Monthly Archives: December 2014

Favorite Recipes of 2014

Fav 2014 Recipes

Well guys, 2014 is quickly coming to a close. It started off here with one of my favorite pasta salads, got momentum with this Coconut-Lovers Cake, and flew off with this delicious (and patriotic!) Fourth Of July Cheesecake; and that was only the beginning! Need I remind you of these delicious Peach Hand-Pies (O Summer Fruits, wherefore art thou Summer fruits?), an easy and healthy Quinoa Enchilada Casserole, the real-deal Enchiladas, and my favorite Chocolate Tart. And that, my friends, is only a small snapshot of the recipes!

Wondering which recipes were the most popular? I’ve listed the top 5 below!

Continue reading Favorite Recipes of 2014

Make Your Own Granola!

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It all started about a year ago when my sister made a batch of granola according to a recipe she had found in a magazine. It was love at first bite. I knew I had to make my own batch of this versatile mix; and I’m so glad I did! Granola has become one of my favorite breakfasts (pancakes and scones can’t be forgotten :) ) and snacks!

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This basic recipe opens up a world of endless variations and combinations: like cranberries, add it in! Don’t like pecans? Add walnuts. Don’t like any kind of nut? Leave it out. Get creative!

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In my granola I added mixed nuts (pecans, cashews, almonds, etc), shredded coconut, raisins, and dried figs.  Make sure to add in dried fruits after the granola is baked; I once mixed in the dried fruits before baking, resulting in some hard pieces of fruit. Don’t make my mistake– unless, you know, you like hard pieces of fruit.

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Eat with milk, top yogurt with it, or eat it by itself! Whichever way, it’s pure deliciousness :)

Make Your Own Granola!
 
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This is a basic recipe for granola; there's an endless world of variations and combinations. Get creative!
Author:
Serves: about 3 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup mix-ins (nuts, dried fruits, etc), chopped when necessary
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • honey, to taste*
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  2. Mix together the rolled oats, mix-ins (except the dried fruits), and coconut oil. Spread in a baking pan** and bake for about 45 minutes, mixing every 10-15 minutes.
  3. After baking, mix in the dried fruits and cool before storing in an airtight container.
Notes
*Coming from a family that doesn't like very sweet granola, I only used 1 tbsp of honey
** I used a 9x13 baking pan; any pan will work, but baking time may differ

 

THE Best Hot Chocolate

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*belts out “It’s the MOST WONDERFUL TIIIME OF THE YEEEEAR”* Am I the only one who’s ECSTATIC about the fact that it’s only TWO MORE WEEKS till CHRISTMAS!? Yeah, I didn’t think so; maybe I just have a harder time keeping it in.

Over the years I’ve become quite the hot chocolate connoisseur (I admit it: I had to look up the spelling of that word…) Cinnamon, oh yeahh. Nutmeg, yes please! Cloves, bring it on. Ginger, just a tad. Vanilla, can’t leave that out! Hot chocolate is sooo much more than just the usual cocoa, sugar, and milk (don’t get me started on what I think about using water instead; it’s a big no no) Those three ingredients are just the base, the starting point. And then you add in all the spices you like! The result: true comfort food (er, drink)

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Last week (the week before finals) I made myself a cup of hot chocolate (almost) every day. I mean, seriously, how do you except me to get through studying without my hot chocolate or tea? You don’t, that’s what. (Speaking about school: I have my last final tomorrow and BAM! I’m done with this fall semester *happy dance*)

Anyways….

Hot Choco 3

Not only is this hot chocolate a party for your tastebuds, it’s also dangerously easy to make! Just mix up all the ingredients (except the milk); then stir in the hot milk and that’s that! Whipped cream goes really well with it, just sayin’ (it also melts very quickly, as evidenced in the above photo)

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And one last random thing: is this or is this not the cutest Christmas napkin! It’s very comforting, too 😉

THE Best Hot Chocolate
 
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Not only is this hot chocolate a party for your tastebuds, it's also dangerously easy to make! Top with whipped cream and enjoy!
Author:
Serves: 1-2 mugs
Ingredients
  • 4 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • dash of cloves
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp honey (or sugar), more to taste
  • 1½ cups milk
Instructions
  1. Heat the milk on medium-low heat until it begins to simmer.
  2. Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a mug.
  3. Add a teaspoon of milk to the mug and stir until smooth and creamy.
  4. Add the rest of the milk and stir.
  5. Serve with whipped cream and sip on this deliciousness!
Notes
*If making two mugs, just divide the dry ingredients between the two mugs and add ½ tsp of hot milk to each, stir, and then add in the rest of the milk

 

Misadventures With Frozen Blueberries

I told you guys I would share with you my adventures in the kitchen (the good and not so good). Well, this was a not so good adventure. Don’t get me wrong, the scones tasted delicious! It’s just…well….I kinda sorta may or may not have made a mistake with the blueberries. I knew frozen blueberries could give off an unpleasant look when mixed into dough, but, for some reason, I thought it would be ok. And it was ok. I quickly mixed in the blueberries and stepped back in triumph: they hadn’t let any ugly color out! So I put the dough in the fridge.

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And then I took it out and stared down at the grayish-blue dough. Fail. What went wrong? Well,apparently while the dough was in the fridge the blueberries slowly began to thaw and turn the dough from a lovely white color to a not-so-lovely color. I seriously thought about not sharing these with anyone in an attempt to forget about them…I mean, they were purple–seriously.

Misadventures with frozen blueberries 3  The purple color kinda wore off in the oven (thankfully; I’m not sure how my little brother would have reacted if I had offered him purple triangles to try..) Still, not the prettiest scones, but so, so tasty! Definitely not sharing the recipe with you guys at this point– unless you want purplish scones.

So, in addition to overmixing frozen blueberries, keeping the dough in the fridge will also result in ugly colors. Lesson duly noted.