Homemade Granola

After a long run this morning,  I went to the grocery store and decided to make granola that I could eat throughout the week. Neal`s mom made granola when we went to the beach this past summer and it was so good; it inspired me to make my own!

Ingredients

  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cups chopped walnuts
  • 1 cups peanuts
  • 2 cups sliced almonds
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup good honey
  • 1 1/2 cups small diced dried apricots
  • 1 cup small diced dried figs
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup dried bananas
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Toss the oats, walnuts, peanuts and almonds together in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil and honey in a small bowl. Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated. Pour onto a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan. Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even, golden brown, about 45 minutes.

Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. Add the apricots, figs,cherries, cranberries, and cashews. Sprinkle the cinnamon, nutmeg and 1 tbsp salt and let cool.

Store the cooled granola in an airtight container.

Comfort Curry

Saturday night was a night of victory. The LSU tigers defeated the Florida gators 41-11, so we had something to celebrate. And good thing I was counting on it because I already started cooking. I’m a huge curry fan and it always satisfies me after a day of tailgating- so I decided to start cooking shrimp curry a bit before the final score.

I chopped up an onion, a gala apple and added them to some smoking hot vegetable oil. Once those started to cook down, I added the  fresh clove a garlic and then some chopped potatoes and spices. The spices included curry, ginger, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, and curry paste. I let these ingredients simmer for a while on the stove. (Also, I realized I had some garbanzo beans in the pantry and strained and added those to the mixutre as well).

I let these ingredients cook together for about an hour and a half. Neal came downstairs wondering what I was cooking as soon as the house started smelling of curry, and I’m not going to lie to you, it smelled so delicious. Honestly, there’s nothing like the smell of curry cooking in a house. I don’t know if it’s because  I did not grow up with it, but it’s not only a potent wonderful smell, it’s also a mouth-watering one.

Shrimp & Potato Curry

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 Gala apple, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsps red curry paste
  • shrmip
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 4 tsp water
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 small red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice

Instructions

  1. Heat canola oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add apples, onion and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until apple begins to soften, 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
  3. Turn heat to medium-low and add curry paste and cook, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.
  4. Turn heat back to medium and add chicken thighs and 1/2 cup water. Cook, turning chicken frequently, for 10 minutes.
  5. In a small bowl, stir together cumin, coriander and 4 teaspoons water to make a paste. Stir into the curry. Add cayenne pepper, if desired. Season with salt.
  6. Add potatoes, cover pot with lid ajar, turn heat to low to medium-low and simmer for 1 to 2 hours, the gravy will begin to thicken. Add the shrimp about 2-3 minutes before ready to serve.
  7. Serve with rice, naan, diced cucumbers, & tomatoes.

Thursday Night Stir Fry

Last night was one of those nights where, for the life of me, I could not decide what to eat! Neal and I went to the grocery store and searched and searched until finally we came across the frozen food section and something caught my eye. Stir Fry! Oh, and by the way, I did not buy frozen stir fry, I just got the idea for it in that section of the store. I was off to the vegetable section to get some broccoli, red bell pepper and an onion. I have frozen shrimp at home and added them in later! 

Steph’s Stir Crazy Fry

  • Wok Oil
  • Soy Sauce
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Horseradish
  • Peanut butter (or peanuts, but I used them all to make peanut butter : )
  • Shrimp
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

I heated up our handy dandy wok that hadn’t been used in I can’t say how long and added the wok oil once it was hot. Then went the onions. I let them cook for a minute or two before I added the bell pepper and broccoli, soy sauce, peanut butter and some salt and pepper. At this point I found a lid that went over the wok perfectly and let those kind of steam in there until I was ready to put the shrimp in. To the thawed out shrimp I added the garlic powder, onion powder, horseradish and salt and pepper. Once I felt the vegetables were almost done (about 8 minutes) I put the shrimp in and let cook on each side for no longer than 2 minutes each. This last minute meal turned out to be exactly what I wanted, it was delicious!

Ideas are like pizza dough, made to be tossed around.

I’m not going to lie, we are pizza lovers…

I wish I would have taken a photo this dough rise. It was humongous! Neal made the pizza dough from scratch and let it sit while we went to get the rest of the ingredients. I saved a chicken thigh from last night and we cooked that down and incorporated it into this dish. Along with many other wonderful flavors.

Neal used whole plum tomatoes, onions, garlic, lots of spices and simmered that until the dough was ready. Then he took the sauce and put it in the food processor to make the mixture more of a sauce. I personally don’t do this with my pizza sauce, but I don’t use the plum tomatoes either. It all depends on how long you cook it for, the longer, the more the sauce has time to break down. We added the chicken, onions, mushrooms, red bell pepper, mozzarella and kalmata olives.

Those beautiful black olives really add an unforgettable flavor to the pizza, if you like them, I would encourage you to add them in for a special treat!

Oh and of course, I always like to add a little health to the situation. So I made a salad, and I’m telling you – never buy dressing again! It’s too simple to make on your own! For this dressing I added balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. And that’s it!! Whisk that all up together and you’ve got yourself a dressing.

 

Slow Cooker Sunday

I decided early today that I wanted to cook Chicken Cacciatore for dinner tonight.

Yes, let’ just say it’s been a good day for food for us. The recipe I looked at used a whole chicken, but I’m honestly a little scared of taking the whole chicken apart (but I WILL learn and post about it I promise!). So I bought chicken thighs and coated them in flour and Cajun-Italian seasonings, browned them over the stove and threw them in the crock pot with all the other ingredients.

I love cooking in crock pots because the slow cook renders the meat so juicy and tender.  About an hour before the meal was ready, I thought the sauce could be thicker.  So, I spooned it into a dutch oven and let it simmer until we were ready to eat.

I was going to boil some pasta for the starch, but Neal had other plans. He decided to make the pasta from scratch.  It’s actually really simple to make your own pasta. Who knew? All you do is take flour, eggs, and salt. That’s it. You mix those ingredients together, let the dough sit for a bit and then roll it out very thin. Cut the dough into very thin strips and hang them until your ready to cook.

By the way, this turned out great.  Try it for yourself!

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken, about 5 to 6 pounds, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 cup flour
  • Creole seasoning, recipe follows
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • Salt
  • Crushed red pepper
  • 1 pound shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup chiffonade basil
  • 1/2 pound cooked fettuccine or spaghetti (tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper)
  • 4 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

Water you talking about?

I’ve heard that you’re supposed to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day, but who’s keeping count? At work, I”ll keep a 1 liter water bottle at my desk and try to refill once  day.  I’m personally not a water person, as in, I don’t drink a lot of water unless it has a flavor in it. It’s only after a workout that my body craves water, no matter what the taste (not non-taste).  I love the little crystal lite packets you find at that store and am constantly putting them in my water so that I do get my daily dose of water.  

How do you get your fill?

Stretching. Before, After, At All?

Do you stretch before or after a run? Or, do you stretch at all?

Out of the 10 years I’ve been “running” running, I’ve only come to think about stretching in the most recent years.

This is probably because when I was younger, I thought I was invincible.  But as the years continue and my training gets more serious; I realize that I’m most certainly not. It’s obvious when googling for “When to stretch,” many people have had this thought and there is some research on it.  “The idea behind stretching is to lengthen the muscle fibers to increase their function and hopefully enhance performance, helping runners maintain a faster pace or run for a longer period of time (article here).”  Time Magazine says to skip the stretch before the run because it doesn’t prove to prevent injury on the run.

I know I definitely need to stretch better and if not before the run, after. It’s giving back to your body for allowing you to have a good workout and it can also be very relaxing. What’s your take on stretching?

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