Archive | November, 2014

Oatmeal Cookie Granola

22 Nov

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So I realize to many, granola is not the most exciting thing. To those people I say, you need to try THIS granola.

Now, I’ve posted a previous granola recipe on here (which I still thoroughly enjoy and still recommend), but this is granola with a different sort of twist – sweet and kicked up a notch, with different crunch, different flavors (hello again, browned butter) and CHOCOLATE. Yes, there is chocolate in this granola and I know it shouldn’t be my favorite part as at the heart of it all, granola is supposed to be “healthy-ish” (right?!)…but it is. I’m not even sorry about it.

I made this a few weeks back and our apartment smelled soooooooo good. I would make this solely to make my apartment smell like THAT again. If for nothing else, make this to infuse your home with smells of cookies, oatmeal, and browned butter.

Gah.

So. Delish.

Ironic choice of words (and still true words) as this recipe is from Seriously Delish, the cookbook I’ve raved about a few times (the Baked Oatmeal from a few posts back is from here too). I want to make just about every recipe in this cookbook, so this will NOT be the last time you read about it on this blog. Jessica wrote a masterpiece that has the right amount of creativity, taste, coziness AND her hilarious commentary throughout; it’s the perfect cookbook compliment to her blog How Sweet Eats. I’ve read Seriously Delish cover to cover a few times. (P.S. is that weird? I read cookbooks cover to cover. Ok, ok. Yes, that’s weird. Please reserve your judgment.)

So about that granola…

…here we go, in a recipe adapted from Jessica’s recipe in Seriously Delish.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 c old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 c slivered almonds (other nuts would work great – pecans or walnuts, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup whole flaxseed (you can do ground flaxseed too)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, browned
  • 2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c  – 1/2 c semi-sweet mini chocolate chips (sprinkle in as much extra chocolate-y ‘sweet’ as you want!)

How to Make:

This is super simple guys, you can whip it up in no time. Whether you do this the morning you plan to enjoy it for breakfast (it’s excellent with some Greek yogurt) or make it the night before.

Before you start mixing, preheat your oven to 325 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set the cookie sheet away for now and locate a large bowl. Now to mix!

In said large bowl, combine the oats…

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…slivered almonds…

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…flaxseed (and I went with whole flax seeds to add some extra texture and crunch, but you can use ground flaxseed if you prefer too)…

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…brown sugar…

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…cinnamon…

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…sprinkling of salt…

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…then stir that all together and set aside. On to the liquids!

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The liquids will all get poured into a saucepan over low heat. Start with the honey…

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…then the coconut oil…

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…and then vanilla.

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Before adding in the butter, you want to brown this up. In a separate small saucepan, melt down the butter over medium/low heat, whisking continually until wonderful brown flecks appear on the bottom of the pan.

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Once it’s at that point, remove from heat and pour it in with the rest of the liquids.

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This liquid concoction smells like HEAVEN right now. Take a moment to take a deep breath in and savor that.

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Sigh.

Ok, now all that’s left is to mix up those liquids in with the dry ingredients. Use a spatula to mix everything and ensure all of the dry ingredients are coated.

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Spread this out on the parchment paper and pop it in the oven. Bake for 3o minutes, stopping to stir at the 10 min, 20 min and 25 min marks. Stir again at the end when you pull it out. The granola should be golden brown and have succeeded in filling your kitchen with delicious smells. (See the pics below to see how this darkens over the cooking time.)

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But wait! As you recall, we have one last ingredient to add in…mini chocolate chip time.

Let the granola cool for a bit before sprinkling the chocolate over the top. To cool, I used the parchment paper to lift the granola out of the pan and set the parchment paper on the counter. Once the granola has cooled for about 15 minutes, I sprinkled the mini chocolate chips throughout the granola and let the chocolate melt a bit (as the granola is still warm). But, I let the granola cool for an hour or two with the chocolate chips.

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I just scooped this it into Tupperware to store. It’s been delicious on ice cream for a sweet and crunchy dessert or mixed with Greek yogurt for a fancy (but easy) breakfast. It’s also great all by itself for a snack.

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Hope you guys give this a try, let me know what you think! And definitely encourage you to get creative and add any other little tidbits to the granola (ideas: spices [nutmeg], nuts [pecans or walnuts], dried fruit, etc.).

To print off this recipe for easy reference in the future, click here

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Thanksgiving Giveaway – Winners Announced!!

16 Nov

The time for the Thanksgiving Giveaway has opened and closed, and it is now the 12:01 – 12:17 PM time slot, so it is tiiiiimmmmeeeee to announce who has won! (We may have recently watched Lion King in this apartment so any time I write “It is timmmeee!” please say this to yourself in your best Rafiki voice. Cool. Thanks.)

We had 77 entrants vying for the chance to receive a box o’ goodies (can I just say how awesome it is to have 77 of you following?!? You guys are the BEST!!).

Drumroll………………………………

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Winner #1: Andi Moody

Winner #2: Ellen Nieman

Winner #3: Cyndi Billings

CONGRATS!! THREE CHEERS!! HUZZAHHHH!!!

Very excited to concoct boxes for these folks and send off my ‘Thanks!’ / by ‘Giving’ boxes to each of you. I will be emailing each of you to confirm your mailing address and what you would like baked and sent to you!

And with that….the third round of the S&B Giveaway series is complete! Well, sort of. I have to bake / make / create / pack / mail everything now. But that’s the fun part, second of course to the moment you all get when you open your package and enjoy the boxes o’ treats.

As I did last time, I’ll do a post on the Giveaway boxes’ contents so you’re able to see the lovely goodies and get excited for the next one. I would love to do another one around the end of the year, as a final holiday season Giveaway. This one may just be two winners but would likely have more contents in the boxes, we shall see.

With that – wishing everyone a wonderful Sunday! I’m off to the dog park with Luke to run around with our puppy Winnie (I’ll have to show you a picture of her in a future post, she’s ridiculously cute and loves to hang out around my feet while I’m in the kitchen) before football this afternoon.

Cheers!!

Thanksgiving Giveaway!!

14 Nov

As promised, it is time! Giveaway time that is. Now for anyone new to the S&B Giveaway concept, it’s pretty darn simple. And you can win some pretty awesome treats, delivered right to your door via mail and baked with love and some funky dance moves from yours truly. There have been two past Giveaways and you can read about the lucky winners and their boxes o’ winnings here and here.

S&B Thanksgiving Giveaway:

Who/Why: Because it’s the time of year when we all take a step back and think about all of the various blessings we have to be thankful for, I want you all to know how thankful I am for YOU. This blog would just be an awkward food-picture filled diary without you all to read, comment, like, try out recipes and keep the dialogue a two-way street. It’s the best when one of you tell me that you’ve made a recipe and  you / your family / your friends etc. enjoyed it. To show you all my appreciation, there will be THREE lucky winners!!!

What: A fun-filled box of goodies could arrive at YOUR door. It will cost $0. And there will be enough treats in your box to share with family and friends OR if you must, you could hoard it all for yourself. But c’mon, it’s the holidays and show your love for others with a little sharing. 🙂

What will be in said box?

  • YOU GET TO PICK! You get to pick something from the blog OR you can get creative and make a request! The only guidelines are that your choice must be ok being outside of a refrigerator (cookies/muffins/snacks/cupcakes…all great for mailing) so that when your box arrives, the contents are edible.
  • A spatula to add to your kitchen. I’m excellent at picking out fantastic, colorful (and durable) spatulas. Promise!
  • As with the previous Blog Giveaways, other fun surprises will likely find their way in. Don’t think anyone will be upset about that.

How: Entering the Giveaway is easy…all you must do is be a Follower of the blog!

  • If you’re already a Follower, then congrats you are already entered to win! Three cheers!!
  • If you’re not already a Follower, then click the Follow button in the upper right corner of the blog, follow the prompts (you’ll receive an email and need to confirm from that email) and become an official Follower to be entered. Becoming a Follower means that you’ll get an email each time I post in the future. This is also how I’ll clarify the details of the package and the mailing address with the winner as I get to see a list of all Blog Followers’ email addresses.
  • The winner will be selected through use of a random number generator where each person will be assigned a number and the RNG will do the rest. Equal chance for all! But TRIPLE the opportunity for you all with THREE BOXES!!

When: The Giveaway entry period will end Saturday, November 15th at 11:57 PM (CST) [because random numbers are more fun]. I’ll announce the winner in a post Sunday sometime between 12:01 PM and 12:17 PM. Mark your calendars!

Those are all the details, friends. It’s my way of saying thanks and providing some delicious treats to three lucky readers.

Ready, set, GO!!!

Crockpot Applesauce

9 Nov

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Folks, before I dive in, I wanted to share some fun thoughts I have about sprucing up the blog. First, I want to infuse more creativity into what I post for you all (the “buttons” side of the blog, which is supposed to more about the crafty things and creative things I do outside the kitchen). I also wanted to create an easier way for you all to follow a recipe step-by-step instead of having to scroll the whole blog post to see each step. Don’t worry, I’ll continue to do my usual documentation of capturing photos as I go, but I also will now create a little recipe card summary for you all! I hope to make these creative and different for each recipe – all hand written by me! I hope this will make it event easier to replicate any of the recipes and have fun in your own kitchen, experimenting and producing delicious food. It will also allow some more creativity to hit the blog so it’s not ALL food ALL the time. Please let me know what you think about this! I love hearing from you, and I want to make this blog a place that you enjoy coming to, reading and having a chuckle…and then be inspired to go make something! Leave a comment below about the recipe card idea and if you think this would be something neat to go back and include as updates on all the old blog posts! 

This blog came about purely as a fun way to document the trials and adventures in the kitchen. I learn by doing and I love learning by finding other bloggers, cookbooks, cooking shows, etc. and trying out the fun foods I see on these blogs, cookbook pages or on the TV. I don’t always put my own twist on things (sometimes the original just doesn’t need any changes!), but I do always try to show you where I found the delicious recipes so you too can find some new places to go and read more about other tasty food concoctions you could try. I am doing my best to be more adventurous in the kitchen than when this blog started a few years ago. If I want to try my own twist on something – whether to be original and innovate or just because I don’t have all the ingredients something calls for – I will! Look forward to seeing more and more of those creative spins on recipes in the future blog posts coming to your computer/phone/iPad screen. 

Finally, last exciting thing I wanted to share with you guys…I think it’s a great time for another S&B Giveaway!! It’s been a few months since the last one, and with the holidays approaching – it just seems like a great way for me to say THANKS to my blog readers! I’ll post more details about the Giveaway later this week, but all you need to do to enter is to be a follower of the blog. Details to come, but get excited!

Alrighty, enough already. Let’s get to the applesauce! Don’t forget to scroll down to the bottom of the post for the recipe card that you can use to follow this as you make your own applesauce!

This recipe is adapted from Chocolate, Chocolate and More (a place I will HAVE to get more delicious recipe ideas, particularly for my sweet-tooth husband).

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Ingredients:

  • 7-8 apples (we had a variety from the apple orchard, but most were Courtland apples)
  • 2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Aztec seasoning (this is a specialty spice that Luke and I are currently obsessed with – gives a little extra ‘zing’. But if you don’t have it and your grocery store doesn’t have it, you can leave it out.)
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 3/4 c. light brown sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp lemon juice

How to Make:

This is super simple, guys. The beauty of a crockpot is it does all the hard work for you and the bonus – you get a kitchen that just smells DELICIOUS all day. Hard to top that!

First, chop up the apples into small bite-size pieces. Once all your apples are chopped, throw ’em into a crockpot.

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Now, grab your spices and brown sugar. As you measure, just dump these right on top of the apples. Simple, right?!

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Last, measure the lemon juice and sprinkle that over the top of everything.

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Last, use a big spatula to thoroughly mix all the spices/lemon juice/apples. Then, on goes the lid, set your crockpot on low and cook for 7-8 hours.

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I let mine go a bit longer than 8 hours which cooked things down even more (which I love). If you want less mushy applesauce, lean towards the 7 hour or even less. It’s all up to you!

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I love applesauce cold, it’s a great snack and it’s the perfect Fall-spiced food to have at this time of year. However, you can also serve this up warm! It would be great on porkchops (warm) and also would be great with some crunchy granola (cold). Regardless how you serve it, you can store this easily in mason jars.

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Here’s the helpful recipe card to assist you in your applesauce making! Cheers!

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Baked Oatmeal

2 Nov

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This baked oatmeal is the perfect, cozy breakfast on a chilly day and the sweetness of the raspberries is a wonderful compliment to the warm, cinnamon-y oatmeal (apparently I’m on an unintentional raspberry kick). However, lots of other fruits can easily be used instead – I would love to try fresh peaches the next time they’re in season! And I’ve used blueberries for this as well and it was just as tasty. We may try apple next, as we have a plethora of apples from a recent apple orchard visit. 

Now, before we dive into the ins and outs of making yourself baked oatmeal, I first have to say that before this attempt, I had never had baked oatmeal and didn’t really know what about oatmeal would even require baking. I grew up with the delicious Quaker Oat instant packets that required a few minutes in the microwave and “ta da”, oatmeal! I associated oatmeal with – “instant”. Effective marketing, Quaker Oats.

So, when I opened my Seriously Delish cookbook (from one of my absolute favorite bloggers, Jessica, over at How Sweet Eats) and I saw this recipe, I knew it was moving up to the front of the recipe queue. For starters, Jessica talks about HER love of Quaker Oak instant oatmeal! Ha! A kindred spirit! And the recipe looked like one that would be the perfect recipe for a fall day and well, tis the season. I was sold.

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This does take a little planning, but I promise you that it’s not a difficult breakfast to whip up for you, you and a roommate/spouse or even for a big group! I made this the first time for my husband and I and then proceeded to make it again a week later for Luke’s family. For the second attempt I used steel-cut oats and blueberries and the twist resulted in just as delicious oatmeal but with a bit more texture.

Enough about the ‘why’ of baked oatmeal, let’s get to the ‘how’!

I made a few tweaks to the original recipe that Jessica provides in her cookbook and I can’t wait to continue to experiment with this in the future. Possibilities are endless!

Ingredients:

For the oatmeal:

  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (I’ve also done this with steel-cut oats and it’s super tasty, but has more texture than the normal oats route, so just know that in advance. But I definitely encourage you guys to try this too! If you’re like us, you’ll just go with what you have in the cupboard.)
  • 1/2 cup loose packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup chunky applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup fresh raspberries

For the topping:

  • 2 Tbsp browned butter
  • 1-2 Tbsp coconut milk
  • 2-3 Tbsp slivered almonds

How to Make:

If you’re anything like Luke and I, before you start making this breakfast you’re going to pour yourself a big, steaming cup of coffee. It’s the best way to make this recipe, I promise. While you’re sipping that java, preheat your oven to 350.

Grab a small baking dish or small casserole dish and spray it with Pam or whatever cooking spray you have in the cupboard. Set that aside for now.

Locate a large bowl and now begins the mixing and assembling of ingredients. First in are the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Whisk it all together.

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Now, in a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk the coconut milk, applesauce, melted butter, egg and vanilla together.

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Pour the melted butter into the wet ingredients and then pour the fully mixed wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

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Get all that?

Not too hard, right?

Last thing to do is grab your fruit of choice (we did raspberries, but as noted above, have also done blueberries and had this turn out just as delicious). Give the fruit a good rinse, chop them up if needed (like if using peaches, for instance) and then through ’em in with everything else.

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Pour the oatmeal into a baking dish…

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…and bake this for 25 minutes or so, or until the top is turning golden. However, while this is baking, you have a second task!

Browned butter. What the heck is that?! It’s glorious. That’s all you need to know. And you’re about to have some on your oatmeal.

In truth, it’s just normal butter that’s been cooked up to just enough of a temperature that these wonderful brown bits form in the bottom of the pan start to meld with the melted butter and this new toffee scent from the butter is wafting into your nostrils.

I learned how to make browned butter from Jessica’s instructions in Simply Delish and it is pretty damn simple. You heat the butter over medium-low heat (I go lower so I don’t accidentally burn it) and you whisk and whisk and whisk until the previously mentioned little brown bits start to appear in the bottom of the pan. Once you see those, you’re golden! (Haha, pun fully intended). Remove this from the heat and keep giving it a few more stirs and then, it’s ready to use!

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I made only the 2 tbsp that were needed for the oatmeal, but you can always make a bit batch and store it for use down the road!

Once the baked oatmeal is done, pull it out and drizzle the browned butter over the top, drizzle the bit of the coconut milk too and then throw on the slivered almonds.

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This is sooooo yummy and it will be a wonderful breakfast. It’s got all these great flavors with the coconut milk mixed with the caramel-y browned butter, crunchy and nutty almonds, tartness from the fruit and that classic oat flavor that is at the base of why we all love oatmeal. Such a simple dish when you think about it, oats and liquid, but this recipe kicks it up a notch and in the best way.

We ate ours with a fantastic Spicy Maple Sausage that my husband whipped up. I can’t wait to share his recipe with you all in a future post!

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Hope you guys enjoy this as much as we did!

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