Cleaning up a classic chocolate chip cookie
Schoolís out, summerís here and Iím ready for nine weeks of sun-soaked relaxation with the kids Ö or am I?
Iím always so excited for the end of school. Iíve never forgotten the exhilaration of breaking up for the holidays and so itís catching when the kids come home saying things like ďseven days to freedom!Ē
I mean, they love their school, but they also love a break from the norm. Who doesnít?
Reality is a little different though. As a working mom who has a problem keeping track of the finer details of life, I find it hard to make sure everyone is in the right place at the right time ó with all the right stuff.
Nine weeks full of summer camp is like extra special torture in this regard. Just as I get my head wrapped around one routine, the protocol changes and itís on to something new.
We still need packed lunches, but now we usually need hats and sunscreen and a myriad of other things too.
I really should just keep the entire contents of our house in the car so that I have everything ready to go.
And I would honestly do that, except I already have the entire contents of the beach in there. So much sand!
But there is still something about the summer that makes life feel a little lazier.
And because after-school activities go on pause thereís definitely more time in the evenings.
Although July and August arenít ideal times to hang out in a hot kitchen, it means we do a lot more baking and cooking together.
Iíve just rolled out ď30 Days of Real Food for FamiliesĒ for our members.
Itís not a high-maintenance project, more itís designed to use the summer in a proactive way; doing more home cooking and encouraging unadventurous eaters to try some new things.
The idea is to remind everyone how simple cooking from scratch can be. Itís a good reminder for me too.
In the crazy rush of life I find it easy to slip and resort to last-minute short cuts that are less than ideal when if Iíd just done a little planning, I would have been fine.
When Iím in a good routine, I usually batch-cook something, make a fruit compote (for eating with plain yoghurt) and bake something on a Sunday.
Itís an easy way to take the pressure off during the week. These chocolate chip chia cookies were a favourite in our house but I hadnít made then in a while Ö theyíre hot out of the oven and smell so good!
If youíre open to it, then this recipe is a great example of how to clean up a classic chocolate chip cookie.
At the end of the day, itís still a cookie and it does contain sugar, so it definitely falls into the ďmoderationĒ category or the ďyellow lightĒ category as we call it at Natural Kids camp.
But itís also packed with oats and a healthy dose of chia seed.
This provides lots of fibre to help create a more sustained energy release rather than a vicious peak and dip. This recipe is gluten-free and uses a mix of almond and brown rice flour (in addition to the gluten-free oats) so there are no highly processed ďalternativeĒ flours or fats here.
If you donít need to be gluten free, you could try replacing the flours with white wholewheat.
Before I go, if youíre looking for camp options mid-August, then we have two weeks of Natural Kids coming up (August 6 and 13).
Send me fussy eaters and weíll see what we can do to help make them a bit more adventurous; if theyíre not fussy ó send them anyway!
Natural Kids camp is packed full of play, learning, cooking and fitness every single day. Itís the most exhausting thing I do all year but I absolutely love it!
Look for details under ĎWhatís Oní at www.natural.bm.
Chocolate Chip Chia Cookies
(makes approximately 14)
1 scant cup small oats (gluten-free if need be)
Ĺ cup almond flour or ground almonds from the baking section
Ĺ cup brown rice flour
Ĺ cup sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
ľ cup mini chocolate chips (gluten/dairy free if need be eg Enjoy Life)
1/8 cup chia seed
1 tsp baking powder
Ĺ tsp salt
1 large egg
Ĺ cup safflower or grapeseed oil (you can use melted coconut oil if you like the flavour)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Using a hand whisk, whisk the dry ingredients together in one bowl and the wet in another.
2. Combine the two bowls and stir well with a wooden spoon, using your hands if necessary to completely form the dough.
3. Chill the dough in the fridge for one to two hours.
4. Preheat oven to 355F. Lightly oil a large baking sheet.
5. Roll the dough into small golf balls (there should be approximately 14). Flatten them halfway and space apart on the tray.
6. Bake for 12 minutes, at which point open the oven briefly and lightly flatten the top of each cookie again, this time with the back of a fork.
7. Bake for another two to three minutes until very lightly golden.
8. Leave to cool completely on the rack before transferring to a plate or storage.
The advice given in this article is not intended to replace medical advice, but to complement it. Always consult your GP if you have any health concerns. Catherine Burns is a fully qualified nutritional therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the UK. Please note that she is not a registered dietitian. For details: www.natural.bm, 236-7511 or, Facebook, Natural Nutrition Bermuda
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