Wednesday, June 22, 2016

How to Make: Roasted Strawberries and Rhubarb

Roasting strawberries and rhubarb together in a little pure maple adds a deeper flavor to this sweet and tart classic combination and can be used as a simple topping for vanilla ice cream or in a healthy yogurt parfait. 


Roasted Strawberries and Rhubarb || A Less Processed Life

The real harbinger of spring (and early summer) is the arrival of rhubarb in the marketplace. I absolutely love the combination of tart rhubarb with sweet strawberries, as exhibited by these recipes for strawberry-rhubarb cobbler, strawberry-rhubarb crisp bars, strawberry-rhubarb pancakes, strawberry-rhubarb crumble muffins, strawberry-rhubarb cream cheese bars, strawberry-rhubarb pie, strawberry-rhubarb bread, strawberry-rhubarb streusel cake, and of course, refreshing (and boozy) strawberry-rhubarb smashes. (Holy cow I've made a lot of strawberry-rhubarb recipes!)

Roasted Strawberries and Rhubarb || A Less Processed Life

For this year's iteration of the strawberry-rhubarb flavor combination, I opted to roast the two together in a little maple syrup to really bring out their flavor.

Roasted Strawberries and Rhubarb || A Less Processed Life

The resulting roasted strawberry and rhubarb is absolutely delicious served warm over a bowl of vanilla bean ice cream. Or if you're looking for a healthier treat, it pairs just as wonderfully with vanilla yogurt layered in a parfait topped with granola.

Roasted Strawberries and Rhubarb || A Less Processed Life

Hey there, delicious (and nutritious!) breakfast!

Roasted Strawberries and Rhubarb || A Less Processed Life

What is your favorite way to pair strawberries and rhubarb?

Roasted Strawberries and Rhubarb (printer-friendly version)
makes about 3 cups

1 pound strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 pound rhubarb, chopped into 1/4"-1/2" pieces
1/3 cup maple syrup

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Place the quartered strawberries and chopped rhubarb in a medium bowl. Drizzle with the maple syrup and stir to coat. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.
3. Turn the strawberry and rhubarb mixture onto the prepped baking sheet and spread into an even layer.
4. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes, or until the juices have thickened and the fruit has softened.
5. Let cool for 5 minutes and then spoon both the fruit and their juices into a bowl. Serve warm with ice cream or cover and chill in the refrigerator to make yogurt parfaits. The roasted strawberry and rhubarb mixture can be kept in the refrigerator for up to five days.
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Monday, June 20, 2016

What I'm Drinking: Moscow Mule

Beat the summertime heat with a refreshing Moscow Mule. 


Moscow Mule || A Less Processed Life

I have so much to talk about, but not enough time to write a full blog post. Let's see – we lost our power for over 24 hours last weekend due to storms that rolled through the area (that was fun!), we also put our new chicks out onto pasture last Sunday, and, perhaps most exciting, we brought home four new piglets to the farm on Saturday. They are the cutest. (You can judge their cuteness for yourself by following our farm on Instagram (@orangedogfarm) or on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/orangedogfarm/). 

Moscow Mule || A Less Processed Life

Plus work deadlines are insane, I've taken on a small freelance project, and did I mention all the farm chores? Long story short, things are crazy busy around here.

And it has been hot. Like, capital H-O-T hot. Luckily we seem to have a little break in the weather today and it's nice and cool this morning. But that doesn't mean I'll be putting away my copper mugs for Moscow mules anytime soon!

Moscow mules – made with fresh lime juice, ginger beer, and spiked with vodka, are a perfect afternoon cocktail on a hot summer's day. Which, wait, is today, right? Happy First Day of Summer!

Moscow Mule
makes one cocktail

1/2 ounce lime juice
2 ounces vodka
4 ounces ginger beer
ice
lime slice, for garnish

Add the lime juice and vodka to a copper mug. Fill the mug with ice. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with a lime slice (or two) and serve.

Moscow Mule || A Less Processed Life
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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

What's For Breakfast: Make Ahead Yogurt Parfaits

Breakfast is ready in a jiffy when your fridge is stocked with these delicious (and nutritious!) make ahead yogurt parfaits.


Make Ahead Yogurt Parfaits || A Less Processed Life

Dustin is working several days a week from Madison this month, so I've been prepping healthy meals and snacks that he can bring with him.

Make Ahead Yogurt Parfaits || A Less Processed Life

I love yogurt parfaits. They are typically a mix of fruit, yogurt, and granola, are simple to make, and are endlessly adaptable. These make ahead yogurt parfaits take convenience one step further by using frozen berries straight from the freezer.

Make Ahead Yogurt Parfaits || A Less Processed Life

You can use your favorite plain or flavored yogurt for this recipe. We tend to buy protein-packed plain Greek yogurt, so I stir in a little pure maple syrup to slightly sweeten the yogurt.

Make Ahead Yogurt Parfaits || A Less Processed Life

The parfaits are layered with granola and generously topped with it, too. For these parfaits, I used my favorite (of late) citrusy maple-cinnamon granola. A batch of these parfaits will keep in the fridge for several days and, when made in a jar, are perfectly portable.

Make Ahead Yogurt Parfaits (printer-friendly version)
makes 3 parfaits

2 1/2 cups plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon maple syrup [to sweeten yogurt, optional]
3/4 cup frozen berries, divided
3/4 cup granola, divided

1. In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt and maple syrup to sweeten, if desired.
2. Add two tablespoons of yogurt to the bottom of a jar.
3. Layer with 1 tablespoon berries and 1 tablespoon granola.
4. Repeat until you have filled the jar -- depending on the size of the jar, you will probably have at least four layers.
5. Cover with a lid and refrigerate for up to three days.

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Friday, June 3, 2016

What I'm Celebrating: National Donut Day

Did you know it's National Donut Day? If you haven't noticed, I am a big fan of baked donuts. I might just have to break out my donut pan and make a batch today to celebrate. Here are a few of my favorite baked donut recipes from the archives.
Baked Donut Recipe Roundup || A Less Processed Life


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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Made From Scratch: Everything Bagel Hummus

Everything bagel hummus takes less than five minutes to make and is a great afternoon snack served alongside pita wedges or fresh-cut veggies.


Everything Bagel Hummus || A Less Processed Life

I saw a commercial the other day for a new product by a company that sells canned beans. They now also make a "Hummus Made Easy" pouch. I suppose for major convenience sake that's a great idea, but really, it is not hard to make hummus from scratch. NOT HARD AT ALL! And, yes, I suppose it takes more than three steps to make, but it really isn't rocket science.

Everything Bagel Hummus || A Less Processed Life

I probably make a new batch of hummus every week – D likes to take some to work to snack on with veggies or crackers. I like that, given the simplicity of the base recipe, it's super-simple to customize flavors and never have the same hummus twice.

Everything Bagel Hummus || A Less Processed Life

I'm a sucker for hummus that has extra jooj (zhuzj?) on top. I'm totally That Girl who eats up all the extra topping first. Don't judge. This hummus recipe uses my everything bagel spice blend to amp up the flavor and add a little satisfying crunch.

Everything Bagel Hummus (printer-friendly version)
makes about 3 cups

2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 16-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons tahini
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1-2 tablespoons everything bagel spice blend

1. Add the garlic cloves to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until minced.
2. Add the chickpeas, salt, tahini, and lemon juice to the food processor. Process until coarsely pureed, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
3. Add in the olive oil and process until smooth.
4. Season with additional salt if necessary. Spoon the hummus into a serving bowl and sprinkle with everything bagel spice blend before serving. Serve alongside pita bread, toasted bread slices, or fresh veggies.
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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Made From Scratch: Everything Bagel Spice Blend

Everything Bagel Spice Blend is a savory, crunchy, and salty flavoring that has uses way beyond flavoring a plain bagel. And you probably already have all of the necessary ingredients in your own pantry!


Everything Bagel Spice Blend || A Less Processed Life

When I need a super-hearty breakfast in the morning, one of my favorite things to make is an Egg'l Bagel™ (trademarked in my dreams). Basically, it's a toasted bagel with smashed avocado and a runny fried egg, seasoned with salt and pepper and a little sriracha if I'm feeling particularly wild and crazy. Yum! My go-to bagel for a savory Egg'l Bagel is an everything bagel. I love all the extra flavor the "everything" (typically onion, garlic, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and salt) provides.

Everything Bagel Spice Blend || A Less Processed Life

The last time I was at the store to pick up an everything bagel for my morning breakfast, I was dismayed to find all that was left were plain and whole wheat bagels. Boring with a capital B. I figured there must be a way to make my own everything bagel, and voila, this spice blend saved the day. (To make a plain bagel into an everything bagel, simply lightly moisten the top of the bagel with water and sprinkle away!)

Everything Bagel Spice Blend || A Less Processed Life

It's quite likely you already have all the necessary ingredients in your pantry to make this simple spice blend. You can play with the ratios a bit to suit your tastebuds, but I like my everything bagel heavy on the onion and a little lighter on the garlic.

And don't think this spice blend is for bagels only! It also makes a great seasoning for chicken, avocado toast, and hummus (recipe to come!).

Everything Bagel Spice Blend
makes about 1/2 cup

2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 tablespoon dried garlic
2 tablespoons dried onion
1 teaspoon coarse salt

1. Toast the sesame seeds in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a small jar.
2. Add the poppy seeds, dried garlic, dried onion, and coarse salt. Place the lid on the jar and shake to combine.
3. Keep in an airtight container at room temperature away from sunlight for up to three months. 
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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

How To Make: Poached Whole Chicken

Poaching is a simple way to cook a flavorful and moist whole chicken.


How to Poach Chicken || A Less Processed Life

My go-to recipe for a whole chicken is to roast it in the oven. And more often than not, the results are super-tasty. However, I am not such a fun of all the clean-up involved afterward.

How to Poach Chicken || A Less Processed Life

Enter poached chicken. It's not much of a timesaver, but the clean up is WAY easier. And, this recipe is a bit of a two-fer. Not only do you get moist, flavorful chicken meat, but you also end up with plenty of chicken broth ready to be jarred up and placed in the fridge. 

Once poached, the chicken is ready to eat as-is or you can use the shredded meat throughout the week for BBQ shredded chicken sandwiches, chicken salad, or any number of other preparations. 

Poached Chicken

1 3-5 pound whole chicken
1 teaspoon whole mixed or black peppercorns
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup peeled and chopped carrots
1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery 
1/2 medium onion, peeled and quartered
1/2 lemon, sliced
bundle of fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme, tied together
salt

1. Place the chicken in a very large stockpot. Add the peppercorns, crushed garlic, bay leaf, carrots, celery, onion, lemon, and herb bundle. Sprinkle with salt. 
2. Cover the chicken completely with water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, or a temperature that maintains a rolling simmer. Simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let the chicken cool in the broth for 15 minutes, then strain the stock. You can reserve the stock and pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a jar to use in another recipe. (I reserved about 96 ounces, or 3 large (32-ounce) mason jars of broth.)
3. Carefully remove the skin and bones from the chicken and use a fork to shred the meat into bite-size pieces. 

(adapted from this Rachael Ray recipe)
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