recipe || homemade granola

I never mind when the granola jar gets low because that just means more needs to be made, and there's little else that makes the house smell as good as it does when we bake granola. 

This is a recipe from my sweet momma, as so many of our favorite recipes are, and it continues to be passed on and on. It has become a staple in many of our friend's homes after they've tried it here. It's so simple to make and easy to add your own spin to so it can please every palate. And you can double or even triple it if you want to gift some of it or use it as favors for a shower, as we did for my little sister's wedding shower earlier this year. I mean, how cute are little mason jars filled with granola and tied with a bit of twine or ribbon?? 

So, my friends, welcome to our kitchen again. I hope that this granola feels just as cozy to you each time you make it as it does to me.

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Homemade Granola

4 cups rolled oats

1-2 cups nuts (chopped pecans, shaved almonds, walnuts)

3/4 cups shredded unsweetened coconut

1/4 cup wheat germ (optional)

2-4 tsp. milled flax seed (optional)

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. dark or light brown sugar

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. real maple syrup

1/4 cup canola oil

3/4 tsp. salt

1-2 tsp. vanilla

Directions

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

In a large bowl combine the oats, nuts, coconut, brown sugar, wheat germ, and flax seed. In a separate bowl combine the maple syrup, oil, salt, and vanilla by whisking together well. 

Pour onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Add dried fruit, chocolate chips, or whatever else you prefer.

Revel in the glorious smell and enjoy!

collection || recipes for rainy days

At the risk of being a complete broken record here, I'll say it again:

I love all things cozy.

In my estimation, rainy days are perched high atop the list of what makes a day cozy. Now, the very best of rainy days are when they are accompanied by cool temperatures, sweaters and flannel blankets, a classic read or a classic film, and your hands wrapped around the warmth of a mug full of something delicious. So when the first rainy autumn days make their arrival I thrill. My husband knows this so well about me that when he spots such days coming on the weather app he'll send me the forecast via text with some sweet comment about just how happy he's knows this will make me. 

I love cozy rainy autumn days.

Yes, it is true. And forever it shall remain. Those other may mock me or be shocked that I could love such a day (and they have) I will stand steadily by this love of mine.

So when I spotted some more days bearing this description in the forecast for this week and next I thought I would share with you lovelies some of our favorite rainy day recipes. Some of our go-to's when that chill in the air is accompanied by those pitter-pattering sounds. 

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Soups and stews are musts in this list. This Irish Stew is the very definition of comfort food and when you make it -- because you must -- it must be paired with a good (as in chock full of butter and other dairy products) mashed potato recipe and a crusty-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside bread.

This chicken gnocchi soup is like a warm hug. Our favorite roasted tomato soup recipe paired with an oozey grilled cheese. And no stew list would be complete with a nod to dear Julia's beef bourguignon. The woman was just a fountain of foodie wisdom.

Pasta. Always pasta. This spaghetti with white wine and roasted tomato cream sauce has such great flavor from those roasted tomatoes. This marinara sauce is so simple and quick and makes for a delicious combination with a warm baguette and heavy sprinkles of parmesan.

Finally, the baking. You must always have baking. The apple crisp in the picture up there we made twice in a couple weeks period. So simple and tasty, especially paired with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. These pumpkin donuts are so good, like really really. Up the spice amount a bit and just dip them in melted butter and cinnamon/sugar if you don't want to worry about the caramel glaze and you'll be oh so happy.

My precious mama's pumpkin bread is the best of all the pumpkin breads. Just look at the amount of spices she puts in. She knows her way around a kitchen. If you like, you can make a little cream cheese/powdered sugar concoction to spread across the top of your slices of pumpkin bread and then you shall achieve pure fall bliss.

These carmelita bars. Gracious, they are yummy. These with a fresh cup of coffee and you'll be closing your eyes and making all the "mmmmm" sounds with the best of 'em. I discovered these bars on pinterest a few years ago and tried them on a whim for a Christmas party for J's work. They were devoured and highly requested afterwards. A favorite was born.

Lastly, the biscotti recipe from my lovely friend, Rachel's. She lives in Minnesota now and I miss so much our long chats over cups of coffee and pieces of fresh biscotti while our littles play. But I love how making a recipe like this stirs up memories and so many reasons to be thankful.

I think that's why recipes become dear to us. Along with the fabulous tastes and the comfort of spending time in your kitchen you build memories around recipes as you share it in that moment in time with family and friends. Sometimes tears fall into a bowl of soup, sometimes you come close to choking on a bite of pumpkin bread because you're laughing just that hard, sometimes you share news or clink celebratory wine glasses together over a plate of pasta, but always, you are building up those memory blocks. Then the next time you are trying to think of something warm and wonderful to make you find yourself drawn to that particular recipe because it's so much more than a good blend of ingredients.

Stay cozy, lovely ones, and Bon Appétit!

 

recipe || pumpkin bundt cake

When one of your dearest ones has a 30th birthday and she has a deep love for the season of fall as you do, you make a pumpkin cake to celebrate her. It is the only right and appropriate thing to do.

And that is just what we did last night with our beautiful friend, Rachel. We feasted on Irish Stew, creamy mashed potatoes, and crusty bread with Kerrygold butter while we shared such good conversations, and we were all so very happy. We then lit our pumpkin candle and cut into this pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting and ventured into the sunroom to sit and enjoy the evening air. 

This cake was a delightful close to our meal. As pumpkin is, it was not overly sweet, so the cream cheese frosting adds a nice little topper of richness and sweet to complete the autumnal ensemble. It is a bundt cake and oftentimes bundt cakes can be rather dry, but this one is not. It's perfectly moist and good. I think next time I might a bit more vanilla to the frosting and perhaps another time, if I am craving more decadence, I'll add in some chocolate chunks, but it is lovely as it is and I wholeheartedly say "brava."

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Pumpkin Bundt Cake

2 1/4 cup sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin puree

Cream Cheese Frosting

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon milk*

1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (optional)**

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10-inch bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, combine sugar and oil until thoroughly blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Add flour mixture to egg mixture alternately with pumpkin, beating well after each addition. 

Transfer batter to prepared bundt pan. Bake in preheated oven for 60-65 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack. Remove pan and cool completely before preparing the cream cheese frosting. 

For the cream cheese frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a medium bowl with an electric mixer, combine cream cheese and butter; mixing until well-combined and fluffy -- about 2 minutes. Gradually add in confectioners' sugar. Once the confectioners' sugar is completely incorporated, mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Mix in vanilla and milk. If frosting appears to be too thick, slowly add in a little more milk until you reach the desired consistency. If desired, add pumpkin pie spice and mix until well-combined. Spoon over cooled cake.

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Recipe via My Baking Addiction

*I ended up using about 4 tablespoons of milk, but I added it one at a time. And I probably could have thinned it out a tad more to make it a bit more pourable.

**I left the pumpkin pie spice out because I just wanted the purity of the cream cheese.