My first year entering the Dixie Classic fair didn't go so well. My Northern tastes didn't seem to fit in here in the South I realized after I entered several of my favorite recipes in many categories. The one and only winner I had was for a category that spoke to me...
oh how I love trail mix and definitely love my jars! I have so many favorite trail mixes so it was tough to pick one! In the end I went with a new creation, using some of my favorite roasted nut recipes along with a new favorite candy I discovered at LGA airport of all places...
chocolate covered freeze dried strawberries! I tried making them on my own but that didn't go well. Luckily I found some in the holiday section at Lidl.
Horchata is a drink I love and am lucky enough to live near many great Mexican restaurants that serve this. After a recent drink special at my favorite place I couldn't get enough and wanted to make some at home. I remembered my Mexican cooking class at Braise and the version we made there.
Braise Culinary School, Milwaukee WI
12 tablespoons long grain rice, pulverized
12 ounces almonds, blanched
2 inch cinnamon stick
2 limes, zested
2 cups sugar
4 1/2 cups water, hot
1. Mix hot water with everything except sugar. Let sit overnight at room temperature.
2. In blender, blend until smooth and no longer feels gritty. Add 2 cups water. Strain through 3 layers of cheesecloth.
3. Add 2 cups water and stir in sugar.
Blueberry Breakfast Bars
Outpost Co-Op, Milwaukee WI
1 3/4 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups gluten free flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 cup almonds, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, melted
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 350. Line the bottom of a 10x10" baking pan with parchment paper, making sure it comes up all sides of the pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda, brown sugar, almonds and salt. Add melted butter and mix well. The mix should be soft and crumble. Set aside 1 cup of the mixture and press the remaining mixture firmly in the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, put blueberries, sugar and 2 tablespoons of water in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for about two minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. In a small bowl, combine remaining water, cornstarch and lemon juice. Stir into blueberry mixture until thick, for about a minute, then remove from heat.
5. Spread blueberry mixture evenly over cooked crust and press remaining oat mixture onto the blueberries, being careful as the blueberries are hot.
6. Bake bars 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack. To cut bars, lift the entire block out of the pan using the parchment paper, peel paper away from sides and cut into desired sized bars. The bars will keep a few days in the fridge - if they last that long!
This is a great treat for healthy people. The taste is very rich and sweet but isn't terribly fattening. I prefer to make it with coconut that is chopped finer than the variety in the photo (the bigger chunks are very difficult to roll!).
This dessert is for those at the table who want just a little something sweet. Store truffles in an airtight container for up to five days.
2 1/2 cups whole pitted dates
2 cups slivered blanched almonds, toasted
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup flaked unsweetened coconut, toasted
1. Place first 5 ingredients in a food processor. Process 45 seconds, scraping down sides as needed, or until mixture forms a thick paste.
2. Place coconut in a shallow bowl. Shape the almond mixture into 36 (1-inch) balls. Roll balls in toasted coconut.
I love making preserves in the summer and finding things to make when them come winter! This is a great recipe I came across in one of my favorite now out of print magazines, ReadyMade. This is a great vegan cookie I added to last year's Christmas cookie tray and I was surprised how it was a favorite of most people I gave it to (I agreed, but I love vegan bakestuff!... even the meatiest of meat eaters loved this cookie!). The nuttiness with the fruit was really great. I made with several different toppings... grape jam, peach preserves, currant jam and even beer jelly. They all turned out great and went fast since everyone just had to try them all!
Almond-Jam Thumbprint Cookies
Readymade Magazine, June/July 2011
from "Vegan Family Meals" by Ann Gentry
Notes: These little gems are moist and not too sweet, with just the right amount of crunchiness. Use a food processor to pulse the almonds into a fine flour.
Suggested Preserves: apricot or raspberry preserves or apple butter
2 1/2 cups whole almonds
1 1/2 cups oat flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons almond extract
3/4 cup preserves
1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Line two heavy baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Pulse the almonds in food processor until they form a fine flour with some small speckles of nuts still visible. Leave some small bits of the almonds for a nice crunchy texture.
3. Stir the ground almonds, oat flour, pastry flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk the maple syrup, apple juice, oil, and almond extract in a medium bowl. Stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture until blended.
4. Using a 1-ounce ice cream scoop (about 2 tablespoons), scoop the dough in mounds onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. (If you don't have an ice cream scoop, just roll 2 tablespoons of dough into a ball for each cookie.) Using the end of a wooden spoon, make an indentation about 1/2 inch in diameter that goes to the bottom of the cookie, but not through the bottom. Spoon the preserves into a pastry bag or a small resealable plastic bag with a bottom corner cut off. Pipe the preserves into each indentation, mounding them just above the top of the cookie (the jam will melt down as the cookies bake).
5. Bake the cookies until they puff and become pale golden on the top and bottom, about 25 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to cooling racks and let cool. Cookies will keep for two days, stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
We go in food phases in our house, one day we love oatmeal but the next day I'm finding expired packets that need to be tossed. One of those throwing out days I wondered if there's a better way to get great tasting instant oatmeal... after much experimentation there is!
There's tons of recipes out there, this is a good basic that works for us. I mix a batch up and portion out into half pint jelly jars, labeling the lid with a dry erase marker. At first my husband laughed skeptically at these rows of jars but after a few days he was asking what exactly is in these and bringing friends in to see his wife's crazy good oatmeal collection! Now it's a staple in our house.
Home Made Instant Oatmeal
2 1/2 cups Quick Oats or Regular Oats
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
Blend 3/4 cup of the oatmeal in a blender or food processor (I use Vitamix with grain mill blender container but not needed; just a few pulses to it up to a heavy powder). Mix ground oatmeal with other ingredients, adding to a container with sealed lid (or ziplock bag). Shake up really good to combine. This is the instant oatmeal base that will make 9 servings. Sometimes I mix a few and leave the base which my husband likes because some days he adds a little more plain to his bowl or he feels like going outside my jars and mixing his own!
To package for individual servings add the following to a half pint jelly jar:
1/3 cup of the oatmeal base along with flavoring mix-ins such as: 1 tsp seeds (chia, flax) + 2 tsp grain, nuts or dried fruit (oat bran, wheat germ, any ground nut, choppied dried fruit) +1-3 tsp sweetner (stevia, coconut sugar, vanilla sugar, or more brown sugar) + 1/8 tsp spice (cinnamon, apple pie spice, grains of paradise) + pinch salt
Or use your imagination and follow the above proportions (aprox 3 tsp flavorings + 1-3 tsp sweetner +1/8 tsp spice) along with the 1/3 oatmeal base. Some of our favorites include: coconut, hot cocoa mix, chocolate chips, and PB2 dried peanut butter.
To cook the oatmeal:
For regular oats: add about 3/4 cup liquid to a bowl along with contents of the jar. Cover and microwave about 2-3 minutes depending on the microwave. Our favorite liquids to use are soy milk, almond milk, hemp milk, hazelnut milk. Chocolate versions of any of those are obviously really good!
For instant oats: add boiling water directly to jar, about 1/2" from the top. Cover and let sit about 5 minutes. You can also add 2 tsp powdered milk for creamy consistency with the water. I love this option for the office since it's so easy.
I've also done overnight oats with this method: add desired liquid (any milk works great or water for lower calories) to jar, about 3/4" from top. Regular oats will still be runny in the morning and I'm not a fan of cold oats so I do heat up in the jar, covered, watching very closely heating in 30 second increments because it will overflow very quickly!
We have become more creative with our mix-ins and came up with snappy concoctions such as: Almond Joy (almonds, coconut, chocolate chunks, coconut sugar), Cherry Pie (dried cherries, graham cracker crumbs, vanilla sugar), Peanut Butter Cup (chocolate chunks, PB2 dried peanut butter), Pina Colada (dried pineapples, coconut sugar, coconut)... the possibilities are endless! Let me know if you come up with any options we must try!
Generally I'm not fooled by celebrity recipes but in my healthy living days while looking through Self magazine the words "candy bar" jump off the page at me. I skeptically tear the page out and in a mood of baking withdrawl I come across it a few months later. I read and after making tons of date/nut filled goodies I think this recipe sounds pretty good, and not too difficult. But I wonder if this is really worth buying another type of flour (now I need coconut flour in my life?!) but I'm desperately fooled by the title... CANDY!.... I want CANDY!.... so on my grocery list it goes.
Like I mentioned almost every week I've been experimenting with energy balls/bites with nuts/fruit in the Vitamix (my food processor passed away and I have not replaced yet) so I though I could try this in there. This recipe is more like a dough that was a bit much for the Vitamix; I overheated several times and tore a William Sonoma spatuala in the process so I would not recommend doing that. My husband actually begged me to run to the store and get a food processor while I was making this. I am stubborn so I did get it to blend after doing small amounts and chopping the dates pretty fine... but I did shortly after decide on a food processor to buy, which I will do soon because we need more of these bars!
The recipe didn't specify what type of pan to but these in buy now I see all the photos in a square brownie size pan... oops. I went with a jelly roll pan lined with a Silpat instead of the parchment and it worked great. My husband and I actually loved how thin they were. We like the smaller serving size, just a little square of these satisfies that candy bar craving.
The almond butter I made using a simple recipe (bottom of the article gave Gwenyth's recipe which is 1 cup almonds and pinch of salt in a food processor). I started this in the Vitamix and have no luck making nut butters in there without oil so I added a little canola oil to my 1 cup almonds to get a smooth blend.
I'm not a fan of recipes that ask for chocolate chips to be melted down; I like my chips to stay chips! So I used 80% cacao chocolate that I chopped (my favorite local brand, Omanhene).
Definitely worth the investment in the coconut flour... (as now I'm studying more recipes to make using it)... but for now more of Gwenyth's candy bars, one of the best healthy snack recipes I've come across!
2013 Self Magazine from "It's All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great" by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen
No suprise that I love making sweet treats... and giving them as gifts. This is a simple one that everyone seems to love! It comes from Family Circle magazine of all places! I use my favorite local Milwaukee Omanhene chocolate, either the light or dark is great in this.
FRUITY CHOCLATE CLUSTERS
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups slivered almonds, toasted
2 cups pretzels, broken up
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside.
In a medium-size bowl, stir together cranberries, almonds and pretzel pieces.
Place chocolate in a medium-size microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute, stirring halfway through; microwave another 15 seconds if necessary and stir until smooth.
Stir cranberry mixture into chocolate until completely coated. Place 1 heaping tablespoonful of chocolate mixture onto prepared baking sheet, shaping into a mound. Repeat with remaining mixture. Chill for 15 minutes before serving.
is the smallest kitchen ever. We used to watch those decorating shows that said they were doing small kitchens and then could see that 4 of my kitchens would fit in their "small kitchens".