Sunday, September 23, 2012

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies - Healthified.

I found a recipe for whole wheat oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, because I wanted less guilt associated with the cookies I was about to devour.
And I found a way to make them even less guilty :)

There's still chocolate and sugar and calories in them, but hey, as cookies go, I'd say we're doing pretty well.

The original recipe can be viewed at

Overall, I substituted coconut oil for butter and cut down the sugar by half.  They turned out perfectly, and very rich - so try to have some milk on hand to drink with them.  I also left out the milk, so these are almost vegan (Except for the chocolate chips).

Dealing with coconut oil instead of butter gives a great flavor to the cookies, and makes putting the batter together super quick.

-1/2 cup coconut oil (coconut oil is solid at room temperature.  I suggest you heat it up.  I keep mine on my gas stove, so the warmth from the pilot light keeps it in its liquid state).
-1 egg
-1 tsp vanilla
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp cinnamon
-dash of nutmeg (optional)
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1 cup whole wheat flour
-1 cup uncooked oats
-1/2 cup chocolate chips (or 3/4 cup if you have it and want more chocolate)
-1/4 cup nuts (optional) - betty crocker recommended walnuts.  I used some sunflower seeds.

-Preheat oven to 350 deg. F
-Cream together the brown sugar and the coconut oil.
-Add the egg and vanilla.  Cream until smooth.
-Add the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and baking powder.  Stir until incorporated.
-Stir in the cup of whole wheat flour.
-Stir in the oats, chocolate chips, and nuts (if using).
-Grease a cookie sheet with butter.
-Using a small scoop or spoon, drop rounded teaspoons about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.
-Bake for 12-15 minutes, until lightly golden around edges.

They will be soft and chewy.  Coconut oil was born to be in cookies. :)

Friday, September 14, 2012

What's cooking now, you ask?

This week has been crazy.  Matt made some great butternut squash curry so that has been our lunch all week (I'll get you the recipe sometime).  Dinner tonight was popcorn and watermelon, to give you an idea of how much I have not been in the mood to cook.

Right now, law school's cooking.  I'd say it's baking at a steady 375, but earlier this week it was definitely broiling.

Stay tuned for a recipe for some tender roast chicken I'm planning to make this weekend.  With fresh oranges and rosemary, unless some better flavor combination comes along (like cilantro and lime, oh yum, my favorite).

Sleep tight.  And may you also have lovely dreams about cilantro and lime (and orange?).

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Cold Remedy #2: Hot Toddy

I am not an alcoholic...unless I'm sick.  Matt says it suppresses the immune system.  Sometimes I care about that.  But it makes me feel so much better to drown my sickness in bourbon.
*Caution: must drink lots of water as well so you don't dry out.

Uh oh, did I just promote alcoholism?  Oops.  Well, I am a law student.

And if you can't stay home and drink in the comfort of your bed, I find that half a shot of bourbon in the morning removes unwanted phlegm (for a little while anyway).  I haven't yet stooped to carrying some in a flask at school.

We vary our hot toddy recipe depending on what we feel like drinking, and how much bourbon we can afford to buy, so think of this as guidelines for making your own.

Our Favorite Toddy:

3 oz. bourbon
3 oz. boiling water
1/2 tbsp honey
1 sprig fresh mint leaves - from the garden :)  OR mint tea bag (steep in hot water)

We also liked chamomile tea, with added mint leaves, if you have that on hand.  With the bourbon and honey (and lemon, on occasion).

Typical Toddy:

2 oz. bourbon (as good as you can afford - the cheap 4 roses is quite suitable, I find)
1 tbsp honey
4 oz. boiling hot water
juice of half a lemon (I found the lemon irritated my throat after a day or two, so I now prefer to leave it out)

OR (If you have a microwave)
As much bourbon as you can stand
With a tbsp of honey
squeeze of lemon
OR a sprig of fresh mint (this is the route I would go)

So when you feel a cold coming on, here's your new grocery list: kleenex, generic daytime and nighttime cold medicine, bourbon, tea, honey, and lemons (if you want to go that route).

Drink up and feel better!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Cold Remedy #1: Hot & Sour Soup

Well, it's been a while.  Matt and I have both been pretty sick with the cold.  Matt's still recovering, actually.  But when we were sick this week, it was always nice to come home to a pot of hot and sour soup that I had--thank goodness--made on Monday before the symptoms set in.

The weather's getting cooler, so cold season will soon be upon us.  Get ready with this recipe and the Toddy recipes to come.

I found this incredible recipe for hot and sour soup on simply recipes' website, and I highly recommend reading the post.  It's very insightful regarding the central components of hot and sour soup.

I did make a few modifications to it, like adding minced fresh ginger and garlic to make it more 'healthful.'  And I dump in whatever mushrooms I can find.

If you have chicken, that would also be very good in it.  We just didn't have any on hand, and when I feel a sickness coming on, I didn't want to deal with cooking some chicken.  But I suppose we should be buying chicken and adding it to the soup.  As Tevye the milkman said, When a poor man eats a chicken, one of them is sick. 

Speaking of which, Fiddler on the roof is a great film to watch, whether you are sick or not.
By the way, I've seen that movie about a thousand times in the past 10 years of my life, and I just recently realized what this quote means.
For all the other shlemiels out there, the saying means that either the man is sick so he will spend the money on a chicken to help him get well, or the chicken is sick so it was cheaper for the man to buy.

Anyway, back to the soup recipe.
Matt, our friend Stephen, and I all think this is probably the best hot and sour soup we've had.  Ever.

I'll add a picture later tonight.


4 quarts water
6 chicken bouillon cubes (each intended for 2 cups) (Or just use 12 cups of chicken stock)
2 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
3 tsp chili oil (cut down if you don't want it very spicy - this stuff is pretty potent)
1 tsp sesame oil
1-2 tbsp lime or lemon juice (WARNING: I love super sour soup, so if you don't, you can leave this out, and you might want to cut down on the vinegars as well)
1-2 tsp ground white pepper
1-2 tbsp crushed red pepper (leave out if you don't want it very spicy)
2 groups green onions (about 10-12 onions)
2 packages enoki mushrooms
1 lb shiitake mushrooms (or whatever kind you want)
10-15 black fungus mushrooms (you can find these dried at Asian markets)
10-15 lily buds (you can find these dried at Asian markets as well)
4-5 cloves garlic
1 squared inch of fresh ginger
1 19-oz block of firm tofu (please buy at an Asian market for a third of the price of your regular grocer)
1 large can of sliced bamboo shoots

2-3 eggs

fresh cilantro (I love this stuff, so I used two bunches, plus a third bunch for a fresh garnish)


Heat approximately 4 quarts of water in a large stock pot.  Go ahead and dump the bouillon cubes in there.  Bring it to a slow simmer and stir, making sure the cubes dissolve.

Add the soy sauce, vinegars, oils, lemon/lime juice, white pepper, and crushed red pepper.  This may be accomplished without any ceremony.

Let the mix simmer a bit.  You can taste it as you go and add to it if it is not to your liking.

Go ahead and slice the green onions, and mince the garlic and ginger while you're waiting on that.

Once the broth has simmered a few minutes, ladle some into a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

Add the lily buds and black fungus to the small saucepan so that they can rehydrate. (You can use just water for this, but I like them to soak up the flavors of the soup).

When they are nice and plump (as in, not dried anymore), dice the lily buds and slice the black fungus.  Add these and the garlic, ginger, and onions to the soup.

Dump the tofu water out, and dice/slice the tofu into strips or bite-size pieces and dumpt it in the pot.

Wash and slice the shiitake mushrooms, chop the enoki mushrooms, chop some fresh cilantro, and open the can of bamboo shoots.  Dump it all into the pot.
*Note: It is best to clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel, one by one, instead of rinsing them in water.  Mushrooms soak up water quickly, so if you rinse them, they won't soak up as much of the soup flavors when you put them in the soup.

Let it simmer a bit.
Bring it to a boil one last time.  Beat the eggs in a separate bowl until they break, as though you were going to scramble them.  When the soup is boiling, pour the beaten eggs into the pot, stirring slowly, so that they can "feather" into the soup.  Lovely.

Ladle into serving bowls and top with some fresh cilantro.
Eat up and feel better (whether you're sick with the cold or not)!