Baked Chocolate Chip Cookie Oatmeal


I should admit something: I've never loved oatmeal.  Other than being more of a savory breakfast person, I think it's a texture thing... oatmeal is so warm and mushy.  The words "warm and mushy" put together cause me to make a face.  I would demonstrate but you can't see me.  However, I recently came across a recipe for Baked Chocolate Chip Cookie Oatmeal and those words put together perked me right up.  And guess what?  I'm a convert.  This oatmeal tastes like a warm, gooey, slightly under-baked chocolate chip cookie, straight from the oven.  Yet, it's not overly sweet or sugary and still looks/feels like a traditional baked breakfast oatmeal.  In short, it's amazing.  

With minimal steps and ingredients you could easily make this any given morning, but it's special enough to serve for a breakfast gathering.  I'm highly recommending it... you should see my face.  

Recipe here.

Georgia's 'Nola Bars


You guys, I just realized that the last recipe I posted was...yes...a granola bar recipe.  So after careful consideration, I've decided to turn this blog into a granola bar blog.  I'm changing the name to Granolously Delicious.  I will post 365 granola bar creations each year.  All of this is fake news.

Ok but real talk...I don't typically like to post similar recipes back to back (and by that I mean with almost a month in between each), but under these circumstances I have no choice.  What circumstances, you ask?  The ones where my sister Georgia sent me delightful, homemade granola bars in a care package with a recipe attached.  Now, I must share them with you. 

You see, her granola bars, or 'Nola Bars as she refers to them, are sort of famous amongst her friends and our family.  They are downright delicious.  Full of nutritious, wholesome ingredients, easy to make and no baking required.  I highly recommend you try them out!

Next up?  Filet Mignon Granola Bars (no, just no).  

Georgia's 'Nola Bars
Yields: 24

1 cup honey
2 cups nut butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 cups "add-ins" (nuts, mini chocolate chips, dried fruit, etc)
2 1/2-3 cups quick cooking oats

Line 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper.  Combine first 5 ingredients a large bowl.  Stir in "add-ins" until evenly distributed.  Add oats 1/2 cup at a time until mixture is crumbly but still forms ball when pressed together (add more honey if it's too crumbly).  Press mixture firmly into pan and refrigerate for 2 hours before cutting into bars.  

*Georgia recommends keeping them stored in the refrigerator.  

Pumpkin Granola Bars


As much as I'm always sad to see summer go, there is something about this time of year that is so magical.  The air, crisp and cool, smells of new beginnings, of transitions and fresh starts.  Orrrrrr it's still humid AF and your kids miss their friends from last year, but you know what I mean.  I'm trying to be poetic about fall, because to me it's simply lovely.  Since moving to New York, I've found I appreciate it even more.  The change in temperature and scenery is dramatic, and matches the change in lifestyle.  Even when I lived in California where the difference in weather was more subtle, I've always loved embracing a new season.  Usually, I do so with food.  Aaand decorating my house with splurges from the dollar(s) bin at Target.  But mostly food.     

Of course, it's now time for everything pumpkin!  With my love of pumpkin flavored foods (except for pie, gross), and my need to pack school lunches and snacks every day, I created these Pumpkin Granola Bars.  They taste just like you want them to: soft and chewy, just sweet enough and bursting with the flavors of the season.    

Pumpkin Granola Bars
Serves: 10 rectangle granola bars, 20 square granola bars

2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch of ginger
Pinch of allspice
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup creamy almond butter
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla
Optional: 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper so that it's hanging off two of the sides, and spray with baking spray.  Combine pumpkin, brown sugar, egg, almond butter, honey and vanilla in a small bowl and stir until smooth.  In a large bowl, stir together oats and all spices.  Add pumpkin mixture to the oat mixture and stir to combine.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Using a rubber spatula, add mixture to baking pan and press down to flatten.  Bake for 20 minutes or until sides start to golden.  Let cool, and then slice into squares or rectangles.

*I added a small amount of almond butter, but if you have nut allergies you can definitely omit that and add some applesauce or melted butter instead.  

Corn and Avocado Salsa


The lyrics, "back to life, back to reality" have been playing in my head all morning long as I pack up five weeks worth of STUFF we've accumulated in California over the summer.  We've been away from home for a long time.  There has been a lot of sweet family moments mixed with extreme sibling rivalry, large home-cooked dinners mixed with lots of take-out, busy packed days mixed with endless hours of summer boredom.  Now that it's all said and done, I'm ready to get back to routine.

Also, I'm not ready.  I've had moments of sheer panic over the past few weeks.  Moments where I've questioned just about everything in my life.  Is my middle child really ready for kindergarten?  Do they all have "cute enough" back to school clothes?  Did I sign them up for enough activities?  Did I sign them up for too many activities?  Am I volunteering enough?  Am I blogging enough?  Posting enough on Instagram?  Am I keeping up with my cookbook writing?  Am I going to fail?  Am I keeping up with my friends while I'm gone?  Am I planning enough things for September?  Am I planning too many things in September?  Am I neglecting my husband?  

Are you sick of these questions yet?

Then, as if she knew I needed it, a friend sent me this article, titled "What if All I want is a Mediocre Life?"  It's written so beautifully.  She writes, "what if I am most happy in the space of in between, where calm lives?"  I have to remind myself, it's okay to not have the answers to all of those questions above.  It's okay to take baby steps, each and every day, towards a life of balance.  It's okay that this lovely, refreshing, deliciously simple Corn and Avocado Salsa is the only thing I've posted in weeks.  Right?  Tell me it's okay.  (Recipe HERE)  

Now I'm ready to get back to my mediocre life, my mediocre reality. 
(And I'm ready for school to start...)

Spicy Edamame Dip


I recently tried out Our Harvest back east, which is basically an online farmer's market experience.  You pick out fresh, organic, local foods and then either have them delivered or you pick them up at a convenient location.  Everything we picked was so good, but I was especially impressed with an Edamame Dip that was made in Brooklyn by a company called MOMO Dressing.  It was SO tasty, and after reading the simple ingredients on the packaging, I knew I could recreate it at home.  And so I did.  And now I am sharing my version of the recipe with you.  Amen.  

Spicy Edamame Dip
Serves 8

1 12oz. bag shelled edamame, cooked per instructions on bag
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 jalapeƱo, ribs and seeds removed, roughly chopped
1 large clove garlic, stems removed
1 handful cilantro, stems removed
Juice of 1 lime
Sea salt to taste
Extra virgin olive oil, about 1/4 cup (more or less depending on desired consistency)

Combine first 6 ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse to combine.  Stream in the olive oil until desired consistency is reached.  Season to taste with sea salt and serve along side crackers or veggies!

White Chocolate Blueberry Truffles


I'm going to take a wild guess that wherever you live, it's hot.  Humid too, maybe?  Sort of like you're living in an armpit?  Or maybe it's a nice dry heat.  Like you're stranded, naked, in the middle of the dessert.  With a pet camel.  OR it's totally beautiful and you have no idea what I'm talking about...

Anyway.  As much as I love to bake, I usually don't want to turn the oven on in the middle of summer.  That's why I was so excited to come across this truffle recipe.  I've made truffles before (here and here), but a rich, dark chocolate is usually the star of the treat.  These stood out because they are made with only 5 simple ingredients, two of which are sweet blueberries and creamy white chocolate.  They were extremely easy to throw together, and my kids had fun helping me roll them into truffle balls!  I highly recommend for a no-bake summer treat.     

Recipe here.

Rao's Lemon Chicken


The other day, Carson and I were watching the Food Network and we caught Frank Pellegrino show Ina Garten how to make his famous Lemon Chicken and then the following happened...

Carson only had to look over at me, and his eyes asked, "you are going to the market, aren't you, to go get all of the ingredients to make this, aren't you?"  I looked back at him, and my eyes replied, "yes, yes I am going to do that, just as soon as you get the kids away from me so I can go shop in peace."  And then my son said, out loud, "why are you guys staring at each other like that."  He doesn't understand Eye Talking, I guess.  Alas, I did go later that day and picked up a chicken (and had the butcher butterfly it and remove the spine), some fresh lemons and parsley.  I had the rest of the ingredients at home, that's how simple this dish is.

As Ina says in the episode, if you're going to call something 'Lemon Chicken' than it better taste like lemon, and THIS tastes like lemon.  The chicken is juicy, the skin is crisp, and the lemon flavor is off the charts.  For the recipe, click here.


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