Posted: April 27th, 2010 | Filed under: Breakfast, Uncategorized | Tags: basic granola, best granola, better granola, Granola, honey granola, simple granola | 3 Comments »
I am fully aware that I have indeed posted a delicious granola previously. However… as I was subtly reminded by my hubby, sometimes granola needs to be knocked down a notch. Now, I love a loaded nut and dried fruit filled granola myself. I do. But sometimes you need to remember your simple roots – when granola didn’t have all of its fancy fruit and nut friends. When one flavor didn’t have to mean one dimensional. So I give you – honey and oats. A nice simple, super delicious granola recipe. Breakfast simplified. With vanilla yogurt and sliced strawberries. Perfect. A nice simple way to start the day today. How nice.
Enjoy simplicity this time around with your granola. Without all of the fruit and nuts.
Honey and Oats
2c old fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooked)
1tbsp ground cinnamon
4tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 c honey
2 tbsp packed light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
Heat oven to 325, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Put your rolled oats, cinnamon, and salt in medium mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl wisk together the wet ingredients. After whisked and combined, pour over the oats. Combine until a little clumpy, all coated and sticky. Pour onto the baking pan, and smooth out till nice and even. Put in the oven and let bake 10min, take out and flip around the granola so that it gets all nice and clumpy and crisp, bake for another 5 min and flip again. Five more minutes in the oven (until golden brown) and let that granola out. Let cool all the way to room temperature on a cooling rack in the pan – seriously, don’t touch it until its room temp. This could take a while. Don’t get sneaky. Break up into clump-ies and store in an airtight container. Enjoy with milk, yogurt, fruit or all by itself.
Posted: April 26th, 2010 | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: spin and cake, spin cake, working out vs cake | No Comments »
Is it terrible that I’m headed to my first spin class in a month (sorry hips!) — (also, not by choice, but by illness) and I can only think of making cake? In fact, I’ll probably be picking up some fresh butter and eggs to make said cake on the way home. Is that sad? Should I be more guilty? Probably. But that’s okay.
Posted: April 25th, 2010 | Filed under: Cookie | Tags: best brownies, buttery brownies, chocolate brownies, chocolate chip, denton arts and jazz fest, favorite brownies, outrageous brownies, soapbox | 1 Comment »
It has been an insane week with work and a million other things. But it was way fun hanging out with friends – and Denton’s Art’s and Jazz Festival was this week. It is one of the things I love most about Denton. It is free to go – it is full of awesome music, and fun/funny art and - FRIED food. Fair food really. Corndogs, funnel cakes, fried oreos, kettlecorn, lemonade, sweet tea, and all of the rest… yum. I mean – the Texas State Fair is huge – and overwhelming – and expensive. And this is the less expensive, more fun version of this. And we can walk down from the apartment. Seriously, people park farther away than we live. How cool is that? And even better – all of Denton’s finest hippies come out in their glorious form and this my friends makes for some excellent people watching. Excellent. And in the midst of this insane and fun week came brownies. Brownies served spontaneously at LOST night. Taken to the office. Eaten all up and worked off at the gym.
I know that I just posted a brownie recipe and I promise that I don’t only sit up here and eat brownies all the time. I just have been in a “What should I make? Oh, I could make brownies…” kind of kick. And I have to say, I don’t care if I have posted multiple brownie recipes already – you know you like it. And all of them are delish! Seriously… who doesn’t need another great brownie recipe in their recipe box of awesomeness?
So here it is, a really yummy recipe from a favorite lady who never fails me – the one and only Ina Garten. I love her. She is my favorite. And everything she makes is simple and delicious without being over the top or weird. (Thanks for that Ina.) So don’t be freaked out by the amount of butter and chocolate. It worried me for a minute too…. but in the end it was totally worth it. However – I am going to get on my little soapbox for just a moment. I do not like chocolate chunks or chips on chocolate. Just like the wrong chocolate icing on chocolate cake is not good, just overwhelming – a really great brownie does not need little balls of chocolate hiding in there. It is too much. For real. Now an oatmeal cookie with chocolate chips – great. But chocolate cake with chips and chocolate icing with chips is too much. TOO MUCH people. Simple. Stay simple and balanced. But you know – if you personally love you some chocolate overload go ahead and enjoy yourself and add as many chips/chunks as you would like. Off the soapbox.
Ina Garten’s Outrageous Brownies
The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
1 pound unsalted butter
28 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided – (I chose not to use the added chips-you saw the soapbox-So I only used 14 oz)
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 extra large eggs
3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups chopped walnuts (I used pecans-they were awesome)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 12×18×1 inch baking sheet. Melt together the butter, one pound of the chips, and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature. In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12 ounces of chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. Pour into the baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and dough. Bake for another 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake!
Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into squares.
Ina’s notes: Flouring the chips and walnuts keeps them from sinking to the bottom.
It is very important to allow the batter to cool well before adding the chips, or the chips will melt and ruin the brownies.
Do ahead: This recipe can be baked up to a week in advance, wrapped in plastic, and refrigerated.
Posted: April 16th, 2010 | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: a little spring garden, garden, patio garden, patio gardening, texas patio garden | 4 Comments »
The spring bug bit me – and I wish I could spend my evenings relaxing in a massive garden, buying new flowers to plant, and weeding along the walkways. But alas, we live in a tiny apartment on the third floor – so no yard for a garden. But that is okay, because I have planted a few things on our tiny patio. It was probably very funny to the people watching me up there with my dirt and pots and little bitty plants everywhere. But that is okay. Because I love looking out the window and looking at our little plants – and opening up the door (because the temperature has been perfect down here lately) and looking at the little plants a growing.
Peppermint mint, my favorite to put in tea, on fruit, etc…
Don’t worry, I did plant with a purpose – Four kinds of tomatoes (we’ll see what works) – a few herbs that I cook with often, and a little succulent basket. I love succulents, I think they are way cool, and lets face it, I live in Texas. It gets hot – and dry, and despite how much you water, the sun by itself can kill plants with sheer will. So, succulents that flower it is. (Plus, if I forget to water for a day they will still be alive! Ha!) Now, I do have some little hooks already hanging over the rail, and I’m considering whether or not I’m going for hanging plants this year or not – or if I really want to worry about it. We’ll see, I’ll keep you updated.
Italian sweet basil and onion chives.
Note: I saw a little yellow flower on a tomato plant this morning- which means it will be producing something for the kitchen soon soon!
Tomatoes, a few different heirloom varieties. (I hate to say it, but I can’t remember where I put my labels, and I can’t remember which ones I ended up with…. oh well.)
Succulents, including desert moss with big pink flowers!
Posted: April 14th, 2010 | Filed under: Cookie | Tags: chocolate peanut butter bars, chocolate peanut butter rice crispy, peanut butter crispy treats, peanut butter rice crispy | 7 Comments »
I love baking. My hips don’t love my baking. Part of that problem stems from my massive sweet tooth. If it is in the house I will devour it. Seriously. Half a pan of brownies? It is lucky if it lasts two days near me. I try people. I do. But this would be much easier if my sweet husband would actually eat more sweets. He has the metabolism of…. well, its crazy really. He can eat whatever, whenever, however much he wants and his hips have no complaints. None. However – he has a much more discerning sweet tooth. (We won’t discuss his Taco Bueno habits.)
He would really prefer rice crispy treats, peanut butter cups, and frozen pie to most of the cakes that I make. So when I came across the recipe for peanut butter crispy bars in my Baked cookbook I was pretty excited. I grown up version of one of Ryan’s childhood (and present) favorites.
My fear with the recipe after reading through was that the candied crispy part would be too tough, or too crispy and not soft like a normal rice crispy was put to rest after a bite – this was a grown up rice crispy treat meets a peanut butter cup! It was better than I had hoped. And guys – for real – it was easy. I mean really. It involved melting and pouring. It is not hard. I guess I misjudged the recipe thinking it would be a little more difficult when I first read it – but really – easy. I love it. You will love it. Make a batch today. And share – so your hips are happy too.
Peanut Butter Crispy Bars
From Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
For the crispy crust 1 3/4 cups crisped rice cereal
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the milk chocolate peanut butter layer
5 ounces good-quality milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup creamy peanut butter
For the chocolate icing
3 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 72 percent cocoa), coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) unsalted butter
Make the crispy crust: Lightly spray a paper towel with nonstick cooking spray and use it to rub the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan. Put the cereal in a large bowl and set aside. Pour 1/4 cup water into a small saucepan. Gently add the sugar and corn syrup (do not let any sugar or syrup get on the sides of the pan) and use a small wooden spoon to stir the mixture until just combined. Put a candy thermometer in the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a boil; cook until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage, 235 degrees F. Remove from the heat, stir in the butter, and pour the mixture over the cereal. Working quickly, stir until the cereal is thoroughly coated, then pour it into the prepared pan. Using your hands, press the mixture into the bottom of the pan (do not press up the sides). Let the crust cool to room temperature while you make the next layer.
Make the milk chocolate peanut butter layer: In a large nonreactive metal bowl, stir together the chocolate and the peanut butter. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for about 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the cooled crust. Put the pan in the refridgerator for 1 hour, or until the top layer hardens.
Make the chocolate icing: In a large nonreactive metal bowl, combine the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is completely smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the chilled milk chocolate peanut butter layer and spread (actually, I found it easier to just roll it around until it coated smoothly, avoiding the risk of picking up any of the peanut butter layer with it) into an even layer. Put the pan into the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until the topping hardens.
Cut into 9 squares and serve. The bars can be stored in the refrigerator, covered tightly, for up to 4 days.
Posted: April 11th, 2010 | Filed under: Cookie | Tags: brownies, homemade brownies, salted brownies, sea salt brownies | 4 Comments »
Sometimes you need something sweet and salty. I can’t explain why, but when you absolutely cannot choose or you do what I do and find yourself eating something salty (like a chip) and then eating a piece of chocolate and then you keep repeating this until you have devoured an entire bag of salt and vinegar chips and giant bowl of chocolate pudding — then you should save yourself the guilt and poundage and just make these pretty amazing brownies. I saw them featured earlier this week and immediately went to the kitchen to make sure I already had everything sitting in the pantry. I did. So I made them to take over to a friends house for dessert. We served them with fresh Blue Bell vanilla ice cream and I have to say – it was a nice nod to the summer months coming on and completely satisfying for my very indecisive taste buds.
Just a note – these are insanely easy – I mixed everything in the one pot with a large spoon. Which also makes for easy clean up!
Salted Fudge Brownies
Adapted from www.foodandwine.com
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Maldon sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9-inch square metal cake pan with parchment paper, draping the paper over the edges. Lightly butter the parchment paper.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the unsweetened chocolate over very low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat. Whisking them in one at a time until thoroughly incorporated, add the cocoa, sugar, eggs, vanilla and flour. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the batter. Using a butter knife, swirl the salt into the batter.
Bake the fudge brownies in the center of the oven for about 35 minutes, until the edge is set but the center is still a bit soft and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out coated with a little of the batter. Let the brownies cool at room temperature in the pan for 1 hour, then refrigerate just until they are firm, about 1 hour. Lift the brownies from the pan and peel off the parchment paper. Cut the brownies into 16 squares. Serve at room temperature.
Posted: April 3rd, 2010 | Filed under: Chicken, Entree, Vegetables | Tags: Roasted chicken, roasted chicken with sourdough bread, roasted root vegetables | 3 Comments »
We really like roasted chicken. Our favorite is from this great little restaurant in Dallas called Toulouse. So I have been trying to recreate it ever since. And roasted chicken is simple, inexpensive, and versatile. And its heartwarming. I can’t explain how heartwarming it is to see the golden roasted bird coming out of the oven surrounded by tasty onions, garlic, potatoes, carrots, and sourdough bread. Dripping with juices and herby and warm and oh my goodness. I love a well roasted chicken. This is my favorite one so far. Everything was perfect and I took a hint from Martha Stewart (she recently had an article saying to toast crusty bread under the chicken. I took it a step farther and used a some delicious crusty sourdough chunks under the bird and scattered around with the veggies. Something beautiful happened. The chunks got nice and crunchy on top and soaked up all of the juicy goodness and oh my. Well, lets just say it was amazing. You will not regret this one…. and don’t be shocked if I keep toying with roasted chicken some more. I’m just enjoying this way too much.
Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables and Sourdough
1 3-4lb whole chicken, rinsed, dried, at room temperature
(Note, when I buy a chicken I buy it cleaned fully with no gibblets or neck, completely ready to go)
3 large carrots, peeled
1 lb red potatoes quartered
2 large yellow onions cut into wedges
1 large lemons cut in half
2 pieces of applewood smoked bacon
2 heads of garlic un-peeled and cut in half
1/2 loaf of crusty sourdough torn into large chunks
3 tbsp butter at room temperature
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
Fresh salt and ground pepper
Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees. In a shallow pan or dish place all your onions, carrots, potatoes, sourdough, and garlic. In the chicken, (yes, inside), line the cavity with bacon and put in the lemon halves. On the chicken, spread the butter and half of the herbs, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the remaining herbs and salt and pepper on the veggies. Place the bird on top of the pan full of veggies and bread. Pop in the oven for an hour and a half. The skin should be a nice golden brown and the meat opaque all the way through. Let the chicken rest for atleast 5 to ten minutes before carving. Serve the chicken carved with a helping of veggies and sourdough with the pan juices spooned over. Enjoy!
Posted: April 2nd, 2010 | Filed under: Entree, Vegetables | Tags: broiled flank steak, cajun flank steak, cooked spinach, easy flank steak, excellent spinach, Flank steak, garlic spinach, spinach, steamed spinach | No Comments »
Like I mentioned in an earlier post we have been trying to make dinner at home more often on weeknights. And by make dinner I am excluding a box of mac and cheese, a bowl of cereal, or pasta with canned sauce with a little cheese on top. Not that these aren’t dinner. They are. But they don’t invoke a love for cooking in me, they don’t challenge me to try a new cut of meat or hone my skills. So here is a dinner that was made that I was completely delighted and pleased with. It was simple and did not break the bank and helped me build a little more confidence in buying meat again. (Have I explained that irrational fear to you yet? I’m not sure… so here it is. I have no confidence in cooking most meats. Veggies, breads, anything cakes or sugar, side dishes, casseroles, I have no problem making in a moments notice. However, picking a cut of meat (outside of a meat for burgers) I have a little bit of anxiety about. I think its because its more expensive and seems more easily destroyed in my kitchen. Its harder to fix and be okay with making a dry and flavorless steak or pork chop or loin that I spent more than ten dollars on that is now inedible than a bunch of asparagus that was slightly over cooked for four bucks. I think also that when you initially start out a little more nervous about something more likely you are to ruin it. But I’m working on it… don’t worry.)
So a seasoned flank steak and garlic spinach it is. With roasted potatoes (which I cannot ever stop making because I love them so much.) But Ryan loves spinach. Which is weird because it is hard to get him to eat leafy green things or green things in general most of the time. But he really likes spinach, which is A OK with me. And we aren’t talking about the sodium filled lump of green from a can. We are talking fresh baby spinach all nice and wilted with sauted spinach and a dash of red wine vinegar. Fresh and bright and super tender and tasty. And I’m not going to lie. I am proud of this steak. It was well seasoned, flavorful, and perfectly pink on the inside. (We are on the rare side of medium rare kind of people, but hey, you can change that with a little extra time if you so choose.) I made me want to buy flank steak again. And c’mon, I found the steak recipe in Cooking Light… it can’t be that terrible for me right? But seriously, it was delicious, and it made me so happy, and this will be showing up on the rotation again with a few new spins soon.
1 lb flank steak, trimmed
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Preheat broiler. To prep steak leave it sitting at room temperature for 15min. combined salt and the next 8 ingredients, sprinkle on both sides of the steak. Place steak on broiler pan coated with cooking spray; broil 6min on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Cover and let rest 5min. Cut steak diagonally across grain into thin slices.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb fresh stemmed and shredded
1/4 c water
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and garlic, cook 1 min, stirring constantly. Add spinach and water and cook for 4 min or until tender. Remove from heat; stir in vinegar and remaining ingredients.