Monday, April 16, 2012

Banana, Chocolate Chip, and Granola Cookies

So, with two months left until we leave our house and downsize to less than half of what we have now....I've got a myriad of foods and odds and ends ingredients that need to be used up. Powdered sugar, lentils, Swiss cheese, dried papaya, dehydrated mushrooms, corn flakes, etc. In fact, I got really creative this weekend and made waffles from random pantry items: coconut oil, quinoa flakes, eggs leftover from Easter, leftover buttermilk, sorghum, cornstarch, etc. My family ate them and ate them again. While I watched silently. And enjoyed the smell of coconut in my house. And then decided to tackle more granola.

What's a person to do with leftover granola when they're burned out on parfaits? Well, I saw these cookies online and had to try them. They are VERY good. Moist...flavorful...quite the treat. Glad I stumbled upon the recipe so that I can have another use for bananas and granola. 

The recipe below is my adapted version: I used less sugar (and brown, not white), a not-so ripe banana (so the pieces didn't get smushed), a different granola, and totally upped the amount of chocolate chips--and felt I could have even used more! Delicious.

Adapted from

Makes 3-4 dozen
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chunks (or chips)
  • 3/4 cup Cascadian Farms Maple-Brown Sugar Granola (I used Nature's Path Pumpkin Flax Plus)
  • 1 medium banana, cut into chunks

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Mix sugars and butter in a large bowl. With a mixer, hand-held beater, or very strong arm, beat until creamy. Then beat in the egg until the batter is fluffy and light.
Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until basically combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate chips and granola. Now fold in the banana, being careful not to smush the pieces too much.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet (yes, I did add some more chips on top!). Bake 6-8 minutes or until just barely set.
Cool for 5-10 minutes on the cookie sheet, then remove to a rack or a plate to finish cooling.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

BEST Tofu Sandwich Spread. Like A Fabulous Chicken Salad for Vegetarians.

I have been wanting to try this tofu sandwich spread recipe for years! Recently, my mother in law mentioned she had it at a relative's house and wanted to make it herself. That sealed it--she makes the best sandwich spreads.

We have been in an whirlwind of chaos with life lately and I haven't been in the kitchen as much as I'd like. This is part of the reason--been selling a house! And all the super not-fun stuff that goes with it....if another realtor never calls me again, it will be too soon.

In fact, after discussing this with my funny, honest girlfriends, I realized that the last thing I made for my family was veggie burgers (from a can!) and toppings for Costco frozen pizza--in addition to take out orders. Big fat FAIL in meal-planning. But hey, sometimes you just gotta survive (and let's be honest, I've never been a meal-planning kind of gal--that would require dirty discipline). But, finally this was something quick, easy, and do-able to make that could sort of make me feel like I'm providing for my family. Because I had to make up for the lemon split peas I made from this recipe that my daughter spit out and said, 'GROSS, MOM!' and for the last load of whites I turned pink. Check out the lint proof/shame--anyone else do this since college?

Anyway, we absolutely LOVED this spread! And I think even tofu haters would like eat this spread on a sandwich. It tastes a lot like chicken salad. I imagine it would be delicious served alone on a bed of lettuce for those who like to do low-carb diets, but I'm anxious to try it in a tortilla roll-up.  I think even your kids will eat it...mine was last seen happily munching this and watching Veggie Tales.

The recipe below has been modified based on reviews I read and personalized. What I found to be helpful:

  1. Plan ahead--because you will need to freeze the tofu overnight. Something amazing happens when tofu is frozen and thawed--the texture changes considerably--more crumbly. I love to use it in lasagnas after it's been frozen. 
  2. To make it vegan, use Grapeseed Vegenaise brand--you can find it at health food stores like Whole Foods. It's the best tasting mayonnaise I've ever had--you will not think 'vegan' when you have it in food. 
  3. I used low-sodium soy sauce, and ended up needing to use more than 2 Tbsp. So, keep this in mind if using low-sodium soy sauce. I have not used Bragg's Liquid Aminos, but it may be a good substitute for the soy sauce.
  4. This recipe is a great jumping off point for other add-ins. Feel free to add chopped fresh parsley or cilantro. Add curry powder if you prefer. I felt it absolutely necessary to use garlic powder. 
  5. I added a little extra lemon juice and some pepper. Taste for seasonings.

Adapted from

Makes 4-6 sandwiches (depending on how much filling you use)

  • 1 lb. firm tofu (1 package)
  • 1 1/2 stalks celery, finely minced
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped (white and green parts)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise 
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce (maybe more if using low-sodium soy sauce)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper

Drain the block of tofu. Wrap it in saran wrap or put it in a ziplock bag and freeze the tofu overnight. Then thaw it out--it's best to leave it out wrapped in paper towels to absorb the excess moisture. Squeeze out any moisture by hand--you can cut it into quarters to make it easier to squeeze out each section.

When the tofu has been dried out as much as possible, crumble it into a medium-sized bowl.

Add celery and green onion to the tofu. Stir in the mayo, soy sauce, lemon juice, and other seasonings until well blended.

Store leftover sandwich spread in the refrigerator.