Homemade Granola

I always feel healthy when I pick granola for breakfast over a bagel or pancakes, but in reality, granola really isn’t that great for you. Especially the stuff you find at the store. Have you ever read the sugar count in a box of granola? If you haven’t, don’t! I mean, there’s a reason it taste so good…g6

But no need to fear because you can make your own granola at home and it is insanely easy! No need for refined sugars and processed oils.g4 g3

For this recipe, I kept it simple: cinnamon raisin granola with pecans, but don’t limit yourself. One of the best things about making granola at home is its versatility; there are so many different flavors to make that you never get bored of eating the same thing.g2

Homemade Granola

3 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)
2 ounces of melted coconut oil
1 ounce 100% maple syrup
1 ounce honey
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup pecans
1/4 cup rasins

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the oats, spices and nuts. In a small bowl, combine the coconut oil, maple syrup and honey and mix the wet and dry ingredients together.

Do not add the raisins (or any dried fruit) until the end.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper (or spray it with coconut oil pan spray) and spread out the mixture in a thin, even layer.

Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes, or until the granola is slightly darker than golden brown. Make sure to check and mix the granola every 5 minutes or so to make sure it browns evenly.

When the granola is done, remove it from the oven let it cool completely. Once it has cooled, add the raisins, mix together and enjoy!

Granola is great with milk, yogurt or simply by itself for a snack.

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Caprese Salad

Caprese salad is my go-to “dish to share” whenever I’m invited to a potluck for a few reasons. One, it is probably the easiest things I could make and two, it is so, so good! I make this salad with four ingredients (from Trader Joe’s of course): heirloom cherry tomatoes, marinated mozzarella balls, fresh basil and balsamic glaze.

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I brought this little dish to an Easter brunch last weekend at a friends house and, needless to say, there wasn’t any left to bring home afterward. The fresh basil, the crisp tomatoes, oh and who can resist fresh mozzarella marinated in a mix of herbs? Top it off with the balsamic glaze and I could eat this all day…which I do, a lot.

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It takes all of 5 seconds to make and you can snack on this salad all week, so grab a fork and dig in!

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Caprese Salad

2 containers of marinated mozzarella balls from Trader Joe’s
1 carton of fresh basil from Trader Joe’s (you will only use about 1/3)
1 carton of heirloom cherry tomatoes (you will use about 1/2)
balsamic glaze

Pour 1 container of the mozzarella balls with the marinated olive oil and herbs in a large bowl. Add the second container of mozzarella balls but do not add the olive oil this time or it will have too much dressing.

Add half of the carton of tomatoes.

Remove the basil leaves from their stems and tear the leaves with your hands to get them to a smaller size then add the leaves to the mozzarella and tomato mixture.

Mix everything together and drizzle the top with balsamic glaze. Enjoy!

*you definitely don’t need to use everything form Trader Joe’s. I do because I always shop there anyway and it’s super easy to find the ingredients.

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Blueberry Banana Pancakes

Sometimes there are just those days when you wake up, take one look outside and the Banana Pancakes song by Jack Johnson starts playing in your head. Today was one of those days for me. I mean, come one, a song about pancakes on a rainy day? Perfection.pancakes1

There’s something about a damp spring day that makes me want to put on my wool socks, heat up the griddle and cook in my pjs. Unfortunately for my waistline, damp spring days are an everyday occurrence. Beach season? Pfft! I’d rather eat my pancakes.

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This recipe made 10 scrumptious cakes.

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Blueberry Banana Pancakes

2 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 3/4 cups milk
1 large, ripe banana, chopped
1 small carton of fresh blueberries

Warm up your griddle, or frying pan, on medium heat, and spray with coconut oil cooking spray.

Mix and sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and cinnamon into a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl whisk together your melted butter, 2 eggs and milk.

Whisk the wet into the dry then add the fresh fruit.

Using a 1/2 cup measuring cup, scoop your batter onto the griddle/frying pan. Flip the pancakes when the tops are blanketed with small bubbles and cook until done.

Top with100% maple syrup or jam and enjoy with a huge cup of coffee.

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Grapefruit Teacake

I’ve learned over the years that there are generally two kinds of people in this world: those who love grapefruit and those who hate grapefruit. I am the former, my husband is the latter.

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When I was in my first quarter of pastry school, we made all sorts of different cakes and quick-breads and my ultimate favorite was Lemon Teacake. I’ve been meaning to make it again for a while now but when I glanced at the uneaten grapefruit in my fridge, it got me thinking. Why not mix one of my favorites treats with one of my favorite fruits?! So I did, and thus we have Grapefruit Teacake.

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I’ll have you know that even though my hubby hates grapefruit, which is insane, he loved this teacake. And I mean loved, as in he practically ate the whole thing in one bite.

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Grapefruit Teacake

4 ounces (1 stick) of butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups pastry (or all-purpose) flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces milk
1 grapefruit, zested (and juiced)

Glaze:
3/4 cup sugar
juice from 1 grapefruit

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar and grapefruit zest on medium speed until it is nice and fluffy and has an ivory color to it.

Mix and sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

When butter and sugar are creamed, turn the mixer down to low speed and add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl of the mixer in between each egg.

Alternately add the four mixture and the milk in 2 portions and mix until combined.

Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350-375 for about an hour, or until a knife comes out clean when inserted into the teacake.

When the teacake is almost finished baking, make a glaze by mixing together the 3/4 cup sugar and grapefruit juice in a small sauce pan. Heat on high just until it starts to boil then turn it off.

When teacake is done, remove it from the oven and poke deep holes with a wooden skewer (or thin knife) all over the teacake, making sure that the holes go all the way to the bottom of the cake. Immediately pour the hot glaze over the teacake.

Let the teacake sit for about 15 minutes then remove from the loaf pan. Let cool and enjoy!

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*Don’t skip the glaze! Without it, the teacake will be dry and the grapefruit flavor will be too subtle to taste.

Cinnamon Sugar Cake Doughnuts

There’s a local doughnut chain here in Seattle called Top Pot Doughnuts. I happen to live directly behind one. It’s a curse and a blessing and sometimes you just have to give in and go buy yourself a dozen doughnuts doughnut or two. Other times, you just have to make them!

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I try to use coconut oil as much as possible instead of other fats, so why not try frying doughnuts in it? Let me say, it works like a charm.

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I got the inspiration for this recipe on Pinterest, obviously. You can find the original recipe here.donut2

Cinnamon Sugar Cake Doughnuts
*makes about 8 doughnuts 

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup raw cane sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
1 egg
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

coconut oil for frying (I used about 1 pound)
cinnamon-sugar for dredging

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, melted butter and vanilla. Pour the liquid into the dry and mix together until just combined, don’t over mix. The dough will be sticky.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. While your dough is resting, make a cinnamon-sugar mixture — I did 2 cups of sugar and 1/4 cup cinnamon — and set it aside.

Heat your coconut oil to 350-375 degrees F. Make sure to keep and eye on your oil so it doesn’t get too hot, nobody likes burnt doughnuts! After 1 hour, scrape that dough puppy out onto a floured surface, sprinkle generously with more flour and roll out to a thickness of about 1/2 an inch.

Cut your doughnuts out with a round cookie cutter and use a significantly smaller cookie cutter to make the center hole. You can smash together and roll out the left over dough one more time but no more than that (it will become too tough and taste gross). Save the smaller center circles for doughnut holes!

Drop the doughnuts in the oil one at a time. The dough will sink at first then rise to the top of the oil. Fry on each side for about 3 minutes, or until it is a nice dark-golden brown. Remove doughnut from oil and place directly into the cinnamon-sugar mixture, dredging completely, and place on a metal cookie rack to cool. Repeat the process until all doughnuts are done. Don’t forget the doughnut holes!

Enjoy with a huge cup of joe.

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Breakfast for Two: Croissant French Toast

The only thing better than a buttery, flakey croissant is when you dip it in eggs, fry it up and smother it in syrup. Valentine’s day is right around the corner and what better way to say those three little words than with a mouth full of…sugar?

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French toast is by far one of my favorite foods and if you know anything about me, so are pastries so why not mix ’em together?

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If you’re feeling extra adventurous, try making Homemade Croissants, and don’t forget to add the homemade strawberry compote.

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Croissant French Toast

2 croissants
3 eggs
splash of milk
splash of vanilla extract
pinch of salt
cinnamon

1 12 oz bag frozen strawberries, thawed
1/3 cup sugar

For the compote: add the thawed strawberries and 1/3 cup sugar to small sauce pan and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the berries have turned to mush and the mixture is slightly thick.

For the french toast: heat a skillet (or frying pan) over medium heat and spray with coconut oil cooking spray, you can also use melted butter.

Slice the croissants in half, lengthwise.

Whisk together the eggs, splash of milk, splash of vanilla extract and pinch of salt. Dip each croissant piece in the eggs mixture, add to skillet/frying pan and sprinkle each slice with cinnamon.

Flip the croissants and cook until they are a dark-golden brown on both sides.

Serve with strawberry compote and maple syrup. I also whipped up some fresh whipped cream which you can find a recipe for here.

Copycat Tagalongs

It’s that time of year again. Every time I go into the kitchen at work, there it is…haunting me. The Girl Scout cookie order form. Normally Thin Mints are my favorite, but after making gallons upon gallons of Thin Mint ice cream last summer, well, let’s just say I’ve had my fill. My number 2 choice GS cookie is definitely the Tagalong.

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Crunchy shortbread cookie smothered in rich, creamy peanut butter and dunked in chocolate, can’t get much better than that. Well, it can if you make them without all of those artery-clogging hydrogenated oils. Not to mention that those precious treats are laced with loads of palm oil and palm oil companies are singlehandedly ruining the lives of millions of people and animals around the world and causing major deforestation…but that’s a whole other subject!

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Copycat Tagalongs

6 ounces unsalted butter at room temp
1/2 cup raw, organic sugar
1/2 tsp bourbon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
pinch of salt

good quality salted, creamy peanut butter (like Trader Joe’s or Adams)
1 bag semi sweet Trader Joe’s chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium until the sugar and butter are combined. Add vanilla and salt.

Remove bowl from mixer and sift the flour directly into the bowl. Return to mixer and mix on medium/low until just combined, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as needed.

Turn the dough onto a flour surface and shape into a round disc. It will be very crumbly.

Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, return dough to flour surface and roll out to a thickness of about 1/2 an inch.

Cut out cookies using a round cookie cutter and place them on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make an indent with your thumb on each cookie (this is where you will put the peanut butter later). Depending on the size of your cookie cutter, it will make anywhere from 10-30 cookies (I got 20).

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are a nice, golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Add a small dollop of peanut butter to the top of each cookie and freeze for 20 minutes so the peanut butter does not melt when you dip the cookies in the chocolate.

While cookies are freezing, melt the chocolate: in a small sauce pan on low heat, add a little bit of chocolate at a time and stir constantly until it is melted. You may want to occasionally remove the sauce pan from the heat while melting to prevent the chocolate from burning. Keep adding more chocolate until the whole bag is melted.

Drop the cookies into the chocolate, one at a time, peanut butter side first. Turn them over with a fork and shake off the excess chocolate. You can use the side of the sauce pan to scrape off extra chocolate on the bottom of the cookie.

Place the chocolate covered cookies on parchment paper and allow the chocolate to set up completely. I recommend enjoying these puppies with a huge glass of milk!

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