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Posts Tagged ‘nutrition’

This is a recipe describing the way I have been experimentally baking these days.  Recipes are not the boss of us; they are tools and guides, and the more we understand about what makes a good dish, the less we have to follow exact measurements and specific ingredients.  
I just can’t call these cookies.  Because if I call them cookies, people expecting cookies will frown at me, and think I’m a bad baker.  These are healthy(er) things shaped like cookies, with chocolate chips like cookies, but not really cookies.  They are a dessert.  
I told my friend’s kids, who sampled these, that I would send their mom the recipe.  I don’t particularly expect her to make them, and I don’t especially expect any of you to make them either.  As her husband pointed out, they’re pretty expensive cookies.  One advantage of
them, though, is that they are gluten and dairy free, and with growing numbers of people attempting such dietary restrictions, I thought I’d try them out. 
Process in a food processor for
5-10 minutes, scraping sides occasionally, until it makes a
“butter”:
3-5 hands-full of almonds and/or
cashews and/or peanuts (peanuts will have a stronger flavor) (substitute 1/2 cup
total nut butter from a jar if you want… keep extra on hand in case the dough
is too soupy)
Add:
1 can drained garbanzo
beans/chickpeas (Watch for good deals on these, places like Big Lots or HMart or
Trader Joes, or get your friends to give you the about-to-expire ones off their
pantry shelves…)
1 egg (or egg yolk, particularly if
you’re short of nut butter, as the whites will make the dough
runnier) (The egg is optional, but I think it greatly improves the texture.)
A sprinkle to 1/2 tsp. of baking
soda
A sprinkle to 1/2 tsp. of baking
powder
A sprinkle to 1/2 tsp. of salt
(on the lesser end if the canned beans were salted, or if you are using a nut butter from a
jar, which happens to have salt as the ingredient, or if your nuts were
salted)
1-2 hands-full brown
sugar
A quick pour of
vanilla
A drizzle of maple syrup or honey
(optional) (I want to try molasses.  Molasses is amazing.  But it will also
overtake the other flavors.)
Process these with the nut butter
until smooth.  If dough is so soupy that it won’t stay in a blob on a cookie
sheet, but rather will puddle before it even starts to cook, you need more nut
butter.  Another option is to sprinkle some oats in there.  (Apparently there is
some debate that I don’t understand about oats having gluten or not.  Choose
according to your level of intolerance and hype-acceptance.)
Add:
2-4 hands-full chocolate chips
(Guittard Real Semisweet or some other allergy-friendly brand if you care about dairy
free or soy free)
Stir this in by hand.  
Chill
dough.  Like, make these before a meal, chill during the meal, and pull it out
after you’ve rinsed the dishes and the table, to bake some up for
dessert.
Preheat oven to 350.  Drop small
spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet.  Cookies will start at about 1.5 to 2 inches and
spread to about 2.5 inches as they bake.  They bake for 15 minutes.  (Other
recipes I read said 20-25, but it doesn’t improve the texture and it does give the bottoms a kind of weird burned bean taste…)  Nut Butter Bites won’t remove from the
pan as easily as cookies, because they don’t have the same kind of greasy fats
as butter or Crisco.  I didn’t have much trouble, just know that there will be a
little bit of cake-like residue on the pan, like the inside of a used muffin cup
liner. 
I think they’re best warm.  They’re
better if 1) you’re not expecting a cookie, and 2) you don’t think about them
being basically hummus with chocolate chips. 
These nut butter bites are good for
you, though.  There is protein from the beans and nuts.  Nuts and beans have
minerals in them, and vitamins, that we US Americans need and don’t get enough of.
And the nuts (not so much peanuts, keep in mind) have those useful kinds of fats
that we don’t get enough of either. 
Cashews are high in: protein,
fiber, B vitamins, Vitamin E, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, selenium, and
zinc.  They have anti-oxidants and monounsaturated-fatty acids (good for your
cholesterol). 
 
Almonds boast about the same list
of beneficial nutrients, with less selenium and more calcium. 
 
Peanuts have a little less health
benefits, but they’re still present, including protein, iron, B vitamins, and
zinc.
Garbanzo beans (or chickpeas) boast
protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium.  They are mild phytoestrogens,
so they serve to naturally balance estrogen levels in our bodies (against
synthetic estrogens from meat and dairy and pharmaceuticals.) 
Maple syrup has zinc.  It’s nothing
compared to molasses, though, which offers calcium, iron, magnesium, and selenium.
A lot of these ingredients are good
for your digestion, liver and hormones, energy and strength, bone health,
skin health, heart health.  But they still have sugar, so don’t go too crazy
with them! 
 
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn
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Red Grapes

I made a discovery earlier this year.  Red grapes taste better than green ones.  My whole life Mom bought us green grapes.  When I was at a party, I stuck with the familiar.  On some desperate occasions when hosts inconsiderately offered only red grapes, I made do.  There was never anything wrong with them; I was just suspicious.  Surely if red grapes were not dangerous and tasted good, Mom would have varied her fruit purchase to include them.  Then finally I was shopping one day, and deciding which kind of grapes to buy.  That’s when I realized I prefer red grapes.

With green grapes, it was an adventure to try them: will they be sour or sweet?  Should you pick bigger ones or smaller?  Why do so many go mushy?  On the other hand, I can remember no bad experiences with red grapes.  All the classic images of grapes are red.  Grape juice is usually red.  Raisins seem to be dark (though I’m not sure if that happens to green grapes, too??).

A lighter flavor belongs to green grapes.  They, like green apples, have a tendency to tartness.  In some dishes and on some tables, they look brighter and more varied.  Or you could go for the bold, rich crimson of red grapes.

Purple raisins look good on salad.  They taste fabulous, too.  I like how raisins resist perishing.  There is a package at work I use for emergencies (when I slept in too long to make myself a lunch).  Today is such a day, and while popping a few into my mouth, I read the nutrition facts.  Usually when you eat fruit, you don’t get information about vitamins and calories and all that.  I know an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but I’m still not sure why.

Raisins (and I assume grapes, too) are a source of iron, of fiber, of a bit of calcium, as well as calories and carbohydrates – which is why raisins are sweet.  They also contain potassium, a substance that wards off cramps and is also found, (I know this one!) in bananas.

Oranges have Vitamin C, so I’m told.  And there are many other vitamins and minerals a body needs to stay healthy.  The nutritionists say to eat a variety of colors each day, and I don’t think M&M’s count.  I just wish I knew really what foods had what properties and how much, and how our bodies used them.  You know, like the potassium example.  That might be useful information for meal-planning and regulating the health of a family.

Meanwhile, I’m going to have my lunch of water, chai tea latte, and raisins – at 3:30 in the afternoon.  I may even supplement from the supply we keep in the office of chocolate (which I KNOW is healthy)!

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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