April 23, 2012
Spur of the moment trips are always the best. I was at work on Thursday when I decided to take advantage of the nice weather and take Friday off. When I talked to my friend who lives close by, she said she was headed to Chicago over the weekend for a meeting. “Take me with you!” I exclaimed. Next thing I know, I booked a flight and jetted off to my favorite city for an impromptu weekend trip. After I’d packed and was killing time before heading to the airport, I decided to make a quick snack that would not only be great for the flight but could easily be tossed in our bags as we roamed the Second City.
Easy Granola is nutty, slightly sweet, slightly salty and well, easy! Oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, and coconut are mixed together with syrup and a little canola oil and baked until golden brown. Dried fruit added at the end provides a sweet, tart, and chewy delicious touch. I used a combination of almonds and pecans since I had them on hand so feel free to use any combination of nuts like walnuts, macadamia, cashews, etc. I also used less coconut since I only had sweetened coconut on hand and didn’t want this too sweet. I used dried cherries but any dried fruit – cranberries, blueberries, apricots – would be delicious. And lastly, I substituted blue agave syrup for the maple syrup since I had that on hand also. This is such a versatile recipe that any combination of nuts, fruit and syrup with make this a delicious snack. Keep this stored in an airtight container to eat as a snack or toss in with yogurt or over ice cream. This kept us going all weekend!
Combine all of the ingredients, except dried fruit, in a pan or bowl and toss until well combined. (I didn’t read the directions correctly and added the dried fruit here. It worked out okay but try to add the fruit at the end.)
Spread mixture onto a large baking sheet and bake in a 350° F oven for 25 minutes.
Toss the mixture once during baking so the edges don’t burn.
Add in the dried fruit and allow mixture to cool before storing in an airtight container.
- Pecans and almonds
- Blue agave syrup
- Sunflower seeds
Overall Rating: Like It
Source: Real Simple Magazine
November 30, 2011
This recipe for Pear Chutney Bruschetta with Pecans and Gorgonzola stopped me in my tracks when I first saw it. The original recipe uses blue cheese but as you may know, I’m not a blue cheese fan so I took a leap of faith and used gorgonzola (which I’d never had before) instead. This appetizer did not disappoint. It’s sweet yet savory, tart yet fresh. Slices of french baguette are toasted and topped with pears (cooked with shallots and dried apricots), toasted pecans, gorgonzola crumbles, and fresh thyme. I really loved the contrast between the sweet Bartlett pears and the tangy cheese. The addition of apple cider vinegar in the pear topping provides the slightest hint of bitterness which cuts through the sweetness of the pears and adds to the layers of flavors in this dish. The toasted pecans bring a delicious nuttiness and the thyme provides and herby freshness. I left out the chives from this recipe only because I didn’t have any but it doesn’t matter. I can’t rave about this bruschetta enough just the way it is!
Thanksgiving leftovers used: pear nectar, pears, thyme, shallots
The ingredients (I forgot the gorgonzola here):
Cook chopped shallots in olive oil until soft.
Add in chopped pears, dried apricots, sugar, cider vinegar, salt, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes and cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, broil baguette slices in the oven until toasted. In a small pan or skillet, add pecans and toast on a low heat until fragrant.
Top toasted baguette slices with pear topping, gorgonzola crumbles, chopped toasted pecans, and fresh thyme.
- Gorgonzola cheese for blue cheese
Overall Rating: Love It
Source: Cooking Light Magazine
August 24, 2011
I have my own recipe for chicken salad that I love so much, I don’t usually stray from it (I’ll share it one of these days!). But this Chicken and Cherry Sandwich recipe was in my recipe collection and is similar to my recipe so I had to try it. This sauce includes fresh taragon which, if you’ve never tried it (like I hadn’t), tastes slightly black licorice-y like anise or fennel. The dried cherries add a chewiness and slight tartness while the celery and walnuts provide crunch. To save time, I used precooked grilled chicken strips (like this) which makes this sandwich a quick and easy lunchtime bite.
- Precooked chicken for roasted chicken breast
Overall Rating: Love It
Source: Self Magazine