Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pasta

When it starts feeling like Fall, I get that pumpkin fever. I got the fever, and the only cure … is more pumpkin.

Pumpkin Pasta 7

I decided today, spur of the moment, that I wanted pumpkin pasta for lunch and nothing else would do. I’m not high maintenance at all …

I don’t have a Kitchen Aid or a pasta maker, so I needed a recipe that was simple and easy to make without fancy equipment. I found the perfect one.

I only changed the recipe slightly – swapping in whole wheat flour for some extra nutrition, and omitted one of the egg yolks to lower the cholesterol. I also just happened to have homemade pesto in the fridge which I knew would taste wonderful atop this fabulous noodle (I was right). This pasta was incredible! Like, O-M-G good. It is so satisfying and hearty, delicious and flavorful, while still being simple and healthy. It’s basically the embodiment of everything I strive for in my life, in the form of a noodle. This pasta might be my soul mate.

The original recipe called for all-purpose flour, which would definitely make the dough much lighter. I used all-purpose for dusting but stuck to whole wheat for the substance of the noodle. The choice of flour is all yours. If you’ve never made or tried fresh pasta, you should know it tastes completely different than boxed store-bought pasta. It’s ten times more flavorful! It also takes hardly any time. I only boiled my pasta for 1 minute each batch. Don’t forget to salt your water – it makes a huge difference, I promise!

Pumpkin Pasta 4
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pasta 
Recipe adapted from Minimalist Baker
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour (could also use all-purpose flour) + extra for dusting
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • Water
Preparation:
Add flour and salt to a food processor and pulse. Then add in egg yolk and 1 whole egg, and the pumpkin puree. Pulse until well combined. Then drizzle in water until a dough forms.
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Transfer to a very lightly floured surface, sprinkle with a little flour, and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 30 minutes to rest.
After the pasta has rested, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously.
Cut the pasta into four pieces and begin rolling out into a loose rectangle, sprinkling on only as much flour as it takes to keep it from sticking. Mine was a fairly sticky dough (I might have added too much water), so I needed quite a bit of flour to hold it all together.
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Once the dough is nearly paper thin, cut it into any shape you want. I used a pizza cutter to cut mine into fettuccini-like strips.
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Cover with plastic wrap until ready to cook. Add pasta to boiling water and stir just to make sure they don’t stick together. It should only take 1 to 1 1/2 minutes to cook.
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Drain and transfer to serving plate. Top with pesto and parmesan cheese, like me, or you could toss with tomato sauce. Roasted chunks of pumpkin and sage would be a yummy combo, or just plain olive oil, red chile flakes and cheese would be great too!
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Usually I eat the same amount that 3-4 people would, but this pasta was pretty filling, so I had leftovers. Hooray I get pumpkin pasta round 2! :)
Pumpkin Pasta

Chocolate, Almond, Chia, and Sea Salt Granola Bars

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As a student on a budget and with a tight schedule, it’s important to prep food for the week so no bad decisions are made … Sometimes fruit and veggies just aren’t satisfying enough to get me through between meals. I need something a little more substantial to keep hunger at bay. I usually reach for some kind of natural granola type bar, but that can get expensive fast. The best option? Make my own, of course.

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When I was searching for a recipe, I wanted something that was healthy, tasty, and filling. This recipe exceeds those standards. With protein powder, chia seeds, and oats these bars won’t leave you hungry. With almonds, dark chocolate, and pure maple syrup for sweetness, they are delicious. Everything in these bars is natural and healthy, save for the chocolate chips, but since I use dark chocolate, the amount of sugar is minimal and there’s antioxidants, I swear!

These delicious bars will be the perfect smart snack to get me through the day. Next time I make these, which I’m sure will be embarrassingly soon, I’ll probably play around with the flavors. Shredded coconut and flax meal would work well in these bars, as would dried apricots and walnuts. The best part about making your own granola bars is that they can contain whatever deliciousness you want! I’m thinking dried tart cherries and pecans might be in my future …

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Chocolate, Almond, Chia, and Sea Salt Granola Bars

Recipe from Housewife in Training

Ingredients:

  • 1¾ cups old fashioned oats
  • ½ cup protein powder
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ cup almonds, chopped
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips
  • Sea salt, to sprinkle on top

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the oats, protein powder, chia seeds, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and salt. Mix well.

In a small bowl, microwave the peanut butter and maple for 30 seconds. Stir until incorporated well, then add to oat mixture. Pour milk into mix and stir until dough forms. Fold in chocolate chips after peanut maple mixture has cooled (otherwise the chips will melt). Dump into a greased 9×9 pan and press evenly into pan with spatula or wet hands (it will be a little sticky!). Press almonds on top and sprinkle a little sea salt.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes, then cut into 12 bars. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

Some pics of the process:

Press dough into pan and sprinkle almonds and sea salt on top. Press slightly into dough to keep everything together.

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Bake and let cool on a wire rack until you can slide the whole thing onto a cutting board (parchment paper helps with this).

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Cut into 12 square bars … you could make them bigger or smaller as you wish.

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Pack up and pop into the fridge to snack on throughout the week.

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The whole batch is about 2,350 calories, which comes out to 195 calories of nutritional goodness per bar.

Lemon Chia Seed Muffins: 2 Ways

My brother is spoiled rotten. He gets treats every dang time I visit him. As much as he enjoys getting edible gifts, I enjoy giving them. So I guess it all works out.

This time, it was cotton candy cookies (per his request) and lemon chia seed muffins. I’m not a big fan of the cotton candy flavor, accomplished with help from Duncan Hines flavor packets, but the muffins … my god, the muffins.

Lemon Chia Seed Muffin

I’ve always loved lemon poppyseed muffins, but since I’ve discovered chia, it just makes sense to swap in the nutrient powerhouse that is the chia seed. I’ve mentioned before how terrible my oven is, but for whatever reason, these muffins always come out perfect. They have a sort of buttery brown and slightly crisp exterior, while the inside is soft and delicate. Both versions of this recipe, the healthy and … less-healthy, turned out beautiful. 

I think there is some sort of chemical reaction at play between the lemon juice, yogurt and baking soda, because the batter literally fluffs and foams up when you’re mixing at the very end. It almost reminds me of a soft and fluffy tempura batter. These muffins are an absolute must-bake. They’re nice for a grab-and-go breakfast or snack. I’m a purist myself, but I bet these would also be great with blueberries or walnuts if you so desire. 

I made regular ole’ sugar and butter muffins for my brother, because he’s a growing boy. I made a healthier version, sans frosting, for myself. I added in Greek yogurt, fiber-rich whole-wheat, flax meal, coconut sugar and coconut oil. Both were delicious in their own ways. I love that rich and nutty flavor and texture you get from using whole wheat, so the healthy muffins were right up my alley. My brother is a sweet-buttery-delicate cake kinda guy, so these were right up his … 

Lemon Chia Seed Muffin 3

Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

Recipe adapted from Pinch of Yum

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 large lemons (yielding ¼ cup zest and ⅓ cup juice)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • ¼ cup milk or cream
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice 
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine lemon zest and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Rub together with your fingers to release flavor from the zest. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the lemon juice, vanilla, eggs, oil, butter, milk, and chia seeds. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined.
  3. Pour batter into greased muffin tins; you should be able to get 12 muffins. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched.
  4. For the glaze, whisk the powdered sugar and juice together until smooth. Heat the butter over medium heat until melted; add the glaze mixture and stir until bubbling and warm, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and glaze muffins immediately by dipping muffins upside down into the glaze saucepan or spooning the glaze over the tops. Glaze should set quickly.

Lemon Chia Seed Muffin 4

Healthy Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 large lemons (yielding ¼ cup zest and ⅓ cup juice)
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine lemon zest and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Rub together with your fingers to release flavor from the zest. Add the flour, flax, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the lemon juice, vanilla, eggs, oil, yogurt, milk, and chia seeds. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined.
  3. Pour batter into greased muffin tins; you should be able to get 12 muffins. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched.

Lemon Chia Seed Muffin 5

 If you’re trying to decide which to bake, I say, when in doubt, frost yo-self!

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Because of the holiday weekend, yesterday felt like a Sunday. And Sundays, are for baking.

Banana Peanut Butter Bread

I’ve been trying to expand my flour collection and knowledge, so I ventured into sweet sorghum flour for the first time this weekend. A bag of it has been sitting my cupboard for quite awhile and I decided it was finally time to do something about it.

Sorghum is supposed to have more protein and fiber than other flours, but it can be pretty heavy if used alone. When combined with other flours (white, wheat, corn, rice, quinoa, etc.) it can make for very hearty and tasty treats.

I definitely noticed a difference in the consistency of my banana bread – it was fairly dense and a little drier than usual. It worked out well though, because usually my terrible oven burns everything! It burns on the outside while keeping the inside uncooked, no matter the temperature. I thought the sorghum might help to soak up the wet ingredients and … well, I get tired of saying this, but … I was right! The bread actually cooked better on the inside because of it.

I will need to do more experimenting before I have mastered sorghum and will probably stick with whole-wheat flour until I’m feeling adventurous again. You can try this recipe with sorghum or just stick to whole-wheat or regular all-purpose flour.

This recipe makes a truly delicious and healthy bread, with the added bonus of peanut butter! Banana bread is delicious alone, but when you add creamy peanut butter and a hint of coconut from the sugar and oil, it’s really spectacular. I love this bread because it’s guilt-free, comforting, and super yummy. It’s perfect alone, but if you want a little somethin’ extra, you can slather on extra peanut butter, jam, honey, molasses … the possibilities are endless. I’ve been eating it for breakfast, and snack-time, and post-lunch time, and dessert time … us Hobbits eat a lot, ok?

Banana Peanut Butter Bread 2

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Yield: makes 1 loaf or 12 muffins 

Ingredients:

  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 sorghum flour (or just use all whole-wheat flour)
  • 1/8 cup flaxseed
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp clove

Preparation:

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Spray loaf pan or muffin tin with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl whisk together the bananas, yogurt, peanut butter, and oil. Once fully mixed incorporate the eggs, one at a time. Then mix in vanilla, syrup and coconut sugar.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet. Don’t overmix. Once fully incorporated pour into prepared loaf pan or muffin tin.

Bake muffins for 18-22 minutes until set. Bake loaf for 45-55 minutes.

Vegan Walnut Pesto

A couple of bucks got me a huge bundle of basil at the Farmer’s Market last week. (hi-five on that alliteration)

I made caprese salads three days in a row, but as the week went on, and I wasn’t making a dent in my herbal bouquet, I figured I better make a pesto before all the glorious greens started to brown.

Caprese salad

It seems so trendy to call things “vegan” these days, and I hate being trendy; but I didn’t know a more concise way to convey that there is no cheese in this pesto. “Cheese-less pesto” or “pesto sans cheese” just sound weird.

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I made this pesto in the morning and then used it later that day for a Walnut Pesto Chicken Pasta with Broccoli for dinner.

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The pasta was easy … I roasted chicken a la Ina Garten, chopped up a fresh ball of mozzarella, and roasted broccoli with a little olive oil. Sure I could have simply blanched or sautéed the broccoli, but there’s something about roasted broccoli that I just can’t get enough of these days. The edges become toasty and buttery and it really transforms into something special. Scatter parmigiano over top with a heavy hand and you’ve got a meal on its own. But I digress …

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We had fresh pesto pasta from “our pasta lady” at the Farmer’s Market so that didn’t take but 3 minutes to boil. Then it was just assembly. Drain pasta and place back in pot. Pour in some pesto and a little reserved starchy water and stir. Then dump in chicken, broccoli, mozzarella and more pesto, as needed.

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This pasta was SOOooo good! A delicious and healthy dinner for me and my best gal pals.

We were all eatin’ pasta like this …

But it was really like this …

This pesto is nice to have on-hand when you need a good meal quick. It could be used in all kinds of pasta dishes, over chicken, burgers or veggies … it would be great for a homemade pizza base too!

Pesto

Vegan Walnut Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 2-3 fresh garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, could toast for extra nutty flavor
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 large or 2 small)
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, amount depends on preferred consistency
  • 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Preparation:

Place basil, garlic, walnuts, and lemon juice into your blender or food processor. Pour a little olive oil in just to get things going and then blend until nuts and basil are finely pureed. Add in red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and begin pouring in olive oil through a top in a steady stream while you blend. You could also just dump all of the olive oil in and blend it all up, it works fine either way.

Note: these ingredient amounts can and should be adapted to suit your preferences. I rarely measure ingredients for pesto, but rather test out the flavor as I go. It all depends on how garlicky, lemony, nutty, or spicy you like your pesto. Also, how thick or thin you like the consistency. Just play around with it and it will be easier and more natural every time.

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Peach and Plum Galette

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You might recall from my recent Farmer’s Market post that I came back with quite a few peaches and plums; and since stone fruit is basically born to be made into desserts, specifically pies … I brought their destiny to fruition.

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Galettes (or crostadas) are like free-form pies. They’re so pretty and reeeally hard to mess up.

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Peach plum galette 8

Since I have been pretty busy lately, my plan was to just buy pie dough at the store. But when I got there and read the ingredients on the label, I made other plans. I dramatically threw down the “hydrogenated lard” in my hand and marched towards the natural butter while whispering under my breath, “Screw it, I’m doing this thing the right way.”

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Note: In the picture above you will see that it sort of looks like the dessert is not coming together, but like magic, it will!

With a food processor, a crust is about the easiest thing to make anyway, so I really had no excuse in the first place. The recipe I used for the pie dough is pretty foolproof. It’s from the book, The Pastry Queen. I almost made a pate sablee, but didn’t have any ground almonds, or almonds in general, and they’re a little expensive. So I stuck to the basics.

Peach plum galette

This pie is so good it’s unreal. The peaches and plums are sweet and juicy, and the crust is the perfect flakiness. Guaranteed crowd (or single person) pleaser. 

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Peach & Plum Galette

Pie Crust Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 11 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 4-6 tbsp cold water

Filling Ingredients:

  • 6 small plums, skins on and sliced
  • 2 peaches, skins on and sliced
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp water
  • Extra sugar for sprinkling
  • 1 tbsp apricot or peach jam

Preparation:

To make crust …

Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. If you’re using a food processor just put all the dry ingredients in together and give it a quick whirl to mix. Cut butter in by hand or toss all into the processor, until the mixture is crumbly and about the size of small peas. Add 4 tbsp very cold water and mix. Only add the rest of the water 1 tbsp at a time if needed, just until the mixture holds together easily.* Turn dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and pat into a disk shape. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least an hour.

To make the filling …

In a small bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon flour, granulated sugar, and cinnamon. In a large bowl gently toss together the plums, lemon juice and zest. Sprinkle the flour mixture over plums; gently toss until evenly coated.

To finish galette …

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take dough out of the fridge and roll out to about 10 inches in diameter on a floured surface. Place dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Transfer the plum mixture on top of dough, leaving a 2-inch border all the way around. Fold border over plum mixture, overlapping where necessary and gently pressing to adhere the folds.

Beat together the egg and teaspoon and water and brush over the edges of the dough, then sprinkle a little sugar over the crust. Place galette on the bottom rack of oven and bake until the crust is golden and the fruit is soft, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly on a baking rack. While pie is cooling, carefully brush jam over the fruit. It will give it a little extra sweetness and beautiful shine.

Can be served warm or at room temperature. Also, would be delicious with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

*Note: I only needed 4 tbsp of water.

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Healthy Banana Bread with Walnuts and Dark Chocolate

This is a great recipe that you can feel good about. It’s perfect for breakfast, a snack, dessert, late-night craving …

If I don’t have healthy treats around that I can nosh on when I get the urge, things can get preeeetty dicey. Like, late night chocolate cake making or cheesy pasta dicey. If I have something like this delicious bread sitting around, I have nothing to worry about because it’s easy, tasty, and full of good things!

This bread is one of the best healthy banana bread recipes I have tried. The recipe I used as inspiration had unsweetened applesauce instead of Greek yogurt and olive oil, but I improvised and used what I had. I am a big fan of using applesauce in baked goods though – it’s perfect for adding natural sweetness and moisture. If you omit the chocolate chips in my recipe (which I clearly could not do), this is pretty much guilt-free. I don’t even feel guilty for the chocolate though, because it’s good for the soul. #truth. 

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Healthy Banana Bread with Walnuts and Dark Chocolate 

Recipe adapted from Ambitious Kitchen 

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 4 mashed banana (overripe is best)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt (Fage)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (more or less to your liking)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (more or less to your liking)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick olive oil cooking spray.

In large bowl combine mashed banana, yogurt, olive oil, honey, egg, almond milk and vanilla until well combined and creamy. In separate medium bowl whisk together whole wheat flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix just until combined.

Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 60-70 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean with a few crumbs attached.

Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool completely. Keep bread tightly wrapped to maintain moisture.

Enjoy!

Farmer’s Market Saturdays

I’m that girl at the Farmer’s Market who takes awkwardly up-close-and-personal pics of each stand and then dashes away before someone can stop me …

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We stopped first at the coffee stand and then got a pastry from our favorite cute German baker lady before we began shopping in earnest, because, how could we possibly function before we’ve had iced coffee and pastries?

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In addition to the usual folk band, there was a harpist. Our Market is very fancy.

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There is so much beautiful produce in season this time of year, so we came away with quite a haul …

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Acorn squash, heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, peaches, plums, apples, basil, fresh pasta, and the most flavorful Concord grapes I have ever had. 

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Until next weekend …

Garlic Dill Pickles

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When you see Kirby cucumbers at the farmer’s market, the only sensible thing to do is to buy them and make pickles immediately. Which is exactly what I did.

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Pickles are something that are so nostalgically summer to me, and to be honest I don’t know exactly why … my grandmother had a great pickle recipe, which unfortunately was lost when she passed away. I used to love when she would make pickles though. They were just perfect, but I can’t remember why. I’m guessing she made them in the summer time.

Now I’m on a quest to find my own perfect pickle recipe. Pickles are also something that top American summer favorites like burgers and hot dogs. So perhaps that’s where my feelings of nostalgia arise from. These pickles turned out so well, that I think I will make it a personal tradition for me to make pickles in July from now on.  

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I really like when cucumbers are kept whole for pickles, but I didn’t have a jar big enough to accommodate. You think that stopped me? Nope. Instead I found a sun tea container buried deep in the back of the pantry and used that. It was WAY too big for the pickles, but still did the job. 

I used a recipe I found on Serious Eats. It recommended letting the pickles mellow out for a week, but I actually let them sit for 3 weeks. I tried one after a week and it just wasn’t done. After 3, they were perfection. Spicy, tangy, garlicky … just what I like in a pickle. I can’t stand sweet pickles, so if that’s your thing, this recipe is not for you. Also, we probably can’t be friends. 

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Garlic Dill Pickles 

Recipe from Serious Eats 

Ingredients:

  • 2 quart kirby cucumbers (approximately 3 pounds)
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons pickling salt
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 teaspoons dill seed
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes

Preparation:

Wash jars thoroughly in warm, soapy water. If you plan on making shelf stable pickles, prepare a boiling water bath canner. Put fresh canning jar lids into a small saucepan with 3 inches of water and set to the barest simmer.

Wash and dry kirby cucumbers. Remove blossom end. Cut into chips, spears or leave whole, depending on your preference.

Combine vinegar, water and salt in sauce pan and bring to a boil. Lean forward if you would like to clear out your nasal passage … 

Equally divide garlic cloves, dill seed, black peppercorns and red chili flakes between jars. Pack prepared cucumbers into jars as tightly as you can without crushing them.

Pour the brine into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace (that’s the amount of space between the surface of the brine and the rim of the jar).

Remove any air bubbles from jars by gently tapping them. You can also use a wooden chopstick or plastic utensil to help remove stubborn bubbles.

Wipe rims and apply lids and bands (don’t screw them on too tightly).

If processing jars for shelf stability, lower jars into your processing pot. When water returns to a boil, set a timer for 10 minutes.

When time is up, remove jars from canning pot and allow them to cool. When jars are cool enough to handle, check seals.

If you choose not to process your jars, let them cool before putting them into the refrigerator. Do note that your jars may seal during the cooling process. However, without the boiling water bath process, that doesn’t mean they’re shelf stable. Still refrigerate.

Let pickles rest for at least one week before eating. I recommend 3 weeks. 

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At the start of pickling … 

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After 3 weeks of pickling …                                          

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Credit to my brother Scottie for taking the great pics. 

Road Trip Granola Bars

Homemade Granola

Along with the Spiced Nuts from my last post, I also made some homemade granola bars for my road trip. They’re easy to make, really delicious, and a healthy snack to have on hand.

Granola bars are great because you can “make it your own,” as Simon Cowell would say an infinite amount of times on American Idol circa 2003. You can change the nuts and fruit to suit your preferences, and also make them super healthy or less healthy by playing around with the sweeteners and binders. For example, the recipe I based mine off of used butter and brown sugar, but I swapped in honey, pure maple syrup and olive oil instead. I used pecans in place of almonds, and I also added in natural peanut butter because I apparently cannot live a single day without peanut butter. I aaaaallmost drizzled some dark chocolate over top, but thought it might make a mess if they’re left in a hot car. One thing to note, is that these granola bars don’t hold together quite as well as others when you cut them, I’ll have to investigate that issue further once I’m off the road. Otherwise, they’re cute little bundles of delicious joy!

Homemade Granola 2

Road Trip Granola Bars

Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.

Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Place the olive oil, honey, maple syrup, peanut butter, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute. Add in vanilla, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the apricots and cranberries and stir well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.

Homemade Granola 1

 

Granola Bars 3