If there’s a new and flashy plant-based food product , I generally have to try it. New dairy-free ice creams, cultured vegan “cheeses,” the plant-based milk-du-jour. You get the idea. A lot of it is research in a way, and a lot of it is just me getting excited about the prevalence of the plant-based movement.
Truthfully though, I’m usually just leaning on my classic whole food staples most of the time. A couple fun things slip through into out routine, but for the most part, I’m trying to simplify my life by only having what I really need on hand. I always go back to making whatever staples I can. I try to minimize the amount of packaging that flows through my home. I’m not perfect! I just do what I can.
I do a quarterly pantry and fridge clear out. Every time I do it, there’s less and less waste. Admitting that we’re throwing things away in the first place is not easy for me, but again, not perfect! We’re getting better at assessing our true needs and not bringing random stuff home. The clear outs have become more about re-organizing for ease of use, and just cleaning the actual shelves and crispers. My kitchen is quite small, so when it’s organized and used to its full capacity, it’s deep relief.
Maybe some of you are getting the itch to do some spring cleaning to open up some energy in your homes and minds. I’m hoping that my rambling and some wisdom from my friend Melissa’s new book will push you in that vibrant direction. The Minimalist Kitchen is a collection of streamlined and tasty recipes that lean on a philosophy of using intentional pantry stock and high quality tools that you’ll have for life.
This is my favourite observation from the introduction: “…I’d like to suggest that we’ve been thinking about the kitchen all wrong. It’s a room, yes. But it’s also the largest closet in the house.” You know those very cool and sensible people that have a pared down wardrobe, and can subsequently pull the perfect outfit for any occasion at any time with zero effort? That’s Melissa’s take on cooking. Organize the systems for good access, keep the essentials, buy good quality versions of the things that you love and will need for a long time, and then cut away everything else until your kitchen-closet is working for you.
I made her oatmeal cookie bites because I generally love oats and nut butter rolled up in any which way, but also because I had everything to make them immediately. We’re fully obsessed with them now. No pass through the kitchen is complete without an obligatory sneaking of one of these bites. Other recipes I’m strong-eyeing from the book: Refried Black Beans, Thai-Spiced Rice Bowls, Baked Falafel, Chickpea Tikka Masala, and some particularly gorgeous Lentil Lettuce Wraps.
HEALTHY NO BAKE OATMEAL COOKIE “DOUGH” BITES
Reprinted from The Minimalist Kitchen by Melissa Coleman
Print the recipe here!
SERVES: Makes 38 bites
NOTES: I pretty much followed Melissa’s recipe to a tee aside from switching up the nut butter (peanut butter forever) and using maple syrup instead of honey.
-I would just make sure that whatever nut/seed butter you use, make sure that it’s fluid and drippy. None of that dry, hard, bottom-of-the-jar stuff ;)
-I used the Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips so that i could just stir them in at the end.
2 cups packed large flaked unsweetened coconut
1 ½ cups rolled oats
¼ cup dried currants or raisins
¼ cup chocolate chips
½ cup almond butter (or any nut/seed butter you like–see headnote)
½ cup maple syrup
¼ cup hemp seeds
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup fine shred unsweetened coconut (for coating), optional
In a high-powered blender or food processor, blend the coconut and oats into a fine powder. Add the currants and chocolate chips, and blend again to chop.
Pour the coconut mixture into a large bowl. Add the almond butter, honey/maple syrup, hemp seeds, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. Stir until evenly combined. Place the oatmeal cookie “dough” in the freezer to firm up for 10 minutes.
Using a 2 teaspoon-sized portion, scoop the dough, rolling between your palms to create a ball. Roll each ball in fine coconut shreds, if desired. The coconut coating acts as a barrier from the wet cookie dough texture. Place in a freezer-safe container. Store oatmeal cookie bites in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let the oatmeal cookie bites stand for a minute or two at room temperature before eating.