Maple Berry Skillet Cake

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Not a day goes by in my house when I don’t use a cast iron skillet. I didn’t grow up in a cast iron household, but fortunately, my husband did. We inherited three cast iron pans from past generations in his family. One is a huge, 14-inch skillet that I can barely lift. The next one is a 9-inch skillet that gets used the most often. And then there’s the little guy, a 6-inch skillet which we use to heat up a small portion of leftovers in no time. We don’t have a microwave, so things almost always get reheated in cast iron on the stovetop. These skillets heat up quickly and evenly, so they’re the perfect tool for this task. I also use these skillets in the oven. The even heating helps to … [Read more...]

Deviled Eggs

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This recipe for deviled eggs is a great addition to an appetizer spread. High in protein and flavor, deviled eggs are satisfying and filling. If you’re dyeing eggs for Easter, this is the perfect thing to make when you’re ready to eat them. I recommend using natural, homemade dyes so you don’t have to worry about chemicals seeping into your eggs. Deviled eggs are not an exact science, so I suggest tasting the filling as you go and adjusting the flavors to your taste. You can easily adapt this recipe to make them spicy with cayenne pepper or salsa. Add a little crunch with finely diced bacon or vegetables. I like to garnish them with chopped chives, but other fresh herbs are wonderful too. … [Read more...]

Chocolate Pecan Pie Protein Snacks

chocolate pecan pie protein snacks

Homemade protein snacks are very deceptive. They’re full of healthy ingredients, but they taste like candy. These are among the easiest snacks to make because they don’t need to go in the oven. Simply mix the ingredients in a food processor, shape the dough however you want it, and refrigerate. These Chocolate Pecan Pie Protein Snacks are so good. You won’t believe they don’t have any added sugar when you taste them. The dates have a caramelizing effect, so these come out tasting like sweet, chewy candy. Pecans are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and dates provide a healthy dose of potassium and fiber. These little goodies are the perfect afternoon snack for kids or adults … [Read more...]

Pie Crust Recipe

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An easy pie crust recipe is an essential resource in a real food kitchen. I used to use store-bought pie crusts whenever I made quiche or dessert pies. It seemed like making homemade crust would be too time-consuming, and I wasn’t sure I could get the taste and texture just right. As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about. In reality, homemade pie crust takes just a few minutes of hands-on time to make and it only requires a few simple ingredients. The store-bought version, on the other hand, typically has a long ingredient list including hydrogenated oil, artificial food coloring, and preservatives. Even the healthier crusts you can buy at health food stores contain unnecessary … [Read more...]

Tomato Soup

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Tomato soup is one of the many foods I never ate as a child. I had an aversion to all things tomato, so I steered clear of this classic comfort food. Now that I’ve warmed up to tomatoes as an adult, I appreciate the flavor of a good tomato soup alongside a gooey grilled cheese. Canned tomato soup may be convenient, but it's so easy and affordable to make your own. The homemade version tastes better, too. Canned soup often contains high fructose corn syrup and chemical additives, so it's not a great choice. With this recipe, you can substitute different fresh herbs according to your tastes. Replace the milk with cream if you'd like a slightly richer soup. This soup freezes well, and I … [Read more...]

American Chop Suey

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It wasn’t until I had children of my own that I first tried American Chop Suey. I remember seeing it in my college cafeteria, but I wasn’t impressed. In retrospect, I was missing out. This is great comfort food. This dish can be made quickly, and it’s much healthier than Hamburger Helper or other boxed dinner kits. I first started making this recipe a few years ago when I was looking to replicate Annie’s “P’sghetti Loops” for my children. By making American Chop Suey at home, you can tailor the sauce to meet your tastes. Add extra tomato sauce for a soupier version, and throw in a little cayenne pepper if you want it spicy. Mushrooms or other vegetables make a delicious addition as well. … [Read more...]

Healthy Cooking Tips & Toasted Spice Vinaigrette Recipe

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In honor of National Nutrition Month as well as Stop & Shop’s 100th birthday, Stop & Shop recently hosted a healthy cooking class for a group of local bloggers. The class focused on how to use spices to make dishes more flavorful. By using a variety of different seasonings in our recipes, we can cut back on excess salt and sugar without compromising taste. Along with Stop & Shop nutritionist Julie Menounos, the class was led by locavore chef Jeremy Sewall of Lineage, a “hook to table” seafood restaurant in Brookline. This is one of the Boston local food gems I highlighted in my post about real food in Boston. He’s also a partner at two other Boston restaurants, Island Creek … [Read more...]

Roasted Asparagus

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Roasted asparagus is one of my favorite early spring recipes. Barbara Kingsolver gave me a newfound respect for asparagus after I read her book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. She talked about how a carefully tended asparagus bed can keep producing for over twenty years, and it’s a specialty she's been sure to grow everywhere she lives. I loved her description of the harvesting process, which is challenging and simple at the same time. I don’t have quite the same commitment to asparagus that Barbara Kingsolver has, but I do love to include it on our menu often during the spring. It's delicious roasted, grilled, or sauteed. This roasted asparagus recipe is one of the easiest ways to prepare … [Read more...]

Irish Soda Bread

irish soda bread recipe

Irish soda bread is a classic St. Patrick’s Day snack. I’m an Irish girl, so of course I need an Irish soda bread recipe in my arsenal. This delicious whole grain version is adapted from King Arthur Flour. Even though it’s made with whole wheat flour, it does have a nice, light texture out of the oven. My children can't get enough of it, and it tastes amazing slathered with Kerrygold butter. If your family is still getting used to whole grain bread, you can substitute unbleached all-purpose flour for a cup of the whole wheat flour. I go light on the raisins, but you can include a full cup of raisins if you prefer a fruitier loaf of bread. This bread tastes best the day it's made, but you … [Read more...]

Mango Chia Pudding

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I recently bought my first package of chia seeds. I’m not sure what took me so long to get on board with this nutrition powerhouse. Chia seeds have many health benefits, including a significant dose of fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and calcium. This mango chia pudding is just one of the many ways you can incorporate chia seeds into your diet. You can add them to smoothies, and they can be mixed with water to use as an egg replacer. A reader also told me that you can grind them up and use them in place of xanthan gum in gluten-free baking. I’m looking forward to trying this. Check out this post from Wellness Mama for several other ways to use chia seeds. This mango chia pudding … [Read more...]