Clean Eating Chai Meringue Cookies

Christmas is in two weeks and that can only mean two things:  cookies and eggnog!

Meringue cookies are light and crunchy cookies typically made with egg whites and sugar as the main ingredients. These clean eating meringues use maple syrup instead of white sugar. Because of this, the preparation needs to be adjusted so the meringues bake nice and crispy. Because of the maple syrup and added spice in these cookies, they will bake with a nice soft caramel color.20161206_081005
I added Winter Chai spice to my cookies. You can leave it out or even add pumpkin spice to the cookies instead.
I hate wasting food so when I was left with 3 egg yolks, I wondered what to do with them. I found a recipe for leftover egg yolk egg nog and tried it out. I liked the recipe because it cooked the eggs instead of leaving them raw. However, as it was my first time making it, I accidentally overcooked the eggnog and it turned out lumpy. It was sweet and tasted delicious, though. I am going to try it again and hope that I can get it to work out.20161205_120335-1

Clean Eating Chai Meringue Cookies

  • Servings: 12-16
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  • 3 egg whites
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ chai spice (Optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200. Heat a pan with about an inch of water over low heat. Place a bowl on top of the pan and add all of the ingredients.
  2. Use mixer on lowest speed and beat until stiff peaks form, about 5-8 minutes.
  3. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and scoop or pipe the meringues onto the pan. Bake for 2 hours. Turn off oven and allow cookies to cool in the oven.

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Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage and Goat Cheese

Frustrated at how difficult it is to peel a butternut squash? Just cut off the ends, microwave it for 3-4 minutes, and allow it to cool. Once the squash has cooled, it is extremely easy to take a knife and peel it. It also softens the squash up enough to chop it easily as well. Microwaving the squash first saves time and energy.
The butternut squash in this recipe is from Strites’ Orchard, the sage is from Calicutts, and the goat cheese is from Camelot Valley. I used an herbed goat cheese that has oregano and peppercorn. I love the goat cheese from Camelot Valley because it is fresh and rich and it freezes very well. I purchased the goat cheese a few weeks ago and because I was not quite sure when I was going to use it, I tossed it in the freezer. It thawed just as creamy and crumbly as if I had not frozen it at all.
The combination of goat cheese and squash is made all the more savory by the addition of the sage. The warmth of the sage combined with the sweetness of the squash and sharpness of the goat cheese is pure satisfaction. It will be tempting to eat this entire dish in one sitting. Go ahead, it’s completely fine. You could always serve this as a side dish with a nice steak or top it on brown rice for a more filling dish.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage and Goat Cheese

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 Tbsp sage
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 oz goat cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Toss squash with olive oil and sage. Spread evenly on the parchment paper and bake 35-45 minutes.
  3. Pour in a serving dish and top with goat cheese. Serve warm.

Winter Chai Latte with Whipped Cream

Last weekend, I had the chance to visit Calicutts Spice Co. for the first time. Calicutts is located in Lemoyne and the owners craft the spice blends by hand. They do have a website, but in order to truly appreciate all the spices they offer, you should definitely visit. Small sample containers line the shelves in front of their spices so you are able to smell the blends before you purchase them. I had my eye on the Winter Chai and Chipotle and Honey spices before going to the shop. I also picked up some sage. The service is exceptional and so are the spices. I highly recommend a visit to this shop.20161128_082753
The first thing I made with the Winter Chai was this latte. The Winter Chai has a sweet base of cocoa mixed with the classic spices of chai. The cardamom and cloves bring a warm spice to the drink and it is perfect for cold winter mornings. Adding the whipped cream on top just makes it all the more indulgent.
When mixing the milk and spice mix on the stove, I was taken back to winters spent at my grandmother’s. She would make my cousins and I hot chocolate on the stove. Now an adult, I savored the memories as I prepared my latte. My grandma would serve buttered toast with the hot chocolate that we would dip in our drink and eat. Halfway through my latte, I decided to do the same. My grandma passed away in 2014, so I was very thankful for the memories that arose as I enjoyed my latte.20161128_092622
The Winter Chai latte with whipped cream is a satisfying drink that I am sure you will enjoy. For those who do not drink dairy, I am positive this latte would be delicious made with coconut milk or any other non-dairy milk.

Winter Chai Latte with Whipped Cream

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

    Latte:
  • 1 ¼ cup milk
  • 1 ½ – 2 Tbsp Winter Chai spice
  • Whipped Cream:
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ tsp Winter Chai spice

Directions

  1. In a pan, mix the Winter Chai spice and milk over medium heat.
  2. While the milk is heating, mix the remaining spice and heavy cream with an electric mixer until thick and creamy.
  3. Pour the latte into a mug and top with the whipped cream.

Apple Sausage Breakfast Casserole

This recipe for Apple Sausage Breakfast Casserole uses almost 100% local ingredients. The apple sausage is from Anschuetz Farm and made with pork and apples. It smells so good when it is cooking. I should have bought more. The eggs, cheese, milk, and half and half come from my favorite creamery, Apple Valley. The apples are from Strites’ Orchard, of course. Finally, the bread is from McGrath’s Bakehouse. All of their bread is cooked in a brick oven. The breads are both beautiful and delicious. Visit them here.20161127_081154
I know this recipe will have you wondering if there is even enough room in your baking dish. It is a filling and satisfying dish that can be prepared ahead since it is a bit time consuming. Prepare it the night before, cover it with aluminum foil and leave it in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature before baking it in the morning. I adapted my recipe from this recipe by Jessie at A Hint of Honey.
I wanted to use cheddar cheese in this recipe, but all I had was Swiss. It will work with both types of cheese. When I asked my dad if it needed anything, he replied, “Ate,” which I think is as good a review as any.

Apple Sausage Breakfast Casserole

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb apple sausage, cut in 1-2” pieces
  • 2 large apples, diced
  • 5 eggs, whisked
  • ½ loaf of McGrath’s Original, or other crusty bread, cubed
  • ½ onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups Swiss cheese, grated (or cheddar)
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • dash of salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Toast the bread cubes for 10-15 minutes. While toasting, grease a 9×13 casserole dish.
  2. Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil and add the sausage. Cook thoroughly, crumble the sausage, and set aside.
  3. Whisk the eggs, milk, half and half, salt and pepper.
  4. In the casserole dish, layer half the sausage mixture, apples, cheese, and bread cubes. Repeat. Pour the milk and egg mixture on top. Top with more shredded cheese. Bake for 60 minutes.

Brussels Sprouts with Lemon, Garlic, and Parmesan

Did you know that pot belly pigs like collard greens? It’s true. This week was the final week for the CSA from Strites’ Orchard. I received apples, Brussels sprouts, spinach, potatoes, onions, and collard greens. My co-worker did not want anything because she is a bum (just kidding!), so I took the spinach and the collard greens to a place where I volunteer that has two pot belly pigs. The pigs were very thankful for the greens.20161115_122050
Speaking of being thankful, we had a potluck at work this week to celebrate Thanksgiving. Other co-workers brought desserts, so I decided to go with a vegetable dish.
Brussels sprouts are interesting to prepare when they are still on the stalk. All it takes is a little pressure and they snap right off. I cut off the thick part from the stem and cut them in half. Some of the outer leaves fell off when I was cutting them, so I just threw them away. This recipe is a great starter recipe for a person who is not a fan of Brussels sprouts since there is a lot of flavor from the other ingredients.

Brussels Sprouts with Lemon, Garlic, and Parmesan

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, cut in half
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup Parmesan

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 and grease a baking sheet.
  2. Mix olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and garlic. Toss with Brussels sprouts.
  3. Spread the Brussels sprouts on the baking sheet and top with the Parmesan. Bake 35-40 minutes, stirring once in the middle. Serve warm.

Nut Butter Oat Bars

I think I have found the perfect combination: oats, honey, and Squirrelly Tail nut butter. The best thing about this recipe besides the taste is that it uses 100% local ingredients. The honey is from Strites’ Orchard, the oats come from Kauffman’s Fruit Farm, and the nut butter is from Blind Spot Nut Butters which is in York, PA.
I made this recipe in the most messy way possible and I am sure there is an easier and less messy way to make it, but then it would not be as fun to make. I measured the honey and nut butter in a large liquid measuring cup and microwaved it until it was melted. The nut butter will not melt as creamy as traditional peanut butter, but this is definitely okay! I then poured the oats into a bowl, all over the stove, and even on the floor. Once I had measured them properly, I poured the oats into the dish and then mixed in the nut butter and honey mixture. The oats did not mix with a spoon very well so I used my hands until it was well blended. Then I pushed the mixture evenly in the dish.
It must be refrigerated to set and the wait is well worth it!

Nut Butter Oat Bars

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 12 oz jar Squirrelly Tail Nut Butter
  • ½ cup honey
  • 3 cups oats

Directions

  1. Mix the nut butter and honey and microwave at 30 second intervals until melted. Stir well.
  2. Measure out the oats and mix them with nut butter and honey mixture.
  3. Press the mixture into an 8×8 dish and refrigerate until set.

Leek and Potato Tart

This leek and potato tart is a savory dish that can be served for brunch or as an appetizer before dinner. Enjoy this vegetarian dish warm. If you have leftovers, cut them in slices, wrap them in aluminum foil, and freeze for an easy portioned breakfast.

When cooking with leeks, use only the white and pale green parts. Discard the dark green tops. I used a mandolin to slice the potatoes and then I quartered them. Cutting them smaller helps to soften them up quicker when baking.

I wanted to mix the parsley in with the milk, egg, and cheese, but I completely forgot about it until right as I put the tart in the oven, so I just sprinkled it on top.  It still turned out very good.20161111_092746

Leek and Potato Tart

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 prebaked pie crust
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 2 sm-med potatoes, sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup grated Swiss cheese
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp parsley

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Saute leeks, potatoes, garlic and onion in olive oil for about 5 minutes.
  2. Mix the cheese, milk, and egg.
  3. Pour the potato mixture in the pie crust. Pour the milk mixture on top. Sprinkle with parsley. Bake 35-40 minutes.