Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I dont normally advocate for making cookies very often, but every now and then a yummy oatmeal cookie can be delightful.

I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as I did!

Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yields 15

Yummy, dense and lightly sweet cookies that are a great treat.

Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 12 min
Total Time: 22 min

Dry

  • 1 cup organic gluten free oats
  • 3/4 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder (not baking soda)
  • 1/2 cup raisins (or dried cranberries or cherries)
  • 1 square unsweetened dark chocolate

Wet

  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbs grass fed butter (or coconut oil)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1 dropper liquid Stevia (optional)

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (or grease it).
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine all wet ingredients. Mix until smooth and creamy.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and stir.
  5. Add in to wet ingredients and mix until combined (Do not overmix!).
  6. Using a spoon, drop rounded mounds of dough onto cookie sheet and flatten slightly.
  7. Bake for 12-14 minutes (watch closely as overbaking will dry them out)
  8. Let cool for at least 10 minutes to prevent crumbling.

 

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Better than Takeout Thai Food Part 1–Summer Rolls

I generally am not a huge takeout person. If I am not in my kitchen, making food, I generally like to go out and enjoy all the great aspects of restaurant dining – a server, a unique wine list, fun atmosphere, etc. However, there are some nights where you just can’t bring yourself to get dressed, let alone put on make-up and pretty yourself to be seen in public. These nights often coincide with a deep desire to sit on the couch and do nothing – funny how that works out.

On the rare occasions that these nights come around, I often default to my favorite kind of takeout food – Thai. I love all kinds of Thai food – curries, rice dishes, noodle dishes, salads, soups, everything. And while I like to think of myself as someone who ventures out and tries new things, I do find myself often ordering the exact same meal every time I do take out from my favorite Thai restaurant: Summer Rolls and Pad Thai.

I am not sure summer rolls are technically considered Thai. They are often on Thai restaurant menus, but I often see them referred to “Vietnamese Summer Rolls.” Whatever their origin, I don’t consider a Thai meal complete without some summer rolls.

These little rolls are just so balanced. Everything from their texture to their taste hits on all levels. They have a soft exterior, but you still get a nice crunch from the plethora of fresh veggies in them. You get subtle sweetness from the shrimp, mint and basil contrasted with spice from the hot peppers and cilantro. Plus, they are so pretty to look at!

I served my summer rolls with my recipe for spicy peanut sauce. While Hoisin sauce is probably the most traditional accompaniment for summer rolls, I really enjoy the creamy texture and spicy flavor of peanut sauce. Plus, if you make peanut sauce for the summer rolls, you can ensure there are extras to be served with the Pad Thai (recipe coming soon!).

Vietnamese Summer Rolls – Serves 4 as an appetizer

Ingredients

  • 8 round rice paper wrappers (I used wrappers that were 8 1/2 inches in diameter and located in the international aisle of the supermarket)
  • 1/2 lb pre-cooked shrimp, sliced in half
  • 2 ounces rice stick noodles (vermicelli size)
  • 1/2 English cucumber, julienned
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1/2 bell pepper, julienned
  • 2 serrano peppers, julienned (seeds and membrane removed if you want it less spicy)
  • 1 cup mixed greens
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, ripped into large pieces
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, leaves separated from stem
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, leaves separated from stem
  • Peanut Sauce

Directions

    1. Soak rice stick noodles in hot water for 15 – 20 minutes until soft and pliable.
    2. Prep veggies, shrimp and peanut sauce (if serving).
    3. Add hot water to a large sauté pan (or other bowl that is wide enough to fit rice paper). One at a time, place a rice paper in hot water for 10-15 seconds until soft and pliable. Working quickly, remove the rice paper and place three shrimp halves in the middle of the rice paper cut side up. In this order, add the: noodles, two-three piece of mint, basil and cilantro, serrano, carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers and finish with 1-2 large pieces of mixed greens.
    4. Wrap the summer roll like you would a burrito: 1) fold the bottom half of the rice paper wrapper over the filling 2) holding the whole thing firmly in place, fold the sides of the wrapper in 3) pressing firmly down to hold the folds in place, roll the entire wrapper horizontally up from the bottom to the top 4) turn the roll so that that the same faces down and the row of shrimp faces up.
    5. If not serving immediately, place the summer rolls on a rimmed baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Make sure you leave room between summer rolls so they don’t stick to each other. If you are serving immediately, dip a sharp knife into hot water and cut on a diagonal down the middle.
    6. Repeat the entire process with remaining rice paper, replacing the water in the sauté pan whenever it gets cold.
    7. Serve with spicy peanut sauce and enjoy!
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Tilapia Puttanesca with Tomato Cucumber Salad and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Tilapia Puttanesca

Today’s recipe is one of my all time favorites. I love the flavors, but I also love the fact that this dish comes together in 15 min or so; making it perfect for a quick and healthy lunch or dinner. Don’t tell anyone, but I also love the fact that puttanesca literally means whore. (Eh, I’m easily entertained. What can I say?).

I make a pretty traditional sauce that consists of tomatoes, olives, capers, garlic, and onion, but you make what you and your family will like. This sauce is great to serve over pasta, chicken, scooped up with some crusty bread, etc.

Here’s what you’ll need to cook with me:

Tilapia Puttanesca

  • 2 tilapia fillets, any white fish will work just fine
  • 1 c. diced tomato, fresh preferred, but canned is fine
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp. evoo
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. capers
  • 1/8 c. kalamatta olives, pitted and sliced (any olive will work just fine)
    basil

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. evoo
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar, optional
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Tomato & Cucumber Salad

  • .5 c. tomato, diced
  • .5 c. cucumber, diced or wedged
  • fresh basil to taste
  • Parmesan cheese -optional, but why not?
Tomato & Cucumber Salad
Tomato & Cucumber Salad

The first thing you want to do is make your vinaigrette so the flavors have time to meld together while you’re working on everything else. In a bowl whisk together evoo, balsamic, garlic, salt, and brown sugar until combined. Set aside for later. You can can go ahead and add your diced tomatoes and cucumbers if you want them to absorb the dressing, but I like to keep my cucumber crunchy so I don’t add them in until later.

In a small skillet, sautee garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes for 1-2 minutes over medium-low heat. Add in dice tomatoes, turn heat up to medium and let simmer until tomatoes start to break down and form a creamy sauce, approximately 3-4 minutes.

Tilapia Puttanesca
Tilapia Puttanesca

While your sauce is cooking, prepare your fish. Season with a little s&p, then saute in evoo a couple of minutes per side. This is also the time I like to dress the salad with the vinaigrette.

Add capers and olives to sauce and simmer another 2 minutes. If your sauce becomes to thick add a little water to thin it out. Remove from heat and stir in butter.

That’s it, you’re done!

Plate your fish, spoon that delicious sauce over the top, and pair with your crisp, cool salad. Sprinkle everything with some freshly chiffonade of basil and enjoy!

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Strawberry Apple Smoothie Recipes

Apple Smoothie

I have been living in Japan for the last year, and one thing I love about Japan is that the fruit here is so good. Especially the apples.

My favorite apples have always been Fuji apples. Back in Canada, there were usually only two kinds of apples that I would buy: organic Braeburn apples, and organic Fuji apples. They are both so crisp and sweet. They cost a little more than other apples, but they are still cheaper than most other fruits or berries.

A slice of apple, with a little almond butter or peanut butter on top, is one of my favorite snacks. Apples have a lot more sugar than berries, but I figure it is still way better than reaching for a chocolate bar.

Apple Smoothies

Sometimes I will add an apple to my smoothie. Especially if I am out of bananas. An apple, even half an apple, can give a lot of sweetness to a drink and easily replace a banana. Apples go well with a lot of berries. Strawberries, raspberries, bluberries and blackberries are all a good combination with apples. Apples tend to grow in cooler climates, and most of the popular berries are also non-tropical crops.

One of my favorite pies is apple-blackberry pie. Even a smoothie version is this dessert is good. All you need is two or three frozen bananas, half a cup of blackberries (ideally fresh blackberries), and a sweet apple, plus a cup of your favorite non-dairy milk. Super good.

There are a lot of good apple pie smoothie recipes out there. They main key is to use enough banana to make it thick, and to use enough cinnamon to give it that pie taste. And of course, the better the better the apples, the better the smoothie.

Some people use apple juice as a base for some of their smoothies. I prefer to always stick with nut milk. Fresh apples are great, but apple juice is usually from concentrate, or at least pasteurized. Something about the way they process the juice takes out a lot of the natural health benefits, and it also changes the flavor.

So I avoid apple juice, orange juice, and most other kinds of juice, unless it is fresh-squeezed. Fresh squeezed orange juice is not too difficult to find, or to make, but other kinds of juice, including fresh apple juice, are not as easy to get. So, stick with a nut-milk base. Or, if you don’t want to mix apples and nuts, you can just use a cup of filtered water as a base, or ice. But I myself prefer smoothies that are not too watery or icy. I like my smoothies almost room temperature. They say it is better for digestion that way. The only time I make super cold smoothies is in the middle of the summer.

Recipes

Here are some apple strawberry smoothie recipes for you to check out. I have also included an apple pie smoothie here, just in case you haven’t seen my dessert smoothies article yet.

Apple Pie Smoothie

  • 1.5 cups almond milk
  • half cup organic strawberries
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 2 fresh organic apples
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • quarter teaspoon nutmeg

Apple Hemp Smoothie

  • 1.5 cups hemp milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 organic apple
  • 5 organic strawberries
  • a handful of spinach
  • 1 scoop hemp protein powder (or hemp hearts)

Easy Apple Strawberry

  • 1.5 cups almond milk
  • 1 organic apple
  • 1 cup organic strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • half a frozen banana (optional)
  • 1 scoop protein powder (optional)

Chocolate Apple Smoothie

  • 1.5 cups almond milk
  • 1 organic banana
  • 1 organic apple
  • half cup organic strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon cacao powder

Apple Mango Oatmeal Smoothie

  • 1.5 cups almond milk or coconut milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 organic apple
  • 5 organic strawberries
  • half a fresh mango
  • quarter cup rolled oats
  • 1 scoop protein powder (optional)

I like to recommend buying organic, when it comes to apples. With some fruit and vegetables, it matters less, because less pesticides are used. But in the case of apples and strawberries, a lot is used. The top 3 most pesticided fruits are peaches, strawberries and apples. Some of the residue can be washed off, or peeled off, but not all of it. With many fruits it is not essential to buy organic. But with those 3, plus blueberries, nectarines and cherries, try to go organic.

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Scottish Black Bun Recipe

Scottish Black Bun

Preparation Time: 40 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 hours
Serves:  8 to 12

Ingredients for the Filling

  • 450g currants
  • 350g seedless or deseeded and chopped raisins
  • 25g dark sultanas
  • 75g almonds, blanched and finely chopped
  • 175g candied peel, finely chopped
  • 175g plain flour
  • 1/2 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 level teaspoon of cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves pinch of black pepper
  • 175g dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons whisky or brandy

Ingredients for the Pastry

  • 250g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 100g butter
  • water to bind

To Glaze

  • 1 egg,
  • a little water
  1. Mix the dried fruit, almonds and peel. Sift the flour with the bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar, cloves and black pepper.
  2. Blend the flour with the fruit mixture, the sugar, egg, milk and whisky or brandy. Allow to stand for several hours.
  3. Sift the flour and salt for the pastry, rub in the butter, hind with water to make a firm rolling consistency. Grease a 18cm square cake tin.
  4. Roil out the pastry very thinly; cut out a square the size of the tin; reroll the remaining dough and line the” base and sides of the cake tin.
  5. Put the filling into the pastry-lined tin, brush the top edges with water and put on the pastry lid; do not press down too firmly for the fruit mixture swells in cooking.
  6. Blend the egg and a very little water, brush over the pastry, then prick with a fine skewer or fork.
  7. Bake in the centre of a slow to very moderate oven, lower the heat slightly after 1 1/2 hours if the pastry is becoming too brown. Cool in the tin for 1 hour.

To Serve

Cut into neat fingers.

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The Crunchiest Croutons Ever…

Hello and welcome to my first recipe for the stupid cooking blog: CornerCooks. It’s super easy and something you can even have your kids do (if you have kids and if you’re so inclined). Please bear with me while I get the hang of the blog, my WordPress theme, etc. I hope to have things sorted and neat soon.

I’ve been cooking a lot more lately. I have a huge and brand new kitchen with wonderful appliances and friends who come over to watch Dexter and other things on Sunday evenings. This is great because it gives me an excuse to use them as my guinea pigs and experiment with new recipes or techniques or whatever.

In case you were wondering, no, I’m not a chef. I’m just some guy who likes to cook. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t, and I plan to let you know when it goes awry because I will need someone to laugh with me, and to offer suggestions for fixing the problems.

I have also started ordering from GoodEggs NOLA. All those good, fresh groceries have been keeping me inspired.

The first week with Good Eggs, I ordered a bag of everything bagels made by Sugerman’s and I got SO MANY BAGELS! They were delicious, but I wasn’t able to eat them all. Half of the lovely bagels went stale right there on the counter. I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away and I kept thinking about what I could do with them while the poor bagels grew ever staler.

Bread pudding? No, too much garlic. Breadcrumbs? Maybe. We have been eating a lot of salads — what about croutons? Yes!

First, make sure your knife is sharp. I tried my old serrated bread knife, but this regular knife was sharper and more effective.

First, make sure your knife is sharp.
First, make sure your knife is sharp.

Depending on how stale your bagels (or other bread items) are, you will be able to break these up quickly, or, in my case, spend a large chunk of your afternoon whacking at your bagels. Eventually, I got the hang of it and started using the knife like a wedge in firewood. The bagels shattered into nice pieces from that point on. REMEMBER: SAFETY FIRST. Keep your fingers out of the way of your knife! Protect your eyes from flying sharp bits of bagel and seeds!

Crunchy Croutons

I used my knife like a wedge, shattering the bagels into little chunks. And arrived at this pretty bowl of nuggets.

Crunchy Croutons

Right about now, you should set your oven to 350 degrees, and let it heat up.

350 degrees for 20 minutes
350 degrees for 20 minutes

Here’s where the fun begins. You can put any little flavor your heart desires on your croutons. My bagels already had garlic, so of course I added more garlic. I also like pepper, Cavender’s, Tony Chachere’s, and other things. Pick whatever flavors you like with your salad (or for snacking) and go to town! Do yourself a favor, though, and TASTE IT.

Basic Croutons
Basic Croutons

Basic Croutons

  • Bowl of bread pieces
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Granulated Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Cracked Pepper
  • 1 Tsp Cracked Sea Salt

Whisk all the ingredients together,

Whisk all the ingredients together
Whisk all the ingredients together

then pour over your bread pieces,

then pour over your bread pieces
then pour over your bread pieces

and toss until all pieces are coated.

and toss until all pieces are coated
and toss until all pieces are coated

Once the pieces are all good and coated, spread them evenly on a big cookie sheet.

Spread Evenly on a Cookie Sheet.
Spread Evenly on a Cookie Sheet.

Pop the cookie sheet into your hot oven (you pre-heated, right???) for 15 to 20 minutes, and let them brown. Turn them over about halfway through so you don’t have uneven color and texture.

Use a glove for safety.
Use a glove for safety.

I’ll be honest, I’m just getting used to my oven, so mine got a little browner that I’d have liked.

Crunchy Croutons

No matter, they are really crunchy and taste great.

From this basic recipe, add whatever you like, more garlic, less pepper, some red pepper flakes, more salt, snipped rosemary, whatever! For the record, I tend to add a lot more of everything, and I sprinkle the salt on when I finish so the crystals don’t fully dissolve in the oil.

Whatever bread you use, if you find a half cup doesn’t coat or saturate your bread as well as you would like, sprinkle on a little more, but remember that some of the oil will escape your bread and end up on the cookie sheet.

Y’all have fun and let me know how yours turn out!

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