Tag Archives: honey

Fall Granola

Everyone is running around to finish up their Thanksgiving shopping list- it’s a little hectic!  Although Thanksgiving may not be one of my favorite holidays (my Birthday is #1), it’s definitely up there near the top.  It’s the one time out of the year that everyone considers what/who they are grateful for, and shares the day with loved ones.

Sam and I will be staying in D.C.- after a long honeymoon, our annual leave has to be replenished.  We’re starting off Thursday morning with a Turkey Trot- it’s been our little tradition since we first started dating.  We’ll be running the So Others Might Eat Turkey Trot 5K!  Are any of you running tomorrow?

Since all of us may be eating too much during the day, I thought a great way to start the morning would be with some fall granola!

The fall flavors in this granola are slight, and a perfect pairing with Greek yogurt, or mixed with fresh milk.  This recipe is very flexible- if you don’t have a specific ingredient, feel to swap what you do have in your cupboards this fall day.

Fall Granola
Adapted from: Eat, Live, Run

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp brown sugar
4 cups old fashioned oats
1 tsp salt
1 cup maple syrup
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup dried cranberries

In a small bowl mix together the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice to make the spice mix.  Set aside.

On a skillet, over medium heat, melt the butter.  Then add the pumpkin seeds and 1 tsp of the spice mix.  Toast seeds for about 3 minutes, or until they are lightly browned.  Then add the honey and brown sugar.  Continue to cook until they are incorporated, for another 3-4 minutes.  Next, spread out the seeds onto a sheet tray, allowing it to cool for at least 15 minutes.  Once it’s cooled off, break it apart using a spatula.

In a large bowl mix together the rest of the spice mix, oats and salt.

Add the maple syrup and coconut oil into a small saucepan over high heat.  First, bring to a boil and then simmer for an additional 2 minutes- continue to stir.  Pour the maple syrup sauce over the oats mixture into the large bowl.  Toss well until everything is evenly coated.

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.  Spread out the oats onto a sheet try (or two).  Bake for 25-30 minutes, moving and flipping the oats every 5 minutes.  Allow the oats to cool.

Lastly, toss the pumpkin seeds, oats mixture and dried cranberries together.  Eat it as a snack, or over yogurt.

Food Matters Project #29: Apples, Blue Cheese & Honey

It’s another great recipe idea from Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook.  This weeks Food Matters Project was chosen by Jessica.  Jessica’s blog is Cheese Please, check out her version of today’s dish- Cheddar Cheese and Almond Nut Balls.  Also see what other cheese recipes everyone else made: Cheese-Nut Balls.

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s a little hectic and slightly stressful around here.  So upon reading Mr. Bittman’s recipe and seeing pear and blue cheese, I decided to take this in a completely different direction.  Yes, no cheese balls- more like a perfect cheese relaxation plate!

Sam stopped by our favorite cheese store- Cowgirl Creamery, and picked up a giant block of Colston Bassett Stilton.  We had some leftover apples from the Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market, as well as some local honey.

When was the last time you had bought yourself a nice block of cheese?  Not when guests come over to serve as an appetizer, but just for yourself to indulge and enjoy?  If you can’t remember the last time- then do this tomorrow.  You will not be disappointed.  This was a wonderful way to wind down after a hectic week.

I know there are some of you out there that don’t enjoy blue cheese.  If you’re one of them- definitely grab another type that you’d prefer.  Blue cheese does have specific taste- and this tangy flavor blended well with the sweet honey and crisp fall apples.

Apples, Blue Cheese & Honey
Inspired by: Cheese-Nut Balls from The Food Matters Cookbook (pg 56)

This is more of a suggestion, rather than a recipe.  The amount of apples, cheese, honey or walnuts are entirely up to you.  You can add/swap something else, just enjoy some amazing cheese (pears, crackers).

apples, cored & thinly sliced
Stilton or any variety of blue cheese
walnuts (optional)

Pour a drop or two of honey onto a slice of apple.  First sprinkle cheese onto the apple slice, then top it off with some chopped walnuts.

Peasant Bread

I love fresh, warm bread.  The kind that is crusty on the outside, and soft inside.  Pair that up with some fresh bruschetta, or butter- and I have dinner.  Or it can be a perfect addition to a salad or soup dinner.

In the past couple of months I have conquered my fear of yeast.  If you’d like proof then check out the Mostly-Whole Wheat Bread, Apple & Smoked Cheese Whole Wheat Pizza, and Whole Wheat Pitas.  Last week’s Food Matters Project was bruschetta, and I needed a vehicle for all that deliciousness.  So I attempted bread.  What did I learn?  I never want to buy bread from the store again!

It looks gorgeous, and I am so proud of it!  If I have succeeded, all of you can make it.  Fortunately, this recipe does not require an overnight rising period- that is way too long to wait (although that might be due to my lack of planning).  This is perfect to throw together right before you leave for work (or the night before), let the yeast work its magic and all you have to do is pop it in the oven when you get home.  Fresh bread for dinner!

Peasant Bread
Adapted from: Hide the Cheese

This recipe makes 2 larger loaves.  I made a loaf the first day, and covered and refrigerated the other half.  It should last about a week in the fridge.  Take it out of the fridge as you’re heating up the oven, and continue with the baking instructions below.  The original recipe used 2 cups of whole-wheat flour, and 4 1/2 of all-purpose.  I did not have the whole-wheat flour, so I improvised.

1 tbsp + 2 tsp yeast
1 tbsp + 2 tsp salt
3 cups warm water
1 tbsp honey
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp olive oil

Mix the yeast, salt, water and honey in a large bowl.  Stir with a spoon until the yeast and honey dissolve completely.  Then add the flour, continue mixing until it is fully incorporated with the wet ingredients.

(optional) Coat a large bowl with olive oil.  If you don’t have an additional large bowl, just move parts of the dough to add some of the olive oil under it.  This is not necessary, but does make it easier to take out the dough from the bowl after it has risen.

Cover the dough with a dish towel and allow it rest for at least 2 hours (although the longer the better).

After the dough has risen, take half of it out (the other half can be stored in the fridge) onto a floured surface.  Shape it into a ball, or any shape you’d like.

Preheat the oven to 450ºF.  As you turn on the oven, put the dutch oven (or corningware) into the oven at the same time.  When the oven reaches 450ºF, take out the dutch oven and place the dough inside.  Cover and bake for 30 minutes.  Then cook for another 15 minutes, uncovered, or until the top is a light brown.

Take out the bread from the oven, and allow it to cool off on a wire rack.  Enjoy it fresh!

Oatmeal Chocolate Bars

I’m a huge fan of granola bars, oatmeal bars or any other snack that comes in a bar form.  I’ve made different bars before, and I always like the homemade one’s much more than the store bought one’s.  And you can pick your own flavors that go into it.

Also, how many times have you grabbed the organic or all-natural granola snack bar, and then turned it over to read the ingredients?  You’ll see some words that you have no idea what they are, or what they mean.  So what’s the best way to control what you put into your tummy?  Make it yourself!

These bars are great.  After we cut them up, we kept them in tupperware containers in the fridge.  I would take them to work for a mid-day snack.  By the time I would eat it at work, the chocolate would be slightly melty, and the granola would be soft.  Feel free to play around with different flavors of the dried fruit, or change the type of peanut butter.  There are so many varieties to be made.

Not only do these make great mid-day snacks, but they’re also a fantastic way to fuel up before a long run (or after)!  Maybe bring it with you when you’re traveling in the car, or a flight (it’s way better than those pretzels!).

Oatmeal Chocolate Bars
Adapted from: Eat, Live, Run

1 cup of honey
2 tsp maple extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup creamy sunflower butter (or peanut butter)
2 cups of oatmeal oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup dried pomegranate seeds
1/4 dried currants
1/2 cup dried cherries
3/4 cup of chocolate chips

Combine honey, maple extract, salt, sugar and sunflower butter in a small saucepan.  Bring the mixture to a boil, and then simmer for 4 minutes while stirring it.

Add the oats, coconut, sunflower seeds, dried pomegranate seeds, dried currants,  dried cherries to a large bowl.  Once the honey-sunflower butter mixture is done cooking, add it to the large bowl.  Fold the two mixtures together.  Lastly, add the chocolate chips, but be sure to not melt the chocolate chips.

Grease a 9×12 inch pan, and then pat down the bar mixture.  Chill in the fridge for at least an hour, and then cut the bars into the pieces.

Fig & Arugula Flatbread

Last summer was the first time I saw a lot of recipes which had figs in them.  Determined to make something, we bought a bunch…and nothing ended up happening.  I had no idea what to do with them.  I didn’t realize fresh figs were not sweet, I guess I had their dried version stuck in my head.

So this year, when fig season came around (once everyone started posting recipes on various blogs) I was going to make something.  And I’m so glad I did.

This was especially helpful on the hottest day of the year (so far), since it involved almost no cooking, and dinner was ready in approximately 5 minutes.  This flatbread could also be cut up into bite-sized pieces, and enjoyed as an appetizer- how convenient.  If anyone thinks of other things you can do with figs- please let me know, we still have a bunch left over and there is no more flatbread.

Fig & Arugula Flatbread
*white wine is great with this*

2 pieces of flatbread (or plain naan)
1/4 cup of goat cheese
1 cup of arugula, chopped
4 figs, chopped
4 tbsp honey
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1-2 pieces of prosciutto
pinch of salt

Spread the goat cheese onto the flatbread.  Add it to a toaster oven, and warm it up until the cheese starts melting.  If you do not have a toaster oven (which you should have, it’s great!) just use the oven.

With a spoon or small whisk, blend together the balsamic vinegar and honey.

On the warm and cheese flatbread, sprinkle the arugula and figs.  Top with prosciutto.  Then, drizzle the balsamic vinegar-honey mixture.  Lastly, sprinkle each flatbread with some salt.