What is The Vegan(ish) Experiment?

Our family (me, my husband D, and our four-year-old Molly) started 2009 with a mostly-vegan, macrobiotic-inspired diet (although I have to admit, the strict macro rules have pretty much gone out the window). I have seen a marked improvement in my chronic migraines, and I'm enjoying proving that we can make amazing, mouth-watering, memorable food without animal products. For a more in-depth intro, click here.

I stopped updating this blog quite awhile back, when life got in the way. I'm still keeping a mostly vegan kitchen, though, and loving it. Have fun browsing my recipes!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Day 94: Macrobiotic Oatmeal Cookies

Way back on Thanksgiving Day, my sister Beth had a blog post that asked readers to say something they were thankful for. Beth was thankful for something starting with the letter A, the first comment was to include a thanks starting with a B, and so on. Whoever got to Z first would win cookies from Beth.

If you are bored, stressed, or otherwise in need of a laugh, go back and read all the comments on Beth's post. I dare you not to giggle. Beth didn't count on me and D hijacking the contest (and D trying to cheat his way to a win by starting with Z and going backwards from there.) In the end, after much family hilarity, I won fair and square by a few seconds.

Every day for months, I looked for my cookies in the mail. If my sweet tooth struck, I would say to myself, "I'm not going to make or buy cookies. Maybe Beth's cookies will come TODAY!" But they didn't.

Just kidding. In reality, I forgot all about the contest. Months later, Beth called me and said, "Your cookies are on the way!" and I said, "What cookies?" She had to remind me about the contest. This was near the end of February, and we'd been staying away from almost all refined sugar since January 1. Ugh. What would we do with an entire batch of cookies?

And then they arrived: Beth had looked online and found a recipe for Macrobiotic Oatmeal Cookies. Gluten-free. Sweetened with maple syrup and pumpkin puree. No added oils, flour, or white sugar. And they were yummy. Just a hint of sweetness, sort of like a really moist granola bar. We actually ate them for breakfast for the next few days.

I got the recipe from Beth and discovered that its measurements were listed by weight, not volume. I could "borrow" one of the digital balances from my school's chemistry lab for awhile (not a good idea, considering the toxic stuff they work with in chem class), or I could do some research on the densities of the ingredients and convert the measurements to teaspoons, tablespoons, and cups. Being a math/science geek, I opted for the latter. I also added cinnamon to the recipe, because everything's better with cinnamon. For those of you who don't think it's fun to do density calculations while you're cooking (you crazy people), I'm posting the adapted recipe here.

Macrobiotic Oatmeal Cookies

This is a great recipe to play around with - what other dried fruits, nuts, and seasonings could you use? I'm thinking a pinch of nutmeg next time ... maybe some chopped pecans ... dried cranberries or chopped dried apricots ... sweet potato puree instead of pumpkin ... Mmm!

3/4 c. raisins
3/4 c. slivered almonds
2 c. old-fashioned oats
1 - 2 t. cinnamon (Mom, you have permission go crazy and add a whole tablespoon ... I know you will, anyway!)
3 T. maple syrup
1 c. soymilk
1/2 c. pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling - just pure pumpkin. You can freeze the leftovers if you use canned.)

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F (about 170° C).
  2. Toast almonds in a dry saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until lightly browned and fragrant. Pour onto a paper towel to cool.
  3. Mix raisins, oats, and half of the cinnamon in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Chop nuts and add them to the mixture.
  4. Pour syrup, soymilk, pumpkin, and the other half of the cinnamon into the same saucepan you used for the nuts. Heat over low flame, stirring, until it boils.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir to mix.
  6. Place spoonfuls of cookies on a cookie sheet (you can press them down to make them more crispy and cookie-ish, like Beth did, or keep them more ball-shaped to make them moister and more like a soft granola bar, like I did). Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until slightly browned.


  1. Actually I sent them to you without telling you, and when I talked to you on the phone, you said, "Why did you owe me cookies?" I was so glad you hadn't been secretly resenting my procrastination. :)

    And I mentioned this to you, but for the benefit of anyone else reading this--I really think it would be yummy with very ripe banana instead of pumpkin!!

  2. I bet those hit the spot!

    Love the A to Z contest....I might have to start a new family tradition.

  3. Those look great. I'm just finishing a batch of cookies I made last week - so good - vegan, but definitely not low fat or sugar-free. I was craving them and being so good doesn't help my craving. So, I'll have to wait a while before making these! Can't indulge like that very often.

    Oh, I made the Veganomicon's Eggplant Potato Moussaka w/Pine Nut Cream Sauce today. We LOVED it also! Thanks for recommending it. I didn't even mind all the time it took to roast all the veggies, etc. Just listened to my MP3 player as I worked! It will make several meals for us, so well worth it! Love, mom

  4. Those sound really good (especially having just come home from a run - I should eat something before I sit down to blog!). I use a lot of European recipes and actually like the use of weight for measuring ingredients, especially for baked goods. It's a lot more precise.

  5. those cookies do sound delicious!i added you to my blogroll! don't lurk, comment! most of the time i only find new blogs by receiving comments from people and i love finding new blogs to visit! i have to come back and catch up on your past posts!

  6. Thank you so much for doing the math to turn the weights into measures! I'm looking forward to trying this recipe soon.

  7. I love this recipe, and will definitely try it! I love learning about healthy options, especially if it means I can still have dessert:-) Thank you for sharing,

  8. Just moved in with my macrobiotic roommate and he always comments on how good my food smells but how he can't eat any. I used half a cup of almonds with a quarter cup of pumpkin seeds and substituted vanilla-flavored almond milk for the soy.

    These weren't nearly sweet enough for me and my unhealthy garbage gut, but he's eaten eight of them so far and they're still warm from the oven so I'd call that a success. Thank you.


I love it when people come back and tell me how the recipes turned out - please consider doing so! Thanks!


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