Posts tagged ‘nuts’

Dark Chocolate Chip and Walnut Scones

I love scones.

I remember when my mom first started making them. She a got a recipe for them from someone at our church, I believe. I was in elementary school, and I’d never heard of nor had scones before. But from that very first scone I was in love. Fresh scones are hard to beat.

Growing up, whenever my mom made fish chowder, she would make plain scones to go with it. This may seem like an odd combination, but trust me, it’s lovely. We would slather them with butter and honey and eat them with our chowder. Ah, memories.

I still make plain scones whenever I  make fish chowder. It’s one of those comfort foods that makes me feel warm and fuzzy because it reminds me of my childhood (and because it tastes really good of course too). Sometimes, however, I like to make scones for breakfast too. They’re great, because you can make just about any kind you want, just like muffins.

This time around, I found myself wanting scones for breakfast one Saturday morning. And not just any scones, but chocolate chip scones with walnuts. And not just any chocolate, but dark chocolate. Whenever I eat or make anything with chocolate, I always use dark chocolate. I figure, if I’m going to go all out and eat chocolate, than it better be good chocolate, and my favorite kind of chocolate on earth is dark chocolate (the darker, the better).

These are a wonderful treat for a weekend morning (or a special weekday morning even). Crumbly on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside with warm gooey chocolate and crispy walnuts. Heaven my friends. In the form of a breakfast quick bread.

Dark Chocolate and Walnut Scones

(makes 8 scones)

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. cold un-salted butter (half a stick), cut into cubes
  • 1/2 – 3/4 bag of dark chocolate chips (5 – 8 oz.)
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
  • 2/3 c. buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425° F. Grease a baking sheet.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. With a pastry blender (or two forks), cut in butter until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Add chocolate chips and chopped walnuts and mix in.
  5. Beat buttermilk and egg together in a small bowl. Pour over the flour mixture and stir just until the mixture comes together. Try not to over mix it.
  6. Pour out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead 4 or 5 times. Transfer to the prepared cookie sheet. With floured hands pat dough into an 8-inch circle. Using a floured knife, cut into 8 wedges, but do not separate the pieces.
  7. Bake 15 – 18 minutes, or until golden brown.

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October 3, 2012 at 11:55 am 10 comments

Walnut Crusted Dijon Salmon

Wow. What a crazy week it’s been! This was my second week of school, and the first week of my new part-time job, so between the two, I’ve been busy full-time this week! I think I’m sort of kinda getting back in the groove of waking up at 6:30 am each morning (getting used to, but not liking). Fridays are the only day I don’t have any classes, so it’s a chance for me to catch up on things here at home (i.e. laundry, cleaning, making yogurt/bread, etc.).

I’m still really liking my classes, but man, three-hour classes are loooooong. I always kinda feel like my brain has died by the time they’re over. Still, I think I’m going to learn a lot, so I’m enjoying myself.

Let me back up a little though!
We had a lot of fun on Labor Day Weekend. Saturday, we went to Braozs Bend State Park to see…the alligators! Yes, the park is known for its large population of wild alligators that you can see roaming around the park. Neither of us had ever seen a wild alligator, so we went there to go on some of the trails and hopefully see alligators.

It was kinda funny, really, because there were signs everywhere with warnings about the alligators that said things like, “Stay at least 30 feet away from the alligators,” “Avoid areas of tall grass and gradual embankments as alligators are often in these areas”.

Now, the reason this is funny, is because the trail we went on was a gravel trail about 4 feet wide that was surrounded on either side by tall grass and gradual embankments into the water. We were never more than 8 feet away from the water, so we couldn’t very well avoid the tall grass areas and we sure couldn’t be 30 feet away from any alligators lurking nearby.

It was like high risk hiking. It was fun, but I was constantly checking for alligators, so I wouldn’t really say it was relaxing. I spotted 3 alligators on the trail, one of which was at least 10 feet long. One, I was taking a picture of the scenery, and when I looked down, there was an alligator in the water watching me. Freaky? Oh yeah. Freaky, but fun. I’m weird like that.

No, I won’t hurt you. Come closer my pretty…

Sunday, we rested at home mainly (that and grocery shopping), but Monday we went to Galveston to the beach and swam. I haven’t swam in the ocean since we were in Hawaii for our wedding, so I was excited. We took some food with us and swam for awhile, ate lunch, swam some more, got frozen yogurt at an Orange Leaf located conveniently right next to the beach, and then headed home. We weren’t there all afternoon or anything, but we were both exhausted by the time we got home.

Something about swimming in the ocean is very tiring. I suppose it’s all that getting pushed around by the waves. I managed to get sunburned despite being super diligent about wearing sunblock (What can I say, I have super fair skin), so now I have a funky bikini tan line. All part of summer, right? Be both had a great time though. I’m happy we were able to go to the beach and swim before the end of summer. Of course, here in Houston, the end of summer probably isn’t until, oh, maybe the end of October.
All in all, it was a great weekend!

I’m always on the lookout for new fish recipes. Especially non-complicated fish recipes. I like to keep it interesting, but simple. I got the idea for this recipe from pecan-crusted trout, which I love. I saw somewhere a recipe for walnut-crusted salmon, which I’d never heard of. I was intrigued by the idea of it though, so I created my own version, which turned out very nicely. I thought just a walnut crust would be a bit boring, so I coated the salmon in a simple honey-dijon sauce, then coated the top in a walnut and panko crust.

The result? Delicious. This is a very fast main dish to throw together, but looks and tastes like something from a fancy restaurant.

One tip: As salmon fillets come in different sizes and thicknesses, Cook your fillets 10 minutes per inch of thickness. It they’re only an inch thick or less, 10 minutes should be plenty. It they’re thicker, adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Walnut Crusted Dijon Salmon

(serves 4)

  • 4 individual size salmon fillets
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp. dried parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter
  • salt and pepper
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400° F. Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick spray.
  2. Rinse and pat salmon fillets dry. Place on baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a plastic ziplock bag, add chopped walnuts, panko, and parsley. Seal bag and shake for several seconds.
  4. In a small bowl, combine mustard, honey, and melted butter, and mix until smooth.
  5. Pour mustard mixture over the tops of the salmon fillets. Use a spoon to spread it around evenly. Carefully spoon bread crumb mixture on top of fillets until covered. Gently press down on crumb mixture to prevent it from falling off.
  6. Bake fillets 10 minutes per inch of thickness, or until cooked through and walnut crust is golden brown.

 

September 7, 2012 at 10:41 am Leave a comment

Basic Homemade Granola

I love me a good ‘ol bowl of granola for breakfast in the morning. Who doesn’t (Well, I suppose someone who doesn’t like cereal probably wouldn’t like granola, but they’re an unusual minority, wouldn’t you say?) But whenever I check to see how much sugar is in a box of granola at the supermarket (even supposedly “healthy” granolas in health food stores), I cringe. It’s horrifying how pumped full of sugar they are! Of course, that’s sadly true of most cereals out there these days.

When I was a kid, I always wanted the colorful, sugar-pumped cereals that they advertised on TV with the hyperactive animated animals in their commercials. You know the ones I mean.
They always showed those commercials whenever cartoons were on, so it was practically impossible to miss them if you were a kid with cable in your house.

My parents always refused to buy those cereals in the same way they refused to buy Wonder bread (or any white bread for that matter. It was whole wheat or nothing). They always told us those cereals were basically sugar covered fluff, and it was not healthy for us to eat such cereals. Instead we ate cereals with whole grains and less than 5 grams of sugar. And let me tell ya, those cereals did not have interesting commercials with hyperactive animated animals in them, AND they weren’t various amazing colors of neon like the other cereals. They were usually brown, or some shade thereof, and I was therefore not interested in them in the least bit. It drove me crazy that my parents wouldn’t let me and my brothers have the “good” cereals.
Today, however, I am extremely grateful to my parents for not giving in to my pleading, and feeding my brothers and myself the healthiest foods they could, including those healthier, non-sweet cereals, and whole grain bread.

Many of you have discovered making homemade granola bars, how easy it is, and have sworn off the store bought versions with 100 ingredients in them, so I thought it was probably time to start to write about making homemade granola.

Homemade granola, like homemade granola bars, is easy, a LOT cheaper, a lot healthier (if you make it so), and completely customizable. You can add whatever you want to make it your ideal granola. You know exactly what’s going into it, so you know there are no weird chemical preservatives or other unsavory bits, so I suppose it’s a granola that offers peace of mind. That’s hard to beat, right?

This is a basic granola recipe, so I would recommend trying this first, then tweaking it to suit your tastes. Try using different kinds of nuts and seeds, pure maple syrup or molasses instead of honey, different pure extracts instead of vanilla (almond, orange, coconut, etc.), adding cinnamon or other spices, adding a different kinds of dried fruit (or maybe chocolate chips for a special treat). The options are truly endless. Experiment and have fun!

Granola is great with milk, plain yogurt and fresh fruit, kefir, and mixed in oatmeal. Enjoy!

 

Basic Granola

  • 3 c. rolled oats
  • 1/4 c. flax seeds (whole seeds, not ground)
  • 3/4 c. sliced almonds
  • 1/2 c. shredded coconut (preferably unsweetened)
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/3 c. honey
  • 1/8 c. water
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375° F (190° C).
  2. Combine the oats, flax seeds, almonds, and coconut in a large pan.
  3. Mix coconut oil, honey, water, and vanilla in a small bowl. Pour on dry mixture in pan, and mix well.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, then take out of oven and stir. Repeat this for 2 or 3 times, then increase the frequency of stirring to every five minutes or so until golden brown (like pictured above).
  5. Remove from oven, and let cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container.

March 7, 2012 at 9:28 am Leave a comment

Today’s Lunch

Yesterday I did both weight/strength training at home and had karate class. It’s been awhile since I did both in the same day. I somehow managed to hurt my left wrist with a bad punch, and my forearm is bruised (again), but nothing too bad. Whenever I have an intense workout day like I yesterday, it always leaves me extremely sleepy (not to mention sore) the next day. Sleepiness is my enemy! I must go work it off! …somehow! ….but man, I wanna take a nap…

Today’s lunch: Two mini-frittatas, a bran muffin, mixed nuts and dried fruit, veggie chips, and a kiwi

August 23, 2011 at 10:49 am Leave a comment

Easy Homemade Granola Bars

The problem with store bought granola bars, is that even the “healthy” ones tend to have a lot of ingredients that are bad for you.

High-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, vegetable oil, corn syrup. Not to mention all the artificial flavors, colors, and a whole list of scientific sounding ingredients.

Example. Here is the list of ingredients for the Special K Bar – Chocolatey Pretzel:

CEREAL (RICE, SUGAR, WHOLE GRAIN WHEAT, WHEAT GLUTEN, DEFATTED WHEAT GERM, SALT, WHEAT FLOUR, MALT FLAVORING, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, MALTODEXTRIN, THIAMIN MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], NIACINAMIDE, RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2], REDUCED IRON, FOLIC ACID), SOLUBLE CORN FIBER, SUGAR, PRETZEL PIECES (ENRICHED WHEAT FLOUR [FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE (VITAMIN B1), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), FOLIC ACID], MALT FLAVORING, SALT, SOYBEAN OIL, YEAST), VEGETABLE OIL (HYDROGENATED AND/OR PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED PALM KERNEL, PALM AND/OR COCONUT OIL, SUNFLOWER OIL WITH TOCOPHEROLS FOR FRESHNESS)†, FRUCTOSE, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, CONTAINS TWO PERCENT OR LESS OF COCOA PROCESSED WITH ALKALI, SORBITOL, GLYCERIN, WHEY, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL CHOCOLATE CREAM FLAVOR, SALT, SOY LECITHIN, CARAMEL COLOR, MALTODEXTRIN, POLYSORBATE 60, SORBITAN MONOSTEARATE, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, NIACINAMIDE, SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, ALMOND FLOUR, PARTIALLY DEFATTED PEANUT FLOUR, BHT (PRESERVATIVE), PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6).
Does anyone know what polysorbate 60 and niacinamide are? My spell check doesn’t even recognize these as actual words.

Before you buy a food product and get drawn into healthy proclamations on the cover of the box (Now with fiber! Mineral D Added! A source of whole grains! LOW FAT! LOW CARB!! ZERO CALORIES!!!), I would simply say, turn the box over and…

read the ingredients.

My philosophy: If you don’t know what the ingredients listed are, don’t buy it. Also, if the product contains a huge number of ingredients (such as the above example), don’t buy it. It’s as easy as that.

Back to granola bars, they’re delicious right? I mean, who doesn’t like granola bars? If they’re made with healthy, natural ingredients, they can be a great snack when you need a boost of energy. Now, regardless of the ingredients, they’re not something you’re going to want to eat every day, but they’re a nice treat occasionally. Especially post work-out, playing sports, etc.

I really wanted to try out a healthy, but easy granola bar recipe, and I finally found one that fit the bill!

This recipe is from Heavenly Homemakers. It’s a great food/family blog if you haven’t seen it before. I love the recipes!

These granola bars are not crispy like some, but chewy and delicious. And did I mention there’s no baking involved?

This recipe makes about 8 bars, but it depends on what size you cut the bars into.

The mixture after being refrigerated for an hour.

 

Cut up into bars.

 

Wrapped up and ready to go!

Homemade Granola Bars

  • 1/2 c. peanut butter
  • 1/3 c. honey
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil (or any other oil, but seriously, the coconut oil in this gives it awesome flavor)
  • 1 c. oats
  • 1 c. mixture of  nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chocolate chips, etc. of your choice (use whatever mixture you want, but it should be a total of 1 cup)
  1. Add peanut butter, honey, and coconut oil to a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir mixture until it melts and is evenly mixed.
  2. Remove from heat and add oats and 1 c. mixture of add-ins, and mix well.
  3. Pour mixture into a square pan lined with parchment paper, and spread evenly. Refrigerate for 1 – 2 hours.
  4. Using a pizza cutter, cut into bars. Wrap individual bars with plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze until needed.

August 5, 2011 at 3:03 pm 18 comments


About Me

My name is Rachel. I'm a small-town girl born and raised in Oklahoma, currently living in Japan, who likes cooking, baking, reading, working out, and traveling. Join me in my culinary adventures, my domestic doings, and the story of my life, one day at a time.

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