Practical, healthful eating and living.

Pumpkin Cookies September 19, 2009

Filed under: Cookbooks,Energy,Party Season Game Plan,Recipes — beansandyoga @ 8:51 pm
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Pumpkin Cookies 9 09I wasn’t sure if I would like these, but this is why I love to try new recipes.  This one is a keeper!

The pumpkin flavor is mild.  Rather than bake all the dough, I set aside one portion in the refrigerator, and I froze a separate portion into spoonfuls on a tray, then transferred them to an air tight container.  One portion, of course, was immediately baked.  Of the immediately baked cookies, a few were tucked away for the next day.  I noticed that the first batch almost tasted bland.  The cookies that were tucked away, however, had a stronger spice taste.  So did the dough I’d stored in the refrigerator.  The next time I make these, I’m going to let them sit a day because the flavors seem to need a day to fully blend.

The cookies stay moist, and seem to get better after sitting a day.  After that, they go fast!


1 cup butter at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 egg slightly beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups unbleached all-purpose white flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped peanuts or walnuts, slightly toasted

1 cup raisins or dried cranberries

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.  Add the pumpkin, egg and vanilla and mix until well blended.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt, and add to the mixing bowl.  Stir well to form a soft batter.  Stir in the chipped nuts, raisins and chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto a large, unoiled baking sheet, allowing a little space for the cookies to spread as they bake.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cookies just begin to brown slightly on the bottom.  Mine did not spread; they baked into cake-like sturdy mounds.  Use a spatula to transfer to a cooling rack or plate.

From the “Moosewood Restaurant New Classics” cookbook.


What I’m Eating Now: Cabbage & Noodles September 13, 2009

I learned to cook by finding a recipe I wanted to try, buying all the ingredients, then getting to work.  This is a creative outlet for me, and I do something like this about once a week.

This week, I spied a recipe out of the “Moosewood Restaurant New Classics” cookbook.  It sounded strange.  Cabbage and noodles.  But that is the fun in experimenting.  The stranger it sounds, the more curious I am.

The result was an unexpected reminder of my grandma’s wonderful cooking.  I have East European heritage; cabbage, dill, beets and cucumbers were regulars at the table.  While I don’t recall having this dish, specifically, the flavors seem familiar.  Perhaps it was served at a community gathering.  Perhaps it’s simply that each ingredient, on its own, is so familiar.

Either way, this proved to be a wonderful comfort food.  I don’t know if non-East European folks would appreciate it, but I loved it.


2 cups thinly sliced onions
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
8 cups finely shredded cabbage (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 teaspoons salt
12 ounces fine or medium-wide egg noodles
freshly ground black pepper to taste
sour cream for topping off at the table

In a pot with a tight lid, cook the onions in the butter on medium heat until golden, about 15 minutes. Add the paprika and saute for a few seconds more. Stir in the cabbage, add the salt, and continue to cook for 5 more minutes, stirring now and then. Cover tightly and cook on very low heat for 40-60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is very soft and brown.

When the cabbage is almost done, cook the noodles in boiling water until al dente. Drain them and toss well with the cabbage mixture. Add a generous amount of pepper and, top each serving with a dollop of sour cream.

Moosewood says to serve this with fresh applesauce and rye bread. Definitely have some apples on hand.  Something about the taste makes you crave apples. It’s rich, so it calls for a green salad to go along side it, too. It would also be good with a pork roast.


A Word About Bacon September 7, 2009

Filed under: Easy food prep — beansandyoga @ 8:41 pm

BaconTrue confession: bacon is one of my favorite foods.  Here’s the thing.  If you eat healthful food 90 percent of the time, there is plenty of space left for savory indulgences.

Bacon is chock-full of flavor.  A little goes a long way.  If you drain the grease from it, chop it, and add it to an omelete, pasta, salad, or sandwich, you’re probably not getting THAT much fat.

GOOD bacon probably has fewer additives than a fast food burger.   Therein lies one of the keys to bacon.  Go for the best, most lovingly made bacon you can find.  If it’s a little more expensive, don’t worry.  It’s worth it.  There’s probably less fat.  Cheaper grades melt away to tasteless slabs.  The good ones maintain their thickness.  I like to get it from a local food coop that caters to small farms.

Much as I love bacon, I rarely cook it.  This week, I couldn’t help myself.  Fresh tomatoes and lettuce cried out to be made into a BLT.  Pasta, zucchini, green pepper and onion cried out for the chewy saltiness of bacon bits.

The downside to bacon is that it’s hard to go through a pack before it spoils. (At least, it’s hard for me!)  I’ve resorted to opening the package as soon as I bring it home, and re-packaging it two strips at a time.  I put each two-piece pack into a Ziplock bag, or wrap it in saran wrap, and store the packs all together in one larger Ziploc bag.  That way, I can quickly grab exactly the amount I need.  The rest stays safely tucked away inside the freezer.


Minneapolis launches bike share program September 2, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — beansandyoga @ 9:13 pm
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This story stopped me in my tracks!  A health insurance company and city joined forces to reduce energy use AND increase health.  This is the smartest idea I’ve seen in a long time.  For $5/day or $60/year, you get a small card that fits on a keychain.  Just insert the card into a bike station, and the bike releases.  Ride it anywhere, then drop it off at a bike station of your choice by simply inserting it into a bike dock.  No waiting.  No check-in.  This is brilliant! More info here: