Feb
24
2014

Chewy Versus Crunchy: Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

THE DEBATE RAGES ON

Chewy Versus Crunchy: Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

Forget the mom wars, I'm more interested in the cookie wars. I am a die-hard chewy cookie personI purposefully under bake my cookies just the teensiest bit, so that they are soft and chewy in the centre. I'm so committed to baking a chewy cookie that I have a hard time understanding where the crunchy cookie people are coming from. Try as I might to open my mind, I can't seem to grasp their point of view.

Fortunately for all of us cookie loversthe crunchy and the chewythere is this delectable recipe that allows for customization based on personal taste. This is the most delicious oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe I have ever made. As a bonus, it's a large recipe, which allows me to share with friends and bask in the inevitable accolades that baking such an amazing cookie brings forth. This is one of my most popular cookie recipes, based on the speed at which they disappear when a container is set near my children and their friends.

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups oatmeal (not instant)
2 cups chocolate chips
 

  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

  Beat butter with sugars at medium speed until creamy. Add vanilla and egg, mix until incorporated.

  Add flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; mix well. Stir in oats, then fold in chocolate chips.

  Form dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and arrange on parchment paper-lined baking sheets two inches apartthey spread in the oven.

  Bake for 9 minutes for a chewy cookie, 11-12 for a crunchy cookie.

(Yield: approximately 4 dozen cookies)

Want more kid-friendly recipes? Try my Grandma's Gingersnaps, my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Snack Loaf, or my Two-Bite Ice Cream Sandwiches.

Feb
21
2014

Shake Up Your Lunch Routine: Make Salad In A Jar

Takeout Takes On A New Meaning

Shake Up Your Lunch Routine: Make Salad In A Jar

quinoa, vegetables, and greens in a jar

Here's the situationit's 11:55 and you're hungry. Starving, even. You cannot stop thinking about lunch. Temptations abound; the takeout place around the corner is calling out its siren song of french fries and pizza by the slice.

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to ignore that takeout siren song? It's easy to do if you've already packed a lunch that is not only nutrient dense, healthy, and delicious, but is also the prettiest lunch on the block!

These salads in jars are not only tasty and customizable to your preferences, they are also excellent make-ahead lunches. They last about three days in the refrigerator, and once the quinoa is cooked and cooled, they take very little time to put together. Go ahead and make a few, and turn your back on takeout temptations!

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon dill
6-10 white mushrooms, sliced
1 red pepper, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1-5 ounce package mixed baby greens, washed and patted dry
 

  In a large saucepan, bring quinoa and water to boiling. Cover and reduce heat, simmering until liquid is all absorbed. Allow quinoa to cool completely. (NOTE: this can be done a day in advance.)

  Whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, lemon juice, and dill. Divide vinaigrette among mason jars.

  Add quinoa to the mason jars; next add the mushrooms and zucchini. Layer the chopped pepper and tomato on top. Finish with the greens at the very topensure the greens and vinaigrette are as far apart as possible.

  This salad lasts up to three days in the fridge, so make ahead and enjoy your lunch to-go!

Yield: 4 large salads

Nutritional Information, per salad, based on 4 servings (approximate): Calories 340, Fat 17 grams, Total Carbohydrates 41 grams, Fibre 5 grams, Protein 8 grams

Want more hearty salad ideas? Try my Fiesta Quinoa Salad, my Ode to Joy Greek Salad, or my Dill-icious Avocado Pasta Salad.

It's easywatch me assemble a salad in a jar, plus helpful hints on how to eat it!

Feb
17
2014

Warming and Comforting: Creamy Tomato Soup Recipe

GRANDMA'S LITTLE SECRET

Warming and Comforting: Creamy Tomato Soup Recipe

tomato soup with croutons

Is there anything more comforting than a steaming bowl of soup on a grey and frigid day? Some late winter days are so devoid of colour, with the grey sky matching the grey grubby snow on the ground, that I find myself cooking the most brightly coloured dishes I can think of. This tomato soup fits the bill: it's warming and comforting, and the colour is restful to my winter-weary eyes. 

This is my version of my beloved grandma's homemade soup. I prefer my soups to be thick and smooth, like bisques, and so I use crushed tomatoes to get that texture. My version uses cashew cream, but if nuts are not an option for you, I have included nut-free variations. This tomato soup is incredibly simple to throw together, and a single taste of it transports me back to my grandma's kitchen, the most warming and comforting place in the world.

NOTE: Did you know that baking soda can be used to cut the acidity in tomatoes? This was Grandma's trick for tomato-based recipes: a little baking soda turns the acidity to sweetness.

Ingredients

1/2 cup raw cashews
1/3 cup water
OR
1/3 cup coconut cream or heavy cream
1-28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cube vegetable stock concentrate
3 cups water

 

  Soak cashews in very hot water for 1-2 hours. Drain. In a high powered blender or food processor, blend cashews with 1/3 cup water until very smooth and creamy. For a nut-free version, skip this step and use coconut cream or heavy cream in place of the cashew cream.

  In a large saucepan, add baking soday to crushed tomatoes. Mixture will foam up momentarily. Add cashew cream to the tomatoes. For a nut-free version, omit cashew cream and use 1/3 cup coconut cream or heavy cream.

  Add vegetable stock concentrate and 3 cups water, stirring well. Cook over medium heat until hot.

  Serve with croutons, if desired.

Want more warming and comforting soups? Try my Creamy Mushroom Soup or my version of Rachael Ray's Ratatouille. How about a soup and salad? This tomato soup goes wonderfully with my Spectacular Caesar Salad.