My laundry usually sits on my bed for the whole day after I wash it in the morning. Sometimes I don’t even put it away when it’s time for bed…I just put it in a little pile on the floor until I feel inspired to clean up.

After trips, my suitcase full of clothes sits in the corner of my bedroom for at least a week or two before I manage to empty it and put it away.

I haven’t worked out in months, even though there’s a gym downstairs in my building.

But As lazy as I am, I decided that I wanted to try my hand at making homemade granola bars rather than paying the exhoribitant nyc prices for a box of packaged ones. See, I’m also extremely cheap frugal, and in this case, that won out over laziness.

Sometimes it’s nice to have convenience foods, but they never taste as good as homemade. I also wanted Nate to have an easy-to-grab, nutrious and calorie dense fuel for his morning runs. I guess these granola bars are technically still a convenience food for him, since he didnt have to make them 😉

But in all honesty, these are super easy and, if you have all the ingredients, will take you less time than it takes to get to the store and back.

Crispy-Chewy Chocolate Granola Bars

Very slightly adapted from Once Upon a Chef

Print this recipe!

makes 12-16 bars, depending on how big you like them

1 + 1/2  cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (available at Whole Foods or natural food markets)
1/2 cup honey
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 + 1/2  teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds (not the kind in the hull)
1 cup crisp rice cereal, such as Rice Krispies
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil.

Spread the oats and pecans onto prepared baking sheet. Place in the oven and toast for 7 minutes. Add coconut and toss well, then place back in the oven to cook about 6-8 minutes more. Keep an eye on it towards the end; you want the coconut to turn golden but not burn.

In the meantime, combine the honey, brown sugar, butter, vanilla extract and salt in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir with a whisk until the brown sugar is completely dissolved. Turn off heat and set aside.

Once the oat mixture is done, remove it from the oven and reduce heat to 300 degrees. Combine the the oat mixture, honey mixture, rice cereal, and mini choco chips in a large bowl and toss well.

Use the foil to line a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, then spray foil with nonstick cooking spray. Turn granola bar mixture out into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly, being careful not to press down too hard. Bake for 20 minutes (be sure heat is reduced to 300 degrees). Remove from the oven and cool completely, about 1-1½ hours. Use the foil overhang to tranfer bars to cutting board, then use a large knife to cut into rectangles. Store in a single layer in an airtight container for up to a week (do not stack the bars or they will stick together and fall apart).

*I think next time I make these I’ll add peanut butter into the wet ingredients…give it a try!

As you know, I decided to make a tasty risotto for Nate the other day. But I realized that the meal was lacking in protein and I try to serve us balanced meals as often as I can.

I racked my brain trying to figure out what to serve with it, since I had zero desire to cook up any sort of meat. Nate suggested that I make an appetizer, and that’s when I remembered an interesting type of dip I’d seen going around the blogging world.

This dip is made with a bean base, like hummus, but with the addition of peanut butter and honey it becomes a wonderful spread for apples, graham crackers, or whatever else you want.

It’s simple to make too, since you just dump all the ingredients into a food processor. I used my small 3-cup one.

I hope you’ll get past the fact that this is made from beans and give it a try. This is a perfect way to serve your kids a snack that’s healthier than cookies and chips. Serve it to your family and don’t tell them what’s inside 😉


High Protein Peanut Butter Dip
Recipe by Me 

Serves 4 for a snack with things to dip

Ingredients
1 (15oz) can White kidney beans (aka cannellini beans), drained and rinsed
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp Smooth peanut butter
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Chocolate graham crackers and sliced apple for serving

Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend well.

I’m such a sucker for the impulse buy items in the checkout line at the supermarket. It’s not the candy and gum, but every register in nyc has little packs of granola or nuts hanging enticingly in front of my eyes.

I try not to shop hungry, but when I need to grab groceries on the way home from work, I sometimes have no choice.

So a few weeks ago, I happened to see an orange-cranberry candied nuts mix. Being that I love that combination and I was famished, I fell into the very trap they had planted and shoved them in my shopping basket.

I opened them the second I got outside and ate half the bag on the way home. They were so good. I was really surprised by how much orange flavor came through and the cranberry added the perfect touch of sour and sweet. Needless to say I had no appetite for dinner that evening.

Ever since that night, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of cranberry and orange. Remember my Cranberry Orange Rice Salad I made a couple weeks ago?

Anyway, I didn’t want to get suckered into the total rip-off that is the checkout line impulse items again, so I promplty made it my mission to recreate these nuts at home.

I did a little searching and found an orange spiced nut recipe which I then added dried cranberries too. This one had the addition of cinnamon, which I was skeptical about, but after tasting the finished product I think it wouldn’t have been as good without it.

With cold weather coming, you should definitely make these. They’re perfect for fall!

But the best part about this recipe? I actually got to make it on a weekend and take the pics in daylight..YAY for natural light photos!


Cranberry Orange Spiced Nuts
Adapted from Taste of Home

Print this recipe!

Makes 20 servings

Ingredients:

2 egg whites, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 cup pecan halves
1 cup walnut halves
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons grated orange peel
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, combine egg whites and orange juice. Add nuts and cranberries and toss to coat; drain.

In another large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Add nuts/cranberries and toss to coat.

Spread in a single layer in a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 250° for 30-45 minutes or until dry and lightly browned.

Cool completely. Store in an airtight container. 

Ho-tteok is a variety of filled Korean pancake, and is a popular street food of South Korea. According to Wikipedia, it is usually eaten during the winter season, which works out well for this blog post :)

It is believed that hotteok originated from Chinese merchants who immigrated to Korea after the late 19th century. Unlike many Chinese pancakes, which often contain savory meat fillings, hotteok are stuffed with sweet fillings, to suit Koreans’ tastes. They traditionally contain a filling of brown sugar, chopped walnuts or peanuts and cinnamon, that melt when the cake is fried.

I think I first had Hotteok at a Korean supermarket I went to while briefly living in Texas. It was being made right there in front of me, and it came out so fresh and hot that I burned my mouth on the sweet, sugary filling inside because I couldn’t wait for it to cool. Needless to say, it was delicious. You’d think I would have learned my lesson but I always burn my mouth on hot foods due to my impatience.

The main reason I chose to make this (other than going along with the Asian theme of my last post) is because, out of curiosity, I bought some glutinous rice flour (also called sweet rice flour) the last time I was at the Asian supermarket. I don’t know what I was thinking, really. I thought you could just use it in place of white flour in any recipe. I believe you can  with regular rice flour, but the glutinous type is mainly used in Asian desserts. It’s chewy, from the gluten I suppose, which makes it workable and good for stretching around fillings.

These days, the types of hotteok have been changing continuously. Many variations have developed since the early 21st century, such as green tea, pink bokbunja, corn, and more. In my case, I decided to alter the traditional filling by using crunchy peanut butter in place of the nuts and adding some banana because…well because you can’t have peanut butter without banana (or chocolate) 😉

Though the glutinous rice flour can’t be found in a standard supermarket, you can find it in most large Asian grocery stores, or you can order it online. I highly recommend trying it. And with the leftover, you can make mochi ice cream!

The batter was so delicious that I may try thinning it out and making waffles with it. Whether you choose to make this for breakfast, dessert, or as a snack, I can guarantee you won’t be able to wait to eat it either…and when you burn your mouth, don’t say I didn’t warn you 😉

I submitted my recipe to Yeast Spotting!

 

Hotteok (Sweet Korean Pancake) stuffed with Brown Sugar, Peanut Butter and Banana

Adapted from One Fork, One Spoon
makes 8-10 small pancakes

¼ cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon active-dry yeast
1 cup flour
¾ cup glutinous rice flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

filling:
¼ cup brown sugar
1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 banana, diced

Stir together the lukewarm water, one tablespoon of sugar, and active-dry yeast in a small bowl until the sugar and yeast dissolve.  Let it sit for 10 minutes, during which time it will start to bubble and foam.

Combine the flour, glutinous rice flour, salt and remaining tablespoon of sugar in a large bowl.  Add the yeast-sugar mixture and the milk.

Using your hands, bring the dough together into a sticky ball.  Knead it a couple of times, for about two or three minutes.  The dough will be sticky, but it should still come off your hands and stay together.  Cover with plastic and place in a warm spot for 3 hours.  (I put my oven on 200 for 30-40 seconds then turned it off and put dough in and turned on oven light)

After 3 hours, the dough will have doubled in size.  It will look pretty puffy.  Knead the dough a couple times until it becomes more elastic, but keep in mind that it will never become a smooth, elastic ball of dough.

Combine the brown sugar, peanut butter and cinnamon in a small bowl. Chop banana into small pieces and put to side.

Heat the oil in a large pan on medium-high heat.  Make sure your pan is hot before you start — your pancake should sizzle when it hits the pan or it won’t form a good crisp crust.  Oil your hands and pinch off a piece of dough, about 2-3 tablespoons.  Knead it into a smooth ball and then stretch it out into a loose circle, creating a depression in the middle.  Fill the depression with the sugar mixture, about a tablespoon worth.  Stretch and seal the dough around the sugar mixture and flatten it between the palms of your hands.

Drop the flattened ball of dough into the pan.  The oil should be hot enough to sizzle.  Smooth some oil on your spatula and press down on the ball of dough, flattening it further.  Continue making balls of dough until the pan has 3 or 4 pancakes in it. Be careful not to crowd the pan.

Fry the pancakes until golden-brown, about 3 minutes on each side.  Remove from the pan and let them drain on a paper towels or a wire rack.  Serve warm.