Cherry Tomato and Caramelized Onion Galette

Hi all! Happy summer! I feel like this summer has flown by while not having done much about it. I’ve managed to tube the Cowichan River twice (and have what now seems to be a permanent bruise on one of my rear cheeks (tmi?)), and gone to the mainland to watch TayTay slay-slay (QUEEN/don’t judge me). Other than that, I have been enjoying riding my bike to work and home again (thank you Saanich for the new bike lanes on Cloverdale!) and catching up with friends.

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As the summer and all its glorious sun we’re getting wears on, Max and I’s garden has become almost unmanageable. Two weekends ago I picked 25 lbs of yellow plums (when I say picked I mean that after getting the sun and bark in my eyes I shook the damn too tall trees and picked up the ones off the ground that seemed firm enough that they just fallen and weren’t some of the ones that had been decomposing in the grass for the last few weeks) to make wine which so far has managed to stay fruit fly free. Last weekend I picked 50 lbs of apples.. FIFTY POUNDS OF APPLES off one of my two trees. Thankfully the other tree has a bit more shade so I won’t need to see another apple for a few more weeks (apple recipes coming soon to a blog near you). So my last week has been spent making apple: cake, crisp, pancakes, jelly and sauce. This weekend/next weekend are going to be spent with my Italian Prune Plums (I made cornmeal muffins.. yuuummm). If this wasn’t enough, our 24 tomato plants are finally getting ripe so I’m elbow deep in those too. I am starting to get over my grudge against the resident squirrels who eat all the nuts out of our two walnut trees and never leave me even one because right now: ain’t nobody got time for that.

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Anyway, TOMATOES! I had been waiting for a particularly productive bush to get red when I realized they were golden tomatoes that were in their prime (hellooo!). Having been slightly over cooking the last few weeks, these tomatoes gave me a fresh push to get creative again. I keep falling back on the same meals that are good, but (with the exception of burritos) get old. Not so much the taste, if I could snap my fingers and have those meals ready on a plate I’d gobble them down no problem, it’s the method. If I’ve made it more than a few times, I get bored of making it. I NEED ADVENTURE. (I say that, when I am the only one of my father’s four children he’d let ride his dirt bike as I am also my father’s only child that would not get onto said dirt bike, because danger). So, I picked the golden cherry tomatoes and a few other normal cherry tomatoes, looked at them with love in my eyes and they told me to burst them and stick them in a pie. So I made a galette. A galette? WTF? Basically, it’s a lazy tart/pie. Lazy, because it’s French. (I kid, QC, I looove you, please don’t ever separate from strong and free!).

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Cherry Tomato and Caramelized Onion Galette

Makes two galettes, serves 2-8, depending if it’s the main meal or not

Crust

3 cups spelt flour (all purpose or whole wheat or a mix would work too)

½ cup melted coconut oil (or whatever oil you have on hand)

½ cup almond milk (or whatever milk you have on hand)

Pinch of salt

Filling

1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil

3 medium yellow onions

Salt and Pepper

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon brown sugar

3 cups cherry tomatoes

3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped

½ cup mozzarella, grated

Egg Yolk Wash

1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tsp water

Method:

Set a large cast iron pan onto the stove at medium heat, add ghee/oil. Slice onions, add to the now hot skillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fry onions until they are super soft. I find it helps if I cover the skillet with a lid which helps keep in the moisture, making sure to stir it every 5 minutes or so. During this time, I stemmed the tomatoes and washed them. After about 15 minutes, add vinegar and sugar to the onions and mix it around. Add tomatoes and stir. Cover the pan for another 5 minutes or so or until most of the tomatoes have burst. Remove from the stove and transfer the mixture to a large bowl or plate to cool. You can do all of this a few hours before making the tart and be patient and wait for it to cool to room temperature or be like me where it’s already 7pm and Max and I are starving and throw it into the fridge for a little bit to speed up the cooling process and get a bigger electricity bill, yuuus. Once the filling is cooled, mix in the dill and cheese.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

While the filling is cooling, make the crust. Place flour and salt in a food processor. With the motor running, slowly add the oil and milk. Keep it running until you have what looks like cornmeal. Now, turn it out onto a floured surface and separate into even disks. Roll them out into approximately 9-inch circles. Transfer to baking sheets. I find it helps by wiggling a spatula under the crust and folding it in half without creasing it and then wiggling the spatula under the other half, folding it in quarters, then transferring and unfolding it back to flat.

Once the dough is ready and the filling cooled, use a slotted spoon to place the filling evenly into the middle of the dough, leaving about 2 inches around the edges. Try to keep the liquid collected from the tomatoes out of the tart as it can make the crust soggy. Max and I saved the liquid and added it to omelets the next day. Alternatively you could drink it (no judgment). Fold the dough edges up around the filling, it’ll be a little messy and that’s ok. Brush the yolk wash onto the crust. Place galettes in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes, everything will be bubbly, smell tasty, and the crust will be golden. Remove galettes from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes, slice up and devour. This would go well with a simple green salad if you have the energy, but is also fine on its own which is what Max and I did.

Leftovers heat up surprisingly well in the microwave for breakfast the next morning for whoever’s asking (good luck having leftovers).

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Did you make this? Show me! Tag your instagram photos with #kivacooks !

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Bacon and Bleu Cheese Potato Salad

Hai guys! Long time no post.. sorry about that! I have seriously missed posting and just haven’t had the energy or time to do it lately. Ok, I lie, I have this problem where I keep buying more and more cookbooks and I keep going through them and wanting to make EVERYTHING! So I do, but then I don’t have time to make my own creations which I can then post BUT they have given me just about a billion and one ideas that I am bursting to put together and share with all you lovely people (one day).

A few weeks ago, Max’s friend Dylan came over and brought us a small container of this RIDICULOUS, OFF THE WALL potato salad that had (you guessed it) bacon and bleu cheese in it from a catering company he works at, and ERMAGERD, I have done nothing but dream of it since. Obviously, I had to recreate it to get it out of my brain.

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I don’t know about your family, but in mine, my dad can make three things: pancakes, grilled cheese sandwiches, and potato salad. Ooooh dat potato salad! Pops is always the designated potato salad-er at summer time family get togethers and barbecues. Many have tried to recreate it, most have failed. The secret is using almost an entire jar of mayonnaise; which, in theory sounds disgusting but in practice (and perhaps without this knowledge) is yum. But don’t worry, I’m not going to make you do that today!

So, in light of Father’s Day happening tomorrow, here is a potato salad you can make to show your pops just how much you love him! (Dad, I’ll bring some over tomorrow).

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Bacon and Bleu Cheese Potato Salad

Yield: 8 side servings

This salad takes some prep work, you want the potatoes to be cooked and cooled, the bacon cooked cooled and chopped, and the eggs hard-boiled and cooled as well. You can do this the day before if you’d like or make the whole salad the day before which gives the flavours time to get to know each other.

  • 4 cups potatoes, chopped into bite-sized pieces, boiled until just tender and cooled
  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled and sliced
  • 2 strips bacon, cooked crisp, chopped into bits and cooled
  • 2 sticks celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 bunches radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons bleu cheese, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon bacon bits (from above)
  • 2 tablespoons bleu cheese
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, stir together potatoes, eggs, bacon (minus one teaspoon for the sauce as well as a pinch for sprinkling on before serving), celery, radishes, scallions, bleu cheese crumbles and dill. Set aside.

In a blender, food processor, or small bowl with a fork and elbow grease, blend the mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard, vinegar, honey or maple syrup, bacon bits, bleu cheese, paprika, salt and pepper. Once it’s smooth, pour onto potato mixture and stir it up till it’s all mixed in and creamy. Top with more cracked black pepper, scallions, dill, bacon bits and bleu cheese crumbles. Serve.

Salad will keep for 3 days wrapped up tight in the fridge.

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What are you guys doing to celebrate Father’s Day?!

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Cozy Comforting Energy Bowl

Hi all! Sooo I made the most delicious and comforting and cozy quinoa bowl everrrr this week. I whispered to it as I lovingly ate it that I would make it every week for the rest of my life. My favourite vegetables, hands down, are yams and avocados (okay, so an avocado is technically a fruit, but really, I’d never put it in a fruit salad, and that makes it a vegetable in my books, I don’t care what you think). Speaking of fruit, Max and I went and got a peach and cherry tree this weekend for our back yard (and will also be getting a FIG TREE in a few weeks)! Which makes me sooo excited because, fun fact: I point out every single fruit tree I see to Max and usually try to approach it for picking or smelling or both (so long as it isn’t on private property) and then I want to discuss said tree. It drives him nuts. Once in San Diego I picked an orange off a tree in front of a store we were in. I brought it into the car on our way home, and it smelled like I had gone to citrus heaven. Then I went to open it and my thumb went right through it because it was rotten on one side. I was forced to throw it out the window after that. Whomp-whomp. Anyway, THIS BOWL:

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It’s got all the things; quinoa, steamed kale, chickpeas infused with a spiced coconut sauce, roasted yam, avocado, cilantro-lime-tahini sauce (OMG), sesame seeds, and more lime. Yuuuuuuuuuum. It’s healthy comfort in a bowl. The recipe may sound like a lot of work, but it only took me about 50 minutes from start to finish. And it’s totally worth the dishes, I promise. It’s like a warm hug. Share some warm tummy hugs this week and make it!

Energy Bowl

Recipe:

Serves 2 for one normal portion and a hungry construction worker portion.

Ingredients:

1 large yam (orange sweet potato)

½ tablespoon melted coconut oil

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cumin

Fresh ground pepper

½ cup quinoa

1 cup water

½ tablespoon coconut oil

½ teaspoon salt

One can (14 oz.) of Garbanzo beans (chick peas)

1/3 cup coconut milk (from a can) (full fat)

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon Sambal Olek (or your favourite hot sauce)

Juice of half a lime

Kale, rinsed, shredded with tough stem ripped out

1 garlic clove

Juice of one lime

1/3 cup of cilantro (stalks are ok!)

½ cup tahini (sesame butter)

1/3 cup water

½ an Avocado, sliced

Sesame Seeds

Cilantro leaves

Lime quarters

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Peel and chop your yam into bite-sized pieces, place in a bowl and toss with melted oil, salt, pepper, and cumin. Spread onto a baking sheet that is covered in parchment paper. Once the oven is preheated, put the yam into the oven and roast for 40 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Place rinsed garbanzo beans in a small pot, add coconut milk, lime, hot sauce, and garlic powder. Let it simmer while the yams are roasting. The point isn’t to cook the beans as they are already cooked, but to infuse them with extra yummy flavours.

Rinse your quinoa, and get it ready in a small pot with water, oil, and salt. Once the timer for your yams reaches 20 minutes, turn your quinoa pot onto full blast. Once the water is boiling, turn it to the lowest setting. Turn it off once your yam timer finishes, it should be perfect.

Wash and shred the kale. Once the yam timer gets down to 10 minutes left, turn on your pot that is steaming the kale. Turn this off and remove from heat when the yam timer goes off as well.

In a blender, throw garlic, lime juice, tahini, cilantro, water, and salt and blend well together to create a sauce.

To assemble, divide quinoa and place into bowls, add coconut milk sauce from the beans on top of the quinoa. Place kale over quinoa. Place avocado, beans, and roasted yams on top of the kale. Pour on the tahini sauce (lots and lots because it is gooood), top with sesame seeds, more cilantro, and serve with a wedge of lime.

Devour.

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Yum.

Sweet Sunny Sunday – Max’s Grandma’s Banana Bread

I have had the most relaxing and bestest weekend ever. Max made me breakfast both mornings, I have slept in, hung out with the fur babies, went out for a fancy yummy romantic dinner, had a board game night, received a juicer (thanks Sara! (juice recipes to follow..)) and baked this delicious banana loaf.

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My true secret for having had such an awesome weekend started on Friday night at 8PM while playing board games; I decided to join Max in having a cup of coffee (with some Bailey’s, duh). After the games finished up around 11PM, our friends and Max decided to go out downtown for a boy’s night. I stayed home thinking I’d go to bed and then suddenly realized that I was wide awake-I usually can’t sleep after a cup of black tea at 4PM let alone a full-blown coffee at 8! What was I thinking?! So, I decided to clean. Fast forward to 2AM when Max returned; the bathrooms were scrubbed, floors vacuumed and mopped, trash taken out, the whole house dusted, and the cupboards wiped down. I was a machine. Moral of the story: if you have nothing to do on a Friday night, have some coffee and a couple of Caesars, crank up the music and clean the house. In the morning it will feel like some drunk hyper fairy came in and cleaned the house leaving you to two glorious, chore-free days!

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Anyway, back to the main event here: banana bread. When Max and I started dating I asked him what he’d like me to bake when I was baking something, his answer was “something banana and chocolate”. And ever since that time, he has not asked for anything else since. I don’t even bother asking him anymore because I already know the answer. So on came the double chocolate banana muffins, the banana and chocolate ice cream birthday cake, the copious amounts of banana loaf with chocolate chips, banana chocolate cookies. Finally, on my birthday this past May, I found out the source of this banana and chocolate fixation: Max’s mom has made him this banana chocolate chip cake for his birthday every year since he was a child, and it is good. It’s dense and moist but not heavy, it’s spicy with just the right amount of sweet-it is everything. I have tinkered with it upon receiving the recipe on a hand written note card, and came up with a slightly healthier version that packs the same wow punch. My reason? It disappears embarrassingly fast in the house, I honestly just black out when I’m around it. So, I figure if I adjust a bit of the ingredients, it will make me feel just a little less guilty. Right? Right?!

So, here’s to sunny weekends, banana loaf, and magical cleaning fairies.

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Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake

½ cup coconut oil (melted and slightly cooled)

1/3 cup organic coconut palm sugar

1 egg (lightly beaten)

½ teaspoon vanilla

1 ¼ cup bananas, peeled and mashed (about 3 large ripe bananas)

1 ½ cup oat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup yogurt (goat, cow, coconut, oat, etc.)

¼ cup dark chocolate, chopped (70% or higher)

2 tablespoons organic coconut palm sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 F, oil a 9×5 loaf pan, and line the pan with parchment.

Blend together coconut oil and sugar. Add the egg and beat. Add vanilla and mashed bananas. Beat well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients.

Add half of the oat flour mixture to the banana mixture. Beat. Add in the yogurt and blend again. Add in the last of the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Do not over mix the batter.

Add half of the batter to your loaf pan. Sprinkle with half of the sugar and cinnamon mixture and half of the chopped chocolate. Top with the remaining batter, and repeat the sugar and chocolate topping.

Bake for 60 minutes. Loaf will be done when a toothpick comes out clean.

Note: the original recipe is double this, so if you want a big birthday cake sized banana loaf, double this baby and stick it in an 8×13 pan.

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Slather it with nut butter and gobble.

Lunch Prep – Mason Jar Salads

I know, I know, these salads are everywhere right now, but I have had a number of coworkers, family members and friends ask me about them so I thought I’d contribute to the ever growing Mason Jar Salad army.  Here goes!

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I used to spend about 45 minutes each weeknight putting together Max and I’s lunches. From getting out the ingredients, chopping, actually building, putting away and cleaning up. By the time I’d be finished I’d be ready to stamp my foot as I could have done something that was so much more fun than being a responsible adult (hello, painting nails, going on a youtube spiral, Dr. Who, and making new music playlists or baking a treat!?) Some nights I would get lazy and make nothing, ending up with lunch from a store by my workplace, which I quickly realized took a chunk out of my wallet and deposits it right onto my waist (yikes).

Finally, I found out about Mason Jar Salads through the interweb and it has CHANGED my life. I wish I could be less dramatic about it, but the amount of pure smugness I feel when bringing said jar of salad into work each day (with only having completed an hour of work prepping it all on Sunday) is just too much. I can’t even. They’re healthy, colourful, filling, easy AND fun to make, and they just look so dang pretty and professional. It takes us about an hour from start to finish to make 10 jars of salad (one for each of us for each day of the week). I get Max whirring on the food processor to slice our veggies while I prep the avocado, beans, tuna, quinoa, dressing and jars. It is so much fun spending time with your partner in the kitchen working together as a team to make healthier and more budget friendly lunches. By constructing these salads in the right way, your salads will stay completely fresh until Friday! I’ll let you digest that for a second. I just said you can have salad ready to go for every day of the week and you only need to spend an hour on Sunday to do it.

I’m not going to give you a recipe as more of a method and best practice. You can do a lot with the base, and I find that I am constantly making them a little different each time I make them, usually due to what I have in my fridge.

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Layer 1: Dressing. This could be a simple olive oil & vinegar to store bought to homemade dressing. I usually put a healthy sized tablespoon into the bottom of all my jars.

Layer 2: Hearty veggies. I’m talking onions, cucumber, celery, cherry tomatoes, carrots, beets, shredded sweet potato, broccoli- anything crisp that you know won’t mind sitting in dressing for a few days and won’t get soggy. Run them through your food processor, and place them all in a large bowl and mix together. I usually put in about a cup of mixed veg per jar.

Layer 3: Less hearty veggies/fruits. Fruits (apples, pears), avocados, berries, sliced tomatoes.

Layer 4: Protein. Max and I like to switch it up and have a rotating protein so we don’t get too bored. There will usually be 3 days worth of beans (black, gorbonzo, cannellini) and 2 days worth of canned tuna or salmon (make sure it’s ocean wise fish and your cans are BPA free). Usually 1 can of beans and 2 cans of said fish does the trick. Rinse the beans and drain the fish. I usually do about 1/3 of a cup per jar.

Layer 4: Grain. I love quinoa in salads. I’ll be honest, I haven’t put any other grain into our salads yet. But you could also do whole grain pasta, gluten free pasta, brown rice, millet, etc. Make sure you make this ahead of time and it is cool/room temp before starting! You don’t want to cook or wilt your veggies! Normally I put in about a ½ cup per jar (works out to 1 cup of uncooked quinoa).

Layer 5:  I usually skip this layer, but if you’re all about the cheese, stick it in at this point. Feta is nice and holds up well!

Layer 6: Greens! The reason the greens go on the top is to keep them away from the wetter stuff at the bottom, which would make it soggy. Make sure that your greens are dry before you put them in and dry off the surface you’re chopping them on. I like spinach in mine, but kale, lettuce, and swiss chard will do in a pinch! Usually there’s about 3/4 cup or so per jar.

Layer 7: Herbs, nuts, seeds, sprouts, etc. We’ve been enjoying cashews in our salads lately! Cilantro and basil are also great additions. I was sad during last prep when I realized I forgot to pick some up. Other ideas: sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, dried fruit, sunflower sprouts, pea shoots.

And you’re done! Throw on those lids, stuff ‘em in the fridge and say SEE YA, SUCKERS. Dance a little jig and high-five the closest person.

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Side-note: there’s only 8 jars here. It was a holiday when we made them (on a Monday), so we only needed 8 jars for the week.

To eat: shake vigorously to disperse the dressing evenly over everything and get it all tangled up together. Pour into your chosen trough, devour. I work in an office and have access to dishes to eat my salad from. Max works on a construction site and takes a large Tupperware bowl like container to dump his salad into. The dishwasher takes care of the jars, so clean up is nice and easy each night.

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Other than salads, I usually take a piece of fruit and a hard boiled egg (which are all also prepped on Sunday) with me to work for snacking.

What’s your lunch routine like? Tell me your tricks and tips in the comments below!

Hiatus

Friends, I am so sorry to have started this blog and then stopped.  I could say a lot of things have happened; life, death (Max and I’s beautiful furry companion Charlie), new pets (meet Merlin and Winter), exams, papers, Christmas (Max and I hosted for both our parents-wowee), and a trip to San Diego.  Another reason, and to be honest, the main reason is that I have been doing a lot of thinking and evaluating of my eating habits.  While I have been humming and hawing over different diets and what to “call” myself; I don’t want to promote one way of eating and then switch to another- especially on a blog.  Figuring out a diet that works for each person is difficult!  Max and I have been discussing how we want to feed ourselves; what works best for our lifestyle and the environment.  Although we are still eating some meat, our diet has become mostly plant based.  I am also, doing away with any titles, I’ve decided that they’re not for me.  The only constant in the universe is change, and I feel that labelling myself as one definite thing for my whole (and hopefully long) life isn’t what I want to do.  Max and I also joined a Veggie Box Co-op that has been amazing (check it out here).  It is volunteer run, and they try to source as locally as possible.  They also have a vendor that comes to sell local meat which has been amazing.  It’s been great for our grocery budget, try getting as much fruits and veggies for the same price at any other grocery store, you can’t!  SO- thats what’s been going on with my life the past few months. I have added a few photos at the bottom if you’re so inclined.  I’m going to try and take some photos of Max and I’s lunch prep tomorrow and hopefully do a post on that. Hold onto your hats and thanks for sticking with me!

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Maple Walnut and Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

Happy Saturday!  The sun here in Victoria can’t decide whether or not it’s coming out today, which means I’m staying right here in my kitchen. With the weather somewhat sad, I thought I’d make some cookies. These are the kind of cookies that just seem warm. Does that make sense?

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Anyway, long story short: raisins in your cookies are a good thing. Seriously. BUT, if you are hell bent on keeping raisins out and away from your cookies, dried cranberries and sunflower seeds would be a nice variation, or dried blueberries and hazelnuts (note to self: make that version next time).

Maple Walnut Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Yield: about 2 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ C old fashioned oats (not quick-cooking)
  • ¾ C unsweetened, finely shredded coconut
  • 1 1/3 C all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 C packed brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ C + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/3 C maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 C walnuts
  • ¾ C raisins

Method:

Preheat oven to 300 F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Put on the kettle to boil some water (I also suggest making enough for some tea – treat yo’self)

In a large bowl, combine oats, coconut, flour, salt, sugar, and spices. Set aside.

In a medium sized saucepan, melt butter and maple syrup. Once butter is melted, remove from heat. In a small bowl, combine the baking soda and boiling water, stir. Add the baking soda and water mixture to the maple syrup. This is the fun part – SCIENCE – or something. It bubbles, be prepared. Stir in vanilla.

Add maple mixture to the oat mixture. Fold in walnuts and raisins.

Form dough into balls about the size of two tablespoons. Place on baking sheet about an inch or so apart. Pat them down into discs. Bake for about 20 minutes until they are golden brown. Let them sit on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool. Or just eat one right away and burn your mouth. I won’t tell anyone!

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