Cookbooks – Summer 2016

Everything about my biffle‘s house is blog worthy. It is like walking into a perfectly curated store that carries only the best of the best. Literally, every nook and cranny could be photographed and written about as her taste and style is impeccable (I will take one of each, please). She is also a phenomenal cook who meal plans for her family with healthy, simple, and varied recipes. Here are her top cookbooks of Summer 2016. And perhaps if we have the same cookbooks, then we have the same dinners?

 

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3 Cookbooks

Guilty pleasure: reading cookbooks! I love collecting, sorting through, and learning from cookbooks. Although the internet is a terrific place to peruse for recipes and ideas, there is something about the old fashioned, hard cover that I can’t get away from. There are so many cookbooks that I love and use, but currently, here are my three favorite:

 

Cookbooks

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Short Stack Cookbooks

One of my besties is someone whose style and taste is impeccable. Everything she wears, owns, makes, likes and buys is top quality and perfect. She offers great outfit advice, gift options, and decor styling. This is in addition to being the most loyal, fun, funny, beautiful and loving friend. I am lucky to have her in my life. I am also incredibly lucky that she gifted me these hip and up-and-coming short stack cookbooks. Check them out!

 

short stack

short stack

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Green Recipes

Although many people are haters (randomly, including my father), I actually love Gwyneth Paltrow. She is honest, open, beautiful, stylish, and resourceful. I am a big fan of her, her website, and her cookbooks.

This cookbook was released at the beginning of this month. Each recipe looks delicious and healthy. Plus, the pictures are gorgeous and makes you want to become a super model millionaire actress.

Gwyneth’s new cookbook. Each recipe looks delicious and healthy. Plus, the pictures are gorgeous and make you want to become a super model millionaire actress.

What's not to love? So hip and chic, effortless. If only we each had a personal trainer that flew with us everywhere, liposuction, a stylist, and an Oscar.

What’s not to love? So hip and chic, effortless. If only we each had a personal trainer that flew with us everywhere, liposuction, a stylist, and an Oscar.

The following two recipes are taken from “It’s All Good” by Gwyneth Paltrow. Both recipes are super duper easy to make (one step), green, delicious, and oh-so-Spring.

GREEN GODDESS DRESSING

Green Goddess dressing is the perfect creamy, rich topper to any salad. It is also a perfect dip for crudites or spread on a sandwich (instead of mayo or mustard). Plus, it has a beautiful, rich green color that makes you know it is healthy and full of nutrients.

Ingredients

ingredients

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Magical Marvelous Cookies

Just because the holidays are over doesn’t mean that cookies and sweets are. Far from it! It is the New Year, so time to live in the present moment and eat sweets after every meal!!! This cookie is perfect because it has anything and everything in it. This recipe was taken from the food blog, food52, which is one of my favorite places to visit on the web.

Ingredients:

ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (or almond flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 sticks of room temperature butter (KEY!)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups of granola
  • 1/2 cup crushed salted pretzel pieces
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped chocolate candies, or any kind of chocolate goodness

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Homemade Granola

I am a granola snob (fun game to play: what are you a snob about? For example, I am a granola snob as well as a coffee, grocery store, shampoo, and gym pant snob. I just have expectations for these items to be the best of the best. And if they aren’t, then I am snobbily unhappy). I absolutely love granola, and as you may recall, absolutely love Blackberry Farm Granola. I have tried to make my own granola but have never been satisfied (I am a tough critic), until NOW! Big cluster maple granola from the cookbook “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook” did the trick. And not just with the granola recipe, but with every recipe. Thank you, Smitten Kitchen!

Ingredients:

ingredients

Ingredients. Simple.

* 3 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats

* 1 cup of unsweetened shredded/flaked coconut

* 1 cup of crushed walnuts (or any other type of nut)

* 2 tablespoons of olive oil

* 1/2 teaspoon of salt

* 1/2 cup of maple syrup

* 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

* 1 large egg white

* 1 1/2 cups of dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, raisins)

cookbook

The Smitten Kitchen cookbook. Everything about this is to-die-for. First of all, it reads like a novel, the pictures are divine, and the recipes themselves are winners. I can’t wait to try more recipes!

Directions:

* Preheat oven to 300 degrees

* Combine all ingredients but the egg white and dried fruit in a large bowl. Make sure to mix evenly.

2nd part

Mixing everything together made me want to eat the “dough” before cooking it. It smells like perfection.

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Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Thanksgiving is right around the corner (??????), so there is nothing like a pumpkin pie dessert to get you in the mood! And pumpkin pie smoothies have a bit of everything I like: blended texture, pumpkin flavor, healthy ingredients, and a sweet aftertaste. Pumpkin Pie Smoothie! Watch out Starbucks, your Pumpkin Spice Lattes have a competitor.

Ingredients:
ingredients

Household ingredients

* 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin

* 1 scoop of protein powder (you want to get more muscular, right?)

* a dash of pumpkin pie spice (or some nutmeg and cinnamon combo)

* 1 banana (frozen preferably, but fresh is fine)

* 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup (depending on your sweet tooth)

* 1 cup of milk (almond, soy, real)

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Fruit Leather

Fruit leathers are a great source of fruit, vitamins, and calories.  I had a ton of them this summer, and so did Cruz.  Unfortunately, we ended up spending a lot of money and wasting a lot of plastic. SOOOO…..we decided to try to make them at home!

My mother, of course, is a pro at anything homemade and has her own food dehydrator where she dries different fruits left and right. Although they are great, personal food dehydrators aren’t exactly common. So below is my attempt to recreate an oven-only recipe for Fruit Leathers from Weelicious (which, btw, is an awesome blog).

Ingredients:

* 3 cups of fruit (whatever is in season, fresh, and local!)

* 2 tablespoons of honey

ingredients

Pretty food makes pretty fruit leather.

Directions:

* In a blender, blend fruit and honey until it looks so delicious that you want to drink the entire pitcher

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Chilled Cucumber Soup

Nothing better than a cool soup on a hot day! This vegan soup is uber tasty with its unique spices and blends of sesame, cucumber, and parsley. Tofu gives it a rich and creamy taste. Divine and delicious, this recipe is adapted from the cookbook “The Farm to Table Cookbook: The Art of Eating Locally” (which is an absolutely beautiful book whose specialty is dishes that are seasonal, and made with local ingredients). Enjoy!

Farm to table

One of my favorite new cookbooks, the author is also an Oregonian!

cuccumbers

Nothing is more refreshing than cucumbers!

Ingredients:

ingredients

Ingredients! Most of these should be always stocked in your fridge.

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Summer Fava Bean Salad

If you read last Friday’s post, you saw the (long) process of preparing fava beans. Now, it is time to put those beans to use in a recipe for a Summer fava bean salad.  This salad works perfectly as a complement to a standard green salad and a hunk of bread and cheese, for a light summer meal.

ingredients

Colorful ingredients!

cojita

One of my favorite types of cheeses; Cojita, a Mexican hard white cheese.

Ingredients:

* Fava Beans (cooked)  – 4 cups

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Fava Beans

Fava beans are my mother’s favorite bean. And beans are my mother’s favorite hobby. And yes — beans ARE a hobby (except for the refried beans in a can …). It is almost an art. Soaking, peeling, boiling, creating a dish — it involves a lot of steps, thoughts, love, and time.

Big, giant, buttery flava-ful fava!

Fava beans are the big magic beans that you imagine in Jack and the Beanstalk. Huge, green beans located in a floppy, large pod, fava beans are one of the oldest cultivated plants and are among the easiest to grow. Most of the world loves to eat fava beans, aside from Americans.

Jack

Well, hello Jack and the beanstalk!

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Sprouting

Sprouting is the practice of germinating seeds that can then be eaten raw or cooked. Sprouts are extremely healthy and rawists, vegans, omnivores, and carnivores all love them. Growing sprouts at home is becoming more and more trendy.  According to my mother, “Sprouting is very popular with the young generation.”

Grocery stores (healthy ones) sell sprouting tools and seeds that allow one to germinate sprouts at home. The process is quite simple and just takes time and water. And then after the germinating process is done, you have a lot A LOT of sprouts that you need to eat– which is great and healthy!  Long story short, you place the seeds with water in a sprouting vessel and let them sit for several days at room temperature, rinsing them every so often with water. And voila, sprouts.

Sprouts are incredibly nutritious and contain lots of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and enzymes.  Sprouts also deliver these nutrients in a form that is easily digested and assimilated.  In fact, they improve the efficiency of digestion. Sprouts are also deliciously fresh and colorful and add a great crunch and speckle of color to any dish!

sprout containers

The sprout mixes come in little tiny packets, making them easy to store and keep on hand.

This past weekend, I was given a lesson by my ever-so-smart mother on how to sprout. We sprouted three different types of sprouts, using three different types of vessels. Each sprout is fairly different and the three different containers can be used with any type of sprout. We just used different ones in order for me to have a solid lesson! We used a mason jar, a bag, and a tray (each are built specifically to grow sprouts).

3 types

The three different sprouts soaking up water.

GREEN LENTIL SPROUTING SEED

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Fig and Prosciutto Wraps

Fig + Prosciutto = Divine

Figs are in season right now, and if you are like me, there are loads of them in your fridge at all times. They are a great addition to any salad (even just lettuce, figs, walnuts/almonds, and blue/goat cheese = perfection), and also make a great side dish to any meal. Figs are naturally rich and sweet, while prosciutto provides a salty complementary punch. Together, they create a mouth watering bite.

Ingredients:

Ingredients

* Figs

* Prosciutto

* Olive Oil

Directions:

* Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

* Wash the figs and slice them into halves

halves

Figs cut in half.

* Wrap the figs with prosciutto — depending on how much meat you want, you can do a half or full slice of prosciutto.

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Banana/PB Cookies

Nothing is better than a healthy cookie! Based off of Nikki’s Cookies from 101 Cookbooks, I set out to make a new and different version of these tasty bites. Truth is, I wanted to make Nikki’s Cookies actual recipe, but I didn’t have most of the ingredients, so I had to improvise…. but let me tell you, these new cookies still tasted delicious and I would make them again in a heartbeat!

Ingredients:

* 2 large, ripe bananas, well mashed
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2 cups of flour (whole wheat, normal, almond, any variety works)
* 1 1/2 cup coconut, finely shredded & unsweetened
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 cup of nut butter. Peanut, almond, or cashew.

AND LOTS AND LOTS OF CHOCOLATE CHIPS! Healthy, right?

Directions:

ingredients

Ingredients

* First, mush up the banana making it soft and gooey. The banana acts both as the sweetener and the fat in the cookie. Thank you, Mr. Banana.

Smooshed Banana

Smooshed Banana

* Place all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix them together.

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Crab Cakes

One of my absolute favorite entrees is crab cakes. I am a crab cake snob and only like the best of the best crab cakes. Cheap crab cakes taste oily and fishy, some are too spicy, and others are either too bready or greasy. So, when my mom made crab cakes from scratch and they were healthy, delicious, and oh-so-perfect, I fell in love. Not a fast process but SO delicious. These crab cakes are crisp on the outside and rich on the inside — perfection.

The recipe is from Mother’s Cookbook, which is a cookbook from a restaurant (Mother’s Bistro) in Portland. If you are on the lookout for a good, ‘ol American homestyle cookbook, this one is solid, reliable, and approachable.

Ingredients:

dry ingredients

A snapshot of the dry ingredients used for the crab cakes.

* 1/2 pound of cod fillets

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Cake Mix Cookies

Ladies, a little warning that this recipe is UNHEALTHY and SINFUL. It is a far cry from my healthy concoctions that I normally throw together as these cookies use a tremendous amount of butter, sugar, and chocolate. But life is too short. So let’s celebrate and eat some damn COOKIES!

This recipe comes from my best friend from Eugene, Miss Julie. Julie is one of those cooks that can make anything taste delicious. Her cookies are famous (especially in my family) in Eugene. They are the perfect treat to bring to a neighbor, a birthday party, work event, or an after school/work treat for family members. THESE ARE FLIPPING DELICIOUS and no one will ever turn them down.

Ingredients

ingredients

Holy Heavens! Chocolate, butter, cake mix, brown sugar. SUGAR RUSH!

* 1 cup butter

* ½ cup brown sugar

* 1 egg

* ¼ cup water

* 1 tsp vanilla

* 1 box cake mix, divided

* 2 cups oatmeal

* 1 cup (or more) chocolate chips

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Summer Grilling: Artichokes

Summer is here! While it may not say so on the calendar quite yet, the rush of heat and humidity in the Northeast definitely has the Josie Girl thinking of summer.   Long days, (stifling humidity), beach and swimming, (stinky garbage), and… grilling!

While most people associate grilling with burgers, hot dogs, and other various forms of meat, Ken and I emphasize vegetables just as much as meat and fish.  Grilled vegetables are simple, healthy, and incredibly flavorful.  Last summer, Ken decided to start grilling artichokes.  While more complicated and easier to mess up than other vegetables, when done correctly, grilled artichokes are impossible to beat. Without further ado, here is the Josie Guy… and a lot of pictures.  Enjoy!

Artichokes, washed under water. Cut off the bottom inch or inch-and-a-half of the stem...

See these spines? We don't like them. Cut off the top of each leaf with scissors...

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Raw Apple Balls

Sometimes, I fail. Today is an example of having good intentions and thinking that I could make an awesome recipe, and instead… it flopped. I am sharing this with you in hopes that maybe someone can fix this recipe and make it edible? All the components are tasty and I am still eating my concoction, but it just isn’t right. I need HELP! (Comments/suggestions appreciated!)

apple

Apple.

In any case, for some reason, I am eating double the amount NOW versus when I was pregnant. I guess it is true that nursing a baby burns a lot of calories, but DAMN ladies, I am literally hungry ALL THE TIME! No matter how much I eat, I still want more…

I was craving a snack that is (1) itty bitty in size (2) sweet (3) healthy (4) easy to make (if you make it correctly).  My raw apple balls actually became raw apple mousse. The mousse *is* delicious…but it’s not the raw apple balls the recipe promised to be. The dough was just too sticky which made it impossible to form balls. I SWEAR IT IS DELICIOUS no matter what the form is, but they are not an easy snacks to eat. I want little balls of goodness!

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Apples, walnuts, dates, almonds, and cinnamon are always on hand in our kitchen. Thank goodness I didn't go to the store just to get these ingredients and then fail!

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Lemon-Mint Pasta with Bacon

Ken is guest-writing today.  Call it my “Welcome to Third Trimester” free pass.  And I don’t love pasta… Without further ado..  Here’s Ken…

_____________________

As the JG has discussed, we recently went on her “babymoon” to Antigua, where she posted on the trip and the food. One food/drink element that she didn’t include was a refreshing rehydration drink we concocted and proceeded to have about 10 of a day: seltzer water with crushed mint and a splash of cranberry juice.  Given her pregnancy and the heat, I was militant about her staying hydrated.  And the drinks we discovered were our go-to for three days straight.

We have been enjoying these drinks since we got back to New York, but as with all herbs, a fresh batch of mint is about 10X what you can actually casually use before it goes bad (pet peeve).  In an attempt to use up the rest of our fresh mint, we threw together a super-easy and quick dish: Lemon-Mint Pasta with Bacon.

The ingredients:

* 1 lb. pasta – We used organic whole wheat spaghetti. Not a huge fan of the whole wheat thing, but the JG is uber-healthy.  And she doesn’t love pasta. So we used whole wheat pasta, something we could both equally, slightly complain about.  Definition: “marital compromise”.

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Coconut Almond Flour “Cookies”

I am the world’s best (or is it worst?) picker. I love having nibbles and bites and picks of everything and anything. Mind you, it drives my family absolutely bonkers, but I can’t help myself. I just love sampling a little of everything here and there. So when I came across this recipe for bite size healthy alternative cookies, I was thrilled. And Cruzzie loves them too (he is also a picker and nibbler). It is the perfect snack to grab and have in each hand as I leave the house. A little perfect portable pick-me-up. Also — you can add whatever you want to make them more special and sweet. Isn’t it fun to change things up here and there? Peanut butter vs almond butter? M&M’s or chocolate covered raisins? Bare naked? No matter what you decide to throw into these cookies, they end up delicious.

Ingredients:

Ingredients all in a line.

* 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut

* 1/4 cup of any kind of nut butter

* 1/4 cup agave nectar

* 1/4 cup almond flour

* 1 tsp cinnamon

* 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

* pinch of good quality salt

* any kind of chocolate touch you want to add. Chocolate chips, truffles, anything that you want to spruce up these little nibbles!

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