Peanut Butter Granola Bars

I can’t believe we’re already talking back to school, but here we are. I feel like we lost most of our summer to the move (because, we did), so I’m sort of wishing these next few weeks would slow down a bit. We still have a lot on our summer bucket lists that we want to check off!

But, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit excited about back to school. I can’t wait to get everyone back on a routine and have life be somewhat normal again. This move, man. It’s really thrown us off our groove!

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I’m also excited about getting the kids back on some sort of normal eating schedule. What is it about summer that makes them want snacks ALL THE TIME? As soon as I was mixing these up they were both in the kitchen, asking incessantly when they’d be done.

These totally got the kids’ seal of approval. And mine. I know no-bake granola bars are generally more popular, but in my opinion, you just can’t beat the chewiness you get from baked ones. They would make a really rocking lunchbox treat or after school snack.

And if you’re looking for more back-to-school inspiration, I’m linking up with some other bloggers today. From quick breakfasts to specials treats – and everything in between – they’ve got you covered:

 

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Peanut Butter Granola Bars
(adapted from Just a Taste)
Makes 18

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1 egg
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup. light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Like a 9×13″ pan with parchment and spray with non-stick spray.

With an electric mixer, beat together the peanut butter, honey, egg, oil, and vanilla until smooth.

In another bowl, combine the oats, sugar, and salt. Add the oats to the peanut butter mixture and stir until evenly combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and pat down evenly.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the edges are golden-brown. Set on a cooling rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.

Cool completely, and then slice into 18 equal pieces.

Fresh Corn Salsa (3)

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Roasted Peach Lemonade #farmersmarketweek

I’ve been waxing nostalgic lately about the summer before my senior year of college. I think a lot of it has to do with how easy life was then. I had cobbled together a few cushy jobs on campus – web design, the library – that were enough to pay my bills, but leave me with long weekends. I binge watched Sex and the City for the first time. Mark and I took our first real summer vacation. It was just a really laid-back time.

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And why have I been thinking about that summer? Because things here have been absolute chaos for months. I was overly hopeful that things would calm down once we’re in the new house, but the universe just laughed at that. I’ll be spending this afternoon home while the plumber fixes a leak from the kids’ bathtub (which involved cutting out the ceiling below it). And calling roofers, because the roof is leaking too. And did I mention I have a bubble in my tire that needs fixing? Of course, these are only the urgent things that have popped up in the last few days — the entire to do list is SO much longer.

But, back to that easygoing summer. One of the highlights was the fruit lemonades they served at the campus café. I randomly thought of their peach lemonade the other day, and decided I needed it asap.

This is a great recreation. Roasting the peaches brings out such a great flavor for really no effort. It’s the perfect addition for a barbecue or summer brunch!

Roasted Peach Lemonade

Roasted Peach Lemonade
(adapted from The Naptime Chef)
Makes about 4 cups

2 large peaches, halved and pitted
1 tsp. sugar
4 cups of your favorite lemonade

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with foil and place the peaches on skin-side down. Sprinkle the tops with sugar. Roast for 25 minutes.

Let them cool for a minute or two, then peel them (you should be able to easily pinch the skin off after roasting. Add the peaches to a food processor or blender, along with 1/4 cup lemonade. Blend until smooth and frothy. Stir into the remaining lemonade and serve.

Roasted Peach

#farmersmarketweek wraps up today! Here’s our grand finale:

Friday #FarmersMarketWeek Recipes

 

Corn and Zucchini Skillet #farmersmarketweek

Yesterday, I talked about the plethora of summer zucchini. Today, let’s talk corn.

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Since joining the CSA, our summer corn consumption has jumped a lot. This is partly because the corn we get is really, really good and partly because corn is one of our farm’s biggest crops, so there’s a lot to go around.

I love when there’s a plethora of things, because it gets me to break out of my comfort zone more. In pre-CSA summers, we’d do grilled corn on the cob whenever I picked up corn. But now that we pretty much always have, I feel like I have license to play around a bit more.

This simple but flavorful skillet was born out of my experimenting. I had corn and zucchini to use up – and a bunch of fresh herbs waiting to be used. Add in some fresh parmesan and this side dish was a sure hit!

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Corn and Zucchini Skillet
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Serves 6

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3 small zucchinis, coin sliced
2 large ears of corn, cleaned and kernels cut off
1 Tbsp. fresh chives, chopped
1 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1 tsp. fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the corn and zucchini. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the herbs and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Fresh Corn Salsa (2)

Hitting your local farmer’s market today? Here is some more inspiration for you!

Thursday #FarmersMarketWeek Recipes

Zucchini Scones #farmersmarketweek

If there’s one piece of produce synonymous with summer, it’s got to be zucchini. I feel like everyone knows someone that has waaaay too much zucchini in their garden and is trying to pass it off on everyone. (PS, if you’re that person, I’m happy to take it!)

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These scones were something I made for myself. I figured vegetables in a not-overly-sweet pastry would be a hard sell, but as soon as these came out of the oven, the kids were BEGGING for them. They requested them for snack twice that day, and were thoroughly bummed when I informed them they weren’t allowed to have them again for dinner.

To be fair, they really are delicious. The buttery, flaky layers here are so on point! There’s just enough sweetness in these to make them perfect, but not overly sweet, and they’re a great way to use up some of that zucchini that I know you have hanging around!

ZucchiniScones

Zucchini Scones
(from Baker by Nature)
Makes 8

2 and 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 stick (unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream (full fat)
2/3 cup zucchini, grated and drained
3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated, divided

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment.

In a large bowl, whisk together 2 1/2 cups flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar. Cut in the butter until it forms a course meal.

In a smaller bowl, combine the egg and sour cream. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the zucchini and 1/2 cup cheese.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board and work it into a round loaf shape. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut like a pie into 8 wedges.

Carefully transfer the wedges to the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with remaining cheese.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

These are best served the same day.

 

Fresh Corn Salsa (1)

Looking for more farm fresh inspiration? Here’s what other bloggers have cooked up for you today as part of #farmersmarketweek!

 

Wednesday #FarmersMarketWeek Recipes

Fresh Corn Salsa #farmersmarketweek

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One of the things I love about being part of a CSA farm is that I’m learning a lot about how to prepare food. Like, last year I got schooled in sweet corn. Do you cook it? Then you’re doing it wrong!

Fresh from the field corn is so, so good raw. One day when we were there, they taught the kids how to pick and husk the corn in the field, and told them to try it raw. It’s even sweeter raw, and the kids gobbled it up. For the rest of the summer, it was their snack of choice and I didn’t get a chance to cook another ear!

This easy salsa uses farm-fresh sweet corn. If you have a local source, that’s your best option. We love this with chips, but it’s also great tucked in burritos and to top tacos.

FreshCornSalsa

Fresh Corn Salsa
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Makes about 2 cups

3 large ears of sweet corn, cleaned and cut off the cob
1/2 green pepper, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. lime juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

Stir together the corn, pepper, onion and cilantro.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.  Pour over the corn and toss to coat.

Fresh Corn Salsa

Looking for more #farmersmarketweek inspiration? Here is what my fellow bloggers are cooking up today!

Tuesday #FarmersMarketWeek Recipes

 

Sour Cream Peach Pie #farmersmarketweek

Today I’m kicking off Farmer’s Market Week and I couldn’t be more excited!

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With the mid-summer move this year, we never got our garden going, so we’ve been relying heavily on our CSA farm all summer – and we’ve been eating well! I can’t wait to show off what I’ve been making to use our farm share ingredients, and I’m excited to be linking up with other blogger friends all week – you can check out today’s batch of recipes below. It’s sure to be great inspiration for you and me!

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I’m starting the week off with this gorgeous peach pie.  This is actually a recipe that I made a few years back and regretted not photographing for the blog – it’s delicious. And since it’s served cold, it’s really perfect for a hot summer day. The fresh peaches pair wonderfully with the creamy sour cream base and the crunch of the brown sugar topping.

Really, guys, go grab some peaches and make this – you need a slice in your life!

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Sour Cream Peach Pie
(slightly adapted from Oh Sweet Basil)
Makes 1 pie

1 unbaked pie crust – store bought or 1 minute pie dough

Pie filling:
3 cups peaches, peeled and sliced
3 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup sour cream (not fat free!)
1 tsp. vanilla

Crumb topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
4 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into chunks

Peach topping:
1 cup peaches, peeled and sliced
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. flour

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and prepare your pie dough in the pan.

Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, whip the egg yolks until light in color.  Using a spoon, stir  in the flour, salt, sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Stir in the sour cream and vanilla until well combined. Fold in the peaches. Pour into the prepared pie crust.

Bake for 15 minutes.

While that bakes, make the crumb topping: whisk together the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in the cold butter until pea-sized crumbs form.

Then, make the peach topping: Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Toss the peaches in until coated.

Remove the pie from the oven, and cover with the crumb topping. Press the peaches in around the top of the pie.

Return to the oven for 30 more minutes. If the crust starts to brown too much, cover it with foil.

Remove from the oven and let cool, then transfer to the refrigerator for at least 3 hours to firm up.

Monday #FarmersMarketWeek Recipes

 

Where has the kitchen been?!

The short, easy answer is: moving.

I know, I know. The last update I gave was we lost a house in a bidding war, and then I proceeded to not mention it again. Shortly after that, another house fell into our laps. I was afraid to talk about it before it was happening – it seemed too good to be true! But, it did pan out.

About a month ago we sold our beautiful first home. I cried a lot as we left it – especially the kitchen that we’d so painstakingly redone.

We’ve spent the last month crashing on my mother-in-law’s couch – literately – while the sale of the new house went through and we had some flooring and painting done. We finally moved in about a week ago and I’ve been frantically unpacking and trying to get everyone adjusted to our new normal.

I had high hopes I’d blog through this, but to be total honest – the whole process overwhelmed me too much. I hated packing up the kitchen knowing it would be going to storage while we worked on everything. And without all of my kitchen toys at my disposal, I had a hard time getting motivated to cook. We did a lot of eating out and a lot of super simple meals. It’s life.

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On the good news side, we moved in about a week ago and the kitchen is 95% unpacked and functional. And, oh, have I been cooking. Starting the night after we moved in, I’ve cooked dinner nearly every night. I’ve been baking. I have plans to do some canning soon. Things have been good!

I have a whole bunch of fun stuff coming up on the blog soon – a cookbook preview, lots of new recipes, and a few fun events hosted by other bloggers. I appreciate you all sticking around during this unplanned hiatus, and I’m excited to be back in the game!

Review: Cave Tools Grill Light

Grilling season is just getting started here, but I’m already looking for ways to extend it. It always seems that by the time we get in a grove, daylight starts slipping away and grilling season is over. Because, let’s face it – grilling in the dark is a pain. How many times have you pulled out your cell phone flashlight to see if the food is done? I know I have.

Enter Cave Tool’s BBQ Grill Light. This handy little accessory attaches to the handle of any grill to make to light up your cooking surface. The light screws on, so you can attach it in less than two minutes, and you just tap it lightly on the logo to turn it on or off – making it easy to do with one hand (or an elbow, when your hands are full!)

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And it really just floods the grill surface with light. I also love the light is bright white – it makes it easier to see color differences in the food as it’s cooking. This light is definitely going to get a heavy workout at our house!

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The Grill Light can be purchased from the Cave Tools website – use code BBQLIGHT15 to take 15% off. They can also be found on Amazon.

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Pina Colada Popsicles + Win a bottle of Nielsen-Massey Vanilla! #NielsenMasseyInspires

Disclosure: I received complimentary products in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.

It is finally starting to feel like spring around here. I actually left the house without a coat last week! It also means I’m starting to pack away my “winter” meals – soups, stews, pot pies – in favor of grilled dishes and frozen desserts. When Nielsen-Massey asked if I wanted to try out one of their vanillas, I knew exactly which one I’d be itching to try.

Pina Colada Popsicles

Tahitian vanilla is perfect in cold applications like ice cream – and these popsicles. They’re seriously like an island vacation on a stick!

These are the perfect creamy combo of pineapple and coconut. I added just a little rum to give it the traditional pina colada feel (and make them fun for the adults!), but you could use rum extract or omit it and these would still be fantastic.

Nielsen-Massey Vanilla

Want to win your own bottle of Nielsen-Massey Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract? Nielsen-Massey is offering one up to a lucky reader! Click here to enter —> a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pina Colada Popsicles

Creamy Pina Colada Popsicles
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Makes 8 popsicles

1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple, finely chopped
1/3 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
1 tsp. Nielsen-Massey Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Tbsp. gold rum, optional
1 cup whipping cream

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Use a stick blender (or pour into a regular blender!) and blend until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze overnight.

 

Review: Cave Tools Blade Tenderizer

Disclosure: I received these products complimentary in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Officially spring! But, we still have snow on the ground. Can we talk about how disappointing that is? I’ve been pinning grilling recipes like crazy – but, to be honest, I’ve been surprised how much the grill tools have gotten use inside this winter.

Cave Tools recently sent me this blade tenderizer to try out, and once again, I was super impressed – they really design these to be easy to use! First up – storage: it comes with a great lid/case, to store it in – so you can’t accidently bump it in the cabinet and end up poking yourself with the blades. The whole thing is also top-rack dishwasher safe, which is amazing – it makes clean up so, so easy!

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We gave this a test run with the night’s chicken – the punctures let the marinade soak in so nicely. It was the juiciest chicken I’ve made in a long time! The extra step of tenderizing was worth the (minimal effort) – I can’t wait to try it on steaks!

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The Blade Tenderizer can be purchased from the Cave Tools website – use code TENDER15 to take 15% off. They can also be found on Amazon.