Thursday, December 16, 2010

UPDATE: pumpkin bread pudding

Ok, seriously dudes, you need to make this. It will blow people's minds and you will get marriage proposals (sort of a true story there, folks). I made this again recently, but I changed a few things from the last time, and it's even better than before. It was gone within minutes at the party I brought it to. So, I'm re-posting the recipe with the changes. There was always a lot of custard left over and I felt like that was wasteful so I cut that part of the recipe down by 1/4 [(fraction math is so hard.) I had to ask my Dad for help because my brain doesn't work that way.)] I also added a water bath, which I think added a lot to the texture. This is a thing of beauty. Take my word for it... or just make it and see for yourself.

Pumpkin bread pudding recipe:
6 Large eggs
2 2/3rd(-) cups milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
1(+) cups whipping cream
3/4 t. vanilla
1 1-lb loaf pumpkin bread (Use this recipe, as it's the best ever. Also, the recipe makes two loaves, so I made the whole recipe and just did one plain for the bread pudding and added a pecan/brown sugar streusel for the other and it was ridiculously good, especially paired with my ginger pear butter I just made)

** (Because of the divisions by even numbers with the odd number amounts of milk and cream, I put in a plus or minus to indicate that it is a bit more or less than the listed amount.)

Butter a 3 quart baking dish. Whisk eggs in large bowl to blend. Add milk, sugar, cream, and vanilla. Whisk to blend well. stir in bread. Let sit covered, in the refrigerator, for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven
to 350°. Scoop coated bread chunks into prepared baking dish, push down the bread crumbs, compacting the mixture. Add a little extra custard on top, and press down some more. Toss any extra custard. Fill a 9x13 pan filled halfway with water and place on the bottom rack, place the bread pudding on the middle rack. Cook for 1 hour, 45 minutes, or until it is set. Before serving, dribble some cinnamon caramel sauce over the top. Freak out.

Cinnamon Caramel Sauce Recipe:
1 cup (packed ) golden brown sugar
1 cube butter
½ cup whipping cream
¾ t. cinnamon

Stir brown sugar and butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add cream and cinnamon and bring to simmer. simmer until sauce thickens and is reduced to 1 ½ cups, about 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Monday, November 29, 2010

all-day apple butter

 The first thing I made in my crock pot is this "All-Day Apple Butter", from this cookbook my parents gave me called, "Fresh From The Vegetarian Slow Cooker". I've been wanting to make crock-pot apple butter for so long, ever since my old, super crappy crock-pot burned a first attempt a few years ago. Burned apples are just sad. So, I went for it right away with my shiny and new crock-pot. Apple butter is such a comfort food, so of course I want to eat it in mass quantity. Also, it makes a delicious gift, which is always helpful this time of year. I highly recommend this fantastic recipe.

3 pounds cooking apples, such as Granny Smith, Rome Beauty or Gala, cored, left unreeled, and cut into eighths

3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup apple juice

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 ground cloves

Combine apples, brown sugar, apple juice, and lemon juice in a 4-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours, until the apples are very soft.

Remove the lid, turn the heat setting to High, and stir in the spices. Continue to cook, uncovered, for 2 hours (I did this about 3 hours because it didn't look thick enough), stirring once about halfway through, if possible, until the mixture thickens.

Press the apples through a metal strainer into a large mixing bowl to remove the peels, or process the apples through a food mill. (I actually just used my immersion blender blend everything together, and that worked perfectly)

After cooling to room temperature, the apple butter may be stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator in clean jars, where it will keep for several weeks.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

caramelized baked pears

(This photo is from my phone so it's not bad, but it could be way better. Apologies)

As it turns out, the majority of what I eat is based on a completely out of the blue hankering I get. Sounds like I'm pregnant, I know, but this blessing/affliction has been with me since childhood. It's just how I do. If I don't get the thing I'm craving, I'll think about it for weeks until the particular thirst is satiated. This is pretty much the reason why I learned to bake and cook. I would be away at college and call up my Mom and have her coach me on how to re-create whatever childhood concoction I needed to eat at the time. Thanks, Mom! (She's a very patient woman, and the apple fell very far from the tree in that regard.) Anyway, that's how this particular dessert came about. I knew I'd be staying in SF over the weekend, so I emailed my Mom and asked her if she remembered how she used to make these yummy caramelized baked pears back in the day and if we could maybe perhaps make them this weekend? She's always a good sport so she agreed. Problem was, she couldn't remember where the recipe was. We had an idea about what the measurements were, that the oven temp. was hot and the type and amount of pears needed. We just weren't positive on the timing and the exact oven temperature. We called my Aunt who had the recipe and it was very close to what we remembered (what's up memory skills?!) so here it is. Soooo good. The perfect cozy winter night dessert.

Caramelized Baked Pears

6 medium sized Bosc pears
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cube butter
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 450°. Peel, core, and quarter pears, then place in a 9x13" baking pan. Sprinkle sugar over pears and cut butter into chunks and place over pears. Bake for 45 minutes; spooning the syrup over the pears every 10 minutes (once the sugar melts and forms the syrup). When sauce thickens, and turns golden, pour in the cream. Continue to bake and baste pears until syrup and pears turn golden brown. Serve hot over vanilla (or other appropriate flavored ice cream—I'm looking at you, butter pecan).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

you should go to here

(photo via Sheena Jibson of

Please click on this link to see what I've been up to lately...

Along with my crazy traveling full-time job, I've been working with the amazing Fluer De Sel catering talents of Elizabeth Gilman and the gorgeous decor and event planning talents of Jana to create some full-service events. Also, we are selling pies for Thanksgiving. So buy some! Let us feed you! We are way better than the alternative.

Thanks to the amazing Sheena Jibson for the beautiful photos!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

things i've made recently

As discussed earlier, I don't have a whole lot of time/energy/ability anymore to bake new things and blog about them. It's not like I can bring a hot plate and a toaster oven to my hotel room and whip things up. Occasionally, I've made something on the weekends that I'm home but they've been my old stand-bys. So as a reminder to you all, I'm re-posting some links to these must-make recipes.

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake
Coconut Macaroons
Banana Oat Shake (lately I've been adding frozen blueberries into the mix with this)
Plum Jam
and Pumpkin Pie 
(lots of pumpkin ideas here, if you are as excited as I am that pumpkin is back in town)

But, don't you worry about me, I've been eating very well. Too well. Remember how much I love San Francisco food?

Also, as soon as I figure my life out and am in a more permanent situation, wherever that may be, I'm going to make this the winter of crock-potting. Would you guys be interested in more than just baking recipes? Or should I stick to what I know best?
As it turns out, I really need this cookbook.

Monday, October 4, 2010

wheat germ chocolate chip cookies

My sister offered to make me dinner a few Sundays ago, and asked if I could bring a treat. I figured this would give me the opportunity to actually bake again and try my current obsession, a recipe that is like my personal form of crack: the Wheat Germ cookie at Specialty's Bakery. The best part about my traveling situation right now is that I get to eat all my favorite foods, including this ridiculous cookie. I found a recipe online that claims to be the same as Specialty's. After searching online for a recipe I found this one, which seemed to be fairly close. While this cookie is pretty exceptional it's not quite the same. I must figure this out, many test batches must be made…
(note: with my add-ons/changes in parenthesis, it actually is fairly similar)

Also, sorry there is no picture, I couldn't get any pictures taken in good lighting, but I figured a post with no pictures is better than no post? Maybe?

3/4 cup old fashioned whole rolled oats
1 cup whole-wheat flour (I used 3/4 cup of whole wheat flour, and 1/4 cup almond meal)
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
1/2 cup raw wheat germ
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes (I would chop this up or use flaked coconut so it's in smaller pieces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (I would actually use half of this next time I make these)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
(I added 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons honey)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (Specialty's uses mini chocolate chips)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I used very, very finely chopped pecans)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray (not required if your using non-stick pans or a silpat)
2. Mix oats and flour in a medium bowl. Add baking soda and salt and whisk until mixed in. Whisk in wheat germ, flax and coconut.
3. Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, egg and vanilla; beat until smooth and creamy. With the mixer running, add the dry ingredients, beating on low speed until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips and walnut pieces using a wooden spoon or spatula. Chill the dough in a refrigerator for at least 1 hour. The dough should be firm before proceeding with step 4.
4. Force a spoon into the dough to remove about 2-3 tablespoonfuls per cookie, at least 1 inch apart, onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies, until firm around the edges and golden on top, about 12 minutes. (I actually decided to bake for 9 minutes on the second batch and preferred that). Remove baking sheets from the oven immediately and cool the cookies for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks with a spatula to cool.

**Specialty's version of this cookie is tall and rectangular. If you prefer that shape then mold the chilled dough into a 2" x 2" rectangular log and cut into 1.5" pieces to form the cookie. (I will try this note from the original author next time, I think).

Sunday, September 26, 2010

six-week bran muffins

In case you haven't noticed, I haven't been around these here parts too much lately. I've been traveling to and from San Francisco every week for work. I'm there four days a week and pretty much have no energy left-over for baking + blogging when I get home. Not to mention, it's pretty impossible to keep fresh food around when I can't be in one place long enough to consume it. Which is why this recipe is so perfect for me. This recipe you make overnight and can keep (covered *real* tight) in the fridge for up to six weeks. You can just cook a few at a time and voila! Fresh bran muffins. Plus, when it's just me, the fact that this makes 48 muffins works great, cause I won't run out of that very quickly. In case the germ-freaks are totally grossed out about the length of time you can keep these, just cool out. There are a ton of recipes like this online and it's super legit science and stuff.  (Recipe sent to me by my Momz, and found originally by my eldest sister. I do not know the original source—sorry about that!)

5 cups flour
3 cups sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
5 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
7 1/2 cups (20-ounce box) Post Healthy Classics Raisin Bran (you could add more raisins if this doesn't provide enough, it would be yums to add golden raisins to the mix)
4 cups (1 quart) buttermilk
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs, beaten
Melted butter for brushing the tops of the muffin batter
Ground cinnamon and sugar mixed

1.  In a very large bowl, combine the flour 3 cups sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Stir in the cereal, add the buttermilk, oil, and eggs, and blend until moistened.  DO NOT STIR AGAIN.  Place the mixture into a NON-METALLIC (very important science here, don't think you can be sneaky and get around this - Farrah, I'm talking to you!) container, seal tightly, and refrigerate overnight or for up to 6 weeks.

2.  When ready to bake - preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray.  Fill each cup 3/4 full with batter.  Brush the top of the batter in each cup with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar to taste.  Bake 15-20 minutes. (I actually haven't done that the past few batches to make them a little more healthy and they are still super delish!)

**Here's a tip: if you are cooking less than 12 muffins, you can pour about an inch of water in each leftover muffin cup before you throw them in the oven so that the pan cooks everything evenly.

Friday, September 17, 2010

grilled cheese

a friend sent me this site. now i'm in a visual food coma.

i suggest you look at this if you like grilled cheese sandwiches.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

cherry upside down cake

i keep buying as many cherries as i can find, before they are completely gone till next year. which tends to leave me with an extra cherry or two. i was making a brunch for some friends and wanted to make something a little fancy, so i decided to turn our family favorite, blueberry short cake, into cherry upside down cake, but with a few tweaks, i added 1 tsp. almond extract and 1/4 cup of cornmeal. best decision ever. it had the perfect consistency and flavor and crumb and just overall goodness. why are cherries so darn good? why can't summer last forever? i need fresh fruit and veggies at my disposal every day—as well as this cake.

Monday, July 26, 2010

muffins in the morning

i'm conducting a little survey on this here blog to see what your top 3 favorite muffins are in the morning. you can write in the comments any flavor you like, but i'll give a few options here to jog your memory.

poppyseed (lemon or almond or just plain)

what about pumpkin or something with coconut or cornmeal? and think as if it's something you want to buy in the morning as a breakfast muffin. lemme know your thoughts, please!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

blackberry peach cobbler

i've documented my love for peaches and cobbler before. it's basically the quintessential summer dessert. i saw this recipe for easy, foolproof cobbler on thekitchn. which, if you haven't noticed, is my go to spot for kitchen tips, recipes and inspiration. i had some peaches and blackberries that i had frozen so they wouldn't go bad, so when i saw the recipe, i decided it was fate. it was easy. and it was foolproof. however, one thing to remember: when you freeze fruit, it's a little extra juicy than normal when it thaws out. therefore, it is advantageous to drain some of the juice. i learned this first hand. i actually knew this, but just conveniently bypassed this because i was distracted. distracted baking ≠ smart baking. as for the topping, it's pretty great. i might use a little less sugar and butter next time, or try to integrate what works with this into another recipe. this is why baking is so great, it's like mad science, but with (mostly) delicious results.

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups sugar, plus a bit more for sprinkling
 (on the fruit)
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted  **i would try just one stick next time
fresh berries or fruit (peeled and cut into chunks)

combine the flour and sugar. add the butter, mixing as you go, until the mixture forms a soft dough. it can be slightly crumbly, but you want it to hold together when you squeeze it.

spray a 9x9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. put the fruit in the dish — you will probably need about 4 cups of berries or chopped fruit. you want to create a thick layer that comes about two inches up the sides.
 if the fruit is particularly tart, sprinkle with a light layer of sugar (i did a mixture of a little granulated and a little bit of brown sugar). if the fruit is soft and sweet, you don't need it.

take the dough by the handful and pat it into disks that are about 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thick. lay them on top of the fruit, continuing with the patties, until it is covered. (you may not need to use all of the dough to cover it completely) bake the cobbler at 350 degrees for about 45-50 minutes, until the crust is light golden brown. let cool slightly, then serve with ice cream.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

i want this

real bad. a yellow one. all i want in the summer is a frozen treat. a lemon frozen treat, 99% of the time. i saw this recipe for lemon granita on pioneer woman's blog, and i think if i don't get one of these cute lil' things, i'm gonna rock that recipe all summer long.

Monday, May 17, 2010

coconut macaroons

this is the quickest and easiest recipe ever. it's from the pillsbury complete cookbook. i always keep coconut on hand, just so i can whip these out at the last minute if i need something quick to bring somewhere. you can always doctor this recipe a little bit by drizzling or dipping half of them in chocolate. or i've added lime juice a few times for a little something extra. these are by far my favorite macaroon recipe i've tried.

(this only makes enough for 12 cookies, so i usually double it)

2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
dash salt
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups coconut

heat the oven to 325°F. grease and slightly flour cookie sheet. in medium bowl, beat egg whites until frothy. add sugar, flour, salt, and almond extract; mix well. stir in coconut. drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on to prepared cookie sheet.

bake for 13 - 17 minutes or until set and light golden brown. immediately remove from cookie sheet.

Monday, May 10, 2010

strawberry jam

lately, i've been really into jam. so basically, jam is my jam. am i wrong? i had extra strawberries from a brunch and i was thinking of all the things i could make with them. i was looking in nigella lawson's "how to be a domestic goddess" cookbook and i saw this really simple recipe for cooked strawberry jam. and it had basalmic vinegar in the recipe. sold! basalmic is pretty much a magic ingredient and makes most things infinitely better. it's supposed to bring out the flavor of the strawberries. and there is no pectin! the recipe calls for preserving sugar, but i just used granulated and it worked out just fine. while cooking, she doesn't use a thermometer and cook it to a certain temperature, she uses a method where she puts a saucer into the freezer before she starts, and while cooking, she takes the pan off the heat and drips a teaspoon or so of jam onto the saucer. then if the jam wrinkles when she pushes at it with a finger, then she knows it's ready. i did this as well, but i was looking for a bigger wrinkle than i needed, so i overcooked it a tiny bit. it's still delicious, just a tiny bit stickier than it should be.

3 - 3 1/2 cups strawberries, chopped to desired size
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
4 8oz. jars or equivalent

stick a saucer into the freezer.

put all the ingredients into a wide saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon to make sure all the fruit is coated.

put the pan on a low heat and, stirring every now and again, bring to a boil. let boil for about 5-8 minutes, depending on the size of your pan, and start testing for setting point from 4 minutes, taking the pan off the heat and putting a scant teaspoon onto the saucer. leave it to cool for about 10 seconds or so and then poke at it to see if it's ready (look for a slight wrinkle).

when you've reached this point, leave the pan to cool for 20 minutes before decanting into the cleaned, prepared jars.

makes about 3 1/4 cups.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

it's the most wonderful time of the year

most people love spring and summer mostly for the heat, and while i appreciate not always being bundled up and on the verge of hypothermia, one of my favorite things about these months is that it's rhubarb season. april to september brings us this tangy treat.

for some recipe ideas, here are some past posts that showcase this delicious plant/fruit/what-have-you.

image and more ideas via serious eats.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

leige waffles

a while back i talked about the best waffle in the world, the liege waffle from bruges, here in downtown salt lake. my whole family became obsessed, and one by one, when each would visit, i would take them and share with them this glory. i took my dad for his birthday when he was in town last september and they had fresh seasonal peaches from the farmers market across the street as a topping option. best. thing. ever. and let me tell you, my dad is the last stop in the family when it comes to a food critic. if he loves something, you KNOW it's legit. so, lo and behold he searched on the internet to find a recipe for my mom to replicate. and a place to buy the sugar pearls that go in these little delights. he sent me this recipe and found one place in utah that sells the sugar pearls. they don't even have them by where they live so i am in charge of getting them their supply. like a dealer of sorts.

so this recipe. it's good. but it's not as good as bruges. it's a little thicker and breadier and waaay more buttery (while that's usually a good thing, it wasn't AS good as it could be in this case). also, it takes some serious time to make these. but when you don't live within a few miles of the original, they would most definitely be worth it. especially if you froze peaches from last summer and made créme fraiche to top them with.

**also, i have no idea where my dad found this, so i can't credit this original recipe**

LIEGE WAFFLES (10 servings)

3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 TB granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 pkg active dry Yeast
1 1/3 cup unsalted butter (i would actually only do 1 cup)
6.5 oz. cold sparkling water
1 cup (approx.) pearl sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

allow eggs and sparkling water to come up to room temperature first. melt the butter over hot water or in the microwave then allow to cool to lukewarm.

sift the flour and salt into a bowl, then make a well in the middle. beat the eggs in another bowl, then add butter whisking to combine. sprinkle yeast over the top and whisk well. then add the sparkling water and whisk again. add the entire mixture to the flour along with the granulated sugar and vanilla extract. beat the dough for at least ten minutes. it will start out kind curdled looking, but will stiffen and become a slightly sticky brioche-ish type dough. cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 60 – 90 minutes.

begin heating the waffle iron and knead the pearl sugar into the dough. drop by heaping 1/4th cup onto each quarter or section of the waffle iron and bake until well browned. serve warm and top with whatever goodness you like. (avoid too many too sweet toppings like nutella + créme fraiche + peaches unless you want a bellyache like my good friend, tan, experienced).

(ps, if you want probably the best fries of your life, bruges is also the place to be. and the aioli is ridiculously good.)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

best chocolate chip cookie dough ever

i had to finally try the now infamous new york times jacques torres recipe. you know, the recipe that tells you to refrigerate the dough for at least 24 and up to 48 hours. this actually works for me because i could eat cookie dough all day long, so i just nip (what am i, british?) into the fridge and steal some. it's seriously ridiculous. and it does get better with time. it has THE perfect sweet to salt ratio. i can't gush about it enough.

original recipe here.
here is the recipe via the new york times with my notes:

time: 45 minutes (for 1 6-cookie batch), plus at least 24 hours’ chilling
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons
(8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (i just used semi sweet chips, cause i'm lazy and that's what i do.)
sea salt. (i didn't do this part i thought it had the perfect amount of salt as is)

sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. set aside.

using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. stir in the vanilla. reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours (i usually scoop them out on to sheets and refrigerate them like that until the hold their shape then freeze i freeze them until i'm ready to bake—usually at least 48 hours). dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

when ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. (again, i already scooped them out and ditched the extra sea salt) sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. (okay, another area where i differ. this timing didn't work for me, maybe it's an altitude thing? so i tried another batch at 375° for 12 minutes and it still seemed dry, so then i did 400° for 8 minutes, then, i found the magic formula. 385° for 10 minutes. and seriously, it is truly magic. so. so. good.)

yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

more granola bars

 so, it maaaaay seem that i am obsessed with granola. well... that's only because it's true. it's delicious and filling and i love oats and it's usually in the healthy vein of things. also, as i've said before, i want to avoid preservatives in my snacks, etc. so here is another recipe i tried, and this one is gluten free. this recipe was found on phoo-d via food gawker.

so i made some changes based on what i had on hand and really, whatever i felt like putting in. here is the original recipe.

and for my altered version:

2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup coconut
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
      (****because i changed things a bit, i think this could use less honey and less brown sugar****)
4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup chopped dried fruit (i used a mixed bag)

pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil (or silpat). mix together the oats, wheat germ, seeds, and nuts and coconut on the baking sheet. place the sheet in the oven and toast the dry ingredients for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally and keeping a close watch to make sure they do not burn. as soon as the ingredients are toasted, remove the pan from the oven.

while the dry ingredients are toasting, line a 11x13 inch rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper and spray it lightly with cooking oil (this is an important step!)

place a small saucepan over medium-high heat and add in the brown sugar, honey, butter, vanilla, and salt. bring the mixture to a strong boil for two minutes stirring constantly. remove from heat.

place the toasted ingredients in a large bowl, and stir in the dried fruit. pour the hot liquids into the bowl and stir  until all of the ingredients are moist and well combined.

using a wooden spoon or spatula, scrape the mixture into the prepared baking sheet, pressing down to evenly spread out the mixture. fold over the greased waxed paper or add another greased sheet on top and press down hard all over the granola. set the baking sheet aside and let the bars cool for 2-3 hours until they are hardened.

once the bars are hard, peel off the waxed paper and turn the granola out onto a cutting board. cut the granola into bars by pressing straight down with a long knife (don't saw or they will crumble). the bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature individually wrapped in plastic wrap for up to a week.


i really loved this recipe and i think you should try it!

**UPDATE: I made this again and instead of whole flax seeds, I used ground flax and I liked it so much better!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

i know it's a bit late...

...but, i've been busy and out of town for work. and prepping for that and recovering have been... intense. anyway, i just wanted to share with you what i had the privilege of eating at my parent's house when i was home for the holidays. (sorry, i know it's unfair and sort of braggy, but wouldn't you do the same?)

this was for our Christmas eve dinner.


i made the brussel sprouts with some olive oil, apple cider vinegar and pine nuts. pretty good, if i do say so myself!

the largest twice baked potatoes of all time.

citrus salad. and we had some other foods, but those were my favorite.

also, this dessert. my mom only makes it for christmas. for a few reasons, one being it's the most delicious thing you'll ever eat in your life so it needs to stay special. and two, it's... not... healthy. in any way. at all. (but so worth it!)

we had hot chocolate and scones Christmas morning before we opened presents. oh and we used some homemade marshmallows i brought home for everyone to try in the hot chocolate. so dreamy!

other breakfast goodies:

don't worry about it. that's just overnight french toast with orange syrup and mixed berries. just another day at our house.

and one of my favorite breakfast goodies: raspberry cream cheese coffee cake.

again, i'm sorry.

who's hungry?