Monday, January 20, 2014

Granola Bars

It's my life long pursuit to find a granola bar recipe that doesn't taste like saw dust. After many fails, I decided to put together my own recipe. The major problem I found was that virtually no recipes were able to provide me with a granola bar that I could cut up without ending up with a pile of granola. I decided to start with perhaps the greatest treat glue of all time...marshmallow. You know what I am talking about without referencing any brand names that will get me sued for copyright infringement. So I toasted up some oats, added a few ingredients, cooked up my glue and VOILA! Granola bars that you can actually cut into bars. I'm not sure they are any healthier than the ones they sell in the store, but they probably definitely have less crazy additives. Plus, once you buy the essentials, you can make a lot of them for a lot less money. So, without further ado...

1-1/2 cups old-fashoned oats (not the quick oats)
1 T. butter, melted
1 T. oil
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine the oats with the oil, butter and salt in a bowl. Spread them onto a cookie sheet and toast them at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until they are a light golden brown. Be sure to flip them a few times so they don't burn. While the oats are baking, combine the following ingredients in a bowl, then set aside:

1 cup crispy rice cereal
1/2 cup slivered almonds (unsalted)
1/4 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
1/4 cup cranberries
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 T. dark brown sugar
2 T. light agave nectar (you could probably substitute honey. My kids hate honey.)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Finally, melt 1-1/2 T. butter in a non-stick pot. Add 2 cups of mini marshamallows. Stir until all of the marshmallows melt.

By this time your oats should be nice and toasty. Add them to the crispy rice mixture. Now pour the marshmallow sauce over the whole thing. Stir until combined.  Pour into about a 7" x 9" square dish that has been sprayed with cooking oil. Spray some oil on your hands and press the granola into the pan until the top is flat. Now microwave about 1/2 cup chocolate chips and a teaspoon of coconut oil in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until all of the chips have melted. Spread the mixture over the top of the bars. Now put the mixture in the refrigerator until the chocolate sets. After about 30-40 minutes, you can cut the mixture into bars. I hope you enjoy these treats! I'd like to hear about any other fruit and nut mixtures that anyone else tries. That part is flexible. Just don't add chocolate chips to the hot mixture, unless you want chocolate bars. The chip will melt. That's why I added it to the top.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Knitted Mini Stocking

I couldn't find a good mini stocking pattern, so I wrote my own. I didn't like how most were kind of stubby. I wanted mine to look like an old-fashioned stocking...more like a sock. I hope it works up well. I don't write a lot of patterns. I adapted it from a sock pattern.
Double-Pointed Needles - Size 9
Red Heart Super Saver Yarn

ssk (slip, slip, knit) Slip next 2 sts as if to knit, one at a time, to right needle; insert left needle into fronts of these 2 sts and knit them tog - 1 st decreased.

NOTES:
1. Socks are worked in rnds from top down on double-pointed needles.
2. Heel is turned (shaped) by working short rows.
3. Length of foot can be worked to any desired length.
SOCK With A, cast on 32 sts. Divide sts onto 4 needles. Place marker for beg of rnd. Join by working the first st on left hand needle with the working yarn from the right hand needle, being careful not to twist sts.
Rnd 1: Knit
Rnd 2: Purl Rep last 2 rnds 11 times, then change to B and Rep Rnd 1 once more. Work in stocking stitch for next 24 rnds. On last rnd, work only first 24 stitches. This will assure seam aligns with the middle of the heel when laid flat.

Heel Flap Note: Heel is worked back and forth in rows over 16 sts, on 2 needles only. The rem 16 sts, on the other 2 needles, are for the instep (top of foot), and will be worked again after the heel is complete. Remove beg of rnd marker. If desired, sl instep sts onto a holder for now.
Row 1: Sl 1 as if to purl, k15, turn.
Row 2: Sl 1 as if to purl, p15, turn.
Rows 3-10: Rep last 2 rows 4 times, then rep Row 1 once more.

Turn Heel Note: To turn (shape) the heel, short rows are worked over a portion of the sts in a row. To work short rows, the instructions will tell you to turn before you reach the end of the row, when you turn, leave the rem sts unworked.
Row 1: P8, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 2: Sl 1 as if to purl, k1, ssk, k1, turn.
Row 3: Sl 1 as if to purl, p to 1 st before the gap created by sl st on last rnd, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 4: Sl 1 as if to purl, k to 1 st before the gap created by sl st on last rnd, ssk, k1, turn.
Rep Rows 3 and 4 until all sts have been worked, end with RS row - there are now 8 sts for the heel. Note: On the last 2 rows there will be no heel stitch to work after the p2tog or ssk.
Next Rnd (RS): K across heel sts; with same needle, pick up and k7 sts along side of heel flap; with needles 2 and 3, work in St st as established across 16 top of foot (instep) sts; with needle 4, pick up and k7 sts along other side of heel flap and with same the needle k across 4 of the heel sts - 38 sts at the end of this rnd. Place marker for new beg of rnd.

Gusset
Rnd 1: Knit.
Rnd 2: K to last 3 sts on first needle, k2tog, k1; on 2nd and 3rd needles, work in St st as established; on 4th needle, k1, ssk, k to end - 36 sts at the end of this rnd. Rep last rnd until 28 sts rem. Rearrange needles so there are 7 stitches on each needle.

Foot
Work in St st until foot measures about 2 in. less than desired total foot length, about 10 rows. Change to A.

Shape Toe
Next Rnd: *K to last 2 sts on first needle, k2tog; rep from * on each needle around - 24 sts at the end of this rnd.
Next Rnd: Knit. Rep last 2 rnds until 2 sts rem on each needle. Cut yarn, leaving 6 in. (15 cm) tail. Thread tail through rem sts. Pull gently to close opening. Knot to secure. Fasten off.

FINISHING Weave in ends.

ABBREVIATIONS / REFERENCES beg = begin(s)(ning) k = knit k2tog = knit 2 together p = purl p2tog = purl 2 together rem = remain(s)(ing) rep = repeat(s)(ing) rnd(s) = round(s) RS = right side sl = slip St st = Stockinette stitch st(s) = stitch(es) tog = together

Friday, June 15, 2012

Almond Milk Ice Cream

I recently tried almond milk for the first time. It tastes good, but I'm just not a big "any kind of milk" drinker...cow, almond, coconut or soy. So I decided to try making it into ice cream. It actually freezes faster than cow's milk. Here's my recipe: 3/4 cup almond milk 1/2 cup sugar 2 cups(1 pint) heavy cream 3/4 tablespoon vanilla extract Mix milk and sugar until the sugar is dissolved, then add remaining ingredients. Pour into ice cream maker and mix for 20 min. Transfer to freezer safe container and freeze until desired consistency. I plan on serving this over grilled pineapple with a drizzle of Nutella on top for a sweet Father's Day treat.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bean Soup

I bought a package of Goya beans and it had this recipe on the bag (or something like it):

6 cups of water
1 package Goya ham flavor
1 package (1 lb.) of Goya 16 Bean Soup Mix
1 medium onion
2 stalks of chopped celery
1 chopped carrot
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper

My husband is a vegetarian, so I substituted the ham flavor for 2 vegetable buillion cubes and threw it in the crockpot for a few hours. When I went to check on it, it had soaked up a lot of water and needed some flavor, so I added:

1 cup of water
1 more buillion cube
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Tabasco

It was better, but still lacked something, so I added some crumbled spicy vegetarian sausage. Much better, but I think next time I will add some chopped kale just before serving it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Powder Room Makeover

I wish I had a picture of our powder room when we moved into our house. It had a weird wallpaper border that had these, like, these scroll-type thingies on it a la 1988. I promptly took it down, only to discover the previous owner had painted over wallpaper. :-/ So I bought a steamer and took off the wallpaper. It was a long and tedious process. Afterwards I painted the walls a light grayish-green. Here is the result.
It was nice, but the dark cabinet always bothered me because the room is so small and it still made it look dark. So, after remodeling the basement, I had the home improvement bug and decided to paint the cabinet white. I don't know if you can tell, but I even added a couple of little rosettes and some moulding to dress it up a bit.

I have mixed emotions. It does make the room look brighter, but now it looks a little naked. Maybe I'm just not used to it.
Oh well, hopefully we can replace the whole cabinet in the future.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ranch Potato Chips


I've been making homemade potato chips for a few years now. There are a few things I have discovered in that time:

1) You must use fresh potatoes. They slice much nicer and make better chips.
2) Slice the potatoes on a mandolin (the slicer, not the instrument). It slices them evenly and thin enough to be crunchy.
3) Soak the potatoes in vinegar water for at least 15 minutes. It takes out some of the starchiness. Also, rinse the potatoes several times before throwing them in the fryer.
4) Once the potatoes start to crisp up, stir them continuously. It will help them to brown evenly.

So...last week I got a super good batch of chips and a thought occurred to me...
WHAT if I sprinkled the chips with the contents of a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Salad and Seasoning Mix?

Brilliant! Yay, me!
Try it.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Salsa

I thought I would share a recipe for salsa. It originated in my husband's family, but I have altered it over the years. I'm not big on measurements so you will have to decide exactly how much of the jalapeno, onion, cilantro and lime you would like to use. If you are unable to judge this then find another recipe. :)

Dump all of these ingredients into a bowl, then mix it up.
1 lg can Rotel (see notes)
1 sm can chopped olives
1/2 sm onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 lime, juiced
Handful of cilantro, chopped
salt to taste

Notes:
*I cook the jalapeno in water in the microwave for 1 minute just to soften it a bit. Then cut it in half and seed it.
*Sometimes I will drain the tomatoes a bit, depending upon how much liquid is in it.