Browsing Tag


Kid Friendly Sweets

Breakfast Cookies with Oatmeal, Cinnamon and Raisins

I wish my house could smell like fresh-baked oatmeal raisin cookies all the time.   The sweet smells of  cinnamon and brown sugar remind me of  my childhood, when I’d come home from school and my Mom had made her famous oatmeal cherry chocolate chip and everything but the kitchen sink cookies.  That was always a happy day.

I still bake those cookies for my family, but I’ve come up with a version that’s perfect for breakfast, and my morning coffee. 

Morning coffee in my favorite mug from Spruce Goose Cafe in Port Townsend, WA

Whole grain flour, rolled oats, raisins and cinnamon baked just a little crispy outside and soft and chewy inside.  Mmmm… these are pure heaven in a cookie.  Especially at 5am in the morning when I’m summoned out of bed by my wooly mammoth pretending to be an old sweet Airedale.

My wooly mammoth giving me a grin

Makes about 24 Cookies


1 Cup organic coconut oil, or ½ cup butter and ½ cup organic coconut oil

3/4 Cup dark brown sugar (sometimes I use only ½ cup and they still taste great)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 ½ cups organic whole wheat pastry flour (King Arthur)

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 cups uncooked oats (quick cook or rolled oats)

1 cup organic raisins


Preheat the oven to 350F.  In a large bowl, beat together coconut oil and brown sugar until light and creamy.  Next, add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. 

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Add the flour mixture to the oil brown sugar mixture and mix well.  Mix in the oats and raisins until thoroughly combined. 

Line a baking sheet with parchment.  Using a small ice cream scoop, drop cookies onto the baking sheet two inches apart.  Bake 12 – 14 minutes or until the cookies are a golden brown.  Cool for one minute on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack.  Store tightly covered.


Stuffed Pork Loin with Fresh Spinach, Feta and Golden Raisins

I just might have a thousand recipes for pork (exaggerating a wee bit), but for some reason I’m completely bored with all of them.  I think it’s time to get a little fancy with this week’s pork. 

And by fancy I don’t mean lots of work,  just really fresh and delicious and maybe a little different from the usual.  Something that’ll make me smile and maybe even impress the Bennett Crew.  They are my toughest critics.  So far anyway.   

I had the prettiest pink pork loin in my frig.  I asked my butcher to butterfly the pork loin so I could stuff it.  With what I wasn’t sure.  I had spinach in the frig, and I always have feta cheese.  I love feta cheese and my absolute favorite feta is Valbreso French Sheep’s Milk Feta.  Yum!

I keep lots of dried fruit on hand (for those scones I’m always going to make but never get to), and I was thinking the golden raisins would go nicely with the spinach and feta.  Throw in some onions, garlic and toasted walnuts and my boring pork just got exciting. 

The pretty pink pork turned out beautiful.  What was the first thing the Bennett Crew asked?  Mom, does it come with a sauce? (if you know me, you know why that’s funny) So much for impressing the Bennett Crew. 

And the answer is yes.  I did whip up a little sauce for the stuffed pork and I’ve added it at the end of the recipe.  A simple pan sauce that you can use for any meat dish.  Just in case your family asks “does it come with a sauce?”. 

Serves 4-6


3lb pork loin, butterflied (ask your butcher to butterfly)

5-6 oz fresh spinach (I like to use organic fresh baby spinach)

¼ cup golden raisins

1/3 cup white wine, warmed (you can substitute with warm water)

Olive oil

Butter (if needed)

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 small onion, chopped (I used a Walla Walla sweet onion and it was delish!)

¼ cup toasted chopped walnuts

3 1/2 – 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled


Kitchen twine

Fresh chopped Italian parsley, for garnish

Shortcut Rosemary White Beans (recipe below)

I know the directions look long and tedious… but it’s just me being wordy again.  It’s really very easy to put together and then pop it in the oven.  Add some shortcut rosemary white beans and dinner is not only beautiful, but delicious.  


Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

Place the warm wine (or water) in a bowl and then add the raisins.  Let the raisins sit and plump while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

Heat a skillet or sauté pan on medium heat and add a tablespoon of oil.  Add the fresh spinach to the pan and let the heat wilt the spinach.  Try not to cook the spinach; you just want it wilted, not fully cooked where it omits lots of liquid.  Transfer the wilted spinach to a bowl and set aside. 

In the same skillet or sauté pan over medium heat, add about 1 tablespoon oil or butter.  Sauté the onions until translucent or nicely wilted.  Then add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds longer just until fragrant. 

Remove from the heat and place the onions and garlic in the bowl with the spinach.

Drain the raisins and then add them to the spinach mixture, along with the chopped walnuts and crumbled feta. 

Gently toss the ingredients together, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Unfold the butterflied pork loin and season both sides with salt and pepper.

Spread the filling on the pork.

Roll the pork and then place seam side down in a baking dish or roasting pan.  With kitchen twine, tie the pork in two or three places. 

Place the pork in the oven and roast at 400F for about 10 minutes.  Then turn the oven down to 350F for another 30. 

At 30 minutes, check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer.  The pork will be done when the meat thermometer reads 145F.  These are new guidelines for cooking pork.  For more information about the new guidelines here is an informative website.

When the pork is done, remove from the oven and let it sit for about five minutes before slicing.

If you’d like a quick pan sauce for your pork, heat a few tablespoons of butter over medium heat.  When the butter is frothy, whisk in a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and then about 1/3 cup of white wine or chicken broth.  Let the sauce simmer and reduce a bit.  It will be not be a thick sauce, just a nice au jus type sauce to ladle over the pork once it’s sliced. 

Season the sauce with salt and pepper and if you have any fresh herbs lying around, chop an assortment of fresh herbs and add to the sauce.  I love fresh chopped oregano and Italian parsley with this sauce. 

Slice the pork and place on individual plates or a platter.  Sprinkle with fresh chopped Italian parsley.  If you made the sauce, drizzle it over the sliced pork. 

Serve with Shortcut Rosemary White Beans and a mixed green salad for a beautiful and delicious meal. 

Shortcut Rosemary White Beans


1 15oz can organic white beans

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

Salt and pepper to taste


Add the beans and rosemary to a small pot.  Heat the beans to a simmer, being careful not to over mix as they will lose their shape. 

Turn off the heat and cover with a lid.  Let the beans sit for a few minutes to absorb the rosemary flavors.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Refrigerate the beans to top a salad or serve warm as a side dish.

Chicken Kid Friendly

Spicy Roasted Chicken Breasts with Butternut Squash, Apples, Raisins and Shallots

This post is short but sweet!  I’ve definitely been short on time the past few weeks but never fear, I’m still cookin away in my kitchen dreaming up yummy recipes for dinner.

Speaking of yummy, here’s a recipe that is finally ready to be posted.  After much testing, thanks to my fabulous recipe testers, Mindy Hebenstreit, Carman Baker-Wassam and Kathy Bohac, I think this delicious and aromatic spicy chicken recipe is ready to roll.

This version of the recipe uses a sweet and spicy marinade for the chicken.  We found that marinating the chicken prior to roasting kept the chicken moist but also reduced the liquid needed during roasting.  The end result was a nice amount of “sauce” combined with spicy but sweet tasting veggies and fruit.  A delicious fall meal that will delight the senses and tickle the taste buds!

Thanks again to my super fabulous recipe testers!  You Ladies rock!

Keep dinner simple… Enjoy the flavors of life!

Serves 4-6


4-6 chicken breasts*

½ cup apple cider

½ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

¼ – ½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder

¼ cup brown sugar

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups butternut squash, 1 inch cubed

1 apple, peeled, cored and sliced

½ cup raisins

1/3 cup sliced shallot

Salt and pepper


Whisk together the apple cider, olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, chipotle chili powder, brown sugar and garlic.  Place the chicken in a glass baking dish or in a Ziploc bag and pour marinade over chicken. Marinate overnight or at least 6 hours.

To Prepare

Preheat the oven to 375F.

If the chicken has been marinating in a Ziploc bag, pour the chicken with marinade into a large roasting or baking dish.  If the chicken marinated in a baking dish proceed with the recipe.

Reserve the apples in a separate bowl.  In a large bowl, season the butternut squash, shallots and raisins with a sprinkle of salt and pepper (and a bit more chipotle chili powder if you wish).  Layer this mixture evenly over and around the chicken.

After 15 minutes remove the pan from the oven and layer the apples over the chicken and squash. Place the pan back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is done.  The best way to check for doneness is to use a meat thermometer.  The internal temperature of the chicken should read 160-165F.

Once the chicken is done, remove the baking pan from the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving. The chicken will continue to cook and juices will re-distribute creating a juicier chicken breast. The squash and fruit should be soft with a little sauce in the bottom of the pan.

Transfer to a platter and ladle the veggies and fruit over the chicken.  Ladle pan juices over the veggies and fruit and garnish with chopped fresh Italian parsley if desired.

You can also serve this dish on individual plates using the same method as above.  This dish is delicious with rice, wild brown rice, rice pilaf, herbed cous cous, or your favorite rice dish.

* I also prepared this using chicken thighs and it was delicious!  However, be sure to adjust cooking time.