Monday, January 31, 2011

Flour - Wheat, White and in Between

I've finally found a type of flour that I like using for all my cooking and baking!  It isn't whole wheat - but it is close.  It is an organic, hard, red, winter wheat flour that is sifted to remove most of the bran - but retain the germ.  It is an amazing and versatile flour that I've been using in cookies and anything else that calls for flour.  That wheat germ is oh-so-healthy, and my baked goods don't have the whole-wheat grittiness.
I got the flour from a fantastic natural foods co-op called Azure Standard.  I paid less for this organic product than I would have for regular white flour at my local "big box" grocery store.  Here's a link to the product page:
This company is in the pacific northwest, but they ship UPS - as well as freight delivery.  Check them out.  And check out this fantastic flour!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Best Vegan Cookies

These are the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever tasted.  Vegan or not.  I'm not a vegan.  My husband is.  Because of his diet, I've just learned to do most of my baking without eggs.  To replace eggs, in most recipes, you can use a "flax egg".  To make a flax egg, just use about 2T ground flax in 1/4 c. fluid (you can use ricemilk, soy milk, nut milk or water).  Adding flax to your cookies and muffins has other benefits too, like added Omega 3's and dietary fiber.
Okay - here's the recipe.

2 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter (use earth balance to make it vegan)
1/2 c. peanut butter
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar (I like to use turbinado sugar instead)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. fluid (I use rice milk) + 1/4 c. ground flax   -   or use 2 beaten eggs
10 oz. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  If using the "flax egg", mix your ground flax into the fluid and set aside.  If using real eggs - skip this step.  Combine flour, soda, salt and chocolate chips in a large, mixing bowl.  Stir. Then, in another bowl, combine sugars, eggs (or flax mixture), softened butter, softened peanut butter and vanilla - mix well.  Then combine everything together in the large mixing bowl.  If you mix it with your hands, it will be easier.
Roll into one inch balls and press down onto ungreased baking sheets (I use baking stones instead).  Then bake for about ten minutes - being careful not to overbake.  Let these cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack or plate.  

A few notes:

Turbinado sugar (also known by the brand "Sugar in the Raw") is a nice, large granule sugar used in baked goods to enhance sweetness and add a little fun texture.  You can find it at most stores these days - wherever you buy sugar.

You can make these without peanut butter - just use one whole cup of butter, instead of a half cup.

Walnuts are also good in these.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Follow Me - Giveaway!

So this is a new blog for me.  I am planning to make it a public blog about cooking, eating, baking, nutrition, grocery shopping and creative meal planning.  I will, periodically offer giveaways and product samples, also recipe contests and helpful tips.
As a GRAND OPENING for my weblog, I'm going to host a little giveaway.  If you become a follower of my blog, I will enter your name into a drawing and - if you are selected - I will send you a jar of my very favorite spice blend in the mail!  You can follow publicly - or privately.  If you choose the latter, please send me an email to let me know you are following so that i can put your name in the hat.  Following my blog will not cause you to have additional email every time I post.  My blog and posts will just appear on your list if or when you log into Blogger. 
You can, however, subscribe to my posts and receive some other notification when I post.  If you subscribe, I will give you another entry into the sweepstakes.
Another way to get an additional entry is to post a link to this blog on your blog or website.  If you do that, please send me an email - or post a comment to let me know you did it.  

To become a follower, click the "follow" tab on the top right section of this page.  To subscribe to posts, scroll down to the bottom of this page and click on "subscribe to posts."

I'll give you some time to enter.  Then I'll draw a name, randomly, on February 15, 2011.
Best wishes to you.  And thanks for reading my new blog.