Tuesday, 7 February 2012

I'm asking you a question today

I recently wrote to a friend of mine who "eats clean", that's her goal.  Interesting term, because honestly, I know I don't eat clean.  I've been dabbling in vegan recipes more and more and want to know if I should invest in and what, if any, are the benefits of xylitol, agave, stevia (and drops of vanilla stevia), even reducing or eliminating gluten.  I have a pretty standard, grocery store pantry and wonder if these products would be a great idea.  We have no food allergies, or sensitivites that we know of.  I have two boys that are active, but then how much do I chalk up to them being boys and at what point do I want to modify their diet to help them feel calmer?  I bake often and often wonder if I'm making the right choices for my family.  I already eat little processed foods and very little take-out foods, I make a lot from scratch.  I'm certainly not hard-core healthy in my choices and I would like to do what I can to keep deiseases like diabetes at bay (there is no history in my family yet).  I do still have to feed six hungry, growing mouths and on one income.  I always wonder where the balance is that if I was using better-quality ingredients, would we eat less volume thereby freeing up money that can be spent on each ingredient.  We don't eat organically often.  What are your thoughts and where would I start? What's the best bang for my buck - where will I make the greatest impact?

While you ponder your response, make these cookies and eat them for breakfast or snack. (I realize the recipe looks scary, but it IS just a cookie recipe and so very, very good. There's no extra work here, just a lengthy description of some of the ingredients. Tahini is sesame paste you buy in your grocery store in the ethnic food section, you may know it as a main component of hummus, yeah baby!) More on tahini here. My Mum likes it on toast.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
inspired by UrbanVeganista's site
my notes are in green
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup Mesquite flour* I did not use, but mixed flax meal, wheat germ and oat bran
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, rounded
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin cold-pressed coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup xylitol ** I used white sugar, sorry Veganista
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar ***
  • egg replacer – equivalent of 2 eggs**** I used 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
* Mesquite flour is hard to find, at least in my corner of the world, but it completely changes the outcome of the recipe. The cookies are good without it but completely different. Mesquite is not only nutritious but gives a nice texture and unique flavour to the cookies. Mesquite and tahini make these very special cookies! Currently, the only source of mesquite flour I have is Navitas Naturals. It used to be available at the Bulk Barn and perhaps it still is available there in larger cities.  I have yet to try mequite, but have been shopping more and more at the Bulk Barn, so will look for it next time.
** I use xylitol because it kills me to use sugar. Xylitol is suppose to be much healthier (less calories, lower GI, good for your teeth, a natural not artificial sweetener). It is a sugar derived from birch bark and corn. Keep away from pets – they cannot digest it and a small amount can kill them!
***I am going to try to replace this with Coconut sugar which contains nutrients and is lower glycemic.
**** I use EnerG egg replacement powder because it is easy, works and is not messy. A flax or chia seed replacement would most likely work but may change the texture.
1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. Make egg-replacer and set aside.
3. Combine flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in large bowl.
4. Beat tahini and coconut oil with electric mixer, add sugar and beat, add egg replacer and beat, add vanilla and beat.
5. Add the wet mix to the dry mix and stir in evenly.
6. Fold in walnuts and chocolate chips.
7. Form into balls and flatten slightly on baking sheet. Use wet hands. Also, you may want to chill the dough first to prevent spreading when cooking and to make the dough more manageable.
8. Bake for about 14 minutes. (It all depends on how soft you want to cookies.)

Thought of a comment for me yet?


  1. I think it's nice to embrace "clean" eating but I think your grocery bill will rocket. We have allergies and it's made a significant difference to our grocery bill. I think you're doing a good job just as you are.
    I do however like organic and local. I won't buy it at the grocery store but I like markets in the summer and free range meat in bulk, it's actually cheaper long run but you have to pay in bulk up front.

    1. We have indeed bought a half a cow once from someone we knew and it was unfortunately, not a good experience. We are open to doing this again and perhaps another beast, like a pig. We've also recently added many more meatless days to our menu and it is going over well so far and helps us appreciate the "meat" meals more I think! I admit I do not buy enough at the Market - that is an underused resource for me right now. Hi Kate!