Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Granola Bars...a staple at our house!

We love running, hiking and backpacking at our house
and so I'm always making some kind of granola/trail bar,
but some recipes I've tried are too sticky, some are too soft, some are too sweet,
but, this one, is JUST RIGHT!!   
 The perfect blend of ingredients,
the perfect texture 
and they hold together and don't get your hands sticky.

We just got back from a major hike 
and they provided much of our energy to get up the mountain!

This is my main stay recipe and best part of all, 
I always have all of the ingredients to make them up!  

While these granola bars are great running/hiking energy, 
 Kids LOVE them as an addition to their lunches they take to school everyday,
and they also make a great afternoon snack, OR, a great energy bar to start the day out!
Granola Bars 
2 cups rolled oats (NOT quick oats)
1 cup chopped almonds
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
2/3 cup coconut 
1 teaspoon salt 
1/4 tsp cinnamon 

Heat oven to 350 degrees
Spread out rolled oats and chopped almonds on cookie sheet and toast in oven for 15 minutes (stirring every 5 minutes to keep from burning) 
Put oats/almonds in large metal bowl and then add in coconut, sunflower seeds, raisins and dried cherries. 
Heat Sweetened Condensed milk on stove until it's runny in consistency and then add salt and cinnamon and stir well.
Pour heated milk over rest of ingredients and stir well.
Pour into an 8x8 inch pan that has been LINED with parchment paper.  
Flatten mixture with spatula or spoon. 
Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour, until mixture looks dry and it is no longer sticky to touch.
Remove from oven and pull parchment paper out of pan and let cool slightly.
Cut into 12 pieces (you may have to reform into rectangle shapes after you have cut them)
Let cool completely.
If you would like, melt some dark chocolate in the microwave and drizzle over the top of the bars.  

Once they have cooled, wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in a cool place, or in the refrigerator!!  

some homemade granola bars today!!

Soup...fresh from our garden!

Beets, Cabbage, Carrots, Potatoes and Onions...
all from our garden, 
all in one pot of soup...
the taste...absolutely delicious!!
it is truly one of our family's favorite things to eat.
I love the thrift of soup!
I love taking random things, putting them in a pot, simmering so all of the flavors combine together and serving up bowls of comfort and nourishment for my family. 

I decided to try my hand at making "Borscht" soup after picking our garden veggies.  I found a few recipes, but some had ingredients that I didn't have on hand and so I decided to create my own recipe, by using things I had and definitely did something I always do with soups, that of sauteing the onions, garlic and celery together before adding in the rest of the ingredients. It turned out WONDERFULLY  

Harvest Time 2012
we made another batch of this yummy soup and my 10 year-old Ethan begged us to make more, so we did! 

This is my FAVORITE soup!
Red Beet Borscht Soup
8 oz. pork sausage
1 large onion (or 2 or 3 small onions) finely chopped
2-3 cups cooked beets (I shredded part of them and diced the rest)
4 stalks chopped celery
3 cloves minced garlic
3 carrots peeled and finely chopped
3 baking potatoes peeled and finely diced
1/2 medium head of cabbage, finely chopped
(1) 8 oz. can tomato paste
(1) 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
4-5 cups water

(steps for soup)
Saute together, sausage, onions, garlic and celery until onions are tender.   
Put this mixture in a  large stock pot and then add in the water, chicken broth, cabbage, carrots beets and potatoes, bring to boil and cook until veggies are tender (about 20-30 minutes).
Then add in tomato paste and diced tomatoes, bring to a boil and simmer another 15-20 minutes.(salt and pepper to taste)

Ladle into bowls and serve with a dollop of sour cream on top.  
Perfect served with some kind of a crusty Artisan or French Bread.  
LOVE the beautiful red/purple color of this soup!
Enjoy, a very hearty, filling soup that is nourishing and absolutely delicious and the best part of all...made with veggies you grew in your garden!