Saturday, May 28, 2011

Around the Kitchen

I really was born into the wrong ethnic group. My background is mostly Scottish and Irish, not cultures known for their soul food. I am not an exceptional cook and you won't find any particularly exotic offerings in my kitchen but one of my love languages is certainly food. As you know if you have been around here for long, I have very mixed feelings about being back at work and when I feed my family "from scratch", healthy, yummy food, I feel as bit less guilty and like I am doing my job to provide for them.

I wouldn't say that I am a health food nut but I do try to avoid proceeded foods as much as possible. Since Baby Bean refused to eat baby food entirely and we went the "Baby-Led Weaning" route, it is especially important that the food we eat is low in salt, preservatives and chemicals. He is a huge fan of baking and so that has been a big focus lately, especially mini-muffins.

Usually, when it comes to food, I share links to recipes I have found online or I plug a cookbook I am really enjoying. Today, I am pleased to offer a recipe that is truly my own! It came about just before I went back to work - I like to try and make breakfast a special meal and with out new morning routine, timelines are really tight. I got the idea for a breakfast cookie and this recipe was born. I did some research online and combined ideas from a number of recipes. I wanted something low in sugar, whole grain and not containing honey (since Baby Bean is under 1 year, honey is still no-go). Just so you know, I am following the new guidelines for feeding and since Baby Bean doesn't come from a background with any nut allergies, he is already eating nuts. I would like to try this recipe with sunflower seeds to replace the walnuts so that Pk can take them to school (nuts are not allowed in schools here) but I haven't actually tried that yet.

Good Morning Breakfast Cookies

2 eggs
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c melted butter
1 c shredded carrots
1 c ground walnuts (you can just chop them but since Baby Bean is still little, I worry about choking)
1/2 c raisins
1/2 c chopped dried apricots
1 c whole wheat flour
1 c rolled oats (not instant(
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 salt
1 1/2 c cheerios

Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with silpat sheets or parchment paper.
In one bowl, combine the eggs, brown sugar and butter until well mixed. Add the carrots, walnuts, raisins, apricots and stir just to combine.
In another bowl, combine flour, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Add the cheerios and stir until just combined.
Drop by spoonfuls on the cookie sheets and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until firm and golden. Cool two minutes and then transfer to racks to fully cool. Makes roughly 2 1/2 dozen.

(My kids LOVE these and we find they are perfect for a snack in the car after swimming when they are hungry. My father-in-law didn't know they were breakfast cookies and he greatly enjoyed them with his cup of coffee).

Before I go, I do want to share one cookbook and one link. I have told you before about Jonni McCoy's cookbook, Healthy Meals for Less. I love this cookbook. It is simple, very kid-friendly food with a short list of ingredients, most of which are either natural or she gives recipes for natural ingredients. This week, I went and bought all the ingredients for her onion soup mix and then used it in a couple of the recipes in the book that call for onion soup. The flavour was terrific with about 1/4 the salt and none of the preservatives and chemicals in dry soups. Dh loved the meals and even Pk, who is in a picky stage, was willing to eat. The "Chef Miser-ly's Mac and Beef" and "Popover Pizza" are Pk's favourite meals of all time. You can't beat them - cheap, quick and healthy.
In terms of a link, we made a discovery this week. I had been hearing about kale chips and wondered about them. I know that kale is one of those wonder foods and I have been wanting to get us to eat it but really, doing nothing about it. In the last week, it has become a staple. I saw the recipe on a blog for kale chips and decided to try them. They are absolutely delicious and ridiculously simple the make. The kids don't love them as much as they are supposed to but will eat a bit and dh and I really indulge. They are really worth a try!

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