Easy Granola, 6 Ingredients

People and tastebuds are funny. My daughter can't stand peppers unless they are roasted, and happens to love roasted red pepper hummus. My son is anti-cheese *except* he loves macaroni and cheese *only* if it is made by my mother. He is kind of anti-dairy except for the fact that he could consume his body weight in yogurt every day. Food is like politics and religion in a way. We all draw our lines in the sand somewhere. I'm okay with that. 

My 5 year old son is usually a purist with his yogurt but lately he's been game to add some texture with granola. This super easy recipe is so easy, he could make himself if push came to shove. It's a staple in our home! We switch up the dried fruit to add variety and occasionally substitute maple syrup for the honey. 


2 cups rolled oats
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup chopped dried fruit of your choice

Preheat the oven to 375. 
Combine the oats, coconut oil, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl and mix well. Spread out on parchment paper and drizzle with honey. Bake for 14 - 17 minutes. Once cool, add dried fruit and toss well. 

Honey Oat Whole Wheat Bread

I'm all about kids in the kitchen. I'll admit, it's sometimes hard to deal with the unbelievable mess that happens when kids pour and measure but in the long run, it only adds a few more minutes to the clean up and the pleasure of having my kids by my side to make our food is huge. 

I stumbled across this recipe on Food52 the other day for Honey Oat Whole Wheat Bread and asked my 4 year old son if he wanted to join me for a cooking adventure. It's actually not as simple as that... we measured the dry ingredients but alas! I had no yeast. There were about a million things that distracted us from going to get the yeast so this project was delayed for hours. I don't have a standing mixer so this was all done by hand. Happy to report, it was easy peasy! 

Honey Oat Whole Wheat Bread 1

After the mixing and the rising, and then more rising, my son painted water on top. He LOVED doing this and asked if we could make another loaf! Once the dough was painted with water, he sprinkled oats on top. 

Honey Oat Whole Wheat Bread 2

After that, we popped it into the oven and waited (somewhat) patiently as the smell of fresh bread filled our home. 

Honey Oat Whole Wheat Bread 3

How good does that look?! It was dense, chewy, moist and oaty. It was slightly salty, so I think I'd reduce the salt next time - and there will definitely be a next time. 

For the full recipe, head on over to Food52 right here. Happy baking! 

Sesame Lace Cookies

It's that time of year. Cookies, cookies, cookies. We bring them to friends and loved ones, we give them to teachers, we make them for parties

I came across the recipe for Lace Cookies in the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion cookbook, made a few modifications and voila: 

Sesame Lace Cookies

Sesame Lace Cookies

I had never made lace cookies before, frankly because I thought they were complicated but I was wrong! Kind of. The dough setup was easy. It was the baking that threw me for a loop. The first batch that went into the oven completely melted together into one giant cookie sheet-sized lace cookie. My husband laughed, at which point I suggested that he take over the dough assembly portion of the job. He rose to the occasion. His lace cookies were crispy and light, perfectly shaped and sized.

Kudos, husband. 

Sesame Lace Cookies

3 tablespoons of all purpose flour
2 1/4 cups of rolled oats
1 3/4 cups of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup sesame seeds (toasted or raw)

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 
In a bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and salt. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt the butter on low heat. Add the melted butter to the dry ingredients. Add the egg, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix thoroughly. Finally, mix in the sesame seeds. 
Roll the dough into about one inch balls and place on the cookie sheet, making sure to leave enough space between each dough ball. Bake for 5 -7 minutes. Remove them from the parchment paper after they've cooled slightly. 


Strummin' on the Old Banjo

Life is good.

I came across something on Twitter the other day that basically boiled down to 'slow down to recognize all of the wonderful things you already have around you.' Always a good reminder. 
As an aside, my infant is teething. I've been up every hour for two nights and have reached a new level of exhaustion. Or delirium. Or new normal - I'm not sure.  It's hard to notice the wonderful things around you, let alone celebrate them when you're in these kinds of trenches but today I was spending the morning with my son and at some point realized that I was giggling! Loved.That.  

Cooking Banjo Muffins with My Toddler

Cooking Banjo Muffins with My Toddler

My son is regularly this smiley; it makes him a delightful companion. And when it comes to cooking, he scoops and measures with gusto; he pours in cinnamon like there's a present at the bottom of the container; he acts like he's the luckiest guy on earth when he gets to sample the goods along the way. And the best part? He'll often jump off of his "helper chair" in the kitchen and run into the playroom to get a prop and pretend to be the Entertainment Committee, playing his guitar, belting out a song at the top of his lungs. Lately, he's all about being in the kitchen with Dinah, strummin' on the old banjo. And there we were, singing it loud and proud - working on the railroad, fee-fi-fiddly-eye-oh-ing. I felt happy deep in my cells. 

Pretty much everything that I bake, I bake with him. It's all toddler-friendly measuring-pouring-scooping stuff around here. If there are any more complicated steps, I can get those done while he's in the midst of his musical interlude. Anyway, so today he wanted to bake muffins and use our Dora the Explorer cupcake liners. We devised this recipe together, tossing in some beet and apple for color and sweetness. Once cooled, he gobbled one down and declared it "dah-lisheey-ohso!"

Ol' Banjo Muffins
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup grated sweet potato (basically one medium sweet potato, peeled and grated)
1/4 cup grated apple (one medium apple, peeled and grated) 
1/4 cup grated beet (one medium beet, peeled and grated) 
1/3 cup coconut sugar (* you can substitute brown sugar) 
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons flax meal
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup oat milk (* you can use whatever milk you'd like... we made this dairy free) 
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350. Line a muffin pan with liners (this recipe makes 12). In a bowl, mix together all of the dry goods. Add grated veggies and fruit and mix well to combine. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, oat milk, oils and vanilla. The coconut oil may be clumpy so using a whisk is probably best. Combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients. Scoop into muffin tins and bake for approximately 20 minutes.
Let cool for 5-10 minutes and enjoy. 

Off-Label Breakfast Usage

Oatmeal with Peeled Snacks Cinnamon Crunch

Oatmeal with Peeled Snacks Cinnamon Crunch

We're in an oatmeal phase chez moi. Specifically we are digging quick cooking rolled oats and we like it dry and lumpy as opposed to smooth and creamy (I realize that some folks think this is nuts.) I use just enough water to cover the oats, stir twice and it cooks in minutes. I'm so happy about this phase because making just one breakfast makes mornings a tad easier. Everyone eats the same thing with minor differences: My husband and I like it with cinnamon and nutmeg, my daughter likes it with a splash of agave and fresh apple slices; my son likes it with a dash of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup and fruit on the side. He gets particularly excited to pour his own cinnamon. It's heart health month and according to health magazine, oatmeal is one of the top ten best foods for a healthy heart and is said to lower LDL cholesterol. Besides that, it's loaded omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, potassium and folate. An awesome way to start the day.  

This morning I went a little off the beaten path. I stirred a handful of Peeled Snacks Cinnamon Crunch into the oatmeal (after it had finished cooking) and reserved a few to adorn the top. Cinnamon Crunch is one of the three Apple Clusters snacks that Peeled Snacks describes as "diced organic apple pieces, rolled into tasty clusters for a new crunchy snack bursting with natural flavor." Great texture without refined sugar and a fun, non-traditional addition to our morning. My son, initially outraged that there was no maple syrup on his oatmeal, quickly became excited by this crunchy addition to his breakfast.