kitchen projects

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did you enjoy your president’s day off? i assume you were out running lovely errands instead of sitting behind a work desk reading blogs on company time… {i love it when you do that}. soooooooo, i spent president’s day doing kitchen projects with darla. this is worthy of its own post because i don’t usually do kitchen projects. most of my cooking really consists of making soups. i am a soup master. everything else i just attempt once and go back to soup.

we made granola, which darla really got her hands into. pun! child labor pun! delicious fruit smoothie lunches and i even tried that coconut oil & baking soda face cleanser. when it worked wonderfully i made a batch to keep in the bathroom.

my last cooking creation was inspired by Honeykiss bakery’s president’s day special. i can’t wait until a special occasion to get my own honeykiss pie {cough, april 3 = 30th birthday, cough} but i was digging the white cheddar, apple and bacon combination and used it to come up with my own scone recipe. delicious! i would love to provide some kind of recipe but i was making it up on the fly.

however, below is a recipe for granola that my friendly friend provided me. this granola was so good, cheap and easy. gawh, want to make a good, cheap and easy joke so badly…never mind.

recipe here:

 The recipe is a bit freewheeling – use whatever you have on hand or whatever you feel like.  You will need whole rolled oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, maple syrup, and oil.  The rest (nuts and fruit) is up to you.  This recipe sounds quite involved but the prep literally takes between 5 and 10 minutes before putting it in the oven.  Set it and forget it.  So easy.
3 heaping cups of rolled oats
Little less than 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
A crap ton of cinnamon (2 tsp? 1 tbsp?)
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/4 cup (plus a little splash more, maybe a tbsp) of canola/veggie oil
6-7 handfuls of almonds
6-7 handfuls of walnuts
As many handfuls of dried cranberries, dates, raisins, or other dried fruits that you want.
You can add seeds (flax, sesame, sunflower etc) or other nuts (pecans, peanuts, pistachios) etc.
Two very, very important things to remember no matter what goes in your granola:
First – do NOT NOT NOT mix your fruit in before baking – that goes in afterwards, unless you really miss your dentist and want to rush in for an emergency repair of a cracked a tooth (or someone else’s…)
Second – do NOT NOT NOT mix your fruit in before baking.  See above note.
–Preheat oven to 250
–Add brown sugar to dry oats and mix really well (I use my hands).
–Stir in nuts and/or seeds (and coconut, if you’d like) and mix
–Add cinnamon (the way I measure is this: I sprinkle cinnamon over the top until everything is covered in it)
–Add a healthy pinch of salt
–Mix everything together
–In a liquid measuring cup, measure out the 1/4 c of syrup first, then add the 1/4 cup(ish) oil to it (the oil will float so you will be able to clearly see how much of each you have).
–Pour over oat, nut, and spice mixture and stir very well until everything is coated.  This usually takes about a minute or so.  (NOTE: You will probably think you don’t have enough liquid.  You will mostly likely be wrong.  What you really want here is for everything to be lightly but thoroughly coated in the syrup/oil mixture.  Resist the temptation to add more liquid.  You don’t want any extra liquid at bottom or soggy oats.  If you really think you need more, add maybe a tablespoon of oil.)
–Pour out the mixture into a baking sheet with edges (some of these new-fangled modern ones are just a sheet with no edges, which will only cause you heartache as you watch your granola spill to the floor).  The granola should be stacked pretty thick in the sheet, maybe almost an inch in that pan coming up just slightly over the edges.
–Bake for one hour and fifteen minutes.  Yep, you heard that right – 1 hr 15 mins.  Some recipes say stir – I do not.  Too messy, too labor intensive.  Besides, I like the clumps that form.
–Remove from oven and carefully (carefully) break into pieces/chunks/bits into a large bowl with a spatula or wooden spoon.
–NOW add all the dried fruit your heart desires.
–Stir well and let cool completely before storing in a tightly sealed container.Just a note from my cooking experience:  the more “stuff” you add, the more maple syrup you might need if you like it more “chunky”…but not a lot more.
Enjoy!
ps. i also did a lemon juice and cayenne pepper detox shot. today i’m so skinny!  no. not really.
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i’ve been making my own vegetable stock as part of my zero waste efforts. we eat a lot of soup in the winter months and i’ve cut down on a lot of cardboard veggie stock cartons. we also eat a lot of salad and fresh veggies so i just keep this pot in the fridge and any peelings or stems get tossed in here until the next boiling. soups have been extra yummy thanks to the freshness factor.  veggie peelings then get dumped in the compost after boiling is done. it makes me feel so savvy and smart to get three different uses from our food stuffs.

weekending

other than seeing A Birth Story, my weekend was pretty much contained in my household. i am fine with this because it grossly rained all weekend. i did attend another kickbutt boot camp that has left me sore even today. this is good. sore is the new sexy. pinterest told me that. a few projects from the weekend:
food colorwatermelonmixer

headbands

1.  a food color and coffee filter bunting project hubster and darla came up with  2.  more water infusions. i’ve been experimenting and so far i like cucumber and watermelon the best. wonderfully delicious  3. bread baking attempts. it’s taken me a year to make good on my bread baking resolution but i’m getting in the swing of it. my yeast creations { yes, i just said that } need help, though. anyone have any good recipes?  4.  a little project i’m working on for an upcoming weekend.

yeah, that’s pretty much it other than lots of pretending to be harry potter and dance parties.

thanks for catching up with us.

presto pesto

one of my kitchen projects last week was making pesto cubes. i finally harvested the measly remainder of our basil plant. i whipped up some pesto and then portioned some into cubes in a spare ice tray to freeze. now we have an easy meal option, grab a cube from the freezer add some veggies and saute. yay!

pesto traybag o pesto