Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cherry-Ginger Oaties!

I'm going to start today's post with my recent score at Big Lots:

It's cereal, baby.

I stumbled upon this when I made my weekly stop. It's Mesa Sunrise, an organic, gluten-free cereal from Nature's Path. Don't let the bag fool you, though. It actually contains 26.4 ounces, which is almost double the amount of cereal that you would find in a regular box. The cereal itself is a wheat- and gluten-free blend of Indian corn, amaranth, and flax. Although I'm not necessarily gluten- or wheat-free, I find that I do feel better and less bloat-y if I start my day out the gluten-free way. Having a nice bowl of GF cereal or a GF hot cereal starts my day off right!

MESA SUNRISE INGREDIENTS: Corn meal, yellow corn flour, evaporated cane juice, flax, buckwheat flour, quinoa, amaranth, sea salt, and tocopherols (natural Vitamin E).

I like to eat it with sliced strawberries or bananas and a couple tablespoons of gluten-free granola. I really like this cereal, but I still think that Nature's Path Organic, Gluten-Free Cornflakes are the best. I LOVE those (also a Big Lots find).

So anywho, the cereal is packaged in a new Eco-Pac. Their goal is to reduce waste and resource use by nixing the cardboard box and packaging in #2 recyclable plastic. On their website, some people were griping because they didn't "know what to do with" the cereal once the bag was opened. Uhhhh.... eat it? How about the same thing you always do to store cereal? The floppy opened cardboard box doesn't keep it from going stale. I just wrap a twisty-tie around that sucker and it stays fresh for weeks. You can also use a glass jar and keep the lid on tight. They make glass (or plastic, ick) jars specifically for storing cereal. But I digress... my main victory in buying this cereal from the cereal aisle at Big Lots is this:

I just got a 26.4 ounce (almost double the regular amount) of gluten-free, vegan, organic cereal at Big Lots for $3.50 when it retails at Whole Foods for over $7. I know, because I checked myself! YAY BIG LOTS!

And, speaking of Whole Foods, I also made a huge score there. This past visit was more like a detour since we actually had other things we needed to do while we were in town (I live about 1 1/2 hours away from Whole Foods), but I was able to stock up on a few dry bulk goods, though sadly, nothing refrigerated (next time!!). I got some awesome dried tart cherries while we were there (which I proceeded to make some cookies with!) and these:

For some reason, these children look like the ones who want to play with Log.

Dandies VEGAN MARSHMALLOWS! I've been to the Overland Park Whole Foods a few times, but I've never seen these in the baking aisle. It's possible that I've just missed them, or they've been sold out, but NOT TODAY! I haven't ate a marshmallow in years, but ever since I got these goodies I haven't been able to keep my hands off them! They melted a little in the car while shopping on the way home, but they're still delicious. The texture is a tad different, but they're still soft and spongy. I also think they have a truer vanilla flavor than their pig-hoof containing counterpart.


Anywho... that particular recipe will be made sometime this week. I promise to save some marshmallows for it...

Like I previously mentioned, I also got some dried tart cherries from the bulk bin. I love tart fruit and these cherries really are delicious. I'm going to have to buy way more next time so I can make it through the winter with them on my oatmeal, lol. I knew that some had to be baked in a cookie and as I was browsing through my Martha Stewart Living Cookbook, I found a recipe for "Low-Fat Oatmeal Cookies". They peaked my interest because they contained dried cherries and surprisingly, crystallized ginger. They also only called for a single egg yolk so I knew they were going to be a piece of cake to veganize. I wound up changing the recipe somewhat in order to make the cookies a little more healthy and a little more moist, but I didn't change the fat content at all. My only complaint with this recipe is that even if you make them tiny like the recipe wants you too (a dough ball of 3/4"), you still only get about 2 1/2 dozen, quite a few cookies short of the proclaimed four dozen. But they were delicious, so I'll definitely be making them again... only I'll be doubling the recipe and making the cookies BIGGER!! I might even throw in a couple tablespoons of vegan mini chocolate chips because I think that would add some decadence to them (seriously... chocolate + crystallized ginger + cherry = amazing). But yeah, if you're in search of a cookie that's a little out-of-the-ordinary but just as tasty, you found it!

Oh, and this is the small-batch version. If you want more cookies, just double it.

Cherry-Ginger Oatmeal Cookies:
(adapted from, but not really resembling Martha's version)
3/4 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 Tb. whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3 Tb. dried cherries, finely chopped
2 Tb. crystallized ginger, finely chopped
4 Tb. Earth Balance, softened
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
2 Tb. liquid sweetener (agave, maple syrup, etc.)
3 Tb. no-sugar-added applesauce
1 Tb. milled flax seed + 2 Tb. warm water
1/2 a vanilla bean, seeds scraped (can use 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract)

Preheat oven to 375 and prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix the milled flax seed with warm water, stir a little with a fork, and set aside.

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the unbleached flour, whole wheat pastry flour, rolled oats, baking powder, and kosher salt. Add the dried cherries and chopped ginger, and stir to separate the pieces and coat them with flour. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, beat together the Earth Balance, brown sugar, liquid sweetener, and vanilla bean seeds until fluffy. Add the "flax egg" (flax seed + water) and applesauce and beat until well combined. Gradually add the dry ingredients, beating well after each addition, until well-combined.

3. Drop by teaspoonful onto the prepared baking sheets. The dough is kind of sticky, so it won't really roll into balls. Bake at 375 for about 8-12 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway during baking so that they brown evenly. Remove from oven when a toothpick (or fork!) comes out clean. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet another minute or two before placing them on a wire rack to finish cooling. THEN MUNCH! When small, they are like tiny little tea cookies.

Please, sir... may I have some Earl Grey?

NOTE: Placing the dough in the fridge between batches helps the dough to stiffen so that the cookie dough-dropping (???) part goes faster.

Also, since these cookies are low in oil, the parchment paper helps keep them from sticking to the baking sheet. If you don't have parchment paper, you might be able to get away with spraying the sheet with some nonstick cooking spray, but I haven't tried that yet and can't vouch for its cookie-removal-ability.

Well... I made those peach pancakes and they were awesome, but they didn't have quite enough peach flavor for me. I probably should have used regular yellow peaches instead of small white ones because that just made the recipe annoying. I'll get back to them some other time. I also want to make some yeasted potato rolls, but I need to figure out what I want to serve them with. And, lastly, I'd really like to make and freeze some seitan so that I'll have some ready for quick meals when school starts again (only ONE WEEK left! Oh noes!). Can I do it?!


Amber Shea @Almost Vegan said...

Actually the Dandies are a new arrival to that WF! I haven't tried them yet!

Jess of Midwest Vegan said...

Sweet! I know what I'm going to be getting every time I go Whole Foods...