Monday, May 18, 2015

Oatmeal Fruit Biscuits

I call these "biscuits" because that's what the British call a cookie.  And these are mostly like a cookie.  But in my experience, a biscuit and a cookie are not the same thing.  I would rarely choose to eat a chocolate chip cookie with a cup of tea.  But a biscuit?  Well, I find it hard to eat one without a cuppa in hand.  So in my mind, these lightly sweetened cookies are actually biscuits, primarily because they are perfectly paired with a hot mug of black tea (milk and half a sugar, please!).

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp molasses
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups diced dried fruit (I used cranberries and dates)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds)
1 tsp baking soda

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together butter, apple sauce, oil, sugar, and molasses.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined.

In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, dried fruit, coconut, nuts, and baking soda.  

Add dry mixture to the creamed mixture in 3 or 4 additions, stirring just until thoroughly mixed after the last addition.  Drop by rounded spoonfuls on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Bake in preheated oven at 350 for 13-17 minutes.  For chewier cookies, immediately remove from pan and place directly onto clean countertop or table surface to cool.  For more crisp cookies, let sit on pan 2-3 minutes after removing from oven and then cool on a wire rack.  Store in airtight container.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Spaghetti Squash Pizza

My friend, Jessie, was here visiting last week.  She is the one who started me on this whole recipe blog idea in the first place, so it was a sure thing that we would enjoy some good food together.  This pizza is something she'd made before and suggested I try.  It was unique and so delicious!  The flavors are simple, but not boring at all.  I was skeptical about the leftovers getting soggy, but a warm-up in the oven with the broiler on low did the trick just fine.   This recipe makes two pizzas. 

1 spaghetti squash (about 4 pounds)—halved lengthwise, seeded and tough fibers removed
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling and brushing 
Salt and freshly ground pepper 
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg 
4 tablespoons coarse cornmeal 
2 pizza dough rounds (about 1 pound each)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped, plus leaves to taste
One 15-ounce container whole-milk ricotta cheese 
1 lemon, cut into wedges (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425°. Drizzle the flesh of the squash with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and the nutmeg. Place the squash, cut side down, in a large baking pan and pierce the skin in several places with a fork. Bake for 45 minutes. Turn the squash over and bake until the spaghetti-like strands can be easily removed with a fork, about 10 minutes more. Let cool before scraping the flesh into a bowl.

Arrange 2 racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 475°. Sprinkle 2 large, heavy baking sheets with the cornmeal. Place the pizza dough rounds on top of the cornmeal and shape into 12-by-14-inch rectangles. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and the chopped thyme. Bake until golden and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes.

Spread the ricotta evenly over the pizza crusts and top with the squash. Season with thyme leaves, salt and pepper, then drizzle with olive oil. Bake until just warmed through, about 5 minutes. Cut the pizza into squares and serve with the lemon wedges

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Vegetable and Feta Crustless Quiche

I've made this twice now, satisfied with the result both times.  It's a simple crustless quiche that can be made using a variety of vegetables.  Just add whatever veggies are in season when sautéing the mushrooms.  

8 oz. fresh button mushrooms
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp salt, divided
black pepper, to taste
1 10-oz. box frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained (I squeeze it in handfuls to get as much of the liquid out as possible)
2 oz. crumbled feta cheese
4 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella

Preheat oven to 350.

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray.  Rinse mushrooms and slice thinly.  Place in pan and cook over medium-high heat.  Add garlic, and sprinkle with half the salt and pepper.  Cook mushrooms until no more water remains on the bottom of the pan, 5 to 7 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until smooth.  Add milk, Parmesan, remaining salt and another sprinkle of pepper.  Whisk to combine,  Pour over mushrooms and feta.  Sprinkle mozzarella on top.  Bake 45 to 60 minutes, until golden brown on top and the center is set.  Let cool slightly.  Slice and serve.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Asian Ginger Sesame Roasted Vegetable Pasta

Here comes another yummy recipe to try from Well Plated.  We liked it so much, I threw together my own version the following week with a new jar of Penzeys Bangkok blend to liven up some chicken on the side.  I roast vegetables all the time, but the addition of sesame seeds and some asian flair to the seasonings was a good change.  Use whatever vegetables you want!    

  • 1 cup broccoli florets, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 oz mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 cup red onion, cut into chunks
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 one-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated (or 2 tsp. dried ginger)
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • For the pasta
  • 12 ounces pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine all of the veggies + garlic & ginger on a 10x15 rimmed baking sheet. Add the olive oil and sesame oil, along with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly to disperse the oils and seasonings. Roast for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the vegetables are tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta and add it back to the pan over medium-low heat. Add the roasted vegetables, additional oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, and additional ginger Stir and cook until heated through and add salt & pepper to taste.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Slow Cooker Honey Pulled Pork

Truly, how many variations of pork cooked in a crock pot can there be?  I don't know, but this is another good one worth trying!  The author had me when she said this was one of her husband's most favorite meals while he was in law school.  I can relate to luring a man away from his study books long enough to enjoy a delicious meal.  And my husband was definitely a fan of this meal (while thankfully not having to study as much these days!).  I regret not making the cornmeal pancakes to serve with the meat, but my gingersnaps acted as though the Hawaiian sweet buns were like manna, so it all worked out.

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (add less for less heat - I only used 1/4 tsp for the kids' sake, but they probably could have handled a bit more)
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced with white and green parts divided
  • 1 (2 1/2 to 3 pound) pork loin, trimmed of excess fat
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • Bob’s Red Mill Cornmeal Pancake Mix (or your favorite cornmeal pancake recipe)

  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the honey, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon salt, garlic, cayenne, and white part of the scallions (reserve the green parts for serving).

  • Spray insert of a 5-quart or larger slow cooker with cooking spray. Place pork loin in the insert, then pour the honey mixture over the top. Cover and slow cook for 6 hours on low or 4 hours on high, until the pork registers 165 degrees F on a thermometer and is no longer pink in the center. With tongs, gently remove the pork from the slow cooker and transfer it to a large plate, reserving the pork juices in the slow cooker. With two forks, shred the pork. Set aside.

  • Transfer the pork juices remaining in the slow cooker to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water, then add to the cooking liquid. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce bubbles and thickens, 5 to 10 minutes. Whisk in remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Return shredded pork to the slow cooker and pour the thickened sauce over the top. Toss gently to combine, then turn the slow cooker to low to keep the pork warm.  

  • Place rack in the center of oven and preheat oven to 200 degrees F. When ready to serve, prepare the cornmeal pancakes. As you cook the pancake batches, transfer them to a baking tray placed in the oven to keep them warm if needed.

  • To serve: Top cornmeal pancakes with pulled pork. Garnish with reserved green onion tops and serve warm.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Overnight Breakfast-in-a-Jar

These individual breakfast jars have become a regular in our morning meal rotation.  I thought it was about time I posted them (I first saw the recipes here).  The basic ingredients stay the same, and then you can experiment and try whatever other add-ins you like!  We've enjoyed banana/chocolate (pictured above), maple/blueberry, and apple/cinnamon.  As you can tell, my jars are not uniform and I play with the ingredient amounts to make a bit more in one jar for my son.  It's always worked out.  This is personally not my favorite breakfast.  I don't mind a cold oatmeal, but the texture is just a bit too mushy for my taste.  Thankfully, the rest of my family loves their breakfast-in-a-jar, so I keep 'em comin'!

Amounts for one jar (one serving):
1/4 cup uncooked old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup skim milk
1/4 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
1-1/2 teaspoons dried chia seeds
sweeteners of your choice!
flavorings of your choice!
fruits of your choice!

Banana/Cocoa Powder = 1 Tbsp cocoa powder, 1-2 tsp your choice of sweetener (I used honey),  and 1/2 half banana, sliced

Blueberry/Maple = 2-3 tsp maple (or more or less to your taste), handful of fresh or frozen blueberries

Apple/Cinnamon = 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1-2 tsp sweetener (I used honey), 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce or 1/4 cup chopped apple (and if you want your apple to be a bit soft, microwave in small bowl about thirty seconds before adding to jar)

In a glass jar or container with fitted lid, add oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, and any other add-ins but NOT the actual fruit.  Put lid on jar and shake well until combined. Add fruit and stir gently until mixed in. Seal jars with lids and refrigerate overnight, up to two days.  Eat straight from the fridge.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Chocolate Chip Bean Bars

Does that say bean bars?  Yes.  These energy bars' main source of protein comes from great northern beans, which is just one of the reasons I love them!  I've tried plenty of oats and nut butter combinations, but I like to mix things up every now and then!  So I've added these to our "energy snack" rotation and no one is complaining.  I recently took some on a trip to share with a friend as we hiked, and they serve as a great travel snack as well.

1 15-oz. can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup maple syrup  
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups oats (old-fashioned or quick)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup oat bran
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.  In a food processor (I used my Vitamix), combine the beans, pumpkin, syrup, pumpkin pie spice, and salt and blend until very smooth.  Add the flour and pulse to combine.  Add the oats and pulse to combine.  Transfer mixture to a large bowl.  Add the oat bran and chocolate chips and stir until everything is mixed in.  

Lightly grease a 9x13 pan.  Spread the mixture in the pan (it will be thick).  Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes.  Let cool in the pan and then cut into bars.  Remove from the pan, and store in the refrigerator.  If you don't think you'll eat them all within a few days, wrap them individually in plastic wrap to keep them moist for longer.  

slightly modified from a recipe found in the Penzeys Winter Magazine.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Whole-Grain Pumpkin Muffins

While I had the 100 Days of Real Food checked out from the library, I sampled several of her recipes.  This was one of my favorites!  The muffins were extremely moist and flavorful.  And I'm a sucker for a really good muffin!

1 1/2 cups whole-spelt or whole-wheat flour
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)

Preheat the oven to 350.  Line a muffin pan with liners or spray with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking spa, salt, and baking powder.  Make a well (hole) in the center of the flour mixture and drop in the eggs, honey, and melted butter.  Mix together until smooth, but don't over mix.  Fold in the pumpkin puree just until combined.

Divide the batter among 12 muffin cups.  Bake until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.  Store at room temperature or freeze for a rainy day!

recipe taken from 100 Days of Real Food

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Cajun Chicken Spaghetti

This could be a very yummy hassle-free dinner.  I made extra work for myself by making my own alfredo sauce, but the flavors were great and after getting everything in the crock pot, I didn't have to think about it again until dinner time!  

ounces (about 2/3 of a 1 lb box) dried spaghetti noodles
15 ounce jar Alfredo sauce
medium (about 1 cup) yellow onion, diced
cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 
pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
pound andouille sausage, sliced (I used keilbasa sausage)
green bell pepper, diced
14.5 ounce can Muir Glen Fire-roasted Tomatoes
1 1/2 
tablespoons Creole seasoning
cup heavy cream
teaspoon salt


  • Get all the ingredients out. You’re going to do just a tiny bit of chopping and then a whole lot of dumping – it’s that simple!
  • Dice the chicken and slice the andouille sausage.
  • Dice the onion, chop the green bell pepper, mince the garlic and you’re done! That’s all the prep work. Now we’re just going to add everything to the slow cooker.
  • Pour 1/3 of the Alfredo sauce into the bottom of the slow cooker and stir in the onions and garlic.
  • Layer the chicken pieces on top of the saucy onions.
  • Sprinkle ½ of the Creole seasoning over the chicken.
  • Layer the green bell peppers over the chicken.
  • Layer the andouille sausage over the chicken.
  • Next pour the tomatoes (including the juice) over the sausage.
  • Sprinkle the remaining Creole seasoning over the tomatoes.
  • Pour the remaining Alfredo sauce over the tomatoes.
  • Close the lid and cook on low for 4 hours.
  • Open the lid, enjoy the whiff of the delicious sauce, and give it a stir to combine everything.
  • Add about ¼ cup of heavy cream to make the sauce that much creamier and yummy. Add the salt. Add more according to taste or add more Creole seasoning if desired.
  • Break the spaghetti noodles in thirds and place them in the sauce. 
  • Stir the noodles around in the sauce until completely coated and submerged in the sauce. Make sure they’re not sticking out. Raise the heat to high and cook for another 20-25 minutes. Keep in mind that once you turn the slow cooker off, the sauce and noodles will continue to cook for a few minutes and you don’t want to overcook the noodles. So if you’re not going to eat immediately, reduce the time you cook the noodles.
  • Give your Slow Cooker Cajun Spaghetti a good stir or two and you’re ready to rock n’ roll!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Cinnamon-Glazed Popcorn

This is a tasty, wholesome snack alternative to Cracker Jacks or caramel corn.  No, I won't pretend that it's just as good, but if you're looking to remove some refined sugar from your diet while still enjoying a treat, this is a great option!

recipe from 100 Days of Real Food, by Lisa Leake

6 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 salt
1 1/2 cups raw cashews
8 cups cooked plain popcorn (from about 1/2 cup kernels)

Preheat oven to 325.  Cover a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small pot over low heat, melt the butter and honey together.  Mix in the cinnamon, ginger, and salt.

Put the cashews in an extra-large mixing bowl.  Coat them with about 2 tablespoons of the nosy-butter mixture.

Spread the coated nuts onto the prepared baking sheet and toast them for six minutes, or until lightly golden.

Meanwhile, in the same large bowl evenly coat the plain popcorn - minus any unpopped kernels - with the remaining honey-butter mixture.

Add the popcorn to the tray with the cashews.  Combine the mixture thoroughly and bake for four more minutes.  Stir or shake the mixture around and bake for two more minutes.  Repeat this process one or two more times, until the mixture is medium brown.  The popcorn can burn easily, so it's important to check on it and stir (or shake around) frequently.

The popcorn and nuts will be slightly soft right out of the oven but will harden as they cool.  Store in an airtight container.

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