Peanut Butter Granola Version No. 2

Welcome to my culinary adventures…and perils.

I am happy to say I have a success story to share. I haven’t shared anything in a long time. But here we go.

I discovered how to make crunchy peanut butter granola.

Peanut Butter Granola Version No. 1 was not crunchy. Crispy, but not crunchy. It was tasty (yes, that is goal number one), but I wanted to make granola that stayed in lumps. Not granola in which every oat wanted to be its own individual oat. You can tell that from the pictures. Shudders.

It’s the difference in method. And the addition of one special ingredient. Other than that, do what you want. I’m easy like that.

Peanut Butter Granola Version No. 2

6 cups old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup oat bran*

1/2 cup wheat bran*

1/3 cup coconut*

1/4 cup sesame seeds*

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4-1 cups nuts (use peanuts, cashews, walnuts, almonds, pecans, or a combination)*

1/2 cup applesauce

1 cup natural peanut butter

1/4 cup oil (olive, canola, or coconut)

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup honey or maple syrup

1/2 tsp. vanilla

*These ingredients are optional. Add them for extra flavor or nutrition!

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Use the convection setting if you have it. In a large bowl, combine oats, oat bran, wheat bran, coconut, sesame seeds, salt, and nuts. In a microwave safe container or measuring cup, combine applesauce, peanut butter, oil, sugar, honey, and vanilla. Microwave 2-3 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Stir until smooth. Pour peanut butter mixture into oat mixture. Mix until damp and well-combined…use your hands! Press the granola into 1 or 2 jelly roll pans, as if they were granola bars. Make it solid. This is crucial if you want crunchy granola. Bake at 250 for 2-ish hours, moving the pans to different racks every 20-30 minutes. DO NOT STIR. This is crucial if you want crunchy granola. The granola is done when it’s completely dried out and pleasantly brown. Let the granola cool. Break into chunks – big, medium, small – however you like it.

Serve with fruit and milk or yogurt. Or eat it plain.

Note: add more honey or sugar if the granola’s not sweet enough for you! 

This recipe was adapted from Healthy Food for Living. Thanks for the inspiration, Lauren!

So, that’s Peanut Butter Granola Version No. 2. The new method is to press in the pan and bake it on low; the new ingredient is applesauce. Experiment and enjoy!

Cooking for His glory,

Rachel

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Southwestern Spinach Salad

As Mom and I searched for “new” salad recipes, this one caught my eye. It just had to be good….and it was.

I got to serve this yesterday with Chili on Potatoes (not complicated…just pour chili on a baked potato and top it with cheese). They seemed to complement one another, although the salad would be delicious as a main dish salad (add a little grilled chicken, anyone?).

Let me share it with you.

Southwestern Spinach Salad

1/2 cup picante sauce

1/4 cup prepared Italian salad dressing

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

4 cups fresh baby spinach

1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1 medium red bell pepper, julienned

1/2 cup sliced red onion

8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

4 hard-cooked eggs, sliced

Additional picante sauce, optional

In a small bowl, combine the picante sauce, salad dressing and cumin.

In a salad bowl, combine the spinach, beans, mushrooms, pepper, onion and bacon. Drizzle with dressing; toss to coat. Garnish with eggs. Serve with additional picante sauce if desired. Yield: 6 servings

*Feel free, of course, to adjust anything. I did. Less bacon, more cumin, fewer eggs, more spinach. It’s the combination that’s good!

Hope you enjoy this as much as we did. I definitely want to make this one again.

Tell me what you think if you happen to make it!

~rachel, slave of Christ~

Pizza Night!

As I concocted pasta sauce a couple of hours ago, I thought, “I should write this recipe down and post it.” Then I started taking pictures…of Corrie’s pizza crust dough, the mushrooms, and on and on. Then I got to adding things and on and on and I forgot about taking pictures. Then I remembered again. Yum.

It was goooood pizza. Especially the veggie one (that’s because it’s the only one I had). So….I’m not writing down Corrie’s pizza crust dough recipe (I don’t know exactly how she did it). You can just do whatever dough you like and add some spices. Corrie did whole wheat pastry plus some gluten. Whatever.

Here’s pictures, and I’ll give you the pasta sauce recipe when we get to the pasta sauce.

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The beginning of the dough. Carbs are so good.

Then the mixer did all the work. And you can go do other things while it kneads. Hah.

Check it out. Hands in the dough.

Blob of dough. Sorry about all the dough pictures. I must be obsessed with dough or something.

Here’s the pasta sauce. Roll out your dough. Put the wonderful herby sauce on.

1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes

1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 tsp. sugar

1 1/2 tsp. basil

1/2 tsp. oregano

1/2 tsp. parsley

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp. thyme

1/4 tsp. marjoram

1/4 tsp. rosemary

Stick everything in a blender or food processor. Blend until desired chunkiness.

Now add the toppings….

This one had chopped bell green peppers, homemade beef sausage, and cheese. Traditional and favorite.

This one had green bell peppers, mushrooms, spinach, pineapple, and spinach. I like veggies, too.

Look at your kitchen. Isn’t it a mess of love?

Make some chubby breadsticks if you have extra dough. Thanks, Corrie!

Corrie said it looked good, so I came and took a pictures. Pizzas are beautiful….

View no. 2. Same pizza, though. You knew that.

Here’s the sausage pizza. Of course, it’s already after we cracked into it.

Cheeezzzy. Great pizza, by the way. And I’m not bragging. I just say so if I like what I make. That’s okay, isn’t it?

Eat all the pizza you want [need]. Put the rest in the refrigerator for breakfast tomorrow morning. Or maybe stray brothers that come in late and haven’t had pizza yet. Leave a happy pizza stone and pizza cutter.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the pizza night tour. It was a great night. Love cooking with and for my family. What about you?

~rachel~

“I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Macaroons

I am exceedingly grateful to be back in the blogging world, editing pictures and posting recipes.

Chocolate Macaroons came to mind as I was searching for a treat to make for a recital. By the way, Chocolate Macaroons are the perfect recital cookie. I wish I could say all these Chocolate Macaroons disappeared at the recital, but lots of other cookies came to see the recital too. That means only a few Chocolate Macaroons disappeared.

In my opinion, Chocolate Macaroons are beautiful cookies. See?

Chocolate Macaroons

1/2 cup shortening (I used butter)

4 (1 oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate

2 cups sifted flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

Confectioners sugar

1. Combine shortening and chocolate in saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until melted. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

2. Add sugar to chocolate mixture, stirring until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

3. Add flour mixture; blend thoroughly. Beat in vanilla. Chill dough 2 to 3 hours.

4. Dip out rounded teaspoons of dough; form into small balls. Roll each in confectioners sugar. Place on greased baking sheets.

5. Bake in 375 oven about 10 minutes. (Do not overbake. Cookies should be soft when taken from oven.) Remove from baking sheets; cool on wire racks. Makes: 5 to 6 dozen cookies

Recipe from Farm Journal’s Best-Ever Recipes

Just a warning: if you can help it, make Chocolate Macaroons right before you serve them. They look best right out of the oven….they lose something when they sit in a Tupperware for two days. Believe me.

Aren’t they pretty? Sorry…they just are.

Have a wonderful day….

~rachel~

Smith Island Cake

When my aunt came to visit last week, she had an idea. An excellent idea. A divine, layered, dark chocolate idea.

She had an idea to make Smith Island Cake with me.

I am so glad she had that idea.

We made Smith Island Cake. It was amazing.

Isn’t is loverly? And the best part – this loverliness isn’t that hard to make! It just takes a little extra time and some more dishes. Don’t let me scare you. Smith Island Cake is so worth making.

Smith Island Cake

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

8 T. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 recipe yellow layer cake batter (enough to make two 8-inch layers, about 5 1/3 cups batter)

Frosting: Place chocolate in a large bowl. Heat cream, sugar, and salt, in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to simmer. Pour hot cream mixture over chocolate and whisk until smooth. Whisk in vanilla and butter until glossy. Cover and refrigerate until icing is firm but still spreadable, about 1 hour.

Cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper. Spread one-eight of batter (about 2/3 cup) evenly in each pan and bake until edges are golden brown and cake springs back when touched, 10-14 minutes. Cool on rack 5 minutes. Run a knife around pan perimeter to loosen cake, then invert onto rack to finish cooling. Cool pans to room temperature, then wipe clean and repeat process 3 more times for a total of 8 layers.

Assembly: Place 1 cooled cake layer on serving platter. Spread 1/4 cup frosting over cake. (If frosting is too firm, let warm at room temperature 5 minutes, then stir to soften.) Top with second cake layer and additional 1/4 cup frosting. Repeat, alternating layers of cake and frosting and finishing with cake layer. Frost top and sides with remaining frosting. Serve. Yield: lots of servings!

Please ignore my last post where I said I was on a health kick. I still am (sort of), but every once in a while I think it’s okay to have something special and chocolaty! =)

And imagine all the possibilities for such a wonderful cake! You could use a white or even chocolate cake mix instead of the yellow one. You could add some instant coffee granules for a hint of espresso flavor. Peanut butter frosting every other layer? Or a sweet raspberry filling?

Have fun with this cake. And enjoy the chocolate.

~Rachel~

Caprese Frittata with Turkey

I am on a health rampage. I hope it stays. I love being inspired to cook healthy.

This afternoon, a recipe from Tasty Kitchen inspired me, so for a delicious, healthy, protein-filled supper, I created my own version.

And I wanted to share it with you. Be inspired.

{Frittatas are amazing, by the way}

Please note, this is a non-recipe. Just make it how you like it!

Caprese Frittata with Turkey

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 tsp. flour

Salt, pepper, and garlic

1-2 T. milk

Spinach leaves

Turkey, chopped

Basil, fresh or dried

Sun-dried tomatoes, cut into slivers

Mozzarella cheese

Combine the eggs, flour, spices, and milk. Pour a little less than half of it into a greased 6-inch cast iron skillet. Begin to cook over low heat. While it’s cooking, layer spinach leaves over the eggs. Sprinkle the turkey on top. Pour the rest of the egg mixture over the turkey. Sprinkle basil, sun-dried tomato slivers, and mozzarella cheese over low heat. Transfer cast iron skillet to the oven. Broil until frittata is set. Remove to plate. Enjoy. And feel good because it’s so healthy. Yield: 1 serving

If at all possible, use fresh mozzarella and fresh basil. I’m not being a food snob; fresh mozzarella and fresh basil are just amazing that way.

Grace and peace,

~rachel~

Spinach Souffle

Please don’t be frightened. This is amazingly delicious. And moderately easy. When to eat it? We like it for supper with muffins on the side. Simple and tasty.

I love Spinach Souffle. You will, too.

Spinach Souffle

From The Living Cookbook

1/4 cup butter

1/3 cup whole wheat flour

2 T. minced onion (I use more!)

1/2 tsp. dry mustard

1/2 tsp. Italian herbs (or parsley, basil, oregano, and thyme)

1 1/2 cups milk

2 cups spinach, steamed and chopped (or three-fourths of a frozen package, thawed and drained)

1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

6 eggs, separated

3/4 tsp. cream of tartar

In a medium saucepan melt the butter and add the flour, onion, mustard, and herbs. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-high heat until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Stir in milk all at once. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat. Stir in the spinach and cheeses. In a large bowl beat the egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed unti lstiff but not dry. In a small mixing bowl beat egg yolks slightly. Add to spinach mixture. Gently but thoroughly fold spinach mixture into whites. Pour into a greased souffle dish and bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes* until delicately browned and knife inserted near center comes out clean. Serve immediately. Yield: 4-6 servings

*We usually have to bake it longer than this.

I encourage you to give this a try! Like I said, don’t be frightened by the spinach or the souffle. Your tastebuds will thank you.

Have a good evening!

~Rachel~

 

Ottawa

Last week this time, I was in Ottawa, Ontario. My first time to leave the U.S. – and I like Ottawa.

Let me share some pictures. Then you will like Ottawa too.

I’m not used to seeing French on stop signs in Texas.

For my bro.

Parliament. It’s beautiful. It looks like Europe.

This sign made us laugh.

Isn’t this beautiful?

I love the little houses!

Check out the blue.

Smile.

Well, that’s all for now. I have a spinach souffle coming up soon, so come back!

~Rachel~

“For it is God who works in you both to do and to will for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13)

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate {Healthy} Chip Muffins

Have you ever made peanut butter muffins? Peanut butter + muffin = perfection. Really, folks. Don’t be afraid of this mixture  – the peanut butter and banana and chocolate chips in muffins. It’s lovely.

Another perk (besides the joyous mixture described above) is that they are healthy! Whole wheat flour, oat bran, honey, canola oil. Healthy + peanut butter + muffin = more perfect perfection.

You have no excuse not to make these. Unless you are allergic to peanuts or something like that. In that case, you do have an excuse to make them. Peanut butter muffins + peanut allergy = big problem.

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip {Healthy} Muffins

1 1/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup oat bran

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. cinnamon

2 ripe bananas mashed (about enough to make 1 cup)

2/3 cup 2% milk (replace with nonfat milk if desired)

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup natural chunky peanut butter (I like Smucker’s)

2 T. canola oil

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 egg

2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, whisk together mashed bananas, milk, honey, peanut butter, canola oil, vanilla, and egg until smooth. In a smaller separate bowl, combine flour, oat bran, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add to banana mixture; mix until barely combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Spoon into 18 greased muffin cups, filling them about 2/3 – 3/4 full. Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes or until muffins test done. That was easy, wasn’t it?

These are delicious.

Let me explain about the two pictures. I couldn’t decide which one to post, so I put up both. Which do you like better?

Thanks to Noble Pig for this fantabulous recipe!

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:9-10

Water.

Water. In motion.