cookies before baking_

I first met Cathy Barrow “virtually” back in 2009. We were both new bloggers. And frequent participants in the recipe contests run by Food52.

In the summer of 2010, Cathy and I made plans to meet up for lunch at The Spotted Pig in NYC. I recall being extremely nervous beforehand: I didn’t know if we’d have anything to talk about! Well, conversation didn’t end up being a problem…we gabbed for hours, and we have been good friends ever since. We’ve roomed together at blogging/writing conferences, we’ve had many more meals together, and I’ve spent the weekend at her lovely home in Washington, DC. And now it is with great pleasure that I get to tell you about Cathy’s newly published cookbook: Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year-Round Preserving.

Cathy is truly a preserving maven: she is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about the craft of canning. Her first book (I am pretty certain there will be more!) is both beautifully written and photographed (the photos were taken by Christopher Hirscheimer and Melissa Hamilton, the team behind the wildly successful Canal House). If you enjoy spending time in the kitchen and have an interest in preserving fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, canning beans and soups, and making cheese, I think you will love Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry.

One of the things I like most about this book is that it’s not just a collection of preserving techniques. It also includes numerous “bonus” recipes that show you how to use what you have preserved. Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Rugelach, which I made with 2 kinds of jam, is the perfect example.

I’ve sampled Cathy’s jams many times before this book was published and I know them to be exceptional, so I was excited to see her recipe for Straight-Up Preserves with Any Fruit. This is a brilliant recipe that works as a starting point for turning just about any fruit into jam, and Cathy gives many suggestions for herbs, spices, and other flavorings one may use to complement the fruit. With guidance from the book, I made Pear Preserves with Bourbon and Rosemary.

pears_

syrup dripping

pear preserves

Then I used some of the pear preserves (along with some of my Preserved Rose Petals) in Cathy’s rugelach.

dough and rolling pin_

2 preserves on dough 1_

2 preserves on dough

cookies in process

pear preserves + walnuts on dough

These rugelach are really fabulous and I will be making them again and again! I hope you’ll give them a try, and that you will pick up a copy of Cathy’s book.
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brown rice salad with chard and grapes

The first killing frost has come and gone, and while my garden is pretty much a wasteland right now, not everything edible is gone. I have some herbs that are still hanging on, for example. And lots of chard.

chard | healthy green kitchen

I planted far more chard than was reasonable this year considering I don’t cook with it all that much. I used some of mine a couple of months back when I attempted a chard-based version of one of my favorite Indian dishes: Palak Paneer, and I’ve thrown a few leaves into soups every now and then. But I still have lots, so I was happy when I saw a pretty salad featuring chard in the beautiful cookbook Vibrant Food: Celebrating the Ingredients, Recipes, and Colors of Each Season.

I love this book (written and photographed by the very talented Kimberly Hasselbrink of The Year in Food)! I have been cooking from it for the past few months since publisher Ten Speed Press sent me a review copy. In addition to the brown rice salad with chard, grapes, and hazelnuts you see here, I’ve made the Poached Apricots with Rose Water, the Squash Blossom Quesadillas, and the Sweet Corn and Squash Fritters with Avocado Crema. Everything has been great.

Kimberly’s recipe for this chard salad includes wild rice. I like wild rice a lot, but I didn’t have any in the house. So I opted to use short grain brown rice instead. I didn’t use the rosemary garnish, but otherwise followed her recipe for this fabulous salad to the letter.

brown rice salad with chard and grapes
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Never in my life did I imagine that at 44 years old I would:

1. wear a singlet in public
2. lift weights in front of judges and a crowd of people

But last weekend I did just that when I competed in my first powerlifting meet.

squat

And I had a awesome day, you guys! I lifted well and I had a really great time. I very much look forward to doing it again. I’ll try to write more about the experience when I’ve had a little more time to process “all the feels”.

Now let’s talk about this Thai Chicken Curry recipe. It comes from The Real Food Cookbook: Traditional Dishes for Modern Cooks by Nina Planck. I received an advanced reading copy of this cookbook from the publisher a few months back, and I have tried a bunch of the recipes since then. In addition to this Thai Chicken Curry, my favorite recipes so far have been the Caesar Salad, the Ricotta Pesto, and the Fermented Ginger Ale. The Downy Vanilla Cheesecake is also terrific!

thai chicken curry | healthy green kitchen

I really like Nina’s writing. I enjoyed her book Real Food: What to Eat and Why(2008) very much, and was excited when I heard she was writing a cookbook. The great thing is this cookbook is not preachy or pretentious, and it’s filled with exactly the type of food that I like and want to eat: food that’s nourishing and immensely satisfying, without being fussy. You don’t have to go to the ends of the earth to find the ingredients needed to make the food in this book :)

My son proclaimed this his favorite Thai dish that I have cooked, and since I use Thai flavors a fair amount, I think that says a lot. FYI cold leftovers are quite wonderful!
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As I mentioned a few weeks back, I am competing in my first powerlifting meet tomorrow. I am nervous but also looking forward to it. I’ve spent this week training pretty light, stretching a lot, and trying to get as much sleep as possible so I can go in with lots of energy and minimal anxiety.

I decided to compete in this meet about two months ago and since then I’ve made some adjustments to the way I eat, especially when it comes to my protein intake. Protein is always important, but perhaps even more so when you strength train with heavy weights. I work particularly hard to make sure I am eating enough of this macronutrient.

High Protein Oatmeal | Healthy Green Kitchen

Though I previously wasn’t that big a fan of protein powders, I have found them to be nothing short of essential as of late: without supplementing with some protein powder on a daily basis, I simply don’t eat enough protein to meet my current needs. Right now I am eating about 110 grams of protein a day (this is 1 gram or protein per pound of my body weight).

Does this mean I think everyone should be supplementing with protein powder? No, not at all. While protein at or near the amount I am consuming may be useful to you, the amount of protein you need and whether or not protein powder is right for you depend on the context of your lifestyle and activity level, not mine.

{Ah, context. Such an important concept when it comes to matters of nutrition. We don’t all inhabit the same body nor do we live the same life (obviously!), so “one size fits all” nutritional recommendations really don’t make sense, do they?}

I like this recipe because I can quickly mix up 4 individual servings. Then I can grab one from the fridge in the morning and add a little more milk and maybe some fresh fruit (in these photos I’ve used pomegranate arils) before I head out to the gym. The lid makes tucking one into my purse super easy.

I don’t usually put my recipes through a nutritional calculator but just for kicks I decided to do it this time. The calorie and macronutrient breakdown of this overnight high protein oatmeal recipe (without any fruit or anything else added on top) comes out as follows:

For each serving (presuming 4 servings), approximately:
300 calories
10 grams fat
34 grams carbs
24 grams protein

I think this is great because there’s almost 1/4 of my protein requirement right there.

This recipe was inspired by Refrigerator Oatmeal from The Yummy Life. I used short 1 cup glass canning jars with plastic lids to make this recipe.
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cinnamon rolls in pan | healthy green kitchen

On the weekends, my husband and I try to take our dogs for a long walk on both Saturday and Sunday. Last Saturday was really rainy so there was no walking or much of anything else (we stayed home and watched 3 movies instead!), but on Sunday we were excited to hit our favorite trail. It was a gorgeous day with an decidely fall-ish chill in the air; the foliage is pretty spectacular this time of year so it was great to be outside in the midst of it.

hike with dogs

hike with dogs

hike with dogs

Before we left, I made some cinnamon rolls for us to eat on the way and for my kids to munch on once they got up (there seems to be no convincing our teenagers to join us on our weekend walks these days as they’d rather sleep in…surprise, surprise). I wasn’t really looking for gooey, super sweet cinnamon rolls; rather, I wanted something satisfying, but not too decadent. These honey and greek yogurt glazed cinnamon rolls were perfect.

I used Jovial Organic Einkorn Flour in the dough, and added honey both to the dough and the glaze.

flour and honey

The dough mixes up quickly…

dough and toes | healthy green kitchen

and doesn’t need any time to rise since there is no yeast.

dough on counter | healthy green kitchen

The brown sugar filling can be doubled if you are looking for a sweeter treat.

dough and filling
dough and filling cut | healthy green kitchen

(This recipe was inspired by three sources: Quick Cinnamon Rolls from Once Upon a Chef, Vegan Cinnamon Buns with Chocolate and Figs from Laura Wright for Baked The Blog, and Honey Buns from Martha Stewart. If you want to make a slightly different quick cinnamon roll that’s also gluten free, try my buckwheat cinnamon roll recipe.)
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