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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Cookie-candy: Will’s first original recipe

Will's cookie candy i8s great with milk to calm those pesky sugar spikes

Will’s cookie-candy is great with milk, which calms those pesky sugar spikes.

What’s your favorite sugary thing, Vinny?” Isla asked me one day at the cottage.

“That’s a tough one, Honey,” I said, scratching my head. “I try not to cook with sugar, remember?”

“Sugar’s in everything!” Isla’s brother Will said. “It gives us ENERGY,” he proclaimed, pumping the air with his fist.

“True,” said Vinny. “Sugar is the molecule the body breaks down to make energy. What I try to avoid is adding refined sugar. Too much of it does us damage.”

But sugar is Will’s favorite food group. More

Readers Earl Grey teabag cookies

earl grey tea(bag) cookies

Event…

Our book club was meeting at my house this month. What to serve? Looking in my tea box, I discovered a couple of packets of loose-leaf tea labelled Readers Earl Grey Tea. What could be more perfect for this special group of readers, I thought. 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

An ode to almonds, plus grilled pineapple

Almond blossoms

Almond tree in bloom

Almonds are so super good for you, they deserve an ode. One well-known nursery rhyme featured a nut tree that bore nothing… except silver and gold that is, which, as everyone knows, taste awful.

But those who have been reading along with Vinny know that nut trees in real life bear many wondrous things, more precious than money. More

Melting moments – A Christmas story tied up in bows

DSC_0096_edited

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

Mood Foods

Christmas bread

Christmas bread smells like good times

Study Guide for Cook Up A Story

CHAPTER 6

This is the last in my series on study guides for the print version of Cook Up A Story. Chapter 6 is about how our moods affect our food choices. We’re wired that way. The part of the brain that stores memory and feelings detects smells, too.

Our last story, Melting Moments, shows how cheery memories are braided together with smells, sounds and tastes. That’s why when we’re blue, we crave foods that remind us of good times. When a small boy finds himself missing his grandmother at Christmas, he takes comfort in his family and its holiday traditions.

More

I . love . turtles… the chocolate kind

Apple turtle

Mother Turtle, made from apples here, casts a healing spell among First Nations people.

The turtle myth…

In Native American stories, the turtle is a symbol for Mother Earth. This ancient animal commonly lives as long as 150 years. Its shell keeps her safe. And her slow even pace through life sets an example for people to keep going when the going gets tough. Turtle always makes time to enjoy each moment life has to offer.

To honor the turtle, I suggested to my friend Isla that we could make some for Christmas. “They’re so tasty!” I said. More

Ghost frogs and pumpkin brulé…

Ghost frogs and pumpkin brule

Of course, the frog part was an accident!

When my little meringue ghosts collapsed after their stint in the oven into weird brown froggies on lily pads, I put it down to the stevia I subbed for more than half the sugar. It seems that for meringues to hold their height, the sugar-to-eggwhite ratio is crucial. Live and learn. 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

Shape Up with holiday cookies

DSCN1603

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

Bananas make great skinny monkey cookies

Not only monkeys eat bananas… kids like them too

Sesame Street’s guest star Harry Belafonte sings beautifully about bananas: Come, Mr. Tally Man, Tally Me Bananas, he goes.

“Um, Excuse me… Sorry. Mr. Tally Man?asks Fozzie Bear.Uh, what’s that? What’s a tally man?”

The singer tells his muppet pals the tally man is a very important person. Without him, people in northern countries would have no bananas.

“Daaaaay yo! No bananas?” Vinny asks. “What would kids ever do without bananas?” 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

Santa deserves a tasty snack

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLrFfQ8U1aw

Cookies usually make kids feel better. But maybe the cookies see things differently? Check out the video, brought to my attention by Nina. With Cook Up A Story, you can make some healthy cookies that scream to be eaten!    🙂

Thanks, You-Tube

Let’s do the lobster mash

Yikes! Who’s eating who?

Just 23 days till Christmas! Gotta get going on my Christmas baking…full of chocolate and fruit and fiber and, well, good health! More

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