Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Toxic Plastic Bags

It's not that hard to remember your own reusable bag when you go grocery shopping!

But just so you remember...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

How to live a packaging-free life.

As 2010 is coming to a close, most of us are reflecting on our actions in the past year and thinking about what we will do in the future

Everyone has the potential and capabilities to change. It is a conscious decision.

Personally, if the change that I desire to make aligns with my ethics, it is not hard. Realize what you put value into; your health? family? grades? the earth? your community? Think about how this resolution (or change) will effect your values.

Do your current actions and practices align with your values? I know that some of mine don't. Especially when it comes to waste production. I have read about the Pacific Trash Vortex, realized the disconnect from the earth when we think linearly instead of cyclically, hear about all of the pollution attributed to landfills (and consumption in general).

Sam's Commitment to Change (my new year's resolution...):
Reduce the waste (trash, packaging, consumerism...) that I produce.

This was a part of my original Low Carbon Diet challenge (and eating the way that I do is inherently less packaging intensive), but I have not been being as conscious as I could be concerning the waste I produce.

I would like to find a way to measure my successes/failures along the way (I know that if I do not set clear rules for myself I will cheat...) although I am not sure how I will do that yet.

Some things that I want to do:

  • Give away 50 things
  • Buy nothing for a week
  • Carry around all of the trash that I produce in a week
  • Choose a day each week to carry around all of the trash I produce
  • Think about the 100 things that I need (I'm definitely not to the point mentally to get rid of all of my possessions except for 100 things but I think that this is a good exercise in realizing what possessions I actually value)
  • Follow the tips below!

Similar to the tips from Darshan's wonderful blog, Minimizing Entropy, I stumbled upon some wonderful advice on how to live packaging free from re-nest. Here they are:

Buy less. Curbing the impulse to shop and learning to live with less will help put you on the path to a packaging-free life.

Buy used. When you do shop, rather than buying new, check thrift stores and salvage shops. Or borrow items through services like NeighborGoods.

Bring bags. Don't forget your reusable shopping bags when shopping at the farmers' market (or grocery store) or any other store!

Get crafty. Take up urban homesteading practices like growing your own food, home canning, and baking bread. Develop a network of friends and neighbors to share your individual efforts.

Buy from bulk. For other foods, shop at farmers' markets, produce stands, butchers, and bulk bins. Bring reusable containers like produce bags and empty jars.

Pack lunch. Take your lunch to class or work in a reusable container with eco-friendly sandwich bags.

Carry provisions. Pack a reusable water bottle and snacks in reusable bags so you don't find yourself running to the vending machine or corner store.

Do it yourself – house cleaning. Making your own cleaning products might not eliminate packaging completely (you still need to procure the ingredients), but it can help you cut down considerably. If possible, buy ingredients like baking soda in or from bulk, and if you're really ambitious, you can make your own white vinegar!

This is where the People's Food Co-op comes in for me- bulk cleaning supplies, you da you da best!

Take a break. Re-think your grooming habits. We're not suggesting you let yourself go, but take a break from hair product, foundation, or anti-aging cream for a week or two and see whether you really "need" it. Chances are, you'll look and feel perfectly fine with less.

Do it yourself – personal health. For the personal care products you do need, explore DIY options. For example, you can use baking soda for toothpaste, deodorant, and shampoo. Buying the raw ingredients might involve some packaging, but it's a step in the right direction.

Go the extra mile. It's not for everyone, but you can also eliminate packaging by going toilet-paper free, switching to reusable feminine products, and using cloth tissues.

Shop smart. Inevitably, you will buy some packaged goods, but consider packaging that's reusable and recyclable. Avoid excessive packaging like individually-wrapped produce and look for products in bulk, concentrate form, or refillable containers. If you regularly shop online, you might also consider buying more things locally to reduce packing material waste.

I challenge you to reduce the amount of waste that you produce, or at least become aware of the amount of waste that you produce. Or Atkins be damned, you could adopt a low carbon diet ;)

California Christmas: Boiled Artichokes

Finger food, seafood themed dinner? Not exactly vegetarian friendly... But a ton of fun and who doesn't like artichokes?

Clean up crew
Look at em go!
Boiled Artichokes with Lemon

Remove small, discolored leaves from the artichokes.
Slice a lemon or two.
Place artichokes and lemon slices in a pot of water.
Bring water to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
Simmer until chokes are tender, about an hour.
Serve with fresh lemon juice.

A few other dip ideas:
Dijon Dipping Sauce
Spicy Garlic Dipping Sauce
Creamy, Tangy Dipping Sauce
Quite a few more here...

Don't know how to eat an artichoke? Here's how!

California Christmas: Fruit Salad

Planning the christmas brunch menu with my aunt and uncle was legitimately a bizarre experience for me the other day. Fruit salad is a classic choice for such an occasion but fruit in the winter? Want to know what fruit is in season in Michigan right now? There isn't any... Unless you count apples that are in cold storage or the decent variety that I have been collecting in my freezer.

California Fruit Salad
Obviously not a very practical recipe for a Michigan winter but I do get to step out of my comfort zone (root veggies and greens) this christmas.

3 c seedless grapes, cut in half
3 tangerines, peeled, sectioned, and cut in half
1 melon, balled
about 10 raspberries
juice of 2 lemons
a hefty T of local honey
1/2 c of fresh mint, chopped

Mix grapes, tangerines, and melon in a large bowl.
Whisk together lemon and honey.
Mix in mint.
Pour liquid mixture over fruit.
Sprinkle raspberries over top.
Garnish with a few mint leaves.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

From Hooter, the feral cat that adopted my aunt and uncle. Oh, and from me as well!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Foraging for chanterelles

Lucky me, a foraging enthusiast lives next door to my aunt and uncle in Los Altos Hills, CA!

I got to go on a walk with him to a few places that he knew they typically grow. Literally on the side of the road. I don't think that people realize how many mushrooms are growing around us unless they look for them!

One statement that stuck was in reference to the thought process that he has on foraging for mushrooms. If you think about it as a walk in the woods, then you won't be disappointed if the search is not fruitful (or fungi-ful). But we found some beauties!

A little about chanterelles:
  • Bright orange, bald cap, usually concave or wavy when mature.
  • Well spaced gills, shallow, blunt-edged, and fairly thick, often with connecting veins in between.
  • Gills are the same color as the cap or paler, running down the stalk.
  • Stalk colored like cap or a little paler, solid (as in not hollow)
  • White flesh, or tinge of yellow
The tricky part was that they were growing beneath a layer of leaves on the ground, not exactly the easiest thing to see. However, they bloom in the same place every year so once you find a patch, you know that in a years time, there will be more.

Can't wait to cook these buggers up! I'm thinking sauteed and served crostini style?

post cleaning

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The flax egg.

I obviously do not use eggs in the things that I cook which is sometimes a problem since it has levening and binding qualities when used for baking. Luckily there are some simple and easy ways around using eggs.

But first, let's look at eggs from a health stand point:
  • A Harvard study of over 21,000 male physicians found that men who ate up to 6 eggs a week had no increase in their rate of death. But once they ate a seventh egg, their risk of death went up 23%. The men were studied over a 20-year period and routinely surveyed about their health status and eating habits. During that period, 1,550 had heart attacks, 1,342 had strokes and 5,000 died.
  • The cholesterol in eggs is the most obvious culprit. This cholesterol can clog arteries and contribute to heart attacks and strokes.
  • Also, let's not forget about the saturated fat they contain.
  • Interestingly enough, free-range chickens produce eggs with notably less cholesterol and saturated fat and much higher levels of (healthy) omega-3 fats! (but beware of green marketing, only trust humane conditions of someone you can actually talk to. i.e. local farmers.)

Next, it is necessary to realize what the PURPOSE is for having eggs in a recipe (binding or levening):
1. Thickening and Binding: this means keeping everything together (think falafels).
Good replacements*:

  • The flax egg (below)
  • Ener G Egg replacer (but this has so much unnecessary packaging...)
  • 3 T pureed tofu + 2 t cornstarch (good for quiches and custard pies)
  • 1/4 c applesauce
  • 1/4 c mashed banana
  • 1/4 c pureed pumpkin or squash
2. Thickening
  • 1 T chick pea or soy flour + 1 T water 
  • 1 T arrowroot + 1 T soya flour + 2 T water 
2. Leavening: this means making it rise (think cookies and cakes).
Good replacements*:

  • 1/4 c soymilk + 1 T lemon juice
  • 1/4 c vegan sour cream + 1 t baking soda
  • 2 heaped t baking powder
  • instead of baking powder, use 3/4 t bicarbonate of soda + 1 T cider vinegar
For cakes and quickbreads, add 2 T of cornstarch (for each egg replaced) in addition to the egg replacer, in order to bind and give it a good texture.

*This is for replacing one egg. Increase magnitude if recipe asks for more than one egg!

The flax egg
This is my replacer of choice, no matter what the egg's purpose is. Just because it is healthy and mindless. I'm lazy. I grind my flax seeds in my food processor (only because I don't have a coffee grinder) and keep it in my freezer.

Ingredients (replaces one egg):
1 T ground flax seeds (1)
3 T cold water

Whisk together before adding it to whatever you're cooking/baking!

(1) Ernst Farm

Steamed Baby Bok Choy with Orange and Ginger

Pre-Finals Post 2:


How is a vegetable adorable? I don't know but baby bok choy definitely is. The giddiness that I had when I found it at the farmer's market is a little (a lot) embarrassing.

Also, there is a new addition to my cooking repertoire. Steaming! I stole my brother's steamer (because he doesn't cook, shame shame) and I have been using it like a mad woman. You can make your own steamer by setting a colander in a pot that has an inch of boiling water in it and covering it with some sort of cover.

I know that this may sound odd but DRINK THE WATER leftover from steaming. They will contain vitamins and minerals that left the plant in the steaming process. Plus it will be slightly colored green (or whatever color the plant you steam is) which I think is neat-o.

Steamed Bok Choy with Orange and Ginger

2 baby bok choys (1)
1 t toasted sesame oil
1" ginger, grated
zest from 1/2 orange (2)
juice from 1/2 orange (2)

Remove discolored outer leaves of the bok choy and chop off a bit of the bottom.
Cut bok choy in half and rinse well, there will be dirt lodged in between the leaves.
Bring 1" of water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
Place bok choy, ginger, and orange zest in steaming vessel.
Steam until bok choy is easily pierced with a fork, about 5 minutes.
Remove from steamer and toss with oil and orange juice.

(1) From AA Farmer's Market, but didn't catch the name of the stand. Shame on me...
(2) Pre-challenge stash

Purple Kale Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash

Now that finals are over, I can catch up on some past meals. Introducing: Pre-final Posts Series.

Pre-final Post 1:

So one major negative that I have come to find in squash is dealing with removing the skin. Easy thing if you are roasting it whole and scooping out the innards but if you want to roast cubes of the meat, you have to peel the thing first. BIG hassle.

Enter Delicata squash. These little beauties have a thin enough skin that peeling is not necessary! This unfortunately means that they will most likely not grow in Michigan late into the winter. But I do appreciate their deliciousness now!

Purple Kale Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash
The way this salad is constructed cooks the kale without actually cooking it! Therefore perfect for raw kale haters. Plus the sweet squash is the absolute best texture/taste/whole package of goodness.

1 Delicata squash, halved and seeded (1)
2 t oil (2)
1 T balsamic vinegar (2)
1 T maple syrup (3)
a few leaves of purple (or regular) kale, de-stemmed and cut into bit sized pieces (4)
1 small onion, finely chopped (1)
1 garlic clove, minced (4)
1 T red wine vinegar (2)
salt and pepper (2)

Preheat oven to 400F
Cut squashes into 1/2" semicircles.
Toss with 1 T oil and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake until tender, about 15 minutes.
Whisk together balsamic vinegar and maple syrup.
Brush mixture onto squash slices, reserving extra liquid.
Bake squash for 5 more minutes.
Turn on the broiler and broil for a few minutes to add color.

Place kale in a large bowl.
Heat remaining 1 t oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Add onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 4 minutes.
Add red wine vinegar and the reserved balsamic-maple syrup mixture and bring to a boil.
Immediately pour the hot dressing over the kale.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Cover bowl of kale with something that will keep in the steam (I used a large plate).
Leave be for 5 minutes.
Toss kale to cover leaves with dressing.
Serve with squash slices.

(1) Some farm stand at the AA Farmers Market, my fail for not noting the name...
(2) Bulk section at the People's Food Co-op
(3) Curry's Maple Syrup
(4) Tantre Farm

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

California Christmas

I am currently staying with my aunt and uncle in California! Talk about an IDEAL time to be eating local.

Let me give you an example of why this is so overwhelmingly exciting for me:

This is what is in season in Northern California in LATE DECEMBER
ApplesAvocadosBeetsBroccoliBrussels SproutsCabbageCarrotsCauliflowerCeleryChristmas TreesCucumbers,FennelGrapefruitGrapesLettuceMushroomsOkraOnionsOrangesPearsPistachiosPotatoesRadishesRutabaga,ScallionsSpinachSquashSweet PotatoesTomatoesTurnipsWreathes
And this is what is in season back home in Michigan right now:
Christmas TreesWreathes

Ay ay ay... Let's keep on with the hoop house builds and extend our season please!

Resource: http://www.sustainabletable.org/shop/seasonal/

Monday, December 20, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Herb Bouquet

Apartment Therapy implanted an awesome idea in my head. Herb bouquets.

They recommend it as a hostess gift so hey, I will host any sort of get-together if I get fresh (Michigan, organic) herbs in return!

...gosh I really need to work on starting up an herb garden again.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Spelt Baguette for Winter Bruschetta

So my first attempt at sourdough starter was a major fail. In order to console my bread-baking ego I decided to bake bread with commercially-bought yeast (ergghh). But hey you can buy it in bulk at the People's Food Co-op! That makes me feel a little better...

I based this off of a recipe that was in all grams in millileters and apparently in my conversions I screwed something up big time. Therefore, I added in 2 c wheat flour to make the dough drier. This definitely was the bread baking attempt of an ultimate novice. There's only growth from here!

Spelt Baguette
Yeast-y bread Take 1

1T + 2t yeast*
5 T warm water
2 T spelt flour*
2 c water
3 c spelt flour*
2 c whole wheat flour*

In large bowl, mix yeast and warm water until smooth.
Mix in 2 T flour, cover in a rag and allow to do what it do for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400F
Stir in water, and then stir in the flours.
Cover in a rag and allow to rise for an 1.5 hours (I got distracted and let it go for 3.5 hours...)
Separate into 3 baguette-ish shapes and slice notches into the top.
Cook for 20-30 minutes.

*You can buy this in bulk! Do itttt. It's cheaper AND saves packaging waste ;)

What else you can do...

Winter Bruschetta
Death by amazing salty, savory, sweet, stay-inside-and-stuff-your-face-until-you-add-a-healthy-layer-of-fat-and-are-able-to-withstand-the-0-degree-Michigan-winter goodness.

I didn't measure but here are my attempts to quantify my experimentation:
1 T oil
2 cloves garlic, minced)
1/2 large onion, chopped

pumpkin puree (about 1.5 c)
frozen cranberries (about 1 c)
ginger (1 T perhaps)
nutmeg (1/4 t -ish)

spelt baguette, but into 1-2" pieces

Heat oil in saute pan over medium-low heat.
Add onions and saute until softened.
Add garlic, pumpkin and bring to a simmer.
Add in cranberries.
Cook until cranberries burst and start oozing into pumpkin mixture.
Spice up yo life!
Remove from heat.

Smear pesto and pumpkin-cranberry goo onto baguette slices.

Spiced Pumpkin Butter

Like the ornamental touches? It's all for you baby, alllll for you.

Spiced Pumpkin Butter
This spread will make anything sweet and winter-y! Enjoy on a sweet breakfast bread or, like me, in a spiced black tea (Winter Magic from TeaHaus).

2 c pumpkin puree
1 c sweetener (I used 1/2 c MI maple syrup and 1/2 c MI beet sugar)
2 t ground ginger
2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/2 t ground cloves

Bring pumpkin and sweetener to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring constantly.*
Add spices and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool.

*Stirring constantly is important because you don't want the mixture to burn!

Kale, pear, and hazelnut salad with a lemon, ginger, and vanilla dressing

Vanilla in a salad dressing?? What?? YOU NEED TO TRY THIS! It. Is. The. Best.

Red kale! Swanky, I know.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon 1 t dried lemon
1 T apple cider vinegar
+1 T white vinegar
2 teaspoons agave syrup maple syrup
1 teaspoon fresh ginger juice 1 small know of ginger, grated
a quarter of a teaspoon powdered ginger
a quarter of a teaspoon powdered vanilla 1/2 t vanilla extract
whole sea salt, just enough to taste
white pepper, just enough to taste freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 large bunch of kale, cleaned, stems and tough ribs removed
1/2 large and very firm pear, cleaned, quartered lengthwise, cored and finely sliced (you can use a potato peeler to make really thin slices)
2 handfuls of shelled walnuts roasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

Whisk together salad dressing.
Put salad ingredients in a bowl.
Pour dressing on salad and toss.
Self-explanatory? Probably...

Real Time Farms Interview

Last week I had an interview with Lindsay Partridge from Real Time Farms and this is what came out of it:


While you're there, check out the Real Time Farms website. It's a GREAT resource for those of us who are trying to eat local (but still want to eat out...)!

They started in Ann Arbor last year and are already going national. Good job team!

Cookie Craft!

I love crafts. I love cookies. I love necklaces. I love this idea.

Does anyone want to join me??

Sugar Cookie Necklace

From The Kitchn

Spreading the Chai Wafer Love

Well it's finals week. Therefore I feel guilty blogging very little time for me to blog.

But don't fret! In T-minus 8 hours I will be done for the week and make up for lost time (don't worry I still took pictures of what I cooked despite lack of time, what a habit I have created...)

Anyways, my x-mas cookie guest post is up on my new blog buddy Brandi's page! Check it ouuuutttt

Monday, December 13, 2010

I am the cookie monster.

Thanks to a Food Bloggers Winter Recipe Exchange, I made a new friend! Her name is Brandi and she writes pizelles. Brandi has asked me to send her a cookie recipe for her to feature on her blog this upcoming week in preparation for the holidays!

1. I find it pretty funny that there is such a prominent food blogger community.
2. I have been slaving away in the oven for the last few days, running on sugar!

My strategy is as follows: attempt a broad range of cookie recipes and then pick my favorite and perfect it.

So get ready for some awesome cookie recipes (and some epic fails...):

Note: Most of these ingredients can be bought in bulk. I will be highlighting the items that I bought in bulk (at the People's Food Co-op and Whole Foods) with a

Red Quinoa Ginger Snaps
I already posted this recipe here.

Fa-la-la-la-la La-la La-la

Chocolate Chip Cherry Walnut Cookies
Listening to pandora.com station: "Sleigh Ride"

1 c + 3 T spelt flour

1 t baking powder

1/4 t baking soda

1/4 c sucanat (or just plain sugar if you choose)

1/4 t sea salt

1/4 c dark chocolate chips

1/4 c walnuts, chopped

1/3 c local maple syrup*

1 t vanilla extract

3/4 t almond extract water (I don't have almond extract)
1/4 c canola oil almond oil

1/4 c dried Michigan cherries, sliced in half

*During this recipe was the first time that the maple syrup I have is supposed to be refrigerated. Not only have I not been refrigerating it, I have also been keeping it above my oven. There's a high possibility that it has fermented and I am getting buzzed while eating waffles...

Preheat oven to 350F
Combine dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, vanilla and water.
Mix in oil and cherries.
Add wet mixture to dry and stir until just combined, do not over mix.
Spoon dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and flatten a bit.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.
Let cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute and then transfer to wire cooling rack.

Fa-la-la-la-la La-la La-la

Chocolate-Dipped Almond Butter Cookies
Adapted from Namely Marly recipe. And listening to Carol of the Bells by Harlowgirl.

1/2 c homemade almond butter (or other nut butter)
1/4 c oil

1/2 c sucanat

2 T applesauce
1/4 t vanilla

3/4 c flour (I used spelt)

1/4 t baking powder

1/4 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

1/4 c almonds, chopped (or other nut)

Chocolate Coating
1 c dark chocolate chips

1/4 c sugar

2 T coconut oil (optional but makes the world smell wonderful, and I happen to have it in my pantry...)

Preheat oven to 400F
Mix together almond butter, oil, and sugar.
Mix in applesauce and vanilla.
In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and soda, and salt.
Add in chopped almonds, reserving a few tablespoons for decoration.
Add flour mixture to almond butter mixture, stirring well.
Cover bowl and refrigerate for a half hour.
Make balls about the size of a golf ball and roll in sugar.
Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Flatten balls with a fork, making a criss-cross pattern.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Action shot! Photo credit: M Ziggity

Heat chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat.
When chocolate begins to melt, add in sugar and oil.
Dip each cookie in melted chocolate, using a spoon to help spread the chocolate evenly.
Place cookie on a cold cookie sheet or plate lined with parchment paper.
Sprinkle reserved chopped almonds on dipped cookie.
Place tray in refrigerator to set.

Or if you live in Michigan and it happens to be around 10 degrees Fahrenheit outside, place them on your patio like I did!

Michigan winters = the coldest (the worst)

Fa-la-la-la-la La-la La-la


1/4 c sucanat (or regular sugar)

2 T almond milk
1 T ground flax seeds
1/2 T brown rice syrup (or maple syrup

3/4 t vanilla extract

1/4 t salt

3/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut

3 T whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 350F
Combine first 6 ingredients.
Add in coconut and flour.
Form into golf ball sized... balls and place onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake for about 12 minutes, until golden on top.

Option: Dip cooled macaroons in melted chocolate. I was planning on doing this but they got eaten before I could even get around to it ;)

Fa-la-la-la-la La-la La-la

Cosmic Cookies (Oat-Seed-Coconut-Chocolate Chip-Cherry Cookies)
Very hearty and very delicious. Nutritious enough for breakfast! At least that's what I'm telling myself...

1 1/8 c oats (I used old-fashioned)

1 c spelt flour

1 c sunflower seeds

1/4 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened 
2 T flax seeds (I used ground flax)
1/2 c sugar (I used Sucanat) 
1/2 T cinnamon 

1 t salt
3/4 c dark chocolate chips
1/2 c of dried Michigan cherries
2 T water
2 T local maple syrup
6 T oil

Preheat oven to 350F
Combine all the dry ingredients (everything from oats to raisins).
In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients (everything from water to almond milk).
Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well to combine. Do not over mix.
Spoon dough onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Gently flatten the cookies.

Bake for 24 minutes, until lightly browned.

Fa-la-la-la-la La-la La-la

And the winner is (drum roll please)...
Chai Wafers
This recipe is THE WINNER in my opinion. The end result is a caramelized, chewy cookie that is almost to the candy status. Adapted from this recipe.

⅔ c almonds, blanched and sliced
2 T canola oil almond oil
¾ cups brown sugar sucanat
3 T sugar 2 T molasses
1 whole egg, beaten 1 T ground flax seeds, 3 T water
4 T whole wheat flour
¼ t salt
1 t almond extract vanilla extract
⅓ cups pecans walnuts
1 t ground ginger
1 t cinnamon
½ t ground cloves
½ t allspice 

Preheat the oven to 375F.
In a blender or food processor, pulse the almonds into a coarse powder.
Mix the oil and sugar together and add to food processor.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix until everything is blended together.
Spoon 1 tablespoon of dough per cookie onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
Space the cookies 3 inches apart because THEY WILL SPREAD!
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are browned and the centers are barely tacky.
Immediately transfer the parchment paper to a cooling rack.
Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, then remove the paper to cool the cookies directly on the rack.
Repeat with remaining dough.

Fa-la-la-la-la La-la La-la

THE FAILURES. Bah hum bug:
Mutant Flourless Chocolate Cookies
Adapted from Wing It Vegan recipe. I really had high hopes for this guy, considering the amount of chocolate good-ness it contains. But no luck, it was a total flop. I used brown rice syrup instead of normal sugar. 1. It made it taste bad, and 2. it screwed up the consistency of the dough (waaayyy too water-y).

Pear Thumbprints
I am not quite sure why this one didn't work for me, I followed the recipe exactly! I feel like thumbprint cookies are typically shortbread-like, therefore butter-y and dense. But this one was puffy and didn't hold the thumb-print shape. So much of a disappointment/lack of interest that I didn't even photograph it...

Note: Most of these ingredients can be bought in bulk. I have highlighted the items that I bought in bulk (at the People's Food Co-op) with a (B).