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.
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
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
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the almond milk and flaxseed. Let stand 10 minutes.
- Add the oil, sugar, stevia, and vanilla, blending well.
- Stir in the flour, oats, bran cereal, nutmeg, baking soda and salt.
- 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.
- Cover and chill 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Form balls of dough and place on lined cookie sheets, flattening slightly.
- Bake for 8-9 minutes. Cool completely on the cookie sheet.
Amount Per ServingCalories: 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