granola with nibs

My healthy breakfast granola has been – reinvented for February (maybe forever!).

You may think there are raisins in the image above.  In reality, they are tiny currents.  But the majority of the little black blobs are cocoa nibs and chunks of 60% Ghirardelli chocolate.

The addition of chocolate does not automatically signify the addition of sugar.  This granola is for chocolate lovers – those who love the rich taste of chocolate.  This is not a sweet granola; however, the chocolate flavor is primary.

The darker the chocolate, the more health benefits therein contained.  ”Chocolate is made from plants, which means it contains many of the health benefits of dark vegetables.” (link to more healthy chocolate facts here)

Into the next batch of chocolate granola, I think I’ll add a pinch of cinnamon or maybe some espresso powder.

Heart healthy February.  You can find the recipe here.


I posted this image pre February 2009.  I’m reposting because it just says February to me.  Actually, the heart circle plastic thing is a stencil designed to lay over a small cake and dust with powdered sugar.  But, to me it’s ‘hearts afire in February.’

almond is Amaretto is almond is…

…delicious in cake!

Classico Amaretto di Amore….it even sounds  –  sweet – - –  See the description below:

Deep copper color. Light marzipan and maraschino cherry aromas follow through on a soft, silky entry to a oily, mildly sweet medium body with almond oil and caramel accents. Finishes with a soft, gentle lightly peppery marzipan and mocha toffee fade. (description from here)

This cake is for almond lovers.  It is moist, rich, and almond, almond, almond.  A small piece is more than enough to satisfy the sweet tooth of any dessert – a – holic such as myself.

The recipe can be found here.  This is very easy to prepare.  It contains almond paste, which intensifies the almond flavor.  I chose to use Amaretto rather than the almond flavoring and simple syrup suggested in the original recipe.  There is no alcohol taste, just deliciousness…

a view from above; the cake is 8 inches round and required an extra 5 to 10 minutes to bake based on the original recipe:

a view from the side; the cake is about 2 inches tall and packed with almond goodness

my slice to taste; This slice could have easily served two people; the cake is very rich.  The original recipe recommends a strawberry coulis.  I think raspberry would be good.  Oh, and chocolate sauce would be divine.

festive white beans

Green sage, pink peppercorns, & white garlic, all floating in EVOO.  
I cooked the beans until tender, then added tomatoes, onion, and stock.  This soup is the perfect meal on a weekend in January when West TN is iced/snowed in.  Here in the south, we close schools, businesses, and churches when ice storms such as this arrive.  As you might guess, this does not happen very often.  Though the ice storm causes loss of income to numerous individuals, many of us adults feel like we have been give a ‘Snow Day!’
The white bean soup recipe can be found here.  I added some roasted chicken and a piece of  parmigiano-reggiano rind to the soup; the flavor of the cheese enhances the soup exponentially. 

Pottery can be purchased at Ayers Pottery in Hannibal, MO.

cinnamon brittle

An internet search returns the fact that brittle means easily broken, cracked, or snapped.  MY version of cinnamon brittle was more about breaking a tooth.  Cooked to 340 degrees as instructed, this was very, very hard.  However, if allowed to melt in your mouth for a moment, it became cinnamon goodness.

The recipe can be found in Charity Ferreira’s, “Brittles, Barks, & Bonbons” on page 31.

long before the mixture reached 340 degrees:

cinnamon for flavor:

sugar mixture cooked to a ‘spatula spike’

granola in McCoy

Though the granola is very good, this post is about my ‘Granny Reeves.’  The McCoy bowl was hers.  When I eat my morning granola from the bowl, I think of her.  She was a grandmother who made Barbie doll clothes for her granddaughters.  Do you know how small those were/are???

She made hot tamales with my dad.  She liked to play Yatzee.  She was a petite little lady who drove a light blue car and had a friend named Vera.  Granny’s name was Toy.

for those of you who enjoy antiques:

You can find the granola recipe here.  This is a crunchy granola flavored with cinnamon – yummmm…

cooking brown sugar

ahh….this looks like I’m a trained barista mastering latte art…but I’m not

This is brown sugar beginning the conversion into delicious butterscotch caramels.  The recipe is from “Brittles, Barks, & Bonbons” by Charity Ferreria (page 77).

I cooked this mixture to 250 degrees F; the caramels cut beautifully.  For those of you who, like me, fear sugar/caramel, I encourage you to just jump in and melt some sugar.  I’ve experienced more successes than failures.  Once the fear of melting sugar passes, there are endless possibilities.

Spun sugar, here I come!

very early boiling stage:

a few minutes later:
they cut SO much easier at room temperature rather than immediately out of the refrigerator:
beautiful … just beautiful

wrapped and ready to share (wax paper squares are so much easier to wrap than parchment paper)

unwrap and enjoy!

photograph and consume:

the crackle of crusty, freshly baked bread

I’m sorry you cannot hear the sound of this little loaf as it is pulled it from the oven.  It  c r a c k l e s …….

This is a version of the “artisan bread in 5 minutes a day” bread.  I added italian seasoning and garlic powder; I knew I wanted to dip the bread in / I mean, eat it with my roasted tomato soup.  The basic recipe can be found here.
This was so, so simple to make.  And, yes, the result was good enough to serve to company.  I only made half the recipe; this will make two small 7 oz. loaves.  Half the dough is resting in the refrigerator, waiting for another baking day.
in the beginning:

after the rise:

fresh from the oven:

breaking bread:

a little sunshine in January

Not your every day orange juice – this is ‘weekend orange juice,’ made with simple syrup, roasted oranges and a vanilla bean.
The drink is smooth, rich, sweet, –  unusual.  It would be good poured over shaved ice in the summer.  And, it was good on a cold winter day in January, when I was searching for something that reminded me of summer…
You can find the recipe here.
juicer has been around a few years:
vanilla bean seeds floating in and flavoring the orange juice:

cinnamon crisp cookies – inspired by Mrs. Morris

When I asked Julie what she would like for me to bake and send to NE for Christmas, she only wanted her Mom’s cinnamon crisps.  But, she said, they will never survive shipment from TN to NE.

She sent me her Mom’s recipe, of which I’m proud to add to my collection.  I did find a cinnamon cookie recipe to bake that would survive the sleigh ride via FedEx.

Roll and cut:

Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar prior to baking:

Just baked:
Ready for the FedEx ride to NE  (and, I sent a tin of these to my Niece M in UC,TN):

You can find this recipe here.

Maybe, some day, I’ll try Mrs. Morris’ recipe. Let me know if you try this one…

Cinnamon Crisps
2 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 c margarine
1 beaten egg
1/2 c milk (about)
1 c sugar
1 T cinnamon
Mix together flour, baking powder, salt and 1 T sugar. Cut in 1/2 c.
margarine. Beat egg and enough milk to make 3/4 c. Mix together and add to
flour mixture.  Turn out and knead 25 times on lightly floured board. Roll
long narrow until about 24″ long. Brush with melted margarine. Put 1/4 of
sugar cinnamon and roll up. Cut into 1/2″ slices. Dip into melted margarine
and a cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll between waxed paper until 1/8″ thick.
Transfer to baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees about 10 minutes or until
lightly browned. They will be very delicate but worth it!