Saturday, December 19, 2009
This year I got creative in the kitchen and baked my vegan peanut butter oatmeal cookies for everyone. Unfortunately, because of the snow today, 'Christmakuh' has been rescheduled! No worries though, I have the cookies safely stowed in the freezer until we meet to celebrate.
Here is my yummy, cruelty-free recipe. Enjoy and have a wonderful holiday!
Lauren's Peaceful Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Cookies
2 cups unbleached white whole wheat flour
2 cups rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 canola oil (non-GMO of course!)
3/4 cup chunky all-natural peanut butter (my favorite is Smart Balance!)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup grain sweetened chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two cookie sheets.
Toss together the flour, oats, baking powder, nuts, chocolate chips, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl mix together the oil, peanut butter, sugars, soy milk, and vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix. The dough will be very firm and moist.
Scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough and round with hand, then place onto cookie sheet. Gently flatten each cookie to a 1/2-inch thickness. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Allow to cool at least 10 minutes for firm up before moving off the cookie sheet.
Keep it fresh!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Clementines are a sweet citrus fruit available throughout the wintertime, mid-November through March. One clementine is only about fifty calories. They are packed with fiber, vitamin C, folate, and potassium. They are also very rich in antioxidants such as beta-carotene as well as ascorbic acid, nutrients which when consumed on a daily basis reduces age-related vision loss.
History & Trivia
The history of the clementine is unclear in many ways. Some believe it was an Algerian monk that first discovered the natural hybrid fruit. (Clementines are a hybrid between a sweet orange and a Chinese mandarin.) Others believe that the clementine originated in China much earlier. Either way, in 1909, the fruit came to the USA, and is now enjoyed as a winter favorite by Americans everywhere. The majority of clementines are imported from Spain, Morocco and North Africa. Although its always better to eat locally grown produce, we can make an acceptation for these!
Selection & Storage Tips
Clementines should be bright orange and slightly glossy. Purchase those that are firm, yet give a slight indentation when you squeeze them. Make sure they have no blemishes, and especially no shriveled skin. They can be stored up to a week in a bowl at room temperature. They will last two weeks in the refrigerator. Clementines make a great snack anytime, and are also a nice addition to salads, both fruit salads and green, leafy salads. The juice of clementines can be added to salad dressings for a sweet, refreshing tang! However you prefer your clementines, enjoy them all through the winter while they are at their best!
Keep it Fresh!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
It is mornings like these that I realize the simplicity of things, especially cooking. Using fresh, local ingredients makes it so easy and healthy. It is so satisfying to wake up and be able to indulge in such a breakfast. But it is also makes me feel a bit guilty. It makes me wonder how so many people can be hungry here when there is such an abundance of healthy whole foods.
I had the opportunity to find out the answer to that question over the last two weeks as I helped Gardens For Health International (GHI) conduct surveys of households all over the city, to whom they provide assistance. I got to see a lot of Kigali, and meet some amazing people in the process. An experience that certainly was a reminder of how much we take for granted.
GHI partners with 10 different co-ops throughout Kigali, all of which provide land for households with at least one member suffering from HIV. The land is used to grow crops in order to provide food security and nourishment to support their treatment. Throughout the course of the week I was paired up with a young Rwandan temp named Alfred, to conduct surveys in these households to help get a better idea of what foods they eat, what foods they grow, and if the gardens supplied by GHI are aiding in their adherence to treatment.
I knew that life here in Kigali was simple and that its people didn’t have much, but I don’t think you can ever really be prepared to witness the reality of life in an underdeveloped African nation. Nor do I think I could ever do it justice in writing, but I feel the need to try. However, in an effort to keep these blog posts short(er), I will describe my experience in a series of entries over the next week. An experience that has made me appreciate what I have, and realize how life here can be so difficult and so simple at the same time. So stay tuned!
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