Weekend Baking: Chocolate Chip Coconut Scones


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If you like coconut, I hope you won't be disappointed with these scones.  Over the last couple years, I have come to love coconut and nearly any recipe that has any significant amount of coconut is one I bookmark, pin, save, whatever.  Do you ever do that, become fixated on some type of food?  A few years ago, Everyday Food had a feature with a basic scone recipe and different variations, one of which was chocolate and coconut.  I was so excited to try it, and then was a little disappointed after I tasted it.  Sorry, Martha.  The texture was good, and the taste wasn't bad, but they barely had any coconut taste at all, and I wanted tropical chocolate.

I then found another recipe on Pinterest that seemed to have all the coconutty goodness I wanted and decided to do a mashup.  Instead of the cream called for in the Everyday Food recipe, I followed the Heather's Dish suggestion of using coconut milk.  Instead of straight butter (called for in both recipes), I used a combination of butter and chilled coconut oil.  It was the right decision.   Oh, and I toasted the coconut for a more intense flavor.  

What I came up with satisfies my coconut AND chocolate cravings.  I think I have a little work to do on the texture, but overall I am pleased.  They freeze and reheat well, so you can make up a batch and save some for later.

Chocolate Chip-Coconut Scones
A Lauren original, inspired by Heather's Dish and Martha Stewart

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tb butter, cut into small cubes and chilled
3 Tb coconut oil, chilled, broken or cut into small pieces and put back in fridge to chill
3/4 cup canned coconut milk, with the chunks
3/4 cup shredded coconut, toasted
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  Cut the butter and coconut oil into the flour mixture (usig a pastry blender, two forks, or even your fingers) until you have a mixure that looks like coarse meal or sand, with a few larger (pea sized) pieces of fat still visible.  With a fork, stir in the coconut milk.  If it looks too dry, add more milk 1 Tb at a time.   Gently stir in the toasted coconut and chocolate chips.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and pat into a 6-inch circle. Cut into 6 wedges and transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush tops with some of the remaining coconut milk if desired. Bake until golden, 16 to 18 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through.

Throwback Thursday: My Mom's Chicken Nuggets


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Few things are as appealing to a child as the chicken nugget, am I right?  Usually even the pickiest eater will go for the chicken nugget.  Even though I don't remember being a very picky eater as a child, these still ranked at the top of my food list, and they still hold a special place in my food-heart.  All partiality aside, these are really good chicken nuggets.  I give them my highest "MAKE THESE" recommendation, whether you're feeding a family or need a party finger food.  I'll give my tips for dressing these up in the recipe.

My Mom's Chicken Nuggets
feeds 4 a meal sized portion or more for appetizer portions

4 chicken breasts, cut into 1" cubes
1 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. dried basil
1 stick butter, melted

Preheat your oven to 400.  Mix together the breadcrumbs, cheese, salt, and herbs.  Dip chicken into the butter and roll in the crumb mixture.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, rotating the chicken about halfway through.

If you want to jazz it up a little, sub in some freshly grated Parmesan or Parmigiano Reggiano (or any other hard Italian cheese) or replace some of the breadcrumbs with panko breadcrumbs that have been crushed up a little.


  • Italian Seasoning also works very well in place of the two herbs and adds a little more variety.  It's all about using what you have in your pantry.

Meatless Mondays: Spaghetti Squash with Kale and Chickpeas


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Before you skip over this post or write off spaghetti squash entirely, let me assure you that this recipe was made with spaghetti squash in mind, and it is not a substitute for anything here.

It kind of irks me a little bit when people try to sub in healthier alternatives for classic foods.  Black beans will never be beef, and spaghetti squash will never be spaghetti.  I do, however, love a good black bean burger, and spaghetti squash, when cooked to display its own merits, is good.  I think the key to enjoying these foods is to use them for what they are, and not think you're going to get a perfect substitute for a food you'd rather be eating.

This recipe, found on Pinterest, is a really good vegetarian main dish.  There are a lot of flavors going on, and it doesn't use a lot of oil, so it's lower in fat and really packed with nutrition.  I used stage cooking to bring everything together fairly quickly the night I made it.  What does that mean?  Well, I cooked the chickpeas ahead of time in a slow cooker.  I roasted the squash that morning, when I was getting ready for work, shredded it, and refrigerated it for use later that night.  I toasted the pine nuts in a pan (watch them!) that morning while making breakfast.  IF I had been smart, I would have also de-stemmed and washed the kale ahead of time.  This breaks up the cooking process so that it's not T minus 2 hours until dinner.

Spaghetti Squash With Kale and Chickpeas
slightly altered from Love and Lemons Blog

feeds 2 with a little left over, in my experience

1 smaller spaghetti squash
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of chile flakes
1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 bunch of chopped kale leaves
1/2 lemon, juiced
¼ cup chopped sun dried tomatoes (or capers or olives)
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
Salt & pepper
Optional: a bit of freshly grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Slice your squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and pulp from the middle. Place the squash on a baking sheet, cut side up. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about 1 hour or until the flesh is tender and you can scrape noodle-like strands with a fork. (If your squash is difficult to cut, roast it whole for the first 20 minutes until it softens a bit, then cut and continue).  Remove squash from the oven, let it cool slightly and use a fork to scrape the squash into strands. (set aside).

In a large skillet over medium heat, add enough olive oil to lightly coat the pan, then add the shallot, garlic, chile flakes, salt and pepper.  Once the shallot starts to soften, add the chickpeas and cook for a few minutes until they turn lightly golden brown.  Add the kale leaves, lemon juice, and then give everything in the pan a good stir.

Once the kale is partially wilted, add the squash strands, a little grated cheese, sun dried tomatoes, and more salt and pepper, to taste. Toss to incorporate. Remove from heat and top with toasted pine nuts and extra grated cheese.


  • If your kale is not wilting quickly, make sure your heat is above medium (somewhere between medium and medium high works best for me), and also add in a tablespoon or so of water at a time.  The steam the water creates as it hits the pan really helps me to wilt and soften the kale.
  • We still had some oven dried tomatoes in the fridge, so we used those.  So good!  If you use fully dried tomatoes, you may want to reconstitute them in some heated water or other liquid before adding them to the pan.

Slow Cooker Lasagna


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Oh my goodness.  It's been a crazy last few weeks.  There's nothing incredibly out of the ordinary going on, but the last few weeks have felt busier, more hectic.  I realized it's been a while since my last recipe share with you.  Slow cooker meals are needed now more than ever, right?  A few years back, Drew and I decided to try to become champions of the slow cooker.  We're still (very slowly) working on it, and this recipe will definitely be in our rotation for the future.  It's delicious and just gets better as it sits for a few days.

The upside to this lasagna recipe is that the slow cooker stretches out the baking process, allowing you to run errands or whatever while it cooks.  One downside is that the directions call for you to cook it only about 4-6 hours, and it was definitely done in that time.  I brought my slow cooker to work to be able to monitor it and it made the entire building hungry that afternoon.  Another upside is that the lasagna stayed nice and moist.

Slow Cooker Lasagna
adapted from Allrecipes user KIMIRN
feeds 6-8

1 pound lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (12 ounce) package lasagna noodles
12 ounces ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
12 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

In a large skillet over medium heat cook the ground beef, onion, and garlic until brown. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, salt, and oregano and stir until well incorporated. Cook until heated through.

In a large bowl mix together the cottage cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, and shredded mozzarella cheese.

Spoon a layer of the meat mixture onto the bottom of the slow cooker. Add a double layer of the uncooked lasagna noodles. Break to fit noodles into slow cooker. Top noodles with a portion of the cheese mixture. Repeat the layering of sauce, noodles, and cheese until all the ingredients are used.
Cover, and cook on LOW setting for 4 to 6 hours.


  • One thing I do love about Allrecipes is the user reviews.  Reading those with the recipe help see potential pitfalls or slight modifications.  A common one with this recipe was complaints of the lasagna being too dry.  I added extra water to the sauce to make sure the noodles (which I did not cook ahead of time and they were not labeled as "no cook") cooked and didn't take too much moisture.  The noodles were a bit soft, but the lasagna was pretty perfect in terms of moisture.