David’s love of figs started years ago with fig newtons, but it has evolved into a strong preference for fresh fig bars. There’s a local bakery near my parents’ house in New Hampshire that sells amazing homemade fig bars. Whenever we visit my parents, David stops by, crossing his fingers that they’ve made them that day.
I can’t believe this was my first attempt at making my own. Instead of a more traditional top, I used oats. These bars are much easier and quicker to make than I thought they’d be (even the fig filling). Oh, and in case you were wondering, they have David’s seal of approval!
I bought my figs in the bulk section of Whole Foods, but later discovered they have plastic containers of them cheaper at Trader Joe’s.
Makes 16 bars
- 1 cup dried figs (approximately 24 figs)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (not quick oats)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1/4 cup applesauce
Preheat oven to 350°F
- Put the figs and lemon juice in a small pot adding enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the figs sit and soften for around 8 minutes. Remove the figs, but save the water.
- Remove the stems from the figs. They should be soft, and you should be able to pull them off with your fingers.
- Put the figs in a food processor with 4 tablespoons of the saved water. Blend until smooth and the consistency of a thick jam. If it’s too thick, add more of the saved water, one tablespoon at a time, until it’s the desired consistency.
- In a bowl, stir the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, butter, and applesauce together until it holds together in a crumbly mixture.
- Divide the oat mixture in half. Place half of the mixture in the bottom of a greased 8×8 baking pan. Crumble (or drop lumps) evenly over the bottom, then push down until the bottom of the pan is covered.
- Spread the figs on top of the oat mixture.
- Put the remaining half of the oat mixture on top of the figs, making sure to press down on top.
- Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes.
This sandwich is light, but filling, and best of all only takes about five minutes to whip up! It can be eaten without the pita, as a salad, for a gluten free option.
Makes 2 pita sandwiches
- 1 14oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup red onion, chopped (about 1/4 of a large red onion)
- 1 cup loosely chopped spinach (or another leafy green)
- 3 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cucumber, sliced
- black pepper, to taste
- pita bread
- Toss the chickpeas, onion, spinach in a bowl. Add the greek yogurt and lemon juice, stirring until well combined. Season with black pepper.
- Scoop the salad into the pita, and add slices of cucumber.
We have a whole lot of rosemary bushes in the backyard. Having just moved to Southern California a few months ago from New Hampshire, this is kind of crazy to me. Fresh rosemary? In the backyard? In February? I’m loving sweet potatoes these days and combining them with rosemary is over the top delicious.
These fries are baked, not fried, so they are fat free and healthy (sweet potatoes are packed full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber).
- 1 medium sweet potato
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 450°F
- Scrub and wash your sweet potato. You can peel it too, if you prefer, but I left the skin on.
- Cut the sweet potato into long strips. You want them to be fairly thin so that they crisp up well. The more similar in size you make them, the more evenly they will cook.
- Arrange your fries on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You want them to be in a single layer. Toss them in salt, pepper, and rosemary.
- Put the fries in the oven for 15 minutes. Turn them, add more seasoning if desired, and bake for another 15 minutes. If they aren’t quite crisp enough, continue cooking.
- Serve with ketchup or your favorite condiment!
I made these for breakfast Sunday morning. I froze half of them in a ziplock bag. I’m excited to have these on hand to pop in the toaster oven during the week. I made them in a large muffin pan, but they’d probably be great as an appetizer at your next dinner party if you made them in a mini muffin pan.
Makes 12 muffin cups
- 5 eggs*
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, drained (or use 1-2 cups fresh spinach, chopped)
- 1/3 cup diced red pepper
- 1/4 diced onion
- 2/3 cup shredded cheese (I used a mix of pepper jack & cheddar)
- to season: salt, pepper, tabasco sauce, fresh basil, and/or extra cheese
*I’m a eat-the-entire-egg lady myself, but if you prefer to just use egg whites, you can replace the eggs with 3/4 cup and 3 tablespoons of egg whites.
Preheat oven to 350°F
- Whisk the eggs and milk together in a bowl until well combined.
- Stir in the spinach, red pepper, onion, and cheese.
- Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, divide the batter into a greased muffin pan. Fill each muffin cup with a scant 1/4 cup of the batter.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350°F, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the edges are slightly golden.
- Serve with salt, pepper, tabasco sauce, sriracha, fresh basil, and/or extra cheese.
Coconut milk + red curry?! This soup is a little bit zesty, a little bit creamy, and a whole lot of delicious.
A note about this dish: on Day 1 it’s a soup, but as leftovers on Day 2 it turns to a curry as the noodles absorb the liquid. It’s totally delicious both ways. If you want it to remain a soup, add some extra coconut milk and water before reheating it.
You can use whatever veggies you like and have on hand, but here’s what I used:
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 1 yellow squash, chopped
- 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
- ½ can cut baby corn, drained
- 1 large handful snap peas
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 5 tbsp (1 4oz jar) Thai red curry paste*
- approximately 8oz dried udon noodles, cooked (or you can use fresh udon noodles, or another noodle of your choice)
- 2 14oz cans coconut milk (I used one light, one regular)
- ~1 cup water
- cilantro, to garnish
*Most grocery stores carry this in the Asian food aisle. You can also buy it at Whole Foods or Asian food markets. Be sure to look at the ingredients list — not all Thai red curry paste is vegetarian, as some varieties have fish sauce.
- In a wok or deep pot, stir fry the vegetables in the oil for around 5 minutes until slightly softened.
- Add the curry paste and stir until the vegetables are well coated.
- Add the coconut milk and the noodles.
- Add water until it’s the desired consistency. I added around a cup of water. Note that the noodles will absorb liquid over time, so if you’re storing this to serve later, don’t add the water now; add the water just before serving.
- Simmer for five more minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Serve with chopped cilantro.
My sister works a full-time job and is a full-time grad student. She is in an MFA program and it has a been a crazy year for her: every day she leaves for work at 8am and doesn’t get home from school until 10pm. And then she has homework. Weekends are filled with her thesis project. My sister is a pretty awesome lady: smart, hardworking, and creative. But, understandably, she’s a little bit tired.
I wanted to send a Valentine’s Day care package full of snacks to her office. I am a firm believer that knowing you have a drawer full of tasty snacks at the office can make getting out of bed just a little bit gentler. It’s 2pm and you don’t know how you can make it through the rest of the day? Well, you’ve got a drawer full of snacks…
These cookies went into my sister’s care package.
Makes ~3 1/2 dozen cookies
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup quick oats
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- coarse salt, to garnish
Preheat oven to 375°F
- In a large bowl, use a mixer to combine all of the ingredients except for the chocolate chips and the salt. When the batter is well combined, stir in the chocolate chips.
- Roll 1″ balls of dough between your palms. Once a ball is formed, flatten it between your hands into a pancake-like shape. Place the flattened balls of dough on an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Bake cookies at 375°F for approximately 8 minutes, until the edges are lightly brown.
- When the cookies come out of the oven and are still hot, sprinkle coarse salt on top.
These are some pretty delicious low-fat muffins.
Makes 18 muffins
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (or white whole wheat flour)
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups peeled, chopped apples (approximately 2 medium sized apples)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons rolled oats
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons unsalted melted butter
Preheat oven to 375°F
- Using an electric mixer, combine the wet ingredients: the eggs, milk, yogurt, and applesauce.
- Add in the dry ingredients.
- Stir in the chopped apples by hand.
- Pour the batter into greased muffin pans.
- In another bowl, mix the topping ingredients by hand. Stir until well-combined and crumbly.
- Sprinkle the topping on the muffins.
- Bake at 375°F for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
This soup is so quick to make and perfect for a cold day. (I know, I know, I live in southern California now… But it’s been in the 50s and you would not believe how quickly I have adapted to sunshine all the time!) The cannellini beans make this soup pretty filling and hearty. I love it because it is really good reheated. Make a big pot, and it tastes even more flavorful the next day.
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 15oz can diced tomatoes
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 15oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 4-5 cups spinach, torn
- salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large pot, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil, over medium heat, until slightly softened.
- Add the diced tomatoes, broth, and beans.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer the soup, uncovered, for ten minutes.
- Stir in the spinach and cook until the spinach wilts.
- Add salt and pepper taste.