Peanut Butter Frosted Banana Bread Cupcakes

Banana-CupcakesSo many things to celebrate this weekend! Between Derby Day and Cinco de Mayo, we’ve got lots of excuses to bake for a crowd.

The best way we know to feed a lot of people is to bake! And what better thing to bake than our all around favorite, Banana Bread.

Today we’re whipping it up as cupcakes and topping it with peanut butter frosting. Have a great weekend!

Peanut Butter Frosted Banana Bread Cupcakes

Banana Bread Cupcakes

  • One box of Cherryvale Farms Organic Banana Bread Mix
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (use your favorite)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 ripe bananas

Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin by greasing the cups with oil or butter. Or, feel free to use cupcake baking liners if you like. Mix Banana Bread Mix according to box directions and divide evenly among the 12 muffin cups. For smaller muffins with a more rounded top, fill about 16 muffin cups 1/2 full.

Bake at 375 F for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Prepare the frosting by first sifting powdered sugar into a large bowl. Add cream cheese, butter, and peanut butter. Using an electric mixer, beat mixture until smooth.

Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting. You can use a frosting bag and tip to create fun frosting designs on the top of your cupcakes, or simply spread with a spoon.

Enjoy!

Image by 2 Good Cooking Chicks.

 

Blueberry Muffin Trifle

blueberry-trifleWe’re thinking about brunch today and we’ve got an amazing recipe to share: Blueberry Muffin Trifle!

Blueberry Muffin Trifle
(serves 6-8)

You Will Need:

  • 1 Box Cherryvale Farms “Everything But The Blueberries” Blueberry Muffin Mix
  • 4 cups vanilla pudding (purchased or homemade)
  • 2 six ounce containers fresh blueberries
  • Mint or lemon zest for decoration
  • Trifle bowl or straight-sided glass bowl

Instructions:

Prepare “Everything But The Blueberries” Blueberry Muffin Mix according to package directions, then remove baked muffins from tin and allow to cool completely (can be done the day ahead). Using a serrated knife, cut the muffins up into 1″ pieces.

In your trifle bowl, start by layering the muffin pieces in one layer on the bottom.

Next, add a layer of your vanilla pudding (chilled or at room temperature).

Next, add a light layer of washed and dried fresh blueberries.

Repeat the layers one or two more times, depending on the height and width of your trifle bowl, making sure to layer evenly so the layers are visible on the outside.

For your final top layer, spread the vanilla pudding evenly and top with just a few blueberries and a sprig of mint or some lemon zest.

Serve immediately or chill for 1-3 hours before serving.

Enjoy!

To purchase Cherryvale Farms Blueberry Muffin Mix, please visit our website.

(photo credit here)

Let’s Measure!

Cherryvale Farms measuring cupsCherryvale Farms is all about making cooking at home easier, so our first promo item had to be something that was simple, useful and baking-friendly. And here it is: a measuring cup!

Now this may look like a simple measuring cup but it’s got an amazing feature: you read the measurements from the top, instead of the side. No more bending halfway to the ground to see the measurements! Simple, but effective. We love it.

And, because we’re so excited by our new freebie, we’re giving them away! All orders placed in our online store will receive a FREE measuring cup with your order!

So, get baking!

Cherryvale Farms is Growing!

I know we haven’t posted anything here in a while…and I’m sorry! So much has been going on the last few months. Here’s a little look at what’s happened at Cherryvale Farms recently:

  • We’ve brought on a new VP Sales to handle our national retail growth. His name is Steve. He’s awesome.
  • We’ve added new sales territories across the US, making Cherryvale Farms more widely available in places like the Northwest, Southwest and Texas. Oh and Hawaii, too! Can you just picture our Banana Bread Mix with some Hawaiian coconut shavings added? Oh boy!
  • We traveled to Rhode Island for a big big big meeting to help shape 2014 for our growing business. It was a great meeting and we think the outcome will be Cherryvale Farms being available in more stores all over the US. You like that, right?
  • Walnut turned four in December. He had a doggy birthday cake (aka hamburger) and loved it. Lots of new photos of Walnut are up on his official Flickr page.
  • Two new products are in the works. We can’t say exactly what they are just yet, but they involve peanut butter and honey. And taste delicious!

Whew! It’s been a fun few months!

We’re also running a super fun contest right now with our friends at Earnest Eats. Check it out and win a variety pack from us!

earnest eats promo contest Feb 2014

Cherryvale Farms Baking Mixes Get Festive!

We know how busy the holidays can get. First, there’s the innocent daytime work party: “let’s have a potluck!” Then your neighbors host an open house: “can you bring a dessert?” Next, your daughter’s class is hosting a bake sale: “I’ll bring the brownies!” And then your Mom wants to have the family over: “will you bring that cornbread everyone loves?” And they just keep coming!

We like to think Cherryvale Farms is a great solution for all of these party commitments, so here’s our recommendations on how to make this holiday baking season a breeze:

  1. Stock up! Cherryvale Farms is on sale at all Sprouts stores through December, making it easy to fill the cart, without killing your budget.
  2. Plan ahead! Pumpkin Bread a family favorite? Grab a few cans of your favorite pumpkin puree next time you’re at the store and keep your pantry stocked. Now those last minute party invites will come together in a cinch as your whip up our Pumpkin Spice Bread Mix.
  3. Get festive! Buy some festive cupcake liners to dress up Cherryvale Farms mixes and give them a homemade feel. We like glittering gold, candy cane stripe or evergreen colors for the holidays. Get creative! (And, don’t forget, almost all of our bread mixes can be made as muffins, just check out our recipes page).

Cupcake liner FB post

A Fondness for Banana Bread

Today we started a giveaway over at SimplyStacie.net and the contributor for the post, Maureen, wrote the most lovely story about her fondness for Banana Bread. It seems Maureen and her recently passed father had a tight bond centered around making Banana Bread together, and her story really touched our hearts!

We’ve re-posted her story here, but check out the original post and enter the giveaway over at SimplyStacie! (And how much do we love that adorable photo of her son chowing down on that Banana Bread! Priceless!).

My dad and I shared a passion for baking banana bread from scratch and it is one of my fondest memories of spending time with him. Now that he is gone my passion for baking it from scratch has diminished but my family still looks forward to my making tasty baked goods.

As a busy mom I appreciate that Cherryvale Farms All Natural Bread Mixes uses wholesome organic flour and sugar. There are no unpronounceable ingredients and baking up delicious breads for my family to enjoy is easier than ever.

simply stacie 3 Wiping away a few tears, I set out to make my first banana bread since my dad passed away. I made the “Everything But The….Bananas” which is a delicious banana bread mix that includes everything except the bananas, vegetable oil and water. It was so easy to make by simply mixing the ingredients together in a bowl and then baking in a greased pan at 375 degrees for 50-55 minutes.

The smell of banana bread brought my husband and children to the kitchen eager with anticipation. The finished banana bread was absolutely delicious-moist and flavorful. In fact, my family couldn’t wait to gobble it up and “gasp” stated that it was “one of my best banana breads ever”!

simply stacie 1As if that wasn’t delicious enough…….the following week I baked the most delicious Apple Streusel Muffins from Cherryvale Farms. “Everything But the Apples” is another premade mix using organic ingredients and I just had to add my own organic apples, water and vegetable oil. The aroma of ginger, cloves, cinnamon and vanilla filled the house reminding me that we are finally celebrating the fall season. These muffins are perfect for a light breakfast, snack or dessert. It was a big hit with my family who requested that I make these again.simply stacie 2

Cherryvale Farms is perfect for busy moms who love to bake using wholesome ingredients without cooking from scratch. You are invited to visit Cherryvale Farms to browse the entire product line and choose your favorites to purchase online! There are lots of great ideas for the holidays and even a recipe section.

Farm Tour 2013

We had amazing time last Saturday, August 24th hosting our very first Farm Tour at Cherryvale Farms. With over one hundred visitors, it was a wonderful day of touring, eating and learning and we were thrilled to share our little farm with the Bay Area community.

In addition to a bountiful display of the farm’s produce, we baked up all six Cherryvale Farms mixes for guests to try. We also served up some of the preserved food items we make with our farm produce, like this spunky radish butter to spread on top of our cornbread.

A few highlights of the farm itself included our bean teepee: a seven foot tall structure covered in mature pole beans of several varieties. Here’s a photo of some little fans hiding inside it!

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Below you’ll find a complete photo gallery from the Farm Tour, like photos of our Fairytale Pumpkin patch, corn varieties, peaches still on the vine, our kids activities and more. Scroll down to view and enjoy!

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Fairytale Pumpkins

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Heirloom Striped Popcorn

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Farm Scavenger Hunt for Kids

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Grafted Apple Tree

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Peaches Still on the Tree

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Farm Bounty: Pumpkins, Lemons, Peaches

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Broccoli Growing Strong

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Bean Tunnel Still Growing

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Radish

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Eggplant

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The View of the Pumpkin Patch

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Bell Pepper, Tomatillos, Shishito Peppers & Padron Peppers

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Cherryvale Farms Coloring Pages

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The Bean Teepee! At seven feet tall, an adult can stand up inside of it.

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Giant Sunflower Head

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Fairytale Pumpkin and Cantaloupe Seeds as a Takeaway Item

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Walnut Lounging on the Farm

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An Old Wheelbarrow Wheel as Decoration

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Lavender and Corn on the Farm

Radish Butter

photo 2We’re on harvest #4 or #5 of radishes from the farm this year and, honestly, I’ve been running out of ideas on how to use all of them!

Those pesky little gems of red, spicy deliciousness pop up so quickly and have such a short shelf life, it’s important we find ways to use them – quick!

So imagine my excitement when I discovered the concept of Radish Butter! It’s so simple, comes together so easily and uses up a ton of radishes. Plus, everyone in our family seems to love it – especially spread on top of our Cornbread!

I highly recommend taking a stab at this recipe as an interesting and new accompaniment for any baked savory item. I’m sure it would be a hit at any dinner party when served alongside some freshly baked rolls. Yum!

photo 3Radish Butter

Makes about 2.5 cups finished butter.

  • 12-16 small radishes (about 2 cups)
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 green onions, tops removed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. salt (plus more to taste)
  • A few cracks of black pepper

Make sure you start with softened, room temperature butter before creating this recipe.

Clean your radishes by washing them thoroughly and removing the stems; place them in a food processor with  garlic cloves and green onions, making sure to remove the softer tops of the green onions which can get gummy in the food processor.

Blend vegetables in pulses 3-4 times until large pieces have broken down. Add your softened butter and season everything with a little salt and pepper. Blend on regular speed for 1-2 minutes until the butter is fully incorporated and your mixture is pinkish and the radishes have broken down to tiny bits.

Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if desired.

TO STORE: Remove Radish Butter to a sealed container and keep it in the fridge for up to one week, if it lasts that long! It can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

TO SERVE: it’s best to remove from your refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving so the butter returns to room temperature and spreads easily.

LET’S EAT: This Radish Butter is great on: cornbread, toast, rye crisps, bagels and any other baked good you want to give a nice kick to!

GO VEGAN: Make this recipe with vegan butter instead of dairy butter and you have a delicious vegan spread no one will ever guess is dairy-free!

photo 1

Farm Tour at Cherryvale Farms

We’re very excited to announce we’re hosting our very first FARM TOUR on Saturday, August 24th, 2013! If you live in the Bay Area of CA (or feel like a little road trip toward the coast) please come spend the afternoon with us touring the grounds, eating some delicious Cherryvale Farms baked goods using fresh produce from the gardens, and meet our company mascot, Walnut the dog!

For more info, sign up for our newsletter here and like us on Facebook for regular updates and news.

Farm photo 2Farm Photo 1Farm photo 3

4th of July Eats

We’re so excited for the 4th of July tomorrow and hope you are too! We’re whipping up some of our delicious cornbread, grilling some hamburgers, making potato salad and, if we have room, are planning some s’mores for after the sun goes down.

If you need ideas to get your 4th of July menu in tip top tasty shape, please check out our 4th of July Eats board on Pinterest for fun ideas you’re whole family will love.

Have a great 4th from all of us at Cherryvale Farms!

http://pinterest.com/cherryvalefarms/4th-of-july-eats/

Corn Dog Muffins

corndog muffins Summer is here and all of us at Cherryvale Farms couldn’t be happier! Our garden is in full bloom, we’ve got daylight until 8:30 PM and the ocean waters nearby are getting warmer everyday.

With summer comes lots of outdoors time and, of course, BBQing. We love a good cookout and our favorite side dish for BBQ is cornbread.

Sweet, salty, spicy – however you like it – cornbread is our go-to all summer long and our “Everything But The Corn” Cornbread Mix (think the healthiest version of Jiffy, ever!) can be whipped up in less than 5 minutes, then popped in the oven for under 30 minutes. CF cornbread mix

One exciting way to make our cornbread even better is to turn it into “corn dog” muffins!

Here’s how:

Corn Dog Muffins

Makes 12 muffins. Photo and concept by IowaGirlEats.

You will need:

  • One box Cherryvale Farms “Everything But The Corn” Cornbread Mix
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh, frozen or canned corn
  • 4 hot dogs (any brand you like, even vegetarian Smart Dogs!)

Prepare Cherryvale Farms Cornbread Mix accordingly to directions. Instead of greasing an 8″ square pan, grease a 12-cup muffin pan.

Pour prepared Cornbread Mix into 12 muffin cups, dividing evenly.

Cut hot dogs into thirds and place 1/3 of each dog into the center of each muffin.

Bake as directed.

Serve with a side of ketchup and mustard and enjoy these non-fried corn dog muffins with family and friends!

Organic Gardening

watermelon radishes grown at cherryvale farmsFor those of your wondering if Cherryvale Farms is just another food company using the name “farm” in its name to sound pastoral, think again.

Cherryvale Farms is a real, if small, farm in Santa Cruz, California. We’ve been growing organic fruits and veggies on our little acre of land for about 20 years and, for a few years even housed some chickens!

This year we’ve planted one of our largest gardens to date and, weather permitting, we’ll be reaping the benefits of our hard work all summer long.

Today we’re sharing the first bounties of our Spring garden: watermelon radishes and green onions.

We love watermelon radishes because of their gorgeous hot pink color, delightful crunch and spicy taste. If you’re growing watermelon radishes in your garden this year, or come across some at your local farmer’s market, here’s a few great ways to use them:

Now, we’re getting hungry!

Homemade Fruit & Nut Crisps

Here at Cherryvale Farms, we love a nice plate of cheese and crackers. Simple to throw together, and a perfectly acceptable offering for unexpected guests or late-night munchies.

Some of our favorite local cheeses include local Bay Area favorites like Humboldt Fog by Cypress Grove Cheese or Mt Tam from Cowgirl Creamery. Such big name cheeses (with a fan club to match) deserve a cracker worth pairing.

Enter: homemade fruit and nut crisps. Basically a homemade version of Raincoast Crisps because, let’s face it, $7+ for a box of crackers isn’t really in our weekly food budget.

raincoast crispsI would say this is probably my favorite make-it-don’t-buy-it recipe. These crackers are a spot on intimation of the store bought version and they last for weeks in a sealed kitchen container….that is, if they don’t get gobbled up first!

Fruit & Nut Crisp Crackers

Original recipe by Dinner With Julie. Makes about 8 dozen crackers.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup flax seed, ground
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the buttermilk, brown sugar and honey and stir a few strokes. Add the raisins, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed and rosemary and stir just until blended.

Pour the batter into two 8”x4” loaf pans that have been sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for about 35 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch. Remove from the pans and cool on a wire rack.

The cooler the bread, the easier it is to slice really thin. You can leave it until the next day or pop it in the freezer. Slice the loaves as thin as you can and place the slices in a single layer on an ungreased cookie sheet. (I like to slice and bake one loaf and pop the other in the freezer for another day.) Reduce the oven heat to 300° F and bake them for about 15 minutes, then flip them over and bake for another 10 minutes, until crisp and deep golden.

 

An Exotic Weekend Dinner: Ethiopian Food

I am one of those people that’s always seeking the newest, latest, most different. I tend to get bored with tasks, activities and even meals pretty soon after starting. Call it a little ADD, but it’s more like “what am I missing by not trying something new?”

Cooking plays a big part of feeding my desire to try something new almost every day. And last week trying my hand at homemade Ethiopian food was the way to do it.

Homemade Ethiopian foodI found the two recipes I made to be incredibly easy to make, Doro Wett (a chicken stew) and Fossolia (a stewed green bean and carrot dish). The chicken dish came together just like any other dutch-oven chicken braise and the green bean dish was also a snap. BOth could be done in one pot each. Love that simplicity! The reciopes were somewhat time-consuming (I was cooking for at least an hour and a half) but the whole process was surprisingly fluid, and I was able to improvise any ingredients I didn’t have on hand.

The desire to make Ethiopian food began by the serendipitous finding of Injera bread at my local specialty store. If you’ve never had it, it’s delightfully sour like sourdough bread, but has the bubbly texture of a crumpet and the flatness of a crepe. It’s amazing.

If you come across Injera in your local store, or feel in the mood to whip some up yourself, I highly recommend these two Ethiopian dishes to serve alongside. And don’t forget to use the Injera as your “plate” – it soaks up all of the delicious juices of your cooking!

Doro Wett (Ethiopian Chicken Stew)

Makes 6 servings. Recipe by Marcus Samuelsson.

  • 2 medium red onions, diced
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup Spiced Butter (or 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, preferably freshly ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • One 1 1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Berbere or chili powder
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, divided
  • One 4-to 5-pound chicken, cut into 10 pieces, wings reserved for another use
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled

Combine the onions, a pinch of salt, and half of the spiced butter in a Dutch oven or other large deep pot over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden, about 15 minutes. Add the remaining butter, the cardamom, black pepper, cloves, garlic, ginger, and berbere and cook until the onions soften and take on the color of the spices, about 10 minutes.

Add 2 cups of the chicken stock and the chicken legs and thighs, bring to simmer, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup chicken stock and the wine, bring back to a simmer, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chicken breasts and simmer for 20 minutes.

Gently stir in the lime juice and eggs and simmer for another 5 minutes. The sauce will be loose and soupy. Season with salt to taste.

Fossolia (Ethiopian Green Bean dish)

Serves 6. Recipe from here.

2 onions, chopped
1/3 c. canola oil
3-4 oz. tomato paste (about 1/2 of a 6 oz. can)
4 cups green beans, ends snapped off and cut or snapped into halves or thirds
3 carrots, cut into stick-shaped pieces
2-3 tomatoes, chopped
minced ginger and garlic (as much or as little as you’d like- I use about 2 tsp. each)
salt, to taste

Start by cooking the onions on medium heat for about seven minutes, or until the onions begin to turn translucent and soften. Add the oil and continue cooking for several more minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and allow several minutes for the ingredients to simmer together. Add the green beans and carrots, stir well, and cover. Continue cooking on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, then add the tomato, ginger, garlic, and salt, and simmer until all of the vegetables are tender.

 

Homemade Cheese Crackers

Homemade Cheese Crackers by CherryvaleFarms

We love making our favorite snacks from scratch, and today we’re all about homemade Cheez-Its. They’re amazingly delicious and contain just four ingredients.

Not only are these crackers easy to make, but the dough comes together in a snap and can be frozen until you’re ready to use it.

Impromptu after work guests? Grab some of this yummy dough from the freezer, defrost for a few minutes then roll it out, cut into haphazard little squares and, boom!, you’ve got gorgeous, delicate little squares of cheese, crunchy goodness that will impress anyone.

Homemade Cheese Crackers

Recipe by Better Homes & Gardens

  • 8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature (4 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons ice water

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the cheese, butter, and salt. Add the flour and mix on low (dough will be pebbly). Slowly add the water and mix as the dough forms a ball.

2. Pat the dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour.

3. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into two pieces and roll each into a very thin (1/8 inch or less) 10×12 inch rectangle. Using a fluted pastry cutter, cut the rectangles into 1-inch squares, then transfer them to the baking sheets. Or use a small cookie cutter in the shape of a cute heart like I did!

4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until puffed and browning at the edges. Watch carefully, as the high fat content of the crackers makes a fine line between golden delicious and burnt. Immediately move the crackers to racks to cool.

Easy Baked Potato Chips (In the Microwave)

So my family and I have a thing for crunchy things. Among them almonds, pickles, pretzels, peanuts, popcorn and, of course, potato chips.

One thing my family does not have a thing for is greasy potato chips from a bag.

Too fatty. Too messy.

To fight the fat, baking is the answer. For years we’ve been cooking up our own baked potato chips in the microwave on a plate, just like these. But this method has a few problems. 1) The chips stick to the plate. 2) The plate gets too hot to easily maneuver it while doing the flipping required so the chips cook evenly. 3) You can’t fit very many chips on a plate.

And then the other day a gigantic lightbulb went off (while watching Dr. Oz, of all things!) – thread the potato chips on a skewer!

All our problems are answered with this method: 1) no sticking! 2) no flipping! 3) larger volume!

Here’s how you do it:

Microwave “Baked” Potato Chips

  1. Slice desired amount of small potatoes very thinly with a knife or a mandolin. Sprinkle with salt, if desired. A potato of 2″-3″ diameter will work best.
  2. Using wooden skewers, space potato slices on skewer evenly, leaving about 3/4″ between each slice and leaving about 1″ free on each end.
  3. Evenly place skewers across an 8″ square glass (microwave-safe) baking dish, resting ends of skewers on the sides of the pan so the slices “float” without touching the bottom of the dish.
  4. Microwave on high (regular) for 4 minutes. Rotate skewers 180 degrees. Microwave for another 4 minutes, or until desired level of browning is achieved.

Then go eat these suckers like the best crunchy stick-sicle you’ve ever tasted!

 

Homemade Granola Bars

It’s January. There are two things about January that are indisputable: it’s freezing cold outside and we’re all desperate to follow our New Year’s Resolutions.

Part of my New Year’s Resolution is to live healthier and, like many of you, that means cutting out the “junk”. No processed food. Fewer salty snacks. No soda. Whole wheat flour instead of white. The list goes on.

And though I may not stick to every resolution I’ve made, there are a few that are so easy to follow, why wouldn’t I? One of the easiest ways to get healthier is to replace store-bought snacks with handmade versions. Many are simple to make and contain shockingly less sugar, salt and, of course, are free of any pseudo-artificial ingredients (like gums and stabilizers).

Today was my first foray into homemade granola bars and I swear these are so good I’m never going back to store-bought.

These granola bars are tender and soft, but with a nice little crunch around the edges. They have no processed sugar (um, awesome!) and no flour. Plus they’re packed with crunchy nuts, dried fruit and even chocolate chips.

Today I’m sharing my recipe, adapted from here. Feel free to play with the amount of fruit and nuts when you make it at home, as I’m sure I will in future iterations!

Homemade Chewy Granola Bars

Makes about 20 bars.

  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal
  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup rice syrup (found in most health food stores)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons blackberry jam* (or any jam, preferably homemade)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 275 F. Line a 9 x 11-inch baking pan with parchment paper, then spray lightly with oil.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir well (it’s stick, use your hands to make it easier!). Using wet fingers press the mixture into the prepared pan and bake it for 1 hour.

Allow the bars to cool thoroughly while they are still in the pan before cutting. Makes about twenty bars.

*ALTERNATIVE: Another ratio of sweeteners that you may like is 1/3 cup rice syrup and 1/3 cup maple syrup and no jam. You could also use honey instead of maple syrup. As long as you have about 2/3 cup liquid sweetener in the whole batch, your granola bars should turn our just fine.

STORAGE: Store in a sealed container for up to 5 days. For longer shelf life, place them in the fridge and I imagine they’ll be good for up to a month. You could also freeze these and defrost as needed or put individual bars in a child’s lunchbox to defrost by lunchtime.

 

Crab & Corn Chowder

As a family living in the Bay Area, the Cherryvale Farms team are, like many other locals, devout crab eaters of the dungeness variety.

When such a fantastic little creature can be caught right off the wharf just a short bike ride or drive from our home, it’s hard not to fall in love with this local crustacean favorite.

Last week we celebrated the holidays with a big crab feed – complete with drawn butter, garlic bread and some crispy potato wedges. It was a truly fun meal made even more enjoyable by the butcher paper table cloth and free flowing cocktails.

Even after our party devoured their lot, we were still left with a nice little mountain of crab to eat so a crab and corn chowder immediately came to mind. It’s easy to make, packs tons of flavor, and uses up all of those little bits you just can’t bear to throw away.

Check out this fantastic recipe for Crab & Corn Chowder and make sure to whip up a batch this dungeness crab season if you live in California, where they are readily available for the next month or two.

Crab & Corn Chowder

Serves 6-8. Recipe adapted from here.

  • 2 pieces bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • ½ large onion, chopped
  • 2½ Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups fish stock (or chicken or vegetable)
  • ¼ cup white wine, like Chardonnay
  • ½ lb. red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into approx. ½-inch cubes
  • ½ lb. corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • ½ lb. crab meat (picked clean from whole crabs or in refrigerated plastic tubs at the fishmonger. Never buy the room-temperature canned crab, you’re sure to be disappointed)
  • ¾ cup cream or milk
  • Salt & pepper to taste

In a heavy-bottomed saucepot over medium-low heat, add the bacon and saute for 3-4 minutes until fat is liquefied and bacon is just starting to crisp up.

Next add the chopped onion and continue to saute for about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent but not brown.

Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to absorb it into the bacon fat, making a roux. Stir occasionally and cook for 3-4 minutes so the flour has had a chance to fully absorb into the bacon, onions and fat.

Slowly whisk in the stock, then the wine. Bring the whole pot to a low boil.

Add the potatoes and simmer 15 minutes or so, or until you can easily pierce the potatoes with a knife.

Once potatoes are nice and tender, add the corn. Next, slowly add the milk or cream, stirring as you go.

Finally, add the crab, let simmer lightly for 2-3 minutes to the crab can warm in the soup and season to taste with salt and pepper, serve hot.

The Holidays Are A Coming!

Where on earth have I been?! I mean, I may have just fallen off the planet with how little attention I’ve been giving this blog recently! But, honestly, I’ve been busy. The kind of busy that only happens once in a lifetime. Like getting married. And going on a honeymoon. Oh, and then moving.

Needless, to say October-November-December 2012 have been an exciting few months.

But I’m back. Back to work. Back in business. Back to basics. And ready for the holidays!

So today I want to explore all things eggnog. It’s that quintessentially holiday flavor most of us enjoy but once a year. And for good reason – that stuff is intense! Here’s a little roundup of my favorite eggnog recipes for your holiday celebrations!

Mini Eggnog Cheesecakes

Eggnog Gingerbread Trifle

Eggnog Macarons