Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chewy Chocolate Cherry Bars

I blame Gabby for these.  She pinned a recipe on Pinterest a few days ago that got my attention. Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal cookies. The original recipe looks great and I would think you could just substitute the all purpose flour with any gluten free flour mix and, of course, use gluten free oats.  But I wanted a chewy texture like these Jumbo Date Cookies.  Peanut butter sounded a little overwhelming with the other flavors, but I wanted the protein/fat of nuts for nutrition and texture. Cashew butter was the most obvious choice to me but since I didn't have any in the pantry I just processed a cup of cashews in the oil called for in the recipe and it literally took seconds.  I happened to have roasted and lightly salted cashew pieces in the pantry but I think any cashews would work. Baking them as bars rather than cookies was a time saver.

 Chewy Chocolate Cherry Bars
1 cup Cashews (I used roasted and lightly salted cashew pieces)

1/2 cup Grapeseed oil (or any mild oil you like to use)
4 cups Quick-Cooking Oats - I used Bob's Red Mill
1 cup Turbinado Raw Cane Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
3 Eggs

2 teaspoons Vanilla

1 1/2 cups Dried Cherries, coarsely chopped
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.

Process the cashews and oil until creamy and put in mixing bowl with everything but the cherries and chocolate chips.  Mix thoroughly and add the cherries and chocolate chips. 

Spread into pan and bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown.  Cool and cut into squares


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Meatless Monday – Ratatouille with Fried Crushed Peppers

Late summer is the best time of year to make a pot of ratatouille and everything you need is fresh at your farmer’s market now.  Like all my favorite recipes this is very flexible.  More zucchini and less yellow squash, not a problem.  Less eggplant and more bell peppers would work just fine, too.

It’s quick to put together and is one of those wonderful dishes that tastes even better the next day.  A bowl of ratatouille is great on its own and we love it over rice, too.  We often sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top but this time we tried something new.

Friday evening we had curry at Martin’s and we asked him about the crushed red peppers he keeps on the counter.  We love the smoky heat they give our meals. I asked him what made them different than the usual crushed red peppers you sprinkle on pizza.  When he told me he fried them I knew I had to try that for myself. While making the ratatouille I decided to go ahead and try frying a cup of peppers never planning to use them on our meal. But they smelled so amazing together that we had to give it a try. Oh my goodness it was such a great combination!


Chop into half inch dice:

1 medium Eggplant
2 medium zucchini
2 medium yellow squash

Place into a bowl or salad spinner and salt generously.  The vegetables will “sweat” any bitter liquid out while sitting.

Meanwhile, mince and sauté in a large pot or dutch oven:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion
1 large red bell pepper
4 cloves of garlic

Rinse the eggplant, zucchini and squash in cold running water and drain.  Add to the pot and combine.


1 large can of tomatoes, diced (mine was 28 ounces)

Simmer 30 – 60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and flavors have combined.

Fried Crushed Peppers:

1 cup crushed red peppers
1 tablespoon oil of your choice

In small pan sauté peppers slowly until they just start to change colors.  Watch carefully so they don’t burn and take off heat as soon as they start to brown.  They will continue to brown a bit as they cool in the pan so give it a stir occasionally as they cool.  Store in a glass jar and sprinkle on ratatouille to taste.  


Friday, August 5, 2011

And The Winner Is. . .

Congratulations Tina, please contact me at with your
mailing address and I'll get your books to you. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Gingery Miso Salad Dressing

Fresh, crisp and tangy.  This is one of my favorite salad dressings and it’s perfect this time of year when it's too hot to heat up the kitchen.  I love it on big crunchy mixed salads or simple lettuce wedges and even on our favorite Sunshine Wraps.  I love the sunny pop of color but it's the ginger miso flavor I love even more.

Miso is reputed to protect against cancer, help ease menopause symptoms and a host of other health benefits.  I prefer Miso Master Sweet White Miso which I find in the refrigerated section of my health food stores.  It's naturally fermented and completely different than the powdery pouches of instant miso.  Ginger is also reputed to have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties. This dressing takes just moments to prepare.

Just add the following to your blender or Vitamix:

½ cup mild tasting oil - olive oil will be too strong in this recipe - ask me how I know. =-)
½ cup water
½ cup miso paste
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 tablespoons chopped onion
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 piece of ginger - about half inch cube for light ginger flavor - double or even triple for more punch. Mince if using a regular blender.
1 tablespoon honey

Give it a quick whirl and blend to your preference.  I blended this one a bit more than usual so it’s very smooth – it’s also wonderful blended just a little less so there are still flecks of carrot for texture.


Edited to add:  Don't forget to add your comment to this post if you want to be entered in the giveaway. We'll draw a lucky winner on Friday. =D