Posted in Recipes

Maple Pecan Coconut Granola

If you’ve been around a little bit, you know we love granola in this household. Today we made a sweet and crunchy one full of toasty goodness.

Maple Pecan Coconut Granola: Makes 1 – 1 1/2 Quarts

  • 4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup maple syrup (this is to taste)
  • 1 cup Pecan halves
  • 1 cup large unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350F.

  1. Mix all of your ingredients in a bowl until evenly coated.
  2. Spread the mixture out onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes, stir your oats around, and bake another 15 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool and enjoy!
Posted in Recipes

Chewy Chestnut Brownies

I’ve been craving chocolate and had some chestnut pieces I had to use up from syrup making, why not use the two together?

Chewy Chestnut Brownies: Makes 12

  • 1/2 cup butter (we used avocado butter)
  • 8 oz dark chocolate (we used vegan dark chocolate chips)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla or chestnut syrup
  • 2 eggs (or egg replacement)
  • 1/2 cup flour (I used all purpose you could also use whole wheat)
  • 1/2 cup roasted chestnuts, chopped
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. To a microwave safe bowl, add your butter and chocolate. Microwave in 30 second intervals until completely melted. For my microwave, it took about 3 – 30 second bursts.
  3. Allow to cool slightly, then mix in your sugars thoroughly.
  4. Mix in your vanilla, and 1 egg, mixing completely before adding the next egg and mixing until well combined.
  5. Add in your flour, mixing until just combined.
  6. Fold in your chestnut pieces gently.
  7. Grease a 9×9 square pan well (or a muffin tin) and add in your batter. If using the muffin tin, add about 2 oz of batter per cup.
  8. Bake for 30-45 minutes, rotating your pan halfway through to promote even baking.
  9. Allow to cool, then enjoy!
  10. Try topped with whipped cream or even with edible cookie dough!

Posted in Recipes

Granola Cups

A great meal prep breakfast for the kids, and a great non-traditional way to enjoy granola!

Granola Cups: Makes about 15

  • 3 cups of your favorite Mack’s granola (Fruit Cave is really good for this. If you can’t use our granola, just find a looser granola at the store, steer away from granola clusters.)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk of choice
  • 2 eggs (or egg replacement)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup applesauce of choice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup apples, diced (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350F, and grease 2 muffins pans. Set aside.

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together all of your dry ingredients.
  2. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together your eggs, milk, syrup, vanilla, and applesauce until thoroughly combined.
  3. If using, add your chopped apples to the wet mixture.
  4. Add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients and mix well.
  5. Using a 2 oz scoop (or 1/4 cup measure), add a scoop of the batter to each muffin cup. Your batter will probably look quite loose, don’t panic! Your granola will absorb everything.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating your pans at the 15 minute mark to promote even baking.
  7. Once fully baked, allow them to cool completely at room temperature.
  8. Meal prep them out into containers or add to an airtight container and store.
  9. Enjoy!
Posted in Recipes

French Toast Jammer Bake

A good way to add sweetness and a pop of fruit to your french toast, and great for meal prepping! It’s also a good way to use up bread that’s going a little stale.

French Toast Jammer Bake: Makes 4-5 Jumbo Cups

  • 1/2 loaf bread of choice, cut into cubes (we used whole wheat)
  • 1/4 cup jam of choice (we used blackberry for this batch)
  • 2 eggs or egg substitute (we used 1/3 cup plant based egg)
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice (we used oat milk)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together your jam, eggs, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla.
  3. Toss the cubes in the mixture, stirring to coat evenly.
  4. Grease a jumbo muffin pan, and spoon about 1/4 cup – 1/3 cup of the bread into each cup.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes, rotating your pan after 15 minutes to promote even baking. (Tip: You can use a regular muffin pan, just reduce the amount in each cup and keep an eye on your cooking time, it’s likely you’ll need a little less time in the oven, about 15-20 minutes.)
  6. Allow to cool slightly, then serve warm. (Or if making ahead of time, let them cool completely and store in the fridge.) Try with maple syrup or whipped cream!

Just a quick note: I’ve found the best way to remove them from the pan is to carefully run a rubber spatula around the outside of the bake and then scoop from the bottom.


Posted in Recipes

Strawberry Lemonade Coffee Jumbo Cupcakes (Gluten Free & Vegan)

Say that 5 times fast!

A little labor of love for a sweet summer treat that features farm fresh berries that almost everyone can eat! To make things easy, I’ve broken down the recipe into little recipes for each component.

Strawberry Lemonade Coffee Cupcakes: Makes 5 jumbo cupcakes or 10-12 regular cupcakes

Preheat your oven to 350F.

For the topping:

  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup plant butter (we used avocado butter)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup gluten free flour mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1:1)
  1. Add all of your ingredients to a small bowl, and mash the butter into the flour and sugar with the back of a fork (or a whisk) until uniformly crumbly. Think pie dough!
  2. Set aside.

For the Filling:

  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, quartered
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  1. In a small pot, add in your strawberries, water, and brown sugar.
  2. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk together your cornstarch and lemon juice until well combined, adding water as necessary to make sure the cornstarch is dissolved.
  4. Pour your cornstarch mixture into the strawberries and allow to simmer for another 2-3 minutes, or until thick and bubbly.
  5. Set to the side and allow to cool.

For the cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free flour mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1:1)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup plant butter of choice (we used avocado butter)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup dairy free milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together your flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  2. Add in your butter and using the same method as mentioned above in the topping section, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles fine crumbs.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together your applesauce, milk, and vanilla.
  4. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until combined.

All together now!:

  1. Lightly pan spray your jumbo or muffin tin.
  2. Spread 2 ounces (or 1/4 cup) of batter on the bottom of the tins (use 1 ounce or 2 tbsp for a regular cupcake pan), using the back of a spoon.
  3. Spoon in 2 tbsp (1 tbsp for regular sized cupcakes) of your filling in the center of your batter.
  4. Add 2 more ounces of batter on top of the filling (1 ounce for regular sized cupcakes), spreading it over the filling as best you can – I found small short movements made it easier to spread.
  5. Evenly distribute your topping onto your cupcakes. (I’d estimate that I used 1 1/2 – 2 tbsp of topping for each jumbo cupcake.)
  6. Bake in your oven for 30 minutes, rotating your pan halfway through the cooking time to promote even baking. For regular sized cupcakes, check them after 10 minutes to rotate, you may only need 15-20 minutes of baking to cook through the smaller size. If you’re not sure that they’re done, use a meat thermometer! They should read at least 190F.
  7. Allow your cakes to cool for 15-30 minutes before removing from your pan and serving.
  8. If desired, top them with your favorite whipped cream!
  9. Enjoy! I shared one with my kiddo as a sweet treat to start our morning.

Tip: They will be a tad messy, and if you’d like to minimize mess in your oven, place a baking sheet underneath your cupcake pan to catch any jam that might drip out. I’ve also found that the easiest way to remove them from the pan was to run a small rubber spatula around the edge before scooping it out of the pan.

Posted in Recipes

Granola Topped Banana Bread

A delicious and creative way to incorporate a little extra crunch in your banana bread! You can use any kind you want, we used our Fruit Cave flavor that we sell at the market!

Try it topped with a little greek yogurt and fresh berries!

  • 1/4 cup butter (or butter substitute), softened
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 egg (or equivalent egg substitute), beaten
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of your favorite granola

Preheat your oven to 350F. If you’re using a cast iron bread pan, remember to put it into your cold oven before preheating.

  1. Whisk together your flours, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, cream together your butter and sugar until fluffy.
  3. Add in your egg and vanilla, and mix until well combined.
  4. Mix in your mashed bananas.
  5. Gently mix in your flour mixture, stirring until just combined.
  6. Pour into a greased loaf pan, and sprinkle the granola evenly on top of the batter.
  7. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the batter doesn’t shake anymore, and a toothpick comes out almost clean. (Due to the amount of banana it won’t come out completely clean like a cake, but you don’t want to pull out a toothpick and have it pick up a ton of batter.)
  8. Allow to cool for 15-30 minutes before serving or storing. Enjoy!

Tip: If during the baking process, your granola looks or smells like it’s turning too toasted, feel free to cover the top with aluminum foil to prevent burning.

Posted in Recipes

Adventurer’s Snack-Sacks! (A Fan Recipe)

Have you ever read Rutabaga: The Adventure Chef by Eric Colossal? WE LOVE Rutabaga and his awesome adventures, and we also love the food he makes! I’ve been working on turning the fictional foods into real-life recipes, and this one was a winner! A delicious meat-filled hand pie, perfect for the on-the-go explorer!

Also, a quick thank you for your patience. Last week I was sick so I took Friday off from recipe creating. Luckily I’m feeling much better, so I’m back at it!

From Rutabaga: “You’ll need salt, butter, yellow spice, and flour for the dough. Beef, onions, peppers, and spices for the filling.”

Sounds delicious!

Adventurer’s Snack-Sack: Makes 6-8

For the Dough: (This recipe calls for a stand mixer, but you can prepare it as you would any other pie dough.)

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter flavored Crisco (or your favorite shortening)
  • 3 eggs (or egg replacement – I used a plant based egg, 2 of these eggs will be used for brushing)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup ice water (as needed)
  • 1 small carrot, cut into spears
  1. Mix together your flour and salt.
  2. With your mixer running, add the crisco in small lumps.
  3. Add in 1 egg, and then add water as needed until the dough is soft and pulls off of the sides of your bowl.
  4. Wrap and allow to rest for at least an hour. (You can also do this the night before and refrigerate overnight.)

For the filling:

  • 1 pound of ground beef (you could use any kind of ground meat or ground plant protein, but we wanted to stick with Rutabaga’s recipe)
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, small diced
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper, small diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or water (as needed)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp adobo (if you’re using the kind with salt, omit the 1 tsp salt)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  1. In a skillet over medium heat, brown the beef until almost all the pink is gone.
  2. Add in your onions, pepper, and spices.
  3. Continue cooking until the veggies are soft, and the beef is no longer pink.
  4. Use your water or chicken stock as needed to deglaze the pan – all those bits at the bottom are flavor!
  5. Once everything is nice and cooked down, allow it to cool to a handleable temperature. Onto the stuffing!

Now wrapping these can be a bit tricky, but once you get the hang of it, it’s less daunting. Remember – they don’t have to be perfect. Fed is best!

Preheat your oven to 350F.

  1. Divide your dough into 2 pieces for easy handling. Remember to flour your surface and rolling pin!
  2. Roll out to about 1/4″ thin, getting it as even as possible.
  3. Cut out your dough into squares, I used a bench scraper to cut out my squares, so they were about 5 1/2 or 6 inches on each side.

4. Place your dough with one corner pointing up, and place about 2 oz (1/4 cup or a few heaping tablespoons) of filling directly in the center.

5. Fold the bottom corner to the middle, and use your remaining egg to brush the sides.

6. Fold in each side, being sure to push on the edges gently to stick with the egg wash. It’ll start to look like a little envelope! Egg wash the top portion of the folded sides.

7. Fold down the top “flap”, and if desired, crimp very gently with a fork.

8. Lay a carrot spear across the center, and egg wash just above and below the carrot spear.

9. Using whatever pie dough scraps you may have left over from cutting the squares, shape a small rectangle and place it over the carrot spear, pushing the strip of dough into the egg washed spots.

10. Repeat these steps with your remaining dough squares, or until you run out of filling.

11. Place your snack-sacks on a lightly oiled sheet tray, and brush them with any remaining egg you may have.

12. Bake for 1 hour, or until crispy on the outside and hot through the middle. Remember to rotate your pan halfway through cooking time to promote even baking!

These were a hit, delicious and flaky and full of flavor! However, we suspect they would be even more delicious dipped in your favorite gravy or garlic butter sauce! Happy adventuring!

Posted in Recipes

Hot Cocoa Oatmeal Cookies

Last week, our patrons chose the Chestnut Doodles for the weekly recipe, but no cookie left behind! These hot cocoa oatmeal cookies are a light chocolate sweet treat, but made a little bit healthy.

Hot Cocoa Oatmeal Cookies: Makes 24-36 small cookies

1 1/4 cup rolled oats

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

3 tbsp of your favorite hot cocoa mix

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

4 tbsp plant butter

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup honey

1/3 cup mini marshmallows

1/3 cup chocolate chips of choice

  1. In a bowl, mix together your oats, flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together your honey, plant butter, applesauce, vanilla, and cocoa mix.
  3. Stir your dry mix into the honey mixture, and fold in your marshmallows and chocolate chips.
  4. Allow your mixture to chill for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat your oven to 350F while you’re waiting.
  6. Using a 1 oz scoop (or a rounded tablespoon), scoop cookie dough into balls and place on an greased baking sheet 1-2” apart. Push them down slightly with the back of a spoon or your fingertips.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cook time to promote even baking.
  8. Rest the cookies for 2-5 minutes on the pan before removing and placing on a cooling rack. 

Enjoy! These are great to give you a little sweet without weighing you down for the rest of the day.

Posted in Recipes

Chestnut Doodles

My brother-in-law loves to cook as well, and he recently shared a recipe for chestnut syrup with me that makes really good homemade cream soda. Along with it came a recipe to bake the chestnuts after steeping them to make the syrup, but we didn’t care for that part. Not wanting to waste the chestnuts, I pulsed them in the food processor and threw them into a cookie! Not just for the holidays anymore, the festive nut makes a good sweet treat for any time of year.

Chestnut Doodles: Makes 10-12 Large Cookies or 36-40 Small Cookies

½ cup white sugar

¾ cup brown sugar

1 tsp salt

½ cup butter or butter substitute

1 egg (or egg replacement)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 ¼ cup flour

½ tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 cup roasted chestnuts – I found ours in the Asian aisle of our local Wegmans

Preheat oven to 350F

  1. Chop your chestnuts into small pieces with a knife, or pulse in a food processor until the pieces are small and even.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together your flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside. 
  3. In a separate bowl, cream together the sugars and butter products until fluffy.
  4. Add in your egg and vanilla and mix until homogeneous.
  5. Add your flour mixture and mix until combined. 
  6. Fold in your chestnut pieces
  7. Using a 1 oz scoop (or a rounded tablespoon), or 2 oz scoop, scoop cookie dough into balls and place on an ungreased baking sheet 1-2” apart. 
  8. For small cookies: bake for 8-10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cook time to promote even baking. For large cookies, increase the time to 15-20 minutes. The cookies should be soft and slightly golden around the edges.
  9. Rest the cookies for 2-5 minutes on the pan before removing and placing on a cooling rack. 

Try not to eat them all at once! I love them in the morning with some tea or even just as an afternoon sugar bump!

Posted in Recipes

Hybrid Sourdough

This is a mashup recipe because I wanted my favorite parts from two of my favorite bread recipes. The denser chew from the tuscan bread, and the crusty goodness of a sourdough. Disclaimer: I am not a baker, just a chef who loves bread.

Hybrid Sourdough: Makes 2 Loaves

Starter: Mix your ingredients, and allow your starter to sit (covered) on the counter overnight. Then separate the amount you need. You can store extra sourdough starter in the fridge in an airtight container, just remember to feed it once a week by mixing in  ½ cup water and 1 cup flour. 

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup warm filtered water

1 tsp dry active yeast

Dough: This takes a little while, but don’t get discouraged! It’s only about 30 minutes of work total, the rest is just trying to be patient. 

3 1/2 cups of cool water

7-8 cups bread flour

¾ cup sourdough starter

1 tbsp + 1 tsp salt

  1. Mix together 3 1/4 cups cool water with 7-7 ½ cups bread flour until it forms a wet dough. Allow to sit for 30 minutes. This allows the natural yeast in your flour to activate a little bit.
  2. Add in your sourdough, salt, and remaining water. Mix until thoroughly combined, pinching and squeezing the water into the dough. Once all the water has been absorbed, allow it to rest for 30 minutes. 
  3. With wet hands you’re going to scoop the dough from the bottom on either side before dropping it back into the bowl, and repeating on the opposite sides. Do this a few times and then let it rest another 30 minutes. You’re going to repeat the “flop and rest” 3 times. It’s long and forever taking, but worth it.
  4. After your final flop and rest, you’re going to wet your hands and your work surface, and split your dough in half to shape into loaves. There are a few ways of doing this, the first one is to flatten out the dough ball and roll it up into a log, or you can use more of our flop method. This “folds” the dough over itself to make a tighter dough ball.
  5. Allow the dough balls to rest for another 1-2 hours before baking. Slit the top of your bread in your desired pattern after resting. 
  6. If you have them, place cast iron pans into a cold oven, and preheat your oven to 475F.
  7. Remove your pans and place the dough balls carefully onto the cast iron pans. Bake for 10-15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375F and cook for another 30 minutes or until the crust is the shade you like and the internal temperature is at least 190F.