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Sunday Soup & Cookies

Sundays are not lazy and relaxing around our house.  It’s yard work for Josh and random housework for me, usually stuff I can’t do with the toddler around, so she goes outside with Dad.  It’s also soup day.  Josh takes soup to work every day and while he would happily eat the same soup every week, I try to change it up each Sunday.  I do this because I never make the same soup twice unless I’m following a recipe and actually have all the ingredients.  I’ll glance at recipes, catalog the different vegetables, and decide when I get to the store or inventory what we already have on hand.  Recipes just aren’t my thing.

He requested minestrone for this week, so I spent Sunday afternoon making an enormous pot of soup and so many cookies.

Minestrone is easy and predictable, but that allows for creativity.  There are basically three things that have to be included for it to be recognizable: pasta, white beans, tomatoes.  From there, it’s open to interpretation, especially options for vegetables.  I bought zucchini and yellow squash for this soup and pasta primavera, I have onion, garlic, and celery on hand, and there are always frozen vegetables in my freezer, on this occasion it’s peas and carrots.

I sautéed the aromatics (onion, garlic, celery) in olive oil with rosemary I snipped from the only plant in our “garden”, added the zucchini and squash that I cut into half-moons, covered it with vegetable stock, and heated it to simmer.  Then the beans, chopped tomatoes (from a can), and peas & carrots went in.  It all simmered for awhile, then I tasted it for seasoning.  Lovely and light.  I cooked the pasta separately so it doesn’t get mushy sitting in the broth, then Josh just adds some to the bottom of his thermos and pours the hot soup on top each day.  Voila!  Fresh soup every day.  Once it’s cooled I put individual servings in the fridge for Josh to tap all week.  This is when having several glass storage containers comes in handy, hence my collection of mason jars.

I also made cookies because I have so many ingredients and need to start working down my hoard before we move.  I whipped up a huge batch of jumbo chocolate chunk and even-more-jumbo oatmeal cookies.

I am bad, bad, bad about measuring when I’m baking because I know my recipes by heart or improvise everything.  I have measuring cups, but they’re scoops really, so I tried to pay attention to approximately how much I used in these recipes.

I usually don’t bother with sifting, but I buy my flour in bulk and this batch has been oddly clumpy.  So, out comes my antique sifter, which I do actually use from time-to-time.  I use stick margarine because it’s dairy-free and much cheaper than faux butter that is marketed toward vegan bakers.  I cream the margarine until it’s fluffy, add sugar to get it super fluffy, then add whatever vegan egg option I have on hand, here it’s flax egg, and vanilla extract.  I sift the all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cornstarch (for tenderness), then add it slowly to the creamed sugar along with salt, which is kosher and therefore won’t go through the sifter.  Once that is incorporated, I add chocolate chunks and walnuts.  Always walnuts.  I chill the batter for a couple hours, then heat the oven to 350˚, drop evenly-sized balls of dough onto sheet pans (I line with parchment for easy cleanup), and bake!

The oatmeal cookies I made have dried cranberries, cherries, and raisins, plus pumpkin seeds and cinnamon.  I think I might have used wheat flour, too…not sure.

Vegan Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Mix 2 tablespoons ground flax with 1/4 cup warm water, set aside

Sift together:

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

Set aside

In a stand mixer, cream:

1 stick butter-flavored margarine

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

Whip until fluffy

Scrape the bowl, then add flax egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, mix to incorporate

Scrape the bowl again, then add flour mixture slowly, 1/2 cup-at-a-time until incorporated

Scrape the bowl again, then add:

1 cup vegan chocolate chunks

1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

Once everything is evenly distributed, taste the dough because it’s vegan and it’s your right to eat cookie dough, then chill for an hour or more.

Preheat oven to 350˚F, line sheet pans with parchment

Drop cookies of whatever size you like on the sheet pans at least 2 inches apart, then bake:

12-15 minutes for small cookies

15-18 minutes for medium cookies

18-24 minutes for large cookies

Just watch them and when they are brown and sort of sizzling, they’re done

Cool.  Consume.

Vegan Oatmeal Cookies

Mix 2 tablespoons ground flax with 1/4 cup warm water, set aside

Sift together:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Set aside

In a stand mixer, cream:

1 stick butter-flavored margarine

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

Whip until fluffy

Scrape the bowl, then add flax egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, mix to incorporate

Scrape the bowl again, then add flour mixture slowly, 1/2 cup-at-a-time until incorporated

Scrape the bowl again, then add:

1 cup dried cranberries, cherries, raisins

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup nuts or seeds of choice

After everything is incorporated, chill for an hour or more

Preheat oven to 350˚F, line sheet pans with parchment

Drop cookies of whatever size you like on the sheet pans at least 2 inches apart, then bake:

12-15 minutes for small cookies

15-18 minutes for medium cookies

18-24 minutes for large cookies

Again, watch them and when they are brown and sort of sizzling, they’re done

 

I made these for Josh to take to work, so all that temptation is out of the house on this gloomy, but warm day.  We had been planning to go out of town this week to avoid a certain golf tournament taking place down the street from our house, but we changed our minds, so he’s taking next week off instead, during which time my parents may come to visit.  Either way, I’m just going to stay in this week to avoid running over a wayward golf fan who has strayed from the pack and plan a day trip to Atlanta next week.  Ikea and the Container Store!

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