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.