Category Archives: eating well

Big O’s peanut butter snacks

When I was a kid we had a children’s cookbook filled with recipes designed for grade schoolers.  I can picture the book exactly: yellow cover, line drawings and a red plastic spiral binding.  As vivid as that image is, I can remember only one recipe we made from that book.   I can’t actually be certain that it wasn’t the only one we tried, but I recall the taste perfectly.  Essentially they were no-bake peanut butter balls, in which peanut butter and honey held O-shaped oat cereal together (okay, fine, I’ll say it: Cheerios).  We used a health food brand called Oatios (which I just confirmed still exists and is sold through Amazon, what a trip!), so my sister and I dubbed these Oatio balls.  The recipe also called for powdered milk, which I assume was mainly for the nutritional boost.

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I had several reasons for recalling these recently and attempting to make them with my son (who is nearly 3). Continue reading Big O’s peanut butter snacks

Cranberry-orange bread, or What to make when life gives you sour oranges

I’m back.  Sorry for the hiatus.  There were colds, holidays, travel, life, yada, yada, yada.  Anyway, I’m back, and I have lots of ideas for new posts.  Today’s is about oranges.  And baked deliciousness.

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This time of year my mind turns to citrus.  There’s something magical about the sunshine a Florida orange or Texas grapefruit represents on your breakfast plate when the weather in your neck of the woods is dark and dreary.

Growing up in New England, we relished such treats from faraway lands.  When I was young, my great-grandfather wintered in Florida and every year he’d ship a box of grapefruits to us.  I can still picture where the case sat on the bench in our mudroom, just off the kitchen.  My mother would ration them, reminding us each time she prepared one for us (all those little cuts being a true act of love, wouldn’t you say?), that this was a treat to have them shipped to us.  I can’t explain why that makes them superior to those that had been shipped to the grocery store, but I still (perhaps irrationally) agree.

Alas, this is not a recipe inspired by exotic treats shipped from distant groves by a loved one.  No, it’s an updated version of a family favorite, busted out to use up our sadly sour oranges.

Allow me to share a bit of background.  Continue reading Cranberry-orange bread, or What to make when life gives you sour oranges

Green eggs, no ham: A post-holiday restorative breakfast

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After a major food-focused holiday sometimes I like to eat a bit lighter for a spell, trying to focus on the veggies and lean proteins that may have been conspicuously absent from my carb and gravy laden plate.  Eggs nestled in sautéed greens is one such recipe.  Perfect for restoring order to your body while still fueling you through the morning.

And I don’t know about you, but I feel mighty accomplished if I’ve eaten dark leafy greens before noon.  It leaves me with one less thing to worry about over the course of the day.  Like exercising first thing in the morning.  You get to feel healthy and righteous all day long, never worrying you might not get around to it later.   But this is easier and yummier than working out. Continue reading Green eggs, no ham: A post-holiday restorative breakfast

Thanksgiving dinner turkey pot pie

My favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is leftovers.  In fact, for several years when my family had gone as guests to someone else’s house for the holiday, my sister and I would make a second Thanksgiving dinner on Friday.  It worked out well because our neighbors worked on Thanksgiving.  With a bonus round on Friday, they got to celebrate the holiday, and we got to have their company and all the leftovers we wanted (with the food exactly as we like it: traditional herb stuffing, gallons of gravy, multiple pies…oh, and turkey, too).

I love a good turkey sandwich with stuffing, gravy, cranberry, and mayo all crammed in some good bread.  But I can only eat so many of those.  For dinner on the Friday or Saturday following Thanksgiving, it’s got to be turkey pot pie, using as many different leftovers as I can without turning it into a meat trifle (remember that episode of Friends?). Continue reading Thanksgiving dinner turkey pot pie

Thanksgiving side dish: Beet salad three ways

My mother has always said that the Canadians have it right: Thanksgiving should be in October.  The harvest is so much more bountiful a month earlier than American Thanksgiving.  However, there are some great vegetables that are in season this time of year.  In our area, that includes many varieties of winter squash, carrots, kale, chard, and beets.

While beets haven’t featured often in our Thanksgiving line up of side dishes, there’s no good reason for that.  Except perhaps that we have them with dinner regularly. If you do too, consider preparing them a different way for Thanksgiving (check out the three options below).  If you don’t make beets, give them a try.  My husband swore he hated them until about 3 years ago, when a good preparation won him over.  I’m still working on our son, but he will eventually join us on the bright side, too.

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I love beets for their distinctive taste, nutritional value, and flexible preparation.  Allow me to elaborate. Continue reading Thanksgiving side dish: Beet salad three ways

1 chicken, 4 ways

Eating well without breaking the bank or cooking every minute of the day requires strategies to economize on time and money.  One way I like to do that is to start with one dish and transform it into another (and another and another).  With a turkey or ham, that’s not too hard because there is usually lots of leftover meat.  But even a simple roasted chicken can be given new life several times over.  My most ambitious feat yet has been to cook one chicken, four ways.  Check it out: slow-cooker roasted chicken becomes chicken pot pie, fried rice and chicken broth.  Three out of these four recipes I have shared already on the blog, but now I’m putting it altogether for you to show you how to save time, and throwing in a simple description of how I make fried rice.

Here we go… Continue reading 1 chicken, 4 ways

Make-ahead breakfast: Pumpkin pie baked oatmeal

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We eat a lot of oatmeal around here.  Rolled and steel-cut.  Simmered and microwaved.  Baked in muffin tins and in slabs.  So when I came across a recipe for pumpkin oatmeal, you knew I had to try it.  (It is pumpkin season here at Economist at Home, after all!)  The prep for this version is quick and easy, but it requires a long lead time – 24 hours to soak the oats before cooking and 40 minutes to bake before serving.

So, pick a day you could realistically pop this in the oven 40 minutes before breakfast and not have your whole day thrown off (a weekend perhaps?).  Working backwards, set aside 5 minutes two nights prior to your baking day to soak the oats and another 10 minutes the next night to mix in the other ingredients. Continue reading Make-ahead breakfast: Pumpkin pie baked oatmeal

Mashed-potato topped chicken pot pie

Have you got any leftover chicken?  Maybe you roasted a whole bird in your slow cooker or bought a rotisserie chicken at the store? Pot pie is a great way to use up any meat that remains after a big chicken dinner.  If you really deepen the flavors in the sauce and replace that bland (and non-nutritious) pastry on top with delicious mashed potatoes, you can’t lose.

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I love to make a version of this after Thanksgiving, incorporating leftover turkey, gravy, peas and mashed potatoes.  But even without all the leftovers from the holiday, this still comes together in about an hour.  Probably not a great option for a busy weeknight, but perfect for a Saturday or Sunday dinner.  In fact, you can even cook the filling and topping separately in advance, and bring it all together just before dinner.

One trick that really takes chicken pot pie over the top (besides the upgrade from crust to potatoes) is the addition of Continue reading Mashed-potato topped chicken pot pie

Rustic pumpkin custard

I’m a simple girl.  I love desserts as much as the next person, probably more, but I prefer to focus my culinary energy on getting the family fed.  If I have time and energy left over after ensuring our three squares are taken care of, I might consider making a dessert, but not often.  When I do go the extra mile, it’s usually in fall or winter, as the siren call of pumpkins and apples beckons me.

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Sure, I love to peruse beautiful recipes as much as the next foodie.  The gorgeous photography, sumptuous description of the flavors…  but they lose me after that.  I rarely have the heart to make a dessert that requires copious amount of rich ingredients.  I think my limit is about a half a stick of butter.

And while I don’t have an objection to a little cream, I don’t routinely buy it, so I rarely have some on hand.  Probably my number one (scrooge-like) rule about making desserts is that I won’t shop expressly for their ingredients.  I’m only willing to consider a recipe if I already have all of the components (or reasonable substitutes) at my fingertips.

And don’t get me started on the directions for fancy recipes.  I read one the other day that was as long as a chapter of my dissertation.  I’m tired from just reading the thing.  No longer interested in making it.  Moving on… Continue reading Rustic pumpkin custard

Pumpkin pie smoothie

Here we go.  Pumpkin recipe number two.  This one uses up, or perhaps annoyingly leaves you with, half a can of pumpkin puree.  Never fear.  There are more pumpkin recipes coming that will give you additional excuses for opening another can, or using up what’s left from making these smoothies.

This recipe uses traditional pumpkin pie spices, but is a bit tart.  If you’d like, add extra maple syrup to make it sweeter.  Either way, the earthy pumpkin and tangy yogurt will come through.  Sweet, sour, earthy and spicy.  Delicious.

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Recipe
Time: 5 minutes
Yield: ~4 cups

Ingredients
2c plain yogurt (or vanilla, omitting the vanilla and maple syrup)
1c pumpkin puree
1-2T maple syrup
1t vanilla
½ t ground ginger
½ t ground cloves
½ t ground nutmeg
1-2T coconut oil (optional)

Directions
Place all ingredients in a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Enjoy!

 

Do you have a favorite way of using up half-cans of pumpkin?  We’d love to know.  Share your ideas in a comment below.