Category: Uncategorized

Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall

This blogging lapse was truly a cooking lapse.  I am lucky to have a family that kept giving me food like homemade tomato sauce and green beans from the garden.  When that ran out, I cobbled together meals with scrambled eggs, frozen veggie burgers, baked potatoes, and Greek yogurt.

So while I don’t have any new recipes to share with you today, I can share some old classic recipes.  First, in what I am calling a “goodbye to summer” my Mom roasted red and yellow peppers and used them to wrap fresh mozzarella.  I’ve documented the best method for roasting peppers already, so fire up the grill and get going.

Once the peppers are roasted and sliced, season them with a bit of salt and pepper, then wrap the balls of mozzarella and secure with a toothpick.  Drizzle them with balsamic vinegar and fresh basil, and you’ve got yourself a delicious appetizer.



But we can’t deny that fall is in the air, and apple season has arrived.  I’ve shared this Apple Cake recipe with countless friends, and just about everyone loves it.  A friend of mine took the recipe and made cupcakes, and even added some buttercream frosting to take things up a notch.

Most of the ingredients in the recipe are pantry staples, so you can go apple picking all day and enjoy this cake (or cupcakes!) by the evening.



Enjoy!  I’ll be back with new recipes soon, promise!

Banana Split Bars (Nut Free, Egg Free)

Even if you’re not in the “back to school crowd”, September still presents an opportunity for a new start.  New starts require new snacks, right?  These Banana Split Bars were featured on Skinnytaste; with just a few changes, we made them nut free and egg free, so everyone in the family can dig in.

These bars are much softer than a traditional granola bar, but are still great as an afternoon snack.  They would also be good crumbled over plain yogurt for breakfast.  The original recipe indicates they can be frozen, but I have a feeling that won’t be necessary for this batch.


banana split bar


Banana Split Bars (Nut Free, Egg Free)

1/3 c. quinoa
1/2 c. water
2 c. quick rolled oats
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 c. ripe mashed banana
1 “flax egg” (1 T ground flax+3 T water mixed well and refrigerated for 10 min)
1/4 c. honey
1 T canola oil
2 t vanilla
1/2 c. dried cranberries, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes and drained
1/3 c. mini-chocolate chips

Combine quinoa and water in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat, and keep covered for 5 minutes.  Remove lid, fluff with a fork, and place in a bowl in the refrigerator until completely cool.

Mix oats, cinnamon, and baking soda in a large bowl.  In another large bowl, mix cooled quinoa, banana, “flax egg”, honey, oil, and vanilla. Add banana mixture to oats mixture, and stir just until blended.  Stir in cranberries and chocolate chips.

Prepare a 13×9″ pan by placing foil or parchment paper in a criss-cross fashion.  Coat with cooking spray.  Spread batter evenly in pan.

Bake at 325F for 30-35 minutes.  Remove from pan using the foil or parchment paper, and cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack.  Place in the refrigerator, and slice when completely cooled.

-Lightly adapted from Skinnytaste


Oreo Cake

No long weekend with my family would be complete without at least one cooking disaster.  We set out to make this Oreo Cake, which I had seen on Pinterest.  It includes two layers of chocolate cake with Oreos baked right in, a filling made with whipped cream and Oreo crumbs, and a rich chocolate frosting.

Unfortunately, most of the cake batter ended up on the bottom of the oven, and we gave the smoke detectors a workout.  To be fair, we did use egg replacer and also baked the cake in 8″ round pans instead of 9″.  It’s hard to imagine that those 2 changes would cause such a mess, but I can’t figure out what else might have gone wrong.

We revised the plan, and ended up making 2 layers of chocolate cake from a boxed mix.  We still made the filling and frosting from the original recipe, and finally put it all together.  My nephews ‘decorated’ the cake with Oreos, and here is the final product.


oreo cake


While it wasn’t the best cake we ever made, it was pretty good.  But next time it’s this hot, we’re going to leave the oven off and eat ice cream.

Egg and Tomato Wrap

I spied some grape tomatoes at the grocery store last week.  They’re not local, or in season, but I still wanted them.  When I got home, I immediately tossed them in the oven with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper.  30 minutes later, I had a dish of roasted tomatoes, ready for something.

That something turned out to be this egg and tomato wrap.  It’s more of a meal idea than a recipe, but so good that I had to share.  I put some of the roasted tomatoes in a frying pan, and added 2 beaten eggs.

When the eggs were done, I place them on a tortilla and sprinkled cheese on top.  I wrapped the tortilla, and placed it seam side down in the still-hot frying pan.  I flipped it after a few minutes to brown the other side, and then breakfast/brunch/lunch? was served.


Top 10 Vegetarian Family-Friendly Dinners

When my friend Leah visited, she mentioned she was looking for some new recipes to cook for her family.  With the new year, many of you might be looking for some new recipes as well!  So by her request, here are my Top 10 Vegetarian Family-Friendly Dinners.

These recipes are plant-heavy, yield enough food for a small crowd, and aim to please the diverse palates around the table.  I excluded a few of my favorites that might be too spicy, like Ethiopian Chickpea Stew, and a few that were really time intensive, like Vegetarian Pad Thai.  Not all of these recipes are quick, but there are often components which can be made ahead so they’ll fit into your schedule.

If your family eats meat on a regular basis, you may wish to designate one night a week for a vegetarian meal, like Meatless Monday.  It’s a great way to introduce more plant-based meals which are good for you and the environment.  Without any further ado, here’s the list:


Butternut Squash Chili – This was one of the Best Recipes of 2012, and one of my personal favorites.  Don’t skip the avocado garnish!

Black Bean and Pineapple Soup – Another hearty main dish soup, which you could serve over brown rice for a complete meal.


Broccoli Mac & Cheese – There’s nothing like a good dish of homemade macaroni and cheese.  This version is lighter, and tastes better than anything that comes out of a blue box!

Crockpot Stuffed Mushrooms –  Mushrooms are cooked in a delicious blend of tomatoes and balsamic, and can be served over noodles or rice.  Plus, your crockpot does the work.

Eggplant Meatballs – I’ve been making this recipe for years, and they always come out just a bit differently, but good.  If you make the meatballs and sauce ahead of time, all you have to do when you come home is boil the pasta.  I need to make this again soon so I can get a good picture.

Italian Baked Potatoes – This recipe is best when tomatoes are in their prime (August/September) but can be made other times of the year as well.  You can multiply the recipe to feed any number of people, and serve the potatoes with a side salad to round out the meal.


Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie – You can assemble this shepherd’s pie over the weekend, and then bake it for dinner.  This makes quite a bit, so you’ll have plenty of leftovers for lunch.


Zucchini Black Bean Enchiladas – I know I am partial to zucchini, but I have made this recipe several times and it’s been a hit with everyone.  You make your own enchilada sauce so you can set the right spice level for your family.



Banana Sour Cream Pancakes – There’s nothing like breakfast for dinner.  Some fresh fruit makes it a meal.


Peanut Noodles – This is actually the only recipe in the list that uses tofu.  It’s also the only dish that’s meant to be served cold, so it’s probably better for those hot summer days.

And there’s my Top 10 list….but what’s at the top of your list?

Best Recipes of 2012

As I searched through the archives of 2012 to come up with the best recipes of the year, I realized just what a crazy year it was!  My life was in transition and my cooking was too.  But I did keep cooking, and that’s all that really counts.

To wrap up 2012, I offer you the dishes that I know I’ll make in 2013 and beyond.  If you have any favorites that I didn’t list, feel free to mention them in the comments.

Thanks, as always, for reading!  Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2013.


Best Recipe to Enjoy with Coffee: Crackly Banana Bread


Best Ethnic Meal: Eggplant Tikka Masala (you can serve with rice or  Homemade Naan)

Best Recipe to Stock Your Freezer: Crockpot Tomato Sauce

Best Quick and Healthy Soup: Tortellini Minestrone


Second Best Healthy Soup (and takes a little longer): Butternut Squash Chili


Best Use of Party Leftovers: Corn and Zucchini Chowder


Best New Holiday Recipe: Hot Cross Biscuits


Richest Dessert: Peanut Butter Blondies

Best Use of Local Produce: Butternut Squash Butter

And of course, the best project of 2012…..The Great Train Cake

Nutrition Blog Network

I am very happy to announce that Recipes that Fit is now part of the Nutrition Blog Network!  The network only includes blogs written by Registered Dietitians, so you can be sure you’re getting information from a reliable source.  Dietitians are THE experts in food and nutrition.

The network includes blogs which cover a variety of topics including managing diabetes, healthy eating for pregnancy, and sustainable practices.  I suggest you hop over to the directory, and I am sure you’ll find at least a few new blogs to read.

Thanks, as always, for reading!


Butternut Squash Butter

Everyone’s heard of pumpkin butter, but with so much butternut squash at my fingertips, I wanted to make butternut butter.  I used this recipe from Eat, Live, Run as a guide.  Thankfully, I also had one big assistant and one little assistant for the project!

We started by weighing the squash, because the amount of squash will drive how much of the other ingredients you need.  However, I cut way back on the sugar from the original recipe – this squash is so sweet on it’s own, you just don’t need that much.  This scale is truly an antique, but it still works.


My big assistant did all the peeling and slicing, and I roasted the squash in the oven.  Then my little assistant helped to measure all the other ingredients and put them in the food processor along with the roasted squash.



My big and little assistants teamed up for the most exciting part – pushing the buttons on the food processor.



The original recipe called for putting the mixture on the stove to thicken, but ours was already quite thick at this point.  I did put it on the stove to heat through, but then we were done and ready to put it in glass jars.  The little assistant got a snack of plain yogurt with a spoonful of butternut butter, which he loved!  I spread some on a piece of whole wheat toast later on, and really enjoyed this fall treat.



Butternut Squash Butter

1 (4 lb.) butternut squash, peeled and sliced thinly
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 t. vanilla
2 T lemon juice

Place butternut squash slices in a single layer on a cookie sheet and roast at 400F for 20-25 minutes.  Repeat this process until all the squash is roasted.  Place squash, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, and lemon juice in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Place mixture in a pan on the stove and cook until thickened, as needed.

-Recipe adapted from Eat, Live, Run

Swiss Chard, Take 1

My parents have a small garden with mostly tomatoes and peppers, but they also grew some Swiss chard this year.  We thought it would be fun to involve my older nephew in the harvesting and cooking of the Swiss chard, since kids are more likely to try new vegetables when they have helped to pick them out and prepare them.



My Mom did the cutting while my nephew held the leaves.



He took the job of washing the leaves very seriously, for a not-quite-3 year old.


At this point, he lost interest in the project and had to go to swim lessons anyway.  I cut the stems from the Swiss chard, and cooked them in a pan with a bit of olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes.  Then I added the torn leaves, and cooked it for a few minutes more.  We ended up with a gorgeous bowl of Swiss chard to have with dinner.  It doesn’t get more local than this!



The rest of us really enjoyed this, but my nephew didn’t end up taking one bite of the Swiss chard.  And that’s OK, because it often takes several exposures for kids to try new food.  We’ll try again soon!

Wagon Wheel Pizza

We had a fun weekend, complete with a train themed birthday party for my littlest nephew.  I’ll have the story of his birthday cake and some cute pictures ready tomorrow, but in the meantime, let’s start with some of the food.

Consistent with the train theme, my sister served food from the Wild West including BBQ Pork, Chicken, Wagon Wheel Macaroni & Cheese, Baked Beans (recipe coming Wednesday!), and Cole Slaw.  We also made these Wagon Wheel Pizzas which turned out to be a fun option for both the little kids and big kids.

They’re really just typical mini- bagel pizzas which use strips of red pepper for ‘spokes’.  The cheese goes underneath the topping so that they’re more visible.  It’s a great way to add some veggies in too.  We also tried this with strips of meatloaf, but the visual effect wasn’t quite as good.  The pizzas are easy to make in advance, and then you can just pop them into the oven when the train of guests arrives!



Wagon Wheel Pizzas

Tomato Sauce
Mozzarella Cheese
Red Pepper Strips

Spread a spoonful of sauce on each mini-bagel.  Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Place red pepper strips in a spoke fashion.  Bake at 400F for 10-15 minutes.