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Super Addictive Granola Bars

9 Jan

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!

Ingredients

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

Directions

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.

bars

Right out of the oven and smelling deeeeeeelish.

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Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins!

4 May

That recipe title needed an exclamation mark. Two kinds of chocolate in one muffin? Get excited!

Makes 12.

Ingredients

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 egg
1c milk
1/3c vegetable oil
1 ts vanilla

Directions

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.

 

Mango Lime Popsicles

19 Jun

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY, SUMMER!

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.

IMG_9616

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.

Makes 8.

Ingredients

2 large mangoes, peeled and choppedIMG_9611
1/3 c lime juice
1/4 c sugar
pinch of salt
1 c water

Directions

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.

The foodNURDling enjoying his first (of many) popsicles.

Chocolate Chip Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

27 Feb

I love cookies. I love chewy cookies, I love crunchy cookies. I love cookies with stuff in the middle. I love cookies in/on top of of other things. You get the drift. Oatmeal cookies are a particular favourite, but if they have raisins in them they must also have chocolate chips. No going for the fake out here: I firmly believe you can’t JUST do raisins but that’s me. It’s your prerogative to do only raisins, but know that I think you’re crazy. At the very least, toss in a couple of chips, for goodness sake.

This recipe makes a pretty big batch, roughly two dozen. Make sure you don’t skip the flatten step, otherwise the cookies spend too long in the oven and can dry out. You’ll want to cook them in two batches, but they only take about 10 minutes in the oven.

Makes about 24.

Ingredients

1/2 c butter
1 c brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tb vanilla
1 ts salt
1 ts baking powder
1/2 ts cinnamon
1 c (heaping) all-purpose flour
1 c raisins
1/2 c chocolate/peanut butter chips
1 1/2 c rolled oats

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add in the egg, vanilla and baking powder and incorporate into the creamed mixture.
3. Stir in the flour, then the raisins and chips until everything is mixed together.
4. Drop spoonfuls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Take a fork and gently flatten the dough. Bake for 12 minutes et voila!

Coookieeees!

Coookieeees!

Wicked Easy Fruit Muffins

11 Nov

Friday night used to be about heading out after working and having (at least one too many) drinks with friends, getting home sleepy and happy and then sleeping til 10am the next day. Now Friday night is about getting foodNURDling fed and to bed, making something for myself and, if I’m not too gassed, making muffins for our Saturday morning breakfast at 8am.  I’ve made a number of variations on the maple oatmeal muffins and wanted to test out something a little different…also, I was out of oatmeal. I did, however, have fruit and sour cream. I can make something of this, I figured! Since I had already planned to make cinnamon apple oatmeal in the slow cooker, I tossed blueberries into the muffin batter and the results were delish. You could use any fruit your little muffin-baking heart desires: apple, peach, raspberry, strawberry, etc. The results are fluffy and springy muffins on the inside with crisp tops that will be snarfled up by everyone who gets their paws on them.

Makes 12

Ingredients

2 c all-purpose flour
3 ts baking powder
1/2 ts baking soda
1/2 ts salt
1 ts cinnamon
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 c sour cream
1/4 c butter, melted
1 c fruit (berries, peeled & chopped apples/peaches, etc.)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400F and line your muffin tins with cups or butter.
2. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour – cinnamon). In a smaller bowl, combine the wet ingredients (sugar – butter).
3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the contents of the second bowl. You may find that the batter is a bit dry. If so, feel free to add a little milk or more sour cream. When everything is almost combined, add in your fruit and finish.
4. Spoon out the batter into the muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes.
5. Allow to cool 10 minutes and then dig in!

Photo: The aforementioned blueberry muffins. I may just have to have one before bed...

Homemade Granola

2 Jul

File this under “why didn’t I do it sooner?” I’ve had it in my head that I’d like to make my own granola for ages but somehow never got around to it. Finally, timing and motivation collided and in less than an hour with almost zero effort on my part I had aromatic, crunchy, salty, rich, sweet, filling, semi-healthy granola! (Yes, it’s high in fat but they are beneficial fats and if you’re in need of a snack, this stuff is better for you than junk food.)

There is no right or wrong way to make granola as it’s pretty much the most adaptable recipe of which you could conceive. There are some basic ratios but your ingredients can change with every tasty batch. If you want large clusters, don’t stir the granola while it bakes; for small pieces that work well as a topping for yogurt, give the whole batch a good stir every 15 minutes. Or, do what I did and stir half to get the best of both worlds. If you intend to add dried fruit – and I recommend you do – make sure you stir it in at the end when the granola has cooled. Otherwise, the baking process will dry them out further and you’ll get a pretty unpleasant texture. Same goes for chocolate chips: add ’em in at the end or you’ll get melted chocolate.

Makes…a lot, which is good because it won’t stick around long.

granola

Ingredients

3 c old fashioned oats (not the quick-cooking kind)
1 1/2 c chopped nuts (a mix of walnuts, peanuts, almonds, cashews, pine nuts, pecans, pistachios, etc.)
1 1/2 c coconut shavings or flakes
1/2 c maple syrup
1/4 c coconut or olive oil
1/4 c sesame seeds
1/4 c sunflower seeds
1/4 c flax seed
2 tb brown sugar
1 1/2 ts salt
1/2 ts cinnamon
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 c dried fruit (cherries, raisins, cranberries, bananas, apricots, blueberries, mango, pineapple, etc.)
1 handful chocolate chips, optional but delicious

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 300F.  Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Stir together everything except the dried fruit and chocolate chips until thoroughly combined.
3. Spread the whole thing out on the baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes. Stir every 15 minutes for small pieces; don’t stir at all for large clusters; or stir some for a mix of both.
4. Allow to cool and then add dried fruit and chocolate.
5. Store in an airtight container and it’ll last for a solid two weeks if you don’t eat it all before then.

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