Life of aspiring Social Worker/Baker/Chef

Social Causes Meets Food Obsession

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bake-a-thon part 2

Hello Blogosphere! It has been far tooooo long. I apologize for the delay. With out further ado, I bring you the best home made granola bars on the face of the planet.

Wait? There is no picture...yup they did not last long enough for a picture. In fact, the hubby has since gotten this care package and they lasted all of 2-3 days. They are that addicting. What is in them you say? Absolute goodness! That is what.

In all actuality, they are very customizable. I did the first batch that I sent in the care package with peanut butter, dried blueberries, dried apples, and dried cranberries. The second batch that I had to make for me I did a holiday theme with cranberries, pumpkin seeds, pumpkins spice, almond butter and dried apples. And if you haven't had warm granola bars you don't know what you are missing! Annie and I had to designate a section of warm granola bars that would not be sent to GI John.

The best home made granola bars ever

1 2/3 cup of plain oatmeal
1/3 cup oat flour (ground oatmeal oats until fine)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon (I add a 1/4 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice for my holiday mix)
2-3 cups of fruit, seeds and nuts (I always do a ratio of 1 cup nuts to 2 cups dried fruit)
1/3 cup of almond butter or peanut butter (You can make almond butter in a food processor really simply and it is sooooo worth it)
8 table spoons of butter
1/4 cup of honey
1 tablespoon of water

Mix everything together in a bowl. Using parchment paper in a loaf/brownie pan or even a cake pan for a thin variety, pour and spread the mix into the pan. Then bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.

Nothing is more simple and elegant than a tea cookie. They are ridiculously simple and just a touch of sweetness. Perfect with lemonade on a hot summer evening and a good book. They are ridiculously simple to make and will last up to a week in the fridge and longer in the freezer. Traditonally you are supposed to make them like ice box cookies in a log, but at the time I was sans a rolling pin.

Cranberry Almond Tea Cookies
2 sticks of butter
2/3 cups of powdered sugar
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons of almond extract
2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of cranberries

Beat butter until smooth and add the powder sugar. Slowly, beat in the yolk, extract, and cranberries. Roll into a log and slice (or if you are feeling particularly lazy scoop with a spoon). Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes and top with powder sugar. Enjoy :)

If you or some one you know would like to send a letter, candy, beanie babies or care packages to our troops please visit Operation Gratitude's website: They can connect individuals who want to adopt a solieder or beanie baby donators to soliders in need. And I know the beanie babies sound silly, but the troops use them to get information from children about explosives. These unwanted toys can save lives. Please take a minute and visit their site.

Friday, July 2, 2010

For the OTHER man in my life :) / Bake-a-thon part 1

In my last post I discussed that I had two men. Well, this one is just for him. I have known John for forever. Our story is literally from "The Notebook". Currently, the love of my life is in Iraq doing his job and staying safe (well he better be). Since, we (little man and I) love him so much we decided to send him a big box of goodies for him for fathers day and just because we love him. I know, I know "awwwwww".

I made two types of muffins, granola bars, cookies and cheese straws to send him. That is quite a bit of baking to do in 3 to 4 days. Additionally, I had to get my first blog ready for "Coffee and Community" which requires me to bake too. So I immediately hit panic mode. For some reason, no matter what it is, I hit up one of my close bffs Annie. I swear from shoes, weddings, moving to baking...Super Annie to the rescue.

Say hi Annie!

Annie is helping me make the Raisin Bran Muffins that we split between the man and the organization interview for the Institute of Leadership Advancement. They were perfect subtle muffins. They were sweet, but not overly so. The raisins gave an excent little pop of flavor. I have also have imparted to my significant other in many, many ways that I am distinctly southern. Italian-southern, if you will. I say "yall",eat grits,put mayo in lots of things, beauty pageants and sorority events littered my past, I make casseroles and cobblers and cheese straws.

I make GOOD cheese straws. I softened it down for my better half, because he is not as into spicy as I am. I would also bake them slightly longer for a crunchier cheese straw.

*Also, invest in a pizza cutter. It will also make your straws more even and create that crispy effect. We have one in storage. I miss it. It doesn't call, doesn't right and it makes me sad.

Raisin Bran Muffins

*Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1/2 of a 15oz box of Raisin Bran Cereal
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups milk

Mix the dry ingredients all together. Mix all wet ingredients together. Bring both together and let sit for 45 minutes to over night in the fridge. Make sure it gets put in an air tight container. Place in muffin pan, sprinkle with sugar and bake at 350. Yum. Nom nom.

Cheese Straws

1 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 4 pieces
3/4 cup flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon
1/2 teaspoon of creole seasoning (for more heat use crushed red pepper and/or hot sauce)

Combine everything in a food processor until a coarse, crumbly dough ball forms. Dust a surface with flour, knead and roll out dough flat. Slice the cheese straws or cut them into shapes or make them cracker shaped. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.

Stay tuned for mini pecan maple muffins (I mentioned I was southern, right?), almond cranberry orange tea cookies,the most addicting home made granola bars ever and a fabulous faux shrimp po'boy. The po'boy isn't for my G.I. John. That one is all for mama ;).

See you soon blogsphere! Remember to visit the HandsOn Northeast Georgia blog: