Oatmeal Coconut Cookies

by Carlye Cunniff
( June 16th, 2015 )

Oatmeal Coconut CookiesI have recently found myself with a great deal of steel-cut oats. As in, a Costco size bag of steel cut oats. I live alone, with my dog, sooo I have a lot of oatmeal to eat. Don’t get me wrong, I really like steel cut oats, especially if I have enough foresight to make them overnight so they are waiting for me in the morning.

I just so happened to make myself a big batch of oatmeal this morning, but realized I wouldn’t be able to finish it all in a reasonable time period. Thus began the saga of the oatmeal coconut cookies I’m about to share with you.

I would say these cookies are healthy, but they have quite a bit of butter and sugar in them. They are gluten free though, almost vegan (that pesky butter), and full of fiber and protein. I’ve also read that cooking oatmeal (and other grains) makes them easier to digest – this makes sense because we do usually cook our grains. By using cooked oatmeal, the recipe doesn’t call for any liquid, and holds together without regular flour – win! Because of the sugar/butter one-two-punch I hesitate to call them breakfast cookies, but I won’t tell if you eat them for breakfast.

Stack of Oatmeal Coconut Cookies

I will admit, they don’t look like the most beautiful things in the world, but they taste like a Hawaiian island. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to bake them, so I did both – a no-bake and a bake version. Because there is no egg in there, I figured this was a safe bet.

These bad boys are completely customizable – I had almonds and chia seeds on hand, so used them to buff up the nutrition factor, but you could throw in chocolate chips, dried fruits, other nuts, you name it!

Three Oatmeal Coconut Cookies

Ingredients: 

6 Tablespoons butter, melted.

1 Cup brown sugar.

1 Teaspoon vanilla extract.

1/2 Cup coconut oil.

1.5 Cups cooked steel cut oats.

1 Cup coconut flour.

1 Teaspoon baking soda.

1/4 Cup chopped almonds.

1 Tablespoon chia seeds.

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a stand mixer, combine the butter, brown sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy. (You totally do not need to use a stand mixer, but I love my stand mixer so use it at every opportunity. You can also mix by hand, or use one of those nifty hand-held mixers.)

3. Add the coconut oil and oatmeal and continue mixing.

4. Add in the coconut flour, a bit at time, while mixing the wet ingredients.

5. Add the baking soda. Keep on mixing.

6. Add the almonds and chia seeds, or any other treats you desire.

Oatmeal Coconut Cookie Dough

7. Now you must decide if you want hot or cold cookies. I did both. Either way, use a heaping spoonful of dough to either form balls and put in the fridge, or form balls that you smooch down a bit to space out on a cookie sheet.

8. If baking, bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes. I found these cookies had a longer bake time than most traditional chocolate chip recipes, they still come out really moist and crumbly.

Oatmeal Coconut Cookie Spoonfuls

Enjoy! Let us know in the comments below you’re favorite thing to add to oatmeal cookies.

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Designing the Seattle Food Scene – Design For Good

by Carlye Cunniff
( June 11th, 2015 )

Karis Cady Design for Good

This summer, the Seattle food scene is getting re-designed. I’m not just talking about more food trucks, beer pavilions and craft cocktail bars, though all of those are welcome additions. AIGA’s Design for Good series kicked off in Seattle this spring, and the focus of this inaugural design challenge is food.

The AIGA (American Institute for Graphic Arts) is the professional association for design “and is committed to advancing design as a professional craft, strategic advantage and vital cultural force.” The Seattle chapter of AIGA is booming – it’s no wonder, in a city full of talented designers, makers and doers. This year, the Seattle chapter put that booming membership to good use, organizing the first ever Seattle Design for Good Changemaker Series.

Design for Good is a “a movement to ignite, accelerate and amplify design-driven social change.” Though Design for Good is a national movement, each chapter defines it’s own programming and themes. Karis Cady, the design director at Pyramid Communications, a firm that specializes in creating design solutions for social change says, “Seattle is a great city for caring about food – in particular the vulnerable populations who don’t have as much access to food.”

This sweet spot between foodie culture and design genius made food an obvious choice for  The 2015 Design for Good Changemaker Series. The City of Seattle, Farestart, and Washington Latino Farmers Network are just a few of the organizations looking to be paired up with a design team. Volunteer designers will be placed on teams, given design challenges specific to the organization they are paired with and spend the summer using design thinking to create solutions. The work with be presented to the community at large in September, and further funding options will be explored to put the solutions into practice.

Food is something we are very passionate about as a city. Cady notes, “not only do we benefit from the fresh northwest produce and salmon, but I think those things exist because there are a lot of factors coming together in Seattle. Our city has a strong environmental focus – we care about how far food has to travel and the impact that has on what we put in our bodies.”

Not only do Seattle locals care about the food we put in our bodies, we also identify with understanding the social impacts of eating well. Seattle has long been a city that seeks to take care of it’s citizens, whether they can afford boutique groceries or not. “The beauty of food,” Kady says, “ is it’s very much a community thing that we like to share with other people. If we can use food to break down barriers that’s beautiful thing.” That’s exactly what multiple non-profits around the state are attempting to do, albeit in many different ways.

So how do designers get involved in moving non-profit organizations forward? “Design can help you [as a non-profit] take a step back and look at the larger picture. Designers can do so much more than build a beautiful website,” says Cady.

As we all know, probably all too well, non-profit organizations are constantly battling for funding, keeping overhead costs low and allocating as many resources as possible directly to programming. This leaves little room for design. In a world where ease of access to your product really matters, lack of a well thought out design can severely impede impact.

Seattle is starting to get a bit of reputation – it’s a tech focused city that’s attracting a lot of talent. All that tech talent means Seattle is a “a great city for design, we attract great talent, and see lots of skills coming into the city. It’s an exciting place to be,” says Cady.

The Matchmaking phase of the Design For Good Changemaker Series kicks off tonight, in Capitol Hill. Designers will be placed on teams, define challenges and get to work on solutions. The work with be presented to the community in September. If you’re a foodie or designer interested in getting involved, check out AIGA Seattle’s website.

Have an opinion about the intersection between foodie culture, access to food and design? Let us know in the comments below!

Never miss a chance to eat, drink and travel with Wanderfood. Follow me on  FacebookPinterest  and Twitter, and subscribe to my RSS.

Photo by Nick Kelly, www.nkly.co

 

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Easy Veggie Benedict

by Carlye Cunniff
( June 9th, 2015 )

Easy Veggie BenedictI  consider myself an eggs Benedict aficionado. Any time I visit a restaurant before 2 PM my go-to order is Eggs Benedict. I have my favorite spots for this rich-breakfast option, but most places around Seattle do Benedicts pretty well.

Although I hold restaurant chefs to the highest standards for Benedict preparation, I’ve always imagined they are hard to make. There is something elusive about hollandaise sauce. There is something terrifying about poaching eggs at home. There is the added effort of cooking early in the morning, rather than the evening that seems to dampen the excitement of trying something tricky.

Fear not, dear readers! In celebration of my Mom’s birthday I made brunch, motivating me to get up early and make something delicious. What did I learn from this selfless experiment? Eggs Benedict is actually not hard at all. It’s easy! You’ll be temped to make this easy veggie Benedict every morning. Modify it, add to it, be creative – just share your discoveries in the comments below.

Ingredients: 

1 bunch asparagus spears, ends trimmed

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

4 English muffins, crusty bread or bagels

Goat cheese (for spreading on the bread)

8 eggs (for poaching)

Hollandaise Sauce

10 Tablespoon unsalted butter (the better quality your butter, the better Hollandaise you shall have)

2 egg yolks

Juice from 1 lemon

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Spread asparagus in single layer on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Use your hands to coat the asparagus.

Roast the asparagus for about 20 minutes, flipping occasionally. I love blistered asparagus for this dish, but just keep checking until it’s cooked to your personal perfection.

While your oven preheats and your asparagus cooks, begin to make your hollandaise sauce by cutting the butter into bite-sized pieces.

In a small saucepan or the microwave, melt the butter just until it’s almost melted. When there are still a few visible pieces of in-tact butter, take it out and stir until all the butter is dissolved.

In a blender, combine the egg yolks, lemon juice and salt. If you wanted to add some grainy mustard at this point, I wouldn’t blame you.

Once combined, drizzle the butter into the top of the blender, while the blender is still going. I know, I know, crazy!

The sauce should thicken quickly. If it’s too thick, squeeze in some more lemon juice or add a bit of water.

Keep the sauce warm but placing it in a dish inside a larger dish with some hot water.

Toast your bread/muffins/bagels and smear with goat cheese.

Just as your guests arrive you’ll want to start poaching the eggs. There are many ways to do this, this is what I do:

Bring a smallish pot of water to a low boil. Create a swirling vortex in the pot by stirring it with a wooden spoon. With a small egg cup (aka a shot glass) pour one egg into the vortex at a time. The whites of the egg will spread out a little; you can nudge it back together with the wooden spoon. Let the egg hang out in the water for 3-4 minutes, then rescue it with a slotted spoon. You can keep it warm in a bowl of warm water while you cook the rest of the eggs. Sometimes I get especially daring and cook more than one egg at once, you just have to keep track of their cook times.

Once the eggs are cooked, you can assemble your masterpiece brunch. I recommend the blistered asparagus on top of the goat cheese, topped with the poached egg and hollandaise, but a different presentation is equally lovely I’m sure.

Let us know your favorite veggie Benedict combinations in the comments below!

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