crispy chocolate chip cookies

Crispy! Canola Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oh, and these are made without eggs. Not technically a “vegan”cookie as I use regular chocolate chips, but no eggs for cookie dough means {drumroll} you can eat it raw! That is right my friends, you could hypothethically eat the dough right off the spoon if you wanted with no problems.  If you are into that kind of thing.  Just making it clear: You can eat the dough raw if you want to. Very nostalgic. Yum.

If you choose to cook the dough like most people who want to eat, well, cookies, well then, it is very simple.

To start, you mix and set aside the flax eggs:

flax egg

Then, you whisk the dry ingredients and set these aside:

drry mix for cookies

Then, you mix the wet- they will look really runny:

wet

Add the dry in to get this, and if you want to sample them GO AHEAD!:

vegan dough

Drop by teaspoons onto a parchment lined pan, and bake for 8 minutes or until slightly brown on the edges:.  I usually refrigerate the dough in between batches.

crispy cookies

The reason I am finally posting a recipe for these cookies, is that I have tried so many canola oil variations for cookies, and my main issue with them is that the cookies are too soft.  They are great the same day, but if I put them in a  bag or container, they just got too soft. No one would eat them.  Well, they would eat them…but it wasn’t their first choice for dessert, let’s say. But we never waste cookies.  That would just be crazy!

Adapted from All Recipes, here is my “more perfect” Crispy and healthified version:

Crispy! Canola Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies

Crispy! Canola Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup real/pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 6 Tbsp. water. Let sit for 5 minutes = 2 egg equivalent
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350*. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda and salt; set aside.

2. In a stand mixer, or handheld mixer, “cream” together the vegetable oil, brown sugar and maple syrup until smooth. Add in the flax seed mixture and the vanilla. Mix. Gradually add in the dry ingredients until combined, and then fold in the chocolate chips. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto parchment-lined cookie sheets.

3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, watching to just cook until the edges are browned. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in a covered container.

http://hardlyagoddess.com/crispy-canola-oil-chocolate-chip-cookies/

Gluten Free Healthier Banana Muffins

This is a recipe inspired by my favorite, well worn cookbook, Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book:

Mine does NOT look like this! Mine has pages stuck together, dripped with sauce, dusted with flour… because I use it all the time! It was a gift from my mom when I had my first apartment.  My cousin, in her first apartment, got it this year, and I was so happy for her.  It may sound silly, but I really think this book made it so easy for me to learn to cook the basics: roasting a chicken, baking a cake, making a pie crust, making a vinaigrette salad dressing, or my weekly fave: pancakes. The version of this book that I have, is a binder, which I like because it will lay flat on the counter as I cook. They have a paperback of course, but I don’t like that idea at all, as I envision it flopping shut as I am cooking, or there is a Kindle version from Amazon, which if you like to cook like that, than there’s that possibility for you.  I have to say, it would make a good gift for anyone you know that is a beginner cook- They will thank you for it!

Moving on. Once you have the basics down with cooking or baking, you can play with substitutions or making a recipe more to your liking.  This muffin is a perfect example of that.  The original recipe calls for sugar, white flour, and oil.  My interest is getting the recipe a bit healthier, so I can sub in a healthier sweetener, flour, and fat substitute. Baking is tricky though, so a lot of the time, if you make substitutions the recipe won’t come out right: too bouncy, doesn’t rise, not sweet.  This recipe has been tested a few times, so I know it works! But…if you don’t like bananas…well, don’t make this recipe!

Gluten Free Healthier Banana Muffins

Gluten Free Healthier Banana Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups gluten-free all purpose flour (Bob's Red Mill is great!)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 beaten egg (or flax seed egg)
  • 1/2 cup almond or regular milk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup (about 2 medium) mashed overripe bananas

Instructions

1. Grease 12 muffin tins or line them with paper. Preheat oven to 400*.

2. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients with a whisk. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, mix the wet: maple syrup through bananas. Mix thoroughly.

4. Add the wet to the dry ingredients. Gently mix until just combined.

5. Pour batter into the muffin cups. Batter fills exactly 12. Bake 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

6. Remove from oven, and the pan to a rack until cool.

http://hardlyagoddess.com/gluten-free-healthier-banana-muffins/

I love muffins as they can be frozen and easily pulled out for a quick breakfast on-the-run, or healthy snack with a coffee break, or put into the kids’ lunches.  If you want a really flexible muffin recipe, I have another one or this one that I just love and use for making different flavored muffins.  Any of these recipes are great if you want an easy and portable healthy snack.

banana muffinLike this article? Share it!

 This post contains affiliate links with Amazon.  If you make a purchase through this link I will get paid a certain amount, however your price will never change.  As always I never suggest or put an opinion about a product that I don’t already love!

Keep Calm & Go Sledding

keep calm

http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/#

You may have heard that we in the NorthEast were hit with 2 feet of snow overnight.  We were. Thank goodness we never lost power.  I can’t even tell you how I would feel. So I won’t!

As it was we have snow days.  2 of them. For the kids AND for me! Sigh.  Nothing makes you appreciate working out of the house more, than 2 snow days soon following a weekend.

But you have to embrace the togetherness, or you will go crazy. The blog has been quiet as I have been very busy…

  • Baking cookies
  • Playdoh
  • Making popcorn- around the clock
  • Making  cocoa
  • Making a fire in the fireplace
  • Making snowforts, snow people, snow paths, snow everything!
  • Playing WAY too many iPad & Kindle games
  • Watching movies
  • Playing referee as my kids argue constantly with eachother for things that don’t matter and I can’t remember what I was last doing, because every ounce of my patience is being tried and I am trying not to SCA—REEEM.

Ugh. But none of these (especially the fighting part) are as fun or take you out of your norm as sledding.  I am a kid again speeding down that hill. I swear.  I will forget the fighting.  The kids will forget the fighting.  We will all just have fun.

And by the way, it counts as a good workout, because you have to climb the hill over and over…just for good measure, I climb the hill a lot to count this as my workout for the day!  Or atleast the counterbalance to all those cookies!

So if you are going craycray and pulling out your hair as I seem to be…Keep Calm & Go Sledding!

 

Organizing Christmas Lights

So are any of you procrastinators?

I hope so.  That is, I hope that you might in the slightest chance find this post useful.  Seeing how Christmas was a month ago and all…Ah, well. Here we are. Taking down our outside lights. You didn’t think I still had inside lights up did you?! (Those came down last week). Eh-hem. Anyhoo…

I have been the one who wraps and puts away the tree decorations every year for a while now.  And really, I thought that I was doing just fine without buying any additional organizers for the ornaments or lights. Being practical (re. frugal!), I use what I have on hand: plastic bags from the grocery store and cardboard boxes.  I wrap each fragile ornament with a bag and put it in our box of ornaments marked, “fragile.”  For the lights, I roll each strand separately and put inside a plastic bag.  I can’t believe I just told you this.  You don’t need to know this! The point is…This has worked.  I had no idea, nor did I care to have any idea how other people were putting away their decorations!

But now, enter my husband.  He decided to get “organized” this year and buy one of those, what he calls a spool for the lights. I scoffed.  Who needs to spend more money to put things away? 

This guy. That is who.

I love these things!   Yes, my friends, for less than $2. per spool, we are officially organized for next year!  …and I have to say it is quite nice.

Here’s a pic:

lights organizer

We wrapped the whole inside tree on one spool!

lights organizerThey are from Home Depot, but I don’t know the brand.  My husband is pretty psyched about them and feeling accomplished and ready for next year.

Personally, I also love having it so organized now.  I think I may have to break down and get an ornament organizer myself while the sales are still going on! On a roll people. Please don’t tell me in the comments how you organize your ornaments.  Unless it is spectacular, like this little number, I just don’t want to know {wink-smile}!

 

 

Whoa… Workout? Tabatas!

You may have noticed my pretty little button on the right-side of the page:

Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador

Wha?!  What is a Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador?

Well, basically being a Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador, means that since I am interested in healthy meals and working out, I can share a lot of that with you here on the blog- which I haven’t been doing much of {re.: 12 days of Christmas Cookies}!

Admittedly, I have been in total hibernation mode.  Atleast for a few months.  While I haven’t totally stopped, I have taken a break from the stresses of a long, drawn-out intense workout.  For the past few weeks I have been doing a shorter workout called the Tabata.

Do you know this? It has been around a bit, but if you are not familiar, a “tabata” is 4 minutes long of a specific move, like a lunge or squat, for a short intense burst of 20 seconds, and then resting for 10 seconds. Then repeating this to total 8 times (This is 4 minutes if you are counting!).  This is one tabata. Typically a workout strings together several different tabata moves, resting in-between, to create a complete workout.

The ones I have been doing, look like this example:

5 minute warm up: high knees, butt-kicks, squat-thrusts, ice-skaters

20 seconds squats
10 seconds rest
REPEAT 7 more times = 4 minutes= This is one “tabata.”
rest one minute

20 seconds push-ups
10 seconds rest
REPEAT 7 more times= 4 minutes
rest one minute

20 seconds alternate-lunges- 1 side
10 seconds rest
REPEAT 7 more times= 4 minutes
rest one minute

20 seconds alternate-lunges- 2nd side
10 second rest
REPEAT 7 more times= 4 minutes
rest one minute

20 seconds alternate side-plank- 1 side
10 seconds rest
REPEAT 7 more times= 4 minutes
rest one minute

20 seconds alternate side-plank – 2nd side
10 second rest
REPEAT 7 more times= 4 minutes
rest one minute

20 seconds wall sit
10 seconds rest
REPEAT 7 more times= 4 minutes
rest one minute

So the premise is different moves, done for 20 seconds each resting 10 seconds after.  After one tabata round, you rest for 1 minute, then do another sequence of tabatas. You can do anywhere from 5-10 moves like this depending on how long you want to work out.  I have done just 5 moves and am done in 25 minutes! I usually add some ab-work after just for good measure.

It may not look like much, but this is actually a high-intensity heart-beat raising workout! * So- do it at your own pace and forget the timer if that is the only way you can do it.  I am never beholden to a timer or what a workout says is the only way to do something.  Listen to your body and rest when you need to, by all means!

I like Tabatas for a few reasons:

  1. They mix it up:
    I have to say that I get bored working out.  Running is honestly hurting me right now, with my crazy-bad knees.  I like doing a short, quick workout:  In and out!  While the weather is bad, I don’t have to leave the house.  Enter, reason #2
  2. They are easy to do at home:
    Since I have been working out in the early hours to fit it in, I need a quiet workout.  There is nothing worse than waking up pre-coffee and trying to work out and then waking up a child.  Nothing worse.  Not only am I already up way early, that is #1.  But if I can’t do what I was hoping to at this a.m.hour, which is NOT eating a chocolate cake, but actually something good for me, like a workout #2, and have a crabby child that waked up because of my jumping around #3…well- that wouldn’t be good.  Did I mention that this is pre-coffee.  Things have to go as planned without my morning cuppa.
    So these tabatas are really quiet- or they can be.  If you don’t do the jumps and you choose the floor moves, they are super quiet.
  3. No Equipment needed:
    I use a timer app on my ipad – your smart-phone too- look up “tabata timer” to get a free one.  They are pretty straightforward to set up, but help me a lot as I go.  I also use my yoga mat to prevent slipping, as I don’t wear sneakers (see QUIET) for this workout.

For some great ideas for Tabata workouts, I always use Pinterest as my go-to; I have them in my WhoaWorkout board on Pinterest if you want to follow there. The one above was just an example, but I especially like if there are visual pictures of a move, if it’s a new one for me.

Girls Gone Sporty has a YouTube channel of a Tabata workout that is great, and additionally they have a great Goal Setting Workbook (if you need some motivation and accountability), that I can give you FREE and it is in printable .pdf form! Download here to save or print~ I really look forward to working with Girls Gone Sporty in the coming year, and sharing healthy recipes, reviewing workouts, and motivating myself and hopefully you too, to keep on keepin’ on with our health-quests. I hope you will try a Tabata, and let me know if you find one that you just love, and link to it in the comments to share.

Follow Hardly a Goddess’s board Whoa workout! on Pinterest.

*Disclosure: I am NOT a trainer or doctor or anything like that, so please only do a workout on your own health-check.  I cannot be responsible for your health. You can.

Let’s Talk About Books: Mystery & GoodReads

Ask my kids if I am a scaredy-cat.  I am.  I cannot even watch shows that are creepy or have obviously fake blood, without cringing a little and shrinking away. I either have an overly active imagination, or a dark mind. No idea.  I think imagination… Let’s go with that!

I am more afraid of watching spooky things, than reading them though, and mystery books are decidedly different than scary books.  They may have a death or scary event that happens, but usually the suspense that builds, is in the trying to figure out who did it, or the backstory behind the event.

Mystery books may keep you on edge and may be a bit creepy, but they don’t essentially exist just to scare you.  There’s usually more intrigue and lead-up to an event, than there is gore and suspense.

There are so many styles of mystery and some truly do border on this scary edge, so I am often afraid of starting a book like this for fear that I will find it too much for my own imagination to handle.

Enter the book that I just finished:

The Keep, by Jennifer Egan.

Full of ups and downs and twists and turns, but thoughtfully does NOT get scary.  This story is told in three parts, from different points of view, making it a story within a story, so that the reader is not completely sure of what reality is to the storyteller.  While not seemless, it was entertaining and pulled me quickly through it’s 270 pages. A short and fun read that had me not wanting to put it down.

Full Dark House

Another great mystery/thriller that is not too scary is

Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn,

Which of course they turned into blockbuster movie. The author, I think, has cranked out several books after this one too, with similar formulas of suspense.  But unlike others in this category by best-seller authors (Koontz, King, Patterson), I am not afraid of her books.  They are still in the thriller-type category for me though, so I tread carefully.

Gone Girl

Quite different, and I am anticipating it to be really fun is the newly recommended to me mystery series of

Bryant & May, A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery, by Christopher Fowler

Set in London, the story starts with a murder of one of two lifelong detectives.  The surviving detective investigates his partner’s murder, and reflects back on their work together.  It is supposed to be both smartly written, and comical in it’s rich characters and dialogue between these cranky old detectives. I can’t wait.  I am a bit nervous that it may be too scary, but I have to chance it.  A book that involves two 80 year old crotchety detectives is sort of up my alley.  Have you ever seen Columbo? Sherlock Holmes in a modern day type of story…so fun.

Full Dark House (Bryant & May #1)

Are you wondering what this button is with the G? It lets you add the book that I just described to GoodReads.

Do you follow me on GoodReads?  If you are like me, and can’t remember ANYTHING that you have read or are reading, than GoodReads is an online place to put your memory for all of these books. It is social in that you can “connect” with others or see what your friends are reading.  You can see what I have read, or am reading now, and then if I review it, you can see that too.

I know some of you may not really like social media too much. But, I actually really USE Goodreads.  Perfect example is last week, my two sisters-in-law and I were out for dinner, and I was trying to tell one of them the name of the book I was reading…but couldn’t.  I couldn’t remember the name of it, or the author, and we had to wait until I could sort of remember it. My other sister with a smart phone (yes I am the only person in existence without one!) pulled up her app (yes they are mobile of course!) for GoodReads and told me what book I was reading, and the author.  It took all of one minute.  Thank you sista!

The profile page from their site looks like this:

goodreads

This is just my personal page.  I just wanted you to see what it looks like, and that it is very user-friendly.  Once you create an account (FREE) you just start building your “bookshelf” of books that you have read, want to read, and are reading now.  I never went back and added books that I have read in my entire life before I signed up- I just built my shelf on current reads, but I know that it would be fun to put in all the past books that I have read…but then again, I am not sure I’d remember them! Thank goodness for GoodReads! (Seriously people, this post is not sponsored in ANY way by them, I just really like it.)

To see what I am reading, you can follow me, or on the right hand of this page there is a little image of a few of the books that I have read. Let me know if you join! I love hearing what other people love to read or recommend!