Cocoa Cashew Truffles, Everyday Life, Saturday Cooking, Whole30

Cocoa Cashew Truffles {Whole30 Survival Food}

I’m on Day 16 of my second Whole30. (Because I am insane, thanks for asking). Honestly, after many months of eating whatever was easiest amidst our home renovations, I needed a reset. And it has been awesome! Except for the chocolate cravings. Enter these little guys. I know, I know, this is totally “not in the spirit” of the Whole30.  Seriously, though, these can be the difference between falling off the wagon and making it to Day 14. Besides, the logic here is skewed. The  Whole30 book gives us recipes for sodas to help fight our soda cravings, but when it comes to chocolate cravings, we’re left out in the cold? Well. That just doesn’t seem fair.

When I did the Whole30 the first time, a friend warned me about the chocolate withdrawals and sent me this recipe in case of an emergency. It didn’t really work for me, but I thought it was a great idea, so I made up my own.

 5a37baca7d52322814961d4cd9745261Cocoa Cashew Truffles

1 cup pitted dates

1 cup cashews

1/2 cup almond butter

4-5 Tbsps. cocoa (no sugar added, remember!)

Put all of the ingredients in a food processor. Process for about 1 minute, or until you can take a pinch of the mixture and it holds together. Scoop out little bits at a time and mold them into balls. Make yourself only eat one or two and put the rest in the ‘fridge or freezer. Go on with your Whole30 without biting anyone’s head off or weeping incessantly.

I have no idea if these are any good when you’re not doing a Whole30, but I’m guessing they are since two out of three of my children devoured the one each I allowed them. Not because I’m a good mom who limits sweets, but because they have Tootsie Rolls and I have nothing but these things.

Still worried you might gorge yourself too much and awaken your “sugar dragon?” This recipe is easily halved. And the freezer is your friend.

Happy Chocolating!

Need more Saturday Coooking posts? Click here! Because a person cannot live on books alone. 

Everyday Life, Saturday Cooking

Simple and Creamy Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

This is absolutely the recipe I have missed the most during our Whole30. It’s the easiest hot breakfast ever, my whole family gobbles it up, and it’s healthy! I’ll be making this Saturday morning when our Whole30 is over (with almond milk, so as not to throw our systems into shock just yet…). I’m sharing it today in honor of National Oatmeal Day (is that really a thing? apparently it is).

A lot of baked oatmeal recipes will give you a drier, more bread-like pan of oatmeal that you can cut into bars. This is a creamy recipe that you will want to scoop into a bowl, which is more comforting somehow. It’s awesome for winter, but we make it all year round. My kids love to take their bowls of creamy oatmeal to the play house on bright summer mornings.

Ingredients:

2 cups of old fashioned oats

1.5 cups of milk

1.5 cups of water

1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries

3-4 Tbsps of brown sugar

1 tsp of cinnamon

Here’s all you do: dump all the ingredients into your 9×9 or thereabouts baking dish, stir it all together, bake it for 15-20 minutes at 350. Seriously, you don’t even have to wait for the oven to preheat, though it’s a good idea to turn it on first thing. I check on mine around the ten minute mark and add a little more milk or water if it’s looking too dry for our liking.

And that’s it! Creamy blueberry oatmeal for everyone. This recipe serves our family of two adults and three small children with no leftovers. I need to start doubling it! It’s pretty good leftover, too, heated in the microwave with just a little extra milk to keep it moist. Mmmm….I can’t wait til Saturday.

Everyday Life, Reviews, Saturday Cooking

The Whole30 – Our Review {Saturday Cooking On A Wednesday}

As mentioned in this post, I’ve been poring over The Whole30: The Thirty Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom a lot over the last few weeks. Today, my husband and I have reached Day 28 (justtwomoredays!!!!) of our Whole30 experience.

What is The Whole30?

It’s thirty day period of taking everything out of your diet but fresh meat, vegetables, fruits, eggs, and some nuts. That is all you eat for 30 days. It’s along the the lines of paleo, but with a different theory and intention. The theory isn’t that we should eat like this because our ancestors ate like this, or even that we should always eat like this. The theory is that what we put in our body effects us and wouldn’t it be a good idea to figure out how the stuff we eat makes us feel? Maybe you have zero problems with dairy, or maybe you’ll find you actually have an intolerance. Maybe you’ve been eating way more processed grains than you realized, or that your diet is a lot further from “natural” than you would have thought. (Maybe I’m speaking from experience…). Oh, and it’s very likely you’re addicted to sugar. And it’s also likely that your body is completely hooked on sugars as an energy source instead of using fats .That’s the number one reason why I did this program, in fact. I reached for some form of sugar, be it unhealthy sweets or “wholesome” granola bars, pretty much any time I was hungry.

But really, the reason we got to this point where we decided to do something that makes everyone who knows us think we’re lunatics is that we wanted to get our indulgences under control. We’d spent years eating whatever dessert was available, whatever meal was easiest to make on a rough day, etc. It was time for a change, and how hard could it be to do this for 30 days?

So, how’d it go?

There were some great times and some hard times! I was extremely tired at first. Melissa Hartwig and Dale Hartwig write in their book that we have trained our bodies at a cellular level to use energy from the sugar we eat instead of the fat we eat or store. I was kind of skeptical about this, but when I felt how tired I was on about Day 3, I decided, “Yes. I am tried on a cellular level right now.” And then around Day 6, I felt a steady energy, much different than the kind of energy swings I had been experiencing. Other than better energy, losing an inch or two, and feeling pretty good overall, my husband and I did not make any amazing discoveries about what foods affect us negatively. Our bodies seem quite happy with wheat and dairy! In fact, since about Day 25, we’ve been feeling the pendulum swing from too much wheat in our diet to not enough. Our bodies need some grains!

I was very hopeful that my complexion would improve on this program, but alas, it all seems to be unrelated to what I eat. On the bright side, no guilt about chocolate. =)

How About The Recipes?

I’m really glad I bought the Whole30 book, because many of the recipes are keepers! We will keep eating menu items like Chicken Cacciatore, Harvest Grilled Chicken, Salad, and the beef brisket recipe found in the book. The salmon recipes we tried from the book were not our favorites. It’s our humble opinion that salmon needs some kind of sweetness in the marinade or sauce to take it from “meh” to delicious. We also were not fans of two of the breakfast recipes we tried that I found on Pinterest: Cauliflower Sausage Casserole (the smell was one of the worst smells ever! I ate it a few times, but my husband hated it and we won’t be making that again.) and Breakfast Pumpkin Custard (it was icky). This online recipe for Greek Meatballs was awesome, though! And we discovered we actually like sweet potatoes, though not as a sweet dish but a savory side dish.

While we’re on the topic of recipes, I would just like to say that the absolute hardest part of The Whole30 was all the cooking you must do in order to eat. You cook at every meal, or you cook lots at once and eat leftovers. You may find a few convenience foods like a rotisserie chicken, but even those often have some added sugar in the rub or marinade. So, if you do not cook, you’re going to need another kind of plan for getting jump started on healthy eating. We all know that homemade is best, but not all of us are there yet.

What’s Next?

The Whole30 has lots of benefits, but what we are most excited about is the re-wiring our habits have gone through. Where we once ate mostly carbs for breakfast, we now eat eggs. (And eggs. And eggs). We’re planning on adding oatmeal back into our normal routines right away, but we also plan to keep the majority of our breakfasts protein-based. For snacks we used to grab crackers or whatever the kids were eating, but now I reach for nuts or fruit. And we haven’t eaten this many vegetables per day in our whole lives!

I will tell you this though: as soon as I wake up on Day 31, I’m grabbing the half and half and enjoying some creamy coffee! The almond milk has grown on me, but it’s still not cutting it.  So the plan going forward is to keep our new good habits, but allow ourselves flour tortillas with our fajitas, and some cheese in our scrambled eggs, and see what happens.

Have you done the Whole30 before? Thinking about it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

For other food related posts from Miathereader.com, click on over here!

Reading, Reviews, Saturday Cooking

Saturday Cooking, Banana Muffins Edition

After reading What Alice Forgot a few weeks ago, I decided to catch up on Liane Moriarty’s other books. I read Big Little Lies and The Husband’s Secret one after the other, but they both pale in comparison to What Alice Forgot and I don’t really recommend either of them. Moriarty knows how to set down a good plot and mix in some really great characters, but the language gets a lot rougher in her latest two books. There are some great themes that add some redeeming value to these books, like working hard on making a good marriage and eschewing busyness and the performance driven life, but usually the conclusions drawn by the end of the book don’t line up with my values. Good discussion can come of it, though I wouldn’t say that redeems it enough for me to recommend these books to friends.

Banana Muffins II RecipeBut I would recommend something else from Moriarty and that is this: make some banana muffins. They are mentioned in every single book I’ve read by her, and especially focused on in What Alice Forgot as the pinnacle of comfort food.  When I saw some nearly rotten bananas in my kitchen last week, I decided to make banana muffins without even realizing why I wanted to until later. But really, it’s perfect because it takes so much less time than banana bread, which is my go-to course of action when I have expiring bananas.

If you decide to make some, this is the recipe you should make. It is delicious. It’s not a low fat recipe, though, so you may want to make some tweaks if you’re going for a healthified muffin. I followed the recipe exactly except for changing out the white flour for whole wheat and leaving out the nuts because half of our family would rather starve than eat a walnut. I think next time I’ll use less sugar. And by next time, I mean tomorrow. They are so good.

What’s cooking in your kitchen this Saturday?

Reading, Reviews, Saturday Cooking

Saturday Cooking: Shauna Niequist’s Bread and Wine is Changing My Life

On a gloomy December morning, I enjoy the rare treat of sitting alone at my kitchen table with a cup of coffee, a toasted English muffin slathered in blueberry preserves, and a book. I wouldn’t choose this type of morning every day–I love the chaos and energy, the blue eyes and burnished blonde hair usually flying around the circle from living room, dining room, kitchen, at 8:00 a.m. on any given morning–but as a once in a while thing, this morning alone is heavenly.

Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table, with RecipesWhat book am I reading? Funny you should ask. It’s kind of a cookbook, kind of a memoir. It’s Shauna Niequist’s Bread and Wine, a book I wouldn’t have picked up on my own whim in a million years. But I heard Shauna speak twice in the last year, and then a speaker at MOPS said Bread and Wine was pivotal in helping her become the cook she always wanted to be, so I ordered it from my library and here it sits in front of me. I’m not a cookbook reader. I struggle with even wanting to cook, and much more with the actual cooking. When the whole Julie and Julia book and movie were crazy popular, I just shook my head and said, “Why? Why would I put myself through a year of making complicated, French recipes?” I wouldn’t.

And I still wouldn’t. But when the every day need to feed and nourish my family collides with the stress of planning and prepping and shopping so often that it just drives me crazy, I know this whole cooking thing is something I need to figure out. Add Bread and Wine to the mix, and it suddenly becomes something I really, really want to figure out and just might enjoy. Niequist says, “I believe every person should be able to make the simple foods that nourish them, that feel familiar and comforting, that tell the story of who they are….And the only way to get there is to start where you are.”

I’m teetering dangerously on the edge of declaring 2015 the year I begin to truly learn to cook. It’s quotes like this that make me brave:

“We’ve been told that cooking and baking and entertaining are specialized skills that only some people possess, and that without a culinary degree or a lifestyle brand we can’t be expected to do anything but buy prepared food. Marketing and advertising campaigns urging us to eat out or buy already prepared foods want us to think that plain old cooking is difficult and not worth learning. This trend began in the 1950s after factories that used to make ammunition had to make something else. So they started making shelf-stable food in cans and boxes, similar to what soldiers had been eating but unfamiliar to the average American family. In order to sell canned food and cake mixes, advertisers had to convince American women that cooking is too hard and troublesome for our modern world. But it wasn’t true then, and it isn’t true now.” (Bread and Wine, p. 41, emphasis mine)

Quotes like that, Niequist’s skillful and passionate writing on the glories of food and love around the table, and my 100% confidence that my husband will totally back me up in this even though I haven’t asked him yet (he will) urge me on into this scary thing of picking up a cast iron skillet, crushing some peppercorns with it, and then attempting to make Stake au Poivre. I don’t even know what that means, but it sounds ah-mazing. I’m kind of worried I’m going to waste a lot of money on food that turns out badly, but then I read this:

“It takes some time to learn, to try and fail and make a mess and try again…But it’s a lovely process, with not a minute wasted. If you put in the time, the learning, the trying, the mess, and the failure, at the end you will have learned to feed yourself and the people you love, and that’s a skill for life–like tennis or piano but yummier and far less expensive.”

Yeah, I’ve spent an embarrassing amount of money on learning golf and I’m still not even close to good at it. I guess it’ll be more worthwhile to try and do something well that I have to do every day anyway.

I guess I’ll take a deep breathe and let myself dive over the edge.

2015, I doubt I’ll be a Foodie when I’m through with you, but I plan to make a mean Steak au Poivre with Cognac Pan Sauce before you’re over.

Whether you consider yourself a Foodie or not, Bread and Wine is a delightful, insightful read that pretty much anyone can enjoy. I highly recommend it. But be forewarned– you may find yourself searching for Sriracha sauce in the grocery store before you’re through. Or maybe you already know what aisle that’s on. If so, call me. I need help. =)

Read more Saturday Cooking posts here!

Saturday Cooking

Saturday Cooking, Pumpkin Free Edition

Fall is technically here, though our only clue in these parts is the temps below 70 degrees at night. So it’s time for my three favorite fall recipes.

First, I gotta say, I had no idea that the ENTIRE AMERICAN POPULATION loved all things pumpkin. I mean, I’ve noticed the Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks in the last few years. But then the recipes started popping up everywhere on Facebook and Pinterest and all the cooking shows and websites. Pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin cookies, even pumpkin brownies (!)(I’m sorry, but if you handed me a brownie without chocolate in it, I would probably not hand it back to you because my parents raised me right, but I would shed a few secret tears).

Pumpkin, you are the darling of the season. How sweet.

If only I liked you.

Recipe 1: Cranberry Bread

Cranberry ThanksgivingI had someone ask me recently after learning I don’t like pumpkin all that much, “So, what flavor do you love in the Fall?” I can’t say I’ve ever considered that question before. I didn’t know Favorite Fall Flavors were a requirement. But I have lately been encouraged to “embrace autumn” and I thought it was good advice. So I gave it some thought and here’s the answer: cranberry. I love cranberry. Cranberry bread, cranberry muffins, cranberry juice, all of it. Well, not so much the cranberry sauce from a can. Ick. But all other things cranberry, I love.

It so happens that my favorite cranberry recipe is from a book. It’s called Cranberry Thanksgiving, and the story is great, but the recipe at the back for “Grandmother’s Famous Cranberry Bread” is even better. I can’t give it to you here because that would be copyright infringement, but you should definitely make it! Just be sure to label it if you give it to someone or else that someone might thank you for “the fruitcake,” which is just a big insult to any bread, especially one this good.

Recipe 2: Apple Dumplings

076A close runner up to cranberry goods in my Fall Flavor Guide is apple. (I am having way too much fun here). My favorite apple recipe is absolutely dripping with butter and even contains a can of Mountain Dew. It’s definitely a once a year treat. The Pioneer Woman recommends serving it with ice cream, but I find it challenging to actually get the stuff on a plate. Ijustwanttoeatit! Now. Straight out of the pan. So yeah, it’s kind of good. [….goes to kitchen and starts slicing apples…]

Recipe 3: Butternut Squash Soup

Finally, if there’s one recipe I only make in Fall, it’s Butternut Squash Soup. Oh, it is divine. Unfortunately, my entire family hates it. I plan to make a batch and eat it for lunch for an entire week. Once the midday temps are below 80 degrees. For now, we’re still enjoying our afternoon popsicles on the porch.

Happy Fall!

Saturday Cooking

What To Do With Watermelon: Saturday Cooking, It Is Hot Edition

It’s June. It’s 100 degrees. You walk in from the sweltering parking lot to the coolness of your local grocery store. You were only in the car for three minutes, but your back is sweaty, your flip flops are like hot tin shingles on your feet, and you wish to plunge your entire self into a mountain river. You grab a cart, pull out your list, and suddenly stop. Because there, right in front of you, practically blocking the whole produce aisle, is a giant cardboard box brimming over with ripe, juicy watermelons. You think, “Mmmm, what could be better than watermelon today?” Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It’s $6.99 per watermelon, so you pick the biggest one you can find and heave-ho it into your cart. You take it home, get out your biggest knife, slice into it, and eat it. For three days. And then you still have half of it left. Your family will have nothing more to do with it. You even take it to a cookout; you and three other women bring watermelon to the cookout.

Let’s face it: watermelons are just too big. They are tempting and delicious and bring summer to our mouths, but they are huge. So what do you do with all that leftover watermelon? Here are my discoveries from the last two weeks.

First, put on some music. Then, chop up all that watermelon into chunks and get rid of the seeds. Next, find a good watermelon popsicle recipe. I used this recipe and it was delicious. I didn’t have the light corn syrup it called for, so I used honey instead. Also, I only used 2 Tablespoons of sugar instead of the six it called for, because good grief, people, it’s already sweet. My husband said he didn’t enjoy the slight honey flavor, but my son and I loved the taste. My daughter isn’t a big watermelon fan, so I just discounted her vote entirely. I think next time I’ll substitute lime juice for lemon juice just because I like the lime flavor better. Also, the recipe could do with more strawberries. But that’s my philosophy on life in general.

Next, you’ll probably still have some watermelon left over after you make your popsicles. Making sure it’s all de-seeded, throw it in the food processor or blender pulse it a few times. Then, pour your pureed watermelon into an ice cube tray or two. Cover them with plastic wrap, stick them in the freezer, and pull out as many as you need at a time to make fruit smoothies on those hot summer days when the thought of actual food is unbearable. (Note: make sure you add some yogurt to your smoothie, or you’ll be hungry within minutes of consuming it).

Finally, if you still have watermelon, dice it up even smaller than you did before and sprinkle it with a tiny bit of sugar. Put it in an airtight container and the next time you hear that guilty voice in your mind saying “You should really be buying plain Greek yogurt instead of that sweetened stuff,” you can say, “Yes, you’re right!” Then you can go home and mix your sweet watermelon and watermelon juice (thank you, tiny bit of sugar) into your yogurt and you actually enjoy that yogurt. Can you tell I’m not a big fan of Greek yogurt? But I know it’s extra good for me, so I put in smoothies and other stuff whenever I can bring myself to buy it at the store. Seriously, the watermelon helps.

There are also lots of recipes for Watermelon Gazpacho/Cold Soup out there. I am not very fond of foods that have no crunch or chew to them (exception: ice cream), so that watermelon food idea doesn’t appeal to me. But if you find a good recipe for it, let me know; I might be brave enough to try it!

So, now you can go to the grocery store and wrangle that watermelon into your shopping cart with the peace of mind that you will actually use the entire thing. Pick one up for me while you’re at it.

Saturday Cooking

Saturday Cooking, Edition 5

I like cookbooks. I know that the convenience of online recipes is staggeringly in favor of never opening a real cook book again, but photo (14)I still have a shelf full of them. The fact that I am not a foodie is something my husband discovered PWD (post wedding day) and he is still getting over his disappointment. No, not really. But it is a distinct difference between us. I have come a long way in the cooking realm, but I don’t view dinner time as this wonderful opportunity to make something new and breathtakingly delicious. On his part, he’s come a long way in appreciating the fine qualities of granola. Because I don’t have ideas for dinner just fly into my head at random, I like to have a physical book to flip through and follow. I have to admit, though, I use allrecipes.com as much as anyone. So here are two cookbooks and two online recipes to whet your appetite and maybe give you a few menu ideas for the summer months:

The Cookbooks:

Grilling, Williams-Sonoma Collection: the recipes for grilled potatoes, grilled pizza, and hamburgers are stellar. Especially the grilled pizza one–that herb crust is delicious!

Monday to Friday Cookbook: My MOPS group had the privilege of having a guest speaker who both loves food and understands the crazy busyness of life. She shared some recipes and also told us about this cookbook. It has so many great ideas for quick meals! I have this on my “to buy” list, but for now, the library copy is great.

Williams-Sonoma Collection: Grilling Monday-To-Friday Cookbook

 

The online recipes:

Baked Pesto ChickenBaked Pesto Chicken: The other day I planned on leftovers for dinner but found out my husband was coming home instead of working late at the last minute. He had already had leftovers for lunch, so it was time to think of a plan B fast. I opened the fridge and for once in my life, saw a potential meal instead of a bunch of food items. If you have chicken, a jar of pesto, parmesan or mozarella cheese, you can make this main dish in minutes. It’s supposed to be low carb recipe, but I served it over pasta. I really love carbs. My kids still ate leftovers because “that chicken is green!” but my husband and I have added it to our top 20 recipe list.

Strawberry BreadStrawberry Bread Recipe: This is what you do when you go strawberry picking and your eyes are bigger than a strawberry’s expiration date. I made it with frozen sliced berries as well as fresh berries, and it was great both times. (Thanks, Janice, for introducing me to this now staple of spring baking in our house!)

Cooked anything good recently? Share it with me in the comments!

More bookish cooking here!

Saturday Cooking

Saturday Cooking, Anti-Winter Edition

You guys. Savory, warm, cheesy, comforting winter food is great. It’s lovely. But it has its limit. I can eat potato soup one night, then some kind of macaroni and cheese or pasta bake the next, and then I’m like, “Thanks, I’ll just have a lettuce leaf.” Chili at this point in winter is my least favorite meal. Please, no more chili!

Or maybe I’m just eating the wrong kind of winter food? And maybe winter food aversions have something to do with being 15 weeks pregnant? But honestly, I feel like this every January. I start buying completely out of season strawberries and blueberries, I put avocados on everything, I think I’ll maybe make a few smoothies and then realize, no, I’m too cold.

So bear this weirdness in mind while I share a few recipes I’ve been making this week.

First, I made up a huge batch of homemade granola today to go with the strawberries and blueberries I splurged on at the store. Yum! I could eat granola and berries every day for weeks.

Here’s my granola recipe, which I got from one of my awesome sisters-in-law. I have no idea where she found it, but I like it because it’s extremely easy and I always have the ingredients on hand.

Easiest Ever Granola:

Ingredients:

  1. 8 cups of rolled oats, quick oats, or a mix
  2. 1.5 cup brown sugar or honey or a mix of both (I highly recommend honey!)
  3. 4 teaspoons of vanilla
  4. 4 Tablespoons of oil of your choice (I’d stick with one that doesn’t have a distinct taste)
  5. 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  6. 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (optional)
  7. 1/2 cup of water

Pour all the oats in a large bowl. Mix together the rest of the ingredients in a microwaveable glass container and melt together. Stir well and pour over oats. Mix all of that ooey-oatmealy goodness together. Spray some kind of baking pan with edges (I use a roasting pan) with nonstick spray and pour the granola mixture into the pan, spreading it out evenly. Bake at 250 for 2 hours, stirring every 30-45 minutes. You can add all kinds of stuff to make this granola healthier, like flax seed, nuts, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, etc., but don’t add any dried fruit until the last 30 minutes, or maybe just mix it in with the cooked granola at the end. I’ve done raisins before but they were hard as rocks when I got the granola out of the oven.

Avocado Chicken Enchiladas

Next up on my anti-winter eating kick is this Avocado Enchilada Recipe. I found it on Pinterest and can’t wait to try it. I’m not sure my 4-year-old daughter will enjoy it, but my 2-year-old son will eat piles of avocado.

We’re also going to be having a Greek salad that involves Kalamata olives, feta cheese, romaine hearts, and this awesome Newman’s Own Olive Oil and Vinegar recipe. Really, I shouldn’t be buying a salad dressing that would be a cinch to make at home, but this bottled stuff is so good. I put it on sandwiches, too (mostly because I hate mayo).

I am really going to make smoothies, even though the highs are in the 30s. I keep smoothies simple with strawberries or blueberries, frozen bananas, yogurt, and milk or OJ. I hardly ever toss in the spinach that I tell myself I’m going to put in there. I know you can’t taste it, I know it would be an easy way to get my veggies in…sigh. Maybe I’ll make it happen this week.

My go-to no-meat meal for the last year has been this Lime and Cilantro Rice with Spicy Citrus Black Beans from Annie’s Eats. I combine these in a Chipotle style rice bowl and top it with cheese, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, and lettuce. My only suggestion is to double the sauce for the rice, and add a bit more salt than the recipe calls for.

And I’m considering sending my wonderful husband out to the grill tomorrow night to cook up some steak. He’ll probably brave the cold for steak, right?

So what about you? Are you still cooking comfort food, are you on a healthy eating kick, or are you sticking to your normal meals plans year round? Share your inspiration!

 

 

 

31 Days, Children's Books, Saturday Cooking

Saturday Cooking: Picture Book Edition

2013iPhonephotos 008My children love to help me in the kitchen. I am usually willing to have one of them help me, but now that the two-year-old boy wants to be involved in everything, it gets messier and more time consuming and just generally harder to be excited about cooking with kids. But in the spirit of doing the hard things so the hard things get easier, I’m resolved to bake a lot with them this fall season. They love to bake, they love to do what I’m doing, and it’s a valuable skill to have. Plus, it’s like built in obedience school for toddlers–bonus!

Since we love to read even more than we love food itself (okay, maybe that’s just me), some of the recipes I plan to make this Fall are found in books.

Cranberry ThanksgivingThe first is one I baked with my mom and sisters as part of our homeschool curriculum. It’s called Grandmother’s Cranberry Bread from the book Cranberry Thanksgiving. The book is pretty good, but the recipe is mostly what I remember. For someone who isn’t crazy about all things pumpkin (you can keep your pumpkin spice latte, thankyouverymuch), cranberry is the flavor of Fall. I recommend the book, but if you’re not in a picture book stage of life (whatever that means!) you can view the whole recipe on the Amazon website.

We’re also going to try Fairy Tale FeastsI doubt we’ll be finding any stellar recipes, as they all look pretty basic, but I think the kids will really have fun with it. They are especially fascinated by Jack and the Beanstalk, so I foresee some beans in our menu future.

And though The Little House books aren’t technically picture books, we’ve already read two of them and we’re definitely try out the The Little House CookbookI’ve always wanted to make the molasses snow candy they make in Little House and the Big Woods, but the snow is a little sparse in the deep south. Another recipe book I want to try is The Louisa May Alcott Cookbook. The Honey Pumpkin Pie with Gingerbread Crust looks especially fall-ish and delicious.

So that’s what is on our fall baking list, along with this non-bookish recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins. What’s on your list?