Dragonfly Home Recipes

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Oatmeal-Apple Cookies

These moist oatmeal-apple cookies are the perfect dessert to pack for lunch or enjoy as a snack.  They taste sweet and comforting, plus have nutritional benefits from the oats and baked apple.

When it comes to packing lunches, I like to feel like I am including foods that fortify and energize my family, to help them get through the day.  With 3 cups of whole grain rolled oats in this recipe, we can all benefit from the fiber, protein, and extra vitamins and minerals the oats add.  The chopped baked apple adds flavor and even more nutrients.  I like this recipe because it makes me feel like I am  walking that fine line between healthy and indulgent.  In fact, I am going to take a big container of these cookies to my kids’ cross country meet today as a post-race treat.  They are nutritious enough to pass as healthy, yet delicious enough that kids actually really want to eat them!

oatmeal-apple cookiesIt seems that fine lines are a bit of a theme for me this week.  In my most recent yoga class, the instructor talked about finding that space between control and letting go.  We have to have some measure of control in our lives, in order to keep the train on the tracks (for the most part!).  But we also need to not grip too tightly. We need to surrender to larger forces, too, and be open to outcomes we cannot imagine.  It is a tricky balance.  Things come up continually to help teach us to find balance–car problems, scheduling dilemmas, decisions about budgets and resources, to name a few!

oatmeal-apple cookiesIn light of all the challenges and teaching moments, I’m not sure how well I did with the whole balance thing this week, except for with these cookies!  With these cookies, I feel like I found it. The recipe is adapted from the inner lid of my Quaker old fashioned rolled oats container, though I used chopped apples instead of raisins.

Maybe it is because of the autumnal equinox this week that I am thinking about lines and balance.  We are poised in the middle, between summer and winter, between sunlight and darkness. It is a beautiful time. I hope you all have a very lovely weekend! Happy beginning of autumn! “You will never be alone, you hear so deep / a sound when autumn comes.” –from the poem “Assurance” by William Stafford

I am sharing this recipe over at Angie’s Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by two great bloggers, Mollie @ The Frugal Hausfrau and Johanne @ French Gardener Dishes.oatmeal-apple cookiesoatmeal-apple cookiesoatmeal-apple cookies

Oatmeal-Apple Cookies

  • Servings: about 48 cookies
  • Time: about 1 hour total
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Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup of packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 3 cups of raw oats
  • 1 cup of apple, peeled and finely chopped

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  In a large mixing bowl, vigorously stir together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar (you may use an electric mixer if you wish–I like to use a wooden spoon and get an arm workout).  Add the eggs and vanilla and stir/beat again, thoroughly combining.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir/beat well.  Then add the oats and chopped apple.  Mix well until everything is combined.  Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonful onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in your 350-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.  Allow the cookies to cool for a minute on the cookie sheets, then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store tightly covered to preserve freshness. Enjoy!

Tomato-Pesto Couscous Bowls

This quick and easy couscous mixture is a definite crowd-pleaser.  The flavors of toasted pine nuts, fresh tomatoes, pesto, and Parmesan cheese all combine to make a delicious dish that tastes great warm, room temperature, and cold, so you can refrigerate any that is left over, and easily have it the next day.

dsc_0578-001Sometimes a cook needs a really easy, really quick, yet really delicious recipe to fall back on during busy times.  I won’t list to you my family’s schedule these days (it would take too long, and would most likely be boring to anyone but me!) but let’s just say that on many evenings, there isn’t a lot of time to make a complicated meal.  This couscous dish has been in a regular rotation with us lately, because it takes under ten minutes to prepare, yet it tastes like it took much longer, and it incorporates great flavor with good nutrients.

The Near East company makes all kinds of flavors of couscous mixtures, and I have tried many of them.  For this dish, I like to use the toasted pine nut couscous mix, and then add my own tomatoes, pesto, and cheese.  (I am not getting paid to promote this company’s couscous mix, though maybe I should look into that….)

couscous with tomatoesThough couscous is not gluten-free (it is made from semolina, so it is actually considered a form of pasta), it does have some health benefits, such as vitamins B and E, and a relatively high amount of the mineral selenium.  I am kind of in the middle of the road when it comes to gluten, where I am trying not to eat too much of it, yet I find that eating some foods with it works fine for my body. The thing I really like about couscous is the quick-cooking factor, and also the versatility.  It’s a way to get in some vegetables and herbs, like tomatoes and basil, and feel full and nourished at the same time.

tomato and pesto couscousAnyway, I love the tangy taste of the pesto with the fresh, ripe tomatoes, which are so good this time of year!  If you want to add shredded, cooked chicken to this couscous recipe, feel free.  I know we are having it as part of our dinner tonight, and my husband will probably take a container of it with his lunch tomorrow.  I hope you all enjoy the last few days of summer! It is really starting to look and feel just a bit like fall, which is not a bad thing, but for me, it is a bit nostalgic.  The daylight is fading earlier in the evenings and there is a bit of a chill in the breeze now, yet the sun is still warm and soft in the afternoons.  Have a great weekend!tomato and pesto couscouscouscous against windowtomatoes and parmesanI am sharing this recipe over at Angie’s Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Loretta @ Safari of the Mind and Natalie @ Kitchen, Uncorked.

Tomato-Pesto Couscous Bowls

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 10 minutes
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Ingredients:

  • One package of Near East Couscous Mix (I think the toasted pine nut mix works best for this recipe)
  • 1 cup of chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of prepared pesto (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
  • fresh basil sprigs for garnish, if desired

Directions:

Prepare the couscous according to the directions on the package.  While the couscous is cooking, chop the tomatoes, and measure out the pesto and shredded cheese.  When the couscous is cooked, combine all the ingredients. Serve in bowls.  May be served warm, at room temperature, or cold out of the refrigerator, if using as a leftover. Enjoy!

 

 

Peach-Plum Salad

Luscious peaches and plums, along with chopped walnuts, crumbled Feta, and leafy lettuce make up this refreshing salad.  A spritz of honey and lemon juice give it a light dressing that brings out the rich flavor of the fruit.  When you are looking for a light lunch or lively side dish, there is nothing like a seasonal salad to brighten your day and boost your immune system.

peach-plum saladSome days, I really crave a good salad to energize my body with fresh, bright ingredients.  As a result of my baking craze this past few days, I am in desperate need of a light lunch!  (My latest baking adventure includes soft pretzels, which are so good, but still need more practice before they hit the blog).  This peach-plum salad works really well, because it is super-easy to make, and it uses the best of late summer fruits.  Peaches with honey and lemon juice taste like a heavenly combination to me, and the savory aspect of the walnuts and Feta add depth to the flavor.

peach-plum saladLate summer is my favorite time of year to eat peaches, since their flavor and color seems to match the glorious mellow warmth of the September sun.  We have had absolutely stunning weather the past couple of days, and I just want to hold onto this as long as possible, because to me, this is the most comfortable weather we get.  Cool, misty mornings give way to warm, soft afternoons, which lead to dinners full of fresh fruits and vegetables out on the screened-in porch.  Nights are cool, and the breeze coming in the open windows is laden with the sound of crickets and cicadas.  The light outside is not so strong as it is in the height of summer, so it is a photographer’s dream.

peach-plum saladThis salad is so very easy to make, it hardly requires a recipe, and sometimes just a pretty photo and a few words will remind us of a great combination of delicious, healthy ingredients. I have included a recipe below, though it is flexible and can be adjusted easily.  I consciously used honey in the dressing, not only because it tastes great with this salad, but also because I have heard that consuming locally-made honey can help with allergies.  This is the time of year when I often get seasonal allergies, so I have been trying to incorporate local honey into my meals as often as possible.

I hope you are having a great week, and enjoy the diffused light of September! Sometimes it is easier to see when the light is not so bright. “Summer has filled her veins with light and her heart is washed with noon.” ~C. Day Lewis
peach-plum salad ingredientspeaches and greens

Peach-Plum Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 15 minutes
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Ingredients:

  • 1 fresh, ripe peach
  • 1 fresh, ripe plum
  • a small head of leafy lettuce, such as Boston lettuce or green leaf lettuce
  • a handful of chopped raw walnuts
  • crumbled Feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 4 teaspoons of lemon juice
  • black pepper to taste

Directions:

In a small bowl, stir together the honey and the lemon juice. Taste, and adjust the levels if you wish.

Wash the lettuce, pat it dry, and tear it into bite-sized pieces.  Wash and slice the peach and the plum.  Place the lettuce on two salad plates and top with sliced peaches and plums.  Sprinkle a handful of walnuts onto the salads, and then a handful of crumbled Feta.  Drizzle the honey-lemon juice mixture over the salads.  Top with a tiny bit of ground black pepper. Enjoy!

Peach and Red Plum Galette

Indulge in fresh, ripe fruit with this peach and red plum galette! Luscious peaches and juicy red plums are baked with a touch of honey, cinnamon, walnut, and vanilla, and surrounded by a classic galette pastry.  This recipe gives you rustic comfort and rich fruit flavor, all in one dish.

September is one of the best times to visit a farmers market, and this week, our town’s market had rows of fresh peaches and plums.  I love to take advantage of fruit at this time of year, because it makes me feel like I’m stretching out summer and holding onto it a little longer. Fresh peaches and plums taste so good and juicy all own their own, but yesterday, I needed to bake.

peach and red plum galetteBaking touches something deep in my soul.  Deeper than I can really explain.  To roll out dough gives me such comfort.  I cannot really understand it, I can only honor this impulse.  It must have something to do with my ancestors, with my genetics.  Not everyone has this love of baking, though I think most everyone has something like this, something that they love to do and feel compelled to do.

I am not a fancy baker or a formally trained baker.  I guess I would say I am a rustic baker.  I like to make fruit pies and galettes, hearty bread, pizza.  Cookies and muffins.  My training comes mainly from relatives, like my mother, mother-in-law, grandmothers, aunts, and a couple of friends.  Stories shared, sunny afternoons in my mother’s kitchen, cozy winter afternoons in grandma’s kitchen, or in my husband’s grandma’s kitchen.  I can picture these places in my memory– aprons, beautiful aprons, countertops covered in flour, dishes in the sink, laughter….

peach plum galetteSo in making this galette, besides doing it for my family, and to share this delicious recipe with you all, I did it for me.  Not just to eat, though I already had a piece, and it was delicious! But for the sheer comfort of making it.  The floury mess, the glorious smells of the dough and fruit baking, the texture of the dough taking shape in my hands.  It has been a challenging week, with my kids and I getting over colds, and I needed to do something to ground myself to the earth.  Slicing ripe peaches and plums, rolling out dough, these are things I can do and feel like I am making a positive impact on the world.

To me, at the risk of sounding a little corny, baking is part science, part art, and part entering into the mystery of the universe.  Crossing the threshold of time and space and feeling connected to those I have lost or lost touch with.  It helps me leave my over-active mind behind, and quiet it by working with my hands in an ancient skill.

peach and red plum galetteThis recipe is loosely adapted from a lovely book my daughter and husband checked out from our local library:  Country Living Pies & Tarts published by Hearst Books in 2016.  In my recipe, I substituted some red plums instead of using all peaches, and I used walnuts and vanilla instead of almonds and almond extract, because I did not have any almonds on hand.  I can imagine that would taste great too.

peach and red plum galetteI hope you all have a great weekend, and enjoy this time of year! If you have something you really like to do, something that helps give your life meaning and value, I hope you can do it.  I heard we are supposed to get a break in the heat and humidity here this weekend, so I am looking forward to that!  Fiesta Friday is also going on right now, co-hosted by Angie and Judi @ CookingWithAuntJuju, whose blogs have some wonderful recipes and photos!peach plulm galette

Peach and Red Plum Galette

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: about 40 minutes prep time and about 45 minutes baking time
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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 10 tablespoons of cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons of cold water
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts (raw almonds can also be used)
  • 1/2 cup of confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (almond extract if you are using almonds instead of walnuts)
  • 4 medium fresh, ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 4 red fresh, ripe red plums, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar, and salt.  Add the cold butter pieces, and with a pastry cutter, cut in the butter.  Continue to mix with the pastry cutter until the mixture resembles course crumbs.  Add the cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms.  Shape the dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the walnuts (or almonds) and confectioners’ sugar in a blender or food processor. Blend till it is a fine meal.  Add the egg yolk and vanilla (or almond extract) and blend again.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the peach slices, plum slices, honey, and cinnamon.  Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator.  On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 14-inch circle.  Gently place it in a standard sized pie baking dish, letting the extra dough hang over the sides for now.  Carefully spread the walnut (or almond) paste over the dough, including up the sides.  Add the peach and plum mixture.  Then fold the edges of the dough over the fruit mixture, forming a flat pie with about a 2-inch border.  This is a rustic dish, so it doesn’t have to look perfect! Lightly brush the dough with water and sprinkle with some granulated sugar.  Bake in your preheated oven for about 45 to 50 minutes, or until the crust is golden and flaky, and the fruit is bubbling.  Let it cool for a few minutes before slicing.  Enjoy!

This recipe is loosely adapted from the book Country Living Pies &Tarts, published by Hearst Communications, 2016. 

Easy Watermelon Gazpacho

This refreshing watermelon gazpacho will infuse your body with natural energy derived from some of late summer’s best produce–watermelon, tomato, and cucumber.  With just five ingredients, this soup is a breeze to whip up,  and it is both festive and nutritious.  Brighten up any table with a bowl or cup of this delicious, pretty soup, and savor the essence of summer.  The watermelon gives this gazpacho a slightly sweet flavor, yet with the olive oil and red wine vinegar, it is tangy at the same time.  Sprinkle  a little feta cheese to the top to add even more flavor, if you wish.

watermelon gazpacho with vaseAfter trying a few versions of watermelon gazpacho, I came to the conclusion that in this case, for my family, the simplest recipe is the best.  This recipe, a result of researching and trying some different combinations of ingredients, is the most basic watermelon gazpacho I made, and yet it is our favorite.  Sometimes, if a recipe is really simple and quick, I am more likely to make it on a busy evening, and we are more likely have it more often.  So the recipe I am sharing below is my own answer to the question, but with the influence of lots of different sources, including Bon Appetit and Better Homes and Gardens.

watermelon gazpachoThere is something so revitalizing about eating fruits and vegetables that come from the earth, preferably earth near home.  It anchors me and at the same time gives me strength to reach out.  I recently started practicing yoga again after many years away from it.  I find that yoga helps me with my physical and mental health, especially with my spine and my stress level.  But it also teaches me so many things in quiet ways.  I have always struggled with the warrior poses, because even though I was a runner for years, and am now a walker and bicyclist, for some reason my legs are not always as strong as they could be.  The warrior poses focus on standing strong.

watermelon gazpacho in handsYesterday our instructor had us stand in the warrior pose while slightly moving our upper bodies back and forth.  I felt how life events and other people can push and pull us in different directions, and we can bend to some extent, but at the same time, we still can try to stay rooted strongly to the ground.  As my feet and legs were wobbling and aching from the effort, I focused on standing firm.  For whatever reason, I think that is the message I needed to hear this week, and a skill I need to cultivate.  The warrior pose, named after the warrior Virabhadra, is these days not about fighting an actual war, but rather it calls us to engage our inner warrior and is said to symbolize our inner struggle and ability to overcome ego and ignorance.

And all that effort makes me work up an appetite for healthy, revitalizing food! This soup is the perfect refresher and revitalizer, and the perfect way to savor the essence of summer.  I hope you enjoy it, if you try it, and enjoy this long weekend.   To those of you who celebrate it, Happy Labor Day!watermelon gazpachowatermelon gazpacho with spoonwatermelon gazpacho on bench 2

Easy Watermelon Gazpacho

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 15 minutes, plus at least one hour of chilling time
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Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of seedless watermelon, chopped, plus 1/2 cup reserved to chop and use at serving time
  •  1 large beefsteak tomato (or similar), chopped
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped, plus another 1/2 cucumber to peel, seed, and chop for serving time
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • crumbled Feta cheese, optional

Directions:

Wash and chop the 3 cups of watermelon, the tomato, and peel, seed, and chop the cucumber.  Place the watermelon, tomato, cucumber, olive oil, and red wine vinegar into a blender and puree until smooth.  Pour the mixture into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill it in the refrigerator for at least an hour (can be chilled overnight if you wish).  Before serving, test the seasoning and add salt and pepper if you wish.  Chop the 1/2 cup watermelon and peel, seed, and chop the 1/2 cucumber.  Ladle or pour the cold soup into bowls or cups.  Top with the freshly chopped watermelon and cucumber.  Sprinkle on some crumbled Feta cheese if desired.  Enjoy!

 

 

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