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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.

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Roasted Red Pepper Sandwiches with Herbed Goat Cheese Served on Focaccia Bread

Remember those tasty, squared little focaccia samwiches from my focaccia bread post?


If you are entertaining at home this weekend, these mini samwiches (I love calling it a “samwich”) are something that you will want to serve. They are crunchy, creamy and delicious.

Serve them at your next party, or you can just stick them in your lunch box; they are great any way that you want to enjoy them.


You will need:

  • 1 homemade focaccia bread, cut up into squares
  • Red Peppers, 1 per sandwich (my bread recipe should yield 8 to 10 sandwiches)
  • baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • Herbed goat cheese spread

For the goat cheese you will need:

  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package (3 oz.) of goat cheese


Directions:

For the Peppers:

  • To roast the peppers, preheat the broiler and line a sheet pan with parchment paper, or grease it lightly.
  • Cut peppers in half, lengthwise, and remove the seeds and stems.
  • Place peppers cut side down on the sheet pan.
  • Broil for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Place the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  • Peel when cooled.

For the Herbed Goat Cheese Spread:

  • In a small bowl combine all of the ingredients except for the goat cheese, mix well.
  • Coat the goat cheese with the mixture, press the mixture into the cheese with a fork and combine well.
  • Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. If you have the time, prepare this a day ahead; the longer it sits, the better it tastes.

Assembling the Sandwiches:

  • Spread the herbed goat cheese on two squared slices of focaccia.
  • Layer the portobello mushrooms on one slice, then follow up with the roasted pepper.
  • Cover with a slice of focaccia, and serve.


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Filed under Dinner A la Diethood, Home

Semi-Homemade Cream Cheese Pizza

Judging by some of the comments and emails I received regarding my last post, it seems as if though I was either unclear or I was misunderstood. I think I was misunderstood. Blame it on my accent. (I don’t really have one)

Some of my readers seem to think that I might be a food snob?!? Me?! The girl that makes Pistachio Pudding from a box?

I am far from a food snob – and I do not aspire to become one, either.


The hosts of that party invited us to a “Dinner Party”, and they made it sound as if the party was going to be some sort of a Black-Tie Affair. They even asked me to bring, “that incredible” Chocolate Pie.

I spent four hours on that Chocolate Pie, plus chill time. They spent an hour at Sam’s to buy all the pre-packaged food, and probably another hour to set up.

Again, don’t get me wrong, I do not care that they bought it all from Sam’s, I just wish I wasn’t told that this was going to be a fancy, shmancy “Dinner Party”.

So now I am going to prove to some that I am definitely not a food snob, and that I do make things that come in a box! 🙂


Take this pizza for instance. You will probably never ever see me at a Pizza Hut, but you will definitely see me in the Baking Aisle at the grocery store reaching to grab one of these pouches:

I’ve blogged about this before. It is my favorite mix for a pizza crust and I use it very often.

Sunday was a day to relax, so instead of whipping up something from scratch, I decided that we were going to have a semi-homemade pizza, topped with cream cheese, ham, mozzarella, parmesan, onions, and baby portobella mushrooms.

Semi-Homemade Cream Cheese Pizza

You will need:

  • 1 Betty Crocker Pizza Crust mix
  • 1/4 (2 oz.) of a package of cream cheese, or you can use Neufchatel cheese
  • 1/2 cup baby portobella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup of your favorite ham, diced, or you can use leftover baked/grilled sliced chicken
  • 1 small onion, red or yellow, sliced crosswise
  • 1/2 cup of part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

  • Preheat oven at 450.
  • Make the dough according to the directions on the package.

  • Bake the dough for 7 minutes.
  • Let it cool.
  • Turn the oven down to 400.
  • Once cooled, spread the cream cheese evenly over the crust.

  • Add the rest of the toppings.
  • Bake for 12 minutes, or until the mozzarella cheese is melted.
  • Sprinkle with a handful of parmesan cheese, cut and serve.

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Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread

I love a good bread.

And I especially love that bread when it has been made for me by someone else.

You want to know what I don’t love?

(I’m not going to mention any names)

When I get to a dinner party and discover that everything on that table was prepared by the hands of your local grocer; petite quiches, jalapeno poppers (at a dinner party?) and other finger foods from Sam’s… a cake from Sam’s bakery… and, the one thing that infuriates me the most… sliced bread… also bought at Sam’s.

Are you kidding me?

You just invited me to a dinner party that was catered by your local Sam’s. Why on Earth didn’t you just tell us to meet you at the cafe over at Sam’s instead?

Come on, at least make the bread!

Please allow me to show you how easy it is to make a really good bread that you can wow your guests with. It tastes oh so yummy good, it takes one hour flat to make it, and your guests will love it just because it sounds foreign. 🙂

Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread

You will need:

  • 1 cup White Whole Wheat Flour (I use King Arthur)
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 package (.25 oz.) instant dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup of water, divided
  • olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary

Directions:

  • Preheat oven at 475.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, yeast, and garlic salt; stir well to combine.
  • Stir in 1/4 cup of water, mix, then stir in the rest of the water slowly, until all of the flour is absorbed.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly for about 1 minute.
  • Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil.
  • Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. I always put it on top of my warm stove and the rise is done within 20 minutes.
  • Grab the dough and knead it again, briefly, on a lightly floured surface.
  • Roll the dough into a rectangular shape, about 1/4 inch thick, and place it on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  • Dimple the bread with your index finger.

  • Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder, oregano and rosemary.
  • Bake the bread for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on desired crispness.
  • With a sharp knife, slice the focaccia into wedges and serve it with garlic sauce, or cut it into squares and make little bite-sized sandwiches.

(recipe soon… it’s a darn good samwich!)

That’s it! How hard was that?

Please, if you’re going to have friends over for dinner, bake something, anything! The bread is probably the easiest thing you can attempt to make.

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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!

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Filed under Home, Sweets. Now. Please.