It has been one of those weeks where I am at a loss of words to begin expressing. A couple of weeks ago I started obsessing over the idea of lemon lavender shortbread cookies and earl grey tea. I started craving these things before I even knew that comfort was going to be needed for myself and others in my life. While sipping tea that evening and munching on my first batch of lemon spice cookies, I had sketched out several shortbread flavor variations. Each of the ingredients is based on the therapeutic qualities they possess.
Lemon – helps to see the sunny side of life
Lavender – relaxes; reducing stress and tension
Vanilla – lifts spirits and comforts
Rose – calming; lowers anxiety and reduces anger
Bergamot – stimulates and an antidote for depression by creating joy, freshness and energy
Watch upcoming posts for flavor variations of “therapy” shortbread cookies. To prepare to follow my recipe therapy in your own kitchen I will leave you with the method I used to make rose water. Initially, I made a bottle of rose water to include in upcoming culinary endeavors. Since making it, I’ve discovered a number of other uses; subtle fragrance, scent for linens, makeup remover, bath water additive, aftershave, skin toner and hair treatments
DIY: How to Make Homemade Rose Water
A simple process for making rosewater at home.
1 minPrep Time
29 minCook Time
30 minTotal Time
1/2 cup Rose petals, dried organic
1 cup Water, filter
Boil the water.
Pour boiling water over the rose petals.
Allow the tisane to steep until cool. Pour into a jar for storage while straining out the petals.
The rose water will keep best in a clean jar kept in the refrigerator for up to a month.
Wild rice is one of those foods for me that harkens memories of Minnesota home. I remember one soup in particular that I enjoyed. It was a creamy wild rice soup my father made.
In the last few months, I’ve been using more wild rice in recipes. A household favorite is wild rice pancakes. The Pioneer Woman has a great recipe for them.
Going into the work week, I wanted to give you another portable breakfast recipe. Blueberries, wild rice and maple syrup give this oatmeal a nice caramelized sweetness with juicy blueberries. The real treat, in my opinion is the added texture and nutty flavor from the wild rice.
A quick tip on adding grains to your overnight oats. Cook a batch in your weekly meal prep. Then use your grain throughout the week in overnight oats, salads, stir frys, etc. My favorite grains for weekly use are quinoa and wild rice.
Do you have a favorite vegetarian wild rice dish? Please share in the comments below.
Maple Blueberry Overnight Oats
Yields 1 serving
Creamy oats sweetened with maple syrup brings out notes of chicory and caramelized sugar. Wild rice boosts the texture and nuttiness. Fresh blueberries add the final touch of juiciness to this grab and go breakfast that "cooks" overnight in the refrigerator.
5 minPrep Time
8 hrCook Time
8 hr, 5 Total Time
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup cooked wild rice
2 tsp maple syrup
1 - 2 Tb blueberries; fresh or frozen
1/2 cup milk*
Combine the oats and rice in a mason jar or other 1 cup container; mix thoroughly.
Stir in the maple syrup.
Gently stir in the milk.
Top the oatmeal with blueberries.
Lid the mixture and place in the refrigerator for 8 hours. Delicious oats will be easy to grab and go.
*Any milk you prefer may be used. Most recently I've been using coconut milk.
The smell of warm fruit and pastry is wafting from my oven. I’m waiting the last few minutes before these peach raspberry bars finish baking. I’ll bring a pan over to a friend who just had her second baby.
I am reminded of a different intoxicating smell. The smell of a baby. It a very particular and exhilarating smell. My little guy will be 5 months old this week. His newborn scent is fading. As he grows and matures, the stark realities and tender quirks that come with a newborn disappear into memories.
In the kitchen, the timer dings. I quickly wrap up the bars and wrestle the family together into the car. We arrive at our friend’s place and visit briefly before hustling back home to keep the children in some semblance of a schedule.
Once the boys are in bed, I have a chance to talk a bit with my husband. These moments of adult talk become more valuable after becoming parents. Tonight I find myself talking about the things I enjoy about newborns that are quickly slipping away each day my children get older. I go on about the unique perfection of newborn hair and their perfectly little heads, the soft, smooth skin with a penchant for pudge and rolls, and finally the delicious smell of snuggling a baby. I see my husband looking at me like I am a crazy person. Admittedly, I am now more than ever.
Babies have a way of entrancing most anyone, but after becoming a mother, I am more taken by the tender details of a newborn. Our children have a way of changing our lives so completely. This mama’s brain is now perpetually taken with the sweetness of babies. So much so, that I can babble on about these things while facing another sleep deprived night with my little one. But alas, there will be nights where little one won’t need me anymore for cuddles. So I can accept the crazy person my children have made me. I embrace this as one of the wonders of the mommy life.
Now, on to the good stuff like the recipe for these scrumptious bars. The compote is clean-ish, but the crust is by no means clean. It is simply so delicious, I have not had the heart to clean up the recipe for it, yet.
Peach Raspberry Bars
Yields 20 Bars
Peach Raspberry Bars - a twist on a peach melba bar. Fresh fruit compote on a shortbread crust, topped with ginger spiced shortbread crumble. These bars are best enjoyed chilled from the refrigerator.
15 minPrep Time
1 hr, 3 Cook Time
1 hr, 18 Total Time
2 cups raspberries; halved
2 cups peaches (2 small/medium sized); pitted and thinly sliced
1 Tb lemon juice
4 Tb honey
4 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 ⅔ cup flour
1 cup powdered sugar
1 ⅓ cup butter*
⅛ tsp ground ginger
⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup rolled oats
Combine ingredients for compote in a medium saucepan mixing well so fruit is covered in rest of ingredients. Cook over medium heat for 6-8 minutes. The fruit should be tender and the liquids thickening into a compote texture (medium bodied shiny syrup). Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix all base crust ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Use forks or a pastry blender to combine until a ball of dough forms. Once the ingredients are mixed, but still crumbly, I like to use my hands to finish the mixing process. Roll the dough into a tube shape and pull of ¼ the dough to leave in the mixing bowl. Place the other ¾ of the dough into a 9x13 inch cake pan. Bake 350 F for 15 minutes. The crust should just begin to puff and slightly color.
While the crust is baking, add the ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon to the remaining crust in the mixing bowl. Gently work the spices into the dough with hands. Once the spice are worked in, add the oats to the bowl and work them in, as well. Set the topping dough into the freezer.
Remove the pre-baked crust from the oven and reduce oven temperature to 325 F. Spread the fruit compote over the hot crust. Pull the topping dough out of the freezer. Crumble the dough evenly over the compote topped crust. Some of the fruit layer should still be showing. Return to oven and bake 40-45 minutes. Cool and cut into bars. They taste especially good chilled in the refrigerator.
*Dairy free & soy free: replace the butter with a soy free vegan option. My favorite is Earth Balance soy free vegan buttery sticks. They use pea protein instead of soy.