Stitchin’ Dietitian: When Cookbook-Writing Attacks!

Hello Healthies! Posts have been sporadic lately because I’ve been busily writing my top-secret Trader Joe’s “skinny” cookbook. It’s going to be amazing… the answers to all your nutrition and meal-planning needs! In order to get it to Amazon by the 2011 holiday season, I’m writing, testing, eating, and photographing 1-2 new recipes each day (while also galavanting around with the 3 kids, working part-time, and looking together all the while). Manuscript due date: May 1st.

Until, a minor hiccup…

I was “skinnifying” an old Better Homes & Gardens recipe for Pumpkin Drop Cookies, following each old-school step to a T, including “creaming” the margarine & brown sugar together. But when I went to get the stuck margarine out of the immersion blender… well… we’ll leave it there.

So, the following day, I revisited the recipe–this time omitting the margarine-creaming step, which I realized is far too dangerous for healthy people. And guess what? Turns out that step is totally unnecessary! And without it, you can even make it one-handed! Here’s the less risky result (and a sneak peek at the book):

Squash Drop Cookies
Makes 30 cookies

Prep Time: 12 minutes (barring any side trips to the ER)
Hands-Off Cooking Time: 10 minutes

My neighbor, Sara Duke, modified the old Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook version of Pumpkin Drop Cookies by replacing the raisins with chocolate chips to guarantee getting more veggies into her kids. This version is an even skinnier one using whole wheat flour, flaxmeal instead of eggs, less sugar, and squash instead of canned pumpkin, which can be hard to find in winter, spring, or summer. Squash, Drop, and Inhale!

1 Tbsp flaxmeal such as Bob’s Red Mill Whole Ground Flaxseed Meal, soaked in 3 Tbsp warm filtered water for 10 minutes
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp cinnamon
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/3 cup Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread or similar margarine, softened to room temp
¾ cup packed brown sugar or ½ cup granulated sugar plus ¼ cup agave nectar
1 ½ cups cooked and mashed squash*, or canned pumpkin (about 1 15-oz can)
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or raisins)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Soak flaxmeal in warm water for 10 minutes until it forms a gel.

Meanwhile, stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, soda and nutmeg in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

Combine margarine, brown sugar or granulated sugar plus agave, squash, vanilla, and flaxmeal water mixture in a separate, large mixing bowl.

Add dry ingredients to wet mixture, and stir until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop from a tablespoon 1 inch apart onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Best when eaten warm–not hot–fresh from oven.

Store extras in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Information Per Cookie: 113 calories, 4.5 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 64 mg sodium, 19 g carbohydrates, 1.5 g fiber, 12 g sugar, 1.5 g protein, 6% vitamin A, 2% vitamin C, 2% calcium, 2.5% iron

*Tip: Use a frozen 12-oz pkg of cooked squash–thawed–to save time & energy.

Kitchen mishap stories? They were worth it, right?!

4 thoughts on “Stitchin’ Dietitian: When Cookbook-Writing Attacks!

    • Jen Reilly says:

      Hi Gail! The cookies have gone over well chez Reilly. They’ve got chocolate chips, so the other ingredients could be shoes and twist ties, and they’d still be a hit : )

  1. Stefan Lopatkiewicz says:

    We’re all pulling for you to make that May 1 deadline. Can’t wait to see the amazing recipes in time for the holidays.

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