Celebrity deaths are a social media nightmare. Case in point: the events of the past week. I’m all for honoring the deceased, but do complete strangers for whose vital stats you’ve never before demonstrated a concern warrant stormy tweets about how you’re “whoa. really? just feeling really real right now………” or some similarly dramatic display? It’s a gesture of respect, I guess (#eh). I don’t typically engage, but whatever (#passiveaggression). Whatever, okay? (#whitegirlproblems) (#whateverrrrr)
There is, however, a celebrity whose passing went disturbingly unmourned by the masses. Whose spiritual, if not physical, death throws the collective childhood memory of an entire generation into disarray.
That is Cookie Monster.
Guys. Can we talk about this, please? I know it’s old news, but I’m still so torn. I’m a big believer in educating children about nutrition, and I think having a broader understanding of healthy eating could have helped me avoid the wretched cycle of yo-yo dieting I was trapped in for many years. I want to tread delicately here, because I grew up in a relatively healthy household, and my parents imparted their limited knowledge of nutrition as best they could. We ate home-cooked meals every night and only bought cereals with less than five grams of sugar per serving. But there was always an underlying implication that healthy eating requires tangible sacrifice – that it means having yogurt and baby carrots for lunch every day, or settling for reduced-fat Cheez-Its (gag. Why do these even exist?) – rather than seeking out the naturally nutritious foods you love and learning to prepare them in ways that are palatable to you. A black and white mentality about what constitutes healthy eating breeds guilt and obsession rather than celebration and curiosity. Not the best side dishes for any cuisine.
In that sense, there’s something incredibly sad about the fact that Cookie Monster got thrown under the bus. Because for all Sesame Street‘s effort to promote diversity in its programming, what the show fails to acknowledge is that not all cookies are created equal. Not all cookies are “sometimes” foods. Some cookies can be eaten for breakfast (or lunch) (or dinner). Let’s teach children to strip away labels and look at ingredients. A less rigid but more wholesome lifestyle is a heck of a lot easier to swallow.
I’m not typically one to make a healthy cookie and call it dessert. I’d rather go all out less often. I will happily, however, make a healthy cookie and call it breakfast.
I think we all know where this is headed.
Alldai Errdai Cookies
I have a mild case of Overactive Pantry Syndrome, so this surprise hit recipe was an attempt to use up half-eaten boxes of cereal and a monstrous bag of ground flaxseed (got a little overstimulated at the bulk bins) (#whitegirlproblems). The ingredient list is lengthy, but feel free to substitute whatever you have on hand. These cookies are very adaptable and were, in fact, very adapted from Yes, I Want Cake.
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 banana, mashed (or 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, or 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup (honey or agave would also work)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Grape-Nuts (everything from here down could absolutely be substituted or omitted)
1/4 cup wheat bran
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup chopped nuts or dried fruit of choice
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (do this. Don’t grease. This is a very sticky cookie dough).
2. Combine the oil, banana, sugar, and maple syrup in a large bowl. Mix until combined, using a big wooden spoon, all old-fashioned like.
3. Add egg and vanilla. Mix until combined.
4. Add oats, flour, baking soda and salt. Mix until just combined. Just.
5. Throw in whatever the hell else on that ingredient list tickles your fancy. Drop 1/4 cup scoops onto a lined baking sheet. Press down to flatten. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until edges are golden. Makes 18 cookies.
In case you needed another incentive, these cookies are a fiber bonanza. A cookie with a happy ending! PBS would definitely approve.