Oatmeal Banana Yogurt Breakfast Muffins

Oatmeal Muffin | Rookery

I’ve been making these muffins for the past few months and I can’t seem to stop. Part of the reason is that they require pretty much zero planning — I always seem to have the ingredients in my pantry, and they don’t need any special prep. And because they actually have some rather wholesome ingredients, it allows me to justify their constant presence in our kitchen. Oh, they’re breakfast muffins. Okay then.

Normally I loathe recipe substitutions and I’ve been suspicious of applesauce for that very reason: “If you just replace the butter and oil with applesauce and false hope, you can hardly taste the difference!” But I tried it and even though you can technically taste the difference, it’s still good enough to justify the sub. For those of you who care, I believe these are also gluten-free (just oat flour).

So to review, this recipe is chock-full of wholesome goodness, like:

– Bananas!
– Yogurt!
– Oatmeal!
– Flax seeds!
– Applesauce!
– ………………………………………………………………chocolate chips! (shhh)

Normally this combination would make me flee. Who needs another healthy (read: gross) muffin? But these are really really good.

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Red Wine Vinegar-Braised Chicken Thighs

Rookery | Vinegar-Braised Chicken Thighs

I made the mistake the other night of having a dinner party and serving something I’d never made before. You’re not supposed to do that! But I was desperate.

It was one of those dinner parties where each guest very kindly tells you ahead of time about his or her dietary restrictions – vegetarian, gluten-free, lactose-intolerant, allergic to eggs. And then they add that you really don’t have to do anything to accommodate them, they’ll just nibble on lettuce so please don’t worry. I think they actually mean it but I would feel sort of bad taking them up on the offer.

Fortunately I had pulled this recipe out of an Oprah Magazine I’d found at the airport (What? Where do you get your recipes?) so I decided to give it a go.

Rookery | Vinegar-Braised Chicken Thighs

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Shakshuka: Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce with Chickpeas and Feta

Shakshuka | Rookery

There’s a special place in recipe heaven reserved for this dish.

First of all, you can make it in one pot. Second, there’s a good chance you already have most of the ingredients you need, save for the feta and the serrano pepper, and the pepper costs two cents (literally – they are sold by weight). Third, it’s fun to say. Shakshuka!

Don’t worry about which country “invented” shakshuka or you will step directly into a cultural sh*tstorm. (Google “Who invented shakshuka” and you’ll see that tempers run high.) Just know that it is enjoyed in many parts of the Middle East and North Africa and it is truly delicious.

Shakshuka | Rookery

It’s the perfect meal to make later in the week when you haven’t been to the grocery store in a few days. It’s also the kind of recipe that would be very easy to sneak additional veggies into, if you were so inclined. Just don’t do anything that makes it too complicated — its history is already complicated enough.  Continue reading

Green Sushi Salad

Sushi Salad | Rookery

I often find myself craving sushi. It’s an expensive craving to have, mostly because once I get to the restaurant I cannot stop eating it. My friends and I even coined a term for the feeling you get when you leave the restaurant and only then realize how full you are: Rice Expansion Disorder (RED).

There’s also the environmental aspect. Some of my favorites, like ahi tuna, are on the Seafood Watch “avoid” list. Ugh.

Sushi Salad | Rookery

That’s why I’m such a big fan of this sushi salad. Because what I’m really craving when I want sushi is UMAMI. I want the salty savoriness, combined with rice and a little bit of wasabi. And this is a great, vegetarian – vegan, in fact! – healthy and non-expensive way to get it. Continue reading

Beet and Fennel Soup with Kefir

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This soup proves that it’s possible to eat something pink on Valentine’s Day and not feel like an idiot.

Jesse and I always cook at home on Valentine’s Day, avoiding restaurants at all costs. But so many Valentine’s Day menus and recipes are way too filling. Nothing says “I love you but I need to pass out on the couch right now” like steak, creamy potatoes and chocolate mousse.

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Other recipes are so complicated and fussy that by the time you are done cooking, you are exhausted and cranky (and, once again, likely to end up passed out on the couch…)

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It’s not like hairy root vegetables are particularly romantic, either. But what this recipe lacks in glamor it makes up for by being light and surprisingly easy. It was earthy and savory and the tartness of the kefir kept the beets from being too sweet and monotonous. With some bread and cheese and a salad, it was the perfect meal. Even if it is bright pink.

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Sauteed Mushrooms with Thyme

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In this recipe, mushrooms aren’t stuck lending their flavor to lackluster main ingredients. Here they are the main event.

There are some superfoods I’m not that into, but I’ll purposefully eat because they are supposedly so good (here’s looking at you, kale). Then there are the superfoods that are so delicious, so un-chore-like to eat, that you would scarf them down even if they were bad for you (hello, blueberries). I put mushrooms in that category.

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But mushrooms don’t get the glory that I think their taste and superfood status deserve. That’s why I love this recipe. It puts the mushrooms front and center. They aren’t taken advantage of to add flavor to other lackluster ingredients. They are the ingredient.

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