Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tagging Along

Somewhere, in the depths of my basement, lies Tag-Along.


Tag-Along was one of my mom's storybooks as a child, given to her by I believe an aunt, and was subsequently given to me when I was born (along with my favourite stuffed lamb, a giant toucan plushie and a stuffed pastel kite that I still have in my closet, but that's another story). The book was written by Bernice Frankel and published in 1962 (I won't tell you my mom's age at the time - she'd kill me) as a "Reading Readiness Book" from Parents Magazine, and tells the story of the ritual morning meetings of four animal friends: a crow, a goat, a rat and Tag-Along, the turtle - so named because he always came last. It was kind of a sad story, since Tag-Along was always made fun of and left behind until the others needed him to rescue them from traps and hunters. Go figure.

As a heavy, red-faced kid who was often made fun of at school, I always identified with the poor creature. I wasn't athletic, or strong, or overly funny (unless the kids were laughing at me) but I was sharp as a tack (I like to think I still am, but who knows!) and my "friends" used that to their advantage in copying any and all of my work. Kids are cruel, no? As a result, I only really found friendship with a handful of people who, like me, were "different" from the girly cliques - most of the boys in my class, the teachers, the troublemakers, and in highschool, the kids who were physically similar to me.

Things got better. I lost weight (sadly yes, it did make a difference to my social life) and moved on to university, college and finally the Institute. I found my niche with those older than me both physically and emotionally, and while things were not always hunky-dory, there were substantially more "good" times than bad. And regardless of what happened along the way there was always one thing.



Cookies.

Scouring my pantry one day, I was astonished at the amount of tiny bags of cereal, dried fruit, nuts and chocolate I found. None of these items was enough to make something on its own, but they were enough to be "snackable" material. I couldn't leave the poor bits behind to waste away into staleness, and throwing them away while they were still good would be such a disservice, so I took a cue from one of the snack mix recipes I wrote for my mom when I first became a nutritional consultant and piled the whole lot into the most diverse, delicious cookies my family and friends had enjoyed in a while. At least since these epic biscuits.

Tag-A-Long Snack Mix Cookies
Makes 25
2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk, warmed
3 tbsp ground flaxseed
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup packed demerara sugar
4 packets stevia
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
½ cup quick oats
½ cup 100% bran twigs
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
4 dried figs, minced
¼ cup each dried cranberries, dry-roasted soybeans, slivered almonds, dark chocolate – covered raisins, Shreddies cereal, Cheerios cereal, toasted sunflower seeds, raisins, toasted pumpkin seeds, miniature chocolate chips
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the almond milk and flaxseed. Let stand 10 minutes.
  2. Add the oil, sugar, stevia, and vanilla, blending well.
  3. Stir in the flour, oats, bran cereal, nutmeg, baking soda and salt.
  4. Fold in the figs, dried cranberries, dry-roasted soybeans, slivered almonds, dark chocolate – covered raisins, Shreddies cereal, Cheerios cereal, toasted sunflower seeds, raisins, toasted pumpkin seeds, and miniature chocolate chips.
  5. Cover and chill 1 hour.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  7. Form balls of dough and place on lined cookie sheets, flattening slightly.
  8. Bake for 8-9 minutes. Cool completely on the cookie sheet.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 117.6
Total Fat: 5.2 g
Cholesterol: 0.2 mg
Sodium: 31.9 mg
Total Carbs: 18.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.7 g
Protein: 2.9 g