Apple Oatmeal Cookies

Apple Cookies
I’m not sure what happened to all of my cookies. These lasted all of two hours before they vanished.

Apple Cookies
I restrained myself from eating the dough, which was no easy feat.

Apple Cookies
And they definitely came out of the oven…

Apple Cookies
They made it to the cooling rack. But then?

Apple Cookies
One by one, they disappeared!

Huh, I guess I’ll just have to make more.

Apple Oatmeal Cookies
Makes approximately 36 cookies

3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup applesauce
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups oatmeal (this is the amount before blending), blended
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 to 2 large apples, chopped

Preheat oven to 375F

Start by making oat flour. Place 2 1/2 cups of oatmeal into a blender or food processor. Pulse on low until the oats resemble gravely sand.
Cream butter, applesauce and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla.
Add flour, oats, baking powder and baking soda and mix. Add the apples and gently combine.
Drop onto a cookie sheet or stoneware pan, and bake 15 to 20 minutes, just until golden brown.

These cookies are perfect on their own, but you can add vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for an extra decadent dessert.

Dinner I pulled out of my…


I pulled this dinner out of my brain.

I completely made it up on the fly, and pretended to know what I was doing.

I’ve heard of people making roux, and figured I could pretend to know how to do it too.
This is flour and beef broth. Not a roux. Close enough?

This is onion and some unidentified orange thing that could possibly be bell pepper. I told you this was done on the fly.

Beef sounded like a good idea, so I threw some in.

And I didn’t want to over cook the beef just yet*, so I pulled it out of the pan to rest.
*I frequently-accidentally overcook beef, so now I kinda plan for it.

And what goes better with beef than potatoes? Carrots? Both.
At least the mysterious orange thing is explained.

And then I thought, “Shoot! I should have added herbs and spices!” I proceeded to madly throw around spice bottles until finding this one. Then I thought, “Oh sweet, savory.”
What exactly is “Savory” made from? I didn’t have time to care. Stuff was cooking. I threw it on the meat and stirred it around.

And then I added more beef broth, because it seemed like a good idea at the time.
And it was.

All together, resting comfortably.

So, naturally, I tucked everything in.

I happened to have an extra pie crust, because earlier in the day I figured that if you’re making one pie crust, you might as well make two.

It’s solid logic.

And then I had some time on my hands, and decided that I should at least attempt to give this dinner the appearance of forethought. So I made it look pretty.

And there you have dinner!

Surprisingly, this was excellent. It got approval from all the men in the house. I was told that I could make it again. Should make it again, even!


At least I have pictures to guide me?
Recipes are for chumps!
I guess it’s back to the kitchen for me.
Darn ūüėČ

If I can figure out how I made this, I’ll post a recipe that includes actual quantities of ingredients.

How about dessert?

Apple Pie

More specifically, how about some pie?

Apple? With caramel sauce and ice cream?

Yeah, let’s do it!

I used local Fuji apples, and they were so juicy and delicious! I’m going to do this again, because this was seriously the best apple pie, but I’m going to use Granny Smith, cause that’s what I’ve got. It’s gonna work, don’t worry.
Apple Pie

I also didn’t follow a recipe. It was probably the wildest thing I’ve ever done.
Apple Pie
Don’t make fun of me. There’s no feeling like the pounding in your heart when you have no guarantee that the pie you’re making could be epic or awful.

I also used cinnamon chips, and I think I need to have them permanently stocked in my pantry. You should too. What can’t you use them for?
Apple Pie

Apple Pie


Sorry for yelling, but this tip changed my life. For real.

Instead of crying over flour and mangled pie crust, roll it between two sheets of plastic wrap.
Apple Pie

Apple Pie

Then all you have to do is gently peel off the top layer,
Apple Pie

flip it over onto a pie plate, and peel off the other layer!
Apple Pie

I know!! Amazing!
Apple Pie

Apple Pie

I took the decadence an extra step this time and brushed the top crust with butter, and then sprinkled it with cinnamon sugar.
Apple Pie

Apple Pie
Clearly I’ve made no New Year’s Resolutions.

Apple Pie

No big deal.
Apple Pie

Cinnamon Sugar Pie Crust
Makes two crusts

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut in cubes
4 tbsp ice water, plus more if needed

Cut butter into small cubes and freeze for 15 minutes. Combine flour, salt, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl, then add the very cold butter and combine with a pastry cutter until it looks like coarse sand. Sprinkle ice water over the mixture and press the dough together with a rubber spatula. Eventually you will be able to pinch the dough together and have it stick to itself.
Divide the dough in half, press into round disks and cover in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour, and up to a day.

Cinnamon Apple Pie

3-4 medium apples
Juice from half of a lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup cinnamon chips

Preheat the oven to 375F.
Slice the apples very thinly, and then add the apple slices and lemon juice together in a large bowl. Make sure all the apple slices get covered in the lemon juice.
In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar, brown sugar, nutmeg and cornstarch together. Add the cinnamon chips and stir them in.
Add the sugar mixture to the apple slices, and make sure the apples get coated in the sugar mixture.
Roll out the first pie crust (see above for rolling instructions, or use a well floured surface), and gently put it in a pie pan. Pour the apple filling into it, and then roll out the next crust. Lay the second crust over the apple mixture, and pinch together and trim the edges. Cut vents in the top of the pie, and brush with butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, if desired.
Bake for 45-50 minutes. If the edges look like they’re starting to burn, wrap them with foil. Allow the pie to cool for 1-2 hours before serving. If you’re very very hungry for pie, you can put it in the refrigerator for half an hour before serving. Just don’t melt your refrigerator shelf.

Last and a First

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

This is probably the last rhubarb of the season.

But this is the first time I’ve ever made pie.

I’ve made pie crust before, though not exactly successfully.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I Googled for about a week, trying to learn all the secrets of pie crusts. How does one make them flakey? What about perfectly golden brown? How does one get the crust in the pie plate without ending up in a ball of tears under the kitchen table?
You know, standard Google questions.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

The consensus was that Martha’s got it goin’ on. For real.

I have to say, it was pretty scary making the pie crust, but it worked! And if I can do it, you can too.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Pie crust from Martha Stewart and a hundred other food blogs–thanks everyone!!
Makes 2 crusts (one for the bottom, one for the top)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting a rolling surface
1 tsp salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut in cubes
4 tbsp ice water, plus more if needed

Cut butter into small cubes and freeze for 15 minutes. Combine flour and salt in a bowl, then add the very cold butter and combine with a pastry cutter until it looks like coarse sand. Sprinkle ice water over the mixture and press the dough together with a rubber spatula. Eventually you will be able to pinch the dough together and have it stick to itself.
Divide the dough in half, press into round disks and cover in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour, and up to a day.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
This was made flatter and wider before going into the fridge

Strawberry Rhubarb filling

2 cups chopped rhubarb
2 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced into quarters
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 375F. Whisk the sugar and flour together in a bowl, then toss the rhubarb and strawberries into the mixture until everything’s coated. Generously flour a surface and rolling pin. Roll one pie crust out to about 1/4 inch thickness (not too thick, not too thin). Here’s the hardest part: if the dough splits or cracks, don’t panic! Just wet your fingers with ice water and pinch the cracks together. If it seriously gets too frustrating, scrap it and refrigerate it covered in plastic wrap again for about 20 minutes.
Carefully transfer the rolled out dough to a pie plate. Pour the strawberry rhubarb mixture into the crust (you don’t have to pour the excess sugar/flour into the pie. I didn’t and it was perfectly sweet). Cut the remaining tbsp of butter into small cubes and dot the pie filling with it. Roll out the remaining pie crust, and transfer it onto the pie. Slit the top crust to vent, and pinch the edges together. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour, watching so that the edges don’t burn. If the edges start getting too brown, just loosely cover them with aluminum foil.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
These are probably the last strawberries of the season.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
I can’t think of a better use for them.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
I also sprinkled sugar over the top crust right before it went into the oven.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Holy yum! ¬†Homemade whipped cream or vanilla ice cream isn’t necessary, but why wouldn’t you?

Whole Wheat Bagels

Remember awhile ago when I made bagels?

Yeah, those were delicious. I noticed something, though. They had the perfect hard on the outside, soft on the inside texture for the first few days, and then after that they became…chewy. And not in a good way. ¬†They were rubbery! There’s no way these could be eaten without toasting them first, because you’d literally have to tear them apart with your teeth like a dog tearing a shoe apart. Even after toasting them by the end, they were a bit rough on the jaw.

I’ve made them a few times since then, but I wasn’t brave enough to swap out bread flour for whole wheat flour. I didn’t know how it would change the texture, and I was worried about making them any more dense.

I’ve been super lazy lately, too. ¬†I think it’s the lingering cloudy/rainy/snowy/crappy weather around here. I know that seems like the perfect time to bake, but it’s supposed to be SPRING, and I’m just ready for some sunshine. Maybe I was just feeling a bit SAD.

But then last week, the sun came out, and it was glorious!  We played outside, we went for bike rides, I went running (outside!!), we sat on a patio and drank iced coffee.  I was suddenly inspired to try whole wheat bagels.

Oh my, these are good. ¬†I mean, really, really good. ¬†I love the texture of whole wheat baked goods, and the flavor was delicate enough that the blueberries really came through. ¬†The texture didn’t change at all from the first day to the last day. ¬†(Although I have to admit that these didn’t exactly last long.)


I followed the same recipe as before, but swapped out two cups of bread flour for whole wheat. I’m never going back again! The only thing to try now is taking out all of the bread flour and using only whole wheat. Don’t worry, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Bagels
Makes 8 bagels

1 cup warm water
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup bread flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup frozen (or fresh) blueberries

Combine all ingredients in a bread machine and turn on to the “Dough” setting. Once the machine is done, divide the dough into 8 equally sized sections. Gently roll them in your hands, and then push your thumbs through the middle to make a hole. Allow the bagels to rise for 30 minutes, covered, and in a warm spot.

After 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 400F and bring a large pot of water and 2 tbsp of sugar to a gentle boil. Add the bagels to the water, one or two at a time. Boil for 30 seconds on one side and then turn them over in the water to cook for another 30 seconds. Place the boiled bagels on a rack to dry off, and then place them on a baking stone.

When all the bagels have been boiled, bake them on a stone (or cookie sheet w/parchment paper) for about 25 minutes.
I didn’t use the egg wash and topping method for the blueberry bagels, but if you want to see what that’s all about, you can read the first epically long bagel tutorial. ¬†Go ahead and just scroll to the bottom. ¬†I won’t cry if you don’t want to look at my bruised toenail again.

My son adores bagels with cream cheese and honey.  But he actually adores anything with honey, so eat your bagels however you want.
Until next time, friends!

Pain d’Epi (or my Bread Saga)

I’m in love with this bread.

It’s just so pretty!


I first saw it in a bakery in Seattle. Naturally, I assumed you had to go to bread baking school to make something so beautiful.

It’s kind of true, but mostly not.


Pain d’Epi is French for bread that looks like wheat. Fitting, since that’s where flour comes from, and bread is made from flour.

I actually made this without my bread machine. It felt way too easy, so I was sure I’d screwed it up. Sure enough though, it rose and rose and rose.




The only difficult part of making this bread was shaping it. I had to try a few times to get it right.

Not pretty. This was my first attempt. My sous chef said it looked like a bunny, so I decided to just say I did it on purpose. Bunny bread, just in time for Easter!

Luckily, it tasted far better than it looked. Perfectly crusty and crisp on the outside, fluffy and pillowy on the inside. And even if it didn’t look like a wheat stalk the first time around, it still pulled apart into single portions like it was supposed to.

Want to know how to do it? Go here. ¬†That’s probably the best tutorial out there, unless you find a video on Youtube. ¬†I didn’t check there. ¬†Sorry. ¬†Maybe if I had, I wouldn’t have made bunny bread.

Anyway, here’s the recipe. ¬†Try this out and impress the heck out of your friends. Hopefully the first time around, not the third.

Pain d’Epi
Makes 3 loaves

6 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 tbsp salt
3 1/4 cups warm water (I’m told that between 115F and 120F is perfect for yeast activation)

Add the yeast to the warm water. Gently stir once and then let sit for about 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the flour and the salt. Add the yeastwater to the flour and gently combine. You don’t need to knead, per se, but make sure that all the flour gets incorporated.



Transfer the dough to an oiled container or bowl. I read that a 5 gallon bucket with a lid is great for rising bread, but I don’t have one, so I used the biggest bowl I could find and loosely covered it with cellophane. If you go the bucket route, make sure you don’t seal the lid on tight. It could very well blow the lid right off.

Let the dough rise for two hours. This works best in a sunny spot where it’s not going to encounter any drafts. I had used the oven earlier in the day, so I just left my dough on the counter where it would get that residual heat.

After the dough has risen, you can cover it completely and store it in the fridge for up to a week, or you can get right to baking. If you’re ready, preheat a baking stone in the top half of the oven, and a broiler pan in the bottom half at 450F.


Pull off a chunk of dough, loosely roll it into a ball, and then let it rest on a floured sheet of parchment for a couple of minutes. Come back to it, and then stretch it out into an oval. Fold one side in longways, then the other side over that. Because it’s on the parchment, you’ll be able to easily transfer the loaf to the baking stone when it’s time.

Not oval enough. This was the bunny loaf

See how the ends are wide and round? They should be narrow and slightly pointy.  That initial oval shape is pretty important.

Gently stretch the dough so that it becomes a long baguette with pointy-ish ends. Don’t squeeze hard though, because it will compress the air. ¬†If you find the dough is resisting, just let it rest a few more minutes. ¬†It should be much easier to work with when you come back to it.

Then comes the part where you should really study the tutorial. Using kitchen shears or scissors, cut the dough at a 45 degree angle, almost all the way through. Gently angle that chunk of dough away from the loaf, and shape the tip if needed. Repeat this process along the entire loaf.

Trim the parchment paper so that it won’t hang over the edge of the pan and grab about 1 1/2 cups of warm water. ¬†Working quickly, place the dough on the baking stone, and pour the water into the broiler pan. ¬†Don’t be surprised (like I was) if it splatters and boils right away. ¬†Close the oven door and bake for 35 minutes. The bread should be golden brown before you take it out of the oven.

This bread is best served fresh, while it’s still slightly warm.

Good luck, and if you discover any tips to make it look prettier, PLEASE share them with me!

Sweet and Spicy Tofu

I made a variation on my favorite tofu marinade. ¬†This one comes from Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point, and she’s not kidding when she calls it her Perfect Baked Tofu. ¬†In our house, we call it candy tofu, because it’s surprisingly sweet from the honey, but spicy enough for dinner.

I started with honey and olive oil.

Then added peanut butter and Cajun seasoning.

I microwaved that mixture for about 30 seconds, and then added a few shakes of low sodium soy sauce.
Sorry for the blurry photo ūüôā

Then all I had to do was mix in my tofu and some toasted sesame seeds,

let that marinate for about 15 minutes, and then toss onto a lined cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.

I always broil my tofu because I’m impatient, but I accidentally left it in the oven a few minutes too long. The peanut butter really changes the cooking time. I think that Caitlin’s method of slow baking would work better for this marinade, but I’ve had success both ways.

It still tasted amazing though! I was seriously craving peanut butter, and this really hit the spot.  I wanted to throw in some wilted spinach, but we were fresh out.  Ah well!  Served over top of seasoned quinoa, it made a really filling meal.

Give it a go, and let me know what you think!

Blueberry Bagels
Mmmmm. ¬†Remember when I used my bread machine to make bagels? ¬†That was an awesome day. ¬†Well, I did it again, and this time I added a half cup of frozen blueberries. ¬†Perfect! ¬†Seriously, these are some of the best bagels I’ve ever had. ¬†I give my bread machine total credit. ¬†I know I said I was going to try and make them without my bread machine, but I was dragged outside (in winter! the nerve) for a beautiful photo walk through Greenough Park. ¬†I’ll put up photos later, but I took so many that it’s hard to pick!
PS–anyone have any thoughts on what to name the bread machine? I love naming inanimate objects ūüėČ

Sweet and Spicy Tofu
Serves 3-4

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup honey
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Mix olive oil, honey, peanut butter and Cajun seasoning together in a microwave safe bowl. Nuke for about 30 seconds, mix again. Add soy sauce and combine, then stir in pressed tofu and sesame seeds. Let the tofu marinate in the refrigerator 15-30 minutes, stirring every so often to keep the tofu covered.
Broil tofu on a lined and sprayed cookie sheet for about 15-20 minutes, watching carefully so the marinade doesn’t burn.
Serve over rice, quinoa, or salad.