My morning routine goes a little like this:
I wake up, usually early, before Michael leaves for work. I make myself a warm water with lemon, and then I make us a green smoothie.
I take Bayley for a walk, the same route every morning. Two blocks north, four blocks west, two blocks south, then four blocks east back home. I pick up the New York Times from our front door step and go back upstairs and plan my day.
Recently, I added a new step to this routine. I go out mid-morning and I get a cup of coffee. I quit drinking coffee for about a year because I thought it was healthier to not have that habit, however I found that I was really missing that part of my routine. I was not necessarily missing the coffee or the caffeine, I was missing the ritual of going out to get a cup of coffee.
In my neighborhood, there is no shortage of really good coffee places. I have about three that I frequent depending on my mood and the weather (how far I am willing to walk in the cold) and how strong of a cup of coffee I want (or need).
I love being a part of the morning hustle and bustle. I love watching other people take part in their morning routine. I love seeing the regulars sneer at the tourists who don’t know how to order efficiently. I love seeing what people are wearing and I listen to what they are ordering. I love to watch a good barista at work.
It’s part of my routine, but I feel like it is a break from my routine. It breaks up my morning.
You might not have guessed it from reading this blog, but I get into a routine with recipes that I make for us at home. I will get stuck eating the same thing over and over, for breakfast especially. It is usually a green smoothie or eggs (made by Michael over the weekend). I’ve been trying to break it up by doing something different one or two days out of the week.
Recently I decided I was going to make some chia seed pudding and keep it around, for breakfast, for a snack, or maybe even for a little dessert. It's super easy to make, it's a set it and forget it type of recipe, so I figured it was an easy way to switch up my routine.
I decided to take it one step further and change up my chia seed pudding recipe a bit. Watch out, things are getting crazy over here. When we were in Switzerland a few weeks ago, a lot of the desserts we had were flavored with vanilla + cardamom. I decided that when I got home I needed to incorporate those ingredients, and chia seed pudding seemed like the perfect candidate.
I have never seen or made a fancy chia seed pudding, so I thought, why not. There is no reason chia seed pudding cannot get fancy.
This fancy chia seed pudding helped break up my morning recipe routine, and then some. Because it is good to break up the routine once in a while.
I'm a little embarrassed to admit this ..... but ... here it goes ....
I do not have a single cookie recipe on this blog. Well, until now.
It is not that I do not love cookies, trust me, I do. Having a mid-day cookie is my secret indulgence. I usually pick up a freshly baked one when I am grocery shopping and nibble on it while waiting to check out. Sometimes the checkout person asks me about the half eaten cookie "do you know there is only half a cookie in there?", sometimes they giggle at my response, and sometimes they give me a look like "you couldn't even wait until you checked out to start eating that cookie".
Michael knows all about my secret mid-day cookie indulgence. I think he finds it funny.
So for my very first cookie recipe here, I thought it was appropriate to give you a recipe for my favorite cookie of all time.
Hopefully you know me well enough by now to know that this cookie will not be your average shortbread. These little guys are both vegan and gluten-free. You're probably wondering how shortbread could possibly be vegan, well, I have a trick up my sleeve.
Earth Balance. I use Earth Balance butter in place of real butter. I am not saying that this is a much healthier alternative to using real butter, but for someone like me who cannot have dairy (especially butter) this makes for a great alternative. If you tasted Earth Balance and regular butter side by side, you would never be able to tell the difference.
As for the gluten-free part of this recipe, since I am fairly new to gluten-free baking I had to consult my favorite gluten-free chef, blogger, and cookbook author, Aran Goyoaga. You might remember I did a workshop with Aran back in September. Her gorgeous cookbook came out shortly after that, and it has since become a staple and reference guide for gluten-free cooking and baking in my kitchen.
I have had her recipe for shortbread earmarked for some time, and since cookie season is in full swing, I have been playing with some variations of this recipe. She made hers with pistachios (which are wonderful) but I chose to share the pine nut version that I tried the other day. I just love pine nuts in cookies. I also took her advise and added the peppercorns. They add a subtle little peppery kick. The peppercorns dress it up and make it a much more adult cookie. A really really good adult cookie.
I'm snacking on one right now ;)