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Belief | Cracker Cookies

“…Not that I believe in it.”

What is it these days with people and belief? I’ve noticed this attitude particularly amongst my peers; religion or spirituality is an uber-private facet of one’s life. If you mention it, goddess forbid you offend someone by simply saying, “Bless you,” when they sneeze. Sure, there are plenty of alternatives, but I didn’t invoke my higher power by name! 

You can’t believe in anything. 





Mention you’re Catholic (or other deistic religion) or you go to church or meditate, and ka-pow, you are an antiquated fool and you have been caught with your metaphysical pants down. Alternatively, the reaction is you’re untouchable and weirdly disciplined because you take time to talk to God/Goddess/higher self. Talk to an older person (generally over 50) and they’ll listen about religion and worldviews. Why? Because they’re closer to the grave and desire some answers to the big questions: where did we come from, where are we going, and why do bad things happen to good people?

Yeah, why do bad things happen to good people? Karma? Why would a supposedly benevolent deity let bad things happen?

You can’t believe in anything.

Nota bene I am playing both sides of the field here. I don’t have the answers and I am content to worship the mysteries of the universe. Believing in ultimate good helps me keep calm and carry on. That’s my worldview and you are free to agree or disagree.

Off my soapbox. Breakfast cookies againAnd again.



Believe these are good. Because good = healthy, and healthy = good. But, good =/= tasty, and tasty =/= healthy. Yet, not tasty = bad.




Who let moral judgment in here anyway, conflating healthy and (morally) good?

I picked up this recipe for Cocoa Peanut Cookies at a Whole Foods a while back. I believe the impetus behind the recipe was something like, “Let’s make random stuff with Engine 2 products! Yeah! (fist pump).” The sheer randomness of these cookies makes me think it was a Foodie Call type production: aaaand the theme this week is Engine 2 products! At least it didn’t have oil-free hommos. Now then, I’m not down on Engine 2 as a concept or line of products (their brown rice tortillas are actually quite good), but I do think this recipe is a bit wacky, and that’s coming from the grrl who eats green juice on hir cereal.

Of course I had to make it.

Crackers in cookies has some precedent, but not like these little blobs of salty-sweet moosh.

Cracker Cookies

(No, there are no racist/classist epithets in that title; don’t even think that for a second. It is supremely ridiculous I have to even put this little footnote in here, but someone will undoubtedly scream classism because this recipe could in fact be made, albeit with slight modification and inclusion of animal products, with the ingredients found in grocery stores frequented by poor rural whites in the Southern United States.)


  • 4 1/2 ounces VGF crackers (I used half-bags of Mary’s Gone Crackers original and Crunchmaster multigrain GF hexes)
  • 3/4 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup nondairy milk (I used original hempmilk)
  • 2/3 cup nut butter (I used half almond and half peanut butter, both no-sugar, no-salt since the crackers are way salty)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat.

In a blender or food processor, blitz the crackers to make crumbs. Transfer crumbs to a large bowl. Blitz remaining ingredients until smooth in blender (some date skins floating around is fine). Mix it all together until mixture coheres. Transfer 2-inch cookie balls to baking sheet and squish down the tops slightly.

Bake for 15 minutes or until you can pick one up and it won’t fall apart. These are soft and squidgy. They taste like everything in them all mixed together (a bit like my lunches, sometimes). Hey wait, I know why these are familiar: microlunch cookies!

Parting shots:
Felt like an avocado smoothie after the gym on Tuesday: avocado, green apple, mixed greens, ginger


 Friday was the first Friday I’ve spent by myself in months (try December…wow…too much socialization for this introvert!). I cooked up a storm and scared the bejeebes out of myself by listening to Depeche Mode’s “Damaged People” and listening to the lyrics too hard: “When your lips touch mine/ And I lose control/ I forget I’m old/ And dying.”

Mexican black beans and polenta for polenta fries. If you make nothing else this weekend, you must make polenta fries! It contains vegan catnip, aka: nutritional yeast, the best stuff evarrr.


More from Tuesday’s supper: roasted carrots and beets, kidney beans, and pumpkin furikake. Did I ever mention I eat strange combinations?


Picture from last Saturday’s party we checked out, left to right: TC, Q, and TC’s friend. We were “those motorcycle people” because we were (duh) wearing our gear.



Sushi in Philly


The lack of protein GF pizza in Arlington: Pete’s New England Pizza.



Come to the Dark Side…we have vegan and gluten-free goodies.

Horton Hears the Vitamix | Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Today was Hoodie-Hoo Day, according to WellCat.





Alas, I wanted to finish one more thing…and one more thing…and one more thing at work, thus failing to observe it. Next year.

Speaking of observation, I was holding a bag for TC as we got ready to go somewhere the other day. Suddenly, I noticed myself saying the mantra, “May you be free of suffering | and the cause of suffering” in my head over and over again while he tied his shoes or something like that. Mantras are mind protectors, as Ram Dass reminds us in this post. I’m no expert or arhat, but I’ve noticed more and more often that when my mind is scrambling before a transition even as minor as a car trip, I’ll be saying mantras (Buddhist mantras or Catholic prayers) without thinking about it. Kinda cool, huh? Maybe I’m finally learning to self-regulate emotionally.

There are a lot of changes I’m making digitally around here. Pardon the pixel dust. Most of the time reserved for composing this post was instead spent figuring out new features and condensing old ones. Like the blog page on Facebook, yes no?

Today’s recipe was vegan chocolate hazelnut spread. Otherwise known as “vegan Nutella(R).” While I love the Vitamix to bits, this recipe really requires a food processor. The Vitamix simply isn’t wide enough to process 2 cups of hazelnuts, even after toasting them to soften ’em a little. I didn’t want to brick my machine and stopped short of smoothness. I like my peanut butter chunky, my tea black, and my salad undressed, so textured spread isn’t so bad.


I skipped blanching/skinning the hazelnuts. According to this 2012 article, hazelnut skins are one of the best sources of polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidants, chemicals which bind to free radicals. Free radicals occur as the body ages. I am going to stop trying to explain chemistry late at night. The point is, the hazelnut skins make the spread taste super-hazelnutty, and with the chocolate, there’s no aesthetic consequence to leaving them on.

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
Modified from Brown Eyed Baker and Tales of a Kitchen

2 cups hazelnuts
1 cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa
dash sea salt
2/3 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened coconut-almond; using a blender necessitated this much liquid. Your mileage may vary.)
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or other neutral-tasting oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place hazelnuts in a pie plate in a preheating 350 degree oven.  Toast until fragrant, about 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together coconut sugar, cocoa, and salt.

Add hazelnuts to blender or food processor and blitz until hazelnut meal forms. Add the sugar, cocoa, and salt and blitz to combine. Depending on your machine, you may need to scrape down the sides or loosen up pockets of hazelnuts.  Add the oil and process it in.  Add the nondairy milk and vanilla and process until smooth/desired texture is achieved.  Store in jars in the fridge.

 Super-chocolate, super-hazelnut.



This was the end of the batch; note the hazelnut pockets from the corners of the Vitamix.


There’s gonna be some good fancy oatmeal this week!

Come to the Dark Side…we have vegan and gluten-free goodies.

Sacrifice II: Trail Treats

Sacrifice II
 
My mother would be proud of me. This recipe contains chocolate chips. In the words of one of my fellow team members, “Is it going to be healthy, or good?” when I described the recipe I was going to present for yesterday’s Foodie Call. I remade the cereal bars I made last year for my friend Liz’s Fourth of July shindig. Calling them “Sacrifice to the Gods of Freedom and Democracy” would probably turn off most folk. Here is my recipe for the huge batch (three sheet pans!) of “Trail Treats.” You can customise the crunchy bits and trail mix to your heart’s content.
 
 Sacrifice II Trail Treats | Gothic Granola

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Running to the Sea and Cookies

I play mindgames with myself while running. Running towards someone is much more inspiring than running away from something, in my experience (when it’s a thought experiment, anyway). 
 
Running from zombies would of course be a different story.
 
something to do with running and cookies | gothic granola

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From Soup to Hankies | Green Juice Soup

Sometimes I see a recipe or make something and have a conviction that it’s a dish for someone I know.  Even if I’m not going to see him or her, I know that s/he will enjoy this dish.  Sometimes it’s obvious based on people’s preferences (chocolate cookies for my chocolate-loving mother, pudding for my aunt), but sometimes it’s more obscure.

Green juice soup | gothic granola
 

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Buckwheat Almond Banana Muffins

 buckwheat almond banana muffins | vegan gluten-free| Gothic Granola

I have done something unspeakable to almond butter: microwaved it in plastic.
 
I bought chunky almond butter in bulk and stored it an old soynut butter container.  As I neared the bottom of the jar, since I hadn’t consistently stirred it before consumption, the butter at the bottom was dry.  In order to make the muffins below, I microwaved the almond butter in order to make it stir-able, and I went thirty seconds too far.  Oh well.  The muffins suffered no ill effects, and my brother ate probably half the batch before and after the bike races in which he participated last weekend.
 

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