Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Yes I live, and I Come with Cookies!

But you have to read my rambling before you get the amazing cookie recipe!

Alright, so it's been months again since I've posted. What can I say, I'm dedicated to my job? But I've also been doing continual research on topics mentioned in my last post here. Which has lead to a few big decisions for me.
The first of these, I'm returning to school. I'll be studying Holistic Nutrition.
The second, we all have to make our own decisions and form our own opinions on what effects big food has had on our lives.

My two decisions are very closely tied together. But the latter has to come first.
Over the years I've suffered from several health problems. It started with IBS as a young teenager. Funnily enough, I was given very little nutritional advice on controlling it and had to discover much on my own what I could and should do. The second relates to reproductive system, which has a disturbing trend of being an increased problem in young females.
At the time I was diagnosed with IBS, I participated in a study which was looking into the link of environmental factors to be the cause of the physical issues. There still remains no definitive cause for IBS, in fact it's diagnosis comes only after ruling out everything else and it's treatment is 50/50 at best. Through my own experience, research and plainly living with IBS I've made my own decisions about it. I fully believe that the chemicals that go into the way in which we raise and grow our foods, have played an essential role in the development of IBS in otherwise healthy people. Am I right? I'm not a doctor, just someone who loves food and has noticed trends in my own symptoms.
As for the other bit of health issues, these plagued me for many many years and finally came to the absolute final end. Multiple surgeries removed tumors present throughout my body but centered around my reproductive system. I cannot help but to think first and foremost of the growth hormones added to a great deal of our animal based foods. Again, I'm not a doctor nor a medical researcher, but some things only make sense.
In recent years there have been many articles, books and documentaries based upon the growth of Big Agriculture and the practices they use. Growth Hormones, unnatural breeding selection (look up anything about today's commercial chicken), genetically engineered foods. Of course there are more and these are just the big items. Heavily manufactured food has replaced the art of cooking, and why not, it's practically cheaper these days to pick up a frozen meal or hit the drive-thru than to cook.
As a culture our awareness and appreciation of food has grown, but at the same time our knowledge of it and how to prepare it ourselves has decreased. Organic food may not be more nutritious at it's base, but it must be healthier when it does not contain all the additives of commercial foods. Organics are becoming more mainstream, they're more often found in your local grocery aisles. But the organic label on processed foods still does not mean that it doesn't contain the usual additives of salts and sugars etc. Manufactured foods are just that, manufactured and require additives in the processing.
I want to study holistic nutrition to bring back together the art and love of cooking and food with the knowledge of what those foods contain and how they can help our bodies. This is what I want to offer, what I want to share, what I want to be remembered for. Change those wants, to wills, I'm nothing if not stubborn.
And I suppose since you've made it this far, listened to me babble, you're due for a reward.

This is a cookie recipe I adapted out of the book Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson.
I discovered Mesquite flour at the local bulk foods store, and I'm in love with it. If you haven't tried it, you must. Forget about thinking mesquite grilling, this flour is sweet and nutty. It also has a few other perks:
Has a low glycemic index
Is a source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc.
Adds vegetable protein including lysine to the diet.
Adding too much to a dish can make the flavour too intense and ruin, a good sauce for instance, but don't be shy to give it a try. Personally, I always try to find organic flours.

Mesquite Double Chocolate Chip Cookies.
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup mesquite flour, sifted if needed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine grain salt (sea salt or kosher)
3/4 cup coconut oil, room temp. (see the note below the recipe on this!)
1 1/2 cups natural cane sugar
3 large eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 F and line two cookie sheets with silicon baking mats (or parchment)
Whisk together the flours, baking soda and powder, and salt.
In another bowl cream the sugar and the coconut oil together. Beat in the eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to get fully incorporated before adding the next one. Stir in the vanilla.
Now add the dry ingredients from the first step in increments, stirring between each addition.
Finally stir in the oats and chips until they're even through the batter.
Drop 2 Tablespoons of batter for each cookie onto your lined sheets.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden on top and bottom.
It is better to slightly under-bake these than to over-bake.

About coconut oil! This gives wonderful flavour to lots of dishes. Look for unrefined, NON HYDROGENATED, cold pressed, coconut oil. Make sure you store this in your fridge once opened. And another bit of good news, this is one of the few unrefined fats that actually likes high temperatures, so give it a try in your next stir-fry. Admittedly coconut oil can get expensive, it's usually best found at health food stores. Watch for the sales and make sure you read those labels to get the best product.

Enjoy your cookies!!

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