Devon’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

This post doesn’t quite relate to PCH produce or healthy living, but what’s life without a perfect chocolate chip cookie?  Here’s my recipe for, quite honestly, the best cookie ever;  perfect blend of salty & sweet.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup cane sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil (I use avocado)
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt*
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3-5 oz chocolate chips or favorite chocolate bar chopped into small chunks

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. In a food mixer, whisk sugars, oil, butter, and vanilla until smooth (2-3 minutes).
  3. Stir in dry ingredients.
  4. Bake 8 minutes and remove from oven.  Cookies will look just done, maybe even gooey, with brown edges.  Let cool and serve warm or store in ziplock bags.

* Kosher salt measurements are different than table salt measurements.  Reduce to ¾ teaspoon if you only have table salt on hand.  Kosher salt is the accepted standard for cooking…add it to your pantry if you’re late to the party!

Summer Squash + Turnip Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons high heat cooking oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 medium yellow potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 1 bunch of turnips, tops chopped off and halved
  • 2 medium summer squash, chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • 1″ knob fresh ginger, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can (15oz) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • green onion, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large stock pot on medium-high heat.
  2. Sauté onion and garlic in oil until fragrant.  Add remaining vegetables, herbs, and seasonings.  Stir until vegetables are thoroughly coated.
  3. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer until potatoes, carrots, and turnips are very tender.
  4. Transfer to blender, or use immersion blender, and blend until soup reaches a smooth consistency.
  5. Stir in garbanzo beans.
  6. Serve with garnish of green onions.

Leisure

I have been thinking about the importance of positive leisure activities lately.  Summer is always a bit unpredictable and there are days I have more time on my hands than anticipated.  More and more, I find that I need to take ownership of the choice I have in how I spend my time, which is closely related to my mental health.  There are certain technologies of the day that distract us into vacuums of unintended time-sucking.  Not all of this is “wasted” time, but if you’re like me, minutes fly by without having much thought/intention, leaving me feeling sluggish, behind on my other goals for the day, and maybe even anxious.

It is a shift in thinking about health; choosing to prioritize the invisible, inner life by actively tuning out the obvious, physical world and its demands in order to turn inward and reflect.  I’m striving to choose, first of all, to create more margins in my life for rest, leisure, and alone time.  Secondly, I’m setting intention for how to spend that free time, prioritizing activities that are “life giving” (creative, feeding the soul, self-loving).

Maybe you’re like my husband and leisure activities for you do involve technology; watching a good show, playing video games.  Speaking as an artistic/introverted type, I crave more creative outlets where I can express myself vs. consume entertainment.

This summer, I’ve literally had to scheduled times where I write music, journal, read, or just sit on the porch with a glass of wine with no particular plans.  The biggest threat to my leisure is my own to-do list! Typically, I’m trying to engage in leisure activities while not working and at home where I’m continually reminded of chores that need to be done, a pending work out, or interruptions from family (I don’t have any children yet, so can’t even begin to imagine…).

I encourage you to experiment with some intentional leisure activities the remainder of the as part of your emotional wellness journey.

Asian Salad with Ginger-Sesame Dressing

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 bunch green leaf lettuce, roughly chopped
  • 1 cucumber, cored and sliced into matchsticks
  • 1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, grated
  • 1 bell pepper, cored and sliced into matchsticks
  • 3 green onion, chopped
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds

Ginger-Sesame Dressing

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup white vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 Tablespoons grated or minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar (sub honey)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Instructions

  1. Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Combine all dressing ingredients in food processor or shake vigorously in a jar with a lid.
  3. Dress salad and serve immediately.

Staying Cool

Seattle is hot and hazy!  Hope you’re staying cool and healthy in the midst of this heat wave and  the current unhealthy air quality index due to wildfires in British Columbia.  If you’re like me and live in a house/unit without air conditioning, you may be having some trouble deciding whether or not to keep the windows open despite recommendations to prevent too much exposure to polluted air.

I encourage you to listen to your body on these hot days.  Maybe your feeling zapped of energy and unproductive.  You may not feel as hungry, but are finding  you’re craving liquids.  Rest and hydrate, friends!  These are tough times!

Here are some recommendations on how to stay cool the next week:

  • Save strenuous movement/exercise for early morning or evening hours
  • Keep a pitcher of water in the fridge to ensure cold water is readily available
  • Take a quick rinse in cold water after activity and before bed to help lower body temperature
  • Eat fresh fruits to aid in hydration
  • Hunker down and work at a cafe, coffee shop, or bar with air conditioning
  • Open windows in early evening to begin circulating air in time for bed
  • Cook on the grill instead of the oven to keep house cool
  • Go swimming or take a cold bath
  • Wear lightweight clothes
  • Apply and reapply sunscreen when outdoors
  • Ensure pets have plenty of water and shade
  • Choose leisure activities that require less energy
  • Find outings/activities that take place in air-conditioned buildings

Roasted Yam + Carrot Quinoa Bowl

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1″ pieces
  • bunch carrots, de-stemmed and sliced into 1″ pieces
  • 3 tablespoons high heat cooking oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • pinch red chili flakes
  • bunch kale, de-stememd and chopped into ribbons
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 cup dried quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • dash of salt
  • ½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • 1 tomato, sliced into 1″ pieces
  • ½ cup (4 oz) feta cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds

Avocado Creme Dressing

  • 1 large or 2 small avocados, pitted and peeled
  • ½ cup greek yogurt
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.  Toss yams and carrots with oil and seasonings.  Roast uncovered for 30 minutes or until tender when pierced with fork.
  2. Bring water to boil.  Add dried quinoa and a dash of salt.  Reduce heat to simmer, and cook covered until all water has evaporated.
  3. Toss chopped kale with lemon juice in a large bowl and let sit.
  4. Combine sliced red onion and vinegar in a jar with lid and let sit.
  5. Prepare dressing; combine all ingredients in a food processor/blender.  Add water in small increments until desired consistency is reached.
  6. Add cooked yams, carrots, and quinoa to bowl with kale along with remaining ingredients (onion, tomato, feta, parsley, pumpkin seeds).  Dress salad and toss.

Fermenting for Health

Fermented foods are making a comeback, especially here in Seattle.  Are you like me and see more and more folks drinking kombucha in place of soda, enjoying pickled veggies, and trying their hand at homemade sourdough breads?  Fermented foods such as yogurt, pickles, kimchi, miso, and tempeh provide our bodies with beneficial bacteria known as probiotics; good bacteria which help restore gut balance and aid in digestion.  Fermented foods help our bodies absorb nutrients, and actually enhances certain nutrients during the fermentation process.  Fermentation is actually a naturally occurring process, and at it’s simplest form is the breaking down of sugars to acids (vinegar) and gases, or alcohol.

Let’s be real, though… I AM the “folk” not only consuming more fermented foods, but actually experimenting with homemade fermentation myself.  All you need to start your own “fermentation station” at home are ripe ingredients and time!  And probably some extra counter space as containers will need to sit out for a while.  Here is a quick recipe to try at home when you have extra produce on hand you’d rather not throw out in the compost:

General Vegetable Fermentation

Ingredients

  • about 3 cups vegetables (any 1 vegetable or combination)
  • 3 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4 cups water
  • large jar with lid (half gallon Mason Jar with lid)
  • 2 garlic cloves, pealed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns

Instructions

  1. Combine salt and water and stir until salt is dissolved.  If using hot water, proceed once water returns to room temperature.
  2. Combine all ingredients jar and pour salt water mixture over vegetables.  Add more water until vegetables are completely covered, while also leaving 1 inch of space at the top.
  3. Secure tightly with lid and let sit at room temperature until taste is satisfactory.  Check in on the fermentation process occasionally and skim off any scum or mold that may form at the top.
  4. Refrigerate when desired taste and tenderness has been reached.

Veggie Frittata

Veggie Frittata

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon high heat cooking oil
  • 4 red potatoes, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 4 mini bell peppers, diced
  • ½ small sweet onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 3 cups roughly chopped kale
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • fresh herbs on hand (basil, parsley, rosemary)
  • 8 large eggs
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • goat cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Heat oil in a large cast iron or oven-safe nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add potatoes and sauté until tender.  Add the bell pepper, onion, and salt, and sauté until tender. Add the zucchini, kale, and fresh herbs, and cook covered until wilted.
  3. Whisk the eggs, Parmesan, and pepper in a medium bowl and pour into the skillet over vegetables. Sprinkle with green onions and goat cheese.
  4. Bake until the eggs are almost set, about 8 minutes. Turn the oven on to broil on high and broil until the top is set and light golden-brown, about 2 minutes more. Let cool before slicing and serving.

Meal Planning with PCH Deliveries

Growing up in Kansas City and raised with those midwest family values, I’ve inherited a love for home cooked meals shared with loved ones at the table.  I’m only cooking for 2 (newlywed) most of the week, and beyond conflict resolution, my main priority my first year of marriage was learning how to cook meals both my husband and I would enjoy for flavor, and for intentional time spent together in the kitchen.

I soon realized that cooking was only a small part of managing meals in the home.  There was also planning, shopping, storing, and of course, clean up.  My meal planning skills have improved drastically and I no longer spend a few hours each week skimming through cookbooks, and to be completely honest, Pinterest, looking for the perfect blend of nutritious, green, healthy meals for me, and delicious, comforting, savory foods for the hubs.  I do have to say upfront that my house is a meat-dairy-gluten-eating household, but love and respect the vegetarians, vegans, and GF folks in our midst.

Here is how I allow weekly Pacific Coast Harvest boxes allow for more efficient meal planning in my household:

Planning: Nowadays, I let PCH produce inform my meals with each delivery.  Planning comes after I see the bright, fresh, organic offering for the week.  I empty the contents of the box in my kitchen, taking stock of each vegetable and fruit as I lay them out on the table…and return the box to my front porch, out of the way.

Storing:  I store leafy greens in crisper drawers, tough root veggies and some fruits in baskets on the counter (potatoes, onion, garlic, apples, banana), and fit anything else that seems more delicate in the fridge.

Shopping:  Because I have a weekly flow of fresh produce with PCH, most of my grocery needs are for a variety of meats, spices, dairy, grains, nuts, and canned goods.  I like to keep meat on hand to pull out and defrost midday to accompany veggie dishes I’ll prepare for dinner.  I always have plenty of canned tomatoes, beans, and essentials (oils, flour, eggs, bread, butter) stocked up and stowed away for use with any dish that calls for it.  Again, it’s the veggies that are informing my meals these days so I stock up on “general” items that will be seasoned and accompanied to enhance the produce.

Cooking: This is the fun part!  My go-to ratio for a meal: protein, vegetable, and complex carbohydrate with a salad on the side.  For more in-depth cooking ideas, check in for weekly recipes featuring items from you PCH box.

Clean up: Always made better with some good tunes or a podcast, and some little (or big) helping hands.

Rainbow Chard Greek Veggie Wraps

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

Chard Stalk Hummus

  • 1 bunch rainbow chard, stalks removed, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons tahini
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup water

Wraps

  • rainbow chard leaves
  • chard stalk hummus
  • 1 carrot, peeled into ribbons
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped into thin strips
  • kalamata olives, sliced
  • feta cheese
  • oregano
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Add rainbow chard stalks and boil until tender (5-10 minutes) and drain.
  2. Blend all hummus ingredients except water in a food processor until smooth.  Add water until hummus reaches desired consistency.
  3. If chard leaves are rigid, lay all leaves between two wet paper towels and microwave for 30 seconds to soften.
  4. Lay out one chard leaf, and spread hummus on surface.  Place an assortment of prepared vegetables, olives, cheese, oil, and spices into the wrap.  Roll up like a burrito.  Repeat with remaining chard leaves.
  5. Enjoy immediately or store in refrigerator for up to 5 days.

 

Additional considerations:

  • naturally gluten free and vegetarian
  • double recipe to serve 4-6