Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lazy Baker Oatmeal Cherry Raisin Spice Cookies

Confession Time...I'm still feeling a little under the weather and haven't cooked dinner in oh, 2 weeks?! Luckily, hubby has stepped in as the happy house-husband and uses the blog like a virtual cookbook. I knew this site would come in handy one day!

Oatmeal Raisin Cherry Spice CookiesWhile I may not be preparing meals, this does not mean I won't bake! Every sick woman needs cookies and breads, don't you think? The lovely folks at Lazy Baker must have been channeling my inner laziness and offered to send me a sample of their cookie mix. Though not typically a huge fan of prepackaged foods, anything with the name lazy sounds great right about now.

Oatmeal Raisin Cherry Spice Cookies
Wanting something out of the ordinary, I tried their Oatmeal Cherry Raisin Spice cookie mix, which comes in a very cute package by the way. See the sleeping chef? That's me.
Just add butter, egg, and vanilla and you're good to go. Seriously, it doesn't get easier than this.

Lazy Baker CookiesVerdict: If you're anything like us and like a little spice in your cookies, these are perfect for you. If not a fan of spice, keep looking! These came out much more plump and round than pictured on their website, but that's how I like 'em - thick and soft yet chewy! Mmm... Seriously, these are perfect and tasted even the better the next day! Check 'em out.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pumpkin Honey Beer Bread

Let me caveat this post by noting that though this turned out to be the recipe from hell, it was utterly delicious and something I will make again and again- perhaps one of my favorite pumpkin recipes. And because you are probably much more attentive and organized than me, I presume you shouldn't experience one problem when baking and enjoying this super healthy bread.

Pumpkin Beer BreadSo, why the recipe from hell?

Monday: Measure out ingredients only to find I am out of sugar. Postpone making of bread.
Tuesday: Hubby buys sugar but I'm too lazy to make bread. Realize we only have IPA which is too hoppy for bread.
Wednesday: Go out to store in search of pumpkin beer to find they carry only 1 brand and its $11 for a 6-pack. I'm not made of money here, folks. Settle for using the Kirin Light in my fridge. Arrive home. Too late to make bread.
Thursday: Oops, where's the flax seed?. Send hubby out to store. Oops, food processor does not grind flax seed very well. Power through these setbacks. Decide to put raisins in one of the loaves only to have the entire package of raisins fall into the dough. DOH!This damn bread better be good....

So, there you have it! It may have taken nearly a week to make this pumpkin bread but it was clearly worth it. As a cold weather hater, fall has traditionally served as a sign of bad things to come. However, along with pretty fall leaves I've always loved the food that comes along with fall and just about anything pumpkin flavored.

Pumpkin Beer BreadThis bread makes 2 loaves so consider halving the recipe if you're unable to consume 2 whole loaves with your husband alone. We don't have these problems! Enjoy and don't forget to read the ingredient list before proceeding :)

Pumpkin Honey Beer Bread

adapted from Cooking Light

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup ground flaxseed (try using a coffee grinder to grind the flaxseed)
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup honey or pumpkin beer (at room temperature)
1 tablespoon honey
3 large eggs
1 15 oz can pumpkin
1/2 cup raisins
Cooking spray


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour,

salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice in a medium bowl. Stir with a whisk.

3. Combine 1/2 cup water and ground flaxseed.
Combine sugar, oil, beer, honey and eggs in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at

medium-high speed until well blended. Add flaxseed mixture and pumpkin.

4. Beat at low speed just until blended. Slowly add flour mixture; beat just until combined. Stir in raisins. Divide batter between 2 (9 x 5–inch) loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 55 minutes -1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Grilled Salmon Salad with Sweet Citrus Vinaigrette

Back in grade school, I won the perfect attendance award not one but two grades in a row. As a child I was blessed with a strong immune system and really never, ever got sick....except for the one time I faked it to skip school. Luckily I've stayed pretty healthy into adulthood and have never gotten the flu despite being too much of a wuss to willingly subject myself to a flu shot.

Salmon Spinach SaladThis year, fueled by the flu media frenzy, I lined up with the masses and sat down for my first ever flu shot. Good news: it didn't hurt. Bad news: I'm sick now. boo.

I don't blame the shot - I know its a killed virus vaccine but I can't help but wonder at the bad coincidence. Ho Hum.

What does this have to do with a salad you might ask? Well, I admit not much though I did search for a recipe containing oranges to get my ever important Vitamin C dosage for the day. Wives tale or not I still overdose on Vitamin C when not feeling up to my grade school glory days of health.

Citrus Salmon Spinach SaladBeyond the Vitamin C, this salad is heart friendly and chock full of other goodies: omega-3 fatty acids & Vitamin D from salmon, beta carotene & Vitamin A from spinach, and heart healthy olive oil. The flavors came together quite nicely and after a meal like this, I hope my immune system will get a kick in the right direction!

Grilled Salmon and Spinach Salad with Sweet Citrus Vinaigrette
Cooking Light

Sweet Citrus Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey mustard
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
2 teaspoons black pepper
Cooking spray
1 package fresh spinach
4 oranges, each peeled and cut into 6 slices

1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.

2. To prepare vinaigrette, combine first vinaigrette ingredients in a large bowl and stir well with a whisk.

3. Drizzle lemon juice over salmon fillets; sprinkle with black pepper. Place fillets, skin sides up, on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Remove skin from fillets; discard.

4. Toss spinach with vinaigrette to taste. Add spinach and oranges and serve immediately.