I’m a little crunchy. A little granola. Not a lot. I didn’t cloth diaper my kids, but we support a CSA and try to walk instead of drive when we can. We use cloth napkins instead of paper, but we don’t raise chickens in the backyard (yet). So, I surprise even myself when I admit that we haven’t made our own granola yet. It would be such a cliche for me to make it, but in reality, my kids aren’t going to eat it and my husband skips breakfast more often than not, so I guess that’s why I waited this long.
Until… last week, we went to one of our local public libraries. (See? Hippie. But we drove there.) My 5-year-old, emerging reader, rising Kindergartner, and Type-A rule-follower, found a kids’ cookbook. He is into anything where instructions must be followed lately – science experiments, crafts, and now, cooking. He found this adorable little book, and we checked it out to bring it home. So far, we’ve made french toast, hummus, granola, and granola bars (of which, he’s really only eaten the french toast). The granola and granola bars recipes are not so different from the ones in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook and Back to Basics, respectively, so I used Ina’s recipes and let my helper think that we were strictly following the ones in “his” book. I omitted the coconut and substituted honey for the corn syrup, but otherwise stayed true to the recipes. They were both surprisingly good.
From Parties!, this might be the easiest recipe I’ve made so far.
I promise it tasted better than it looks here, especially piled on a hot biscuit.
I liked this (from the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook) more than I thought I would. The process is simple: drain some plain yogurt, discard the drained liquid, and add in freshly squeezed orange juice, vanilla extract, and honey. It’s a little lumpy without whisking it, but it was pretty easy to smooth it out. I’m kind of picky about yogurt – I dont’ like lumps, and I don’t like too much tang, but I do like something a little bit crunchy to add to it – nuts, granola, or even rice krispies. This was just sweet enough, and the vanilla was just right.
This (from Foolproof) is a delightful mashup of some other Contessa breakfast/brunch recipes. It would be perfect for a small crowd for Easter or Mother’s Day brunch.
This recipe from Parties! has been on my mind since I froze some summer fruit a few months ago. The peaches, plums, and berries all ripened all at the same time.
At the time I froze it all, I was imagining that I would roast it, and then serve it over ice cream. Instead, we served it over steel cut oats. I didn’t add the recommended sugar to the fruit, but added brown sugar to the oatmeal. Delicious!
This might be the first time that I’ve bought new equipment for this project. I bought a doughnut pan (made by Wilton, purchased at Sur La Table, about $8) for this recipe from Foolproof. I’d say it was worth it, if for no other reason than I now have the undying devotion of my toddler. (OK, he already follows me around so much that I think he’d like to crawl up my nose and stay there if he could, but I’m getting a little competition from his daddy these days, so I might have to lure him back with baking.) Besides, I’m pretty sure we could spend $8 on a dozen doughnuts from a bakery. We’re at a weird stage in our family right now where our preschooler sleeps in if we let him (and oh, do we let him), and our toddler is up at the crack of dawn. By the time the big kid gets up and ready, the little guy is ready for a nap. Morning outings are … challenging. So, this recipe lets us have a special weekend treat without wrangling all of that.
You might be able to tell that I overfilled the pan, which meant that the hole in the middle of some of the doughnuts got filled in. It really didn’t affect the flavor or texture all that much, but if the aesthetics bothered you, you could gently remove the extra dough in the middle.
Yes, I desecrated perfectly good apples to combine them with pears in this sauce (from How Easy is That?). No, I don’t particularly want to talk about it.
But I will admit that it made the house smell pretty fantastic.
What kind of pact with the devil has Pepperidge Farm made? Their puff pastry is so wonderful, so versatile, so easy. I feel like it’s the leggings and tunic sweater of the food world – it’s been around forever, and everyone else has been enjoying it, but I’m just now getting around to seeing the appeal. (In fashion news – you can expect leggings to go out of style about 10 days ago, because I am now wearing them.)
These are almost as easy as the cinnamon rolls you remove from the tube, and infinitely better. I used less butter than the recipe (from Back to Basics) called for, after reading the online reviews. I probably used about 1/4 to 1/3 of the original amount of butter, and no raisins, because I love my children.
These two recipes (from Back to Basics and Parties!, respectively) went together like, well, like bread and butter.
This recipe (from Barefoot Contessa at Home) was easy, and cheese, and I suppose it resembled a Danish pastry. The filling was a little lumpy, but I think if I had let the cream cheese get more to room temperature (as the recipe required), I would not have had that problem. The lemon zest was a nice touch.