Tag Archives: Oats

Comfort Food: Apple Crisp Edition

Apple crisp isn’t going to change your life.  I can promise you that.

But what it might do is make you feel like everything is all right with your world; that your insides are warm and fuzzy and nothing bad can happen.  And that nothing makes you feel better than ice cream melting into cinnamon and nutmeg with warm apples and crunchy-buttery oats and nuts.

Apple crisp is a comfort food, my friends.  At least in my house it is.  My mom always makes at least one apple crisp every fall, and when I was a freshman at college she drove six hours to visit with a pan of still-warm apple crisp to help me move in the right way.

And that is comforting.

Apple Crisp (makes enough to serve a large crowd, or have lots of leftovers to be warmed up later)

for the filling:

  • 10-12 mixed varieties of apples (Empire, Pink Lady, Granny Smith, Braeburn…), peeled, cored, and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 2 T lemon or lime juice
  • 1 t cinnamon

for the topping:

  • 1 C whole-wheat flour (I was out, so I used all-purpose)
  • 3/4 C almond meal
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 1 C whole walnuts
  • 1 C old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 C butter (1 stick, chilled)
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • freshly grated nutmeg (about 1/2 t)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  The first big step is to peel, core, and chop the apples–and this step is much easier when you have one of those nifty apple corer and slicer things.  I do, thank goodness.  Mix in the sugar, spices, and lemon or lime.  Pour the apple mixture into a large dish–mine is 10′ x 15′.  The apples should come right up to the top (but don’t worry, they’ll cook down later).  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the ingredients for the topping.  Cut the butter (it’s better if it is a bit chilled) into small pieces into the bowl.  Use your hands for the easiest mixing, blending the flours into the butter until it is the texture of sandy pebbles…if that makes any sense. 

Crumble the mixture over the top of the apples, and dust with freshly grated nutmeg.  Bake on the middle rack until the apples are soft and bubbly and the top is golden brown, about an hour.

Please, please, oh please, serve with ice cream.  Warm.

And when you reheat this, do it in the oven and not the microwave.  Your mother will thank you.  And so will your belly.

One of the best parts of this is the big walnuts–and that’s coming from someone who’s not a big fan of nuts inside desserts.

And if you’ve had a hard day at school, or a long day at work, or a fight with your hubs, or you are feeling down for any reason, really…this is your dessert.

Enjoy!

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Almond Oat Cookies

Only three more days until Fritz gets to take his test and then it is SUMMER!  Which is weird, because I’m already craving fall like nobody’s business.  I want apple pie.  I want cinnamon spice.  I want pumpkin…anything.  And knowing that the weather in Canada is going to be in the high 70s and 80s is just heaven.  Bring on the sweaters for those chilly nights, baby.

I also got around to baking cookies today!  I wanted a treat to go with tea, and I knew that Fritz could use a break from studying.  I also wanted to try using the almond flour that I got from Swanson Health Products, so when I found a recipe for almond oat cookies, I got right on board. 

Almond Oat Cookies (adapted from here) Printable Recipe Card

  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • 1/4 C butter, melted
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 C rolled oats
  • 1/4 C almond flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • handful whole almonds

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Whip the egg and sugar together until light, then add the melted butter and vanilla.  Mix in the oats, almond flour, and baking powder and stir until combined.

Drop spoonfuls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, giving them enough room to spread out (I didn’t really give them enough space).  I put one whole almond in the middle of each cookie, but you could also chop ’em and sprinkle them over the tops.

Bake them on the middle rack for about ten minutes until the bottom and edges are golden brown.  Allow them to cool on the baking sheet for about five or ten minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. 

The absolute best part of these cookies are the crunchy, buttery, golden edges.

So gosh darn delicious.  Not to mention quick and easy–the recipe makes about a dozen big, thin, crunchy on the edges, soft in the middle cookies.  Perfect with tea or coffee.

The almond flavor from the almond meal is subtle but really, really good.

I also got to experience something fun today that I like to call “Big Cat in a Small Box”.  That cat really loves small and enclosed spaces.

He also loves standing inside the handle of bags.  Leave any bag lying around, and he’ll sneak over, snuggle his way into the handle, and just stand there until someone notices him.

Meow.

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Popcorn Snack Bars

Today without a doubt felt like the longest day of class I have experienced in a long, long time.

It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, but I think I’ve just been a little more tired and run down than usual from being out of my normal routine all weekend.  We even watched a movie (The Sea Inside) during my first class, which I really liked, but it didn’t help move the day along any faster.

In fact, the only thing that kept me from passing out on my plinth from exhaustion was probably these popcorn snack bars.  Since I knew we were watching a movie, I wanted to bring in some theater treats that would be delish and hopefully leaning towards healthy for some of my friends to enjoy.

Orville Redenbacher to the rescue!

Popcorn Snack Bars Printable Recipe Card

  • 8 C popped popcorn (preferably the plain, healthy, non-butter-flavored kind, if you can)
  • 2 C old-fashioned oats
  • 1 C almonds (or any nut)
  • 1 C raisins (or any dried fruit)
  • 3/4 C honey
  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 1/4 t salt

First, pop the popcorn.  You can use regular bags if you don’t have a fancy-smancy Whirly-Pop that you received as a wedding gift from your awesome older sister and her hubs (thanks, Erin and Bruce!).  I used about 1/2 C unpopped corn in 2 T of vegetable oil to pop this batch.

While it’s off popping (not popping off), combine the honey, salt, and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Stir until all the sugar is dissolved, then remove from the heat.  Next time I make this recipe, I’m going to try using straight honey with no added sugar.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

In a gigantic bowl, combine the popcorn, oats, fruit, and nuts.  Make sure to pick out all the unpopped or partially popped corn so none of your friends or family break their teeth (but if they do, I know a dentist-to-be…).  Pour the honey syrup over the top, and stir it all up.  Use a giant spoon (and let’s be honest, it’s going to get all over your hands), to make sure everything gets covered in the sweet stuff.

Grease a 9″x13″ pan (I used spray canola oil), and dump the popcorn mixture right in.  Use your hands to press it down firmly (you may have to get your hands the slightest bit oily to do this without sticking).  If you are crazy like me, you can press some white (or regular) chocolate chips leftover from your zucchini brownies into the top of half this mixture.  Yum.

Refrigerate for an hour or two before cutting.  That’ll make it easier to slice ‘n’ dice–but the bars themselves don’t have to be served cold.

These are kind of like a fiber-filled and nutritious version of a rice krispy treat.  Even without the marshmallow, they still have that admirable sticky and pull-apart texture of a rice krispy treat.

The honey flavor is definitely the best part of these bars.  With the slight crunch of popcorn, the chewy and honey-soaked oats make these totally hearty.

And delicious.

Definitely delicious.

Also, check out our CSA box number eight!  I’m super excited for the content of this week’s box–looks like I get to have some fun with flavor and get away from salads for a little while. 

Driving home from picking out the box was amazing–the dill and garlic was so aromatic even from the back seat that I know I’ll be dreaming up soups for at least a week.

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Filed under Desserts, Snacks

Multigrain Bread

Seeing the footage from Japan really puts our lives in perspective, doesn’t it?

Suddenly studying doesn’t seem so bad anymore.  Even better that I have an apartment to do it in, and I know where all my family members are–and there is fresh bread to eat.

I baked this bread over the weekend, and it has held me over for the last few days when I need a quick carb pick-me-up (and it tastes amazing, really amazing with a rooibos tea spread that I bought at Wegman’s a while ago).  Between that and the sun finally coming out, I might be able to muster up enough energy to get going on the last few midterms I need to study for.

This recipe is from Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads, and I chose it simply because I was impressed by the sheer amount of whole grain he managed to cram into it.  It makes three loaves, and it is absolutely perfect to toast and eat with peanut butter, rooibos tea spread, butter, bananas, honey, mint jelly, eggs, and blackberry jam.  I know because I’ve tried it all.

Multigrain Bread (three loaves)

  • 1 C rolled oats
  • 1 C barley flour (you can grind your own)
  • 1 C millet
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 2 t salt
  • 2 C hot water (120-130 degrees)
  • 1/3 C canola oil
  • 3 packages dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 C mashed potatoes (yes, really)
  • 2 C whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 C rye flour
  • 2 C all-purpose flour

Line three (or two if you want really tall loaves) loaf pans with wax paper, and grease them.  Make the mashed potatoes or better yet use up leftovers (plain–no butter or sour cream, please).

In the mixer bowl, measure the oats, barley flour, millet, brown sugar, and salt.  Pour in the hot water and canola oil and mix.  Add the yeast and allow it to dissolve in the liquid before adding the mashed potatoes.

Next, add the whole-wheat and rye flours, and mix for two minutes with the flat beater.  Change over to the dough hook.  While the mixer is running, add the all-purpose flour 1/2 C at a time until the dough forms a “shaggy mass”, pulling away from the sides of the bowl.  Once it is all added, if the dough remains sticky you can add sprinkles of flour, but don’t go overboard.  Knead the dough (using the dough hook) for eight minutes.

Place the dough into a large, greased bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and leave at room temperature until it has doubled in size (about 1 1/2 hours).

A seriously large bowl.  I had to switch to a bigger one because I didn’t anticipate the dough rising this much.

Turn the dough onto a floured table and shape it into three loaves.  Place into the pans, cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let it rise again (another hour).  When you have twenty minutes left to rise, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Bake on the middle rack until browned, about 45 minutes.  Turn out one of the loaves and tap on the bottom–if it sounds hollow, then they’re done.

Allow them to cool before slicing.  If you can.

The absolute best part about this bread (other than the yeasty fresh-bread taste, obviously) is that the millet gives each slice an amazing crunch.  Totally unexpected.

Best thing since…well.

I kept one loaf out and froze the others.  Just wrap in plastic wrap and/or freezer bags first.  When you take them out, make sure you allow the bread to reabsorb any water that forms inside the bag before you start slicing it and toasting it, otherwise you’ll have a really dry sandwich.

Fritz is presenting his research today in San Diego–I wish I was there too, but at least the sun managed to break out from the clouds here so I’m not missing out on all the fun.

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Chocolate Overnight Oats

I’ve never really considered myself a chocoholic.  I like chocolate, yes, even really like it; but chocoholic–no.  I mean, I grew up with a mother who is definitely a real-deal, certifiable chocoholic.  I’ve seen her take shots out of a Hershey bottle when the going gets tough, so I know chocoholism when I see it.  Me?  Not so much.

But last night when I was blogging, I put the movie Chocolat on in the background, and I discovered a stubborn remnant of that distant chocoholic gene.  Fritz gave the movie to me as a Valentine’s day present, and as I watched those images of cocoa powder, swirling and dripping milk chocolate, molded chocolate, truffles, drinking chocolate, cakes, tarts–I mean, I couldn’t believe what was happening.  I had the biggest chocolate craving ever.  And we had absolutely no chocolate in the house, except for Hersey’s cocoa powder.

Since it was much too late to start baking, I decided I could try to put my craving on hold until the morning, and I set up myself some chocolate overnight oats.  Desperate cravings call for desperate measures.

Lovely dish towel was a wedding shower present from Tharrie!

Chocolate Overnight Oats

  • 1/2 C old-fashioned oats (I may have added a few sprinkles more, I wasn’t measuring very precisely)
  • 1/2 C water
  • 3/4 C skim milk
  • 1 T chia seed
  • dash of vanilla
  • 2 t cocoa powder
  • 1 t honey
  • 1 ripe banana, sliced

I like my overnight oats to be a little runny (like cold oatmeal soup? is that gross?) so you may want to omit the water and just increase the milk to a full cup.  Combine all the ingredients together, except for the banana, in a Tupperware container.  Shake it (shake it! shake it!), then stick it in the fridge and hit the sack.

The next morning, slice a banana into it, mix everything up…and swoon (but try not to drop your bowl).  This was so satisfying and hit my chocolate craving right on the mark.  It was sweet, but had a touch of that dark-chocolate seduction from the cocoa powder.  And you know how I feel about banana. 

I thought about adding peanut butter, but I didn’t want to go too nuts (ha! nuts!).  Maybe next time.

Trust me, they’ll go quick.

Also, for those of you who are interested, I recently got a Facebook message from an old friend of mine, Jeremy, from college.  He started movie review website, and if you are interested, it looks pretty cool.  Also, he’s a nice guy, and his major at college was film (cinema?) studies, so he knows what he’s talking about.  And he talks a lot about movies (or at least he did when I knew him).

Here’s his website: www.iamcinephile.com.

Go there and check it out.

Since I knew I would be posting this little blurb, I decided to look and see if I had any old pictures of us hanging out together and voila!

Makes me long for the beach, and sunny weather.  Also for a time when I could eat whatever I wanted and be that skinny.  But alas.

I also stumbled on a photo of two of my absolute favorite people in the whole entire world:

My two besties.  You just can’t beat the pure happiness on their faces, can you?

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Good Mornin’ Granola

My sister Erin has mentioned to me that she wants me to post Tharrie’s muesli recipe because she has longed for a large Tupperware of nuts, fruit, oats, and honey to wake up to.  This morning I woke up early already thinking of something healthy and tasty to go with my yogurt this and thought to myself, “Maybe today is the day for muesli!”

Well, I’m sorry Erin. I looked up Tharrie’s recipe and I didn’t have the right ingredients–but I did have enough lying around to make a muesli-inspired granola!  Since we’ve started eating plain Greek yogurt (constantly), I like to add a little crunch on top to mix up the already thick texture.  We usually have granola in the house because Fritz is totally obsessed enjoys an occasional bowl, but there’s always a ridiculous amount of added sugar and other weird ingredients I don’t recognize that I can only assume are added to lengthen its shelf life.  Now that I’m trying to “eat food” (meaning whole, real food ingredients), I decided what better thing to do than make my own!

Also, why does granola cost about $39,568 a pound?  It’s probably much cheaper to make my own anyway.

Good Mornin’ Granola

(Please give me a little leeway with these ingredients–I eyeballed the measurements, and plus, I was just makin’ this whole thing up anyway)

  • 1 C old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 C raw almonds
  • 1/2 C  raw walnuts
  • 2 T ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 C shredded coconut
  • 1/4 C apple juice
  • 2 T honey

Pre-heat the oven to 275 degrees.  Pulse the nuts in a food processor until broken up into large pieces (don’t over process into crumbs–you want the texture of big chunks).

Next, combine all the dry ingredients.

Admire.  Then add the apple juice and the honey.  I started with one T of honey and drizzled a little more over until the ingredients were clumping together.

Mix the ingredients thoroughly, then spread out on a glass pan or metal baking sheet.  Leave some clumps for your own chewing satisfaction.

Bake on a middle rack for about half an hour, or until brown and crispy.  Every 5-8 minutes, use a spatula to check, turn and mix the granola–you don’t want the nuts to burn!  Remove and let cool in the pan.  You can then store in an air-tight container for a week…but it probably won’t last that long.

We sprinkled the granola over plain greek yogurt and added apple slices, raisins, and a bit of brown sugar (but the sugar is not necessary, it’s sweet enough to eat alone).  Fritz was very pleased with the results!

That’s the kind of breakfast you should eat before you spend the day in the city, meeting up with some of your favorite women for lunch and coffee (or tea).  What lucky girl gets to do that today?

Me! It’s me!  I’m going to take the train in about an hour to see my good friend Breanna for a few hours, and then I’ll even get to meet up with Eber on her hour break from work in Bryant Park for some delightfully hot beverages.  Which I probably won’t even want, because it’s supposed to be a high of 65 degrees today!

Might be the best day ever.

(Sorry Fritz).

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