the veggie nook’s 100th post! quinoa chocolate chip cookies and a Tropical Traditions giveaway

Hello my chocolate chip cookies :)

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Well, it’s hard to believe, but this is the 100th post I’ve written on my blog! It’s crazy that I’ve written so much since mid-February. It’s all thanks to you, fellow bloggers and readers that I have come this far, so thank you so so much! Your support, kind words, advice and just in general being there have inspired and motivated me in ways I never though possible :)

Now, since you all have been so wonderful, I thought hosting a giveaway would be a great way to show my appreciation. Tropical Traditions contacted me a couple months ago to do a review and giveaway for their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil. Since then I have been putting it through it’s paces, using it in raw recipes, baking, sautéing, in my decaf coffees as well as a moisturizer and make-up remover.

Now, you all probably know by now, how much I love coconut oil. This one is as good as it gets! The scent is subtly coconutty with a mild flavour. It creates delicious raw treats and is a great option for high temperature cooking and baking. For those of you who don’t like coconut oil and are sceptical about using it in cooking, rest assured once incorporated into your recipes, the taste is not detectable. The only place I have ever noticed it’s flavour being apparent is when blended into smoothies and even then it is more of a sweetness than coconut.

I used this coconut oil to make the following recipes on my blog:

As a moisturizer it works great and the subtle coconut scent was very pleasant and as a make-up remover it left my face feeling soft and got all my make-up off easily, even pesky eyeliner and mascara. It was very gentle as well, which was great on my super-sensitive skin.

I also made these quinoa chocolate chip cookies and the results were awesome! They were crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. They aren’t the healthiest thing you’ll ever eat, but as far as cookies go, they are pretty darn good! I switched up the sweeteners I used in various trials with them and I found that both versions came out really well! I also tried out a lower-fat version with some applesauce. I’ll note the different substitutions in the recipe below!

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Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free)

These cookies use quinoa flakes to add in some extra protein and whole grains, which also lend these cookies an awesome chew. Feel free to change up the add-ins! I’ve made a couple different kinds which I’ll point out below!

Makes 30 cookies.

Dry:

  • 3/4 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca/potato starch (not potato flour!)
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 cup erythritol (a zero calorie, natural sweetener) or coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

Wet:

  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds + 3 tbsp water, set aside to gel
  • 1/2 tsp liquid stevia (not necessary if using coconut sugar)
  • 2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil, melted ( or 1/3 cup coconut oil + 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce)
  • 2 tbsp water (or 5 tbsp water if using applesauce)

Add-ins:

  • to total 1 cup (ensure they are all vegan)
    • chocolate chips
    • cacao nibs
    • dried blueberries/cranberries + white chocolate chips
    • chopped walnuts + chocolate chips
    • raisins + chopped walnuts
    • anything else you might like!

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl and the wet ingredients in another. Form a well in the center of the dry and pour the wet ingredients in. Mix until completely incorporated. Then stir in the add-ins until evenly distributed.

Chill the dough for 30 min-1 hr. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or grease it (I like using a BBQ brush and coconut oil to do this).

Form the dough into balls and flatten onto the baking sheet leaving a little room in between for them to spread (they won’t spread too much).

Bake for 22-27 min (less if you are using applesauce or like softer cookies, longer if you are using coconut oil or like crispier cookies) or until the edges are browned, but the middles are still soft (they will continue to cook a little as they cool). Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking tray then move to a cooling rack to finish. These are delicious slightly warm with a little superpower ice cream ;)

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a version made with dried blueberries and white chocolate chips

Now I bet you’d all like to learn how you can win some super awesome coconut oil for yourself!

Giveaway Details:

Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - 32 oz.Win 1 quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!

Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil?

You can also watch the video they produced about Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil:

Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.

How to enter:

Mandatory entries:

  1. Subscribe to the Tropical Traditions newsletter here *
  2. Leave a comment below telling me your favourite way to use coconut oil, or if you’ve never used it, the first thing you’d like to try!

For additional entries:

  1. Subscribe to my blog by email*
  2. Follow me on Twitter*
  3. Tweet about the giveaway with a link to this post*
  4. Follow me in Pinterest*

*You must leave a comment for each of these entries, letting me know you did!

The giveaway will stay open until next Wednesday, August 1st at 11:59 pm EST. Make sure you get your entries in! This is a pretty big jar of the good stuff.

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

And once again I would just like to say, thank you for all of your support over the last few months. You guys are seriously awesome!

quinoa with kale, raisins and chickpeas

Hello chickpeas!

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I have made a new goal for myself- to stop being lazy when it comes to dinner. Or more specifically, put together a main dish that is not simply a snack plate or a salad composed of everything in the fridge at least 2 x per week. This may not seem like a big deal for all of you food bloggers extraordinaire out there, but for me this is going to be challenging. While I absolutely love dreaming up and making interesting breakfasts, desserts, snacks and sometimes even lunches, by the time it gets to dinner, I simply have no motivation or desire to get into the kitchen and create. Then before I know it, it’s 6 pm and I’m starving- leading to scrounging for leftovers or making a mish-mashed plate. While there’s nothing wrong with this, it’s still healthy, I miss eating good food at night! I miss truly enjoying my final meal of the day in the same way I enjoy the rest of my meals.

I will probably keep these meals simple (can’t expect me to go from 5 min meal prep to 1 hour can we?), but sometimes just putting a little thought into preparation can turn simple ingredients into a delicious meal!

So this (hopefully) will be the first of many main dish recipes coming from here!

Kale

Kale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For this recipe it all started with kale. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse! While it can be quite intimidating to work with at first, it’s actually super easy to incorporate into pretty much any dish. It is absolutely loaded with vitamins K, A and C, folic acid as well as loads of important minerals like iron and calcium. It is also very rich in glucosinates which have cancer-preventative benefits. Not to mention it is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds meaning it is very important in maintaining whole body health and keeping stress-effects on your body, both nutritional and non-nutritional, down. I discussed the concept of nutritional stress in more detail here.

Also I just learned, courtesy of whfoods.com that cooking kale by steaming it can help fiber-related components of kale bind with bile acids in your digestive tract. This means the bile acids are more easily excreted which helps lower cholesterol! Go kale!

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Anyway, I had some kale that was starting to wilt in my fridge and considering how awesome it is, I simply couldn’t allow it to go to waste. I decided to pair it with protein-rich quinoa and chickpeas for a meal that would keep me full for a few hours (because another one of my goals is to not snack after dinner unless I’m really hungry). I tossed some raisins in too because I am a huge fan of sweet and savoury components in meals.

I absolutely loved how this dish came out. It is a great combination of savoury, sweet, zesty and just a little heat which makes it incredibly satisfying. It comes together really quickly (about 20-30 min) and includes greens, a grain (or psuedograin in this case) and a protein. Not too shabby for my first attempt eh? ;)

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Quinoa with Kale, Raisins and Chickpeas (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free)

Serves 4.

  • 2/3 cup dry quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1 1/3 cup vegetable broth or vegetable bouillon and water to equal 1 1/3 cups
  • 4 cups packed kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
  • one 19 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup raisins, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp good quality sea salt
  • 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • nutritional yeast and chopped walnuts for serving (optional)

Place the quinoa and broth in a large pot, bring to a boil then cover and reduce to a simmer until almost all the liquid has been absorbed. In the last couple minutes add the kale on top and give a quick stir. Cover and let cook for 2 more minutes. Set aside.

While waiting for the quinoa to cook heat a large pan over medium heat. Add the coconut oil and once hot add the garlic and chilli flakes. Sauté until starting to brown and are fragrant (a couple minutes. Add the chickpeas and lemon zest and cook until warm, about 2 min. Add the quinoa, kale, raisins and salt and stir to mix well. Add the cherry tomatoes last stir over the heat for 1 minute. Serve with some nutritional yeast and chopped walnuts sprinkled on top.

This dish is best eaten the day made, although is good as leftovers as well. If you are planning on saving some for a later date, I suggest sprinkling it with some lemon juice and maybe a drizzle of olive oil before serving.

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With that, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  • What would you like to see more of here? More main dish recipes? Desserts? Other topics besides recipes?
    • I love creating and writing about a lot of topics so I’d be open to suggestions
  • Is there a meal you guys seem to slack on more than others? How do you overcome this? Any tips?
    • I slack on dinner as I explained above and I’m not sure how to motivate myself at night- maybe doing more meal planning?
  • Plans for the Weekend?
    • Heading to Montreal for a family get-together, then Canada’s Wonderland on Monday!

Have a great Thursday everyone! Weekend is almost here!

I am submitting this post to Slightly Indulgent TuesdaysAllergy Free Wednesday and  Wellness Weekends!

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