Recipe: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a sucker for anything pumpkin, regardless of the season. The same goes for chocolate, so it was love at first bite with these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

With just a few small tweaks, I made them a bit healthier (less sugar, some wheat flour) and even tastier — there’s nothing like a little salt in sweets.

They’re not your typical crispy-chewy cookie; the consistency is much softer and more moist. But they’re delicious and (somewhat) nutritious, thanks to the oats and pumpkin.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

(adapted from Taste of Home)

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teastpoon salt
  • 1 15-oz can of pumpkin
  • 1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions: 

  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.
  2. Combine the flours, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl; stir into creamed mixture alternately with pumpkin.
  3. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 12-13 minutes or until lightly browned.
  5. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 4 dozen.
What do you think about pumpkin — worth the hype, or overrated?

Recipe: Lemon Raspberry Greek Yogurt Muffins

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When life hands you lemons…MAKE MUFFINS!

It’s good to have a go-to recipe in your back pocket, whether someone stops by unexpectedly, you want to take a crowd-pleaser to an event or you’re looking for something special — yet simple — on a weekend morning.

Mine just happens to be lemon blueberry muffins; not only do I always seem to have the ingredients on hand, but they’ve never earned less than rave reviews (seriously, yogurt is the secret to tangy, moist, yummy muffins).

No blueberries? No problem. I experimented recently with a raspberry version that’s just as lovely — plus it’s lower in sugar and includes some extra nutrients and fiber thanks to the addition of wheat flour.

Lemon Raspberry Greek Yogurt Muffins

(recipe adapted from Running with Spoons)

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. juice from 1 medium lemon
  • zest of 1 medium lemon
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and prepare a muffin pan by spraying cavities with cooking spray or greasing them with oil. Set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a separate large mixing bowl, combine Greek yogurt and sugar, mixing until the sugar dissolves and the mixture becomes smooth. Add oil, honey, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest, mixing until well incorporated. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Gradually add flour mixture to yogurt mixture, mixing gently until just combined. Fold in berries.
  5. Divide batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups, filling about 3/4 of the way full. Batter will be on the thicker side, so use a spoon to scoop it in. Sprinkle with additional berries, if desired.
  6. Bake muffins for 20-22 minutes, or until top is firm to the touch and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool in pan for ~10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Got any go-to recipes that you’ve relied on over the years?

Recipe: Best-Ever Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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If you’re looking for one of the most delicious, nutrient-dense treats out there, this recipe just may be the Holy Grail of chocolate chip cookies.

Full disclosure, though: They’re actually “lactation cookies” meant for increasing a nursing mom’s milk supply. But dads and everyone else, don’t worry — they will not spontaneously produce lactation!

Even if you’re not breastfeeding, these cookies deliver important nutrients that all of us need, such as zinc, fiber, good fats, iron, protein, B vitamins, chromium, selenium and various other trace minerals.

Not to mention, they’re absolutely delicious…

Best-Ever Chocolate Chunk Cookies

(adapted from HowSweetItIs.com)

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups steel-cut oats
  • 1 cup unbleached organic all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cut whole-wheat flour
  • 5 tablespoons brewers yeast
  • 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1 tablespoon wheat germ
  • 1/2 ounce unsweetened coconut chips/flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons organic unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons unrefined organic virgin coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 cups organic cane sugar
  • 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips/chunks (I chopped up a few king size Hershey’s bars we had lying around, just to use them up)

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven the 350° F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together both kinds of oats, flours, yeast, flaxseed, wheat germ, coconut, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
  3. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and coconut oil on medium speed until creamy. Add in the sugar and beat on medium to high speed until fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed. Add in the egg and egg yolk, beating until combined. Add in the vanilla extract and beat until combined again. Gradually add in the dry ingredients, beating on low speed until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips with a spatula until they are evenly dispersed.
  4. Form the dough into 1-inch rounds and place on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the bottoms are just golden. Let cool completely before storing in a sealed container.
If you have a great lactation recipe, please feel free to share below! 

Recipe: Three Ingredient Nutella Brownies

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While these aren’t exactly healthy, per se, they do hit the spot when you’re hit with a craving for super-fudgy brownies and have very few ingredients on hand.

Just three, to be exact: Eggs, salt and Nutella. Yes, Nigella Lawson is a genius.

And if Nutella’s not a staple in your pantry, well, then it’s a great excuse to stock up because this dessert is a surefire crowd-pleaser!

Three Ingredient Nutella Brownies

(original recipe here)

Ingredients: 

  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • 2 pinches of fine sea salt
  • 1 cup Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line the base and sides of an 8-in.-square cake pan with parchment paper.
  2. Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat eggs and one pinch of salt on high until mixture doubles in size and is pale and mousse-like (about 5 minutes).
  3. Place Nutella in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat for about 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds, or until slightly runny.
  4. With mixer on medium-high, slowly drizzle all of the heated Nutella into the eggs until fully combined (the volume of the eggs will decrease).
  5. Pour mixture into prepared pan, sprinkle with another pinch of sea salt, and bake for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool completely in the pan (about an hour) before removing from pan. Cut into 16 squares and serve.
Are you a Nutella fan, or no? If, so, what’s your favorite way to savor the spread?

Recipe: “Angeled” Eggs

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What’s not to love about eggs?!

They’re cheap, easy to make and super versatile — not to mention full of protein, fats and 12+ vitamins and minerals — which is why they’re a staple in our house, particularly these past few months during ’round-the-clock eating and bun-in-the-oven baking.

Ben’s favorite way to consume them is something he calls the “poor man’s deviled egg,” a recipe he created in college. Ready for it? You grab a hard-boiled egg, and squirt yellow mustard on it in between bites, usually while standing over the kitchen sink.

While I can’t knock his, uh, creativity…stomach space is at a premium these days, so I need something that packs a bit more of a punch in the nutrient density department.

Enter “Angeled” Eggs. By replacing the usual mayo with a healthy zing of hummus, you’ll not only save a few calories but also add extra protein, iron and fiber into one incredible little snack.

“Angeled” Eggs

(adapted from PopSugar’s recipe here)

Ingredients: 

  • 1 dozen hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 16-ounce container hummus
  • Smoked paprika

Directions: 

  1. Remove shells from hard-boiled eggs while rinsing under cool water to help separate.
  2. Cut eggs in half lengthwise, carefully scoop out yolks and place them in a bowl.
  3. Mash yolks with a fork. Add hummus, and mix together until creamy.
  4. Spoon the egg mixture into the egg-white halves. Top with a pinch of smoked paprika, and serve immediately.
Got any quick, easy & healthy egg recipes to share? I’m always on the lookout!

Recipe: Zest Nutrition’s Cookies in a Jar

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When the ladies of Zest Nutrition whipped these little wonders out at their holiday party in December, it was love at first bite. And worth sharing now, even post-holiday, because I believe so strongly in their credo that “we deserve to eat food that tastes amazing and makes us feel good all year long.”

Since they’re so easy to make, I’ve been sharing them with friends who become seem to become equally obsessed (you’ve been warned). The first few batches were by the book, but I’ve since experimented by trying coconut flour in place of almond flour, adding half an extra banana and a tablespoon of chia seeds, and replacing the regularly-sized chocolate chips with mini morsels.

The Zest ladies also suggest swapping out the dried cranberries, chocolate chips and coconut for any other ingredients you like. Go wild, and indulge without guilt!

Cookies in a Jar

(original recipe here)

Ingredients (in jar):

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Ingredients (to add):

  • 2 ripe bananas

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 350F.
  2. Mash bananas with a fork, then mix in jar ingredients until combined.
  3. Form cookies on baking sheet and bake for 20 min.

The best part? Each batch is perfectly proportioned for storage in your standard mason jar.

Mix ahead and save for a rainy day when cravings hit, or get crafty and share something nourishing — yet delicious — with your friends and family.

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Ever thought a vegan, gluten-free cookie with no refined sugar could be so tasty? Me, neither!

Recipe: Zest Nutrition’s Sweet & Spicy Walnuts

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When your doctor suggests that you double down on healthy fats to help your baby pack on the pounds in its last few weeks in utero, you happily oblige. Especially when you know you’ve got friends with something delicious up their sleeves to help perk up plain old nuts.

Typically, candied nuts are coated in butter and refined white sugar. But Megan and Anna, the brilliant minds behind Zest Nutrition, created a recipe that uses egg white instead of butter and maple syrup and coconut sugar for natural sweetness.

These tasty tidbits are their creation, which totally hit when spot when you’re looking for a quick sweet-n-savory snack. In fact, they’re downright addictive. You’ve been warned!

Sweet & Spicy Walnuts

(via Zest Nutrition)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups walnut halves
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Coat walnuts in egg white and maple syrup.
  3. Stir together remaining ingredients and toss with walnut mixture.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, option to stir halfway through.
  5. Allow to cool completely before storing. Flavors enhance once nuts have cooled and the crunch has set in.
How do you incorporate healthy fats into your diet?

Recipe: Capalbo’s Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

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Whenever I’m stumped for new dinner ideas, I like to ask friends what they’ve been eating. This recipe came from Anabel, who served up a new twist on a classic to rave reviews during a girls’ night.

While it’s not the super-smooth-and-creamy-chemical-laced boxed stuff, it does have a lot of good nutrients (cauliflower’s a great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6, for example). It also hits the spot when you’re in the mood for a decadent-tasting side dish; I like to pair it with protein, like chicken or salmon.

And although mac and cheese is something I usually reserve for special occasions, Anabel assured me that it “tastes very rich and indulgent without having any butter and very little cheese.” Sold. 

Capalbo’s Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

(Adapted from “The Athlete’s Palate” in the March 2011 issue of Runner’s World)

Ingredients: 

  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cauliflower, cored & cut into large pieces
  • 8 oz. whole-wheat elbow macaroni (I used an entire 13 oz. box)
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese (I used sharp cheddar)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I eyeball this)
  • 1/2 cup whole-grain bread crumbs (same as above)

Directions: 

  1. Heat oven to 400. Microwave cauliflower in a steamer bag for five minutes or until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, warm stock and bay leaves on medium-low heat for five minutes; turn off heat.
  3. Place cauliflower blender or food processor. Add macaroni pasta to the boiling water and cook for five minutes. Drain pasta, and rinse to cool. Put pasta in a greased, 9-13-inch baking dish.
  4. Process cauliflower with stock (bay leaves removed), cheese, oil, mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Note: if using a blender be sure to leave open a crack for steam to escape.
  5. Pour sauce over pasta, toss and spread evenly in dish. Top with Parmesan and bread crumbs.
  6. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown on top.
Healthy mac and cheese — yea or nay?

‘Boning Up’ on the Bone Broth Trend (+ DIY Recipe)

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“We are indeed much more than we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are.” – Adele Davis

If you’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about bone broth recently, you’re not alone. But what exactly is the difference between stock, broth, consomme, and bouillon? And why are people raving over bone broth, in particular, for its healing and nourishing benefits?

With those questions in mind, I popped into the ZOOM+Performance lab last week to learn more from the first of their lunchtime classes. Local expert Tressa Yellig from Salt, Fire & Time was on hand to educate us about this savory elixir and how she believes it’s one of the simplest and most powerful food remedies you can have at your disposal.

According to Yellig, bone broth stands head and shoulders above other stock-type liquids because it’s cooked for a long time (up to three days) over a low heat (roughly 180 degrees) in order to extract all the good stuff — gelatin, nutrients and minerals — from bones.

So what else makes bone broth so special? Well,  for starters it’s rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, silicon, phosphorous, sulphur and other trace minerals, meaning it’s nutrient-dense. Plus, it contains a host of other unique and powerful substances, including marrow, cartilage, glycine, proline, collagen and gelatin, which are thought to help support the immune system, reduce inflammation and promote healing.

What I found most interesting, however, is when Yellig talked about bone broth also being a “protein sparer,” which means that it helps create adequate nutrition in the short-term absence of protein (read: when you’re sick and the last thing you feel like eating is a hunk of meat). Not to mention it hits the spot on these cold and dreary Portland winter days…

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Bone broth can be enjoyed as it is (with a little salt to enhance the flavor). Yellig also suggested experimenting with it as a base for soups, stews, sauces, gravy, cooking grains, vegetables, savory baked goods or with beans.

It’s pretty simple to make, so if you’ve got the time or inclination she shared this recipe to help you get your bone broth on at home:

Basic Bone Broth

(courtesy of Salt, Fire & Time)

Ingredients: 

  • About 1 pound of mixed bones per quart of purified water
  • Splash of vinegar (cider, red or white wine, rice or lemon juice)
  • Vegetables and herbs for flavor (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Place bones in a medium to large stock pot and add water to cover.
  2. Mix in the splash of vinegar and allow to sit at room temperature for about an hour. Note: If there’s a lot of meat on the bones, roast them first for flavor. 
  3. Bring the pot up to a gentle simmer (about 180 degrees) and allow to continue for 8-72 hours
  4. Add the vegetables and herbs in the middle of your cooking time.
  5. Strain out he bones, vegetables and herbs, and allow to cool.
  6. Package in glass containers for refrigerator storage (2 weeks) or plastic freezer bags or ice trays for freezer storage (3 months).

Or if the prospect of babysitting a simmering pot on the stove for a few days is too daunting, you can always swing by Yellig’s Broth Bar here in Portland. She offers a bunch of condiments, stir-ins and add-ons to customize each steaming cup to your liking.

Not local? You’re in luck. Salt, Fire & Time also has an online shop that ships all kinds of delicious goodies ’round the country.

Are you on the bone broth bandwagon? Why or why not?

Recipe: Full Belly’s Butternut Ragu Lasagna

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Combine fluctuating energy levels with the wintery mix of rain and darkness that’s descended upon the Pacific Northwest, and there’s only one option for dinner: comfort food.

And when it comes to this category, I’d argue that there’s not much that can compare to lasagna. It’s a one-dish meal that’s not only filling, but also extremely leftover-friendly.

This version also happens to be pretty pregnancy-friendly, as well. A solid square serves up an impressive amount of vitamins A and C, calcium, iron and folate, all of which help with the growth and health of cells and tissues in the body (i.e. baby development!).

So whether you’re building a human this season or simply in search of a more nutrient-packed twist on the traditional family favorite, this recipe is well worth a try.

Butternut Ragu Lasagna

(recipe adapted from Full Belly: Good Eats for a Healthy Pregnancy)

Ingredients: 

For the Ragu:

  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 oz ground turkey (I used 1 lb)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped (I used garlic paste)
  • 1 small bunch Swiss chard, cut into 1/-2-in pieces (I used 1 bag cut kale)
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4-in cubes (I used 2 lb squash already peeled and cut)
  • 4 large fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped (from about 4 sprigs)
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly-ground black pepper (about 20 grinds)

For the Lasagna:

  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 16 oz ricotta
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used a Parmesan/Romano blend)
  • 1.5 cups grated mozzarella cheese, divided (I used 2 cups)
  • 4 large fresh sage leaves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
  • 12 oz no-boil lasagna noodles (I used 8 oz; this may vary according to pan size)

Directions: 

  1. For the ragu, heat oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepot over medium-high heat. Add turkey and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon to break it up, until it’s no longer pink and just beginning to brown.
  2. Add onion and cook for 2 minutes, stirring once or twice. Drizzle 1/4 cup water into pan and scrape any brown bits from bottom. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
  3. Add chard and squash, stirring to incorporate all of the ingredients. Cover pot partially and let cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring once, or until chard wilts to half of it’s original volume and squash starts to soften slightly.
  4. Add the sage, thyme, tomatoes, salt and pepper, stir well, and then reduce heat to low. Simmer ragu uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Once the ragu is done, you’re ready to work on the lasagna! Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine egg, ricotta, Parmesan, 1 cup of the mozzarella, sage, thyme and black pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  6. Put one heaping scoop of ragu at the bottom of a 13×9 baking dish. Set a single layer of noodles in the saucy bottom the pan. Drop several dollops of the ricotta mixture over the noodles (don’t worry about spreading; it’ll melt). Pour a heaping scoop of ragu over this layer and use back of ladle to spread it around.
  7. Repeat the layers — noodles, ricotta, ragu — until you reach nearly the top of the dish, ending with noodles. Top the last layer of noodles with the remaining ragu (no ricotta mixture) and the remaining mozzarella cheese.
  8. Cover the dish with aluminum foil, and bake for 40-50 minutes or until noodles are tender. If you’d like the top layer of cheese to be a bit browned, remove the foil during the last 10 minutes of baking.
  9. Let the lasagna sit for about 10 minutes before cutting into pieces and serving.
What’s your favorite cold-weather comfort food?