Thank the Fucking Force—2017 is over!

After seeing Star Wars The Last Jedi twice over the holiday season, we’ve decided to take a lesson from our beloved Carrie Fisher and not give a fuck what people think and just say what’s on our minds. We’ve loved Carrie since we were kids but it’s only been in the last 12 months since her death that we’ve discovered what a bad ass she really was.

2017 has been a year of sticking our heads in the sand. No blog posts. No tweets. A few instagrams. And a lot of alcohol. The 2016 election sucked ass (and not in a good way). Then with the deaths of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds we just couldn’t face the world. Our funk went deeper and deeper. Even with three trips to Hawaii we still couldn’t bring ourselves out of being depressed. It seemed like nothing would get better and the world would end in a giant nuclear war.

It wasn’t as bad as we were expecting. The stock market didn’t crash, North Korea didn’t launch any missles at the U.S. (directly), and women (and men) we’re finally given a platform to discuss the rampant problem of sexual harassment and abuse without being brushed to the side by the same men that are the problem. Of course, we still have the predator in chief in the White House and a bunch of white privileged men controlling congress, but as 2017 ends there seems to be a light of hope with the coming of 2018.

As for food—since this is a food blog—our food habits have changed for the better since starting this blog. We turned vegan last September in 2017 and then gave up alcohol in November, which our bodies have thanked us for doing, especially our livers. We started with a 30-day vegan challenge and found after a week that the challenge turned out to be not only easy but enjoyable and cheap. Food tastes better. Intestinal issues are all cleared up. We have more energy and we’re exercising more. It’s amazing what a little positive change in one’s life can do to create a snowball effect. In 2018 we plan to reduce the amount of sugar and caffenine we consume and exercise even more than we do now. Maybe they’re the same resolutions as everyone else, but when you start with just one, it’s easy to add another one after a month or two.

We’ll do our best to write more posts and recipes. At least one a week. We’ll also try to include humor in our posts, the occasional political rant, and maybe a reference or two to a movie we love. We’ll also be tweeting and instagraming a lot more but we left facebook last year with no regrets. That shit takes too much time anyway. We’ll leave FB to our mothers to enjoy. [Note: our mothers have never read one of our blogs.]

For our first recipe of 2018 we turn back to Star Wars The Last Jedi. Spoiler: there’s a scene where Luke milks some creature and then drinks the green liquid, most of which goes down his beard, as Rey looks at him in disgust. We’re not attempting to make any green milk product here, although hemp seed milk does sound interesting. Instead here’s our version of cashew milk. Better tasting than store bought nut milk and regular cow’s milk. If Luke only had cashews on his island he wouldn’t have to drink that green stuff.

So, Cheers and May the Force Kick Some Ass in 2018!

Cashew Milk

A high speed blender like Vitamix makes the job easy, but any blender will work if you blend it long enough, I think.

3/4 cup cashews (soaked overnight covered with water and a pinch of salt)

3 1/2 cups filtered water

Optional: 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Drain the soaked cashews. Add them to the blender along with 2 cups of water. Blend for a minute or two until smooth. Add the rest of the water and maple syrup if using. Blend until combined, just a few seconds. If the milk isn’t smooth enough for you, strain through a fine mesh stained. Use as you normally would regular milk. Keeps for at least 3-4 days or longer in the back of the fridge where it’s coldest.

Sugar & Spice Holiday Cookies

The holidays are fast approaching and all we want to do is hibernate with our new kittens and eat cookies. Fortunately, we’re wise enough to know that when we make batches of things like cookies, brownies, blondies, and other goodies, we either need to give them away, or freeze them and eat them judiciously throughout their lives (we rarely have frost bitten treats).

Gingerbread is classically Christmas. The warmth of ginger and the earthiness of the molasses are ideal for warming you up. While looking for gingerbread inspiration, we came across this nice, lightly spiced cookie recipe from King Arthur. Short a few of the ingredients, but adequately supplied with substitutes – like honey for molasses, coconut oil for shortening, and a little white whole wheat flour in place of the all-purpose – to make them “healthy” sugar cookies – we decide to jump into the recipe.

Day-light savings time really sucks when you’re an afternoon baker attempting to make anything you might want to photograph. This recipe was no exception. At 4:00pm, with less than an hour of sunlight left on a gloomy SF afternoon, we got started. The dough needs to rest in the fridge so after Jason got Steve’s afternoon cookie and tea hopes up, we had to wait another day so that we could capture the finished product in daylight.

A quick and easy smear of chocolate (dark and white) makes for a delicious finishing touch. And be sure to dunk them in your favorite warm beverage. They’re extra delicious after a quick soak in coffee and tea.

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Sugar and Spice Cookies
Adapted from King Arthur flour.

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice or ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 tablespoons honey
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch

In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter, shortening, sugars, baking powder, spices, and salt until light and fluffy.

Add the egg and molasses, and beat well.

Mix about half of the flour into the butter mixture. When well combined, add the cornstarch and the remaining flour.

Divide the dough in thirds, flattening each half slightly to make a disk. Smooth the edges by rolling the disk along a lightly floured work surface. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour (or longer), for easiest rolling.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Take one piece of dough out of the refrigerator, and flour a clean work surface, and the dough.

Roll it out as thin or thick as you like. For slightly less crisp cookies, roll it out more thickly. We like to roll these cookies 1/8″ to 1/4″inch thick. Use powdered sugar under and on top of the dough to keep it from sticking to the table or rolling pin.

Alternatively, place the dough on parchment, and put a sheet of plastic wrap or another piece of parchment over it as you roll, pulling the plastic or parchment to eliminate wrinkles as necessary when rolling; this will keep dough from sticking without the need for additional flour.

Transfer the cookies to parchment-lined or silpat baking sheets.

Bake them just until they’re slightly brown around the edges, or until they feel firm, about 8 to 12 minutes, depending on the size and thickness.

Remove the cookies from the oven, and let them cool on the baking sheet for several minutes, or until they’re set. Transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.