Saturday, November 19, 2016


In the 1980's a friend gave me this recipe for chocolate chip cookies.  Both of us were in school and baking big batches of cookies and other recipes made it more convenient between studying, going to classes and looking after yourself.  I haven't made this recipe in years and it still tastes as good when I made them today.  

I followed the original recipe except that I used Splenda in place of the white sugar.  I did not add the peanut butter.  I also decided to experiment and use mini tart baking shells instead of making all of them in the traditional cookie shape.  I wanted to make small cookies that would be easy to freeze and also easy to transport to share at work and with friends.  I like the smaller size as they are about 3 bites.  Using the mini tarts baking shells, I made 8 dozen and I also made about 17 cookies in the traditional way.  I used a teaspoon of batter, not heaping, in the mini tart shells.  The cookies were enjoyed by the DH.

I used my large bowl KitchenAid  to mix the batter.

Adding the chocolate chips as the last step.

I flattened the batter in the mini tart baking shells. Ready for the oven.

Cooling down before I remove them to place on wire racks.

The cookies taste as good as they look.

2 cups crisco or other shortening
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
4 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
12 ounces chocolate chips

1/2 cup peanut butter (optional)


Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl or mixmaster, cream together the shortening, brown and white sugar and vanilla.  Add the eggs.  Mix well.  Add the flour, baking soda and salt to the mixture and combine.  Add the chocolate chips and peanut.  

Using a generous teaspoon, place spoonfuls of the batter on a large cookie sheet, flatten with a fork and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  Provide some space between each cookie as they do spread.  Makes between 9 to 10 dozen cookies. 

Saturday, November 5, 2016


Having bought two eggplants, the purple globe variety, I was thinking about various recipes that incorporate eggplant.  I wanted to make a main entree   versus an appetizer or a spread like baba ghanoush. 

After reviewing a number of cookbooks and recipes collected over time, I thought about making stuffed eggplant. I have made this dish over the years from one of my first vegetarian cookbooks that I bought, the Vegetarian Epicure. In making stuffed eggplant, you are limited to how many vegetables you can sauté because the vegetable eggplant mixture has to be put back into the shell of the eggplant that was cut in half lengthwise. The stuffed eggplant is then baked with a coating of bread crumbs or a mixture of wheat germ, shredded cheese and milk to make a finishing paste. My intention was to make this as the entree for supper.  

I did come across one recipe from Forks Over Knives cookbook for stuffed eggplant that also included brown basmati rice. I proceeded to make rice in the rice cooker.

While cutting and chopping and looking at the vegetables that I wanted to include I thought about not trying to stuff everything back into the shell of the eggplant and instead make a casserole. 

I used a large frying pan for all of the vegetables I added: onion, garlic, celery, green beans, eggplant, spinach, tomato and mushrooms. This amount would have been far too much to add to four eggplant shells. I combined the vegetables with the cooked rice and placed it into a large baking dish. 

I added some feta cheese and nutritional yeast on the top of the casserole and baked it for 30 minutes. When serving it, I added a bit of shredded gouda cheese to the individual dishes to make it cheesier. Both myself and the DH liked the casserole.  

Just out of the oven.

1 cup of uncooked brown basmati rice
1 tbsp oil
2 medium size eggplants, peeled and cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 stalks of celery, chopped
4 mushrooms, chopped
handful of fresh green beans, chopped
2 handfuls of fresh spinach, coarsely chopped 
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

cheese for topping, e.g. feta or nutritional yeast


Cook the rice per the directions on the package.  I used a rice cooker to cook the rice.

Heat the oil on medium high heat in a large frying pan. Add the onions and garlic, reduce the heat to medium and sauté for five minutes. Make sure to not over brown the onions and garlic. You can reduce the heat to medium low. Add the eggplant, celery, mushrooms and green beans and place a cover on the frying pan. Sauté for five minutes and stir occasionally. If the vegetables are sticking, add some water to the pan. Add the spinach and tomatoes and continue to cook for a few more minutes with the lid still on. Add the cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Turn the heat off and add the cooked rice to the pan.  Combine well.  Place into an oiled large baking dish, sprinkle cheese on top and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.  Serves 4 to 6. If you are serving it as an entree it will be closer to 4 portions.