I’ve officially been back on Canadian soil for two weeks now and experiencing the classical ‘reverse culture shock’. I have to remind myself that I can open my mouth in the shower and brush my teeth with tap water, I forgot how fast Internet really was, and I am learning to use my iPhone all over again. One thing I am really enjoying? The reliable hot water and electricity in my apartment, makes me appreciate Canada so much more!
On the other hand, there are some things I miss about Africa. When it was ugly and snowing outside this weekend, I longed to be back in the sunshine and ditch my winter coat and gloves. I also miss the abundance of fresh and healthy produce available at all street corners for unbelievably cheap prices (juicy pineapples for less than $1, umm yes!!!)
My first trip to Starbucks was a huge reality check with their gleaming display of giant, overpriced, non-allergy friendly and unhealthy food selections. Now that I finally have a functioning kitchen again, I was so excited to get back to baking and the first thing I did was make a healthier version of Starbucks’s Fruit and Nut Oatmeal Cookie. According to their website, one of their breakfast cookies has 360 calories and a whopping 29 grams of sugar. I find their prices for food ridiculous, especially because it leaves you with nothing but a sugar coma and hungry tummy. This recipe below was adapted from several different blogs online and offers a much healthier way to enjoy a coffee and morning treat at your desk. Best of all? This recipe is gluten, soy, egg and dairy free, making it allergy and vegan friendly (unless you use a protein powder containing whey or soy protein isolate). If you’re allergic to nuts, try using Sun-Flour (made from sunflower seeds) as a substitute for almond flour, and try using Sunbutter or pumpkin seed butter instead of almond butter.
I don't know the nutrition or calorie count for these cookies, but you could always use an online calorie counter to figure this out. All I know is that they are much higher in protein, fibre and vitamins and minerals, and much lower in fat and sugar than the ones you get at Starbucks. The original recipe made 1 dozen, but I decided to only make 9 since I like my cookies big :)
1 cup rolled oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF)
½ cup Almond Flour (JK Gourmet)
2 scoops vanilla protein powder
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon each ginger, nutmeg and allspice
1 very ripe mashed banana
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 tablespoons almond butter (I like MaraNatha Almond Butter)
2 tbsp sweetener of choice (agave, honey, maple syrup etc, I just added a few spoonfuls of uncut stevia)
1 chopped granny smith apple
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line a cookie tray with parchament paper
2. Combine all the dry ingredients (oats through spices) in one bowl
3. Combine wet ingredients and sliced apple in another small bowl
4. Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir until just combined
5. Form into balls and press down onto cookie sheet
6. Bake for 25 minutes if you make 9 large cookies like me, or 20 minutes if making one dozen
7. Remove and let cool
These cookies freeze well and I’m looking forward to finishing the batch when I get back next week from my conference in Boston. A teaser for the next post, look at all the great, healthy products I found at Costco!