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Simple Homemade Granola

Since we’ve covered lunch and dinner, I thought it would be only natural if we paid a little tribute to breakfast. 

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Hands down. There are so many delicious oatmeal and smoothie bowl recipes that I’m dying to share with you, but I realized that there’s one thing we need to do first. This staple is something we all know and love, and is best when piled on top of all of those other delicious recipes I just mentioned. I’m talking homemade granola.

A good granola recipe is something everyone should have, especially my gluten-free peeps out there. The best part? It’s easy, its fast, it lasts for weeks and the recipe is super flexible. This is an eye-ball-it kind of recipe, and as long as you’ve got the base ratio down, you can add however many mix-ins you desire.

Personally, I have a few granola recipes I like to make. However, the one we’re doing today its the easiest to do in a dorm kitchen. It’s protein-packed, and coconut oil-based. Really filling, healthy, and delicious.

Here’s what you need…


  • 4 Hand-Fulls Rolled Oats
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Protein Powder (I used vanilla flavored to make it a little sweeter)

Nuts & Seeds:

  • 1/4 Cup Sliced Almonds
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts
  • 1/8 Cup Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)


  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Dried Dates
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Dried Cherries
  • 1/4 Cup Dried Cranberries


1. PREHEAT… the oven or confectioner’s oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. CHOP… all your dried fruits and nuts as indicated in the list above.


3. MELT… coconut oil for 30 seconds in the microwave. Then mix all the base ingredients in a bowl until completely combined. All oats should be damp.

4. MIX… nuts and seeds into base mixture. Then spread the mixture on cookie sheet.


5. COOK… for 20 minutes on 325 degrees, stirring occasionally.

6. ADD… fruits to mixture once done cooking. This is important! If you add it before, the fruit gets really hard and dry. You could honestly chip a tooth.

FullSizeRender 2

7. If you like your granola sweet, drizzle a little honey, or maybe even some cinnamon on top. Let everything cool, OR eat it hot with some cool milk. Mmmm! 

8. Finally, use this on top of everything! Or eat it dry by the hand-full. It’s a great, filling snack or meal whenever you want.


A Food Lover’s Guide to History: The Earl-y Sandwich

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, meaning that if you’re among the 65% of Americans who claim that eating leftovers is the best part of the holiday, then you might be thinking about (or making) the celebrated “pilgrim sandwich,” also known as the Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich.  But I ask you to tear your eyes off the glistening cranberries, the thyme-scented mashed potatoes, and the bounty of other leftovers.  I ask you to consider the sandwich.

The venerable Earl of Sandwich

Pretty much everyone knows about John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, who was so absorbed in his gambling that he needed something he could eat without leaving his game.  But sandwiches as a form go back to the 1st Century B.C.E., when the famed rabbi Hillel the Elder started a Passover custom of sandwiching a portion of the Paschal lamb and bitter herbs between two matzohs, based on a verse in the Book of Exodus.

Later, Medieval Europeans started putting food on bread out of necessity rather than spirituality.  Much like the pie crusts of old, bread acted as dishes for Europeans in the Middle Ages.  They called their thick chunks of stale bread “trenchers” and then piled them with meats, gravies, and other sauces.  After the meal, the softened bread was either eaten or tossed to dogs or the poor.

Pictured above: actual historical peasants

So while the Earl of Sandwich didn’t invent the concept of using bread as a vehicle for other foods, he did lend it his name.  However, up until the first written record of the word “sandwich” in 1762, the stack of bread and fillings was known, hilariously, as “bread and meat” or “bread and cheese.”

Bread and Meat and Vegetables.

They made the leap across the pond, and by 1816, recipes appeared calling for fillings like fruit, shellfish, nuts, and mushrooms.  By the turn of the century, sandwiches were differentiated based on their ingredients, like the double-decker club sandwich or the BLT.

One of the most important developments in modern sandwich history came in the late 1920s. In 1928, Otto Rohwedder built a loaf-at-a-time bread slicing machine.  Later, bread slicers could wrap the loaves as well, making it possible to package and sell pre-sliced loaves of bread.

The Chillicothe Baking Company installed Rohwedder’s bread slicer and began to sell “Kleen Maid Sliced Bread” on July 7, 1928.

All this innovation culminated in 1930, when Wonder Bread started marketing their pre-sliced bread nation-wide.  Kids could safely make their own sandwiches without having to use a bread knife, and the ease of the sandwich made them a fixture in American kitchens and lunchrooms across the country.

Speaking of fixtures in American food history…

I’ll let you get back to your turkey.

Not that you need any instruction, but here’s a Martha Stewart-approved leftover sandwich recipe for inspiration:


  • Baguette 
  • Cranberry sauce 
  • Grainy mustard 
  • Sliced turkey 
  • Glazed pearl onions 


Spread one half of a piece of baguette with cranberry sauce and the other with grainy mustard.

Layer with sliced turkey and glazed pearl onions.


Almonds, Chocolate, and Pears, Oh My!


Thanksgiving is around the corner, and I have already eaten a record amount of pies for the year. Pumpkin, apple, and pecan are amazing, but I wanted to try something new this year, something that incorporated Middle Eastern flavors and ingredients.

We don’t have a lot of pies in the Middle East, but we do have a lot of almonds, and a lot of pears, and I’ve found a wonderful pear, almond, and chocolate tart that is absolutely delicious. It is not a very difficult tart. The pastry used is a regular piecrust that you can buy from the store or make from scratch. The tart shell is filled with a delicious frangipane and then topped with pears and chocolate, and baked. This recipe is good for a 9 inch fluted tart pan. If you’re using a pie dish, you might need to increase the recipe by multiplying the ingredients by 1.5. I hope you enjoy it!


For the pastry, you will need:

1 ¼ cups of flour

½ cup butter, cold, cut into small pieces

2-4 tbsp. ice water

½ tbsp. sugar

¼ tsp. salt


For the almond filling, you will need:

9 ½ tbsp. ground almonds

7 tbsp. butter at room temperature

7 tbsp. sugar

2 eggs

(If you have a scale, the ingredients are simply 100 g each of almonds, butter, and sugar, and 2 eggs).


For the toppings, you will need two pears, cored and cut in half, and about 2 tbsp. of chocolate chips, but the amount of chocolate really is to taste. An optional topping is apricot jam that you can use to glaze the top of the tart.


To make the pastry, first cut your butter into small pieces and return to the fridge to stay cold. Then whisk flour, sugar, and salt. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry blender or two knives until you see course crumbs. Add two tablespoons of the ice water, and gently combine, continue adding water in ½ tablespoon increments, until the dough stays together when pressed between two fingers. Try not to go over 4 tablespoons. The less water you put in, the flakier and crispier your dough is! Once you’ve added enough water, turn your dough out on a sheet of plastic wrap, and using the edges of the wrap, press the dough together into a disk. Wrap it tightly, and refrigerate for 45 minutes.


At this point, you can also preheat your oven to 350 degrees.


Meanwhile, make the filling by creaming the butter and sugar together, then adding the eggs, followed by the ground almonds. You can use store-bought almond meal or process 100 grams (9 ½ tbsp.) of blanched almonds in a food processor, be careful not to over-process though, because the ground almonds tend to lump together if processed for too long. If you’d like to accentuate the flavor of the almonds, you can add just a drop of almond extract. Alternatively if you want to have more of a pear flavor with a bit of a kick, you can add a little bit of pear brandy.


After the pastry is properly chilled, roll it out and gently insert it into your tart pan. To make it easier for myself to roll the dough out, I always put it between two sheets of parchment paper. I never to use extra flour, and I never have a problem with the dough sticking to the surface.


Add the filling, and arrange the pears cut-side down. Distribute the chocolate chips evenly, then bake the tart for about an hour, or until the top of the frangipane becomes golden brown.


A couple of minutes before the tart comes out, heat a few tablespoons of apricot jam in the microwave. Once the tart comes out, brush it with the jam while it’s still hot. Apricot jam doesn’t really affect the flavor of the tart, but it gives it a beautiful glaze, and prevents the fruit from turning brown.

Sweet Tooth Recipe: Ice Cream Cookies

Before we are overcome with winter weather and hibernation in the library, I vow to make one last trip to Smorgasburg, where I plan on having one final ice cream cookie sandwich from The Good Batch. But until then, I have taken on the task of making original ice cream sandwiches myself. These desserts are a great farewell to summer while still having a fall/winter twist (depending on ice cream flavor). I chose to use both Dulce de Leche ice cream and Cherry Garcia Fro-Yo from Ben and Jerry’s, but you can use whatever you like best. A nice fall twist to this recipe may be snickerdoodle cookies with dark chocolate or pumpkin flavored ice cream! Try out a variety of combinations for this cookie ice cream treat and let us know what’s your favorite!



I have been using the following cookie recipe for years and it has never failed me, but if you need to make this a last-minute treat, you can try using Tate Cookies.


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs


1. Making things easy, I first mix all of the wet ingredients in a bowl. This includes the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs and vanilla extract.

2. Next add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredient mixture. This would include the flour, baking soda and salt.

3. Lastly, fold in the chocolate chip cookies and form them into balls which you will place on an ungreased baking sheet.

4. Place this delicious cookies dough into an oven at 375°F for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown.

*If you want your cookies to be even better, a bakers trick is to put the cookie dough in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before baking.

5. Once the cookies are baked to perfection and cooled, smother one side with your choice of ice cream and top those bad boys with another cookie. If you can make a sandwich, you can make an ice cream sandwich.

6. Enjoy!


ice cream cookiesCookie

Tabouli, A Summer Salad To Start The Fall










Tabouli is a classic salad that comes from the Levant, the region that includes the countries of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and Palestine. It is a simple salad served at many occasions, and is considered a “mezze” a small plate appetizer served among many other small plates in a traditional Levantine dinner. The recipe itself is quite straightforward, and you can definitely play around with the amounts of the ingredients to suit your taste. Tabouli ingredients include parsley, tomatoes, mint leaves, and bulgur wheat, dressed with some olive oil and lemon juice. Traditionally, the parsley and mint leaves are chopped very finely, and the tomatoes are cut into very small pieces, so that one bite of tabouli contains many small pieces of each ingredient. This makes preparing tabouli quite time consuming, and, even though many people back home would be upset by my saying this, I don’t think you actually need to cut the pieces into really small pieces. Again, this recipe is very malleable, and you can really do whatever you want with it. Here is a general guideline for the amounts of ingredients you’ll need to serve 4-6 people:


4 bunches of parsley

1 bunch of mint leaves

4 tomatoes

¼ cup of bulgur wheat, soaked in water for 10 minutes (not boiled)



4-5 tbsp. lemon juice

½ cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste.


Lost in Translation – Italy

Well, with my last post on bread, I pretty much exhausted my foreign language capacities.

But the way I see it, a romance language is a romance language, and it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out an Italian recipe, even if the only Italian I know is mamma mia. When I started looking up recipes though, I realized just how difficult it could be.  With the weather getting colder, I settled on a classic recipe for pasta e fagioli, reasoning that it would be hard to mess up too badly with a bean soup.

Ingredients for Pasta e Fagioli
All (or most) of the ingredients

Half of the ingredients seemed pretty simple.  Fagioli borlotti had to be borlotti beans, carota was an easy one, and brodo vegetale didn’t take too long to interpret.  I also figured out that sedano was celery because I had seen other recipes that called for a gambo of it, which I took to mean leg.

Other ingredients gave me pause.  Scalogno?  Salvia?  Prezzemolo?  I just hoped they weren’t too important and moved on.  My proudest moment was figuring out what a spicchi di aglio was; the website I was using was actually called Lo spicchio d’aglio, and after a few moments of puzzling, I realized that the icon was actually a stylized picture of a clove of garlic!  Of course!  How could I embark on an italian recipe without garlic?!

Am I doing this right?

What I hadn’t anticipated, in the glow of my triumphant interpretations of the ingredienti, was the difficulty in translating the actual instructions.  I was lost after step four, so while I managed to drain my beans, chop my vegetables, boil my broth, and brown my garlic, I was left to guess on what exactly “Aggiungere un mestolo di brodo” meant, and ended up adding ingredients incrementally, spooning broth back and fourth between two pans, and then cooking the pasta separately before tossing everything together at the last minute to boil.

In one particularly lost moment, I glanced over my recipe with chopped vegetables in hand, and realized there was not a single mention of carota or sedano after the second step.  I threw them in after the beans but before the pasta, hoping for the best and reasoning, for the hundredth time, that it’s pretty hard to mess up soup.

Less of a dish, more of a collection of ingredients

It turns out I was right.  The soup came out just fine.  It was just very, very bland, like drinking broth.  I couldn’t help feeling helpless the entire time, entirely lost and wondering if I was doing anything right.  It was not my finest hour.


  • 250 g di fagioli borlotti già cotti (peso sgocciolato)
  • Mezzo costa di sedano
  • Mezzo carota
  • 1 scalogno
  • 1 l di Brodo vegetale
  • 2 cucchiai di olio extravergine di oliva
  • 2 spicchi di aglio
  • Timo
  • Origano
  • Maggiorana
  • 4 foglie di salvia
  • Sale
  • 120 g di pasta
  • 4 rametti di prezzemolo
  • Pepe nero macinato al momento


  • Sgocciolare i fagioli e passarne la metà al passaverdure.
  • Tritare molto finemente sedano, carota e scalogno.
  • Scaldare il brodo vegetale.
  • In una pentola da minestra far soffriggere il trito e l’aglio spellato nell’olio per qualche minuto, a fiamma media, fintanto che non assume un aspetto dorato. Unire un cucchiaio di brodo e proseguire la cottura per 4-5 minuti.
  • Aggiungere un mestolo di brodo, mescolare, unire i fagioli interi, un pizzico di timo, origano e maggiorana, la salvia e lasciare insaporire qualche minuto a fiamma vivace.
  • Stemperare i fagioli frullati con mezzo mestolo di brodo e versare il composto nella pentola. Girare e lasciare insaporire qualche minuto.
  • Versare quasi tutto il brodo e portare ad ebollizione. Regolare di sale.
  • Buttare la pasta e cuocere mescolando spesso con un cucchiaio di legno, secondo il tempo di cottura del formato scelto. Aggiungere qualche mestolo di brodo se la minestra tende ad asciugarsi troppo. Tenerla piuttosto liquida perchè a fine cottura tenderà ad addensarsi.
  • Nel frattempo lavare il prezzemolo, selezionarne le foglie e tritarle con la mezzaluna su un tagliere.
  • Spegnere il fuoco, regolare di sale, profumare con  una grattugiata di pepe ed il prezzemolo tritato.
  • Lasciare intiepidire 5 minuti con il coperchio e servire con un filo d’olio a crudo.



Waitress and Pie

In this adorable dramedy, Keri Russell plays Jenna, a pregnant waitress in an abusive marriage with little hope for the future.  Not the most cheery premise.  But Jenna finds hope in her baking—if she wins an upcoming pie contest, she’ll have enough money to leave her husband.  Thankfully, pies are her specialty.  Not only does she innovatively mix unexpected flavors, she also has a knack for aptly naming the pies.  For instance:

  • I Hate My Husband Pie
  • I Can’t Have No Affair Because It’s Wrong and I Don’t Want Earl to Kill Me Pie
  • Pregnant Miserable Self-Pitying Loser Pie
  • Fallin’ In Love Chocolate Mousse Pie

See?  That last one shows you there’s some hope.

As “Waitress” shows, there is no limit to types and flavors of pie, so you can imagine that picking a pie for this occasion was tricky.  I settled, as I find it is usually best to do, on chocolate.  This chocolate chess pie is rich and dense, nearing the consistency of a cake.  The pecans break up the smoothness with just the right amount of crunch.   I filled my pie crust to the brim with the gooey chocolate mixture and was sure that it would overflow in the oven and I’d be left with a hardened brown mess.  Thankfully, there was no such catastrophe, and I opened the oven to rich, warm bliss.


Chocolate Chess Pie or When All Else Fails Chocolate Is Always Right Pie


2 cups sugar

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon cornmeal (I left this out and added extra flour)

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

4 eggs, lightly beaten

½ cup milk

½ cup melted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chopped pecans



  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, cocoa power, cornmeal, flour, and salt.  In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, milk, butter and vanilla.  Pour the second mixture into the first and stir until smooth.  Then add in the pecans.
  3. Pour the filling into the pie shell and bake for about one hour.  Allow pie to cool on wire rack.


Adapted from recipe.com

Family Catering

Croque-en-Bouches with Mixed Berry and Crème de Cassis Sundae

A couple months ago, my mom told me that she had offered to cater a party for my grandma as a birthday gift and that I was invited to be her catering partner. The catering “service” would include brainstorming, preparing, plating, and serving a five-course, gourmet menu to eight hungry and self-claimed foodie guests. I was 100% on board.

So as soon as I got back home from my end-of-the-spring-semester activities, my mom and I started to prepare for the event. We worked on developing a few dish ideas by looking through all of our recipes from books, Word documents, online bookmarked pages, and collaged cutouts from magazines. We discussed and debated, and about a zillion ideas later, finally put them together into a cohesive and appetizing menu. A shopping list was written and a few days before D-day we began the incredibly long (and tiring) process that was the cooking.

However much time and energy it might have taken, the final result was well worth the effort that it took to develop the menu and then make it a reality—with a few exceptions of course. The gazpacho and avocado mousse with two Parmesan crisps was a much-enjoyed appetizer, but the tomato and avocado lollipops served alongside it, for example, were more of a failed experiment in molecular gastronomy than anything else. Visually, they were perfect, but their rubbery texture and imbalance between the flavorless avocado and acidic tomato was definitely a turnoff. At least we had the delicious and popular pancetta-wrapped fig skewers (stuffed with goat cheese and drizzled with honey) and grilled eggplant dip served with rosemary flat bread to wash it down. Not to mention the paired rosé, whites, and port that my dad served throughout the meal.

Eggplant and Pepper Dip

Food successes and failures aside, the best part about this catering event was, oddly enough, everything but the taste of the food. I loved watching people decipher the menus we’d printed out when we brought out the mini croque-en-bouches and mixed berry sundaes, or listen to the “oohs” and “ahs” and diplomatic “very interestings” in reaction to tasty or not-so-great dishes. It was a time- and energy-consuming endeavor, and I am so glad that everything turned out well (or almost). But more so than that, it was amazing to experience the meal coming together and to then present and share it with my grandma and her closest friends and relatives.

Superfood Sunday: Going Goji

I’ll admit it openly: chia seeds are now in my grocery rotation.  After my last happy surprise, I decided to focus this Superfood Sunday on a product I’ve been interested in for a while.

dried goji berries

The goji berry, also known as Lycium barbarum and wolfberry, comes from an Asian shrub found in China, Mongolia, and Tibet.  Like tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants, they’re members of the Solanaceae, or nightshade, family.  They have been used for centuries in Asia for medicinal purposes, and herbalists claim they can do anything from protecting the liver to balancing hormones.  The goji berry is packed with antioxidants like beta-carotene and zeaxanthin, which protect the eye by absorbing blue light and can decrease the risk of developing macular degeneration with age.

Left to right: goji, craisin, raisin

Violently red, they’re usually available in dried form, like the ones I found at Whole Foods.  In traditional Chinese medicine, they’re eaten raw, brewed into tea, or added into soups.  Recent years have introduced goji juice as well as other treats like goji trail mixes.  Although I was tempted by the bag of chocolate covered goji, I persevered in my pursuit of their purest available form.  Goji berries have a taste similar to dried cherries or cranberries, with a combination of sweetness and a tart finish.  Tarter than a raisin, and much less plump, they’re easy to sprinkle into salads, cereal, or baked goods.  If you find yourself with a bag of these berries, try out this recipe:

Banana Goji Muffins

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tablespoons ground flax
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened plant-based milk
  • 2 Tablespoons applesauce
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • round 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 tablespoons (or more!) dried goji berries
  • rounded 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mash the bananas well, working out all the lumps.
Mix together all of the ingredients, adding baking soda last.  Line muffin pans with liners. Then, fill each muffin with batter to the rim. Bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of your muffin tin. Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and enjoy, perhaps with some goji juice!


Super Simple Trout

Pan Fried Trout with Spinach and Rice

I really enjoy fish in the winter but it can be so expensive that it is overwhelming. Cheap fish is generally also bad fish. Think tilapia. It’s gross. However, there are a few inexpensive fish including skate, cod and trout! Since trout is a mild fish it is best done simply with lemon and parsley as the major flavor profiles. Below is a super easy (hence the title) recipe for trout. I served it with some garlic brown rice and spinach sautéed with shallots. The best part about this meal aside from the yummy factor is that it reheats really well. I cooked three filets and had one for dinner then packed up the other two in a tupperware for lunch. Just microwave it covered for 45 seconds to 1 minute and then enjoy.

Super Simple Trout

  • trout filets de-boned but with the skin on
  • flour
  • parsley, chopped
  • lemon, sliced
  • butter
  • salt
  • pepper

  1. Season the trout with salt and pepper 
  2. Place pan on high heat. 
  3. Melt butter in pan, butter should just coat the bottom of the pan (~1/2 tbsp)
  4. Dip trout into flour covering both sides. Place in hot pan skin side down. Sprinkle top with parsley. 
  5. Cook until skin is browned, about 3 minutes. Trout should release easily from pan. If it sticks let it cook for 1 minute more. 
  6. Flip and cook with skin side up for about 1 minute. 
  7. Remove from pan. Garnish with parsley and serve with lemon.