November 28, 2011

Breakfast Cookies

If you ate too much over Thanksgiving, raise your hands.  OK, put 'em down (wow, that was a lot of hands).  How many of you are now suffering from PHCG?  (That's post-holiday calorie guilt in case you were wondering).  Lots of hands again (I raised both).  Now, how many of us skipped breakfast this morning, thinking it was a perfectly acceptable way to kick-start our Monday-get-back-on-track plans?  Or, how many are guzzling sugar-free energy drinks instead?  Oh my...way too many hands.  Well, we all know the dangers and pitfalls of skipping real meals--research has shown that we usually end up taking in more calories in one sitting than we do by eating more frequent and smaller meals throughout the day.  Did you know that there is a definite link between obesity and higher BMIs for those who routinely skip breakfast compared to those that don't?  Breakfast is a golden opportunity to get those metabolisms going, and a chance to provide much-needed nutrients.  But, life is just too darn complicated sometimes!  That is where these super easy, delicious and nutrition-dense breakfast cookies come in.  After all those mashed potatoes and pies, I offer up a protein and fiber rich breakfast cookie, full of complex carbohydrates and heart-healthy nuts and fruit, to help jump start the day and get back on track with those health goals.  And (oh my goodness), more holiday meals are just around the corner.  Bake up a batch of these, pop them in the freezer, and gird your loins against the calorie onslaught that is looming.  A perfect grab and go breakfast.  Did I mention they were delicious, far more interesting, and definitely better for you than anything you could possibly find in a can?  

November 20, 2011

Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing

Surprises.  They keep things interesting, snap us out of boring patterns, and sometimes provide 
much-needed inspiration.  

Take, for instance, what my dogwood is doing this week...

Surely a flowering tree shouldn't be towards the end of November????  Nevertheless, it is blooming away, in bold defiance of the freezing overnight temperatures we've been experiencing off and on for the last few weeks.  Surprising!

Also surprising?  Well, I'll have to make a couple of confessions here.  First, although I love most vegetables, I've never been a huge fan of squash.  Early encounters were not good ones, and consisted of bland and mushy concoctions that were frankly hard to get down.  The unfortunate name didn't help either...'squash'...surely it sounds more appetizing in another language?  Secondly, I'm not a big fan of stuffing either (I know that sounds slightly heretical this time of year).  It's just that I find it doughy, overly moist and, well, superfluous.  I simply don't get what virtually everyone else waxes rapturous about.  It seems to me that stuffing takes up very valuable plate real estate on the big turkey day.  

So, taking the dogwood's bold spirit of non-conformity to heart, I embarked on a personal challenge to find a recipe that features something a little more interesting in the squash and stuffing departments.  I was more than happily surprised with the results.  

November 14, 2011


This week I was honored to be asked to provide a guest post for a lovely and inspiring blog, The Novice Housewife.  When I first ran across Shumaila's blog, I was immediately struck by all the unique and colorful recipes there.  I bookmarked her site, started visiting often, and began accumulating posts in my 'favorites' folder at an alarming rate!  Shumaila has a wonderful variety of recipes (and beautiful photographs) on her site, everything from French Bread to Grilled Coriander Chicken Legs to Zucchini and Coconut Bread with Coconut Rum Lime Glaze.  I am always interested in new taste experiences, and The Novice Housewife always provides stellar inspiration.  I know you will be just as enthralled as I am when you visit!  Thank you so much, Shumaila, for letting me share a little bit of Luv'n Spoonfuls with your readers.  Waning sunshine captured by shimmering, colored trees.  Cool mornings when your breath is transformed into vanishing clouds that float away in front of your face.  Crisp, clear air, sharp with brightness.  A shifting carpet of leaves, shaping and reshaping itself in the breeze, crunching beneath your feet. favorite season here in the Midwest.  And when I think of fall, my mind invariable wanders towards all things spice.  Spices help warm the soul and body, and awaken the senses.  One of my favorite spices, or ingredients, is ginger.  I am crazy about the deep, warm and fruity bite of this delicious rhizome, and often cook and bake with it, especially this time of year.  Ginger has so many wonderful health benefits, which increases my affection for it even more (if that could be possible).  This gingerbread cake is layered throughout with a kaleidoscope of spices, made deep, dark and dense by the addition of molasses and brown sugar.  Gingerbread, another one of my favorite fall things.

November 7, 2011

Blackberry Cake

Even though I knew they were slightly (OK, a lot) out of season, I just couldn't stop myself from grabbing a package of blackberries at the store last week (those darn impulse issues).  I usually try to eat produce in season but these looked too darn gorgeous to pass by (I do admit to berry issues as well).  I told myself I was willing to lower my expectations in the flavor department this far out of season (addicts start making deals with themselves, no?)  Well, no lowering of the standards was required as the fruit was delicious and just bursting with berry-goodness.  So, as someone who is always a day late and a dollar short, my planned postings related to all things fall (apples, cranberry, pumpkin, etc.) will have to wait just another week (or two, or...) while I wax nostalgic over summer berries.  As a farewell to the end of the flower season as well, a rosewater cream elevates this dessert beyond 'everyday', and is nearly as delicious as the cake itself.