Mixed Berry Oat Bars Recipe

It’s the weekend!  And it’s long one!  Let’s celebrate with some homemade treats!  Full disclosure — I actually posted these bars many years ago.  But the images were so atrocious and I also updated the preparation method, so I thought it would be appropriate to re-post.  I have no doubt many of you will be hosting or attending backyard shindigs this weekend.  These are THE perfect dessert to bring to a fancy or casual affair.

Continue reading

Berry Bircher Muesli Recipe

Berry Bircher Muesli | Pamela Salzman

Forgive me, but I’ll have to be brief today!  We just finished shooting the cookbook this week and I was focused only on that.  Over the next few short weeks, I have to finish writing the book.  I am really excited to share these recipes with you, as well as all the great tips and tricks I teach in my classes.  The book is titled “Fresh Start” because I feel like everyone has moments when they want to reset with a new beginning.  The good news is that we are always given a fresh start every day.  It’s never too late to take control of your health and take care of yourself.  I’ll help you learn what you need to know to be the healthiest that you can be and it all starts with what you eat and cooking your own food.


Berry Bircher Muesli | Pamela Salzman

Today’s recipe is a version of one of my favorite breakfasts, Bircher Muesli, a very digestible soaked oat and fruit porridge.  The texture is wonderful with soft rolled oats, crunchy nuts and chewy bits of dried fruit.  I am crazy about this strawberry bircher which is even more delicious than the original. I blended fresh strawberries into the yogurt mixture and swapped dried strawberries for the raisins.  It has a bright, berry flavor and is satisfyingly filling.  There’s nothing better than waking up in the morning knowing that breakfast is already made and is a good one!

Berry Bircher Muesli | Pamela Salzman

You can eat this right out of the refrigerator or transfer some into a jar and take it to work and eat it at room temp.  In the winter, you can even heat the bircher over the stove for a warm version.  I went a little crazy on the toppings in these images, but that’s how I like to eat it, especially since berries are so amazing right now and they are antioxidant bombs!  The beginning of every day is your chance to wake up to a clean slate.  And this recipe is the perfect place to start!

Berry Bircher Muesli Recipe
Serves: 4
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 apples, unpeeled, grated (I like using green apples)
  • ½ cup unsulfured dried strawberries, cut in half or in quarters if very large
  • ⅔ cup chopped hazelnuts (almonds or walnuts are nice, too)
  • juice of half a small lemon
  • 1 cup strawberries, hulled
  • 1⅔ -1¾ cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1⅔ -1¾ cups unsweetened kefir or yogurt
  • Toppings: fresh berries or sliced bananas, extra chopped nuts, raw honey or maple syrup
  1. The night before: In a large bowl, mix the oats, apples, dried strawberries and hazelnuts. Place the lemon juice, strawberries, almond milk and yogurt in a blender and process until smooth. Add the mixture to the oats and apples and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next morning: add sweetener to taste, if necessary. Divide the muesli among four bowls and top with favorite nuts or fruits.
Keeps for several days covered in the refrigerator.
If you can't find dried strawberries, golden raisins or dried cherries would be great.


Peanut Butter Granola Recipe

Peanut Butter Granola | pamela salzman

I am a nut butter addict.  I would be so skinny if nut butter didn’t exist!  I love them all — almond, cashew, hazelnut, pecan, mixed nuts and my childhood favorite, peanut.  Yes, yes, yes, I know peanuts are not actually nuts, but legumes.  And I know peanuts are less healthy than other nuts and that you must buy organic because they are heavily sprayed.  But I love the roasted nutty flavor of peanut butter and a little goes a long way.   I actually eat peanut butter pretty sparingly, but when I do, I convince myself that it has a lot of protein (which it does) and I try to eat it with other things, rather than off the spoon as I was apt to do in college and during my three pregnancies.

Peanut Butter Granola | pamela salzman

I also love my homemade granola recipe.  Granola + yogurt + fresh fruit is my go-to breakfast when I’m running late, or haven’t prepared anything else in advance.  I actually never get tired of it. If I don’t post my breakfast on Instagram on a particular day (like Monday,) it’s because I’m probably having a granola-yogurt parfait.

Peanut Butter Granola | pamela salzman

Last spring I decided I needed to spice up my life a little, so I went out on a limb and decided to make my granola recipe with peanut butter.  Oh yeah, I am a risk-taker if you don’t know that by now!  Well, let’s just say I became super obsessed with this peanut butter version and my kids went crazy for it, too.  Truth be told, I think they were starting to get bored with my standard granola which I have been making the same way for at least 15 years.  I need everyone in this house to be into granola — with yogurt or almond milk, it’s the easiest, balanced, instant breakfast I’ve got up my sleeve.  So this new version was just the thing to get everyone interested again.

Peanut Butter Granola | pamela salzman

The recipe is actually not much different from my original granola.  All I did was replace the coconut oil with peanut butter and swap peanuts for almonds and pecans.  So it’s still vegan and gluten-free (if you use GF oats, if that’s important to you.)  I’ve done lots of different dried fruits with this granola, depending on what I have on hand, but diced dates are my favorite.  I still keep this barely sweet so we don’t get any blood sugar spikes first thing in the morning.  You’ll test it out and see for yourself if it’s the sweetness that you like.  If not, the next go round you’ll add some more syrup.

Peanut Butter Granola | pamela salzman

Peanut Butter Granola | pamela salzman

We eat granola in the obvious parfait, but we also dip bananas in nut butter and sprinkle them with granola, use it to top oatmeal, I have even started making yogurt popsicles with layers of granola inside.  I also eat it out of hand when I need a little pick me up in the afternoon the car waiting for Mr. Picky to get off the bus. Zzzzzzzz.

Peanut Butter Granola | pamela salzman

Mother’s Day is on Sunday!  Buy those cards and flowers!  Make a homemade gift!  Bring her breakfast in bed, like peanut butter granola with strawberries and a side of almond milk!  Above all, if you are a kid, no bickering with your siblings on Mother’s Day and do something that will pleasantly surprise your mama, like clean your room or the whole house, do the dishes or eat a green vegetable.  Happy Mother’s Day to everyone!

Peanut Butter Granola | pamela salzman

Peanut Butter Granola
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (look for gluten-free oats for a gluten-free granola)
  • ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • ½ cup raw hulled sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • ½ cup unsalted, unsweetened peanut butter*, creamy or crunchy, preferably organic
  • ⅓ cup 100% pure maple syrup, Grade A or Grade B
  • ¼ cup brown rice syrup (or honey)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup roasted and salted peanuts, preferably organic
  • 1 cup pitted chopped dates (about 8 dates) or other dried, unsulphured fruit
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (If your oven runs hot, preheat to 325 degrees.) Line a rimmed baking sheet or cookie sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl stir together the oats, seeds, cinnamon and salt.
  3. In a small saucepan combine the peanut butter, maple syrup, brown rice syrup and vanilla and heat over low, whisking to combine well. It is really important to mix the peanut butter and syrups so that everything is well blended, otherwise the syrups may burn. Add the peanut butter and syrup mixture to the bowl with the oats and stir to coat well.
  4. Transfer the oat mixture to the prepared pan. Bake for 25-35 minutes (ovens vary), stirring occasionally until golden brown. The mixture will not be crunchy yet. Add the peanuts and dates to the pan and allow to cool. Transfer granola to an airtight container and store at room temperature or freeze.
*You can also use almond butter.



Savory Oats with Kale, Mushrooms and Walnuts Recipe + other ideas for savory oats

savory oats with kale, mushrooms and walnuts | pamela salzman

I teach a breakfast cooking class once a year and in this past one, savory steel cut oats were on the menu.  That’s right, savory oats, as opposed to the standard oatmeal with sweet toppings like bananas and brown sugar or raisins and peanut butter.  There were quite a few raised eyebrows and comments like “I’m not so sure about this” or “I trust you, but this doesn’t sound good.”  Needless to say, the risky recipe that month was also the surprise hit.  No one could believe how much they enjoyed a savory version of oatmeal.

cleaning shiitake mushrooms

I’ll be the first to admit that I have a sweet tooth which needs no more encouragement than it already gets.  Starting my day on a savory note often helps to keep sweet cravings at bay, at least until late afternoon.  If an egg and veggie scramble or avocado and tomato toast is acceptable for breakfast, why not oatmeal with vegetables?  Oats are so bland, the perfect backdrop for almost anything.  In fact, I like to think of oats like pasta or risotto or polenta — infinitely versatile.  One of my students thought she could easily serve her family these savory oats for Sunday dinner.  Why not?

stem and slice the kale

This post is more about encouraging skeptics to try this, than providing a specific recipe.  Because once you are open-minded about eating oatmeal with veggies, you’ll see that you don’t really need a recipe.  But, I would like to point out that I always try to incorporate high quality fat and protein in my breakfasts so I will have staying power until lunchtime.  Protein can be anything from an egg to nuts and seeds to dairy, like cheese, yogurt or milk.  Good fats are in eggs, nut and seeds, avocado, olive oil, ghee or organic butter.  I’m a texture gal, and since oatmeal is creamy, I do like to add something with crunch, like nuts.  But that’s my personal choice.  I do think oats can accommodate bold flavors in the flavor department, so don’t be shy with garlic, crushed red pepper or ginger, for example.

savory oats with kale, mushrooms and walnuts | pamela salzman

Let me come clean.  Even though I am crazy about savory oats, my kids prefer sweet.  But the beauty of making a pot of oatmeal, whether it’s rolled oats or steel cut, is that you don’t have to commit to sweet or savory.  I leave the pot on the stove and everyone does his or her own thing.  I will do a quick sauté of veggies for myself and anyone else who wants them.  If I have no takers, they know where to find the bananas and pecans.

savory oats witk sautéed kale, mushrooms and walnuts | pamela salzman

I took images of my favorite combo, which is sautéed kale and mushrooms plus gomasio and chopped walnuts.  But I have done many iterations of veggies on oatmeal and I’ve listed a few at the bottom of the recipe.  If it looks like I won’t be eating lunch until late and I won’t have time to take a snack break in the morning, I will add a drizzle of olive oil.  In my June class, I sautéed lots of garlic, crushed red pepper, cherry tomatoes, shredded zucchini and basil in olive oil and served it over the oats with grated Pecorino on the side.  It was absolutely delicious.

savory oats with sautéed kale, mushrooms and walnuts | pamela salzman

What do you have in the fridge from last night?  Roasted cauliflower?  Reheat it and put it over oats with sautéed garlic and shallots, toasted pine nuts and raisins.  In fact, you don’t have to use oats!  You can use your favorite warm porridge, like this gluten-free blend I sometimes make.  You know I probably shouldn’t play this game, because I’ll be here all day coming up with great possibilities for oats.  I would love to hear from you though.  Are savory oats a thing for you yet?  Any combinations you’d like to share?

5.0 from 2 reviews
Savory Oats with Kale, Mushrooms and Walnuts
Serves: 4
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 4 cups water (use 3 ¾ cups if oats were soaked overnight and drained)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons unrefined, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 big bunch kale, stripped and chopped coarsely
  • ½ pound shiitake mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp paper towel and sliced
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup chopped walnuts (or another nut or seed, toasted or raw)
  • gomasio for sprinkling on top
  1. Place the oats, water and sea salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat and simmer oats uncovered until oats are tender, about 40 minutes. (Soaked oats only take 30 minutes.)
  2. In a large skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and a pinch of crushed red pepper. Saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add vegetables, a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper, and sauté until tender, about 6-8 minutes.
  4. Portion the oats into 4 bowls and top with the vegetable mixture. Add an extra drizzle of olive oil or a different oil like flax, hemp or avocado. Top with walnuts and sprinkle with gomasio.
Other options I love:
Sauteed cabbage and scallions, sesame oil, shoyu, gomasio or sesame seeds and a poached egg
Shredded zucchini or sautéed asparagus, goat cheese and toasted, salted pistachios
Burst cherry tomatoes, garlic, crushed red pepper, basil and grated Pecorino or Parmesan
Dried chilies, coconut milk, dried unsweetened coconut, toasted cashews, scallions and shoyu


DIY Gluten-free Multi-grain Porridge Recipe

How to make your own gluten-free multigrain porridge | pamela salzman

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day not only because it jumpstarts your brain and your metabolism, gives you fuel to get going, provides energy until your next meal, but it also sets the tone for how you feel and what you crave the rest of the day.

Hypothetically speaking, if I eat a doughnut for breakfast, my blood sugar will surge, then plummet, making me cranky and not able to think very clearly.  I will be hungry a short while later, and psychologically other things can happen.  That sugar may initiate more cravings for sweets during the day.  I might be annoyed with myself for eating something “bad” and feel depressed afterwards.  I could even think my whole day of eating has already been “ruined” and so I throw in the towel and eat a whole other bunch of crap, which we all know is a crazy thing to do, but it happens to the best of us.

Mix some grains

The key is to eat the right amount of the right combination of high quality protein, fats and complex carbohydrates at breakfast.

At least twice each week, I make a big pot of warm porridge, usually steel cut oats, but occasionally another grain or two.  I set out a bunch of different jars on the counter so everyone can make their own “power bowl” with fresh or dried fruit, nuts or nut butter, seeds, coconut, granola, and the like.

Mixed grains for porridge

Last year I decided to change it up a bit and mix a bunch of different grains I had lying around and see what would happen.  It’s always a good idea to expose yourself to more nutrients and flavors!  I chose grains that all had similar cooking times — millet, quinoa, rolled oats and “creamy buckwheat cereal.” The buckwheat cereal is just the cut version of whole buckwheat groats, so it cooks faster.  I loved it and so did my husband!  My son, who doesn’t like to try anything new, thought it was “ok.”  But he finished his bowl and eats it all every time I make it.  (I think he secretly likes it.)

Mixed grains for porridge

Many of my students have asked me for the “recipe” after seeing many a bowl of multigrain porridge on my Instagram feed.  There’s really no one recipe for how to do this.  I usually use 1 cup of mixed grains, so you can divide that equally into 1/4 cups of each of 4 grains.  Or you can do mostly oats if that’s what is most familiar to you and a couple tablespoons of the other ones.  (Mixing the grains makes for a more complex flavor than just one note.)  I like to cook with water and when the grains are nice and soft and porridge-like, finish it off with something creamy like almond milk.  If you are desperate to get more protein into your breakfast, you can certainly cook your grains with milk from the start.

DIY gluten-free multigrain porridge | pamela salzman

You can also use other grains like wheat berries (not GF), brown rice, spelt (not GF), barley (not GF) and steel cut oats, but keep in mind those take longer to cook even if you soak them the night before (which you should do — see this post for why.)

DIY gluten-free multigrain porridge with apple, almonds and hemp seeds | pamela salzman

There are infinite possibilities for toppings or add-ins, but I have included a few images of my latest creations (sorry there are no images of the porridge in the pot — the steam fogged up my camera and the pictures were a mess!) and you can check this post on some of my favorite oatmeal concoctions.  Make your next breakfast count!

DIY gluten-free multigrain porridge with turmeric, vanilla powder, walnuts, pomegranate seeds, raw cacao nibs | pamela salzman

DIY Gluten-free Multi-grain Porridge
Serves: 3-4
  • 1 cup mixed gluten-free grains (I like a combination of rolled oats*, quinoa, millet, and creamy buckwheat), preferably soaked overnight in water and drained
  • 4 cups water (use 3 ½ cups of water if grains were soaked)
  • ½ - 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or milk of choice (click here for how to make your own almond milk)
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the grains and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to a simmer and cook covered.
  2. Cook until all the grains are tender, about 25-30 minutes. If grains were previously soaked, they will cook much more quickly!
  3. Stir in the almond milk according to whether you like your porridge is thick or thin until porridge is nice and creamy. Serve immediately or refrigerate for a few days. Reheat in a saucepan with a little water or almond milk to desired consistency.
*Look for specially labeled Gluten-free oats if you are gluten-intolerant or are trying to limit gluten.

Bircher Muesli with Hazelnuts and Golden Raisins Recipe

Bircher Muesli with Hazelnuts and Golden Raisins | Pamela Salzman

I had no intention of posting this recipe today because I already have a muesli recipe on my site.  But that was from so, so long ago and I know I don’t even remember what I posted on this site back in the beginning so I don’t expect you to!  Plus this one is better and ironically I made it up on the spot.  I threw this muesli together on a whim on Sunday night because 1. it’s my favorite summer breakfast, 2. Mr. Picky was starting day camp on Monday and I needed one less thing to do in the morning, 3. it has actually been very warm and summerlike here in Manhattan Beach which never happens in the summer, just in September and October when everyone has gone back to school and resumed soccer on the weekends, and 4. I was a little naughty this holiday weekend which involved a homemade cherry pie, a new favorite rosé (did you see my instagram?) and some (a lot of?) mozzarella.  Ooops.  And that was after 9 days at my parents’ house which always involves too much pasta, pizza, wine and mozzarella.

Bob's Red Mill gluten-free oats


grate 2 green apples, skin and all

I always say breakfast will set the tone for the rest of the day’s eating, so you want to start off right, eat a good breakfast.  I had a good sized bowl of this muesli with some blueberries in the morning at 7:30 after a quick workout and then a little green tea at about 10:00 and I was completely fine until lunch at 1:00.  That just about never happens.  I am usually looking for a snack of some kind around 10:00 or 10:30.  If you have issues with sugar and sweets, try making this without any added sweetener or add a couple drops of stevia.  Of course, feel free to sub your favorite nut or seed for the hazelnuts and any good unsulphured fruit for the golden raisins (remember: sulphur dioxide is a preservative for dried fruit and it is not healthy for you, especially for people who have sensitive lungs.)

kefir or yogurt + almond milk

I actually think this muesli tastes more like the ones I have had a hotels both in the states and in Europe.  Although it is not technically the original bircher muesli which uses condensed milk (eeek!), it is very similar in taste and texture.  In my previous muesli, I used yogurt, water and orange juice to soak the oats with a little lemon zest.  Decidedly citrusy, which I love, but not necessarily uber authentic.  This one I used half almond milk and half kefir, although a nice think yogurt like Straus Family Creamery would be just as ideal.  (Did you know Trader Joe’s European style yogurt IS Straus?!?)  I still add shredded green apple which is a must, but for this batch I also included golden raisins and chopped hazelnuts and I was in heaven.  Yum, yum, and YUM!  Creamy, crunchy, lightly sweet.  Perfect. I am dreaming of being in a European hotel for breakfast.  And then I had to take Mr. Picky and his buddy to baseball camp. Wake up!

muesli in the morning

Bircher Muesli with Hazelnuts and Golden Raisins | Pamela Salzman

Bircher Muesli with Hazelnuts and Golden Raisins
Serves: 4
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 apples, unpeeled, grated (I like using green apples)
  • juice of half a small lemon
  • juice of half an orange
  • 1 ½ - 1⅔ cups unsweetened almond milk (click here for instructions on how to make your own)
  • 1 ½ - 1⅔ cups unsweetened kefir or yogurt
  • ½ cup unsulphured golden raisins or dried fruit of choice
  • ⅔ cup chopped hazelnuts
  • Toppings: fresh berries or sliced bananas, extra chopped nuts, raw honey or maple syrup
  1. The night before: In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients, except toppings, in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next morning: add sweetener to taste, if necessary. Divide the muesli among four bowls and top with favorite nuts or fruits.
  3. Keeps for several days covered in the refrigerator.
I don't sweeten this ahead of time because I prefer it unsweetened. Since my kids like a little honey, they add it to their own bowls in the morning. But feel free to add 2 Tablespoons or so of honey or your sweetener of choice.



Vegan Pumpkin Oatmeal Spice Cookies Recipe (gluten-free)

vegan pumpkin oatmeal spice cookies | pamela salzman

Have you made my vegan oatmeal chocolate chip cookies?   If you’re new here, do not hesitate.  They are fantastic!  They’re a staple around here and definitely one of the more healthful (less bad for you?) cookies I’ve tried.  I love that recipe so much I decided to tinker with it and make a fall version with pumpkin puree and delicious spices like cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg.  Amazing!  It’s like pumpkin pie meets an oatmeal cookie.  And as much I love these cookies fresh out of the oven, they are just as delicious raw.  That’s right, as in cookie dough.  And I’m not the only one who thinks so.  After I posted my secret pumpkin oatmeal cookie dough addiction on Instagram, my students started stealing the bowl out from under my nose during class and having a taste themselves!  The benefits of a vegan dough.

raw cookie dough

I thought I would sneak this recipe in today before you start baking treats for Halloween.  Of course, these are perfect during the entire season of fall and beyond.  They’re a snap to make and like many cookie recipes, you can prepare the dough in advance and bake as many or as few cookies as you need.  I like these best the day they’re made and even the next day.  Because there’s pumpkin in them, they get a little soft after a day.

pumpkin oatmeal spice cookies | pamela salzman

This recipe ended up being more flexible than I imagined.  I had to try it with a nut other than walnuts one day for a student with a walnut allergy and pecans worked great.  I haven’t tried this recipe with sunflower seeds, but I think it would work if you need to go nut-free.  The sunflower seeds just might react with the baking soda, however, and cause the cookies to have a green-ish color to the them.  Might be kind of cool for Halloween!  I know many of you will want to sub chocolate chips for the raisins and I say go for it!  Pumpkin + chocolate + spices isn’t my thing, but that doesn’t mean you won’t love it.  I was serving these in my classes plain and simple, but I found a recipe for a fun sweet potato-cream cheese frosting that was delicious as a filling if you wanted to make a sort of oatmeal cookie whoopie pie.  Just for kicks.

vegan pumpkin oatmeal spice cookies with sweet potato cream cheese frosting | pamela salzman

However, like I always say, just because these cookies are higher quality and not made with junk and chemicals doesn’t mean you can eat them all day long.  Concentrated sweeteners can still raise your blood sugar and will still feed yeast and fungus in your system and will keep you addicted to sugar.  So with the beginning of the season of sweets, which I say starts on Halloween and ends on New Years Day, I try to be conscientious about not going crazy when I am offered candy and treats galore.  But before we start thinking about 2014, we’ve got lots of fun in store.  Thanksgiving is indeed four weeks from Halloween which means you and I are going into planning mode pronto.  See you all back here on Thursday!

vegan pumpkin oatmeal spice cookies | pamela salzman

Vegan Pumpkin Oatmeal Spice Cookies
Serves: makes 20 2½-inch cookies
  • 1 ½ cups oat flour (see Step #2) (use certified gluten-free oat flour if you are gluten-free)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 ¾ cups raw walnuts or pecans
  • 6 Tablespoons unrefined coconut oil (it doesn’t need to be melted)
  • ¼ cup 100% pure maple syrup (grade A or B)
  • 10 Tablespoons (½ cup + 2 Tbs.) coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling) (anywhere between ½ -1 cup works)
  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats (use certified gluten-free rolled oats if you are gluten-free)
  • 1 cup unsulphured raisins or chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. If you need to make oat flour, place 1 ¾ cups rolled oats in a food processor and process until powdery.
  3. Place oat flour, baking soda, salt cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl and whisk together.
  4. Place walnuts in a food processor and blend into a fine meal. Add oil, maple syrup, coconut sugar and pumpkin and process until mixture has the consistency of natural nut butter.
  5. Stir walnut mixture into flour mixture. Fold in 2 cups rolled oats and the raisins.
  6. Use a 1 ¾ -inch ice cream scooper to form dough into balls, and place on baking sheets. You can fit 12 on a sheet. Flatten cookies slightly with a damp hand. Bake 13-15 minutes or until cookies begin to brown and tops look dry.
  7. Cool a few minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
(adapted from "Feeding the Whole Family")

1 cup mashed baked sweet potatoes
¼ cup softened cream cheese or soft tofu (2 ounces)
1 Tablespoon melted unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon fresh lemon or orange juice

Cream together all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or with a mixer until smooth and spreadable.


Apricot, cherry and almond crisp recipe

apricot, cherry and almond crisp by Pamela Salzman

I was racking my brains thinking of something to post today for July 4th that would be red, white, and blue.  But really I’m not nearly as creative as all the people I pin on Pinterest or fave on Foodily and I’ll be honest, I couldn’t come up with something you haven’t already seen.  Although for 5 minutes I thought was a genius — potato salad with red, white and blue potatoes!  Until I googled it and saw that this was not an original idea.

crisp topping

But then I was thinking that I don’t ever make anything red, white and blue for the 4th, so why the pressure?  Our friends Melissa and Adam usually invite us to their beach house for a party where they serve the most delicious Tex-Mex food.  Not ribs or barbecue or anything cut into the shape of stars.  But it’s all crazy delicious and everyone is so happy.  I often bring a dessert or appetizer.  Last year Melissa asked me for Peach and Blueberry Crisp.  It was so yummy, but not red, white, and blue and I didn’t hear anyone complain that I didn’t have spirit.

beautiful apricots

A few weeks ago, I taught a 4th of July menu for Jenni Kayne and her friends.  Jenni asked me for a fruit crisp and I knew she would love this one with apricots and cherries.  When I was prepping for the class that morning, I asked her if I should throw in blueberries to add some blue to the red, and she responded, “Only if they would make it better.”  She’s so right.  Of course.  Who cares if it’s red, white and blue?  You want to know what I said?  I said, “They won’t.  This crisp is so insanely delicious already.  Why mess with it?”  That’s really what I said.  This crisp is so darn good, I have dreams about it.  I made this same crisp for some friends a few weeks ago and I could swear I heard moaning.  In a good way, naturally.


pitting cherries is easy with the right tool

I have a theory that fruits and vegetables that grow in the same season taste good together.  I saw cherries and apricots sitting next to each other at the farmers market and voilà!  A new crisp.  I also read somewhere that the Prunus family of stone fruits also includes almonds.  An almond looks like an apricot pit, don’t you think?  I find all of that to be so interesting….and delicious!  Now the addition of almonds did make this crisp better.  Of course, leave them out if you have an allergy or substitute something crunchy like sunflower seeds.  Crisps are so easy to adjust for allergies, in fact.  You can make the topping completely vegan by using coconut oil (more natural) or Earth Balance.  For a gluten-free crisp, I used half GF oat flour and half King Arthur Multi-purpose GF Flour (which is free from cornstarch unlike some other very popular GF flours, like Cup4Cup — sorry Thomas Keller.  Love your food, though!)  Rice flour works well, too.

fruit ready to be topped

apricot, cherry and almond crisp | pamela salzman

I think you should make a fruit crisp for the holiday.  Absolutely everyone loves them.  There are no blue food dyes involved.  It’s mostly seasonal fruit.  They are sooooooo easy.  You can make your topping right now.  Yep.  In fact, you could have made it a month ago and frozen it.  You can make 10 times the recipe for crisp topping, freeze it and make a crisp every week for the rest of the summer and into Labor Day.  Or if you’re making a crisp for Thursday, make your topping today and keep it refrigerated.  Just sprinkle it on top of your prepared fruit and bake away.  No coming to room temp or any of that nonsense.  But if you just can’t make a dessert for the 4th that is missing one of the colors of our fair flag, then by all means add some blueberries or blackberries.  Or, dig deep and find your spirit of independence and make what you think you’ll love the most.  Hope you all have the best weekend!

apricot, cherry and almond crisp by Pamela Salzman

Apricot, Cherry and Almond Crisp
Serves: 6-8
  • 1⅓ pounds of ripe, fresh apricots, pitted, quartered if large
  • ⅔ pound of dark, sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted (I love my cherry pitter which I haven't seen anymore at Williams-Sonoma, but this one looks similar.)
  • ½ Tablespoon pure Grade A maple syrup or cane sugar
  • ½ Tablespoon flour (whole wheat pastry or gluten-free flour)
  • less than ⅛ teaspoon of almond extract
  • Topping:
  • ¾ cup coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour (whole wheat pastry or for GF a combo of GF oat flour and King Arthur Multipurpose GF Flour)
  • ½ cup old fashioned rolled oats (for GF, look for labeled GF oats)
  • ½ cup chopped raw almonds
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter or Earth Balance, cut into 1-inch pieces or unrefined coconut oil
  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Toss the fruit with syrup or sugar, flour and almond extract. Transfer to an 8- or 9-inch baking dish or pie plate.
  3. Add all topping ingredients in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Blend until the mixture resembles small peas. This can also be done by hand with a pastry blender. Squeeze with your hands to create small clumps.
  4. Arrange topping over fruit to cover.
  5. Place baking dish on a cookie sheet and bake for about 45-50 minutes or until bubbly and topping is golden brown.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream, if you like.
For the crisp in the photographs, I doubled all the ingredients and used a 13 x 9-inch pan.