Apple Cheese and Oatmeal Muffins

These muffins don’t look like much but they are delicious. Lightly sweet, with tender apples, tangy cheese, and chewy oats, they are the perfect afternoon snack with a glass of milk. This recipe is forgiving and very adaptable. You can add more or less oats, apples, and cheese, or use other ingredients entirely. I have done oat and chocolate chip, and oat and chopped dried apricot.

Whole wheat flour is even better–use 1/4-1/2 cup whole wheat flour and the rest all-purpose so they’re not too heavy.

I like that this recipe make a small batch, since fresh muffins are so much better than day-old ones, but it also doubles beautifully.

Apple Cheese and Oatmeal Muffins

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup milk
3 tablespoons oil–I use olive oil because that’s what I usually have in the house, but you can use vegetable oil if you have it
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg

1 cup diced baking apple–This is about 1/2 of a large apple. Snack on the rest while you’re washing up.
3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 400°F. Grease 6 regular-size muffin cups with butter. You can use paper liners but I find the cheese sticks to them.

In medium bowl, mix flour, oats, baking powder and salt. In small bowl or glass measuring cup, mix egg, milk, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla with fork or wire whisk until well blended. Stir liquids into flour mixture until they are just combined. Fold in apple and cheese.

Spoon evenly into muffin cups. Bake 23 to 25 minutes or until they are a dark golden brown. You may have to coax the muffins out of the pan with the slip of a knife. Best served warm.



Brown Butter Sea Salt Blondies

Since discovering the blondies from Simply Recipes, by Vanilla Garlic’s Garrett McCord, I have made them several times and made various tweaks. This version is my favorite.

This recipe makes a moist and chewy blondie. The brown butter takes them from fabulous to sublime, and the salt rounds out the flavors. They are wonderful! It’s easy to keep the ingredients on hand, and the recipe is pretty fast and simple, so they are nice to make if a surprise guest comes over, if you’re going to a friend’s house and want to bring something, or just to have a little something sweet.

You want to use dark brown sugar with this recipe. It’s deep, rich, molasses flavor really stands up to the brown butter.

Brown Butter Sea Salt Blondies

1 stick of butter, melted, browned, and slightly cooled
1 cup of dark brown sugar, tightly packed
1 egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon of baking soda
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of all-purpose flour
Sprinkling of coarse sea salt (Kosher salt also has a pretty sparkle, if you have some.)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. You can grease an 8×8 pan, but I never do and they turn out fine.

Whisk together the egg, vanilla, and sugar in a bowl. Whisk in the melted butter.

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl, then add to your liquid mixture. Mix until it is just combined. You will have smooth and glossy batter.

Spread evenly into your pan. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick cones out clean. Sprinkle with more sea salt immediately after removing the pan from the oven. Your first sprinkling will have dissolved into the batter, but this one will stay and look pretty.

Allow to cool, then cut into squares and try not to eat all of them. I usually do 12 or 16 squares. These are pretty rich!


Lactation Cookies


Every breastfeeding mother worries about her milk supply, at least at some point. When I was pregnant I read all I could about breastfeeding, and came across several websites recommending foods that are galactogogues, which means they promote the production of milk. The most common of these are oats, brewers yeast, and flax. An easy and delicious way to eat these foods is in lactation cookies. I made a batch of these toward the end of my pregnancy, and have been eating two to four of them every day since we came home from the hospital. Judging from Truman’s steady weight gain–sometimes a pound a week!–my supply seems to be ample. I don’t know if these cookies are the reason, but they can’t hurt. They are an excellent source of fiber, B vitamins, iron, and essential fatty acids.

I started with this recipe from Peaceful Parenting and have been adjusting it to my preferences. My recipe is lightly sweetened with a cake-like texture. I like to scoop out a batch and freeze them, then bake 4 at a time in the toaster oven every morning. I eat two in the morning and sometimes two as a bedtime snack with a glass of milk. This recipe makes enough for several weeks.

Lactation Cookies

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup almond butter (peanut butter is okay too)
1 cup flax meal
6 tbsp brewer’s yeast
1/3 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs

1 cup chocolate chips
1 3/4 cup oats

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

In a very large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Beat in almond butter, brewer’s yeast, flax and water until creamy. Mix in eggs and vanilla.

Mix in flour mixture until well combined.

Mix in chocolate chips and oats.

Scoop out with a small cookie scoop and put on a baking sheet. Freeze until solid, at least several hours, then transfer to an air tight container. When you are ready, bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.

Black Bean Soup and One Hour Whole Wheat Baguette

Yesterday I made black bean soup–which we ate too quickly for me to photograph!–and I decided at the last minute we needed some fresh bread to go with it. It was late afternoon, and far too late to make a traditional loaf of bread, so I searched for a few recipes and devised my own. It’s not technically a baguette, but it makes a slightly sweet and tender loaf that is perfect for sopping up soup or just eating with a slathering of butter. If you have any left it makes wonderful toast in the morning.

We ate ours with my thick and savory black bean soup. I like black bean soup because it’s fast and I almost always have the ingredients in my pantry and refrigerator. Black beans are so healthy too, and this soup is a great way to eat a lot of veggies, especially the dodgy carrots going limp in the bottom of your fridge. I hope I’m not the only one who always has a few of those! After following countless recipes that resulted in watery and flavorless soup, I think I have perfected my own recipe.

One Hour Whole Wheat Baguette

3/4 cup warm water
1 packet active dry yeast
1 Tbsp honey
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine warm water, honey, and yeast. Let sit until foamy, about 5-10 minutes.

Add flour and salt to bowl and knead with a dough hook until smooth and slightly sticky, about 15 minutes. You can also knead by hand, but I always use my mixer so I can make dinner while it kneads.

Turn the dough out onto a board or other surface and shape into a cylinder about 16″ long. Place on a baking sheet. Slash with a sharp knife, cover with a towel, and let rise for about 20 minutes. Heat oven to 450 degrees.

When you come back to it the loaf will be beautifully puffed and fragrant. Place in heated oven for about 20 minutes. The underside of the loaf should sound hollow when you rap it with your knuckle.

Let cool for a few minutes, slice, and devour.

Black Bean Soup

1 yellow onion, whatever size you have, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
(Bell pepper, zucchini, spinach or other greens, also work well here. Add greens at the end.)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp sea salt
2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed, or 3 cups cooked. I can never get it together to cook beans ahead of time so I use Goya brand canned!
1 can of Ro-Tel tomatoes, or 1 chopped fresh tomato and 1 minced jalapeño
About 2 cups water or broth
Toppings, such as sour cream, grated cheese, or avocado.

Sauté onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and any other hard vegetables in about a tablespoon of olive oil until the onions are translucent and the vegetables are beginning to soften.

Add salt and chili powder, and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add beans and tomatoes and stir again. Cook until the tomatoes are softened and some of their juice has cooked off. Add water or broth, just enough to cover the beans, and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling lower your heat, cover, and let cook for about 20 minutes. This recipe is very forgiving. I usually do the dishes, feed the baby, or whatever else needs doing while it cooks. You can check on it if you think of it, and add a bit more water if needed. If you’re adding greens add them toward the end.

Once the soup is cooked purée with an immersion blender until the soup is as smooth or chunky as you like it. Serve topped with sour cream or avocado, or cheese if you prefer.

Not the most inspiring looking loaf, but it is delicious!