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Caramel Corn Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Caramel Corn Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Are you an oatmeal raisin or chocolate chip kind of cookie person? It’s a debate that has extremely passionate people on either side, we know. Here’s a jazzed up cookie that takes the best of both (and chucks the raisins because, come on!). This salty-sweet combo features caramel corn made simply with a glaze of maple syrup, then mixed into oatmeal cookies with a bit of chocolate chunks thrown in for good measure. We developed it for this holiday season, but of course it works for anytime. Feel free to customize it with any mix-ins you’d like (just no raisins, okay?). This recipe was also a chance for us to experiment with gluten-free cookie baking, as it can be made gluten-free using GF oats and 1-to-1 gluten-free flour. As we’ve mentioned in the past, we’re personally not gluten-free, but have several close family members and friends who are, so gluten-free recipes are “universal” in that they work for all! While Alex and I agreed that the texture when made with gluten-free 1-to-1 flour is a bit drier and more crumbly, the cookies are quite satisfying. Because with popcorn and chocolate, how could they not be? The addition of oats for nutrient […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living

Holiday Gifts for People Who Love to Cook

Holiday Gifts for People Who Love to Cook

Happy holidays! Here’s a list of ideas for people in your life who love to (or want to love to) cook. The ideas below are extremely personal: they’re either made by dear friends, or tools we’ve found essential in our kitchen. None are sponsorships, just products we love (though we do receive a small percentage if you order from these Amazon links). 2017 Daily Recipe Calendar This year we’ve got a daily desktop calendar featuring our favorite recipes posted here on A Couple Cooks! We collaborated with an Indy-based publishing company (TF Publishing), and it’s such fun to see all our recipes in printed form. It’s great for anyone who is interested in cooking more. We’ve also got a wall and mini calendar featuring some of our food photos. ORDER HERE Cookbooks We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: we’re cookbook obsessed! Here are a few of our favorites from this year; most of them are written by dear friends and each one of them was featured on our blog or podcast. Love and Lemons Cookbook (listen to Jeanine and Jack) Small Victories (listen to Julia) Molly on the Range (listen to Molly) Eat Complete (listen to Dr. Ramsey) The Vanilla Bean […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living

Peppermint Meringues

Peppermint Meringues

If you’re looking for a healthier cookie this holiday season, these peppermint meringues have a leg up since the main ingredient has zero calories: air! They’re made simply of egg whites and sugar whipped with air until they become a fluffy cloud of goodness. And at about 15 calories a pop, they’re one of the lightest cookie recipes we’ve made. Each holiday season, Alex and I develop a few sweets that are on the lighter side but are just as delicious as their heavier counterparts. (We also talk about a few ideas on our latest podcast to launch December 7, and even call a friend to get her favorite ideas.) It can be difficult to strike a balance with sugar in the holiday season, so our coping mechanisms are simple: focus on homemade recipes with real ingredients, and eat in moderation when possible. (Here’s a post on 9 tips for eating in moderation I wrote a while back.) While these meringues seem light and carefree, they do take a bit of concentration to pull off. It took us a failed batch to realize the importance painting neat lines into the bottom of a pastry bag (paint them up too far and half of the batch is white; […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living

Tart Cherry Chai Chia Jam

Tart Cherry Chai Chia Jam

Anyone have trouble making ZZZ’s? I’ve been blessed with a supernatural ability to sleep through anything (including storms and my alarm clock), but I know many who aren’t so lucky. Both Alex and I do, however, struggle with being well-rested due to our night-owl tendencies. Recently we’ve been focusing on being responsible with our sleep habits and when we do it, it absolutely pays off. We’re less stressed, more pleasant, and at least 85% more creative than when we’re sleep deprived. So lately we’ve been trying to cut back on the late night Gilmore Girls binging in favor of some actual pillow time. Recently we were approached by the Cherry Marketing Institute to create a recipe with tart cherries related to sleep. Montmorency tart cherries (a variety of cherries, not a brand) contain melatonin, a natural hormone that regulates our sleep cycle. Here, we chose a chia jam with tart cherries as a comforting bedtime snack. Chia jam is one of our favorites to make as it’s incredibly simple and utilizes the natural gel quality of chia seeds. Instead of using a gelatin, the chia seeds naturally thicken fruit into a jam-like texture. We created this cherry chai chia jam mostly […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living

Baked Pasta with Awesome Sauce

Baked Pasta with Awesome Sauce

At least here in America, once mid-November hits, time seems to literally fly. It’s Thanksgiving, full of hearty meals and family games. Then all of a sudden: put up the Christmas tree! Plan, shop, sing, party, stress: sometimes Alex and I forget to simply breathe. The holidays can be beautiful, reconnecting with old friends and scattered family that are just for this moment, together. But the season can also be painful: remembering who’s not here. Each year, we hang an ornament in memory of a sweet babe who we found out wouldn’t make it past 8 weeks in the month of December. The older I get, the more the end of the year brings a nostalgia that makes me want to slow down, honor and grieve the past, and savor the now. In that vein, here’s a lovely hearty pasta for sharing with family and friends in the chilly months ahead. It’s made with Alex’s “awesome sauce”, savory tomatoes simmered with garlic, herbs, a little butter and olive oil, and a secret ingredient: chopped green olives. They add a savory saltiness to the dish along with some complexity, and if you chop them small enough, olive haters will never know. […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living

A Couple Cooks Podcast Turns 1!

A Couple Cooks Podcast Turns 1!

One year ago, we decided to try an experiment. A Couple Cooks as a website was created to be an overflow of Alex and my newfound passion for cooking after we got married. But we found that over time, it was difficult to communicate the joy of cooking in photographs and words alone. There is something powerful about the spoken word. For example, if someone mentions to me a simple or delicious recipe they made or tells me a kitchen tip, it’s much more likely to stick than if I read the same information. We also wanted to build a new sort of community for people who were interested in cooking at home, a community that extended beyond simple blog posts or an Instagram feed. So, the A Couple Cooks Podcast was born. With no experience in audio, we were pretty nervous at the start. Also, who likes to hear the sound of their own voice? The editing process alone sent shivers down my spine. However, we wanted to take a risk on something new, so we took the plunge. To be honest at first, it was pretty hairy. We recorded the first episode 6 times (ugh) until finally we felt we could pull the trigger. Alex spent many […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living

10 Healthy & Delicious Thanksgiving Sides

10 Healthy & Delicious Thanksgiving Sides

Are you ready for Thanksgiving 2016? (We’re getting there.) Each year, we create a menu of delicious, healthy-ish recipes to prove that Thanksgiving can leave you feeling vibrant instead of stuffed with rich, beige foods. Of course, the holiday is all about traditions, so feel free mix and match colorful and healthy with your standard favorites to create the holiday table that’s best for you! To help with your side dish game, here are the top 10 of our favorite Thanksgiving sides to infuse your table with color, nutrition, and flavor. What are your favorite Thanksgiving sides? Let us know in the comments below. This is our final post before the Thanksgiving holiday. We’ll be enjoying the lovely weather in Flagstaff, Arizona with family, soaking up hiking in Sedona, and visiting our favorite pizza place (Pizzicletta, whose founder Caleb joined us on the podcast a while back). Check us out on Instagram to follow along with our adventures! ALL Thanksgiving Recipes TIP: If you’re roasting more than one side dish in the same oven, you may need to add more time than the recipe states for a single pan; just cook until tender. You can also cook them separately and rewarm before […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living

Holiday Yogurt Dip with Pomegranate

Holiday Yogurt Dip with Pomegranate

Are you in denial that it’s the holidays? You’re not alone; every year it seems to sneak up on us! If you’re looking for a simple holiday party appetizer, we’ve got your back. This dip is Alex’s brainchild; thickened Greek yogurt (called labneh), sprinkled with pomegranate seeds, bright yellow olive oil, and sage. Thickening the yogurt overnight makes it creamier and even more tangy. Contrasted with the sweet burst of the pomegranate seeds and fruit EVOO, it’s a winner in our book. The only advanced planning needed is thickening the yogurt; it takes 24 hours. Otherwise it’s incredibly easy to put together: spread on a plate, sprinkle with the toppings, and enjoy with crackers, bread or crostini. We developed this recipe using olive oil from California Olive Ranch. You can absolutely taste the difference in quality olive oil, so use the best quality oil you can find here. And interesting enough, there are many benefits to including olive oil in your diet, including preventing some cancers, promoting heart health, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing risk of diabetes. Though fat has gotten a bad rap in the past, research is increasingly showing that healthy fats are actually good and can help you manage your weight, fight […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living

Pumpkin Pecan Parfaits

Pumpkin Pecan Parfaits

Do you find it hard to make a recipe the same way twice? For this year’s Thanksgiving dessert, we’ve developed pumpkin pecan parfaits based on a recipe we posted on our blog back in 2010.  For this take, I tweaked the heck out of it. I substituted maple for the honey, made the granola quick-style in a skillet, opted for pumpkin instead of pie filling, and cut back on the mascarpone. And you know what? It was even better than before. That’s what I love about the kitchen: you never stop learning and growing, and you can always apply new lessons to old concepts. What you make today will be new two years from now. And what you have on hand or is seasonal can always be the impetus for a fantastic substitution. While some instructions and concepts in cooking are meant to be followed, the creativity cooking is meant for tinkering! So tinker we do, sometimes resulting in something that goes straight in the trash, but sometimes in something even more fabulous than the original recipe. We hope that this Thanksgiving can be a time for you to enjoy joyful tinkering in the kitchen with friends and family alike. This recipe is […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie with French Lentils

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie with French Lentils

   Since most of our recipes are designed to be approachable, a disclaimer is in order for this one. This is a dirty-every-pan type of recipe, where your kitchen looks like a tornado hit it when you’re finished. (At least, ours did.) While it could be called simple, it is definitely not quick. That said, it’s absolutely worth the mess to end up with this hearty, satisfying vegetarian main dish. And looking forward to the holidays, what says celebration more than a huge pile of dirty dishes? It’s Thanksgiving month, which is one of our favorite holidays since it’s all about cooking! Alex and I work together each year to create a fresh vegetarian Thanksgiving menu (our past recipes, for inspiration).  Our goal is to show that Thanksgiving recipes can both delicious and healthy at the same time, and that you don’t have to leave the table with a stomach ache. Instead of rich and processed food-based recipes, fresh and seasonal foods can be used to create a beautiful table. And, we love getting creative and thinking outside the turkey for a vegetable centered main dish. This year, we’ve got a great lineup for you, starting with this vegetarian shepherd’s pie. […]

A Couple Cooks – Recipes for Healthy & Whole Living