Sandwich Maker Vegan Oatmeal Craisin Cookies

Okay. I know, this is a record. But tonight I made cookies on a sandwich maker for the first time in my life because we don’t have an oven or a stove (the people I am staying with have been renovating their house). Lawrence requested oatmeal cookies.

I just got a pic before we reached for the last ones. Sorry the photo is pretty poor quality…

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I was inspired by the Ultimate Vegan Oatmeal Raisin cookie recipe from Oh She Glows, which is an amazing blog, if you haven’t checked it out yet. 

Vegan Oatmeal Craisin Cookies

1. Mix dry ingredients and set aside

  • 3/4 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 C rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • a pinch of sea salt

2. Soak 1/2 C dried cranberries in hot water until you are done preparing the cookies.

3. Grind 1 1/2 tbsp flaxseed. Add 3 tbsp hot water. Let stand for 5 minutes.

4. Melt 2 tbsp coconut oil in a small pot until liquid.

5. Add 1/3 C maple syrup and the flaxseed mix into the coconut oil. Stir until combined (which isn’t very long because these ingredients don’t combine well!)

6. Drain the dried cranberries and mix into your cookie dough.

7. Use clean hands and take small 1-2″ balls of dough and flatten with your hand. Place on hot sandwich maker. The one here has a setting that closes the lid, but doesn’t touch or flatten what’s inside. I closed it like this to create a bit more of an oven environment (if that is even possible!?!). You will still need to flip the cookies – about 5-7 minutes on one side, then 4-5 minutes on the second side. Makes about 15 small cookies.

So delicious! I told Lawrence if he puts in the stove tomorrow, I will try making another batch in the oven. He told me I should make a triple batch!

Running in Canada’s North and Tapenade

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The ice road heading North into Attawapiskat – can you spot the sign on the right? The road off to the left heads to the DeBeers Diamond Mine.

Today I realized that my limit of cold weather running is not -20°C as I had previously thought. Since I have been in Moose Factory and Attawapiskat in Northern Ontario, I have been on a few runs, but not many. I only go out running when it seems unusually warm. However, my friend Emily who is in midwifery with me, put out the offer for anyone who wanted to join her in the Mississauga Half Marathon on May 5. I thought, why not? After all, I am starting my year of being on call the following day. And we all know that it is pretty hard to run 21 kilometres when you are on call. So I think I will. Although I haven’t registered yet, I did go out and run for one hour and forty five minutes today, which is at least 30 minutes longer than anything I have run in the past year….and definitely the coldest long run I have ever done – 24°C, “felt like” – 32°C with the wind. 

It is isn’t so bad running in the cold! …Except the brain freeze part. I thought it was only for the first couple of minutes (despite the three layers on my head), until I passed the town of Attawapiskat and was on the open road. Even if the wind is minimal, it really stings when you are trying to run into it. I had to stop and hold my head with my mitted hands a few times, or alternate between sideways running or running backwards – just for a few steps until I warmed up and could face the wind again. Next time, I will wear either a thicker touque (I wore a lined balaclava, wool ear band and tube neck warmer over my head) or a hood which could cut the wind a lot. 

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The other challenge of running up here is wearing sunglasses. As you can tell from my photo, it is almost always sunny up here. So sunny that with the snow, it is really difficult to see if you don’t wear sunglasses. However when I covered my nose and mouth, my glasses fogged up very quickly! I decided that squinting on the return into the wind was better than keeping my nose uncovered.

I am glad I have figured out how to run with my face mostly covered – which is – slow. Really slow. I believe my LSD run pace during marathon training was 6 min/km. I wouldn’t be surprised if I was running a 7 min/km today. It was mostly out of necessity though to keep myself from falling on the ice road. Overall, it felt good.

Want something sweet and salty and entirely satisfying? Do you want to love olives but don’t? Try this super easy recipe.

Olive Date Tapenade

Grind:

  • 2/3 C. walnuts (…or almonds, pecans or any combination of these) in a food processor

Add:

  • 1/2 C sliced black olives (or otherwise, if you want to pit them all)
  • 1/3 C pitted dates
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • a pinch of rosemary

Blend until the desired consistency is reached.

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This recipe is really easy to adjust if you want it sweeter or less sweet, if you love balsamic vinegar etc. Serve with your favourite cracker, or try it as a spread in a sandwich! 

So delicious, you might want to double it. My roommate in Moose Factory and I, ate this all in about 10 minutes and then made another batch. 

Bagels and Bread in One.

Happy New Year! It doesn’t really feel like the New Year because I haven’t done any official goal setting yet. I really should get working on that, although I have to say how much I have enjoyed being on holiday.

I arrived in Ontario yesterday, and start my next placement tomorrow at a teen pregnancy centre. I don’t actually know what I will be doing there, but I look forward to finding out! I felt quite unsettled yesterday, and not much better today.  It makes sense though; moving across the country with a suitcase and a rubbermaid, meeting new roommate(s), learning a bus network and starting a new ‘job’ could all be described as unsettling.

I might as well do something about it then!

My strategy?

Sign up for 2 weeks of unlimited adult dance classes (it turns out I can’t do shanays as well as I could when I was 11) and make bread!  I will write more later on the dance classes!

Combine:

2 ½ C whole wheat flour

1 ½ Tbsp quick acting yeast

½ Tsp salt

¼ C canola oil (or a similar oil)

¼ C honey

2 C warm water (hand washing warm)

Let sit 20 min (or 15 minutes in the summer) or until roughly doubled in size.

Grease a cookie sheet and a loaf tin while you wait.

Add:

1 ½ C whole wheat flour

½ C all purpose flour

…and knead in.

Add all purpose flour until dough is nicely combined and no longer sticky, bringing the edges into the centre and pressing down with the heel of your hand.

Use a serrated knife to divide dough in two.  Continue kneading one half for about five minutes and shape into a loaf, and placing it in the greased tin.

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Use the knife to cut the remaining dough into six. It took me a bit of moving dough around until I thought my bagels were an appropriate size. Knead each bagel separately. Follow the same kneading technique, taking the edges into the centre and pressing down with the heel of your hand.

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You will likely need to continue adding bits of flour until it is no longer sticky.  Press the ball of dough into your hand like you would a stress ball. Work it like this a few times until the ball of dough is mostly “seamless”, or your stress has all been released.

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Put a bit of flour on your fingers and poke a hole in the centre. Use your hands to shape into a bagel, gradually increasing the size of the hole. For all my midwifery and medical friends, I would say approximately 5-6 cm dilated. (I know, I couldn’t help it!) The holes may look big right now, but they will look smaller once the bagels rise a bit more.

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Cover the 6 bagels and loaf of bread with a warm, damp tea towel.  Leave to rise about 30 minutes depending on the temperature of your house.  Fill a big pot of water and find a slotted spoon – the big flat, round ones are best.

Heat your oven to 350˚C, and boil the water on the stove top.

The bread will take about 35 min and the bagels ~ 25 min so place the bread in the oven while you boil your bagels.

Since my bagels were pretty big, I boiled them one at a time. Although if you use a bigger pot, you could likely do 2-3 at one time. Make sure your water continues to boil and leave each bagel in the water for about 1 ½ minutes, flipping after 45 seconds.

Remove and place onto your tea towel to absorb the excess water for a couple of minutes, before placing them on your greased cookie sheet. Add to the oven with the bread and enjoy the aroma of bread baking in the oven!

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I can’t wait to enjoy one toasted in the morning…but I could also enjoy one now warm out of the oven.

I ate one with butter on half and PB on the other half. There is nothing like butter melting on bread freshly out of the oven.

Two years ago when I made bagels for the first time, I got most of my insight from 17 and baking. I haven’t browsed her blog much, but I did learn a thing or two about making bagels.

Since I am trying to adjust to Ontario time, I should be getting ready for bed soon.

Winter Running Festival recap!

On Saturday, I did a 5 kilometre race at the University of Guelph Arboretum. It has been more than a year since my last race – which was the Niagara Falls Marathon… and now I am racing 5 kms??!!? Ah well, I guess I have to get back into it sometime! During this race, I was thinking about how I have forgotten what it feels like to race. Regardless of my fitness (which is obviously less than amazing at the moment), there is something about racing that makes it always hurt. Not consitently, nor relentlessly, but there is a certain type of pain that reminds you of your limitations and capabilities. It is humbling, really. I like it.

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I finished 5th in my category, women 20-29, which is less meaningful to me than the fact that I maintained a sub 5-min-kilometre. My time was 24.45, which isn’t amazing, but is fast enough considering I haven’t raced in some time. AND – it was hardly a WINTER running festival. Tons of people were wearing shorts and tanks, as it was a gorgeous day!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites

Ingredients

  • 3/4 C. pitted dates
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 Tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 C. quick oats
  • 1/4 C. cocoa
  • pinch of salt

Method 

1. Put everything into a food processor until smooth. Roll between your hands into 1″ balls. Freeze 3-4 hours before eating

I obviously didn’t wait 3-4 hours, but I only had one.

Pauline gave me this idea after she found a blog recipe from pinterest for cookie dough bites (chocolate chip). On the weekend, my dear friend Bekah made chocolate peanut butter cookies to die for, and I knew after that, I had a flavour for the next cookie dough bite!

Pauline has already labelled a container for her freezer. Now… to keep it full might prove to be difficult!

Pangea Coconut Curry Soup

Almost 10 years ago, before my days of being excited about creative food, I had the most delicious soup of my life while visiting Ashland, Oregon. I wonder if I went back to visit this cafe now whether or not I would find it as amazing as I remember. Regardless, I wanted to be able to make it myself. Time passed and my favourite flavours developed – including, as you know, Thai curry, and coconut cream.

Last year, I randomly put together some of my favourite ingredients, and much to my delight, the outcome was so much like the soup I remember from the cafe in Ashland. If you ever go to Ashland, please check out the cafe called Pangea on Main street. I went back and had the same soup (Coconut Curried Yam) twice in the 4 days I was there!

I made my version last night and promised to post it for Pauline whom I am living with. I told her that she will be able to make it when I am gone with the red curry paste I leave behind!

Pangea coconut curry soup with local spelt seed bread

Pangea coconut curry soup with local spelt seed bread

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced or chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 sweet potato or yam, chopped (keep the skin on)
  • 1/4 C. coconut cream
  • 1-2 tbsp red curry paste (or to taste if you want it spicier!)
  • 1 1/4 C red lentils, rinsed
  • 1/2 roasted butternut squash, skin removed (you can really use any type of squash or pumpkin you have on hand, or just double your yams if you don’t have squash)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 C.  vegetable broth
  • 1-2 C. water

Method

  1. Heat oil over med. heat and saute onions with a wooden spoon until soft. (When I make this next time, I think I will just use a tablespoon of the coconut cream for sauteing the onions – less ingredients = more simple!)
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients except the broth & water, and continue to saute until fragrant. It doesn’t really matter what order you follow with your ingredients. I like that because then I can still be prepping, chopping my yams etc. while it has already started to cook!
  3. Add broth/water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until everything is soft. Puree in a blender in portions or use a hand blender if you have one!

I hope you enjoy this as much as my 18-year-old self did in Oregon!