Rhubarb Custard Bars

What a strange time of year — spring is clearly here, and we’ve had some gloriously warm & sunny days! But we’ve also had some very chilly, windy, and rainy ones. It seems to go back and forth, teasing us with warmth, then sending us running back inside with the cold.

This mix of temperatures allows for time with the oven on, though! And turning on the oven inevitably leads to baking for me. This week I whipped up some rhubarb custard bars: a delicious combination of creamy, tangy, and sweet flavours. If you can, try to snag a corner bar, as they get extra caramelization, and are even more delicious.

I found this recipe on a popular baking blog, and made a few tweaks: added some oats to the crust for extra texture and a bump of fibre, halved the sugar in the filling, and added vanilla for an increased depth in flavour. Although these adjustments do make these bars a little more healthy, they’re definitely still a dessert. And that’s okay! There’s more than enough room for desserts in our diets. It’s all about balance: maybe don’t eat the whole tray, but enjoy one or two without guilt, just enjoyment!

They don’t take long at all to whip up, but you do have to have some patience to allow them to fully cool and set. It’s worth the wait, though! Give them a try and let me know what you think.

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Ingredients

For the crust

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup oats

3/4 cup cold butter, cubed

1/4 cup sugar

For the filling

3 large eggs, beaten

¾ cup white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup flour

1/2 tsp salt

4 cups rhubarb, diced

2 tablespoons icing sugar (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oats, and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

  2. Pat the crumbs into a well greased 9 x 13 in baking pan. Bake the crust at 350 F for 10-12 min or until lightly browned.

  3. While the crust is in the oven, mix together eggs, sugar, vanilla, flour and salt.

  4. Gently stir in the diced rhubarb. Pour the rhubarb mixture over the hot crust. Return bars to the hot oven. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling is set and no longer jiggly

  5. Cool for 30 mins on the counter and then refrigerate until chilled before cutting into bars.

  6. Before serving, sprinkle with icing sugar for an extra hint of sweetness and a pretty final touch.

Recipe modified from http://chocolatewithgrace.com/rhubarb-bars/ by Alex Chesney, RD

Oatmeal-Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

Chilly winter days were made for baking, don’t you think? There’s nothing I love more than hunkering down in my kitchen with some music playing in the background while I mix up some dough and roll it out. It’s soothing and comforting, and the end result is so delicious. This week I wanted to bake something that featured one of our jams, and thumbprint cookies immediately came to mind. They’re quick and easy, and super cute. Although these fall firmly into the treat category, this recipe features oats and whole wheat flour for a bump of fibre. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Bake Time: 10 minutes:

Makes: 3 dozen bite-sized cookies

Ingredients

1 ¾ cups old-fashioned oats, divided

¾ cups whole-wheat flour

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

¼ cup packed brown sugar

¼ cup white sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

¼ cup Thames River Melons raspberry jam

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350⁰F. Prepare a large baking sheet (or two smaller ones) by lining with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

  2. Grind ½ of the oats into a finely ground flour using a food processor, high-speed blender, or spice grinder. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl.

  3. Add the flour, remaining oats, ground ginger, and salt to the oat flour and whisk to combine.

  4. Next, beat together the butter and sugars using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or an electric hand mixer. Use medium speed, and beat until light and fluffy (approximately 1 minute).

  5. Add the egg and beat thoroughly. Then, beat in the vanilla.

  6. Next, slowly add the flour mixture on low speed and beat until just incorporated.

  7. Finally, gently fold in the walnuts (if using).

  8. Using a spoon or small cookie scoop, measure about 1 tablespoon of dough from the bowl. Roll the dough between the palms of your hand to form a ball and place on the prepared cookie sheet(s).

  9. Continue to scoop and roll, placing the balls of dough approximately 2 inches apart.

  10. Use your thumb to press down on the middle of the dough ball. Fill each with a dab of raspberry jam.

  11. Place the prepared cookie sheets into the preheated oven and bake for 5 minutes. Then, rotate the baking sheet from front to back (and between racks if using two pans!) and continue baking for another 3 to 4 minutes, until cookies are set but still soft.

  12. Remove the cookies from the oven and cool for 1 to 2 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to fully cool.

  13. Store in an airtight container for 4 to 5 days. Enjoy!

Recipe modified from The Kitchn by Alex Chesney, RD

Mixed Berry Muffins

These muffins are hearty, filling, and delicious! Chock full of fiber from the whole wheat flour, oats, and berries + a boost of protein from the hemp hearts & chia means they'll make the perfect addition to a breakfast-on-the-go or as an afternoon pick-me-up snack. Try topping with a tablespoon of natural peanut butter and pair with a glass of milk. Enjoy!
*Makes 12 muffins

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat flour
½ cup oats
1/8 cup hemp hearts
1/8 cup chia seeds
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder

Wet Ingredients:
1 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, mashed

Add-ins:
1 cup mixed berries (I used raspberries & blueberries)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a muffin tin, or fill with muffin liners. Set aside until batter is prepared.

In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly whisk together all dry ingredients. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients. Slowly stir wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix gently until just combined. Do not overmix or muffins will be tough and chewy! Finally, gently fold in berries.

Using a spring-loaded ice-cream scoop (my favourite tool to ensure evenly sized muffins!) drop muffin batter into muffin tins.

Bake in pre-heated oven for approximately 20 minutes. To check doneness, insert a toothpick. If it comes out clean, your muffins are ready to be removed from the oven.

Let cool, and then dig in!

Recipe created by Alex Chesney, RD

 

Chia Seed Pudding + Blueberries

It's blueberry season! I have been adding blueberries to just about everything these days, because they are not only super delicious but also packed with nutrition! Blueberries are an excellent source of fibre and of Vitamins A & C - which are important micronutrients and antioxidants! They make the perfect mix-in for this creamy chia seed pudding.

Chia seeds are these nifty little guys that form a pudding-like texture when soaked in liquids. The end result is kind of like tapioca pudding, but with packed with fibre, healthy omega-3 fats, and minerals like iron & calcium. Here I chose a mixture of 1% milk and coconut milk, which allows gives the pudding some incredible creaminess without being too laden with fat.

This recipe can be enjoyed as an afternoon snack or as a tasty dessert! Try it out today & let me know what you think.


*Makes 4 servings

3 tbsp chia seeds
½ cup 1% milk
½ cup coconut milk
1 tsp maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse gently until mixed well. Place the mixture in the fridge for an hour. Transfer to mason jars, top each serving with ¼ cup of berries, and enjoy! For an even prettier presentation, try layering - a few spoonfuls of pudding, a sprinkle of blueberries, and repeat!

Recipe developed by Alex Chesney, RD

 

Rhubarb & Yogurt Parfait

Here's a quick & easy, plus healthy & delicious treat that can be enjoyed as an on-the-go breakfast, or as a light dessert! Rhubarb & oats provide filling fiber, and Greek yogurt gives a boost of protein. Prepare ahead of time for easy enjoyment. Here's the recipe: 

*Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
6 cups rhubarb, chopped
6 tbsp honey
¼ cup water
3 cups Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups large flake oats

Preparation:
Place chopped rhubarb, 3 tbsp of the honey, and water in a medium stock pot over low heat. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is completely softened. 

Meanwhile, whisk together Greek yogurt, 3 tbsp of honey, and vanilla extract. 

Once rhubarb is cooked, begin to layer your parfaits into 4 mason jars. Start with 1/2 cup yogurt mixture, then layer on 1/2 cup rhubarb, then repeat once for each jar (total of 1 cup of yogurt and 1 cup rhubarb per jar). Top each parfait with 1/2 cup oatmeal.
Store in fridge until ready to enjoy!

Recipe created by Alex Chesney, RD

Rhubarb Crisp

Rhubarb crisp is so delicious & easy to make. It can be made using either fresh or frozen rhubarb - either works! This dessert makes the perfect addition to a weeknight family dinner, and here at the farm we love to nibble on leftovers (if there are any!) for a breakfast-time treat. 

Here's the recipe: 

Ingredients for filling:
4 cups of chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
Dash of lemon juice

Ingredients for topping:
1 cup quick cooking oatmeal
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350. Toss chopped rhubarb in sugar and transfer to a greased 9x9 baking dish. Prepare topping: mix oatmeal and brown sugar, then cut in softened butter. Once combined well, sprinkle on top of rhubarb. Bake for 30-45 minutes (until rhubarb is softened and mixture is bubbly). Enjoy!

Recipe created by Alex Chesney, RD