Breakfast, Granola, Recipes

No Bake Tropical Energy Bites

So, as you guys know, I’ve been furiously writing away on my thesis for the past few weeks. I worked on it before, but I took a break from my campus jobs to really focus. That helped… but you wanna know what really helped? These awesome, tropical little bites of energy! Enjoying a treat full of coconut, apricot, mango, and white chocolate makes the tedious just a lil bit better!

So many good things could be said about these little treats. I think the most important thing about them [besides their fun flavors!] is that they are little! I’ve always loved cute little things like these pumpkin chocolate chip muffins [sorry about the photo, I reallllllllly need to update the pic of these muffins for the blog] or way back in the day [circa 5th grade], those mini poptarts. Anyone remember them? My favorite flavor was grape or wildberry or something like that… they were so small you couldn’t put them in the toaster, and I used to beg my mom to let me eat them on the way to the bus stop. No idea why, but she never liked the idea because then it meant I couldn’t brush my teeth after eating. I thought that was the dumbestexcuseeverughmomnooooooo! Now, I wouldn’t really dream of eating poptarts, especially not on the way to the bus stop, because I’m obsessed with brushing my teeth. Go figure.

Well, these energy bites are most assuredly not mini poptarts, but they are just as tasty [if not more so!!]. These energy bites are sweet, filling, and a snap to throw together. They literally take 5 minutes to stir together and another 5-10 to shape. Add in some downtime in the middle to chill [perhaps during your favorite TV show? Or while reading a “scholarly” article…sigh.], and you’re ready to go.

I stored them in the fridge and loved taking the first gloriously cold, slightly sticky bite. Indulgent and delightful, I say. [Ben ate them in one bite and just said yum.] Whatever you say, just be sure to make them soon. I wish I had more right now! Anyone wanna send me a care package? 🙂

No Bake Tropical Energy Bites [inspired by these energy bites]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup coconut flakes [I used sweetened but unsweetened would work too]
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots, diced
  • 1/3 cup dried mango, diced
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil [melt on low heat in the microwave to bring to liquid consistency for easier stirring]
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

In a large bowl, stir together oats, coconut, apricots, mango, and white chocolate chips. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together honey, oil, and extracts. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, then stir to combine.

Let chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up, then roll into heaping tablespoon-sized balls. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week [if they last that long] and enjoy!

Time: 45 minutes [15 minutes active].

Yield: about 2 dozen bites.

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Chicken, Main Dishes, Recipes

Pineapple-Apricot Teriyaki Chicken

I used to turn my nose up at dark meat. Chicken, turkey, whatever. I’ll stick with white meat. At Thanksgiving, I’m all about the side dishes anyway. But then I got married. To a meat lover. I quickly realized that the large package of chicken that would have lasted single me all month now lasts a much shorter time. Then I also realized how expensive buying boneless skinless chicken breasts exclusively is. So I decided to be brave, be bold… and embrace the dark meat! Guess what–it isn’t that bad. It’s less expensive and *gasp* actually pretty good. Especially when you pair it with fruity, tangy sauces and marinades, like this Pineapple-Apricot Teriyaki sauce that I adapted from Beth at Budget Bytes.

This pineapple-apricot teriyaki sauce is definitely sweeter and fruitier than your average teryaki sauce… not authentic by any means. But we loved it paired with the hearty, complex flavor of dark meat chicken thighs. [I do try to buy boneless skinless because it’s just easier.] A perfect early-spring dinner, if I do say so myself.

And word to the wise… if you enjoy eating sauces by the spoonful… make a double batch of this sauce. Trust me. No chicken necessary. 🙂

Pineapple-Apricot Teriyaki Chicken [from Budget Bytes]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves
  • 1/4 cup crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place chicken thighs on baking sheet.

In a small bowl, whisk together apricot preserves, pineapple, garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, and cornstarch. Reserve about 1/3 cup sauce in a separate bowl. Brush half of the rest of the sauce over the chicken thighs.

Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and brush on the second half of the sauce [not the 1/3 cup reserved]. Place back in the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Serve over spinach and rice or Israeli couscous, being sure to spoon the reserved sauce over each piece.

Time: 35 minutes [5 minutes active].

Yield: 4 servings.

shared at Life as Mom

Breakfast, Granola, Recipes

Alice’s Vanilla Tea-Infused Granola

I’ve never been to New York City, but I know that when I do someday, Alice’s Tea Cup will be my first foodie stop. My mom owns about a zillion cookbooks, and one that I always love to browse when I’m home was created by the owners of the NYC area chain of tea shops. It’s aptly named Alice’s Tea Cup and it is full of recipes for fun teatime sweets, breakfast treats, and even good info about the proper way to brew tea. I’ve made a scone recipe from the cookbook that was just so-so [probably because I didn’t make the buttery glaze to go on top], but I wanted to give the cookbook another chance. I am so glad I did, because Alice’s Vanilla Tea-Infused Granola is simply magnificent.This phenomenal granola combines three types of nuts [almonds, pecans, walnuts] plus sesame seeds and coconut, as well as two types of dried fruit to make a nutty-sweet comination that is absolutely essentail in a good granola. It is a bit more museli-like than a traditional chunky granola, but that doesn’t detract from it’s crunch. But the real added bonus to this granola comes from its spices: the usual suspects of cinnamon and nutmeg… and vanilla tea! I’ve never used tea as a spice before, so I was a little unsure what it would be like, but it’s absolutely wonderful. The tea adds some delicate sophistication to the crunchy hippie treat [ha, ha].

Overall, this is a granola recipe that is perfect as is… but could definitely be improvised based on the contents of the cupboard. We enjoyed it served over yogurt or with milk, but as with any other granola recipe… the possibilities are endless. I can’t wait to make it to NYC to try the original version, but for now, I’m glad I can enjoy it at home when the mood strikes.

What’s your favorite granola fixings? Have you ever been to Alice’s Tea Cup in NYC? Wanna take me? 🙂

Alice’s Vanilla Tea-Infused Granola [from Alice’s Tea Cup]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 2 heaping teaspoons vanilla tea leaves [I used a vanilla-cinnamon tea, and just cut open one tea bag]
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spray a large jelly roll pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except honey and butter. Mix together thoroughly, then stir in honey and butter.

Spread the mixture on prepared baking sheet, and pack down with a spatula. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping at the halfway mark. Remove granola from oven when it is golden brown. It will harden as it cools.

Break granola into chunks and store in an airtight container. Serve with milk or yogurt.

Time: 30 minutes.

Yield: about 7 cups.

Linked up with…

Breakfast, Recipes, Scones

Honey Fig Scones

Fresh figs are my new favorite late-summer treat. As tempting as it was to not eat every last one of those sweet, soft bites of fruit that have recently arrived in my CSA basket while standing over the kitchen sink, I chose to take the higher ground and share with Ben. What a lucky guy! And what better way to share than with these delicious scones?

These Honey Fig-Apricot Scones are slightly sweet thanks to the honey, chewy from the oats, and full of pouches of fresh figs and dried apricots. Plus, since scones are so easy to make, they’re a cinch to whip up and the perfect treat for a lazy weekend brunch or afternoon tea. This is definitely a great way to enjoy figs… I only wish there were more to enjoy!

Reader Question ~ Have you ever had fresh figs? What’s your favorite way to enjoy them?

Honey Fig-Apricot Scones [from Brown Eyed Baker]
printable version

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons fat free half and half
  • 1 cup diced figs and apricots [fresh or dried; I used about 2/3 cup fresh figs and 1/3 cup dried apricots]

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a large baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, oats, baking powder, and cinnamon. Then, in a smaller bowl, whisk together egg and oil. Then add honey and mix well. Fold the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. Then gently mix in half and half. In a small bowl, cover figs and apricots with sugar and then fold into dough.

Scoop dough onto prepared baking sheet in generous 1/4 cup increments. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Serve warm, preferably the same day the scones are baked. Otherwise store in an airtight behavior or freeze until ready to eat.

Yield: 8 scones.

Time: 40 minutes [15 minutes active].

Fruit, Recipes, Sides

Cranberry Sauce Face/Off

Cranberry sauce is VERY serious business. Because it’s my favorite holiday dish, like stuffing, ya know? It’s the only way I can stomach turkey or a big hunk o’ meat, as is traditional for holiday meals. And FYI… I’m not talking about that stuff in a can. I hope you didn’t think that was the case.

canned cranberry sauce
canned cranberry sauce=gross

No, I’m talking about real, whole berry cranberry sauce. Today I’ll be sharing my two best cranberry sauce recipes, just in time for your Christmas dinner.

cranberry sauces in the snow
The magic of cranberry sauce. On the left, the traditional family Cranberry Relish; on the right, a new recipe: Gingered Cranberry-Apricot Sauce.

I love my family’s traditional cranberry relish because it’s tart and sweet at the same time. The sweetness of the citrus pairs perfectly with tangy cranberries. The Cranberry Relish is a snap to make too–from start to finish, this dish takes about 10 minutes, tops. How simple is that? Love it!

Cranberry Relish

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1 orange, scrubbed and sliced
  • 1 lime, scrubbed and sliced
  • 1/2-3/4 cup sugar

Directions:

Place cranberries in the bowl of a food processor. Add half of the orange and lime [including the rind], and pulse several times to chop. Then add the rest of the orange and lime and pulse a few more times. Pour in 1/4 cup sugar and pulse to combine. Taste and add additional sugar as desired. I usually use about 1/2 cup sugar total, but adjust to your tastes. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Notes:

Feel free to use any type of citrus in this cranberry relish… oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, clementines, etc. Just be sure to remove the seeds first!

and for recipe #2…

I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical about trying a cooked cranberry sauce. It wasn’t what I had grown up enjoying. However, I am so glad I gave this Gingered Cranberry-Apricot Sauce a try. The combination of spicy ginger, sweet apricot, and tangy cranberries is fabulous! It’s unlike any cranberry dish I have ever tasted… I made it for Thanksgiving and it’s making a repeat appearance at Christmas. Yum!

Gingered Cranberry-Apricot Sauce [from Woman’s Day]

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1/2-3/4 cup sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons ginger
  • 15.25 ounce can apricot halves [I used the lite version in a natural juice]

Directions:

Drain apricots, reserving juice into a measuring cup. Add water to juice to make 1 cup of liquid. Chop apricots into thirds.

In a medium saucepan, combine liquid, cranberries, apricots, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon ginger. Stir together and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 20-30 minutes or until the majority of the cranberries have burst. Taste, and add additional sugar or ginger to taste. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Click here for the printable: Cranberry Sauce Face/Off

Question of the Day: Cranberry Sauce… Yea or Nay?