Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sweet Tooth

I have a weakness, my sweet achilles heal, if you will! I am a sucker for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. I also have super strong will power, and can usually avoid a full on chocolate peanut butter binge. When I came across this recipe, I knew I had to make it. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter balls....oh yes!

Mix 1 cup all Natural Organic Peanut Butter
1/4 cup organic maple syrup
1/2 cup Brown rice cereal

Roll into 2 Tbsp sized balls, and drizzle with melted chocolate.

Place in freezer until set (or store in freezer).  When ready to eat, let them sit out for about 10 minutes!

There are no words....

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Monday, October 24, 2011

My newest obsession.. one of them

I have completely fallen in love with making granola bars. Every Sunday I look ahead at the week to see what kinds of food we have in the fridge, and plan a couple of meals for those nights when my brain cells are minimal.  I also throw together a batch of granola for quick easy breakfasts or snacks.  With anything, it gets  better with time and each batch is tastier than the last. The base is always the same, however each kind definitely has its own unique flavor and texture. Pumpkin Granola is soft- almost like a cookie. Cocoa Coffee granola is crunchy. Fruit and nut is pretty standard chewy granola.  No matter what flavor variety or texture it is awesome knowing what each ingredient is (and how to pronounce it).  
The base for it all starts with

3  cup old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups Brown Rice Cereal- think  Rice Crispies but Brown.
1 1/2 cups Millet cereal
1/2 chopped almonds/ raw unsalted cashew mix
1 cup dried fruit (cherries are awesome!)
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup + an extra tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup (extra full) brown rice syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup almond butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoon cinnamon (I love cinnamon, if you aren't a fan use less)
dusting of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper.  Mix 1st 7 ingredients in mixer.  Heat and stir together remaining ingredients, and add to the dry ingredients.  Press evenly  into pan, and bake for 20-23 minutes.  Once finished, let it cool and cut into squares.

For different variations add ingredients to either dry mix or the melted mixture.  Make them your own! You can change up the nuts, dried fruits, and flavors to create any combo you'd like!

Cocoa coffee- I added 2 Tbsp Dark chocolate cocoa powder and 1/4 cup decaf instant coffee into melted mixture before pouring it on. I LOVED them, however hubby wasn't as big of a fan. I could munch on chocolate covered espresso beans all day though.

Peanut butter granola- I added a 1/2 cup of peanut butter, and cut the almond butter down to 1/4 cup.  It was very tasty, but very crumbly.

Pumpkin- add 1/4 cup pumpkin puree to melted ingredients.  Make sure to add 1/2 cup extra oats to dry ingredients to help balance out the wetness of the pumpkin.

I store these in an air tight container on the counter for the week. We are lucky if they aren't all gone by Friday!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Soup Kitchen

Soup is one of the most seasonal foods around. No matter what vegetables (or fruits!!) the season is producing, it is guaranteed to make a phenomenal soup.  Spring's asparagus soup, summer's gazpacho, and winters hearty beef stews can be joined by fall's roasted root veggie soup.  This creation was simple, and perfect for the first night of 30 something degree temps.  Add 1 fireplace, a few glasses of wine (or Oktoberfest!) and you have yourself the recipe for a cozy evening.

1 small sweet potato
2 celery stalk
3 cloves of garlic
2 carrots
1 large parsnip
1/2 white onion
1/2 large fennel
1 leek
Fresh Tarragon
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Cayenne pepper
Veggie Stock (4 cups)
water (about 3 or 4 cups)
1 cup white wine

Set oven at 425. Roast garlic in skin, in olive oil- I do the foil pocket with enough oil to cover for about 15/20 ish minutes. Once it's done is soft, sticky, and squeezes out of the paper. I LOVE the softer flavor of roasted garlic.
Cut all other veggies into cubes/ pieces roughly  1-2 inches big.  Onion can remain bigger.
Roast veggies for 30 minutes. 
Place veggies and garlic in a food processor (I ended up doing 2 batches in the food processor).  Pulse until smooth. It gets thick, so begin adding the veggie stock while in the processor.  Once it's your desired consistency (chunky or creamy smooth- my favorite!) put it in a large dutch oven. Once all veggies are blended, and in the dutch oven add any remaining veggie stock and wine.  My soup was super think, so I began watering it down to the perfect consistency for us.  It took about 3 cups of water, but add it to your taste.  Add fresh tarragon, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste.  I would say we used about  1 1/2 Teaspoon of sea salt, loads of black pepper- and 1/2 teaspoon of Cayenne.  Tarragon was added while cooking, and as a garnish.  The fluffy fennel fur made a perfect garnish as well!  This soup is a welcome addition to my recipe collection, and I can not wait to make it again ... perhaps on Thanksgiving!! Pin It