Rhubarb Ginger Crumble Bars


Have you ever tried rhubarb? I’ve met many people who had never tried it, and of those that have tasted it, it seems people have a love/hate relationship with it. If I had to describe rhubarb, I’d have to say it’s as if strawberry and celery had a child. It goes well in baked recipes paired with sweet berries, or in this case, zingy ginger.

This week at my office we’re having a bake sale and holding raffles for Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure®, ending with attendance at the race in DC. I’m thinking I might take a risk and make these rhubarb crumble bars. They’re pink and festive for breast cancer awareness, but will anyone buy them? Or maybe I’m secretly hoping no one buys them so I can eat them all.

You can use this recipe as a base and swap out any fruit you like. I prefer it with a touch of cardamom in the crumb topping, but you can swap it out with a different spice or omit it altogether. Pink peppercorn would go nicely and be extra-festive.

Baked Ratatouille with Morels

I was given some dried morels from Marx Foods as part of their 5th Annual Morel Recipe Challenge and challenged to use these special mushrooms in a recipe where the primary method of cooking was baking.

You may not have heard of morels before. I have had a few dishes that used morels in a very special way, including a chicken fried steak with morel gravy, but it is not something that pops up on menus too often. Morels are great at soaking up whatever they’re in. They’re great, earthy, sponges.

From Marx Foods’ site:

Morel mushrooms have a honeycombed, hollow, cone-shaped cap from 1 to 3 inches high. They grow naturally in a range of colors from tan to almost-black. Morels are one of the most prized and beloved wild mushroom varieties. People go wild for their buttery-earthy flavor and aroma.

Unfortunately, their fresh season is fleeting, lasting roughly from May to July. Dried morels allow you to enjoy the flavor and beautiful appearance of morel mushrooms year round, and they’re very easy to rehydrate & cook with.

Dried mushrooms are a great value. It takes about 5 pounds of fresh mushrooms to create 8 ounces of dried mushrooms. In addition, they can be shipped much more affordably than fresh or frozen mushrooms.

One of my favorite savory, baked recipes is ratatouille. It’s a very flexible and predictable recipe that can be easily adapted to whatever ingredients you have on hand.

The first recipe I tried was Ina Garten’s Chicken with Morels, but I realized that while it has baking steps in it, the ingredients are cooked stovetop more than in the oven. I used the chicken I created using that recipe in this dish, but any protein can be used. You can also leave out meat all together and serve it with more quinoa to get the same protein punch. This keeps great in the fridge for leftovers, or frozen into lunch-sized portions.

Go check out all the other entries in the 5th Annual Morel Recipe Challenge, and if you’re up for it, vote for my ratatouille!
Thanks again to Marx Foods for the chance to play around with this funky ingredient.

5th Annual Morel Challenge

Note: I was given the dried morels free of charge from Marx Foods, though all thoughts and recipes are my own.

Foodie Penpals: February & March


From Nicole: Due to a family vacation in March, my sister and I neglected to update for February and March for Foodie PenPals. Here’s what we received from this great program.



For the February package, I received four types of teas (Darjeeling, Morocco Mint, Chamomile, and Bancha Hojicha), a chocolate grater, a chocolate bar, hemp hearts seeds, chai tea latte mix, edamame, spinach miso soup mix, luna cookie dough bar, yeast, fruit leather, dried porchini mushrooms, and almond butter to go pack.

I just told her that I like to-go things (especially luna bars), tea, and Asian food. The mushrooms would taste great in the miso soup. I can imagine myself grating the chocolate over some risotto or a dessert like a pro. The almond butter tastes good squeezed on a fresh apple for a snack. The edamame, fruit leather, and luna bar would be great in a lunch or as snacks!

Thanks for my lovely and creative package, Jolie!



For my March package, I received Salted Caramel Starbucks hot chocolate packages, Cookies BBQ sauce, apple cinnamon English muffin slices, apple butter, a nutz over chocolate luna bar, chocolate chai tea latte mix, chicken seasoning, and a wonderful card.

I really loved the hot chocolate packets, even though there wasn’t much caramel taste. Who can resist the rich Starbucks hot chocolate? I got the double chocolate for Christmas from my mom and boy, is that sweet!

My dad already was itching to use the BBQ sauce on some chicken and wings. He used it all already! He loves it and wants to order more from their site. At $2-something a bottle, that’s so cheap! Who knew that Iowa had a hidden gem like this? It was delicious.

The apple butter was great and the luna bar was my favorite flavor. The muffin slices were great for breakfast too.Thanks for my perfect package, Sandy!

For more information on Foodie Penpals, follow the link below.

The Lean Green Bean