Blueberry and beet popsicles

Whooooeeeey, what a week. I completely missed popsicle week last week, interestingly, because I was busy making popsicles for my very sick child. Have any of you dealt with Coxsackie? I had never heard of it before having children, but apparently it's a virus that's been around forever and we've all had it.

Also, it's terrible. Thanks to a really sore throat and a high fever, M basically ate nothing for two days, so we tried lots of different frozen treats. Aside from these blueberry and beet-sicles, we made carrot, apple, and coconut treats using carrot juice, apple juice, and coconut milk; Orange coconut creamsicles using orange juice and coconut milk; and a roasted mango concoction that I'm still working on. I'll be honest, the ones with vegetables didn't go over as well while M was sick, but when he's healthy, he gobbles them up. 

Can I confess something? I don't really like beets. I also HATE cooking them myself, though everyone claims that it's sooooo easy. Whelp, I bought the beets in this photo because they were cheap and pretty at the farmer's market, but I fully used the organic pre-cooked ones you can buy at the grocery store that are vacuum sealed in plastic. I refuse to ruin my cutting board for a vegetable I don't even like.

However, I DO like beets when they're mixed with other things; chocolate, goat cheese, blueberries, etc.

This puree is great on its own or when mixed with yogurt, cooked grains, or pureed proteins for more advanced eaters. I personally love eating these as popsicles and would one day like to spike them with some sort of alcohol. For M, I mixed the blueberry/beet puree with a yogurt, almond butter, and honey combo that cut the fruit and veggies with something a little creamier. I also encourage you to make popsicles using just the yogurt mixture because they. are. great. Even my sick,-as-a-dog child ate the frozen yogurt. 

A couple of notes: If you have the temerity to cook the beets yourself, here's how. Otherwise, do what I do and use the precooked ones. Be sure to roast the blueberries (don't skip this step!) because raw ones in frozen treats don't have a strong flavor. Does anyone else notice that frozen raw fruit tastes blander? Anyway, I also recommend eating these only while wearing dark colors and/or when you can immediately dunk your child in water to clean up because they're a little messy. But isn't that half the fun of a popsicle?

Beet and blueberry puree and popsicles  

For the puree:
1.5 cups fresh blueberries (about 1 pint, minus whatever is filched by your toddler)
¾ cup chopped beets (about 3 very small)
¼ tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375. Spread the blueberries on a foil- or parchment-covered baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes, until the berries are soft and fragrant, but haven't burst. Place the blueberries and beets in the blender, add the cinnamon, and puree until you've reached your desired consistency. 

Yield: 1.5 cups or 12 oz of puree

For the pops:
1 cup full fat plain yogurt
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp almond butter (preferably salted)

Fill the popsicle molds 1/2 way with the blueberry and beet mixture and freeze for at least 30 minutes or until the mixture begins to set. Fill the rest of the molds with the yogurt mixture and freeze solid, at least 5-6 hours.

Yield: 4 large ice pops



Cardamom and pistachio meltaways (and a healthier option!)

Cardamom and pistachio meltaways | Me & The Moose. This unusual spin on the classic Christmas cookie is both unique and familiar at the same time. #meandthemoose #cardamomandpistachiomeltaways #christmasbaking #christmascookies #cookierecipes #meltaways #Russianteacakes #Mexicanweddingcookies

These cookie are GOOD, y'all. Sorry, I've been watching a marathon of Fixer Upper while writing, which is really the only logical reason for this Yankee to use the word "y'all." Anyway, I've called these cookies "meltaways," but they're the treat of 1000 names: Snowballs, Butterballs, Russian tea cakes, Mexican wedding cookies, meltaways, you name it. At their core, these are egg-free, simple cookies that are a little crumbly, very buttery, and subtly sweet. Adding in cardamom and pistachio just makes them a tiny bit more interesting.

I tested this recipe more than was technically necessary (not sorry). But it felt like there were many possible variations that would radically change the final product, so here are a few lessons:

1) Buy already roasted and shelled pistachios, if you can. Trader Joe's calls them "nutmeats" which is just awful. But your fingertips will thank you.
2) Use unsalted nuts even though you're adding salt to the batter.
3) The amount of cardamom in the recipe is for a new or newish bottle. If you can smell the cardamom when you open the bottle, use the amount listed. If you have to really stick your nose close to the spice to smell it, increase the amount to taste. I used the dregs of a VERY old bottle of cardamom in my initial recipe and I had to more than double the amount used to get the taste I wanted. Then I tried with a brand new bottle and 1/2 tsp was more than enough. So, get friendly with your spices to judge for yourself.

One unfortunate side effect of all this cookie testing was that I ate cookies for breakfast more than once. Not exactly the meal of champions. But there is a healthier way to enjoy this combo: Cardamom, pistachio, and honey yogurt.

Cardamom, pistachio, and honey yogurt | Me & The Moose. A little spice, some good fat from the nuts, and a little bit of honey make this a special, wholesome holiday breakfast.  #meandthemoose #cardamomandpistachio #yogurt #Christmasbreakfast #breakfastrecipes

Cardamom, pistachio, and honey yogurt

1/2 cup yogurt
1-2 tsp honey
1 Tbsp crushed pistachios, divided
pinch cardamom

Yield: 1 portion

Combine yogurt and honey to taste. Stir in 2 tsp crushed pistachios and a pinch of cardamom. Sprinkle 1 tsp crushed pistachios on top. Serve with blackberries (optional). A note about the appropriateness of this for little guys: Obviously, the honey makes this a food for one-year-olds and older, but you could substitute some pear or apple puree for a younger baby. M would have gagged on the pistachio crumbles when he was in the puree phase, so I attempted to make pistachio butter from inspiration I found here and here. Thanks to the Cuisenart recall, our large food processor is out of commission until we get the replacement blade and the little one wasn't cutting it. I'll definitely try this once we have the right tools again.

Cardamom and pistachio meltaways | Me & The Moose. This unusual spin on the classic Christmas cookie is both unique and familiar at the same time. #meandthemoose #cardamomandpistachiomeltaways #christmasbaking #christmascookies #cookierecipes #meltaways #Russianteacakes #Mexicanweddingcookies

Cardamom and pistachio meltaways

Adapted from Bon Appetit
1 cup roasted, shelled pistachios
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 Tbsp powdered sugar, divided   
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp cardamom
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ tsp lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 350. Grind the pistachios in a food processor or spice grinder to desired consistency and set aside. Or just put them in a bag and whack them with something heavy. (The holidays are stressful, no judgment.)

Cream the butter and 2 Tbsp of sugar (whip on high for 3-4 minutes until the butter gets a little lighter, increases slightly in volume, and is shiny). Add the vanilla and beat for 1 more minute. Add the flour, cardamom, salt, lemon zest, and pistachios and beat on low until just combined.

Scoop 1 Tbsp of dough at a time, roll into a ball, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with all of the batter. Bake for 7 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake for 7 more minutes, until the cookies start browning on the bottom and form tiny cracks on top (but too much cracking means dry cookies, so be careful not to overbake).

Let cool completely. Place the remaining 4 Tbsp of powdered sugar in a bowl and roll the cooled cookies in the sugar, one at a time. Leave out for a few hours before storing: This helped keep the sugar from dissolving into the cookies, I found.

Yield: 15 cookies.

Cardamom and pistachio meltaways | Me & The Moose. This unusual spin on the classic Christmas cookie is both unique and familiar at the same time. #meandthemoose #cardamomandpistachiomeltaways #christmasbaking #christmascookies #cookierecipes #meltaways #Russianteacakes #Mexicanweddingcookies