Irish Soda Bread

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Irish soda bread signifies March and spring to me just as much as daffodils and birthday cake.  My mom has always made it in March, usually to have at our birthday party, and somehow it feels not quite right to make it at other times.  Even now, living in California, where things seem perpetually in season, I find myself avoiding strawberries through winter.  I look forward to strawberry season and have no desire to ruin strawberry memories with a pale pink imposter in February.  March is Irish soda bread season in my turning of the world.  My mom has always … Continue reading

Olive Oil Granola

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When Melissa Clark writes about something, it sticks in my brain.  I received “In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite” two Christmases ago, and promptly read it cover to cover.  “In the Kitchen” seamlessly weaves stories and recipes together to create a cookbook that you can enjoy as a novel if you prefer.  Her Olive Oil Granola has been lodged permanently in the back of my brain since that first reading.  I only recently started making my own granola, with this simple granola recipe.  When that experiment turned out so well, the olive oil granola memory started shoving its way … Continue reading

Breakfast Oatmeal Bars with Plum Jam

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The homemade snack kick continues!  These oatmeal bars vary from the previous granola bars (chocolate chip pretzel, honey peanut butter pretzel, and coconut chocolate chip) which were all variations on a similar theme.  These bars use flour in addition to the oatmeal, and have a layer of jam in the middle that contributes most of the sweetness. I used the plum jam we made last summer from our backyard plums.  This jam had a definite tart note to it, so a sour cherry or a raspberry jam might be a good substitute.  This summer we’ll be prepared for the plum … Continue reading

Coconut Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

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Homemade granola bars are quickly becoming a household staple.  I haven’t bought a Larabar in more than month!  The Coconut Cream Larabar is my favorite though, and that coconut flavor, plus the memory of Clif’s Chocolate Coconut bar inspired these granola bars. I piped some melted dark chocolate on top of these bars, but you could easily leave that out (there’s chocolate in the bars), or just pour melted chocolate on the top of the bars and let it cool into a thin layer. The recipe does call for a 1/4 cup of coconut milk, and I know it can … Continue reading

Salted Caramel Pretzel Cookies and Whoopie Pies

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When I saw Theresa’s post for Chocolate Stout Cookies with Salted Caramel Frosting and Pretzels, I knew I had to make them.  They seemed like the perfect sweet and salty combination, and I’ve definitely been on a bit of a pretzels-in-baked-goods kick.  (see both granola bar recipes) I followed her recipe exactly, except I chopped up a dark chocolate bar instead of using chocolate chips.  I nearly got a contact sugar high just making the frosting.  Luckily the pretzels cut some of the sweetness from the frosting so the whole cookie is delicious together.  Licking the frosting spoon is the equivalent … Continue reading

Recipe: Honey Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars

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So I loved the chocolate chip pretzel granola bars.  So much so, that they’re nearly gone.  My desk drawer is empty of all granola bars, and the freezer only has one left.  I’ve actually been eating them straight from the freezer, and they’re great cold.  No need to defrost if you don’t have time.  So clearly, I needed to make them again.  But since I had some peanut butter chips and was out of chocolate chips (a tragedy that will be remedied quickly), I thought I’d stay closer to the peanut butter flavors of the Luna bar that inspired this … Continue reading

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Granola Bars

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I usually keep a box of granola bars at my desk at work.  They’re the perfect 3:00 snack before my afternoon run.  I’ve just run through a whole box of Clif Coconut Chocolate Chip Clif bars, and before that it was a box of Coconut Cream Larabars.  I appreciate the convenience of picking up a box of granola bars, but I knew they had to be pretty easy  make at home myself. I’d picked up the new Peanut Honey Pretzel Luna bar last weekend, and I liked it a lot, but decided to adapt it with some of my favorite … Continue reading

Coffee Heath Bar Crunch Cookies

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After a long run last weekend, we celebrated Aron’s birthday with a Coffee Heath Bar ice cream cake.  It was a delicious way to refuel after 10 miles.  Later that week during one of my regular runs, I had a brainstorm.  Coffee heath bar cookies!  You can’t really have ice cream cake on hand at all times, but cookies?  Those are fair game.  Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch is actually my favorite Ben and Jerry’s flavor, but Coffee Heath Bar is a close second.  Plus I loved the idea of coffee flavor in the cookies.  Perhaps these are a better before … Continue reading

Simple, Customizable Granola Recipe

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I love granola.  For breakfast, for snack, and with enough chocolate chips, even for dessert.  But I change my mind a lot when it comes to granola.  Sometimes I want it extra chocolate-y, sometimes I want it full of fruit and nuts.  Sometimes I like a kick of ginger to my granola, and that just doesn’t mix well with peanut butter chips.  So I needed a granola recipe that I could easily customize depending on my mood and chocolate cravings. I decided to just make a very simple base granola recipe and add mix-ins later based on whatever I felt … Continue reading

Oatmeal Bread

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J and I have strongly divergent ideas about bread.  The coffee shop on our corner makes bread I adore.  I’ve been known to go down there and order two slices of bread with my coffee, carefully ferry them home, and toast them here where I can top them with my own jam.  It’s sturdy, whole wheat bread, cut plenty thick so that when you toast it there’s plenty of soft warm center between the crisp outsides.  J hates this bread.  Hates it!  He swears the café’s sandwiches would be wonderful if only he could have better bread.  Mostly he eats … Continue reading