Archive for the category “baking”

Chocolate Chewy Granola Bars

I will be the first to admit that I love a good chewy granola bar for many reasons: their slightly sweet but still feel a little healthy because of the oats and nuts, their quick and make for an easy snack and they are fairly cheap and easy to make for a great grab and go for anyone in the family. While you can buy them in the store for quite cheap they are also easy to make at home and have on hand in the freezer.

I decided to make my bars with a combination of dried apricots, coconut, dried cranberries, chocolate and nuts.  They are slightly sweet but you don’t feel like you are eating a candy bar.  They fill you up and my toddler loves them.  Win for all!


IMG_2144You can buy sliced or slivered almonds but I find it cheaper to buy whole ones and chop them yourself.

IMG_2145Chop to the size you like: here is how I like them.

IMG_2146On a sheet pan, toast the oatmeal and almonds for about 8 minutes or until fragrant (stir once halfway)

IMG_2148In a saucepan combine honey, butter, brown sugar and vanilla extract until sugar is dissolved.

IMG_2150My choice of add ins.  You can customize these granola bars any way you like: dates, dried cherries, m&m’s, any other dried fruit, other nuts and more

IMG_2151Once sugar is dissolved add almond butter if desired. You could also use any other nut butter.

IMG_2152Pour mixture over oats, almonds and wheat germ

IMG_2153Stir until combined.

IMG_2154Add flax seeds and let cool for 5 minutes.

IMG_2155Once the mixture has cooled a little add your desired extras.  The chocolate chips will melt a little which is fine because it will help the bars stick together

IMG_2157Pour mixture into an 8×8 pan lined with tin foil and sprayed with non stick spray or oiled

IMG_2158Press mixture into the pan until it is really compact.  This helps the bars stick together better later.  Really press them in.  Add remaining chocolate chips to the top and gently press them in with a spatula. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

IMG_2164Remove bars from pan and slice into desired size.  Store bars in an air tight container for up to a week (if they last that long) or freeze the rest for later.


Chocolate Chewy Granola Bars
2 1/2 cups rolled oats (quick cooking)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp flax seeds
2 tbsp wheat germ
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chocolate chips plus 3 tbsp
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  On a sheet pan toast almonds and rolled oats for about 8 minutes or until fragrant.  Stir once in between. Transfer for a big bowl with wheat germ.  In a small saucepan add butter, vanilla, brown sugar and honey.  Heat over medium heat unit sugar is dissolved.  Add almond butter and stir to combine.  Add to bowl and stir to combine.  Allow mixture to cool for about 5 minutes.  Add flax seeds and other add ins.  Press mixture firmly into an 8×8 square pan lined with foil sprayed with nonstick spray.  The more you press the better the bars will stick together later. Top with remaining chocolate chips and press gently with a spatula.  Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to over night.  Remove from pan and slice into desired size.  Store in an airtight container for up to a week or freeze for later. 
All ingredients are optional and can changed depending on your families taste!

Strawberry Pie

I gave a shout out to Spooner Farms delicious strawberries in this post.  Because I simply mentioned them and left you with such a cliff hanger I decided to show you what I did with the strawberries! First, I took the stems off and washed the berries.  Then I took half and froze them so I can have local strawberries anytime I want, mostly in the form of smoothies.  I also decided to use the second half and make a classic strawberry pie! It was slightly sweet, very fresh and so refreshing on a warm summer day.

IMG_2019I love the bright red color and the sweet strawberry flavor.

IMG_2002Such beauties! Notice the berries in the back on the baking sheet. Those are ready to be frozen. Just arrange on parchment paper and freeze.

IMG_2003First, cook down the strawberries by putting them in a pan over medium heat with some sugar.  Smash them while they cook at a low boil.

IMG_2004Once you have the consistence you want (I like it smooth with a few chunks of berries) add the cornstarch and water mixture.

IMG_2007Cook for a few minutes until the mixture becomes thick. (Don’t worry the white color goes away)

IMG_2008When it’s thick it becomes glossy and will coat the spoon

IMG_2010See how thick!

IMG_2013Save a few strawberries and cut them in half to line the bottom and top of the pie.

IMG_2014Pre-bake your pie crust (homemade or store bought)

IMG_2015Add a little cinnamon and fresh squeezed lemon juice to the strawberries and more sugar if needed and stir until combined.

IMG_2016Once the pastry shell has cooled line the bottom with fresh strawberries.

IMG_2017Fill the pie and top with a pretty berry design


IMG_2024Don’t forget the whip cream!

Strawberry Pie:
1 pre-baked pie shell
1 pound strawberries (stems removed, washed and chopped)
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp corn starch
whip cream (fresh or store bought)
Pre-bake pie shell according to directions.  Allow to cool.  Line bottom with fresh strawberries.  In a sauce pan cook 1 pound of chopped strawberries with sugar at a low boil until broken down.  Mash with a potato masher as necessary.  Once desired consistency is achieved add cornstarch mixed with water to the pan.  Stir constantly until thick.  Add cinnamon, fresh lemon juice and more sugar (if necessary) and cook until well incorporated.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.  Add to pie shell and refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours).  Serve with whipped cream once cold and firm or up to a couple days later. 

Lemon Almond Poppy seed muffins

I had a craving…

First, I wanted a lemon poppy seed muffin…

Then, I wanted an almond poppy seed muffin…

So, what’s a pregnant girl to do… eat a batch of each?

No, because that would be silly. However, not the first time 🙂  Instead I made a combination of the two! And yes, it satisfied all my cravings and more!
IMG_7695Hello delicious muffin!

But, before I go any further I need to give a quick shout out to the amazing local strawberries at the market! Spooner Farms grows hands down the best strawberries in the world and for a very short window of time they are available and sooooooooo worth the price and the short season!

IMG_7688This half flat costs $13.99 but the joy you will get from devouring it will far out way the price tag!

IMG_7689It’s all about shopping local right? Well, here is your chance!

IMG_7690Make jam, eat them plain, strawberry shortcake perhaps or freeze them for smoothies later!

OK, back to the main event…


IMG_7674A few of the key ingredients for these lovely little muffins. Lemons, almond extract and poppy seeds all allowed me to create my perfect muffin in one!

IMG_7676Beat eggs and sugar until fluffy and slightly thick

IMG_7678The lemon zest along with the juice add a slightly sweet and refreshing kick while the olive oil (in place of butter) add a rich depth of flavor.

IMG_7680Can’t forget those cute little poppy seeds that speckle each muffin

IMG_7682The batter really is beautiful

IMG_7684Fill cups about 2/3 of way full and bake at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes

IMG_7686I love the crackly top

IMG_7691I tried them first plain and then with a glaze and let’s be honest, everything is better with a glaze!

IMG_7692Just a simple powdered sugar and lemon juice glaze added the perfect sweetness to these muffins

IMG_7696Great for a party, breakfast, brunch, or no reason at all.  Also, these would freeze and defrost very well. Just don’t add the glaze until ready to serve.

Lemon Almond Poppy Seed Muffins



2/3 cup sugar

3 eggs

3 tbsp plain Greek yogurt

¼ cup olive oil

1/3 cup lemon juice

2 tbsp lemon zest

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract

2 2/3 cups flour

pinch salt

1 ½ tsp baking soda

2 tbsp poppy seeds


2 tbsp powdered sugar

squeeze of lemon juice for desired consistency


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line 12 muffins tins with paper liners. In a stand mixer (or hand mixer) beat eggs and sugar for 2 minutes until slightly thick and pale in color. Add eggs, yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla and almond extract and mix.  Remove paddle attachment and sift in flour, salt and baking soda.  Reattach paddle mixer and mix until just combined.  Scrap down sides of bowl, add poppy seeds and mix until just barely incorporated.  Do not over mix.  Fill muffins tins 2/3 full and bake for about 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before adding glaze.  Mix powdered sugar and lemon juice to create thick glaze and top muffins.




Mixed Berry Muffins with Coconut

These muffins are too good not to share! They are also great because they can be modified according to your families preference.  Change up the fruit, take out the coconut, add chocolate chips… the options are endless!

Here is my recipe:

Mixed Berry Muffins with Coconut

IMG_1845These muffins have fresh fruit and lemon zest to give them a delicious and fresh taste!

IMG_1844Whole blueberries, raspberries and chopped strawberries are bursting from these muffins!

IMG_1846My only change would be to add more fruit and distribute it more evenly through each muffin so they are more moist and fluffy.

IMG_1847I love the flecks of cinnamon in the muffins

IMG_1849I also love the pieces of sweet coconut and yellow from the lemon zest on top!

mixed berry muffins with coconut


Strawberry Muffins

If you have been to the market lately you’ve probably seen the beautiful displays of strawberries! They are so red, juicy sweet and remind me of summer! I couldn’t help but grab some and whip up some delicious strawberry muffins for breakfast! They were so easy and delicious!



Here’s how I made them:

strawberry muffins

Chocolate Whipped Cream Cookie Cake!

Yesterday was my husband’s 30th birthday so I felt the need to make him a very special dessert to celebrate the big 3-0!! This Chocolate Whipped Cream Cookie Cake was a real crowd pleaser and could not have been easier to make.  I even made it 2 days ahead and let it sit in the fridge until I was ready for it! How easy is that?!?

IMG_7497Here are a few of the special ingredients you may need to grab while at the market! Most other items should be in your pantry if you do any baking on a regular basis!

IMG_7498These cookies are so great for the recipe because while they are thin and crispy they still hold up in the layers of the cake!  Tate’s Bake Shop is in the Hampton’s (New York) and while they are still made in small batches we are lucky enough to get them here on the west coast to enjoy! The market has been carrying them since the beginning and they have consistently been a customer favorite!

IMG_7499In a spring form pan line the bottom with Tate’s cookies! Try to cover it pretty well by breaking some of the cookies up to fill in the gaps.

IMG_7501Mix all the ingredients for the chocolate whipped filling: cold heavy cream, mascarpone cheese, sugar, kahlua (or any coffee flavor liquor), cocoa powder, ground espresso and vanilla extract. Mix in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment until fluffy and thick!

IMG_7502Cover the layer of cookies and smooth so it’s even. Add another layer of cookies and repeat the process. I got 3 layers but you can definitely get more if you use less whipped filling on each layer.  Just use enough to cover the cookies.

IMG_7503Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least over night but up to 2 days.  It could possibly be frozen but I have not tried it.  If you find it works please leave a comment so others can know!!

IMG_7504When you’re ready to serve remove from refrigerator and top with chocolate shavings!

IMG_7505Remove spring form pan and slice.  This cake needs to be served chilled.  This is a really rich cake so a small slice goes a long way! Coffee helps too!

IMG_7506The layer of cookies mixed with the rich chocolate whipped filling is a winning combination!!!!!!


Chocolate whipped cream cookie cake

Holiday Cookie!

There is nothing I like better than to have someone else do some work for me! What I mean is, I love when I can get good quality, cute, homemade items that make my life so much easier because I don’t have to make them.  A perfect example is these cookies! They are beautiful enough to give as a gift and delicious enough to eat at home!

IMG_0793I love the frosting covered with crystalized sugar because it make them so beautiful!

IMG_0791The packaging is adorable too!

IMG_0794I am putting these in my stockings this year! I have been eating them by the handful because the gingerbread cookie is so warm and reminds me of the holidays and I will also be giving them as hostess gifts because they are pretty enough!

Cranberry Bread

In preparation for Thanksgiving I made a delicious and moist cranberry bread.  However, the best part about this bread is that it can be used next week at your Thanksgiving celebration or any other day of the year! It is full of tart cranberries, lemon zest and topped with a crusty sugary crust!  Seriously…. go make this bread!

IMG_6926The cranberries are perfect because they sort of pop in your mouth and add a tart taste to this bread!

IMG_0524I love cranberries for a lot of different reasons: their beautiful, delicious and so festive!

IMG_0525Grab a couple little cartons of these ruby red beauties! Your body will thank you and so will your tastebuds!

IMG_0526So cute!

IMG_6915Check out that batter! So thick and I love the red cranberries in the tan batter!

IMG_6916Lets just call this the perfect loaf!

IMG_6919I love a crusty sugary top!

IMG_6923Don’t forget to stock up on cranberries because they can be frozen so you can have this bread all year round!


Here how to make it:

(Thankfully it only takes a few minutes and it makes your house smell so delicious!)

** Don’t forget to add a tbsp of lemon zest!!!

cranberry bread

Sweet Treats

I LOVE a sweet treat after a meal, by itself, with a cup of coffee or tea or as a dessert! One reason I love the market is because there are always a yummy new treat or chocolate bar to try. Here is what I have been addicted to lately.

 Bite Me Whole Wheat Shortbread Cookies


How cute are these little leaf and pumpkin cookies!


Perfect as a dessert a hostess gift or table decor!


These cookies are slightly sweet from the frosting and the whole wheat shortbread is chewy and delicious!


I enjoyed the cookies with a cup of delicious pumpkin tea by The Republic of Tea!


This cup of tea is so delicious and satisfies all my pumpkin cravings!


Love these cookies!

Chocolate Craving


This trio is awesome! Enjoy all separate or together!


This yummy caramel is made in Montana and the market carries 4 flavors (salted caramel, salted chocolate and caramel) including this salted mocha.


B.T. McElrath’s peppermint crunch choclate bar

Perfect for the holidays!!!!


Look at those mocha and caramel layers!


Check out those salt flakes!


Chuao Firecracker!

Sultry sea salt, smoky chipotle, and popping candy exploding in dark chocolate!!!

IMG_7155Remember the fun childhood Poprocks candies?!?! Those are stuffed into this delicious and spicy chocolate bar! They actually pop in your mouth!

Blueberry Muffins


A few weeks ago the market had a massive sale on flats of blueberries and me being a berry lover I could not pass up the opportunity to grab some delicious blueberries at an awesome price.  Here’s the Facebook ad in case you missed it!

Stop by either of our locations in the next 24 hours and get full flats of blueberries for only $5.99!!! Madi has already got em movin in gig harbor!!


Since we could not have possibly eaten 12 packs to blueberries before they went bad I tossed about 1/2 of the packages in the freezer for later use.  Well, today I took advantage of them and made some out-of-this-world blueberry muffins for breakfast and the week ahead!

IMG_6967The perfect consistency! Fluffy, light, moist and full of blueberries that pop in your mouth!

IMG_6968Plus a nice crispy edge!

IMG_6969packed with blueberries!

blueberry muffins

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