Chocolate for breakfast (granola)

Chocolate Coconut Granola

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Ingredients

 3 cups rolled oats
1 cup nuts, chopped
1/2 cocoa powder unsweet
1/2 cup chia seeds
1 cup flaked/shredded UNsweet coconut
tbsp cinnamon
tsp sea salt
tsp vanilla
1/3 cup coconut sugar (or other)
2/3 cup coconut oil melted
1/2 cup maple syrup or honey

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
    In a large bowl combine ingredients.

  2.  Press granola into the bottom of oiled baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Stir and bake another 10 minutes. Cool completely in the pan without stirring. Granola will crisp up and clump as it cools. Store in an airtight container.
     

A few things to remember when making granola.
Don't get stuck following the recipe exactly as is! Make it your own.
Add chocolate chunks after it cools if you want more chocolate!
If adding dried fruit to your granolas don't add them right away - it will burn. Some nuts will burn also. You may want to add halfway through baking or at the end. 
More honey usually makes for chunkier granola- and if you want bigger chunks don't stir while baking, let it cool first then break it up.

"Late Winter" A curated menu for early March

These curated dinners are one of my favorite things to construct. Most often they include recipes found from books, blogs, stories of culture and food... The links and credits are always right below the photos for you to click on- I hope you will discover some favorite new folks to follow and new food and drink to cook up and enjoy with the people you love! 
Every Monday you will find a new menu here- giving you plenty of time to plan ahead for your weekend gathering. If you don't have time to create every course share this post with a group of friends and have each guest be responsible for 1 course. It is a great way to enjoy delicious meals without having the stress of creating everything being served. 
Bon Appetit!


The Avery Julep

Are you on Instagram? I love it and am always inspired by the creative talent found there. So,  whiskey - Go to Insta and follow @womenandwhiskies -A group devoted to educating women on drinking whiskey, a spirit usually targeted at men. For Valentine's Day, they asked members for recipes to combat the typical syrupy-sweet dessert cocktail. Erin Rose, a young & talented bartender at San Francisco's @hardwatersf developed this earthy, sensual drink, named the Avery Julep:
Combine 2 parts bourbon, 2 rosemary sprigs, and .5 part crème de cacao in a shaker. Dry shake (no ice) ingredients to release essential oils. Strain over crushed ice into a julep or rocks glass. Garnish with a rosemary sprig and nutmeg. Photo by @madypopelka


Joshua McFadden's Bitter Greens Salad with Melted Cheese

What I love here is that sometimes in winter I crave a green fresh {salad} but really want something a bit more warming. Salads are a easy course when entertaining because it can be prepped and ready beforehand so you can focus on your guests and main course. Here you can have it all- just set it in the oven quick before serving (who doesn't like melted cheese?)
 

Serves 6

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large head radicchio (3/4 pound), cored and coarsely shredded
  • 5 ounces arugula
  • 1/4 pound Crucolo, provolone, Taleggio, or Fontina cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped lightly toasted hazelnuts
  • Saba or balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
  1. Heat the broiler to high.
  2. Whisk the red wine vinegar with 1/4 cup olive oil in a large bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Add the radicchio and arugula and toss to coat them nicely. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  3. Pile the salad on ovenproof plates or an ovenproof platter and top with the cheese. Broil the salad just until the cheese is melted, about 1 minute. Sprinkle the toasted hazelnuts on top and finish with a drizzle of saba. Serve right away.

Brown Butter Mushrooms, Greens, and Soba Noodles

I would double this recipe to serve 6 people,
and use lemon rather than lime.
Serves 4

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (I like the Red Boat brand)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile-garlic sauce, or to taste (virtually any type of chile sauce will work here)
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (cremini, shiitake, or a combination)
  • Finely grated zest of one large lime (juice reserved) 
  • 2 to 3cups roughly torn kale, chard, or spinach leaves (about half a small bunch)
  • 6 ounces soba noodles
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and cook until it turns brown and smells nutty, about 4 to 6 minutes. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom so they don't burn.
  3. Add the fish sauce, chile-garlic sauce, and lime zest to the brown butter, stirring to integrate. The fish sauce will smell strong at this point, but it’ll mellow as the dish comes together.
  4. Add mushrooms and sauté until tender, about 4 to 6 minutes, over medium heat, then add the greens and sauté a few minutes longer. (If using young, tender greens, skip this step and add them at the end with the soba noodles.)
  5. Meanwhile, cook the soba noodles according to package directions.
  6. When the soba noodles are done, drain and immediately add them to the skillet. Add 1 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of lime juice, and toss together until the noodles are evenly coated with the brown butter sauce. Taste for seasoning and balance, adding kosher salt, more lime juice, or sesame oil if needed.

LEMON RICOTTA CAKE

Lemon Ricotta Cake

Serving 6? Double this recipe and either pour into individual ramekins or use a 8 or 10 inch cake pan. 
A light and super moist cake made with fresh ricotta and lemon. 

 Course Dessert

 Prep Time 15 minutes

 Cook Time 25 minutes

 Total Time 40 minutes

 Servings 4

 Calories 248 kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter softened, plus more for greasing pan
  • 5.5 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 6 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup ricotta
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 1/3 a medium apple (approx 1/3 cup) peeled and grated
  • powdered sugar to dust the top with

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a 6" cake pan with some softened butter. In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar together using a rubber spatula. When the two are combined and creamy, add in the egg and mix to combine. 

  2. Pour in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir everything together. Then add in the ricotta, lemon zest, and grated apple. Again, stir everything to combine  - there should be no visible clumps of flour or dry ingredients. 

  3. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth out the batter. Bake the cake for approximately 25 minutes, until the cake is beginning to golden on top and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes before flipping out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust the top with powdered sugar. 

Plum Cake, Plum Torte, the Zwetschge Kuchen.

Such a simple recipe to celebrate the harvest.

¾ to 1 cup sugar

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup unbleached flour, sifted

1 teaspoon baking powder

 Pinch of salt

2 eggs

24 halves pitted purple plums

 Sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon, for topping

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These beautiful deep purple ellipses which bring me back to my grandma and afternoons the first few weeks back to school. She always baked this plum kuchen.
The German plum harvest is celebrated every year with a festival in Bühl in the southwestern part of the country. In this simple German dessert, cake batter is covered with wedges of fall plums; a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.

Grandma always took time for kaffe & kuchen which is a lovely tradition in Germany. Our children love the idea of dessert before dinner and have fond memories from our visit to Germany. Sitting around a table filled with fresh baked deliciousness being passed around and enjoyed by family and friends joined in conversation. Coffee passed around, one two spoons of sugar, sweetly set table of plates and cups probably older than the oldest adult. There was a language barrier, some nervousness in customs not understood, differences in our routine- but somehow the time and ❤ put into the sweets on the table and the gathering around made that all fade away. How can you not relax and be grateful for everything when there is a tableful of cake spread out before you. And you know the next day it will happen again. Nobody telling you to eat just one. 
So this Plum Kuchen is made and eaten in gratitude for grandma, the importance of gathering around the table and making things from scratch. It needn't be complicated, daunting, difficult. Take time to honor the simple pleasures life grants us. Bake a cake!

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SUCH simple directions! 
Preheat oven to 350' F
Cream butter and sugar. 
Add eggs, cream. 
Add flour, baking powder, salt and combine. 
Pour/smooth into a 8, 9, or 10 inch buttered springform pan.
Press plum halves in batter. 
Squeeze fresh lemon over top. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
Bake until toothpick comes out clean. Probably just under an hour. Enjoy that incredible scent from you oven!
Enjoy! (if I eat it for breakfast I tend to add a bit of whole milk yogurt, if anytime after lunch it goes best with whipped cream)

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Watermelon, Mint, and Feta salad.

Ah, the melons are holding on and the mint has taken over. Enjoy it! 
 

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Fresh Watermelon, Mint, and Feta Salad
Still can't get the kids to eat this salad but it remains one of my favorites- 🍉
Toss this together and enjoy-
4 cups of cubed watermelon.
1 cup of cubed feta. (I just had crumbled chevre, don't be afraid to substitute!)
Handful of chopped mint.
2 Tbsp of olive oil.
1/2 a lime, juiced.
Sea salt and black pepper to taste.

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Chewy, soft, cinnamony sweet Snickerdoodles.

Snickerdoodles

These kids are settling in to another school year, working hard adjusting to early mornings and evenings crammed with sports and homework. This treat is for them, and you too of course, for keeping it all together and the ship sailing smooth. Happy Friday to you all! Enjoy.

 

Ingredients:
1 cup butter room temp
1 1/4 sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350` F
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add egg, vanilla, salt and beat until light and fluffy again.
(scrape down sides of bowl and bottom of bowl occasionally)
Combine flour and baking powder (make sure the bp is well combined, I use a sifter or whisk).
Add flour to rest of ingredients in 2 parts (so you don't end up with the flour in the air, floor, you) and combine.
Mix until batter sticks together. If it is crumbly add one tsp of water at a time until it does.
If the batter is sticky, add a tbsp of flour at a time until it isn't. 
Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl for coating cookies.
Form round balls out of batter and roll in sugar/cinn mixture.
Place cookies on cookie sheet (I use parchment paper).
Bake about 15 minutes. WATCH THEM!

This recipe makes 12 large cookies. I use a large ice cream scoop. Cooking time may differ so keep an eye on yours. Too long and they won't be chewy and soft!
 

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September Supper Club

Oh August, I must be honest. I never really loved you. September though, she has hold of my heart. The heavy load of end of summer harvest, sweeter than ever. The Chilly mornings and crisp breeze waiting to steal those leaves away, with the green, the flowers. A reason to cover up, to add another layer, to start a fire... Hello September. How I have missed you.

Supper Club. September.

Such a perfect month to find some new recipes, to blend together summer and autumn goodness. Cool refreshing balancing the warm and nurturing. Early September brings us the heady scent of vines heavy with the deep purple Concord grapes. Butternut squash, broccoli, cauliflower, are all ripening. Peaches are at there last sweet days. Rosemary is feeling necessary, sage is on it's way. And fresh basil, by now I am just about getting close to letting her go.
This is my Supper Club concert of lovely flavors to celebrate the first week of September. I hope that you take some time to visit these gorgeous blogs and bookmark them.
Gather some friends, share the recipes, and get cooking! When everyone adds something to the table the time spent together is magical ~ enjoy! 

Just click on the title of each dish and you will be taken to the recipe! easy peasy, lemon squeezy. 



Bacon wrapped grilled peaches with balsamic glaze.
by Foodie Crush

 

I would substitute Sage for the Basil if the weather is chilly. 

FoodieCrush

FoodieCrush


Pinch of Yum

Pinch of Yum


Eva Kosmas Flores

Eva Kosmas Flores


The Artful Desperado

The Artful Desperado

This weeks 5 favorite WILD crafted finds on Etsy.

Today I wanted to share a few of my favorite (nature inspired) finds on Etsy. I hope it inspires you to think a bit about the importance of handcrafted goods. Think before you run to the big stores and trade your hard earned money for things void of love and craft. Dig for something better.

"to live content with small means;

to seek elegance rather than luxury,

and refinement rather than fashion;

to be worthy, not respectable;

and wealthy, not rich;

to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly...

to listen to stars and buds, to babes and sages,

with open heart; await occasions, hurry never... this is my symphony."

-william henry channing
 

Click on text below each image to be taken to each of the Etsy shop links for browsing!

Tiny Mountain Necklace by  Lulu Bug Jewelry

Tiny Mountain Necklace by Lulu Bug Jewelry

Hot Chocolate 3 ways.

It is cold here in New Hampshire and there really are not too many things I like to put in my belly more than fine chocolate you can drink. I admit to be quite picky when it comes to chocolate, and even more so when it's served in liquid form, in a mug, topped with whipped cream and marshmallows. Cocoa puts me in my happy place. So, why not have a little fun trying a few variations... you can even call it healthy! Go toss that Swiss Miss watered down powered stuff, or at least save it for those folks who just don't "get" good cocoa. Enjoy!

 

This Hot Cocoa recipe is from a wonderful blog called The Sprouting Seed. Here the chocolate is straight up cacao rather than the cocoa we usually use (which is stripped of basically everything that we can consider good for us).
Here is her recipe: and click HERE to be taken to it directly

Ingredients

13 oz coconut milk 
2.5 Tbsp. cacao powder 
3-4 tsp. local honey (sweetened to your liking)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 teeny tiny pinch of cayenne
1 tiny pinch of unrefined sea salt

Directions

Warm milk in a saucepan on the stove at medium-low heat until milk is thoroughly heated. Add cacao, honey, cinnamon, a pinch of cayenne and a pinch of sea salt and whisk until smooth, then remove from heat. Pour hot chocolate into your favorite mugs and add homemade marshmallows on top. Sprinkle with a pinch of cacao and add a cinnamon stick for garnish.

Take a look at these claimed benefits of Cacao:
you can buy it HERE if you can't find it locally.

  • promotes healthy skin
  • high in antioxidants
  • high in magnesium
  • mood enhancing
  • contains vitamins and minerals
  • improves brain function
  • alleviates headaches
  • promotes heart health
  • aphrodisia

 

Photo credit  Pauline Hanuise  for Mind Body Green

Photo credit Pauline Hanuise for Mind Body Green

Maca Hot Chocolate: maca what? 
Maca is supposedly an ancient Peruvian superfood. Get this...

MACA: root of Strength and Balance

Spanish conquistadors recorded in their journals that when they arrived at the puna of Junin in Peru, the babies were well-fed and adults were tall, attributing these characteristics to the diet of maca. The Quechua Indians in the central highlands of Peru continue to consider maca a highly nutritious food with a range of physical benefits and they include it as a regular staple in their diet. Navitas Naturals Maca Powder is loaded with nutritious vitamins, minerals, amino acids and plant sterols, including vitamins B1, B2, B, C, D, E, iron, potassium, copper, magnesium, selenium, phosphorous and calcium. It's a fiber-rich food and a good source of plant protein (about ten percent). Maca root is also a source of fatty acids, and it contains four unique alkaloids (Macaina 1, 2, 3 and 4).
You can buy HERE.

This is the recipe from Mind Body Green.

Vegan Hot Maca Chocolate

Serves 1
Ingredients
1 mug almond milk (or your favorite substitute)
1 heaping teaspoon maca powder
1 heaping teaspoon cacao powder
1 pinch cinnamon

Toppings
Cacao nibs
Cinnamon
Directions
Carefully heat your almond milk to a simmer. Then blend it for a few seconds with your maca and cacao powders.
Pour the liquid into your favorite mug and sprinkle some cacao nibs and cinnamon on top. Enjoy!

Photo credit: Paleo Leap

Photo credit: Paleo Leap

Ahhh, coconut and dark chocolate. This one is so simple and closest to my quick cocoa fix. I have been using hemp milk as this recipe calls for coconut milk. 
Here is the basic recipe:
Coconut Milk Hot Chocolate Recipe
Servings SERVES: 2
Preparation time PREP: 5 min.
Cooking time COOK: 10 min.
Ingredients
1 can (13.5oz) can full fat coconut milk
1.5 oz good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
¼ tsp vanilla extract

Head on over to Paleo Leap by clicking HERE, they share some great variations such as Peppermint Hot cocoa.
Then browse around for some other fantastic recipes. 
 

Stay warm my friends! Hx

Soup Season.

It finally feels like winter again! It was a chilly 51 deg F in the kitchen this morning and as I got the wood fire stove burning hot again my thoughts were on soup. The sort of warm you from the inside, wrap your hands around it beautiful fuel for the day. 
Pick a few and get cooking, store leftovers in your freezer for later in the week when you have hungry bellies to feed and and a cold wind blowing outside. 
 

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. 

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. 

Recipe link from A Beautiful Mess.

Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup
 serves 2-3.

2 roasted red bell peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small white onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
one 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes (and their juices)
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2-3 tablespoons cream (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

photo credit: 101 Cookbooks A Recipe Journal  Sopa Verde de Elote Recipe  Serves 4-6  FULL RECIPE LINK HERE : 101 Cookbooks  4 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 small-med zucchini, seeded, chopped into 1/4-inch cubes 1/2 white onion, minced 2 cloves garlic, minced 4 cups corn kernels 3 1/2 - 4 1/2 cups water 2/3 cup green peas a small handful of fresh cilantro, plus more to serve 1 small serrano chile, charred and peeled* 3 large romaine lettuce leaves, or equivalent 2 1/2 - 3 teaspoons fine grain sea salt, or to taste  to serve: toasted pepitas, creme fraiche or salted yogurt, lime wedges, cilantro, chopped roasted serrano   

photo credit: 101 Cookbooks A Recipe Journal

Sopa Verde de Elote Recipe

Serves 4-6 FULL RECIPE LINK HERE : 101 Cookbooks
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small-med zucchini, seeded, chopped into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 white onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups corn kernels
3 1/2 - 4 1/2 cups water
2/3 cup green peas
a small handful of fresh cilantro, plus more to serve
1 small serrano chile, charred and peeled*
3 large romaine lettuce leaves, or equivalent
2 1/2 - 3 teaspoons fine grain sea salt, or to taste

to serve: toasted pepitas, creme fraiche or salted yogurt, lime wedges, cilantro, chopped roasted serrano

 

                                   Photo Credit: Love & Lemons   Spicy Black Bean Soup :  click here for the full recipe from the lovely Love & Lemons blog   Serves: serves 4 Ingredients splash of olive or grapeseed oil 2 small shallots, chopped 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped ½-1 jalapeño, de-seeded and chopped 4 teaspoons chile powder 3 cups black beans, cooked, drained (reserve a few for garnish) 4 cups low sodium vegetable stock up to ½ cup water, if necessary for blending consistency salt, pepper squeeze of lime optional: a few pinches of cayenne and/or smoked paprika serve with (all optional): diced red onion, jalapeño slices, avocado, cilantro, tortillas, sun cheese, salsa, or dried chile salsa

                                   Photo Credit: Love & Lemons

Spicy Black Bean Soup: click here for the full recipe from the lovely Love & Lemons blog

Serves: serves 4
Ingredients
splash of olive or grapeseed oil
2 small shallots, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
½-1 jalapeño, de-seeded and chopped
4 teaspoons chile powder
3 cups black beans, cooked, drained (reserve a few for garnish)
4 cups low sodium vegetable stock
up to ½ cup water, if necessary for blending consistency
salt, pepper
squeeze of lime
optional: a few pinches of cayenne and/or smoked paprika
serve with (all optional): diced red onion, jalapeño slices, avocado, cilantro, tortillas, sun cheese, salsa, or dried chile salsa

                                photo credit: Jonathan Melendez of the  Candid Appetite   Spicy Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup   Click here to go to The Candid Appetite and full recipe   If you want to whip this up in a flash during the week when you don’t have a lot of time for dinner, and the troops are harassing you to make something delicious right away, make this soup. Some help from the store can have this soup on the table in 30 minutes. Use  low-sodium store bought chicken stock or broth. Buy the kale in the pre-washed, pre-cut sacks that are ready to go. If you are not a fan of pork sausage, a spicy Italian chicken sausage does the same trick. No one will know, and your family will love you for it.   Yield: 6-8 servings  Ingredients:  1 pound spicy italian sausage (I used chicken but pork is good too) 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil 1 large onion, chopped 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more to taste 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional 2 large bunches of kale, stemmed and chopped, about 4 overflowing handfuls 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 4 medium or 2 large russet baking potatoes, sliced 8 cups chicken broth or stock, 2 boxes 1/2 cup heavy cream

                                photo credit: Jonathan Melendez of the Candid Appetite

Spicy Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup 
Click here to go to The Candid Appetite and full recipe

If you want to whip this up in a flash during the week when you don’t have a lot of time for dinner, and the troops are harassing you to make something delicious right away, make this soup. Some help from the store can have this soup on the table in 30 minutes. Use  low-sodium store bought chicken stock or broth. Buy the kale in the pre-washed, pre-cut sacks that are ready to go. If you are not a fan of pork sausage, a spicy Italian chicken sausage does the same trick. No one will know, and your family will love you for it. 

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

1 pound spicy italian sausage (I used chicken but pork is good too)
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
2 large bunches of kale, stemmed and chopped, about 4 overflowing handfuls
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 medium or 2 large russet baking potatoes, sliced
8 cups chicken broth or stock, 2 boxes
1/2 cup heavy cream

Hope these inspire you to get cooking and fuel up for some time outdoors, or warm up after when you come inside. Don't forget to take advantage of having some ready made lunches to bring to work or an easy dinner for those nights your family is on the run. Looking for some good travel containers? Check this out-.don't spill your soup.
I also hope you take a little time to browse these 4 fantastic food blogs and they inspire you to try something new. Love to hear what you cooked up and always feel free to share your own favorites! Keep that cast iron well seasoned, next I will share why cast iron is my favorite and how to keep yours in its best cooking shape.
Eat well and go outside- Hx.