How to Make Authentic Speculoos Cookies

How to Make Authentic Speculoos Cookies

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Seasonal Traditions Help Mark Time
My family has several recipes that help us celebrate the passage of seasons and holidays.  We feel bound by tradition to make theses dishes each year.  For instance, we prepare Speculoos cookies for Thanksgiving and St. Nicholas Day.  Below are other seasonal traditions in our home:

In the winter, we prepare French Onion Soup and Belgian Beef Carbonnade.  In Belgium and France, French Onion Soup often helps celebrate the New Year.  It’s perfect in the middle of winter after a night of celebration.  The soup is served in the wee hours…

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Healthy Vegan Protein Granola Bars

Healthy Vegan Protein Granola Bars

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Why Should You Make Granola Bars?
Choices on the Market
It’s amazing how large the choice is for nutritious food bars in the United States.  Almost any grocery store, drugstore, hotel lobby, fitness center, or other establishment selling snacks will have a variety of food bars for sale.  For instance, there are fruit bars, nut bars, protein bars, granola bars, fitness bars, and many other types of bars carrying different names available to purchase.

Well-known and newer brands compete strongly for this high-end market dedicated to people active in sports, craving a…

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Traditional Matzo Kugel for Passover

Traditional Matzo Kugel for Passover

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What is Matzo Kugel?
Matzo Kugel is a pudding made often during the Passover holiday.  Although most people eat a sweet version of Matzo Kugel, prepared with fruit, eggs and nuts, they can also eat a savory version featuring vegetables.

 
Why do we eat Matzo during Passover?
During the eight days of Passover, observers should avoid eating five types of grains which rise:  wheat, rye, spelt, barley and oat.  The only exception allowed during Passover is eating one of these grains in the form of an unleavened flatbread, today known as matzo, matza or matzah.

Ok,…

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Healthy Tofu Vegan Pancakes for Breakfast

Healthy Tofu Vegan Pancakes for Breakfast

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How to Make Vegan Pancakes even Healthier
 
Family Tradition
My son is visiting me from Belgium.  This morning he asked for pancakes for breakfast. Pancakes are probably my kids’ favorite dish of mine for breakfast.

When they were small I would often make them on Sunday mornings.  I always tried to make them healthy(ish) by using whole wheat and rye flours along with all purpose flour.  Sometimes I would add rolled oats, ground flaxseed, bananas or some other nutritious ingredient.  Usually I added buttermilk, yet sometimes in a crunch I added yogurt instead.

Wh…

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Bumbleberry Pie – Mixed Berries and Apple

Bumbleberry Pie – Mixed Berries and Apple

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What is Bumbleberry Pie?
At first I thought Bumbleberry Pie was a sweet baked good featuring bumbleberries.  Little did I know that a Bumbleberry Pie is actually a pie made with mixed berries (usually three types of berries), and sometimes includes apple or rhubarb.

My brother asked me to make a raspberry pie for his birthday.  He then added if raspberry was not possible, he’d like a blackberry or apple pie instead.

Fresh raspberries and blackberries can be expensive at this time of the year (springtime), even in California where tasty berries grown locally o…

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Heart-healthy Cinnamon-baked Pears

Heart-healthy Cinnamon-baked Pears

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Is there such a thing as a heart-healthy dessert?
Surprisingly there is. Sweets and treats need not always focus on large contents of sugar. If you choose the ingredients carefully, you can prepare healthy desserts for your entire family.

Ingredients with high fat content, such as heavy dollops of cream and butter, contain saturated fats, which can increase cholesterol levels in the body. High cholesterol can lead to heart diseases, kidney problems, and many other diseases caused generally by having a bad diet.

 
Popular media influence on our diet
While popul…

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Vegan Banana Oat Muffins

Vegan Banana Oat Muffins

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How to Turn Banana Muffins Vegan?
I have made banana muffins many times and many ways.  Often, the recipes included some kind of dairy products, such as butter, milk, buttermilk, yogurt or sour cream.

Several months ago I shared my recipe for Banana Muffin Bliss which included a single egg.  In my post I suggested how to make the muffins vegan by replacing the egg.

Yesterday I was in the mood for banana muffins and decided to make a vegan version.  Of course, it was easy and quick.  In less than an hour I had a dozen yummy Vegan Banana Oat Muffins.

Although the reci…

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Banana Muffin Bliss

Banana Muffin Bliss

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Why will each Banana Muffin bring you bliss?
We all have had bananas become overly ripe on our watch.  No one can blame us for letting their peel become covered in brown or even spots.  Having overly ripe bananas is, however, a test of character or resourcefulness.  It’s what we do with these golden brown gems that truly count.

In my household, we usually make banana bread, often with chocolate chips, because that is what my kids want.   We have several banana bread recipes that we follow.  There’s one with sour cream which has always been a family favorite and then ano…

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Pumpkin Bread Tried, Tested and Tasty!

Pumpkin Bread Tried, Tested and Tasty!

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What recipe makes my Pumpkin Bread a Fall Favorite?
 
My Faithful Pumpkin Bread Recipe
By now you know that I love pumpkin.  Making food with pumpkin is how I connect best with the season of autumn.   Every year tradition calls me to make pumpkin bread at least once.  My kids love it and are always asking me to make it.

I’ve been using the same faithful recipe for almost 30 years. Of course, I’ve tried other recipes, such as one calling for cream cheese to give the pumpkin bread more of a cheesecake finish. Another recipe suggested chopping up and dropping in som…

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Pumpkin Latke Waffles

Pumpkin Latke Waffles

Why make Pumpkin Latke Waffles?
This Hanukkah season I wanted to create a new kind of latke (potato pancake) with some leftover boiled potatoes and a wedge of fresh pumpkin.  As many of you know, I love using pumpkin, especially in savory dishes.  For more pumpkin recipes follow this link or this other link.

Autumn is also my favorite season of the year.  I adore the various hues of yellow, red, orange and brown everywhere as well as the abundance of harvested vegetables and fruit.  All kinds of squash, nuts, apples, and pears are among my top choices during autumn.  

Adding pumpkin to …

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Succulent Sweet Potato Casserole

Succulent Sweet Potato Casserole

Why is this Sweet Potato Casserole Chunky and Juicy?
Most sweet potato casseroles at Thanksgiving are overly sweet with marshmallows and candied pecans and blended into smooth puree.  My Succulent Sweet Potato Casserole leaves the sweet potato, carrots and fruit in chunks, allowing each ingredient’s true flavor to shine.  Very little sugar is added to this casserole, making it more healthy for you to eat.  A naturally light version of this traditional dish should be welcome at your Thanksgiving dinner table to help your guests enjoy their food without feeling guilty or overly stuffed.

The …

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Speculoos Pumpkin Pie To Die For

Speculoos Pumpkin Pie To Die For

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What Makes This Speculoos Pumpkin Pie Worth Waiting an Entire Year?
For more than 30 years I’ve been making pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.  I have always considered pumpkin pie to be one of my specialties.    Truth be told, I’ve basically followed the same recipe for the filling all these years, initially inspired by the Joy of Cooking (6th edition).

However, from time to time I’ve tried different crusts.  This year I tried a new Speculoos Pie Crust and found it to be easy and delicious.  Follow the link above to discover the recipe for this amaz…

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Autumn Oatmeal Porridge

Autumn Oatmeal Porridge

How do you make Autumn Oatmeal Porridge?
Most mornings I make hot oatmeal porridge for breakfast.  I love how everyday you can make your oatmeal porridge differently through the fruit, nuts and spices that you add to it.  For some suggestions on how to make a tasty and healthy bowl of hot grains for breakfast read this post from last April.

A bowl of hot grains is an ideal way to start your day.  You’ll get a good dosage of fiber and anti-oxidants which will help reduce your cholesterol levels, enhance your immune response to infection, and stabilize blood sugar levels helping to lower you…

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Pumpkin Tomato Lentil Soup

Pumpkin Tomato Lentil Soup

What are some ways to use pumpkin?
During the autumn months I tend to buy and use a lot of pumpkin.  Although a wide range of squash is available at the grocers and the farmers markets in Belgium, muscat pumpkins are my favorite.  Muscat pumpkins are different from the pumpkins generally sold in the US.  I now prefer their texture and taste over the US variety.  They also seem to have more flesh, making them a wonderful source for many recipes.

Once I start using a pumpkin, I try to find other ways to use the rest of the pumpkin during the week.  Chopped raw pumpkin added to my morning oat…

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Tomato Chickpea Soup

Tomato Chickpea Soup

How do you feed the soul along with the body?
Comfort foods somehow feed our bodies while making us feel protected and warm inside.  They feed our soul along with our body.  What is it about comfort foods that make them so satisfying at all levels?  For me it’s food that nourishes, teases my tongue and somehow reaches the child inside me, the child that wants to feel protected.

When my daughter was feeling ill with a lingering cold a few days ago, she asked me to make a soup that I had made about 6 months ago with tomatoes and chickpeas (garbanzo beans to some people).  I remembered the so…

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