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Chewy Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies


I love oatmeal.  Not only is it a healthy option, being a whole grain, but baking with it just provides such good flavor.  I am not saying oatmeal cookies are healthy, but they sure do taste good.  My all-time favorite cookies are made with oatmeal, Caramel Apple Oatmeal Cookies.  Those are going to be hard to top, but these cookies are still delicious.  A little crunch on the outside and moist on the inside, the texture is perfect.

Chewy Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies, from Baking Illustrated


1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups raisins (not packed)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt.

With mixer, beat butter on medium speed until creamy.  Add sugars and beat until fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.

With a wooden spoon or large rubber spatula, stir dry ingredients into butter-sugar mixture.  Once combined, stir in oats and raisins.

Working with 2 tablespoons of dough each time, roll dough into 2-inch balls and place on prepared baking sheets – at least 2 inches apart.

Bake until edges turn golden brown, approximately 22-25 minutes.  Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes and then transfer to wire rack.  Let cool at least 30 minutes (or not, like me) and enjoy!

This is supposed to yield 18 large cookies, but I ended up making about 24.

Nutrition per cookie (yielding 24 cookies): 215 calories, 8.8g fat, 5.2g saturated fats, 36.1mg cholesterol, 70.7mg sodium, 42.7g carbohydrates, 2.5g fiber, 25.9g sugar, 2.4g protein


Summer Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Panini with Balsamic Syrup


A couple months ago I went to Napa River Grill with a friend for lunch and had the most delicious tomato soup and tomato/mozzarella panini. So, I was excited to try out this recipe when I saw it in the August issue of Cooking Light.  Not only did this panini taste great but it was so filling.  The flavors in this dish work together perfectly!

Summer Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Panini with Balsamic Syrup, from Cooking Light – August 2011

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 (8-ounce) piece Cuban bread, cut in half horizontally  4 portions ciabatta bread
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
12 large basil leaves
5 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray


In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring balsamic vinegar to a boil.  Cook until reduced to about 3 tablespoons (about 8 minutes).

While vinegar reduces, brush top half of sandwich bread (cut side) with olive oil.  Top evenly with tomatoes, basil and cheese.  Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper.  Once vinegar is reduced, brush bottom half of bread (cut side) with vinegar.  Place on top of sandwich and invert.

Spray a grill pan with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Place a cast-iron or heavy skillet on top of sandwich, and gently press to flatten. Leave skillet on; cook 3 minutes on each side or until cheese melts and bread is toasted. Cut sandwich into 4 equal pieces.

Yields 4 servings

Nutrition per serving:  325 calories, 13.4g fat, 5.5g saturated fat, 28mg cholesterol, 726mg sodium, 13.6g carbohydrates, 2.5g fiber, 13.6g protein

Oven Fries


I am back!  I have not been posting much during my pregnancy because 1.  I haven’t really been experimenting with new recipes and 2.  I have just been too tired!  But, a lot has been going on…

Our not-so-little puppy has been growing like a weed over the past several months.  At 8 months she reached a whopping 65 pounds – and still growing.

Willa has made a new friend!

Willa and Ella

**notice the water all over the patio.  They had fun, to say the least.

And Bernie turned 29 again! 🙂

Bernie's delicious cookie cake from the American Cookie Company - wait, does that say "Bennie??"

On to the fries…

These fries deserve a post, and get a rave review.  I have done baked fries before, but these do not taste baked – they taste like the real thing.  Bernie thinks they taste like 5 Guys Burgers & Fries french fries, which are some of the worst (nutrition-wise) fries out there – but delicious.  And, considering my eating habits during pregnancy and new found love for all things greasy, these were right on the money – without the grease or guilt (not that I have been experiencing any guilt latetly)!

Oven Fries, from Prevention RD

6 large red potatoes (about 2 pounds)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 dashes salt
cooking spray


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Wash potatoes and cut into matchsticks. Put the potatoes into a large ziplock bag and coat with olive oil. Shake to coat evenly. Add paprika, garlic powder, and salt and shake to coat evenly.

Spread potatoes on the cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake about 30 minutes, to desired crispness and serve immediately. Yum!!

Yields: 6 servings

Nutrition per serving:  164 calories, 7g fat, 0mg cholesterol, 57mg sodium, 27g carbohydrates, 3.33g fiber, 4.2g protein, 3.22g sugar

Best baked fries ever!  I did try these re-heated and they are just not the same, so definitely serve out of the oven!

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins


My husband loves blueberry muffins and while I have tried a few recipes – and they are good – I wouldn’t consider blueberry my favorite.  I wanted to try something new and stumbled upon this recipe – and I am glad I did.  These are by far my favorite muffin I have made and I can’t wait to bake another batch – maybe because I am pregnant, or maybe not, but these were gone way to fast!

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, from Annie’s Eats

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. poppy seeds
1¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup plain Greek yogurt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line muffin pan with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

Using a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar, medium speed, until light and fluffy.  Beat eggs in one at a time.  Mix in lemon zest and vanilla extract.  Alternating, with mixer on low speed, add in yogurt and flour mixture – in two additions.  Mix until just combined.

Divide batter equally between paper liners, filling each about 2/3 full.  Bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Yields: 12 muffins

Nutrition per muffin: 237.9 calories, 9.4g fat, 5.1g saturated fat, 51.6mg cholesterol, 194mg sodium, 33.8g carbohydrates, 0.7g fiber, 17.6g sugar, 5.2 protein



This past weekend was my first attempt at brunch.  Overall, it was really successful.  This frittata was extremely easy to make once you get everything chopped up.  Thank you to my husband for helping me with brunch and especially with this dish.  See – I gave you credit!

Bacon Cheese and Veggie Frittata, adapted from Allrecipes


6 eggs
1 cup 1% milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, melted
dash salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
5 turkey bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a bowl, beat eggs, milk, butter, salt and pepper.  Mix in peppers and onion.  Sprinkle with bacon and cheese.  Bake 25-30 minutes.
Yields 6 servings
Nutrition per serving: 243 calories, 17.7g fat, 9g saturated fat, 229.7mg cholesterol, 382.5mg sodium, 6.1g carbohydrates, 0.9g fiber, 2.9g sugar, 14.5g protein.
To make a little healthier – substitute eggs for 1.5 cups of egg substitute and use cheese made with low-fat milk.  Nutrition facts for these substitutions: 180.8 calories, 10.4g fat, 5.8g saturated fat, 38.9mg cholesterol, 463.9mg sodium, 6.2g carbohydrates, 0.9g fiber, 3.3g sugar, 14.3g protein.

Mother’s Day and Strawberry Cake/Cupcakes


Happy Mother’s Day to my wonderful Mom.  She is the strongest woman I know and I am so thankful for everything she has done to help me become the woman I am today.

Me, my Mom, and Sister-in-Law Laura on Mother's Day

Mom got to pick dessert for our lunch today, and she picked this strawberry cake.  I have made this cake 3 times now, in the last month, since finding this recipe.  This is the first recipe for strawberry I have found that does not include strawberry gelatin in the ingredients – all of the flavor comes from fresh strawberries, as does the nice pink color.  I have made a cake and also cupcakes, and both are delicious.

Strawberry Cake/Cupcakes, from Confections of a Foodie Bride


3/4 cup strawberry puree – see below
1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites, room temperature
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
12 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature

***for the strawberry puree you can use either frozen or fresh (hulled) strawberries (I have used both, and they were both fine).  If you use frozen strawberries be sure to thaw and drain juices.  Just puree strawberries in a food processor and you are all set.  I used about a dozen fresh strawberries and that is plenty for 3/4 cup.  Another option is to puree extra strawberries to use as a filling in your cake.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, for both cake and cupcakes

Line cupcake pan with paper liners or grease two 8-inch cake pans.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.  In a mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter and sugar.  Add in vanilla extract, milk and egg whites – making sure each ingredient is mixed in well before adding the next.  Fold in strawberry puree.

If making cupcakes, fill liners about 2/3 full.  Bake about 18-20 minutes for cupcakes and about 25 minutes for two 8-inch cake pans or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Let cakes cool before frosting.  These taste wonderful with a simple vanilla buttercream frosting.

Beef Stew


So this dish may not look pretty, but the flavor is wonderful.  Feel free to add in your favorite vegetables.  You will be surprised by how filling it is!

Beef Stew, from Allrecipes


2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
3 potatoes, diced
4 carrots, sliced
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 can no salt added corn
10-12 oz bag frozen cut green beans


Place meat in slow cooker. In a small bowl mix together the flour, salt, and pepper; pour over meat, and stir to coat meat with flour mixture. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, onion, and beef broth.  Cook on low setting, covered, for 8-10 hours.  Add vegetables 2 hours prior to serving.