good morning muesli

Is breakfast the most important meal of the day? I’m not the best breakfast-eater out there, I tend to skip breakfast more often than not. But I do have favorite breakfast foods, among the top ten is muesli. What the heck is muesli?

morning muesli | sagebrousseau.com

Muesli is a cereal developed by the Swiss, packed full of energy, so you can swish around the Alps on skis… or something. Unlike granola, muesli is based on raw rolled oats with other ingredients including grains, fresh or dried fruits, seeds and nuts, mixed with milk or yogurt.

This recipe is my version of one that I discovered as a kid, in a fantastic tome called “Self-sufficiency for Children“. I remember purchasing this book at a used book sale when I was about nine-years-old. I had no idea what the title meant, I was baffled by the metric measurements (the book was from the UK, I came to learn), but I was super-fascinated with all the DIY instructions and recipes, plus it’s gorgeous pen and ink illustrations!

muesli recipe | sagebrousseau.comgood morning muesli | sagebrousseau.comThere are probably a million combinations you can come up with, but here is my favorite for a good, hearty breakfast:

Good Morning Muesli (one serving)

  • 1/2 cup of rolled oats (raw)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped raw almonds
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, diced with skin on
  • 6 oz. vanilla yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. honey, or to taste

Traditionally, muesli was prepared by soaking the oats in milk or fruit juice first. This is an optional step, and not necessary. Anyway, I prefer to combine all the ingredients in a bowl and enjoy it right away! Occasionally, if I don’t have yogurt on hand, I will eat muesli with milk just like regular dry cereal.

 

 

best ever peanut butter blondies

You guys, I have no idea what’s gong on! The last two times I attempted to make Brownies have ended in utter disaster, and by that I mean undercooked or otherwise inedible brownies, yuck. That’s just bad. But I think there is a way to redeem myself. Maybe if I reverse direction and make the best ever Blondies, I can successfully make a return to the dark side.

best peanut butter blondies | sagebrousseau.com

peanut butter blondies | sagebrousseau.com

Best Ever Peanut Butter Blondies

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease with cooking spray. Set aside
  2. In a large bowl, combine the melted butter and light brown sugar. Mix thoroughly. Add in the egg and vanilla extract.
  3. Mix in the peanut butter and make sure all of the wet ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  4. Add in the salt, baking powder, and flour.
  5. Add batter to the baking pan and spread out evenly with a rubber spatula.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and a tooth pick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

best peanut butter blondies | sagebrousseau.com

best peanut butter blondies | sagebrousseau.com

Girl Scout cookie Thin Mints cake pops

I’ve reinterpreted everyone’s favorite Girl Scout Cookie into everyone’s other favorite thing– cake pops!

Thin Mints Cake Pops | sagebrousseau.com

Sorry for the lag in posts here, I’ve been buried up to my neck in this lovely Boston snow. But in between shoveling sessions, I’ve whipped up this little post to celebrate the only good thing about February: it’s Girl Scout cookie season!

Thin Mints Cake Pops

  • 1 Box chocolate cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13 x 9 cake)
  • 1 (16 oz.) Can chocolate frosting
  • ¼ tsp. Peppermint extract
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • White chocolate chips (or white candy melts)
  • Green sugar sprinkles
  • Lollipop sticks (or popsicle sticks)
  1. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.
  2. Add all the frosting to the bowl, and peppermint extract. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Roll mixture into quarter size balls and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet (approximately 45-50 balls).
  4. Place in the freezer for a little while to firm up.
  5. In a small bowl, melt chocolate chips in the microwave at 30 sec intervals, stirring in between, until melted.
  6. Dip the tip of your lollipop stick in a little of the melted chocolate coating and insert (a little less than halfway) into the cake balls.
  7. Once firm, carefully insert the cake ball into the chocolate coating by holding the lollipop stick and rotating until covered. Once covered remove and gently tap and rotate until the excess chocolate falls off.
  8. Place in a styrofoam block to dry.
  9. Place about ¼ cup of white chocolate chips into a zip-lock baggie and microwave for 20 second intervals, until melted. Squish the bag with your fingers to mix and smooth the chocolate between intervals. When melted smooth, snip a tiny piece off of the corner of the bag and drizzle over pops.
  10. Sprinkle green sugar over pops while white drizzle is still wet.
  11. ENJOY!pops2

homemade ketchup? yes, please.

I hate to admit this, but my seven-year-old has recently entered the stage of all foods must be dipped in ketchup in order for me to eat this.

DIY ketchup | sagebrousseau.com

I pick my battles, so I go with it, the only problem was when we ran out of ketchup… this was an emergency situation! I did a quick Google search and learned that making my own ketchup was relatively fast and easy and I had all the ingredients on hand. Ketchup-crisis averted.

At first, I was skeptical. Would it taste as good as the brand I’ve always bought? Would it pass muster with the picky eater? To my surprise, homemade tastes far better than store-bought ketchup, and my child-tester LOVED it! Score! I haven’t bought any ketchup since.

DIY ketchup | sagebrousseau.com

Here’s my recipe for the best ketchup you’ll ever try (bonus: no high-fructose corn syrup):

DIY Ketchup

  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • ½ teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cups water

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan over low heat. Simmer, stirring frequently to avoid spattering, for 20 to 30 minutes or until desired consistency. Adjust the flavors as necessary, you can add up to another tablespoon of sugar or a little more worcestershire sauce to get the taste you desire. Serve and enjoy!

P.S.: Happy New Year, I hope your 2015 is happy and healthy so far! I’ve been down and out with a massive cold, but now I’m back.

christmas bonus: bourbon pecan fruitcake bites

Like many folks, I have never been a fan of the traditional fruitcake.  Ridiculed for its brick-like appearance and studded with unnatural glossy green and red “fruits,” it never really tasted any better than it looked.

mini fruitcakes | sagebrousseau.com

Why does fruitcake have such a bum rap? Generally speaking, fruitcake is just a mixture of brandied fruits and nuts with a spiced batter to hold them together… sounds delicious, where did this holiday treat go awry? Since I enjoy reveling in Christmastime traditions, and fruitcake being among the most time-honored, I am determined to make a more palatable recipe!

Despite the fact that this is a dessert composed mainly of nuts and fruits, it is not technically a health-food. However, I did shop my favorite local natural-foods store for the necessary ingredients: dried fruits and nuts. I had all the other tasty ingredients already in my kitchen: butter, eggs, sugar… and bourbon, of course.

Bourbon Pecan Fruit Cake Bites bourbon pecan fruit cake bites | sagebrousseau.com

Yield 24

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups diced mixed dried fruits (I used dates, cranberries, and crystallized ginger– you could also try apples, apricots or golden raisins)
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • ¾ cup bourbon
  • ¼ cup butter, room temperature
  • 6 Tbls. brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ to 1 cup flour
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon

Soak nuts and an dried fruits (omit crystallized ginger, if using) in bourbon for 8 hours. Preheat oven to 325º Cream butter and sugar with an electric beater until light and fluffy, add egg and beat. In another bowl, whisk flour, salt and cinnamon. Reduce speed on mixer and add flour mixture. Batter should be thick. Using a slotted spoon, transfer fruits (including ginger) and nuts to the batter, fold into batter with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. If batter appears dry you may add some of the left over bourbon a teaspoon at a time.

Line mini-muffin pan with paper liners, use a measured scoop to fill each with a rounded teaspoon of batter. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out cleanly and the cakes are a light golden brown.

bourbon fruitcake bites | sagebrousseau.com

Because of the alcohol content, fruitcake may be stored (covered in the refrigerator) for up to one month, but these are so tasty, I don’t think that will be a problem! Happy Holidays.

perfect holiday charcuterie in only five steps

So it’s the holiday season, and you’re either hosting this year or have been asked to contribute something to the celebration or meal, have you thought about a charcuterie and cheese plate? Get the perfect plate in just five easy steps.

charcuterie and cheese plate | sagebrousseau.com

#1: Select your cheeses. To make it easier, pick from these categories: soft, semi-soft, semi-hard, and hard (bonus points for something smoked). Seems simple enough– I went with Brie, Blue Cheese, Manchego, Aged Cheddar, and Smoked Gouda– sure to please any crowd.

charcuterie and cheese plate | sagebrousseau.com

#2: The vehicle. This is generally crackers or some crusty bread. Done.

#3: Something sweet. Fresh fruits like grapes, or apples are a no-brainer, you could also try fresh figs, or dried fruits like apricots, pears and cranberries. Honey is another great option, I love a slice of Manchego drizzled with a bit of honey– yum!

charcuterie and cheese plate | sagebrousseau.com

#4: Something savory. Salted nuts or olives are always a nice addition to your cheese plate. But pickles, like cornishons, are my all-time favorite.

#5: Meat. We’re talking cured meats here, like Prosciutto or Salami. How about Sopressata or Bresaola?

If you’re still having a hard time choosing, or you don’t want to go it alone, check out the selection from Sid Wainer & Son or their cheese collections available at Costco.com.

Happy yummy holidays!

not your grandmother’s rice pudding

You either love rice pudding or you hate it. I L-O-V-E it, and my grandmother’s recipe was actually pretty darn good.

coconut rice pudding | sagebrousseau.com

It’s so simple to make, and really may be my most favorite food. I loved when my Gram would make it for me when I was a little girl, it was her favorite too and we’d eat it together with spoons from the pot (“let’s not bother with bowls”), gobbling it down, right off the stove top.

Now, I savor every grain of warm, chewy rice before its warmth fills my belly, thinking about my Gram and imagining her here with me. It’s the perfect treat on a cool Autumn afternoon.

gram's rice pudding | sagebrousseau.comHere’s my spin on the classic recipe, scented of vanilla with a hint of cinnamon and coconut milk for a rich, creamy finish.

Coconut Rice Pudding

  • 1 14oz. can of coconut milk
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  1. Combine coconut milk, milk, rice and cinnamon in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer. Simmer, stirring frequently for for approximately 30 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and no longer liquidy.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar, salt and vanilla.
  3. Eat all of it immediately. Serve warm or chilled.

coconut rice pudding | sagebrousseau.com