Seed Cookies

Seed Cookies | www.purplehousecafe.com

These cookies are so delicious.  And they almost seem healthy.  Almost.  But they’re still 100% cookie.  

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I always like to have a batch in the freezer for unexpected guests, meetings and…you know…for the times I go downstairs to let the dog out and the freezer is just sitting there, and it has cookies in it, and even though they’re frozen….you know…

Seed Cookies | www.purplehousecafe.com

Seed Cookies
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup butter
  2. 3/4 cup brown sugar
  3. 3/4 cup white sugar
  4. 1 tsp. vanilla
  5. 2 eggs
  6. 1 cup whole wheat flour
  7. 1 cup all-purpose white flour
  8. 1 tsp. baking powder
  9. 1 tsp. baking soda
  10. 1 cup coconut
  11. 1 cup oatmeal
  12. 1 cup rice krispies (or some other cereal)
  13. 1 cup raisins
  14. 1 cup chocolate chips
  15. 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
  16. 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  17. 1/3 cup flax seeds
  18. 1/3 cup wheat germ
  19. 1/2-3/4 cup crystallized ginger
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. Um, combine all the ingredients together. This dough is pretty stiff so if you have a stand mixer, you might want to use that to avoid a serious arm workout. Unless you skipped your workout today, in which case...
  3. The great thing about these cookies is that you don't really need all of these ingredients. In fact, I rarely do. I don't think I've ever put sunflower seeds in them, and the ginger is optional depending on your tastes. As long as the dough is stiff enough to form balls out of, you're probably a-ok.
  4. That said: once the dough is combined, form into balls and place on greased baking sheets (note: sheets. This recipe makes a lot of cookies!).
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Purple House Café https://www.purplehousecafe.com/

Granola Bars: A healthy, homemade snack

In my continued quest to eat less processed food, I started making our snacks from scratch.  These granola bars are really quick to make, and usually last us through the week (well, after the initial finger-scooping of warm, gooey oat clumps fresh out of the oven).

Granola Bars | www.purplehousecafe.com

Here’s what you need:

2 cups oats

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup honey

1 egg

1 cup (or so) of your choice of dried fruit, nuts, or chocolate.  I highly recommend the chocolate.

Granola Bars | www.purplehousecafe.com

Mix all ingredients and press into greased 11 x 13 pan. Bake at 325F for 20 minutes or until edges are browned. Take out and let cool entirely. Cut into bars for snacking.

Granola Bars | www.purplehousecafe.com

Candied ginger is an EXCELLENT choice in granola bars!

Granola Bars | www.purplehousecafe.com

Recipe adapted from Super Healthy Kids http://www.superhealthykids.com/

Power Balls: Food for an Earth-loving Bike Commuter

Happy Earth Day everyone!

What are you doing to celebrate this awesome planet – today, or every day?

I’m definitely not the perfect environmentalist, despite being the daughter of two environmental scientists.

I don’t compost as much as I should.  I usually choose the peace and quiet of my own car over a bus on a rainy day.  I have been known to occasionally let my engine idle, afraid that turning it off would wake up the baby sleeping in the back seat (and in the last year, I am a weensy bit more compassionate towards idlers – whereas I used to be really tempted to knock on their window and tell them to shut their dang cars off – I now realize that maybe when you have only had two hours of sleep the night before and the baby is finally napping and all you want to do is lean the seat back and catch a few zzzz’s yourself and turning off the car will ensure that you DON’T get that much-needed nap, that it might be semi-excusable.  I get it.  But on those days, plant a tree or something, eh?).

I do, however, buy local whenever possible.  I consider it a challenge to eat locally in mid-winter.  I avoid packaged and processed foods as much as possible.  I have a garden.  I’ve started shopping for used clothing before heading straight for new duds.  I get out and breathe the fresh air as often as possible.

One of my biggest commitments to being a little more earth-friendly is my relationship with my bike:  I’m a regular bike commuter – 20km a day to and from work, with lots of thigh-burning, sweat-prickling, lung-busting hills.

Getting ready for the morning commute on this beautiful, sunny Earth Day

Getting ready for the morning commute on this beautiful, sunny Earth Day

All this physical activity, while awesome for my body, my brain and my planet, leaves me in a bit of a food quandary at times:  firstly, all this hard work makes me darn hungry.  All day.  Secondly, I only have the backpack on my back to carry my day’s supply of food.  Not to mention my work clothes, requisite supply of earrings/bracelets/scarves, and my trusty iPad.  So.  I need food that packs a lot of bang for the buck.  Or size.  You know.

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Enter the Power Ball (name made up by me).  These little babies are quick to make, no bake, tasty, and filling.

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Here’s what you need:

½ cup peanut butter

¼ cup honey

1 tsp vanilla

¾ cup oatmeal

¾ cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)

½ cup ground flaxseed

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

½ cup raisins

Here’s what you do: 

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Mix all the ingredients together, stirring until they form a cohesive ball.  Roll into balls, whatever size you like.  Enjoy!  These can be frozen or refrigerated.  I like to package them, two to a ziplock, so they’re easy to grab for a snack and so that I’m not tempted to eat more than two – they are seriously addicting.  Also, I’ve done a huge number of variations of these – chocolate chips and candied ginger, dried cranberries, raisins and a couple tablespoons of cocoa…the list goes on.  Be creative!

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Recipe adapted from Krista Butler, Taste of Nova Scotia blogger

Matcha Macaroons…and a bloggity blog day

Matcha Macaroons…and a bloggity blog day

Sorry I’ve been AWOL, everyone!  I’m sick sick sick…and still recovering today.  Thankfully, my typey fingers work and I remembered that I have a food blog (yesterday, if you’d asked me that question I might not have given an accurate answer…).

I’ve been wanting to tell you about this cool little bloggity blog day I had a couple weeks ago.  It was one of those days that made me feel like the universe was telling me I was doing the right things.

I had met up with my friend Amy from foodeverywhichway.com at David’s Tea.  While deciding on what brew to sip, I noticed some matcha powder for sale.

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A few months ago while browsing at a local craft sale, I had tasted (okay, greedily wolfed down without sharing) the most beautiful, unique cupcake I’d had in ages:  a yellow butter cake cupcake with matcha green tea icing.  I was determined to re-create its’ awesomeness.  I made a yellow butter cake, but itwasn’t as moist and rich as the cupcake I had eaten.  Next I had to try the icing.

I took the matcha powder up to the counter and asked about how one might use it in a buttercream recipe.  Well, turns out, David’s Tea (on Spring Garden Road) happens to have a resident expert in baking with tea.  He promptly informed me as to the appropriate quantity of matcha powder required, and then provided me with a couple other tea-baking recipes to try.

On the way home from my tea date with matcha powder in hand, I had decided to stop at Argyle Fine Art to pick up the “Musicians, Memories and Morsels” cookbook for my recent giveaway.  I was so excited about the whole thing that I mentioned to the person working at the gallery that I was giving away the book to readers of my food blog.  She thought that was so cool, and told me she had a food blog too:  Gateaux Rose.  This, my friends, was Crystal, the very creative and talented person behind the yellow butter cake/matcha buttercream cupcakes that I had been dreaming about for two months.  Beaming and gesticulating wildly, I pulled out my matcha powder and began rambling on about the incredible-ness of her cupcakes and how much I admired her artistic cake decorating abilities (you have to check out these cakes….they are works of art!), while also hinting that I would appreciate any tips she could provide on mastering the art of the yellow butter cake.

I left the gallery simply ecstatic about food and blogging and coincidences and the world (!) and everyone in it (!).  It was a good day.

So I wanted to share with you the recipe for the matcha macaroons.  I’m sure you can get matcha powder at lots of different places, but I picked up mine at David’s Tea.  I think next time I might use a little less matcha (maybe 3 tbsp.) – but if you love the taste of green tea, use the full amount (I would love to hear your feedback on this recipe!).  Also:  stay tuned for more matcha-involving baked goods!

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Here’s what you need:

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup milk

6 tbsp. cocoa powder

5 tbsp. matcha powder

5 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup sweetened coconut

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp salt

Here’s what you do:

Lay out several sheets of parchment paper.

Combine the sugar, butter, milk, cocoa powder and matcha powder in a pot and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients.

Using a spoon and some guidance from your fingers, dollop cookie-sized globs of the mixture onto the parchment paper.  Allow to set for a couple hours before indulging.

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Enjoy!

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Sweet Potato Coconut Soup

Before I figured out what I wanted to do with my life (well, sort of), I worked in the kitchen of a popular coffee house close to the university.  We pretty much just sold sandwiches and soups, so I quickly developed an expertise for slicing cucumbers and tomatoes and creating, on a daily basis, what I hoped would be an enticing and interesting sounding soup.

I spent my mornings chopping and sauteeing and boiling while sipping on botched lattes and eating broken cookies and cupcakes.  It was a pretty simple life, and it was here that I really started developing an appreciation for and ability to cook.

One of the soups that has remained in my food repertoire even after I traded in my apron for “slacks” and other business casual attire is this sweet potato coconut one.

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Here’s what you need:

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1/2 large onion, diced

1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened, depending on your preference)

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp powdered ginger

Here’s what you do:

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Throw the sweet potatoes, onion and spices in a medium-sized pot and add water – just enough to cover the veggies.  Place on the stove over medium heat.

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Once the oven has preheated, spread the coconut in a layer on a baking sheet and place in the oven.  Watch it carefully, stirring as needed until the coconut is a golden brown colour.

Add half of the coconut to the simmering vegetables.

Allow the vegetables to cook thoroughly, until they are quite soft.  Remove from the heat and blend the soup using an immersion blender or a food processor.  Note:  if using a food processor, you may wish to work in batches so as not to overflow the processor, and you may wish to allow the soup to cool a little before blending so you don’t burn yourself!

Sprinkle some of the remaining toasted coconut onto the soup for serving.

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