Browsing Tag


Homemade Cranberry-Almond Granola

January 14, 2010

I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for specialty grocery stores and the health-food sections of regular grocery stores. Countless hours of my life have been spent wandering through isles, transfixed by pretty packaging and obscure, high-quality ingredients. There are many instances when I believe it’s worth the splurge. Cheese, seafood, olive oil, certain cuts of meat? Totally worth the splurge.

But no matter where I buy my groceries, the absurdly high price of granola (even the cheapest option) never ceases to amaze me. I mean, you’re basically paying for oats, mixed with some sort of sweetener, typically honey, with a few nuts and dried fruits tossed in. Companies give this granola all types of labels: “Protein Packed” “Antioxidant Rich” “A Full Serving of Fruit!” Truth be told, if you know one basic granola recipe, you can customize it to fit your needs.

Start with the recipe listed here, but don’t get caught up in the fruit and nuts I added. If you want a few more antioxidants, add some dried blueberries to the mix, for additional protein just bump up the nuts. Need a few more omega-3s in your diet? Try walnuts! (I think you get the picture) Basically, just have fun with it! And enjoy spending a whole lot less.

Homemade Cranberry-Almond Granola
Adapted from

*3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
*2 Tbsp. brown sugar
*1 tsp. ground cinnamon
*1/4 tsp. salt
*1/3 cup honey
*1/4 cup canola oil
*1 tsp. almond or vanilla extract
*3/4 cup dried cranberries
*1/2 cup golden raisins
*1/2 cup chopped almonds

*Preheat oven to 300*F.
*In large bowl combine oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. In another bowl, combine honey, oil, and extract and stir until well combined. Pour mixture over oat mixture. Stir until well-combine. Use hands, if necessary.
*Pour mixture into a large baking sheet or pan. Spread into a thin, even layer. Bake 45 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Stir the mixture once or twice while it cools (it will harden as it cools). Once cooled, add in cranberries, raisins, and almonds. Store in an airtight container or zip top bag.

Happy cooking!

Spiced Cranberry Shortbread

January 10, 2010

Settled in to life in the new apartment? Check. Job started and life in full-swing? Check. Living budget established? Check. Mastering the art of grocery shopping on a budget while being a foodie? Well, let’s just say I’m working on it. 

Don’t get me wrong, there are many great things about growing up, graduating, and living on my own, but one thing I’m really going to miss? The charge account at our grocery store back home, billed directly to mom. Long grocery lists for whatever recipe that struck me as delicious accounted for a pretty hefty monthly grocery bill, I’m sure. If nothing else, my mom deserves credit for teaching me how to cook since she played the role of financier. 

What I really love, if you can’t tell by now, are simple recipes. So simple that after making them a couple times you remember them by heart and feel comfortable enough to mix it up to suit your tastes, or whatever might be in the pantry. Another perk of simple recipes? They usually end up being inexpensive, allowing you to create something sinfully delicious with ordinary ingredients. Case in point? Spiced Cranberry Shortbread. If you don’t have dried cranberries, skip them or substitute something else like nuts, raisins, or chocolate chips. What I won’t try to do is health-ify this up. It’s flour, sugar, a few spices, and lots of butter. Embrace the butter, and enjoy in moderation. Trust me, it’s more difficult that it sounds. 

Pre-baked shortbread 

Cooling shortbread 

*2 cups all-purpose flour
*1/2 cup sugar
*1 cup dried cranberries 
*1/2 tsp. salt
*1 tsp. ground cinnamon
*1/2 tsp. ground allspice
*2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened 

*Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease a 10-inch tart pan (you can use an 8-inch cake pan if needed, just increase the baking time by 5 minutes).
*In bowl of an electric mixer, combine all the ingredients, except the butter. Stir until dry ingredients are well-combined. Add in butter and beat until coarse crumbs form. (mixture will not form a ball or combine completely) 
*Pour mixture into pan. Press dough with your fingertips into the pan, paying close attention to the edges. 
*Bake shortbread for 30 minutes or until sides of the shortbread are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack (or, if you’re me, balance the pan on a coffee cup!) for 30 minutes. Cut shortbread into pizza-shaped wedges. 

Happy baking!