I have always loved Lara bars. In fact, I used to eat them for dessert, I thought they were so good. The apple pie was always my favorite; it reminded me of this time of the year, when apples are abundant. Since the ingredients are fairly simple, I thought I would make some of my own. Not that there is anything wrong with buying the packaged ones, but it is fun to create something yourself. They are quite simple to make, all you need to do is throw all the ingredients in the food processor and voila! Delicious bars!
No cream of mushroom required, this recipe is a creative use of bouillon that I typically always have on hand. I must admit, there may be many more gourmet recipes for beef stroganoff, but this recipe is quick, healthy and cost effective. Many of the meals in our home are tailored to my family’s taste, which I realize may not be a one size fits all palates. I encourage you to taste your way through the recipe and add more flavor if you desire.
When the chilly air starts to hit, I think more about salads that contain warm elements. I like to combine savory roasted vegetables with sweet things like fruits. Although there are many different possibilities, I am going to share one which was inspired by a salad that I enjoyed when visiting Montreal last year. The chef who created it always uses what is in season, or given to him fresh that day, and that day fresh exotic mushrooms and pears were available. You may think that it sounds like an odd combination, pears and roasted mushrooms, but it was wonderful. The mushrooms were so flavorful, and the pears so sweet. They were combined with roasted leeks and crunchy toasted pecans then tossed in a sweet tart vinaigrette. I love the combination. It is something that most people have not had the chance to try, so I make it for occasions when I have people over for dinner and want to serve something special. It would be perfect with a holiday meal!
Cakes, pies and cookie pumpkin desserts are everywhere this time of the year. My Mom used to make soft, maple glazed pumpkin cookies when I was younger. I loved them, but as an adult, I decided to create my own version of a pumpkin cookie. I wanted them to be different than the usual soft cakey ones. So I came up with a recipe similar to that of a chocolate chip cookie which is soft in the middle and a little crispy at the edges. I left the glaze off, added plenty of spice and mixed in lots of add ins that remind me of Autumn. Pecans, walnuts, dried cranberries, crystallized ginger, and of course chocolate chips, because who doesn’t enjoy that? If you make these and share them, you will have some very happy friends and family!
When apple season started this year, I was especially excited for the honeycrisps! I cannot get enough of them, and although they are wonderful for simply snacking on as is, I love to use them in desserts. I decided to share my recipe for baked apples because it is perfect on a chilly night to warm you from the inside. This easy to cook recipe, I kicked up the apple cooking syrup a notch with some chipotle pepper and chili flakes, because I feel the warming go beautifully with the sweet apple and maple syrup. If you are not a fan of heat, you can omit the spice, and your apples will still be delicious. If you wish to guild the lily, serve this with some ice cream!
Many people think of slaw as a summer salad, but I believe that there are slaws for every season, depending on what type of vegetables you use in it. I recently made a root vegetable slaw with carrots, parsnips and rutabagas. You may not think of eating these veggies raw, but actually they are rather sweet and wonderful. I dressed it with a silky tahini lemon sauce and topped it off with sesame seeds; it was the perfect side for an autumn meal. I believe in thinking outside the box when it comes to using vegetables, and this was a nice switch off from the typical roasted or mashed potato.
Eating out is great for moms. No making dinner means no dishes! But with the expense of eating out and the uncertainty of what is really in the food, eating out is becoming less and less a tangible want. This is a great pasta to give the feel of eating out without breaking the bank as well as the reassurance of knowing exactly what is in it. As you can tell from the title, this pasta is spicy. My 3-year-old likes spice but not at the same heat level my husband does. To keep it kid-friendly, I let the adults in my house add their own cayenne pepper. This can be scary because a pinch can take you down a spicy road. This recipe calls for shrimp, but I have used chicken or sometimes have just done without. Enjoy, we sure do!
Sometimes I am in the mood for Asian food, but most of the time I do not leave the house to go get some. No, I do not get delivery, but instead I make my own! I figure most of the time the food I make myself is lighter and healthier than what is traditionally served in most restaurants. As well as cheaper, and cannot beat that! One of my favorite dishes to make is sesame tempeh with veggies, which I serve with cooked brown rice. It is warming and flavorful, and I never miss the restaurant food. I change up the veggies depending on the season, but during the Autumn months, one of my favorite vegetable combinations to use is simply carrots and brussels sprouts. I roast them to give them plenty of flavor to combine with tempeh and sauteed shallots in an Asian inspired sauce! If you have not tried tempeh, do not be afraid of it; it is wonderful in dishes like this in place of the usual tofu or meat.
Have you ever walked through the bulk section of Fresh & Natural and taken time to look at everything? I do most of my shopping in the produce department. Dried fruit, nuts, seeds and grains are staples in my kitchen. I make a lot of raw desserts at home, so lately I have been buying a lot of dates and dried coconut (which make amazing desserts). I recently decided to pick up some dried apples to make some apple cinnamon macaroons. They turned out to be a tasty snack that satisfies any sweet craving, perfect for this time of year. The best part is they are easy to make, and would make a great on the go snack perfect for school lunches (or lunch at work, I would include them in mine)!
It seems that I often end up with more bananas than I could just eat, and they get over ripe sitting on the counter. But instead of looking at them as over the hill and ready for tossing, I see them as an opportunity to make something delicious like banana bread or muffins. I have been making vegan banana muffins for a while and have a good recipe, but I wanted to try making them gluten free. There are many options for gluten free flour, but I feel that some of the options, like white rice flour are not all that healthy as they are high on the glycemic scale. So I opted to use quinoa flour which I have had a lot of success baking with. I also wanted the muffins to be sweetened with somthing lower on the glycemic index, so I chose coconut sugar. It has a wonderful, slightly nutty flavor that paired well with the banana. The muffins were deliciously sweet and lightly spiced. You could never tell they were gluten free or vegan. If you have not tried quinoa flour or coconut sugar, you should check them out!