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Baked Blueberry CrispBasic is good. Especially when the craving for a simple fruit crisp gets you back in the kitchen after a long break from cooking. It’s been months since I’ve cooked or posted a recipe because my home was for sale and I kept the place immaculate. It’s good to be messing up a kitchen again!

This blueberry crisp is so basic, it can be made with a poorly stocked pantry–the situation I am in now. No brown sugar or sucanat? White sugar will do. No cinnamon? No bother, I love baking with 5 spice powder. No coconut oil? Thank goodness for butter…and these simple little berry crisps.

Basic Blueberry Oatmeal Crisp Ramekins
Blueberry Filling:
2 cups (1 pint) fresh blueberries
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Crisp Topping:
3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice powder
pinch kosher salt
2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place blueberries in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar and lemon juice; stir. Divide blueberry mixture between four 6- to 8-ounce ramekins. Place ramekins on a shallow rimmed baking sheet.

For crisp topping, in a small bowl combine oats, 2 tablespoons sugar, 5 spice powder and salt. Drizzle melted butter over oat mixture; stir well. Spoon oat mixture over blueberries in ramekins.Unbaked Blueberry CrispBake for 20 to 25 minutes until bubbly around edges and topping is browned. Serve slightly warm or completely cooled.
Baked Berry CrispMakes 4 servings

Tip: The berry filling will be thin right out of the oven. The juices will thicken once the crisp cools.

These cookies are weird. And kinda wonderful. But mostly curious. I mean, how can you make a cookie by combining just 3 ingredients? Mashed banana, almond butter and cocoa powder…that’s it. Granted, these are lumpy, bumpy, odd little things that would be out of place on a holiday cookie tray. They’re best on a Tuesday night when that gotta-have-something-sweet-must-eat-cookie-now kind of craving hits.Chocolate Lump CookiesI affectionately refer to them as Chocolate Lumps. The texture is part cookie, part brownie…mostly lump. They aren’t pretty but they are pretty tasty when a craving hits. With just 3 simple ingredients, the flavor is really pure. You get sweetness from the banana, bitterness from the cocoa and nuttiness from the almond butter.

Did I mention the recipe makes a small batch? Just 7 bite-size cookies. A bakers half dozen!

Almond Butter Chocolate Banana Cookie Recipe (Chocolate Lumps)
1/3 cup mashed ripe banana (1 small)
2 tablespoons natural almond butter
2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl combine mashed banana and almond butter; stir well to mix. Add cocoa powder and stir until well combined and the mixture is smooth. It may look dry at first, but the banana releases moisture when you stir and the cocoa powder gets hydrated.

Use a small cookie scoop or a tablespoon measure to drop the cookie dough mixture on the baking sheet. You should get about 7 lumps. Bake until the cookies look set and the chocolate aroma is intense. In my oven, this takes exactly 15 minutes. Ovens vary, so check a few minutes early. Cool completely on the cookie sheet. Seriously, they are not good warm. (Unless you like warm, mushy banana cookies.) The cookies firm up after cooling.

Makes 7 small cookies

You’ve been warned about the curious nature of these cookies. If you’re still interested, here are a few tips and ramblings:
-The banana acts as a sweetener and a liquid. If you use an enormous banana, the cookies will be too moist. Opt for a small banana and measure the amount of mashed banana the first time you make these. Once you know the right size of banana to start with, you can skip the measuring cup and mash the banana right in your mixing bowl. Also, a ripe banana tastes sweeter. Use a ripe one.
-I use natural almond butter. Just almonds and salt. The kind that is slightly annoying because the oil rises to the top and I have to stir. Then I realize that wasn’t so bad and am happy I bought almond butter without additives.
-About that almond butter. It acts as both a fat and a nut “flour” in this recipe. I’ve made side-by-side batches testing the results of using 2 tablespoons vs. 3 tablespoons of almond butter. Both amounts result in a lump. Less almond butter = moister, more brownie-like center. More almond butter = drier, more sturdy texture. I decided I liked the moister version better. You may prefer a drier lump. Play around and let me know what you think!
-I made these with natural cocoa powder. You may get different results if you use Dutch-processed cocoa. Who knows, they may even turn out better.
-It can be difficult to tell when chocolate cookies are done because you can’t see browning. Don’t worry too much. There is nothing raw in the recipe like eggs or flour, so no big deal if you underbake. Try not to overbake because the cocoa can burn.
-I make a version of these cookies using almond flour (or another nut flour) and some coconut oil in place of the almond butter. The result is an even lumpier lump cookie. I’ll share that recipe soon, but here’s a picture that shows lump vs. lump.Almond Flour vs. Almond Butter Cookie
Recipes you may also like:
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies
Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Tofu ScrambleI actually like tofu. Are you with me? I keep a block or two in the fridge because it’s a vegetarian protein that’s quick and easy to make. I typically season and bake tofu, but lately I’ve been making tofu scrambles.Tofu Scramble SkilletThere’s a lot to love about a tofu scramble. You can load it up with veggies and season with your favorite spice blend. Tofu has a neutral flavor, and works well with everything from curry powder to chili powder to ras el hanout Moroccan seasoning.

To make this tofu scramble recipe, I sauteed a shallot and mushrooms until tender and then added crumbled tofu, Moroccan seasoning and some kale. Ras el hanout is a Moroccan seasoning blend made with spices like cumin, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, paprika and turmeric. It’s great in everything from roasted veggies to tofu scrambles. You can  make your own ras el hanout or find it in the spice section of a well stocked grocery store.

Tofu Scramble with Mushrooms and Kale Recipe
1 package (12-ounces) tub-style extra firm organic tofu
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 package (8- to 10-ounces) fresh crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons ras el hanout Moroccan seasoning
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup chopped fresh kale leaves

Drain and rinse tofu. Gently, but firmly press tofu brick to release excess water; pat dry. Use your hands to crumble the tofu into small chunks. (I crumble the tofu into a colander and let in drain while prepping the rest of the ingredients.)

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and mushrooms; cook until tender and most of the liquid released by the mushrooms has evaporated. This should take about 5 to 7 minutes.

Stir in the crumbled tofu, Moroccan seasoning and salt. Cook and stir until the tofu is heated through and beginning to brown, about 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the kale and cook 1 to 2 minutes more until wilted.

Serve immediately with your favorite table sauces like liquid aminos, tamari or chili sauce.

Makes 4 servings
Tofu Scramble BreakfastNote: This tofu scramble does not and is not intended to taste like scrambled eggs. I consider it less of a vegan egg substitute and more of a way to eat delicious tofu. If you’re looking for an egg-ier tasting tofu scramble, try a recipe seasoned with nutritional yeast.