Fruit Roll Ups – 1 ingredient 

Its strawberry season! The smell of ripe strawberries is intoxicating. I just can’t resist buying a whole flat…weekly! This week’s batch made popcicles and fruit roll ups. Next week’s will make jam (see last year’s post). 

   
 Strawberry Fruit Roll ups & Popcicles

  • 4 baskets of ripe strawberries

Cut off the tops of your berries. Blend them. 

Pour about 1/2 – 2/3 cup of the mixture on silicon mats and evenly spread across the entire surface. I just tip the mats around until it’s even. The process is super relaxing. (Note: my mats are made for my dehydrator but I’m sure those silicon mats will work too). Then dehydrate on 135 degrees for 3-4 hours or until the center is no longer wet. 

Pull the fruit off the mat into strips and wrap in wax or parchment paper. Roll them up and tie them with a string. Store in an air-tight container. They should last about a month – though ours don’t last that long because the kiddo loves these tart little snacks. 

You’ll have mix remaining. Pour them into popcicle molds and freeze. Delicious!!

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Oh soooo addictive: granola bars

Well, she’s here! Our second baby girl was born in late March and our amazing Mom’s Club helped feed my family the first month!! I remembered from our first how much help the homemade dinners were. But this time around, with a four year old to feed too, the dinners were a life saver. Just when my first would start to get grumpy, I’d look at the clock and realize it was dinner time! Like superheroes, a mommy would knock on my door with dinner for all of us. Saving the day!

One of the mommies, a woman with wings, not only made us an amazing meal but also made us these. I have to admit that I ate the majority of them (perfect snacks for the nursing mommy) and my guilt brought me to make my family another batch (2 months later). 

This time around, my family knows I’ll devour them in no time. So, they’re keeping pace with my addiction. We have at least two a day each. 

   
    Granola Bars

  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup hazelnut or almond meal
  • 1 1/2 cup seeds and  raw nuts (pecan pieces, cashew pieces, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, Pepitas)
  • 1 cup raw shredded coconut
  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar 
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 TBSP maple syrup 
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 cup hemp seed hearts (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup dried fruit (cherries, blueberries, raisins)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the first five ingredients in a large rimmed cookie sheet and bake for 10 mins or until slightly golden and fragrant.  Be sure to stir every few mins. Once done, remove and turn the oven down to 300 degrees. 

Heat the butter, sugar, honey, syrup, vanilla and salt in a pan over medium heat until the sugar is melted. 

In a large bowl, add all the ingredients and fold together until everything is wet. 

Line you large rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread the mixture evenly (I used a rubber spatula to press it and spread it evenly).  

Cook at 300 for 25-30 mins or until golden brown. I cooked mine for 25 but it could’ve used another 2-3 mins to stay more in bar form. Mine were a bit crumbly. 

Let them set for at least 3 hours. Then cut them with a serrated knife. And store in sealed containers. 

Makes about 16 bars. 

Enjoy!

Mommy Power Bites (Lactation Cookies)

I hate to call these cookies and give you the wrong idea. These are not sweet like cookies but more satisfying like a great power bar. They include lactogenic ingredients like oats, hemp seed and nutritional yeast that help with “boobie milk” as my 4 year old calls it. Not that I’m breastfeeding my 4 year old and have no judgement of those that do, it’s just not for me. Her friend just had a new baby and we have one on the way! So, there’s lots of talk about things like poopy diapers and boobie milk. Wait. Have I digressed? Anyway, they’re great for lactating mommies and really anyone who is expending a ton of energy (I’m thinking the cyclists in my life would love these too).

Try these bites if you’re expecting or know someone who is. They’re a perfect snack for mommies who are posted on the couch taking care of a newborn.

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Slight adaptation of a recipe by The Fitnessista

Mommy Power Bites

* 2 cups rolled oats
* 1 cup hazelnut meal
* 1/2 cup hemp seed
* 2 TBSP chia seeds
* 1 TBSP flax seeds
* 2 TBSP nutritional yeast
* 1/2 tsp baking powder
* 1/4 tsp baking soda
* pinch of salt
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon
* 6 TBSP melted butter
* 1 large egg
* 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
* 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
* 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix first 10 ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients. Combine them all together. Then fold in the chocolate chips.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a tablespoon to mold the bites into balls and place on cookie sheet ~2″ apart.

Pop in the oven for 10-11 mins or until they just start to brown around the bottom edges. Let cool slightly (they’ll be crumbly if you try to move them now). Then carefully remove them from the sheet with a spatula and finish cooling on a rack.

Wrap up or freeze remaining bites.

Enjoy!

Banana Bread – the search for a great recipe

It’s getting better, my quest for the perfect slice of banana bread made at home. I have a food memory from childhood of a toasty, banana-y, buttery banana bread slice served at my grandma’s house. I’m sure it was store-bought. But I’m on a mission to try to recreate that memory taste.

Today’s recipe is almost there. I still need to tweak the addition of the nuts since those that float to the top of the loaf tend to get too much oven time. However, it’s good enough to archive the recipe to date. In fact, I’m going to go try another slice now that it’s had time to marry together and get to room temp (I might have scalded my tongue in my haste to try out the first slice.)

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Banana Bread
* 3 ripe bananas
* 1/3 c melted butter
* Splash of vanilla
* 1 egg
* 1 tsp cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp nutmeg
* Pinch of cloves
* 3/4 c brown sugar
* 1 tsp baking soda
* Pinch salt
* 1/4 cup chopped pecans
* 1 TBSP flax seeds
* 1 1/2 c flour

Mash the bananas in a medium bowl. Then add the next 7 ingredients. Mix. Then add the baking soda and salt. Add the flour and then the nuts and seeds. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 mins in a buttered loaf pan. Make sure to check the loaf with a toothpick. It should come out clean when inserted in the middle of the loaf.

Serve with butter. Mmmmmm

Strawberry and Rhubarb Jam

Ok, ok. I know. It’s not the season but I’ve been really delinquent in posting and really need to archive this recipe. It’s so damn good! Seriously. Mark this one for next Summer’s jam making extravaganza.

Summer Jam

Strawberry and Rhubarb Jam

Ingredients
  • 3 cups fresh strawberries (chopped)
  • 1 cup rhubarb (roughly 1 stalk) (chopped)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Place a small dish into the freezer to use for testing the jam.

In a large deep skillet, add strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, and lemon juice. Heat and stir until it reaches a rolling boil. Boil and stir until it thickens, 10 minutes. When it seems like it is gelling, take your plate out of the freezer. Put a small spoonful of the jam onto the plate and let sit for 30 seconds. Tilt it. If it slides too fast, keep cooking. If it moves slow, it is done. Test every minute or two and do not overcook it. Spoon into heat-proof container and cool to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. I froze some and am still loving the fruits of a quick Summer’s bounty boil.

To can jam:
  1. Wash one 8-ounce (or 6-ounce + 2-ounce) glass mason jar with a two-piece lid with soap and hot water. Dry completely.
  2. Add the jar(s) and lid pieces to a large pot of boiling water deep enough for the jar(s) to be completely submerged in water. Once the water is boiling, leave the jar(s) in there until ready to use.
  3. Remove the jar(s) and lids from water and drain out all of the water from the jar. Keep the water boiling. Spoon the jam into the jar(s). Wipe excess jam off the rim of the jar(s) so it will seal properly. Add the lid. You may want to use an oven mitt so you can hold the jar(s) still.
  4. Place sealed jar(s) back into the boiling water and boil for 15 minutes. Make sure it is submerged in the water. Remove from the water and let dry on a heat-resistant surface for 18-24 hours. Once cool, press down on the lid. If it stays down, it is sealed. If it pops back up, put in the refrigerator and use within two weeks.

Le Dried Pears

My family LOVES snacking. I know – snacking is good for our metabolism but these two could just snack all day and forego a proper meal. Luckily, they don’t. So, in addition to our balanced three meals, I try to make nutritious snacks that they can easily nosh.

We are blessed to have a pear tree that gives us abundant amounts of fruit every Fall. We’re in that season. Unfortunately, they ripen really fast. So to preserve them before they end up in compost, I’ve been running the dehydrator nonstop.

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Le Dried Pear Rings
• 10 pears
• 1 lemon
• 1 large bowl of water

Cut the lemon in half and squeeze it into the water. Peel the pears. I do them one at a time and then slice and core them. Put the rings into the lemon water so they don’t turn brown.

Set your dehydrator to 135 degrees and pack the rings in. Mine took about 24 hours to dry to an almost crispy state. But remember, times vary by climate so start checking your rings around the 20 hour mark.

Happy snacking!

Snappy Dill Pickles

My book club read “Cooked” by Michael Pollan. And while the reviews about the book were mixed, it did inspire me to get cooking again.

I had intended for us all to make pickles together – inspired by the “earth” section of the book. But too much rosé was consumed and we all ended up lounging in the sun instead. Not a bad alternative.

So, the next day, I made pickles. I had my first after 48 hours in the fridge and they are so satisfying! If you’d like to make more than 1 jar (I suggest that you do. I predict that they will be extremely popular.), just double, triple, quadruple or quintuple the recipe like I did.

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Snappy Dill Pickles
• 1 cup of water
• 3 TBS distilled white vinegar
• 2 tsp salt
• 4 stems of fresh dill
• a shake of whole black peppercorns
• a shake of red pepper flakes
• 1 big garlic clove, cut in thirds vertically
• 1 to 2 cucumbers
• 1 quart sized mason jar, sterilized

Wash the cucumbers. Slice them into spears – vertically into fourths. Mine were too tall for the mason jar so I also cut them in half. Pack them into the jar. Make sure there’s at least 2″ space between the cucumbers and the top of the jar. And make sure they’re packed in there tightly.

In a separate bowl mix the water, vinegar and salt until the salt is dissolved.

Add the water mixture into the mason jar. Make sure the water is at least 1″ above the cucumbers. Add in the garlic, dill, peppercorns and flakes.

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Seal up the jar and put it in the fridge for 48 hours. Pop open the jar and get snappin!

Enjoy!!