Gluten Free · Health · New Favorite

Berry Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

These Berry Oatmeal Breakfast Bars are great for breakfast on-the-go or for a snack.  The bars are free of refined sugar and gluten.  The original blueberry recipe from Iowa Girl Eats is delicious (of course everything she makes is!).  My second batch was made with blueberries and raspberries…Yum!  I may try to substitute applesauce for the bananas on a future batch for family members that don’t like the taste of bananas.

Wouldn’t these be great to freeze and have on hand especially for busy Moms once the kids are back to school?

BERRY BREAKFAST OATMEAL BARS

  • 2.5 cups certified gluten-free old fashioned oats, divided (I actually just used the food processor on all of the oats)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana (about 2 small or 1 large banana)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 heaping cup of berries
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees then spray an 8×8″ baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. Add 1 cup old fashioned oats to food processor or blender and process until oats have turned into flour (Note:  I blended the entire 2.5 cups).  Set aside.  Alternatively you can use a scant cup of oat flour.
  3. Add milk, mashed banana, honey, coconut oil, egg, and vanilla to a large bowl then whisk to combine.  Add remaining 1.5 cups oats, oat flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt then stir to combine.  Fold in the berries then pour batter into greased baking pan.
  4. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the center has set.  Cool before slicing into bars and store in the refrigerator.  Alternatively, you can individually wrap the bars in Saran Wrap and freeze.

Recipe adapted slightly from: Iowa Girl Eats

Family · Family Favorites

Banana Bread with Banana Jam…double the flavor!

Banana Bread is an old time favorite that my Mother and the women before her made for their families. I like it plain, with a little butter, but always shared with family and friends.

This time I decided to try it with the Banana Jam we drooled over in Nicaragua and I wasn’t disappointed.  This combination is great for breakfast, coffee, or dessert. Just say BANANA!

BANANA BREAD

2 cups sifted all purpose flour (or gluten-free flour)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup mashed bananas
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1 teaspoon flour

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Sift together 2 cups flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.
  • Cream together shortening and sugar.
  • Blend in eggs and vanilla; mix well.
  • Add dry ingredients alternately with bananas, mixing just until blended.
  • Combine pecans and 1 tsp. flour; stir into batter. Pour into greased 9″ tube pan.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes or until bread tests done. Cool in pan on rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool on rack.

Yield: 1 loaf

New Favorite

White Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

Guests were coming for lunch on Saturday…what to make for dessert…

The Ghiradelli White Chocolate chips were calling my name.  Normally one thinks of White Chocolate with Macadamia nuts but why not pecans.  I baked these yummy cookies from the Ghiradelli recipe with delicious pecans.  They are slightly addictive so the remaining cookies are in the freezer for a quick dessert another time.

WHITE CHOCOLATE PECAN COOKIES

Yield: 5 dozen cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups unsifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups (11 oz. bag) white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Cream the butter and sugars until fluffy.
  • Add the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, and beat well.
  • Blend in the flour, baking soda and salt.
  • Stir in the white chips and nuts.

  • Drop by teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheets (or lined with parchment). Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Adapted from Ghirardelli Macadamia White Chip Cookies recipe on the back of the Ghirardelli Classic White Chips package

Family Favorites · My Roots · Vegan · Vegetarian

Fresh Applesauce…the tradition continues

Fall is in the air and the apples are fantastic.  What a perfect time to make fresh applesauce just like Mom used to make.  I’m honored that this tradition continues as older daughter, Megan, made this year as well.

A trip to the Farmer’s Market for fresh apples and a little time and you’re ready to go.

I’m fortunate enough to still have the vintage colander sieve with wooden pestle my Mother used for many years, making quick work of making ultra-smooth applesauce. I have even cooked the apples with the skin on (and sometimes with the seeds) knowing that the colander/sieve will strain out the skin and seeds.

FRESH APPLESAUCE

8 apples (Granny Smith’s work well–but use what you have)
1 cup cold water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
sugar to taste (or none if you prefer)

  • Wash the apples under cold water. Peel and core each apple and cut into smaller pieces. Put apples, water, and sugar in saucepan.

  • Cook over medium heat. When the water begins to boil, turn down heat to medium low to simmer and add cinnamon. Cover with lid and lower heat again to keep from sticking. Stir often while cooking about 40 minutes. Add more water if needed.
  • Use a vintage sieve and pestle, potato masher (or food processor) to mash apples into smooth, thick sauce.

Serve warm or chill in refrigerator. Freezes well.

Family Favorites · Holidays · My Roots

Norwegian Kringla – amazing!

When I was a little girl, my Mother and I would visit our elderly Norwegian friends, the Butlers, and feast on amazing home-baked goods.  Anna would make Norwegian Kringla (pictured above), Lefse (potato flatbread), and other delights.  I loved everything, but my favorite was Kringla.  My Mother learned to make it and the recipe below is well over 100 years old.  It quickly became a Christmas tradition and I’ve made it for my family.  This year is no different.  The slightly sweet dough with the slight anise taste is truly a delight.  Kringla paired with a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate is heavenly.

Think I’ll head to the kitchen for a hot chocolate and a Kringla….YUM!

KRINGLA

I usually double the recipe and freeze several to enjoy long after the holidays are gone.

1 egg
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon Anise Extract
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 cups flour

  • Beat egg and sugar together. Add anise extract, melted butter, buttermilk and 1/2 of sour cream.
Kringla Step 1 ingredients blended together
  • Mix 1/2 teaspoon baking soda with remainder of sour cream and let sit for about 5 minutes.
Sour cream and baking soda after 5 minutes
  • Mix together flour, baking powder and remaining 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
  • Mix together flour mixture alternately adding egg mixture and sour cream mixture.
  • Dough will be very stiff and you will need to finish mixing with your hands.
Kringla dough
  • Chill dough overnight.  Remove 1-2 cups of dough at a time so the dough remains chilled.  Take a small piece of dough (size of a small walnut) and roll into a ball and then into a pencil shape.  Shape the dough into a pretzel shape and place on a greased cookie sheet.
Kringla Rolled into Ball
Dough rolled into pencil shape
Kringla shaped and ready for the oven
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven and then on top rack of oven for 2-3 minutes. Bottom of Kringla should be golden brown–tops may not be brown.  (I have found that every oven is different.  Mine tends to run hot so I decrease the amount of time on the bottom shelf to 3 minutes.)
  • Cool and store in airtight container. Great warm with butter and a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.
Kringla ready to be served
Family Favorites · New Traditions

Green Chile…warming the cockles of your heart

Green Chile and Whole Wheat Tortilla

My mother made a very mild, traditional Midwestern tomato chile.  As a child, I was not fond of the chili because of the perceived HUGE tomatoes chunks my mother would add from her stash of home-canned tomatoes.  How I long for her homemade red chile now.

In my late 20s, I moved to Arizona and then settled in Colorado and was introduced to green chile.  Trust me, in Iowa, the spiciest thing you would come across was a pickled pepper!  Green chile sounded like red chile gone bad until I tasted it.  Oh my gosh, it was a spoonful of heaven upon any burrito, relleno, or enchilada that came my way.

I love the smell of fresh roasted chiles at the Farmer’s Markets in the fall.  I can peel and eat them fresh and warm and if any are remaining, I use them in green chile or freeze them (after peeling and seeding) for future use.

One of my favorite green chili recipes is:

GREEN CHILE

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds lean pork, cubed
1 medium onion, cut into large chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
8-10 Anaheim chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup water
flour tortillas, warmed

  • Heat oil in large stockpot. Add pork, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Saute until pork is browned.
Green Chili — browning pork and onions
  • Drain juice from tomatoes into stockpot. Chop tomatoes and add to pork with chiles and 2 cups water. Stir well and simmer covered for 45 minutes.
Green Chile–add tomatoes
  • Whisk together flour and 1/3 cup water until smooth. Add to chile mixture and stir constantly until well blended and slightly thickened.
  • Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve with warm tortillas or freeze.

Enjoy a nice bowl of chile with a warm tortilla or use it as a sauce for enchiladas, burritos or chile rellenos.

Family Favorites · Holidays · My Roots

Thanksgiving Leftovers…Yummy Turkey Vegetable Soup…

My Mother grew up in the depression and had a knack for making the most out of everything.  Every year, she would make a large pot of Turkey Vegetable Soup after the big day.  The aroma of the soup allowed us to relive Thanksgiving Day all over again.  I love to add caraway seed (if you are Czech…it’s a true passion).  Yum!

Turkey Vegetable Soup
Turkey Vegetable Soup

TURKEY VEGETABLE SOUP

1 Turkey Carcass (leftover from holiday meal)
Diced Potatoes
Pearl Barley
Corn
Green Beans
Green Peas
Diced Onion
Diced Celery
Diced Carrots
Diced Red or Green Peppers
Bits of leftover dressing
(Whatever you feel like throwing in the pot!)
Pinch of oregano, parley, thyme, dill, caraway seed
Salt & pepper to taste

  • Remove carcass/meat/skin from broth.  Strain broth.  Return bits of turkey to the broth.  Chill overnight.
  • Skim fat from broth.  Bring broth to slight boil.
  • Add vegetables, herbs, and seasoning.  Simmer until vegetables are tender.
Fresh Vegetables and Barley chopped and ready

The soup freezes so well and provides you with a taste of Thanksgiving long into the winter.

Do you have a favorite turkey soup that is tradition in your family?