Archive for March, 2014

Happy Birthday and National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

I always like to bake something to send to Poppa for his birthday.  How many golf hats and shirts can you have?  Although we did that too – sshhh.  When I realized today was Chocolate Chip Cookie Day (no it’s not on my calendar, another blogger informed me) I figured that was the start.  Trying something different I was inspired by a vegan chocolate mint cookie recipe.  I made some tweaks to reduce oil, omit nuts and amp chocolate and here’s what I came up with.  I had to pack them quickly and remind my kids they were (mostly) for Poppa.

Oatmeal Chocolate Mint Cookies

The mint and spices make set these apart from the same old chocolate chip cookie recipe.  They have a scone or cake like texture because of the lack of butter and addition of applesauce.  These can be made vegan by choosing dark or vegan labeled chocolate chips.

Makes about 24 cookies

2 cups flour

1  1/2 cups chocolate chips

3/4 cups rolled oats

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch ground nutmeg

2/3 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup applesauce

3 tablespoon canola oil

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place dry ingredients, first six listed, in a large bowl and mix together.

Combine wet ingredients in a medium bowl.

Add wet to dry ingredients and mix well with a rubber spatula.

Refrigerate dough for 15 minutes.  Drop dough on prepared sheets by heaping tablespoon or small ice cream/cookie scoop.  Gently press with spatula.  Cookies will spread so leave room between.

Bake until golden brown on bottom, about 12 minutes.  Let cool on sheets.

 

 

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Scary News About Plastics – Read, Shop and Rethink for Safety

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

This is a follow up to my Facebook post and article link about the safety or rather “unsafety” of plastics deemed “BPA free”.  As Earth Day Approaches I hope more people will read these articles and come up with some solutions to protect not only our earth but our children and families as well.

 

I’ve always advocated for stainless steel for lunch boxes, utensils and snack containers.  I never put hot foods in plastic or in the microwave.  I’ve always used “real” dishes, utensils, and glasses (meaning glass, porcelain and stainless) even when my kids were babies .  So, I was already motivated to throw away most of our plastic.

 

I don’t think of our family as using plastic much, but it was surprising that we do and not even think about it.  My kids use their PlanetBoxes and sometimes a stainless KidsKonserve bottle,  but most days they use a BPA free (ha!) sports bottle for water.  We all thought BPA was the poison and were lulled and marketed into “BPA Free”.  My kids use a fluoride rinse at night and I pour it into a plastic cup.  So I threw those away.  But wait the rinse is already in plastic(!).  I also threw away my kids favorite curly straws.  They don’t use them often, but they weren’t happy to see them go.  I also tossed out some “BPA Free” storage containers I sometimes use (when the glass runs out) or we’re taking something to a potluck (and I don’t mind if I leave the container behind).

 

Plastic, BPA Free or not, really is everywhere.  So besides ridding our glasses and food storage we may have to think about some other changes.  Of course there’s the packaging of food items which is hard to avoid at the grocery store.  But perhaps now we should remove the food from packages and transfer to glass when we get home.  What about that fluoride rinse?  I can’t really keep that in a pitcher or thermos.  Maybe tin cups for the bathroom?  I get worried with glass in the bathroom.  I ordered some stainless straws online (they don’t come in curly).  I went out and bought more glass food storage containers – but even most only offer those with plastic lids.  I’ll have to be more careful when packing for potlucks and events and remind myself to get my dishes back.  I’m working on the water bottles.  We already have glass and stainless but my kids like the plastic for sports games.  They don’t have to worry about breakage and are lighter to carry in their bags.  Anyone with the perfect non plastic sports bottle/container?  Please share and we can all work together.

I was so angry after reading this article about plastics.  And I grew angrier trying to rid my house of these.  I know it’s been excerpted in other periodicals and shorter articles but this full story is infuriating.  It’s amazing how big business and lobbyists are able to jump on the next bandwagon and fight consumers and families on issues of such important safety concerns.  This article details how the old tobacco consultants are now leading the efforts to keep plastic companies out of trouble.  Why not spend all those dollars to create a new plastic type material without harmful chemicals?  Here’s the entire article and study if you want a rude awakening.

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/03/tritan-certichem-eastman-bpa-free-plastic-safe

 

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Power Outage – Eat the Ice Cream!

Monday, March 10th, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last week we had some electrical work done on our house and PG&E had to turn off our power.  I was sure to time this when I didn’t need to cook for any classes or occasions.  I needed the power to only be off 24 hours as the next night would be the school book fair cafe and I was making 3 pounds of pasta and 24 cookies.  I actually thought the day may be kind of relaxing.  No electricity meant quiet, and I would catch up on some reading and writing.  This wasn’t  really the case as the electricians had their own power and a radio with some bad metal music.  It also meant my WiFi wouldn’t turn on, so no writing (at least online).

 

After some errands and about an hour of cleaning and organizing ….  (I couldn’t figure out much more to do as reading wasn’t happening with the bad rock in the background) I thought about my refrigerator.  I couldn’t see the temperature because the digital was off.  Luckily I have an old fashioned thermometer and I checked the temp.  The refrigerator was 43 and the freezer was 14.  Oh no!  In case you don’t know the refrigerator should be 37F or lower and the freezer 0F degrees or lower.    I moved the refrigerator items to the freezer.  I couldn’t move everything but went with the most perishable – milks, veganaise, eggs, cheeses, meats, etc.  As far as the items in the freezer?  Well those would have to wait and see what happens.

mango meets vanilla

 

 

 

 

 

here comes pineapple

 

By the time I left to pick up my kids from school, the freezer was now 35.  So my freezer had become the refrigerator.  When we got home from school I announced we could eat the sorbet and ice cream in an effort not to waste food.  My kids were thrilled.  I had to improvise and say we would make a shake since some of it was a little soft and melty.  My kids suggested the blender and I reminded them about the power.  So it was the power of the whisk to blend the mango sorbet with the vanilla ice cream.  Then to really get crazy we added chunks of frozen (now just cold) pineapple pieces.  This new “whip” was a big hit.

Vanilla Mango Pineapple Whips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the time approached dinner prep, thankfully PG&E arrived to turn back on the power.  Now I had to think about dinner.  Not wanting to waste again; my kids and I took inventory of the freezer and refrigerator.  Some of the items such as vegan burgers and potstickers had already thawed.  And I was worried about eggs and veggies that sat below optimal temperatures before I got them to the freezer.  So it was an everything dinner.  I let everyone pick what they wanted from the thawed and perishable ingredients.  It was quite a smorgasbord.  I stayed with dinner left-overs while my kids crossed flavors, countries and imaginations (egg nachos and potstickers anyone?).  It was actually pretty fun.  Did I mention my husband was gone?  When we told him what happened and our crazy dinner he asked “why didn’t you just go out?”  He didn’t get it.  That would’ve been giving up and we were on a mission to save the food.

smorgasbord of makings

 

leftovers for mom

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