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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Spanakopita (Spinach) Quiche

Spinach Quiche | Rookery

If you’re stumped for what to cook for dinner, might I suggest the lowly quiche? It’s easy, you can make it ahead of time, it’s great left over, and if you add enough veggies you can sort of forget about the hidden doses of milk and cheese.

I had always dismissed quiches as kind of stodgy, but in the past few weeks I’ve been on a quiche honeymoon. I’ve made four of them – four! February will do weird things to people.

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Do It Yourself Thin Mints

Thin Mints | Rookery

I couldn’t resist this recipe. The promise is so great – that you can make your own thin mints in fifteen minutes without any baking. It sounds too good to be true, but at its core there’s an ingenious trick.

If the sleight of hand worked, it would be amazing. And if it didn’t work, I would still be left with chocolate-covered Ritz crackers, and how could that be bad?

Well, I needn’t have worried because — eureka! It works! Add this to your list of Important Things To Know: coating Ritz crackers in chocolate and peppermint extract gives you a crazy thin mint doppelgänger. They do not taste like crackers. Except for the fact that the inner “cookie” is white rather than brown, I don’t think I ever would have guessed something was amiss.

Thin Mints | Rookery

I pondered this, as one is wont to do while eating an entire roll of thin mints at the kitchen counter. The crunch — yes, the crunch was perfect. The flavor was indistinguishable. And so here I am with one more dessert recipe made from a classic cracker…maybe that’s a blog within itself.

I grant you that these are not technically “homemade” and they do have some rather not-so-wholesome ingredients in them, as packaged foods do. And yes, it’s possible to make your own thin mints from scratch without any partially hydrogenated anything.

But when a shortcut like this comes along, it’s really too good to pass up. Continue reading

Lemon Atlantic Beach Pie and the Saltine Challenge

Lemon Atlantic Beach Pie | Rookery

Sometimes the idea of a food and the reality of that food just don’t match. That’s what I learned when I made this pie for a picnic. For me, lemon pie evokes summer, outdoors, barbecues and iced tea, which made it seem perfect for the picnic we were going to in Stern Grove. I didn’t really think critically about this until I had baked it and it was time to leave the apartment.

Then I realized how totally impractical lemon pie is as a picnic dessert. You can’t transport it without smooshing it. It requires refrigeration. And forks. And plates. And whipped cream on top, which you will have to transport separately. What was I thinking? Why couldn’t I just bake cookies like a normal human being?

Lemon Atlantic Beach Pie | Rookery

On the plus side, what the dessert lacked in transportability it made up for in ease and deliciousness. The saltine crust is a revelation. You could probably skip the filling and just eat the saltine crust and be happy. In fact, maybe I’ll just make that for the next picnic.

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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

Pizza with Lemon and Brussels Sprouts

Rookery | Brussel Sprout Lemon Pizza

Yeah, I know, it doesn’t seem like brussels sprouts would be that great on a pizza. They are kind of dense and earthy while pizza should be lighter and zestier. However, when you just use the leaves and not the cabbage-y core, you have a sturdy green that holds up well in the oven and practically soaks up the flavor of the lemon slices. This pizza is really good.

Rookery | Brussel Sprout Lemon Pizza

I found out about it when I hosted a potluck pizza party. Rather than have people bring a random array of salads and potato dishes (aren’t potlucks the worst?), we asked them to bring toppings for their favorite pizza, and we’d supply the dough. When my friend arrived with a sack of brussels sprouts and a lemon I thought maybe she’d misunderstood the invitation. How wrong I was! Continue reading