Posts tagged ‘recipe’

Homemade Granola Bars (nut free!)

Since my daughter is allergic to peanuts and has recently developed a granola bar addiction I decided to try to make my own so I can control what goes in them and have a fun activity for us to do together. 

After lots of internet searching I landed on Ina Garten’s recipe since the reviews were great, it seemed simple and amazingly enough it had less fat than many others I found. I made a couple modifications right off the bat to leave out the nuts, use the dried fruit we had in the house and they turned out AMAZING! They flavor is deep and rich, extremely satisfying. They are easy to make and Sofie (29 months old) had fun making them with me. I had two pieces for breakfast this morning with my coffee…much more satisfying than any store bought bar. They also look so good you can’t help but want to eat them. The trick will be resisting eating too much at once! With a couple more tweaks, I think these will be a regular in our kitchen. They did come out a little hard this time (I decreased the cook time below) and I want to experiment with cutting back on the sugar since they were sweeter than they really need to be and I’d like to up the protein and other good stuff. See my notes below for ideas I’m mulling over. I may also try to cut down the butter…but maybe not, with no nuts and cutting out some sugar I think the 3 tablespoons can stay. I’d love to hear your variations!

 IMG_0507Taken this morning before enjoying some for breakfast (w/ my iPhone).

Homemade Nut-free Granola Bars


  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (I actually used sea salt)
  • 1 1/4 cup chopped dried fruit (I used dried cherries and cranberries)
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips/chunks


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper. Butter the pan very well to insure the bars come out easily. A 9 by 13-inch pan works too if you don’t have an  8×12.

If your wheat germ isn’t toasted, put it on a baking sheet and throw it in the oven for about 3 mins (while it is preheating) to toast up and then set aside. Be sure to set a timer of watch them closely, they can burn easily if left in too long.

Toss the oatmeal and coconut together on a sheet pan (you can use the same one you toasted the wheat germ on, no need to wash!). I poured the oatmeal and coconut into measuring cups and Sofie would dump them onto the baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. The toasting coconut will smell amazing! Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ and cinnamon. Here is another great place for a little one to help, I mixed everything up and then let Sofie mix (really just move the spatula around on the surface) for another minute.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dried fruit and chocolate and stir well. Sofie was in charge of the measuring cup with the fruit and chocolate, slightly less went into the mixture after her snacking while I prepped the sauce but I had added extra knowing she wouldn’t be able to resist.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Press the mixture very firmly and evenly into the pan. Using your fingers to press down on a spatula works since the mixture will still be very warm, or if you can take the heat wet fingers work best. My daughter wanted to help press so when it was basically done I let her press down with the bottom of the measuring cup we used for the oatmeal so she didn’t come in contact with anything too warm, or messy. Bake for 15 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours (or even over night) before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.


We try to use organic ingredients as much as possible. This time, the only ingredient I couldn’t find an organic version of was the wheat germ. So I settled for an “all natural” one.

I originally cooked my bars for the entire 30 mins as suggested in the original recipe, which was too long. While incredibly delicious, they were quite hard. So I changed the cook time to 15 mins in this version.

They are still on the sweet side, so next time I’m going to reduce the sugar a bit and may try a combo of honey and molasses. I love honey but may mix it with agave or brown rice syrup or barley malt syrup which take longer for your body to breakdown. 

Continuing to up the nutrition and well roundness of the bars. I’m considering trying versions with flax, chia or hemp seeds and perhaps even some protein powder.  For fruit I want to try goji berries and blueberries.

If you can eat nuts and want to include them I’m sure they’d be a great addition. You can add 1 cup of sliced almonds (or any chopped nuts) and decrease the oatmeal to 2 cups and the coconut to 1 cup. My favorite nuts are almonds and pecans.

– Molasses: I tried a batch where I swapped out half the honey for molasses. While I generally love molasses, I don’t love it in this recipe. For me, the flavor was too strong and thus overwhelmed many of the other more subtle flavors that make these bars great.

Original recipe
Food Network ( I recommend you take a look at the reviews, lots of great ideas and tweaks for the recipe)

July 23, 2010 at 11:38 am Leave a comment

Baked Delicata Squash Steak Fries


A couple weeks ago we got some delicata squash from our CSA share. Neither of us had ever heard of it before, so they went straight into our basement refrigerator to wait for us to figure out what to do with them. Last Friday I decided it was time to try. I did an online search for recipes and stumbled across this recipe that bakes slivers of squash so they come out like steak fries (but better!).

I adapted the recipe a little by using olive oil instead of non-stick spray, since non-stick spray scares me. The results was better than I could have imagined. They are addictive. So much so that they were gone before I got to take a photo. We made them again last night and I managed to snap a couple to share with you.

Below is my adaptation of the recipe.

Baked Delicata Squash Steak Fries


1 Delicata Squash
Olive oil


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise and clean out the seeds with a spoon. Cut into long steak fry strips leaving the skin intact. They are surprisingly hard to cut through, so be careful.

Toss the squash strips with a little olive oil (just to coat lightly) and sprinkle with salt.

Bake for about 30 minutes turning once half way through.

Original recipe:

October 18, 2009 at 8:13 am 3 comments

Baked kale chips

I have been wanting to try to make these ever since a friend mentioned how yummy they were. They seemed very intriguing to me.

Last night we finally got around to trying to make a batch with the flat leaf kale we got from our farm this week. And I have to say, they are delicious, and just plain fun.

We found a few recipes online and then came up with our own below. There are no amounts since you can use however much kale you want to eat and just coat with the oil and salt accordingly. Very easy. Enjoy!

Baked Kale Chips


Flat leaf kale (cleaned and dried)
Garlic salt
Olive oil


Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove stalks from kale. Cut leaves into approximately 1 – 1.5 inch shapes (bite/chip size). Toss kale in a bowl with a little olive oil to coat lightly. Add a little garlic salt and toss again to coat. Lay out in a single layer on a non-stick baking sheet and bake for about 4 minutes. Watch them closely as they go from done to burnt very quickly.

Remove from baking sheet an enjoy!

October 18, 2009 at 7:22 am Leave a comment

Fried Green Tomatoes

Having never cooked with (or even seen in real life) green tomatoes, when we got some with our farm share I scoured my cookbooks, online recipe sites and even posted a request to my friends on Facebook looking for a great recipe to try. And I lucked out and fell in love with the first one I tried.

A couple notes on the recipe itself:

    • Don’t be shy with the garlic powder!
    • I found adding salt to the dry mixture adds a lot (they definitely needed more salt the first time with salt only in the buttermilk)
    • They are fantastic with a couple drops of tabasco
    • The recipe is very scalable for however many green tomatoes you have
    • Make a lot…they will go fast!
Fried Green Tomatoes Recipe

Source: Tyler Florence, The Food Network

Prep Time: 10 min. Cook Time: 15 min. Level: Easy.

Serves: 4 to 8 servings


    • 1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
    • Pinch cayenne
    • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 4 large unripe tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices, ends removed
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • Hot pepper sauce, for serving
    • Lemon wedges, for serving


In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, garlic powder, and cayenne together. Pour the buttermilk into a separate bowl and season with salt and pepper. Dip the tomatoes in the buttermilk and then dredge them in the cornmeal mixture, coating both sides well.

Place a large cast iron skillet over medium heat and coat with the oil. When the oil is hot, pan-fry the tomatoes (in batches if necessary) until golden brown and crispy on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Carefully remove the tomatoes and drain on paper towels.

Serve with hot pepper sauce and lemon.

September 4, 2009 at 10:43 pm Leave a comment

Crispy and sticky chicken thighs with squashed new potatoes and tomatoes

I love love love this recipe. It is so easy to make, easy to scale up and is always a crowd pleaser because it is real comfort food. We serve it along side a salad with a simple balsamic vinaigrette, usually right on the same plate making it feel even more rustic.

Note the British measurements. I couldn’t wait for the US version of the cookbook to be published so I ordered the UK version 🙂 This recipe is so easy that it really isn’t an issue. As soon as you have made this once you’ll be eye-balling everything anyway.

Crispy and Sticky Chicken Thighs with Squashed New Potatoes and Tomatoes Recipe

Source: Jamie at Home Cookbook (Jamie Oliver’s)

Serves 4


    • 800 g new potatoes, scrubbed
    • Sea salt and freshly ground back pepper
    • 12 boned chicken thighs, skin on
    • Olive oil
    • 600g cherry tomatoes, different shapes and colors if you can find them
    • A bunch of fresh oregano
    • Extra virgin olive oil
    • Red wine vinegar [Carriere: Balsamic vinegar makes a tasty substitution]


Put the potatoes into a large sauce pan of salted boiling and boil until cooked.

While the potatoes are cooking, preheat your oven to 200oC/400oF. Cut each chicken thigh into three strips and place in bowl. Rub the meat all over with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss. Heat a large frying pan, big enough to hold all the chicken pieces snugly in one layer, and put the chicken into the pan, skin side down. If you don’t have a pan big enough, feel free to cook the chicken in two batches. Toss and fry over a high heat for 10 minutes or so, until almost cooked, then remove with a slotted to an ovenproof pan or dish.

Prick the tomatoes with a sharp knife. Place them in a bowl, cover with boiling water and leave for a minute or so [you can leave them longer and they will be fine]. Drain and, when cool enough to handle, pinch off their skins. You don’t have to, but by doing this they will become lovely and sweet when cooked, and their intense flavor will infuse the potatoes [Carriere: It is true, it is worth peeling them, they are a real highlight of the dish. We often add extra tomatoes]. By now the potatoes will be cooked. Drain them in a colander, then lightly crush them by pushing down on them with your thumb [Carriere: the back of a wooden spoon works well too, since they will be hot!].

Bash up most of the oregano leaves with a pinch of salt in a pestle and mortar. Add 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, a good splash of red wine vinegar and some pepper and give everything another bash. Add to the chicken with the potatoes, the tomatoes and the rest of the oregano leaves. Toss everything together carefully. Spread out and bake for 40 minutes in the preheated oven until golden.

Lovely served with a rocket salad dressed with some lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, and a nice glass of white wine.

September 4, 2009 at 10:30 pm 2 comments

Recipe: Vegetable Slaw with Jalapeno-Lime Dressing


My husband made this over the weekend and it was really delicious! We had it with  fish tacos, though it was great on its own as a side as well. We made a couple adjustments to the recipe:

  • we did not use jicama or red and yellow peppers since we didn’t have any [update  9/4/09: we used jicama in our last batch and it was even better! Get some if you can!]
  • we used napa cabbage instead of green and upped the amounts since we had a lot – just shows you how flexible the recipe is
  • we only used one jalapeno since I’m a wimp
  • we used the vegetable oil option. It was a little oily the first time. We now half the amount of oil.


Vegetable Slaw with Jalapeno-Lime Dressing Recipe

Source: Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook



  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 3 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 5 t salt
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • .5 t ground coriander
  • 1 C vegetable oil or .5 C buttermilk plus .5 C mayonnaise


  • .5 small head green cabbage
  • .5 small head purple cabbage
  • 1 small jicama (optional)
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 sweet red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 medium red onion
  • .5 C minced chives


Combine the ingredients up to coriander in a bowl or food processor.  Whisk or blend while slowly drizzling in the oil.  If using buttermilk and mayonnaise, simply whisk together all of the ingredients to blend well.  Adjust seasonings and set aside.

Core the cabbages and finely shred them.  If using jicama, peel it, cut it in half and slice into thin, even rounds.  Julienne slides into long, thin matchsticks,   Peel carrots and slice thin, diagonal coins.  Julienne each coin into long matchsticks.  Seed peppers and slice into fine strips.  Slice thin slivers of onion.  Roughly chop the stemmed cilantro.

Toss all of the vegetables in a large bowl and mix in the dressing.  Let the slaw sit at least 30 minutes, then toss again before serving.

June 24, 2009 at 7:38 am 2 comments

Recipe: Grilled Beets

Grilled Beets

This blog and recipe has moved to:

June 18, 2009 at 7:14 am 1 comment

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