Category Archives: Snacks

Nectarine Love

For me, it’s not summer without an abundance of fruit. I can say without exaggeration that my little family of three has eaten no less than 100 nectarines in the past two months. I know, kind of ridiculous.

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We also are big fans of all types of berries, watermelon, pineapple, kiwi, etc., but the nectarine definitely reigns king around here. We’ve enjoyed nectarine caprese a few times each week since I discovered it last month — it just doesn’t get old. I’ve also been adding nectarines to a simple spinach salad with blue cheese, thinly sliced red onions, candied pecans, and a balsamic vinaigrette. So yum!

I know a big portion of the country is partial to the nectarine’s cousin, the peach. For everyday eating, I personally prefer the crispness of the nectarine, its resilient texture, and the smooth, edible peel. (I do choose the peach for baking purposes, though.) Like the peach, the nectarine comes in both freestone and cling varieties. So here’s my gripe. Why can most American grocers not label nectarines according to their pit variety, just as they do with the peach?!

I have asked multiple produce people at various grocery stores, and no one ever knows. Even at our local fruit stand, where they seem to be experts on every other produce item — no matter how rare — the dudes have absolutely no idea what kind of nectarines are in their bins. It varies week to week.

Since I find nectarines¬†much more enjoyable to eat sliced, I am practically giddy when I end up with a freestone batch and can pop the fruit clean off the pit. They’re just so messy and sloppy when you try to eat them whole. And freestones also make a much nicer presentation in salads, etc. I tend to end up with mangy-looking fruit after slicing a cling nectarine. But you never know what you’ve purchased until you slice into the first one … It makes me feel like a small child on Easter, opening up those plastic eggs, excited to see what’s inside. A freestone nectarine is comparable to finding good chocolate. A cling nectarine is similar to finding a temporary tattoo that your mom takes away from you because she’s afraid it’s laced with LSD. (What? Did that never happen to you?)

Anyway, this really needs to be remedied. What do I need to do? Petition the National Grocers Association?

Is there some kind of trick to determine what kind of nectarine you’re getting and I’m just in the dark? If you know, please let me in on the secret!!

Milk Makin’ Oatmeal-Flaxseed Lactation Cookies

When I went back to work after having Lucas, I pumped my boobs off to meet my daily breastmilk quota. It was difficult and stressful, but I discovered a few things along the way that really helped my supply, namely these lactation cookies. They’re also just dang tasty, whether or not you’re breastfeeding. Tell your husband not to worry if he can’t help himself and eats a few, he will not spontaneously lactate. Promise.

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There are a lot of recipes for similar cookies floating around. I combined a few and after many, many batches, think I have the recipe perfected. I’m due with our second baby this October and plan to have a large stash of this dough in the freezer before our little one arrives. I also like to make them for new moms as a baby-welcoming gift. (And if you just don’t feel like baking, you can buy the Milkmakers brand of pre-made cookies. I hear they’re yummy, but haven’t tried them myself.)

Lactation cookies help boost milk supply with three key ingredients; oats, ground flaxseed, and brewer’s yeast. My lactation consultant originally recommended this recipe, which also details why all of these ingredients are so important for nursing moms. I like to use coconut oil instead of butter, since the lauric acid it contains has beneficial antiviral, antibacterial, and parasiticidal properties that support the immune system of both baby and mama. If you just want a terrific, fiber-rich cookie recipe, feel free to leave out the brewer’s yeast.

Milk Makin’ Oatmeal-Flaxseed Lactation Cookies

Makes about 2 1/2-3 dozen.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 3 T. brewer’s yeast
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole oats
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In KitchenAid or other stand mixer, slowly mix together coconut oil, sugars, eggs, peanut butter, applesauce, vanilla extract, ground flaxseed, and brewer’s yeast until mixture is smooth.
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet, mixing on level 1-2 until almost combined. Then, one at a time, add in oats, cranberries, walnuts, and chocolate chips, and mix until the dough comes together with no streaks of flour remaining.
  5. Drop 1-inch balls of cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets, leaving a little room for the cookies to spread.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are set.
  7. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. To freeze dough, flash freeze dough balls on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Once frozen, place individual dough balls in Ziploc bag to store. Bake from frozen, adding 1 to 2 minutes to final baking time.

Four-Ingredient Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

My kiddo cannot get enough of these ridiculously easy, four-ingredient “breakfast cookies.” And to be honest, neither can I. They’re a great snack for this pregnant, on-the-go mama, and Lucas thinks it’s pretty freakin’ awesome that I’ve been letting him eat “cookies” for breakfast … and snack, lunch, etc.
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Yes, it has been a cookie bonanza around our house since I discovered this recipe a couple months ago — variations are plastered all over Pinterest. These cookies seriously take only about five minutes to whip up, around 15 minutes to bake, and they will disappear faster than you can blink!

I only have made these with bananas, but any very ripe, mashable fruit will work. My friend Camille made them with half bananas and half strawberries, and said they were amazing. I’ll be trying that combo soon!

Four-Ingredient Oatmeal and Fruit Breakfast Cookies

(Makes about a dozen cookies)

Ingredients

  1. Two very ripe bananas (Or equivalent amount of other ripe, mashable fruit, e.g., strawberries.)
  2. One heaping tablespoon of creamy peanut butter
  3. One cup of raw oats (I always have old-fashioned oats on hand, but quick-cooking oats will work, too. Just don’t use steel cut.)
  4. One-quarter to one-half teaspoon of cinnamon (Use your own taste preference.)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Mash up the bananas and peanut butter, mix in the oats and cinnamon, and drop by the tablespoon onto a greased cookie sheet. (I never have used my Silpat Non-Stick Silicone Baking Liner as much as I have since beginning to make these cookies all the time!)
  3. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes. The cookies will not brown or spread very much. And by very much, I mean at all.
  4. Slightly smash with the back of a flat spoon when you remove from the oven, then let cool.
  5. Enjoy!