Tag Archives: almonds

A Saturday Baking Project

This was supposed to publish last night (Saturday) WHOOPS! So here you go!!

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I am STILL, trying to put a dent in my baking supplies, and I honestly can’t believe the amount of food that I have been able to make without buying anything, but butter. I don’t really have tons and tons of sticks of butter laying around, so that was the only thing on the shopping list lately.

This morning, I ended up taking on the project of making some Granola Bars. Surprise, surprise, I made them chocolate chip and dried cranberry granola bars. I don’t know what it is with this combo, but I LOVE it. I’ve always been a bit nervous about making these, simply because I thought there was a lot to it…or that it was complicated. But after making them, they couldnt’ have been easier. I would absolutely say they are easier than making rice crispy treats (I have some trouble with making those).

Chocolate, Cranberry Granola Bars

Ingredients:

1/3 Cup Honey 1 Stick Butter
1/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar 1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
2 1/2 Cups Rolled Oats 1/4 Cup Sliced Almonds
1/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts 1/3 Cup Dried Cranberries
1/3 Cup Chocolate Chips

Directions:

1. In a medium sized sauce pan, on low heat, melt the butter, sugars and honey together. Do not boil the mixture.

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2. Stir in the oats, cranberries, almonds, and walnuts. Then take the pan off the heat, and stir in the chocolate chips.

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3. Line a smaller baking dish with parchment paper and press the granola mix into the pan. I used a 9 by 11 pan and ended up scrunching it to the end because it would have resulted in really thin bars that wouldn’t stay together well.

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4. Lastly, bake the bars for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. You want the top to be golden brown.

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Let it COMPLETELY cool before taking it out of the pan and cutting it. While it is hot the bars will not stick together. You can pull the whole parchment paper out and lay it on the counter to slice easily. Use a sharp knife to cut the bars.

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I am actually going to bring these bars with me to Naples. Brent and I are celebrating Christmas with his family and I thought it would be fun to bring some treats. I was trying to come up with a good way to bring them without the bars falling apart or sticking to each other and decided to wrap them individually in parchment paper. This way you can actually just throw them in a bag while you are on the run and don’t have to worry about a mess! GENIUS!

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I know this isn’t really an original idea, but afterwards, I kind of felt really smart. Haha, no puzzle is to difficult for THIS one to solve! Just don’t give me a rubix cube and completely kill my smarty pants ego.

Have you ever come up with a solution that just made you feel really, really smart??

Shipyard Brewery and A Whole Lot of Veggies

Yesterday was a bit of, MER. I got up and went for a run with Brent. It was a nice little jog but the air was really humid making it quite sticky. As soon as we got back, I had a conference call to jump onto so I sat down in front of the computer. I was chugging water like crazy when BREAKFAST ARRIVED. A cool Chocolately Protein Shake. Brent wouldn’t tell me what was in it, but I’m assuming that it was a take on my previous chocolate protein shake, but with some blueberries in it ūüôā

 

It was yum. After the conference call, I jumped in the shower and headed off to Melbourne for work. For lunch, I threw together a salad really quickly. It actually came out really well. On it, I put Feta cheese, fresh raspberries, sliced almonds and croutons. For the dressing I used Catalina Dressing and put it in a small container on the side.

 

 

Just before getting to work, I stopped at publix to pick up a few snacks for the afternoon. Whenever I am starving and don’t want to swing by a fast food joint, I end up at the grocery store. They have a deli that you can order sandwiches from, but the supermarket also has some good options for snacks that are truly healthy. I grabbed a bowl of fruit and a veggie platter….for myself. I either really wanted some veggies, or was still dehydrated from the run this morning.

 

 

 

I had both trays sitting out on my desk at the office, and when a few people came in to meet with me, I could see their eyes darting towards the tray thinking it was a little strange. Nooow, for dinner Brent and I went to the Shipyard Brewery in Winter Park, just north of Orlando. We had never been and drive by it all the time.

Shipyard makes some fantastic beers and we just had to give a few more of them a try. As soon as the word pumpkin beer came out of the waitresses mouth, we both jumped right on it. I have a HUGE fan of pumpkin beers. I am so glad it is back in season. They have two different kinds of pumpkin beer. The Smashed Pumpkin and the Pumpkinhead Ale. The ale was described as a much lighter beer, and the Smashed Pumpkin a much heavier beer. I am not a huge fan of those really heavy beers, so she definitely scared me away from the Smashed Pumpkin.

Brent ordered the smashed pumpkin and I got the Ale, with a pumpkin cinnamon sugar around the rim….of course.

 

 

The ale was a bit too light for me. The Smashed pumpkin really gives you the pumpkin flavor. It was absolutely unbelievable. For dinner, I got a white flatbread because they really didn’t have many options for vegetarians. The flatbread was really cheesy and delicious.

 

Brent ordered a meatball sub, which looked really really good. We both ended up taking home half of our meals, because that really was enough to fill us up. Well, that and the chocolate cake that we split!

 

I would say that the food here is good, but it’s definitely not the reason that you come to the Brewery, clearly. While we were there, we were talking about how we don’t have that regular watering hole, if you will, like we used to in college. When you just needed a beer after work, to relax and hang out with some friends, we all used to head to Nichols in Hamilton, NY. You were always guaranteed to have a great time but most of all you just got to relax. Leave everything at the door.

I could see Shipyard being just that. It has so many great choices of beer that there is no getting bored. The pumpkin beers were obviously amazing, but there are so many other options that just need to be tried.

 

We may just turn into regulars at this place. Who knows?! We could one day be a part of their mug club!

 

 

Overall, a great way to end a night! Now, enough talk about beer this early in the morning!

 

Do you have a favorite bar to just unwind? 

Crunchy Granola and Taylor Swift

Today I woke up and met Brent for a quick Starbucks run with the puppies before he had to run off to work. The day really started off absolutely amazing. It was so relaxing to just sit out and people watch for a while sipping on an Iced Americana. Brent went off to work and I headed home thinking I was going to grab a book and head out to the park in Winter Park and just read a book and get some puppy training in for Oreo. Well, just as I walked in the door my sister shot me this picture,

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YES!!!! Taylor Swift and my sisters! Standing in a picture….together! Not exactly what I was expecting when the morning started…My sisters had gone to church this morning and spotted her with her new beau, one of the Kennedy’s, and asked her for a picture. Absolutely jealous.

After I got over the excitement (I literally felt like I somehow was there and got all nervous and excited) I grabbed my book and headed out to the park to read for a while. I found a bench around the fountain and parked myself there thinking a few people might walk by that could help Oreo get over her fear of people.

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Oreo was doing fairly good. Children were running past and she’d bark every once in a while. Then, a little three year old boy came by with his father and grandfather and sat on a bench across the fountain from us. As soon as he noticed the Oreo he came running over just to be greeted by Oreo lunging from under the bench right at the boy barking like mad. The poor thing turned right around and ran right back to his father. Munched another french fry and decided to give it another try. This time he walked over tentatively and sat on the bench next to me. He would chat with me, finish his fry, and run back to get another one, then plop back onto the bench next to me.

Oreo got used to the little boy and ended up wanting to play with him. THEN, she noticed his french fry. He obviously didn’t want to give it up so Oreo decided to go on a barking rampage at the poor thing. Naughty. A florida afternoon storm rolled in and we went back to the house.

With the rain beaming down, I decided to make something! Obviously. I have been wanting to make my own granola for a while now and just hadn’t gotten around to doing it. I had been told by a man at the local farmer’s market that once you make your own granola, you will never go back to the store bought stuff. FACT. I will never buy store bought granola ever again. This was just so much better. So this is how I ended up making my granola:

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Ingredients:

5 Cups Old Fashioned Oats 1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds

1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts 1/4 Cup Chopped Pecans

1/3 Cup Sunflower Seeds 1/3 Cup Flaxseed Meal

3/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon 3/4 Teaspoon Salt

3/4 Cup Agave Nectar 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oats, all the nuts, flaxseed, seeds, salt and cinnamon.

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2. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil and Agave Nectar until it is a thick consistency.

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3. Now pour the liquid mixture to the dry mix.

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4. Take 2 cookie sheets that have edges to them, and spread out the oat mix among the two. You want to have a thin layer coating the pan.

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5. Cook the granola in the oven for 20 minutes. Take the pan out and flip the granola. You want to move the oats that are on the outside of the pan to the inside and visa versa. Then put the pan back in the oven for another ten minutes.

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The granola should look a golden brown throughout. Once the granola cools you will get the crunchy texture that you would expect. The batch that I just made came out amazing! I don’t think I will ever buy granola again. It takes not time to make and you can play with the flavors as much as you want.

Add your dried fruit to it once it has completely cooled. Options:

Fruit: Raisins, cranberries, cherries, currants, figs, pineapple, figs, apricots…and the list goes on.

I know the list of ingredients looks a bit longer than normal, but if you don’t have something there is no need to go out an buy it. Substitute it for something else. I made a short little list of some substitutes for ingredients to play with:

Nuts: Almonds, Walnuts, Pecans, Pistachios

Seeds: Sunflower Seeds, Pepitas

Flaxseed: Wheat Germ

Sweetener: Agave Nectar, Honey, Molasses

Mix the recipe up to be whatever you like. Granola is great for that. I am just bottling up the granola as is and not adding any fruits because I am planning on adding in the dried fruit when I prepare the actual meal. That way I can mix up the fruit as I go as well!

Give this one a try if you like granola. It makes enough that you won’t have to make it very often and it keeps really well. It will also end up costing you less that buying the store bought granola. I’m sold.

You want to store this in something air tight. I am using a glass jar because I store everything in glass jars. I find that they have a cleaner look and make the foods on the inside look more appetizing. They are also extremely air tight so foods stay fresher longer.

For a print friendly copy, click here…Printable Recipe

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Enjoy your granola! And let me know what combos you come up with!

Happy Eating!

Trail Mix, the options are endless!

I am in love with trail mix. This is really my go to snack right now and I feel like it just gets pushed the wayside a lot of times. I was turned onto it when we had hiked Mount Washington and I can’t seem to stop eating it. It’s so filling and satisfying that you really don’t tend to over eat it.

Trail mix is really whatever you want to make it into. You can throw in the bottom of your cereal box with the leftover candy from last nights movie and you can end up creating something that is truly delicious.

I’m not going to lie, my favorite right now is the expected peanuts, raisins, almonds and M&Ms. There’s really nothing better.

But, there are a TON of different things that you can toss in there to add to the flavor. So here’s just a few that I came up with:

Raisins                                Almonds                                Sunflower Seeds

Dried Pineapple                 Dried Berries                          Dried Cherries

Dried Peaches                   Dried Apricots                        Banana Chips

Pretzels                              Walnuts                                  Peacans

Granola                             Chocolate Chips                     M&Ms

Crasins                             Corn Puff Cereal                      Popcorn

Cheerios                           Crushed Nilla Wafers              Cheese Its

There are sooo many different things that you can throw in, that you should just walk around your kitchen and throw some leftovers into a bag and see what happens. Who knows, could be delicious!

Let me know if there is anything else that you would add to the list!

Happy Eating!