Sunday, February 7, 2016

Seedy Sourdough Crackers

I love making homemade crackers. Hang on, let me rephrase that; I love having homemade crackers on hand to eat. I have to admit I don't always love making them. But honestly, they're not that big of a pain to make, it just takes a bit of time, especially when you have a big recipe. But the end results are completely worth it and that is why I keep making different versions of homemade crackers again and again. 

This recipe is probably the best that I've made to date. I used a basic recipe for sourdough crackers that I've used in the past, but to add some interest to the crackers I added some seeds and grains, for flavor, texture and looks. Looking at what I had hanging around, I decided on poppy seeds, sunflower seeds and rolled oats. I coarsely ground the sunflower seeds and oats in a food processor for just a second or two before adding them so the pieces wouldn't be too big. The resulting crackers turned out delicious! Crisp and nutty with a slight tang from the sourdough. I highly recommend taking the time if you have it to roll out these addicting homemade crackers. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Zucchini Oat Bread

Yes, that's right. I'm pulling out a zucchini bread recipe in January. I wanted to bake something to have for breakfast last week and just couldn't seem to decide what I wanted to bake. Then I remembered the bag I had seen stuffed at the back of my fridge a day or two previously; a bag of already shredded and measured zucchini leftover from the summer. This was too good to pass up, so I pulled it out of the freezer and decided on this recipe as it thawed. 

It was just the right choice for my baking indecision. This recipe turned out a deliciously dense and hearty zucchini bread that, sliced up nice and thick, was the perfect snacking loaf to accompany my morning cup of coffee. Just the right amount of sweetness to make it special without turning it into dessert combined with warm cinnamon and buttery walnuts. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Polenta Breakfast Squares with Kale and Quinoa

Given the choice between a sweet breakfast or a savory breakfast, I will pick sweet almost every time. There is almost nothing I like better than sitting down in the early morning with a steaming cup of coffee and a delicious, fresh baked pastry. Scones, cinnamon rolls, danishes, muffins, you get the picture, that's my idea of the perfect breakfast. This, however, does not mean that a savory breakfast is never appreciated, on the contrary, some days a perfectly fried sunny-side up egg served over a piece of cheesy toast is ideal. Or a big plate of scrambled eggs, fresh bread and a side of breakfast sausage. I won't discriminate. 

This recipe came from one of those mornings when sweet wasn't at the top of the list. I was feeling like something hearty and savory. I liked the idea of a fancied up polenta bake so I added in a little bit of what I had floating around the fridge; onions, kale and some quickly cooked quinoa for a little extra protein, but you could really add whatever you'd like in the flavor department. It ended up being the perfect fix for my savory breakfast craving. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

100% Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

Oftentimes the simple basics are the best. That is certainly the case with these easy 100% whole wheat blueberry muffins. I was hankering for a good old blueberry muffin, but at the same time didn't want it to be completely devoid of nutrition. These muffins grabbed me with their 100% whole wheat title, and when I saw the modest amount of sugar and oil in the recipe I knew it was the perfect muffin to try. And no need to fear, they turned out wonderfully. With all whole wheat flour I was afraid they would be dense and dry but they actually turned out very light. They are perfectly sweet without being sugary and have a wonderful wheat-y nuttiness from the whole wheat flour. A touch of cinnamon shines through as the perfect complement to the sweet and juicy berries. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Ultimate Winter Couscous and Homemade Harissa

While my photos of this wonderful winter couscous are not the best, don't let that stop you from giving this recipe a try. It's January, so by the time this meal finished cooking all my natural lighting was gone. But that didn't stop me from taking a few quick pics so I could at least remember how delicious this recipe was. It comes from one of my newest cookbooks, Plenty, by Yotum Ottolenghi. I've been a Ottolenghi fan for a couple of years now ever since I picked up his cookbook Jerusalem on a whim one day at the library and have been hooked ever since (I've definitely got a case of the creeping Ottolenghis). Every recipe of his that I have tried so far has been just so good, and this recipe was no exception. 

I don't know exactly what it was about this dish that hooked me, but I was flipping through the cookbook just a few days ago and stopped on this page, deciding then and there that I was going to make it. It looked and sounded like a perfect meal for a cold winter evening. It is healthy and hearty and full of fun new ingredients and ideas that I haven't really tried all the much before. Definitely a keeper, and something I would make over and over again. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

No Bake Gingerbread Oat Bars

The new year has arrived, time sure does fly. A lot has happened in the past year, and a lot is going to happen in 2016. I can't believe that I am going to graduate this year and start residency. This is so exciting, and yet completely terrifying at the same time. One day at a time, that's the way to do it. 

Anyway, on to these no bake oat bars. I had been looking for a no bake oat bar to have on hand for a quick snack for those afternoons where you suddenly realize that you didn't eat enough for lunch. These are the perfect solution; hearty and dense, packed full of all those whole grain oats, chewy and perfectly sweet. I was in the Christmas spirit when I made these, so I added a little bit of molasses for that delicious gingerbread flavor. These bars sliced up beautifully, they won't crumble and fall apart on you like it seems so many no bake bars do. If you want a simple and delicious snack for the upcoming week, I highly recommend these tasty bars. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas Cookies - 2015

Almost a week later, but here it is, the last of my Christmas cookie posts, and probably the most anticipated! Every year my sister Lara pulls out the meringue powder and whips up a batch of sugar cookies beautifully decorated with royal icing. This year was no exception. And even though she had to whip these together pretty quickly this year, they still turned out just as gorgeous as ever. Enjoy!