Easy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

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Growing up, there was never a shortage of sweets in our house. Cookies–homemade or store bought– candy of multiple varieties, sugary cereals, soda I could help myself to, ice cream or popsicles (if not both) in the freezer. It’s a wonder to me why I don’t crave sweets very often these days. (Or why I don’t have diabetes or weigh much more than I do. ;) )

Yesterday was the first time in awhile where I actually craved anything super sugary. I woke up and all my body wanted was cinnamon rolls. Soft, pillowy, cream-cheese-glazed warm cinnamon rolls. It took every ounce of self-restraint not to walk into the kitchen and make some while drinking my coffee.

The time before that when I really, really had a nagging craving for something sweet, my brain immediately screamed “oatmeal cookies!” I am a long-time fan. My other favorite is a good, warm, slightly chewy chocolate chip cookie. Smash-banging the two together? Genius.

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Easy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Recipe very slightly modified from Half Baked Harvest.

Yields 14-16 cookies.

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chocolate chunks

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Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl add the oatmeal, flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, oil, egg and vanilla, stir together until the dough is moist and all the ingredients are combined. The dough will be very crumbly. Mix in the chocolate chips.

Use your hands to clump together a tablespoon of dough. Really squeeze the dough into a ball, using pressure from your hands as needed. If the mixture is not holding add 1 tablespoon more of oil. Place on prepared baking sheet. If your ball of dough is a little crumbly don’t worry, they’ll come together while baking. Repeat with remaining dough.

Bake for 10 -12 minutes or until set and golden. Transfer to a cooling rackThese are best right out of the oven, so eat up!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Tofu Pudding

photo 3Don’t run off too quickly! If there was ever something a girl could cook up that would make her immediately feel like a total hippie, tofu pudding is at the top of the list. Tofu pudding — does the name itself make you cringe? It did for me, for a long time. The first time I ever tried “chocolate tofu pudding” was a definite no-go. One bite of this particular store-bought variety was enough for me to swear it off forever. And I did for nearly a decade after that one bite.

Then a couple weeks ago, Vincent’s mom gave us a bit of chocolate tofu mousse she’d made. I didn’t know it was tofu until my husband told me so when it was half gone. I think the trick is two-fold: using the right tofu (so it’s creamy without residual graininess or tofu-tasting) and using good quality chocolate so that flavor takes over. I found myself immediately thinking how can I make this into puddings of other flavors? Chocolate peanut butter seemed urgently necessary.

This pudding is ridiculously creamy, sweet, and certainly it doesn’t feel like you’re being cheated out of dessert by this healthier option. This particular tofu pudding has nearly half the calories and fat as a traditional pudding, with added protein and an equal amount of tastiness. Plus it’s cheap and easy to throw together, as well as entirely kid-friendly.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Tofu Pudding

Serves 8-10 people.

Ingredients:
For the peanut butter pudding:
one 12-ounce package silken soft tofu (the unrefrigerated, shelf-stable kind)
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the chocolate pudding:
one 12-ounce package silken soft tofu (the unrefrigerated, shelf-stable kind)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

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Directions:

Prepare the peanut butter tofu pudding: Blend one box of tofu in a blender until smooth and creamy (1-2 minutes).  Add the sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla. Blend again until completely smooth. Scoop the pudding into a bowl until needed.

Prepare the chocolate tofu pudding: Melt the chocolate chips. To do so, place water in the bottom of a double boiler so the top of the water is a 1/2 inch below the upper pan. Then place the double boiler over low heat. Stir the chocolate constantly until it is melted. The water in the bottom of the double boiler should not come to boiling while the chocolate is melting.

While the chocolate cools slightly, blend the remaining box of tofu in your blender (I didn’t even rinse it out after making the peanut butter pudding first) until smooth and creamy. Add in the sugar, cocoa powder, unsweetened cocoa, vanilla and melted (and slightly cooled) chocolate. Blend until smooth and completely combined.

Layer the pudding: In a serving dish, scoop in half the chocolate pudding. Smooth out the top. Gently scoop the peanut butter pudding over the first layer of chocolate pudding. Smooth over the top, then gently add the remaining chocolate pudding on top, smoothing it out. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

You can serve the pudding scooped out as is, or top with whipped cream if you prefer!

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Saturday Sites: Week Forty-Three

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  1. In this little town I live in, this happened… (With video footage.)

  2. Some part of me really likes when I find a recipe where the name includes “healthy” and “chocolate” simultaneously.

  3. Don’t have a toaster? Make toast anyway! (My preferred way, too.)

  4. These stock photos of parenting with new, more relatable captions made me laugh.

  5. This… please! Minus the chicken.

  6. I enjoyed this video.

  7. Oh HEY banana cake with white chocolate nutella frosting?!?!

  8. Have you ever had Hokkaido milk bread? I’ve not… but I want it in my life.

  9. I’ve been an insomniac for decades. I wonder if this would help.

  10. Just in case you need a reminder: here.

  11. A part of me has always admired the dedication and work that people put into ballet. I am not a dancer. Not even close. My gracefulness come in less obvious ways, hah. I loved these behind-the-scene photos of ballet dancers.

  12. This post is one of my all-time-favorites regarding Halloween costumes. You’re welcome.

  13. Punny things are some of my favorite funny things!

Meatless Monday: Creamy Vegan Coconut Pumpkin Soup

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Things I especially love about this time of year are plentiful.  While the days are noticeably shorter, there is still daylight. And in that daylight, there are still  warm hours of the day. I can still get by with wearing tank tops and shorts without feeling like a crazy person. The leaves have been vibrant shades of orange, red and yellow, for a while now. Our fall has been mild so far; it’s obviously here — the trees are threatening to go bare, while brightly colored leaves litter the street; the mornings and evenings are cold enough for light sweaters and we’ve turned the heat on a few times now. Today has been wet and overcast, seeming ominous about the winter that slowly approaches.

Soup weather. I have never been someone who gets really excited about soup. Its taken almost three decades to grow any appreciation at all. Yesterday, however, it’s precisely what felt needed and the anticipation of cooking something that would bring warmth into the house and fill our home with the scent of homey, earthy food seemed necessary. Since our friends Ray and Janet shared some of their homegrown pumpkins with us again this year, I knew I wanted to experiment with a pumpkin soup (although I say every year that I will not succumb to the pumpkin-flavored-scented-whatever-everything-anything).

This soup is creamy and filling while remaining completely vegan. The beans add a fullness to the soup, while the coconut lends a bit of sweetness. It’s perfect for this time of year!

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Creamy Vegan Coconut Pumpkin Soup

Serves 8 – 1o people.

Ingredients:
One 4-pound cooking pumpkin
1/4 cup coconut manna
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1- 15 ounce can cannellini beans
4 cups vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1- 13.66 ounce can full-fat coconut milk

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Directions:

Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and membranous threads. Cut each half into four or five strips, following the natural vertical stripes along the sides of the pumpkin. Use a vegetable peeler or sharp knife to peel the outer skin from the pumpkin. Dice into 1-inch cubes.

In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil and coconut manna together over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and saute until translucent (5-7 minutes).

Stir in the salt, coriander, pepper, cubed pumpkin, cannellini beans, broth and bay leaf. Cover and cook until the pumpkin is fork-tender (15-20 minutes). Once the pumpkin is fall-apart tender, remove the bay leaf and then puree the soup until smooth (you may have to do this in batches if working with a smaller blender or food processor).

Return the pureed soup to the stove over low heat. Stir in the coconut milk and vinegar, heating until the soup reaches your desired serving temperature. Serve while hot, topped with fresh black pepper and/or a bit of plain yogurt or sour cream (dairy-free versions of either of those will keep this soup completely vegan).

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Day to Day Life: Weeks 39, 40, 41, 42!

I cringed when I just looked back to see how many weeks of these particular posts I’ve skipped… Four weeks! Life has been busy. Here’s a glimpse of the craziness:

One morning my mother in law invited me to go grape and plum picking with her… The result was 35.5 pounds of grapes and 11 pounds of plums!
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And what does a girl do with all of that produce? Make 13 pints of grape jelly infused with orange zest and lavender. And then also make fresh grape juice, apple plum jam, and lots of marinara sauce (from the unpictured MASS quantities of tomatoes out of our garden).
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A pretty rose for an early morning walk to the grocery store.
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We’ve been out of town often for water polo… Vincent’s been killing it as the varsity goalie! He is also one of the captains for their team — a role generally reserved for senior players… which he won’t be until next year (!).
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Silas’ sister also plays water polo for Ashland High School. She, too, has been a great asset for the team.
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You know who else gets to go out of town for water polo? This dude.
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And this dude/dudette.
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My favorite food group… NOODLES.
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A tiny, tiny vertical rainbow in there… Up north, near Eugene.
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I went on an adventure with my friend Janet one day… Evidence of the drought we’ve been experiencing around here — the lake is essentially nonexistent at the moment.
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Janet, right smack in the middle of the “lake.”
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Looking like a southern Oregon photographing hippie… Photo by Jazzy Renteria (Jazzy Photography)
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There’s something beautiful in this sad dried landscape (including the fact that it’ll likely be full again come spring time).
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Midweek margaritas, don’t mind if I do!
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Like I said… favorite food group! Noodles! Enjoying the last of our basil as homemade pesto.
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A random, last minute dinner one night — red lentil coconut curry with tofu and garbanzo beans.
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Chicken likes when I wear dangly earrings…
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A big ‘ole southern style dinner.
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Despite losing yesterday’s game, and feeling really sad about it, this boy shared a smile with his grandmother.
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One of my favorite snacks. Smashed avocado on toast with lots of black pepper and flaky salt.
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Hope the last few weeks have been good for you! :)