Dessert, Featured, Food

Oatmeal, Walnut, Chocolate Chip Cookies

May 16, 2020
OATMEAL, WALNUT, CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

These Oatmeal, Walnut, Chocolate Chip Cookies has been on repeat since the start of quarantine. My husband loves them and my 1 year old neighbor approves which is all the validation I need. This recipe is vegan, gluten free, and can be modified using similar ingredients you might have in your pantry (see ‘notes’ for more).

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup quick cooking rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose, gluten free flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 flax “egg”
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup safflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat. (Parchment paper works too.)

Begin by preparing a flax egg. Set aside. Combine the oats, flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup, oil, flax “egg” and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir to combine. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts.

Using your hands, roll tablespoon-size scoops of dough into balls. Place the balls onto the prepared baking sheet, and press down slightly on the balls to flatten the tops. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer cookies to cooling rack to cool completely.

Notes:

  • Makes 10-12 cookies.
  • I recently have taken a liking to Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour which is what I used in this recipe. It mimics the texture of wheat flour better than many of the gluten free flours I’ve used in the past. You can find this product at most grocery stores.
  • You can easily swap the gluten free flour for regular flour if gluten isn’t a concern. In addition, an egg can replace the “flax eggif desired.

Enjoy!

Featured, Living Well

COVID-19: How You Can Support Yourself and Take Care Of Others (Safely)

March 25, 2020
COVID-19: HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT YOURSELF AND TAKE CARE OF OTHERS (SAFELY)

I want to preface by saying that I know everyone is experiencing some variant of difficulty right now – emotionally, physically, or financially – as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whatever situation you’re find yourself in and however you may be feeling, just know, we’re all in this together. We all have the ability to do our part to flatten the curve and keep ourselves, our families, and our communities feeling supported and encouraged through this difficult time.

HOW TO SUPPORT YOURSELF

Exercise

This one seems self-explanatory as physical activity (especially aerobic exercise) can reduce stress and boost your mood (#endorphins) – two essential things everyone could benefit from right now. In addition, improving your overall fitness can help keep your immune system in top shape.

If you aren’t showing signs of illness and haven’t been asked to quarantine yourself, you are likely still allowed to go outside. Whatever your outdoor activity of choice is, continue to practice social distancing.

For a comprehensive list of at-home workouts and streaming services, click HERE.

Connect

Call your grandparents, FaceTime a friend for coffee, host a virtual happy hour, text a friend to let them know you’re thinking of them. There are plenty of ways to stay connected digitally without potentially spreading the virus. Not only will these interactions benefit your own mental health, they can boost the mood of recipients making everyone feel less isolated.

Take a break

It’s easy to get sucked into the news cycle that inundates our televisions, smartphones, and social feeds 24/7. While it’s important to be informed and to check in daily for any changes or further precautions, if you find yourself feeling more anxious than empowered, take a break.

Let go of expectations

Coronavirus has dramatically changed everything, from how we do business to how we interact with our friends and loved ones — and that’s on top of the stress and uncertainty many of us are already feeling because of the pandemic itself. There’s no ‘right’ way to feel during a pandemic. Give yourself permission to feel what you feel (and without judgement) and know that everyone is experiencing fear and uncertainty in one way or another.

HOW TO SAFELY SUPPORT OTHERS

First and foremost, please listen to your local public health officials. There are now 17 states in the U.S. asking their residents to stay at home (the exception being essential services). Please reference your local news and the CDC or WHO regularly for COVID-19 updates. It is vital that we do our part to flatten the curve and implement the measures scientifically proven to combat this virus. Use all recommended precautions when assisting others.

Check on your neighbors

Call or text your neighbors and check in frequently (especially those who are high risk or elderly). If you’re going to the grocery store or pharmacy, ask if you can pick something up while out. You can leave items on their doorstep to maintain social distancing. Even a simple phone call can brighten someone’s day.

Make a donation

  • All the panic buying has resulted in a decrease in food bank donations, many of which rely on grocery stores for supply. Please consider taking extra, non-perishable items to your local food bank.
  • One of the unintended consequences of widespread social distancing is a rapid decline in blood donations. As long as you are healthy, this is still considered a safe activity. For more information, contact your local blood bank.
  • There are many students who qualify for subsidized meals. With schools being shut down across the country, access to this necessary nutrition is extremely limited if not nonexistent. Reach out to your local school district to see how you can help hungry children and families in your area.

Support local businesses

Small businesses are hurting, and so are thousands of hourly workers who are finding themselves unemployed or earning drastically reduced wages. If you’re able, make it a point to (safely) support your locally owned businesses by ordering takeout or delivery from an area restaurant, buying a gift card to use in the future, shopping online from your favorite boutique, or donating to a relief fund for employees out of work.

Other ways you can help:

  • Cook a meal or offer help to healthcare workers or other essential employees.
  • It’s recommended that you have a two week to 30 day supply of non-perishable food and supplies at home. Do NOT hoard. Doing so has consequences for vulnerable and disadvantaged shoppers. (I.e. those who truly need specific items now, those without the luxury of ‘stocking up’ or shopping around at multiple retailers.)
  • Information is power so when sharing news on digital platforms or with friends and family, make sure it’s from a reputable source. The less misinformation about the virus that’s spread, the more people will listen to legitimate advice from experts.
  • Call or check the social media pages of your local homeless shelters, soup kitchens, hospitals, clinics, and community centers. Many places are running low on resources and could potentially need something you have an excess of.

FURTHER READING

Continue to practice proper hand hygiene, social distance when navigating essential public spaces, and take good care of yourself and those around you. Stay well, everyone!

Living Well

It’s The Simple Things

March 17, 2020
It's The Simple Things

There’s a park in Yau Yat Tsuen a few blocks from where my husband and I stay while visiting family Hong Kong. It’s a simple recreational space consisting of a track, perfectly manicured, spacious fields, and plenty of trees.

On any given morning you’ll find dozens of folks briskly walking or jogging around the track. The circumference is scattered with people practicing tai chi, stretching, and the occasional game of mahjong. Groups of women in wide-brimmed hats sit around tables socializing with their girlfriends over tea. All ages, all genders, everyone in the neighborhood seems to congregate here in the early morning hours. It’s my happy place.

I love this park for many reasons. Perhaps because it was one of the first places I could navigate to and from without getting lost. But mostly, it’s become a place of refuge and familiarity; a space where I can feel grounded after a long flight, acclimated in a city that still feels relatively new, and if only for a moment, like a local.

It's The Simple Things
It’s The Simple Things

When I scoot down the stairs, cross the street, and walk through the entrance, I feel an immediate sense of comfort – a comfort that I carry with me all day. Despite needing to navigate a complex, ever-evolving city, I’ve had a slice of something that feels habitual.

This struck me as a metaphor for maneuvering through the chaos of the Coronavirus.

Many of our routines have already been altered.

In some capacity, we will all be impacted as a result of this virus. Whether it’s our physical health or the health of someone we know. Financially we may feel the effects, and psychologically it will be difficult to go unscathed.

Here in Seattle, restaurants have already permanently shut down, people have lost their jobs, schools are closed, and those who are fortunate enough to work from home, have been instructed to do so and stay there. Small businesses are scrambling to stay afloat whilst following state-mandated regulations limiting operations.

It’s all for the exceedingly important task of protecting public health, but we’ve already seen a devastating impact.

⟪ DEEP BREATH ⟫

So here we are in a space that’s unfamiliar, scary, and absolutely not ideal. You might be feeling anxiety, fear, and a sense of hopelessness – all feelings that are important to acknowledge, all valid within this moment.

But what do we do with all this uncertainty?

I encourage you to find your ‘park’ whatever that may be and in whatever circumstances you might find yourself in. (Again, I’m speaking metaphorically.) Now more than ever, it’s important to curate a space or ritual that brings you a sense of normalcy, that despite everything, you can return daily when all else feels ambiguous. It’s the simple things – books, exercise, checking on our friends, (safely) sharing resources and being of service – that will see us through to the other side.

I hope you can give yourself and others a little more grace as we all adapt to our temporary but imposing new reality. I’m glad we’re doing this together.