Dragonfly Home Recipes

Recipes, Photography, Musings

Month: March 2015

Maple-Banana Smoothie with Oats and Walnuts

maple smoothie on counterThe snow is melting, the sun has a promise of warmth, but the wind is still chilly and the nights are cold.  The sap is running in the sugar maple trees.  In celebration of maple syrup season, I made a delicious smoothie today, sweetened with pure maple syrup from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  My brother and his wife live up there, and gave us this syrup made by a friend of theirs.  It is so flavorful and pure, I feel like I am walking in the fresh north woods when I taste it.  I love using pure maple syrup as a sweetener.  It is a welcome alternative to refined sugar, and it contains minerals and antioxidants as well.  Maple syrup has gained popularity in many recipes, and I am enjoying experimenting with it. The smoothie I made this morning is full of soothing, creamy, rich nutrition with banana, yogurt, oats, and walnuts.  maple smoothie ingredients 3To me, it is the perfect combination of sweet and nourishing.  Goodness knows I needed a boost of energy this morning, and this smoothie has enough protein from the yogurt, oats, and walnuts to provide lasting energy.  My sweet son has been quite sick this week, and I have needed all the energy I could get to help take care of him. Fortunately, he is feeling much better.  I am sharing this recipe, because I hope this smoothie will help you face whatever lies ahead with strength and some enjoyment thrown in along the way.  That’s where the maple syrup comes in. It is such a lovely, natural treat. “When made in small quantities–that is, quickly from the first run of sap and properly treated–it has a wild delicacy of flavor that no other sweet can match. What you smell in freshly cut maple-wood, or taste in the blossoms of the tree, is in it. It is then, indeed, the distilled essence of the tree.” –John Burroughs, Signs and Seasons, 1886. I love the phrase “wild delicacy.”  Those two words seem to be opposites, and yet together, they describe some of the best things in life. Have a wonderful weekend! I am sharing this recipe with the many talented bloggers at Angie’s The Novice Gardener site for Fiesta Friday, hosted today by Jhuls at The Not So Creative Cook and Mila at Milkandbun. maple smoothie ingredients 2maple smoothie on porch 3maple smoothie on porch 4

Maple-Banana Smoothie with Oats and Walnuts

  • Servings: 1
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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons of raw walnuts
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 banana, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup milk, almond milk, or soymilk
  • 2-3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions: Place the oats and walnuts in a blender or food processor.  Blend until the mixture resembles coarse sand.  You may need to scrape the sides and stir the mixture a bit between blending.  Then add the yogurt (Greek yogurt is great too), banana, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla.  Blend again until smooth.  If this is too thick, you can add a couple ice cubes and blend again.  If you prefer it on the thicker side (like I do), simply pour into a glass and sip with a straw and/or spoon.  Enjoy! 

Lemon Drop Cookies

lemon cookies 1These cookies are moist and subtly sweet with that uplifting zing that lemons give.  Sometimes I wonder, when I crave lemons, why lemons are so appealing when their juice alone is quite bitter and sour.  But many of us love lemon-flavored food and drinks.  There is something so bright and cleansing about lemon juice.  When I was a young girl, I had a picture in my room of a basket of pretty lemons, and it said, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  I have heard that quoted countless times since then, and other similar quotes as well.  And yet, there is a lot to it.  Lemon juice alone is not so easy to drink (except for maybe a few, like my husband), but when mixed with enough sugar, the resulting drink is one of the most refreshing I have ever tasted.  The bittersweet quality gives lemonade more complexity and substance than a syrupy-sweet drink.  The same goes for these cookies.  They are sweet, but with a hint of powerful flavor from the lemon juice and rind.  lone lemonWhen difficult things happen to us, it is human nature to be drawn into sadness of it.  We often feel like we are the only ones to experience such a difficulty.  It is hard to take the high road and keep a philosophical viewpoint.  Maybe that’s why symbols of making good out of bad are so powerful: lemonade out of lemons; the phoenix rising from the flames. Lemons are a beautiful, bright yellow color, and to me, symbolize the beautiful complexity and bittersweet aspect of life.  lemon and grater 2This cookie recipe is easy and fairly quick to make.  The cream cheese and bit of butter keep the cookies moist, and the sugar and lemon flavors balance each other nicely.  Because the weather forecasters are calling for above-freezing temperatures next week, I took a couple of the photos in the snow and ice, since we may not have it much longer! With it being Friday, I am celebrating Fiesta Friday with the talented bloggers at The Novice Gardener, co-hosted this week by Caroline at Caroline’s Cooking and Elaine at Foodbod. I hope you all have a great weekend!  cookie batterlemon cookie closeuplemon cookies 8lemon cookies on porch

Lemon Drop Cookies

  • Servings: about 36 cookies
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of cream cheese, also at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • the grated rind of a lemon
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 and 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • powdered sugar to sprinkle on top

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, cream cheese, lemon juice, eggs, lemon rind, and sugar until smooth (you may use an electric mixer if you prefer, but it is not necessary if you stir vigorously!).  Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and stir well until completely combined.

Drop the batter by rounded teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.  Bake in your preheated oven for about 10 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly golden/brown and firm to the touch.  Cool on a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Repeat until all the batter is used.  Store the cookies in the refrigerator between layers of wax paper.  Enjoy!