Food & Drink

Granola

 

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I am never buying granola again.

It’s nothing against store-bought granola.  It’s just that I go through so much granola in a week that it can get quite expensive.  Also, granola typically come in unrecyclable packaging, which doesn’t align with my zero waste values.  The granola options in the bulk bins are definitely some items that I avoid because bulk bins granola typically cost more than their packaged counterparts.

I started experimenting with making my own granola.  I wanted something that I can whip up on a busy morning, and something that I can customize to my own liking.  Sometimes I like to add nuts and dried fruits to my granola, but today I want to share with you the granola recipe that I use as a base.  This granola fills 2 pint-size mason jars for me, which equates to about 4 cups.

Granola

  • Servings: 4 cups
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Ingredients

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 300°F.   In a medium bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together honey, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract.  Drizzle this over the dry ingredients and stir with a spoon until well-combined.
  3. Spread the mixture on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.  Shake the pan or stir 1-2x during baking.
  4. After baking, place the baking sheet on a cooling rack for 30 minutes.  Gently stir the granola every 10 minutes so it doesn’t stick to the pan as it cools.  The granola should harden and form crumbles.  
Food & Drink

Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Nothing says “Good Morning” like a warm, fresh out of the oven, chocolate chip muffin.  This recipe is so easy, it can be made for the days when you don’t have a lot of time in the morning, but still want something baked, fluffy, and delicious.  There is an optional sugar topping, which creates that crunchy coating you often see with muffins in coffee shops and bakeries.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 20-25 minutes
Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients
– 2 cups flour
– 1/3 cup sugar
– 3 tsp baking powder
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1 cup milk
– 1/3 cup applesauce
– 1 egg
-3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
– 2 tbs white sugar
– 2 tbs light brown sugar

Method
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Grease or line the muffin pan.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  In a small bowl, whisk together milk, applesauce, and egg.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to combine.  (You’ll want to do this until the batter is well-combined, it will be lumpy, so don’t worry about smoothing it out).
3. Stir in the mini chocolate chips.  Spoon evenly into the prepared muffin pan.
4. Combine the white sugar and brown sugar.  Sprinkle on top of the muffins.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Notes:
1. This recipe is a reduced-fat version.  You can always use vegetable oil in lieu of applesauce.
2. I strongly recommend using mini chocolate chips instead of regular chocolate chips, since these muffins aren’t that big to begin with, you’ll want to pack as many chocolate chips in there as possible!  You can also increase the chocolate chips to 1 cup if you’d like.
3. I made a batch with both sugar topping and without.  The ones without the sugar topping definitely got a nice brown to the top.  It is really a personal preference.  I personally like the look of the muffin with the sugar coating, but I prefer to eat the ones without!

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Food & Drink

Cranberry Muffins

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I’ve been baking a lot with cranberries lately.  I don’t know what it is.  But cranberries really hit the spot for me when it comes to baked goods.  It has the perfect combination of sweet & tart.  It is the perfect addition in these lovely muffins.  These muffins are so incredibly moist (thank you, sour cream!), and are great any time of the day.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 20-25 minutes
Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients
– 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 3/4 tsp baking powder
– 3/4 tsp baking soda
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1 large egg
– 1 cup sour cream
– 1/4 cup butter, melted
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 3/4 cup dried cranberries

Method
1. Preheat oven to 350F.  In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, sour cream, butter, and vanilla extract.  Fold the dry ingredient into the egg mixture until well-blended.  Fold in the cranberries.
2. Butter or spray muffin tin.  Evenly divide the batter into the 12 cups.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, using a toothpick to see if it comes out clean.

Note:  the batter might seem a bit dough-ey and dry and less like cake batter.  Don’t worry!  You also don’t need to smooth the batter down.  During the baking process, the batter will even itself out.  Trust!

Food & Drink

Spinach & Tomato Quiche

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Here it is: my favorite breakfast quiche recipe!  I’ve made this recipe over a dozen times at different events and functions, and it has always been a hit!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 
45 minutes
Servings: 5-6

Ingredients:
– 1 frozen deep-dish pie crust
– 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
– 2 cups fresh spinach
– 2 tbs olive oil
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– 4 eggs
– 2/3 cup milk (or half & half)
– 6 cherry tomatoes
– Optional: 1 tbs fresh chives (chopped) & black pepper

Method:
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take the pie crust out of the freezer and let it thaw in room temperature.
2) Spread crumbled feta cheese on the bottom of the pie crust.
3) In a medium pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Cook the spinach until wilted.  Place spinach over the crumbled feta cheese.
4) In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and minced garlic.  Pour over the pie crust.
5) Half the cherry tomatoes length-wise.  Place the cherry tomatoes on top.  Top with fresh chives or black pepper.
6) Bake for 40-45 minutes.  Enjoy!

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Food & Drink

Egg Nog French Toast Casserole

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Last month, I got some egg nog on clearance at my local grocery store for about $2.  I’ve never had egg nog before, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it.  Turns out, I did not.  So what’s a girl going to do with an entire bottle of egg nog?  I’ve made french toast casserole before, and I tweaked the recipe to use the egg nog.  The result?  Delicious french toast casserole with a kick of the egg nog.  The egg nog also pairs wonderfully with the cinnamon and nutmeg.

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Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Ready in: 50 minutes (+8 hours of waiting)
Serves: 8

Ingredients:
– 7 eggs
– 1 cup egg nog
– 1 cup milk
– 1/3 cup sugar
– 1/4 tsp nutmeg
– 1/4 tsp cinnamon
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1  1/2 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 loaf french bread

Topping:
– 3 tbs brown sugar
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Optional:
– Fresh berries
– Powdered sugar

Method:
1. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, egg nog, and milk.  Add sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla extract.
2. Cut the french bread into 1 inch cubes.  Toss the bread in the large bowl with the egg nog mixture.
3. Lightly grease a 9×13 casserole dish with baking spray.  Pour the mixture with bread in the dish.  Drizzle any remaining mixture evenly.
4. Cover with foil tightly and place in fridge for 8+ hours.
5. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle over the casserole.
6. Bake for 45 minutes, uncovered.  Serve with berries and powdered sugar.

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