Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Homemade Granola Bars

I love granola bars. They are such a handy snack! What I don't love about granola bars is the price. They can get spendy! And I'm sure the commercially made ones are chock full of not-so-great stuff.

Enter the homemade granola bar.

I did some google-ing and found this recipe.

I gathered my supplies, made a few tweaks, and had homemade granola bars! I made mine with peanuts, dried cranberries and flax seeds. Delish! (The husband says they're a little on the sweet side, so I think I'll cut down on the brown sugar next time...) I'm excited to try other varieties - coconut, chocolate and dried pineapple; almond and dark chocolate; maybe I'll even try adding some peanut butter and pretzel pieces to a batch if I get real crazy. :) Yum!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Natural Cleaning....

I was struck by the inspiration to clean our house using homemade, natural cleaners. So I did my research (thank you, Google) and bought the necessary supplies. A lot of the sites said the four things you really need are baking soda, vinegar, dish soap and a spray bottle. (Some "recipes" called for Borax and washing soda, but I didn't get them. Mostly because I didn't feel like figuring out what washing soda is and where I could find it in the store.)

I made an all-purpose cleaner of 1 part vinegar to 1 part water and used it to clean the bathroom counter. It seems like it did a good job, but who really knows. I did like the vinegar smell, though. That smells like it's clean.

Next on the list was to clean the toilet. My sources said to sprinkle baking soda in the bowl, drizzle with vinegar and let sit for a few minutes. So I did. Verdict? Doesn't work. Well, that might actually say more about how gross the toilet was.... Anyway, I think I'll stick with the good ol', chemical-filled toilet cleaner.

Popularity Cookies

I made Popularity Cookies the other day and thought I'd share the recipe. They are easy and sooooo good! You only need 4 (maybe 5) indredients!
- Saltine crackers (or club crackers)
- 1 C butter
- 1 C brown sugar
- 1 bag chocolate chips
- Chopped nuts (optional)

Heat oven to 400. Cover a jelly roll pan with foil and arrange saltines on it. Break some in half to fill in empty spots if you need to.

Combine the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes. (Nothing smells better than melted butter and brown sugar. It took some serious self-control to not eat spoonfuls out of the pan.)

Then pour the butter and sugar mixture over the saltines and bake for 5-6 minutes, watching closely.

Put the pan on the open oven door or pull the rack out. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on and let melt.

When they are melted, use the back of a spoon to spread them over the crackers. Sprinkle chopped nuts on top if you so desire.

Put the pan in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Then peel the cookies off the foil and break into cookie-size pieces. Supposedly this recipe freezes well, but they've never lasted that long in our house. :)

I was so excited to eat the cookies that I forgot to take a picture of the finished product!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Coconut Milk

I bought a can of coconut milk last summer with the intentions of making some delicious-sounding Thai dish. Never happened. Now every time I open the pantry, I see this can of coconut milk staring at me. Daring me to use it. Today I decided to not let a fear of unusual ingredients rule my life. (Ok, so that's a little dramatic....). So I checked the expiration date (June 30, 2011) and allrecipes.com and was on my way.

On allrecipes.com I found a recipe for Pineapple Scones that uses coconut milk. Go here http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Pineapple-Scones/Detail.aspx for the recipe. I tweaked it a little bit for what I had on hand. My recipe is below.

ingredients all ready to go

cutting in the butter

into the oven they go

Finished product!


- 2 C flour

- 1 T baking powder

- 1/4 t salt

- 1/4 C butter, chilled

- 3/4 C coconut milk

- 1/4 C honey

- 1 egg, beaten

- 8 oz. crushed pineapple
I didn't have crushed pineapple, so I cut up pineapple tidbits. Next time I think I'll add flaked coconut to amp up the coconut flavor....

1. Heat oven to 375

2. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter until it resembles course crumbs.

3. In a small bowl, mix the coconut milk, honey and egg. Stir into the flour mixture. Fold in pineapple. Batter will be pretty goopy - not your normal scone batter.

4. Divide batter into 12 and drop onto ungreased cookie sheet.

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

I made a glaze out of powdered sugar and some of the leftover coconut milk and put it on the scones when they were cool.

The flavors aren't super vivid, but they're still yummy! And I learned that I like coconut milk. I mean, I REALLY like coconut milk. Be watching for more coconut milk experimentation in the future....

Monday, May 9, 2011


I was at Ben & Jerry's last night and saw this on the building across the street.

Maybe the nicest vandalism ever.

Mother's Day, Part Two

I love traditions. I mean, really love them. It's kind of sick how much I love traditions. One of our family traditions is our Mother's Day picnic and hike. The first annual Mother's Day picnic and hike was in 1985, when I was a month and a half old. After church that day, my parents picked up bagels and schmear (we lived in New Jersey at the time) and headed to a local park. And that's what we've done every year since. This year was our 27th picnic and hike. Well, not so much the "hike" part - it was raining and windy and cold. But it was still a great afternoon!

My brother-in-law, sister, mom, me, Drew and Justin after our delicious lunch.

Me, Justin and Drew on my first Mother's Day

Mother's Day, Part One

I went in Drew's room to feed him at 4:00 on Sunday morning and when I got him out of his crib there was a little box next to him.

(Side note: Rockstar Baby slept for 9 hours in a row! Although my boobs were quite sore when I woke up, it was a glorious night!)

Justin and Drew had gotten me a beautiful necklace with a diamond and Drew's birthstone in it. I love it! What a thoughtful first Mother's Day gift. I sure have a great husband.

I told Justin that I would be WAY more excited about feeding Drew in the middle of the night if I got presents every time.