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Trying to make a good quality home made trail mix or granola bar is really not very hard. This one is my favorite recipes and is a jazzed up riff on Alton Brown's Granola Bars. I'm sure you will love it.

Ingredients
Trail Mix
(Substitute for any of the following ingredients generously.)
  • 2 1/2 Cups Mixed Nuts
  • 1/2 Cup Raisins
  • 1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
  • 1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 Cup Dried Blueberries
  • 1/4 Sliced Almonds
  • 1/8 Cup Dried Apricots
  • 1/8 Cup Dried Mangos
  • 1/8 Cup Roasted Peanuts
  • 1/8 Cup Dried Cherries
  • 1/16 Cup Chia Seeds

Syrup
  • 1 Cup Honey
  • 1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt

  • 3 Cups Rolled Oats
  • Butter For Pan

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine the trail mix ingredients or just buy a good quality trail mix and use a little more than 5 cups.
  3. Add the oats to the trail mix. (Alton has you toast the oats, 
  4. In a sauce pan on the stove heat the syrup ingredients to boiling and then simmer about a minute making sure the brown sugar is completely dissolved.
  5. Butter a 9x13 pan completely. Get all the corners.
  6. Add the syrup mixture to the trail mix and mix thoroughly. The chocolate chips will melt.
  7. Press the mixture into the pan so it is evenly flat.
  8. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
  9. Cool completely and cut into individual bars.
  10. Wrap the bars in plastic. They will last about a week and are great for snacks and meal replacement.


Suggestions
We use these bars for breakfast, lunch and snacks. I like to package them up in plastic wrap individually so they can be grab and go for the family. Way better than those purchased bars!

© Russell W Peterson | DayParentDad.com | 10.22.14
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This past week my daughter (Stiletto #2) took her PSAT at school. This is the pre-test to the SAT and the qualifier for National Merit Scholarships from the College Board. One of the things that I like about the school that they attend is that they don't over prepare them for particular tests. Many schools do that and in the end it amounts to a test score beauty pageant instead of a real evaluation of knowledge and problem solving. Even moderating for this culture, there is still enormous pressure for kids to do well on the test. So knowing there would be a little anxiety, I figured a really good breakfast would be the first thing in order for the day. Since Stiletto #2 is a Carbo Queen and loves soft white bread, I decided a new recipe just for her was in order. Well, it was a hit and easily her favorite bread of all that I have made. Even the Trophy Wife loved it more than all the others! Guess who got the high score for the day. Yes, it was a beauty pageant.

Ingredients
  • 4 Cups AP Flour
  • 1 1/4 Teaspoons Quick Rise Yeast
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Sour Cream
  • 3/4 Cup + 1 Tablespoon 1% Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar or White Vinegar
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Flour For Boule Forming

Preparation
  1. Combine the dry ingredients.
  2. Combine the wet ingredients and warm to about 85 degrees. I do this slowly in the microwave using the reheat setting. It takes about a minute and a half. Make sure you stir it well.
  3. Combine all the ingredients. It should just start to look glossy, but not wet.
  4. Spray oil the inside of the bowl moving the dough to each side and the spray the top.
  5. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a towel. Place in oven with only oven light on and let raise at least 6 hours.
  6. Turn out onto oiled counter top and fold over twice.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and let raise another hour.
  8. Preheat oven and Dutch oven or heavy pot with lid to 450 degrees.
  9. Remove pot from oven and remove lid.
  10. Using a couple tablespoons of flour quickly form the dough by pulling under a few times into a Boule or round shape.
  11. Place shaped dough into Dutch oven, cover, and place into oven.
  12. Bake for 30 minutes covered and then 10 minutes uncovered.
  13. Remove dough from pot and cool on a wire rack.

Suggestions
This recipe is great for both sandwiches and toasting.

Nutrition
1 slice (depending on how big and without butter) is approximately 150 calories.

© Russell W Peterson | DayParentDad.com | 10.16.14
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Fall is in full swing which means we get to cook those wonderful oven and crock pot baked dishes or hot dishes or casseroles or whatever you want to call them. I whipped this up in just a few minutes tonight and it was so dang good I ate almost the whole thing before the family came home. Actually, they never came home. Yippeee! More for me! P.S. This dish is gluten free for all ye who live that new dietary direction and you won't even notice!

Ingredients
  • 1 Jar Kirkland Marinara
  • 2 1/4 Cups Solare Gluten Free Penne Pasta
  • 1 Pound Ground Beef
  • 8 Oz Whipped Cream Cheese
  • 1 Cup Freshly Shredded Light Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Cup Freshly Shredded Parmesan

Preparation
  1. Brown ground beef. DO NOT DRAIN.
  2. Place 1 cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of crock pot.
  3. Mix the remaining marinara sauce with the ground beef that HAS NOT been drained.
  4. Once the beef and marinara mixture has warmed, mix the whipped cream cheese into it until almost melted.
  5. Layer in the following order: 3/4 cup pasta, 1/3 of meat sauce, 1/3 cup of each cheese. Do that three times.
  6. Close the lid and cook on low for 3 hours.

Nutrition
Serves 4 with a little under 500 calories per serving.

© Russell W Peterson | DayParentDad.com | 9.04.14
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I threw out my bread machine. Well, actually I put it in the spring garage sale, but nobody bought it. After years of making bread in it, I discovered no knead bread in a pot. I haven't looked back since. It is so much superior in texture, taste, crust, flavor...I could go on. If it were me, I'd wrap up that bread maker of yours and give to a relative who doesn't know any better. Then you can impress them with your bread making techniques because you know yours will always be the bomb!

Ingredients
  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Cups Rye Flour
  • 3/4 Teaspoon of Quick Rise Yeast
  • 1 3/4 Teaspoons of Salt
  • 2 Cups Tepid Warm Water
  • 1 Tablespoon of Molasses
  • 1 Tablespoon of Honey
  • Spray Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Flour For Dusting

Preparation
  1. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl
  2. Combine wet ingredients and add to dry.
  3. Mix until it is thoroughly moist and starts to look a bit shiniy.
  4. Pull it half away from the bowl and spray with oil. Then repeat with other half. Then spray the top of the dough with oil. 
  5. Cover in plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Place in oven with only the oven light on for about 8 hours. I like to do it over night too.
  6. Remove from oven. Oil the counter. Take the dough out of the bowl and place on the oiled counter. Fold over twice. Once in each direction.
  7. Spray with oil if needed, cover with plastic wrap and let rise 45-60 minutes.
  8. While that is rising place a covered Dutch oven or large covered pan in your oven. Turn the oven temperature to 450 degrees F and preheat the Dutch oven while the dough is rising.
  9. Remove Dutch oven from oven and place on stove top. Remove lid.
  10. With a couple of tablespoons of flour, quickly form the dough into a boule or ball shape by pulling it under and adding flour so it isn't stick. You should only need to pull it under a few times. Place in Dutch oven and cover. Return to oven.
  11. Bake 450 degrees covered for 30 minutes and another 10-12 minutes uncovered.
  12. Remove and cool bread on a rack.


© Russell W Peterson | DayParentDad.com | 9.04.14
So while my bread rose, I spent time outside landscaping a new "secret" entrance to the dog run. I think Siskel and Hooray are going to love it!
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I love fall except for the part where it turns into winter. In the meantime, I am going to enjoy this wonderful and light creamy porcini mushroom soup because it taste nothing like winter.
Ingredients
  • 3 Oz Dried Porcini Mushrooms (Re-hydrated)
  • 1 Chopped Onion
  • 1 Chopped Carrot
  • 3-4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 1/2 Cups Mushroom Liquid Reserved
  • 17 Oz Chicken Stock
  • 3 Teaspoons Chicken Better Than Bouillon
  • 1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 1 Can Light Coconut Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Cream
  • 1 Large Tablespoon Dried Parsley
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Tumeric
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • Pepper To Taste
Preparation
  1. Re-hydrate the mushrooms, drain and reserve the liquid in a bowl. The sediment should fall to the bottom of the bowl.
  2. Lightly pat dry the mushrooms with a towel.
  3. Chop the onion and carrot into fairly small pieces.
  4. Add the olive oil, mushrooms, onion and carrot into a large pot. Cook on medium high until onions and carrots begin to soften.
  5. Add the stock, 2 1/2 cups of the reserve liquid (skimming off the top so the sediment stays out of the soup), the Better Than Bouillon and the tomato paste.
  6. Bring to a boil and cook about 15 minutes. 
  7. Reduce heat and add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a light boil and simmer another 5 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat and use an immersion blender until smooth. Return to heat on low for a few minutes.
  9. Cool slightly and serve with sour cream.

Hints
  • This has a light mushroom flavor. If you want more depth, I would suggest doubling the amount of mushrooms or using a couple of different varieties. I think just about any dried mushroom would do.

  • Can also be made with vegetable stock.