Carrot-Walnut Cookies

Are you a fan of the “morning glory” muffin?  They are the breakfast muffin with a little bit of everything in them- carrots, raisins, apple butter, wheat germ, nuts.  Well this cookie is similar to that.  Packed with fiber, servings of fruit and vegetable, whole grains, and warm spices this cookie has a lot going for it health-wise.  And it’s tasty too!

Ingredients:

1 cup raw, un-salted walnuts

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

2 carrots, grated

1 apple, grated

1 very ripe banana, peeled and mashed

1/4 cup apple juice

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F
  • Line your baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Combine the walnuts, oats and raisins in a food processor and pulse until ground
  • Transfer to a bowl and stir in flour, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger

  • Add carrots, apples, banana and apple juice and mix until combined

  • Drop by tablespoons one inch apart on the baking sheet, making about 24 cookies
  • Press down on each cookie with the back of a fork to flatten them a bit (peanut butter cookie-style)
  • Bake until tops and bottoms are lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes

Inspired by this recipe by Whole Foods Market.

J

Chickpea Stew

Although this dish is a stew, it’s not so terribly heavy that it wouldn’t be fine to eat all spring long.  On any cool night, or rainy day.  For lunch or for dinner.  With rotisserie chicken on the side or as a vegetarian dish.  This recipe uses so many different spices  and is so fragrant that I got comments every time I heated it up at work.  What a well-rounded flavor profile!  It’s sweet and spicy, and smooth all at the same time.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 (15 oz.) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
1 pound red potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
Flatbread (I like whole wheat pita with this)

gathering of the ingredients

Directions:

  • Stir together paprika, salt, allspice, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, coriander, cayenne, and ginger in a small bowl and set the mixture aside

spice mixture

  • Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Add garlic, onion and chopped ginger and cook until very soft and golden brown
  • Stir in spice mixture and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until spices are toasted and fragrant
  • Stir in the tomato sauce and cook for 2 minutes more
  • Stir in broth, potatoes, carrots and chickpeas and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until potatoes and carrots are just tender, about 30 minutes

simmering stew

  • Uncover pot and simmer until stew is thickened and potatoes and carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes more
  • Dish up the stew and serve with flatbread on the side

yum!

J

Adapted from a recipe posted on Whole Foods Market page

Sweet Potato & Kidney Bean Chili

This chili is a thing of beauty.  By beauty I mean that the flavor of the green bell pepper transforms from an underripe, sharp, crisp bite to something soft and sweet.  The ancho chili & crushed red pepper are balanced by the sweet potato and carrots.  The mushrooms provide a welcome texture contrast.  There is nothing boring about this dish.  Served with bread and, yes, a little butter (as there is almost zero fat in the entire pot) it is wonderful.  The bread is almost necessary to sop up the nice broth left in the bottom of the bowl.  You just can’t leave it there to be washed down the drain….

sweet potato & kidney bean chili

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, chopped

4 medium cloves garlic, chopped

1 TBS fresh ginger, chopped

1 medium carrot, sliced

1 medium green pepper, cut in 1-inch squares

2 cups sweet potatoes, cut in 1-inch cubes

2 cups portobello mushrooms, quartered

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ancho chili powder

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 TBS tomato paste

1 TBS + 2 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth

1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained

salt & black pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Chop the garlic and onions and let them sit for about  5 minutes while you chop all of the other veggies

chopped onion, garlic, sweet potato, green bell pepper and carrot

quartered portobello mushrooms

  • Heat 1 TBS of broth in a soup pot. Sauté the onion in broth over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until translucent
  • Add garlic, ginger, carrot, pepper, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms. Continue to sauté for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently

veggies sauteeing in a soup pot

  • Add spices and mix thoroughly
  • Mix tomato paste and broth together, then pour over spiced vegetables. Cover and simmer on low for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Add beans, salt, pepper, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes on medium heat uncovered

cholesterol-lowering, fiber-packed kidney beans

J

Recipe adapted from a post on the world’s healthiest foods

Carrot (and so much more!) cupcakes

A stand-up carrot cake recipe is always a good thing to have in one’s repertoire, in my opinion.  This recipe is stand-up.  It’s flavorful without being over-done.  It’s moist without being heavy or greasy.  It’s loaded with fruits and, therefore, fiber (which must mean that it’s healthy-right?).  And to top it off, it gets frosted with goat cheese.  Yum!

What I will also point out is that this recipe is easier on the tongue than it is on the eyes.  The cupcake is not necessarily what I would call gorgeous, but it is damn tasty.  It holds its shape well, but the frosting on top is definitely what makes it look more appealing.

Cake Ingredients:

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

¾ teaspoon salt

3 cups grated carrots

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

½ cup moist, plump raisins*

2 cups sugar

1 cup safflower oil

4 large eggs

re-constituting raisins, chopped walnuts & coconut- oh my!

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease & flour your muffin tins
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt

flour, leavening & spices

  • In another bowl stir together carrots, nuts, coconut and raisins (and/or dried cranberries, currants, cherries, etc.)
  • In a stand mixer beat together the sugar and oil until smooth
  • Add eggs one at a time
  • Add the flour mixture and don’t over-mix
  • Mix in the chunky ingredients

this is one chunky batter

  • Divide the batter among the muffin cups and bake for 25-35 minutes

be sure not to over-fill your tins

*Note: if your raisins are a bit on the dry side, re-hydrate them in a dish with some warm water (or rum, if you prefer) for 10 minutes before using

Frosting Ingredients:

6 oz cream cheese, at room temp

2 oz goat cheese, at room temp

1 stick butter at room temp

1 pound confectioner’s sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions:

  • In a stand mixer beat together the cream cheese, goat cheese and butter until smooth and creamy
  • Gradually add the sugar and beat until super-smooth
  • Beat in the lemon juice
  • Frost your cooled cupcakes

*Feel free to change the cream cheese/goat cheese ratio or omit one or the other altogether

You could top the frosted cakes with shredded coconut, or toasted coconut, or chunks of walnuts, or even lemon zest

J

Recipe adapted from this cookbook authored by Dorie Greenspan

Chicken & leek stew

For a cool and/or rainy day this is a fantastic stew which manages to be thick and creamy, but not heavy.  The sour cream and Greek yogurt give this dish a delightful tang that keeps your mouth coming back for more.  The stew comes together easily, and does not take a ton of time for cooking.  If you have a food processor on hand, you can cut down on prep time too.

I opted to serve the stew over some brown rice that I’d done in a rice cooker with chicken broth, but it would also do well over egg noodles or quinoa.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium leeks, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced

1 carrot, thinly sliced

1/2 pound baby bella mushrooms, sliced

Salt and pepper

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into chunks

All-purpose flour, for dusting

Poultry seasoning

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

½ cup non-fat sour cream

½ cup non-fat Greek yogurt

Directions

  • In a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the leeks and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened

  • Add the mushrooms & carrots and season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender. Scrape the leeks and mushrooms onto a plate

  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper and lightly dust with flour mixed with poultry seasoning.

  • Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet. Add the chicken and cook over moderate heat until golden brown, but not necessarily cooked through

  • Add the chicken stock and thyme and simmer over moderate heat until the chicken is just cooked through, about 1 minute. Transfer the chicken to the plate with the vegetables.
  • Simmer the stock over a moderately high heat until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Return the chicken, leeks and mushrooms to the skillet and simmer over low heat until warmed through, about 1 minute
  • In a small bowl, blend the sour cream with the yogurt and stir into the stew. Remove the pan from the heat. Season the stew with salt and pepper and serve (over some cooked rice)

J

Recipe adapted from an article in Food and Wine, recipe by Jamie Oliver