Hearty Breakfast Cookies

breakfast cookies 231

My boys are addicted to Kashi bars, as in a nearly 3 box a week habit.  This spells challenge to me, I had to see if I could make something comparable at home.  I wanted a variety of grains and to keep the sugar 8g or lower, similar to the Kashi bars.  I scoured the internet and found this recipe from Once a Month Mom.   I am partial to oat flour and I really loved her idea of using a muffin tin, such a great solution for the fruit filled bars!

We are dairy free, so I switched the butter for coconut oil, mashed banana and chia seed gel.  I wanted to get the fat down closer to the kashi bars the kids we used to, plus adding in some Omega 3’s is always a good thing!  I also reduced the sugar and varied the grains a bit, adding in some quinoa flakes and almond flour – my son has been outgrowing some of his tree nut allergies (YAY!) and his allergist wants us to incorporate these new nuts into his diet.  The almond flour adds, some protein but it also adds a good amount of fat – if you want to reduce the fat you can use another flour of your liking.

The kids really love them!  SCORE! I haven’t worked out if they cost any less with all of the specialty ingredients but I always prefer feeding the kids something from my kitchen rather than from a box.  So here we go….

Ingredients:

1.5 cups oat flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 medium banana
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon vanilla
and for the simple jam:

1 cup mixed berries – fresh or thawed frozen
2 tablespoons chis seeds

 Procedure:

Start by preparing the chia seed gel, Mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in 1/4 cup of water and let sit for about 10 minutes or until it “gels”.   The chia seed gel is great, it can be used as an egg replacer or an oil replacer – I have read that replacing up to 1/4 of the total oil with chia gel yields no difference in taste or texture.

preparing the chia seed gel

preparing the chia seed gel

Next in a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients (oat flour, whole wheat flour, almond flour,  quinoa flakes and cinnamon.

blend the dry ingredients

blend the dry ingredients

In another bowl, combine the brown sugar, mashed banana, melted coconut oil, vanilla, honey, and chia seed gel.  Stir until combined.

Stir until combined well.

Stir until combined well.

Mix the wet into the dry.  I use a wooden spoon to get it started and then switch to my hands to get that last bit mixed in.

This is about when I switch to using my hands.  At this point I use a motion similar to kneading bread until all of the flours are combined.

This is about when I switch to using my hands. At this point I use a motion similar to kneading bread until all of the flours are combined.

I apologize for a sudden lack of pictures, I got involved in what I was doing and forgot to capture each step!

Continue mixing until you have a large ball of dough, the dough will be a bit sticky.  Place the dough ball in the fridge for about 10 minutes to firm up.

While the dough is firming up, puree the cup of berries and then stir in 2 tablespoons of chia seeds.  Allow this to sit until it resembles the consistency of jam.

Chia Seed Jam

Chia Seed Jam

Remove the dough and divide into 36 balls, again put the dough in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up.  This part is more necessary in a warm kitchen, if the dough feels workable, just keep going 🙂

Take 18 of the balls and smoosh into the bottom of a muffin cup – there is no need to grease the cups, the cookies will pop out of an un-greased pan with ease!   Fill the cups similar to how you would make a crumb pie crust, you want the sides to be higher than the center so there is a place to put the jam.

Place about 1/2 of a tablespoon (1.5 teaspoons) of jam in each depression.

Add jam to the cookie bases

Add jam to the cookie bases

Next, take the remaining 18 balls and flatten into a disc shape. Place this disc on top of the cookie base and gently press around the edges to seal.  Now is also a good time to preheat your oven to 350 degrees

place the disc on top

place the disc on top

press around the edge to seal

press around the edge to seal

When you have completed assembling all of the cookies, bake them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven when the edges begin to turn golden brown.  Let the cookie cool in the muffin pans for about 10 minutes and then pop out and enjoy!

NI - If you would like to reduce the fat, swap another grain for the almond flour.

NI – If you would like to reduce the fat, swap another grain for the almond flour.

breakfast cookies 231

Following my Bliss

Hexes in a Row - 1930's feedsack repro prints  <3

Hexes in a Row – 1930’s feedsack repro prints ❤

When I was in college, I read a lot of Joseph Campbell.  I was an art major, which really meant I could indulge in whatever I wondered, craved or dreamt of.  My thoughts were fairly evenly split between science and religion, so naturally I loved Joseph Campbell.  One thing he said that has always stayed with me is, “follow your bliss”.  It is such a nice idea, but really did not feel practical.  I graduated from college swimming in student loan debt and holding a shiny new art degree…. sadly it wasn’t quite as marketable as the geo-physics program I started out in.  So I found a job working in engineering and dutifully paid my loans, not really loving my job and missing the days of submerging myself in my own thoughts while working out ideas and questions through art.  A little over a decade later I started having children; my husband and I knew I couldn’t return to work.  I wanted and needed to be home with our son.  I left the office and started an engineering based company out of the house.  It was great, I could be home with my child and help support our family… but again, I didn’t love it.  After about 4 years and another baby boy, this idea of following my bliss was feeling very important.  Putting food on the table is very important, but how can I teach my boys to be all they can be if I don’t give my own dreams a try?  So here I am, nearly 40, taking a leap, breaking myself from the known and comfortable to go after the things which set my mind moving.

Chevrons and Birds - this quilt has been floating around my head for quite a few years, it has changed and evolved but was really begging to be made.

Chevrons and Birds – this quilt has been floating around my head for quite a few years, it has changed and evolved but was really begging to be made.

I have a long history and deep love of fabric and sewing, the traditions, the history, the beauty and skill – I love all of it.  Much of my work in college was fabric based, it really is a part of who I am.  I have been designing quilts for years, most are drawn and never made, now I am giving myself permission to make them.  I have had an ESTY shop for a few years, I used it for invites.  Whenever I made an invite for my own family I would post it for sale on ETSY.  For the past few months I have been working on my quilts and slowly adding them to the ETSY shop.  I am writing out the patterns for sale as well – those years in engineering sure have come in handy in the pattern writing department!  I feel this endeavor can only have a positive outcome!  Of course, there will be work and the monetary gains are not quite are fast as in my former business but I now look forward to working each night and go to sleep dreaming of what I will do next!

I think I am beginning to understand what he meant when he said to “follow your bliss” and I am looking forward to each step!

 

I have started a facebook page for my ETSY shop, stop by and like it if you enjoy what you see! NinaLemon on facebook!

Blue Birds at my Window - This quilt was a turning point for me.  There was a lot of quiet reflection which led to an understanding of what I really love.

Blue Birds at my Window – This quilt was a turning point for me. There was a lot of quiet reflection which led to an understanding of what I really love.


A Simple Cold Rise Bread

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I started making our daily bread a few months ago, I can be a bit of a control freak when it comes to the food my kids eat – especially my older son.  It can be difficult to find foods safe for his multiple allergies, so I make most things from scratch.  I have made bread in the past, but usually as a special occasion.  I enjoy the process, but it was long, involved and required me to plan my day around bread making.  A daily sandwich bread was one of the few things I bought ready-made, however it was difficult to find a bread without HFCS that was not made in a facility with tree nuts, peanuts, eggs (and our newest addition to the allergy list) dairy.   Our local grocer carried one brand of wheat bread safe for my son, but at $5 a loaf I knew I could do better.

Not only is this bread easy, but it really is delightful to walk into a kitchen smelling of warm bread – so much more satisfying than opening a plastic sleeve 🙂  An unexpected positive was that we now make smaller sandwiches .  The bread we had been buying had huge slices about 4″tall and 6″ wide, my pans are smaller resulting in a more reasonably sized slice.

I started with the basic white bread recipe in my Kitchenaid manual.  Up until now it had been stuffed in a drawer with all of the other appliance manuals I never look at,.  What me me check I have no idea, but I am glad it did because the recipe is simple, quick and I have been able to adjust it to our tastes very easily.  This recipe calls for a cold rise, you knead the dough in the kitchenaid, let it rest for 20 minutes, form it into a loaf and then set it in the fridge for 2-12 hours to rise.  All, I need is a 1/2 hour and then I can pop the uncooked loaves in the fridge until I am ready to bake, easy-peasy!

The original recipe called for all-purpose flour, sugar and butter; I replaced them with a mix of all-purpose wheat and bread flour, honey and coconut oil.

Here are the ingredients:

3.5 cups Bread Flour

2-4 cups All-Purpose Wheat Flour

3.5 tsp salt

3 packets or 2 tablespoons + 3/4 teaspoon Active Rise Yeast

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 tablespoons honey

2 cups very warm water (between 120 and 130 degrees)

Procedure:

Add the bread flour and 2.5 cups of the all-purpose flour, salt and yeast to your mixing bowl.  Mix on a low speed until combined.

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Add the honey to your melted coconut oil.  It help to dip the measuring spoon in the oil before measuring out the honey.  Rather than waiting around as your honey slowly drips off the spoon, it will slide off of the oil coated spoon with ease.

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Add the honey and oil mixture to the dry ingredients, mixing at a slow speed.

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Mix at a slow speed and then, very slowly, add the hot water.

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Continue to mix at a low speed until the dough forms into a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If you need to add additional flour, do so 1/2 cup at a time.  I rarely have to add anymore flour to the mix.  Knead with the dough hook for about 3-4 minutes.

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Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a towel, then let it rest for 20 minutes.  The dough will rise slightly.

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Divide the dough into two balls.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out each half into a rectangle shape.

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Roll up each rectangle, as you would a jelly roll.  Tuck under the ends and place seam side down into a prepared bread pan.

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Lightly brush the tops with the oil of your choice (I use coconut), cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to rise for 2-12 hours.

Remove the uncooked loaves from the fridge and let rest for 10 minutes before cooking.  I turn the oven on to 400 as soon as I take the loaves out, it takes just about 10 minutes for it to pre-heat.

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Bake at 400 for 35-40 minutes and transfer immediately to wire racks to cool.

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A word of caution:

You may not want to leave the cooling bread within reach of a 4 year old as you go to nurse a baby ….or you may end up with the perfect loaf of bread for making croutons.

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At first, I thought the damage was minimal, but his little fingers tunneled to both ends!  Ah well, the croutons were a nice treat 🙂

Onion Mushroom Soup for the awkward eater.

Mushroom Onion Soup

Break out those Kleenex, it is onion time!

I am a soup lover, huge soup lover. I can and have eaten it for breakfast, lunch and dinner pretty much daily.  It is warm and comforting, fast and easy – what more could you ask for in a food?

French Onion Soup is a Fav, but I am hugely uncoordinated so the huge chunk of toasted bread, (seemingly)  sealed to the top of the soup bowl usually results in my wearing my soup down my front.  To save my husband from the chore of more laundry (and to save myself from the excessive calories), I decided to go with a simple onion and mushroom soup.

This recipe is based on the French on Soup recipe in The Daily Soup cookbook, it is by far my most used cookbook.  I have not made a soup in this book that I did not LOVE!  I do typically reduce salt in the recipes and this time around I also nixed the oil.  Other changes are typically for pantry reasons.

So, what you need:

5 average size yellow onions

5 average sized red onions

1 tablespoon sugar

about 10 average white button mushrooms

12 cups unsalted veggie stock

2 tsp dried thyme

2 bays leaves

1 tsp kosher salt

pepper to taste

1 cup Marsala wine

3″ Parmesan Rind

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced.

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut up onions in thin slices.  Now cutting onions does not normally bother me, but this is A LOT of onions!  I tried the old candle trick, and while I wasn’t crying nearly as much as the last time I made this soup, sans candle, I still had to take some breaks!  Next time I may find a safety goggles or a full face shield.   …you think I’m joking, don’t you.

Onion Mushrooms Soup

Thinly slice your onions

Place the onions in a large roasting pans and sprinkle with sugar.  Add a bit of stock and roast for 1-1.5 hours, stirring every 15 minutes.  The original recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of butter and one table spoon of oil (I like coconut oil), if you go with the oil they will caramelize faster than with the stock.

Onion Mushroom Soup

Roast your onions for an hour or more until nicely browned, stirring every 15 minutes.

Slice your mushrooms and add to a hot stock pot with a little stock, stirring until they soften a bit.

Onion Mushroom Soup

Cook the mushrooms in a bit of stock.

Remove the onions from the oven and transfer the roasted onions to the stock pot and add, the thyme, bay leaves, S&P, turning to coat the veggies.  I also deglazed the roasting pan with some stock and added that into the stock pot.

Next add the Marsala, cook until all of the liquid is absorbed.

Add the remaining stock and Parmesan rind, bring to boil and then simmer, partially covered for about 30 minutes.

Onion Mushroom Soup

Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer, partially covered for 30 minutes.

Lastly, add, grated Parmesan, Balsamic Vinegar and garlic, heat through and enjoy!

Onion Mushroom Soup

Onion Mushroom Soup

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Steamy Soup on a cool day.

Steamy Soup on a cool day.

Testing out incorporating everything into one blog… Please, feel free to let me know if you totally love, or totally hate the idea of one blog 😀 Thanks!

A Day in the Eats

I have been keeping two blogs, one for my photo log and another for recipes and such.  I feel my other blog, Ninalemon, often gets neglected, so I am testing out putting everything here.

Recently I made the Almond Veggie Soup. I froze half as I typically do with soup, but the stuff was so darn good as soon as my first container was empty I was defrosting the second.  This is the perfect time of year for soup, cool damp days just call for it.  After literally eating the soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner it was gone 😦  So I made a few small modifications just for variety and viola the Pumpkin Chickpea Stew.  I eased up on the Almond butter to reduce the fat and calories, tried a few different veggies, etc.  It was really good… and now I’ll be eating this one for breakfast lunch and dinner…

View original post 222 more words

Portabella Pizza Heaven

Portabella Pizza

 

I have had these portabellas hanging out in my fridge for a few days, calling to me.  I love a good grilled mushroom, the smoky meatiness is just heaven, but the grilled part is a problem for me.  I have a *small* issue with fire, it scares the crapola out of me!  I like a nice campfire, and will sit semi-relaxed while scanning the canopy to make sure there are no low hanging branches to catch fire.  I love fireworks, but when local yokels set them off in the backyard I want to run screaming into a tub of water.  My husband has been threatening to teach me once and for all how to use the grill, and since we replaced our gas grill with a charcoal grill (meaning less dangerous in my mind since it lacks the pressurized tank of flammable liquid), I was accepting of the idea.  …but I just seem to always be busy with the kids when it comes to grill time…  I am totally OK with having my husband be the grill man, except for nights when he is working late and I want a grilled portabella…

Tonight was one of those nights, being the Brownie Drop-Out that I am , I came up with an alternate plan ….who says only true scouts are always prepared!  I popped those babies on a broiling pan and made some mini pizzas!    I loaded them up with fresh herbs and tomatoes from the garden, topped with a bit of cheese and YUM!

Ingredients:

2 Portabella Caps

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoon olive oil

2 tablespoons Italian blend cheese,  shredded

salt and pepper

 

Procedure:

This is a quick cooking dinner, to avoid burned caps prepare the herbs and tomatoes before you start broiling the mushrooms caps.

Prepare your herbs and tomatoes.

Lightly brush washed mushroom caps with 1 teaspoon oil (about 1/2 tsp each cap), sprinkle with S&P and set under the broiler for about 4 minutes.

Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper

 

Meainwhile, add the remaining 1 tsp of olive oil to a hot skillet.  Briefly toss the garlic and fresh herbs, until fragrant.  It will be less than 1 minute.  Add the halved tomatoes and toss to coat. Remove from heat.

Briefly saute herbs, add tomatoes and toss to coat.

Divide the tomato and herb mixture between the two caps and place back under the broiler for 2 minutes.

Top the caps with tomato and herb mixture and return to the broiler

You can either serve the caps at this point without the cheese:

Broiled cap stuffed with tomatoes and herbs

Or divide the cheese between the two caps and broil for another minute or two.

Portabella Pizzas

 

Enjoy!

 

Here is the nutrition report, 2 caps is one serving:

 

 

 

 

 

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with a Chipolte Kick

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

 

Last week my sister sent me a link to this Spicy Zucchini Soup, it was super good and it totally got me in the mood for soup.  This week the Fall weather really hit Upstate NY.  We have been having beautifully cool nights and you can just feel that turn in the air.  That just solidified my need for soup!  With the Zucchini Soup still on my mind, I decided to make a spicy winter squash soup.  I love the rich golden color of Butternut Squash and the creaminess it lends when pureed is just awesome.  This soup weighs in a around 130 calories for 2 cups, it makes a caloricly light but belly satisfying lunch!

Ingredients:

2 Average sized Butternut Squash

3 large Carrots,  chopped

1 large yellow onion, chopped

3 stalk of celery, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. cumin

1 tablespoon dried cilantro or a small handful fresh, chopped

3 Chipolte peppers in Adobo Sauce, minced (use more or less to suit your taste)

4-5 cups stock

juice of one lime

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Procedure:

Slice the ends off of the butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and using a spoon remove the seeds. Sprinkle with S&P.

Prepare your butternut squash

Add a few tablespoons of water to a roasting pan, place squash upside down and then cover loosely with foil.  Roast squash at 400 degrees for 1 hour.

Arrange Squash in a Roasting Pan, Roast at 400 for 1 hr

 

When the squash is done, set it aside to cool a bit.

Add a few tablespoons of coconut oil to a hot stock pot ( you can use peanut or another high heat oil if you wish), and sweat the carrots, onions and celery for about 5 minutes.

Sweat the Veggies – full disclosure this pic is from my black bean soup.  I didn’t realize I was out of celery when I started this soup!

 

Add the garlic, cumin, dried cilantro (if using fresh, add it at the end instead) and Chipolte peppers, turning to coat.

Imagine there is celery in this pic…

Next add about a cup of stock, to prevent the mixture from burning.

Peel the skins off of the Squash.  Add the roasted squash to the stock pot.

Add the Roasted Squash to the Soup

 

Add the remaining stock and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Simmer together for 10-15 minutes.

 

Using an Immersion Blender puree the soup, add more stock if you prefer a thinner soup.  If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can puree it in batches in an upright blender – be careful as the steam tends to build up and blow the top off your blender.  If you enjoy making soup, I would put the immersion blender on your list – they are awesome!

Puree, adding stock if you want to thin it a bit

 

 

Add the juice of one lime and S&P to taste.

 

I had some leftover cornbread waffles which were perfect for dipping in the soup!  You could use leftover brown rice to add some bulk and texture!

Enjoy!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Chipolte

 

Nutrition Info per 2 cup serving:

 

FOOD4THOUGHTNYC

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