Cinnamon Chip Cookies with Coconut Oil and Flaxseed

These cinnamon chip cookies are pretty bomb. I’ve adapted this from an awesome vegan rosemary-chocolate chip cookie recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz, and although they’re not vegan (cinnamon chips have milk in them), they’re pretty fab because I used coconut oil and flaxseed, and no egg or butter. Yay for some health benefits in a dessert!

If you’re wary of flaxseeds and coconut oil in your cookies, let me assure you, it’s gonna be okay! What I do when I buy a bag of flaxseeds is grind them all up in the food processor until they’re really fine. I then put them in a resealable bag or plastic container and store them in the freezer so the oils in the flaxseeds don’t turn rancid. When I need ground flaxseeds, I don’t have to fuss with grinding them – they’re all ready for me! As for taste and texture in this cookie – the flaxseeds really are undetectable. All you’ll get is a nice roasty, toastiness from the flaxseeds! Not to mention some plant-based omega-3s and fiber!

The coconut oil is great because it’s a solid fat, so it acts like butter in this recipe. I use coconut oil to saute baby bok choy or Swiss chard, and it’s great because it lends a tropical, subtle flavor to my greens. Health-wise, even though it is high in saturated fat (the fat you want to lower in your diet), it is high in medium-chain triglycerides, and is a good vegan choice if you’re not into using butter in this case.

Cinnamon Chip Cookies with Coconut Oil and Flaxseed
makes 40 cookies
adapted from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s
Isa Does It

1 cup refined coconut oil, softened
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cinnamon chips


Preheat oven to 360 degrees F (yes you heard that right – I find that a tiny increase in temperature lends itself to a more firm cookie). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Readjust oven racks to be in the middle and lower third of the oven.

In a large bowl, use a whisk to incorporate the coconut oil with the sugars. Add in the milk and ground flaxseed and stir until combined. Add in the vanilla; stir to combine.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add half of this mixture into the coconut oil mixture, and mix well. Add the other half as well as the cinnamon chips, and stir until it looks like cookie dough.

Scoop out about a tablespoon of dough, roll it between you hands to form a ball, and gently flatten a tiny bit onto the cookie sheet. Place the cookies about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. You’ll have enough cookie dough left over for another pan after this first batch is done. Bake for about 7 minutes, then switch racks for another 7 minutes, until golden brown and edges look slightly crispy.

Cool on the sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way.

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Roasted Cauliflower, Corn, and Black Bean Tacos

There really is nothing better than (a), my daughter’s laugh, (b) my hubby’s hugs, and (c), improvising in the kitchen, only to stumble upon a really good dish. And that’s what happened here!

I’ve only provided the recipe for the roasted cauliflower. From there, you can add protein from a drained and rinsed can of black beans (I used some leftover, thickened black bean soup that I made from scratch), roasted corn (or regular corn sauteed with a bit of Earth Balance vegan butter and kosher salt), fresh avocado, cilantro, and hot sauce or lime wedges as desired.

Roasted Cauliflower, Corn, and Black Bean Tacos
serves about 6 (2 tacos per person)

1 medium head cauliflower, cut into small florets (you want the size of small florets cut in half)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

corn or flour tortillas (about 12)
1 can black beans (rinsed and drained – I like to caramelize 1/2 small, diced onion in a little oil, add the black beans and a couple pinches of cumin to dress it up a bit)
1/2 of a 16-oz bag frozen roasted corn (saute in 1 tablespoon Earth Balance vegan butter and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt until hot)
lime wedges
hot sauce or pico de gallo
avocado slices

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, toss cauliflower, extra-virgin olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder until evenly distributed and incorporated. Place on baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes; flip cauliflower and roast for 15 minutes more until lightly browned and tender.

To serve, heat up tortillas in a pan over medium-low heat, about a minute on each side. Top each with a couple tablespoons of black beans, a couple tablespoons corn, a couple tablespoons cauliflower, cilantro leaves, hot sauce, avocado slices, and a squeeze of a lime wedge.

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Chia Seed Refresher

This reminds me of a basil seed drink that we used to get at Vietnamese grocery stores in California. The chia seeds, when in water, swell up and become a little gelatinous. If you have textural issues with food, you will either love this or hate it, but I love it! The texture is similar to tapioca, and if you like to drink boba (tapioca balls in milk teas), this will be great for you. And healthier too, because those boba drinks are LOADED with sugar (thanks to my college roomies for those few extra college pounds because of our frequent boba trips! Oh those liquid calories!).

The drink itself is not smoothie-thick, but it’s just water flavored with a tiny bit of agave nectar and lime zest (not lime juice, unless you want a limeade).

Chia seeds are loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and minerals. About two tablespoons of chia seeds will give you 10 grams of fiber – definitely easy to meet your fiber quota if you’re drinking it! I usually make a big mason jar of this refresher and my hubby and I will drink this in addition to our water throughout the day. We drink A LOT of water (no sodas in this house!) so this switches it up every once in awhile. :)

Chia Seed Refresher
makes 2 1/2 cups

2 1/2 cups water
1-2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon lime zest

Pour all ingredients into a mason jar. Tightly screw the lid on and shake. Place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes and shake vigorously before serving.

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Almond Joyful Smoothie

This is a dessert and snack all in one! And the best part is that it’s packed with so many good-for-you type things. Almond butter for protein, heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and satiety, almond milk for calcium, banana for that quick-releasing carbohydrate that gives you instant energy, and a little bit of cocoa to make this truly decadent. It’s perfect for me, especially for a mid-afternoon slump (seriously, it’s like drinking ice cream, but much better for you!).


Almond Joyful Smoothie
serves 1

1 medium frozen banana, sliced
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon creamy almond butter
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

optional garnish: unsweetened coconut flakes


Blend until smooth, garnish as desired, and enjoy!

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Savory Oatmeal with Almonds, Olive Oil, and Sea Salt

savory oatmeal
Say what?! That’s what I was thinking when I came across Giada Delaurentiis’s recipe for olive oil and sea salt oatmeal. That seemed ludicrous to me, since I always would adorn my oatmeal with a little cinnamon, brown sugar, pinch of kosher salt, and raisins, until I realized that my husband DOES NOT like oatmeal because it’s sweet. He’d eat it, of course, because I peer-pressure him to eat something in the mornings, but would prefer not to. So when I came across this recipe, I thought, hey, let’s give it a try.

I made him some oatmeal, snipped some thyme from my herb pot, and stirred in some good sea salt and olive oil. I topped it off with some slivered almonds for some crunch. And what do you know? HE LOVED IT! Woo!!! And I thought it was good, too! I think that we’ve all just been conditioned to think that oatmeal has to be sweet in the morning, but just like Chinese congee or Vietnamese chao (rice porridge), it totally does not have to be that way, and the same can be said with oatmeal.

Savory Oatmeal with Almonds, Olive Oil, and Sea Salt
adapted from Giada de Laurentiis’s “Feel Good Food”
serves 2

1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

a sprinkle of sea salt (I used French grey sea salt)
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil


In a medium saucepan over med-high heat, heat the water until boiling. Add the oats and turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the thyme and kosher salt. Continue to cook the oats, stirring every so often, for about 5 minutes (add more water if desired). For each serving, add 1 tablespoon almonds, drizzle with 1/4 teaspoon olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt.

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