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November 21- My kitchen

I have always found comfort in kitchens. It is the heart of a home. It is where meals are made, conversations are had and life is lived. When we built our home we put a lot of money into the kitchen and living room. We wanted this to be the heart of our home.

My kitchen is where I spend most of my day. I have my laptop sitting on one end of my island. It is here that I type my blog posts. It is here that I plan my menus and make our meals. It is here that I help my children finish their homework, answer their questions and so much more.

So I’m thankful for my kitchen and all it means to me.

 

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Tasty Tuesday– Granola

I love recipes that I can make over and over and they turn out yummy, but never are the same. Yes, you read that right.  My granola recipe is one of those.

Here is the original recipe, my mom gave me this recipe years ago. I can’t tell you the last time I looked at the actual recipe.

Homemade granola
2.5 c. old fashioned rolled oats
1 c. shredded coconut
1/2 c. coarsely chopped almonds or walnuts
1/2 c. sesame seeds
1/2 c. shelled sunflower seeds
1/2 c. unsweetened wheat germ
1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. oil
dried fruit of your choice

Preheat oven to 300.

In a large bowl combine oats, coconut, nuts, seeds, and wheat germ.  Combine honey and oil in a separate bowl.   Add honey mixture to dry mixture.  Spread onto a cookie sheet.

Bake at 300 until golden brown (recipe says 45 min, I baked mine for 40 and I think it was slightly over cooked).  Stir mix every 15 minutes to prevent sticking.

Remove from oven. Stir in fruit.  Remove to another pan to cool, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

Store in an air tight container or freeze.

In my opinion the only ingredients you need are: oats, oil, nuts and some type of sweetener.

 

Here is the recipe I made this week!

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The grocery store we go to here in PA has a bulk section so I switch up the nuts I use all the time. This week I had: peanuts, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds. I also used oats, wheat germ, canola oil, agave nectar, brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.

Put all the ingredients into the pan, mix well to distribute the oil, sweeteners, and flavorings.

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I baked it at 350 for for 30 minutes. Make sure to stir it around every 10 minutes so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.

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You will smell the nuts and oatmeal browning. They should end a nice golden color

You need to let it cool before eating. I usually take it out of the pan before it totally cools so that it doesn’t stick to the pan. I’d typically make this on cookie sheets with silt pads to prevent sticking, but those are still in boxes, so I’m making due with what I have!

Right now, Richard is eating this daily on yogurt for breakfast. I typically pick out the nuts and clumps of granola to have as a snack or eat it with yogurt as lunch or a late afternoon snack.

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I hope you choose to try this recipe. You can always start with the classic version posted at the top and then play around with it as you please. Or, if you are like me… just jump in and make up your own version. I swap out nuts, add other flavoring such as maple, more vanilla, add fruits or chocolate chips.  Whatever floats your boat.  Let me know what you think, and especially let me know if you try it out! Enjoy!!

 

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Tasty Tuesday– Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

I’ve been on a “Let’s try to bake healthier” kick. Sometimes it works… sometimes it doesn’t. Now let me clarify before you make a decision on healthier… I’m still using flour, brown sugar, and other typical ingredients. I’m a purist. If I’m going to bake I’m using AP flour, real sugar and butter. It’s just me… Sort of like if I’m going to read I need a book.

So I’ve been making “breakfast cookies”.  This recipe was actually a super healthy recipe that I altered to make more my style of baking. You can see the original recipe with almond flour, coconut sugar and more healthy ingredients here.

If you don’t have those types of ingredients at home… here is my version!

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup  flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large banana, mashed
  • ¾ cup creamy peanut butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2/3 to 3/4 cup strawberry jam (or your favorite flavor!)

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directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. spray 9×9 pan with non-stick spray. Place the peanut butter in a bowl and microwave it for 30 seconds, or until melty. Let it cool for a few minutes. I added my banana to the hot peanut butter since I’d just pulled it out of the freezer. the PB and banana can be mixed together before being added to dry ingredients.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, flour,  sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.P1060931

 

Add the banana and peanut butter mixture to the bowl and use a spatula to mix and combine and dough. Take a few minutes to really mix it together – the mixture will moisten totally. I ended up mixing it with my hands once it was starting to pull together.

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Press the dough into the prepared pan. Make sure to make it an even layer across the pan.

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Spread the jelly over the top of the mixture. You could also just do dollops if you don’t want as much jelly.

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Bake the cookies for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and let cool completely.

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These turned out decent. They are really dense in my opinion. I did end up added a bit extra PB in my attempt to pull it all together. They have a good PB taste. It may work out better as cookies because they would be thinner, or you could make it in a 9×13 which would also make the bars not as thick. I haven’t moved it to the must make again category, but it’s not OMG never again either. It’s more like… that needs work.

 

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Electric Pressure cooker

I love cooking. I do have some gadgets in the kitchen, ok most are packed in boxes, but I own them. My most recent purchase was an electric pressure cooker. I’d seen many people talking about it on social media and decided to get on on Amazon Prime day.  I purchased a Cosori 7-in-1 pressure cooker.

I have already made pulled pork, chicken nachos, chicken and rice and today I made applesauce.

I’m enjoying the simple ability to make deep tasting dishes quickly. I like that I can make a lot of the dishes I’d make in my crockpot in a fraction of the time. I’m looking forward to trying soups, chili and stews in it when the weather gets cooler.

Do you have an electric pressure cooker? What is your favorite thing to make in it?