I have a new job title. Stay at home mom. I am cool with it for the moment. Not only am I getting the opportunity to spend lots more time with my little one, but I get to try out things I wasn’t able to do before… assuming O takes her nap. One thing I have been especially excited about is making granola. I had it in my head it was going to be really difficult and time-consuming, probably because a relatively small amount of homemade granola is ridiculously expensive. Well I have come to find that it is neither! Using this post on Apartment Therapy as my starting point (it holds the secret to getting granola clusters) I use this recipe from the NY Times for the granola base and add a bag of my favorite Trader Joe’s fruit and nut mix. That is it. If I feel like adding a few more goodies, I do, if I get tired of one mix, I get another. The result is so satisfying I have started eating yogurt and granola at least once a day.
- 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 bag Trader Joe’s fruit and nut mix
- 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 egg whites
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except for the egg whites mixing well.
2. Whisk egg whites in a small cup until they are frothy and foamy.
3. Stir the egg whites into the granola. Spread the granola out in an even layer on a baking sheet with a silpat mat or parchment, and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted.
4. Take the granola out of the oven and let it cool overnight, uncovered.
5. When the granola is completely cool, break up into clumpy chunks, and transfer to an airtight container for storage.
Maybe it is because I have been in a baking mood lately, maybe it is because every store I walk into has holiday music playing, or that Santa is already in the mall but I have Christmas cookies on the brain. I have been seeing a parade of cookie recipes in my rss feed and this year I am excited to try something new. I figure if I get started now and freeze the dough I can be a cookie making machine by the time the holiday season rolls around. Family, I hope you are ready to eat some cookies!
I am a big fan of pesto. It is really easy to make and when I have my aerogarden up and running in the winter it is the best way to use the abundance of basil. I have a recipe for basic basil that I really like from 101 cookbooks that I am very happy with and I hadn’t even thought of messing with it, until today. Pestolero is a German company that allows you to create your very own pesto recipe and have them make it for you and send it. Sadly, this is only available to you if you live in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland, BUT I am getting some great ideas to spice up my basic recipe! How about adding a few macadamia nuts, or maybe some almonds, or perhaps a little sage? via
When I was young I was convinced I didn’t like bananas. It turns out I just happen to like my bananas on the ripe side, the green ones still don’t taste quite right to me. Thank goodness I gave them another try because they have the amazing ability to turn into ice cream. Sounds too good to be true, right? I thought so too until I gave it a try. It really couldn’t be easier. Peel, slice, freeze, and food process. Don’t forget the peeling part, take it from me you don’t want to have to try and peel a frozen banana. M&I have enjoyed this treat plain, with chocolate sauce, and with chocolate shavings and maple pecans. I am thinking of trying it with a little chunky peanut butter next. You can find step by step instructions with pictures here.
In my quest to avoid things processed to within an inch of their life and HFCS filled I have been looking into recipes for things like ketchup, yogurt, torillas… you get the picture. Today the promise of an easy cracker recipe on Tastespotting brought me to a great blog with a mouthwatering recipe for Chipotle Tuna Tartare with Sea Asparagus salad. Oh, and a recipe for some quick rosemary crackers. I do not have access to sea asparagus that I know of, nor have I ever heard of it before but I think I may have to search it out. Thanks for the recipe, Elizabeth! I can’t wait to see what is next.
I heart this red cake with pink icing. I have no idea how I feel about a strawberry cake, but the color combination is so happy. M won’t eat red food dye (it tastes funny to him) so I am not sure I could serve this in our home, although the coloring is from jello (yes, I know, not natural) and strawberry juice. I think I need to get a cake stand too. This cake looks all the more adorable perched above the table.
I recently made a change in my hair product choices. I stopped using anything with sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate or an ingredient ending in “one”. I did my best to choose products with ingredients whose names I could pronounce easily. I ended up with a very small bottle of clarifying shampoo, a larger bottle of conditioner and lotion. Yup, All I use in my hair after my shower is lotion. Want to hear something else you may not believe? I only shampoo about once a week. I have curly hair which is prone to dryness and frizz. I used to shampoo every other day, load on conditioners that promised to smooth the frizz and then goop on more conditioner, waxes, pomades, goodness knows what else. My hair is softer and less frizzy than ever and we haven’t quite hit the dog days of summer here, but I am feeling good about this new routine. Next time I need shampoo I am going to try one of these recipes. via image from corbis. my noni used to do this to my hair in the claw foot tub upstate NY.
Calling all chefs, NPR has a great challenge for you. Feed four people for $10 or less with bonus points if you can make your meal seem expensive. There are already 318 comments with some great recipes. Since we are only two people I could get a dinner and two lunches for $10. Sounds good to me. And don’t expect everything to be tuna noodle casserole. There are recipes for Coriander Meatballs with Yoghurt-Mint Sauce, Fresh Crab Spring Rolls and Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce, Sweet Potato Kale Quesadillas, Brined Pork with Chutney over Greens & Rice… you get the idea. If the recipe you post is a favorite you may get a chance to be on All Things Considered.
I would bet that most of us out there, even those of us with jobs, are looking to save a little money these days. Everywhere I look I see recipes to make things I would normally buy with the claim it is cheaper. Bagels, yogurt, cheese, mango lassi, jam, pickles, butter… you get the idea. But is it really cost effective? There is no denying that for the most part making something from scratch with no preservatives to keep it on the shelf for 10 years is going to be better than store bought. But is it more economical? Jennifer Reese set about answering that question in this article on Slate.com. She does a great job of factoring in everything from ingredients to cents per hour to run your oven. Your time is free since as she puts it, “I take it as a given that everyone knows better than to quit their job—any job—to take up cracker-baking.” The bottom line? Try it. You might be as surprised as Jennifer to find that things can be better AND cheaper when you make them at home. Am I going to start making everything from scratch? Probably not everything, but I might try bagels and butter. If you don’t know where to start, The Kitchen has put together a nice long list of recipes.
For a while now I have been thinking it would be cool to learn how to frost and decorate cakes. A well frosted cake is a lovely thing to behold. This cake by Sarah Magid reminds me of the cake I envisioned having at my wedding. Two petite layers of chocolate frosted goodness, with delicate flowers scattered. If only we could have many weddings in our lives instead of just (hopefully) one. Although I have to say today, I might choose something more like the blue or green cake on her site. But where does one start when attempting to learn how to frost a cake? I tried to fake it a few times, but I am starting to figure out that you just can’t fake your way through frosting a cake. Lucky for me, Zoe of Zoe Bakes has a wonderful tutorial with lots of pictures leading you through the process. Now I just need to find some volunteers to eat my rejects.