vegan chocolate chip oatmeal peanut butter cookies

I really like baking, but like everyone, I worry about how healthy desserts are, so I futzed around with a Crisco recipe, trying to make it vegan. It worked fairly well--the cookies taste good, but the consistency is never quite perfect. So at some point, I googled for a good vegan recipe and found the perfect cookies. They taste amazing (no one would know they're vegan because they taste so yummy, except I announce it constantly), they're relatively healthy, and they're really fast to put together. Also, if you're into eating cookie dough, it's the best dough ever!

Vegan chocolate chip oatmeal peanut butter cookies

1. Preheat oven to 425 F.

2. Ingredients to go in one medium bowl:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup oatmeal (slow cooking or quick)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 bag chocolate chips (if you're making the cookies vegan, make sure you check the ingredients of the chocolate chips, even the dark chocolate ones)
--Mix together with a fork.

3. Ingredients for one larger bowl
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
1/3 cup milk (soy, rice, hemp, etc)
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
--Mix well with a fork.

4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well. Drop forkfuls onto cookie sheet and bake about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 2 minutes before transferring cookies to wire racks to finish cooling.

Makes 20-24 cookies. Enjoy!

at last, some pictures from the trip!

From Bayern 2010

running down

And, we're in Hungary.

Now that I've stopped comparing Budapest to Munich, it's lovely! It reminds me, somewhat oddly, of Buenos Aires in that it feels really European (duh) in structure and architecture, but most of the buildings are in need of care and repair as are public spaces like parks and squares. However, the buildings that have been maintained are breathtaking--Budapest has some of the most creative, harmonious, but still adventurous architecture we've seen and the colored roof tiles are icing on their glorious cakes.

We've had an odd time finding food: if there is a Hungarian restaurant culture we have yet to figure out what it is. However, we ran into a festival yesterday, where we had some really good food and the best lemonade I've ever had in my life: lemons, limes, oranges and mint! Which was especially helpful since we were both boarderline dehydrated due to the heat and our inability to find the entrance to the National Gallery. (Turns out it's at the top of the hill opposite of where we were. Ooops.) Anyway, since then we've had nothing but great food, including a picnic lunch today from the enormous indoor market where you can get literally almost everything.

At the moment we're actually hiding out from the heat in a, gasp, mall. It's shocking, I know, but the heat really is punishing. We even thought of going to a movie tonight, but there's nothing in English that we want to see since we refuse to endorse the Twilight nonsense and I have no desire to see the new take on the Nightmare on Elm Street series. Even with the heat, though, we're better off than an American we overheard at the thermal bath who's paying something like 350 euros for a fancy room in a fancy hotel without airconditioning. It made me feel quite smug, actually, to know we have the tent and therefore are awash in the coolness of the night.

The thermal bath itself was bliss. There's a long, long tradition of such baths in Hungary, possibly a legacy from the Ottomans, and the tradition is one I hope lives forever. We were at the Gallert, one of the fancy baths, with an indoor pool, an indoor thermal pool (36 degrees C), an outdoor thermal pool that bubbled twice an hour for ten minutes each time, a large outdoor pool with a wave machine and then, separated by sex, sets of thermal pools, a cool pool, a steam room and a large room with cabins where you can get massages and other fancy treatments. We spent six hours there and are looking forward to going to another one soon.

But the next bath will have to wait until tomorrow, at least, when we're in Pecs (prounounced "pay-ch"), which is further south. I just hope they have at least half a dozen baths, because I think we'll try them all.

giving our trip das boot

Seriously, everyone here must have internet at home because it's been hard to find internet cafes. Which is a not very subtle way of saying, Sorry we haven't posted sooner!

So, Munich. Wow, I loved it! It is just fantastic! I don't know if it's because it's German, or Bavarian, or just because it's Munich, but really, I totally fell in love. If there were a way for us to move there tomorrow, I would do it. The beer is amazing, the food is fantastic, the museums are impressive, but not overwhelming and the people are all really nice. And the public transport is thorough, far reaching, easy to use and has basically no off hours. We should all move there!

Anyway, all good things must come to an end, so we've moved on. We're in Eichstatt, in Altmuhl nature park, theoretically to get some of our missed hiking in, except we're subverting our own plans by leaving tomorrow on a multi-day, self-guided canoe trip. I'm so excited! Assuming we don't fall in too often, there may even be hiking afterwards. Although biking seems extremely popular, too, so we may do some long-distance (but fortunately for our biking skills, flat) trails, camping along the way. Either way, it may be another week before we find internet to post, again. We hope you all have as much fun as we will in the meantime!

puddles make us muddled

I was supposed to write this post weeks ago, after we had bought tickets for the trip. But I'm lazy and out of practice writing, so I just kept putting it off. And then we were actually on the trip, so it seemed somewhat unnecessary, but now, circumstances have made the idea of communicating what we're doing useful, again.

Originally, we wanted this to be a big hiking trip. We both got so tired on the round the world trip of lugging the gear for both hiking and city-going, without really getting a chance to fully experience either. So okay, we thought this trip, we'll just do one thing.

We started looking at the UK, because they have some great long-distance trails, but then David pointed out that he wanted to do some backcountry camping and the UK is so evenly packed with people, backcountry doesn't really exist. And then we remembered the E4, one of Europe's long-distance trails that we'd first heard about in Greece, when we met some French hikers. But the E4 is huge, so narrowing down which portion we were going to hike became a priority. There happens to be a very good site for the Hungarian portion of the E4, locally called the Blue Tour, so we decided: Hungary, it is.

But then, doing further research, a lot of the Blue Tour turns out to be through farm land, which is not super for hiking: you have to ask permission to camp, and Hungarians apparently all have big guard dogs, etc. But right next door is Austria, which we knew had great hiking, in part because my friend Monika's family is from there and she goes back quite often. So we bought tickets into Vienna. And then two weeks before we were to leave we had dinner with several friends, including three who are from Bosnia. And Bosnia is so close to Hungary, we could just pop down, especially since Edvin was going to be there with his parents, anyway. So the trip expanded in scope to include Bosnia.

And then we got here. And it started to rain. It turns out there's a big system that's come up from Italy, which has turned the beginning of summer into something more closely resembling early spring: wet and cold. And I don't know if you know this, but hiking in the rain is frowned on for good trail preservation.

All of which is a big leadup to say: we leave for Munich tomorrow. Since the trip has already been forced away from hiking, we thought we should embrace it as it is, and enjoy some more cities. I don't know what we'll do after that--the weather may be clearing, which means we might get some hiking in, still, but who knows. We'll have a good time either way, I'm sure.

what's new in our map section?

Okay, maybe that title implied too much. Its just an updated map.

monsoon tripping

What you missed last week on David & Leah's trip...

The clap of thunder as we stepped off the train in Graz sent people ducking for cover. The rain which followed was more or less continuous. But it didn't stop us from loving the city. Tourist information was helpful and sent us on some self-guided walks which we enjoyed. We wandered through narrow streets, into courtyards and up to a hillside castle, Schlossberg, and around the vast Eggerschloss Castle and grounds. Leah started a serious attempt to try all the local flavors of ice cream. Her plan became mired by a bowl of ice cream on a pedestal, named the Arnold Schwarzenegger, which obscured her from my view. (I have the picture to prove it!) I just watched while enjoying a blur of wurst and schnitzel.

A straight forward bus trip dropped us very near a comfortable campsite. Included in our camping fee was the use of a giant pool, which looked more like a small lake, especially with the six or seven ducks who clearly considered it to be home. (Seriously, the pool was 120 x 90 meters, which I calculated to be about 6 or 7 Olympic-sized swimming pools!) We managed a nice swim during one of the breaks between rain showers. We slept well, with the notable exception of being woken by an asthmatic hedgehog (as near as we could determine). As much as we liked Graz, drenched, we decided to push on.

The train was slow and comfortable through green pastures, woods, and distant, blue mountains with snow capped crags. Dotted through the countryside were idyllic villages, carefully managed as though ready to film an alpine movie. It was only a few hours before we gently slid into Salzburg.

Salzburg is one of the most beautifully situated towns, and we are not the only ones to know it. It is so heavily touristed (rivaling even Venice) that walking along the streets random conversation are mostly in English. Our campsite manager, who greeted us in English, said it best; he asked from where we'd arrived, and responded, "Ah Graz is very different from here. Here it's all about the tourists."

...and so now you know. Stay tuned!

ten random things i had forgotten about life in europe

1. Stores have shorter opening hours than is helpful.
2. When you buy produce at a grocery store, you have to weigh and price it yourself or the cashier will have to leave their register, go to the produce section and do it for you.
3. Any food can be dipped in Nutella.
4. Nutella jars are far too small.
5. The difficulty of writing posts.
6. The smell of cigarette smoke is more common than fire hydrants.
7. Young American backpackers use Canadian flags attached to their bags as a sort of talisman against...bad things. (Some readers may know the folly of Americans using Canadian flags is one of my pet peeves.)
8. Construction is perpetual; all tourist sites are under restoration.
9. Cobblestone streets are everywhere and women insist on wearing fancy dresses and high heels on them.
10. The German word for jewelry is Schmuck.


Sorry to leave you hanging. It's not so much that internet connections in Austria are bad, it's more that they're so good finding an internet cafe takes some work. Everyone seems to have internet at home, much like in the States.

We've moved on to Graz, which is about 2 hours south of Vienna. It's a lovely town, with a UNESCO world-heritage site city center. A justly earned designation since it's all baroque architecture and moss-covered inner courtyards.

The moss-covering is proving slightly problematic at the moment because it means rain. And currently lots of it. But other than a slight flooding scare this morning in our tent, we're pretty well covered.


And we're in Vienna. Actually, we're camping in a suburb, Huttledorf, which David first heard as 'Poodledorf.' His German is a little rusty.

The connection isn't great, so stay tuned for more...




your cat wants you to shop more

guess what?

first days

hey! mr. tamborine man

"sorry, were my civil rights getting in the way of your bigotry?"

the good, the bad and the ugly

arbor day 2

three* men on tv

indian reservation government offices will be closed for columbus day


snow day

stupid little things

rock crushes scissors

gawk and awe

a tempting boatneck

o positive

face lift

making traction

arbor day

fat tour



decadent, but vegan, chocolate chip cookies

the things you find

no need for a threatdown!

never go to work

mom's unstuffed cabbage

german mothers