Saturday, November 1, 2008

Peanut Butter Surprise!

We had peanut butter cups leftover (aww shucks!) from the lack of trick-or-treaters this year. So I decided to make these delicious cookies. These cookies carry a serious punch and require a milk chaser :)

Makes 36
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, for rolling dough
  • 36 mini peanut butter cups, chilled and unwrapped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using an electric mixer, cream peanut butter and butter in a mixing bowl until smooth. Add brown sugar; beat until combined, scraping down bowl as needed. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until incorporated.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually beat in flour mixture in two batches.
  3. Scoop off dough by the tablespoon; roll into balls. Place granulated sugar on a plate; roll balls in sugar, coating completely. Place 2 inches apart on a nonstick insulated baking sheet.
  4. Bake until cookies begin to puff up slightly, about 7 minutes. Remove from oven. Press one peanut butter cup in center of each cookie. Return to oven; continue baking until cookies are golden brown and chocolate has begun to melt, about 6 minutes more. Let cool at least 10 minutes on baking sheet before transferring cookies to rack to cool completely.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Nutty for Oats Cookies

These are sooooo delicious! I am definitely nutty about oatmeal, peanut butter, and chocolate together. I have always altered recipes to get these three ingredients together. When I worked in a bakery I even had my own cookie recipe that sold well - people love this combination. So when I saw this recipe in one of my favorite baking books - King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking- I jumped to try it.

Nutty for Oats Cookies
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter (I used Adam's Chunky peanut butter)
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick, 2oz.)
3/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, ground for 30 seconds in a food processor
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups (12 oz.) chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet chips, but milk chocolate would be tasty too)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets.

Cream the peanut butter, butter, sugar, vanilla, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. Beat in eggs, scraping the bowl once they're incorporated, then add the ground oats, old-fashioned rolled oats and chocolate chips. Drop the dough with small ice cream scoop (I prefer the ice cream scoops) or a tablespoon on to the prepared baking sheets.

Bake the cookies 11-13 minutes, rotate pans midway through. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool completely on the pans.

Pour a glass of milk and enjoy!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pesto Pizza + Salad

This is one of our favorite meals. Try it!


1/2 c. walnuts
4 c. fresh basil
1/2 c. finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil (we usually only put in 1/4 c. to lower the fat)

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet; toast in the oven until golden and fragrant, tossing occasionally, 5 to 8 minutes. Let cool completely.

2. In a food processor, combine the toasted nuts, basil, Parmesan, and garlic; season with slat and pepper. Process until finely chopped. With the machine running, pour the olive oil in a steady stream through the feed tube; process until smooth. Makes 1¼ cups.

Thin Crust Pizza Dough
1½ c. water
1½ tbsp olive oil
1¾ c. whole wheat flour
2 c. bread flour
1½ tbsp sugar
1½ salt
1½ tsp active dry yeast

We use a bread machine to mix and rise the dough. The basic dough setting on my machine does: 21 min. kneading, 45 min. first rising, 22min. stir down and second rising.

1. Flour hands lightly. Shape dough into a ball. Divide ball in quarters. Press each quarter of dough into greased, 12 inch pizza pan forming 1 inch edge. Makes four 12 inch pizzas. Alternatively the dough can be safely frozen in sandwich bags or an airtight container, to defrost the dough move to the fridge the night before.

2. Brush crust with oil. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

3. Spoon pesto over dough, top with cheese and toppings of your choice. We top it with mozzarella and Parmesan with green peppers, olives, mushrooms and tomatoes.

4. Bake 25 to 30 minutes at 400˚ F or until cheese gets bubbly and crust is golden.

It is my favorite Friday meal!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Maple Granola

Another great recipe success from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book. This granola is so great! Chris made a second batch today. We gobbled up the first batch like it was going out of style. As a cereal nut this is a keeper.

The biggest time sink is prep of all the ingredients, but once you are past that it is a breeze. I think it is well worth the effort - Yum!

Maple Granola
You can also get the same recipe at this link.

7 cups (1 1/2 pounds) rolled oats, uncooked
1 cup (4 ounces) flaked unsweetened coconut (optional, but good)
1 cup (4 ounces) stabilized wheat germ
1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sliced almonds
1 cup (4 ounces) diced pecans or walnuts
1 cup sunflower seeds, raw or toasted
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (11 ounces) pure maple syrup*
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) vanilla extract
5 cups (about 20 ounces) mixed dried fruit** (raisins, cranberries, cherries, diced pineapple, diced apricots, chopped dates, or the mixture of your choice)

*Pure maple syrup (as opposed to maple-flavored cane sugar syrup) makes a MUCH tastier granola. If you use "fake" syrup, be advised you’ll have to use a lot more to get the same degree of sweetness; probably an additional 1/2 cup.

**Our Fruitcake Fruits, 20 ounces of tasty dried apricots, raisins, pineapple, dates, and cranberries, is the perfect size for this recipe.

(Chris puts in apricots, golden raisins and cranberries for our dried fruit selection)

In a very large bowl, combine the oats, coconut, wheat germ, nuts, and seeds. Mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, salt, maple syrup, and vanilla. Pour over the dry mixture in the bowl, stirring and tossing till everything is very well combined; a spoonula or large stirring spoon work well here.

Spread granola on a couple of large lightly greased baking sheets; a half-sheet pan is ideal. Bake in a preheated 250°F oven for about 2 hours, stirring the mixture after an hour or so. You want to bring the granola at the edge in towards the middle, so it all browns evenly. And reverse the baking sheets in the oven (top to bottom, bottom to top) after you stir.

When the granola is a light–to–medium golden brown, remove it from the oven and cool completely on the pans. Transfer the granola to a large bowl, and mix in the dried fruit. Store in a tightly closed container at room temperature for several weeks; freeze for extended storage. Or portion into pretty patterned plastic bags for gift-giving.
Yield: about 18 cups, about 4 1/4 pounds granola.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Lighter Sesame Noodles

This is a healthy dinner we recently added to the weekly menus and great for left over lunch. It is fairly flexible recipe because you can play around with the veggies or adding a protein type, like tofu or chicken, and with the whole wheat noodles you get some additional fiber to boot.

Recipe is from the May 2008 FOOD magazine. You can get a printable version of the recipe here.


Serves 4

  • Coarse salt
  • 12 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
  • 1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets, stalks peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 red bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons dark-brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes


  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook spaghetti 3 minutes less than al dente. Add broccoli, bell peppers, and onion. Cook until pasta is al dente and vegetables are tender, 3 minutes more. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain pasta and vegetables.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together peanut butter, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, oil, garlic, and red-pepper flakes. Add hot pasta and vegetables; toss to coat, thinning sauce with a little pasta water, if necessary. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Vegetarian Chili

Over the years, Chris and I have had this Vegetarian chili as a constant staple in our weekly menus. We play around with it all the time, but Chris wrote up our recipe to share. Feel free to play a bit yourselves, that is what makes cooking so fun.

C & K's Vegetarian Chili

5 cups dried beans and/or lentils (I like a mix of kidney and pinto beans and sometimes lentils)
2 packages of firm Tofu, cut into half inch cubes
Adobo seasoning
2 tbs olive oil
3 carrots, sliced into 1/4 discs
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2-4 jalapenos, minced (depending on preference of spiciness)
15 oz corn, canned or frozen
4 15oz cans diced tomato (or 2 28oz)
2 heaping tbs chili powder
1 heaping tbs cumin
salt to taste about 1/2 tbs
pepper to taste about 1/2 tbs

1. Make beans according to package instructions and set aside for later. Remember dried beans take at least 3 hours to cook so plan ahead. Alternatively 3 14oz cans of beans can be used.

2. Heat 1 tbs olive oil in large frying pan. Add tofu and season with adobo. Toss occasionally and fry until lightly browned all over. Set aside.

3. Meanwhile heat remaining olive oil at medium high in large pot. Add carrots and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add onion and garlic, cook until softened, 5 minutes. Add bell peppers and jalapeno and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in corn, tomato, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and 1 cup water (you can add more or less water if you prefer it thicker or soupier). Add the prepared beans and tofu. Simmer on low heat for 30 minutes to an hour.

4. Serve with rice. Fresh tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, salsa and sour cream make good toppings.

5. Leftover chili can be safely frozen in an airtight container.


Let us know what you think! :)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pound Cake

We had an excess of strawberries, so I decided to try another recipe from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book. It turned out wonderfully!

Vanilla Pound Cake
(Makes: Two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2" loaf cakes, one 10 inch tube cake or one 12-cup Bundt cake

2 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1 c. unbleached bread flour
1 tsp. salt
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 c. confectioners' sugar
1 1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
4 large eggs
1 c. sour cream
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. grated lemon zest or 1/2 tsp. almond extract (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease pan.

Whisk flours and salt in a medium bowl. Cream together the butter, sugars and baking powder in mixing bowl until light and fluffy - about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally. Lower the mixer's speed, and add the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream, beginnning and ending with the flour. Stire in the vanilla and lemon zest, if using.

Transfer batter to the prepared pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes. Bake until toothpick comes out clean and cake beings to pull back from the edges. Let cool for 15 minutes on a rack in pan. Then remove cake from pan on to rack and let cool completely.

For mine, I did a bundt cake pan and I didn't do the lemon zest or almond extract.
Also, the original recipe has a Crunchy sugar glaze, but I didn't want the added calories and knew the sweetened berries with whipped cream would be enough. This would be great with any berry. I need to pick up some blackberries for this next! yuuum!

I hope you try it - I don't think you will be disappointed. Another great recipe from that book pleases me so!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Mexican Fritatta

I love frittata's, but we seem to forget them when we make our weekly menu's. Chris made this Mexican Frittata for us this week. We found the recipe in the July 2008 Everyday FOOD magazine.

• 5 large eggs
• Coarse salt & ground pepper
• 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
• 1 bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), thinly sliced
• Half a medium red onion, thin slices
• 1/2 cup shredded white cheddar (4 ounces)
• 1/2 Tablespoon red-wine vinegar
• 1/2 head Boston lettuce (about 10 ounces), torn into pieces
• 1/4 cup store-bought salsa for serving

1. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon of ground pepper; set aside. In a 10-inch nonstick skillet with a tight-fitting lid, heat 1/2 Tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add bell peppers and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes.

2. Add eggs, and cook, quickly stirring with a heatproof rubber spatula, until eggs thicken, about 1 minute. Sprinkle cheese evenly over egg mixture. Cover skillet; reduce heat to medium-low. Cook frittata for 15 minutes. Remove skillet from heat, and let stand, covered, 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, whisk together vinegar and remaining oil in a large bowl; season dressing with salt and pepper. Add lettuce and toss to combine.

4. Slide frittata onto a work surface; cut into wedges. Top with salsa and serve with salad.

I add sour cream too. Yum!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Chocolate Cupcakes

I made some yummy cupcakes for the holiday weekend. I suppose I should've decorated them in patriotic colors, but instead I kept it simple.

I used this recipe from Martha Stewart's site. I liked this, but I think I personally prefer lighter cake and this was a little more dense and moist - which is perfect for the chocolate/brownie lover.

And did the Easy White Frosting recipe.
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 pound (3 2/3 cups) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk (optional)
  1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter until smooth.
  2. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar; beat until smooth. If too thick to spread, beat in 1 to 2 tablespoons milk.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Hummus Wrap

This is such a healthy and tasty lunch. Humus is something I forget about a lot and I am so glad we made this, it is perfect for summer lunches.

This is the recipe we used. Then we put it on a multi-grain tortilla with chopped avocado, red-leaf lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and yellow bell pepper. Yum!

If you have had hummus you most likely had it as a dip, which is very good for snacking. Try spreading it on a sandwich or a wrap you won't be disappointed.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Saturday Pancakes

I love breakfast foods. I like having them any time of the day. I will ask for pancakes when I am feeling under the weather and need a little cheering up. I don't know if it has any relation to being a kid and going to Sunday breakfast with my Grandpa and having the Smiley Pancake Delight, you know what I am talking about right? Oh, the round, cheery faced pancake with whip cream hair flashing a blueberry smile, giving me a little wink with it's sliced banana eyes and reminding me to save the Maraschino cherry nose for last - aaah, childhood.

Chris made me whole grain pancakes for breakfast sans smiley face decorations. He knows how much I love having special weekend breakfasts - after a work week of cereal, yogurt, or toast for breakfast - it is so nice to have something different. Though I know my healthy whole grain version of pancakes would be quite disappointing to my younger self, but really it tastes so much better. I have had other whole grain pancakes and this recipe really blows them out off the skillet.

He made a full batch and we are freezing the rest. We have about 8 cups left for future use.

Homemade Whole Grain Pancake Mix

YIELD: 10 cups dry mix; a batch using 1 cup of the mix willmake about 10 (3½-inch) pancakes.

COOKING TIME: 3 to 5 minutes.

3½ cups (12¼ ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats
4 cups (1 pound) white whole wheat flour
1 cup (4¼ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons (1¼ ounces) sugar
3 tablespoons (1½ ounces) baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
¾ cup (5¼ ounces) vegetable oil

TO MAKE THE MIX: Grind the oats in a food processor until they're chopped fine but not a powder. Put the ground oats, flours and the remaining dry ingredients into the bowl of a mixer with a paddle. Mix on slow speed, and drizzle the vegetable oil into the bowl slowly while the mixer is running. When all the oil has been added, stop the mixer and squeeze a clump of mix in your hand. If it holds together, it's just right. If it won't hold together, stir in 1 tablespoon of oil at a time until the consistency is correct. Store in an airtight container indefinitely in the freezer.

TO MAKE THE PANCAKES: Whisk together 1 cup of mix, 1 cup buttermilk (or you may use ½ cup plain yogurt plus ½ cup milk),
1 tablespoon orange juice and 1 large egg. Don't worry if the batter seems thin at first: the whole grains will soak up the liquid , and the mixture will thicken as it stands. Let the batter stand for at least 15 minutes before cooking. Heat a nonstick griddle if you have one, or a heavy skillet, preferably cast iron . If your surface is not nonstick, brush it lightly with vegetable oil. When the surface of your pan is hot enough that a drop of water sputters across it, give the pan a quick swipe with a paper towel to remove excess oil and spoon the batter onto the hot surface, 1/4-cupful at a time. After 3 to 4 minutes, when the surface of the cake is no longer shiny and small bubbles are beginning to form around the edges, it's time to flip the cake. Cook on the other side until it's browned, 1 to 2 minutes more and serve immediately, or keep warm in a 200° oven while you finish cooking the rest of the cakes.

We got the recipe from this book - King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking. I just got it this week and we are very excited about trying more of the recipes. If they are all as tasty as the whole grain pancakes I am going to be very happy.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Baking - Rocky Road Brownies

These are simply fantastic! I am so glad I made them, though I want to try making them again and play with the recipe to see if I can cut some of the fat out by using egg whites instead of whole eggs.

Rocky Road Brownies

• 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan
• 1 bag (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 large eggs
• 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
• 1 cup miniature marshmallows
• 1/2 cup chopped nuts, such as cashews, pecans, or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides; butter paper.

In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, combine butter and 1 cup chocolate chips. Heat, stirring occasionally, just until melted, 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove mixture from heat; stir in sugars and salt, then eggs, and finally flour, stirring just until combined. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes.

To prevent toppings from sinking into the batter, remove brownies from oven, and sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips, then marshmallows and nuts. Bake until chocolate is shiny and marshmallows are puffed, about 5 minutes. Cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift cake onto a work surface; cut into 16 squares.

You can also get the recipe here.

Saturday, May 31, 2008


I was inspired by my blogging friend, Christine, to finally get a food blog up and running and shared with Chris (he created this blog name about a year ago). Chris and I love to make things. We also love to eat healthy and make whole food meals. That isn't always the case, but we try.

We will be sharing recipes, alternative ingredients, and any other information we find along the way. We look forward to comments and hope readers enjoy all that we want to share here.


Now on to what what we made with these luscious lemons.

This actually isn't a cooking or baking recipe really, but a refreshing beverage instead. We are growing lots of herbs this year and thyme is one of them. I don't have many recipes that call for it, so I jumped on this to have a use for the fresh thyme.

We saw the recipe in this month's Everyday Food magazine.
You can also get the recipe here.

Thyme Lemonade
1 cup sugar (The original recipe called for 1 1/2 cups sugar, I don't like overly sweet drinks so we reduced it to 1 cup.)
2 cups lemon juice (10-12 lemons)
6 cups of cold water
1 bunch of fresh thyme

In medium saucepan, bring sugar, thyme, 1 cup water to a boil. Stir until sugar is dissolved (about 2 mins). Stir in lemon juice and 6 cups of cold filtered water. Strain into large pitcher. Refrigerate until cold - lasts for about a week.

Make it pretty with some washed fresh thyme.

To liven things up: You can add 1 cup of gin if you would like to make it a bit more loopy for guests or even a nice evening at home this summer.