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Archive for June, 2009

Phil’s Phavorites

I turned 30 this year – that’s right, the Dirty Thirty is upon us.  I’ve never been too concerned with age, with birthdays, so this wasn’t a tough one for me.  It helped that my husband whisked me away to Catalina to celebrate – ahh…

catalina_packing

I have such fond memories of summer days spent in Catalina with my grandparents, who would take us away for the week in their boat.  We’d gorge ourselves on salt water taffy, dive off the boat with Grandpa, and explore the island by golf cart.  Total paradise.  I was a little concerned that going back as an adult would ruin all of my idyllic images of this place, but luckily it has held up over time.  We spent three days there, kayaking and camping down the coast (hence the dry bag stuffed full of clothes and the lack of pictures since I had to leave my camera at home).  It was heavenly – crystal clear waters, seals leaping in front of our kayaks, spending the night on our own private beach – our very own Blue Lagoon.

Of course, I packed provisions, and Phil’s Phavorite cookies were at the top of the list.  I started tinkering with this recipe years ago, and knew I had a winner when I gave some to Phil to try.  A good friend (now in Boston with his fabulous girlfriend), Phil is one of those rare critics who will tell you the truth about your dishes, and he raved about these.  I’ve made some changes to them since he’s last tried them, so we’ll have to have a re-taste to see how I’ve done.

cookies

They may not have photographed well, but believe  me – they taste way better than they look.

Chris and I paddled up to our island paradise and started to set up camp.  We were rushing through so we could fill our empty bellies with these cookies.  Unfortunately for us, the seagulls had the same idea.  We turned our backs for just a few minutes, and the cookies and the plastic bags they came in were strewn all over the beach.  It’s no wonder I hate birds.

We’d had a little early taste test the night before, so I’m confident in saying that this was the best-yet incarnation of Phil’s Phavorites.  Something about those yogurt-covered pretzel pieces.

Got your attention now, right?  Would you believe they’re (relatively) healthy?

Phil’s Phavorite Cookies

2 medium sized bananas
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup molasses
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups oats
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped raw almonds (or any other nut or seed you happen to have on hand)
1/4 cup chopped yogurt covered pretzels (the salt is delicious on these, so even plain pretzels would be great – this is a good recipe to get rid of those pantry odds-and-ends)

Mix bananas, molasses, honey, corn starch, applesauce, water, and vanilla. Stir in remaining ingredients, leaving the add-ins until the end.  Form dough into balls and bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes, until bottoms are lightly browned and cookie holds together.  I make about 30 cookies with this recipe, but you can play with the sizes to make as many as you want.  Or you can make one big cookie.  And send it to me.

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Puttering

I have to resist the urge to be always puttering in the garden.  There’s so much space left to dig up and plant, so many suckers to pinch and worms to squish!  The pictures in the post below are of our first two veggie beds in the new house.  They’re both packed full – brussels sprouts, peppers, tomatoes, squash and melons in the first bed, and tomatillos, beans, cucumbers and potatoes in the second.  Everything’s growing bigger and faster now that we’re farther from the beach, but we’re also getting new pests – I just about died when a huge grasshopper jumped out at me from the brussels (this is its baby brother I caught a pic of later on).  I’m working on training Norman to hunt them down for me.

grasshopper

Yikes.  Never thought I’d miss hornworms, but here we are.  Something about the hopping really freaks me out.  Sadly, Norm doesn’t seem to care at all, so it looks like I’ll be resorting to shrieking and running away when I see them.

Much of the garden is still in its incubation stages, but the brussels sprouts are finally at their harvest size.  I just love the way these look on the stalk, so it was tough to pop them off one by one.  Knowing how delicious they’d be, I made it happen.

sprouts

We had a delicious summer meal of veggies and grilled chicken, topped off by these beauties, roasted until they were perfectly caramelized and sweet.  From the looks of it, we’ve got enough for about 10 more meals like this – should be a delicious summer!

sproutharvest

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