Wednesday, January 11, 2012

chewy granola bars

you know those nights where you're up every 2-3 hours feeding a baby and you're absolutely dead tired and need some nutrition for the love of pete to keep you alive? or how about those days where you just have no time to do anything, not even sit down for an everloving meal?

well, meet the perfect granola bar.

this recipe has been adapted to accommodate my new lifestyle - breastfeeding mom with a baby who has undetermined food sensitivities so mom is cutting out all possible food irritants. these are gluten-free (using gluten-free oats), dairy-free, corn-free, and peanut-free. and still delicious. take that, baby stomach.

Chewy Granola Bars (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats
1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts (i like to use a mix with dried cranberries and blueberries, and when i'm feeling crazy i add in some dark chocolate chips)
1/3 cup almond butter (or other nut butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons oil (or butter for non-vegan)
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon water

mix dry and wet ingredients seperately, combine, throughly mixing all ingredients until wet. bake at 350 F for 30-40 minutes or until edges are brown. you'll want to wait to cut these until they're cool or they may crumble.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

banana millet muffins.

I found out a secret recently. I've had millet sitting in a jar on my counter for the past 6 months with no idea how to use it. I cooked it for a pilaf once and it turned into mush, so I kind of gave up on it.

But. How could one give up on this little nutrient-packed whole grain so easily?

Folks, I have discovered millets place in my world. It belongs in my baked goods! I've thrown millet into pumpkin chocolate chip muffins with lots of success, and this morning I tried them in these banana muffins. And they're good. No, they are GREAT. I may have eaten 2 in a row...or 3? With half whole wheat, little sugar, and whole grain millet, they are practically doing my body a favor (or at least I'll let myself believe that).

This recipe makes 12 muffins, but they freeze well so I'm doubling the recipe next time!

Banana Millet Muffins
3 or 4 mashed bananas
1/4 cup white sugar
1 slightly beaten egg
1/3 cup oil (i'm trying applesauce next time)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour - half whole wheat, half white
1/2 cup millet
Mix the mashed banana, sugar, egg and oils together. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour. Combine wet and dry ingredients, adding the millet after everything is mixed. Pour into greased or lined muffin tins, and bake in 350 degrees F oven for approximately 20 minutes.

Monday, November 7, 2011

moms wheat bread.

this is the bread i grew up eating.
unfortunately i can never get it to taste like my moms bread because she always used freshly grinded wheat flour. there is just no beating that.
i know i'm not the only one who grew up with buckets of wheat in the basement, right? do people still do this?

this bread recipe is simple, straight-forward, and is fairly accepting of additions/tweaks. i dialed the sugar back a bit last time i made it because i don't want to oversugar my 39 weeks baby baby (i'm sure baby gets enough sugar from the halloween candy i've been eating this week), and it tasted great. next time i might to try to replace some of the sugar with honey.

moms wheat bread

1/2 cup warm water - mix in 1 T. sugar and 1 package yeast. Let rise for about 10 minutes.
Mix together in large bowl:
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup melted butter (margarine)
Add yeast/water mixture from above and 2 cups warm water. Stir together.
Add 4 cups wheat flour and 4 cups white flour (I usually put in about 3 cups flour at first,
then keep adding more until it gets to the right consistency.) Knead for about 5-10 minutes
(OR put it in your Kitchenaid)
Lightly grease with oil the large (clean) bowl you mixed the dough in.
Let rise until doubled.
Punch down and divide into 2 loaves. Put into greased bread pans.

Let rise to size of loaves you'll want. it will only rise a little bit more while cooking.

Bake 350-375 for 30-40 minutes.

After I take the loaves out of the pans, I put them on a wire rack to cool and butter the tops of the loaves so the crust isn't tough. Plus, butter.

Lentil Tacos

tonight for dinner, i was craving tacos. like taco bell, yellow cheese, shredded iceberg lettuce old school tacos. since i don't eat red meat, i was super excited to find this recipe for spiced lentil tacos.

amazing! delicious! and lentils are so good for you!

satisfied the craving and even my meat eating husband had great things to say about the dinner.

Preparing the lentils:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed
  • 1 package (2.25 ounce) taco seasoning (or if you prefer less sodium, 2 TB chili powder, 2 Tsp cumin, 1 Tsp coriander, dash of oregano
  • 3 cups vegetable broth

  • Toppings:

  • sour cream
  • 8 taco shells
  • shredded lettuce
  • chopped tomato
  • shredded cheddar cheese

  • Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook onion, garlic and salt until onion begins to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add lentils and seasonings. Cook until spices are fragrant and lentils are dry, about 1 minute. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are tender, 40 to 45 minutes. Uncover lentils and cook until mixture thickens, 6 to 8 minutes. Mash with a rubber spatula (i didn't mash - i prefer a little texture). Spoon 1/4 cup lentil mixture into each taco shell. Top with sour cream, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and whatever else you can dream up.

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011


    after 3 years of having my first bite of pavlova, and endless searches for pavlova at restaurants (we tried Balthazar in NYC and an Australian restaurant in London), i finally worked up the courage to make my own PAVLOVA.

    and gosh, for all the babying i did to that pavlova ("don't slam the oven door!", "get an umbrella out for the pavlova!", "turn the AC down to 68!"), it turned out perfectly crispy on the outside and perfectly marshmallowy in the center.

    i used joy the bakers recipe. she has a nice video on how to make a pavlova:
    4 egg whites
    1 cup superfine sugar (i couldn't find it, so i used my food processor to grind down regular granulated sugar)
    1 teaspoon white vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    1/2 T cornstarch

    1. whip those eggs whites with a mixer, until soft peaks form (2-3 minutes)
    2. add sugar and cornstarch in gradually while mixer is running (a tablespoon at a time). this will take about 2 minutes to finish. your mixture should turn glossy and marshmallowy.
    3. add in vinegar and vanilla, beat until stiff peaks form - about 3 minutes.
    4. plop the mixture down on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, using a spatula to form a 7 inch circle. make sure your edges are higher than the center so you have a nice home for the berries and cream to go.
    5. bake for 60-75 minutes at 250 degrees F. don't open the oven ever ever until it is finished, and then turn off the oven, and just crack the oven door open. let the pavlova cool inside the oven. i think this is the key to getting that perfect hard meringue shell and marshmallow inside.

    just before serving, top with whipped cream and fruit. i used strawberries and blueberries, but i bet peaches would be lovely.

    Sunday, June 26, 2011

    liguarian pasta with pesto and green beans

    one pot, one bowl, no oven required. summer meals don't get much easier than this. this pasta has been a staple in our house for a few years now, since i first made it for mark on his birthday 5 years ago. he likes me to add a little extra garlic to the pesto for a good spicy kick, but i also like it without.

    fill a large pot with water. when water is boiling, add 2 cups small red potatoes (whole). boil for 5 minutes. add 8 oz. bowtie pasta, continue cooking potatoes and pasta together, stirring occasionally. when the pasta has 2-3 minutes left, add the green beans. pour everything into colander when beans are finished.

    while your big pot is boiling with all the good roughage, it's time to make your pesto.
    i like to make my own pesto to get the rough consistency i prefer. a few handfuls of basil, a handful of pinenuts, a quarter cup of parmesean cheese, and a couple glugs of olive oil. throw it all in a food processor and pulse until you have your desired consistency. i like mine with less olive oil and more rough pebbles.

    toss the cooked potatoes, beans, and pasta together with pesto. grate some fresh parmesan on top if you can never have too much cheese. oh, you can't either? well we are good friends, then.

    Saturday, June 25, 2011

    quinoa black bean salad

    it's hard for me to find a meal that has my 3 favorite things:
    1. tastes good
    2. quick and easy
    3. nutritious!

    consider this recipe the trifecta of recipes. i had some red quinoa on hand, and a quick trip to the farmers market rewarded me with everything else.

    i don't have a real recipe for this, i just throw in whatever quantities of the farmers market ingredients i have. i know, real helpful, right? just go with your gut with this one. it's hard to screw up.

    quinoa (i like to use red - i think it's a little heartier and robust)
    red bell pepper
    sweet corn
    black beans
    green onions (if i have them)

    olive oil
    lime juice

    1. cook the quinoa with a ratio of 1:1.5 quinoa to water. bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes. leave covered with heat off for 5 minutes to allow to fluff.

    2. chop up all your veggies and put them in a bowl, along with black beans and cooked quinoa.
    3. whisk together olive oil and lime juice - i used about 1/8 cup olive oil, juice from a lime - and salt and pepper to taste.
    4. pour dressing over salad and toss.