The Stress-Bake Cookies

Work has been kind of stressful, so I decided to do some stress relief by pouring a glass of wine, putting on silly reality TV, and try another more healthful recipe I found. http://www.averiecooks.com/2013/02/soft-batch-dark-brown-sugar-coconut-oil-cookies.html This was really easy to put together but didn’t do three things I expected: 1. Look like the cookies in the picture. 2. Flatten out pretty much at all. 3. Cook all the way through. They looked like micro dinner rolls when they came out of the oven and were basically raw on the inside. This could be because I didn’t actually chill the dough like the recipe says. I don’t know how I missed this part, I only just realized now, oops! But I rectified the last two by flattening them on the counter with my hand and baking them for a little longer. I think if you want to make them prettier do use the ice cream scoop like in the directions from Averie Cookies.

Chewy Molasses Cookies
Ingredients:
– 1/2 cup coconut oil, softened
– 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
– 1 large egg
– 2 tablespoons vanilla extract (yes tablespoons, not teaspoons), or to taste
1 tablespoon unsulphered mild to medium molasses (use very dark or Blackstrap at your own risk because its very pungent and bitter for baking)
– 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
– 2 teaspoons corn starch
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/4 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste

Directions:
1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine coconut oil, egg, sugar and beat on medium-high speed to cream until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Note – Coconut oil should be the consistency of soft butter like you’d use to cream with sugar and eggs in traditional cookies. If coconut oil is rock hard, microwave it in a small bowl for 5 to 10 seconds or just until it begins to soften. If coconut oil is runny or melted, place it in the freezer momentarily until it firms up. A tiny amount of runniness is fine; it’s an oil and that happens. But do not use melted or purely liquid coconut oil because you can’t effectively cream a liquid; it would be like trying to cream liquid butter.

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2. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla, molasses, and beat to incorporate, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the flour, corn starch, baking soda, optional salt, and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.

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3. Using a medium cookie scoop, form mounds that are 2 heaping tablespoons in size; or divide dough into approximately 15 to 16 equal-sized pieces. Place dough mounds on a large plate, and slightly flatten each mound. Very important to get the dough mounds in the exact shape you want to bake them in because after chilling, flattening or re-shaping them is very difficult. Cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours; up to 5 days. Do not bake these cookies with dough that has not been properly chilled because they will spread.

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4. Preheat oven to 350°F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat, parchment, or spray with cooking spray. Place dough on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart; I bake a maximum of 8 per sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until tops have just set, even if slightly undercooked, pale, and glossy in the center. They firm up as they cool and I recommend the lower end of the baking range because they taste best when softer. The cookies in the photos were baked for 8 minutes, with trays rotated once midway through baking.
5. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes before moving. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Alternatively, unbaked dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

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But everyone still really really enjoyed them at the office!

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The Smoothie Obsession

Even though I’m trying to keep a more healthy lifestyle, I just can’t give up my sweets. I tried a challenge of having no sweets for 30 days and I went little crazy, I was even dreaming of candy and baked goods. So I’m trying to find better options to make myself at home! This one seemed like it might not be the most healthful option, but I figured in moderation it would be a good idea. I generally make 2 servings at once and freeze them to make a fro-yo like dessert. I have also been considering turning it into a protein shake too! Check the ingredients to see how!

Choco-Nana PB Smoothie
Ingredients
– 1/2 cup chocolate soy milk
– 1 frozen banana
– 1 tbs honey
– 2 tbs plain greek yogurt
– 2 tbs peanut butter
– 2 tbs cocoa powder KB Note: this is where I think you can substitute the cocoa powder for chocolate protein powder to make it even healthier!

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Directions
– Combine all ingredients, blend completely.
– I separate into several mason jars for smaller portions.

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The Friday Night Solo Date Night Dinner

I decided to have a “Kate Date Night” last night and just have a fun solo night in. Dinner and a movie with some wine on the couch was exactly what I wanted. I didn’t want to have to buy a bunch of things for a full meal so I decided to do something smaller, a paleo vegetable curry. I’ve continued to keep searching for healthy recipes and came across my new favorite website, http://healthyrecipesblogs.com. This woman is beyond amazing. The recipes not only are incredibly healthy but she also gives you the nutritional facts which I adore. I will definitely be blogging about her recipes a lot. I already printed out so many for my recipe binder!! The vegetable curry was sooo delicious, easy, and healthy! http://healthyrecipesblogs.com/2013/05/22/spicy-vegetable-curry/ It was exactly what I needed.

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Ingredients
– 4 tablespoons olive oil
– 1/2 lbs. cubed butternut squash (or 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed) KB Note: I went over with the butternut squash because I love it so much. I’ll use a whole squash next time.
– 1 medium eggplant, cubed KB Note: I wouldn’t use as much eggplant next time. It got too mushy.
– 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
– 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
– 1 large onion, chopped
– 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
– 1 tablespoon minced garlic
– 1 tablespoon curry powder
– 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
– 1 teaspoon ground cumin
– 1 teaspoon ground coriander
– 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
– 1 cup water

Directions
1. Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes. Add the butternut squash, eggplant, peppers, onion and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.

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All the ingredients combined!

Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper and 1 more teaspoon kosher salt and cook, stirring, 2 more minutes, until vegetables are well-coated.

With all the spices except the garlic I forgot to buy, whoops!

With all the spices except the garlic I forgot to buy, whoops!

2. Stir in the water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender. Turn heat off and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

All finished, missing a bowl full already :)

All finished, missing a bowl full already 🙂

You’re going to have enough for four people easily. I have a lot left over. Just be prepared to have the smell of curry linger in your house afterwards!!