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?
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!
There 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.
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 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
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease with cooking spray. Set aside
- In a large bowl, combine the melted butter and light brown sugar. Mix thoroughly. Add in the egg and vanilla extract.
- Mix in the peanut butter and make sure all of the wet ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
- Add in the salt, baking powder, and flour.
- Add batter to the baking pan and spread out evenly with a rubber spatula.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and a tooth pick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
I’ve reinterpreted everyone’s favorite Girl Scout Cookie into everyone’s other favorite thing– cake pops!
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)
- After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.
- Add all the frosting to the bowl, and peppermint extract. Mix thoroughly.
- Roll mixture into quarter size balls and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet (approximately 45-50 balls).
- Place in the freezer for a little while to firm up.
- In a small bowl, melt chocolate chips in the microwave at 30 sec intervals, stirring in between, until melted.
- 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.
- 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.
- Place in a styrofoam block to dry.
- 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.
- Sprinkle green sugar over pops while white drizzle is still wet.
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.
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.
Here’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
- 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.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar, salt and vanilla.
Eat all of it immediately. Serve warm or chilled.
It’s no wonder why cranberries are a staple of holiday cooking and eating, since they are freshest and in season September through December.
There is no food more quintessentially New England than the cranberry, documentation from Ocean Spray even suggests that the first commercial cranberry harvest took place in Dennis, Massachusetts in 1816. Not only are cranberries one of only three berries native to the U.S. (blueberries and Concord grapes are the other two), it is also considered a superfood full of antioxidants and rich in vitamin C and fiber.
Eating foods with antioxidants in them are believed to protect the body from “free radicals”, which are cells that have been damaged. Composed of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, the antioxidants help repair the damage to cells that free radicals have gotten a hold of and helps keep your immune system strong. Cranberries are higher in antioxidants than almost all other fruits and vegetables out there (outranking cherries, red grapes, and broccoli)!
I prefer eating my antioxidants in the form of baked goods, don’t you? Try this tasty cranberry bread recipe from the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association:
- 1/2 C. Butter
- 1 Tbs. Grated Orange Peel
- 3 Large Eggs, Beaten
- 2 1/2 C. Flour
- 1 Tsp. Baking Soda
- 2 C. Fresh or Frozen Cranberries, Chopped
- 1 C. Sugar
- 1Tsp. Vanilla
- 3/4 C. Buttermilk
- 1/4 Tsp. Salt
- 3/4 C. Pecans, Chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray bottom only of 9″ X 5″ loaf pan with cooking spray. Beat butter, sugar, orange peel and vanilla in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine flour, baking soda and salt, add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating at low speed just until blended. Fold cranberries and nuts into batter. Turn into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes. Cool slightly in pan. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.
Oh, hi. You may have wondered where the heck I’ve been…
Overall, this summer was relaxing, but things got busy. I saw old friends, spent some time in the White Mountains and on Cape Cod with my family. But the best thing that happened this summer was that my dear, dear friends opened a restaurant in Providence, RI called The Salted Slate, I’m so proud of them! I’m also very proud to have played a role in this exciting endeavor, of course with photography, and it was really fun being a part of the process. Look at these yummies.
If you are in or anywhere near Rhode Island, you simply must check out the Salted Slate for dinner, lunch, or Brunch (there are donuts) the menu is fantastic and focused on local fresh ingredients including house-cured meats. The atmosphere is quite nice too, modern yet rustic with plenty of tables and a cozy bar.
The Salted Slate, 186 Wayland Ave., Providence, saltedslate.com
Pickled cherries to be exact. Strange, I know, but pretty yummy.
I really had no idea that you could pickle cherries. I haven’t even known for that long that you could pickle things other than cucumbers. But it’s cherry season and I had a large quantity of cherries on my hands and I wasn’t up for making a pie– actually, I wasn’t keen on having to pit so many cherries– so, off to the internets to find something to make with all this fruit!
Ergo, pickled cherries. I just so happened to have all the ingredients in my pantry for this recipe.
2 lbs sweet or sour cherries, stems and pits intact
3 cups (24 fl. oz.) red wine vinegar (ok, I used cider vinegar)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns
3 cinnamon sticks
3 bay leaves
3 pieces of star anise
2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
- With a small fork or a toothpick, puncture each cherry 5-6 times to allow the pickling juice to penetrate the fruit. Place the cherries into a glass jar.
- In a medium pot, mix together the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let the mixture simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced to 1/3 of its original volume. Remove the pot from heat and let the pickling liquid cool down for 10 minutes.
- Pour the liquid over the cherries in the jar. If the cherries are not fully submerged, that’s okay. In a few hours, they will release more juice into the pickling liquid. Let the cherries cool down completely before closing the lid.
- Keep the pickled cherries in the seal jar in the refrigerator. To prolong the life of the pickled cherries, use a clean spoon every time you dig into the cherry jar. The pickled cherries, refrigerated, will keep up to one month. Keep in mind that the longer they keep, the more wrinkly and the more pale they will become.
I really had no idea what to expect, but the brine alone smells amazing. Pickled cherries are sweet, but spicy with a bit of a sour punch. I’ll have to think of some ways of eating them other than straight outta the jar… pickled cherries, who knew?