Heya! Guess what? I’m finally on spring break! [Insert relief here.] It’s definitely been a long winter, but at least I have this to look forward to.
Two words: Gorg. Eous.
Does anyone else feel a mood change when the sun comes back out and the temperature warms up? I want to ask myself, “Was I hibernating all winter or what? I finally feel alive again!” Swapping my black, knee-length North Face for a cute, cropped pink peacoat has made all the difference. I actually want to look good instead of hiding in my coat. Haha, you know how it is.
It looks like someone else is ready to shake a tail feather, too.
My day was brightened even further by having my first appointment with my college counsellor. From the moment I walked in, I could tell we were going to get along great. I’ll spare you all the details for now (though there was a lot of happiness that ensued), but I will tell you that I finally feel like I have direction. I’m one of those people that needs to have a plan and know what to do next. Just point me on the path and I’m good to go!
I expressed my diverse interestes in majors (business? law? RD?) to my counsellor and he barely flinched. He assured me that he has an idea and will help me find the best fit for me. For now, he suggested keeping an open mind to “open curriculums” and possibly entrepreneurialship.
I think the freshly baked cookie I offered him at the end of our meeting sealed the deal. In fact, when I quickly passed him later that day he made a point of telling me how delicious they were. He said that he wanted to talk about them at our next meeting because he noticed there was something “special” about them and was intrigued that there were vegan (& delicious!). I wonder what he has up his sleeve!
I made a large batch of cookies this time so I would have enough to give to my English class and the college counseling team. The boys in my English class always shyly ask for me to bake for them. It’s so cute that I cannot help but oblige. With teenage boys to feed, it’s a good thing I’m prepared with this baby:
Doesn’t this just scream, “Hello, my name is Mandiee and I am an Earth Balance addict” ? Just kidding. I actually don’t use Earth Balance when I cook for myself (butter has always freaked me out: taste, texture, everything—ick), but having a whopping 45 oz of it does come in handy for baking. It goes quicker than you would think!
But back to the cookies. For making a good first impression to pleasing hungry boys time and time again, these cookies are a recipe for success!
“Butter Me Up” Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes ~3-1/2 dozen cookies
- 1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 cup + 2TBS spelt flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon [<—key ingredient!]
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup NuNaturals Stevia + 1/4 cup sucanat (or 1 cup brown sugar, packed)
- 2 TBS sugar
- 3/4 cup Earth Balance or other non-dairy butter [*coconut oil might be lovely as well]
- 2 flaxseed eggs (2 TBS flaxseed meal + 6 TBS warm water + 3-5 minutes to gel)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup non-dairy chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350*F.
- Mix flours, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl.
- Cream together Earth Balance and sugars (or replacement sugars) until well combined and fluffy. Beat in flaxseed eggs and vanilla extract.
- Add dry mixture in batches until fully incorporated.
- Stir in chocolate chips.
- Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes if opting for a “dough ball” consistency.
- Roll cookie dough into small balls using your hands or an small ice cream scooper. Place on a greased or Silpat-lined cookie sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until cookies are baked to your liking. (15 minutes will yield “dough ball” cookies, whereas longer will be more like normal cookies.)
- Let cookies cool on the cookie sheet for about ~5 minutes before placing on a cooling rack to finish.
In other news, my Lenten resolution has forced me to adapt. I was really craving some protein ice cream a few days ago, so instead of using my favorite protein powder (Vega, which includes stevia), I used a mixture of unsweetened brown rice and hemp.
Clearly lacking in any sweetness whatsoever, the dark chocolate cocoa powder and cinnamon played a crucial role in giving it some flavor. However, it still needed a little something-something. Enter melted frozen strawberries and raspberries (just microwave for ~30 seconds or heat on the stove until syrup-y).
Now that’s what I’m talking about. I still miss my stevia, but at least it satisfied my craving. How many more days again?
I definitely miss stevia in my ice cream, but my sweeterner-free blueberry muffins make up for it. Gluten-free? Vegan? Sugar- and sweetener-free? Check, check, and check. The organic frozen blueberries I used were so sweet I actually checked the label to make sure they didn’t have anything added. I ❤ natural sweetness!
I loved the muffins so much, in fact, that I didn’t even get a good photo of them. [Blogger fail.] I guess that means I’ll just have to make them again soon, right?
And while we’re talking gluten-free, I wanted to thank you for your feedback on my gluten question. My body is really responding well to the variance in gluten-free grains, so I think I’m going to roll with it. A happy tummy is a happy Mandie!
However, I am a little bit worried because I just found out I’m going on a week-long college visit trip with my friend and her mom, starting tomorrow. It will be hard enough to find good vegan options with two meat-lovers in an unknown-city, let alone gluten-free!
I’m going to pack lots of snack and even some homemade gluten-free bread. I made sure it was high-protein and high-flavor (pumpkin, cinnamon & coconut kissed gluten-free bread? Yum, yum!) Actually, my bread is in the oven as we speak!
We will be seeing 11 colleges in 6 days, so as you can imagine, I will be quite the busy bee! However, I will probably be able to blog since all the hotels we are staying at should have an internet connection. I can’t wait to show you all my photos! I hope you will join me in my journey :).
For my current college/college graduate friends, what are some important questions you recommend asking on visits? And what made you choose the college you call home?
And for my fellow high schoolers, what are you most looking forward to in college? Do you know what you want to major in?
Enjoy the beautiful spring weather!