About six months ago I bought my first jar of coconut oil. It was about a year coming. I was dying to make something with it but never had a recipe in mind so held off buying some for a long time for fear of wasting it. After my first purchase of coconut oil, it continued to sit in the pantry for another several months, still no ideas flowing through my head.
Finally it was time to open the stuff. Baby steps. I cooked up some sautéed chicken with it. The second big step was granola. Replacing my standard canola oil with coconut oil in my simple granola recipe made the flavors burst. I was getting hooked. What happened if I baked with it? The Secret Recipe Club as always gave me a great base to experiment with.
Last month, when I reviewed my week’s Secret Recipe Club reveal posts, it dawned on me that I was doing something wrong. Two beautiful granola recipes were among the collection. Both full of flavor, crunch and simple as could be. It was then I realized: I was doing granola all wrong.
A few weeks ago a Smitten Kitchen’s profound question crossed my Facebook feed. “Is there anything that isn’t better with chocolate?” I assume it was rhetorical. Who could answer no? Her recipe that followed for Double Chocolate had me immediately thinking everything is better with chocolate and necessary at this exact moment. I was on my way home from a weekend Boston and while I had no plans to do anything but order a pizza and binge in front of the couch, I instantly knew it had become a baking night.
Lately dinner has been a rush. Work is wonderful but stressful so late nights lead to quick fixes like burgers or mac & cheese or worse…takeout. Needless to say, I haven’t been cooking as much as I’d like. Which also accounts for the long periods of silence in between posts. I just haven’t been able to experiment with creating new recipes lately.
While dinner is a struggle, breakfast is something I’ve come to love and need. I used to be the person who never ate breakfast, went to work, maybe grabbed a cup of coffee on the way, and then didn’t put anything of substance in my stomach until about 1:30 or 2pm. Yet somehow when I started forcing myself to eat breakfast a few years ago, I became addicted and now need it to survive. On the occasional day I leave my apartment without food in my belly, I feel nauseous and dizzy on the subway ride in, until I’m able to finally fill that void. To avoid the drab bowl of cereal, I try to prep some foods on Sunday night to carry me through the week’s mornings.
I’ve always had a thing for lemon poppy seed muffins. Why I’ve never made them, I’m not sure. The extra stress of shopping for poppy seeds? Who knows. So when I was assigned to Traci’s Burnt Apple blog, through the Secret Recipe Club, I knew exactly what I would be making. I absolutely love Traci’s honesty. In her introduction, she admits to making a muffin so hard her husband tossed it through the wall, literally. She couldn’t cook. Yet her determination and growing family, forced her to take on the challenge. Burnt Apple is filled with healthy recipes, but unless you read the recipe, you’d never know. Everything just looks so tasty!