Simple Fresh Cranberry Bars

The weather has finally turned cold and the holidays are right around the corner. We are starting to get in the spirt with the recipes we are making. We found this recipe for cranberry nut bars last fall, it has been a huge hit. Fresh cranberries are the star of these bars, with the perfect mix of sweet and tart. Fresh cranberries are great for bread, bars, cookies, pancakes, and of course homemade cranberry sauce! (You can even use them in your fall centerpiece.)

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/3 cup of melted butter
1 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350°F, grease an 8 inch square glass baking dish.

2. Beat eggs with mixer until blended and slightly thick. Slowly mix the sugar in until well combined. Mix in flour and butter until blended well. Fold in cranberries and walnuts.

3. Evenly spread bar mixture into the greased baking dish. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown and set. (You can test by insetting a toothpick in the center, they are done when it comes out clean.)  Let cool and enjoy!

These are a great sweet treat for any meal, what sweets are you making for Thanksgiving?

Baked Kale Chips

Our CSA share sadly ended last week. We really enjoyed having a diverse box of fresh veggies every week. One of my favorite snacks that came out of our CSA box was kale chips. They are quick, easy, and healthy! We have made different variations with oils and spices. (One of my favorites was using sesame oil and a splash of soy sauce).

baked kale chipes

1 bunch of kale
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of cumin (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Carefully remove the kale leaves from the thick stems with kitchen shears or a knife. (You can leave the smaller stems).

2. Wash and dry the leaves thoroughly with a salad spinner. (If they are not dry they won’t be as crispy when you bake them!) Toss kale with olive oil, salt, and cumin.

3. Spread the oil coated kale in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the kale is crispy. The edges should be brown but not burnt.

Enjoy as a side to your favorite sandwich! What kind of veggies do you like to make into healthy chips?


Beer Bread with Cranberry Honey Cinnamon Spread

This was the perfect combination for a game night snack last weekend. The tanginess of the bread mixed with the sweetness of the spread. Why didn’t we think of this before!? Beer bread is very easy to make (without a mix!). By combining simple ingredients you will easily impress your guests!

Bread Ingredients
3 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
12 ounces of beer (the kind of beer you use will change the flavor of the bread, I like to use IPAs because of their hoppy flavor)
1/4 cup of butter (melted)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F and spray a loaf pan with non stick spray. Sift dry ingredients and mix together with beer until combined. (The consistancy will be more of a dough than a typical quick bread batter.) Pour bread mix into loaf pan and top with melted butter.

2. Bake for 45 mins to 1 hour depending on your oven. Remove from pan and let bread cool.

Spread Ingredients
1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup of dried cranberries
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey

While the bread is baking you can prepare the spread. Blend all ingredients together in a standing mixer or food processor until combined. Serve at room temperature, if you are not using it right away you can refrigerate but you should leave it out for 15 minutes before serving so it can soften.

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Once the bread is cooled enjoy with the cranberry honey cinnamon spread! This is a great addition to any fall get together. What are your favorite fall bread and spread recipes?

Farro, Tomato, Edamame, Corn Salad

When planning our dinner menu for this weeks shopping trip I realized how much time and effort we were putting into dinner planning and execution. Why were we letting breakfast and lunch fall into a drab routine filled with cereal, lunch meat, and PB&J? We enjoy cooking and eating therefore I am on a mission to revamp our breakfast and lunch menus starting with lunch. Over the summer I started cooking with 10 minute farro from Trader Joe’s. It’s delicious warm or cold, as a main dish or a side. Since we have been experiencing an abnormally warm fall I decided our first new lunch dish would be a cold farro salad. It was quick and easy to make the night before.

1 small onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups Trader Joe’s 10 minute farro
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup corn (fresh, frozen, canned whatever you prefer)
1 cup shelled edamame (cooked per package instructions)
1 dozen cherry tomatos halved
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
feta cheese

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a sauce pan, add onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add farro, stirring until it is coated with olive oil. Add stock, bring to a boil, reduce to low and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes, drain excess broth. Let the farro come to room temperature.

2. While the farro is cooking prepare the edamame, corn, and tomatoes. Once farro is at room temperature add red wine vinegar and olive oil, mixing together until it is coated. Add the vegetables, season with salt and pepper. You can serve salad at room temperature or place in the fridge to cool completely. When serving top with feta or your favorite cheese!

What are your go to recipes for lunch? Please share, we are looking for more ideas!

Pumpkin Cookies

Fall has arrived here in Pennsylvania. The sun is setting earlier, nights are cooler, and the leaves are starting to change. Although we will miss the long, warm days of summer, fall means pumpkin season is here. We found this recipe while looking for a lighter version of pumpkin cookies.

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1 cup all-purpose flour (I am going to try them with white wheat next time)
2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (You could sub pumpkin pie spice if you don’t have allspice and cinnamon)
3/4 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper or use silpats (We really like using silpats, it makes for extremely easy clean up. Also, it eliminates the use of parchment paper when baking!)

2. Mix flour, oats, baking soda, salt, allspice, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk sugar, pumpkin, vegetable oil, maple syrup, and vanilla together in a large bowl until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet mixing with a rubber spatula. Stir in the raisins once the dry and wet ingredients are combined.

3. Using a tablespoon (or a small ice cream scoop), place the cookies an inch apart on the cookie sheet. Using your fingers or the bottom of a glass flatten the cookies (dip your fingers or the glass in water to prevent them from sticking to the cookies). Bake cookies for 15-17 minutes until they start to brown and are firm. Transfer them to a cooling rack. Enjoy!

What do you look forward to making this fall?