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happy morning cakes

Trust me, mornings will be happier with these little cakes in your life. These Happy Morning Cakes are packed with a powerhouse of morning goodness. Really they are muffins. But it’s just more fun to call them cakes. You could add your favorite nuts, seeds or other dried fruit to the mix.  I love making a batch of these on Sunday and then have them for the week, perfect to grab & go.

Ingredients
2 cups all purpose or whole wheat flour
1 c. oats
1/2 cup pecans, chopped (or other nut)
¼ c. chia seeds
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3 large bananas
2 c. peeled and grated carrots
1 large apple cored, grated
2 cups of kale leaves, washed then finely chopped
3 large eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ c. maple syrup
½ c. brown sugar
1 orange, juiced

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 f.
  2. Line muffin pan with paper liners.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together dry ingredients: flour, oats pecans, chia seeds, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  4. In another large bowl combine bananas, carrots, apple, kale, eggs, coconut oil, vanilla, brown sugar, maple syrup and orange juice.
  5. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined and pour batter almost to the top of each paper muffin liner (they don’t rise much).
  6. Bake for 25 minutes or until knife is clean when inserted and removed from muffin.
  7. let cool completely, then store in an airtight container.

Component in Action
-add other nuts, seeds, dried fruit
-crumble over plain greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey

oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

I have been on a mission to come up with the perfect combination of crunchy edges and chewy centers. Finally, SUCCESS! If you want more crunch, use the flat bottom of a cup and gently press down before baking. If you want more chew, don’t flatten before putting in the oven. Both versions are a home-run and I think it’s safe to say my search for the perfect oatmeal chocolate chip cookie is over.

Ingredients

1 ¼ c. all-purpose flour
3 cups rolled oats
1 t. kosher salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 c. butter, softened
¾ c. packed brown sugar
½ c. granulated sugar
¼ c. maple syrup
1 large egg
1 t. vanilla extract or paste
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips or chunks

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375 f.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, oats, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. (If you are using unsalted butter, add a generous pinch of kosher salt to the bowl.)
  3. In a large bowl cream together butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, maple syrup, egg and vanilla until thoroughly combined and smooth.
  4. Fold in the dry ingredients until combined well.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
  6. Scoop cookie dough onto parchment paper or silpat lined cookie sheet and flatten gently with the back of a spoon or flat bottomed cup. leave about 2” between each cookie. (you can make these whatever size you like)
  7. Bake on a parchment paper or silpat lined cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes or until the edges start to look golden brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool for a couple minutes, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to complete cooling. Enjoy warm or let cool completely before transferring to an airtight container.

Component in Action
-make ice cream sandwiches!
-add 1 cup of your favorite nuts (chopped)

Corn Tortillas

It’s true. Corn tortillas are one of the easiest things to just pick up in the grocery store. They are cheap, you can find them pretty much anywhere, and they all taste pretty good when filled with your favorite taco fillings. But here’s the thing. Tortillas hot off the pan, made in your own kitchen are SO GOOD. And you don’t need anything special to make them except maybe a margarita to sip on and some good music to dance to.

Certain recipes just lend themselves well to including the kids and this is one of them. The actual cooking of the tortillas takes just a few minutes total. The bulk of this simple recipe is stirring the masa, salt and water, rolling little balls of dough, then pressing and rolling the tortillas with a rolling pin. These are all tasks that keep little minds engaged and little hands busy. So sure, it might be just easier to pick up a pack of tortillas at the store, but why not turn regular Taco Tuesday into a party? This is an easy way to do just that.

Ingredients
2 c. masa harina (finely ground yellow cornmeal)
generous pinch of salt
1.5-2 c. hot water

Method

  1. In a bowl combine masa harina and salt.
  2. Slowly stir in the water until the dough is firm and springy when touched (not dry or sticky).
  3. Cover bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let rest for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat griddle or cast iron skillet to medium high heat.
  5. Divide dough into 2” balls.
  6. One at a time, press dough between two pieces of waxed or parchment paper and roll into 6” circles.
  7. Place flattened dough on a hot griddle and cook until the top of tortilla starts to look cooked, about a minute.
  8. Flip and cook the other side for another minute.
  9. Makes 24 tortillas.
  10. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for later use.
  11. When you’re ready to eat them just warm them in the oven or on the grill.

Component in Action
-fill with your favorite taco ingredients
-make breakfast tacos!
-cut cooked tortillas into wedges, brush with oil and bake in the oven until crispy to make your own chips

Chocolate Mousse (no sugar added)

This is not a typical chocolate mousse recipe. This is a super easy, kid friendly (no extra sugar added), egg-free version that will not disappoint! It also has a great texture so you don’t have to worry about waiting around for a few hours for it to set like with a classic chocolate mousse.

This is also a great excuse to get the kids helping out in the kitchen<3.

Ingredients
½ c. water
1 t. vanilla extract, paste, or half a vanilla bean scraped
3 dates, pitted
Pinch of salt
2 T. cocoa powder
½ c. 70% dark chocolate, cut into pieces if needed
2 c. heavy cream

Method

  1. In a blender or food processor, blend water, vanilla and dates until it’s as smooth as possible.
  2. Make a double boiler. Fill a medium saucepan with 1-2” of water. Bring the water to a simmer. Find a stainless steel or glass bowl that sits snugly on top of the top without touching the water.
  3. Add your date mixture to the bowl along with the chocolate and cocoa powder. Stir with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is all the way melted. Turn off heat and carefully remove bowl with a dry towel (being careful not to get burned by the bowl or steam). Let cool to room temperature.
  4. Whip heavy cream to stiff peaks. You can do this by hand with a large whisk or with a mixer.
  5. With a rubber spatula, fold melted chocolate mixture into whipped cream. Spoon into ramekins or jars and refrigerate for an hour before serving.

Component in Action
-Use as a dip for fruit
-Layer with fruit and freeze. Slice for a light and airy dessert.
-Spoon into jars and top with shaved chocolate, fruit or nuts.

Kids in the kitchen! Five holiday recipes just for them

I remember it like it was yesterday. I had been on hold for almost twenty minutes with a certain shipping company who will remain nameless. At the exact moment the agent came on the line, my two year old stood up and started the show that only occurs when I talk on the phone. He started shaking the maraca, jumping up and down singing Jingle Bells at the top of his lungs. I didn’t even know he had heard the song, let alone memorized it.

A couple days later, he informed me it was Christmas day. It was still November, and it occurred to me that if he was already anticipating the holidays at two years old, then he was certainly old enough to get in on a bit of holiday cooking action. So in the hustle and bustle, pull the kids into the kitchen. Give them an apron, a hand wash, and one more reason to love the holidays. Depending on the age of the kids in your life, some might need more help than others, so I’ll leave that up to you.

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