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The Recipe Gals: Recipes for New Year’s resolutions

Happy New Year, everyone!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and now we are into a brand new year. With a new year comes resolutions for a lot of people. Some vow to start exercising or exercise more, some vow to become more organized, and some commit to eating healthier.

Well, I have two recipes that I hope will fit into your new year’s eating routine. The first one is a quick breakfast recipe filled with good carbs and low sugar that should keep you satisfied during the morning hours. The second is a soup recipe to keep you warm on these cold winter days.

Simple and easy overnight vanilla oats

1 cup rolled oats

2 teaspoons chia seeds

1 cup non-dairy or regular milk

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut cream or vanilla yogurt (can use non-dairy)

1 tablespoon good vanilla extract

4 teaspoons pure maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon coconut sugar

Set aside 2-3 resealable jars. I use jelly jars and they seem to work well. Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and whisk until well mixed and no clumps of coconut cream or yogurt remain. Pour into jars and seal. Store overnight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Overnight oats will become thicker as each day passes. If desired, add non-dairy milk or regular milk to thin it out. You can enjoy this breakfast or treat cold, or heat in the microwave in 20 second increments until warm.

You can add toppings to the oats like sliced fresh fruit of your choice, some chopped nuts or seeds, and nut butter as well, whatever the mood strikes.

Hint: This can be gluten free by making sure your oats are gluten free. This is a great make-ahead breakfast or snack.

Creamy mushroom soup

4 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 pounds mushroom, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced or 1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon thyme

1 medium onion, diced

2 tablespoons flour

3/4 cup sherry

4 cups vegetable stock

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

fresh parsley

Heat 2 Tablespoons butter in a pot over medium high heat. When the butter has melted, add a third of the mushrooms to the pot. Cook stirring occasionally, until dark golden brown, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then remove them from the pot and reserve for serving.

In the same pot, melt the remaining 2 Tablespoons butter. Reduce the heat to medium and, when the butter has melted, add the rest of the mushrooms, along with the garlic, celery, thyme and onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft, 5-6 minutes. Sprinkle the vegetables with the flour and stir to combine. Season with more salt and pepper, then cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes, allowing flour to cook. Slowly pour in the sherry, stirring all the time, then slowly add the stock. Keep stirring to reduce the likelihood of lumps. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced and thickened, about 20 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, puree until mushrooms are mostly broken up into small bits. If you do not have an immersion blender, you can use a blender, just be careful and allow the soup to cool a bit before pureeing. Add cream and heat until the pot is simmering. Add balsamic, then taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve warm in bowls with the reserved mushrooms on top. Garnish with parsley and serve this with a good crusty bread and nice salad.

Hint: You can make this gluten free by adding gluten free flour. You can use chicken stock if you don’t have vegetable stock it is totally your call.

I hope you give these recipes a try in the new year. Continue to stay healthy and be safe.

-Pam Rolley

Continuing with Pam’s New Year’s resolution-friendly recipes, this recipe is easy to make and naturally sweetened with honey or maple syrup.

Healthy chocolate granola

Yields: 6 cups

4 cups old-fashioned oats

1 cup slivered almonds (or your preferred nuts)

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2/3 cup unsweetened flaked coconut (or 1/2 cup shredded coconut)

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)

Heat oven to 350 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together oats, almonds, cocoa powder and sea salt until evenly combined.

In a separate mixing cup, stir together the melted coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract until combined. Pour the coconut oil mixture into the oats mixture, and stir until evenly combined.

Spread the granola out evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Then remove from the oven, give the mixture a good stir, then sprinkle the coconut evenly on top. Bake for 5 more minutes, until the granola is lightly toasted and golden.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer to a wire baking rack. Let cool until the granola reaches room temperature. Then stir in the chocolate chips and any other add-ins that you prefer.

Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a month.

Quinoa black bean salad with mango and avocado

Servings: 6

1 cup dry quinoa

1 14.5 oz can low-sodium chicken broth

salt

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons honey

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 medium mango, peeled, cored and diced

1 red bell pepper, cored and chopped

1/2 cup sliced green onions

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

1 medium avocado (semi-firm but ripe), cored and diced

Rinse quinoa well in a fine mesh strainer. Transfer to a medium saucepan along with chicken broth and 1/4 cup water and season lightly with salt to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer until water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool*.

In a small mixing bowl whisk together olive oil, lime juice, honey, cumin, ginger and cayenne pepper.

In a large bowl or salad bowl toss together quinoa, black beans, mango, bell pepper, green onions, cilantro, avocado and dressing.

Season with salt to taste and serve.

*To quickly cool quinoa, transfer to a bowl and place in the freezer and toss occasionally. It should be cool enough by the time you’ve chopped veggies and made the dressing. Leftover quinoa would probably even work better as it will absorb better (it should measure 3 cups).

Note that the salad should be eaten within an hour or two for best results as the avocado will start to brown and juices from the veggies will break down.

-Karen Sick

The Recipe Gals, Pam Rolley and Karen Sick, together have more than 60 years’ experience as nutritionists in the public school and university settings. You’ll find their delicious offerings every other week in the Williamsport Sun-Gazette’s section, The Taste.

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