Hello from the dead! Funny – it was also around this time last year that I frantically tried to breathe life into a blog that seemed to have lost its pulse. I don’t know what that pattern is about but I don’t plan to let it happen again. There’s my first New Year’s resolution!
I’m gonna cut to the chase and tell you about a Jivamukti yoga retreat I attended two weekends ago in Bahay Kalipay. It all started as a random invitation from a friend a few months back. I said yes without much thought but it turned out to be exactly what I needed when it came around. It was 4 days of stripping down to basics, yoga, being open and eating vegan raw food.
For the purposes of this blog, I will spare you the details on how I survived without toilet paper and zone in on the food. Did I have apprehensions about eating nothing but raw fruit and veg for 4 days? Good Lord, yes. I love eating plant life but… only plant life? Where’s the fun in that? However, there was also a part of me that was very much looking forward to what was surely going to be an enlightening experience. As in losing weight.
I’m delighted to report that every single raw meal churned out by the Bahay Kalipay kitchen was delicious and filling, a revelation! I wish I could show you pictures and give you elaborate details but I made a conscious effort not to take pictures of every friggin’ thing (not even the food, gasp!) and there was no menu. You’re just gonna have to believe me when I say breakfast was always a favorite with fresh fruit and something like muesli and thin chocolate-y milk (probably a nut milk). Lunch and dinner were creative and flavorful creations that mimicked pizza, pasta, and rice with an abundance of vegetables, fruits and nuts. There was even cheesecake and ice cream!
Meal time was endlessly fascinating to me and although I found myself wishing I could stay longer, I also couldn’t wait to get back home to try my hand at healthier cooking. So here we are.
I had also been extremely intrigued by a friend’s Facebook post for a while, one about delicious chocolate chip cookies made with avocado instead of butter, and it seemed like a great place to start. I love hitting two birds with one avocado pit!
I used this recipe with some minor changes. My recipe yielded 15 cookies and it looked like this:
3 T honey
1/3 cup mashed avocado
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup sunflower seed butter
1/2 t baking powder
3/4 cup rolled oats
A generous 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
About 1/2 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
1. Preheat your oven to 175 C/350 F. Whisk the egg in a medium bowl. Add honey, mashed avocado, peanut butter and sunflower seed butter.
Chunky peanut butter should be great in this recipe, too. That un-photogenic gray gunk is sunflower seed butter. It’s not much to look at but delicious and healthy!
2. Mix and mash everything until a smooth mixture forms.
And you thought the sunflower seed butter looked unappetizing.
3. Whisk in baking powder. Add in rolled oats and chocolate chips and mix.
I had major concerns about this batter looking too wet for comfort. And a flashback. I once got really, really excited about a cookie recipe, one that coincidentally involved peanut butter as well, that just kept spreading in the oven. It was painful. But I had never made these before so what do I know? Here goes nothing.
4. Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden brown. While this was baking, I added some desiccated coconut into the remaining batter to see if it could soak up some of the moisture.
When done, the first batch looked like this:
Yay, they didn’t spread! Uh-mazing. And the batch with desiccated coconut looked like this:
As you can see, this one makes for a crisper and more compact cookie with the added texture and flavor of coconut. The first one feels a little waxy outside and is soft inside. Both are similar in texture to chewy chocolate chip cookies but there is a slightly bitter aftertaste which I think comes from the avocado – mine had been sitting in the fridge for a little too long – but I don’t care!
Because you guys. YOU GUYS. A tasty chocolate chip cookie with the wholesome goodness of avocado and nut instead of the un-Holy Trinity of flour, sugar and butter is possible!
Not that I’m gonna do the high horse thing. Eating everything in moderation is the way to go in my book. But this is a nifty option to have come 2014 when we’ll be older, hopefully wiser and slightly rounder. Not that I’m waiting til then either!
Fun Food Fact: The word avocado comes from the the Spanish word aguacate which in turn comes from the Mexican Nahuatl language word ahuacacuauhitl, which means testicle tree. Good luck looking at avocados the same way again!