Author Archives: Jess

Week in Photos 4.8.17

Remember way back when – when I had a series on the blog called Week in Photos? Where I shared five-ish photos that I had captured throughout the week? I’m gonna try to start doing these posts every so often again – just because they are fun and fun to look back on.

Four photos from my week!

{First of the year}IMG_2067-1

{Greg and I did this…this is Forest :)}IMG_2000-1

{Had fun with this. Can’t wait for more asparagus}IMG_2307-1

{Saturday morning bread baking – stocking up for the summer.}IMG_2323-2

Happy weekend, everyone! 🙂

Nourishment Lately – Florida

Florida is what nourished me for twelve wonderful days at the end of February.

I almost didn’t take my camera, but I surely am glad that I did. Even if it’s only so that I can look back on these photos and again feel the peace and happiness that I did during this trip.

Vero Beach

{The first two photos I took on vacation, the first night. The view from our room.}

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{second morning}

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{my people}

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{second night sunset}

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{third morning sunrise}

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Florida Keys

{Key West}

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{lunch on Sunset Key}

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{sunset celebration at Mallory Square}

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Disney

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{this one taken by Sokol}

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A Strip District Kinda Morning

I do wish that this morning was a Strip District kinda morning, but nope, these photos are from several weekends ago when I spent the weekend in Pittsburgh with mom and dad, Andrew, Sokol and Greg. We went to a Pirate game Saturday night and then spent Sunday morning in Pittsburgh’s Strip District, which just happens to be one of my longtime favorite places in the city. It is a great place to get photos so I thought for fun, I’d take my camera along. Here is what we saw:

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Also, some places we love in the Strip:

Peace, Love & Little Donuts
Pamela’s Diner
Wholey’s Market
Pennsylvania Macaroni Co.
Pittsburgh Public Market

Nourishment Lately 6.9.16

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{One of our peonies, just before bloom. 6.2.16}

Hi! It has been awhile since I’ve checked in with a Nourishment Lately, but how excited I have been to do so. I have discovered some seriously amazing recipes lately, and I truly can’t wait to share!

This tomato sauce. Oh, this tomato sauce. This sauce is my new favorite thing. What I’ve been doing: I make this sauce, add some just undercooked spaghetti noodles and a tiny sprinkle of pecorino romano, sometimes some chopped fresh basil. Best dinner. I kind of not-so-secretly wish I could have this for dinner every single night. I have been making it once a week!

These mushroom walnut burgers. We have made these twice now, and both love them oh-so-much. We’ve intended to grill them, but got rained out each time, so on the stove it was. Changes I made – I used onions instead of shallots, used feta instead of blue cheese and doubled the recipe both times. How I recommend serving: very simply, on a lightly toasted bun, spread with a little bit of butter and some extra cheese, if you please. The simple serving lets the amazing taste of the burgers shine.

This roasted potato salad. This is the only potato salad I ever want. It is the best. Greg and I are both obsessed, and happened to make it as a side dish to the previously mentioned mushroom burgers both times we made them. Changes I made – I one time used dill instead of basil and the other time used basil, and liked it both ways. Also, I left out the walnut oil because I didn’t have any and just substituted a bit more olive oil. The best potato salad ever.

This perfect stovetop popcorn. I am seriously wondering why it took me 26 years to do stovetop popcorn? Now that I have, I am never going back. I never really gave stovetop popping a thought – in the past, it has always been a bag popped in the microwave. But, I recently had a popcorn craving, so one Friday night a couple of weeks ago, a night that we decided was a “movie night” (we watched “The Revenant” — highly, highly recommend!!), I decided to give stovetop popcorn a try. It was so easy! And delicious! I cannot wait to do it again, actually. For that batch, I drizzled the popcorn with melted butter and sprinkled with salt, smoked paprika and nutritional yeast.

These next three links are not food related, but are nourishing in a different way! I thought I’d start sharing “life” things like this as they seem relevant.

This. Lots of different thoughts on this, but I do believe it. Goes along with next link.

This post from Elizabeth Gilbert. I have been an Elizabeth Gilbert fan for a long time now, probably since time one of reading Eat Pray Love. And following her on Facebook is great. There are so many times when I consider deleting my FB account, but then I think of the EG posts I’d be missing, and I reconsider. 😉 She puts some seriously read-worthy stuff out there and her words really, really speak to me. I loved this post from her, it’s a great read, goes very well with the above quote from Pinterest and is such a great thing to discover.

Yoga with Adriene. I have been doing yoga on and off (but mostly on) for about 10 years in some form or another. For some time, I went to an amazing yoga studio in a town near where I grew up. But for most of those 10 years, I have done a home practice. And really, that’s what I prefer. I like to practice in the comfort of my own home, in my own time and space. I have followed several different yoga channels on YouTube over the years, but have now found the last one I will ever need. I started YWA last winter, just after Greg and I moved from Philly, and have fallen more and more in love with her practice every day. She encourages her viewers to “find what feels good” (in yoga, but in all of life, too) and to do yoga to feel supported and strong. I feel compelled to share the goodness of YWA with anyone and everyone! I could go on and on with praise, but if you are looking for something like this, trust me, and look no further.

Happy almost summer! 🙂 

Wholesome Honey-Sweetened Dried Blueberry + Chocolate Snack Cookies

I’ve had this post in my drafts for at least a month now, just waiting to be shared. I haven’t been happy with the photos, and haven’t found myself just sitting down to write in quite some time. But here I am now, sitting to write, on my second (or third?) cup of coffee , and getting over the fact that I don’t love the photos so that I can finally share this recipe that I love so much with you.

Let me tell you about how these little cookies came to be.

Greg and I are not big dessert eaters (well, he isn’t – I love dessert but don’t make it, otherwise I’d eat it all) but we are big snack eaters. I always like to have healthy snacks on hand for times when we just want something before the next meal, or, for times like right now, when I’m just not ready for breakfast yet but my coffee is starting to get to me (just ate one of these cookies). I usually go with some sort of homemade granola bar or something similar (lately, I have been on a healthy banana bread kick). 

Right around this time last year, I made these no-bake almond + peanut butter energy bites. We were consuming those for a long time, but then I started switching it up to more of a baked granola bar because we need something that will hold up for long periods of time without being refrigerated. The energy bites are so good, but they do tend to get crumbly when not refrigerated. 

A few months ago, I was making Sally’s berry vanilla cashew snack bars and was mixing the wet ingredients for that recipe. The combo is: honey, vanilla extract, almond meal, salt and almond butter (I also added some almond extract because I love it). After I mixed that together, I got a spoon, tried a little bit, and thought it tasted like cookies. And it was healthy! I was in love with that combo of ingredients. I sat with those thoughts for a few weeks, did some experimenting and came up with the recipe you see today. I combined those wet ingredients with oats, walnuts, dried fruit and chocolate. So while I am calling these cookies, they are really like granola bars, in a cookie shape, because why not? They are healthy enough to be a wholesome snack, yet in my opinion, delicious enough to be a healthy dessert if that is what you’re looking for. 

Let me break the recipe down a bit:

The oats, walnuts and almond flour: I know that using all three of these is a little high maintenance, but I really like the flavor and texture that using all three brings. We keep the oats and walnuts a little more coarse while the almond meal is more fine and soft, providing great contrast of texture throughout the cookies.

The almond butter: I list almond butter in the ingredient list but I have made this recipe using plain almond butter, vanilla almond butter, sunflower seed butter and a combination! I feel confident that any type of nut butter would work with this recipe, just keeping in mind the changes in taste. 

The dried blueberry + chocolate: This flavor combo was inspired by my childhood obsession with chocolate covered blueberries. I still love the combo, but haven’t had one of those (suspiciously purple) chocolate covered blueberries in years! I have also made these cookies with the following combos: dried cranberry + chocolate, dried cranberry + dried blueberry + dried apricot, plain dried cranberry. They are all good, and I feel confident that so many other combinations would be good, too. Experiment a little, find what you like.

If you are looking for a wholesome, homemade snack, I hope that you will give these a try. I love these little snack cookies and I hope that you get to make them and love them, too!

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Wholesome Honey-Sweetened Dried Blueberry + Chocolate Snack Cookies
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups rolled oats
  2. 3/4 cup walnuts
  3. 1/2 cup honey
  4. 1 cup almond meal
  5. 2 tablespoons almond butter*
  6. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  7. 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  8. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/2 cup dried blueberries
  10. 1/3 cup chocolate**
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add the oats to a food processor and process until coarsely ground. You don't want them to be fine, or whole, but somewhere in between. Add the walnuts and pulse several times, just to lightly chop the walnuts. You want some texture to remain. Add oat mixture to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the chocolate to the food processor and process until broken into little bits. Add the blueberries and pulse several times, to break them up a bit.*** Add chocolate mixture to a bowl and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the honey, almond meal, almond butter, vanilla extract, almond extract and salt. Whisk together until smooth. Mixture will be thick - that's okay. Add the oat mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until very well combined and no dry bits remain. Add the chocolate + blueberry mixture and stir well. I usually go in with my hands and almost "smash" the ingredients together, ensuring that the chocolate + blueberries get fully incorporated into the cookie dough.****
  5. If time allows, refrigerate the dough for at least one hour.*****
  6. Using a spoon, scoop out some dough, and using your hands, roll it into a tight ball. Place on a baking sheet and gently flatten the top of the cookie just a bit. The cookies will not change shape in the oven - whatever shape they go in, is how they will come out. Repeat with remaining dough until all cookies are rolled out and evenly spaced on the baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes. When cookies are done, they will still be soft but will smell amazing and will be golden brown on the bottom.
  8. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. * Use any nut butter that you desire. I have used plain almond butter, vanilla almond butter and sunflower seed butter.
  2. ** Use any type of chocolate that you like. Milk, dark, chips or a bar, I think so much could work here.
  3. *** You don't necessarily have to do this, I just like the add-ins to be small in size. You could also just chop your chocolate if you don't have a food processor.
  4. **** Once everything is mixed together, if dough is too dry, add some additional honey, if dough is too wet, add some whole rolled oats. Dough will be just right when you can form the cookies easily with your hands.
  5. ***** Refrigerating the dough is not necessary, but if time allows, will help the dough to stay together better.
The Dreaming Foodie http://www.thedreamingfoodie.com/