oats

Date Bar Dessert

When Owen and I got married, I was excited about learning to cook. Finally, I had my own kitchen! At my wedding shower, a longtime family friend gave me the instructions for her favorite brownies written on a recipe card (along with her gift) and on the day of our wedding, one of my sister’s high school friends gave us The Best of Country Cooking 2001 by Taste of Home. She had glued on the front page “A Recipe for a Happy Marriage” and a hand written note. That was where it all began. I love that cookbook, it’s full of memories and sentiment. It also contains the recipe for Date Bar Dessert, one of the first desserts I brought as a newlywed to our Thanksgiving family gathering. Of course, it’s always exciting when people enjoy what you’ve made! (It’s hard to go wrong with oats, butter, brown sugar and sticky sweet dried fruit.) Owen and I recently celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary, so I happily share this gift with you! In time for the holidays I might add, although on any given day it really makes for a delicious breakfast with a cup of coffee. Just sayin’.

As organic as possible:

1 3/4 cups old-fashioned Oats

1 1/2 cups all-purpose Flour

1 cup packed Brown Sugar

1 tsp Baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup cold Butter

2 1/2 cups chopped Dates

3/4 cup Sugar

3/4 cup Water

1/2 cup chopped Walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. *I prefer the old school two knives instead of a pastry cutter for this large amount, but do as you please.

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Press into a greased 13″ x 9″ x 2″ baking pan.

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In a saucepan, combine dates, sugar and water.

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Cook for 10 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently. Stir in walnuts. Spread over crust.

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Bake for 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares or bars.

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*It is recommended to serve with whip topping, but I have to tell you I like it without. You choose!

Date Bar Dessert

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups old-fashioned Oats
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose Flour
  • 1 cup packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cold Butter
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped Dates
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup chopped Walnuts

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. *I prefer the old school two knives instead of a pastry cutter for this large amount, but do as you please.
  3. Press into a greased 13" x 9" x 2" baking pan.
  4. In a saucepan, combine dates, sugar and water. Cook for 10 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently. Stir in walnuts. Spread over crust.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares or bars.
  6. *It is recommended to serve with whip topping, but I have to tell you I like it without. You choose!
http://sadiesnest.com/date-bar-dessert/

Farmhouse Rules’ Chocolate Toffee No-Bake Cookies

From the moment I watched Nancy Fuller make these cookies in her idyllic farmhouse kitchen I knew that I was going to replicate them in my pretend farmhouse kitchen. No-bake cookies are a family favorite, and the toffee addition just seemed like a stroke of genius! Of course I also tend to gravitate towards treats that I can make with my kids. So even if my garden is in reality a pool, and my cows and chickens are actually neighbors in my subdivision; by golly, I can eat like a fuller farmer! (I didn’t make that up, it’s the name of her blog 😉 )

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The original recipe can be found on FoodNetwork.com

As organic as possible:

3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup toffee bits, plus more for sprinkling
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Combine the oats, peanut butter, bitter and semisweet chocolate chips, toffee bits, butter and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the chocolate chips melt, 3 to 5 minutes.
Scoop heaping tablespoons of batter onto the baking sheet and sprinkle each cookie with extra toffee bits. Freeze for 15 minutes before serving. The cookies can be stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for 1 week.
Recipe courtesy of Nancy Fuller

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/nancy-fuller/chocolate-toffee-no-bake-cookies.html?oc=linkback

 

No-Bake Cookies

I know, I know- everyone has a no-bake cookie recipe. But I don’t think I could have a food blog without mentioning my family’s go-to cookie. In fact, this is my second published no-bake cookie recipe. My kids and I make these often, and like to play around with ingredients, chocolates, etc.. But this is the original tried and true recipe. I got it from a book, a gift- from a collection of recipes from the Trinity Wesleyan Church in Jackson, MI… but I know it by heart.

As organic as possible:

1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter (I like salted for this recipe) *And sometimes I add a pinch of salt anyway

2 cups Sugar

1/2 cup Milk

1/2 cup Cocoa Powder

1 tsp Vanilla

1/2 cup Peanut Butter (rounded)

3 cups Oats

In a large heavy bottomed sauce pan, heat butter, sugar, milk, and cocoa powder stirring often. Bring to boil and let it bubble for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter and vanilla. When it’s all melted and mixed well, add the oats and stir until all of them are coated with chocolatey goodness. Use a spoon to drop little mounds onto sheets of waxed paper. Allow to cool and harden slightly before eating.

Happy Eating!

Best Oatmeal Cookies Ever?

A life-long friend of mine knows I’m into food blogging. So when she came across a recipe that said it was “The Best Oatmeal Cookie Recipe We’ve Ever Tried,” she passed it along my way. How sweet is that? Thank you Monica! Of course, being a fan of oatmeal raisin cookies, I had to try it. The recipe came from the Wall Street Journal. I don’t know if I’ve ever made a recipe of theirs before. Apparently there is a newly opened restaurant in Manhattan, and rumor has it they have a good cookie!

The first thing I noticed that was different from what I’ve done before is that the instructions said to soak the raisins in hot water for 30 minutes. I wondered if that would make the raisins juicy and plump? I wasn’t disappointed- I do think it made a difference! They also mentioned using old fashioned or rolled oats, which I always do, and agree that they are best for oatmeal cookies. The recipe called for adding the egg and vanilla at the end, after adding the oats and raisins; that was another thing I had never done before. Lastly it was recommended to allow the batter to sit for 4 days, which I will admit I did not do, although it gave me a pass. Something I would not do is bake them again for 17 minutes. There was no leeway. The directions specifically said 17 minutes, and that was too long, at least for my pans and oven- unless my goal was awesome granola.

The result was delicious, almost candy like. They kind of had a shiny sweet exterior that I thought was different from my regular batches. The cookies were big and chewy (when cooked about 14-15 minutes). And I have to say my kids loved them. They baked round and flat and firm. To be completely honest I think they are perfect for ice cream sandwiches! And although I am not disappointed, my quest for the perfect oatmeal raisin cookie is still on. Of course I have been heavily persuaded by the organic “Aussie Bites” from Costco. I think they’re on to something! However, my dad disagrees whole-heartedly. This much I know is true: personal taste is subjective. Am I rambling?

As Seen in the Wall Street Journal:

Active Time: 10-15 minutes Total Time: 1 hour, plus 4 days for chilling dough Makes: 14 cookies

1 cup raisins
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
1½ sticks slightly softened butter
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cups old-fashioned or rolled oats
1 extra-large egg
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Soak raisins in hot water for 30 minutes, then drain.

2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.

3. Using an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping down frequently. Take care not to overbeat.

4. Add flour mixture to creamed butter and sugar and mix on low speed until combined. Mix in oats, followed by drained raisins, egg and vanilla.

5. Use a ¼-cup measure to scoop dough onto a parchment-paper lined baking sheet. Flatten each blob with base of measuring cup. Cover baking sheet with plastic wrap and refrigerate 4 days (optional).

6. To bake cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake until cookies are golden-brown on the outside but still soft in the middle, about 17 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest on baking sheet a few minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool.

—Adapted from Melissa Weller of Sadelle’s, New York City

Thank you Monica! This was a lot of fun!

The Richmond Avenue’s Cottage Cheese Oatmeal Pancakes

At first glance these pancakes looked like something I had to try. I know what most people were thinking, “these sound weird,” because Jasmine wrote that they did. But not me, I was thinking these sound unique, I love cottage cheese and look at that picture! I want to eat that! Of course that’s what I think about most of the food from The Richmond Avenue, which is why I selected this recipe for my WordPress Cooking Challenge!

When I started to collect the ingredients I would need to make these pancakes, my first thought was I need to get a new food processor with a larger capacity. Which actually has no connection with this recipe because the instructions clearly state to combine the ingredients in a blender, which I did. However, that was my first thought none-the-less.

It was when I began to pour the ingredients into the blender, I actually started to question “how is this going to work?” I understand that the oats were taking place of the flour (of which there is none) and I think it’s pretty cool that this is a gluten-free recipe. But there was no oil or melted butter, the only fat was in the cottage cheese. The baking powder and vanilla were normal for me (because I make pancakes on a weekly basis), but when I went to throw in a pinch of salt I had to stop myself… no salt in this recipe either! I figured the cottage cheese is probably salty enough and I started feeling healthier by the second. I have to confess- that I used three whole eggs as opposed to 6 egg whites. It was a calculated decision based on four things: firstly, I know from experience that it will add the same amount of moisture: secondly, the recipe did not call for me to whip the egg whites and gently fold them in, so although it may have been lighter I really didn’t feel I was messing with airy-ness: thirdly, I’m not worried about the amount of cholesterol I am eating, although I respect that as a healthy option: and lastly, I love my organic eggs, I don’t have any recipes in the line-up that call for yolks, and I didn’t want to waste them. But honestly all of this inner turmoil isn’t worth it! I did add the optional tablespoon of sugar- because that’s the kind of girl I am.

As I was heating up the griddle and watching my butter foam in readiness for the batter I actually got excited to see how this was going to turn out! And as I watched for the bubbles to cue me that it was time to flip the pancakes, I was happy to see the beautiful golden color that occurred on the first side! So far so good! As I moved my first round of pancakes to a side plate I had to pinch a piece off of one to see how this was going to taste. It was sweet, salty, and just like a pancake, except healthier and full of protein! It’s a delicious recipe and it even got more fun with all of the fresh fruit toppings!

For the original recipe and picture check out The Richmond Avenue

1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup oats
3 Tbsp almond or skim milk
6 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp sugar (optional)
Strawberries for topping (optional)
Blueberries for topping (optional)
Maple syrup for topping (“optional, but not really” – love that BTW!)

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and let it do its thing! Scoop 1/4 cup of the batter at a time on the prepared griddle (with butter or baking spray). Flip when you see the bubbles… Serve warm!
Enjoy! I know I sure did!