Our Go-To Recipes

The girls and I love to create.  However, we are running low on wall space and shelves for artwork and projects.  Thankfully there has been explosion of fun new Food Network shows to inspire them.  Combine those shows with their curious palates, need to be creative, and a never ending supply of recipes on the world wide web … We now have a steadily growing list of “go to” recipes.  (And if we can handle them in our kitchen, so can you!)

BEFORE GOING ANY FURTHER… YOU MUST AGREE TO MY USER TERMS!  If we are invited to the same function, I get dibs on bringing my favorite recipe!  🙂

E & D Granola (easy & delicious)

imageBest breakfast ever… granola and vanilla greek yogurt. No matter what has happened in the morning, this little dish of delciousness always gets me back on track and ready to face the day.   You can’t beat the combination of savory and sweet. I encourage you to do some experimenting as well! This recipe is a good starting point for any additional fruits, nuts, or flavors you’d like to add.

3 cups rolled oats (NOT instant)
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup cashew pieces
¾ cup shredded sweet coconut
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons DARK brown sugar

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons real maple syrup
¼ cup vegetable oil
¾ tsp salt

1 cup raisons or other dried fruit (optional)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

In one bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut, and brown sugar.

In separate bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and salt. Mix until fully incorporated into a syrup.

Pour syrup mixture over oat & nut mixture and mix until syrup is fully distributed.

Split mixture between two cookie sheets.  Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring and turning every 15 minutes to achieve even golden brown color.  Remove from oven, cool a bit, and then combine with dried fruit if desired.

**You can use a variety of favorite nuts, just keep measured amounts of nuts the same and you should be all set. Enjoy!

 Black Bean and Corn Salsa

corn and black bean salsa

2 cans black beans, rinsed
1 bag sweet corn, thawed
1/2 cup fresh cilantro,chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion or sweet Vidalia onion

3 T red wine vinegar
2 T olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Lime Juice to taste (I used two fresh squeezed limes)

Serve with tortilla chips, over scrambled eggs, with grilled/baced chicken, cod/tilapia/haddock, or just eat it as a salad.  Sooo… good!

**Other possible add ins: 2 large ripe tomatoes seeded and chopped, 1 avacodo diced (avacodo can get mushy, so I would add it as you serve), 2 seeded, chopped jalapenos, 1 cup chopped celery, 1 green pepper

Ariko’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

DSC01454 Can not thank my good friend Ariko enough for this amazing cookie recipe!  We met at San Jose State while both in Grad School way back in 1993 and I have been making these ever since.  (I often change it up too… white chocolate chips and Craisons or add raisons and a little cinnamon. These will always get rave reviews!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 egg                                       ¾ cup granulated sugar
2 sticks softened butter          ¾ cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Add –
2 cups flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda    … and blend.

Add –
2 cups 1-minute quick quaker oats … and blend.

And finally add-
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-11 minutes (should look soft and “not quite done”, my oven takes 11 min). Then let cool for 12 minutes on cookie sheets. This gives you the perfect “still soft” cookie – yum!

Black Bean Brownies

 Listen, I thought the same thing – yuck – but I was so curious
and they came highly recommended so we gave this recipe a whirl.  

My opinion quickly shifted from yuck to YUM!

Black Bean BrowniesNot the ooey gooey brownies that I love so much, but they definitely satisfy a chocolate craving.
One little square with a cup of steaming black decaf coffee or a small glass of red wine at the end of the day…
life will seem just right again!

1 14 oz can of black beans, rinsed
2 large eggs
½ c. cocoa powder
¾ c. sugar
½ tsp. oil
1 Tbsp. almond milk (or can be dairy)
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. fresh ground coffee (grind coffee beans in a grinder or use instant coffee)
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (divided)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper.

Combine all of the ingredients except chocolate chips in a blender.  Blend until smooth.  (At this point, I was smelling black beans and chocolate so was still skeptical.  Just wait, though, once they bake you too will be a believer!)

Fold in half of the chocolate chips.

Pour into the 9×9 pan lined with parchment paper and sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on top.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean).

Mine came out a very cakey but with a very moist consistency and actually rose to about an inch thick.Black Bean Brownies

Go on… you know you are curious…
give it a try!!

Crazy Good Spiked

Cranberry Apple Punch

This was a big hit for us at Thanksgiving.  Absolutely delicious, not too sweet, and looked really pretty on the table and in people’s hands as they carried them around 🙂


1 pound fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
½ gallon water
½ gallon apple juice, chilled
16 ounce cinnamon whiskey (Fireball) , chilled
1 bottle sparkling wine, chilled
Fresh apples
Fresh oranges
Additional fresh cranberries  for garnish
Cinnamon sticks for garnish


1. Combine cranberries, sugar, and water over medium-high heat, and cook until berries are completely soft and “mushy”.  They will “pop” , cook down,  and become soft in about 10 minutes.

2. Strain and set aside to completely cool before adding to the punch.

cranberry-apple-whiskey-punch-and-turket3. Thinly slice the apples and oranges and layer into a punch bowl.  Add cranberry juice, apple juice, and whiskey and stir gently to combine.

4. Pour in bottle of sparkling wine and add some cranberries for an additional colorful garnish.

5. Serve and enjoy!

* Juice, Fireball whiskey, and sparkling wine should be chilled prior to making punch.  To keep punch cold without diluting with ice, freeze apple juice in a ring  or ice cube tray and float in the punch.

The punch went great with my Butterball!

This homemade punch is delicious and could not be easier to make.  As an added bonus, my daughters and I also discovered a new use for our left over bags of cranberries from Christmas and Thanksgiving.  Cooking a bag of cranberries with a half gallon of water and a cup of sugar actually makes an awesome batch of cranberry juice.  Never would have thought about it before making this recipe!!  I bet it would make a nice non-alcoholic punch as well by adding sparkling apple cider and cinnamon sticks.   Looking forward to trying that next!



Seriously Simple and Crazy Good Carrot Cake

Our family loves this recipe!!   We always have the ingredients in the house, it tastes soooooo good, really impresses a crowd, and  is soooo easy  Seriously, we dump all of the cake ingredients into one bowl, turn the mixer on, and you’ve got the cake batter.  No sifting, no separating… just dump and let the mixer do the work.

easy carrot bundt cakeWe sometimes cheat with the frosting.  There are some pretty yummy tasting pre-made cream cheese frostings.  If you happen to have a can of vanilla frosting and cream cheese in your refrigerator, just blend the two together.  Get fancy by sprinkling walnuts and/or coconut on top or keep it simple.  This is even delicious without frosting!

Cake Ingredients:

2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/3 cup oil (or can replace with applesauce)
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp cinnamon
4 cups grated carrots
¾ cup chopped walnuts

Frosting Ingredients:
4 oz. stick of butter
8 oz package of cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

For cake: combine sugar, eggs, oil, flour, soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, grated carrots, and chopped nuts.  Pour into a 13×9 inch greased pan and bake for 40 minutes.  Or I love bundt cakes… pour batter into a floured and greased bundt cake pan and back for approximate 50-60 mintues (I find the bundt cake cooking times can vary drastically so check periodically.)

For frosting:  blend butter and cream cheese.  Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Frost. Serve. Eat.

This recipe is awesome for any brunch, birthday celebration, Easter Sunday, or just because you deserve a fabulous slice of carrot cake at the end of the day!

Check out all of our favorite recipes by clicking here.  I don’t post anything that isn’t easy or a crowd pleaser!!

Gluten Free Fall Apple & Ice Cream Treat

5 medium size applesGluten free easy apple delight
3-4 Tablespoons butter
3-4 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2-1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Homemade Granola
(all of these measurements are estimated, you can certainly adjust according to your taste, maybe add some nutmeg or clove too?)

Add all of the ingredients to a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the apples soften and you get some “gooeyness” to your sauce. Put a scoop of vanilla bean in a bowl, followed by a scoop of apple pie sauce, and finally top it off with the granola.

Happy Jen Granny and Grand Mary

Such a perfect end to our fall day in North Attleboro with my favorite in-laws… thanks for coming Granny, Gramp, and Grand Mary!!

6 Replies to “Our Go-To Recipes”

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