Sunday, November 15, 2015

Apricot Granola

Sweet and salty and crunchy make the perfect snack. Plus dried apricots are just the best. 

This also makes are really great present wrapped up in a jar. 

"Tutti Fruitti" Little Richard 

Adapted from One Girl Cookies


  • 4 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the oats out on two baking sheets, and toast them in the oven for 14 minutes. Then transfer them to a very large bowl and let them cool.
On a baking sheet, toast each of the following ingredients separately: the almonds for 10 minutes, the sunflower seeds for 8 minutes, and the coconut for just 1 minute. Add the toasted nuts and coconut to the oats, and stir. Reduce the oven temperature to 225 degrees.
Add the salt, honey, oil, and vanilla to the mixture in the bowl, and mix thoroughly. Divide the mixture between the two baking sheets, and bake for 2 hours. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and let the granola cool for 20 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the apricots with the baked ingredients. Allow the granola to cool to room temperature. The granola will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Butterbeer Hot Chocolate

We had no classes on Wednesday for Veteran's Day/Armistice Day, and so for the first time this semester I had enough time and will to go out and buy a broom and go to a quidditch game. And I am totally regretting that I didn't go until now. So much fun! If you're in college and you haven't played or if your area has an adult league, highly recommend it. Seriously, running around with a broom between your legs is ten times more fun than any other sport could ever hope to be. It's like soccer, dodgeball, and football combined.

And on that related note, it was also freezing cold and raining and the miserable, slow descent into winter with the so cold but just above freezing rain and sleet is continuing here, so it's time to bring out the hot chocolate. And what better way than with butterbeer?

If you make the original recipe (linked below), it'll taste a lot like the Butterbeer Cupcakes I made a few weeks ago. And I did try it with the pumpkin, but I couldn't get past the grainy texture, so I revised it a bit and eliminated the pumpkin and cut back on the cinnamon.

Still delicious :)  

"You and I" Ingrid Michaelson

(I'm going to visit a friend this weekend and this song always makes me think of her.)

Adapted from Half-Baked Harvest


  • 4 1/2 cups whole milk or unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup butterscotch sauce (recipe below)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon (optional) (consider it your very own firewhiskey ;) )
  • For Butterscotch Cream
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons butterscotch sauce (homemade recipe below)
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds removed or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For Butterscotch Sauce
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)


Add the milk to a large heavy bottomed pot. Add the cocoa powder, cinnamon, milk chocolate, butterscotch sauce, vanilla, butter and bourbon (if using). Place the pot over medium low heat until the milk is scalding, but not boiling. Be sure to stir the pot often to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom and burning.
Meanwhile, make the butterscotch whipped cream. Add the cream to a large mixing bowl and whip until stiff peaks form. Add the vanilla bean and whip until combined. Stir in the butterscotch, leaving streaks in the whipped cream. Keep in the fridge until read to serve.
Once the hot chocolate is steaming, ladle into mugs and dollop with cream. 
!For Butterscotch Sauce
Melt the butter in a small sauce pot. Add the brown sugar, heavy cream and salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and bourbon, if using.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Spicy Meatballs Baked in Sauce

I have to admit that I had some doubts that this recipe could be as good as my other recipe for meatballs, but let me say that these most definitely made par.
They are also much easier than the others. No sautéing veggies. No waiting for ingredients. No baking meatballs separately. This one is almost a one pot meal (three dishes is pretty much just as easy), which as someone who hates doing dishes, is definitely a plus.

These came out moist and cooked to perfection. I didn't miss the veggies one bit.
But if you do, it's easy enough to fit some veggies into the sauce before you bake it.


I also made some cheese-less and meat-less ones with tofu.
They didn't come out as well, but I'm not too big on tofu.
And the sauce was just as delicious baking with the tofu instead. 

Adapted from Half-Baked Harvest


  • 1 pound ground beef (or sausage)
  • 2 thick slices soft whole grain or white bread
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup fresh oregano, chopped OR 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (may use regular molasses)
  • 1 tablespoon Gochujang (Korean chile paste) (optional)* (here's a substitute recipe if you have sweet rice flour)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 (28 ounce) can san marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 2 tablespoons harissa (optional) (can sub in chili powder, cumin, coriander, and paprika) 
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 4 ounce provolone, shredded
  • fresh oregano, for serving
  • pasta, for serving


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with olive oil.
Add the ground beef to a mixing bowl. Take the bread and run it under water until dampened, but not soaked. Gently squeeze the excess water out of the the bread and then crumble the dampened bread into pieces and add to the bowl with the sausage. To the bowl, add the egg, oregano, cumin, molasses and Gochujang. Coat your hands with a bit of olive oil, and roll the meat into 2 tablespoon size balls (will make 10-12 meatballs. I make mine a bit big so I got 10). Place the meat balls in the prepared baking dish and place in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until the meatballs are crisp on the outside, but not yet cooked through on the inside.
While the meatballs are baking, combine the olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, harissa (if using) and a pinch of salt + pepper in a bowl. Once the meatballs are ready, pour the sauce over them. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 25 minutes longer or until the meatballs are cooked through. Remove the foil and add the cheese. Place back in the oven until the mozzarella and provolone cheese are melted and golden, about 10 minutes. Serve with fresh oregano and your favorite pasta.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Thai Pumpkin Laksa with Roasted Chickpeas

And the pumpkin craze continues. (On a related note, if you haven't seen Alton Brown's Good Eat's pumpkin episode it is definitely worth watching)

This soup really brings out the pumpkin flavor in a unique way. (And let's be honest, I'm a sucker for broccoli and soy sauce in any form)

"Young Blood" The Naked and Famous

Taken from Half-Baked Harvest

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 red fresno pepper, seeds removed + chopped (may use a jalapeno if needed)
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 small pumpkin, peeled + cut into cubes (about 3 cups)
  • 1 rounded tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 (13 ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 large bunch broccolini, stems trimmed
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 8 ounces rice noodles
  • arils from 1 pomegranate
  • For the Roasted Chickpeas
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, drained + rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • salt + pepper, to taste


Heat a large soup pot over medium heat and add the sesame oil. Once hot, add the garlic, ginger, fresno pepper and green onions. Cook 30 seconds to 1 minute or until soft + fragrant.
Slowly stir in the chicken or vegetable both and then add the cubed pumpkin. Bring the soup to a boil and simmer 15-20 minutes or until the pumpkin is fork tender. Add around half to 3/4 of the soup to a blender or food processor and blend until completely smooth. Return the soup to the pot.
Add the peanut butter, soy sauce, fish sauce and coconut milk, stirring to combine. Add the broccoli and cook until tender, about 8-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the rice noodles according to package directions.
Once the broccoli is tender, remove it from the heat and stir in the cilantro + mint. Ladle the soup into bowls and add a big handful of rice noodles. Top with crunchy chickpeas (recipe below) and pomegranate arils. 

For the Roasted Chickpeas

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Spread the chickpeas out on a towel and dry them completely. Add the chickpeas to a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, cinnamon, brown sugar, salt + pepper. Toss well to evenly coat. Roast for 20 minutes and then stir the chickpeas around and roast another 20 minutes or until the chickpeas are browned and crunchy. Remove from the oven and serve warm atop the soup. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Creamy Avocado Spinach Pesto

Last weekend, temperatures here took a dive from the slightly chilly to the waking up with a frost warning. A dive that was accompanied by pumpkin cravings. Lots of pumpkin cravings. 
Cravings only to be satisfied by pumpkin gnocchi, right?

Also, I've been eyeing this pesto for awhile. Had the recipe open on my computer for month. Eyed it when I'm feeling unhealthy and pushing it aside for later.

I'm glad I didn't try it sooner because the pairing of this with the pumpkin gnocchi is so good and turns this very spring thing in an honorary fall meal.

Rusted Root - "Send Me On My Way"

Adapted from The Iron You and The Skinny Fork

Ingredients for Pesto

1 avocado, halved and pitted
3 cups baby spinach
2 tbsps almonds (or your favorite pesto nut) 
2 garlic cloves
Juice of 1 lime
½ tsp fine grain sea salt
Red pepper flakes, optional but tasty ;)
2 tbsps olive oil

Ingredients for Gnocchi

1 C. 100% Pure Pumpkin Puree (Not pie filling!)
1 1/2 C. Whole Wheat White Flour
1 Large Egg
1/8 Tsp. Nutmeg
Salt & Pepper to Taste

Directions for Pesto

Add the flesh of the avocado, spinach, almonds, garlic, lime juice, sea salt, and red pepper flakes (if using) to a food processor. Process for 2-3 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides as needed, or until smooth and creamy.
If it’s too thick add more water, one tablespoon at a time. 
Take a taste and adjust seasoning. Add olive oil and set aside.

Directions for Gnocchi

Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Dough should be slightly sticky. Add more flour if needed. Divide dough into four sections. Roll on a lightly floured surface until 1/2" thick. Cut into 1" pieces. Boil a pot of water and add gnocchi. Cook until they start to rise to the surface (about 5 or so minutes). Drain and let cool slightly.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Butterbeer Cupcakes with Treacle Frosting

I'm a huge Harry Potter fan, like to the point when it annoys me when people don't know really minute details of the wizarding world and don't have their house sorting exactly figured out.

 Do people really exist that don't know their Hogwarts house?

I'm not a huge butterscotch person, but I had to try these! And I'm glad I did. They are the epitome of fall in a cupcake, and are like biting into instant comfort (like butterbeer should be).

This one I'm not copying over (though I have to say go with the pumpkin beer instead of cream soda if you can! It's so good!) 

Check them out at Half-Baked Harvest!

And to listen to while baking, to get you in the Harry Potter mood:

"Hedwig's Theme"

and once you've listened to that twenty times (or more) google "wrock" and laugh at the clever lyrics.

Peach and Blueberry Pie

The days are growing colder and it's fall, but there's at least one more peach pie left in this year. 
Midterms are approaching and fall break is here, so I've got a bit more time for cooking and baking.

The year is going well. A bit too fast, but well, all the same.
Everyone in my major can feel a sense of impending work though. Just on the other side of fall break, but likely, it's not here yet and there's plenty of time for the last peach pie of the year.

Loverboy - "Working for the Weekend"

Adapted from Joy the Baker


For the crust:
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg yolk, beaten
  • 1/2 cup cold buttermilk
For the filling:
  • about 3 lbs ripe peaches (about 6 or 7)
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 to2/3 cups granulated sugar (check with sweetness of the peaches)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. ground coriander
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 egg, beaten, for egg wash
  • 2 tbsp sugar for topping crust before baking if desired


    In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Add cold, cubed butter and, using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture. Quickly break the butter down into the flour mixture. Some butter pieces will be the size of oat flakes; some will be the size of peas. Create a well in the mixture and pour in the egg yolk and cold buttermilk. Use a fork to bring the dough together. Try to moisten all of the flour bits. On a lightly floured work surface, dump out the dough mixture. It should be moist Divide the dough in two and gently knead into two cohesive disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Allowing the dough to rest in the refrigerator will help rechill the butter and distribute the moisture.

To make the filling, wash and slice peaches. In a medium bowl, combine peach slices and blueberries. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, spices, flour, and cornstarch. Pour the sugar mixture over the fruit, and gently toss together with a wooden spoon. Stir in the lemon juice. Place bowl of fruit in the fridge to rest while you roll the crust out.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and place a baking sheet on the lower rack, just below where you’re going to place the pie. This will catch any pie drippings without making a mess of your oven.

Remove one of the pie dough disks from the fridge. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out into about a 13-inch round. The dough may be a bit crumbly, so be sure to knead it well before rolling. Roll the dough a few strokes, then use your fingers to move the emerging circle around the floured surface. This ensures that the dough isn’t sticking to the work surface. The circle won’t be perfect, that’s ok. Try not to get any tears in the rolled out dough, but if you do, they can be patched together with extra dough. Gently lift the 13-inch round from the floured surface and center in the 9-inch baking dish. Place in the fridge while you roll out the top crust.

Roll out the top crust just as you did the bottom crust, moving the dough across the floured surface every once in a while, and creating a roughly 13-inch circle. Remove the bottom crust and fruit filling from the fridge. Gently pour the fruit filling into the pie dish. Carefully remove the top crust from the work surface and drape over the fruit in the pie dish. With a small knife, trim the crust, leaving about 3/4-inch overhang. With your fingers press the top and bottom crusts together and fold under. Use a fork or your fingers to crimp the edges of the dough. Cut five small slits in the top of the crust so the juices and steam can vent.
   Brush lightly with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.
Place pie in the oven and bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes. 

Reduce the oven heat to 375 and bake for 45 more minutes. Remove from the oven when crust is browned and golden, and the juices are bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 2 hours before serving. Place covered in the fridge to store. Pie lasts up to 3 or 4 days.