Category Archives: Sweets. Now. Please.

Chocolate Granola

Granola

I have an obsession with breakfast food. Cereals and crunchy granola, in particular. I eat a bowl of either one every morning, and another bowl of either one (sometimes I mix ‘em up in the same bowl) for a late night snack.

I also love eggs, bacon, crepes, pancakes, French toast… oh sorry, this post is not about any of these.

Back to my granola. I love it.

Granola

I mix it up with a bunch of dried fruits, I sometimes add in chocolate chips, and there are times when I use it to dress up my ice cream. Yep. I’ll take granola any way that I can.

The chocolate granola that I make came about because of my husband. He doesn’t care for breakfast, but he cares a lot for chocolate. This was the best way that I could get him to eat his needed amount of fiber for the day. I’m such a good wifey.

granola

Chocolate Granola

You will need:

  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon wheat germ
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dried fruits (optional)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Preheat oven at 325.
  • Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl combine the rolled oats, cocoa powder, walnuts, almonds, wheat germ, ground cinnamon, salt and dried fruit. 
  • In a small saucepan, pour in the water, oil, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla; bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  • Pour the honey mixture over the dry ingredients and toss together until all ingredients are coated.
  • Spread onto the baking sheet and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally so the mixture browns evenly.
  • For a crunchier granola, bake it for a few minutes longer; the browner the granola, the crunchier it will be.
  • Place on a wire rack to cool.
  • While the granola is still a bit warm, break up some of the larger clumps.
  • Once the granola has cooled, store in an airtight container.
  • Serve with milk, yogurt or even ice cream and some fruit.
  • Keeps in an airtight container for weeks.

granola

One more thing you should know about granola; it keeps you “regular”. I’m not even going to try to find a fancier way to convey that message. It is what it is. Smile

Add just one other thing; Store-bought granola can be high in fat and calories. (And in price!) Create your own so that you can control the amount of fat, calories and sugar.

28 Comments

Filed under Home, Sweets. Now. Please.

Orange Curd Mini Pies

Please join me over at Claire’s wonderful blog, Nutrition for Us, to get a taste of these terrific mini pies!

While you are there, don’t forget to congratulate her; she is getting married this weekend!!

6 Comments

Filed under Home, Sweets. Now. Please.

Strawberry Shortcakes

Want to know how we celebrate the arrival of Spring?

Ta Daaaaa!

This is how we welcomed the beautiful season of rebirth and renewal. The season that’s going to take away the winter blues and lead us on that path toward the long awaited sunshine of gorgeous summer days.

I am so excited to know that spring has finally arrived. Even if the weather outside is barely 40 degrees… I don’t care. It will get better. Soon.

The strawberries I picked up from the Farmers Market had to be used up somehow before they went bad, and the vote was between a strawberry trifle or a strawberry shortcake.

As you can see, the shortcakes won. The trifle can wait.

Besides, the strawberry trifle does not translate well on photos. I tried it once before and it was a disaster.

These shortcakes are pretty to look at and even better to eat. I wanted to keep this recipe simple and traditional thus, for the cakes, I made biscuits with a bit of flour, some neufchatel cheese and orange zest. Beautiful.

The strawberries sat in their juices with some sugar for about an hour, and the whipped cream came out perfect. I chilled it for about 30 minutes before I whipped it with my mixer. That’s the secret – chill it before you whip it.

Strawberry Shortcakes

You will need:

For the Biscuits:

  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 4 ounces (1/2 of a 8 oz. package) neufchatel cheese, cut in cubes
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon milk for brushing the tops

For the Strawberries:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. of fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1/3 cup sugar

For the Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Directions:

For the Biscuits:

  • Preheat oven to 425.
  • Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and orange zest in a large bowl.
  • Pour in the neufchatel cheese and mash it with a fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

  • Stir in 1/3 cup of milk and form a dough.
  • Flour hands and divide the dough into 8 balls.
  • Place the dough balls 3 inches apart on a greased baking sheet or silpat.

  • With a glass flatten the dough balls to 1/2 inch thickness and brush the tops with milk and sprinkle a bit of sugar on top.
  • Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

  • Take out the biscuits and allow them to cool down to room temperature.
  • In the meantime prepare the strawberries.

For the Strawberries:

  • Once you have cleaned and sliced them, take 1/3 of the strawberries and mash them with a potato masher.

  • Add in the rest of the strawberries and pour in the sugar.
  • Set aside for at least 20 minutes.

For the Whipped Cream:

  • Meanwhile prepare the whipped cream by combining together the whipping cream, vanilla, and sugar.
  • Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • When chilled, beat the mixture until stiff peaks form.

For the Shortcakes:

  • Assemble the shortcakes by cutting the biscuits in half.
  • Place a tablespoon of the strawberry mixture on the bottom half of the biscuit and top with whipped cream.
  • Cover with the top half of the biscuit, and top it with whipped cream and a few more strawberries.
  • Serve immediately or put the cakes in the refrigerator until ready to use.

52 Comments

Filed under Home, Sweets. Now. Please.

Pistachio Vanilla Wafer Pudding – Slainte!

 

Dear early 20’s,

I MISS YOU!!!

When I think of St. Pat’s I think of my college days, not too far behind, but behind enough to make me feel a bit of nostalgia. Ahhh – I really miss those days of bar hopping! We would spend the entire week leading up to St. Patrick’s Day just hopping from one bar to the next. I behaved, I promise… 😉

Now, since we’re no longer in college, and because we must act like responsible adults in front of our children, I am not going to present to you the best St. Pat’s drink I ever had… no, I am not going to do that… Ana is celebrating with us.

Instead,  I made a St. Patty’s green pudding that people of all ages can enjoy! Yippee! (sigh) 😉

Pistachio Vanilla Wafer Pudding

  • Thanks to J.E.L.L.O., I used Pistachio flavored Instant Pudding.

You will need:

  • 2 cups cold milk
  • 1 package (3.4 oz.) Pistachio flavored Instant Pudding
  • 1/2 tub (6oz.) whipped topping, thawed
  • 8 vanilla wafer cookies, crushed
  • shavings of dark chocolate for garnish
  • chopped pistachios for garnish

Directions:

  • Pour milk into large bowl.
  • Add pudding mix and beat with wire whisk for 2 minutes.
  • Let stand 5 minutes.
  • Gently stir in whipped topping; combine.
  • Put half of the crushed cookies on the bottom of a medium-sized serving bowl, or two large glasses, then pour in the pudding mixture.
  • Garnish with the rest of the crushed cookies, chopped pistachios and shavings of dark chocolate.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve.

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

37 Comments

Filed under Home, Sweets. Now. Please.

Orange Raisin Coffee Cake

I have a pretty cool Dad. He is the one person that will give support whenever it is needed. Moral support, that is. I always admit to him that it is because of his support that I have often succeeded in most things that I attempted to do. All I need is his “OK”, and I’m almost at the finish line holding a trophy.

But, my Dad is also a very funny guy. He tries. Last night he called me and asked to talk to Ana, who is 20 months old. During their conversation (I wish I had taped her trying to tell him that we had cake), he asked her if mommy had prepared dinner.

She responded with, “kay! kay! kay!”. “Do you mean, cake?”. “Your Mama made cake?”. “DA!”. (Macedonian for YES!).

My dad was at the front door in 20 minutes? My mom right behind him. Anything for cake!

My mom though, the not-so-supportive one, as always, found a problem with the cake before she even tasted it. Before she even saw it!

“Tell me is this egg-free or something?!”. “Yes mom, it is…it’s Lent.”.  “Oh yeah… then it’s taste-free right?”.  “Woman, give it a chance!’.

So she did. Verdict? She loved it. That means a lot coming from someone like her: She is 110 pounds, and always has been, and will not put anything in her mouth that is labeled fat-free, dairy-free, etc… She’s just naturally thin. Lucky her!


If you love coffee, and if you love a cake to accompany that coffee, give this a try. It’s a very sweet and moist cake, with a delicious combination of orange and raisin flavors.

P.S. I made this after the sun went down so I wasn’t able to take pictures while I was making it. I apologize.

Orange Raisin Coffee Cake

You will need:

  • 4 cups Flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 Orange, zested
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • ¾ cup walnuts, ground
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Light Brown Sugar for the top

Directions:

  • Preheat oven at 375.
  • In a large, deep mixing bowl combine the flour, salt, sugar, raisins, walnuts, poppy seeds, and zest.
  • In a separate bowl mix together the orange juice and the baking soda, then add it to the flour mixture; mix well.
  • Mix in the apple juice and vanilla extract.
  • Dust the bottom of 9×13 cake pan with flour, then pour in the batter.
  • Sprinkle the top with a handful of light brown sugar.
  • Put it in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, or when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Let it cool for 20 minutes before cutting.
  • Serve with a cup of Joe.

36 Comments

Filed under Home, Macedonian Cuisine, Sweets. Now. Please.