Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Oh Pecan, you big nut, how I love you...

I'm not a "granola girl" as someone has asked me before. But I do like making granola!! Even my daughter loves it, asking for "more grambola please!" Someone had asked me for my granola recipe so the last time I made it, I actually paid attention to what I was putting in there instead of eyeballing it. I've tried a few experiments and I'm still working on the perfect recipe but here's what I have so far:

5 cups of rolled oats (not quick cook)
1/2 cups of raw pepitas*
1/2 cup of raw sliced almonds*
1/2 cup of pecans*
1/2 cup of wheat bran (or flour, if you don't have wheat bran)
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
1/2 cup of honey
1 tsp of vanilla
3/4 cup of dried cranberries*

* these can be substituted with your favorite nuts or dried fruits. Just cut any large pieces of dried fruit in to smaller pieces.

Preheat oven to 300°F

Mix rolled oats, nuts, wheat bran and wheat bran in a very large bowl. Whisk together honey, oil and vanilla until combined. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients and mix until evenly coated.

Spray a baking sheet with oil and spread granola mixture on the sheet. Place in oven and stir every 15 minutes until golden brown (about 30-45 minutes). Allow to cool completely and mix in dried fruits. Granola can be kept in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks (but it never lasts that long in our house).

The wheat bran and honey helps the granola clump together. The oil helps to brown the granola. So if you'd like to alter the clumpiness, I would start here.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Chicken cook... chicken bake...

Ah, Friday... the two girls are with me again. I always think of what to cook for them since toddlers can be finicky and messy. I looked in the fridge and found some leftover home-made pizza dough from a botched attempt at making grilled pizza (let's just say it turned out very "rustic"). The dough was pretty good, though. In the freezer, there was a bag of chicken tenderloin. My mind starts flipping through it's internal recipe book and I immediately think of Costco's Chicken Bake. Mmm... the ever bad-for-you, 927 calorie chicken bake filled with cream sauce, chicken, mozzarella cheese and bacon. I had an early morning full-body workout that involved weights and yoga so I had to be good with my food choices today. Luckily, there wasn't any milk or cheese in the fridge except for Parmesan cheese (well, we use fat-free stuff anyway so it wouldn't have been all that bad). So I decided to make a tomato sauce-based version of the chicken bake - more like an inside-out pizza. Plus, this would be quite a bit smaller to fit into little hands.

I brought the pizza dough to room temperature for about half an hour. In the meantime, I prepared the sauce, preheated the oven to 400°F and cooked the chicken. I used a can of tomato sauce, added some Italian seasoning, garlic powder and onion powder and reduced it by half to thicken it up. Once that was done, I floured my cutting board, divided the dough into three pieces and stretched them out.

On top of the dough went the tomato sauce, then the chicken piece, more sauce and Parmesan cheese. I wrapped the dough around the chicken and pinched to seal it. The whole package was placed on a Silpat-lined cookie sheet, seam-side down. I brushed the tops with olive oil and sprinkled more Parmesan cheese.

The bakes went into the oven for about 15 minutes. They poofed up nicely with minimal sauce seepage (well, at least on 2 of them).

The girls enjoyed it. Mya ate the whole thing but Kayla was purturbed that there was a huge chicken piece in the center. I told her to eat her protein to build muscle. So she took a bite of chicken and then flexed her arm for me. Funny girl.