November 21, 2015

Chewy Granola Bars

 
My husband likes granola and the other day, while out grocery shopping, we succumbed temptation, and we bought some. I started nibbling at it myself, even though I didn't think I really cared for it much, (not as my husband, anyway) but I found myself going back to the box for more, until I started reading the ingredients and realized, this sweet treat wasn't quite the best choice for us as it had super high sugar content, (a bad culprit) among other things, so I decided to try and make some home-made granola bars instead.

Using ingredients like oats, nuts, dried fruits and seeds, I ended up with some really delicious granola bars. It was a breeze to make them and they taste way better than any store bought ones, my husband likes them and I feel better knowing all the ingredients I used to make them.

Hope you'll enjoy them as much as we do,

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Ingredients:
1-2/3 cups oats
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, cashew or almonds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup agave syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoon water

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Directions
In a large bowl, combine oats, whole wheat flour, salt and cinnamon; Stir to mix well.
Stir in cranberries, apricots, cherries, coconut, walnuts, (or other nuts you are using) pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds; set aside.

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In another bowl, whisk together coconut oil, maple syrup, agave syrup, vanilla and 1 tablespoon of water.  Add this to the oat and fruit mixture; stir to mix well adding the remaining water if needed to hold the mixture together.

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Pat into a greased 9 inch x 13 inch baking pan.
Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until edges start to brown.
Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Cut into bars. Keep in an airtight container. 

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Makes: 18 bars
Enjoy!
Leia’s Culinary Treasures


November 10, 2015

Stuffed Baked Apples

 
Baked apples: a quick and easy dessert recipe.

I love to make baked apples. I always look forward to the wonderful scent of the apples and cinnamon baking together filling the kitchen....Yummy! There’s just something so comforting about warm stuffed baked apple. 

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My love for baked apples started recently when my daughter  kept on making them while she and her family were staying with us.  Since her husband doesn't like cinnamon, ( I know, totally weird, right ?) she would bake them all “naturelle”, than served them with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.  Not bad, but since I do like cinnamon, I was eager to make my own version of baked apples.  So I came up with this simple, easy  filling. Now this is truly a fall dessert after my own heart. I like it. Hope you will too.

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Ingredients:
8 medium Macintosh apples
1 cup Harvest Crunch Original granola cereal
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. butter (or margarine)
1/4 cup water
Vanilla ice cream, optional for serving

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Directions:
Wash apples and using an apple corer, or a pairing knife  remove the core completely. Do not peal. I used Macintosh but other kind, like Jonagold works too. You just may need to adjust the baking time slightly.

In a small bowl stir together granola, brown sugar, pecans  and cinnamon.

Arrange cored apples into a glass baking  pan. Using a small spoon, stuff each apple with the granola mix. Don't worry if some falls in the pan.

Divide the butter and place about 1/2 teaspoon of butter on top of the filling on each apple.

Pour the water in between the apples. Bake in preheated oven at 350 F for 20-25 minutes, or until apples feel tender when pressed. Keep an eye on them so they don’t over bake and burst and become mushy.

Once done, remove from oven. Let cool slightly before serving.

Great served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (and whipped cream if you really want to indulge).

Makes: 8 serving

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Enjoy!
 
Leia’s Culinary Treasures


September 05, 2015

Whole wheat dinner rolls

 
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Bake your own yeasty, buttery and golden Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls.  I don’t know about you but I am a huge fan of home-made breads and rolls alike. Even if you have not tried baking bread before, this recipe is so easy to make that you will absolutely love the end result.

This rolls are the perfect size for any dinner table.

Ingredients:
2-1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1-3/4 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 egg
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. salt
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1-1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, melted

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in 1/4 of  warm water; set aside until foamy. This will ensure that yeast is active and ready to use.

Place foamed yeast into a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining water, egg, oil, salt and the whole wheat flour. Beat all together (on low speed) until smooth. Stir in enough all-purpose flour (on low speed, so you don’t have flour dust everywhere) to form a soft dough.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, for about 5-6 minutes.

Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover bowl with a plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Punch dough down onto a lightly floured surface; divide into two. Divide each piece into 12 small pieces and shape them into balls. Place them 1 inch apart onto a large, greased baking sheets.

Cover pan with a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled, for about 30 minutes.

Bake at 375° for 12-15 minutes or until browned.

Remove from oven and brush each with melted butter. Remove rolls to a cooling rack.

Makes: 24 rolls

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Happy Baking!
Leia’s Culinary Treasures


August 09, 2015

Raspberry Parfaits


This is a deliciously easy recipe. It is light and cool; the perfect  dessert to finish a summer dinner.

I had some friends over for dinner the other night and I was thinking what could I make for dessert, something that is easy and does not requires baking, (which would add more heat to my already hot summer day). I opened my cupboard, took out my favourite dessert notebook, and what do you know? I opened at the exact page where this recipe was. How perfect is that, specially that I had all the ingredients on hand (even some fresh raspberries from my garden). I felt really good about it. It took me no time to make it, then I just placed the cups in the refrigerator until was time for dessert. It was indeed the perfect finish to dinner and we all enjoyed it.  Hope you will too.


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Ingredients:
1 package (85 gr.) Raspberry Jell-o powder
1 cup boiling water
3 tbsp. sugar
2 cups frozen whole raspberries
1 envelope Dream Whip Dessert Topping
1/2 package (125 gr.) Philadelphia Cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Granola for topping, optional
Fresh raspberries, for topping

Directions:
Dissolve jelly powder in boiling water; add the sugar and stir to dissolve; stir in the frozen raspberries. Set aside until thickens.

Prepare dessert topping as directed on the package. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese with powdered sugar and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy. Fold prepared dessert topping into the cream cheese mixture.

Spoon layers of the raspberry jelly and cream cheese mixture into parfait glasses, alternating them and finishing with the jelly. Spoon remaining cream mixture into a pipping bag, and make a swirls on each parfait. Sprinkle with some granola if you like and garnish each with a fresh raspberry.

Refrigerate 2 hours before serving.

Makes: 6 servings

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March 28, 2015

Rustic Plum Tart


This recipe is very simple and easy tart recipe. I like to use the Italian plums for this tart but the season for those plums being months away, I am replacing them with the larger black plums that are available at this time of the year.  Also great with apples and I imagine, peaches or cherries would also work well. If you do try it, I would love to hear how it turned out for you.

Hope you enjoy this recipe!  

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Ingredients
Plum filling:
1/2 kg plums (Italian), pitted and halved
2 tbsp. Demerara cane sugar (or brown sugar)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. sliced almonds, for topping
 
Dough:
50 gr butter
50 gr icing sugar
1 large egg, slightly beaten and divided
125 gr flour
3 tbsp. water

Directions
For filling; Place cut-up plumbs into a sauce pan. (If you are using the larger size black plums, cut them into 4 or 6 pieces, depending how large they are).

Add sugar and cook on medium heat until sugar has dissolved and the plums have softened.

Remove pot from heat, stir in cinnamon and set aside to cool completely.

Add cornstarch and stir until well mixed. 

To make the dough cream butter and sugar until mixed; add the egg reserving about 2 tablespoons (for brushing tart before baking).

Add flour and water and mix until it forms into a dough, (it will be quite soft).

Place dough on a floured board and knead a few times, until smooth, then place it on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Place a large piece of parchment paper on the board; place dough on top of paper and roll out to a big circle ( about 14 inch in diameter).

Place plum filling onto the centre leaving about 4 inches of uncovered dough around the edges.

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Fold dough, one small section at a time over the filling.

Add 1 teaspoon water to the reserved egg, whisk together and brush top and side of tart.

Sprinkle the almonds on top of the plum filling.

Holding the edge of the parchment paper, transfer tart onto a baking sheet.

Bake at 350 F for 30-35 minutes or until tart is golden brown.

Serve warm cut into wedges.  Great with cool whip or vanilla ice cream.

Bon Appetit!

Leia



March 21, 2015

Happy Spring-Happy Birthday!

 
I can hardly believe that most of this month is gone already. Seems just like a short while ago, we were in the mist of Holiday preparations… As much as I love the Holidays, (and I do love them) I’m most definitely tired of winter. It started early in fall and even though, we’ve been fortunate to have a warmer than usual February and March, in my part of the world, winter has his grip on us, still. I’m yearning for the warm sunshine, for the longer, warmer days, for the nature to come alive and see the flowers blooming... We’re ways yet but Spring is here, so there is hope.

Spring time is birthday time in my family, starting with my youngest grandson, who has just turned two. Truly amazed how fast the weeks and months have gone by! We celebrated his birthday in the family with his brother, his cousins and closest relatives. He is one cute little boy! (not that I’m bias or anything:) and his favourite things are “Thomas and friends” trains. His mom took the time (I wonder many times where she finds all that time, between work and family) to bring his love for trains to the birthday table.

I get inspired every time I see what she can do with few little inexpensive things to build her theme.

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My daughter’s creativity and her flair for party decor.

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I am always impressed with the little details that she adds to her table decor, and all the  small touches that are pure ingenious creativity. I just LOVE all her wonderful ideas! If you want to see more of what she does, check out her blog.

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The kids enjoyed taking their pictures in the Thomas train photo op. What a great idea!

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I like to bake, ( but of course, you knew that already), so for his birthday I decided to make a large Fruit Torte ( recipe can be found if you click on the name) and decorated it with one of his favourite trains. I have never made a train design on a cake before, and I had trouble finding ways to do it. I almost gave up, thinking, there is no way he is even going to recognize Tobi, (the train) anyway, but I managed to make one somehow. It didn't really came out the way I was hoping it would, (as I said, I had trouble with it) but when seeing the cake, my little pumpkin called out, Tooobiii !  It surely doesn’t take much to make a two year old happy!  What wouldn’t we do for our kids/grandkids!?

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Hope you enjoyed my post today and found some inspiration to raise your creativity to new levels and never give up looking for new things, and do the ones you enjoy doing, and the things that make you happy.

Wish you all a Happy Spring time!

Leia



March 16, 2015

Garlic and Parmesan bread sticks

This recipe is a repost of one of the first recipes posted, with some minor changes.

One of our favourite places to go out for dinner is Olive Garden. I like their service. As soon as you place your order, they bring you a basket of freshly baked bread sticks and salad. I love that place, love their food and mostly, love their bread sticks!! Unfortunately, this restaurant is way across town from us, and going out for dinner often involves a long wait for a table. Since I like to bake, I decided to try and  make some bread sticks at home. They came out great!  Now, this has become a staple with our Italian meals.

Today I made some Minestrone Soup for my husband who was coming home for lunch and to complete the meal, I baked a batch of this wonderful and delicious bread sticks to go with it.

This is an easy recipe to make and I hope that if you are like me, (one that likes her bread) you'll give this recipe a try.

Enjoy!

                                                                 Garlic and Parmesan bread sticks

Ingredients:
1 tbsp yeast
1/4 cup warm milk
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup butter (or margarine), softened
1 1/4  cup water
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp butter, melted
3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp garlic powder 

Dissolve yeast and sugar in the warm milk; stir and let stand in a warm place until foamy.

Place softened margarine into the mixer's bowl; add foamed yeast and using the paddle attachment beat them together to mix. 

Add the water, the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour and continue to beat for about 2-3 minutes or until air bubbles start to form.(You can also do this part using a hand-held mixer).

Change to the hook attachment and with the mixer running on low, add more of the remaining flour, as needed to knead a smooth and elastic dough, about 4 minutes. (You can also do this part using a wood spoon and then knead in the remaining flour with your hands).

Turn dough onto a floured surface, and if sticky add more flour and knead into a smooth ball. Place into greased bowl turning once to grease top. Cover with a plastic wrap and let rise until doubles, for about 45 minutes.

Punch the dough down unto a floured surface  and press it out with hands into a 9 X 12 inches long flat rectangular. Using a sharp knife, cut  it in two lengthwise, and then across into eight sections to get 16 pieces.

Shape each buy rolling with your fingers into  6-inch long ropes and place them, 1/2 inch apart, on a greased, 12 X 17 inch baking  sheet. Cover and let rise for another 30 minutes.

Brush each with melted butter, sprinkle with garlic powder and Parmesan cheese. 

Bake at 375 F preheated oven for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.


Serve with your favorite pasta dish or try my recipe  of  " Pasta Primavera"  or Minestrone Soup recipe.

Makes:16 bread sticks

Happy Baking!

Leia