RECIPE: Nutty, Fruity Granola

They say “You are what you eat” … and you know what that means: I’m nutty and fruity!!!

That being said, here’s how I made my special granola…

I preheated the oven. I chopped some nuts. I got out every last mini dish I had in the kitchen… and I lined up all my ingredients.

The coconut flakes got toasted…

And set aside to cool, looking all toasty and scrumptious…

Next? I got the oat mixture into the oven after mixing together the oats, agave nectar, water, oil and sugar…

I spread it out on a baking sheet… and slid it into the hot oven. I closed the oven door and waited to smell the amazingness that is homemade granola.

The nuts and seeds? They got toasted in a little smidge of butter in a big ol’ skillet. I melted a pat of butter (or maybe it was two) in a skillet over medium-low heat and cooked the raw taste out of the nuts.

Depending on how many nuts and seeds you have in that skillet (and the size of the nuts) this will take between 10-15 minutes.

I added the flax seed in the last 3-5 minutes… they are very tiny and don’t need much cooking time…

I transferred the nuts and seeds to a large bowl to await the toasted oat mixture. Once they had cooled slightly (waiting was the hardest part) I added the oats, coconut and dried fruit to the nut/seed mixture.

It’s so simple… you can do this too! ENJOY!!! But let me warn you, you might want to make sure you have enough of these ingredients to make a second batch… because it’s so tempting that it will go faaaassst!!!

You might even want to make sure you have yogurt on hand so you can enjoy while the granola is still warm…

Or you can just put some in a little dish and carry it with you around the house, munching on it all along the way. That’s what I did…

Just call me nutty (and fruity)!!!

Now… go make your own! And quit judging me…

Nutty, Fruity Granola
Recipe courtesy Lori Tisdale

½ cup sweetened flaked coconut
2 cups old-fashioned oats
¼ cup canola oil
2 tablespoons agave nectar (or honey)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
¼ stick butter
¼ raw pecan halves, chopped
½ cup shelled pistachios, chopped
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup sunflower seeds (roasted/salted is ok)
2 tablespoons flax seed
½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
Pinch kosher salt/black pepper
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ dried/chopped apricots

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spread coconut on rimmed baking sheet; toast until light brown. Stir occasionally; about 6-8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In large bowl mix together oats, canola oil, agave nectar, sugar and water. Spread in thin layer on baking sheet. Bake until oats are golden brown, stirring occasionally; about 20-25 minutes (or to your personal liking). Set aside to cool.

In large skillet, over medium-low heat, melt butter in large skillet. Add chopped pecans and pistachios, pine nuts, sunflower/pine/pumpkin/flax seeds. Cook until nuts are golden, stirring occasionally (about 10-15 minutes). Sprinkle with pinch of kosher salt and black pepper, toss well. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In large bowl mix coconut, oats, nuts/seeds, and dried fruit. Store in airtight container. Consume within 1 week.

Serving suggestions: Serve granola over yogurt, with fresh fruit, etc.

enjoy your time in the kitchen…


RECIPE: Grape Nuts Peanut Butter Bars

Who likes their Grape Nuts? And how do you like it?

As a snack, all on it’s own?
On top of yogurt or ice cream?
As cereal? With honey on top? <— my fav!

But one morning I spied a recipe on the back of the box … and it included peanut butter…

And it didn’t matter what else was in the recipe. They had me at peanut butter.

Here’s what else is included… sugar, light corn syrup and Grape Nuts.

Start with a large bowl (microwave safe)… and warm up the peanut butter, sugar and corn syrup. (Stir it half way through…)

Pour the Grape Nuts into the bowl and mix well.

Transfer the mixture to a greased 13 x 9 inch pan… and set aside to cool.

After the bars cool for several hours, cut them into small squares and wrap them individually in saran wrap for keeping in a cool/dry place.

They can be enjoyed for snacks, breakfast, dessert… whenever you receive a Grape Nut or peanut butter craving.

They are crunchy and sweet and peanut buttery… and a perfect afternoon snack! Good, good stuff here!

Grape Nuts Peanut Butter Bars
Recipe courtesy Post Cereal

¾ reduced fat peanut butter
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
4 cups Grape Nuts Cereal

Microwave peanut butter, corn syrup and sugar in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH for 2 minutes, or just until mixture comes to a boil, stirring after each minute. Add cereal; mix well.

Press cereal mixture firmly onto bottom of 13×9 inch pan sprayed with cooking spray. Cool completely.

Cut cereal mixture into bars. Wrap individually with plastic wrap. Store in lightly covered container at room temperature.

Makes 2 – ½ dozen or 30 servings, one bar each.

Fruit bars/optional: prepare as directed, stirring in 1 cup dried fruit, such as raisins, cranberries, cherries or dried fruit bits, along with the cereal. (Or mini chocolate chips.)

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

Sinful (perfectly sinful) Cheesey dip

I don’t really know who to say THANK YOU to (‘cuz I’m not real sure where this recipe actually came from)… so thank you to Campbell’s, Kraft, Pace and Jimmy Dean!!! They create the perfect marriage of cheesy-spicy-creamy goodness!

(On a personal note, a huge shout out to Mardee for introducing me to this dip! You’re going to make me look really good today when I take this to the Superbowl party today! And I just know my hero-of-a-hubby will LOVE it!)

Here’s where I started…

I know, I know… it’s not the healthiest (nor is it fancy or something you want to brag about, really…) And thankfully no one cares about calories on Superbowl. But this will also be great for Fight Night, poker night, a kid’s birthday party… the list goes on.

Stir together the condensed coup and salsa…

Cube the cheese block… and throw it in the crock pot, on high heat to start with.

Top the cheese with the salsa mixture, and toss the cooked sausage on top.

Place the lid on top and cook on “high” heat for about an hour (depending on your crock pot). Here you’ll see I have another crock pot going as well… I’ll do a separate post on that Superbowl dish later…

After about an hour, give it a stir. If you don’t see any cheese chunks then lower the heat to “low”.

When ready to serve, drizzle over tortilla chips (or pour into a bowl and serve up with chips) … and get ready to fall in love with the most sinful cheese dip you never knew you needed to make!

What you need:
2 lbs Velveeta Cheese
Pace Picante Salsa, medium heat
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1/2 lb breakfast sausage, cooked

In a Crock Pot, heat on “high” for about an hour. Stir well and adjust heat to “low”. Serve over tortilla chips…

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

RECIPE: Homemade Flour Tortillas

When I was about 6 years old I had a babysitter named Ms. Ramirez. She was my favorite babysitter EVER! She was an adult, she was a cool adult, she was happy and bubbly all the time… and her mama made homemade tortillas!!! One day Ms. Ramirez sent us home with some fresh tortillas tightly bundled in foil… and the rest is history.

A few years later we moved out of town. But when we would go back for a summer camping trip we got to stop by and pick up some more homemade tortillas to rewarm over the campfire! Oh … those camping memories… full of great food, laughter, good people… more than anything, our family camping trips built into me a sense of adventure (that now scares some people… mainly my Mom and my Husband). But let’s get back to the kitchen…

For the tortillas this is all you need… flour, kosher salt, vegetable shortening, vegetable oil and warm water.

But first let’s take a step back and see what my workspace looks like today: flat board, ingredients and trusty cell phone. Most of the time I work off of the recipes in my email…. is that funny or just down right weird?

Mix together flour and salt… cut in the shortening (or lard) and mix well until the mix is like a coarse sandy texture.

Then add the vegetable oil… and slowly drizzle in the water, stirring with a fork until it all forms a dough.

Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and begin to knead…

Knead it about 30-40 times. With the palm of your hand press the dough into the board and push it away from you. Fold the dough over on top of itself… and repeat.

Continue to knead until the dough comes together and turns into a smooth ball of dough.

Set the dough aside and cover with plastic wrap, for about an hour.

Next, let’s talk about the griddle for a hot minute…

You can use a large flat skillet (no oil or butter or anything) or an electric griddle or a cast iron skillet/griddle. Here? I have a cast iron griddle that my hero-of-a-hubby bought me several years ago (our first Christmas together).

My life wouldn’t be the same without it (or him). ::: grin :::

Let’s turn our attention back to the dough… when you’re ready to cook them cut it into 12 equal size pieces and work the dough a bit more by squeezing it into your palm a few times and rolling it into a ball. Then they need some time to rest again… another 10 minutes or so. (While you’re waiting you can set the griddle to just a tad over low heat.)

And for the rolling…

Just barely sprinkle flour on the flat surface and prepare to roll…

I have found that by flattening the dough ball with heel of my hand it helps to keep the circular shape once you start rolling.

And then once the dough starts sticking to the rolling pin then I add just a light layer of flour to the rolling pin itself (not to the dough – because you don’t want too much flour ont he outside of these tortillas).

Continue to roll until the dough is very, very thin… thinner than you think it should be. Aim for a 7 inch round… it will be slightly mishapen. If you’re ok with imperfect tortillas then great… if not, roll it out a bit more and then cut off the rough edges.

Transfer the dough to the hot griddle… and watch the first one closely. Within about 30 seconds it will start to bubble and rise – this is when it will start to brown. Cook time for the first side will be about 55-75 seconds. When it’s done to your likeness flip it over. It will cook for slightly less time on the second side.

Remove from heat and start a pile on a dish towel… and repeat…

And repeat by transferring to the pile… oh wait… what happened to the “pile”? Well, anyway…

(ahem) again, what happened to that “pile”? the previous tortilla keeps disappearing somehow!

repeat the above steps… what can i say?

continue to repeat… the cooking part, that is… afterall, you will eventually want to share these with the ones you love tonight.

But grant me one more minute for another glance back to the campfire memories… my favorite way to enjoy these is with some butter and salt. Thank you Ms. Ramirez… you left quite an impression on my life. While my tortillas don’t taste QUITE like your mom’s … they’ll have to do…

Homemade Flour Tortillas
Recipe courtesy Lori Tisdale

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
¼ cup vegetable shortening (or lard)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or butter)
½ cup warm water

OPTIONAL: 2 teaspoons baking powder
(Note – if you prefer thicker/plumper tortillas then add baking powder to the dry mixture.)

In a large bowl, stir together flour and salt. Cut in shortening (or lard) with a pastry blender or your fingertips until the mixture resembles meal. Drizzle vegetable oil over flour and slowly stir in warm water with a fork until a dough forms. Turn dough out onto very lightly floured surface. Knead dough 30-40 times until dough becomes smooth. If dough is sticky, lightly dust hands with flour while kneading.

Form dough into a ball, return to bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rest for at least 1 hour. Heat a dry well-seasoned cast-iron griddle, or skillet, over medium-low heat until hot. Turn dough onto flat surface and cut into 12 equal pieces. Knead each piece a few times and roll into a ball. Allow balls to rest for about 10 minutes.

Very lightly sprinkle flour on a flat surface and roll out the first ball. Use a standard rolling pin or wooden dowel (tip: use a 1 1/4 inch diameter wooden dowel cut to a 14 inch length. Use just enough flour to prevent dough from sticking. (Too much dough will make tortillas taste more dry.) Roll out each ball into a very thin round. (Thinner than you think you want it.) While rolling the tortilla turn it in quarter turns until you have rolled the tortilla flat, near to 6-7 inch rounds. Attempt to keep the thickness the same as you roll. Cook 1 tortilla on the griddle while you roll the next one. Within 25-30 seconds the tortilla will start to bubble and puff. The bottom will start to brown in spots in 45 seconds. Cook time on each side will be between 55 – 75 seconds. Using tongs or a flat spatula, turn tortilla once browned to your liking. Cook second side in same way. Remove to dish towel to cool. Stack and cover tortillas while cooking the rest.

Homemade tortillas are best enjoyed fresh. If you will be using them later that day wrap them in aluminum foil. But they can also be frozen (after cooling thoroughly). Warm thawed tortillas on griddle before using.

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

RECIPE: Glazed Pecans

Every year at Thanksgiving it is a requirement that we bring “The Salad”: a spring mix with thinly sliced red onion, crumbled feta, dried cranberries, balsamic vinaigrette and glazed pecans.

And every year the day before Thanksgiving I remember that I have to run out and buy the glazed pecans. And every year I think to myself that I really should try glazing my own pecans. (Plus, they’re darn expensive… and I HATE the crowds during the holidays!)

Let it be known… I finally remembered to plan ahead and “just do it!”

And now I’m kicking myself… ‘cuz it really was THIS easy!

Hot pan, melt, bubble, toss… cool.

Yes, it’s THAT easy! (kicking myself again!)

Aren’t those simply beautiful?! And they taste sooooo good!

Here’s the all-important recipe…

Glazed Pecans
Recipe courtesy Lori Tisdale

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup pecan halves
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Prep baking sheet with a layer of aluminum foil, sprayed with non-stick spray.

In a large heavy-bottom skillet stir sugar, olive oil and balsamic vinegar; stir over medium heat until sugar melts and syrup bubbles. Mix in pecans and kosher salt. Stir until nuts are slightly toasted and well-coated. Stir continually for 4-6 minutes.

Transfer nuts to baking sheet, separately nuts with tines of the fork and cool completely. Store glazed nuts in air tight container. Consume within 3-4 weeks.

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

RECIPE: Candied Pecans

I think I’m turning into a nut girl… I always used to say “I don’t like nuts!”

But I’ve discovered that I really do… I REALLY do! Here’s my newest nut love! So to my 3 faithful readers, I’d like to introduce you to the yumminess that is candied pecans…

Here’s where I started… whisking an egg white.

Then add the flavor that I’m fallen in love with for this time of year… nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar and kosher salt.

Whisk, add nuts…

… toss until they’re well-coated…

… and transfer to a greased baking sheet, using forks (so as to leave the extra sugar mixture behind in the bowl).

Slide this into the preheated oven (300 degrees F) and allow them to bake for about 20 minutes. Using a spatula, toss the pecans slightly… and continue baking for another 15-20 minutes.

Set aside to cool and then enjoy … to the fullest.

The meringue-like layer coating these pecans is part-sweet, with a hint of salt…

Oh, and did I say they resembled candy?! Yes, that’s what they are… candy! You and your family members can thank me later… that is, if you decide to share any of them.

Candied Pecans
Recipe courtesy Lori Tisdale

1 large egg white
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups pecan halves

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Brush large rimmed baking sheet with butter.

In large bowl, whisk egg white until foamy. Whisk in sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt – whisk until mixture is thick. Stir in pecans until well-coated. Transfer nuts to cookie sheet. Using forks separate nuts so they are in a single layer. Discard remaining coating.

Bake nuts for about 20 minutes. With a spatula toss the nuts well – this will help them bake evenly. Continue to bake for another 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool completely on baking sheet. Transfer to air-tight container; store at room temperature. Consume within 4-5 days.

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

RECIPE: Baked Chickpeas

I love chickpeas! Aka garbanzo beans. They are rich and almost buttery. And when you toss them in some of your favorite seasonings and toast them… oh wow! I could eat this bowl all by myself!

So, here’s what you need…

A large bowl, olive oil, ground cumin, cayenne, onion powder, garbanz beans and kosher salt.

Oh yeah… and this too. Some paprika…

Next step: drain, rinse and COMPLETELY dry the chickpeas. (The first time I made these… I forgot to dry the chickpeas. Vital mistake. Even after toasting the chickpeas they were kinda soggy! Don’t-forget-to-dry-them! Take it from me!)

Then you put everything in the large bowl and mix until every last chickpea is covered in tasty goodness!

Keep stirring! Make sure you get all the tasty goodness off the bottom of the bowl! It’s all flavor! And you want to use it all up!

Spread the chickpeas out to a single layer on the lined baking sheet… and tell them they are getting ready to shine!

About 12-15 minutes into their cook time take them out and give the baking sheet a little shake. Turning over the chickpeas and breaking them up a little will help in the toasting process.

(Plus you’re going to want to check them out anyway – ‘cuz the house smells so good at this point!)

Back into the hot oven for a little more… and, YUP! NOW they are shining!!!

Transfer them to a few serving bowls and try not to eat all of them yourself! K?!

How soon are you going to make these?! I’m making my 2nd batch today!!!

Baked Chickpeas
Recipe adapted from Claire Robinson, 5 Ingredient Fix – Food Network

2 – 15 oz. cans garbanzo beans/chickpeas, drained/dried (very important!)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
½ teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
½ teaspoon Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine the oil, paprika, onion powder, cumin, cayenne and salt in a large bowl – mix until well combined. Add chickpeas; toss to coat completely. Transfer drenched chickpeas to a lined baking sheet; spreading them out in a single layer. Bake until golden and crispy, 25 to 35 minutes, shaking the tray to toss after 15 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the chickpeas to a few small serving bowls.

enjoy your time in the kitchen…