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MacroTreat Friday: Fiddle Diddles

yep. fiddle diddles. as far as I can tell they are very much like macaroons. macaroons with a sweet name, that is.

these are the first thing I can recall baking on my "own" when I was young. I remember my friend and I "baking" these in about grade four...trying to understand the measurements, and just hoping for the best.

good thing this recipe is super easy...and is actually a NO BAKE recipe. perfect for kids, and for hot summer days.

this version has been veganized, macrobiotic-ish-ified, and is pretty dang tasty.

MTF: Fiddle Diddles // vegan & gf

oatey, coconutey, chocolatey goodness. no bake. takes literally 5 minutes to make. and about 1 minute to devour :)

Ingredients

"WET"

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 - 1 cup granulated sugar of choice (I used 1/2 cup maple sugar)
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (I used almond milk)

DRY

  • 6 TBSP cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla
  • 3 cups gf oats - quick cooking (not instant) is better here, but regular will be ok too!

Directions

  1. Put coconut oil, sugar, & milk into a saucepan. Heat over medium, stirring often, until it comes to a boil. Remove pan from heat.
  2. Add / stir in the remaining ingredients, in the order listed.
  3. Drop by rounded tablespoon fulls onto a wax paper covered cookie sheet.
  4. Cool completely - I put mine in the freezer, as coconut oil firms up well this way. Store in the freezer, and let thaw a few minutes before eating.
  5. Munch away :)

*TIPS:

  • If the mixture just seems way too crumbly to drop by the spoonful, then use your hands and squish into balls - that's what I did. You could also add in a bit of maple syrup, if you want them to stick together more.
  • Feel free to melt in peanut butter or any other nut butter, with the wet ingredients. I'm sure it'd be fantastic.

Β 

They're also great right out of the freezer after a long hot walk in the sun ;)

don't fret - the crumbs are tasty too :)

Happy Weekend Friends!!
xo Jess

MacroTreat Friday: Macrobiotic Friendly Chestnut Cookies

Chestnuts are one of my favourite things to eat. They have such a unique texture & flavour, and peeling them out of their roasted shells is kinda fun :) It must be a genetic predisposition to love anything that has chestnut in it, because my sister and I, along with our Nana and mom, all share a love for fresh roasted chestnuts...and desserts that use chestnut puree.

With my chestnut love in mind, I purchased some pure Italian chestnut flour awhile ago - both exciting & new to me - and have been meaning to try it out.

Enter a new kind of macrobiotic friendly cookie <3

MTF: Chestnut Cookie

Lightly sweetened, crunchy and chewy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, gluten free cookies made with chestnut flour & rolled oats. The texture is similar to a macaroon (the most similar I've experienced, outside of an actual macaroon, anyways!). Add in any dried fruit, seeds, or treats you like to change up the flavour.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chestnut flour [ I used this one HERE ] **
  • 1/2 cup gf rolled oats
  • 2 TSBP ground flax seed
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (brown rice syrup will work too - but it has a stronger flavour, especially noticeable in these cookies)
  • 1/3 cup high quality oil of choice - I used sunflower seed here, but sesame, coconut, or avocado would work well too
  • 2 TBSP water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup mixins - currants, dark chocolate chips, cocoa nibs, raisins, seeds, your choice!

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
  2. Mix first five ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Mix syrup, oil, water &  vanilla in a bowl.
  4. Add wet to dry. Stir until combined.
  5. Add in any mixins of your choice. (I used 1/4 cup currants because I was out of raisins and anything else, but scooped some out plain first).
  6. PLEASE NOTE: batter will be very very sticky, especially if using brown rice syrup. If you let it sit a few minutes, it'll firm up a tiny bit - but it'll stay fairly sticky and hard to manage with your hands. So...
  7. Scoop out dough by the teaspoon, and drop onto cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for ~15 minutes (check at 10 minutes).
  9. Let cool, and devour <3

** Notes:

  • If you don't have chestnut flour, or aren't a fan of the flavour, I'm certain you could simply use whole wheat pastry flour, spelt flour, or a gluten free mix with no problems.
  • This is my first time using chestnut flour, and I am kinda excited...the texture of these cookies is unlike any other flour (especially gf flour) I have used. As I mentioned above, the texture is so chewy - almost like a real macaroon made with egg whites. I want to experiment some more with it, and see what else I can come up with.

Have you ever made anything with chestnut flour before?

Enjoy, my sweet friends, and have a great weekend!
xo Jess
Β 

Macro Monday: Cozy Porridge Breakfast

There's nothing better than a comforting, warm breakfast on a chilly Fall morning. 

For me, this always means one thing: porridge. 

There's something about it that just feels right, this time of the year. 

And the best part is all the kinds of toppings you can choose from...basically it's a blank canvas kinda breakfast, and you're the artist. 

porridge2.JPG

You get to decorate it however you like, with whatever ingredients are calling to you on that particular morning. 

porridge3.JPG

I've made pumpkin oats, apple oats, peanut butter oats, long cooked raisin oats---all of these were delicious as the flavours were cooked into them...but sometimes my favourite is just a simple grain porridge with fun things on top.  

This recipe is SO simple you can't even really call it a recipe. Especially cause I've been using a rice cooker to cook it ;) 

Rice Cooker Porridge

I've been lucky enough to be staying at a house that has a rice cooker, just like the one we had in Japan. While I so dearly LOVE my pressure cooker oats, and regular old stove-top porridge, when you're pretty busy and not in the house much (I've been working away from home these days), having a rice cooker with a timer is like winning the lottery. You get to wake up to warm, perfectly cooked porridge, just waiting for you to devour. 

Assuming your rice cooker has a porridge setting, you're golden. 
If it doesn't, you'll just have to play around a bit, simply by trying it on the brown rice setting (my guess) but with more water (5-6x as much as the grain) than you'd use for making regular brown rice.

 

Brown Rice & Steel Cut Oat Porridge

I used:

  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 1/2 cup sprouted brown rice (it has a shorter cooking time) 
  • 5-6 times the amount of water as grain (we measured it according to the level on the rice cooker pot). 
  • a pinch of sea salt

Literally put the grains into the rice cooker pot, rinse and swish it everything until the water is no longer cloudy, and then fill the water up to the designated line. Sprinkle in a bit of sea salt, set the timer, and go and live your life.  <3

If you do not have a rice cooker, you could do this on the stove. Simply bring everything to boil, and then let simmer (stirring occasionally to prevent sticking). If you are using sprouted brown rice, it'll probably take around 30 minutes. But the longer you let everything cook, the creamier it'll be, so if you have the time, it's worth the wait.

TOPPINGS

porridge1.JPG

This week I've been craving things a little on the sweeter side, so I've been using some maple syrup on my porridge. The above bowl had chia seeds, flax, cinnamon (a must), and maple syrup. 

Some Favourite Porridge Toppings:

  • Sunflower seeds or sunflower seed butter, cinnamon, and maple syrup
  • Toasted hazelnuts, and lemon zest
  • Flax oil and dulse (don't knock it till you try it) 
  • Blueberries, cashews, and hemp hearts
  • a bit of almond / soy / coconut milk with cinnamon and maple sugar
  • Top or stir in some peanut butter and cinnamon (and a bit of raw honey if you like) and not like I've tried it or anything, but word on the street is that some dark chocolate and peanut butter or almond butter is supposed to be a good combo ;)

I'm sure there are about 50 more combinations I've tried.

When I have more time I want to make my pressure cooker whole oat porridge .
But for now, I can't get enough of this easy warm & delicious rice cooker breakfast.

What do you like to put on your porridge? 

Thursday Things

Good morning!

I decided to join the trend around the blog-o-sphere, and post something everything thursday that I truly enjoy, love, want, have, or am excited about.

So, the star of this week's Thursday Things is.....

WHOLE OATS

A few years back, I used to cook up whole grain oats on weekends. I tried the overnight slow cooking method I read about in one of my macro books. It involved bringing the oats to boil, cooking for just a few minutes, then letting them cool off and soak all night long. In the morning, I would recook for about 45 minutes. They were delicious, but took much more effort than my current pressure cooker variety. I had to constantly watch the pot to make sure the thick goopey oats didn't boil over, and the pot was not so nice to clean.

But things have changed since my best friend arrived on our doorstep.
As per the recommendation from this book:

I purchased along with my cooker, I soaked oats in a ratio of 3 cups water per 1 cup oats. I let them soak overnight. In the morning, I simply put the lid on the cooker, brought up to high pressure, and cooked for 30 minutes. No watching for bubbling over, no scraping the last bit off the bottom.

And my-oh-my...soft creamy oats that are still somehow a bit chewy.

Delightful.

I  dished out 6 lovely servings of oats to keep us hungry breakfast eaters happy for a few days. Simply re-heat in the morning on the stove, adding in whatever you like.

I like to add in a few chia seeds while they're re-heating, sometimes some raisins. And I love topping them with a bit of ground flax and cinnamon for a sweeter taste, or some dulse and flax oil for a more grounding hearty dish.

Pressure cooking saves LOTS of time. Especially with soaked dried beans, and by soaking grains you can reduce cooking time by 40%.

But more importantly than all that, it tastes SO much better, and keeps in more nutrients. And for me, the clean up is JUST. SO. EASY.  (We got a big pot so we didn't have to worry about stuff bubbling up into the lid, so far it is always sparkly clean).

Some of my favourite topping combinations include: 
-- sunflower seed butter with cinnamon and raisins on top
--flax oil and dulse flakes
--a bit of fruit only jam
--ground flax with cinnamon or a touch of pure maple syrup
So, what are you waiting for?? 
Not only are whole oats amazingly delicious, but they will easily keep you energized until lunch.
Have you ever cooked whole oats?
What do you like to put on your oats (any kind of oats)?

Money WELL spent.

Hello dear readers,
It has been while, hasn't it?
Until recently, I think I was really in the middle of a deep re-adjustment period. Life here in Canada, teaching yoga, is much much different than teaching English in Japan. Of course there is nothing like -35C weather to shake you out of your reverse culture shock slumber.
Different definitely isn't bad, though. While I do miss many things about Japan (i.e., tea, seaweed, beautiful countryside), I am really so happy these days. I just love teaching yoga and am so lucky to have been welcomed back with open arms and a bunch of classes right when I returned. T and I are loving our new house. I especially love the blue kitchen that comes complete with a working oven--- perfect for roasting winter squash.
The first few months I was home, I was so excited to find many of the products I missed: almond milk, much cheaper raw nuts, gluten free products, dark dark dark vegan chocolate etc. So, I baked my little heart away. Especially around Christmas. I managed to make vegan and gluten free versions of all my favourite family Swiss Christmas cookies, and reduced the sugar by at least half in all recipes. Challenge for next year is completely removing all sugar a la macrobiotics. So the past few months, my highlights and joys in the kitchen have been cookies, crumbles, muffins etc. Of course, I was still eating my regular meals, but didn't really find anything special that I wanted to post about.
But where was I?  Oh yes, the title of this post " Money WELL spent."
After about 3 years of reading and wanting, we finally purchased a pressure cooker.
And not just any pressure cooker, but apparently it's the "Mercedes of pressure cookers." Meet my new best friend:
Kuhn Rikon 8L family style pressure cooker.

I have used it almost every day since I opened the box.With my macrobiotic books in hand (well...arms, my hands are too small to hold all my macro books), and the pressure cooker book I ordered with the beast, I have been floating in Macrobiotic heaven.

Since first becoming interested in macrobiotics in the summer of 2008, I have regularly eaten whole grains, and lots of veggies and sea veggies, and tried to limit refined sugars. I have always liked simple seasonings, like flax oil, olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, ginger, shoyu and tamari. I use natural sweeteners if I need a bit of something sweet, like brown rice syrup or maple syrup.  There are also some random stars that rotate through my fridge and dinner plate, depending on my mood etc. 

These include: tofu, nuts and seeds, nut and seed butters, fresh or dried fruit, canned beans, lentils, almond/rice/soy milk, puffed grain cereals, flaked grains, fish, sugar free jams,dark chocolate, and occasionally some goat cheese and of course, sometimes some actual sugar and even coffee (usually decaf).

But, despite all this, I always felt that I was missing part of the bigger macro picture, because I didn't really cook my own beans, or make many bean dishes.

First attempt at pressure cooker: red lentil stew with greens.

I have tried a few times, but the reality is that cooking chickpeas for 4 hours on the stove was and is not going to happen very often. So, I coveted the Kuhn Rikon Pressure Cookers (see end of post for a link to the cooker I bought). I dreamt of the day where I could throw beans and veggies in a pot and have a stew in less than 15 minutes.

And that time is now here! So far I have made: lentil and spicy green stew (two times), kabocha and adzuki bean stew, straight up brown rice, straight up millet, and whole oats. 
Kabocha & Adzuki Stew with Ginger, Tamari and Shitake Mushrooms

After eating at macro restaurants in Japan, T and I both knew we loved the taste of pressure cooked grains much better than boiled grains.
Simple Brown Rice. From Cabinet to Bowl in 25 minutes.

In short, the stews have been fantastic, the grains are unbelievably delicious, and the best part is that it is SO quick, safe, and easy to clean.

Expect many more macrobiotic recipes on here, as I can now make things so quickly to go along with steamed veggies, stir-frys and grains. I plan to try cooking with many more types of legumes and grains, and am beyond excited to delve once more back into the macrobiotic land. But don't worry, there will still be yummy treats: I just took carrot millet breakfast muffins out of the oven.

Leftover pressure cooked millet added to yummy carrot muffins!

I just ate whole oats every morning this whole week, and let me tell you, they have left me feeling much more "whole" than my usual bowl of rolled oats. Not that there's anything wrong with flaked grains--->so yummy. But whole oats are so satisfying on a deeper level!

What's the best thing you've bought recently? Has it improved your quality of life, or is it just for fun?

Here's to a happy weekend, and inventive pressure cooker recipes!
xoxo

I added the Pressure cooker I bought under my shop link at the top of the page. 
Check it out for more information :)

Cafe at home.

Wow! Fall is in the air. 
Crunchy leaves under my shoes as I walk to work in the morning.
It's brisk enough outside that I can justify wearing a scarf.
After teaching my class, the sun is just warming up the sky.
It's truly the perfect time to reacquaint myself with an old friend : the oven.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.
"Crunchy leaves and scarf weather cookies"

Simple. Nourishing and just sweet enough.
Vegan and Wheat Free.
*Oven to 350F*
Mix up dry:
1.5 cups flour 
(I used: 0.5 cups quick oats, and 1 c. brown rice flour)
3 cups of rolled oats (I did 2 c. quick cooking oats, 1 c. thick oats)
1.5 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1-3 t cinnamon (I used a lot...I love cinnamon)
dash of dried ginger
1/2 t nutmeg / cloves or pumpkin pie spice
Not-Dry
Make 2 eggs out of  flax:  
6 T ground flax + ~8 T warm water. Whisk together and let gel for 10 minutes.
Then cream together: 
1 can pumpkin puree, and 1/4 - 1 c. sugar 
(I used 1/4 c sucanat) on medium speed until fluffy (~3mins)
Add in flax "eggs" and mix on high to combine.
Add in 1t of vanilla.
Add dry to not-dry, mixing on low until combined, about 1/2 a minute.
Add in 1 cup of goodies i.e., chocolate chips, raisins, seeds...
I did 3/4c 70% chocolate chips and 1/4 cup sunflower seeds.
Bake on lightly oiled or non-stick sheets for about 18 mins
 or until just set and golden.
Makes about 4 dozen small cookies.
Note: These cookies are a bit tough--I like them, but next time I will add a bit of almond milk to the batter to make a tad more liquidy. Adjust to your liking.
Now, serve them up with a piping hot cup of chai tea, in your AT HOME CAFE.

Oh red tea pot I missed you while I was in Japan.
Oh Japan, thank you for providing me with many pretty dishes.
Maybe Canadian winters won't be so bad if I can look forward to my Cafe at Home :)
What things do you like in the brisk fall weather?

Pumpkin Oatmeal Carrot Cake via the Rice Cooker

Pumpkin Oatmeal Carrot Cake

Dry
2 c. oats
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of cardamon
1/2-1 t. stevia powder (choose your desired sweetness)
pinch salt

Wet
1 large carrot, grated
1 c. kabocha / pumpkin puree
30 g raisins  (soaked, if you want)
3T unsweetened shredded coconut (soaked, if you want)

~1/2 c almond milk
splash of vanilla


Mix Dry together.


Soak your raisins and your coconut, if you like (30mins?)

Grate your carrot.




Prepare your kabocha puree.
First steam:

Then Mash:


Add in some water or almond milk, and some vanilla.
Get everything ready!
Drain your raisins and coconut.
Put your wet ingredients into one bowl.


Mix it all up:
Add to dry:
Put into rice cooker:


Cook on cake setting for ~45 mins. 
(maybe about 25 mins at 350f in a normal oven?)

Cook in rice cooker for about 45 mins.

Voila!

Really yummy topped with nut butter, too :)

I really enjoy cardamom. Do you use it in baking??
I use it when I remember to. And I love it in coffee.
Do you like carrot cake?
It was a nice change of pace from chocolate for me. So dense!

Look what came in the mail!

Oh, how I love getting packages in the mail.

Yes, even when I order them myself, and am expecting them, hahaha.

Wanna see what I got from iHerb?
They are my no.1 place to order grains (oats) and health stuff like probiotics,
that I can't find in-store here in Japan.
Use my code ROP008 for 5% off and free shipping on your first order.

I got my staples, like:


Probiotics


and Dulse Powder.

And because I love breakfast so much, and now that it's winter I am totally into hot porridge, I wanted some ways to mix up my grains:

Steel Cut Oats 

Buckwheat Porridge, Brown Rice Cereal, and Scottish Oats.

And non-essentials but very enjoyable:

Mayan Cocoa Spice and Chai Roobois are great in the afternoon, and in the evening before bed I have been having some Dandelion Tea. Makes my liver happy :)


My no.1 favourite tea these days. So yummy with some almond milk.

What do you order from iHerb?
What are your current favourite teas?

Peanut butter apple pie for breakfast.


So awhile back, lovely Maggie did a post on rice cooker oats.

It could not have come at a better time! Around the same time, on the other side of the world, I was coming back from a trip to Osaka and Kobe. When I arrived home, I needed a quick meal. I looked in my cupboard, and had some oats left (**thank you online food stores, for allowing me to purchase oats in Japan!). I saw my rice cooker, and decided, what the hell, yes i'm lazy and don't feel like watching the pot on the stove. So I went for it, and haven't looked back since.

Rice cooker oats are absolutely the creamiest most delicious thing ever. And they are even more wonderful if you thinly slice an apple and throw it in while cooking. My favourite way to enjoy this delicious breakfast (or lunch...or dinner...) is to mix oats, a pinch of sea salt, cinnamon,water and one apple, thinly sliced. I then turn my rice cooker on to quick cook, and 25 minutes later, hassle free, I have apple pie oatmeal.

Add some peanut butter into the bottom of your bowl (trust me, when you get down to the last few bites, you'll be thanking me).

And then add some to the top as well.

Eat, and enjoy your peanut butter apple pie.

If you haven't tried them....do it!!

Thanks to some online health food stores, I have been able to order oats, peanut butter (oh my gosh! 2 months without peanut butter, and you learn to appreciate it so much), and flax oil! I am definitely loving the Japanese diet, but there are a few things I miss. And I eat brown rice for lunch, and usually dinner, so sometimes it is nice to mix it up with oats in the morning. One sad thing, is that quinoa here is ridiculously expensive. It is over $2 / 100g.

Some eats that I am definitely missing:
~flax seeds (great if you want to do some baking and need an egg replacer)
~rice milk
~chia seeds
~dulse (I cannot get this seaweed here!)

Some new eats here that I am loving:
~lovely miso
~miso
~sesame everything (black sesame seeds especially...mmm...)
~umeboshi

So I guess it's a fair trade. And my family is sending me a care package for Christmas...is it okay if I ask for all food? Haha...

Have a great week you guys!
I am about to finally try PBU with my newly delivered peanut butter! Can't wait!

xoxo

P.S. I'll leave you with a random act of kindness: I called in sick to work on friday, because I had a bad cold, and did not feel like infecting the elementary school I was supposed to work at. On friday evening a cute english assistant lady from my elementary school paid me a visit. She brought me piping hot Japanese soup, brown rice with ginger, carrots, chestnuts and daikon that she made herself, and a kimono she brought me as a present. She showed me how to wear kimonos, and how to fold them up properly. And then she left me and T with some fresh mikans (japanese oranges) from her tree. Apparently she has a farm about 5 minutes away from me, and has a "mountain of orange trees," a huge rice field, and almost every vegetable you can think of. She invited us to go to her farm some weekend, and help her make her own umeboshi plums. She said she wanted to be my Japanese mom, and hoped that she had cheered me up....ummm...yes please! What a sweet thing to do.