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Soft Molasses Cookies

2 1/4 cups Clearly Organic All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon Clearly Organic Cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon Clearly Organic Ground Ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 teaspoons Clearly Organic Butter, softened
1/3 cup Clearly Organic Brown Sugar
1/3 cup Clearly Organic Granulated Sugar
1 large Clearly Organic Egg Yolk
1 teaspoon Clearly Organic Vanilla
1/2 cup dark molasses

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, pepper and salt. Set aside. Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer beat together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk and vanilla then continue beating until ingredients are well distributed. Then add molasses and continue beating on medium low speed. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Slowly add flour mixture a cup at a time while beating on low. Then give dough a final stir to ensure all ingredients are incorporated. Roll dough,1 tablespoon at a time, into balls and place on a baking sheet 2 inches apart. Only bake one cookie sheet at a time. Place in preheated oven and bake for 11 minutes. Cookies may look underdone when you take them out, but allow them to cool on the pan for 5 minutes before removing.

Soft Molasses Cookies Soft Molasses Cookies
Soft Molasses Cookies Soft Molasses Cookies
Soft Molasses Cookies Soft Molasses Cookies
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Holiday Baking

Many people have family traditions of baking cookies, candies or breads around the holidays. These time honored traditions are a great way to connect with loved ones and cultivate creativity in the kitchen. During the month of December we’ll be highlighting delicious holiday treats. Cookies and sweet breads are my favorite holiday foods, to eat and share! I’ll be baking up several festive creations that you could serve at your Holiday party or share with your family and friends.

Any recipe is only as good as its ingredients. Be sure to have fresh baking soda, baking powder, eggs, flour and sugar in your pantry. Fresh oil, butter and coconut oil are also great to keep on hand for last minute holiday baking. By cooking up your own holiday treats you’re limiting the amount of extra preservatives, artificial ingredients and food dies that are often found in store bought desserts. It’s also possible to create mostly organic treats in your own kitchen by choosing base ingredients that are USDA certified organic. Let the baking season begin! Have fun preparing, sharing and enjoying your favorite holiday treats.

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Healthy Alfredo Sauce

This flavorful sauce goes great with Clearly Organic Whole Wheat Rotini, broccoli and sautéed shrimp. It also makes a delicious white sauce for a homemade pizza with spinach and garlic. The possibilities are endless with this easy to make healthy Alfredo sauce.

1 Tablespoon Clearly Organic Olive Oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup Clearly Organic Milk
1/2 cup Clearly Organic Chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2-4 Tablespoons flour
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon pesto
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil and minced garlic in a large sauté pan over medium heat, stirring quickly to ensure it doesn’t burn. Add milk and broth, continue stirring. Begin adding 1 Tablespoon of flour at a time. Stir with a whisk to reduce clumps. Add salt & pepper, pesto and cheese. Stir and let simmer for 3 minutes. If the sauce is too thin add more flour, if it looks too thick add more milk. Add sauce to your favorite mix of vegetables and noodles.

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Beer Bread

This flavorful bread goes great with your favorite homemade soup, especially tomato soup and chili!

3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Clearly Organic Sugar
1 (12oz) beer or 7-up/Sprite
3 Tablespoons Clearly Organic Butter, melted (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add flour to a mixing bowl and sift. Add baking powder, salt and sugar to flour and stir. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour beer (or soda) into mixture. Stir until all moisture is absorbed, batter may still have a few lumps. Add batter to greased loaf pan and, if desired, pour 3 tablespoons melted butter over the top before baking to add a rich buttery flavor. Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.

Beer Bread Beer Bread
Beer Bread
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Harvest Mac and Cheese

1 cup Clearly Organic Whole Wheat Rotini
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 Tablespoon butter
1 small yellow onion
1 small butternut squash (4-5 cups cubed)
4 cups Clearly Organic Chicken Broth
3/4 cup Clearly Organic Milk
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shredded cheese (Sharp cheddar or Gruyere work best, but any cheese will work)
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook rotini noodles according to package directions. Add cauliflower to water in the last 4 minutes of cooking then add broccoli in the last 2 minutes of cook time. Drain noodles, cauliflower and broccoli and set aside. Heat butter in a large sauté pan over medium to low heat. Cut yellow onion into rings and add to butter in the sauté pan. Continue cooking on low until onions are translucent and fragrant, about 20 minutes. Keep heat low to prevent burning. While onions caramelize remove skin and seeds from squash. Cut squash into small cubes. Bring broth to a boil and add squash. Cook for about 7 minutes or until fork tender. Reserve 1/2 cup broth and then drain squash and transfer to a food processor or blender. Add onions, milk, salt and reserved broth to processor or blender. Purée until completely smooth and creamy. Should yield about 4 cups. Pour the puréed sauce over the cooked noodles and broccoli. Add shredded cheese and stir to melt. Add milk to adjust consistency, if needed. Serve with avocado and hot sauce as a garnish if desired.

Harvest Mac and Cheese Harvest Mac and Cheese
Harvest Mac and Cheese Harvest Mac and Cheese
Harvest Mac and Cheese Harvest Mac and Cheese
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Deviled Eggs

6 Clearly Organic Eggs, hard boiled & sliced in half
2 Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
Slash of hot sauce (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Clearly Organic Paprika to garnish

Place cooked egg yolks in a small mixing bowl. Mash with a fork. Stir in Greek yogurt, Dijon, worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Scoop the filling into the egg whites. Sprinkle with paprika.

Deviled eggs can be garnished with green onion, chives, bacon bits, olives or any of your favorite savory toppings.

Deviled Eggs Deviled Eggs
Deviled Eggs Deviled Eggs

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Organic Comfort Foods

It’s that delightful time of year when the crisp autumn air draws us back to warm comfort foods like casseroles, homemade macaroni & cheese and grilled cheese with tomato soup. These classic fall foods warm up our bodies and prepare us for winter. The base ingredient of many comfort foods is cheese, cream cheese and noodles. None of which can be touted as health foods. However, all of these ingredients when included in the right amount can make a delicious healthy meal.

Over the next month we’ll be highlighting healthy, and organic, ways to make your favorite comfort foods. Mac and cheese can be made balanced and healthy. Each traditional dish will include vegetables, whole grains and of course a healthy amount of cheese and cream cheese. My hope is that you will find fresh inspiration to make your favorite comfort dish healthy for your body and soul.

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Do It Yourself

Almost all of our favorite foods can be found pre-made at the grocery store. It’s difficult to walk away from the convenience of food that is already assembled and ready to go. However, some of the store bought ready made foods come with extra sugar, salt, oil and calories. This is definitely true of one of my favorite snacks – trail mix. This portable and light weight snack is great at warding off hunger and it can linger in your travel bag for a few days and still taste pretty good. It’s tempting to buy trail mix pre-made, but once you start looking at the ingredient list of popular brands it is easy to convince yourself to make your own blend.

Many store bought trail mixes will contain excess amounts of sugar and oil as preservatives. This adds a substantial amount of calories, sugar and fat to a food that is already very calorie dense. To avoid these added calories simply make your own. The best nuts to purchase for a trail mix are raw or unsalted almonds, cashews, pecans and walnuts. The best dried fruits are dried cherries, cranberries, dates, figs or raisins. Adding pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or organic coconut flakes can also provide another nutritional punch. By enjoying trail mix in a 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup portion you allow this power food to stay the healthy option that it was meant to be.

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Winter Squash

A sure sign of Fall is the colorful array of winter squash that become available at your local grocery store. These thick skinned vegetables are not only pretty to look at, they are also very nutritious. They deliver a host of different Vitamins including A, C, E and B6. Squash is also an excellent source of carotenoids along with important anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds.

Squash is actually a broad term used to describe a number of different vegetables, including pumpkins, zucchini and courgettes. Each individual species has a lot of overlapping characteristics, and they each include dozens of varieties like: acorn, butternut and spaghetti squash, just to name a few. In North America we simplify most varieties as summer or winter squash. These classifications are primarily based on when the squash ripens and can be consumed. Most winter squash is grown in the summer and harvested in the Fall. Winter squash has such a thick exterior it can be stored for several months and eaten during the winter season, hence the name. Now is the time to incorporate a colorful winter squash into your next recipe.

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Why Try Chia Seeds?

Recently we’ve highlighted two recipes, blueberry muffins and oatmeal, that have involved chia seeds. When you saw this unique ingredient on the list you might have thought to yourself-What is that? And where do I get chia seeds? These whole grain seeds have been around for thousands of years. Legend has it that chia seeds were a staple in the diet of ancient Mayans and Aztecs. In fact, the word chia is derived from the Mayan language and means “strength”.

 

I feel that once you try these nutrient dense seeds you will know why the ancients called them strength. These tiny seeds deliver generous amounts of fiber, protein and Omega-3’s in just a one ounce portion (1oz of chia seeds = about 2 Tablespoons). Most chia seeds are also grown organically, so they contain no GMO’s and they are naturally gluten free. You can find chia seeds at most major grocery stores. However, you might have to ask a store employee where they have them located. Most health food stores sell chia seeds from the bulk bins, so you can purchase any desired quantity.

 

The most common uses for chia seeds are in smoothies, baked goods or sprinkled on a salad. I prefer soaking the seeds in advance before adding them to my recipe or smoothie. Some believe soaking the seeds makes the nutrients more accessible by our digestive system. The recipes we’ve posted on our Clearly Organic blog have the soaking process in the directions. If you’ve never tried chia seeds check out our recipes and let us know what you think!

 

Chia Seeds
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