vegan biscuits

a dog, a story and a date biscuit slice (vegan version)

1st February 2014

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January always seems a time of simplifying and focusing my energies, cleaning up and organising our living space.  Refreshing everything, developing new rhythms or putting back into place the old ones that have slipped by, getting rid of that old energy and allowing space for the new.  So apart from re-organising my workspace, I decided to try to make this favourite sweet vegan.

These are a favourite in our house, especially for me, as they bring back a lot of childhood memories

scroll down to the story

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date biscuit slice

ingredients 

½ cup coconut oil

¼ cup molasses/date syrup

1 Tbsp vanilla essence

2 Tbsp water

1 cup/120g whole-spelt flour

1 cup/80g desiccated coconut

1 cup/170g pitted dates, chopped into small pieces

¼ cup finely chopped walnuts, pecans or sunflowers seeds

1 tsp baking powder

1 Tbsp cocoa powder

for the icing

1 cup/140g sugar powder/icing sugar

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

extra desiccated coconut for sprinkling on top

preparation 

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.  Grease a rectangular 21cm x 29cm tray.

2.  Melt the coconut, add the molasses, vanilla essence and water – set aside.

3.  In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, coconut, dates, walnuts, baking powder and cocoa powder – mix well, then add the wet ingredients  – combining well.

4.  Spread evenly with the back of a spoon into the tray and bake for 20 minutes or until golden – set aside to cool.

5.  Make the icing – Mix the icing sugar and cocoa powder together with just a few teaspoons of water.  You do not want the icing too watery, but not so thick that it will not spread. Spread the icing over the slice and sprinkle with coconut, then cut into squares.

These photos came about because I needed a photo for this post and my daughter Yasmin needed a photo for her essay she was writing for school about our dog Inbar.  I thought you might enjoy her essay.  It is very touching and beautifully written.

inbar by Yasmin fisher

At home, I  have a dog.  Her name is Inbar.  She’s very old now.

People always ask how old she is and my father always gives the same answer;  “She’s the same age as Yasmin.”

Maybe that’s the reason I have such a close relationship with her because we were born in the same year and basically grew up together.

I was born in Israel, to parents who at the time were very interested in Yoga and a 7-month-old baby (me) did not stop them driving to a yoga retreat in the north of Israel.  As we were approaching the retreat centre located in the hills by the sea of Galilee, my father got lost and as customary for men, he refused to ask for directions!  Driving around in the car, my mother explained that she was not feeling too well and wanted to stop to get something out of the boot.  When they stopped my mother got out of the car and suddenly heard this strange noise coming from the bushes.  It was dark and Israel is known for having poisonous snakes but it turned out to be this small scared puppy.  My mother could not resist and picked it up.  Only in the car, my mother could see that this puppy was unhealthy and clearly abandoned.

My parents decided to take the puppy with them and named her Inbar after the village where the yoga retreat took place.  My parents feed her and took care of her.  As my parents tell me,  it was obvious that Inbar had been abused because she refused to enter the house.  My father tells the story that a few days after finding Inbar I took my first steps.  However, as soon as I went outside Inbar would be so excited to see me that she would knock me over.  It was not long before Inbar stopped knocking me over and started looking after me…

As I grew older Inbar took more and more care of me.  Whether it was from another dog, person, or even if I just got lost in our village and forgot my way back home.  One day I was walking to my friend’s place and as usual, Inbar came with me, a dog catcher drove by and saw that Inbar was not on a leash as required by law.  In Israel, it is very common for dogs to be taken away and if the owner would not come to claim the dog, the dog would be “put to sleep.”  It was traumatizing to see that Inbar had been taken away despite my protest and crying.  For the first time, I realised I needed to take care of Inbar too.

Inbar was always a part of the important things in my life.  She is part of our family.  When my parents told me we were moving to Portugal it was never a question if we were to take her with us, even though she was very old.  It was a difficult journey but she liked all the attention and was so happy when we arrived.

And now, since arriving in Portugal.  I am the one that looks after her and gives her medication daily, and I make sure she gets attention.

Out of respect for her age and due to the colder winter here, Inbar has become an indoor dog.  She sleeps inside next to the hallway and since my room is closest, she comes into my room in the middle of the night if she wants to go outside.

It is clear to me that Inbar is on her “last legs” and that she will not live much longer.  When I think about her I can only think about how thankful I am to have shared my childhood with this kind and devoted animal.  Through my childhood with Inbar, I have learnt that life is a circle of giving and taking.  It is ironic how so much good came out of Inbar’s unlucky beginning.

health crunch muesli cookies (vegan)

9th October 2011

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Happiness

=

Getting up early.

No humidity.

First rain.

Yellow leaves falling.

A big girl who will still sit in your lap, sometimes.

A big boy that still needs my hugs, all the time.

The first green salad from the garden.

Golden afternoon light.

Little, white jasmine flowers falling on the ground, waiting to be picked up,

and

being lost in their sweet scent.

The quietness in that deep silence.

Friends.

Winning scrabble.

 Peacock feathers.

The smell of little babies.

A new camera and its endless possibilities.

Damp smell of earth.

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I  would like to try making these cookies with the left-over almond pulp from making almond milk. I have been looking for a sweet which is gluten-free and dairy-free.  These I stumbled across on this website – www.teresacutter.com.  It is important to grind the almonds very finely which will absorb the liquid much better.  Also, the second time I made these, I added 1 cup cranberries, instead of ½ cup; half chopped very finely and the rest, roughly chopped.  I also pressed half an almond in the top each biscuit, which added another dimension to them.  I did tweak the recipe a bit from the original.

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health crunch muesli cookies

Approximately 30 cookies

ingredients 

cup organic coconut oil, melted

½ cup maple syrup (depending on your preferred sweetness)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups almonds

1 cup walnuts/pecans

cup ground linseed/flaxseed

½ cup sesame and sunflower seeds (a combination of both to make ½ cup)

½ – 1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped (depending on how much you like cranberries)

¼ cup dried shredded coconut

preparation 

1.  Preheat the oven to 150C/330F.  Line two baking sheets with baking paper.

2.  In a small mixing bowl, pour the melted coconut oil over the maple syrup, and whisk in the vanilla extract – set aside.

3.  In a food processor, place in the almonds and grind until fine, then empty into a large mixing bowl.

4.  Place the walnuts into the food processor and whiz for a few seconds, just until they are roughly broken up, add to bowl.

5.  Add linseed, sesame and sunflower seeds, coconut and cranberries – combine well.

6.  Pour in the wet mixture – mix thoroughly until well combined.

7.  Divide into 30 balls (If the mixture is crumbling just add a little hot water until it becomes easier to handle.)  Place onto the prepared baking tray, then flatten slightly.  At this stage, press a whole almond into each if you prefer.

8.  Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until golden and well cooked through. Watch carefully!

Rest on the tray until cool, then store in an air-tight container.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

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