Posts Tagged ‘Whole Grain’

This cookie is relatively new to my holiday repertoire, and quickly has become a favorite. It is packed full of great winter flavors: cranberry, citrus, toasted pecans and maple syrup. It is super easy to put together and have in the refrigerator or freezer for those times when you suddenly need fresh-baked cookies on short notice (something that seems to happen often this time of year). And finally, I love that the dough is not overly sweet.

With all that fruit and nut goodness, and some whole wheat flour thrown in, I can almost convince myself that these are good for me.

Cranberry Orange Pecan Shortbread

Adapted from Whole Foods Market

Makes 32 cookies


1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup candied orange peel, diced

1 cup pecan pieces, toasted and chopped


In an electric mixer, cream together butter, sugar and maple syrup until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Add flour and salt, one cup at a time, mixing well after each cup is added. Stir in the cranberries, orange peel, and pecans.

Shape dough into two logs and chill until firm, 1 to 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut dough into 1/2-inch slices and arrange on baking sheet. Bake for 18 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack. Cookies will keep several weeks in an airtight container.


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“Enough with the sweets already!,” you’re saying.  I understand. It’s time for dinner, and you’re wondering what I’ve got in the light, nutritious and flavorful category. Well, fear not.  I’ve got just the thing — baked tilapia over nutty brown rice, black beans, pineapple and salsa.  How’s that?  You’re welcome.

Adapted from Ingrid Hoffmann


1 cup long grain brown rice

2 cups chicken broth

1 Tbsp. olive oil

Zest of one lime

Juice of one lime

Cilantro, chopped

Salt & Pepper

4 (~6 oz.) tilapia filets

2 cups of your favorite chunky tomato salsa (jarred or homemade), drained

15 oz. can Black Beans, rinsed and drained

2 cups diced pineapple (fresh is best, but canned works in a pinch)

Fresh limes for garnish


Combine rice and chicken broth in a pot.  Bring to boil.  Lower heat to “low” and cover.  Cook for 45-50 minutes, or until rice is tender and broth is completely absorbed.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Stir together the cooked rice, salsa, beans, and pineapple. Spread in a 9×13 pan or other shallow 2-3 quart casserole dish.

Brush tilapia with olive oil.  Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.  Squeeze lime over the fish and lay the filets over the top of the rice mixture.  Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Bake until the fish flakes easily, is opaque and cooked through, 25-30 minutes.

Serve with lime slices.

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As I write this, I am madly packing for a family trip to Seattle and Vancouver.  One of the things I’ve learned about myself is that I like to come home to a clean house and refrigerator.  There’s nothing worse than arriving home, tired and hungry (because they don’t feed you anything on planes these days) to a dirty, messy house with spoiled food in the fridge.

So, last night, as I was doing the final load of laundry, I noticed several very ripe bananas in the fruit bowl on the counter.  “Hmmm…,” I think. ” Those are not going to make it.”  And so, because I’m a little bit crazy, I decide to make banana muffins at ten o’clock at night. The good news is that this recipe is tried and true, easy to put together and tastes great.  When you choose to bake the batter into muffins, rather than a loaf, you save a lot of time. An hour after I was originally inspired by those lonely browning bananas, I was putting the cooled muffins away for our breakfast.

Now, if I can just be equally inspired to dust and vacuum and clean the bathrooms, I’ll be in good shape!

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

adapted from Sunset’s Book of Breads


1/2 cup butter, melted

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup mashed banana (about 3 large or 4 small)

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1/3 cup hot water

1/2 cup chocolate chips or chopped walnuts, optional


Mix melted butter and sugar.  Add beaten eggs and mashed banana, blending until almost smooth (I like a few little banana lumps).  In a separate bowl, combine the flours, salt, and soda and mix thoroughly.  Add dry ingredients alternately with the water to the sugar/butter mixture.  Add nuts or chocolate chips, if desired.

Spoon batter into greased muffin tins, about 1/3 cup of batter per muffin.  (My yield was 15-16 muffins.) Alternately, you may scrape all the batter into a 9×5 inch loaf pan to make one loaf.

Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes for muffins, or 70 minutes for a loaf.  Check for doneness by lightly touching the tops of the muffins to see if they spring back just a bit.  You don’t want to overbake them!  You can test the loaf with a toothpick or wooden skewer.  It should come out clean when the banana bread is done.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

Nutritional info per muffin:

Calories: 192, Fat: 7.7 grams, Cholesterol: 36.5 grams, Protein: 3 grams, Sodium: 173 mg, Carbohydrate 29.1 grams, Fiber 1.6 grams, Sugar: 15 grams, Calcium: 9 mg

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Today, we are going to be talking about Yankee food (and I don’t mean hot dogs at the ball park). To understand Yankee food, you have to answer the question, “What is a Yankee?” To people in the Western Hemisphere, a Yankee is someone from North America (think “Yankee, go home!”). To North Americans, Yankees live in the United States. To Americans, a Yankee is someone above the Mason-Dixon line. People in those northern states would say a Yankee is someone who lives in New England.  To New Englanders, a Yankee lives in Vermont. And Vermonters would say a Yankee is someone who eats apple pie for breakfast…

… or maybe baked beans and brown bread.  This recipe was given to me by an old friend whose family had been in New England so long that they had land that had been given to them as payment for service in the war — you know, the Revolutionary War.

Food can reach back and teach us about the past.  In those early days when white folks first settled New England, they ate what they could grow. Beans were (and still are) cheap and filling, and meat was used sparingly. This bread uses modest amounts of wheat, which was less available than other grains, contains no precious oil or butter, and is steamed in the manner of old English puddings.  The result is a delicious, hearty and healthy meal and a lesson in American history.

Nancy’s Boston Baked Beans

Warning! This makes a massive amount of beans.  Feed your family.  Feed your neighbors.


One onion, quartered

2 lbs. Jacob Cattle Beans, or other small white bean (I used Great Northern beans)

8 oz. salt pork (can substitute bacon if necessary)

1/4 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup molasses

2 tsp. dry mustard

4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper


Soak beans overnight in a large pot with water covering the beans by two inches.  In the morning, parboil the beans for 30 minutes or until the skins start to come off when you blow on them.  Drain.

In large bean pot or dutch oven, place quartered onion, and cover with beans.  Place salt pork on top of beans. Mix the sugar, molasses, mustard, pepper and salt with 2 cups boiling water. Pour mixture over the beans.  Add more water to cover the surface of the beans.  Cover the pot with a lid and bake at 300 degrees F for 6 hours or more, adding more hot water as the beans cook.  Serve with brown bread (recipe below).

Brown Bread

This is traditionally made in old coffee cans, but coffee doesn’t come in cans so often anymore, so one has to improvise. Improvising makes real Yankees happy.  Do not go to your local kitchen supply store and buy a fancy pudding mold.  That would offend those thrifty folks, whose motto was “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”


1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup whole grain rye flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 cups buttermilk

1 cup molasses

1 cup raisins or dried currants


Generously butter one 9×5 inch loaf pan or 2 clean 28 ounce tin cans.  Mix first 5 ingredients in large bowl.  Add buttermilk, molasses and raisins and stir well to combine.

Transfer batter to prepared loaf pan or divide between the two prepared cans.  Butter a piece of foil and use it to cover the pan well, buttered side down.  Secure with kitchen twine.  Place loaf pan in a large wide pot (I used my stock pot).  Pour enough water into pot to come halfway up sides of loaf pan or cans.  Bring water to boil, then reduce heat to low.  Cover pot and simmer until tester inserted into center of bread comes out clean, about three hours.  Add more water to pot as necessary to keep water halfway up sides of pan or cans.

Remove pan or cans from pot.  Cool bread in pan for 15 minutes before gently removing.  Slice and serve, either warm or at room temperature.  Brown bread is very good smeared with cream cheese.

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In my experience, kids love to be in the kitchen when you’re cooking.  When you can, it’s great to involve them, even when the “help” is not really so helpful.  At 8, Morgan actually contributes some real assistance from time to time, but mostly she tastes and comments and inspects things as I go along.  I credit her interest in cooking in part to her great preschool teachers at the Boulder Journey School.  There, the kids in her class made two cookbooks, one for bread and one for soup.  The bread cookbook was alphabetical, A is for Apple Bread, B is for Banana Bread, etc.  Not only did the kids participate in reading, measuring, mixing and baking, they also wrote out the recipes and illustrated the cookbook!  Needless to say, it was charming, and made a lovely gift for the parents.  But no doubt the greatest gift of all is a child who has an appreciation for and interest in real cooking. I believe that knowing how to cook brings lifelong happiness.  And that’s a lesson worth learning.

This yeasted bread is lightly sweetened, and studded with chunks of apple.  It makes a great breakfast bread, snack, or even a somewhat virtuous dessert.  I haven’t tried making sandwiches with it, but I bet they’d be awesome.

Makes two 9″ round loaves.


3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

3 packets active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water (between 85 and 110 degrees F)

2 apples, peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

3 cups all purpose unbleached flour, plus some extra


Put milk, butter, brown sugar and salt into a small saucepan.  Heat until almost boiling (this is called scalding) and the butter has melted.  Set this mixture aside and let it cool down to room temperature.

Dissolve the yeast in warm water.  Add 1 teaspoon sugar.  After it foams up, add the yeast mixture to the (cooled) milk mixture in a mixing bowl on a stand mixer.  Add chopped apples, eggs, flour and cinnamon.

Knead with a dough hook in a KitchenAid mixer (speed 2) or by hand for 5-8 minutes, adding just enough extra white flour for the dough to come together in a ball and clean the sides of the bowl.

Put dough into another large greased bowl.  Cover with a damp kitchen towel and put in a warm (but not hot) place.  Let it rise for one hour, or until it is doubled in size.

Punch down the dough.  Shape it into 2 round domes and put each on a greased pie pan or a cookie sheet. Let it rise 20 minutes more.  (This is a good time to turn on your oven and let it preheat.)

Bake the bread at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.  You can check to make sure it’s done by thumping the top.  It should sound hollow, and be golden brown on the top.

Now the hard part: let it cool enough to cut off a slice.  Yum!

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I love Sunday mornings.  Sleep a little late, make a pot of good strong black tea, read the Sunday paper, and enjoy what we call in our family, “special breakfast.”  This usually involves things that are a bit more fuss and a bit more calories than we can swing on a weekday.  But that doesn’t mean that it has to be unhealthy.  These hearty pancakes are the perfect balance — full of flavor, while also surprisingly nutritious.

They are also incredibly versatile.  While these are great with a pat of butter and pure Vermont maple syrup, I’ve also enjoyed them with yogurt and homemade applesauce, or an elegant topping of pears sautéed with a bit of butter, brown sugar and brandy.  They hold up well to chunks of banana or fresh berries.  If you want to incorporate fruit into the pancakes themselves, sprinkle it on the pools of pancake batter as soon as you put it on the griddle.  Once you flip the pancake, the juicy goodness will be sealed in.  Finally, they freeze well for those weekday mornings when you or the kids need just a little bit more to get you started than that bowl of cereal…


1 cup whole wheat flour

1/3 cup oats

1/3 cup yellow cornmeal

1/3 cup all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups buttermilk, 1% lowfat

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 tablespoons mild-flavored (light) molasses


Mix dry ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Whisk buttermilk, eggs, 2 tablespoons melted butter and molasses together. Add dry ingredients; mix just until blended. Heat griddle or heavy large skillet over medium heat and spray with Pam or other cooking spray.  Working in batches, drop 1/4 cup batter onto griddle for each pancake. Cook until brown, about 3 minutes per side. Serve with pure maple syrup (I prefer Grade B for a more pronounced “maple-y” flavor).  Makes about 20 4″ pancakes.

Nutritional information, estimated per pancake :

Calories 75, Fat 2.0 g (Sat Fat: 1 g), Cholesterol 14.6 mg, Protein 2.8 g, Sodium 120.3 mg, Carbohydrate 12 g, Fiber 1.2 g, Sugar 2.3 g, Calcium: 71.9 mg

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