10.23.2010

Happy Wholesome Breakfast Cookies - Healthy, High Fiber Recipe


Early this spring Jeff pointed out that we had a lot of jars of jelly. They were mostly gifts from friends and family. While I love getting homemade preserves, we just don't eat them that often. Jeff made a couple batches of jam thumbprint cookies, but we still had lots of jam. We needed a healthier option than thumbprint cookies.


Then Jeff found a recipe for breakfast cookies. I just used up the last jar of jelly today. I would guess 80% of our jam was used making this breakfast cookie recipe. We make it about every other week. The oats and wheat germ make them wholesome and the pecans and raisins bring lots of flavor to the table.

We tried lots of flavors of jelly: persimmons, blueberry, blackberry, and wild grape - all were tasty. The wild grape goes perfectly with the raisins. If you have peach or apricot jam, I could see adding chopped dried apricots instead of raisins. Anyone have a jar of apricot jam they want to give me?

At first I wasn't impressed with the breakfast cookies because although they look like cookies, they don't taste like cookies. They aren't sweet. They are more like a granola bar, but that still implies sweet. Breakfast biscuit? No, that sounds like it should be light and fluffy and these are definitely dense. I guess cookie is as good description as any. And who knows, perhaps calling these cookies will entice the reluctant breakfast eater.

Just serve them with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk and no one will care what they are called because they are nutty and delicious. Plus they are portable; perfect for eating on the way to school or work.

Happy Wholesome Breakfast Cookies

1/3 cup jam or jelly
3 tablespoons butter melted or olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 raisins (optional)

Step 1:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all the wet ingredients together in a medium bowl - jelly, oil, honey, and egg. 

Step 2:  In a second bowl whisk together the dry ingredients - flour, baking soda, salt, oats, wheat germ, pecans and raisins if desired. 

Step 3:  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix till combined.  This will be a very course dough.  Divide the dough into 12 balls and place on a cookie sheet.  Use the palm of your hand to flatten the balls until the dough is about 3/4 of an inch thick.  These cookies won't spread or rise.  Bake for 15 minutes or until the bottoms turn golden brown. 

Breakfast cookies are wonderful fresh and they store well. 

Yields: 12 cookies

Nutrition for one cookie:  3 Weight Watcher's Points each, 150 calories, 3 grams of fiber, 5 grams of fat and 4 grams of protein. 

10.19.2010

Acorn Squash Stuffed with a Wild Rice Vegetable Pilaf - Recipe


Fall is the best! I love the whole harvest vibe and the golden colors. I've been dragging my camera to work every day so I can snap photos of the autumn brilliance. Then I left my camera at work and then somehow I downloaded all my photos on to my work computer instead of just the plant pictures. All my food photos were stuck at work. I finally remembered to put my food photos on a jump drive and now I have them my laptop and I can finally share this recipe.

Check out these beautiful stuffed acorn squash. They were so tasty I made them twice! I created the recipe as I went along and I wrote down exactly what I did so I could put it up on the blog. I hope you try them. They are perfect for a vegetarian Thanksgiving or really any Thanksgiving. Who am I kidding? This is the perfect meal for any fall evening.
 

What are the acorn squash stuffed with you ask? Wild rice, mushrooms, raisins, leeks and carrots. The combination is rich and nutty with some hints of sweetness from the raisins.



Zeus, the cat we brought back with us from Panama, loves squash.  It's one of his many quirks.  I cut these babies open and he was immediately up on the table checking them out.  He loves the seeds and the stringy bits.  I scooped some into his food bowl so he wasn't licking our dinner, but not before I snapped a photo. 

Acorn Squash Stuffed with a Wild Rice Vegetable Pilaf

2 acorn squash
1 1/3 cups wild rice
5 cups broth chicken or vegetable
1 teaspoon salt
1 lbs of leaks
3 carrots
1 cup raisins (I used half golden and half purple raisins)
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
1 tablespoon butter or fat (I used bacon grease the second time and it was excellent)

 Step 1:  Over medium heat in a sauce pan combine the broth, salt and wild rice and bring to a simmer.  Cover and allow to simmer for twenty minutes.  Meanwhile cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds and stringy part.  In a 9x13 pan add 1 inch of water and place the squash cut side up in the water.  Bake the squash covered at 400 degrees for twenty minutes.  Baking the squash in water will steam it and, added bonus, if the squash releases any juices they won't stick and burn to your pan. 

Step 2:  Clean and cut the mushrooms, leeks and carrots into half inch slices.  In a sauce pan over medium heat saute the sliced veggies in the fat until they start to soften.  The mushrooms will darken and the leeks will become translucent.  It should take about 10 minutes. 

Step 3:  Take the wild rice off the heat and mix it into the sauteed veggies. The wild rice will finish cooking n the oven, so there should still be some liquid left.  Stir in the raisins.  When the squash finishes its 20 minutes in the oven take it out and drain the water (don't turn off the oven).  Fill each acorn squash half with wild rice mixture and put the remaining wild rice around the acorn squash. 

Step 4:  Cover the pan and bake at 400 for an additional 30 minutes.  Then remove your squash from the oven and let it set five minutes before serving. 

This dish goes great with green beans or broccoli. 

Yields: Four dinner sized servings

Nutrition: 370 calories, 5 grams of fat, 9 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein.  If you are a following Weight Watchers that's just 7 points. 

10.02.2010

Local Harvest Feast - Project Food Blog Challenge #3



Hosting a luxury dinner party doesn't mean you have to spend all your time in the kitchen or spend a ton of money. This is how I like to celebrate the season and enjoy the end of summer with family and friends.

I can't believe it's already October.  We even have a chance of frost on Monday.  The tomatoes are winding down, the cucumber and summer squash vines are looking pretty pathetic.  I'm already starting to mourn the loss of warm season vegetables.  Every time I eat a tomato, I think, "This could be the last tomato of summer," which might be a little overly dramatic but I love garden fresh tomatoes and I will miss them.  (I refuse to eat the mealy pink things masquerading as tomatoes sold at super market in the winter.) 

For the third Project Food Blog challenge I put together a dinner party showcasing the last of the summer produce.  Most of the ingredients are from the kitchen garden, the local farm stand or wild harvested.  This menu showcases my favorite summer foods: tomatoes, sweet corn, and basil.  Plus some goodies that are available for a very limited window like hickory nuts, bolete mushrooms and wild onions. 


The key to this dinner party is the food can be made in advance so that it only requires quick assembly and some heating.  That way I can spend more time with my guests and less time in the kitchen.  We'll start our dinner with a small bowl of light and creamy corn chowder made from the last harvest of summer sweet corn.  This dish can be made a couple days in advance and held in the refrigerator.  The chowder even improves over night.  To serve, simply reheat it gently on the stove.  Do not let it boil or you'll risk curdling the milk.  Here's the link for the recipe:  Summer Sweet Corn Chowder



The corn chowder is served with wild onion and rosemary bread.  As the nights get cool here in the Midwest, wild onions are coming out of dormancy.  I collected the onions in a low lying wet part of the forest.  The rosemary is from the kitchen garden.  I used half the normal amount of rosemary because I wanted the thyme to come through in the chowder.  Here's the recipe:  Wild Onion and Rosemary Bread

Two small slices of bread satisfy without filling up the guests.  They need to still have an appetite for the main course.  Although I think if I just served the corn chowder people would be happy.  It is amazing.  Even if you don't throw a dinner party you should make it.

The main course is hickory nut basil pesto with roasted cherry tomatoes and a side of bolete mushrooms sauteed in butter. 


The basil is starting to look yellow and peaked now in the garden.  We have time for one last round of pesto.  To make the main course a little more local I opted not to use pine nuts.  Lately pine nuts have been really expensive.  I've been paying about two dollars an ounce.  Apparently there was a bad harvest somewhere that is driving the price up. Local nuts are a less costly option.

Locally there are lots of shag bark hickories.  During a recent camping trip we collected a bucket full of nuts and cracked them open.  I toasted a cup worth of them in a dry pan on the stove before using them in the pesto.  They are bitterer than pine nuts, but they still have the buttery flavor.  It was a nice change and perfect for this local harvest dinner party. 

You can make the pesto up to two days in advance and store it in the refrigerator, but the pasta should be fresh.  Use an angel hair or other thin pasta because they cook in under ten minutes.  Here's a link to the recipe:  Basil Pesto.

While you are waiting for the pasta to boil put cherry tomatoes cut side up on a cookie sheet, sprinkle them with kosher salt and pop them in a hot oven for ten minutes or so until they start looking wrinkled.  This will make them less watery and intensify their flavor.  Serve them nestled on the side of the pesto.   

The cherry tomatoes are the variety 'Sweet Treat'. They have amazing flavor and are quite sweet. I would consider handing them out at Halloween but I don't think they'll last that long. 


To go with the pesto Jeff found the perfect side: wild bolete mushrooms among the leaf litter under a pine tree.  Rather than mix them into the pasta where their flavor would be over shadowed by the basil, I opted to simply saute them in butter and serve them in a small bowl by themselves.  What a treat!  These are really delicate mushrooms so simply clean and prepare them ahead of time, then saute them briefly in a pan with butter before serving.


For dessert, a simple apple crisp with sassafras tea.  I picked some apples off the Johnagold tree outside my office a couple weeks ago.  These are great apples. They bridge the gap for good eating apples and good baking apples.  They have a nice crunch and tend a little to the tart side.  I made them into a quick apple crisp. 

You can make the crisp a day in advance, just keep the topping and apples refrigerated sperately and put it together right before baking.  It takes about 40 minutes to cook.  Put it in the oven when you serve the main course.  That way it will be wonderfully fresh and the smell will permeate the house right about the time you are ready to serve.  Make sure to allow at least five minutes for the crisp to sit.  It should be warm, not scalding.  Here's the recipe for Apple Crisp.

Instead of offering coffee I decided on a local option, sassafras tea.  It has a mild root beer flavor and is the perfect match for apple crisp.  Make the tea in the morning and reheat it before serving.  Find the recipe here for making sassafras tea with fresh roots. 
What a lovely evening.  It was a perfect way to celebrate the end of summer. 

This is my entry for the third Project Food Blog challenge! I hope you liked it, and if you did, become a follower of my blog by clicking the “follow” button in the right hand column.

If you are a Featured Publisher at Foodbuzz, please vote for me. I’d love ya for it, I really would.

•Voting Opens: 6AM Pacific Time October 4th
•Voting Closes: 6PM Pacific Time October 7th