Raspberry Almond Bars

Here’s another quarantine treat that we’ve perfected over here – raspberry almond bars.

I’ve made these three times since March. That’s how much the family has enjoyed them. FW even requested these (along with ice cream) be his birthday treat, instead of cake! (He takes after me — who needs cake when you can have cookies, ice cream, etc.)

These are so easy. If you are looking for a delicious almond/fruit-like treat, I highly recommend these. The first time I made these, I didn’t have almond extract and used vanilla instead. They came out good, but if you love almond as much as I do I definitely recommend using almond extract! We also made them with a few different types of jellies and jams so far. Raspberry has been my favorite so this is our favorite combination — raspberry almond. If you want to half the recipe you can, you just need to put them in an 8×8 pan and then adjust the baking time (may not take as long but keep an eye on it!).

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Easy Homemade Granola

For those of you that have been reading ICTW for a long time, you’ll be thinking, hey this isn’t the first time you’ve made granola before. And you know what – you’re right! I’ve been making granola for years. I grew up with my mom making a batch of granola nearly weekly (thanks to my brother’s obsession, which he passed along to me) and when I moved out of the house I missed it a ton. The store bought granola, while yummy, just didn’t cut it. So, every so often, I get on a granola kick and have to make a big batch for myself.

Luckily for me, my kids are loving granola these days as well. So, now I have someone to share it with!

This is another one of my mom’s recipes that she has been making for a while. I shared another one of her granola recipes here, but these days, the recipe below is what I’ve been craving.

easy homemade granola - easy to make and made with maple syrup! - i crashed the web

Easy Homemade Granola

Here’s what you need: 

  • 4 cups old fashioned rolled oats, or organic oats
  • 2 cups slivered almonds
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened (Note, if you can’t find and need to use sweetened, it’s okay, I’ve been there)
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (I’ve also used honey)
  • Optional: 2 cups dried fruit (I love dried cherries and blueberries)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl – oats, nuts,  coconut, cinnamon and brown sugar.
  3. In a small bowl, combine avocado oil and maple syrup. Once mixed, pour over dry ingredients. Mix well so it’s evenly distributed.
  4. Pour out mixture onto a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes, checking and stirring at about halfway through.
  6. Now the hardest part — let cool and enjoy!  I add in the optional dried fruit AFTER baking, so the fruit does’t also dry out any more.

Suggestions – if you’d prefer not to just eat granola right out of the jar, you can also serve over yogurt, cottage cheese, oatmeal or on top of your favorite smoothie bowl!

Questions for you:

  • What’s your go-to breakfast?
  • What’s your favorite type of granola?

I’m linking up with Meatless Monday with A Whisk and Two Wands and Confessions of a Mother Runner

Bite-Size Sea Salt Chocolate Fudge Cookies

I’ve been doing a lot more baking (and running) during this time. It’s not that I have more free time – like many others working from home with  kids, my free time seems to be less than ever … but on the weekends, I take a break from work and enjoy baking. I don’t feel guilty if my kids don’t want to join me (though sometimes they do), because I’m with them all week. So instead, I enjoy baking something and we all enjoy it Sunday evening for dinner.

A few weeks ago, a coworker of mine shared that she had some extra masks from a friend who had made them. We have yet to get any cloth masks, and she offered to share some with me. She loves anything chocolate, so to thank her, I baked some of these cookies to share with her. If you like chocolate, and slightly salted chocolate, I highly recommend you try these out. They’re easy, don’t require and dough sitting, and require one bowl to make. And, if you make them the size I do, they’re small and you can easily enjoy more than one at a time.

Bite-Size Sea Salt Chocolate Fudge Cookies

Bite-Size Sea Salt Chocolate Fudge Cookies

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt + pinch of sea salt for topping
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpat.
  2. In a large bowl, melt the butter in the microwave (you can also melt the butter over the stove top, being careful to not let it burn).
  3. Add in the cocoa powder, sugar, vegetable oil, egg and vanilla. Mix well.
  4. Gradually add the flour, baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Mix until just combined and the dough has formed — do not overmix.
  5. Scoop out the dough, and make rounded tablespoon-full size balls (for larger than bite-size, you may want to do about 2 TBs of dough) Press them down slightly (they don’t really spread, so this will be how they look), and add 3-5 chocolate chips on each dough ball. Sprinkle sea salt on top of each cookie.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes. The cookies will be soft and may look undercooked when they come out of the oven, but you don’t want to overcook them. Cool on a cooling rack and then enjoy.
  7. Makes about 2 dozen bite-size cookies.

Put them in a tupperware and share them with a friend! Or just eat them yourself.

Bite-Size Sea Salt Chocolate Fudge Cookies

Some questions for you:

  • Are you a salted chocolate fan?
  • Do you have masks? What kind?

 

Fresh Berry Tart Recipe

During this social isolation time, we’ve been having Sunday dinner at our house instead of with B’s family. With this new routine, I’ve been trying to bake something new each Sunday for us to try. And a few weeks ago when I asked B what he wanted, he replied fruit tart.” Fruit tart? I had no idea what he meant by that, but after scouring a few different places for recipes, got this one, and I have to tell you – it’s a winner. B, FW and LM all loved it. Even a week after eating it, FW asked for more and B told me it was one of the best things I’ve ever baked.

So, now I’m documenting the recipe for posterity – and sharing it with you! If you like fruit desserts, you must make this.

Fresh Berry Tart - I Crashed the Web

Fresh Berry Tart

Here’s what you need:

For the dough:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced
  • 1 large eggs + 1 egg yolk

For the berry filling

  • About 3-4 cups of berries — I used 1 cup fresh blueberries, 2 cup fresh sliced strawberries and 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 lime (fruit and zest)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose four
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup apricot jam
  • 1 TB water

Here’s what you do:

Make the dough:

  1. Combine butter and sugar into the food processor. Cream until they are light and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs to the food processor and continue to blend.
  3. Combine flour and salt, and add to the food processor. Pulse a few times, or until the mixture comes together and appears to make a ball. Don’t overmix!
  4. Remove dough from food processor and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or overnight.

Make the tart:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 9-inch tart or pie pan with non-stick cook spray. When chilled, remove the tart dough from refrigerator. Place the dough in the pie pan, and using your fingers, lightly press the dough and spread out onto the bottom of the pan and up the sides.  The dough should be uniform in thickness (about 1/4-inch thick).
  2. In a large bowl, toss the berries with sugar, zest and juice of the lime, and the 2 tablespoons of flour.
  3. Spoon the berries into the tart shell. Drop pieces of butter over the top.
  4. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the dough is light golden brown on the edges.  Cool about 1 hour.
  5. In a saucepan, heat the apricot jam and water until  combined.
  6. Use a pastry brush or small spatula to brush the warmed jam over the top of the tart.

I also made fresh a whipped cream to top the tart. It was great!

Some questions for you:

  • What do you prefer — fruit desserts or chocolate desserts?
  • What’s the last thing you’ve baked?

Winter Weekends in the Heights

In the Heights … yes, I’ve been listening to Lin Manuel-Miranda and have In The Heights in my head. The songs are so catchy and the movie trailer just looks great to me! And it makes me think of warmer days and being outside …

But I digress. It’s not warm here and we were not outside much. But we still had a good weekend in OUR Heights. It was equally productive, festive, active and fun, which makes for a pretty good weekend in my book. Some of the fun included: Continue reading

A Thanksgiving Weekend in CLE

Can you believe we’re already in December? Thanksgiving came and went last week and we’re finally getting into the holiday season. That means it’s been nonstop Christmas music playing here!

Here’s a look at what our long weekend entailed:

Wednesday, work let out around 3 p.m. so I picked up LM early and we headed to the library to run around for a bit. She has some molars coming in, so we didn’t get in much playing.

FW was in for a treat – he got picked up early by B’s brother, who was taking him to the movies. FW got to see Frozen 2 with his cousins, aunt and uncle. It was his first movie theater experience, and I think he loved it.

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Crockpot Chicken, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Curry

I love easy slow cooker meals that can be prepped ahead of time, are healthy, delicious and don’t take a lot of preparation. Slow cooker meals that require no cooking ahead of time (what’s the point of that?!) or browning of meat. Kid-friendly slow cooker meals. And, slow cooker meals that are just as good in the summer as they are in the winter.

That is why I love this dish. My husband, baby girl and I all love it. (Confession my picky toddler won’t eat any of it but the sweet potatoes) I can make it ahead of time AND it tastes good 1-2 days later! If you’re looking for an easy, healthy weeknight crockpot meal, here it is.

Crockpot Chicken, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Curry

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 15 oz can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth low sodium
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 whole cauliflower, chopped (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups)
  • 1 medium onion thinly sliced
  • 15 oz can chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, diced
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • Optional; for serving: Rice, cauliflower rice, quinoa

Here’s what you do:

  • Combine coconut milk, chicken broth and curry powder and add to the bottom of your slow cooker.
  • Add chicken breasts, cauliflower, onion, chickpeas, canned tomatoes and sweet potatoes. Gently toss together to make sure everything is coated with coconut milk/broth/curry.
  • Cook on Low for 7 to 8 hours or High for 4 hours.
  • OPTIONAL: Depending how much broth/juice you have after cooking, you can take out 1-2 cups of broth mixed with cauliflower and sweet potato and blend until mushy (yes that’s the technical term) before putting back in. I love doing this as it adds a nice thick sauce.
  • Stir in peas 5 minutes before serving. I like to serve mine over cauliflower rice for even more cauliflower goodness. But, you may enjoy it over regular rice, quinoa or even just with a side of naan.

Some questions:

  • What’s your go-to slow cooker meal?
  • Do you like curry?

Summer Weekends Outside

What a FUN weekend in Cleveland! We had such a good time hanging out and doing ALL of the things OUTSIDE. That’s right, we had pretty much perfect weather and hung out outside from Friday through Sunday.

First, I was able to take off early on Friday and surprised FW at daycare pickup early. We hung out for more than an hour at his favorite playground and it was glorious.

Then, on the way home from the playground we picked up pizza and ate it on the porch for dinner. 

LM chewed on her crust for a while. She has been teething for …  months now? We’re still waiting for one of her top teeth to pop. She has had 3 teeth forever it seems!

Saturday morning, FW helped me make some muffins. 

Then, while B mowed the lawn, FW and I did some weeding.

That afternoon, we headed over to my friend Emily’s house for her son’s first birthday! LM loved the food. 

And their dog!

FW loved the kiddie pool.

After the party, it was nap time. Which meant it was time for me to do some more baking!

And when the kids woke up, it was pretty much time for dinner. We ate it once again on the porch.

After dinner, B built a fire and we roasted marshmallows. 

And since it was such a nice night, B and FW decided to camp out in the backyard. 

Sunday ended up being super low-key.  Nobody slept well Saturday night (in the tent or not), so we were all a little grumpy in the morning until nap time. The day included some meal prep, naps for all, and more meals on the porch.

And, a stroller run for the entire family! We hadn’t all run (the 4 of us) in AGES and it made me so happy to be out with everyone.

And per usual, we spent the night at B’s parents’ house, enjoying dinner with B’s family. They have a swing set, so FW got in some more swinging before we ate.

And here we are, back at our week. Weekends go by too fast, don’t they?

Questions for you:

  • If you had the chance to take a half day of vacation, what would you do with your time off?
  • Have you ever camped out in your backyard?

Spring Weekends in the CLE Burbs

Spring is definitely here in CLE! We had a beautiful weekend in the ‘burbs, filled with good food and pretty good weather. Friday night, B made us pizza. It had been forever since we had homemade pizza, and I was looking forward to it all week. I got to pick my toppings for my slices, too — it was pepperoni, eggplant, peppers and mushrooms. I love pizza with tons of veggies and also pepperoni on it!

After the kids went to bed, B and I stayed up somewhat late and watched Always Be My Maybe. It was just what I was looking for in my Friday night – a cute, funny romcom. I recommend it, especially if you already love Ali Wong.

Saturday morning FW got up early – like 5 something in the morning – so it was a long day. After breakfast, B went to Home Depot to get some stuff (it’s his second home these days) and then we went to our first event – a playdate with some friends who also have kids. FW had a blast playing on his favorite playground with LM and of course Celia, Maura and Maddie.

After the playground we headed home for lunch. B and FW hit up Home Depot (yes, again – 2x in one day!) while LM napped.. When he got back, it was time for our next adventure – Ruby’s birthday party! It was a party at a local ice cream shop, so I’m sure FW and LM had a good time. (we did too 🙂 )

After ice cream, we were going to try to watch soccer, but all the bars and restaurants nearby were overflowing and LOUD (aka not as kid-friendly as usual), so we just went home.

FW skinned his knees on our jog to the car, so he needed some extra care and wanted a special seat on the couch before dinner. Toddlers are a ton of work but tons of fun sometimes!

After FW and LM had dinner, it was off to bed semi-early and B and I had to figure out what we wanted. We had planned on going out after ice cream, but since it was too crowded, ended up not sure what to do for food. B was craving buffalo wings, so we ended up doing some takeout. I got a kids’ meal, which meant it came with a side (salad!) AND a drink.

Sunday morning, I got in a nice run – 6.3 solo miles. I had planned on taking out the jogging stroller, but B andFW and LM had breakfast and I got out semi-early (at least for a weekend). It was nice to still be out a little later than usual.

The day was somewhat productive. We did some meal prep, some cleaning, some playing, and some walking. It ended up being a nice day outside so B also got some outdoor chores in.

We ended the day with a jog around the block. FW ran pretty much the whole way!

And that was it. HAPPY PRIDE MONTH!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like pistachio ice cream?
  • Was the weather nice near you?