Posts Tagged ‘comfort food’

Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

It’s the dead of winter. Eating comfort foods is right on this time of year. But comfort food doesn’t have to be bad for you if you know how to make healthy alternatives. Enter the blueberry almond oat muffin.

This little treat makes a delicious snack, on-the-go food, breakfast, dessert, or lunch side. It also pairs very nicely with a hearty winter bean soup.


  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup blueberries (see my note about blueberries below)*
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 cup milk (or soymilk)
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, coarsely chopped

Photo by Kate Langenburg

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray or line with paper liners.

Step 2: Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl; mix well. Stir in blueberries and lemon zest. Add milk, butter and egg; mix until dry ingredients are moistened.

Step 3: Scoop batter into muffin cups. Sprinkle almonds evenly over batter, pressing down gently (or you can dump the almonds right into the batter while you’re mixing all the ingredients together). Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes.

*A quick note about blueberries: it’s hard to find great tasting berries this time of year. Most berries have to be shipped in from far away countries, like Chile or Venezuela, so they are often not fresh and loaded with preservatives to keep them from spoiling on the journey. As a result, a tangier taste ensues. Keep this in mind when you cook with berries during the winter.

Thanks to the Pampered Chef cookbook for this one.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

I know I just did a post about food, but I just made the most interesting soup I think I have ever tasted. So, to follow up my post about comfort foods, here lies another post about food. (I guess this would fall in the realm of comfort food.)

Today, you will enjoy african style peanut butter soup.


  • 1 cup creamy style peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 (or 2) celery stalk (s), sliced
  • 1 sweet red pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 can (14.4 oz.) diced tomatoes (with their juice!!)
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz. each) chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup cooked brown or white rice
  • 1 cup finely chopped cooked chicken

Step 1: Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, pepper, and celery. Saute until vegetables are very tender (about 10 minutes).

Step 2: Stir in the garlic and chili powder. Saute for an extra minute longer.

Step 3: Add tomatoes with their liquid, chicken or vegetable broth, and peanut butter to the saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring often. (It might take a minute for the peanut butter to spread out.)

Step 4: Stir in the rice and the cooked chicken. Cook five minutes longer. You’re done!

This has a very unique flavor to it, but you have to like peanut butter to really enjoy it (of course.) But it’s not an overpowering peanut butter flavor. I had my doubts when I put a whole cup of the stuff into my soup, but it turned out great. After it simmers for a bit, the flavors all come together to create something wonderful.

The consistency is very creamy, and all the vegetables, chicken, and rice are deliciously coated with a nice layer of the peanut butter-broth mix.

Your tastebuds will really like this one. 🙂

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Gosh, I can’t believe it’s December 1st already. Where has this year gone to so quickly? In keeping with this theme, I must continue by saying that the weather sucks. It sucks. Constantly being cold makes me want to hibernate in my bedroom with the heat turned way up and ten blankets on top of me. For good or for bad (mostly bad), it also makes me want to eat comfort foods all the time.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite winter comfort foods. You can access the recipes for each by clicking on their links.

5) Mississippi Mud Cheesecake – If you’re a chocolate and nut lover, you will go crazy for this cheesecake. It’s full of delicious ingredients, like pecans, chocolate chips, and marshmallows. Mmm.

4) Apple Crisp – There’s nothing like the taste of those warm baked apples with sugary sweet crumbs on top. I’ve had a craving for this lately — it would probably make a good dessert at your Holiday table this year.

5) Chili – Here’s a nice weight watchers chili recipe. They actually have quite good taste when it comes to psuedo-healthy chili. However, the last time I made mine, I threw some salsa in the crockpot, too.

2) Layered Nacho Dip – There’s nothing I love more than eating tortilla chips with some sort of dip…and lots of cheese.

Good lord is this fattening, but my god, it sure is good.

1) Kelly Fries – There really is no set recipe for this, but it’s easy. Just cook a bag of french fries on an oven tray and then melt cheese and gravy on top. It’s to die for…literally. (There’s probably enough fat and calories in this to give someone a mild heart attack.) This dish originated in Canada, where it is affectionately called “poutine.”

If you decide to make any of these treats, at least try to make it outside a few times for a run or a walk around the neighborhood. (Keyword being “try.”) They could seriously pack on some pounds. Good luck, winter-hating hibernators.

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