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The Best Asparagus Recipe with Toasty Bread, Lemon & Feta

Food for Grownups
the best asparagus recipe

My grand darlings, all six of them, are coming to visit next week. My husband and I have worked meticulously on a fun (and very flexible!) itinerary and cannot wait to make some more memories with them. One of the reasons we moved out to Oregon was to lure their families into coming to visit us on a regular basis. It has worked so far! And how could it not? Oregon is such a beautiful place with so many fun things to do.

But what I learned last year, is that a few of these delightful little cubs aren’t very enthusiastic about any cuisine beyond macaroni and cheese or chicken nuggets. I know, I was as shocked as you are now. I’m sure some of you are smiling to yourself, thinking how your grandchildren have eaten braised leeks and roasted Brussel sprouts since they were 6 months old. That’s very impressive. Give their parents a pat on the back. continue reading

The 80/20 Rule: The Applications Are Everywhere

Health and Fitness
80 20 rule pareto principle slow
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Do you ever feel like you’re running as fast as you can just to stay in one place?

I’m pretty sure everyone would answer yes to that question; at least at some point during their
lives. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

You see, when I was training for my first sprint triathlon last year….

Hang on.

A whole bunch of you see the words “training” and “triathlon” and think to yourselves, “this has
nothing to do with me. I’ve never competed for anything in my life.”

But you’re wrong. Everybody finds themselves embroiled in competition at some point – most
frequently with themselves. So, even if you’ve never run unless something was chasing you and
have no plans to do so in the future, there’s something in this post for you. Stick around because
this is important. (You can go look for the Miracle Muffin recipes later. They’re not going
anywhere.)

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Easy Homemade Granola

Food for Grownups
easy homemade granola

I know what you’re thinking. Granola has a zillion calories.

It’s basically what squirrels eat to fatten up for winter.

So why would I want that when I’m trying to get tankini ready?

My answer is two fold here. Stay with me on this. The following is jam-packed with juicy nuggets of wisdom we need in life.

Sur La TableWhy Granola Is Worth It (And Other Life Lessons)

The first reason is because life is too short. It’s too short to miss out on the joy of homemade granola. Life’s too short to cut out delicious food from your diet by drawing a hard line in the sand. It’s too short to let a squirrel’s diet dictate what we eat.

The second reason, equally important, is that everything (well, almost everything) is okay as part of your diet as long as you stick to the serving size. Granola has a smaller serving size than say, green beans. It’s also so flavorful and yummy that you don’t need a lot of it to feel the flavors and textures tap-dancing across your tongue. I find myself pairing it with protein-rich Greek yogurt or covered with fruit and milk for a power-breakfast.

From a nutritional standpoint, the oats are filled with fiber and iron and the nuts and seeds are packed with heart-healthy unsaturated fats (like Omega 3s!) and protein. A lot of granola you buy at the store will be loaded with sugar, so my recipe leans on honey to sweeten it instead of actual sugar. With the oil, it’s still pretty high in calories but I find that if I stick to a small portion, I don’t have too much explaining to do with my Weight Watchers plan. 

Embracing the Crunch with Easy Homemade Granola

Granola is one of those things that all of my friends assume I make all the time since I moved to Oregon, the land of the sustainably grown, the Birkenstocks, the Subarus, and all things crunchy.

Stonewall Kitchen, LLCWhile I fully embrace the stereotypes of my new home, I truthfully don’t get around to making granola as much as I should. I don’t home brew Kombucha or grow my own food either. I just don’t have time. But on occasion, I’ll summon up the concentration in an afternoon while I’m writing to toast oats and nuts and coconut flakes, the base of my super-charged granola. If you are easily distracted like I am, it’s best to use a loud timer to remind you to toss the oats as they roast. It’s so easy to burn it and I’ve done that more times than I care to share.

But once the base of the granola is roasted, toasted, and aromatic, I’ll add dried fruit (like the dehydrated strawberries I have on hand in my prepared pantry) and other ingredients I keep in my pantry like like chia or cashews or vanilla. Then the pure crunchy magic happens.

My house smells amazing. My neighbors usually reap the benefits over the over-sized batch, and I’m happily snacking away as I get back to work on my book.

 

So have I talked you into it?

Let’s jump to the good part.

Here’s how to make my super-customizable, use-whatever-you-have-in-your-pantry, easy homemade granola.

 

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easy homemade granola

Easy Homemade Granola


  • Author: Marie Bostwick
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 60
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Scale

Ingredients

4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not the steel cut kind or the instant oats!)

2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

2 cups sliced almonds

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup honey (I use local, but just use a good quality here)

1 1/2 cups unsweetened small diced dried apricots

1 1/2 cup dried unsweetened cherries

1 1/2 cup dried unsweetened cranberries

1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews

Other optional goodies: Add dried blueberries or any dried fruit, spices like cinnamon, chia seeds for a little extra omega 3 punch, try maple syrup instead of honey, swap canola for coconut oil, or spike it with a little vanilla or a pinch of sea salt! I’ve also heard its delicious swirled with a 1/4 cup of peanut butter.


Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss together the oats, coconut, and almonds. Whisk the oil and honey in a separate bowl, then pour over the oats, almonds and coconut. Stir until everything is cohesive, like in this picture.

Using two half sheet pans, pour the mixture equally into each. Roast, taking it out to stir occasionally so the bottom doesn’t burn. When it looks beautifully golden brown and the nutty wafts are taking over your kitchen, it’s time to take it out. This takes about an hour for me.

Remove from the oven and cool slightly. It will need to be a little warm to stick to the rest of the goodies you throw its way.

Add the dried fruit and cashews. Now is the time to throw in extra flair like chia seeds or vanilla or sea salt.  I usually just throw into freezer bags and promptly send one to a neighbor. This makes a lot!

Serve with milk and fruit or sprinkle atop Greek yogurt for a fierce way to start your day!


  • Category: breakfast
  • Method: oven

Keywords: easy homemade granola, healthy breakfast ideas

One Point Weight Watchers Muffins with a Mexican Kick!

Food for Grownups
one point weight watchers muffins

I’m always busy.  Sitting still has never been my strong suit. You’ve probably picked up on this by now. But this month I’ve crossed the line from busy to crazy.

Right now I’m writing, blogging, training for my next sprint triathlon, gardening, sewing, preparing to host dinner for 10 next weekend, arranging itineraries for three sets of guests within the next four weeks and, of course, doing a lot of spring cleaning.

Crazy!

But it’s a good kind of crazy. I’m excited about how my new book is taking shape and am looking forward to spending time with the visitors who will soon be here.  Plus, I’m feeling very good about welcoming people to a bright and shiny, organized home!

The Perils of Going Pre-Packaged

Unfortunately, all this activity hasn’t left much time to organize healthy meals for myself.  Over the last couple of weeks, I found myself slipping down the prepackaged and prepared food slope.

You know what I’m talking about, right?  When you hop out of bed and hit the ground running, it’s so much easier to pour some cereal into a bowl than take the time to cook a healthy, satisfying breakfast. But not only does that cereal and milk cost seven of my precious Weight Watchers Freestyle Points, it leave me feeling hungry by mid-morning. Next thing I know, I’m in the kitchen, searching for a snack, and grabbing the first thing I can lay my hands on, frequently another bowl of cereal.

Sur La Table

If you’re trying to eat healthy, giving in to the convenience of prepared foods is definitely a slippery slope. After a few days of this, my scale showed just how far I’d slipped.

Crazy busy or not, I needed to find a better plan of attack for breakfast. Because not only are convenience foods unhealthy, they make you fat. Nothing convenient about that! continue reading

Summer Clothes: Six Easy Ideas To Update Your Wardrobe

Beauty and Fashion
summer clothes
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If you follow me on social media you know that I’ve been on a cleanout binge lately. It was looking a little dicey at first but don’t worry. I survived the Great Office Cleanup of 2019 and made it out alive.

Spring cleaning is always on my mind this time of year, and the office isn’t the only room that’s undergone a purge. I’ve done a major clean-out on my closet too. Good thing because I’d almost forgotten what color the carpet was in there. (I’m kidding. Mostly.)

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Mother’s Day Dessert Idea: Citrus-Scented Pistachio Chocolate Chunk Cake

Food for Grownups
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My mom has always had a sweet tooth. I luckily inherited this trait from her, among many other things, like my curls, my gait, my love of storytelling, my resourcefulness, my love of crafting. So many good things. I’m so thankful and am extremely excited to be taking her on a camping adventure soon, one of my goals that I’ve been working toward this year.

Many of us cook for our moms for Mother’s Day, or we end up handling most of the meal with a few helping hands. No matter what, a Mother’s Day table should be graceful, feminine, pretty, delicious, and full of the familiar laughter of our closest family and friends.

I tend to think of Mother’s Day as a great brunch opportunity. Bring in the quiche, the green chile egg casserole, the healthy corn frittata, the sparkling peach Bellinis.  Roll out the pressed linens, the fresh flowers, and tablescape decorations and make it an experience instead of just a meal. This is the perfect time to go the extra mile to make something extra special and to bestow upon the meal a sense of occasion that leaves guests feeling loved.

I’ve been on a bit of a pistachio kick (hello, pistachio ice cream!), so when I saw a recent recipe for a citrus, pistachio and chocolate chunk bundt cake, I knew I had to try it. I ended up changing the recipe quite a bit, so this is what I came up with. I can’t even tell you how good this smelled, or how good the batter tasted (shhhh), or how it got better day by day. A leftover slice with a cup of coffee in the morning might not be the smartest Weight Watchers choice but oh, did it bring me joy.

Here’s the recipe. It definitely has an Italian flare, and since I think I might have been Sophia Loren in another life, this really hit the spot. Ciao Bella!

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Mother’s Day Dessert Idea: Citrus-Scented Pistachio Chocolate Chunk Cake


  • Author: Marie Bostwick
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 60
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12 slices 1x

Description

Serve with Peach Bellinis and fresh fruit. Would look pretty all dressed up with some fresh flowers arranged on the cake plate.


Scale

Ingredients

Butter to grease the Bundt pan (I used a combo of olive oil and butter here, followed by a bit of flour to coat)
2 cup white sugar
Finely grated zest from 2 oranges
Finely grated zest from 2 lemons
1 cup good quality olive oil
4 tablespoons dry white wine
2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
4 eggs
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups  all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups mini-chocolate chips or chopped semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup pistachios, shelled and chopped up tiny


Instructions

Heat oven to 350°F. Butter the nonstick Bundt and dust with flour.

Place sugar in a large bowl, add zest. Stir with a whisk and inhale the delightful citrusy aromatherapy. Apparently it gives you energy.

Whisk in olive oil, wine, ricotta and eggs.

In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients together. Slowly stir in dry ingredients into the wet and stir until just combined. Fold in chocolate and pistachios.

Scrape batter into the Bundt pan. Bake for 60-65 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Let cool on rack for 20 minutes in pan, then hold your breath, say a prayer, and turn over, lifting the Bundt pan away from your masterpiece. Pat yourself on the back. That was the hard part.

Dust the top with powdered sugar. Pretend it’s fairy dust.

Slice and serve and send the leftovers home with your family and friends. This cake is great the first day and even better the second and third, as long as you keep it wrapped tightly with plastic wrap at room temperature.


  • Category: cakes

Keywords: pistachio, bundt cake, brunch

 

 

Roasted Radishes with Feta Mint Sauce from My New Favorite Cookbook

Food for Grownups
roasted radishes

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Someone recently wrote to ask an important question, “Marie, what’s your very favorite cookbook?”

Answer: “Whichever one I just bought.”

When I buy a new cookbook, I immediately race into the kitchen and start rattling those pots and pans, eager to try out those fabulous new recipes.  Every now and again, I end up being disappointed but usually not. As an experienced cookbook buyer (and experienced cook) a few minutes spent perusing the page is usually enough to tell me whether the recipes will end up tasting as good as the pictures make them look.

Like a lot of people, I do look for recipes online. When it’s five o’clock and I’m staring into the refrigerator and wondering how I can turn a particular ingredient into dinner, online recipes can be lifesavers.  But, at the end of the day, I still love a big, beautiful cookbook with pretty pictures and pages I can touch, feel, flip through, and scribble notes in.

I also tend to drip a lot of stuff on those pages while I’m cooking. That’s a big clue as to how much I liked a particular cookbook. The more drips and spills, the more I’ve used it, and the more I’ve loved it.

Earlier this month, while participating in a charity author luncheon during my Hope on the Inside book tour, I met Alana Chernila, a cookbook author. I’d been drooling over her gorgeous cookbooks even before I met her and absolutely knew I had to have one but hearing her speech and chatting with her really cemented the deal. She’s delightful!

Alana has written three cookbooks so far. Honestly, I’d have loved to get them all. But since my suitcase was pretty full, I could only bring home one. I went with her newest, Eating From the Ground Up: Recipes for Simple, Perfect Vegetables.

I chose this book because I think vegetables are too often overlooked in cookbooks and, indeed, on dinner plates.

Vegetables tend to be relegated to the status of “sides”, which is another way of calling them a culinary afterthought, playing a very distant third fiddle to what are usually considered the stars of the meal – entrees and dessert.  That’s such a shame because vegetables are not only good for us, they’re just plain good!

But I’m not sure I knew how truly, amazingly, mouth-wateringly good vegetables could be until I bought this cookbook!

It is fabulous and I’m simply obsessed with it! Not unpredictably, my copy of Eating From the Ground Up: Recipes for Simple, Perfect Vegetables is now my favorite cookbook. I have a feeling it will stay in that top spot for a very long time.

The recipes are terrific and the pictures of inspiring, but I also appreciated the little commentaries and essays that are included with each recipes. Alana Chernila is an excellent writer as well as an excellent chef. I enjoyed her conversational writing style and getting to know more about the background behind the creation of each recipe.

So far, I’ve made….

Roasted Asparagus with Yummy Sauce (she wasn’t lying about the sauce. Yummy!)

Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Shallots and Pecans,

Swiss Chard Stem, Fennel, and Salmon Fried Rice,

Cauliflower Cheese,

Napa Coleslaw with Pecans and Peas

Every one was a winner. But even more exciting is the fact that I’ve only scratched the surface. There are SO many more recipes I want to try here!

Today I want to share a recipe that really intrigued me, starring the humble radish.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had many ideas about what you could do with a radish. Sure, you can slice it up and put it in a salad, or maybe spread a little butter if you’re feeling all fancy and French. But…apart from that, what else is there?

Plenty, as it turns out.

Did you ever consider roasting radishes? Neither did I. But after making Roasted Radishes with Feta Mint Sauce, I know that radish roasting will be a frequent addition to my culinary repertoire.

Radishes have a whole different flavor when they’re roasted. They’re much less sharp cooked. The taste is rich, mellow, and even a tiny bit sweet. The mint feta sauce is really a refreshing compliment to the radishes. On top of that, they are beautiful to look at! Put a plate of these in front of your dinner guests and people are going to sit up and take notice. Not bad for a humble “side”.

Here’s the recipe.

Print

 Roasted Radishes with Feta-Mint Sauce


  • Author: Marie Bostwick
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x

Description

Recipe is reprinted from “Eating from the Ground Up: Recipes for Simple, Perfect Vegetables.” © 2018 by Alana Chernila. Photographs © 2017 by Johnny Autry. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

“Roasted radishes are surprising — they get very juicy in the middle and sweet on the outside. Cooking radishes brings out an entirely different side of the vegetable, much mellower than the punchy bite of a raw radish. This is wonderful with standard cherry belles or French breakfast radishes, but it’s also a great way to work with mixed bunches of all different colors. Amethyst, a bright purple variety, is especially beautiful roasted. This recipe makes more sauce than you need, but you’ll be happy for the extra. Use it as a salad dressing, on other roasted vegetables or on grilled beef or lamb.”


Scale

Ingredients

1½ tablespoons olive oil

3 bunches radishes (about pounds), greens removed, halved lengthwise

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

Sauce:

6 ounces cubed or crumbled feta

¼ cup olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

½ cup (packed) fresh mint leaves

Freshly ground black pepper

Chicken or vegetable stock or water


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  2. Roast the radishes: Pour the oil onto a rimmed baking sheet, tilting the sheet to spread it evenly. Place the radishes in the oil, turning to coat them, and then arrange each radish, cut-side down, on the sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Roast until the radishes are deeply golden on the cut side, 25 to 30 minutes.
  3. While the radishes roast, make the sauce: Combine the feta, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, mint and several grinds of pepper in a blender. Blend until smooth, adding up to 3 tablespoons stock to make the sauce pourable.
  4. To serve, puddle the sauce on a platter or four individual plates. Top with the radishes.


  • Category: spring sides
  • Method: roasting

Keywords: healthy sides, spring vegetables, weight watchers freestyle

A Dozen Deviled Egg Recipe Ideas to Try Right Now

Food for Grownups
deviled egg recipe ideas

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Deviled eggs. You either love ’em or you hate ’em. I am both feet in on the former.

I remember the first time I had one. It was one of those bustling church picnics where everyone brings a blanket and a pot luck dish and there’s children and ants running around everywhere. My sisters dared me to try it, and by the looks of it, I proceeded with extreme caution and suspicion. (Some of the things my sisters dared me try to weren’t exactly in my best interest. Bless their hearts.)

But it was love at first bite. And the rest is history.

My husband prefers the classic rendition – a hint of celery salt, a bit of mayo and mustard, a splash of vinegar, and a dash of paprika.

That’s fine and all.

But I say live a little. continue reading

Spring Pea, Pesto & Ricotta Dip to Usher in the Season

Food for Grownups
spring pea pesto ricotta dip

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Now that the ice and howling wind is giving way to warm breezes and crocuses peeping out of the ground, it’s time to get serious about spring flavor. So long, comforting winter stews and roasts. Hello, vibrant and fresh everything!

Some time ago, I discovered an exceptionally delicious flavor combination that The Barefoot Contessa seems to use a lot in the spring. She combined spring peas, herby pesto, and pine nuts all together into a beautiful and delicious salad that hit all the high notes of the flavors of the season. That’s what gave me this idea. It’s a good one!

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Healthy Breakfast Recipes For Every Day Of The Week

Food for Grownups

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Last week I shared with you my love of The Great British Bake Off (and Paul Hollywood) but the pièce de résistance of that story was the one point miracle muffins I made.

Earlier this week I had a very early meeting the next morning and I was chatting with a friend about how hard it is to be responsible with breakfast when you’re jetting out of the house early to make a meeting. As someone that works from home, I am so impressed with those of you who succeed at this feat every morning on your way to work. I usually can pull together a healthy meal on my own schedule, but if I am rushed it takes every ounce of self control not to run for a drive-through, 1,000-calorie breakfast burrito at the closest fast food joint.

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