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When I first discovered the world of online recipes, The Joy of Baking was a big influence. It provided clear, detailed recipes that even a novice could pull off successfully.

I spotted her recipe for homemade granola, and decided to give it a whirl. It was a daunting task. My impression of homemade granola was not quite crisp oatmeal filled with burnt raisins.

This recipe was a success from the first. I have tried several different granola recipes, but I always return to this one. For some reason, it no longer appears on the Joy of Baking website. I feel very fortunate to have printed it out before it disappeared!

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:: Homemade Granola ::

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Note: I usually make a double batch as one recipe will only get us through one breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups (400 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup (50 grams) shredded or chipped coconut
  • 1 cup nuts of choice, chopped coarse
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dried fruits (cranberries, cherries, apricots, raisins, etc.) optional

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 300° F and place rack in center of oven. Either grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2) In a large bowl combine the rolled oats, coconut, nuts, and salt.

3) In a small saucepan set over medium low heat, melt the butter. Remove from heat. Stir in the honey, maple syrup, and vanilla. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and toss together, making sure all the dry ingredients are coated with the butter mixture.

4) Spread onto the prepared baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every five minutes. Do not over bake.

5) Place on a wire rack to cool. You will notice that the granola is still sticky when you remove it from the oven but it will become crisp and dry as it cools. Once the granola has completely cooled stir in your choice of dried fruits if desired. Store in an airtight container or plastic bag. It will keep for several weeks.

Makes about five cups of Granola

Edited on 2/19/08: The correct oven temperature is 300° F, not 350° F.

This soup is a blend of sweet and savory.  Make it spicy by garnishing with freshly grated nutmeg. Or give it a little extra kick with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

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:: Cream Butternut Squash Soup ::

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Adapted from The New Best Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • Freshly grated nutmeg or balsamic vinegar, optional

Directions:

1) Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and strings; reserve the scrapings.

2) Melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the scrapings from the squash and cook until the butter turns a saffron color, about 4 minutes.

3) Add the water and salt and increase to high heat. When the water comes to a boil, add the squash halves, reduce the heat to medium low, and cover. Cook until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat.

4) When squash is tender, transfer to a baking sheet and cool slightly. Strain the liquid in the pot through a fine mesh seive and reserve the liquid.  When the squash is cool enough to touch,  scrape the flesh from the skin.

5) Puree the squash in a blender, adding a little of the reserved liquid to achieve a smooth consistency.  Return this mixture to the now empty pot and stir in the cream and maple syrup. Stir in enough of the remaining liquid to achieve desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

6) Warm the soup over medium-low heat until hot. Do not boil. Serve immediately. Garnish with nutmeg or balsamic vinegar.

Makes 4-6 servings


12-20-08n41

With this little mix of spices you can create your own bulk Italian sausage. Perfect for pizza or any place sweet Italian sausage is called for.

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:: Sweet Italian Sausage Spice Blend ::

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground pork (ground beef may be substituted, but the flavor and texture will not be the same)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped parsley

Directions:

Combine the spices in a small bowl. Mix thoroughly with ground pork. Cook as directed by recipe.

P.S. It’s Kitchen Tip Tuesday…

Our Christmas Brunch

:: Menu ::

Savory

Fried Eggs

Sautéed Vegetables

Sausages

Sweet

Stollen

Poppy seed Cake

Rommegrot

Beverages

Eggnogg

Coffee

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

We sautéed mushrooms, onions, and green peppers to go with our eggs and sausages.

Every year on Christmas Eve, our Grandma sends home a loaf of her homemade Stollen. We like to toast it and smother it in butter.

I was browsing around, trying to find something utterly scrumptious to make, and found this recipe.

My litte neice enjoyed her first Christmas.

Homemade Pizza Sauce

Sauce is so important to a homemade pizza. I’m sure you could buy a very good bottled sauce. But why not make your own and control what goes into it?

This recipe makes a slightly sweet pizza sauce. The maple syrup helps to balance the acidity of the tomato paste. If you would like a less sweet version, simply decrease the amount of maple syrup.

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:: Quick Homemade Pizza Sauce ::

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup

1-2 tablespoons red cooking wine (optional but very good)

1/4 cup water

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Whisk together until well combined. Place over low heat and cook until heated through. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Makes about 3/4 cup, or enough for two large pizzas

P.S. It’s Kitchen Tip Tuesday…


closewithcup

This Wednesday was Dad’s birthday. Finding I didn’t have a present, I decided to bake him some biscotti. I was a little concerned he wouldn’t like them. Twice before I have made biscotti – and failed miserably. However, this batch turned our quite well (perhaps due to the fact that I actually followed the recipe).

“Those were good,” he said the next day. “Those are good.”

I am pleased and satisfied.

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:: Chocolate & Almond Biscotti ::

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole almonds, toasted and chopped coarse
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons softened butter, divided
  • 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (120z) bag of chocolate chips

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 325° F. In a large bowl, beat 1 cup of butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.

2) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture with the mixer on low and beat until well combined. Stir in the almonds. If the dough is too wet to handle, stir in an additional 1/2 cup of flour.

3) Butter 2 large baking sheets. Divide the dough into 3-4 portions and shape into long, flattened logs on the baking sheets, about 5 inches wide and 5/8 inches thick.

4) Bake the logs in preheated oven for 27-30 minutes, or until firm and slightly browned. Transfer logs one at a time to a cutting board and cut diaganally into 1/2 inch thick slices. Arrange sliced back on the baking sheets and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

5) Line two large baking sheets with wax paper. Melt the chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons butter in a double boiler. Place in a rectangular baking pan and dip the bottoms of the biscotti in the chocolate. Place the dipped biscotti onto the wax paper lined baking sheets and place in the freezer to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

alone2

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P.S. This is my entry for Eat Christmas Cookies 2. Stop by and see the roundup of delicious Christmas cookies!

————~:: Make It ::~————

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cranberry

Apple & Cranberry Chutney

blueberry Blueberry Syrup

muffin

Jam Jar Muffins

cookiescone

Cookie Scones

Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies

————~:: Wrap It ::~————

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Goodie Bags

Gift Adornments

Cookie Compotes

Quick Bread Wraping

Printable Gift Tags(pdf)

Cookie Gift Sleeves

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