Soft & Chewy Oatmeal Cookies (gluten free)

Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

Another snow day and one sick kid, what else can I do, but make cookies!  Ask me any day of the week and I’ll tell you my favorite type of cookie is a soft and chewy oatmeal cookie.  When I haven’t had one in a while, I dream about eating them.  When I was pregnant with Evan and eating no treats whatsoever due to gestational diabetes, oatmeal cookies was the thing that I craved the most and wanted to bake the moment we left the hospital (although, let’s be realistic, I did not bake anything for weeks!).  For me, it has to be a soft and chewy oatmeal cookie, keep your crunchy cookies (sorry mom), I don’t want them.  I’m happy to eat them plain Jane, with chunks of chocolate (of course), even dried cranberries or apricots, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, all yum, but never ever never try to slip me an oatmeal cookie with raisins! I am sorry if you are a raisin fan, but raisins have no place in any oatmeal cookie I’m going to eat!   

Plain Jane Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Cookies with Walnuts

Plain Jane Soft and Chewy Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies with Walnuts

I have made A Lot of oatmeal cookies over the years and really just try to throw oatmeal in most any cookie I make, so I guess pretty much every cookie I make is in some form an oatmeal cookie (except these perfect peanut butter cookies, no oatmeal here and just perfect without it). But, hands down, these right here, these soft and chewy and might I add gluten free oatmeal cookies, are my absolute best most favorite cookie ever! I make these gluten free, but I do give instructions below for adding the gluten back in if that’s your preference. 

Gluten Free Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Cookie Batter with Chocolate, Walnuts & Cranberries, oh my!

Gluten Free Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Cookie Batter with Chocolate, Walnuts & Cranberries, oh my!

I don’t use a pre-mix gluten free flour blend as I find all of them have some ingredients I just don’t want to eat (namely, Xanthan Gum, which does not agree with my tummy), so I made up my own mix with not too many ingredients and nothing weird.  Just a simple mix of brown rice flour, oat flour (make it yourself!), almond flour (you can make this too!) and a little cornstarch, easy peasy. But again, if you want the gluten, see instructions below…

I use coconut oil in place of butter (but butter would work too) and my secret to making cookies extra soft and yummy, wait for it…Neufchatel (that’s just naturally low fat cream cheese). A big spoonful of vanilla, pumps up the flavor and if you’re feeling fancy you can toss in some chopped chocolate, nuts and cranberries or really anything you like (just don’t tell me if what YOU like is raisins!). Now go bake some cookies!   

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Syrian Style Roasted Red Pepper & Walnut Dip with Pomegranate Molasses

Syrian Style Roasted Red Pepper, Toasted Walnut and Pomegranate Molasses Spread

Syrian Style Roasted Red Pepper, Toasted Walnut and Pomegranate Molasses Spread

This dip is my take on a traditional middle eastern Muhammara dip which is an amazingly delicious mixture of roasted red peppers, walnuts, bread and pomegranate molasses.  If you’ve never tried pomegranate molasses before, it’s worth seeking out at your local middle eastern shop (I bought mine at Yaranush in White Plains, NY) or other specialty market, you may even find it in the “international” section of your local supermarket or in places like Whole Foods.  Pomegranate molasses is a deep dark burgundy colored syrupy sauce with an unusual sweet and tangy almost citrusy taste, it’s like nothing I’ve ever tried before, but once I did I started imagining all kinds of possibilities!

my take on a Syrian Muhummara dip with Roasted Red Pepper, Toasted Walnut, Sun dried Tomato and Pomegranate Molasses

I first came across this recipe from one of my favorite bloggers and cookbook authors Heidi Swanson of 101cookbooks.com and knew I had to give it a try.  I changed it up a bit from the traditional recipe, by adding in some sun dried tomatoes, just thought their tangy umami flavor would work well and it does!  I also skip the bread all together, making this a great grain & gluten free dip, of course I still serve it up with a some toasted baguette slices for anyone who enjoys bread, it is delicious as a topping this way or spread into a leaf of romaine as a topping for a bean & veggie burger, with falafel, in a hummus wrap as Colin likes it, with tuna or even on top of a fried egg! As you can see, the list is pretty endless and once you try this I’m sure you’ll come up with even more ways to enjoy this unusually delicious dip, also perfect for parties…

I must confess, I’m a little late on getting this post out as my original intention was to post this in December as I thought this a perfect party dip for the holidays.  Well, a house full of sick people and the normal/stress filled rush of the season kept that from happening, but I am happy to note I’m squeaking by getting in my first post of the New Year in before the month of January officially ends (even if by mere moments!).

Syrian Style Roasted Red Pepper & Walnut Dip

with Pomegranate Molasses

Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones

 gluten free, vegan

Ingredients:

1 roasted Red pepper – jarred works just fine, but if you have fresh roasted all the better

½ cup toasted walnuts – toast in a dry skillet until fragrant or toast in the oven

6 sun dried tomatoes – oil packed preferably – roughly chopped

1 Tablespoon tomato paste

1 Tablespoon pomegranate molasses

½ clove or 1 very small clove of garlic

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Sea salt to taste

1-2 Tablespoons water

2 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

2 Tablespoons fresh chopped mint

Squeeze of fresh lemon

Directions:

Into the bowl of food processor add – red pepper, walnuts, sun dried tomatoes, tomato paste, pomegranate molasses and garlic.  Process until mostly smooth, or leave it a little bit chunky if you like it that way.  Next mix in red pepper flakes, salt and water, blend again and add more water if needed to get it to the consistency you like. Stir in chopped herbs and finish with a squeeze of lemon.

Pour into a small bowl and use as you like.  For a party, surround the bowl with *toasted sliced baguette* and small romaine or endive leaves OR on a platter with other spreads & salads such as hummus, taboulli, creamy feta and some cut up veggies and pita wedges.

 *I like to slice a baguette, rub each slice with garlic infused olive oil and then grill each side until lightly toasted.  You can even make this a few hours ahead of a party.

Other serving ideas: this is an all around delicious condiment; spread in place of mayo or mustard on a turkey or chicken sandwich, on a hummus wrap or dolloped on top of a bowl of nutty brown rice & veggies or even atop a runny yolk fried egg, yum, Enjoy!

also known as yum dip! Roasted Red Pepper, Walnut & Pomegranate Molasses

also known as yum dip! Roasted Red Pepper, Walnut & Pomegranate Molasses

Roasted Gingered Sweet Potatoes with Super Simple Cabbage Slaw

Ginger Spiced Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cabbage and Pomegranate Slaw

Ginger Spiced Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cabbage and Pomegranate Slaw

Diced sweet potatoes with ginger

Diced sweet potatoes with ginger

Cabbage and Carrot Slaw with Pomegranate Arils

Cabbage and Carrot Slaw with Pomegranate Arils with Lime Vinaigrette 

Roasted Gingered Sweet Potatoes

with Super Simple Cabbage Slaw

Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones

Ingredients:

Sweet Potatoes:

2 sweet potatoes – I use Japanese sweet potatoes

Coconut oil – about 1 Tablespoon

Freshly grated Ginger – about 1-2 Tablespoons

1 clove garlic – grated

Salt & Pepper

Cabbage Slaw:

½ head green cabbage – shredded

About 1 cup shredded carrots

About ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs – basil, cilantro or parsley

Some chopped chives if you like

A sprinkling of Pomegranate arils/seeds – about ¼ of a pomegranate

Dressing:

Squeeze of lime – about ¼ of a lime

Rice vinegar

Olive oil

Pinch of sea salt – I like pink Himalayan salt

Optional: top with protein of choice; examples

Tofu with Tahini, Peanut, Lime Sauce

Roasted Chick Peas – add to the sweet potatoes about half way through roasting

Grilled or Roasted Salmon

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Pumpkin Pecan Granola

Pumpkin Pecan Granola

I love granola and although I often buy my favorite organic pumpkin seed granola, I also love to make my own.  It makes a fantastic homemade gourmet hostess gift, giving your friends or family a delicious, easy and healthy breakfast for the day after the glutinous decadence of a holiday dinner.  

pumpkin pecan granola!

pumpkin pecan granola!

Granola oftentimes gets a bad rap as being unhealthy, as a lot of commercial brands add in way too much sugar, additional oils and overly processed ingredients, but when you make your own you have complete control and therefore can create a delicious and healthy version all your own!  

pumpkin pecan granola with banana and peanut butter, yum!

pumpkin pecan granola with banana and peanut butter, yum!

 I have been making my own granola for years now using a much loved recipe I stumbled upon, but more recently I’ve been changing it up and creating some of my own flavor combinations and since it’s pumpkin season, I thought why not add a little to the mix.  I combine pumpkin puree and maple syrup –  yum – add to that raw pumpkin seeds (just to keep the theme going, plus they’re yummy and so healthy!) and some ground flax and
hemp seeds pumpkin pecan granola dry mixfor good measure and finally pecans, shredded coconut and of course cinnamon, which all go so perfectly with the flavors of pumpkin.

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Tofu with Tahini Peanut Lime Sauce

Yum! Grilled Tofu with Tahini Peanut Lime Sauce

Yum! Grilled Tofu with Tahini Peanut Lime Sauce

On any given day, you can find stacks of cook books around my house, many of them mine, but also a constant rotation from the library, there are just SO many great new books coming out that speak to me like never before, thanks in large part to the amazing and growing array of healthy food bloggers on the scene.  One of the latest I’ve been happily perusing through is Anna JonesA Modern Way to Eat A Modern Way to Eat cookbooklots of yummy looking recipes and I’m working on more than a few, new ideas but plenty you’ve seen before (if you read as many blogs and cookbooks as I do!).  One such recipe, not so different than others I’ve seen and even made, like this, this and that, but it still spoke to me and spurred me to create a new favorite around here, was Anna’s Maple Peanut California Wraps.  It has so many of the flavors I just love, nutty peanut butter and Tahini, maple syrup, miso, soy and citrus.  Of course, I did change up her recipe a bit, varied the measurements of ingredients and most notably swapped out Anna’s lemon for lime and replaced her tempeh for tofu.
What I ended up with was a delicious Tahini peanut lime sauce, perfect drizzled over grilled tofu with greens or rice or soba, yum. 

Grilled Tofu with Tahini Peanut Lime Sauce

Grilled Tofu with Tahini Peanut Lime Sauce


If you’re not a fan of tofu, although if that’s how you feel I urge you to try this it may change your mind and may even change your life, really, truly. BUT, this sauce would also work perfectly with grilled chicken (think chicken satay) or even shrimp, as a sauce over soba noodles or nutty brown rice, mixed into shredded cabbage for an awesome slaw, this sauce IS that good, now what are you waiting for go try it.

Now let’s talk a little bit about lime….Forever a fan of citrus, I just love the scent and taste of all things lemon, lime & orange, but lemon has always been my favorite, I am finding myself now using lime more and more, I think lime may be my new fave, sorry lemon I still love you, but.  Lime just wakes up the flavor in sauces, dressings and soups without as much of a hit of acid like you get from lemon, it works in sweet and savory and even just a squeeze of lime over some greens works as a nice light salad.  You can even mix up lemon, lime and orange to replicate the Japanese yuzu, fresh and clean tasting, you just can’t go wrong with citrus.  

Tofu in Tahini-Peanut-Lime Sauce

Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones 

Adapted from Anna Jones’ – A Modern Way to Eat –tofu with tahini peanut lime sauce

 Ingredients:  

Tofu

1 package extra firm or super firm tofu – 12 – 15 ounces / sprouted if you can find it

Coconut oil

Sea salt

Optional: black sesame seeds

Tahini-Peanut-Lime Sauce –

4 tablespoons natural creamy peanut butter

2 tablespoon tahini (sesame paste)

2 tablespoon miso paste – white or red or a mix

2 tablespoon maple syrup

4 teaspoons (1 Tbsp + 1 tsp) lite soy sauce – gmo free and gluten free

Zest of 1 lime

Juice of 1 whole lime – 1 1/2 limes

1-3 tablespoons water

Directions:

Remove the tofu from the package, drain and carefully press out as much liquid as you can.

Heat a large non stick skillet over medium-high flame.  Pour in enough coconut oil to cover the pan, sprinkle the pan with salt (flaky sea salt if you have).

Once the tofu is fully pressed, cut into about 8 slices or 16 triangles if you prefer, add the slices to the hot pan.  Don’t stir around, cook until each slice is golden brown, then flip and cook the other side, lowering or raising the temperature as needed or adding additional coconut oil.  Once the tofu is cooked on both sides, remove from the pan to a cutting board and allow to cool a bit, then cut each piece either in half or in thirds lengthwise so you have finger sized pieces of tofu or leave as is if you already cut into triangles.

While the tofu cooks mix all of the sauce ingredients together in a bowl, starting with the juice of 1 lime, adding more if needed, to taste and adding enough water to get the consistency you like.

Spoon the sauce over the tofu or use it as a dip if you prefer.  Sprinkle with black sesame seeds if you like. Yummy warm or cold.  Great for leftovers. Enjoy!

This makes lots of sauce, so you may have extra to enjoy as you will.

 Recipe notes: 

Tofu with Tahini Peanut Lime Sauce with salad

Tofu with Tahini Peanut Lime Sauce with mixed greens & mint & a squeeze of lime

I served this yummy tofu on top of a bed of mixed salad greens and shredded carrots with an extra squeeze of lime and a few sprigs of mint, for a delicious healthy lunch.  The tofu would also be great wrapped up in summer rolls with mint or basil, or stir into soba noodles topped with the tofu, shredded carrots, mint and chopped scallions for a more substantial meal or simply with a side of brown rice & steamed veggies with extra sauce drizzled over the top OR in my next post with cabbage slaw and ginger roasted sweet potatoes! 

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