Okie doke. Here’s the deal. I’ve had many different people over the last year ask for our granola recipe. We’ve taken it with us on family trips, camping, and usually have it as a staple in our house (whether for breakfast or an afternoon snack with plain yogurt). So here it is!

Our Crunchy Granola Recipe
Preheat oven to 350 ̊
4 cups of oats
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup almond slices
¼ cup ground flax seeds
¼ cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup coconut oil (can use melted butter)
½ cup honey
¼ cup molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup raisins
½ cup craisins
¼ cup currants
½ cup of chocolate chips (that’s right, chocolate!)

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add in coconut oil (or butter), then honey, molasses and vanilla extract. Stir well until all oats are moist. Spread out the oat mixture evenly onto a baking sheet (preferably one with edges). Drizzle some honey across the top and place in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove and stir the oats, being sure to scrape away from the edges mixing thoroughly. Evenly spread the oat mixture again, place in oven for another 10 minutes. Repeat this step one more time… While the oats are on their third bake session, I usually get the dried fruits and chocolate ready (and snack on a few while waiting). Once you remove the pan for the 3rd time, stir in the dried fruit and spread evenly. Then let the chocolate chips fall randomly all across the top. Place in the oven for a final 10 minutes of baking. Remove and let cool on a rack. I always like to have a bowl of warm granola with cold milk once its cooled a little. Enjoy!

Now, if you’re like me, you can play around with the ingredients. I’ve added different nuts and left out some if I don’t have them on hand. Don’t use the chocolate if you don’t want to… but who doesn’t want chocolate for breakfast?? Most of all… just have fun making up your own granola mixture… be brave!

Honey Roasted Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

This is an absolutely delicious and easy meal to make! The recipe is from The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook by Shannon Hayes. We love using pasture raised pork for this… I encourage you to find a local farmer who raised pastured pigs and then support them! A great resource for finding a farm near you is Local Harvest.

Honey Roasted Pork Chops with Apples and Onions
Serves 2

1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 teaspoons rubbed sage (I didn’t have any sage on hand, so I substituted with Marjoram)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pork chops (rib, shoulder, loin, and country ribs are all okay to use)
1/3 cup apple cider or juice
1 tart, firm apple, cored and cut into thick slices, but not peeled
1 small onion, thinly sliced into rings
1/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons honey (we use raw honey)

Preheat oven to 350̊ F.

Combine the salt, pepper, and sage; rub into the meat.

Pour the olive oil into a heated ovenproof skillet (we use cast iron), and sear the chops over medium heat, 1 minute per side or until browned. Remove from heat, add the cider, sliced apple, onion, and raisins. Drizzle with honey, cover and roas for 1 1/2 hours or until fork-tender.

You have to try this recipe!!

Pot Pie

Today is our four week anniversary of being in our farm home! We have done a lot of settling and are slowly getting into a routine. School is back in session. All the joys of home-life are in full swing. There is not one dull moment here!

My latest fun has been exploring new recipes with a great cookbook we got for Christmas. It is called “The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook: Healthy Cooking and Good Living with Pasture-Raised Foods” by Shannon Hayes. One recipe that is super for using up leftover chicken or turkey is the Chicken Pot Pie with Herbed Crust. Everyone loves it, and it has turned out delicious with either chicken or turkey (yes, we’ve had both since we’ve been here!). Here’s the recipe:

Chicken Pot Pie with Herbed Crust
Serves 6

For the herbed pie crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus some extra for rolling out the dough
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
8 tablespoons butter or lard
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water

Combine the flour, salt, pepper, and dried herbs in a medium bowl. Use a pastry blender or fork to cut the butter or lard into the flour mixture until it is crumbly. Add the ice water gradually, mixing quickly with a fork until the dough is just moist enough to hold together. be careful not to add too much water. you may not need the full 6 tablespoons. Shape the dough into a ball, then place on a floured surface and roll out to a rectangle at least 9×13 inches.

For the filling:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 small stalks celery, coarsely chopped
3 carrots, scraped and finely chopped
1 large onion, sliced into thin wedges
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup fresh or thawed whole corn kernels
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
3 cups cooked chicken or turkey, shredded
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 tablespoon fresh
2 tablespoons dry sherry

Preheat oven to 400`F

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large, nonreactive saucepan, then saute the celery, carrots, and onions over medium-high heat until they are crisp=tender, approximately 4-5 minutes. Remove to a large bowl, and keep warm. Add the salt, pepper, corn, peas, and shredded chicken or turkey to the vegetables, and stir gently until well combined.

Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in the saucepan. Turn off the heat, add the flour, and stir in quickly. The mixture will be pasty. Over medium heat, stir in the broth, milk, half-and-half, and thyme. Bring the liquid to a boil, stirring occasionally; lower the heat and simmer, stirring often, until the sauce is thick and rich. Stir in the sherry.

Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables, and mix gently. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Pour the entire contents of the bowl into a 13-x-9-inch baking pan, and top with the herbed pie crust. Fold down and crimp overlapping edges so that the crust fits inside the pan. Pierce the top several times with a sharp knife, and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.

Bon Appetit!

Carob Brownies

A dear friend of mine gave me Nourishing Traditions for my birthday this year… We have loved trying out the recipes and learning more about foods that are truly nourishing to our bodies. One recipe that we have enjoyed is Carob Brownies.

Carob Brownies
Makes 24
3 coups freshly ground spelt, kamut or whole wheat flour (I use whole wheat flour)
2 cups buttermilk, kefir or yoghurt (I use either buttermilk or yoghurt… plain yoghurt)
3/4 cup butter, softened (I use coconut oil)
1 1/2 cups Rapadura (this is a yummy, natural sweetener… can be found a most health food stores, we buy from Ward’s)
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon chocolate extract (optional)
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup carob powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup chopped crispy pecans (we don’t like nuts in brownies, so I used 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips)

Soak flour with buttermilk, kefir or yoghurt for 12 to 24 hours in a warm place. (Those with milk allergies may use 2 cups water plus 2 tablespoons whey, lemon juice or vinegar in place of undiluted buttermilk, kefir or yoghurt.) Cream butter (again, we use coconut oil) with Rapadura. Add eggs, extracts, salt, carob powder and baking powder. Blend in soaked flour and fold in nuts (or chocolate chips). Pour into a buttered and floured 9-inch by 13-inch pyrex pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. Allow to cool thoroughly and cut into squares.


Salsa Recipe

I realized several people have asked me for our salsa recipe and I decided to post it here… it is easy to make and can be modified to be taken up a notch… after all, “some like it hot!”

Ingredients should go in the blender in this order:

1 28 oz can of whole tomatoes
1 can of green chiles (I think they are usually 4 oz)
1/2 jalapeño w/ seeds (could put the whole thing in!)
2-3 garlic cloves chopped
1/2 large onion (quartered)
2 Tablespoons of lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of salt
Then I usually add in a couple shakes of chili powder, red pepper flakes & cayenne pepper and even some Tabasco sauce
Last put in as much fresh cilantro as you’d like (we like a lot!)

Pulse in blender 5-10 times or until mixed

Best Quick Tomato Sauce

We love a simple meal such as spaghetti and sauce or ravioli with red sauce… We were gifted for Christmas from dear friends a subscription to Cooks Illustrated and have loved the recipes that are in each issue. Plus what is great about this magazine is that there are no advertisements in it… it is all just for the cook… nothing to sell you on. They also test many items and tell you honestly what works best based on multiple tests in a kitchen (even if it is the cheaper version of something!). In the May/June 2009 issue, there is a great recipe that we have now used a couple times… and love it! It is the Best Quick Tomato Sauce recipe… it truly is quick and delicious! Enjoy!

Quick Tomato Sauce
Makes about 3 cups, enough for 1 pound of pasta
Note: High-quality canned tomatoes will make a big difference in this sauce. Our preferred brands of crushed tomatoes are Tuttorosso and Muir Glen. [Reilly Note: we only had Publix brand of crushed tomatoes, and thought it still tasted pretty good. Haven’t tried these other brands yet to compare.] Grate the onion on the large holes of a box grater.

2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/4 cup grated onion, from 1 medium onion (see note)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Table salt
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (see note)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves [fresh from the garden is delish!]
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper

Heat butter in medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add onion, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and sugar; increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Off heat, stir in basil and oil; season with salt and pepper. Serve.