Cranberry Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

These might be the best cookies I have ever made.

Cranberry Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¾ cup (1 and ½ sticks) softened butter or any vegan
margarine/spread

½ cup sugar (I use Sugar in the Raw)

¾ cup brown sugar, firmly packed

¼ cup of applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups of organic oatmeal

½ cup dried cranberries

½ cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt together
in a bowl.

In another bowl, cream the butter, sugars, applesauce, and
vanilla extract together. Next,
gradually mix in the dry mixture.
Finally, mix in the oats, cranberries, and pecans.

Using a tablespoon for measurement, drop the cookie dough on
an ungreased cookie sheet, or in my case, two pizza pans. Bake for about 8-9 minutes and let
completely cool before transferring cookies to the cookie racks. The applesauce makes them appear to be uncooked
or undercooked, but when they cool, they are moist and delicious.

You can easily veganize these cookies by using vegan
margarine. I have just discovered the
beauty of using applesauce as an egg replacer.
I have used bananas and powered egg replacers in the past, but the
applesauce makes a better cookie.

I also bought the individually
sized applesauce containers, because the last time I made these, I opened a
large jar of applesauce and I was unable to finish it. I hate to waste food. I hate that I am using more plastic by using
the individual packages, but there are some battles you can’t win.

On a side note, one of the small containers is just about ¼
of a cup, but be sure to measure the applesauce in a measuring cup to be on the
safe side.

It should also be noted that you could use any combo of
dried fruit and nut to make these cookies.
I would love to make them using walnuts and dried apples. Yum.
Sounds like a perfect autumn cookie to me!

As always, have a great day and keep cooking!

Sloppy Josies

Well, I think I did a good job making a meatless version of the traditional sloppy Joe.

Sloppy Josies

1 package of extra firm tofu, drained (It works best if it has been frozen then thawed.)
1 small can of tomato paste
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 whole red pepper, seeded and chopped
½ cup chopped white onion
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon taco sauce or salsa (This can be omitted.)
A few splashed of hot sauce
Spices to taste:
-Garlic powder
-Chili powder
-Paprika
-Salt
-Pepper
-Cayenne pepper

First, I sautéed the onions, garlic, and red pepper in some olive oil. When they were cooked down sufficiently, almost translucent, I crumbled up the package of tofu. I wanted the tofu to cook down and lose some of its water, making it more crumbly. I think I achieved this rather well after cooking it for about 10-12 minutes.

Next, I added all of the spices, taco sauce, ketchup, hot sauce, and tomato paste. I also added a little water when the mixture appeared to dry out. Give it all a good stir to mix well and let the whole pan (I used my largest cast iron pan) simmer down for about 15 minutes.

I didn’t serve these right away, as I made them in the morning to serve for dinner that night. They weren’t as “sloppy” as I hoped they would be, so if you make them early and reheat, don’t be afraid to add a little water and maybe a bit more ketchup.

This photo was taken on day two of the Sloppy Josie’s. The mixture made enough for us to have them for two nights. The first night I served them with crispy fries and last night Mark jazzed up some frozen corn for a side dish. This photo includes a bonus glass of Chardonnay.

Mark’s Jazzy Corn (I will admit that I just came up with that name. It is more like a southwestern dish considering the flavor.)

-Frozen corn
-Butter
-Hot peppers
-Cumin
-Garlic powder
-Salt
-White pepper
-Chili powder
-Cayenne

Tonight, Mark will be taking on strombolis. I promise to write up something about ’em. We have never made strombolis before, so it should be interesting.

Have a great day and keep cooking!

Pot pie and kalimotxo

No time for a complicated, well-written recipe today, kids.  I am about to  make Sloppy Josie’s for dinner tonight and some oatmeal, cranberry, pecan cookies for dessert. With me back to work now, it really helps when I cook in the morning.

I came up with the Sloppy Josie’s a while ago for dinner one night while we were watching “Taxi Driver.”  But, as luck would have it, I never wrote it down, so back to the drawing board for me.

I promised last entry to talk about the pot pie thing-y I made.  Here is a photo:

It is pretty simple to make and you can use most of what you have on hand.  Here is what I did:

I browned what was left of a red onion and two cloves of garlic in some butter.  I added some spices like black and white pepper, garlic powder, salt, and a little paprika.  Next, I chopped up some leftover portobello mushrooms and added them to the frying pan.  I thawed out some broccoli and chopped it up and threw it in the frying pan along with some Quorn pieces (see previous entry for information).

While that was cooking down, I scanned the fridge for some leftover dairy goodies.  I came up with a little leftover whipped cream cheese, a hunk of extra sharp cheddar, grated Parmesan, and about two tablespoons of sour cream.  I know, this isn’t a heart healthy dish, but damn is it tasty!  I mixed this all together, shredding the cheddar first.  I also added a little Cayenne pepper and garlic powder to the mix.

When the veg and Quorn mixture was cooked down sufficiently, I scraped it into the bowl containing the creamy mixture and mixed it all up.

I had two cans of store brand croissant rolls which I used as a crust.  I put one roll on the bottom, pulling it up on the sides a bit.  Then I added the filling and spread it out a bit.  The second roll served as the top crust.  I then covered it with foil and baked it per the instructions on the roll package.

This was tasty, rich, and filling.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get to finish it all and I had to throw a tiny bit of it away.

I ate this with a cold glass of Kalimotxo. If you are wondering how to pronounce it, check out this site.
It wasn’t too bad to drink and it helped me get rid of some leftover Chianti.

Okay, off to the kitchen for me.  If I am lucky I will get all my cooking done before work at noon.  If not, then I bake tonight.  Either way, have a great day and keep cooking!

The spice!

Now, I admit I have never seen Dune, so I am not sure I am using that correctly. But I am here today to talk to you about spice blends, specifically a blend I made the other day.

As the cliche goes, necessity is the mother of invention. I was making enchiladas the other night (sorry no photos, they were snarfed too fast for that) and I love to sprinkle a little chili powder and other spices on top of the cheese before I roll up the tortilla. Unfortunately, there was nary a grain of this beloved spice to be found.

I decided that the enchiladas would just be boring without the spices, so I came up with this:

Regular paprika
Hot paprika (Try this if you can find it! OMG!)
White pepper
Cayenne pepper
Garlic powder
Cumin

Of course, all the spices are measured to taste 🙂

This was fantastic! I just bought some chili powder today, but the next time I need a spice blend, I am using this, plus chili powder.

On a related cooking note, last night I threw together one of my famous refrigerator meals. I am sure you have made your share of refrigerator meals, the ones where you clean out the fridge and end up making one of the tastiest things you have ever eaten.

I made a casserole thingy with a crust. It has portobello mushrooms, broccoli, onions, garlic, various cheeses, and Quorn pieces with a croissant crust on top and bottom. We are having leftovers tonight, so I will snap a photo and post the recipe tomorrow if I have time.

Remember, have a great day and keep cooking!

“It’s a Sham” Salad Sandwich!

Even as a meat eater, I was not fond of ham. In fact, I was a bacon devotee more than anything. However, occasionally my mother would make ham salad or potted meat sandwiches from those tiny cans. I would take a bite here and there, but I never asked for a sandwich of my own.

A few winters ago, I got an immense craving for a ham salad sandwich. This is how the “It’s a Sham” salad sandwich was born.

“It’s a Sham” salad sandwich

1 package of
vegetarian ham

¾ cup of
vegan mayo

1 and ½ half teaspoons of Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon of prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons of sweet relish
to taste: salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika

First I chop up the veggie ham into chunks. Since the veggie ham is sliced, be sure you separate the cubes into individual slices. Next, mix the mayo, Dijon mustard, horseradish, sweet relish, and spices together, folding in the pieces of ham.

Now this is where it gets tricky. I take the whole mixture and blend it in my blender. I do not have a small food processor, so I use the blender. If you would like a chunkier salad, you can skip this step. As for me, I think I am going to break down and buy a small counter top food processor this week.

The bread I used is rye from a local
farmer’s market
. I also topped the sandwich with some baby spinach and sliced red onions. So darn good! On the side of course, is a Kool-Aid pickle!

Have a great day and keep cooking!