Monday, February 25, 2013

Two-Tone Roll-Up Cookies

One of the great things about baking is that, if you do it often enough, the necessary ingredients just pile up in your kitchen or pantry seemingly of their own accord. The perishables like butter and eggs have to be consciously bought, of course, but a bag of flour will last a long time, as will spices, nuts, dried fruits, anything you buy in bulk and don't need all of for the particular project you had in mind when you bought it. If you're willing to improvise a bit, a delicious baking project is never far away.

Finding myself with some rare free time today, as well as the need to cheer up a cold, gray Monday, I decided to poke around and see if I had the ingredients to make some cookies. Here's what I came up with. Let me know what you think:


4 tablespoons coconut oil, softened
5 tablespoons grass-fed butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
2 tablespoons cocoa powder


1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Mix together butter, oil, and sugar in a large bowl until well blended.
3. Sift together flours, cream of tartar, and baking soda in a medium bowl.
4. Slowly stir flour mixture into butter and sugar.
5. Add egg and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Stir thoroughly.
6. Remove half the dough and put it in the smaller bowl that the flour was in. Mix in cocoa powder.
7. Mix the other 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla in the vanilla half of the dough. Cover both bowls with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours.
8. Roll out each section of dough separately and into a similar size and shape. Then carefuly take the chocolate half and place it on top of the vanilla half. Then roll up the dough into a cylinder.
9. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into half-inch thick slices, and place them on a greased cookie sheet. Bake 8-12 minutes, until bottoms are golden brown.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Oregano and Garlic Chicken

Involving relatively little preparation time, this dish featuring root vegetables is an easy way to warm up on a chilly evening.


1 whole organic chicken
1 tablespoon grass-fed butter
3 tablespoons organic canola oil
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 medium white potatoes
3 large carrots
1 large sweet potato


1. Preheat oven to 350 and cover the bottom of a heavy baking pan with oil. Rub butter on the surface of the chicken and place it in the pan.
2. Sprinkle red pepper and oregano over the chicken.
3. Dice the garlic, and peel and chop the root vegetables into medium sized pieces. Orange these in the pan around the chicken.
4. Put the pan in the over for about 90 minutes, checking occasionally. The chicken is done when you cut into it and see clear juice. You don't want to undercook it, but you also don't want it to dry out. Baste with water if the chicken seems done but the vegetables aren't soft enough.

Monday, February 11, 2013

7 Foods to Have on Hand in a Storm

A shopping list is an important thing to have in any weather. It saves you money, because if you stick to your list, you don't go for impulse buys of eight jars of pickles that you'll never use just because they were on sale, but it also saves you time if you know exactly what you want. For us compulsive label readers, grocery shopping is time consuming enough without going in totally blind.

But just before a storm is coming, as many of us were reminded this past weekend, a grocery store- never a particularly fun place to be- suddenly turns into a den of panic that feeds off its own fright. Long lines, aisles gridlocked with shopping carts, it isn't a pretty sight. If you absolutely must find yourself in this situation, you want to get in and get out as quickly as possible. Here's a list of all the things you need to sneak through the express checkout lane and move on with your life. I'm going to skip the bottled water and flashlight batteries and get right to the fun stuff.

7) Lentils. If you think you don't like lentils, gamble the $1.99 for a bag and give them another try. If one incarnation doesn't do it for you, there are endless other possibilities. They're pretty good at taking on the flavor of what they're cooked with, so as long as you have your favorite spices on hand, there's no reason you shouldn't be able to find a way to make them delicious. My current favorite is lentil sloppy joes. Plus, they have a shelf life of roughly a century, so they're optimal when you're going into survival mode.

6) Rice. Remember last week when I talked up Lundberg Rice? Put this, or any other grain of your choice, together with some lentils and a different spice or sauce every night and you've got about six non-perishable meals for a dollar each.

5) Onions. I just like onions. They're my go-to vegetable for just about everything. You can use them to add flavor to tomato sauce, salad, home fries, or mix them up with the aforementioned lentils and rice.

4) Unrefined Coconut Oil. Coconut oil gives what you're cooking a subtle hint of summeriness, and who doesn't need that when hunkering down during a blizzard? More importantly, it doesn't need to be refrigerated like butter does, and it can be used for cooking or baking. Two for one.

3) Bread. OK maybe this is an obvious one, but if you're going to be stuck with only one kind of bread for as long as it takes to shovel out the eight foot snowbank that used to be your car, you'd better choose wisely. And you want to do it before you get to the bread aisle, 'cuz you can bet that's going to be a particularly crowded one. You'll want a bread that's versatile enough to work for breakfast as French toast, but also to be a bun on your lentil sloppy joes, and has dunkability if you opt to make soup with your lentils, onions, rice and whatever else is around the house. You've got your bag of vegetable scraps in the freezer to make broth with, right?

2) Eggs. Eggs bridge the gap between breakfast and dinner. You can make up an omelette or French toast, sure, but you can also mix them up with some chopped vegetables for egg fried rice, make egg salad sandwiches, or, of course, use them in baking!

1) Maple Syrup. Again I'm going for versatility here. A must at breakfast time, maple syrup can also be used as a substitute sweetener in other aspects of cooking and baking. Or put the snow to good use and make taffy.

What else helped you get through the storm? What do wish you had had that you'll make sure to grab next time?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Brand Review: Lundberg Family Farms

I'm always looking for a tasty way to minimize my intake of simple carbs. Who isn't? Brown rice is a good way to sneak a whole grain into a meal, and a great brand I recently discovered (thanks to roommates past leaving stuff in the freezer) is Lundberg Family Farms.

In addition to the usual recipes and nutrition facts found on the bag, Lundberg rice also boasts verification from the Non-GMO project, and that it's made using 100% renewable wind energy! Crazy, right?

A trip over to their website assures that, in the 76 years that the company has been family owned, it has always used farming methods that ensure the sustainability of the harvest, and the health of the soil.

Check out their website for the full collection of gluten-free foods they offer, including rice cakes in some fun flavors that make a healthy snack with a long shelf life.