Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A New Twist on the Peanut Butter Cookie!

      Have I mentioned before that I believe Kroger's Grocery Store is really rockin' these days??  I can't speak for all of the local stores; but the one near me is providing about 80% of my food (minus the meat).  I can find a variety of organic fresh fruits and veggies, canned beans, nut butters, milk and nut milks, butter, Ezekiel bread products, etc.  Periodically, I receive a small magazine in the mail from Kroger's called my magazine.  It contains food articles, recipes and coupons.  The Spring edition had a recipe...and yummy-looking picture... of Banana Peanut Butter Cookies.  It was high time that I created those cookies in my kitchen :)

BPB cookies ready for the oven!

      I made a few slight changes and doubled the recipe.  Here you go...
Ingredients (Use organic whenever possible :)
2 large ripe bananas
1 cup of crunchy peanut butter (without oil or sugar)
1/3 cup of raw sugar or Sucanat
1/3 cup of brown sugar
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
1 cup of whole wheat flour
**I have also tried 1/2 cup of Spelt flour & 1/2 cup of unbleached white flour.
 1/2 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
2-3 cups of rolled oats (add oats until you have a dense cookie dough...somewhat "tacky").
*Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Make sure your racks are far enough apart to accommodate 2 large baking sheets.  Line the sheets with parchment paper.

*In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas with a fork.  Add in the peanut butter
and combine thoroughly.
*Add in the sugars and flour(s) and blend together.
*Add in the vanilla.
*Incorporate the nut milk into the mixture.
*Finally...add in your oats.
*Grease your hands with a bit of coconut oil to form the cookies.
I made mine "golf ball-sized" :)
*Place the balls on the parchment paper and flatten each one with a fork.
*Bake the cookies for 8 minutes.
*Switch which rack each sheet is on...and bake for another 7 minutes.
The cookies should be lightly browned on their bottoms...and the edges should be slightly browned.
They should be soft coming out of the oven...and remain soft as they cool.
*When the cookies are done, transfer them onto cooling racks until they are thoroughly cooled.
**Since photographing these cookies, I have taken to placing 3 dark chocolate chips on each cookie before baking.  My husband heartily approves :)
The finished product!  Just gotta' taste one :)
**This recipe makes 24 moist and yummy cookies.  Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge...if there are any leftovers!
Recipe adapted from my magazine

Friday, August 5, 2016

I'm in a pickle!

      Last Saturday I scored some great little pickling cucumbers at the Goshen Farmers Market!  I always look for dark green, firm cucumbers...with lots of warts :)  I dug out my simple refrigerator pickle recipe and got to work. 
      I put the canning jars in my dishwasher to sterilize them.  I washed the rings and lids...and I was ready to roll.  I washed my cucumbers...cut off the very ends...and then cut them in half.  I set them aside to work on my pickling mixture.
      Figuring out how much liquid pickling mixture you need for your jars is a tricky business :)  I had purchased 4 pint boxes of cucumbers.  I ended up doubling my mixture recipe...and having enough liquid to cover 6 pint jars.  The jars are jam-packed...as you will see in the last picture!
      It is extremely important to use the correct kind of pot to heat up your mixture.  You want a non-metal pot...or a coated metal pot (like Teflon, Silverstone or enamel).  Make sure your coated pot does not have cracks in the coating.  Uncoated metal will react with the vinegar and make your pickle solution turn cloudy.
I used....
*2/3 cup of sucanat (raw, unrefined cane sugar)
*2/3 cup of canning salt
*4 tablespoons of dill weed
*6 very large shallots...
*6 small cloves of garlic....sliced
*2 teaspoons of celery seed
*4 cups of white vinegar
*1 cups of water
I brought the mixture to a "near boil"...and then turned the burner off.
      I let the mixture cool while I placed my cut cucumbers into the jars. They were rather small cucumbers, so they went every which way in the jars.  I packed them in rather tightly.  In years past...with larger cucumbers...I was able to stack them upright.  I found out this morning that it really doesn't matter :)  After a 6 day wait, I opened a jar for the "snap test".  If they are ripe and ready cucumbers at processing time, they should have an audible "snap" when they are eaten.   And they did!!! Yay for easy refrigerator pickles! 
      So.....after the cucumbers are placed into the jars, cover them with the pickling liquid up to the upper glass band on the jar.  You want to leave at least 1/2 inch free of liquid at the top of the jar.  I then placed the rings and lids on the jars.  I let the jars cool to room temperature (about 2 hours)...and then I placed them into the refrigerator.  That's were they need to live :)  Since they are not conventionally canned pickles, they would spoil if left out of the refrigerator. 
      Now for the wait...  You want the seasonings to have a chance to fully absorb into the cucumbers...and turn them into PICKLES!  Be patient and wait 6 or 7 days.  You will not be sorry :)

Here they are!!  Let's eat!
Recipe credit go to www.pickyourown.org