Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Granola bars

It's no secret that I love granola.  Crunchy, crumbled, bars, nutty, fruity, spicy....I love it all.  My favorite granola recipes are here and here.  I was super excited to try this recipe that I saw on pinterest.

Granola Bars

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats {not rolled oats!}
  • 1 cup crispy rice cereal
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
1.  In a large bowl, stir oats and rice cereal together. Set aside. 
2.  In a small pot, melt butter, honey and brown sugar together over medium high heat until it comes to a bubble. Reduce the heat and cook 2 minutes. Pour in vanilla and stir. 
3.  Pour over dry ingredients and mix well to moisten all ingredients. 
4.  Pour into lightly greased small jelly roll pan {about 12x8x1} and press out to be about 3/4 inch in thickness. {If your pan isn't small enough, pack the mixture into one side. You really want to press them down so they stick together.} 
5.  Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and press down lightly. Cool on a countertop to room temperature for two hours or until the chocolate chips are set before cutting into bars. Wrap in parchment or plastic wrap and store at room temperature.
Recipe Notes: If your granola bars don't seem to be staying together when you cut them, you may have not boiled the mixture long want it to make it just past the softball stage. OR you made them too thin or you didn't pack them in tight enough. Stick them in the fridge for 20 minutes and that should help keep them together. {Be sure not to keep them in there too long or else they'll become super hard!} The next time you make them, try boiling for an extra 15 seconds or so.

Get your honey/sugar/butter mixture warm and bubbly.  

Add the wet and dry ingredients.

Put the mixture in your dish.  Make sure you press down and pack it tight.  I used a spatula sprayed with coconut oil to pack it in.

Sprinkle with chocolate chips and flatten again.

Delish.  I love these and the minis did too.  I think adding the rice crispy cereal gives these the texture of store bought granola bars, which I know most kids prefer.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Trendsetting and Convenient?!?!

I was chatting with a good friend of mine the other day about our family's eating habits and my blog.  I was telling her that I am struggling to find the time to try new unprocessed recipes and while we are still trying our best to eat completely unprocessed, it has gotten much harder given our family's current situation.  And then my friend reminded me that giving up all processed foods was our 2012 resolution and this is 2013, so it's time to stop holding myself to 2012 standards and start thinking like a trendsetter and focus on 2013.  And that comment got me really excited  because I realized I could share with you a super convenient cooking sauce from Rick Bayless.

Even though this is a pre-package processed food, I was happy with the label:
INGREDIENTS: Water, roasted tomato, ancho chile, chicken base (oven roasted chicken with natural juices, salt, sugar, cornstarch, rendered chicken fat, yeast extract, natural flavors, onion powder, rice flour, maltodextrin [from corn], turmeric powder), dark brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, guajillo chile, garlic, salt, chipotle chile, sesame oil, paprika, vinegar and spices. ALL NATURAL. NO PRESERVATIVES. No gluten ingredients used.

I followed the directions on the back of the sauce, using a beef chuck roast.  

Brown all sides of the meat in a dutch oven (don't have one....had to use a skillet!)

Add sliced red onion, the sauce, and 1.5 cups of water.

Cook at 325, for about 2 hours.


Serve on tortillas with fresh shredded Mexican cheese, fresh cilantro, sour cream and your favorite toppings (mine are avocado, tomatoes, avocado, avocado, and more avocado).

Totally delish.  Totally easy.  Totally 2013.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Macedonian Feast (AKA Best Meal EVER!!!!!!)

Right now, I am very excited.  I have a meal that I have been dying to share with you, and I finally have a chance to sit down and type this out.  Here's what you need to know about this meal.

1.  It is hands-down the single-most delicious homemade meal I have ever eaten.
2.  I didn't cook it.
3.  My friend that did cook it calls garlic, "Macedonian Perfume."

Kofte (Macedonian Kebobs)

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1/2 garlic head (or more)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/c up bread crumbs (may need more for better consistency)
  • 1 egg
  • vegetable oil for frying
1.  Mix meat, onion, garlic, salt and pepper.
2.  Remove crusts from bread slices and moisten in wine or water.
3.  Add bread and egg to meat. Knead mixture.
4.  Shape into 1-inch kabobs, and sauté in  oil. 
5.  When meatballs are cooked and browned on all sides, place immediately in covered casserole and keep warm until ready to serve.

Lebanese Spinach with Rice and Pine Nuts
  • 2 cup uncooked rice (I use Trader Joe's organic brown rice)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cup fresh spinach, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard (or more)
  • 1/4 tsp black peper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1.  Simmer the rice in 4 cups of water until the water has been absorbed and rice is tender.
2.  In a medium pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil, and saute the pine nuts over medium heat until golden.  Set aside.
3.  In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil and saute the chopped onion for 4 minutes.  Add the spinach, mustard, pepper and salt.  Saute over medium heat for 12 minutes.  
4.  In a large bowl, mix the rice, pine nuts, and the spinach mixture.  Sprinkle with the fresh lemon juice and serve hot.

Shopska Salad
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 large cucumer, unpeeled and chopped
  • 4 green or red peppers, roasted or raw, chopped (Optional)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped, or 6 green onions, sliced (Optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (I always add way more - I LOVE parsley)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil (or light tasting oil)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Bulgarian or feta cheese, shred the block of feta with a cheese grater
    (don't crumble it)
1.  Place tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, onion and parsley in a large bowl and toss.
2.  Place oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste in a screw-top jar. Cover and shake until well blended.
3.  Toss dressing with vegetables, turn into a serving bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with crumbled cheese and portion on chilled plates.

My amazing-beautiful-garlic-loving friend also brought a cheese zelnik with ajvar.  I'm not going to share the ajvar recipe because I think it's a Macedonian family secret.  But you can google it and find your own recipe.

Here is the shopska salad.  I could have licked the bowl, it was so good.  Oh, who am I kidding?  I licked the bowl.

My minis loved the Lebanese rice.

Here's the kofte with the rice.  They were equally delish served cold the next day.  (For breakfast, I confess).

Like I said....hands down, the best homemade meal I have ever had.  I am hoping to recreate it myself very soon.  And you should too.  And after you eat it, you should go breath on your spouse and find out how much they really do love you.

Speaking of love, I thought I'd share this photo of my 3 loves.  You may notice something different about my oldest mini.  He got a haircut :)