Monday, September 15, 2014

Pumpkin Spiced Granola


I don’t know about you, but fall fever has definitely hit me. The temperature cooled down this weekend; there is a lovely crispness in the air, and the slightest warmth of color has kissed the trees.


Also, I’m craving everything pumpkin.


In my humble opinion, pumpkin is one of the greatest additions to fall food.  Savory or sweet, this perfect vegetable seems to meld with whatever you’re cooking. Plus, it comes conveniently pureed in a 15 oz can ready to use. What more could you ask for?


Today I bring you a crunchy, wholesome, pumpkin spice granola that is deliciously seasoned with warm fall spices and slightly sweet from the addition of maple syrup and brown sugar.


Moreover, this recipe couldn’t be easier to prepare. Mix your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients, throw it onto a rimmed cookie sheet and bake. Simple as that.  Well, you have to stir the granola twice, but really, that’s it.


Enjoy this tasty treat topped with milk or mixed in with some Greek yogurt. What is your favorite way to eat pumpkin? Let me know below!

Pumpkin Spiced Granola:

Yields: about 6 cups (12 1/2 cup servings)
Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 3 1/2 cups oats (I used quick cooking, I am sure regular would work, too)
  • 2 cups puffed wheat cereal
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 tbls. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (if you want a sweeter granola, you can increase sugar to 2/3 or 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Line two large rimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (oats through cloves).
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients until smooth.
  5. Transfer wet ingredients into dry and mix until fully incorporated.
  6. Evenly distribute granola mixture onto the two pans in a thin layer.
  7. Put pans in the oven and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15, until granola is golden brown.
  8. Remove pans from oven and allow granola to cool; it will crisp up upon cooling.
  9. Break apart any large pieces, if desired.

Friday, September 12, 2014

"Get Organized" Week Three: 30 Day Challenge - The Kitchen

Welcome to week three of our "Get Organized" 30 Day challenge. This week we are tackling one of the most high-traffic areas in the home: The Kitchen.

Being a food blogger, it goes without saying that I'm in the kitchen. A lot. Additionally, I am always looking for the latest ingredient to taste or kitchen gadget to try. Because of this, my kitchen was looking a bit...cramped.

In fact, I’m not going to lie to you; I’ve been a bit anxious about this challenge. Revamp the bathroom? Awesome! Gut the office? Bring it on! Tear apart the kitchen? Someone please hold me…


I think my reluctance to tackle the kitchen stems from the simple fact that it was so. packed. with. stuff;
I didn’t know where to begin. Each bit of empty space was filled with kitchen gadgets, flatware, or food. The cupboards and pantry were literally bursting. Don’t get me started on the freezer.


I knew I needed to purge this place (and have needed to for a while) but I kept putting it off. Plain and simple, this week was my major hurdle for the 30-day challenge.

You know what? I am SO GLAD I did it. My kitchen feels like a whole new place!


How did I tackle the insanity? First, I ordered several different totes and shelves on Amazon to help with the process. My new favorite organizational tool for the kitchen: Lazy Susans! They are SO helpful for deep cabinets, and they come in several different sizes. I used smaller 9-inchand larger 18-inchones and I LOVE them. I purchased these stacking shelves, standard wire shelves, stepped shelves,and drawer dividersto help as well. I was not messing around.


With my new supplies in hand, I dove in. As I did for the bathroom, I moved step by step through the kitchen, clearing shelves, emptying cupboards, and separating things into donations, food pantry, and garbage.

I then looked at the items I planned to save and started grouping together like objects: baking vs. cooking utensils, breakfast items, snack food, etc. This was most helpful for my pantry, which, as you can see from the picture below, was a disaster zone. (I can’t believe I’m actually showing this!)


One of my favorite tips – aside from the Lazy Susan – is to utilize the vertical space in your cabinets. I personally did this by putting shelves in the taller spaces, but you could also put hooks underneath cabinets to hang mugs, measuring cups, etc. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you could use a ceiling rackto hang your pots and pans.


Despite my trepidation, I am thrilled that I tackled my kitchen. It was a big undertaking, but now everything is organized and much less cluttered than before. Plus, it only takes seconds to find what I need since I now know exactly where to look. Simplicity and time saving – I’m a happy camper.


Now it’s your turn! Share with us your revamped kitchen story in the comments below or on our Facebook page.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Celery Spinach Apple Juice


I'm recovering from a bit of a summer cold. It feels wrong to have a cold when it's still warm outside. I denied even being sick for the first day, I called it allergies instead.

By the second day, the cold won.

Well, it's day four and I'm fighting back. I made myself some yummy green juice with Vitamin C (lemon) and other nutrient packed fruits and veggies. Whether it heals me or not, I don't care, it tastes delicious. Especially if you throw some ice in there to top it off and cool my soar throat.


The best thing about juicing is that it doesn't take long to do it. The worst thing about juicing is having to clean the juicer after, ha!

We'd love to hear your juicing recipes. Email us or share them on our facebook page!

xoxo,


Yield: 15oz.
Time: 5 min.
Ingredients:
  • 1 cucumber (peeled)
  • 1 lemon (peeled)
  • 1 green apple (cored and cut into quarters)
  • handful of spinach
  • about 1 inch of fresh ginger (depending on how much you like ginger :)
Directions:
If using a juicer, push the ingredients through the juicer.

If using a blender, add 1/2 - 1 cup of water when you blend the ingredients together