Dragonfly Home Recipes

Recipes, Photography, Musings

Month: March 2016 (page 1 of 2)

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.

 

Classic Blueberry Muffins

With just a few basic ingredients, these blueberry muffins come together quickly and easily, offering that classic blueberry muffin taste that is so comforting and sweet, with a hint of  zing from some lemon zest.  This recipe works with fresh or frozen blueberries, so you can make these crowd-pleasing treats at any time of the year.  Plus your kitchen will smell amazing as they are baking!

Last weekend, we had a cherished (and rare, these days) lazy Saturday morning, and I asked the kids if they wanted blueberry muffins for breakfast, since we had some blueberries in the freezer.  Yes, they definitely wanted them. “But,” said my daughter, “can you not make them too healthy this time?”  Oh…by healthy, I guess she was referring to the wholesome blueberry muffins I sometimes make, which are really tasty, but are more crunchy, (probably more nutrient-rich), and less like cake.

Well, it’s all about balance in life, so I indulged her and made these yummy, fluffy, and classically delicious blueberry muffins.  And yet they are not really unhealthy, much healthier than some muffins, in that they are homemade, with high quality ingredients, including fruit, and no preservatives.  And we enjoyed every last one of them!  If you are looking for a basic, simple, reliable, and delicious recipe for blueberry muffins, this is a great one.  Even better when you can enjoy them warm, right out of the oven, in a warm, cozy room or on a sunny porch.

classic blueberry muffins on plate 2The recipe I use for these muffins is based on one from my well-loved Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, Tenth Edition, that I have had for many years. The only thing I change when I make these, is that I use melted butter instead of cooking oil, because I really like the flavor of butter from grass-fed cows.  Frozen blueberries work great, when fresh ones aren’t available.  And the lemon zest adds a great blast of flavor, which we really appreciate.  If you don’t like lemon, you can certainly leave that part out.

We are getting closer and closer to feeling like spring here.  The temperatures have been warm and cold, changing almost daily, but those warm days feel so good.  And the colors outside are starting to brighten. The sunlight is more vivid, the grass is starting to turn a fresh, bright green, and the daffodils are starting to bloom.  I hope you are all having a great week!
classic blueberry muffins on porch 4classic blueberry muffins in tinclassic blueberry muffins 5

Classic Blueberry Muffins

  • Servings: 12 muffins
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Ingredients:

  • 1 and 3/4 cups of all-purpose, unbleached flour
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 1/4 cup of unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup of blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 teaspoon of finely grated lemon peel (lemon zest), optional

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly grease a muffin tin, or line with paper baking cups.

Heat the butter in a small pan on the stove until just melted.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Make a well in the center of the bowl.  In a medium bowl, combine the egg, milk, and melted butter. Pour the wet ingredient mixture all at once into the well in the center of the dry mixture bowl.  Stir until all the ingredients are just combined.  The batter will be a little lumpy.  Fold in the blueberries and lemon zest, and stir gently until just combined.  Spoon the batter evenly into the 12 muffin cups.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the muffins are golden.  Remove the muffins from the tin to cool.  Serve warm. Enjoy!

This recipe is adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, Tenth Edition.

 

 

Mineral-Rich Salad

Treat your body to an infusion of nutrients.  This quick salad is rich in vitamins and minerals, with dark leafy greens, dried apricots, walnuts, and roasted pumpkin seeds, topped off with a homemade orange zest vinaigrette.  The recipe for this salad is so simple, it’s not as much of a recipe as it is a remembrance of how easy it can be to make a really good salad that’s really good for us.  Sometimes all we need is a  nudge in a certain direction, or a simple reminder, and we have a really delicious salad in front of us that came mostly from foods we have in our own pantry.

mineral salad day 3 4If you live in a northern climate like I do, spring takes her sweet time to truly settle in, and winter does not give up without a few fights.  We are in such a situation right now, where it is cold, gray, and wet.  The only indication that it really is springtime is that the birds are singing loudly and beautifully, and the crocuses are proudly carrying on, despite the cold rain.  And I am really grateful for that!  However, during this time of year, I often feel depleted of energy and nutrients. The longing for spring and all that it brings is strong, yet we are not quite there yet.

DSC_0612So to remedy the situation, I have been eating this salad for lunch for the past few days, and it is really helping my energy level and my overall feeling of health.  Even if greens are not growing in my own garden yet, they are growing somewhere nearby, and fresh greens are appearing at the grocery store more and more as this month progresses.  And mandarin oranges have been on sale at the grocery store lately, so the orange zest salad dressing seemed like a good idea.  There are so many nutrients in leafy greens and they are so well known, that I don’t feel the need to list them all. The rest of the salad is from staples I like to keep on hand, and though I sometimes take them for granted, these ingredients are full of really good stuff.  Dried apricots are known for their potassium and iron content, walnuts for their omega 3s and vitamin E, and roasted pumpkin seeds for their zinc, manganese, and magnesium.  And that’s just mentioning a few of the minerals found in these foods.

mineral salad with pitcherFor me, it can be easy to get sidetracked and just graze on some pretzels and cheese for lunch, so eating this salad has been a boost to my nutrient intake, which helps my energy level and outlook on life.  The recipe below is for two servings–feel free to double it or whatever, depending on how many you are making.  And just a note–in my photos, the dried apricots look like bacon! (Not that bacon would be bad in this salad–it would probably taste really good!) They are actually organic dried apricots, so they aren’t the bright orange that some of the dried apricots are when they have preservatives to retain their color.

With the events going on in the world the past few days, we need all the energy and nutrients we can get to keep a hopeful attitude.  I usually don’t like to talk about politics or world affairs much in this blog, and I don’t want to say much, except that I am saddened by the events and words that are tearing people apart lately, and I hope that we can each do our small part to help try to put love and healing toward the hatred.  There is no easy answer, and I don’t pretend that there is, nor do I pretend to know the answer. I do know that I want to take care of the people I love, and if we all try to take care of one another, it will help.  Food is a way for me to do that.

On a much lighter note, even if the weather doesn’t feel like spring today, I did see 6 mallard ducks waddling down our road this morning.  I’m not sure where they were going, but I hope they got there safely.  And if you celebrate Easter, I hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend! If you don’t, I hope you have a wonderful weekend! I managed to get some photos of the crocuses when it was sunny a few days ago, and they look to me like rays of hope.striped crocuspurple crocuses

Mineral-Rich Salad

  • Servings: 2
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Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • a large handful of leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, or lettuces
  • a handful of dried apricots, chopped
  • a handful of walnuts, chopped
  • a handful of roasted pumpkin seeds
  • feta cheese, crumbled (optional)

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 teaspoon of orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of honey
  • 6 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

For the dressing, first grate an orange peel for the orange zest (and eat the orange!).  In a glass jar, combine the orange zest, mustard, wine vinegar, and honey.  Add the olive oil, and shake or whisk till combined.  Add the salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad, arrange the greens on two plates.  Sprinkle on the desired amount of chopped apricots, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds.  Sprinkle on some feta cheese, if desired.  Pour the dressing over the salads.  If you like a lot of dressing on your salad, you may want to double the dressing recipe.  Enjoy!

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