Posts Tagged ‘Recipes


Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

I feel like we are constantly searching for snacks around here; we need things that are HEALTHY pretty much all the time. Most of the time we eat fruit, nuts, raw veggies, cheese, and other truly whole foods snacks. We do, though, also LOVE to bake around here, and sometimes snack can be extra yummy (face it, fruit, nuts and veggies ARE yummy) and healthy at the same time.

In an effort to create a snackable baked item that met our many criteria, I spent months trying out granola bar recipes. In the end, we came up with one that is a hit with everyone we know except hubby. The boys recently took them to play at a friend’s house, and we came home with two requests for the recipe. I based our recipe on this one from Smitten Kitchen, but it is unique enough to be our own.

We do take the 8 ounce package of pecans and literally pulverize them with a meat tenderizer to make them both easier for the tiniest kids to eat and next to impossible to pick out; we can’t have them picking out the protein, now can we?

Granola Bars

  • 3 1/3 C rolled oats
  • 2/3 C whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 t SEA salt (use twice that if it’s table)
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 8 oz. pecan pieces
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Mix above together.

  • 12 T fat (today was 8 coconut oil and 4 canola; I have used all coconut before (YUM!) and butter would be good too)
  • 3/4 C honey (or maple syrup)
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 2 T water

Mix wet, stir into dry. I like to use my stand mixer. Press into a greased 9 by 13 casserole and bake at 350 for about 30 to 35 minutes until golden on the edges and a bit golden on the top. Cut while slightly warm, but wait until they are cool to serve. Serve too soon and they fall apart.

You can also completely alter the recipe by changing the add ins; instead of pecan and chocolate chips, try 2 to 3 cups of any combination of nuts, dried fruit, and/or flaked coconut. I have used raisins in the past; the boys didn’t like them as much. Gee, go figure. And I felt like the raisins burnt slightly where they touched the pan, but cinnamon raisin was yummy. We have made chocolate chip and cashew recently; those were a hit too!


Loose meat sandwiches with pan fried potatoes

When I was growing up my mother made a recipe similar to this that we called sloppy joes until my sister dated a guy named Joe who was decidedly not sloppy. After that we called them sloppy charlies. Years later, I got a bit tired of telling people what a sloppy charlie was and why we called it that, and we renamed the sandwich loose meat. By then, I had completely transformed my mom’s recipe, which called for canned soup, to one that calls for onions and broth. The sandwiches have become a family favorite, and as I post about them occasionally, they have also become a frequently requested recipe. They pair nicely with our simple pan fried potatoes and a steamed veggie. Enjoy!

Loose Meat Sandwiches

  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 T whole wheat flour
  • seasoning blend of choice (We like Northwoods from Penzey’s in this.)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth

Saute onion in olive oil over medium-low heat until completely caramelized, around 20 minutes. Be sure to stir frequently to prevent over browning. Add beef and cook until browned through; drain fat if needed. Stir in salt, pepper, spice blend, and flour. Let cook for a minute or so. Add the broth, bring to a boil, and let it cook uncovered until it gets very thick, again about 15 or 20 minutes. Serve warm on your favorite sandwich bun.

Pan Fried Potatoes

  • 1 or 2 large potatoes, cut lengthwise into quarters, then sliced into 1/8 inch thick slices
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • sea salt

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add potatoes and salt being certain to spread them out as much as possible. Cook, without stirring, for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir, then cook again for 10 to 15 minutes without stirring. Continue this process until the potatoes reach your desired crispness. You’ll find that you need to stir a bit more frequently the longer they have cooked. Drain on a towel before serving.


Carrot Muffins

We are constantly looking for new snacks around here. I was surprised earlier this week when the boys requested to make carrot muffins for a snack. I adapted a carrot cake recipe for these muffins, but they are so moist and sweet you could frost them and call them cupcakes or double this recipe to make a layer cake. The best part about them is there’s not a single grain of refined sugar!

Carrot Muffins

  •  1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated carrot
  • 8 oz. can of crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/2 cup oil (coconut was delish!)
  • 2 eggs

Line or oil 12 muffin cups. Stir together dry ingredients; then add the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly with a mixer. Spoon about 1/4 cup batter into each muffin cup. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Try not to eat 4 as soon as they cool enough. Really.

These didn’t even last long enough around here for hubby to get to try them, and the boys were begging for more.


Brownies with salted caramel frosting and chocolate glaze

I make dessert for a weekly social gathering in my home. While I have standby yumminess that I like to bake, ocassionally I want to make something new. I try all kinds of things, and I have taken to calling my friend Linda “my guine pig”. This was our dessert this week. I hate to brag, so I can’t tell you just exactly how good they were. They’re gone now; they did not last long!

A word about brownies. You could probably make this recipe with any brownie, even a boxed mix, but the brownie recipe here is worth making them from scratch. This is our go to brownie, and it is plenty yummy all on it’s own.

Brownies with Salted Caramel Frosting and Chocolate Glaze


  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter or shortening (I actually use canola oil much of the time right now!)
  • 2 T water
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 3/4 cup nuts or chocolate chips (6 oz. of semisweet chocolate chunks work perfectly here, and it leaves you the other half the package for the glaze.)

Stir together sugar, fat and water, add eggs and vanilla and stir until combined. Mix dry ingredients and combine with sugar mixture. Stir in the chocolate chunks (or chips, nuts, etc.) and spread in a greased 13 by 9 inch pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Cool completely before frosting. If you choose to make plain brownies, opt to eat them warm; you’ll thank me!

Salted Caramel Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter or shortening (I used coconut oil.)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 t SEA salt
  • 6 T milk (I used full fat coconut milk.)
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

Combine fat and brown sugar on the stove; heat slowly to a boil, stirring constantly, and boil for a minute. Remove from heat and add sea salt and milk. Return to heat and bring just to a boil, again slowly stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, set aside, and allow to cool for about 30 minutes. Then use a mixer to beat in powdered sugar until smooth. Add a bit of milk if frosting gets to thick. Frost brownies.

Chocolate Glaze

  • 6 oz. of semisweet chocolate
  • 2 T oil (I used canola.)

Melt chocolate and oil together stirring until smooth. Cool for a while, then gently pour onto frosted brownies. Gently tilt pan of brownies allowing glaze to run until it has covered the entire surface. Chill to get glaze to set up.

These can be stored in the fridge, but are best cut and served at room temperature.

Please come back and tell me how you liked them if you make them. They were a hit over here!




Boston Cream Cake

I am absolutely certain that I could do a bit of research and find out exactly why it is called Boston Cream Pie, but there was no way that the name fit this boston cream concoction. It’s become a tradition that I make dessert for my FIL’s birthday celebration, and, as such, I have come to know that he likes custards. How can you beat the custard and cake combo of Boston Cream. I have in the last year or so become quite enamoured with taking a regular cake recipe and dividing it into multiple layers; I put the two concepts together and came up with an 8 layer boston cream CAKE. Eight layers makes this a cake no matter what the inspiration was called, right?

This is more directions than a recipe.

Boston Cream Cake

Make your favorite yellow cake recipe, except prepare 8 cake pans, if you have them. If not, prepare two 8 inch round pans and plan to recycle them to bake all 8 layers. Measure out exactly 1/2 cup batter per pan and spread evenly across the bottom of the pan. These will bake at 350 for about 12 to 15 minutes; be very careful not to overbake the layers.

Meanwhile, make and chill your pastry cream. I used this Martha Stewart recipe, but any standard, large, 4 yolk recipe will do. I will admit that more cream would not have hurt this at all; even a 6 yolk version would work quite well and might even be better, depending on how much cream you like with your boston. 😉

You’ll also need to make a chocolate ganache; I also used a Martha recipe, found here, but I doubled this one. Again, tripled might be better depending on your tastes.

Assembly is quite simple, place a layer on your cake plate and top with 1/4 of the pastry cream; spread the cream to the edges. Top this with another layer of cake and just enough of the gananche to spread thin, completely cover the layer, and drip a bit. Continue to add layers alternating the cream and chocolate until you get to the top. Pour the remaining chocolate ganache over the top and spread lightly allowing it to drip down the sides as well. Chill this for at least 30 minutes before serving.

I will be making this one again. And I’m seriously thinking about pulling it out of the fridge and eating a slice NOW.