Spiced Apple Granola Bars

Granola Bars
I love granola in all of its forms. I could probably live on the stuff if given the opportunity. I’m sure you could understand my disappointment when I realized corn (in all of ITS forms) was one of the foods making me sick. Just about every granola product in the grocery store contains some form of corn syrup. Every time I picked up a box of granola bars for Boyfriend, I struggled with my desire to sneak just one. The occasional failure quickly reminded me that my body was not impressed with my lack of willpower. There was only one solution: figure out how to make my own.

My first attempt at granola bars was a complete failure, although what began as a granola bar failure turned out to be a candy bar success. (Peanut Butter Crunch Bars will be posted tomorrow!) The second attempt was far more fruitful. I mixed these up in just a few minutes, popped them into the oven while I got ready to go to the gym, and pulled them out right before I left. They were cooled and ready to cut when I got home…and I immediately ate 3! At least I worked out today. That balances out my granola bar indulgence, right?

See the notes below the recipe for alternative flavors.

Ingredients
1 Cup Apple butter*
1 1/2 Cup Rolled or quick oats
1/2 Cup Pecans, coarsely chopped
1/4 Cup Golden raisins

Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Line a 9×9 baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease the bottom. Dump the mixture into the center of the pan; use a rubber spatula to firmly press the mixture into the pan. Bake for 35 minutes.

Allow to cool completely. Use the parchment paper to remove the granola from the pan. Cut into 12 bars. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

*If you do not have apple butter on hand, substitute 1 Cup applesauce**, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. Any other fruit butter (including pumpkin butter) may also be substituted.
**Canned pumpkin may be used in place of the applesauce if substituting.

This recipe was loosely adapted from Pumpkin Granola Bars on Girl Makes Food!

Farm Fresh: Vegetable and Beef Stir-Fry in Peanut Sauce

I made this for Boyfriend to take for lunch, hence the sad tupperware.

I made this for Boyfriend to take for lunch, hence the sad tupperware.

I’ve been out of college for just over a year, but I still remember the days of monotonous dining hall food quite clearly. I have to admit that Bates College is better than most, but the same recipes week after week and month after month do get boring and old. Many of the students created a variety of concoctions to combat the boredom and the college eventually took notice, creating a ‘Bates Chef’ competition so the students could show off their creations and compete for the top prize. I had plenty of my own creations (chocolate crescents, garden pesto pizza, Chana Masala chicken wraps, etc.), but my favorite by far was the winner of ‘Bates Chef’ during my senior year. My friend and fellow psychology aficionado, Mikey Pasek, created a recipe for Peanut Sauce Tofu.

Garden Fresh Vegetables

Ultimately, his recipe inspired this one over a year later. Our CSA this week included beets, lettuce, carrots, summer squash, snap peas, potatoes, dill, and small cloves of garlic. I’ve been struggling to use all of the produce some weeks, but I hate throwing it away, so I’m trying to be much better about squeezing veggies into our meals whenever possible, and what better way to use a lot of vegetables than in a stir-fry? I would usually toss in a bit of sesame oil and teriyaki sauce into my stir-fry, but I was out. As much as Boyfriend tries to put up with my healthy cooking, I knew he wouldn’t go for straight up vegetables over rice so I needed another sauce, and that is where Mikey’s peanut sauce came to mind!

Sauteed Veggies

Ingredients
1 Cup Creamy peanut butter
1/3Cup Soy sauce
3/4 Cup Hot water
1 Tbsp Brown sugar
2 tsp Crushed red pepper flakes
Pinch Curry powder
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Sesame oil or butter
1 Cup Squash, cut into 1×1/2″ pieces
6 Small to medium carrots, cut in half
1 Cup Sugar snap peas, trimmed
1/2 lb Thinly sliced beef, optional
2 Cup Cooked Jasmine rice, prepared according to package directions
Toasted sesame seeds, optional
Minced chives, optional

In a small sauce pan, combine peanut butter, soy sauce, water, sugar, red pepper flakes, and curry powder over medium-low heat. Stir until fully combined and creamy; cover and set aside.

In a large skillet, add 1 Tbsp of the sesame oil and heat the pan over medium heat. Add the squash spread in a single layer, cooking over medium heat; turn it after 4 minutes. As soon as the squash is started, add the remaining sesame oil and the beef to a medium skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fully browned. When the squash is turned, add the carrots and continue cooking the vegetables for 4 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Add the snap peas and cook for 1 minute on each side. Remove from heat.

Add the beef and sauce to to the pan of vegetables and stir to combine. Serve over rice and garnish with sesame seeds and chives if desired.

Farm Fresh: Balsamic Glazed Beets

Yummy Beets

It’s been a hectic weekend. I know I mentioned that we were moving, and it finally happened. Last Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, BF and I spent almost all of our waking hours sorting and packing. Despite our efforts at preparation, moving day was still chaotic. Luckily we had three big guys helping us. Boyfriend and Roommate are both strong guys, but between the three of us, we have a ridiculous amount of stuff! (Things with nicknames like “couchzilla,” “the horde of futons,” and “the La-z-boys,” yes…plural)

With little time to prepare for the move, we selected a small two bedroom apartment with a month-to-month term, which buys us time to look for exactly what we want…although the idea of moving again makes me want to run away from home and join a circus. Unfortunately, that left us scratching our heads while trying to figure out how to fit the contents of a three bedroom house with a full basement into a small two bedroom apartment with minimal storage. Suffice it to say that moving our belongings to the new apartment and a rented storage unit turned into two giant games of 3D Tetris.

As you can imagine, with the move less than 48 hours behind me, both my house and my life are in a state of disarray. And yet, somehow, I’ve managed to create not one, but two delicious recipes from our CSA bounty today. The first, Balsamic Glazed Beets was a show stopping side dish with dinner. I don’t have a forks rating for this one yet, but Boyfriend ate these and took seconds. Considering his relative aversion to vegetables, that is a huge endorsement! (I’m not a huge beet fan, but even I loved these!)

Beets are one of those polarizing foods. Most people either love them or hate them, with very little in between. Where do you fall? If you love them, what is your favorite way to prepare them? Let me know in the comments!

Trimmed Beets

Peeled Beets

Ingredients
8 Beets
Olive oil
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp Lemon zest
1 Tbsp Brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Trim the leaves of the beets, retaining about 1 inch of the stem. Scrub each beet, being careful not to break the skin. Place the beets on one half of a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil. Cover loosely with foil and tightly seal the edges. Bake for 1 hour and allow to cool until they can be handled, 20 to 30 minutes.

When the beets are cool, combine the butter, vinegar, lemon zest, and sugar in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat.

Remove the stems, roots, and skins. The skins should slip right off; if not, peel thinly with a sharp knife. Slice the beets. Bring the sauce to a boil for one minute. Add the beets and stir gently to coat.

Recipe adapted from Roasted Beets with Honey Balsamic Glaze by Elmotoo.

Farm Fresh: Swiss Chard Chips

Swiss Chard Chips

I’m a week behind on these Farm Fresh posts. Hopefully you’ll forgive me because we’re in the middle of moving and things are a bit chaotic around here. We got a ton of Swiss chard the first week of our CSA, and the second week brought more of the same. Although I love pesto, I already had 44 servings safely stored in my freezer, so I needed another way to use it all. I’ve been reading about kale chips for months, and I had a hunch that just about any leafy green (like Swiss chard) could be substituted successfully. As it turns out, my hunch was right on target!

Our week 2 CSA: summer squash, new potatoes, radishes, cilantro, garlic scapes, chives, Swiss chard, and lettuce.

Our week 2 CSA: summer squash, new potatoes, radishes, cilantro, garlic scapes, chives, Swiss chard, and lettuce.

I feel almost guilty for eating the whole pan in less than 10 minutes. Then I remembered that I wasn’t eating calorie laden potato chips. These little green chips are sinfully delicious and heavenly healthy. I like a bit of spice with my chips. Let me know in the comments how you like yours.

Ingredients
8-10 Swiss chard leaves
Nonstick cooking spray
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp smoked paprika

Preheat the oven to 275° F.

Thoroughly clean and dry the Swiss chard leaves. Trim the stems and cut into 2″ pieces.

Lightly spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Spread the leaves out on a cookie sheet and toss with olive oil to coat. Sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, chili powder, and paprika.

Bake for 20 minutes. Gently turn the leaves over and continue cooking for 20 more minutes until crisp. Allow them to cool for 10 minutes…if you can.

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites (PB and Nutella flavors)

Photo from www.texanerin.com

This photo by Erin of texanerin.com was all but irresistible!

I found an amazing recipe on Pinterest about two months ago for Grain-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites (flour, oil, and refined sugar free). These awesome cookies use chickpeas, and since I think chickpeas are pretty cool little beans, this recipe was definitely pin-worthy…but since I don’t bake often they fell off of my radar. Then, about a month later, friend after friend shared these on facebook and I figured it was time to take the plunge.

The original recipe calls for natural peanut butter, but Boyfriend is allergic so I made my own cashew butter to use instead because I had a ton of cashews in the pantry. I hear it’s cheaper to make your own too (BONUS!). For instructions for making your own peanut or cashew butter, Erin over at Texan Erin Baking has a great tutorial here.

Cookies

When I made them the first time, I was instantly in love…warm, gooey, chocolatey…heaven. They’re not perfectly healthy, but they sure beat my old Tollhouse recipe and I think they might be even more delicious! After one successful attempt, I started wondering about all of the ways that this recipe could be modified and remembered Nutella. I’m still working on an oatmeal chocolate chip variety, a cranberry white chocolate variety, and a cocoa peanut butter chip (Reese’s) variety. Both the original and Nutella versions are below. Scroll to the bottom for the Nutella version.

Cookie Close-up

The original recipe had lots of hints and tips, including the following (plus a few of my own):

  • Chickpea flour won’t work
  • This will burn out less powerful blenders (I’ve done it successfully, but it requires lots of scraping and it’s definitely at the upper limit of my blender’s capabilities)
  • Do not add eggs, dairy, or flour to this recipe; it will not work
  • These are best eaten warm; to reheat them, put them into the microwave on high for 10 seconds.
  • These can be made dairy free by using vegan chocolate chips and homemade Nutella (store bought contains milk)
  • They can be made grain free by substituting the baking powder with 1 part cream of tartar + 1 part baking soda + 2 parts arrowroot
  • These can be made ahead, rolled into balls, and frozen for a quick treat later. Just place the desired number onto a cookie sheet and bake as described

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients
1 1/4 Cups(230 grams) cooked chickpeas, well-rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 Cup + 2 Tbsp natural peanut butter, cashew butter, or almond butter
1/4 Cup honey or agave syrup (or 30 drops Stevia)
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt if your peanut butter doesn’t have salt in it
1/2 Cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine all ingredients, except chocolate chips, in a food processor and process until very smooth. Scrape the top and sides and process again until fully combined. Add the chocolate chips and pulse the food processor a few times. The mixture will be very thick and sticky. Refrigerate the dough for 10-20 minutes until firm.

With wet hands, form the dough into 1½” balls. Place balls of dough onto a Silpat or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes.

These cookies will not rise and will generally hold their round shape.

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients
1 1/4 Cups(230 grams) cooked chickpeas, well-rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel
2 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 Tbsp natural peanut butter
3/4 Cup Nutella (to make your own, go here)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 Cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine all ingredients, except chocolate chips, in a food processor and process until very smooth. Scrape the top and sides and process again until fully combined. Add the chocolate chips and pulse the food processor a few times. The mixture will be very thick and sticky. Refrigerate the dough for 10-20 minutes until firm.

With wet hands, form the dough into 1½” balls. Place balls of dough onto a Silpat or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes.

These cookies will not rise and will generally hold their round shape.

Sour Cream and Onion Sweet Potato Chips (Microwave)

Seasoned Chips

I have an admission to make: I love snack food. That probably doesn’t come as too much of a surprise since most people love snack food, but for me it’s become a bit of a problem lately. Since I’ve gone on this wheat and corn free diet, my asthma and allergies are substantially better, but the number of available snack food options is significantly worse. Just about every product on the grocery store shelves seems to contain some derivative of one of these products. Can anyone explain to me why Sour Cream and Onion potato chips need to contain not one, but TWO different corn based products?

My first solution was roasted chickpeas. Did you know you can make them in the microwave in 12 minutes instead of the hour or so it takes in the oven without heating up your house in the middle of the summer? Amazing! (I’ll post more on that sometime soon.) Sadly, I can only handle so many chickpeas in a row before I start longing for potato chips again. I miss the perfect crunchy instant snack, but I do not miss the preservatives and additives or the unhealthily high fat content.

Luckily, I came across a couple of blog posts recently that changed everything. The first was for microwaved zucchini chips, and the second was for a dry mix for sour cream and onion roasted potato wedges. Finally, I found this post by bubbly nature creations for Sour Cream and Onion Veggie Chips, and I knew what I had to do! The combination of the tangy seasoning with the lightly sweet chips is perfectly balanced. Hopefully you’ll enjoy them as much as I do. They don’t taste like commercial Sour Cream and Onion chips, but they are definitely delicious!

Ingredients

Ingredients
1 Sweet Potato, thinly sliced
1/3 cup powdered buttermilk (found in the baking aisle near nonfat dry milk)
1 tbsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. Parmesan, finely grated (or the canned)
1/2 Tbsp. Onion powder
1/2 Tbsp Garlic powder
Spritz of oil, optional*
Dried Chopped Chives for garnish, optional*

On Parchment Chips

Mix the powdered buttermilk, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and Parmesan together in a small sized bowl. Place the sweet potato sliced in a single layer onto a parchment lined microwave safe plate and spray lightly with oil. Microwave slices of similar diameter together to prevent burning (larger slices will take longer than smaller slices). Microwave on high for up to 6 minutes, checking at 4 minutes and in 30-60 second increments thereafter until the veggies have started to brown. Wait until they brown a little (darken in the center) or they will not crisp up, but be careful not to over-brown or burn them. Sprinkle seasonings over potato slices (use a mesh strainer for this), and sprinkle with the chives if desired. These can be eaten right away or stored for up to a day.

Farm Fresh: Garlic Scape and Swiss Chard Pesto

Boyfriend and I signed up for our first CSA this year. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and it is a market system in which people invest money in a farm at the beginning of the season which helps to fund the initial supplies and planting, and then receive shares of the produce throughout the growing season. Today, our first shares came with such wonderful treats as beets, spring onions, Swiss chard, and garlic scapes. Each week, as I open my surprise bag of produce, I’ll be working on a creative way to use it up and will post the results of the experiments in posts labeled “Farm Fresh.”

Our first CSA share! Isn't it beautiful?

Our first CSA share! Isn’t it beautiful?

This week, I was thrilled to see both swiss chard and garlic scapes in the bag. I once had the good fortune to taste Swiss chard and garlic scape pesto, and it was amazing! In my search for ways to fill my new chest freezer, I began searching for the recipe for that pesto. I’ve been waiting since February for the opportunity to try it, and that time is finally here. The original recipe was handed out by the Nutrition Center stand at the local Farmer’s Market two years ago which means that, sadly, I do not know to whom I should give the credit. I’ve made a few minor changes to suit my personal preferences. Boyfriend rates this one 3.5 forks.

Pesto Ingredients

This pesto is relatively mild with a slight tang, perfect on pasta, tossed with steamed vegetables, or spread on a bit of crusty french bread. The addition of Swiss chard and almonds also pump up the nutritional value.

Delicious pesto with sauteed chicken over rice noodles!

Delicious pesto with sauteed chicken over rice noodles!

Ingredients
1/4 Cup roasted almonds, unsalted**
5-7 garlic scapes
1/2 bunch Swiss chard
1/8 Cup lemon juice
1/8 Cup olive oil
1 Cup Parmesan Romano blend or Quattro Formaggio (Parmesan, Asiago, Fontina & Mozzarella)
salt to taste

Clean garlic scapes and Swiss chard. Chop the garlic scapes into smaller pieces and remove the stems from the Swiss chard leaves. Set aside the stems for another use.

Place the garlic scapes into a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the Swiss chard leaves to the food processor and process until finely chopped.

Add the lemon juice, olive oil, almonds and salt to the food processor and run for another minute. Add the cheese to the food processor and chop until everything is finely shredded and mixed well.

**Walnuts or pine nuts may be substituted for the almonds.

Vegetable Laksa (Thai Coconut Curry Noodles)

I consider myself a relatively adventurous eater (thanks Mom!). Growing up, I had to take at least one bite of everything, every single time it was put in front of me. I didn’t have to like it, and I definitely didn’t have to eat it if I hated it, but I had to try everything. To this day, I will try almost anything that’s put in front of me, although I’ve learned through trial and error that some things are never going to taste good (mayonnaise, pickled eggs).

Despite my adventurous palate, I rarely go seeking out new things to try. I’ll taste them if put in front of me, but left to my own devices I’ll happily eat the same things over and over. My definition of “the same things” changed radically when my college thesis advisor took all of her advisees out to an Indian restaurant. I ordered Chicken Tikka, moderately hot, and instantly fell in love. I can’t believe it took me 30 years to find Indian food! All things Indian and curry are now part of my regular rotation. In my search for new dishes, I came across this delightful (and delightfully easy!) soup. It’s hard to believe that it’s gluten and dairy free, relatively healthy, and amazingly flavorful!

Laksa is a spicy coconut-based soup originating from Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.

Laksa is a spicy coconut-based soup originating from Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.

I absolutely loved this dish, but Boyfriend only gave it 2 stars. He had a cold at the time and couldn’t taste anything though, so I may try it again and ask for a new rating.

**To make this vegetarian, omit the chicken broth and use 2 cups of boiling water.

Ingredients:
2/3 package Rice noodles (about 4.5 oz)
2 Tbsp peanut oil (other vegetable oil may be substituted)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips (optional)
2oz Thai red curry paste (store bought or homemade)
1 can Coconut milk
1 Cup chicken broth
1 Cup boiling water
2-3 Cups mixed vegetables, cut into thin strips (I used carrots, zucchini, and red/green bell pepper)
handful fresh basil leaves

Chicken Sautee

Raw Vegetables

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Soften noodles as directed on package. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat. If you are using chicken, add it to the oil and cook until it is just browned. Add curry paste and stir fry for 30 seconds. Quickly add coconut milk, chicken broth, and boiling water. Bring to a boil and add vegetables. Simmer for 2 minutes or until vegetables are cooked to your liking.

To serve, add noodles to each serving bowl. Pour soup and vegetables over noodles and top with basil leaves.

NOTES: I love garlic and heat, so I added a minced garlic clove and a bit of ground red pepper to mine. This would also be wonderful made with shrimp instead of chicken.

STORAGE: If you have leftovers, place the noodles in a container, lay a wet paper towel over the top, and cover with a lid. Moisten the paper towel when it dries out (once every 1-2 days). Store the soup in a separate container.

REHEATING: Put soup in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Add the noodles and heat for 30-45 seconds more.

Adapted from Veggie Laksa by Zen Family Habits.

Cinnamon-Apple Syrup

I bought some wonderful organic apple juice for the Bourbon Chicken recipe, and I had almost a full jug left over. It seemed like serendipity. Cracker Barrel used to sell the most wonderful apple syrup, and for years it was the only thing I would put on a pancake. This was my opportunity to try to replicate my favorite topping. It is based on a recipe by Hillbilly Housewife.

Syrup 2

This syrup pairs wonderfully with French Toast Pancakes.

Ingredients:
1 C apple juice or cider
2 C sugar
1 cinnamon stick or big dash or ground cinnamon

In a quart-sized saucepan, combine the apple juice (or cider), sugar and cinnamon. Place the pan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. When the syrup starts to boil, reduce the heat. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer the syrup for ten minutes without stirring. Remove the lid and continue to simmer until the liquid is reduced by about a quarter. Remove from heat and allow to cool for fifteen minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick if used and transfer the syrup to a pint size canning jar or other container. Makes a little less than 2 cups.

**The cinnamon flavor is strong when the syrup is warm, but once it cools the flavor is much more subtle. If you want to retain that strong cinnamon flavor, add extra during the simmering.

Homemade ‘Shake-and-Pour’ Pancake Mix

Convenience Mixes

I love to make pancakes. I love to eat pancakes. I love to try different varieties of pancakes. In my recent efforts to eliminate processed foods, I was talking with my roommate about searching for a homemade version of Bisquick. He brought up his love of the ‘Shake-and-Pour’ pancake mix that they came out with years ago and raved about the brilliance of the idea. I figured there had to be a recipe somewhere for a homemade version and, lo and behold, I found one!

Jillie from One Good Thing by Jillie modified a recipe for traditional Bisquick-style baking mix from the Utah State University Extension Office to recreate this convenient mix. The mix is stored in quart-sized jars which allow enough room for the wet ingredients plus extra for shaking. It can be stored in an air-tight container for up to 6 months.

Ingredients:
9 C (38.25 oz) all-purpose flour
1/3 C (2.67 oz) double-acting baking powder
4 tsp (0.8 oz) salt
1 3/4 C (4.2 oz) non-fat dry milk
1 3/4 C (11.38 oz) shortening—which does not require refrigeration

Combine the first four ingredients in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. This can be done with a food processor, blender, electric mixer, pastry cutter, or two knives.

Place two cups of the mixture and 1 teaspoon of sugar in each of 6 quart-sized canning jars. Close the jars and shake well to combine. Include the following instructions: “Add 1 egg and 1 C water. Close the lid and shake vigorously.”

The Bisquick version only requires adding water, but to create something similar in a homemade version would require the addition of powdered eggs. However, I, like Jillie, have no experience with the stuff, so I don’t know how exactly they would work in a recipe like this. If you would like to try adding powdered eggs to the recipe, you can use the following instructions to make your own.

1. Scramble your eggs in a bowl. Pour them in a saute pan coated with cooking spray and cook until done.
2. Drain the excess grease for a few minutes on a paper towel.
3. Break the eggs into tiny pieces.
4. Spread the eggs out onto a baking sheet.
5. Dry at 135 degrees F for at least 10 hours.
6. Run the eggs through a blender until they form a fine powder.
7. Store your powdered eggs either in a heavy plastic bag, or a jar with a tight lid.

In the above recipe, add 2 Tbsp of powdered eggs to each jar. Change the directions to read:
Add 1 1/4 C water. Close the lid and shake vigorously.

Bonus Recipes!

Cornbread Mix

Ingredients:
1 C yellow cornmeal
1 C unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Whisk together until thoroughly combined. Pour the ingredients into a 1-pint canning jar and cover tightly with a lid. Store the mix for up to 6 months.

Include the following instructions:

Ingredients:
2 large eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup milk
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

  1. Heat oven to 425°F. Grease a 9×9-inch baking pan with butter.
  2. Empty the contents of a jar into a large bowl and push the dry ingredients up the sides of the bowl to make a well.
  3. Crack the eggs into the well and stir lightly with a wooden spoon, then add the buttermilk and milk. Stir the wet and dry ingredients quickly until almost combined. Add the melted butter and stir until the ingredients are just combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the greased pan. Bake until the top of the cornbread is golden brown and lightly cracked and the edges have pulled away from the sides of the pan, about 25 minutes.
  5. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool slightly, 5 to 10 minutes. Cut the cornbread into squares and serve warm. Pan can be wrapped in foil and stored a room temperature for up to 1 day. Reheat cornbread in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Adapted from Baking Illustrated by editors of Cooks Illustrated (2004, America’s Test Kitchen)

Instant Oatmeal (Brown Sugar and Cinnamon)

Ingredients:
6 cups Quick-Cooking Oats
2 tsp Salt
1 C Brown Sugar
4 tsp Cinnamon
8 Sandwich Bags

Blend 2 C of oats into a powder in a blender or food processor; if using a blender, process the oats in 1/2 C increments. Into each bag, add 1/2 C oats, 4 Tbsp oat powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Shake the bag to combine the ingredients. Label each bag with the following instructions:

Combine with 1 – 1 1/4 C of water or milk and microwave for 2 minutes.

Adapted from MYO: Instant Oatmeal – Various Flavors on Budget101.com.