Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ditch the Box of chocolate cold cereal- CHOCOLATE GRANOLA has arrived!

I love, love, LOVE cold cereal for breakfast!  Specifically, I love CHOCOLATE cold cereal-cereal like Cocoa Krispies, those yummy little puffs that make my milk chocolatey and my tummy happy.  I also have gone crazy for Cocoa Puffs on occasion.  But, having given up boxed cereal years ago, I haven't had my fix for way too long.  That doesn't mean I haven't dreamed of a big spoonful of that chocolatey goodness.  But who knows what's in that stuff at the store?  I just can't buy it.

I recently set out on a mission to find a homemade solution to my chocolately breakfast love.  And, I have found and successfully made, the best, most delicious, chocolate, stays crunchy in milk, leaves my milk chocolatey, HOMEMADE cereal and it's called "CHOCOLATE GRANOLA"!

I've made one other chocolate granola recipe but wasn't sold on it.  It was made by melting chocolate chips and it left my cereal a little to bitter tasting.  I was looking for something similar to those Cocoa Krispies I grew up on.  This recipe pretty much nails it!  I keep mine in a big gallon glass jar and it keeps perfectly.  

You could eat this Chocolate Granola with vanilla yogurt, berries, bananas, but seriously, the best way to eat it is with cold milk, in a bowl, with a spoon!

I had it yesterday for breakfast and found that I was amazingly full and satisfied until lunch.  Winner, winner, granola dinner!

I actually had all of the ingredients in my pantry to make this.  I even had the chia seeds, which I found in my grocery store in a small pouch for hardly nothing.  I usually add them to my smoothies as they are a super food.  I was thrilled to see them included in this recipe.  There is also coconut in this recipe.  I have to confess that I don't taste the coconut one iota in this recipe.  I'm sure it adds to the overall perfect taste but don't worry that this will taste like an Almond Joy candy bar, if you don't happen to like those.  It really just tastes like chocolate cereal.  YUM!  

Here's how I made Chocolate Granola AT HOME MY WAY:

Chocolate Granola

  • 4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup raw walnut, pecan pieces - or almond slices
  • 1/2 cup chia or flax seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 325°.

Melt coconut oil and stir in cocoa powder, salt, honey and brown sugar.  Heat CAREFULLY so not to scorch just until brown sugar is melted.  Remove from heat.  Add the vanilla and stir well until smooth.

In a large bowl, combine oats, coconut, chia seeds.

Pour hot cocoa mixture over oat mixture and stir well with a big spoon until well coated.

Layer on a large cookie sheet which has first been SPRAYED or coated lightly with coconut oil.

Bake at 325° for 15 minutes.  Stir and bake another 10-15 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Let cool, then break apart and store once completely cool in glass jar or resealable bag.

Now, eat, enjoy, and don't feel guilty because you know exactly what's in this delicious cold cereal!



Thursday, May 7, 2015

Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream AT HOME MY WAY

I've been meaning to put this recipe on for a while.  Since there's been lots of  bad press recently about Listeria and commercial ice cream (even very good, reputable brands), I thought it would be worth post this recipe.  Definitely it is always safer to make things at home.  This becomes more and more clear every single day.

My favorite ice cream is usually cherry vanilla.  I love the stuff!  And this recipe is perfectly wonderful.  I sometimes have a hard time getting homemade ice cream to be scoopable but after a few minutes on the counter, this ice cream is just as scoopable as if it were commercial, store bought ice cream.  Except for one thing, it TASTES better!  It is rich, creamy, cold, sweet, and just Mmmmm!

I think I will even use the base of this ice cream (the sweetened condensed milk + whipping cream+ half & half) as the basic base for all of my ice creams from now on.  I love it just that much.

This ice cream taste great served in a bowl or a cone.  I actually prefer cones with this flavor.  The cherries are just "the cherry on top" literally!

This recipe is easy to mix up, doesn't require eggs or cooking anything.  You basically dump it all together, chill, and then add it to the ice cream maker.  I use this Cuisinart, table top model which my mom bought me one Christmas.  It is one of those kitchen gadgets that SHE thought I would rarely use, but I use it all the time since I don't buy ice cream anymore from the store.

Here's how I made Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream AT HOME MY WAY:

Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 cups half & half
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (homemade is fine - recipe coming soon)
  • 1 jar (10 oz) maraschino cherries, DRAINED and sliced/chopped (without stems) (save the juice for something else)
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla 
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (vital ingredient, do not omit)

Combine all ingredients and place in the fridge to chill well.  Then add to ice cream maker and churn until thick.

I stored mine in an old Blue Bunny container.  It fit perfectly:

This ice cream is over the top wonderful.  I hope you enjoy!


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Italian Bread - Bread Machine Dough - So Easy! - One Small Loaf

I made a delicious loaf of Italian bread the other night to go with supper.  Italian bread is different from French bread in that traditional French bread (baguette) is made from only flour, water, yeast, and salt.  Italian bread adds a little milk, sugar, or fat to soften up the loaf.

Sometimes we buy those $1 loaves of "french" bread at Walmart and either make sandwiches with the bread or make garlic bread with it.  They're pretty good stuff if you don't have time to make homemade.  They have few preservatives and are much cheaper than buying sliced white bread for sandwiches.  A few cuts with my electric knife and I have some great sandwich bread with a little more stretch to my dollar.  

But I wanted a recipe so that I could make those at home. I've been trying french bread recipes and they're good, but not the texture that my husband prefers when we make garlic bread at home (because he's prefers store bought - ugh!).  I knew the loaves I bought at Walmart were a little soft, not hard and crusty like a traditional baguette.  I decided that Walmart is really selling Italian bread instead of French bread.  The quest was on to find such a recipe!

I used my basic White Sandwich loaf recipe because I wanted light, airy bread, just soft and not crusty for my loaf and just eliminated the oil from that recipe.  I kept the water, yeast, sugar, flour & salt.  This recipe is small enough that it makes one loaf, no more, which is perfect to go with supper or for some sandwiches.    It saved me a trip to the store and turned out spot on!  This little loaf is the size of a traditional loaf of french bread that you would buy at the grocery store in a clear plastic bag, often sold in the deli/bakery section.  

I wrapped my hot loaf in a cloth instead of letting it cool on the counter, with just a small opening for steam to escape, and this worked perfectly to produce a soft, moist loaf of Italian bread which wasn't crusty and hard like a typical baguette (which is also delicious but not the texture I was after).

This Italian Bread recipe will be my go-to recipe for those long, unformed loaves of bread that I USED to buy.  I do think I'll try this recipe in a loaf pan though.  I loved the texture of this bread so much and the soft interior that I think we will also love it for sandwich bread.  It will be kind of like those sliced loaves of Italian bread found in the sandwich bread section of the grocery store, often found in clear/white/red wrappers.  

I make the dough for this bread in my bread machine.  That gives me the perfect amount of kneading for a delicate dough which turns into delicious bread!  I'm sure you could try it by hand though and it would turn out wonderful.

Here's how I made an Italian Bread Loaf AT HOME MY WAY:

Italian Bread (one small loaf)
(Bread machine - dough only - 
bakes in the oven)
  • 1 cup very warm water (hot but no hurt is my rule - like hot bath water)
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 packet of active yeast or (2 teaspoons yeast)
  • 3 cups all purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Measure 1 cup very warm water (hot but no hurt - should feel like hot bath water).  Add yeast and sugar.  Let sit a few minutes until starting to get frothy.

Add to bread machine pan.

Next add the flour and salt last.

Set bread machine to dough setting.

When dough setting is complete, dump onto floured surface.  I just use a dinner plate covered with flour.  Toss with flour until you can pick it up but not completely squishing the air out of it.  Be gentle.  Form into a long loaf.  I like to give mine a few twists like a corkscrew for shape.

Place in french bread pan or on a cookie sheet (sprayed, oiled or greased).  Let rise 45 minutes.

Bake in PREHEATED oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until browned well.

Let cool about 10 minutes and then wrap in a clean towel leaving a small vent for steam - until cool.

Cool completely before slicing.




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