Spiced Coconut & Raisin Granola

As on every food blog out there right now, I also decided to make something “spiced” for this fall season. First I should start off with an apology. School is back in session(it has been for almost 2 months) and I’ve failed to blog about anything. I’m not sure why but it happened and I want to make this blog awesome so I will post more!

 Anyway, I love fall. The colors, the temperatures, and the flavors make me feel so cozy. Sadly, many of the beautiful leaves have fallen off the trees where I live and the mountains are starting to look “twiggy”. On the bright side, Halloween is not far away!Now, back to the food. I’ve never made granola before, but my Nana makes all of her granola from scratch and it’s so tasty. Being a lovely lazy day today I decided to make some homemade ‘nola. I was going to make pumpkin spiced granola but I wanted to twist it up a bit and throw some coconut in there. Did I mention that this granola is outstanding?Let’s get started. Read more Spiced Coconut & Raisin Granola

An Ode to Pie (& a Cherry Pie Recipe)

makes 1 9″ pie

Today was my stepdad’s birthday and that always calls for some sort of cherry confection.  It seems that virtually every year we are in Michigan(aka The Cherry Capital of the World) during his birthday.  Coincidence?  I think not.

This year, my Nana and I decided to make a cherry pie together.  As I was brain storming ideas for where to find our recipe she pulled down her 53 year old Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook.  The pages were coming out of each side and the introduction to the book was horrendously non-feminist friendly.  But guys, this book is 53 YEARS OLD!

I haven’t made a pie with my nana for years and I forgot how much fun it was.  She is the best pie baker in the whole world and I always love to bake it with her.  I would have to say my family is filled with pie addicts.  From strawberry rhubarb to concord grape pie, we will eat every last bite.

 I think pie is an art.  Sure, frosting a cake is art as well, but pie..that’s a whole different story.  Making the crust takes patience and skill because you must create the perfect ratio of dry ingredients to wet, or else your dough won’t stick together(or it will be soupy).  I’m not trying to scare you though…you can do it!

Let’s get this show on the road.

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Lemon, Blueberry, & Ginger Muffins

makes about 18 standard sized muffinsI love Michigan.  It is the epitome of summer fun, food, and family.  My Nana and Poppe live on Walloon lake and my family comes to visit almost every year.  I get the same warm, cozy feeling when I come to visit each time.  The days are planned around outdoor activities and what we will be eating for breakfast, lunch, coffee time, and dinner.

Michigan is completely opposite from Utah in that it rains a hell of a lot more.  I doubt the average Michigander even knows what a wildfire is(just kidding, but you get the point).  This morning I woke up to grey skies and trees blowing in the wind.  So, what does a grey day call for?  Making muffins of course!As I was doing my annual rummaging around the house, I stumbled upon a cookbook titled Muffins by Elizabeth Alston.  I think my mom gave it to my Nana as a birthday present a long while ago and I decided to take a look at some recipes.  The “Fresh Lemon and Ginger Muffins” looked good, but I thought some sort of fruit needed to be thrown in there.  I looked in the fridge and, wham(!), fresh blueberries!

Alright, enough chitter chatter, let’s get down to business.

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Thai-esque Quinoa Salad

serves 3-4

Yesterday I had absolutely nothing planned.  It was so wonderful to have a completely relaxed day, and I decided to make it awesome.  I decided to make myself a lovely lunch, and was craving something peanutty.  This quinoa salad is very easy to make and tastes like heaven. 

Originally, I was going to make coconut quinoa.  I looked in my pantry and guess what(!), no coconut milk.  We had coconut cream, but I opened the can and it was brown, therefore I decided not to use it.  Luckily, cooking the quinoa in water tasted great.

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An American Classic: Apple Pie

makes 1 9″ pie

I’m going to a fourth of July barbecue tonight and what would be more perfect to make than the classic American dessert: apple pie?  Throughout my childhood my Nana has always made the most delicious pies and I have assisted.  Yet, I have never made a pie COMPLETELY on my own.  I’d definitely say this one was a challenge.

What you’ll need:

(for the crust):

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup vegetable shortening (room temperature)

1 egg

2 tablespoons cold water

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

(for the filling):

5 apples…I used three Golden Delicious and two Granny Smiths

1/2 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Get to work:

First, grab a large mixing bowl.  In that mixing bowl measure out the flours(if you prefer, you can use two cups of one type of flour).  Add the salt to the flour and mix it up.  Next, cut the shortening, make sure it’s room temperature(!), into the flour & salt mixture until the shortening looks lumpy.

In a different bowl beat together the egg, water, and apple cider vinegar(white vinegar works too).  Pour this mixture into your flour mixture until it is damp.  Roll your dough into a ball and cut it in half.  If your dough is very crumbly, like mine was, add an extra tablespoon or so of water (make sure the dough doesn’t get soggy!).  Split the dough in half and make them into balls.  Wrap them in plastic wrap and throw those suckers in the fridge for 15 minutes.

While you wait, peel, core, and slice your apples. 

In a large mixing bowl toss the apples with the sugar, honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Set aside and preheat your oven to 400˚F.

Grab a half of the dough out of the fridge and put a bit of flour on the counter and your rolling pin. Roll it about an inch larger than the bottom of your 8-10 inch pie plate.  Place the dough in the pie plate and press it gently against it.  Pour the apple filling into the plate.  Next, roll out the second half of dough and place it on top, cutting any excess crust off the sides of the plate with a knife.  Cut four slits in the top of your pie.  

Place the pie in the oven for 30-40 minutes.  When it’s done cooking it should be golden brown on the edges.  Let your pie sit for an hour to let it cool and…TA-DAAH! Pie is ready to eat.

Have fun on this lovely fourth of July week!

xx/Q

Adapted from Bobby Flay’s Apple Pie

Nutty Oat Granola Bars

makes about 15 small bars

I have a deep affinity for Cascadian Farm’s chewy dark chocolate almond granola bars.  Another great thing about these bars is that they aren’t too bad for you.  The only thing I’m not too fond of is how (1) sticky they make my hands and (2) how many ingredients they contain.

I always want to try and make “copycat” foods, but I’ve never seemed to get around to it.  Yesterday was different! I decided to make granola bars, resembling those of Cascadian Farms, with less ingredients and less stickiness.

I adapted my recipe from three different recipes I found while searching around and I didn’t pay close attention to the dry:wet ratio.  Instead of creating granola bars the first time around, I created granola.  This was the result:

So, I added more rice syrup and some almond butter.  They definitely break apart a bit, but they don’t make my hands sticky, so I like them a lot.You can use any nuts/dried food that you like, but I liked my mix a lot.

Alrighty, let’s get creative!

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