Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Things I Am Loving This Week

Time again for Tuesday's "Things I Am Loving This Week"--those things (mostly food-related), that I am enjoying and want to share. Actually this week it is all about the food so let's get started.

Last week I made Clean Eating's Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (see post here), and they were really good--especially the 1/2-batch I added rolled oats to. I wanted to play with them a bit more and ended up with a whole new, and I think even better cookie that I am loving. These Fully Loaded Healthy Peanut Butter-Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies are full of good-for-you ingredients like more oats, flax seed, wheat germ, peanuts and dried cherries but they taste amazing, all chewy and good and with my favorite salty-sweet combination of flavors. And they are still made with no flour, oil or butter. Yum!

Fully Loaded Healthy Peanut Butter-Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine
(Makes 24 Cookies)

1 cup unsalted almond butter, stirred well
1/4 cup Sucanat
1 large egg + 1 egg white
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup rolled oats
2 Tbsp flax seeds
2 Tbsp wheat germ
3 oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa or greater), broken into small pieces or same amount in semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts
1/2 cup dried cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the first 5 ingredients until blended. Stir in oats, flax seed, wheat germ, chocolate, peanuts and dried cherries. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake for about 9-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and let cool for 15 more minutes.

Notes: Sucanat is a minimally processed derivative from sugar cane. Sucanat is somewhat grainier than sugar and has a slightly molasses sort of taste--so it works well in cookies and muffins. Because it is minimally processed, it retains its natural iron, calcium and other nutrients that help balance rather than spike blood sugar. You could use a raw sugar or brown sugar instead. You can also substitute almond butter and almonds for the peanut butter and substitute dried cranberries for the cherries.

I love finding locally-grown foods to enjoy. The farmers market this week was selling bags of Hawaii Grown Macadamia Nuts from the Big Island of Hawaii, and $20.00 later I had a large bag of fresh slow-roasted (4 days) mac nuts and a Crack-A-Mac macadamia nut cracker (from Australia), to enjoy. I had to buy them--usually when I see mac nuts here they are shelled and in a bag or can.

The slow-roasted nuts are crisp and almost buttery tasting and quite delicious. The adorable Crack-A-Mac cracks them pretty easily as long as you line up the white "dot" that indicates the natural fracture line of the nut with the tip of the vice.

Macadamia nuts are a great source of calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese and zinc. They also have a good amount of fiber and B-vitamins. While high in fat, it is mostly mono-unsaturated fat and mac nuts contain no cholesterol. They nuts are tasty enough to eat on their own, but I'll probably find something to make with part of them. Fun!

Sometimes I love and crave a good potato and when I do, Crash Potatoes are the way I go. It seemed like the Pioneer Woman got the whole blogosphere crazy about Jill Dupleix's Crash Potatoes when she posted them on her blog awhile back, but I was making them long before the craze and long before my blogging days, with the original recipe from Jill Dupleix's cookbook. I had come across Jill's "Simple Food" in a bookstore a couple of years after I moved to Hawaii and fell in love with the gorgeous photos and simple recipes. The first thing that caught my eye was her Crash Potatoes (which should actually be called "Crack Potatoes" since they are so addictive) and I made them, and made them again...and then again...and yet again. I never ended up posting them on the blog though, and it finally seemed like time when I got some locally-grown potatoes at the farmers market in order to make a lamb stew, had some leftover, and got that old familiar craving.

These potatoes are slightly bigger than I would normally use but that just means more surface skin to crisp up! I like the fact that you can change out the herbs based on what you have on hand. Rosemary works well and I've even added garlic, and once some bacon. Each time they have been delicious but there is something about Jill's original recipe of thyme and fennel seed that is actually pretty darned perfect. If you haven't tried these, you really should--they are incredible--crispy skin, soft inside and full of flavor. If you have tried them, make them again--you know you want to! Use your good olive oil and sea salt for these and enjoy. I'd like to tell you they were the side for a balanced dinner but in all honesty I had a big salad and protein for lunch and I just ate a couple of the potatoes for dinner and was blissfully satisfied. ;-)

Jill Dupleix says, "This is one of those crazy little recipes that, once tried, is immediately incorporated into your own repertoire. It's what you want when you want a crisp roast potato, only better. And all you have to do is boil some small potatoes, smash them flat, and blast them in a hot oven until they are terminally crisp. Serve with eggplant and lamb, pan-fried fish, broiled sausages, or even on their own, with drinks."

Crash Hot Potatoes
"Simple Food" by Jill Dupleix
(Serves 4)

16 small round potatoes
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp fennel or caraway seeds
small handful of thyme sprigs

Heat the oven to 500 degrees F or the highest setting. Don't peel the potatoes. Just bung them into a pot of salted water, bring to a boil, and simmer for around 15 minutes, until they take a skewer without too much resistance. They should be just about cooked without being soft.

Drain the potatoes and arrange them on a lightly oiled baking pan. Use a potato masher to squash each potato flat, until it is twice its original diameter. Brush the tops with olive oil, and scatter with sea salt, black pepper, fennel seeds, and thyme sprigs.

Bake the potatoes on the top shelf of the oven for 20-25 minutes until crisp and golden. Serve hot.

A little sweet, a little nutty and a little savory...these are the "Things I Am Loving This Week."

How about you? What are you enjoying right now?


  1. everything looks good, that nut cracker brought back memories of when we harvested mac nuts from my grandma's backyard, hard work and some bruised fingers.

  2. I have been craving potatoes lately too. Which is super weird for me. Loving those, and your new cookie recipe. So far, the week is off to a fantabulous start.

  3. I want a mac cracker! Actually, I have never even seen them in their shells before - but now I want them!
    Those look like great cookies, I will have to keep an eye out for sucanat. After all, we got agave recently - sucanat can't be far behind!
    And the crash potatoes, very much like the smashed potatoes I make the kids - but I love the addition of fennel or caraway and that they are done in the oven.

  4. Your cookies look delicious! I'm going to look for some Sucanat over the weekend.
    I wondered if you were going to post about your fresh and local macadamia nuts. I bet they are out of this world delicious! I'm sure you'll find a great use for them.

  5. I'd never heard of Sucanat before your post today. You must be thrilled to have the macadamia nuts in your pantry and a crack a mac in your drawer. That's not a bad price either. Enjoy them and have a great day.

  6. great cookies and wow love the nut cracker!!

  7. Those potatoes just made it on my to-do list. And yay for floppy-eared nut crackers.

  8. Wow, this is one awesome and totally lovable list alright! The cookies sound amazing and I've been dying to try those potatoes for the longest time. I've had them in restaurants, but not made them at home. Yours look wonderful!

    Also, I've never seen macadamia nuts in the shell ... only shelled ... so that was neat too! :)

  9. I ate potatoes three days in a row - all prepared differently. But I never tried the crash hots. I need to 'cause they look very addicting. I made peanut butter oatmeal cookies yesterday - but there not nearly as nutritious as yours. Love your little macadamia cracker!

  10. Oh, I am now craving cookies like crazy! Those sound awesome! I also love that crack-a-mac. How cute!

  11. That new cookie recipe is awesome!

  12. Great highlights. I'm so intrigued by the macadamia nuts, I'd love to shell them myself someday. Oh the great joys of living in Paradise!

  13. The mac cracker is certainly a better idea than the 2 bricks we used when I was little and we had a macadamia tree!

    The cookies sound fab! I'm eating some really good vegan raw food cookies at the moment, but I think yours may be my next snack.

  14. Scrumptious cookies and the mac cracker is very neat!

  15. Like you, Deb, I've been making these potatoes for a few years - ever since I came across Jill Dupleix's recipe in a magazine - early issue of Delicious I think. I adore them, as does everyone I've ever given them to. I confess to sometimes sprinkling a bit of parmesan over them before putting them in the oven.

  16. What yummy sounding cookies1 I need to go on a shopping trip for the sucanat!

  17. Love the healthy living motto you have there...first time on your space and I can relate...my mantra is "healthful decadence" and I actually have successes with it...will be back soon to check out your upcoming posts.

  18. Kat--how fun to get to harvest them!

    Joanne--Yeah I not sure why I am potato obsessed lately either! ;-)

    Natashya--This was my first time to see them in their shells too.

    Kim & Mary--Hope you can find the sucanat but if you can't find it go for sugar in the raw.

    Rebecca & Andreas--thanks!

    Diva & Reeni--you have to try the potatoes--easy & so good!

    Lori & Aruna--thanks!

    Fresh, Local & Best--I am spoiled. ;-)

    Foodycat--With two bricks I would probably smash my fingers! lol ;-)

    5 Star Foodie--Mahalo

    Couscous & Consciousness--a little parm would be wonderful and Jill Dupleix is the best!

    Meena--I love healthful decadence. I'll pop by your blog and take a look. ;-)


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