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?

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?

Cherry, Strawberry and Rhubarb Crisp

When it comes to desserts, B is a big fan of anything strawberry-rhubarb related, especially pies, crisps and cobblers. I, on the other hand, are more of  a cookie fan – especially good chocolate and white chocolate chip cookies. Opposites attract? Perhaps (after all, as B says, I have more of a “sweet tooth” and he has a “meat tooth”). But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a good crisp every so often.

Since strawberries, cherries and rhubarb are all in season (yay for summertime!) I decided to pair them all together for this recipe. The tanginess of the rhubarb goes great with the sweetness of the cherries and strawberries and the color of the fruit mixed together is simply gorgeous! Confession: I’ve now made a variation on this recipe THREE times this summer. Does that mean I’m now more of a fan of cookies than cobblers/crisps/etc? No … but this IS good! Definitely scroll down below the recipe for some notes to see other ways to make this delicious recipe.

Cherry, Strawberry and Rhubarb Crisp

Here’s what you need:

  • 8 Tablespoons cold butter, sliced into tabs
  • 2 cups pitted cherries, sliced in half
  • 2 cups strawberries, cut in half (or cut smaller if you have really big berries – I like all my fruit to be about the size of the rhubarb)
  • 2 cups of rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup old fashioned oats
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup pecans

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish with non-stick cooking spray or butter.
  2. Toss rhubarb, strawberries and cherries with white sugar and spread in baking dish.
  3. Put butter in a food processor along with brown sugar, flour, oats and nuts and pulse until it is completely combined, at least one minute. It will look like a dough and no longer be separate. This is the topping.
  4. Crumble and spread the topping over the fruit and bake about 40-45 minutes or until it just starts to turn brown.

Notes:

  • You can make this with a variety of fruits, just make sure that you have 5-6 cups of fruit total. Got more cherries than strawberries? That’s fine! A cherry rhubarb crisp is delicious on its own. And, cherries and strawberries together work nicely also. If you’re doing more sweeter fruits (like strawberries) than rhubarb, you may want to cut down on the sugar, though.
  • The topping can be made with just walnuts, just pecans or a mixture of both. I prefer a mixture of both or just pecans.
  • For the topping, you must mix it well enough so it forms almost a dough. A few times I’ve made something like this but made the topping more crumb-like and it does not hold up well in baking.
  • What’s the difference between a crumble, crisp and cobbler? Why is this a crisp? Because the topping contains oats! See more, here. #nowyouknow

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like rhubarb?
  • Prefer fruit desserts or chocolate desserts?

Disclosure: Northwest Cherries provided me some cherries to sample. All reviews and opinions are my own.

Chunky Chocolate Cherry Bars

I LOVE chocolate chip cookies, especially blondies. They’re one of my favorite things to bake because they not only taste delicious, but they’re so easy – just pour into a pan and bake!

So when once again Northwest Cherries reached out and asked if I’d like to try some of their cherries, I of course said yes.  I mean, look at these beauties.

This time, I was planning on doctoring up some blondies to include some of their delicious cherries. I used one of my favorite blondie recipes (found here) to come up with a chocolate cherry blondie. Because chocolate and cherries not only look good together – but they taste good, too!

And, I chose today to share these with you. Do you know why? Because it’s National Rainier Cherry Day! Did you know that was a holiday?

That’s right,  July 11 marks National Rainier Cherry Day, commemorating this sweet treat named after Washington state’s famous volcanic peak. Nutrient-rich volcanic soil along with more sunlight in the Northwest creates an optimum growing environment making for high-quality and extra sweet cherries. (So, maybe that’s why when I toss cherry seeds into our garden, they don’t grow into cherry trees?)

To celebrate, I highly suggest you make these. The chocolate + cherry combo is PERFECT.

Chunky Chocolate Cherry Bars

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips – I like to do half chocolate and half white chocolate chunks
  • 1 heaping cup of cherries, pitted and cut in half  – I used this to pit the cherries and it works SO much better than doing it by hand!

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 8×8 baking pan with foil or parchment paper.
  2. Melt butter. When we first moved into our new home, we didn’t have a microwave, so I had to do this on the stove. Now, it’s even easier because I can do this in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl.
  3. Add brown sugar to butter (if you did this in the microwave, use the same bowl – just add the brown sugar to this bowl!).
  4. Add in egg and vanilla.
  5. Incorporate the flour and mix until just combined.
  6. Fold in cherries and chocolate and white chocolate chips/chunks.
  7. Spread mixture into prepared baking pan. I like to set aside a few cherries and chocolate chunks to place on top of the batter because it looks nice 🙂
  8. Place in oven and bake for 32-38 minutes. (Mine were done in 37 minutes)
  9. Let them cool in pan for about 10-15 minutes. Then, let them cool completely outside the pan – I like to let them cool for at least 1 hour.  Cut them up into bars and enjoy!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like the chocolate+cherry combo?
  • What’s your favorite cherry dessert? Least favorite? Believe it or not, I do NOT like cherry pie!

Disclosure: Northwest Cherries provided me some cherries to sample. All reviews and opinions are my own.

Summery Grilled Chicken, Avocado, Goat Cheese and Cherry Salad

Now that I’m no longer pregnant and I’m nursing, I’m trying to make a conscious effort to eat healthy again. What does this mean for me? It doesn’t mean cutting out sweets (sorry LM, but I have a sweet tooth!), but instead, it’s about balance. Which means finding ways to get my veggies in.

When I was pregnant, I was turned off by salads and a lot of veggies for some reason. But now that I’m not, I am happy to eat them again! There are only 2 things getting in my way:

  1. I’m turned off by boring food – if I’m going to have a salad, I want it to be FUN!
  2. I don’t have much free time lately. My hands are full literally most of the day (see: nursing a newborn) and then at night when I’m juggling 2 kids, one of whom is a needy and hungry toddler, I don’t feel like spending too much time preparing a meal.

That’s where this salad comes in. It’s anything BUT boring – look at it! It’s colorful! Doesn’t it just shout, “summer”?

AND it can be prepped in advance. I was able to prep all the ingredients throughout the day and then it only took 2 minutes to pull it together at dinner time. Plus, Half of the ingredients were things that I could put on FW’s plate, too, so we all could enjoy a similar dinner, which doesn’t happen often!

See FW’s food vs ours

I can barely call this a recipe because it’s just throwing a few foods together, but in case this inspires you – here it is.

Summery Grilled Chicken, Avocado, Goat Cheese and Cherry Salad

For us, this served 2

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 cup chopped grilled chicken – I got lucky and B had grilled the night before so we had leftover grilled chicken
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped
  • 4-6 cherries, pitted and sliced in half – I used Skylar Rae cherries* because of their sweetness, firm texture and beautiful color
  • 3 cups lettuce
  • 1/2 cup other veggies of your choosing – I did roasted sweet potatoes and sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup other protein of your choosing – I did chickpeas, hard-boiled egg and ham
  • Your favorite dressing – mine is an easy balsamic dressing with mustard (similar recipe, here)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Prepare your ingredients. Measure out your chicken, goat cheese, avocado and cherries. The Skylar Rae cherries are perfect for this salad because of their sweetness and nice crisp texture.
  2. Place on top of lettuce.
  3. Gather other ingredients of your choice – I also added roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, chickpeas, hard-boiled egg and ham. Some other toppings that would be good include tomato, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, edamame, etc. Also, this could easily be a vegetarian salad – simply swap out the chicken and ham for other proteins, such as lentils.
  4. Top with salad dressing.

See how easy that was? Enjoy!

*Disclaimer: Stemilt sent me some complimentary Skylar Rae cherries, and I loved them. I mostly just ate them, but also put them into this salad. All views are my own.

Meatless Monday: Gardein Veggie Burgers with Asian-Inspired Slaw

I recently was given a chance to try out some of Gardein’s meatless specialties, and wow, I really like them! I love how easy they are to make, the variety of products they offer (their products are all vegan and kosher AND they also have some gluten free offerings) and the nutrition info on them (for example, this veggie burger has 3 g. fiber, 5 g. protein and 6% of my daily iron).

Anyway, Memorial Day is coming up and that means it’s nearly the unofficial start to summer! Which means it’s also time to get those grills out (B bought a grill recently, too) and cook up some fun summer meals. Here’s a fun way to enjoy some veggie burgers – with a twist!

Gardein Veggie Burgers with Asian-Inspired Slaw

Here’s what you need:

  • 4 Gardein Garden Veggie Burgers
  • ½ lb. coleslaw mix
  • ¼ cup almond (or peanut) butter (NOTE: I make my own so it’s a little more watery than the kind you’d buy at the store. If you buy any kind that’s not natural and it’s thick, you may need to microwave it a bit to loosen it up)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 3 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon honey (for vegan, use pure maple syrup)
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (or more) to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped honey roasted peanuts (optional)
  • 4 hamburger rolls (I like using challah buns)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Make the Asian-inspired slaw. This is SO easy.  To do so mix almond butter through Sriracha in a bowl with a whisk, or a jar. I like to use a jar and then just shake it up until combined. This will be your dressing.
  2. Pour dressing over the coleslaw mix.  Mix well so cabbage and carrots are coated in dressing. Let sit at room temperature.
  3. Prepare burgers according to package directions. I like mine grilled or cooked on the stove top.
  4. Assemble burgers by placing the Garden Veggie Burger patty on the bottom of the bun and top with the slaw. Cap each burger with a bun top. Serve immediately.

Optional: Serve with sweet potato fries with Sriracha mayo (recipe). It’s not vegan but you can use a vegan mayo if you like.

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like veggie burgers?
  • What’s your go-to meatless grilling recipe?

Disclosure: I was given samples of Gardein’s meatless entrees to try out. All reviews and views are my own.

Linking up with Meatless Monday.

 

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Sriracha Dipping Sauce

At 37 weeks pregnant, there’s not much new that I’m craving these days. Fruit? Yup, still fruit. Especially all of the strawberries, grapes and pineapple. Desserts? Yup, even chocolate, which I’m not usually a huge fan of. Sweet and salty foods? Even better. Which is why I’m a fan of this snack/meal/side dish. Because sweet potato fries are – in my opinion – the ULTIMATE sweet/salty treat. And, they’re even good for you! Or at least better than the other ultimate sweet/salty treat – chocolate covered pretzels. Yum.

Now that the weather is finally warming up, I highly suggest you make these to pair with your favorite meatless (or meaty) entree on the grill. I’ll be sharing a recipe soon that pairs SO well with these, too!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Sriracha Dipping Sauce
For the Sweet Potato Fries

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400. While oven is preheating, preheat a baking sheet as well.
  2. Slice the sweet potatoes into fry-like shapes. (Here’s the knife I use to get the cute crinkle cut fries) Toss with olive oil.
  3. Mix the spices (garlic powder through black pepper) and toss them with the sweet potatoes.
  4. Spread them out on the preheated baking sheets.
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until starting to brown on the bottom. Flip and cook until the other side is brown, about 10 minutes.

For the Dipping Sauce

Here’s what you need:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon Sriracha sauce
  • pinch of garlic powder (I probably used just under 1/8 teaspoon)
  • pinch of salt

Here’s what you do:

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Serve with fries!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like Sriracha?
  • What’s your favorite sweet/salty combo?

Linking up with Meatless Monday.