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Don’t Eat the Gingersnaps!

February 4, 2012

Those gingersnaps were terrible! They tasted worse by the minute and by the next morning, I threw the whole lot away.

They weren’t near sweet enough and I think the whole wheat flour was just too rugged for such a cookie. I bought a bag of whole wheat pastry flour yesterday. I’ll let you know when I try it again.

I have had a few successes in the past few days. I baked a delicious oatmeal ginger cookie using crystallized ginger.

1. whisk together 1 cup flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg

2. cut up 1/2 cup crystallized ginger into small pieces and mix with 1 tbsp flour to keep from sticking together

3. blend 1 jar baby prunes, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup molasses, 1 tsp vanilla

4. add dry ingredients to wet and blend well


5. Add 1 cup old-fashioned oats and blend well

6. Add ginger pieces and blend

7. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 for about 14 minutes

Yummy, chewy fat-free goodness. Warning- these are not sugar-free!

I’ve used the same basic recipe, varying the spices and fruit, sometimes using raisins, apples or dates


Another success was a tweaking of the zucchini boat.

I’ve made them a lot lately, using both zucchini and yellow squash. I slice them in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds (sometimes saving for soup or some other concoction). This prevents “the boat” from taking on too much water, er…liquid from the seeds. Sometimes I fill them with a leftover rice or quinoa dish, or vegetable mixture. My latest efforts were simply filled with diced onion, diced tomato and diced Kalamato olives. I know. The olives are pretty fat laden to use in dishes to reverse heart disease, but I only use a one and a half olive per squash half so it’s not so bad. I bake them about 30 minutes at 375 – 400, depending on what else I have in the oven. Along with the boats, I served fresh corn on the cob and roasted sweet potato slices.


The sweet potato is one of my favorite foods. I use to love them baked and drowning in butter. If I simply bake them in their skin now, as I use to do, I miss the butter too much. Cut up in soups or sliced and roasted seems to trick my mind that they are actually a different food, one that does not require butter to taste good. Ah, the games we play…whatever works.


One more success, was a soup we had for dinner last night. After a doctor’s appointment,  had lunch at a little restaurant run by volunteers from a Buddhist meditation center, called The World Peace Cafe. It was an interesting place, like a blast from my metaphysical past with an interesting menu. We settled on their “classic veggie burger.” It was huge and fairly tasty and served alongside bakes wedges of potato giving the plate the look of a regular hamburger and fries. I made a mental note to serve my next veggie burger experiment in the same way when I saw the look of joy on Lee’s face.

As we ate, I looked more closely at the menu, admittedly seeking ideas. The “Kale, Mushroom and Lentil Soup” sounded especially delicious but gave little in the way of a recipe except that it also had carrots.

I made the Allie version last night and I must say, it was delicious.

This is a pitiful picture. It was actually very pretty.

I sautéed a chopped sweet onion and three sliced carrots.

Once almost tender, I added two bunches of loosely chopped kale and about six cups of water, a cup of lentils, salt, pepper, two tsp veggie base (see below), a dash of curry, a dash of nutmeg, a hint of cinnamon, good sprinkling of garlic powder and 1/4 tsp chili powder.

I let the pot simmer about 45 minutes, until the lentils were tender but not mushy.

It was delicious!

I mentioned the veggie base.

This stuff is amazing.

It tastes like I simmered a pot of carrots, onion, garlic, celery and some magic for a few days, until all the liquid was gone. If I’d taken the “mud mixture” left on the bottom of that pot of veggies and put it in a little jar, it might taste like this “Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base,” that is, if I was lucky.

Did I say I like it? It’s good in most everything.


Another love is a jar of  Baby Prunes.

I read about using them in place of the oil when baking in a recipe in Dean Ornish‘s cookbook.

You know the depth molasses adds to a recipe? The baby prunes do that, too.

No one knows there are prunes in there either.


Well, tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday. We are rooting for the Giants and have a few folks coming over to watch the game with us. We are warning them that all snacks will be beyond vegan. To spurge, I’ll make guacamole and will bake some corn tortillas. I’ve tried baking them before and have been disappointed. We both love Mexican food (cheese!), and love a bowl of hot crispy chips and salsa or queso. I haven’t tried baking the chips since I got the oil spritzer. I’m thinking if I spritz them with a tad of oil, sprinkle with salt and them bake, they might be much more to our liking. Lee’s picking up a bag of baked chips as a back up this afternoon.Instead of queso, we’ll have refried bean dip.

I’ll be making veggie burger “sliders” and fat-free hummus with lots of raw veggies. Speaking of hummus, I make it often in the food processor using the recipe out of the Ornish book. It’s tasty enough and I vary the ingredients. Sometimes I add sun dried tomatoes, sometimes a little olive. Sometimes I use the basic garlic and sometimes make it super spicy. What I miss is the creamy texture of the store bought kind that is blended with tahini and lots of added fat. Maybe it’s my Black and Decker food processor that won’t blend it fine enough or maybe it just has to have the oil to be that luscious, but it’s always a little chickpea grainy. If anyone knows how to achieve the creaminess without the use of any oil, I’d love to know how to do it.

One more thought before I close this especially long post. My new issue of A.A.R.P magazine came the other day. In it was an article about Sharon Stone. She talked about her health challenge. She had a brain aneurysm and shortly after that lost custody of her son. He career nose-dived. About the time following those events she said,

I had to sit in the silence until the balls stopped moving.”

It’s been almost three years since my own world turned upside down, when my heart broke both figuratively and literally.

Some just bounce back and seem to pick up where they left off, seemingly unchanged. Not me.

I too have had to let the balls stop moving.

Amen Sister Stone.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Lynn Kelly permalink
    February 4, 2012 4:51 pm

    FIrst! Did she get her son back?

    Your kitchen sounds like mine so very much. Dinner last night was quinoa, mixed with a few kalamata olives, chopped tomato, green onions, red/yellow bell peppers, a little chipolte and cumin seasoning. Apple cider vinegar & kalamata juice for the dressing. Oh, and avacado chopped. Side bread was Dr. Reddy’s low carb tortilla, guaranteed not to elevate blood sugar even one degree!

  2. February 4, 2012 7:59 pm

    No, though she does get to have him visit her one weekend a month. She has since adopted two little boys who are now five and six years old.

    Your dinner sounds yummy, hadn’t thought of the kalamata juice for a dressing, though I’ve used it to season whatever I’m cooking. Great idea!

  3. February 5, 2012 11:19 am

    I LOVE that Veggie broth too. I used to use the Chicken base but I’m happy that the Veggie base is so good. I think I used it almost everyday last week in our Soup Week. I hope all of your snacks turn out yummy for the Super Bowl. Have you tried using nutritional yeast to make a cheese dip? I have some recipes from the Happy Herbivore books that I use on Nachos.

    Let me know how your veggie burgers turn out too. I’m one for one so far on making them.

    • February 5, 2012 2:12 pm

      I haven’t tried the nutritional yeast yet and hadn’t heard of using it as a cheese substitute until I read it somewhere the other day. In fact, I think it may have been on your blog or a link on your blog. I’ve added it to this week’s grocery list. Thanks for the good wishes! I’m about to start slicing and dicing now. Thanks for your tips!

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