Dragonfly Home Recipes

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Category: Snacks (page 2 of 4)

Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Bites

These little cookies hit the spot if you are looking for something sweet, yet full of protein and nutrition.  Peanut butter and oats give the cookies lots of nutrients, taste, and texture, and they are easy to eat as a satisfying snack or dessert.  These peanut butter-oatmeal bites are going so quickly around here, next time I make them I’m going to double the recipe!

peanut butter cookies 3-5With my kids’ spring sports schedules starting, I am once again looking for snacks that taste good, can be eaten quickly, and that also have nutrients to give my active kids good energy.  I am very happy with this recipe, which I adapted from one in my Dr. Cookie Cookbook by Marvin Wayne and Stephen Yarnall.  There’s just enough sweetness from the brown sugar to make the cookies taste like a treat, but enough substance to make them more than just sweet.  If you are looking for an easy, protein-rich cookie, this is a great recipe to try.

peanut butter cookies 2-1It is the very last day of March today, and I must say I am really looking forward to April!  Although it’s still chilly here, it’s such a great time to be outside, with the fresh wind, green grass, and trees and bushes budding.  The spring peepers have been peeping really loudly at night, and I love to sleep with the window cracked open so I can listen to those frogs all night long.  There is a feeling of new life and excitement in the air–I can sense it just from watching the birds in the sky.

Yesterday evening, I picked our first herb of the season–chives to chop and put on top of our macaroni and cheese.  I had forgotten how convenient and fresh it is to walk outside and snip some herbs to add to our dinner.  Soon there will be more and more things growing and blossoming, and more and more recipes to make!  In the meantime, these little peanut butter-oatmeal bites are tiding me over very nicely.

I hope you all have a great weekend! I’m going to take a plate of these cookies over to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #113, co-hosted by two bloggers whose blogs I really admire:  Sonal @ Simplyvegetarian777 and Laurie @ ten.times.tea.peanut butter cookie doughpeanut butter cookies 3-9

Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Bites

  • Servings: about 24 cookies, depending on size
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Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup of packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of natural peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large mixing bowl, vigorously stir the egg, brown sugar, butter, peanut butter, and vanilla until well combined.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oats, and baking soda.  Add the dry ingredients to to wet ingredients, and stir until well combined.

Drop the batter by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a baking sheet, about 12 cookies per baking sheet.  Bake in your 350-degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until cookies are golden.  Cool the cookies on a wire rack.  Repeat until all the cookies are baked. Enjoy!

This recipe is adapted from the Dr. Cookie Cookbook by Marvin A. Wayne and Stephen R. Yarnall.

 

Cranberry Almond Bars

Bright, tart cranberries are simmered with maple syrup and honey, then given some extra zing with a splash of lime juice.  The result is a thick, intensely flavorful filling that jazzes up a base of ground oats, almonds, and whole wheat flour.  These cranberry almond bars are delicious and nutritious, and they are perfect for breakfast, dessert, a snack, or a treat to pack in the kids’ lunchboxes.

I must admit that until recently, I have kind of under-appreciated cranberries.  But it is cranberry season, and it seems cranberries are everywhere! I have made these almond bars in the past, and used strawberry jam for the filling (also very good), basing the recipe on one I found in the September 2015 issue of Real Simple magazine.  However, now that it is November, I wanted to make these bars with something seasonal, so pumpkin and cranberries came to mind.  I’m still working on the pumpkin angle–I haven’t hit upon the right proportion of ingredients yet–but the cranberry filling? Amazing! It is so good, that I am thinking of tripling the recipe and using it as cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving dinner.

cranberry filling 3I now fully appreciate the powerful flavor of cranberries, not to mention their gorgeous, ruby-red color and their health benefits (vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients).  For me, sweetening the berries with things like maple syrup and honey, rather than sugar, makes the filling even more appealing.  Talk about rich, flavorful, and natural!  The filling recipe below is one I put together from researching different recipes for cranberry sauce.  Lots of the recipes called for orange juice or orange zest, but I added a splash of lime to mine, because that’s what I had on hand, and it works great. cranberry bars outside cranberry bars 7The filling thickens as it simmers, and thickens even more as it cools.  The base and the topping of these bars is nutritious, with ground almonds, oats, and whole wheat flour making up most of it, providing lots of protein, iron, and fiber.  All in all, these bars have it all:  great taste, great texture, and lots of health benefits.

With Thanksgiving, my husband’s birthday, and my daughter’s birthday approaching, all within the same week, things are ramping up into high gear around here.  I have so many things on my mind, it feels like the thoughts are swirling around like the leaves that blow all over our yard.  And these thoughts are trivial compared to what has been going on in the larger world lately.  So what do we do with the scattering thoughts and the chaos?  We gather.  We feel for those who are affected by violence around the world, and we gather around a table and give thanks for what we have.  We scatter, and then we gather.

My family went to a special park this past weekend, and I took some pictures of moments I wanted to hold onto.  The beautiful river, the clear water carrying leaves downstream, and the old roots of a tree near the riverbank.  The water moves, and the roots anchor.  We scatter, and then we gather, and often food is in the center of the gathering, connecting us.  If you are gathering for Thanksgiving this upcoming week, Happy Thanksgiving in advance!  And have a wonderful weekend too.water and roots Huron Rivercranberry bar ingredientscranberry filling 1cranberry bars, uncutcranberry bars on porch 3I look forward to the weekly blog gathering of inspirational bloggers at Angie’s Fiesta Friday co-hosted this week by Loretta @ Safari of the Mind and Petra @ Food Eat Love.

Cranberry Almond Bars

  • Servings: 12 bars
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Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 1 cup of cranberries (frozen or refrigerated is ok. If frozen, run cold water over them first)
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1 lime

For the base and topping:

  • 1 cup of old fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup of raw almonds
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into pieces
  • 1/3 cup of packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt

Directions:

For the filling:

Measure the cranberries, maple syrup, and honey into a small saucepan.  Bring just to a boil, and stir until the cranberries pop.  Then turn the heat down to medium-low to low, and gently simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce begins to thicken. Allow the sauce to cool, and as it cools, it will thicken more.  Add a splash of lime juice, to your taste.

For the base and topping: 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line an 8 inch square baking dish with 2 crisscrossed pieces of parchment paper, leaving an overhang of paper on all sides, and pressing the paper down inside the dish.

In a blender or food processor, pulse or puree the oats, flour, and almonds until finely ground.  Transfer to a mixing bowl.  Add the butter, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a fork or pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and everything is combined.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the crumble mixture (for the topping).  Press the remaining crumble mixture into the baking pan, using a straight-sided glass or measuring cup to pack it down evenly.

Spread the cranberry filling over the bottom crust, distributing it evenly.  Scatter the reserved 1/2 cup of crumble mixture evenly over the top.  Bake until golden brown and set in the middle, 35 to 45 minutes.

Let it cool completely.  Then, holding the overhanging parchment paper, transfer it to a cutting board and cut with a sharp knife into 12 bars.  Enjoy!

Oatmeal Gingerbread

Ginger, molasses, cinnamon, and cloves give this bread a deep, rich, classic gingerbread flavor.  The addition of whirred oats to the flour increases the nutritional benefits, as well as making each slice hearty and substantial.  Serve it with your favorite hot drink, and possibly some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream , and it is the perfect snack or dessert. (It works for breakfast too!)

Below, I am sharing another recipe based on one I found in Susan Wittig Albert’s fascinating book, “China Bayles’ Book of Days: 365 Celebrations of the Mystery, Myth, and Magic of Herbs from the World of Pecan Springs.”  The recipe is for a form of traditional Scottish oatmeal gingerbread.  I substitute blackstrap molasses for the treacle and bake it in a standard-sized loaf pan instead of a 7-inch square baking pan, but other than that, I stick pretty close to the recipe in the book.  And my gingerbread has come out delicious every time.  ginger oat bread with pansies 7I love the fact that this gingerbread tastes sweet and full of richly spiced flavor, yet has good nutrition in it too.  The molasses and oats contribute all kinds of good things, including iron, magnesium, manganese, not to mention fiber and protein from the oats.  When I cut a slice of this bread, it is dense and substantial.  I feel like I am doing something good for both my taste buds and my body.  And my soul too, because gingerbread is a delicious solution (however temporary) to a soul’s longing for comfort.  The smell of gingerbread baking is the iconic cozy smell, and it brings back all kinds of memories for me, of wandering through my mother’s kitchen after spending time outside in the cold.

gingerbread and teaThis is the perfect time of year to make gingerbread.  (Actually, any time between now and spring is a good time.)  When the wind is gusting right through our coats and the leaves are swirling around, we need something warm and comforting.  As I am writing this post, the wind is blowing so hard that it is rattling the windows and making the house creak.  We lose electricity quite frequently out here where I live, among so many trees, so I am hoping to get this post done before we lose power.  And hopefully, we won’t lose power.  All this dramatic weather is enough to make one feel kind of moody, wistful, nostalgic, and excited, all at the same time.  It’s a good time to indulge in the more complicated aspects of our personalities.  Maybe that’s why the multi-layered spicy taste of the gingerbread is so appealing.

gingerbread with pansies 4There is something cleansing about going out in the crazy, windy weather, especially if there is something warm waiting on the other side of the door.  This quote by L.M. Montgomery, author of the Anne of Green Gables series (one of my favorite sets of books when I was a girl), says it perfectly:  “It was November–the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines.  Anne roamed through the pineland alleys in the park and, as she said, let that great sweeping wind blow the fogs out of her soul.”

I hope you all have a great weekend, and that the wind blows the fogs out of your souls as well.  And that you have a hot drink and a warm piece of gingerbread waiting when you come in!  This recipe will be shared at Angie’s festive Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Judi@Cooking With Aunt Juju and Stef@The Kiwi Fruitbutter meltinggirl holding gingerbreadgingerbread with whiteNovember skywind in the oaks

Oatmeal Gingerbread

  • Servings: 8-12 pieces
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Ingredients:

  • 1/2  cup of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of molasses (I prefer blackstrap molasses)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 cup of whirred oats (make this by whirring 1/2 cup of uncooked, old fashioned rolled oats in your blender)
  • 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of powdered ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 3 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease a standard-sized loaf pan with butter. (You can also use a 7 inch square baking pan).  In a medium saucepan, heat the butter, granulated sugar, and molasses over medium to low heat until the butter is just melted.  Stir to combine.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and baking soda.  Add the whirred oats, brown sugar, and spices.  Stir to combine.  Add the melted butter mixture and the milk, then stir in the beaten egg.  Stir until all combined.  Pour into the greased pan and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then cool completely on a wire rack.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.  Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if desired.  Enjoy!

 

Baked Parmesan Crisps with Chives and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

hands holding plate of crispsWe all need easy, quick, recipes we can turn to when time is tight, but we still want something fun and festive.  For me, this Parmesan crisp recipe is one of those I look to when I need a quick, yet delicious appetizer or snack.  These crisps are so easy to make, and they taste so good! The savory Parmesan cheese, the rich flavor of the sun-dried tomatoes, and the lively chives and black pepper all come together to form an appetizer bursting with flavor.  And if you are staying away from carbohydrates or gluten, this is a snack you can munch on without worries.  My daughter originally found the basic recipe for these crisps on the back of a Parmesan cheese package, and being major cheese-lovers, we tried it.  We have since created our own variations, with the sun-dried tomatoes and chives version being my favorite.  However, my son is not crazy about the sun-dried tomatoes or the chives, so I like to make a few of the crisps with just the Parmesan cheese and a hint of black pepper for those who prefer a more basic approach.  I am taking this appetizer over to Angie’s blog The Novice Gardener, where there is a big celebration going on.  Though I am relatively new to the Fiesta Friday link parties, she has been successfully coordinating these events for a full year.  I have come across some wonderful food blogs, and have met really interesting and kind bloggers from all over this country and world through this process.  The one-year celebration is graciously hosted by Hilda from Along the Grapevine and Julianna from Foodie on Board.  I hope you all have a fabulous weekend filled with fresh air, good food and good company!parmesan crisps on sheetcrisps on sheet 2hands holding crisps 3hand holding crispparmesan crisps on plate both hands

Baked Parmesan Crisps with Chives and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

  • Servings: 32 crisps
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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 6 teaspoons of chives, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • black pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Wash, pat dry, and finely chop the chives.  Chop the sun-dried tomatoes.  Shred the Parmesan cheese to make 2 cups, or if using pre-shredded cheese, measure 2 cups into a bowl.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Using a tablespoon, spoon the Parmesan cheese onto the baking sheet a tablespoon at a time, creating about 8 mounds of Parmesan cheese per baking sheet (place the mounds evenly on the baking sheet, allowing the cheese room to spread as it bakes).  Place small pieces of sun-dried tomatoes on each cheese mound, and then sprinkle with chives and a bit of black pepper.  Bake in your preheated oven for 6 to eight minutes.  Allow the crisps to cool for a couple of minutes, then gently move them to a serving plate.  Continue until all the cheese is used.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Enjoy!

Busy Times Call for Energy Bites

energy bite mixtureGood recipes never exist in isolation.  They are passed from one person to another, with changes and substitutions made along the way, so they never stay exactly the same. The recipe for Energy Bites that I have posted below is one of those recipes.  A good friend gave me this recipe, and she got it from a friend of hers.  She and I have both made modifications along the way, and it has become a living, ever-evolving recipe.  My friend made these energy bites for my family when we were going through a difficult time and she knew we would not have a lot of time to sit down and eat. They were perfect, because they were portable, easy to eat, and gave us sustained energy rather than the short-lived energy of straight carbohydrates.  I am grateful to her for giving the recipe to me, and I am sharing this recipe now because I see a need for quick, nutritious snacks among friends of mine who have children in sports and other activities.  We are often lamenting about how it is difficult to give our kids snacks that will sustain them through their sports activities, yet will not be full of empty calories or sit like rocks in their stomachs.  So busy parents, this one’s for you!  And this is really for anyone of any age who is going from one thing to the next, and needs something nutritious to get through until the next meal.  energy bite mixture 1These energy bites are packed with protein, fiber, vitamin E (with anti-inflammatory effects), and the “good” monounsaturated fat from the peanut butter.  The ground flax seeds have lots of omega-3 fatty acids (also good fat) and antioxidants.  The sunflower seeds have lots of vitamin E and magnesium.  The chocolate chips and honey give them the sweetness, so they don’t taste too “healthy”.  Also, they are really easy to make–another bonus in busy times.

energy bites and oak leafenergy bites in bowl

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