Happy 2017, y’all! It’s chilly out there, but I found a great way to keep the kitchen warm: turn on the oven and make some divine granola bars. The inspiration came from Smitten Kitchen and I’ve followed her recipe fairly closely, omitting the corn syrup. For the mix of dried fruit and nuts, foodNURDling and I used 1 cup of raisins, 1 cup of peanut and cashew pieces and then made up the rest with dried dates, dried apple slices and peanut butter chips. The thing I like most about this recipe aside from its versatility is that it’s not overly sweet; the bars aren’t shiny like the store-bought ones. There’s still LOTS of sweet stuff in these but you won’t feel the need to brush your teeth right after eating them.
A note that you will want to cool these suckers down completely before cutting them. They’re a bit crumbly and will fall apart if you cut them while they’re still warm!
1 2/3 c quick rolled oats
1/3 c oat flour
1/2 c sugar
1/2 ts salt
1/2 ts cinnamon
2-3 c dried fruits and nuts – suggestions: peanuts, walnuts, cashews, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, dried cranberries, dried apples, dried dates, dried apricots, dried cherries, raisins, pepitas, chocolate/peanut butter/butterscotch chips…
1/3 c peanut/nut butter
1 ts vanilla
6 tb melted butter
1/4 c maple syrup
1 tb honey
1 tb water
1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Line a 9x9x2 baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease/spray the parchment paper and any exposed parts of the pan.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients together, including the fruits & nuts. In a separate small bowl, mix together the wet ingredients. Pour the the wet into the dry and mix until thoroughly combined.
3. Spread the mix into your prepared pan and press firmly to make sure they are molded right to the pan. If you find the mix very sticky, you can place a piece of plastic wrap on top and press on that. Voila!
4.Bake for 30-40 minutes. You want a bit of a crispy edge to the bars, so don’t be afraid to leave it for the full 40 – you can always check at 30 and decide if they are right for you. They’ll be soft to the touch in the middle but they’ll set when completely cool.
5. Allow to cool completely in the pan on a rack. I placed the whole thing in the fridge after 15 minutes and left it there for another 30. Once cool, cut them into squares with a serrated knife and place them in an airtight container. They freeze well if you’re not going to eat them all in a few days.
Right out of the oven and smelling deeeeeeelish.
That recipe title needed an exclamation mark. Two kinds of chocolate in one muffin? Get excited!
1 3/4c all-purpose flour
2 ts baking powder
1/2 ts baking soda
2 tb cocoa powder
3/4c white sugar
1c + 1/4c chocolate chips
1/3c vegetable oil
1 ts vanilla
1. Line or grease a muffin tin and preheat your oven to 400F.
2. In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients, including 1c of the chocolate chips.
3. In a smaller bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.
4. Combine the wet into the dry, bearing in mind that you want the batter to be a bit lumpy.
5. Evenly distribute the batter into the muffin cups and then top with the remaining chips. Bake for 20 minutes until the muffins have risen and darkened.
This week in Popsicle Mania: strawberry yogurt! These rank a little higher than the mango-lime treats I made last time, but that’s based purely on personal preference. These are creamy and smooth due to the inclusion of vanilla yogurt (for an extra strawberry flavour boost, you could certainly used flavoured yogurt instead, but make sure it’s the pre-mixed kind, like Iögo) and were met with many declarations of, “Yummy!!” from the foodNURDling. Can’t say he’s wrong.
2 c strawberries, hulled and chopped
2 ts vanilla
1/4 c sugar
1 c vanilla yogurt
1. Toss the strawberries in a bowl with the vanilla and sugar. Stir and let sit for 15 minutes.
2. Pour the yogurt and strawberries (juice included) into a blender. Pulse until smooth.
3. Split evenly among popsicle molds and freeze at least four hours.
Alright. Glad to have that out of my system.
I’m a woman who likes to have a project and I tend to have several on the go simultaneously. This summer’s kitchen project? Homemade popsicles. Who doesn’t love a popsicle and who doesn’t love being able to customize them in whatever way they choose? Need something refreshing? Berries and watermelon! Sweet tooth ruling your day? Nutella and banana popsicle to the rescue! Throwing a party? Toss in some Kahlua and you are good to go.
I started with what I had in my kitchen: mangoes and limes. It was ridiculously easy to prepare these icy treats; the hard part was waiting the four hours to eat them. The next time I make them, I think I’ll grate a little ginger into the mix for an added dimension.
2 large mangoes, peeled and chopped
1/3 c lime juice
1/4 c sugar
pinch of salt
1 c water
1. Toss everything in the blender and puree.
2. Freeze it all for at least four hours.
They’ll be good your freezer for about four days, but it’s unlikely they’ll last that long.
The foodNURDling enjoying his first (of many) popsicles.
What else needs to be said? Those are four beautiful words when combined. This recipe makes something akin to bread pudding, but without the sogginess that sometimes accompanies it. This is a glorious, sweet, luscious, calorie-laden treat that I made for dinner on the weekend. (Should you so desire, you could add sliced apples into the mix or top with bananas or berries.) While it was undeniably decadent, it didn’t feel especially heavy or overly filling – I didn’t desperately want a nap post-dinner. It fed four adults and a very happy toddler and took almost no time to throw together.
You probably already have most of these ingredients kicking around your kitchen, so why not treat yourselves to a yummy breakfast for dinner this week?
1 loaf of bread, cubed
2 1/2 c milk
2 ts cinnamon
pinch of salt
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c butter, softened
1 ts cinnamon
1. Coat your slow cooker with cooking spray.
2. Toss in one layer of the bread, a little less than half the loaf.
3. In a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients until they’re mixed together really well. Spread half across the bread in the cooker. (Don’t worry about it being perfect. Just try to get a fairly even coating.)
4. Add in the rest of the bread and the topping.
5. Combine the egg mixture ingredients and pour evenly over the top of the bread and filler.
6. Set your slow cooker to low and cook 6 hours. If you have a bit of extra time, remove the lid and cook another 30 minutes so you get even more crispy bits on top.
With the apple walnut muffins in the freezer – and all the cooking tools cleaned and ready to be dirtied up again – and overripe, frozen bananas in the freezer waiting to be used in something, what was a girl to do but make banana chocolate muffins?! I even had cocoa powder in the cupboard from making the double chocolate cake cookies! Destiny.
This recipe was adapted from Nigella Lawson’s. I added some oat bran and removed some all-purpose flour to healthy-up these suckers just a smidge. No doubt, they’d be tasty with a few chocolate chips or nuts thrown in!
3 ripe/overripe bananas
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/2 c brown sugar
1/3 c oat bran
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
3 tb cocoa powder, sifted
1 ts baking soda
1/2 ts salt
1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a muffin tin with paper cups or use cooking spray/butter.
2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Beat in the oil, followed by the eggs and sugar. Whisk in the oat bran.
3. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and carefully fold them together until just mixed.
5. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin and bake 17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin is clean when removed. Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing the muffins from the tin.