Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies

By: Julie

Time:  20 min

Serves:  15 2-inch cookies

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While researching nutrition and learning some scary things about processed foods and refined sugar, (come on Julie, you already knew them deep down inside), I vowed to make changes in our nutrition at home for the month of December.  To stave off some of that Christmas gluttony that you KNOW is coming my way.  Mmmmm pie.  And WINE, oh the wine…  Ahem.  Anywho.  My husband and I are loving the veggie infusion.  We feel good, we have more energy –  I wish I could say I’m sleeping better but I have a 4 month old baby, so… no.

You know who’s NOT on board?  My three -and-a-half-thank-you-very-much year-old daughter.  She is a picky eater.  For the first two years I did a decent job with her nutrition.  Somewhere along the line processed foods snuck in there.  A fishy cracker here (fondly referred to as shut-up snacks in our house), a piece of bologna there… and wonders of wonders, the breakfast bear paw.  She eats one every morning before school because, in a moment of desperation, her mother gave her one as a bribe to get her into the car for day care.  And now she has one every day.  On one hand, it’s good that she’s eating because sometimes it’s very hard to get food in her mouth, (She has some tummy issues so I always feel like I’m on the losing end of a war). On the other hand, they are loading with sugar and nothing really good for you and some things that I can’t pronounce and sort of skip over with some guilt when I’m checking labels.  So.  Because of my new vow to feed her good things NO MATTER WHAT, I had to search for a bear paw replacement.  Enter the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookie.  I saw these cookies on a fitness blog and I tweaked them a bit to sweeten them, and you know what?  SHE LIKES THEM. You can totally ignore the maple syrup, vanilla, and nuts and these turn out perfectly good.  I’ve also made them with raisins or cranberries and almonds but they tasted too “healthy”.

These cookies also have the benefit of being paleo friendly and gluten-free if such things are important to you.  And vegan/vegetarian as well.  Who could ask for more?

Note:  If you are allergic to gluten you know to check to make sure your oats and chocolate chips are certified gluten free right?  

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You will need:

  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup toasted pecans
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp natural maple syrup
  • pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a cookie sheet.  For coconut oil fans: my mom used this and they stuck to the pan a bit.  I used olive oil and everything was ducky.  Your choice.

Mash the bananas with a fork until smooth.  Add oats, chocolate chips, pecans, vanilla, maple syrup and salt.  Combine well.  Spoon about a tablespoon and a half onto the cookie sheet and lightly press down.  Repeat.  These don’t spread so you should be able to get 5 rows of 3 with ease to get everything on the same pan.  Cook for 15 min until lightly brown on the bottom.  Let cool on the pan for 5 min and then move to rack.  You can eat them warm or wait for them to cool (you won’t).  Feed to tiny children and husband and tell them they are allowed to have cookies for breakfast!  WINNING!

 

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Vegan Breakfast Cookies

By Corinne

I like my cookies soft and not too sweet. I like to think of these as ‘breakfast cookies’ as there is some goodness packed in there. These cookies stay soft even after baking, but the sunflower seeds and almonds give them a bit of a crunch.   I prefer them without chocolate chips, but my husband has more of a sweet tooth and prefers them with.  They are vegan as long as you use chocolate chips with no milk solids.

Time: prep 10 min, bake 20-22 min per batch

Makes: about 48 medium sized cookies

Oven: preheat 350F

You will need:

  • 3 cups quick oats*
  • 1/2-1cup lightly packed brown sugar (I tend to use the smaller amount as I find with the other sweet ingredients(cranberries, chocolate chips) they are sweet enough.
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds (roasted, salted)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds(need nut free? Substitute pepitas-shelled pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/2 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cardamom (If you love cardamom and would like it to be more ‘present’, go 1 tsp cinnamon and 2 tsp cardamom instead)
  • 1 can (398 ml) 1 3/4 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup semi sweet or dark chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix together all dry ingredients. Melt virgin coconut oil in microwave, about 1 minute. Add coconut oil, canned pumpkin to dry mixture and thoroughly mix together. This can be done pretty easily by hand, or if you have a mixer, that works too.

Roll a scoopful of cookie dough into a ball between your palms, then squish flat.  They cook into whatever shape you make them now and they don’t spread or ‘puff up’  so you can snuggle them up close together.

Bake for 20-22 minutes. Cookies will be slightly browned around the edges, bottoms and tops. Cool completely and store in an air tight container, or freeze and take out just a few at a time as desired.

*oats are one of those ‘maybe’ items for many celiac people. While oats themselves are gluten free, crops may be contaminated with wheat. Some brands of oats will say ‘gluten free’ and others don’t.

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Vegan chickpea and white bean “Chicken” Parmesan

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By Corinne

These aren’t chicken. They don’t taste like chicken and they don’t feel sad about it and neither should you. They really aren’t even trying to be chicken, they are just their own delightful thing that happened to be inspired by a dish usually made with chicken.  They are crispy on the outside, tender and spiced on the inside and you will be making this again.

While tofu is the standard vegan/vegetarian meat substitute, I just don’t love it. I feel like it doesn’t really have anything going for it in the flavour or the texture department. So in searching for a reasonable substitute that wasn’t a highly processed, already premade thing, I managed to come up with these. They are delicious. I mean. I of course had to taste to adjust seasoning… but may have done more tasting than strictly necessary before even breading and frying them.

Time: about 40 minutes

Serves: makes 4-5 servings

Oven: 450F

You will need:

For “chicken”

  • 1 cup white navy beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley + more for garnish
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp sunflower or olive oil + 1tbsp additional for brushing
  • 1/2 cup high gluten flour (80%)
  • 1/2 cup veggie broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • canola oil or vegetable oil for frying
  • vegan mozzarella cheese, or regular mozza if you’re just feeling vegetarian rather than vegan
  • about 1/2 cup of your favourite marinara sauce

For breading

  • 1 cup panko
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • several grinds of fresh pepper

Add chickpeas, navy beans, garlic, shallot, fresh parsley, nutritional yeast, basil, oregano, thyme, panko, vegetable broth, and 2 tbsp oil to a food processor. Pulse in short bursts until ingredients are combined.

 

Remove mixture to a large bowl and add 1/2 cup of high gluten flour. Mix together and knead it a bit. At this point, if you wish, you can wrap in plastic and leave overnight in the fridge. Letting the mixture rest does seem to give it an easier to work with texture(tends to stick together a bit more and is easier to flip when frying) but is not strictly necessary.

Mix breading ingredients together. A pie plate works great for this, but a shallow bowl will work as well.

Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. You want the oil to be hot enough that there is vigorous bubbling when you drop some crumbs in. If your oil is too cold, your patties won’t get that nice crisp crust and will be somewhat soggy and oily.

Divide bean dough depending on how large you would like your patties to be. I find if you do larger patties, they look more like chicken breasts, but smaller patties cook and flip a little better. So- say 8 if you want smaller patties, and 5 if you want larger ones.  Press them into an ovalish patty shape. Brush each side with the reserved oil and then place into the crumb dish. Firmly press breading onto both sides and around the edges of the patty.

 

Pan fry until golden brown on both sides, flipping once. Remove to a baking pan. When all patties are golden, top each with 1-2 tbsp of your favourite marinara (don’t spread it around,  you want those edges to stay crisp) and then top that with the cheese or cheese product of your choice. Bake in a 450F oven for 10 minutes until cheese is melted and sauce is warm.

 

Fast and Easy Vegan Mini Batch Cinnamon Rolls

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By Corinne

These are an adaptation of a recipe I’ve used for my hospitality class. They make a perfectly acceptable cinnamon roll, even if you aren’t vegan. While they don’t have the richness of a yeast based recipe, the fact you can make them on a whim makes them totally worth it.

I personally prefer mine without icing, as I find them sweet enough. But the icing is good, especially if you make it with a liquor instead of non-dairy milk.

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Makes: 6 rolls

Time: prep 10 minutes or less, bake 15 min, total 25 minutes

You will need

  • ¾ cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar (divided)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt (pinch of salt)
  • 5 tablespoons non-dairy milk (75 mL)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8th tsp salt (pinch of salt)
  • 2 tbsp chopped, toasted pecans (if desired)

ICING

  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of non dairy milk (OR a liquor of your choice you think will go well with cinnamon- I like grand marnier!)

Preheat oven to 375 . Spray muffin tins (6) if you are worried about sticking. In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of white sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. Stir until combined. Keep separate until later!

In a separate bowl, combine flour, 1 tablespoon white sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir. 

In a separate bowl, combine milk, vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the melted coconut oil.

Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until a sticky dough forms.

Lightly flour the counter. Knead the dough until no longer sticky.

Roll out into a rectangle about 6 inches (15 cm) long and about 4 inches wide. Brush 2 tablespoons of coconut oil onto the dough and spread it out. Now you get to use the sugars! Sprinkle sugars and cinnamon on top of dough. Sprinkle toasted nuts on if using. 

Roll up dough lengthwise, pinch the seam together and cut into 6 equal pieces. Place each piece in a muffin pan, brush with the last of the melted coconut oil.

Bake for 14 – 15 minutes in muffin pan.

Mix powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon of milk(or liquor!) and stir until combined. Frost the rolls.

Tabbouleh

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By Corinne

Tabbouleh is a delightfully simple and filling salad. It is traditionally made with just bulgur, but can be made with cous cous or can be made gluten free by using just quinoa.

I am a bit in love with this little box of quinoa and bulgur mix from Presidents Choice- though I recommend using vegetable (or chicken) broth to cook the bulgur/quinoa, and only using 2 cups of liquid rather than the 2 1/4 cups recommended on the box.

Serves: makes about 4 1/2 cups of salad

Time: about 20 minutes

You will need:

  • 1 box President’s Choice Blue Menu Bulgur and Quinoa Blend (225g) or 1 cup red quinoa or bulgur or cous cous- cook as needed
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (or water)
  • 1 1/2  cup fresh flat leaf (Italian) parsley, minced (about half of a large bunch)
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, minced
  • 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup red onion, small dice or minced
  • 2 large clove minced garlic
  • juice of 3 lemons
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or sunflower oil)
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Bring 2 cups of vegetable broth(or water) to boil and add quinoa and bulgur. Return to boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes until tender. Allow to cool.

Mince parsley, mint, garlic, and onion. Add to large bowl. Quarter cherry tomatoes and add to bowl. Add the juice of three lemons and the 1/4 cup of olive oil to bowl. Season generously with pepper. If you used just water to cook the bulgur/quinoa rather than vegetable broth, also season with salt.

When bulgur/quinoa mix has cooled, add to the bowl with the other ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Good served immediately, or can be made the day before serving.

 

Vegan (or not) Garden Pesto

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By Corinne

Basil is amazing. I am so in love with basil in the summer I can hardly help myself from adding it to everything. Basil in every salad, basil on sandwiches, basil gently rubbed between my fingers just to smell every time I go outside on my deck… Ah! Well, enough with this summer reverie. It’s February and the days (while getting longer) are still short and dark and cold and we’ve just had two weeks of -20C without a break. I’m craving summer in a bad way!

This pesto is infinitely versatile- in the summer I use much more basil than other greens, but in the winter good basil is hard to find and pricy! Tonight when I made it, I used about 15g of basil and 15g of parsley(a small handful of each)- the rest was spicy arugula, so I omitted the pepper.

While I’ve historically always used cheese, I decided to give nutritional yeast a try for this recipe. I probably could have thinned it out a BIT more, but it actually emulsified easier than the cheese version, was smoother, and as a bit of a shock to both myself and my taste tester, was the preferred version!

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Time: under 10 minutes

Makes: about 1/2- 3/4 of a cup 

You will need:

  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup olive oil or other oil of your choice (I used sunflower oil)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, outer skin removed
  • 1 ½ cup(lightly packed down) fresh herbs such as basil, parsley or greens such as spinach, kale or arugula
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp salt – to taste
  • pepper – to taste

In a food processor or using an immersion blender(I usually use my immersion blender as this is a relatively small batch and I have a large food processor), combine the herbs/greens and garlic and process for 15 seconds.

With the food processor still running, add the oil SLOWLY until the mixture is smooth – you want it to emulsify. The mixture should look almost matte, and not oily. If your pesto looks oily you rushed the emulsification process and added too much oil at once.  You are looking for the mixture to be loose, not chunky but not watery or runny at all.

Add the nutritional yeast or cheese and process for ten seconds. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

You can see in the picture that I did a better job of emulsifying the one version on the left than the one on the right today. I’m going to blame using a different container than I usually use!

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Toss with warm pasta, put on pizza, spread on a pork tenderloin or chicken… pesto is delightfully easy to use! This will stay good in the fridge for about a week. 

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Vegan Chocolate Snowball Cookies

By:  Julie

Time:  35 min

Serves: 2 dozen cookies

I will admit, I used to have food prejudice.  With the word vegan I associated flavors like cardboard, kale, and unseasoned lentils.  After much research, and a daughter with food allergies, I have learned much.  I have learned that Vegan can be delicious, and if you make these cookies you won’t even know they are vegan  You will just think they are awesome – and so will anyone else you feed them to.  Picture a chocolate cloud… crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, with a rich chocolate taste.  Heaven.  My sentences are getting shorter because I’m eating them and typing with one hand.  Because I can’t stop eating them.

This recipe originally came from a past edition of Our Compliments magazine and caught my interest because it was dairy free, which is important for my family.  Corinne and I wanted to see if we could make a vegan version as this is the result.  It has the same texture as the original and is just as tasty.

You Will Need:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp ground coffee
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of well mashed very ripe banana (1 large)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder.  In a stand mixer bowl, or a large bowl, use mixer to beat together cocoa powder, oil, and coffee until well combined.  Scrape down sides and beat again.  Add white sugar and brown sugar and beat until combined.  Add banana and vanilla and mix thoroughly.  Some people who are afraid of sticky dough here might chill it to make it easier to work with, but I promise, it’s fine.  Just skip it.  Time is money.  If you are sticking your finger in the dough at this point to lick it off you will get an intense banana flavor.  Most of this mellows after baking so don’t panic.  I doubt your family will even realize there is banana in there if you don’t blab and tell them.

Put icing sugar in a small bowl.  Using a spoon (don’t bother with an ice cream scoop, the texture of the dough will just make you insane if you try to use it), and your fingertips, make 1-inch dough balls and roll them in the icing sugar before placing on your lined cookie sheet.  Repeat until all the dough is gone and you have 24 pretty white snowballs.  I baked my two sheets of cookies separately because my oven doesn’t seal particularly well but if you have cooked two sheets at one time in the past with success, by all means throw them both in there at once.  Otherwise, bake one sheet at a time for 6-8 minutes (mine took 8).  You will no they are done because they will have leveled out and cracked a bit.  They will be like little molten lava cakes when you first take them out and they are delicate.  slide the parchment paper with the cookies off the sheet carefully onto a cooling rack.  Allow to cool completely before eating.  Or throw them in a bowl with ice-cream because, damn, they really are like little lava cookies.

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Let us know how this worked for you!