Blog

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: Vegan Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

These guys were inspired by an insanely delicious treat at a bakery awhile back.
Of course they aren't quite the same, as I don't often use or eat eggs or butter, but they did the trick when the craving struck. They are the perfect mix of crumbly, crispy, and chewy and they are oaty and chocolatey. I don't really need to say any more.

MTF: Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

These guys are vegan of course, and gluten free too. They are Macrobiotic friendly in the sense that they use whole & natural foods - but they do have chocolate chips and coconut, making them more of a playful choice, on the outskirts of regular daily foods. They sure are yum, though.

Recipe makes 6 large cookies.

Ingredients

Dry:

  • 1 cup gf oat flour
  • 1 cup gf rolled oats
  • 3 TBSP ground flax seed
  • 1 TBSP chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of sea salt

Wet:

  • 1/3 cup of apple sauce (I used one of those mini snack containers)
  • 1.5 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar of choice (maple sugar is what I used - I bet coconut palm sugar would be good too)
  • 1/4 cup water

AND

  • 2 - 4 TBSP coconut oil, I used 2, but if you'd like them to taste "buttery", then go for 4
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Drop the coconut oil into the dry and either use a pastry cutter, a fork, or crumble/rub  the oil in with your fingers (I used my fingers).
  4. Mix wet ingredients in a bowl, and stir into dry. I used a fork to mix them together.
  5. Add in the chocolate chips.
  6. Using your hands, roll 6 large balls from the dough, and place onto cookie sheet. Press down with your hand, or a fork.
  7. Bake for 15 mins. Let cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes, then move to a rack.

Enjoy! <3 <3 <3



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!

New Finds.

Hey guys,
I found a cool restaurant supply store in my city, that carries a lot of foreign products.
And just some neat Japanese products too.
So, let's take a peek at what I picked up, shall we?
First up, some kabocha soup! 
I usually like to make my own (so so simple, just boil kabocha with a bit of salt, then puree, then reheat--done and done). 
But when I have no time, it's nice to have a quick easy meal. 
This one was a cool find for me, because it didn't have any 
EGGS, WHEAT, or MILK products in it. 
Pretty unheard-of.  Sweet! 
Haven't tried it yet, but I'll let you know when I do.
Second. Some COCONUT LONG, hehehe.
It's hard to find unsweetened coconut, and when I have, it's generally super pricey. 
This was a sweet deal!
Third, a new Cocoa Powder.

Have you guys ever tried this brand?? 
I made a delicious cocoa last night (2T cocoa powder, sprinkle of cinnamon and cayenne, mixed with hot water, and a few drops of vanilla stevia and some almond milk added at the end).
 It was really rich and yummy.
Last, and definitely my most favourite of all:
BERRIES!!!!!! 
Oh, how I love raspberries. 
In the last 18 months of living in Japan, I have had raspberries ONCE. 
What a tragedy, tragedy I tell you! 
The mixed berry set is super yummy. 
It has: rasperries, blackberries, red currants, cassis, and blueberries. 
Do you like berries? Which are your favourite?
Mine are ranked as follows: 
raspberries, blackberries, blueberies and cassis are tied, then red currants, then cranberries. 
But really, all are super yummy! I love strawberries too...but only if they're fresh.
And what is your favourite cocoa powder?
In Canada, a popular store-brand is Fry's cocoa powder. It is really rich and yummy.
In terms of more expensive, fair-trade and organic ones: I really like green&blacks cocoa.
I have also tried Cocoa Camino and it was yummy too.

Stay tuned for a breakfast masterpiece using some of my new ingredients!!

Needs vs. wants, and online ordering.

First of all, I need to thank thank thank Averie and her post that introduced iherb to me. I made an order on Wednesday, and despite the products being in the States, and me living in Japan, mid-Sunday afternoon I heard a knock-knock-knock and there they were. Wowza! Add to that speed, ridiculously cheap shipping, and no customs mangling, and I am truly one happy camper. I am fully stocked up on cocoa beans, cocoa nibs, yerba mate, steel cut oats, calcium/magnesium, and my favourite shampoo. And I am sheepishly already dreaming about what I want to order next. Iherb you rock my world. And Averie, words can`t express my gratitude.

I often think it is silly that while living in Japan, I still feel the need to eat/order foods and products from home. Do I need them? No. Can I create healthy meals without them? Yes. But do I want them? Yesiree. Do they make me happy? Yep--as far as finding happiness in material objects and foods go.>

I have been happily embracing my macrobiotics love lately. The products I can get here at my local grocery store are made for macrobiotics (obviously, as its founders were Japanese and based a lot of their foods/recipes on Japanese food). Seaweed, miso, pickles, fish, sesame galore. Thanks to these local foods my macrobiotic quest is much easier (below is a shot of a typical meal these days for me).

But, I have been known on occasion *cough cough* to enjoy things of the cocoa-variety. And when I do, I like to avoid two things: dairy, and lots of sugar. This means that I can`t buy any Japanese chocolate or cocoa. On the rare occasion I do find chocolate dark enough for my bitter-chocolate-love needs, it always has milk powder in it. So, I resort to ordering online pure cocoa powder, cocoa beans/nibs, and dark chocolate. Yes, I can find some foreign dark chocolate here. Lately, my bar of choice is the Lindt 99% dark bar, BUT, it runs at the sick price of about $7 CAD here. And it`s only a 50g bar. Way too expensive. So, this is where iherb and vitacost come in handy. So far, in my opinion, iherb is much better and is way cheaper for shipping overseasβ€”but unlike vitacost, it does not carry any chocolate in bar form.

My other vice is everything coconut. Coconut milk, coconut oil, and unsweetened dried coconut. I like `em all. And they are all hard to find in good quality, over here.

(((as a side note, in case you didn`t guess, cocoa and coconut are both NOT macrobiotic. According to yin/yang principles, they are very very yin. Macrobiotic guidelines suggest eating foods which are balanced--not too yin or too yang. I used to be much more black and white. If I was eating macrobiotics, then that was that. I was either all in or all out. Right now I am testing my abilities to incorporate macrobiotics into my lifestyle in a way that doesn`t leave me missing out on some of life`s good things, like chocolate. Moderation, moderation, moderation. I feel that if high quality dark chocolate, and some coconut oil are the worst of my deviations, then I`m okay with that.)))

Another thing hard to get here is oats of any kind. Whole oats would be my no1 choice, but they are pretty impossible to order online. Any oats I want, rolled or steel cut, I have to resort to ordering.

So where is all this going you ask? Well, back to the online ordering topic. I do not need oats. I do not need chocolate *gasp* and I do not need coconut. Do you feel justified in ordering / purchasing product, even if in fact it isn`t absolutely necessary? I mean, prepare yourself for a mass generalization here, but we could probably all be perfectly fine and healthy eating regular things from the regular grocery store (as long are you shop the periphery, mind you). High-quality chocolate, coconut oil, vitamins, cocoa beans, maca powder, probiotics, unsulphured nuts and seeds are all quite pricey.

I personally feel that food and what I am putting into my body is a good place to spend money. If this means resorting to ordering steel cut oats, cocoa beans, or unsweetend dark chocolate from overseas, then I`m okay with it. I try to save money in other ways, like buying local produce and rice at the store – here it is WAY cheaper than buying regular stuff. I also try to do fun things that don`t cost much, like going for bike rides, or having tea dates at home with my guy. I don`t drink, barely ever go out to see movies, don`t eat out often due to my intolerances/food preferences, and don`t buy many clothes or beauty products. Instead, I order yerba mate, and raw cacao nibs. So there.

How about you? Where do you spend your money? If you have lived somewhere else for awhile, did you try to find foods from back home, or did you jump head first into what you could find at your local store?

I know I eat macrobiotically...

BUT: I firmly believe in breaking the rules sometimes.
Okay, lots of times. At least for my one long-time love: Cocoa.
I will admit it. I also have a new love. It goes by the name coconut. And it comes in many forms: deliciously rich milk, sweet wonderful icecream, metabolism boosting oil, and of course, classic shredded goodness.

Now--unfortunately for me, neither of these things come first (*cough*anywhere*cough*) on any "to eat" list of macrobiotic foods. Also unfortunately for me, I have fallen off the amazingly great macrobiotic eating train lately, and instead have been enjoying a love affair with cocoa and chocolate. I have this bad habit of being REALLY good....so good that I won't have anything non-macrobiotic for weeks...even months (such as last summer), and then one little taste, usually of sugar, and I'm totally on a mad chocolate guzzling rampage. This time around though, I am trying to let myself enjoy treats more often, in an attempt to stop these awful bad eating sprees. A bit of sweetness in life is needed sometimes.

Anyways, enough rambling--onto the good stuff!
I have already paired my delicious cocoa and coconut in previous snack sensations:

Cocoa Nibs and Coconut Milk as a topping for fruit

After tasting this combination, I began craving it on everything (see my post below about oatbran with cocoa nibs and coconut milk).
I recalled seeing this delightful creation at the health foods store I used to work at--packaged nicely in a jar.
Today when I was there, I decided to use my gift certificate for a little splurge, and ended up bringing home the most delightful treat ever:

Artisana Cacao Bliss. Truly blissful for sure. And made with great ingredients:
all organic everything: coconut butter, extra virgin coconut oil, agave syrup, cacao, and cacao butter. Holy Mama!! (i'm not too sure how i feel about ingesting agave...my taste buds like it, and i've read some good things about it...but as I try to stick to macrobiotics when possible, i usually just use brown rice syrup...and if i'm being bad, honey or maple syrup...but seeing as how i'm on the whole cocoa and coconut train, a little agave never hurt anyone...right?)

Once I was home, I opened up the jar to make sure it was safe:

Unfortunately...or maybe fortunately? it was. It was frickin' DELICIOUS. So I was inspired to make a post lunch dessert:

Cacao Bliss Banana Oatbran

A true splurge for me, seeing as how I rarely even eat bananas, as most tropical fruit should be avoided on a macrobiotic diet.

Here's how it played out:

I threw some water in a pan (~1.5 cups) and brought it to boil.
Added in about 1/3 c. oat bran, and 1/3 c. rolled oats.
Threw in some sliced bananas.
Let it cool a few minutes.
Topped with some cacao bliss.

**it is quite possible that a second serving of cacao bliss may have snuck its way in halfway through...and the chef may have also tasted a few spoonfuls just to make sure it really was amazing**

Stir Fry and Apple Pie** (oooh! that rhymes!)

Yesterday was full of wonderful food. My guy and I decided to stir fry it up.

Deliciously Fresh Stir Fry:

We used a bit of sesame oil in a wok, and added some freshly minced ginger and lemon grass stalks for flavour.

To make sure we hit up our daily green veggies, we added a lot of:
broccoli
sui choy cabbage

We also added:
carrots (sliced and shredded!)
mushrooms
bean sprouts

I added a bit more sesame oil throughout (2 tsp in total), along with some water. When it was almost done cooking, I added 1 more tsp of toasted sesame oil this time, as well as some cayenne, some lemon zest and a few squeezes of lemon juice, as well as one of my all time FAVOURITE MACROBIOTIC seasonings: umeboshi vinegar! We ate it served over ample short grain brown rice--macrobiotic approved!

Voila! Lovely dinner!

I also had a FABULOUS dessert. A spur of the moment creation that will definitely be repeated:

**Apple Pie a la mode (aka: apple oat bran topped with coconut milk icecream)


To make:
Dice an apple, and throw it in a pan with about ~1.5-2 cups water and a pinch of sea salt. Bring to boil and let boil for around 4ish minutes. Add in ~1/3 - ~1/2 c. of oat bran, and maybe 1/4 c. rolled oats. Let it boil for a few minutes, then let simmer until thickened to your liking! Near the end add in a bit of sweetener if you like (I added in 1 tsp of brown rice syrup). Pour into a beautiful bowl, and let it cool for a moment.Top with cinnamon....and So Delicious coconut milk icecream (dairy free, and sweetened with agave). Then try not to cry from sheer joy (because it truly is that good) :)