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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Homemade Granola....

With the lack of sweets in my life at the current moment (only 11 days to go), I am reaching for things to hold over my taste buds until that glorious Easter morning. A couple of weeks ago, my roommate Andrea shared with me her recipe for granola. She is a true pro at making the energy snack and has so graciously shared it with me. 

The great thing about granola is that you can make it your own. You can add/substitute anything you like and it will still be heavenly. Last month when I drove the 10 hours back to Alabama, I made a huge bag and nibbled on it throughout the trip. It made for a great breakfast the next day when added to yogurt and fresh fruit (strawberries, bananas and grapes).

Give this recipe a try. It's simple and so much better (on your body and your wallet) than buying it at the grocery store. You'll know what you're putting in it and that makes all the delicious difference. 

Enjoy and happy trails!

Homemade Granola

2 cups oats (steel cut)
1/2 cup slivered almonds- or any nut you like (pecans, walnuts, peanuts, etc.)
1/3 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup wheat bran
1/2 cup honey (sugar free maple syrup works as well)
1/2 cup safflower or vegetable oil (I like to use safflower)
Big dash of cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Mix all the above and spread onto a baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes stirring every 15 minutes. 

When done and still hot, put into a bowl and add dried fruit. I love to use a container of dried mixed berries. It includes cherries, blueberries and cranberries. Add about 1 cup of dried fruit (give or take depending on your preference...I like a little more and to taste the sweetness in each bite).

***Cool tip I learned from Andrea: If you let it cool in a bowl, it will solidify and you can break it up into pieces. The chunks are always the best! 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A little bistro right down the road...

There is a really cute little area very close to my house. This little strip of real estate houses my favorite cupcake shop (and oh how I've missed it these last few weeks! Can't wait to be reunited once Lent is over!), a family meat market, Starbucks (of course, they are everywhere!), a bakery and Oh Yumm! Bistro.

I have wanted to try out this quaint little restaurant for quite some time and finally got the chance last week.

I love it and wanted to share with you. Just saying that you're going to eat at a bistro makes you feel so special, so French. Or at least it does me. Although this bistro sends off French vibes through and through, it creates delicious American favorites which all of us enjoy such as fish tacos, fries and Kobe sliders.

All in all, I can't wait to go back. And now that the weather is FINALLY getting warmer, I can just walk there. And soon, Lent will be over and I'll be back in that cupcake shop for dessert! :)

The outside of the restaurant. It was drizzly and not quite a pretty day for pictures, but this gives you a little idea. Can't wait to sit outside when it's a bright, sunny and warm afternoon!
Some of the tables inside. It's a really small venue but they do a great job with the space. Old wooden frames, wine bottles lined against the walls and simple paintings give an Old Country meets French Sophistication feel. 

Fresh flowers make everything better. And on a rainy cold day, it's just what you need to see. 

Got a few things that day (I was hungry). This is baked goat cheese with marinara and crostini. Absolutely heavenly. Warm, not too overpowering, and the cheese spreads effortlessly across the crispy bread. I just needed about three more dollops of that cheese!

Black and white tuna. Raw and tender on the inside and crunchy on the outside. The sesame seeds give texture without added too much flavor. The yellow pepper cabbage salad was a perfect compliment.  

What's a lunch without French fries?! I couldn't resist. It came with three dipping sauces (ketchup, a sweet chipotle, and gorgonzola). Seasoned to perfection and displayed in a cute tin cup. 

(All pictures courtesy of PK)