Monday, June 14, 2010

In the Kitchen

I've been lazy today and didn't go for a run early this morning as originally planned. When the alarm went off, I hit snooze a few times too many. Being out late last night at church was a workout in itself. God moved in a powerful way and many lives were changed!

Boogie and I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday before the evening church service. She looked at several fashion magazines while I scanned VegNews. It was a beautiful magazine and inspiring to see so many other vegetarians. (They even had a feature on 8 vegan weddings, the cakes looked glorious!) Sometimes I feel like I'm one of a very small group of odd people who refuse to eat one of the staples of our American diet (meat). While the magazine was too full of animals rights rants for my taste, the recipes and information about maintaining a vegetarian diet were very useful! Having just re-read information in the Blood Type Diet that explains why people with Type A blood are healthiest on a mostly-vegan diet, I'm re-inspired. It's fascinating to me that a simple fast at the beginning of the year - just one month without meat - ended up changing the way my body felt and my energy level so dramatically. Until this point, I've been convinced that it is simply the hormone levels in our highly-processed, non-organic meat that were bothering me. However, Eat Right 4 Your Type suggests that people with Type A blood tend to have lower levels of acid in their stomachs and their bodies process meat slowly, storing it as fat. Our bodies tend to thrive on vegetable proteins and products in their most natural, organic state. While there are lots of people who would likely eat their own pets before giving up meat, I've loved the way I feel when I'm meatless! I rarely feel "heavy" or sluggish after eating. I can taste so much more variety in my foods that I never noticed before. I'm happier.

Done with that tangent. As I said, VegNews had some recipes in it... I wrote down a recipe for vegan chocolate chip cookies and made them this morning. Now, you must understand that I was skeptical. My family is big on sweets. We eat a LOT of dessert around here and Mom bakes something at least once each week. In fact, at this moment we have two tubs of ice cream, chocolate peanut butter bars and brownies all in the house. We're pretty picky when it comes to desserts. It must have chocolate. It should be from scratch. It is best chewy (Dad might protest that one, he likes crunchy cookies). So, the idea of vegan cookies sounded... Well... Adventurous? Risky? But I was in the mood for an adventure, so I was in the kitchen at 9:30AM, putting the cookie sheet in the oven.

They are DELICIOUS! Even Boogie and Quad think so! (Boogie is my nickname for my little sister, in case you forgot, and she's in college but the name was given to her when she was a baby... Quad is the nickname for my brother, still in high school, but always the greatest guy around).

So, here's the recipe:

Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup non-hydrogenated margarine
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup applesauce
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 370.
Combine sugar, margarine, vanilla and applesauce.
Add flour, baking soda, and salt.
Stir until dough begins to stiffen.
Add chocolate chips.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet.
Bake 10 to 15 minutes, until light brown.

Yesterday evening I made Oatmeal Raisin bars. They are very sweet and delicious, and also very easy. Next time I will use some sort of sugar substitute, since I feel like they are too sweet for me (and even though I work at an ice cream shop, I still like to watch my sugar intake). I also made some major changes. We were out of rolled oats. So, I used original instant oatmeal for 1 cup and apple cinnamon instant oatmeal for the other 1/4 cup, emptying the breakfast packets into the measuring cups until I had enough. I'm sure the texture would be crunchier and less crumbly if I had used rolled oats. The addition of the cinnamon/apple oatmeal really made it sweet and dessert-like. I'll re-make them following the recipe next time and post it here.

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