Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sourdough Granola Bars


Amazingly, both children are still asleep as I type this. Normally they are both early risers - Munchkin at 5:30 and Ladybug around 6 or 6:30. Every morning. But this morning they are both still sleeping, and I am enjoying the peace on the back porch with a cup of coffee. I am seriously enamored with our backyard. Its a big empty slate just asking to be landscaped and loved (I'm dreaming of some cross of a prairie and a country garden!), but what I love is the trees right behind our fence. It gives the illusion of us being in the country somewhere, and is positioned just right to watch the sun rise while peeking through the trees. It is definitely lovely.

This month for Sourdough Surprises we took things to the unexpected and made granola bars! Wow! Who knew you could make granola bars with your stater? And who thought they would be so easy, so versatile and so delicious?! They turned out to be a little on the chewy side (as opposed to crunchy granola bars) but I like that! I had a really hard time deciding what to put in mine, so I kind of did a bit of everything - dried fruit, walnuts, pepitas, oats, flax seed, maple syrup and of course chocolate chips! These are good the day you make them, but the next day they are great (once they have had a chance to really firm up a little and the flavors to come out).

Don't forget to check out all the other delicious sourdough granola bars we made this month! And stop by the Sourdough Surprises blog in a few days to check out what we are making next!

Sourdough Granola Bars (recipe by Jenni)

1/3 cup quinoa (not cooked)
1 cup dried fruit
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup pepitas
1 1/2 cups oats
2 TBSP flax seeds
2 TBSP wheat germ
1/3 cup maple syrup
2/3 cup chocolate chips
1 cup sourdough starter

Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
Press into a 8x8 baking pan.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden.
Allow to cool thoroughly, then cut into bars and enjoy!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Summer Kale Salad with Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette


So when does school start again?  

I'm loving all this fantastic summer weather we are having, taking my kids on hikes at the lake, to the zoo, to the fair, to the playground, and just playing outside. 

But guys, I'm ready for school. I'm ready for scheduled naps. I'm ready for a tiny bit of quiet alone time in the day. For a few seconds where I'm not chasing after a part-mountain goat baby or playing dinosaurs or cleaning up messes. Where I can maybe put away the laundry that's been siting on my bedroom floor (clean and folded) for 3 days. Or finish unpacking the few boxes that got shoved into the guest room and haven't been touched. Or maybe finish the book I've been reading for 2 months now. Or, how about actually update this blog once in a while? 

Yup, I am loving summer. But I am getting ready for fall, too. But before it comes, I want to grab onto a little bit of summer produce while I still can! And this summer is the peak of perfection! Its super quick to pull together, delicious and satisfying! 

Summer Kale Salad with Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette (slightly adapted from Iowa Girl Eats)
yields 2 big salads

1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 TBSP honey
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
salt and pepper
4 TBSP olive oil

2 bunches baby kale
2 eats sweet corn, shucked and kernels cut from the cob
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
4 oz chèvre, crumbled
1/4 cup sliced almonds

In the bowl of a food processor, combine all the ingredients for the vinaigrette.
Pulse a few times, until all is smooth and combined.

Divide the kale between two salad plates.
Top with corn, blueberries, tomatoes, chèvre, and almonds.
Drizzle the dressing on top.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Marble Bundt Cake


Sometimes things just don't work out in your favor. I'm specifically speaking about this dang cake. I actually made myself get onto the Daring Bakers site to find out what this month's challenge was all about. Oh yeah, did you wonder what happened to the Daring Bakers? Nothing. Except my life has been crazy and I have barely known what day it was and whether or not I put deodorant on both armpits or not, much less figure out how to complete crazy kitchen assignments. But I've missed it so much, and I forced myself to do it this month. I found out (on the 25th - it was due the 27th) that this month was all about "secret design" cakes - you know, you cut it open and SURPRISE! Look at that awesome design inside. Sweet! I've totally been wanting to do a zebra cake forever, so I was excited to do it!

Of course, in true Jenni fashion I didn't bake my cake until the day it was actually due. And of course, it turned out looking nothing like a zebra cake, but in fact a splotchy-globby marble cake. It still looks cool, though, and tastes great. This is a lovely cake recipe - buttery, delicious, and very easy to make!!

Marble Bundt Cake (C Mom Cook)

2 1/2 + 2 TBSP flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup cocoa powder
6 TBSP water
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
5 eggs
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350.
Grease and flour a bundt pan well and set aside (Seriously. Cooking spray doesn't cut it here)
In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar, cocoa powder, and water and set aside.
In a large bowl cream together the cooled melted butter and remaining 2 cups of sugar.
Add the vanilla and beat until combined.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
With the mixer on low, add 1/3 of the flour, then 1/2 the milk, and then repeat until all the ingredients have been incorporated.
Measure out 2 heaping cups of batter and stir it into the chocolate mixture.
Spoon alternating spoonfuls of vanilla and chocolate batter into the pan, blobbing and mixing as you go to create a marbled look and all the batter has been used.
Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack, in the pan for 15-20 minutes.
Invert the pan and release the cake onto the wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Glaze:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
2 TBSP oil
1-3 TBSP water

Mix together to form a glaze.
Drizzle over the cooled cake.


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