{twd} coffee-break muffins

A morning without coffee is a morning you do not want to be around me. For running motivation I run to the coffee shop. They know if I come in with my reusable cup I’m getting regular coffee and if I don’t I’m getting an iced Americano. They know I sometimes use non-fat milk and sometimes soy milk (vegan days). They know me by name and occasionally give me free drinks for the heck of it. To say I heart coffee is an understatement.

Prior to baking this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, Coffee-Break Muffins, I had not heard of coffee muffins. Of course I knew about coffee cake, but really, there’s no coffee in coffee cake. Unlike these little bundles of joy, which uses coffee instead of milk as a liquid and espresso powder just to kick them up a bit.

Thanks to Rhiani of Chocoholic Anonymous for hosting this week’s selection. For the recipe, visit her blog or buy the book.

{sms} cherry almond granola

Good stuff. I make granola all the time. In fact, I’ve made Sweet Melissa’s Cherry Almond Granola once before. It was used in the 4th recipe baked for Sweet Melissa’s SundaysGranola Breakfast Cookies–way back in April 2009. It’s kinda weird because you can see I’m wearing my wedding rings. Weird. It was a previous life.

Another difference between then and now is that this week I’m hosting the recipe. Oh, and this time I didn’t drop my granola container and waste most of the batch. 😉

Granola is great because you do anything with it. You can use it in cookies and bread. You can eat as cereal. You can eat it with yogurt and fruit. And, of course, it’s great on double-bean vanilla ice cream.

Cherry Almond Granola

From The Sweet Melissa Baking Book

Makes 4 quarts granola

    • 5 cups rolled oats
    • 3 cups rye flakes (see note)
    • 1 cup unsalted shelled sunflower seeds
    • 1 cup roasted shelled pumpkin seeds
    • 1 cup whole natural almonds
    • 1/2 cup dry milk powder
    • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
    • 3/4 cup clover honey
    • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1 cup dried currants
    • 1 cup dried cherries
    • 1 cup golden raisins

    Before You Start

    Position a rack in the bottom and top thirds of your oven. Preheat the oven to 250° F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

    1. In a very large bowl, combine the oats, rye flakes, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, almonds, and dry milk powder.
    2. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk together the oil, honey, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and ginger and bring to a simmer, 3 to 4 minutes.
    3. Pour hot mixture over the oat mixture, and mix well to combine.
    4. Divide the granola equally between the prepared cookie sheets, spreading it evenly into a single layer. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes, until golden. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely.
    5. Break up the granola into a bowl. Add the currants, cherries, and raisins and mix thoroughly.

    The granola keeps in an airtight container at room temperature and in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

    Note: Rye flakes are similar to rolled oats and can be used in much the same way. You can find them at natural foods stores.

    {twd} Ice Cream! Yum Yum.

    Yes, this week Tuesdays with Dorie is “baking” ice cream. And it’s so yum. Burnt Sugar Ice Cream to be exact. Which pretty much is caramel ice cream. So good. I also made David Lebovitz’s Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe HERE) from his new book Ready For Dessert which “they” say are better than the Thomas Kellar Chocolate Chip Cookies. Sorry, Lebovitz. The Kellar cookies are better.

    Thanks to Becky of Project Domestication for hosting this week. If you would like the recipe, please visit her blog or buy the book. Fun fun! This ice cream is GOOD. Unfortuately, I have 4 different ice creams in my freezer right now. Since I got rid of my main ice cream eater last year they tend to stick around. Who wants to come over for an ice cream social???

    The $37 Drink

    While I was in Vegas I craved a frozen strawberry daquari. In town there are alcoholic slushie stands EVERYWHERE. Of course, when I was craving one I couldn’t find one anywhere. I eventually found one…and it ended up costing me $37. Yes, $37 for a drink. It was larger, but still.

    We stayed in a timeshare with a full-kitchen, including a blender. And as luck would have it, we also had all the ingredients to make my version of the $37 drink. It tasted awesome and  a lot better than the one I bought because the ingredients were all fresh and natural.

    Here’s how I made it:

    • a bunch of strawberries (brought for the road trip, but not eaten)
    • a banana (ditto)
    • a bit of club soda (brought to make my favorite drink in the world: vodka + club soda with lime)

    Blend it up until it’s a nice puree.

    • Add a bunch of ice (full-kitchen=ice machine)

    Blend some more until it has a slushie consistency

    • Add a few sugar packets, to taste (part of the coffee set-up)
    • 5 generous shots of vodka (again, brought along for my favorite drink)
    • freshly squeezed lime juice (ditto)

    Blend until just mixed. Pour and serve! It made 3 1/2 drinks.

    Not Chocolate Mousse

    Yeah. It’s Valentine’s Day. Fun times. Didn’t make the Sweet Melissa Sundays recipe selection for the week–Easy Chocolate Mousse. And it’s easy! I’m leaving for Mexican beaches at the end of the week and I wasn’t going to eat it (I’m going to be living in a bathing suit for a week!).Cookies I can bake and stash in the freezer; mousse not so much.

    Instead, this is a yummy and healthy vegan recipe. Stir-Fried Sesame Asparagus with Tofu and Ramen. So easy, so delicious. The recipe for the asparagus comes from 1,000 Vegan Recipes–an awesome cookbook of almost every imaginable vegan recipe. Everything I’ve made from it has been delicious. I added tofu, which I baked in the oven at 350° F for 20 minutes and served it over ramen noodles.  I also upped the garlic and ginger in the recipe. It would be tasty over brown rice or any whole grain as well.

    Stir-Fried Sesame Asparagus

    Adapted from 1,000 Vegan Recipes
    • 1 tablespoon canola oil
    • 1 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
    • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
    1. Heat canola oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add asparagus and stir-fry for twominutes. Add garlic and ginger and stir for one more minute.
    2. Add soy sauce and sesame oil. Stir and cover for 3 minutes or until asparagus is tender. Sitr in sesame seeds.
    3. Serve immediately.