So I Married a Chef

Adventures in Baking Balanced with Exercise and Healthy Meals

AMAZING Granola November 30, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — carly71722 @ 11:52 am

So, I didn’t really take any pictures of the granola making process. I apologize ahead of time, but here’s the story…

I realized that I was low on granola. I make it every 2-3 weeks and snack on a little each day with yogurt, oats, my hand. Anyway, this morning I topped my oats with a small handful and Joe finished off the rest of the batch. The previous granola was an awesome honey almond one that will be shared later. I was brainstorming what kind to make next while I threw together my Caribbean Crunch Blondies for a blogger cookie exchange this week. These blondies are spiked with rum and have toasted coconut, white chocolate, and macadamia nuts. TO.DIE.FOR! With the smell permeating my kitchen, I used this as an inspiration for my granola. I had no intentions of blogging this, but upon first bite I knew it was a recipe that was to be shared with the blog world. Meet – Coconut Rum Granola.

Coconut Rum Granola

Combine the following dry ingredients in a large bowl:
3 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. flax meal
3 T. brown sugar
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1/4 tsp salt

Combine the following wet ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup:
1/4 cup agave nectar
3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 Tbsp applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp coconut extract
1 1/2 tsp dark rum

1. Preheat the oven to 350*. Line a sheet pan with silpat or parchment.
2. Mix wet and dry ingredients together (use your hands, it works well). Spread mixture onto prepared baking sheet.
3. Bake for 10-15 minutes, stirring every 3-5 minutes. The mixture will have dried up a little, but will still be moist.

Add and stir in:
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup shredded coconut

4. Bake an additional 10-15 minutes, again stirring every 3-5 minutes. Remove from the oven when the mixture has browned a little, and is still just a tiny bit wet, the edges of the pan will be darker. The granola will crisp up while it cools on the pan.

Add and stir in:
1 cup dried cherries

5. Let cool completely on the cookie sheet. Devour. Lock this up, it is quite dangerous πŸ™‚

Check it out up close, you can see the little white chia seeds.

This makes about 6 cups. These are each 2 cup Ball jars.

Stay tuned for the cookie exchange. I am bringing three different goods.

What’s your favorite kind of granola? Do you make your own, or buy it?


Sausage Spinach Soup November 11, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — carly71722 @ 8:06 pm

Soup season is upon us πŸ™‚ I make at least one soup a week (with plenty of lunch leftovers) during the fall and winter. While many find comfort in cheesy, creamy casseroles, I find soup to be my ultimate comfort food. Lucky for me there are a TON of super healthy, veggie packed soups. One of mine and Joe’s favorites is this Sausage Spinach Soup from Cooking Light. As with most food recipes, I don’t follow the directions or measure anything, but I use it as a guide and taste test to get my final result. What I love about this soup is the spice of the turkey sausage coupled with superfoods like beans and spinach. YUM!

Here is what I started with – I used 12 oz of SPICY turkey sausage (10 oz would be 2 1/2 sausages… seriously?!?!), a full quart of chicken stock and no water, 19 oz of cannellini beans, diced tomatoes (I like them better than stewed), and dry spices.

Start with a large, heated stockpot sprayed with cooking spray. Add in the sausage (out of casing) and brown.

Once browned, add in the garlic and onion. I went with a whole onion and 3 garlic cloves.

And stir it in. Cook for a few minutes – until the onion starts to become translucent.

Then add in the beans, tomatoes, spices (salt, pepper, oregano, garlic), and chicken stock.

I also added a healthy shake of Awesome Antler Rub by Mom’s Gourmet.

Mom’s Gourmet is a local Cleveland company. They make AMAZING spice blends. I was introduced to them this summer at the farmers market. The wonderful grass-fed beef stand right next to me (SandFarm) also sold these rubs. I am addicted to this one and pretty much add it to almost everything I make πŸ™‚ Find it at Whole Foods if you live in Cleveland! Sorry to plug more, but SandFarm beef is great! Β They do weekend pickups. Check out their site if you are interested.

Anyway… onto the soup πŸ™‚ Bring everything to a boil.

Then, reduce and simmer for 3 minutes. After, add in the spinach. I just grabbed two HUGE handfuls! Β The more the merrier for me when it comes to greens.

Stir it around until the spinach wilts. The final soup will look like this:

I served mine up with some grated parmesan and a piece of toast. Joe made the bread yesterday and it is delish!


Are you much of a soup person? What is your ultimate comfort food?

Later and thanks for reading πŸ™‚


Gingersnap Larabar Copycat November 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — carly71722 @ 9:36 am

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Larabars! Β Who doesn’t? I love that they have a super short ingredient list full of nothing but nutrient dense foods. For probably the past year they have become my go-to pre-workout snack. I usually exercise first thing in the morning. I can’t stomach a full breakfast first, but I also can’t go empty. Larabars are great because there is good, natural sugar in the dates and healthy fat in the nuts. Half a bar is the PERFECT fuel for me.

Well, when I quit my job back in July I knew I needed to find some areas to save money. The first thing that I did was to start making my own granola instead of buying it. Super easy, and much better tasting with endless possibilities for flavors. Some of my favorites are maple cinnamon, honey vanilla, apple pie, pumpkin spice, and coconut. I definitely need to do a post on this another time! Another place that I realized I was overspending was on bars – Larabars to be exact. When the cheapest I can ever get one for is $1+, I knew I needed to find a way to replicate these ASAP. So far I have been able to make Peanut Butter and Jelly, Cinnamon Roll, Cashew Cookie, and Gingersnap. I have more in mind to try, but these are just so stinkin’ good that I keep making these flavors. Coconut is probably next on my list πŸ™‚ I even got Joe hooked on these, with Gingersnap being his favorite. Per his request, I whipped up a batch this morning.

The ingredient list is simple (specific amounts later): pitted dates, almonds, pecans, fresh ginger, cinnamon, cloves.

On the dates, I have used Medjool and Golden and haven’t noticed a difference. These were the cheapest at Costco, so that’s what I went with. You will want to chop the dates a little first.

As well as the ginger root. I mince it, and use about a Tablespoon.


Now, get out the food processor. I start with the nuts first. If you don’t, the processor gets all sticky and you have to wash in between. I like to save myself from washing too many dishes πŸ™‚

You want them to be chopped pretty fine so that they mix in well, but don’t go wild and start making nut butter. It should look about like this:

Pour the nuts into a medium sized bowl. Then, go ahead with the dates, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.

This takes a little time. Here are a few shots in progress:

Keep going…

Keep going even more… it will come together in a ball when it is done!

Then, add this ball to the bowl of nuts.

Then, use your hands and keep folding the nuts into the dates. It takes some patience, but it will all come together I promise.

Then, weigh out pieces and roll them into a ball. I like to make mine 3/4 oz – about half a larabar.

I wrap each one in plastic wrap and store them in a large ziplock. They last a few weeks for me. By the last few they dry out a little, but still completely edible! I have dubbed them “Laraballs” πŸ™‚


8 oz. dates, chopped
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp cloves
4 1/2 oz. almonds
3 1/4 oz. pecans

Follow the instructions above!

Do you like Larabars? If so, what’s your favorite flavor?



TWD – Peanuttiest Blondies November 3, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — carly71722 @ 5:58 pm

One of the things that I missed the most when doing the farmers market this summer was trying new recipes. I came to find that my customers expected to find their same favorite every week and were disappointed if I didn’t make it and tried something new. I really missed participating in Tuesday’s With Dorie also. When I joined the group earlier this year I was forced to try making some recipes that I never would have attempted otherwise. This really challenged me as a baker and helped me to find some new things that I really enjoyed.

My parents are going to Arizona this week to visit my brother and sister in-law and my niece. It was my brother’s request that I send something chocolate and peanut butter. I scrolled over to TWD after not stopping by in a while to find that this weeks recipe was Peanuttiest Blondies. It couldn’t have been a more perfect week for me to return to the group! Needless to say, this recipe fit the bill completely.

I started off by mixing the peanut butter and butter together.

Then both white and brown sugar added. Mix until creamed and well combined.

Then I added in the eggs one at a time, mixing for about a minute between each addition.

Same with the vanilla. I have really come to LOVE Nielsen-Massey Bourbon Vanilla πŸ™‚

Next, add in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. I dropped the cinnamon to 1/4 tsp instead of a 1/2 tsp. Next time I would cut the cinnamon out completely. Mix until it just comes together.

Then add in the chocolate chips (Callebaut semisweet are my fav) and the chopped peanuts. Mix for just a few seconds or by hand.

Dorie says to spread the thick mixture into a pan lined with foil and buttered. I used parchment and Pam – it worked perfectly πŸ™‚

Bake for 40-50 min. Mine only took 40.

Try as hard as possible not to dig in when still hot…. Joe and I ended up with slightly burnt tongues, but they were OH SO GOOD! If you can wait, chill them before cutting to get nice smooth sides.

Joe and I both agreed that they taste like thick, chewy peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. YUMMMMMM! I just hope the fam likes them as much as we do! If you want the recipe you can find it here on Bakeology

Next on the agenda – Brown Eyed Baker’s Salted Caramel Brownies. This was another request by my brother and I will be making them tomorrow!

Do you prefer to make new recipes, or make tried and true recipes? I like both… but there is something exciting to me about trying something new!