These mango banana parfaits taste like sunshine in a jar. As nutritious as they are delicious, each bite is full of fruity sweetness of mangoes, the creamy goodness of yogurt and banana, and the crunch of granola. These mango banana parfaits are a great way to make a breakfast more exciting, and yet they taste good enough to be used as a dessert. Either way, you get a natural, fruity flavor and lots of vitamins, minerals, and protein.
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!
It 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!
In 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
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
1 teaspoon of vanilla
3 cups of raw oats
1 cup of apple, peeled and finely chopped
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!
The combination of strawberries and rhubarb is one of my all-time favorites. The sweetness of the strawberries mellows the tartness of the rhubarb, yet there is still enough tartness in this crisp to make it bright and lively. I love this recipe because it is so simple, so easy, and it allows the fresh flavors of the fruits to really shine. There is just enough brown sugar to sweeten the fruit filling without overpowering it.
It is lovely here in northern Michigan, and I am thankful to have the chance to spend a few days here at my family’s place, where we can walk to the beach and the town, with a beautiful view of the water in almost every direction. After an extremely busy spring, it is so nice to have some time to recharge and slow down, soaking in the absolute beauty of this area. Just like at home, I like to use food that is in season, and right now strawberries and rhubarb are easy to come by up here at farmers markets and produce stands. WiFi is not so easy to come by here (and that is not always a bad thing), and we don’t have many cookbooks here, so I walked to the library in town to look for a recipe for a fruit crisp. As I was browsing through cookbooks, one recipe caught my eye because of its simplicity. It comes from Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook, “My Father’s Daughter.” It is a basic fruit crisp recipe that can be used with any type of seasonal fruit, and I like this recipe so much, I am going to use it for upcoming crisps with raspberries, blueberries, and peaches, as they come into season. I will share an adaptation of it below, using strawberries and rhubarb. I did make a couple of changes–I used all-purpose flour instead of spelt flour since that is what we had in the cupboard, and I added 2 tablespoons more of the brown sugar, since rhubarb is not as naturally sweet as other fruits. Still, this recipe uses less overall sugar than many of the ones I have tried, and I like it that way. You can adjust the sweetness to your own tastes.
Perhaps it is because the strawberries and rhubarb are late spring/early summer fruits, or perhaps it is because I am writing this post very near Lake Michigan, which always makes me feel inspired, but in any case, making this crisp reminded me that summer is still young and full of possibilities. The days are long and full of bright sunlight. I have been breathing in the clean, northern air, and it smells like pine trees and fresh water. It is only just recently that our schedule has slowed down enough that we can have more leisurely dinners. We have had time to eat outside, watching the boats go down the channel into Lake Michigan. Tomorrow we head for home, where it will still be summer, and we will still be able to eat dinner outside. The lakes close to my home are much smaller than Lake Michigan, but they are still beautiful. And as much as I don’t want to leave here, I love to be home. I hope you all have a lovely weekend, and savor it as much as possible.
1 tablespoon of flour (I used all-purpose flour, but you can use spelt flour or another type of flour)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of brown sugar (adjust the amount of sugar to your own tastes)
Ingredients for the crisp topping:
1/4 cup flour (again, I used all-purpose flour, but you can use the type of flour you prefer)
1 cup rolled oats (the old-fashioned kind, not instant or quick-cooking)
a pinch of salt (optional)
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prepare the fruit and place it in a lightly greased 9 inch pie baking dish. Stir in the tablespoon of flour and the brown sugar and mix until combined.
In a medium bowl, stir together the 1/4 cup flour, the oats, and the salt. Cut the butter in with a fork or a pastry cutter and gently stir/mash until the mixture forms balls about the size of peas. Spread the mixture evenly over the fruit in the pie pan. Bake in your oven for about 45 minutes, or until the topping is golden and the fruit starts to bubble. Serve warm. It tastes great by itself or with vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!
This recipe is adapted from “My Father’s Daughter” by Gwyneth Paltrow