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)

Garlic Soup with Crunchy Kale

This is a soup that’s perfect for late winter and early spring. It’s warm, hearty, and full of spring flavor. If you have access to ramps, lucky you. Use them instead of scallions.  The crunchy kale adds texture and a slight bitterness. Serve with a loaf of crusty bread and butter if you like.  If you have a piece of Parmesan, you could pass it around and let people grate the cheese over the top. If you want to make a vegan version, just skip the eggs. This recipe for Garlic Soup with Crunchy Kale is a new favorite of ours. Enjoy!

Ingredients

for the crunchy kale:
1 bunch of kale, washed, dried and cut into 2” pieces
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

for the soup:
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil (plus more for drizzling over kale)
1 head of garlic, cloves thinly sliced
6 scallions, sliced
2 t. smoked paprika
8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste
4 eggs

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400 f.
  2. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper, spread out kale and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook kale until crunchy, around 20 minutes.
  4. Let cool completely then store in an airtight container at room temperature.
  5. In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat.
  6. Add garlic and scallions to the pot, stirring frequently for around five minutes until golden brown.
  7. Add paprika and cook another couple minutes.
  8. Add stock and bring to a simmer for around a half hour.
  9. Check seasoning.
  10. Right before serving, whisk eggs in a small bowl and whisk eggs into soup.
  11. Ladle into bowls and garnish with crunchy kale.

Component in Action
-begin making the soup with caramelized onion and rendered bacon.
-add other greens like spinach, kale, arugula or chard towards the end of cooking.

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

Masa Corn Cakes

Masa Corn Cakes are perfect for breakfast, but also a great addition to any meal time. They’re lighter and crunchier compared to a regular pancake which makes them taste even better paired with maple syrup, jam or dunking into a warm bowl of soup. Yes, that’s right! They are just as good paired with savory foods like stewed meats, beans, avocado. They are naturally gluten free by being their awesome selves so this is a perfect excuse to call all your gluten free folks and invite them over for a breakfast party. 

I would recommend pouring yourself a cup of coffee and serving these Masa Corn Cakes as soon as they come off the griddle. This is the one time in my house where it feels like a line forms in the kitchen, and for good reason.

Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
2 c. whole milk
4 T. unsalted butter (plus more for cooking)
pinch of granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1 c. white or yellow cornmeal (finely ground)

maple syrup (for serving)

Method

  1. Preheat griddle or heavy bottomed pan (like cast iron) over medium heat.
  2. Bring butter, milk, sugar and salt to a simmer in a small saucepan. Turn off heat.
  3. Put cornmeal in a large bowl.
  4. Slowly pour hot milk mixture into the cornmeal, stirring with a wooden spoon continuously until batter is combined.
  5. Flick a drop of water on the surface of your pre-heated griddle. You’ll know it’s ready when the water skips along the surface.
  6. Melt a bit of butter in the pan and pour a bit of batter at a time for each pancake. Let sit for around five minutes until golden brown on the bottom, then flip until both sides are golden (you can make these whatever size you want)
  7. Repeat with butter in pan and batter until all cakes are cooked.

Component In Action
-enjoy for breakfast
-serve on the side with spicy soups and stews

Avocado Feta Dip

This avocado feta dip is good with so many things: raw veggies, pita, tortillas, chips, on tacos, sandwiches, in lettuce cups, grilled chicken, fish, etc. You can dip, spread, dunk, smear. Speaking of smearing, I almost forgot bagels! It would be so good on a bagel with turkey breast and sprouts. Wow. It’s almost midnight and I’m making myself hungry. Happy lunching folks!

Ingredients
1 avocado
2 scallions, sliced
½ c. feta, crumbled
1 lemon, juiced
¼ c. fresh mint leaves
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

romaine cups, veggies and/or fresh bread (for dipping)

Method

  1. combine all ingredients in a food processor. blend until as chunky or smooth as you like.
  2. if you don’t have a food processor no worries! Just use a fork to smash the avocado and feta, fold in sliced mint and scallions and fold in the rest of the ingredients with a rubber spatula. It might not look as smooth but I can guarantee it will taste just as good!

Component in Action
-use as a dip for raw veggies (aka crudites)
-spread on toasted pita
-use as a filling in tacos
-move over mayo. spread on sandwiches
-spread on romaine cups. crunch crunch yum.
-pair as a “sauce” with grilled veggies, chicken or fish

Citrus & Arugula Salad

I made this citrus & arugula salad for dinner last night. This winter in particular I have become just slightly obsessed with red grapefruit and wholeheartedly consider it my favorite food right now.  I have always like all the foods, so don’t really know how or why this came about, but every time I taste red grapefruit lately I hear myself saying aloud “this is the best thing I have ever tasted”.  Maybe I’m vitamin C deficient and my body is taking over my taste buds?? Either way, I’m so happy to share this easy and wildly delicious recipe with you for Citrus & Arugula Salad.

I just made one big platter of this and we ate this for our entire dinner. I added prosciutto de parma and with the bright citrus, creamy goat cheese, hint of balsamic, peppery arugula, well I can’t wait for you to experience it for yourself.

Ingredients
2 blood oranges (or navel)
1 ruby red grapefruit
2 T. aged balsamic vinegar
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
5 c.arugula
¼ c. goat cheese
4-6 slices of prosciutto de parma (optional)
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Peel the citrus with a knife. using a sharp knife, cut both ends off the fruit. sitting a flat side down on a cutting board, cut away the rind following the curve of the fruit. Save the pieces of rind.
  2. Then slice the fruit into rounds, picking off seeds if you see any. arrange slices of orange and grapefruit on large salad platter.
  3. Squeeze the pieces of saved rind to let any remaining juice fall in to a large salad bowl.
  4. Add balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add onions and arugula to bowl. gently toss with your hands.
  6. Check seasoning and add more salt or pepper if needed.
  7. Crumble goat cheese on top and/or arrange prosciutto along the side if using.

Component in Action
-enjoy as a side salad or complete dinner.
-add grilled chicken, fish or shrimp.
-try with other cheeses too like parmesan or blue cheese.
-add other vegetables to the salad like raw shavings or grilled asparagus, sweet corn in the summer or avocado.

Everyday Granola

In our house it is always nice to have a jar of granola on the shelf ready to go, for breakfast, for snacking, for topping something like yogurt to make it that much better. My favorite kind of granola is super crunchy and in clusters. I’ve totally been guilty of standing over a bulk bin of granola at the grocery for way too long, trying to get all the big clusters in my bag and none of the “granola dust” with the big awkward scoop. This recipe for Everyday Granola is even better because not only is it super crunchy but it also bakes into one big sheet, so YOU get to decide just how big your granola pieces are. The little crumbles that fall during the breaking process are amazing too, to top on just about a million things.

Everyone has their favorite granola combos. Here are three of my favorites; almonds, coconut and pecans. You can swap out any of these for a cup of your favorite nuts, seeds, dried fruits, even cocoa nibs. Follow your morning cravings. Eat this on its own, over yogurt, or with your favorite milk.

Ingredients
½ c. extra virgin olive oil
½ c. maple syrup
⅓ c. honey
1 T. vanilla extract
1 t. ground cinnamon
generous pinch of salt
5 c. rolled oats
1 c. almonds, sliced
1 c. unsweetened coconut flakes
1 c. pecans, chopped

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 325 f.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the oil, maple syrup, honey, vanilla, salt and cinnamon.
  4. Fold in the oats, almonds, coconut and pecans.
  5. Pour the oat mixture onto the baking sheet and press mixture firmly with a flat bottomed cup.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes then rotate pan.
  7. Bake for another 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool at room temperature for one hour.
  9. Lift the granola off the parchment paper with your hands (it will be one big piece) and break into pieces.
  10. Store in a tightly sealed container at room temperature.

Component in Action
-make your own by adding your favorite nuts or seeds
-gently fold in your favorite dried fruits after you cook, cool and break apart the granola into pieces.
-leave in bigger pieces for “granola bars”
-serve over plain greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey for a breakfast treat.
-serve over ice cream.
-put granola in a quart mason jar with a bow and give as a gift to a friend.

brown butter vinaigrette

Tis the season for salads that are as hearty as they are green. This brown butter vinaigrette is not just perfect for raw greens, it’s also a luscious dressing for many varieties of cooked vegetables as well. You can add fresh herbs like rosemary, sage, chives or parsley. You can play around with other acidity like fresh citrus juice, balsamic or sherry vinegar. This vinaigrette is nutty and bright, making it a perfect pairing for roasted root vegetables, chicken and even fish. The possibilities are endless. The question is, what will you make?

ingredients
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
2 T. maple syrup
2 T. dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

method

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring butter to a simmer. The butter will get foamy and then the foam will subside and the butter solids will begin to brown. Once the butter has turned a golden brown, turn off heat. Pour into medium bowl.
  2. Whisk in apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, dijon and salt and pepper.
  3. Refrigerate in a glass jar until ready to use. Put jar in hot water to re-warm before serving.

component in action
-pour warm over vegetables
-drizzle over green salads
-use as a sauce for chicken, pork or fish
-add herbs like rosemary, sage, chives, parsley, mint
-play around with other acids like orange juice, lemon juice, sherry or balsamic vinegars

Cauliflower & Crispy Kale Tacos

Move over regular old tacos. The crunchy kale is my favorite part. Or wait, maybe the sweet and spicy burst of golden raisin in between bites of smoky roasted cauliflower. Is it Taco Tuesday yet?!?!

Ingredients
1 head of cauliflower, cut into small pieces
1 head of kale, washed and dried well
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Smoked paprika
Ground turmeric
Salt and pepper
2 limes
1 T. maple syrup
2 T. chipotle in adobo sauce, finely chopped
¼ c. golden raisins

1 pack corn tortillas
2 scallions, sliced (garnish)
queso fresco or cotija (garnish)
Greek yogurt (garnish)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400 f.
  2. On a foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet, spread out cauliflower into a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with turmeric, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Put in oven and cook until tender and golden brown, around 20 minutes.
  3. On another foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet, spread out kale and drizzle with evoo, salt and pepper. Bake until crispy, being careful not to burn, around 20 minutes.
  4. While cauli and kale are cooking, make the sauce: In a large bowl stir together chipotle in adobo sauce, maple syrup, lime juice and golden raisins.
  5. Ten minutes before serving, wrap tortillas in foil and put in oven.
  6. When cauliflower and kale come out of the oven, put them in the large bowl and gently stir to combine with the dressing.
  7. To assemble: Put a spoonful of cauliflower mix in the center of each tortilla, top with scallions, queso fresco and greek yogurt. Enjoy!

Component in Action
-make tacos
-nachos
-filling for burritos
-bowls with rice, couscous or quinoa
-enchiladas smothered with red or green chili sauce