Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pecan Cluster Granola



Sweet, crunchy, full of whole oats, glazed pecans and dried fruit.
Makes a great snack or a filling breakfast!
If you don't like dried cranberries, throw in dried cherries or blueberries. Dates and dried apricots are a nice addition, as well!
I hope you enjoy my rendition on homemade granola.



heat your oven to 350*F
what you'll need:

6 c. whole oats
2 c. pecans, chopped
1/2 c. walnuts, chopped
1 c. cranberries, dried (reserve until later)

mix oats and nuts together in a large bowl, set aside.

In a microwave safe container mix:

3/4 c. oil, something light like canola
1 1/4 c. honey
1 T. vanilla, get the good stuff, you'll thank me later
1 t. sea salt

Mix with a fork or whisk and warm up in the microwave for about 30-60 seconds.
when you take it out, either whisk it very well or take an immersion blender and emulsify the mixture.
Immediately, pour over oat mixture and stir to coat well.

Spread your granola out onto two cookie sheets and place in preheated oven for 20 min. Remove, stir (I usually scoop everything back into the large bowl then pour it back onto the cookie sheets.) return to oven for 10 minutes.
Keep an eye on it, you'll want it to start to toast a bit and the sugars will carmelize on the granola.
Remove again, stir, add your dried fruit, stir some more and return to the oven for 5-7 minutes.

That should be adequate to get everything toasted.
If your cookie sheets are larger than mine and the granola was spread thinner, it may take a little less time.
So, just keep an eye on it the last time in the oven or so.

Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature before storing in an airtight container, then hide from kids and husband.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Like the new Look? How about some Penne to celebrate?




8 oz. penne pasta

Boil to al dente, set aside.

1 lg. or 2 smaller chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
2 T. olive oil

Saute chicken in the olive oil over medium till cooked through.
Remove from pan, cool, slice into bite sized pieces.

In uncleaned pan you cooked chicken in: ...(unless you burnt the chicken...cuz that would be icky)

1/2 stick butter
2 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced

Let butter melt and garlic soften up a bit before adding:

1 whole red, roasted bell pepper, chopped large
(I used a jarred pepper)
12 (approx.) artichoke hearts, chopped
(I used Trader Joe's frozen artichoke hearts)
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
15 oz. can whole stewed tomatoes
(remove the tomatoes from juice and dice)

Once spinach is cooked through, mix together and add:

1/4 c. heavy whipping cream
1/4 c. tomato juice from the canned tomatoes

simmer for a few minutes, this will make a light, loverly sauce
salt, pepper to taste
add the chicken back to the pan, toss to coat and serve!

Monday, January 11, 2010

I've had A LOT of Banana Cake in my time...



I'm honestly ashamed to admit to the actual amount, but THIS one is the best I've ever had, hands down!

So, if your bananas have gotten a touch too brown and your little Johnny, Susie, Becky, Tallulah Belle, Scout, Rumer...(yeah, so maybe I hang out with Demi and Ashton, okay?) won't eat them...make this.
Srsly, you'll love me forever and ever.

- 1 1/2 cups bananas, mashed, ripe
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Mix well, then add:

- 2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick butter, melted and cooled or really soft
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Mixing well, again...of course.
then add alternately the flour and buttermilk, mixing well between each addition.

- 3 cups flour with
- 1 cup buttermilk

Pour your batter into a greased 9 X 13 cake pan. Not a glass dish, I suggest a light colored aluminum cake pan with tall, straight sides.
This might be too much batter for anything shorter than 2 inches high.

Bake in a preheated 300*F oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
After the 1 hr. and 10 minute mark, keep an eye on it...all ovens vary.
Just make sure its baked through the middle.

Remove your cake from the oven and let it come to room temperature.
Cover the cake (in the pan) with plastic wrap (make sure its covered well with no gaps) and refrigerate till thouroughly chilled, overnight is best.

Top with your favorite cream cheese icing. I ran out of powdered sugar, so I had to add some cream cheese to some premade vanilla icing....*gasp!*
And top with some toasted pecans...yum!

This cake is even better if you let it chill for a whole day. It just seems to get better and better, so moist and flavorful.
You're going to love it!

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