DIY Easy Peezy Granola!

granola-2

This is my all time favorite granola recipe! I originally found this super fast easy granola recipe on food.com  and have stayed loyal! Feel free to try more complicated iterations or just stick with this classic simple option!

 

Grab a bowl. Mix the following ingredients together:

-4 cups of rolled oats

-½ tsp salt

1 cup of chopped almonds (or walnuts if you want to splurge!)

-2 tbsp ground flax seeds (optional, but super yummy if you opt to add them in!)

-1 tbsp of ground cinnamon

 

Then add the following ingredients to that same bowl. Use your hands to mix! Get messy 🙂

-⅓ cup of oil (the best choice of oil is coconut oil!)

-⅔ cup of (local!) honey (if you’re vegan, you can use agave syrup!)

-1 tsp vanilla (don’t go overboard with the vanilla, it can really overpower the other flavors if you add too much!)

 

Heat your oven to 300 degrees.

 

Pour your mixture onto a cookie sheet.

 

Bake your granola for 10  minutes. Remove and stir.

 

Bake your granola for another 10 minutes. It should look delicious and golden. Yes.

 

Remove from your oven and allow the granola to cool completely.

 

Transfer it to an airtight container for storage or eat it immediately with your grateful friends!

 

How to Display your Sweet Treats!

 

IMG_4396

What you need:

For the plates in this project, I recommend swinging by your local Goodwill or thrift store to find pieces that have some personality and some history to them!

1 small place (a saucer would be perfect!)

1 medium plate (a dessert plate or a salad plate)

1 large plate (a dinner plate!)

2 glass candlestick holders

1 glue gun and glue sticks

 

Step 1. Bake some delicious cookies or banana bread or whatever treat you would like to serve your guests who are going to be so impressed with your display!

Step 2 Glue the 1st candlestick holder to the center of the dinner plate

Step 3: Glue the the Salad plate to the candlestick that is attached to the dinner plate.

Step 4: Glue the 2nd candlestick holder to the center of the salad plate.

Step 5 Glue the saucer to the candlestick holder that is attached to the salad plate

Step 6: Wait for at least an hour. I recommend rolling out your yoga mat and enjoying your personal yoga practice for an hour while your project sets. Alternatively, you can snack on your cookies that you baked and read a book!

Step 7: Place your sweets on your beautiful tiered snack display!

Kitchen Tips You’re Going to Love!

XHL00362600000621_1_cute-women-girls-red-aprons-for-restaurant-kitchen-waitress-ladies-vintage-apron_20160707143048

The Apron.Wearing an apron while you bake  is about so much more than just keeping your clothes clean! Make sure you pick out an apron that you feel special in, an apron that makes you feel like you could out-bake Betty Crocker! The psychological component of feeling invincible while you  bake contributes to the peaceful and zen state that you can achieve when you get lost in the process of preparing food.

073000_095_b

The Dish Towels. Your clean up crew of dish towels should be three things: adorable, absorbent and tough. This is a tricky trifecta to achieve but you will be so happy that you  have effective dish towels when you are deep in the baking state of mind.

A1C+hHFnN-L._SL1500_

The Mitt. Not all oven mitts are up to the task of actually protecting your hands against heat! This is an element of your kitchen that it is worth investing in. You are more than welcome to keep a color coordinated mitt on display in your kitchen for aesthetic purposes, but I highly recommend that you have at least one heavy duty powerhouse oven mitt that is up to the task of saving your skin!

maxresdefault

The Hairdo. Baking is no time to let your hair down! Remember that chefs often wear those amazingly huge white hats, and kitchen staff are often required to wear hairnets or caps? There is a reason for that! The last thing you want is your guests surreptitiously pulling a strand of your hair out of their brownie or their lemon bar! Braid that hair or pin it back! Better yet, comb your hair before you even step into the kitchen to get rid of all of that hair that we naturally shed constantly! Then give yourself a fun baking up-do and maybe a headband for good measure. 🙂

listening-music_0

The Playlist. If you are baking with friends, music can make the activity more festive and joyous! Choose upbeat and playful tunes for your baking bonanza! If you are baking alone, however, it can be a great idea to put on some more peaceful and meditative music. Take the time that you are preparing your sweets to let your mind relax and find stillness in the soothing art of baking!

Yummy Breads to Bake this Fall!

vegan-banana-bread_0014

Vegan Banana Fig Bread!’

Ingredients:

Wet Ingredients:

-⅓ Cup of Vegan Butter (Earth Balance is my favorite!)

-½ Cup of Applesauce

-1 Tsp of Vanilla

 

Dry Ingredients:

-2 cups of Flour

-½ Tsp baking soda

-½ Tsp baking powder

-½ Tsp Salt

 

Fruit/Nut Ingredients

-3 Large or 4 Small super-ripe bananas

-5 super ripe figs. (just scrape out the delicious reddish inside, don’t mash up the peel)

-½ cup of chopped walnuts

With all banana breads, remember to mix wet ingredients and dry ingredients separately. Then mix them together in a big bowl. Finally mix in your mashed bananas (and figs in this case!). Before you pour your batter into your greased loaf pan, you can mix in some chopped walnuts or pecans (remember to double-check food allergies with your guest before you add any nuts!). Most banana breads will bake for 40-50 minutes at 350. Check with a toothpick or a knife to see if they come out clean. If they do, you are good to go, remove your bread from the oven (and remember to turn you oven off!). Yum!

(ps: I originally found this recipe on phillymag.com)

ZUCCHINIBREAD-superJumbo

Olive Oil Zucchini Bread!

Wet Ingredients

1 ½ Cups of Grated zucchini

⅔ Cup of Brown Sugar (yes, I know this is a dry ingredient, but for this recipe, the sugar gets included in the wet ingredients so it can mix properly with the oil and egg!)

⅓ Cup of Olive Oil (Sometimes, I call it “eevoo” and crack myself up! Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

⅓ Cup of Plain Greek Yoghurt

2 eggs

1 Tsp of Vanilla

 

Dry Ingredients

1 ½ Cups of Flour

½ Tsp Salt

½ Tsp Baking Powder

½ Tsp Baking Soda

1 Tsp Lemon Zest

1 ½ Tsp Cinnamon

¼ Tsp Nutmeg

 

Similar process as the banana-fig bread, we mix the wet ingredients and dry ingredients separately and then combine them and add the nuts if you want walnuts in your bread! Then bake in a greased loaf pan for 40-50 minutes. For this bread, it’s pretty important to rotate the loaf after it has baked for 20 minutes. Check with a toothpick or a sharp knife, if it comes out clean, remove the loaf from the oven and let it cool for about 15 minutes before you cut it and eat it! Cheers!

 

(ps: this recipe is one of many awesome recipes on NYTimes Cooking! I highly recommend using their app to challenge yourself and eat the rewards!)

A simple guide to refinishing your old wooden cutting board

1. Assess the overall condition of the cutting board: you may need to make peace with the end of your warped boards, butcher blocks made from multiple wood strips that are coming apart, and ones that look like they’ve been used for chopping wood. Cutting boards that have minor scrapes and dents, are simply dried out on the ends, or just seem a little gross can be resuscitated.
 12
2. Identify any problem areas: do the ends need some love? Is it simply that the surface looks like a cat has used it as a scratching post? or is it just a little dry? Here we will assume all of the above, but localizing the problem and addressing it specifically using one or a combination of the approaches below is fine.
3a. End issues: if the ends of the board are gross, the wooden strips are just starting to come apart, or even if the board is just the wrong size for your kitchen, it makes sense to remove a bit of material with a table saw. Always use proper personal protective equipment when using a saw. Set the height of a finishing blade just higher than the thickness of the board and remove some material from each end. This might mean 1/4″ for clean-up or refinishing, or more if the slats are coming apart.
3b. Scratches: here, the surface of the board needs to be refinished. The two main ways to do this are with a planer and with a sander. If you happen to have a planer around that can accommodate the board, plane the board until most of the scratches are gone. If you don’t, or if the scratches are mostly superficial, use either a handheld electric sander or a sanding block, working through rough grit (60-100) to finer (200), until the surface is like glass.
 14.jpg
3c. Dry wood: this will be the final step, regardless of other treatments for your masterpiece. When wood dries out, it shrinks, which can mean delamination of a strip cutting board as well as opening up micro-fissures in the surface that can trap bacteria and other grim during use. To prevent this, use a food-grade oil, such as butcher block oil. Some use cooking oils, but beware that these may go rancid over time (really, you’ve put so much work in, just splurge and get the real thing). Using a cloth, pour a small amount of oil onto the wood and work it in by rubbing. Note that dry wood and newly finished surfaces may take a few coats over the day or week.
 13.jpg
4. Maintenance: keeping your board in tip-top shape requires only a few minutes a month. When you have a few minutes, wash your board with a mild soap and rinse well with water. This will remove any bacteria or small food waste that may have been wedged into the wood by especially enthusiastic knife work. Dry the board thoroughly with a clean dish towel. Now re-oil the board as in 3c, wiping any excess and leaving it in a dry place for the oil to soak.

5 Tips for Cleaning your Dirty Oven

8.jpg

1.Oven window glass: To get inside the glass panels of your oven, pick up a ($5) Torx screwdriver from your local hardware store, remove the front panel and use a mix of baking soda and water to scrub the glass clean! Let it dry and then gently replace the front cover.

5028965607350

2. Inside the oven: Try not to over think it when cleaning your oven! Be sure the oven is off, then remove the grates and grab your handy dandy vacuum cleaner to suck out all of the crumbs and burnt food!

sauna-muscle-relax-workout_h

3. Steam Bath: If you’d like to loosen up some of the scum on the sides of your oven, heat a pot of water with ½ cup of vinegar to 350 degrees to steam clean your oven. Let the water bubble away for about 30 minutes and then scrub the inside of your oven with warm water once the oven has cooled down!

7.jpeg

4. Scrub-a-dub-dub! Create a thick paste with baking soda and water and coat the inside of your oven, leave it overnight and then scrub out with warm water to reveal your shiny ‘new’ oven!

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAN9AAAAJDg5YTU2YmNlLTgzNDgtNGQ1ZS04ZDU2LTI4MTlkMjY1ZmMyMw

5. Daily duty: Nothing beats regularly cleaning your oven! Try not to leave your poor oven until it becomes a disaster. If you bake a particularly messy dish, be sure to clean out your oven the next day. This will save you a lot of time and effort, “Future You” will thank you, I promise!

Step by Step Guide to building an underground oven…outside!

6.jpg

1. Supplies: large river rocks or bricks or medium-sized stones, Dutch oven or cast-iron pot, shovel, fire making supplies, meat thermometer

2. Prepare the oven: Dig a hole approximately twice as wide and deep as your cook pot. Line the bottom and sides with river rocks. Place additional rocks around the rim of the pit (to be warmed by the fire and then placed on top of the pot later).

3. Build a large fire in the rock-lined pit. Be aware of local regulations and any nearby structures or flammable material. Have water and a fire extinguisher handy. Enjoy the fire while you wait for it to heat the stones.

393ca22ee75203c75278400f3a902d2c

4. Cook. Dig out the ash, being careful not to displace the stones. Place the pot, filled with delicious dinner items, into the stone-lined pit, then, using a shovel, place the extra stones that were heated earlier on top of the pot. Cover all of it with dirt left from digging the hole.

meat_thermometer

5. Wait. It seems like forever, especially if anyone in your group is hAngry. We recommend having a snack ready for this interval. It may take an hour or so for the food to be cooked. Check the soil temperature with the meat thermometer periodically.

image_18774

6. Take the food out of the oven. Gently uncover your pot by digging dirt off the top and using the shovel (the stones are still hot!) to remove the stones on top of the pot. Using a gloved hand, remove the pot by the handle.

b

7. Enjoy! Underground, or Dutch, oven cooking, is one of the most rewarding ways to prepare a meal, whether it’s in wilderness, or your backyard. It forces you to slow-down, and spend a little extra time outdoors.