Oatmeal Walnut Cherry Cookies

This fabulous Oatmeal Walnut Cherry cookies recipe is via a friend on Facebook.

Ingredients:

1.5 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1.75 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp molasses

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325
  • Mix dry ingredients
  • Mix wet ingredients (including sugar)
  • Add together
  • Use nonstick cookie pans or spray/grease pans
  • 10-14 minutes per batch, depending on size
  • The cookies will be very soft cookies, don’t overcook…

These cookies are perfect for the holidays! Enjoy!

Pamela’s Asparagus, Feta Cheese and Ham Quiche

I made my first quiche the other day. I don’t cook as often as I used to and I for some reason have never made a quiche. But I had an urge for a Asparagus, Ham and Cheese Quiche, so I decided to give it a try. Luckily the market had some lovely slender young asparagus to choose from and I decided to go with feta cheese rather than a cheddar, which is always a favorite. I had some left over baked ham in my freezer that I knew would be perfect with the feta cheese and asparagus.

When I do cook, I enjoy coming up with my own recipes or tweaking recipes I find online or in cookbooks to my own creative bent. I have to say I was pleased with the results for my first try at a quiche:

asparagus and ham quiche 1

Continue reading

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

Cooler weather is upon us now in many areas of the country, including New England, where I live. I find myself looking for things to cook that require turning the oven on so that I can heat up my apartment without turning on the heat yet.

I have no idea where I found this recipe (possibly my food writing class over the summer), but it sure does look good and looks easy… I think I will be trying it sometime soon and when I do, I will post more about it.

Cranberry-Pumpkin Muffins Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
½ cup chopped walnuts

Directions:
Heat oven to 400°F. Grease 12 regular-size muffin cups or line with paper baking cups.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Stir in pumpkin, oil, eggs, cranberries and walnuts until just moist. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove muffins from pan to cooling rack. Serve warm.

Enjoy!

Matchmaker, Matchmaker Make Me A Batch

Years ago, I played matchmaker to two couples who are longtime friends. The two women in the couples are two of the closest friends that I have. I was instrumental in fixing up each of them with their husbands, earning myself the title of matchmaker. Back in the day, neither of my girlfriends liked to cook so when it came time to invite their new beau’s for dinner, neither of them felt confident enough in the kitchen to cook for their dates. They each called on me to come over and cook for them. My love of cooking spoke for itself in those days as I had three shelves of cookbooks and a library of Bon Appetite, Cuisine and Gourmet magazines on prominent display in my eat-in kitchen.

Mediterranean Chicken1Some thought should always go into what one might could for a potential suitor for the first time. I usually determine that a dish in the Italian or Mediterranean is typically a good bet for a first home-cooked dinner, after all everyone loves Italian food. As I look back now on this time so many years ago, I cannot recall exactly where my Mediterranean Chicken came from, I just know that it has evolved over at least two and half decades if not more, and it is perhaps one of my favorite meals to cook for family and friends.

There have been so many incarnations of this savory chicken dish in tomato sauce, which could have had its origins in a Provencal French bistro served with a warm baguette and a hearty glass of Cabernet. Cabernet pairs better with this meal in my opinion. Yes, custom would call for a glass Chardonnay with chicken but I prefer red wine and am oft loathe to follow custom. Customs I believe are like rules, they are meant to be broken. Not broken is some blatant way but simply broken in such a way that invokes one’s own style. We are after all, all individuals, and our preferences come to the surface of the pot when we cook. Continue reading

Farm Fresh and Local In the Newburyport Area

berries2As a child growing up in the rural area of Massachusetts’ Northshore, my family grew our own vegetables as so many rural families did in the 1950’s and 1960’s. There were also many small farm stands around the area, and by the time I was in high school in the early 1970’s a few of the local farms were starting to go by the wayside.

The farm policy had changed drastically during the Nixon administration thanks to Earl Butz, who was Nixon’s Secretary of the USDA. Many small farmers found it difficult to stay afloat without the subsidies they were accustomed to receiving from the federal government. The documentary King Corn, is a very informative film about how Butz’s policies shaped factory farming and growing corn as a the number one staple in processed food.

Very few working family farms remain in the Newburyport area that were working farms when I was a child. Most of the smaller farms of my childhood days are gone with the land being sold off for housing and commercial development. A few small farms continue to grow their own and sell their produce and meats at their farm-stand businesses. However, two newer, more enterprising larger farms in the area also carry other local and non-local produce and products as well as their own locally grown vegetables and fruits.

On a late spring afternoon in mid-June, I decided to take a drive along the backroads of the Newburyport area to take stock of the local farm stands and what they have to offer. Newburyport also has a vibrant Farmer’s Market on Sunday mornings at the Tannery on Water Street, but locavores in the area also rely on local farm stands for fresh vegetables and fruits in season as well as grass fed meats and free-range poultry. Continue reading

Why Drinking Warm Lemon Water Is Good For You

lots-of-lemonsI am big believer in alternative health modes and I recognize that what we eat every day plays a big part in our health. I don’t always find the time to eat healthy, but I try to keep to well maintained diet low in sugar and fat.

The internet is a great place to pick up diet and health tips, because people are always sharing this useful information. Of course, you do need to be wary of your sources on the internet, because there is plenty of false information on the internet that is passed around via email and social media.

The medical group that my doctor belongs to posted an informative piece on warm lemon juice that I thought I should share with readers. Needless to say, as I look down this list posted below I can see more than a few reasons to start adding warm lemon water to my diet daily.

Drinking warm lemon water is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to keep yourself healthy!

Here are 16 reasons to add warm lemon water to your diet:

  1. Lemon is an excellent and rich source of vitamin C, an essential nutrient that protects the body against immune system deficiencies
  2. Lemons contain pectin fiber which is very beneficial for colon health and also serves as a powerful antibacterial 
  3.  It balances maintain the pH levels in the body 
  4. Having warm lemon juice early in the morning helps flush out toxins 
  5. It aids digestion and encourages the production of bile
  6. It is also a great source citric acid, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium 
  7. It helps prevent the growth and multiplication of pathogenic bacteria that cause infections and diseases 
  8. It helps reducing pain and inflammation in joints and knees as it dissolves uric acid 
  9. It helps cure the common cold 
  10. The potassium content in lemon helps nourish brain and nerve cells 
  11. It strengthens the liver by providing energy to the liver enzymes when they are too dilute 
  12. It helps balance the calcium and oxygen levels in the liver In case of a heart burn, taking a glass of concentrated lemon juice can give relief
  13. It is of immense benefit to the skin and it prevents the formation of wrinkles and acne 
  14. It helps maintain the health of the eyes and helps fight against eye problems 
  15. Aids in the production of digestive juices 
  16. Lemon juice helps replenish body salts especially after a strenuous workout session

source: http://foodmatters.tv/articles-1/cheers-to-drinking-warm-lemon-water

I tend to cook with lemon very frequently, because I love the flavor of lemons, and I have long been aware of the fact they have a lot of health benefits.This winter I have been enjoying adding lemon rind to my homemade soups for an extra boost of lemon flavor. When braising my onions, garlic and meat, I use my peeler to cut strips of rind to add to my braise. Later I add the lemon juice to the soup. It gives a very unique, pungent and savory flavor to the soups.

The list above really is a eye-opener on the reasoning of drinking warm lemon juice. As I said above, I am planning to add warm lemon water to my diet. I like that a “glass of lemon juice contains less than 25 calories” and “is a rich source of nutrients like calcium, potassium, vitamin C and pectin fiber.”