Thursday, January 12, 2012

Vegan Thumbprint Cookies

vegan thumbprint cookies

Recipe by Shutterbean here.

I made these vegan thumbprint cookies for our work holiday party because we have several vegans on our team. Sadly, none of the vegans showed up to the holiday party, but a couple of vegetarians did and promised that they tasted good!

Now, Shutterbean calls them life-changing cookies. I'm not sure I would go that far, but they were pretty tasty. With the limited ingredients, I don't feel bad at all about grabbing a couple for breakfast!

The ingredients in the original recipe aren't entirely whole, but they can be easily changed:
  • 2 cups whole almonds
  • 4 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour, divided
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • Assorted jams of your choice
The canola oil can be easily replaced with a different oil. I used honey instead of maple syrup because I didn't have any syrup.

I also used my own homemade blackberry jam--which was delicious, but it sunk down into the cookie more than her jam did. My blackberry jam was a little on the runny side, but it could also be that I made deeper impressions than she did for them jam.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Kitchen Cabinet Organization and Seasoning Cast Iron

This week's task for the 52 week home organization challenge is to organize kitchen cabinets and drawers. Additionally, one of my whole food eating goals was to get rid of my non-stick pots and pans and season my cast iron.

I was able to kill two birds with one stone in a sense by going through my cabinets and making room for the cast iron.

I followed Whole Intention's cast iron seasoning instructions and it was super simple to do. I used vegetable oil instead of olive oil because I'm trying to use up my non-whole food items and I figured this was an easy way to use up the tons of vegetable oil I have without having to eat it. It is a somewhat messy process and I got to use my new apron for the first time while coating the cast iron in oil!

I have to say, I put off seasoning and using the cast iron for a while now because they are so darn heavy! I think that is one I'll just have to get over. The other reason I put off using them was because they came pre-seasoned, but they were weirdly greasy and sticky. I did not realize that I could season them again myself. Seasoning them in the oven fixed the sticky/greasy problem and they are perfectly fine to the touch now.

waiting for the oven to pre-heat (yes, my range is very dirty!)

When she says it is going to get smoky--boy is she right. I don't think my oven has ever been turned up to 500 degrees and all the crap stuck on the bottom started to smell bad. I have a big window in the mud room where my oven is, so I had that open, but I actually had to go get a fan and turn it on to direct the smoke out the window. I was actually worried that the neighbor might think my house was on fire.

While the cast iron was seasoning, I went through my cabinets and pulled out all of my baking items. I did not want to bite off too much, so I left the other stuff in the cabinets for another day. I stacked like items together (since things currently do not live together in my kitchen). I was able to get rid of 3 pie tins, a bread pan and quite a few pots that are all non-stick. I had 8 pie pans! I can't believe it. I don't think I will ever have 8 pies going, so I just kept the 5 Pyrex ones.

I did keep two very small frying pans that we make eggs in until I find some stainless steel or cast iron ones to replace them. The other non-stick items I kept are: muffin tins (for now, I'll line them with the paper liners), wok, a couple of electronics like my waffle maker. The waffle maker is the only one we use regularly, so I'm going to have to look at alternatives to that too, though I like the convenience of the electric one.

Slowly making steps to getting my house organized and living a healthier lifestyle.
Saturday, January 7, 2012

Book Review: The Nourishing Diet

Image from Amazon

I stumbled across Dyno-Mom's Blog and was super psyched to see all of the awesome information she has posted on there about eating a Nourishing Diet. That was the first time I had really heard of Dr. Price and his philosophy, but I have been interested in eating healthy, locally and eating foods with the fewest added chemicals for a while now. The problem is, I did not know where or how to start and I'm honestly a little lazy.

When I saw that Melissa had just published an e-book that simplified and explained the whole process, I decided to try out the book.

The short version of a nourishing diet is foods that are selected and prepared as naturally as possible--"real foods". I laughed when I read the line in the e-book that chickens are not vegetarians and we should eat ones that have been allowed to eat bugs and worms along with other parts of their natural diet.

This book is pretty short--only 20 pages, and I admit, when I first started reading, I was not sure the e-book was going to really give any useful information. I was wrong about that and by the end of it, she had answered all of the questions that popped into my head when reading it.

The book is broken down into "types" of foods: Dairy, Meat/Poultry/Eggs, Plants, Fats, Salts and Beverages. Then each food type is explained and nourishing alternatives are offered and explained. Included is also ways to prepare the foods, but it is not a cookbook. (With a little searching though, there are TONS of recipes online--including on the Dyno Mom Blog).

I really liked that the book has lots of references to find the facts behind the claims she makes and the resource section is extensive. I've really only scratched the surface in looking at the resources she's listed. The best part though, is at the very end, she walks you through some first steps for getting started because by page 16, it is easy to feel overwhelmed with all the choices and changes!

One thing I would have liked to see in the book would have been a little more explanation in the beverages section on why someone should choose those beverages. I read that section and none of the drinks sounded all that good to me and the beverage section got bumped way down on my list of nourishing food priorities. I did some more research and found more information on water kefir and its benefits and it has moved up on my list of priorities.

Changing my diet, not only for me, but for my (growing!) family is one of my biggest goals for this year. I want to make lasting changes though, so I am taking baby steps so that I don't overwhelm myself. I know if I take too big of a bite to start, I won't follow though.
Here is what I'm going to start with:
  • silicone mats for my aluminum cookie sheets (yay for leftover Bed, Bath and Beyond gift cards from our wedding!)
  • replace aluminum and non-stick pots with cast iron (I only have a few aluminum and non-stick pans left and I have cast iron that needs to be seasoned).
  • Start a sourdough starter
  • Begin water kefir fermentation and introduce it to diet
  • find alternatives for soy-based products in my kitchen
  • participate in Get Real 2012 by Once a Month Mom
Until February 3rd, Dyno Mom is offering her e-book for only 99 cents! Check it out! She is also offering a give away until January 10th where two people will get a copy for free.

I received a copy of this e-book as a gift and am not receiving any compensation for my review. I just enjoyed this book and wanted to share it with others!

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