Chocolate Chia Bars! Soft, chewy, easy to make and packed with goodness! These Chocolate Chia Bars are so delicious! You have to try the recipe!
Happy Monday everyone!
Do you guys snack a lot? Do you frequent the vending machine at work? Lately, I’ve been trying to take an apple or banana with me when I go run errands or after my Pure Barre class, before I go grocery shopping, so I don’t go crazy and buy every single snack bag I see. I’m a sucker for new chip-type snacks. I also have a major sweet tooth so I need something sweet every now and then.
And if it’s packed with chocolate, even better.
Are these Chocolate Chia bars healthy? I think so! They are naturally sweetened with applesauce, vanilla and maple syrup and the chia seeds give you with fiber, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and various micronutrients.
Now, don’t eat three of these in one sitting. Eat 1 bar.
You can store these in an airtight container on your counter, or I like to keep them in my refrigerator.
Warm or cold, these are delicious and I hope you give these bars a try!
Banana Oatmeal Chia Bars
Feel free to use semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips. If you’re vegan, make sure you’re using vegan chocolate chips.
Author: Hip Foodie Mom
Recipe type: Breakfast or snack
2 1/3 cups rolled oats, pulsed in a food processor
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 to 4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 to 3/4 cup mini or regular sized chocolate chips + more for topping
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray or grease a square baking pan, line with parchment paper and set aside.
Using a food processor, pulse together the rolled oats until ground. They do not have to be ground fine; it’s ok to keep some texture. Pour into a mixing bowl. Combine the pulsed rolled oats with the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and chia seeds.
Using a separate mixing bowl, combine the apple sauce, maple syrup, vanilla and mashed bananas.
Slowly pour the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Pour the mixture into your prepared pan and top with some more chocolate chips if desired. Bake for about 28 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting into squares. Enjoy!
I GET ALL PANICKY when people say something is a “rock-garden plant,” certain that they mean it’s miniature and precious and finicky-a.k.a. something I’ll kill. But whenever I have visited a rock garden, whether at public spaces like the Royal Botanic Garden at Edinburgh, Scotland, and New York Botanical Garden, or a private garden on a home scale, I’m so drawn to what I see.
He has agreed to come visit next May 6, during my first open garden day of the 2017 season, to lecture about rock gardening and do an afternoon hands-on trough-garden workshop. Expect to hear more about that and maybe join us then.
Meantime, read along as you listen to our conversation using the player below (or at this link). It’s the October 24, 2016 edition of my public-radio show and podcast.
Q. How did you get the rock-garden bug? Did you catch it in your time working at Arrowhead Alpine Nursery or how?
A. Yes, mostly through Arrowhead Alpines, which is a rare-plants nursery near me in Michigan. I started going there just because they had cool plants, but they specialize in alpines, and once I was looking around and seeing them, that’s where I got the bug.
It started there just when I was a customer, and then when I was working there and propagating the plants and growing them, that when I got more deeply interested and excited about rock gardening.
Q. Are you a member or NARGS, the North American Rock Garden Society? Tell the truth. I mean, it’s a pretty serious bunch of plant people, traditionally–I’ve seen notices for lectures at meetings on topics like “Alpine Flora of Greece” and “Chinese and Himalayan Plants for the Garden” and such [laughter].
A. I am a member–it’s actually the only plant society I’m a member of, because they have an amazing seed list. You can get incredible seeds from them. And they have a quarterly magazine really–the quarterly newsletter for members is great, with great articles.
It is a fun group and I love going to the meetings, though I am often on the road on weekends when they are meeting. Rock gardeners typically are people who love all plants. I get really tired of the hosta people who only want to grow hostas, or people who only care about tomatoes, but rock gardeners I feel love everything, and they feel rock gardening is the place where they can grow the most little stuff and cool stuff in a small area.
Q. And I tease about NARGS, because really the keenest and most acclaimed gardeners I know are members for life, and have been going to meetings forever. There are chapters all over the place, and it’s not like cute, fun, outdoor-decorating topics–it’s real plantsmanship, and that’s great.
The NARGS website says: “Gardens in which rocks and plants appropriate to them are the chief landscape elements are called rock gardens.” I’d say a rock garden, “is a place (with rocks of course) where obsessed people try to grow very difficult plants.” [Laughter.] How does Joseph define “rock garden”?
A. I kept asking myself that when I was trying to put this book together. To me a rock garden is a style of gardening inspired by what we see on mountaintops. On mountaintops you get these alpine plants and the plants get shrunk down very small, and have these beautiful compact forms, and you have the stones. And the plants often have these huge flowers because pollinators are scarce up there are you need a big show to attract pollinators.
Q. Oh, that’s why. I didn’t know that.
A. So you get this very distinct form to an alpine plant, and often you get similar forms that are not on mountaintops. Obviously I don’t garden on a mountaintop [laughter]–that would be fun–but taking that inspiration of what you’d see in those settings, and the aesthetics of it, which is so much what appeals to me about rock gardening.
The styles of gardening–the trends for a long time–have been very full and lush; big containers full of annual in full bloom. Rock gardening is such a different look. It’s leaner and more about the form of the plants, and the spacing of the rocks. It feels very fresh to me, compared to the aesthetics that have been dominating the trends in gardening.
Q. You said the word “alpine” a couple of times so far. Can we–or should we–distinguish between alpines, plants that come from a tougher higher-elevation situation and other rock-garden plants?
A. A true alpine plant would be one that’s native to higher elevations, usually above the tree line. Rock-garden purists would grow alpines. I’m not a purist, and I like to grow lots of things that are not true alpines but have that same kind of look–something small and compact that will look good with my rocks. So I’m definitely an “all of the above” rock gardener. I like to grow miniature hostas, which are not an alpine by any stretch of the imagination, but beautiful in a shady situation.
Q. There are a lot of styles of rock gardens profiled in the book. Some are very modern and stark; others are old-fashioned and dripping with lichens and historic-looking places.
There were two styles that I wanted to shout out because I thought, “I can do that,” but I didn’t know about them. One was called a crevice garden. Can you explain it?
A. Crevice gardening is a style of rock gardening that came out of the Czech Republic. The Czechs are huge rock gardeners. In a crevice garden, the idea is taking thin pieces of rock–the kind of stones you might use as pavers–and then setting them vertically or nearly vertically in a container or in the ground, so you have thin layers of soil between these flat pieces of rocks.
Q. These are almost upright rocks, and they’re partway out of the ground?
A. It’s almost like a layer cake with flat rocks and soil between them, and then you have these narrow crevices–the soil between the rocks–which is what you put the little plants in.
It’s a beautiful style because it’s different from what we’re used to seeing. It’s also a really cool way to grow them, because those flat rocks guide the roots down so they get rooted very deeply, which makes them often easier to grow in those conditions. They’re a little more drought-resistant, because the roots are down there where it’s cooler. It’s a really great way to grow the more difficult rock-garden plants, and is beautiful and interesting as well.
Q. And again, what I saw was that if I had semi-thick flattish rocks–it almost looked like an accordion file of stones.
A. That’s a good description.
Q. The tops of the “folders”–the rocks–are sticking out of the ground, but I can tell that a lot of the rock is buried. Like a series of folders with space between them, and I thought: “I can do that.” I could get stone at the local stone yard, and create a place like this even in my non-alpine, non-top-of-mountain place.
A. And you could even do it in a container, with just a few rocks. One of the gardens that I profiled is a rooftop garden in Manhattan, with a very small space, of containers. Because the alpine plants are small, you can do a lot of them in a very small space, and fit in really cool plants without a big piece of garden real estate.
Q. I loved that you are creating your own crevices by placing the rocks in this manner. And then there was a scree garden, which appealed again because it looked like something I could do. Tell us about what a scree garden is.
A. There is a geological definition of a scree, which is like a rockslide, where gravel and stones have tumbled down and it makes an area of loose rock. But the garden version of the scree is that rather than adding big chunks of rock, you’re building up a layer of coarse gravel and sand. Rather than having to create a whole miniature mountaintop of big rocks in your garden, having a layer over your regular soil of gravelly, sandy soil gives you that really sharp drainage that a lot of the alpine plants need.
That’s one of the keys: Rock-garden plants have a reputation for being difficult, some of them, but often it’s just that they need specific conditions, and usually what that is, is good drainage. They’re native to these rocky soils, so just by giving them that layer of good drainage, you can grow a lot of things that would be difficult otherwise.
Q. Of course I want a trough garden, but I want those authentic stone troughs from a historic estate in the UK, those massive things that are beautiful and aged. So I want one of those. [Laughter.]
A. Yeah, wouldn’t we all?
Q. You were talking earlier about how you could work with containers and do a small grouping of troughs and that could be your “rock garden.”
A. The traditional troughs are these beautiful stone containers, but you can turn any container into a rock-garden trough garden. Again, because the plants are so small, even in just a few little containers you can really get a nice collection of interesting things–whether it’s Sempervivum, the hens and chicks, which are easy, or you want to go toward collecting Draba, which are more unusual. You can do a lot in just a collection of containers.
Q. Let’s talk a little about plants. There is one in the book that I shrieked when I turned the page. It’s called Physoplexis [above]. It looks like it’s something from under sea or on the moon maybe–fabulous, with its own spectacular geometry. But is that one of the ones I maybe shouldn’t start with, right? [Laughter.]
A. That has not been an easy one for me. I think rock gardening really gives you the most diversity of plants to grow–there are so many things you can put in a rock garden. They range from the very difficult, elite things that people compete over growing to perfection, like what you just mentioned, on down to the sedums and hens and chicks that are very easy and adaptable, and won’t require a lifetime study to get right.
Q. In order from beginner to intermediate, suggest a few I should start with. I think I saw on your Facebook page some Orostachys, for instance.
A.Sempervivum are the hens and chicks we’ve all seen growing in old boots [laughter]. And then there is a closely related genus called Orostachys, which is just as easy to grow, but I think has a bigger range of foliage colors and patterns. Some of them have very beautiful silver-blue foliage; some have a browner look to them.
They almost can mimic the look of some of the tender succulents that have been so trending now, like Echeveria, but they’re extremely cold-hardy and easy to grow, just like the hens and chicks.
Q. Very sculptural and fascinating-looking.
A. Again, such a different look, which is why succulents have been trendy for a while–the sculptural look and their leaves. That look has really come out of Southern California with all these tender succulents, but there are a lot of great winter-hardy succulents, though most of them need good drainage. If you give them the good drainage of a rock garden or trough container, it really lets you grow a wide range of hardy succulents.
Q. What are some other “gateway” rock-garden plants for me to consider?
A. I really love the genus Erodium[above, E. chamaedryoides], which is one that’s not well known, but is really easy. It’s in the same family as geraniums and pelargoniums, the annual geraniums. They’re really beautiful little, very compact plants with gorgeous ferny foliage and then small flowers in pinks and purples and whites that look similar to your hardy geraniums.
But they’re really easy to grow. As long as they have sun to part sun, and they’re not sopping wet, they grow easily. The leaves look great all the time, and they kind of bloom throughout the summer. They’re not just a spring thing, but give you this long season of bloom, which I really appreciate in the garden.
Q. They really do look like little baby perennial geraniums–the flowers especially.
A. One of the charms for me of rock-garden plants often is that it’s the miniature version of something you already know–like there are miniature versions of Gypsophila, the baby’s breath. The standard one is this huge, billowy perennial, but there are ones only an inch or two tall. It’s somehow fun to grow something that looks familiar, but is in this different miniaturized form.
Q. It’s that same-but-different thing; familiar, but also unfamiliar, and visually arresting. You feel like you know it, but you also don’t.
I’m assuming all these plants we’ve discussed so far are in a sunny environment, yes? We’re not talking about tucking things into dark, moist spots.
A. The classic rock garden is in sun, because the classic rock-garden plants are from sunny areas. But you certainly can do them in shade. I’ve seen some beautiful ones with miniature hostas, and Ramonda. There are a few plants that will do that, but the bulk of the rock-garden plants are for sun.
Q. What’s next in our palette?
A. We’re talking about same-but-different, so it’s also a place to grow a lot of bulbs. Things like species tulips, species crocus, species daffodils, some of the bulbous iris like Iris reticulata. There are a lot of these really tiny bulbs that are native to rock-garden conditions. They want a dry soil, especially in the summer, when they are dormant. And also those really tiny daffodils and miniature species tulips–when you put them in the open garden they just get lost. You don’t see them with all these other plants towering over them.
They’re great to add in, and will love the rock-garden conditions. By putting them up in a trough or somewhere you can really highlight their beauty; you can really appreciate how they look. And a miniature daffodil is just as easy to grow as a full-sized one, and will love your rock garden.
Q. Shall we go to some intermediate-level plants? Dare we? [Laughter.]
A. I’m going to make a pitch for daphnes. They have a reputation for being difficult, but part of the reason I love them is that they grow better for me than I saw them in England.
Q. Well, aren’t we just very full of ourselves? [Laughter.]
A. I took a trip to the UK to photograph gardens for this book, and ended up just feeling inadequate and jealous.
Q. Yes, I understand.
A. So the daphnes were the one thing where I could salvage a little pride. [Laughter.] They did better here–they like warmer summers and a more continental climate like we have in most of the U.S.
Daphnes are shrubs, and the alpine ones are miniature shrubs, like a little bush. Some of the smallest ones are only a few inches tall. Some are evergreen, with beautiful, fragrant flowers.
They are easy as long as you give them good drainage. If you put them in a heavy, wet, clay soil they will rot out and die. Put them in a raised bed with a sandy, gravely soil or in a container, and they’ll be tolerant of drought and heat. Rabbits and deer don’t eat them, and the flowers are just incredible.
Q. I only grow a couple of species, and they’re not rock-garden kinds, but the fragrance of the flowers–there is nothing like it, as you say.
A. It’s incredible, and with the rock-garden ones, the first flush of bloom in the spring will completely cover the foliage, a solid sheet of pink or white flowers. The bloom is unmatched. And the alpine ones will often rebloom in the summer. Often when we have a hot, nasty summer and everything is looking wilted and dry, my daphnes are coming into another flush of bloom and that’s nice to see when everything else looks miserable. [Above, D. cneorum blooming in October at Denver Botanic Gardens.]
Q. We have some cracks and crevices and pockets, whether we’ve created them ourselves by putting rocks in a particular order or have a natural place for this garden. Or maybe I have a stone wall, and I want to put some Orostachys or Sempervivum in it. How do you engineer that; how do you tuck them in and get them started in touch spots like this?
A. One thing that you want to start with small plants. Often when we go to the nursery, we want to get the biggest pot and the biggest plant for our money. But if you are planting up a small crevice garden, you really want to buy small sizes. With a Daphne, for instance, it might just be a rooted cutting.
The other thing is not to be hesitant to remove the soil from around the roots of a lot of these plants. Often what you are going to get from a nursery is a standard peat-based potting media that is going to hold a lot of moisture around those roots, which is not what these plants want.
I often bare-root them or nearly bare-root them, so that it makes it easier to slide them into a small area, and then put back in the soil media I’m growing them in in the garden–which is going to be a drier, sandier one.
Q. That may be the mistake that I have made is leaving on the potting soil, which then probably becomes a sodden little spot.
A. Right. If you put a little plug of peat in your sandy soil, things can rot out pretty easily.
Q. Everybody loves the color of gentian–the blue color. In my whole life, I’ve never tried anything in that genus, though. What’s the beginner gentian–is there one?
A. There absolutely is. The acaulis ones are difficult. But there are two species, Gentiana septemfida[above] and Gentiana paradoxa, that are actually fall-blooming species, and they seed around for me in the rock garden. What you actually get are often hybrids between the two species.
They want good drainage but are not picky about it, and they make a stem that’s maybe 6 or 8 inches long, and they kind of trail and weep, which is lovely at the edge of a trough. As the name septemfida suggests, around September there are beautiful true-blue flowers. I love blue, and especially in the fall when everything else is orange and red, when it’s nice to have that contrast of the rich blue color.
Q. So there are some gentians that I can try.
Q. I’ve always been, “Keep me away from those; I’ll kill them,” like I said at the beginning. They look scary because they’re so beautiful, and so I’m sure it’s unattainable.
A. Even the hard ones are not as hard as their reputation. I have a friend who grows lots of them in Iowa, which is not a soft and easy climate.
Q. Iowa: the rock garden capital of the world? [Laughter.]
A. Often we try to put them in too-heavy soils, when they want good drainage.
more from joseph tychonievich
I’LL BUY A COPY of Joseph Tychonievich’s new book, “Rock Gardening: Reimagining a Classic Style,” for one lucky reader. All you have to do is answer this question in the comments box at the very bottom of the page, after the last reader comment:
What’s your experience with rock gardening or rock-garden plants?
No answer or feeling shy? Just say something like “Count me in” and I will, but an answer is even better.
I’ll select a random winner after entries close at midnight Sunday, October 30, 2016. Good luck to all.
MY WEEKLY public-radio show, rated a “top-5 garden podcast” by “The Guardian” newspaper in the UK, began its seventh year in March 2016. It’s produced at Robin Hood Radio, the smallest NPR station in the nation. Listen locally in the Hudson Valley (NY)-Berkshires (MA)-Litchfield Hills (CT) Mondays at 8:30 AM Eastern, rerun at 8:30 Saturdays. Or play the October 24, 2016 show right here, and also use the buttons below to subscribe to future shows, free.
Healthy Weekly Meal Plan 10.22.16! Fall is here in full swing! A healthy weekly meal plan featuring White Bean Kale Sausage Stew, Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes, Autumn Minestrone Soup, Spicy Cauliflower Mac and Cheese and more!
Happy Saturday everyone! Keeping this short and sweet as I have a ton of things to do today. . I recently tried a mustang bar made by Paleo Treats and this was so yummy! If I can get my act together, I’m going to do a Facebook live video today recreating these into energy bites!
Take a look at this delicious meal plan for this week! I hope this gives you guys some meal planning inspiration!
Spicy Cauliflower Mac and Cheese from me! Now, if you saw the slow cooker mac and cheese I just posted, this recipe uses the same blend of cheeses and bakes the mac and cheese. Either way, you get a fabulous mac and cheese recipe. This one also includes cauliflower!
Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese!! Dump everything into your slow cooker, mix and set to low for about 3 hours. Couldn’t be any easier than that! This is a great, delicious and easy meal for the week!
Happy Friday everyone!
This week has been super busy but fun! Yesterday, I shot a bunch of videos with a show called Moms Everyday. These will air locally and in some major national TV markets . . more details when I know them!
It’s officially fall here in Wisconsin. This morning we woke up to a brisk 36 degrees. I read last night that it’s still 80 something degrees in certain cities in CA?? I’ll take the 30 degree weather! I love that it finally feels like fall and all I want to do is stay curled up in my pj’s with a blanket on me on the couch, eating some of this.
Isn’t this the most glorious mac and cheese photo? I just want to dive in.
OK, guys, here’s the skinny on slow cooker mac and cheese:
Some recipes call for cooking the pasta ahead of time and adding the cooked elbow pasta into your slow cooker. You don’t have to do that! and in fact, I prefer not doing that because I feel like the pasta is more mushy when cooked ahead of time.
The key here is the CHEESE! Use good quality cheese, and use a blend of different cheeses! Because of the slow cooker cooking method, I think it’s all about the ingredients here for this recipe. You want to use good quality, great tasting stuff. Everything is cooked on low heat so you want to amp up the flavor with the ingredients you are using.
With mac and cheese, these are my go-to cheeses: cheddar, butterkase (super creamy and delicious in mac and cheese) and fontina! I just love the taste of fontina!
Shred it all up. I personally use a food processor when shredding a larger amount of cheese. A little more to clean up (the food processor) but it just makes things easier and it shreds everything so much faster!
The last thing to note with slow cooker mac and cheese: The texture.
The top layer and the mac and cheese in the middle is what you’re used to: creamy, similar to stovetop mac and cheese.
The edges and sometimes the bottom, however, get more baked and casserole-like. If you like those crispy edges that you get with baked mac and cheese, you’re in for a treat!
VERY IMPORTANT: I have bags and bags here of now frozen mac and cheese because I’ve tested this recipe so many times. This is very important: I say cook on low for 2 1/2 hours. Then, check your mac and cheese, mix it around and for some, it will be ready to eat. If you’re going for a more casserole-like baked mac and cheese, let it go for another 30 minutes on low. But after that, this is the important part: remove all of the mac and cheese out of the slow cooker and into a completely different casserole dish, pot or whatever. If the mac and cheese stays in the slow cooker, even when it’s off, it will continue to cook and get hard if you leave it in there. You don’t want this to happen. Trust me.
I hope you guys give this recipe a try! It’s a great dump and go (for just 2.5 hours!) recipe and a great recipe to make during your hectic work week!
Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese
Smaller slow cookers: Halve the recipe to make this macaroni and cheese in a 3-quart or smaller slow cooker.
Author: Hip Foodie Mom
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 6 to 8
1 pound elbow macaroni
3 1/2 cups blend of shredded cheese, like cheddar, fontina and butterkase (reserve about a 1/2 cup)
2 (12-ounce) cans evaporated milk
2 cups 2% or whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up into cubes
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt + more if needed
Set aside a 1/2 cup of cheese if you haven’t already. Combine all of the ingredients in your slow cooker and mix together well. Try to make sure the butter cubes aren’t stuck together and are evenly distributed and the pasta is submerged in the mixture. Sprinkle that remaining 1/2 cup of cheese evenly over the top.
Cover your slow cooker and cook on LOW for 2 1/2 hours. Check your mac and cheese at the 2.5 hour mark, mix it around and immediately serve and enjoy. If you’re going for a more casserole-like baked mac and cheese, let it cook for another 30 minutes on low.
After 2 1/2 to 3 hours, either serve all of the mac and cheese immediately, OR remove all of the mac and cheese out of the slow cooker and into a completely different casserole dish or pot. If the mac and cheese remains in the slow cooker, even when it’s off, it will continue to cook and get hard if you leave it in there.
Spiced Oatmeal Cookies! Thick, chewy and packed with rolled oats, cinnamon, cardamom and more! These are a must bake for your family this holiday season!
As I was driving home yesterday, I felt a sense of calm and peace. I love seeing all the leaves changing colors and falling and the crispness in the air. This is probably one of my favorite times of the year because the holidays are right around the corner.
Holiday baking, decorating and planning for the holidays. . I love it all.
I recently got to catch up with my friend, Melissa Bahen, who runs the blog, Lulu the Baker. Melissa and I first met at a blogger party in Portland (when I was living in Seattle). She is so warm and fun and sweet. . and she wrote a beautiful cookbook!
Scandinavian Gatherings is filled with “10 seasonal family-friendly gatherings filled with Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, and Finnish flavors and traditions. There are 40 accessible and modern recipes for sweet and savory treats, and 30 simple craft projects perfect for decorating and entertaining!! With gatherings like Nordic Brunch, Woodland Tea Party, Afternoon Fika, Lucia Day, Christmas Cookie Exchange, and more, this charming book is perfect for fans of Scandinavian style, food, and tradition.”
I absolutely love all of Melissa’s stories throughout this book and see why she wants to share all of her family traditions and her Scandinavian heritage with us! Her mother and grandmother were both amazing cooks and Melissa’s mother, extremely creative, “whether she was tole painting decorative plates or carefully illustrating a church newsletter” .. I love it when passions and interests are passed down from generation to generation and I especially love that Melissa will now have this beautiful cook to pass down to her children.
And the recipes?
This Cream Cake with Fresh Strawberries (Norwegian Blotkake, pages 182-184)!! Gorgeous!
The Braided Cardamom Bread, or Finnish Pulla (page 66) is definitely on my to bake list and I can’t wait to try these Ham & Gouda Tea Sandwiches with Sweet Onion Mustard Sauce (pages 24-25).
I absolutely love that this book is filled with delicious recipes and crafts! I can’t wait to try these Mason Jar Citronella Candles (down below). Aren’t they beautiful?
One lucky reader will WIN a copy of Scandinavian Gatherings! To enter: simply leave a comment down below and tell us why you’d like to win this book. . OR tell me about your favorite family tradition. Giveaway ends on October 26, 2016 at 12 midnight EST. Good luck!
Now, on to these cookies!!!
What Melissa says about these cookies: “Thin, lacy oatmeal cookies pop up often in my old Scandinavian cookbooks, but I have a soft spot for oatmeal cookies that are thick and chewy. I find them impossible to stay away from, especially warm and fresh from the oven. I gave my favorite oatmeal cookie recipe a Nordic holiday makeover by adding cardamom (considered the cinnamon of Scandinavia), tart dried cherries, and crunchy almonds. And if it’s possible, I like them even better than the originals.”
Melissa’s recipes calls for dried tart cherries, which I did not have, so I used dried goji berries instead. The cookies were still absolutely delicious but you’d better believe I am picking up some dried tart cherries so I can make these cookies exactly as the recipe states!
These cookies were magical and so delicious! I hope you try the recipe soon and ENTER THE GIVEAWAY to win this book!
Spiced Oatmeal Cookies
Recipes makes 3 dozen cookies.
Author: Melissa Bahen
Recipe type: Snack or Dessert
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup dried tart cherries
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line three baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix until blended.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and cardamom. Then add the dry ingredients to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Beat on low until combined.
Stir in the oats, cherries, and almonds. The dough might be too thick for an electric mixer at this point. If that’s the case, stir in these last additions by hand with a wooden spoon.
Scoop the dough into 2-tablespoon balls (about the size of a Ping-Pong ball), and place them 2 inches apart on the pre-pared baking sheets. Place twelve cookie dough balls on each baking sheet.
Bake for about 11 minutes, or until the cookies are set and slightly flattened out. Put the cookies on a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.
*(c)2016 By Melissa Bahen. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Scandinavian Gatherings; From Afternoon Fika to Midsummer Feast 70 SIMPLE RECIPES & CRAFTS FOR EVERYDAY CELEBRATIONS: 70 Simple Recipes and Crafts for Everyday Celebrations by permission of Sasquatch Books.
THE “WE ARE ALL CONNECTED” aha’s of gardening–the window it provides into the natural order of all living organisms–is the very best part, better even than the mere aesthetics. But perhaps you, like I do, lack confidence in details of biological systematics, jumbling Phylum with Class or otherwise forgetting who fits where, exactly. No worry; I’ve found us really good backup (and the kind of backup who even sings).
Benedict Gagliardi has the combined scientific and musical chops to teach us all a solid lesson in taxonomy, and his “Linnaeus Song,” formally titled “One Species Are We,” is a delightful and also provocative place to start getting the hierarchy right, with we humans as the object lesson. Ben recently finished his Masters at UConn-Storrs in Entomology, and like the garden does, he has a real gift for shedding light on the natural world.
The last time I saw Ben, in July, he was wearing a headlamp and heading into the forest in the otherwise-darkness, leading a group at the local version of National Moth Night 2016 that I help to organize annually. (Above, head-lamped Ben teaching Moth Night participants the basics before heading into the woods.)
Had I known then about his Linnaeus Song, we could have had a round before everyone headed out to look for Lepidoptera–and I hope he’ll agree to add a performance to the 2017 program.
Ben (above left) plays the concertina (often in duet with Armand Aromin, above right, of The Vox Hunters) and is particularly inclined toward Irish and other folk-style music. When Ben the Musician tried his hand at writing the lyrics of what would become “One Species Are We,” he was striving for, “something like a drinking song where each verse toasted the next character in a series,” along the lines of the classic “The Barley Mow.”
“With that in mind,” says Ben the Biologist, “the idea to focus on Linnaeus’s biological classification system was almost immediate. Each of the verses of the song would describe one of the eight hierarchical categories that human beings are classified in, starting with Domain and ending with Species.” (Diagram of the eight ranks, left, from Wikipedia.)
The song may sound traditional, but Ben the Social Commentator even managed to layer in some very contemporary insights about the state we humans find ourselves in at the moment, behaving as anything but interconnected. (Hint: The kicker is the real kicker.)
Listen to a rough version of the song written (and sung) by Ben using the player up top. Read all about what went into making “One Species Are We” at this link. Who knows what the next song from Ben will be about because look at what astonishing place he now works at, full of inspirational wonder and surprises.
(Lyrics and footnotes below explaining some of them by Ben Gagliardi, used with permission.)
(lyrics by Benedict Gagliardi) (melody = “Awake, Arise Good Christians”)
OF THREE domains of all life, eukaryotes are we Inside each cell within us, a nucleus there be Bacteria, Archaea, unfortunate are they They have no membrane bound around their strands of DNA
Chorus: Linnaeus! Linnaeus! Here’s to your hierarchy And let it not betray us! One species are we!
Come all you motile metazoans and listen to my song The kingdom Animalia is where we all belong The plants may have their chlorophyll to photosynthesize But animals are heterotrophs and so are the Fungi
Our backbone gives us structure, our backbone gives us strength So with the other chordates, we find our phylum rank But let our boney ego, never be unfurled For the spineless worms and insects, they truly rule the world
By the milk our mothers gave us, by the hair upon our skin It’s clear that we are mammals, class Mammalia we’re in Most have a placenta, but this class has strange extremes Like the milky-pouched marsupials and egg-laying monotremes
So let’s put things in order, now that we’ve been to class With monkeys, apes, prosimians, we, the primates, do amass We all can be distinguished by our well-filled craniums And the envy of all other life: two fine opposable thumbs
Welcome to our family, all Great Apes are we Orangutan, gorilla and our cousin chimpanzee But if you believe that monkeys evolve into man It seems you treat your own brain just like a garbage can
Homo is the genus of the African bipeds Who stood erect, and picked up tools, and learned to use their heads Our cousins are extinct now, leaving only us But thanks to our bad habits, we may join them soon enough
So we are Homo sapiens but let us not forget The reason we were given our specific epithet We earned it for our wisdom, we earned it for our brain Let fear and hatred never trump our consciousness again
eukaryote: any organism whose organelles (i.e. nucleus) are bound in a membrane (i.e., animals, plants and fungi). As opposed to prokaryotes (Bacteria and Archaea) which lack membrane-bound organelles and have free-floating DNA.
heterotroph: an organism that must obtain food and energy from external organic sources, as opposed to an autotroph (i.e., plant) that can synthesize its own food from inorganic substances and light or chemical energy
chordate: an animal in the phylum Chordata which has a vertebral column (backbone)
monotreme: a primitive group of mammals that lay large, yolky eggs. The only extant examples are the platypus and four species of echidnas
It’s been a while since my last “What’s Happening” or what’s been going on in our lives post. It’s October and the leaves are changing colors and falling and I love it. October and November, here in Wisconsin, are absolutely beautiful. We need to get out to Devil’s Lake for a hike before it gets too cold.
I don’t know about you guys, but the weekends go by way too fast. We’ve been so busy lately and have just been trying to do as many family activities as possible. I love creating memories with my family and kids and have been feeling really thankful for all of our time together.
No October would be complete without a visit to Schuster’s Farm. we picked up pumpkins, went on a hay ride and the girls got to play around. We also picked up some apple cider donuts, fudge and caramel covered apples.
Friday, the girls have a Halloween party and then we plan to carve our pumpkins. We can’t do it too early here. . because who wants a rotten, yucky jack-o-lantern on their front porch?
The girls are doing girl scouts this year and we’re so excited. When I was a kid, I just did Brownies and never continued on to girl scouts. . I don’t remember why. . .
Phoebe earned her first drawing badge and had loads of fun at her first meeting. As I spend time with and watch my kids, my only wish and hope for them is that they surround themselves with good, kind kids and that they are also kind and accepting of other kids.
Recently, I volunteered at a school fundraiser where the kids ran laps to raise money for their school. Phoebe and Madeline both did great and made me so proud. It was so cute watching the kids run around and around.
We always tell our girls just to try their best and that’s all we ask.
My kids are starting to see how hard I am on myself, pushing myself, not striving for perfection but I try to set the bar high for myself. . this might be back firing because I think my girls, definitely my oldest, are now doing the same. Don’t get me wrong: working hard and giving it your all is what I’m all about but I also believe in not sweating the small stuff, relaxing a little and understanding that perfection is not always the goal.
Perfection might actually never be the goal. . but the process in which you do something. Your attitude, how you get there, your mindset. .
I had a good conversation with my daughter’s teacher. . she said some kids are just built that way. . they push themselves and always strive to do the best they can. Kids, at a young age, are taught A’s are good and C’s and D’s are not so good. .
So, my plan is to focus on encouraging and loving them and building them up. With whatever they are doing. And having as much fun as we can as a family in between.
I’m so thankful for times like these with my kids. All I need to see are their smiles.
I’m praying for . . .
I’m praying for my friend, Rina, who is now in hospice care, fighting for her life and trying to regain her strength. Her husband, Joe, who is her caretaker and does so much. My sister, Grace, who is taking classes and looking for a job. My parents, for their health. And for our country and this upcoming presidential election. God be with us.
WHEN I SAW on social media the other day that my friend Gayla Trail-a.k.a. You Grow Girl-was planning to self-publish a new book with crowd-sourced funding, I was curious. And then when I clicked over to have a closer look, it turned out that the book Gayla’s writing is actually called: “Grow Curious.”
Gayla’s subtitle is “Creative Activities to Cultivate Joy, Wonder, and Discovery in You and Your Garden,” and that’s exactly how I’d describe the approach she has always taken to her pursuit of plants–especially herbs, which we talked about on my public-radio show and podcast.
Gayla’s not just horticulturally expert, but also creatively crafty and a great cook who puts up the harvest in inventive ways for offseason use–including treats like Nasturtium Leaf Pesto, above (don’t just compost those plants!), and homegrown turmeric and ginger, and the best basil of all for a calming, restorative tea. In other words, engaging with every dimension of what the garden has to offer, savoring every drop.
We did a postmortem of our 2016 gardens, revealing how Gayla achieved her long-held goal of “greens self-sufficiency” from spring and ongoing this fall, by including some unusual suspects in the mix–and by “letting go” a little about over-zealous tidying up.
Read along while you listen to the October 17, 2016 show using the player below (or at this link). Links to recipes, her growing and propagation tactics for favorite herbs, and to information about her new book, are at the bottom of the page.
q&a: great greens, curious herbs and more, with gayla trail
Q. I love the idea for the book because that’s how I feel–that it’s all about joy and wonder; the garden is a constant companion that entertains and fascinates me.
A. And I also think for me, one thing I discovered over time, is that it teaches me about myself.
Q. Yes. It’s like therapy for me…but we don’t have to go into that too much. [Laughter.]
Let’s start with the idea of the garden as curiosity-fueler. The other day you posted a photo and story on YouGrowGirl.com of a particular cool-looking spider, and what you’d learned about it and other spiders by following your curiosity. It was weird because I had just seen and photographed the same one here and done the same exploration. So case in point: It can even be a spider! [Laughter.]
The new book comes from a childhood memory of yours, and is meant to encourage us to regain a childlike inquisitiveness, like looking at the spider and wondering about them.
A. That’s the gist of what I was getting at. I’ve noticed that in the garden and nature world, as far as books go, there are lots of books that are for kids to engage them with eh garden in a particular way–to engage their curiosity and sense of wonder and discovery and learning. But I don’t see books like that for adults. [Laughter.]
I think that a lot of adults end up coming to the garden in that way through their kids, because kids have permission to be playful. I don’t think this is our intent, but a lot of the garden world ends up focusing on productivity and aesthetics.
Q. Sort of outdoor decorating, and work–getting your chores done. I know I’m guilty of telling people to do their chores, too. And then outdoor decorating–does it look pretty, does it look pretty?
A. And that’s a part of it; it’s not to be denied. But sometimes it ends up pushing all this other stuff aside.
Q. And it makes you feel like you really have to perform at a high level…
Q. …both of productivity, and of, “Oh, it’s not beautiful enough; I can’t have people over. It’s not perfect.” That perfection cult is probably not a good thing with nature.
A. It was interesting to me personally when a number of years ago I really started letting things go, and being messier.
A. This is when I talk about how the garden ends up teaching me about myself. It was very interesting to see what happens psychologically for me, personally, when I started to let things go and be messier, in some ways it really got at stuff in my head. But also on the flip side of that it was really interesting to see how the garden performed; what happened within the garden as I observed it when it was messier. Nature doesn’t really care about messiness. [Laughter.]
Q. Well, no, perennials don’t cut themselves back in fall or rake around themselves in spring.
A. That’s all our anxiety, our needs. The more I was able to let go, I noticed that there were more pollinators in the garden–more insects in general, good insects. Things balance themselves out.
One anxiety I hear from gardeners is, “I didn’t get to keep things as clean as I wanted to.”
Q. Again, that cultivating perfection–which is a ridiculous goal when you’re dealing with living things, living plants, a habitat.
A. The fact is, it’s fine.
Q. Let it all hang out, baby.
A. You might have some issues with your neighbors, or at least I will.
Q. You know me, I don’t have any neighbors.
So with an eye to being more curious and creative going forward…dare we look back at the highs and lows of the gardens we’re teasing apart right now during our respective cleanups? What were some highpoints–I think you mentioned a greens bonanza that was a 2016 victory, yes?
A. It’s funny, because for years I’ve been saying. “This year I’m going to be self-sustaining in greens.” Usually am to a certain degree, I but never like I was this year. Part of that was really letting go more so than usual in particular ways.
So letting more wild greens–edible weeds–do their thing. Sometimes it meant they came up in places I didn’t want them, like pathways, but if the plant was really healthy and was worth preserving I just said, “Oh, well,” and let it be.
I was harvesting so many greens this year, I was having friends come over–putting out the word to come shop in my garden, especially in the spring. It ended up being through the whole season, and I am still harvesting greens right now.
Q. And we should say to people you are in Toronto, so not in a warm climate where we would expect you to necessarily be having a prolific harvest at the moment.
When you say “edible weeds,” for example…?
A. For example lamb’s quarters, and purslane–a personal favorite that’s really a summer green that’s very nutritious and also very tasty, with a bit of a tang. Mallow is what I am still getting. Dandelions like crazy–that’s definitely one of those plants that if it comes up in the middle of a pathway I’ll let it go for awhile, especially because you can also harvest the root and use it too. There is so much goodness to harvest from dandelions.
I have chicory that self-seeded last year, so I had chicory everywhere [laughter], and again you can use the root and I have been–roasting the roots of dandelions and chicory and using them to make a coffee-like substitute.
Amaranth is another big one. There are wild amaranths–weedy amaranths–that come up in the garden, but I also grow callaloo, a West Indian amaranth. I like that one a little bit more for eating. It gets huge, and if you let it self-seed you’ll have a gazillion, so I try not to let that happen. [Gayla also loves wild nettles, above. Learn about that here.]
A. I always allow some self-seeding, but I try to keep it within reason.
Q. I have a few things where I am, “I’ve got to get out there and get that before it lets go of its seeds.”
A. It’s finding that balance between letting things do the work for you, versus becoming such a problem that you make more work.
A. So those are some of the wild ones, and on top of the wild ones there are also the ones that I cultivate. And then there are the ones that I used t cultivate but I don’t have to sow them any more.
Q. So you let your lettuce self-sow. I have ‘Black-Seeded Simpson,’ a lettuce that I Iike very much, that I planted probably 20 years ago, and have no planted since, and I have it every year. It sows itself–and it knows just when to do that. It’s so smart. [Laughter.]
A. I don’t know about you but I find that the greens that self-sow is tougher and lasts longer–it doesn’t bolt so easily.
Q. I think it puts down roots exactly when the right time is–it’s not like us forcing it to germinate at a certain time by watering it. It “picks” the right time–and I don’t mean to anthropomorphize the plants, but it just seems to know.
A. I don’t know, lately I’ve been anthropomorphizing the plants a little bit more. [Laughter.] They have an intelligence that we underestimate.
Q. [Laughter.] They’re pretty damn smart, you’re right. So greens were a win this year, I have already mentioned on the show that in 2017 it’s going to either be drip irrigation or no vegetables. We’ve just had a couple of years where it’s been hard to keep things growing vigorously with erratic rainfall. That’s one of my post-mortem list things–do invest the time and the supplies.
A. And I really can’t. I wanted to when I first set up this garden five years ago, but I have really sandy soil. Even though I work against that in the raised beds by adding lots of nutrition in the form of compost, it’s still quite sandy. I find that still doesn’t work for me’ for the most part the water goes right down and doesn’t wick. I’ve been more and more trying to embrace the reality of this garden, where it is, and what happens happens.
I was surprised this year, considering it was so dry and hot, that I continued to have greens–and it was really about the wild greens. They are so adapted.
Q. So a takeaway from this year for both of us: Go with the palette of plants that are suited to our conditions even more so as conditions seem to be getting trickier.
A. Unless you want to be out there with a hose every day…
A. The great thing about the wild greens is that not only are they adaptable, but they are nutritious. Its good to have that diversity in the diet–it’s a win.
Q. Every time I look, you’re getting to know some new herb or using a familiar one in a new way that I’ve never tried or even thought of-herbed salts, vinegars, dyes, teas…
You make pestos from things I’d never thought of making pestos from. Let’s talk about some victories with herbs that you may do again next year. Are you growing turmeric and ginger?
A. Yes, that’s something I’ve done on and off over the years. I did turmeric, ginger and cardamom this year–like a trinity of ginger-like spices. They’re all similar in terms of how they grow and the kinds of needs they have. [Above, pot of cardamom.]
The only plant I bought was cardamom, because you can’t buy cardamom root at the store. I did go to a specialty nursery for the cardamom plant. That was a big victory for me because I had a cardamom plant like 15 years ago and I rapidly killed it. It was a big deal–this year I thought, “I know what it needs now; I figured it out.” [Laughter.]
So the turmeric and ginger I grew both from roots or rhizomes that I bought at the store.
Q. So you went to the vegetable section and you bought some as if you were going to cook a dish with them, but you potted them up, or put them in the ground?
A. I find the best place to get either of them is a health-food store. You can have some success with grocery-store roots, but the problem is I think they spray them with some kind of inhibitor.
Q. So they don’t sprout in the bins.
A. From the health-food store, they just sprout on their own. I just put them in a fruit bowl on my counter, with the rest of the fruit and whatnot, and they end up sprouting on their own. And then once they sprout what I do is cut the sprouted parts off and let it harden over a bit like you do with a succulent.
Q. Or like you do with a potato, if you were going to cut up a seed potato into two–you’d look for where the eyes are, and once you cut it in half you’d then let each part heal over a little.
A. Exactly. I don’t know how I didn’t make that analogy [laughter].
Q. You say one thing, I say potato.
A. Once they scab over a bit, I just plant those. I plant both those together typically in a really large plastic container, because they really like it moist and they tend toward shade.
Now I have talked to a lot of people who say they put theirs right out in the sun, and I think you can do that as long as it’s tempered by having consistently moist soil. But for me I do best when they get a little shade protection, and aren’t out there in the blazing sun where they’re most likely to dry out most quickly.
Q. The cardamom is a pod–it’s not the below-ground root that we’re using, right?
A. With the cardamom chances are good that I’m never going to get cardamom pods. I just don’t have the climate. It’s really more about the leaves, which you can use. They’re very aromatic, like the cardamom is, and I just love having that smell.
Q. It’s fantastic.
A. It’s the same with ginger and turmeric–you can use the leaves as well for cooking. [Left to right, above: Cardamom, turmeric, ginger leaves.]
Q. And then the big harvest of those other two is the roots later on. But are you overwintering a portion of the roots for use as your start for next year, or overwintering the whole pot or what?
A. It depends on what I have room for, as I have to bring in so many plants each year. It all comes down to who gets to stay and who gets to go. I do usually overwinter some of them, but I am also fine with harvesting it all and starting over again. They do well inside, so you can extend the season and get more growth of the leaves. It’s great the have the leaves available, and then have some really fresh roots. The roots you get are so different from what you get from the store. They look different; they’re very tender.
Q. The ginger especially I see at the farmers’ market doesn’t look anything like what we see in the grocery store.
A. It’s very tender and bright.
Q. And it’s colorful.
Some of the herbs you grow–I don’t even know how to pronounce them. [Laughter.] Papalo and pepicha–I don’t even know what some of them are. Gotu kola. You’re really the herbal gardener up there.
A. I like plants that have multiple uses. I think that’s come out of having
such a small space. I want to get as much as I can–get every drop out of the garden. So herbs are aromatic–it’s nice to be out there and just running your hands over them. and of course you can use them in so many ways.
I think I have this natural affinity toward herbs particularly.
Q. And many are beautiful and quite pollinator-friendly–things in the mint family, for instance, are some of the best attractors for beneficial insects.
A. Absolutely. For years I grew holy basil and didn’t even use it myself–I grew it because the bees love it.
Q. Tulsi–it’s also called tulsi–and a friend gave me four little plants this spring. Every time I went by these four plants, it was like whoa, abuzz. If I would touch it, the fragrance was amazing. I didn’t use it; I just enjoyed the spectacle of nature happening out there. But you do things with it.
A. With the tulsi particularly, I make tea out of it, and drink that every single day. It’s very calming for the body.
Q. Do you use the fresh leaves or dry it first? [Above, a harvest of holy basil.]
A. Either or. I use it fresh in summertime, and especially the flowers, which add sort of a sweetness. And then I dry it for the winter.
Q. I took plants out last week–we were supposed to have a frost–and I pulled them by the roots and hung them in an airy place. They’re dryish now. Do I chop them up?
A. I dry the whole thing and then I chop it up and use everything, even the stems. I just keep them in paper bags because it takes up less space.
Q. And it won’t get moldy like it might in closed plastic. And you do infusions–an apple-cider vinegar thing with the tulsi, too.
A. Infusing the tulsi in apple-cider vinegar is another sort of calming thing, you take a little bit, and it also helps with digestion. It helps with craving for sweets.
Q. I can’t say enough about it. I hadn’t grown it before and it’s on my list to repeat. That was a win.
A. And there are so many different kinds.
Q. I know, Horizon Herbs–it has a new name now, Strictly Medicinals, but owner Richo Cech out on the West Coast has an amazing list of them.
Before we run out of time: pestos. I made my usual basil one, plus garlic-scape pesto earlier in the season, and a parsley one. But you make it from nasturtiums, too? [Get the recipe.]
A. From nasturtium leaves–that’s the one I’m doing right now, because as soon as hard frost hits, goodbye nasturtiums. Just pull out the plant, and you want to cook the leaves very slightly in water. I can’t think of what that’s called right now.
Q. Blanch. [Laughter.] I’m the girl with the words, you just tell me the concepts.
A. Pressure; time pressure. [Laughter.] Blanch them very quickly, and you can use even the large leaves, and make a pesto.
Q. And you freeze it?
recipes and how-to’s from gayla
GAYLA TRAIL’S next book, which she is seeking to self-publish with crowd-sourced funding via a Kickstarter campaign, is called “Grow Curious.” Learn about how the book idea got started, and what is planned at this link, where you can also support the campaign by pre-ordering.
MY WEEKLY public-radio show, rated a “top-5 garden podcast” by “The Guardian” newspaper in the UK, began its seventh year in March 2016. It’s produced at Robin Hood Radio, the smallest NPR station in the nation. Listen locally in the Hudson Valley (NY)-Berkshires (MA)-Litchfield Hills (CT) Mondays at 8:30 AM Eastern, rerun at 8:30 Saturdays. Or play the October 10, 2016 show right here, and also use the buttons below to subscribe to future shows, free.
Healthy Weekly Meal Plan 10.15.16! Fall is here in full swing! A healthy weekly meal plan featuring Ratatouille Lasagna, Creamy Sundried Tomato and Chicken Pasta, Roasted Autumn Squash Soup, Whole Grain Pasta with White Beans and Tomatoes and more!
Happy Saturday, you guys! I am super excited about this week’s meal plan. . because everything looks sooooooo good! What’s the weather like where you are? I actually busted out my big winter coat this past week (for just one day).
I can’t believe it’s mid-October and soon the holidays, really cold weather and snow will be here. It’s time to start pinning and making some delicious comfort food. . so take a look down below and try some of these recipes!
If you’re into meal planning, which I hope you are, check out this fabulous GIVEAWAY I am hosting with Jack and Ella Paper. One winner will win $100 to spend on her fabulous site! They carry meal planning note pads, grocery list note pads, cards, invitations and so much more! I hope you check it out!
I also have other giveaways going on, so just check out my homepage and I’ll be back on Monday with another fabulous recipe and giveaway! Tis the season!
Ratatouille Lasagna from Flavor the Moments. You guys, I cannot wait to try this lasagna! I am seriously printing out the grocery list (down below) now and I’m making this this week!
Prep Tips:The ratataouille sauce may be made in advance and stored in the fridge for a few days or a month in the freezer. The entire dish may be assembled in advance and baked off before serving!
A Week of Meals + $100 Giveaway to Jack and Ella Paper!! They carry everything you need to help you with meal planning and so much more! A weekly grocery shopping list notepad, weekly menu notepad and more!
As a wife, mother, blogger, business owner, social media fanatic, chauffeur, house keeper, ballet bun maker, and favorite blanket finder, I feel like I am constantly doing something. I’m all about organization and planning as much as possible. Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of spontaneity in my life. I just feel like I have a better handle on things when I am organized.
Especially when it comes to meal planning. Do any of you meal plan?
For me, it’s the only way I can stay sane and ensure I feel good about the food I am feeding to my family. There are so many different ways to go about it too. I know a lot of working parents meal plan on the weekends: plan out the menu, grocery shop and prep the meals. I am also a big believer in meal planning efficiently. What do I mean by this? Plan out meals that share some of the same ingredients that week. So, if you are buying butternut squash, for example, you can be roasting butternut squash for two meals. Or, you can buy a whole chicken and use the thighs one night and the chicken breast on another night later that same week, or make chicken soup or stock.
Today, I am delighted to be partnering with Jessica from Jack and Ella Paper! They are here in Madison and carry eco-conscious stationery, notepads, cards, invitations and more! Their products respect Jessica’s respect for simplicity and she takes great care in making all of their products as gentle on the environment as possible.
I absolutely love Jessica’s “I’ve got it together” series! Complete with the weekly menu notepad, snapshot of my week and a “to do today” list notepad, this package has everything you need! I’m all about lists and I love the daily and weekly view so I absolutely love these!
I’ve been loving these little cards and have been packing some in my daughter’s lunch bags. Such a sweet and simple way to say I love you, or I am thinking of you, or when you want to encourage someone.
And how cute is this one???
One lucky person will win a $100 gift code to spend at Jack and Ella Paper! Be sure to check out their website to see all of the beautiful things they have! Good luck! Enter using the widget below!
And, if you’re here for a recipe, here’s a week’s worth!
A Week of Hip Foodie Mom Meals:
Since it’s fall and the weather is getting cold, here’s a week of comfort food! Weekend: Prep, cut and store all of your veggies.
Monday: Beef Stroganoff (this is a reader favorite!) and roast your butternut squash to prep and have it ready for Tuesday.
Tuesday: Butternut Squash Turkey Chili! This chili recipe is a family favorite! The roasted squash on top is just for fun (no need to add this if you don’t have time). Take the roasted butternut squash cubes that you roasted the night before and add them into this chili for a festive, fall inspired chili.