good for us? More

Stevia sweetens sand-dollar cookies

Make us some sand dollars, please Vinny?

“If I owned this cottage, I would never go home,” Will proclaims. We were packing up after three weeks at a glorious lake house, and it was hard to say goodbye.

A favorite activity there was playing on the beach. Will got Bank Street and Isla hung out on Alta Vista, one rock over, building shark pools, irrigation systems, and frog forts. Builders had to keep one eye open in case wily Billy, the water snake, popped in for a visit… but for the most part we were left alone.

We did work up an appetite though. “Have you got any cookies for us today, Vinny?” Isla asks. More

Jubilation! A royal cake for Canada Day

Oh, Canada!

Our home and native land is celebrating a birthday! Isla says: We need to bake a cake. Of  course we do. I should have thought of that myself!

First, I thought about making a Victoria sponge cake, named after an old by-gone queen. But it  doesn’t make the grade as a food suitable for posting here, where we like to feature healthy eating for kids of all ages… Darn!

Then I made a wonderful discovery. More

Blow some hot air… it’s an essential ingredient

Watch your baking soar!

I hate to admit this, but baking can be a bit iffy. Sometimes pie crusts turn out flaky. But other times, they end up as hard to chew as a bathtub mat. More

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