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Tag Archives: wellness

Fresh Strawberry Pie

May. School was finally out! I woke up early to the fresh summer breeze rustling through my curtains as the sun tried to peek through. Birds sang in the woods nearby. Summer was not a time for sleeping in. I went outside for my morning chores, feeding the dog, chickens, and pony. On my way back inside to enjoy my breakfast on the back porch, I made sure to peek in the strawberry beds. The blossoms were gradually forming into berries–it wouldn’t be long!

By the end of May, the first ripe strawberry would appear. Of course Lauren and I would argue over who got the first one…or we’d have to cut it in half. But as we got into June, berries were in full swing and we couldn’t seem to keep up with them! My mom bustled around the kitchen making jam, muffins, mascarpone pie, and strawberry rhubarb coffeecake. We’d pile them on pancakes, waffles, yogurt, or just eat them straight out of the patch. But you couldn’t call it June in our house without a fresh strawberry pie!

Note: this pie is best enjoyed on the back porch during thunderstorms on a cool summer night.

An essential part of this recipe is using a pie crust from scratch. I’m still perfecting my technique and don’t really have a recipe because I learned from my grandma who goes by guess! But I hope to master the art of pie crusts soon and share the recipe when I have it!

Ingredients

Pie

1 9-inch homemade pie crust, baked

4 cups fresh strawberries, divided (local and organic is best)

1/3 cup raw honey

1/2 cup sugar

3 Tbs cornstarch

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 tsp butter

Whipped Cream

8 oz. heavy cream

1/4 cup powdered sugar

3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions

Pie

Take half of the strawberries and cut off the stems. Then arrange the berries on the baked pie crust, hull side down.

In a saucepan, put the rest of the strawberries, honey, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Cook on medium/low until combined and thickened. Remove from heat and stir in butter.

Allow the sauce to cool before pouring over the strawberries and pie crust. Chill before serving with homemade whipped cream.

Whipped Cream

Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks begin to form. Slowly add the vanilla and sugar and continue whipping until it reaches desired consistency. Scoop a generous dollop on a slice of pie and enjoy!

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Cappuccino Cheesecake

It’s finally here! Cappuccino cheesecake! I was hoping to get this brand new recipe published early this week, but finals got the best of me. Looking back, I think my biggest accomplishment this semester was not “procrasto-baking”…not too much anyway. But if you’re looking for an excuse to procrasto-bake, then this is your opportunity!

My fiancé and I baked this cheesecake a couple weeks ago and it was a huge hit (My mom even says it’s her favorite one yet!) It starts with a buttery graham cracker crust with a creamy, coffee infused filling and topped with chocolate ganache. 😋

As always with recipes involving coffee, I’m going to recommend Purity Coffee. You can learn more about why this is the only coffee I buy here and they also have tons of awesome, science-packed info on their website. Enjoy 10% off your first order with promo code ROOTS!

Crust

1 tsp. sugar

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup melted butter

Filling

1 cup white chocolate chips*

2 Tbs. butter

2 8-oz. packages of 1/3 fat cream cheese (room temperature)

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup coffee reduction

1/4 tsp. sea salt

Ganache

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 tsp. butter

Directions

Grease the bottom and sides of an 8 inch spring-form pan with canola spray or melted coconut oil/butter.

Put the graham crackers in a food processor and grind until they are just small crumbs. Add the sugar and pulse a few more times.

In a small bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs with the melted coconut oil or butter. Then press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.

Prepare the coffee reduction using this recipe. Set aside.

Add approximately an inch of water to the bottom of a double boiler and melt 1 cup of white chocolate chips on medium heat. Stir every few minutes and be sure not to get any water in the chocolate. When the chocolate chips are melted, remove from heat and stir in 2 Tbs. of melted butter. Allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a large, deep bowl, combine the somewhat-cooled white chocolate mixture, cream cheese, sugar, coffee reduction, and salt. Use an electric mixture to mix all the ingredients until smooth and creamy. Be sure to scrape down the sides every so often to ensure that everything is well combined. Be sure not to use the slowest setting and do not over mix.

Put the filling in the spring form pan and using a small offset spatula, smooth out the filling until it is even across the pan.

Bake for 35 minutes, making sure to not open the oven! Any rapid change in temperature or humidity can lead to cracking and caving.

Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake rest in the oven for another 30 minutes, still not opening the door. When the time is up, let the cheesecake cool for approximately 30 more minutes before letting it chill and set up in the refrigerator for at least three hours and up to overnight.

While the cheesecake is cooling, it’s time to start the ganache! Measure the chocolate and set aside in glass bowl. Over medium heat, bring the heavy cream to boil. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Pour the cream and butter over the chocolate chips and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir the mixture until the ganache becomes homogeneous. Pour over cake and smooth with offset spatula. Allow ganache to cool before serving. Enjoy!

Tips

*When selecting white chocolate, make sure it actually contains cocoa butter and is free from hydrogenated oils and artificial flavors. (I get mine at Trader Joe’s.)

It’s important to make sure the base of of the spring-form pan is right side up. However, even if it is, it’s still possible for butter to leak out the bottom. To prevent a major mess, line a baking sheet with foil and place it under the cake pan.

Allow the cream cheese to reach room temperature before use so that it mixes smoothly. It will also help prevent the need to over-mix which can cause the cheesecake to cave in.

Whatever you do, do not open the oven until it is time to take it out. I know it’s tempting, but you just have to trust me on this one! This is also where it becomes imperative that the pan is put together correctly and a baking sheet is below the pan. If you have to open the oven to clean up burned butter as the house fills with haze, the cheesecake will surely cave in the middle. (Yes, I also learned this the hard way.)

But in the unfortunate event that the cake does cave in, all is not lost! The ganache will make it less noticeable and it will still taste great!

Don’t cover the cheesecake in the fridge until it is totally cool to prevent condensation from collecting on top. If this does happen, dab it off with a paper towel.

Baked Asparagus Risotto

You always know when it’s spring in my family because that’s when there’s fresh, wild asparagus incorporated into nearly every dish. Asparagus was never something we would buy at the store when I was growing up since we always had so much of it growing around our property. Because of that, we only ate it seasonally, but we sure made the most out of asparagus season!

Sometimes we would just have it grilled or steamed with melted butter on top. Other times it would be pureed in asparagus soup or added to my mom’s famous veggie lasagna (hopefully a post on this coming soon). But one of my favorite spring dishes has always been asparagus risotto.

During my time volunteering at Healthy Community Kitchens, I learned how to make authentic risotto. It was only then that I realized that this recipe isn’t true risotto. That being said, risotto is one of those dishes that has to be very precise and takes some time to master. So while I work on developing that skill, enjoy this simpler baked version!

Makes 4, 1 cup servings

Ingredients

1 Tbs olive oil

1 cup finely chopped onion

1 cup uncooked Arborio rice

8 cup spinach leaves (about 4 oz)

2 cup vegetable broth*

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (optional)

1/2 cup fresh, grated Parmesan cheese, divided (2 oz)

1 1/2 cup diagonally sliced asparagus (about 1 inch pieces) **

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F

Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook 4 minutes or until tender. Add rice and stir well. Stir in spinach, broth, salt, and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer and cook for 7 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese.

Cover and bake for 15 minutes. Stir in asparagus and sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until liquid is almost absorbed.

Notes

*Substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth to make it vegetarian.

**Also try substituting half of the asparagus with peas (as pictured).

Purity Coffee

Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone is having a great start to the week! Even though I don’t have any more exams for a couple weeks, I still find myself studying on Friday nights🤓. And when I’m not doing that, I like to find interesting research to apply to my own life and share with all of you! Today I want to fill you in on the latest info I’ve learned about coffee.

As it turns out, a lot of conventional coffee is contaminated with various molds, mycotoxins, pesticides, and carcinogens. Not to mention that most pre-ground coffee has been sitting on store shelves for months and often contains artificial flavors. But if you love coffee like I do, don’t worry! Coffee can actually be really good for you!

Purity coffee (which is recommended by dietitians and certified clinical nutritionists) has tons of health benefits without the dangers of conventional coffee. All the beans are carefully selected and roasted with the most precise techniques to make it safe and higher in antioxidants than most other coffees. The video below does a great job of explaining all the science behind the Purity process.

Click the here below to give Purity a try! Be sure to use promo code: ROOTS to get 10% off your first order!

3 Ingredient Roasted Butternut Squash

Fall is finally here which means back to school as well as lots of opportunities for fall baking. I’ve been settling into apartment life for the past month and now that classes have started again, it’s hard to find time to actually cook wholesome meals. Thankfully I had yesterday morning free to do a little meal prep, including roasting some squash from my grandpa’s garden. It makes a perfect side with pretty much anything. This recipe is extremely simple and easy too (only three ingredients), so it’s perfect for this busy time of year. Enjoy!

butternut (1)

Ingredients:

1 Butternut squash

2 Tbs. butter

2 Tbs. brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Cut squash into halves vertically and scoop out seeds to discard. Place the squash skin side down in a glass baking dish.
  3. Make three slices in each half of the squash, being sure not to cut all the way through. (See above photos.) This will allow the butter and brown sugar to flavor more of the squash.
  4. Spread the butter evenly on both halves and sprinkle with brown sugar.
  5. Bake skin side up for approximately 30 minutes or until the squash is soft a fork can be inserted easily.
  6. Squash can be eaten as is or scooped out of the skins and mashed. Enjoy!

 

Mocha Chocolate Chip Scones

Featured image

I’m not sure what took me so long, but just a few months ago I discovered that coffee is actually really good! Back in first and second grade, my school had Friday cooking classes. Well one fateful week, the recipe was coffee milkshakes. All it took was one sip and I didn’t touch coffee for ten years! Yeah, it was that bitter.

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As it turns out though, I wasn’t actually scarred for life. One day, during my second semester of college, I thought I’d give it a try again just to see what I thought. Yes, I was in need of a caffeine source, but that honestly wasn’t the only reason. Besides, there’s only so much sleep coffee can replace anyway.

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I decided to only try it black because I didn’t want to get hooked on any sugary drinks. To my surprise, though it was bitter, I kind of liked it! And ever since then I’ve been drinking coffee…and baking with it. Because let’s be honest, what goes better with a warm cup of coffee than a mocha chocolate chip scone?

Makes 16 scones

Scone

Ingredients

Scones

1 Tbs. ground flax seed

3 Tbs. hot water

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup cocoa

1 Tbs. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/3 cup cold butter

1/4 cup half and half

1/4 cup coffee reduction sauce

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Glaze

Powdered sugar

Cocoa

Half and half

Coffee syrup

Directions:

  1. Make the coffee syrup according to the linked recipe and set aside.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk the flax and hot water to make an egg substitute. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or with a silicone baking mat
    .
  4. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Cut in the butter and begin combining the ingredients using a pastry blender. Then, use your hands to make sure all the butter is evenly distributed and there are no large pieces left.
  6. Add the half and half, coffee syrup, and vanilla to the flax mixture and give it a whisk.
  7. Pour the liquid ingredients into the large bowl and stir until the ingredients come together. Again, you may have to use your hands to knead the dough since scones are by nature a little dry.
  8. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  9. Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface and divide it into two pieces. Form each piece into a circle about two inches thick.
  10. Cut each circle into eight triangular scones.
  11. Place all 16 scones on the baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean when they are done (with the exception of some melted chocolate chip).
  12. While they are cooling, whisk together the ingredients for the glaze. I don’t have an exact recipe for it, so it can be adjusted based on your taste preferences. I recommend using roughly 1 to 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and 2 Tbs. cocoa (more or less depending on how much chocolate flavor you want). Then add half and half and coffee syrup until the glaze comes together. The consistency shouldn’t be liquid, but it should be thin enough to drizzle over the scones. If you want a mild coffee flavor, use more half and half and if you prefer a stronger flavor, use more coffee syrup.
  13. Drizzle the scones with glaze using a fork , whisk, or piping bag. Enjoy!

Roots 2017

Happy New Year, everyone! I usually don’t get into the festivities very much, but 2017 was a very exciting year for me personally and was also the first complete year for Roots. I first launched the site last September, so 2016 just the beginning as I wrote a few posts and got 60 views, nine visitors, and three likes. However, Roots really took off this past year and now has over 1,000 views and over 400 visitors! I know that doesn’t seem like a lot to established bloggers, but for the first year, I see it as a major improvement and accomplishment.

That being said, I couldn’t have done any of this without all of you! Thank you to all of my readers and followers for your continued support. I am very grateful to have gotten to know this amazing blogging community that I never even knew existed before I started.

More specifically, I want to give a shout-out to a couple of bloggers. First, a huge thank you to Author S at Ink Spatters Brought to Life for nominating me for several blogging awards! It has been quite an honor and has really helped me network with other bloggers. (I highly recommend you check out her blog too!)

Another gigantic thank you goes out to my super awesome sister Lauren at LuBerry Pie! (whose blog you should also visit 🙂 ) I wouldn’t have started blogging in the first place if it wasn’t for her. She has also been very helpful when it comes to social media. (I must admit it’s not my forte…for instance I just got an Instagram a couple of weeks ago.) Okay, so I might be a little behind the times, but Lauren keeps me up to date. She also helps with outreach, takes great food pictures, and even edits posts. Where would I be without her?!

As 2018 is about to begin, I can’t help but think about where I want Roots to be by next New Year’s Eve. Right now, my goals may seem far fetched, but with some hard work, dedication, and support, we can totally make it happen. Right now, I have 80 wonderful followers. A year from now, I hope to have over 1,000. It won’t be easy, but I know it’s possible. After all, yesterday I only had 63 followers! In order to make this goal a reality though, I need to get into a regular routine for posts. It’s easy to get caught up in school that I don’t have much time to be developing recipes or taking pictures. I’ll do my best to get a lot done while I’m on break, so when classes start again, I can still keep up.

Thank you again to all of my readers and followers at Roots! Like I said, I wouldn’t be where I am today without you. I have some big visions of where I want Roots to be a year from now, so I’m excited to see what 2018 brings. Here’s to year two of Roots! Thanks everyone! Cheers!

–Rachel Alexandra