My Momma’s Perfect Granola

I don’t know why everyone doesn’t make their own granola. I also don’t know why I only *just* started making it myself! It could not be easier, and is completely adjustable to your own preferences, and so absurdly cost-effective that it just doesn’t make sense to buy it premade. My mother started making granola, in her words, because, “I did not like the price, the amount of sugar or the lack of flavor… so I started experimenting. The house smells sooooo good when you make it.” The result of her experimentation is the perfect basic granola recipe. We add it to yogurt with honey and fresh fruit in the mornings, sprinkle it on vanilla ice cream, or grab handfuls for snacks. This recipe is enough for about a week’s worth of breakfast bowls in our house, so sometimes I make it twice a week! I should probably just get larger storage containers and make double or triple the recipe each time! Now you try! Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 1 1/2C old fashioned cup oats
* 1/2C coconut flakes
* 1/2C sliced raw almonds
* 1T flaxseeds
* 1T chia seeds
* 1/4t salt
* 1t vanilla
* 1T brown sugar
* 1T honey
* 2T good quality maple syrup (I’m definitely biased as a New England girl, but seriously, no Mrs. Butterworth’s! Invest in the real deal and you’ll see why!)
* 1 1/2T of any non-smelling or otherwise mild cooking oil (canola, grapeseed, sunflower…)

WHAT TO DO
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.

Cover a baking sheet in foil and spray with a nonstick spray. Set aside.

Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Make sure everything gets coated and mixed well.

Spread the mixture out over the baking sheet. Be sure to leave some clumps here and there – these will turn into those yummy little cluster bites!

Bake 20 minutes, then take it out of the oven and let cool. The granola will harden and become crunchy as it cools.

Break up the granola and store in a glass jar or any air tight container.



Frozen Grapes

frozgr1Yep.

I’m writing a “recipe” post for frozen grapes. ONE INGREDIENT, PEOPLE! ONE!

I completely realize that this is a strange post, even for me, but honestly, this is literally the easiest and most refreshing snack you’ll ever try. And you barely have to do anything! I’m not saying this is going to substitute ice cream on the drippiest of humid summer days, but seriously, trust me on this one. You want these. FWIW (“for what it’s worth” for those of you not as hip as I am – HA!), these are a great snack and ALSO a great cooler for your wine without adding regular old ice cubes and watering it down. Are you feeling me now?? Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* seedless grapes – any color/variety, just seedless

WHAT TO DO
Wash your grapes thoroughly. Pull all the stems off completely, then place all of the grapes into a container you can tightly seal. Freeze. Grapes are little so it won’t take too long – a couple hours at most. Pop those lovelies when you’re craving something cold and sweet late at night and thank me because your bathing suit and/or comfy mumu (or whatever) still fits! Trust me. You’re going to want to keep a container full of these on-hand all summer fo’ sho’!

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Made by Kid: Super Easy Super Bowl (Party) Snacks

It’s Monday (and we were indeed Meatless), but I just had to share these two easy snacks My Tiny Sous Chef made for our friends’ Super Bowl party yesterday. Plus, you’ve seen a variation on our dinner before (tonight’s quiche featured a filling of yellow squash, spinach, and garlic — plus a new discovery: garlic cheese. WHAT?! So good.). And while these were made for a football gathering, they’re just great, easy-to-make, crowd pleasing party foods, so you don’t have to wait until next February to try them! Might as well pin ’em now, amiright? When we were asked to bring a few kid-friendly snacks to the party, I consulted my girlie immediately, and together (with a little creative prodding from the internet for inspiration), we came up with the following: fruit kebabs (not pictured/featured); miniature “corn dog” nuggets; and cocoa krispie football treats! The first one was as easy as easy can be and probably requires no tutorial. We cut little pieces of strawberries and pineapple, and added red and green grapes, and speared them onto wooden skewers in a pattern (or sometimes not). Voila. The other two were a little more like “cooking” and My Tiny Sous Chef did almost everything herself. I’m pretty sure she ate a little of everything she made last night thanks to having made them. BALANCE.

Here you go.

1. MINIATURE “CORN DOG” NUGGETS
WHAT YOU NEED
* 2 small cans prepared crescent roll dough
* 5 hotdogs
* cornmeal
* nonstick cooking spray

WHAT TO DO
Preheat your oven to 400F. Foil-wrap a baking sheet.

Thinly slice all of the hotdogs.

Sprinkle a little cornmeal onto your working surface, then unroll the crescent roll dough on top of it. Using your hands (or you tiny sous chef’s), gently work to smooth the seams of the dough together. Next, slice the dough into one-inch to one-and-a-half-inch strips lengthwise, and then again across the other way, so that you end up with tiny squares or rectangles of dough big enough to wrap around a tiny slice of hotdog.

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Now do just that. One at a time, wrap a slice of hotdog in a square of dough, working the dough as you go to close it up into a little dumpling-like nugget around the ‘dog. Place your nuggets onto your baking sheet in rows.

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When your tray is full, lightly spray the nonstick spray over the tops of your nuggets and pop them into the oven for 10 minutes. Let cool for a minute or two, and then transfer to a container or serving dish. If you have more hotdogs and dough, prepare another batch (or two) until you’re done. Serve warm or cold, with ketchup or bbq sauce for dipping. You could even spear them onto sticks to make them more corn dog like! Fun, right?!

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2. COCOA KRISPIE FOOTBALL TREATS
WHAT YOU NEED
* a little coconut oil (for greasing)
* 3T unsalted butter
* 4C mini marshmallows
* 4C chocolate rice cereal (like Cocoa Krispies, but generic works just fine)
* white tube icing for decorating

WHAT TO DO
So, there’s no magic trick to making homemade krispie treats. For these, we used the cocoa kind to make them football-colored, and we cut them into thinner strips a) to kind of attempt to make them football-like (eh?), and b) because if they were being served alongside other Super Bowl snacks, maybe making them smaller would make other parents cooler with the idea of MORE SUGAR! Anyway, they were adorable and fun and easy and she loved them and they were a hit.

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Prepare a glass baking dish by oiling it lightly with a little coconut oil. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat, then add the marshmallows and let them melt, stirring occasionally. When the marshmallow shapes are less discernible and you have a smoother texture, turn off the heat and add the cereal. If you leave the heat on, you risk the butter and marshmallows beginning to caramelize, and then you’ll have hockey pucks instead of the krispie treats everyone loves.

Mix carefully and allow to cool off just a bit. Transfer the contents of the pot to the prepared baking dish and pat down so that it fills the dish evenly. Allow to set for a minute or two. Slice into even-sized treats.

If making footballs, use the white tube icing to decorate with the “stitching” and there you go! Full disclosure: I sliced and did the decorating here, but My Tiny Sous Chef did everything else — including all the recipe testing!

Peanut Butter Power Poppers

I just couldn’t call them “balls.” Sorry, I’m not mature enough for this recipe.

You’ve probably seen these around the interwebs – no-bake bite-sized energy snacks. I decided to try my hand at them, and let me tell you, these are great! So easy and fast to make, and a grand slam hit with my family! My Tiny Sous Chef now wants these for breakfast, after-school snack, and… wait for it… for dessert! And my husband is packing them in his lunches! They take about 10 minutes to prepare (your tiny assistants, if you have any, can totally make them completely on their own), and then some fridge time to set. Two steps. That’s it. Can’t beat it! Wanna try them? You do. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEEDpbpoppers3
* 1C oats (quick oats work just as well as the old fashioned ones)
* 1/2C peanut butter
* 1/2C almond flour
* 1/4C semisweet chocolate chips (or dark chocolate, or white chocolate, or peanut butter chips…)
* 1/4C dried cranberries (I *love* Trader Joe’s orange-flavored ones!; you can also use regular ones, or raisins, or yellow raisins…)
* 1/4C sliced almonds
* 1/4C honey or agave syrup (if you use agave, you’ll likely need a little more almond flour to help it all hold together)
* 1-2T flax or chia or hemp seeds
* 1/2t vanilla
* pinch salt

WHAT TO DO
Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl until well-combined.

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Form into even-sized balls (ugh, I said it!) and place on a tray (this recipe will yield 12-15 total). Refrigerate a few hours so they set and aren’t mushy and sticky. There you go!

Technically, they’ll hold up in the refrigerator for up to a week. But they won’t last that long. Enjoy!