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Category: Recipes


Apple butter oat bars

As promised, I present to you the recipe for these amazing little apple butter oat bars I made in my frazzled cooking bender yesterday.

Apple butter oat bars

It sounds like I’m not the only one around here that is craving the flavors of fall already. I’m desperately longing for pumpkin butter, warm applesauce, baked apples, kabocha squash, hot cider, and all the other delicious foods we only get to eat around the winter holidays.

I made these same bars last week in another cooking frenzy but with strawberry jam and almonds instead. They were definitely yummy, but I’m just so over all the bouncy summer berries and very ready to break into the firmer fall fruits. Biting into one of these made me feel like I was wearing a fuzzy sweater and snowed in on the couch with a big warm blanket and a cup of hot tea.

Apple butter oat bars stack

Apple butter oat bars

This quick and simple dessert or snack is not too sweet and features the warm flavors of cinnamon and apples.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 16 bars


  • 1 stick of butter (room temp.)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup apple butter

Cooking Directions

  1. Cream together butter and sugars in a mixer.
  2. Add egg and mix to combine.
  3. Whisk together flours, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a separate mixing bowl.
  4. Add dry mix to wet in three parts, mixing gently between each addition.
  5. Fold in oats by hand and divide mixture into two equal parts
  6. Press half the dough into a buttered and floured 9x9 baking pan and top with the apple butter.
  7. Pinch off small pieces of the remaining dough and dot all over the top making sure to get all the way around the edges.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.
  9. Let cool in pan, turn out onto a cutting surface, and cut into bars.

These aren’t too heavy on the butter and sugar either. It wouldn’t be naughty for you to pop one or two for breakfast, with a rich cup of coffee or herbal tea. Just enough sweetness for a morning pastry.

Apple butter oat bars

I intended on sending half of these to work with Jeff to keep me from eating all of them, but I don’t think I can part with them!

What foods do you most closely associate with fall?


Toasted seaweed and brown rice onigiri

Onigiri are the quintessential Japanese snack food. In essence, they’re little more than compressed rice, but with the addition of spices and other mix-ins they can become exciting in their endless permutations.

Row of onigiri

These are great to make with leftover rice from a meal to avoid waste, or you can do what I did and make a whole batch just for snacking. :)

First, you need rice. I made 2 cups of brown rice using a rice cooker. If you’re not using a rice cooker, I would suggest using this sushi rice recipe. Since this is brown rice instead of the white rice used in the recipe, soak the rice first for an hour and then cook it for an hour.

I put the rice in a wide baking dish to cool off while I applied a seasoning of salt, mirin, and rice vinegar. Then I added the seaweed on top.

Mixing seaweed into brown riceSeaweed brown rice

I used a mixture of 4 things in this seaweed seasoning: dried arame, dulse, nori-kome furikake, and black sesame seeds.

arame, dulse, furikake, black sesame

Make sure to soak the arame until pliable, at least 15 minutes. Then just mix it all in evenly and get ready to mold the rice into tight little triangles!

Run your hands under the faucet to get them soaking wet. This will keep the rice from sticking to your hands. Scoop up a full handful of rice and compress it into a ball. Don’t give it your worst death grip, just press enough to keep it together.

Now the fun part. With the ball of rice in your left palm, cup it so that your fingers and palm make the flat sides or “faces” of the triangle while forming your right hand into a peak shape to make the top of the triangle.

Form hand into triangle

Press all over in this position, then rotate and press again. Once more and you should have the signature triangle onigiri shape!

Press into triangleTurn and press again

Now that you have all of your onigiri formed, you can choose to eat them as-is or toast them like I did. Lightly spray a non-stick pan with a flavorless oil such as canola and add the onigiri.

Toast onigiri

Flip them once they get to a golden brown, about five minutes on each side. Not too much longer than that or they’ll get a crust on them that’s hard as a rock.

Toasted onigiri

That’s all there is to it. You can store these in the refrigerator for a very long time, just keep them covered to keep them from drying out. They make great additions to school lunch boxes and are a tasty vegetarian sushi alternative.

Onigiri textureSeaweed and brown rice onigiri

You can put any seasonings you want in these. If seaweed is not your thing, try flaked salmon or crumbled bits of hard boiled egg. Throw in leftover used tea leaves or eat them completely plain, dipped delicately in soy sauce.

Toasted seaweed and brown rice onigiri

A healthy snack of brown rice seasoned with seaweeds.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes


  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1 tsp. mirin
  • 1 tsp. rice vinegar
  • big pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp. black sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp. nori-kome furikake
  • 1 tbsp. dried dulse flakes
  • 1 handful crushed and soaked arame seaweed

Cooking Directions

  1. Cook brown rice in rice cooker or on stovetop.
  2. Mix together salt, rice vinegar, and mirin. Pour over hot rice and toss to coat.
  3. Add in soaked arame, dulse, furikake, and black sesame. Toss to combine.
  4. With soaking wet hands, pick up a handful of rice in your left hand. Form your right hand into a peak shape and press on top while pressing on the sides with your left hand. Rotate 2 times to form a triangle.
  5. If desired, toast the onigiri in a lightly oiled pan until lightly browned on both sides.

Onigiri bite

Delicious and healthy!


Pork potstickers

I mentioned the other night that I was planning to make pork potstickers soon. I used to make these all the time before Jeff an I were married, and as delicious as they were we got sick of them from just how often they appeared on the dinner table. So, this was actually my first time making them in over a year!

Cooked potstickers with dipping sauces

There’s a bit of a learning curve to making these, but they aren’t difficult by any means, just really different unless you’ve grown up making dumplings all of your life.

You can buy these round potsticker wrappers in the freezer section of most major grocery stores these days. If all you can find are the square wonton wrappers then those would be fine too.

Potsticker wraps

Keep them in the freezer until about 20 minutes before you’re ready to use them. I just set mine out on the counter while I prepped everything else. When you open them they should still be cold but they should also be pliable and come apart from each other easily.

Soft just out of the freezer

I had just under a half pound of the ground pork mixture that I used for the sweet and sour pork meatballs the other day. The recipe I’ve written out below is for a full half pound so you can recreate what I did more easily.

I have tried making this mixture ahead of time before and keeping it in the freezer but it doesn’t defrost very well, so I would plan on making the pork mix either right before you make potstickers or the day before and keep it in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic, but no longer.

Leftover seasoned pork

Lay out a bunch of wrappers on a clean surface. Also have ready a plate to put the finished potstickers on and a small bowl of water (I’ll show you what that’s for in a minute,) and several napkins cuz you’re gonna get pork all over your fingers. 😉

Laying out potsticker wraps

Place a small scoop of pork in the center of each of the wrappers. I would say that this is no more than 3/4 of a teaspoon. Don’t try to load it up any more or you won’t be able to close the potsticker and it may burst when the pork expands as it cooks. I’ve found that using the side of a spoon to scoop the pork into a small football shape works best.

Potsticker pork close up
Pork in potsticker wraps

Here’s where that bowl of water comes in. Dip your finger in the water and run it along half the edge of the potsticker. The wraps are covered in cornstarch and they become sticky when wet. This is what’s gonna help to seal them up properly.

Wet half the edge

Fold the dry edge up to meet the wet edge and lightly press out any air, just like making ravioli.

Fold potsticker in half

Here’s the fun part and I promise it’s not as difficult as it seems. Starting at one side, fold over a small pleat in the wrapper edge and press it firmly to secure. Do this again and again all the way across until you’ve created this little fan shape and then press again all over the edges just to be sure they’re closed. I’ve found that exactly 5 pleats works the best for me, but don’t think that you’ve done it wrong if you have more than that or fewer. It really only takes a few tries to get the hang of it and start cranking these out.

Crimp and press potsticker
Potsticker pleats
Finished potsticker

I made this plate of 14 in under 10 minutes, so it really isn’t a lengthly ordeal.

Plate of uncooked potstickers

These little guys should be cooked the same day. I’ve tried freezing some before and they just defrosted soggy and misshapen. I wouldn’t let them sit in the fridge too long either or the same could happen. There are liquids in the pork after all that can dampen the wrappers.

To cook, generously oil a pan that is not non-stick. These are “potstickers”, they are supposed to stick to the cooking surface. I’ve done it in a non-stick pan before and it’ll work but it’s not traditional.

Anyway, use an oil like sesame or peanut or even grapeseed, just not olive because it won’t taste right with the asian flavors. I used a paper towel to spread it evenly around the pan. Set the pan to medium heat.

Oil pan evenly

When the pan is hot, arrange the potstickers however they’ll fit.

Place potstickers in hot pan

Traditionally, you let them brown only on one side, but I like more crunchy stuff so I flip them before they start sticking and let them brown on the other side too.

Potstickers brown on one side

Once they’ve stuck to the bottom, pour in a couple tablespoons of water and cover with a lid. You’ll hear them steaming away in there. Take off the lid after about 20 seconds, just before all the water has steamed away, and take out your potstickers. The water not only helps to release their grip on the pan but it also changes the texture of the wrapper to a chewier consistency.

You can see here that they’ve taken on a golden color all over and are more translucent.

Cooked potstickers

Pork potstickers

Homemade pork potstickers aren't as difficult as they seem. A small labor produces a delicious result.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: around 20 potstickers


  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 2 chopped scallions
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • a 1 inch piece of ginger (grated)
  • 1/8 tsp. chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. mirin
  • frozen potsticker wraps
  • peanut or sesame oil for frying

Cooking Directions

  1. Take potsticker wraps out of freezer and allow to sit out until pliable.
  2. Mix seasonings into ground pork and scoop approx. 3/4 tsp. onto each wrap.
  3. Lightly wet half the wrapper edge with your finger and fold over into a half circle, smooth any air out.
  4. Starting at one edge, fold a pleat and press to seal. Continue pleating to other edge.
  5. Heat oil in a pan that is not non-stick and arrange potstickers. Flip when one side is browned.
  6. Pour approx. 2 tbsp. water into hot pan and cover with lid to let steam. Remove potstickers when water is evaporated.
  7. Serve with sweet chili sauce or soy.

I like to serve these with 2 dipping sauces – a sweet chili sauce and some soy sauce with a touch of mirin. They are very filling and really do make a meal on their own, but a fresh gingery salad would cut through the richness of the pork really well if you wanted something to go with them. I usually can’t eat more than 8 before I’m completely stuffed. :)

I know it’s so easy to buy a pack of frozen potstickers from the grocery and just heat them up, but this recipe really does come together very quickly and is pretty cheap too. Once you get the hang of the potsticker fan pleat you’ll be churning them out quickly and eating them even faster!

Are there any foods that you prefer to make from scratch that are readily available pre-made?