Eggplant Bolognese

Eggplant Bolognese

My farm share is such a godsend. I used to eat the same few vegetables over and over. I didn’t know what to do with all the other stuff at the grocery store, so I stuck to “safe” things like broccoli and carrots. Now that I belong to a CSA, I eat a much wider variety of vegetables. I don’t actually love them all, but I still eat them. You can't eat a varied diet if you only eat your favorite foods over and over. Eggplant isn't at the top of my "favorite vegetables" list. While I don’t enjoy eggplant straight up, I’ll eat it without complaint if it's disguised in a recipe. This Eggplant Bolognese is the perfect example. Eggplant gives pasta sauce a bit of bulk, but you don’t … [Read more...]

Chocolate Spritz Cookies

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These chocolate spritz cookies are a delicious treat. They’re soft and not too sweet - just how I love my cookies. I’m happy to be partnering with OXO to share this spritz cookie recipe. OXO is one of my favorite brands when it comes to small kitchen gadgets. Their quality is always great in my experience, and all their products come with a lifetime warranty. I recently met an OXO representative at a conference, and I asked her, “Does the lifetime warranty apply to a salad spinner that my toddler son played with ALL the time until he broke it?” She said yes, it would have been covered. Too bad I didn’t know that back then, but happily the replacement I bought years ago is still … [Read more...]

Pumpkin Brownies

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I love brownies. I’ve tried many, many different brownie recipes over the years, and even the failures tasted pretty good. So it’s with a dose of reverence that I say: These may very well be the best brownies I’ve ever made. After I tasted the first one, I was tempted to drive to my children’s school to pull them out early. I wanted to confirm that these were as good as I thought they were. The kids are my trusted critics. I didn’t drive over there, though, but instead distracted myself with other tasks as the day wore on. When the end of the school day finally came, my son (who doesn’t love chocolate, and can’t stand anything “dark chocolate”) and my daughter (the dark chocolate … [Read more...]

How to Make Protein Bars

chocolate coconut protein bars

The season of packing school lunches is here again. The old classic PB&J is an easy fallback, but it’s important to embrace variety and mix up what goes into your children’s lunch boxes. This month’s Recipe Redux is full of ideas for “brown bag bars and bites.” Learning how to make protein bars is one of the best things you can do to keep the lunchtime meal varied and fun. Homemade protein bars are perfect for kids. They taste like dessert, but they can be filled with healthy ingredients to keep children satisfied and energized throughout the school day. They work at snack time as well as lunch. Sweetened by dates, these bars can also be shaped into small squares or balls to fit … [Read more...]

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

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Homemade ice cream is one of my favorite summer treats. I do like going out for ice cream with my family on occasion, but there’s just something special about making it yourself. Unlike at an ice cream shop, the flavor possibilities are endless. You can make whatever kind you want and invent flavors that haven't been dreamed up before. It takes great patience as you wait for the ice cream to solidify in the freezer. It feels like an eternity. But then, it’s finally ready. And it’s so creamy, so good. I can’t imagine summer without homemade ice cream. This chocolate peanut butter ice cream is adapted from a recipe in the Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book. … [Read more...]

Cherry Tomato Ricotta Pasta

Cherry Tomato Ricotta Pasta

This Cherry Tomato Ricotta Pasta is a delicious way to feature those little tomato gems that hit the markets in the middle of summer. This dish is simple and basic, but it tastes like a fancy restaurant meal. We returned from vacation a few weeks ago on the eve of my husband’s birthday. I had little energy for cooking a birthday dinner as I faced a nearly empty pantry and refrigerator. I did have a pretty pint of cherry tomatoes from the farm, though, which reminded me of a pasta recipe I used to make from Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express. That recipe inspired this dish, and my family loved it. One of these days, you really should try making your own ricotta. I know it sounds like a big … [Read more...]

Berry Vanilla Baked Oatmeal

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Baked oatmeal is an easy, make-ahead breakfast that can be flavored all sorts of ways. I have a blueberry banana baked oatmeal recipe in my book, Conquering Your Kitchen. It’s one of my favorite recipes in the book. Not everyone loves bananas like I do, though. Without the banana in my baked oatmeal, a substitute is needed to boost the flavor. This month’s Recipe Redux challenge calls for recipes that use spirits and extracts, and vanilla extract is the perfect substitute here. Adding vanilla is a great way to flavor recipes without adding extra sugar. I like to make my own vanilla extract. The homemade version is a lot less expensive than the grocery store kind, and it makes a great … [Read more...]

Carrot Zucchini Bread

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  The volume of carrots and zucchini that I’ve been bringing home from my farm share is getting to be overwhelming. My kids are especially hesitant around zucchini, so when in doubt, I bake it into a snack. Chocolate zucchini muffins are a popular option. This carrot zucchini bread is another delicious snack recipe full of veggie goodness. The cinnamon adds a great flavor. I use a cup and a half of each grated vegetable, but you could easily add a little more zucchini, carrots, or a combination. This bread freezes well, so I put the cooled second loaf right in the freezer and save it for a week when I'm short on time. [amd-zlrecipe-recipe:127]   Carrot … [Read more...]

Mango Salad Dressing

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Lettuce comes fast and furious from my farm share this time of year, so we eat a lot of salad. It’s great for me because a big, loaded salad is just about my favorite kind of meal. The kids, on the other hand. . . They’re pretty good about salad, but they were happier about it when I used to buy store-bought dressing. Ranch was their favorite, and they liked Italian too. After I started scrutinizing ingredient labels a few years ago, store-bought salad dressings were among the first things to go. Lengthy ingredient lists with thickeners and other additives don’t make the real food cut. I’ve worked hard to come up with homemade salad dressings that my children would like. There have … [Read more...]

Chia Seed Blueberry Muffins

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Have you heard? It’s all about chia seeds these days. They’re full of full of fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and calcium. I love chia pudding, which is thickened by the reaction between the chia seeds and the liquid. I also like to throw a tablespoon of these seeds into my smoothies. Chia seeds can be added to baked goods, too. These Chia Seed Blueberry Muffins are a delicious snack. This recipe is a great example of how chia seeds add texture to baked goods. You’ll barely notice they’re there, but they add the slightest crunch to the muffins. This fruity snack freezes well, so put some away for a busy day and you’ll be so happy to find them waiting in your … [Read more...]