Here we are, mid-summer, and I feel like I've reached the "kitchen fatigue" point. It seems as soon as I clean up the kitchen from one meal, the children are raiding the refrigerator or rummaging through the cupboards looking for snacks. Chalk it up to extra activities and growth spurts, I suppose.
I love to make my voracious children all sorts of delicious homemade snacks, but in mid-summer I have trouble turning on my oven. I know my baking mojo will return only too soon with the advent of cooler weather, but in the meantime, I've been defaulting to no-bake treats. Enter this delicious recipe for chocolate peanut butter drop cookies, which require no oven, one saucepan, and only a few ingredients. These vegan, gluten-free cookies are so simple and can be prepared in ten minutes flat. There's only one problem—they are terribly addictive! I bet you can't eat just one.
In a large saucepan, combine sugar, milk, and coconut oil. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for one minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat. Add vanilla, salt, and peanut butter, and stir until smooth.
Fold in oats and chocolate chips. Some chocolate chips will melt at this point, giving the mixture a swirled appearance.
Drop by tablespoon onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm, approximately 30 minutes.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. These can also be frozen with wax paper between layers to avoid sticking.
(Yield: about 3 dozen cookies)
When I used to have a downtown office job, at least once a week I would eat out at the Vietnamese restaurant that was down the street from my building. One of my favourite things to order was the salad rolls, complete with savoury nutty dipping sauce.
Fast forward ten years, and the little Vietnamese place is no longer there, which is fine by me since I eat out so rarely, and even less so in the downtown core. I miss it, though: those wonderful flavours, the great service, and the calming giant saltwater fish tank they had in the front entry.
Salad rolls are fun to make but sometimes I want the flavour without all the effort. Enter this salad that captures the zest and savoury goodness of a salad roll, minus the rolling. It's chock-full of crisp vegetables, with a protein punch from the crunchy cashews. All that's missing from the experience is the saltwater fish tank.
In a blender or food processor, blend together almond butter, grapeseed oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, lime, gingerroot, garlic, and honey.
Prepare rice vermicelli as per package directions. Drain and rinse well with cold water.
Stir together rice vermicelli, vegetables, and the almond butter dressing. Toss until mixed.
Top with cashews and cilantro, and enjoy!
(Yield: 6-8 servings)
Inspired by Dinner with Julie
If you're looking for the perfect summer drink, you need look no further. The Cosmopolitan is refreshing, tasty, and the perfect cocktail to sip on those warm summer evenings. Now, I know what you're thinking—what year is this? While it's true that most of us are no longer checking out all the hottest new clubs in our high-fashion wear, or discussing the latest Sex and the City episode over brunch with our girlfriends, our need for a liquid treat has not disappeared along with our youth and our ability to go braless. Or maybe that's just me.
As Carrie Bradshaw herself would say, "You can't stop being who you are because you're afraid." And who I am is a person who enjoys Cosmopolitans, even if they're as on-trend as Brazilian bikini waxes and nameplate necklaces.
But I say, let's bring back the Cosmopolitan! Why bother going to the club and paying $15 for a drink you can make at home for a fraction of the cost? Mix up a batch of these refreshing, pretty pink cocktails and curl up on the couch in your pajamas, watching Sex and the City reruns—Manolo Blahniks and nightclubbing are overrated anyway. It's 2014, not 1999, and I'm tired!
Fill a martini shaker about 1/3 full with ice. Pour all ingredients into the shaker.
Shake, pour, and serve! Repeat if needed.
Looking for some snacks to go with that Cosmo? Why not try my Kale Chips or my Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. Looking for something sweet to nibble on while you watch Sex and the City? Try my very sexy Gluten Free Chocolate Almond Butter Blondies!