Saturday, March 27, 2010

Seven Wives Inn Granola

Here's the wet ingredients getting bubbly on the stovetop

The dry ingredients mixed together
The granola is baking and making my house smell wonderful

This granola recipe is off the hook. I eat it by the handful, sprinkled on top of oatmeal, stirred in with some yogurt and did I mention I like to eat it by the large handful? Staci introduced me to this delight-some treat and I love how easy it is to pull together, how healthy I feel eating it and mostly, how good it tastes. There is actually a bed and breakfast here in St.George called The Seven Wives Inn (dates back to Brigham Young/Mormon Polygamy times) and they are known for their fantastic breakfasts showcasing their homemade granola. Store it in a resealable container and you can munch happy for weeks.

8 cups regular old fashioned oatmeal (not quick, instant or steel cut!)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups wheat germ
8 oz coconut (wide, unsweetened if available)
8 oz almonds (I like to use slivered)
8 oz cashews
3 oz sunflower seeds
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla

Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix wet ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add wet to dry, blending very well. Spread on 2 large cookie sheets (I used my sil-pat liners, you'll want to use something to line your sheets so the granola doesn't stick.) Bake for 2 hours at 200 degrees. Let cool and store in an airtight container. I try not to break it into itty bitty pieces, I like bigger chunks I can grab while snacking. ;)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tomato, cucumber and feta salad

Staci recommended this food blog a while ago and I'm finding that I am enjoying it immensely! Check out A Hint of Honey and see what you think for yourself. This salad, (my first of 2010 but who's counting?) is fresh, tasty and colorful, everything a salad should be. And a quick note, if you are fresh out of turbinado sugar (also called organic sugar, also goes by the brand name "sugar in the raw") feel free to use plain ol' white sugar like I did. It was still great!

pint of grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded, and diced
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. turbinado sugar
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
1/2 tsp. sea salt (to taste)

1. In a medium bowl, combine cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, feta, and oregano.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.

3. Drizzle dressing over salad (you might not need the full amount of the dressing- just use enough to coat). Toss salad to coat evenly with dressing. Taste and adjust seasonings. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serves 4.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cowboy Cookies

Another recipe I made for the soldiers with Operation Baking GALS. I wanted a cookie recipe that was hardy and used shortening, as opposed to butter, so it would have a bit longer shelf life. These came from Wendy Busenbark via the World Wide Word Cookbook. There is a little story printed next to the recipe in the book that tells how she teaches cooking classes at the junior high and how everyone, faculty and students alike, rave about these cookies.
They are rave worthy alright!

1 cup shortening ( I use butter flavored crisco baking sticks)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups oats (I used old fashioned oats, but you could use quick, NEVER instant)
1 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
1 cup chocolate chips (I am a milk chocolate chip fan)

Cream the shortening, brown sugar, and sugar until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla, cream for 3-5 minutes. Trust me, its what makes the cookie. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. Mix into batter. Stir in oats, nuts and chocolate chips. Spoon onto cookie sheet or use your cookie scoop, placing about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Makes 3-4 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Smoked Turkey, Brie and Apple Panini

When someone tells you about a sandwich that they think is THE BEST THEY'VE EVER EATEN, I have tendency to sit up and take notice. Melanie, at the lovely My Kitchen Cafe, uttered such a statement and I had to see what all the fuss was about. She did not lie. It was (in my best sing song-y broadway voice) Fab-u-lous!! Here we go with the photo spread:

here is the finished product. I never claim to be a photographer
(my better half on the blog certainly is but she wasn't working the camera,
it was technically challenged yours truly.
I have lightening issues, needless to say, please forgive me)

my beloved panini press. I also have an electric one, but the top half doesn't unhinge in the back so it has a great tendency to cook unevenly. Enter the stove top press. I heat up the top side with handle while the bottom side is also preheating and that way, I don't have to flip half way.
I know, I'm a genius.
I do what I can people, I do what I can.
The secret ingredient.
Let me rephrase, the not so secret now but still amazing ingredient
The assembly stage and just to clarify, I like a slightly thicker slice of apple. You could do them paper thin and that would also taste marvelous if you are thin apple slice fan.
your favorite bread,(needs to be slightly on the crusty side, perhaps an artisan or sourdough)
shaved smoked turkey
4 oz brie cheese or one individually wrapped wedge of Laughing cow light swiss spreadable cheese
1 apple, cored and sliced (I used Granny smith for its tartness)

Whether you use a skillet with a brick, a stove top panini press or an electric, make sure it is on and preheated before you slap your beautiful sandwich on there. It needs to be preheating while you build your creation.
Cut your bread into desired number of slices, and spread with cheese (see note) add turkey, finish off with apple slices.
Lightly butter or brush with EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) your the top and bottom of your bread just like you do when you make a grilled cheese.
Make your panini, eat while piping hot, repeat with leftover bread until you can no longer button your pants. The end.

*a note about the cheese. I bought the brie cheese the first time I made this and it tasted great! However brie is probably made from solid gold as its price tag is a bit on the heavy side. Also, there are rind/wax issues. Should you eat it or not? I personally prefer not to, so I have to take the time to remove it. Some people out there (serious cheese officiandos) say that it is sacrilege to remove anything from the cheese and to experience it, you have to eat it all. Hmmm, whatever. Soooo, long story short, thanks to my friend Heather, I always have some Laughing cow spreadable swiss cheese in my fridge at all times. I still had turkey, apples and bread but had used all the brie the first time around. Lightbulb clicked on! Use the swiss!! Its spreadable and takes .03 seconds to open and schmear on my bread. And the taste! It was terrific too! Less work, less money and equally delish. I'm going with swiss from now on. :)

*another note, I just went back to Melanie's blog and she has updated this recipe post to now include grilled red onions on the sandwich. Yum, I'll have to try it that way next!