Feeding Our Rump Roast: No Bake Oatmeal Energy Bites

IMG_6685Our little rump roast isn’t so little these days. He is a rambunctious toddler with a serious love for running, not walking, to explore the fascinating world around him. Because of this, it can be a bit challenging to pin him down and make him eat; he’s just too busy chasing the dog or driving his matchbox cars all over the house. I have been trying to find quick and healthy snacks that don’t need to be refrigerated, so I can be ready to refuel my little dude at a moment’s notice. These no bake oatmeal energy bites are one of my new favorites. 

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They are super easy to make and they are perfect for summertime because I don’t like using my oven more than I have to this time of year. All you need is a food processor and, voila, a delicious and healthy snack awaits you. With only five ingredients and no added sugar, I feel really good about letting Smith dig into these little nuggets of fun. He loves them and feels so proud because he can play and eat at the same time.   

An added bonus to these babies is that they are equally tasty for adults.

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No Bake Oatmeal Energy Bites

Ingredients

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup Medjool dates (usually in the refrigerator section at Trader Joe’s or health food stores)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

  1. Remove the pits from the dates. Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the dough comes together and all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined. You may need to add a few more dates if the dough is too crumbly.
  2. Remove the dough from the bowl of the food processor and shape into balls. Place in on a plate in a single layer and refrigerate to allow the bites to firm up slightly. Enjoy! I keep them stored for about a week in the fridge.

Source: Barely adapted from A Couple Cooks

Aunt Khaki’s Crispy Sugar Cookies


I’ve written of my beloved Aunt Khaki many times before. Though we have lived on different sides of the country for over two decades,  I feel particularly close to her.

There was a brief stretch of time when she and my cousin, Camille, resided in Ohio and It was so much fun. Khaki always led us on exciting adventures.  She’d take us swimming and camping, we went to the local high school musicals, and she always threw the best birthday parties long before the creators of Pinterest were probably even born. Remember that Nickelodeon show, Double Dare, where contestants had to complete a challenge or get pied in the face? Khaki used that as the premise for Camille’s 6th birthday party and I remember thinking it was the most incredible event I had ever experienced. The point is, I have looked up to my aunt from an early age. She has instilled in my a love of exercise, food, photography, party planning and the confidence to experiment with recipes. It’s always so much fun when we can get together and this past holiday weekend was no different.

Naturally, Khaki brought along an ohio cookie cutter in her suitcase (because who wouldn’t?!)  and she decided to whip up a batch of some of her delicious sugar cookies. The recipe is from Alton Brown and it’s one she has been using for a few years. She usually throws in some extra flavoring extracts and rolls the dough fairly thin (about 1/8-1/4 inch) so that the cookies are extra crispy. They are so scrumptious that it took all of my willpower not to bring a handful home with us when we left because I knew it would get ugly.

If you are looking for a fantastic crispy sugar cookie, this is a recipe for you. Happy Friday, all!

  

 Aunt Khaki’s Crispy Sugar Cookies

Ingredients 

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon praline extract, optional
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough
  • Sanding sugar or crystals, optional

Directions 

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about five minutes. Add egg and milk and beat to combine, scrapping down the sides with a spatula as necessary. Add in the vanilla and praline extract and mix until well-mixed.  Turn the mixer speed to low and gradually add flour mixture until just combined.. Divide the dough in half, wrap in parchment paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

2. After the dough has chilled, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Cut out cookies using desired cutter. Place cookies on baking sheets, one inch apart, and sprinkle generously with sanding sugar. Bake for  7 to 9 minutes or until cookies turn lightly brown on the edges.  Remove from oven, allow cookies to cool on sheet for about two minutes, and then transfer to baking rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container for a few days or freeze for a few months.

Source: Slightly adapted from Alton Brown

Oven-Roasted Salmon Salad with Honey Dijon Vinaigrette

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I made this salad a few months ago when my friend Jamie came over for lunch and I have been meaning to share the recipe for several weeks. My father travels to Alaska about once every two months to help provide orthodontic services at a local clinic. One of the clinic coordinators is a big time fisherman and he invited my dad, who is also a seasoned fisherman, along on an excursion. This resulted in a large haul of King and Coho salmon being shipped back to our midwestern homestead and we have been reaping the benefits ever since.

This salad is highly adaptable. On the particular day I made it, I was in the mood to dress it with pumpkin seeds, goat cheese, fresh strawberries, and roasted pecans; but I would recommend jazzing it up with whatever is in season. We still have a surplus of salmon in our freezer right now (and we enjoyed another great salmon recipe over the weekend), so there is some more salmon coming your way!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend.

Happy Monday!

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Smith sure loves our buddy, Jamie. 

  
  
Honey Dijon Vinaigrette 

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled & minced
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Mix or shake all ingredients together until well-blended.

Oven-Roasted Salmon 

Ingredients

  • 1 to 3 pounds skin-on salmon fillets (8 ounces per person)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a roasting pan or baking sheet with foil.
  2. Pat the salmon dry with a paper towel. Transfer to the foil-lined baking sheet. Rub the top of the salmon with oil so that it’s lightly coated. Sprinkle each fillet generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the salmon in the oven and roast for 4-6 minutes per half inch thickness of fillet. The salmon will easily flake with a fork when finished (the USDA recommends a minimum internal temperature of 145°F at the thickest part of the fillet).
  4. Remove from oven and place over bed of greens. Garnish the salad with dried cherries, fresh strawberries, goat cheese and pumpkin seeds. Drizzle with honey dijon vinaigrette and serve immediately.

Source: Dressing: adapted from Food Network; Salmon: The Kitchn