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Foodie, Main Eats, Recipe, Sweets

Breakfast Cookies

March 22, 2015
breakfast_cookies

breakfast cookies

Cookies for breakfast?! 

Lately, I’ve been on a bit of a cooking strike. Well, not so much of a cooking strike as I am on a once-a-week cooking kick. I spend one day during the weekend (usually Sunday) making food for the week; including these cookies that we’ve been eating for breakfast for the past few weeks.

I’m absolutely addicted to them. I love them. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to discover how great life can be when you eat cookies for breakfast. Plus, they taste amazing with that first cup of coffee in the morning.

I also love that there is zero flour in these too. If you substitute gluten free oats, then these are easily Gluten-Free Breakfast Cookies; but we aren’t a gluten-free house so I buy regular rolled oats.

Now, stop wasting time and go make yourself a batch of these to eat for breakfast during your week!

You’re Welcome.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

-3 1/2 cups of rolled oats

-2 tsp baking powder

-1 cup flax meal (sometimes I do 1/2 flax | 1/2 oat bran)

-1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

-3 tbs Chia seed

-1/2 cup of salted grass-fed butter; softened 

-2 cups of all natural peanut butter 

-1/2 cup packed brown sugar

-1/2 cup (real) maple syrup

-1/4 cup black strap molasses

-3 eggs

-2 tsp vanilla

-2 cups chopped nuts and seeds (I like to do a combination of pistachios, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and pecans)

-2-3 handfuls of dark chocolate chips (or 4 handfuls. I added 4. Don’t judge.)

*if using raw, unsalted nuts, add about 1/4 tsp of salt to the dry ingredients*

Preheat oven to 400° F

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the oats, baking soda, chia, flax, and coconut. Set aside

In another large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add the maple syrup and molasses and mix until well incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time; mixing slowly. Add the vanilla.

Add the peanut butter to the wet ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.

Now, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix slowly until a ‘dough’ forms (it’ll be much stickier than regular cookie dough). Add the nuts and chocolate chips. Stir to combine.

Cover dough and chill for at least an hour.

On a parchment lined baking sheet, add scoops of dough (walnut-sized) and press flat.

Bake for 12 minutes. Let rest for at least 1 minute on the warm baking sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

*I typically make a double batch of these cookies. I bake half, and freeze the other (pre-formed) unbaked cookies. They can be baked directly from frozen; which is awesome. 400° for 12 minutes. *

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Foodie, Main Eats, Recipe, Savory

Chicken Sausage and Summer Squash Stir Fry

August 6, 2014

Chicken-Sausage-Stir-Fry (4 of 4)

Gosh, I am totally loving this summer.

Want to know what else I’m loving right now? Squash. Give me all the squash in all the world and I will be a happy camper.

We’re fortunate to have neighbors and friends who keep delivering squash harvests from their gardens. As we speak, I have about 4 zucchini squash on my counter waiting to be turned into fritters, breads, and a multitude of other dishes. Is there anything you can’t do with a zucchini?!

At the moment, I am trying to consume fresh veggies at every single meal. You know, really take advantage of fresh local produce (or just help people not waste their garden’s bounty). This stir fry/salad combo dish is proving to be a great way to get a lot of vegetables into us in one sitting. It’s a great lunch or dinner dish. Make it a breakfast dish by scrambling it all together with a few eggs! It’s even awesome as leftovers!

This dish is easy-peasy to put together and sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

-3 chicken sausages (these sausages were artichoke and mozzarella chicken sausage); sliced.

-2 cups sliced squash (I used an assortment of zucchini, patty pan, and summer squash); thinly sliced.

-3 cloves of garlic; minced.

-1 tsp dried parsley (or 1 tbs fresh parsley)

-salt and pepper

-1/2 of a lemon

-1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

-a large handful of greens (I buy a “power greens” blend of baby spinach, kale and swiss chard).

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add sausage and stir to coat in the oil. After a few minutes, add the squash, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir every few minutes (like you would with a stir fry) until the squash begins to soften and the sausage has browned. Once everything has cooked to your liking, remove from heat.

Add the handful (or 2) of greens to a plate, top with desired amount of stir fry. Squeeze a lemon wedge (or 2!) over the top of the stir fry salad. Give a few grinds of fresh pepper.

Enjoy warm!

Chicken-Sausage-Stir-Fry (1 of 4)

Serves 2 adults (and 1 hungry baby)

Foodie, Recipe, Snacks

Homemade Fruit Snacks

February 17, 2014

homemade-fruit-snacks

I’ve always been a bit of a fruit snack addict.

Now that I’m older, my teeth cannot handle all the sticky sugar (and my body can’t handle the junk).

A good friend made a batch of these in the summer and they totally blew my mind. So simple, and so tasty.

I used to use the standard Knox gelatin, but I recently switched to Green Lakes brand (which is a high quality gelatin made from grass-fed animals). I made the switch because I wanted to get the full benefit that gelatin has to offer, without any added junk (or even low quality ingredients).

Gelatin has NUMEROUS health benefits (I highly recommend a quick Google search on the matter); joint health, collagen boosting, immunity boosting, etc.

homemade-fruit-snacks

If you want gelatin, skip the yucky stuff that’s in Jell-O, and just make your own using fruit and juice!

Here’s What You’ll Need:

-1 cup of juice (I use pomegranate juice)

-3 cups of frozen berries

-5-6 tablespoons of gelatin (I use Green Lakes gelatin)

-coconut oil for greasing your dish/mold

In a medium saucepan, add the juice and berries. Heat for several minutes; until the berries soften. Add to a blender and purée until mixture is a smooth consistency. Add the powdered gelatin and blend for 15-30 seconds until it is fully incorporated in the fruit purée. Pour into greased dish and let chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours. Once the gel has set, cut into pieces or with a shaped cutter. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.


homemade-fruit-snacks

 

Foodie, Photos, Recipe, Sweets

Raw Chocolate and Peanut Butter Fudge

February 4, 2014
Paleo-fudge


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Welcome to your newest addiction.

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Oh, fudge.

This recipe for “raw” (buzzword of the moment) fudge is divine. If you’re from the tiny slice of heaven known as Upstate NY/Northeast PA, then you’ll love how much these chocolatey treats taste like Gertrude Hawk Smidgens. Seriously; except these are totally “clean” and free of any junk.

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The other wonderful and amazing thing about this recipe? It takes about 2 minutes to make.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

-1/2 cup all natural peanut butter (or any other nut butter)

-1/2 cup coconut oil

-1/2 cup cocoa powder

-1/4 cup raw honey

-1 tsp pure vanilla extract

In the food processor, combine ingredients and blend until everything is a uniform consistency. Spoon out into silicone molds and place in the freezer to “set-up”; about 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container in the freezer.

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**No silicone molds? Use a muffin tin! I love the silicone molds because it makes it feel like you’re eating candy hearts.**

PBFudge

*Use this recipe to make peanut butter fudge too! Just skip the cocoa powder!*

 

 

 

 

 

Foodie, Main Eats, Recipe, Soups

Roasted Organic Butternut Squash Soup (with Bacon)

October 14, 2013

roastedbutternutsoup
Fall is here. I am in love.

The cooler temperatures. The changing leaves. A new baby on the way (and one who just turned 3). Life is perfect.

Want to know what makes life even more perfect? Soup. Homemade soup and fresh bread. I’ve died and gone to heaven.

roastedbutternutsoup
This soup has it all. Salty bacon. Savory roasted squash. Creamy and tangy greek yogurt (from Stonyfield Farms). Blended together to create the perfect “stick to your bones” fall soup. It’s hearty, but not heavy. Oh so nourishing. Exactly what you want (and need) after a hard day’s work (you know, like having a baby).

Here’s What You’ll Need:
-1 Medium Size Organic Butternut Squash; cut in half with the seeds removed
-Fresh Sage; a few sprigs
-1 Bag of Organic Frozen Corn
-Potatoes (3); peeled and chopped (I used Russet)
-1 Medium Yellow Onion; chopped
-4 Cups of Chicken Stock
-4 Cups of Milk (I used whole milk to give it a richer flavor)
-1 Pound of Bacon
-3-4 Cloves of Garlic; minced
-Stonyfield Plain Greek Yogurt; 16oz container
-3 Bay leaves
-Salt and Pepper

Preheat Oven to 375°. On a parchment lined baking sheet, place split squash. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place sprigs of sage on top. Roast for 45 minutes; or until flesh of squash is soft. Remove sage; discard. Scoop out contents and set aside.

While your squash is roasting, cook your bacon in a skillet. Chop cooked bacon into pieces and set aside; but save out several tablespoons of bacon grease (a small cup or dish will work perfectly for your liquid bacon-y goodness). *Don’t want to use bacon grease? Try olive oil instead!

In a large Dutch oven (or stock pot), sauté your onions in the reserved bacon grease until soft and translucent. Add garlic, corn, squash and potatoes. Give everything a quick stir to break up any tasty bits stuck to the bottom. Add your chicken stock. Again, give everything a nice stir. Add your milk, bay leaf, and another sprig of sage; plus a few grinds of salt and pepper. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for a minimum of 30 minutes; until the potatoes are soft and the flavors have had plenty of time to work through the soup. *I like to start my soup early, and let it cook for a few hours.*

roastedbutternutsoup
Remove from heat. Remove sage and bay leaves. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup. It should be a nice, thick consistency. Stir in the crumbled bacon and container of Stonyfield Greek yogurt.


roastedbutternutsoup
Serve with fresh bread (sourdough or cheese bread is THE BEST choice for this soup).

Makes 10-12 servings (and freezes awesome for leftovers)

roastedbutternutsoup
*Short on time? The squash can be roasted the day before (or several days). After it has roasted, scoop out contents and store in an airtight container in the fridge; for up to 3 days.

*The purée step isn’t necessary, but I have a picky toddler who only eats soups with a uniform consistency. Also, we call this “Bacon Soup” in our house because anything with the word bacon in it means she’ll eat it; no questions asked

Foodie, Main Eats, Recipe

Make Ahead Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches

August 17, 2013

breakfastsammies

I need protein in the morning. Like, a lot of protein. I need eggs. I need meat. But who has time for that?!

I typically make a Peanut Butter & Banana smoothie (literally a quart of smoothie) with lots of hemp protein powder and that gets me through until about 1pm. However, sometimes a smoothie doesn’t cut it. OR I only have enough milk left for JBird’s morning cereal. That child loves her bran flakes.

I had an a-ha moment while purchasing a super delicious Starbuck’s breakfast sandwich on our last road trip. WHY am I paying for something that I can make at home for WAY cheaper.

Since deciding to stop spending money on things like takeout, Starbucks, restaurants, (and anywhere else where we sometimes grab a quick bite to eat), I knew I needed to come up with more quick and easy breakfast options for my husband (and myself). I started making large batches of Whole Wheat & Flax Waffles on the weekend to reheat during the week (and eat with peanut butter and bananas), but I wanted to try my hand at my all time favorite quick breakfast: The Breakfast Sandwich.

I initially wanted to use canadian bacon, but couldn’t find it at the grocery store (I blame foggy pregnancy brain). I did find a large bag of turkey sausage patties for a great price and that sounded wonderful to me. My husband prefers sausage breakfast sandwiches anyway, and the turkey sausage gives you a great sausage flavor without all the grease.

I added spinach to the eggs to give us a boost of veggies in the morning. I’m going to try peppers and onions on my next batch (with the spinach). Spinach and eggs go so well together.

My cheese of choice was cheddar (how Wisconsin of me), but I think gouda or even mozzarella would be great. The flavor combinations are pretty endless.

My original goal was to make my own english muffins from scratch, but I was very disappointed with my first batch (although Toby Dog was NOT disappointed with them…since he stole 4 off the counter). This batch was made with store bought muffins, but I haven’t given up on my quest to make (and perfect) my own english muffins. Stay tuned for that.

After doing some math, these breakfast sandwiches (Turkey Sausage, Egg, Spinach, Sharp Cheddar, English Muffins) worked out to be about .99 cents each. WAY cheaper than anything you’d get in a drive through. Not to mention they’re healthier AND taste better too. Win-Win-Win.

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Here’s What You’ll Need:

-12 eggs

-12 whole wheat english muffins

-12 (or in our case, 24) pieces of turkey sausage (or canadian bacon, ham, bacon, or whatever tickles your fancy)

-1 brick of sharp cheddar cheese (or 12 cheddar slices)

-2 cups fresh baby spinach; chopped (add in any other veggies or mushrooms you see fit).

-coconut oil (to grease the pan)

-salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 350°. On a large baking sheet, separate the english muffins and lay flat to toast. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, crack the dozen eggs and beat. Add salt and pepper. Mix. Set Aside.

Grease a 9×13 pan. I used coconut oil, but you can use whatever you normally use (ie: cooking spray). Pour the beaten eggs into the dish. Sprinkle chopped spinach over eggs. Give a quick stir so the spinach is covered with eggs. Bake at 350 ° for 20-30 minutes; or until eggs are “set” and fully cooked.

While the eggs are baking, put your baking sheet of english muffins in the oven as well to toast them (take them out after 10 minutes). Now would be a great time to slice your cheese (unless it’s already sliced). If you are using a meat that needs to be cooked before you assemble the sandwiches (ie: anything not already frozen and in patty form), then cook that while the eggs bake too. **I used a brown and serve turkey sausage that was pre-frozen, so I skipped that last step. However, if I was going to use canadian bacon (or regular bacon) I would cook it before freezing**

Once the eggs are baked, remove from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes. You want them to be all the way cool before putting them into the freezer (otherwise, things might get weird in there).  Using a biscuit cutter (sized to fit your english muffins), cut 12 egg and spinach rounds from your pan. If this seems too complicated, just cut 12 egg squares instead. I wanted rounds because I’m kind of wacky like that.

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Now, Assemble!! I placed an egg round on the bottom of the english muffin, then added my turkey sausage. Next came the cheese, and the other half of the english muffin followed that. Do this 12 times. When all of your sandwiches are assembled, wrap them in foil and store them in gallon size freezer bags.

freezer breakfast sammies

To Reheat:

Microwave:

-remove foil from sandwich, place on microwave safe plate and cook for 2-3 minutes. Devour.

Conventional Oven: (my preferred choice)

-Preheat oven to 350°

-Undo foil wrapping and set (on foil) on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes (or until center is warm).

**If someone other than yourself will be reheating these, maybe write these instructions out and tape them to the gallon freezer bag that you are storing these breakfast sandwiches in. It’s the nice thing to do**

Makes 12 (make ahead, freezer) breakfast sandwiches

Foodie, Main Eats, Recipe, Soups

Split Pea & Ham Soup

August 13, 2013

splitpeasoupI love this soup.

It’s my absolute favorite soup to make.

It’s oh so savory and smoky; with just a touch of earthiness thanks to the split peas.

The key to really good split pea soup is REALLY great ham hocks. I will drive great distances to purchase heavenly hocks. Some stores will try to sell you sub-par hocks (for cheap prices). Do not be swindled. A great hock is worth every penny. High quality hocks also tend to have LOTS of meat left on them. Again, totally worth the extra drive (and extra bucks). I buy my smoked ham hocks from our local co-op; where they sell locally sourced hocks. In cold weather months, it’s nearly impossible to find them any day other than delivery day. And here’s the thing about delivery day…it’s not always the same day every week. So you really have to stalk the butcher guys to get the “down low” on the hocks.

End of ham hock story.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

-2 cups of split peas; rinsed

-1 large smoked ham hock

-1/2 of a yellow onion; chopped

-2 large carrots; peeled and chopped

-3 celery stalks; ends trimmed and chopped

-3 cloves of garlic; minced

-1 Tbs olive oil

-2 bay leaves

-12 cups of water

-2 Tbs Better Than Bouillon low-sodium chicken base (you don’t NEED this, but it adds extra flavor and depth to the soup).

salt and pepper

In a large Dutch Oven (8 quart), heat oil over medium heat. Add your onion, celery, and carrots. Cook the veggies until soft. Add your minced garlic. Now, add your ham hock, dried peas, water, and bay leaves. Add the Better Than Bouillon now (if you were adding it). Add a few grinds of salt and pepper. I go pretty lenient on the salt since the hock is smoked and will add a nice salty flavor to the mix. You can always add more salt later.

Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. The longer it cooks the better it’ll taste!!

Remove ham hock from the soup and set aside (preferably on a large plate or cutting board). Remove bay leaves. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until everything is a uniform consistency. **This step isn’t necessary, but in order to get my toddler to eat ANY soup, everything has to be the same texture and consistency**

Remove meat from the hock. I try to shred the meat as best I can before putting it back in the soup. I buy really meaty hocks, which result in about 2 cups of shredded hocky goodness when I’m all done. Again, I love me some hocks. **I tend to discard all of the fat, but you can keep whatever you like. I save the cleaned bones to use in bone broths later (like a beef stock). Just pop them in a freezer bag and store in your freezer until you’re ready to use them**

Re-add the meat and bay leaves to the soup and continue to simmer on low until you’re ready to serve.

Serve with fresh crusty bread. Sourdough is our favorite.

splitpeasoup2

**This makes an outrageous amount of soup. Which means at least half will automatically go into the freezer once it’s cooled. Perfect for busy weeknight dinners**

*You can easily turn this into a slow cooker recipe by adding all of your ingredients to the slow cooker. Then, set it on low for 8 hours.*

Foodie, Recipe, Snacks, Sweets

Chocolate Avocado Fruit Dip

August 7, 2013


Chocolate Fruit Dip
This is a recipe that I posted in 2011 under the title Raw Chocolate Mousse. It’s a really amazing and super versatile recipe, so I’ve decided to re-post it with a bit of a facelift.

I was asked to submit a kid-friendly summer dip recipe to a local magazine and this was the first thing that popped in my head.

Chocolate Fruit Dip

Although, we often call this “pudding” in our house; it has also become my go-to “dessert dip” for parties, potlucks, and picnics.

Chocolate Fruit Dip

With ingredients like avocados, dates, and ZERO refined sugars you simply cannot go wrong with this recipe! It is the perfect sweet treat to serve to kids and grown-ups alike (and for the more skeptical eaters, just call it Chocolate Fruit Dip and they’ll be none the wiser).

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Here’s What You’ll Need:

-4 ripe avocados; halved, with the pits removed and green flesh scooped out

-1 cups of dates (about 20 dates)

-2 tbs pure maple syrup (you can also use raw honey)

-1 tsp pure vanilla extract vanilla

-1 bag of high quality semi-sweet chocolate chips: melted

-1-2 cups of unsweetened vanilla almond milk

First, soak the dates in a small bowl of water (with enough water to just cover the dates. About a cup). I usually let mine soak for an hour, the softer they are, the easier it is to puree them.

In a large food processor, add the soaked dates (and the water they soaked in) and puree them until they form a nice paste. Next, add the avocados, maple syrup, vanilla, 1 cup of almond milk, and the melted chocolate. Process until  the mixture is smooth in consistency. If it looks too thick, add 1/2 cup of almond milk (up to another full cup of almond milk). The finished product should be thick and creamy, but not so thick that you couldn’t dip fruit in it.

Transfer to a lidded bowl and let “set up” in the fridge for about an hour. Stir before serving. Use within 5 days….but there’s no way it’ll last that long.

Chocolate Fruit Dip

Preferred “Dippables”:

-Strawberries

-Apple Slices

-Pineapple

-Any other “strong” fruit (that won’t break off into the dip)

Serves a crowd.

Chocolate Fruit Dip
Other uses for this recipe:
-chocolate pudding
-filling for layer cakes
-frosting for cupcakes or brownies
-the base for a chocolate cream pie (just add to a pie shell and top with homemade whipped cream…either dairy-based or coconut-milk based)
**During this photo session, I had a very eager toddler patiently waiting for me to finish so she could eat the strawberries and dip. It’s really hard to not touch or eat chocolate pudding at 10am…especially when you’re “weely weely hungwy”. (also note all the bug bites on her hands, face, and arms. the mosquitos are absolutely awful this year! Poor JBird.)**
Chocolate Fruit Dip
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Foodie, Recipe, Snacks, Sweets

Whole Wheat Lemon Scones

July 5, 2013



Lemon Scones


After I made my Raw Chia Jam, I immediately craved fresh scones.

Lemon Scones

Crazily enough, I have never made scones before! Turns out, they are ridiculously easy to make!

Lemon Scones

The lemon flavor is subtle, but very “real” tasting (not like a lemon extract taste that can be a bit overpowering….although I do love it in lemon poppy seed muffins). These are definitely NOT your typical overly sugary-sweet scones. They are mildly sweet and pair beautifully with sweet homemade jams. The perfect tea party treat!

Here’s What You’ll Need:

2 cups whole wheat flour

1/4 cup raw cane sugar (or raw honey)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) of cold butter (I used salted butter and skipped the additional salt); cut into pieces

1/2 cup sour milk (I used whole milk and added the juice of 1 lemon to allow the milk to sour)

the zest of 1 whole lemon

additional cane sugar for sprinkling over top of the scones (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350°.

In a food processor (using the dough blade), add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pulse several times to mix your dry ingredients. Next, add the cold butter pieces and process until the “dough” starts to come together. Add the milk, sugar, and lemon zest and process on “low” until a slightly sticky dough forms.

Lemons Scones

On a parchment lined baking sheet, scoop out the dough and form into a bowl. Press the ball into a circle; about 1/2 inch thick.

Lemon Scones

Cut the dough into 12 pieces; but don’t cut all the way through. You’ll be able to cut the scones apart easier this way once they are done baking.

Sprinkle the top with additional sugar (about 1 tablespoon). Bake for 20-25 minutes

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days (ours lasted 5 days without getting too dried out).

Makes 8 scones. Serve with fresh jam and tea. (goes GREAT with a Raw Strawberry Chia Jam. Perfect flavor combos).

Lemon Scones

 

Adapted from Taste of Home.

 

Foodie, Recipe, Snacks, Sweets

Raw Strawberry Chia Jam

July 3, 2013

 

Raw Chia JamOur lovely neighbors surprised us with a pint of hand picked strawberries last week. The berries were super juicy and ripe! Several of the berries were too soft to just eat by hand, so I figured it was as good a time as any to test out this raw jam recipe that I’d been curious about for some time. The result: a healthy and tasty strawberry spread that goes great on just about anything! I will definitely be making this on a regular basis over the summer.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

2 cups of fresh strawberries(overly ripe works best)

2 tbs chia seeds

2 tbs water

1 tbs raw honey

In a mixing bowl, mash the strawberries. I used a fork and it worked just fine. You can also use a blender or food processor, but the berries end up too frothy if you aren’t careful.

Once the berries are a jam-like consistency, add the chia seeds, water, and honey. Stir until everything is combined.

Transfer jam to a lidded bowl or jar (Mason jars work best).

Allow 1 hour to “set up” in the fridge. The longer it sits, the better it tastes.

Store for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.

Serve with fresh scones, on toast, on pancakes, over ice cream, in yogurt, as strawberry sauce for strawberry shortcake, or straight out of the jar!

Adapted from Nature’s Nurture